Saturday, January 23, 2010

And Finally a Finish

My Quaker Diamond sampler. This was an EGA class with a challenge to finish them in time for the January meeting. Pam Darney of Guild House Samplers gave us Quaker motifs, several sizes of diamonds to choose from and the freedom to follow the rules or bend them a bit.

I confess to learning tons from this piece. About color and density and balance. About what happens when you decide to wing it and design on the fly instead of planning things out.

I may change two or three tiny places. Just remove a color and replace it with a different one. But right now I consider it finished.

Today was our meeting. And there were more than a dozen samplers. Three were framed! Yikes. Five or six were finished, but unframed like mine. And I'm uncertain of the number of unfinished ones. Absolutely amazing to see so many different ways of combining the same elements. One black on white. One monochromatic. One with fourteen colors. And several chose to make multiple diamonds. Or make a diamond within a square. Such luscious colors. Both in the fabrics and in the threads.

After today, I'm sure we'll be seeing some of those unfinished ones finished soon. And those who took the class, but haven't started yet were given tremendous inspiration.

UFO # 22 & 23

This is slightly disconcerting. I posted #22 yesterday. But it's not here. I ever wrote it down in my notebook, which I don't do until I post.

Sigh. Let's see what I can recreate. This is Amybear's "Night Flight," a companion piece to "Desert Sunset." A friend stitched the desert piece and it's amazing.

I had tremendous difficulty trying to locate a Watercolours that was vibrant blue/green like the photo. Eventually I gave up.

Then I stitched the second section and didn't like the lighter canvas showing through so I took that out and painted the canvas. Now I need to go back and stitch it.

Love this piece. Will definitely stitch it.

Because this is a long piece of canvas on stretcher bars and occasionally I need to use a laying tool, I am actually stitching the piece sideways. This way it fits on my table stand. I probably could have done it on my floor stand the long way, but something else was occupying the floor stand. And my floor stand isn't tremendously portable.

The cardinal piece - well you can see the designer info in the photo. This is intended as a gift. Maybe in June. Maybe for Christmas. On PTP Heritage with the called for threads.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

UFO # 21

"Tequila and Salt" by the Sunflower Seed is number # 21. Changed threads to Carrie's Creations. Started maybe 2 years ago. Set aside while I waited to get the buttons. Changed the buttons slightly, also. I think I have everything for this now. Will look at it this spring/summer. Should be a quick finish from here.

I've been searching high and low for two items at my house. One very important - my computer glasses. That is all they good for. Rarely leave the office with them. They usually stay on the desk. I had them Sunday evening. Gone Monday morning.

Second item is gaining in importance. I have a freebie graph printed on blue paper. Do you think I can find it? Was my idea to do this quickly for our friends in London. Can I find it? No. This should be easy. A limited number of places where it could be. And the blue paper should stand out. I got it at the beginning of December. Haven't seen it or the other free patterns I acquired that day since I showed them to my DD over winter break. Argh.

In UFO news: The total number is becoming increasingly clear to me. It's less than 40. Which is wonderful news. I was afraid it would be over 50. I may post the remainder of them on Sunday if I find the time. Otherwise, you'll see the rest in February.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

UFO # 20

When people started showing me their versions of the Ink Circles SAL mystery in 2008, I was intrigued. Intrigued enough to start it. Over one. On 32 ct. Because I reasoned that I didn't need another BAP. Instead I have M(inature)BAP. I seem to have a lot of these.

I'm not afraid of stitching over one. As long as I have good lighting and I am not tired.

I have not worked on BOINK in a year. Counting it is a bear. Most of the stitching took place outdoors in the summer of 2008. Kitted it from my stash. Some neutral 32 ct. linen and Carrie's Creations threads.

I believe my intent was to finish that thread that it is in the needle and move in at the corner. Would make counting easier if I had some interior portions finished. No way am I stitching that entire frame first. And I believe I will enlarge those middle Celtic knots. Because frogging over one is such a PITA!

Not going to give up on this one. Because it could be completely stunning.

Enough acronyms in this post to satisfy a retired Army officer wife!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

UFO # 19 and a Finish

UFO # 19 is Little House's colonial coffee piece - "Ye Olde Coffee House." Sorry I couldn't find a better place to take a photo that morning. But this means you can't see my mistake. That top row of single stitches, my Xs are crossed in the wrong direction. I've been stitching for how long and I made this mistake? Started this back in 2006 or 2007. Changed the called from DMC to Crescent Colours. This may be one of my first pieces to use CC threads. Anyway that top row will be ripped and restitched. And I changed the year from year of the Boston Tea Party to the year of my hometown's incorporation. A couple of hours and this will be finished. It's a good stitch in public piece and will try to finish it in February.

This is a photo of a finish from 2008. At least my part was finished then. Sara Leigh Merrey of Merrey Designs (website has been deleted. SL notified me that she no longer has control over it) had started this piece of gingko leaves inside a truncated gingko leaf. At the time I was playing around with blackwork and somehow I ended up stitching the middle piece and choosing the blackwork fills. When I finished it, we knew it looked okay, but something was missing. We kind of kicked it around for a bit, and one day at the shop I was talking about it with our friend, Jill. Jill was the one who had the brilliant suggestion that rescued this piece from oblivion. She sketched out a quick triptych. I told SL about the idea. And of course the piece of linen this is one wasn't big enough. But she stitched the two side pieces on separate pieces of linen. And the masterful framer, Clive, at the Brit's Gallery did a brilliant job of framing.

On a side note, I have managed somehow to misplace my computer glasses. They are somewhere in the house. I had them Sunday night. They were gone Monday morning. Come out, come out, wherever you are, you helpful little things...

Monday, January 18, 2010

UFO # 18

Number 18. I've got to say this isn't going to be as long a list as I had feared. Phew. *Wiping sweat from brow.* There is an end in sight. Blog will go dark for a week here at the end of the month. But I'll be at the beginning of February with all sorts of fabulousness as I finish up the UFO counting.

Today we have the "All Year Square" pin and scissor keep by Betsy Morgan of Willing Hands Needlework Designs. Most of you probably haven't heard of Betsy except through me or someone else writing about taking a class with her. Thus far, Betsy has been teaching through the guilds. I love her designs. Usually small. But detailed with just enough complication to be out of the ordinary.

This piece was taught at my EGA chapter last summer. And this is all I finished. Sad, but true. Maybe I'll take this one to London with me. Though I did finish Betsy's Nantucket Morning Glory basket in 2009. I think that makes my goal on this one 2011!

In other news:

I'm cranking on my Quaker Diamond. Got in a couple of hours yesterday. And can see the home stretch. One more major motif, and I'll be working on filling in the little spaces. Will post of photo of this by the weekend whether it is finished or not.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

UFO # 17

This is such a pretty little piece. I pull it out occasionally and work on it. But never for very long. Mostly because I don't know what to do with it when it's finished. I think I thought I was going to frame it for the bathroom. But now. Who knows?

It's called In the Sea by Kathy Cadilek of The Monkey Works. Original has white thread on blue fabric. I like my way. I have issues stitching pieces that are all white. That's why I managed to change all my hardanger pieces into color.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

UFO # 16

Today we have "Flip Flop Fun - a Day at the Beach" by Whimsical Element. I was inspired by someone's finish to purchase this piece. Took a year or so before I saw it in a shop. Took almost another year to gather all the threads. The Flax N Colours took forever to arrive after ordering. The fabric is Picture This Plus 18 ct Cork in glacier. I'm going to like this a lot when it's done. I've bought enough fabric to stitch it twice, thinking my mother in Florida would like it. Interesting stitching. Will most likely work this back into rotation in late spring.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haircut and UFOs 14 and 15

Here is where my hair was on Wednesday evening.

Looks pretty good like that. But. I have hair issues. The hair which grows from the top of my head is straight. The rest is wavy or curly. And it's curlier on the right than it is on the left. And this is all a recent development. My hair was always fairly straight. Until about 10 or so years ago. Which means I now have the hair types of both of my parents - on one head.

That makes it: fine and thick. Straight and curly and wavy. Good luck with that combo.

I wish the curl was everywhere. Once I tried perming the rest to match my curls, but no dice. My hair never did take well to perms, though my grandmother certainly made many attempts at the Toni home perms.

And straightening the curls to match the straight hair does not work either. I have so much hair in the back that it takes forever to straighten with either a blow dryer or hair iron.

My solution of choice was often the pony tail. How graceful and elegant a hairstyle is that on a 49 year old.

I've gone lighter on the color. Not certain if the shade is exactly right for my skin. But we'll have every 5-6 weeks to work on that. The back just needs a little product and scrunching, no drying.

The front. In a day or two, I can wash it and play. Then we'll know the true value of this haircut. But I'm pleased that I'm not horrified. And the hair wizard who cut this can be grateful that I didn't just sit there laughing hysterically which I have been known to do when cutting 12+ inches off my hair.

Carriage House Samplings "Dainty House Wren" in the dark colorway. On Ink Spot. Love the fabric. Love the colors. But at this point I was working on three different piece on black. Only finished one of the them - The Goode Huswife's "Full Moon." The other unfinished one was the "Black Forest" piece which I've already shown here. So this one really fell by the wayside on that stitchy highway. It's barely been begun. But I still like it. And have several more Carriage House pieces kitted.

Ah. Now we get interesting. I bought Indigo Roses' "Catherine Agnes" from an online store right after it was published. (This was early 2000s when I was not living in stitching paradise.) When I finally got to a needlework store, I was disappointed to find the colors did not match the photo. The photo reads bright, but the colors are pastel. I have spent the years since trying to find threads more to my liking. I have everything. Except that brown/yellow still does not work. I've already ripped that inner square out once (do you know how many threads were anchored there?)And I am on the verge of ripping it again. I've found one thing that may be a slight improvement.


I can attempt to dye my own. Stayed tuned to see how this one turns out. It could be a quite an adventure.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Oh My Gosh

It's almost warm outside! Amazing. Nearly twenty degrees above freezing. It's incredible.

And in other news, today I had more than 12 inches of hair cut off my head. And I had it colored. Something I had stopped doing. Now that gray at the front looks like blond highlights. I know it is terrible to post news like this without photos, but I'm waiting for someone to come home and take photos. It isn't exactly what I pictured, but I can live with it. (I've got hair issues. The back has become insanely curly and will make beautiful spiral curls. The stuff right on the top, is straight as it always used to be. Two. Two. Two heads in one!) I'm fairly certain that with some mousse, I can rock the wet head look. And turning over while sleeping may no longer wake me up because there's no hair to trap me.

Need to take more photos to continue UFOs...

If you need a stitchy fix, I strongly suggest going to Threadworx and signing up for their journal. First issue is impressive.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

UFO # 13

Regardless of what others may think, I don't believe there is anything inherently unlucky about the number 13. One of my favorite places that we lived, our house was number 13. My cell phone number ends in 13. I've got no problem with it.

Which brings me to another point. There is absolutely no logical order to how these UFOs are being presented. I just pulled out some projects in progress and started taking photographs. I uploaded said photos to my computer and am just working my way through posting them. And the reason I don't know how many UFOs I have is because I haven't finished taking photos yet.


On to number 13.

This is from the Magazine Cross Stitch and Needlework. I believe it's in a 2007 issue. Yes. I changed threads. It's less than 2 inches wide and about 6 or 7 inches long. Almost not worth doing specialty stitches for less than 2 inches. But I have a frame this fits into and the colors match another piece in a similiar frame. I could probably crank this one out in a day...will I? Only the Shadow knows.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

UFO # 12

How many UFOs are there?

I don't know.

That's why I am doing this little posting project.

In the end I hope to know the answer!

Let's move on to number 12.

Some of you will remember this from a few months back. This is Kimberly Servello's Pomegranates and Peas Purse from MAR Smart Days in October. I have not yet put this back in the rotation. There is a challenge to have this finished before Regional Seminar in March. Can I do it? Maybe. I might devote a good portion of February to this piece. In fact, I am fairly certain that I will wowed in London and inspired to finish my purse. I know that at least one person from the class has finished this. There is potential for something else to get in the way (not talking about potential project until it is a reality.)


For a few of my friends:

I forgot to post that the news out of TNNA market is that Alice Peterson of Stitch and Zip has new kits to make storage cases for Kindles...

Monday, January 11, 2010

UFO # 11

Not a great picture. And my info on this will need editing as I cannot remember the name of the designer. And because I am terrible at remembering to use labels!!!

Just a small start on this one. The photo with the chart is way off on color. I saw this piece framed at Everything Cross Stitch in Fredericksburg, VA sometime this past year and that's when I purchased it. Found a beautiful overdyed fabric for it at the Scarlet Thread before the store closed. Started it sometime in the spring of 2009 I believe.

Best thing about starting at the top of this piece - the bottom is a reflection in water and is done with half stitches. Will be a breeze stitching the last 3rd of this. But first I need to concentrate on the top.

Reason not further along - just got pushed out of the rotation by things that I needed to stitch on deadline. Will try to fit this in sometime this year.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

UFO # 10

A Mill Hill kit for a scissor pocket. I just thought it was cute and I liked the colors. And doing this on the ribband makes for quick finishing. My problem - not very portable with all these beads.

Will I get back to it? I am not certain.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

UFO # 9

Number 9. Number 9. Number 9.

Sorry. I'll return to regular programming after I find the white album...

Okay. Today's photo is from the Stitcher's World/or whatever name the magazine had at the time this was published.

It's the chat noir of poster fame. This is a simplified version compared to the one hanging my daughter's room. Just some basic cream colored linen and DMC. Lots of black DMC. Which is why it is not finished...too much black and I got tired. I will finish this someday. YES. I WILL.

Friday, January 08, 2010

UFO # 8

Today we have the Captain's Rellek by Michelle Ink.

I started this one in August 2009 in anticipation of our trip to the Outer Banks. Love my fabric. Love the design. It has just gotten shoved aside rudely by other stitchy things that I needed to finish.

Will hurry right back to this in the spring.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Couldn't Resist

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Is this irony??? Don't ask Alanis.

UFO # 7

Today I bring you a Catherine Strickler piece - Indigo Rose "Catherine's Armchair Pinkeep." This was a Saturday class for my EGA chapter last year? Or was it the year before? Memory fail.

This is progress I made the day of the class. Too funny. I enjoyed the class. Loved hearing her stories. I even like the piece. But I had so much in rotation at the time that this piece never made its way in. I have seen a few finished versions from that class and every time I say to myself I should get that out and work on it.

My real intention at the time was to finish another Indigo Rose piece first before working on the pinkeep. You'll see that one later in this UFO and WIP program.

Meanwhile I continue to plug away at my Quaker Diamond. I can see the end in sight, but am uncertain if the finish will come before or after the class reveal on January 23rd. I continue to have the interesting experience of - if I don't like the motif while I'm stitching on it, I will eventually decide that it doesn't work and frog it or part of it. And then change motifs or at least colors. It's funny how some of the things I thought I'd like, I didn't. And one motif that I did for balance has become my new favorite. I am certainly learning a lot from this experience.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

UFO # 6

This project is barely started. I believe I purchased this sometime between 2000 and 2002 when I lived in Falls Church, VA. If I had receipts dating back that far, I could prove my hunch that I bought it from Jan at the Scarlet Thread in Fairfax. Miss the Scarlet Thread in its different incarnations...

This is a brooch from Of Female Worth. Worked over one on linen with silks. (I can see now that I need to write down details when I take photos. I would go and look but the projects are two stories above me and I am lazy.)

I believe we will see time and time again that I have abandoned over one projects. You might think this is an issue with aging eyes. But no. Not really. I'll be turning 50 next month and still stitch without glasses or magnification as long as I have decent lighting and I am not tired.

Do I intend to finish this? Yes. As a matter of fact, I may take this one to London with me.

In Other News:

Remember how I joined the Loudoun Sampler Guild back in November? Today I'm thrilled to find that this blog is on their list of Needlework Blogs Recommended by LSG Members. As a matter of fact, I see quite a few familiar names on this list. Maybe someday if I break a leg or something requiring extended periods of inactivity, I'll attempt a list of stitching bloggers broken down by categories: counted work, surface embroidery, canvas work, maybe beading? What a project this would be. Nah. Forget it. I'm too busy. LOL

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

UFO #5

Today we have a project from Kreinik's Remember the Ladies series. This is "Abigail's Wisdom" designed by Ellen Chester of With My Needle.

I don't recall exactly when this one came out, but I purchased it the first time I laid eyes on it. Came with the silk threads. I'm pretty certain I have my linen choice recorded in my journal - at the moment I'm unsure of where this is. I will edit this later if I find it and remember.

I made a decent start on this one. But for some reason I stopped when I got to the part where I needed to stitch over one. I decided to alter things slightly. And didn't like what I did. Much later I frogged that and continued with the directions. Made a bit a progress before a rotation took this out and it never made it back in again. That means my reasons for stopping - over one stitching and the colors. I'm just not that fond of pastels. I will finish this one. And then start my other Remember the Ladies kit - "Enough is as a Feast" whose colors I like much better.

Monday, January 04, 2010

UFO #4

Terrible picture. Oh.

This is from Hillside Samplings whose website seems to be full of broken links. I can only see the main page and nothing else. It's called "A Cat in Snowman's Clothing" - a white cat posing as a snowman to lure in a cardinal.

I bought this years ago to stitch for my MIL whose was happily owned by a large white cat called Boots (for his extra digits.) There was nothing small, dainty, or gentle about this cat. A ferocious hunter, he was an indoor/outdoor kitty who didn't mind the snow of NH until it got too deep. He tolerated us when we visited. And as he aged he even learned to occasionally sit with someone other than Mother.

The reason I stopped stitching on this piece: the fabric. It is an evenweave that I didn't enjoy working on and I'm sure I put it aside for something more pleasurable. And then Boots passed on and I didn't think the time was right to give this to my MIL. I will attempt to finish this one this year as I'm certain she would enjoy it.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Sorry I Missed Yesterday

It was DH's birthday. Left early to drop DD's car off at garage. Then went and got breakfast and headed into D.C.

In honor of DH, here is a UFO. This is a Candamar? needlepoint stocking that I've had for years. Acquired some time in the 1990s. When viewed close-up I see the need to frog and start over as I ended and started threads on the diagonal on the back. This is a patriotic snowman. At one point I believe I considered making needlepoint stockings for everyone. And then just decided that wasn't going to happen. Will I ever finish it? Maybe. Sometime when I need something mindless. I do feel guilty when I look at it...

Yesterday was a stop at one of our favorite places - the National Building Museum.

If you've never been here, next time you're in D.C. you should stop in and visit. Even if you're not into architecture. (This place has one of the best gift shops in the city.) Originally built to house the Pension Bureau after the Civil War, the design also included a grand space to host social events. It's a favorite spot of local families with young children, especially in the winter as there is room to run and romp and plenty of family friendly activities.

We left there and continued on to visit the US Botanical Gardens. This is another D.C. space that people often overlook, though the Christmas displays have become a tradition and are drawing more people every year. They have been creating the scaled-down Mall in plant materials along with a model train display that includes places from the Wild West and Fairytale Land.

And today's UFO is from the Goode Huswife - "The Black Forest." Here's a funny story about this piece. I purchased it shortly after it was released and started it not long after that. Changed the threads slightly to use what I had. And then it got shuffle away during a rotation. And I started stitching on Thursday mornings at the Scarlet Thread, where I looked at a finished version of this every week. I looked at that version so often, that I thought I had finished my own! Was I ever surprised to not find this in the finished pile, but in the unfinished pile! Nothing like my mind playing tricks on me.

This goes in the definitely I will finish it pile.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

Let's start things off correctly in this lovely new year of 2010. I prefer saying that as "twenty ten." How about you? Two thousand and ten takes too long...LOL

This is my first post about WIPs and UFOs in my stash. I sat down and took some photos of small things the other day while organizing. I didn't get very far before camera battery ran out of juice. There will be no rhyme or reason to how these get presented.

Here is Santa's Beard - a limited edition kit designed by Twisted Threads. As this was the kit for 1998, I know that I purchased it in Colorado Springs - either at Ruth's Stitchery or the shop that open up on North Academy that I loved, but I believe is now closed. I don't see much activity on the Twisted Threads website. Has Ruth retired from designing? Does anyone know?

You can see that I have barely made a start on this. It's the over one on a fabric that I was not that fond of - R & R very stiff linen. I believe there is another one of these kits in my stash from 1997(?) unless I gave it away. I know I had two different years. Will I ever come back around to this piece? Maybe. I'm fairly certain that I could stitch this with amazing speed these days. Much faster stitcher than I was in 1998. I know I'm not ready to part with it, so I guess that means that I think I will return to it someday.

Here's a photo from the top of Renwick Gallery building. The Renwick was built for William Corcoran to hold his art collection of American and European works. Corcoran engaged the noted architect James Renwick Jr. (1818–1895), who had earlier designed the Smithsonian's Castle in Washington, D.C., and St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. It was constructed in late 1850s and was the city's first art museum. Corcoran's collection outgrew this building. And in the early 1960s it was nearly torn down until Jackie Kennedy championed its return to glory. It was turned over to the Smithsonian and is known as home of the contemporary craft.

We stopped by to visit on Wednesday and nearly froze our collective patooties off walking from the Metro stop at the Archives and back again. Saw the Staged Stories exhibit which closes on Sunday. The artist of note for us fiber people is Mark Newport, head of the fiber department at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, "who examines issues of masculinity through knitted superhero costumes that mix adolescent male subject matter with craft techniques usually associated with women." Not my words. But the stretched out unoccupied knitted superhero outfits are a hoot.

I love the permanent collection here - the salon always impresses me. And the rotating exhibit from the permanent collection has some truly amazing pieces. Always worth a stop here.

Finally - me and DH before we turned into popsicles posing in front of the White House.