Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Crafty Meme

Gakked from Anna at the Stitch Bitch:

What are your hobbies? stitching, cooking, reading, travel, beading, paper crafts, photography

What crafts do you do? see above

What sounds do you craft along to? whatever is on the telly, though I am moving into audiobooks

First Project You Ever Made: probably mudpies

Favorite Project:  the next one, whatever it is

Favorite Items to Make:  This seems like an easy question. But I'm having difficulty coming up with an answer. Let's say:  my favorite items to make are connections.

What's your favorite...
Color:  purple

Movie: The Bandwagon  with Fred Astaire!

TV Show:  The Big Bang Theory

Band:  Old school - Led Zeppelin

Book:  Little Women (apparently the previous questions have me living in my childhood)

Food:  PIZZA
Favorite Craft:  stitching

And you? What are your favorites?

A Very Fine Place to Start

Actually. Not a very fine place to start.

I have obviously eaten something that I shouldn't have. Mild case of food poisoning. Yesterday I did not leave the house. Today hasn't begun so well either. Stomach says hungry, intestines say don't eat. I think I know who to listen to...could it have been the bread pudding? Glad I only took a couple of bites.

Here is another WIP. I haven't posted any of these since the beginning of February and my notebook has migrated to my stitching bag, so I am unsure exactly what number this is. Somewhere around #30 I suspect. Will try to make a true count sometime this week. Obviously I like color! Hardanger isn't all white for me. The fabric is a Crossed Wing overdye. 

I did make some true progress yesterday on my Stars. And I have taken to humming the Japanese "Sakura" song under my breath while stitching. The colors perfectly capture my photo of the cherry blossoms and some how it seems fitting because that's all I'm hearing on the TV right now.

Progress on my "Little Green Acorns." I'm finished through Area #7. Squirrel still looks like a Kangaroo Rat to me. LOL

My colors for Luan Callery's "Summer Dream." All colors are the same except the Watercolours. Instead of Peach Sherbet, I am using Lilac. I have everything except the batiste and one other color of beads.

So that's all for today. Will be staying close to home again today. And hope that tomorrow's better.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stashing Once Again

Okay. I stayed out of needlework stores for an entire ten days. That may not seem like much to some of you who live far away from your local LNS. But I came back from Regional Seminar with a few things I needed and I'm amazed that I didn't go shop last week.

This means that Blueberry Torte is completely kitted. And Rainforest Crunch only needs one skein of Watercolours - #273 - Blonde - to be completely kitted.

For the Nan Euler class - Strawberry Needle Roll - I wanted threads to compliment a Glorianna silk that I had in green. When I picked three other colors they amazingly were all on my list for kitting up another Pam Darney piece. I didn't get all the Glorianna I needed for sampler, but the three remaining colors are on order.

Also picked up two skeins of Threadworx that I think will compliment some lime green Aida I have for making bookmarks for Stitching for Literacy. Now if only I can relocate that little robot pattern I found online. Maybe I saved it on the laptop because I don't see it here on the desktop.

All for now. While the sun is out (according to the weather this morning, it shouldn't be) I'm going to go stitch.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Stumpwork Dreams

In more not happy news, Carriage House has announced that the business is closing. Read Kathy's post here. Bummer.

Yesterday we had our first meeting of our intrepid little group of stumpwork stitchers. Our Region offered Luan Callery's GCC, "Summer Dream" and some of us took them up on the offer. I also have the companion piece to this, "Fantasy Remembered" and am looking forward to these projects. There are five of us in our chapter and three have either worked on or finished "Fantasy."

The directions appear to be extremely well-written. Now I need to go find batiste and fibers. I've got everything else.

After the meeting I came home and drew in all my lines on Stars. I feel better now. And made the ultimate decision to remove the inner border and restitch it with one more strand. Three just doesn't seem right to me. This means I will have stitched the beginning of this border five times. Let's hope this is finally right.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Stitching Update Sans Photos

We're back to gray and dreary. I'm apologize for not getting out my camera yesterday. But I was busy. First I absolutely had to finish Stephen King's "Under the Dome." If you are a King fan, you understand. I woke up and about 300 pages to read. Finished by 10:30 a.m. and started a week's worth of housework that I had been ignoring while my hubby was in Germany. Got everything finished before he landed and even made Hungarian Goulash for dinner.

So to my friends, Kathy and Anne, if you happen to be reading: I'm down to area #5 on my "Little Green Acorns." But still have not stitched the squirrel with its colonial knots. I am loving this sampler more and more as I stitch. A huge part of my stitching is spending time admiring my work. Well, someone's got to do it.

Reading the Thistle Threads blog is inspiring me to continue on my "Pomegranate and Peas Purse." I'm fast approaching the plaited braid with gold thread stage. I've even contemplated Tricia's Tudor and Stuart Gold Masterclass. I just did the math on $36 a month for 18 months. Okay. Still seems like a bargain to me. LOL

I am halfway finished with the background on my "Ravish Me" canvas. I pulled this out at the MAR annual meeting and again the next morning in the lobby/dining room. I may now have a reputation among those ladies. It certainly does make every one smile. And sometimes giggle.

That's pretty much where we stand today. I need to pencil my lines on my Stars canvas. And the ladies who are starting the Luan Callery Summer Dream stumpwork GCC are meeting later today.

Did I mention how much I like the latest issue of Needlepoint Now? This may be the best issue since Elizabeth has taken over publishing. I want to do the cover piece, but on black canvas. And golly gee, if I had the money I'd so be doing this: Bargello Retreats.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Warning: Crafty Advice Ahead

The Wiki How-to-of-the-Day? How to choose a craft project!!!

(Obviously not meant for me. My comments in parenthesis.)

Step 1 - Have a purpose in mind (Really? Not just because you want to?)
Step 2 - Have an audience in mind (My audience is me!)
Step 3 - Experiment and invent (Always when necessary.)
Step 4 - Browse around and be on the lookout for inspiration (Always - can't stop if I wanted to. And I don't  want to.)
Step 5 - Show your crafts to others (Ah. Show and Tell. What a great game.)
Step 6 - Start small (Except when you need to start large.)
Step 7 - Read the directions (Directions? I thought those were suggestions.)
Step 8 - Think it through or sketch it out on paper (Rarely. I'm working on this one.)
Step 9 - Make a sample (Or a sampler.)
Step 10 - Start in your stash or even your scrap bin - not in craft store. (Finally some good advice.)
Step 11 - Obtain any new tools or supplies you need (Oh you can certain I'll do this.)
Step 12 - Begin the project and be persistent

Okay. The last one reminds me of how Eileen Bennett signed my "Little Green Acorns" pattern - "Finish It & Enjoy!)

Which somehow struck me as very funny. Though I suppose a finish is a finish regardless of how long it takes. At least she didn't write "Finish It Soon & Enjoy!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No. Really. The Final Post on the Weekend

After an afternoon of antiquing in Fredericksburg, we returned to the hotel to try to ease our feet and legs in the hot tub. Of course, those preteens were pretty darn loud in the pool. Fortunately it eventually was suppertime for them and off they went and we had the pool to ourselves. Since we'd eaten lunch so late and weren't hungry, we decided to brave the crowded room and attend the MAR meeting. I'm slowly putting together names and faces as this was my second regional event. It would have helped if the Board Officers had worn name tags. Just a suggestion, ladies.

Grabbed another friend and went out for a late dinner at a very loud place.

And returned back to the hotel and killed time on the 'net. I should have gone to sleep, but for some reason wasn't sleepy. But also wasn't coherent enough for stitching. Oh well. That's what lots of coffee is for in the morning. But it also left me with a headache in the morning. (Honestly. No real drinking involved. Just a beer with dinner.)

Checked out of the hotel and took my stitching basket to the chairs in front of the fireplace and stitched while chatting with friends until it was time for our 12:30 class.

My last class was with Nan Tyson Euler - her "Strawberry Needle Roll" which is a pincushion with a side piece attached for storing your needles. Pins go in the pincushion. This essentially was a design class. We never picked up a needle. But I've got a design that is pleasing to me and just need to change my threads. Original was stitched with Pearsall's silks, but good luck finding those here in the USA. And they are not integral to the design. Any threads will do.

After class we rushed home as best we could so I could drive DH to the airport. At 9:45 that evening you might have been able to find my son and I standing in the kitchen making up a new dish (for us) that started with applewood smoked bacon, included sauteed onions, cabbage, apples, and juniper berries served on egg noodles. That was yummy.

I leave you with three random photos from the Tapestry. I honestly didn't look before I grabbed them.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Final Post on the Weekend

After class, my friend and I went in search of food. Ended up at Amy's Cafe in Falmouth, just north of Fredericksburg along the Rappahannock. Had a falafel pita pocket and sweet potato fries. Yum. Went back to downtown and did some antique shop browsing. Here's what I found, for the most part. Not showing anything non-stitching related.

Okay. Now you are looking at this little porcelain violet cup with three feet made in Bavaria and wondering how is this stitching related? It is because I say it is. I saw it. Fell in love. And see a pincushion. I need to decide in the fabric should be purple or green. Velvet or not. I've already decided not to stitch something because I have a Sudberry pincushion to stitch already.

I found not one, but two of these coffee mugs. The first one is green. And I'm walking around with it saying how I'd like it better in blue, when voila, a blue one appeared.

This particular find thrills me. A Victorian Hair Tidy. I need to polish the silver. But you all know that is a terrific ort container.

And lastly, back at the hotel, I acquired one of those items I have been coveting for a few years. Maggie, a member of our guild, has a husband who is a very talented woodworker. Between the two of them, they have a line of elegant products - ort bowls, pincushions, laying tools, laying tool holders, etc. The company name is Sylvan Treasures. My wow purchase for the weekend.

Oops. I lied. Not my final post at all. I still have more to tell. LOL

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Rest of the Weekend

We stayed at a Hampton Inn in Fred-vegas. My car was parked overlooking the Hooters. I know I have a thing for owls, but...

The rooms were very nice. Mine was large enough for a sofa. And for once I had absolutely no trouble with noise. My first foray was to get ice for a glass of water. And when I returned to my room, my key would not work. Worked fine to let me into the vending area, just wouldn't open my door. So I left my ice bucket on the floor and went downstairs for new keys. Never had another problem the remainder of the weekend. I went downstairs to sign in. Got a zinger to attach my scissor to myself, a small tool tote, a beautiful thread winder, and my GCC of Luan Callery's "Summer Dreams." Prepare yourselves to hear my moan and whine about stumpwork later this year. Finished projects are due in late fall. We started by joining in friendship for pizza in what we soon found out was going to be a very crowded classroom later.

At 6 p.m. Friday night my first class met. Catherine Jordan teaching "Sailing Away." This is a keepsake box. We learned how to paint our linen before stitching on it. The top of the box has a three masted ship and a whale's tale. The interior of the box has a whale. We painted the sky, water, land, and sand. Top photo I took in class as I was going to take my first stitch over one. Next photo is a scan of both pieces with my hull and one mast stitched which is as far as I got in class. This would be the last actual stitching I accomplished in class all weekend. Catherine brought many of her beautiful creations for us to view. If you ever get a chance to take a class with her, go for it. Between dyeing and painting, I have no fear any more of altering my own linen.

While in Catherine's class we realized that something had changed in the hotel. A whole bunch of tweens had arrived with their traveling soccer teams for some tournament. No chance of going to the pool on Friday night after class.

I, like always, did not sleep so well. But gamely got up early to get breakfast and lots of coffee. And then it was off to Pam Darney's Quaker class, "Love and Live Happy." Pam has a magnetic personality and is always a joy. The first half of the class was about how to fit your name in the allotted space - many different ideas here, including a terrific tip for me as my last name begins "LaB..." I can fit in my last name by doing my "a" over one above the bottom of the capital "L." We all signed her ledger and have created a register for these pieces if someone in the future is looking for information about these samplers, there will be a paper trail. She demonstrated how she both hides and reveals information in her samplers. We talked about color and manipulation of overdyed threads. She works almost exclusively now with Glorianna silks and it's amazing seeing the 50 and 100 yards hanks of this together. Much easier to judge color this way, than from a tightly twisted skein. Second half of the class was all about color, why this and not that. What happens if you add this color to a palette and take out that color. A visual treat for those of us who love to play the color swapping game. We ended with a show and tell of her work. At this point she's got 26 samplers, including two exquisitely stitched ones that combine two different colors of linen - the joins on these pieces are impeccable. And one she calls her hall mirror sampler as the words are all stitched backwards so you can read them in a mirror.

Did I mention that the National Tapestry was on view? Thank you, Carol Dam, former EGA National President, for lugging these crates around and being the guardian of the Tapestry. I'll post more photos of this later.

I'm not quite finished with my weekend yet. There's some shopping. And one more class. Tomorrow!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I brought the laptop to Fredericksburg, but haven't been updating my blog. My apologies. I've only had a tiny bit of free time and thus far have only managed quick updates on facebook.

Time for a photoless recap of the weekend.

I was traveling with a friend and we both found it quite interesting that on our way down, we were came upon a sheriff and a state trooper who stopped the traffic right in front of us. They got out their cars and started talking. Cars soon stacked up behind us. And we sat there trying to figure out exactly what was going on when I remembered that Pres. Obama was speaking at GMU. We sat there for 20 minutes or so. And then they got back in their cars and away we went. Arrived in the Fred and stopped for BBQ at Allman's on Route 1. The amount of work that has been accomplished on the new construction for UMW is impressive. Haven't been back here since picking up DS from school in December.

Drove downtown and first stop was a favorite used bookstore, Riverby. Found a V & A book on Greek embroidery and Piecework magazine's book, "Stitching a Legacy." Called a friend who had arrived earlier than us and amazingly she was in the cross stitch store across the street. And so were some other friends from our guild. Reunion time. And sharing of what everyone's purchasing. More and more EGA attendees were showing up and I'm sure Celeste of Everything Cross Stitch has had quite a weekend.

Thus starts the beginning. I'm off to breakfast now. And the rest must wait till tonight or tomorrow.

Friday, March 19, 2010

MAR Regional Seminar

I'm off to pack.

Am taking laptop with me.

Good times!

Downtown Fredericksburg. Plenty of lovely shops and dining establishments.

Carl's isn't exactly downtown. But as it does have the iconic chocolate malts that are known world wide, it's worth the trip.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Woodlawn, Part II

Time to go upstairs. On the way up the stairs there is an abbreviated Halloween display. I say abbreviated because there are usually more Halloween pieces. In the hall upstairs you will find a demonstrator. And there may be a counterpart downstairs in the central hall. This year I saw canvas work, bobbin lace, Japanese embroidery, I did miniatures, and I forget what else I saw. There are a few more Halloween pieces hanging on the walls here. Including one terrific original canvas work piece by Jeff Kulick, a marketing professor at GMU. Love this one. Colors are outstanding, IMHO.

The demonstrators are out in the hallway because the linen room contains the geometric framed canvas work. First place went to a Jean Hilton piece, "Lansing," stitched in what I believe is the original colorway. Kind of pastel. Not my taste in colors, but the piece is well-stitched. Sara Leigh also has a second place ribbon here for another Jean Hilton piece, "Turnberry Ridge," stitched in her own colorway. Pretty, pretty colors and the framing compliments it nicely. There are two versions of "Pieces of Eight" in here and a pillow version in a nearby bedchamber. There's a canvas piece with an apple stitched by a 93 year old man. Bravo. The third new display case is in this room with the beading.

The Christmas room is, well, the Christmas room. As always filled with santas, snowmen, stockings, and ornaments.

The bedchamber opposite the Christmas room has some spectacular smocking and a lovely hardanger christening gown. Plus a first place in Computer Aided Design by my friend Marge. This is a cross stitched piece of her grandson Felix and she used something like 150 colors on it. Don't forget to check out "The Princess and the Pea" blackwork.

Next bedchamber with the lovely Martha Washington sewing stand and the free standing pincushion, has a mix of pieces. Pillows, a bra bag sewing case, a beaded bodice, traditional needlepoint, a quilted piece, a cross stitched afghan.

And finally, my favorite room - the Critter room. Again a mix of techniques. There are a few spectacular pieces in here, including two stumpwork pieces. There's a bird that's an adaptation which looks like it could fly away. And another piece that reflects the stitcher's state of New Jersey with the state bird, flower, tree, shell, etc. Nice original stumpwork. This room also has a pretty original cross stitch piece that would drive Anna nuts. It was stitched by a former shop owner/framer and she embellished her frame with clay hieroglyphics, a nice touch as the piece is about cats and Egypt. The problem lies with adding an apostrophe to the plural of cats. In two places. Other than that, I applaud the piece for its color sense and design balance. There are two Charlie Harper needlepoint pieces in here that I love. And a springer spaniel that is exquisite.

So what did I vote for for People's Choice? Jeff Kulick's original canvas. I am a sucker for Halloween. What can I say?

Please excuse typos, etc. No time for proofreading.

A Request re: Woodlawn

This morning I'm going to comply with Jane of Chilly Hollow's request for more of my opinions on the Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition this year. Photos are from 2006 mostly because of the four times I've been to Woodlawn this month, only one day was the sun shining and that day I forgot my camera at home.

From the National Trust for Historic Preservation website:

Built in 1805, this grand house overlooking the Potomac River was a gift from George Washington to his nephew Major Lawrence Lewis and his wife Eleanor "Nelly" Custis. A granddaughter of Martha Washington, Nelly was raised at Mount Vernon as part of the First Family. Fittingly, the President asked Dr. William Thornton, architect of the U.S. Capitol, to design a new house for the young couple and provided 2,000 acres of his estate. Woodlawn interprets the life of the Lewis family as well as enslaved and free African Americans.

Woodlawn is owned and operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

About the group that started the show at Woodlawn from an old Washington Post article:

Inadvertently, Martha Washington's grand-daughter Nellie Custis Lewis inspired the largest and oldest needlework exhibition in the country. Lewis, who was an ardent needler, lived at Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria while she was married to Lawrence Lewis from 1802 until he died in 1839. She acquired her needlework skills from her grandmother, and many samples of Lewis' work are a part of Woodlawn's permanent collection.

With Lewis' example in mind, a group of 75 women-who call themselves Nellie's Needlers-initiated the juried needlework exhibition in 1963 as a fund-raiser for Woodlawn.

Pretty pictures aside. This year brings some changes to the exhibition. The National Trust in the past has allowed the Nellies to run the show. This year the Trust has assumed control with a lot of help from the Nellies. In addition to all they do in support of the show, the Nellies also offer hand stitched items for sale in the gift shop and run the very popular Tea Room during the month of the show. Their profits help support Woodlawn in a monetary fashion. These women are extremely dedicated and deserve a huge round of applause for all they do.

I have an actual real life catalog in front of me, an item some of you who visited the show earlier in the month may not have received. The snow threw all schedules out of whack this year and the programs did not come back from the printers until this week. Now I have just noticed something very interesting. The program refers to the Nelly's. I am uncertain of which spelling is correct. LOL

The judges statement in the catalog offers up a few hints for all stitchers.

1) watch out for lint and pet hair when in the finishing/framing process
2) when using metallic threads make certain they are laid correctly - don't pull too tightly
3) remember all threads have a useful length. Do not use a thread to the very end

Every year I hear from people who don't understand why this piece got a ribbon and why this piece didn't. And especially why did this piece win Best in Show. All I can say is that we, who are looking at the hung exhibit, are not certified judges and we aren't able to examine each piece with a magnifying glass. This year the judges are Karen Duggan, an ANG certified judge, Lisa Geosits, an EGA certified judge, and Regina Madory Walter, a long time SAGA and EGA member and teacher who for seven was the chairman of the EGA Master Craftsman Program for Plain and Fancy Certification.

I found it very odd that one of the Judge's Choice Awards went to a piece without any other ribbon on it. (Each judge is given one ribbon to award to a piece they deem worthy.) How a piece can get a Judge's Choice without any other recognition to me seems wrong.

Now on to my opinions. From here on it may get brutal. Or maybe I'll be too kind. Let's see where the fingers take us.

One of changes to this year's show is in the reception room. For the past few years this room has been filled with mostly samplers and smalls in the cases. The cases up against the walls are history. Instead there are two free standing cases in the middle of the room with smalls. And maybe a dozen or so pieces on the walls. They have also moved the cash register desk from out of the gift shop into the reception room. There are some major prize winners in this room. Including a beautiful Jan Houtman sampler stitched by John Kazmaier. In all John entered four Houtman samplers, three of which one ribbons. I bow down the man's expertise and color sense.

For some reason there is nothing in the room that sends me over the moon. I admire Catherine Jordan's crazy quilt embroidered box which won the Frank Lloyd Wright award for best original design. And Nancy Williams piece which won Best in Show. Nancy's stitching is impeccable. But the pieces just don't sing to me. Even the best miniature is leaving me lukewarm.

In the downstairs bedroom we see another change wrought by the Trust. The ropes allow you to go further into the room than ever before. What a lovely thing. There are still a few pieces across the room, but in all the bedrooms this is a terrific innovation letting us see more pieces more closely. There are some pretty things in here, but nothing telling me I must stitch this.

In the parlor next to the bedroom there is a marvelously beautiful green embroidered basket/box. Emerald green. Probably garnered a lot of attention yesterday. Funny but nothing else is sticking with me from this room.

In the central hall. Here's my idea of decorating: walls covered in samplers. Of many types. I get that people either seem to love samplers or hate samplers. Doesn't seem to be much in between. A midst all these samplers is hanging a lovely hardanger piece by Janet Terry who is one of the Nellies. She's 90 years old and did a bang up job on this EGA Correspondence Course. Hope I can do this when I'm 90. There is a marvelous "And They Sinned" which is impressive in its size alone. Maybe I'm getting old and jaded or I just have too much stash, but I don't see any commercial patterns here that I must absolutely have.

(Here's where I insert a little tidbit. If you get information about the source of a commercial pattern from the docents, it may not be correct. We had info sheets, which are as usually incomplete, but are also wrong. "And They Sinned" was attributed to Dames of the Needle, not Examplar Dames Design Co. And three samplers were listed as being designed by Jane Hartman, not Jan Houtman. I'm hauling out the old chestnut on this one - trust, but verify.)

The music room has been turned into the "Wow" room by the addition of 37 pieces of Japanese Embroidery. If you don't really know anything about Japanese Embroidery I suggest clicking the link. You will be impressed. I love that there are multiple pieces of the same design on different colored silks. I know enough about this to be blown away. And I know the first prize winner. Congrats, Michael Ann! Amazingly you can walk right up to these pieces and see their excellence. There are also a few other pieces rounding out this room. Kimonos on canvas. Samurai cross stitch. A lovely gold work piece on the mantel. Oh yeah. A little dogwood canvas on the table with my name on it.

Moving into the dining room. This is the flower/fruit room this year. As usual Anna Garris Goiser has two gorgeous original crewel pieces. I'm sorry that her first place piece is on the door at the far side of the room. I want to see that one up close. And an original canvas that I assume she hand painted that is in the fireplace with a ribbon also. My friend, Sara Leigh of Merrey Designs, also has some ribbon winners in this room.

Time Out. I just want to say that on Monday, as I was sitting on the chair in this room reading the info sheet for the room, I glanced up and saw a man standing behind the rope. In a black suit. With a beard. I blinked and he was gone. End of ghost story. What the hell?

You know what? I'm going to have to continue this later. Because it's time for me to leave.

Interested in more?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stealing my Sister's Photos

Behind the mills on the Lamprey River. I adore these old mills built of good New Hampshire granite.

Just a bit too much water.

No stitchy yesterday. Had a headache and couldn't concentrate. But I did manage to remove the remainder of the broken glass on the deck from the table mishap. And dismantled the table. No walking on the deck barefoot for me. Which is going to kill me when I'm grilling. (Table mishap, indeed. DH broke it trying to remove something that was attached by snow and ice.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The View from Tuesday

I feel guilty. I woke up this morning knowing the sun would shining today - finally - and that the last of the snow would melt away with temperatures projected into the 60s. But meanwhile I've been watching videos my sister has been posting from NH in the past two days. Hard to believe the pounding that area is taking. Again. Of course, my sister feels pretty darn fearless in her truck and had been out taking pictures of the flooding, locally in town, and then drove to the beach to take in the awesome power of the ocean.

I'm realistic. I know my hometown is located on a river which is why the town is there. I'm certain no one who lives on River Street is surprised that flooding sometimes happens. But several times in one year? For a couple of years in a row? Yikes.

Had a tremendously fun time yesterday being a docent at Woodlawn. I think this was even more fun than being a demonstrator. The age range of entrants this year spans ninety years! There is a junior piece by a three year old and a canvas piece by a ninety-three year old. That's incredible.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

One More Thing for Today

Ah. Today is the day. Liberty at Target. Time to go and see what they've got.

Eileen Bennett Class

Yesterday was a totally satisfying day for me - a lecture and a class by Eileen Bennett of the Sampler House at the Loudoun Sampler Guild. The lecture was on the ABCs of samplers. Good solid information and if you ordered the information packet, you also got a black letter alphabet sampler (more on this later.)

This was my first class with Eileen whom I found to be a delightful and knowledgeable teacher. I wasn't in love with the Little Green Acorns sampler from the photos nor was in love with it just looking at the linen and floss. When I fell in love with it was during the reading of the instructions. Twenty-four different stitches including a two or three that I haven't stitched yet! And yes, I did purchase her "Red Book of Sampler Stitches" to add to my library.

She starts her class by reviewing her stitching tips. As she is a certified needlework judge, her tips are invaluable if you are stitching in pursuit of excellence. I'm not saying I would stitch following all these tips always, but it's good information to have. The only stitching police are in your own head. And I would say that no one is going to come and take your needlework out of your hands and make you do it their way except I saw just that happen yesterday. Too funny! (This incident did not involve Eileen. And the stitcher took it with good grace and may follow this advice for the rest of her stitching life.)

I did start this piece using a hoop - something I don't normally do. And I did use a size 24 needle - something I never do on linen. Will I continue this way? It depends. I may have some 32 ct linen in my stash that I like better than the fabric Eileen was forced to use as a substitute when Zweigart had a shortage of what she wanted. If I start over, who knows what choices I may make.

What I was dreaming about this morning as I woke up was the black letter sampler. I don't know if it's the color possibilities or the echoes of the Art Deco style, but this piece is calling to me. We all know what this means. I have just added two new pieces to my works in progress as I will be able to kit the black letter from my stash today.

Other things that totally tickled me yesterday - people from my Shamrock Pin class wearing their finished pins or stitching on them. Anne, Kathy, and Kay - this made my day. I had to smile every time I came face to face with my design. And lastly, the thing that made me smile for the rest of the day, were the too kind words of a reader who is member of the LSG praising my blog. Thank you so much!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Question for Odette

Are you the Odette who designed Odette's Diamond - a piece I have stitched?
Which would make this a small world indeed.

Hmmm. It seems I took a photo of the finished product. Will have to rectify that.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Class Time

Tomorrow is lecture and class time with the fabulous Eileen Bennett of the Sampler House as she is coming to the Loudoun Sampler Guild.

In the morning we have a lecture on the ABCs of sampler alphabets.

And in the afternoon we have the lovely Little Green Acorns sampler.

This week I've been stitching on a Crossed Wing bluebird on silk gauze over one and on my Ravish Me canvas which is at the background fill in stage. Now I'm getting excited by the prospect of more than 20 different stitches on one piece. I actually don't have any Eileen Bennett pieces in my stash except for what I might have in magazines. But I do have several of her books in my library.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Woodlawn News

If you go over to the website for the Woodlawn Needlework show there are links to:

a slideshow of photos of the major winners

and a link to a downloadable pdf of the program, which thus far has not been available at the show itself

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

New Start and Stars #4 - Color Changes

This is my start on Sunday of Sekas & Co.'s Shamrock Heart. The green is a really bright emerald green. The gold floss is an Olde Willow that was just hanging out in my stash. In fact, I think it was my only Olde Willow. And the gold is what was called for, just in a smaller size. I'm a demo person at Woodlawn tomorrow and may bring my Shamrock with me to work on. It's supposed to be cloudy/rainy tomorrow and I'm not sure if the light will be good enough for me to work on an anything smaller count.

One quick trip to Needlewoman East (Okay. There was nothing at all quick about it.)and I have a new colorway for Stars. This is based on Waterlilies "Meadow." No more JL Walsh silk available. And it may never be again. Who knows? I've got some Trio and hope to be able to make that work for me.

The colors are pink, blue, taupe and green and are based on this photo. I went with the blue/pink/green thing in mind and managed to make it work.

Having restarted this, I can now see the error of my ways on the not drawing on the canvas. My block is the upper left block - piece is photographed upside down. And the Fern stitch, in blue, is supposed to go all the way around the piece in a certain direction. Which means, I need to count down to the bottom left block and work my way up from there because that's the direction the stitch should be moving in. I know I don't want to be stitching the Fern stitch with Splendor coming up in dirty holes, thus the counting is the only viable solution. If this is the only problem created by my basting and not choosing to draw, I can live with it.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Stars #3

No photo, but last night, right before dinner, I stitched the corner block again with the new colors. I haven't looked at in the morning sunlight yet to see what I think. But there is a thought running through my head that I may not like stitching this with these colors.


Change colors now?


I'm certain it's just something having to do with spring and needing to flowers and brilliance and golden light.

I thought I had handled this on Saturday with a start on the Sekas and Co. Shamrock Heart. Even though I had this kitted up with the called for 10 ct. fabric, I dipped into my stash and decided I could stitch this on 18 ct. canvas. A little experimentation later and the Watercolours has changed to overdyed cotton. And the Kreinik braid has gone down a size.

But apparently a shamrock isn't enough. I guess I should go look at Stars and see what I think.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Stars #2

Okay. Here's as far as I got before I decided to make changes. We won't mention how many times I had to stitch the beginning of the inner border...

That blue is out. Even though I tweaked the colors in the photo, you can't really see my problem. Which was that the blue reads slightly teal. Very slightly. But because there is so much of this color in the piece, it had to go. And at the same time I chose to go a stronger route than icy blue/gray for my D colors which is a fine place for an accent color. I'm going as strong as I can and we'll see what happens when I introduce black into this piece.

That makes my four color families brown, blue, white and black. I'll get to this is the next few days and will update sometime next week with a new photo.

Meanwhile when I saw the photo of Rainforest Crunch by Needle's Delight on the Spinster Stitcher's blog, I knew I just had to have it. I ordered it and also Blueberry Torte, a design I've been admiring every time I go into Needlewoman East. The current trunk shows at Needlewoman are j. childs designs and Needle Crossings.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Coming Attractions

Almost done mystery stitching for now.

And a Stars update with photos is due. Maybe tomorrow?

Got to go and vacuum quickly. DH is due at the airport in one 1/2 hour.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Mystery Stitching

My apologies for having nothing to show.

But I do have tell.

I managed to swing by Woodlawn today and found that I snagged an honorable mention for this:

I can't believe I never took a photo of this once it was framed. It is a handpainted canvas by j child designs.

Anyway. Yeah for me!

Oh. And though the tag does not say it (funny how they cannot accommodate two stitchers on one tag), I stitched quite a lot of the 2nd place winning Gingko leaves being exhibited by Sara Leigh Merrey.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Stars Post #1

On Sunday the group of stitchers that are all starting Stars met. I started stitching the outside box in the upper left hand corner after counting and basting. I did not draw my lines.

I got the box in and started working my B-1 which is my case is a blue silk by Splendor for the inner border. Well, somehow that thread that seemed to work so perfectly when matched with the other fibers, looked just a tiny bit teal.

So yesterday I changed my B-1. Found a slightly different blue Splendor that I am hoping will work.


Given the chance to think about this after putting in that first corner, I have decided to replace my set of D threads. No longer icy blue/gray. Now they are black. I think that's the only accent color that will work with my blue/brown/white scheme.

So everything I have stitched, which thankfully isn't much, is coming out and I am starting over.

Who's surprised? Not me.

I also made a decision about my overdyed thread. Given the massive fail of my last bout of dyeing, I have decided to fake my overdyed in the border. Thus the purchase of a blue, a black, a brown, and a white silk. Where I need the overdyed in the motifs, I will use the blue/brown silks I have dyed. Because I had to cut these at 12" I am not going to use them in the border. That would just lead to too much painful starting and stopping of threads.

But this will have to wait for a few days at least. I need work on my mystery stitching as Friday is my deadline. Though I have to say that Stars is singing a siren song in my head. Apparently my brain really, really wants to know if my new colors are going to work.

Monday, March 01, 2010

March First

I'm fairly certain that there are very few people living anywhere near me who are sorry to see February in the rear view mirror. Only 28 days? And it lasted sooooo long. Even I, a perennial February lover, will admit having no sorrow this year for its passing.

Thus we move on. Last March - I started some new projects and finished two of them. Worked on some old things. Bought our new Avalon. DD came home for spring break and brought friends with her. Visited West Point. Photo of Hudson River from the boathouse at West Point. It was some cold that day and the wind was frenzied.

The dyeing. WFT? Yesterday I decided to dye a single skein of Splendor and something happened that hasn't happened yet in my dyeing adventures.

First I painted on the brown dye with a brush. Then the blue dye. Just like I had in the past. When I returned home last evening and took at look at this skein, the blue had migrated into the brown and totally covered it. Dye fail.