Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hand Issues

I have not been stitching much lately. I'm having some hand issues. Is it tendonitis? Maybe. But I know the first thing to do is stop using my hand for repetitive motion things. 

That doesn't mean I've stopped entirely. Just not every day for extended periods of time. Like yesterday. Didn't stitch at all except the few I took stitches I took waiting in the doctor's office. Went from there to airport to pick up DH who had been visiting his parents. 

I thought he was going in to work, but no. He took the rest of the day off. So we got to have some fun in the middle of the week. Went to our favorite pizza place. And then I took him to see the Avengers. I had already seen it so this time I saw it in 3-D. I just do not get this 3-D phenomenon. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think this enhances anything about the experience. We were the only ones in the theater so we got to laugh as loudly as we wanted to. I enjoyed this movie just as much the second time around. 

Then we did a bit of shopping for his mother's birthday. This involved two stops and he got some new polo shirts, too. Then it was dinner time and we stopped at Chipotle. Came home and watched both baseball and basketball. Thanks, honey, I had a terrific time. 

What I was stitching on at the doc's office:

 I would be finished with this, but Tuesday night I decided to add more metallic to the border. It won't take long to reach the end now. It will eventually be a pillow. And please, no comments on how I shouldn't work with such long strands of pearl cotton because it looses its twist. I know that. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Delayed Book Review

Last fall I learned about the publication of this book by Trish Burr and I pre-ordered it on Amazon. Which I never, ever do. But I was excited by this one!

Colour Confidence in Embroidery.

So why was this review delayed? Because Amazon sent me an e-mail telling me the shipment of this book would be delayed. And then months later sent me an e-mail canceling my order. WHAT?

I went back to Amazon and ordered it again. And last Thursday it showed up on my doorstep. The day after my surface embroidery class in which we talked about this book. Would have been nice to have it before that, but okay. At least I have it now. 

This is part of the Milner Craft Series which if you haven't perused the full line of books, you should. You might find something here to pique your interest as they cover everything from embroidery to silk ribbon to lace to crochet to knitting to origami and much, much more. Currently they are showing 126 books published and I think I might have 20 them already on my bookshelves. 

Sure. I can hear you saying you've got plenty of stuff on color theory. I know I do. But this book is different. Trish says it took her 3 years to put this book together. I say it took her a lifetime. Of experience. 

We start with the basics. Materials. Equipment. Preparation. And then rapidly move on to shading and stitches and tools for selecting color.

Then it really gets good. "How Colour Affects our Embroidery." Warm and cool. Mixing and balancing and positioning. Contrast. Making things shine. Creating shadow. Adding details. 

Choosing combinations of color. Complimentary color. Color schemes.

Then the second half of the book is projects! Like this lovely camelia. 

This is a beautiful book. Full of beautiful things. And so much practical information. I believe this is the first color book I've seen that comes at color from the point of view of the embroiderer, not as a painter or a designer of textiles. Trish does this book with DMC floss making it accessible to all. Find yourself a copy. You won't regret adding it your library. 

I'm not the only one to rave about this book. You can read Mary Corbet's review here at Needle 'N Thread.  

edit:  I forgot to say that one of the most enjoyable things about this book, besides the quality, is Trish's inclusion of quotes about color. I saw some I haven't seen before!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Decoration Day

I was up early this morning and drove into D.C. with my camera.

There were dozens of wreaths staged for placement later today at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. The smell of flowers was overwhelming.

 Bouquets placed along the side of the District of Columbia's War Memorial. For years we'd stop here and sigh at the neglect. It has finally been renovated and is a peaceful spot for contemplation. 

Bouquets along the wall at the Korean War Memorial. 

My reflection in the wall at the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. 


One of the ways to enter the WWII Memorial.
For those of us who have lost a family member in service to our country, please take time today to remember their sacrifice.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Book

Okay. I admit it. I majored in English. I have a quote unquote thing for books. If we hadn't been moving around the world for twenty years courtesy of the US Army, I would be living in a library, not a house. But a carton of books can easily weigh fifty pounds or more, so I kept myself in check. We never had to pay for going over our weight allowance. Because I can be reasonable. When I have to be.

That said. There are still seven bookcases in our house. I know that more than half the books are mine. That's all I am admitting. 

Nineteen months ago, I bought a Nook. This curtailed my library visits. And I visited often, because I don't buy the books I read. And I read every day. That side of the book collecting is under control. 

The side that is slightly out of control is the needlework books. 

Two months ago I managed to fit all my books, except the stitch diagram type books, onto my old IKEA Billy bookcase, made back in the 1980s when they were wider than they are now. So it holds a lot of books. 

Since then I confess to buying more books. 


Because we all know what happens when you don't buy a needlework book. It goes out of print and its value trebles! Or goes even higher. 

Now there is a pile of books on a chair in my studio. And Amazon tells me that a few more are headed my way. 

Welcome to my book world. 

I'm going to be sharing some of my latest acquisitions with you. 

First up is truly a classic. I know how I missed buying this book. I was like thirteen when it was published. 

When Terry Dryden was here to teach in April she recommended this book. And it rung a bell. Someone else had recommended this to me. Maybe Susan Goodman at Seminar last year? I'd have to look at my class notes. 

And then last Friday, Jane of Chilly Hollow highlighted this book on her blog. I'm not stupid. The third time I hear a recommendation, I listen.

So I got online and hunted me down a copy. 

And now I own the 4th edition of The Diagonal Basketweave. 

 I found it on Amazon. And with shipping it was under $15. It's not a large book, but it's packed with explanations. If you stitch hand-painted canvases, you should have this book. 

Thanks, Jane, for the reminder!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Very Quiet

It's not likely that I'm hunting wabbits. But, ssssh, it's very quiet here. Just having a difficult time organizing my thoughts. Lots going on in real life. Sigh.

Got a new toy to play with - a Nook Tablet - and now I can check my e-mail at the drop of a smidge of wireless connection - and play Words with Friends. LOL
Thus I haven't been getting on computer. It's easy enough to read the blogs on my Tablet, but isn't quite to easy to post as sitting at a keyboard is. So forgive me. I'll overcome this current distraction. And get back in the swing of things. 

What a crappy day. I woke up at 2:30 a.m. Not good, especially when you know you have to wake up 4:30 to drive hubby to airport. I went back to bed when I got home, a fact both cats appreciated. But then had to rush to get out of the house for morning EGA meeting. I didn't stop to make coffee, but went through the drive thru at MickeyD's only to have some awful man ruin my morning. He was in the wrong. No damage to car, but he accused me of swearing at him. Honestly, the word I said as he cut me off was "seriously???" Then he proceeded to ream me out and called me that lovely b-word. I think someone needs to adjust his medication. Then, even though my lactose-intolerant self ordered black coffee, the direction-challenged workers added milk. 

In complete attitude adjustment mode, we had a lovely class with Maggie Fraser. She taught us Flutterbee, one of the fantasy flowers that was in the Needlearts magazine in 2010. Maggie is a treasure as a teacher. Thorough and patient. She also runs a business with her husband called Sylvan Treasures. You can see the wooden items they create here.
Laying tools and ort bowls and all kinds of wonderful wooden things.

Note to self:  ort bowls and pincushion buying opportunity in July. 

I came home from this class and eventually found my way to my real computer and ordered a double flexi clamp from Daylight. Because I can't possibly do coral knots without using both hands. Yup. The solution to my problem was to purchase something else for my little needlework world. This should work well either at my dining room table or with Dave, my little IKEA table. I will now set this class piece aside until I get said clamp in the mail. But I'm thinking of about a gagillion other uses for this clamp. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'm Back

Spent a few days in Florida with my sister visiting our mother as her birthday coincided with Mother's Day this year. Only got to the beach one day - never saw a sunset as each night it was cloudy. But still had a great time. Didn't win at bingo or video slots, but had fun playing. 

Got in a tiny bit of needlework shopping.

Stopped by Needlepoint Ivy which is in Venice. I've attempted to visit here before, but they were closed. This time, they were open! Not a big store, but it's still way better than no store at all. Had some cute Venice based hand-painted canvases. Good customer service. I did buy one small canvas that I can't show here as the intended recipient might see and that would spoil the surprise. 

On Monday my sister and I did the drive down to Port Charlotte to visit Kathy at the Golden Needle. Well, I visit. My sister sits and plays on her phone. LOL

Had a good time browsing the sale bin. The tomato pin cushion kit and mermaid necklace, I paid full price for. Everything else was a major bargain! See the Acorn House drum kit - I nearly paid full price for that last March when I was here. Happy to have waited. Also happy to report that I had no problem taking a package of Grande tacks on the plane in my carry on bag. 

Got home late on Wednesday and hit the ground running. Off to the grocery store and cleaners. Home to cook for potluck. And then off to work my volunteer time at the Woodlawn Needlework Show.

But first, a quick stop at In Stitches to pick up skein of Glorianna. Wait. What's this? Somehow, I came home with two Painted Pony canvases as they are having a trunk show. Big surprise, eh?

I took two Guildhouse Samplers with me on the trip. On the way down, I stitched on the one I don't have a photo of. Sorry. 

On the way back and for a few moments while there, I worked on my Garden Gate. The top border is now finished. I filled in another flower. I did some over one stitching - I am not showing all my personalization online - that's what the skein of silk is covering. I stitched the bees. There's still quite a bit of open space on this. As well as the bottom border. I'm making progress, just not quickly. 
Off to catch up on my blog reading! I'll talk about Woodlawn in my next post.

Friday, May 11, 2012

One Last Thing

If anyone goes to Woodlawn between now and Wednesday the 16th and has any news, feel free to e-mail me! 


Thursday, May 10, 2012

One Last Post, Then a Blog Break

Mini-break coming up! I'll return with photos. 

But first, here's an article from Australia. Good job, except for the editor who writes the subheader - instead of profiling grandmothers, he/she went for nanas!  Apparently it is always news when a 22-year old picks up a needle and thread.

How Stitching Helps Beat Stress

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Stitching Bloggers Question o' the Month

I guess CinDC must have had the April showers bring May flowers in mind when she thought up this question. Heaven knows we've had a terrific, if early, flower season this year. I even saw a lightening bug on my walk Sunday night!

The question is:

What's your favorite floral piece that you've stitched? Do you prefer your flowers as the centerpiece of the design or as an accent?

My favorite floral piece was stitched back in late 1990s, maybe April 1997? It was a cover of Just Cross Stitch called Medieval Wildflowers. And I just realized that I don't have a photo of it! 

When this piece was published I knew right away I was going to stitch it. I had some blue linen in the stash and the threads are DMC. I know I had it framed in Colorado Springs. Will try to remember to take a photo. But I'm time challenged this week.

This piece is all flowers with a border. Very peaceful and slightly intriguing in its old-fashionedness. 

I know I've got a weakness for flowers - I only have to look in my stash to see all those rose and iris patterns. Or look through my photo albums to see that I can't stop taking pictures of flowers. 


Behind the Scenes at Woodlawn

Google Reader comes through and finds me this great article about the judging, etc. behind the scenes at the Woodlawn Needlework Show.

Photos and everything! 

Monday, May 07, 2012

Lost That Loving Feeling? Oh, Yeah.

Have you ever had a case of the “stitching blahs” where you just didn’t want to stitch? Or maybe it was more like you didn’t get to stitch because you were busy and that created a chain reaction sense of the “blahs” and led to even less stitching…. sort of like a case of “the Mondays” that we are all familiar with. How do you handle your stitching blahs and get back into stitching mode?

This is my reply to the Stitching Bloggers Blog Hop #1:

I once went nearly three years in the mid-1990s without picking up a needle except to sew on my daughter's Girl Scout patches. The project - and it was only one project - that drove me to ruin was a Dimensions kit that my dear MIL picked out for me to stitch for her newly decorated guest room. She'd gone with a southwest theme and the kit was DMC floss on a large piece ivory Aida. In itself okay. But I absolutely hated those pastel colors -pinks, aquas, blues and corals with these horrible shades of browns. Took me longer than it should have to stitch it, but I persevered and finished it. And the next time I was at her house, I framed it. I have the joy of visiting it regularly as it is still in the guest room. It took all the fun out of stitching for me and as I didn't have a local needlework store in that location, I was missing a regular source of inspiration. 

Fortunately for me, I moved. And then someone moved in next door to me. She was all about the rubber stamping - always running off to classes and shopping with the coupons at Michael's. Then I discovered stitching on the internet. RCTN, AOL's cross stitch boards. Suddenly my motivation was back. And I had terrific shopping opportunities, too! And my friend resurrected her love of stitching - turns out she had a stash hidden in her house, too! Before I knew it I was attending the Spirit of Cross Stitch and taking classes. 

I haven't stopped stitching since 1996. 

I still have days when I don't feel like picking up a needle and thread. But I've got a strict one thread a day rule. I try to put in at least one thread's worth of stitching a day. One thread frequently leads to more threads. On days when I've got the blahs, sometimes it's only 6 or 7 stitches. But for the most part, stitching is such a habit that those days are rare. And when the blahs truly threaten to overwhelm me, I can sit in my studio and organize things. Playing with threads is always inspirational. Or I come here and browse the blogs where it seems like everyone is making more progress than me! And that's okay because I've already made SABLE status and I'm okay with that. 


Visit all the blogs in this round of the Stitching the Night Away Stitching Blogger Blog Hop:
Find the instructions on how to participate in this round by clicking here.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Quick Answers

Feedback is good.

Karen, my entry numbers are 201, 202, and 203. Entry number 199 is another version of Stars - the Halloween Confetti colorway stitched by my friend. 

Bonnie - I've seen the original colorway for Holiday Square - my river cruising friend who was supposed to be teaching the class stitched it. 

And a not-so-quick reply:

I believe I mentioned how I have all these completed projects on stretcher bars and Janet said I should just take them off the stretcher bars. What a thought! Somehow I've just been lining those projects up on a shelf waiting on finishing and I figured they were safer that way. But she's right. There's no reason to not remove them. Which equals a project for another day!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Current Progress, as in What's New, Pussycat?

Hello? Anyone still here?

I seem to be absent a lot lately. I even missed the April TUSAL. Things I want to say here just don't seem to make it. It's a new month which means it's time to start afresh. No promises. Just good intentions. 

 I can't remember if I posted a photo of this here on my blog. Someone had to bow out of teaching a class at my EGA guild and her partner asked me to assist. I went into the stash on this one. It's a Rainbow Gallery freebie by Laura J. Perin called "Holiday Square" and as you might assume the original is red, green, white, and gold. I like this way much better. It's the lovely Painters Threads from YLI with some Splendor and Grandeur and whatever the white shiny stuff is - I've already forgotten. Finished size is 4.5 inches square so it fits in a Betsy Box from Sudberry House. Mine isn't "boxed" yet because I'm waiting on a supplier.

Now I really didn't need a new purse project. My last one isn't quite finished. But this one seems to have jumped into its bag and their sharing quarters for now. Pretty, shiny. It's the Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans stitched with YLI Shimmer Blend Ribbon Floss and Mandarin Floss for the flat black. Mindlessness at its best!
And I have been making Quaker progress. My Yellow Rose is joined and the joint is nearly completely stitched over. Sorry - no photo. But my Garden Gate is progressing nicely. I've started forcing myself to stitch some of the over one wording. Yes. I have a coin covering the actual date of my graduation. Not my intent to give up too much personal info online. If I continue at my present snail's pace on this, I might finish up sometime this summer. Maybe before I take another class with the teacher in July? LOL