Monday, April 30, 2012

Birthday Boy

Dylan's 10th birthday is tomorrow so we are celebrating today.  I have a gift and the cake is cooling right now.  He wants to make smoothies so I am taking all the stuff to do that.  We'll have some personal pan pizzas and I hope he has a great time.  I'll take my camera so I can take pictures to show you.
I finished the Vierlande Winders' Keeper!  At last!  It took me three months and was a major project.  I am very proud to have finished it.  All the little mistakes along the way are not noticeable now.

 I am happy that I can show the designer what I have accomplished with her great directions. I really like the pinball and the balls on the ends of the drawstrings.

 I tried fooling with the winders trying to figure out a way to make them more stable.  I have some scrapbooking stick'em things that I cut into very small pieces and put on the tips so the winder wouldn't fall apart.  It feels much better but I have to make sure the double stick tape doesn't show.  But I still have 7 more to make.

 Don't tell anybody, but I'd kind of like to stitch the Friesland version too.  Just not right now.  But I bet it would be way easier now that I have done it once.

There are 2970 stitches in this half of the chart.  I am down to only about 35 let to do.  That's a lot of stitches.
I know the photo doesn't look much different than yesterday but the right half is totally done now.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Winder Keeper

I made my first of eight winders' keeper.  I folded up eight one inch by two inch pieces of black vellum and stuck them together with one of the stitched pieces inside.  Ta Da!  I desperately want to glue it or somehow ensure that it stays together.  One way is to wind some thread around it.  It feels a little unstable.  Of course I had a few mistakes where I folded it the wrong way and it didn't fit together correctly.  This is the tool for making a good crisp folded edge.

I was very happy to get the edging done!  This puppy is almost done.  What's left?  The drawstring bobbles and balls.  I can't believe I am so close to finishing.  Wow.

 That snag in the thread didn't turn out too badly.  It is on the backside and I may mess with it a bit to make it less noticeable.

  I like how the edging joined together.  I was expecting a big knot that you try and hide on the inside.  But there is no knot, just a slight thickness where it joins.  I have to look for it so it isn't very noticeable either.

Maybe I'll have it done enough to take a photo of the totally finished project tomorrow.

I worked some on the Bookmark.  I need to fill in all the stitches before I will let myself go on to page two of the chart.  I took an up close:

and a farther away photo:

just to see if it looks better from a distance.  What do you think?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Rainy Saturday Morning

Today it is raining and dreary.  I went to Pilates.  I am sore from all the exercise classes this week.  I have been steadily working on the edging for the Vierlande Winders' Keeper.  I'm getting close to the end.  I have one side of the edging to go, one more mini soccer ball and a bobble on the drawstrings and oh yeah, eight thread winders to make.  On the edging I am getting ever closer to the snag in the thread.  I'm crossing my fingers that it will not show or that the edging is finished before I get to it.

I made it to the left edge on the Bookmark.  I discovered I needed one more color of floss so I stopped by Michael's on the way back from Pilates.  I stopped by the bakery and got buns and a donut.  I fear I have undone all my work in exercise class.

I worked just a bit on the French pouch that is on 40 count.

 It was feeling neglected.  I have many more neglected pieces to get back to.  Poor Mr. Snowman.  I saw a sweet Drawn Thread chart, Give Peace a Chance, on Giovanna's site.

  She said it was a digital download.  So I tried to find it on the Drawn Thread site.  Couldn't find it so I Googled it and it led me right to it. Two dollars and I had it in my hand.  I love digital downloads.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Miniature Soccer Ball

I feel like I am making a miniature soccer ball.  I have twelve tiny pentagons and I am finger pressing the edges and lacing the backstitches together.  First you attach five pentagons around the center pentagon.  I looks like a flower.  Then you make a second "flower" and then sew the two flowers together.  I decided after the first flower that I would iron down the edges and see if it went together better.  It did!  I am now sewing the flowers together.  It is the same process as when I made the pin ball.  All those little pentagons were a real pain to stitch.  But when it all comes together, it seems worth it.  These balls that I am making will go on the ends of the drawstrings.

I reached my goal of getting one whole side done on edging the Vierlande Winders' Keeper.  I am almost half way round.  If I can finish a side a day then I'll be done in no time.  I really like how it looks.  Very nice and neat.  I'm glad I learned how to do this.

I worked a bit (hours!) on the bookmark.  Solid stitching takes a long time.  I'm making good progress.  Most of the girl is done.

 I am working on the first of two pages of charts.  So there is a bottom half to this.  My goal today is to get to the left side.
I'm so lucky to have cross stitch as my work.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thread By Thread

I was very disheartened yesterday when as I was working on the edging for the Vierlande Winders' Keeper my thread broke!  Oh no! Can it be saved?  Well, I ended up taking out a few stitches; one stitch was too big anyway.  Then I thought, I'll just try and straighten out the threads and continue.  It worked out, amazingly enough.  I got to the corner and now I'm going down the next side.

 It is very slow going as you have to switch the top and bottom threads on the tool after every stitch.  I work a few stitches until my back starts to hurt and then I work on something else sitting in my chair.  The edging is going to take a long time at this rate.  But it is three weeks until the Amy Mitten class and I'm sure I'll have it done by then.  My goal for today is to get to the end of the side I'm working on.

I worked a bit on the bookmark.  I discovered that I used the wrong color floss.  I bought my floss at JoAnn's. You have to be very careful as the floss is sometimes are not in the right bin.  I was using DMC 814 instead of DMC 815.  ARGH.  I am contemplating taking out the 814 in her hair and replacing it with the right color, 815.

I'm not in the mood to do that right now.

My baby turns 33 next week and we are getting together a box for him.  Time flies when you're having fun - and even when you're not!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Aching Back

Well, I got brave enough to set up the edging scheme for the Vierlande Winders' Keeper.  I decided on doing it in sewing room as the set-up won't get in anyone's way.  DH doesn't venture in there if he can help it.  After much cursing I got the threads all lined up.  It is hard on the back to bend over and go back and forth switching threads.  There is a knot in one of the threads and I tried to take it out but I just made it worse.  Since I don't have any extra thread my choices were to go with the knotted thread or wait until I see Amy Mitten at class May 20th or try to order some from her which also means waiting.  Well, I didn't want to wait.  I've only done about an inch but I can see a pattern emerging.  I should have done a practice piece with pearl cotton but I have been going over the steps in my head since I read the instructions.  I wonder if I would ever do this again.  It is a lot of work to set this whole thing up.  It is much easier to do twisted cording.  Which reminds me that I want to try doing twisted cording on this new tool.

I got a couple of things done yesterday.  The basting is all done for the Amy Mitten class in May.
The Purple Thread needlebook is done.  If I were going to do this again (never) I would put in some interfacing to make this less floppy.  I like the button closure.

I stitched the scissors keep for the second class of the June retreat.  Most of this project is done over one but I stitched the scissors keep over two.  I like it anyway.  I considered stitching another one and going over one.  But I like how it turned out.  It looks way better than the original design.  It's kind of oriental looking.

I enjoyed adding to the bookmark.  I really like this design.

Margaret is giving me a tour of her needlework in her home.  Take a look at .  Thanks Margaret!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How About Something Different

I decided to do something to help alleviate the mess in my sewing room.  A front end loader would help. I want to finish up some of the stuff that is laying around and get rid of it.  So I finished up the Shepherd's Bush Eden's Lament pin cushion.

  I left off the words and I think it looks fine.  This would look good mounted on a box.  It would look even better if I ironed it.

 Then another thing laying around was the Purple Thread needlebook.  I just need to sew the wool lining in.  I'm about half way done with it.  Then I need to sew on the button closure.
The pre-stitching for Mute But Not Silent sampler is laying around and I want to finish the basting and stick that away until the class.

 I have the second class of the June retreat to finish up stitching as well.  I found a flower and vine design on the web and want to try that out on the scissors keep.  I just have too many things started.  The piles grow when I am not looking.  So I have my work cut out for me today.
I enjoyed seeing Dylan.  Another boy was playing with the Rush Hour game so we played with Snap Circuits.
It's another sunny day.

Monday, April 23, 2012


It's Monday and my bathrooms are clean.  Everything is right in my world.
I worked hard on those drawstrings for the Vierlande Winders' Keeper and I got them all done!!!  They aren't perfect, one is pretty close and the rest have a slight bobble in them but I don't think it is noticeable.  So what's next?

The bobble on the end that joins two drawstrings together.  I haven't done this before.  I started on it last night and it is a learning experience.  Next one will be way better because I won't pull it so tightly and I'll make it slightly lower on the drawstring. This one is not quite done.
 I have been avoiding the edging.  Actually I have been trying to figure out where in my house I can do this as it involves tables and chairs and  an alligator clip as well as my new tool.  I'm thinking the back porch might work.
I finished attaching the lid to the needlebook.

I must have a slightly obsessive personality.  I want to keep working on that bookmark just to see how it develops.  I can't seen to put it down.

Dylan and I will probably do the Rush Hour game.  He wanted to go through all the cards starting at the Beginner Level through Intermediate and on to Advanced.  He is on Intermediate right now.  It involves critical thinking and he is very smart.  We are also starting a new set of readers.  We only have 4 more sessions after today.  The year has gone so fast.  Next week we celebrate his tenth birthday.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

One Step Back

I had a great deal of fun yesterday but not much to show for it.  I finger looped braided two of the drawstrings for the Vierlande Winders' Keeper.  The first one was pretty good but has just one bobble in it.  The second one was going great until I dropped a loop and in trying to pick it up I dropped more loops and - disaster.  I was almost at the end too!  When you drop more than one loop, you have no idea how to get back.  Which finger does the loop go on and where am I in the pattern?  I already started over several times.  But I am getting the idea and picking up speed doing this.  I have to take the braid apart and try again.  We only have enough thread in the kit for the four drawstrings so I just have to keep taking apart and trying again.

I wanted to try the bookmark pattern I downloaded.  I wanted to see if I could tell what I was stitching.  So I did a part that was very important - the face.  I wasn't sure when I started if it was going to work out as the floss colors are so much brighter/darker that I expected.  I thought it was going to look awful.  But I kept going, knowing that in watercolor, the colors around a very bold color soften and change the look.  I was glad I kept at it as it looks okay.  So many orange colors in her face!  DMC 815 in her hair!  Ugh!  But it looks better from a distance than right up close.  It is always fascinating to see a picture develop.

I didn't get much else done as I didn't touch the Shepherd's Bush kit and the lid to the Vierlande needle book is still half on.  I hope to get lots done this afternoon.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


It is a beautiful sunny day!  That always puts me in a good mood.  I made terrific progress yesterday.  I successfully braided using the finger loop method.  I used some #12 pearl cotton to practice and it worked out.  I think I've got it!

 So that means I can braid the drawstrings for the Vierlande Winders' Keeper.  I have been trying to attach the "lid" to the needlebook using the knotted Antwerp stitch.  Not so successful.  I am on my third try.  It is sort of a blanket stitch with a knot.  It looks crummy.  Now if I can just get it to look consistently crummy all the way across, it may work out.

  This is a very challenging project!  But the big news is that I finished all the 24 eyelets!

 Yeah!  We are getting to the end.  I hope to have this finished so I can take it to show Amy Mitten at the class in May.  I've been working on this since January.

Right before we left for the airport last week I got my order from The Attic.  So I took the kits I ordered along on my trip.  One of the kits was Shepherd's Bush's Eden's Lament Pin Cushion.  It is a fun stitch.  I don't think I will put the wording on it though.  If I worked hard, I could get it done today.

 The threads got all messed up as I didn't sort them and put them on a card as I usually do.  And some orphan threads got mixed in.  So just finding the correct color floss is a challenge.  Two of the greens look just alike, the only difference is that one green is longer than the other.  There is scrunched up seam tape type ribbon for the edging but I don't know if I want to put it on.  I think I'll look through my stash and see what other things might look good.  At the retreat one lady had a project that had folded up (gathered?) large ric-rak on the edge.  It looked really nice.
I should get back to Mr. Snowman stocking but I'm just having a ball working on other stuff.
I went to Joann's to get the floss for the bookmarks I downloaded.  They had the leftover Easter candy at half price - and on the bottom shelf were some chocolate covered marshmallow bunnies.  Several of them came home with me.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday already?

I can't believe it is Friday again already.  Time just flies.  I got the lining done on the Sugar Plum Fairy Stocking.  Yeah!

I put three more eyelets in the Vierlande Winders' Keeper - only 6 to go.  I tried some finger looping but decided I needed to review the directions some more.  I still haven't caught on to how it's done.  I tried to skip a step and I probably shouldn't have.  Do you really need to tape the ends down each time?  Maybe.

I got the pre-stitching for the Amy Mitten class, Mute but not silent.  It is a big piece of linen.  But there was no chart to begin the actual stitching - only directions for basting!  So I got about 1/4 of it basted last night.  I was hoping to get a good start on it before our class May 20th.  Rats.

I ironed the Purple Thread needle book.  All I have to do now is sew the lining wool to it and attach the buttons.
I looked at the Online Needlework Show and noticed a company called Pinoy Stitch.  I love the idea that you can download patterns and don't have to wait for them to come in the mail.  I downloaded two bookmarks.  It will be interesting to see how they turn out.  I really got burned with a Heaven and Earth chart that nobody can tell what it is.  So, we'll see.
So much to stitch and so little time!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Back to My Real Life

Well now I am back home and trying to get back to what I was working on before my trip.  When I got back home I had a package waiting for me.  It was the tool to make the woven edge and drawstrings for the Vierlande Winders' Keeper.  I want to try it out using some pearl cotton.  I read through the finger looping instructions which are for the drawstrings yesterday.  The instructions are very good and nicely illustrated.  I got two more eyelets done - nine to go.

Since I found some sweet material at the Fabric Outlet in Minneapolis, I cut out the lining for the Sugar Plum Fairy Stocking.  I can get that done in an hour.

Then I finished off the Purple Thread strawberry.

I put the beads on the Purple Thread needlebook and it is ready to be finished.  I have one more Purple Thread kit and I am changing the linen.  I really don't like over dyed linen.  It's wrinkly and blotchy and looks like it is dirty.  So I am using some off-white linen from my stash.

I have enjoyed reading other blogger's postings and pictures about the retreat.  (With Needle and Thread, Stitching Squad)
I saw Dylan on Tuesday.  He was great.  It is his birthday in two weeks so I want to get him a game and a cake.  He enjoyed playing Rush Hour and is getting very good at it.  Our plants aren't dead yet.  We even had two sprouts.  We only have about six more times to get together before the school year is over.
Have a fun Thursday!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Last Day of Retreat

Sunday was the last day of the retreat.  A few more people finished their project.  Thea signed books and we took a group picture.  Thea was going to talk about her design process.  I wanted to hear that but she never got around to it.
We had brunch at the retreat center and then took off.  We went to Jeri's house and I got to see her wonderful stitching.  I was amazed.  She and my BFF have been going to stitching classes for nearly 25 years and have a beautiful collection of fabulous stitching.  I was inspired!  I know the work that goes into these projects.  Several things made me think, "I have that pattern, I should stitch it because it looks beautiful all done".
I met up with Son#1 and we went out for dinner amid tornado warnings and dark skies.  I got to see his new furniture and reframed pictures at his house.  But boy was I tired!  This busy weekend was catching up with me.
Things I learned from this trip:
1.  My BFF knows the best places to shop.
2.  Traffic in the Minneapolis area is terrible.
3.  One hour in the Mall of America can poop you out.
4.  Oak Ridge Hotel and Conference Center is a great place to have a retreat.
5.  Getting together with other stitches is fun and inspiring.
6.  The peach iced tea at TGI Fridays is yummy - and so are the pot stickers.
7.  The Minneapolis area is more than huge.  My BFF kept me informed of the name of the suburb we were in and the names of the rivers we crossed and recrossed.
8.  I want to go back - especially to Oak Ridge, Stillwater and Stitchville USA.
9. Spring Fling was very fun and very worth the cost.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day Four

This the the dining room where we eat all our meals.
There are two fellow bloggers at this table.
Now we are at Saturday, the main day of the retreat.  Every body meets in the meeting room. Several people have read my blog and are looking for my crazy shoes.  So I had to wear them. Now I'm not so embarrassed to wear them again.  There are some people who haven't started stitching and some people who are done stitching.  So the done people go to a different room to finish their project and mount it on the sewing stand.  I have stitched all I could stitch at home so I am in the finishing group.  First we have to put the pincushion on the mounting disc.  It is not an easy task to get it just right.  We are using roving to stuff it.  The roving is rolled like a cinnamon bun but there is too much roving and some has to be cut off.  So it is a trial and error exercise.  Finally I get it so that I like it.  Some make theirs much more perfect than mine - no little pleats along the edge.  I'm not a perfectionist and I think it looks fine.  I attach the various screws, pegs and discs.  When I think I am done, Deb points out that mine is mounted upside down.  ARGH.  So I take it apart and put it right side up.  Ta-Da! I am done.  I put my pinkeep together but I am going to take it apart when I get home and scallop the edges of the felt needle page.

So I go back to the main room and start stitching on other stuff I have brought.  Thea asks me to take a picture with my completed piece (and tells me not to smile so hard - I have a tendency to do that).  Anyway, then she gives me a prize!
It is a  pin with British Colombian Jade.  Wow, it seems I am the first one done!  I am greatly honored.  Thea has a CD of directions on stitching and finishing this chart.  We watch some of it.  We are off to dinner which is delicious as always and I am still full from lunch.  We just stitch and stitch all evening.  A lot of people go to Stitchville to shop but we already did that on Thursday.  It is so fun to see stuff that other stitchers have made and brought with them.

There is a table in the back of the room with all the Victoria Sampler projects that people have finished.  I brought two things.
What could be a more fun day?  To stitch to your heart's content - and then stitch some more!