Sunday, September 30, 2012

Perfect Sunday

It is just the most perfect day today.  The sun is shining and the temperature is comfortable.  The trees are starting to turn color.  It is a wonderful fall day.

I went back to Flowers of the Needle.  I needed to get the basket cross hatching in after straightening the line above it.  Then I finished the leaves around the vine.  I decided that the spangles should be put on with the yellow thread rather than the brown.  I'm going to take out my first bunch of spangles and put them in with the yellow and put them just a bit farther apart.  I used two strands instead of the called for one to make the blue flowers which look like tulips to me.  I have more to couch on the basket.  If I worked on this all day, I think I could finish it.

I also worked on the side pieces for the small box.  I like how it is turning out - even though I am not fond of the big queen stitch flower.

It is a much more harmonious style to go with the top than the crest.  I'm still not sure what to put in the upper right hand corner, my name or initial?

I read some more in The Light Between Oceans and I am half done.  The story has changed it's focus from thread to another.

I'm looking forward to Lesson 6 tomorrow in the Cabinet of Curiosities class.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Sometimes it feels like I get nothing done.  Yesterday, I got nothing done.  I took out the queen stitches on the American Sampler piece for the side of the small box.  Then I started putting it back in in the correct color.

I started the first (of four) sunflower on the last temari.  It is driving me crazy because I can see that it is not centered but I am not going back and fixing it.  I'd have to take everything I've done out and this isn't any fun anyway.  So heck with it!  The aim is just to finish it.

I got a couple of things in the mail that I won off the Bay of  Evil.  They look like fun projects.

Ebay has a CA Wells kit that looks marvelous but I'm sure will go for big bucks.  A girl can dream.

I want to get back to Flowers of the Needle.  I was very successful in doing the things on my list last week.  Either I should make another list or reward myself somehow (new start!) - or both!

Friday, September 28, 2012


It has been a busy Friday already.  After exercise class I went looking for a mattress.  The information on the web about mattresses is overwhelming.  I can't take it all in.  The only thing left to do is to lay on a mattress and see how it feels.

I have had a good week when it comes to getting things done on the list I made on Monday. The only thing I hadn't touched was the temari so I made myself work on it a lot yesterday and today.  It is horribly frustrating having to figure out all over again how to start.  ARGH.  I think I hate making temaris.   But I am working on it.  I have all the tri-wings done and can now make some lines for doing a sunflower.

I worked some on the American Sampler piece for the sides of the small box.  I started the white flower but got carried away and forgot to make the inside queen stitch DMC 3041 instead of white.  So now I have to take out some queen stitches and fix it.  Did I mention this is worked on 40 count?  Taking this out will be no fun at all.

I got my package sent off.  Yeah!  Monday is the new lesson in Cabinet of Curiosities.  Yeah!
Back to the grindstone.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

From the Boots Up

I reached my goal yesterday.  I got the last bit done for the package.  Just the putting together and sending left to do. Then I can cross that off my list.

I finished the the rose on the Double Pocket.  It looks a lot more delicate than the over two rose.

I am still not sure whether I must take out the first "v" that I put in.  Now I have to study the directions to see what to do next.

I put in some more vines and a pomegranate on the crest.  I like how this looks.  Now to find a worthy box to put it on.

Then I started the sides for the small box.  It is going well.  I am getting used to 40 count.

The retreat person wanted to know if we want to substitute 36 count linen in our kits for the retreat.  I told her I did.  It sort of feels like deceptive advertising. When I signed up for this project, it was described as on 36 - which was a stretch but I thought I could handle it.  I bet other people feel the same way.

I wrapped the temari ball to just barely the correct size and now I can start the guidelines.  Since it has been a while since I started all this, I forget just how to do those lines.  So I have to go back and read what  I should do.  But I'm glad to have made some progress.

I also read a bit in my book.  I want to read a little bit everyday but it seems I never get around to it.  I always run out of time.  At 11 p.m., I say to myself, "Well, I guess I have to quit."  I am so lucky to get to do what I want.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Circle Motif

I worked on the circle motif until I got it done.  I wanted to quit but I kept working on it.  I don't really like it.  The style of the chart must be European.  It comes from a French (Spanish?) magazine.  It turned out okay though.  I put some buttons on it.  More junk (snaps, charms) could be added but I didn't want to overdo it.
So now it is ready to take along to the retreat.  There is actually one more design I'd like to try but I need a break today.

I did some math trying to figure out if I can cut part of the American Sampler to fit the side of the small box since the crest doesn't match the style well enough.  This is what I came up with.

I just have to change the upper right hand corner to ...something else.  Maybe another strawberry or flower. This will be fun to try out.

The plan for today is to get the package I have ready to be sent off.  Once I get that done, I can play.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Yes, Cathy B., it is good to make lists.  It is good to have goals.  I thought of a few more since I made the list yesterday.  I finished off the Butterfly pin pad.

 It isn't perfect but it will do - just don't look too closely.  I'm glad to have it finished and now I have some experience with that gathered edge.  I hesitate to glue fabric and so in working with the edge, I used my handy dandy automatic tape gun.  It lays down double-sided tape.  A very helpful gadget.  Then I bent over the edge of the gathered silk.  More or less, the tape holds the edge in place until you get it stitched to the top.  I would kind of like to make some white twisted cord just to hide the edge but I haven't done it yet.

Then after reading a blog (The Unbroken Thread), I decided to do the basket on Flowers of the Needle in a different way.  The couching wasn't looking like I wanted it to anyway.  So I got out the tape measure tape and cut off a couple pieces, one for the top and one for the bottom of the basket.  That way I could make the lines even and parallel.  It worked out great but a line I put in at the top wasn't even so I took it all out again so I could put the line in better and straighter.

Then I worked a bit on the Crest.  I love how this is looking.

 I stitched as much as I could and have it fit on the small box.  But the style doesn't match very well.  So then I thought of putting it on another box.  I have one of those paper mache boxes that would fit it nicely and I could put more of the green vines around it.

I'd really like to have a small wooden box though.  I'll have to see what Michael's and Hobby Lobby has in wood.
 I started two things.  I put some stitches in the bug.

  I much prefer cross stitch to embroidery.  Then I started on of the circle designs.  I am using the leftover threads from stitching the original design.

I started on 32 count with two strands but it seem too heavy.  So I took it out and am going with one.
We'll see how things go.

Monday, September 24, 2012


I just worked on the crest yesterday.  It will fit the side of the small box.  It is coming along well and I like how it looks.
I am using some gold krenik threads.  One of them is too large for the 40 count linen. (#4 very fine braid)  The castle threads worked in cross stitch are a little crowded.  The other gold thread that I used for the lion's crown is a little thin.  It is Japan thread.  I went back and worked over it again just to make it show up better.  I really need something in between those two threads.  But I am just using what I have laying around.

I've decided that I need to make some goals for this week.  There are some things that need to be taken care of and I have been ignoring them.
1.  Finish putting together the box I have for a blogging friend.  It has been sitting around for months, I am a world class procrastinator.
2.  Finish the Butterfly pin pad.  Just do it!  Check in my closet for some Warm & Natural to substitute for the foam.
3.  Work the last temari.  Get busy on it for heaven's sake.  It just needs a little more wrapping and then I can stitch the design.
4.  Try stitching one of the circle motifs before going to the New England Stitchers' Retreat - in 18 days.
5.  Try stitching the copy of the bug before the instructions come out next Monday in the Cabinet of Curiosities lesson #6.  I want to play with it and see if I like overdyed threads on it.
 There are a lot of other things I would like to do too.
The bathrooms are clean so I can stitch now.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Making Lemonade

Some days I should just stay in bed.  Yesterday I would have been better off not doing anything.
I realized as I was almost done with the rose on CA Wells Double Pocket Rose thingie that it was in totally the wrong place.  Everything I had stitched was wrong.  If I could have thrown it away, I might have.  But I don't have any more of that banding.  So how about making lemonade out of lemons?  I started (again!) putting the design in what I hope is the right place, half an inch up from the bottom.

  I was hesitant to take everything out.  The rose was looking very large and clunky so I thought, why not just do the rose over one instead of two?  Then I thought, if I have room, I'll leave that first "v" in and just take out the bottom of the over-two rose so that it doesn't show when it is folded over.  So far, okay.  It is salvageable.

Then I thought I would try a design out for the side of the small box.  I started the lion on the crest from the Spanish Sampler by Sandra Orton.  I got the top half of the lion done when I realized that I omitted a stitch that would move his whole leg over.  So I dropped that sucker like a hot potato and went onto stitch on something else.

I put in a few leaves on Flowers of the Needle.  I don't think I messed that up - yet.

I was so very disappointed not to win the kit on ebay.  I really was sure I could get it.  I bid in the last 15 seconds more than twice the current bid but no, I didn't get it.  Rats.  Oh well, there will be another time and another kit.

I am going to work on the lion again today.  I have taken the mistake out and now I can try again.  He was supposed to be purple but I want him a manly gold.  Let's hope I can count today - or at least read a chart correctly.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Drought Broken on all Stations

It is raining like crazy here.  There is even some hail.  We really need the rain so I can't complain.  Luckily the rain held off while I was at the Farmer's Market.  I got all the stuff to make fresh tomato soup.  That's my project for today - besides stitching that is.

I worked on Flowers of the Needle Never Fade until I hit a difficult spot.  I was trying to couch the thread for the basket.  It wasn't going where I wanted it to go so I went looking for something else to work on.  I started digging in the laundry basket of shame and found a kit that I got two years ago.  I got it from an estate sale.  It is a project by C A Wells that was in Fine Lines Magazine.

 All the pieces are in the kit so I started it.  I had to start it three times just to get it in the right place and to learn to read the chart correctly. It is worked on linen banding. But once I got started correctly I was on a roll.  It looks huge after working on 40 count.  I got to practice some hedebo stitches.  Now I am stitching the rose.
I am waiting for the Bay of Evil kit to come up - 15 minutes!!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Flowers of the Needle Never Fade

I like the sentiment on this project, Flowers of the Needle Never Fade.  I worked on this all day and have made pretty good progress.  I guess I want confirmation that I can embroider a casket as well as cross stitch one.  I am itching to add some of my own flowers to the vine and a couple of extra colors of floss.  I've already added a lighter green to the inside of the leaves.  I don't really like that the leaves are all one color.  I bet an overdyed silk floss would look nice. I'm going to try that on the needleroll.   I think the really fun part will be the basket of flowers.  Again I want to add some of my own ideas.  I like how the spangles look.  I wonder where you buy those.  I haven't seen them at needlework stores, but I haven't really looked for them either.  I am looking forward to shopping at ABC Stitch Therapy and Delectable Mountain Cloth next month while going to the New England Stitchers' Retreat (three weeks away!).
Margaret asked me what I want to do on the sides of the small box.  I found a couple of snippets of samplers that I would like to stitch and just see how they look.

 Then I thought about more of a border around the sides.  Oops, this is upside down but you get the idea.

  Then yesterday, Tricia told us what she has in mind for the small box " I do have a design for you for the little box - it will allow you to try purl work on the front, satin work with a bit of relief on the top and then the different types of woven geometric work on the sides.  :-)"

I want to try these but I don't know if the different styles will go together.  I also want to try a William Morris design to see how that looks.  What would a bargello look like on the ends?  So many possibilities!
I can't believe that I am at the end of another week.  I have a special kit that I want to win on ebay this weekend.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

F is for Flowers

I finished the top for the small box.  I am delighted with it.

I think filling in the background below where the man and lady are standing gives it a nice base.  Here is a picture of the top showing that I have just folded it and set it on the top.

I hesitate to cut off the extra linen yet.  I have more ideas for the other sides of the box.  But I must finish up some things that are languishing on my sewing room floor.

What to do next?  I worked just a bit on the Cherished Stitches Limited Edition kit.  I finished one page of the chart and am just starting the second page.  I have to find that red thread.  It isn't where I thought it was.  So I am still looking.

But wait a minute... As I was walking out to get my newspaper this morning, I spied a package at my front door.  It must have been there since yesterday.  Oh, oh, oh,  it is the Flowers of the Needle kit I ordered.  Yeah!  I opened it up and found a stitching frame with the traced and basted design on it.

Cool.  There is a CD also but I haven't had a chance to look at it yet.  I couldn't help it, I started it already.

  There is some conspiracy to get me to stitch on 40 count.  This is another project on 40 count linen.  Thank goodness for magnification.
I'm going to put a Do Not Disturb sign on my door and just work all day.  What fun!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thinking of Ornaments

It finally came in yesterday's mail!  I got my issue of Just Cross Stitch with all the Christmas ornaments in it.  There are a few I want to make.  I thought I would give a review of this issue.  First I have to make a disclaimer.  Several years ago I was sitting in the Manchester (New Hampshire) airport waiting for a my plane home from Celebrations.  Sitting next to me was a designer so we struck up a conversation.  In the course of talking, she revealed that she gets paid nothing for a design in the ornament issue.  Well, they do send her a copy of the magazine.  But that's all.  The magazine claims it is great publicity.  So if you were getting paid nothing, what kind of design would you donate?   Also I have to reveal that I do not like primitive designs.  Since primitive is very popular, half of the designs available now are that style and  I just don't like them.  Other people obviously do like primitive and are very happy with designs in that genre.
I prefer delicate to big and bulky.  I can graph out words so that to me is not a design.  Now that you know where I am coming from, I'll tell you what I think.
First, this is a good issue in that there are a few ornaments that I want to make.  I have ornament issues from many years (20!) past and have made only a couple of ornaments from a couple of the magazines so when I see some I actually want to make that is a plus.
Second, I like that several of the ornaments are for the advanced stitcher.  They are challenging.  Only one has no cross stitching at all, just rhodes stitches.
Third, there are some shapes that I like.  Victoria Sampler's purse is cute.  I like JBW's stocking. The Thistle Threads and Wee Works ornaments use perforated shapes.  Prairie Schooler has a tree.  I always like Prairie Schooler.

Some of the ornaments are too big.  A few need tweeking. (I can't read the "noel"  through the plaid)
That owl is just a little scary.
A few designers weren't in the issue.  I didn't see The Sweetheart Tree.
A couple of the ornaments made me think "What is that?"
Penguins for Christmas?

I have been working on the American Samper for the small box.  It is taking shape and nearly finished.  I am having to change the edges a bit to fit the top.  I'm kind of feeling like this is my masterpiece.  If only for the fact that it is on 40 count.
Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I worked on the American Sampler's Man yesterday.

 He still needs a hand (holding flowers) and a face.

  I didn't get done because I took a detour.  It was the mailman's fault.  He brought me the Needlework Nibble I ordered from Thistle Threads.  It is just a tiny kit.  It has gold thread in it and I had never stitched with gold thread and wondered if it was difficult.  A chenille needle was included in the kit so that's what I used.  Stitching with the gold thread was like trying to cross stitch with wire.  It is stiff and can get a kink in it (bad news).  Also I can break and show the orangey thread in the core (also bad news).  So you have to be careful when you pull on it.  It's saving grace is that it sparkles.  I got the hang of it after a while.  It wasn't too hard to finish the butterfly.

It isn't perfect but it looks pretty good.  I started the finishing.  I was interested to see how it goes together.  I might change things up a bit.

I'm not sure I like the foam in the middle because the pins don't go into it very easily.  I may make a filler by stacking up pieces of Warm and Natural instead.

I've got my fingers crossed that the mailman brings me the other kit I ordered from Thistle Threads, Flowers of the Needle.  I'm still waiting for my Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue.  I may complain if it doesn't come pretty soon.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Starting on the Man

The thing I like best about cross stitching is seeing how the design develops.  I get obsessed with stitching just a bit more to see how it looks.  The American Sampler is like that.  I just want to put in another part to see how it looks.  I put in the Lady's mouth and took out her nose.

  Now I don't know that she needs a nose at all.  She looks much better.  I would like her arm that is holding the bird to show up better so I might see how just a bit of backstitching might look.  Now I have finished the house.

Next comes the Man.  He has a tree by him too.  I am happy with how this is turning out.
I ironed the Cartouche yesterday and it looks much better.
This is the stitched version I am thinking of making instead.  I think I'll change the thimble from blue to a blue/grey/silver version.

I tried something entirely new yesterday.  I bought a roll of paper piecing.

Then I followed the directions (put two fabrics right sides together) and sewed on the lines.  I thought I would end up with a larger square.  I ended up with a bunch of one inch squares.

It worked very nicely.  But what do I do now?  Maybe I should make more squares using different fabrics before I try and put them together.

As I was trying to sew these squares, I got so disgusted with all the junk on my sewing machine table getting in my way.  So I unceremoniously dumped it on the floor.  When what to my wandering eyes should appear?  My old camera battery!  I had been looking for that.   Now I have one more pile of junk on the floor.  ARGH.  Story of my life.