Wednesday, July 31, 2013

As a Rule

I find it amazing that when I get to a point that I am afraid I won't have anything to show you, something shows up.  That happened yesterday.  I didn't get any stitching at all done on Mermaid's Treasures or the Cricket design.  But I got new lessons for the Needleworker's Pocketbook.  We got all the information on finishing it completely!  So I set out to do the easiest part, the ruler.  I am always afraid of messing something up on the harder stuff so I elect to do the easy stuff first.  The ruler only involved ironing, interfacing and cutting.  Didn't it turn out nicely?

Then the next part is to put in the pocket.  I did that.  So far, so good.

Next is to baste the ribbon on either side of the edge.  I am almost done with that.  Once I finish that, I can start the buttonhole stitch over the ribbon.  So that's what the goal is today, to get at least some of the buttonhole stitch on the edge.

It is a rainy day.  There is chili in the crock pot.  Tomorrow we get a new lesson in Cabinet of Curiosities.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Walk in the Woods

When Vicki Hastings of Cross-Eyed Cricket Collection talked to us at the Silver Needle retreat she mentioned that one of her favorite designs was A Walk in the Woods.  I stitched this a long time ago and decided to rummage through the sewing room closet and get it out.  I like to change the needlework hanging around the house every once in a while.  When I got A Walk in the Woods out, I noticed that it was  dated 1989, 24 years ago.

 I like the motifs on this one.  It is done on 28 count linen.

I always worked on 28 count up until I went to Celebrations and was exposed to higher count linens.

I have made very little progress on the shell of Mermaid's Treasures.  I keep getting lost.  I'm going to put in some guidelines.  I may just work on the side that has some shell design and a mermaid.  That would be easier.  You can't work on this when you are tired, that's for sure.

I got the hat on the mummy pumpkin and started the leaves.

Good progress on this one.
It is a lovely day here.  It's almost a shame to be inside.  Almost.

Monday, July 29, 2013

At a Snail's Pace

I got the back of the snail done on Mermaid's Treasures.  I think it turned out great.  It will be so cute when it is put together.

I have just the hat and a bit of backstitching to put in and the mummy pumpkin is done on the Cricket design.  Then I want to start on the leaves.

The bathrooms are clean, the walking has been done.  Time to stitch.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Working on Hard Stuff and a Mummy

I worked on hard stuff yesterday.  I wanted to get just a solid corner of the shell done on Mermaid's Treasures.  I was looking for an organized way to stitch it so I wouldn't get lost.  One way is the start with the darkest color and build around it.  Another way is to start in a corner and build onto that.  So I picked a corner and built around it.  It went pretty well but stitching over one, even on 32 count, is slow-going.  I still have some stitches to do on this little wedge.

I know that when I get done, this shell will be remarkable and I will be proud of myself for doing it.  So maybe I'll try to get a bit done every day so it isn't so overwhelming.  I may have to put in some guidelines to keep from getting lost.  We'll see.

I thought I would start the snail.  It looked easy and fun.  Wrong about the easy part.  The back part of the snail is all over one.  Once I get all the way around on the edge, it will go faster.  Then the head is done with 2 different strands of floss, over two, in tent stitch.  I haven't tried that part yet.

I went walking this morning even though it was lightly raining.  I hit a new low (weight-wise) yesterday and I feel like I have lost one more chin.  So I am motivated.

I am working on the mummy pumpkin of the Cricket design.  I don't like the line of the moon, I want more of a crescent.  So I made a copy of the chart and did some drawing on it to make the moon, well, more like a moon.  I'm close to what I was aiming for.

On Ellen Chester's site I saw an example of what I was thinking of doing.  I wanted to do Mrs. Waddelow's huswif in multiple colors on my Buttons a Bounty project (to avoid doing several hundred queen stitches).  I think it just may work.  I have another Ellen Chester pattern that I was thinking of using as well, Strawberries So Faire.  I'll have to see which one fits best.
I'd better get busy.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


I have been collecting ideas of what to stitch for my casket for over a year now.  I really like the idea of a William Morris casket.  Yesterday I found what I want for the top of my double casket.  It is a kit that I think will be perfect.  It is about 5 inches by 7 inches when all done.  I have to admit to being easily influenced by the stuff I see.  I have a list of blogs that I real almost every day.  Often bloggers just post once a week so I don't look at them very often.  Anyway, one of the blogs I looks every so often is The Unbroken Thread.  The lady has taken classes at the Royal School of Needlework.  She lives in Germany.  She showed some pictures of her visit to the school this summer.  One of the pictures was of a class in stumpwork.  It looked so interesting.  Then the lady gave the name and website of the teacher, Jenny Adin-Christie.  This teacher has kits available.  I couldn't resist a couple small kits for brooches.  So I emailed the teacher and ask how much it was to send the kits half way around the world.  It wasn't so bad so I ordered them.

 I'm stalking the mailman every day waiting for them to arrive even though I know it will probably take a month.
Yesterday on The Unbroken Thread the lady talked about a kit for what Jenny was teaching at the Royal School of Needlework that day she took the picture.  It is called Hampton Court.  I knew when I saw it that it would be perfect for the casket top.  I printed out the photo and put in on my foamcore casket model just to see.  Yep, perfect.  So I ordered another kit.  I think it will be great for DH to give me for Christmas.
So many fun things to stitch!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Other Stitching

What did you stitch on the plane, you ask?  Well, mainly I worked on the With My Needle Floral Needleroll.

It is almost done.  I'm finishing up the initial at the bottom.

I went back to stitching on Mermaid Treasures.  I have finished most of the backstitching around all of the pieces.  The pieces seem close together but I trust Amy Mitten knows what she is doing and she means to have a quarter to 3/8 inch seam allowance when we sew them together.  This is a big project.
 Isn't this snail cute?

I got some thread I ordered in the mail.  It is the metal thread that is not usually available in the US.  Needle in a Haystack carries it.  I seems quite flexible and like it wouldn't be hard to work with.  I have it in mind for my casket.  There are six different colors.
I've been thinking.  (Uh-oh says DH).  The next class I am signed up for is at the end of August.  It is in Cleveland.  The cheapest way to get there is to drive.  I hate driving.  But I need to get there somehow.  I'm afraid I'm just going to have to suck it up and drive.  Four hours.  There is pre-stitching but I haven't gotten anything yet.  And no, Marilyn - I don't get stash in the mail everyday!!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Now What was I Doing?

I am trying to get back to normal after my adventures in Tulsa.  I got some finishing lessons for the Needleworker's Pocketbook while I was gone.  So this week I have been working on those.  First we were to sew on the needle felt using buttonhole stitch.  My BFF told me about using Tiger Tape to help make one's stitches nice and even when doing buttonhole stitch.  I happen to have some Tiger Tape so I thought I would try it.

It really did help.  It can be a pain though when the sticky back of the tape catches on your thread.  I like the evenness of the stitches but the needle felt is a bit skew-wiff (not straight, twisted).  But I'm not taking it out.

Then we had to sew on each of the five thread rings.  It looks like Amy Mitten drilled each one of these thread rings twice so they could be sewn on.  No problem sewing them on.

Then we had to lace the small ribbon through some of the eyelets.  Again, easy.

Next we had to cut out three pieces of the Needlework Pocket.  I neglected to stitch much of the backstitching so I had to be extra careful cutting it out.

Then I had to put some of the backstitching in so I could start lining the pieces. Two of the pieces were laced together using the backstitches.   Now I have two pieces of lined linen and I am waiting for the next lessons to come out.

I have been working on the Cricket Halloween design from the retreat.  I want to make it into a treat bag for Claire when she is old enough to go trick-or-treating.  The design is cuter than the picture and the Krenik green braid adds a neat sparkle to the eyes.  My goal yesterday was to get the little cat done.

I want to get back to working on Mermaid's Treasures.  The shell is going to be challenging just keeping your place.  One side is fully stitched over one.  That's going to take a while!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Silver Needle - Day Three

It's Saturday now.  I've walked around the hotel's lovely grounds early this morning.  It's cooler in the morning and it was a very nice walk.

When we get to the retreat room, there is another bag of goodies for us.  So nice.  It is in another Vera Bradley reusable shopping bag.  We get several Vera things:  a nail file, a key ring coin purse, Vera decorated clips and a couple of greeting cards that are quite funny.

I'm excited as today is going to be a cross stitching day.  We get the Halloween design chart and we get a set of six different charts to share around the table.

Now Halloween is not my favorite holiday.  I like pretty pastel colors and sweet flowers rather than orange and black and grotesque ugly monsters.   My birthday is a week before Halloween and I get tired of all the hoopla for Halloween.  My favorite aspect of Halloween is the candy.  But I think I can make this project into a bag for Claire when she is old enough to go trick-or-treating.

We meet Vicki Hastings and she talks about how her company came about and evolved.  I'm kind of dense and don't know the background of all this, but I get the impression that Prairie Schooler is an offshoot of Cross-Eyed Cricket Collection.  I've stitched many of the Cricket designs.  It was nice to know the background to some of the charts, like "A Walk in the Woods" was designed with her daughter in mind. Vicki Hastings is an artist and draws on graph paper.

Our first job in this class is to sort out the threads.  This is no easy task.  Especially if one color is missing and you have to guess which color is which.  BFF and I end up going over to The Silver Needle at lunch to check and see if we have labeled the threads correctly.  That's where I figure out which color I am missing and which ones are mislabeled.  Also, I spend my 15 dollars of Classy cash.  I decide to get another pair of my favorite scissors, tiny Bohin ones.

Lunch is sandwiches and we have many choices of meat and cheeses and breads.
After lunch we start to stitch and then the lights are turned off so we can see Vicki's slides as she gives a talk.  I wish that I could have stitched while she talked but whatever.
At three o'clock is an ice cream break.  I love it!  They did this yesterday too.  Wouldn't it be nice if everyday at 3 someone came around to give you a little ice cream treat?
We trade in some of the charts we got for ones we want more.  I get a chart for a mitten with a gerbil on it.  Cute!  Then Vicki hands out another free chart.  Wow, I love getting free stuff.

Then it is time to trade buttons with the other tables and pick up our cooked buttons.  Some people have to leave early.  Retreat is nearly over.  We have quite a wait for the shuttle.  We wait in the air-conditioned coolness of the shop.  It is always dangerous to wait in there as I keep seeing more stuff I want to buy.  The shuttle comes by but can only take a few of us.  It's okay, I'll wait for the shuttle to return to get us.  I have time enough to buy one last chart.

Nine of us stitching ladies decide to have dinner at the hotel restaurant.  We have a grand time talking and we have a fun nice waiter, Hamid.  As we are talking, six of us get phone calls at just about the same time.  Uh-oh.  We find out that our plane tomorrow has been delayed from 7:15 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.  Some of us have been rerouted.  I end up having to get up at 4 a.m. and taking a taxi to the airport and getting on a different plane than my BFF.  I get home earlier than expected.
I had a great time at the retreat.  I got lots of fun stuff.  The retreat was run very well and I can cross The Silver Needle off my bucket list of great places to go.  I met some really nice people that we are trying to talk into meeting us at Spring Fling next year.  It was fun to see my BFF again.  I'm am so lucky to get to go to retreats.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Silver Needle - Day Two

I was very good on Friday morning.  I got up early enough to walk over to Walgreens looking for a new camera battery.  I couldn't believe it, Walgreens doesn't open until nine a.m.  So I went walking around the hotel trying to get my steps in.

 BFF and I splurged and got the breakfast buffet.  I'm glad I did since we had lots to choose from and I could get exactly what I wanted.  We wanted to eat a good hearty breakfast in case we weren't crazy about lunch.  Plus I'm on Eastern time so all the meals are way late for me.  That means I'm tempted to eat junk I shouldn't.  The snacks available are nuts, candy and chips.  BFF did tempt me with M & M's and I broke down and had a few.
When we arrive there is a bag of goodies for each of us.  So fun to get presents! It is nice things I would like but don't want to spend the money on.  We get needle identity cards.
Today we are going to make buttons out of clay.  Each table had all the stuff they needed in a plastic bin. Our table is going to work together as a group.  There are about four colors of clay that we lay close together and cut at an angle into six pieces.

Then each one of us gets clay that we need to knead and soften up and blend.  It is really hard to do as the clay is very stiff.  Our table has shades of teal colored clay and we are to make flowers.  Other tables are making yellow flowers, acorns, pumpkins and leaves.  We have the directions for all the different buttons so we can make them when we get home or later in the day.  We spend all morning trying to follow the directions to make the flowers.  We combine our clay, add brown clay and green clay and roll and pull.

It is warm in the room and this helps make the clay soft, almost too soft.  We are working on pieces of watercolor paper.  We make our teal flowers and think they look pretty good.  The teacher doesn't give us a picture of what were aiming for as however they turn out is fine and good.  I think she doesn't want us to get discouraged or frustrated if it doesn't look just like hers.

Then there is lunch.  It doesn't really suit BFF (who is very allergic to onions) or I ( usually I have yogurt and Triscuits for lunch).  I have a yogurt I took from the breakfast buffet in my bag but I don't eat it.  I manage to eat plenty and decide I really like the sweet potato chips.
BFF and I go down the strip mall to the Quilt shop to see what they have.  They have a nice selection of fabrics and I buy some 2 inch squares called Paris Flea Market.

I'll find something fun to make with them.
Then we walk back to the shop only I'm thinking of other things as I'm walking and don't notice the wheelchair ramp and boom! I fall.  I scrap up my left hand (I'm glad it isn't my right hand) and fall on my knee.  There is a bruise coming out now, four days later.  Anyway, my BFF has a bandaid and fixes me up.  It didn't really hurt so I'm okay.  I'm kind of clumsy.
The Silver Needle has a certain protocol for getting fabric.  You give your order to the fabric cutting lady and she writes down what you want and then you pick it up at the desk when it is ready.  I ordered fabric on our first shopping trip yesterday but I heard that there were like fifty orders ahead of me.
The fabric I ordered yesterday is finally ready.  I have bought enough stuff at the Silver Needle to have a bonus 15 dollars to spend.  What to buy?  I'll have to think about that.
In the afternoon we get to do whatever.  We can make more buttons and more clay is available.  We have a cross stitch chart that the buttons we made go on (but we aren't given linen to stitch it on, so if you want to stitch it, you have to get your own linen).

 There is a brooch kit with lots of buttons.  It is an easy quick project and fun to do.  I go around to the other tables to see what other people are doing.  Wow, this is a very creative group.  I decide to imitate some of the ideas I have seen.  I use some of the clay that is left over from our flowers and make lots of hearts.  A little clay goes a lllloooonnnnggg way.  I make a ton of hearts.  Then I decide that I want to make pansies.  So I get some colors to do that.  I need a picture of a pansy to help me but I don't have one.   I make lots of pansies.

  In the back of the room, Rachael, the daughter is cooking and slicing and cooking again the buttons we made in the morning.  There are so many buttons to cook.

 We are all supposed to make a cricket button.  It is challenging!  Here are mine, I made three.
We all get an assortment of the buttons all the tables have made.

I have talked my BFF into eating dinner at the Deli next to The Silver Needle.  It is a very good meal.  I get what I want which is grilled salmon.  BFF had the hugest pork chop ever.  The mango iced tea is very good.  There are wonderful looking desserts in the case.  We have our eye on the three tiered German chocolate cake.  We share a piece for dessert.  It looks better than it tastes actually.  I like the cake I make better.  I like it warm with gooey icing and tender cake.  This is cold and kind of tasteless.  We can't eat very much of it so we get the rest to go.  But I thought BFF picked it up to take back to the hotel and she thought I picked it up and we actually left it on the table.
We call the shuttle to come pick us up.  The shuttle is busy with airport runs and takes about an hour to get to us.  We sit on a bench and wait.  We could have walked but it is very hot and we don't feel like it.
We get back to the hotel and decide to check out the stitching room on the eighth floor.  It isn't that big and there is no room at a table.  We found a couple of chairs to sit on.  We listen to people asking about the cruise next year around Great Britain.  It sounds so interesting.  We see a rainbow out the window.  People aren't really talking to us and it is getting dark, not good for stitching, so we decide to go to our rooms.
It has been a busy day.