July stitching

Saturday was finishing day — these are the pieces that are finally finished.

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Main Street Gazebo

lhnea

Early Americans progress

I designed these and stitched them over the weekend.  You can’t see “love” or “joy” because they are caught in the q-snaps.  I am not sure how I will finish them.  I had been thinking little pin pillows as gifts for my ever-changing weekly prayer partner at our ladies’ Bible study, but then I started to second-guess myself.  What if she doesn’t sew? Now I don’t know…

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After much time spent ripping out the right side, I finally finished this one!  The *local* beeswax made a huge difference.  The other beeswax was drier — this one was soft and not leaving chunks on the floss, and it made the Valdani thread stop shredding.

I also had a start but no photo yet.  It is the Mary Burgess Sampler from the Essamplaire, which you can see here.

I have been working a little on Samplers from the Scarlett House.  My “goal” would be to finish 2 UFOs before starting another project.  I have 11 to choose from, which is so embarrassing.  I’d really like to get the number DOWN — to 5 or less.  I would feel better.  Wish me luck!

Happy stitching everyone!

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Finishes

At last, I finished John Hancock!  I spent more time ripping out stitches on this one.  Eventually, I changed the Eggshell to DMC B5200, which I also ripped out of the entire border.  I also did Martha Washington, changing her house to B5200 too.  She seemed to take forever to stitch, even though it was only 4 days.  I forgot to take a picture before I put it away, awaiting the next pattern in the series.

I also stitched the Bookstore from the Main Street series by Country Cottage Needleworks.

cottages

This one was fun.  I loved working with different colors.  It only took 2 days to stitch.  It is in the bureau awaiting the next pattern, which is a gazebo.  More white!!!

I started the baseball player from Handblessings.  I changed the color to blue since my youngest son likes the Tampa Bay Rays.  My hands are bothering me so no stitching today, and the pain shows in my lousy photography.

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Ha ha, you can’t even tell what it will be!  It doesn’t look like much of anything yet!

The next photo is Faith of the Heart by With Thy Needle and Thread.  Slow going when I am committed to these other series and afraid of falling behind.  Fraying thread is still slowing it down, though it is much better coated with beeswax.

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That’s not a whole lot of progress to report, but something is better than nothing!

I discovered that I bend my fingers backwards when I stitch.  Not really surprising, since I stand with my knees bent backwards (naturally) and I can put my shoulders behind me, turn my feet around backwards, twist up like a pretzel, etc.  Yoga?  Easy peasy.  But all this hypermobility is causing me pain.  Now that I am older, all these bendy joints are incredibly painful.  I am convinced that this is my problem.  My doctor says it is sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis and wants me to start a chemo drug.  We are at an impasse.  She agreed that I could see a geneticist but my insurance won’t cover it.  I asked to see an orthopedic specialist, and she got angry.  What has she got to lose by testing my threory?  She may be right, and I may have *both*, but in my heart I strongly doubt it.  Why does everything have to be a battle?  But I digress…

I’m too achy to stitch tonight, but obviously I am still thinking about it!  God bless your fingers and keep them healthy, and may you joyfully stitch the night away!

May Update #3

May 8th was a work-on-whatever-I-feel-like day.  Since “In God We Trust” only had the red to fill in, I decided to do that.  And I finished it!

igwt finished

This was very quick and fun to stitch.  Thank you to Paula for the comment — I never considered that anyone would want to know WHY I stitched a certain project.  This is for you!

I have been homeschooling my children for 20+ years now.  There is a 20-year difference between the youngest and the oldest child!  With my youngest, I discovered Mennonite curriculum and decided to give it a try.  This is what led me to discover the Mennonite church.  (I had never heard of them before.)  It became painfully obvious that the math was way too slow for him so partway through 3rd grade we switched to A Beka, which is what I used with the older children.  I also found that I strongly disliked the science, so in fourth grade — back to A Beka for science and health.  This year we were sticking to that plan, when *I* became extremely frustrated with the Social Studies.  It was ruining my day having to teach it.  I didn’t like it, thought a lot of the questions were irrelevant, and found the text to be somewhat racist.  Every day I was angry about the text and kept wanting to switch back to — yes, A Beka.  Finally my husband said, “Just buy the A Beka!”  So we started US History in February.  Yikes!  I have to get through the book and of course we haven’t yet.  This has rekindled my passion for history — my very favorite subject through all my life!  I loved history so much in school, especially European history.  I actually wanted to be a history teacher and was talked out of it by *my* history teacher!  (She felt that there are too many history teachers and not enough jobs — you get the job, you stay in it until you retire.  So I would be waiting around for someone to retire.)  And that is why I have been stitching so many Americana pieces.

The fabric I used is linen that I hand-dyed myself.  I use actual dye almost all the time, though I did just coffee and tea stain some fabric that you will see on future projects.  I like the dye so much better, so I probably won’t be doing any coffee or tea staining in the near future.  To my surprise, I actually enjoy dyeing my own fabric.  This saves lots of money as I am pretty good at matching almost any color or getting one I like better anyway.

Once I finished this project, I brought out Country Cottage Needleworks’ Main Street Flower Shop.  And yes, I finished that too!

flower shop finished

I am stitching this series because I was attracted to the colors.  It doesn’t actually “go” in my house.  I keep questioning my sanity over choosing to invest the time and money in the project — but it *is* fun, so I guess that makes it worth it.

I went back to Home of the Brave that evening but made very little progress on it.

On the 9th, I was supposed to start something new, so I chose John Hancock from the Little House Needleworks series, Early Americans.  I got most of the bottom done and the entire border.  I was stitching the flower pot last evening when I noticed a wonky stitch.  I can get picky about things like that, so I decided to rip out two rows and fix the offending stitch.  Because of the arthritis in my hands, I drop the needle a lot, and when I went to retrieve it, I stuck it into my thumb.  FAR into my thumb.  It took a a strong pull to get it out.  It was bleeding and extremely sore.  Poor John was put away for the night and I didn’t do any further stitching.  Hopefully I will work on him some today.

I haven’t chosen anything for tomorrow’s start.  I know myself too well.  If I planned out the month like some people do, it would become a chore and I wouldn’t enjoy it, but would feel obligated.  And who wants to feel obligated to a fun hobby?

Anyway, that is the latest update!  Have a blessed day!

 

 

May Update #2

In my last post, I wrote that I wanted to start the February Year in Chalk pattern on May 3rd.  My stitch maynia plans were to alternate starting a project on one day with working on whatever I feel like on the 2nd day.  Since I didn’t stitch at all on May 1st, things have been a little messed up but I have basically stuck to the plan.

heart stitched

I started it and finished it the same day!  It was a very quick stitch.

On May 4th, I received some charts in the mail so instead of waiting to start something new on the 5th, I started a new project on the 4th.  On the 5th and 6th, I continued working on it.

It is the Main Street Flower Shop by Country Cottage Needleworks, stitched on evenweave since Star Sapphire linen is not one of my favorite fabrics to work on.  I actually sold what I had of it in my stash.

msfs day 2

I had stitched the brown in the top border with the wrong color and had to frog it.  Other than that, things have gone well.

On May 7th, for a new start I chose Plum Street Samplers’ In God We Trust, which is a free design available on her blog.  I stitched while watching (mostly listening) to two baseball games and two hockey games.  I have been stitching to sports for over 20 years. Since I don’t really have to look at the TV, it works well.

igwt day 1

I got everything done but the red.

Today is work-on-whatever day.  I am going to try to finish this one.  The flag might take a long time.  I did a little frogging on the bottom of it yesterday.  It was a row off.

A question for you:  When you follow fellow stitchers, would you rather see their work on Instagram or Facebook than in blog format?

Speaking of work:  The dress.  Ugh, the dress.  It has been SO MUCH FUN that I took the craft table down, put the sewing machines away, and hid the dress in the den closet.  I CANNOT get the zipper right.  I have ripped it out at least a dozen times.  Let’s face it — I hate sewing and I am horrible at it.  The zipper was taken out so many times that the fabric is fraying.  I don’t ever want to see it again.  It is so discouraging.  I think my next step is taking it apart further — removing the bodice altogether.  The bad news is that I have enough fabric to make SIX more, and I can’t even make ONE!  Having to sew actually ruins my day.  Why put myself through that?  I would rather be stitching or doing almost anything else.

On a happier note, here is my May stitching to date:

1st – none

2nd – finished Little House Needleworks’ Little Sheep Virtue No. 12;

– started Little House Needleworks’ Home of the Brave

3rd – started and finished  Hands On Designs – A Year in Chalk, February

4th – started Main Street Flower Shop

5th- worked on MSFS

6th – worked on MSFS

7th – started In God We Trust

8th — ???

Happy stitching!

October

What a month!  Overall, it was a quiet stitching month because it was interrupted for hurricane evacuation.  It was hard to think that ALL my stitching could be lost — both stash and finished projects.  Due to space constraints, I grabbed Quaker Gone Tropic and packed it, forgetting that I was staying with chain-smoking relatives and didn’t want it exposed to that, so it never saw the light of day.  So there were quite a few stitching days lost this month!

I am thankful for NO damage to our property.  The tree I was concerned about (and prompted the evacuation) DID break, but it fell away from my house.  Praise God!

There were still a few starts and a few finishes this month, and a few older projects that I worked on.

The beginning of the month saw this start and finish, on a piece of 32-count scrap linen:

autumn

I love autumn, and I especially like autumn with squirrels (or cats.)

Finish #2:  Snowbirds, by Country Cottage Needleworks, on 28 ct jazz linen started Oct 8 and finished Oct 12

birds

Finish #3: Kindness, by Little House Needleworks, started Oct. 15, finished Oct. 16

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Next I started the Willow Tree sampler.  And things suddenly did not go well…

The stem is supposed to be on the ground.  Luckily I have a stitching helper who *loves* to frog…  which was no easy task, considering that those berries are all tiny smyrna cross stitches.

Quaker Gone Tropic has some progress…

qgt-oct

And another finish!  Humminpatches, on 28-count Stormy Seas fabric

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Photo with flash on:

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The true color is somewhere in between.

I couldn’t GIVE this fabric away on eBay or Etsy.  I hand-dyed it myself and LOVED it.  I told myself that when the listings ended, it would be MINE.  And I am SO GLAD I got to keep it!  It is perfect for this piece and it is so pretty!

The floss is regular DMC and Color Variations.  This was a lot of fun!

A new start: Primitive Sheep

Oops,  the pattern says to use ONE strand of floss… oh well.  Two it is.

prim-sheep

Another finish: Christmas ornament.  I made a few changes to the original pattern.

ornie

New start: Isabella’s Garden

I converted her hair color myself.  I am not thrilled with this project because of the fabric.  This is crystal whirlpool from PtP, and I HATE this fabric.  The dyeing process tightened it up so much that it is like stitching on canvas, meaning my hands hurt and my stitches are not even.  This is my last piece of it and the last piece of their fabric that I will buy.

  isabella

I put in a very few stitches on Heartland Sampler this month.

At the beginning of the year, I considered starting 50 cross stitch projects to celebrate my 50th birthday.  I decided to try to finish 50 craft projects altogether, which I had accomplished by May.  I have at least 125 projects finished this year… closer to 150.

Where does cross stitch stand in that list?

I have had 36 starts this year, and 34 finishes.

I suppose I could just randomly start things to make 50 starts, and I *have* considered doing so.  Or that could be stupid and vain and a waste of time.  We’ll see how the rest of the year progresses.  One of my children is earning his master’s degree in December, another has a December birthday, and we are expecting out-of-state guests that month too.  So much could happen between now and then.

Until next time, happy stitching!

New starts

This week was spent at the sewing machine (ugh!) and starting new projects.  Here is the first one:

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Sampler of Psalms start

This pattern was in Just Cross Stitch magazine a few years ago, presented over several issues.  It is a big one and I barely have it started.

  1.  I changed the word “excellent” to “majestic” since that is what my Bible says and one of my favorite Keith Green songs uses.
  2. I hate the fabric.  (More on that later.)

The second start is this one:

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Give Thanks by Country Cottage Needleworks

I love this pattern and the colors, but — I hate the fabric.

This is the same fabric on both pieces.  It is Lambswool by Wichelt, and I have TONS of it.  But I remember why I HATE Wichelt linen.

  1.  It is thick and thin, which makes the stitches inconsistent sizes.
  2. It fuzzes up and looks messy.
  3. It fuzzes and frays my floss.
  4. It is so rough it tears my skin off.

In the above photo, if you look to the right of the piece of green floss, you will notice that the fabric is fuzzy/pilled.  After scratching the skin off my index finger on the first project, I decided to rinse and wash this piece first to see if it would soften up.  It did — but only a little.  As I am working with it, it is wrecking my floss and I am hating how some rows of stitches are small and squished compared to other rows.  Because of the thick/thin threads, it is also easy to “miss” and have to frog that stitch.

When I had a LNS, I was known for substituting everything with Zweigart linens.  I have had fabric tear skin off worse than this one (Weeks Dye Works 30 count) but I do have VERY sensitive skin.  Knitting yarn can tear it off.  It is part of a hereditary medical condition that I have.  If I bump or bang into something, goodbye, skin!

 

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My stitches are fuzzy, inconsistent sizes, and that makes me unhappy.  😦  If it wasn’t for the fabric, I love everything else about this project.  I have lots of aqua in my house so it is perfect.

I did a little bit of finishing this week, too.

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Count Your Blessings

This is a Lizzie Kate freebie that I stitched back in 2008.  I had lots of issues finishing this one.  I stitched it on Heatherfield which is partially man-made fibers, and the glue didn’t want to take.  Sigh.

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I stitched this one last year.  It is in one of the Christmas Ornament issues of Just Cross Stitch, but it is not especially Christmas-y, so it is out on display.  I was afraid to finish this one because things usually don’t go very well for me in that department.

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Another project envelope (I made three this week.)  I found this fabric as a remnant and loved it.  I did not line up the pattern on purpose, but it worked out that way.  ❤  Here it is opened:

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The project envelopes and flat fold tutorials are by Vonna Pfeiffer aka The Twisted Stitcher.   The link will bring you to her videos but be sure to check out her blog, too, for more ideas.

I am anxiously watching the western Caribbean as we may have a tropical storm in a few days.  (My project-chopping son is now a meteorologist, but I think my husband and I are more interested in weather!)  Meanwhile, I will be stitching as much as possible on my yucky fabric.

Happy stitching!