End of June

Hello stitching friends!

Last Saturday I started Eleonora Cosci by Gigi R.  The instructions are 12 pages long and I finished 2 pages by Friday night.  This is a really fun project so far.  🙂

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I tried using my Needlework System 4 stand on her yesterday.  I have a love/hate relationship with this stand.  At first, I loved it 100% of the time.  But then the metal rods by the q-snap clamps turned black and ruined a piece of fabric.  My husband tried cleaning them with everything under the sun and nothing worked.

I called the manufacturer, who had never heard of such a thing.  Well, I turn needles black, so why not my stand?  He kindly sent me a second set, and those turned black too.  I questioned whether it was something in my house, but he said no — especially since they were located one county north of me (at the time.)

He replaced these with an experimental set of black rods (and I sent back the newest metal ones so he could see them.)  While these have not turned black, they do render the stand unable to open to the full 17 inch width, and I am a Big Project Stitcher.

So Eleonora was in the stand yesterday and it was putting too much torque into my left shoulder (remember, I am hypermobile and still have a broken rib.)  One of the q-snap clamps (left side) is fairly dysfunctional and needs a screw driver to tighten and the strength of Hercules to loosen.  Well, in trying to remove my sampler from it, the q-snap clamp bit down and tore two holes in my linen.

My older son said,  “What is this, the third or fourth piece it has popped holes into?!  Get rid of this thing!”

It’s in the garage now.  I tried to sell it once already but no takers.

Eleonora has TWO holes in the linen, one about an inch away from the stitching and one a little farther away.  Needless to say I was so ANGRY.

Now I am just disheartened.  I want to keep working on her and I don’t.  This was a huge custom cut of 36 count linen and with all the stitching already done on it, I don’t want to start again.  I’ve already gone through almost a full skein of the overdyed red and would have to re-order (and worry about dye lots.)

Stuff happens for a reason and I guess I have learned my lesson the hard way.

I hope your stitching week was better than mine ended up!

I’m off to stitch and watch the 6 Hours at the Glen.  Happy stitching!

 

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May 19

I’ve had lots of time to stitch while having this broken rib.  The CT scan didn’t show anything much with the rib (it is not reliable for detecting breaks) but it found plenty of other things wrong.  Since I want this to be a positive, happy place for stitchers, I’ll drop it there.

Mary is coming along.  I don’t feel like I am making great progress, but progress nevertheless.  Here she is, as of earlier today:

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Mary Burgess

The flower band at the top of the photo was tricky.  Modern patterns are usually symmetrical, and this band surely isn’t!  The Frog was very active here.  The width of the winding green vine (?) varied every time, and if you look at the flowers, they are all spaced differently.  There are 0, 1, 2, or 3 spaces beside each.  Well, I kept going on autopilot and centering them.  And the stems are different lengths, which got me, too.  Now it is the way it should be.

It feels like I have been working on the current band for weeks, but it’s really only days.  The birds are different, the trees are the same shape so far, and the satin triangles are all different.  Notice the trailing red on the 2nd one.  Yes, I forgot it and had to go back.  This one is keeping me on my toes!

I stitched this freebie yesterday and finished it today.  I tend to have a lot of needles threaded when working each project.  I have lots of pincushions, but they are small and lightweight.  I stuffed this one with weighted polyester pebbles for stuffing weighted dolls.  Not the best choice, most likely, but it weighs enough that it stays put.

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It is poked full of needles from Mary Burgess at the moment.

I have another freebie started for something more mindless to do while recuperating.  I find Mary mentally taxing as I have to pay soooo much attention to the chart.  I think after that freebie is done (maybe tomorrow?)  I will start something else on a larger count for when I am ready for breaks.  I do have Our Lady of Guadalupe started on 28 count, and I finally gridded her this week.  I kept losing my place and it was wasting so much time trying to figure out where I am.  Perhaps something more mindless and simple.  I could start this year’s Christmas ornaments but it takes me ages to decide what to stitch for each child.  It takes longer than the actual stitching!

It’s rained every day since I last posted, which is very unusual for this time of year (or any time, really).  It’s been so dark in the house!  When it’s like that I tend to yawn most of the day and go to bed early.  I’m going to try to get through two periods of the hockey playoffs (Go Lightning!)  I normally enjoy stitching through baseball games but tonight the boys are channel hopping between the two sports.  Playoffs are stressful — not time to work on Mary.

Have a wonderful week, everyone, and enjoy every stitch!

 

May 12

Did you ever have one of those stitching streaks where you wonder where your mind is?  After a bit more work on Mary Burgess I noticed something.

Something BAD.

Here is my Mary, and the chart photo is to the right.

I’ve done a bit more than in this old photo.  And as I stitched along, I realized I had made a mistake.  The zero is one stitch wider than it should be.  That means the zero through seven are WRONG.

This is a kit with silk threads.  I will have to wait to see if I have enough leftover silk in those colors before ripping it out and fixing it.

UGH!!

So Mary was set aside and I started Bettsy Wood last Saturday, and finished her today:

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Bettsy Wood 1808, Sheepish Antiques

I’m not too crazy about the light colored floss used for the over one stitching.  You will probably have to blow up the picture to really see it, and this is 25 count raw linen.

Notice the backwards “9”, the missing “1” in the 12, the non-symmetric blue plant thingy in the middle bottom of the sampler.  I had to pay a lot of attention when stitching that one!  The bottom border has a color change in it that I assume was due to thread shortage in the original.  What IS that thing beneath the crown on the left?  No one at my house could figure it out.  And I’m not sure what the animals are supposed to be.

Bettsy was 16 when she made this sampler.  That’s kind of old!  And she made so many mistakes.  I wonder if her name was really spelled with two t’s?  This would be really nice if done in primitive colors.  I considered it, and probably would have liked it better, but it really wouldn’t have been a reproduction then, just an adaptation.

Last Saturday night in bed I had one of my sneezing fits — multiple, violent sneezes.  And I broke a rib, according to my doctor.  Does it ever hurt!  It hurts to stand, hurts to walk, hurts more to sit back, and hurts worst to lie down.  This has not been any fun, though I have been able to stitch so far.  I had 13 x-rays (WHHHYYYY so many????) and a CT scan.  I have pain pills though I haven’t been taking them.  It hurts horribly to cough or sneeze.  I’m just trying to make the best of it but at times it is hard to concentrate.  The Frog has been hanging around over my shoulder, it seems.

My totals for 2018 are 13 starts and 15 finishes.  🙂  Not bad, considering I tend to like bigger projects.  Sometimes I feel bad when I see someone bragging about all their finishes, but then I realize that most of their projects are small and mine aren’t.  🙂

Do you mostly stitch smaller projects, big ones, or a mix of both?  I know some people only tend to do one type.

Have you ever hurt a rib?  How long did it take you to get well?

Until next time…

Happy, healthy, frogless stitching!

Margaret and Mary

Since my last post, I had gone back to working on Mary Burgess.  And unfortunately, the frog has been keeping close by my side.  This is as far as I had gotten (I still have a leaf to rip out) —

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Mary is a kit from the Essamplaire.  I especially hate frogging when it is a kit because one never knows if that will cause a thread shortage.  This is silk on 35-count linen.  Mary has some lively colors and she is the oldest known Rhode Island sampler.  I was born and raised there, so Mary is especially meaningful to me.

I thought that maybe if I switched projects, the frog would leave.  No such luck!  I started Margaret Havelock last Sunday and finished her today.  I probably could have finished yesterday, but that darn frog was active as ever!

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Margaret was stitched with DMC floss on 32 count linen that I dyed myself.  I’m a much better dyer than stitcher.  I loved the colors on her sampler, and I am especially fond of simple schoolgirl samplers like this one.  I always enjoy every stitch (except the frogging) and it has gotten me thinking.  Sampers are my real love.  Pictures not so much.  So WHY would I stitch anything else?

I woke up this morning with my neck out of place and I couldn’t crack it back in, which causes a nasty headache.  Heat didn’t help.  Tylenol either.  And while I was in pain, I remembered a conversation I had with my doctor several years ago.  I thought it could be helpful for someone so I decided to tell the story,

My neck was hurting horribly.  I am not big on going to the doctor, but I went this time.  This was before we knew I have Ehlers-Danlos (the hypermobile type.)

“Do you do projects?”  She asked me.

“Uh… I don’t know what you mean.”  I had to admit.

“Projects.  You know, like knitting or anything like that.”

I told her I was a knitter and an avid cross stitcher.

“Aha!  A cross stitcher!”  She went on to tell me that she had treated another stitcher for horrible neck pain.  She solved the issue by purchasing a needlework stand and keeping her work at shoulder height, so that her head wasn’t tilted down.  She said if I wanted to stitch into my old age, I needed to get a stand and STOP looking down at my work.

I have to say that this works.  But yesterday I took Margaret out of the stand and worked through 2 baseball games and I got a good ol’ case of Stitcher’s Neck.  Today Margaret went back into the stand until I got to the last row (too hard to reach at that point, even with adjustments.)

I took Mary back out this afternoon and started working on her, and DUH forgot to put her in the stand.  I noticed quickly enough that my neck is fine and I will put her in the stand, I promise.

Happy, pain-free stitching, everyone!

Marching on

Since my last finish, I have been working on Quaker Gone Tropic.  I am pleased to say that I *finally* finished page 3 and 4!  Both page 5 & 6 are underway now.

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This is mostly page 5 and 6 in this photo.  The little starfish at the bottom is not finished yet.

I think I ripped out those seashells four times each.  I’m not overly happy with the colors, but they are better than their previous incarnations.

In the upper right corner of this picture, you might notice that I ripped out the green and changed the color.  I had finished that bit of silk and there was no matching color in the rest of the same skein.  The difference in color was stark — from green to deep teal, and I couldn’t pull it off.  It had to go.  I wasn’t pleased but what can you do?  I think dye lot issues are the most maddening.

 

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When I pulled the piece off the q-snaps, I was unhappy to see that doing so ripped to stitches in the gold section below the big orange flower up top.  I switched to a Rolaframe, but I can’t work with those.  I need someone with strong hands to load the project for me, then it is too large and awkward to balance on my lap.  Back to q-snaps it went — this time big ones that fit the piece.  And I couldn’t balance that, either.  It kept flipping forward.  So back to 14″ q-snaps, with no fleece between the stripped clamp at the top and the stitching.  This seems to be working and isn’t affecting tension.

You can see that this piece is HUGE!  I am a little past halfway.  🙂

While I am still enjoying the actual stitching, I can’t wait for this one to be done!  It feels like it has been around forever.  (I started it on August 15, 2016.)  Maybe this one will reach the finish line soon!

Have a happy, blessed Easter, and as always, happy stitching!

Heartland Sampler

Hooray, it’s finished!

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So why did it take so long?

My poor fabric choice.

This is 40 count lambswool linen.  It’s rough and scratchy and I have sensitive skin.  It can shred skin right off my fingers.  Another issue was the color — notice my barely-there sheep and picket fence (on the right, about halfway down.)  Once the piece is on mounting board, this may not be an issue but if it is, I will have to pick a different color and re-stitch it.

This was a fun piece to do and *should* have been finished much sooner.  I am so glad it is out of the WIP/UFO list.  🙂

I changed the color of the house to slate (Gentle Arts) because it would have been washed-out white too.  Other than that and some human mistakes, it was stitched as designed.  The chart was easy to work with, mistake free, so I would buy more patterns from the Scarlett House and would recommend you do too!  🙂

Happy stitching!

Spring sprung

Finished!!!   I finished it into a banner.

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I haven’t seen a finish like this.  I did make one for Valentine’s Day a long time ago, but it was quilted, not cross stitched.

After ironing the finished pieces, I made “sandwiches” of the stitching, quilt batting, and cotton fabric.  I sewed these together by attaching wide double-fold bias binding, spaced them 3″ apart between wide quilt binding, and sewed the quilt binding closed.  I left 15″ spare binding on each end in case I want to hang it someplace else sometime.

My phone camera washed out the S and P in this early afternoon light.  (It’s supposed to be mostly sunny all day, but it’s been mostly cloudy.)

I wish I could tell you that the dental woes are over, but they are just beginning.  I am thinking of selling off some finished, framed pieces to pay some of my dental bill.  (I have Primary Sjogren’s Syndrome, and besides dry eyes, dry mouth, and nerve damage, it has decimated my teeth and gums.)  😦  Trying to decide which pieces to part with is not easy.  Maybe seasonal ones that are only out sometimes?  Ones that none of my children have claimed for their own?  It’s so hard to decide.

I finished pesky Abigail Adams and have made progress on the other two.  Not fun, but I am plodding along.

Have you seen the Nashville Market previews?  I don’t see anything that is a must-stitch for me, and that is usually how it goes.  It’s a good thing because I may have to sell off some new patterns too.  😦

I’m going to keep smiling anyway!

Happy stitching!

Class and 2018 finish #1

I finally have a finish!  It was a 3-day project and was fun to do (although the ric-rac row was a bit of a pill.)

fear not

Fear Not needleroll, Shepherd’s Bush, from Shepherd’s fold 2014

Making it into a needleroll is another story.  The last one I did sat for about 15 years unfinished.  Yikes!

I started off January by teaching an introduction to cross stitch class.  I covered the different types of fabrics, different threads, tools like needles and scissors, how to floss toss, thread conditioners vs. wax vs. nothing, etc.  Then the girls got to choose their patterns!  I presented them with a large number of freebies and some designs that were donated by a cross stitch store just for our class.  Three out of four girls chose designs from the store!

So their projects were 2 Lizzie Kate freebies, one Lizzie Kate design, and a freebie from My Big Toe designs.

The girls set out to purchase their supplies.  One girl wanted brown fabric and got a crash course in how to dye with tea and coffee.  She accepted the challenge and dyed her own Aida!  None of the girls chose linen fabric, although it was an option.

For our next class, we started stitching!  I taught them the loop method, how to end threads, stitching one stitch at a time and stitching across a row.  I taught them how to read the chart and how to find one’s place on the fabric.

I think the biggest challenge was their limited supply of hoops.  They forgot to buy a bigger one and one girl really needed a 7-inch.

It was a great experience!  They asked intelligent questions that I just take for granted and it got me to look at stitching through the eyes of a newbie again.  I am self-taught so I made lots of mistakes along the way and would have liked to have someone teach me back then!

I hope I did a good job.  Their mom said they have been stitching away!

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I hope I can teach again in the future!  I had a great time!

Did you have someone teach you to stitch, or are you self-taught?  Have you ever taught anyone to stitch?

I hope your January stitching was more productive than mine.  My current projects are all BIG and I feel like I will never finish anything!  Slow and steady, I guess…

Have a blessed week!

 

A Little Progress

After posting the other day I decided to try an experiment.  What if I stitched just 3 needles worth of floss on a few UFOs every day?  Would that make a dent in the ever-increasing pile of unfinished projects?  Would it maybe break my stitcher’s slump?

The slump is still here.  But I have made a little progress!

You can see a little bit of progress on the wave and fish, and the plant on the right.  Better than no progress!

Even Paul Revere got some stitching done on him!

This one had a little frogging done on it, but you can still see a little progress.

I made a little headway on Emmanuel’s song — very little.  I’m signing off here and getting that one out next.

In case what I am doing isn’t clear:

Today on Heartland, I did one needle of Country Redwood, one of Endive, and one of Picket Fence.  I used them up completely, except for Country Redwood (I ran out of things in this section that needed it.  I stitched the flag today.)  Then I waxed and threaded needles for tomorrow — Endive, Picket Fence, and Soot.  It’s ready to go as soon as I can get to it.

Today on Quaker, I did one needle of aqua, one of green, and one of purple silk.  Then I threaded another aqua, another green, and I have a pink ready to go.  I stick the needles in the fleece that I use to make my q-snaps tighter.

I hope this helps someone who may be in a slump someday.  It is working for me so far, but we know everyone is different.

Happy stitching!

Stitching

Last time I mentioned losing my stitching muse during Hurricane Irma.  Guess what?  She is still lost, out there floating around somewhere.

I have ZERO finishes to show you.

I’ve been slowly working on a few pieces.  Some were already started and languishing in the UFO pile.

I have no photography skills.  I have neuropathy in both elbows and both wrists, and apparantly I shake when taking pictures, even though it must be a very fine tremor.  I apologize for the quality.

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The Early Americans by Little House Needleworks, No. 6 Paul Revere

Borrrrrrinnnnngggg…  This project is languishing due to lack of interest on my part.  I just picked it up again this week and am in no hurry to get back to it.  I think I may tear the border out.  It remains to be seen.

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A little progress on Quaker Gone Tropic.  It’s still a fun stitch, but the aqua wave is rather long and gets to be … dull… to stitch.  At least I can jump around, which you see I have been doing!  One aqua strand at a time…

 

winter

This is Lavender and Lace’s Celtic Winter.  My husband suggested I stitch it to sell since I didn’t want the pattern any more and didn’t want to stitch it.  Interesting?  Heck no!  Stitching for money is a waste of time.  You get less than a penny per hour.  I am trying to talk him into stitching it, if it’s such a great idea…

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This is my start on Joan Elliott’s Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Sorry for the weird cropping, but I didn’t realize the pattern was showing in the picture.

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I actually picked at Heartland Sampler yesterday.  It was kind of fun.  I still hate the scratchy fabric though.

emanuels song

My Christmas stitch for 2017.  Emmanuel’s Song.  LOL  Ugh…  It was moving along fine until a couple of people told me the words were illegible.  I have never been fond of the “new”  Shepherd’s Bush font anyway, so I picked out a row of OVER ONE stitching.  I then had to chart all the lines of words over again.  Today I stitched the bottom row here in my own font.  And what did those same people say?  Suddenly they could read the other font.  I was ready to bash my skull against a wall!  It is staying as is.  I will gradually rip out the offending font and replace it with my own.  While ripping out the third line during school today, I raked my needle across my thumb, slicing it open.  I washed it and put Benadryl gel on it, but it is still itchy.  I am allergic to nickel.  Needless to say I am ready to throw this thing…

I guess I am not getting much pleasure out of stitching lately.  I know this, too, shall pass.  This just seems to be a prolonged episode of stitching funk.  I keep getting tempted to start some small freebies just to have a finish.  Maybe it would boost my morale.  Maybe?  But I haven’t done that yet.  We’ll see what happens as the new year rolls around.

If I don’t come back before next year, a merry blessed Christmas to you and have a wonderful, blessed, prosperous new year!