May Update #4

I worked on John Hancock on May 10th and for a little bit today.  I have had painful fingers lately and stitching on this project hurts.  It is 32 count lambswool linen, which everyone knows is NOT my favorite fabric.  It requires a bit of tugging to get the needle through the very uneven weave, and when my joints hurt, it is just too much.

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John Should-have-finished-by-now Hancock

Yesterday I picked at Home of the Brave too.

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This one isn’t moving along as quickly as I would have liked either. I’m not crazy about either the blue or the green floss for this particular project.  At this point I am too lazy to change it out.

Yesterday’s start was Samplers by the Scarlett House.

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Not much progress here.  I am using 36 count linen that I dyed myself.  I love this pattern.  Samplers are my passion — not that you would know it by what I have been stitching lately.  I need to get back to it, particularly reproduction stitching.

We made our first trip out to the closest cross stitch store to our new home.  GPS said we would arrive in an hour.  But with the horrible traffic, it was an hour and a half.  My husband drove and we had our boys with us, since we planned on having lunch there.  The traffic was enough that I don’t know if I would ever go back, and bear in mind, this was a weekday in the middle of the day.

I was disappointed that the store didn’t carry any fabric higher than 32 count.  The charts seemed to be partially arranged by theme, and partially by designer.  I was never really sure what I was looking at.  They were mostly out of overdyed threads so I couldn’t get all the ones I need.  But I did like the store owners very much.  I am sure they are willing to do special orders.  I was just hoping to get some higher count fabrics and I am loathe to order any sight unseen, since I know I am not a fan of Wichelt and I actually didn’t like the 32 count from Picture This Plus either.  Gasp!  Yes, I said it.  Too tight a weave post-dyeing, means lots of tugging to get the needle through and lots of pain.  Strangely I don’t have this problem when I dye fabric myself.

I did pick up three charts.  Two by Plum Street Samplers, A Merry Hart and American Sampler.  One by With Thy Needle and Thread — Faith of the Heart.  I couldn’t get all the overdyed flosses for these never mind the Valdani thread (which I have never used.)  I can’t find a conversion chart for it either.  I’m not sure what I will do about that.

Stitching plans now are up in the air due to finger pain.  I should probably work on something on 28 count because of that.  Tomorrow is a “new start” day and having so many UFOs is starting to really bother me.  We’ll see if I stick to it until the end of the month!

Happy stitching!

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May Update 1

This first project was finished in April.  It is a free design from Shepherd’s Bush.

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If you purchase the JABCO button, you receive the pattern for free.  It was quick and cute and took just one Sunday afternoon.

Ta – da!  I finally finished my school project.  I don’t plan on starting another since the remaining subjects for this year are the most teacher-intense/involved.

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Little House Needleworks  Little Sheep Virtue No. 12

And I started this one last night.  Here it is after two hours’ work, on fabric I dyed myself.

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Little House Needleworks Home of the Brave

May stitching to date:

1st – no stitching.  A sewing day.  😦

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

– started Little House Needleworks’ Home of the Brave

3rd (today) – plan to start  Hands On Designs – A Year in Chalk, February

The stitching has been fun, but the sewing — not.  I have done more work with my seam ripper than with my sewing machine, I think.  I have been getting advice along the way, too — but it still seems that sewing will never be my “thing.”  I am a happy cross stitcher and a frustrated, stressed seamstress.

Maybe I will have a finished dress to show you next week.  Please don’t hold your breath!

Until next time… keep stitching and smiling!

A few small finishes

A Little House Needleworks pattern that came with the Classic Colorworks floss to stitch it.  A fun little project!  Stitched on my own hand-dyed “Antique” linen.

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It sure needs ironing!

Another Little House pattern that came with the floss.  Also stitched on my hand-dyed “Antique” linen.

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Ironing isn’t my favorite thing…

Betsy Ross, the first in the series “The Early Americans” from Little House Needleworks… stitched in Classic Colorworks cotton floss.  The border is from Vonna, the Twisted Stitcher.

Unfortunately,  I chose 32 count Lambswool linen (Wichelt) and the stars in the side border don’t show up.  I have tried 3 other colors of floss that I ripped out already.  I am not sure that I can keep the border on this one and may have to rip it out.  I have set it aside for future decision when my brain has had a break from this piece.  Your thoughts are welcomed.

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Madonna of the Garden, by Mirabilia, framed.  It made it to its destination in time for the birthday.  🙂

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I have pulled “Isabella’s Garden” out of the UFO pile and am working on that, along with my Little Sheep Virtue school project.  I am about 70% done on that one.  Isabella is probably only at 20%.  Her head is almost finished and some of her dress.

I would *love* to finish a few of my UFOs.  I only have 6 others — Quaker Gone Tropic, Heartland Sampler, A Right Spirit, Loara Standish, January (well, I only put 3 stitches into that one!) and Cardinal Points.  Then I wouldn’t feel so bad about starting the Little House ABC Sampler series.  Or something else!

I am going to ask someone to put Loara and Quaker on scroll rods for me.  I have the rods, but my arthritis won’t allow me to put them on and tighten them myself.  😦

Happy stitching!!!

November Wrapup

November was a strange month and not a very productive one as far as stitching is concerned.

The month started with a bang:  We were scheduled to list our home for sale on November 1st.  The agent listed it a few days early.  By day 2 we had multiple offers!

This involved packing up closet clutter, having professional photos taken, and showing our home 5 times in 2 days.  S-T-R-E-S-S.

Thus followed a frantic flurry of longer-distance, and unfruitful, house-hunting trips.  Lots of stitching time was lost.  Lots of stress means that when I am home, I don’t always feel like stitching, which is so NOT me.

But there was a little progress and several finishes.

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Plant Kindness, by Little House Needleworks, stitched on Aida

This was my stitch-during-school project.

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Little House Needleworks “Gentleness”

Another school project, stitched on 32 count linen.  I hate how the white is barely visible.  I changed the color multiple times too.  😦

 

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Little House Needleworks Little Sheep Virtues “Gratitude”

Another school project.  28 count lambswool Jobelan in the called for threads.cam01289

Ewe & Eye & Friends, “Primitive Sheep”

32 count natural linen with DMC floss

And I started EE&F “Primitive Hive” right away.

There was some progress on Quaker Gone Tropic this month.  My camera batteries died and I grabbed my cell phone to snap these pictures, then forgot about QGT.

This is it!  I really made no other progress this month.

If you look at the photo with Prim Sheep and Hive, you will notice that I stitched them on the same piece of fabric.  I left enough room for my framer to frame them (some day.)  This wasted less fabric than cutting them individually, because of all the extra needed to fit in the Q-snap.  Yes, I do use a complete q-snap but removed one clamp for the photo.

You can see scraps of fabric beneath the upper and lower clamps.  That is FLEECE.  Yes, fleece.  Just scraps that I cut up.  You can put your needles into it, whether threaded or not.  I had read a tip years ago to use felt, and your loose old clamps will fit better.  Well, the felt BLED onto the linen.  So then I tried quilt batting.  If you like to put your needles into it, you will deal with lots of bits of fluff and that was a PAIN, especially when it would get caught in the eye or cling to the floss.  So I tried fleece, and it is by far the best!  No bleeding, and no fluff.  Try it!

I think you can see my normal stitching spot in this photo.  My lamp is never far from me!

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If it isn’t incredibly hot out (which isn’t that often)  I like to stitch out here because of the abundance of natural light.729-pine-island-drive-14

I never actually stitched here, but this is Home of my Stash.  On the left you can see my flosses in the triple tower.  I got the DMC drawers from the local LNS when it dropped cross stitch for knitting.  😦  They only sold old patterns anyway and had been a yarn store from before I moved here.  In these drawers I store ALL of my floss, including overdyed, all my beads, Whisper, Petite Braid, and beeswax.

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The bureau holds the rest of my stash.  The top two drawers hold other stuff.

Drawer 2 holds my patterns and kits.  Drawer  3 holds fabrics.  Drawer 4 holds most of my q-snaps and gadgets (Kreinik threads, charms & buttons, thread conditioner, pieces of fleece for my q-snaps, magnifying glass, Tacky Bob, etc.  The bottom drawer is the Cross Stitch Graveyard, where finished pieces reside until Someday when they get finished or framed, and patterns that I am finished with.

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I have been stitching for 25+ years now.  No, I don’t have much stash, but I used to have LOADS of stash until I lost the vision in my left eye in 2001.  I was told that it would never come back, and I couldn’t see well enough to stitch, so I sold or gave away EVERYTHING except my DMC floss and Gentle Arts floss.  Then I got my vision back.  And everything was gone!

I lost my vision in that eye once more in 2007.  I was told it was too far gone and not coming back.  This time, I kept my meager stash.  And my vision came back 8 weeks later.

This month looks to be another hectic one.  My youngest child will turn 10 this week.  My parents are coming to visit this week.  Son #2 is graduating with his master’s degree in meteorology, Christmas, New Year’s, my birthday, my wedding anniversary, and in between finding a house and moving!

I would deeply appreciate prayers regarding finding a home.  Everything we have seen is in terrible condition (but priced too high for us to fix it) and not what we are looking for.

Since Hive is nearly finished, I hope to finish that this month.  I have the Little Sheep Virtues for December ready to be my school project.  I am not sure about anything else at this point!

Have a blessed, peaceful December!

 

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:

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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

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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…

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

End of September

September began with me ordering more silk floss for Quaker Gone Tropic.  The month ended with me FINALLY receiving it.  So this project remained untouched until yesterday.  Here is my progress:

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Quaker Gone Tropic Progress as of September 29, 2016

This has been a fun project overall.  The infrequent color changes make it go quickly.  My fabric is light yellow — not that you can tell.

I started and finished this cute little freebie from Tiny Modernist.

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I love fall decorating, but I live in Florida, where fall is a meaningless term.

I started and finished Harvest Moon for the second time!  Hopefully this one will survive weather disasters.

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Little House Needleworks “Gentleness” had been my classroom project, but I started having difficulty with my vision and had to put it aside.  This is what I have completed so far:

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So I made “Plant Kindness” my classroom project instead:

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I didn’t touch Heartland Sampler this month at all.  I am not happy with the sheep because they are barely visible.

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Somehow I got 2+ pages done on Humminpatches:

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This project is so fun to work on!

I brought Madonna of the Garden back out.  I had said it was a UFO, and it turns out  I had only stitched maybe 220 stitches on it last year.  Before the frog made a BIG visit, I got a little bit done on it.

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I promised to post a picture of Beach-y Mood framed:

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My stitching plans for October, Lord willing:

  1. Keep working on Quaker Gone Tropic
  2. Visit eye doctor!
  3. Complete a page of Humminpatches
  4. Keep working on classroom projects
  5. If my eyes are better, work a page of Heartland Sampler.
  6.  ???

You never know what will happen.  I could end up starting something new or working on Madonna again.  I do need to stitch one more Christmas ornament and while there are many patterns that I like, I don’t think the recipient would like them.  I have spent hours looking through my patterns, old magazines, and freebies without seeing anything I think she would like.

Happy stitching to everyone!

 

 

 

 

Works in Progress

I finished Give Thanks on June 6th, so it only took 5 days to stitch.  I stuck it in the Cross Stitch Graveyard and promptly forgot to take a photo.  I will drag it back out for one soon.

Then I had a bad week.  I had a severe flare of arthritis, with nearly every joint in my body hurting (minus ankles and toes this time.)  When this happens, I also run a fever.  So on a 90+ degree day, I had a scarf on my head, a lightweight winter jacket on, and was under a blanket.  No stitching could possibly get done with my fingers all swollen.

Post recovery, I made my youngest son a couple of pairs of pajamas.  Prior to the flare, I also made more zipper bags, which are holding my stitching supplies for the project stuck in the matching project envelope.

I started an old pattern that I have had for a very long time — Plant Kindness by Little House Needleworks — on a piece of 14 count Aida.  It will work better for the finish I have in mind.  I may just set it aside, though, and let it become my Arthritis Recovery project.  This is what I managed to do post-flare:

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Plant Kindness, in progress

Then once I was feeling better, I brought out Beekeeper’s Cottage, which was supposed to be my “car project” and was shocked to find that I had only done the stars and the moon.  Was that really all I could do on a trip to Daytona Beach?  Ugh.  I have been working on it a little since.

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Beekeeper’s Cottage, in progress

There is an oops in the flower row.  Since this is a kit with silk thread, I will wait until I am finished to see if I have enough silk to fix it.  I may have a piece of matching silk in my silk collection (which is mostly leftovers from kits.)

I snapped a picture of Cardinal Points while I had the camera out.  Not my favorite, as stated previously.

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Cardinal Points, in progress

My photo makes it look brightly colored, but believe me, it is very dull.

This is Humminpatches, barely started, and a lousy picture too.  I love the fabric.  Again, a bad picture.  It was thundering and very dark while I took it.  The fabric is a light purple with aqua.

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Humminpatches, in progress

After all that thunder, no rain.  😦

And lastly, Hannah Jackson, a reproduction sampler.

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Hannah Jackson sampler, in progress

Sampler of Psalms hasn’t changed at all since the last photo.

That’s all that is new (and old.)  Hopefully your stitching has been more productive than mine!

Counting House Finished

I finished the Counting House!  I had several frogging sessions on this one and one bigger mistake that I just let go.  The colors are as charted except I replaced the blue (DMC 3768 — it was too close to my fabric color) with DMC 3072, which was already in the design.

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Lousy cell phone picture

I have a new start going but it is going to be a long term project — nothing quick about it.  I also cut out some fabric today to try making some bags.  I have never sewn in a zipper before and will admit to being nervous about it.  I don’t really enjoy sewing at all.  And I grew up around sewing.

My parents and grandmother had a drapery/interior decorating business at my grandmother’s house.  Downstairs was my dear great-grandmother’s house, and her living room became the cutting room.  She had her personal machine — a treadle — in her den where she did her own sewing.  Sometimes she sewed the pinch pleats for the business.  Upstairs, my grandparents lived.  Their living room housed several industrial sewing machines.  The dining table was converted into a huge ironing board.

My grandmother was an excellent seamstress.  She made hand-beaded wedding gowns and beautiful dresses.

I spent all my school vacations there, plus all summer, every year.  As a child, I could hand-sew pinch pleats, fold draperies, and could even sew on the industrial machine.  I remember making true draperies on an industrial machine– even using buckrum and making pinch pleats — for my dollhouse.  So how I came to hate sewing I don’t know (unless it was watching my great-aunt sew her finger on the industrial straight-stitch.  I still get queasy thinking about it.)  I clench my teeth the entire time, whether I am hand sewing or using a machine, and relive unpleasant unrelated memories.

If I ever join church, I realize this is a HUGE problem.  My minister’s wife has seen my quilts and my cross stitching and insists that I can sew.  I can quilt — but I hate it.  I told her she will have to make all my dresses,  and she insists that she can teach me.  We’ll see.

Cutting fabric is so painful for me that I did all the cutting this morning with no intention of sewing tpday.  Maybe tomorrow.  Meanwhile my fingers are so painful I can barely type.

Also coming soon, I am going to try a flat fold finish again.  Hopefully the person cutting the mat board for me will cut them all the same this time.

Hopefully YOUR days are pain-free and your stitching frog-free!

Thanks for reading, and happy stitching!

 

Stitching Update

I have a few finishes to share!

I finished this one in April.  This was one of the wrong-sized frames I had ordered and this pattern fit it nicely.  It is a freebie from La-D-Da called Tiny Sampler.  Apologies for the dreadful photography.

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I also finished this one back in April.  I used leftover silks from another project and tried making it into a flat fold with help from the Twisted Stitcher’s video tutorials.  Vonna is great.  But mine came out… eh…  I have autoimmune inflammatory arthritis in my fingers and pulling and pressing and tugging just hurt so bad.  The design is a freebie from La-D-Da.  I just love her designs.  I have her Cat & Dog coming in my next order along with one of her older patterns.

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And just finished today…

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It’s been pressed and is being framed as I type this!  Yay!!!!

It is Simple Joys by Little House Needleworks.  I substituted for the Classic Colorworks floss (I didn’t have them, sadly) with Weeks’ Dye Works Moss, Plum, and Chestnut and Gentle Art Sampler Threads in Cornhusk.

I will probably go back to the Counting House for a little while.  I need to get a picture of that one before I start it back up.  I believe I have the house finished.  After that I am not sure what I will start.  I don’t really feel like working another big project, especially since the buyer for Spiritdancer vanished after all that hard work.  (Although Quaker Gone Tropic has been calling to me, I will continue to resist the urge.)  I still have frames without designs to go in them… ugh… two are older frames from long ago, and another is a newer one.  I have learned my measuring lesson when ordering frames!  You have to count the real estate between the edge of the frame and where the mounting board fits.  Duh…

So for this year, I have finished dozens of yarn projects (knit and crochet) and the following cross stitch patterns:

  1. Spiritdancer by Butternut Road
  2. The Petal Fairy by Mirabilia
  3. Tiny Samper by La-D-Da
  4. Alphabet with Hare by La-D-Da
  5. Summer Breeze by Brittercup Designs
  6. America by Little House Needleworks
  7. Simple Joys by Little House Needleworks

I had a goal of 50 handmade items this year, but I have already done it.  Most of my things were donated to charity, or are here waiting for something to sell in my Etsy store so I can buy the postage to mail this HUGE box of things like burial gowns/blankets for babies, prayer shawls, etc.  I need a new goal.  I thought, how about 50 finishes in cross stitch?  But that is most likely not do-able, especially since I tend to make big or complicated things.  Maybe 50 cross stitch starts this year, except I don’t have 50 things in my stash (though I do have magazines!)  I turned 50 this year (seems IMPOSSIBLE since I don’t really feel OLD) so I wanted to do something fun yet stay within the virtually nonexistent budget.  I have been thinking this over but haven’t decided anything for certain yet.

When Simple Joys is framed and hanging, I will post a picture.

Happy stitching!

 

 

Stitching Update and Another Story

Here is Simple Joys after 4.5 hours of stitching.  I have a lot more done now, but lost track of the time.

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I am really enjoying this piece.  I tried the frame out for size against the top and it works.  Once I have one of the sides down to the bottom, I will try it again and hopefully it will work!

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There’s a funny (now) story to go with this one…

This is a Shepherd’s Bush sampler from a kit, called “Apple Kissed Autumn.”  I stitched this in either 1995 or 1996, making my 3rd child 2 or 3  years old at the time.  Yes, there is a story behind this one, too.

Moms just are not allowed bathroom breaks.  Tragedy strikes if they dare sneak into the rest room.  And tragedy certainly befell this project.

I snuck off to the bathroom for 2 minutes at the most while I was working on this project.  When I came out, the two older children were playing while the youngest had taken my SHARP embroidery scissors to the linen of this one!  He cut several small holes right in the path of the stitching.  I was beside myself.  What should I do now?  It was a kit.  I was already down to the row of leaves, so there would not likely be enough silk to start over again on another piece of linen.

At the time, I had a LNS and I called, frantically telling my story.  The shop owner urged me to “Just get in here!” so I packed up the children, grabbed my ruined sampler, and off we went.  The shop owner decided that I could play with the design and “fudge” the stitching over the holes.  So if you look at the apple baskets, you will notice that the one on the right is too far to the left.  It’s covering a BIG hole.  If you look below the words “apple baskets” you will see an off-sized whatever-it-is on the right.  It is hiding the small holes.  This was the store owner’s suggestion and she assured me that no one would ever notice.  But you know that is all I see when I see this piece!!!  And now that is all you notice too!

I still hang it every year.  I do smile at it now.  My son is grown and I blame any and all bladder trouble on him.  😉

Have a peaceful weekend!