Saturday, December 12, 2009

Almost finished objects

I finished all of the embroidery on my Chatelaine Rose Sweetebag, now I am adding beads.  I supplemented the beads in the kit with some from the local bead store and I think it is coming along quite well.  Now to decide what to do for the back of the bag.  I don't want to stitch a duplicate of the front on the back but I do have a lot of thread left.  I am thinking about a back that is done in solid embroidery -- a color pattern in queen stitch would look awesome but I don't know if I am up for around 500 of them.  We'll see.

I am also continuing to work on my skill building afghan.  I had hoped that the cat would not take it over as hers until it was finished, but as you can see, she had been sitting on the squares as soon as they
are blocked.  I need to finish the complicated lace square, finish my duplicate stitch, put the squares together and then knit the mitered square in the corner.  I have been putting off the mitered square until I could really see what it looks like with the multicolored afghan squares.  While I was at the Afghan Party, admiring the finished ones, someone suggested that I use a neutral and multiple colors left from the other squares for the second color in the mitered square. I am really excited about that idea -- now to get my project back from the cat. . .

Sunday, November 15, 2009

ANG Chapter Project

The Lake County ANG Chapter is doing a Yearlong Project.  I joined the chapter this year and finally started my project.  I decided to use a fall color scheme using some of the threads from the Halloween treat bag exchange and others I had in my stash.  The colors are some of the ones I saw at the Chicago Botanic Garden last weekend.

I started stitching the first border, using Norwhich stitch in the corners and a series of Herringbone stitch rows on the sides.  The green and orange are Gumnuts buds, the brown is a Walsh Silk and Wool.  I am not sure I like the green corners.  I am going to stitch the border down the side and then see how a brown corner looks on the other end.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Fall at the Botanic Garden

On Saturday, I went to the Chicago Botanic Garden for the Fine Art of Fiber show.  After looking at all of the different fiber art pieces and vendor, I went outside and took some pictures and am thinking about ways to interpret them as part of Sharon B's Stitch Explorer challenge

I think that the wooden forms in this picture lend themselves to an interpretation using laid filling stitches.

The fall colors are also magnificent.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Witch Cats Hat

I finished my Witch Cats Halloween Hat.  Just in time for next Halloween.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Trick or treating is winding down but not over yet.  We had quite a few kids at our house, I think partially because it has been raining so much that people came here because we have sidewalks and some of the older neighborhoods do not.  In addition to children of various sizes we had at least 3 dogs come to the door.  I thought about putting some dog treats by the door with the candy, maybe next year.

I participated in a Halloween Exchange this year.  I chose to use a Secret Needle Night piece as the basis for my exchange and I made it into a bag using several colors of calico and some trims that I had.  I think it came out rather well.  I filled it with various treats -- some stitching and some not -- and sent it on to its new owner.  I hope she enjoyed her Halloween treats.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Various updates

I have been sewing, knitting, and even doing some stitching.  This has resulted in a nice looking Halloween bag for an exchange, a pair of socks, a beaded scissor fob and a lot of unfinished projects.  I can't show off the bag yet, it was just sent off to its new owner, so I am going to share my completed Golden Darner Scissor Fob by Fern Ridge.  I really enjoyed doing the peyote work, but got tired of the fringe at the bottom long before it was done.  It looks great though.  Now, I am working on the needle book to go with it. 

I am also going to share my Cookie A Summer Sox.  They are knitted out of Eat your Vegetables Claudia's Handpaints sock yarn.  I love the name of the yarn and the socks are beautiful and very comfortable.  I used slightly smaller needles than the pattern called for and the socks fit perfectly.  This is a wonderful thing because a lot of sock patterns come out too large for me when they are knitted up.  Since these socks went so well, I bought Cookie A's new book of sock patterns, Sock Innovation

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New needlepoint project

I stopped at a local needlepoint shop, Needle Pointe in Palatine, on Friday and bought a new needlepoint canvas. The idea of working on a Christmas piece appealed to me on one of the first warm days of summer. The canvas is shown on its own and with the threads I pulled.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Next Banner Sections

Here are the four sections of the banner on the right side, from top to bottom. Starting with Friends. Some of Perry’s friends are pictured here. At school, Perry and her friends have created their own holiday, “Cupcake Day”. This year she missed it to go to Boston with the Affirmation class, but although they are very hard to see in the photograph, there cupcake ribbon on her banner.

Interests. Perry loves entertainment. Some of her favorite music, books, movies and television shows are represented in this section of the banner along with her favorite places to shop and her favorite clothing designer, Betsy Johnson. Her life would not be complete without Starbucks, her cell phone and ice cream. The tv shows reflect her varied interests ranging from CSI and the Secret Life of an American Teenager to American Idol and Pimp my Ride.

Travel. Perry loves to travel. The patches represent some of the places that she has been including Florida, Arizona, New Orleans, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Boston.

Animals. This area includes animals that we have (two dogs, two cats), animals that have lived at our house (a rabbit), a pig (Perry collects pigs and was born in the Year of the Pig), and a lizard (the pet she wants but that I would not let her have). I found patches of a blond shar pei and a black lab to represent our two mixed breed dogs, but could not find a black and calico cat. Instead I settled for two cats that are shaped like ours.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Banner details

Here are more detailed pictures of the individual sections of the banner with descriptions. I am starting in the upper right and proceeding clockwise around the banner. The first three are in this post, the next four will be in tomorrow's post.

Family. This section includes pictures of Perry and different family members along with charms that spell out the word "love" and jewelry from different family members. The coral and gold pin is very old and came from my Great Grandmother, Grammy Baugh. the piece of Zuni inlay and the cat pin belonged to Perry's Grandmother Berman. The Celtic tree and the silver and citrine piece are mine. The ceramic mask was made by one of my father's friends.

Church. North Shore Unitarian Church is represented by the sanctuary windows, two pictures of Perry’s Affirmation Class (one at the beginning of the year and one in Boston), and a picture of Perry delivering the clothing she collected during her service project. The word "faith" spelled out in charms and some pieces of jewelry that belonged to her affirmation mentor finish out this section.
Perry is quite the athlete. She tried gymnastics and ice skating before discovering karate. She was a cheerleader for several years and has played soccer since she was 5. She also plays basketball. This year, she ran cross country for her middle school. The tiger is her middle school mascot.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Banner finished and presented

I have neglected this blog for a couple of months. It has been lost in the normal, and sometimes unusual events associated with a family of active teenagers and adults who work and travel. I have not been neglecting my needlework. I recently completed a banner for my daughter, Perry.

The 8th graders, and a few older 7th graders who like my daughter slip through the system, participate in a coming of age program at our church. The young people are paired with an adult mentor for the year, participate in a number of activities, complete a service project, and go on a trip to Boston. In the spring, they are honored by the men and women as well as their families and have a chance to speak in Church on Sunday morning.

The girl's receive a banner or gift of some kind from their mothers and mentors. I have made or helped make banners for other girls and over the years Perry has told me what she liked and did not like. Here is her banner:

The basic design on the banner is a stylized chalice, the symbol of Unitarian Universalism. The chalice is surrounded by 7 areas containing things that are important to Perry: family, our church, sports, pets and animals, travel, popular culture, and friends. I designed the quilt using EQ6 software. It is machine pieced, hand and machine appliqued, and machine quilted. The pictures were printed using an ink jet printer on satin and sheer fabric. The beading and embroidery were done by hand. I bought some of the beads for her banner; others came from old pieces of jewelry. The tin letters that form her name were purchased on a trip to New Orleans in 2004. I will post more about the individual areas over the next couple of days.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Butterflies and Dragonflies

I continue to work on my UFO (unfinished object) list. Now that my Lizzie Kate ornaments are done, I have been working on Chatelaine's Elizabethan Sweet Bag. I finished all of the over one dragonflies and butterflies. I need to finish the bees and leaves and then add all of the beads. I have not decided what to do about the back. I have enough threads to stitch the back, either with a complete or partial repeat of the front. I could also use the threads to make a tassel to close the bag. I will have to see how it looks when I am done.

I have also been knitting and have worked on my koigu socks. I am using the same toe up sock pattern that I used for the Kaffe Fassett self striping socks. This time, I read the needle size before knitting a sock and a half. They fit snugly and have more pooling than I thought they would but when they are on my feet, they look pretty cool.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lizzie Kate Christmas Ornaments

I started stitching this group of 12 Christmas ornaments in 2006. I finished 6 of them, misplaced 4 and then put them away in a basket of works in progress. This year, I found the 4 I had misplaced and finished the other 6 including the tree topper start.

I am very happy to have them done and plan on finishing them to hang on the feather tree this Christmas.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I completed another portion of my sampler last night. It is composed of bands and motifs in backstitch. I am continuing to use Crescent Colors cottons and to experiment with different ways of using each stitch. I enjoyed including blackwork flowers and frogs in addition to the traditional backstitched dividing bands. This sampler is inspired by Sharon B's Stitch Along Group. There are a lot of things to do with a simple back stitch. The next block will include whipped and laced variations, including Pekinese stitch variations. There are also a lot of pulled thread variations on back stitch. I might use them in a different block.

I also completed my first UFO for the year. One of the Lizzie Kate Christmas Flip Its. It represents a small amount of progress in the UFO stitching challenge on the Legacy Board. It is also my first finish of 2009. I hope to finish the whole set this year and be able to hang them on my feather tree at Christmas time.

I have been knitting, watching movies, and reading much more than I have been stitching. I really enjoyed Red Doors about a dysfunctional Chinese American family and I also had fun watching Around the World in 80 Days. The costumes and dance scenes were a lot of fun to watch and it was fun to try and pick out all of the cameo appearances by famous actors and actresses. It is really an extravaganza and was nominated for and won a number of Academy Awards.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Toe up and other cold weather pleasures

It has been very cold here in northern Illinois -- the thermometer in my car registered -7 F on my way home. I tried to buy gas and the card readers at the pumps were frozen. The dogs have been hesitating before they go outside and my children have been complaining about having to go to school.

All this cold weather has me thinking about knitting warm things. I bought Janet Rehfeldt's book Toe Up Techniques for Hand-Knit Socks at Christmas time and made my first toe-up sock. I found her directions easy to follow, even for a self taught left handed knitter like myself. I used Regia 4-Fach Haltbar yarn in one of Kaffe Fassett's Exotic Colors. Clay contains a number of my favorite colors and created an interesting pattern on my socks. Now I need to knit the second one.

The weather has also been great for sitting at home and reading -- especially when I have unexpected free time because all of the basketball games are cancelled. I am re-reading Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, I love how she captures domestic details. In the book Mrs. Ramsey knits socks for the light house keeper's son. In The Voyage Out, one of the main characters works on a large needlepoint tapestry.