Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve 2011

This has been a year of significant change in my life and I have had to figure out how to navigate a number of new realities.  Some things have stayed the same -- I read a lot of books, watched a lot of movies, and completed some needlework projects.  I watched a lot of high school lacrosse and basketball and went to 5 karate tournaments.  I traveled, I took pictures and I explored the forest preserves.  I got brave and started walking both of my dogs at the same time -- they are large, strong and easily distracted so this took a lot of courage.

I have posted pictures of some of my finishes for 2011, but I finished some needlepoint projects that I started many years ago and some projects that I started this year.  I did some of my own finishing.  I have some new works in progress and some new class pieces.  I had fun with the 15 starts in 15 days challenge and have worked on some pieces that I would have left untouched otherwise.  I have also taken an active role in some face to face and on line needlework groups.  Overall, a good year.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jim Wurth Versailles Frame Weight Finished

I finished my version of Jim Wurth's Versailles Frame Weight this week.  It is beautiful and the bright gold and copper look every rich and opulent.  I used larger beads than the pattern called for but the triangular beads sparkle more than the other shapes did.  The threads are the Rainbow Gallery and Kreinik metallic called for in the pattern except for one of the coppery orange colors.  I found a skein of Gumnuts that was the perfect color.  This was an on line class through The Shining Needle Society.  I finished it myself and used a piece of wool felt on the bottom.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Versailles Frame Weight Progress

It is fall.  Daylight Savings time has started, it is getting cooler, and the leaves are turning color and I am working on Jim Wurth's Versailles Frame Weight.  This was a class offered through the Shining Needle Society two years ago.  I picked out the colors, bought the stretcher bars and canvas, and put everything away.  A couple of weeks ago, I pulled it out and started to work on it.  It fits in with the Hilton Stitches theme for the Lake County Chapter of the ANG and it is fun to work on.  I like the bright gold and darker copper color selections, they mirror the colors of the fall leaves.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Large projects

 I like working detailed projects on high count even weave and have a collection of started projects, large and small.  This photo shows one quarter of the design, stitched with gloriana silk.  The color is beautiful, the piece is intricate and detailed and it looks beautiful.  I love the colors and I love the design.  It is fun to stitch on for a while and then becomes boring -- it may be the only large monochromatic piece I will ever stitch.

My other large project is just the opposite, it is a large needlepoint rug on 13 count canvas.  The colors are vibrant and full of life.  It was someone else's UFO and was brought into an ANG meeting and offered to anyone who wanted it.  I have been working on large count, straight forward needlepoint this year so I brought it home.  I am working my way through the flowers one color at a time and am almost done with the pink ones.  It is possible that if you calculated the total stitches in the two pieces that they are the same, the only difference is one of scale.  Working on both pieces is a relaxing, almost meditative activity and finishing each flower and each medallion gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Completed some old projects this summer

Over the summer I worked on some old stitching projects.  I finished two of them, an Erhman Tapestry Project called Fireworks was the first one.  I  purchased this kit in 1989 and have worked on it a couple of times since then.  This time I was determined to finish it.  I love the vibrant colors and the abstract pattern.    I am going to have to block it because I worked most of it in hand while on vacation.  I think it will make a great looking pillow or if it is the right size a great cover for my antique footstool.

I also finished a Vanessa Ann Porcelain Doll.  It is a Christmas pattern that I started when I was pregnant with my daughter in 1994.  She is not impressed with the finish, but I am.  She reminds me of the porcelain doll that I had as a child.  It had belonged to my mother and had a wardrobe of clothing that her grandmother made for it.  The clothes were all hand sewn and elaborate in their details.  Even more magical because they were made by a woman who did not like to sew.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday stitching

I finished another Ornament yesterday, Joy to the World by Fancy Work.  This was my second attempt at stitching this ornament, for some reason I had trouble counting out the words correctly and the Smyrna cross stitches were not easy to rip out.  I spent the weekend working on the Ann Marsh Sewing Roll.  All of the over one tent stitch is beautiful.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I have finished 2 more ornaments from the Just Crossstitch Christmas Ornament issue.  La-D-Da's 'Tis Red and JBW Designs French Country Star.  My son helpfully pointed out that it is not Christmas yet but I enjoy working on small pieces.  I am thinking about scheduling a finishing weekend in July so that I will have finished ornaments by the holidays instead of a stack of small stitched pieces.

I have also been finishing some of the smaller pieces in my 15 starts in 15 days.  I finished Sam Sarah's Rise and Shine and almost finished The Trilogy's Winterology.  I ran out of Weeks Dye Works Whitewash and am waiting for my order to come in so I can finish the snowman.  I really like the vibrant colors in Rise and Shine, they show up very well against the dark linen.  Once I get a collection of small pieces finished, I am going to frame them.  If I use pre-made frames and get the mat board cut for me, I should be able to do the framing myself.  Then I will have seasonal and fun pieces to use to decorate throughout the year.

I have been watching a lot of movies and old TV series while I stitch.  I finished watching I Claudius, the BBC series that was shown on Masterpiece Theater in the 1970s.  Some of the movies have been gems including The Balad of Little Jo and Chop Shop.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Square dance progress and vacation

I was ambitious at the beginning of the month and I completed the first few lessons on Square Dance, an ANG Cyberworkshop taught by Orna Willis.  I love Orna's use of color and the ways that she finds to combine threads and stitches in her designs.  Square Dance is no exception, it is made up of small squares filled with detailed, layered stitches.  The photo shows my progress so far.  (The neon orange basting threads will be removed before the piece is finished.)

I also went on vacation, my first cruise, my first trip to the Caribbean, and my first trip with my sisters in law.  The islands were beautiful and it was wonderful to be away from the snow with nothing to worry about.  On the ship, everything is taken care of for you, on the islands, the weather was perfect.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Eight more starts

Winterology by The Trilogy
I continued to start a new cross stitch piece for fifteen days.  The rest of these projects are Little House Needleworks Curly Q Ewe, The Needle's Prayse The Spanish Sampler, Sam Sarah's Rise and Shine, The Examplarery The Hannah Norton Sampler, Winterology by the Trilogy, The Angel Sampler by Lavendar and Lace, Mary Jones 1801 by The Scarlet Letter and Deep Peace by Forget me nots in Stitches.  I have had some of these pieces for a long time and it was fun to get them out and see how they will come together into finished pieces.  I practiced patience basting all of the stitching areas in The Spanish Sampler and enjoyed all of the colors in Deep Peace.

 I also finished seven kissing pillow tops.  They will be made into small pillows and given to the children and loved ones of Military members who are deploying overseas.  This outreach project started with the Yellow Rose Chapter of the EGA in Houston, Texas.

Friday, January 07, 2011

A start a day and another finish

I have been starting a project a day since January 1.  Participating in this challenge has given me an opportunity to pull projects out of my stash that I have been saving for the right time or that are waiting for me to finish another large project.  January 1, I started the Ann Marsh Sewing Roll; January 2, I started Paradise Lost by Plum Street Samplers; January 3 I started I give my heart to thee by Ewe and Eye and Friends; January 4, I started Eve by La-D-Da; January 5, I started Plaid Heart by Shepherd's Bush; January 6, I started the Small English Band Sampler by Fibers to Dye For; and today I started Noah's Needle by Just Nan.  

I even finished stitching one of these designs, I give my heart to thee by Ewe and Eye and Friends.  I like their designs and have stitched a number of their small cross stitch pieces.  I have also stitched one of their painted canvases, a pig for my daughter.  This particular design was dated 1995.  I updated the date and personalized the initials to make it into a nice Valentine.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A New Year's finish and a start

 I spent this afternoon stitching and watching movies.  I finished this ornament while watching Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland in The Adventures of Robin Hood.  The movie is a lot of fun but the costumes are horrible, the styles are not as bad as the colors and fabrics.  The bright, brash technicolor highlights the use of colors that could only be achieved using modern chemical dyes (or digital retouching of the original print) and the lavish use of lame makes every scene sparkle.   The ornament is Angels Sent by Susan Greening Davis from the 2010 Just CrossStitch Christmas Ornament Issue.  I used the suggested Gentle Art color on a greenish linen and had to cut out darker sections for the lettering.
I also decided to participate in the 15 starts in 15 days challenge.  I am not making any commitments to finishing these projects in 2011 but I plan to have fun getting them out and starting them.  The first one is the Ann Marsh Sewing Roll Kit but Joanne Harvey for The Exemplarery.  I have had my kit for 4 or 5 years and I have just never gotten started.  I started it today and completed all of the basting, which you can't see, and started the tent stitch outlines of the lower part of the outside of the needle roll.  I was able to watch American Dreamz and most of Funny Lady while I worked on it.