Monday, December 31, 2007

Lining it Out

I got most of the tendrils done this week. The knotted Portugese stitch 9darker wool) looks good, but it has a nub at the beginning from the way it starts that I don't like. I had to be careful to not pull the whipped stem stitch very tightly to make it smooth, else it was pulling up and out of shape.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Knot Takes Shape

After only two sessions stitching on it, you can see the knot taking shape now. The outer edges are where the lighter yellow ends. I've worked on it some since the picture was taken and hope to work on it again before next Friday - unless I decide to finish up either the zodiac calendar piece or Dazzle before then.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Calendar

This piece is just weird, and I'm learning exactly how much muscle memory I have invested in stitching. All the stitches are backwards. I guess the person who started it is left handed or learned that way, so we all have to do it the same way to make it look good. I'm doing Ares because it looked like the next one that needed to be done. Right now, I have this round robin, one more, and supposedly one in the post to me. I -will- catch up.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Stitchy Goals for 2008

I'm not one for resolutions, but I am a great fan of goals. Planning is good. Feeling guilty because you took something out of order or strayed off a straight line for half a minute is not. These are things I hope to accomplish with my stitching in the new year. As I complete them, I'll update this post. They're not in any real order, just the order in which I thought of them in the past few days.

1. Complete the Medieval Town Mandala. I started it in May of 2006 and have been working steadily on it since then. It's about time it was done.

2. Work two pieces that have been languishing for over a year into my rotation. Both are quite a ways toward completion. One is The Traveler by Teresa Wentzler. The other is a Barbara and Cheryl house.

3. Finish Crewel Choices. This has an actual deadline of the end of January.

4. Finish Celtic Knot. This one also has a deadline of the beginning of March. It's for my in-laws' 50th wedding anniversary.

5. Complete an ornament a month. It doesn't matter the method. Just make an ornament each month instead of bunching them all up at the end of the year.

6. Complete the Take It Further Challenge. This means incorporating whatever the challenge is into a piece every year.

7. Complete, on time, the two GCC's I've signed up for that start in the next couple of weeks. One is the 17th Century English Sampler and the other one is the Swiss Sampler.

8. Make a new stocking for my husband. His got fused together in our last move and it's not well finished. He needs a new one.

9. Complete Lady of the Flag to be raffled for charity.

10. Make significant progress on the Chatelaine pieces I'm working on that are not specificially listed otherwise in these goals.

11. Complete Midi Mystery 2. It was started in July of 2006. About time I got it done.

12. Make one goldwork piece.

13. Stitch Velo Bibendum for my husband. I haven't made anything specifically for him in a while. It's time.

14. Make myself a purse. I don't have a single item of stitching that I wear or carry with me that's completed.

15. Stitch a design created by my daughter Tory.

I think that's probably more than I'll actually finish, but it's good to be ambitious. I'll finish some and at least start others and it'll get done eventually. What are your goals for next year? Do you have something you have to/want/would love to finish? What about starting something new on the first? I know a lot of people do that too.

Island Home Complete

It's taken me a couple of months, but I did finish the Island Home project I set up for the test meeting of the ANG online chapter in formation. Overall, I think it came out pretty well. The best part is the house itself. I nailed that down perfectly with the look and stitch selection. With the fields, I made some poor selections on stitches.
What would I do differently if I restitched it? I'd not use the medallion stitch on the top field. The coverage wasn't that good and it just looks flat. Same with, I'm sorry to say, the water stitch. I had great hopes for it before I did it, from the write up it was given in stitch of the month. It has too much of a regular vertical flow for me. I'd also change the color of the alternating scotch stitch hill, though I like the nubby texture it gives.

One Side Done

Finally, one of the sides of part three is done! It's taken a while - I think because there are so many partial stitches and very few blocks of color. I still have quite a few specialty stitches to put in, but I'll be doing that after I get all four sides stitched. The fabric color is really making things pop and it takes the order and adds a bit of flair. Now on to side two.

Over the Halfway Mark

This week I got over the halfway mark on part five. I feel really good about the progress and still love the overall design. I think this is the biggest part to do, overall, since it's for corners of a -lot- of stitching. Once I'm done with all the corners, I get to start the houses. I'm looning forward to that.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Blue Upright

It looks like I made a lot of progress this week because I got this long blue area done, and it stands out quite a bit. Things are progressing pretty well, I think. The blue does look good, doesn't it?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Milanese Field

The Milanese stitch I've been using here is showing the effect I wanted - especially at a distance over a foot. It looks like a field of mostly ripe grain with bits of less than ripe mixed in. It's two strands of Splendor and one strand of Gloriana variegated perle. Only three more sections after this to go! I finished this section after the picture was taken on Friday. Hopefully I'll have the next one started before the next picture on this Friday. I'm planning on finishing this off during the first half of January.

Squaring It Off

The squares I'm doing on this are the outer part of the design, which means I'm really close to done! I like how the light makes the one color look like two because of the difference in the angles of the thread. There will be Fyreworks over the top of each of of the squares, so they're not done yet. I will -definitely- have this done by the end of January.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Another Start

This is another piece with a deadline - crewel, and it needs to be done by the beginning of February. Crewel goes very quickly for me, so I should be able to get it done by then. The hardest part is starting - transferring the design to the fabric. I use a big picture window in my kitchen, so it has to be done during daylight. It's an EGA group correspondence course, so I need to get it done to get graded. The piece is called Crewel Choices and it's by Judy Jeroy.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Knotty Start

This is a wedding/anniversary design from Great Bear Canada and Camus International. The kit came with dark blue Aida cloth, but since I really dislike Aida, I dug up this piece of 25 count Lugana for it. Eventually, it will become a 50th anniversary present for my in laws. They celebrate it in April, which means I need to stitch this pretty quickly so my husband can get it framed by then. It seems to be a fairly quick stitch, so I -should- get it done on time.

Out the Door

I finished up the zodiac cat Libra and the piece is out the door on its way to Canada. I can't count this toward my project challenge because I used nothing of my own on it. I still feel the accomplishment of getting something done, at least. Now on to the next person's in this round robin - another zodiac, but completely different.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Calendar Cat

The cat's coming along for this. I'm over halfway done. For some reason, I'm not a Margaret Sherry fan. I'll be glad to get it done. There really isn't anything new to learn from this piece, but I'm sure the person it's for will love it. I'm hoping to have it done this week.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


My husband went to Houston this week and while he was there stopped at Chaparral, a needlepoint store. He got me these four skeins of Needle Necessities floss in these beautiful colors. The women there, he tells me, didn't quite know what to do with him, especially since he just wanted to browse on his own. I love the colors - he knows my taste. Now to figure out what to use them in.

This fabric is for the Celtic Mystery - the eleventh in Chatelaine's big mystery series. The finished piece has already been claimed, and the claimant wants it worked on this fabric - Phantom from Picture This Plus. I got it in a 28 count so I will have an easier time with the beads. Of course it's more lovely in person. The first part of the mystery doesn't start until January first, though.

Last of the Blues

The last of the blues on the first quarter of part three was added this week. It's -so-close to being done. I'll be adding the specialty stitches once I'm done with all four sides and the beads at the end, as usual. I'm just really happy to be making it to a definitive progress point very soon.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Another Blue Done

The second blue color is done on the second quarter. It's soooo close! I'll definitely be finished with the second side before Christmas. With the thread left in my needle, I started the third corner. I really doubt I'll get that one done before the new year, though. It's coming along. There's only one more row of "stuff" beyond this. The goal for next year is to have the whole thing completed.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Going Up

I've decided to work on the upper half of the Lady first. There's less to do on the top because the cut off I used for edge to edge ended up being about 2/3 of the way up. Now to get cracking. It's all straightforward cross stitch, so it's pretty easy to do. And there are larger blocks of one color than I'd expect from this kind of piece, but I'm not complaining.

Ornamental Finish

I completed the ornament I talked about starting yesterday. It didn't take more than a couple of hours to do - a really quick stitch. My husband claims I like tone on tone stuff too much. I think he says that because it's hard to photograph. I think it came out really well and will finish it up into a small pillow ornament some time this weekend. Since the ornament pattern was a freebie and it was stitched from stash, this counts as my twentieth finish on my project challenge. Only five more to go!

Kosovar Textiles

When my daughter went to get the mail this evening, there was a package from my best friend in Kosovo. These were enclosed. I knew he'd gone to a local bazaar in Pristina, but he told me he'd bought jewelry - not textiles! He had an Albanian speaker with him, so I'll have to question him tomorrow about these things. The crochet is absolutely exquisite. It's very well done with a fine cotton thread - just over tatting weight. I love it. My husband got a closer view of an individual motif so you can see the workmanship.

This weaving was also in the package - actually two of them, identical. The red lozenge pattern is very typical of most of Eastern Europe and is supposed to be a fertility symbol. I don't think my friend knew that part. The piece is made of wool, woven on a tapestry loom, and measures about a foot square.
There was also a business card enclosed for a glass artist in Pristina. Since my friend didn't enclose a personal note, I don't know why it was in there - if he purchased the textiles from there, or if he thought I'd like the fused glass work (I'm a big fan of fused glass.). The website has a lot of neat stuff on it, especially the glass Kosovar flags. A fitting metaphor, I think.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ornamental Start

This is a really small ornament pattern from Follow the Leader. I got it free in something I had sent away for. Just started and changed colors, of course. The floss is Needle Necessities and the fabric is one I dyed this summer. Shouldn't take me very long to make, and it will probably be my last ornament on the Christmas blitz. Time to get back to other commitments!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Water Stitch on the Home

I used the water stitch in two colors of Soie Cristale for the latest completely filled area. I'd hoped it would give more diagonal movement than it did. There seems to be a stronger vertical line than I thought there would be. It doesn't look bad, it just doesn't look like I'd hoped. There are only four more areas to fill, though, and I've started one of them. It's woven Milanese stitch on the diagonal done with two strands of Splendor and one of Gloriana silken perle. I think it's giving the effect I want - random flowers and less ripe grain in a field. I should either have this area done or close to done by the end of the week.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Star Filled Dazzle

Two whole sets of stars done now! It's really almost done. The smaller stars were harder to do than the larger ones, but they both came out well. I've found I really need to use my laying tool on this to get all the long stitches to lay smoothly. It's good practice.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Catlike Progress

I thought I'd have this done this week, but as you can see, it's not. Since I can't mail it out until after Christmas due to the group's rules, I decided to get more work done on some other stuff instead. This isn't as bad as the chickens, but it's still not something I'm absolutely enthused about. At least it's mostly full stitches and somewhat blocky, so it's not like I'm changing colors every other stitch.

Latest Crazy Quilt Ornament - Done

This is the piece I was disappointed with last week. I just kept embellishing and it ended up looking okay. Not spectacular, but nothing to be ashamed of, either. The front is a lot more laden than the back, but then - it should be. There's a pucker in the seam where I put it together on the lower left - I'll be fixing that before I put it on the tree. The lesson I learned was not to judge things too harshly before they're done. Now to apply it! This also counts as the nineteenth project on my twenty-five project challenge, since I did it completely from my stash.

Received in Exchange

I am SO lucky! These two ornaments are ones I got in exchanges this week. The cardinal is from CyberStitchers and came in the mail on Friday. The triangle trees were from my face to face chapter, Pocono Mountain, and I won it on Monday. Both are proudly on my tree now, and will be there for years to come. Thank you!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Pink Petals

The area is filling up nicely; there are not very many areas that are unfilled that aren't either specialty stitches or beads. I think I'll get this area done by the end of the month. Even if I am very far behind, it's coming along at a pace acceptable to me. I wish the pink stood out more and was perhaps a bit more variegated.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Two More Blues Down

I'm feeling so close to getting this second corner done now! The blue outer border is done, as is one of the medium blue bands. There was even enough left on my needle to start that same band on the third corner. Today's a stay at home day because of the weather, even though it hasn't really started snowing yet. Perhaps I can finish up the second corner!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Bit Browner

The filling in of gaps continues, and I feel I'm almost at the point where I can push it out to the edge, since everything's matching up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Joyeux Noel

Yay! It's finished stitching! My husband has decided to be creative and wants to put this into a heart shaped frame. I really like the way this turned out and, because it was stitched from my stash, it even counts toward my project challenge. I hope to get one, perhaps two, more Christmas designs done before Christmas. If you want details on how you can do this pattern, go back to my previous post on it and you can get the link!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ornament for Exchange

You may remember this heart. My husband took it and wanted to frame it when I was done. Well... he's been taking ALL my finishes lately and refusing to part with them, so I really needed one for my EGA chapter's ornament exchange tonight. I told him it was either this one or the Joyeux Noel one. He cut the mat board last night for it and I had to rush this morning on top of running errands to get it done. My husband took the camera on a business trip and left at two. Before he did, though, he took a picture!

A Block Without a Theme

I think the problem with the embroidery on this block is that I didn't have a plan when I started and now it just looks like random embroidery on it. I'm not really happy with it, but I'll be throwing more stuff on it this week and maybe it'll improve. Beads are next. This is the first block I've felt this way about, too.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Latest Ornament

This is the ornament I told you about last week where I swapped the colors. It's come a long way and I'm even happier with the color swap now. Almost done, but not quite. Will definitely be done this weekend. My husband's decided to frame it instead of having me make it into an ornament. It's a bit wide for a regular ornament, so that's a good choice.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Just a Bit More Gold

This week I did more filling up on the light blue and some gold on the edges. There's really not that much more stitching to do on this outside of the specialty stitches - perhaps two weeks' worth. Then I can start on the next side. I am already soooo behind on this, but since I'm soooo behind on everything, it doesn't really matter.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Beginning of the End of Second Corner

One of the blues is done. The rest should go fairly quickly. This means the end is definitely in sight, and I'm getting more confident I'll finish this corner by the end of the year. It's really beginning to come together, and it's unusual to be stitching on something for a year and a half straight and still love it.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Filling in Some Blanks

I've been working with colors of brown for the dress, filling in lots of blank areas between the pole and the edge. I want to fill in a few more blanks before moving on to the actual edge so I can make sure it's all lined up properly.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Homing in on the Hills

Because I've been doing so much on the Christmas stuff, this has slowed down quite a bit. I got another hill done, and since this picture was taken on Friday, most of the hill below it done too. The light green hill is DMC 368 in reverse scotch stitch. I think it gives a bit more diagonal flow than is expected of what is basically a square stitch. I like the bumpy texture, too. Only five more hills to go.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Another Ornament Start

This heart is a freebie I found on a Belgian embroidery site. It's heart shaped, a little large for an ornament, and very airy. I won't have it done this week, I think, but possibly next. Because there's so much empty space, it goes quickly. Oh, and I'm reversing the colors. On the original, the outer area is red and the saying is green. I just thought it would look better reversed. The green I'm using is NN 133, which I had in my stash. I encourage y'all to look at this site- there are numerous free charts that are lovely.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Out to the Edges

I have the cross ends all the way out to the outer border, so you can see pretty much how large this will be. Since this picture, I've worked on the large waffle stitches and if I get back to it this week, they'll be finished. One day I'll just learn to finish projects serially and not have so many going at the same time! I like how this is looking and hope to finish it soon. Ya, ya, I can hear you all doubting already.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Another Week, Another Block

I've started my third crazy quilt ornament block this week. This one I'm going to use couching on, something I didn't use on the first two. I'm trying to do something different with each of them. Hopefully this one will get done by the end of the week. That's my goal.

A Commitment for Next Year

Here it is December's beginning and I'm already committing to things for next year. Woe is me! I always overcommit. I've already signed up for the Celtic Mystery from Chatelaine Designs, will be leading a group for EGA's 17th Century Sampler for my local chapter, and I talked myself into Sharon B's "Take It Further" challenge. And that's on top of what I've already got started. I'm determined to get a lot done next year. I did get quite a bit accomplished this year, even if day to day it doesn't look like much. What are you thinking about doing next year with your stitching?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Another Round Robin Started

I'm back to my more regular round robin now and trying to play catch up. This is a calendar round robin; mine was Lizzie Kate. This person chose Margaret Sherry's zodiac. It seems to be made up all of cats. There was a hold for Libra with everything around it done, so I decided to do that one. I want to mail it out by Friday, so I'll be working on it quite a bit this week.

Friday, November 30, 2007

More Filling

I did some more filling this week, all of it blue. It's actually getting pretty close to having all the cross stitches done in the garden area because of the number of specialty stitches and beads. I'm getting there. Slowly, but it's happening. Of course, tomorrow I'll be yet another month behind.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another Golden Week

Another week where I only added gold, but now the golden seam around the quadrant is complete and it's easy to see that I've truly turned the corner on this one now. I'm pretty certain I'll get this quadrant done before Christmas. It's almost time for me to set my stitching goals for the next year. I think one of them will be to complete this.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Almost to the Edge

I feel like I made a lot of progress on the Lady this week because I almost got to the other edge of the design. True. I didn't fill in much, so I'm not -certain- it's all accurately counted, but that's what I'll be doing next.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another Section Down

Another section done on this, and since this picture, the last sections on the ends of the cross arms are done. Next is a big woven stitch in each of the corners of the arms. It's getting there!