Friday, September 30, 2011

A weeks worth of stitching, again.

Another super creative title, there...

I got to do a happy dance on Thursday. I finished stitching Bless Our Home by Country Cottage Needleworks. I used the called for flosses and stitched over 2 on a 32 count linen, the color of which escapes me right now. I hadn't put the eyes on the dog, or the legs on the bird when I took the picture. But no worries, they are seeing and standing perfectly fine now.

Crabby All Year saw some heavy rotation time this week.  I am determined to get the stitching done this weekend.  I plan on leaving the stitching chair as little as possible.  Yes, I'm stitching upside down again.

My Heirloom Nativity got a few hours on Sunday.  I just have to finish up the line of text and I can move up to another band of specialty stitches and there will be shepherds above that.

On Monday I put more time into my L*K SAL project, Christmas ABC's.  I am so close to finding that upper left hand corner!

And, since I finished up Bless Our Home, that meant a new start for the at work project.  I started in on Something Wicked.  Not much to show, but I'm liking the brown on the green.  I think this will turn out very very well.

I've spent some time stitching on the StitchMate.  Becoming a two handed stitcher is going to take some practice.  Right now I'm kind of at the 1 and a half hands point.  When stitching a row of /////'s, I can use my left hand on the back of the fabric no problem.  But when I'm coming back with the \\\\\'s I have to use my right hand front and back.  The stitches don't look so nice when I use my left hand on the back for those.  I did try left hand on top for a while, but that drove me crazy!!!  I'm much more efficient when I can't see what lefty is up to behind the scenes. Go figure.

Hugs and Stitches,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Arrival of the StitchMate

I started thinking about buying a floor stand about 2, maybe 3 years ago.  I remember the StitchMate being one of the top items in my Google search.  I looked at it, I studied the page, and then moved on to looking at other stands.  At the time I wasn't really sure exactly what I wanted, so it was fine to delay.  From time to time, threads about a floorstand would pop up on the 123 message board, and I would study those intensely too.

Fast forward to August, my stitching projects are slowly growing in size and stitching with a hoop is not always easy with tons of fabric flopping around, I've sold the house and have a little bit of money left over from the proceeds, and another thread appears on the message board about floor stands.  One gal mentioned that she loved her StitchMate, and I was back to serious research.  The funny thing about that last thread was that the general consensus was that the Lowry floor stand was the way to go.  Completely different from my conclusion.

This is what I wanted: Wood, furniture quality, no baste type scroll rods, adjustable with a taller stitch heighth, easy to get in and out of my chair, and minimal sag.  This time around I Googled with a passion.  Looking for any and all reviews.  I read threads on cross stitch forums I didn't know existed. I found more pictures of the floor stands in use.  I read the good, the bad, the ugly on all floor stands.  I made my decision.

Anyway, pictures.  It's what you really want to see, right?

Opening up the box.  Everything packed neatly and securely.

Lining up all the goodies in preparation for assembly.  I ordered an additional set of scroll rods and spreader bars to what is included with an initial purchase. (Both sets of spreader bars are pictured, but only one set of rods.  And I ordered the smallest size of spreader bars.)

Putting together the leg assembly. (Bonus shot of my toes!)

Here I've attached the support column to the leg assembly and fastened it all down with the knob you see at the base of the column.  (There are two of them, one is hidden behind the support column.) There are some nice washers on the bottom of the knobs so they don't scrape up the finish of the base.

In the above picture I've set the support column as high as it goes.  I was playing with that before I set about putting the StitchMate together.  And assembly was really easy.  Diagrams and instructions were included.

Here I've added the rotating cross bar to the support column.

Next up, the attachment of the pattern holder and the optional scissor/floss tray.  The pattern holder is the block that is running horizontally above the crossbar.  It has a small recess for needles, or pens, or what not in it.  There is also a groove to slide a Loran magnetic board into to (one was sent out along with the stand), I haven't put it in the slot in this picture.  The scissor tray is the piece at the bottom with the recess in it.

Then came the fun of moving the furniture around in this little guest bedroom that I've made into my craft room.  I ended up putting the chair in front of the book cases for now.  I know this can't be the final arrangement, but I was excited to try the thing out!  All my flosses are in the bottom drawer of that dresser, that I can't open very far now because the chair is in the way!

With the stitching swung out for easy access to to the chair, and the magnetic board placed in it's slot.

And with the stitching swung in to stitch.  Pretend like I'm sitting in the chair...  And yes, I put Halloween Rules on upside down on purpose... I'm working on the green lawn around Visit a Haunted House, and it was easier for counting to start at the bottom and work my way up... (I do a lot of upside down stitching.  Don't you?)

I don't how to describe this... but there is a spring set around the screw that holds the scroll frame clamp to the headblock. With a little adjustment on the tension via a wooden knob, you can set it so that you can stitch easily, and then flip the frame around to see the back of your piece WITHOUT ADJUSTING A THING!!! I love that so much! I have a lap frame and always adjusting the knob to turn over to the back and then set it up to stitch annoyed me.

I think this is going to work out  just fine.  Just as soon as I get used to two handed stitching and my left arm stops complaining about being used so much.  The weekend is coming up and I plan to keep myself planted right in that chair as much as possible!

Hugs and Stitches,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

TUSAL - September 27th 2011

Happy New Moon, everyone!  And we all know what that means.  It's time for another TUSAL post.

There are my little piles from my mini jars before I add them into the big jar.  On the left are flosses from Bless Our Home by Country Cottage Needle works.  In the middle are a few strands of silk from the Heirloom Nativity Sampler by the Victoria Sampler.  And the pile on the right is a mess of flosses from Cross Stitcher in Residence (L*K), Crabby All Year (Raise the Roof), and Christmas ABC's (L*K).

Here are all the flosses in the big jar.  I tired to pick out which bundle went where, but wasn't very successful.

Here's to another month of stitching!
Hugs and Stitches,

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shepherds Bush and Stash

So yesterday afternoon, my BFF Lisa and I made the trek from Provo to Ogden to Shepherds Bush.  Lisa was in need of some specialty fibers, and I went along for the ride.  Don't get me wrong, I did have a list of things I wanted to get, but nothing was pushing the issue, so I didn't have to go.

At any rate, we planned to leave Provo at 1 get there around 2:30 or so, and have a good couple of hours of browsing before heading back home.  Well, things never go quite as one plans so we didn't leave here until closer to 2:30, but traffic was good, and we got there just after 3:30.  They close at 5, so still plenty of time to browse... Except for the sign on the door that said they were closing at 4 for a family reunion.  Realistically that left us with 20 minutes to get the things on our list and get back on the road.  I've never spent less than an hour in there!  Twenty minutes was going to be pushing it.

First on the list, fabric for Flower Power.  I'd been getting nowhere calling up the various hand and specialty dyers that exsist.  So I gave up and hit the mass of shelves of fabric.  I settled on a 28 count linen in French Lavender.  It's a lovely soft shade, and I think will speak evening/dusk like I want it.  Teri and Tina both did a "Whoa! That's huge!" reaction when I pulled out the pattern and told them what size of fabric I needed for this.  Now I just need to gather up the DMC flosses for the first batch of flowers and I will be good to go!

Next on the list was fabric and floss for Quaker Christmas II: Songs of the Season.  The fabric was no problem, and after looking at the called for flosses, I decided they would be good to go.  The only problem is that you need 5 skeins of the green, and 23 skeins of the red!  Twenty Three skeins!!!  They only had 7.  So I ordered 23 skeins from them so that they will all be from the dye lot when they come.  I'm starting to wonder if I have completely lost my mind...

Third on the list is the flosses to stitch Something Wicked up.  The fabric came from Jennifer in a give away win (woot!), and the pattern is borrowed form Lisa.  I decided a nice purple boot, brown lettering, and green socks would do nicely.  I also picked up some spider buttons and a bat to add to the piece.  This is going to be my next at work project, bumping the Bouquets Sampler back one.

Since the Bouquets Sampler is so narrow and long I decided it would be better to put it on Qsnaps instead of in my usual hoop.  I dug out the set of snaps I had and realized that it was just a 6x6 square, not much bigger than the hoops I normally use.  I'm also missing one of the clamp bits.  It's around here somewhere, I just have to figure out which box it's packed up in.  Anyway... I bought an 8x8 and a 17x17 set so I can mix and match to make the size I want to stitch with. Definately on the list.

What wasn't on the list are those two scissors you see above.  The purple ones are Ashley, and I have another pair of them, and love them.  Purple with purple flowers.  How could I say no to another pair?  The red ones are Sonia and I must admit that I bought them because they were there.  I'll have to dig out my box of beading stuff and make a couple of fobs for these two scissors.

Lisa showed an amazing amount of restraint and just bought the flosses she came to the shop for.  Such self-control!  I need to learn that.  Or cut up the credit card. ... Which wouldn't do much good because I have the number memorized.

Hugs and Stitches,

Oh... and uh... Merry Christmas in 3 months!!! (Or 91 sleeps.)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What I stitched, this week.

It was kind of a slow week for stitching.  The only day I put in some serious time was Monday for the L*K SAL.  I was moving the hoops so I took a picture while it was out.  It's kind of fuzzy because I was too lazy to stand up and get the proper distance between the camera and the stitching.  I am stitching this on 28 ct Raw-Gold linen.  It also comes in 32 ct.  I bought about a yard of each from Shepherds Bush a year or so ago.  I love it that much.

I put a strand of floss in here and there on Crabby All Year.  Just the one block left, and it's a massive block of color.  I shouldn't dread it, it's not brown, I love blue, and yet I'm a bit resistant to stitching on this.  Go figure.  I think I'll make a big push to finish next weekend during General Conference.

I'm also very close to finishing up Bless Our House.  I was able to put some good time into it at work this past week.  I think another week and it will be all done.  If it's not all done, it will be close enough that I'll just finish it up when I bring it home on Friday to photograph.

That's about it for this week.  I did buy some super sexy shoes (and wore them to work with jeans on Friday):

And colored my hair a darker brown/red (I was going to include my eyes here, but I kept scrunching up my forehead all funny, so the eyes got cut):

Both of which my trainer really liked.  Although he decided we needed to work on my calves a bit more, so they got the most focus on Friday.  I was okay walking this morning, but after spending a good chunk of time in the car to run up to Shepherds Bush and back this afternoon, my calves are about to kill me.  I can hardly walk across a room.

Oh yeah, I went to Shepherds Bush this afternoon with BFF Lisa.  I'll post about my treasures tomorrow.  I need to crawl over into bed.

Hugs and Stitches,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

No stitching, a wedding, and a pigeon

We had a busy and lovely weekend.  No stitching was acomplished.

Friday evening the majority of the extended family gathered at Mom & Dad's house for an evening of food and stories.  I missed a good part of it because I had to attend an after work event for work, and traffic on the way home was very very bad.  When I got there, everyone was laughing and having a good time.  One of my aunts brought presents for us.  T-shirts.  Here is the front:

And here is the back:

I think I shall wear mine to the gym.  I'm sure my trainer will get a good laugh out of it.  As you can see, they run a business of growing, bailing up, and selling hay for the community they live in.  They hire a bunch of high school kids during the summer to toss bales and the boys all wear these shirts and love them.

Mom baked vanilla-almond cupcakes (and a carrot cake) on Friday.  Saturday before the wedding, it was time to get them frosted and decorated.  I was put in charge of piping on the icing, and my sister was given the task of applying the sprinkles.  Mom baked around 100 of these things.  Here we are mid-decoration:

The ceremony was in the afternoon at a nice outdoor location.  Despite what the weathermen had been predicting, the sun shone and the temperature was just about perfect.  I went and left my camera in the car so I don't have any pictures of the ceremony or the reception.  I'll have to get a few from my other SIL who was the photographer at the wedding to post.  We had a good time chatting with family and friends.  The cupcakes were a hit, plus another 100 Key Lime Cupcakes that Aunt LJ made for the reception.  It was late when we made it back home and to bed.

This morning it was my job to take my sister back to the airport.  She was only out here for two days, which was just not enough time, but all that she could get away from medical school.  On our way to the airport I nailed a pigeon.  I was traveling about 75 mph and was a bit surprised to see a pigeon standing in the middle of my lane.  More surprised when it didn't take to wing when I thought it should, and a little frightened to hear the THUMP of bird hitting the windshield.  Luckily the windshield didn't break.  I don't think the pigeon made it, though.

You can see the dust from the pigeon wing to the left, the dust smear from the body in the middle, and a bit of the other wing on the right.  This all came off the pigeon because my windshield was wet with dew when we left the house and I used my windshield wipers to see to get us started.

I do have one stitching picutre for you.  It's progress on Bless Our Home by Country Cottage Needlework.  It's my at work project so I did get a few stitches in it here and there at work.  I've been calling it Bless Our House all along and just last week figured out that I was calling it the wrong thing!!

It's getting time to kit up the Bouquets Sampler to take to work, I'm thinking.  I just need to put together the flosses and I'll be good to go.

Hugs and Stitches,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Dogs Day Out, Framed

I just picked this up this afternoon.  I like the way it turned out very much.  I chose the distressed frame because it reminded of something that had been dog chewed and I thought that was appropriate.

This one is with the flash on, so there's a bit of a glare.

And here is one with the flash off.

I think this would be great fabric to stitch Flower Power on... with maybe a just a touch of lavender in the sky for more of a dusk feeling.  I haven't been successful in contacting the maker of this fabric, I might have to go looking else where.

When I got home from work today, I spent a good amount of time tidying up my old bedroom so that my sister would have a nice place to stay when she comes in for the wedding.  So far so good, but I'm trying to figure out a good place to put one of my plants.  Right now it sits on the dresser that is under the window.  The plant is so big that you can't close the curtains to the window.  Not a big deal if no one is trying to sleep in there...  Maybe I'll swap out some of the small plants in here for the big plant in there... That just might work.

Hugs and Stitches,

A little update for the L*K Monday SAL

I almost filled up the hoop again Monday night working on Christmas ABC's.  I normally unroll the fabric when I take a picture, but as you can see, I've got the flesh color all wrapped up for the other angels leg and her face.  I should find the upper left hand corner next week and start down and right after that.

I finally purchased the flosses to go with the little give away for my duplicate pattern of Tiny Tidings XV.  I feel really proud of myself for that one... Especially after I kept forgetting to gather them up.

This weekend will be busy.  My brother is getting married on Saturday and extended family will start arriving tomorrow.  I'm really excited to see them all.  But with all the wedding stuff going on, I don't expect I'll get much stitching done.  That's okay.  Family is more important.

Hugs and Stitches,

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A weeks worth of stitching

Hello! It was a good week as far as stitching goes, and here is the run down.

Crabby All Year saw some good time, and I finished up a block and started the borders on the very last block.  I was going to put this aside in favor of doing a small, quick stitch, but now I'm thinking that I should just press forward and finish this up.

Work was a little hectic this week, as it always is after a three day weekend, so I didn't get to put as much time into Bless Our House as I normally would.  I think "aw, so cute" every time I pick t his up to stitch or look at it.

I moved to the other side of the Heirloom Nativity for the bands of specialty stitches I'm working on.  I'm not getting any better at the scotch stitch.  You'd think with such a simple stitch I could get the things to be nice and uniform.  This has not been the case.  But I'm not going to fret over it!

I am gathering up supplies to start in on Flower Power.  I went to a knitting shop with a friend this weekend and picked up all the metallics that I'll need.  Why a knit shop would have a full selection of DMC and Anchor threads, plus the Krenik metallics, I don't know.  But I didn't have to go to Ogden to get them, so that's alright.

Although I do want to go up to Ogden and Shepherds Bush to see what fun new stuff they have (and fun old stuff that I'm just discovering).  That shop is like a treasure trove of this, that, and the other, all stitching related.

Hugs and Stitches,

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Stash 'n Nonsense

Sometime last week... or the week before that... I got a note from 123 Stitch that the JCS Halloween Collection book was in stock.  So last Thursday evening I placed an order, along with a few other items that I had on my wish list... I think ordering stash is a bit like that old potato chip commercial:  You can't eat (order) just one!  Anyway, Joanne and team were speedy as ever and my order was ready for pick up on Friday.  I had 'stuff' so I wasn't able to get down to the warehouse before they close until this evening.

Along with the book, I picked up a pair of L*K charts that I've had on my list for a long long time, some charm packs/button packs for some L*K patterns that I already have, a pair of small and cute scissors, a cording making thingy, and Flower Power by Crossed Wing Collection.  I haven't given the book a serious read yet... I did try to look at it while on the elliptical machine at the gym, but that was unsatisfactory.

Now, I've seen the monthly posts on the 123 Stitch board about the Flower Power pattern, and I'm afraid that they are terrible enablers.  I decided this would be a fun project to do.  I've done patterns by Crossed Wing before, and while it was a challenge, it was so worth it.  I knew it was big... but it wasn't until I got the pattern home and opened it out to look at that I realized just how BIG!!! it really is.  Oh my.  I may have bit off more than I can chew.  I still want to do this, just have to decide what size of fabric to do this on.  Since there is a fair amount of fractional stitching and some over one work I was thinking about doing it on 28 ct.  But that makes my cut piece of fabric 48 inches by 33 inches.  That's right, 4 foot by nearly 3 foot.  That's BIG!!!!  I'm gonna have to talk to the girls on the board about this.

I also ordered something else BIG for my stash.  It'll be here in about 3 weeks.  Merry Christmas/Happy Birthday/Happy New Year/Happy Single Awareness Day (Valentines)/Tuesday to me!  I feel like the monkey Steve in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs... Wandering around all day thinking "Excited! Excited!"

Hugs and Stitches

Monday, September 5, 2011

L*K Monday Stitch-a-long

Well today was just about as perfect as a day can be.  I got to sleep in late (8:30 am!), stitch to my hearts content, and had some bbq ribs for dinner.  I also helped Dad in the yard and swept the sidewalks.  Oh yeah, and I did laundry too!  A good day.

Since it's Monday, I spent my time working on Christmas ABC's.  I filled in the whole hoop!  That's some good progress.

Hope your day was as good as mine was!
Hugs and Stitches,

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Weekend Stitching

I need to get some new ideas for blog posts as I seem to be retreating to the old tried and true here...

So what did I stitch on over the weekend?  Well... there's Crabby All Year, and the relatives are showing up.

Pardon the wonky picture.  I just held the camera up over the piece and didn't really get anything squared up.  I just might get this puppy done this year!  I'm so close I can see the end.  Since I have been working on it all year, I look at the blocks and think "Oh, I worked on that while at Grandma's house", or "I finished that block before selling my house" and so on and so forth.  I'm sure it's the same for you.

Speaking randomly of cameras... I turned my 'dead' one on tonight and it worked just fine!  Dumb thing.  All I did was ignore it for two weeks.  I guess it was jealous of the time I was spending with Mom's camera and decided to play nice after all. ... *Sighs*  Technology.  Sometimes I suspect that it is smarter than I am...

Moving back to the real topic at hand:

I made some nice progress on the Heirloom Nativity Sampler.  I started in the middle, like I am wont to do and am now working my way up.  The flower band is easy and fun, the set of green interwoven cross-sittches above that was a cinch to learn, but the scotch stitch above that was a pain to get started. 

I started it once, found I was a thread too low, so took it out and started again.  On that start I found I was a thread too high, so I took it out and started again.  On the third try, I disregarded the instructions on how to do the thing, started where I knew I was in the right spot, and filled in from there... and then returned to the instructions on how you're supposed to do the stitch.  I wish I could say that they are getting better as I move across the fabric... but they're not.  The only thing that is changing is that the length of my floss is getting shorter. ... Wouldn't it be freaky is the thread actually got longer as you stitched?

And, not worked on over the weekend, but showing some good progress is my at work project, Bless Our House by Country Cottage Needleworks.  Just the lettering and the vine to go on this side, then I move over to the other side to balance things up.  This is turning out to be darling.

In my blog wanderings I found something fun to join for next year.  It's the WIPocalypse!  Hosted by the lovely Measi of Measi's Musings, the goal is to finish up your WIPs before the end of the world in Dec. of 2012.  And if the world doesn't end? ... Well, just think of all the wonderful pieces you've finished up!  You should wander on over and take a look at the rules and what not.  I'm looking forward to it, even though I don't have many WIP/UFO's to do.  I wrote them all down... there are 5... 1 of which I haven't even started yet.  Heh heh heh.

I'm almost, completely, caught up with my blog reading!  Well... let's amend that... Caught up with my reading of Cross-stitch related blogs.  The cooking and crafting ones are still in need of a serious look at... but that will have to happen when I'm ready to trade in some stitching time for reading time... yeah right!

Happy Labor Day weekend to my US friends!  I'm going to stitch on L*K's Christmas ABC's for as long as I can manage.

Hugs and Stitches,