Monday, August 29, 2016

I Actually Hermitted!!

  I signed up for IH&S weekend for the first time in a while hoping it would get be back into blogging a bit more.  Not only did I manage to do the hermitting part but I am managing to post about it in a timely fashion as well.  I may be able to get this thing back on track after all!
  As you know from my last post, I am scurrying around trying to get my deadline stitching in a more comfortable place.  I have several pieces to finish before the end of the year and we all know you can't count December.  Anyway,  I managed to get my other October birthday present finished over the weekend!!!!
   This is what it looked like when I picked it up Friday afternoon...

And this is what it looks like now!  Please excuse her wrinkles and folds. So glad to have this one done and dusted.

So, checking Agness off the list and moving on to something else.  Right now I am working on the next section of All Creatures but will have to move on again pretty quickly.  Until next time...

Hope you are enjoying your stitching as much as I am,  Laura

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Catching Up Part 2

   I have been staying in, hiding from the heat, and stitching for the most part.  We did manage to have a 'cool down' the last couple of days.  If you can call the high 80s and low 90s cool.  Temps back up into the upper 90s by the weekend so I guess I will continue to stay inside and stitch!    I really need to do that too since I am starting to get a little anxious about the big pieces I am working on the deadlines they have for them.
   I have taken the summer off from the majority of my stitching groups to make more time to stitch and to recharge.  It always takes more time than I think to get a piece done and although I have been working like a madman on this rotation, I am still not sure I will have it all finished in time!
   I really needed to make some progress on Jane Tindall.  It is for a November birthday and I'm not sure how much time that bottom is going to take.  So out she came and I worked on her until I had the top section with the verse all in.

It went pretty quickly so that made me feel better about the time factor.  So then, I moved on to the next piece in the rotation.
   I started a new piece for one of my other fall birthdays.  It is a Scottish sampler and although the colors seemed very bright at first, it is growing on me!

Agness Horsburgh 1844 by Samplers Not Forgotten
40 ct Lakeside linen w/ overdyed threads

The eyelet band is the half way point and I am back to working on this again so I hope for a finish by the end of the month.
  At this point, I put this one aside and I really wanted to work on All Creatures again so I put another section on it.  I am down to the verse section so it went pretty quickly.

I would love to have this finished this year but I'm not sure I can manage it with the others that HAVE to be finished.
    Then the Quaker Mystery did another turn through the rotation and I added on another page here.

This is only through page 2 and has a long way to go but I really like the way the colors are coming together.
  I am also working on a Catherine Theron piece that is a pilot class.  I pulled it out to work on it in the middle of all this and realized I had an error, near the beginning of the vine, which all had to come out.  Then, since I had referenced the outside border and the inner border off of the vine, the whole right side of those borders  had to come out as well.  I was having a lot of difficulty with long armed cross on the diagonal, both ascending and descending, and keeping up with the count (obviously) and so I had a lot of ripping and rework to do on that.  Not a lot of fun but I got it all back in and started on the alphabet too.  I am feeling the most pressure about this one since it has to be finished by the end of February.  It is a tremendous amount of work and I can't really concentrate on it until after I have the other 3 done.  Keeping my fingers crossed for a shift in the space-time continuum!!!
  So that's me, caught up again.  As I said before, I am back to work on Agness and want to finish her before I move on to something else.  I hope to have her finished by the end of the month because the
schedule has me starting a new piece the first of September (a Christmas present) and too many things in the rotation gets a little crazy!!

Hope you are enjoying your stitching as much as I am,  Laura

Friday, August 12, 2016

Catching Up Part 1

   I had intended to make this post in July.  I even had these pictures taken.  But once again, life conspired to keep me away from the computer and it didn't happen.  In the mean time, I have been stitching away so in order to catch up, I will need to post in 2 parts.  Hope you all can stand it!!
  So,  in the period covering this post, I had 2 small finishes.  I have borrowed several OOP charts from the Facebook group Blackbird Lending Library this year and was able to stitch the 2 pieces below.  They are older patterns and I just pulled from my stash for colors and linen and just made them my own rather than try to match up the old dye lots.

Evergreen by Blackbird Designs
40 ct Lakeside linen
w/ overdyed threads

Wild Garden by Blackbird Designs
40 ct Lakeside linen
w/ overdyed threads

  Then I worked through a rotation of most of my SALs and made some progress on each of these.

All Creatures Great and Small by Barbara Ana
Love, love, love the chickens in this new section!!

Jane Plews  from the Facebook group Sampler Heart
This is so pretty and I really like that strawberry band!

Old Glory by Rosewood Manor
Bet you didn't think you would see this old nugget again!  I did pull it out and work on it a few times but those stripes take forever and it doesn't look like anything for the time involved.

Quaker Mystery Sampler from Facebook

   Last but not least, I made a start on the Quaker Mystery Sampler from Facebook. Stitched on 40 ct. Lakeside linen with the colors from Ann Bowers.  I gave Ann away and I thought it might be nice to stitch something with the threads I had left over from that finish.  There are a lot!!  So when this came up, it seemed like the perfect thing.
  So, that's my catch up for July.  I will post the newer  things in a day or so. Hope you come back for part 2!!

Hope you're enjoying your stitching as much as I am,  Laura

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Finally Stitching Along

   Even though I  promised myself I wouldn't, I have signed up for a ton of SALs again this year, most of which are on Facebook. (That darned place gets me in so much trouble!!)  I knew there were quite a few I still hadn't started and it was beginning to make me feel pressured about my stitching. Again! So yesterday I got it all organized and made a plan so I could work on them and all of the other things I have obligated myself to stitch this year in a more reasonable manner.  This is my current rotation:

My favorite and the farthest along is All Creatures Great and Small by Barbara Ana.  I've added quite a lot to it since my last post.

I REALLY wanted to go on to the next section, the one with the chickens that I just love, but I need to work within the schedule if I want to get all of these done this year.

Next is one I signed up for in the Facebook Sampler Heart Group, Jane Plews.  It is a mystery so I have no idea what it will look like when it's finished.  I don't usually do that since I have been burned in the mystery category before but it is a Scottish Reproduction.  How bad can it be?!

40 ct. Lakeside Meadow rue
w/ DMC

The next SAL I am finally working on is Marquoir de  Dymphne.  It is a sampler available on a blog I read and is up to part 6 now.  I thought I better get it started if I had any hope of getting it done.  She very graciously does a SAL every year and this is the first one I have actually gotten any traction on.

40 ct. Italian linen in ivory
w/ DMC
This is part one.  It is quite a large sampler so it will probably be in the rotation for a while. It is moving to the right and those next few sections are mostly alphabet which goes pretty quickly.  I hope to have it almost caught up in the next round.  If you are interested, you can find this sampler here:

The next sampler is one one on Facebook, The Quaker Mystery Sampler.  I plan to start it today, after I finish this post, so I have no pics yet.  Next time, for sure. It is pick your own everything, which can sometimes be a challenge for me, so we'll have to keep our fingers crossed on this one.  I have selected a pretty Lakeside linen, Pecan butter I think, and I have decided to use the threads left over from Ann Bowers since I have a ton of them.  I love those colors and it can be a reminder of Ann.

Last, but not least, I pulled out Summer at Cherry Hill by WTN&T.  I love this one and it would be wonderful to have it hanging on my wall before the end of summer.

I couldn't find the before picture but basically I added the lettering and symbols from 'A' down, stitched the skirt of her dress, and put in the trunk of the cherry tree.  I'm not sure I like the stripes in the tree but I am going to live with it for a while and see.

Love her face! So sweet!

  So that's where things stand today.  I am a lot calmer about my deadlines and am really enjoying this new rotation.  I plan to add some new things in as I finish what's already here, either a WIP or a new start.  I have plenty of each!!  And lets not forget those gift pieces that need attention too!!  Then there's that Catherine Theron pilot class I am doing the middle of July and the EGA workshop in November.  I guess I need to figure out how to stitch faster!!!!

Hope you're enjoying your stitching as much as I am,   Laura

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Holy Cow! It's Been Nearly A Month

   Every time I post I promised myself I am going to get better about the frequency of my posts.  I don't know exactly when or why I turned into such a slacker but there it is, I'm a slacker.  Seems that I don't want to do anything that interferes with my stitching time.  I have to cook and clean and do all those other necessary household chores but I don't like giving up precious stitching time to anything I don't absolutely HAVE to do.  Stitching is so much more fun!
   That being said,  I haven't had as much time to stitch lately as I would like. Before I left for Atlanta we discovered that one of our cats was suffering from kidney disease.  This was quite distressing since our other cat had also been diagnosed with kidney disease the year before.  The vet had no explanation for how they would both have it since they are not related but that was the situation.  One of the things my husband was dealing with while I was gone were his daily fluid treatments.  Kind of explains why he didn't have time for housework!
    After my return from Atlanta,  we evaluated his condition again and found no improvement.  As heartbreaking as it was, it was decided that the only thing to do was put him to sleep.  He was such a sweet little man with a fantastic personality and he is missed so much every day.
  The stress and sadness of this decision put the stitching into overdrive.  I started several projects but didn't make a lot of progress on them.  First is Jane Tindall by Needlework Press.

40 ct. Lakeside Pearled barley
w/ DMC
She's a big girl but the top part of it should go pretty quickly.  It will be a 70th birthday gift for one of my stitch group friends when I get her done.  Hope I can blast it out in time with all the other things I have obligated to this year!
    I also made a feeble start on Louisa B. Snow, a reproduction by Little House.  I have had it kitted for quite some time and thought it was about time to get to work on her.  She will also be a birthday gift for a friend this year.  It will be a tough hand-off since I really love those roses!

40 ct. Lakeside Light Exemplar
w/hand dyed cotton
      I thought I would have that last week of the month to regroup.  Turned out we had to move the EGA board meeting up a week due to the unavailability of some key players which meant the newsletter also had to go out a week early. (If I haven't mentioned it before, I am our chapter's newsletter editor.)  That was just about the whole week gone.  I did manage a bit of stitching during that time and I worked most of  the section with the big steer in amongst all the madness.

All Creatures Great and Small by Barbara Ana
called for linen and threads

   Then, I had the next week to prep for out spring beach trip. The Hubs was working on a project again (of course) so most of the grunt work fell to me.  I was pretty much okay with that since I usually just sit and stitch the whole time we are at the beach.   We invited his cousin and his wife to go with us this time and I didn't get as much time to stitch as usual.  They had never been to the Outer Banks before so we did a lot of touristy things with them.  It turned out to be a lot of fun since we hadn't done a lot of those things in quite a while.
  Of course, we had to tour the lighthouse.  The Hubs and his cousin went all the way to the top.  The wife and I watched from below and got some good pics!

We were sitting on a bench and got this one through the trees.

The Hubs taught me how to edit my pics
on my phone to get this great picture.
I was not this close when I took it!

It looked like they had painted it recently so my pic came out really well.  There were a lot of people there for this early in the season too.
   We also made the trip to Ocracoke which is now a long and sometimes arduous journey.  We lived on Hatteras Island in the late 70s/early 80s.  At that time, the trip across on the ferry took about 35 minutes.  With the changes to the topography from storms and shifting sands (that all the dredging they can do doesn't seem to be able to overcome) the trip is now roughly double that time.  You also run the risk of having the ferry run aground and being stuck in the middle of the sound.  This has happened several times recently.  The Coast Guard has come to the rescue and taken passengers to shore but that still leaves your car on the ferry until the tide rises enough to release it.  This didn't happen to us but I guess it would have made a good adventure story if it had!!
    We did get to see the wild ponies while we were there though.  It was on the bucket list of  The Cousin's Wife. She was a little disappointed that they were in a pen but we explained to her that if they were not, she probably wouldn't have been able to see them!

It rained the whole week before we got there.
The pasture isn't usually that wet.

  As for stitching,  I finished up the rest of what is done on All Creatures and then I pulled something out of the bag that hadn't seen the light of day since last summer.  Plum Street's Liberty Inn got some love and I wasn't able to put it down until it was finished.  Love it so much but it is destined to become a shop model as soon as I can get it framed.

36 ct. Lakeside Vintage Maple Sugar
w/most of the colors changed

I made a lot of color changes so I guess this one is truly mine!!  I finished it up last night and I confess that my dickering with the colors made it take longer than it should.  I ripped and changed several of the colors, several times before I got them the way I wanted them.
  Last, but certainly not least, I received this cutie in the mail from a very dear friend for my birthday.

Plum Street's Red Cottage
I know, I know, its not my birthday.  But we stitch for each other's birthdays every year and her life has been so full of crazy of late that we are continuing the celebration now.  Just love it!  A trip to the framer is definitely in order.
   So, that's where things lie for now. Too many projects and too little time.  Of course,  I plan to start 2 new SALs this weekend and have lots of new projects waiting in the wings.  Stay tuned!

Hope you're enjoying your stitching as much as I am,  Laura

Friday, April 29, 2016

Stitching Like A Mad Fiend!

     I've been overtaken with craziness since my last post.  Every time it seems that things are going to settle down, some new and outrageous thing happens that needs to be dealt with.  I feel like a whirling dervish half the time and the other half I feel like a zombie.  But since stitching is my calming devise, I've  been stitching like a fiend!
     After finishing Ann Bowers, I went back to the Blackbird Design Garland Fair and put the verse in.

It was my first time using the Tudor Silk.  It was very nice to work with, especially on 40 ct. over one.
    Then I had an itch for a new start (we all know I just have nothing to work on) and since I had signed up for several SALs at the beginning of the year that I hadn't gotten to yet, that is exactly what I did.  In the Facebook Group for Long Dog Samplers I signed up for Dawn Chorus.  It is a very colorful but smallish sampler I think I can finish this year even though it might only get sporadic attention.

38 ct Ivory Italian linen
with mostly called for overdyed threads
I had also joined the Sampler World SAL for Barbara Ana's All Creatures Great and Small and finally made a start on that.  I experienced some difficulty in getting all the supplies together for this one which put me really far behind.  But I figured I probably wouldn't be on schedule with it by now even if I had started it on time so I just went with it!  It is a really fun stitch and I've had a good time with it even though A&E samplers tend to not be my thing.

Called for linen and threads
Probably why it was so difficult to get it all together!

The piggies in this section are just too stinking cute!!

   So I was innocently stitching along and got the call that one of the charts I was waiting to borrow was now available.  Which means I dropped everything else to get to work on it.  This is Moonlit  Garden, another Blackbird Design, and even though I was working on it 'out of season' it was so much fun!!  I just love the checkerboard house!

36 or 40 ct. R&R Chamomile Tea (I'm not sure which)
with mostly called for threads

This is where I was on this one before I packed up and went to Atlanta to visit  the Finishing Fairie.  We had been trying to get together all Spring and couldn't seem to make it work.  It was a last minute dash out of town and the traffic was terrible both going and coming back!  But we had a good time running around and got lots of stitching done.  I put the last stitches in it just days after getting home.

Keeping in mind that I had left my husband alone all week to deal with household things that it turned out he couldn't deal with and I spent most of the next week putting my house back in order!  Nothing less than what I had expected but time consuming none the less.
     After that finish, I felt the need for another!  So I pulled out the last sampler on my short-list of things to finish.  Red House Sampler by The Sampler Co. is now complete!!

I started this 3 years ago on our Spring beach vacation so it was about time!!  I was a little concerned about getting it finished with all the border that was still left to do but I buckled down, worked on it consistently, and it was finished in just a few days.
    Props go out to my LNS owner who spotted a couple of things that weren't right in that upper right corner.  I probably put it down before that particular section was all in and when I picked it up again didn't realize it was half done.  Anyway, I'm sure glad she found it before I had it framed!!
    I also stitched a Habitat sampler during this time but I have no picture since I think it is the ugliest little sampler on the planet.  I do one every now and then  for my EGA chapter since it is our Outreach project but I never enjoy stitching them.  I guess we all have to do penance of some kind!
   So that's where things stand now.  I have a couple of other new starts that are gifts for friends that I'm not sure if I will show here or not.  I guess you can show what you want to if they don't know its for them!  I've done it before.

Until next time, I hope you're enjoying your stitching as much as I am!  Laura

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Waving Goodbye to Ann

  Well, it has been a long time coming but I finally put the last stitches into Ann Bowers Sunday afternoon.  It was so wonderful to see the end of that very long stitch, a finish literally years in the making.  But it was also kind of sad too because she has been a long time companion and a challenging piece to work on although a lot of that was of my own making.  (my advice:  Investigate the stitches used in a sampler BEFORE going crazy and changing to a high count linen!!!)

  Without further ado,  I show you my now completed Ann Bowers!

Ann Bowers by The Exemplarery
45 ct Italian linen w/ DMC

I really love this wide center band with the birds!

    My major hang up with finishing this piece was the strawberry band above the bargello.  It is supposed to be done in queen stitch, which I found would not work on 45 ct linen with DMC!  Trying to find a stitch to substitute was a nightmare.  Someone suggested I just leave it off but it is one of the identifying characteristics of this sampler and I just couldn't do it.  In the end, I used my go to stitch when subbing for queens and although I didn't like it in the beginning,  I think it worked in the end.
    So there she is, finally finished!  I am hoping for another finish within a couple of days so keep an eye out!!

Hope you're having as much fun with your stitching as I am,    Laura

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Road to Hell...

  Yes, I'm sure you are all familiar with the old saying about the road to hell being paved with good intentions.  That's me, good intentions but getting nowhere fast.  After the wonderful progress I had made in finishing Wips during the first couple of months of the year I thought I would have several more by not but that is not the case.  And I am now prepared to show you why.
  After my finish of The Pink Sparrow Sampler, I pulled out another long suffering Wip, The Red House Sampler and I got very close to a finish before having to move on.

Only my name, date and what remains
of the border left to do.

I had to put The Red House Sampler aside because  a chart that was being loaned to me became available and I needed to get right to it.  I picked the linen and thread from my stash and got down to work.

Blackbird Designs Garland Fair
40 ct. Meadow rue w/ Valdani silk

I still have the over one verse left to do on this one and it remains unfinished since I can't decide what color silk to use.  The Valdani is too thick for over one on 40 ct but I do have several of the Gloriana Tudor silks I can use if I just make up my mind!!
  Then, it was getting close to crunch time with a birthday gift so I got back to work on Mary Betchel.

 I love the colors in this one but for some reason it was just moving along too slowly and I knew I wasn't going to have it finished in time.  I will have to get back to this one soon because I am being over-run by UFOs and the thought of adding another one to the pile makes me want to scream!!
  So, now I'm trying to figure out what to do for the birthday gift.  I have several things in various stages of completion that might fit the bill and I worked on a few of them along the way.  I thought this half finished With My Needle piece might be nice. But as I worked it, it just didn't feel right.  Then I found an error and had to rip out the crown on the right side and I knew it was doomed!


Then I did a total new start, keeping in mind that I was moving into the 2 weeks til the event zone. Insane, I know, but what was I to do??

Love, love this piece but red is my color, not hers and I really didn't like the linen.  The silk doesn't give good coverage on it and I really prefer something in a tighter weave.
  So I thought I would just leave it for a while and see what came to me and in the mean time I worked on some other things.  Ann Wallace came out to play for a day and I got her on a lap frame to boot.  I think she might migrate downstairs and become my baseball piece, for a while anyway.  Baseball starts in just a few weeks and is a solid 3 or more hours of stitching just about every night.  I should be able to make some significant progress on her over the summer!

Yesterday, I decided to get Ann Bowers out and try get her wrapped up.  The over one verse on 45 ct is just about making me blind but at least it is the last line!!

So that has been my journey for the past month, wildly meandering and full of good intentions but no new finishes.  I hope to be able to show you at least a couple in my next post and hopefully it won't be another month before that happens!!  However, I can make no promises.  I placed a HUGE market order and who knows what might happen when that gets here!

Hope you are enjoying your stitching as much as I am,   Laura

By the way,  I did figure out what to do for my friend for her birthday and I think you are ALL going to be surprised!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I Believe I'm On a Roll

   Shocking but true, I have another finish!  I am making an effort toward finishing up some wips and I have another finish since my last post.  It was about 1/3 done, which seems to be about where I lose interest on most pieces, so it needed some significant work.  Add to that, the constantly changing colors and it might be an outright miracle that I finished this one at all!!  But I persevered and I put the last stitches into The Pink Sparrow Sampler by WTN&T last week.

40 ct. Lakeside linen with called for threads

Might I just add, I did press this piece.  I don't know what the deal is here and it happens to me all the time.  I pressed it with steam on the linen setting and it looked really crisp.  But as it cools, it looks like it was wadded into a ball!  Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
  So, this one took a week longer than I thought it would because I had some misadventures in computing along the way.  The latest Windows 10 update crashed my computer 3 times and even my techie son couldn't get it back up the third time.  I spent some hard earned but well spent  money with the Geek Squad and they got it back up, eventually.  It still isn't right but is functional so I am limping along until my DC son can get home and get it back up to snuff.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!
  Moving on,  I got my red Santa back from the framer.  Yeah!!!!!  He  is gorgeous if I do say so myself!

One Starry Christmas Eve by WTN&T
40 ct Weeks Aztec red linen
w/ my cotton conversion

It did take longer to get it back than the framer said it would but since we had a snow storm in the middle I figure I should cut her some slack!
   Alas,  these finishes do not keep me from starting new pieces.  I know the idea is to finish wips but what is life without new starts??!!  My January 1st start was Ann Wallace by the Scarlet Letter. Love, love, love this one and look forward to working on her this year.

This is how far I have gotten.  Keep in mind that I don't have a regular schedule for my rotation, just work on things in the rotation when I feel like it.

40 ct. Peeps Lost Sheep by Dames of the Needle
w/ called for DMC

Next up is barely worth a picture at this point and probably won't be finished until next year.

I bought this and kitted it as soon as it became available to us normal folks and I plan to make this my 35th wedding anniversary sampler.  Hence, the long time period I have to work on it.

Last but not least is my most recent start.  I kitted this one as soon as it came out too and I think it needs to be stitched!! I love these colors and I splurged on the silks.

40 ct. Lakeside Meadow rue
w/ called for silks

It's worked in Belle Soie which is not my favorite silk.  It is taking an extraordinary amount of time to stitch since the lengths used have to be cut so short to avoid fraying.  But in the end, I think it will be worth it since the colors are so vivid.  I start adding the red today and look forward to that pop of color!

So that's it for me for now.  I am planning to pull some more wips out of the bag too so I hope to have another finish in the very near future.  I'll  keep you posted!  Laura