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SBQ – July 2010

  • Posted on September 30, 2010 at 9:29 am

The July question is a long one, with a lot of detail to it:

Stitching is an activity that tends to be solitary. Sometimes I wonder if we choose stitching because we are more comfortable with pursuits that we do alone, or does our stitching cause us to be loners? So what do you think?

And you know that I can never stop with just one question or thing to think about, so here’s something else that’s been on my mind.

Since we’re stitching alone most of the time, it seems to me that we get great joy from coming together with other stitchers. It can be such a good feeling when we find a group of people who speak our language and understand our stitching excitement and passion. But since not all stitchers are perfect, not all groups can be perfect either. So…if you could create your own perfect stitching group, what characteristics would make it perfect?

For instance, would you all be near the same age, or would you like your group to span a generation or two? Would you enjoy political or religious discussions while you stitch or would that make you shy away? Would you like a big group or a small group? Those are just a couple of variables in groups…tell us what’s important to YOU.

I’m a bit anti-social to begin with, so I guess that I probably like stitching because it’s a solitary pursuit. In fact, most of my hobbies are solitary ones that can be made social, but don’t have to be. I guess it’s because I’m an introvert that I gravitate towards these hobbies, but being crafty does not seem to lend itself to being terribly social. So, maybe the answer is a bit of both.

As far as deriving great joy from gathering with other stitchers, it depends on the stitchers. 😉 Seriously, though, I have a hard time putting myself out there to make new friends, so while it is a true joy to get together with stitching bloggers that I feel like I already know, it’s not so much fun for me to be amongst a group of strangers. That’s probably why I tend not to go to the monthly stitching group if Anna isn’t there. I had the intention of going to the last one without her and even RSVP’d, but ended up having tummy problems that kept me from going. I felt incredibly guilty about not going when I had actually called just that morning to sign up.

The perfect stitching group, for me, would be my favorite stitching bloggers, as I already mentioned. The ones I follow regularly, even though they are scattered around the country and the globe. It would be lovely to just hop in our transporters and meet somewhere on a regular basis for stitching and chatting, although it would be more chatting than stitching, I suspect. I don’t care about age so much: some of my best stitching pals are older than me. In fact, I think that most of them are. Having a open-minded group that would be open to political and religious banter would be nice, though Anna has no qualms about digging into those conversations regardless of the company, which can be lots of fun. So, that’s pretty much it for me. A gathering of good friends is what equals good fun for me!

SBQ – June 2010 – Part 2

  • Posted on September 29, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Often times we identify our love of needlework and our skills with our mothers or grandmothers or other women. It’s understandable because often they were are first teachers or role models. Now let’s think about our stitching life as it relates to our dads. Is there anything about our approach to stitching that we can recognize as traits of our fathers? For instance, does your dad (or any other important man in your life) have an approach to one of his interests that you can observe and think, “Hey….if I substitute the word “needlework” for “fly fishing”, we’d be pretty darn similar!” So tell us about it.

I’m afraid that I don’t have a good answer to this question. It’s a bit amorphous for my brain to process right now. I guess I would say that I am generally a perfectionist by nature, which I get from my biological father. However, I am learning to leave mistakes in my work, unless they will screw me up further down the road while stitching the piece. This I get from my step-father, whose motto is “perfect,” even when it’s not quite.

I had the concept of perfectionism psychologically beaten into my brain as I was growing up. Everything had to be just right. My father had a lot of anger issues at that time and I think that he was just generally unhappy, so nothing seemed to measure up to his standards. I’m one of those people-pleasers who pushed myself to get straight As in school, finish first in competitions, etc. It’s taken its toll on me as an adult and while the concept may have been initially instilled in me by my father, I now take full responsibility for allowing it to continue to have a (detrimental) hold on me.

My step-dad, on the other hand, is very easy going by nature. He is soft-spoken and puts a lot of thought into everything he says and does. I guess I could categorize him as being careful and deliberate. He is very gentle, accepting, caring and giving. No matter my flaws or flaws in my work, everything is “perfect.” He has been an incredibly positive influence in my life.

SBQ – June 2010 – Part 1

  • Posted on September 29, 2010 at 1:41 pm

You could say I’m a little behind in answering the Stitching Blogger’s Question of the month. I have answered one since they started back up in May. Oops.

This one is a two-part question, so I broke it up into two posts.

Tell us about something that you have stitched or plan to stitch for any father in your life. Maybe it’s for your father, your father-in-law, your children’s father, your grandfather, your godfather, or someone who was or still is an important father-figure in your life. Why did you choose this particular piece of stitching? Tell us the story behind it.

I’m going to drag out my answer to this question and show all of the pieces I’ve stitched for my fathers. That should fatten up this post nicely with lots of photos. 😉

First up is from 2004. My paternal grandfather passed in April of 2004 and I had recently renewed my relationship with my father, so I stitched a memorial piece. The design is by Cindy Morrill of Stitchworks, but I redesigned all of the stars.

That same year, I stitched a Dimensions kit for my step-father. He has been a father to me since he married my mother when I was 14 years old and in my heart he truly became my dad when I separated from my biological father in college. He has been my rock and my biggest fan for all of that time. He has also been a great inspiration to me, as he started his own business when we was in his 20s and continually makes huge strides. His entrepreneurial spirit is one to be truly admired and emulated.

Since re-establishing a relationship with my biological father, we now exchange Christmas ornaments every year. In 2005, I sent stitched ornaments.

This is a bad picture and the finishing turned out a little wonky, but I had the best of intentions. The design is Victorian Christmas Tree from (I believe) the 2004 JCS Christmas Ornaments issue. I don’t know the details because apparently I neglected to record them in my gallery.

This one is Santa’s Trimmings by Mosey and Me, as published in the 2004 JCS Christmas Ornaments issue. I really like this design and I think I knocked the finishing out of the park. 😀

I then had a dry spell until this year. I stitched a Pine Mountain pillow named My Dad for my step-father in May. It was intended to be a birthday gift, but I mistakenly stitched the pillow on the wrong count fabric (I didn’t want to use the aida included in the kit), so I had to stitch it again. It ended up being a belated birthday/early Father’s Day gift.

Finally, I stitch up the Maine design from the Hearts of America series by Thea Dueck of The Victoria Sampler this August for my father-in-law and his wife.

Latest Finish (And It’s Even Framed!)

  • Posted on September 18, 2010 at 9:39 pm

We were just in Walt Disney World for a week and since we drive down, I have a lot of time to think read stitch and sleep. Heavy on the sleeping part. I must have been one of those babies that you could take for a car ride to get to sleep because time on the road does it to me every time. It’s approximately a 16 hour drive for us. A lot of people might think that we are crazy, but honestly, with the Civic hybrid, we spend less in gas than it would typically cost one of us to fly down. Add that to the fact that I hate dealing with PHL and the TSA, plus Terry doesn’t mind driving and we have a (nearly) win-win situation. I say nearly because I have problems with my left hip that cause me to be in significant pain after about 3 hours of sitting in a car. Large amounts of ibuprofen on a regular basis are necessary to help lessen the pain, but it’s still not bad. Besides, we can take all of the luggage that we want without dealing with baggage fees. For us, that would be quite significant, because we pack a lot for one week in a studio that has a kitchenette – food, pillows, etc. – that would just not be possible if we flew.

Anyway… the end result of all of that driving (at least on the way down) was a finish for me on Blossom. I took pictures of it a few days later in full sunlight on our hotel balcony, but again I have found that the colors are not quite accurate and the picture was kind of crummy. Thursday night, I did a dry run of putting it into the frame that I bought for it. Unfortunately, the mat that I thought was going to work for it did not. 🙁 I was very disappointed and actually went out and ordered a mat cutter to be able to cut a new one. I checked to see if I could mount it without a mat, but the fabric was just this much too short. Boo. Hiss. I took it upon myself to try and stretch the piece to see if I could get the additional 1/8 inch or so that I could frame it without a mat. Unfortunately, that didn’t work. Drat! Foiled again! Or so I thought. However, when I removed it this morning from where I had blocked it out, it turns out I was just able to make it after all. And I mean just able to make it. I had no room to spare at all; not even one single thread at the top or bottom. Fortunately, I can use the mat cutter anyway and I bought the lowest end cutter that made sense for my use, so I am one step closer to doing more of my own framing without being significantly out of pocket. So, I went ahead and mounted and framed it today. Yes, I used the dreaded adhesive board, but I pretty much had to and it’s at least acid-free and produced by the same manufacturer that makes the mat board that I use, so it’s not as bad as it could be.

I snapped some pictures of the mounted piece in the frame before I pulled it back out and put in the glass and spacers. I had to take it outside and grab the pictures in direct sunlight in order to try to get the best representation of the colors in the piece. I think that this is the closest that I’m going to get, as it has turned out to be ridiculously difficult to take accurate pictures of this! I assume it’s the fabric that I hand-dyed which is causing some of the difficulties.

So, here are a couple of pictures of the finished and framed piece. First, a couple of snippets, a la Anne:

I’m not sure that I captured it adequately, but this piece has quite a 3D feel to the cross stitched portions because it called for 3 strands. Not to mention that I can’t take pictures that anywhere near as nice as Anne’s. 😉

Finally, here is the fully framed piece, in all of its sunlit glory. It’s slightly washed out, but I seriously don’t care:

I’m not sure that I’ll actually manage to get anything finished after this for a little while, as I have started kitting up Christmas presents. Neither of the major recipients read this blog, so I’ll be able to post when I get them stitched up, fortunately. Otherwise, I’d really not have much to write about. 😆

Stitching Catch-Up

  • Posted on September 5, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I managed to get in some good stitching time while we were in Maine last week. I didn’t actually manage to finish anything, but I made some progress on some small WIPs and started a new small project.

First up is Blossom by Maria Diaz:
Photo removed. See the finished piece here.

Next is Celtic Swirls from Ink Circles:

I’m going to finish this into a biscornu, so I have these teal blues on one side and will do dusty purples on the other side.

I also have a tiny finish, mostly because all I had left was the beading, so it seemed a shame not to just pop the beads on before I took the picture. This is the top piece of Lody Steward’s Pagoda Pincushion, as published in The Gift of Stitching digital magazine:

Once again, the color accuracy stinks, sorry.

Finally, the matching WIP that goes with this top is the bottom piece:

Anna will recognize both of these pieces, since I pull them out every stitching night and make very little progress. One of these days, I will actually finish stitching the bottom portion so that I can finally make it up!

That’s all of my stitching progress for now.

Another Finish-Finish

  • Posted on September 5, 2010 at 10:46 am

I’m not sure why I haven’t posted lately. If I could just beam things across with my brain, I would surely post more than I do now. But, alas, I cannot and the evil Facebook still has its seductive hooks in me. So, I’ll try to play catch-up, but split it into two posts, so you don’t have to wade through everything at once. Isn’t that nice of me? 😉

I have another finish-finish to show off. Try not to choke. This one was on a deadline, just like the other, so I pretty much had to do it. I wanted to enter the latest Victoria Sampler Yahoo! group contest, for which the deadline was September 1st. I’ve entered every stitching contest they’ve had so far and it’s been a great excuse to stitch and finish something small, so I just couldn’t pass it up. Since we’ve finished up the seasonal biscornus, the majority vote was to go with humbug designs and Thea obliged with Christmas Humbug. I chose to do mine on red linen, since I have quite a large hunk that I’ve never used:

I had fits getting good pictures, since I could not manage to get home when there was enough sunlight, but these aren’t too bad, except for a couple not quite being in focus:

So, there you have it: my latest finish. More updates to come later.

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