You are currently browsing the archives for March 2011.

Thank You Nicki!!!

  • Posted on March 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Dear, sweet Nicki has been knitting up some wonderful things lately (check out her blog) and was kind enough to knit something for me, as well. Unfortunately, this blog post is way overdue, as a package from her was waiting for me when I returned from San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. I had almost forgotten that we had discussed fingerless mitts a while back, so it was such a nice surprise after that stressful little trip to come home to squishy, present mail!

Nicki really outdid herself, too. Not only did she include some Golden Promise linen from Silkweaver for me to try out for a design I’m working on, which I was expecting, and a pair of gorgeous fingerless mitts, which I was half-expecting, but she also knit a beautiful cowl for me to go with the mitts. Little did she know (and I think that I’ve even neglected to tell her before now) that I get sore throats and other issues where I just love having something wrapped around my neck and throat area. Seriously! I have had a sore throat all day and am wearing it right now. Ahhhh, heavenly.

Per usual, the colors aren’t spot on, but are close enough to give you an idea. Look at the patterns she used! Lacy, cabled and just wonderful!

The overdyed yarn that she used is mottled with such lovely colors; it is simply scrumptious! And the stitches are so tiny, I can’t even begin to tell you how delicate her knitting is. I have no idea how small the needles she used are, but they have to be teeny. Nicki and I had already discovered before that our hands are similarly sized, so hopefully it made it easier for her to stitch the mitts. They are just the right size!

Nicki said that this is her first pair of fingerless mitts that she has knit, but you truly couldn’t tell from looking at them. Her knitting is perfection.

Nicki, you are amazing! Thank you so much for your kindness! I only hope that I will be able to return the favor sometime in the future.

Heart Tuffet Finished

  • Posted on March 26, 2011 at 7:22 pm

C’est fini!

It took me a couple of hours, but I finished my Heart Tuffet a couple of days ago. I had envisioned a finish for this one and I think I managed to carry it off quite well, if I don’t say so myself. When I first saw the design, I knew it wouldn’t be a biscornu with that heart in the center. Because the design was square, I immediately thought of doing a mattress pincushion finish. Even though I had never done one before, I had an idea of how I could construct it fairly easily. From there, my vision included pulling the centers together like you would with a biscornu, except this one would get pulled together by stitching around the square in the center of the design over which the heart is stitched. I had a feeling that it would produce a really neat effect this way, if everything came together as planned. It turns out, my vision was an accurate one and it worked out just as I had hoped it would. Nary a catch anywhere, honestly. I didn’t bother looking up how to construct a mattress pincushion because I had an idea in my head of how to do it. I just Google’d it and looked through a couple of tutorials and it turns out that I constructed mine in a very similar fashion to other people. I actually saw some instructions that gave me an idea of how to do mine better the next time. I enjoyed this type of finish so much that there will definitely be a next time.

Well, I’ve bored you enough, so here is the content that you are really more interested in – the pictures!

First up in the first contest photo, so it’s a montage of the 3 photos I selected to keep. The photos following it are the individual close-ups:

And then the second contest photo (of the opposite side) and its component close-up shots:

Tomorrow’s post will be about some lovely squishy gifty mail that was waiting for me when I returned from San Francisco. I need better lighting in order to show the colors properly, so hopefully I’ll be able to capture some in full daylight tomorrow, as my thank you post is well overdue!

Heart Tuffet Contest Stitching

  • Posted on March 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm

It’s time for another contest from Thea Dueck of The Victoria Sampler for the members of the Victoria Sampler Yahoo! group. This time the design is called Heart Tuffet and the deadline to submit a picture of your finished piece is April 1st. She always gives us plenty of time and I inevitably leave mine until close to the end.

I chose the overdyed floss, two coordinating colors of DMC (though the design only calls for one coordinating color) and fabric before leaving for San Francisco. I even got to start on one side of the piece while we were there. I just realized that I didn’t add the four beads called for in the design. I’ll have to take a good look at it, but I don’t think I want to clutter up the piece, so I may skip them completely. We’ll see; it may take a little experimenting before I come to a decision on that point.

I have mostly decided on a finishing technique for this one and it’s one that I have never done before, so this should be interesting. I have my own ideas of how to do it, so I’m not going to troll the ‘net for instructions. I’d prefer to wing it. I’m anxious to see if some of the ideas I have for this will pan out. As long as I don’t completely destroy the stitching in the process of monkeying around with the finish, then I should be in good shape. I should have the finish done by the end of the weekend.

Oh what, you’d like to actually see the stitched pieces? 😉 As usual, I had to fiddle with the colors in Photoshop. The thread colors are pretty close, but the fabric is a little off. It’s actually Ray of Light lugana, which is a pale yellow.

Here’s the top:

And I reversed the color scheme for the bottom:

I already know that I’m not going to win, based on a few of the photos that have already been submitted to the contest, but I’m hoping to make at least a respectable showing. Besides, it’s a good excuse for me to stitch and get something done; it’s not really about winning for me.

Stitching in Air…

  • Posted on March 23, 2011 at 12:44 am

Airports and airplanes, that is. I took a quick trip out to San Francisco last week for work. We arrived Sunday afternoon, with the hopes of catching up with a friend from college Sunday night, but we had left the house at 2 AM and were absolutely exhausted when we got in. We hit the hotel restaurant for a late lunch and then pretty much slept until Monday. Seriously. We had planned to go into the city on Monday, but Terry felt unwell and I had a headache, so we spent the day in the hotel. Tuesday was a full day at Big Red, I mean Oracle, with a riverboat dinner cruise that night which I ended up having to skip because I was feeling feverish and nauseous. Wednesday saw another 6+ hours at Oracle and then off to the airport to wait for our red eye flight. I was awake from 6 AM Wednesday until 1 or 2 PM Thursday, when we finally arrived home, not counting snooze time on the planes. It was a brutal trip and I’m still paying for it headache-wise, but it was well worth it from a professional standpoint.

So, anyway, the point is that I spent a good chunk of time in airports and airplanes while flying out and back. The cheapest flights went to SFO by way of Atlanta, which extended that time even more. Yes, I could have gotten a direct flight, but it was excessively expensive and I was paying for Terry to fly out with me, so a couple of hundred dollars made a difference. The worst part was arriving at SFO Wednesday evening, expecting to be able to get our bags checked in, scoot through security and then get a relaxing dinner and hang out near the gate. Not so much, it turns out. Air Tran must only run red eye flights out of SFO, so the desk doesn’t even open until 8:30 PM. That really sucked. We had to walk over to the international terminal to find a food court and hang out there for a couple of hours and then back to wait for another 2 hours in front of the Air Tran desk. Bah. Lessons learned, though!

As far as stitching goes, many of you remember the Just Nan Butterfly Heart design that I stitched multiple times in colors of the rainbow back in 2008, right? Unfortunately, the purples that I had picked out and stitched early on in that project were dusty and the remaining colors that I chose later did not work with the purples. I started a new purple instance back then, but put it down when I realized that the shading between the 3 (sequential) floss colors in the DMC line was not subtle enough. Well, prior to leaving for San Francisco, I decided that this would be a perfect design to travel with (as it had been in the past), so I ripped out all of the old stitching (more than 50% of the design) and kitted it up with another set of purples to try. I guess the third time is a charm because it worked out well this time. I started the design on the plane out from Atlanta to San Francisco and ended up finishing it in the SFO airport before leaving to come home.

Now I just need to choose some fabrics to piece my 6 rainbow colored instances of this design together into a bellpull. I guess I’ll have to gather up the pieces and take them to the nearest Joann store when I have some time.

New Blog Template

  • Posted on March 10, 2011 at 11:18 pm

There were some things about the old template that were bothering me (bugs, mostly) and when I went out to the author’s website, I found out that it’s no longer being supported. This one (dubbed Purple Pastels, from the same author) seemed like a appropriate substitute. And it behaves better, too.

There’s a lot of customization that I can do with this one, including a completely custom header. Yeah, when I get some free time…

So, what do you think?

Latest Finishes

  • Posted on March 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm

I have another finish to show today. I stitched a hardanger card for my mother’s birthday. This one is the February edition of Nordic Needle’s hardanger card club from 2010. Their kits included the design, card and pearl cotton #8 equivalents. Needless to say, I didn’t want to do the weaving with pearl 8, so I’ve been slowly buying the pearl cotton #12 or floss equivalents to go with each kit. I have less than half of them kitted up to date. I’ll have to do some online purchases to fill in the blanks.

This is the first one I’ve actually stitched out of the 12 kits, though I do plan to stitch them all and send them out for various stitchers’ birthdays. Eventually.

Here is the card and a closeup of the hardanger section. I chose a pale yellow fabric with which to back the hardanger section, so the picots don’t show up very well. I hate picots. Truly. Hate. Picots. And, as you will see, the woven section of this design consisted primarily of picots. Ugh.

My other finish to show off is long overdue. It is my framed The Sweetheart Tree round robin. I picked it up weeks ago, but getting a good picture of it has proven to be difficult. I had to do some fiddling in Photoshop to get the colors a little closer to the real hues. It’s still not perfect, but I would have to put a lot of time into it in order for it to be precise and even then the colors still might not be exact, so I’ll settle for what I have.

This counts as my final Not-So-Crazy January Challenge finish, as I got it to my framer at Michaels just before the end of January. On a side note, I actually saw my framer at Michaels when I was in the other night and she joked that I didn’t have anything with me to be framed. No, I’m actually all tapped out until I finish some other pieces. That is really hard to believe, but fantastic to be able to say!

Anyway, back on topic. Here is the framed round robin:

I hope that you are all having a wonderful weekend. The temperatures here are quite nice today, although we are lacking in sunshine. The clouds don’t surprise me, as we are expecting rain storms to move in for tomorrow. Just in time for my cousin’s bridal shower. At least we’ll be inside!

Latest Crafting Attempts

  • Posted on March 2, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Yes, I have to say “attempts” because I’m not terribly happy with some of the results.

I’ll start with the latest finish first. This is a card for Anna‘s grandmother’s birthday. I rattled thoughts around in my head for a while without even the slightest hint of cohesion occurring and never did come up with an idea, except to use my new Sizzix Big Shot, which I bought recently from and I happen to see is still on sale for $59.99. Anyway, I texted Anna and asked what Maggie’s favorite color was, to which she promptly replied “leopard.” And then, a more helpful response suggesting bright colors and no pastels. Yes, Maggie is not your ordinary grandma, for sure. But then, Anna isn’t your typical woman, either. 😉 Anyway, with the suggestion of bright colors pinging from one side of my cranium to the other, I just started pulling colors that would go with the Sizzlit dies that I wanted to use. Of course, I chose cherry blossoms and those don’t exactly lend themselves to bright colors now, do they?

The example on the front of the package of dies showed two-toned red blossoms with dark brown or black branch and yellow accents inside. Now we’re cooking – a little bit. Let’s not get carried away. But at least I had three colors picked out now, red black and yellow. What other dies are in the set? Branches with leaves. Okay, so throw in some green. That’s the palette. Now what?

Anyway, the entire process of creating this card was painful, to say the least. And after giving myself a headache from the fumes coming off of the gold metallic paint pen that I used to write in the greeting by hand, the thing is done. It’s ugly, but it’s done. I even threw in some pop dots to lift the cherry blossoms off of the page and give it a little dimension. So at least it’s one step above something a first grader could do. *sigh* So here it is, in all of its dull and decidedly un-birthday-like glory:




The inside of the card looks like someone vomited Mardi Gras remnants onto it and I’m pretty sure that my signature sugary swirls of writing on the envelope will give Maggie diabetes, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right? 😕

Let’s move on to crafts at which I actually excel, shall we?

This first stitching finish is from mid-February. The design is The Flower Juggler’s Bookmark from Janie Hubble Designs (formerly The Cat’s Whiskers Design Studio). I stitched it using DMC floss on linen that I hand dyed some time ago. Unfortunately, I settled on the pink and yellow before trying to find a green that went with them and the best I could find was a little too close to the color of the fabric.



I apologize for the shadows in the pictures, but I tried a few different times to take pictures and couldn’t manage to eliminate the shadows. Granted, Terry has special lights and a light box to eliminate that problem but, let’s face it, I’m lazy and it wouldn’t be worth all of that effort for this little project. That said, if I ever want to send pictures to Janie, I guess I’ll have to do them right. I made it for myself, though, and it has my initial on it, so it’s not like it’s going anywhere right now.

And the other stitching finish, which I just completed on Monday, is a bookmark for my mother’s birthday and the pièce de résistance of this blog post. The design is a freebie from Passione Ricamo that Laura designed for Mother’s Day 2009. I stitched it using Caron Waterlilies silk in the color Frangipani on 32 count overdyed linen from Silkweaver in the color Rosebud, which I don’t think they make anymore. 🙁 Yes, the silk really has pale pink and yellow in it, but as I’m gradually learning (and you would think that I would have learned from my epic Swirlygigs failure), color changes in pale threads do not show up well against dark backgrounds. Which really goes against everything my brain thinks is right and true and explains why I continue to make this mistake.

I fused interfacing to the back and sewed it up. It’s not a perfect sewing job, but that seems to be the story of my life this week.

So, there you have it. My latest crafty adventures. Woo. Hoo. Can you tell I’m feeling annoyed tonight? I’m telling you, it’s those darned paint pen fumes!

Happy (early) Birthday Maggie!

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