Friday, December 30, 2011

Wrapping up 2011...

Happy New Year of 2012 to everyone!  Hope all of your holiday celebrations were happy ones! I guess I need to wrap up my stitching year with some pictures of several projects finished up these last three weeks. Jo asked for a picture of all the tiny biscornu necklace fobs, so here they are....

The one for October is not so tiny, but hey, I like it!  My college class ring is beside the first one so you can see how small they are. I was working on the last one and got many comments at the stitching seminar, and a few people wanted instructions! Earlier this year I did do a tutorial on biscornu finishing so I hope that helps anyone who wants to try their hand at wearable needlework art. My final results for 2011 included 44 completed projects (2 were gifts), and 18 of those projects were also finished off as biscornu, ornaments or pillows. I still have 8 WiPs and 10 UFOs. For 2012 I am going to try and get 2 more WiPs completed, and attempt some designs of my own for the monthly biscornu series, so keep visiting!

On to the JCS Christmas at Williamsburg Needlework Seminar....this year was the 25th annual event for Hoffman Publishing, the publishers of Just Cross Stitch and many other crafting magazines. The event does lean in the direction of samplers and reproductions, but this year I took the class with Barbara Jackson of Tristan Brooks Designs. The piece is a traditional crewel Jacobean design of a strawberry motif for a needle book and fob. Barbara is an experienced surface embroiderer with training from the Royal School in England, and taught us some of the tricks of the trade. I learned that "crewel" refers to the type of thread used, which is usually plied wool, although any fiber can be used.  We basted muslin to the back of our linen ground fabric (and stitched right through both layers) to give more strength to the piece, which is meant to be used. She went over each stitch, from stem stitch to long and short, to split stitch, lazy daisy, bullion, tied fly, and satin stitch, and yes....french knots! Here is a close up...
The design is very lightly sketched on the linen for us in the kit, and blue dots of washable marker are there to outline the shape for finishing. I still have to remove them and assemble the two parts of the set, the needle book/scissor keep and a separate scissor fob.  I really enjoyed doing those yellow bullion stitches!
This is the completed front cover of the book (upside down), and will be stretched over acid free card stock (which she found at a comic book store!) cut into a heart shape. The hinge will be on the top edge. Inside is a fold of felt and a pocket for some tiny scissors. The back and the fob are here...
I actually added a strawberry to the back so my poor attribution would not look so sparse! The fob is folded and hem stitched with a bit of fluff. Here are some close up pics....

All that is left to do on this is to do the finishing!  The instructions are clear, and Barbara went over them in class, so I feel pretty sure I'll be getting it done soon! I would recommend her as a class teacher wholeheartedly, one of the best teachers I've had in fact!  Since I was in a "crewel" mood, I decided to finish up another embroidery piece from a previous class with Catherine Jordan. This is her Tree of Life Journal Cover, and I just had to finish up the back and hem it and it's now done completely and covering a tiny 3x4 inch blank journal! I put the title and year (in Roman numerals) on there as well as my initials hidden in the grass. This little journal is going to be saved for very profound thoughts indeed!

I was in need of an idea for my Mom for her Christmas gift (she is 87 and really hard to shop for!) so an exclusive design from San-Man Originals for the members of her bulletin board magically appeared (Thanks Sandy!) and insisted I stitch it!  I used opalescent fabric to give it a snowy sparkle and will make a little banner for her door this time for the new year, of course!
Now I am working on the 2011 Prairie Schooler Santa as my last project of the year...hope to finish stitching it by tomorrow.  I also have another picture I want to share...a few months ago I saw a blog somewhere, and the blogger was showing off her "flower frog" that she was using to keep her scissors safely stored away in.....and I just HAD to find this "flower frog" thingy, whatever that was!  Not a frog at all (tho' a flower frog FROG would be so appropriate for sewing scissors don't ya know!), but a glass bowl with a top that has holes for arranging short stemmed flowers like pansy blossoms. And, through the power of eBay, I found this lovely blue glass bowl and took this picture. Now I have to round up all the other little scissors to keep in it!  LOVE IT!

May everyone have a safe and happy New Year in 2012 and be sure to come visit me often!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lots of smalls to celebrate!

November was a VERY busy month, and December is looking the same, so I'm posting a Happy Dance catch-up today!  I'm going to try and keep them in chronological order, so here we go.....

Early in the month I stitched the Mill Hill Buttoned & Beaded kit for the Gingerbread House, which was a birthday present for my DMIL Helen. I have given it to her so now I can post a picture!
The red frame is also from Mill Hill....what could be easier?

Next I stitched the last of the Val's Stuff Kitty Kalendar series for December. Stitched on a Silkweaver Solo on hand, and very cute!  Now that all 12 are done, I've got to figure out a way to finish them, possibly with only one small frame to switch them out every month.

Next is my November tiny biscornu, a freebie pattern from the Alexandrina blog Matrioshka Biscornu, the Acorn Biscornu and Scissor Fob set. I made the biscornu tiny by stitching over one and adding a leaf button. It is about an inch and a half across.

At this point I was on a roll when it comes to smalls, and decided to keep going because the month had been so busy with Thanksgiving and all, and the teenage boy kittens were getting too interested in my large Chatelaine on the frame!  Next up, the 1989 Schooler Santa from Prairie I only have this year's 2011 Santa and beyond!

In a Christmas mood, I decided to get out the backlog of Just Cross Stitch ornament issues and stitch up a couple. These two are both from the 2004 ornie issue, Never Too Big, by Dragon Dreams....
...and Woodland Snowfall from Little House.  Hope to do a lot of ornament finishing in the new year!

Lastly, since I was going off to the JCS Christmas in Williamsburg Stitching Seminar I kitted up my December necklace fob and had it done in no time. The motif I used was from a pattern by Janie Hubble from the November issue of The Gift of Stitching online magazine. This is the smallest one yet, barely an inch across!  I added some beads and a tiny Polar Express bell to make it festive.

Now I am all caught up, and will post more later on the stitching seminar I attended with my friend Carolyn.
The class we took was with Barbara Jackson of Tristan Brooks Designs, and is a crewel strawberry needlebook and fob.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More October stitching!

Here I am again with another Chinese Garden update!  I finished the Spring corner garden of part 6 and have an updated picture....there are three more seasonal corners and lots of specialty stitching yet to come!

And here is the whole piece so far....I am now 2 parts behind but with the holidays upon us I don't expect to get caught up anytime soon!

In addition, I finished up a couple of smalls. One is from the SanMan BB, and is exclusive to members. This was my car project for the month (while waiting for DD's soccer practice to complete). I changed the cat's eyes to green but otherwise no changes. The fabric is a 28ct cashel called Violet Mist. It will probably become a Halloween ornie!

Finally, my November Kitty Kalendar from Val's Stuff....stitched on a 28ct colonial blue evenweave.
Only December left, and then will probably make a wall hanging of some sort so I can flip the pages like a calendar each month.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quick update on Chinese Garden...

I'm working on pt.6 of Chatelaine's Chinese Garden Mandala this week, and finished the fourth gate. Before moving on to the northwest garden I took some pictures to share here! This is the gate from the left, or west side.

And here is the whole piece so far...I had to move it into a larger q-snap at this point! Now working on the upper left corner garden. More later!

Monday, October 10, 2011

In Halloween mode!

Halloween is so fun to stitch for!  I have three new finishes to show off....first, a kit from Trail Creek Farm called Halloween Cats. The pillow and stitchable cover come with the chart and floss, so it's a quick stitch. I did have to stitch most of it in hand because it was hard to use my usual q-snaps inside the cover. I gave the cats different faces for some humor. I didn't really like the charted faces so uses some backstitch and french knots instead, and left the words (Halloween Cats) off, as I thought it was cute without.
Next is my monthly biscornu necklace fob, from a chart by Jemini Designs called ScareCat. I stitched it over one and added a border to be able to finish it as a biscornu. It is about 1.5 inches, a little bigger than the others.
Last night I finished another Halloween pillow, this time by SanMan Originals, called Halloween Hoot Night.  Sandy even made the tuck pillow with the round opening!  It turned out really cute on 28ct Silkweave solo linen. This little owl looks like he got into the cider and had too much!
Now I'm back working on the Chinese Garden Mandala.....more later!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Two more September finishes...

Finally found some time to post about my last two finishes in September! I'm blaming it on the new school year for daughter Kira, plus it's her senior year which means soccer practice, SATs, yearbook photos, homework, etc.--and I am trying to work out 3 days a week, and all the other stuff of life, including the new kittens! They are off tomorrow to be neutered and after that we can start letting them out of quarantine in the guest room!

At any rate, here are the pics, which I'm sure is more interesting than all that!
First is the final Micro design from Chatelaine--#04. It is stitched on 32ct Silkweaver solo with called for fibers and beads. It is the version 2 colorway except for the dark purple motifs which were supposed to be the darker pink. I wanted a bit more contrast so I just used the Purple Night Sky (personally I think is looks more very dark blue, but hey...) instead. Now all four Micros are done, and I have to figure out what to do with them!

I also stitched another state heart from Victoria Sampler's series, this time #21 for Illinois. Almost to the halfway mark on the 50 states!

I felt the urge to start something new for Halloween so now I'm working on a piece from Trail Creek, and hope to finish it soon so I can get back to my Chinese Garden Mandala.  Happy Autumn!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chatelaine's Chinese Garden progress...

The fifth part of the Chinese Garden Mandala has been added!  This is the third moon gate image, which is upside down in the piece, so I flipped it for easier viewing here!

And here is the overall piece so far....

I'm really loving it on the black linen, and have not had much trouble seeing the threads, to my surprise!  Going to move on to the last of the Chatelaine Micro designs for the rest of this week. Happy Stitching!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Imagine my surprise.....

Yep, I was surprised to see my own words in the newest issue of Cross Stitch & Needlework! November 2011 issue, page 8 if anyone wants to know.....they have a Facebook page and ask stitchy questions frequently. The question was about designing your own patterns so I mentioned the ONE large design I have done and they liked my answer enough to publish in the magazine!  Here is what I said....
"I charted a long poem written by my late grandfather and his sisters in 1905 when they were children. It was about Uncle Charlie's horse "Kitty" so I added a little bay mare pulling Uncle C in his wagon and a blackwork-ish version of the house they lived in...all as a 50th anniversary gift for my aunt, and (since they are twins) another for my mom! It was loads of fun to chart and stitch (twice)! I need to do more originals I think."
and here is what I was talking can click on it for a bigger pic.
Guess I've had my 15 minutes of fame now....back to my stitching!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September's tiny biscornu necklace

Well, the Labor Day holiday weekend was pretty busy, but I managed to stitch up my monthly tiny biscornu over the weekend so I can go back to the Chinese Mandala!

It is a little flower motif from the blog of Anne-Marie called Brodstitch. I stitched it over 1 so had to adjust a bit since it had fractional stitches. It is just about an inch and a half across.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's September...can Halloween be far behind?

I have to admit I love stitching stuff for Halloween, just because of all the fun, funky colors! This week it was the Val's Stuff October Kitty Kalendar cat, poking his head out of a pumpkin. Only two more to go in the series!  Fabric is a 28ct Silkweaver Solo, suitably funky.
Speaking of kitties....we recently added to the menagerie when our local shelter had a special cat adoption day for only $10 each, which included all shots, tests and neutering! Picked the new boys up a little over a week ago, and have them confined from the rest of the pets until they get over the usual shelter colds.  They are brothers, about 6 months old, and silver tabbies. Meet Taliesen and Finn MacCool !  Tali and Finn for short, blue and red collars respectively. They are staying in the guest room and adjoining bath for now. Never had two kittens who moved so constantly, except when they are eating and purring like no tomorrow! Hard to take pictures of them together. Will keep trying!
Of course, our dog Lad is totally confused by them, and the older cats Cassiopeia (Cassi) and Leo are wary, but we hope for a smooth transition once the little boys are done with their surgeries. We are a four cat household again!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Holland Landscapes progress report

Well!  This took a bit longer than I thought, but part 9 of Chatelaine's Holland Landscapes is finally done! The parts added are the two delft tiles at the top, and the triangular motifs under each.
Here is a close up of the top....
Now I can take a break with a few smalls before moving on to the next WiP in the rotation! Hope everyone has a great Labor Day holiday in the USA, and a nice stitchy weekend everywhere else!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Between Chatelaines....

Think of this as the middle of the sandwich! In between Chatelaines I have done another small in the form of one of the Victoria Sampler Hearts of America series, #20 for Mississippi. Someday when all 50 are done, they will become a quilt. For now they give me a nice easy break from the *large* projects that seem to be dominating my stitching this year.

.Finished this yesterday and promptly got out Holland Landscapes to work on the top delft tile motifs. I have to work on it upside down because I have it on a very large q-snap arrangement on my K's Creations floor stand. Hope to have a report on this over the weekend! Happy Stitching y'all!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chinese Garden progress....

Hey all!  I have the progress pics of Chatelaine's Chinese Garden Mandala thru part 4, the east gate. This went a bit faster than the north gate since the stonework is the same.
The whole piece so far....the south gate is next up once I rotate back to this.
Today I'm doing another Victoria Sampler state heart, #20, which is Mississippi.  Thirty more states to go!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

August Biscornu Necklace Fob

Stitched this up yesterday, easy peasy, and quick!  It is from the blog of Francois Sablaise, saved a while ago from her April 2009 post. She called it Pendouille Avril 2009, I call it a biscornu necklace fob!
First the two sides before assembly...stitched with DMC 564 and 778 on 28ct pearl linen.
Here it is, assembled and on a silver chain...front side.
 And the back side, on dramatic black! It is one and a half inches across.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

StitchinKat seen Stitchin' at the Spa!

Hey y'all!  Back from my lovely vacation in the Adirondacks of New York State, rested and refreshed for the heat wave still burning up North Carolina (96F as I write this!)  We enjoyed the cooler air, the vistas at Loon Lake, and the ice cream at the local diner!  All the pics are clickable if you need a closeup view. ;-)

Not far away from the lake front cabin owned by dear friends is the little town of Saratoga Springs, also known as "The Spa" (for it's history as a resort town) and more importantly, the home of the oldest horse racing venue in America, Saratoga Race Track !! We had a very good day, as all 5 of us visitors won at least one race, DD Kira picked three winners! We each pick a different horse in each race, spending only $2 each per race...just for the fun of pulling for your horse! Between races, you can see I took some time to do some "Stitchin' at the Spa"!
Here are my niece (left) and daughter (right) hamming it up....
And a beautiful view of the track out in the sun (we were comfy in the shade of the Grandstand!)
Watched this one from the rail, with aid from the big screen to tell who won!

The last race of the day finished....after every race, while the winner is paraded and photographed, the rest of the horses get a cool bath and water right on the track before they are led off to their long walks around the barn rows to cool down. Then the winner is led off as well, with many well deserved pats! Only one mishap the entire day, as a filly dumped her rider behind the gate and heading for the barns, but she was easily caught by an outrider and returned, even finishing fourth! Good thing 'cause her jockey would have never heard the end of it otherwise! 

As for that piece I'm stitching on....finished adding the embellishments last night and here it of The Silver Needle's kits for Secret Needle Night  called Camp Wannasew! It's by Brooke Nolan.
Earlier in the week of vacation I finished another of Val's Stuff Kitty Kalendar cats, for September.....
Still recovering from the trip, and stitching a little biscornu before going back to my many Chatelaines!