Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stitching Update...

Let's see where I am with my stitching goals...

Start and Finish Mirabilia’s Titania, Queen of the Fairies, for my mom.
Start and finish Oriental Poppies with ANG SpaceNeedlers chapter.
Stitch all 12 of the Beau Geste Vintage Ornaments.
Make progress on Cranberry Sampler. (completed)
Keep up with the MTP program.
Stitch Twister with stitch-a-long group.
Start my Christmas Stocking.
Work on Victoria’s birthday present. (completed)

November Goals:
Finish the Lavender Gift Box.
Finish my Christmas stocking.
Work on Madeline’s birthday present.

December Goals:
Work on machine embroidery Christmas village.
Do the finishing into ornaments of all my yearly stitched ornaments.

When I look back, I've completed a lot this year. I've been stitching on the Christmas stocking the last couple of days and it's coming along. Right now I'm stitching the sky and then after that the snow. Last will be all the backstitching.


*Two* of the dozens of gladiolius bloomed. They're a deep purple but a very poor blooms - it was just too cold this summer for them. I'm going to be lazy and leave them in the ground and next spring I'll overplant with some more. The lawn needs one more mowing so the next sunny day I'll be out there. My hostas are still going (late, I know!) so I haven't been able to divide the front three yet.

Quilt tops completed...

I'm getting *really* close to finishing all my work-in-progress pieces before the end of the year. :) I finished the log cabin quilt last night and the star one last week.
These are #31 and #30 from my quilt album.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Book Report Lunch...

Thursday was book report lunch for our homeschool group. Victoria did her report on Susan B. Anthony and Madeline did hers on Grover Cleveland.

Now, keep in mind Victoria is almost eight, so her report was a collection of sentences like "Lots of Susan's speeches were written by her friend, Elizabeth Stanton." and "Susan fought to free the slaves." and "She was a teacher and noticed that men were paid more money."

Madeline is almost five, so her report was basically "These are the Presidents of the United States. Grover Cleveland was President when he was young and here he is when he was old." Of course, then she wanted to show everyone every single picture, which is very common when they're a young presenter.

They both enjoyed getting applause.

Me? I'm feeling bleh. I'm not dealing well with the end to our summer season here (what summer?) and I feel like I need to lose 15 pounds. I've been having insomnia. Which would be fine if I was getting stuff done, but laying in bed wide awake isn't helping anyone. :-(

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Life in the fall...

The leaves are dropping on the grass. I hate to rake but Victoria loves it. Perhaps I'll send her out tomorrow! I'm glad I was able to get my bulbs planted on Saturday as it's been overcast and grey since then. My lovely gladioulus plants never bloomed; the summer was too wet. I didn't have to water my lawn *once* this summer.

The winter pansies and the fuschia are still going strong. I'm not sure what I will do with all the fuschia. I think most of them are hardy and will winter over but I'm sure being in pots will kill them. I think I can plant them in one of the pocket gardens and then transplant them back into pots in the spring. That will be my project on the next sunny day.

I took the girls to the children's museum yesterday with some friends. It was lovely and calm - the toddler set was there when we first arrived but they cleared out by 12:30 as the mothers take the toddlers home for naps. Today we did lessons (math, handwriting, reading) and are going to go to the post office, drop off checks for Denise the organizer (lady I ebay stuff for), then ballet and swimming. Travis gets to stay home and play with Brad. I enjoy the time at ballet and swimming as it is uninterrupted stitching time. I need to get working on my MTP so I'll be on that tomorrow.

Yesterday I finished most of the top on my star quilt. I have to add the narrow border. I'm going to try something new - on other quilts I've just sewn on the border and that was that. BUT I saw on one of the quilting shows, or maybe I read it in a quilt book, that I should MEASURE the quilt and then cut the strips and sew on the border. You apparently measure across the center of the quilt, not along the border, then pin the border on and sew. The advantage is it squares your quilt and you won't have wavy edges. We'll see if it works. I have definately gotten better in my piecing over the years. I look at some of my early pieces and whoa, they weren't the greatest. It's the same with needlework, though, you get more experienced with time.

Unfortunately, all my recent quilts just go in a bag underneath the bed as I can't afford to get them quilted, nor to I have the money for a long arm machine. And yes, I've quilted on my regular sewing machine and basically ruined a couple of tops that way. It's fine for little quilts but nothing sizeable. Someday I'll be able to buy a long arm machine. :)

Anyway, enough rambling. Time to head out!

Velveteen Pillow...

This is a very traditional design with traditional finishing. A basic, beautiful needlepoint design is worked almost entirely in basketweave. What makes it special is the border is worked in a large specialty stitch that adds texture and finish to the design.
The corners of the design are were not square, which meant the design could be finished as an octogon shape, perhaps with a gusset on the side. However, that would involve more labor and a custom shaped insert. Since the goal was to stay within the budget, I added insets of velveteen into each corner before finishing with a fabric frame with mitered corners. This adds a bit of detailing to the corner and also allows it to be finished as a square to staying within the budget.

The edges of the pillow are finished with self-welted cording. A cotton gimp cord is covered with fabric, cut on the bias (or diagonal). Cutting on the bias allows for the fabric to stretch so it doesn't pucker on the corners where it is turned. However, it ends up that you need more fabric (as it's cut on the diagonal) so self-welting and purchased twisted cording end up costing almost the same amount.
A lovely finish. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weekend Update...

I did get out in the garden yesterday and planted bulbs. It started with me putting away laundry in the bedroom. I happened to glance out the window at the girls and saw that my button jar was out on the playset ground. I called to Victoria to pick it up and bring it inside and that is when I realized that it was only 25% full. I asked where the buttons were and was told they were on the picnic table. How exciting! I told the girls to start picking them up.

Since it *was* a sunny day I went ahead and put on my gardening clothes (because I've learned I have to change before I go out and "just do one thing") and collected my shovel, wheelbarrow, and the bulbs. Thus, while the girls were picking buttons from the bark, grass, and playset and putting them back in the jar, I dug the back flower bed down 6", pulled the old bulbs out, divided those that needed to be divided and replanted them. I also planted 201 new bulbs in the back bed. I then planted 50 bulbs in my new-this-year full sun perennial garden, and 60 bulbs in the front yard's two beds. It should look nice in the spring! That's a total of 311 new bulbs.

In the back I'll have Negrita tulips, white double daffodils, purple and dark pink tulips, more purple crocus, some tall Alliums, and whatever I planted the year before. In the front I'll have 60 more stunning red tulips, added to the ones I had last year. :)

I also did a bit of piecing on my star quilt. The blocks and the sashing is done. Today I'll make the block strips and perhaps I'll get it pieced together. Whew! This has been, by far, the more time-consuming quilt I've ever made. Up next? Who knows! Either the silk folding quilt or the log cabin rainbow quilt.

Now, though, I have to go check the dishes and change the diapers in the wash and start dinner and read with the kids.... and and and. Someone asked me the other day how I get stuff done and I honestly don't know any more!

As a last note I received my Oriental Poppies back from Pat Van Cleve. She wrote me a great letter about things I could improve and things I did great on. Very positive! I'm glad I finished the piece in time for the critique. And now I have points for my MTP. :)

Finishing: Pillows with frame and without

Should you use a fabric-frame when finishing your pillow?

Adding a fabric frame to a pillow simply means that the needlepoint has strips of fabric sewn to the side. The edges of the fabric can be mitered (so they point out from the corner) or sewn straight (they are straight with the edges). This helps the design stand out from any edge treatment and also helps anchor a particular color in the design. One, two, or multiple fabric frames can be used to "build out" the design. The pillow is then backed as normal.

Finishing a pillow without a fabric frame makes the design stand on it's own. If the design is large enough to be it's own cushion this will work. You also need areas where your eye can rest (the blue triangles in this case).

I finished both these pillows this weekend. 

Whitework Sampler III

Last night I finished stitching Linda Driskell's "Whitework Sampler III".

This is a gorgeous piece! I stitched it on the recommended 19 count linen. A few years ago I'd stitched #1 and I stitched it on 28 count linen instead of 19. While it was more delicate, there just wasn't room for all the coral knot festoon trips. This time, since I did it on 19 count, there *was* room. I'm very pleased with it. It will smooth out after lacing and framing but for now it's just going in my finished project drawer to make friends.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gardening "work"...

Maybe you call it "yard work" or perhaps "lawn care" or "gardening". I like to use the gardening word or even just "diggin' in the earth". To me it evokes images of running though the tomato plants as a child, feeling the slightly scratchy plants against my bare legs, or pulling a fresh carrot out of the ground and rinsing it under the hose before eating it raw. Dad used to get so mad that we'd eat all the peas before he had a chance to get at them...

This week I managed to mow the very wet grass. I also did all the trimming work and weeded all the beds. I still have to plant the bulbs and I'll do that the next sunny day. Or Sunday if we haven't had a sunny day before then. I love spring flowers so I have to plan ahead!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Winter is here...

Winter is here in the Pacific Northwest. Of course, we had the lamest.summer.ever so I shouldn't be surprised. It's been wet for weeks and now it's grey, grey, grey. Bleh. I'm fighting the beginnings of a cold and trying to drink lots of juice and taking my echineachea and elderberry.

Travis shoved a popcorn kernel in his ear last night and it's all scraped up along the canal. We sucked the kernel out with a straw so he wouldn't shove it into his eardrum again. I am taking him to the Doctor this morning to make sure he didn't damage his eardrum. I'm pretty relaxed about taking kids to Doctors but I don't mess around with my children's hearing. Brad took the girls to speech therapy so it will just be the two of us at the Doctor's office.

My star quilt is coming along. I almost have all of the 4.5" squares pieced (of which there are hundreds, it feels like). After that are the blocks and then the sashing and then the piecing... Very exciting. I already have my next *two* projects picked out. Although they just go in a bag under my bed until I have the money to get them quilted, it's nice to finish things.

In stitching, I'm working on a drawn thread sampler. It's cream on cream and moving along smoothly. Some bands are quite tedious but it does look stunning.

Yesterday a woman posted (accidentially) the most hate-filled anti-Obama post to the American Needlepoint Guild list. Whew! I'd heard that there was stuff out there like that but had no idea how bad! This election... like all elections... is a mess. Even here we're seeing the ads between Gregoire and Rossi that are just filled with "he said, she said". Like they have to harp on the stuff that isn't important to show that they aren't too extreme on anything that actually matters so they'll appeal to the masses.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Catherine Coleman Ornaments

I stitched these in September 2008. Each took approximately 2 days to stitch. They use Kreinik metallic threads and Mill Hill Sead or Bugle beads. Very fun! I love the way that Catherine layers her stitches.

Pat Mazu Miniature Stocking

This is the canvaswork piece that followed me home from my last guild meeting. It was designed by Pat Mazu. I've finished enough of these now that it was time to stitch one!

Twister Completed...

This beautiful piece was designed by Patricia Spencer. I pretty much tried to stitch it as charted and didn't switch out any stitches. Colors were picked by me and are DMC floss. Many, many, many hours went into this piece. Hurrah!

Some close up pictures:

Mukilteo Library Exhibit...

Because I love all.things.needlework I was able to pull the stuff for this exhibit purely out of the storage bins in my garage. Kind of worrisome when you think about it. I didn't have to take a thing off my walls!

This is at the Mukilteo Library. The three posters detail when appreciate viewers can *join a guild* by coming to ANG or EGA meetings. Truly exciting!

Plaid Pillow

This rectangular needlepoint design was finished with plaid fabric in a mitered fabric-framed front. The twisted cording matches the fabric and the design. Design by Ewe & I.

Pillow finished 10-02-08.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Blog

I had to ditch Wordpress, unfortunately. I tried to "upgrade" so I would stop getting 65+ spam comments a day... and I lost everything. Yes, I'd backed up, but it didn't work. thankfully I'd archived all my old posts on my computer in just plain html. Maybe I'll get around to adding them all... perhaps I won't. It's not high on the priority list. *sigh*