Friday, December 5, 2008

Some small progress . . .

(I'm scattering the latest photos of the WIPs in my Hopeful Box -- that is, hopeful I will actually finish them someday-- throughout this post even though they have nothing to do with the text!)

Is it weird when you don't really mind frogging, and might actually enjoy it sometimes?

I decided to rescue a piece of 36ct Rue Green Linen (love the color and it's no longer made) from a Marjolein Basten start that I would never finish. I had maybe 2 x 3 inches of stitching to take out so I sat on the couch with my seam ripper and picked out all those stitches. I wound up tearing the linen (a distinct danger if you use a seam ripper - quick but dangerous) but it was in the middle so I have two good size pieces still.

Permin Museum Celle 1826 - HDF Black Iris series 1x2 on 36ct LL Vintage Sand.

Then, I started Chatelaine Designs Knot Garden last week. I don't know what I was thinking stitching 1 x 2 on 30ct Dower Linen with HDF (not a real "big" fiber). On the plus side - it had a nice delicate look. On the not-so-great side - it looked washed out and it lost the contrast between some of the thread colors. So, the other night, I took my trusty seam ripper and frogged out eight hours of stitching so I could restart it with 2x2. And I kind of enjoyed it.

Drawn Thread Three Friends, first panel, HDF 2x2 on 32ct PTP Legacy (I think).

Must be the destructive side of my nature. If I can confine it to ripping out threads then I'll be doing good! (grin).

Cross-Eyed Cricket Be Ye Thankful - GAST and DMC 1x2 on 32? ct greenish linen.
Since I didn't finish this in time for Thanksgiving, I imagine it will sit for another year. Sigh.

On a more positive note, I am feeling very virtuous this week. I managed to grant three wishes from the 123 message board the last couple of weeks. I sent one lady a skein of SNC I had from another project, another lady in England a box of DMC, and a third a chart. I even managed to get them all packaged up and to the post office. For me--that's progress. I even made a wish of my own -- not very hopeful it will be granted but that is to be expected - it's a wish!

Elegant Needle Showers of Blessings - HDF 2x2 on 30ct Coconut Macaroon Legacy Dower Linen.
I really need to finish this one - it's really lovely.

And a finish! This little piece is a gift for my youngest son's teacher if I ever manage to get it framed or finished!

Lizzie Kate Flip It Encourage - SNC, HDF, and Gloriana 1x2 on 36ct PTP Willow.

Stay warm and positive!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Six months later . . .

Ok - it's taken me six months to update this blog. Sigh. I could claim that I was furiously stitching away during the past months - although that's not the entire truth. The truth--I was lazy -- and stitching!

Here's my big finish! By the end, it was only grim determination that got it done!

Quaker Virtues - 1x1 on 25ct Platinum Jubilee with thirty different silks.

See my webshots site for detail photos at:

Here's my fiber list:

Au Ver a Soie - 1711, 1712, 1713, 1733, Creme Blanc, 3422, 3423
Belle Soie - Fern Frond
Dinky Dyes - Mint
Gloriana - 071 Winter Brook, 132 Lavender Ice
Hand-Dyed Fibers - Examplar Salty Sea, Magpie Twitters, Steelies 2449, Velvet Midnight 2149 and 2151
Silk'n Colors - Aqua Clouds, Pearled Blues, Heirloom Blues, Green Tea Leaves, Surf & Sky, Slate Blue, Blue Cotton Frocks, Blue Sage, Sea Heather
Waterlilies - Ice

The whole piece only measures 14 x 11 - there's a whole lot of stitching in that small piece! And a whole lot of frogging - that little round motif above the EQ of Equality was stitched and restitched at least four times.

This was the first piece I did in my own colorway and I thoroughly enjoyed picking out the colors (if not the indecision about whether I should use a dark one or a light one here or if the left side was "heavier" than the right.)

I am really pleased how the piece turned out. I really love the look of the two-color pieces people are doing - very dramatic - but I like the more subtle effect here as well. I think it turned out much better than I thought it would!

Now, off to finish the other dozen BAPs in my WIP list!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

June Weather

I promise I will not complain about June in Kansas ever again.

We are in vacation in Duluth, Minnesota, where the WIND CHILL today was 36 degrees.  WIND CHILL - IT'S JUNE 11 for goodness sake!

Brisk isn't the word for it.  The wind is sustained at 20mph with gusts up to 40mph and a driving rain off the lake.  Unbelievable - and miserable if you're out in it.  

Instead of the outside activities we had planned with our friends, I'm taking the little boys to a movie while everyone else huddles around the fireplace in the lodge trying to stay warm.

At least I'm getting in lots of stitching!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Four States, Four Storms

Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota - nothing but wind, rain and storms.  Who thought June could be this windy and wet?  (Well, I should expect it after three decades in Kansas).

We headed out of town for our June vacation this morning - Kansas and Missouri had consistent 30-40 mph winds with a severe storm forecast for the afternoon.  Iowa had the severe storms.  Minnesota - just rain but great clouds.  

Looks like Duluth is going to be windy and rainy all week.  Hopefully we can find lots of fun stuff to do indoors! 

I did manage to get some serious cross stitching in, though - except when it got too dark because of the storms.  Here's my progress on Quaker Virtues (the photo's not great but it's what you get when you're taking pictures in a vehicle!):

Tomorrow:  the Mall of America, Stitchville USA in Minnetonka, and then off to Duluth.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Here's a lovely upside down and backwards photo of my first day's progress on Quaker Virtues.  I decided to start June 1 with the SAL and I'm really enjoying this so far.

The colors so far are SNC Heritage Blue, Sea Heather and Green Leaves Lt. and AVAS Blanc 1 x 1 on 28ct Platinum Jubilee.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The usual summertime stitching slump seems to be in full swing.  I am trying to rehabilitate the back garden - now "Weed Central" since it was so neglected last summer.  We spread 30 bags of mulch last weekend and only managed to cover half the beds around the deck.  So, between the rest of the beds around the deck and  the beds that run all along the back fence and the sides, we'll be spreading many, many more bags.

I did manage to get some stitching in this week, however.  I am still plugging away at Permin's Museum Celle 1826 - somehow I can't seem to do anything in monochrome.  Here's my progress as of this weekend.  The picture is very washed out - the colors are much more vibrant in person.  

I finally received the chart for Ink Circles Garden Stars this week and, of course, just had to get that started as well.  I am using Vikki Clayton's May Floss of the Month assortment over one on 28ct Waterlily linen (one of my favorite linen colors).  I am really liking how it looks so far - if only linen weren't such a pain for over-one stitching!

And today I started Quaker Virtues using Silk'n Colors in about six shakes of pale blues and greens on 28ct Platinum Jubilee.  I'm using the excuse that the Quaker Virtues Stitch-A-Long started today but the truth is that I just wanted to start it!  I haven't done enough to merit a picture but I'm sure I'll be posting as I make progress.

I also made more progress on my never-ending stash organization project.  My second order of Annie's Keepers arrived Friday and I spent Friday night and Saturday morning getting all my silks on the keepers, the keepers labeled and put into storage slides.  They fit nicely into a plastic file box.  I used almost 500 keepers to get my AVAS, HDF, Caron and Silk'n Colors organized but I really like the system!  Here's a picture of a finished slide on top of the plastic file box of storage slides.

I am very proud of my labels - the little circular labels that came with the system just didn't work for me.  I couldn't find 1/2" x 1/2" square labels, so I bought 1" x 1/2" and print 2 thread labels up, slicing them apart with an Exacto knife.

This will be a crazy week for us.  We're going to an indoor water park - Great Wolf Lodge - overnight on Thursday for Taylor's birthday.  Taylor is inviting a friend and my oldest, Quintin, and his girlfriend are going along as well.  Ian is still a little young to invite a friend but he usually has no trouble finding new friends wherever we go.  Hopefully the weather will hold out - they're predicting severe storms again for Thursday and Friday.  

My husband is taking Friday off so he'll stay overnight with us and then help set up for his club's car show at Cabela's - just across the street from Great Wolf.  We'll be at the show all-day Saturday and Sunday morning and then are leaving around noon to head up to Lake Superior for the national meet of another of his clubs.  (I'll have to find time to pack and load the car sometime!)  On the way to Duluth, we're taking the boys to the Mall of America and detouring to Minnetonka so I can go to Stitchville USA.  I'll post pictures when we return!

Have a great, safe, and productive week!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

So much for good intentions . . .

This week I tried to be so good.I inventoried all of my non-DMC floss and Mill Hill beads.  I ordered more of Annie's Keepers and storage slides to use for the silks and printed out my label sheets for them.   

In the face of 40+ WIPs and UFOs, I vowed not to buy anything more till I finished some of them.   Yeah, right.

My downfall was the autoship of Hand-Dyed Fibers' May Regular Floss-of-the-Month assortment.  Look at them - don't they just scream STITCH ME?!  NOW!

And then a badly behaved little voice said: Ink Circles Garden Stars would be perfect!  That's it!  Order it now!  Oh, and order a few more patterns to make the shipping less unreasonable! Yeah, that's it!

Because I have no willpower at all, I ordered Garden Stars, Nostalgic Needle's Strawberry Thief, and Fingerwork's Playful Day Necessaire from Wyndham Needleworks.  Just to spread out the shipping charges.  Really.

Now, I just need to go buy some 36ct White Linen or maybe 32ct. white evenweave to go with the pattern that I bought to go with the silks. And maybe a few more Silk'n Colors to justify the cost of the gas to get over to my LNS.


New Blog Design

I'm trying for a cleaner look and pledge shorter posts and more photos. That means, of course, that I'll have to figure out how to photograph my needlework. (sigh).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A little masochism never hurt anyone

I guess discovering I had over 30 UFOs and more than 40 kits ready to go just wasn't enough masochism for one week. So, I dug into the cedar closet and pulled out the Rubbermaid bin full of charts and decided it was time to inventory the lot.  The 300+ lot.  What was I thinking?

So I broke out the Excel, decided on the bar minimum of information I would need and pulled out the first four inches of books . . . 

As much as I dreaded this voyage of self-discovery, the cataloging was not nearly as awful as I thought it would be.  I've been stitching since I was 13 and used to frequent the few good local cross stitch shops and buy charts by weight (sigh).  And some of those charts were like old friends - and I made a few pleasant discoveries.

First off, I think I've purchased just about every Just Nan pattern and about half of the Shepherd's Bush kits and patterns available.  I had a long flirtation with Paula Vaughan - and actually stitched a number of her projects.  I still love the La Broderie patterns (are they even available anymore?)  I found I had already purchased Permin's Dutch Beauty and was very thankful that I hesitated in hitting the "purchase" button on that pattern a few weeks ago.    I also discovered I didn't need to buy the Donna Vermillion Giampa fruit pillow patterns since I had them in my old issues of Just Cross Stitch and a sampler I was having trouble finding was actually first published in another magazine I had purchased many many years ago.

You may be wondering how I could have been so completely out of touch with my stash.  Well - I didn't stitch for five years between 2002 and 2007 - kids, law school, my husband's new business and my perpetually dirty house pretty much precluded any hobby.  So I had accumulated and accumulated and stuffed everything in the cedar closet for five years. 

So - along with the 11 WIPS (and I still think there are a couple more around here) and the 50+ kits/kitted projects ready to go, I have a whole bunch of unkitted charts I really, really want to do.   I also have 200+ charts, 8-10 kits and about 30 magazines for which I need to find new homes.  (I just have to figure out how to sell them or give them away - and if anyone would want them)  

All in all, my voyage of cross-stitch self-discovery has not been as painful or as guilt-inducing as I feared.  I think I need this kind of "sort, keep or trash activity" every few years otherwise I find I accumulate much too much baggage - both physically and emotionally.  

And, of course, I have so much more room for new stash!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

An intervention over here, please.

My name is Michele and I'm a cross-stitch addict.  Or maybe a "start a new project" addict.  Or a "I'll kit up one more project, just in case" addict.

After spending a small fortune at Cecilia's Samplers in Branson, Missouri, last weekend (including the linen for And They Sinned and another six or seven charts, some fabric, etc.) I just had to go to my local LNS for some AVAS for one of the charts I bought in Branson and while I was there I just had to buy six skeins of Silk'n Colors for the Quaker Virtues.  Then, of course, I had to do some online shopping for the fabric for Quaker Virtues  (see a pattern here?).

Feeling a bit guilty, I decided to go through my WIP rotation and see what I exactly I am working one.  And then, I decide I should see exactly what I have kitted up.  Which led me to pull out the two Rubbermaid bins in the cedar closet (one of UFOs, and one of kits) and list all of those, as well.

And here's the damage:

WIPs in my current rotation:   11 (see right)
Projects I've kitted for near-term starts: 19
UFOs - at least for now: 28 (cringing)
Kits kitted for the future: 35 (really cringing)

Most of what I have kitted are BAPs - most are silk on linen.  I don't even want to know what I have invested in those alone!

On top of all the kits and WIPs and UFOs,  I have 186 charts, many with fibers or beads, in my "really want to do someday" box.   These charts are wholly separate from the large storage (file) box of three or four hundred charts I still have in my cedar closet.  And I know there are at least three or four more WIPs/UFOs around here somewhere.

Most disturbing is that I found a number of charts/kits in my boxes that I currently have on my Wishlist.  That would explain my habit of buying duplicates.  (Well, at least I'm consistent with what I like!)

So, an intervention is required, I believe.   

And, just because I can - here's the entire list.  No joke!

(see right for my WIP rotation)

Kits and Kitted (in the pipeline for a near term start) 

Blackbird Designs – I Thee Wed

ByGone Stitches – Quaker Virtues

Dinky Dies – Summer Breeze Biscornu

Donna Vermillion Giampa – Orchard Apples Pillow

GPA – Seasonal Biscornu

La-D-Da – Five Fine Roosters

Long Dog Samplers – All Things I

Long Dog Samplers – All Things II

Lorri Birmingham Designs – Shamrock Scissor Fob

M Designs – Name Trees for Quintin and Taylor

Nora Corbett – Silver Dragonfly

Plum Street Samplers – Give

Shepherd’s Bush – Christian’s Stocking

Shepherd’s Bush – Harry’s Stocking

Shepherd’s Bush – In My Garden Scissor Fob

Sweetheart Tree – Cherry Blossoms Biscornu

Teresa Wentlzer – The Guardian

The Drawn Thread – Three Friends

The Elegant Needle – Showers of Blessings for You

The Sampler House – Field of Berries Sampler

The Silver Lining – Summertime Blues


UFOs (I'll finish these someday.  Really.  I will.  Absolutely.) 

Alma Lynn Designs – Angel Heart Sampler (DMC/perle on even weave)

Bucilla Kit – Things Worth Keeping (rekitted with DMC on evenweave)

Color Charts -  Steve Polomchak’s Wrapped in White (DMC on Aida)

Color Charts – Haruyo Morita’s Weeping Wisteria (DMC on linen)

Dimensions – Linda Gillum’s Romantic Roses (DMC on Aida)

DMC – Wildflowers (freebie) (DMC x 2 on 32ct Confederate Driftwood linen)

Earth Threads – Jeffrey’s Baby Sampler (DMC and GAST on linen)

Heaven and Earth Designs – Keltic Mandela (Jen Delyth Keltic Designs) (2007)

Imaginating – Snow Likely (DMC on Quaker Cloth?)

Just Nan – Peacock Majesty (DMC on 32 ct Sapphire linen)

Lizzie Kate – Flip It October (DMC on linen)

Lorri Birmingham Designs – Come and Share a Pot of Tea (DMC on linen)

Lorri Birmingham Designs – Heirloom Birth Sampler (DMC and Perle on 32ct white linen)

Mirabilia – Stone Roses (DMC on 36ct linen)

Shepherd’s Bush – Beekeeper’s Cottage (AVAS on linen)

Shepherd’s Bush – Blackberry Sampler (AVAS on linen)

Shepherd’s Bush – Peter’s Stocking (Perle on linen)

Shepherd’s Bush – Saint Peter’s Fair (AVAS on linen)

Shepherd’s Bush – Shepherd’s Spring

Shepherd’s Bush – Thanksgiving Needle Roll (DMC on linen)

Shepherd’s Bush – The Earth Gatherers (DMC on linen)

Shepherd’s Bush – Welcome Baby Needle Roll (DMC on linen)

Stitch with Sudberry – Sewing Mice II (Donna Vermillion Giampa) (DMC on linen)

Teresa Wentzler – Dreamscape Carousel (DMC on Aida)

Teresa Wentzler – Night (DMC on linen)

The Cross Stitch Pattern Gallery – Claude Monet’s Garden Flower (DMC on evenweave)

The Drawn Thread – The Prairie Garden

The Silver Lining – Audrey (DMC x 2 on 36ct linen)

Whiskey Creek – Main Street Box (DMC on perforated paper)

Kits/Kitted (for the future)

Bucilla – Celestial Pillow

Charland Designs – Angelic Band Sampler

Charland Designs – Bedford Sampler (DMC on linen)

Charland Designs – Bee Hive Sampler

Charland Designs – Moon Sampler (1996)

Charland Designs – Plenty and Grace

Dimensions Gold Collection – The Snow Leopard

Elegant Needle – Believe in a Cure Needle Roll

Elsa Williams Heritage Collection – The English Garden

Just Nan – Pansey Cameo

Lorri Birmingham Designs – The Irish Needle Roll

Mill Hill – Spring Series V Bee Square

Shepherd’s Bush – Blackberrie Sampler (duplicate)

Shepherd’s Bush – Easter Needle Roll

Shepherd’s Bush – Fair Philomel

Shepherd’s Bush – Folk Heart Needle Roll

Shepherd’s Bush – In My Garden Needle Roll

Shepherd’s Bush – Joy (1997 )

Shepherd’s Bush – Long May She Wave Needle Roll

Shepherd’s Bush – Love

Shepherd’s Bush – Snow Fall Needle Roll

Shepherd’s Bush – St. Nicholas Needle Roll

Shepherd’s Bush – Sunflower Sampler

Shepherd’s Bush – The Potting Shed

Textile Heritage Collection – Celtic Spiral Bookmark

Textile Heritage Collection – Tartan Thistle (sachet)

The Drawn Thread – Lily of the Valley

The Drawn Thread – The Acorn Sampler

The Drawn Thread – The Alpine Garden

The Drawn Thread – The Wildflower Garden

The Drawn Thread – Winter Into Spring

The Victoria Sampler – February Needle Roll

Whiskey Creek – Cozy Valley Box

Whiskey Creek – Sunday Drive Box


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Stitching away in 2008

I have been terribly derelict in keeping up with this blog. The past few months just flew by - now that the holidays are over, it seems like a good time to take a deep breath and catch up on everything that has been untended during all the festivities.

I have been stitching like a madwoman lately. I complete my first piece using Vikki Clayton's Hand-Dyed Fibers this afternoon (while mourning the Colts loss to San Diego in the AFC playoffs. Here it is: Blackbird Designs - Loose Feathers: Their Song.

I did my own conversion to HDF from DMC (and wound up changing a couple of the colors after I received the order and saw them against the fabric). The fabric inspired me to do the project - the pattern calls for Apple Brown Bindy, but I had just purchased a piece of R&R Sea Fog and just loved the colors the pattern called for on this fabric. (The fabric is actually much more sage green (with a gold overdye) than the scan shows.

I was amazed how quickly this piece stitched up. I started it late Wednesday night after we returned from my oldest son's 16th birthday dinner. I had just received the silks in the mail that afternoon and couldn't wait to get started! After stitching like crazy (in between work, kid activities, laundry, cooking, cleaning - you know the drill) I finished this afternoon. Wow! Now, off to the framers

This little sampler was a nice diversion from my larger WIPs. I'll pull Cirque des Cercles (Ink Circles) back out and get that finished. I am so close to finishing that piece. I love the Rum Cherry on the Cappuccino Weeks (the lighter floss is Burnished Cranberry - all silks from HDF).

I have a bunch of projects kitted up but I'm in a "must finish a UFO before starting anything new" mood - so who know what will happen next.

Stitchy mail has been wonderful. I have been on a mini shopping spree in 2008 - makes that trip to the mail box all that more exciting. I only have one order outstanding - I took advantage of the sale at Elegant Stitch to order HOHRH and VOHRH. Now I just have to save up the money for the silks for that and the materials for Chatelaine Designs Taj Mahal Garden. Sigh.

On an entirely different note: my sister was visiting over the Christmas holiday and asked for a couple of recipes that were handed down from my mother. A local restaurant, the Plaza III, has a wonderful steak soup - the recipe has circulated around Kansas city forever. But it is so good (and so quick and easy) If my sister forgets the recipe (again), I'll just refer her here!

Plaza III Steak Soup

2 lbs ground beef - browned and drained
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (green beans, carrots, peas) - thawed
1 package frozen baby lima beans - thawed
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup + flour
7 cups of water
7 beef bouillon cubes

Melt butter large pot and add 1/4 cup flour. Add additional flour until you have a good bubbly roux - not clumpy but not runny either. Stir constantly over medium heat until the roux takes on a nice dark golden brown. Quickly add the seven cups of water and the beef bouillon cubes. Stir until bouillon is dissolved. Add ground beef and simmer for 1/2 hour. Add vegetables and simmer for another twenty minutes or so until heated through.

Now, just serve with some fresh bread and butter and a green salad and you have a quick, tasty, hearty meal.

Off to feed the troops and catch the end of the Dallas/Giants game (go Giants).