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Saturday, September 29, 2007

WIP: Scottlee

This week (as you can tell) I haven't felt like posting much. In the evenings I've been checking my email, having dinner, sitting down to stitch, and, on one or two evenings, falling asleep over my needlework! I guess that's what comes of getting up early to make it into work early - but rarely getting out early! Anyway - on to the stitching...

I picked up Jean Hilton's Scottlee for the first time in a long time! Jean has only taught this piece twice, once at an ANG or EGA seminar a few years back, and earlier this summer in Phoenix, Arizona. I was not in either of these classes, but one of the stitchers from her seminar class finished the piece and very generously gave me the chart!

This week I finished up the edge of the large outer border and made some progress on the red & gold inner border. Here's what it looks like so far.If you'll look closely, you'll see that the border has lots and lots and lots of Jessicas (the round stitches in the picture). Lots. As in 166 of them. I tended to do some of them and then go on to stitch something else for a while. When complete, there will be well over 200 Jessicas in this piece, of various sizes and shapes. Luckily, I like this stitch!

Today I'm going to a local "Apple Fest" with my Mom (appropriately enough, for this post, in a town called Hilton!). Gotta love fresh homegrown produce, and here in NY state we have some of the best apples - of many varieties.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

First Christmas ornament

Last night, I finished up the front of the ornament for my cousin's daughter.
This is the first painted canvas I've done without a stitch guide or help from a teacher to start me off. So, what stitches did I use?

I have everything but the cuff done on the back, too. Before I finish it, I have to make sure I have the baby's name spelled right! I should be able to check on this at the family reunion today.

Thanks to Kathy Schenkel for such a fun canvas! I enjoyed figuring out how to stitch it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sending in Fantasy Remembered

Well, I didn't finish the canvas ornament, because a reminder from the coordinator of Fantasy Remembered indicated that I needed to send in this project! This piece is an EGA group correspondence course by Luan Callery. After the reminder, I spent a good part of Sunday and tonight working on this project. I needed to get at least some part of each section done, plus all the wired elements cut out before it was ready to send.

I was on a roll with the long and short stitch yesterday, although I still don't like it (or my results) too much. As a result, I finished all the "fantasy fruit" (or berries, as I see them), and all of the leaves except the largest. Since the largest leaf is the same techniques and threads as the top-most leaf, I don't need to get it done before sending it in. The picture on the right shows the work on the ground fabric.

Tonight I finished the dragonfly wings and cut them out. Here's the piece with the wired elements laid on top. I'll attach them when the piece is returned from the instructor, so they don't get damaged en route. The pieces will stand up a bit more then, so the dragonfly wings won't look quite so long!Despite my dislike of long and short (or maybe just a bit of discomfort with it because I haven't done much), I really enjoyed this piece. The vast majority of my needlework has been counted work, but my recent goldwork experience helped me get past the idea that I need to know exactly where each stitch begins and ends. I've started to develop an "eye" for knowing where stitches need to go in non-counted work.

EGA just posted two new GCCs to the web site. One of these is another from Luan Callery. Summer Dream is the same size as Fantasy Remembered, and will make a great companion piece! Either I'll convince my local chapter to do this one, or I'll join the class sure to be held by the CyberStitchers chapter next year!

If you're on the fence about non-counted work, give it a try. It may be frustrating at first, but it makes a great complement to counted work, and should be in every stitcher's repertoire!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Another busy week

Sorry for not posting much this week. For maybe the fourth time in a year, both EGA and ANG meetings fell in the same week! So I had EGA on Monday, ANG tonight, and the LNS stitch night tomorrow.

I've been working on the canvas for my cousin's daughter, which I started on the plane to Vegas. In case you're wondering, the canvas is one of Kathy Schenkel's First Christmas canvases. You can see it on this page of Kathy's site. It's number CO301, and I should be done with the stitching by Saturday or Sunday.

If you haven't explored Kathy's site, you're in for a treat. Her canvases are so much fun! My LNS has had her trunk show in each of the last two years, and it's always difficult to choose only one or two! :-)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

What happens in Vegas...

What's a stitcher to do when arriving in Las Vegas for the first time? Visit the LNS (Stitcher's Paradise) at the first opportunity, of course! My first (and only) opportunity was Wednesday afternoon when I arrived.

(If you want to hear the saga of how I found the LNS, read on. If you only want to hear about the LNS, go to the red stars ******** below.)

I rented a car, since I would have paid almost as much by taking a cab. Unfortunately, my directions were from the airport, not from the offsite car rental place! I asked for directions from a guy at the garage, but quickly lost track after the second turn. Good thing that my printout from Google maps was detailed enough that I didn't get too lost. I missed the highway completely, but found my way onto Dean Martin Drive. Unfortunately, it's not at all obvious how to turn left off of Dean Martin Drive onto one of the main streets. (They have all these side routes that act as exits off of DMD to the main streets, but they're not marked as such, so I kept driving under the streets I wanted to be on!) Anyway, I eventually turned left onto a street, any street!

From there, I kept going for a few miles until I hit Rainbow Blvd, on which (somewhere) was my destination. Hoping I wasn't too far north, I headed north, realizing that my headache was due to a lack of food, and a visit to a restroom was in order, too! I finally found one of the run-of-the-mill, found everywhere, fast-food joints, and pulled in. Not exactly what everyone goes to Vegas for, but I didn't care at that point! While I was there, I asked the manager which direction I needed to travel to get to Sahara (Rd? Blvd?). Sure enough, I was too far north! After a burger, etc., I headed back the way I came, and found the correct plaza.

A name like Stitcher's Paradise sets some pretty big expectations! This shop did a pretty good job of living up to them: a huge wall of threads, with extra carousels and drawers of more threads, four large shelving units of fabrics, a good selection of painted canvases, and shelves and carousels of charts from the hottest designers. There was a small table up front where stitchers could gather, and another room in back that looked like it was for classes and storage of less-frequently requested items. (Unfortunately, this great shop does not have a website.)

The owner, Gina, was working with a customer when I came in, so I poked around a bit. I found some threads for the ornament canvas for my cousin's little girl, then visited the book racks. I looked through the higher-count linens; there were at least a dozen colors in 40 ct, and more of 34-36 ct! Gina helped me refine my thread selections, then she cut linen for me and helped me find a "Las Vegas" canvas.

Here's what came home with me:

  • Las Vegas angel canvas from Painted Pony Designs
  • Glory scissors from Gingher (I've been looking for these!)
  • A fat half of R&R Flax Fields linen in 36 ct (tentatively for Mouline Rouge)
  • A book full of pictures and histories of samplers titled Pioneer Memorial Museum Samplers. This was put together by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers and the Swan Samplers Stitchers Guild.
  • A nail file with a scene of the LV strip on one side and Stitcher's Paradise information on the other (because I needed a nail file!)
  • Two cards of Mandarin Floss from Rainbow Gallery. This floss is made from bamboo, and is wonderful to work with!
  • 1 skein of Vineyard Silk Shimmer, which is twisted like a pearl cotton, but has two strands of blending filament worked through it.
  • 1 pack of Mill Hill beads (not in picture)
  • A "Project Pak" box, which is a really neat little box that has four separate compartments for beads, needles, or other small stuff.
The rest of the trip was filled with more typical Vegas stuff: dinner at a Mexican restaurant; convention on Thursday followed by sightseeing on the strip (including the water show at the Bellagio and the live lions in the MGM Grand), dinner at a Japanese restaurant, and losing a bit of money on the slots. Friday morning I stopped by a bakery in Paris (the Paris hotel, that is) and enjoyed a croissant before heading off to the airport. All in all, a fun trip, though I really wish I had time for a massage at the spa!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

$40.28 and 373 skeins later...

You may have heard that Walmart will soon no longer be carrying DMC. The news has been going around on the needlework boards. So, I ventured out to my local store to see what (if any) DMC they had for 10¢ a skein.

Now, I rarely go into Walmart. (Actually I haven't been there at all since DH saw the Walmart Movie and told me about it, but we figured that in this case, they're not making any money on selling me floss at 10¢ a skein. We agreed that this could be an exception to the no Walmart policy!) As a result, I wasn't even sure where the craft section was, but I found it easily enough. And I found the DMC - on hard-to-turn, very noisy when they did turn, carousels. Each bin had a nice big 24¢ label on it. Hmm....

I picked up a skein and walked over to the cutting table. The lady there didn't know anything about the floss being on sale or being discontinued, but she scanned it and read off the price - 10¢! Good enough for me.

Heading back over to the carousels, I pulled one of each available color (actually 2 of black, white, and B5200), ignoring all those in the wrong bins. Many, many minutes later (did I mention those carousels are a pain?), I had a basket nearly full of floss, and headed up to the checkout area.

Luckily, the store manager was one aisle over from my line, and I drew his attention to my basket, asking him if he wanted to open up another register because I was going to take a while! He thanked me for asking, and pointed me over to the customer service desk. The clerk and I quickly worked out a system. I'd line up a handful of UPC labels, hand them to her, and she scanned the handful with the handheld scanner. It worked out well, though I was afraid the poor girl was going to develop a hand cramp by the end of the pile!

The end result? 373 skeins:These will be waiting for to be organized somehow when I get home from Las Vegas on Friday. I'm headed out there for a conference on Thursday, but will be sure to stop by the local needlework shop, Stitcher's Paradise, while I'm there! I'll share any new stash pics over the weekend! :-)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

August recap & September goals

It's September already! Where has the summer gone? Here were my goals for August, and I actually accomplished:

  • Finish Luck of the Irish GCC. DONE! I sent it in to the coordinator, too.
  • Continue working on the Fantasy Remembered GCC. Yes! I didn't get much done, but I did work on it.
  • Send in the Goldwork Heart GCCs (I & II) for evaluation. DONE! (They've come back home already, and they're at the framer now!)
  • Send in the Tiramisu GCC for evaluation. DONE!
  • Start and finish window 5 on the GAR mystery sampler. Nope. Didn't even pick it up.
  • Work on "redecorating" window 4 (the kitchen) on the GAR mystery sampler. See the previous line!
  • Start and finish the next in the Jim Wurth series. DONE (sort of - does September 1st count?)
  • Work on some of the other pieces in my challenge list. I picked up the Ninja Squirrel sampler and a long-standing UFO (though not on the list), Wheels of Color.
I didn't meet all of my goals, but it seemed like a productive month anyway!

For September, I'm going to keep it simple:
I'm going out of town for a few days later this week, and plan to take the Christmas ornament and the dragonfly wings from Fantasy Remembered to stitch on the plane.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Baroness Edie is done!

Don't look now, but I've actually had two postings in two days, and since it's the beginning of the month, I'll be posting my monthly goals today or tomorrow, too!

I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to complete the latest dodecagon ornament from Jim Wurth sometime this weekend. Here's what it looked like after last night's stitching. -->

<-- And here it is now! Yes, The Baroness Edie is complete! Happy dance! I really enjoyed the play of all the "Easter" colors on this piece. If you look closely, you can see that each of the four quadrants (outside of the center and the bargello areas) is stitched with the same stitches, but with different combinations of the same 4 colors. (If that makes sense!)

Unfortunately, as one of the exemptions for my WIP-loss challenge, this piece does not count toward my total.

So, the WIP-loss challenge status is still: 1 down, 9 to go