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Sunday, May 31, 2009

A glutton for punishment

Ok, so I haven't quite finished my last online class (Floral Rondel), and I have heaven knows how many projects started and many, many more in my stash, never mind a 4-month old to raise, but I've done it again.

I signed up for another online class. And this one isn't a small piece. It's huge. Really huge. And complicated. It's the Hannah Thornbush sampler from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, reproduced by The Essamplaire.

The materials arrived a few days ago and I've just printed the first lesson. I'll post a picture of all of the yummy silks in the next few days. I can't wait to start!

When will I ever learn?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Almost done...

...with Floral Rondel, that is. I love the way this is coming along. I really only have a couple of hours of work left on this, but it won't be done today. I'm waiting for another spool of the light pink silk to arrive in the mail (thank you, Judy Souliotis!) so I can finish the top petal of the middle flower. Other than that, I've got to couch the outline for two remaining petals of that flower, and couch some stamens in the center. That's it!
Unfortunately, my occasional battle against carpal tunnel and a pinched nerve in my neck is flaring up again. I think it's from the way I support Erin while nursing her, but I can't figure out how to accomplish this without triggering the nerves. The problem in my neck (which leaves my fingers numb) flares up whenever I drop my chin and raise my right shoulder. Working the couching stitches seems to aggravate it more! I'm trying to do them a little bit at a time.

Since I'm not likely to finish too many pieces this year, I've decided to join a fun SAL (Stitch-ALong) that doesn't require any new projects! That's right, it's the Totally Useless SAL, and it consists of simply keeping a jar for your stitching orts, then posting a picture at the new moon. The new moon was yesterday, but I'm close enough. I started this collection of orts about this time last month.
Funny, I actually like this picture of Floral Rondel better!

I may pull out a simple WIP to keep me occupied this week -- something where I can simply keep my right hand below the frame in my lap stand so my fingers don't start tingling!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Answering questions

Recent posts have generated a couple of questions from readers.

I'll address the stitching-related question first. A couple of readers have asked about Jean Hilton's ScottLee. I'm sorry to say that the instructions for this project are very hard to find. Jean taught it only twice: once for a national seminar, and once for a group of stitchers near Phoenix.

It is not available for retail sale (though perhaps her family might change that in the future - who knows?). I did not take either class, but I was lucky enough to be given the chart by somebody who took the class at seminar. I do not have my chart any longer, as I passed it on to another stitcher who admired it here on my blog. Right now, that's the only way it can be legally obtained - by gift or purchase from one of the stitchers who has the instructions from class.

Oh - and if you're one of those lucky few, I know of a couple of ladies looking for the chart!

Erin Update: The second question was about Erin, and the next steps for her hip dysplasia. (Background: She was born with both hips dislocated as a result of pregnancy complications.)

We visited the orthopedist this past week. The X-ray only took two tries. The first try caught her in the middle of a wiggle and was blurry :-). After the second, non-wiggle attempt, succeeded, I managed to get a new diaper on with no accidents on the table!

The X-rays confirmed that both hips are still very much dislocated. Now I'm waiting for the doctor's secretary to call to set up the mid-June appointment for a "closed reduction" procedure. In this procedure, Erin will be anesthetized and the doctor will attempt to manipulate the hips into the correct position. There's a slight chance he may operate at that time if he thinks it will be a minor correction. If all goes well, she'll then be put in a cast from mid-chest to knees. If, for some reason, the hips won't cooperate, we'll wait 'til she's a bit bigger before going in for "open reduction", a.k.a. surgical reparation, before casting her.

As for the cast - don't ask about diaper logistics. It doesn't sound like fun. :-(

Update: In answer to Megan's question: the cast will be on 3-4 months (to let the muscles, tendons, etc. move into the correct position to support the hips), and yes, hopefully after that she'll be able to go on as a normal kid. The doctor says there's a chance she might need to have additional work done over the next several years, but we're praying this won't be necessary.

Thank you to Robbie and Jean for your support and sharing your stories about similar situations. I'm grateful for your caring notes!

Oh - and thank you to Carin for wishing me a happy birthday on Friday after reading through the archives! :-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Catherine Theron class

Please forgive the shameless promotion!

My local EGA chapter is bringing Catherine Theron to town (Rochester, NY) this summer, and there are spaces still open in the class. Please leave a comment on this post with your email address (which I'll delete after replying to you) if you're interested in attending the class or would like more information.

*** UPDATE: "Ghost" students (those who can't be there but would like to do the project) are welcome. We already have a few signed up, but we still have class spaces available! ***

Here's the class information:

During the last region seminar, several of us had the very great pleasure of taking a class from Catherine Theron. We enjoyed the class so much that we’ve invited Catherine here to teach her “How Great the Blessing...” Sampler. Please join us Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19 to explore the wide range of stitches in this lovely sampler!

Here’s how Catherine describes the sampler:

“This glorious sampler is 8¼” X 11¾” (on 36-ct cream linen) or 9¼” X 12¾” (on 32-ct cream linen) and has barely a spot NOT covered by stitching! Queen stitch flowers in vibrant shades of red form the border on this piece. Little (and not so little!) squirrels, birds, and a rabbit run riot on a landscape that includes a giant vase of flowers, rampling strawberry vines, and a sedate house perched over it all. A verse section, alphabet, and a row of pines with a bee skep finish off the sampler. Stitches used include Queen, Upright Cross, Petit Point, Smyrna Cross, Four-Sided, Oblong Cross, Stem Stitch, Chain Stitch, Long Arm Cross, Double Straight Cross, Slanted Satin Stitch, Satin Cushion, and a Leaf Pattern.

My model is worked using Au Ver a Soie Soie d’Alger (silk floss) in vibrant shades of red, green, gold, blue, cream, and brown. Each stitcher will be sent a “threads needed” supply list with silk, DMC and Anchor conversions. Each stitcher will also be sent fabric for pre-basting.

Kit cost includes fabric (either 36-count or 32-count cream linen), needles, practice fabric, instructions, photograph, and charts. Threads ARE NOT included in the kit fee and are up to the individual stitcher.

Extra magnification and/or lighting may be useful. Scroll bars or stretcher frame with thumb tacks or a small hoop is recommended.”
The fine print:
What: “How Great the Blessing...” Sampler class with Catherine Theron
When: Saturday & Sunday, July 18-19, 9AM – 4PM
Where: Gypsum Mills community center in Victor
Bring: Your threads, basted fabric (on a frame if desired), regular stitching tools, plus a dish to pass for lunch on Saturday
Cost: $100 for EGA members, $110 for non-members, which includes the kit (NOT threads), teaching fee, and Catherine’s travel and boarding costs

A deposit of $50 is due by June 1, with the remainder to be paid by July 1.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all my fellow stitching moms!

I spent part of the day stitching! As I mentioned in one recent post, I am starting to find a bit more time to stitch, and Floral Rondel is showing much progress.

I love the layered, couched patterns used in the three blue flowers, but I've only got one more petal to go on these. The center flower is almost done as well, but I ran out of thread. I couldn't believe it. I've only got that tiny bit at the top left to stitch, but the spool of light pink is empty. Judy Souliotis is taking pity on me and very generously will be sending me more so I can finish!

After those two petals, I've got a bit more brick stitch to do on leaves and curliques. With a bit of backstitch and couched outlining, I'll be done! I'd like to finish this piece before the end of the month.

Erin update: The little lady is now up over 11 pounds (unofficially, on my bathroom scale), and we go back to the orthopedic office on Thursday to figure out the next steps for her hips.

Oh - and she's smiling for real now:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rest In Peace, Jean Hilton

The news was just posted to one of the needlepoint email lists. It is with a heavy heart that I relay the news of Jean's passing. The counted canvas world has lost one of its greatest pioneers. Rest in peace, Jean Hilton. You have left a wonderful legacy.

Jean invented and taught an unparalleled number of the stitches that enhance the geometric canvas designs of today. If you've ever stitched a Jessica, Amadeus, crescent, double fan doubled, mistake stitch, or one of the variations of these, your life has been touched by Jean's creativity. There are many more, but those are what come immediately to mind.

Thank you, Jean, for sharing your amazing talents for creating imaginative designs and stitches. Your memory will live on as stitchers continue to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

This is Jean's ScottLee, the last piece she be taught at a seminar.