March 27, 2006

Monday down, Tuesday on the horizon

No pictures to share tonight. I had to frog two sides of my latest exchange piece and stitch them back in so yesterday's progress was pretty small. I also put in the short and one long side of the background color on my rug. I've taken it out of the hoop because of the end pieces and it seems to be going easier without the hoop. I never use one to stitch and am wondering if there is a technical reason I need to use one for rug hooking? I will have to ask my teacher this question. I don't know if it has somethign to do with keeping the tension? It just seems more comfortable to roll it up in my lap rather than bother with moving the hoop all over. Do you think colonial rug hookers had hoops or frames? Hmmm.... Guess a bit of research might be in order. I probably won't have much chance to blog this week until Friday as I have evening events Tuesday through Thursday. I will be very glad when it is Friday!

March 26, 2006

Spring Sunday

I just got back from a 45 minute walk. The sun was shining and it was fairly warm although the wind needs to go away for it to truly feel spring-like. But it was lovely all the same and I saw quite a few others taking advantage of the sunshine.

Yesterday was a trip to NH for a haircut so I didn't have much time to be crafty. However, I did sit down last night and complete the other side of my rug. Now all that is left to complete is the background which will be black. I've decided not to hook in the swirly lines on either side - I may regret it but I just couldn't decide what color I wanted to do so I decided to just leave them out! I hope to start hooking in the background some time today. I also managed to do a little bit more on E is for Elephant. As Anna suggested, I ended up cutting out the threads. I still need to put the small letter e back in.

While I was in NH, I stopped by Colonial Needleworks to pick up something stitching related to include with my Yahoo group Easter exchange piece. I found a nice chart by Country Garden Stitchery that I hope my partner will enjoy. I also picked up some WDW threads and came out with a number of WDW skeins that I didn't personally need but I fell in love with the colors. They are are all very strongly variegated and I'm thinking of trying some of the small Quaker freebies I have in my stash just for fun to see how they come out.

Today I am beginning Jo's birthday exchange piece as it got neglected this week. I'm really looking forward to stitching this for myself at some point. And I must put together my Easter exchange piece so it can be sent off this week. I still haven't received my threads for the Melanie's Exchange so I can't do anything but lurk on the receiver's blog for now!

Here is a picture of my CHS alphabet progress. The shop I was at yesterday didn't have any of the other letters so I guess I'm going to have to order them online.

I hope you enjoy a fabulous spring Sunday where ever you are!

March 22, 2006

Robins, green painted sticks & tree buds

What do these three things have in common? They are signs of spring in Maine. On my walk yesterday, it was a tiny bit warmer and a bit less windy than Monday evening and I noticed a few signs of spring in Maine. The first was a pair of robins which are always an uplifting sign that spring is in fact going to arrive.

Another was much more subtle and that was found in the St. Ignatius cemetery where I usually walk. On my usual route last night, I noticed several green painted sticks placed in the ground near headstones and a large rectangle outlined in the ground. This means that the ground will soon be thawed enough to bury those who have died over the winter. Probably an unusual thought to those who live in more temperate climates but here in New England, the dead don't often get buried until winter is over.

And finally on the way home I was looking up and noticed that several trees on my route have buds forming which means hopefully that spring will in fact arrive soon. There is hope and proof positive after all that better weather is sure to come despite the fact that snow is being forecasted for parts of the state this evening!

I have no stitching content to show this evening because I discovered this morning that my small letter e in E is for Elephant is fully two threads off so it must be ripped out in order for my elephant to fit correct. I hate having to frog over one!!!

March 20, 2006

First day of Spring? Really? Where?

Certainly not here. Although it was a gorgeous sunny day today, it was a very cold sunny day today. All this past week, we've had a really mean wind blowing and today was no exception. The high was maybe 33 today. I took a walk after I got home from work and it was just painful. It took a good hour for my nose and my thighs to thaw out. Where oh where is this spring they are talking about? It hasn't hit Maine yet and I'm getting tired of waiting.

I actually got out of bed at 5:00 this morning so that I could work on my Easter exchange project. I can't share the photo but I'm very close to being done with the stitching part. To take my mind off how cold I was on my walk, I mulled over ways to finish the design and I think I'm going to try a rather unusual one and see if it works. It will involve some felt, some ribbon and my hole punch. I will post a picture of the results of my brainstorm once it's been received.

I hope you had a wonderful first day of Spring where ever you are!

March 19, 2006

Sunday Already?

After a luxurious three day weekend, I hate to see Sunday come to an end. I got a lot accomplished over the three days but I would love to have a few more days to work on projects. Ah well, I guess I have to pay for my hobbies some way right?

Here is a photo of the lovely Manos del Uruguay yarn I wound into balls yesterday. It's the most lovely combination of purples, reds, golds and a little brown and orange. I can't wait to get started on swatching for my cardigan.

I did my taxes this morning and was pleasantly surprised at the amounts I'm getting back both from the federal government and from the state of Maine. It's already earmarked for a new driveway and a radon mitigation system but one can dream right? Can you imagine just spending it on yarn or cross stitch or art supplies? I can!

I also put a good few hours into my rug which had been sadly neglected this past week. Once I pick it up, I end up doing a fair amount. It's getting easier but I still sometimes fight to get that hook with wool up through that little hole! I need to complete the right side and the left and right border and then I can start filling in the black background and it will be done.

March 18, 2006

Saturday Stitching

I did not get a whole lot of stitching done today but here are updates of what I did manage to do. I finished the frame of Zs on my Snug needleroll. This was the last day to UFO stitch for the week so I will be putting this away until next month. I had hoped to do the other three corner woven stitches but that was not to be.

This is my progress on E is for Elephant. I changed to top border a bit-it called for Bittersweet on the inner border of the diamond shape motifs with a center stitch of Tropical Ocean. I thought the reverse would look much better with the Nutmeg outside and I really like it this way instead. I just couldn't picture the Nutmeg and Bittersweet next to each other. I hope to get some of the elephant started tomorrow.

I also stitched on an Easter exchange project but I can't show you that yet. It's for the Yahoo group that Danielle invited me to join and it's my first time participating. I hope all goes well. I also got my name for the 2nd part of Melanie's exchange so I hope my materials arrive this week so I can get started on that. And I finally decided on a design for Jo's birthday exchange piece with the SBEBB. I cut the fabric tonight and pulled the threads. I couldn't find one color so I'm hoping it's down here in another project kit. If not, I will have to run across the street for it tomorrow.

I have been on a spring cleaning frenzie today which turned out to me more of an organizing frenzy I guess. I did some cleaning but there's quite a bit more I need to do. But I did clean off my desk, wind 7 skeins of the most gorgeous wool into balls for my next project which will be a cardigan sweater, organize all of my cross stitch freebies - throwing out duplicates and grouping them by theme so they will be much easier to use. I hope it will make me want to stitch more of them because I have a lot of them and they are really nice. They would probably also be quick stitches which is always nice. I also put all my UFO projects in one place and cleared off my sewing table. Next up will be organizing the collage supplies I bought yesterday. I'm not quite sure where they are going to go yet!

Anna, I loved working with the Berocco Suede and will definitely use it again. I subscribe to their weekly email newsletter and they often have free patterns using their yarn. I have a great one for a bag using the suede and also one for a cell phone holder. I bought a ball of purple Suede to make that eventually. My next project with Berocco yarn will be a felted bag using Medley. and free pattern from their newsletter. I've never felted anything so that should be interesting.

March 16, 2006

The Fringe Made All the Difference

I couldn't get this to post on Thursday evening so I'm trying again!

Ta-dah! Here is my finished Oakley with the fringe on. Tonight was my S&B group at the quilt shop and I made and attached all the fringe on my shawl. It's amazing what some stringy ends will do for a project! LOL This turned out so great and I'm really pleased with it. I can't wait to wear it. The picture is not that great and I am hoping for sunshine tomorrow and I'll try a photo in natural light. Thanks for sharing in my happy dance!

March 15, 2006

Knitting Happy Dance

This terrible photo is actually a shawl I finished tonight. It's done using Berocco Suede and you start with one stitch and by knitting into the front and back of the last stitch, you increase the size of the triangle. I did this for 174 more repeats and let me tell you, it gets old pretty quickly once you pass about 60. I think I started this in November or December, put it down for a while and have been trying to whittle away at it little by little. The picture is terrible but I couldn't get a good one. I still have to fringe the two sides so it's really not finished but close enough!

This is what it will look like once the fringe is on.

I bought the yarn and the book two summers ago with the intent of making this as a 2004 Christmas gift for my boss . However, after all the work that went into it, I'm keeping it! Quite a few of the projects I have done recently were intended for others and I've ended up keeping them for me. Selfish maybe but at least I know that I will appreciate all the time and effort that went into it's creation whereas someone else might not.

Now that this is off the needles, I am looking forward to starting a cardigan sweater project and a new pair of socks - both for me!

March 13, 2006

Getting some Zs

Tonight I started putting the frame of Zs around the rice stitch border on my needleroll. I notices that no matter how I try the tension on my backstitching when I am going diagonal is looser than when I stitch on a straight line. Hmmm..... it sort of sags and I'm afraid to pull it too tightly because I don't want to make the holes larger in the fabric. Does this happen to you? It's not really noticeable overall but I can certainly see a difference when I look at the stitching.

March 12, 2006

A Little Weekend Finish And A Little Weekend Progress

Yesterday I conquered one of my Essy's Friends kits, Halle's Heart. It only took about an hour and a half to stitch and finish. And I thriftily used only one quarter of the fabric that came with the kit so I can stitch three more of these if I like. I may just do that and give them as gifts as they are such a great little size for a pin. I really like the square tin pin frame too. Cathy has done a wonderful job completing two of the kits that I want to get to next. I love them both!

This is also a UFO stitching week with the LAS gang so I pulled out my Snug needleroll project this morning and was able to complete the rice stitch frame around the quilt block center. I really like how it looks. Next up is a row of Zs back stitched in green and then the three other corner blocks which use the woven stitch in perle cotton.

March 11, 2006

The results of my collage class

Here are the two pieces I created at my collage class on Thursday evening. I really enjoyed the class. The instructor was very nice and it turns out she's a rug hooking teacher with her own studio in North Falmouth. A bit far to go for classes but I'm going to take a trip up to see her studio as her work is a bit more modern than some I have seen which I really like.

Both pieces were done using wood blocks. The top one will go in my kitchen. The background was already painted in and I experimented with painting over tape(to the left of the flower and the lower right corner. The blue flower in the bottom left corner was an experiment in 3D - I used small bits of popsicle stick to elevate the paper flowers and curled the wire for leaves. I still need to pick up some matte medium and give both pieces a good sealing.

The second piece I made with the colors of my bedding in mind. I used the wood block plane and then used bits of tissue, acetate, brown paper bag and some cut out images to create the effect. The K is for my last name. I'm really happy with how both pieces turned out. I just need to apply hangers and get them hung up. I also need to finish off the edges of the kitchen piece - I'm going to use either wool or ribbon to do that.

I think there is definitely going to be collage in my future. I bought a great beginners instruction book that shows a variety of techniques so now I just have to start collecting supplies!

March 7, 2006

My Viola Stitching Accessories

Over the weekend, I finished blanket stitching all of the pieces of my stitching accessories and putting them together. I need to get a different piece of ribbon for the scissor pocket as I think it's too short. Also, I mistakenly glued two pieces of the needlebook pattern together when it should have been two pieces for the scissor keeper. This resulted in my needlebook being very think and it won't stay shut. I'm going to try and steam it on the seam and see if that works. If not, I will go buy a snap and use that to keep it closed. I'm very happy that I completed this kit.

I have another kit of a pumpkin wall hanging that I bought at the same time that I need to complete. But I also started a pumpkin pillow project from a holiday crafts magazine that still needs blanket stitching so I'm going to work on that and see if I can complete it in time for next fall!

March 6, 2006

D is for Done

Yesterday I finished up the stitching on D is for Deer and started the outline for E. I was at my LNS on Saturday to pick up a few things for an SBEBB exchange and totally forgot to look for the next 4 letters. I guess I will just have to order them on line instead. I'm excited to have completed one row and be moving along to the next one.

My thanks to everyone on their kind comments about my rug hooking. I'm really enjoying working on the piece. I plan to work on it a little bit at a time and am in no rush to complete it. I am thinking I might have it completed by the end of the month if I make steady progress.

March 5, 2006

Beginning Hooker

Rug Hooker that is! Here is a picture of my first piece after yesterday's class. I am quite pleased with the progress. It was hard to take a picture of what the rug will look like due to the paper being shiny but I think you will get the idea!I have yet to get a good rhythm down but I'm sure that will come with practice.

The class itself was great - the instructor was wonderful. Her name is Lisanne Miller and she had a wonderfully relaxed style of instruction and was a wealth of information for a beginner. We are working with Scottish burlap which is very much like the original materials used way back when and wool dyed by Lisanne. She dyes her all her own wool and she talked a bit about that process as well. She's teaching a four week dyeing class beginning Wednesday but I just don't have the time to take it yet. I am hoping she will do another Saturday class devoted to hand dyeing sometime in the future.

March 3, 2006


I am so glad it's Friday! It's been a very busy and productive week but one that's left me feeling very tired today. I am really looking forward to the weekend. I already came home and took a 1/2 hour nap.

Last night was my jewelry class and I really enjoyed it. I think my boss did too. Here is the pendant that I made using a 12 inch piece of silver wire. We learned various ways to bend and twist the metal as well as how to use different ball peen hammers to work the metal. You probably can't tell from the photo but my heart has little dents in it from the hammers so it has a worn/worked look to it. I wore it to work today and I am really thrilled with it!

I also finished the first piece of my penny needlework companions, the pincushion. It went together fairly quickly. I have started working on the needlebook this evening but I think I will put it away to work on some cross stitching tonight. Ann, the kit is designed by Karyn Lord of Wool &Whimsey and is called "Violas" Penny Needlework Companions. I bought mine at the shop and if you like, I can pick one up or order one for you. Just let me know!

Tomorrow is my rug hooking class and I'm really looking forward to that. There was a small hooked wall hanging at the studio last night and it just made me even more eager to learn this technique.

March 1, 2006

My own March Madness

March is the month for basketball March Madness but for me it will mean new craft classes. Tomorrow night I am taking a hammered silver jewelry class with my boss - she needs a hobby and loves jewelry so I'm hoping she likes it. I've never done any jewelry making so it will be an interesting experience. I've found an art studio in South Portland that offers a wide variety of different classes each month and the prices are pretty reasonable.

I'm taking the jewelry class and then a week after that I am taking a collage class. I've been very intrigued by Danielle's ATCs that she makes and I thought this might be a step in the right direction. Plus on Saturday, I'm taking a primitive rug hooking class from the real estate agent that represented the seller of my house! She is teaching an adult education class at York High School and was kind enough to let me know after we had talked about it way back last May.

I've been dying to try this but half afraid as I know I will become obsessed and it means more stash and more money and oh no, the need for more storage space! I've already ended up buying a hoop frame but luckily it will work for my cross stitching as well. It can be a single hoop or by putting two together with the accompanying legs, you can turn it into a lap stand. I'm going to try it for working on my HAED Storey Keeper this weekend.