January 30, 2006

C is for Cats

I'm back to working on my CHS Alphabet series and I'm quite pleased with my progress so far. I've finished B is for Bird and am almost done with C is for Cats. I just need to fill in the bottom section with Bittersweet and then it's on to D is for Deer! This is such a fun little piece to work on and the colors are so bright and cheerful. They are especially welcome on days like today - cold, gray and icy. But the days are getting a tiny bit longer each afternoon so I must be content with that. And they're forecasting sun on Wednesday - I can't wait!

January 29, 2006

Socks Galore

Okay, since I've now finished two pairs of socks, I must confess I think I'm addicted to sock knitting. This arrived in the mail on Thursday and I can't wait to get started! It's not all for me of course but I couldn't resist the sampler package from Knit Picks catalog. This is eight pairs of socks in their washable wool yarn plus two yummy skeins in a varigated denim blue color that is for me - hand wash only. I'm hoping to start a new pair of socks this week.

Today I finished putting together my SBEBB Valentine's exchange and my gift for Karen for the Birthday exchange. I can't share pictures just yet. I'm not happy with how Karen's present came out - I used the dreaded sewing machine and I think I would have been much better off hand sewing the finish. I was afraid to keep trying to fix it as the fabric was wearing so I'm going to send it off as is and hope Karen has her Bad Finishing Goggles on when she sees it. I'm going to work on a new present in the interim.

January 28, 2006

Postcards from Maine

Today I went to the Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth. It was supposed to be 55 today so I thought it would be a good day to explore a little so I headed up Portland way. Due to it being the end of January, there weren't a lot of people at the light so I was able to park and take some good pictures. I was also lucky enough to have an empty tanker heading out of port so that was neat too! The day eventually cleared up in the afternoon but I had other things to do so I just took some quick photos and left. It was quite cold on the water. The lighthouse is located in Fort Williams park which had some interesting old ruins scattered about. I think I will go back again on a nicer day and explore a little more.

I went to Cape Elizabeth to look for somethings to add to my SBEBB Valentines Exhchange package which gets mailed out this week. Unfortunately, the shop, The Stitching Mantis was not worth the trip. It's main focus was yarn with some needlework and cross stitch stuff as an afterthought. I did find a few things but not what I was hoping for. I've picked up other things so the package will not be empty but I was hoping to include some additional stitching related items.

While I was out exploring, I also hunted down another yarn shop on East Congress Street which has little coffee counter in the back. It's called Knit Wits. I think it's a husband and wife team that own it - the husband was there giving an impromptu knitting lesson. Some nice yarns but luckily nothing jumped off the shelves.

January 26, 2006

Back to my ABCs

Last night was the book group discussion for Gone With The Wind. I managed to read 528 pages before the meeting and I'll keep on reading until I finish but now that it's been discussed, I can get back to my stitching. This week I'm focusing on my very neglected CHS Alphabet series. Since I last worked on it, I've finished B and made good progress on C. I hope to get C finished this weekend if time permits. My goal is to finish C, D and E by the end of February and send them off to Vivian. Then I will purchase my next three or four in March. I love how this is turning out!

I also need to get back to Miss Mary Mack - am I the only one who hasn't finished hers yet? I've done some more filling in but I am now wondering if she's going to be too small for the frame. Maybe her hair will fill her out? I will definitely NOT be ripping out!

January 19, 2006

Not much stitching goin on

I haven't done a lot of stitching this week because I've been trying to read two books with end of the month deadlines and finish a pair of socks for my niece that I started on vacation. Tonight I was able to finish the socks but the book finishes are going to be much harder. One of the books is Gone With The Wind and I've resigned myself to the fact that I will not have it finished by next Wednesday for the book group discussion. However, I do plan to finish reading it as it is very good. Just very slow going and at 1,024 pages, there's a lot of going left to get through! I did get a bit done on my Miss Mary Mack this week so I have at least that progress to show.

January 16, 2006

Miss Mary Mack - Round 2

Yesterday I restarted my over one Miss Mary Mack on different fabric. It's still 40 count R&R but this is Lt. Cappacino and it has a more open weave than the Sheep's Straw. It's easier to stitch on which is great. I've reread the information Lori sent to Chelle and decided to try the outline and fill method she mentioned. I plan to go down the right side of her dress and then work at filling in the center. Then I will work on her hair as it might require some adjustment to get it to fit within the tin pin frame. I basted in the rough outline of the frame this time as well.
I love this design!

January 15, 2006

Baby, it's cold outside!

As I was coming back from my weekend at my sister's in NH, I drove through town so I could see what the temperature reading was....9 degrees! And that doesn't count in the wind which has been really nasty today. We had a bit of snow overnight and this morning but it was such small crystals that they didn't amount to much. Right now there is a gorgeous pink sunset and I've noticed it's staying lighter longer each day so that's a good thing!

Here is my progress on my needleroll UFO after one week. I'm pretty pleased with how much I accomplished. I will put it away until next month's UFO stitching week with LAS and pick up my CHS Alphabet piece this week. I also finished the frame for the back piece of my Valentine's exchange. Now I just need to decide on the personalization for it and get that stitched. I also must get cracking on my first birthday exchange piece for 2006 as it will need to be mailed out by the first weekend in February.

I have decided to start over on my Miss Mary Mack tin pin SAL because the 40 ct Sheep's Straw I started on is just too tightly woven. I am switching to a 40ct R&R Lt. Capacino instead. It's got a bit more of an open weave and should be easier to work with than the other. I'm going to stick with the WDW Onyx as I like the color against the fabric. Hopefully I will have some progress to show you tomorrow.

January 13, 2006

Fun List

I saw this on Anne's blog today, who stole it from Jenna.....

A is for Age: 42
B is for Booze: Tequila - especially in a Margarita
C is for Career: Administrative Assistant
D is for Dad’s Name: William Arthur
E is for Essential Item to Bring to a Party: A good bottle of wine
F is for Favourite Songs at the Moment: Don't Wish You Were Hot Like Me - Pussy Cat Dolls
G is for Goof-off Thing to Do: Read magazines
H is for Hometown: Born in Hialeah, FL but have lived too many places to truly have a hometown
I is for Instrument You Play: Does a radio count?
J is for Jam or Jelly you Like: Low sugar red raspberry jam
K is for Kids: None
L is for Living Arrangement: 1920 Craftsman bungalow - 3 bed, 2 bath with a huge front porch-my dream house!
M is for Mom’s Name: Joan Faith but we always called her Faith or Maxie
N is for Names of Good Friends: My sister Lisa and my friend Nancy
O is for Overnight Hospital Stays: None
P is for Phobias: Spiders -Eeeewwwwww
Q is for Quotes you Like: ""Mother of Pearl!!!" as quoted from Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants
R is for Relationship That Lasted Longest: Hmmmmmm..... my relationship with Spongebob is ongoing
S is for Siblings:Two bestest sisters in the world
T is for Texas: Austin is my kind of town
U is for Unique Trait: Loyal
V is for Vegetables You Love: Asparagus, red bell peppers
W is for Worst Traits: Procrastination and avoidance of conflict
X is for X-rays You’ve Had: Teeth, torso for chiropractor appointment
Y is for Yummy Food You Make: My mom's cheescake with raspberry sauce
Z is for Zodiac Sign: Leo

January 12, 2006

Frogging Moon?

Here is my progress on my Snug needleroll. Tonight I took this project to my weekly S & B at the quilt shop. It continues to be a pain to work on with much frogging, swearing and gnashing of teeth. I think I passed the froggy germs on to another friend who has been working on an old cross stitch piece instead of her usual quilting. She had to frog tonight as well. Could it be the full moon coming? Could it be that this month's moon is a Frog Moon? I think it's quite possible! Despite all the troubles, I'm making some progress as you can see. This really is a gorgeous design and I could easily see it on different colored fabrics with different threads. However, I think it will be a while before I can contemplate stitching it again!

January 11, 2006

The Divine Miss M

Miss Mary Mack that is! I'm stitching this along with the SAL at Chelle's blog. I still have to order the tin pin frame but I will do that this weekend. I'm stitching mine on 40ct R&R Sheep Straw and it is very tightly woven which makes stitching over one rather a challenge. I chose WDS Onyx for the thread and I decided to start from the bottom up so this is just her feet and the beginning of her dress. I'm not sure how many of us are stitching her but it will be fun to see the various fabric and thread choices. I need to check the directions Lori Markovic sent to Chelle to make sure of any changes to the pattern. I plan to stitch this full size at some point as the pattern calls for. I have the 36ct BOAF Sparrow that's called for as well as the NPI silk in my stash already. Maybe the full size Miss Mary Mack will have to get stitched this year as I love the design.

I think this project will make a nice alternative to stitching on my UFO. I also need to get back to my CHS Alphabet which I plan to focus on next week. I also have three books to be read by the end of the month so I think I will be quite busy in the days to come. Hopefully this will make the dreariest part of winter go quickly! I'm already longing for spring.

January 10, 2006

Frogging along...

Here is a picture of my progress on my needleroll. I can't believe how much I've had to frog. I think I may be off by one horizontal thread at the bottom so I'm going to work the design down a bit to see before I rip out any more. It's those pesky green Renaissance stitch diamonds that are causing me such grief. Although I've probably ripped out as much as I've put in, it is showing nice progress. The individual areas are pretty small so they add up fairly quickly. I may give this piece a rest tonight and start on it again tomorrow. Maybe by then the green thing will have traveled south! Or traveled farther north and frozen to death. :-)

January 9, 2006

Next! Next please!

Now that I've finished my BOAF UFO, it's on to the next one which happens to be a class piece from the 2003 Stitchers Hideaway retreat I went to in Mystic, CT. It's a long narrow needleroll by The Nutmeg Needle. Sue Stokes is the designer and I really enjoyed her classes. She taught three pieces and I thought this one would be the easiest to complete. Hah! I've had to frog more on this piece than anything I've done in recent memory. It's got lots of specialty stitches and over one and either my counting is off or something else goes wrong. Hmm... maybe it's time to visit the eye doctor? This piece is going to be quite a bit harder than I thought. I imagine if I had started on it right after the class, it would be much easier. Ah well, who completes a class piece right after the class??

Last night I finished the front of my SBEBB Valentine's exchange which I've decided to finish into a cube. I need to stitch the personalization for the back and then look for some fabric for around the sides that will compliment the design. I'm hoping I have something in my fabric drawer but if not, I will look for something at the quilt store on Thursday evening.

January 8, 2006

Stitched Gifts are the Best!

This is a photo of the wonderful box I got from my friend Nancy. She made a sweetbag using the Blackbird Designs Trix or Treats book which I absolutely love! I love getting stitched gifts and Nancy's are always so wonderfully stitched. She also included a great smelling candle, a small travel diary and a beautiful linen towel with the heart in hand motif that goes perfectly in my kitchen.

I unfortunately didn't manage to make anyone a stitched gift this year and had to resort to purchased presents. I'm going to blame it on my obsession with finishing my UFO but I do hope to be better with stitching presents in 2006.

I have been thinking over whether or not I want to set stitching goals for this year and have decided to set a few:

1. Finish at least two more things from my UFO pile.
2. Finish my CHS Alphabet series.
3. Complete the finishing of all the pieces of the With My Needle sewing case and accessories.
4. Stitch exclusively from my stash as much as possible.
5. Learn how to do hardanger.

That's it for right now. I may set some individual monthly goals and think about a rotation system but for right now I'm going to focus on completing two exchange pieces and picking up my CHS alphabet SAL with Vivian.

January 7, 2006


Translated that means Birds of A Feather Happy Hearts Sampler Happy Dance!!! Yes, I finished the piece at 10:20am this morning. I've been working exclusively on it since Tuesday after a two day break of no stitching. I realized that I would be finished pretty quickly if I just kept going, so that's what I did! I am sooooo happy to be finally finished with this UFO. My first finish of 2006!
Since I've gotten that piece off my lap so to speak, I'm going to focus on finishing my SBEBB Valentine's exchange and my birthday exchange piece for Karen. This is UFO stitching week with LAS so I'm going to also pick out the next UFO piece to work on. I'm thinking it may be Glory Bee's Bon Bini but I'm thinking about ripping it all out and stitching it over one so I'll have to see. Would that negate it's being a UFO if it's started over? If not, I have a class piece that's been in the pile for a good 2 years so maybe that will be next!

The SAL for the Miss Mary Mack over one tin pin piece is also getting started soon so I plan to pull my chart, fabric and threads for that. That will probably be my first start of 2006! Who knows what will happen after a romp through the stash.....

January 2, 2006

Happy New Year!

Today I have the luxury of a day off which also means a shorter work week. I think it's a very nice way to start off a new year! I spent most of the weekend lounging around on the couch and doing a bit of stitching and reading. I stitched quite a bit on my BOAF Happy Hearts on New Year's Eve but wasn't able to finish it up. I did finish the top though and added one more number to the bottom. I didn't stitch at all yesterday as I was a little burnt out with this piece. I may or may not stitch on it today. I need to complete the numbers across the bottom to 12 and then there is an irregular sawtooth border at the bottom and then the piece will be completed. I have to confess I'm tired of working on it at this point!

I may stitch on my SBEBB Valentine's exchange piece today instead. I also want to finalize the piece that I will stitch for Karen as she is the first SBEBB birthday in my Birthday Exchange group. I'm also way behind in reading blogs and bbs so I hope to get caught up with that today. This is all in addition to cleaning my office and purging files and doing housework of course!