February 28, 2006

A Change of Pace

Last spring, my friend Nancy talked me into buying this kit at a quilt shop we had visited in Barrington. I pulled it out last fall and cut out the pieces from the wool felt included in the kit and fused the various parts together. After that, the project stalled because I was afraid of the blanket stitch. I had done the stitch before but it found it awkward so I was reluctant to continue with the finishing of the kit. Last night, I decided I was in the mood for something different so I picked up my kit, made a few practice blanket stitches on a scrap piece of wool and here you see the results from last night and today. I still have more blanket stitch to do as well as some French knots and then it will be on to putting the pieces together. The pieces will become a needlebook, pin cushion and scissorkeep when they are finished. I have to say that I'm enjoying the stitching but I did have to go buy a thimble on my lunch hour as the tip of my middle flinger on my right hand was really sore from pushing the needle through the layers of wool felt and fusing. It is much easier going now!

This is what I have been working on while listening to Happy Are the Cheesemakers by Sarah-Kate Lynch. Heather, I must say it's the first book I've listened to on CD and I'm not sure if it's my boombox or not but you can't rewind very easily if you miss a part as you can with cassettes. You have to go to the beginning of the section and then listen all over again. But the book is pretty good - I always look for the unabridged version at the library so I know I'm not missing anything from the original. By the way, I loved the bit about pancake day on your blog!

February 27, 2006

Wicked cold end to February

Today when I left for work, it was 1 degree. That's -17 Celsius. It feels even colder since there was a mean wind blowing all day. I left my hat sitting on the kitchen table this morning and should have gone back to get it. I got my hair cut quite short over the weekend so my ears were pretty cold without it. When oh when will it ever be spring? We're going to keep having this cold weather right into March unfortunately. I can't believe it will be March 1st on Wednesday!

I have completed fillingin the bittersweet on the bottom of D is for Deer while listening to an audio book tonight. I just have to stitch the word deer and finish up part of the border and it will be done. I have to go to an LNS on Saturday so I hope to pick up the next few charts in the series - F, G, H and I. If the shop doesn't have them, I guess I will go ahead and order them.

I saw on the Elegant Stitch website today that the new Essy's Friends kit should be shipping out tomorrow. The next design was created by Brightneedle which has always been one of my favorite design teams. I really need to get going on all of the ones I still haven't completed in the series. Maybe I will work on those this weekend. I also hope to put some time into the Storey Keepe as I didn't get any stitching in on that this weekend.

February 26, 2006

Catch up time

This afternoon I have been stitching on my CHS Alphabet piece. As you can see, I have completed the top design and now need to finish the bottom with the word deer. The chart calls for filling the background with GAST Nutmeg which is different from the first three charts and E is for elephant. I've decided to do all of the backgrounds in Bittersweet for continuity. I think it will look more pleasing to the eye with all of the letters stitched on one piece of fabric.

The reason I was able to stitch today is that I finally finished my sock project but I forgot to take a picture of them. They were a birthday gift for my sister who turned 40 on Thurssday. I went to NH for the weekend to get my hair cut and colored and to have dinner with her and my BIL. We had a really wonderful dinner on Saturday night and it was nice to just hang out with the adults. We don't often get to do that!

So now that my present is finished, I'm going to work on getting caught up with emails and blog reading. I also picked up the March book club selection today at Barnes and Nobles so I plan to get started on that. Luckily it is only about 260 or so pages so it shouldn't take as long as the last two selections.

February 22, 2006

No pictures today

Last night I went to South Portland to buy a gift certificate for someone who is leaving work on Friday. I got it at Borders and managed to come out with two new knitting magazines and a sock book I had seen a while back plus the new issue of Vogue and a hairstyles book. I looked a the stitching magazines but nothing impressed me enough to buy one. Lately I just haven't been seeing any designs worth purchasing the magazine for. I did notice that Stitcher's World has changed it's name - what's up with that? The content was about the same. They just seemed very blah, blah, blah to my taste. Could it be I'm jaded? Or I've been seduced by all the new market releases and everything else looks boring?

Work continues on my second sock but I doubt I'll get much more done tonight as I'm tired. It was book group tonight - we read The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor which I and two others loved and three didn't like and one didn't finish. It was a good discussion as always. The next book up is The Reivers by William Faulkner. It sounds good on Amazon so I hope that is true. Hope you had a good day!

February 20, 2006

Back to D

D for Deer that is. Tonight I picked up my CHS alphabet piece. I had intented to have D and E finished by the end of the month but I think I will have to settle for D only due to the interruption of my stitching by the sock knitting. I have completed the top border and am now ready to start the letter D below. I'm not sure if I'll get back to this until later in the week. Wednesday night is book group so I will be gone for a bit then and I must finish my second sock by Saturday. I've completed the ribbing which is 1 x 1 and that takes forever. Now I'm on to the leg which is straight knitting until I reach the heel - only 5 inches to get there! My hands and wrists are sore from so much knitting!

February 19, 2006

Imperceptible Progress

Today, I finished my first sock so I was able to spend some time stitching. I picked up my HAED Storey Keeper which has been pretty neglected lately. I finished two 10 by 10 squares down the left hand side but it's pretty hard to see that I made any progress! There were tons of color changes in these two blocks so progress was very, very slow. But any progress is worth celebrating.

I also got my first instructions for the SBEBB Melanie's exchange. This is a really interesting and different exchange. You send floss and and some sort of embellishment to one stitcher and that person stitches something for another stitcher using the floss and embellishments. Today I got my notification of the color preferences for the person who will receive the stitched result and the instructions of who I am to send my thread and embellishment to. I have already decided the floss but I think I will need to make a trip to an LNS for the embellishment part. I have some possible choices but I wasn't wowed by anything. Maybe I will search a bit online and try that.

February 18, 2006

Knitting Olympics

While many around the stitching blogs and bulletin boards are engaged in stitching olympics, I've been engaged in knitting olympics. I am working very hard to finish the first sock of a pair that will be a gift. I am almost finished turning the heel and heading towards the toe. I am hoping I will finish this first sock this evening so I can get a start on the second tomorrow. As a result of all this knitting, I have done no stitching and thus have no progress on that front to share. Hopefully I will share my completed sock tomorrow - it's made with a self-striping yarn which is fun!

February 16, 2006

Like White on Rice

Here is another progress picture of my needleroll. I've completed the rice stitch down the right hand side and am heading across the bottom to the left side. I really like this stitch - it's easy to do and I just love the texture. This is done using Anchor #12 perle cotton but I'm going to experiment with some of my other threads to see how it looks with different types, cotton, silk and over dyed.

February 15, 2006

Back stitching Accomplished!

Today I finished the back stitching on the center part of my Snug needleroll. I am not jazzed about the fact that the star stitches, which are the rose colors, are kind of obscured by the backstitching that is all around them. It does give the piece a very textured, finished look but I really liked how the star stitches looked before they were back stitched. But, I'm not pulling anything out that's for sure. Next it's on to the rice stitch border which is done in perle cotton right above the medallion. This will go all the way around the block.

In other news, today we had a gorgeous day with temps in the high 40s if not 50s. But the weekend is going to be cold with highs around 25 and lows in the single digits - like 4 degrees. I wish the weather would make up it's mind as these extreme shifts - snow on Sunday, 50 on Wednesday, arctic on Sunday are making me grumpy. I have decided I have extreme cabin fever - to the point I'm contemplating cutting my hair very short and quitting my job! Hmmm.... must be the hormones.

February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

I had a very nice Valentine's Day today and I hope you did too! I managed to resist opening Harsha's wonderful box until this morning and it was definitely worth the wait! Here are the before and after photos along with a close up of the lovely sachet that Harsha made for me.

Included in the box were four lovely skeins of Heavenly Hues hand dyed threads which I'm very excited to try. I have never heard of these before! I also received two cards perfect for stitching a little something and inserting into the openings, one heart shaped and one square. Plus there was a wonderful magnet entitled "I prayed for you today" which I will look at and recite to myself daily. I will add you to that prayer Harsha. Finally, there were some lovely pink and red roses made out of soap! They are much too pretty to use so I will display them very carefully and enjoy them instead of washing them down the drain!

I am feeling quite spoiled tonight and I hope you were too!

February 13, 2006

Actual Stitching Content

Okay, there isn't much but I have some stitching content today. This is a picture of the backstitching for my UFO needleroll. There's still more to do-all the light & dark pink motifs are individually outlined - Oh joy!

I took my sock start to work today and realized I'd forgotten one needle at home so there was no progress at lunch. So that is on the agenda this evening. I may do some more backstitching as well.

Hope you had a great Monday!

February 12, 2006

Bad Blogger am I

Boy, I guess I've really been bad at blogging this week - nothing since Tuesday. The only reason is that I don't have much stitching related to share - I've been knitting more than stitching this week. I'm working on a shawl and a new pair of socks and they've held my interest more than stitching has.

That said, I did do a bit of UFO stitching this morning as it's the start of another UFO week on LaS. I am outlining the center quilt square I stitched last month. I'm almost done and then it's on the to the rice stitch border using perel cotton. So far, progress on this piece is going smoothly. I also put a little bit of time into D is for Deer on my CHS alphabet piece but not enough yet that's worth sharing.

Well, my plow guy is here so it's time to move the car. Ah, winters in Maine!

February 7, 2006

A,B, C, next is D!

Here is an updated picture of my CHS Alphabet piece. I've completed C and worked on the border to bring it along even with my progress. There are flowers attached to each flat spot but I'm still undecided as to the colors I want to stitch so I will hold off until I have more of the letters stitched and then decide what I want to do. This piece continues to be a pleasure to work on and I will either start D tonight or start the new Essy's Friends piece. Which ever calls the strongest will be worked on.

I'm also including a photo of my minimal progress on my HAED Storey Keeper. I'm following Nicki's method of leaving the thread in the next hole. I am working over and down at this point and trying to find a method that works best for me. It's a big piece of fabric so it's a bit awkward to work with. I'm also using the hair clips Nicki recommended and rolling the extra fabric up and clipping it with the hair clip. I need to remember to take them out when I'm finished working for the day which I forgot to do on Sunday.

February 6, 2006

Counting Down to Valentine's Day

Thank you to everyone for your kind comments about Beth. I really appreciate the support that stitchers are so quick to give - in the good times and in the bad.

On Saturday, I picked up a package at the post office which was from Harsha. It is my SBEBB Valentine's Exchange package and I'm determined to wait until the 14th to open it. Do you think I will last? It's such a temptation as it is sitting where I keep my car keys and purse. I pass it coming and going! Ah well, anticipation is part of the pleasure in receiving a gift from another stitcher. I know it will be lovely as Harsha does beautiful work.

I also started a new project on Saturday - my Storey Keeper by Selene Fenech from HAED. I made a fair amount of progress on it over the weekend so I will share it with you tomorrow. For now, here is a picture of the lovely thread keeper Jodi sent me with the threads for my CHS Alphabet piece. It's a bit awkward with the thread tags on it but I was afraid I'd forget which color was which. If anyone has any suggestions as to how it could work better, please let me know! I really love it.

February 4, 2006

In Memory of Beth

Today, I received some sad news that a stitching friend from Massachusetts passed way on January 16th after battling cancer. I first met Beth at a stitching get together in 2001 in Myrtle Beach. She was such a funny and friendly stitcher and we stayed in touch off and on over the years, meeting up at Celebrations in Needlework in New Hampshire and she came to my house several times for stitch ins, most recently in January of 2004. After the others had left that day, we talked a bit about her health - not specifics but just that she was having a bit of trouble. With all the chaos of the move to Maine shortly after that, we hadn't been in touch. She had such a sharp, sarcastic sense of humor and told the funniest of stories about herself and her husband and her work with psych patients. I'm sorry to know that she is no longer a part of my stitching circle and I hope she is in peace now. My thoughts and prayers are with her husband and family. She will be missed.

February 1, 2006

Valentine's Package on its way!

Today I took my SBEBB Valentine package to the post office and sent it off. It should arrive at its destination by Friday according to the PO. I wonder if my recipient will wait until Valentine's day or open it upon arrival? I hope she likes everything I chose. I didn't have great stash related stuff to add - I'm going to have to plan better for online ordering since I don't have much luck with LNS around here.

The Sweetest Surprise

Yesterday I came home to a wonderful surprise Valentine's gift from Jodi who is part of a Yahoo group I was recently invited to join. This is a small but quite talkative group of very talented ladies and I'm enjoying being a part of the group. Jodi sent me the most wonderful heart shaped thread keeper made by her father. It has my name engraved on it and is just too sweet. She also included a beautiful skein of Olde Willow thread called Black Cherry. I just love, love, love the thread keeper! First off I'm a heart collector but this little piece will be so functional as it's nicely sized for most projects and will easily slip into my projects bag. I've been using floss bags for my CHS Alphabet project but will be switching to my wonderful new thread keeper right away! Thank you so much Jodi!