Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Rest of the Story

Peacock Pinkeep Side Initials

So, remember when I ran out of Rose of Sharon Belle Soie halfway through the "u"? Well my friend, Sylvia, took pity on me and when she read on the blog that I'd run out, she donated the necessary thread from her own skein. Thank you, Sylvia!! On Wednesday night, after receiving the thread I came home and finished up the alphabet. Thursday I attempted to stitch my initials, and after two tries got them mostly stitched. Last night I finished my initials, stitched the year and then determined a motif that would fit between the "Z" and the "M", since what was designed to go there would no longer fit. I think I made a good choice. So, without further rambling ado, let me present the finished stitching.

Peacock Pinkeep Side



Peacock Pinkeep Top

Peacock Pinkeep (Loose Feathers #35)
Blackbird Designs
Belle Soie on 28ct Gingham linen by Weeks
Finished 5/30/09

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out using two threads over two, rather than the recommended one (except of course, for that whole pesky running out of thread thing). And although my photography skillz don't adequately showcase this, the fabric for top and side are the same color. Probably close to somewhere in between the two that you see here. And let me just say again for the record, I love Belle Soie silk and I love this fabric. And maybe, just maybe, I will attempt to finish this sucker on my own. We'll see.

Earth Sampler 053009

And there's been a tad more progress on Earth Sampler, although I have to admit I quickly tossed it aside to finish up on the piece above. This is another piece of fabric that eludes my attempt to capture it on film. Perhaps we will just call it Sean Penn. Or the Yeti fabric, that may be more fitting. It is much warmer than the photo here shows. But, I am moving along on it. I'm feeling a bit iffy with the threads so far. I'm happy with the starburst to the flower, and the sheep. But the rest of it is risking a big rip out. I'll keep after it, and it may all even out in the end. But, for now...the rest of you letters and motifs, consider yourself on notice.

And I've just been reminded, via an email from the guild, that we'll be showing the progress on our challenge pieces on Tuesday. You mean that challenge piece I haven't touched since oh, February. Guess I'd better get that out and put in a couple of stitches or something this weekend, or maybe just iron it. Don't hold your breath.

I am grateful for Sylvia coming to the rescue!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bellpullooza

Barnabee's Quest Pullware

Do you remember my Barnabee's Quest? I stitched him as a SAL with some other lovely stitchers, and although I was one of the founding members of the SAL, I was the last to finish. I finished him July of 2008. And there he waited, hanging in my closet. It seemed such a shame to let this piece languish, so I sent him off to Deb to be finished. I cannot tell you how utterly gorgeous Barnabee has become under Deb's amazing finishing skills. I am so glad that I purchased the pullware for this piece. Look how beautifully it goes with the stitching. Notice the triple cording that Deb added.

Barnabee's Quest

I am thrilled with how the piece turned out. Deb is a marvel!

Barnabee's Quest Tassle

I stitched this piece long after it was first introduced, so finding the pullware for it was a lucky break. I was not able to locate the accompanying beeskep tassel. But, look at the wondrous tassel that Deb created for me. I love that it has not only the colors of the cording, but it also incorporates the purples in the piece and in the pullware. Lovely! I cannot imagine trying to attempt this finishing myself. So thank goodness, I have Deb!

Primitive Tree

But, that's not all. You may remember that I finished this piece myself a while back. Well, although I tried to artfully photograph the piece in order to camouflage the problems with it...I was so unhappy with my finishing. The main problem with the piece was that the stitching needed to be blocked. The border lines were wavy and crooked, just due to not having been blocked. Try building a fabric border around wavy lines. Well, after pulling the piece apart twice and attempting to correct it, I finally gave up and sent it to Deb. She managed to block the piece and also straighten everything else up. You'd think I'd been sewing drunk. Thanks to Deb, I can now look at this piece without cringing. I am so pleased with it. And what I thought was a simple bit of finishing, frustrated me to no end.

Primitive Tree Wall-hanging

All better! Who knows what Deb thought of me when I emailed her asking if she performed rescue operations. And guess what...she does! Thank you, Deb for your beautiful artistry!!

So, you can see what a happy mail day I had last week, when these arrived carefully wrapped up.

I also did a little bit of stitching over my four-day weekend, although a lot more than you see here. First, let me say that this piece is impossible to photograph. The best photos I've gotten of it are with no flash, but those are also blurry...so this is the best I can do. Please ignore a) cat hair b) thread behind piece c) inaccurate color representation...as the colors are not nearly this "neon". Anyway, I did stitch a lot more than it looks like. I just stitched the same thing three times. I filled in Adam's face, then proceeded to outline his torso. Then, my lines didn't match up. I ripped it out and tried it again...still not matching up, but the problem was in a different place. Ripped it out and restitched a third time. Worked. Then I started filling in his torso, and got tired of stitching on it after giving him a cummerbund. I had hoped to see way more progress on him this weekend. Of course, we were catching up on episodes of 24, and so possibly trying to watch the last four hours may have contributed to my inability to count.

Adam & Eve 052409

So, after throwing in the towel on Adam...I decided to pick up something new that I already had in my stash (fabric, thread, chart - how often does that happen?). This is Earth Sampler by Primitive Needle. I love this chart. And I think this may be my first time to stitch on 40ct. I love it. It is not nearly as hard as I was thinking it would be. And I am feeling good about the coverage of one thread over two. I love love love this fabric too...it is Picture This Plus Ale, which is the recommended fabric. It is gorgeous! I wish my threads were showing up a bit better against the fabric color, but perhaps it will look better as I move along. The greens are just a bit light. And, with Eric and I having finished up 24, we moved on to watching more episodes of Season 1 of Earth:Final Conflict, which I am really enjoying.

Earth Sampler 052509

Anyway, I hope to have some more done on Earth Sampler in the next few nights. Thanks for all of your congratulations on my Access test. I hope to have another unit test under my belt early next week. After Access, I'll be starting on my Project Management classes. Here's hoping those go quickly! Hope you all had a great weekend and enjoyed your stitching!

I am grateful for time with Eric.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Adam Emerging

Stitching at B&N


I made a deal with myself this week. I really wanted to meet up with some friends from guild Thursday night for a stitching evening, but I had to take a test at school this week also. I ramped it up a bit and got my test out of the way on Wednesday night. I scored a perfect score (1000). Go me! So, last night I began my four-day weekend (I took today off work), and I was able to meet up with my stitching buddy at Barnes & Noble for an evening of guilt-free stitching! Since I've done all I can on my peacock for now, I decided to go back to working on Adam & Eve (CHS). I've done some fill in on the tree and last night I started in on filling in Adam's face. He's got on helluva five o'clock shadow going on there, huh? I am hopeful that over the next few days I can spend a good amount of time stitching and have some serious progress to show on this piece.


Adam & Eve


I haven't gone back to stitching on Shores because frankly, I am not happy with it. I really don't like the coverage of one strand on 36ct. So, I've been debating what to do. Start over on 40ct? Leave it and hope I learn to love it? Well, I think I've figured out what I want to do. So, I'll have to do some test stitching and see what I think. But, that's the reason Shores has been tucked away for a bit. I hope to get it back out soon, because I do dearly love that design. I'd just like to dearly love my stitching of it too.

Anyway, I have some other goodies to show you next time. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

I am grateful for a stitching night.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Blackbirds Aplenty

Peacock Pinkeep Side

Thank you for the compliments on my PLR. Since I've been in a Blackbird mood lately, I'm still stitching along on my Peacock Pinkeep. I'm working my way across on the alphabet, but I've run out of Rose of Sharon silk halfway through the "U". So I see purchasing more of that in my future. I am using two strands over two, rather than the recommended one strand, which is why mine looks so much darker than the others of I've seen (and also the reason I ran out of thread). If I had had a full skein, I would have been fine. Not sure if I'll make it with the Tortoiseshell or not...we'll see. But, I love how this is turning out and I love my coverage. I am really enjoying stitching on this so much. My photos of the fabric and so different, I would say the actual color is closer to the top one, just a bit lighter.

Peacock Pinkeep Top

As you can see, I've finished with the top of the pinkeep. I just love this! I am making a significant effort right now to stitch from my stash, which is why I haven't run right out and bought more Rose of Sharon thread. I have so much lined up waiting in the wings that I should be just fine working from my stash for awhile.

New Loose Feathers - The Simple Things

Of course, I am still on the automatic shipments for the Loose Feathers club, so I was treated to this lovely package in the mail on Friday. Look at the luscious colors! And I am so excited to stitch the little pincushion with the hand-turned wooden base, that comes from Milady's Needle. As soon as I lift my ban on new purchases, you can bet I'll be ordering one of those bases!

I definitely want to stitch all the the "extras" for the Loose Feathers club this year, based on what I've seen so far. However, I am thinking I like the colors in this pincushion much better than the colors in the needlebook. So, I may work on making them match. But, what fun this year's Loose Feathers are so far. I love this design as well, and the texture that the chain stitching will give around the flowers and leaves will be beautiful.

I am grateful for time to stitch.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Petites Lettres Rouges

Petites Lettres Rouges Framed

Petites Lettres Rouges

Blackbird Designs
Needle Necessities over one on 28ct Silkweaver FOTM Exclusive
Stitched April 18, 2009 to May 2, 2009

A finish! As I mentioned in my last post, the moment I saw this lovely chart posted on the Blackbird Designs blog, I dropped everything and started stitching it. I chose some beautiful 28ct fabric from Silkweaver that is a FOTM Exclusive color. I've used this before for another Blackbird piece, and the fabric is really a gorgeous mottled color. I knew I needed a special thread for this, so I pulled out the gorgeous red skein of Needle Necessities (I believe the color is Razzle Dazzle) that Anna gifted me with at Christmas. I've been waiting for just the right piece to use it on. I decided to stitch this over one, because when I think of French stitching, my thoughts always run to over one stitching with beautiful red threads. Alma suggested in her blog to stitch a family name into the sampler, and to add a little bird motif. The original sampler had 1918 charted, and I immediately thought of my grandmother who was born in 1911. As you can see, I chose to stitch her name and the year of her birth into my piece. The little bird was modified slightly, in order to fit, from another little Blackbird Designs bird. I hadn't stitched in the last week at all, but on Saturday I went over to another stitcher's home for a day of stitching with a few stitchers from the guild. It was such a relaxing and fun day. I was so in need of a day like that, it was a mini-vacation! I took several pieces to work on, but decided to stitch on this piece. Sitting outside on the porch and enjoying the wonderful weather (right up until it started pouring), I began to stitch my grandmother's name into the sampler. By the end of the day, I had finished everything but the outside border. So, when I came home that evening, I was able to finish the piece easily. I found a wonderful frame for it on Sunday and framed it myself. I've placed it in what is becoming our new French guest bath. I love it there, and I can see it each day and be reminded of the woman who taught me to stitch and encouraged my creativity from when I was little.

Peacock Pinkeep 050509

After finishing up my little sampler, I put my Loose Feathers back in the q-snap. One of the women at our stitching day was working on the alphabet portion of this, and it got me inspired to get back to it. I just love stitching this piece, and it was fun to start getting to use the second color of the Belle Soie. I think my skeins are darker than a lot of those I've seen stitching this...but that works for me. I think it's very pretty. I may move that "L" over. I'm waiting until I get some of the little motifs around it stitched before I decide. It may be fine where it is. I should have the top of the pinkeep finished soon, and then I can move on to the alphabet. I'm hoping I end up with enough fabric to stitch the needlebook too.

I have my guild meeting tonight, which I am looking forward to. And I am glad I have a finish to share too. Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week and happy Cinco de Mayo!