Monday, June 27, 2011

A Flower, A Fob, and Fabric

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I may have mentioned that Hare Pyns had to have some minor ripping out and restitching done to her. That center flower needed the pale pink color in the center, as opposed to the red I'd mistakenly stitched there. The center flower is now finished and I've done the rest of the outlining on the flowers and leaves and begun the fill in on the leaves. Like I said, my goal is to get this front flap finished by the end of June. I'm thinking it's not going to happen. But, I've been wrong before. I just find it amazing that I can't find photos online of anyone else stitching this piece. I had hoped for some in progress photos to help me along. No such luck. The majority of the photos I find when I search for this piece are my own. And that doesn't help me!

But since this piece is such a beat down to stitch (mainly because of the tension differences in the stitches which can't really be helped, and I'm not sure what I can do about it), I find myself wanting to work on something at the opposite end of the spectrum. Something that doesn't make my eyes cross.

So, I've been working on another old WIP (I know, they're neverending). This is Sweet Treats by Country Cottage Needleworks. This piece was a series of chart packs with Crescent Colors thread and JABC buttons. I finally finished the border and have now moved on to the second chart pack, which is Cupcake. I am stitching this on 28ct Vintage Lentil.

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It's an easy break from Hare Pyns.

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And yesterday I met some friends for lunch to celebrate one friend's birthday. You may remember last year I stitched this piece for her. This year, I found these great black and white scissors and made a fob for them (see already putting those jewelry-making skills to good use!).

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I had a lot of fun making the fob, and the black and white set was a perfect counterpoint to the Kaffe Fassett quilt book I also gave her that was full of gorgeous, rich color. I'm thinking I need some Kaffe fabric in my life. Anyway, we had a lovely lunch and I'm so glad she liked her gifts!

Also over the weekend, I spent some time sewing the binding on a quilt. I finally finished it last night and am looking forward to sharing it with you. I'm totally in the mood now to work on quilts. I spent some time this weekend cutting out some more hexagon templates so that I can get back to working on my hexagon quilt. I also made a little trip up to my local quilt shop and saw that they were starting to get the new Christmas lines in. Now I'm jonesing to work on Christmas quilts! I have at least three planned and have most of the fabric I need for all three. There's a fourth I just remembered I want to make too, but no fabric for it yet. But doesn't this pretty Christmas fabric make you want to start some holiday projects?

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Oh I'm just dying to get my sewing machine out and start piecing some quilt tops! I can't wait to get started! (OMGthoseowlsaresofreakingcuteIdie.)

So that's what I'm up to. Tonight I'll be back to working on Hare Pyns, in an attempt to get that front flap done. But maybe over the holiday weekend I can sneak in some sewing. And I'll for sure be sharing my newly finished quilt soon too!

I am grateful for inspiration and a sense of accomplishment.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Adorned

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Thanks for all the compliments on my Valentine Rose block. I'm pretty happy with it. I've made a tiny little start on the next block, but then I had to get back to Hare Pyns. Unfortunately, Hare Pyns required some ripping out and restitching, so I'll post my progress on that next time.

Today, though, I wanted to share my recent weekend adventure. A couple of years (!) ago, my good friend, Jennifer, gave me a gift certificate to a local bead shop for my birthday. The intent was that I could use it to take a class. I finally decided that now was the time and so two or three weeks ago, I went in and signed up for their Basic Jewelry Technique class. On Saturday, I headed to my class and was excited to spend a fun few hours making jewelry.

We learned a variety of techniques and made a bracelet, two sets of earrings, and a pendant.

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How fun is that?! I'm especially proud of the spirals at the bottom of my earrings - I made those! We had a good time, and made some pretty things. I'm excited to have learned some basic techniques that I can put to use. So excited in fact that I came home and made the earrings in the top photo. I saw the Day of the Dead skulls at the shop and had to have them. So I zipped right home and made myself a pair of earrings! Love them!

The shop has some other cool classes that I'm really interested in taking, one on resin and one making a steampunk necklace. I'm looking forward to their new schedule coming out.

So that was my weekend. And like I said, I'm plugging away on Hare Pyns and hope to have more to show you soon. My goal is to get the front flap stitched by the end of June. Only a week and a half left, so I'd better get on it!

I've also been posting up some book reviews at my other blog, if you're interested. And you can see our new patio project too, later today.


I'm grateful Eric and I have each other.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Valentine Rose



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I took a little break from my Hare Pyns pre-stitching to finish up Valentine Rose (block 2 from BBD's Anniversaries of the Heart). This block caused me to do a lot of thinking, which may be partially why it took me four months to stitch. When I first decided I was going to stitch AOTH, I initially thought I would include people that had some great stories, use some of the genealogy Eric and my dad had gathered. This block was supposed to be dedicated to my 3rd Great Aunt. She has a great story for sure. Actually a great name as well. But when I saw the final bonus chart and I saw Katrina and Siobhan's finishes of their AOTHs, something changed in me. Suddenly, I felt like I wanted to piece to really mean something and not be just a bunch of names on fabric - people that are so far removed that they are strangers. What good is a good story if the relationship isn't a deep one? The piece is intended to be people of my heart. And I always knew that the piece would be a melding of both Eric's family and mine, so why not keep it to those immediate family members that really are of our heart?


With that last chart in my hand, Eric and I sat down and determined who would be honored in which blocks. We didn't do more than that, just made an initial "map" if you will. But it felt good to know who would be where and that the people immediately surrounding us would be included.


So, Valentine Rose, is now dedicated to my Grandfather, my father's father. The photo is of the house where he was born. It was taken in 1914, when he was about 10 years old. That's him standing on the left hand side in front of the horse. I do remember spending time with him when I was young. Unfortunately, he died on December 24 when I was six years old (my sister was barely two). It is the only time growing up that my dad wasn't there for Christmas. For all the short time I knew him, Grandaddy (as we called him) left a big impression on me. Since my dad has started researching my family's genealogy I've actually learned a lot more about my Grandfather. Suddenly my father's memories of him and of growing up were stories he wanted to tell. And now I don't just think of the man who hugged me and made me feel so loved, but also the man who had a fleet of Cadillacs and was that sharp dresser I see in later photos.


You can see his first name there at the bottom, Robert, and his birth year, 1904. He was born on February 6, so I changed that shape on the door of the house to look more like a 6.


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I really enjoyed stitching this block, even though it took me so long. I loved the specialty stitches in the roof, the vase and even the chain stitching on the flowers. The house to me reminds me of the home I visited, even though I really have no visual memory of the outside of it, just a feeling of coziness.


So that's my Grandfather, and the block dedicated to him. I've got the next block (the bonus block) ready to go, but no idea when I will start it. I'm anxious to get moving on it though.


And lest you think I've been slacking off and not working on Hare Pyns, I have been. There is a lot of stitching in this piece, so I'm determined to work on it as much as possible in order to get it done in plenty of time before our class. It's coming along, but it's coming along slowly because I seem to have to keep making decisions about how to do each new thing I come to. Has anyone stitched this that might be able to provide some assistance??


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It is going to be a really pretty piece, I may just drive myself insane by stitching it though. But I'm loving the red. Can't wait to get that flower all filled in too. It will see some more attention tonight, since yesterday was for And They Sinned.


I am grateful for stitching time with a friend on Saturday. And getting my hair cut!!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Eye Crossing

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As I mentioned in my last post, I needed to get started on my pre-stitching for my Hare Pyns class. I decided to pull out everything on Saturday when I had a fresh mind and read through all of my instructions. She suggested cutting out fabric down to size for the wallet, but as I stood there with my rotary cutter in hand I just couldn't do it. For one thing, my fabric wasn't squared up when it was originally cut, so I was afraid of mis-cutting. So, instead I decided I would baste my pieces first and then cut. That way I made sure to have enough for the pocket and the smalls. Eric had a student at the house, so I went into the dining room where I could spread out and started my basting.


I tell you what - I can stitch on 40ct with no problem in the worst of light. I can stitch over one on 32ct with no problem. But trying to count and do my basting on this 30ct fabric? My eyes were having a hard time with it. After awhile I ended up with the worst headache, probably from eye strain, which is so weird because I had a ton of light in that room, both from the overhead light and from the six windows letting in bright afternoon sunlight. But, whatever the reason, once I got that pocket basted, I had to take some Advil and call it a day.


After dinner and a much-needed break from basting, I did settle in to do some actual stitching on the piece that night. I didn't make a ton of progress because I kept second-guessing the instructions. But at least my eyes didn't bother me at all, even working over one on that 30ct fabric. So, I'm going to focus on getting that pocket stitched first and then I'll work on the smalls.

Before launching into working on Hare Pyns over the weekend, I did pull out an old WIP last week (Dorothy has gone back into the closet). This is Chatelaine's Mystery 9. Seems I've been working on this forever (well since January of 2006 - that was the year I got married and moved though, so stitching fell to the wayside). The last time I worked on this piece was August of 2009. Sad, isn't it? Well, what's even sadder is that all that stitching I did on it last time, all the swirly stuff in the corner, I completely miscounted. So what you see here is after I ripped out both sides of the swirlies, then restitched the bottom one and am in the process of restitching the left one. It all had to come out. Sad sad sad.


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No wonder I haven't worked on it in almost two years. This is what happens to me. I make a mistake, get disgusted, set the piece aside, and then years go by. But I really want to get this piece finished up. I'm working on part 9 (of 12). And after having seen Missy's Chatelaines in person, I'm desperate to get mine finished. I currently have four in progress (this story just keeps getting worse, doesn't it?): Mystery 9, Mermaid Treasure Box, Midi Mystery 2, and Pearl Lights. So, I plan to get back to this as soon as possible (although I've got Hare Pyns to work on). I want to get that corner restitched and then get to working on the other three corners. Once those corner swirlies are stitched they have a ton of beads and crystals too, which will be stunning. I can't wait! And although this photo is a bit washed out, it's the first time ever I think you've been able to kind of see that this is stitched on lavender linen. It's really pale, but the silks look so good on it.

And of course, Sunday was for ATS. I always stitch into the evening hours on Sundays, so here's a photo of what it looked like before yesterday's stitching session. As you can see, I'm stitching leaves for that center tree.


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Last night I finished the leaves and started on the tree branches. There is a lot of stitching in that tree, but it's coming along. I got about half of the tree branches stitched before I had to stop last night. And I'm still so in love with that cluster of grapes on the right - that purple is just so fun!


So this week will be more Hare Pyns, ATS on Sunday and possibly something else thrown in for fun.


I am grateful for inspiration from Missy.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Pre-Stitching To Do

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Last week at the EGA meeting I picked up my kit for the Patrick's Woods workshop I am taking in the fall. She will be teaching her Hare Pyns class. We got the kits several months in advance in order to be able to do all the pre-stitching needed. Aren't the colors pretty? I've been wanting to take this class for a long time and I'm excited that I'm finally getting the opportunity.
Here's what the piece looks like...



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Inside...

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I just love the back...


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So, I'll be getting started on that very soon. Hopefully I will have plenty of time to get it stitched!

In the meantime though, along with all the things I showed in my last post, I've also gotten back to working on my Anniversaries of the Heart. I finished stitching all the mortar between my bricks and got the house done. Now I'm moving over to that vase on the left. It's coming along slowly but surely.


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I can hardly believe it's already June! There's still so many things I want to get done this year, but somehow the time is just zipping along. Guess I need to buckle down and try to get some pieces finished.



I am grateful for it being Friday.