Out of My Comfort Zone

I always like to have a New Year’s Day start and this year was no exception.  I wanted 2018 to be a year where I not only focused on whittling down the enormous pile of WIPs, but I also wanted to work on something that would stretch my skills a bit.  Last year I started the year off with Williamsburg Remembered that so intimidated me that I quickly lost interest in working on it (much to the chagrin of the ladies I was supposed to be SAL-ing with).  But after spending so much time in 2017 catching back up on one of my absolute favorite blogs (who sadly has since quit blogging), I kept being so inspired by her projects and the level of skill that she demonstrated that I thought I needed to step up my game a little bit.

Back in 2010 Amy Mitten designed a piece for our guild‘s tenth anniversary.  It was a mystery sampler that turned out to be an amazing Adam & Eve piece with a large Tudor Rose at the top (for the Tudor Rose Sampler Guild).  Be still my heart.  We started off stitching in the rose in class, but when Amy passed around her model we quickly saw how beautifully aged and mottled her piece was.  Not at all like the (I think it’s) Lambswool that we had in our kit.  Amy explained that she had tea-dyed her fabric to give it that look.  The photo above is of the top half of the sampler.  Gorgeous, right? And I love those splotches of color she said were from Orange Pekoe tea.

If you’ve been reading my blog here or watching my videos for any length of time, you know that getting stuck or frustrated with a piece is usually the last time it sees the light of day.  I wanted to tea-dye my fabric but I’d just stitched that  big red flower with hand-dyed silk.  Dilemma!!!

When I decided at the end of last year that I really wanted to pick this piece up again and that I wanted it to be my New Year’s (re) start, the first order of business was to rip out all my stitching.  I was able to salvage most of the silk, but unfortunately not all of it.  Once I had all my stitching out, I did some tea dyeing on my fabric.  I dunked it in tea for a bit and then let some tea bags sit on the fabric for a bit as well.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

It has a lot more life to it now than just the basic lambswool linen.  I love it.  So, that done, I was ready to go on January 1.

I started by restitching the foundation for the Tudor rose.  The petals will be 3-dimensional and eventually added.

Managed to get all those little leaves done.

Double running stitch for the trunk and branches (the trunk and branches become the tree Adam and Eve are beneath).

And I finally got to add the first of the leaves in the color Venom.  Absolutely love how it’s looking and while challenging, I just took it one step at a time.  This is what I got done in basically a week of stitching before I moved on to something else.  I’m anxious now to pick this back up and work on it some more.

Here is what the whole thing will look like when finished.

Pretty fabulous, no?

I am grateful for inspiration to practice new skills.

Revisiting Victorine

Way back in January of 2012 I decided to start the gorgeous Victorine Delacroix sampler from The Essamplaire.  A friend and I conspired and bought kits for this piece during a sale and decided to splurge on getting the silk kit rather than the DMC.  Soooo happy I did.

The photo above shows my progress on Victorine as of the last time I worked on her, which was quite some time ago.  Here is a not so flattering photo of the original from The Essamplaire’s site.

Admittedly, it is a little harder to fall in love with her based on this photo.  But she is a stunner in person.  So, back in January of this year I was having the hardest time settling on anything I really wanted to stitch on so I decided to dig some options out of the vault.  Victorine was calling to me, so I pulled her out and started on the motif to the right of that basket of flowers.  I so love the contrast of those pistachio and lime greens against the drab colored flowers.

I only worked on her for a couple of nights, but it was enough to rekindle my love affair with her.  It was also enough for me to start and finish that motif including the over one heart and initials in the center.

So pretty.  I’m stitching her on the 40ct linen that came in the kit and the silks are AVAS.  Luscious.

I am looking forward to that satin stitched ribbon-looking inner border and the navy baskets of flowers down below.

There are some beautiful photos of a Victorine in progress over at Corgi Cottage, if you need further enabling.

I am grateful for sampler stitching when I’m feeling unsettled.  

Flosstube Episode 28: La Cosa Nostra

Thank you so much for tuning in to the Cozyegg flosstube/podcast! In this episode I share my Stitch Maynia week 1 vlog.
And here’s part 2!

Show notes:

Week 1 of Stitch Maynia vlog:

  • Days 1 & 2 : New start Merry Wind Farm Hornbook freebie (Tudor Rose Sampler Guild SAL) – SNC Elephant & Castle on 40ct Weeks Tin Roof linen
  • Days 3 & 4: La Marquoir de Justine by Anne Pelletier Pauleau – Year of WIPs Challenge piece – my own conversion to AVAS, Gloriana, and Caron Soie Cristale on 40ct HDF linen coffee antiqued (started 2014)
  • Day 5: Colonial Garden by Plum Street Samplers – Year of WIPs Challenge piece – NPI on 40ct Lakeside Black Forest
  • Days 6 & 7: New start Mouline Rouge by Long Dog Samplers – Gloriana Poinsettia on 40ct Zweigart Antique White linen – bucket list piece

Haunted Dollhouse – here is my inspiration The Bloggess’s dollhouse and here’s a link to my Pinterest board

Here is a link to Spinster Stitcher’s blog and to the donation page.

I also mentioned Running Stitch’s flosstube video on Maynia and new starts.

Thanks so much for watching!

I am grateful for new starts and new projects.

My Sunday Sampler with Sylvia

ATS Bottom Close up

Once upon a time I decided it was finally time to stitch one of my “bucket list” samplers – And They Sinned by Examplar Dames.  I first saw this chart way back when it was first released in a Shepherd’s Bush newsletter and had to have it.  Then on New Year’s Day 2010, I began.  I had ordered 40 count Elegant Bean linen from Elegant Stitch and the called for GAST threads with one DMC for the people.  In March, my friend Sylvia decided to join me and we started our Sunday SAL.  Each Sunday we stitched on ATS and it steadily grew.  The chart is divided into four legal size pages, so I celebrated big milestones when I would get to “the fold” and when I would get to a new page.  I’ve posted a lot of progress photos in the time it took me to stitch my way to the bottom and you can take a walk down memory lane here, if you’re interested.

ATS Top

I remember when we were stitching on that cloud at the top.  I had seen so many people stall out at this part that I was determined to really push through it.  Sylvia was also gnashing her teeth and we bemoaned the neverending cloud.  I recall saying to her, “it could be worse, wait until we get to all that grass!”  Oh, truer words were never spoken.  LOL  I did have a lot of fun with this section though, even naming those two snakes at the top Fred & George and that blue snake between Adam and Eve, Nagini.  I worked that vine border as I went so that I wasn’t stuck doing it all at the end.  I also put this on scroll bars, and as luck would have it I had to roll my fabric approximately when I reached “the fold” or the next page in my chart.  The photo above is essentially page 1 of the chart.

ATS Angel

At the time I was stitching this section I saw someone outline the angel’s wings in gold rather than in the grey it called for and absolutely loved it.  So, I did mine the same.  I even briefly considered ripping out the backstitching on the angel’s wings above the cloud but decided that I liked them in grey.

ATS Center with Alphabet

I thought for sure that once I got to the alphabet section I would knock it out super quick.  Not.  The.  Case.  Somehow I lost all momentum when I got to this section.  And I will tell you that I somehow went through two and a half skeins of Cherry Bark (the color of the alphabet), which seems ridiculous since the chart only called for one and it was stitched on 35 count.  I am super frugal with my thread too, so I can’t begin to imagine how I went through so much of that color.  I had purchased all new threads for this piece so I was starting with full skeins.

ATS Middle

Once I got past the alphabet I picked up speed again on the section with the spies of Canaan.  The photo above basically shows page 2 of the chart.  I really loved this section.  It was possibly my favorite just because of all the colors – the pinks, purples, and those crazy birds with their topknots.  And I really loved what look like quilt stars throughout this piece.

ATS Spies of Canaan Close Up

And page three made me feel like I was in the home stretch.  The section with the lady and the lion was Sylvia’s favorite part of this piece.  I have to admit, I really love this section too.  And it felt like a HUGE milestone to get to the end of the vine.

ATS The Lady and the Lion

And that brings us to the last section, otherwise affectionately known as “the neverending grass”.  Sylvia and I looked and looked at as many stitchers’ And They Sinned as possible trying to determine how we wanted to stitch the grass.  There are people who left the grass off completely, just stitching the animals on a bare background.  While I can understand why they opted not to stitch 8 million green stitches, when you look at the piece as a whole it really needs (in my opinion) the grass at the bottom to anchor it.  It needs that visual weight at the bottom.  We also saw one person who left that whole section off completely.  The chart is written for you to alternate two colors of green on the diagonal.  I didn’t love that look.  I think finally Sylvia saw on the Hand-Dyed Fiber board that someone had alternated the greens every two stitches and stitched everything in half stitches.  One row was stitched ///// and then the next row stitched like this \\\\\.  Loved the effect.  Doing half stitches makes it a bit airier so that your animals really stand out, and by alternating the angle of the stitches and the two colors it gives it a nice visual texture.  So so so glad we discovered this option!

ATS Bottom Section

I made several changes in this section.  The first change you’ll notice is that the big peacock at the top left of the grass ended up a different color.  He was charted to be red and I stitched him that way.  But then when I stitched the big flowering bush to the right I didn’t like having so much red right in the same section.  So I ripped it out and restitched him in teal and blue.

I also added my two boys in amongst the other animals.  Here is Thutmose with his gold eyes and little white spot under his chin.

ATS Grass Section with Thutmose

Here is Ramses with his green eyes being a cat “loaf” as he often does.

ATS Grass Section with Ramses

And I spent a very long time working on the pond.  I used the variegation of the thread to maximum effect and stitched in swirls rather than straight across in horizontal stripes.  I love how it turned out, even if it did take a long time to do.

ATS Pond

And then finally, I was at the end.  I personalized it just as Sylvia did hers, to commemorate our Sunday stitching.  Sylvia actually finished hers well before I did, but continued to cheer me on until I reached the finish line.  My ATS was started on January 1, 2010 and finished it during the Tudor Rose Sampler Guild meeting on August 4, 2015.
ATS Full

Stitching And They Sinned was definitely a labor of love.  And there were long periods where I didn’t work on it at all.  But, I am so pleased to have it finished and so thrilled to have finally gotten around to taking photos so that I could share it with you here on the blog, although I did share it in episode 8 of the podcast/flosstube and you can watch it here.

I am grateful for Sampler Sundays. 

Episode 3: Reaching My Goal


Show Notes:

Finishes:

  1. Faith pincushion – ornament in the Just Cross-stitch Ornament 2014 issue by Nikyscreations.  Stitched with GAST threads (my own conversion and color changes) on 32 count Vintage Pearled Barley by Lakeside Linens.  Finished into a pillow with Juliana Horner’s ModBox fabric
  2. Hazel Hedgehog mini quilt: Hazel Hedgehog quilt pattern is by Elizabeth Hartman.  Fabrics used are Tula Pink Acacia, Tula Pink Moonshine, Carolyn Friedlander Architextures, Michael Miller Grand Bazaar.
  3. Garter stitch cowl – gifted yarn, believe I cast on 24 stitches and pretty much knit until I got close to the end of my skein of yarn.  I joined the two ends to make a cowl.

WIPs:

  1. And They Sinned – by Examplar Dames.  Stitching on 40ct Elegant Bean with the called for GAST threads.
  2. Colonial Garden – by Plum Street Samplers.  Stitching on 40ct Black Forest linen by Lakeside Linens with the called for NPI silks.
  3. “Willow Block” – from Village of Hawk Run Hollow by Carriage House Samplings.  Stitching on 40ct Flax with DMC
  4. Washcloth/Dishcloth – using of the Dirty-Girl Washcloths patterns from the book The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting.  Knitting with Lily Sugar’n Cream Naturals (100% cotton, worsted, in the Earth Ombre colorway and US 7 needles.

#sewmystash2015:

  1. Tula Pink Anchors Aweigh quilt in Tula Pink Salt Water fabric
  2. Five Yard quilt in Tula Pink Birds & the Bees and Denyse Schmidt Chicopee fabrics

Stash Enhancement:

  1. Tula Pink Apothecary Jars in the Vapor colorway of her Nightshade line
  2. Tula Pink Tortoiseshell in the Coral colorway of her Salt Water line
  3. Cotton & Steel Sarah Watts Mystery Food in the Navy colorway of her Tokyo Train Ride line; cotton lawn
  4. CrowsToes nail polish – Bifrost from the 9 Realms Collection“The Bifrost is the rainbow bridge that connects Asgard and Midgard”.

Reading:

  1. Finished Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  2. Currently reading The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva

If you’re going to DFW Fiber Fest this weekend, let me know!

I am grateful for things blooming and birds chirping – it must be spring!