Sunday, February 22, 2009

Valentine Papercutting & Cross Stitching Progress

I had a bit of a setback this past week, in that I developed an eye problem that could be more serious, and I'm still having to watch my eye very carefully, but am hoping that it is on the mend. But that meant that I couldn't do any stitching at all. I tried, but I could see well enough, and didn't want to make an error that I'd wind up having to undo, so I just kept looking longingly at it laying there. If all of the mental stitches could have found their way onto the fabric, I'd have the whole section done by now!

So this is actually where I was a week ago, today, even though I took the photo this morning.

I found that although I couldn't see well enough to stitch, I could eventually do some paper cutting. I had wanted to get this done in time for Valentine's Day, but couldn't. But shouldn't every day be like Valentine's?

This one is a two part, stand alone piece. This is one half, laid flat to see the details. The two identical pieces are then glued together along the vertical spine, and then opened to stand. My hubby loved it!

My hubby, Ed has been watching me stitch with growing interest, and since he can't get out to play with his remote planes much anymore, he needs a new hobby. So, I've been showing him how relaxing it can be, how there aren't any deadlines, it is easy to stitch, is methodical if you want it to be ( he loved that part!), and when I showed him the huge, almost endless varieties of patterns, he decided that he wanted to give it a try.

So we spent a couple of hours browsing my most used on-line supply shops, taking notes of the patterns he liked the best. We do have some restrictions though. He doesn't want to stitch on anything but 14 count, and wants to use a kit, "because everything that you need is right there". I don't want to discourage him, so we are starting out as he would like. Once, or if he gets into it, he may change his mind and want more diversity, but that will be his choice, naturally.

After going back over his list, he decided that he would like to try this pattern first, Chew Toy. As you can see, he has decided that he would like to grid, to have those guidelines, instead of winging it! But again, my primary hope is that he finds it fun, and no pressure, so gridding is what he has been doing, and a fine job too!

Now this week, there will be little time for me to stitch, even if my eyesight is better, because I have to get us ready to go back to Rochester, MN, the following week. And that will mean two days of nothing but driving, so no stitching, cutting, or other creative things. Just geting us safely there and then back home again. But maybe while we are there, I'll be able to make up for lost time, because I'm taking my projects with me, as usual!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

First New Cross Stitch Project

I've had a rather hodge-podge week, and didn't get a whole lot of stitching done, like I would have loved to do, but did manage to get started on Agneatha.

The "lines" that you see, are mono-filament that is used for gridding the fabric so that I don't get lost and have to do a lot of "frogging".

They are easily removed after the stitching is complete. Here is what the pattern is again, and how far I got this week.

I'm having so much fun stitching on this project, that I haven't wanted to go back and finish the older projects, nor start on any of the other ones. Perhaps once I get down into all of those shades of brown and grey in the fur, I'll think differently! But until or if that happens, I'll keep happily stitching along!

Someone on one of the counted cross stitch groups that I'm on, had the excellent suggestion of having a stitching journal, with a photo of the project, along with anything that you wanted to share about it, like when you started it, how long it took, if it was a gift, and for whom, etc. She also said that she adds the colors and brand of floss, which is good if repairs ever had to be made, or if you used specialty threads and someone wanted to stitch the design again.

So the last time that we went to the bookstore, I picked up a journal, preferring to add my own details instead of using a formatted stitching journal.

Don't ask me why I chose the cover that I did (it has a clear oval, like a picture frame, with the tower behind it on a separate card,). It just seemed right for what it was intended. The pages are aged and yellowed looking. Maybe I'll wind up adding some photos of my vintage textiles in the back, and then again, maybe I'll fill it up with my cross stitch projects! There are enough that I want to do, to fill 10 books!!

With that thought in mind, I guess I should go do something that needs doing, so that I have more stitching time!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dusting Off The Old, And Starting The New

I keep wanting to update my blog with some new photos, but one thing after another has kept me from it. Also, every time I get on my computer, I have more fun reading other people's blogs, and seeing their projects, that I don't have time for my own! I already know what my projects look like!

And this is the second time that I've posted all of this. Last Sunday, I finally sat down, with determination to add some photos of projects that I'm just starting, some that have been gathering dust, and some that are in the kitting together stage. I had it all done, and went to post it, when I noticed that I couldn't do anything on-line. A quick glance told me that not only was my internet light off, but my DSL light was red. .not good.

To cut a long story shorter, we found out that we were just a flake in the snowstorm. with a major telephone outtage that affected most of our town and surrounding area. Not only our DSL, but our regular telephone line too. It didn't come back on until today, and now I've got mountains of e-mail to sort through. I'll never get it all read. However, not having that computer time, freed me up to get some more stitching done!

Before the holiday season, I went through old patterns, sorting out floss, and pressed some older projects that I had started. One, a long time ago. My older daughter started collecting snowmen, and one year, I bought this kit, to make a bow for the wreath on her door. That was the same year that my hubby was first diagnosed with cancer, so I stitched while waiting at appointments, and when he went in for surgery. After he was released, I was so busy with having to do everything around the house, I didn't have time to stitch, and it got put away. Then, my daughter makes the grand announcement that she has enough snowmen, that she doesn't want anything anymore with a snowman on it. Period. Ok.. . .fast foward to this past Fall. I am showing my granddaughter, how to do cross stitch, and got out that snowman project to show her how it looks completed, and my daughter (her aunt), happened to be over that day too. She is ooohing and aaahing over it, and asked who it was for. I told her that I had started it for her, but had put it away when she disowned snowmen. Well, now she has decided that she does want these after all, so they are now back on my "to do" list. I had gotten some fabric that matches the style of the snowmen, to cover the back when I'm done stitching. That way, it will look nicer when it is hanging on my daughter's wreath.

Also years ago, a local woman made and sold cross stitch patterns of the lighthouses of the Great Lakes. One day, while popping into a local touristy gift shop, in search of something to send to a friend who lived out of state, I saw a stack of loose papers roughly tossed inside of a large basket. When I glanced at the pages, I realized what they were, and saw that they were on clearance. Quickly sorting through them, to pick out the different patterns, I found that most of them were already picked over, but wound up with about 8 different patterns. I've found some others since then, by different designers, but still don't have them all, and probably never will. But the search is fun!

Of the patterns that I have, I've started stitching them in order, from the southern most, moving northward. This one is called the North Pier Lighthouse.

Due to life taking me in other directions, I was pulled away from actively doing a lot cross stitching for a number of years. Now that I have picked up the needle again, I seem to be trying to make up for lost time. I've been purchasing a lot of patterns, and have a lot more on my "to buy" list. And I've been replenishing my floss, and my buying the fabrics, and specialty threads that I need for various projects. These are the ones that I've completely kitted up so far, and are ready for me to start stitching.

I love Charles Wysocki cats, and have two different patterns. Probably because this image hits too close to home, I chose to work on Maggie the Messmaker first.

Then, I found out about a Stitch Along Group for Monopoly Boards! Being a long time Monopoly fan, as is all of my family, I quickly signed up. I remember when the pattern, which is now out of print, first came out, and I missed out on getting it at the time. Shelley, the group owner has gotten written permission to share the pattern with the group. She quickly mailed it out, and I've gotten my fabric, and floss, and am ready to start stitching.

We have several feline furry members of our family, and most of them don't give a second thought to what I'm doing most of the time. They love to keep me company, but don't try and tell me what I'm doing wrong. Except for one. Magick got his name because he suddenly popped out of a bush, when I was wishing for a companion cat for our Mysti. All of our cats are rescued from the outdoors, and he was a little one, that we'd never seen before. The timing was pure magical, hence his name. The fact that he is a pure black longhair, and the instigating imp of the group is pure co-incidence! Even though he is 6 years old now, he still is a kitten at heart, and I've learned that I can't do any stitching in the evening, when he is ready to show me what I'm doing wrong (according to him, that is). I have to time my creative time to when he is snoozing in the afternoon. He was just out of range for most of these photos, except you can see the tips of his paws in the one of the Monopoly kit. So, I decided that he needed to BE the picture, much to his disgust. He prefers to remain in the shadows, or an illusion, except when he wants to snuggle.

Right before the holidays, when I was in a very holiday mood, I was browsing, when I should have been baking, and found a pattern that reminded me SO much of the cat that came into my life when I was 4 years old, and was my constant companion until I graduated from high school. Kustom Krafts Miss December was a "must have" for me.

So, I was all set to work on those three major projects, finish up those two small ones, along with starting some other small ones that I've picked up along the way. I've also purchased some Heaven & Earth Designs, and all of the Mirabilia Christmas Eve Couriers, but don't have the fabrics yet. And a couple of Kustom Kraft patterns. and some fun, primitive Halloween patterns. And some Debbie Patrick, just to name some that come to mind right now, so I have more than enough to keep me busy.

THEN, some helpful soul on the counted cross stitch group that I'm on, posted a sale on a site from England. And out of respect, I HAD to go and take a peek. And there, one leaped out at me, and caught my eye. I was amazed at how fast it got here! I got it gridded up, and have started working on it, but will post a progress photo soon. Here is the pattern though. Agneatha With The Apple.
The colors make it a lot of fun to stitch!

Now, to go back and sort through some more e-mail. I am always conflicted. I can't read all that was posted while I was off line, but am always afraid that someone will have posted something directly to me, and I don't want to inadvertently snub them. Aaah, the perils of the internet! It is wonderful when everything works right, but a nightmare when it doesn't. Stitching is so much more simpler, and more relaxing!!