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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Stitching time

Stitching time always means progress time for me. I have spent a lot of time stitching (lovely!) and quite a bit of time planning what I am going to stitch next.  I always make new year stitching plans but they are always loose plans knowing that if something screams loudly form my WIP basket or the kitted and ready to go basket plans will change. I am close to several small finishes and of course would hope 2 or three of them could be done with any diligence at all by year's end. I would love to have all my current small things done by then so I can start the year with new things from the WIP pile.
I am still in love with ATS and will continue to stitch on it throughout 2012.
I want to start the January BBD stockings so I have kitted them up and they are ready to go. The December ones were such a fun stitch.  I loved them.
I want to join the SAL on the Attic website for Ann Dale. It is another of those really big projects that I love that I want to try to keep up with. Doubt I will be able to but there is nothing wrong with trying.
There is a sampler Facebook group that is doing a SAL on Mary Wiggins and since mine is in the WIP pile I may join them for the motivation.
I would like to see what Ellen from With My Needle has planned for her newsletter stitching. I love the idea that I am stitching along with other stitchers on the same projects. I may join that one depending on the choices.
I want to do a block of the month type design and since I have Anniversaries of the Heart started I will probably stick with that to whittle down the WIP pile. I have several others I would love to stitch already kitted up but I am such a slow stitcher.
Speaking of the WIP pile....I have been looking at the list and decided to take some different types of stitching off of there and see what progress I can make. So for now the list to work on for 2012 is
Anniversaries of the Heart
And They Sinned

Blackbird stockings Jan – Nov
2 sets of Halloween stockings
Scotty Biscornu gift
Whitework drawn thread sampler (EGA class piece)
Crewel confidence (EGA Group correspondence course
Mystery sampler (EGA group project)
Hummingbird kit gift
Common Ground
Santa pillow Homespun Elegance gift
SHT wedding sampler for a friend
Mary Wiggins with a SAL
Bluebird Box by Crossed Wing Collection
The last newsletter from the Attic  put me in the  mood to stitch one of my Darlene O'Steen samplers that has been sitting around for a while kitted and ready to go, either the Proper Stitch sampler or Pinks.  I am drawn to band samplers and haven't had one in the pile for a while. Wonder if I can find it, either one......
5 of these are very small pieces and some are close to being finished so the list is not as daunting as you would think. Of course added to that are two SAL's that will be new starts that are alway large projects. I of course feel free to add and subtract as I go as the WIP list is long and varied. I feel like as long as I am stitching from the WIP basket I am meeting my long term goal to whittle it down.
This year I am doing something really different for me.  Starting in May I am taking a class on designing a needlework casket. I think this will be an ambitious project for me but I have always wanted one and my husband truly pushed me to take this class. I have taken many forms of online classes from the one I took almost 20 years ago that was an online teacher who described in words what our next row of stitches should be because the design software available now didn't exist to the Victoria Sampler Stitcherama I really enjoyed to the online classes offered by Margarit of Essamplaire that I always look forward to.   We will see how this new class goes.
The list of new starts I want to do could be even longer but I really want to finish my WIP pile so I can replace it with all these lovely new starts. New starts that are calling my name right now........
Sweetheart Tree anniversary sampler for my husband and I 
Sweetheart Tree tea box new start
Margaret Cottom by La De Da
6 Fat Men by Lizzie Kate
Elizabeth Hancock
Christmas Garden by BBD.
Winter Wonderland by BBD
Victorine Delacroix by Essamplaire
Dorothy Walpole by Scarlet Letter
Oh, I do so love big samplers.
I have never done a New Year's Start that I can remember but this year one of those might just have to come out of the packet and add their name to the WIP hall of fame. (Famous for not getting finished)
I enjoy planning what I will stitch, mostly I try to get it organized so I don't waste valuable stitching time hunting down the pieces for a project.
Have a safe and lovely New Year's Eve. We will be home quietly enjoying the snow and hopefully a fire. Hope you find some stitchy time. Marjo

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Digging out

So, I spent quite a bit of time yesterday working on trying to bring some semblance of order to my stitching room. To call it a disaster area would just be trying to be kind. It is the room where everything get shoved when no one else knows what to do with it. Add to that the fact that I have more stash than I could ever hope to finish if I lived forever and kept both my eyesight and my mind.  Really I wonder at myself sometimes.


I did get quite a bit of work done on sampler for a friend who recently got married. It is just a small sampler but it has given me fits all along. I got help from Cathy @ Inspired Needle to change most of the thread colors out. Then I decided to change the charting of the name, then I didn't like how it looked and spent a good bit of stitching time on Friday taking it all out again. So today I put it all back in and I think I am satisfied with that part. Now I just have to finish it and add the beads. I should have by all rights been done with this thing months ago.  I will show a picture after it is gifted. Maybe. If I ever want to see it again. Which is doubtful at this point.
I am joining a Stitching Challenge on the Blackbird designs bulletin board. I intend to do all the stockings that I have purchased but not stitched yet. So that gives me 12 choices already if you count the Halloween book full of stockings. I also want to work on, and with any luck finish, the Anniversaries of the Heart designs as well. There are several other patterns of theirs I would love to do as well. I bought the Weekend design book and the little sampler in there appeals to me. I hope to be able to stitch that out of my stash. I bought some of the quilt fabric from the Fat Quarter Shop to make a bed runner that is appliqué which is the only kind of quilting I can do. Not so good at cutting lots of straight lines. Mine always end up crooked. I wanted to have a hand pieced item to work on. That way if light is low where we meet to stitch or I am just too frustrated with what I am working on then I have an alternative.
Early in the year I got some towels to transfer designs onto and stitch. I have not done even one of those but I do intend to have one of those in my stitching bag as an alternate to my big projects. I hate to waste any stitching time I might get and so I like to take more than one project with me on our weekly stitch gatherings. I am working on the BBD stockings, some Christmas ornaments and the freebie Tea designs that came out a year or so ago. I am going to work on some of the smaller stitching projects for a while. I want to participate in the two big SAL's this year and actually try to keep up with them.  I think those are really my only goals for stitching this year.  Of course the Attic has announced theirs but due to a death in the family Ellen Chester, WMN, has not announced her choices as of yet so I will have to wait and see what I think as to whether I can complete it or not. I am such a slow stitcher that it is just not realistic to think I can get that much done. Of course other than the SAL there is no real deadline to the stitching. The BBD  group is loose, no pressure so I didn't mind jumping on that. I intend to spend some more time this week putting the stash into more organized sections so I can focus on what I have outlined to stitch and then I can shop my WIP basket for something that is calling my name. I hope to continue to work on my WIP pile to get it completed and then I can shop my stash for some new starts.  Of course all this is subject to change.
So what plans do you have for the new year stitching wise? I am seriously hoping to stay on the wagon for a while. My stash is getting way out of control.  I want to only purchase threads I need to finish things. I should have plenty of fabric to stitch most any sampler I want to stitch. I seem to have used up a bunch of threads lately so I will have to buy some more thread but only if I start something new. All my WIP should have their fibers unless I robbed them.....which is entirely possible. I was looking at my WIP list today and I still really want to complete everything on there. I have already ordered a couple of samplers but from now on it just goes on the wish list and then if get some finishes I will consider a purchase. That is the only way I am going to get this under control. Hope you have lots of stitchy time today. Marjo


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

finishes, but not by me

 These are a few of my favorite things. Long stitched, finally finished.
Homespun Elegance Merry Stitches

Homespun Elegance 
CHS Quaker Sampler 
These are the finishes I got back from the finisher a couple of weeks ago. I absolutely, absolutely love them and will definitely be sending some more items to her in the future. They are just so fun. I wish I could do this myself but cannot and just need to get over it and move on.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Yes, I am still stitching

It has been way too long since I updated my blog. Sorry about that, not sure where my time goes but go it does. I think my biggest drawback has been trying to get decent pictures made of my progress on my pieces. I have been working on small items or gifts (not Christmas gifts just gifts) and the small finishes have been so exciting as I usually work on really big projects that at times seems never ending but for me the fun is in the stitching but I would like a finish or two occasionally. I have finished some ornaments lately, at least the stitching.


I did something new this year. I am a terrible finisher. I have so many finishes that are languishing in a box in my stitching room that I really love and need to have up in my home but I just have no skill in that direction. Well, I decided that I would send a few things out to be finished. Other than to a framer I have never done this before. I was so excited to get a package in the mail (okay, I am always excited to get a package in the mail!!!!) full of  finishes. I had sent out my CHS quaker stocking and some ornaments a couple of larger designs to be made into pillows.  She sent back the ornaments and the stocking and I am in love. Oh what a wonderful job she did. I am ready to send her another box of ornaments to be finished. It is truly a wonderful thing. I could never in a million years made them look that good.



I have been on an ornament kick lately. I am stitching the Victoria Sampler bird ornaments. I find they are going quite quickly when I get a chance to stitch. I am also going back and stitching all the BB design stockings. I am loving those as well. I am almost done with the Christmas/winter ones and am moving on to the January ones. I am finding I don't have the threads for many of them. I find that hard to believe but search as I could some of them are just not to be found. That is one of my biggest frustrations as I am dependent on shipping to be able to move on with my stitching. That is one of the reasons I like the the project packs that Victoria Sampler provides - I am never missing those threads unless I lose them.  I have so many ornament designs that have caught my fancy. Many of them freebies from designers that are kind enough to share, plus all those years worth of Just Cross Stitch Ornament editions I have saved. I have a large box of Christmas ornaments that are just waiting to be stitched. Some of my favorite designers for ornaments are the Little House Needleworks and Homespun Elegance so I have kitted them up so they are ready to go. I keep them in my Whitman's Christmas tin with all the stuff I need to stitch so I can always grab that and go. I think I have 10 or so patterns kitted up in there.  There is nothing more frustrating to me than to have time to stitch and can't finish/work on something due to missing threads. So here are a few of the things I have been working on lately. Hope you have some stitchy time this week.
Marjo

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Little bit of progress

Just a quick update to show my progress on ATS. It has been my focus piece this weekend. Now I can finally move it on the rods and get onto the second half of the first page of the pattern. Sigh
I did get several ornaments kitted up.That involved spending quite a bit of time putting up my DMC's that had been pulled for one thing or another and then pulling the new ones I need.  I am missing a few threads. Joann's was able to help me with the DMC but I needed a few overdyes so they are on order. I want to have several ready to go. I have to have something I can actually finish when I am working on something as big as ATS when a finish would be a long time coming.  I will work on some of the smalls that are gifts this week and then will move to the ornaments. I have managed to get several kitted so I can just take my tin with me in the car and work when I can carve out some time.
Have some stitchy time this week.
Marjo

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday in my neighborhood (no stitching)

Last weekend my husband and I went out and took pictures around our neighborhood just for fun. 
 This is the Alaska Range seen from the end of our subdivision.
 This is where the Eagle River flows through with Knik arm in the distance.
 different shot of the same viewpoint.
 Snow topped mountains, it is starting to come.
 the river
 another shot of the same river
 Fireweed as it goes to seed
The mist hovering over the mountains. This is my favorite shot of the day. I love the mist over the mountains. It is one of my favorite views of all.
We spent so much time taking pictures I didn't get any stitching done. I hope for better things this weekend. Hope there is some stitchy time in your weekend.
Marjo

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stitching updates

I have been really restless with all my stitching. I started working on ATS again, still on the cloud.  I am ready to move away from that cloud!  I am working on some gifts and some ornaments as well.  I am frustrated with Elizabeth Foster though I have wanted to work on it for a while. The colors are off between the picture and the graph. I have tried to contact the designer but no answer so far. It is designed by the Marking Sampler. I am hoping she will have designs for sale on the Online Needlework Show and will have a contact email there.  The colors on the picture don't match the graph at all. I have ended up putting it back in the WIP basket until I get some clarification.
I am going to work on some little monthly designs that were freebies with purchase of the buttons.  They are teapots and teacups that  I really liked. One of the shops I visited in the Lower 48 had these little designs completed and made into flat folds.  I would love to do that as well but with my finishing skills not so sure about it. We will see.



So here is my finish of Matchless Grace. I really loved this little piece. I love the different directions the blue flowers go as the border goes around.


Still high about the clouds in ATS. I enjoy this piece and will continue to work on it on the weekends. It is too big to lend itself to travel to stitch night.

Here is my little progress on the amazingly frustrating Elizabeth Foster. I have made a little more progress since I took this shot.
I am also working on the first of the Bird ornaments from Cathy of Victoria Sampler. I finally spent some time on them and really enjoyed working on this one.

I am still working on some gift stitching that cannot be shown yet. Once they are gifted I will be able to show you pictures.

These are the two latest editions added to my growing needlework library. Love having books to read about stitching when I am just too tired to stitch.
So what are you working on? Hope you have some stitchy stuff in your day.
Marjo


Monday, October 17, 2011

Staytreat





We had a great time at Cathy's house for our retreat. Getting us all together gets to be more of a challenge as time goes on. Our solution to this problem was to do a one day (all day) retreat locally. We had a blast. Cathy had decorated her home for her favorite time of year and it was beautiful as always.



We had too much yummy food and the swans put in an appearance. I was happy. We  walked down to the walkway to the edge of the water and saw the swans. We couldn't stay out long, hardy Alaskan women that we are because the wind was whipping down the water and it was cold. Not sure the pictures turned out because I couldn't hold the camera very still. We get high winds up here. There were lots of swans and Mallards and some other duck I could not identify. I was there for the swans. 







I got all but the last couple of stitches in Matchless Grace but was able to finish it Monday night. I did work on my "new to me retreat piece" of a Teresa Layman design. It was a challenge with all those knots trying to follow the lines. Not so sure how that will turn out but it will be a fun experiment. I enjoy the cross stitch more. 
People were knitting, quilting, doing crewel and some just stuck with their current WIP which was fine. It was just for fun. We go to be cozy, talk, eat, stitch and just have a good time. Mission accomplished. We had one gate crasher but since she wasn't here to stitch she decided not to stay.
Hope your week is full of stitching.
Marjo

Monday, October 3, 2011

Still stitching

At our weekly stitch together on Thursdays I was able to get a few more words in the verse on Matchless Grace completed. I was able to get the verse done before retreat Sunday. I hope to finish it at retreat.  There are just a few motifs left to do. This is such a fun stitch.  I will have to pull threads for my Retreat piece and for a few ornaments I want to kit up.
I hope to share pics of the new or new old items everyone brings to retreat on Sunday. So looking forward to it. The member's house where we are going to be spending the day backs up to the edge of the water  and they still have swans visiting out on the sheltered part of the water. I am definitely taking my camera for the chance at a good picture of them. I love watching swans.
I need to get baking as I am taking scones and some form of desert, or maybe two kinds of scones, the one I make that has white chocolate chips could almost be a dessert.

Hope you have some stitching in your day. Marjo

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Progress report

Just a quick update. I was able to spend some time stitching last night ( and will be back to it as soon as I post this ) and made some progress on the verse on Matchless Grace. Once I got in a groove it seemed to go much faster. I had a big knot on the back that I didn't catch so I had to take a whole word out. That is why the "came" is missing an 'e'.  I hope to get a few more words done on the verse tonight. There is another whole line of verse and then I just have about 5 little motifs and it will be done.  I am enjoying stitching this even the over one part!  The color on this photo is still not accurate. Maybe tomorrow we have some sunshine and I can get a more true to life picture.
We are doing our Fall Stitching retreat this upcoming weekend. We are just doing a day long retreat at one of our member's house. We will get there early and stay late. We will take food just like always and it will be so much fun. I am always excited to get together for stitching with my friends. We decided this time we would have a stitching challenge just for fun. We were talking about how many of our little group had finished what is fondly known as their 'retreat piece' the last time we got together. The discussion went from there to see what the new retreat piece would be for each one. Somewhere along the way it became a challenge for each of us to bring something we don't usually do to work on. It can be any form of needlework and you don't have to work on it the whole time. We have had some lively discussions about what project each of us will bring to try some new form of stitching... at least new to us currently. It should be fun. I decided to do a Teresa Layman design of Knotwork. I have wanted to try one of those for a while. It was recommended on the Silver Needle website  I think to start with something that doesn't have a lot of detail so I found a little pumpkin with a cat that I am going to try. According to the instructions it takes 3 to 6 hours to stitch 1 square inch of knots. Needless to say I won't get it finished that day but it will be fun to start. I found a small frame to try it out on to keep the material tight (supposedly that is the key) so I will get the fabric basted on to it this week and get the floss pulled. I also want to get some ornaments kitted up completely so I can always have one to stitch on in a lull. I went through and made a list of all the fibers needed so I can pull them tomorrow.  I pulled a mix of Little House Needleworks and Homespun Elegance ornament patterns. They use similar colors so the list of fibre to pull is not as long as you would think for the 9 patterns I pulled. Always planning the next stitch.
Hope you have some stitchy time in your day. Marjo

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's Fall

From my Sunday evening walk, I couldn't resist the colors. This is one of the favorite parts of the path through the neighborhood where I live. I love it mostly because it signals the beginning or the end of my walks. Depending on how tired I am decides whether I am happy to start or to end.
I cannot believe it is already Fall. I have no idea what happened to the summer that's for sure. I have been sadly remiss with updating my blog. I have been stitching and will add some photos for my updates. I tried last night and blogger would not upload the shots. So if you are reading this it is safe to say it finally worked.

This is my not so much of a start of Elizabeth Foster from Marking Sampler. I have wanted to do this for a while and am glad to putting some stitches in it.

One of the others I am working on is Matchless Grace by Heartstring Samplery. I am at the verse. I should have checked that pattern a little closer before I started because I changed to a smaller count fabric and the verse is over one. It has definitely slowed me down.  Please excuse this picture. I took it late last night and it is not even close on the color. It is called Confederate Grey but it is green in real life. I love it and the bright blue flowers just make me smile. I just have 3 more rows of verse and a 3 or 4 small motifs. I would love to have this finished soon.

The other small thing I am working on is a gift so no pictures till it is done.  Next up will be Common Ground from the WIP pile. I need to work on some smaller items for a little while.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

So much to (tell) show you

I don't know where to even start telling ya'll what I have done and all the changes going on.

So the retreat was awesome as always. I love going on retreat with these ladies; there is nothing I would rather do. We had a bunch of food, did a lot of stitching and even some reading and sleeping. (see previous post for pictures). Wow, I didn't realize how tired and stressed I was until I spent an evening talking to my friends. They are the best. There are changes coming to the group and it makes me sad to know folks are going to be moving away..take deep breath....and I won't get to see them. Oh, sad times ahead but fun and excitement for them so I can't help but be excited for me.



I have changed jobs and have more time to read and do my stitching. I don't have to get to work until a little later but I still wake up early. So I get up and try to do a little stitching them. It has been so productive for me I also finished the BBD Summer SAL that has been languishing all Winter. I did Beneath the Sunlit Sky. I love it. I was also able to finish a Christmas ornament from long ago Merry Stitches by Homespun Elegance on a recent road trip. I am thrilled and now I need to go to get some framing/finishing done. I have 4 pieces to go to the framer and at least that many for finishing. In Alaska it is hard to find a framer that does needlework correctly. I have one lady who has done a good job and will start the trip downtown to get the framing started. I have 2 BBD pieces finished and Sail Away by Shepherd's Bush, and CHS Alphabets to get framed.  I have a hornbook from Exemplars from the heart that I have the frame for that I need to stretch and get framed. I just have trouble getting things straight.

I am working on more from the WIP basket. I decided I really needed something that was full of color since we are still in the gray part of Spring when the snow is gone but the grass is still brownish and the trees are just beginning to bud. I am ready for flowers and color...so I decided I would pull Common Ground by Just Nan out of the basket. I have already gotten the entire border done. I am loving this extra time in my days.
So sorry for the wrinkles but I had taken these projects on my out of town trip so they had to be folded to fit into my carry on bag. Since my friend's luggage got lost a couple of years ago with her stitching in it I have never packed the linen parts except what I can carry on. I am getting ready to put Common Ground on the stretcher bars. The colors are glorious and I am enjoying this immensely. Plus the border matched up just the way it was supposed to. Will post more later.

Have lots of stitchy time in your day.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Needlework accessories

There are several items I use for my stitching every time I pick up needle and thread. I most often use Bohin needles size 28 as I usually use small count fabric and one strand of silk to stitch with. I keep my favorite stork scissors attached to a zinger to my collar for my use. (I love the scissor fobs but I still manage to hunt for scissors unless I am using a needlework stand.) I use qsnaps and scroll frames for all my stitching. I cannot stitch in hand as so many people do. I just can't control the fabric and thread and there goes my enjoyment. I use a small Baby Z lap frame for my qsnaps, a heavier Lapmate stitch frame for scroll rods and the Stitchmate floor stand for big projects at the stitchy spot. I use a Daylight round magnifier floor light that either gives me enough light or light and magnification depending on the needs of the pattern.  Along with my favorite linens and threads these tools are part of all my stitching on a regular basis. I have project bags of many sizes and descriptions and many lovely gifts provided by friends which I have shown you in the past.  Strangely enough, there are also a lot of non traditional tools I use with my stitching all the time.
My computer is my shopping mall. I have a list of all my favorite sites and spend time searching them regularly. Etsy is one of my favorite places to shop. If I can't make something that is a great place to find someone who can. I wanted to show you some of the latest finds from some of my favorite shops on Etsy. 
Some designers have shops on there: I got some lovely needlework cards from Heartstring Samplery for my correspondence. She had some Christmas ones I got that I want to get enough to use Set of 4 Sampler Themed NotecardsSet of 4 Sampler ChristmasThemed Notecards as cards for next year. They are gorgeous, Christmas and samplers, what more could you ask? (Pictures are from Heartstring Samplery, photos are her work as well as the cards in the photos.)
Homespun Elegance, one of my other favorite designers has started a blog and an Etsy shop and I found some special things there as well. These tags will grace birthday gifts this upcoming year. I just loved them. (artists photo)



My electronics...yes, well. Between my Macbook, my Ipod and my soon to be IPad, yes we are a Mac family. I cannot really sew. I can see how it is supposed to go in my head but it never translates to fabric of the sewing kind. Again, I turned to some of my favorite Etsy stores. Dixie's Window worked with me to make special matching designs for my favorite electronics.  In real life I am a jeans, lace and pearl kind of person and she was able to make the perfect wonderful designs using those three elements to house my necessities.  Perfect.  She is working on a couple of more things for me.
I have mentioned that my other favorite pastime is reading. I like journaling and reading and I found two people on Etsy who have helped me with decorating my plain old black journals into something fun as well as my used paperbacks are covered with a little color and attached bookmark. Love it. (Designers picture as well.)
Paperback Book Cover  - Purple Border Stripe by Jinny Beyer
One of the other really pretty things I found was a reading pillow. Susan from SusanKeepsakes was willing to work with me to make a reading pillow that will hold my books and my IPad. How cool is that? This fabric is particularly beautiful in person.
 I have to mention that I don't have an Ipad yet, I am waiting for the next generation to come out soon. I have learned from being an Apple user for a while that second and third generations follow with all the improvements from the original release.  I have the money saved and just waiting for the release. I am just getting ready for it to be absolutely outfitted when I get it.  Have to be prepared you know.Please note that pictures are mine except for the ones where credit is given.

Hope you have some time to use your stitching tools today. Marjo