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 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

Friday, June 10, 2011

Retreat updates just a little late

We had a great time on retreat several weeks ago. I made a lot of progress on my pieces but of course not as much as I wanted to. I got the last square done on CHS Alphabets and two of the blocks filled in. I still have 8 blocks to fill in. As I do the fill in I pull the pattern for that block back out and check to be sure I haven't missed anything on it. I am hoping to get a little work done on it today. I did work on Anniversaries of the Heart for part of a day. I got the linen color thread I needed and got quite a bit done on that one but I am a slow stitcher and I am good with that.
We had a great time. Two of our members were wounded and thus unable to attend. We had the place to ourselves and stitched the whole time. We didn't hike, we didn't watch a movie, we just ate, stitched and slept. It was great. We try to do that twice a year and I look forward to it every time. I love to see what everyone else is stitching on and what progress is made.
Dee was the only one with a cross stitch finish this time. This will be the inset for a mirror. It is so beautiful in real life.
Gretchen knitted a dish cloth with a new yarn she bought on the way down. It was a lovely pattern and the colors striped out quite lovely on it. She was working on a teapot design. She was the designated baker for the weekend. When  I worked a lot of overtime she volunteered to be my "personal baker" and made some extra muffins (they were so good) and egg salad as it was coming down to the wire and I was cutting it close for time.  I really appreciated it. We always have plenty of food, no one ever leaves hungry. We took some of it to one of our wounded members so since she couldn't come stitch she could at least snack with us.

Jeannette had several different projects. She was doing some hand quilting on a crazy quilt piece she had started back when we had a visit to the area by Judith Baker Montano and it getting ready to finish it out. The crazy quilt part is done she is doing the quilting now. She also was doing an Alaska themed cross stitch and had knitted, felted and was embellishing a purse for her own use. Lovely work as always.
Joan had her retreat piece and is coming to the end of it. It is a class piece from EGA that didn't get finished and she is determined to get it done.
We had a great time and I am always ready to go back. Have some great stitching time in your day. Marjo