Saturday, December 22, 2012

On a cold winter's night

It is unusually cold here tonight. We have a fire going and I am getting ready to get back to my hummers. I so want to finish that for 2012. I am down to the bottom edge of the design and have started doing the backstitching and fill in of missed stitches. I am pleased with how fast the backstitching is going. I think the end is in sight. This photo is only the bottom half. When I get some of the backstitching done I will add a new picture.  I ran out of 3 colors of thread but Dimensions was very prompt in sending me additional thread. One of the colors I used almost every bit they sent me so the kit was quite short of thread.  I will save up to get it framed for my sister's birthday mid-year. I am looking forward to picking something else up to stitch!
There are several designs on the WIP list that are not making any progress that would love to see some stitching time. I am still working on my organizing so I will be ready when the stitching time comes around. I still have a lot of work to do to get my stitching room in order. It just seems to multiply. I did find out this week at Thursday night stitch a resource to donate my quilt type fabric pieces to that I know I will never use. I don't mind giving it away if someone can use it. I am going to box that up and get it out first. That will free up quite a bit of closet space. There are also some old clothes that need to go to the donation bin as well. That will also open up some space. I have a couple of boxes of older designs that I no longer think I would use that I am going to donate to a local group that holds classes for kids to learn different sewing methods. I have a large rubbermaid box to go to the kids learning to stitch as well. I may take some to the little consignment shop and see if there is any interest. I have a large box of stash that a friend gave me to try to sell for her so I am going to inventory it and put it up for sale.I am going to add some stretcher bars of mine to the list and see if someone that loves them would like to have them. I use a different brand than I used to and the old ones are just taking up space. I can raise some money that way to fund the improvements I want to make.  If I just get all of that done I will have made a huge dent in organizing the area.
I spent a lot of time on the internet looking for ways to organize a stitching room that doesn't involve a large cash outlay. Mine really needs some help. I need to sort my fabric so I know what I have. I would like to be able to sort it by count and shades of color but not sure what to put it in to keep it in order.  am thinking of shallow drawers that I have seen before.  I am going to do an excel inventory for it and print it so I can look at a glance what I have so I don't order what I don't need.  I am trying to figure out the best way to organize my threads and patterns. The threads give me the biggest problem. I am going to get some boxes to organize the patterns in but my over-dyed threads need a better system.  I am not sure I want to go the baggie route but that may end up being the best I can do. Over-dyed ribbon is something else I would love to find a good way to organize.  My DMC are well organized in Thread Bed notebooks that fit nicely on the shelves. I found apps for the phone that will allow me to keep up with the thread inventory (and my Mill Hill beads) so I know what I need in each of the thread categories I use the most. My patterns will go by designers in boxes in the old wardrobe I have in the stitching room now. That way they will be behind closed doors but labeled so I can find the pattern by designer quickly.
I have a lot of project bags so I can get everything I want to work on organized with threads, fabric and pattern to make it easy to move between them as I move through the rotation. I have some nice plastic bags a friend gave me that work well for WIP storage as well.
So, I have done lots of looking, planning and drawing out the changes but not so much of the working on cleaning it up part. I have a couple of things I want to get to add to the usefulness of the room. I am making my list for the garage sale season though I think some of the items will come from Joann's. I want a counter high small ironing board for in there that will fit behind a door until I need it and some larger cutting boards. I am also looking for a table that I can put a cutting pad on that is high enough to use for comfortable cutting and probably to hold the ironing board as well.   My sewing room is a very small area so I have to be careful to leave room to sit and stitch. I have a good chair and an excellent light. So I have a wonderful start. Like my stitching I enjoy planning my space.
Off to get some stitching in. Hope you find some stitchy time in your day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Still plugging away

Most of my stitching is samplers or smalls, which you probably know if you have been following here for any length of time. I do have a few large picture designs that I want to do, most of them florals. When you live somewhere where Winter is the dominant season you sometimes have to grow your flowers with needle and thread. One of the flowers I have come to love since moving to Alaska is the peony. We have a plant growing in the front yard that through total neglect by me produces beautiful blooms all summer. They make me smile every time I see them. I have quite the collection of peony graphs for stitching. During the last online needlework show I found a peony biscournu to do which seems a more doable size flower to stitcher considering the never ending hummers. I think I will add it to the line up for the new year.
As you can tell I am trying to get organized for next years stitching line up. In years past I belonged to a group online that had a challenge to do one strand a day on a project that was not a regular rotation piece but that you really wanted to finish but were not currently motivated to work much on. That worked surprisingly well for me and I think I will bring it back for next year. I will pull something from the Longgggggggg WIP list to put in that position.
So for rotation the way I have done it in years past I pick 4 pieces to change every Monday. I get most of my stitching time over the weekend. Variations on this included having something different that I only stitched on at my weekly stitch night with my friends. Having a project that I did just one strand a night and then moved back to the rotation piece. I almost always carry a piece with me in my purse for unexpected down time ( I also have my IPod which only has podcasts and books on tape just in case).
I also used to have a piece in my car for travel stitching. If you have even been to Alaska you know nothing is close and drive time can be several hours. During the summer with all that lovely long hours of daylight that is prime stitching time. So I have a little stitching bag I keep in the back seat just in case. Right now there are two smallish Santa designs in there. Sometimes I think I enjoy the planning as much as I do the stitching!

So 2013 rotation as it stands now
Maryland sampler from Heartease
A gift for a friend
Dorothy Walpole
The hummers and then Ann Bowers or Common Grounds by Just Nan
ATS will be my One strand a night piece
Peony Biscournu, then White work sampler, the EGA Piece from the WIP pile for Thursday night
In the car monthly freebies teacups and teapots
Purse piece mill hill moose, then stockings from BBD

So other than the gifts for friends, and SAL pieces the rest are all from the WIP pile. I am committed to getting the pile smaller! I stitch slowly though so it will take a while. And it may not go this way at all as plans are held loosely here. I am more likely to accomplish more if I have decided ahead of time what I want to do as opposed to getting lost in the stash room looking for a WIP I know I have "somewhere". Over December I will tweak the list, dust off the project bags and arrange the current rotation into my big pink stitching bag so it is an easy move from one piece to the next. Of course, I am determined not to start this until I finish the hummers so off I go to pull them out to put a few more stitches in. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have some stitching  time in your day!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Wedding design

A good friend got married and I really wanted to do a small piece for her. She has moved away with her new husband and I really really miss her. I wanted to do something nice so I decided to do a Sweetheart Tree design that I thought would suit. The problem was that she used blue for her wedding colors and the kit came with pink threads. With the help of my stitching friends and Cathy at the Inspired Needle I was able to find what I needed to get it as close to her colors as was possible. My framer was able to almost exactly match the blue with a lovely mat and so I was quite pleased with the framed results.  I enjoyed stitching this for her and now that the package has been received I can share this with you.  I deleted their names for their privacy but I must tell you getting the names centered was the most difficult part of the stitching (once I got the colors picked out).
I gave this and a tin of royal wedding tea to the bride and groom as a much belated wedding gift.
The best part of all for me was my friend showed up as a surprise at our stitching group Thursday. It was so good to see her and hear all about her new life. Best surprise of the season for me! I love the group of ladies that welcomed me when I first came to Alaska, they are wonderful indeed. I really appreciate having each one of them to call friend.
Well for me it is back to the hummingbirds. I was able to contact the company since I have run out of three colors of green threads with 34 rows left to stitch. The threads are not DMC  or Anchor and so it would be an obvious change in dyelots. The threads have been difficult to stitch with, breaking and knotting up terribly. I am way over on some colors with multiple strand that will be left over and am afraid that I will run out of two more colors before it is done. That is the reason I usually don't stitch kits unless they are from one of the Sampler companies. I am hoping the threads will come soon as I would like to get this one off the WIP list by the end of this year. Off to stitch!
Hope you find some stitchy time in your day. Marjo