Sunday, April 16, 2017

April 2017 Gifted Gorgeousness

What is Gifted Gorgeousness, you may ask? It's the brainchild of the lovely and talented Jo at Serendipitous Stitching, who invites us to celebrate gifts we've been given that we are stitching on (or gifts we're stitching for others). If you're up for seeing more eye candy, click on the graphic above and visit Jo's link up post!

As I'm posting this on Easter (a few days late as usual), the first gift I have to show you is very appropriate...a friend gave me these counting pins for my birthday:
Aren't they too cute? I used them to start Nora Corbet's letter "H", which I am stitching along with Tiffstitch on Wednesdays. Of course I completely forgot this past Wednesday, so I don't have any progress to show!

Next were a couple of kits I bought with birthday money (and, *ahem*, maybe a little extra)...I just subscribed digitally to Inspirations magazine. In the very first issue I got, there was a bird by Nicola Jarvis. The last time I was in England (2014 I think), we visited the William Morris Gallery, and there was an exhibition of many of these stitched birds. I was over the moon for them, but they were out of most of the kits, so I didn't get a chance to bring one home. When I saw the bird from Strawberry Thief was in Inspirations, I had to get the kit.
I love how the needles are on a big page with every other possible needle size so you can see which is which (on the right). The fabric this is stitched on is very interesting; it's a heavy woven fabric with almost a plastic/rubber backing.

Since I was ordering all the way from Australia, I had to order two kits to justify the shipping, right?
Actually, the shipping was not too bad. I considered kitting this one up myself, but the beads and crochet cotton were getting close to the cost of the kit, and I wasn't sure what kind of fabric they were talking about in the magazine directions. Of course, if I had kitted it, I would have bought full tubes of beads...but at this point I'm not unhappy at the prospect of not having leftover beads! This one will be a lot of fun, since there are many needlelace and darning patterns in it!

Well, that's it for this month's Gifted Gorgeousness...tune in next month, when I might have actually stitched something that was gifted to me!!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop 2017

Hello beautiful people! It's Spring, it's Easter (well, Good Friday, anyway), so it's time for Jo's annual Easter Blog Hop!

My mom made me some beautiful ceramics when I was little, and I love being able to put them out each year. I added a little bunny of my own to the display this year.

This is a freebie bunny you can find here. There are two other Quaker pattern bunnies as well! I think my bunny needs some friends for next year. =) This bunny is stitched on perforated paper in DMC 335 for the outline and DMC 4120 for the pattern. I'm not sure what that thread color is named, but it should be named strawberry lemonade!!

Now, I know why you're really want your letter so you can complete the phrase Jo has come up with and enter to win her prize draw which hopefully includes delicious British chocolate!! So here is the letter, rendered in our pale American imitation of said chocolate:

In case you can't see the picture, L is the letter! Have fun hopping, and remember, Christ is risen!!!

Please continue hopping to the next blog, which is! In case you showed up here without visiting Jo's blog first, start at the beginning by visiting over there.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Smalls SAL March and a Small Start

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No idea what the Smalls SAL is all about? Click the graphic above to learn more (and see lovely smalls from others!)

I'm squeaking in under the deadline this month, but I did manage to finish the stitching for a small!

Keep a Secret by Just Nan

I just need to finish the edge and then sew the wool on the back of this, then it will fit nicely in the pretty peacock tin. This is one of the pieces that the Sparkly Compote of Decree gave me for March Madness, and after working on it for a day, I thought, "Now that there is more sun with Daylight Saving Time, I can totally finish this tiny over-one piece!" So I did. =)

I also have a small start on a medium piece; Tiffstitch and I are doing a Wednesday SAL on Nora Corbet's letter "H". Here's my start, just a couple hours of stitching (you know, after stressing out about whether I was "really" starting in the center or not):

Wherever Tiffstitch decides to start, I know hers will not look like mine, because I changed the color of her dress! That blob you see is the bottom hem of it. It's a funky shape because when I stitch with overdyes (especially ones that are as variegated as this one), I complete one X at a time, and I do not stitch in rows. This avoids what Leon Conrad once called the "stripey bacon" effect. Of course, sometimes you want that effect, but I want her dress to look like it's made of flower petals. The floss I'm using is called "Morning Glory" (which is a very ironic choice for stitching my fairy namesake, since mornings and I are not on friendly terms).

Click the graphic at the top of this post if you'd like to see what smalls others have stitched in the past month!

Thanks to Theme-Tas-Stitch's March Madness, I was inspired to finish a small I started a long time ago!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Still No Deer

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When last I checked in for March Madness, I was enjoying stitching on Prancer so much, I didn't really want to move on... I didn't. The giant stocking and 80s-bridesmaid-dress-style bow are now done. Could an actual deer part make an appearance soon?? Any bets?

I was reading one of the "Top Five Tuesday" posts that Tiffstitches does and saw that one of the things she wants to finish this year is the "H" by Nora Corbett. Hey! I have that chart! I kind of had to buy it, since the name of the design is "Heather". =) So, we decided to do a little SAL on Wednesdays. We start next week!!
I had the threads, though I substituted the skin and dress colors. I went diving in my stash and came up with a piece of fabric that is almost exactly the same color as the Waterlily linen that is recommended (I actually had Waterlily, but stitching on those Wichelt linens is no fun for me). It's Squall from Sugar Maple Fabrics. Does anyone else have a small, deeply treasured stash of SMF?? I almost didn't want to use it, because then I won't have it anymore!

I have really been enjoying the Spring flowers (and Daylight Saving Time!!! Hooray for leaving work when it is still light!!) The pollen, not so much. I believe the pollen count here today is over 3500. Yes, three-five-zero-zero...not a typo. A coworker was visiting from Boston last week and when I told him the count was 1800, I thought his eyes were going to fall out of his head. I've pretty much felt like a zombie this week, although last weekend was worse; I think I actually had a virus!

But, hey, the pollen is worth it!

That's Prancer up there, I swear it is.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Theme-Tas-Stitch, March Madness Edition

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What is Theme-Tas-Stitch, you ask? Kerry was inspired by the Theme-a-licious SAL I used to run and asked to continue the theme-ing tradition, and she's doing brilliantly! There's a theme every month that you can build your stitching plans around. Click on the picture above for more details!

This month's theme was March Madness, a particular favorite of mine! Guided by the Sparkly Compote of Decree and the slips of paper I draw out of it, I try to stitch on a different WIP every single day in March! I always end up skipping a few days (the perils of having a full-time job). In case you missed my previous posts (because putting all those pictures in this one post would be too much!), here they are
And now, what I've been up to in the past week or so! We left off with me drawing a "nice, big" project to work on...but it's actually a set of smalls!

Ye Shall Prosper by Moss Creek Designs

Squirrel! I really did not get much done here; just some chain stitch outlining. But if I waited until all the fun stitching was done before doing the outlines, I would never assemble these. The two small squares will be a tiny pin pillow, and the other two pieces will make an acorn-shaped scissors case. I need to do the back of that. The needlebook is already stitched, and then I just have the front and back of a thread bag to go and I'm done!

The SCOD gets "moods"...last time, it was in a yarny mood. Well, this time...

Spring Garden Gate by Moss Creek Designs

it was in a Moss Creek mood! Two projects in two days! I managed to get all the lupine flowers (the blue ones) done...they are double-sided buttonhole bars. I really had to use the magnifier. But you're not allowed to look that closely at them. ;)

That brings us up to March 17th...

The only thing I can remember about this hardanger piece is that it's an ornament from the JCS 1997 ornament issue (and I'm too lazy to go look up the name and designer!) I swapped the DMC floss for some random Hand-Dyed Fibers. I got a good bit done after I figured out which way I was travelling....

March 18th we saw Beauty and the Beast AND went to the Ballet, so I did not have time to stitch at all!

March 19th:

Peacock Tapestry by Teresa Wentzler

At the rate I'm stitching this, I will be done when I am 237.

March 20th I drew a magic blank slip (allowing me to choose!)

Prancer by Mirabilia

Still no deer colors!

Now I am really torn because I want to figure out a rotation (and I really just want to stitch some more on Prancer)...but I drew a slip out of the SCOD, anyway, just to see what it would say...and Spring Quakers popped out. That would be really fun to stitch, too...hmmmm....

Next month's theme is April Showers: "What pieces do you have that contain water? - It might be rain, river, sea or lake - see how many stitches you can make!" I am golden here. Especially when I remember that snow is just frozen water. ;)

Even when directed by an inanimate object, I still can't make up my mind on what to stitch....

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Gifted Gorgeousness March 2017

What is Gifted Gorgeousness, you may ask? It's the brainchild of the lovely and talented Jo at Serendipitous Stitching, who invites us to celebrate gifts we've been given that we are stitching on (or gifts we're stitching for others). If you're up for seeing more eye candy, click on the graphic above and visit Jo's link up post!

As my birthday is the end of February, you may be thinking I'm going to show you all kinds of stitch-related gifts! Well, I at least have one:

This is some of my haul from my wonderful spouse, and you'll notice the beautiful Jane Nicholas book at the bottom. My husband told me, "You already have everything I'm giving you, just not these versions." Yes, I have T-shirts and stumpwork books (even ones by Jane Nicholas), but of course I need MORE!

And now, for the rest of the post, I will use the largest shoehorn that I own, as I want to show you what else has been happening during March Madness! My shoehorn is that the Sparkly Compote of Decree gives me the project I'll stitch on each day.

We left off last Tuesday. Wednesday, March 8th, the SCOD wanted me to work on a scarf that I frogged during the Lottlympiad. *ahem* I really should clean out the SCOD! So I picked the socks I took to Disney World in case we had decided to see the new Rivers of Light show, which would have required an hour wait. =)
Woo hoo! Happy Dance! March Madness has given me a finished object! Well, two, actually. I'm wearing them right now and they are quite comfy. =) The sock pattern is named Björk, but I called the project "Swan Feathers". Why? Well, when I think of Björk, I think of only one thing...

...wait for it...

March 9th the SCOD coughed up a slip of paper with a project that I could not for the life of me find, so I picked this related project (sea-themed, like the one I was supposed to stitch):
This is an EGA nametag for my chapter I was supposed to have stitched a looooong time ago. Good thing I am a remote member!

March 10th:
Keep a Secret by Just Nan. I could probably have this finished soon if I just concentrated on it! I'm assuming I put it away because I couldn't see the over-one stitching, but now that Daylight Savings Time has given us the GIFT of more light, I could get back to it....

March 11th:
Sanctuary by The Drawn Thread. This was plagued with problems when I picked it up. I wanted to start the trees on the left, but I seem to be missing JUST THAT ONE COLOR of NPI silk! Fine, after a fruitless search, I decided to just do the trees at the top. See that one pathetic tree trunk? Yeah, that's because I stitched all the trees before I realized I was ONE STITCH TO THE LEFT. I couldn't fudge it because there's a corner tree, and I would have had to fudge all four sides and corner trees similarly. *sigh*

March 12th: This was a Sunday, so I was hoping for a nice, big project to work on. Instead, I got a paltry little knitting project. I drew again (I do that occasionally and switch days). ANOTHER yarny project! I drew a third time. Finally, a stitching project!
And then, it turned out that with church and errands and other commitments, I didn't have time for a nice, big project, so I worked on the knitting, anyway. The Sparkly Compote of Decree is looking mighty smug in that picture, wouldn't you say?

March 13th: No stitching. Apocalyptic day!

March 14th:
The SCOD, in its yarny mood, gave me the oldest (and only) crochet WIP I have. A friend kindly taught a few of us to crochet using a cute little acorn bag. According to Ravelry, that was 2009!!! After doing two rounds in what I thought was single crochet but turned out to be something I made up, then ripping and doing one round correctly, I decided I really hate crochet and I frogged the whole thing today! So now I have the gift of spare yarn....

Well, my shoehorn is starting to bend under the strain, so I will leave you wondering what project the SCOD has given me's the nice, big one I drew for on Sunday!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Week of Mice and Madness

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If you're participating in Theme-Tas-Stitch (or you've been around here for over a year), you know that March means March Madness. And that means that I try to stitch on something different every day of the month! I don't always succeed, because I don't always get to stitch every day, but on the days I do get to stitch, I draw a slip of paper out of the SCOD (Sparkly Compote of Decree), and it tells me what I stitch that day. March first brought me this beauty to work on...
This is Toccata by The Drawn Thread. I only got one little square done, but, hey, that's pretty good for a work night.

March 2nd we went to see Phantom of the Opera at the fabulous Fox after work, so I got no stitching done that night. (My one-sentence review of the show is that if you saw it in the 90s, don't bother, because this production is much scaled down and misses a lot of the iconic staging moments.)

The next day, I told the SCOD to go take a flying leap, I was working on my first Loopy Academy project, Spliced (qualification: must be a two-color-per-row project):
I did not get all of that done, but I did get a lot of it done. The next two days I did not stitch at all, because I had better things to do...
We went to Disney World for my birthday! It's the first time in a while that I haven't been there on my actual birthday. That's OK; I still got the button, and the Dapper Dans sang "Happy Birthday" to me. =)

The Flower and Garden Festival was going on at Epcot, so that park was just beautiful.

Sometimes the Festival starts just after my birthday, so although some of the topiary displays are up, we don't get to enjoy other aspects of the Festival, like the fabulous food booths!

I tried to convince Michael that the cheese strudel with berry compote was terrible and I should just eat it all so he didn't have to suffer through it, but he didn't buy it. =)

Our second day, we got up early and hustled over to the back entrance of the park (we stayed at the Swan, so we were able to walk...and a big shout out to my Falcons for being in the Super Bowl and getting us a three-for-two deal there!) We wanted to be there at "rope drop" so we could speed-walk over to Norway and be in line for Frozen Ever After!
I didn't try to take any photos during the ride because I just wanted to enjoy it. The wait time can balloon up to several hours, so getting there early is your only hope if you can't get FastPasses (and we made the decision to go down too late to get them). We only waited about 10 minutes! We really enjoyed the ride and talked about how cool it is to go on a brand new Disney's a treat that doesn't come along every day!

I'll end my pictorial review with a pair of dragons, because: DRAGONS!

China pavilion topiary at Epcot...

Maleficent "float" at Magic Kingdom.

On the way home, I knit on my second Loopy Academy project, Sinnesfrid.
I'm still not 100% sure about this color...I wanted a bright Spring green. Sometimes I think this is it, and sometimes it looks weird to me. It really changes color with the light.

That doesn't quite bring us up to today, but here's the last picture that was in the camera, from Tuesday:
The SCOD coughed up a blank slip of paper, which means I get to choose! So I picked a project out of the Drawer of's a drawer in our coffee table where I keep stitching supplies like scissors, needle minders, stitch markers, etc. But it also contains various random small projects that get stuffed in there for one reason or another. I decided to stitch something from there to help clean it out...I wasn't sure what all was in there! I found a few ornament kits that were not started, an ornament with one side stitched, one side unstitched, and one side completely missing (along with the fibers!), a bead kit, a stumpwork ornament whose directions I'm sure I packed in a box somewhere, various other things, and this. This was pretty much the only started thing in there that had all its bits together! It's going to be a PEACE tree by M Designs. If I have enough fibers left to complete it. I have my doubts...

The madness will continue! Stay tuned...

Disney World got in the way of March Madness, in the best way possible, but I still got a lot of stitching done!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February 2017 Smalls SAL Check-in

No idea what the Smalls SAL is all about? Click the graphic above to learn more (and see lovely smalls from others!)

This is going to be a replay of a finish from Focus Finish February...I finished this soutache embroidery snowflake ornament.
I can't wait to work on the other two in the series; they are much "fancier". I didn't know how this one would turn out since this was my first foray into soutache. Now that I have conquered one, I'm sure I can do the others!

I really thought I was going to have a different small finished for February ("there's ages between the Theme-Tas-Stitch check-in and the end of the month!"). Hahahahaha.... Hopefully these pieces will turn into a March small finish.
Hmmm...looks like somebody got the lens cap shadow in the shot again. "Somebody" really should take some photography classes. Or just pay more attention!!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Finished Object Friday: Mikkey

It's time for another trip in the Wayback Machine to an old finished knitting project!

The final Loopy Academy project for Freshman Year, Semester Two was to create something using slipped stitches.

Mikkey Cowl Ravelry project link

I knit this GIANT, SUPER WARM cowl using three strands of worsted weight yarn held together! Last Winter I used it a few times, but it hasn't been cold enough this Winter to use it! It is REALLY warm, since the slipped stitches mean it's essentially six strands thick, AND it can be worn as two layers.

Since it's a slipped stitch pattern, the "wrong side" is completely different and just as interesting!

I cannot say enough good things about this pattern. The directions were so clear, and there are a TON of pictures throughout (closeups and overall views). You can knit it in whatever weight you want. She even teaches you how to triple-strand yarn as you go, which is brilliant. I've bought two more patterns from this designer since I got this one. The second one I have finished (ah...yeah...still need to take pictures of that) was just as brilliant as this one! Now, that is not to say these patterns aren't complicated...they are. But her directions are so great!

This cowl is also ingenious because most cowls require you to twist them if you want to double them, sometimes resulting in a very uncomfortable bulge behind your neck. Mikkey has a slot-and-strap system that means it is always a two-layer cowl. I made the "medium" option, so you can have it longer, but this picture shows the inner layer as small (i.e., as cozy around your neck!) as it can go, and the outer layer as long as it can go.

And finally, for really windy days....

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Theme-Tas-Stitch Focus Finish February

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It is with great excitement (although also great lateness) that I post my first Theme-Tas-Stitch post of the year! What is Theme-Tas-Stitch, you ask? Kerry was inspired by the Theme-a-licious SAL I used to run and asked to continue the theme-ing tradition. I gladly said yes, because if there's one thing I like better than a themed SAL, it's one I'm not responsible for running! =)

This month's theme was Focus Finish, and I had grand plans, let me tell you...Grand Plans. I had a whole list! However, I forgot that Loopy Academy starts up again this month and I'd be casting on and knitting like crazy. So I modified my list to include one old WIP I wanted to work on (Curios by Kathy Rees) and a list of small things I thought I could finish. I finished one. =)

This is the soutache embroidery snowflake I started last month:
I forgot to include something for scale. It's pretty small; about 3 inches (7.5cm) in diameter. I can't wait to try making one of the other two in the kit; they are much "fancier".

Another small thing on my list was this pair of socks. They were so close to being finished, and I was all ready to Kitchener stitch the toes this past weekend. When I went to get my yarn needles, they were gone! I looked "everywhere" twice, but to no avail!
I finally gave up and took this picture to show I missed the finish line by a toe (bad pun!) Of course, I found the needles TODAY.

So that was the "Finish" part, now for the "Focus" part. This is how far I got on Curios:
I love that zig-zag motif in the center! It's my favorite so far. By the way, thank you for all the good suggestions on my squirrel canvas. I'm still mulling that over. Carol suggested I find out if there is a stitch guide available. Unfortunately, I have no idea who the designer is, and I don't know if the friend that gave it to me does, either, because she got it from a "de-stash" group. I do have a couple of canvas books, so I will pore through those.

Next month's Theme-Tas-Stitch theme is March Madness!! You all know this is one of my favorites...I looked back in the blog, and the first March Madness I recorded was 2008, but I referred to loving it "last year", so that means 2007. That was even before Theme-a-licious, when I was just doing themes with my "local" stitch group ("local" is in quotes because some of them were in Florida =).

Ahhh...meeeeeeemories, like the corners of my miiiiiiind.... *ahem* Sorry for that song break. Anyway, March Madness means stitching on something different every day I stitch. I may not be able to do that this year, but I'll do my best. And you know what ELSE March Madness means??

The return of the SCOD!!
(Sparkly Compote of Decree, where I draw a slip of paper to tell me what WIP to work on.)

Stitching themes are back!! I managed to finish one thing this month, but I guarantee it'll be worse next month. ;)

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