Friday, September 23, 2016

Pictures a plenty.

I have framing and stitching progress!  I rarely snap a photo of a project in the works but for my HEAD there really does need to be progress photos as it's a project that will take a couple years.

First, the framing.  I am so excited to have this long neglected WIP done-done-done.

Glendon Place's Murky Manor sat in a box neglected for 5+  years.  I hauled it to Florida last winter and worked diligently.  I put it aside for a while and reluctantly got busy and finally finished it this spring.

The frame is a lovely rustic purple that matches the fabric.  The fabric that was TORTURE to work on!  I have a whole bunch left.  I am having trouble imagining what I might stitch on it.  It's 36 count, a bit small for me, and linen with no...what would you call it?...body?  So flimsy and floppy.

The next piece is Jenny Bean's Garden Sampler by Shakespeare's Peddler.

This was another piece that was not enjoyable to work on.  Not so much the stitching or the fabric...more the pattern.  There were missing symbols on the key and it was printed (copied?) onto cheap copy paper so it was a mess by the time I was done.

I chose another rustic frame...this one is really green, not the blue pictured, and matches the fabric nicely.

Finally, Up on the Rooftop by Drawn Thread.

This is one of those patterns that you knock out the alphabet in no time and then are surprised by how long the rest takes.

Another rustic frame but isn't that red just perfect?  I need to get a nap brush for Santa's beard.  It's on my shopping list for when I make another trip to my somewhat LNS.

I finally managed to pull out my HEAD.  Vibrant Vista's is my first Heaven and Earth Design.  I have long admired HEAD patterns and knew I'd start one someday.  I purchased this pattern along with a Christmas one.  I forget the title...Town Square maybe.  It's not available anymore but I hope I get through this one so I can do that one, too.

Below is my progress so far.  Page 1 and page 2.

 It doesn't look like much does it?  A funny thing happened between page 1 and page 2.  I discovered the Goodreader app on my ipad.  It was love at first use.  So, when Heaven and Earth had a sale I purchased Vibrant Vista's as a pdf.  The strange thing is that my paper version is large print so I bought the large print pdf version but the pages are spaced differently.  I thought I'd complete the full page 2 to match the paper version size but flipping from page to page on the app was a pain. (Really, just flipping from page 2 to page 9 to get the bottom of the design.)  Also, my paper page 2 divided the tree while the app's page 3 encompassed the whole tree top so I thought I'd just leave the tree until page 3.  Make sense?  Anyhow, that's why my page 2 block looks shorter than my page 1 block.  I am also trying out 'parking'.  When I get to the tree there are lots of odds and ends of stitches.  So far, I'm finding the stray threads a pain.  So, we'll see.

I am using the Magic Grid fabric available from the Heaven and Earth shop.  The blocks are 20 by 20.  I don't feel the need to only work within a block.  I can work across each color like a regular pattern but I do stop near the edge of the page...or just a few stitches into the next page.  I am trying to avoid the lines that form when you stop stitching in a straight line.

Finally, I have also been stitching away on my Jeanette Douglas Florida Sampler.

I think this section is the last of the complicated rows and also marks the half way point.  I have just started the two 1 over 1 parrots sitting in the trees.

My very cute little needle threader is hiding my initials.  Do I even need to write about those?  You guessed it.  Stylized letters and NO ALPHABET GRAPH in the pattern.  OMG.  Why is that optional when the initials are part of the pattern????????

So, to help with that I purchased this book by Leisure Arts.

I found letters that were sized correctly and worked with the overall look of the pattern.

The book is full of all sorts of alphabets from simple to fancy.  There are cute ones, serious ones, bold, and fine lettered ones.  I know I will get plenty of use from this book for years to come.

Hard to believe September is almost over.  Fall might actually be in the air this weekend in Western NY.  It's been a long hot summer, that's for sure.  Some fall weather would be very welcome in these dry parched parts of NY.

Happy Stitching.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Something I've never shown.

A post or two ago I posted some photos of a finish that I'd propped in an old china cabinet in my entryway.  An observant stitcher spied something on display on that cabinet so here it is:

My Betsy Ross child's sewing machine.  Besides the super ucky green spool of thread that came with it, it's in fabulous shape and as cute as can be, to boot.  The green thread is on a wooden spool and came on the machine so I left it but maybe I should just pull the thread off and leave the empty wooden spool?)

Next to the machine is my grandmother's old school text book.  Way back the 20's...dressmaking was a regular class.

When I opened it up I found a cloth bookmark with some practice hem stitches.  It's almost at the very end of the book.  Given how well my grandmother could sew, I bet she really did read this entire book.

The copyright is 1927 and the information written in the front cover says my grandmother was in 7th grade when she was given this book in school.

Interestingly complaisant participants were imagined by the artist.

Anyone who does cross stitch finishing could still use this section.

Finally, aren't we all thankful we don't have to iron using this?!?!?

Man, that thing must have been heavy.  I bet everyone remembers someone using one as a doorstop.

I will soon show some framing and maybe a couple wee quilt finishes.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Catching up continues.

I am starting to feel caught up with pictures and projects.

I managed to stitch and finish a small for August and I also finished something out of my neglected smalls pile.

My small was another free pattern by Mani di Donna called 4th of July.  I was determined to finish it just the same as my last Patriotic finish but had an oops.  I trimmed the fabric too close to the stitched edge and I feel like the impact of the edge is lost in the ribbon.

I made it using the same fabric and the same finish as my July small.  I don't think the scale between the two is really that different.  It is a bit exaggerated in this photo.

My finish from my unfinished and neglected smalls isn't really all that old.  I stitched this in January of this year.  Sue Hillis Design's 'The Stockings Are Hung' which is a little Post Stitches pattern.

I did not look at anyone's instructions in particular but I can say it's a combination of what I've learned by using Judy O'Dell's finishing instructions and having done some finishing lead by Mona of The Silver Needle.

Love the cording made from DMC 347 which is one of the reds used in the pattern.

So, I'm working on some more projects which I will try to get posted soon.  I am hoping to spend the day puttering in my sewing room so will attempt to prepare some future posts.

Right now I am watching a flosstube by Vonna.  She's making me think about getting organized!  I'm so easily influenced!  Not to mention how I just sort of pile stuff here and there with no organization what-so ever!


Friday, August 26, 2016

There has been stitching!

Despite all my complaining about how much time the costume making took up...I still managed to stitch.  Not as much as I might normally... but I skipped my HEAD rotation and just worked on smaller projects.

I did finish the finishing on Lizzie Kate's Boxer Jr:  Summer-licious.

A quick simple yellow check ribbon ruched and held in place with pins.

I propped it up in the china cabinet in my front hall.

I also picked up one of the many projects I kitted up recently.  It's been kind of fun having all those projects ready to go.

Country Cottage Needlework's Christmas Carol.

My small for July is this cute free pattern from The Prairie Grove Peddler.  I tried to find a link but the pattern I have is dated 2008 so maybe it's not available anymore.  My nice large folder of printed freebies is busting at the seams and probably contains many old patterns not available.

I just made a little pillow filled with crushed walnut shells and attached a red checked ribbon.  Again, nothing fancy.

I used a red plaid fabric for the backing. I think I have just enough linen and fabric to make another one using a different free patriotic pattern.  I'll try to get it stitched in the next few days so I can count it for August but there's no guarantee.

I pulled this lovely little kit out of my collection of kits and took it to Florida with me.

Ladybug, Ladybug by Little House Needleworks.  I don't know why it took me so long to stitch this one.  I love geraniums and it was so quick.

In a recent post I hinted at a piece I was working on that wasn't part of the pile I binge-kitted.

Jingle by Shepherd's Bush was another nice quick stitch.  There are supposed to be some flowers across the top but I left them off so I'd have a square piece to finish as an ornament or pinkeep or whatever.

From far away you can see how the folded fabric that came in the kit has discolored at the fold.  I'll have to finish this one close to the stitching to avoid those lines.

Not a bad showing for feeling like I had very little sewing time.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Where to begin?

I usually find summer to be my most productive time when it comes to sewing and reading.  When the kids were young we were free from all the school schedules and often spent weekends camping.  That combined with hours sitting by the pool meant I could read and stitch for hours.

Now that the kids are grown and almost never home, I can sew and stitch and read the day away. Well, you know.  Between laundry, errands, and whatever else fills a day.  Even my regular charity commitment takes the summer off.  

This year, however, I got in deep with the community theater group and costume making.  My only experience with costume making was when the kids were young or a handful of times when I helped the school drama kids with costumes.  In those cases I'd show up with my machine and someone would hand me the already cut out pieces and I'd sew them together.  

This time around, along with a more experienced co-costume designer from our high school drama booster days, we had to come up with costumes from scratch for Beauty and the Beast.  Oh boy! Neither of us had a clue!  

For 2 solid months we planned, designed, and invented costumes.  

I made the Silly Girls costumes...

My co-designer and I made costumes for Belle, Mrs. Potts, Madam De La Grande Bouche (the wardrobe),

Cogsworth, and Lumiere.

All from scratch...out of our brains.  And, besides their fantasy costumes, everyone needed an everyday costume for when they became human again.

I also spent an entire week, like it was my full time job, altering and adjusting the costumes for the town's people.

A quick shot of the set that my husband and my co-designer's husband made.  Each house spun around so the inside was exposed and rolled on and off stage as needed.

I know my pictures are not a great representation of the set and costumes but I am limited to what I was given by the theater guild's PR person.

Along with being thrilled the whole thing is over I am happy to say that the state's theater association judge awarded my co-designer and myself a meritorious award for the costumes.  The production only won meritorious to an actor and to the 3 leads for singing.  When I asked the other actors the significance of the judging and awards they explained that they would add credentials for future jobs.  Well, that's nice and all and I'm honored, but I'm ONE AND DONE!

My husband will continue helping the high school with building sets but I am just not interested in that sort of sewing.  It is a good way for him to put his skills to work for the community but I'll stick with the groups I am already involved with.

While I neglected my sewing machine I did manage some cross stitch so I will gather my completed pieces and put together a post as soon as I can.

In the mean time...I must go re-introduce myself to my sewing room.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Falling Behind.

I have fallen so far behind in blogging and projects that I don't even know where to start.

So, I will start with one of the things I showed as a WIP in my last post.

I was working on this Hinzeit piece called Washday.

While stitching it I remembered this fat quarter with clothes pins in my stash.

With the finished piece and the fabric in hand, I made a project bag.

It is made by creating a bag with the fabric which has been backed with batting.  The bag is made just the slightest bit larger than a regular zipper top project bag you can buy at cross stitch shops.  There was nothing scientific about the layout.  I just created something that was pleasing to look at using what fabric I had and my finished piece.

When making the bag, leave the top unfinished and large enough to fold over.  Hand stitch at the fold line to the zipper.

I ran around the edge on the sewing machine just to give it a finished look.

Easy Peasy.  Just don't forget that you can't iron your finished bag because of the plastic project bag.

Happy Stitching.