Friday, March 16, 2007

Another Quaker Round Robin Update

I forgot! I had every intention of posting last weekend and here we are at this weekend. Here's the motifs I added to Cari's quaker sampler.
Cari chose coordinating Vikki Clayton's Hand Dyed silks in Embers, Cranberry, and Dark Mauve. You get a nice full coverage using the premium weight on 34ct Legacy linen. I'll have to remember this for the future. I love the Legacy linen and have used it several times in the past. This one is the Cafe au Lait, but of course the color is off in my photo. I don't know why I have such a hard time getting a color true photo. It would have helped to lay something underneath it. Cari mentioned she especially wanted floral motifs so I obliged with two I chose from the Ackworth Pattern Book.

Friday, March 09, 2007

My First Sock. I Did It!

hehehe.. I really should have at least swept first and moved that broken pot out of the photo. What can I say? I was just in too big of a hurry to get a snapshot of my very first completed knit sock! Hurrah!! We have some of the same terms but I'm learning a lot of new acronyms. I think they, I mean we, call it a FO. (Finish Off, I think). Yes, that's my pajama laden leg even though it was early afternoon. What about it? Anyway, it fits perfectly and nary a hole to be found. It's not very soft though, but the yarn was the right price for a beginner sock. I will cast on it's partner after I take a shower. LOL... I want to keep the momentum going.

I'm working on a quaker round robin. I should have another post before the weekend is over.

Quaker Pinball Flies Across the Sea

It turns out some of my work needs to be in the UK. I guess that sounds fair. LOL.
Have you seen this? Being a new knitter, I am very interested in this lovely book, Tokens of Love, Quaker Pinballs, by Erica Uten. It's very fine work, as they are knit with very tiny needles of the sort used for miniature work. It'll stay on my wish list for now, but that's what steered my choice for the item I stitched for the Redwork Exchange on SBEBB. It combines both my love of redwork and quakers, and as usual, trying a new technique of some kind. The quaker pinball was an easy stitch, but it's rarely the stitching that commands my time, it's the finishing. It looks easy enough, and it is, nonetheless I fussed with it for many an hour until I pronounced it good enough. I modified the back, using only the border and then adding personalization and the year. The receiver called it exquisite, thus I'll call it a success. Karoline has photographed it with her Merry Cox' Swan Lake Mending Bag. Isn't it a sight?! It does coordinate quite well, I think. Gosh, how I would love to stitch that piece.

Designer -Historic Stitches
Chart - AY's Necessities
Fabric - 40ct Sand
Fiber - Vikki Clayton Hand Dyed Fibers - Heartwood
Silk Ribbon - Vikki Clayton Hand Dyed Fibers - Heartwood 7mm
Interior - Wool yarn wound into a tight ball, roving would be better

Monday, March 05, 2007

Circular Needles and Socks

Here is my first sock in progress. Actually, this is round two. I started it months ago but ran into a problem when I was only using 4 dpn's instead of 5 dpn's. (The cheap set of needles I bought only came with 4 dpns. Now I think it's a crime they even sell them like that.) I kept making errors in counting and wasn't quite sure where the rounds began. I think I got it going ok again but I didn't like the very top of the leg and knowing how many errors it had in it I knew I would not feel any satisfaction if I ever finished it. So... I finally pronounced it dead and ripped it all out. I think I will do fine the next time I use 5 dpn's but this time I decided to try another method. I checked out Cat Bordhi's Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles, from the local library. Sounds good, I thought, and I've set out to see if that is true for me. It's working out quite well! I've gotten past turning the heel and the gusset and now I'm just travelling down the foot. I am just using the first pattern in the book which is just a basic sock. It's ribbed in k2 p2. It's a bit snug around the gusset for me. If I had more confidence I would have adjusted the numbers, because a womens medium I think is a little small for me, but a men's medium is too big so I couldn't use those numbers provided in the book. I think I need a women's medium and a half. LOL.. The first attempt was with size 3's but I went down to size 2's with the circulars. I'm still learning and trying to remember everything I've been reading. I'm a little foggy on it but I think changing needle size would work, and if I just knit the same pattern with size 3's that I might get a better fit. But then the fabric would be looser too. I think that the tighter fabric is more comfortable. Right? Maybe I want a 2.5 needle. Hmmm. I guess I can ditch the stitch markers since I'm passed the gusset but they are just there for the ride. One is a big needle with a string of yarn on it and the other is a big safety pin with a loop of floss on it. Fancy, aren't they? The yarn is Lion Brand Magic Stripes I bought at the Tall Mouse here in Irvine.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Royal Mail from the Land of Paisley

I love it! I got another exchange via "Royal Mail". Paula, Celtic Stitcher, stitched me this adorable set for the SBEB Redwork Exchange. The needlebook is already employed with the Quaker round robin I am working on. The other piece is a fob with a magnet attached to the back- a very handy touch, good for needles or for sticking to my Lowery frame. Fabbo! I love the natural style of linen she chose, as I think it adds a sort of rustic/ethnic touch. Oh, and I think she used one of those finishing forms for the fob. I've been wanting to try them, now I know I need to buy some. I also got a cute cut of fabric with butterflies and some assorted Mill Hill beads.

Check this out. Paula also enclosed a postcard of the town she lives in. The caption on the back reads
Paisley, Home of the Paisley Pattern. Paisley has a wealth of the Victorian and Edwardian architecture, much of it gifted by the owners of the town's great thread mills, the Coats and Clark families. Its Medieval masterpiece is Paisley Abbey.
Now, how cool is that! I think it an apropos place for a needleworker to live, wouldn't you say? Now when I see paisley prints I'll think of Paula from Scotland. Thanks for everything, Paula! I'd love to visit your land someday.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Quaker Motifs and Symbolism

Here's my latest quaker round robin finish. I stitched this floral motif on Carrie's sampler. I love the pomegranate Gloriana silk she chose. It's such a pretty rose color so I thought I'd add something rose-like. I thought this flower looked a bit like an opened rose. As I was writing in her journal and documenting what I stitched I noticed that this motif is actually a Passion Flower. Upon further investigation, I found that the passion flower is symbollic of the Passion of Christ (His crucifixion). The flower has three stamens that symbolize His wounds and the petals symbolize the apostles. Also the ring of corona represent the Crown of Thorns. The Spanish call this flower Espina de Cristo or "Christ's Thorn". Interesting. I'm very intrigued by the symbolism in samplers and it's interesting to learn the quaker ones have their meaning as well. You'll see this motif on Sarah Tatum 1800 and on Beatrix Potter's sampler, and I'm sure on many others. I actually stitched it from the Ackworth School Pattern Book. I am so glad I purchased this wonderful booklet as it's now out of print. This motif is one of the largest, I think there's only one larger and that one is the swan one I used for the blue/white quaker pinkeep I did. I also added the small rosebud taken from a larger motif. :)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Kajsa!

Poor Kajsa had to wait a bit longer for this gift. I didn't want her empty handed on her birthday so I did send a phase-one gift on ahead to tide her over. The first package included my second knitted dishcloth, some overdyed threads, a small candy tin with a victorian scene on it, and a card. She seemed to enjoy it and I'm hoping this phase-two, the actual stitched gift, will be a little more of a "wow" for her.

I thought I'd show you the Scissor and Needle Keep I constructed. The stitched design is a freebie from Sharon of Crescent Colors. I used R&R Dye Pot linen and all the Crescent Colors with one unintentional substitution. When I stitched it, way back in July, I added a couple of personal touches, the sheep got french knots in some Whisper to make him wooly, and the grass is done in long arm cross stitch. I called it into action for a birthday gift for Kajsa. I just had to figure out what type of finish to use. The fabric it was stitched on was not that large and my placing of the design on it didn't leave me many options. I really wanted to make some sort of pocket and include scissors with the gift. I also wanted to use the same fabric for the inner lining. The way it ended up, I literally had about 1/2 inch between the pieces and less than that on one side. I really learned my lesson and will stop being so stingy about fabric allowances from now on. Due to the size of the design/fabric etc I had to improvise a way to house the scissors. I came up with this diagonal slip and it seems to work just fine. If I had enough fabric I would have made a little fob too, but I seriously did not have even more than an inch wide of fabric left over. I just tied a bit of ribbon on the handles and added a needle threader too.

My stitching deadlines are colliding on me lately. Now I am quickly trying to finish up a round robin, and then on to another exchange which I'm fearing will also be a bit tardy. UGH... I hate being late with these things. Then, I have another birthday gift to do next month. I predict some late nights ahead. Good thing I'm a night owl.

Oh.. the sheepie in the pic is just hanging out there checking it out. He's not part of the gift. He was a gift to me actually. I included a couple of small charts though but they didn't jump in the pictures. The gift will go out Tuesday since the post office is closed for President's Day tomorrow. I told Kajsa not to look here if she wants to be surprised. LOL... If it were me, I'd totally look!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Eliza Jane has landed.

Finally. Oversees mailing can be so disconcerting. I was a bit late in mailing but I really thought it would have arrived in Finland before now. All is well though and Leena has received the item I stitched for her for the SBEBB Needlework Smalls Exchange. It's always feels nice to know someone appreciates your work. I really enjoy exchanges and the international ones add another dimension of fun for me.

I've had this Eliza Jane's Needlekeep and Scissors Flat "kit" from Brightneedle for quite a while and I was happy to finally put it to use. This "kit" simply included that chart and two colors of wool felt for the needlepages. I enjoy stitching over one and I seem to be collecting a good number of Brightneedle designs because of that. This was a fun stitch even with the hundreds of smyrna crosses for the borders. I found that the design was lacking when it came to the finishing though. The instructions simply call for a long piece of ribbon to be stitched to the inside center. That simply will not do the job if you expect the scissors to stay in place. I came up with a modification that I think worked out pretty well. I just used that same piece of ribbon to form a loop for the scissors tip to sort of harness them in place. Tacked it down some more and wallah.. a much sturdier attachment after you weave through and around the thumbs and tie a bow. I'll put a plug in here for Vikki Clayton's silk ribbon at Hand Dyed Fibers. I have a few colors on hand as I love to use ribbon in my finishes. Her prices can't be beat. I can't remember if this is turkey red or garnet.

For those who wondered at my bit of consternation with Eliza, it wasn't really the scissor attachment problem. I think I got the better of that part. My goof was forgetting what I had learned from previous finishes when I've used skirtex. I have quite a bit of skirtex a dear friend gifted me, and I try to use it whenever I can. I like the body it gives to a project. What did I forget? Was it to cut the piece just a smidgen smaller than the size of the piece? No, I remembered that. What I forgot is that it is better to use two pieces rather than one and try to score it and fold it for a book. This time I should have used three pieces and butted them up next to each other. That way it would have laid flat when tied shut instead of trying to spring open. I learned that. I remembered that I learned that right about the time I was fighting irritation over this little beauty not staying shut as I would have preferred. Just you wait, I'll get it right next time.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

More Royal Mail

Joy of joys! Heheehee I've been blessed to receive another exchange item from Helen. More "Royal Mail", I can't believe it! For the Needlework Smalls Exchange, Helen chose to add more pieces to match with the Quaker Exchange Needleworker's Pocket she did for me. Now I have a beautiful scissor pocket and a matching fob too! She sent me some linen, floss, and finishing materials so I can stitch the remaining pieces myself. I'll set out to do those in the coming months for sure. I dug out the Julia Gingher's I acquired some time ago. I still had them tucked away in the box. I just take them out and look at them once in a while. LOL... I think they look lovely with this set, don't you? Many thanks to Helen for such beauties. What treasures they are to me. Please visit her blog and you will see what a talented photographer she is as well! This photo was the last one my battery allowed and the white linen doesn't look like this.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Eliza, let's call it a draw.

This is what I've been concentrating my attention on. That's all I have to say about it for now.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Orange Coast Sampler Guild Scrimshaw Fold

Say you have four rows of large stitch diagrams on a page. Each one is labeled. Everything has the same amount of space above and below it. Would you expect the title/name of the stitch and short comment to be above the diagram, or under it?


I went to my Orange Coast Sampler Guild meeting tonight. I wasn't going to do the project. We didn't get to see a picture ahead of time and I didn't think I would want to do it. I thought that it might be a canvas piece as the designer does do a lot of canvas work, nothing wrong with that, but I thought I'd pass on this one. Once I saw it, I wished I had signed up. Lucky me, they had extras on hand, so I went for it. $45 bucks is pretty "cheap" when it comes to any project for this guild.

A local designer, Margaret Bendig, designed Scrimshaw Fold, A Stitching Accessory, especially for our guild. It's the 15th anniversary of the guild, so she included the guild logo, a basket of oranges, and it has a significant 15 oranges in it. The colors of silks and dupioni are really pretty. She commented on how she is not an "orange person". Neither am I, but I do like the pallet she came up with, and the orange part is really a soft clove almost salmon color which is quite tolerable. Anyway, that's just for the logo part. The project was designed to hold all the various pieces of the logoed scrimshaw made available to guild members. A new piece is added each year. I only have one piece of the collection and I really don't intend on purchasing the whole set. Scrimshaw is quite expensive and I don't think ours is especially pretty, just cool if you're a guild member. Anyway, it's nicely constructed beautiful fold with silk pockets and such and I thought I should have it. Margaret likes to encourage stitcher's to make modifications and gives other options to the design and finishing, and I intend on doing just that. On with the lecture, or rather, instruction of the piece. This guild has done some fairly formidable projects a la CA Wells, Merry Cox, etc. Since Margaret is also a member of the guild, perhaps the fact that she knows what they've tackled before had something to do with the speed. I'll tell you what, you gotta have it going on when it comes to these "classes". I find most classes are like that. Fortunately, it does look like her instructions are pretty good. I'll let you know if/when I ever get to the finishing part. I'd love to start it right away but my plate is too full right now. I think when I complete this project I should treat myself to another piece of the scrimshaw set. It's by Marcy Pumphret and she actually uses old piano keys.

Oh, about that diagram stuff. LOL.. I was embarrassed at myself when I finally figured out at home tonight that the diagram I was looking at for the Two-Sided Italian Cross Stitch was actually the diagram for Reversible Cross Stitch. In my defense, I was not the only person confused by the placing of the title of the stitch. Besides that, I've never seen the Reversible Cross Stitch diagramed this way, so it was new to me, too. LOL. It's cool. Now, I know a new way to do reversible cross stitch.
And... to me,
the logical place for a title/description to go is above it, not below it, since we read from left to right, top to bottom.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Quaker Exchange Stitching

You know, there's mail, mostly junk mail, and then there's "Royal Mail". Any day you get a package from the UK is going to be a good day. That's a given. Look at this fabulous piece I received from Helen! You may recognize it. It's the Needleworker's Pocket from the ornament series by With My Needle featured in the yearly JCS Ornament issues, only it's blue instead of the deep red. Ellen Chester is one of my favorite designers. She's getting to be so prolific too. I have quite a few of them in my collection and I am looking forward to adding the newest releases that will be out after Nashville. Helen did an excellent finishing job- totally professional looking. I loved that she wrapped the tassels in their own little protective sleeve to keep them nice in transit. Now, that is attention to detail, wouldn't you say? She spoiled me with a lot of extra goodies too - fabrics, ribbons, lace, and pins- and I'm all set up to do a finish of my own now. Love it. Plus, I got a darling little beeswax bear for my needlework basket.

My partner in this Blue/White Winter Quaker Exchange on the Stitching Bloggers Exchange Board was Myrna. This is the pinkeep I stitched for her. It's stitched one over one on 30ct Cadet Blue Murano which I dug out of my stash. (High five!) Don't look too close. I'm afraid stitching in white on dark isn't very forgiving. The swan is one of my favorite quaker motifs, and this one in particular is from the Sarah Tatum sampler. For me, swans evoke grace and serenity. Don't I wish I had more of that!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

She's Flying (again)

The hard part about having the dear-sweet-darling-wonderful daughter home from college is the part when you have to say "good-bye". I am a big fat cry baby. The whole airport thing is the worst. The drive coming home from the airport is the worst. It's just all the worst, and tomorrow will still be "the worst". I missed her before she even boarded the plane. She is such a joy to me, to us all, I can't imagine how I'm going to get along without her. Yet, I know I will. Just right now, my heart is torn apart. :...( But this is how it's supposed to be. You grow them up and then they fly, and you're happy that they're flying. I'd just like to go flying with her! boo-hoo-hoo... Aghhh!!! Really, I am the biggest crybaby anytime there's this separation thing. It happened every single time our other daughter left from a weekend at home (which wasn't nearly often enough). Now the other one is on the other side of the country, so no weekend visits with this one, not even once in a while. I am so thankful for the last four glorious weeks with her. Most students only have a two week break, but at least this semester, it worked out for her to leave a couple of weeks before most.

Here she is, Boston Girl. Might I add.. she is modelling the scarf I made her. I hurriedly added the fringe to it today and I did a lousy job of it, but it's my first completed knitting project. (Insert loud cheers) A dear friend gave me a knitting lesson a couple of years ago during my recovery time. For some reason, I am bound and determined to knit socks. Of all things.. I must knit socks. I have no idea why it's such a strong desire, but there it is. This scarf was my first real, albeit super easy, project so that I may proclaim to the world, "I knit". I am quite amused with myself. I had to relearn what I'd been taught but I was happy it came back to me with a little practice. Anyway, that was one of her Christmas gifts. I've also begun my first pair of socks. I got as far as the heel and had to set it aside, but I'll get back to it this month. Guess what I did yesterday though? I knit a dishcloth. I finished it today. Here it is! My second completed knitting project. I don't use dishcloths but I thought it would be a good practice project. It's got a couple of goofs but I still like it. It was a KAL. That's knit talk.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

American Sampler

My New Year's Day start turned out to be American Sampler by Sandy Orton. I have been wanting to stitch this sampler since the first time I saw it. I almost can't believe I've finally begun! I struggle so much with decisions about what linen to use, what count, what color, cottons or silks, etc. This is why I nearly always simply follow exactly what was used for the model. Way back when, the one decision I did come to was that I really wanted to stitch it with silk. I could see that this was going to be an intensive project, and I felt it warranted the extra cost of silk. That decision made, it was easiest to just stick with the AVS conversion that was supplied. I have been collecting the silk for it for literally years. See, I knew I wasn't going to be starting it for a long while and I didn't want to sink money into it all at once just to shelve it. (How sensible of me LOL...) Now that I've begun, I discovered I left one color off of my check list. I also discovered that I need more of some of the colors than I have now. I remember now that I had found a place, that you could buy silk by the yard/meter. I had taken advantage of a sale and sent them my list. Anything they had full skeins of they sent; if all they had was lengths, then they sent lengths, and anything not in stock I just kept on my list to buy elsewhere. I figured I at least had what I needed to get started, so it was much to my chagrin when I found I was completely missing one of the colors needed for the flower I'm working on. One of the reasons I like this sampler is that it employs other stitches besides cross stitch. The border is done in rice stitch which is done with two colors. It's a cool layered stitch. The bottom layer is done in one color and then the top layer is in another color. There's quite a bit of queen stitches too. I never did decide on what fabric to use. I know someone who stitched it on 40ct and I had toyed with that idea but decided against it because of the large amount of queen stitches. The final fabric choice is one I pulled from my stash, a European linen, natural 35ct Weddigen. It has a very nice hand and is what I would call a dense linen. I got it for a great price and now I wish I had bought more of it. I'm patting myself on the back for using something from my stash. (pat pat pat)

By the way, I have a duplicate of the magazine this was published in. If anyone would like to buy it just send me an email.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe: Floss give-away, Limited Editions or Primitive, 84...

Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe: Floss give-away, Limited Editions or Primitive, 84... : For the final give-away for  Christmas in July at Th...