Sunday, July 24, 2016

Did you miss me?

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Well, you probably didn't miss me, because I didn't even let you know I was gone. (I have an aversion to alerting all of social media that my home will be empty for two solid me crazy.) The last week of June and first week of July, we were in Europe. We went to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and then took a cruise to four ports in Norway before returning to Copenhagen for a few days. I took about 1800 pictures (!), but I managed to whittle them down a little. =) The picture above (the train station in Amsterdam) is the first one I took when we arrived. Don't worry, you'll see more eventually!

I was in Europe, and I finally finished sorting through the pictures, so now I'll be able to actually post some!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Tiny Progress is Tiny (or, Gifted Gorgeousness June 2016)

For more information on this stunning and serendipitous SAL, please click on the graphic!

You were all so sweet and supportive about my crazy-looking pre-stitching for the finishing class I was taking at A Stitcher's Gathering. Just to recap, I had made eight of these little parasol pieces:

Crazy machine-stitched edge optional

I was hopeful that I would have this project finished by the end of class (where I was getting the GIFT OF KNOWLEDGE...ahh, theeeeeeere's the shoehorn into the SAL). These eight panels were to turn into Lady Violet's Parasol Needlebook. Wellll...after the first day of class, I was pretty sure I wouldn't be done by the end of the second day, and I was right. In fact, no one finished the whole thing. The first step was to cut a piece of Skirtex (a very stiff felt-like interfacing) to fit inside the chain stitch outline for each little panel, then cut out the panel and sew the Skirtex inside. The next step was to sew a piece of batting to the back of each panel, and, finally, to sew a beautiful sage green silk lining to each one. Working around that curve was...less than fun! But I managed to get all of them to the batting stage, and six out of eight lined.

This is the full kit for the entire class, which also includes the Crawley House Sampler and Anna's Apron Scissors Pocket. You can see what the parasol will look like in the kit picture. The scissors pocket is so darling; lots of whitework stitching. The second day of class, we got a surprise package with a kit for Cora's Spoon Pincushion, including an antique silver spoon from the teacher's collection. So cute! Now I just have to figure out when I can work on this project again...there is a lot going on in the next month.

In other gifted friend Jean is very gifted in many respects, but one of her most dangerous gifts is the gift of enablement. What that means is that she can pretty much find something that one of us "needs" to buy at any given moment. I blame her for these needleminders that I ordered:

That pink behind them is the padded envelope they were mailed in! What fun!

Hmmm, was I supposed to have actual stitching progress in this post? For a stitch-a-long? Maybe next month...

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Drunken Monkeys

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In a few days, I leave for Phoenix to attend Moss Creek's A Stitcher's Gathering. And just in time, I have finished all the prestitching (and finished watching the last season of Downton Abbey, which was crucial because the project is Downton Abbey themed!) The project is Lady Violet's parasol (in needlebook/pincushion form), so the prestitching was eight tiny panels with violets, outlined with chain stitch, then outlined in machine stitching to secure the linen.

Actually, you had to do three sides of the chain stitch, then iron on some interfacing, then complete the curved part of the chain stitch through the interfacing, like so:

I should have put something in the shot for scale; these panels are less than 2 inches tall (5 cm). Here's what they look like from the front:
This was one of the last ones I stitched around (first a tiny straight stitch, with a tiny zig zag stitch on top). The thread I had on the bobbin is shown here; you can see in the first shot that the other thread was pretty much exactly the color of the linen. This turned out to NOT be a good thing, since I couldn't really see my straight stitch to zig zag over it.

Now, the sewing machine and I are on fairly good terms, but it's a tenuous relationship at best. In reality, I pretty much stink at anything other than straight lines. So in the interest of Truth in Blogging, here are some of the other ones...

And this beauty...

My comment to my friends was that I was finally finished, but it looked like it was done by a bunch of drunken monkeys, because one drunken monkey alone could not have achieved the variation in crazy shapes that I did.

I am ready for A Stitcher's Gathering!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Starting Somewhere and Ending Elsewhere

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I originally started this post as a Gifted Gorgeousness post, but somewhere along the way I lost steam (and my shoehorn), so this is going to be more like a pre-IHSW post. I have fallen sadly behind in stitching Curios (a Kathy Rees mystery "class")...part 2 was released at the beginning of the month, but I am still only on section 4 of 6 in part 1!
That blank square is supposed to be blank, or I'd be even further behind!

The reason I have stalled so much is because I have two upcoming deadlines. The first is the end of Loopy Academy Sophomore Semester Two, so I am desperately trying to finish the last project (twisted stitches, with self-imposed Fair Isle):
I have made it past the "Fair Isle" (that's in quotes because I was knitting with three colors at once on some rounds...and I think Fair Isle is only technically two colors at once). I'm now on to the more relaxing twisted stitches. I know what you're thinking...that doesn't look very relaxing! Well, I've done plenty of cables in the past (I loved the way they looked and learned to do them almost immediately after learning to knit), and I cable without a cable needle, so I'm in much more comfortable territory now.

The other deadline I have coming up is for A Stitchers' Gathering (hosted by Moss Creek Designs). The project is inspired by Downton Abbey; we are doing the pre-stitching for Lady Violet's Parasol, which will be a needlebook. We're assembling it in class; for now I am stitching bitty fiddly violets, pulled thread and endless chain stitch. This is one panel (there are eight!!! =O )
I did finish the nameplate (omigosh, I dated it, so I have to finish it now!!) and the finial top.
But my violets on the finial top look funky because I was looking at the wrong diagram for the buttonhole bar violets like a chucklehead and made way more trouble for myself than I needed to! If I get everything else done, I may redo them. The main hurdle with this project is that my extreme closeup vision means I can only comfortably stitch on this without my contacts no stitching in front of the TV at night. It's kind of relegated to my day off!

I think I can get all this done!!

Stitching deadlines always make it seem like I am stitching much slower....

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Of Gifts and Gorgeousness

For more information on this stunning and serendipitous SAL, please click on the graphic!

Well, I kind of disappeared there again, didn't I? I think what happens is that a "deadline" comes up...for instance, I was taken completely by surprise that the Alphabet Club's "first Saturday of the month" was the SECOND of this month...I am unprepared, and so I delay while I try to think of what to post, and many other posts go into some mystical queue behind the post I "need" to write, where they languish! So I am going to try to not beat myself up if I miss a SAL post and just soldier on!

So anyway...the lovely and talented Jo at Serendipitous Stitching has invited us to share our projects we are working on that have been gifted to us, that we are gifting to others, or that we can in any way possible shoehorn into the category of gifting!!

What's great about having a birthday at the end of a month (mine was at the end of February) is that you can usually claim the next month as a birthday month as well (and if you're really doing well, the month after that as well). In March, my DF Jean gave me a lovely birthday package:
Look at the little squirrel paper clips!! My journal is now covered with them. I immediately went to Ravelry to find the perfect thing to knit with that extraordinarily gorgeous yarn, and I think Pamuya will fit the bill! You might think I would have picked a plainer pattern, but I get bored if something is too plain (too much stockinette or garter stitch). And how about that blinged-out squirrel magnet!! He is already in action on my Curios, a mystery class with Kathy Rees (we don't know what the project will look like once it's finished):
This is just the first part of the first lesson. I am woefully behind! This is the project that is using all those gorgeous threads I showed you in my last GG post.

And now my gift of knowledge to you for this might remember the two-colored hat that was in progress last month. (I have finished it, but it hasn't had its glamour shot yet!) I want to make a pair of mittens in the same colors. Now, the hat was a mosaic pattern, where you only need to hold/knit with one color of yarn at a time. The mittens I want to make, though, are done in a Fair Isle pattern, where you must hold two colors at once. I watched the most brilliant and clear video of how to do this! There's your gift of knowledge. ;) I picked a(nother) hat pattern for my final Loopy Academy project this semester that has a small band of Fair Isle on it so I could practice but not be in over my head. So, this is happening...
I will not describe the fits and starts I went through with this, from trying to wrestle my clumsy hands into holding yarn in a way I could live with, to discovering I had made a mistake close to the beginning of the first round and needing to rip back, not once...not twice...but THREE TIMES!! And then when I finally had knit it correctly, realizing that I had skipped the increase row before that completely. *cries a little* I am on my way now, though. My tension is terrible, and it looks pretty bad (I picked the best part to photograph, of course ;), but it's getting done. The very observant of you may have noticed, though, that this is NOT actually Fair Isle...some of those bands have THREE colors in them. So, I quickly moved from learning to hold two yarns to three...good thing I had bought a yarn guide ages ago, or I never could have managed it.

My final "gift" of the month is a preview of what is coming to the Atlanta Botanical Garden next week!
A very "gifted" artist, Dale Chihuly, who makes large glass art pieces, will be setting up art around the Garden! (Or, to be more accurate, his team will be setting them up.) I can't wait to see the whole show; as members of the Garden, we get to get a first glimpse of the sculptures all lit up at night as well!

That's it for me for the month! If you'd like to see more Gifted Gorgeousness, go back to the top of the post and click the graphic!

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