Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ornament Exchange

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Today's eye candy will be in the "way more sane" level of bandwidth.

Saturday night we exchanged our Ornament Exchange kits. If you're interested in how the exchange works, I talked about it last year. The program I wrote to match everyone up is, I believe, the main reason some of the group call me "The Magic That Is Heather" (or TMTIH for quicker typing). Anyway, Debbie (no blog) put us all in the mood at the very beginning of the weekend by putting up a small tree displaying her completed Emie Bishop hardanger hearts...
Emie Bishop Tree Aren't they gorgeous?? And yes, she's done the whole collection!

I managed to "ornamentify" my Britty Kitty Poinsettia, from the JCS 2007 issue, mere days before the weekend started:

And here it is, residing with its brethren...
ornament exchange tree That's still not quite all the ornaments stitched for the exchange. I didn't get a few latecomers, not to mention that some of our members are remote. But look at that pile of kits...yowsa!! And that's not all of them, either!

The lovely Andy agreed to hand out kits...
let the madness begin! Thank goodness. Someone was yelling that the "youngest person in the room" (that would be me) had to hand them out, just like Christmas. What, people, it's not enough that I spend hours matching your kits up...I gotta hand them out, too? =) Seriously, she did a great job, and Linda provided backup by holding up the stitched ornament that went with the kit being handed out (if it was there). This was especially fun when the "surprise" ornaments were handed out. For the main exchange, you give your preferences about which ornaments you want. For the "surprise" exchange, you kit up a freebie containing specialty fibers (no DMC-only or DMC-and-metallics-only ornaments). No one knows what ornaments they're getting in exchange until that day (unless you let your secret slip. =)

Here's my haul from this year:
my kits! This is by no means the biggest pile. All told, we stitched 31 ornaments from the magazine, and 7 additional surprise ornaments. Jean gets the award for most kits...she got every single one in the regular exchange. As she always says, she has a rep to maintain. She had to carry them off in an enormous picnic basket!!

And since the surprise exchange is over, I can finally reveal my surprise ornament...this is the freebie Gazebo Tuffet from The Victoria Sampler:
tuffet I kitted it with Victoria Clayton Hand-dyed fibers. I used the Premium floss for the blackwork and black cross-stitches. This was my first time using the Premium, but it definitely won't be my last. It was fabulous to work with. The twist is tight, unlike my most-hated silk, Silk Mori, but not so tight it kinks. And since it covers 28-count over two with only one strand, I could work the blackwork as I stitched the border. That made things go so much faster than doing the border, then the blackwork. I tried that on the first corner before I realized I could do it all at once (duh!) I added some green leaves to the poinsettia, because, in my experience, poinsettias contain more green leaves than red!

This was also the first time I've made a tuffet (or biscornu). I found the stuffing a little tricky; I tend to be a tight stuffer, but I didn't want to overstuff the center so I'd have to pull the mess out of the button to get it to dimple right. I think I ended up understuffing it, but I'm still quite pleased with it. Here's a better shot of its tuffetiness:
tuffetier The lacing of the sides was done with #12 perle. The Premium floss was nearly as thick as the #12 perle, though...I could definitely see substituting it. It looks really cool hanging, although I may decide I'd rather display it as a pincushion during the holidays.

Two completely finished ornaments in one that a sign of the apocalypse? Better start praying, people. In fact, good idea regardless. =)


Lelia said...

LOL!!! I just read the comment you left on my blog : ) No, I didn't check out the goat milking contest : ) LOL

Now, I'm going back to read YOUR post!

Lelia said...

Christmas in July ... sort of ... oops, I guess it is August. My mind is lost. All this back-to-school madness has a bleak effect on my.

Love the tree - your britty orn & the biscornu is awesome. WOW. Just beautiful. Job well done.

Shanta Hayes said...

OH all the lovely ornamnents. I wish I had that skill. I tried cross stitch when I was younger and just couldn't get the counting right. And your tuffet is just right from my perspective.

Jean in Georgia said...

Yeah, I covet your surprise ornie to go with the rest of my haul.

And I officially lurve the VC premium silks. Definitely worth the (minimal) price difference.

Jill said...

So is that what Mary Muffet sat on it? I always wondered... Great pics! I must bribe you to get copies...hmmm...or maybe the Hands To Work kit already did that?

Old Geek-outs