Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Finally, Finally Framed

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Some people make new years' resolutions in January. I never do that, but I do sometimes look around me and think, gee whiz, why haven't I finished all this stuff that's sooo close to being finished?? (And hey, if you are thinking the same thing right now, you probably should be joining in with Theme-tas-stitch Focus Finish February!) So I finally buckled down and framed a couple things that my long-suffering hubby had cut mat boards for several months ago.

First up, Dancer!
(His glamour close-up shots are here if you missed them.)

I found a frame with a molding that was similar but not exactly the same as his brother Dasher's. Here they are together!

I really had to get into the Wayback Machine to see how long ago I finished the stitching for this next one. Almost four years!! Pathetic. I had a sort of vague idea of how I wanted to frame him, but it took a while for it to marinate in my brain, and then for me to actually search for a square shadowbox frame. I finally had to order it from Amazon.com; there was nothing local and getting one custom made was going to be more than I wanted to spend. Anyway, without further ado, here he is!

I'd like to tell you that I spent hours placing each snowflake, but I'd be lying. That would also be kind of crazy.... No, I just punched a bunch of snowflakes out of some translucent metallic paper and dumped them in the bottom of the frame with some tiny snowballs I found in the miniatures section of a craft store (by the dollhouse stuff!) Then I laced the design on the foam core a little North of center so the flotsam at the bottom wouldn't cover up the stitching.

Poor Dancer languished for six months before being framed, but that is nothing compared to the poor snowman, who had to wait NEARLY FOUR YEARS for me to do something with him.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Smalls SAL January 2017

I'm only a couple days late to check in! No idea what the Smalls SAL is all about? Click the graphic above to learn more (and see lovely smalls from others!)

Every year, on Groundhog Day, I think, "Rats!! I should have stitched that Groundhog Day freebie that's in my stash! I should definitely write myself a reminder in January next year!"

But not this year!

This year, somehow, I remembered this design, in January, WITHOUT a reminder, and WITH enough time to actually stitch it before Groundhog Day.

I stitched it on perforated paper because that was the easiest thing to grab and required fewer decisions (I have fewer colors of perforated paper than I do of linen....) Even so, I managed to pull the wrong color of perforated paper...I wanted "sky blue", but it turns out I stitched it on "periwinkle blue" instead. Oh, well. I changed most of the swirl colors and substituted random beads from my stash for the scattered stitches so that I could use invisible beading thread that wouldn't show through the paper holes.

Stay tuned for finishing! (Spoiler alert: You'll see it on February 2nd! =) If you are interested in stitching this freebie yourself, let me know and I will pass it on to you.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Finished Object Friday: Butterfly Wing

My Butterfly Wing shawl was a project for Loopy Academy, Freshman Year, Semester Two. The assignment was to create something with two (or more) color stripes. Of course, simple stripes weren't enough for me, I had to have lace, too. ;)

This was really fun to knit, and the pattern is easy to memorize. I made it longer than the pattern by using her supplementary suggestions on how to extend the shawl. Or, I tried to. I lost count and did a strange combination of the suggested segments, but it all came out fine!

This is one of my favorite things I've knit. I took it with me on our cruise through Norway, and it functioned as a warm expedition scarf, elegant dinner wrap, and casual scarf depending on the day!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Finished Object Friday: Felted Moebius Bowl

Three posts in one week! Don't get used to it. =)

This was a project I did for Loopy Academy, Freshman Year, Semester Two. The "assignment" was to create something felted (using 225 yards of yarn). Don't let anyone tell you that front-loading washers don't felt...as I already knew due to an unfortunate scarf incident. It only took me two tries to get the moebius cast-on correct. ;) From there it was a quick and fun knit. The middle of the bowl is a different color because I didn't want to buy extra yarn!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Festival of Lanterns

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Well, it sounds like from the comments that I was not the only one who was under the weather at the end of last year and the beginning of this one! I am feeling much better, although the fatigue continues.... I hope you all are feeling better as well!

We live very close to Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, so when we found out a Chinese Lantern Festival was there, we knew we wanted to check it out.

Then, we waited until the very last day we could possibly go. =) So the night before I was leaving for my girls' weekend, I raced home from work, dashed around packing and making some food, and then we headed over! We arrived just before the last performance of the night (9pm). The performances were mixed; the dancing was just OK, but there was a face changer and an instrumentalist that were both great!

The lanterns varied widely in terms of both subject matter and size, and it made for a beautiful display. They ranged from "normal" sized hanging lanterns...
...to 20 foot (7 meter) tall "palace lanterns".
I'll save the very largest one for the end of the post. =)

There were a lot of couples taking selfies under the heart arches. :)

I really liked this display, inspired by Chinese porcelain, even though it was outlined in LEDs rather than being a traditional lantern.
The giant ferris wheel is not part of the festival; it's just across the street from the Park and is semi-permanent. To the left, you can see part of the snowflake walk (which was kind of a mish-mash of LED snowflakes and reindeer and Santa Claus lanterns). The only criticism we had about the Festival (well, along with the price!) was that the displays weren't visually separate enough in some cases. I think they would be better displayed in a garden setting where you had trees or bushes to break up the views so the different vignettes didn't compete with each other so much.

I liked these fish.
The sign beside them told me (verbatim!), "The form of each festival is a sedimentation process of the history and culture of a country. ... The pronunciation of fish in Chinese is the same as surplus which means people can have remains in wealth and food for next year."

Which was informative and hilarious. I'm kind of surprised they didn't have a native speaker help with these signs, since the Festival was sponsored by the Hilton Garden Inn and had its logo plastered on each sign.

Of course we had to have a dragon!!
You can see how detailed some of the bigger lanterns were. This dragon was actually as long as his counterpart...

the phoenix!!
Isn't he spectacular?? Both the dragon and phoenix were about 50 feet (16-17 meters) long!! I kind of expected there to be a rooster since the Year of the Rooster is coming up, but this guy was definitely an acceptable substitute. ;)

I'd tell you to go see the Chinese Festival of Lanterns in Centennial Olympic Park, but of course we procrastinated going to see it so long that we went on the last day.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Long Weekend of Gorgeousness

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I just got back from a long weekend with "the girls" in Highlands, NC. A good friend has a condo there and allows us all to descend on her and her husband and plop ourselves in comfy chairs to stitch for the weekend from time to time. There is much laughter and food and fun. And stitching. Oh, yes, there is stitching! While some like to stitch on one thing the whole weekend (those people that actually finish things), OTHERS of us tend to bring enough stitching for six months and flit from project to project like a hummingbird on Pixy Stix. I pretty much switched projects every time we stopped to eat a meal.

Since I'd been knitting for so long, and I just "reorganized" my WIPs, I really brought a random selection of projects that would travel well. (Read: I grabbed whatever I could find that wasn't mounted on a frame or stored in a giant container.) Here's what I ended up stitching on (yes, there were even a few things I brought that did not see the light of day)...

Purrfect Christmas Santa (Jim Shore) from Mill Hill
Always good to have a "my eyes are too darn tired to see much of anything" project along.

In Full Glory by Blackbird Designs
You might remember this from the Lottlympiad. It's a conversion to Gloriana silks by Jean Lea at The Attic.

Bluebell by Nora Corbett (Mirabilia)
I did not get too much done on her (tired eyes!) Someone asked why I started her at the bottom...there is a little swirl in the fabric that I wanted her to be "skipping over", so I had to place her feet first. =) See that cute little bee skep pincusion at the bottom? That was part of my Christmas gift from our hostess that I forgot to take a picture of when I took this picture:
Can you believe she found a bag with a knitting squirrel on it?? And the other squirrel there is holding hand sanitizer. I don't know which of those two needle minders I love best! Oh, and as if that wasn't enough, she ALSO gave me...
This gorgeous squirrel canvas!! She is trying to tempt me to the dark side (needlepoint). I think it's working... ;) She also gave us cute goodie bags with things like hand moisturizer, scissors, and that super-cool green twisting needle case. You twist it like a tube of lipstick and it fans out your needles like an old-fashioned soda shop straw dispenser! I am fascinated and may have played with it like a 5-year-old....

I was really excited to work on Prancer (by Mirabilia)!
Although, technically, I did not stitch on poor Prancer, just his GIANT Christmas stocking. It's big enough to fit a tree in! Oh, gargantuan stocking, where were you when I was a kid???

Peacock Cypher by Just Nan
If you've never seen this piece before, you may be thinking, "What language is that??" Well, it is a code (hence the "Cypher" in the title). It's difficult to explain without seeing the whole piece, but you need to find a letter that makes the words make sense. I'd tell you what it is, but Nan assures you in her directions that if you reveal the secret, all your needles will rust and all your stitches will unravel! =)

Castles by the Sea by Teresa Wentzler
I bet not many of you have seen this piece. It was taught at a retreat in 2004. I am changing the verse. Here's what the original looks like:

Finally, I tried something new this weekend...soutache embroidery!
The kit makes three snowflakes, and I got four out of six pieces of the first snowflake (the right-most one in the picture) done. I wish you could see how sparkly this really is! One of the pieces of soutache is an iridescent pearl.

I have already identified this as one of my Theme-tas-stitch 2017 projects for Focus Finish February! What's that? You haven't heard of Theme-tas-stitch? The wonderful Kerryp77 at Ramblings of a Biscornu Addict kindly contacted me to ask if I'd mind if she hosted a SAL reminiscent of my Theme-a-licious SAL from years past. I was happy to give her the "go-ahead"! And I'm thrilled to participate in a themed SAL that I don't have to host. ;)

I am linking up with Jo at Serendipitous Stitching for Gifted Gorgeousness 2017, because I posted about some really lovely gifts I received, a friend gave me the gift of stitching time, and I learned about soutache embroidery (I am getting the gift of knowledge!) ;)

I came, I sat, I stitched (on a girls' weekend away). I'm excited for Theme-tas-stitch!!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Finished Object Friday: Pointelle Socks

Let's all get in the Wayback Machine and look at some socks I finished in 2015!
These are Pointelle, by Cookie A (Ravelry project link)

Somewhere in my stash, there is a ball band that would identify this yarn, but I know not where it is! I know it was a Cookie A Sock Club exclusive yarn, and has a delightful high twist that really makes the stitches pop. I decided to knit this pattern rather than whatever patterns came with the yarn.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Year, Maybe More Blogging?

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Well, looks like I fell off the blogging wagon again.

Work has been soul-crushing; I won't bore you here. I was so looking forward to the holidays, and then three days before Christmas, I came down with the flu. This meant I had to miss Christmas Eve services (my favorite thing all year!) and Christmas day with my family. Fortunately we were all together on New Year's Day, so I at least got a kind of makeup Christmas. :) Michael got it after Christmas (plus bonus bronchial infection!) and it has continued to kick our butts for weeks and weeks.

The good news is that we took our 14-year-old niece/goddaughter to Disney World for the first time ever before I got sick, and she loved it. I won't lie; I was worried...after all, she IS a teenager! But after about 3 hours at the Magic Kingdom, she said, "I think I'd like some ears..." and my heart grew three sizes. ;)

I have not been stitching at all; I signed up for Loopy Academy again, AND decided to make my sister a shawl for Christmas, so it's been all knitting all the time. I do have a lot of finishes to share...it looks like I haven't talked about Loopy Academy since Freshman year, and I just finished the first semester of Junior year!

One stitching finish I had last year that I never blogged about was...the second of Nora Corbett's Christmas Eve Couriers!
Named, appropriately, Dancer. =)

At the rate I am going, I will be done with all eight when I am 70 years old.

Of course, I immediately started Prancer.
Aaaaand, I haven't touched it for six months. Prancer's going on a weekend retreat with me, though! Not an "official" retreat, just a very kind friend who has a vacation condo and lets some of us girls come crash every now and then.

Good thing I never make resolutions or do year-end wrap-up posts...

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