Monday, July 16, 2007

Christmas in July

This weekend was our annual(ish) stitch group stitch weekend. It originated (for me) from four of us getting together once a year or so, then we kind of merged with an existing local group, so now it's about 20 people, and we seem to gain more each year! One lovely lady volunteers her home as the base of operations for the weekend, and we descend upon it, lounge on her furniture, and cook all manner of food in her kitchen! There's laughter, fun, stitching, knitting, eating, shopping, sharing and lots of talking! This year, for the first time, we also integrated the ornament exchange. We used to do the ornament exchange at ASG, but since it's in October, it was too close to Christmas and too long from when assignments for the exchange were made (usually November the previous year). Plus, fewer and fewer people were actually there, so it became more of a burden on those going to transport ornament kits from those who weren't going. Anyway, here's my haul from this year:

The idea for the exchange (which I run) came from an ornament round robin group I was in. In that RR, each month, you would get a package in the mail with supplies for an ornament. You would stitch the ornament, keep it, and mail the supplies on to the next participant. In that way, the costs were shared...if it only took one small piece of a $5 skein of floss for an ornament, everyone would be sharing the same skein rather than each buying her own. Well, it was fun, but we had people that would pass on the supplies without stitching the ornament because they didn't have time, and that started me thinking...why couldn't it be a kit exchange? Everyone could stitch a different ornament, determine how much materials it required, and make a kit for everyone, then we'd trade. Of course, we'd have to all like all the ornaments...or would we? I figured I could work it out where each stitcher would get the same number of kits they made, but not necessarily a kit from each other stitcher. Here's an example:

Stitcher 1 makes 3 kits of ornament 1
Stitcher 2 makes 2 kits of ornament 2
Stitcher 3 makes 2 kits of ornament 3
Stitcher 4 makes 2 kits of ornament 4

Stitcher 1 gets kits for ornaments 2, 3, 4
Stitcher 2 gets kits for ornaments 1, 3
Stitcher 3 gets kits for ornaments 1, 4
Stitcher 4 gets kits for ornaments 1, 2

See? Stitchers 2, 3, and 4 did not get all the ornaments, but they did get the same number of kits back that they made. Does your head hurt?? Here, look at the picture of an ornament I started from the exchange:

Isn't it kewl? It's the Wee Works one from the 2006 JCS ornament issue. It gets stitched thrice and the pieces are laced together to form a 3D ornament.

As a bonus, one of my friends handed me an ornament I'd proxy-stitched for her to figure out how much materials it took. (Long story...she had a broken shoulder because a car she was loading was hit by some drunken idiot...they should have locked him up and thrown away the key!)

I had totally forgotten about it! So all of a sudden I had this nearly-finished ornament that only needed beads! It's Teresa Wentzler's Intermediate Whitework Ornament.

poinsettiaNow that the exchange is over, I can show my surprise ornament (Poinsettia by Amaryllis Artworks). Wow, it uses some seriously bright Waterlilies!! I was most taken aback when I opened the package that contained the threads. But I really think it turned out lovely and looks like stained glass. I did change the fabric to Misty Blue Cashel, because it was meant to be stitched on some Permin linen, and I detest that stuff!

I decided to stitch on Christmas pieces over the weekend, in keeping with this month's theme. I worked on Partridge in a Pear Tree by Just Another Button Company, kitted up by Drema at Needlecraft Corner. Don't you just love the wacky colors in this piece? It gets three technicolored pear buttons attached at the end. It's a great mindless piece to work on while there's lots of talking going on. =)
After that, I was going to work on Victoria Sampler's Heirloom Christmas, but I didn't have the right frame with me (it's probably packed...). Instead, I stitched on Star of Light, an old class piece by Just Nan. I didn't actually take the class; I scored the kit when an online store was selling off their stock. I honestly can't remember which store it was now!

I had planned on possibly casting on Mystery Stole 3 this weekend, but unfortunately they all made the yarn store run on Friday while I was busy cleaning the new place and getting ready for a party rather than Saturday when I was there. I was told I didn't miss much, since there was no black lace yarn there, and that's what I really wanted, but I would have gone with a dark blue or nifty overdyed if it was there. Oh, well, maybe in a few weeks I'll be able to squeak in a non-working, non-moving, non-packing, non-working-on-new-place day again so that I can go by the yarn store. Yeah, right. Maybe in September. =) I'll probably just find some to order online instead. I'm supposed to be on a yarn ban, and it feels bad getting more "stuff" coming in the mail when we're trying to get organized and moved. It would have felt a little better if I could have brought the yarn in the front door myself. And, of course, it would have been fun to give it the in-person fondle test.

I did do some knitting, though. Just a few rows on these Errant Lace socks in Tofutsies. I love this stuff. Yes, it's a little "splitty", but it is sooo soft. And of course, I love the blue. I had originally cast this yarn on for the Monkey Socks, but the colors pooled most disturbingly. It was basically creating a vertical white stripe down the front of the sock. Next I tried it with the Seduction Socks, but I ended up being bored with the pattern after only a few repeats. I think I tried one more sock in there, too, but I finally hit on the winner:

The nice, gentle white spiral is oh-so-much-more pleasing.


Jean in Georgia said...

You neglected to mention that you, The Magic That Is Heather, does a *ton* of work making a computer program that does **all** the matching between people who want kits and the kits they get. Major thanks and kudos to you for that.

And I can tell you that there was no dark blue or overdyed lace yarn there. Actually not much lace yarn at all, really. Perhaps invasion of another yarn store is in order.

TeresaB said...

I'd like to second Jean's comments about how much work you put into the program that allows the rest of us to get the kits we want. You are "The Magic That Is Heather"!

She was also right about no dark blue or overdyed lace yarn. I'm on a hunt for some too, since I decided to let Jill have the yarn that I'd bought. can't get the thought of charcoal out of my head....

Karin said...

Sounds like you had a lot of fun stitching! I love the idea of a kit exchange.

Hope you can find another free day to hit the LYS.

Old Geek-outs