Saturday, November 30, 2013

Theme-a-licious No-Xs November Wrap Up

I was really hoping to have this finished, but I am slowly getting there.
Southpaw Stitcher asked who designed this. It's Emie Bishop (Cross 'N Patch). This one is called Eight-Pointed Star, and it's from the 1997 (!) Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue. It's charted for red and green, but I'm using some Hand-Dyed Fibers. The light blue actually has metallic gold painted over it in some spots. I think she did a series of these, so if I find any more, I'll do them in the same colors.

I also made more progress on my stumpwork piece.
Just a couple more leaves (one done and one in progress)...kinda boring, but it's progress!

We're almost to the finish line! And speaking of finish lines...

Detritus December
It's the end of the year...are there some projects you thought you'd have done by now? Let's take a walk down memory lane and start the new year with a clean plate.

Ornament Theme
your choice--or do some ornament finishing

So what's in your WIP pile that you can finish off this month? I personally need to do a LOT of ornament finishing. I am sure I have double-digits of ornaments that are stitched but not "ornamentified"!! I also need to finish up that hardanger ornament. I will have to search to see what else is close....

So how was No-Xs November? Did you enjoy going off the grid? Please add your link below (to your wrap up post), and visit some other Themers if you can (everyone loves comments and encouragement!) We'll check-in on December 15th to see what you're wrapping up.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Still Questioning...

Round Two of the stitching questions, courtesy of Bonnie...

11) Who is your favorite designer?
That's tough. All-time, probably Teresa Wentzler. But I have a lot of favorites! I love The Drawn Thread for doing fun-to-stitch designs, and Moss Creek and Jackie du Plessis for clever finishing.

12) Least Favorite Designer
Well, I'm not sure, since I probably pass over their designs, I wouldn't have internalized the names!

13) Will you/would you support a designer whose personal beliefs offended / angered you?
I agree with Bonnie that it would depend on the magnitude of the issue. In general, I probably wouldn't even know the designer's personal beliefs unless they named their company "I Kick Puppies Designs" or something!

14) Do you have a lamp especially made for needleworkers/crafters?
Yes, though I rarely use it.

15) What brand of stitching lamp do you have/prefer ?
I have an Ott light, but I prefer good ol' sunlight. =)

16) What kind of environment best suits you when you are stitching?
Quiet and sunlight is optimal, but I usually stitch in front of the TV.

17) Have you stitched any design more then once?
Good heavens, I don't think so. I may have stitched an ornament twice at some point, though.

18) Favorite design you have stitched and finished?
I really like Chatelaine's Snowflake Nativity (at least, the part I stitched). It's so sparkly!

I also really love the Anniversary Sampler I made for my parents, too (click for bigger):

But maybe my favorite stitched thing wasn't really a "design" and it wasn't just stitched by me. Three friends and I did a round robin, where we each designed at least one band for the others' samplers...and they were all unique.
You can click the link to read all about it and see closeups of all four RRs.

19) Least favorite design you've stitched and finished?
That would be this mouse I did for my sister because she was going to make a quilt for my niece. This quilt was never made. And that is all I will say about that.

20) Last, but not least, what's your longest running WIP?
Hum. This depends on what your definition of Work in Progress is, technically. And while I'm all for overly technical discussions, let's just say it's the oldest existing piece of fabric with stitches on it that isn't finished. And that would be Magical Night, started in the last millennium. =)

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Geekend That Was, 11/24

Click now for JiffNotes

Thank you for all the SQUEEs about my lil' blue bug! =)

How many of you saw Catching Fire over the weekend?

And how many of you want to knit EVERY SINGLE COWL Katniss had on?? It was fun to see all the Atlanta locations in the movie. Amazing that beach was here and not in Hawaii!

As we were leaving the theater, there was a table set up with some Hobbit swag, and I scored this great T-shirt:
AND passes to an advance screening on the 10th! Of course, there are disclaimers all over the place about how they give out more passes than there are available seats, so things may turn out...poorly. But who's not up for a good fiasco once in a while??

I felt well enough to do a little work on my hardanger ornament. I am very out of practice, I can tell you that!
I still have hope of getting it done by next month.

I've also been working on a pair of the Cookie A Sock Club socks.
Sign-ups are open for next year, but I'm waffling on whether or not I want to sign up again. I definitely WANT to sign up; I love trying new yarns and the patterns are awesome. But I have so much backlog, I feel a little guilty.

And finally, the last cookie for this month is Orange Hazelnut Biscotti.
I've never made biscotti before. The two loaves weren't exactly the same size, so I ended up with one that was underdone. I should have put it back in, but I was in a hurry to leave for choir. Well, most of them turned out pretty good, anyway.
I'm not a huge fan of crunchy cookies, but these are good once you dunk 'em. =)

I felt well enough to get off the couch for a couple hours. Hooray!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Stumpwork and Stitching Questions

Click now for JiffNotes

I did promise some stitching pictures, didn't I? I did a little bit on my stumpwork's going to be slow going, but it will be awesome once it's done.
Since the light was (marginally) better, I also took a couple closeups to show how dimensional this really is:
And I couldn't resist a closeup of the cute little bug.
Can I get a SQUEEEE!? Ahem. Sorry.

Bonnie posed some stitching questions she'd gotten off of facecrook, and I decided I'd answer them here rather than blow up her comment feed. =) If you feel like answering them, I'd love to hear your answers, and you can feel free to write world's longest comment or link me to your own blog post. I think there's a part two coming tomorrow.
  1. Which fabric do you most prefer?
    Evenweave is lovely to stitch on, but I prefer how linen looks, so I usually go for the linen. Hopefully I'll spend longer looking at a piece than stitching it. =)
  2. What is your favorite fabric count?
  3. What colour fabric do you most enjoy stitching on?
    In the colder months when there's less sunlight, lighter colors. Otherwise, pretty much any color is great!
  4. What is your favorite fibre?
    Belle Soie...the colors, the way it feels while stitching, and the evenness of the resulting stitches are awesome. Other favorite silks are Hand Dyed Fibers, Au Ver A Soie, Waterlilies and Gloriana. I also really like flower thread or any fiber that lets me stitch with one ply at a time!
  5. How many of the 450 DMC Colours do you own?
    No idea. I don't try to keep a full set. It makes stash diving more fun as I never can pull everything I need. =p
  6. Of your last 5 projects -- how many used DMC/Anchor as the main floss?
    It depends what you mean by "last 5"...last 5 stitched on would be
    Hardanger Ornament (charted for DMC, but I used Hand Dyed Fibers and whatever pearl cotton I may have been DMC, but it may just as easily been Anchor)
    Stumpwork Floral (no DMC at all! AVAS and Cifonda and some other exotic fibers)
    Heirloom Christmas Sampler (no DMC...all silks!)
    Toccata (no DMC!)
    Sapphire Star (one DMC floss and some pearl cotton, mostly Rainbow Gallery)
  7. Of the last 5 projects, if you didn't use DMC/ANCHOR -- what did you use?
    See above...
  8. What needles do you prefer?
    BOHIN! If you haven't used these, they aren't the "prettiest" as far as the eye shape, but they go through fabric like BUTTAH!
  9. What is the UGLIEST design you've encountered?
    This question won't make me any friends here. =) Actually, I can't think of any ugly ones, per-se, but I can think of a number of ALARMING ones I've seen.
  10. What is the most BEAUTIFUL design you've encountered?
    Oh boy...there are a ton of these...I think the last one that knocked my socks off, that I don't already own, is Red by Mirabilia. I love most of the Chatelaine mandalas, too, and nearly every Teresa Wentzler. There are several needlepoint designs that fall into this category as well...I love the Threadles designs!

Look! Actual stitching not as part of Theme-a-licious update! It's a Christmas miracle! (Too soon?)

Monday, November 18, 2013


Click now for JiffNotes

That's National Blog Not At All Month, which is what I seem to have been following for the past few months. We all know I went to London (and Oxford) for two weeks at the end of August and beginning of September (ooo, look at megalomaniacal me, thinking you all keep up with what I'm doing)--and still haven't bothered to post pictures--muttered something about work being bad--went to a Jane Nicholas class--and made more mutterings about work being bad. That has really been what's been keeping me away from the computer--work, and also this:
You are looking at the innards of my Kindle Touch. Its battery died sometime in...September? October? Anyway, I replaced the battery, but in doing so, I knocked a cable loose, which caused it to freeze up randomly. Of course, I didn't know that at the time, so I spent about three weeks figuring out how to "debrick" it (i.e., turn it from a paperweight back into a useful device), running the operator diagnostics on it, and finally taking the entire thing apart in a last-ditch attempt to make it useable before selling it for parts. Well, when I watched the video on taking it apart, I realized how loose the connection is on the cable that's right by the battery, so I fixed it. By this time, of course, I'd already ordered a new Paperwhite. So now Michael has a trusty Kindle of his own. =)

So: Work. Pretty much right when I got back, I was thrust into a project that required all my time and then some. For three weeks in October, the project team was sequestered in a room together and they brought in lunch for us. This culminated with a go-live where we were all up until 2am (fortunately, I was working from home that day). The go-live went off without a hitch! The upside to being holed up in a room all that time was that it protected me from the company's new "noise masking" system. Basically, there's now a constant, loud hiss coming from the ceiling (brown noise, not white noise, if you're interested). IT DRIVES ME INSANE. It was not as loud in the room we were in, but now that I'm back "in the wild," well...let's just say I may not be around there too much longer.

This kind of work stress meant that when I got any free time, I wanted to be outside, away from the computer!! We went to a somewhat cool, somewhat pretentious outdoor art night...
...where people danced in urban spaces...
tiny dancers are tiny
...became part of the show...
...and made artistic statements...
This last one was my favorite, actually. It was about people with dementia. The artist would paint with water on the black board, and then sit back down as the memory he'd written faded away. He wouldn't get up again until it was completely gone. I thought it was good art that made you think...unlike the giant milkshake fountain (water colored white) that was supposed to be a commentary on our super-size-me culture. It was just...ugly and uninteresting.

We visited the Botanical Gardens, where the Imaginary Worlds exhibit looked very different from when things were first planted. Earth spirit's hair is grown in...
...the bunnies hide in tall grass...
...and the frogs have mohawks!

We went on a couple hikes. We had gone to Sweetwater Creek State Park, which takes you along Sweetwater Creek...
...and by the ruins of a textile mill burned in the Civil War.
We took a little picnic lunch...
...climbed on the rocks...
...and admired the wildlife.
When this lovely fella took off, I laughed at all the people with their camera phones capturing blurred dots, because...
...zoom lens and adjustable shutter speed FTW!!

The next "hike" was really more of a walk. For some reason we thought we'd be able to drive up somewhere to see pretty leaves the day after my project went live...bwahahaha!! I slept until 11am! So we just went up to walk by the Chattahoochee River near Akers Mill. Stalker heron followed me there.
This was a very pretty walk; lots of great moss!

I did manage to stitch a little on Friday on my stumpwork piece, but the rest of the weekend I was laid up on the couch. At first I thought I was fighting off a sinus infection, but this feels different. Flu? Random cold? Who knows?! Oh, it's just nonstop excitement here, let me tell you! At least it was a great excuse to watch lots of special features off The Hobbit Blu-Ray. =) Stitching pictures soon!

I came, I overworked, I got sick. So did my Kindle, but it's better now. Also: Nature!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Theme-a-licious No-Xs November Check-in

The first project I worked on this month was actually a holdover from Opulent October....
This is Victoria Sampler's Heirloom Christmas Sampler, and the gold garland is stem-stitched. I had to get over myself so that I didn't try to "count" it out, since it's on linen.

Next, I did a little on Toccata....
I'm not thrilled with my satin stitch on the bottom right there, but at least another block is done!

Finally, I figured it was time to finish off my hardanger ornament. I did some Algerian eyelets, then I cut out the threads for the center.
And I was all like, HARDANGER! I know how to do this stuff! And then I looked at the diagram for connected wrapped bars, and my brain turned inside out, and here's how it still stands. I'm going to dig out my copy of Fundamentals Made Fancy and find a real diagram.

By the way, I do have a vague plan for Theme-a-licious for next year...I'm thinking, since participation has waned a bit, that we all might need a little break. What would you think about a theme every other month?

Have you happily gone off the grid? Or are you going cross-eyed trying to work without Xs? Please add your link below (to your check in post), and visit some other Themers if you can (everyone loves comments and encouragement!) Our next post will be on the 30th of November, when we'll wrap up No-Xs November and talk about Detritus December!

Old Geek-outs