Monday, January 29, 2018

And now for something completely different

For Christmas, I received instructions and fabric to make a quilt wall hanging of a snowman.  I've got the snowman embroidered and have to start assembling the border.  I also have to get out my sewing machine and set it up.  It's a lovely project, & I'm enjoying working on it.

I'm also working on a ufo, a cyber class offered by The Embroiderers' Guild of America last year, called Time to be Happy.  It's a lovely band sampler stitched with silk threads on linen.  I've just finished the third of eight lessons. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Like this deer, I'm hoping that the warmer weather will come back soon.  2017 was a busy year, but I can't say that I got very much stitching done.  I read a lot of books, however, from the last eight novels of the Dave Robicheaux series by James Lee Burke, to two very good novels, The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry and The Glass Blower of Murano by Marina Fiorato, to  a biography of Galileo and his eldest daughter, Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel.

This year, I intend to finish up some UFO's and read more books I've been meaning to get to.  And, hopefully, blog a little more often.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A few things

A shelfie of some of my favorite books.

A future project.  Fabric books have intrigued me for a while.  This project has the added appeal of recycling old computer program manuals, or at least the binders they came in.

One of my latest reads, and a bookmark that combines hardanger and scrapbooking.

Recent purchases at a local library sale.  Libraries rule!

Friday, June 16, 2017

What's today's date?

So I have a real problem with procrastination and looking at the calendar.  Until the end of March, it still felt like December to me.  Then it snowed, and looked more like December than March.  But now it's summer and I really need to post something this year.

What have I been working on?  Sudoku - finished.  Hapsburg Lace - started.  This and that.  A lot of ideas, but not much action.

What am I reading?  Right now, a book of short stories about Rumpole of the Bailey, by John Mortimer.  Love his sense of humor.

Some photos:


Hapsburg Lace, designed by Tanja Berlin

TAST Challenge at Pintangle

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A little year end accounting

Yesterday, I took photos off my cell phone and put all the stitching ones from 2016 into a separate folder.  This year we were busy with some major changes in our life, and I didn't always have the time or desire to stitch.  But while sorting these photos, I was surprised at how much I actually did this year.  Not many finishes, but some nice projects done.  The Sudoku and Tour de France Poster are still works in progress.  (It has been so long since I posted anything here, I forgot to look for all the designers of these pieces.  I'll add them later.)  As you can see, there is a variety of technique - sashiko, needlepoint, cross stitch, beading, and even sewing!

I didn't post any photos of these, but I'm also working on a sampler in the TAST (Take a Stitch Tuesday) Challenge from Pintangle, and I'm learning about painting on fabric.  So, although it didn't feel like a productive year, it has been a year of learning

For a while this year, I also thought that I was losing my taste for reading.  There were a few books started but not finished, and I started to wonder if I'd ever get my enjoyment of books back.  But around October, an article on facebook about the Dutch painter Carel Fabritius led me to The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  Finally, a novel I couldn't put down!  It's a coming of age story, but also a thriller, with stolen artwork, forged antiques, a New York setting, and a cute little dog named Popchick.  Not to mention all the echoes of novels by Dickens - David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, The Old Curiosity Shop, Great Expectations, and A Christmas Carol.  One of the characters even mentions Jack Wild's performance as the Artful Dodger in "Oliver!".   Definitely a book I can recommend.

Now that DH and I are settled in a new home, I'm hoping that I'll have more time to devote to this blog.  Next year is only a few hours away and I'm thinking ahead to what I hope to accomplish.

Happy New Year!

Dragonfly Sashiko.  The book was a Christmas present.

Left - "Jacob's Coat" by Peg Dunayer in Needle Pointers, November 2016
Right - "Persian Medallion" by Tony Minieri

Left - needlepoint Siamese cat design by Julia
Right - "Das Blaue Huhn" by Ingeburg Heil, Bahmann KG

Runaround Bag by Lazy Girl Designs

Beaded ornaments - learned technique in an EGA class

Mill Hill bead kit - Noah's Ark

Needlepoint Sudoku

Tour de France Poster, MB3Z

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Needlepoint Frame of Mind

This year hasn't seen a great deal of stitching from me, at least until I picked up a couple of needlepoint projects.  Over the past few weeks, I started one very large project and actually completed three small ones.

The large project is a sudoku puzzle that was designed by a member of my EGA chapter and offered there as a class.  The puzzle was already solved, luckily for me because I'm terrible at solving sudokus.  But the challenge to the stitcher comes from choosing colors and stitches to use.  The instructions included all the stitches and threads used on the original piece, but we were all encouraged to change as much or as little as we pleased.  It took me two months to select four stitches of my own and decide on which colors and threads to use.  The only restriction I gave myself was that the threads had to come from my stash.  The photo is of the center block, but I just finished a second block over the weekend, and started the third.

I also worked on two much smaller pieces.  One is an ornament designed by Tony Minieri (on the right in the photo).  I had bought the kit at a stash sale at last January's EGA meeting.  The kit didn't include all the threads, so I turned to my stash and made a couple of changes.  What I liked most about doing this piece was stitching the fancy triangular stitches in each corner.  They're called walneto stitches, and remind me of the Eiffel Tower.

The siamese cat canvas, by a designer named Julia, has been in my stash for about a decade because I just didn't know how to stitch it.  Should I stitch the white area on the cat?  Should I add a fancy background, or a border?  Or maybe a thread with long fibers to make the cat look longhaired?  What to do?  Finally, I decided that less is more with this piece.  It didn't need any fancy stitches or borders or backgrounds.  I used tent stitch in the black areas and left all the white unstitched.

There are a few more needlepoint projects in the pipeline.  I think my needlepoint stash is small enough that I might actually finish them all in my lifetime!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tempus fugit and all that...

We seem to be going through an extended period of "life gets in the way."  DH's illness has forced us to reevaluate a few things.  Among the changes in our lives, we've been downsizing our possessions.  I've wanted to do this for a few years now, but I have to say that it's an endless process, sometimes satisfying and sometimes depressing.  You can find some neat things that you forgot you had, but you also find things that make you wonder why you ever wanted them.  Sometimes it's easy to let go of things, and sometimes it's hard.  But so far, I haven't gotten rid of anything that I later regretted giving away.

2015's ort jar
The worst part of downsizing is that I haven't had much time for stitching for a few months now.  My plan for finishing 15 UFOs last year stalled and fizzled out as I started sorting books and dvds and clothes.  But I did manage to achieve 10 finishes, which I'm happy about.  This year, I don't have any specific plans for what to stitch.  I'm working on a present for later this year, so no pictures of that until after the event.  I plan to participate in my EGA chapter's UFO Challenge, but I haven't yet chosen which UFOs to enter.  There isn't much time to devote to very large projects, so whatever new projects I start this year will be small ones.

I still find some time to read, and over the winter I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and its two sequels.  I really enjoyed them although I thought the last book in the trilogy was a bit weak because Lisbeth Salander wasn't in very much of it.  One of the characters in the series, Mikael Blomkvist, mentions Jan Guillou, who writes spy novels about a spy nicknamed Le Coq Rouge.  One of those novels, Enemy's Enemy, has been on my TBR shelf forever, so I read it next, but didn't enjoy it that much.  Currently, I'm reading John Le Carre's The Night Manager and I'm hoping that Masterpiece will broadcast the BBC adaptation soon.

Hopefully, it won't take another six months for me to write here again!