Thursday, May 14, 2015

Traveling South

The semester is winding down at the college where I work, but I seem to be getting busier and busier.  Earlier this week I was in Virginia, a bit south and west of Roanoke, for a library conference.  I must say, that area of Virginia is absolutely gorgeous at this time of year!  I was constantly in awe of my surroundings...all the rolling green hills and mountains.  I've always considered upstate New York and north-central PA to be pretty scenic, but the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains offered some stiff competition.  And the conference went well, too - I was a presenter (for the first time ever!) and I think my presentation was very well-received.

I haven't gotten much stitching done to speak of, although I DID try to work on a small or 2 for the SAL.  I took the Viking couple kit that I posted last time with me, and got a bit started.  I also did some finishing on a small piece that I stitched earlier, but can't share yet.

On my way home from the conference, I passed a GIANT thrift store in Selinsgrove, PA.  Since I was making a leisurely drive of the return trip, I saw no reason not to stop....  ;)  And it really was huge!  It felt like the Wal-Mart of thrift stores.  LOL  I spent $12, got a couple things for my daughter, a neat old stoneware serving bowl (Mar-Crest, I believe it was marked?), and a book of cross-stitch patterns which I didn't need but just couldn't pass up.
cute serving bowl

book I don't need

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

A Small Celebration!

I'm quite late with my Smalls SAL check-in this month...but I have an excuse!  I was at Celebration of Needlework in Nashua, NH last week!  :)

But without further ado, here is the little owl scissor case that I was about to toss in frustration earlier.  I persevered...
...and he came out pretty darned cute, if I do say so myself.  The scissors were a purchase at Celebration - little owl scissors, just perfect!  They are a little small for the pocket, but they came with their own sheath, and as long as I use that it keeps the scissor holes lined up with the eyes pretty well.

As always, I had a lovely time at Celebration.  I didn't take any classes this year, so I spent most of my time stitching with friends, shopping, and pawing through the piles of unwanted patterns left by other stitchers (I took some of my own to trade, as well - and some lucky person went home with Cross-Eyed Kat's "Labyrinth" pattern that I finished for my husband).  I had grand plans of finishing Just Nan's "Wings" design, but realized after I arrived that I had everything with me EXCEPT the pattern. D'oh.  But I accomplished a bit on Told in a Garden's "Family Treasure III," and I should have the Cloudsfactory Labyrinth design done soon as well.

And I picked up SO MANY goodies!  I did stay within my budget, but a lot of my new stash came from those trading piles.  The little owl is actually posing on top of a few of them - a JBW Sweet Nothing, a Shepherd's Bush fob, and a couple others that might make an appearance later this year as smalls.  I bought:
1) This cute little Viking kit I found at Scandinavian Stitches - I'm planning a
little desk-sized "romantic" piece for DH with this.  LOL
 2) Summer House Stitcheworks' "Pin Money" kit.
3) "Take No One/Nothing For Granted" by The Purple Thread
(the stitched model was what sold me - I don't so much love the photo).

I seem to have had a thing for small kits this year. I did pick up 2 pieces of fabric, one from Silkweaver and another from Hand-dyed Fabrics by Stephanie. It was really nice to see some new shops on the vendor floor! I also enjoyed poking around in Gypsy Stitchers - the retail side of Stitching Pretty, with designs by Michelle Ink and others. They had a lovely newly released pattern (so there is no pic) called "Mermaid Spoken Here," all done in Thread Gatherer silks.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


A quick shout-out to Zeb, over at Keep Calm and Cross Stitch...I hope you are ok.  I see you are posting again, but everything is hidden.   I'm thinking of you.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Because I have no willpower

So I bought something.  Having seen Cloudsfactory's monthly astrology patterns on several different blogs, I decided to check out their website.  And somehow, I ended up purchasing the "Labyrinth - Magic Dance" pattern...and then I started it ASAP.
I'm using the recommended DMC colors, and stitching this on a piece of 28-ct. Kiwi Illusions "Pumice."

But then, after I'd already paid for my pattern and started stitching it, I started wondering about copyright and trademark issues.  :/  Nowhere on the site did it say anything about the designs - including a number of Disney-esque designs, superheroes, and other identifiable characters - being licensed.  I know that some would say these fall under "fair use," as they are re-creations/parodies (?) of the characters in question...but I'm pretty sure the trademark holders would argue from a different position.  I'm honestly totally on the fence on this one, since I obviously love the patterns and the style enough that I bought one of her patterns!  And I know there are a number of designers who are selling things in this vein.

It is a confusing area - and this coming from a librarian who has attended workshops on copyright and fair use.  Ah well, I'm just going to stick my fingers in my ears, keep humming the little tune I'm stitching, and finish the design I bought...then I'll frame it myself and hang it in my nerd-cave and never mention it again.  LOL

Friday, April 17, 2015

Quilt Progress

Stitching has slowed a bit....I did start an old kit (on aida, even!) that I found in my stash, but I'm not feeling terribly motivated to work on it.  It is my Wednesday morning project - I drop off the kiddo at daycare around 8, but don't have to be at work until 10, so I take an hour or so to stitch in my car.  Classes at the college where I work will be ending soon, though, so my schedule will be changing for the summer.  Of course, then I could go outside and stitch on my lunch break....  :)

In the meantime, my daughter keeps asking when the "pirate quilt" will be done.  Here is my progress as of last night -
I love the way the colors are working together!  I did get some little wavy spots in my fabric, though....most obviously in that big "map" square in the middle of the lower row.  Hmph.  I'm pretty sure it is because 1) my fabrics are of slightly different qualities, 2) my sewing machine doesn't have a walking foot, and 3) I'm still a novice quilter/sewer.  Ah well.  I'm hoping a lot of this will be disguised once it is quilted with batting and all!!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

April WIPocalypse!

First, as promised in my earlier post, here is my quilty-thing.  (This is "sideways" - the top is the left-hand side of the picture.)
It already doesn't quite fit on my little basement table...and I'm planning to add a row to the top and bottom to make it longer.  Right now you can (hopefully) make out the three rows I have started so far - look for the red strips!  The one on the top left, with the skulls and crossbones, should be lined up off the top left corner of the tan map fabric.  So it was decent size to begin with, but the addition of more rows should make it close to twin-sized.  My daughter is just tickled with the fabrics, and I rather like them myself!

Here is the "Wise Old Owl" kit - note the broken threads from where I removed my first attempt at assembly.
Given that neither DH or I got the jobs for which we interviewed on the trip where I bought this, perhaps it is appropriate that I can't get it together properly.  I think the next time I try, I'll 1) use upholstery thread and 2) turn it from the top (instead of the bottom as the instructions indicated).  While this isn't finish-finished, it does fall under my WIPocalypse goal of doing more smalls, so there's that...

And here's a bit of progress on "Family Treasure III."
I wouldn't say I've been ignoring it, but I HAVE been working like mad on that darned Just Nan's "Wings" lives by my chair upstairs, and I'd like to get that finished before I go to Celebration of Needlework at the end of the month.

Finally, Measi's question of the month:
Which specialty stitches do you love doing on projects? Which do you dread?
I love Algerian eyelets and Smyrna crosses.  I especially love the Smyrnas when they are done over enough threads and with the right amount of floss so as to look delicate and different - for example, I've done some that called for the stitch to be done over 2 threads with 2 strands of floss, and I felt that they just looked like big lumps of floss when they were finished.  I could barely tell them from a regular cross stitch!
In terms of dread....satin stitches.  I think I pull them too hard, because they always look "lumpy" to me, with thin spots and too-big holes.  I've been told in the past to try a laying tool, which helped somewhat, but they still aren't my favorite.  That could explain why "Wings" is still languishing - all the fairies have satin-stitched skirts!

Frustrated and Falling Behind (Again)

Time just keeps whizzing by.  Sometimes I wonder, what do I DO every day?  Ah well.

When we were traveling last month, I picked up an issue of one of the British stitching magazines because it had a cute little kit in it - for a "Wise Old Owl" scissor case.  It was on aida fabric, which isn't my favorite, but since I was not home with a choice of  fabrics to swap, I just used the kit materials.  
(pic from magazine website)
Well, I finished the stitching a few nights ago, and was quite excited to asemble the whole thing.  But...thanks to the horrifically stiff aida....I just could NOT get it to turn right-side out after I attached all the pieces.  :(  My backing actually separated from the aida, and after much swearing and unhappiness, I took it apart and left the pieces on my work table for a time when I have more patience.  Which may be never.

As I was skimming through the rest of the magazine, this pattern caught my eye - 
pic from magazine website)
Now, the colors aren't my cup of tea, but the idea reminded me of this - 
(pic from magazine)
An old pattern from (I think) Cross Stitch & Country Crafts!  I like the older pattern better, and was actually considering stitching it for some family members.  But it just goes to show you, everything comes back around eventually...

I've also dipped my feet back into the quilting ocean, and have been having fun with this pattern.  However, since I don't have the collection of fabrics (and it isn't really my kind of "theme," anyway), I've played around with a bunch of stuff from my stash plus 3 or 4 other pieces and changed it to a pirate quilt!!  Maybe instead of "In the Forest" I'll call it..."In the Brig"?  LOL  I'll have a pic of my progress there soon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March Small Check-in

Here is my contribution to the March Smalls SAL - a little floral heart design from an old issue of CrossQuick magazine.  Stitched on some 25-ct. bone lugana with DMC floss.  I have no idea what I'll do with this one, either....the magazine finished this with a nightlight frame, which I don't think they even make anymore!