God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

TUSAL, IHSW, & Catching Up

My most recent blog post was this past Friday & here it is Tuesday!  How can this be?  I have never let so much time go by without a blog post before!  Not only that but I only posted twice in the past week!  I'd say I need to see a doctor but I did ... yesterday ... although for some reason the subject of blogging never came up.  Go figure.

If the truth be known, the reason I was not visible on my blog this past weekend is that it was the first IHSW (International Hermit & Stitch Weekend) of 2012.  I just found out about this event last Friday.  The IHSW occurs the third full weekend of every month & the idea is for you to hermit yourself in your stitching chair & stitch.  There is no set requirement like you have to stitch so many hours or complete a project or anything like that.  You just stitch whatever you want, whenever you want during the weekend.  No pressure ... I like that   : )   Therefore I hermited myself in my recliner & stitched to my heart's content throughout the weekend.  I decided to work on my Santa ornament for the Christmas All Year Round SAL & I made great progress!  I only have a few tiny rows to complete & I will be done.

This was a really enjoyable stitch!  I love stitching letters for some reason & they worked up quickly.  Santa, however, was more complex ... or at least I made him that way.  I have this "thing" where it freaks me out if I have to stitch more than 1 color in an area.  I'm always afraid there are going to be noticeable lumps from running threads over or under other threads on the bottom, or that there will be darker colored threads showing through the lighter colored ones on top, or that some stitches are going to appear flatter than others because of running thread ends underneath them.  At one point while stitching Santa I had 5 needles filled & in use at the same time.  This turned out to be quite a pain though because it was difficult keeping the needles/threads separated.  More than once I found I had caught resting threads underneath working threads & had to then unstitch to free them.  I think I caused myself more problems than not.  How do you handle a design where more than 1 color is used in an area?  Stitch the biggest part of the design with your main color first & then add in the lesser used ones ... or stitch the smaller areas first & then finish off with the main color?

Incidentally, I know I am a Q-Snap lover but Frosty has taken up residence in my Q-Snap.  That is why you see me using a round hoop for Santa ... & a Morgan hoop no less because I didn't have a regular hoop big enough.  I'm sure the hoop marks are going to be permanently embedded in the surrounding linen but that's okay ... the linen inside the hoop is large enough so that when I make Santa into a finished ornament the hoop marks won't be an issue at all.  

To the right of Santa you will see my TUSAL.  TUSAL stands for Totally Useless Stitchalong ... or is it Stitch Along or Stitch-A-Long or ???  I don't think anyone really knows & that's how it got shortened to SAL.  Anyway, this is the first TUSAL I have participated in.  It is the brainchild of Daffycat & what you do is as you stitch you save your thread ends (orts) & put them into a jar.  Each month at the new moon you take a photo of your jar & post it for all the world (or at least all your blog followers) to see.  It's a fun little thing to do & practical as well.  If you have enough of these orts you can use them to stuff a little ornament or pinkeep!  Recycling ... I know some of you like that   : )  By the way, yes ... ort is a real word although it actually refers to crumbs of food, but these are crumbs of threads so the same principle applies   : )

I plan to finish Santa today & then revisit Frosty.  I hope he's taken our time apart to think about the stress he caused me last week & that he has decided that his white threads will now lie smoothly & his stitches will start & stop just where they are supposed to   : )    


Hillcresthome Prims said...

Glad to see you are back. I loved what you stitched!!! That came out great,you are great at stitching letters for sure!
It is a beautiful piece!
Have a great day.
Happy Stitching,

Mrs. GraceWorks said...

Great job on Santa!! I guess I've never worried about the threads on the back. I take the shortest distance between two points and just run the thread under what stitches are there if it is going to be too long of a space. I am, however, not a perfectionist, so I'm sure there are better ways to do it! : )

(another) Tricia : )

Peggy Lee said...

Very nice Santa!

Siobhán said...

Santa looks great! I tend to stitch from left to right and go with whatever stitches will give me a large enough area to run my stitches with a tail holding the thread down at the back. So, block of three stitches in a color--I start there and move off from that.

annie said...

Wonderful Santa, thanks for the explanation on the initials, honestly I had No clue! Have a great day!

Nicola said...

I do roughly the same as Siobhan.

The neatness at the back of the work can reflect on the overall finish of sampler when stretched.

Sally said...

Your Santa looks lovely Shirlee. You certainly got plenty done on him.

Ziggyeor said...

I never really thought much about it either. I stitch until I'm done with that color on the thread unless I want to stitch something else to make sure my count is correct. Then stitch the next color.

Looks lovely though. Do you not take him out of the hoop when you're not stitching him? I haven't seen permanent hoop marks on my pieces as long as I remember to take them out when I'm not stitching on it.

Robin at The Primitive Hutch said...

Adorable Santa ~ can't wait to see the end results. I like the idea of putting the little thread ends in a jar ~ I always have them everywhere!!!
Thanks for sharing all the info!
Prim Blessings

Angela said...

What a great way to spend a weekend. Snuggled in doing something you so enjoy. And I love the results of your labour. The Santa CCS is so nice. Wonderful stitching. If you brought Frosty out here today ,, he would melt away quickly. Temps may reach 70 today. Hoping you have a great day.

Angela said...

What a great way to spend a weekend. Snuggled in doing something you so enjoy. And I love the results of your labour. The Santa CCS is so nice. Wonderful stitching. If you brought Frosty out here today ,, he would melt away quickly. Temps may reach 70 today. Hoping you have a great day.

Viola di Nebbia said...

I went on your blog for thank you for the comment, but... I never saw it! I LOVE your blog, and all of the charts you stitch! I'm amazed!! *.* I follow you right now!

Michelle said...

Oh I love that Santa - he is so cute. I have e-mailed you Shirlee xx

bettyj said...

Oh Shirlee, santa is beautiful. Love him. I couldn't wait to see what all your letters stood for. You are so much fun to visit. Thanks my friend.

Minnie said...

Your Santa and TUSAL are fantastic, and shame on Frosty if he gives you any more trouble. Happy Stitching.

jennifer768 said...

Sounds like a wonderful way to spend the weekend.I love how the Santa has turned out.Great idea for the loose threads.Have fun stitching!Hugs,Jen

Sonia said...

Awesome blog! Thanks for sharing. :)

marly said...

I did not know about the IHSW. MRADD (menopause related attention deficit disorder) wouldn't let me stitch that long anyway. Your santa looks great.

cucki said...

hello dear, very sweet stitching..i love the santa so much..
lovely orts..
keep well..have a lovely day xx

Joysze said...

That's really cute, Shirlee. :D

Trace4J said...

Oh I love Santa. But I think Frosty is missing you.
Hugs to you.


♥ Nia said...

Lovely stitching :)
IHSW is great to motivate us to stitch and also we get to meet new blogs and bloggers! :D hehehe Just found your blog now! :)
Have a great week!!

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

I usually start with the darkest colour, stitch all of that then the next darkest then through to the lightest. BUT if there is red and a paler colour (like Santa's beard) I would stitch the white first then the red.
I do spend time looking at the chart and plotting my path to avoid crossing the back too much.