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

Thursday, July 12, 2012

An RAK from France & Some Stitching Knitting, & Other Stuff

I recently posted an RAK I made for my friend Paula in Portugal (you can see it here).  It's a BBD freebie design of the Eiffel Tower.  Paula & her husband adore Paris & they actually took a little trip there last month.  Little did I know that while she was there ... with all the other stuff she had to think about ... she thought of me   : )   I received this lovely postcard & cross stitch kit from her!  Of course she chose a winter design for me   : )   Thank you again Paula!  I love it!

Since our air conditioner broke down on Saturday (it is still broke down by the way ... the repairman who came yesterday had to order a new motor for it which he will have in his possession today & will then come here to give us life again) I have been trying not to exert too much energy.  Most of my time has been spent working on my stitching (knitting is just impossible in this oppressive heat without AC), reading, watching DVDs, & working at the computer.  I am waiting for a new chart to arrive in the mail which will be for my next RAK gift so in the meantime I decided to get back to the Christmas smalls ... the ones where I'm stitching 4 of each pattern so I can keep one & use the remaining 3 for gifts &/or sell them in my still nameless Etsy shop. These are all Country Rustic Primitives designs & all of them are/will be stitched on my still favorite stitching medium, osnaburg. This first design is called Sleigh Bells & even though the chart indicated that it would measure 11" x 4.5" when finished I didn't believe it ... lol!  I thought "I'm using osnaburg so it will be smaller."  Dumb bunny me .... my brain didn't wrap around the fact that the pattern designer stitches these designs on osnaburg! Duh! It looks to be a simple, straightforward design but of course I made an error in counting when I stitched the B. Not a huge error.  I was off by one.  I didn't realize this until I had only a few stitches left in that letter & saw they weren't meeting up. I have talked before about how OCD I am.  I struggled with the idea of having to frog all those tiny stitches.  Well, you'll be proud of me.  I decided that my fudging them a tiny bit in order to get everything to meet up would not in any way be noticed unless someone had the pattern chart in front of them & decided to closely critique my finished work.  I am happy with how it turned out but I'm not sure I'm going to make 3 more of these.  
I decided to put Sleigh Bells aside for the moment & move on to another "project of 4." My choice was Primitive Merry Christmas Cupboard Hanger.  I have finished the first & have started the second.  
In the blog post link I provided above I mentioned that my shawl was on life support.  When I came to the end of my first skein of yarn & was balling the second I noticed right away that the colors were just a tad paler in intensity compared to the first skein.  I put it aside for a while but each time I went back to it the difference was just too noticeable.  So ... here is my shawl now.
Having to un-knit 335 yards of yarn was not a happy task but I figure I've learned a very important lesson here which is that it is impossible to match the color saturation in 2 skeins of hand painted yarn, even when those 2 skeins are noted to be of the same dye lot.  Via Ravelry I was able to in essence trade the second ball of yarn for another yarn that I can use.  I will use the prior knitted yarn for a pair of socks.

I don't think I've mentioned this before but a Mennonite family recently opened a luncheon meats & cheeses shop about 6 miles from here.  They sell other things too like fresh baked goods, produce from their own garden, & various other things to eat or use in cooking.  John & I were thrilled when we found out about them because from prior experience in Tennessee we know that these shops sell Troyer luncheon meats & cheeses which, in our humble opinion, are the very best!  There is a basically similar shop, not owned by Mennonites, that sells Troyer brand products about 20 miles from here but having "the real thing" close to home is wonderful! It is so interesting to be inside the shop.  The entire family works there.  Even the small children have jobs to do.  I usually see the mother in the back of the shop where she is baking or cleaning vegetables & one of the children takes care of cutting the meats & cheeses & checking us out. Yesterday I noticed the father was in the back also. It was the first time I saw him in the shop.  They have fresh eggs (the chickens are in a barn right across from the shop) & there is a sign encouraging customers to ask about their fresh milk so I imagine there is a cow or two somewhere as well.  Their home is directly across the street.  The smallest girl is, I'm guessing, maybe 6 years old. Yesterday she was wearing a plain light brown dress along with her cap & she was barefoot.  Of course it was very hot yesterday.  The parking area is made of gravel.  We watched this little girl in her bare feet walk across the entire parking lot, walk across the paved street which I'm sure was hot enough to fry an egg on, & into her house without any problems.  I don't know how she did it.  John & I have a gravel driveway & if we take one step on it without shoes the pain is unbearable!  John said that the little girl probably walks around in her bare feet a lot of the time & has become used to it so that pain isn't an issue for her. I have read a lot of books about the Amish but I know pretty much nothing about the Mennonites.  I would love to get into a conversation with the mother but she is always so busy that I wouldn't want to bother her ... & what would I say to her anyway!  Picking her brain about the Mennonite life is probably not something she would care to participate in with a total stranger during her work day, if at all.  I'd like to get to know her though.  Perhaps that will be a future possibility.  In the meantime I am going to order a book or two from Amazon about the Mennonite life & see what I can discover.  


Vickie said...

That's a great idea Shirlee. I have read dozens of books on the Amish, mostly nonfiction. Very interesting isn't it? Mennonite is close, not quite as strict/restricted. That would be cool to become friends with her.
I like your stitching, but especially sleigh bells. :)
Oh yes, TAG! YOU'RE IT! I tagged you. Come read my post! http://astitchersstory.blogspot.com/

butterfly said...

Lovely gift from your friend.
Love all your stitching you have been busy. hugs.

Janet P said...

Can you help this apprentice in blog land, what is a RAK? The Mennonite family sound fascinating, perhaps we could all profit from their way of life.

belle said...

The Mennonite lifestyle is very interesting, I hope you can get to know the family.
Your stitching is lovely!

Judy said...

Just catching up on a few on your posts. Love the new plant and hummingbird! Your holiday stitching is beautiful---I am not familiar with that fabric--it looks like 100 count :) Oh--and your decorating for the 4th is simply spectacular! Loved it....

Judy heartland stitcher

marly said...

I'm proud of you. I know it wasn't easy to "fudge" but you did, and the piece looks fabulous! You sure are moving along with your projects. I'm hoping that motor is installed and purring like a kitten!

Yana Hanim said...

oh Shirlee I love the gifts that you get from Paris. I am so sorry for your shawl I hope you will get similar skeins and will be able to make it again.

Chris said...

I hope that the AC will be up today. Ugh!
I love your prim holiday stitching. Both designs are lovely.
Very interesting post about the Mennonite family store. It is wonderful you have that nearby you.

Kaisievic said...

Lovely stitching, Shirlee and thanks for telling us about the Mennonite family. It sounds so fascinating.

TheCrankyCrow said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! the new stitcheries! You know they're right up my proverbial alley! And I'm gonna ask one more (and last time: Where do you get your Osnaburg???????
Glad to hear about the new store in your parts - we actually have several Mennonite communities in these parts - probably more than Amish. They are delightful folk from my encounters....hard workers and good craftsmen. But LOL about the little barefoot girl....I run around here all day barefoot....we have a paved drive and a gravel drive, both of which I cross many, many times with pails of water for my plants. My feet look the worse for the wear, but they are pretty much calloused to the pain.... :o) Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin (PS - I think I'm actually caught up now....you can turn your volume back up.....)

Ewa said...

Honestly, if you fudged that "B" I can't tell at all. It looks lovely in my opinion. It seems that all my knitting projects lately end up right back where they started: as a ball of yarn. I'm on ravelry too "DirtyBirdEwa" feel free to add me :) I'm such a beginner...