Friday, December 7, 2012

A Gift Given, A Gift Received, & A Stitch Completed

I have been keeping busy trying to get what seems like a gazillion things taken care of before "the big day."  I am actually quite stress free in the midst of it all.  Making the decision to go low key this year was a smart thing to do.  Even more smart was the decision to do something about the clutter & do a good cleaning.  Not a thorough cleaning, mind you, but a good one.  At least I don't have boxes full of stuff, & stuff without boxes, piled here & there on the main floor.  It's all piled upstairs now   : )   It's also quite nice to walk across the floors without needing to have an inhaler at hand as the dust kicks up & swirls around me. Good times, good times   : )

Yesterday I worked on giving the diningroom a good cleaning.  Last night I did a wee bit of decorating.  Again, I'm going low key this year.  Very low key in fact.  I did end up having to empty out half the closet underneath the stairs in order to get our stockings.  The stockings were in the same box as the wallhangings so I decided to hang them up.  I shared these photos last year but I will share them again.  I made these wallhangings, & the stockings, back in the mid 90s when I was living in North Dakota.

I did a bit of finishing last night & actually enjoyed myself!  I have been trying & trying to get some sort of detailed directions on how to put a blanket stitch around the edge of a pinkeep but I've not really had much in the way of luck.  A couple nights ago I decided to just sit down & give it a go.  I first tried to do the stitch using 6 strands of DMC floss but that was way too thick.  I then separated 3 strands from the floss & used that.  Much better!  I cut out my first attempt at this edging because I made the stitches too small & too close together, but it's been going rather well ever since.  I actually find doing this edging very calming. Who would've guessed!  I'll share some photos soon   : )

I was stitching another ornament design last week/over the weekend & what a hellish time I had with it!  I had to frog parts of it so many times & I have no idea why.  After starting with the "Pepperm" on the left edge I moved on to stitching the white lace-looking line at the top.  I miscounted the repeats & made it too long so I had to then pick out some stitches to shorten it.  I thought at the time how lucky I was to catch that before continuing the lace design down the right edge.  I was left with rather short tails after picking out those stitches, rather difficult to tie or hide with the piece in the Q-Snap, so I just left them to take care of at a later time. This actually was a good thing as you will read in a moment.  I sort of "mixed it up" while stitching this design.  Usually I start my stitching at the top left edge & move across & down, top to bottom.  After completing the left edge, top edge, & right edge down to the last stitch in the lace repeat, I decided to stitch the flowers, then the brownish/greenish border, then the "mint" at the bottom edge, & then the white cross stitches along the bottom.  When I got to the end of this line I noticed then, only then, that the brownish/greenish border line on the right was farther away from the white lace line than the chart showed.  Upon closer examination I couldn't believe I still had made the lace-looking line at the top too long!  This meant I had to unstitch the entire right side lace design & then unstitch a whole repeat from that top line, thus the good fortune of my being unable to tie or hide those short ends I mentioned earlier   : ) After restitching all the right edge, I started working on the green leaves.  I ran out of thread while doing the top left leaf.  I had one more line to stitch but decided instead of stitching it then I would come back to it with leftover floss from anther leaf.  I finished stitching all the leaves, then moved on to the peppermint candy at the bottom, then started the candy cane.  I got half way done with the candy cane & it was not meeting the brownish/greenish line as it should.  I looked & looked & counted & counted.  The cane was started in the right spot.  It matched perfectly along the way but still did not match up with that brownish/greenish line!  Finally I realized that I had forgotten about that one remaining line of stitching in that left corner leaf which meant I counted down 4 stitches from the third leaf row to begin my cane & as a result the cane was positioned incorrectly with the rest of the design.  I then unstitched the half cane I had completed, added that last line to the leaf, & started the cane again.  I have never been so happy to finish stitching a piece as I was to finish stitching this one!  Oh wait, there was that horror using metallic thread which you haven't gotten to see yet.  Oh!  And then there was the dreaded Frosty in January!  Okay ... this design joins with those two in the "so glad I'm done stitching this" category   : )  
Peppermint Twist

I do have one finish to show you.  Trace (Granny Trace Scraps & Squares) & I decided to do an ornament exchange together.  I included a few extras which I neglected to take photos of beforehand, some gingerbread man kitchen towels & a gingerbread man potholder, & I placed the gingers & the ornament inside a snowman basket. Thankfully I did take a photo of the ornament.  I finished it myself.  I need to be very sure that you understand that since I do not want Myra's good name besmirched by someone thinking this is one of the designs she finished for me   : )  
 Heartstrings/The Artists Collection
Tidings of Joy
JCS Ornaments Issue 2004

I will end this post (& a cheer goes up from the crowd) by showing you a lovely Christmas gift I received in yesterday's mail from Cucki (Cucki Stitching Cove) ... a cute little Christmas card, beaded candy cane ornament, & two purple flower trims   : )   Thank you again, Cucki, for thinking of me   : )

Today will be spent doing a bit more cleaning, a bit of decorating, a bit of mailing preparation (I'm so woefully behind in mailing my Christmas gifts!), & a bit of finishing.  I'm looking forward to a good day!  I hope your day is good as well   : )  


cucki said...

wow beautiful wall hanging quilts..i love them so much..they so cuteeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
cute stocking and lovely stitching..
lots of love for you xx

Vickie said...

Well, in the end, Peppermint Twist looks fabulous.
How nice of Cucki!

The Bear's Blog said...

Hi Miss Shirlee,

Bee-u-tee-ful. Are you going to show me some pictures of your Christmas decorations? I love visiting and see how friends decorate.

Heaps of Hugs
Prudence ♥

Mii Stitch said...

Peppermint Twist is a real cute stitch (despite all your problems!). I love it & can't wait to see it finished :) Have a lovely weekend, Mii x

Siobhán said...

Peppermint Twist is adorable! Love the wallhangings, too, and the stockings!

Annette-California said...

Your wall hanging quilts & stockings are so beautiful. Great treasures to display. I can't imagine you not displaying them for the Holidays - GLAD YOU DID:) I love Peppermint Twist Ornament you stitched.
Happy Holidays. love Annette

marly said...

Peppermint is really nice! Love the lace design edge. Lots of good looking viewing in this post.

Trace4J said...

What awesome wallhangings and stockings friend.
I so love my tidings of joy ornament, ginger love and adorable snowman basket for all my treasures.
You do such beautiful work.
Have a wonderful weekend.
I am off to work on my Christmas cards. :)
Woolie Hugs

Maggee said...

Your wallhangings are adorable! You can see a lot of work went into them--I am totally jealous!! Peppermint Twist looks perfect to me...and your ornie you finished is just as good as the ones Myra did for you, from my vantage point. You should be glad! Hugs!

Myra said...

Shirlee, I would be proud to have my name attached to that ornament finish and you should be too! You did a great job on it. I love all your little quilts - I really need to get back into quilting. I am happy that you have been enjoying finishing. I am with you on keeping it low key this Christmas. I haven't put out any of my decorations yet. Hopefully tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

jennifer768 said...

Shirlee so glad that you shared those beautiful wall hangings this year!I love seeing them.Peppermint came out fantastic! I applaud you that you kept stitching.I fear I would have given up in defeat.Sweet goodies from Cucki.Have a blessed weekend.Hugs,Jen

Leanna said...

Shirlee! Reading about your trials with 'Peppermint'...I thought I was reading my DIARY! We could be twins!!
I seldom have much time time to when I do sit down, it's like I can't do anything right. Mistakes abound, some days, I'm sfraid...
But the good part is, 'Peppermint' is PERFECT! All of the frogging, and your work is simply beautiful've got a Gentle Way, Sweetie...

Michelle said...

Beautiful stitching Shirlee xx

Nicola said...

I always look forward to reading your posts dear friend.

Cucki is the sweetest pin pal.

Chris said...

Glad to hear that you are keeping it low key. That is the best :)
Congratulations on a beautiful ornament finish, finishing, and sucess with the blanket stitch.
You are way too hard on yourself!!

Samplers, Silks and Linens said...

cute wall hangings and stockings - i love filling my home with handmade items, so much better than mass produced store bought - peppermint twist is such a pretty design - hugs, Amanda

Grit said...

Beautiful stitching and a nice wall quilt (I hope this is the right word).
And your Nikolausstiefel (boots) are fantastic.
Liebe Grüße Grit

Sally said...

Your wall hangings and stockings are gorgeous Shirlee.

Love Peppermint Twist. It is beautiful.

What a lovely exchange you sent out.

Gorgeous gift from Cucki.

TheCrankyCrow said...

So glad to read you found a little bit of Christmas spirit in that closet.... And, man - I so can relate to your Peppermint twist saga....that's what I've been going through with "Joy." I have never in my life restitched so many times. Grrrr!!! Looks like eye surgery better be sooner rather than later... As for the blanket stitch - sounds like you've conquered it - but there are good instructions in the back of the old Create and Decorate magazines for common stitches. For some reason I always have to "refresh my memory" as I don't it that often. If you don't have one of the magazines, I'll happily photograph the photo/directions and send it to you....Just let me know. Sweet pressies from Cucki....that was sweet of her! Arghhh....we're in for a good snow tomorrow....if you don't hear from me in a few days, please send snowplows.....Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

Kaisievic said...

I love Peppermint Twist - so sorry that the frog prince kept visiting, though.

hugs, Kaye