Thursday, August 29, 2013
Posted by Shirlee at 7:54 AM
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
When last I left you, I was in a bit of a quandary. Do I choose to start a new project ... namely a Christmas ornament from a back issue of JCS Ornaments magazine ... or do I work on one of the design ideas floating around in my head. Needle & thread won out over paper & pencil.
I began by looking through each of the back issues I have. Every year I do the same thing ... I look through these magazines & put little sticky notes on the pages that have ornaments I think I would like to stitch. On the sticky notes I write the number of the ornament(s) that called to me. Without fail, when I look through the magazines again the following year, I wonder what on earth I was thinking when I see some of the designs I picked out. Had I looked at the magazines in a darkened room? Had John blindfolded me & told me to go through each one & pick out some ornaments to stitch? I have no idea, but I always wonder not only why I chose some of the ornaments I did, but why didn't I choose others? Year after year, round & round it goes.
So there I was ... looking through my back issues, shaking my head as I removed some of last year's sticky notes & added some new ones. Then it was time for me to decide which ornament I was going to stitch first. After laying out maybe 5 magazines that had one or more ornaments that called to me, I could sense I had a problem. Do I stitch this one or that one? No, wait ... what about that one there? I realized that I could literally spend a good hour or two ... precious stitching time ... looking & re-looking at each ornament, trying to decide which one to start. I decided this was madness, looked down at the magazine in my hand & told myself "this is the one."
The ornament I chose is from the 2009 issue ... a LHN design called Winter Sampler. I like winter. I like samplers. It was a no brainer. Below are 2 photos ... one showing my stitching progress after Day 1, & the second my progress after Day 2.
Posted by Shirlee at 7:28 PM
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Posted by Shirlee at 8:24 AM
Thursday, August 22, 2013
I sent several items to my faithful, fabulously flawless finisher Myra a while back but have been neglectful in showing some of them to you. The ones you haven't seen yet were either destined to be gifts or I just didn't get around to photographing them. Life sure does get in the way sometimes, doesn't it? I will remedy this situation now : )
I stitched this first design as a birthday gift for my dear friend Paula who lives in Portugal. I am sharing a photograph of both the front & the back of this little cushion because I just love the fabric Myra used for the backing. It compliments the design so well, don't you think?
Posted by Shirlee at 11:32 AM
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
After responding to various comments on my last post, saying that I had decided to just go with the flow & stitch the Frankenstein's Monster's Daughter Feeds the Geese Pinkeep using the DMC colors suggested by the designer, I sat down last night to start stitching her dress & just couldn't do it. I just couldn't get past poor Beulah's green skin. I just couldn't leave it alone. The girl deserves to look healthy! I got up & went to the dining room, took my floss boxes out of the pie safe (yes, I keep stitching stash in my dining room pie safe), & began looking for a floss color that would make for a nicer skin tone. This was difficult. The color of the linen I chose to use for the design is sort of a skin tone in itself.
While I was trying to find a nice skin tone, I noticed that there was something about the dress color I didn't like. The designer chose DMC 844, Beaver Gray. I thought the dress should have more of a blue cast to it. Then I noticed that the suggested color to use for stitching the legs & feet of the geese was ... prepare yourself ... the same color suggested for Beulah's skin! Geese with avocado green legs & feet. I don't think so.
It occurred to me that perhaps there are some designer's, like Beulah's, who do their design work in the night. This could explain their color choices. I stood at my dining room table with my floss boxes in front of me, along with my DMC Needlework Threads Color Card, which is totally useless by the way (I'll explain why later), & under the light of the chandelier I went through baggie after baggie after baggie & pulled what I thought were the perfect flesh, dress, & goose leg/foot colors for the project. I smiled the smile of a job well done, went to my stitching chair, turned on my daylight magnifying light, picked up my needle, took the skein of floss I chose for the dress color, & stared. Where did this lovely shade of dark cornflower blue come from? I did not pick this color of floss for Beulah's dress! I picked a much more dirty, worn out looking gray/blue/brown shade! This is when I realized that some designers must do their design work at night. I have always known that if you look at a color by lamplight, it can look totally different than it does in natural light. This explained why the designer's choice of flesh color looked like a great skin color when I was filing it back into its baggie, but avocado green when I was stitching her face, neck, & chest area. If I had wanted to display this project in nothing but lamplight, all would've been well with the world. Once the light of day would shine upon it, however, it would be transformed into something no eye should see.
I knew what I had to do. I called for John to bring me my floss boxes & I sat in my stitching chair, underneath my daylight magnifying light, & went through every baggie to find true flesh, dress, & goose leg/foot colors. I think I have succeeded. The flesh color is still iffy because of the linen color so I will stitch that last. Hopefully I will have found just the perfect skin tone for Beulah.
Regarding my comment about the total uselessness of my DMC Needlework Threads Color Card, the card I have simply consists of photographs of all the DMC floss colors available at the time of the card's production. It is obvious that the photographer hired by DMC did not use natural light when taking these photographs. All the colors I tried to match from card to skein looked the same underneath the light of my dining room chandelier, but completely different underneath my daylight magnifying light. As my second grade teacher, Sister Bernadette, would say when she became exasperated with a student, "God, give me strength!" Looking back, I recall having a DMC Needlework Threads Color Card in my stitching life #2 that consisted of actual floss wound into it, not photographs of the floss. I would have sold that when I mistakenly thought I would never cross stitch again. I hope whoever has it values it as the treasure that it is.
Uh-oh ... the time seems to have gotten away from me. Someone is trying to tell me she's hungry. I had better go get breakfast on : )
Posted by Shirlee at 8:49 AM
Monday, August 19, 2013
As I explained in my previous post ... August IHSW Report, Part I ... I am doing my IHSW report in two parts this month. You may have wondered why two parts. Well, I just think this third project I chose to stitch this weekend needed a post of its own.
Let me start off by saying how much I like primitive designs. I enjoy several different stitching styles but primitive is at the top of the list. I enjoy stitching like our grandmothers or great grandmothers may have stitched when they were little girls. I love having the feel of the past around me. I think it was, for the most part, a better time.
Stitching primitives, however, is sometimes difficult for me. I am an OCD perfectionist. I sometimes have a hard time looking at a chart created by a primitive designer who works hard to give us projects that have the look of old stitched pieces. I discovered that oftentimes a primitive designer will purposely chart a design off center. This nearly put me in a mental institution the first time I encountered it. This particular design I am referring to was kind of in 3 parts. It had a house in the center with some primitive designs around it. I had completed all the stitching above the house & then began working on the roof of the house. This is when I noticed that the house was not only off center but the designer had an extra line of bricks on one side! I froze. What in the world? I removed the stitching I had completed on the house at that point & then sat down with the chart in front of me, measuring it & shifting things around so that everything was evenly centered. It was a large pinkeep project & I remember thinking afterward that I needed to learn to go with the flow of these things. I told myself that imperfection is what primitives are all about, but let me tell you, it has been a difficult journey for me.
Another thing that has been difficult for me at times on the primitive stitching front is a designer's color choices. I have stressed over a designer's color choices many times. I have shared with you before that I have absolutely no color sense whatsoever. None. I can sit & look at piles of fabric, floss, color swatches, you name it, with a blank stare. All of you who can so easily swap out a designer's suggested color of floss &/or linen for some other choice have my awe-filled admiration. If I have any pleasing color combinations in my home or clothing, it's no thanks to me.
I understand that sometimes a designer will choose a color or colors in an attempt, I imagine, to make the finished project look worn & faded. I remember the first time I realized this. I was stitching a design with 2 sheep on it. One of the sheep was white. The other sheep was dark gray ... or so it seemed in the model photo. I don't recall the DMC number suggested for the dark gray sheep, but it had a heavy green cast to it. I can probably pinpoint this experience as the beginning of my need for anxiety medication. What was the designer thinking? Was this sheep rolling around in a grassy field all day long? Was she nauseated after unsuspectingly eating some bad clover in the field? Was she envying some other sheep? I just couldn't ... & still can't ... figure out what in the world that designer was aiming for!
Then there is a designer who created a particular snowman design. I love snowmen. I really looked forward to stitching the design. The snowman was a large part of it. He was wearing a black hat & a green scarf. I decided to use the WDW/GAST floss which the designer suggested rather than the DMC alternates. We have probably all noticed the little disclaimer that designers often add when they suggest hand-dyed or over-dyed floss. It reads something like "This project will not look the same as model if alternates are used." I wanted this project to have the exact colors as the model photo so I went with the WDWs & GASTs. All was going well until I started stitching the snowman who by this time I had named Frosty. Some of you may remember my adventures stitching Frosty. If you want to weed through my old postings about this project, it begins with my post on January 4, 2012, & continues off & on until the Celebration Cyber Party Invitation issued on February 8. There are a lot of non-related postings during that time period but the creation of Frosty is chronicled within them. To sum it up briefly, when stitching this project, I stitched the white floss last as this is what I had been taught to do when I first became interested in cross stitching. There were areas of Frosty's body, however, that had some green shading. I blamed the green floss used for his scarf. Surely it must have been shedding little tinges of green onto the white floss. What other explanation was there? I may have even gone so far as to remove the scarf & stitch with the white first ... I really can't remember ... but for whatever reason, this hand-dyed/over-dyed white floss had some green shading to it. Surely when the designer saw the finished model she must have noticed that her Frosty looked a little unwell? I can't imagine that it was just this one skein of this particular brand of white floss that I had purchased that had this green shading in it. If nothing else, stitching Frosty was & always will be a memorable experience.
Hmmm ... I know there was a particular reason I was writing this post. Now what was it? Oh yes, I wanted to show you what I chose to stitch for my third IHSW project & it's progress. This is a Stacy Nash design which she has named Christmas Goose Pinkeep. I would like to suggest a name change though.
Feeds the Geese Pinkeep
Incidentally, Beulah has green skin on Stacy's model photo which I hadn't noticed before deciding to stitch it, so apparently it's not a case of old DMC 611 verses new DMC 611. Stacy just wants her to be green for whatever reason.
Posted by Shirlee at 9:17 AM
I am doing my IHSW report this month in two parts ... Part I & Part II. Why am I doing this? Read on.
In this Part I of my report, I will show you the two small stitching finishes I spoke about in yesterday's post.
Posted by Shirlee at 6:30 AM
Posted by Shirlee at 5:26 AM
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Not that anyone has asked, but I'm doing quite well on the stitching front this weekend! I have completed 2 ... yes, that's 2 ... smalls & will be starting another today : ) I could have started it earlier this morning due to the fact that I woke up at 4 a.m. all bright eyed & bushy tailed, but I'n not sure the fabric I picked out for it is just right, & I could't go digging through my fabric to see if I had anything else since John decided to sleep upstairs last night & rummaging around up there would've woken him.
I am making this interruption post to show you how I store my DMC floss. I know a lot of people unskein their floss & wrap it on bobbins. I must admit that this puzzles me. So much extra work! In my stitching life #2, I developed a bag & store method that I find quite satisfactory. I store my DMC floss skeins in small snack baggies along with an index card to back them which helps keep the baggies upright : ) I chose to place 4 different floss numbers, all in numerical order of course, in each snack baggie & made labels for each one showing the numbers. I then file the baggies numerically in 3 plastic shoe boxes with lids. The floss skeins I need for a project are thus very easy to find & put away.
Posted by Shirlee at 8:48 AM
Thursday, August 15, 2013
LindaLee of Cross'N My Stitches is having a giveaway which you can read about here : ) Her rules are simple ... be a follower of her blog, post about it on your own blog, & make sure to include your name & blog address. See! Easy-peasy : ) The drawing will be held on September 26th. You have a chance to win a box of undisclosed goodies! Fun! Do be sure to stop by & enter : )
In yesterday's post I indicated that I would do a post today for people to sign up if they are interested in stitching the traveling pattern I just finished. It's a Lizzie*Kate design called Friends Are Like Angels.
Posted by Shirlee at 12:29 PM
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
After reading through 3 days of blog posts this morning, I came to the conclusion that I will be named the first recipient of the Silver Sloth Award.
Posted by Shirlee at 9:01 PM
Saturday, August 10, 2013
June of Butterfly wings is the winner of my partially finished, woefully lacking in enough thread Shepherd's Bush kit. Congratulations June!!!
Posted by Shirlee at 8:50 AM
Sunday, August 4, 2013
It seems like it's been a while since I posted much in the way of stitchy stuff. I will post some today, but first I want to share these photos of some baby birds in a small nest located in a very small Japanese maple near our back porch.
Posted by Shirlee at 11:33 AM