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Friday, April 30, 2004

And the pink flower is done

I wasn't able to do too much stitching because of my workout last night, but the pink flower is done. I'm still going to attempt to finish it tonight, but if it doesn't get done until tomorrow, I think that will still be close enough. At least I'm in the home stretch, and I believe the blue flower is the simplest of all of the backstitching. I can take it to my framer tonight (before it is finished) because at least she can measure it, and we can pick out a frame and mats to be ready. And then I can start my new rotation! I am really excited about getting started on that.

I thought that we would be getting Part 2 of Mini Mystery E tomorrow, but just read a note from Martina that it won't be until the 15th. Well, pooh. Guess that will give me more time to devote to the others in my streamlined rotation.

I'm beginning to get excited about really digging into Scott's Ships quilt too. Now that mine is completely out of the way, I can concentrate on his. It's funny - I can work on a million cross stitch projects at once, but not so with quilting. I don't know if it's the geometry or what - but it takes a bit more concentration, if you can believe that!

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Backstitching frenzy

I am backstitching the dragonflies like crazy. I've finished the yellow flower and dragonfly and have almost finished the pink ones. Click the little photo to see a bigger one.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Stitchers' Five

Kitting Up
1. Which do you prefer, Kits or Charts?
Most of the time, charts - I'll buy kits when the design is not available as a chart.
2. Why?
First and foremost, I really like to choose my own fabric. I may choose what is recommended, but I still like having the choice. Most kits come with aida, and while I won't NOT stitch on it, I tend to use it less frequently than evenweave or linen. I do sometimes dislike sorting the colors, especially in a very large kit (say, Dimensions Gold for example). Sometimes I'm not 100% sure if I've sorted them correctly.
3. How do you organise your materials before you stitch?
I run through my stash to see what I can pull from it, then run to get whatever I don't have. I'm kind of spastic with organizing them though. If there aren't too many skeins (<40), I tend to be lazy and put them on stitchbows. If there are a lot of blends, though, I will bobbin them, and mark the blends with the symbol, making a note on the card of the numbers used to blend. Right now I have a couple of charts kitted up that have quite a lot of floss, and I just threw everything into a big plastic zipper bag, figuring I'll sort it all out when I actually start it. Oh, and I forgot to add, I generally make a working copy to mark up, unless it is a VERY small design.
4. Do you do anything to the sides of your fabric before starting?
Generally I zig-zag unless it's a tiny project.
5. What do you do with the leftovers when your done?
Eventually they will get sorted back into my main stash. I'm pretty bad about not doing that immediately. I have a couple of projects that are finished now, and I haven't yet reintegrated the remains into my stash. I'm actually starting to do that with the Dimensions kit floss, also, for backup in case I might run out of a color in another kit - I just used the Dimensions identification number, and sort them that way.

Things worked out yesterday - I was able to meet the HVAC people at lunch, and they put in less than a pound of freon and fixed a small leak, which apparently was just what it needed - ah, cool air once again. Of course, yesterday it wasn't really necessary, but it probably will be either today or tomorrow.

I did get to go work out with my co-worker(s) at the gym, and boy did we work out. Of course, I haven't done this in a long time, so it shows. We're supposed to do it again Thursday, and then I may talk to the gym about joining. It's a whole lot more motivating when you've got someone there encouraging you. We're talking about a 3-day-a-week workout schedule. That sounds do-able to me. My major food pitfall? They're sinfully good.
M & M's brand ice cream cones

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Catch up time at work

Now that I've been gone for a couple of days, I have a large backload of things to do, so I'll be spending the next few days working on those in addition to the normal flow of updates.

The one additional day of my long weekend enabled me to finish all of the cross stitching on the Dragonflies, and start the backstitching - it is going to really define it!


A co-worker is trying to talk me into going to work out with her after work. I REALLY should do it. It will depend on whether or not the HVAC people can come to the house today to look at our system and see why it's not cooling - I'm guessing it needs freon, because I know there is a leak that has been patched before... sigh.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

2 Happy Dances!

I have SO enjoyed my long weekend - and I've still got another day to go after today! I've been able to do things at my own pace, and I've actually accomplished a lot.

This morning, I put the binding on my quilt, so it is done!


Last night, I finished the backstitching, and this morning after finishing the quilt, I put the finishing touches on Voyage at Sea!


Now I am off to listen to my book on tape a little before the race (go Kenny & Mikey!), and work a little on the Dragonflies. I've got my fingers crossed that I'll be able to finish it by the end of the week too...

Friday, April 23, 2004

Part 1b finished


I still haven't added the crystals yet; I may wait until the end to do that.

The quilt show was fun and exhausting. Today has been a weird sort of day. Kind of relaxing, but quite busy - I've done a little quilting, a little stitching, a little much-needed cleaning, some grocery shopping, and had dinner with a girlfriend at one of our favorite little Mexican restaurants.

I do have a page of the quilt stash I bought (there isn't much - I was kind of good this year). I haven't begun yet resizing and editing the quilt show photos I took, but I plan to have them up within a week. Right now I want to go stitch a bit more before my eyes are too tired. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Tomorrow's the big day

3 friends and I will meet in the morning and head to Paducah for the annual AQS Quilt show. I know we are all looking forward to it. I hope to come back inspired as always, and with lots of new photos. I am so glad that such a huge event happens close enough that we can drive just about every year, because they always have incredible quilts and new goodies and tools and fabrics to see (and purchase, of course).

We spent most of Monday and Tuesday evenings after work this week going around finding everything C needs for his camping trip to Talladega. Preparing to have fun is hard work sometimes!

I haven't had a chance to finish 1b on Mini Mystery E yet, but hope to do that this weekend, along with finishing up my quilt and Voyage at Sea. Ambitious, no? Well, considering it is a 5-day weekend for me, and 4 of those will be relaxing at home, I'm aiming high!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Stitchers' Five

Specialty stitches
1. Do you like to use specialty stitches when you stitch?
I am growing more and more fond of specialty stitches as the years go by. I especially like specialty stitch samplers that combine different fibers and different stitches in unique designs.
2. Can you do a perfect french knot?
Perfect? Um, no. But I can do a decent french knot, and don't usually mind them.
3. What is your favourite stitch?
Perfect timing on this question - currently, it's the Queen stitch! I have admired them for quite a while, but haven't had an excuse to try doing them myself until just this week. I especially love stitching them with one strand of silk - they lay so perfectly. Now I want to try other specialty stitches with silk, just to see how they look.
4. Are you currently working on any projects with specialty stitches and if so which ones?
Well, I just started Mini E, which has those loverly queen stitches, as well as some other stitches. Several of the TW designs I have as WIPs have eyelets, lazy daisies, and various other specialty stitches. Nova is made up of variations on several needlepoint stitches. And Trellis Sampler has some pulled-thread stitches, which I haven't gotten to yet. But I have quite a few more charts with specialty stitches which I am planning to add to my WIPs in the near future (some Sweetheart Tree and Hillside Samplings designs).
5. Name a specialty stitch you would most love to learn how to do.
Well, to say "hardanger" encompasses more than just one stitch, but I would have to say that is what I would most love to learn how to do. I have the kloster blocks down, no big deal, but I haven't done any of the cutting and filling stitches, such as dove's eyes, woven bars, picots, spider web, and buttonhole stitches. One of the girls who comes to Sit n Stitch occasionally on Thursday nights has worked on a couple of hardanger designs which were just beautiful. I want to be able to do what she does. :)

Monday, April 19, 2004

Started Mini E!


And Part 1a is finished, except for the crystal heart - it's what I worked on during the Moonlight Stitching at my LNS Saturday night.

I started working on 1b yesterday, and have altered it just a bit. With all of the chart corrections, I wonder if there will be 2 exactly alike. If I finish this part tonight, I will post another progress picture.

I just have to say, I LOVE Queen stitches!!! Well, okay, I'll clarify - I love doing Queen stitches with silk - they lay so perfectly with silk. I had practiced with some DMC floss, and they looked just okay, but when I did them with the silk, well - see for yourself in the closeup (click on the photo above). Now I want to find some more designs with Queen stitches, and some more silk and just go to town. I think I've seen grape bunches done in Queen stitches... :)

Friday, April 16, 2004

A night with no stitching?!?!?!

That was tonight, unfortunately - I just had way too many other responsibilities tonight. So I'm going to make up for it tomorrow. My LNS is having their "Midnight stitch" from 6 p.m. until midnight, and I'm there, baby! I can't believe I didn't get in a single stitch at all today. One positive note - I'm thoroughly enjoying a new book by James Patterson - 3rd Degree (the third book in his women's murder club mystery series).

Oh, and I'm stalking the mailman for my Mini Mystery E materials package

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Added new percent bars

I added new percent complete progress bars to all of my WIP pages (and to the sidebar, right), courtesy of Anna Knits (link no longer available). They are really cool, in my opinion. I've kinda kept track in my spreadsheet, but didn't know of a neat (and easy) graphic way to do it on my web site until now. Thanks Anna!

I worked a bit on the Dragonflies last night while we watched Runaway Jury. Tonight I may get back to that backstitching that I'm starting to avoid on Voyage at Sea... I just really despise most of Dimensions' kits' backstitching. It's awkward to do even though most of the time it looks pretty in the end.

I just received a message from Kathy (www.europeanxs.com) that she's sending my Mini-Mystery E kit materials out today! Now if Martina will just go ahead and approve my yahoo group membership to the mystery, I'll just about be set... :) Yes, I know I have no patience. And yes, I know I'm supposed to be stitching 2 gifts and not worrying about my new rotation yet... :D

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Bad girl...

What can I say? You people stitching Chatelaine designs finally did it. You broke me. I was doing so good resisting. But I guess 'tis true... "resistance is futile."

I just joined Chatelaine's Mini Mystery E and bought the materials... now I have to wait for them to get here. Impatiently, of course. I've seen part one stitched up now, and I absolutely, positively, must do this one for myself. "Emerald" is my favorite gemstone too. I was doomed from the start...

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Stitchers' Five

Favourite Themes
1. What is your favourite theme to stitch (i.e. primitive, fantasy, samplers, etc)
I would have to say fantasy - dragons, wizards, mermaids, castles. I also love animals, samplers, and halloween, but fantasy is my favorite.
2. Has this always been your favourite theme (i.e as your tastes change)?
Oh yes, although when I started stitching there weren't very many fantasy designs. Actually, Teresa Wentzler's The Castle was the first fantasy design I stitched. But that wasn't until I'd been stitching for over 10 years.
3. How many WIPs/UFOS do you have currently in this theme?
Wow, 19 of my current 33 WIPs are fantasy-themed.
4. And how many finished?
8 so far. Not bad, considering that a lot of the fantasy designs I like are rather large.
5. Name three favourite designs in your overall favourite theme.
I think my all-time favorite is still The Castle, by Teresa Wentzler. Two others that I would consider favorites are current WIPs, Magnificent Wizard by Don Maitz and Dragon Heart by Karen Weaver (Black Swan Designs).

New rotationOkay, so I've decided on a new cross stitch rotation consisting of 6 projects plus a travel project. I'm still working on Dragonflies and Voyage at Sea, so I can't begin my new rotation yet, but I'm looking forward to it. It's really a mixture of older and newer projects, and a mixture of techniques and styles, so I shouldn't get bored easily. I'm looking forward to this Saturday night - my LNS is having our "midnight stitch" which is basically a sit n stitch party from 6 p.m. until midnight. I don't know if my eyes will be able to stay open and focus on stitching that late, but I'm looking forward to having a really dedicated block of time with fellow stitchers working on projects. I'll probably carry along my 63 squares crochet project too, in case my eyes do get tired - at least I can work on that when they do.

I'm keeping my rotation list with me (inspiration!), and will post it on the sidebar soon. I haven't completely decided on the order yet, but I'm thinking that the order I have written down may work okay - I'll probably run through one round, then tweak it if necessary.

For the record, my rotation will be
  • Nova
  • Dragon Heart
  • Castles by the Sea
  • Legends of the Dragons
  • Snow Leopard
  • Mini Mystery E (Chatelaine) [this is the samplers/small projects slot]
with the Travel Project being Trellis Sampler.

edited to change the samplers/small projects slot because I just lost my mind

Monday, April 12, 2004

Hope to start a new rotation soon

I have decided to try a new rotation once I finish up the two gifts I am currently working on (Dimensions' Voyage at Sea and Mike Vickery's Dragonflies).

I've had a fairly large rotation in the past. All of my WIPs were included. I almost made it through using the 10-hour scheme twice, then things fell apart. I've tried the days-of-the-week rotation, which worked for a while, and I've done the screaming rotation, which also worked for a while (until everything started screaming at once ).

So I was thinking about trying something different. I guess I hadn't thought about NOT including all of my WIPs in a rotation. But seeing some of the posts on the TWBB Rotation Stitchers board got me to thinking about it, and I attempted to put my WIPs into a few categories. I came up with:
  • BAPs (4 - Gothic Castle, Ixlandia, Nova, and Starry Night)
  • Black Swan Designs (5 - Aurora, Avatar, Dragon Heart, Lucien, and Merrick)
  • Dimensions/Lanarte kits (5 - Arabian Woman, Cat Eyes, Magnificent Wizard, Snow Leopard, and Unicorn Mystique)
  • TW designs (9 - Castles by the Sea, CD, DR, ES, Enchanter, FS, Guardian, MN, and Storyteller)
  • Other (8 - Fancy Pansy, Legends of the Dragons, Mother's Arms, Pageant Kings, Pharaoh's Pet, Smokey (Moonstruck), Summer's Magic, and Trellis Sampler)
Most of these projects are large and will take time to finish. Also, I enjoy learning new stitches and working on band samplers quite a bit. There are none of those in my current WIP pile, though I do have several kitted up. So, to keep myself from freaking out, I would add a 6th category -
  • Small projects/samplers (for example, Just Nan and other samplers, Sweetheart Tree hearts, ornaments, and small primitives such as Bent Creeks)
I'll probably also keep one project in my bag for on-the-go/at-work, but that project can't be very difficult, so I'm thinking of slotting in Trellis Sampler, which was originally that kind of project.

I've decided which project will be chosen from each category (noted in maroon font). The thing I haven't come up with is how I will switch between projects because I no longer time my progress. I'm not sure if a week per project is a good attempt or not. I would like to see progress on each project as it comes up in my rotation, but I also don't want to get bored. I try to stitch every night, but sometimes that isn't possible. Any suggestions or comments are welcome!
Here are the two crochet squares I finished over the weekend, and an updated pic of Voyage at Sea:


I'm finally through with the cross and half stitches, and the backstitching has begun!

Oops - edited to add one more pic - just to show you I have been working on Dragonflies - just not as much as VAS. :)

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Haven't been around much

We went to the ARCA race Friday night, and then yesterday we went to the Busch race. I got to watch Kenny finish 5th in the ARCA race (and Casey finished 2nd!), then Mikey won the Busch race (Casey didn't fare as well this time - he had a green flag pit stop and was a lap down when the caution came out -- TWICE. His luck was terrible - I know he had a top 10 car, just didn't have the finish for it. We came home and had to watch the ending on tape, just to see the replays for ourselves that there shouldn't have been any doubt that Michael Waltrip won the race. Go Mikey!!!

I started another crochet square on the way home from the race, and managed to finish both it and another one before we turned in for the evening. I'll try to post scans Monday.

I'm still working on Voyage at Sea - I have a newer progress scan posted. I've worked on it a bit since then, but I haven't yet finished all of the cross stitching.

I'm working on coming up with a new rotation. Once I finish the 2 gift projects, I plan to post the rotation and start on it. It will be definitely pared down from the ones in the past. I'm still not doing it based on number of hours, not sure what the method will be that I will use to switch to the next one, but I'll let you know when I come up with it. ;)

Okay, I need to go put rinse in the laundry and a few stitches into VAS or Dragonflies - oh, and Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Funny comment made last night...

Okay, so after I posted the blog entry last night, I went to stitch with my new glasses on.

And I was listening to a book on tape. So I could do 2 things at once. Besides, I love unabridged books on tape.

And all of a sudden from the peanut gallery (aka one of the Game Night guys otherwise known as Hollywood) comes the comment,

"You must be pretty jacked up to have to put on glasses to read a book on tape!"

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Got my new reading glasses!

So, here Candy decided to pose with Mommy (okay - she didn't decide, I decided for her)


And here's a closeup of the glasses - I don't know if you can see the color, but I really like them!


I'm off to give them a proper test! B-)

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Almost time for bed

Thought I'd post a quick update before heading to bed. I got Square #7 - alternate puff stitch - completed last night. I also worked on my quilt a little more. This whole idea of putting the quilt together after it has been quilted is a LOT of work. And not very pretty (at least on the back). Oh well, it is just for me, so I'm not going to complain too much. :)

Today during lunch I worked some on Voyage at Sea. I have the ship and sky all cross-stitched, and have started the water at the bottom. A few more days, and I believe I should be able to start the backstitching in earnest. Left that project at work, so tonight I worked a little on Dragonflies - the yellow flower. I want to make a little more progress before I post a new progress scan.

Also got a new (second) hard drive for my home 'puter, so I got that all installed and formatted. I should now be able to move data files from the first drive and free up some space on it. I like the idea of having an applications drive (apps) separate from my data drive. I also prefer ME telling the computer where I want to store "My Documents" so that I can recover them more easily should I need to reinstall Windows (a problem I've run into with using the default Windows user directories). It's far from being well-organized currently, but I should have that remedied soon. Hope everyone is having a great week so far. Mine is dragging a little, but hopefully I will get some good stitching time in tomorrow.

::yawn:: Nighty-night!

Monday, April 05, 2004

A relaxed weekend behind, and looks like a full weekend ahead...

I was actually quite busy this weekend, but a lot of that was working on various quilt, crochet and cross-stitch projects!

Saturday I had a haircut scheduled, and wanted to visit my mom & dad (and it turned out, 3 nieces who had spent the night with Grammy & Papa) a bit. When I left to drive home, I ran by and picked up 2 tickets for the Busch series race here at Nashville Superspeedway next weekend. H.G. Hill's stores were running a promotion and I could actually buy the general admission tickets there, without any extra fees. I've since found out that my favorite driver, Ken Schrader, is entered in the ARCA race this Friday night, so I'll probably have to go to that race so that I can root him on again. He won the inaugural ARCA race at Nashville Superspeedway, y'know... I like to think it's because I was there rooting him on from the front row :)

Saturday afternoon/evening CC went to play video games and so I decided that, darnit, I would make myself go in that craft room and work on my quilt (in a blog post on Feb. 13, I admitted to having some issues with machine quilting). Because I am trying the quilt-as-you-go method, I had pieced all of my blocks into 12 4-block sections, each about 16½" square. So I had to cut out batting and backing pieces a little larger than this, and sandwich them all together.

I knew I was short on backing fabric, but this wasn't a big deal, because I was piecing everything together. Half of the quilt would have one flannel backing fabric, half would have another (In fact, I've decided to "checkerboard" the back because of this, so it might even look like I planned it this way). I was initially using some scraps of batting and ran out of them, and so I had to pull out a new package and cut into it. Because I wanted to work on it right then, I had to iron the darn stuff. What a pain. I'm just not really big into ironing, and I wanted to make sure I didn't iron any creases into it. Then, because I'm using this product that I got at the Nashville AQS Quilt Expo back in August (Bo-Nash Bonding Agent), I had to iron all 3 layers together. Actually, I cheated at the end. I only sprinkled the powder between the top and the batting, but not the batting and the backing on the last 7 sections. I didn't feel like pin-basting or thread-basting the sections, and haven't tried the basting sprays.

Anyhoo (I'm getting bogged down again, like I was Saturday, in all the little details), I finally got everything ready so that I could finish machine quilting the sections. I listened to my book on tape (Renegades of Pern) while I was going along, and was actually surprised when I finished the last one. CC called at almost that same moment to let me know he was heading home, so I got things put away and pulled out my stitching to work on while we watched an episode of Stargate.

Sunday, I got wrapped up in the crochet-along for the 63 squares afghan, finished square #4 (which I had started Thursday evening), and started #5. Well, I just could not put down #5, so I finished it. And then I started #6, and I just couldn't put it down either, so I finished it too. I didn't start anything else, but finally got out my cross stitch - Voyage at Sea project, and put in a few more stitches before going to bed.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Closeup corner of framing for Mermaid Magic

Okay, I can't post a photo of the full design framed, but just to give you a taste, hint... this is a corner of the framing:


CC suggested we hang it in the dining room, so I just need to figure out where in there. :)

3 squares down, 60 to go :)

Square #1 completed March 30, 2004 - single crochet Square #2 completed March 31, 2004 - half double crochet Square #3 completed April 1, 2004 - double crochet

I picked up my Mermaid Magic (framed) at my LNS last night, and found out that they have extended the free mats special through April! Hmmmm.... I wonder if I can get anything else finished in time to take advantage of that sale again. Got to visit a bit with the girls, and then Taneya and Kalonji came in - so I finally got to meet him.

My eye doctor's appointment yesterday went well. It's funny, I've never realized that my right eye is a little weaker than my left eye. Well, I certainly found out in my exam! I am slightly far-sighted, and they are making me a pair of reading glasses to help reduce eye strain when I'm working on the computer, reading, or doing needlework, etc. I picked out some cool plum-colored frames, and the glasses should be ready within a week to 10 days.

Meanwhile, it is Friday, hallelujah! Looking forward to another stitch-filled weekend.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Don't you hate it when

computers LOSE things? Like my blog template. I was updating it - changing one bloody link, when *poof*, it all disappeared. All of the customizations, all of the html except the first 2 lines - gone. And me, like an idiot, didn't have a backup of it. So I had to rebuild it from the code of the index page. Fortunately, I hadn't clicked the Publish button, only the Save button. So hopefully after the rebuild, it isn't broken when I post this entry. Trust me, I have a backup copy now.

I finished square #2 for the 63 squares afghan last night, and I also worked a little on the TW Myrtle Beach project. Playing with that cashel linen and the colors and metallics was just so pleasant yesterday, I could barely put it down when it was time for bed. I have an eye doctor's appointment late this afternoon - nothing serious, just a checkup. Then hopefully I'll be up for the Sit n Stitch tonight at my LNS. Happy stitching!!!