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Sunday, May 30, 2004

LotD Update: Magic is finished!

Finally! It took forever to backstitch the border around Magic. But here is the little draggie, all smiles now that he's complete!


Next up: Snow Leopard

Happy, happy 3-day weekend! :)

Friday, May 28, 2004

3-day weekend is here, yippee!

And it couldn't have come too soon for me. I plan on making the most of this weekend by relaxing most of it. I do plan to continue my exercise, but other than that, I'm going to stitch and read and love on DH and DK (dear kitties).

One by-product of going to the gym and walking on a treadmill is that I've discovered I can read (not just listen to an unabridged book on tape - really read) a book as I walk. I started with 3rd Degree by James Patterson, and then I had gotten to a book in Anne McCaffrey's Pern series which my library did not have on tape, The Dolphins of Pern. It was a wonderful distraction from the digital clock! It didn't seem like I was walking 30 or 45 minutes, because my mind was on the wonderful story. When I finished it, I decided to read one of my Silhouette Shadows (one of my guilty pleasures - I just love gothic romances, and these are the closest, fairly recent, things to them) that has been gathering dust on the bookshelf. Finally. I haven't read very many fiction books in the last few years because I can't read them and stitch at the same time. Unabridged books on tape are a great substitute for me, because that way I can do both. But now that I've figured that out, I can do two things at once - one good for my mental health and the other good for my physical. Of course, I won't stop listening to books on tape - I'm listening to one now in the car mostly, on the way to and from work. And I have the next in the Pern series on audio waiting for me to pick it up at the library (note to self: you should do that tomorrow morning because they're closed on Monday...).

I should have an updated scan of Legends by the end of the weekend. I think I'm going to go pull my tape out of the car and bring it in to listen while I stitch and C races online. Rudy (alpha kitty) is sitting at the wondow watching the cardinals and robins. They're making a lot of noise, so I wonder if they see her too. ;) I hope everyone has a fabulous Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Got my little Magic draggie finished...

... on Legends of the Dragons. Now I need to work on stitching the over-one name underneath him and backstitching the border in this middle segment.

Work-work continues to evolve. It is constantly on my mind, and I can't just leave it at the office. When I come home, I don't want to have to think about anything but home stuff. I don't want to worry over the work part of my life - they are two separate entities, and I am happiest when I KEEP them that way. Needless to say, I'm not the happiest camper at the moment.

Enough about work. I'm going to go put my book on tape in the player and see what I can accomplish on the little Magic draggie. He really is a cutie, now that he's all backstitched-up. ;)

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Just a quickie

I've had lots of stuff going on at work over the past few days. I didn't stitch at all Monday night. Last night I stitched a little, but was so tired from everything going on that I don't feel like I accomplished much.

Today at work was another doozy, with lots of work, and lots of rumors and speculation regarding what is going to happen with the upcoming IT consolidation. No one knows what is going to happen, but the feeling is that something is going to happen soon - it's that whole "impending doom" feeling which has just got me (along with everyone else, I'm sure) on edge.

I'm going to go try to stitch on Legends of the Dragons now while the guys have Game Night - it's almost the only thing keeping me sane right now. Thank goodness coming home to my DH and kitty-babies is such a relief and joy. Otherwise, I know I'd be certifiable. Hopefully have an update scan for you in a day or two on LotD!

Monday, May 24, 2004

Stitcher's Five - Finishing

1. How many have you framed on the wall?
Quite a few now - let's see... I think there are about 30 in all of the ones I have stitched, plus a couple others that I have either purchased or someone has made for me.

2. How many do you have finished in other ways?
Currently, only a couple of small ornaments.

3. What was the most expensive finishing?
Probably Fantastic Fall Bouquet, because it's a large piece, and it's in a rather large frame with a special mat. It hangs in my dining room, and is gorgeous for the space there, if I do say so myself.

4. Have you finished anything yourself?
Yes, and now I do it the right way, without sticky board! I have finished quite a few pieces, but taking advantage of quite a few recent sales, I've allowed my framer to do a lot of that work too.

5. Describe your favourite finished piece.
Can I have a couple? Fantastic Fall Bouquet is one, and my itty bitty Cat Sampler is the other. Both of them are stitched and framed in some of my favorite colors.

I'd like never to do *that* again

This weekend, one of my nieces had a roller skating birthday party. Everything was going well - we were all having fun, mostly I was helping my youngest niece (4 years old) skate around the rink at her pace. Which is probably the pace I should have kept up the entire time. Or at the very least, I should not have been showing off with my brother. We were skating around the rink, talking about turning around and skating backwards and turning back around and skating forwards. I haven't been skating in over a year and a half. And their floors are not the cleanest. So, I'm spinning around and around (do you see where this is going?), and on my way back around to face forward, I fell. Hard. Knees first. Right palm, elbow, shoulder next. Needless to say, I'm quite sore. And have some lovely colored bruises on my knees, palm, and elbow. The shoulder doesn't show any bruises, but the muscle still feels the strain. Ick. Of course, it won't stop me from skating - I just think I'll be a little more careful in the future.
In stitching news, I finished up my round on Castles by the Sea. I finished the beach scene, as intended, and now I'm moving on to Legends of the Dragons. My goal for this round is to finish up Magic, including the backstitching and over-one name/title. I also want to finish backstitching the border around Magic before I move on to the next project.

Friday, May 21, 2004

TGIF!

I can't scream it loudly enough - TGIF!!!!

I received the Quilt Patis in the mail Wednesday, along with 3 little 8 x 8 squares of fabric and a reduction in shippping cost. I ordered from The Quilting Circle, and will definitely be ordering from them again - that's great service! What a treat to receive some extra fabric pieces with my order.

So, of course, I had to start playing with them.


Here are 3 of the 26 hexagons I created last night, May 19 (one of which is turned over so you can see the construction and the quilt pati inside it).

I'm definitely going to be creating this quilt in the 1930's reproduction fabrics, of which I have a nice small collection of mostly fat quarters. The fabric used in the top left hexagon is one my mother gave me. I believe it may have been one from my grandmother's collection. I think it will fit in nicely, and add a really personal touch. Now I just have to find some solids to start making my flowers!

In cross stitch news, I am still working on the beach/sandcastle scene of Castles by the Sea. I stitched about 2/3 of the beach last night, so hopefully I will finish that up this weekend, as well as the backstitching on it.

Saturday is my niece Delaney's birthday party - so I get to go roller skating again! My skates are always ready - they ride in the trunk of my car just waiting for the opportunity to come out and play.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

A little crochet... a little quilting

I've worked a little on the Castles by the Sea project, but haven't yet finished this round yet.

I've also been working on the 63 squares afghan a bit. I took it along to work on in the doctor's office waiting room, then worked a little more on it last night. I've now finished squares 13, 14, and 15.




I also finished cutting all of the pieces for the waves blocks for Scott's Ships quilt, and just barely got started piecing them.



I'm thinking I'll probably finish those blocks before I get back to the ships - concentrating on doing just one type of block is probably a good idea, knowing me... :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Stitchers' Five and another crochet square

This week we're answering about wishlists.
Do you keep a wishlist?
Actually, I do - but I only have my cross stitch wish items written down. Everything else (meaning other crafts - quilting, crochet, beads, etc.) is more or less in my head, or in catalog pages where I turn the corners down.
If so how many items are on it?
On the xs one (which is sort of up to date) - 9 charts, 3 other "supplies" items. On the quilting one, too many to count!
Name three of those items
Let's see - Inca and Mayan Cultures chart or kit by Lanarte, overdyed silk floss, hand-dyed fabric (since I don't have much of the silk floss or hand-dyed fabrics to begin with, I'm not real picky about colors right now).
Do you let other people see it?
Of course!
How often do you add to it?
Occasionally when I see something I've just *GOT* to have, especially when I've been enabled while perusing the BBs. But sometimes I forget to make a note to myself, and so I forget to update my page.


I finally finished up another crochet square last night - #12, the Open Ridge Stitch

I also started #13, but it's only about half-done so far.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Part 2 of Mini-Mystery E

So we got Part 2 of Mini-Mystery E Friday night / Saturday morning, and I was so excited, I printed it out and immediately got to work. It didn't say how far down from Part 1 we were supposed to start it, but I guessed 4 threads - found out later it was supposed to be 6, but I don't think it looks bad. I probably should wait until all questions are answered for Part 3. One other thing I found out this morning is that the 2 center dark green algerian eyelets were supposed to be stitched with the dark green silk - I stitched them with the green metallic. I don't plan on frogging and re-doing them, because I think it looks fine the way it is stitched - and mine will be unique from the others. ;)

The scan is a little dark because I went ahead and added the crystals this time - I'll try to take a photo tonight so it won't have all the shadowing as below.

I also worked on Castles By the Sea a bit once I finished part 2 of MME. My plan is to finish the top area - a sandcastles on the beach scene - before moving on to the next project in my rotation.

And speaking of Myrtle Beach... I had brought back two little shells from my MB trip, which will be secreted like treasures in the nuns stitch sachet project once I finish it, so I won't see them again.

My friend Phyl did the sweetest thing - she did a watercolor of the two shells for me, so I'll always be able to see them, even though they are sewn inside the sachet. Thank you, my dear friend!

Friday, May 14, 2004

Framed Voyage at Sea and Dragonflies!

It's going to be hard to give these away, but I think the recipients will love them as much as I do!

Dragonflies, by Mike Vickery


and Voyage at Sea by Todd Trainer


And TGIF!!!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Played in my craft room last night

Once I got all of the "chores" out of the way, and since it was Game Night for the guys, I went into my craft room and played with Scott's quilt some. Actually, most of the time was spent ironing fabrics and cutting out pieces for the wave blocks. I didn't get finished, but I made a good start. I'm anxious to get started piecing them, and finishing up the ship blocks I've got started. I also need to get the sashing strips and squares cut out - so it will probably be a couple more weeks before I have everything ready to go.

I also decided to go ahead and invest in some Quilt Patis. These are little 1" hexagon (they also come in 1.5" and .5", I believe) templates. I originally saw them demonstrated on a Flower Garden episode of Simply Quilts. I've always loved the Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts, and would like to make one myself one day. I know that this will be a long-term project, because it will all be (yes, even the piecing) done by hand. But it should be another project which would be very portable, at least during the piecing phase.

Tonight is Sit n Stitch night at my LNS, and I'm looking forward to picking up my framed pieces and catching up with everyone I haven't seen in about 3 weeks.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

I know why I have to rotate

My concentration only lasts so long, even on some of my favorite projects. And then I start making mistakes. I'll have to frog out the last few stitches I put into Dragon Heart the next time it comes up in my rotation, but otherwise, I'm pleased with this round's progress.


I worked on the gold dragon this time, and a little on the lower left border. I even finished the left shield. Next time I pick it up, in addition to picking out the few errant stitches, I'll probably work on the border some more. It's probably a little late for this, but I would like to make sure the left and right borders are going to meet correctly in the middle...

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Stitchers' Five - Beads!

1. Which type of beads do you prefer Mill Hill, Delica or other brand?
Now that I have discovered Delicas, I much prefer them over Mill Hills.
2. Why?
They are so uniform, compared to the MH beads, and the holes are so large that I can use a regular size 28 needle without having any problems. With the regular Mill Hill seed beads, you have to slant them on 28 or 14 count fabric to get them to fit if you are working with many in one area. Delicas, on the other hand, can be stitched straight up and down without crowding.
3. What do you use to stitch beads on with?
It depends - most of the time I use floss that is generally the same color as the fabric. Occasionally, I'll use floss that matches the bead. For a more recent project, I'm using Nymo that matches the fabric. I dislike using the clear nylon filament as I find it too difficult to work with.
4. When to bead..as you go or at the end?
Again, it depends. I have recently started working more in hand than in a frame or q-snap, so I don't have to worry about breaking beads if I bead as I go. I think I prefer to bead as I go, rather than leave it all to the end - the same as with backstitching. I'd really rather complete an area and then move on to the next.
5. Do you bead only with cross stitch or do you use them on their own?
Both. I love the look that beads add to cross stitch, but I also love them on their own. I have made beaded jewelry, scissors fobs, beads, etc. Especially now with the uniformity of the Delicas, so many interesting items can be made. Eventually I want to make a beaded scissors case similar to the one I bought at a quilt show, created by Cindi Edgerton:

Monday, May 10, 2004

Framed pieces are ready for pickup!

My LNS called me earlier to let me know that both Dragonflies and Voyage at Sea are framed and ready for pickup. I'm excited to see them both, but probably won't be able to until Thursday at Sit n Stitch because of other after-work commitments this week.

Blogger's got a new interface - interesting. I don't have to worry about changing my template because what I have matches my web site. But it's nice to know that they are offering more templates now, as well as additional publishing features and comments. I think I will leave my comments with haloscan for the time being, but I'm curious as to how well the new blogger ones work. Guess I'll be watching to see if anyone else enables them and how well they like them.

I'm still working on Dragon Heart - the gold dragon's head is almost complete, except for some beads and a few stitches. I'll probably start stitching a little of the lower left border tonight too, woohoo!

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Row H on Nova is done!


I also realized that I have worked a couple of squares (and some partial squares) in the bottom left corner of Nova, so I took a photo of that also.

I still think that H-3 is my favorite square of this round. It looks really different from the rest.

Well, time to put Nova supplies back in their space for a little bit and pull out Dragon Heart. I feel a really nice sense of accomplishment, and look forward to seeing Nova again in a few weeks.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Almost another 5 squares

With the exception of about 15 stitches, I completed another 5 squares on Nova last night. I should be able to finish row H this weekend (and post a new picture), and move on to Dragon Heart.

Great news about Mini Mystery E - we'll be receiving the last part early because of scheduling conflicts for Martina. Woohoo! I can't wait to see what the next part will be.

I was too pooped to go to Sit n Stitch last night, so I just stayed home and we watched our tv shows. Hard to believe there is only one Frasier left - next week. I really enjoyed the flashback episode from Tuesday. From the teaser for the finale, it doesn't seem like they're going to have any huge revelation or surprise.

With summer almost here, my hair is really starting to get on my nerves. I have a haircut appointment for the 15th, and I'm seriously considering some major whacking on this mane. After all, as C pointed out - it will grow out again. I'm just at the point where I'm having to put a barrette in it to keep it out of my face, and with the workouts, it's really, really heavy, even pulled into a ponytail. Plus, I'd really like a cut that I don't have to do much to style it - pretty much wash-n-go, unless we're going out. Sherry's going to think I am psycho, since we just did the perm a couple of months ago. But she should be used to my spastic moods by now. ;)

Thursday, May 06, 2004

And the decision was...

Nova! And thus begins my new rotation!

I stitched the first 5 squares on row H of Nova last night while listening to tapes 7 and 8 of All the Weyrs of Pern. My favorite of those (and C's favorite as well), H-3. It's interesting - when I first began Nova, I could only stitch a square or two a night, but I'm really learning the patterns, and though some squares still may take more time, I'm able to stitch 3-4 in the same amount of time now as the 1-2 then.

Oh, and I had a challenge from C last night. Knowing how I generally am, he said that he thought I would bail on this rotation before one project in it was finished. HAHAHAHAHA!!! I told him that I already thought of that, which is why I have the small projects/samplers slot!! I have Mini Mystery E in that slot, and we're supposed to receive part 2 on May 15 and part 3 on June 15.

So far, I really like the idea of this particular rotation. It will give me a chance to focus on just a few projects (with different levels of difficulty and variety) and still have new starts and finishes fairly frequently. And so, I should see some good progress on those projects in my rotation, as I'll be seeing them more frequently than in previous attempts.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Non-stitching blogging: Well, I think it's a record - I've been working out for a whole week now without quitting. Okay, maybe not, but it actually feels like I'm accomplishing something this time around. Originally the plan was to work out 3 days a week, both aerobic (walking for 30 minutes to warm up), and strength training (to help tone those muscles that are so desperately out of shape). I'm starting to notice a bit of toning in my outer thighs (one of the problem areas), and was able to wear a pair of khakis today that has been really too tight for wearing anywhere (not to mention uncomfortable). I haven't changed my diet much, except to try to consciously not eat as much sweets. I do have a sweet tooth, but I've tried to satisfy it with the more occasional treat, and supplement it with more bananas and apples. Denial is not an option at this point - it would end up defeating me. So anyway, back to the workout - I'm adding a couple of additional aerobic (walking) days to my schedule, just to help get the heart in better condition, and work on burning off some of the fat. My plan is to do this for a month or so, then go back to the 3-days-a-week schedule. I don't plan to blog much about it - it's more of a personal journey than anything else. But it does tend to cut a bit into my stitching time, so I may not seem to make as much quick progress on projects as usual.

Now, as for stitching: after my workout this evening, I plan to do one of two things. I'll either work on Scott's quilt or finally get out Nova and start on my new, smaller, rotation! Tonight is game night for the guys, so I'll just have to decide which one I'm in the mood to work on. I did spend some time last Sunday putting away the leftovers from Voyage at Sea, Dragonflies, The Black Cat, the abandoned Christmas Mystery, and some not-so-recent Stash Enhancement eXperiences (yes, I'm very bad, I know - some of that was purchased last summer).

I need to re-inventory for my database, but before I do that, I need to decide whether to de-kit some unstarted projects. I probably won't, given that I really love the ones I have kitted up, but I will evaluate that in the near future. My database is yet another unfinished project. I would love to be able to figure out how to "check out"" available inventoried floss to a project, and then when finished, either check it back in or remove it from inventory completely (if it is all used at that point). I know a little about SQL and databases and ASP, but I am not a programmer, and I'm not sure if Access 2000/2003 and I are up to that task. It's (my cross stitch database) something I like to use to hone my skills and improve my knowledge though. One of the things I have noticed about Access 2003 that I REALLY like is that I can have the database open and still be able to "access" it through a web page, something that could not be done in 2000.

So... what shall it be? Nova? Scott's Ships Quilt? Hmmmm...... tune in tomorrow to find out!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Stitchers' Five

Threads
1.)Which is your favourite brand of speciality thread?
Ooh, hard question, because I have several favorites. I love the Needle Necessities floss - a lot of their space-dyed color combinations are really neat. I have only begun working with silks, so I haven't tried very many, but I do like the Needlepoint, Inc. ones. I've recently discovered Petite Treasure Braid by Rainbow Gallery, and really love working with it over the Kreinik metallic braid #4, except that they don't offer as many colors as Kreinik does. I think it really depends on the type of thread.
2.)Why?
Whoops, I think I answered this one above. Basically, though, it has to do with the feel of the thread (whatever type of thread that may be), ease of use, and the look once a stitch is completed.
3)How many other brands of thread do you have in your stash?
I'm just increasing that exponentially, it seems. I have quite a few different Rainbow Gallery threads now that I have started doing geometric needlepoint designs - silks, linens, rayons, nylons, you name it, it seems they make it! I also have quite a selection of Gentle Art Sampler Threads and Weeks Dye Works from all of the Bent Creeks that I've been doing recently. Caron has quite a few different types of fibers also, and I have a few Watercolours, Wildflowers, and a 'Waterlilies' or two. Oh, and of course, the DMC rayons - I discovered how much fun it was to to satin stitches with those (and how fabulous they loooked) with Autumn Mystery 2003 by Pam Kellogg. I've also received one Gumnut and some Dinky-Dyes in some trades. And of course, there's the requisite Kreinik metallics - blending filaments, braids, ribbons, silks... I'm sure that's not all, but it's all I can think of at the moment.
4.) How do you store your threads?
All over the place - oh, wait - you asked how, not where. The answer is still all over the place. I have most in floss baggies on large rings. Some, like the Kreinik metallics, are mostly in a large container that has dividers, sorted into types (bf, #4 braid, #8 braid, and so on). Some of my Kreinik silks are in the little container they came in when I bought an assortment. Very few do I wind on bobbins, because I can't stand the kinks.
5.) How confident do you feel at substituting between thread types and colours compared to what the chart calls for?
I'm much more confident now than I was a couple of years ago. With experience comes understanding and confidence!

Monday, May 03, 2004

Took an inventory

of where I stand with Scott's Ships quilt. I have been working on gathering the necessary materials for quite a while now, and have mocked up both the ship and wave blocks.

Well, I actually already have 8 of the ship blocks made, sans sashing strips, of the 22 required. There will also be 20 Wave (modified Snail's Trail) blocks, and I don't plan to use the one I have mocked up, as the construction is different from the actual construction I will use on that block.
Mockup blocks of Scott's Ships quilt

I won't be able to use the fabric I originally had in mind for the sashing strips (the dark blue), because I don't have enough of it, and don't want to go try to find more. I do have another dark blue fabric with some red, yellow, and white anchors on it that I think will do the job just as well, if not even better. I still plan to use the yellow sashing squares. This quilt should be at least 74" x 86", and I haven't decided yet if I will put a border on it. If I do, it will probably be a small border.

I finished crochet square #11 - front post and back post double crochet - what a pain that one was! It's not very pretty either. But it is done, and I will move on to #12 now.

Saturday, May 01, 2004