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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review: DMC Stitchbows floss storage

Having owned and used the DMC Stitchbows for quite a few years now, I thought I'd give a little review, otherwise known as my thoughts on the system.

I first saw these on, and immediately had to have them (even though I had to have them shipped across the pond). I have wound floss on bobbins for many years, and it seemed like the perfect solution to the ache that my shoulder develops after a session of winding new bobbins for a project. And for that, it is. It is very easy and quick to slide the paper tags off floss skeins and slip those skeins on the stitchbow holders. Then you just slip the paper tag with the number over the little tab that sticks out, and voila, you're done and on to the next one.

Storage can be a little tricky if you have a lot of them. When I got mine, they had stitchbow boxes that held 50 in each. The ones I got were pretty decent, though they were basically cardboard outer shells with thin plastic inserts. I think some people had problems with the stitchbows falling out when they opened the boxes, but it hasn't been a problem for me. Anyway, it appears that they discontinued them.

They also sold binder inserts which hold 15 of the stitchbows. I got several of these to use with projects. They work fine to hold the bows, but they are bulky, especially when you have a large project with multiple binder insert pages. Also, I still haven't figured out a good method for storing tweeded or blended flosses. With bobbins, it's no big deal, as you can wrap both pieces of floss around one bobbin and label it with the symbol (which is what I do - my project boxes for Teresa Wentzler designs are full of these). Not so easy with the bows.

Enter Pageant Kings, the project which brought about this little blog post. The binder I have to accommodate my floss on bows is pretty massive, with 7 binder inserts full of floss. This makes it unwieldy to begin with. When you add in the fact that I have to store my metallics separately, and there are about 20 blended symbols, it makes management of the project a little cumbersome and irritating, to put it mildly. That may a good part of the reason I haven't worked on it much, because it's such a hassle. So I've decided to fix that. Tomorrow I'm going to get a new floss box, several packages of bobbins, and I'm going to wind all of the floss for this project onto bobbins. And I'll have my 20 blended symbol bobbins. And that will make it easier to come back to this project, once I'm through working on it this round.

Now you may think that this means that I'm throwing out the stitchbows, but I believe they do have their place - in small projects that have 15 or fewer floss colors and no blended floss symbols. I am using them when I work on a Prairie Schooler ABC Quilt square. Each of those seems to use around 15 colors, so fitting the chart, fabric, and one binder insert into a bag (without the binder) is nice and tidy. But for the bigger projects with many more colors of DMC, I'll be sticking with my bobbins from now on.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The beginnings of a falcon

I pulled out Egyptian Sampler and put a few stitches into the border and the left falcon. I'm feeling the need to work on something else I haven't seen in a while, so back onto the shelf it goes and out comes Pageant Kings.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Around the World in 80 Stitches, Part 2

Part 2 is finished! I had to rip out and restitch a couple of stitches several times, but I think I finally got it right. This part reminds me a little of Sweetheart tree designs with the vines trailing around specialty stitches. I decided to go ahead and try the cut hardanger part (instead of the non-cut style). I had never done dove's eyes before, so I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out. I'm sure they could be better, but for my first time, I'm satisfied. And of course, I love that this part had Queen Stitches!!! They are the little flowers in the corners of the tulips (click for larger view).

I think this photo shows the fabric color a little better. And this part shows that I probably should have chosen a different "pale green" because it almost disappears into the fabric. I won't pick out what I've stitched thus far, but I might choose a more yellow-green for the pale green in future parts... nothing so drastic as to take away from the current colors, but hopefully just a little more visible.

Also, I have no idea why it's happening, but when I search for things about which I have blogged (like Around the World in 80 Stitches) in Google, it's showing my posts as if they are by this woman named Vonna Pfeiffer. I have no idea who this woman is, why Google would choose to associate her name and photo with my blog as well as several others, but it's annoying! I've tried the fix I read about in Google Plus, but alas, it's still mis-attributing my posts! Just an aside-rant. :( Back to stitching and a nice long Memorial Day weekend.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Around the World... part 1

Just as they released part 2, I finally finished part 1 of my Around the World in 80 stitches. The color of the fabric looks very grey because I took this at night with the flash instead of daytime (click for larger image).

I know I said that I would pull out one of the fairies next, but I'm thinking I might pull out Chinese Dragon Gate first and spend a little time with him, then move on to one of the fairies. He's been crying pitifully in the craft room, so I think he deserves just a little attention next.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On a roll in May

This will probably be the last finish for a little while, but it's my third in May, hooray!!!

I pulled out Arabian Woman right after I finished Tree of Stitches, and put the finishing stitches in her tonight after work. I am so pleased that she is finally done (8 ½ years on this one, on and off, of course).

I think I'll try to finish up my right heart on Around the World so that I can begin part 2, and then it's on to one of my other WIPs.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Taking stock

As I was putting away the leftover fibers and beads from Mother's Arms, I decided to look through all of my cross stitch WIPs to reacquaint myself with them. As I did, I realized that there was one project that I haven't worked on in a while that I really had no desire to touch again. Unfortunately, it goes that way sometimes. And we have to be willing to let go. Or at least I do. I haven't touched it in over 3 years. And I hadn't stitched much of it to begin with, so I went ahead and pulled the project box out and un-kitted it. And I'm okay with that. It still leaves me with 21 cross stitch WIPs, most of which are quite large. And I want to reduce the list, so I can work on some new stuff too, preferably smaller projects which can be completed in fewer than 10 years. :)

The next project I want to finish is the one that is closest to being finished - Arabian Woman. So I'm going to focus on that one for now. That will leave me with 20 cross stitch WIPs. A few I know are going to take me a long time to finish - the Prairie Schooler ABC quilt, Around the World in 80 days. But after Arabian Woman, I think I want to work on one my Chatelaine Fairies. I have 2 in progress right now, and they are a couple of my smaller designs. After that, who knows? Maybe I'll work on one of my smaller Mill Hill Bead & Button kits - I now have 4.

I'm also in a quilting funk at the moment. Last night I mused over the number of class pieces that I haven't yet finished. I need to take my own advice, which is the advice of a sewing teacher I had a few years ago - it doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be finished, I just need to have learned something from it. Whether that is a new technique, or that I enjoy or don't enjoy a certain technique, that's enough.

Of course, the one class project I'm having the hardest time deciding is the latest one, Eldon. It's such a pretty design, but I'm really not sure if I want to make a whole quilt of it. Maybe I'll make a smaller project. But not right now. Right now, I have a ton of other things to do. And all I want to do is cross stitch at the moment. So, I'll eventually make my SSS 2012 block of the month for May, and I'll eventually get back to piecing together the Pineapple Blossom quilt and the Christmas placemats. For now, I'm going to stitch.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It's finished!!!

I finished too late last night to take a photo, but I put the final beads in it, then went to bed.

Happy dancing!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tree of Stitches, nearly finished

Here is my tree with parts 1-14 stitched, then closeups of parts 12-14.

Part 12 is Fancy Cross stitch. I stitched it with Kreinik Silk Mori - 4033 and 4037.

Part 13 is Tied Windmill stitch. The windmill is stitched with Gentle Arts Sampler Threads - Dried Thyme and the tie down cross stitch is Thread Gatherer Silk 'n Colors - Wintered Grass

Part 14 is Leaf stitch. This time I used Crescent Colours cotton, Eve's Leaves, and I think it's my favorite color in the design so far.

All that's left are the owl, bunny, little flower next to the tree, and the beads. I should have this finished tomorrow!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tree of stitches, part 11

This is the Rhodes square, stitched with Dinky Dyes silk #19. I just love how my tree is coming along.

And here is my first progress photo of Around the World in 80 Stitches. I haven't added the beads yet, but plan to do that after I finish the right heart. This is the left heart.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tree of stitches, parts 9 and 10

Part 9 is the Norwich stitch, which is kind of funny, because it's the first stitch (besides the cross stitch heart frames) in the Around the World in 80 Stitches that I'll be doing. I used Caron Wildflowers in the color Kelp.

Part 10 is the Star stitch, and I liked Abi's suggestion at this point of adding a metallic. I dug through my stash and found a Kreinik Very Fine Braid #4, color 850 (Mallard), which is the photo shows as a solid green, but has a strand of an a/b metallic running through it that shimmers gold and orange and red. It is very pretty / sparkly.

Tree of Stitches, part 8

This part is the Floral stitch, and I used 2 colors of Eterna Mini-Twist silk, 2090 is the pink and 4410 is the olive green.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tree of Stitches, part 7 (really!)

Part 7 is the Jerusalem stitch, which is similar to the Rice stitch, but it's upright. I used Vicky Clayton silks in Dark Evergreen (for the base) and Dinky Dyes overdyed silk in an unknown color from an oops pack (for the tie downs).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Drawn into another stitchalong

Okay, I haven't picked my fabric yet, I haven't pulled my colors, but I have an idea of what I want to use for Papillon Creations' Around the World in 80 stitches. I first saw it from someone's post on The Stitch Specialists group. Now I am antsy to pick out my stuff and get started! Yes, I've admitted before, I have this disease called serial starter's. I just love the idea of another specialty stitch design where I get to choose the colors and hope that I choose wisely. Won't know 100% until it's well on its way to being finished.

I finished part 7 of the Tree of stitches tonight and started part 8, so expect a new photo or two this weekend. I am really pleased with how it is coming along. I chose a bunch of mostly green flosses and tossed them in a pile before starting, but other than that I didn't plan which one to use where. I am just choosing as I go. And it seems to be working out so far (yay!).

Bedtime! It really is difficult to turn off the brain when you get do excited about projects, but I need to get some sleep. :)

Edited to add - I tried to pick out my floss colors last night for 80 Stitches before I went to bed. I pulled them this afternoon, before digging through my stash to see if I had any fabric that would work. I found the fabric I wanted to use (that I had a large enough piece of), and once I picked my fabric, I had to rethink all my colors.

I ended up with a piece of Moss Green Brittney (that's what the label said), now known as Lugana. I had gotten it from (no longer an online stitching store), years ago. My greens are DMC 319, 367, and 368. My floral colors are 315, 355, 817, 3853, 3820, 3810, 3842, and 370. Metallic is Kreinik VFB #4 - 3221, with beads in an iridescent a/b med-dark green and a silver-lined champagne. The only color from my original list that made the cut was 3810. I can't wait to see how this turns out!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Tree of stitches, part 7 part 6 (oops!)

This is the cushion stitch, and I used Caron Waterlilies in the color Jade to stitch this part.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

More Tree of Stitches

I am SO loving this design. For those who are interested in purchasing a copy to stitch for themselves, head on over to Abi's web site, Bee's Needleworks

I stitched parts 2-5 today. These are the fibers I've used on each part:
  • Part 2 - Smyrna cross - Thread Gatherer Silk 'n Colors - Wintered Grass
  • Part 3 - French knots - Thread Gathere Silken Pearl #10 - Green Leaves Lt
  • Part 4 - Algerian eyelet - DMC Rayon Floss - 30367
  • Part 5 - Rice stitch - Weeks Dye Works Seaweed (base), unknown Dinky Dyes silk from oops pack (tie downs)

And here are the pictures!

Tree of stitches!

I went into my stash last night, after celebrating my finish, and pulled out fabric and some fibers to start Abi Gurden's Tree of Stitches. The color is really off in the photo - the fabric is a peachy Cashel linen. And the tree is stitched with Weeks Dye Works color Molasses. Part one, done!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

HUGE Happy Dance

And 10+ years in the making! Finally this evening I put the last of the beads in Mirabilia's Mother's Arms. Click the photos for slightly larger versions.

And I finally got around to making a fabric cover for our entertainment center to hide the television and other electronics, cords, etc. I've been wanting to make one of these for years, ever since I saw the idea on some show on HGTV. It should also help cut down on the dust a little bit. It also helped that Joann's had a 50% off sale on Home Dec fabrics, and I had a 50% off coupon for the velcro. I just had to hem the fabric and attach the velcro to it and the entertainment center. C said the fabric was definitely me, lol. Not sure if he meant it in a good way or a resigned way. :) Click the first photo for a little closer view of the pattern.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Eldon Class with Edyta Sitar

Everyone in the class got exactly the same fabrics, as this was as much a techniques class as it was learning how to put the block together.

The first thing we did was sew together the strips and then cut them into diamonds. Then we pieced the diamaonds together into an 8-point star.

Then next we made 8 little log cabin blocks. They ended up having ½ inch wide strips when sewn together. Then we learned how to set these blocks into the 8-point star.

And finally we had a demonstration on how to cut the background diamonds and set them into this design, which will make it an octagon design. I didn't have the time to get to piecing those in - I barely set in the log cabins before our time was up.

I bought enough background fabric to make the entire quilt. I'm not sure if I will do it or not. But I wanted the choice, should I decide it's one I really want to make. I like the concept. It's definitely one that will take some time to finish. All of those set-in seams mean starting and stopping a lot, and I think I would need to alternate it with a quilt that I could chain-piece a little better. She recommended that we make the quilt from our stash, and I like the idea. I don't have very many batiks in my stash, so this would probably be the block with the most batiks in it, and I would hope that that wouldn't stand apart too much. Or I could just make this block into a nice little pillow, and save the templates for when I decide to make one entirely from stash.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Taking a quilt class

Tomorrow I get to take a class with national quilt and fabric designer Edyta Sitar. I really have no idea what to expect from the class except that I've heard she is a wonderful teacher, and that I will be making one block of this quilt - "Eldon"

Report to follow - talk soon!

My, oh my

Whilst wandering around the interwebs last night, searching for a picture of a specific stitched lighthouse (or windmill - there are two designs by the same person that I would like to stitch some day, from a UK magazine), I happened across something entirely unrelated (except that it was stitching) -- Tree of Stitches by Abi Gurden. Which led me to The Stitch Specialists Yahoo group. A group so totally in sync with me!

So I joined, and I'm looking forward to stitching her latest SAL design - The Great Escape (it has QUEEN stitches!). It's a specialty-stitched owl. Seriously - go do a Google image search for both of these designs to see what everyone has been doing - so many different colors, gorgeous!

I'm still trying to stay focused on Mother's Arms so I can finish her up. I really want to do that before I start something else new. :) Very hard to do when I keep playing on the internet, finding things like these...