Friday, January 2, 2015

Friday Finish

The last few months have been especially busy.  I posted about our brief trip in the middle of October to see our daughter in western Massachusetts right after the retreat in Ocean City.  Two weeks after the trip to the Berkshires, my husband and I went to Hawaii for twelve days.  We spent three and a half days on Oahu where the highlights were seeing Pearl Harbor, Shangrila (Doris Duke's house) and spending an evening with our daughter's college roommate and her family.  The rest of the trip was spent on the big island, Hawaii, which was fascinating.  We learned that it has eleven microclimates and were surprised to see cacti as well as pastures full of cows.  There was active lava flow when we were there, but it was at least 100 miles away from us.  We both enjoyed seeing Volcano National Park as well as touring a coffee plantation. 

It felt as if we had barely recovered from the long flights when we took off again for Baton Rouge to see our younger son present his master's research.  That was a very emotional event for me.  A lot of the research information went right over my head so I just sat there thinking about how just yesterday he had been a baby, and now he is talking about attaching electrodes to aphids.  (Don't ask!)  We also got to spend time with his girlfriend who is soon to be our future daughter-in-law.  Again, just yesterday, he was a baby...

Before the Baton Rouge trip, we attended the candlelight Advent service at our younger son's college for the second year in a row.  I love this service so I'm hoping it will be an annual event for a long time.  Finally, in the middle of December, we took advantage of a free hotel night and stayed overnight in New York so that we could see the tree at Rockefeller Center and take in the Rockettes.  It was the first time my husband and older son had seen the Rockettes.  I loved that my 28 year old who has lived in New York for four years and thinks he has seen everything was still delighted by seeing the camels onstage.

With all this traveling, I'm behind in posting my recent stitching and quilting finishes.  I'll be posting one a week for awhile to catch up.  The first is CHS Alphabet, stitched on 36 countwo tht with two strands of floss over two threads.  I changed the color in the alphabet block to GA Antique Rose.  This was a WIP for a long time as I only worked on it at retreats and guild meetings.  Last summer, a friend invited me to stitch with her every Wednesday afternoon and this is the piece I took with me most weeks.  She encouraged me by wanting to see which letter I was up to each week and little by little, it got done.  This piece was fun and has lots of good memories associated with it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Out with the Old, In with the New

The last few hours of 2014 were spent in reverse stitching on two projects. 
 
 I made an error when stitching the border of the March house in the Blackbird Designs Anniversaries of the Heart* series.  I decided I couldn't fudge it so I had to rip out part of the house and start again.

 
Then I got out this ornament to stitch while we watched television last night.  I had started it earlier in the year using Impressions for the white.  The Impressions wasn't covering well and looked more like cream.  So that came out and I put in a few new stitches with DMC perle cotton.  I'm going to like this much better!  This will be a travel project.

 All of that reverse stitching led to a very full ort jar.  These threads will go out for the birds today.
 

2015 will be welcomed with a new project.  I'm going to be starting Susan Rambo* which was published in Fine Lines many, many years ago.  It has since been released as a chart and my eye has been drawn to it several times in stories.  One of the members of my sampler guild has completed this sampler and it's lovely. Kris, from the duClay EGA, has offered her encouragement for getting this one stitched  And really, don't you think it's time I did a sampler with my name in it?
 
Wishing all of my readers a very happy 2015 with lots of stitching time!
 
*Entries in the duClay EGA 2015 challenge



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Retreat, Part 2

I've  been inspired  by Syd's posts to give the promised re-cap of the October retreat in Ocean City, Maryland.  My friend and I started out early Thursday morning and stopped in Berlin, Maryland for lunch.  We had heard great things about the town and it didn't disappoint.  There are a  number of  antique malls and we explored a few of them as well as an upscale gift store.  Then it was on to Ocean City to check into the Lankford Hotel.   We normally head right to Salty Yarns for a shopping trip, but this time, we saved that for the next day. 

I settled on three projects for retreat and put some stitches in all of them.  Most of my time was spent on adding another part to Blackbird Designs Anniversaries of the Heart.  During the weekend, I completed the third section despite having to do some frogging because I was off by one thread in the border.  Fudging it would have been too noticeable so I gritted my teeth and re-stitched.
 
Once that was done, I started on Blue Ribbons Designs Quilted Garden.  I love the colors and quilt motifs, and wanted to do this even more after I saw it hanging in the lobby at the Lankford.  What you are seeing in this picture is my second start.  The first time, I didn't leave enough margin for framing so I turned it upside down and started again.  This looks like a long-term project!
 

 
Finally, I started Plum Street Samplers' Turkey Love.  Her primitive designs are growing on me and they are fun to stitch.  So far, all I've done is the heart and the top of the house.
 



(Sorry, poor lighting as it gets dark sooo early these days!)

 
It always seems like the retreat weekend is over way too soon!  I'm sure I could have finished one of these projects if I had just had one more day!  All of these had to be put aside to complete the pre-stitching for the Chessie and Me class I took yesterday.  I'll be working on an exchange piece and some Christmas ornaments next so all of these projects will have to wait until 2015.  (Or maybe 2016 as I almost forgot to mention that my big purchase at Salty Yarns was the NPI silks I'll need to start the Susan Rambo sampler on New Year's Day.) 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Retreat Part 1

I know I promised an update on all those projects I took to the retreat in Ocean City.  Progress was made, but I haven't had much time for photos or stitching.  We took another short trip up to the Berkshires in western Massachusetts to see our daughter and enjoy the fall foliage.  We hadn't seen our daughter since we moved her for her year as a creamery apprentice on a farm.  The trip didn't seem quite long enough, but she only has off one day a week.  We made the most of it by taking a trip up one of the mountains, going into Vermont to a pottery factory and an apple barn, and doing some needed shopping for her.  We also got in a visit to the Clark Art Institute which has some interesting new architecture. The foliage was gorgeous and we kept pointing out the views to each other.

At home, I stitched up this Pine Mountain pillow insert that I bought in Ocean City.  It's perfect for my son who is getting his master's degree in entomology (specifically, soybean pest management) and it's going in the mail to him later this afternoon.

Life is settling down a bit this week and next, so I'll get part two of the retreat pictures up soon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Getting Ready for Retreat

At 9:00 tomorrow morning, I'll be on my way to my sampler guild's semi-annual retreat at Salty Yarns and the Lankford Hotel in Ocean City, Maryland.  These trips require more than a little bit of preparation.  About six weeks ago, I started pulling potential projects.  I knew that I wanted to start Blue Ribbon Designs Quilted Garden at the retreat since that piece is hanging on the walls in the hotel. 

I spent some time pulling the DMC threads from the nearly complete collection I have of my own threads and those I inherited from my mother.  And yet, I will need to buy some colors at Salty Yarns, so they went on my shopping list along with the NPIs I will need to start the Susan Rambo sampler in January.

From the possible "small" projects, I chose Turkey Love from Plum Street Sampler.  After all, it is beginning to be that season.
 
It's only 5" x 5" finished, so I should  be able to get it stitched this weekend, right?  I had the called for Belle Soie threads, but not the NPI silks so they were added to the shopping list. 
 
Another not so small project, Blackbird Designs' Anniversaries of the Heart, has been calling my name again, and the bonus chart in the Swan Lake leaflet (#7) doesn't look like it will take that long to stitch.  Another project was readied for retreat and more threads were added to the shopping list.
 
I cut and washed the fabrics and turned to  my stitching bag.  It's a Donna Sharp bag and
 
I love the pattern.  I tucked the shopping list inside and took a few minutes to clean it out.  Inside was this needlepoint canvas that is sooo close to being finished and is one of my duClay EGA challenge pieces.




 
So this obviously needs to come on retreat, too, since it's perfect for those late night stitching sessions when my eyes are tired. And then there was the project bag holding Drawn Thread's Prairie Garden that I started on my birthday in August and haven't touched since.  It's also a duClay challenge piece.
 
That definitely needs to stay in the bag.  The pre-stitch piece for the Chessie and Me class the guild is giving in mid-November will be delivered at the retreat.  I'm thinking I'll need another bag and I haven't even begun to pack clothes or food (I know my priorities!). 
 
There will be a report next week on what I accomplished in Ocean City.  I hope all of you have a happy stitching weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Making Progress

Wow, less than two months between posts from me--shocking, I know!  It's been a great summer with lots of gorgeous days and cool nights.  We have wonderful memories from our trip to Germany and Vienna at the end of June although it took me quite a bit of July to get back into a routine.  I've been doing a little bit of quilting and little bit of stitching most days along with a lot of reading.  In my stitching life, I've been focusing on one project, Carriage House Samplings Alphabet, and here's my progress to date.
 I'm hoping for a finish in the next two weeks so I can show this off at my guild meeting. 


 
On the quilting front, I putting together these blocks for a lap-size quilt.  (They are laid out on my "design floor" as I call the ugly green carpet in my basement and are not outside on the grass!)
The blocks were all made last year and then got put aside for another project.  Toes in the Sand has about half the binding sewn on, and I'm planning to do the rest during the Univ. of Miami/Louisville game on Monday night (Go Canes!).  I also spent some time this week making proJaject bags.  My first one is slightly wonky, so it will be mine.  I learned from my mistakes and managed to make the fabric panel straighter on the second one which will be a gift for a friend.   Also managed not to sew the zipper on the wrong way on the second one and remembered to check to see that it was OK before I top-stitched.  The second one took me less than an hour and cost around $8-9.  Since my LNS sells similar ones for $25-30, I'm glad I took the plunge and learned how to do this.  Thanks again to Jackie for telling me about ZipIt, a good source for lower-priced zippers on Etsy.
 
 
Nothing too earth-shattering here and the kids are all fine.  Hope all of you are doing well, too.
 
 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

More Finishes!

It seems I've been on a bit of a roll with finishes the past month or so, and have one finished quilt as well as two completed needlework pieces to show for my efforts.

Here's the front
 

and back of a baby quilt I sent up to my daughter to give to her boss and his wife who had a baby in June.  The top was done a few years ago and is a Schnibbles pattern made from a charm pack.  I originally made it for my nephew's baby.  When I got it done, I thought it looked more like a "boy" quilt and my nephew and his wife had a little girl.  So the top has been waiting in the wings and after an afternoon sandwiching the quilt and doing simple "stitch in the ditch" quilting, it went off to keep little Charlie warm.  The parents live on a farm so this was the perfect quilt.

Harvest Time by Laura J. Perin was an on-line class in counted canvas work.  A three-week class way back in November, 2012...  I don't know why it took me so long to finish this one as it was fun!  Loved doing the grapes in the center (which look more red that they really are in this photo) as well as the borders.  This will be framed and hung in my kitchen.

And last, I finally finished this small piece done over one.
This was a project done at a sampler guild meeting several years ago and meant to be finished as a pin.  I'm probably going to make it into a scissors fob.

Oh, and I finished the "Toes in the Sand" quilt top and have it back from the longarmer.  When the binding is sewn on, I'll post a picture.  I'm diligently stitching on Carriage House Samplers Alphabet and have finished up to 'P,' so hopefully, there will be one more finish this summer.