Friday, April 20, 2012

What’s a girl to do?

Earlier today I caught myself singing “My momma told me there’d be days like these.  There’d be days like these my momma said.”  I’m finding there are more and more of these days lately.   Last Labor Day, one of my cousins hosted a Family Reunion in South-Central Kentucky, where my mother’s family originated.  My mother came home from that visit sick, and we had to hospitalize her.  While she was in the hospital, we also started my daughter in a daycare program one day a week, to help her develop social skills.  The combination of those two events started me down a path that has led to the complete and utter destruction of my immune system.  Next month I meet with a new ear, nose and throat specialist to schedule the removal of my tonsils, but right now I find myself struggling with the little kiddie disease Hand, Foot and Mouth.  Oh the joy!  With tiny blisters all over my hands and feet, there is just not a lot for a girl to do…seriously!   My husband played Mr. Mom today taking my daughter to daycare and then to dance.  After three days of pulling out my hair, I decided something has to give.  At home, all alone, all day long and I can’t stitch?  This is the stuff of nightmares!  I’ve decided this is the perfect time to update the blog and at least show you why I’ve been so remiss in that lately.

I should preface this by saying I’m still not happy with Noshi Ribbons, so I’ve tried to focus on other things.  The wonderful group of women I stitch with has undertaken Stars for a New Millennium, another fabulous Toni Mineri piece.  This is the second time I’ve stitched this piece.  The first time I followed the suggested threads for the Fall Foliage color way as laid out.  This time I want to hang the piece in my living room and there isn’t a color way that “fit” the colors I wanted to use:  chocolate, teal, rust and a dark, but a true, red.…so I made my own.  I need to add more squares before I make up my mind on this color scheme, but I’m enjoying it so far.

I’ve also been making a great deal of headway with my husband’s Christmas stocking.  I’ve enjoyed working on it a great deal lately.  After staring at Santa for about a week wondering how I was going to stitch that gorgeous coat and do it half the justice Liz did in painting it, I stumbled across the article Elegance in the Sept/Oct 2011 issue of Needlepoint Now.  I chose to use the Vertical Satin Diamond stitch for the bulk of the coat, only enlarging it (2,4,6,8,6,4,2) for the large sleeve and portion of the cape closest to the viewer.  The farther side of the cape and the sleeve farthest from the horse are done as diagramed (2,4,6,4,2).   Ann Strite-Kurz’s article Using Common Stitches in Uncommon Ways (Mar/Apr 2012) provided the diagram for my horse’s collar (diagram 6).  I like the way it is coming together, and more importantly, he husband seems to approve.  Please let me know what you think.

I’ve also stitched these little hats in times when pulling up the big frame has been inconvenient.  My husband signed me up for a Christmas Club at Pocket Full of Stitches several years ago and I rediscovered them while we were moving.  I’ve changed some of the stitches from the stitch guide, but the threads have all still been appropriate.  They are still a work in progress, but they have been so much fun!

I have class tomorrow to work on Stars, but I think I’m going to stay home, just to be safe.  I don’t want anyone else getting sick, but I sure am going to miss Miss Polly and my stitching group!  Hopefully I’ll be able to stitch at home.

Until next time,

Monday, February 6, 2012

Blue Ribbons and Prior Commitments

After still not being satisfied with the stripes on my blue ribbon today, I made a phone call.  My favorite girls, Jill and Peggy, at my favorite needlepoint shop, Amy’s Golden Strand, pulled some additional threads for me late today.  I am going to go by tomorrow and make a final decision, but in the mean time…

I’ve made some prior commitments and I should start getting to them.  We moved into a new house last year and my husband asked me to finish up our Christmas stockings so we could hang them from our new mantle this year.  I guess I should confess that I’ve had these stockings at least four years (one of them for a decade or more I bet), but who’s counting?

This is my husbands stocking and I have stitched a great deal of the back ground already.  I know what you are thinking.  “You’ve gotten that much out of the way and stopped at the fun part?”  Well, see, I actually like skipped tent;  it’s that color of blue that I hate.  Hate may actually be an understatement here.   I really want to finish it for him, but I have to talk myself into it, can you tell?  He keeps telling me I won’t think it’s so yukky when everyone is ooohing and ahhhhing over it, but I’m actually self conscious about some of that skip tent.  I know I can’t be alone in thinking that some of the stitching I did early in my needlepoint career is less than spectacular.  I did get a great idea today to try some of the DMC Memory Thread to make the silver ornaments hanging from the trees.  Perhaps my procrastination wasn't all bad.  

I picked out the Tapestry Tent Snow Bear shortly after I started working on my husband’s so they would coordinate.   Little did I know I would have such a love to hate relationship with blue.  It is such a gorgeous design, but I will be stitching it last I think.  I even convinced my husband last night that if I finished both his and my daughter’s stockings this year I should buy myself a new one.  After all, to have two that are so blue and one that is not blue at all might look awkward hanging from the same mantle.  I’m not to that point yet though.  As I mentioned, it is such a gorgeous design!  I have lots of ideas for it as well, but my mood really is blue enough these days.

I love love love the Toy Maker Santa by Melissa Shirley.  I will be stitching it at the same time I’m finishing up Mr. Blue to break up the monotony if nothing else.  I actually bought it during one of Amy’s after Christmas sales right after I found out I was pregnant and months before I knew I was having a girl.  I am so eager to get started on it.  All this color and happiness on one canvas who wouldn't be?!!

I've also committed to stitch Stars for a New Millenium with my stitching group.  I've already stitched it once, but I would like to do another one to match my new decor.  I make my daughter an ornament every year for our tree and I haven't even begun thinking about this years yet.  I also  found a great idea on Pinterest a few weeks ago I am planning for as well, but again, that is a project for another day.  It's all part of keeping busy, right?  

I hope you'll stick around to see how everything turns out!

Friday, February 3, 2012

I Can't Get No Satisfaction

I'm not through with this ribbon yet, but I think I'm going to stop where I am.  I am not sure what it is that I do not like about it, but from the first layer where I changed colors I've just not been satisfied.  Part of it I believe is that I should have broken the color change up instead of doing it with the pattern as I laid it, but the middle segment of color looks stripey to me.  The two colors of blue are just so far apart that when it's stitched it gives the appearance of having stripes.  I thought as I stitched in the additional layers it would be less apparent.  I will admit that I am happier with it now that I've begun to stitch the third color (of the three colors in the ribbon--blue, red/orange and orange/yellow).  I am going to stitch in the next ribbon and see how the two look side by side, but I may end up ripping out the lower two thirds of this ribbon.

The lighting here isn't great, but you can see the stripey effect a little more clearly here.  There was a bit of this effect in the second ribbon (the green and red) but I don't think it's as pronounced as it is here.  This is a diagonal stitch so I only used two strands here, one of each.  In the green ribbon I used three and actually had four color breaks because of that.  I'm still amazed at the effect that tiny little accentuate has.  Here it is tying down the orange/yellow long stitches.

Hopefully my opinion will change as I stitch that next ribbon because this will be a booger to remove!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Minor Part--Huge Impact

Yesterday, my husband and I watched The Greatest Game Ever Played.  As we watched I finished up the third ribbon which was really quite tedious.  As you can see from this picture, the finished product is lovely, but I am glad that ribbon is behind me.

I also took the time stitch the plaited cross on the cross stitches in the second ribbon.  What can I say but “Wow!  What a difference that tiny little thread makes.”  Much like the character of Eddie Lowery in the Greatest Game Ever Played, this piece just wouldn’t be the same without the Accentuate.  Eddie Lowery was Francis Ouimet’s caddy in The Greatest Game Ever Played, a young man of only 10 years old.  He was full of one liners that kept Francis’ mind on the game and not on those who would see him fail, a cheerleader, so to speak.  As you can see by the following pictures, this tiny little thread has a great impact on this ribbon.


I’ve also started the fourth ribbon.  My color combination for this ribbon is blue/red orange/yellow orange.  I’ve only just begun, but I’m  eager to see how that plays out.  More pictures to follow!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"That's not needlepoint. I would call it needle art, but it's definitely not needlepoint."

Welcome to my world!

I laid out this blog a few months back, but my life was turned upside down shortly thereafter as my mother found herself in end stage renal failure.  Not only was this blog put on hold, but my stitching practically ceased as I found myself suddenly thrust into the position of her primary caregiver.  My mother passed away on 12 Jan 2012, and I now find myself relying on my stitching as a means to sooth my soul.  

As I searched through my stash to choose the right piece for this therapy, I'm reminded by something my mother said to me when I first showed her something I was stitching;  "That's not needlepoint.  I would call it needle art, but it's definitely not needlepoint."  We are fond of saying "It's not your grandmother's needlepoint."

The piece I find myself gravitating to is Noshi Ribbons by Tony Minieri. 

I started this piece three years ago when my stitching group chose it as a class project.  At the time my daughter was six months old and I simply could not devote enough time to really do it justice.  Right now I’m looking for something to bring a little sunshine back into my life.  As Noshi Ribbons is a not just a beautiful  design,  but also a study of the color wheel, I think it will be quite therapeutic.  Because it is a Tony Minieri piece worked on 24 count congress cloth, I'm sure it will be challenging as well.

I hope you will return often to view my progress.