Thursday, January 31, 2008

When Tomorrow Really Means

The next time I get around to posting. below you see part 2 of 13th Colony Bay. I skipped the photo of part 1 as it really hasn't changed very much I still have to stitch the clouds and the fence. Since my last update I've stitched the majority of the tree on the left and the finished the trunk and branches of the tree on the right. I've also filled in most of the water. Will get back to work on the second tree this evening.

And here is part 3. Since my last update I have worked my way over to the right side and up the hill. I completed the tree and the branches still have good bit of vines to finish, I believe it's a weeping willow. I also have all the water to fill in but I'm getting there. It's been my obsession the last few days. It's time to get off the island. I want to stress again, this project has been a joy to stitch. The charts are clear and despite all the large blocks of color the stitching never gets boring. I am a bit tired of DMC 730, 731, and 732 but it's ok. I have enough room still to move around and change colors. I do see the end in sight. My pictures do not do it justice. This is the point in the project when I see it on my wall and every morning I can't look at it in disbelief that I am still not done!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Shores of Hawk Run Hollow

(click on the picture to make the image bigger)
After you do that go to Carriage House Samplings and show Kathy Barrick-Dieter the love.
How gorgeous are the Shores of Hawk Run Hollow? I want to live there. I want to look upon the open sea waiting for my ship to come in. Whoops, waiting for my love's ship to come in. It'd be nice if it was a ship stocked with gold doubloons.
Updated pics of 13th Colony Bay tomorrow.....I know you're holding your breath in anticipation......

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Why We Stitch What We Stitch

Things have been a bit too busy around here for my liking lately, not a lot of time to blog, and while I haven't stitched much of anything--at least not anything I can show yet(I'm still playing catch up from an end of year swap and my partners love me and forgive me my tardiness) I have been having deep thoughts about why I choose to stitch what I stitch and stash what I stash.

For the record I have always loved reproduction samplers. I have the first three Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterlies and consider them treasures. I have always been a bit obsessed with the history of needlework and the women who created it. Sure many were ladies of leisure but at the same time many were women on the frontier. They worked from sun up to sun down, yet still by light of candles or kerosene lamps, found a little time each day to bring a little beauty into their lives.

I love fantasy designs. I'm currently addicted to HAED. Finding their BB and seeing pictures of finished projects has really inspired me to attempt at least one or two of the Quick Stitch designs. When I show the spousal unit various designs from the website that I want to stitch his response is usually, "Why not just buy the poster?"

That has got me to pondering why I feel a need to stitch what I stitch. Where does the desire come from? Plenty of people don't feel the urge to stitch these kind of designs. Why do I have a mile long list of HAED I want stitch when there is easily a thousand other things I could stitch and probably actually complete? I don't know. I'm not sure why I want to stitch so many of their designs but I know the urge has gotten stronger as soon as I started following links of people who have actually finished not one but two or even three HAED. I just like the look of the designs and the idea of stitching them. It's probably the same thing that makes me insist on stitching TW Fantasy Triptyche. I love it and hate it. I have to stitch it. I whine about stitching it, but heaven help me, I want to see this design completed one day. Different designs talk to me. They say, "You know you want to stitch me. I know you don't have a clue what you will do with me when you're done but you want me and you know it, so suck it up and add me to the stash."

Buying the poster is never my first thought. Am I the only one that sees a painting or picture and the first thought is, "Wow that would look really great stitched?" I do it all the time. It's not because I like a challenge, it's just I see everything as something that can be stitched. I guess it's the frustrated artist in me, ok I know it's the frustrated artist in me. I can't draw a straight line so I create art with needle and thread. Buying a poster is kind of like cheating in my mind. If I want it bad enough, I'll stitch it.

My current screaming project list is 13th Colony Bay Parts 1-3--it will not be finished by the end of the month but maybe I'll be a lot closer to finished by February 1st.

Village of Hawk Run Hollow-barely scratched the surface.

Sonne Spotte--this piece talks to me a lot. It actually yells quite loudly from it's ziploc baggie. I'm ignoring it until I finish 13th Colony Bay. I know that when I pick it up again I will not put it down for a very long time.

Mouline Rouge-I want to work on this, I really, truly do. Maybe I will get back to it when Sonne Spotte is completed so I might see it again in oh, 2010.

TW Fantasy Triptyche-I have not put as much work in this as I should have. I need to give it at least an hour or two's attention each week. That is so little to ask and I dearly love this project.

Here are links to a few of the HAED Quick Stitches that I'm wanting to stitch:

QS Accidental Witch-Cat - $9.00 : Heaven and Earth Designs, The Art of Cross S

QS Kitty Mermaid Ahoy [HAENTQS 3908] - $9.00 : Heaven and Earth Designs, The A

QS A Night at The Pumpkin Patch [HAECCKQS 2514] - $9.00 : Heaven and Earth Des

QS Have a Sweet Dream - $9.00 : Heaven and Earth Designs, The Art of Cross Sti

QS Mermaid and The Frog Prince [HAECCKQS 5432] - $9.00 : Heaven and Earth Desi

QS Girly Gothic - $9.00 : Heaven and Earth Designs, The Art of Cross Stitch

and this isn't a Quick Stitch but I love it anyway:

Patch Fairy [HAENT 2944] - $15.00 : Heaven and Earth Designs, The Art

Oh and I really love this:

Pirate [HAESF 3905] - $15.00 : Heaven and Earth Designs, The Art of Cross Stit

I know. I'm a bit insane aren't I? As much as I love samplers, I love stitching pictures, art. I always have and while I've gotten away from it the last year or two I want to get back to adding more of a variety of projects to my workbasket. I also like stitching girls and I think it's because I'm the only girl in a house full of guys and I feel like a few girls(or women) on the walls helps me balance out all the testosterone in the house. We shall not speak of all the Mirabilia designs I have here to stitch. Mirabilia's Villa Mirabilia and Garden Verses have really been creeping into my thoughts a lot lately.

I should also state that the "I can make that" philosophy isn't limited to cross stitch. I feel that way about everything, quilts, crocheted tablecloths, knitted items(I'm really not a knitter, just a poser) but I will one day knit lace because I just want to and it's so pretty. But as you see, I should probably be committed because in my crafty life I dream large all the way around. If I see it, I can make it. It doesn't matter that I technically can't sew, can't knit, really don't crochet much beyond ripples and granny squares. I always think "I can make it". Never I'll buy it, always, always, always, I can make it.

Hmmmm, maybe that's why my life is one major frustration after another. But I love the process, I love figuring it out. I love the trying. With HAED I have to admit the "we recommend stitching over 1 on 25ct" has always been what has kept me from attempting one of their designs but I have decided that this is the year of just doing it, whatever I want to learn, whatever skill I want to acquire, this year I'm not seeking perfection, I'm just looking for the satisfaction of knowing that I tried something I know I'm not good at, or always avoided(the over 1). It's not about finishing something quickly, it's not about trying to get things finished so that I have some art on my walls, it's about getting back to the basics, getting back to why I love cross stitch in the first place. It's about the process. About threading a needle. It's about quiet moments. It's about making little Xs that come together to make a beautiful picture or connect me with history. It's about getting lost in the project, it's about dreaming.

Thanks to everyone for the comments on the spousal unit's art. He's a bit hard to live with now!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Some Stitching and Some Painting

I have been crazy busy lately so here's a quick update. Below is my current progress on Blackbird Designs Beneath the Sunlit Sky:

I thought I might finish it this weekend but I never stitch as fast as I think I can.

OK--I love art, but never really have the cash to actually go and buy real art but my husband has this skill, he can copy almost anything so I found some picutres of art I liked, bought a couple of canvases and said "please paint these for me", or maybe it was "paint these for me or else". What's the or else? Or else I'll empty out the bank account purchasing art for the house. The pictures below are the spousal unit's vision of the art I showed him. These are for use in our home, he's not going to sell them, so I hope showing them here is ok.

Yes, the pictures are wonky. I thought I had a picture of this finished mermaid fraktur alone but I don't so accept the fact that I threw this arrangement up on the wall to see how it would look and didn't really worry about if things were hanging straight. The cross stitch surrounding are CHS Mairmaid's Song to the left, Barrick Sampler's The Mermaid at the top and CHS Sirens of the Sea to the right.

The canvas size is 16x20.

Here is the one he finished last night. Once again the canvas is 16x20:

Anna tagged me for a meme and I'll try to get to that tomorrow.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Looking Forward

To maybe having a finish by the end of the month. Of course that means I will not cross one X until February. Here are some updated pictures of 13th Colony Bay. I had let the these trees in part one go unfinished because I'd rather stitch big blocks of color and work on the islands and the water. So yesterday I finished them up. All that's left to complete on Part 1 are the clouds, the fences, and the sheep legs.

Another part I focused on were the trees on the left side of Part 2. You see if I focus on the bottom part of the design and finish it first I will never ever go back and finish up the trees. I still have a good bit of the tree on the right to complete, like all of it. I thought it was important to make as much progress as possible on this section when I was in the mood. I really wanted to work on Part 3, see it's scenic beauty unfold but no, I did the grown-up thing and worked on trees. I thought I might finish up this tree yesterday but stopped because I couldn't stitch and laugh at the same time. We were watching SuperBad.

Here's a wrinkledy shot of part one and some of part two:

(yes that is Season 10 of South Park holding my fabric straight--Cartman as seen in the World of Warcraft episode)
And here's what I have completed on the right side of part two and the beginnings of part three.

I have to have this finished by the end of the month. Carriage House Samplings will be releasing the Shores of Hawk Run Hollow in February. It's a must start for me and yeah, I'm pretty sure I have a girl crush on Kathy Barrick. She designs, I stitch. I'm now in a Shores of HRH frenzy. I need a preview before I die of curiousity.
The kids went back to school today so the part of my brain that was distracted by, "I'm bored. Why isn't there ever any food in this house. Please Mom for the love of all that is holy, we're begging you, TURN ON THE HEAT!" Well all that empty space is now filled with "what will Shores look like?" Apparently the design info is classified. Can you say bummer?
So I'm working like a maniac on 13th Colony Bay and then will go back to work on VoHRH.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

I Should Not Be Showing This

But I am anyway because sometimes trying something new is a good thing even if one has issues with sewing straight lines and batting bunching up even though you basted the heck out of it. My friend Linette told me once that anyone can sew a straight line. Apparently I'm not anyone, I'm special and I have no inner linear skilz but hey, I can live with that. Probably will be a frustrating existance but I think I can find ways to work around it.

A while back I purchased the fabric seen below at the store who shall not be named:

I'm a Memphis girl and Elvis fabric is something I just can't pass up. I ran across the bag of fabric when I was cleaning. OK that is a big fat lie. I ran across it when I was looking for something else that had been misplaced. That something else would be the first ornament I stitched for my friend Sandy, which has slipped through some portal never to be seen again. I ended up stitching a second ornament thinking the first would appear and no, it's still invisible.

After finding the Elvis fabric, I had forgotten I ever bought it, I started pondering what I could make with it that would be fun, I could see it often because, well, this fabric makes me happy. Don't ask me why, but it does. So I went through some patterns and

Personally I think all patterns look better with a little Viggo in the background. Anyway, I found a McCall's Crafts pattern for a crochet hook case. The pattern number is M4728. I don't really know how long ago I purchased it. I'm not technically anything that resembles someone who sews but occaisionally when JoAnn's runs those pattern sales for $.99 cents or $1.99 I usually manage to add one or two to the collection. This pattern might have been purchased as recently as a month or so ago, I just can't remember.

There are a million things wrong with this crochet hook case. My sewing lines aren't straight. I tried, I really truly tried. I didn't rush through this project. I ripped quite a few stitches out and started over but it's still full of flaws. It's wonky, I forgot to sew the ribbon tie on when I sewed the back to the front, and added it last.

Here's a picture of the back, not sure why it's blurry. As I said, this is not perfect, it's not as neatly done as it could be but I hope to get better with practice. So why am I bothering to show this off as poorly made as it is? Well I did it. I found the fabric, I found a sewing pattern and instead of laying on the couch saying to myself, "Oh if you make this it'll just look really bad. Why waste the time when you could be doing something else?" I sucked it up and did it. I didn't whine to myself about how I can't do it, I did it.

One of my main goals for 2008 is to feel the fear and do it anyway. Is that phrase trademarked by somebody? I remember some woman on Oprah years ago who wrote a book with that title. Anyway--I can't get better at something if I continue to avoid it because the results will be anything less than spectacular.

So be prepared to view some hideous sewing projects over the next few months as I learn my way around the sewing machine, try to figure out how fabrics and colors and patterns work together and to sew a straight line.