Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Good Friend Once Told Me

That cross stitching, it's a simple thing, you thread a needle:

You bring your needle up through this hole:

And down through that hole:

A very simple thing.

It has become apparent to me over the last week that cross stitching is not simple, at least when you move into the 40ct linen and silk thread league. Until recently I was never that stitcher. I was a DMC and overdyed cotton kind of girl on nothing higher than 36ct. But my love for Primitive Needle's Ichabod Seabury pulled me to the dark side. And dark it is.

I couldn't see the holes in the linen and my eyes aren't that bad. Reading glasses even at the lowest magnification made the fabric even blurrier to my eyes, so I felt my way along on this project. It's full of stitching mistakes. Chock full of them I tell you.

But because misery loves company I'm going to have a contest right here on this old blog. I left one glaring, huge, major, big time mistake in this piece, the kind of mistake that will make stitchers say to themselves, "can you believe she left that mistake in there, can you believe it, seriously?" and "can you believe she admitted to it?". I ripped it out and restitched four times before saying, "I give up, in you stay". So in the next couple of days I'm going to take a really good, freshly ironed picture of my darling Ichabod and let you find my Amish mistake. Once you find it, you can email me and all the correct responses will be put in a bowl or hat and drawn from and the winner will recieve my gently used Ichabod Seabury chart and cut of PTP 40ct Swamp linen on which to stitch your very own Ichabod. And I just looked at my chart and gently used is correct, I wrote the dimensions for 36ct linen on the back, whoops. Well at least if you decide to go up to 36ct I've done the math for you.

This is a very simple stitch, I just decided to make it harder on myself by attempting 40ct for the first time with a darkish linen.

The Picture This Plus Swamp is a wonderful funky green and I love it. All my stitching mishaps with this project were my fault, bad lighting, not the linen, I love, love, love Picture This Plus fabrics and definitely not the fault of the chart. It was all me, myself and I.

So stay tuned for The Amish Mistake contest to pop here in the next couple of days. I'd have posted a better picture today but this is one of those days when I have to be 20 places at the same time, I hate those days.

So see my quick snap of a completely finished Ichabod Seabury below:

Ichabod Seabury
The Primitive Needle
40ct Swamp linen
Belle Soie Floss

And stay tuned for The Amish Mistake contest!
Also, any guesses from what movie I ripped off my title and the first few lines with some creative license by me?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Year, Two Finishes

Yesterday I finished Plum Street Sampler's Garden of Eerie:

Garden of Eerie
Plum Street Samplers
32ct linen
Hand-dyed by Moi
Started January 2, 2010
Completed January 16, 2010
Someone and I can't remember who asked about the dyeing process and basically what I did was take my stockpot, I got one at Walmart for $13, it's black granite looking, you know like a stockpot you buy to take camping, I added water to about a 1/3 of the pot, I then mistakenly dumped a whole packet of RIT Golden Yellow powder dye into the pot, I should have used less for my intended look, I placed my fabric in the pot and stirred and let it soak for maybe 5 minutes. Probably another mistake since I wanted just a hint of yellow, I checked my fabric and it was GOLDEN. At this point I grabbed my big bottle of RIT Tan Liquid Dye and splashed some in the pot and started swirling the fabric around. I stopped, checked the fabric, added a splash more, swirled some more, checked it and decided to add one more good, solid splash of Tan, swirled, then removed my fabric and rinsed it like there was no tomorrow. At the time I was not thrilled with my results and annoyed that I didn't just order up the Lakeside Linen I needed, but I'm trying to lighten up, be more adventurous, figure things out for myself, use what I have-I'm not going to go all crunchy granola on y'all but I am trying to really let go of my tendency to be a slave to the chart. All that to say, I am really, really happy with my fabric. It gives the design an eerie enough feel and it's a bit different and up close and personal the DMC just glows on the fabric. That's the only way to describe it. It glows.
The big question now is will I ever be able to do this again and get a result that I'm happy with. I've attempted dyeing several times before and honestly my attempts were halfassed and I'm ashamed of that, so, I will learn patience, I will practice my mad dyeing skilz, and trying to explore my creativity that way.
Garden of Eerie is my second finish of the year. My first is the stitched portion of an ornament for my little buddy, John:

Santa Rides(Horse)
Prairie Schooler
Finished January 7, 2010
28ct Natural Linen

The ornament still needs to be ornamented. But I'll do that this week I hope!
The other night there was a knock at my door and the sound of people singing Christmas carols. I will admit to being a wee bit scared to open the door but then again my kids constantly remind me that we live on the most boring street in the world so against my better judgement I opened the door. My friend Pam and her kids were singing Christmas songs and Pam handed me my Christmas present(we don't hold to timelines around here, both of us being crafters we understand the belated gift, mine to her is still in progress, whoops!) I opened my package and what did I find:

Why this really cool bag she made for me. The words(the design on the front of the bag was stitched by Pam) say:
I collect floss and fabric
buttons and ribbon-
A stitcher's passion is
Pattern collection

How true are those words? Here's a peak inside the bag:

Pockets! How sweet is this bag? I love it. Thanks Pam!

And below you will see the statement that strikes fear in the heart of the men in my house:

Don't we all?
For one of your very own check out:
crossstitch naked tote by doecdoe on Etsy

Don't forget the Olympic Stitching challenge! If you want to join the team blog leave a comment and we can all stitch for the gold!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

It Could Happen

I'm thinking that 2010 is the year of the stitching pandemic. Actually a pandemic of an affliction referred to as Stitch Ass(Siobhan I will forever be indebted to you for this term). At least for me. I did not stitch New Year's Eve that I can recall and unfortunately I wasn't drunk, it was just such an uneventful evening that well, I just can't remember if I did, in fact, stitch on New Year's Eve.

I didn't stitch on New Year's Day and was mortified when Laurie brought it to my attention that New Year's Day should be spent doing all the things you love so that you are assured of doing them the rest of the year. YIKES! I seriously messed that up. I cooked, I cleaned, I dog sat, no stitching, no knitting, no quilting, no embroidery, no crochet.

Well I declared January 2nd the official start of my New Year since January 1st on the calendar is more a day of work(cooking and such) and visiting and doesn't always leave any free moments in the day for one's other passions and believe me there was a time about fifteen years ago when I would have listed food as my number one passion. But I fed my hungry heart, worked through the whole emotional attachment to food and well cross stitch has for the most part except those few dark years when I chose pizzas over my stitching, always, always been my passion.

It's just the last few weeks there's not been enough hours in the day for stitching. So I declared my January 1st do over, determined that my year was on a different cycle than the rest of the world's and made January 2nd my New Year's Day.

On January 2nd I started Plum Street Samplers Garden of Eerie. After getting more stitched, after adding more colors, I think I'm in love with my own hand dyed fabric. I believe if I were going to give it a name I would call it light cinnamon. I determined this after starting my pot of coffee this morning and noticing a bit of cinnamon stain on my thumb(I always add a sprinkling of cinnamon to the grounds, 1) for good fortune and 2) because it just tastes good. My fabric is very close to the color of cinnamon.

Plum Street Samplers
Garden of Eerie
2x2 32ct linen

Here is my progress as of this afternoon. The greens really pop on the fabric.
Here is a close up of FrankenAdam and Bride of FrankenAdam(a.k.a. Eve). Yes the back stitch over her right eye is not cooperating. I've restitched it umpteen hundred times and now am giving up. She just went a little crazy with her eyebrow pencil, OK?

Not sure why these pictures are a bit washed out. I hope it's just my computer screen. Maybe I can get my lightbox assembled this weekend and finally get some pictures in lighting that might actually enhance the stitching.
So join me in a worldwide pandemic of Stitch Ass. I think it's a wonderful affliction and I've got my mojo back and there are seriously worse things one can come down with like, oh I don't know, H1N1. That's no fun. But Stitch Ass, well that's nothing but fun, except for those that want supper, clean underwear, but I can't do that I'm sick, I have Stitch Ass.
2010 so far I love you!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2010: The Year of Stitching Dangerously

Or the year designers email me and beg me to "please stop posting pictures of my WIP on this blog because between my poor photography and the liberties I take with their designs, I'm causing people to in fact not purchase their patterns!"

2010's first victim of 1)bad photography and 2)my first attempt for the year at dyeing my own fabric, Plum Street Samplers Garden of Eerie:

The fabric is supposed to be Lakeside Linens Vintage Sand Dune. I decided to attempt to dye my own fabric and please let us remember that I have very little experience in dyeing my own fabric, do not have a clue what I'm doing and am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl. I did not photograph the dye process because seriously is it really that interesting to see fabric in a pot of colored liquid?

I am happy with the color and the picture above is as close as I could come to an accurate representation.

Mistake #1:

I only had yellow RITS dye in powder form. I wasn't thinking and dumped the whole pack of powder in the trusty dye pot. So yeah, my white linen became a solid golden yellow. Whoops.

Mistake #2

See mistake #1

Mistake #3

I kept adding splashes of liquid Ritz dye in Tan which made it less yellow but kind of deepened the whole sand idea to more of a orangey brown sand. You know like a clay sand instead of a beachy sand. But the color is nice and warm and somewhere between light sand linen and tobacco linen.

Why is this the year of stitching dangerously? Because I plan to do more fabric dyeing. I'm going to throw caution to the wind and dye my little heart out. I hope to think it through a little better next time instead of just jumping off the dye pot cliff, but dyeing my own linen is going to be part of my 2010 stitching experience.

I'm also going to lighten up about switching fibers. As long as I have my trusty DMC color card I should be able to convert almost any thread in any design and I need to embrace that side of stitching. Use my creativity and make sure each design has a little bit of me in it.

Public Service Announcement

Attention All Cross Stitch Designers:

Be afraid, be very afraid.....but I love you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your talent with me and all the other cross stitchers around the globe. I am so very sorry in advance if my artistic license(and I use that term very loosely) causes sales of your designs to plummet.

PS: I was not drinking and blogging but I was talking on the phone while blogging. And yes I was indeed horrified at all my typos and errors in the first posting of this blog entry. YIKES!