Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dorothy. I Think I Love You.

I have a list - a long list - of projects that need to be photographed and blogged about.  I just haven't been inspired to blog until I snapped a few pictures today of Dorothy Walpole. What, you ask, is a Dorothy Walpole?  She is a beautiful sampler reproduced by The Scarlet Letter, an Irish Quaker sampler from 1774 with lots of fun specialty stitches and pretty colors.  Hubba hubba!!

From the pictures you would never know I touched up Dorothy with the iron.  Groan!  The first two photos were taken in sunlight.


How about a close-up?


The wrinkles hardly show with indoor lighting.


I am trying to stitch from my stash, so the fabric is something labeled Country French, 32 count, and the floss is DMC.  The fabric called for was 40 count, but alas I didn't have anything in my stash that worked with the DMC colors.

With the extra framing fabric at the top and bottom, Dorothy is - gasp - a YARD long. 

She's going to be a beauty!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Summer? What Happened to Summer?

I sure don't understand how time flies past so quickly.  One minute it's spring and the next it's fall.  I had grand plans to show another round of finishes.  I even took the pictures, and that's usually the sticking point for me.  So how about if we get right to the pictures?

I started Sampler aux Bouquet I by Jardin Prive in January as part of a stitch-along at Sampler World.

I am stitching over one on white Cashel and I'm really happy with how it is turning out.  I plan to stitch all 3 parts, so it is going to be a long and skinny project.  Love it!

I saw this Val's Stuff design stitched up at the Mom & Me Forever shop (now closed, boo hoo!) and planned to stitch it on a low count fabric with perle cottons - like a Bent Creek Zipper.  That plan went sideways when I tossed the floss on a tiny scrap of bright yellow fabric in my stash.

Hello, Topsy Turvy Bunnies!  This project is also over one on Cashel.  Can you see the bunnies?  There is a bunny face on the diagonal in each corner with their ears pointing to the center of the square.  Love the carrots in between! 

The bunnies project will eventually become a little fob or ornament, and I thought it called for fun, bright beads.  I went to Michael's with Ginger and Amy and found exactly zero beads that were even vaguely appropriate.  I was disappointed and decided to look elsewhere.  I wandered through the clearance section on my way out, and look what I found!

What you see on the left is (reportedly) a napkin ring, with perfect beads!  The bowl of perfect orange beads started out as a napkin ring (really?) as well.  It took a little work to snip through the wire of the napkin rings, but it was well worth it...and a bargain too!

Next on the list is a Bent Creek Zipper, Cabin Snowglobe.

You know how much I love Zippers!  The snow globes are always fun to stitch, and I love how this one turned out.

My last project has a story to tell.  Monique started it, and she chose a beautiful thread color for this monochrome design - Carrie's Creation floss in Olive.  The design is Midnight Stitching's Quaker Floral.  At some point Monique grew weary of it ( I never did hear the full story on that!) and sold the whole kit-n-caboodle to our friend Linda at a stitch-in. 

Linda loved the color too, and thoroughly enjoyed stitching it until...she realized the alphabet in the middle was missing the letter I.  This bothered her every time she looked at it, so she sold it to me at the next stitch-in. 

I am thrilled to have it!  I love the idea of finishing something that two of my friends have stitched  on.  The first time I sat down to work on it I started to stitch and had to stop.  Something was not right.  That's when it occurred to me that both friends cross their stitches the "right" way and I cross mine backwards.  Ack!  In the  end I turned the project 1/4 turn and stitched it that way so all of the stitches would be in the same direction.  Harmony!  In Olive! 

Thanks to everyone who continues to follow my sporadic blog posts and to those who leave comments!  I really appreciate it!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What? Another Post Already?

Time for a little more catching up. 

My stitch-at-work project was Home Sweet Home by La D Da.  I stitched on 20 count Summer Khaki linen over two with a Watercolours conversion.
I included my stork scissors in the picture so you can see just how huge it is.  Yowza!

Next up is Petite Exemplary #1 - #4 by Ewe and Eye and Friends.  These charts were sold separately but I loved the idea of stitching them together.  The specialty stitches added a lot of interest to this project.
My notes say I stitched on a piece of 35 (maybe 36?) count mystery fabric from my stash with Anchor floss.  The frame has been picked up at Stitcher's Station, so soon it will be framed and on its way to Mom's house where it will live happily ever after. 

I borrowed this Little House Needleworks design (Frosty Flakes) from Joy (thanks Sis!) and it was a fun, fast stitch.  I used 30 count Straw WDW fabric with the floss called for.  I love the subtle shading that gives the snowman rosy cheeks.  Great designing!
At some point I spotted this design somewhere on the internet stitched in blues instead of greens and now I may have to stitch it again!  I love the greens, but the blue would be fabulous too.

One more, this is Winter Swirl by Heart in Hand.  It is a kit from a four season series.  All of the seasons have the same interesting border design.

I wasn't jazzed about how some specialty stitches were used so I made a few changes.  I'm stitching each design during the "right" season, so I'm working on Spring now.  These would be cute on a single piece of fabric, but the kits came with individual cuts of fabric so I'm sticking with it.
 
So what's next?  Would you believe another post with finishes?  Needle = on fire.  
 
After the finishes I'll move on to WIP updates.  If you're getting the impression I've had time to stitch...you would be correct!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Well Hello, 2013

I was going to start with a somewhat lengthy (and hopelessly dry) narrative about where I've been for the past 5 months, but instead I feel inspired to GET ON WITH IT and talk about stitching!  If this decision saddens you in any way, I sincerely hope you get over it and move along with the rest of us to the next paragraph.  (Thank you for playing.)

Let's start with some unfinished business from last year.  In November Ginger finally received the ornament I stitched for her birthday...in 2010.  This is Nickademus from Raise the Roof, an ornament in the 2010 Just Cross Stitch Ornament Magazine.
 For backing I used this cute ric rac theme fabric from my stash and a piece of ric rac for the hanger.
Yes, the photos were taken in the car.  The actual finishing took place...in the car.  No, I never wait until the last minute for anything.  Ever.

I spent a lot of time at the end of the year fussing about Christmas stockings.  Mark's family embraces the use of holiday stockings with vigor!  I decided it was time to take the whole pile of stockings to a professional machine embroiderer and have names put on them, doing away with the sticky-label identification method that had been used for years. 

A simple idea turned out to be impossible to execute.  In the end I hand embroidered names on two of the stockings and sewed two brand new stockings.  Do I have pictures of any of this?  Why, no.  Of course, I do not.  All projects were finished at the 11th hour (do you see a trend here?) and pictures didn't occur to me until the stockings were packed away (post-Christmas) in boxes in the attic of the in-laws.  See you  in December '13, stockings!

What I do have is a really bad picture of the stocking I made as a prototype.  (I had to find out if I was competent to cut into the really good fabric and sew it into something I wouldn't be ashamed to look at every Christmas for years to come.)  I found an outstanding (and amazingly easy) stocking pattern at Sew Like My Mom
The stocking is lined, has a cuff and the design is simple genius.

I dropped out of the TNT Guild last year but made a point to attend the annual auction fund raiser in November.  It is always a great time!  I decided to donate a little something.
It was really all about the cute frame - the hats are on springs. Very festive!

This is Isaiah 53:6, charted by me then stitched over 1 on 36 count Sand linen with Dried Thyme Silk 'N Colors.
I am really please with how it turned out!  It was much more difficult to chart and stitch than I anticipated.  It was a gift for my Dad's birthday, and was a labor of love for sure.

That's all for now.  I took a zillion pictures today so it's just a matter of uploading them to the blog.  It is always the ironing and pictures that takes the longest!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Food Theme

I have a few finishes to share!  There seems to be a food theme.  It would be weird, except HELLO it's me.

The biggest of the bunch is Sweet Pea Sampler from The Needle's Notion.  How cute is that?  And just enough wacky elements to keep it from being too sweet.  (Beware the dangling pea pods!)
I love the colors.  The design called for Kreinik #4 braid in an emerald color.  Metallic is not my thing so I just substituted a similar floss color.  The Rhodes stitches across the top and bottom look like peas and are my favorite part of the design!

This is Death by Candy Corn by The Scarlett House, finished into a pillow then rushed to the post office for Nicole's birthday.  Pardon the picture, there was no time for fancy photography.  Or even good photography, apparently.
I used giant-sized rick rack for the trim.  It didn't turn out exactly like I expected, but Nicole seems to like it and that's what counts.

Finally, this is Good Tidings and Great Joy by Plum Street Samplers from the 2012 JCS Christmas Ornaments magazine.
I stitched it for Mom and Me Forever.  It is on 35 count R & R Liberty Gathering Gray using the GAST called for.  I found that the shutter color blended into the house color so I used Apple Cider instead and changed the door to Mulberry.  I don't have a before and after picture, but trust me, it is better.  Like mileage, your dye lots may vary.

Thanks to Joy for providing the sisterly peer pressure that seems to be necessary for me to blog. 

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Finished, Almost Finished and Several Random Works in Progress

I was sorting through a stitching basket and discovered two projects that were stitched but the finishing was not done.  The first was from a La D Da class.  My notes say the class was at the Lebanon Cross Stitch Show (Mom and Me) in 2005 but I didn't start stitching - or finish it - until 2006. 

If you look closely the charted design did not match the picture.  That always bothered me, but never enough to try recharting it myself.  (Lazy!)  When I found it in the basket, I debated ripping out some of the bird and re-stitching.  In the end I filled in the empty spots with two over-one hearts and declared it to be DONE.  The design is called Be True.
The class kit included the 32 count platinum Belfast linen, Needlepoint Silks, beads for the tassel and the large metal button.  If I remember correctly, we made the cording and tassels during class.  When finishing I discovered there was not enough cording to go around the project and make a loop for a hanger, so I opted for just the hanger.

The kit also included graph paper to chart your initials for the back of the design.  After several miserable attempts I asked Lori for some advice and she charted my initials for me.  Sweet! 
I love how it turned out!  If you ever get the chance to take a class with Lori, don't hesitate.  She's awesome!

The second stitched but unfinished project in the basket was from a retreat at Stitcher's Express in Mattoon, IL.  The project is a Still Stitching with Susan Greening Davis design called Still Stitching by the Sea.  I am still not sure why we were stitching a "sea" project at a retreat in IL, surrounded by corn and bean fields, but hey - why not?  Susan was a fun teacher and brought lots of her other class projects for us to purchase. 

I stitched the project during the Crazy January Challenge last year.  (Proof!)  This was my first attempt at ruching and overall it went well. I need to extend a BIG thank-you to Ilene and Kathy for finding the ribbon for me at Paducah and also to Nicki at Plush for her ruched ribbon tutorial.

I found just the right fabric in my quilting stash for the backing.  I love how this turned out!  The project was designed to be a large fob for sewing scissors but I think it will serve me well as a pincushion or just to display.  The pretty ribbon really jazzes it up!  On a sad note, Stitcher's Express closed this summer; the owners retired.  I wish them well but oh how I will miss their lovely shop and fun retreats!

That concludes the Finished portion of my post today.  Now on to the Almost Finished portion!

This project is stitched but I still need to complete the finishing.  It is Death by Candy Corn, a fun design by The Scarlett House.  I am going to finish it into a pillow.  The black fabric is the backing and the huge rick rack will go into the seam for decoration.  All of the finishing materials are from my stash.  Life is good!
About the stitching, this was a super fun project!  I opted for 40 count 18th Century Brown fabric instead of the lighter fabric called for.  The stitching is over-two for the words and "dots" and tent stitch for the candy corn.  This will be a gift for a family member, so I need to get busy with the finishing!

In the Someday category I have several WIPs that I thought you'd like to see. 

I am making slow progress on my work project, Home Sweet Home by La D Da.  There hasn't been much time to stitch during work this summer.  I'm hoping for more stitching progress in the fall and winter months.
I am almost half way finished.  I love, love, love how it is turning out!

This is E and E and F - Petite Exemplary #2.  I am stitching all four of the Petite Exemplary designs in a column on 35 (could be 36!) count mystery linen from my stash.
The spider-web roses were a first for me.  They are easy to stitch but I think I made a few too many rounds and they are a little messy.  (Not so messy that they need to be restitched - heavens no!)  I have the border for PE #3 ready to go.  It's nice to have these little projects to work on in between some of the bigger ones.  The specialty stitches are extra fun!

Last but not least, this is Quaker Floral by Midnight Stitching.  This project comes with an interesting story.  Monique started this and gets all of the credit for choosing pretty evenweave fabric and gorgeous green floss, Olives from Carrie's Creation
Monique sold the project to Linda M. at a stitch in, and she enjoyed stitching it until she realized the alphabet did not include the letter "I."  This really bothered her so she sold the project to me!  I am thrilled to have it, and love the fact that two stitching friend have worked on it.

That is all for now,  I'm off to stitch and visit with friends at the potluck today at Mom and Me Forever.  Can't wait!


Monday, August 06, 2012

Smoke Flower

I finished "Smoke Flower" by Prairie Moon.  It is stitched on 32 count Mockingbird with the floss called for, mostly Weeks.
I love how it turned out!  The fabric is very striking in person.  It isn't what the design calls for, but I couldn't ask for a better substitute.

"Smoke Flower" is the companion to "Chimney Flower," which I stitched in 2004.  Here is a picture. 
The design is similar, but of course the colors are dramatically different.  These were fun designs to stitch!

I started "Death by Candy Corn" by The Scarlett House.  It will be a gift so I'm in a hurry to get it finished.  I don't have much to show yet, so no picture.  The design is stitched over one and over two and I am really enjoying it! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Diane Puts On A Few Pounds

From time to time, Diane gets a makeover.  I sort through her contents and pull out projects that I still love but have decided to return to the stash stacks.  Sometimes nothing comes out, but more kitted projects go in.  This is one of those times. 

This is "Topsy Turvy Bunnies" by Val's Stuff.  So cute, bright and fun.  Mom & Me Forever has the models on display and I fell in love with the pillow.
I planned to use fabric similar in color and count to the model - until I found this bit of bright yellow Cashel in my stash.  That changed everything.  The fabric is just a scrap, so I'll be stitching over one.

"The Bunny Collection" from JBW Designs caught my eye recently.  The Flowered Bunny is my favorite of the bunch, but I would like to stitch them all eventually.
Those pinks and greens look yummy on 36 count white Belfast.  This one will be stitched over two.

That's two bunny projects in a row.  Let's shake things up with "Not Forgotted" by Plum Street Samplers.  I am not into halloween, but this design makes me laugh out loud.  Lucky for me it was left out of the JCS special halloween issue and available for free on their website.  Score!
The fabric is 28 count Mocha Java.  If I stitch over one I can get several out of this piece of fabric.  Who am I kidding, I'm lucky to get ANY project stitched once!

I can't wait to start this one, "Death by Candy Corn" from The Scarlett House.  It calls for 40 count but I settled on this piece of 36 count off-white mystery fabric. 
The fabric color I chose isn't even close to what it calls for, but it looks similar to the picture so it works for me.  This is another over one project.

Super cute little Lizzie Kate "Farm Sampler!"  I will be stitching on 30 count WDW Straw fabric, just what the chart calls for.  Isn't that a shocker!
There are a few things I'm going to redesign on this project.  Details when it happens.

Lizzie Kate's "Prayer Connection" will be stitched over 2 on 32 count African Daisy Jobelan.
Close friends and family members will be amazed that 1) I had any yellow fabric in my stash at all, and 2) I've selected yellow fabric for not one but two projects in this group.  In the past I've been anti-yellow.  I can't seriously claim to be pro-yellow, but my resistance is slipping.

This Workbasket freebie is called Blue Flower and you can get it here along with a ton of other great designs.  I saw this finished and framed at Stitcher's Station but instead of blues the flower was done in purple and yellow.  I admired it very loudly, so Mary sent me the conversion info.  (Thanks Mary!)  I took the conversion a step further (trying to kit from my stash) and here's what I came up with.
I think the colors will look great on this 32 count Oyster color MCG Textiles fabric.

I saw this finished and framed at Stitches, Etc. and loved it!  It is "Lazy Alphabet" by La-D-Da and Jeanne stitched it on 28 count Blue Jean Gingham linen. 
Quite a change from the original, isnt' it?  I made some modifications of my own, so we'll see how this turns out.

This project , "Quilt VI" by Designs by Linda Myers, has been in my stash for quite a while.  When I was a member of a local quilt guild I fell in love with (the idea of) the Dear Jane quilt, so this project is a must-do.
I will be stitching on 28 count Bone Jobelan, over two.  I even have the frame for this one, squirreled away somewhere in the basement.  This is as close as I will ever come to reproducing Dear Jane.  I'm sorry I didn't take all of that DMC out of the bags for the picture.  Lazy!

It's going to be a jolly holiday stitching this Mary Poppins design!  I have 32 count Country Mocha Belfast pulled out but I can't settle on what fiber(s) to use.  I think blue would look great on the fabric.  I took it with me to Mom & Me last night (stitch night!) to get opinions.  The consensus is DMC in the 930's range.  (The chart calls for 2 colors.)  While I like the way it looks, it seems a bit dull.  Or very 1980's.
I want to stitch with solid colors of floss because the fabric is already busy.  I also like the idea of a dark(ish) silhouette vs. something bright - but not black or dark brown!  (I'm still recovering from all of the 310 I used in Terre De France.)   I have a few more stitching gatherings coming up in the next couple of weeks, so more opinions will be sought.  Decisions will be made.  Feel free to weigh in here with your own ideas.  All suggestions are welcome!

Did you notice all of the DMC I've been kitting with?  I still like my plain ol' floss the best.  That's all for now.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Birds, Bunnies and a Blast of Winter

This one missed the "finished" list last time I posted.  It is "Precariously Perched" by Sheepish Designs.
.
It is stitched on 32 count Meltaway Gray linen with overdyed floss as charted.  The picture doesn't do it justice!

I also finished the stitching on "Bunnies in the Garden" by With My Needle.  I love how it turned out and I'm almost (but not quite) looking forward to putting it together. 
Ginger found a workable letter "M" for my initial on the needlebook - thanks Ginger! 

I also redesigned the needle page to meet my needs.  No need to stand on your head, I've flipped it over for you. 

This ornament is for an ornament kit exchange - so I get to keep it!  It was my first attempt sewing ric rac in the seam.

It turned out better than I expected!  It is "Just a Little Flaky" by Val's Stuff from the 2011 JCS Ornament Magazine.

Here is my progress on "Merry Christmas" by Madame la Fee. 
I am about half finished.  The rest should be easier - or more fun - than the trees and ribbon.  Bring on the skaters!

Finally enough to show, this is "Reindeer X-Mess" by AuryTM.
I love how quirky this design is - a hunk of Quaker at the bottom, a wisp of whimsy at the top and a little traditional toy train in the middle. 

No progress pictures of "Home Sweet Home" by La-D-Da.  I am making slow progress.  I don't have as much time to stitch on the job during the busy summer months.

I am watching my WIP pile slowly dissolve.  The key word is slowly!  I'm hoping it won't be long until it's time to stash dive in Diane.  The last time I started something new it was February, and that feels like a long, long time ago.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The House That Grew

In March I wrote a blog post but didn't have pictures yet, so I dawdled around...and then it was May.  Here's what happened in March...

Time marches on here at Chez Toadlily.  Pardon the old, tired March pun.  I get like that sometimes.

Lots of stitching going on this month.  I've had a few finishes, taken some (unintentional) creative license, and started a new work project.  First, the finishes:

La-D-Da - A Big Flower Sampler - This is stitched as charted on 32 count Queen Ann's Lace with GAST.
The center/blue of the flowers is Aged Pewter and the pale green of the letters is Lexington Green.  These are my two new favorite colors!  The Aged Pewter has traces of brown in it that echo the Tarnished Gold.  Amazing!  Edited to add:  I pulled back on the photo so you could see all of that luscious fabric around the edges - yum!

On a less happy note, I ran out of Tin Bucket.  Luckily I had finished the entire border, so I just frogged out the letters and started over with a new skein.  The skeins didn't exactly match, but this way it didn't matter.  I stitched the year under my initials ('12) but it looked so cluttered and goofy that I immediately ripped it out.  I LOVED stitching this project, watching the colors evolve and the design come together.  The border is simple yet stunning.  Lori, you rock! 

Bent Creek - Bee Strong Zipper - I finished this fun zipper in just a few days.
I skipped the letter charms that spell "Bee Strong."  They just didn't work for me;  you have my permission to bee whatever you want. 

For a new work project I started Home Sweet Home by La-D-Da.  (I had to have another Lori design in the works!)  I've changed it up in a BIG way.
I am stitching it on 20 count Summer Khaki over two with Watercolours.  This is not at all how it is designed, but I want a large finish similar to Bless This House.   I don't have much to show, just part of the first "E" in Sweet.  I am not sure how my color choices are going to work.  Time will tell.  ETA:  As you can see I have "SWE" now and the colors are fabulous!

I've been working on Lady Champagne by Lilybet this month.  My skein of Weeks for the main house color is a bit brighter on the fabric than I anticipated, so I've been calling her Lady Egg Yolk.  Lady Champagne's revenge was swift and sweet.  After finishing the house (except for the backstitching) and the smoky numbers I started on the tree.  I spent an entire evening trying to figure out why the tree was too short.  Everything checked out.  Repeatedly.  I whined.  A lot. 

Mark offered to look at it.  As I handed it to him he asked, "Are you sure it isn't the house?"  WHAT?  How could it be the house?  The roof came together perfectly, exactly as charted.  All of the windows matched up with the door, etc.  Be serious!  So I pulled out the picture of the design, just to see.  (Thank you Lilybet for a fantastic cover photo!  You can see individual stitches!)  Um, how did I end up with too many rows between the windows on each side?  But what about the door in the middle?  That means it is wrong too, and I stitched that when I started this project...in January of last year.

Has all of this incredible wrongness been lurking smack in the middle of this project for over a year?  Yes, sadly it has.  And no, I won't be remodeling.  It's wrong, but it looks fine.  We'll see what happens when I backstitch the wrought iron around the windows.  With luck it will still look fine!

ETA:  Here it is, all finished, and it really does look fine.  I decided to skip the metallic floss for the star and instead of French knots on the tree I used Smyrna crosses.  Lilybet designs are always fun to stitch!  So sad that they are no longer designing. 
Flash forward to May.  I've been working on Merry Christmas by Madame la Fee and I can't seem to put it down.  It is a nice mix of confetti stitching and boring borders.  I hope to tell you all about it sometime soon...with timely pictures.  Famous last words...