Stitching and Life in the Company of Pets

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Finish (well sort of)

I got my Halloween 9 Patch finished tonight, so I did end up with a finish for March after all. I did it just as the pattern showed, with the exception that I added an extra charm. The original pattern called for the bottom middle green square to be left blank. However, I'm not really big on empty spaces, and even though it was green, it looked empty to me. When I originally got this Pine Mountain kit I noticed the empty square and knew at that time I'd want to do something different, so I had been on the look out for another charm that would fit in with the two charms the kit came with. A while back I found the little RIP tombstone charm that was the same color, size and style and picked it up. I think it looks better with the third charm. The reason I have the "well sort of" in my title is I'm not sure that I like it finished, I'm still trying to decide. I have two problems with this. The green H in the block I can see just fine. The alloween in the lower orange block I have a hard time seeing, and it is even harder to see in real than it is in the picture. I'm considering picking the letters back out and doing them in purple or green so they show up better. The other one I'm not sure I like is the uneven border design. I tend to like balance, consistency, symetry (maybe that's why I'm an accountant, LOL). While the border is cute, it doesn't look balanced to me. I'm also thinking of taking it out and picking just one of the styles (either what is in orange or in purple, not the one in black) and doing the border around all the squares not just some of them. For the time being I have it up and I'll think about it. The lettering in particular will be a pain to pick out as I stitched the letters first and then did the fill in area, so the letters are pretty well buried under the other stitches. Where I have it sitting out is next to my Jack and His Cat Halloween tabletopper which I finished in Jan. (yes it is still out) so that one end table really looks interesting with its Halloween theme going on when we are going into Easter, LOL.

So, you all vote. What do you think on the lettering? What do you think on the border?

I also got some work done on Chocolate Shoppe. I didn't get as much done on this as I would have liked, as this past weekend I ended up with a lot going on, so it didn't get much time. However, I am still making decent headway I think. I just have the rest of the border on top and then the fill in part. While this won't be a March finish, it is still on track to be done early to mid April. This has been such fun to stitch. I really didn't even mind the border part, even though it did seem to take forever to move along.

Since I'm giving myself a little time to look at 9 patch to see if I want to change it or not, I need a new travel project. So, while it isn't new you haven't seen it in a while, I'll be working on my Dogs of Duckport one. This one was my travel project until it got bumped when I started working on my 9 patch pillow.
Since it has been a while, it will be fun to get back to. Also, with the flowers and grass it has a spring feel to it that will be fun to look at.

Still trying to decide on what to start once I finish Chocolate Shoppe, but so far I can't decide between a couple. So maybe I'll go ahead and start them all. :)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

WIP Progress

Ok, I've got the progress I've made on my two main projects this last week. While it isn't near as much as what I see a lot of you post as getting done, I'm kind of surprised at how much headway that I did make.

First up is my 9 patch pillow by Pine Mountain. Even though it isn't done I tucked it into the little pillow that it comes with so that you can see what it will look like when finished. I am not quite half done, but I am enjoying the bright colors. This is mainly my lunch project, so for only having a half hour or so a day of stitching during the week, it really is moving along. There will be a solid purple square (right middle) to go with the orange one and the green one, and all three will have a little charm on them. There will also be a large green H in the top left, with the rest of the word Halloween in the middle square on the left. The final square will be a kind of green/purple/black/orange plaid square. This is turning out to be a lot more stitching than the tuck pillows normally are, they usually are not such a dense stitch. Oh well, I have plenty of time till Halloween to finish it, LOL.

The next one up is my Chocolate Shoppe by Little House Needleworks. While I didn't feel I made very much progress here, as working on a border seems to take forever to get anywhere, when I look at my last progress shot I can see that I really have. I'm over half way done with this one now, and I'm still having just as much fun as when I started it. I'm planning on finishing up most, if not all, of the remaining border before I fill in the top section, as that way I'll finish up with more of the fun stuff. This picture though is showing as darker than the fabric and other colors really are. I took it outside, figuring the natural light would work well. However, for some reason it didn't come out with the true colors in this photo. My earlier post of progress on this one is much better at showing the fabric and floss colors that it really has.

Here's a picture of what it will look like done, so as you can see I'm getting close.

While I don't think that I'll have Chocolate Shoppe done in time to count as a March finish, I'm hopeful that 9 patch will be done. It would be nice to be able to post another finish for the year.

As to Carol's question, yup that was grass at the bottom of my quilt pictures in my last post. Granted it is kind of icky, brown, mostly winter dead grass, but grass all the same. All the snow around here, unless you count the mounds of it at some parking lots and other places that takes forever to melt, is now gone. I think spring may be finally on the way.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Happy dance - Taxes done :)

Ok, tonight I'm doing a happy dance, I finally got my taxes done. They are all finished, in their envelopes, and I'll have them in the mail on my way to work tomorrow. I am so happy they are done. I HATE doing taxes. I dislike them so much my daughter says I resemble Dr. Jackel/Mr Hyde when I'm trying to get them done, I'm a totally different person. Oh well, they are done for another year, and since they owe me money, the end result was at least nice. Good thing too, as I've already started spending some of my refund on my recent stash acquisitions. :)

I don't have any good updates on stitching to show yet. While I got a couple blocks done on my Halloween 9 patch, they are the solid color ones. I don't want to sew the charm on yet, as my thread will get tangled on it when I do the other areas. So since the solid blocks don't show much I'll wait to post a picture on that one. On Chocolate Shoppe I've made some headway, but not as much as I'd like and as it is the border area there isn't much to look at there either. So..I'll wait and post a picture of that later as well.

However, I do have a couple of pictures. I was asked if I sew at all, well the answer depends on what you define as sewing. If you mean clothes, then no. Patterns and fitting and such and I just don't get along well. I have in the past though made two quilts, and I'd like to make another.

My first quilt was this one, it is made out of flannel so is very heavy, but very warm. The back of this is the purple flannel that you see the squares of on the front. This was called a Chenelle Quilt. I made if for my daughter as she loves cats and bright colors. There are three layers, the top and back are flannel, and then the center is a linen type material. This one was easy to learn on, as all I needed to do was decide which colors I'd put where, count the number of squares needed, and then cut them out. After stacking the squares (top, center, back) they just needed to be sewed together with the seams standing up at the top. After getting all the seams done, then you go around the edge and just stitch the sides closed.

One of the longest parts of this quilt was the clipping, that took a long time. Once all the seams are done, you go along each seam and the outside edge and clip in so that it creates a fringe type effect. As I found out the hard way you really need to pay attention because if you clip to deep and clip the thread in the seam, you need to resew the seam, which is a pain. When that is done, just throw it in the washer to fluff the seams up. I made this for my daughter just before she started collage. This went with her, and got a lot of use. These pictures are after she graduated, so you can see it holds up well. It kept her warm in the winter, and made a great blanket to take outside to lay on to study or go on a picnic.

This next picture was my second quilt. It is in a simple log cabin style, and as you can see has lots of my favorite color blue in it, as well as cats (can you tell we are a cat family, LOL). This one was a bit more work, as there were a lot more pieces to cut. However, other than trying to make sure that all the cats in the center squares went the same way, and none ended up sideways or upside down, it was easy to put together.

This quilt was for me, and is a lot lighter in weight than the one I made for my daughter. The back and front are a lighter weight fabric, so this one just stays inside for the most part.

This last shot is the frog fabric that I found for myself. It is a flannel, and I want to turn it into one of the Chenelle quilts. I don't have the complementary colors yet, but will probably use the deep green and the lime green that you see in the frogs for the colored squares. Then also use the deep green for the back. Hopefully the deeper green on the back will help to hide some the pet hair, grass, etc... that will get on it as I haul it around.

Well I'm off now. Since taxes are done, I'm going to reward myself with some stitching time, so that next post I can give you some updated stitching pictures.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

WIP update (and some stash)

Well first up is where I am on my little Halloween 9 patch from Pine Mountain. This has been my lunch project and so far I think it is coming along nicely for the amount of time that I've given it.

The orange square and the green square that I've started will be solid stitches. When done, there is a little silver charm that will go in each one.The nice thing about these, is once they are done, you just pop them into the little premade pillow that it comes with and your finishing is done. I really love projects that are such easy finishes.

Next up is my progress on Chocolate Shoppe. This one is my home project at the moment. However, as much as I enjoy stitching it, things have just been so busy I haven't been able to give it very much time. The border on the bottom is starting to come along, unfortuately borders almost always seem to take forever to show any real progress.

The next two shots are a little more of my stash I got recently. When I was at the stitching retreat just down the road from the shop is a wonderful fabric store. While I'm not much into sewing, I do enjoy looking at all the fun fabrics to see what might work for my various finishing ideas.

These are all the fun finds that I came accross. Some I'll use to turn into tuck pillows, and some will be used as flatfolds. One of the ladies showed in her blog how she covered mat board with fabric to give a fun bit of color and texture to her framed piece (sorry I've forgotten who). I thought some of the tinier prints, like the one in the upper left would maybe work for that. I'm not really sure what projects I'll use these for, other than the chicken for maybe the Rooster pattern below, but they were all so fun that I couldn't resist.

Back at Stitches n Things these are some of the other patterns I picked up during camp.

The No Frogging allowed one I want to do the little scissor fob. I'm going to do the funny frog on the front as shown, but on the back instead of plain fabric I'm going to do the piece that is shown on the little pillow. The Rooster one I think might work with the chicken fabric shown above done into a flatfold, so I'll match the thread to the chicken fabric to tie it together. I also got JBW's French County pumpkin, and got Crescent Colours in Fallen Leaves to do that one in. I think this should be enough to keep me busy for a while, LOL.

This last one is the wonderful fabric I found to work on. The one in the bottom left is the country mocha that I used to do Chocolate Shoppe on.
I haven't figured out yet what all I'm going to use the others on. Decisions, decisions, but what wonderful decisions to have to make.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Stitching and Stash

Hmm which to start with stitching or stash, lets start with the stitching. I worked a little bit on three projects, and as a result didn't get a lot done on any one goes .

I have one very small finish. When I was at my stitching retreat last weekend one of the other women there was from a stitching guild. Her guild is making little pillows to give the service men and women that are being deployed to Iraq and other places. While people may or may not support the war, I think it is important to support the men and women who are serving by going to the different areas. In this case each service member being deployed from their area is given a pillow for each member of their family. Before they leave, they can kiss the pillow and give it to their different family members. This gives their family member something to have while they are gone. Each pillow is made with a different backing fabric so they can tell them apart. The pillows are small, about 4x4 inches. They have various people stitch the tops, and then one lady turns them all into little pillows. While at camp we were asked if we would be willing to stitch one, so here is mine. It will go into the mail on Monday to be turned into a pillow.

The second item I worked on was doing a little more on my Halloween 9 patch. I finished the middle square with the kitty and started the lower right square which will be a pumpkin. There isn't much to see on the pumpkin yet, just were the square will be and the green top of the Jack O Lanturn.

The last one I worked on, and you probably already guessed on this one, is my current favorite, Chocolate Shoppe.

I am still enjoying this one just as much as when I started it. It will be interesting to see if I still have as much fun however when I have to work more on the border. Borders to me are boring and I generally don't like doing them very much. However, this one looks like it shouldn't be to bad, and since there is no backstitching on this project (which I really don't like) I think the border should go fairly well. I want to get the bottom border in, and maybe some of the side, before I start working on the upper center part again. That way knowing when I get some of the border done I can work again on the fun stuff will hopefully keep me motivated.

Well I finally got some pictures of my various stash acquisitions taken. The first one is from my Superbowl sale stashing.

I got the book OmniBook in the Wild. Not sure which all I'll make from this, but my DD would love the fox, upper right corner, and I think the Meerkats at the bottom right are adorable. I've seen that one done up and it is so cute. The other pattern I got was the Stained Glass Garden Tabletopper, as well as the fabric and flosses for it. The original pattern is shown on white anne cloth. However, in my household a stark white does not work very well. So..I'm going to do it on the cream anne cloth. The only color I'm not sure on yet is the blue. Claudia (the designer) gave me the listing of the alternate color path to do on the cream, but suggested two different blues I could pick from, depending on what I thought looked best when I got to it. I actually had the 2 blues in my stash already, so I put them both in with the others to see what I liked, the lighter one or the darker. The blue will sit right next to the yellow/orange color you see to create the one flower (blue outside, yellow inside). I still can't tell which one I like, so I'll probably stitch the rest around that area, then try one and then the other and compare them.

The other item I picked up that weekend was this fun frame.

Not sure what I'll use it for yet, but it was on clearance at a local fabric store near me for $1. For that I couldn't pass it up, the design was so fun. Besides, since it is small it will take almost no room to store. I can picture it with a cluster of grapes or a fun coffee cup design. What all designs do you all think would look cute in it?

Well that is it for the postings today. I'll post my stash from stitching camp in my next entry. Now I'm off to try and dig up more of my stuff to do my taxes. Unfortunately I still haven't really started them, and they will be due before I know it. Also, the fun stashing I did at camp was kind of based on my anticipated refund. So...since I already spent it I'd better get going and get my filing done so I can get it.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I'm back, and a brand new WIP

This will be a relatively short post, as I have a lot to get done after being gone the last couple days for my stitching retreat. However, wanted to post some of what I did at Camp Stitchalot this weekend. I had a great time, lots of stitching, laughing, stitching, stashing, stitching, snacking, stitching....well you get the idea, LOL.

I started out with great intentions. I took about four projects in various stages and figured I could also buy some stash, but I'd focus on working on one of my various WIP's to try and get something finished. Well that didn't work so well. I took one unstarted project, in addition to my WIP's, just in case I wanted something smaller to work on, and that is what I grabbed and started on Fri. when I got there (so much for trying to finish a WIP).

It is a cute Pine Mountain tuck pillow, Halloween 9 patch. At the side of the picture is the pillow that the finished piece will be tucked into. There are 9 little squares, some with items like a cat, Jack-O-Lanturn, Candy Corn, one with a geometric type print, and 2 when put together that spell Halloween. There are also 3 colored but blank squares that will have charms on them, a silver Jack-O-Lanturn, a silver bat, and a silver tombstone with RIP on it. It will be cute when done. The purple fabric is the pillow that the stitching will be tucked into when done, next to that is what I got stitched of the little black cat (he is the center block).

However, shortly after getting to camp I had the chance to go shopping, and one of the patterns that I had on my list to look at when I got there I found it at the shop, and then found fabric that I just loved for it which totally took my attention.

By the time I got the fibers, pattern and fabric I just couldn't put it down. When I got back to the hotel, again I tried to make myself work on either my tuck pillow (which was now another WIP) or one of the other projects I brought with me. But, that didn't happen, I just kept thinking of my new one, so....I went ahead and started it. As you can see, I made pretty good progress on it this weekend. I am having so much fun with this (although unfortuantely it is tending to make me hungry, LOL). I'm doing it on 28 ct Vintage Cashel in Country Mocha, which is slightly shaded. Here is a picture of what it looks like.

At this point, I'm planning on this one to be for me. However, I showed it to my DM, and she seemed to really like it, commenting that it looked Yummy. Also, my DD also likes chocolate and has been know to see one of my projects and promptly claim it. So, I'll have to wait and see where it actually ends up.

I also got a lot of fun stash, took a great class on finishing, and had other fun, but that will have to wait for another post.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A finish?

Well, a type of a finish anyway. I'll be going to my stitching retreat shortly and figured I'd better get busy and finish my name badge. Each year everyone that comes stitches a name badge to wear. The pattern is provided to us, is simple, and changes each year. The colors and any additional designs from the basic outline are left up to the individual, that way everyone's badge is a little different. In the beginning (I've been going to this retreat for quite a few years) the design provided also gave all the colors and specifications and was more detailed, but so many people changed it to suit their taste that over the years the pattern provided has gotten simpler with less directions. If you're like me and have very little imagination this generally presents quite a challenge. Well this year after brainstorming with my DSIL we came up with some ideas, and then yesterday I spent the day at her house and we both stitched on our badges. This year the pattern supplied was the outline of a tent, a flag for the tent with the year on it, and the word Camp Stitchalot done in backstitch at the bottom, no color choices or anything else.

In years past I have turned my badge into a pouch I can wear. This way it can hold my room key, some change for the vending machine, etc... and I'm not having to dig for them all the time in my stitching basket. So here is what I came up with from the outline of just a tent, flag, and the campstitchalot backstitch graph. The second picture is of the material I used to back it and create a pocket. (Since blogger is being difficult and won't let me move the coding, they are both showing at the top of this.) The tent and flag I left as the chart showed and just selected my own color combinations. However, the word Camp Stitchalot I liked better using full cross stitch rather than the smaller backstitch that it originally showed. The placement of name, adding the I Heart on the tent, the buttons to accent, and all the various colors I picked. It is on 18 ct Fiddler cloth. The green cord is so I can wear it around my neck. I think it turned out pretty good. I wish you could see some of the badges people do for this, some are soooo elaborate, lots of detail, and the finishing is lovely.

I don't have really any specific goals for the year, mine are pretty general.
1 - Finish one more project than last year. Last year I finished 12 cross stitch projects and knitted one scraf, so this would mean I need to do either 13 or 14 projects this year.
2 - Finish a couple larger pieces this year, as most of mine last year seemed to be smaller ones. This one got off to a good start with my finish of my Jack and His Cat tabletopper in Jan.
3 - Finish at least one (and hopefully more) of the several WIP's and/or UFO's that have been hanging around for quite a while.

So, while my badge for camp really isn't a "project" I think I'll go ahead and count it as a finish for the above. It did have stitching, and I did spend a fair amount of time trying to think of what to do with just a plain tent outline, and the biggest reason, if I don't I won't have a finish to post for Feb., LOL.