Stitching and Life in the Company of Pets

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Finishes and Framing

This has been a productive week. My DD loved the Gecko kit from Sparklies so she had me start that almost as soon as we got it. It was a quick and really enjoyable stitch, so we went frame shopping today. We found this cute black frame for it. I got it all framed and the backing put on it and then realized I hadn't taken a picture of it before framing. All three of the finishes we framed have glass on them, so there is a little reflection in the pictures, but I think I managed to keep most of it off (all pictures are clickable).

The second one that got framed is Dogs of Duckport This was a fun stitch too, and I like how the green sets it off. This will be fun to put up also, as every time I see it I'll be reminded that I can hang in there and get backstitching done, and it certainly does add to the piece.

Finally, the last one that got framed was Phoenix. This is the one my DD designed and stitched. I think it turned out great, I still can't believe that she just stitched as she went along without drawing it out or anything before hand. We picked it up today, and I think she really enjoyed seeing her finished project all framed up. I don't know what her next project will be, but she had me pick up some 18ct black Aida and some 28 ct rose linen to have, plus a lot of flosses. She said she was thinking about maybe a peacock or a nightengale for her next one, something with a long tail. Still no interest in doing a piece where she follows a pattern that is already done up, but I think she's catching the stitching bug.

I did get some more done on Winter Welcome, which I'm doing for the SAL on the Little House Needleworks board. I still need to go over the snow that I have in it at this point with some Petite Treasure Braid I got to give it a bit of glisten. I played around with two of the windows since my last posting, but kept the others. One of the comments earlier by Lelia was that leaving the windows each a little different might look nice, as real houses very rarely have all the windows looking the same, which was a good point. So far I think they look pretty good. I'm planning on keeping them the way they are now until I finish the piece. That way I can see how they work with all the other detail, but at this point I kind of like them all a bit different. This is a fun stitch too, although I'm not to thrilled with the fabric. It is on 28 ct Dark Blue French Linen, and while I like the color, the fabric really isn't the nicest. The fabric is kind of coarse and scratchy, but was what I had on hand so wanted to use it.

No progress on Flower Dragons this week, or poor pitiful UFO Garfield as the others took what stitching time I had. Maybe they'll turn back up again this coming week.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Phoenix and Dragons

Boy the last week has flown by. I've been very busy at work, and it seems like a lot of stuff has been going on at home as well. With everything I've had going, something had to give, so I'm a little behind in my blogging and visiting yours. I'm planning on visiting blogs this evening and tomorrow, so I'll be able to catch up with what all you have been doing. While I didn't get much blogging done, I have gotten some stitching done.

Flower Dragons, which I'm doing for my DD, actually got started. The fabric we ordered came in, so we finished getting it all kitted up to work on. The actual color was a little darker than what she wanted, so we washed (and soaked) it several times in really hot water to try and lighten it a bit. It worked great, so the final color is a little lighter than Gold Dust would have been, but so far seems to be working well with the blues of the dragon. There are also some sparkles in the fabric, but they don't show up very well in this picture. However, all my pictures are clickable to make them bigger, and the color (and sparkles) can be seen better then (as well as the beading on the Phoenix).

It was a little bit of a surprise though once I started stitching it on how big it will be. I know I did the measurements, but actually seeing it now that it is started is making it more real. When done this is what it will look like The full pattern is over 12 pages, which is larger than any I've done before, so will be a challange. I've seen several people mention when they are working on the large multipage patterns that they start at the top and work down to keep it straight, so I'm starting in the top left corner. Due to its size, I'm doing it on my scroll frame rather than my normal Q's. It's been a long time since I've worked on anything besides Q's, but so far it seems to be going well.

The other fun thing that has happened this week is my DD finished her piece, Phoenix. I think she did a wonderful job. The Phoenix is her own design. While I keep trying to interest her in crossstitch, so far she hasn't been interested in learning, trying to follow a pattern has no appeal to her. She loves the finished pieces, and has picked out dozens of pattens for me to do, but has no patience in trying to do the detail. However, she is very creative. She pictured what she wanted, and after raiding my stash for some fabric, floss, metallics, and beads, just started stitching. She never charted anything out, just stitched as she went. I love how it looks finished, and she had a lot of fun doing it.

On a final note, I did get some fun stash. I ordered Tribal Gecko from Sparklies. I got the kit, which came with the pattern, floss and Gecko Lugana. My DD has two leopard gecko's, so this was a perfect pattern for her. She saw it and agreed, so it made its way into my stash. The internet is so great, you can see a pattern you love that was designed and produced somewhere else in the world and in a couple clicks of a button, it is winging its way to you. It really is a small world.

Both Dogs of Duckport and Phoenix are getting framed, so in my next post hopefully I'll have pictures of them all finished up. Well I'm off to visit you all in blogland, hope you're all having a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Vote for a window

Ok, I need some help. I figured the windows would be fairly easy, wrong. Trying to get the effect I was thinking of is not as easy as I'd thought. Who would have thought a couple little windows would end up being the challenge in my converting the colors of my Winter Welcome piece. You can see in my earlier blog entry what my house looked like with dark windows.

What I want is the kind of glow you see when you come home on a winter night and the lights are on, warm and welcoming coming through the windows. Originally I was going with a yellow, but a color with a little more orange was suggested, and it did warm it up. However, I'm still undecided on what looks best, as came up with a couple more ideas.

I've actually stitched up five windows in different ways. So please take a look at how it looks and let me know which window you think looks best. The windows are

Top left, 2 stands 3855
Top middle, 2 strands 677
Top right, 1 strand each of 3855 & 677
Bottom left, 1 strand of 677
Bottom right, 1 strand of 3855

Thanks for taking the time to look and comment, I really apprecate everyones help.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I'm so bad - Startitis

Ok, so in my previous post I said I had decided on which LHN project I was going to do for the Cottage SAL they were having, Winter Welcome. I had it all kitted up and ready to start on the 21st, the first day of the SAL.

I should have known that having it all kitted up when I was excited about it was probably not the best thing to have done, at least not this far in front of the start date. Needless to say, the startitis bug bit with it just sitting there looking at me. It probably didn't help that I was just coming off the last couple of weeks spent backstitching Dogs of Duckport and so my other focus was going to be backstitching Garfield (have I mentioned I hate backstitching, LOL). Or, that since the material we ordered for Flower Dragons (the project for my daugher) isn't here so I can't start that one either to ease the startitis bug.

Anyway, startitus bit, my new project called, and here is what I have done I have most of the house done now and am really loving it on the darker fabric. So far the colors I'm using seem to work fine other than the Whitewash by WDW that I thought I would use instead of the regular white. It looks ok for the house, but when I started to use if for snow it just wasn't crisp enough. Whitewash is kind of cream with a hint of darker shades. It works ok for the house, where you would have a bit of differentiation anyway in real life, but it kind of made the snow that I put in look dirty. If you look close at the house, under the right lights, you can see the hint of darkness (almost like the floss smudged) in the small part of the door between the windows. You can also see it in the hank of floss if you go to my previous entry, click on the picture to make it bigger, and then look at the Whitewash there. Not really obvious or distracting for the house, and I think it looks ok for house shading, but not what I want for the snow. So..snow will be done with regular DMC white with a bit of blending filament to make it sparkle.

The one color I'm still not set on is for in the windows. All the ones I picked earlier were yellow. However, Lili mentioned in her post that using one with a bit of orange to it might make it warmer. I've narrowed the window color down now to two colors, the 677 from my original group, and the 3855, which has a touch of orange to it from Lili's comment. Looking at them laid of the fabric, I think I like the 3855 best. What do you all think?

Here's a picture of what the pattern looks like. So far, as with my previous LHN one Chocolate Shoppe, I'm really enjoying it. Also, as an added plus, there is no backstitch that will need to be done when the rest of the stitching is finished (see above comment regarding my opinion on backstitching). My only problem is that at this rate, unless I can keep my hands off it between now and the 21st, I'll have enough done that I'll need to pick something else for the stitchalong. Hmmm, maybe I need to go back through my stash again just in case for ideas. :)

Well it is bright and sunny out today, so I need to get out and get errands done. Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Cottage SAL

Well it looks like another new one will be going into my current and upcoming projects. The Little House Needleworks board is going to be starting a cottage SAL shortly. There are several different patterns by Little House that are in the cottage theme that we can select from, and I picked the Winter Welcome.

I've got it all kitted up now so will be all set to go when it starts on the 21st of this month. The picture is clickable so that you can see the pattern easier. I'm going to make a couple of changes, which is unusual for me. I hardly ever get brave enough to change a design from the way it is written, but hopefully it will work out. Instead of the light fabric I'm going to use the dark blue to give it more of a night time feel. Then in the windows where the lighter fabric showed through originally I'll use the pale yellow so that it looks like the light you see spilling out from the windows of your home when you come home at night, all warm and welcoming. The house was more of a grayish type color, but I'm going to go with the blue, which looks like it shows up ok on the fabric (have I mentioned before that blue is my favorite color, LOL). I also changed one of the greens that are in it as I didn't have the one overdyed that it called for. However, I have the one here, Lucky, that I think should work well. Finally, the whites were plain DMC and I'm going to use Whitewash by WDW's instead.

Hmmm, looking at it now, and what I've written, that is certainly more than a couple of changes. About the only thing I kept the same is two flosses, one green and one brown. About the most adventuresome I've been in the past was to change a fabric color slightly or maybe substitute one of the floss colors. I hope my changes work out, the colors look ok to me laid out on the fabric. My DD, who generally has a good eye for colors and things said she thought it would work well also. So...what do you all think?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A finish

Dogs of Duckport is finished. I managed to stick with the backstitching for a change instead of letting it drift off into a UFO pile. Doing the backstitch made such a huge difference, especially with the dogs. I pretty much followed the pattern, only making a couple of adjustments. As mentioned before, two of the flowers in the pattern cut off part way, which would be fine if you matted it right to that edge, but if I go with a larger cut mat, no mat, or make a pillow, then only half of the two flowers being there would have looked odd. In addition, the fence in the picture on the right stopped at the top of the little dogs tail, and I thought that looked a little odd too. Given the feedback I got from most of you, you agreed it did seem strange, like the fence stopped in mid air. Therefore, I filled in the section under his tail with the fence. Here's a picture from the kit of what it looked like if I wouldn't have made the changes. At the moment I'm leaning towards framing the dogs in a kind of chunky wood frame painted in either a yellow, or more probably a green, and without a mat. Since it isn't a delicate piece, I think the chunky frame and in a fun color would work.

So with Dogs done I think I'll focus on Garfield for a bit. With as busy as I've been at work lately, not much of his backstitching has been getting done with him only being worked on as a lunch project. I have made some headway since I last posted a picture of him, but it's only been a small amount. I'm hoping that by bringing him in from the car, where he is my travel project, that he'll get time in the evenings and I'll have him done fairly soon. Here's a picture of what he looks like done. As you can see there really isn't a lot of backstitch left to do. It would really be nice to get Garfield done soon, as the poor guy has been a WIP/UFO for quite a while due to my putting off his backstitching. Also, if I start the new dragon pattern for my daughter, he could continue to languish for quite a while, especially if work stays hectic which it looks like it will.

My daughter decided on Flower Dragons for what she'd like me to do for her. Since she picked it out, we've been trying to find a fabric that she liked. Since there is so much open space around the dragons and flower, she wanted a hand dyed fabric so that the fabric would be interesting as well. We went all through my stash and didn't find anything, although since my stash isn't that extensive with dyed fabric that really wasn't much of a surprise. So..we started looking on line to see what we could find. She thought something in a pale yellow would look nice, making it look nice and sunny. Last night we found this.
It is called Gold Dust and is by Country Stitch It is in their Kiwi Sparkles line, so will have a touch of glisten to it, and will be on 32 ct lugana. I have one piece from them already that I got from Carol, which was a lovely blue piece of Cashel in the Kiwi Illusions line which is very nice, so I'm hoping I'll be as happy with the one I just ordered. So far Catherine of Country Stitch has been so helpful. The size we needed was larger than the one size listed, but much smaller than the next size up. When I sent Catherine an email asking if I could get a custom size she said no problem. She's going to custom dye a piece the size I need, and said since they were having a holiday there, that she could get started right away. She even looked up the pattern I mentioned I was doing and said that she thought the color would look lovely as well, and then recalculated the stitch count and fabric size to ensure I hadn't made an error in my calculations so that I could be sure the fabric would be the right size. I tend to like a 4" margin so that I don't have problems and I'd done it so that it came out to a bit over 3". She mentioned the difference and asked if I'd like the original size I listed, or slightly bigger to allow for the full 4". How's that for service.

I'm not sure exactly how long it will take till I have my new fabric and can start Flower Dragons, but if for some reason my needle just flies on Garfield my daughter teased I could always start her second choice dragon, Peach Dragon, if I needed something to work on. (Just an FYI, all my pictures here are clickable so that you can get them larger and actually see the dragons) Since this little guy will just go on antique white, which I do have, I'd be able to start right away. However I told her I really don't need to start another one to have something to do, as can pull out one of my other WIP's that have been around a while to work on in the meantime.

Well it is raining here again, which is pretty much what it did all day yesterday as well. While we need the rain, it would have been nice to have had it during the week when I had to work than have it on the weekend. Oh well, makes for nice stitching weather. :)