Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fiftieth post

Just returned from a needlework class/retreat in St. Augustine, Florida. Have I mentioned that's one of the places I want to live when I win the lottery? The class was a lot of fun and we worked on some fun projects. The camera didn't make the trip with me, so no photos. Too bad. The surf, rolling in from the Atlantic, was rather awesome. Pookie went with me. He spent most of the time palling around with B & T and had a great time while I was in class.

On Saturday afternoon a handful of us when to the Lightner Museum, close to the Bride of Lions in St. Augustine. Otto Lightner was a tycoon from Chicago that made money during the Depression. He published a magazine titled Hobbies and it seems one of his was collecting. For his health, his doctor thought getting out of Chicato would be a good thing. While in St. Augustine, he noticed that there was a larger, empty hotel across from the hotel where he was staying. He thought it would be a perfect place to store/hold/show his many and varied collections. So, he bought it around 1948. Unfortunately, he died in 1950, but he left his collections and the building to the city of St. Augustine. What we went specifically to see were some beautiful antique needlework pieces, a fabulous button collection, and lovely antique laces. There was also a wealth of antique furniture and stunning glass and mineral displays. There was a LOT of stuff we didn't get around to seeing. I tried to talk Pookie into going back to day to do more looking, but he was having none of that.

Hmmm. Just notice this is the 50th post of the blog. Ay, ay, ay. They grow up so fast. That's at least 40 posts more than I ever thought would be in here. Big hug to Yoyo and all the TUSAL folks for getting me back to blogging.

Enjoy your week and keep warm and dry.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January TUSAL

I blew it. The first TUSAL for the new year and I missed the date. Phbbbbt. Well, better late than never. I could cop out to excuses of being busy at work and writing a tutorial (I'll post here soon) but, gee whiz, I just plain forgot. Most of the orts were generated by the Pat Rogers sampler. There are also some finishing snips from creating the covered binder.

Like the new quart size jar? Since last year's bottle was so full after just seven months, I figured the bigger size would be a good change when shooting for a full year of clippings.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Idea Binder

I have a binder that started its life ten years ago holding seminar materials for a software development conference. Not a very pretty thing to hold ideas and charts for future (and past) needlework ideas, but it was still in good working order. Besides, it couldn't help it if it had non-inspiring printing on it. So, I decided to doll it up a bit.

Presenting the new and improved Idea Binder!

I spent the weekend working on this idea and bringing it to life. Do you know how scary it is to take a nice sampler and start pinning, sewing and cutting on it? I learned that it is better to tape down the vinyl and needlework and then sew the opening than it is to trying pinning it all down. Trust me on this one. The tape worked so much better!

All the work was documented in pictures, I may do a tutorial on it in the future, but now, I just want to enjoy it and reload all the ideas.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

First finish for 2010

Here 'tis: my first finish for 2010. This is Pat Rogers' Counted Collection A Lady's Alphabet, mentioned a couple of posts ago. This sampler gave my TUSAL bottle a nice start for the new year.

The designer's notes on the pattern mentioned that the omission of the letter V was intentional. Samplers were used as teaching vehicles in earlier times and since fabric and thread were precious, one would try to conserve and not duplicate lessons. Since the V is incorporated in the W, the V was some times omitted. Ms. Rogers did provide a chart that included the letter V, but I chose to go with the original design.

I've got an interesting finishing idea for this piece and I'll post it when it is completed.

Insomnia post

I almost always have trouble going to sleep at a decent hour, but diphenhydramine an hour before bedtime helps. Only problem is I have to remember to take it. On those occassions when I forget, I'm up until an hour after I do remember. Meh. Thank you, A&E, for Criminal Minds reruns.

The last of the handcrafted Christmas gifts has been delivered. It was a Lori Birmingham design for a scissor case and fob. The actual needlework had been finished for a while and dear friend PP even gave me some fabric perfect for the lining. What was missing was the actual finishing work and I admit I was scared of it. On second thought, scared for it would better describe my feelings. It was such a pretty thing, I was sure that badness would occur and it would be ruined while I was finishing it.

As it was, my fears were unfounded and it turned out pretty well. Oddly, the lining fabric - which is actually a lavendar color - looks way too blue in the pictures. All the rest of the colors appear true, so I'm not sure what's up with the color difference on just the lining.

I love to learn new stitches and techniques when working on projects and this project did not let me down. Interlocked slanted queen stiches were used to make a lovely lacey pattern on the scissor case. Click on the pictures to get a better look. I also loved the double running stitch laced with gold blending filament. Those can be found beneath the point on the front and in a square around the heart motif on the back.

Ok, I've got to ask: do you strip the white part away from the blending filament before you use it? I do and dont' seem to have much problem getting the filament to behave. I've had folks tell me I'm doing it wrong but, hey, if it works don't fix it! That being said, I'd still love to hear other opinions about working with blending filament and what works for you.

I really like the way the closure was worked: satin stitches were used to outline two adjacent rectangles. The interior was cut away and ribbon threaded through. A heart-shaped Swarovski AB crystal was hung from the point of the cover flap and the ribbons are tied over it. Very pretty and clever.

The fob was a bit of a challenge. I'm used to finishing fobs using the same evenweave material front and back. That makes them easier to join together. This time, though, I used the lining fabric as the backing for the fob and had to break out the sewing machine. That almost felt like cheating, but it was the only way I could see to join the two different fabrics neatly together.

Ok, the diphenhydramine has kicked in; bedtime has arrived!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe it's 2010. Isn't that the title of a science fiction novel? Let's hope it doesn't turn into a horror show.

I spent a quiet evening at home stitching on a new project: "A Lady's Alphabet" by Pat Rogers. Several years ago I bought the pattern - already kitted up with fabric and floss - at the estate sale of a lady from Knoxville. The design is copyright 1992, not current but not old enough to be called retro or vintage, either. It was just something in my stash and I needed a new project.

Many years ago, I made a resolution to not make resolutions and it's the only one I ever kept. So, no resolutions to not buy stash or only to stitch from my stash - that's unrealistic for me - but I will make an effort to cut down on purchasing new projects and work the ones I already have.

So, enjoy a nap, a football game or stitching time. Happy new year to all!