Needlework, Finishing, Designing, Quilting, Some Discoveries and Adventures in Stitching from Windy Ridge Designs

Monday, June 28, 2010

I Was Bitten by a Hexie Bug! - Sort Of

I've been viewing a lot of blogs lately where the gals are doing little itty bitty hexagons using the English Paper Piecing method (click to see a tutorial).  Siobhan's doing it and so is Texas Freckles who has a whole lotta people corralled into a hexagon by now.  Check them all out.  In fact, Sunshine has come up with a cool yo yo crochet method and is doing a giveaway of her book.  Me, I am sorely tempted - and probably will break down and do SOME teeny tiny hexies; but, for now, this is what I've had going on . . .

One day I was serching for pincushions and came upon the Kootoyou blog.  If you follow the link you'll scroll down until you see the pincushion.  She's got a slideshow presentation with instructions PLUS a downloadable PDF file complete with templates.

I cut out the templates, got out my scrap box and as you can see, ended up with quite a few hexagonal shaped pincushions.  My friend and I have been picking up button collections lately.  She found the bag at the hospice thrift store that had the ceramic birdie button (and quite a few other birdhouse buttons).  Isn't it Tweet?  Sorry, just could not resist the bad pun. I thought it looked adorable on the red, white and blue pincushion.

Kootoyou's instructions are for hand-piecing.  While I admire the diligence of hand-piecing, I just haven't got the time.  So, I cut the pieces out and chain stitched them on the sewing machine so that I ended up with two halves that got sewn together to form the top which was then united with the bottom, the whole was stuffed and then whip-stitched into shape.  One thing I really liked about this shape was that the straight edge of the whip-stitch closure was supposed to be straight.  What I mean is that when I do a circular pincushion, invariably the hole, when closed, looks more straight than curved like the rest of the cushion.  I usually do a lot of massaging to get that little half inch to match the rest of the circle's curve.  That wasn't a problem here.  Even less time spent; YAY!

I've made quite a few pincushions lately, trying different shapes and sizes.  They're quick to make and can be done mostly with scraps.  Although, I suspect I'll begin to run out of scraps soon!  But, anything that I can do with a more bang for your buck sort of zest to it is great!  I've gotten several books with cute pincushions in them too.  A review and listing of them will have to wait for another entry.

Finally, I shop at Nancy's Notions often and got a sale catalog this weekend.  One thing I noticed is that they have 14-count Aida available by the yard for $8.99.  I think that's a pretty reasonable price.  If anyone out there uses Aida, this might be for you!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

First Full Day of Summer

Although yesterday was the Summer Solstice, today is the first full day of summer.  It will be really hot and humid here; about 97 degrees with oppressive humidity.  Hope the power doesn't go out.  This is what I found on the window overlooking the deck this morning when I put the dog out.  A Luna Moth taking it easy on the morning of the first full day of summer.  Ahhhhh.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Something I Found Amongst the Hydrangeas

I went and picked some blossoms today from the Hydrangea bush.  Something was on my wrist and when I looked I realized I'd disturbed a very special nursery.  Took the baby that I'd "snatched" back and looked for more.  These babies will grow many times their current size and then eat all kinds of bugs in my garden.  YAY!  It seems they hatch every year around the summer solstice.

When looking at the picture, see the top center flower in the group?  Just to the right of that, on the edge of the next flower cup is the "baby" I'm talking about.

Hey Alice!

I went to go to your blog to post a response to your comment on my needlepoint scissors case; only to find out that you don't have a blog :-(

So, about the needlepoint - I think you should try it.  It is no harder than cross stitch, just uses different stuff.  And, it's HALF a cross stitch, instead of a whole one!  That means it takes HALF the time, right?  I will say, that if using scroll rods or stretcher bars, it IS harder to put the needle through - it's more like poke and pull stitching than sewing stitching like we do on linen.  But using that method saves on stretching the canvas out of shape and it doesn't have to be blocked before framing or finishing.  You CAN hold the canvas in your hand and "sew" the stitches, but the canvas will work itself out of shape. They have some really wonderful fibers that can be used in needlepoint that you can't use in cross stitch unless you go up to like the size of Tula (which I have done, but don't want to do all the time).

Also, there's this blog I'm following and they just did this Alice in Wonderland Tea Party and I thought of you - if you haven't already found this spot, you might want to check out A Note of Friendship.  They have entries on their tea party as well as downloads so you can have your own.  I thought that the name connection - Alice - might interest you.

And about not having a blog - you gotta girl!  You need to start showing us all that terrific stuff you're working on!  I promise, if you let me know, I'll be your first follower.  You leave such nice comments on the blogs, we'd like to return the favor.  I can't tell you how much it means that someone actually reads what I blather on about - and comments on it.  Thank you so much!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Scissors and Case

This is the scissors case that I've been stitching on for the last two months or so.  The canvas was small, so it was difficult to get the needle and thread through.  It was also the first time I'd tried stitching needlepoint on my scroll bars.  The fella at the shop told me that if you put your needlepoint on scroll bars or stretcher bars, the canvas won't get all stretched out of shape while you stitch.  This is particularly important if you want to save thread by using the Continental Stitch rather than the Basketweave Stitch.   Since I was stitching with Silk & Ivory (part silk, part wool) I wanted to save on thread.  However, I was also trying to teach myself the Basketweave Stitch.  So, I did most of the stitching in Basketweave and still didn't run out of thread!  Yay!

Now I need to finish it.  Unfortunately, it's going into the pile of unfinished stuff that I have to do for myself, because I'm loaded up with other work to do.  Maybe I'll be done with it by Christmas-time and put it in my stocking.  Yeah, right!

I found a really nice looking pair of scissors on the web today - they're black and made in Italy.  And available through this online needlepoint store.

The scissors I really, really want are OUT of THIS WORLD expensive (only $144 plus shipping!), so I will continue to dream - and hope that someone somewhere eventually puts them in a yard sale for 5 bucks!  The Tartan Sewing Set is from Sajou and if you haven't visited their site, you're in for a treat.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

June Progress Reports

Unfortunately, I'm late posting this little ornament piece.  It's in a  box now with a bunch of others, waiting to be finished.  That's why it looks weird - it was on a scroll frame for a while.  For those who don't know, it's a Prairie Schooler design.

I just love the bee skep.  All flosses used were Gentle Art and the linen is Jobelan in Summer Sky (to the absolute best of my recollection).

I had all good intentions of having these little ornaments finished up and dangling from a magnificent tree (following Vonna's wonderful instructions) by this time.  But, we all know that the road to *&^% is paved with good intentions.

I also have a picture, finally, of my progress on the Bee Line March Sampler.  It is my intention to make the sampler chart available for sale.  It's based on the design for the box that I won first prize for.  However, not all needleworkers want to accept the challenge of making a box.  So, I decided that with a little tweaking, I could make it into a sampler.

What you see here is the top of the sampler and all the new elements I've added.  The flag on the left is called the Grand Union and flew at Washington's Headquarters in Cambridge (where the Bee Liners went when they arrived in Boston).  The Grand Union flag was our the first flag used in America, while we were in rebellion, but before we declared independence.  Many still hoped to reconcile with the British Crown and remain part of the empire.  That's why the Union Jack is incorporated into the design.  The map shows their general route.  A diary, written by Henry Bedinger (one of the Berkeley Riflemen), mentions many of the towns they stopped in along the way and I tried to get as close to accurate as I could.  And what would a sampler be without a border - this one is an inner border made up of leaves of trees that are in our east coast forests - maple, oak, catalpa, red bud, tulip poplar, pine and hickory.  As you can see, right now I'm working on the Culpeper Flag; much of the stitching is over one.  The whole thing is done on 32 count linen by Wichelt in Water Lily (a slight green).

The wording continues down the right and left sides and at the bottom will appear the Riflemen vignettes that appeared on the front and one side of the box.  The water of the Potomac River, that they crossed at the Pack Horse Ford, will flow along the very bottom.

For those who expressed good wishes, my son is much improved in his health.  My husband may yet have one more doctor visit, but is doing OK.  Thanks for thinking of them.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Memorial Day Road Trip

My husband and son have been suffering from severe cases of bronchitis over the last few weeks.  However, last weekend OBB (Oh Best Beloved) and I went on a mini-road trip.  I had been down to Rocky's a week before, leaving my wedding band for replating, or electrolosis, or whatever they call it; and it was time to pick it up.  I told OBB that I'd drive and treat him to lunch if he'd go with me.  Free lunch always does it.

I guess I need to explain about the wedding band thing.  Back when we were married it was hard to find white gold, so I settled for yellow gold.  But, I've never cared for it - the color I mean, not the ring; I love the ring; it's completely me.  I'll wear silver jewelry and walk past gold.  It's always bothered me that my ring was gold colored.  So, talking to this jeweler down there, she told me that I could have it rhodium plated and for only 40 bucks.  SOLD!  I was finally going to get the color I wanted.  While there, my friends found a very nice ring with much bigger diamonds and sapphires than I have and it was suggested that would be the perfect gift for our 20th anniversary next year.  OBB did think it was a very attractive ring.  I won't hold my breath.

Anyway, Rocky's is quite a place.  Part pawn shop, antique shop, jewelry store and Alladin's Cave.  OBB decided he wanted to wander around and of course, while he was wandering, I was getting into trouble.  Actually, he got into more trouble than I did.  I was getting information.  Inspired by Deb over at the Thread Gatherer, I have been picking up scissors and putting them in my simple, clear glass, flower frog (it's what I had).  I just love her idea of using a flower frog that way.  But, Deb must live where flower frogs go to spawn or something, because while she seems to find many with no trouble, they are few and far between in these here parts.  Well, I asked them if they had any sewing or embroidery scissors.  They didn't, but two men down in the antiques department recalled a booth at an antique mall just down the road that might have something.  When OBB was done wandering, I asked if we could put off lunch just a little longer to run down there and check it out.

Long story short, we got there, the very helpful ladies at the information counter pointed me in the right direction; I found the stall and thought I'd died and gone to stichers heaven.  First of all, I picked out the two pair of scissors that were in the booth.  Then, of course I had to look at everything else.  In the bottom of a case, I found a tin that is like two others I have.  Except someone used it for their sewing basket about 70 years ago.  I had to have it and when I got home, I found that inside was a bonus pair of scissors!  So, here are the scissors.

The large pair in the center are very unusual and marked "Toledo".  If anyone knows anything about these, let me know.  To me they have an Art Deco vibe putting them between 1925 and 1940.  The small, plain steel ones on the right were the bonus pair.  I really like the details on the Lion's Tail pair on the left too.

So, here's what my collection looks like now.  My favorite pair are the Sajou tortoise shell I gifted myself with for Christmas a few years ago.  In the background is a tin tray I recently bought for a dollar at a yard sale.  I love it!

Like I said, Deb's frogs and collection are much more impressive; this is just my little slice of scissors delight.

Here's the tin.

Deb's got one of these on her blog too.  I've got three now.  The first was my mother's.  When we had class parties in elementary school, she'd send me with the tin full of cookies.  She used it for cookies from PTA to Eastern Star meetings and everything in between.  The other one was picked up by a friend at a church bazaar and given to me.  It too was full of someone's sewing stash and fun to go through.

I dropped my camera about two weeks ago.  A Nikon D-70, so not some little $50 job.  I'm really depressed about it.  I had a pile of page protectors on the table and put the camera on top of the pile.  It slid off and crashed to the floor because the page protectors were slippery.  Note to others, don't do same!  I feel SO stupid.  The flash doesn't work now and the lens is really messed up.  We are going to look in the pawn shops for a replacement lens,  but I think it's going to have to go to camera hospital to have the flash repaired.  Cha Ching! 

Anyway, the lens works at 70mm; but I'm not that tall (more short and squat).  So, had to stand on a ladder and take pictures down.  It's been a real dark day here because of thunderstorms and rain so the light's not so good either.  And, with no flash, I had to be resourceful.  So, here are some pics with the big flashlight as a lightsource!  Needless to say, I looked quite remarkable up there dangling off the ladder, flashlight in one hand, camera in the other; hanging off the ladder!  It's a wonder I didn't drop myself!

The tin came with quite a haul of old needle packs.  The one with acorns on it though is a silk stocking repair kit, not a needle pack.  It is really cool!  Oh, yeah, got several hoops too.  I think I'll use those as simple frames.  In the back right you can see the bobbins of thread.  That's a rayon floss called "Syltex Rope".  There was a real nest of pieces of it in the tin, these are the longer sections I was able to recover.  There was also a nice selection of varigated cotton floss.

Here's one of the nicer hoops - a padded oval.  And, the stash of cotton floss that was inside.  All kinds - American Thread Co., J&P Coats,  Clarks O.N.T. and even some really old DMC labels.  Will make nice things to use as photo backgrounds in the future.

I did take OBB to a sandwich shop that has one of the BEST pulled pork BBQ sandwiches I've ever had, for lunch.  It was awesome.  Then, we visited the Green Valley Book Fair to pick up something for a friend and then headed home.  It was a great day!  He's feeling much better now that he's on his second antibiotic and prescription cough medicine.  The doctor's say that there is a viral form of bronchitis.  It's apparently going around.  It tried to get me, but I'm too old, tough and stubborn for it to get me.  Besides, if I got sick, who was going to take care of them and the dogs?  Anyway, theirs went from viral to bacterial, but they are both sleeping better and are on the mend now.

Finally, my father served in the Navy during WWII.  Here are some of his patches.  When he was mustered out, he was a Machinist's Mate First Class.  The patch on the left is second class.  I don't know what the "A" is for.  He served in the Pacific Theater and it changed him forever.  But, since this is D-Day, I thought I'd finish with that picture.  Thanks to all our vets!