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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lessons from Star Trek

As a kid I loved watching Star Trek.  I had the biggest crush on Spock.  He's still my favorite character and I absolutely adored the 2009 "New" Star Trek movie.  I thought Zachary Quinto did a fabulous job portraying Spock.  What a way to bring that franchise back!  I've been thinking alot about Spock this week and thinking that maybe I liked him so much because he reminded me of me.  Just like Spock, I can be very analytical, logical, fussy and split hairs so fine that they have to be observed under a microscope.  One of my sons is exactly like me in that way.

When last we spoke, I'd updated you on the horror of discovering that my "The Chase" sampler had come to me sans color or stitch chart.  I contacted the two people on the internet that I knew had worked the sampler to one degree or another.  That didn't pan out; not for lack of trying.  So, early in the week I sat down with my DMC colors and began running through the names.  Decided that was the best way to figure out what I had.  There is no DMC color called "Wheat".  Huh.  Moved on to see what Anchor had and sure enough, they have a "Wheat".  When I took the Anchor number and converted it to the DMC number and held my DMC floss up to what was in the kit, it was a match.   So I spent several hours matching up the DMC colors to the kit floss and then converting it to the Anchor floss and drawing up this:

I now had a color chart.  Then I had to compare the photo from the two blogs to the color chart and figure out which colors went where.  I had to use the blog photos because I realized early on that the color photo that came with my kit is badly faded.  I spent hours doing this.  And I found myself thinking of Spock in my favorite Star Trek movie - number 4 - the one with the whales.  Spock rejoins the team a little changed after his experience on the Genesis planet (he died and was regurgitated).  He's not quite his confident self.  Kirk assigns him to do the math so that they can sling-shot around the sun in order to go back in time and pick up a couple of whales to save the planet from certain destruction.  Spock is unsure of his math skills and lets good ole' Doctor McCoy in on his uncertainty.  [Just an aside here that Karl Urban totally rocked as Dr. McCoy in the new movie - I had goose bumps he was so like DeForest Kelley]  McCoy and Spock have a cleaver exchange and Spock finally admits he cannot make precise calculations.  McCoy says to him "Guess".

It was like McCoy was talking to me.  Alice had said much the same thing when she commented on my whining complaining bemoaning my not having a color chart.  You were right Alice.  And so was McCoy.  I used the color chart that I so painstakingly made to identify the colors as letters A - B - C, etc.  And I haven't looked at it since.  I've spent the week doing a lot of guessing.  It doesn't show well in the photo, but what looks like black is actually navy blue.  All the rest of the colors look pretty much as they do in daylight.  Also, the area that looks like it hasn't been stitched - well, it has a rice stitch in that area - in wheat - an almost exact match to the linen color.  And yes, I am a fussbudget. I admit it. I guess that's why counted cross stitch appeals to me. It's very precise. 

The Chase - progress as of Jan. 30
  Not that I want to impress y'all with what a complainer I can be, but this linen is driving me NUTS!  The printing doesn't go with the weft of the fabric.  When we stitch our counted cross stitch, it's always along that one particular thread, all the way across; and that's how things end up straight.  With "The Chase" I have had to forget about having the motifs go all the way across in a straight line.  I'm lucky to just be able to form a straight line within each individual motif!

That commercial with the parrot - "Not another day!  Not another day!" comes to my mind.  Well, just tonite and tomorrow and then I'll start back on BBD AotH for February on Tuesday - what a relief!  But, I must say, I think that this sampler is very pretty.  I think in the end it will be worth all the aggravation.  Remember how I told you the men in the household don't really pay much attention to the work I do?  They noticed Adam Names the Creatures when I did that; and they've noticed this one too.  Still waiting on my frame to arrive from my online order.  I'll update you soon on how that works out.  Hope you enjoyed.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A "No Pic" Post About the Chase Sampler

He who laughs last, laughs longest - and she who brags gets snatched up!  I sat down Sunday night to begin working on the Chase Sampler.  First, divide all the floss that came in the kit and match it up to the letters using the color chart.  The color chart.  Where in the heck is the color chart?  Seems I now know why I picked my kit up for 75 cents.  It is incomplete. 

I have managed to cobble together twelve of the colors via the instructions for stitching particular runs.  However, that leaves 12 more that I am only able to speculate about.  The color picture on the chart is not that good and I have noticed some fading on the pre-printed linen so I'm sure the picture is faded as well.

Found Erica's Blog and emailed her to see if she could help out.  Erica would be a stitching angel (as she got back to me right away and was very helpful to a complete stranger), but her kit was made by Paragon and apparently has different instructions.  Her site does have an excellent picture of her completed sampler though that I may use to complete mine.

Have also found Rebecca in Iowa who found a nearly completed version on Ebay and finished it.   I've written to her, hoping she can help me out.  If anyone out there knows anyone else who might have finished this sampler and can put me in contact with them, I'd really really appreciate it.  Hope you enjoyed - or at least laughed about my predicament.  I've been laughing - I should have expected it the way last week was going.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

More Rulings and an Addition

Christmas Rules is coming along.  I've worked on it for the week that I planned to and will hold off doing any more until end of February.  I have made multiple mistakes.  I'm not really big on "frogging" unless the mistakes will really ruin the outcome of the rest of the project; then I'll go back and take stitches out.  Sometimes I will just stitch over incorrect stitches with the correct color.  The mistakes I've made here I was able to overcome easily as they are each individual designs, one right after the other.  How do you handle frogging or making mistakes?

I will be working on various things over the next few days left in January.  But, in the early morning and evening I like to do me some stitchin'.  So, I've picked my next project.  I have a feeling that this one will last me for years.

Before I tell you what it is, I have to tell you how I came by it . . .    I was hanging out at an antique mall with my stitchy friends.  We go in together, but then disburse; each wanting to score the big one before the others.  We do play nice and keep an eye out for things that the others have been looking for, but we are pretty competitive too.  It's fun and never any hard feelings.  So I found this box and it had old stitchery kits in it.  Flip, flip, flip, BINGO! flip, flip, OOOOH, OOOH, flip OOOH.  The ooohs were for needlepoint things which one of my stitchy friends is really into.  I went and found her and asked if she was interested in any of them.  Yes, she was.  Where did I find these she asked, so I lead her back to the box.  She found two or three more things in there that she liked.  Then she turns to me and says, did YOU find anything in the box?  Me?  Who, Me?  Says I, like the cat who ate the canary.  I finally fessed up and there were OOOOOHs and AAAAAAHHHs over my find, but no hard feelings.  This was all last summer.  I've hung onto it this long, because I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it.

I have finally decided I'm going to go ahead and do it.  When I explain, you'll understand my hesitancy.  It's called "The Chase", a reproduction sampler, done in kit form by Elsa Williams for Williamsburg.  You can CLICK HERE to go to a website that sells this kit.  Please notice the price it is selling for - please!  It is also selling on Ebay.  Today, when I checked, it was up to 80 or 85.  Dollars!  I paid 75 CENTS for the kit I have.  Now, I didn't buy it because I knew it was being sold much higher (I'm guessing that they are no longer made new).  I bought it because as I was flipping through the stuff in that box, the sampler picture caught my eye and I thought it was pretty.  I put it in my 'to buy' pile and went on to search for more good stuff.  It wasn't until I got home and sat down to look at it in detail that I realized it was on pre-printed linen.  In this picture you can see the entire kit.

I'm not a big fan of pre-printed linen mostly because even if you are a careful stitcher, you inevitably end up with some of the printing showing.  So, I'm wondering if any of you have any knowledge about when you finish stitching, there's something you're supposed to do to make the printing disappear?  Any secrets you can impart?  I've spent several months cogitating over this piece, trying to decide if I wanted to stitch the kit as supplied or somehow convert it over to a nice piece of our lovely linen.  I've finally decided that there is no way I would EVER finish it if I did that.

Here' a closer picture of the photograph.  Basically the upper portion is all done in cross stitch.  The colors are gorgeous.  Here's what it says on the cover about the original sampler:

"sampler worked in 1760 by 11-year old Mary Starker, this reproduction kit duplicates the gay colors and charming design of the original in the Williamsburg collection.  The antique sampler is a rare example of American needlework design because it combines an embroidered picture with alphabet lists and includes the embroiderer's place of birth, "Newbury, New England" (probably Newburyport, Massachusetts).  Mary's name, place of birth, date, and a pious ejaculation, "Goodness and Mercy Ever follow [t]hose who shape there [sic] Conduct by Gods Holy Laws", have been deleted from the reproduction so that the 20th century worker may personalize the work."

In the first run of letters, you can see it goes "Z &" and then nothing.  I'm willing to bet that the alphabet was to be followed by numbers 0 through 9.  I may just have to fill that in - you know nature abhores a vacuum (and by the looks of my house sometimes - so do I).

This is a closer view of the bottom portion of the sampler that is worked in mostly satin stitch, but some other specialty stitches as well.  This is the part that really caught my eye.  I've seen some blog entries out there that are dated a few years ago.  One in particular said that the cross-stitch part was a breeze and she thought she'd be done in a trice.  Then she moved on to the satin stitch part and it has been taking her forever.  She never posted about it again, so I don't know if she gave up or finished or what. 

 This is what the cross stitch directions look like.  Oh, boy, this looks like it will be SO MUCH fun!  Think I'm going to keep my color copy handy. Hope you enjoyed.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Progress on Christmas Rules

This week I'm working on Christmas Rules by Lizzie Kate. 

I am doing all the charts (Double Flips?) on one piece of Country French "Cafe Au Lait" linen; 32 count; by Wichelt.  There are 12 "Rules".  The designer offers a freebie on her website of the top chart if you're doing it all as one.  She also came out with a "last minute" chart in December that was a limited edition called "Jingle All the Way".  I'm going to add it to the bottom of this as the 13th Rule.  I was inspired to do this by  Edgar who showed the one he completed on his blog at Christmastime.

Behind you can see the lovely DMC shop box that a friend of mine picked up for me at an auction.  I have two stacked, one on top of the other, all chock full of thread goodies.  Then a small table lamp up on top of that.  It provides great light for me to work with.

Brooke's Books is doing a stitch challenge on Yahoo.  It looks intriguing.  Check it out; it's called Winter House Challenge - I signed up for it today!

Also, would like to let you know that Nordic Needle now has their Winter 2011 catalog online for you to see in PDF file format.  Click on the link - when the page opens, look on the right hand side, third block down - click on the catalog/pdf block.  It takes a minute or so to download, but you can save it to your computer and drool over all the wonderful stuff they have.

Monday, January 17, 2011

This Weeks Progress on AotH January and PS Spring

Here's January's block of the BBD Anniversaries of the Heart series done.  The reason I did my initials the way I did will become more clear as I finish more blocks. 

As mentioned by Glenna - we should all be mindful of our identities.  That's why I'm just a woman of a certain age and I don't every publish my exact birthdate.  You'll just have to trust me that I was born in the last century.
Here's Prairie Schooler's Country Year - Spring.  It's stitched on 28 count Lakeside "Pearled Barley".  Nice fabric.  I will finish this up in a trice. 

Been doing lots of work for the historical society, mostly organizational stuff, but have also been having a little bit of fun with glass negatives and my NEW scanner - a Christmas present from the hubbie!

I've begun working on my third goal for the year which is Christmas Rules by Lizzie Kate.  I have a progress pic in the camera - or the computer - somewhere!  But, it's late and I need to go to  bed since I've been up since 4AM!  Gotta get some shut-eye.  Hopefully progress pic will be up sometime this week.  Hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Well THAT Was Interesting

When I wrote my post about pictures of ourselves I was concerned that I might really make a bunch of people mad.  I should have had more faith in my blogging buddies.  I am really amazed though at the comments I got.  Several people explained to me why they use images that are not their faces.  I appreciate and understand all of them.  Surprisingly, the explanations made sense - except for the frog.  Maybe there's something I'm still not getting on that one?

One thing that lots of you said was that you're the one that is usually behind the camera and so there aren't many pictures of you.  OK, I really understand that.  I am the only woman in a household full of men - including the dogs!  And my men are not all flowerdy in their speech.  I get the occasional "You look nice." but I have to really, really, really look extraordinarily nice to get that.  There are some days when I look in the mirror and think - hey, not bad!  So what I do on those days, if I can, is hand the camera to either my husband or son and say, here, take a picture of me.  Sometimes it will take several shots because they don't pay attention to the blender on the kitchen counter emerging from my shoulder or the telephone pole on the side of the road coming out of my head.  But, we usually get to where I can not only be happy with the shot - but IN the shot as well.

This is not done to soothe my sense of self.  Somehow I think we women sometimes think we're being too full of ourselves to want to be in the picture or asking to have a picture taken of us.  It is just the fact that we're in so few!  I think that the 30's and 40's were the highpoint of us gals having photos done of ourselves.  Back then I think they went to the photographer's studio on the corner and had the shot done "for the folks back home".  But, they still had that photo, no matter who it was "for".  When we're gone, if we've allowed there to be no or few photographs of us, what will our children or future generations have to look at when they want to know us? 

So, if you don't have many pictures of yourselves don't get them taken to put on the web (if you don't want to) but DO have them done for your families.  It's important. 

Glenna did a great job of taking a picture of herself!  I love it!  And Daisy is just a cute thing in her pic!  Glenna did mention something about identity theft that I want her to expand upon.  I've noticed that a lot of the icons are gone and am hoping that new pictures are being generated as we speak.  I, in fact, realized that I've been sporting a new hairstyle for the last six months and haven't had a picture taken of it so I'm going to work on that later this week (when I've washed my hair again!) 

Now, has anyone been noticing something weird about the photos in my posts?  That there are giant ghost images that are duplicates?  Something weird has been going on.  I don't see it on my computer, but it was mentioned to me.  I went into the HTML and that's where I found it.  I've been having trouble getting the images to post.  So, I save a draft then go back into it and post the picture.  What appears is one normal sized picture.  But, apparently the code is done in the HTML that duplicates and enlarges the pic.  I think I've gone back through the posts and fixed this, but if you see it again, can you let me know?  I haven't seen it on any of the blogs I follow so I'm not sure if it's just me it's happening to.  Hope you enjoyed!

Monday, January 10, 2011

This is Just My Own Humble Opinion

Not many pictures in this blog entry.  I've been thinking about this for awhile and I've decided that I am going to go ahead and write about it.  It's sort of a pet-peeve of mine.

A lot of you don't use pictures as your icons.  I've noticed this.  It bothers me.  Some people use art, some people use animals, some people use avatars or cartoon characters.  Some people use dogs.  Now you all know that I am a HUGE dog lover.  But when did it get so bad that we had to use a dog picture to represent us?  Do you remember that saying back in the 70's "She looks like a dog"?  None of us ever wanted a boy to say that about us.  And yet, some of us are using dog pics instead of pics of ourselves.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that whole "She looks like a dog" thing could be said about me somedays because I'm a stay at home mom and when I stay home and no one but my family has to see me, I will generally decide not to wash my hair or shave my legs and wear sweats.  But, when I go out I will take the time to do something with myself.  That something doesn't always work out and I have learned to live with that.  Usually involves some big zit in the middle of my forehead, something like that.  I am not what I call a pretty woman.  I was an art major in school and so I have a tendency to look at people as if I were drawing them.  I have been known to say to my husband or a friend - "look at her, isn't she gorgeous?" pointing at a pretty woman.  Sometimes friends have thought this was a little weird.  My husband knows I am doing an empirical analysis, not oogling.

But I digress . . . I had to put a picture of myself on facebook.  Initially I chose the one that I use on this blog (the ABOUT ME picture).  Then I decided that I was going to change it up every so often.  The next one was this  . . .

I thought that having someone go up the staircase and take the picture while I looked UP would hide the fact that I have about five chins.  And while the picture does have a dog in it - I am not using a dog to represent me.  Oh, I also wanted to show that I have gray hair.  I earned every one of them.  What I did not realize was just how many!  This picture disturbed me in so many ways that I finally reverted to the earlier one.

I am fat.  Overweight.  Probably Obese.  I think I am going to have to worry about high blood pressure and cholesterol really soon.  But here's the thing - I have only myself to blame - and only myself to dig myself out of THAT hole.

Back to the pictures.  I went for this one next . . . 

Better haircut - you can see less of the gray.  I was going to one of my DAR functions.  In the end I reverted back to the "Lady in Red" shot.

The point is, they are all pictures of me in my not-so-perfectness.  I want you all to know ME.  I'm not judging you, but I'd like to get to know YOU (not the chihuahua) - even if it is just a tiny half inch by half inch picture of you.  This is ME - and I'm not big on the pot calling the kettle black - so show me YOU.

OK, off my soapbox now - and hoping I haven't offended all of you!  Best regards - Katherine

Sunday, January 9, 2011

These Colors are AWFUL!!! GAK!!!

I've been working on Anniversaries of the Heart - Snow Garden.

Progress January 9
And, like a lot of you, I am NOT in love with the colors that were chosen.  But then, when you think about it, the garden does look very sorry at this time of the year; all brown and gray and parchmenty.  Since it is the block for January, which is when I was born and so the block will have MY initials - and, since it really IS all about me anyway - I decided to tart it up a bit.  The top and side flowers - which I think are the old-style Dutch carnations ( and they are the January flower) - I did in WDW Garnet and Lancaster Red.  I think that those are colors that are actually used someplace else in one of the other months, so it should not clash.  AND, garnet is the January birthstone, so it all sort of goes along.  I think I'll definitely be done by next weekend.  Which means I'll have two more stitchy weeks in January.  I can fill one by doing one of the Lizzie Kate double flips on Christmas Rules.  I figured if I do one a month, I'll be done for next Christmas.  Then I'll have to figure something out for that fourth week each month.  Hmmmmm.....  maybe some actual work on my finishing?

Speaking of being done, done, done with something . . .

Finished 1
Here's that shadow box I got at Michael's for $4.19.  And inside is Spirit of America.  Sorry for the poor quality of the picture, but I just couldn't get myself to do a good one of this piece.  Also, finished this weekend is Spirit of Christmas Stitching (in another super cheap shadow box!)

Finished 2
And here is the 3D effect you get inside the frame  . . .

I am really pleased.  I especially like the way "Christmas" looks in her frame.  While I'm not so happy with the way "America" looks in hers, it's good enough and I'm just so happy to have something completed.  Now on to that wedding gift!  Hope you enjoyed

Friday, January 7, 2011

Follow Up on Mt. Vernon Visit

Two things that might be helpful . . .

Mt. Vernon has a "new" Visitor's Center - it's actually called an education center and museum, but my brain can only remember it as a visitor's center.  It is WAY cool and SO worth the trip if you haven't been there in a while.  They have three movies (four if you count the orientation movie you can see when first entering).  I surprised my husband by taking him to the "experience" movie on the Revolutionary War.  While they tell the story of those 8 years, the cannons boom (lights flash and the seats rumble) and when they tell the story of the storm and fog that Washington escaped New York in,  a fog machine creates a fog bank near the bottom of the stadium seating.  Then, when they tell the story of the Crossing of the Delaware (in caps because that's a cool story) and Valley Forge - a SNOW MACHINE - blows snow over the audience.  My husband thought it was WAY cool and I expect kids think it's pretty neat too.  There are lots of things in the museum, including poor George's dentures that you can see close up - displayed much like the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian.

Mt. Vernon in Gingerbread - Roland Mesnier

Secondly, the Grist Mill and Distillery aren't on the Estate-proper.  During the "season" they have a shuttle bus that will do the driving for you, but if you go, it is south (of the Mansion and Museum) on the GW Parkway between Route 1 and the Ft. Belvoir gate that is on the Parkway.  It's on the north side of the Parkway.  Sits next to Douge Creek.  The funny thing is that I used to commute that way everyday when I lived in Woodbridge and worked for a law firm in Old Town Alexandria.  The "Guy" yesterday said that the mill isn't the original one (the original burned down about a century and a half ago), but it is a reproduction that was built in the 30's.  It was privately owned then, acquired by Mt. Vernon in the early '90's.  But still, it was there when I was commuting and I have absolutely NO RECOLLECTION of it at all.  Of course, that was when I was in my mid-twenties and more interested in boys than mills.  So, I probably drove by there every day, twice a day, and didn't give it a second thought.  But I did get pulled over for speeding on the Parkway once by a motorcycle cop who just looked so HOT in those boots they wear - we just had to go out for coffee!  Oh, my, those WERE the days!  Told my husband that story yesterday - he said "so, little girl, would you like to see MY boots?"

Speaking of Mt. Vernon reminds me of Woodlawn.  I've already read some stuff about people preparing to go in March to the Needlework Show there.  Here's the link.  I think I'm going to get my stitchy gals to make a day trip out of it.  Oddly enough, I was raised in Fairfax County and spent a good deal of my adult life there too - but have NEVER been to Woodlawn!  SHOCK!  I know!  It's about time I went, don cha think?

Follow Up on Spirit of America

Blu asked me about the gold stars on the Spirit of America piece.  She wanted to know if they're glued, stitched, etc. to the front of the piece.  I told her that they attach to the strings and the strings hang freely in front of the woman.    Then I decided to elaborate on my answer here.
The designer's preference for completing this project is that it be stitched on perforated paper.  That's how she shows it done on the picture that accompanies the chart.  However, I'm not exactly sure what you're supposed to do with these wonderful women once you've stitched them on the paper.  The instructions tell you to back it (to cover all your stitching) with fabric or felt; so I'm assuming it's supposed to be some sort of ornament.  My problem with that is that ornaments turn - so you will be lucky to see all that stitching you've put such effort into.  Remember the witch I did?  I did her like an ornament and ended up not being happy about it.

So, when I decided to do "America" I stitched her on linen (which the designer also says can be done in the writing accompanying the chart).  Stitching the piece on perforated paper really gives it a 3-D look which is very appealing.  I wanted to retain as much of that 3-D feel as I could while still stitching on the linen.  I'm going to frame her in a shadow box frame.  When I went to Michael's they had them, on sale, and I was fortunate enough to have a coupon that would give me 40 percent off, even on a sale item.  Framing her in the shadow box will allow that string of stars as well as the gold bows at her wrists to stand out - framed under glass in a regular frame they'd all be squished under the glass.

Hopefully this weekend I'll be able to get her into the frame and show ya'll a final result - actually completely finishing a project!!  YAY!  That will  be a big step in the right direction.  Thank you all so much for your kind comments - and keep those questions coming!

Yesterday, my husband took me to Mt. Vernon - home of George Washington - for a combination Christmas and birthday present.  We had a WONDERFUL time.  I had been looking forward to seeing the Grist Mill and Distillery that I'd missed when I was there last year.  Unfortunately, they are open seasonally April to October.  I was really disappointed.  But, I asked if it was OK for us to go there and look around outside.  Sure, they said, that's no problem.  On our way out we stopped.  There was only one other car in the parking lot and a "Guy" up by the Grist Mill.  We noticed that the guy had the door open and I said 'oh, look, it really is open'.  "Guy" of course heard me, went inside and closed the door.  Oh.  Guess it's not open.  So we go about looking around outside (it really was pretty).  "Guy" comes back outside, but closes the door behind him.  By now, we're close enough to talk.  I said that we understood the place was closed and that was OK, we wouldn't bother him.  We come in peace sort of thing.  He explains he's waiting to meet someone.  I go about taking pictures.  He and my husband are talking.  Then, my husband is calling me (by now I've gone all native, walking down the grassy slope toward the creek, taking pics, etc. paying no attention to anyone else).  Annoyed, I turn back to look at my husband (who is interrupting my photographic genius)  w-h-a-t?????  and he's motioning me to come back.  Sometimes this is a good thing because he watches out for me.  I generally don't look below my knees and have walked into some interesting places (and things) while I'm busy taking pictures.  I'd probably walk off a cliff.  So, first thing I do is look to see what I've gotten myself into now, but I'm safe.  Now I'm confused.  He motions again.  Stubbornly I stay where I am.  I've walked all the way down that hill, now I have to walk back.  And I don't want to have to heave my fat *** up that hill twice.  Smart man, he realizes what's going on in my head - can see the wheels turning so to speak - so, he points.  He's pointing toward the door of the grist mill where "Guy" is standing - now with the door open and he waves.  OH!

Mill Race

I trotted my fat *** up that hill lickity split and "Guy" takes us inside while my husband says to me that "Guy" has generously offered to give us a private tour.  WOW!  It was SO COOL!!  And "Guy" was really, really nice.  He took us around, explained stuff, was very patient with my ignorance of mill operation, showed us the fine flour, the regular flour and the bran, told us about the grinding wheels (the ones for flour come from France and the ones for corn are made of native granite) and I took LOTS of pictures inside before my battery died. 

Grist Mill Southern Exposure

We ended up introducing ourselves, but "Guy" will go nameless on the off chance that he wasn't supposed to do what he did and I don't want to get him in trouble, because he was so nice.  But anyway, thought I'd share these two pictures with you on the off chance you might be interested or curious.  Oh, the distillery actually makes and sells whiskey now.  "Guy" and I had a lively discussion about whiskey (which we both enjoy) and I recommended to him my favorite 'varietal' which is Jameson's Red Breast - yum! (sadly I haven't been able to find it available in the US).  But, I digress . . .   Hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

First Finish of 2011

Just finished her up this morning - what do you think of Spirit of America?

If you go HERE (the designer's website) you can see that she was originally designed to have wings.  Since the wings were stitched out of a quilt pattern (and since I had made a quilt out of the wings of the Spirit of Christmas Stitching), I decided that I wanted to make a quilt in the background of "America".  It appeals to me more.  Don't think it would take forever to stitch either.  In comparison to the figure, the background was a breeze.  Well, it would be if stitching from a chart.  It was slow going getting the pattern set, but once I figured out that the shell pink was the main pattern guide and got them all stitched, the rest fell together in about three days.

Creating that quilt from the little bit of information provided on the chart for the wings though, was a challenge.  Don't be fooled - there are several mistakes.

Some observations:  This chart called for Kreinik metallics.  I had the 3202 Catseye called for, but not the red or blue.  Was at Michael's and saw that they were carrying the DMC metallics and just so happened to have a bright red and cobalt blue.  Decided to substitute them for the Kreinik.  Colorwise, this worked out well; I don't think that you could even begin to tell that I used a substitution.  However, the DMC metallics were quite brittle and not easy to stitch with.  The Kreiniks were much more substantial and longer lasting as I stitched.  Something else, the chart says if you are going to stitch on fabric, you should use #4 braid, not the #8 braid that is used when stitching on the perforated paper.  Well, I went cheap again; I wasn't going to buy the thread in two different sizes.   The fabric I used was a 28 count.  The #8 braid passed through the holes easily.  But, I could see that if I were going to use a longer piece, there would be wear on the fiber where it rubbed on the eye of the needle.  I simply switched up to a bigger-eyed needle that would still pass through my linen without leaving a gaping hole in its path.  This seemed to work.  I would not stitch with the #8 on a 32 count linen.

I also used seed beads that I had at home instead of going out and getting the Mill Hill beads.  If you look at the bottom you can see that the seed beads I had were not uniform in size and so don't look perfect.  They work for me, but others might be disappointed.  To those I'd say, go buy the Mill Hill beads.  Now "America" will be added to my list of items that have to be finished or framed.  Going to Michael's this afternoon with my discount coupons; maybe one of these things will be "finished" soon!  Hope you enjoyed.