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

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Memorial Day Weekend

I've been slogging away on The Chase for the last few weeks.  I'm moving on to something else this weekend, just until the 1st of June when I go back to AotH.  First, how many of you think that The Chase is two deer chasing each other across the greensward?  I have raised my hand along with you.  Here's an image from the cover of the kit ...

I decided that I'd do a bunch of the grass instead of leaving all of it until the end to do because that would be REALLY boring.  So, I'm stitching away at my grass, which I know, looks different from the grass on the original.  I don't think it's better or worse, I just think it's different.  I also thought that it was best to work from the background out - do the stuff that is supposed to be furthest back and then stitch things on top of that, or, I guess, forward of that?  You know what I mean - so that it gets a more dimensional look.  Anyway, got around to stitching the deer.  One of  the deer is done with two colors.  I decided to do that one first.  I had given some thought earlier on to switching the doe and stag.  But, decided that the stag's antlers would come too close to the leave on the tree.  Well, girls chase guys on Sadie Hawkins Day, right?  I left it alone.

It wasn't until I was actually stitching the "doe", concentrating on not messing up the two tone effect, that I realized she wasn't a doe at all.  It's a dog - and that's what The Chase is all about - a dog chasing a stag.  So, Siobhan, get your smart phone out and ask it to pronounce this word: D-U-H !!!  Oh, my goodness I felt so dumb when I realized that the two tails were different.  But, both of them were supposed to be stitched with the same threads (albeit the dog was done in two tones).  So, even though I said I wasn't going to, I actually did make a change.  First of all, I tried to give the dog a more dog-like head.  The head drawn on the linen was almost exactly the same as the stag's.  That made it fit the ears better.  Then I replaced the stag's colors (taupes) with DMC 975 and 976 which I think are golden browns (yep, just checked - light and medium golden brown).  I thought they were more deerlike colors.  I also added a bit more cream on the tail and ears - where there was none called for.  But, that's it!  I'm not changing anything else!  Here's my overall progress this month:

When we went to Woodlawn Plantation I picked up the Sandra Sullivan design - Ferry Farm and stitched it up.  It wasn't on my list of things to do, but I snuck it in there anyway.  It was pretty quick, about three days worth of stitching.  It's been finished awhile.  I wanted to put it into a frame I knew I had, but I couldn't find the frame.  I knew it would look great and it does!

Here 'tis!  It is stitched on 40 count New Castle, white.  The frame measures 4 inches by 3 and a half inches.  At the bottom the design said WASHINGTON.  But, I decided that this was supposed to pay homage to Ferry Farm and I could just fit it in.  The Washington family members are nodded to through their initials.  Colors not changed, initials the same, just put in the farm name.  I love it.  Will keep it on my desk.

Finally, I've got another one off my finishing list.  It's my own design, The Bee Line March Sampler.  Framed so I can photograph it and get the charts put together.

Many of the same elements as the box I designed for the DAR competition; added Washington's Headquarters flag, the leaf border - they all represent trees that would have grown in the forests the men hustled their way through between Shepherdstown and Cambridge - and the map indicating the general path they took.  Have a great weekend - Hubbs and I are doing something fun tomorrow then work, work, work on the house.    Oh!  Forgot one thing.  Does anyone know what kind of linen that is that I'm stitching The Chase on?  I need to get ahold of some - blank and don't know what it's called.  Thanks!  Hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

AotH May Update - Part Deux

Somehow I got ahead of myself on the Christmas Rules so I continued working on the first bonus pattern in the Anniversaries of the Heart series - did you all see Siobhan's gorgeous version? 

So, here's bonus 1 finished. 

 This first picture shows you what the fabric color looks like.  I think it's khaki something.  Remeber, I cobbled together a bunch of linen scraps to form my fabric and a lot of the color names I do not know.

I made some changes to the design.  I added my own borner on the left; I just didn't care for the same border on the left that was on the right.  Nuf' said.

On the second photo you can see what the thread colors more or less look like.  We've had lots and lots of rain here since the weekend.  My grass looks fantastic!  My newly planted shrubs are loving it!  But it is a little difficult to get a good photograph.  Since everything is so wet outside, I just went out on the front porch, held up the scroll bars and snapped some pics. 

I really wasn't at all sure that the chosen colors for this were going to show up on the fabric, but they did - in an old, antique sampler sort of way.

I also paraphrased a line from Helen Hunt Jackson's Verses at the bottom since I'm highlighting the Mays in my family

Last pic shows a detail of one of the flowers in my border.  I guess since I've finally been able to do French knots, I'm going to go crazy with them for awhile. 

When the storms stopped last night after supper time I went out to see how the garden had faired.  We had over 3 inches of rain yesterday.  The sun even came out while I was out there squishing around.  I decided to check the strawberry patch - just to get my mouth watering for what I assumed would come down the pike when we finally got a few days of sun.  My strawberries have been blooming since the 2nd week in April.  To my surprise there were ripe strawberries in the patch.  To my shock and awe, there were A LOT of ripe strawberries in the patch.  I came inside about an hour later with about three quarts worth.  And they were SO good!  Didn't eat them ALL, but have no fear, we will.
Also, as a follow up to my dictionary reading . . . I was watching the TODAY Show this morning and Ann Curry went to Denmark to do some crazy game show thing.  They were talking about a Danish word hugga and she asked someone what it meant and they said (while they teased here about her pronunciation - I think it's supposed to be something like  whoo-ga) that it meant "cozy".  I turned and said to my son, "I wonder if that is the origin of our English word "hug".  So, we pulled out our old friend the dictionary.  Guess what!?  It said the origin was ON, meaning Old Norse and came from their word hugga.  Wow!  So, here's a big Danish-style virtual hugga to all ya'll out there!  Hope you enjoyed.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Elswyth Thane

OK, first of all, thank you all so much for not thinking I was weird for really liking my birds.  I so enjoy them.  Secondly, I can't put off talking a little more about Elswyth Thane.

As I may have mentioned before, my childhood was a little rough.  I would not call myself abused, but others might.  I always envied my girlfriends who had terrific dads.  I even had one girlfriend (who I'm still friends with - yay!) whose parents were divorced and she lived with her father.  That really was unique back then.  My relationship with my father was - well, lets just say it was tense.  I never really understood why I did the things I did as a kid - be involved in after school activities, work my butt off at babysitting, go to the library on an almost daily basis, sit in my room drawing and painting for hours . . .  until one day in my mid-thirties my sister said to me that I was obviously trying to stay out of the way.  It was like she hit me over the head with a hammer!  Wow, that really was what I was doing.  And fortunately, I turned out rather well because of all the things I did.  I mean mentally.

So as I said, one of the things I did was go to the library; about every other day.  I'd read a book and something would be mentioned and I'd be curious about that something, so the next time I went I'd research it and learn more and bring home about three books on that subject.  Meanwhile, I'd bring home about ten other books as well.  I would typically come out of the library with as many books as I could carry from my hands up to my chin.  It was a lot of reading.  And one of the authors I discovered was Elswyth Thane.  The first book I read of hers was Tryst.  What a wonderful book; heartwrenching.  Although I read and understood it when I was 12 or 13, I wouldn't recommend it to a girl that age now because it deals with the suicide of a young girl.  That seems to be way too popular these days.

I enjoyed that book so well, I wanted to read more from the same author.  That was when I read Yankee Stranger.  The link takes you to an overview of the Thane Williamsburg Novels.  Funny story about this book -  now, remember, I was about 13 years old.  I'm reading it and the hero is visiting the young lady for the first time and it says ". . . he nervously adjusted his cravat."  I slammed the book shut and threw it away from me feeling like I'd just read something unholy.  His cravat!  Good God, how could she have written that he was even thinking about touching that!  If my parents found out that I was reading porn something like that , I was going to be in so much trouble!  I couldn't get back to the library right away to return the book, so it sat for about a week at the bottom of the pile of books.  Every time I walked into my room I felt guilty because it was still there.  And all the while that word - cravat - hung guiltily over my head.  Finally I thought, well, I'd better look it up in the dictionary.  All that week of guilty misery dissolved as I read . . .

cra-vat (kre vat') n. from the French Cravate - from the Croatian kroat - a Croatian soldier's scarf - 1 a scarf; 2 a necktie.

A tie.  A tie?  All that angst over a tie?!  And then I thought it was hillarious.  I still do.  I laugh every time I remember my anguish over a necktie.  From then on, if I ran up on a word in my reading that I wasn't familiar with, I looked it up.  And that was what got me started reading the dictionary for fun.  Yes, it can be very interesting.

Thanks to the internet I see that I haven't read all the Elswyth Thane books ever written; just all the ones in the Fairfax County Library system.  So, looks like I have some interesting reading to do.  I don't know if too many modern libraries have the books, but if you see them in a used book store or yard sale, I highly recommend them as good reads.

Finally, Mrs. Baltimore Oriole was back this morning.  I've put out more floss tails and thread waste from the sewing room; I cannot wait to see the nest she makes out of this stuff!

Isn't she pretty?  Hope you enjoyed!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


 You should probably know something about me.  I'm a closet ornithologist.  Ever since I was 13 and read Elswyth Thane's book From This Day Forward.  The hero of the story was an ornithologist.  I remember I had to look up the word to find out what that was.

Ever since I've watched birds.  This morning I had a wonderful surprise.  This lovely lady was collecting my floss tails and dog hair where I'd hung it in the Chaste Tree outside.  I saw her at about 6:30 AM, before my coffee - and I wasn't sure if I was seeing things until a female goldfinch landed in the bush too.  That when I ran to grab the camera and the Peterson's Guide.  When I found the orioles in the guide, I still wasn't sure that I was correct.  Then this fella showed up in the ash tree out back.  The photo shows him in the mulberry tree out front (where I was first able to photograph him).  Finally this afternoon he came back to the ash tree where I was able to get a much better picture.  Actually, I think it is possible that there are two males.  They look just a little different colored in these pictures, so I'm not sure.  In any case, they are all Baltimore Orioles.

 The last time I saw a Baltimore Oriole, I was a kid and found this funny looking nest in the pyracantha.  I showed my dad and he said right away it was a Baltimore Oriole nest.  Us kids were to stay out of the rock garden while the birds nested.  We would watch them, however, from the window.  They have a lovely song.  There's a Cornell University website about birds - well, I think Cornell University has something to do with it, but I'm not really sure.  Anyway, I went there, found the Baltimore Orioles page and then listened to the song.  When I played it our windows were open and the speakers played and then the bird here responded to the song on the computer.  It was neat.  We've walked around the house all afternoon hearing him singing.

About four years ago we had a visitor at the feeder that I identified as a Rose Breasted Grosbeak.  It only came a couple of times, but I got one good picture.  And I haven't seen anymore since until this spring.  I was outside weeding and stood up to find one of these guys at the feeder - about two feet away from me.  I stood there, looking at him, he was looking at me.  And I started talking to him, telling him how handsome he was.  Typical man - he stood still to hear a woman compliment him.  My husband saw us from inside and couldn't believe it.  I've been able to stand pretty close a couple of times now.

 This picture was taken from the doorway.  They were a little more skittish that morning - I think because there were two of them and they were competing over the feeder.  But aren't they just gorgeous?  According to the guide, they are orchard dwellers.  No surprise there; the orchard is just next door.  So these two handsome fellows must attract the opposite sex, right?  Yep.  This afternoon the girls showed up (below).  Clearly the men have all the flashy looks.
No needlework updates yet, maybe mid-week.  Sorry, I know the bird thing is a little weird, but it makes me feel good to listen to them outside and I enjoy how pretty they are.  And soemtime I'll have to write about Elswyth Thane's books - I really enjoyed them when I was younger.  Hope you enjoyed.