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

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I'm Not Really Sure About This

So, you know I finished The Chase sampler.  Well, that meant it was time to throw something else into the mix.  I've had this pretty thing from a magazine for a while - called The American Sampler.  I have thoroughly loved this sampler for years and had it on my to-do-someday list.  So, I figured someday was here.  I think ultimately, I will get a start on it, but not finish it for awhile.  Explain that in a minute.  Remember I told you all about my new glasses and everything?  Well, this American Sampler has a lot of over one stitching.  I am stitching it on a piece of 32 count Navy Bean by Lakeside Linens.  And you know what you're doing when you're stitching over one on 32 count linen?  It become 16 count!!! YIKES!!!  I can see it, but I can only do that early in the morning when my eyes are real fresh.  Seeing the chart is diffucult too.  So, I decided to digitally enlarge the charts so that would be easier - wish I could do the same with the linen and then shrink it back down!  In the meantime, I was working on Opus Magnusson (that I wasn't supposed to work on until later this month.  I'm sure the needlework police will be out to get me soon.  So here's progress on that . . .

Remember I said I was changing some of the medallions because of a mistake I made I mean, I just decided to?   Well, I've decided to eliminate some and double up on others and change their colors as well.  This is the one that was supposed to be red.  But you can see from the larger picture, that it really stands out.  I'm hoping that as I add more work, it won't continue to stand out like a bloody thumb.  Not pulling it out though; already decided on that, but that's where the blog title comes from - that red medallion that I'm not really sure about.

Now for the reason the American Sampler will probably take me some time to finish.  A long, long time ago, Sandy Orton was designing Christmas Stockings in Cross Stitch & Country Crafts. I have all those patterns.  What I've done is make one for each member of my family - a long long time ago.  One for me, one for Hubby and one for each of the boys.  Well, Oldest Boy is grown, married, has a daughter and one on the way.  Less long ago I started designing one of them for my daughter in law.  This was pre-granddaughter mind you, but I never got it done.  You see, I'm not satisfied with just one design, I have to change them, combine them, morph them.  When I made The Boy's I morphed 3 of the designs together.    And now I have a granddaughter and another boy/girl (I'm betting on boy) on the way.  So I think it's time to get on the stick and crank out a few of those stockings.  

A Universe of Stars - made for my father in law
 Also, I've talked to my daughter in law and she is happy for me to stitch the birth announce- ment.  And I'm happy to do it.  I already have one in mind, but I have to wait to see if it's a boy or a girl before I decide.  Then too, I have to make Christmas prezzies for Emma and also a baby quilt for the new arrival - again, waiting on sex.  My mother didn't wait to find out and she made a quilt for my youngest that is pink, green and white.  It's really pretty.  But, it's pink, green and white.  Everyone has always thought that was a little weird.  Good news - when he eventually gets married, his wife will probably love it!  He's very attached to the one I made for him when he was a toddler - it is black and jewel colors and a tropical fish print.  I pulled the jewel colors out of the print.  He still uses that quilt to this day (I made it twin size).  I found my old quilt photos.  His is below.  Above is the Quillow I made for my father in law.  With Parkinson's he spent a lot of time in his chair and it was hard for him to regulate his body temp.  I made it an extra 12 inch square long because my FIL was a tall guy.  So, he really loved having his quilt and mother in law was happy that it all folded up neatly into a package. 

Tropical Fish
Youngest child - also known occasionally as "The Boy" wrecked his father's car yesterday.  He's OK, the car's not.  We're hoping that the mechanical problems will be more easily (and cheaply) fixed.  The body work is either just going to have to wait or never get done.  Looks like hubby's in line for a new car before I am (DRAT!)  What made the whole thing worse was that we were up in Pennsylvania at the time - driving in the car - and the cell service was A-W-F-U-L.  It turned out it was a good thing I was driving, because when the call came in, Hubby went into full panic mode for a few moments until The Boy assured him that he was fine.  I know that feeling though - I wanted to sprout wings on 9-11 to be home with them.  I saw that look in my husband's eyes.  Turned out that The Boy was driving too fast for slick road conditions, lost control on a curve and hit a tree - while sliding down into a ravine.  I swear, he is my lucky child.  I should remind him that he should go out today and buy a lottery ticket.

While we were contacting a tow service from a hillside in Pennsylvania, the police found him and were contacting another tow service.  The Boy finally was able to get back in touch with us (we were actually using two cell phones at one time - looking back it was kinda funny).  So we had to call and cancel our tow service and then deal with the other tow service about paying for the car being pulled out of the ravine - because of course, The Boy didn't have that kinda money on him.  And because no one could talk to us all at one time, we spent about 45 minutes driving from hilltop to hilltop in Pennsylvania searching for better cell service.

When it was all taken care of, The Boy called from home, said that there was a bent tire, but he'd been able to drive it home and it should be "fine".  Hubby and I then arrived at our destination - Lurgan's Greenhouse - and decided to have a nice time in spite of it all.  I needed to buy a replacement male holly for the one that died during our July drought.  We're going to plant it this afternoon.  I got one two to three times the size as the one I bought in the spring - and it was $4 cheaper.  I also found the hens and chicks I was looking for.  Last winter I discovered they make really nice houseplants.  I also found two pieces of plastic pottery; you put them together and they make an urn.  I'll put the hens & chicks in that.  When I get 'em all planted, I'll post a pic.  I plan to spray paint the urn.  These urns would be nice also for Christmas Decor.  The other thing I got was a Meyer Lemon.  I have wanted one for ages and I just could not believe the price - $22 - that they had on it.  It would have been at least double around here - maybe triple in the DC Metro area.  

I really wish you guys had smelly blogs, because these things smell FABULOUS!!!  I got a nice brown marbelized pot to put it in and have snagged a place next to the window for it.  On warm days we'll put it outside on the deck so it can get polinated.  Obviously, that's already happened - fertile little thing - because of the one lemon we've got on it already.  Ummmm fresh lemonade in the middle of the winter - can't wait!  Oh, and if you live within an hour or so of Chambersburg or Shippensburg, you should definitely check out Lurgan's.  Great place!

Once he'd gotten over being concerned about The Boy being hurt, Hubby had a chance to think about the damage to his car.  I kept him as distracted with my shopping as I could, discussing plants and spending money.  But finally we were just driving and he was really sighing a lot.  I decided that he needed CF (comfort food) and found a Sonic up in Chambersburg.  He got a vanilla malt and felt better.  Also, we had hot dogs.  Sonic has new hot dogs on their menu and they're pretty yummy!  I had a bacon & bleu a while back and yesterday had a Chicago.  Not something you want to eat on a daily or even weekly basis, but as a now-and-again treat, it was great.

So finally the reckoning came and we got home.  As soon as he heard the garage door go up, The Boy came trotting out talking about how it wasn't so bad, etc.  Then his father saw his car and looked at me and said "It's a lot worse than we were lead to believe".  The body damage is pretty severe, but, like I said, hopefully the mechanics aren't.  Guess we'll see tomorrow.  To his credit, he was very apologetic.  I just left him and his dad together to work it all out.  I saw it as a good sign that The Boy wasn't bruised and bleeding the next time I saw him.  He does realize that this is going to set us back and that he has some monetary liability in this.  But, he's real pleased with himself that even though it was the police that discovered him, they didn't give him a ticket.

That was all about 2:30 in the afternoon.  At about the same time, at the airport not two miles from my house, the most recent air show crash took place.  I was very sad to learn that one of the Trojan Horsemen had crashed and died.  I understand it was a terrible sight to behold and am really sad for my neighbors - especially the children - that witnessed it.  Roy and I had just watched them practicing early in the morning before the show (the planes always fly out our way and we have a good vantage point up on the ridge) and I'd seen them on my way home on Friday afternoon. Last night as I was working in my office I heard planes flying off to the west and wasn't surprised to learn later that the remainder of the airshow was canceled. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Special - Very, Very Special

On September 19, 1898 a very special little girl was born - Ethel May Ogden.  Her mother, Alice, had previously given birth to her half-sister, Virginia (Virgie) in 1894.  But Alice was married to Frank Ogden and both girls had a loving father.  Frank worked as a huckster - a street vendor in downtown Wilmington.  In 1900 the little family lived just off Market Street.  But, by 1910, something had gone wrong.  Ethel and her sister were living with their grandparents, Alice's mother and father Isaac and Ellathera Genn.  On May 2, 1901 Frank Ogden was pronounced dead - concussion of the brain being found as the cause.  What happened to Alice is unclear; she lived her life until she passed away in 1947.  But her two girls were raised by her parents.

The Genn Family 1913
Above, Ethel is shown with some of her Genn Family relatives.  Her grandmother, Ellathera, is at center in the back.  Ethel and my father were first cousins - her mother Alice was sister to my father's mother Ella May who is in the back on the left.  My father is the little blond one in front.  Ethel was a lovely young lady at 15 and probably more so as she aged.

On October 24, 1919 she married John Wesley Gainor.  He'd managed to come back alive from the Great War.  Her sister, Virgie and husband Edgar were their witnesses when they were married by the Reverend R.H. Adams pastor of the Union Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington.  John was what they call a long, tall, cool drink of water.  He was very handsome in some of his early photos and became distinguished with age.

I first met Ethel and John when I was 12 at the memorial services for my grandmother.  My father then did not have a great deal of contact with his family - and few were left.  There was only Ethel and her sister.  I met Virgie too.  I remember she smelled wonderful and the apartment she lived in was very chic.  But Ethel and John were like a big warm hug and I took to them like a duck to water.  I never knew my grandparents on either side and from the moment I met them, I thought of Ethel and John as my grandparents.  I loved to sit and listen to them tell stories.  Stories about their lives.  And I could ask Ethel anything.  I loved to sit and hold her hand because her hands were so incredibly soft.  And I asked her - Ethel, why do you only have two fingers on this hand?  It was her left hand.  Her pinky, ring and middle fingers went only to the first knuckle.  She wore her wedding ring on the stub of her ring finger.  And she told me that once, a long time ago, she'd run her finger under the needle of the industrial sewing machine that they used to make awnings and that the doctor's had to amputate her fingers.  Ethel and John ran Gainor Awnings - supplying window awnings to nearly all the homes and businesses in greater Wilmington.  It had been a terrible accident.  But Ethel wasn't fussy about it; never tried to hide her hand and would sit there and let me hold that hand for hours.  And it was Ethel and John that showed me that a married couple -whatever their age - can be completely gaga over each other.  Rarely did he ever call her "Ethel".  His name for her was "Girlie".  He'd be telling a story and say "Isn't that right, Girlie?" or we'd be eating dinner and he'd say "Pass the potatoes, Girlie."  And I'd sit there thinking how I wanted someone to call me "Girlie" someday.  My goodness, that woman was special to me.

Ethel and John eventually gave up their home in New Castle and moved to an apartment where we continued to go up and visit them.  Then they had to go into assisted living because Ethel had started to forget things.  That was long before we knew about Alzheimers Disease.  John died in 1986 and Ethel basically forgot everyone.  She lived nearly another decade before passing herself in 1993 at the age of 95.  She lived a good long life and was a terrific lady.

So of course, the September block of Anniversaries of the Heart had to be for Ethel.  I omitted the gray blobs.  They looked more like snow to me and it doesn't snow in the Mid-Atlantic in Spetember.  I would have made them yellow and called them fireflies (I think that would have gone well with the mothra theme), but I chose not to introduce another color into the block.

And here's the big WOWWIE of the week - I've finished "The Chase" sampler  . . . .

"The Chase" finished - after 7 months
I told my husband that I feel like I passed my final exam with this one.  And he said he wants it framed and hanging in the house.  Sandra, who so kindly provided me with the part of the instructions that I was missing, recently wrote and told me that her daughter now wants hers in the worst possible way.  I think my youngest son has his eyes on mine.  My answer - over my dead cold dying hands.

And finally, I have a finish for a client that I want to show you.  Here is Milady's Fan's all sewn up -

The whole quilt; then a detail of the gold quilting in the center and a detail of the black quilting on the outside border.

Hope you enjoyed!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Just Humming Along

At the end of August I was working on Opus Magnusson - the piece I will eventually be giving to my eldest son.  This month I had a heck of a time.  Mistakes all over the place.  You see, I'm adjusting to my new glasses.  Glasses that took me a full three months to get if you count back to when I received the new prescription from the doctor.  I first took the prescription to Sam's Club.  Found the sort of frame I wanted, handed over my prescription and waited two weeks before they came in.  When I put them on I went "WHOA!"  They were really disorienting.  And the guy says to me that I just have to get used to them because they're quite different from my old prescription.  I wore them on the drive home.  The biggest thing I noticed was that if I wanted to see anything, I had to turn my head to see it semi-clearly.  After two hours I had a monstrous headache, took off the new glasses and put on my old ones.  That night I showed the new ones to my husband who looked at them and said it looked like the bottoms of two Coke bottles had been inserted into the frames.  When I looked at the lenses from a distance, I could see two distinct circles, dead center in the lense.  What up wi' dat?!

The next day I went to the opticians in town.  I told them honestly that I thought that the prices I'd paid last time were too high, so I'd gone to Sam's to save money.  They told me that the focal area for my reading had been totally put in the wrong place - centered in the lense instead of in the lower third.  Oh, well, that makes sense.  They also said that Sams had used an older progressive technique and that's why I had to turn my head to see anything.  So, I ordered a complete new pair of glasses.  They told me they'd be in - in a week.

The following weekend my husband and I went to Sam's and returned the glasses I'd gotten there.  I said they were the worst pair of glasses I'd ever had in my entire life.  I've been wearing them since I was a teenager, so I do have a few years of experience.  To their credit, there was no fuss, no bother; the money was credited back to my credit card and I went away happy.

Three weeks later I got a call from the opticians in town.  My glasses were ready.  I was excited.  You see, when I'd gone to the eye doctor, I'd taken in my stitching.  I said, this is the way I hold this, this is how close I hold this.  I don't hold a book here (in my lap), I hold it here (on my chest).  So we'd done all the focusing for reading for where I hold what I'm working on.  With a little fudging to accomodate table-top reading.  So, I got there and put the glasses on and tried to read the card and I told the guy that the words were blurry.  No matter where I held the card, the words were blurry.  Again, what up wi' dat?!  Well, you probably just have to get used to them.  I'm sitting there thinking, you gotta be kidding me!  So, I went home - feeling like a complete idiot.  I really, really thought that all this trouble was in my head.  So I wore those glasses - the far vision was crystal clear and great! - but I could not focus on my reading.  I think I went two weeks, switching back and forth from my old to my new glasses.  Finally I said, OK, I'm not going to get used to this. 

So I went back.  Different technician this time.  Turns out, the focal area for reading is basically off the bottom of the lens - or NOT THERE!!!  No darned wonder the *&^%%$ words were blurry.  So they have to make new lenses.  Another three weeks go by.  I get a call and go in.  This time I've tamped down my excitement.  This time, the glasses work.  I can read the words at the bottom of the card clearly, no problems!  So I go home a happy camper - only to be back in the shop a week later.

These new glasses sit different on my face than the old ones did and the nose pieces have literally dug into my face.  On one side of my nose I have a scab where I actually was bleeding over a weekend.  The guy asks if I'm allergic to silicone.  I say I wasn't before - my old glasses had the silicone nose pads.  So, he takes off the nose pads on the glasses and puts on different (better) ones.  It is sorta more comfortable, but now my face is just sore, so I really have to withhold judgement.  Finally, after a week, my face had healed and the nose pads aren't making it AS sore (still a litte sore).  I frequently have to take off my glasses and rub my nose.  But the tradeoff is that I can stitch without having to wear my magnifiers!

Well, at least I thought I could.  I can see, but not perfectly.  So, I put on the magnifiers, but now they're too strong to go with these glasses.  End result, I have to be very careful where I put my needle or I end up with a half stitch, or stitching over three threads instead of two, etc. etc.  Which is exactly what happened with this bird.  I was so disgusted with the whole thing, it was a relief to finish it off on the 31st!  Fortunately, it doesn't seem to be any worse for wear (as in, I was able to hide my mistakes pretty well).

And here is the whole thing so far -

Sorry, no matter what I do, this picture won't go in the right way.
At the beginning of the month, I got a start on the Anniversaries of the Heart block for this month.  Here is a preview:

I've noticed that this piece, at 28 count, is easier for me to see to work on.  I can't wait to finish this up so I can tell you the story about the lady this block focuses on!  Hope you enjoyed - inspite of all my whining.