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

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Confessions of a Stitching Shop-a-holic

I've been bad.  Very, very  bad.  I should also say that I had quite a lot of trouble with Blogger this time around and had to publish an incomplete post in order to save it.  Sorry for double posting.

But first, to update you.  It's been awhile, I know.  I've been working like a demon designing up a new website for the historical society.  It's been quite a road.  First, I had to regain control of our domain name.  Then when I did that, I got an email saying oh, by the way, now that you have control, you can't transfer it for 30 days.  Thanks so much for telling me that before!  It wouldn't have changed anything, but at least I wouldn't have been so relieved about being near the end.  I have taken that 30 days and run with it though, got all of the pages built and have the new site ready to upload.  It will be a work in progress for a month or so.  I have to publish it so that the rest of the executive committee can chime in on it.  I'll then make all necessary changes and upgrades and viola!

In the meantime, it has meant everything to me to have my stitching to turn to in order to destress.  This has also been a terrific month for stitching related things.

Last I posted, I'd done this month's stitching on AotH.  Here's what I've done on the LK Christmas Rules . . .

And, when I'd stitched on that for two days, I moved on to my beloved "The Chase" sampler.  I have to say, as much as it drives me batty for different sized cross stitches and not following the thread, it is beautiful, even in its unfinished state.  In this photo, taken yesterday, I was closing in on completing all the cross stitch.  As of this morning, I did finish.  April I will move on to the embroidery portion.  I do not like spending most of my month stitching on this though and said last post that I would have to find something else to put into the rotation.

Now, see, rotation is something I'd never thought about.  I have to say that this thing I've started with the three projects, AotH at the first of the month until done followed by two LK Christmas Rules, followed by The Chase - it seems a little rigid to me.  On the one hand, I am loving AotH; almost too much.  And, I want to get Xmas Rules done and framed before this coming Christmas - so the rigid rotation is making me get it done; I think I only have 3 more turns on that though.  And I have to be rigid about the Chase or I'll put it aside and never pick it up again.  But I miss the fait par hasard  feel of it all.  Guess I just haven't found the right rhythm yet.

Anyway, it was the birthday of one of my stitchy friends and we surprised her with a birthday trip to the 48th Annual Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition. She didn't know where we were going until we were right at the entrance and she saw the sign!  It was a wonderful surprise for her.  She doesn't do computers or internet, so doesn't have the access to online shopping and information that we all take for granted.  And she LOVES needlework.  So we went in and went from room to room admiring all the beautiful work; it took a l-o-n-g time to go through it all.  Advice for future attendees - take your own penlight/flashlight.  The lighting is terrible and most rooms, the needlework is back away from where you are standing, so a pair of opera glasses or small binoculars might not be a bad idea either!

We had lunch in Nellie's Tea Room and I was delighted with the menu.  An old favorite of mine - cream cheese and olive sandwich - was on the list.  They don't serve anything hot (I guess they don't want to burn the place down!) and desert was delish!

There were some gorgeous pieces and several that I put notes in to find out if charts are available on them.  But, the one piece that has stayed with me was one that I almost didn't even see - or pay attention to.  Unfortunately, there are no photographs allowed so I can't show it to you.  It was done by someone whose name I didn't write down, but submitted by Lucy Edmison.  She is a Shenandoah Valley stitching instructor that I had the pleasure to meet when I worked at the shop in Stephen's City.  I can't wait to talk to her to find out more about this remarkable map.  It was of a large portion of the west and northwest - Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon, and southern Washington, Idaho and Montana.  And it was done in something like a seed stitch in - well, the only way I can describe it is - map colors.  The rivers were done, some narrow, some wider, in navy blues and had their names next to them.  I believe there were some towns marked and named.  It really was amazing.

Afterward we went over to In Stitches.  Birthday Girl was as happy as a pig in  . . . well, she was really, really happy.  It was 1:30 when we drove over to the shop.  I was hopeful that I could get us back on the road home by 3PM.  Donchaknow we didn't walk out of that shop until 4PM.

And this is where the really really bad part comes in.  I spent way WAY WAY more than I had planned on.  But, I'm not taking anything back.

Somehow, I managed to find the tool tower first.  There were scissors . . .

The black pair are what I call "storklettes" 'cause they're so small.  The pair under the quarter were a recent purchase from an auction hound, not found at the shop.  The pair on the right are new this year from Kelmscott - got those at In Stitches.  The last pair are tartan plaid Gingher's that my husband gifted me with at Christmas.  I just haven't had time to show them.

Then there were some thread winders.  I'll have a picture of those in an upcoming post.  This shop is chock FULL of charts.  I don't know if I've ever been in another store with more charts!  They do sell them a bit pricier than I've seen in other places, but Alexandria is a high rent district.  Also, they had charts that I had never seen anywhere but online.  So it was nice to see them in person.  Some I decided I just didn't like in person.  But, there were a lot that I did.  Like these . . . .

I thought that the tree one would do nicely for when I want to make something for a friend.  I have been drooling on line over several Long Dog samplers.  There is another that goes with the one below called "All Things Part 2".  I will have to get that eventually.  I think that working this sampler will give me the color lift that my makeover of the Prairie Schooler "Adam Names the Creatures" did.  Also, another Long Dog I've had my eye on "Opus Magnusson" is now on order.  It is Celtic Knotwork (which I used to do when I was an art major) and has a Book of Kells influence.  My eldest son loves Celtic design, so I will make that one for him.

The other chart is the scissors keeper by the Cat's Whiskers.  I saw this when she released it in Nashville in 2009 and liked it very much.  I was able to find it in the clearance bin at In Stitches, so saved a little bit there.

Also, I've had in my mind lately that I wanted some Lakeside Linen to have on hand.  I generally don't use the chart-recommended linen on a project; preferring to go my own way.  The problem is that with the overdyed linens, it's hard to decide online if it's the one for you.  So, I had a look at the Lakeside selection at In Stitches.  It is quite complete.  I brought home a good bit and look forward to using it.

Now, if you know me, you know I love me some history and Americana.  I've seen the Ferry Farm sampler from Homespun Elegance on several blogs so it was on my shopping list when I arrived.  The other if from Blue Ribbon Designs and is a flag done with the names of the states. 

Next is a little mishmash.  The case, I found at the shop.  It's bright red leather - the last one they had on the shelf, but there were more colors available.  I think it's by Namaste.  Anyway, it's one of those that is magnetized on the inside top and bottom with the suede insert to go in the middle.  That HAD to go home with me.  The scissors shown were a gift from a friend at Christmas - they have an antique chain that has a slider that goes up and down to make the opening around the neck bigger or smaller.  The scissors are from Germany.  The floral thingy I got at the shop.  It's made by Lady Dot Creations.  The fabric is sort of laminated; but retains its softness.  Inside it is a needle book.

Next I picked up a SoHRH.  I'm not a big fan of these designs because I don't think the floss choices are always well considered.  I know, I know, there are a lot of folks out there that just love these designs.  Well, I'm not one.  Stand me up and pin me to the wall.  I like the designs, just not the colors.  And with these, there are a lot of colors that have to get along with each other on one piece of linen.  Well, long story short, I like this design so much that I have decided that at some point in the future (after I have finished with The Chase) I'll take the time to sit down and make the colors play nice together.  I'm thinking of using the hunk of 32 count Tobacco.

Now, over at Woodlawn, they had a niceish gift shop.  I saw this thing in a cabinet, but it looked like it was more for display than anything else.  There was no price, so why not come to that conclusion.  But, one of my friends never let's anything stand in her way.  What was really funny was that at lunch she was telling about an antique one her husband had recently gotten her at auction.  I told her that if she comes up with another one, I'd love to have one.  ten minutes later we're in the gift shop.  She sees the same thing and goes to the sales lady and wants to know is it for display or sale and if for sale, how much is it?  Turns out, it IS for sale - $30.  Now, it's not an antique, but it is quite pretty and until I get me an old one, I've got this.  Attaches quite nicely to the top of my chair-side cabinet.

Finally, on the day that we went there were three demonstrations happening.  One was cross stitch, one was hardanger, and one was Japanese embroidery.  That Japanese embroidery was incredible.  But, you'd only get maybe two or three done in your lifetime.  Unless of course, that's all you do 24-7.  Anyway, the lady that was doing the cross stitch demonstrations was really nice.  And she had quite a selection of items on the table that she'd done.  One really caught our eye though - a pincushion doll with a cross stitched skirt.  First of all, she was thrilled that people actually knew what a pincushion doll was.  And even more so that we loved what she'd done.  She told us that she'd taken a chart of Tuscany and just extended it.  For the size doll she had (and hers was a small doll body) I think she told me that she'd worked on a piece of linen that was 6 x 18 inches.  Or, it could have been 24 inches.  Anyway, you would use whatever gave you the height and fullness in the skirt that you were looking for.  So, ladies, if you have a doll torso that you haven't known what to do with - or want to go look for one, here is an excellent idea to use . . .

photographed with the demonstrator's permission.  Hope you enjoyed!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Another One Done - Marry Me Brittany

My goal for this year was to "finish" the things that I had stitched in the last couple of years.  This one was first on my list of pieces to get framed.  It is my own design, called Marry Me Brittany and is inspired by Pennsylvania Dutch frakturs.  I'm selling the chart for $11 if anyone is interested, just email me.  I also designed a German style alphabet so that the initials can be changed.  A friend of mine from high school is the mother of Logan (the groom) and I met his lovely bride (Brittany) a few years ago; they are just the cutest couple.  They were engaged when I met Brittany.  Now they have a child!  My how time flys when you're having fun!

I decided when we parted that I would design a wedding sampler as their gift.  Unbeknownst to me, we were at that time headed for one of the deepest recessions this country has seen since the Great Depression.  I got the stitching all done, fine and well - actually took me a few months.  By the time I'd finished stitching though, my husband had lost his job and I couldn't afford to get it framed.  That was two years ago.  We thankfully have gotten back up to snuff now.  It's off in the mail tomorrow to go to Jacksonville.  Next up is my Bee Line March sampler.  I hope they like it.  Updates on my stitching soon.  Hope you enjoyed.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Due to Technical Difficulties . . .

When I went to start working on the March chart for AotH I realized that the fabric collage that goes on is longer than any of my scroll rods.  I have a pair that I found at a yardsale for $10 and are WAY too long.  I am in the process of having them shortened.  And Liz, from Needlewoman East has told me that she can order any size I want from K's Creations - but, I'm being cheap.

So, I began on May instead (on the fabric collage I've been working on so far).  I was looking forward to May anyway for several reasons.

First, my husband and I are celebrating 20 years this May.  That's us, down on the lawn.  Then, my eldest, Mitch - he was born in May.  He's up top with the initials.  Finally, there's my mom.  She was born on May Day - 1920; that explains the number on the roof.  And, if you've been paying attention, between the months I've done so far, there's a little secret.  I'm not letting the cat out of the bag yet, but soon - soon.  I bet a bunch of you smarties will figure it out.

Leona was the daughter of Howard (the Valentine's baby who was on my February piece) and Hazel (who was the daughter of Addie).  She was their first child - named Leona after a friend of her mother's.  She was born on the Old Buxton Place in Rocky Ford, Colorado.  That's not all aspens and rocky mountains there; no, it's more like a desert.  It is, in fact, the home of the Rocky Ford Canteloupe that was hybridized there back in the late 1800's and became world famous.  It was also the place where an annual Watermelon Festival was held.  I know what you're thinking - cantaloupe and watermelon in a desert?  Yep.  Don't know why, but it's true.
And that watermelon festival was a big deal - see?

Toldjaso.  Oh, what is also true is that they pronounced it Co lo rah dough.  NOT Co lo raaaaa do like they do nowadays.   I suspect THAT comes from the mountains was what my mom used to say.  Just my mother's opinion.  She's been gone more than 10 years now, so I guess the state can do whatever it wants at this point.

Lee, as she was called, was really, really smart.  She was class valedictorian and awarded a scholarship to Colorado State.  She went to secretarial school instead.  Don't know why, but she did.  And you'd think that would be a dead end, but it wasn't.  As soon as she'd graduated from her year there, she left the school, left the farm, and rode the train all the way to Washington, D.C. where she got a job as personal secretary to one of the undersecretaries of agriculture at the USDA.  She stayed on good terms with him for the remainder of his life; I can remember when we'd go to visit him at his home when I was a kid.

She was very gregarious, had lots of friends and was talented in many ways.  In many other ways, she was a little lost.  I have always wondered if that secretarial school thing was her idea; and maybe she spent the rest of her life thinking she could have done better.  Later in life she was secretary to the president of Marymount College (before it became a University).  When they "reorganized" and left her without a job (ageism) she was devastated and thought she'd never get work again.  One day she pointed out an ad to me in our local paper.  I read it and she asked if she should apply.  I said I should think so because it was a law firm, looking for a legal secretary.  At the time, I was working for a firm in Alexandria - the BEST job I ever had.  So, she applied, and was called for an interview, and was then hired to be the secretary for one of the senior partners.  At each step, she was surprised.  But not me.  She was an awesome secretary.  Didn't need any legal experience either, she was that good.  That was back in the days - BC - before computers.  All legal documents had to be submitted to the court with no errors - no white-out - ever.  And my mom, she didn't make typos. 

She was a long-standing member of Hope Chapter, O.E.S. in Fairfax, Virginia and also a member of the N.S.D.A.R.  She's the one who taught me to sew; made almost all my clothes when I was a kid.  Money was tight, so when she needed a new gown for Star, she'd make one.  I can honestly say, I've never attempted that.  She never said, but I think it was her grandmother Addie that taught her.  It was said that her mother, Hazel, could not sew to save her life.  I got my love of crafts from her; there was nothing she wasn't willing to try once to see if she liked doing it.

The one thing that she tried once, and then never gave up until she had to, was genealogy.  Much of what I have has been built on the work that she did in the 70's with my Aunt Ruthie.  The two of them were twin tornadoes going into courthouses all over the place looking for their families histories.  By the time my own interest emerged, we had computers and the internet - it was easy for me! 

I almost forgot to tell you about the changes I made.  The chart calls for Crescent Colours.  Well, I don't have those and I'm being cheap again - so I replaced them with WDW because I'm trying to get rid of those.  So, where it calls for Cinnamon Toast, I used Hibiscusw; Avacado, I used Scuppernong; Fools Gold, I used Olive (yes, it's really a golden green); and Mulled Berries was replaced with Purple Majesty.  But, I didn't stop there.  I discarded Cidermill Brown altogether and where it was called for in the chart, I used the Olive.  Also, the chart calls for Lexington Green.  Now, it could be my eyes, but when I looked at the picture on the front cover, it looked like an Aqua house to me, not a Green one.  So, I replaced Lexington Green with Weeks Sea Foam.  Finally, on the birds - which were supposed to be done in Old Purple Paint, but I didn't like that - I combined one strand of Tin Bucket with one strand of Old Purple Paint.  It's very subtle, but I like it. 

And so now you know the story of my May AotH block.  It was really nice to hear from a lot of you that you liked reading the stories behind the people in my blocks.  Thanks so much; that's so nice to hear.  Nine more blocks to go!  Hope you enjoyed.