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

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Birth Sampler Progress

As a reminder - this is the source
Despite all the craziness in my life right now, I've been stitching away on the Birth Sampler like mad.  In fact, maybe it's the stitching that is keeping me sane.  My stitching time has been significantly curtailed, but I still manage to make progress.

 Somehow I managed to be in charge of the Christmas doings at the historical society.  This year we're doing two weekends - the theme is Christmas in the Civil War.  We're decorating two live trees with the types of ornaments they'd have on  them during the 1860's.  Those are not exactly falling off the shelf at Walmart, so we have to make a bunch of stuff.  The committee's been meeting once a week and doing that.  Also, I've researched music of the period, literature (specifically Christmas literature), food (had lots of help with that) and of course, how to entertain people in Civil War style.  We will have costumed interpreters (none of whom can be pinned down to an exact day or time) as well as a fiddler, a harp and flute group, and a Civil War era Santa.  Two speakers will talk about the war in Berkeley County and we're sure to have a partridge in a pear tree somewhere!  Whew!  And somehow we still have to take care of advertising.

In addition, we've been commissioned at the historical society to produce a research package based on a piece of property.  It's like one I did in 2009 for a house I was working on for our annual house tour.  The lady of the house was so impressed with the package that she's asked us to do one for a family member who also owns a property in the county.  It involves researching the history of the property and all the people who ever owned it.  Sometimes there is precious little you can find out about some people.  But, I've made steady progress on this project and know I will be able to complete it by Christmas Week.  Mind you, I am not complaining because I find this kind of work absolutely fascinating.

I've also been helping a client organize his genealogy.  He hopes we'll finish up before Christmas and he'll be able to give copies to his family members.

And I have several irons in the fire sewing client-wise, but I've been stuck on this curtain job I've been working on off and on for a couple of months.  I really don't like making curtains.  I find it unutterably boring.  I'd rather do anything but make curtains.  Suffice it to say, I've drug my feet on this project.  My client has been really understanding, but I know it's not fair.  So, I spent yesterday working on them and I found I was actually closer to being done than I thought.  One more measurement for hems and I'll be finis!  And after this - NO MORE CURTAINS.  Heck, I don't even sew curtains for myself.

But, on to the Birth Sampler -   Here's what I've done so far . . . As you last saw, it was the center block.  I've added the two birds . . .

As I worked on these, I thought about my mother's thunderbird pin.  She had one that she'd gotten as a teen in Colorado.  She wore it often and was really upset when she lost it when I was a teenager.  Somewhere, she found another, but it wasn't nearly as nice as the one she'd had.  I have that one now, but always keep my eyes open for one like mom had originally.  I think that these two birds are thunderbirds. 

Many tribes apparently have a thunderbird mythology.  The one that I heard from my mom was that the thunderbird was the messenger god and was responsible for thunder (by beating its wings) and for rainfall.  Not surprising that a farmer's daughter would know that story best.

Once I had the central row complete, I moved on to begin the bottom row.

The next block to do is the one with the two animals (see image at top).  I think that those are coyotes.  Coyotes can be wiley creatures, so I'll have to be careful in my counting as I stitch.

Alot of the stuff I've learned about the Civil War Christmas decorating and traditions is pretty interesting, but I'm not sure if you're really interested in it.  If you are, leave me a comment and I'll do an entry about it - maybe two!  Hope you enjoyed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Birth Sampler

So it's going to be a boy (which I knew!) and I picked out this birth sampler about two months ago.  I ordered the book from Amazon.  It's called Splendid Samplers to Cross-Stitch by Chris Rankin.  While the designs are lovely, I find the charts difficult to work with.  They don't have the bold line at every tenth stitch that I find very useful and they are so small as to be unbelievably hard to read.  That said, this design is really lovely  it's the one from the cover of the book:
Book Available from
I got started on it last night.  I had to count the squares to get the stitch count so I could figure out what size fabric I needed.  Then I went through my stash to see what I had.  Finally I decided on a piece of Northern Cross Quaker - 30 count - in Antique White. The charts are mostly for DMC or Anchor, but this one happens to be for Anchor only.  So, I picked out DMC colors that I felt matched what was called for.  It's going to be very bright and colorful.

First of all, I had to copy and enlarge the chart because even with my magnifiers, I could not see the symbols.  I will burn the enlargements when I'm done!  It's hard to tell, but the stripes that form the boxes around the motifs are done in cross stitches.  Well, I'm not doing that!  I am doing the stripes in satin stitch instead.  The title of the design is Caribbean Sampler, but I think it looks more Peruvian or Ecuadorian. 

At any rate, I really like it for a little boy; very colorful and something that will grow with him.  In case you were wondering, I'm adding a border with name, birthdate and place around the outer border.

All the leaves are off the trees now; in a couple of weeks they'll harvest the corn.  I re-situated all my bird feeders this afternoon  so they're far away from anything the squirrels can climb on to get into them and I can see them just as well from inside the house.  It's time to snug up and do crafty stuff!  Hope you enjoyed!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Busier Than a One-Armed Paper Hanger

I've always loved that euphemism!  It really describes what life's been like lately.  Remember I posted the design photo of the Christmas stocking for my DIL?  Well, I got a start on it.

Lisa's Christmas Stocking
And I wanted to show you what the others look like.

All together


My husband's

My youngest son's

This is a detail of the Mrs. Claus' Top Soil that I designed on mine to replace a stool in the garden shed.  It was my first foray into cross-stitch design. You can also see that I put a bunch of junk beads onto the tree as decoration.

So, that's what's up with that whole stocking thing.  I can't find my oldest son's stocking, so when I do, I'll put a pic of it up.

Got the call from my son yesterday after the sonogram - It's a BOY!!!  They will be receiving their little bundle of joy sometime in late winter - February/March???  But, I was right!  I've already picked out the Birth Announcement needlework I'm going to do and got a yard of fabric that is going to be the jumping off point for the quilt I'm going to make.  AND - last week when we had no power I started crocheting a little baby hat - in blue cotton!   Now you see where the Busier Than a . . . . comes in.  I've got more things to do than I know what to do with!  Yikes!

Now, I've checked with everyone in the family and they don't mind if I do this . . . I have this quilt that no longer goes with my decor.  It's a wall quilt - about 3 and a half feet by 2 feet.  It has a rod pocket on the back.  It is machine pieced and hand quilted.  It is called Roadtrip!, made by me.  Stitched in the open blocks are things that you'd see on a roadtrip along Route 66.  I am selling it for a $75 Nordic Needle online gift certificate.  Below is the overall picture of it.  Click on the tab at the top to go to the Windy Ridge Designs page and see detailed pictures of the block stitching and even a picture of the rod pocket on the back.  Email me if you're interested.  It would make a great guy gift for Christmas!  Shipping is on me!  Hope you enjoyed!


Addendum to Last AotH Update

Ugh - DUH!  I really have not been operating on all four wheels lately!  First, thanks to all of you who posted compliments on the block and commiseration on our car situation.  Husband is out right now shopping for a new car.  Son is still alive.  All good.

Now, to refresh your memories, I'd told you that at the bottom of the November block, I'd put my great grandfather's initials and that he'd served in the 116th Illinois Volunteers in the Civil War.

What I forgot to put in the post was the wonderful picture that we have of him and his wife, Cyntha Virginia Smith Cothren. 

Cornelius Piet Cothren was born May 27, 1845 in Ramsay township, Fayette County, Illinois.  His mother was Margaret D. Harris and his father was Calvin Cothran.  Margaret and Calvin were divorced when Cornelius was still a toddler.  Margaret later married George Washington Guthrie and they migrated to Cedar Vale, Chatauqua County, Kansas between 1860 and 1870.  In the meantime, the war was upon them and Cornelius signed up with the Illinois Infantry, mustering in on August 14, 1862 at Decatur, Illinois.  In this photo, he is wearing lapel pins that have his company number and another number.  I believe that he was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic - a Union veteran's organization that formed after the war.   Because of the regalia he is wearing and the flag pin on Cyntha's shirtfront, I like to think that they had this picture made on the 4th of July.  Cornelius is buried at the Wadsworth Cemetery in Leavenworth, Kansas.  Hope you enjoyed!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oh, What A Week I've Had - and AotH Update!


First it was the OcSNOWber storm.  Our power was cut off for four days.  I've decided that while I CAN survive, I am not a pioneer woman.  I like my electronics way too much.  I LOVE my power company for getting us back up and running ahead of schedule!  In these pictures you can see my Windy Ridge walnut tree in the snow and the following day you can see how the snow was hanging onto the ridges and fall was back.

That got us to Tuesday.  Fast forward to Thursday, my son had an accident with probably the best made mailbox this side of the moon and sheared off the passenger mirror and both door handles on my mini van.  You cannot open the doors (from the outside) on that side of the car.  In orbit around the moon was about where I was five seconds after seeing my car.  Nuf said.

Then there was Friday morning - about 7 AM when my husband called.  You know it's going to be bad when the first words out of their mouth are "I'm O.K."  But, the car was totaled.  His car this time, not mine.  But, he's O.K.  and I really am very grateful for that.  His chest is still really sore from where the airbag deployed into it, apparently trying to make it out the other side, but he'll be fine.  The car, not-so-much.  Fortunately, we've got good insurance and I'll pick up the rental car tomorrow. We will have to get him a new-to-him car and we were already talking about getting a new car for me.  We'll have to spend quite a bit of time sorting it all out.

But, this morning I put the tahdah on the November piece of Anniversaries of the Heart.; so not everything is coming up crappy.

This month's featured female ancestor is Barbara Grove.  She is one of my oldest American born female ancestors, being one of my 4th great grandmothers.  She was born November 1, 1743 in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.  That's the Norristown/King of Prussia area.  Barbie's parents were Jacob Graf (alternatively spelled Groff) and Maria Ledrach Graf.  They were presumably from Germany, but I haven't worked those lines back far enough to know.  Barbara married Joseph Warner in the Old Goshenhoppen Church located in Upper Salford Township (Montgomery County) in 1774. I just love that name Goshenhoppen.  Joseph owned and operated a fulling mill in Cumru Township, Berks County, PA.  You can read about fulling mills and how they finished cloth here.  

If you read about the fulling process you'll read about TENTERING  and tenterhooks.  I think it's funny, being on tenterhooks was a phrase my mom used often.  I wonder if that phrase worked down through her family to her from Barbara's family.  I mean we use funny words that our parents used, right?  Joseph was from Chelsea which is a suburb of London, England.  Chelsea is on the shores of the Thames and if you look at old maps, you can see symbols that look like the Tentering Racks mentioned in the write up.  Joseph came to America in 1767/68 and learned the fulling process from his Graf/Grove in-laws.  Family tradition holds that Joseph produced linen cloth in his mill that was used to make uniforms for the Continental troops of George Washington.  One thing is for sure, if her husband operated a fulling mill, Barbara had access to cloth and was probably a heck of a seamstress and needleworker.  They had five children.  Barbara died in Adams County, Pennsylvania in 1831, probably living with one of her adult children.  But, she was buried with her husband in the Sinking Spring Cemetery near Mohnsville, PA

You'll also notice another line below Barbara's name - CPC 116th ILL. Vol. - represents Cornelius Piet Cothren, one of my great grandfather's.  "Corny" fought in the Civil War serving at Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and Stone Mountain (among others) and finally Sherman's March to the Sea.  Only one third of his regiment survived to muster out in Washington on June 7, 1865 - 23 days after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  As a man from Illinois I'm sure that was a very sad time for Corny.  His wounds and diseases (he was stricken with typhoid, chronic diarrhea, and piles; he lost the use of his left thumb due to an improperly tended fracture and had an unhealing wound on his foot that was two toes wide.  Poor Corny died on November 20, 1925 at Fort Leavenworth.  No, he wasn't there for punishment - he was at the VA Hospital.

With regard to the November block, I decided to omit the trees that went up the side of the house.  It started off that I didn't like the color and then I decided I wanted more "white space".  I substituted for all the Crescent Colors flosses.  On the house I used all the called for flosses and ended up not being able to see the window surrounds.  I was disappointed by that.  I ran a backstitch in the door color all around the window surrounds to make them stand out a bit more.  Doing it all over again, I would do the window surrounds in the door color.  However, I am very happy with the final results of my block.

Here you can see that November completes the first Anniversaries of the Heart panel.  December and the final Bonus Chart will complete panel two next month.  Then I'll have to work out the border in 2012. 

Now I'm moving on to Opus Magnusson, but I have been working on the Christmas Stocking for my daughter in law and hope to show you all the progress soon.  Hope you enjoyed!