Sunday, May 13, 2018

BBD Eleanor Rigby and Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all! I hope it was a good one. I can finally share the finish I had back in March that was waiting to be framed.

Blackbird Designs Eleanor Rigby.  I hand-dyed the 14 ct. aida a pale gray. I also changed a few colors.

I also just want to give a shout out to my incredible mother. She is truly an amazing woman. She taught me needlework and many other crafty things. Everything I make, I can trace back to her instilling a love of crafting in me. She has always loved this design, ever since she first saw it. So now, she has it to enjoy forever! I truly love her and cannot say enough wonderful things about her.

I love you Mom. You are beautiful inside and out and I feel fortunate to have you in my life.

Be back soon with more stitchy updates! Until then,

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

New stitchy update and extended DMC rant!

Here with an update to my Mrs. Maguire's Garden, and a few other things (DMC rant ahead!). She is coming along nicely and should be done soon!

I made some mistakes changes in this design. I made the strawberry tops all the same color and have forgone the fussy french knots on the berries and water from the watering can.

I also added an additional row of flowers on this stalk because I didn't count correctly and refused to do it over.  But I think it's OK, and I'm sure no one I know will point out the difference.

OK, so now my DMC rant.  I knew I wasn't going crazy.  There are not only color differences, but also major differences in texture and smoothness of the floss.  See what you think.

Left side=old  Right side=new

Left side=old  Right side=new
Left side=old  Right side=new

Now, this last example of #924 illustrates what I'd been saying in a previous post the best. The new thread lacks the sheen, smoothness, and silkiness of the old thread.  And the new thread is twisted SO much more-and by that, I mean each individual strand of the six strand floss-and that affects the stitches so much, it really does, for me anyway.  It's been really frustrating for this perfectionist.  Bottom line: I don't care how much they say the floss is the same.  It is not.

OK, and with that, I'm out!  I'm enjoying the weather and all is good here!  Updates soon with a finish, hopefully!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Mrs. Maguire's Garden is in bloom!

Mrs. Maguire's Garden is taking shape. But I gotta tell you-this DMC floss is giving me an extreme headache. I changed the flowers to Ecru because the charted color did not show up at all on my dyed fabric, and the floss is probably 10-15 years old, no kidding. It was soft, silky, and I was able to use the one loop method for starting and each side of the floss laid really nicely, side by side, without any issues at all. The brown I'm using is the called for DMC #869 and the quality is just awful. Using the one loop method leaves me with one SUPER twisty strand, and one thin weak strand. It's the strangest thing. I compared the two flosses together and the new floss is twisted so much tighter than the old floss. Weird.

When I use the two strand starting method, it was a TAD better, but not much. There are areas of dull, fuzzy floss, and it's just not consistent at all. I think I'm going to have to look into replacing some of this new DMC with another brand. Not this go round, but maybe next time I'll just use a conversion to something else for my entire project and see how it goes. And I'm telling you, this 14 count fabric, is not what I remember 14 count to be. At all. OK, that's plenty of complaining for now! Here she is so far.

The fabric is showing quite a bit lighter than it actually is. This is because I am lazy and don't want to take it outdoors (literally 5 feet from me).  ;)

So, there I am for now! Just a quick progress update. I hope everyone is enjoying Spring. It's been crazy weather here in VA with snow one week and 90 degrees the next. UGH!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Mrs. McGuire's Garden in Fits and Starts

Just a quick post to show my progress on Pineberry Lane's Mrs. McGuire's Garden! I love it.

I have started this project on THREE different pieces of fabric! I had originally gotten a piece of PTP 14ct Aida in "Ale", and it was gorgeous, but so so very soft.  I didn't like the floppiness of it and the fabric didn't seem to have any "bite" to hold the floss. Does that make sense? I tried it for a while and decided it wasn't for me.  Then I dyed a piece of Fiddler's a nice brown, but I got to those danged butterfly wings and I messed them up so many times that you wouldn't have believed it. So I decided I wanted to do it so badly I started again.  For all the progress I did on each of those starts, I could have had it done already, lol.   Finally, it's working out.  I do love the pattern so much and I really need to get this done!

And can I just say that all DMC floss colors are not equal? They most certainly are not. I've been stitching a very long time and that brown around the butterfly's wings is #869. I'm just going to be blunt and say that floss quality is NOT GOOD. It took me forever to stitch those things because it would twist, bunch up, and no two threads would lay properly on any stitch I did. Same for the #640, which is the inside of the butterfly wings. UGH!

I'm also using Thread Magic, which is a different floss conditioner than Thread Heaven (this has been discontinued), and I am not thrilled with that either! 

Next post will be of a lot more progress on Mrs. McGuire's Garden hopefully!  Pineberry Lane has so many cute and pretty things I need to stitch!  Until then, have a great week!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Annual Woodlawn Show and A New Start!

Hello! My beautiful mom and I went to the annual Needlework Show at Woodlawn in Alexandria last week. We noticed fewer cross stitch projects and more canvas needlepoint and embroidery. It was all interesting to see, but one thing that has always bothered me about this exhibit is that there is ZERO MENTION of the designer or project names on any of the exhibits. You also can't photograph close up so you can look for it later either.

I was able to get some photos of the lovely old rooms and the awesome needlework quotes they have on the walls there. Maybe I'll contribute next year. We will  see.

I have a finish, but it's a gift and being framed, so that will need to wait a bit. I do however, have a fun new start!

Be back soon with some progress pics on my new start. I hope everyone had a great weekend and that you may all have time to stitch this week! Until then,

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Elusive Chicken Pattern Odyssey

WHOOOPPEEEE!!!!!!!! I found my chickens. So, remember THREE YEARS ago, when I was looking for this chicken pattern? I found a photo on Pinterest and HAD to have it, so I made a blog
post to see if anyone could identify it.

Well, no one could, lol. To say I have been obsessed with these little chickens is a gross understatement.  Seriously.  I have, in the midst of everything, been searching for this pattern with fervor for three years.

I decided a couple weeks ago to try again, as I have regularly been doing all this time.  Yeah, I know.  So I did a reverse image search on google and it directed me to a French blog, where someone was, years ago, doing a SAL with this pattern. Enter the French to English google translator. I had to copy and paste a bunch of stuff into it and it directed me to the originator of the SAL. After a bit more translation, I discovered the name of the BOOK it came from! (Cue angels singing and a heavenly light shining down from above...)

I searched Amazon. No luck. Etsy. Nada. Ebay---YES!  One person, from France of course, had a copy and I snatched that thing up so fast it would have made your head spin.  Here she is now:

This book is chock full of wonderful designs. I don't know much about the designer, Helen Wind, but her designs are AWESOME! Primitive type, think along the lines of Prairie Schooler, or Bent Creek, etc.  SO adorable!  And yes, the chickens are there and they are glorious. I have to laugh at myself at the sense of satisfaction I'm having at received this today! I mean, it obviously doesn't take much to make me happy. Not at all. And here's the obligatory pic of the pattern, but with my finger in it so I could blur it a bit-'cause I hate when people post patterns on blogs!

Oh yikes.  I need a manicure and some hand lotion stat.  Please forgive my ugly finger!

I will update VERY soon, as I am nearly done with another project!  I have been stitching my buns off, to make something for someone special (hi Mom!). It's really pretty too! And best of all, I'm still in my stitching groove and feeling great about it.  I hope you all are.  I will check in soon, and in the meantime, 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Miracle - I have a FINISH!

Ok, first things first! I have a freaking FINISH!!!!! It's Pineberry Lane's A Sprig of Holly. Best News? It took me only a week! Now, if you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'd know just how big a deal this is. I mean big. Real big.

And I dyed my own fabric. I saw a woman do this same color scheme and copied the heck out of it. It was just so pretty on the blue! I think I have my MOJO back! My goodness, it felt so nice  from start to finish.  It's been so long since I finished anything. I would get discouraged over the littlest thing. I needed a quick win to get me back on track. It was wonderful! Still crocheting too. I have a lot of Project Life to catch up on, but I'm doing it!

This won't be the last time I dyed my own fabric. It was fun and easy and oh, the possibilities!

I trust everyone had a lovely Christmas and new year. Our first holiday in our new home was great.


It was cozy and warm inside as we celebrated. Visiting with family and friends, yet still missing what we don't have. I'm not sure about this new normal, but I have no choice. Ever grateful for what I do have however!

Spring is nearly here now. It's hard to believe. I do look forward to the warmth and being able to spend more time outside. I will hopefully be updating soon with a new start!  Until then,

Sunday, December 24, 2017

In Dark December

Ralph Murre

Whatever you believe,
whatever you do not,
there are sacred rites
you must perform
in dark December.
Do this for me:
Pull together
the kitchen table,
the folding table,
and that odd half-oval
usually covered
with bills and broken pencils
and red ink.
Pull together family and friends,
cool cats and stray dogs alike.
Turn off everything
except colored lights,
the roaster,
the toaster, the stove.
Cook. Bake. Eat.
Yes, even the fruitcake.
Eat, crowded around
those assembled tables
with mismatched chairs.
Reach so far
in your sharing
that you hold the sun
in one hand,
the stars in the other,
and no one between is hungry.
Now walk together,
talk together,
be together
on these darkest nights.
Give and forgive.
Light candles and ring bells.
Sing the old songs.
Tell the old stories
one more time,
leaving nothing out,
leaving no one out
in the long night,
leaving nothing wrong
that you can make right.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanksgiving Memories and Crafty Stuff

We hosted our first Thanksgiving in our new home this year. I realized after everyone left that I hadn't taken one photo of any of us.  I did take a couple snaps of the food. Yikes. Like I said, it's been on of those years, and I'm off balance in so many ways.

It was wonderful having people to the house and we had such a nice time and a huge over abundance of food.  I truly am thankful for so many things, but there have been great losses as well, and I'm trying hard not to let them overshadow what I DO have and what I AM thankful for!

So, first some food.

Line up everybody!

Turkey was perfection

Home Made Mac-n-Cheese

Pineapple Fluff Salad

Sweet Potato Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Deviled Eggs

We were all so stuffed!  That's the whole point I guess, right?   It all turned out great and we had nice conversation around the table (put both leaves in!). Just loved it. I was still full the next day.

One thing I'm always thankful for is my mother teaching me various crafts and always indulging my interest in them from the time I was just a little girl. Keeping your hands busy crafting means you you are less able to throttle people. That's probably why I always have something to do.  This is a sweet little cowl I made one night recently while trying to de-stress!

My mom and I went to The 29th Annual Fall Fiber Festival in Montpelier Station VA back in early October. It was fun, a bit warmer than we expected, but overall, just a lovely time. Petting lots of yarn has become a favorite pastime for us.  And the animals were a bonus! Love me a good llama.

My little Jenny has transitioned well to our new home. She brings me lots of comfort and happiness. Don't know what I'd do without her.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes about handwork and a couple projects I'm working on.

Be good to one another and happy stitching!