Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Snowy New Year's Eve in New York!

This was the picture outside my front door about an hour ago.

It is still coming down! The temperature is really dropping too! I will have sympathy with the many revellers down at Times Square tonight!

Times Square on New Year's Eve is one of those things that you have to do once in your life, but only once!
It is best done the way I did it, eighteen years old, full of energy and enthusiasm, and oblivious to the cold!

Now, thank you very much, I will stay warm by the fire!

Today is a natural day for reflection on the previous year, but also a time to look ahead.

Here are my finishes from the past year.

In the Forest - La-D-Da

The Chase - Paragon

Illuminated House Blessing - Patricia Andrle

Christmas Chick - Valerie Pfeiffer

'Tis the Gift -La-D-Da

The Red Thread Snapper series - Bent Creek

Beach Roses - Just Nan

MacIntosh Poster - Charlotte's Web

Harvest Blooms - Hands to Work

Not all of these are framed yet. I have to spend some time on that. I wish there could have been more of them, but then, that's what next year is about!

There are many designs that I want to work on next year, but I don't have a real plan just yet because I need to focus all my attention on finishing my braided rug.

I would love to do Patricia Andrle's Cardinal Sampler, as well as her Fine Feathers. I doubt that I will be able to do both. Also I have waiting for me in my stash, The Loara Standish Sampler. This is a major undertaking which I am finding quite daunting! It would probably take a year to do by itself!

Of course there are numerous others calling to me!

I want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year!

Let's hope it's a good one!

The Cat Who Came for Christmas!

Meet Hermie!

The last thing I needed, the very last thing I needed, was another cat!

Hermie had been casually visiting for the last 3 years, however during the last year I became aware that he was completely dependent on me for food. Also, it became apparent that he had no place to go. At one time he belonged to someone who was renting across the street, but apparently they thought he was disposable, and just left him when they moved. We noticed that he was no longer crossing the street, and just before Christmas we found him crouching under the tarp on our wood pile.

Well, what could we do?

Hermie as it turns out, is quite a character, and has made himself at home! (Why do they always have to sit on the top of the chair)!?!

Of course this has not gone unnoticed by the other cats who clearly do not appreciate this interloper! They were used to seeing him outside, but sleeping on the bed is another matter! There has been quite a lot of howling, growling, spitting, and the occasional fur flying! Hopefully soon they will all become used to him.

Christmas generally seemed to be much more stressful this year than it should have been, family matters, etc. Not sure how to fix that, but somehow we need to simplify our lives so we can appreciate the things that really matter.

On the stitching front I have not made a lot of progress. I am disappointed that 'Tis the Season, the lap quilt I have been working on, is taking so long to finish. I have only completed 4 of the 9 squares, and scarcely any of the border.
This will takes months more, and then there is the quilting! I am not one of those people who enjoys Christmas stitching after Christmas. Somehow I guess I will have to put it into some kind of rotation, though I have never been very good at that.

One very nice thing I got from my husband was Love Is Enough, from Millenia Designs in England. They do a beautiful job on their kits. This one is a William Morris design.
I am looking forward to working on this! I have to somehow find the time for it.

Of course my main project, THE RUG, is still unfinished, and I must concentrate on that first. I made a little progress on it. I will post a photo later. I still have a long way to go though!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Just no hurrying this rug!

During the last few days I have spent quite a bit of time working on the rug. I have the sore neck, shoulders, and arms as well as the rough hands to prove it! It now measures about 70" X 115"

I was disappointed when I realized that it would not be done by Thanksgiving, but now reality has set in and I realize that it will not be finished by Christmas either!

Bummer! It is just no fun having Christmas dinner on the coffee table!

I just finished row 43 today. It takes 2 to 3 days for each row, and that doesn't count the time to prepare the wool. I figure I will need 58 or 59 rows. Very best case senario with no interuptions (ha ha) it would take me about 2 months to finish it.

Here are some pictures:

Row 42

Row 43:

I just started row 44 today. This will be the last one in my medium shading. I am adding blue as my wild row.

On the stitching front I have been working on the little lap quilt 'Tis the Season. I have almost finished one of the squares. I know this one will never be finished by the holidays!

Oh well! Maybe by next Christmas I will be organized!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Look what I won!

Recently I visited Teresa's blog Sew Many Thoughts. I really admired her turkey dishcloth. As luck would have it she was having a give-away, and I won!

I think it is a terrific idea! I have some plain knitted dishcloths, but no turkeys! I love Thanksgiving, and it just seemed to be a perfect fit in my kitchen! I love the harvest color!

Here is a picture.
It really looks much too nice to use!

Thank you very much Teresa! I will enjoy it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Long overdue post

Here are my latest photos of the rug.

This is the start of row 41.
At this point the rug measures aproximately 66.5" X 111.5".

Phew! This thing is hard to measure. I need to move it around to get a good measurement, and that is more easily said than done!

Since I took this picture I have made quite a bit of progress on this row, but I have had to temporarily stop working on it due to some sort of painful carpel tunnel or tennis elbow type thing. OUCH!!!

Hopefully I will be able to get back to it soon. The bad news is that I an running out of medium color wools. I need a lot of tans to complete this. I guess I will have to go back to scrounging the thrift shops again!

On the stitching front, I made a little more progress on Peace in the Country, but it is coming along very slowly. I am having trouble getting into it.

Also, I picked up another project. In the hopes of getting myself into a holiday mood, I have started working on a little holiday quilt.

'Tis the Season is one of those stamped quilts. It is easy to do when I am practically brain dead at night watching tv.

Here is a picture of my start. I have also made more progress on this one too, since. I will try to update with a new photo soon.
I may drop Peace in the Country for a while to work on this.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Slowly I creep. . . , inch by inch!

Still here working on the rug!

Here is the start of row 38

Row 39 is the start of the light group of rows.
I have just started row 40. . .
Phew! Still have a loooong way to go!

In the meantime, I have started a new stitching project. I have had Peace in the Country in my stash for ages. It is actually a kit from Sunset, but I decided to swop out the aida that it came with it, with a piece of 32ct Dove Gray linen.

I actually haven't been enjoying it too much so far. It is one of those designs that seems like it was designed by a computer. I am working on the the hills in the background. There are many half stitches and many, many color changes. Hopefully I will like it better when I move on to another section.

I have made a small start on it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Says it All!


This song came out during the depression. FDR heard it and decided to play it during his campaigns to cheer people up. It became associated with the Democratic party. Although it doesn't seem to be played as much now, it is still heard in bars and other gathering places on election night! I will always associate it with my Dad who loved the song for its sunny outlook!

There are a lot of similarities to the depression now. It seemed like a good one to hear again!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Finish, the Rug, and a Beautiful Weekend!

Hooray! I finished up Harvest Blooms!

This one just makes me smile!

I thought I was doing well when I finished up the border with just enough rum raisin to complete it, until that is, I realized that I had another star to do.

I used blended DMC colors of purple and dark brown to do the star. I was very pleased how close it came to the rum raisin. It has a very nice effect.

I departed from the original design and added a star to the upper left and moved my initials to the bottom. I included the date on the lower right.

I am happy with this one! At some point I think I will make it into a pillow, but that will have to wait for now.

Also, I completed row 36 on the rug. I am still working on the "dark" section. I have just started row 37 here. This is my "wild" color row. I chose a faded red. It is hard to capture the colors. They look a little washed out here.

The Northeast, where I live has many problems, traffic, urban sprawl, etc., but during this time of the year it is simply glorious! The air is crisp. The sun is bright, and the colors are just spectacular!

This weekend we drove up to Rhinebeck, NY, about 80 miles north of here. We discovered when we got there that there was a Wool and Sheep festival going on at the fairgrounds. I was disappointed we had not gotten there earlier. By the time we got there, the crowds were enormous. Oh well, maybe next year! We did however go home with apples and a wonderful apple pie!

The trees were a couple of days past peak color, but still beautiful! This one was in front of a beautiful old house in Rhinebeck

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Harvest Blooms and the Ever-expanding Rug!

I would like to thanks everyone who has taken the time to leave a comment or send me an email. I really appreciate it!

I am making steady progress on Harvest Blooms. I finished the border with not much to spare! I really worked to conserve the floss. The design calls for 1 strand on 36 count I believe. I am using 2 strands on 32 count. If you ever do this design, make sure you order more floss.

At first I thought the colors were a little odd, but now I am really enjoying their richness. I love how they all blend together. Rum raisin is such a good choice for the border. The brownish purple-ish color is unexpected, and perfect for autumn!

I should be finishing it up in the next few days, but I will be making a few changes. I do not want to put my initials at the top, so I will add another star to the upper left, and fit my initials in along the bottom somewhere.

Here is a picture of my progress so far. Furry is such a help! What would cross stitching be without cat hair!

I am also making very slow progress on the rug. I finished off row 35. The next three rows will be dark. I have just started row 36 here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Harvest Blooms and the Rug

Still making slow progress on Harvest Blooms.

There is a great deal of detail with a lot of color changes to slow things down, but I think the end results will be worth it!

I like the design. I was wondering about making it into a pillow. That will not happen any time soon though because I am determined to finish up The RUG.

I just completed the 34th row on my braided rug. I am using light, medium, and dark color combinations, with the common color tan running throughout. Then, every third row, I throw in a "wild" color. I just finished up with the green as my wild color. I have just made the color change at the shoulder here. The 35th row will be the last medium color combination before I move on to the dark group.

I have miles to go on this yet!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Harvest Blooms and Braided Rug Updates

It seems that there is quite a bit more to Harvest Blooms than I first thought. There is quite a lot of detail.

I am a little disappointed in the coverage of Black Crow (Sampler Threads). I used it for the boot. It seemed a little sparse even with 2 strands. It was a bit tedious just stitching in black for ages and ages!

Now I am finishing up the flowers and bittersweet. They are fun. I like how they are turning out. The border will take some time though.

Otherwise, I have started working on my rug again. Progress on that just creeps along inch by inch. The slow part is in the preparation of the rolls. It measures about 4 feet 5 inches wide by 8 feet long. I wanted it to be about 8 by 12, but somehow it has not grown uniformly and I will have to adjust my expectations!

It was hard to get a picture of this, but this will give you an idea.

As you can see, it has completely taken over my dining room. I have it on the table and I can only work on half of it at a time. Then I have to re-position it to work on the ends and the other half.

It is getting heavy too!

Monday, September 22, 2008

MacIntosh Poster Finish, a new start, and quilts!

I'm back!

This has been such a busy time for me, so full of distractions!

I have finally finished the MacIntosh Poster. I don't know why but this one seemed to take a long time. Lots of partial stitches and backstitching.

I will be looking for a simple black frame for it.

I need to go back and work on my braided rug, but I will also be starting Harvest Blooms by Hands to Work.

I am planning to stitch it on 32 count Light Sand, using Sampler Threads. I was a little disappointed because I wanted to use one strand on 36 count, but the piece I had wasn't quite big enough, and I am determined to use the fabric I have in my stash if possible. With the 32 count, now I will will have to use two strands.

I had a really good weekend. I went to a flea market on Sunday and found some wonderful quilts! I love vintage quilts, and when they are a bargain, I cannot resist them!

The first one is "Trip around the World". It is very worn and well used, but it was clean with very few tears. I guess some would consider it a cutter, but I couldn't bear to cut it up! I just love the colors!

The next one was a modified nine patch with a lot of triangles. This featured a lot of the indigos that I love!

Last, but not least was a cranberry Basket quilt top.

This top was made many years ago, and then put away. It is in excellent condition, with no wear or stains! I will be looking some period fabric for the backing. I am looking forward to quilting and finishing this one!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thoughts on 9/11

You can feel it in the air.

Today is no ordinary day.

I live about 25 miles northwest of ground zero. I will never forget where I was at the time.
I had turned on CNBC to check out the market when they started reporting about an accident that had happened downtown. It was reported that there was a plane crash. Since this was so close to Wall Street, everyone was right there. The details coming out were very sketchy.

Within minutes, they got the live shot set up and switched over. I stood there and I watched in horror to see the second plane fly into the South Tower as it happened.

My husband crosses the Tappan Zee Bridge every day to go to work. He called to say that he saw the smoke from the bridge. I informed him that the second tower had fallen.

That weekend, we crossed the bridge. It was impossible to look away. Down the Hudson you could still see all the smoke, but impossibly, the towers were just GONE! The brain just doesn't compute this, and tries to fill in what is missing.

Now we have the speeches and memorials. Starting with Bush, all the politicians have managed to make themselves a part of this, some even forging a career on it. They will all either show up today, or make a speech.

The day does not belong to them! It belongs to the family and friends of all those wonderful "ordinary" people who decided to get up in the morning and go to work!

To all of the secretaries, traders, lawyers, custodians, firemen, policemen, pilots and passengers on the planes, we will always remember you!

...And to all the politicians - JUST GO HOME!

Just one New Yorker's opinion!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Blog Award and MacIntosh Poster Update!

Many thanks to Holly who gave me this award! She has great blog that I always enjoy reading!

Thank you so much! It is greatly appreciated! It is amazing anyone would read my scribblings!

I am now at the point where I read so many blogs every day, that it is very hard for me to nominate a few to receive an award, and many have already received this one. I will have to pass for the moment on the nominating.

I am finding that my eyes do get fatigued easily, but I have done some stitching on the MacIntosh Poster. The lettering has been tougher than I thought because there are so many partial stitches. Also there is a lot of freehand stitching on the curves that does have to be very accurate. It has slowed me down.

Here is what I have so far:

Also, I thought you would like to see a picture of two of my stitching "helpers". These guys sit behind me on top of the couch so they can watch everything I do.

Both of these guys were shelter cats. Ollie, the orange tabby, became very sick right after we adopted him. He got a virus similar to the Parvo virus in dogs. It took quite a bit of medical care, including a transfusion, but he survived! The vets were amazed.

Gracie, my little gray tabby was hit by a car. Another miracle! She survived broken ribs, a punctured lung, and a cracked skull. She did lose one eye, but so far, it hasn't even slowed her down! No chipmunk is safe with her around!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Laser Eye Surgery Update

It was exactly one week ago that I had Lasik surgery.
I went back to the doctor within 24 hours for a check. He said everything looked good.

I am still experiencing some fluctuations in my vision, which is to be expected, but for the most part, I think the healing is coming along very well.
I will go back in three weeks for another check-up.

Of course, I haven't accomplished a lot of stitching during this time.

Foolishly, I tried to go back to stitching a little too early. My eyes were too "jumpy" to count, and I paid for it with a lot of frogging the following evening!

I have managed to get a little done on the Glasgow Poster. I will post a picture later.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Glasgow Poster

After finishing one project, I always try to make the next one something completely different.

Without any doubt, my favorite design period is the Arts and Crafts era (the last few years of the 19th century and the first few years of the 20th century). This movement was taking place in Britain and America simultaneously.

The Royal School of Needlework was founded in 1872 to train young gentlewomen in the art of embroidery and to raise the standard of design. I have a great book, simply titled An Embroidery Book, written by Anne Knox Arthur of The Glasgow School of Art, in 1931.


This is a wonderful book, written by a a remarkable woman. There are thirteen chapters on different methods of embroidery, as well as a wonderful forward by Ann Macbeth. I would heartily recommend this book if you can get your hands on it. It is an inspiration!

Poster, from Charlotte's Web Needlework, is based on a design by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.


I have had this in my stash for some time now.

I have made a small start on this. You can just barely see the outline of her hand, and part of her dress.