Saturday, January 26, 2008

Look what the mailman brought!

The Elsa Williams Crewel Mirror Kit!

Yet another addition to my stash!

I will have to live to be very old to make a serious dent in that pile, but I couldn't resist this one!
I love these old kits! I can remember seeing them in magazines years ago.

I don't know when I will get to this one though. There are quite a few projects ahead of it!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Progress on "The Chase"

Just a bit of progress to report on "The Chase".

I finished the tree and moved on to the second floral spray.
I have so far finished the bird and three of the flowers, as well as part of the stem.

This part is very slow-going because of all the outlining.

I did enjoy doing the French knots in the center of the flower. I used to hate them because I had so much trouble with them, but now they seem very easy to do.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Foiled Again!

I have been trying to get ahold of the cross stitch pattern Village by the Sea for what seems like ages now!

I was hoping it would be my next project. Ebay can either be a blessing or a curse! This is the third time I have been outbid on this pattern. It does not come up very often, and it stings to lose out on it!

I even placed a $8 phone call to the Columbus Museum of Art. I spoke to the manager of the Gift Shop. He said that there was a Stuck exhibition several years ago, but he had no recollection of these patterns and did not think they were sold by the museum. Strange!?!

I was planning to stitch it with Needlepoint Silks (navy) on sand colored linen. I am looking for something traditional that I could hang in my dining room.

There were parts of the design that I was thinking of changing. Maybe I should just go ahead and design my own pattern!

Oh course that would probably take forever!

If anyone knows where I might get this pattern, please let me know.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Chase Sampler

The sampler I am currently working is "The Chase Sampler".
It was an older sampler, packaged by Paragon. I thought it might be relaxing while I was also working on my rug, to work on a pattern that had been stamped onto the linen.
This pattern is based on one that is at Williamsburg, but was originally from New England.

I completely underestimated how complex this pattern was!
The first section was mostly cross stitch and went along smoothly enough. The second section however was all the fancy stitches which I have really enjoyed, but it has taken much longer than I thought it would!

I had hoped to finish it in 2007, but no way that was going to happen!

I have made good, steady progress on it though. I have finished the first urn and floral scene. That urn took forever. It was all done in a satin stitch and outlined in the outline stitch.

The next bit was the foliage, leaves and fruit on the tree. That took quite a while. Again this was all satin stitch, outlined with the outline stitch. Outlining the leaves in a contrasting color really gives the leaves a dimensional look.

Now, I am working on the trunk of the tree. The stitch used is a long outline stitch, to produce the textured look of bark. Then, the trunk will be outlined. This is pretty slow-going.

Originally the sampler had a very pious inscription on the two lines. So far I have left them blank. I haven't found anything suitable to put in. I think it looks alright blank. I was planning to sign my initials next to one of the urns.

It is just about now in a project when I start to get antsy to finish it! I am forcing myself to finish all projects before I start the next (well atleast the stitching part. All bets are off when it comes to framing, etc.). It doesn't stop me from trying to decide what my next project will be though!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

2007 Christmas Ornament

Normally I make at least one Christmas ornament every year, if not more than one. This year was so busy I only had time to make one.

I chose The 2000 Snowman Ornament "Rejoice" from Homespun Elegance.

I used 32 count Wichelt Twilight Blue for the linen. I didn't sew on the little snowflake charm because somehow it looked out of place. I'm not really big on charms anyway.

I was not really pleased with the finishing however. I finished it with the jute trim, according to the instructions, but I just don't care for the way it looks. One of these days when I have time, I will redo it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Braided Rug

Before I got involved with painting my living room and dining room late last fall, my main project was my braided rug. I have always liked braided rugs, but never thought the shape of my living room was right for one. It is very long and narrow, about 11' by 18. With various entry ways placed in inconvenient places, it is not an easy space to position a rug.

After looking endlessly online and through catalogs, I decided that if I wanted one to fit the room, I would have to make one! Also, I really disliked the fact that it was practically impossible to find a rug made of natural fibers at a reasonable price. I had been collecting wool for years, and some time ago I had even made an effort to make a rectangular braided rug, by just lacing the strips randomly together. I was never quite sure why, but it just never looked right. I decided it lacked definition. It needed a predominant color to pull it together, but also, I decided that there was something inherent about the oval shape that made it very agreeable.
The beginnings of a new rug soon started taking shape on my dining room table!
It didn't take me long before I realized that this is going to be a very, very long project! One of the hardest things was to figure out how much I needed for each row. It is no big deal in the beginning because the rows are all short, but I can see that towards the end of the rugs the last few rows are going to be a challenge to get enough in each color.

It is also very physical. I found that it hurt my wrist quite a bit in the beginning. I had to keep stopping. Also, it seem the only way I can do a good job on the braiding is to do it standing up, so it does get tiring.

Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the very beginnings of the rug, but here are a few that I took in October. The colors are a bit washed out in them. It is a little bit brighter than these pictures would have you believe. Furrytail (my Maine Coon), and Ollie (Orange tabby) take turns supervising the work! It is really getting too big to work on the 2 tables I have put together.

When these pictures were taken, it measured about 88 inches long, by 42 inches wide. Something went wrong in the beginning. There is supposed to be a difference of 48 inches from the length and the width., and actually I would have preferred about 50". I have not gotten it up to 46".

The colors are totally different from the picture in my head. I am sort of making it up as I go along. I will have to start planning a bit more closely as I get nearer to the end though. It is becoming difficult just getting enough wool for one round. Quite the challenge!

I don't know what I was thinking when I thought I might finish it by the holidays! HA HA! Maybe the holidays NEXT year!!!
Well after I took the pictures, I had had a major setback for my rug. I was using a thinner piece of wool because I needed the color. I had my doubts about it, but kept going anyway. It was so thin that it was folding over in the braid. I was able to control it somewhat on the side I was working on, but when I looked on the other side I knew I had to take it out. The other side was wrinkled, folded in almost every fold. Since the rug is supposed to be reversible, I didn't think it would look very nice! I wound up undoing 3 rows! 3 BIG rows! Could have done without that! I decided to stop working on it while I concentrated on the painting.
This is going to be quite a challenge to grow it to be 13' x 8'!

New Year! New Beginnings!

Well I am about to foray into the brave new world of blogging! I have been meaning to for a while as a way to keep myself motivated to finish all my projects.

I also hope to hone my photography skills by hopefully submitting photos with every posting.

I usually have atleast one, if not more projects going on at the same time. It has turned out, by no desire of my own, that fixing up my old house has become a life-long work-in-progress. This takes up a lot of time, but I do manage occasionally to fit in some more "fun" projects!