Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Illuminated House Blessing Coming Along

It's been a little hectic around here lately with 2 sick cats, and today, a broken water heater, but I have managed to make some progress.

I can never seem to get a good picture of this one. It seems too flooded with light. The colors are a bit bolder than they appear.

Hopefully I can finish this up soon, although I know the bottom border will take a while! I am not sure how I will finish this one, whether I willl use a mat or not to frame it.

I am already thinking about the next project. There is an autumnal design I would like to do. Somehow I can never manage to time seasonal things right! I do need to make some Christmas ornaments. Perhaps I can sneak a little one in before going on to the next project.

And. . . oh yes! There is always the rug that is calling me to finish it!

Just not enough hours in the day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Weekend Yard Sales

This time last year we were making several trips to out of state flea markets. With the price of gas so high, we can long longer do this. In spite of this we still manage to put on quite a few miles going to local estate and yard sales.

Until this weekend I haven't really hadn't found any real treasures.

On Saturday, I found this wonderful little crib quilt at a local antique sale.

(Gracie must of course approve anything that comes into the house)!

I love the cranberry reds. The prints are actually all different, but so carefully selected that they match perfectly! It also has indigo prints, black mourning prints, beautiful old browns, and lovely shirting prints! The backing is a white and brown shirting print.

It dates from the 1890's to 1910's. What is really remarkable is that even the binding was made from one of the cranberry prints, and it is intact, in excellent condition! That almost never happens!

I also picked up two other quilts with lots of indigo and mourning cloth prints, but they are definitely "fixer-uppers". The real prize was the crib quilt!

The only bad part of the day was when I fell on a pile of plastic bags that someone left out. Kaboom! I went down hard! Landed on my wrist. Luckily nothing is broken but oh boy does it ache! Oh well, the quilt was worth it!

At another garage sale I found this little Victorian angel pin cushion.

And, at another sale, I picked up an antique tea cosy. There is a different cross stitch design on each side.
I love the little red squirrels!

All in all, not a bad week-end! I am so pleased! Normally all I ever see at these sales are those dreadful bright colored plastic toys that everyone is trying to get rid of!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Back to Illuminated House Blessing ...

I took a quick picture of my progress yesterday. I have made a bit more progress since, but it is a slow go with all the back-stitching!

The verse is:

St Francis and
St Benedicht
Bless This House
from wicked wight.
Keep it from all evil
Spiretes, Fairies, wezles,
Bats, and, Ferrytes.

Oh my! I sure don't want those things about! I have enough trouble with the cats!
I guess I better finish it up soon!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Time for a Picnic!

I finished Picnic, the seventh design in The Red Thread.


I'm not sure that I like the snap on the flower, but I am completing it as designed.

Here is a picture of the whole thing so far.


Next is "Ocean Voyage".

Friday, June 6, 2008

Framing The Chase Sampler

(Click to enlarge)
The Chase is finally framed!

Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!
I was beginning to think it would never happen!

I had no luck finding a framing shop, so I decided to take on the job myself!
This is no small job in itself, but it was met with frustration all along the way!

First, I had a lot of trouble finding a frame. After months of searching estate sales and thrift stores, I finally found a plain wooden frame. You wouldn't think this would be hard, but it seems like all the frames being made today are either metal, plastic, or laminated with some kind of plastic. I wanted a simple wooden frame.

Finally I found an 18" X 24" frame at an estate sale. The frame itself was unremarkable, probably from the late 60's or early 70's. It was the closest in size that I could find, but it was still too big for the sampler. With some persuasion, I got my husband to cut it down for me. He was hesitant to do it, but it turned out very well. The older frames, unlike the laminated ones of today, cut very easily. Other than a dark stain, it had no finish on it, so I rubbed it with Danish Finishing oil to give it a nice sheen.

I had already washed the sampler by adding hot water to Orvus soap, making a lot of suds. I let the temperature cool to luke warm, and then squeezed the suds through the sampler. It was dirtier than I thought with 38 years of dust on it! I rinsed it several times and laid it flat to dry. Before it was completely dry, I ironed it between two pieces of cloth to remove most of the wrinkles. The rest of them came out during the stretching.
I decided to use acid-free foam board. It is really not that much more expensive than regular foam board, and truly does make a difference in conservation.
First I cut the board about a eighth of an inch smaller than the frame opening in the back.

I centered the sampler over the board using pins in the corners and on the sides, moving them as necessary until the sampler was centered.

Next, I transferred the pins into the sides of foam, so the sampler could be turned over.

Using cotton thread, I started lacing from the center, working my way out to the edges. I spaced the lacing about 1/4 inch apart. This is fairly tight lacing, and I probably could easily have spaced it about 1/2" apart with good results, but I really didn't want it to move around. The design itself was not stamped evenly on the linen, so I was dealing with unevenness in the design, as well as the linen. I alternated the direction of the lacing so it would not become skewed in one direction.

This was a very long, tedious process. I was constantly re-threading the needle. If I cut the thread too long, it invariably become tangled!

Slowly, I worked my way to the corners. I just folded the material over, easing the bulk as best I could, and whip-stitched them closed.

Finally, I got it all laced and the corners stitched down.

When I turned it over it looked reasonably even.

Next, I cleaned both sides of the glass with warm water.
I laid the frame out on the table and placed the glass it it.

Because the sampler should not touch the glass. I needed to make spacers from the acid-free foam board. This actually turned out to be one of the hardest parts. I experimented with various shapes and finally decided that a right-angle shape worked best. I wedged these little pieces of foam-board into the corners.

Then, I took the opportunity to remove any remaining cat hairs off the sampler! LOL! It is really best if you can have the cats out of the room while you are doing this! Ha! Good luck with that! Those of you who have cats know what I mean! I have 6 of them!

Finally I placed the stretched sampler into the frame and covered it with another piece of acid-free foam board for the backing.

Next, I covered the back of the frame with brown paper to keep the dust out.

After the adhesive dried, I attached the eyes and wire for hanging.

The only thing left to do now is record the information about the sampler on a piece of paper and attach it to the back of the frame.

That's it! Finis!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Illuminated House Blessing -1st Line

I have finished the first line of Illuminated House Blessing.

When I was considering this design originally, I wanted to change the colors a bit (less green and lavender, more vivid shades). The reason I didn't was because the colors are so intricately woven together! It is hard to see from the picture, but the shades make it seem three dimensional.

Even as I am stitching it, I don't know what it will look like until I have finished the section. Then it looks different again when it is back-stitched! Even the blue scrolls at the top of the first line take on a lot of depth with the two shades of blue.

I was wondering what this design would look like in silk, or with the hand-dyed cotton floss. Actually, the colors chosen, create a similar effect.

I will be leaving this for a while. I need to stitch another box on The Red Thread to keep up.

Also, I have made a lot of progress on framing The Chase. I will post the pictures just as soon as I get them out of the camera

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Illuminated House Blessing Coming Along

I finished the large initial on Illuminated House Blessing.

The top of the S is some sort of long-neck bird, and the bottom has a little green-faced guy sticking out his tongue!

Hard to see here, but I have used blending filament around the initial. I wish it was a little brighter.

Then, the entire thing was outlined using a back-stitch.

Next I will be moving to the right, finishing up the first line, and some scrolls that are over the first line.

This looks as if it will be a bit less complex, so maybe I can make some quick progress.