Friday, March 27, 2009

Braided Rug and The Old Aviary Updates

Hooray! Row 54 is finally finished. The colors on this one were a bit dull, but I was really scratching to come up with the wool.

The next row will be a bright row. I have lost the order of my bright rows here, but it is necessary toward the end of the rug. I will be putting the bright color in one row early because I do not want to end the rug with a bright color.

Three more rows to go!

The Old Aviary is proving to be very frustrating to photograph. Maybe there is some secret to doing this that I don't know of, but the pale colors make it very difficult.

Instead of taking the whole picture, I have included the right and the left sides. Hopefully it won't look so washed out.

(click to enlarge)

The first row of letters is a small uppercase alphabet. This is done in satin stitch over 4.

The next line is the pale green divider in a herringbone stitch.

The next line is the remainder of the letters and the start of the numbers. At the beginning and end of the numbers is a group of 5 eyelet stitches. There was a huge amount of frogging going on with this! I re-did it several times before I was satisfied with it. There are 31 points in each eyelet stitch. This is really tough to see on 40 count!

After this, there is a divider row done in the Ray stitch, in a pale orchid.

The next row is a large uppercase alphabet in the satin stitch.

I have just started the next dividing line which is all in cross stitch in a light taupe.

The tiny stitches on the 40 count are proving very challenging, but I am enjoying it. One thing that I have learned is that I cannot work on it for as long. Frequent breaks are necessary!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Few More Lines on The Old Aviary

I have finished the next two lines here.

The first was the lower case alphabet done in cross stitch.

The next is the vine with the flowers.

The green vine is all in cross stitch. The flower petals are made up of 12 very tiny satin stitches (over 2) in a very pale orchid color. The center of the flower is done with a Smyrna stitch (over 2) in ivory.

The flowers are very pale and delicate and somewhat hard to see in the photograph.

(click to enlarge)

Tonight I will start on the upper case alphabet.

I am making very slow progress on the rug. I have finally gotten my hands on some more camel colored wool, so I am able to go forward. Still working on row 54. I will post a picture when I have completed the row.

Thanks for all your comments. I so look forward to reading them! I also love reading your blogs!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I am just loving The Old Aviary!

I finally got everything together and got going on this project. Although it called for Ivory linen, I picked Flax which I think looks more natural. It called for a large piece, 18" x 40".

It is very challenging to work on the 40 count linen, and it is certainly very slow going, but I think the results will be worth it. I hope so anyway!

For the silk, I decided to go with Hand Dyed Fibers from Victoria Clayton. She has made up a conversion package for The Old Aviary that was quite reasonable. I had never used HDF before, and was quite pleasantly surprised. The silk is truly a joy to work with!

This is what I have done so far:

(click for a better view)

The stitches are so tiny here that it is a bit hard to see in the photo, but the top row is actually 2 rows of cross stitch.

The next row is also hard to see. It is done in a very pale light peach in the herringbone stitch.

The next row was an absolute nail biter! The instructions were to find the center of the row, then CUT 2 horizontal threads, and un-weave the threads all the way to the ends of the rows. Then, the ends had to be re-woven into the edge of the fabric! Let me tell you, I was pretty nervous about cutting the linen, but I guess it turned out ok. Re-weaving the linen strands with 40 count linen was no easy task. It doesn't come out nicely. It tends to shred while you are pulling it out. When that was done, (which took forever), I worked my way across the row with a hemstitch over 4 threads.

The next section consists of two rows of sawtooth satin stitches. In the center is a group of 4 cross stitches and one smyrna stitch (over 2). This part is really easy to miss because there is nothing in the instructions about it. You would have to pick it up from the chart.

The next part is the small case alphabet which I have just started. This part is all cross stitch (What a relief)!

The directions tend to be a bit spacey, but otherwise I am thoroughly enjoying this piece!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Finish, a Cake, and YIKES!!

I finished up Peace in the Country last Thursday, but didn't get around to taking a picture until today. Finally I have my first 2009 finish!

Sorry for the crooked picture, but here it is:

The detail on the angel's dress is what took most of the time. It is hard to see, but there is quite a bit of back-stitching on the sleeve to give it a golden look.

I will have to look around in my travels for a frame for this one. It is practically square. Hopefully I can find one at a yard sale this summer. If not I will have to break down and actually buy one!

Now for the cake!

This requires a bit of an explanation!

About a month ago, Keith came home and announced that he had ordered a bee hive as well as a colony of bees to go with it! Yes, BEES! To say that I was surprised would be an enormous understatement!

He had mentioned it once or twice before, but I had never given it another thought.

You see, we are not exactly "bee" people. We live in the NY suburbs, just about 25-30 miles from Manhattan. In fact, other than a tomato garden, we have no background in farming or animal husbandry of any sort, (well except for a very brief and unfortunate interlude with chickens who inhabited our property when we bought our house, but I digress)!

Some of the bees are being delivered in April, and we will be driving upstate in May to pick up the colony. Yes, I have been drafted into this duty! Yikes!

Anyway, Keith's birthday was on Saturday, and when I saw this cake, I knew I just had to make it for him. It is a lemon cake with a honey-lemon glaze, buttercream frosting, and a Royal icing drizzle. It was made from a special pan that was molded in the shape of the hive. Of course there were some major goofs, things that I would do differently next time, but all in all, I was rather pleased how it turned out. My baking projects have not always been met with such success (LOL)!

Oh boy! Bees! yikes!

Stay tuned. It should be an interesting summer!

Friday, March 6, 2009

I finally finished row 53!

This row seemed to take forever! I didn't have any rolls of wool already made up for this one, so it took quite a while. Then I had that miserable cold in the middle of it. (Thankfully, I am feeling much better now).

It was a real squeaker right to the end. I knew I would have enough of the camel and the glen plaid rolls to make it to the end, but I wasn't sure I would have enough of the rust colored herringbone roll. This was risky because I didn't have anything else in this tone. My closest match was a red herringbone, which actually wasn't a bad match, but it is always nice to be able to finish with the same color. I made it with 6 inches to spare!

The rows now are so long that it takes enormous amounts of wool to make one round. Usually one fabric will not do it so I have to match similar colors and patterns.

4 more rows to go!

I am also getting antsy with Peace in the Country. I finished the angel's dress and gave her some feet. Now I have to finish back-stitching that area before I can more on. I also finished up a few of the stars to see what they would look like. This design was much larger, and far more detailed than I thought it would be! We still have quite a bit of snow here, but it is slowly melting. We have been promised sixty degrees this weekend, so no doubt it will all be gone soon!

It seems like it has been a long winter. I am ready for spring!