Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season!

Our holidays were a bit subdued this year, Keith had surgery on December 21st, so we were mostly preoccupied with that.
The surgery went well, and he is now slowly recovering.

I did finish the Cardinal Sampler, my final finish of 2013.

The Cardinal Sampler - Patricia Andrle
32 ct antique linen, DMC, and metallic threads

I combined some metallic thread with the DMC for the border and illuminated initial to give it a little sparkle.
It didn't show up too well, but you can see a little of the shine in this close-up.

I want to get it framed for next Christmas!

My next project had to be something really simple. I decided to knit Keith a scarf. I worked on this in the waiting room during his surgery. It had to be a really mindless pattern because I was totally mindless that day!
I picked a "self striping" yarn that I saw on ebay. It is a "slow stripe", and is just suited for things like scarves.
I am knitting the scarf longways so the pattern is more subtle.
The pattern is really easy. First knit in a garter stitch for 4 rows, then purl 2 rows, knit 2 rows all the way across. Finish with 4 rows of garter stitch.
I believe the color is called "Sherwood Forest". The colors. greens, browns, grays, are favorites of Keith's. I hope he will like it.

I have a ways to go, so I doubt that is will be finished in 2013. I was also thinking about knitting a matching hat.

When I get a chance, I will be back to re-cap the 2013 finishes.

Hope everyone has a very Happy, Healthy New Year!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mary Eaton finished, Cardinal Sampler begun

Mary Eaton has been finished for several weeks now, but due to multiple problems with multiple cameras, I have not been able to post a photo.

I finally managed to take a few, but the color is not right.
As soon as I can get my hands on a decent camera, I will replace this photo with a better one.

For now, here is Mary:

Mary Eaton  1763 - The Scarlet Letter
Stitched on 30 count natural linen using au ver a soie.

For my next project, I chose something that has been in my stash for years, the Cardinal Sampler from Patricia Andrle. I love her designs. I have stitched several of them.

I took this photo last week. I have made a little more progress since, but I am waiting to solve my camera problems before I post an update.

Unfortunately, the photo is a little washed out. The colors are much richer in person. I was going to stitch this design using silks, but there are a lot of blended needle stitches so I decided against it. I did make a few changes by adding some metallic threads to the border and the large A. It is not too noticeable. It just gives it a little sparkle.
Although it is not a large piece, it is slow going because of all the outlining. Almost every stitch is outlined.

If anyone is interested in stitching this piece, it can be found in the BH&G Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazine Nov/Dec. 1994.

Well, I intended to post my December TUSAL, but the photo seems to have gone missing.
I will try to hunt that down for next time.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Long overdue Mary Eaton update, Autumn in New York

This is a very long overdue update! Among other things, I have had a lot of trouble with my camera, but I did manage to get a few shots finally.

I worked on the tree which is stitched in a vertical stem stitch. The little bird at the top was a bit of a challenge!

Next I continued working on the hills.

Here is a close-up of the bull. He was a fun stitch!

I continued to work on the sampler until I ran out of three colors. There definitely wasn't enough silk in the kit, as I was not even close to finishing.

Here is where I left off.

While I was waiting for the silk to arrive, I decided to work on a new project.

This was a fun, quick stitch! I finished it in a couple of weeks.

Autumn in New York - Primrose Needleworks
I stitched it on 32-count Sandcastle, and used the suggested Sampler Threads and DMC.
I will have to find a nice little frame for it.

. . . Well, I have since received the silks in the mail, and I have already started stitching Mary again. I finished the tree on the right, and I am working on the second bird. I will post photos just as soon as I can.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pumpkins for Cathey

Happy Blogiversary Cathey!

We are all with you!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mary's Parrot

Mary's parrot is finished! It is nearly as big as the sheep!

This took way longer than it should have. I don't know why but I was just very slow with it.
It was stitched in a horizontal stem stitch. It definitely would have been much faster using a cross stitch, but I like the way it came out.

I have decided to stitch the big tree in the center next.
You can see that I have just made a small start on the outline.

I am getting worried that I will run out of silk. There should be enough because I am using everything that came in the kit, but I am almost out of white now, and I have the whole rest of the border to finish. Time will tell I guess.

Hope everyone is having a pleasant weekend!
Back soon!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mary's little tree is finished

I worked on the tree on the left side of the sampler, and finally finished it.

It extends from the bottom all the way up to the strawberry border. I am glad I started at the bottom because there are exactly 2 threads separating the flower from the border!

Here is how the whole thing looks so far:

Next, I am on to stitch  a parrot that will be just to the right of the carnation. It is just as big as the sheep! Yikes! That is one big parrot!

On the home front, our new little chickies have just started laying. Four out of ten have started laying these little eggs.

Three out of the ten are laying green eggs!

In the beginning, the eggs are always very small. You can see how small they are compared to a regular sized egg. They will be big soon though!

Now, just a question to put out there -  Does anyone know why a perfectly good iron that has not been dropped, abused, or mis-handled in any way should start leaking? Aggh! For the past 20 odd years, I have been using Rowenta irons. They have always been very good. The last two however have not been so good! They have both leaked. Tricky business when you are ironing a sampler!
What kind of iron do you use? Are you happy with it?
I guess I need to buy another one.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Mary Eaton Update

It was when I posted last time that I discovered the mistake I made!
The inner saw-tooth border was supposed to be stitched in light blue, not white.

Fortunately, I hadn't gotten too far with it, but still frogging silk . .  ugh!

Here is my new photo of the area:

With that fixed, I was finally able to move on to the free-hand stitching. The area under the last red flower was to be filled in with a large fanciful tree/flowering bush. I stared at this for ages, but I couldn't figure out how to stitch it in place accurately. There isn't a lot of extra linen here to play with.

I opted to leave it, and move on to the sheep standing on the hill. This wasn't easy either.

The stitching here looks a bit helter-skelter, but I had to find my way to the bottom to get anything to work! I needed to "build" the hill that the sheep was standing on first.

The little sheep took me over 4 evenings to finish, but I was pleased the way he turned out.

The legs, head, tail and ears are done in satin stitch and then covered with black. The entire body was filled in with French knots. That is a lot of French knots! A single strand of silk does not make for a big knot!

After the sheep, I started on the tree to the left of the sheep. That is the tree that goes all the way to the top.

The tree trunk is filled in with a vertical stem stitch in two different shades of brown.

Since I took these photos, I have made a little more progress, but there has been as much frogging as stitching! That darn tree is causing a lot of grief!

I will be back soon with some more photos.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mary Eaton and a very late TUSAL

I totally missed the new moon last week, but here is my August TUSAL:

Mary Eaton is coming along. I am following the suggestion on the pattern and leaving the right side and bottom border until the free style embroidery is finished.

Of course Furry had to supervise the photo shoot!
We are actually very worried about Furry. He is a Maine Coon cat and is quite large, but in the last year, he has been losing weight. We have had him to the vet and all his tests came back normal. Not sure how to account for the weight loss.

Here is a better look at Mary:

(Click to enlarge)

I am nearing the end of the cross-stitch part, and will soon be doing the free embroidery part. The counting in this transition is not easy and I have not yet figured out a strategy. I have to be careful and make sure the design doesn't "grow" because there isn't a lot of extra linen here.

I have loved seeing all of your work! It continues to be such an inspiration to me.
I love all your comments too!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Mary Eaton Update

I have been working diligently on Mary, but the satin stitch leaves really take a long time. It can be very frustrating trying to get them uniform. Several of them, I have done as many as 3 times. Eventually I just give up and leave them as they are.

Here is a closeup of the stitches.

(click to enlarge)

This was a kit, so I used the materials included, but I really wish I had swapped out the gold color for something a tad darker. The letters in particular, don't show up very well.

It always takes me a while to get used to the "sparse" look that a single strand of silk has on 30 count linen.

The large flowers, vine, border and alphabet are done in cross stitch. The leaves are all in satin stitch, and the saw-toothed white border in done in counted satin stitch.

Here is the whole thing so far.

(You wouldn't know it was my stitching if it didn't have some part of Furry in it)!
As soon as I get ready to take the picture, he jumps up!

On the home front, the garden has grown tremendously!

We have already harvested some of our corn. It doesn't get that big, but it sure tastes good! We have lots of tomatoes, but for some reason they don't seem to want to ripen.

We do have hope though.
There is one peeking through.  Mmmm! Soon!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The American Sampler Quilt is finally quilted!!

I can finally count it as a finish! I finished it by turning under the top as per the instructions, but it really looked bland, like it needed something else.

My solution was to add a blue binding to it to  pull it together a bit more.

The color didn't show up the best here. It is a soft, hazy, denim blue.

I was determined to use what I had in my stash for the backing. I came up with a light blue gingham.

It is very lightweight, sort of a springtime quilt.

I am very glad it is finished because now I can go back to making x's!

I continued working on the Mary Eaton Sampler. Here is what I have so far:

The Mary Eaton Sampler - Au ver a soie on 30 count linen

I have had this in my stash for years. Although I love the pattern, I was a little hesitant to tackle it because of the freehand stitching, There is quite a lot of it in this pattern. Actually, there are two graphs that come with it, one with the freehand stitching, like the original, and one that is all cross stitch. Of course, I have to do the freehand!

The trick with doing freehand stitching is to try to keep it contained to the allotted area. It seems to grow quite easily. LOL!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

OMG! Enough of this heat!

I know it is summer, but come on!  The heat index today is over 100 degrees! UGH!

I am withering right along with my tomatoes!

We do get those heat spells in the Hudson River valley from time to time, but lately they seem to last longer and longer! Not my idea of fun, but then I am a spring/autumn, (even winter) girl myself.

Anyway, I finished stitching The American Sampler quilt. Of course I can't call it a finish until it is quilted. Here is a photo I took last week, before the great oven was turned on!

I have been working on the quilting. I always forget just how long it takes to finish a quilt, even a little one like this! The colors came out just a little too pastel-ish for my tastes.

I enjoyed stitching this, but I will glad to finish this and move on to something else.

I have already chosen my next stitch. It is the Mary Eaton sampler from The Scarlet Letter.

I actually made a small start on it but not enough to merit a photo.

To all of you suffering through the heat, I wish you good air conditioning!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Claiming my blog

Ok bloglovin, (stupid name), not sure why I have to claim my own blog, but here is the code:
Follow my blog with Bloglovin
I transferred everything from Google reader, but I will mostly be using The Old Reader to read all my blogs.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Long overdue post

I have been MIA this spring! In so many ways, this has been a weird time for us. All of my normal routines have been torn asunder!

I did manage to finish Mary Baker. Here she is in all her glory!

Mary Baker Sampler - The Scarlet Letter
DMC threads on 30 count linen

I love the bold graphic look with the reds, blacks and greens!

After finishing Mary Baker, I took a break from samplers to work on a long-standing WIP, The American Sampler Quilt. I managed to finish the motifs, but I still have the borders to do.

I am not too happy with the way this one is turning out, but I am going to finish it anyway. I think the problem is in the design. I think there is too much white space.

Keith has been keeping busy during his unplanned break from work. For the first time in years, we have a new garden. We used to have a lovely little gray picket fence around our garden, however, it did nothing to keep out the animals. I was basically left to grow a few tomatoes in pots on our deck. Not very satisfying! Unfortunately though, the new garden is only half sunny. We have some tree trimming to do in the future.

No tomatoes yet!
The poor bees are so delicate! They have not been doing well in spite of their best efforts!
We had a very small honey harvest this spring. Normally we get more than double this amount!

We have been inundated with calls about the honey. I hate to disappoint people. We only got about 21 bottles. Hopefully we will get more later on in the season.

Last but not least is my late TUSAL.

It is amazing how 3 strands of DMC can fill up the jar, compared to 1 strand of silk!
Hope everyone enjoys what is left of the spring, before the hot stickies are upon us!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Good Progress on Mary Baker

I finished up the first half in red and green, and then started the verse.

A good name is rather
to be chosen than great
riches and a loving Father
than silver and Gold
Next I need to finish the bottom motifs and stitch the declaration.
Hopefully, it will be completed soon.

Hope everyone has a nice weekend. Too much work to do here! Where is my staff (a la Downton Abbey)? Now that's what I need around here!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Introducing the Mary Baker Sampler, and my TUSAL

For some time now, I have been into genealogy, exploring my family history.
My great grandmother was Mary Jane Baker, born in Liverpool, England in 1870, of Irish parents.
She came to New York with her parents and brothers when she was 3 years old.

When I saw The Mary Baker Sampler, I knew I had to stitch it! Of course, this Mary Baker is not a relative of mine, but I thought it would be fun to have her name on my wall.

Mary Baker Sampler - The Scarlet Letter

Here is the photo I took of my progress the other day:

I am using DMC on 30 count linen. The piece of linen didn't seem to be that big, so I chose to start in the center and work my way up.
Most of the sampler is stitched in green and red, with a touch of pink. The verse is stitched in black.

This seems to be a very quick stitch. I have already made more progress. I will be back in a few days with another photo.

I almost forgot the TUSAL! This month went so very quickly!

All the red and green on the top is from Mary Baker.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mary Hart is Finished!

This post is terribly overdue! I finished her up about 10 days ago. I just haven't had a chance to blog about it. Here she is in all her glory.

Mary Hart Sampler - The Scarlet Letter
Stitched on 32 count linen using Au ver a soie.

The photo could be better. I don't know why, but I had trouble capturing it. I love the graceful borders, as well as the funky cat!

Things here have been quite nerve-wracking lately, and I have had some trouble focusing on any one project. I have flitted about a bit.

I worked a little on American Sampler Quilt, a long standing WIP. This is a cross stitch lap quilt. The design is stamped on, so it is perfect for what I like to call, my "brain-dead" stitching! I have completed about 1-1/2 of the 4our motifs .I finished the star, and I am about halfway through with the Dresden plate motif. Here is where I left off.

Also, I found an unfinished Lee needlepoint Arts & Crafts design. I love the arts & Crafts era, and I just hate to see things go unfinished!
It was mostly completed (not by me), but needed a little bit more fill in with the cream color. Of course, the yarn was long ago lost. I set out to try to find a match. I tried all of my wool yarns, to no avail. Finally, I realized that it had a bit of a sheen to it. It was probably acrylic, and meant that I would never find a match. I decided to try to match it with a DMC color. I used all six strands.

Here is the whole design:

Art Nouveau canvas -Lee Designs

Here is one of the sections I filled in:

 The match wasn't exact, but I was lucky in that the missing areas were separated from the block (central heart-shaped) area of the cream, so I think it worked out pretty well. It is a little bit too white, and a little too thin, but otherwise, it would not have been finished at all.
Sometimes you have to cheat a little to get the job done!
I am hoping to find some dark green velveteen, and finish it as a pillow.

That's all for now. Hope all of you are well!
Will be back soon!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

TUSAL and a little more progress on Mary Hart

I know! I'm very late with this photo!
I promise, I really have been filling up this little jar!
Here is my April TUSAL:


Also, last time I was here, I spoke too soon. I thought I had finished the borders, only to find out that I left out an entire motif on each side!

Well after some frogging and re-stitching, I am pleased to announce that I have now finally finished the borders!

I also made a start on the weirdly colored cat.
Next time, I will be back with the finish, I hope.

Hope everyone is enjoying their spring wherever you are!