Friday, April 13, 2012

Thank you Jenny!

Checking out my spam folder the other day, I received a wonderful surprise!  Jenny at One Stitch Closer to Nirvana has chosen me to receive the Liebster Blog Award.  First, of course, I had to recover from my embarrassment in the delay of learning of this lovely honor.  Thank you, Jenny, for thinking of me and my little blog!  I am very honored!

I'm shamelessly copying the following info from Jenny's blog to detail what's involved here:  "Liebster is a German word meaning favorite, dearest, or beloved.  The Liebster is awarded by bloggers to other new bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers, to help spread the word about their blogs and to help them gain wider recognition.

The Liebster award comes with four conditions that each recipient must satisfy when accepting: 

1.  Choose five up-and-coming blogs with fewer than 200 followers to award the Liebster to,
2.  Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them,
3.  Post the award on your blog.  List the bloggers you are giving the award to with links to their sites.  Leave comments on their blogs so they know about the award, and
4.  Share five random facts about yourself that people don't know about you."

So working through the list, thank you again Jenny.  I know Jenny in person as well as on the web. . .from our local sampler guild.  Be sure to check out her blog.  She always has beautiful stitching underway plus a lot of other fun things to share. 

Award proudly posted above!  I am happy to pass the award on to the following blogs that I regularly follow:

1.  Baroque Embellishments showcases the stunning work of Kim Servello, embroiderer and designer.  I was lucky to meet Kim -- and see a lot of her pieces -- in person at the Plymoth Jacket Symposium at Winterthur last year.  Can't wait to see what she stitches next.

2.  Life, Needlework, and Everything is authored by another stitcher I've met in person. . . first working on the Plymoth jacket. . . and more recently in the Lion and Mermaid classes in Williamsburg.  Unlike yours truly, Margaret finishes things QUICKLY.  And she's a member of Blogging without Obligation (great concept!) . . so only posts when inspired.  But each post is well worth waiting for.

3. I haven't met the author of La Soffita del Temps Perdu, but would be happy to travel to Rome to do so.  Here's her description of her blog's title:  The attic of the lost time is there, in the mind and dreams, where is possible to recover the hopes and the expectations, where what you want is what you can and everything becomes possible, where fantasy and creativity are not strangled from the rhythms of a frenetic life and time flows slowly, where the mind flies free with no restrictions, where finally one is free of being and can refuge in and take a breath.  Ah.....and the attic is filled with beautiful embroidery.

4.  My road trip might continue to visit Janet of Janet Granger's Blog in England.  Janet designs and sells kits for miniature needlework for doll houses, but she also does stunning work in other forms.  I've been loving following her progress on her Elizabethan sweet bag.  Gorgeous!. 

5.  While in England, I'd certainly visit Beth Lea of Blue Bell Wood.  Not only is Beth Lea one of my first cyber friends, but she's very into the technical details of the 17th century stitches.  I have bunches of her posts marked to try out myself. . . as soon as I have an extra day or two to experiment. 

Last, and hardest, here are five random facts about me that most people don't know about:

1.  Like Jenny, I love opera.  For an amateur, I'm a reasonably proficient lyric soprano. . .although my hat off to Jenny being able to sing the Queen of the Night. . . I never had above a high E flat.

2.  I had been around the world twice before the age of 10.  Maybe that explains my love of traveling that persists until today!

3.  I'm a scuba diver with over 300 lifetime dives.  I always get a super big kick when people think this qualifies me as an athlete or adventurous soul.  (I prefer that any adventure be done from the base of a comfy hotel.)

4.  My graduate major was medieval literature. . . not what you might expect given my current job as medical writer.

5.  Later this year, DH and I are going on safari!  Yes. . . safari. . . in South Africa!  Can't wait!

Thanks all my cyber friends.  This blog has been a lot of fun and I've "met" a lot of people across the world.  I'm so looking forward to what all of you will post next.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Done in a Week

The crewel strawberry stitching is done! 

Here's the day by day. . .

Day 4 - The blue flower is mostly redone in a different color that provides better contrast between the two blue shades.  The dark blue is closely packed rows of stem stitch, so considerably more time consuming than some other design elements.  Also new are the leaves of two flower buds (right above the yellow flowers), made from segments of detached buttonhole.

Day 5 doesn't look too much different, but there is progress in a number of little details.  The blue flower is finished along with a handful of french knot embellishments.

Day 6 mostly involved finishing up stems and leaves.

And finally --- ta dah!! -- Day 7 completes the design! 

A project done in a week!  Yippee!

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Crewel-Work Weekend

Sometimes it's fun to stitch something in which you can see daily progress!   I was reminded of this this weekend when I started work on a small crewel project that our EGA chapter is doing over the next two months.  I'm helping check out the instructions by getting a head start on the stitching.

Here's my 3 days of progress this far:

Day 1....a pretty red flower and quite a few stems (I always forget how much of any floral design is leaves and stems!)  The red is done in buttonhole stitch, the leaves in fishbone, and the stems in whipped chain or outline stitch.

Day 2 adds lots more stems and leaves, some tiny yellow flowers and the start of a lovely purple bloom!

Day 3 doesn't look too productive does it?  But of course you can't see the "reverse stitching" (or frogging) where I just wasn't happy with the results and tore out and restitched.  More reverse stitching yet to come, since I think I've decided to remove the blue flower section.  I'm happy enough with the stitching, but have decided to make a color change.

What's left to do?  A fair number of leaves.. . although most of the stems are complete.  Redo the blue flower.  Then to finish up, there are about a half dozen little buds made of little segments of detached buttonhole.  With luck, the stitching should be easily done this week!  Compared to some of the really time consuming pieces I've been working on lately, that seems like almost warp speed. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Just Waiting for Part 3

While trying to decide what stitching project to jump into next, I decided to join Tanja Berlin's blackwork mystery project that she has posted on her web site.  (You can get your own copy here: )  Please note that unlike some mystery projects, the instructions do come with a photo of the piece in progress, so my photos are not giving away the surprise.

Here is a picture of the piece through parts 1 and 2.  Don't you just love the little blackwork bunnies?  (OK, the mice and birds are super cute too, but it was the bunnies that really caught my eye.)

Tanja suggests that the piece be worked with a combination of straight and backstitch, but since I like doing reversible double running, I did try to get a reversible border and bunnies.  Here's a photo of the backside showing that the border can indeed be made reversible. . . and the bunnies almost so.  For the rest of the piece, I figured I'd just do it the easy way and use the straight stitch / back stitch combo.  Not all blackwork patterns can be stitched to create an identical image on the back. . . and some of these patterns probably fall into that category.

The final part of the project is due April 1 and includes how to finish the item.  There are tantalizing notes about those medallion shapes being cut out in the Part 2 instructions, so I'm totally in the dark as to what this piece eventually will become. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring, spring, spring!

Our redbud tree is in bloom!  Spring is officially here!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Two Whole Days to Spare!

It's been hard to decide exactly where to start stitching in 2012.  No shortage of projects, of course, but getting settled on one. . .or two. . .or three has been hard.  Add to the general malaise, I've been planning to stitch something to commemorate the marriage of the son of a dear friend.   And unlike so many stitchers who seem to just pulse with creativity, I always freeze when I need to design something.

But I'm happy to report that I've managed to rise to the occasion. . . and now have, framed and ready to wrap, a finished piece. . . a whole TWO days before the date of my friend's in-town celebration party for the newley weds. 

And here it is. . . . .

It's a little easier to see the stitching in this photo, taken before mounting and framing:

I think it turned out well. . . and I hope the bride and groom like it. 

A lot of the credit (actually most of it) goes to to Thea at The Victoria Sampler who really designed the piece.  Here's the photo of the original. . . which I adapted by making the original square into a rectangle, and replacing the bee and flowers with the personalized lettering.  The bride's colors were burgundy and gold. . . so I did the lettering and beading in burgundy, and the piece is laced onto a backing covered with gold tissue lame, so the gold peeks through and shines in the light.

Thanks Thea!  Couldn't have done it without you.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Another Delayed Reveal

I'm pleased to at last be able to show you a sampler I stitched last fall for a new designer, LaDonna of Black Branch Needlework.

Here's my photo immediately after completing the stitching. . . and you can see a picture of the pressed and framed piece (and order your own chart if you like) here:

When I stitch samplers, they're usually from earlier eras, so this was an interesting change of pace for me.   I don't know whether you can tell from the photo, but in addition to the traditional over 2 flower border motifs, the sampler includes a full alphabet in tigthly pulled eyelets, and the verse in over 1 cross stitch.   Since these are fairly "advanced" elements, my guess would be that this was not Margaret's first sampler.  I think the sampler sports a very vibrant and contemporary looking color palette, but it is very true to the original colors that can still be seen on the back side of the original sampler.

You can learn a little more about the piece and see photos of the original at LaDonna's blog at  .  It is truly a shame that the original's condition is poor, but someone must have truly treasured it.. . since it was framed (or reframed) in 1914. .. almost 75 years after it was stitched. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Delayed Reveal

Remember back in the late summer and fall when it seemed I was getting even less stitching completed than normal?  Here's part of the reason -- a fall biscornu, needlebook, and counting pins set that I made for my Secret Stitcher exchange sponsored by the Queen City Sampler Guild.

I don't know whether my S.S. knows about my blog, but some members of QCSG do. . . and I didn't want to spoil the surprise.  Secret Stitchers are revealed at our Christmas party. . . so now it's "safe" to post pictures.

The biscornu pattern is from .  (If you want a biscornu pattern, they probably have one. . . for every imaginable season or holiday.)   For the needlebook, I just reused motifs from the biscornu.  One minor note.  The open, unstitched center area of the biscornu was really, really small.  Too small for any buttons I could find.  Luckily, I had some wooden beads that I was able to secure with some other beads, so it worked out really well.  But the next time I do a biscornu, I'll be sure to check ahead of time to make sure the space in the center is big enough for the buttons I intend to use.

Here are close ups of the front and back of the biscornu and needlebook.