Sunday, September 29, 2013

Back to Spring?

Yes, it is autumn here in Toronto, where we have been having some really spectacular weather recently, with mild, sunny days and cool nights. So it is not appropriate at all for me to have revived this project, Breath of Spring, but, that's what I've done.

Mary Corbet posted a photo of her grasshopper from this project a few weeks ago, which made me guiltily aware that I hadn't touched mine since March! I was hung up on this bee:

I stitched the left wing at least three times in long and short stitch with varying degrees of success. This time I stitched them both with closely worked rows of stem stitch in one strand of DMC floss. You may recall that I am doing something similar for the Viceroy butterfly on the Meadow quilt too. Anyway, I'm finally happy with the bee!

I went on to lay in a lot of the green stems and background leaves in more stem stitch, with one or two strands of floss:

There are a lot of inconsistencies in the instructions. I'm sure that Inspirations has published corrections, but I am just taking the opportunity to do my own thing instead. These large flat leaves below are one example:

They were supposed to be worked in a very bright Kelly green solid coloured floss, but instead I borrowed some of the hand dyed floss from the grasshopper. I covered the outline with split stitch in a co-ordinating DMC floss (which you can see on the left), and then worked a slightly open fly stitch with two strands of the hand dye (on the right).

When it's finished I want the flowers to be the first thing you see, not the leaves, so I'm hoping that these more muted colours and open stitches for the leaves will blend into the background a little better.

It would be nice to have this done by spring, because I am thinking of putting it on the front of a new spring/summer bag. However, that is probably a long shot, based on past experience!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cruise Ship

First, a little theme music:

Now you will be singing that all day!

Since I've been in such a tidying up of loose ends frame of mind, I pulled out my Summer Sampler next. The second motif just needed a few more details to complete:

Those French knots were not for the faint of heart! They are not perfect, but I don't think I can do any better.

The bite out of the left side is for the next motif, the postcard from paradise! That's next, but probably not soon, because I have still more loose ends to finish up. ;)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

BFF Month 1.4 Stitching

Monday was a very productive day for me. In addition to finishing off the Lima Beans, I went on to put the last stitches in Month 1 of Best Friends Forever. There's nothing like an extra cup of coffee during the day!

Today I tried to get some photos in the morning sun before it went behind the trees:

The photo's still a little shady, but let's call it "atmospheric." Here's the whole month:

The next step is to cut them all out and start work on the setting, which will be English Paper Pieced. Right now, though, I've started to stitch Month 2. I've been thinking about the colours for a month now, so I'm keen to see how they will look, but I absolutely would not let myself start until Month 1 was done. Good plan, I think!

It's Wednesday, so I'm linking up again to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network. Onwards!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Lima Beans Finished!

The other day I was reading back in my blog, and I was chagrined to see that it was back in June that I was starting to hint that this project was almost finished. I guess not! But, now it's finally done.

I started out thinking that this would be an easy, tv watching project, but it was not nearly as forgiving as I expected. Even when counting was not an issue on the large flat areas, I still had to give it my full attention in order to make neat stitches on the 18 ct aida and cover the fabric as much as possible.

In the end it was just sheer persistence to finish it. I would strip 6 strands of the black brown floss each day, sew until they were gone, and then put it away again. Now I think I will do the same thing with all the metallic gold on Celtic Spring,* which has been stuck for a while too. I have too many cross stitch projects on the go, so I am determined to finish some of them! Anyway, it is nice to have this one done. :)

*Holy moly, I see I haven't posted on Celtic Spring since last November!!! But, I do want to finish the dratted gold in the hem before I show it again...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Texas Star Turns 100!

It is just under a year since I started my Texas Star project. Today I have posted Star #101 in the Texas Star Ticker in the right sidebar. Woo hoo! That works out to a little more than 2 per week, which, for me, is pretty good. The ticker idea continues to motivate me, and I have enjoyed photographing almost every single star along the way.

Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement! I realized this month that it will be easier, and maybe faster, to batch the stars a little, rather than doing each one individually from start to finish:

Thinking about which fabric to do next seems to really slow me down, so hopefully this new method will result in less thinking and more sewing!

I also had a complicated plan to sew the individual stars into blocks of four:

...and then join the small blocks into larger blocks:

I originally liked this plan because I thought it would be too boring to join all the stars at the end, and I thought I could assemble the blocks as I go. But, I've abandoned this idea too. There are too many points, the thread is constantly snagging, and the whole thing is very hard to manage.

My new plan is to finish all the stars, mix them together in a large box, and pick them one at a time randomly and sew them onto the whole. I did that with the yoyos, too, and it was a lot of fun. (No, the yoyos are not done yet either!)

I owe a couple more updates on other projects, and I'm very close to a finish on one, but it didn't seem appropriate to show a finish for WIP Wednesday, which I'm linking up to again today. In any case, the weather has turned, and we are enjoying some wonderful crisp northern air, so I think things will start moving again around here!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

BFF Month 1.3 Stitching

Here's the third stitchery motif for Month 1 of Rosalie Quinlan's Best Friends Forever:

The only issue I've had so far with these patterns has been the gummy ink that they are printed with. It is very hard to stitch through. My solution has been to pick a side of the line and stick with it. For the most part, I've found that stitching on the outside of any curves is best, because the thread has a tendency to roll inwards and cover the line.

I've been stitching all the half pinwheel flowers to the outside of the line as well, which makes them a bit larger. So far, though, I still think they are pretty cute!

The fourth (and last) motif for this month is the teapot. I am chain stitching almost the whole thing, so it has been slow going. I'm hoping it will be done next week, but no promises!

This week I am linking once again to WIP Wednesday (which starts late Tuesday, if you are wondering) at The Needle and Thread Network.

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

BFF Month 1.2 Stitching

Here's the next finished motif from Month 1 of Rosalie Quinlan's Best Friends Forever. I have already shown this while it was in progress, where I discussed the flowers, leaves and bird. The lettering is back stitch, done with two strands of floss. By breaking the back stitch down into two steps, instead of just one step worked from the front, I have finally managed to get it to be fairly consistent.

I am happy with it, anyway! The third one, the umbrella, is not far behind. The teapot will need a few more days. Onwards!
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