Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Finish! Actually TWO Finishes!!!!!!

Please feel free to exercise your happy dancing genes with me as I finished the nutcracker this week AND last weekend I finished the stocking!!!!!  Yes, I am a happy needlepointer.

He's going to be finished as a standing, weighted piece so he can stand up with his wooden friends and decorate the house.

He's just basketweave; long-and-short; souffle; and alternating, off-set scotch stitches.  And his threads are floss, Neon Rays, Fyre Werks, Kreinik, Silk Lame, and Impressions.

The Stocking of All 2013 Happiness is off to the finisher (actually, he's probably not off to the finisher yet since the embroiderer has to do the back before it can go to the finisher).  However, for my work, he's DONE!

Now, I', just needling fairly faithfully on the Workbasket Quaker with moments of color supplied by forays into the first of a pair of Christmas ornies I also would like to have finished this year.   Mind you what I'm really itching for is a new start!   Ohhhh, it feels like I'm going to faint from the need for a new start!!!   Do you get like that too?  I'm almost twitchy.  I have to admit that the twitches are getting better.  When I first began the Great 2013 Christmas Campaign a few weeks ago, all I could do was think about stitching other things -- for a while the urge to start was a near compulsion.  Now it is easing off.  Now I keep making little lists of the in processes pieces that are close to doneness that I could (if focused) finish this year.

But right now, right this very minutes, what I want to do is stitch something with some of my mound of beads!

Don't they just call to you?  

I might finish my stitching and get to the beads faster save for my recent reading binge.  I have two t-shirts sporting the quote below and these days it seems like I ought to wear them every day because that's exactly what I want to tell anyone who bugs me.

For the record you can get these lovely Rex Stout gems from Murder by the Book Houston purveyors of everything wonderful in mysterydom.  And now I'm annoyed.....   when I went to get the link to their page I note that they have other versions of this shirt AND they are offering "team jerseys" for Miss Marple, Poirot, and Sherlock Holmes!   Mind you, I like my version of this shirt better -- I'm glad I got mine when I did.

Happy stitching!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Successful Hermiting Check In

Oh happy Monday!  Such a wonderful day!!   Yes, gentle reader, I am flushed with International Hermit and Stitch Weekend success. No, sadly nothing is finsihed, finished, but I made good strides.

The stocking went from here (includes a fair amount of Friday night stitching):

to here  (base stitching done, take-away rows started;  still to come -- outlining, highlighting, and embellishment):

Workbasket's Quaker went from here:

to here (for the record that's black Splendor silk on white opalescent lugana)::

Cheffie went from here:

to here  (a little more background done;  shoes and pot handle in):

And I was even non-stitchily productive.  Get this, I changed purses (pretty close to a full-on Spring cleaning for me).  Now I'm carrying this Madison Handbag beauty -- a present from my sister (she designed it for me as part of a Leukemia and Lymphoma fundraiser)

And, because I owe it to myself as incentive... what I want to be stitching on is:

You do realize when this big Christmas push is over I'm going to end up started 12 new things.  Sigh.
This is why I have such a long UFO list.   And I already know that when the above 3 Christmas bits get done that there are two others that I immediately start for this Christmas as well.

Does this happen to you?  You put the major effort into finishing 1 (or 3 projects) then you immediately hop into a bunch of new starts despite some logical part of your brain screaming "NO!  You have enough going now!"   It's not just me is it?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Perky Wednesday

Yes, sir, I am going for a perky Wednesday -- no wait, how about Wonderful Wednesday?!  {Uh, it is Wednesday, right?  Dang it I hate it when I'm not certain.}  Anyway, I am going to have a very productive and peaceful day.  I AM!    And, you know what?  So are you!  So there.  Just go forth in Wonderful Wednesdayness and prosper.

An update on the #2 Finish-by-the-Shop-Christmas-Finishing-Deadline project  -- Cheffie
He's one of maybe 75 themed nutcrackers Susan Roberts offers

The white of the clothing is Neon Rays, the background is soufleed in Impressions and Silk Lame Braid, and the rest of Cheffie is a mix of floss and Fyre Works.  I intend to pad the poof on the hat and do the hair in Fuzzy Stuff.

After Cheffie will come The Engineer.  Darling, isn't he?

And since I'm being so good at staying focused I'm allowing myself a daily rumination on what I wish I was stitching.  Today the winner is LHN's Americana piece on the right... though the left one could work in a pinch.

On a completely unrelated front -- check out what I found at the grocery store --

Yes!   A whole cookbook dedicated to ramen recipes.  Now I do like ramen, but I draw the line at desserts!  And I am NOT make ramen-based lasagna!

And, since I can't close without a dose of vacation fun.... Here's one of my favorite things at the National Gallery-- copyists at work.

Now remember, go forth and have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Happy Tuesday!

Greetings and fond salutations.  I am making progress and consequently feeling perky!   Ahhh, nothing like a little progress to turn a girl's head.

Project 1 of the Big Stitch in Time for the Shop Finishing Deadline Challenge 2013 -- Daniel's stocking (great nephew):
As of Saturday afternoon--

As much as I hate to admit it and needlepointers can levy curses upon my head if they want, this is a Dimensions kit.  Ok, ok.  I know.  Hand painted canvases are FAR superior to this, and yes its wonkiness drives me nuts, but it was the perfect image.   I did rethread it though.  the scarf and hat are in Very Velvet, the background and part of the pengies are in Silk and Ivory.  The snowflakes are under advisement -- what do you think?

As of last night:

Updates on Projects 2 and 3 forthcoming.

What at the moment I really want to be stitching on:  Jeanne D'Arc from GOS--

DC the continuing adventure --

In early Spring I went for my sister's birthday, but it coincided with a Pre-Raphaelites traveling exhibit-- LUCKY ME!

If you have never seen the above painting in person, you can not believe how beautiful it is -- also she is our personal muse-- the table in front of her is really stitching she's taking a stretching break from.  ocme on, we all know how her back feels, don't we?

There was also a lovely Durer exhibit visiting at the same time.  Such detail!

Sorry -- pics not allowed *inside* either exhibit.

The Durer was in the East Building of the National Gallery:

The Pre-Praphs were in the West Building of the National Gallery:

The two buildings are linked underground and both ground level and underground are graced by this cool fountain--

The base of the fountain underground--

Funniest story of that trip -- the boy in the dark blue shirt and tan pants closest to the camera -- he ans his buddies are oooing and ahhhing over the waterfall and he announces to them: "If this was a waterpark I would totally ride this!"  Makes you smile doesn't it?

And a couple pretty paintings -- partial pics --

Minerva Terrace, Yellowstone by Thomas Moran, 1872 (watercolor and gouche over graphite on blue paper)

Breton Village by Odilon Redon, 1890 (oil on canvas)

Have yourself a beautiful day, please!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Is it possible?

Last weekend a member of The Country Club (no, now don't get that idea -- it's a group of needlepointers whose friends call our get togethers "country club meetings" because they can't be troubled to remember what we do.) said she had made a list of what she needed to get done in time for Christmas finishing this year.  It gave me quite a start.  You see generally the deadline for needlepoints going in for finishing by Christmas is early September.  Do you realize that that is NEXT FRELLING MONTH?????    NEXT MONTH.

I started thinking about it and initially I believed that I was in decent shape because after all I don't have that much that is "required" for this Christmas.  Really?  Who am I kidding? I have 3 things (2 presents and my great nephew's stocking) that HAVE to get done and all of them averaged together are hovering at about halfway there.   Mind you I can't really show you pictures here of two of them -- prying eyes and all that, and the 3rd one's picture seems to have disappeared, but that is immaterial.  You see the real problem is what I *want* to work on is not these three must finishes.   Instead I'd like to be working on  --

By Gone Stitches flag --

or this BBD's Loose Feathers series -- which at the moment I have 1/3rd done and can't even find in Chez Hovel  (hence the necessity of a Cleaning Campaign)  [By the way, apparently my desire to stitch on something is inversely proportional to my ability to lay my hands on it.]

or A Mind Independent and Free (at least this one I can find!)  -- I predict that my desire to work on this one will last approximately 1 hour since it's over-one stitching.

See my problem?   I *know* you understand the overwhelming desire to stitch on something other than what you really need to.  I doubt there's a cure for this.  Sigh.

Since I can't settle into stitching, let's focus on other arts shall we? --   While at the Library on Congress I spent some time admiring the Gibson Girls exhibit currently on there ---

It's just magical to me what some people can do with simple lines of ink and pencil !

This last one is called wallpaper for a bachelor --   cracks me up!

Here's to all of us being accomplishful !   Please, Lord, let us be accomplishful.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Paying a debt

I owed you pictures of that danged rose piece (that's the nicest way I have been able to refer to it) which I finished for a woman who discovered it in her closet some 30+ years after she started it as a special class piece.

Each rose, buds included, used 10 colors.   It was a long series of 4-stitches of this, six stitches of that, 1 stitch of this, 9 stitches of that....... just exactly calculated to DRIVE ME UTTERLY INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    Oh, I have to caveat that -- the 1/2 buds at the top and bottom of the thin rows did not all take 10 colors -- the ones at the bottom took the full 10 and the ones at the top took less.  [The little gremlin in my mind is sarcastically commenting "big whoop" at this point.

This was a "learning experience."  Among the things I learned were:
1.  that I would never, ever do another class project from the 1980s (remember, back when all patterns were hand drawn and color copying really didn't happen?  Oh and needlepoint patterns are drawn ON THE LINES not in the boxes.)  I had tiny rose patterns with 10 hand-drawn black symbols (some of which were suspiciously alike) on heavy-black-lined graph paper-- yes, I can see you are beginning to appreciate the "joy."  
2.  that if I ever take or teach a class I WILL NOT TOLERATE incomplete instructions!!!!!!!!!!   Once again, because it was the 1980s and the teacher had to hand draw the graph, she didn't take the time to draw the repeat.  She also did not write up any instructions on the aligning of the patterns.  Sooooooo, the only thing I had to go on on how to arrange the repeats was one note that the woman whose piece this was (and who was in the class originally back in 1980-whatever), and I quote "one every 37."  Really????   That's an instruction??????  Trust me, no where in this piece does anything repeat in 37 threads.   OMG  I was in agony.  Seriously-- no written instructions.  None.  Ack!!!    I had pushed this from my mind over the last month, but now all the pain and agony is rushing back at me.... ack!!!!!

Therefore, gentle reader, I must insist that you repeat the following Badger's Sacred Oath of Stitcherdom after me:
I, ______________, do solemnly swear that henceforth when I am in a needlework class I will take copious notes.  I will take these notes regardless of how much stitching time I believe I am losing.  I will not be envious of my class neighbors who boldly stitch along making great leaps of progress while I patiently write down everything the teacher says, because lo, I say unto you, the day of reckoning shall come upon them and they shall be swept asunder on a wave of UFOs of their own making all for the lack of complete instructions.

I will not make needlework teachers do this because I completely understand that what will happen is that one dufus will take the class and send the instructions to every cousin in stitching she has ever known.  The better the printed instructions, the more likely the frugally-conscious planning.

Now that I have completely annoyed myself thinking about The Roses (it really was like a war for me), let me leave you in peace with a couple more DC pics.  this time from the Library of Congress --

It really is the most beautiful hall in DC.