Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Eat, read, and stitch!

As the title of this post implies, I have been doing little other than eating, reading and stitching.

The eating is an expected part of the holidays for me - Prime Rib roast, cornbread sausage dressing, sweet potato spoon bread, grilled asparagus, and best of all: bread pudding with real whipped cream. At least the major food groups, fats and sugars, are amply represented.

I have been reading, thanks to my Nook Tablet - a birthday present in early December. I thought I would like it for the magazines; but then I loaded Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massee, and I absolutely cannot put it down. It is so convenient to have it electronically - it goes everywhere with me.

Oh, as for the stitching, here is Part 2 of Heart Note Alley - I don't think I have touched this since May - and I don't know why - it is a gorgeous piece ( once again, combining purple and green).

And then for something different, here is the ANG stitch of the month project, Flowers of Italy, by Ro Pace. I used the recommended fibers. What fun - this project goes pretty fast. The only thing that slowed me down was mentally converting stitch diagrams from a needlepointer's perspective to a cross stitcher's perspective. The two most difficult parts were the Walnetto stitch, down at the lower left hand diamond - hard to get started correctly, but then it is a lovely motif. The other difficult part was finding places to bury the thread ends. I used Congress cloth - but with the open weave, it is not as forgiving as linen.

I continue to make astronomically long lists of things I want to stitch - even if I did nothing else, I wouldn't have time to get it all done.

Well, I am back to more relaxing - I think I will work on my sampler, I Sigh Not.

Until next time, Happy Stitching!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Ta Da - some finishes!

Yea! I have finishes this weekend! First up is the lovely Purple Garden by Angie Designer, which was a Sticklounge Project. I used HDF fibers in Ultramaroon, Marsh Grass, and Nightsmoke on a piece of 32 ct. Flax linen. This project is so *me* - purple and green, flowers, geometrics, blackwork! This is in the early framing pile.

and this charmer is A la Belle Etoile (the Beautiful Star, I think), which was a SAL organized by the Thread Basket in collaboration with C Mon Monde. I used HDF fibers on a piece of 36 ct Ale linen from Picture This Plus. I really loved this linen - it is a very close second to Lakeside linen on my favorites list. This was a great fun project!

And, here is a freebie from Plum Street Samplers, loosely converted to HDF fibers and stitched on 32 ct Examplar linen. I really finished this before Thanksgiving, but am only now posting it. It came out a bit wonky - I am wondering if a little stabilizer under the linen would prevent the bulges - on the other hand, its bulges kind of mimic mine :-)

I have failed miserably at the 2011 challenge where you pick a certain number of projects, and finish them through the year. Nonetheless, I am making a never ending list of projects, new and old that I want to do next year - decisions, decisions!

Until next time, happy stitching everyone!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Not a whole lot of stitching going on!

Here is the lovely ornament I received in the Hooked on Exchanging Words of Christmas exchange. I love this ornament - the design is so elegant - my partner could not have made a better selection to stitch for me.

Now I am just sitting on pins and needles (not literally, I hope) waiting to hear if my partner has received the ornament I stitched. I am beginning to worry. It should have arrived two weeks ago, and I haven't heard a word - Grrrrrr!

Here is my progress on Purple Garden. I have completed through Part 6. I need to really focus on this now and finish it because the project ends at the end of the year - it shouldn't be a problem, but I can't let myself get distracted by all the great new designs.

I seem to spend all my time going to sporting events - DS is on his school's soccer team, a recreational league soccer team, a recreational league ice hockey team, and a youth symphony. On top of that, he is organizing a concert for charity - I can't even keep up with the laundry, much less all of his events!!!

Until next time, happy stitching! Margaret

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Ornament Time!

This lovely is Yuletide from the JCS ornament preview issue. I couldn't resist this Jeanette Douglas design - I have taken classes from her - she is highly entertaining and quite talented - I have several of her designs in my someday pile. I used the recommended fibers and some mystery linen.

This lovely is Pendouille No 2 from Les creations de Louison. She has fabulous geometric shapes - I think there are 100 patterns for biscornu on her blog and now she's also giving away patterns for other shapes. I stitched this on antique white Edinburgh linen with mystery HDF silks.

I've been having fun with finishing this weekend! I also finished an ornament for an exchange - will have to wait to post a picture of that.

I have also been working on the iStitch Mystery SAL - Carol has been having problems with people copying her design; so she asks that we not post pictures until she has *unclickafied* them - so I will post later.

I need to go and do some yard clean-up - I'd rather be stitching; but the lovely sunny day is calling!

Happy stitching everyone! Margaret

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Still stitching away!

It looks like Blogger is having its way with the orientation of my photos again! You would think that with all the smart people working on these programs, someone could fix this problem. But no, we have to look at things sideways. On the bright side, maybe you will concentrate on the orientation and overlook the wrinkles. I stitch in hand, and this linen is impervious to the iron! I haven't updated I Sigh Not in a long time, so I decided to post this pic, even though it is wrinkled. This sampler is so difficult to put down! My goal is to finish it by the end of the year - I still believe that is possible.

And here is my version of the iStitch mystery SAL, completed through part 4. I just adore this piece.

I am still frantically trying to stay current with the SAL Romantique. It takes a lot of my stitching time. but it is so lovely, it's worth it. Then also vying for attention are Purple Garden Heart Note Alley, and Spanish Mystery Sampler. This is not even considering the gazillion of projects kitted up! Such a terrible problem to have - ROFL.

Well we have survived two deluges of rain in the past few weeks; no water in the basement, but the gardens have weeds as high as an elephant's eye. I need to go out and tackle them. I am also replanting my back flower garden with more deer resistant plantings - lots of fragrant and prickly foliage. I had to throw out all of my bearded iris because I couldn't eradicate the borers. I have been treating the soil all summer; so I plan to plant some new fans this fall and hope for the best.

That's all I have for now. Bye, Margaret

Still stitching away!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Finally Finished Something!!!

And here it is:

Margaret W. Brown 1838

Adaptation by Milady's Needle

AVAS Threads and Lakeside Linen

When I started this, I was not too sure about the colors. They are kind of *garish*. But after looking at it for a while, I decided that this was really in keeping with the fashionable colors of the era - and so I continued with it. I do love how it turned out. And, even better, now I get to start something new for my travel project. Happily, this coincides with the resumption of orchestra, soccer and ice hockey practice seasons - so I should have much time to stitch. Right now, the favored candidate is Mary Pearce Drown from the recent SANQ. My only requirement for a travel project is that the piece not be fussy - not a lot of counting and not a lot of color changes. This small sampler should work perfectly.

I'm still plugging away at SAL Romantique - only three more sections to go.

And, Purple Garden is at the half way mark. I made a huge goof in Part 1, and so am having to compensate - but I think it will work out okay. I'm certainly not going to rip it out and restitch - life's too short.

And the iStitch SAL - this is part 2 completed.

We have had a good holiday weekend - visited with some old friends, made a new friend - turns out the new person grew up about 30 miles from me in Mississippi and we both attended Mississippi State - although about 10 years apart -small world. We also discovered a great small Pennsylvania winery - Waltz vineyards - and revisited a new microbrewery - Bube's. If you are ever in Amish country - I would highly recommend these places. DS is at the beach with one of his friends and family - so all is quiet around here.

Until next time, happy stitching everyone!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Lots of good stuff!!!!!

Oh boy, I have lots of good stuff to show you today! First up is SAL Romantique. I am current on this one - I think there are three more installments. I may actually complete a SAL with the rest of the group!!!! Could it be??????

And then, what would a month be without a new start? This is Heart Note Alley, another project with the Sticklounge Group. This is on a scrap of 36 ct. Navy Bean. The fibers used so far are GLO Granny Smith Green , SNC Camoflauge, a Dinky Dyes sample, and Dinky Dyes Cabernet. I am totally in my element on this one - a purple and green floral band sampler - it's incredible I resisted starting this as long as I did!

Continuing to demonstrate my total lack of self-control, here is another new project (yea, but , this one is small and quick). I joined the Mystery SAL organized by Carol over at iStitch. Her designs are just great - elegant and simple - so very charming! My piece is done on 40 ct. Vintage Luna by Lakeside Linens using Belle Soie Creme de Menthe. When done, this piece will fit on a small box from Hobby Lobby. My box is on order - I'm planning the finishing technique for it. I used to do a bit of faux finishing - I may still have some sponges lying around - so I may do something interesting with it.

And, last but not least, two finished ornaments. I have lost track and am to lazy to look back at my stitching to see if these are July and August or August and September ornaments. At any rate, they are from the ornament preview issue of JCS. The first one is Two Years Worth of Calling Birds - I was intrigued by the name. I used the recommended fibers and linen.

And this one is Peace On Earth by MBT designs. I used the recommended fibers on a piece of 40 ct Antique White Newcastle linen.

I am really looking forward to the JCS Halloween special and the ornament special and the new Blackbird Designs book - as if I don't have enough to stitch!!!!

We have finally had some rain - yea! Now, I need to go out and do some tidying up in the yard (aka the deer dining hall).

Until next time, Margaret

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Still stitching along

Looks like Blogger is up to its old tricks - forcing my pictures to be sideways. I do not understand why this is happening. I take all of my pictures with the camera in the same orientation; so I don't understand why some are rotated and others are not. To begin, here is Part 4 of Purple Garden, a SAL with the Sticklounge Group

And, here is SAL Romantique, Parts 12 and 13. I liked this photo - showing KittyC's imitation of Vanna.

And now to my ornaments: Here is Another Sampler Christmas by Milady's Needle. I used the charted silks and a piece of Antique white Edinburgh linen. I think this is my June ornament...

This is a freebie - Holly and Ivy (I think) by Laura Perin Designs - I did not write down the fibers I used. However, the finishing drove me crazy - the canvas went wonky and I could not straighten it back out. It was relaxing to stitch; so I think I will hire a professional to finish the next one of these I stitch. I believe this is my May ornament....

And for July - here is a freebie from Samplerbird Stitchery. I did not record the fibers or beads I used. I stitched the chenille around the piece - then I saw some tutorials that call for gluing the chenille rather than sewing it. I think that would look better - I have some good acid free glues in my stamping stuff, so I think I will try that next time.

Returning to the sideways pics, this piece is by Plum Street Samplers from the 2010 JCS ornament issue. I used the recommended fibers and some mystery linen. I actually stitched this a while ago; but only finished it recently. I love to read Paulette Stewart's blog - it is always so upbeat -that I have started to collect some of her charts.

I also am plugging away at I Sigh Not for Beauty - I will try to update that next time.

There has been a little rain over the last week or so, so the yard is not absolutely parched - the crepe myrtles are in full bloom - they relish the heat and humidity. My graveyard lilies (Crinum) and hardy hibiscus are putting on a show also. I stopped by Lowe's today, and a crepe myrtlette jumped in my buggy before I checked out - I need to go and plant it - near our almost finished fish pond.

Till next time, happy stitching! Margaret

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Back to stitching - too hot to garden!

Here is part 3 of Purple Garden, a project with the Sticklounge Group. These are my "safe" colors - redish purple and sagey green. I invariably am drawn to these colors - so why fight it?

And this is another project by Angie Designer (can you tell I love her designs??). She is leading a SAL for this Sampler Romantique. This shows the project through Part 12 - it's a beauty!

And, speaking of beauties, here is Margaret Brown by Milady's Needle. I am stitching on 28 ct and using the recommended AVAS threads - to recreate the original sampler. I love the faded palette of the other version of this piece, but decided to go bold (for me). This is my traveling piece. The end is in sight on this one.

Well, I guess it is back to stitching for me - it is too hot to be out in the yard! You would think that someone who grew up in Mississippi (and worked as a lifeguard for three summers) would not mind the heat. Is this another thing they don't tell you about getting old? That you lose your tolderance for heat and cold? (I never really had a tolerance for cold, anyway). Sad part of it is that my flowers are not all mulched yet - so some look just awful. I have spread 6 yards of mulch thus far. I estimate that I need to spread about 20 more yards - I slacked off for the last two years - because of a leg fracture one year and pneumonia the year before that. I am determined to catch up this year!

I have beautiful lilies blooming. My favorite are my tiger babies (peachy pink cross between tiger lilies and asiatics). I get to enjoy the ones that the venison-on-hoof have not devoured. My daylilies are starting to bloom; and with them my hydrangeas are providing a much needed dose of purple!

If you're still with me, thanks! Happy stitching! Margaret

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wow! Almost 100 posts!

I just noticed that I am almost to 100 posts. I will celebrate by offering a giveaway - I have been cleaning out stash lately, and have a box of good stuff and not-so-good stuff - so I think it's time to send the good stuff to a loving home! So stay tuned for details...

In the meantime, here is part 2 of Purple Garden by Angie, which is a current SAL with the Sticklounge Group. I love the clean lines and the combination of "blackwork" with a few Quaker elements thrown in. Most stitchers are working on Part 4 now, so I am a little bit behind (no surprise, there!)

Spring is finally here in Maryland. Last night my son played his spring concert with the Peabody Youth Orchestra in Baltimore - one of their finest performances to date. I am not very knowledgeable about classical music, but I know what I like, and I certainly enjoyed their performance. Tonight he is playing in the orchestra for the Baltimore Cappies, the award ceremony for high school plays/musicals. My son's school is small, but they do a swell job in the drama department - so we are keeping our fingers crossed for some recognition.

Sadly, the poor neglected yard has to stay that way for another week -maybe next weekend it will get some attention. I'm sure the neighbors (with perfect yards) will be relieved.

Happy stitching! Margaret

Sunday, May 08, 2011


I'm so far behind, I hardly know where to begin with this update. Here goes: this is a picture of Part 7 and 8 of SAL Romantique. This piece is fabulous - but each section takes a lot of time -it's very relaxing, but takes time nonetheless.

These are my March and April ornaments that are finished-finished. The flat finish is a Spot Sampler by Catherine Theron and the other is Christmas, a sampler designed by Sandra Sullivan of Homespun Elegance.

I attended Celebrations in Nashua, New Hampshire last month. I spent some time with my dear stitching buddy, Carol S. I also met Marie, who I knew previously through exchanges. I took some classes, which were very enjoyable (and a great way to acquire more projects). I met Theresa Venette of Shakespeare's Peddler. I am a big fan of her reproduction samplers. She is a super lady - very friendly and down to earth.

I also shared a table at the fun Saturday night charity event with some great stitching ladies, some I had met before and some new friends.

Pam and Donna are having a show in St. Charles MO this year - I would love to go - I am waiting to see if they will be offering new classes or just repeats from New Hampshire.

While I was away from home, some less than happy events were going on - DH and DS had to put down our Labrador - he had made it 13 years and 3 days - but he had just recently lost his appetite and was really struggling with his hind quarters, so it was time. Also, DS and his team lost in the state National History Day competition - I am very proud of them for winning the county competition, which was pretty stiff; but still we are all disappointed. And to top it all off, the tornadoes ripped through the areas near where I grew up and went to college - so I was glued to the news broadcasts for information about my hometown - fortunately, that area escaped significant damage. My heart goes out to the people of the southeast who lost loved ones and cherished possessions - family mementos are very important to Southereners.

On a cherrier note, we spent yesterday in Annapolis. DS's orchestra played a concert at Maryland Hall in the afternoon. We had to take him over there in the morning, so while he was rehearsing, we explored the waterfront and had a great lunch. Annapolis is a charming city - it would be a great place to go for a weekend getaway. I love the historic buildings. The daughter of some friends attends the Naval Academy; and she and two of her friends attended the concert - it was great to see them, and I think DS was especially pleased.

The sun is shining today! The weeds are loving our weather pattern, and are threatening to take over! My peonies are starting to show color; and I am battling the deer over my hostas and lilies. DS has a soccer game this afternoon - I love watching the boys play soccer, even though they do a fair amount of shoving and tripping at this level of play!

I suppose I have rambled enough. Hope everyone has a great day!

- Margaret

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday update

Get ready to tilt again, just like last week - looks like Blogger is turning my photos around again. That is so weird! So please take my word for it, this piece is going to be gorgeous. There are a lot of stitches on this piece - I started this on March 10 and just finished it Friday. But it is gorgeous!

This weekend I have been working on my March ornament - I chose one that is pretty involved - I even had to put it on Q-snaps because the specialty stitches don't lay right otherwise. I'll complete this post now and go work on it some more.

Well, spring did not last long in Maryland - it was snowing this morning when I walked the dog - he loves it. I would love it too if I had a black fur coat!!!

Happy stitching! Margaret

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Get ready to tilt your head!

Now, why is Blogger being so contrary today? Once again, it simply refuses to import my pictures the way they are saved on my computer. Okay, I give up - I need to get an update done!

Here is my latest progress on I Sigh Not. This is one of those projects that is difficult to put aside once I get started working on it.

Here is an upside-down introduction to Purple Garden. You are actually seeing the lower right hand side of the project. It was designed by Angie Designer, and I am doing it with the Sticklounge group. The designer led a SAL for this project a year or so ago, but I missed it, so I jumped at the chance to do it with the Sticklounge. I am using a piece of linen that was labeled 32 ct. Flax - I guess it could be correct. I am using various shades of HDF Ultramaroon, Earth Stars, and Alluvium. I like the combo of cross stitch and blackwork. Fun piece.
And, fortunately right side up, is the completed Quaker Star, also done with the Sticklounge Group. It now goes into the pile of samplers that need to be framed - I may get ambitious and try to frame it myself - save a few $$$$ that way.

Well, spring is on its way to Maryland - I have worked in the yard yesterday and today - cutting back old stalks and generally tidying up my flower beds, emptying pots, and spraying Round Up on the pesky spring dandelions and such. My earliest daffodils are blooming - they are adorable, only 4 inches tall. Sadly, they are not fragrant. Will have to wait for the fragrant narcissi.
I am on holiday this week - last Friday we sent my son off to China with his Chinese teacher and three other students. They are touring four cities and returning next Sunday. This is their spring break week; and we don't have to be taxi service this week -YEA!!!! Next update I'll have flower pictures - can't wait.
Well, Happy stitching everyone, Margaret

Monday, February 21, 2011

Awaiting winter's return

I have not been stitching much - rather I have been spending my time cruising the yard- looking for green shoots of daffodils pushing their noses out - all other green things get eaten by the herd of venison-on-hoof that have invaded my yard. I even washed my car by hand on Friday. So, you can imagine my surprise when I heard the weather forecast this morning - 1 - 2 inches of snow/sleet tonight. Well the surprise has turned to alarm when I heard an update - now they're predicting 3 - 5 inches!!! Seriously?????
I do have some updates:
Here is my latest start. This is "I Sigh Not", a sampler that was published in Sampler and Antique Needlework. I am using the recommended fabric and Hand-Dyed Fibers premium silk. I am loving this project!
And here is my February ornament: "Cardinal Winter" by LHN. I used mystery silks for the DMC, and I used the recommended fabric and Crescent Colors. I changed the word from "
Tweet" to "Joy". Tweet reminded me too much of Twitter....

I really hate to hear the weather forecast- my son's high school musical is next weekend, and they are rehearsing every day this week - if we get snow, that will really crimp their rehearsing. I'm sure the show will be fabulous anyway - it always is. My son plays in the orchestra - so no memorization or costumes.

Till next time - happy stitching! Margaret

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sideways pictures are better than no pictures!

Okay, so I am having issues with blogspot right now. These pictures look absolutely correct in Picasa, but when I import them to blogger they end up sideways - I'm tired of fighting with it - so I hope you can use your imagination about how great they'd look if they were right side up and enjoy the pictures anyway. This is part 8 of Quaker Star with the Sticklounge group. Only one part to go now.

And this poor little sideways ornament is this year's Valentine small. Well it's a relief that I finished this in time to enjoy it on Valentine's Day - this piece is Braveheart by Wyrdbyrd Designs. There are some great free blackwork designs on the site. I stitched it in a HDF mystery skein on mystery linen. It was a quick, fun stitch. But then it came time for the dreaded finishing. For some reason it turned out wonky - so I was debating (for several days) redoing it or just throwing it out - but then I decided to add a braided trim, which made it be okay. - I am determined to master this finishing business!!!!
I notice that Celebrations of Needlework has started posting pics of the classes they are offering this year - YEA!
Happy stitching, everybody1

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Icy and Snowy in Maryland

Two posts in two days - can you tell it is snowy and icy in Maryland and this transplanted Southerner is staying at home!!!! and stitching!!!!

First up, here are Parts 1 and 2 of the Romantique SAL, offered by Angie Designer. She is very talented and generous to offer beautiful projects for free. For this SAL, you have to show a picture of each part before you get another one. For this piece, I am using HDF in White Chocolate and various Enchanter Rose shades. The fabric is an unlabeled piece of 32 ct linen - it may be raw or dirty or natural???? At any rate, it looks like an old lace sampler - can't wait for the next part.

And here is my finished January ornament - this is The Red Noel Ornament by Maryse Dupont of Les grilles de Maryse from the November 2008 TGOSM. I stitched it a while ago; but I am counting it for this month since this is when I finish-finished it.

I love doing an ornament a month - it was such fun to have them to put on my tree this year. I signed up for this challenge again this year....
Well, I need to put DS to work walking the dog, and shoveling the walk.
Happy stitching! Margaret

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Year, New Stitching!

My holidays went by in a blur - I had every intention of taking photos of my holiday stitching, and keeping this blog updated; but we all know what they say about good intentions....

So, with the new year, I have tried to become more focused. After neglecting this project for weeks (months?) I finally completed Part 7 of Quaker Star. Only two parts to go! I had not really planned to sign up for any more big projects with the Sticklounge Group, but then Angie Designer's Purple Garden was selected for an upcoming project - I have long admired this project, so I wasted no time in signing up. And no, I didn't stop there - another upcoming project is an old European Sampler - so I signed up for that as well. The Sticklounge group is a great one!

These next photos are of a Blue Ribbon Box, designed by Patrick's Woods. I know you can't tell much from my photography, but these pieces will become a scissor fob, needlebook, mattress style pincushion, and pockets in a wooden box. This will all come together in a class I am taking at A Gathering of Embroiderers in Williamsburg next month. The project is gorgeous, and most of it is stitched over one. I love the look of over one stitching; but I don't do it very often, and so I am slow and my tension is not very good. Still, the project is gorgeous!

I still have more work to do, but it is coming along!
I joined the Up for a Challenge for 2011. In this group, the challenge is to finish fifteen WIPS in 2011. I made a list of my favorite 15 projects - I included some WIPs and some new projects. I wonder how long it will be before I revise my list?????
Not a lot of other stuff going on - my son's ice hockey team is having a good year so far; and only a few of the players graduate this year - so the team should be strong next year as well. I can't say the same for my football teams - last weekend was awful - I always cheer for the Saints; and have since I was little - so I am already looking forward to next year. At least my alma mater, Mississippi State, did well last year.
Well, that's all for now. I am working on the Romantique Sampler by Angie Designer. I will post pics when I get enough done. I also need to work on my ornament for January.
Happy stitching, everyone!