My Jewels!

I have been spending the last few days organizing my stash of silk floss. I had been meaning to do it for a really long time, but my collection kept growing and I also had no idea where to start, and how I wanted it organized.  Finally I decided it works best to do it by HDF color family (99.95% of my sllk floss is HDF).  I decided to get rid of the separate storage of skeins, minis, and micros.  I am winding all my skeins on mini or micro spools.  Color selection will be much easier if I have the entire color family in one place rather than separate boxes.  I am using these boxes – they have 4 horizontal fixed compartments and 20 removable dividers, which make it easy to adjust the size of the slots for each color family.  I crossed the halfway mark today.

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Performance Evaluation

We are going through this process at work, so I thought I would do one for my stitching.  It’s tedious and boring and even depressing to evaluate actual versus projected, but still much more fun than the one at work :-)  So here is how I stand on my 2014 goals:

  1. Completed FebFinish Ann Dale or kill myself.  Completed February 2, 2014
  2. Finish at least one of the two unfinished ones mentioned above (Marquoir Elise or Odds and Ends 4).  A big F on this one!
  3. Complete the Nativity Table Runner from Blackberry Lane Designs that I started on Christmas Day 2013.  Um…not a single stitch since Christmas.
  4. Start the Icelandic sampler and make decent progress on it.  I need to paint the fabric a dark brown because I have not succeeded in finding or dyeing the dark brown color that is needed for this in 40ct linen.  See above.
  5. Stitch a couple of smalls from purchased or freebie designs.  Working on Be True by Plum Street Samplers. Almost done. 
  6. Organize my stash of HDF floss.  This will be slow going because I have to wind all the skeins onto spools, sort and wind dbag floss, print labels, update my spreadsheet.  I might not be able to finish this in 2014, but I want to at least make some headway.  Organized up to Earth Stars.
  7. Keep up with the Stitch from Stash 2014 group that I just joined.  I have kept away from blog groups and SALs so far, but this is a different kind of exercise and there is a lot of flexibility because I can stitch whatever I want.  Moreover, it will keep me motivated to post more regularly here.  I am still participating but have probably busted my annual budget already :-(   No blog posts on this topic in the last couple of months because I have no new starts or anything to show.  
  8. Keep up with the Randje Per Week SAL.  Lagging behind at band 41, while the group is at band 60 right now.  I focused on finishing the CHS piece; now that I am done with it, I am back on this one again.
  9. Last and most important, keep stitching!  This is one goal I have had no problem meeting, knock on wood!

The New HDF Examplars

I have been sample-stitching 24 new colors that Vikki dyed recently.  She dyed them when I visited the factory last month. It has been fun to see each color in its different avatars: the freshly dyed hank of silk, then the dried hank (the color seems to lighten up a little upon drying), on a cone, on a spool, and finally, stitched.  Stitching the same motif over and over again drove me quite batty initially but later it became almost soothing :-)

IMG_1178sm-FrameShopIMG_1179sm-FrameShopHere they are all together:

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Motif: From Token of Love by Stickideen von der Weihenburg
Fabric: Zweigart 40ct White
Threads: HDF silks (New Examplar colors)
Started: July 1, 2014
Finished: July 18, 2014

The Birds & the Bees – Finished!

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I have admired Kathy Barrick’s designs for a long time, but it took a while to actually stitch one of them.  Now I wonder why I waited this long.  Fatigued by the Ann Dale sampler, I was looking for a fun stitch, a piece where I could go a little crazy with color.  The Birds & the Bees seemed perfect for my needs.  And what a joy this has been to stitch!  I enjoyed every bit of it, including the zillion leaves – I thought they would tire me to tears, but I managed to keep myself amused by changing the direction of stitching according to the movement of the leaves.  And of course, I changed all the colors from those in the chart.

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I highlighted the birds instead of hiding them (you can see the original here):

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I used French knots for the centers of the fruit (berries?) in the tree and basket. I had originally intended to leave the centers unstitched but Vikki came up with the great of idea of using French knots – this made a huge difference to the final look of the piece!

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I used four different variegated colors for the tree to get better shading effects.  I am almost sorry this is finished.  Fortunately, I have several other Kathy Barrick charts in my stash :-)

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 Pattern: The Birds & the Bees
Designer: Carriage House Samplings (Kathy Barrick)
Fabric: HDF 40ct Cream
Threads: HDF silks (BeVexed, Rubbed Dark Gold, Rubbed Fuchsia, BeSeeded, Kodiak5139/Quernstones5169/Jackalope5271, Examplar Wattle N Daub, Rubbed Chocolate Version 2, Rubbed Turquoise, Rubbed Quartz, Rubbed Roses Ver 2, Rubbed Lavender, Rubbed Yellow, Rubbed Vermillion, Old Maid of the Soil)
Started: February 9, 2014
Finished: July 6, 2014

Framed!

Here is the piece I stitched for my aunt, sitting proudly on her beautiful bookshelf in Lisbon!  I framed it using an off-the-shelf frame from Aaron Brothers.  I padded it with three layers of quilt batting to give some “pouf” and then stretched and pinned it to the foam core board.  It was a bit of a struggle to get the frame backing into place due to the thickness of the padding – I had to use a special tool called “the husband”.  My aunt loved the piece and it was very satisfying to see her reaction.

IMG_0842smPattern: Herz (free pattern)
Designer: Stickerin M.B.
Fabric: Gander 38-ct Nacre
Threads: HDF silks – Perfect Red 6209 wet sprayed w/ 6217 (limited edition)
Started: March 16, 2014
Finished: March 29, 2014

Randje per Week – Weeks 1 to 17

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Here is my progress on this SAL, which is currently in its 19th week.  Forty bands have been released so far, and I am at #36.  Despite all intentions of staying current with the group, I fell behind but for good reason: pondering whether to stitch a few bands as charted, eliminate them altogether or stitch them with color changes.  Band #26 with the boys (or brats) and that chunky, ugly band #27 gave me the most heartburn.  However, the boys grew on me – I think they add a little element of surprise and playfulness to an otherwise predictable piece.  I alternated the clothing colors between blue and pink to make the band look less regimented (the original is charted with all the boys in blue clothing and shoes).  And I am quite satisfied with the result.  But I still hate that ugly chunky band #27.  Why did I stitch it?  Well, I am kinda determined that this should be a no-changes, mindless and relaxing project.

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Band #32 is missing a few blue Xs, I have just been lazy to thread blue floss into the needle just for a few Xs.

Here is a cross-section. The linen color in the first photo is truer – for some reason, it is impossible to capture the true color of the fabric unless there is some white in the photo.

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Pattern: Randje Per Week (free pattern)
Designer: Simone & Annalies of Soed Idee
Fabric: HDF 36×40 uneven linen in reddish brown
Threads: HDF Blue Pink (a “failed” color), Yonder Blue 2215
Started: January 9, 2014

 

The Bird

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April went by in a flurry of deadlines and out-of-town guests.  I did manage to stitch on most nights, but some days I was just too exhausted to pick up the needle.  And of course, it didn’t help that TCM ran a week-long tribute to John Wayne – who always gets my undivided attention.

I kept working on The Birds & the Bees.  I needed a break from those leaves, so I started the bird.  I was a bit conflicted on the choice of colors – whether to make the blend in with the leaves (as in the original design), or choose a different color so that it would stand out from the leaves. I finally went with the latter. I am not sure how the piece will turn out when complete, but so far I am pleased with the result.

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And here’s how the WIP looks so far:

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 Pattern: The Birds & the Bees
Designer: Carriage House Samplings (Kathy Barrick)
Fabric: HDF 40ct Cream
Threads: HDF silks (BeSeeded, BeVexed, Rubbed Fuchsia, Rubbed Dark Gold, Kodiak5139/Quernstones5169/Jackalope5271, Examplar Wattle N Daub, Rubbed Chocolate Version 2, Rubbed Roses Ver 2, Rubbed Turquoise, Rubbed Quartz)
Started: February 9, 2014

 

 

 

 

Small Gift

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I stitched this as a little present for my husband’s aunt.  I personalized it by adding her initials, which were not in the original design.  I need to frame it but I am not satisfied with the frame I have purchased; it seems a bit too plain.  If I can find the time this coming week, I will search for something a little more fancy.  I wish square frames weren’t so hard to find.  The fabric is Gander’s 38-count Nacre – this is the first time I am using this fabric color and I just love it!

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Pattern: Herz (free pattern)
Designer: Stickerin M.B.
Fabric: Gander 38-ct Nacre
Threads: HDF silks – Perfect Red 6209 wet sprayed w/ 6217 (limited edition)
Started: March 16, 2014
Finished: March 29, 2014

Stitch From Stash – March

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Busted my budget again!  I just couldn’t resist these samplers that were on sale for very low prices on the Facebook stash group.  These have been on my wish list for a long time and I had been resisting buying them because I am not going to stitch them right away.  But they were irresistible at these prices.  I also bought more HDF silks, but have not received them yet.

Three samplers that are not reproductions.  I love the houses in all of them.

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Three reproduction samplers:

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I started a small pattern as a gift for my aunt – pattern is from my freebie pile, and the fabric and floss are all from my stash. I will post details once I finish.

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The Birds & the Bees

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Stitching progress has been slow this past week.  A lot of time went into preparing my list of Ann Dale colors that several stitchers had requested.  What started as a spreadsheet ended up being a separate page on my blog because it was really hard to list the colors without pictures.  It’s huge relief to be done with it.

I finished the tree trunk on my CHS Birds & Bees piece.  After grappling with several ideas, I finally chose four variegated colors instead of the four solids listed on the pattern. I was a little nervous how it might turn out, but I think it looks fine. I like the shading that I was able to get with the variegated.  The variegated all had some common component colors, so they blended very well.

I am enjoying stitching this piece so much that I wonder why I didn’t start this sooner – the pattern sat in my stash for over three years!

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Pattern: The Birds & the Bees
Designer: Carriage House Samplings (Kathy Barrick)
Fabric: HDF 40ct Cream
Threads: HDF silks (BeSeeded, BeVexed, Rubbed Fuchsia, Rubbed Dark Gold, Kodiak5139/Quernstones5169/Jackalope5271, Examplar Wattle N Daub, Rubbed Chocolate Version 2)
Started: February 9, 2014

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