Question of the Month: What new stitches or techniques did you learn this year?
Sadly, none. Can't learn much new stitchery when one isn't stitching! Maybe next year.
Oops! I almost forgot!
Question of the Month: What new stitches or techniques did you learn this year?
Sadly, none. Can't learn much new stitchery when one isn't stitching! Maybe next year.
The question for the month for WIPocalypse is:
" Do you prefer to stitch on a rotation or one project at a time?"
I really don't have a preference. I have done both and both have their advantages.
Rotation removes some of the boredom that can arise when stitching on a single LARGE project. It is particularly helpful to intersperse stitching on a large BAP with smaller pieces (which might give on the felling of accomplishment when the small piece is finished), a piece with different stitchery demands (like speciality stitches, beading, etc.), or even a different BAP which, depending on how long the original BAP has been "in progress", may have a design more in tune with my taste (although this is usually why a piece becomes a UFO in my stash --- I started something new that appealed and all of a sudden, the old piece is no longer to my taste!)!
Often, when I do stitch on a large BAP, I can get on a roll, and it hurts my stitching mojo if I interrupt that roll by stitching on something else: I often lose my place (no matter how carefully I mark the charts). And sometimes I find that once I get onto something new, I really really have to work HARD to go back to that BAP--- it's appeal gets lost in the thrill of finishing smalls, etc.(see also above re UFOs!).
Again, in October, no stitching whatsoever. Sorry...
The topic for discussion this month is:
"How do you keep your stitching stash organized?"
Well, I'm not sure it IS organized, at least not completely I posted several times this year about my organizational attempts, starting in January and fizzling out in May. I have gotten quite a bit put away where it belongs but there is probably just as much that needs doing. Especially floss --- my DMC is untouched and needs a massive amount of time to put right and teh contents of my two embroidery cabinets need rearranging so everything can be contained....
At any rate, for embroidery, I use a number of binders (patterns), baskets (floss), bins and boxes (needles, beads, buttons, charms, etc,), all of which reside either n one bookcase or two large cabinets in my craft space. For my quilting, its two more cabinets... You can see photos of these areas in those five posts between January and May.
For embroidery projects in progress, I have a large tote which holds the listed up patterns, hoops, Q-snaps and small notions while my traveling projects are in two Yazzii zipped bags, all in my bedroom.
Again, no stitching this month. I did, however, buy two kitted up Glendon Place patterns. Who can resist a sale?
This month's topic for discussion is:
"Which is more satisfying to you and why – the process of stitching a piece, or the finish?"
That's a tough question for me to answer... it's almost like those polls which don't give an answer that is right for you!
For me, the satisfying part is the beginning: the picking of the chart, the floss, the fabric and embellishments (if any) and setting up for stitching. (can you tell I'm a stash builder? I love browsing the designer sites and the needlework supplies stores online, and when I was actively stitching, my budget was often screaming. Even now, when I'm not stitching, I'm still acquiring the latests charts and kits from my favorite designer...)
As for the stitching itself, the start is fine but, if the piece is a big one (and for me, it usually is/was), I soon tire of the piece and it becomes a chore to stitch... until I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Part of that is due to the fact that there are now pieces lined up in my head which I would rather be working on (the results of that original stash-building exercise overlapping with a slow-moving piece which shows little "progress" despite the amount of time spent o it. You know the kind --- the ones that don't look like anything at all until a certain amount of stitches have been put into it).
So I guess finishing is the most satisfying part, even though it is sometimes a let-down after all that work (sort of like that let-down when you finish a really good book and discover that it is the last one in a series and the author is not writing them anymore - that is, the author is dead!).
Can you tell I'm conflicted?
Progress this month? None, although I have been thinking about it. I even went so far as to buy a special project bag for the needlepoint pieces I want to start AFTER I finish the two WIPs/UFOs in my project bag...
The discussion topic for this month is:
" Half-year recap: How are you doing with your goals so far this year?"
I'd laugh if it weren't so sad. No progress. Not a stitch. Even my attempts at organization ave stalled out at the bin of DMC floss that needs putting away. I'm really having difficulty getting motivated. Heck, I have even spent several hours this weekend updating out financial records, which I absolutely HATE to do. And in two days, I have brought six months of arrears in my entries to Quicken for four credit cards and one checkbook. Only once create card and four bank accounts to go!
On her blog, Mel said:
"So if you’re feeling stuck, try that challenge on whatever you’re working. One stitch per day. Just do one. By itself, it may not seem like much. But one stitch leads to another, and to another… and then once you relax and accept that your one stitch per day meets the goal? Everything else is a reward. It’s such a simple thing..."
She's so right. If it works for my financial records, it SHOULD work for my stitchery. I am going to try this!
She went on to say:
"I’m genuinely thinking of running it as part of this challenge next year (giving the HAED project designer credit for the idea, of course). Pick a stubborn UFO or the one you really, really want to finish, and stitch at least one stitch per day for 100 days."
What a GREAT idea!
The question for the month is: "Tell us what you think the ideal stitching retreat would include."
Well, I have been to a few quilting retreats and paper crafting retreats but never an embroidery retreat so I can't say for sure that I know what such a retreat would require.
Like I said, I can't speak from experience other than three quilting retreats, two or three paper-crafting weekends, a card-making cruise (Yes, a cruise, to Alaska!), and a few local guild-sponsored quilt workdays, and I have to say I have one major issue: I never seemed to have the right supplies with me to accomplish much of anything and so I accomplished little, despite a car trunk filled with possible projects and a lot of tools! Of course, many retreats are actually teaching events and, for a fee, one gets fully supplied kits as well as the services of a teacher or teachers so the need for supplies is lessened (but the cost is usually increased...).
I know that, when I stitch, I need to be comfortable, and I usually stitch in my bed, with my back supported by cushions and my feet up! Therefore, a comfy chair with back support and a foot stool are the minimum. This is NOT a folding chair or a dining table chair or the like.
Also, I need light, good light, preferably that can be focused on my stitching, and magnification (my old eyes need at least 3x magnification to work on anything finer than 12 or 14 count AIDA)! I totally rely on my Ott Lamp (floor model --- NOT a table lamp) with a magnifying arm that can be arranged to work over my left shoulder. Too big to travel with unless the location is close enough to drive to.
Price is an issue for me. I am retired, no surplus income, and the cost of travel, housing and meals (and any class charges) can add up to a major expense.
Which brings the real need, for me, and that is location --- I simply cannot justify flying as the luggage requirements would be horrendous (even enough clothing for the duration in a carry on and my stitchery supplies would mean surcharges for luggage with most airlines these days). And I really can't see driving more than an hour or two away from home as I am not a confident driver. Carpooling is not an option because there are no stitchers anywhere near me and even if there were, my experience with fellow quilters and paper crafters is that they bring so much "stuff" that there really isn't room for more than two people in a normal mid-sized car. Besides, car-pooling means I'm dependent in the scheduling needs/wants of others so I can't leave early or ... You get what I mean, right?
But, to be honest, I probably would never go to a stitching retreat anyway as I need to concentrate to stitch, and people prevent that --- my experience is that quilters chat and knitters chat and crocheters chat and papercrafters chat when they get together, so I have no doubt that stitchers chat as well!!! Sure, I could find a quiet corner, but that would mean I was being anti-social and why would I want to be marked as such when I can get the same solitude at home for free?.
I know, that answer is a bit snarky but, as a solitary stitcher (when I CAN stitch again), retreats really don't appeal to me.
Now, as for this month's report... nothing. nada. zilch. zip.
I did pack my stitchery travel bag when we went to Myrtle Beach for the national daylily convention but I never opened it. The two-day drive down aggravated my bad shoulder and arm and it took two of the three days available in Myrtle Beach for the pain to subside, only for it to recur on the drive home. I am doing my physical therapy exercises, twice daily (UGH) and have begun to wean myself off triple-strength ibuprofen to find that even so-called "pain-free days" really aren't totally pain free (there is a nagging hint that the pain is there, waiting to surface again if I'm not careful).
As I said, I'm being good, doing my exercises and hoping for the pain-free periods to reach that magic two weeks so I can cut back on the exercises and maybe even pick up a needle again. The question is, will I be able to find my stitching mojo again?
The WIPocalypse question of the month is: Where do you love to shop for stash?when I can't find what I need in my stash, I shop online for anything needlework-related - we don’t have any needlework shops within driving distance so online is really my only option. I have a few places I do like to shop… tops on my list is Needle in A Haystack in Alameda, CA. I have read that others aren’t happy with the service there but I never have had issues.
It’s been a while since I did any shopping for stash, although I did order two Michael Powell charts last month (I’m addicted to Michael Powell and have nearly all of his charts, even though I've only stitched two or three of them!). If I ever get back in stitching mode, I have enough thread to last a while but I will be running out of large cuts of fabric soon. Then I will have to be on the look-out for some good deals on linen and even weaves.
Progress this month? Nil. Didn’t even organize. Spent a great deal of time i physical therapy trying to remedy the bad shoulder and arm pain that struck back in March and while I “graduated” from therapy last week, I can’t say I’m up to stitching yet, pain-wise. I had three or four good days this past week and woke up again on Saturday in pain which has yet to abate.
Coming up? Road trip in early June so I have my needlepoint packed and hope I feel well enough on some days at least to stitch on that.
Well, I did it, I beat the flu - finally, after three weeks - with only a residual scratchy throat to show for it. But... and it's a BIG one
For two weeks before the flue, my right shoulder and forearm were really painful. I woke up with this pain and though it was to do with sleeping wrong but it didn't go away in two ro three days like my usual shoulder spasms have done. However, when I had the flu, the pain was gone. (or maybe the flu was so bad I didn't notice it...). Anyway, once teh flue was gone, the pain was back, with a vengeance. I couldn't sit or stand comfortably, I couldn't find a place where the shoulder didn't hurt and the arm pain was constant. I finally caved adn called my doctor. Was sent for X-rays (no bone abnormalities) and physical therapy started last week.
It appears that I should have listened to my Mother all those years ago and "sat up straight" but the cause the shoulder pain is likely cervical, due to poor posture. And could be exacerbated by my tendency to stitch in bed and watch television from be in the evenings (wrong neck position. The arm pain, coincident to the shoulder, apparently, is tennis elbow. I don't play tennis, or golf - the alternate name for the symptoms so it might better be described as blogger's elbow as the therapist said it was probably fro using the computer!.
It's probably too soon to say but I think the therapy is helping --- the pain is lessened by evening and I have no issues sleeping but when I get up in the morning, it starts to ache again - not as bad as it was, but still uncomfortable. I am doing the exercises and hoping for the best.
But, like I said above, the way I stitch, with my neck forward and looking down, is a no-no, at least for teh time being. I can't see myself holding my stitcher at eye level while sitting up straight so another hold on returning to stitchery! Just as the left wrist was behaving and strengthened enough to hold the frame (the therapist's tests show my grip is now stronger on the left than on the right - and I'm a right-handed person: bad sign that the tendonitis in the elbow has weakened my right hand.)
Question of the month: Talk to us about your longest-running WIP or UFO.
My longest running WIP is "Palm Tree Elegance", a needlepoint (tent stitch) panel begun back in November 2010 on one of our travels and last stitched on in July 2016:
It resides in my travel kit and is taken out whenever we are long term guests of friends or hotels. The likely next stitching episode, assuming I am recovered by then, will be early June on a road trip to Myrtle Beach, SC where husband will be attending a daylily conference.
I have a palm tree theme in my bathroom - embroidered on towels and shower curtain, framed cross stitch on the wall, and a set of decorative boxes papered in Palm motifs. This, if and when finished, will eventually join the framed cords-stitch on the wall.
My oldest UFO is a pair of crewel pillow tops, started in 1988:
The one on the left is the unfinished piece. (the color would be the same in both but do to bad light when these were taken... These, along with a number of other unfinished pieces (some of which I HAVE since finished), were packed away in one of our many moves and only resurrected when we unpacked at this, our final location (I hope!) in 2003. The wool is still useable and someday, if I get motivated, I may get back to this. I have to say, though --- my tastes have changed since 1988 and I'm not so much into flowers. Also, having crewel pillows in a house with three cats with needle-like claws is NOT a good plan for their (the pillows') survival!
My progress in my 2018 resolution to clean up my craft space did make a little progress, however. Remember that pile of speciality threads from various projects that needed to be sorted adn refiled. I had done all the Rainbow Gallery threads back in March but that left a huge jumbled pile of Gentle Arts Sampler and Shaker Threads, Carrie's Crreations, Weeks Dye works, Dinky Dyes, Stranded by the Sea, Needlepaints, Caron Watercolors and Waterlielies, Kreinik silks, SanMan threads and more that, when sorted, spread from one end of my cutting table to the other!
On April 24, I sorted by brand and placed each bunch in it's respective ArtBin box (or a zip lock bag when I ran out of boxes!):
I need to inventory the colors but that can come later, when I decided on a better way, if any, to store these.
Meanwhile, my cutting table is now relatively clear on one end, with only a large grocery bag full of unsorted DMC threads to work through.
Needless to say, I consider that the most daunting project of all and is probably why it was postponed to the very end of the thread sorting!
So there you have my April report. I can only say it HAS to get better!
Carol here, fighting a late - and nasty - case of the flu. Not only has it wiped me out physically, resulting in a total halt to my attempts at reorganization, but it has also done me in mentally. I never know, from day to day, if it will be a cough, a headache or (yesterday) serious vertigo that hits... Needless to say, that means I have little to nothing to report on this month.
Let's start with the question of the month: "What newer designers and product creators (fabric or floss dyeing, etc) out there have you discovered and recommend?"
Well, I have to say, I haven't really been looking at anything new this past year, be it designers, fabrics or colors. My last purchases were three needlepoint canvases/kits from Needle Delights Originals, just before I broke my wrist in October 2016. They were part of the "Destination" series and the three I bought were called "Tropic Seas", "Tahiti" and "Bora Bora". They reminded me of our cruise there a year earlier. I was also attracted to the variety of stitches used as well as the bright colors.
It happened that all three are of a similar size but I didn't have stretchers that would work with them so I had to special order stretcher bars of the proper length. By the time these bars and arrived, I was no longer in stitching mode and these three pieces are still unopened in their project bags.
I suppose that I would recommend these kits --- or others (there were many in different series) --- for anyone interesting in upping their needlepoint game!
Now, as for what I did this month, or what there was of it when I haven't been sick.
I started sorting threads and putting them away. My first step was sorting speciality threads from various kits. They were a tangled mess, consisting of skeins, bobbins, and loose threads of various makers:
I began by pulling out the threads by Rainbow Gallery, some of which were already bobbinated and others of which were loose and tangled:
I located my bobbins and began winding loose threads...
Filling the ArtBin case that I had earlier designated for Rainbow Gallery threads:
Clearly, this ArtBin isn't really set up to handle the large Rainbow Gallery Cards but all the loose threads are now wound and stored away... With the exception of the cards there on the right, there isn't enough of any one color/type of thread to do much more than accent a needlepoint piece. That is what this final sort is destined for --- the proper bit of glitz or texture to make a needlepoint piece pop!
I need to do something similar for makers like WDW, GAST, Dinky Dues, By the Sea, Waterlilies and others, many of which have larger cards like these Rainbow Gallery cards. Luckily, they aren't in as much disarray as the Rainbow Gallery threads and so sorting should be easier, once I feel up to it again. At the moment, however, they reside in the lower of the two baskets you see in the photo above.
And once these are put away, it's the daunting DMC/Anchor mess that is left.
Did I stitch this month? No. Didn't even think of doing so. Sorry. I need to go take some cough meds now and get some rest.
Another month has passed and it's time to report in.
We had two questions to answer this month.
Questions 1. Gadgets! Show us your favorite stitching gadgets!
Well, I'm not really sure what constitutes a gadget in stitchery but I have photos of the tools I use .
To start with, I have a wooden "box" with magnets inside to keep my needles, pins, needle threader and embroidery scissors in. It even catches the occasional (who am I kidding - often) stray beads fo eventual re-packaging! I have had this for ages; can't remember WHERE I got it (or from whom); and I really can't do anything needle-and-thread related without it!
I use Q-snaps for MOST of my medium to large embroidery. I have them in three sizes and, because the pieces are mostly interchangeable, I can pretty much make a frame for anything but the very smallest and the very largest pieces, although making something with more than two extensions on a side results in a pretty wobbly frame to hold steady so I tend to roll excess fabric and make due with the ones shown here...
Occasionally I will use a hoop. I ALWAYS use the hoops for crazy quilting and sometimes one will be used when stitching on something small, like an ornament, or when I am traveling.
That's a 12" ruler for scale...
And my absolutely MUST have tool - my Ott floor lamp with a magnifying arm. At my age, magnification is a necessity and there is no one place in my house with enough light to stitch by unless I have something like this lamp that can go over my work (I don't stitch outdoors for various reasons, like dust and dirt and wind --- it's always windy here --- but also sunlight glare bothers me.). It's old and I don't think they make them like this anymore. But the bulbs last forever (or nearly so - this is only the second I have used since I bought this over a decade ago) and are still available in the event one goes out. I have two - this one in my bedroom and the one (no magnifier) my husband is now using in the dining room to light the dining room table while he works on his jigsaw puzzles!
Question 2: How did you do with Olympic Stitching, and what goals did you achieve?
Sadly, I was a no-show at the Olympic Stitching event (and at the Olympics as well --- somehow, I couldn't get excited about ether). So my intent to work on my blackwork fell by the wayside. Disqualified and sent home by the team!
What DID I do stitchery-wise this past month? Well, Not a lot but I did finally file away a lot of random loose charts that had been piling up over the past few years. In the photo below, you can see how my charts were being "stored":
Note the stacks of individual charts on top of the notebooks, piled on the top shelf, etc. I sat redon on the floor on February 11 and spent three hours sorting, alphabetizing and putting charts into page protectors and the into the appropriate notebook. Not a fun task as they are well stuffed notebooks and the three rings don't allow for opening just anywhere to insert a new page.
I really need to move that card storage and probably should get some new notebooks as well. There are some charts that would not fit - notably those printed off fro the internet which are to the left of teh stitchery journals. The manila envelope is all my Kats by Kelly and the spiral bound books by that are two very large patterns; the two items at the fair right are class notebooks from a PBS Erica Wilson crewel class.
Interestingly, in doing this sort, I only found one (yes, ONE) duplicate chart. THAT is either a reflection on my memory (I doubt that) or a reflection on the fact that I haven't ordered much recently and/or my stitching tastes have changes.
Next step - do something similar for the kits and chart packs in my stitchery cabinet -
Clearly, there are more kits here and more charts in the bookcase that Will eVer be able to stitch, assuming that I would even want to! A weeding out is in order and, once they have some logic to the filing, that will be possible. Perhaps a sale? We shall see --- it took three hours to sort charts when I already had MOST charts filed in notebooks. Gosh knows what kind of mess these kits are in. And, unlike the charts, this means ALL FOUR bins and ALL those smaller bits and bobs about them will need to be on the floor, me along with them... A daunting task for sure.
As for my goals in March, who knows... maybe I will begin to stitch again.
Born in New Jersey, I grew up in Southeastern Ohio. Attended university at Bowling Green State University (B.Sci in biological science, 1964), University of Southern California (M. Sci in biological science, 1967) and University of Florida (Ph. D in zoology, 1971).
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