Another variation of a chain stitch that I like very much...
Stitch 97 was the Shell Chain Stitch and Stitch 98 was the Beaded Shell Chain Stitch:
I tried the beaded variation three ways --- one bead per chain, two beads per chain (I would have tried more but only two of teh size that would pass over my #26 needle) fit and one bead every other chain. I think I like the one every other chain best... Those are pale pink beads, although you would never know it once threaded onto that rose-colored perle!.
Another variation of a chain stitch that I like very much...
Let's see --- we spent a week surpassing the all-time snow record for January (previously held in the year of the Blizzard of '78): we are now at 50.2" for the month! Heck, we are only 20 inches away from the all-time seasonal snow record (also held in that season of the Blizzard of '78)! And it was another week with bone-numbing wind chills, wind and blowing snow (now they are talking about the Big Chill of 14!): not only are propane users being asked to cut their use, so are natural gas and electricity users! It seems this cold is putting a strain on our now-exporting petrochemical industry! PTHAH!
Anyway, Husband spent a great deal of time clearing the driveway (and then himself) of accumulated snow:
only to have it blow back over the cleared space.
So it would seem to have been a week of staying in and stitching, right? Well, I stayed in, but I didn't increase my stitching output that much. "Roll Your Own" is slow-moving and I seem to miscount as much as I count right so there was a lot of frogging mid-week. But the first mandala is half-outlined:
I tried to break up the eye-numbing counting by doing some easier-on-the eyes prep work. I stitched up the basic block for the February installment of Crazy Quilt Project:
and kitted out the ATC piece for my February Bead Journal Project piece:
I ordered fabric for the Elizabeth Almond "Save a Stitch" blackwork sampler SAL (Gee, that's going to be one BAP!) and I also did a little card-making and a little organizing of my craft space (and by little, I mean VERY little!). Other than that, it was trying to keep up with various housework duties and spending WAY too much time on my iPad playing solitaire!
An interesting stitchy week which included WIPocalypse, International Hermit and Stitch Weekend and a completion ("Ladybug & Daisy")! Kind of left my project bag a little thin so I finally bit the bullet and started the outline for "Roll Your Own", the first of nine mandalas from a Tracy Horner/InkCircles stitchalong which has been kitted up for months but never started. The outline is fiddly in that it needs to be carefully counted, so there will be no frogging, so I am going very slowly on this. In two days, I haven't even finished one page of the charted outline (there are four full pages and two half pages altogether):
I'm stitching this one on overdyed fabric from SIlkweaver (it's called Iris and I've used it before for one of my Sumptuous Surface Embroidery pieces) in the Tropical Ocean colorway (lots of blues and greens).
I also did the latest Take a Stitch Tuesday stitches (she's slowing these down so there won't be one a week, and they will be more beads and silk ribbon and the like). These are stitches 95 and 96 - the Linked Chain and the Beaded Linked Chain, respectively.
I also played around with layouts for a February Crazy Quilt Journal block and with a design for my February Bead Journal Project piece.
It was a busy week, with clean bills of health from my optometrist and my general practitioner, a stamping demo in Toledo and the Black Swamp Hosta and Daylily luncheon. All this despite the weather which, even though much better than the previous week, was cold and snowy... January continues to advance here towards a record, all-time snowfall --- we are now in third place, moving up fast with last night's half inch to one inch or so (only 0.1" separating the totals of first, the infamous year of the "Blizzard of '78" and second place years so we should be neck and neck right now!). With the snow we got last night, and with snow predicted for the next five days, albeit in small scattered amounts, odds are January 2014 will be a record setting month for all-time snow *and* all-time cold!
Why, or why, or why-o did I EVER come back to Ohio? I bet these birds are wondering why they didn't migrate to warmer climes too!
I didn't really "hermit and stitch" much this weekend. Having finished "Ladybug & Daisy" on Friday, and finding my project bag empty of WIPs, it took a whole day before I could gin up the courage (yes, I said courage --- a blank piece of fabric is as intimidating to me as a blank piece of paper is to some authors!) to start a new project. I finally settled on the "Roll Your Own" Mandalas from Tracy Horner at InkCircles, which have been kitted up since October. There are nine of them, six larger and three smaller, and I plan to do them all in the Tropical Ocean color scheme on one piece of overdyed 32 count Lugana. I put in two hours on the outline for the first ("Roll Your Own" ) and got roughly one-eighth of it done:
The outline is the tough part, I think, since it HAS to be counted correctly. I'm going slow because it is 32 count and because I do not want to do any frogging! I suspect two hour stretches are the best I will be able to do until the outlines are finished so I will need to come up with another piece to work on in between (besides Crazy Quilt Block Project and Bead Journal Project Challenges, that is).
This month's "assignment" --- "Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!"
Seems easy enough until I try to write them down!
Who am I? I am a retired environmental scientist who has been stitching since the 1960s. I started out with knitting, moved on to crewel embroidery, graduated to needlepoint and then cross stitch and have since branched out to blackwork, freehand embroidery, bead embroidery and crazy quilting. Constantly trying to break out of my box but not quite making it for long: cross stitch is my "thing" and I keep coming back to it!
My projects? Hmmm, you can see what I have done in years past in my albums on this page and so far this year, I have completed one quilt, one beaded ornament, one crazy quilt block, and one blackwork picture. The crazy quilt block and the beaded ornament are for an ongoing challenge from the Crazy Quilt Journal Proejct and Bead Journal Project challenges respectively. Other wise, I stitch as I feel...
My goals? Well, here is definitely a goal to keep up with the Crazy Quilt Journal Project and the Bead Journal Project. I have a large piece I want to do with patterns from InkCircles called "Roll Your Own", which was an online SAL which has now moved to Facebook. In addition, I keep signing up for online classes! there are two from last year I haven't even started yet: A stitch guide primer and a needlepoint background stitch booklet, both form Janet Perry. And this year I signed up for a series of "finishing" classes from Funk & Weber... And, in order to "stay connected" to my cross-stitch love, I do have several UFOs in my stash as well as several kitted out pieces that I would dearly love to stitch.
Well, sort of. It turns out I used my fabric int eh wrong direction and ran out of room on the left and right margins to do the blackwork fill background. Plenty of room, top and bottom but there wouldn't have been ANY room on thd sides to allow for framing... So, I decided to delete the background and stop with just the "Ladybug & Daisy"... design by Valentina Sardu for Ajisai Designs:
After all that frogging on the upper right quadrant of petals, it still wasn't "right on". I don't think there was one petal exactly where it should have been relative to the bug... so I had to fudge a few outlines to make it work. That cross-hatching is the hardest pattern I have ever tried in blackwork... and I think I will avoid it in future --- or maybe only use it when the outline is already in place.
The really odd thing is there are now no WIPS (other than my travel needlepoint) in my project bag! I have UFOs I could choose from, kitted up projects I could start, online classes I could catch up with, crazy blocks and bead journal pieces I could get a head start on, but which? The sheer decision-making is almost paralyzing! Well, tomorrow, to quote Scarlett, IS another day!
In addition to keeping on schedule with my bead journal project, I also managed to keep on schedule with my Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2014 block:
The focus fabric is the 2014 Hoffman Challenge fabric, which I intend to us in each block this year, along with a lot of solids and maybe even a few of the coordinating Hoffman prints. This is a departure for me in colors (I'm not usually a pastel person) and style (not that much into florals either) but I think trying to to make this work for 12 blocks will be "my" challenge. I decided to limit my thread selection to those which mimic the colors in the print and limit the beads to an occasional accent, rather than an encrusting.
I also and started the outlining of the daisy petals on "Ladybug & Daisy" :
On the 11th, I sat in on a Funk & Weber webinar on finishing embroidery and, as a result, signed up for four online finishing classes throughout 2014. That totally breaks my resolution to avoid more online classes and deadlines, doesn't it? But if I can get some of those unfinished finishes off that pile and into something displayable or useful, it will be worth it.
The snow is almost, but not quite, gone - melted thanks to a day of rain and two days of near 50* weather. However, there is ore snow forecast for the next four days --- not much, but enough to foreshadow another temperature dip to below freezing, Thankfully, they do NOT think it will rival that below zero weather of the past week. Still, it bodes well for stitching time...
In the Bead Journal Project 2014, I mean to stitch an ATC-sized piece each month, jportraying what's going on around me. I don't know how long this ambition will last but that is my intent.
Meet "Snowy", the owl. He's a January surprise!
There have actually been real Snowy Owl sightings around here in the past months, migrating out of Canada in search of food, but this "Snowy" is journaling near record snow amounts for the month of January (and the month isn't over yet), record and near-record low temperatures, wind chills more typical of North Dakota than NW Ohio, and a three-day Level Three winter advisory (which, in NW Ohio, means it's illegal to be driving unless you are emergency personnel). Needless to say, "Snowy" was a little surprised! And so was I! So I beaded him as he hugged himself with his aquamarine wings (the color reminiscent of glacial ice I saw on our Alaskan cruise back in 2008) in a vain attempt to keep warm.
This is my first attempt at beading Lacey's Stiff Stuff and it's going to take some getting used to. I couldn't feel where the needle was being placed so I stuck myself too many times to mention, and, by the time the piece was almost completely beaded, the "stuff: wasn't so very "stiff" any more. In all, however, I think I will like it for making stand-alone pieces that could be appliqued to another piece of fabric in future if I so wanted.
"Snowy" is ATC-sized and all backstitched seed beads (with the exception of two silver beads for his pupils, the "snow" button (a scrapbooking finding) and the feathers). I made him into an ornament with a felt backing (oops-- should have attached the feathers BEFORE I attached the hanger as they would look better in front of the ribbon. But by the time I figured that out, the backing was glued on so... lesson learned).
Not sure what, if any, themes there will this year for my blog but I still need to post so...
After finishing that challenge quilt for the guild, I went back to "Ladybug & Daisy", which included about 1/4 of the Daisy petals (upper right quadrant) being frogged before being restitched. So I am not as far along as I had hoped.
I cut the foundation materials for this years Crazy Quilt Journal Project, found BOTH sets of Sharon B's crazy quilt seam templates (yes, I had misplaced the first so reordered!), and collected my chosen fabrics. I also cut Lacey's Stiff Stuff (I've never used this before so I thought I'd try it) into ATC sized pieces (small enough to actually get things done on schedule?) for this years Bead Journal Project. Yes, I know, I was debating not doing either of these challenges this year but I couldn't just quit cold turkey, know what I mean?
Meanwhile, we sit here with somewhere between 10 and 15" of snow on the ground with drifts near waist high in places, air temp of -5*F, wind chill around -17*F, and under a Wind Chill Advisory as well as a Level Three Snow Emergency (which means you can be ticketed if you are found driving on the roads, which are pure sheet ice, unless you are emergency and/or essential services). Didn't make my doctor's appointment this AM (they were closed), won't be a stamping demo/Girls' Night Out tonight, MAY not be a quilt guild meeting Thursday... and I have two "stitchy" deliveries (one quilting fabric, the other charts and two linen bands to go with them from an Italian designer) that have been stalled on trucks in Maumee and Dayton, respectively, because they weren't allowed out on the road either! Heck, we didn't even get MAIL delivered Monday and that's a first (I guess there are limits to "Neither snow not..." for th USPS these days!)! I'd say that's what I get for living in NW Ohio but this is the worst winter in 20 years, if not recorded history around here. Thank you, Polar Vortex... Guess I'll get back to stitching!
The "Green Thumb Challenge" for quilt guild required the following:
Otherwise, any size, any shape, any color, etc.
I think the templates, the four-patch and the black-and-white are obvious. The string is two kinds of cording --- a shiny red cord around the flower, the flower center and the "bud" on the right, and a black perle cotton as a stem. The button is a layered button - a red button layered with a sparkly jewelry finding in the flower center.
What went wrong? Well,
So this is my attempt.
I hate it, actually --- so many things went wrong with it and it really doesn't look like I had pictured in my feeble brain when I decided to take this one but... what can one expect form a person who doesn't have a green thumb in real life, right? Well, it's done and if the guild meeting isn't canceled Thursday night due to weather (we are ins a Snow Emergency Level Three right now which means no-one on the roads, period, or you can be arrested! Not that we can FIND out roads right now...), it will be submitted.
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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