Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Stitching update

In my second to last post I promised to show you another photo of Assisi knot garden - well here it is. I've done just under 1/2 of the design. I really like the way this is turning out, but this month I've rally had the urge to start some new projects, as a celebration for finishing my 10 project challenge.

Saturday was lovely here in Leeds, so we spent most of the day gardening - mostly cutting the grass and weeding. After about 4 hours we were both tired and achy, so we came in and I decided it was time to start stitching. I really wanted to start Dracolair's Phoenix, but didn't have a frame the right size, so instead I picked out Wild Fairy Light by !?Who Knew?! I bought the pattern, fabric and floss in St Charles during my recent trip across the pond. This is my second new start since finishing the 10 project challenge and my third new start in April.

I had a little migraine on Sunday - luckily I had tablets on hand and shifted the worst of it in a couple of hours - which slowed my stitching a little, but I think the progress is pretty good for a couple of days. That evening Fantasy Triptych was screaming at me, so I picked it up and put a few more lengths is - although I was interrupted for a good hour by a lovely long phone call from my friend Katy.

Last night I hosted our stitch and bitch group. 4/5 of us could make it - Sarah was nursing 'sore legs' after seeing Salsa Celtica on Sunday night. I also suspect a sore head, but she insists not! Anyway, the rest of us enjoyed our meal of pizza and garlic bread followed by ice cream, and busily worked away (in between the talking). I made some more progress on Fantasy Triptych, Nivien worked on a cross stitch bookmark (she's a new convert, and is really enjoying it so far - she's eyeing up my Teresa Wentzler's already), Chrissie worked on her crochet blanket, and Sonia got her lace out. I think it's fair to say a good evening was had by all!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

A New Start

I've been pretty busy at work this last week, hence little surfing/blogging time (and not a huge amount of stitching time). In fact I should be writing a paper right now, but my brain isn't in the right place just yet...

Anyway, on Sunday I decided it was time to finally start TW's Fantasy Triptych. So I dug out the fabric - a lovely piece of antique white Quaker Cloth - I've never used QC before, but it felt so wonderful it was worth the extra pennies. So I edged it and started to put it on my new, extra large, just bought for this project, scroll frame. Fabric was too big. Remembered I'd bought a fat 1/2 as this was easier than getting exactly what I needed. So on Monday I took it off the frame (I'd only done 1/4 of the attaching), trimmed the fabric, re-edged it and re-stitched the centre guide lines. Then I stayed up quite late attaching it to a frame (and yes, it did actually fit on a slightly smaller old scroll frame). grrrr.

Tuesday I got home late and was too tired to stitch, but I did start organising the floss (it was in a disorganised mess by this point) and worked out which symbol's I'd be starting with - I keep a mini list of symbols in use in a notebook when I do a TW - much faster than going back to the chart with each colour change.

Anyway, last night I was home at a reasonable hour and not too tired, so I thought 'great, will be able to get some stitches in'. Except a good friend called, and we talked for an hour (not really a hardship), and I'd forgotten to make a working copy of the pattern - oops. But, determined not to be held back any longer I manged to out in the first length of thread. I'm really happy that I've made a start, but obviously one strand of confetti stitching doesn't make a great photo, so that will have to wait.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

A Happy Dance at 30,000 feet!

Well, I didn't quite make the 10 project challenge (to finish 10 projects before buying any more stash) - but I came very close. I like to think, that by finishing the 10th project before the stash made it into my house, I did actually complete the challenge - but technically it'd be cheating :)

Anyway, I finished Dragon's Treasure on my flight home from the states (so pleased you can take a needle on a fight in the states...). I really loved working on this, it was a really fun stitch, and I think the final piece is lovely. I still adore the dragons, especially the one in the centre, curled up and sleeping. I felt like that all day on Sunday as I fought (and beat) the jet lag. I managed to say up until 10.30, with just 2 short naps in the day, and got up as normal on Monday (although my brain was quite fuzzy all day on Monday).

The conference in Columbus was great - I caught up with lots of friends and colleagues, heard some great presentations and enjoyed the many receptions and meals out. It's back to the usual grind this week though, but there's just 2 more weeks of teaching before the examination period, so I am looking forward to getting more some research done.

On the stitching front, since returning I've been working on Assisi knotwork garden, which is progressing well. I'll share a photo of that late on in the week.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Trip to St Louis

I has a lovely evening on Friday with my cousin Elaine, her partner Richard and their son Alex. We had great takeaway pizza (note to self - pepperoni and olives DO go together) in front of Torchwood (great series finale). I left their house early to get to Manchester airport, and sailed through checking in and security (30 mins from getting in the terminal building to buying my coffee beyond security - I was impressed!). It was a long flight to Chicago (8hrs) but felt much longer as 1) I couldn't take a needle and 2) the movie equipment had failed. Luckily my book - winter in Madrid - is excellent so far. I was in Chicago for 2 hours (when I retrieved Dragon's Treasure from my case for stitching on the second flight) then flew to St Louis. Phil met me at the airport, and after a short wait for my bags we came back to his place in St Peter's.

At this point I met Jack for the first time - and he really liked his Pooh Calendar. We had a peaceful evening, just chatting, and I managed to stay awake until 10pm - Which meant I was up for 22.5 hours!

This morning we had a quiet morning at home, watching Jack play - he is the quietest, most content baby I have ever met. I did some more stitching on Dragon's Treasure, but not quite enough to finish my 10 project challenge BEFORE I went shopping, but it should be done by the end of the trip....

We went to St Louis bread co. for lunch, then to St Charles, so I could visit the needlework shop I went to last year. It was the weekend of the St Charles Tartan festival - a celebration of all things Scottish and Irish, with lots of renacters (sp??). Something I find highly amusing, being the wrong side of the pond. But it's a lovely day, and there was a wonderful vibrant spirit walking along the riverside in the sunshine.

Needless to say, Phil and Amanda left me in the needlework shop (stitches etc) - I was there for an hour, picking what to get and making sure I'd seen EVERYTHING. I came home with 4 charts, 2 by Abbey Lane designs (A new beginning and Sonata), Necessities sampler by Little House Needleworks and Wild Fairy Light by !?Who Knew?!. I also got some Belle Joie silk 'Blue lagoon' - for Sonata, and some 'Razzleberry' by Weeks Dye Works for Wild Fairy Light, and a lovely piece of hand dyed fabric - PTP's 'Fresco' 28ct cashel - I pulled it out of the box saying "this looks perfect" - then discovered that the model had been stitched on the same fabric :lol.

We're just sorting out BBQ for tea, so I'd better go and make some tomato salad... bye for now :)

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

April goals

Well I met one of my March goals - "to stitch as much as possible on Pooh and Friends calendar, in the hopes that I will finish it in the first week of April." - COmpleted on March 30th. I didn't meet my second goal of getting the fabric for Fantasy Tryptich edged and on the frame though.

April Goals:

1) work on Assisi knot garden by Mary Hickmott
2) Start and finish Dragon's Treasure by Gillian Brown
3) Start Fantasy Tryptich
4) Start something else (I started April with just one WIP, I need to get a few more going :lol )
5)THIS WILL BE THE HARDEST GOAL: try not to spend too much on stash while in the States....

The cutest dragon ever!!!

I decided to sart something new as a reward for finishing Pooh Calendar well ahead of schedule (well, 5 days seems way ahead to me :) ). I picked 'Dragon's Treasure' by Gillian Brown (Cherry Tree). It's a small blackwork piece, and I finished the first of the 3 dragons last night (I couldn't go to bed until he was finished - about 11.30). I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed stitching on this.

I took a photo af Assisi knotwork garden at the same time - Before Sunday I'd only put one length of red into this - it's coming along guite nicely, but I am finding doing this in the traditional manner (holbein/double running stitch first, followed byt the cross stitch) tricky - it's all too easy to cover the outlines with the cross stitch. But on the other hand, it's very easy to just fill in the lines - no pattern required at the moment!!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Pooh Calendar Happy Dance!

I finished this on Sunday night:

I have to say that I didn't enjoy the last square too much, I really needed a change. The personalisation was fun though - I charted it several times before I was happy with the lettering. Jack is the son of my good friends Phil and Amanda. They live in Missouri, so I rarely get to see them, but I have regular (annual) conferences on the other side of the pond and try to pop in and see them while I'm over there. The next conference in next week, and I fly out on Sunday to stay with them for 2 days before heading on to Columbus. SO I had a strict deadline to meet (thankfully I didn't have to pull any late nights to get this one done). I am really looking forward to seeing them all (and meeting Jack for the first time).

I picked up Asissi knotwork garden on Sunday night, after finishing Pooh Calendar. I'll add a pic soon.