Saturday, October 27, 2012

Christmas Wall Hanging Update

This will be a very quick post. I've finished the embroidery on my Christmas Wall Hanging, and cut out the triangle squares for the edging. I only need 22 of these squares, but the kit included fat quarters of each of six light and dark fabrics, so there is lots left over.

Rough placement of the edging.

I added some beads to the heart ornament,

And to the birdie's scarf. I also added a beaded start in the upper right hand corner, but mistakenly deleted that photo. I'll show you a closeup in the finished version.

However, I won't be stitching this weekend. Mr. CS and I are off to Los Angeles for my 25th work anniversary dinner. We are playing museum goers this trip, visiting the Getty Villa today for a lecture, "How to Win an Election, A Guide for Modern Politicians", about an election pamphlet that Cicero's brother wrote for him over 2,000 years ago. It may not sound interesting to most of you, but I love Roman history and my husband is a bona fide Political Scientist (with a PhD, even!). I even downloaded the lecturer's book on the subject and will read it to my husband in the car.  Then tomorrow we will visit the Getty Center, which has an exhibit on Middle Age devotional art I'm looking forward to seeing.

So I got up early this Saturday morning (ugh!), had a nice latte, and am off to a brisk walk to burn off a few calories in anticipation of all the lovely restaurant meals we will be having this weekend.

Happy Stitching and I hope you all have a nice, productive weekend.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Little Bee Eater Body

The Little Bee Eater is progressing very slowly. Here I have finished the back, blending three shades of green and two of brown. As this is the end of Lesson Three, the photo was sent off to Trish Burr, our online instructor, who has told me the stitching was good! Now I can progress to the next lesson. This little guy doesn't seem to have wings, or else they are folded against his body so we can't tell they are there.

I have made a start on the body, with light browns and yellows. It's not easy trying to make the stitches deliberately irregular, or "messy", when I'm so used to try to make my stitches perfect. After all, that's what we do with virtually all other types of embroidery.

I've tried to make the threads look somewhat "feathery" where the yellows and browns overlap the green. It probably could have been better, but then that's what I always say. At the top I'm trying to blend in a bit of the darker colors, then I will move on to the neck.

I had hoped to make better progress by now, but as this post was started over a week ago and this is all I've accomplished I figured it's time to get this posted. After all, I don't want all of you to think I've fallen off the face of the earth!

The embroidery is for the Christmas hanging is just about finished, just some beads and snowflakes left, then on to sewing. So I hope to share that progress with you in a few days.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Yards and Yards of Fabric!

It's always nice to clean out a sewing room, because you come across things you don't ever remember buying. While going through the drawers in my sewing room I came across yards and yards of this fabric.

It has an assortment of butterflies,


and plums, just in case you may think it's not healthy.

Along with a couple of cute birds, five different motifs in all. But I have ten yards of the stuff! And it's nice, quilt shop quality fabric, from Northcutt. The problem is that for the life of me I can't remember why I bought it. It must be for a quilt back, but ten yards is still quite a bit of fabric. In fact, it would probably cover two or three quilts.

Having all this fabric wouldn't be such a bad thing if I actually liked it. That green/yellow part that looks like old fashioned wallpaper just doesn't do anything for me. In other words, ick. So if I can't figure out a good purpose for this stuff, off to Goodwill it will have to be.

Any ideas for this fabric?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Little Bee Eater Lesson Two Finished

My sewing room is slowly, but slowly, coming together. It's clean now so I was able to pop in and finish  Lesson 2 of the Little Bee Eater. This consisted of the branch, which was somewhat difficult.

The photo in the kit that Trish sent out had the Bee Eater sitting on a different branch from what was drawn on the fabric, so she sent out an illustration of the same branch, in different colors for us to follow.

What was challenging for me was that I was in the middle of having the popcorn scraped from the ceiling, so I could not sit in my sewing room and stitch. Instead, I would bring everything downstairs and sit outside in the evenings to try to get some of it done. This didn't work very well as the days are getting quite shorter, leaving little light to work by. My weekends were filled up with working on the house, so I didn't have much time then, either.

Now that we are just in the painting phase, things are a bit less hectic, so I was able to get some stitching time in today. I'll try tomorrow, as well, but it's a choice between putting the linen closet organizer together, stitching, or spending time with my son who is here for a short visit. I'm sure you can guess what I'll do, and it will probably involve spending a fair bit of money.

The more complicated body is next to stitch so I'll try to remember some in process photographs.

Here is a glimpse of my sewing room as it is coming together. As you can see in the background, there are no closet doors. I hope to have them installed in the next few weeks, so I can work on installing the closet organizer.

I did get some pegboard hung, with two thread racks on it. I have a third rack in a box somewhere, so this will enable me to have all my sewing thread out where I can get to it easily. Note the ipod on the left. I have a much better speaker system that the little station here, but it's packed away. I won this one in a Christmas gift exchange about three years ago and it's been sitting in the garage ever since. At least now I have a use for it. I'm still slogging through The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan, but coming to the end. The war is over, and the Spartans are trying to decide what to do with the Athenians they have so soundly defeated. I'll definitely get something a bit on the light side for my next listen.

Lots of work to go - both on the Bee Eater and the sewing room!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Organization Requirements I

Thank you for all the emails and comments about organizing. I've been searching all the links, studying every single one for any possible sources of inspiration.

There are four major organization themes to adress: 1. Embroidery Threads; 2. Sewing Threads; 3. Fabric (oh, my head hurts thinking about this one, it includes lace); and 4. Tools. First, we'll tackle Number 1 on the list, Embroidery Threads. Above you see my major challenge, DMC floss.  Right now I have them in the little baggies that DMC sells with prepunched holes and a white space for writing the numbers on them. I have them on the metal rings, but as you can see, there is a lot of wasted space in the drawer of the plastic bin. I don't like wasted space.

In the next drawer down from the floss there is the complete collection of DMC floche, along with a fairly complete collection of DMC coton a broder. And more wasted space.

Don't forget the Anchor floss, of which I'm building a nice collection.

And of course, the woolen embroidery threads. most of which are Appleton with a bit of Paternayan. I also have the collection for the Royal Persian Blossom, but they are packed away somewhere that I can't reach just now. We won't even mention the wasted space in this bin!

I bought this collection of Appleton Wool to try to make a pillow for a wing chair/ottoman combo that I have in my living room. Not bad, although that purple in the middle of the lower left group has got to go.

Don't forget all the silk threads I've amassed, mostly Au Ver a Soie, Soie d'Alger, with some other types mixed in. They, too are safely sitting in a box somewhere, away from the paint and dust of remodeling.  

The big question is how to organize all these threads. I like organizing them by number, as I tend to use color cards to guide me to the right colors. I'm just not sure I like stringing the little baggies on rings as I've been doing for some. I've been searching the internet (Pinterest) for ideas, and by far the most common way to organize floss (DMC, anyway) is to wind it around the little bobbins and store them in boxes. Sorry, I won't do that. First of all, I just plain don't want to spend the time doing it, and second, many people who have done this have regretted it as it creases the floss. It seems to be popular with cross stitchers, who tend to take very small stitches and so won't notice any resulting kinky-ness in their threads.

I like this idea from Mary Corbet of Needle N' Thread, but it uses a fairly expensive drawer system from The Container Store. While I live about 1/2 hour from the store and wouldn't have to spend the money on shipping, I already have quite a few of the inexpensive plastic drawer units that are available practically everywhere. If you happen to have Trish Burr's DVD, The Long and Short of It, you can see she uses these for her floss. She organizes by color, while Mary organizes by number.

Then I found this idea from CraftStylish blog, which organizes floss by number and keeping them in the little bags so they seem to stand up better and not get too jumbled.

I've also been considering hanging the baggies on hooks suspended on pegboard, as you see in some shops. My sewing room faces north, so very little sun streams in. I'm not sure I can maintain this, with several brands of floss to sort (DMC, Anchor, Appleton, Paternayan, and the silk). It may just get way too complicated for me to maintain easily.

There are lots of choices, so I need to think about this a bit. It's worth spending the time and effort on this, as it will make my embroidery like much easier to have a system that's easy to use and maintain. Of course, any suggestions you may have are certainly welcome.