Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Fur was Flying This Week!

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you know you put in several good hours of stitching time and yet you don't feel like you have much to show for it? That was me this week.  Perhaps it's that way because the major areas and characters on Christmas Parade are stitched and now I am down to smaller areas and the details.

One of the details I finished this week was the cute squirrel. I love his bushy tail. The tail was stitched using Laura's Turkey Work as is the fur trim on Santa's coat.

Santa now has a furry brim to his hat. I am still amazed that all of those strands of Threadworx can be carefully cut down into what looks like a sheared fur. It's a messy process but tape helps clean up the mess as you go along. I trimmed and trimmed the fur on Santa's hat and decided to stop and come back later to trim some more if needed.

I also finished the majority of the work on the sky. I still have Kreinik tent stitches to add to the sky on the left of the canvas and a few areas across the top of the canvas where I need to fill in with some stitches.

We had a welcome hint of the changing of the seasons this morning. It was a nice cool 64 degrees when I woke up. I know we still have some hot, muggy days ahead of us in September but this morning's temperatures give us hope of cooler days to come.

I succumbed to the siren call of Pinterest this week. Have you made the plunge into Pinterest yet? It's an amazing way to waste a lot of time but have lots of fun in the process. I've picked up some great DIY ideas for projects around the house, holiday decorating ideas, and have cooked three recipes that I found - a slow cooked turkey recipe, a zucchini/squash feta cheese casserole, and crispy baked zucchini fries. Give Pinterest a try - there's no way that you won't find something of interest to you!

To all of my friends who are attending the ANG Seminar in Philadelphia, I hope you have a wonderful time! Learn lots of new techniques and come home and share them with those of us who couldn't make it to Seminar.

Have a great week ahead!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Parade Keeps Moving Along

It's been another week of stitching progress on the Christmas Parade canvas. Just sit me in front of the television and give me great PGA Championship at a favorite spot along the South Carolina coast coupled with Shark Week and I will show you how much stitching I can get done.

This week I added a good bit of the snowy ground. Before I do too much more of the ground, I think I will work on the trees in the background and figure out how the ground area will work into the trees. On the painted canvas the trees blend into the snowy ground. There is a suggestion of the trees' shapes (tent stitches) that will need to work with the bold bargello pattern on the ground. Should be interesting to figure out!

The wagon wheels are finally complete and you can see just a hint of additional elements to come with the red ribbon bow at the front of the cart. Eventually there will be streamers that hang from the bow and the addition of the ribbon reins that attach the harness on the bear to the cart.

Santa now has a stitched candy cane walking stick held by stitched fingers and thumb. A green sleeve
cuff peaks out from under the fur cuff on his sleeve of his coat. Not that you can tell from the photos but the green cuff is stitched using a detached buttonhole stitch.

This first photo of Santa was taken after I stitched Laura's Turkey Work on the sleeve. The sleeve cuff is a very small area - maybe 15 threads across by 15 threads down (on the diagonal). It took a couple of hours to add all of that Turkey Work that you see in its uncut state. This is the first time I have ever attempted Turkey Work so I was surprised at how long it took. Before starting my work on the cuff, I watched the Turkey Work section on Amy's DVD Just Fur Fun several times. It was just like having Amy sitting right next to me. I highly recommend her How'd You Do That? DVD series if you haven't tried any of them.

The photo above is of the trimmed Turkey Work on the sleeve cuff. It's amazing to see how all of those loops trim down to a thick, sheared fur cuff. I used four strands of Threadworx overdyed floss for the fur. There is still a lot of Laura's Turkey Work left to stitch on Santa's coat. I'll be loopy by the end of this week - sorry I couldn't resist the pun!

Even though I finished the Christmas Banner two months ago, it took until this week for me to finally wrap it up and ship it off to Marlene's in San Francisco. I loosely rolled it and sealed it in a ziploc bag for its trip across the country. It is accompanied by three Creepy Characters Halloween ornaments and a  Kelly Clark Halloween apple ornament. I had a conversation with Matt at Marlene's about how the banner will be finished and I feel confident that the next time I see my banner, I will be one very happy stitcher!

We had a bad storm on Friday that really took its toll on quite a few of the old trees on my street. Last week I had lost a huge limb on the 60 year old oak tree at the end of my driveway. The damage to the tree came from a diseased area within the tree and wasn't storm related but it will require that the tree be taken down. Fortunately, it is the city's problem to handle and won't require my pulling out the checkbook to pay a tree service to do the work. The tree has a notice on it from the city saying that it will be taken out. My neighborhood has been so sensitive (and vocal) to the loss of trees in our area due to disease and also storm-related problems that the city gives everyone a week to voice any concerns about the loss of another tree before it is taken down. The storm on Friday damaged at least another four or five trees  just in my block.  It's so sad to see these old trees being lost.

Well, time to get back to that Turkey Work! Hope you have a great week ahead!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Night Time Sky

Last week I said that I wanted to concentrate my stitching time this week on the night time sky for the Christmas Parade. And that's exactly what I did. It doesn't exactly make for exciting blog news or pictures but I'm really pleased with my progress.

I knew I would run out of the background color before the weekend so I called Amy's and Jill pulled their last two skeins of the color and dye lot I needed and put them in the mail to me. I think two skeins will be just the right amount to finish up the sky. I spent Friday night and Saturday adding the diamond shaped areas of Kreinik tent stitches.

It is a good feeling to see this much of the canvas covered in stitches. The next big push on this piece after finishing the sky is the bargello snowy ground.

Having the Olympics on television every night for the last two weeks has been a great companion for me as I stitched. As much as I have enjoyed the sports and the athletes' stories, I think I'm ready for it to be over. I abandoned the Olympics on television this weekend for the PGA Golf Tournament at Kiawah Island, SC and thoroughly enjoyed all the views of the beautiful beachfront along the Atlantic Ocean. I know I just spent the weekend at the beach a few weeks ago, but I'm ready to go back!

It's nice to see the sun this morning - especially after the weather we had yesterday. We had 5 inches of rain - most of it coming in a two hour stretch of one thunderstorm after another during the morning.

Well, the blog is short and sweet this week. Maybe I'll have more than background stitching to show you next week.

Have a good week ahead!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Olympic Stitching

I don't think my stitching this week would win me any Olympic medals but watching/listening to the televised coverage provided hours of time to put in some serious work on Christmas Parade.

I tried to cover lots of areas on the canvas this week. The snowy ground is stitched in a bargello pattern with three shades of blue Needlepoint, Inc silk.

The goose needs a bow or ribbon around her neck. I think I found the perfect 1/4" burgundy velvet ribbon in the clearance bin at Joann's yesterday. It cost me all of $.50! My bargain of the week! While I was at Joann's I also found some glittery flat snowflake buttons that I hope I can use on some future Christmas-themed canvas.

It may not look like it but I spent a lot of time working on the sky in the upper right of the canvas. I had decided to start stitching the tree branches in that area and had threaded up my needle with the brown silk when I realized that stitching the branches before stitching the background was not the smartest move on my part. It is so much easier to compensate and count threads for the background pattern if the branches are not stitched. I plan to focus my stitching attention on this area of the canvas this week and get the other part of the pattern that moves in the opposite direction in place.

What is a week without a package arriving from Amy's? Glad I didn't have to find out! Another little treasure Amy and Jill picked out at the Columbus market arrived on my doorstep.

This is one of the Associated Talents Halloween spiders in a sort of Halloween ribbon plaid. Each canvas comes with a stitch guide and the metal spider legs upon which the finished canvas sits. Looks like a fun little project, doesn't it?

I'm looking forward to more Olympic stitching this week. What did I watch in the evenings while I stitched before the Olympics?

Have a great week ahead!