Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dreams of Needlepoint

When I woke up this morning, I realized that I had been dreaming about needlepoint.  How nice is that?
I don't know where this dream was taking place but it was in a two story house where a group of us were stitching upstairs and all of the canvases, threads, and supplies were downstairs. I wasn't actually stitching but instead I was walking around with a handful of canvases and watching other people stitching. Occasionally I would wander downstairs and pick out threads for the canvases I had been carrying around. I know this wasn't a particularly strange dream but I think it came about as a result of reading through the posts in Needlepoint Group on Facebook right before I went to sleep. All those fun projects that everyone is working on! I want to do them all! In my dreams, right?

Did I dream that I finished my second Golden Cracker this week? No, I did actually finish the Candy Twist Cracker. This one was quite a fast finish or seems like it anyway. The next one should be arriving in another week or so. Such a fun little project!

My turquoise and gold egg is moving towards a finish, too. I know that each week I say how much I love this From Russia with Love series but I can't help it. They are small, quick to stitch, and incredibly beautiful. Can't wait to get back to work on this one this afternoon.

Now, moving on to the July 4th March. I stitched the white cap on the little girl after padding several parts of it with felt. The ribbon ruffle along the edge of the cap will come later when the majority of the stitching is finished. I am not entirely happy with the middle section of the cap and wonder if any of you have suggestions on how to deal with the problem I am having with it. This particular section is padded with three layers of felt with four strands of silk horizontally Satin stitched over it. The problem comes at the edge of the felt layer. The threads tend to separate where they cross the felt edge and expose the felt underneath. I added extra layers of Satin Stitch in this spot thinking that more threads would solve the problem but that doesn't seem to have helped. Any ideas? I may email Amy this week and ask for her help.

The majority of my stitching on the March this week was on a few sections of the fence. When I look at the photograph, it seems like such a small amount of work but it took hours to stitch. I love the Gloriana silk that Amy chose for the fence. I may work a little more of the fence this week and then move on to the Flag Bearer.

Many thanks to those of you who offered suggestions last week for how to handle the coils of "hair" that will be added to the wig on the baby. I appreciate your taking the time to give me your thoughts!

Hope you all have a great week ahead!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Picking Up the Pace of the Parade

I am back in business - photography-wise - with a cheerful, cherry red Nikon Coolpix S6300 to document the weekly progress on my various needlepoint projects. I wish you could have been with me when I bought it at Best Buy for no other reason than to have seen the puzzled look on the face of the salesman who helped me when I told him that I photographed my needlepoint for my blog each week. I had the distinct feeling that he was thinking "What is needlepoint?" and "Why would anybody want to look at pictures of her needlepoint?" Needless to say, it wasn't worth the time to explain it to him, but I am grateful for those of you who come back week after week to look at pictures of my needlepoint. So let's see what I accomplished since last week -

There's been lots of progress on the July 4th March but there is a little more work to be done on the baby in the wagon. Amy calls for the wig on the baby to have a slide bullion curl at the top of the wig and a big coil of "hair" across the middle section below the large padded area of the wig. To create the coil she suggests wrapping the thread around something like a knitting needle and tacking down the coils of thread as you slowly pull the knitting needle away. I made a initial attempt at that technique off to the side of the canvas with a small amount of success but I think I'll tackle that later and move on to some other areas. I'm not happy with the white hair color at the end of the wig and I may change that out. Amy gave me three "hair" colors for the wig using overdyed floss. Even though the white has shades of gray though out, it is still such a bright white and just too much of a contrast to the other two colors to suit me. For the top section of the wig, I used two strands of the white and 2 strands of the "galvanized" color to tone down the white. I may do the same thing for this bottom section of the wig. There is also an applied piece of needlework for the wagon wheel which will require a trip to Lowe's to find a washer of a particular size. That can come later as well!

Over the last couple of days I stitched the little girl with the brown skirt and purple vest. I love everything about the stitch pattern and the thread (overdyed Waterlilies) that Amy chose for the skirt. The pattern of the bargello gives a nice flowing movement to the skirt. Love it! Now it's on to her cap which is thickly padded with felt before stitching. That should add some nice dimension to this little character.

It was hard to put down the Candy Twist cracker and make myself work on the March. These crackers are such fun and so easy to stitch!

The fifth egg in the From Russia with Love club from The Needle House arrived Friday evening just in time for some weekend stitching. I'm not off to the best start on this gorgeous turquoise egg. The stitched area where you see tent stitches are really supposed to be slanted Gobelin stitches but I was completely defeated by them. After several attempts at stitching according to the stitch guide and a wasted hour and a half (not to mention wasted thread), I gave up on the slanted Gobelin and just went with the tent stitches. Hope I'm getting the problem area out of the way first and that the rest of the egg will go more smoothly.

I'm very happy with my current stitching line up with 2 small club projects and one larger canvas to stitch. It is easy to switch back and forth between them and still see good progress at the end of each week. There are many hours of football ahead this afternoon and evening so I hope to have even more progress to show you next week.

Have a great week ahead!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

It Is January, Isn't It?

It was 78 degrees here in Augusta on Saturday and we are supposed to be near 80 degrees again today. I saw a tiny lizard yesterday sunning himself in this warm January sun and thought that he is probably in for a big surprise later in the week when more normal temperatures return.

I finished the red egg with the green butterfly crystals this week. It's a beautiful egg but I have to admit it won't go down as one of my favorites to stitch. I absolutely hated every single chain stitch that I had to put in. I don't like chain stitch to begin with and then if I have to stitch it with a metallic thread, well, it makes for a less than enjoyable stitching experience. The green flower crystals and the butterfly crystals really are very pretty so at least I ended this piece on a positive note. I hope my next egg arrives this week. Despite the chain stitch in this piece, I love this series and miss not having the next one to pick up and stitch this afternoon.

I may not have a new From Russia with Love egg to work on this afternoon, but I can start my newest Christmas cracker which arrived from FIreside Stitchery this week. This one is the Candy Twist cracker.

I had every intention of showing you my progress on the July 4th March this week but my camera died yesterday and the camera on my phone isn't cooperating with the computer this morning. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the camera quit working after it was dropped onto a hardwood floor from about 5 feet up. Rest in peace Nikon Coolpix, you were a great little camera.

Anyway, this week I worked on the wagon and have finished the wagon itself, the red and blue bunting, and the collection of fireworks in front of the baby. I cut out the felt padding shapes for the megaphone and the wagon wheel, stitched them to the canvas, and will probably work on those areas for my afternoon stitching.

I think a trip to the Best Buy camera department is in order so that I have some photos to show you next week. Good thing I took the other two pictures yesterday before I dropped the camera.

Have a good week ahead!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Little Drummer Boy

I thought I would buck the trend that I have seen on Facebook this past week and, instead of showing you my first finish for 2013 (of which there isn't one!), I would show you my fresh start for 2013.

This was my view on the afternoon of Tuesday, January 1, 2013. I decided to start off the new year with Susan Roberts' July 4th March with the stitch guide by Amy Bunger. It wasn't a difficult decision as this project has been at the top of my To Stitch List for quite a while. I settled in for an exciting and satisfying bowl game with Georgia and Nebraska and began work on the little drummer boy who brings up the end of the march.

I'll save working on his little hands and the drumsticks until I'm further along with my stitching. The drumsticks will be made from toothpicks which are cut down to the correct size and painted brown. A little glue on the ends of the toothpicks will secure a gold bead to each one and I'll have two drumsticks.

Since I took the photograph, I have completed the edging around the drum and started stitching on the wagon. Lots of stitching to be done on this piece, so stick with me! I have a lot of red, white, and blue threads in my future this year!

Stitching continues on my current egg in the From Russia with Love series. The metallic threads are so beautiful but also so hard on my right hand.  I think I grip the needle so tightly when working on this piece that my hand begins to cramp. I guess that means I need to put it down for a little bit?

I worked on adding some more background and the chain stitch scrollwork areas last night. The Kreinik 1/16" ribbon for the background is beautiful - shades of red and gold - but drives me crazy with the way it wants to twist on itself and knot up. I realized that I needed to use much shorter lengths of ribbon than I would usually choose in order to avoid those problems. It's a minor aggravation, I know, but an aggravation nonetheless.

It is eagle nesting time again and bear denning time as well. I am following the eagle nest on camera in southwest Florida this year. The two eggs hatched this week and Ozzie and Harriet, the parents, are doing a great job keeping the little ones fed and warm. Ozzie delivered several catfish (huge ones!) to the nest yesterday and some unidentified road kill - opposum, perhaps? There seems to be no shortage of food for this eagle family. It's so much fun to watch a nest again. The den cams are in place at the North American Bear Center up in Minnesota. Jewel and her cubs from last year - Herbie and Fern - are on camera in their dens and Lily is on camera in her den She's expected to give birth later in the month. I have eagles and bears to keep me company on my iPad as I work at my desk each day. Great companions for the winter months!

Hope your new year is off to a good start! Have a great week!