Sunday, December 20, 2009


We're in the midst of the big 2009 snow that hit the eastern US. It started Friday evening and kept going well into Saturday night. I haven't measured it, but looks like about 18" to 20" of white stuff. Thankfully, we have plenty of supplies and don't need to go anywhere, so we haven't done much to dig ourselves out.

My camera frustrations got the better of me last week. I broke down and ordered a Nikon DSLR. It arrived just in time for the snow. :) Things were sort of gray on Saturday while the snow was falling, but we woke up to sunshine today.

All this snow has been great for staying indoors with my hobbies. I'm in the midst of some socks, and even have some more stitching planned. I'll have pics of all that stuff soon.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Exchanges

I was the lucky recipient of two holiday exchange packages this week. The first was from Jayne, for the Year-Long Prairie Schooler Exchange. I really love this cheery little guy. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a decent photo of him... YET.** This was as good as I could manage at the moment. :(

The second ornament that arrived in the mail was stitched by Vickey, from one of my online groups. This also arrived with a package full of goodies**, which I am enjoying tremendously.

**I don't want to rant in an otherwise happy post, but I am experiencing HORRIBLE issues with my digital camera. This is why I do not yet have a decent photo of the lovely ornament that Jayne sent, or the package of goodies from Vickey. It has become a major struggle to get a single decent picture off of my camera.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November... so soon?

I have no idea where the time has gone. One day I just looked at the calendar and saw that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. When did that happen?

We spent last week in Hilton Head Island, SC. It was a lovely week, but I have to admit that I haven't quite gotten back into the swing of things since we returned home. This is a really difficult time of year for me... I simply don't do well during the winter months with the shorter days. I'm fighting it by trying to stay busy and keeping up with my assorted crafts.

I've been busy stitching, but not with anything that I can share. I'm currently working on two exchanges. One is the winter installment of Becky's year-long Prairie Schooler exchange. I didn't participate in the others this year, but I really love PS designs and decided to MAKE time for this one. The other exchange is a Christmas ornament for an email group that I've belonged to for many years. I love doing ornaments, but always seem to have a hard time choosing the one I want to stitch.

I can share a photo of my latest finish. This is the Mill Hill kit that I was working on last month. I completed it on November 3. All I need to do now is pick up a frame.

There haven't been any new baskets lately. I missed the last couple of classes, and there won't be another until after Thanksgiving. There are some new socks in the works, though. I've finished one already, and have started the heel of the second one. It won't be long now! :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Addictions

After finishing the cuffs on both socks, I simply couldn't put it down. I gave in to temptation and decided to try a heel flap. Not too bad. Once the heel flap was done, I figured I might as well try to turn the heel. All I had to go by were the printed instructions, so I didn't really expect that it would go smoothly. It did. I kept knitting and all that is left now is to graft the toe. I'll knit the second sock along with the class. There are still two sessions left, and I need something to do.

This week's attempt at basket weaving was successful, but only barely. This silly little thing fought me every step of the way. The handle is a single piece that goes all the way down & across the bottom-- the basket is woven around the handle, rather than having it simply inserted at the end. Following the shape of the handle as it flared out proved to be challenging for this novice basket weaver. I got it all under control just in time to have trouble with the lashing (the bit at the top that holds the rim in place). I'll probably end up re-doing it later, because I'm just not happy with it.

The good thing about this basket (now that it's finished) is that it is just the right size to stow a small stitching project. Right now, it's holding my current WIP-- a Mill Hill autumn-themed Buttons & Beads kit.

Monday, October 19, 2009

One-eyed Jack

Jack is missing an eye, but at least he has one, along with a nose & mouth. This project has stalled a bit. I haven't worked much on him in the last 10 days or so. Other stuff keeps getting in the way. I have big plans to work on him this evening and still hope to finish it by Halloween.

One of last week's many distractions was a quilt show, held at a local plant nursery. I have never been to a quilt show before but thoroughly enjoyed this one. The quilts were absolutely gorgeous, and I was surprised how many were actually hand-quilted. One of these days, I'm going to take a quilting class. I learned to do it when I was a kid but could really use a refresher.

As lovely as the quilts were, the thing that really got me into trouble was the one small table occupied by someone from our local yarn shop. They had some yarns on display, along with a few sample items... including socks. I've wanted to learn to make socks for a while. And yes, you guessed it-- the shop offers a knitted sock class. I signed up immediately! It's a three-part course; the first session took place on Saturday.

The pattern is a simple rib knit and is knitted with sport weight yarn on #5 needles, so it works up fairly quickly. We started the first cuff and are supposed to knit the rest before the next session, on October 31, when we will do the heel flap. I finished the first cuff quickly and have nearly completed the 2nd one.

I don't know what I am going to do when I finish the second cuff. I'm torn between starting on the heel flap, or simply buying more yarn in another color and starting a second pair of socks.

There is also a new basket in my house. :) It actually took two sessions for me to complete this one. It has a "fancy" bottom, which I'll have to photograph later after I've removed the tomatoes. I'll be making the next basket this Thursday. I didn't attend last week's class, so I'm itching to get started on another one.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Boo Jack SAL

It was a hectic weekend, but I managed to put a do a few more stitches on Boo Jack. It's coming along pretty well considering that I rarely manage to stitch for very long in a stretch. I'm hoping to have this one ready to display before Halloween, but that might be a bit ambitious. The stitching will probably be completed in time, but the actual FINISHING may be another story.

And... a couple of gratuitous photos of our new baby. I took these pictures a day or so after finding him in the bushes. He's grown a bit since then, and his color is starting to change a bit.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Christmas in July & SAL

I didn't want this lovely exchange to get lost in my previous ramblings, so I thought I would give it a spot of its own. I received this from Liz, from an online stitching group that I've belonged to for ages. I just loved this little ornament, and the other goodies were terrific as well. I put the floss organizer to immediate use holding the silks for Prairie Garden. :)

Yesterday I took a break from working on Prairie Garden to start a stitch-along. A bunch of stitching friends are getting together in Columbus this week, but not all of us were able to go. Those of us who were left behind decided to do this little design as a SAL. The pattern is a freebie from Primitive Bettys called "Boo Jack." One of our members added a bit to the design so it will actually be "Boo... Hoo I'm not going to Columbus". Clever, huh? LOL

I'm stitching this over-one on 28 ct. sage jobelan, using GAST and WDW floss.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I've said this before...

But it bears repeating. I really need to keep up with this blog more regularly! No job, no kids-- you'd think I wouldn't have any excuse. I have to chalk it up to "good intentions," knowing that intentions really don't get anything accomplished. So here I am, three weeks after my last post, playing catch-up yet again.

We had some bad news about one of our pets recently. Buddy, our 13-year-old orange tabby, was diagnosed with mouth cancer about 3 weeks ago. There's not much to do, other than to keep him comfortable for as long as we can. He's doing quite well so far-- still eating, playing, and cuddling normally.

In the meantime, we had another tiny kitten appear in our yard early last week. The same thing happened last year, when little Sanford showed up in our back yard. This one was in much better shape than Sanford. For starters, he was already weaned. :) He had the usual ear mites, worms, runny eyes & cold that you'd expect, but otherwise seemed okay. Everything checked out okay at his first vet visit, so we'll be keeping him. We've named him Oliver Conrad and are hoping that he will make a nice playmate for Sanford.

In stitching news... I'm working on Drawn Thread's Prairie Garden. The colors don't show up very well in the photo. The fabric is actually Waterlily, though it doesn't look like it here. Most of the time I've been working on this, I've been crossing my fingers and hoping that I have enough fabric to finish it. There was a piece of fabric already in the chartpack-- placed there by me-- that I thought had been purchased for this pattern. Apparently not, since it is just big enough.
Fortunately, it looks like I'll have enough fabric to stitch and frame the sampler.
Soon I will start working on something for a Prairie Schooler exchange that Becky is hosting. I haven't been able to participate in any of Becky's exchanges in quite a while, so I'm really looking forward to this one. :) I think I have a design picked out, but I'm not sure how I will finish it. So many ideas!

I've also continued going to basket classes. "Class" is probably a bit of an overstatement-- it's more like a workshop. I love it!! They have one nearly every week, and everyone is working on something different. Needless to say, there is a LOT of enabling happening. LO
I've attended two basket classes since making the first one. In the second class, I made a bean pot basket... my first attempt at something round. It was a LOT of fun to make, and I love the way it turned out. My most recent basket is square, but it isn't finished. It's more advanced than the first two I made, and it took me a while to get going on it. I was also quite tired that evening and just couldn't work quickly enough to complete it in one evening. I'll finish it at next week's class.


Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day?

Is it really the end of summer already? It doesn't seem like it could be, but the calendar says otherwise. It looks as though our tomato plants did not get the memo this year. They've been very late and are just now starting to ripen. I tried some romas this year, so we're hoping for some homemade sauce soon.

An end-of-summer tradition where we live is the county fair. I always promise myself that I'll enter some of my stitching, but I never seem to do it. I've only entered once-- many years ago. I finally managed to get myself organized enough to do it again, and I put in three pieces this year.

My "large picture" entry was Angel of Love. I stitched this years ago for my mom. She had always wanted me to show this one, so that was my very first choice. It won 2nd place. :) Sorry for the lousy picture, but it was very difficult to photograph because of the glass. At the time I originally completed it, I didn't have a website, or a digital camera, so there are no photos of it prior to framing.

The other pieces that I entered were in the "holiday decoration" and "miscellaneous" sections. For the holiday category, I entered TrickORTreat Box (2nd place). In the miscellaneous section, I chose the biscornu that I completed not so long ago. No one seemed to be able to figure out what purpose the biscornu was supposed to serve, and I was quite surprised to find out that it also won a 3rd place ribbon. :)


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Trying Something New

For the last year or so, I've wanted to sign up for one of the basketry classes that is offered through our county. They have one each month, but I always seem to miss it. Either we're out of town, or I simply forget to sign up. This month, I decided to make it a priority. Now I finally have a basket made with my own two hands. I'm quite pleased with myself. LOL

I've done a lot of crafts in my life, but nothing quite like this. I'm used to working with materials that are soft like threads and fabric, or something completely rigid like glass. The stuff that you use for a basket is neither... and it tends to fight back just a bit. It takes some getting used to but is a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. And there is something to be said for the nearly-instant gratification. After just a few hours of work, you have an attractive and useful finished project. This is one of the best "instant gratification" crafts that I have ever found.

I made sure to pick up a complete class schedule before leaving. In addition to the classes affiliated with the county, there are others on a regular basis. The next class is in a couple of weeks. I'm pretty sure I'll be there. ;)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Some Finishes

Sometimes, not updating my blog has its advantages. In this case, I've been able to do some stitching in my "away" time. I even have some finishes to share!

My first finish is for a Christmas in July ornament exchange. The pattern is from an old JCS ornaments issue, but I can't remember which one. The 2003 edition, maybe? If I can find it again, I'll post the pattern details. At any rate, I thought this was a cute design for the occassion.

My next finish was Halloween's a Sudden Boo, a freebie by Barbara Ana. The pattern is available online at There is supposed to be a verse at the bottom, but I decided to leave it off. It's hard to tell in this photo that the fabric is sparkly-- a limited edition from Silkweaver that I had in my stash.

Last, but not least, is another design that I found at Cyberstitchers. It's Kilim Motif, by Banu Demirel. It was a quick stitch-- started Monday evening and finished this morning. It's stitched on a 36 ct. hand-dyed fabric. I haven't decided yet whether to turn this into a needleroll, or if I'd rather have it in a frame.

I should get back to PIG, but at the moment I'm itching to start something new. I wonder what will win out?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

PIG Update

I haven't been posting much, and haven't been stitching much. :( I have managed to do a bit more on PIG, though. :) This photo is from July 15-- it hasn't been touched since then, but I plan to get back to work on it in the next couple of days.

I also took a couple of detail pics. The first is one of the portal sections. There is a lot of detail in these-- specialty stitches, over-one and plenty of metallics. The metallic backstitching is a real pain, but adds a nice sparkly touch.

This is a detail of the little buildings on the outer corners. The rooftops are done in a modified rice stitch, which is then backstitched in gold.

My recent stitching has been a Christmas ornament for an exchange, due to be mailed in a couple of days. I'll post a photo after my partner has received it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Championships & Stitching

This is the time of year when I'm happiest that I'm not working. Wimbledon!! Two weeks of tennis-- all day, nearly every day (except middle Sunday, of course). We're having lovely weather at the moment. I should be outdoors enjoying it, but I can't manage to tear myself away from the tennis coverage. :^o It happens for two weeks each June/July. I essentially become a shut-in, only emerging only on middle Sunday.

The good side of spending nearly two weeks as a couch potato is that it means LOTS of stitching time. When The Championships started last Monday, I pulled out PIG and went back to work on it.

Here's what it looked like on Monday...

And here it is on Saturday morning...

It's hard to see the details, but there are plenty of them. The section I've been working on has lots of rice stitches and TONS of backstitching. Those domed rooftops were a pain-- all rice stitch, with gold metallic backstitching overlaid.

I'm hoping to stitch today, but it's not looking good. I had a nasty night of insomnia last night-- awake until 5:30 a.m. and back up and 8:30. The likelihood that I'll be able to focus well enough to stitch on black fabric is slim, at best. :(

Friday, June 12, 2009

I'm still here

I didn't realize it had been so long since I've posted. I really haven't been doing much stitching lately. There never seems to be enough time, and when there is time... I'm simply not motivated.

The only project that has seen any work recently is "Halloween's a Sudden Boo," a Barbara Ana freebie. I was making a bit of progress until I ran out of black floss. Since then, I've been too lazy to pick up more and the project has stalled.

I also have a Christmas in July ornament exchange coming up. Maybe that will help get me motivated. We mail on July 31, so no pics before then.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Some Finishes

I'm still feeling very "blah"... just can't seem to shake it. So for once in my life, I don't have much to say. I haven't done a lot of stitching recently, but I have had a few finishes to share.

First up is Souvenir Sampler. I did manage to do this pattern without adding any charms or beads. The fabric used was 36 ct. Edinburgh linen, and I thought it would be better done without embellishments. It was a bit of a challenge, but in the end, I was very happy with the results.

My next finish was a Mill Hill Santa ornament. The beard was NOT fun to stitch. The project is done on perforated paper, and the large needle with all six strands of floss was extremely difficult to push through.

The most recent finish was Serenity Sampler, by Sweetheart Tree, completed on Tuesday. I picked this kit up on vacation in North Carolina just a couple of weeks ago. I wasn't expecting to find a needlework shop while we were there. We were just driving along and I saw a sign on the road. That's when I started shrieking, "Stop the car!!!" BF is used to this sort of thing when we're on the road together, so he dutifully pulled into the parking lot. LOL He waited in the car, so I didn't linger too long, but I did manage to pick up a few things.

Friday, March 13, 2009


That's how I've been feeling lately. Very, very... blah. I don't know if it's in my head, the change of seasons, or something else. What I do know is that I feel lousy. I wake up feeling run-down, despite sleeping 10-12 hours per night. I'm pretty sure that is TOO MUCH sleep for anyone. This has only been going on for a few days, so maybe it's just a bug or something. In the meantime, I am completely unmotivated.

I hate being a downer, so I'm probably going to keep quiet for a little while. Once this slump passes, I hope to have some fun things to share.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Souvenir Sampler Progress

This has been an interesting design to stitch. If you aren't familiar with the pattern, I'll fill you in. Otherwise, feel free to skip ahead a bit. ;)

Drawn Thread's approach to this pattern is interesting. It is created in a way that allows the stitcher to personalize it, to make it more meaningful to themselves or family. I thought it was a great idea and a lovely design, so I had to try it. The pattern is laid out with "optional areas" that are denoted by placeholder boxes within the pattern. There's an accompanying booklet that gives various options for each of these boxes to be filled. It recommends for certain areas to be filled with scraps of fabric or lace. Some are supposed to have charms, and others have stitched motifs. In most cases, the stitcher gets to choose which option to use.

All of that works fine, as long as you want to put scraps of fabric/lace and charms on your sampler. It doesn't work quite as well if you don't want these things. Guess what? I don't. I chose to stitch this design on 36 ct. Edinburgh linen, and I really want the whole thing to be stitched. No beads, no charms, and no bits of fabric. I found out too late that certain parts of the design do not have anything available to stitch in the optional blocks if you don't use a charm.

I also discovered-- too late-- that certain areas are supposed to have initials and dates. I presume these are for marriages, children, etc. I don't have these things. Well, I had a marriage, but certainly NOT one that I want to commemerate on a sampler. LOL My only "children" are the four-legged furry kind. So, what to do? Mostly, I'm planning to improvise. ;) You'll see a little of that in the photo.

The top half of the sampler really didn't give me any trouble. I was able to choose optional motifs from the pattern, and I'm happy with the result. The only area that is still lacking is the very top border. I might end up using some tiny buttons from some of my own baby clothes, but I am not absolutely sure yet.

Also in the top half is the nasty little tree that caused me so much grief a few weeks back. I'm happy to report that the tree, along with it's neighboring house, additional trees, and tiny little birds are all in exactly the right spot. :)

The bottom half of the sampler is where I am running into trouble. There are three tiny, blank areas that I don't quite know how to handle. The first two are by the "P" and "R". I will probably use those to sign & date the sampler. That leaves the obvious, slightly larger area that is to the right of "S". I have a feeling I'm going to be stuck putting a charm there, whether I like it or not. It's an odd shape-- 8 x 9 stitches-- and I don't feel like designing something to go there.

You might notice that there are a pair of initials & a year above the house. Those are for BF & me. The date under the house is 2008, which was supposed to be the year the sampler was completed. We're just going to pretend that I intended it to represent the year that BF & I moved to the "country". ;)

I'm getting so close to a finish on this one that I really need to decide what to do about the few stray areas. Otherwise this will be destined to become a UFO, and it's way too pretty for that.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

New McCall's Top

I think I must be the world's slowest sewer. It seems to take me forever and a day to put a piece of clothing together. That is because I have sewing ADD. I just cannot seem to work on a sewing project for very long at one time. I end up doing a few minutes here, half an hour there, and eventually... I have a new piece of clothing. I'm this way with my stitching as well, but I don't mind having 20 or more stitching projects in various stages of completion. I'm not able to do that with my sewing. If I did, my clothes would be out of fashion YEARS before I'd ever be able to wear any of them. LOL

I have to say that I love this top, although it turned out a bit large. (That's what I get for following the size guidelines on the pattern. LOL) I'll probably have to take it in just a bit. It looks a bit droopier on Wilma than it does IRL. She's a bit stiff for the flowy fabric, and it's made worse by the fact that she has no arms. Poor girl!

Pattern: McCall’s 5662

Fabric: Lightweight Polyester that I picked up for $2/yd. at Wal-Mart. I have to say that this fabric was much nicer than I ever expected, and it worked great for this pattern.

Pattern Description: Misses’ top/tunic/dress with sleeve & bodice variations. I made View E, a top, which has a gathered, draped middle section and used the kimono sleeve option from View F.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, and no. It’s not a complicated pattern, but there are several different options for sleeves & bodice, so the instructions jump around a lot. I chose View E. The instructions jumped to View B for gathered middle section, followed by View A for the rest of the top construction. If you’re familiar with top construction, you won’t have any trouble, but I think it could be confusing for a beginner.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like that it has so many options that can be combined in different ways. My only complaint is that it runs too large. I chose a Large, based on my bust measurement, which turned out to be too big. (I should have read the reviews BEFORE buying the pattern!) I sized it down a bit during construction, but will probably have to go back and take it in a bit more.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Originally, I planned to do View E exactly as shown on the pattern—gathered/draped middle section and three-quarter length sleeves gathered into cuffs. I wasn’t absolutely sure that I’d like this in the finished top, so I waited until everything else was done before finishing the sleeves. I’m glad I did! After doing the first one and trying on the top, I realized that it was just “too much look” for me. I’ve seen it done this way on other people, and thought it looked great… on them. Not so great on me, though. Instead, I simply hemmed the sleeves as shown in the kimono sleeve option (View F).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, would absolutely sew this pattern again, but a different view. I would recommend it to others, although I think the pattern may be a bit confusing for beginners.

Conclusion: A great top, in a flattering and versatile style.

Monday, February 23, 2009

No Pictures

I'm sitting inside (duh... it's February!) and listening to the wind blow. It sounds really nasty. We had a bit of "warmer" weather recently, and I think I got a bit spoiled. Temps in the 40s - 50s are tropical compared to 30-something and nasty wind. I'm feeling a bit lazy, so I'm not taking any pictures today. So there. LOL

Brigitte, if you're reading... your comment on my last post made me laugh. One of my friends saw the same pic and said I looked rather "blue" and should probably get it checked out. LOL I really, really, REALLY hate having my picture taken, so I usually avoid it. When I can't avoid it, I'm convinced the resulting photos are so terrible that they can never see the light of day. I'm just horribly uncomfortable in front of a camera, so I stay away from them. You'll all just have to enjoy looking at "Wilma" (yes, I named my dress form) in the meantime. ;)

Despite my feeling of laziness, I am working on a couple of things. First is another top. It's a v-neck wrap front design with raglan sleeves. I'm not sure I'll be thrilled with the sleeves when it's finished, but we'll see. The pattern is designed for stretch knits-- I'm using a lightweight polyester in a pretty raspberry color. It will be great with jeans, and shouldn't take long to finish. As usual, I had to adjust the bodice so that the seam under the bustline would be in the right place. And, as usual, I discovered this after cutting it out.

In stitching news, I've done a bit more on Souvenir Sampler. Not much, but I did manage to get past that stupid tree that gave me so much trouble before. I'm planning to photograph it again tomorrow, so there will be pics soon.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's finished!

I'm happy to report that as of Friday, my top was done. :) Now I just need some warmer weather, so that I can wear it. The sleeves look a little funky in the photo, because I took a picture before adding the buttons to the sleeves.

Next up will be another top-- this time, in a solid fuschia stretch knit. Bring on the spring!!

I'm also going to post my pattern review here (I've already added one at the Pattern Review site). I'm starting to do enough sewing now that I would like to devote more of my blogging to my clothing adventures.

Pattern: Simplicity 2924

Fabric: Cotton Blend

Pattern Description: Misses' Tops with square neckline and empire waist. Can be made sleeveless or with slightly puffed sleeves. Tops have a wide belt that ties in the back.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, everything was very intuitive and I really didn't need to refer to the pattern much. That seems to be the case with most of the "It's So Easy" patterns that Simplicity produces. As long as you cut & mark carefully, everything goes together very easily.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the overall style of this top. The sleeves are nice, without being too puffy. The center back seam made for a good fit. The empire waistline is quite flattering, although I think the belt is just a bit too wide.

The only problem I had with this pattern was the bodice. The front bodice piece was not nearly long enough for me-- something I didn't realize until after I was finished cutting. Once it was assembled, the seam that was supposed to hit under the bustline was much higher on me. Fortunately, I had plenty of extra fabric and was able to modify the bodice to fit my figure.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: In order to make this fit my bust correctly, I had to lengthen the front bodice by a few inches and add darts. Other than that, everything else was per the pattern.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would definitely recommend it to others. The only suggestion I'd make is that if you are on the busty side, you should add some extra length to the bodice and put in darts.

I'm not sure how many of this top I want in my wardrobe, but I am considering making it again in white. I think it would be a nice alternative to a t-shirt with a pair of jeans.

Conclusion: Great top in a flattering style. I'm looking forward to some warmer weather, so that I can finally wear it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


That's how I would describe my progress on my current sewing project. Really, this is a top that might have 2 hours worth of sewing, perhaps a bit more given the modifications that I've made. Even with the bodice modifications, there really isn't much to it. That said, I've been creeping along and making progress by inches. Mostly, that is due to my habit of sewing for just a few minutes at a time, never spending much time at it in a single stretch.

After lengthening the front bodice, I ended up with quite a bit of excess fabric at the bottom front. And no, I couldn't just cut off the excess. That would have resulted in things not fitting together correctly, defeating the whole purpose of making a top rather than simply buying ready-to-wear. The solution-- add darts, of course! After adding the darts, I sewed up the side seams. All that's left now is setting the sleeves & cuffs, and finishing off the edges & hem.

It's hard to tell on the dress form, but the fit was absolute perfection when I tried it on. :)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Wretched Little Tree

That's what I'm doing today, after a nasty visit from The Frog. Actually, make that repeated visits.

As I was working on Souvenir Sampler yesterday, adding in more of the optional motifs, I realized I had miscounted on a tree. I wasn't very happy about this, since I hadn't particularly enjoyed stitching that tree in the first place. I had stitched about 90% of it, and had to rip all of it out, because I had placed it one row too high.

After re-stitching that wretched little tree, I carefully checked top & bottom. Perfect! On to the house....

I stitched the brown of the house and was just starting on the roof, when I decided to check the placement. Sure enough, the top & bottom were perfect. BUT... the house was one stitch too far to the right. I couldn't believe it. I checked the position of the house relative to the tree. Of course, it was right. It was that stupid tree. The one I didn't like stitching the first time, and liked even less the second time around.

Here's what the sampler looked like before my frogging session. I haven't made a lot of progress since the previous post, but thought I'd share anyway.

And here, dear friends, is the Wretched Little Tree that has caused me so much grief. I hate that tree.

And no, I haven't re-stitched it yet. I'm almost afraid to try it again, so I've started with the house this time. Who knows, maybe I'll do a different tree altogether. LOL

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Souvenir Sampler

Last year, I was making some pretty good progress on Souvenir Sampler. Then I got distracted by other things and put it away. A couple of times, I tried to get back to it, but just couldn't get into a rhythm with it.

The last photo I took of SS was in early September 2008.

I pulled it back out recently and finally managed to make some progress. Here's what it looked like as of this morning:

I think I've figured out the bodice issues with my top, so that should be easy enough to finish. I'm actually pretty handy with a sewing machine-- I've been sewing most of my life. It's just one of those things that I have to be in the mood for, so I come and go on it. The mood usually strikes me whenever the clothes in stores are particularly unattractive or ill-fitting. Or poorly made. The trouble I'm suffering from at the moment is a complete lack of fabric shops where we live. I got a bit spoiled by G Street when I was in northern VA. Out here, all we've got is JoAnn's, which I am not a fan of, and it's 35 miles away. Before long, I will probably tag along on one of BF's trips back to the DC area, just so I can go fabric shopping.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sewing UFO

Months ago, when it was still warm outside, I decided to make Simplicity 2964. It's not a particularly complicated top, and it should have gone quickly. I was planning to do View A (the one the model is actually wearing) in the fabric shown with my pattern.

I cut it out, then started putting it together. One of the first steps was adding the elastic across the top of the neckline, then attaching the front bodice to the front yokes. Easy enough. Just to be sure, I pinned this assembly to my dress form after sewing the three pieces together. Good thing I checked!

See that seam that sits right under the bust? Well, on me, it was going to hit... um... right across the middle of my bust. NOT a good look! The bust seam thing is something that really irritates me on tops, and it's one of the reasons that I have so much trouble finding RTW tops that fit properly. Nearly every one of them has an under bust seam that is nowhere near being under my bustline. *Sigh*

Once I found this problem, there was no choice but to re-cut the bodice. Not really a problem, since I had plenty of extra fabric. It was a nuisance, nonetheless. The end result was that I put it aside, intending to go back to it later. Well, "later" never came, and here I am.

Today, I finally dragged it all back out and re-cut the front bodice. Tomorrow, I'll start putting it together. With a bit of luck, and a little persistence, I should have a new top to wear by the time the weather turns warm again. LOL

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Glass is tough to photograph!

But that didn't stop me from trying. I took a stained glass course a couple of months ago, and today I realized I never got any photos of my projects. We did two projects in class-- one in copper foil (the method Tiffany used), and one in lead came. Both were pretty simple, as stained glass projects go, but it was a wonderful introduction to both techniques.

We did the copper foil project first. I have to say that choosing the colors was the hardest part. It felt like such a huge decision, probably because most people take a class like this, and then never do another project again. I didn't know if I would or wouldn't do any more stained glass. It really depended on how much I enjoyed it. (Turns out, I LOVE it!)

The lead came project was a geometric piece, which is the easiest thing to do with lead came.

After the class ended, I decided to buy a glass grinder and try something a little more intricate. It's not quite finished, but I'm quite pleased with what I've done so far. I still need to finish the outside edge-- I need to do that in the garage and will have to wait until the weather warms up a bit. Once the outside edge is done, I'll be able to add the patina and enjoy my creation.

It's hard to see in the picture, but the clear glass actually has a raindrop pattern on it. I thought it was a nice choice for the spring floral theme. If I had it to do again, I wouldn't have chosen such an irregularly shaped piece as my second project. Other than that, it really wasn't too difficult. There were quite a few pieces, some of them tiny, and more intricate soldering, but overall, I really enjoyed putting this one together. I haven't decided what I'll do next, but I've been steadily building a stained glass "stash" for future projects. ;)

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Year, New Look

Happy New Year! Okay, so I'm nearly a month late, but better late than never, right? I've been horribly delinquent in blogging-- both in updating my own and in reading others. I am trying to catch up, really I am, but it is not going to be easy. I'm a creature of habit. As long as I keep up, things go quite smoothly. But the minute I stop doing something, whether it's blogging, stitching, or whatever, I have a very difficult time getting back to it.

That's where I am with practically everything in my life at the moment. Stalled. Being that it is the middle of winter doesn't help, either. I hate winter. It's cold, it's dark, and I don't want to leave the house. Great thing about not working-- I don't have to leave the house. It's also the bad thing about not working. LOL Because I don't HAVE to go anywhere, I usually don't. Anybody see a nasty pattern developing here? LOL

While trying to catch up on some of my blog reading, I discovered a fun site with free backgrounds and gadgets for blogs-- The Cutest Blog on the Block. It probably isn't new, but it is certainly new to me. I had lots of fun playing with backgrounds before finally settling on this one. It's bright and cheerful... everything that winter isn't.

Since it's a new year, I decided to start a new project. It seemed like as good an excuse as any to start something new, and I thought it might be just the kick that I needed to get me out of my stitching slump. I'm delighted to report that I actually FINISHED it as well. The design is L*K's Autumn Boxer. I picked the chartpack up a couple of years ago and have had it sitting in my stash ever since. I'm a sucker for anything with pumpkins, so of course I just had to have this. Isn't it cute?

I haven't decided how I will finish this one. It's a regular size-- about 5" x 5"-- so it would probably work in a standard 6" square frame. But it would also make a cute pillow. Decisions, desicions!