Monthly Archives: July 2007

Dancin’

-There is always a lot to be thankful for if you take the time to look for it. Right now, I am sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don’t hurt!-Barbara Johnson-

What an appropriate quote for today. I really am glad wrinkles don’t hurt because the rest of me is having one of those mornings: The kind of morning where I feel twice my age. I did too much of an upper body workout yesterday and I have the ‘ouchies’, particularly where my breastbone is wired back together. Thankfully the ‘ouchies’ aren’t terminal, naproxin is my friend and it’s still a beautiful, sunny day. 🙂

I am also blessed because I’m sitting in my sewing room, surrounded by silks, linens and patterns, tools of an avocation which means a great deal to me. I have the eyesight, leisure and ability to work with these gorgeous materials, good friends who share this passion and today I have the special emotional rush that comes with having another happy dance to report.

Yes, Western Skies is done, done, done. I finished at about 11 p.m. last night. I LOVED working on it and will definitely do another Laura Perin. Terrific instructions and it worked up very fast. In fact, someone probably needs to (PLEASE!!!!) talk me out of buying her entire American Quilt Series this morning.

Whew…after a few touch and go moments, I got my bad clickie finger under control without buying a thing. So…moving right along; here it is…Western Skies by Laura Perin. Stitched on 18 ct canvas with Mulberry Watercolours and #5 DMC Pearl Cotton (Ecru, #3041 and #224).

Western Skies finished. Laura Perin Designs

I was going to finish this as a pillow, but right now I’m leaning toward framing it. That way I can do more of this series, have them framed the same way and…delusions of grandeur here…have a whole wall of quilts. 🙂

As always when I finish something there’s a little restlessness built into the elation. The biggest challenge now is to figure out what I want to work on next. I’m really tempted to stay with canvas for a while. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy it and how fast it works up, even with more complicated stitches. But I have so many counted thread pieces screaming…loudly! (Can you hear the voices in my head? :-)))

So, to appease those voices and stop the shouting, I’m leaning toward picking up my Papillion Creations Mystery Sampler. With a couple weeks of concentrated work, I could be dancin’ again (I would love for that to become a habit!!!).

Reminder to self: YOU ALSO NEED TO STITCH A NAMETAG FOR RETREAT NEXT WEEK!!!!

And, speaking of next week, (did y’all like that smooth connection?) it promises to be a little bit of stitchy heaven on earth. To start things off, I’m hosting a GTG of the ‘sisterhood’ at my house this Saturday. Then next Thursday through Sunday (9-12) is Guild Retreat. I’m taking classes with Jane Nicholas and also with Cayla Conn Tyler (stumpwork and canvas).

To make the week complete, a good friend from about 5 hours away is coming for retreat a little early and will be staying with Dan and I for a few nights before we head out to the retreat center…and will also be my roommate at retreat. I am so excited, I just hope she doesn’t get tired of me. :-)))))))

So…who cares about an achy chest when I can dance the day away? 🙂 (there’s a picture!)

Happy birthday to dear Carol, and to the rest of you, peaceful stitches and frogless hours.

Blessings,

Julie

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Plugging along….

Good morning and I hope this finds everyone well on what is starting out a hot, steamy day here. I need to be on my way to work shortly, but I do have some progress to share on Western Skies.

I am pleased with how it’s turning out and can’t wait to see it completed. But for Harry Potter that might have happened by now. 🙂 Yes, I did read the new book…all afternoon and evening on Sunday. Finished it just about midnight. I was happy with the story and the way she chose to tie everything together.

I also updated my Walk to Rivendell page. I”m not getting there fast, but I am plugging along. I liken myself to the tortoise. 🙂

By way of information, there will be a new feature coming to My Needle in Hand. Like most everyone else in this stitchy world I have more projects to do than lifetime to do them. So I will posting selected books/pattern/kits on here that will be for sale or sometimes just free to a good home. I will try to get a few things up by week’s end.

Before I brave the heat and get on my way, here is my most recent progress on Western Skies. For whatever reason (probably my poor photography skills) most of the distortion you see will go away if you click on the photo and go to the enlargement.  The top border is complete, so I just need to finish that all the way around the piece and I will have a happy dance.

Western Skies-progress photo.  Laura Perin Designs.

For now, may everyone within the reach of my words have a peaceful day filled with expected and unexpected joy.

Blessings,

Julie

A change of pace…

Needlepoint…counted canvas and in this particular case, a Laura Perin. To be even more precise, one of her wonderful, fun and easy quilt patterns called Western Skies.

Since my surgery, I’ve looked for things to inspire me in my (extensive) (too extensive) (totally out of control) WIP pile and a couple of weeks ago I found the piece mentioned in the preceding paragraph. I inherited this piece, just started, so I didn’t pick the colors. And, for a long time it just sat because I wasn’t sold on the pinks and purples of the Watercolour thread.

But after finding it (hiding behind the stash closet door, still carefully wrapped), I decided to work on it just to see if it grew on me. And guess what? It has. So much so I haven’t yet rotated to the next project. Heck, I don’t even know what the next project is…apart from something I’ve already started. 🙂 (Just for the record I’m thinking Mystery X needs some attention)

Now, without further ado, here is the latest progress photo on Western Skies:

Western Skis-Laura Perin Desgins

I do love this pattern. What do you all think of the colors? My own taste would have been to pick a Watercolors fiber in autumn shades or in the tones found in the desert southwest, but the shades in this one are really lovely.

It has also occurred to me that if I work on it for a few more days I might have another finish for 2007. And another piece stripped from my list of WIPS/UFOS.

One of the things I’ve considered posting here is that (extensive) (too extensive) (totally out of control) list. That way I can track my stripping progress. The biggest drawback? Well, my sad little secret will be out. The whole world…or at least the part of the world that reads this blog…will see I have a terminal case of ‘startitis’. 🙂 HORRORS! Although, perhaps the embarrassment factor…hmmmm….

Anyway, speaking of startitis…there is yet another project waiting in the wings. (So much for the embarrassment factor) I received a wonderful stash acquisition yesterday.

Margreet Beemsterboer’s Motifs from Marken

This is Margreet Beemsterboer’s Sampler of Motifs from Marken, the new Needleprint Gold pattern. It is WONDERFUL and I can already think of great uses for all these bands. I plan to order VC silks for the sampler (she has a conversion done). I love working with her fibers and the cost is very reasonable.

I guess there is only one conclusion to draw from all this: I’d better shift into overdrive and get stitching!

Best blessings to all,

Julie

Sources of Inspiration…

…although sometimes it seems I have more inspiration than I can handle in one lifetime…unless I live to be 927. And even then I think I might just keep finding things I want to stitch and ways I want to improve my art.

This is the first of two planned posts today. The second will be to share my current stitching…yes, I have been plying my needle as well as my keyboard! 🙂

But, as the title of this post implies, right now I wanted to take a few minutes to share some current sources of inspiration.

First up is the Plimoth Plantation project. Their current textile project is to recreate a GORGEOUS and rather famous 17th century embroidered jacket. This project will take an estimated 3000 hours of work…yes, you read that correctly. 3000!!!! hours. Tricia Wilson Nguyen of Thistle Threads and Tokens and Trifles is one of the driving forces behind this recreation. They have sample kits available which can be worked and returned if one is interested in actually stitching part of this masterpiece. The kit is $45.00 which includes shipping and a donation to the Plantation. I believe this is a wonderful bargain, if only to hold a little piece of needlework history in your hands.

The website for the project is: http://www.plimoth.org/ and is listed on my sidebar.

From there, click on ‘The Embroiderer’s Story for a weblog of information and on-going progress reports. The labor involved in this project is immense (hence the need for stitchers), but the result is going to be amazing.

Secondly, I want to share the new class I’m taking. In my sidebar you will see a link to the weblog “In A Minute Ago”. The author, Sharon Boggin, is an educator as well as a very talented needlewoman. Her blog and website are rich in resources for both the embroiderer and the crazy quilter (those two disciplines are NOT mutually exclusive :-))) I have stash to prove it!). But beyond those pages, Sharon also teaches classes through Joggles, a wonderful on-line store…or should I say an adventure in obtaining creative needlework supplies. 🙂

Sharon’s newest on-line class, Sumptuous Surfaces, started just about a week ago and sign ups are still being taken. The class is $60.00 for six weeks of lessons. I have also taken Sharon’s Encrusted Crazy Quilting on-line course and I can testify you will get far more material than you can digest in six months, much less six weeks. Her presentations are coherent, comprehensive and fun! And, best of all, she makes the creative process something approachable instead of scary. I would HIGHLY recommend her courses to anyone interested in embarking on a creative journey with needle and thread. (I also highly recommend Joggles. I’ve ordered from them for several years and the service is excellent!)

Finally, I added another website to my sidebar. Mayte of MagicXstitch is truly amazing. Her blog has the option to be read in English and my oh my, what she gets done puts me in awe! Take the time to look at her photos. Talk about inspiration. Thank you, Mayte.

I guess one of the (good) side effects of recovering from surgery is time to explore. I hope you will enjoy the results of my time on line. I have…and it has given me a fresh love for the wonderful and diverse art of needlework.

Blessings,

Julie

Good morning!

Here in Minnesota it’s a lovely summer day. For a wonder the humidity is low, it’s cool (relatively) and sunny. I love days like this, they make me feel alive, energetic and ready to do a Snoopy dance (think hands wavin’ in the air, feet a-tappin’). Okay, maybe that’s not such a great mental picture…

So hey, think of me stitching instead. Isn’t that a wonderful thought? And yes, I have been stitching. Stitching on those multitudes of WIP’s you may presume. Uh…no. Since I’m just getting back into it, I wanted something simple…easy…monochrome. So I started something new. Um…three something news.

The good news is, I finished one: A small needlepoint initial ‘J’. I show it photographed in the box purchased for it. (But it is not yet mounted…so this was just temporary…hence the crooked placement. I’m waiting for my order of AF foam core).

Initial ‘J’

This was a quick project, done entirely in tent (continental) stitch with DMC floss on canvas and finished on our trip to Michigan last weekend.

I also began work on a long-overdue birth announcement. Bienvenue by Long Dog Samplers. I’m working this on Belfast (32 ct.) Rue Green with a WONDERFUL Glorianna Silk called Highland Garden-dark. This is for a little boy, so the colors (deep blues-purples-shading to lighter tones of green and amber) are perfect.

Bienvenue

The color of the fabric is much deeper in person.

And, finally, I just HAD to start a mermaid. I mean…I don’t have a mermaid in my rotation. What self-respecting mermaid collector doesn’t have a mermaid pattern amongst their WIP’s? So…what else could I do? I started a mermaid.

This is ‘Ocean’s Daughter’ by ‘!?Who Knew?!. It is being stitched on Crystal Lagoon Belfast (from Picture this Plus) with a cotton floss called ‘Bejeweled’ by Crescent Colors.

Ocean’s Daughter

Once again, my photographic skills are lacking. This is wonderful, bright and sparkely overdyed fabric. The floss shows up beautifully and so far, it’s a totally fun stitch.

So…that’s been my week in stitching. And, while I really didn’t need two more WIP’s, it’s been great to stitch a bit. Beyond that, I am going to cardiac rehab three times a week and plan to get my toes wet at work this week, too. That puts be a couple weeks ahead of schedule. 🙂 I think it’s the stitching therapy.

Thank you to everyone who has left such wonderful and encouraging comments and e-mails. You are all a blessing.

Have a wonderful day,

Julie