Category Archives: Counted Thread

Where, oh where…

…did July, August and September go? At least from a stitching standpoint…well, it was pretty much a bust.  But in those ninety days I had a wonderful visit with my mom here in Minnesota, Dan and I moved into a new home (new to us), celebrated 25 years married and went on an adventure weekend together, I designed, wrote and brought up a new website for the store, I unpacked aforementioned new house…well mostly unpacked, don’t look too closely :-), I hosted two stitching get togethers and in the process discovered the best margarita in town, I went to two knitting gatherings at the local store (fun, fun, fun!), had a very dear friend visiting for a few days, went to Needlework Guild retreat and had a great class with Kay Stanis, went to the State Fair, found a new church and started Bible study. So…all in all it was eventful three months if not terribly stitchy.

I think the thing I find most disappointing is my failure to update here more than I have, something I now intend to remedy with a…gasp…stitching related post.  I plan to start updating my hours stitched again, I will set goals for October and generally get back down to business.

In accordance with that goal I have been stitching a bit in the last couple weeks…well, stitching and knitting.  So without further ado, let me post progress photos on a couple of pieces:

First of all, I started knitting a dishcloth.  Yes, I know I can buy them for a dollar or so on sale, but this such a pretty cotton yarn and it’s a great way for me to try some pattern stitches to augment my novice skills.  I am about 2/3rds of the way through this project.  I will be keeping this one because it does have one fairly big mistake, but my hope is to make several for gifts to give along with a pretty hand-made soaps.  That idea was NOT original with me…thank you, Janet. 🙂

Ravelry dish cloth

Ravelry dish cloth

I put the scissors on the cloth to give a sense of scale and also to show off my BEE-UUU-TIFF-FULLL new scissor fob and point protector.  What can I say…a moment of weakness at the Guild retreat market.

Since I started with knitting, I will continue with knitting.  I am still working on my Meadow Afghan by Collinette.  I have finished the second repeat and am on to the third, which is the last full repeat of the pattern.  I plan to have this done in October apart from the fringing. Are you laughing??????? I wish the photos could more accurately convey the colors and textures of the yarns. They are fabulous.  I want to do another one of these someday in a different colorway and using the mitered block pattern. These kits are an investment, but they are beautiful.

Meadow afghan

Meadow afghan

…and a close up:

Close up of Meadown afghan

Close up of Meadown afghan

Now, please don’t think I’ve deserted my first needlework love…stitching.  I’ve been plugging away on ‘A Quilter’s Garden‘ by Emie Bishop.  I finished the kloster block outline and have begun the cross stitching.  I have substituted purples for the pinks of the orginal.  Here’s my most recent in progress photo:

In progress garden

In progress garden

I know it’s awfully light, but it is hard to get a good photograph of a tone-on-tone piece.  The fabric is Belfast platinum.  I love the piece and I really want to do her Christmas version of this as one of my next hardanger projects. I hope it won’t languish as long as this one did.

And lastly…at least for today…is a small experimental piece I did one morning just to keep my hand in on some freestyle surface embroidery skills.  I’ve been drawn more and more to stitching pieces that are not on a counted ground and am starting Japanese Embroidery lessons a week from today. (Yes, I’m excited and a bit nervous!) so this was just a practice piece I worked on a small square of organdy.  As the title says, it’s comprised of shadow work and stem stitches.  I actually like the way it turned out and am toying with doing a small album of designs in different stitches.  The pattern is from the Waverly Honor book.

shadow work and stem stitch

shadow work and stem stitch

I also got one piece back from my framer.  This is Western Skies by Laura Perin (alternate colorway) I love how it turned out!

So…as promised a stitchy post.  My projects for the weekend are to start recording my stitching hours again and also to set goals for October, especially since Christmas and year end are coming up.

In addition, as I look to Julie’s near term needlework future, I still want to work on some Christmas Ornaments (just got my new JCS Ornie Issue-:-))) and I need to get cracking on the next phase of my ANG Master Needle Artist submission.  I need to get materials pulled together preparatory to doing my paper and developing a design for a needlework piece appropriate to my chosen era.  Apart from those things, I have a little shopping to do so I have all the materials I need to bring to my Japanese Embroidery class which is Friday through the following Monday of next week. Also, in October, I plan to work my way through the Artist’s Way curriculum by Julia Cameron. I have the workbook and have started reading the book which has some really interesting notions about creativity and how to put it to work in your life.  So far, I’d say it’s a worthwhile read.

And, less fun but also very important, I work on Saturday (and both Dan and I are so very grateful for the continued blessing of employment we both enjoy) and, of course, I hope to cheer my Vikings on to victory on Sunday after church.

So…that’s my world for today.

I’m hoping that this post finds everyone who reads it happy, healthy and in stitches.

Blessings,

julie

…It doesn’t take monumental feats to make the world a better place.  It can be as simple as letting someone go ahead of you in a grocery line. –Barbara Johnson

Yes, Virgina….

….I have been stitching. At least a little. It’s been busy, trying to catch up from last week and get ready for a little R & R this coming weekend. We’re finally out of the dumper temperature-wise (aka: above zero) and there is just the slightest possibility we may see spring in a couple of months. 🙂

So what is my latest report from the wonderful world of needlework? Well, last weekend I worked on both Laura Perin’s beautiful Color Cubes and also added about half a ball of yarn to my scarf. I didn’t shoot another photo of the scarf, simply because it looks the same, just a tad longer. But this is what Color Cubes looked like by the end of the weekend:

Color Cubes

Sorry that I cut the corner off, but I’m working with a new camera. (Another adventure from the weekend.) And just so you can see some the detail from the corner of this lovely piece, here’s a closeup:

Close up of Color Cubes

My next step will be to fill in a lot of glittering metallics. I can’t wait to see how they make these colors pop! Have I mentioned I LOVE working Laura Perin designs? 🙂

The end of last week and this week, I’ve been working on my Advent Sampler (Mary Beale) rotation:

Here is where I’d left off before the New Year:

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This was my progress by the end of last week after about five hours:

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Lots of confetti stitching in the greens at the bottom of the page.

My progress since then? Not as much as I’d like, but stay tuned. Of one thing I can assure you…Adam now has hair. 🙂

This is stunning piece. HUGE but stunning. It tells the Bible story from creation through the birth of Christ in pictures, each one close to this same size. I”m doing them all on one huge piece of 40 count linen with DMC floss. I will do a small line (or two) of black cross stitch to separate the individual pictures. One neat thing about this is, I can have 24 little happy dances along the way.

If you are interested, the Advent Sampler can be ordered directly from Mary here. As far as I know, these charts are available only as a download. I had no problems accessing the files and while the charts themselves are hand-drawn, they are very easy to read and Mary’s artwork is a wonderful addition. She even gives some suggestions (with accompanying sketches) for finishing.

So that’s my week in stitches. How was yours?

I want to leave each of you with my very best wishes for a wonderful and peaceful St. Valentine’s Day. Willa Cather said, ‘Where there is great love, there are always miracles’. May your day tomorrow, your week and year all be filled with great love and great miracles.

Blessings,

Julie

Have I Mentioned…

…that I love Laura Perin designs? As part of my plan for the year, I wanted to spend my weekends either knitting or with my needlepoint. Last weekend, I decided my rotation was incomplete without a Laura Perin in it, so I started Color Cubes.  It is fabulous fun. I am working with the alternate color she gives for Splendor, so this a darker, more jeweltoned version of the cover photo.

This was my progress after two days:

Color Cubes by Laura Perin

As always, the chart is a dream to read, the pattern works up quickly (think immediate gratification here) and the color usage is phenomenal. I hope to have this done by the end of the month.

My other weekend project, the scarf I’m knitting, was regulated to my Super Bowl watching time.  I’m working on a very simple k3, p3 scarf to get my knitting legs back again.  The yarn is a wool Noro that I love!!!!

This is my progress to date, I am just into my third ball of yarn.

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Aren’t the colors pretty?

This week’s stitching time will be devoted to The Advent Sampler. I’ll share progress photos later in the rotation.

I want to thank everyone who has left a comment recently or sent an e-mail. It is such a wonderful blessing to hear from each of you. Sheri, if you’re out there and reading. I did try to send you a note using the e-mail tag associated with your comments. It got bounced back to me twice. So please, please, please….send me an e-mail so I can send you my thanks in person.

Well, that’s about all for today. I hope the week’s beginning has been wonderful for all.

Many blessings,

Julie

My Second Finish of the Year

‘Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live –Jackie Windspear’

One of my goals for this year is to get 11 Christmas ornaments stitched. I have my start. 🙂 I finished my January ornament one day late. The over one was NOT going well last night, so I decided it was okay to leave it one more day, so I could finish it in the daylight. I’m glad I did. Frogging over one is NO fun!

This ornament is from 2004 Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue. It is ‘I Saw Three Ships’ by Jane Timmers of Fancy Work.

I Saw Three Ships

It is done on 32 ct Star Sapphire Jobelan with the recommended DMC cotton floss. This is the photo taken without the flash–blurry, but the color is better.

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This is the photo taken with the flash. Sigh…will I ever get the hang of needlework photography?

I have several ornaments in this shape by the same designer. I plan to finish them all and frame them together.

Hope everyone has a wonderfully stitchy weekend planned. I do…and even some knitting whilst watching the game on Sunday.

Blessings,

Julie

Can you believe it’s already the end of January?

I can’t. It seems the days just fly by right now. It’s been a very cold month here, so I’ve spent a lot of time indoors and even better, some time stitching.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned a gathering of the sisterhood here at the house. I wanted to share a photo of that wonderful day with women I cherish: (Clockwise from back: Janet, your’s truely, Maddie Julie, Susan, Paula’s chair, Theresa)
Stitching at table

and, just so she doesn’t feel left out (which it appears she didn’t:-)): Dear Paula and Maddie…both lights in my life:

Paula and Maddie-Love the outfits!

And, lest I forget…my first finish of the year, which was started on the day we had our gathering. May I present ‘Family’ by Pine Mountain:

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I know it looks a little crooked and frankly, it is because the Tula fabric is sewn in crooked. 😦 There are two full threads of difference between one side and the other and the top and the bottom…made it difficult to center.) But apart from that, I do love the pattern. I personalized it with our initials (Dan and mine), the year we were married and this year (our 25th!).

And last, but not least, I wanted to share my progress on the Kingsland Ancestral Wedding Sampler (through Band 4). This is through the first rotation.

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Of course my photo didn’t capture the wonderful richness of the colors, but it’s been a fun stitch. The space you see between the lines of cross stitch will be a personalized account of a very special wedding. I am in the process of charting that now.

I’ve got to fly, in that I’m due into work shortly. Hope your day holds lots of happy stitching time.

Blessings,

Julie

A personal post…

–I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day. –Abraham Lincoln


(Before you start to read, be aware that, as titled, this post is largely personal and perhaps even the tiniest bit mopey. It speaks of feelings and of my personal beliefs. Join me if you choose…and welcome to my world :-)))

It’s hard to believe it’s just a few more days until Christmas. We will be with my family this year and are looking forward to that reunion. My mom e-mailed today and is busy preparing goodies, like fruit soup and hot air, in anticipation of time together. Are we spoiled or what?

It will be wonderful to spend time with my brother, my new sister, my niece and nephew, mom and even some of our extended family…for loved ones are the second greatest gift of Christmas. I look forward to times of laughter (and some tears), worship and yes, even some handwork. My new sister (actually sister-in law…but I consider that distinction meaningless!) knits. Isn’t that cool??? Together we are going to try to find our way through the mine field of knit one purl two.

Even with all the beauty of the season and the fun preparations, my heart is still heavy. It’s been a long year and, while there many, many reasons to be thankful, I am still trying to find the joy that Christmas often brings. Losses…one very, very recent, leave a great emptiness that used to be filled with two that I cherished. One of those is, I’m convinced, sharing his first Christmas with His Savior and that thought does bring a smile, even through the sorrow. I am sure that Heaven will never be quite the same now that Dad is there. 🙂

But, even though I’m struggling a bit, today I listened to a song that reminded me of the joy that cannot be shaken by circumstance. I am trying to keep my spirit centered on the blessing offered to me by these words by Don Francisco and the promise he writes of:

The center of the ages, the Lord talks with a girl
and by the words He speaks He gives a Savior to the world.
The time grows to its fullness and Mary's Son is born.
The promise's fulfillment, lies asleep now in her arms.

He didn't come to terrify, to judge or condescend
to call us all His servants, but to lift us as His friends.
To save us all from Satan's power, to reign at His right hand,
Once for all eternity, God became a man.

Today the God of Majesty was given to the Earth
A gift of such magnificence we can never plum its worth.
The rudeness of the setting just ignites the Jewel's fire.
A pearl beyond the greatest price, the joy of man's desire.

What a gift!

I also was lifted by wonderful e-mails from the stitching sisters. We are planning a gathering shortly after the first of year. A long weekend filled with laughter and our group’s celebration of Christmas. I do love these ladies: Paula, Susan, Janet and Theresa…thank you for the light you are in my life!

Needlework wise, I’m trying to think through a rotation for 2008 and working like mad to get my MNA submission finished. I need to have it complete and submitted by the end of the year. I have also been working on a special wedding sampler. I will post a photo tomorrow at the end of my stitching…so you can see a bit more than a little green blob. 🙂

What else is on the agenda for tomorrow? A haircut, an eyebrow wax, packing and sending our e-Christmas greeting to loved ones near and far. Our snail mail greeting may not get finished in time, so it will be more in the way of a New Year’s missive this year. I also have a gift or two to pick up. We will be doing some shopping after we go east, simply because it’s not easy to carry much on a flight.

I hope this note finds everyone well and surrounded by those you love most.

Blessings,

Julie



									

A Final Finish for 2007

Well, finally a stitching post. I have so much I want to do here, including adding the rest of my library to its dedicated page, updating both my Wish List and the WtR areas, but what I really love is sharing my needlework. I just wish there’d been more to report this year.

First I want to share a fairly new WIP…a canvas piece I was working on from the end of October to the middle of November. The technique is stitching over a painted ground and the canvas is the Minneapolis-St. Paul Santa by Shelly Tribbeys. The stitch and fiber guide are credited to Gwendolyn Lander. Both are wonderful.

I don’t often work painted canvases, simply because I love counted thread work, but this project is a joy to stitch. It’s hard to see, but I have the riverboat, the cathedral, part of Santa’s face and most of the waterfall done. The fibers include some fun metallics, wool, and cotton floss.

Shelly Tribbeys Minneapolis-St. Paul Santa

I love this canvas because it portrays a lot of the wonderful landmarks of this city I’ve called home for many years, including the IDS tower (tallest structure between Chicago and San Francisco-Phillip Johnson 1973, and famous for its use as a backdrop in the opening scenes of the Mary Tyler Moore Show), the Spoon and Cherry sculpture, Minnehaha Falls and of course the trolley car.

So far the stitches haven’t been terribly challenging…a lot of tent stitch and basketweave, with some satin and cashmere thrown in for good measure. I had fun working on this…and plan to have it done for next Christmas.

Now onto my finish. I started this Prairie Schooler Santa a couple of years ago. I plan to do several and turn them into pillows. Or…have someone turn them into pillows for me if my sewing machine and I aren’t on speaking terms. 🙂 This is the 2002 Santa:

Prairie Schooler Santa 2002

Isn’t he cute? 🙂 He’s done on 7 count Klostern with Pearl Cotton #3. I did change a few colors, because I wanted a more burgundy red for his coat.

For those of you who are curious, I most often work with my fabic stretched on q-snaps or a scroll frame. I use my Lowry floor stand so I can stitch two handed. (my left hand beneath the fabric and my right on top.) To start a thread, I most often use an in-line waste knot and to end, I simply weave the thread through the stitches on the back and clip close to the fabric.

I am feeling good about getting one more piece finished in a year that hasn’t been a good one for productive stitching.

Apart from needlework, tomorrow we are having a BIG party here. It is DH’s 50th birthday party and I am looking forward to a wonderful gathering of the friends and family that have so blessed our lives. Monday is his birthday, but we are staying in to watch the Vikings play the Bears (um…go VIKES!). I plan to make one of his favorite dinners and just enjoy some down time with him.

It is getting on to bedtime for me. So in closing, I hope each of you is having a wonderful weekend filled the all the best blessings of this Holy and peaceful season.

Goodnight,

Julie

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

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