Jan 15, 2018

It's snowing

and I'm crabby as hell.  Still frigid too.  But more than anything right now, I am so ticked off with my hair.  What the hell did menopause do to it?  My once Brillo textured mess is now so soft I can't even keep it off my face.  Tried shorter layers, all types of products, and my next fix will be Elmer's.  That's right, glue.  Watered down and combed through.  The magic marker works so well on my roots, I'm thinking office supplies is the aisle for solutions.
 
So after digging through linen, I decided on a piece of ???? maybe Country Mocha?  Since this sampler is small, 28 or 30 count would do just fine.  The size difference is minimal between the counts and I like the 5-1/2" x 9" resulting size of 30 count.  Perfect for hanging on the side of a cupboard.  This isn't 30 as I thought, it's 32.  Here we go again.  One strand (side) is not enough, two (top) is too much.  I'm not sure if I should just do two strands and let it go, or grab a piece that is clearly marked as 28 or 30. 
 
A reader gave me an excellent tip a while back about my twisting threads and uneven tension.  I always used the secure loop start when using two strands.  The two tails at the end of the needle would always be uneven and one of those strands looser in the stitch making it bumpy.  Not pretty.  She recommended threading one strand through the eye and centering the needle in the length.  The loop would be in the needle and the two thread ends loose, needing to be secured on the back.  Having the needle in the center allows for the same tension on each strand.  Still need to give a little right twist to the needle or let it hang freely so it doesn't tangle, but it sure is a good way to have neater stitches.  Especially if they are cramped in a 32 count hole.
 
 
And then there's the brats, roaming the house, sneaking up the stairs, down the stairs.  I give up.  Nit was so bored he started chasing his tail and fell off the sofa.  One of my sister's many cats had to have his tail shortened because he bit it bloody every day.  He was never calm because that damn thing was after him and his eyes were always going to the side, waiting, expecting, readying himself for the attack.  And then it showed itself and the screaming began.  When he would bite his tail and it hurt, poor guy though it had got him and that thing was causing the pain.
 
Have a good day folks!
 
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Jan 14, 2018

Findings

Miss Mary's Sampler 1796 was, believe it or not, in the little basket hanging on the drawer knob of my side table.  The one I throw stitching items in when finished to later put away.  No wonder I saw it the other day, it was right in front of me.
 
The lady helping my sister with housework is having a garage sale early spring to raise funds for some needed items.  She has been great in taking items the family no longer wants and her family could use.  She is thin, as I once was, and has a new wardrobe from brand new clothing I expected one day to squeeze in to.  Ain't happening.  So far this week, I have a huge wicker dog bed, a new afghan, specialty baking ware I never used, a battery charger, and old hard case luggage. 
Still looking for more since it's a great opportunity for household reduction, and I came across my little Singer.  Oh how I loved this!  It still works and amazes me how efficient it is, even without having a bobbin case.
I think I will leave it out for display.
 
I also found a log carrier for the fireplace that I planned to attach another handle.  Of course I could not find the woven strapping so asked Mark if he had any in his sporting goods stash.  He came up with an old ArtiCreel he used for trout fishing decades ago.  It's pretty beat up and he no longer needs it, told me to remove the strap if I need one.  No way! 
 
 
Wouldn't this be wonderful filled with impatiens in the top and vines in the zipper?  It's lined with heavy plastic so filling with dirt and holding water will not be a problem and I think it's prefect for hanging on the siding at the back door. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I think spring will be here before we know it.  I better get my butt in gear and have the doors and windows ready for order, stain color chosen, and all other decisions MADE!
 
I was a little surprised that many of you do not carry over between letters.  I hate running the thread ends (especially when the needle is too blunt) and doing it for such small areas is not something I am willing to do.  But then you already know I do not follow rules and therefore, am not an expert, proficient, or even careful stitcher.  I did post about the pin stitch last year but I don't use it to end, only start.  Good question but I don't know why.  I do not like sheer or soft linen either but when ordering online, it's a crap shoot.  My other 35 and 40 count in unbleached can stand up on its own and feels like it was spray painted.  Hard to get the needle through the hole, no way threads will be seen through it.
 
Hope the weekend is going well.  Husband is ready to start yelling at the Steelers.  I plan to stay upstairs and continue the hunt for excess.   This also keeps me farther away from the chocolate covered pretzels.
 
Thanks for visiting.
 
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Jan 13, 2018

Your thoughts

Hello  hello!  If you're disgusted with the cold temps and snow, raise your hand.  Damn.  We received about 8" on top of the ice and it is back to frigid.  Which means, brats in house.  They're being very good today and all are using the litter box.  Bud thinks the objective is to cover his doodoo with a mountain.  That cat can dig for a half hour until every speck of litter is in a neat foot high pile. 
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Does it bother you to see carry overs through the linen, even if they are minor?  Do you hide them before taking to a framer?  Have you ever been disappointed after framing, not realizing how prominent they were? 
 
This sampler I sold recently is on a fine (sheer) linen.  I offered to mount it for framing since she has no where locally that she could trust and was concerned about the sheerness. 
The cross over threads are only one or two stitches but because of the linen and brightness of the floss, it still bothered me.  I have no acid free tissue paper to use so I shredded some muslin and with needle and tweezers, pulled it through those areas. 
I fray the ends so there isn't a harsh line, but with the muslin being so soft and thin that would not be an issue anyway.  The mounting board is the color of the muslin and will blend it all, completely hidden.  You can't see any threads between the numbers now but before there was a purple line visible between them.
 

The gold (wool) and gray threads are not as noticeable from the front, it's only the very obvious that I hide.  Does it bother you?  Do you do this?  Or do you think that those threads are part of needlework and should be visible?
When I worked for a framer, many customers were so upset when seeing the finished piece because of the carry overs showing.  I don't think they laid the piece on a white backing to check, not realizing the mount board would bring out the contrast.
I'm just curious.  I'm assuming that threads over a very short span are not a concern to anyone.  The majority of my samplers, especially the early ones, are all on unbleached or darker linen.  It wasn't until I used a lighter fabric that this bothered me.  And it shouldn't! 
 
My other question (and also from a reader) - What do you use to keep your place on a chart, especially a fancy border or design?  How about when you end your stitching for the day, do you have a method to mark where you left off?
 
I still haven't found my new sampler chart even though I saw it a few days ago.  Actually considering a big one, too.  Still not feeling much love so it may be a bad idea. 
 
Stay warm!

 
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Jan 11, 2018

A taste of spring



 
for a day and a half until the ice comes Friday.  All the greens from Christmas are arranged in the woods to provide shelter for the birds and the decorations are back in the attic.  Even the newest little tree that I bought two days ago.  I'm not crazy about the shine of the needles but a Krylon matte spray solves that.  Half price and a sweet little 2' perfect for a bathroom.  Do I put trees in the bathroom?  Not really, but it was the only reason I could think of to justify another tree so next year, bathroom tree.
 
I was debating whether to choose a Santa or a sampler for the next stitch.  The Boyd Santas need some planning for colors and linen choice, not ready for that attention to detail.  I would prefer they all be on the same higher count linen and except for raw 28 and 30 count, I have nothing large enough for them all.  So I decided on the last sampler chart I purchased, small and easy.  From JBW designs, Miss Mary's Sampler 1796.  As soon as I find it, I will pull the threads.
 
We cleaned and rearranged the garage, put the brats' condos in a confined area with a heater, they are happy.  Being good during the cold spell lasted just until a break in the weather.  They couldn't wait to get back in the garage.  Not having someone scream NO every ten minutes may have been an incentive.
 
Have a great weekend!  Stay safe.
 
Thanks for visiting.
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Jan 10, 2018

Seeing red

Ellen's red has me wanting more.  Being bland dull and faded is reflected in most of the samplers I stitch.  I do have a few with bright colors and was surprised to find that I enjoyed stitching and seeing them displayed.  But there was an older project that featured red and continued to elude my sharp keen memory.  Found it.
Carriage House Samplings' Pennsylvania Redware.
Ooooooh baby. 
It was taken off the wall to paint a LONG time ago, the painting isn't done, but this is going back on the wall. 
 
 
Blast from the past!
Hope your week is going well.
 
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Jan 8, 2018

Help!

Ellen is finished with a compromise.  I did not move the center so it is slightly off, but I did line up the outer edge motifs to match left and right.  This is the type of bag I would like it sewn to, heavy wool with the same for the strap.  The sampler would be mounted to the front wool, not sewn into the seam so the material would show around the stitchery. 
The bag would be a perfect size, Ellen is 4-3/4" x 6-1/4".
Do I use the bright red?  It's a beautiful red, but would it be too much?
 
 
Or do I use a beautiful olive green that matches the green floss? 
 

 
I think the red in the sampler stands out more with the green, but I like the red.  So what do I do?  I may take this to the only person I know that sews locally since I need a wool coat hemmed anyway.  I was not totally pleased with the wool blazers she worked on, but she does wedding gowns and men's suits!  So maybe it's my menobutt that is the problem. 
 
We had our group return .....
and they brought a few friends.
 
 
 
They were no help in choosing color though. 
 
Have a good day!
 
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Jan 7, 2018

Decision time

Weekend.  And already two weeks past Christmas.  Come on spring!

I am at the point now where I need to decide if I should follow the chart, or move the big Hershey kiss (or crown) to be centered.  Either way, the large floral motif will not be.  So I guess the question is whether I am willing to remove the stem/leaves and stitch again.  Only the right side outline of the vase needs removed, a row or two added, and then outlined again.  Not a big deal, the flower can be added to, so the stem removal would be the main pain in the ass.  Is it really worth it just because I have a quirk about symmetry?  This sampler is wonderful, a reproduction, and certainly not meant to be perfectly aligned.  On 40 count it is only 6 1/4" high and I am leaning toward a red wool bag instead of frame. 
 
 
I'm still not happy with the bright red in the center of the house but after numerous attempts at removal and restitching, I just couldn't get a better blending.  I have a plan to resolve this but won't tell you until it's over.  No sense ruining your dinner.
I just love this piece.  My slump is still lingering and I was not really excited about this until it started to come together. And now I can't wait to see it hanging.  Ellen Ford is by Merry Wind Farm.
 
Lots of nearby shooting (muzzle loader season) and only two of our gang of five showed last night.  We'll keep an eye out hoping the others show today.  This little boy comes by himself during the day and has the sweetest little fat head.
 
It's a smidge warmer today and Missy is getting antsy, does not want to stay in the house.  Nitzy is out right now and probably won't come back until this evening, but last night, he and his dad were snoozing.
 
You know the luck I've had with laptops and printers.  My last recent printer was an HP6830 which I found out had a known issue yet HP continued selling, did not offer extended warranty or advise customers.  So once again, the printer has failed and is not repairable, I have $95 of new ink cartridges and they do not offer another model printer that uses this same ink.  Goodbye HP, third time this happened.  Never again.  Your products have been junk and your service to loyal customers is inexcusable.
 
Yesterday we made a new soup from Taste of Home.  Pretty good, but much better with a squirt of ketchup.  Just a little at a time until it was perfect.  Also added some barley and a few potatoes. 
Mark's grandmother always added some to her beef based soups and I tried it with mine, also this one with chicken broth, and I really like the results.  Better than adding more tomatoes or sauce. 

BTW - TRE is The Retail Equation, a company hired by retailers to follow your returns and exchanges.  There is so much theft costing businesses a fortune (passed on to the honest) and much of this is stolen items being returned for credit or cash.  Too many returns, even with receipts, sends a red flag of possible fraud and they stop you from returning for six months.  Mine was without warning, and I ALWAYS had a receipt and returned promptly.  I doubt Amazon uses this, but the major retailers do and online sales are also included.  Since I need to order specialty sizes, the majority of my purchases were JCP online, how could they think those returns should be included?  I can't steal something sent to my home!!  They say it's only a small percentage of customers affected but sales associates have said that many of their regular customers have been targeted.   The retailer is not in control, TRE makes the decision and handles any appeals.
 
Have a good one!
 
Thanks for visiting.
 
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Jan 5, 2018

Bottoms up

Hi.  Everyone staying warm?  We're pretty frigid here but warming next week.  The brats don't mind being house bound at all, especially since the old furniture has moved into their room.
 
 
Nitzy is eating and seems to be back to normal, ornery as usual.  Cracks me up how the boys sleep.  See that tooth?  Penetrates flesh easily, but those razor claws are worse.
 
The new needle is fine except for one issue.  The tip is so blunt that I have difficulty lifting the back of stitches to run the tail.  I had a needle that was so sharp it would split the linen's threads, this is opposite.  Whether the DMC needle is from decades ago or recently, I don't know. 
 
I have always stitched left to right, top to bottom. Because of the symmetry question, I decided to work the perfectly centered bottom first to see if I want to move anything.  I don't think I will.  Even though I've had some problems on 40 count I am glad I used it.  This is a good size for a pouch but I may actually frame this one.  I plan to remove the wrong way stitches in the left kiss and do them properly. 


Another removal plan is the center of the house.  The variations in the red floss have no depth and I do not like the blob of bright.  Several skeins are being searched for a darker thread, haven't found it yet. The two skeins of GAST ordered have little variation.  That area was stitched last and remaining threads all seem this bright.  
 
Is it my tension that is still causing linen to show though?  I did not think it would happen on 40 count but it is.
Ate the last of the chestnuts.  They were outstanding this year from one store.  More addictive than chocolate!  Many locals would sell them from their own trees, smaller but sweeter than the imported.  As the elders pass away, we miss many traditions and specialties that others do not have interest in continuing.  Our local ethnic shops have all closed and were a treat for everyone to learn and try other foods and traditions.  We learned this morning that our KMart is closing.  The parking lot was always full and I am surprised at the news.  What's left here?  Walmart, JCP, a small Kohls and dollar stores, most junky.  It's getting to the point that even necessary items will need to be ordered, waited for, and shipping costs will eventually prohibit all but a large order from being reasonable in cost.  But with TRE monitoring even online returns, how long will it be before the ordered clothing that doesn't fit and other items that are not what we expected, not allowed to be returned?  Then what?  Because of purchasing (and returning) for most family members, I was cut off from returning at JCP, but that was lifted after I wrote to TRE and explained this.  Even with receipts, even online purchases, your returns are being monitored because of all the thieves that feel they are entitled to take from others.
 
Hope you are all safe and warm.
Thanks for visiting.
 
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Jan 3, 2018

Symmetry



Another quirk of mine.  I love reproductions but I find myself fussing over symmetry, rare in a repro.  Ellen is not off much, just a little off center, but it bugs me.  So I decided to work the bottom house which is centered, and then work the motifs above by moving a stitch or two, just to make an old girl happy.  Well.... less crabby.  I should have paid attention to the layout and could then have easily moved the center vase over and all would be well.  It's such a sweet piece that maybe I will just leave Ellen's work as she intended.  Except for the Hershey Kiss  motif which I evened and, see that little crown in the top corner?  I plan to fill it in with the gold.
 
Really having a difficult time with the lighter thread on this linen.  I am either missing or overshooting stitches on this 40 count without a sharp contrast. 
Then my needle broke and starting a new one for some reason put a kink in my snark.  I honestly didn't know the number, assumed it was 26, but neither it nor the 28 felt right.  After going through the short and long, high and low, thick and thin, I decided to stuff my mouth with chocolate and walk away. 
 
I didn't remember from a long ago post, what I determined to be my favorite brand.  Today, it's a 26 DMC with its longer eye.  I don't know why I purchased 28 needles.  They aren't quite large enough to spread the linen threads for smooth floss passage, and they don't feel secure between my arthritic fingers.
Nitzy continues to improve and is such a good boy.  Bud and Missy are causing problems every night. It is too cold for them to stay in their padded condos in the garage.  Plywood and other barriers to keep them in one room with the litter has failed time after time.  Bud somehow digs his way around, escapes, and then can't get back in.  No barrier and they are on the sofa, on the tables, and roaming all night.  Day time, they stay in their beds and rarely roam.  Certainly not what this Labrador family is used to.  We've never had cats and accepting dirty feral killers has been a new experience.
 
Our temps are to increase this Sunday to over 32 degrees.  I think the New Year's slider fest will take place.  I plan to start a steroid pack for my bicep/shoulder and being drug sensitive, I should be full blown bitch by then.  Always fun.  I gained 5# over last week and will probably add another 5 in fluid retention too.  More fun.
 
I was asked about the header photo, one of the labels from my boxes.  It's the bottom part of The Yellow House sampler by Sheepish Designs.  The top part of it was a label also. 
 
Time for bed before I start eating again.  That box of melt-aways really started a carb crave and I need to stop it before it goes any further. 
 
Hope you're staying warm.
 
Thanks for visiting.
 
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Jan 1, 2018

The year in stitches

Five are my design, many were changed from original charts.  But truth be told, it was a year of waning needle love and stitching slumps.  The most difficult I've had in quite some time resulting in small projects and no desire to work on a larger sampler.  Lori Rippey's Polly Cole was the only one and having short rows made it easier for me.  Very wide projects really test my patience so Polly was not a problem.
One Santa was stitched in 2016 and finished in 2017, I believe the others were all 2017. 
 
Not sure I could pick a favorite, but 1776, my minis, Chums, the Kogut Santas are at the top.

Nitzy has improved, is drinking water and taking some food.  He is using the litter box and staying inside to rest, I am sure he will be fine.  He was drooling with his tongue out and not moving much which is what the vet said was common with poisoning.
 
 







































 

Happy 2018!

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