Tuesday, July 31, 2007

As Finished as It Will Be

... for a while. I did stitch the entire top band and a little ways down the right side. Most of the left side of the present is also done. If you click to expand the picture you should see the stitching better. I also experimented with a "random" twill for the center of the bow. I think it looks fine, but it's pretty hard to see in this picture. Although I still like stitching on this, I think I will move on to something else tomorrow. Even though I changed to lighter weight threads, tugging the threads through this canvas is taking a toll on my fingers.

The patterns that I brought with me are Flower Fairy, Topiary IV (another red and metallic and black project), a different Bent Creek Sheep, a freebie lighthouse sampler, and an orange/brown pumpkin project for the August/September Project Spectrum colors of orange, purple, and brown. I suppose I should keep going on one of my WIPs instead of starting something completely new, but the New is always more exciting. If I start the pumpkins I might even finish them before the end of September, since they are small.

Then again, maybe I will just spend the day reading Harry Potter VII. Not! Too many other projects to do, but now that my husband has finished the book, I can read it. At least he is good about keeping the spoilers to himself. It is cloudy and very, very humid here. I hope I can spend most of the day in air conditioning.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Slow Progress

Well, it certainly looks like I won't be able to finish this by tomorrow. As Chiasmata points out, I do seem to be chasing Project Spectrum goals but needlework really isn't suited to two month goals. However, now that I have figured out the necessary threads and the workable stitches, I am enjoying stitching this. I even worked on it for more than an hour on the plane to Maui today.

The landscaping here is going well. It almost looks finished as most of the grass and large trees are in place. I just wish this was really a vacation and not an extended series of unpleasant decisions and chores. Do we remodel the bathroom of the house that has been on the market for over 18 months? Do we furnish the cottage before putting it on the market? At least the landscaping is done, which was a real problem the last time we had the cottage on the market. I would LOVE furnishing the cottage if it were on the mainland. Just cruise over to West Elm, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel or some of the dozen of local furniture stores and in a week or two you are done. Not here. First there are NO major furniture chains here on island. Most of furniture in the two or three local stores are for display only. It took over six months to get the two chairs in our home theater (and they were not even uber-high end theater chairs, just pretty standard recliners). Well, we will put those decisions off until tomorrow. Another, more pleasant task, is getting a good OttLite here so I can stitch in the evening and not just during the daylight hours.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week

Suggested by Dani, this week’s SBQ is:

Have you ever thought of getting a rider on your household insurance to properly cover your stash (some of us have quite an extensive stash that an average household policy wouldn’t fully cover) in the case of some sort of damage to your house that would destroy/ruin charts, fabrics, floss, etc?

Well, no. Yes, I have a lot of stash. Yes, we have extra insurance riders, but even with as much stash as I have, it wouldn't come close to the amount we would lose of art and electronics. We have been collecting vintage photography and modern paintings for dozens of years. Some of what we have bought quite cheaply is now worth quite a bit more. We also own a lot of computers, cameras, and gadgets of all types. I'd hate to lose my finished pieces, but threads and fabrics are commodities and can always be replaced.

The art reception went well, but took a lot of time and energy. No chance to work on the Red Present today. Looks like it won't be finished before the end of the month. Maybe knitters (the main participants of Project Spectrum) can finish projects faster than stitchers. I finished Winter in two months, but barely finished Pineapple Quilt (a very small needlepoint) in two months and don't know if I will be able to finish anything orange, purple and/or brown in the next two months. I certainly didn't finish Flower Fairy in April/May! I still have multiple projects left over from each two month color spectrum. Maybe if I start them now, I will finish them before Project Spectrum starts over again next year. ;-)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Status Thimble Stash

I was only going to go into the Status Thimble for my thread, but they were having a 15% off sale, so I thought I would just take a look. Sigh. It's hard to just look when there are so many good patterns out there. Of course I bought just a few. First up is this cute Sue Hillis Design. There are a couple more patterns in this set, but I want to start with The Boos Brothers chart and see how it goes. I know dark fabric can be difficult, but I didn't have much problem with Winter on Navy Blue.

Next up is this strange little chart with blue and purple animals. I am a sucker for blue, especially with all this Weeks Dye Works thread. I'm not too keen on the hospital green flowers, but I can probably find something more compatible than that. I know I have some lovely Silkweaver Solo fabric that will look good here.

And last, but not least, this Blue Ribbon Designs square sampler. I've been looking at this design for some time. They have a lot of cute square designs, but how could I resist a design with palm trees and mermaids?

I did stitch some on the Red Present last night. It looks much better with the red added to the top border. But this morning was strolling through the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market. There are so many good suppliers there. I always buy more food there than we can eat in a couple of days we will be here. I guess I will take some of it to Maui on Monday. Meanwhile we got some perfect, juicy white peaches, some great cheeses from Cowgirl Creamry and some Acme Bread. For dinner, BLTs with Niman Ranch Maple Bacon, organic lettuce, and a beautiful Brandywine heirloom tomato. For Maui, some homemade, organic Chicken Mole tamales, Rancho Gordo fresh/dried beans and some June Taylor Bing Cherry and Almond Preserves. I'm so glad we can come back to the Bay Area on a regular basis.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Saved by a Crossed Stitch

Here's how much I finished on this by Tuesday afternoon. I know it is hard to tell what is stitched and what isn't, but I finished some white and black across the top band and most of the red present on the left side. If I can finish the present and the bands by the end of the month (leaving the white background for later), I will post it on Project Spectrum.

I said that it was complex to chose the right threads and the right stitches for needlepoint. Now in a detailed section like this one, a simple tent stitch is all that you can do. And if ALL the stitches are tents, they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

But what if some of your stitches are not tents (like a twill stitch)? Tent stitches don't fit together with the twill stitches. I suppose I could have stitched the white spiral as a twill also, but I was worried about coverage. The answer is demonstrated in the bottom spiral. I turned those tent stitches into cross stitches and now I have good coverage and a similar "weight" to both stitches. If you look closely you will see that I haven't covered every bit of canvas with thread. I'd rather keep the rhythm of the twill pattern than try to jam a few more stitches into the spiral. And with the canvas a matching color to the red twill thread, you can hardly tell that the canvas is showing. This won't be a cushion, so I won't have to worry about catching the threads or showing wear.

I went to the Status Thimble this afternoon and picked up enough Pebbly Perle to finish this out (and a backup spool of red Neon Rays). I get to work on this while my husband is at his artists' reception this evening and probably a lot again tomorrow. On Sunday we have the reception for our foundation show. We spent the last two days hanging the show and this morning giving a Docent Tour, so we could explain the images and techniques to the people who will be asked the most questions over the next three months. The show looks good!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Why Needlepoint Drives People Nuts

The Unboxing is going fairly well. I have thrown out pounds and pounds of old papers and magazines, though I have not found the one thing I absolutely have to find before Wednesday. I am getting a little nervous about it.

But organizing one thing leads to organizing other things. I started organizing all my Weeks Dye Works threads and put them on rings organized by color number. I did the same with my Maderia rayon threads. Then I decided to organize my Rainbow Gallery Threads, especially when I found this page to create Thread Lists.

Needle Artworks, Inc.
hread Inventory System

has some pretty up to date lists of threads from various companies. It also has links to the color cards on the Rainbow Gallery website.

And once I had my threads all organized (and I was drooling over all the beautiful Rainbow Gallery threads), I just had to do something with them.

Which led to a new start. I have had this for over two months. I meant to start it in June so I could submit it to the Project Spectrum Flickr account for the June/July colors of Red/Black/Metallic. Then I thought I wouldn't have time to finish it before the beginning of August when the colors change to Orange/Brown/Purple. But it called out to me and so I began.

Starting modern needlepoint is a lot different than starting a cross stitch pattern. For cross stitch you have a pattern. Unless you are specifically asked to do a specialty stitch, all the stitches are cross stitches (or half or quarter or three quarter crosses). You might change the suggested fabric or a thread or two, but mainly you picked the pattern because you liked it and you knew what it would look like when it was finished.

Old fashioned needlepoint had one choice of thread, wool. You had a painted canvas and you stitched a tent stitch over every cross of canvas in the design. Now there are hundred of threads you can use and hundreds of stitches to cover the canvas. So the very first things you have to do are decide what the piece is going to look like and how you are going to accomplish that look. I decided that the box was going to sparkly. So I started looking for shiny threads. I came up with RG FyreWorks for the black ribbon, RG Fiesta for the white ribbon, RG Patina for the red box, and RG Alabaster for the spirals on the box. The rest of the pattern would be subdued. RG Silk & Cream for the background and RG Pebbly Perle for the plaid border (with shiny red spirals). I also decided on a Double Twill stitch for the box, but only a tent stitch was appropriate for the border.

I normally start in the middle and work outwards, but from my very first stitch I knew I was going to be in trouble. I started with a 26 needle, but I was having trouble getting it through the canvas even with FyreWorks, which is a pretty flexible ribbon. I switched to a 24 needle, which was somewhat better, but still a struggle. The white Fiesta I used next was also a problem. I decided I needed to test every thread I was planning to use, so I moved to the red spirals. Kreinik #8 Braid was going through very smoothly. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad. But when I got to Pebbly Perle, which is rated for 18 count needlepoint, again it was a struggle just to get the needle through the canvas. Although Pebbly Perle is a twisted thread, it is separable. So I stitched the white around the red spiral with three strands (not four) of Pebbly Perle. Not bad.

Then I tried a 22 needle, just to see if that would help. Ouch, the needle bent! Back to a 24 needle (which is a little bent, but not as bad as the 22). OK, three strands of Pebbly Perle will work for the border. The Silk & Cream (being wool and more compressible) works for the background. But when I tried the Alabaster (also rated for 18 count needlepoint), I couldn't even begin to pull it through. Fine, the box spirals will be Kreinik #8 braid. The white braid seems a little thinner than the red braid.

Now on to the red box. After two stitches the Patina was shredded. I picked it because it was a twisted rayon and not stranded. This is not going to work. I still want shiny, but not silk and not sparkley like Kreinik. I want a rayon. OK, what about RG Neon Rays? It's a rayon ribbon. I'll have to use a laying tool, but it definitely fits through the canvas! And even though it doesn't really fill the stitch, the fabric behind the stitch is painted. Whatever canvas shows through will be (almost) the same color as the threads. I also changed from the Double Twill stitch to the Single Twill stitch. Ribbon shouldn't be stitched over one.

So here is about an hour of stitching (and two hours of rethinking and testing). I possibly could finish it by the end of the month, but I'm not counting on it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week & POST #100!

This week’s SBQ was suggested by Ish and is:

Which project (finished or in progress) are you most proud of? Explain why.

I'm not sure that I can answer this question. I really don't have any one piece that I am actually proud of. Possibly the baby quilt I designed and made or the curtains, but neither of them are stitched. Actually, there are no very large projects that I have finished and until they are FINISHED completely, I'm not sure I am really proud of any of them.

I'd like to be proud of the the Victorian Wedding Remembrance, but it is not finished and I don't know when I will work on it again.

I'd like to be proud of the Pineapple Fish, but I haven't worked on it in several months. Even when the stitching is done, I will still have to make it into a pillow.

Possibly I should be proud of Winter, since I personalized it by using my own fabric, thread, and even motif choices. But I really don't like the piece very much.

I guess I am most proud of simply keeping this blog going and keeping my stitching going as well. I have started a lot of projects in my time. Even if I haven't finished any large projects since I started this blog in February, I stitch almost every day and by this time next year I am sure that I will have several projects that I am really proud of.

Hey, I did empty three boxes so far. I should get another one done this afternoon and then can go back to working on the Topiary IV ornament.

I almost missed this milestone (smile). This is post #100!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's a Tree!

Yes, it is a tree. Now all it needs is a stand, all the Algerian eyelets on the back, and finishing into an ornament. And when I finish all that I will have a July Christmas Ornament SAL and a project for June/July Project Spectrum (red, black, metallic). But it won't be finished this week.

No, this is Going Through Papers Week. I go through as much snail mail as I can when we are here, but inevitably there are always some magazines and newspapers left unread. They all get shoved into a box until I come back, when more leftovers are shoved on top of the old leftovers. Repeat until there are several boxes, then declare an Uncluttering Week and have at them. No more stitching until I empty four boxes. Some boxes are easy and others take days. I never know until I start going through them. This is a good time to Go Through Papers since I dropped my husband off at the airport at O' Dark O'Clock this morning. He went up to San Francisco to hang his photography in a group show. He'll be back Thursday night, but that gives me two days plus to spread out.

I also need to take some time out to read the Hugo short fiction nominees. They are all online. The final ballot is due the end of the month. I've read all the novels and seen all the Long Form drama. I know who I will vote for in those categories and have a suspicion about some the short forms, too. But I need to read them to see. Hope you all have a productive week, too.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Christmas Ornaments FINISHED and Un

Here is my April Christmas Ornament SAL finished. Yes, I finished my March ornament in April, my April Ornament in July, and two ornaments for May (one finished in June). You last saw Woodland Snowfall in the beginning of May. The reason this one did not get finished sooner was simply that I didn't have the right sized Q-snaps. My only travel set of 8" Q-snaps was cannibalized to make an 8" x 11" set for Flower Fairy. Yes, I had another 8" set, but only in Nevada (buried under a bunch of other stuff). It was only as I was cleaning up things that I found my backup set of 8" Q-snaps and decided right away to use them. I only had 13 stitches left to do (and of course the finishing finish which might actually happen next week when I drag out my sewing machine again). I am glad I finished this rather than start on another new project.

In the spirit of finishing I went back and worked on my June Ornament from Hillside Samplings, Topiary Ornament IV. From my last post on this stitching, I wasn't sure I would ever take it up again. This also suffered from not having the proper size of Q-snaps. The 8" set is just a little too big for the fabric included in this kit. The 6" set shown in the photo cuts off part of the bottom of the design, but at least holds the fabric taut. There is a lot more stitching here than meets the eye as all of the ecru stitches are actually Smyrna stitches (double crosses). I don't know if you can actually tell from this picture, but the right most black crosses in Gentle Arts Black Crow are actually dark blue. Yes, there is some varigation on this thread, but only about an inch of navy in every eighteen inches of thread. Stick to DMC 310.

I finally had to stop because my iPod finally ran out of juice. I've been running it for hours every day as I have been stitching. Now it is time to change loads in the washing machine and pack up the chicken meat from the double chicken stock I have been making all day. Some dinner is also in order.

Friday, July 13, 2007

I Need to Rotate

Yes, I did start some backstitching on the flowers on the left hand side. They do look more like flowers and less like lumps. But I have to say, this is some difficult backstitching. Not only is it dense, where multiple threads end up all in the same holes, but it is also not following any clearly defined changes in color. You really have to check the chart before every stitch. So I switched back to cross stitching again and worked on some of the lighter threads that make up the flowers on the right side. I haven't started any stitching on her face because that is an entirely different set of whites. I'd like to finish the whites used in the flowers and her dress before I switch to the entirely different whites on her face, neck and hands.

Most of the green on the left is finished except for a very small amount under her wings. I have stitched to the right hand edge, but there is still a lot of green on that side still to stitch. I calculate that I am about 50% finished. Not a large piece, but there are a lot of stitches there.

That said, I am tired of working on this piece. I don't have a formal rotation, but I am going to start (or pick up again) some other stitching tomorrow. I could work on my abandoned June Christmas ornament or start something new. I need to spend a little time re-organizing my stash first. Before our last set of trips, I pretty much tore the sewing room apart kitting things up. I really should put away the fabrics, threads, and patterns scattered around the room. Maybe something in there will catch my eye.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week

Today’s SBQ was lifted from a couple of threads over on The Wagon and is:

What do you love to do that many people hate? What do you hate to do, but do anyway?

I like to stitch complex stitches. I started on needlepoint long before cross stitch was popular and never liked to stick to just the basketweave or continental stitch. I like to work on linen, even if it is wildly uneven. I like to work on small count projects like 18 count needlepoint or 32 count linen. Even my relatives who stitch don't know how I do it. I never give up on UFOs. I know I will get back to them sometime. I like to change threads and even change patterns. I made changes even in my very first projects.

I hate to finish. Yes, stitching is fine, but framing? Actually making up ornaments? It just doesn't happen. I have stitched nine projects so far this year. The two baby bibs were already "finished", so all I had to do was mail them. Of the other seven projects only Topiary Ornament III was finished. The rest of them are sitting in the "finishing" drawer waiting for the framers or some ornament finishing. I have two projects that I stitched over five years ago that are still not framed. I am determined to get some of them actually framed this year. What a concept!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My iPhone Arrives

This post has nothing to do with stitching, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see my progress on Flower Fairy.

This post is about gadget lust. Some things you need to know about me in order to appreciate this story. First, I have been involved with computers since 1968. I have always loved technology. First I only worked on "Big Iron", huge IBM and DEC machines that could support dozens (then hundreds) of simultaneous users. Even though I lived in Silicon Valley, I was fairly snobbish about those tiny PCs that people were building in their garages. Why program in assembler when I had a Texas Instruments keyboard with an acoustic coupler that could log into huge machines hundreds of miles away? Then in 1986 we got our first Macintosh computer, a 512K machine. One of the first things my husband printed out was the sign hung above the desk, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fonts". I was hooked. We have dozens of Macs now and regularly attend MacWorld in San Francisco in January. So I was there at MacWorld last January and ogled the new iPhone just like thousands of other Mac fanatics.

I had finally won a long and stupid argument with T-Mobile, where they refused to credit me with a check I had written them in June, 2006. Every 30 days they shut off my service and every 30 days I faxed them a copy of the cashed check. This went on for six months. I was ready for any wireless service except T-Mobile. But, like everyone else, I had to wait until Apple was ready to unleash this marvelous beast.

The rumors were flying for six months. The phone would be released June 16 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, no earlier, no later. When the final date and time was announced, I was disappointed. At 6pm, June 29, 2007, I knew where I would be and it wouldn't be standing in line. I would be in the Program Ops room of Westercon handing out Program Participant packets. Since I was Division Manager of Programming and had set the schedules, there was no way that I could hand this job off to anyone else on the first day of the convention. I sat at the desk and talked to all the program participants picking up their table tents and schedules and watched video on my MacBook Pro of happy people walking out of Apple stores with their new iPhones. I wasn't worried yet.

At noon on Saturday enough people had checked in and I had enough backup staff that I could take off and get an iPhone. My friend Tycho just had to come with me when he found out where I was going. First we hit the local AT&T store. They had had a small line on Thursday, and now were completely sold out. So on to the Burlingame Apple store. Yes, they had iPhones, but only the smaller 4Gb ones. Tycho bought one and spent the entire ride back to hotel almost licking the packaging. My friend Deirdre showed me the one she bought at the Palo Alto Apple store on Friday night. She even volunteered to get one for me, but it was now a personal quest. Surely they would have one in some of the dozen Apple stores in northern California in the next week. The clerk in Burlingame said they would be getting shipments every day. I checked the Apple website for availability. On Tuesday, July 3 only two Apple stores in the entire United States had iPhones; Tigard, Oregon and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvannia. No stores west of the Mississippi had them on Thursday, July 5. And no local stores had them on Friday, July 6.

By now I was very unhappy with Apple. I even wrote them to tell them so. But there was still one marketing channel that was supplied -- Ebay. On Friday, June 29, some iPhones sold on Ebay for over $1000. Crazy stuff! I hunted around for a bit and decided that I could probably get one for around $675 (the retail price was $599 and with California taxes would cost around $650.) It didn't seem that unreasonable to pay an extra $25 for a product I couldn't obtain anywhere else. But the first three auctions I bid on, I lost. Now I was starting to wonder if my attempt to buy this device wasn't being blocked by some cruel fate. But finally an auction from Salt Lake City garnered no other bids but mine and I won the iPhone I was dreaming of for $640, even less than the retail price plus tax. Of course I would have to wait for it. Even that seemed unusually torturous. Watching the UPS tracking, the package went to Colorado, Louisville, and California before being put on a local truck and delivered here yesterday.

And here it is. There was enough battery charge that just opening the box activated it enough to show off its gorgeous display screen. I plugged it into my MacBook Pro, told it I wanted to sign up for AT&T service and move my old telephone number to my new iPhone. In about five minutes the phone was registered with Apple, my contacts in Address Book were loaded and my iCal calendar was replicated on my iPhone. But wait, this is a gorgeous device, but it still isn't a PHONE. When AT&T had not transferred my old number by 11 pm, I called them and asked how long this would take. They said it would take up to 24 hours and almost exactly 24 hours later I got an SMS message (and email) that the phone was active. My husband called me to test it. Success!

But what about this phone. Is it worth all the hype? Does it work? Aren't I unhappy about the features it lacks? Yes, it is wonderful. Yes, it works for me. Yes, I knew what features I wanted before I bought it.

My two main reasons for buying any new phone was to get off the T-Mobile network and to get rid of my Palm PDA. Yes, my old phone (Sharp TM150) was a "smartphone" with a good camera and video, SMS, calendar, email, web access, etc. But none of these features (except the camera) were usable. Nothing from the phone would sync with a Mac operating system. The web access was slow and frustrating. Even though they said they would look up flight information, the only reliable web access I had was sports scores. I never used my phone (or Palm) for email. The reception inside our house in Nevada was spotty. On bad days I would have to stand out on the front walk to get even one bar of service.

The first thing I noticed when the phone was activated was that I had four bars of service -- in the house. Even though incoming calls were still being routed to my old T-Mobile phone, in testing outgoing calls, I could get service from most of the house, even areas that were previously dumb. Hooray. I'm sure I will have good service in San Francisco, but I will have to wait until the end of July to test the service in Maui. The other ways that I want to use this phone are also looking good. I spent a long time downloading phone numbers and address from Eudora and my Palm into Apple's Address Book. I still have more editing to do, but the numbers were all there instantly! The iCal calendars synced perfectly with the phone and the camera takes pictures (not much difference there -- I never took videos with my old phone). The stocks and weather widgets look just like the ones on Dashboard. Setting them up was easy, but it's still fun to flip from one weather forecast to another with just a flick of a finger.

The Google maps ARE amazing. I can even get a satellite view of our house. And the first time you get a real, live web page on an iPhone is nothing short of a miracle. No more dumbed down cellphone web interfaces. I've only used our house WiFi so far. I've heard the Edge network is slow, but since I'm not used to looking up more than sports scores, I probably won't miss that much. I will just have to keep my MacBook Pro Safari bookmarks up to date. Like most people, I use Firefox, but probably wouldn't want my hundreds of Firefox bookmarks on my phone anyway. I'm using a really stripped down set. My old phone never had any games for it. I've tried a few web-based games for iPhones and they are OK. I'd rather have non-web-based games, but since I never had games on my last phone I can live with this.

The only complaint so far? My screen is full of smudges and the small cloth they included does not clean them off. I haven't tried anything stronger yet. Maybe that is why I find myself using the earphones rather than the built in speakers. And my biggest surprise? YouTube videos. Yes, I've seen a few videos on my larger machines, but I wasn't that interested in watching tiny people on a huge screen. Maybe the fact that the video fills the screen and is bright and sharp makes the YouTube videos on the iPhone so compelling. I haven't downloaded any other videos yet, but I can see where I will eventually. I already have a bunch of TikiTV video podcasts, but haven't watched many of them. My husband has a video iPod and has watched most of them. Maybe I'll even start downloading television shows like many tech geeks I know.

Actually I don't intend to use my iPhone as an iPod much at all. I have a 20 Gb 4th gen iPod that suits me perfectly. I can use it for days before running out of battery power. Since my battery in my old phone could barely hold a charge for 15 hours of standby time, I am still paranoid about running out of power on the iPhone. I'll keep my podcasts on my iPod. Just being able to replace my Palm and T-Mobile is enough for now.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Did I Ruin Her?

When I had finished stitching in the hot pink Petite Treasure Braid on her wings, I was afraid I had made a mistake. The rest of the piece was in pastel shades and this hot pink seemed to overwhelm the piece. But look at what I was substituting for -- DMC 839, Dark Brown. I never thought these dark brown squares (which should probably be quarter or three quarter crosses anyway) looked right. Even if the hot pink was so much darker (and brighter) than the rest of the piece, they were still better than dark brown.

Then I started to fill in the stitches around them and the pink started to settle down and blend. When I get to stitching some of the DMC pinks, I think it will blend even better. It has to be better than the brown, which is still stitched on the bottom of the piece as the ground. Besides, I really need a piece of Shiny in most of my stitching.

I usually don't stitch whites until I am almost finished with a piece. I am paranoid about getting them dirty by dragging them around everywhere. But I should still be in Nevada when I finish this piece (maybe next week?), so I decided to finish the flowers on the left. I even think I will backstitch them when the cross stitching is done. I am tired of them looking like lumps. Plus there is SO MUCH backstitching, I think I will follow the example of other stitchers and do some as I go along rather than waiting for it all at the end.

On the flight to Las Vegas I stitched a lot more of the green on the right. It is just easier to stitch large blocks of color than confetti stitch while traveling. I rarely frog for miscounting, as I stitch slowly and count and recount. But I had to frog a bit when I didn't notice a large knot on the back. Usually I feel for knots as I stitch, but this time I missed it.

I had to stop and get more podcasts before I could stitch again this morning. I have over 300 queued up to listen to, but I find I would rather listen to my favorites, than some of the ones I have downloaded and now no longer care for. I should probably just delete the ones I am not listening to, as I do the ones I have heard, but I haven't yet. Just like my stash, I tell myself I will get to them Sometime.

Tomorrow you might want to skip over another technology post from me. I should get my new iPhone tomorrow afternoon and I want to blog about the many adventures I had getting it. I should have another stitching post on Wednesday. Meanwhile, back to stitching!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Flickr Spell

I guess I can't resist this either.


All in blue:

KKK A T H R blue y N

Friday, July 6, 2007

Look! Gold!

Or more specifically DMC 676, 677, and 729 also known as Medium Gold, Light Gold, and Dark Gold. I have finished her hair and started many of the flowers on the left hand side. Unfortunately the flowers look more than ever like lumps. They probably won't look better until I start to backstitch them. I also started on some of the gold down the wings, but I really want to stitch some of the shiny pink now. Maybe I will get some done while I listen to the Oakland As play the Seattle Mariners this evening.

This has also allowed me to try to get caught up on my Buzz Out Loud podcasts. Well, relatively caught up. I'm only up to June 9 of their weekday podcasts. In technology time that seems like a decade ago. I do have to say that they helped me put together some of the program items for the convention. I was on two tech panels -- one on DRM (Digital Rights Management) and one on Geek Grrls Luv Gadgets. It's useless to talk about DRM in Silicon Valley. Even the intellectual property rights attorney, the writer, and the musician were all against it. The Geek Grrls panel went much better, though even with all my toys I couldn't beat Sharan with her hot pink dancing iPuppy from Japan who dances when plugged into an iPod or Laura, who has two scanning electron microscopes in her garage. Still was a great panel with a great audience.

I probably won't have time to post tomorrow, though I will be stitching. On Sunday, with the temperature over 110 in Las Vegas, I'm sure all I will want to do is stitch and go through my snail mail.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Back to Normal

Just for reference, here is Flower Fairy. I've finished most of the leaves on the left hand side. I think I'm going to start some of the other colors besides green now. Maybe I'll start doing some pink on her wings or start her face and hair.

If I was really interested in keeping up with Project Spectrum, I should work on my Hillside Ornament. But I have to admit that it might have become a UFO almost immediately after being started. The piece has been sitting unstitched for so long that I really don't want to go back to it now. I could start my French cross stitch, Rouge, but I don't want to start anything new either.

I feel that I can take some time and stitch now, since I got sleep last night, unpacked my suitcase, and have washed most of my clothes. I also planned the next two trips we will be taking to Maui and Japan. The reports from Live Journal about the convention have been very positive, so I am feeling happy about the whole thing. Here is a video of the skit my husband wrote for Opening Ceremonies. I warn you, though, it's full of in jokes about voting procedures. The audience loved it, but it might just be confusing for people who aren't used to an "Australian" (preferential) ballot.

I am stitching today and tomorrow, then going to the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer's Market (the best I have ever been to) Saturday morning. We head out to the airport Saturday afternoon and return to Las Vegas after being gone for three weeks. We will actually be there for almost three weeks before we have to come back to San Francisco to hang our photography show at the Peninsula Museum of Art.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week

This week’s SBQ was suggested by The Blonde Librarian and is:

Do you consider yourself a “floss miser?”

I try not to be, but I can't help myself. I probably just don't want to thread up the needle again. I know I have lots of thread left, but if I can just stitch out those last couple of crosses, I can stop or change to another color. It takes an act of will power to leave an inch or more of thread to be tucked under or cut off. Then when I am done with a project, I save all the extra thread. Will I ever use it? Probably not. Too bad we can't do a "scrap cross stitch" as quilters do scrap quilts from their bits of fabric left from larger projects.

I haven't stitched in over a week. I've done nothing but recovered from the last trip and worked on the convention. I got people's schedules organized, made sure the rooms had the right setups, participated on some panels, and made sure that our Guests of Honor were happy. The convention has gone well, but I am so relieved that it is almost over. We just have Closing Ceremonies in half an hour, then the Dead Dog party this evening. By this time tomorrow I will be back in the city and sleeping for a week or two. Then we will start all over again and do the same things for next year in Las Vegas. At least I can get back to stitching.

I will never again complain about problems in traveling. It looks like most everyone will lose their luggage this year. Many people traveling to this convention did. And while I was sleeping in Chicago, my hairdresser was robbed at gunpoint at her salon. She had two clients with her and one of them ran away. The robber shot at the fleeing customer, but luckily missed. My hairdresser was so upset that she is changing salons to one more secure and private. I can't blame her. She was also astounded that the gang robbery got so little response from the police. It seems gang violence is escalating, even in sleepy California suburbs. It didn't even make the local papers.