Monday, September 28, 2009

Rouge comme... FINISHED

It seemed longer to finish the mushroom than I thought it should. There are a lot of different reds and the motif is split badly over two pages. Actually all of this pattern is split very badly from page to page without any overlap. I did have to fold and photocopy some of the pattern in order to get any of it stitched when a single motif was split over four pages.

I am very happy with my choice of beads on this project. The spots on the mushroom were just charted for DMC Blanc. Instead I used these pale beige beads (Mill Hill 2001) and I think they look great. Now for the harder thing; how to frame this when I have only about two inches of fabric outside of the design. I will also have to find more audio books (or go back to podcasts) as I have finished all 600,000 hours (approximately) of George R. R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice series. Onward to Three Gables.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Addiction

I know I said that I would work on Rouge ... comme or Three Gables, but I can't seem to stop working on Mix It Up. Maybe it's the bright colors or the beautiful beads, but I keep telling myself that I will work on something else after just a few stitches here. If I was as enchanted by all my WiPs, I wouldn't have any UFOs! Well, at least I know that if I do put this down, I will have no trouble picking it up again. And no trouble finishing the next three kits in this series.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Travel Stitching

Rather than continue on with Three Gables, I decided to do some beading on Mix It Up while I was on Maui. I did stitch 22 pale gray stitches just under the top line of beads on the plane from Los Angeles to Honolulu, but I didn't stitch a bit in Honolulu. The rest of this stitching was done in Maui. And it looked exactly the same when I landed in Las Vegas. Again I wasn't very motivated to stitch on the flight, though I have stitched quite a bit more since I got back to Nevada. I am about to switch back to finishing Rouge...comme. Apparently that is where my skeins of DMC 3045/3046 went to. When Rouge...comme is finished, I'll finish up Three Gables. Even after both of them are finished I will have accomplished only three of my ten stitching goals for this year. I'm going to have to decide if any of the other stitching goals are even possible in the next three months. I also have some sewing goals that I haven't even started.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Almost, But Can't Be Finished

I've finished all the leaves on the ground on the left side. I've finished most of the garage. But when I reached for DMC 3045/3046 to stitch the broom straw, they weren't on my floss bag ring! Did I forget to pull them? Did I borrow them for another project? (This project has been kitted up for a long, long time.) So though I can finish the rest of the garage, finish the leaves on the right side and do most of the backstitching, I can't finish all the stitching until I get back to Nevada and track down the missing threads. No running to the local LNS here in Maui.

And speaking of DMC colors, I don't know if you can see the single blue stitch at the collar of the broom. That is DMC 3807. It is the only place that color is used. Since I have all the DMC colors, I don't mind using a color for one stitch, but I wonder why the designer didn't choose DMC 333 used at the bottom of the door and in the windows? I probably could swap DMC 832/834 for DMC 3045/3046 in the broom, but I will wait until I can stitch with the charted color. I guess I have my work cut out for me back in Nevada; finish Three Gables and finish Rouge...comme. Both are so close.

Ten Book Reading Challenge: Finished book two a couple of days ago, The Defector by Daniel Silva and 80% finished with book three.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Fence Is Finished

Here is the finished fence and most of the leaves on the left hand side. Not only are there more leaves left to be stitched on the bottom, but there are dozens of leaves floating though the air that need to be stitched one at a time. My only complaint about this part of the pattern is that there is supposed to be a big, fat pumpkin button stitched right over the dozens of confetti stitches that I did below the fence. I will probably move it more towards the steps, so it doesn't cover up too many of the leaves.

I also gave the birds legs and added posts to the two smaller gables. There is just the garage, more leaves, and more back stitching to go. Drea asked if I was trying to finish this before Halloween. Not really. Even if it is finished, it probably won't get framed for a while. The reason I am working on this so strongly is that right now I have the time to do it. I have less than half of my yearly stitching goals done and I really want this to be one of the goals I finish. For the past three days my husband has taken our only car on Maui and attended the Maui Photo Festival and Workshops. That means I am either stitching or reading (or watching NCIS on Video On Demand). When he is finished we will have to start working on a couple of projects that we need to finish here on Maui.

When we get back to Nevada after Wednesday, we will jump right back into working on building the new house. We have been depressed about the months and months that our plans have spent in the City of Henderson Permit department. They had one small, picky change after another. I swear that they change the building rules weekly! But we have an almost complete permit now, with the question of the fireplace [installed in dozens of venues in Clark County, but apparently not good enough for City of Henderson] left to a committee to decide. I'll put in bookshelves before I will buy the only fireplace approved in the City of Henderson (and sold by one of the city commissioners!) So we might even get to break ground next week. We will start with the retaining walls and pool footings for a couple of months, but will eventually get to the house foundation. Soon the walls and roof will be up, but then the majority of the time will be taken with the interior finishing. I will get excited about the house again when they scoop that first shovelful of dirt.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The House Is Finished

Yes, the middle gable is finally finished, also the steps and the foundation. Just the fence, leaves, and garage to do. Plus some back stitching and a bunch of small french knots for eyes in all the windows. I'll have to wait until I get back to Nevada to attach the buttons as I did not bring them with me. But even if I finish before I leave Maui, I have several Mill Hill Kitchen Collection kits that I can work on. This will definitely be done this month.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Crows Have Beaks

When there are only a few stitches of a certain color thread, I usually leave them until I can finish them all up at once. In this case the broom handle and the birds' beaks are the only places that use DMC 435. So I waited until I was ready to stitch the broom handle to finish up the birds' beaks.

I have also started on the last skein (of three) of Bark, added some chimney pots, and started the roof of the broom garage. After the garage and house is finished there is a riot of confetti stitches at the base of the house that look like fall leaves.

Monday, September 14, 2009

One Week and One Day

That's how much longer we will be in Maui. We leave for the mainland again a week from Wednesday. Is it enough time to finish all the cross stitch on Three Gables? Possibly. Especially considering that my husband is involved in the Maui Photo Festival and will be gone with our only car for at least two days. I might drop him off and pick him up one of the three days, but not the morning he is planning to leave for a shoot at Haleakela at 3 a.m.! I did work on some Bark on the middle gable and on the right side of the door last night. I wanted to save the trickier bits for better lighting.

I got absolutely no stitching done in Oahu. If we were not tromping around Lyon Arboretum in Manoa Valley we were eating tasty food from the high (Chef's Mavro's incredible 15 course tasting menu) to the low (Giovanni's Shrimp Truck in Kahuku). Literally the highest point in this vacation came via a Stearman Biplane out of Dillingham Field. It's an open cockpit plane with room for only one passenger and the pilot. My husband wanted to try this for his birthday, even though he doesn't have the best stomach for flying. At least he didn't go for the acrobatic tour! Instead we separately took the Sacred Falls tour that travels the North Shore coast, inland to Sacred Falls, over the Polynesian Village at Laie, the shrimp farms at Kahuku and Turtle Bay Resort.

Yes, the scenery below was wonderful, but I can't begin to describe how amazing it is to fly in an open cockpit plane. You feel just like a bird. I spent as much time looking at clouds and the horizon as I did the land and sea below.

Ten Book Reading Challenge: I have finished my first book, The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff. Yes, I read quickly and didn't spend much time doing anything else but reading yesterday. I hope everyone has a productive and interesting week.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Reading, Listening, Stitching

This is the current audible.com book that I have been listening to while I have been stitching. It is actually the fourth book in the series (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R. R. Martin. I have actually read/listened to 90 books so far this year, so this Ten Book Reading Challenge by Vickie is just perfect for me. I can't tell all of the books that I will read by the end of the year, but I will start with The Defector By Daniel Silva, Finding Oz by Evan I. Schwartz, and Julian Comstock by Robert Charles Wilson, which are the three books that I brought with me to Hawaii. I also have Transitions by Iain M. Banks waiting for me when I get back to Nevada. All stitchers who are readers, should check out Vickie's blog.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Not Quite...

This is as much as I could finish before I left Nevada for Hawaii. There are still a couple of letters to finish
and the top of the larger mushroom. Rather than stitch a scattering of white stitches on the mushroom tops, I will add more light tan beads there. But I really didn't want to pack all this up (including the beads) and take it to Hawaii for just a bit of stitching, so I left it in Nevada. Three Gables was packed and ready to go, so I will work on that when we get settled back in Maui on Sunday.

Now we are in Honolulu for James' birthday. I started Debbie Mumm's Mix It Up from the Mill Hill Kitchen Collection, but I only have a line of 22 pale gray stitches on a bright white fabric that I stitched on the flight from Los Angeles to Maui. Not enough for a picture. Undoubtedly there will be more to show you by the time we leave for Maui on Saturday. I picked this kit because there is quite a lot of gray without beads to be stitched.

I did finish up the citron background beads on the ladybug. I can see stitching next year a lot of the Miribilia charts with the tons of beading that I have been dreading. There is also a Wentzler dragon I want to do next year, but it is almost all made up of forty different pairs of two blended threads. Ouch. But for this year, I think I have a good handle on Rouge...comme and Three Gables. If I can finish both of those, I will have about half of my goals for this year finished.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Poppy Finished

Not only is the poppy finished, but I particularly like the frosted black beads that I used for the center. Although the rest of the beads are shiny, the black beads look much more like a real poppy. I couldn't have done this without the extra fast shipping from 123Stitch. I got my extra beads (and the last two Kitchen Collection kits) in seemingly no time at all.

As long as I was beading, I decided to finish off the background beading on the two bottom corners. That just leaves the mushrooms on the top center, the last of the border, and the beading around the ladybug. I may have time to finish this before Wednesday, but I am not going to rush it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

One More Motif

Another motif is finished along with the start of the last two. When I finish the cross stitch on the poppy, I'm going to use black beads for the center. There are also random Crystal Honey beads in the background. The last motif is two red mushrooms.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Fondness For Beading

My new found fondness for beading will save this project from heading straight for the trash. I started this project last year during Project Spectrum, a creative art project where we were to concentrate on working with three colors for six months with colors changing every two months. Now this might work for people who are knitting socks or scarves or people working on Art Trading Cards, but even a moderate stitching project is going to take more than two months. A lot of my UFOs from last year are failed Project Spectrum projects which I am trying to finish up this year.

Every since Winter, I know I am not a one color (or even two color) stitcher. Give me a rainbow! There are a lot of other problems with this project. First, the pattern is in French. Maybe I mistranslated the size of the stitching or am stitching this on larger count fabric than called for (this is 30 count), but I cut the fabric way, way too small for the pattern. There is supposed to be text entirely around the main box, but I will be lucky to have enough fabric to finish the top of the pattern. It barely fits in Q-snaps now. I also hate this fabric because it is lacy and see through. Great for getting the threads through the holes, but not so great when you need need to cross behind even one thread. Everything on the back shows through. And there are supposed to be random stitches in the background of all four corner motifs. Please don't take these as complaints. These are learning experiences. I will know not to make the same mistakes again and I have found some creative ways around my problems.

First, I noticed how similar the colors and subjects in this project are to the Kitchen Collection's Toasty and Bowled Over that I just finished. Lots of red and green; tomatoes, jam, and cherries that fit a kitchen theme. All I needed to do was to add some beads to tie these two projects together. And so I did, starting with the heart. The pattern called for a coral thread (the lightest part of the tomato, DMC 3801) that I think clashes with the other two reds already in the heart. I had already changed out the too contrasty White in the highlights of the tomato and cherries for DMC 353. I didn't take me long to find a Mill Hill bead in an orangey-red (3043) that looks perfect. And beads also solve the second problem with the see through fabric. I will change the single random stitches to beads and sew them with invisible thread. There is nothing I can do with the missing text around the box, but when I frame this in a similar frame to the rest of the Kitchen Collection, I think they will all look good together.

How did I decide which beads to use? The Mill Hill website has a handy chart that matches their bead colors with DMC colors. Unfortunately that only worked for one bead needed, DMC 3047 (the same color used for the boxes). It translates to Mill Hill 2019 Crystal Honey. I even have some of those left over from the Kitchen Collection. The rest of the colors I picked from using the pull down menus on the Mill Hill site that separate out beads by type and color family. The only problem with my master plan is that although I do have lots of beads, most of them are in my favorite colors (blue, purple, and dark greens). I didn't have any beads that were light green. So I have several candidates on order. Which means that though I can finish up the cross stitching in the next week, I'll have to wait until we get back from Hawaii at the end of the month to finish the last of the stitching. It's worth the wait to have saved this project.