Friday, October 30, 2009

Some Backstitching

I was going to backstitch at least three shells, but you have to not only finish the shells, but also finish stitching parts of the nearby shells that are next to the back stitching. I do have three more shells stitched, but not their neighbors. I also thought I would stop stitching this and go back to Three Gables and finish it in October, but I haven't. Instead I frogged about a third of the right hand border and restitched it. I also moved the stitching on the Q-snaps so that I could stitch all of the upper right hand corner. I've finished the upper right border and started on the top border. There is a lot of water, so I will be stitching that for a while before I go back to the shells.

Mostly we have been spending time deciding what to do about building the new house. It seems to be in a state of permanent uncertainty, so on Monday we fired our general contractor and yesterday talked to another contractor who we had liked before (and who certainly has more experience dealing with the City of Henderson if they are the problem). It has been very depressing to think that we are another month or two from starting this project. We thought we would be breaking ground in August!

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Xs and /s

This is the middle part of stitching. Progress, but nothing really finished. I am wandering all over the chart as I stitch a needle full of one color. And there are some holes because there are colors that aren't stitched again until I get to the top, bottom, or the extreme left of the chart. I think I am going to stitch a bit of the upper portion of the chart for a while because it has less quarter stitches and more bands of the same color.

Meanwhile I am behind in reporting my Ten Book Reading Challenge.

  1. A lovely urban fantasy by a Canadian writer who I have been reading for a long time.
  2. The Defector by Daniel Silva
    A spy thriller about Israeli agents working in Russia. Very well written and thoughtful.
  3. Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story by Evan I. Schwartz
    A biography of L. Frank Baum. I learned to read by using the Wizard of Oz books, so I had hoped to learn a little about the author. There is some biography here, but there is more modern psychobabble that is completely annoying. I really dislike when current writers insist on subscribing contemporary motives to people who lived hundreds of years ago.
  4. Darker Angels (The Black Sun's Daughter, Book 2) by M.L.N. Hanover
    I loved this author's science fiction quartet. The first book of this dark urban fantasy was choppy and confusing, but this one was quite good. I read it in a day.
  5. Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, 2006 Edition, Editor, Rich Horton
    A short story anthology with many wonderful stories that I had read before and several weak stories that are better off buried.
  6. A Better Angel: Stories by Chris Adrian
    An advanced reading copy of a short story collection by a pediatric surgeon. Some stories take place in hospitals, some feature damaged children. Well written, but a bit repetitive.
  7. Friday by Robert A. Heinlein
    An old favorite that I took down from the bookshelf while waiting for an Amazon order to arrive.
  8. Transition by Iain M. Banks
    A weak and confusing effort by my once favorite science fiction author.
  9. Julian Comstock : a story of 22nd-century America by Robert Charles Wilson
    A post apocalyptic novel of politics and war. Unexpectedly charming.
  10. The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom
    I am not quite finished with this dense philosophical treaty on the basis of American thought and culture. Very interesting, but not for the faint of intellect.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Possibly this picture will make the subjects more evident. They are a group of seashells floating over a shallow ripple of waves. My mother-in-law is crazy about seashells and loves the ocean. She used to spend weeks every summer near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she owns ten acres of pine forest entailed from King George III. Whenever my husband's family took a vacation, it was either to South Carolina or Sanibel Island, Florida. Hunting for shells was their favorite pastime.

I picked up this kit to start, because I thought it would be easier than searching for fabric and threads for a pattern. Well, not so much. First I replaced the Aida in the kit with a piece of Monaco. OK, that was simple. I can't imagine how anyone stitched this pattern on Aida as there are hundreds of quarter stitches. Then I spread out the threads under my Ott-Light and started putting them in the kit's included thread holders. Oops, only two six hole holders for 18 threads. OK, I can make another one. It was easy to separate out the 20 lengths of Pale Dusty Teal and the 6 lengths of Mint Green. But a lot of the colors had only one length and most of them are in the Tan, Beige, or Terra Cotta family. One length of Pink (818). Check! One length of Lt. Yellow-Orange (6121). WTF? That is not a DMC color number. That isn't even a DMC color name! Maybe it is Anchor? Maderia? And what about Rose Beige (2560) or Lt Orange (3722)? I spent what seemed like an age trying to find a conversion chart that mentioned those color numbers or names. Nothing, unless I wanted Rose Beige makeup or underwear. Finally I found a Bucilla-DMC chart that pointed me in the right direction. Mostly. Translating the Bucilla numbers to DMC numbers and checking my DMC threads under the Ott-Light with the kit threads only gave me a vague color equivalence. When it came down to the last few threads, I simply declared, "THIS is Light Orange and THIS is Light Rust." If they aren't, at least they will be consistent. I haven't figured out exactly what to do about the flower symbol in the chart that is not seen anywhere in the list of threads, though I have already substituted an orange tan for the pink called for in the upper shell, but not seen in the finished picture.

Someday the finished stitching should look like this. There are lots of half crosses, so I hope that parts of this go very quickly. So far the part of the inner frame I stitched in half cross was done in a flash. I hope to have this finished by Christmas. Yes, this Christmas. Though that means that most of the goals on my 2009 List will have to wait until 2010.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves

You know that I must be going crazy when I would rather backstitch than cross stitch. But the only parts left to cross stitch are all those darn confetti leaves. Not just the leaves sitting around the bottom on the house and garage, but the ones floating down in the middle of nowhere. There are still dozens of them to stitch. Finally last night I couldn't take it any more. I couldn't look at another WiP. I didn't even care if I finished Three Gables, even if I am oh, so close.

So, of course, I had to start a new project. It is an old and out of print kit that I am stitching for my elderly mother-in-law. She used to needlepoint (even finished covering eight dining room chairs), but doesn't see well enough now to stitch. You are welcome to guess what it is, but it won't look like much until much more of it is stitched and backstitched.

Meanwhile I did take Mix It Up to Pasadena and back on Saturday, but didn't have a chance to add even one stitch. The living room where we held the meeting was rather crowded and there really wasn't enough room to swing a needle, much less safely keep my scissors and needlethreader close at hand. It was an interesting meeting and I am glad that I went, but I have to say that I was equally glad for the shopping we did. I love Crate & Barrel, but there are none of their stores in Nevada. I often stop by their store in Pasadena when I am in southern California. This time we bought a huge black glass vase and some tiny handblown juice glasses. We also had a chance to shop at the Bath & Beyond Outlet and the Williams Sonoma Outlet in Primm. I tell myself that I don't need anything from these stores, but I always walk out with some things. I'm a sucker for bath products that will help me sleep.

I'm going to go back and stitch on my new project while I am still excited by it. I hope everyone has a happy and productive week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Back to Square Two

Not all the way back to square one as there was a lot of this design that I did not have to frog. But I did finish the entire mixing bowl. I think it looks so much better with the correct threads stitched in the right places. I even went ahead and stitched a bit on the mixer tower stand, but now I am moving back to Three Gables. I thought I might have Three Gables finished last week, but since it is not, I would still like to finish it in October. We are driving to Pasadena for a meeting on Saturday, so I will take Mix It Up there and work on it some more.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

I wasn't feeling well. I wasn't sleeping. There were too many new shows on television to watch. I spent too much time reading. We had to go out and interview a pool dude and a hardware flooring guy for the new house. It was my week to cook. I had to drop off my husband at the airport and pick him up. I had to take the car in the shop for an oil change and Smog Check. I finished my audiobooks and don't want to listen to my podcasts. Sure there are lots of excuses why I am not stitching, but the truth is that frogging that amount of stitching makes your mojo run away and hide under the bed. And since our bed is only six inches off the floor, it's hard to crawl under it and go get that mojo back. I have stitched about half of the mixing bowl. I had hoped to post a picture of the bowl completely done, but that will have to wait.

Probably a better excuse about why I am not stitching is right here. I was in JoAnne's last week and found these bead boxes on sale. I got two to start with to see if they would work and then went back and bought five more. I have three of them filled up and have enough Mill Hill beads to fill two more. Then I need to decide if I want to put some of my other brands of beads in these boxes or not. The small boxes are 2" x "1" x 1/2". Twenty four of the smaller boxes fit in a hinged larger box. I really like that my 1/2" label maker makes perfect labels for these boxes and that I can see all the different colors through the larger clear box. (The A stands for Antique Beads, the F stands for Frosted, and the M stands for Magnifica.) The boxes can also hold more than one package of Mill Hill beads. I need to finish this project by the end of the week so that I can get all of this off the dining room table and back in the sewing room where it belongs.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Stepping Into Darkness

Thought for the future: Don't try to separate threads from a kit under bad fluroescent lighting, especially the lighting in the Red Carpet Club at LAX. As I was working on the mixing bowl, I was confused by how dark it was compared to the picture on the front of the package. There also seemed to be only two shades of grey, rather than the three I was expecting. Did they pack the wrong threads in the kit? Were the shades of grey too close?

In search of the answers, I pulled out the three DMC colors called for in the kit and compared them with what I was sewing with. Oops. I misidentified all three colors. First I thought the Light Grey (762) was actually a thread of white. They are pretty close in value except under strong sunlight. Then I picked a random thread of Medium Grey (415) and decided that must be Light Grey. I even started stitching with it for my first 22 stitches. That left me with Dark Grey (318) as both Medium Grey and Dark Grey. And it left me with a duotone mixer. Sigh. To frog or not? It's not as if this is for a competition or EGA Guild Challenge. But like most of you, I had to fix it. Even if I am the only one who ever sees it, I still couldn't live with having it this far wrong. But it has slowed down my stitching mojo. Only today do I have all the wrong threads (most of the mixer except the real Dark Grey) frogged. Luckily all the grey beads were stitched with Dark Grey, so I did not have to frog them. And I did not even attempt to separate the red threads until I did have good sunlight to do it in, so all of the rest of the stitching is good.

I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to stitch this week. We met with our contractor last Thursday and we will be back talking to vendors this week; the pool guys tomorrow and the hardwood flooring people on Wednesday. It is also my week to cook and I am completely uninspired. Wednesday evening James flies to San Francisco until Saturday evening. Maybe stitching will occur at the end of the week.