Sunday, February 21, 2010

More Than Halfway

Finally. I have started back on Tranquility (The Shells).  I remember how involved I was when I was stitching this in December.  I simply couldn't put it down.  But now it's pretty hard to pick it up.  Maybe it's all the backstitching I had to do so that I could rotate the cloth in the Q-Snaps to reach the very bottom of the pattern.  Maybe it is because so much of the shells that are left are confetti stitching (with an immense amount of quarter stitches.  How in the heck did the designers ever think that this could be stitched on Aida?)  Maybe it is because I am moving from the very easy to see 18 count needlepoint on Angel Cat to all this 28 count quarter stitches.  At least there are no beads!  But slowly I am moving back into the rhythm of the piece and it is getting easier to decide where to stitch next.  Now that I have finished all the backstitching on the top of the pattern, I can get back to stitching long rows of the same color in the border when I want to tear my hair out over the confetti stitching on the shells themselves.

Being in Maui has been very relaxing.  No timetable.  No meetings.  No decisions other than where we want to go to eat.  That will change on Thursday when we get back to Nevada.  (At least I hope it will change and we will be ready to break ground and start building).  So I am going to enjoy these last few days here and try to spend some time in the sun.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Confetti Beading

This is the fifth in Debbie Mumm's Kitchen Collection from Mill Hill, Easy As Pie. HA!  If I had started with this kit rather than the ones I have already done, I might not have ever finished any of them.  There are six different colors of beads (two reds).  Although it will look like a lovely pie when it is done, stitching the almost random beads and stitches is daunting.  I am trying to stitch up the first four colors of beads so that I will have only stitching (not beading) left on the pie.  Then I can work on stitching only on our flight back to the mainland next Wednesday.  I should be working on Tranquility (The Shells), but I am not.  I hope this is not turning into a UFO.

The broken things around the house are now fixed: new cable box, new modem, spa fixed.  Though at 60 degrees outside (and windy) last night, a soak in the hot tub was not recommended.  The winds should die down over the weekend, but there may be some rain.  We really don't mind rain while we are in Hawaii.  Green is always better than brown.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Threadification

Although my favorite LNS, The Status Thimble, does not carry Gloriana Princess Perle, Edgar's favorite LNS, Needle in a Haystack in Alameda, does carry it and had two skeins of #053, Granny Apple Green.  I will probably need only one more skein, but better to be be safe than sorry.  There might be a very slight different in the new skeins (on the left) than the old (on the right), but with such a busy background, I don't think anyone will notice.  I managed to avoid the hundreds of appealing needlepoint canvases and the thousands of great cross stitch charts, but I did go for some different threads to finish Angel Cat.  First, although I stitched the head of the fish in DMC Rayon, I hated the lumpy way it turned out (even with a laying tool), so I am going to rip it out and replace it with Neon Rays.  Then for the border, which I had considered satin stitching in Caron's Snow like the heart, it was suggested that Petite Very Velvet would be a better choice.  So I got Petite Very Velvet in red and gray for the border.  And even better than that, they had some Dovo black scissors, so now I have new scissors to replace the ones confiscated by Canada TSA in August.  It was a wonderful stop and I am sure we will be back.  Especially since my husband and I pay cash for most things and track our cash with Where's George.  Someone from Alameda hit (entered) almost all the bills we spend there.  So even my husband wants to go back!  :-)

The flight to Maui was on time and uneventful.  Uneventful even for stitching unless you want to see three pale yellow crosses that are the start of Easy As Pie.  But although the weather is glorious here, inanimate objects are really giving us a hard time.  First, the new modem from Clearwire is overheating, so we will have to return it tomorrow when the local store is open.  We can have internet for 30 minutes or so, then I have to turn it off and let it cool down.  At least the Time Warner Oceanic cable store was open today.  First the television had no guide, then trying to reset it left the box dark and blank.  Off to the cable store to replace it.  Now we have cable, though since our projector remote died, we have to get up on a ladder and turn on the projector manually.  Of course our home theater installer moved and who knows when we will be able to get another remote.  The only other home theater installer on Maui has never returned our phone calls.  It's Maui.  If it's not on island, it might as well not exist.  And our hot tub, which only works every fifth time is once again emptying the water instead of heating it up when we turn it on.  It's lovely to sit in the hot tub and watch the stars here, but not tonight.  All of this is to say that no stitching was done today and maybe just a little tomorrow depending on how long it takes to replace the modem.  I hope those who had long weekend had a wonderful one.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Halfway

I suppose that this piece is about halfway done. But more importantly, I have used half of the two skeins of Gloriana Princess Perle Granny Smith Green that I am using for the background. Although the fish does take up a lot of the background on the right side, I think I will run our of this thread before I finish the background. So this means a thread hunt.  I'd like to go to my favorite needlework store, The Status Thimble, in Burlingame, but I don't think they carry Glorianna threads.  I can call them in the morning.  Needle in a Haystack in Alameda carries the these threads, but I don't know if they have this color in stock.  I can call them, too.  It's just easier to drive to Burlingame from the City than it is to drive across the Bay Bridge to Alameda.  And Burlingame has better restaurants and an Apple store.  I seem to have left my earphones in Nevada, so I'd like to get a new pair before we fly to Hawaii on Sunday.  Not much chance of getting threads or good iPhone earphones in Maui.  I'll probably stitch a couple more hours on this tonight, but tomorrow I need to start the fifth Kitchen Collection piece so that I can stitch it more on the long plane flight over the Pacific Ocean.  Once I get to Maui, it's Tranquility (The Shells) all the way until that piece is done.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Heads and Tails

and arms and the bottom left background are done. That leaves a halo, a wing, a fish and most of the background to go.  I finished up the last part of the face while watching Northwestern (my alma mater) beat Indiana in basketball.  Now Northwestern is great school, but it's not much known for athletics.  If they were in a league they should play the University of Chicago, MIT, and Princeton.  So when they are on a roll (every ten years or so), I will cheer them on.  They even went to the Rose Bowl in 1996.  Once every 50 years is about their average.  After watching the University of Kentucky play basketball this year (we do not talk about last year), Northwestern looks like a high school basketball team.  I'm glad they won, but I have no illusions about them all of a sudden reaching the Sweet Sixteen (or even winning one game) in the NCAA tournament.

One of the delights of needlepoint, as opposed to cross stitch, is the immense number of different threads that one can use. I have been using this canvas to experiment with a lot of different colors, textures, thicknesses and reflections.  When I bought threads for this project there were so many different colors that I assumed that I would use the same thread for all the small pieces of color.  I especially planned to use the Caron Snow in Red for ALL of the red, including the ribbon and the border.  But seeing how my eye is drawn to the shiny red heart, I rethought the use of Snow for the ribbon and even for the border.  For the ribbon I am using RG Petite Very Velvet, which I love.  That is as long as you cut the pieces short, are not put off by the fact that it does shed, and that the velvet will wear down to the nylon core at the needle's eye.  The soft and fuzzy effect may be hard to see in a picture, but it is very obvious in Real Life.

On the other hand, I am using three different blacks in this project.  RG Tweedie 18 (100% wool) for the cat's outline, Gloriana silk for the wings outline and the interior details on the face, and RG Neon Rays for the cat's nose and the fish.  There are also two matte black beads for the eyes.  Frankly, even in Real Life, it would be hard to tell the difference.  The Neon Rays is not as shiny in black as it is in pink (the paws) and maroon (bottom of the heart and tail).  I will be using RG Neon Rays for most of the rest of the fish.  I couldn't find a turquoise, so I am using DMC Rayon for the part around the fish eye.  Probably the biggest difference, though, is the fact that I muted many of the colors drawn on the canvas -- soft silk pink for the cheeks and ears, softer shades of browns for the stripes.  The only change I would make so far is the use of RG Splendor Ecru for the light parts of the cat's paws and face.  I would rather have used a wool like the rest of the cat, but I couldn't find a wool that was darker than white, but not tan.  The Splendor is just the tiniest bit shiny instead of the fuzzy texture of the wool on the rest of the cat.  Overall, I am greatly pleased.  Now I just have to get cracking on the background.  Have a good week everyone.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Do You Ever Feel Guilty

about a project you promised to stitch, but didn't?  I felt guilty about Angel Cat.  I brought her all the way to southern California last weekend and didn't add a single stitch.  Admittedly we drove for over eight hours (over four hours there and back), went to two meetings, and did a hotel tour.  But really, couldn't I have snuck in a few stitches instead of surfing the net and finishing a book?  OK, I finished the book by reading it in the bathtub -- not the best environment for stitching.  But I was feeling guilty, so I spent the last couple of days stitching poor Angel Cat, mostly yesterday.

While stitching, I realized two things. First, this is going to take me a lot longer to finish than I thought it would. The cat was relatively easy to stitch; lots of blocks of similar colors and easy to stitch wool thread. The background is all Gloriana Princess Perle. Lots of confetti stitching and the thread is harder to pull when there is a lot of thread on the back of the canvas. Second, even though I bought two skeins of Granny Smith perle for the medium green of the background, I am going to run out of thread. I guess I wasn't thinking about how much 10 yards of perle would cover. I am so used to using stranded cotton or silk that I forgot that perle isn't separable. Ten yard is just ten yards.  At least it is a variable thread, so even if I can't match the dye lot exactly, I hope other skeins will still come close.

For all the kind people who left comments on my blogoversary post, THANK YOU!  I've added some new blogs to my Google Reader.  I am feeling better over the past two days, but I have a bunch of things that I need to catch up with.  Should I put Angel Cat away for a while and bring back Tranquility (The Shells) as I promised myself I would do?  Or will I just continue with Angel Cat and wait until I have plenty of stitching time in Maui starting the 14th for Tranquility (The Shells)(I think the cat is going to stay in rotation until we leave.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Yes, It's Been Three Years

And I am quite pleased that I have kept up this blog and my stitching.  Sorry, there is no giveaway, just my sincere gratitude to anyone who reads this blog and gives me such positive comments that I stitch even more furiously to get projects done.  I have learned so much from other bloggers that I feel quite blessed to have started this internet endeavor. 

I should have a little stitching progress to show tomorrow, but the past two days have been spent mostly in bed, shot down by some sort of stomach flu.  I'm going to sit down in my stitching chair tonight and forget everything but stitching.  I couldn't have done it without all of you kind readers.  Thank you.