Monday, January 19, 2009

Last day of leisure!

Okay, I went back to work from my looooong winter break on January 5th, and I started teaching my class on the 12th, but tomorrow MY classes start. I've been stitching up a storm the past 2 weeks because once classes start, I have no real free time and even less energy to stitch. (That's my excuse for not blogging for 2 weeks. Yeah, it's a lie-- what of it?)

Since January 1, I have worked on 6 of the 11 reproduction samplers I have chosen as my official WIP elimination rotation.

First progress picture is Beatrix Potter. I blogged about this sampler and the SAL in the previous post. Well, since January 1st, Beatrix has gone from this:
To this: (notice the sad, empty motifs in the upper left corner of the sampler have now been filled in and, in some cases even completed! Progress!)

Another sampler I blogged about previously has not shown as much progress. All I have accomplished on my nearly-completed Martha Brady sampler is to finish her name:

In my defense, her name (along with the date and "Ackworth School" are all stitched over one thread of the 34 count linen. On a good day, with perfect lighting I can stitch about 4 letters before I get a headache. She'll be finished when she's finished (and she will be my largest and most complicated finish so far.)
I think I'll blog about the other four pieces I worked on seperately, since Blogger seems to enjoy reformatting my posts as I'm working on them.
Keepin' on keepin' on!
Jamie Q.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Beatrix Potter

Well, as much as I enjoy playing with the colors and features of my blog, I am going to stitch at least one strand today. Since my eyes are tired, I'm not going to keep working on the 40ct AH 1810 but rather am going to put a strand into an oldie but goodie, the legendary OOP Beatrix Potter, another Needleprints chart. The sampler was not stitched by Potter but rather was owned by her-- apparently she was either a collector of samplers, benefactor of a Quaker school, or friend of a Quaker schoolgirl. The sampler, now a faded pinky-rust color, was not stitched at the famed Ackworth school but instead is believed to have been stitched at nearby Milverton, where a couple of other "red" (reddish/pinkish is more accurate) samplers were stitched. (One of these is ET-- Eliza Trusted-- another sampler in my 2009 rotation).

Here is Beatrix as of January 1, 2009. She is being stitched on 36ct Creme Edinburgh linen in "Nutwood" (color #64) silk by Dinky Dyes. It's a nice color (although I would probably have been happier with either more contrast or more variegation) and the Dinky Dyes is a nice silk (not as glossy as HDF, but not as tightly twisted, either, so it covers a little bit better).

I started Beatrix way back when the chart first came out, but I quit when my Martha Brady chart fell to pieces because I did not want to damage this chart (it quickly went OOP and was selling in the $100s on E-Bay!). Needleprints re-released this chart as a downloadable .pdf last year so I got that and picked Beatrix up again. (You can join the Yahoo group in the link above and ask there how to get a copy from Jacqueline Holdsworth, the publisher)

I'm working on her with a SAL (also hosted on Blogger). When I posted my WIP pic, someone commented on the way I had skipped around on Beatrix. Sometimes, when I'm not sure if I have a large enough piece of fabric or I'm not sure if I like the fiber/fabric combo, I'll just outline motifs up to the edges so I get an idea of: 1. If the piece is going to fit and/or 2. If I like the way it will look.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Almost finished....

I was really pushing for a 2008 finish for Martha Brady (an Ackworth Quaker polychrome sampler from Needleprints Publications in England). By New Year's Eve, I was down to a couple of letters, half of a medallion (a white one which is hard to see on the cream fabric!), and the dreaded over-1 stitching on Martha's name, the school, and the year.

I was burned out on this one and decided that, since stitching should be FUN, not a chore, I would put Martha aside and have her as a very early 2009 finish.

Well, apparently I was reeeeeally burned out on Martha, because I still haven't finished her.

Here she is in all her not-quite-finished glory. I think the fabric is 34ct Devonshire Cream Legacy linen (which is pure joy to stitch on!) and the floss is Au Ver A Soie. There are some nice motifs that can't even be seen because they're in such pale colors. I will probably antique the sampler, if I can get up the nerve and can find a good "tea dye" color that will be somewhat lightfast if sprayed or stamped on,

A very, very special Thank you to Carolyn from the HDF forums who made it possible for me to finish Martha! (My chart fell apart and I couldn't read the symbols along the center folds!) She made me a working copy from her chart and mailed it to me. Sticthers are the greatest!

My gazillion WIPs

I really enjoy starting new things, and although I LOVE having something finished (whether it is a sampler or a sweater, or a graduate degree), the part in between starting and finishing-- not so much. (My love of starting things and not working on them is proven by the fact that I have had this blog since September 2007 and this is my first post-- January 3, 2009!)

For 2009, I have decided that the joy of having a finished sampler to admire is greater than the joy of starting yet another one (or shopping for the next one-- which admittedly is my VERY favorite part of stitching).

Anyway, I have been inspired by the "Quaker walls" of several of the stitchers at the Hand Dyed Fibers forum (especially Donna who finished 13 Quaker repros in 2008!) and have designated 2009 my year to get the samplers I love so much finished. (Framing and hanging them will be a whole 'nuther story. The 4 finished samplers on the left of this page are still unframed!) I have several that are very close to being finished and some real BAPs that could be finished this year with a little dedication.

To keep my vow in mind, I spent most of New Year's Day photographing my chosen focus pieces for 2009. (I have a gazillion more WIPs than this, but I'm obsessed with repros at the moment, so I picked these!) I allowed myself a small New Year's Day start (I had the chart and fibers on hand and only had to buy fabric.) I'll take and post a pic when I get a chance, but it is the AH 1810 Westown School American Quaker by Sabine Taterra-Gundacker in HDF Examplar Primitive Black (mostly) with some TBD colors of HDF from my stash on 40ct Stitches and Spice's (an Australian company) hand dyed Spice Blend Golden Wattle linen. The stitched area will be a little less than 7"X7" which I think will be adorable.
Anyway, (again!) I am going to blog and post the pics of my chosen focus WIPs here so I have a place to come look at them and remind myself how close I am to finishing. If anyone else stumbles across this blog and wants to cheer me on, that would be rockin' awesome.