Monday, March 19, 2018

Slow Stitching Monday???? - March 19, 2018

Well, it was a Sunday fail this week.  I didn't get linked up to Kathy and there's really not a lot of progress on any front.  

I had one of those weeks.  Flat tire, medical appointments, the big project is a priority at work.  I haven't had much time to craft and when I did have down time, books were more attractive than needlework.  

Better luck in the upcoming week, I hope................

What I did do was work some in the basement over the weekend.  I don't know if other people do this, but I have had a really bad habit in the past of just dropping a project that's partially done into a box or bag and stashing it.   There were times that Walt and I picked up the house in a hurry by just 'containerizing' all clutter and occasionally my needlework got swept up in that as well.   Our basement wasn't hoarder level, but the storage areas got close.  These are two large rooms that are across the entire width of the house and about eight feet deep.   I have a goal of clearing out a box every weekend until it's done.  Then painting those rooms and having a curated, inventoried storage where I can actually FIND the Christmas lights the first weekend in December LOL. 

But anyway.   Lots of random boxes still to go.   When I come across projects, there's a triage.  "Is it done? Do I want to finish it?  Are the materials still in good shape?  Everything there (or replaceable)? Pattern with it or easy to figure out?"

I keep finding 'zombie projects' that I'd completely forgotten about.   Here's one:  nice plush fingertip towel with Aida banding in a Christmas plaid.

See that.  One little tree, maybe 50 stitches, is all that's missing.   The floss was all folded up inside the towel.

Popped it into the hoop and it was done in less than 15 minutes.   It's now in the wash.  With the addition of a nice handmade soap cake, it will make a cute hostess gift for next December.

Most of the zombies won't be quite that easy to conquer.   But conquer them I will.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching - March 10, 2018

Sunday seems to have rolled around faster than usual this week.   Work is back on an even keel (other than my looming end of the month project - ACK!)  And spring has finally arrived in Kansas.  The early bulbs are up and flowering in sheltered places.  Yard work time will shortly be competing with crafting time, so better get going!

Biggest news this week is that I got to the end of the rotation on Dutch Beauty.   I actually went just a bit over ten hours to get to a good stopping place. 
As I said in the 'before and after' post, I always feel at the end of the rotation on this that I have not made much progress.  The project is so huge that ten hours barely makes a dent in what is left to do.   On the other hand - halfway point!!!  I know that if I just keep plugging away at it, it will be done someday.  

Next up in the rotation is a pictorial, Teresa Wentzler's "Millennium".   This one has a rather sad history as to why it's a UFO.   My late husband was an amateur astronomer and asked me to make it for him.   I was working on it when he died, and put it away for over a decade.   I very nearly trashed it when I was evaluating unfinished things a couple of years ago, but I had put so much work into the over one areas and I also love the designer's work.   So it's going to be finished and framed.  I'm about at the end of the last real over one area.  There's a bit down in the quote in the bottom border, but this is the last of the 'confetti over one'.   I'm doing the back stitching as I go, so there will only be the beads and metallic accents left at the end.

I only finished one of the blocks for "Aunt Lottie's Garden" this week.  That's OK, it's my travel project and there's no deadline on it.  I do try not to put deadlines on myself with my crafting.  I have enough of those at work!  I already have the next one marked and basted.  Back to the greens.

Block #9

And the knitting continues in stealth mode.

Thanks to the "Slow Sunday Stitching" crew for the accountability to keep these projects on track!  Run over to this week's link up and see what everyone is doing this week!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Needlework Rotation: DB progress and Pictorial UFO Introduction

I have been working on Dutch Beauty since I started the new rotation on 1 February.  Here is where I started:

And here is where I ended up when I hit a good stopping point at a little past ten hours.  There was a page finish on Page J/10, I got over the page break to the arbor on Page K/11 and finished the left hand side of it.

I always look at the 'before and after' of the rotation on this project and think, "Ten hours and that's ALL I got done?  I must be the world's slowest stitcher!!!"   I need to remember that each page is the equivalent of a small spot sampler.  Getting one of those done every couple of months isn't a bad pace.

When I pick this up again the next rotation, I'm going to go over to the far right border and finish off Page N/14.  When it was out on the UFO RR a while ago, one of my trade partners filled in the lovely flower bowl motif on the end, but the vine border still needs the 'buds';  they are a bit of a pain since each one is only a few stitches, so you are ending, changing colors, starting every ten stitches or so.   That's slow going, but it will be a very quick page finish since there aren't all that many of them!

And now on to the 'pictorial' slot in the rotation and a piece I haven't mentioned before.   This is Teresa Wentzler's "Millennium" (link to her catalogue).   This project was a request from my late husband.  Walt was an amateur astronomer, telescope and all.   I spent many chilly nights knitting by feel and the very occasional dim light, well shielded.  He was fascinated by the little over one planets in this design and we both had fond memories of Comet Hale-Bopp which is also featured.   Even though this is a Y2K design, it was started a few years later when we found the kit on sale.  When he passed away, I had the upper arch and column tops down to the "torch flames" done, part of the "space" background, the upper planets, and the comet were all finished, and I was working on the "earth and moon" area.

pardon the yellow cast, the background fabric is actually ivory

I put it away after his death, and finally pulled it out again in 2014, a decade later.    I've worked my way through the over one planets (so tiny), all of the 'space' blues and the upper part (including the backstitching) of the left hand Angel - Saint Michael (because of the sword).  Now to get to work on the right hand Angel.   I've waffled over which Archangel the right one is supposed to be.  None of the classic Roman Catholic Archangels has an hourglass as their symbol.   I've settled on Saint Raphael after a lot of deliberation.   He is the patron of the sacrament of penance.  And the sand in the hourglass could be the ashes of Ash Wednesday. 

Teresa Wentzler's designs are legendary (or is that notorious?) for the number of colors and use of blended threads.   There's an entire closely printed page of the pattern just for the color key!  Quite different from the limited palette of Dutch Beauty.   And she uses tons of partial stitches - again totally different.  I may be looking back at DB with nostalgia soon!

I know that St. Raphael looks ready for back stitching, but there are actually three more flesh tones to work in one over one stitching on the face before I get to that point.   Up close, you can see the missing stitches.  Then the back stitching will really make everything spring to life. 

three more colors needed on the face
Stitched on 28 count Jubilee Cotton Evenweave.  I really like the cotton evenweaves for pictorials.  The 'pixels' of the stitches are very even.   Linens, even well woven linens, have slubs; it's the nature of linen.   So I like them best for samplers.   Aida is good for cards and small things (as is perforated paper) and I have a few kits with Aida as the fabric, but I may replace it depending if there are partial stitches.  I really don't like doing partials on Aida.  


Friday, March 9, 2018

Quilt WiP: "It was the 80s" - Block 12

Another one of the oversized blocks - 18 x 18 finished.   I debated on how I wanted to do this one, but in the end, made it from uncut yardage.   I figured that a block that marries one of the old blues to the new neutral and rose isn't a bad thing.   I'm going to try to use a mix of 'old and new' through out.   I ran by JoAnn's and picked up two more yards of the new neutral.   I'm using it more than I thought I would and I'm already running short at the half way point.

Here's the units all ready to go.   It's refreshing to cut from yardage and not have to fix or worry about old mistakes.  These are 6.5 inch units (6 inch finished).   They feel HUGE after working on "On Ringo Lake" with it's 3.5 inch units!

And the finished block
Block #12

The Solstice Quilt on Pat Sloan's blog with the blocks and layout.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Needlework WIP: Dutch Beauty at 10 hours and rotation rules

Well, I hit the ten hour rotation mark on Dutch Beauty.  

I had really hoped to be done with the left side of the arbor by this point.   As you can see, I'm just short of that mark.  One large and two small flower/fruit motifs and one whopping big leaf short. 

My rotation is not a really set thing and I'm not tracking total hours on any of my projects.   Some people who use a rotation are quite strict about stopping right at their 'mark' and always using the same order.   My rule is that I have to get through every project before I start the next rotation, and I have to work AT LEAST ten hours on each one.   If it's not holding my attention and the stitching is a slog or if I'm really antsy to get on to the next project, when I hit the ten hour mark, I happily put that project back into hibernation and move on knowing that I put in a good, solid amount of work on it.   But it's OK to put in more time.  It's OK to shuffle around the slots.  

What I am strict about is the 'type' - one historic/vintage style, one modern style, one pictorial, and a finish/frame.   If I finish a project "early" (before the ten hours is done), that slot can either be 'done' until next time, or I can choose the next project of that "type" from the UFO bin.   If there's nothing of that type in the UFO bin (which won't happen for a while), then it's into the stash to pick.    
I do wish that I hadn't expanded my rotation to more than one piece per 'slot'.  A few years back, I let myself have two, then three of each 'type' and that's WAY too many stitching projects.   I'm trying to whittle it back down to just one project of each type.  Not counting the vintage linens that I inherited from my mom, I have three vintage/historic, two pictorials, and several modern pieces.  The Silver Needle class pieces are an issue.  I do not want them becoming UFOs, so class pieces get 'bumped' into the rotation right away.  The other two historic pieces are also class pieces, but are quite old now and I'm OK with them waiting until after Dutch Beauty is (finally) finished, or once I get through all the modern UFOs, I may pull those class pieces in.   I've also thought about having a fifth, optional slot just for class pieces.

Dutch Beauty is still holding my attention, I'm not anxious to move on (though I am looking forward to working on something else) and I'm SO close to a good stopping spot.   I'm going to continue on with this one until I get the four motifs at the top of the arbor finished.   I should finish that up by the weekend.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Slow Stitching Sunday - March 4, 2018

Late getting anything posted.  And it's definitely "slow stitching", not a "slow Sunday" here!  My granddaughter turned 5 and we had her party.   Mimi (me) is officially exhausted LOL.

First of all, the test knit phase 1 is done.   This is going to be an accessory set and the other piece's pattern should be coming out late this week.    So knitting is still hush-hush.   But occurring!

As I thought, the applique block didn't get done last week, so I'm going to try to do two this week.   Things should be a lot calmer at work (I hope);  I do have a major federal filing due at the end of March (Well, actually April 4, but I want to have it done by the end of the month).  

I do have Dutch Beauty to report on.   This is about 8.5 hours.    I want to get the rest of the left side of the arbor done before I put it away until it comes around again in the rotation.    The ten hour mark should actually happen this week and I should be starting the pictorial part of the rotation by next Sunday.   Always exciting to have something different to work on.

I had to move the q-snap frame down because it was getting hard to reach in to get the upper part of the stitching done.  But last week, I was just starting on the bright red 'flower' at about the mid-point.

I have one (and a quarter) more side of binding, the hanging sleeve, a small repair and the label yet to do on "Scrappy Sister's Choice".  I credit the Science channel and BBCA for getting me around the long slog of stitching down the binding.  

Slow stitching is the name of the game around here.   Linking up with the other hand-work loving folk on Kathy's Blog  (link to this week's round up of handwork).  

Saturday, March 3, 2018

BOM Challenge Update - February, 2018

Time for the monthly roundup at Jo's Country Junction on how we are doing on our UFO Block of the month/week sampler quilts.  (Link is to this month's round-up.)  I actually made quite a few blocks this month.   Several new, several re-worked.   Counting all of the 'Block 9 focal center' as the individual 18 inch squares, I made 8 blocks in four weeks.

I apologize for the wrinkles; the larger blocks have been folded to get them into the Art Bin that I'm storing this in.   They will get another press when the top is assembled.

We are getting a few of the bigger blocks in play now, and I'm adding in some of the brighter rose fabrics.  I still only want it as an 'accent' color.  The plan is a quilt that is "Blue and Neutral" (cream and pale tan) with rose accents.   That center top recycled block may get shuffled to the back of the quilt and replaced with something less intense in the final layout. 

If you look at my layout sheet, you can see that I'm not quite at the halfway point, but I've made excellent progress.  

Thanks, Jo, for giving me to push I needed to actually work on this!  

ETA:  Forgot the links to all the details on the individual blocks.  Blocks with * are Pat Sloan's "Solstice", as is the setting.  Blocks without the star are from my original quilt that will be substituted for Pat's blocks in the final layout.
Block 7 - string and crumb piecing (diagonal)
Block 8 - Dresden plate
Block 9 (tentative) - oversized log cabin blocks (4)
Block 10 (tentative) - X
Block 11 - quilt math*