Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Back to Work

And not stitching.  :-{  

I'm still doing physical therapy, it's a bit up and down....this leg has had problems since I was a baby and now it's protesting some muscles and tendons being brought back into use. 
I see improvement, which keeps me going.
  
That and a bit of shopping!  
There's nothing like a new project to lift my spirits.
I joined the Shining Needle Society and signed up for this online course with Catherine Jordan.
A few years back I took her "full size" embroidery class. This is a miniaturized version, finished as a pendant.
My kit arrived very quickly and I've been reading it, thinking about it, and planning my forests. Like the model picture, I plan to make seasonal trees. So while I'm too tired at night to stitch, it's never out of my mind!

SNS has a number of other course offerings that are really tempting, but so far I'm resisting. So far...

Friday, October 3, 2014

Staycation!

Since I've been off recuperating, we discussed taking a short vacation before I dove back into work. But a gaping hole in the base of our chimney changed our plans. We now have a brand new, very nice chimney.  

So we've been finding fun things to do locally. We've been having amazing weather and took full advantage of it.

We visited Chesterton's European Market, which is a lot of fun. It goes through October. In addition to farm fresh produce, baked goods, honey, preserves, and maple syrup, they have a lovely variety of crafts.
Hubby bought me the lovely handmade Jewelry Box from Pa's Woodworking as an anniversary present. It's prompted a big clean out of my jewelry boxes, bins, and baskets--I was very disorganized.
Some drawers have dividers, some don't.
Then we went by the Dunes for a picnic lunch. This tree has an amazing load of pinecones at the top...and only at the top.
Dunes Grass.
We also went out to Hesston to visit the Hesston Steam Museum. The trains were running. They have a lot of steam power, a generator, sawmill, and other big equipment that are fired up for special dates. We love their Halloween train and hope to go back for that at the end of October, but the day was lovely so we decided to go and enjoy the fall color and beautiful weather.
Several sizes and styles of train cars were running. They have trains from Brookfield Zoo, Kiddieland, and the Donnelley Estate.
Here's Hubby, checking out a caboose.
Here are tiny trains (that take full size people!).
And here's the view from our train as we start our journey through the woods at the Indiana-Michigan border.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Finish!

I finally finished the red scarf. The colors are actually darker/richer. I took this outside in the shade, the colors are much different in daylight than indoor lighting. But it's still not quite right. It's shorter than I hoped--the model must have used two skeins. But it's plenty wide and may work better than a longer scarf. Ready for winter!
I completed the final leg of the Hardanger tablecloth border and began cutting and wrapping. I'm alreay at the first corner. Since I began in the middle of a side, I'm 1/8 done! This is going fairly quickly, as I expected. I've made some progress on the other projects, too, but not enough to show.

 Back to work next week, so the push is on to get as much done as I can now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Working on UFOs

This has been a challenging summer, in more ways than my knee. I completed the Homewood Guild Challenge and the EGA Stitch like a Painter challenge and I'm still working on my local EGA chapter's summer challenge. I don't think this one will be done by the deadline, but I also don't expect to make the meeting (it is right when I start back to work). Now that the first two are done, I've been rotating some random UFOs to WIP status.
World Embroideries and I visited a local yarn shop during my recuperation from Knee #1 and I purchased yarn for this project. It took me a while to get the pattern sorted. You can see quite a lot of variation in the hexagons, but I think these all should work.  I plan to assemble the hexagons to fit a small clasp purse frame.
I've rounded the final corner on the Hardanger tablecloth.  I completed all of the faggot stitches on the final 1/8th of the cloth and have the ships (or half flowers) well underway. 
I completed all of the embroidery on this set of pillowcases.  I bought them with the embroidery partially completed at an antique shop years ago. They are old fashioned 100% cotton cases, woven in a tube shape so no side seams. 

No threads came with them so I dug through my stash for coordinating colors.  I also stitched the end seams (hand stitch French seams) while at Outlander (Starz TV) viewing parties. Now I'm looking for crochet cotton in a color I like to do the edging.
I've done a lot of knitting on the red faggot stitch scarf. You can see the skein of wool is dwindling. It's now over 36". I've been working on this one too long and I want it done so I can wear it this winter.
The last in the rotation is a purse my friend Renee began for her sister.  I took it after Renee's passing to complete.  It's basic basketweave stitch.   Since it's painted canvas, it's hard to see. Most of the motifs are completed and about half the brown background. I have white to complete the background to the edges of the leather.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Getting Back to Normal

I saw the doctor this week and he's pleased with my progress.  I'm heading back to work in two weeks--October 6. Yikes!

This past week was also our 38th Wedding Anniversary.  Big Yikes!
 
We celebrated with a new home phone (ours was a 1980s vintage dial phone) and a rousing game of minigolf--me with no cane!  The weather was beautiful and we had fun.
Today we beat the rain and went to the Park Forest Art Fair early. It was nice but it's sad to see it shrinking each year. We always enjoy it.
I made a small crochet basket to contain the felt acorns. They still tend to jump out and roll around, but hopefully they'll get used to their new basket home.
Fall feels imminent...trees are starting to change, birds are flocking. My husband encountered swarming dragonflies this week while on his bike ride. Apparently it's not rare, but people rarely see it. They were either relishing the plentiful mosquitoes or getting ready to head south together.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Other Stitching

I've been doing a lot of random stitching while I'm recuperating.  I've been working on my Hardanger tablecloth, the Needle Artisan's EGA chapter summer challenge, a pair of pillowcases are nearly done, a purse with a needlepoint insert that was begun by a friend who passed away earlier this year. She'd begun it for her sister and I'm finishing it. 

At the International Quilt Festival this spring, I splurged on some Just Another Button Company kits, that I thought would be simple and fun recuperation projects. They were.

The kits were very complete and had great ideas. I had drawn the patterns and ironed them onto the felt before surgery, so all that was left was handwork. 
The acorns should, I think, be in a basket, but I didn't have one. They kept wandering around and hiding, so I stitched them together until I get something to contain them.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Final EGA Challenge Piece

Judith Baker Montano responded to my challenge piece very quickly with a wonderful long and detailed letter, including drawings!  Mostly, she was very positive about it, but she also provided really helpful feedback about ways in which it could be improved. I spent some time this week adding a bit more detail, mostly shadows and a few highlights, to enhance the final piece.
Here's a detail of some of the shadows I added. I backed the final piece with #14 needlepoint canvas, so I could stitch through the holes and not have to disassemble the framing. I also used a curved needle for some of the final stitches.
So, here's the final piece. I'm very happy with it and it's been a very rewarding experience.