Friday, January 9, 2009

Moving into 2009!

Move is my word for 2009 and so far I've been doing a lot of it. I moved back into my office after being displaced over the holidays for some remedial construction. I've been moving through work with diligence and am trying to get my desk cleared (hah!). I've been trying to move out of my chair more often (hard to balance that and getting the work done but I need to do it.)

My silence has been a product of the beginning of the year workload and the fact that I had something going on every night this week that kept me from playing after hours. Next week may be calmer. (I hope.) I feel like I've been on a roller coaster ride so far this year!

Every morning lately when it's been sunny, I've taken some photos for future blogs. I would like to try some simple tutorials this year and I also have a collection of items for small giveaways to take some of the sting our of winter (here) or to ease summer (south of the equator). So I'm ready to rock 'n' roll.

My focus this year will be on moving things out of my vast ufo pile. My first project is a painted-canvas needlepoint forest Father Christmas. I had the face and mustache done before it was abandoned and have begun to work on the animals and beard. I have begun a notebook so that as I take up a project I can note why it was abandoned. Usually it's because I've come to a sticking point of some sort. With this project it was that I got stuck with too many decisions and consequences. If I used this color in an animal, then can I use it in the beard, too? How can I get contrast? What stitches should I use and how do I balance dimensional stitches and tent stitches?

I'm using all stash Medici wools for the project, which somewhat limits my color choices. I finally realized that I needed to continue to use tent stitches for the detailed areas like the animals. They're just too small to get the color changes and details with other stitches. It's why I did the face using basketweave, but for some reason I didn't think of that for the animals. Once I realized that, things began to move. So far I'm stitching the animals in tent stitch, the leaves in either satin or leaf stitch, and the darker areas of the beard in a semi-random stem stitch. I think the texture differences will also help to successfully separate where I use similar colors.

The last project I completed in 2008 is the butterfly that came with the sample kit from Plimoth. The samples are here. I finished and mailed them off in November. I stitched the butterfly on Christmas Day, assembled it on the 26th and finally added the cording last weekend. My butterfly body looks nothing like the sample photo--more practice is clearly needed--but I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and sense of accomplishment I got and I'm sure I will use all I learned.

The first project I completed in 2009 is my November TIF page. I had the stitching nearly done when I stopped on December 1. I finished the stitching and added the backing and binding loops.

I can never have just one thing going and as I was cleaning a came upon pieces of a long-ago friendship sampler gone wrong. The sampler didn't go wrong, the group did and after many months my sampler was returned to me with only three squares stitched (I had stitched the fourth as the beginning to set the theme). The sampler was a long, narrow band and at some point I cut it apart, but whatever idea I had in mind for connecting the hearts didn't work and I set it aside.

Here are the pieces.

I have decided to make it into a pocket with the two hearts together forming the back, the mass of little hearts the bottom front and the floral heart as the top flap.

I found a piece of wide hot pink ribbon to line it with. So far the project's been bumpy. I stitched a point in the front flap but got the angle wrong and ripped it out. Then I stitched the front and back but got the sides facing wrong so more ripping. My plan now is to get out the sewing machine and stitch it on that, adding the lining, and not watch TV while I do it! I have it correctly pinned and ready to go.

In a way it seems silly to me to expend such energy on a project like this but the people who stitched their sections did so with a lot of creativity and, well, friendship, and I don't want to let that go. I'm really happy I have found a finishing for it that looks like it will work (once I get my act together!).

I have posted a slew of photos on Flickr.


Jane said...

My UFOs always start with questions or quandries too. Good for you to get some cleared out. Is this an "all-year" project, or just a New Year clean-out?
The Santa is pretty cool.
Were you going to do the December TIF?

Paula Hewitt said...

i think the hearts UFO will be nice when it is done - it would be a shame not to do somethig with them. move is a good word - lots of scope

Anonymous said...

The Santa is magnificent. What a lovely needlepoint piece. I know you will finish it beautifully with steady progress.