Thursday, March 27, 2014

Still not spring

We're still having intermittent snow here. No sign of anything growing yet. Today is gray and rainy (at least it's not more snow today).

Last weekend Uncle Willie (my dad's cousin) hosted a "birthday party" in honor of his grandfather (my great), George Hill. George and Dorothy Hill were my father's mother's parents. I realized after the fact that this was my first big post-surgery outing. I couldn't have picked a better one.
A great group of family and a few friends came to hang out, reminisce, and listen to wonderful music from Ed Hill (second cousin once removed) (and endless repeats of the UofI and UMich fight songs from Uncle Willie, who had the time of his life). Sorry about the microphone face--Eddie's music is awesome, KALEIDOSCOPE - Ed Hill's original music.
This is me (right, wearing an ancient t-shirt with a 1940s family photo), Uncle Willie on the left, I'm not sure who the guy is--maybe the local historical society director, the lovely lady in black is cousin Mary Beth.
This is my custom stenciled tattoo, made by a couple of enterprising young cousins ($2 for the tattoo and many people were sporting these tattoos). The ink was glittery and lasted a few days. (seeing this made me realize my arm looks exactly like my Aunt Dorothy's--all speckled.)
A couple more cousins, a younger generation Willie and Gus (a younger generation George), brothers. We must not have much imagination with naming...Lots and lots of Georges, but also a few Williams and Jameses, too.  I'm named for both of my grandmothers, following the trend. Thanks to Cousin Barb for making this all happen.
I did get some stitching done on the angel. It took me a lot of trial and error and ripping and redoing to figure out the offset pattern for the flowers.  The few in the center bottom are complete, leaves and all.  Last night I had a good night of stitching (sitting with post therapy ice packs on both knees). I completed the dress and also the halo. The pattern called for more flowers in the halo but I filled it in with an alternating tent stitch type stitch (don't know what it's called), using all six colors from the skirt.  I really like the colors.
This is the alternating tent stitch I used.  I did three rows with two colors in each row, which made it look a bit more random.  I'll post a current photo next week.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Some Progress

I've begun a new project that was lurking in that ten-year-old or so bag I've been working from.
This one is a Hippie Angle (officially Flower Child Angel). I completed another angel, way back when, a stitching angel. I recall it being a bit fiddly (open canvas so each item needs to be completed with no carried threads). I think that's what relegated this to the pile.  I do like the design, though, and had materials collected. In true hippie fashion, the perle cotton I used for the outline and face is dyed by me with onion skins.  It goes well with the eggshell canvas. I used cross stitch rather than tent for the outlines. I think the more finished edge makes finishing it into an ornament easier.
She reminds me of me with her braids (my hair used to be that dark!) and beads. I wore either patchouli or strawberry oil for perfume most days.  And mostly bluejeans (embroidered, of course).
This is a new project come my way. NeedleArtisans of Northwest Indiana's 2014 challenge project. In addition to the materials provided, I must also use the two items pulled from the hat (for me, thanks! I missed the meeting.)  Very springy colors, just what's needed now!
These are a finish but I can't really claim it.  My friend Renee passed on in January and I've been helping her husband with her needlework estate.  We found these socks nearly complete. One was done, the other done past the heel to the body of the foot. I suspect the dropped stitch (neatly captured in a pin) was the reason they ended up in the ufo pile.  I picked it up and finished knitting the second sock. I believe they're for her sister.  I haven't knit socks in a long time and it was fun.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Yet another finish!

Late last week, I finished another SJ Designs project. It wasn't officially a UFO, since I hadn't begun stitching it. This is a variation of Sweet Hearts. The colored noppee silk used in the original (below) was no longer available. I had some white which I used for the border--I love the texture and sheen. For the hearts I used SJ Designs Confetti fiber (Golden Ice and, I think, #118).  It was great to work with and I love the way it looks. I stitched most of it while watching the moving "The Grand Marigold Hotel."  I think the two are now linked for me.
I even have a frame for it. I may add a bit of gold leaf to the silver frame, to help connect the two a bit more, but I like the way it looks now, so I may not.
And this is the original Sweet Hearts, done a while back. It's a box top and sits on my dresser.
We had another wintry blast this week. This winter will never end--more snow is predicted tomorrow! But today felt very spring like when I stepped outside--sunny, the birds were singing, it was breezy and perhaps 40F. Everything was still covered with a deep blanket of snow, but it was melting fast.
The collage below was made by winter in our front-porch flower pot.  It really caught my eye.
Last weekend we stopped in at a local antique and collectible toy show. (Santa's Toy Show, held twice a year in Highland, IN). They had some clowns there, enchanting the children, doing face painting and balloon figures, and collecting money for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.  

One of them gave me this cute balloon Leprechaun. He's been brightening my week this week and is still holding up well.  He's actually a bracelet corsage--I wore him all Saturday.
Between work and physical therapy, I haven't been doing much stitching, so no more finishes for a while, I fear.  I have been knitting a bit.  It's so wonderful to have something to hand to pick up. I find it very meditative and relaxing. Do you?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Completion--and new UFOs

My turquoise Amethyst is done. Boy, was it fun!
If you look closely at my wip photo, you'll see I'd stitched an outer row of Smyrna Crosses in the wrong spot--in the end I needed to remove two complete rows. And I still had a blast stitching it. I'd forgotten how much fun Susan Johnson's designs are.

 I began another UFO I had from SJ Designs, Sweet Hearts. This one I'm selecting the fibers myself and I need to do some stash diving before I can get very far.

This weekend I had the sad task of helping the husband of my friend Renee go through her stash. Renee passed away just after the new year. I missed her service because of my surgery and her husband had saved me a program and obituary. Most of the items she had (kits, ufos and materials) went to our EGA chapter to use for fundraising and charity projects. I kept a couple of mementos and also took a few pieces to finish for her family.
Both are UFOs.
The other sock of this pair is done. I realized that this was a ufo because there's a dropped stitch and the sock needs to be unknitted for a few rows to correct it (it doesn't look like it could successfully be laddered up to the current row).  I can do that--I'm very experienced with unknitting!

Back to work tomorrow.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What's Next

What's next is going back to work on Tuesday. I suspect that's going to take all of my energy for a while.  For now, however, I'm working on a stash project, an old Homewood Guild workshop (I suspect at least ten years old!). I had only stitched the center waffle stitch...the rest is coming along quickly yesterday and today.
It's a lovely design by Susan Johnson of SJ Designs called Amethyst.  I'm not doing this in the original purple color way but in an alternate she offered to our guild, Turquoise.  So far I've used up a spool of Kreinik gold braid!  The piece also uses floss, overdyed Rachel, and Kreinik flat braid. Lots of texture in the stitches, too.

I think the center square of this design would make a lovely Christmas ornament...I'll have to remember that. It worked up pretty quickly.

I found this and another SJ Designs kit (Sweet Hearts) and a couple of other projects when I was sorthing through things before surgery.  I set them aside to do while I was home, but then I got caught up in the crewel piece. It was nice to have something handy to turn to after that was done.