Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Some Finishes from Around the WWW

I was just thinking the other day about www -- how long (already) it's been part of our vernacular, and how useless (ultimately) it is, because really, what other system do we have in place?  It's kind of like telling someone your address, but first stating that you live on Earth.  (Occasionally, I accidentally type in "qqq" and wonder if I'll stumble onto some whole other Internet.)

I'm always really pleased to see when someone has felt inspired enough to stitch one of my designs, and I always enjoy checking out how people make the designs their own by creative framing or by changes in my original instructions (which really are just suggestions.)

Cyndi stitched this piece, and Jill Rensel did the framing (the picture here is from Jill's fantastic framing blog.  Jill has done the framing for Shepherd's Bush for eons, but she also does other creative framing (and yes, you can ship her your piece if you don't live nearby.)  The design is Witchy Washy, a design I came up with almost ten years ago already.  Rod at Hoffman Distributing said at the time he felt the design had "legs," meaning it would be popular for a long time...I still sell about 30-50 of these charts a month, even ten years later.  It is my all-time best seller.  (Love the purple mats and spooky frame on this one.)

Cindy stitched my Jenny Bean Friendship Sampler and said she's on her way to stitch Jenny's Christmas Sampler as well.  She said she had a really fun time stitching it.  I had fun stitching my own model, too.  I typically don't enjoy stitching my own designs as much, because I'm fretting about color choices and deadlines, but I did like doing this one.

This is my (Raise the Roof) "Cackle" design, performed by Cyndi and framed by Jill Rensel.  I used just a few colors of floss in this one, so I've seen a number of different versions with different purples and oranges and such.  No idea how I thought of the saying for this one, but it still makes me smile: Cackle and the world cackles with you; shriek and you shriek alone.

Here's WW again ... a pretty green mat this time.  Marilyn stitched this version -- she did a great job!  I also see she dates her pieces.  I never think to do that anymore.

Jen stitched my Elizabeth Milner piece -- how pretty it turned out!  Jill Rensel did the framing.  This is a frame I've used a few times.  It's a Larson-Juhl frame and is made to look old and beat up (some of the beading is even missing.)  And it's expensive...funny how we pay so much for things like weathered jeans, crackled furniture and beat up frames.  Our forefathers would shake their heads.

(You may notice that the border seems crookedly stretched ... well, Elizabeth had some "issues" with stitching a straight line, and so her border is actually a little more freewheeling than we're used to.)

Lyn said she stitched this version of my Passport Pincushion for an exchange, so this one is going to live with someone else.  I love how she made a quilted pincushion base!  She said she had fun picking out the motifs from the chart included with the instructions and will also be making one for herself.

WHAT?  Here's WW again -- this time stitched by Marilyn.  Jill put some bats on this mat and polka dots one one of the interior mats.  Great job Marilyn and Jill!

Veena worked and worked and worked her way through Ann Dale, which is larger than large (did you know there are 60,000 stitches in it?)  She made some changes to the colors (her version ends up brighter than mine), and I think it's just lovely.  Don't you?

Susan stitched this version of my Boo Scurry Yum (Raise the Roof) design on a fun over-dyed fabric.  Jill did the framing, once again.  This was another one of mine that I actually really enjoyed stitching -- I love Halloween colors.

If you have finishes you're proud of, share them on my Shakespeare's Peddler Facebook page.  I am proud of all of the work that went into creating these pieces -- nicely done, ladies!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Needlework UFO Adoptions

For over a year, I've been kicking around the idea of how to facilitate a UFO swap online.  There are so many of us with so many projects we aren't finishing, won't finish, don't have time or energy or desire to finish, and so these poor projects sit idly by in a dark drawer with some other orphan buddies.

Back in 2001, my husband and I went to London, and we visited the Victoria & Albert Museum, which has a wonderful needlework collection, including many, many UnFinished Objects.  And while there is a certain amount of beauty in something that has been started, the satisfaction comes when a needlework piece is finished, framed and admired.

So, I have started a new group on Facebook to help these wayward orphans find homes.  I am including here the same rules I have posted on Facebook.  I may edit these rules as issues pop up.  I do not accept responsibility for any transactions (except my own) on the page, but am the administrator in that I will keep an eye on the goings-on.  I hope that you have fun participating in or just watching the group.  You can visit and join the page by going to this link:  Encourage your friends to like and follow the page.  The more people we have, the more fun it will be.


Many of us have needlework projects we have started that we have either lost interest in or just don't have the time or energy to complete. These sweet little projects sit alone in dark drawers, tucked in boxes, or stacked in totes under the bed with the dust bunnies.

I have organized this page for people who would like to find these wayward orphans new homes where they may someday soon find completion and a place on the wall where they can proudly be admired and enjoyed. Please read the rules below if you would like to participate:

1. Anyone can follow this page, even if you never plan on adopting a UFO. It does not cost any money to join, and you are not obligated to post or adopt.

2. UFO's (or orphans) can be any type of cross stitch or similar handwork project (like you would find in a needlework store...embroidery, Hardanger, punchneedle, ribbon embroidery, Brazilian embroidery, class piece, etc.) Please, no quilting, knitting, crochet, sewing, painting, or other craft projects.
I reserve the right to delete any projects or posts that I feel do not match the requirements of adoption or which are spam, offensive, or otherwise unrelated to our group.

3. To post a UFO for adoption, include a picture of the project (if you can iron it first, that may help you take a better picture.) You can also include in the picture the supplies that come with the UFO (if any). If you see a UFO you would like to adopt, simply contact the owner via Facebook. I do recommend that adopters practice first-come/first-served.

With the photograph, include a description with as much information as you can give. Some ideas are what percentage (estimate) of the project is left, the designer's name and title of the piece, how long ago the design came out, the types of stitches used, whether or not you will be sending any supplies along with it (threads, embellishments), and whether or not the piece has been exposed to smoke or pets (this really matters to some people, as they have allergies.) Also, if there is anything missing or damaged, that is good for the adopter to know.

4. The UFO's must come with the original instructions (not photocopies, unless the chart was originally a copyright free design) AND the UFO (the needlework you're got started.) If you've got the fibers and embellishments to send as well, that is great as dye lots will vary. 

5. Include what you would like in exchange for the adoption (this is your "adoption fee.") You can post free adoptions here, if you like. Or, you can ask for a Paypal money transfer (set a price), send it COD, ask for a gift certificate from a shop, swap for another UFO (or specific patterns, supplies, etc.), chocolates, hand cream...or even ask the adopter to make a donation to your favorite charity. It's up to you. The current UFO owner is responsible for paying for shipping, so work that into your adoption fee (or keep it in mind.)

6. Remember when asking for your fee that what a project is worth to someone else is usually not what you spent on it, or the time you put into it (although you may include that information in your listing). Asking for a reasonable fee or swap is the best way to find that orphan a home.  If you are willing to accept "offers," include that in your description, but let's not haggle each other to death.  If your "price" is firm, please say so.

7. How the adoption is handled is up to the current UFO owner and the adopter. I do not gain anything by operating this page and take no responsibility for people who don't pay, for projects that aren't as promised, or for any other flake-out or weirdness. I would hope that everyone can play nice and that we can all trust each other, but, as with anything, buyer beware. It's best not to include your personal information (especially addresses and phone numbers) where everyone can see. Include those in your private messages to each other either via Facebook or e-mail. I really recommend against anyone giving anyone else their credit or debit card number.

(Also, adopters, keep in mind that everyone has different stitching techniques and abilities. We don't all cross our X's in the same direction, some of us are fastidious about our backs, and some of us aren't, some of us are really skilled, and some of us are still learning. If you have any questions about the project, ask them before you adopt. I do not encourage "refunds," but how the adoption is handled is up to the two involved parties.)

8. It is never a bad idea to use tracking when shipping a package, and it is usually an inexpensive addition. Make sure to pack projects securely. If you can put everything inside a plastic bag (or wrap in plastic wrap), that will protect against water damage in transit. When an adoption is either pending or completed, post that information in the comments of your original post, so you don't continue to get questions. I recommend just putting the word "ADOPTED!"  You are welcome to delete/take down your post at any time.

9. Please also feel free to post pictures when you finish a UFO that you adopted here. We'd all love to see these orphans get their day in the spotlight!

10. If there are transaction issues, I will not serve as a mediator, so please don't ask. But, if someone is abusing the system (adopting, but not paying, accepting payments, but not sending...or is being harassing or threatening), I do reserve the right to kick that person off of the page. Please feel free to invite friends. This is an open group, and I hope we can have a lot of fun with it.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I BELIEVE!!! (UFO-ology)

I want to believe I'll work my way through my UFO's.  After making some good progress on my Mercy Goodehart model this week, packing lots of orders, and updating my Etsy site, I was feeling like today might be a grand day to start something new out of my stash.

Buuuuut, my stash is right next to my cabinet with my UFO's (UnFinished Objects!  BWOO-HA-HA-HA-HA!)  How many of those do I have anyway?  I've never really been one of those to keep track, make lists, check things off, come up with a system.  I estimated I probably had about 20, but I was wrong...I had 21.  Twenty-one is too many to justify starting something new (as much fun as that is.)  So, I made a list, and I will let myself start a new something when I check something old off of the list (the Christmas gift I'm still trying to get done doesn't count.) 

I took pictures of a few of them for you to see.  This one is Sampler Sisters of the Thread by The Primitive Needle.  Lisa, the designer, lost her life in an automobile accident a few years ago, and I still think of her.  She was bubbly, and gracious, and kind, and a talented needlework designer.  I really like the color scheme of this one.

This one is Pelouse Interdite by French designer Mouton Rouge.  The words on the sampler mean: Keep off the grass!  I bought this at a trade show I went to with my dear friend, Sue.  We had a blast eating out, drinking martinis, and playing dolly derby in the parking lot (luckily, there were no serious injuries.)  Cedar Hill Designs had some of the Moutin Rouge offerings there, including the models, and I loved this one.  I remember sitting at one of Graham's science fairs working on it.  And it's ALMOST done -- just that bottom left corner left (a turtle and a snail.)

I've stitched a number of Blackbird Designs pieces, so I was surprised that I only had a single UnFinished One in the cabinet.  Sarah Tobias inspired an entire book by Blackbird Designs (and friends.)  I really liked the colors in this sampler (I think there are just four.)  I am about half-finished with this one, too. 

Curtis Boehringer was a big-deal designer about 20 years ago.  His charts were so interesting to me, because although you could tell they were cute, his patterns were just photocopies of the charts, with the flip side sometimes being a line drawing of the piece.  In other words, you didn't really know how it was going to look until you were done!  I bought this set of T-W-E-L-V-E wildflower charts, and to tell you how old they are, they are actually charted for DMC Wildflower Thread, long-since discontinued.

But that's okay!  I am stitching mine in DMC floss (although I haven't probably stitched on this one for ... gulp ... six years?)  Still, I think this is really pretty.  I'm using a super long piece of Glenshee that I had as a leftover scrap.  The linen is really texture-y, and this will look dandy above a door or window when I'm done.  I BELIEVE!!!

Okay, now we're getting into serious business.  This is Elizabeth Hudson by The Scarlet Letter.  This is a big ole sampler, and the colors are bright and cheery.

This is a picture of the original, and I actually have the charts for this one for sale in my Etsy shop (click here to go directly to that page.)  There is something like a MILE of verse on this one, and it's all over-one, of course.  So you do like a tenth of a mile of verse for a while, and then you stitch a pretty band, and I am really dying to get to the bigger bands of flowers.  I'm stitching mine on 36 count hand-dyed linen with the Au Ver a Soie silks (which have a nice sheen.)  I picked 36, because of all of that over-one verse (I didn't want the words to get all bunchy looking.)

You can see I'm at the Queen Stitch stage with the band of strawberries.  Each strawberry is its own wonky shape (you should see the chart!)  But, I love wonky things, and it makes each strawberry unique.  I actually don't mind Queen Stitches one bit, and with the over-one, some Satin Stitch, and a few other fun ways to pull my thread through the fabric, it's a fun piece to work on.  But very large.  I BELIEVE, THOUGH!  I BELIEVE!  I PROMISE, I BELIEVE!!!

Hannah Pepper is a three-part chart that came out in Fine Lines Magazine about ten years ago.  I was sorting through old magazines here one day and came across the issue with the first third, and it had the reproduced sampler alongside the original.  I noticed that the reproduction was done in bright colors, as the sampler might have first been stitched (red, yellow, brighter greens.)  I liked, though, the antique next to it, in which the colors were faded and dull.  So, I dug through my stash and pulled out colors to make one that looks like the antique.

There aren't too many colors in this one, so I actually just have my threads organized on a wooden palette.  I'm stitching it on a 40-count hand-dyed linen, and so far, it is beautiful.  Once again, I am so anxious to get down to the bottom (alas, I've got a lot of over-one verse to slog through first.  This sampler has TWO separate verse sections, the second of which is much larger.)  The bottom has a nice pastoral scene with animals and plants and such.

So, here is my list of what I haven't finished (but I have stitched probably a few hundred different things in the last 30 years, so I'm not too disappointed).  I have included their "status" behind, in case you're wondering.  If something has been discontinued, try eBay or Etsy.  I've included links where I know you can find some of these charts right now for purchase.
  1. Elizabeth Hudson: The Scarlet Letter (available)
  2. Hannah Pepper (chart is in three separate issues): Fine Lines Magazine (discontinued -- regularly on eBay)
  3. The Flock: SamSarah Design Studio (available)
  4. Alphabet Baubles: SamSarah Design Studio (available)
  5. Happy Haunting (kit): Shepherd's Bush (available)
  6. Pelouse Interdit: Mouton Rouge (discontinued)
  7. Life Has No Blessing: Mary Engelbreit (discontinued)
  8. Witches Garden Sampler: Notforgotten Farm (available)
  9. Birdhouse Sampler: Prairie Schooler (discontinued)
  10. Sampler Sisters of the Thread: The Primitive Needle (discontinued)
  11. Wildflowers of America: Curtis Boehringer (discontinued)
  12. Asenath Whitcomb: Carriage House Samplings (available)
  13. All Our Troubles: La D Da (available)
  14. Heart that Gives: Ewe & Eye & Friends (available)
  15. Christmas Sampler: The Prairie Schooler (discontinued)
  16. Roses are Red: La D Da (available)
  17. Sarah Tobias: Blackbird Designs (available)
  18. Be Mine (kit): The Heart's Content (available)
  19. Four Seasons: Marjolien Bastin (discontinued)
  20. Colonial Homestead Pinkeep Drum: Stacy Nash Primitive Designs (available)
  21. Christmas at Hollyberry Farm: Stacy Nash Primitive Designs (available)
So now I'm off to figure out which one is the CLOSEST to being done, so I can start something new.

How many UFO's do YOU have?  Leave a comment!

(P.S. I work in-hand, if you're wondering, so the pictured needlework all got a quick visit with the iron before I took out my camera!)