Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tate's Stocking and Hello from Mr. Zero

This is late in getting done, but it's done, and that's the main thing. This is Tate's Stocking by Raise the Roof Designs (which is ME!) I designed and stitched this for my nephew, Tate, and I told him on the phone the other day that Santa was going to be able to fit LOTS of presents in this stocking. The pattern is $9.00 and available now. I stitched on 20 count Straw Linen by Weeks Dye Works in a combination of Perle Cottons by Weeks Dye Works and Crescent Colours. A few sleigh bell buttons by JABCo. finish 'er off. What-d'-ya-think?

"If you're wanting to buy me a cashmere sweater, which I assume you ARE, I usually take a medium. But the holidays are simply murder on my figure. Better get a large. And would it kill you to get matching socks?" -- Zero

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

News about "A Wassailing"

Good news for you guys this morning -- I am going to be getting/making enough kits to fill ALL my folks on the waiting list for the limited edition "A Wassailing" kit I designed for the Christmas at Williamsburg event. And, I'll even have some extra ones! So, if you want to get a kit or two, let me know -- I will be filling all of these orders on a first-come/first-served basis, and at some point, I will run out.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A sad day yesterday

I had to have little Kringle (our newest foster that the shelter named "Frog Bean") put to sleep yesterday.

He did great at our house for the first two days, and then he quit eating. I tried switching him to homemade kitten formula, but he didn't like that either, and threw up everything I could get in him. Thursday night I took him to the emergency vet, where they gave him subcutaneous fluids (he was dehydrated). He spent all day Friday, and the first few hours of Saturday at the vet. We tried various medicines, subcutaneous fluids, tube feeding, heat lamps, but all to no avail.

Yesterday at 11:30, the vet was going over other things we could try (an IV port where I could continue to administer fluids over the weekend, barium to soak up any toxins, a new antibiotic). I looked at little Kringle, limp in one of the vet tech's hands, and asked what kind of a chance he had. "I have seen kittens pull out of something like this," Dr. Kristen said, but I could tell by the tone of her voice that this was a long-shot. In just a few hours on Saturday, Kringle had gone from running and climbing to a wisp of a kitten, barely hanging on. I said that I thought we had done our best, but that if two days at the vet couldn't get him on the mend, he was suffering, and not likely to survive. I did not want him to be in any more pain, and gave them the go ahead to put him to sleep.

His little veins were so small, their smallest needle could not fit inside (he only weighed 12 ounces.) They ended up having to directly inject his tiny heart, but the end was quick. Kringle will be spending his first Christmas in kitten heaven, along with his brother (who died at the shelter on Friday with similar symptoms.) His other two litter mates are becoming sick as well and may not have much time. But they were all surrounded by love and affection for one week of their short lives.

Little furry friends can make such a difference in someone's day. Please support your local shelter and remember to have your pets spayed and neutered.

God bless.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Have yourself a meow-y little Christmas...

Let your heart be light.
From now on our troubles will be out of sight.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the yuletide gay
From now on our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are...

JiNGle BElls!!
jINglE BelLS!!

(Oh, Pekoe.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cleaning Day and a New Kitten

It had to be done. Yesterday, I spent a good chunk of the day cleaning through my needlework things at home. When I'm designing and stitching, I'm pulling threads, and then, well, they end up in big piles, little piles, under things, behind things...and it's just a mess. And the same goes for fabric samples and embellishments.

And then of course there are my own UFO's, the kids' Christmas ornaments for this year, gifts for stitching friends, and the projects I'm working on "just because." Ridiculous!

So, with many helpful paws yesterday, I sorted through everything, put threads in their proper places, and neatly folded fabrics and put them away. I have maybe a dozen things yet to tuck here and there, and then, VOILA! It'll all be ready for me to tear apart again.

Pekoe is having his surgery this morning. He got his microchip and the last of his booster shots yesterday. We will miss him. But...there's a new furry face at our house now...his shelter-given name is "Frog Bean." Yep. That's his name. Well, we will not be calling him that. I'm thinking of "Gimli," after the robust dwarf from The Lord of the Rings (who charges in with his axe and his beard and his general sassiness.) This little cat is soft, loud, and very affectionate.

Here he is!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A-Wassailing Request Information

Hey ladies,

I've had a great response to the "A-Wassailing" kit (see the previous post), and have started a waiting list. I will be able to make an extra 25 or so kits, and may get some back from the Williamsburg retreat. But in order to make sure you have your name on the list, I will need a first and a last name (some of you indicated in the previous post you wanted to be on the list, but then I don't know who you are based on your first name only.)

The best way to get on the list is to send me an e-mail at xspeddler@yahoo.com with your first and last name, and if you're a new orderer, and I'm able to fill your order, I will eventually need payment information (Paypal, VISA, Mastercard, or you can send a check.) Thanks.

Oh, and here's a picture of kittens.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I am sending a bunch of goodies off to the Christmas in Williamsburg needlework retreat coming up this weekend. Watch for hand-dyed fabrics, charts, kits, silks and more from Shakespeare's Peddler. This is a kit I designed just for the retreat -- attendees will be able to purchase this kit at the boutique. If you aren't lucky enough to be going, you can get on a waiting list to get one of these kits from me for $25.00 plus shipping, depending on how many of them I get back.

It was fun to stitch -- you get the hand-dyed Lakeside Linen color Meadow Rue, full skeins of limited edition Sampler Threads, and an exclusive button by Just Another Button Company.

Hope y'all had a wonderful turkey day. I'm still full! But it's a good kind of full.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Claire's Ornament for this year

Every year I make ornaments for my niece and nephews, and I have finished Claire's, which I think turned out really cute. This is a Val's Stitchin' Stuff ornament from the Just Cross Stitch ornament issue a few years back. There was more to the pattern, but I thought it would be cute to finish it as a circle.

I substituted threads that I had (Sampler Threads limited edition colors), used a scrap piece of fabric, and sewed on a JABCo button. After I finished it (I used the same linen for the back), I sprayed it with clear glitter spray (it's kind of like spray paint, but it's clear and has teenie-tiny pieces of sparkle in it.) It didn't change the color of the fabric or thread, but now it looks a little frosty. (I wish you could see it in the picture, but you're just going to have to imagine the sparkle.)

I started charting the Jane Pattison sampler last night, and it's going to be a beauty! This will be a much quicker reproduction than the Ann Dale piece, and it'll be a perfect piece to stitch this winter.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thread usage for Ann and what's next...

I've decided to call the Ann Dale full sampler "Ann Dale 1827: Big and Beautiful." I finished charting the sampler, finally, last night. There are over 65,000 stitches in this baby! Needless to say, you'll go through a fair amount of floss. Here's my best estimate on how many skeins you'll need of each color (no number afterwards means just one skein.) Of course, your individual stitching style may increase or decrease the number of skeins you need (for example, how much ripping you do...ahem.)

Needlepoint Silks: 155A, 203, 242 (2), 335, 348 (3), 505 (4), 633, 635 (3), 692 (5), 756, 871 (3), 976, 987, 991 (2)

Gloriana Silks: Holly Berry, Vanilla (2)

Belle Soie Silks: Wheatgrass (4)

The fabric is 40 count Vintage Pear by Lakeside Linens.

And of course, I'm not even done printing this new sampler and people are already asking me: "What's next?" Sheesh! I have pulled out the beautiful Jane Pattison sampler that I bought not long ago on eBay. I think it has a definite wintery feel to it, and will be a great palette cleanser after you've done some motor stitching on Ann's sampler. I also have a surprise sampler that I will be working on...to be released soon, actually...I'm so excited. It's an antique I found with a Christmas tree on it!! OH MY!

Wish me luck. Cats are well and happy. Zero has a new trick whereby he comes galloping across the room, leaps to the back of the couch, bounces off the cushions and catapults himself up to the top of the curtains where he hangs very nonchalantly. Like it's no big deal. That guy!

(Addendum: I had someone ask for the verse for the Ann Dale sampler. Here it is:

I pass a few swiftly fleeting years,
And all that now in bodies live,
Shall quit, like me, the vale of tears,
Their righteous sentence to receive.

But all, before they hence remove,
May mansions for themselves prepare
In that eternal house above!
And, O my God, shall I be there?)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A new kitten at the house

This is Fargo. My cousin, Carri, came from the Dakota's this week for a four-day visit, and one of our outings was to the shelter. After playing on the floor in a pile of kittens that were up for adoption, we found Fargo and the rest of his litter in the exam room. I offered to take one home (we still have Pekoe). And I was able to name him.

He weighs about a pound, so he's mostly fluff, but he's gaining confidence exploring the house, loves eating the wet food I give him, uses the litter box like a big boy, and has a wonderful time wrestling and running around with Pekoe.

I've had a number of questions about the Ann Dale (full) sampler graph. I'm ALMOST there. It's a very large sampler, and I'm down to making some adjustments in the border. With such a tall sampler, and it being the work of a schoolgirl, there are lots of adjustments to be made in about 65,000 stitches! I want to make sure it looks like Ann's, but is easy to read (in terms of the graphing.)

I've also had some people ask about my back -- it's feeling much better, thanks! I'm back to manhandling heavy boxes, lugging groceries, and bowling. I'm not bowling well, mind you, but the ball is making it down to the pins.

Hope all's well with y'all. I'll post more pictures of the kittens soon. The picture in this post was made with my iPhone (and run through a Photoshop filter.) I should be able to get some great shots of Fargo and his blue eyes with my Nikon.

Take care!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A great time at Virginia Beach

I wish you all could have been there! When I left Norfolk, the sounds of laughter and excited conversation were still knocking around in my ears. About 100 stitchers, plus five teachers, plus two shop owners, plus a number of Dyeing to Stitch employees made for a wonderful weekend. The picture above is Tina, Teri, Jeannette and I standing on the beach right outside our hotel. The weather was perfect for shell picking and walking barefoot on the sand. Shortly after this picture was taken, the gang talked me into taking my shoes off.

Of course, I took my shoes off, and as soon as a wave came up a little too high and made my pant cuffs wet, I took the plunge and went in up to my knees. Wet pants are wet pants, and it didn't make any difference to me if they were wet a few inches or a foot and a half.

The next morning, we went to Pocahontas Pancakes, a breakfast place not far from the hotel that specializes in pancakes and waffles. This Native American had rock-hard abs!

When I'm traveling for work, I try to eat fruit every day. Lucky me -- on top of my fruit was whipped cream, and below it was a PERFECT waffle. I learned at the cash register on the way out that this particular waffle was voted one of the five best breakfasts in the state of Virginia!

One of the cool things about this retreat was the project reveal. None of the students had seen any of the pieces that would be their classwork. My assignment was to do a winter beach-themed piece, and I cheated by putting a date of Winter 1824 on my piece. The students learned to make the little patches, and the piece also has some specialty stitches. I will release this design in a year, so the rest of you can try it out.

Everyone was so nice -- and my students were smiley and ready to stitch. I commented several times that it's always great to get together with fellow stitchers...people who totally get how exciting it is to talk about fabric and threads.

I couldn't believe how many great things the retreat gals received...upon registering, everyone got a homemade bag with an R&R exclusive kit (with hand-dyed linen!). Then we received hand-made acorn fobs with DETACHED BUTTONHOLE acorn caps. Beautiful! Six hours of work went into making each one of these fobs (and yes, I got one!) Then the students received special ocean designs of stitching accessories that we all designed, plus the threads and hand-dyed fabric to stitch them. Then they got a bonus class with Pam Reed of Olde Colonial Designs. She showed us how to make stuffed basket bottoms (and yes, I got to take that class.) Then, there were door prizes, a banquet with grilled steaks, and the students each got a beautiful Olde Colonial Nantucket-style basket to take home. WHEW!

Anyway, I was super-pleased to be asked to teach, I got to meet a bunch of my customers in person, I sold three limited edition kits at the boutique (plus a lot of my graphs). The gals also got to see my Part of Ann Dale sampler model. And did I get any stitching done? Not until I was on my second layover on the way home.

Then, while pulling into my driveway, I scraped my car alongside my mailbox, and now I have to go get a dent and a big scratch fixed. I must have been eager to get home to my family, my cats, and my own pillow.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pekoe's First Halloween

Pekoe: "The doorbell keeps ringing, and then there are ghosts and goblins looking into our house. HELP!"

Me: "Pekoe, it's just Halloween. There's candy, too!"

Pekoe: "What-choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This is Pekoe

OK, so this isn't a very flattering picture of me, but I don't hesitate to show it to you, because this is what my life looks like around 11:30 p.m. in my crazy cat house. Pekoe is a new cat to our household -- he's about one pound and about four weeks old. We'll have him a month or so. He really, really likes "the nice lady." (My husband thought he was being very clever taking this picture.)

Pekoe was being fostered by another volunteer from the shelter who has half a dozen dogs. (He was found in this woman's neighborhood.) She was keeping Pekoe to one room of the house, so he didn't get eaten or stepped on. I volunteered to take him in. What's one more little mouth to feed?

Gilligan and Skipper will most likely go for surgery next week already. They're doing great, and I'll post pictures soon.

Next week, I go to Virginia Beach for the Dyeing to Stitch retreat right there on the beach! I am teaching with Jeanette Douglas, Shepherd's Bush and the gals from R&R Reproductions. What an honor! My piece is very cute -- beach themed, and I will post a picture of that after the retreat (don't want to spoil any of the surprises.)

I'm recuperating from a back injury. Between bowling, the computer, stitching, carrying groceries, taking out the trash, hauling boxes and boxes to the post office, driving, and everything else I do, my back (according to my physician) was "very angry with me." I was having back spasms, she said, and I have had to limit my lifting to ten pounds or less while my back settles down. Stupid back!

Take care, and happy stitching!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A few new releases

October is here, and ho boy, am I happy about that. I don't have much time, as I am SWAMPED, but I wanted to share "Pumpkin Joe," a new Raise the Roof piece I just finished stitching yesterday afternoon. It's stitched on 30 ct. Tiger's Eye (Weeks Dye Works) with DMC floss 310 and Bittersweet Sampler Threads. A few buttons from JABCo are tied on with black floss.

And here is Ann Dale in her frame...now that the frame is here (just today!) I can start printing the graphs. Give me a few more days, and I can start shipping this and the big sampler. The smaller booklet of motifs will be not far behind.

And here's a close-up of Ann. You can click on these pictures to make them larger. I can't even tell you how beautiful this is in person. Well, yes I can. Very, very beautiful. Hope you like it!

You may notice the ground (at the bottom) is striped. That's how the original looks -- Ann's was very stripe-y. And I chose whites that were a little whiter than the original...just so they'd show up on the fabric (otherwise, photography can be very difficult.) If you want it to look even more antique, choose some "dirty-looking" white silks or flosses.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fun to see my designs pop up...

on Jill Rensel's Blog. You can find her at RenselStudio.blogspot.com. She has been doing framing and hand-painted custom mats for Shepherd's Bush for YEARS (in fact, I have to admit that there are a few Shepherd's Bush pieces I stitched JUST for the matting!!!) I have a whole wall of them here at my shop.

But you might not know that Jill does custom framing of LOTS of needlework, and, if you ask her, she'll do custom framing for pieces with hand-painted mats just like she does for Shepherd's Bush. Recently, she started blogging, posting pictures of framing she has done for other needleworkers. I check in from time-to-time, and was tickled to find two of my designs.

This is my Magic Garden design (via Shakespeare's Peddler.) I released it last year, and it's been very popular, but I REALLY REALLY UBER-LOVE this with the matting Jill did. When I called her to ask if I could post the picture on my blog, she said she had no idea I was designing and said she loves Jenny Bean and had a lot of fun doing these mats.

By the way, I have plans for a Winter Garden piece to mimic this one...but more of a "sleeping winter garden" theme to it.

This is a piece I designed back in Fargo for Raise the Roof Designs called "Peter's Cotton Knits." I love how the stitcher used a sky-type hand-dyed fabric, and aren't those little cut-out painted eggs on the matting so cute? Jill is such an artist, and she could not be one ounce nicer.

But you don't have to live in Utah to have Jill frame your needlework. You can call her at 801.627.3594 or e-mail her at jrensel@xmission.com to see if she can do some framing for you. You can send her your needlework, and she'll send it back to you framed amazingly!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You say good-bye, and I say hello

I haven't done a cat update in a while, and LOTS of people ask about it. We had some changes at our house this week. Last week, Simba and Mufasa had their surgery, and I feel like it was a gender reassignment surgery, because when I picked them up, the doctor said: "Oh, by the way, they're girls." WHAT?!?! I never checked! The shelter told me boys. Gave them boy names, and I said, "OK."

Of course, surgery meant that they wouldn't be with us much longer. And yesterday, I took them to PetSmart, set up their cage with food, water, and a bed, then clutched each one of them and cried like an idiot there in the back room. I am praying they go to very good, loving homes.

Before I left, I snapped a few last shots. Here is Moofie sitting by the window. She is a really sweet cat, loves to sit on laps, purrs while she's sleeping, and has a lot of patience.

And here is Simba taking one last little cat nap in our Ikea Poang chair. Who says redheads don't look great in red? She is confident, loves popcorn and wrestling, and is so, so happy. It was strange not to wake up to them this morning. I'll let y'all know when they've been adopted.

Dottie thought as long as I was snapping pictures, she'd pose for me. She's doing great, although she's trying to get used to two new (temporary) brothers...

Say hello to Skipper. When I took Moofie and Simba to get their final check-up on Friday at the shelter, I was asked if I could take home two nameless black cats. Nameless is never a good thing at the shelter; it usually means that unless something quickly changes, that animal will be on the next list for euthanasia. I said: of course! And I was able to name these two sweet little boys (I'm pretty sure they're boys this time.)

You'll notice Skipper has white and black hair ... a very unusual coat. It's called a "fever coat" and is the result of being ill when he was even smaller (he's about a pound and a half now.) He probably had a fever, and so for a short time, his hair came in white. This will eventually grow out, but for the time being, he's interesting-looking (and easier to tell apart from his brother.) He was timid at first, but when I showed him the amazing-ness of wet cat food, he came out of his shell.

This is Skipper's brother, Gilligan. (We call them Skip and Gill.) Gilligan is an awesome cat -- very brave, confident, comfortable in his own fur. He rubs on ankles. He asks nicely to be picked up. He has been over just about every square inch of our house already. And both boys are eating nicely, using the litter box every time, and even tucking themselves into their cat bed at night. We'll have them for around five weeks or so -- it will depend on how quickly they grow.

Here's a face from the past you may not recognize. This is little Elvis! My friend Jennifer and her family adopted Elvis and love him to pieces. He is getting big, and is such a nice boy. He is getting over his habit of tearing open the bread and eating the crust off. Jennifer even caught him putting away a skein of Sampler Threads that had fallen out of a basket (you can see that basket behind him.) I told her that he was raised well.

And here is Chi. Chi's new name is Stella, and her new owner contacted me via Facebook and shares pictures now and then. Stella and her owner like to watch English romance movies together, and that cat is getting supremely spoiled. Isn't she a beauty?

Zero is doing great -- no new pictures of him today, sorry. He's getting big and fluffy (I called him a "walking carpet" this week.) And by coincidence, Jennifer met Soba's new mother at Wal-Mart about a month or so ago (she works there in the check-out.) Soba has retained his name, and his mom says he has his own special blanket that he likes to nibble on, that he climbs into bed with her every night, and that he, too, is getting spoiled and is very loved.

Hope y'all are having a great week. Happy stitching, and to those of you who have pets...give 'em all a scratch behind the ears for me!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What a great show...and here's Ann!

Hey, well, I know you are all going to want to see this ... Ann Dale came in the mail this week. Thanks so much to Chris Canaday to doing a fabbo job stitching the model. I have already ordered a frame, and the piece is stretched. Isn't it gorgeous? The next few days I'll be working on getting the chart finished. When the frame is in, I can print covers, and away we go!

Just a reminder that this (above) sampler will be sold as a graph. You also will be able to order the ENTIRE sampler graph (this is just the bottom third). And there will be a third booklet available with just the urns from the sampler (to use for smalls and ornaments.) (You should be able to click on the picture to make it larger.)

My friend Jennifer and I had a great time in St. Charles at the Celebrations of Needlework show. Our booth looked just like a little shop, and I was fortunate to be able to meet stitchers from all over the place. I sold lots of fabric, lots of my sampler charts, and lots of silk, so I know there are some very happy and busy stitchers this week.

I always enjoy market, because it's one time that all of my models are in one place. I loan a lot of my pieces out to other shops during the year, so it's kind of like a little family reunion to have them all back together in one place.

I am busy now getting the store back together, answering e-mails and shipping orders. I am hoping that Celebrations will host the show again next year. If they do, I will be there...with bells on!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quick post

Much to do...heading out to lunch for my son Graham's birthday -- he's 15 today. Then I'm heading to St. Charles, Missouri for the Celebrations show. Will be out of town for a few days. Hope you have a great rest of the week!

If you need to get a hold of me, please just e-mail me...I'll answer those when I get back.

Take care,


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering and Hoping

This is my song, Oh God of all the nations,

A song of peace for lands afar and mine.

This is my home, the country where my heart is;

Here are my hopes, my dreams, my sacred shrine.

But other hearts in other lands are beating,

With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,

And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.

But other lands have sunlight too and clover,

And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.

Oh hear my song, oh God of all the nations,

A song of peace for their land and for mine.

May truth and freedom come to every nation;

may peace abound where strife has raged so long;

that each may seek to love and build together,

a world united, righting every wrong;

a world united in its love for freedom,

proclaiming peace together in one song.


Ten years ago, I posted some hymn lyrics on my web site in reaction to the horrible events of 9-11. Ten years on, it still seems we can use the sentiments of "This is My Song" (sometimes called "A Song of Peace.")

The lyrics were written in 1934 by Lloyd Stone, an American poet and the last stanza by Georgia Harkness, a Methodist theologian born in New York in 1891 (she also wrote additional verses that sometimes appear in hymnals). It is sung to "Finlandia" by Finnish composer Jean Sebelius in 1899 as a secret protest against censorship.

There is a perfectly lovely version on You Tube by the St. Paul's Concert Chorale in Maryland at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvz9PvczUMI. God bless us, everyone.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A new Raise the Roof piece and yes, she's mine

First off, yes, I am buying the Maria Druce sampler (see my previous blog post)! Thanks to all of you who chimed in (I heard from about 100 different stitchers in all so far) who said Maria's sampler must be reproduced. There was another buyer who was interested in the sampler, but as I had already inquired, I had first dibs.

I've included images of two motifs from the sampler (I do not have the actual sampler yet) that knock me right the heck out -- a funky-haired squirrel and a fanciful butterfly (moth?)

I really love butterflies/moths on a sampler, so here is one Madelena still has for sale that has a border made of BUTTERFLIES! (Or moths...I don't discriminate.)

This is the Hannah Starkey sampler from 1836, and it has a bee-you-tiful verse:

"Dear Jesus smooth that rugged way/And lead me to the realms of day/To milder skies and brighter plains/Where everlasting sunshine reigns." I took a sampler class from Nan Tyson Euler a looong time ago, and we stitched a sampler in silk. I don't remember what it was SUPPOSED to say, but I changed my verse to something I liked from the Bible with a similar sentiment: "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect."

Anyhoo, this sampler is still for sale at www.madelena.com. ....I can't buy them all folks -- not until I get my own reality show.

Here is Boo*Scurry*Yum all finished -- I'm still waiting on a groovy black frame that I ordered, but I'm getting graphs printed, and am just waiting for that cover shot, so I can pack and ship charts to my distributors and customers. This was a TON of fun to stitch -- I always enjoy stitching in Halloween colors of black, orange, green, purple. I really loved Fanci That patterns back in the 90's, and miss those primitive rag doll-like designs of theirs. They always used dark and colorful fabrics, too, lots of buttons, and brave colors of thread.

You can pre-order this graph (or kit) from me, or have your local shop pick it up from one of their distributors. I have fabric to stitch a similar piece of a Christmas lady!

Until next time, happy stitching ... may all of your X's be true and all of your treats be chocolate.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hm...what do you think?

I have an opportunity to purchase this sampler. It's British, and I think quite lovely. But I need your help....

What I like about it: the double-sided border (different inside and outside); PURPLE elements; the sheep (which are done in cross over four, I think, or Smyrna cross); the little house scene with a canopy of sky over-top; birds, squirrels and doggies; the tulip border (inside), the leafy cartouche around the young stitcher's name and date (and other things, of course.)

It's big -- about 22 by 25 inches, and I think the fabric is quite fine. There are numerous holes and even adhesive marks around some of the holes (looks like bug damage here and there.)

I am always on the look out for samplers with something "different" about them. This has a number of those elements, and looks like it would be a lot of fun to stitch. But is this something that has broad appeal (or appeals just to me?) If I buy it, it would be to reproduce it (and then of course hang it up and enjoy it.) Let me know what you think. I'm trying to make up my mind.

I'll leave you with the verse:


'When the pure soul is from the body flown,

No more shall Night's alternate reign be known;

The sun no more shall rolling light bestow,

But from the Almighty streams of glory flow.

Oh! May some nobler thought my soul employ,

Than empty, transient, sublunary joy.

The stars shall drop, the sun shall lose his flame,

But thou, O God: for ever shine the same.'

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Elenor Ferrow and Maggie Bean: Harvest completed

I've got two new photographs for you today. Elenor Ferrow's frame came in, so I'll be printing graphs in the next few days for her sampler. It turned out LOVELY! The graph will retail for $12.00, and if you want to order from me, you certainly can and may. Otherwise, ask your local shop to get it in for you.

The piece is stitched in a mixture of Sampler Threads and Weeks Dye Works on plain ole (good ole) 32 ct. Natural Belfast linen.

And here are Maggie Bean's two new little designs -- the Harvest pack, which will be released in a week by Crescent Colours. I used 32 ct. Buttercream linen by Lakeside Linens with one strand of the silks (which come with the patterns.) This is the fourth in a series of six sampler sets by Maggie Bean, Jenny Bean's little sister. She's learning virtues, and it is so important to devote part of your life to harvesting -- taking in that which you have worked for. See the harvest moon, the shovel and sickle, wheat, a barn, a squirrel and some acorns...are are symbols of the harvest. And did you know my name means "reaper?"

I hope you like these -- pictures soon of other new things in the works. I've been stitching up a storm. Hope you have been, too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Boo * Scurry * Yum

This is a new piece I designed (a Raise the Roof piece) that I finished stitching yesterday. You can't see the WHOLE thing...I'm going to save a full shot for when I get the buttons and frame in place. But this will be ready in about a week and a half for release. It has turned out really, really cute. I have plans for a sister piece for Christmas.

This one is in mostly Sampler Threads (one Weeks Dye Works) on Picture This Plus 32-count "Raisin." Which has been discontinued. I know.... Out of the 106 colors that Picture This Plus has released, I picked the only one they have discontinued. Due to dye issues, they are no longer able to make the color come out this way anymore. I had some in my stash and liked it, and had gotten too far on the stitching to start over.

Anyway, there are a few fabrics I'm recommending for this one. Lakeside Linens Vintage Sienna Night. R&R Reproductions 18th Century Rook. Picture This Plus Barnwood. Or any other dark and spooky fabric you like or have.

I hope you like it. I designed another piece this weekend, and will start reproducing another sampler this week for Christmas release. Plus, Jenny Bean said she wants to do another sampler. Oh, and her little sister Maggie is finishing up her next two mini samplers for Crescent Colours.

Happy stitching!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Safe travels and speedy stitching

The supplies for the Ann Dale Sampler (above) are going out to my model stitcher today. Chris Canaday stitched my Jane Philpott Sampler last year (and did a fabulous job.) Here's Jane, if you forgot what she looks like:

Now, for Ann Dale's Sampler, that one will be released THREE ways. The first, the one Chris is stitching, is the bottom portion of the sampler -- the main circle tree, all of the swans, dogs, eggs, trees, flowers, as well as the cartouches (cartouchi?) with the verse and the line with her name. I have wrapped the strawberry border around the top of it, and put in, as filler, and just because I like it so much, the red carnation-type border that is underneath the longer verse on the full sampler. It is going to be a stunner.

I also am releasing the graph as the ENTIRE thing. You'll get the chart to stitch the whole sampler with a picture of the original sampler on the front. I wanted to have a model stitcher work the smaller (smaller, ha!) sampler, so people could see what it looks like with the modifications (the border change.)

And, I'll release the urns in the sampler as a separate little bound (somehow) booklet. These would make great ornaments and needlework smalls.

When will it be ready? Well...it'll be ready when it's ready. Chris is speedy (and now retired), but I want her to enjoy herself and not feel rushed. I will post updates from Chris as I get them. (Those of you who know Chris can poke her from time to time to keep her going.) But the booklet, the smaller sampler and the entire reproduction will be released simultaneously. When they're ready. This fall. I promise!

Just to tempt you a little bit, and show what a stickler I am when it comes to color selections, above is a picture of the supplies Chris will be getting in the mail (on top of the original sampler.) The fabric is 40 ct. Vintage Pear by Lakeside Linens (it is almost a dead-on match for the original fabric.) The stitch count for this piece is 400 by 245. (The smaller sampler is this small...ha ha!) The large sampler's stitch count is at home, but it'll be 400 wide, and about 600+ tall. The entire sampler will fit on a half yard of 40 ct. Pear; the smaller sampler will fit on a quarter yard of 40 ct. Pear. You're going to need larger cuts if you change the size upwards.

Here's a supply list for the bottom samplers. QUANTITIES ARE UNKNOWN at this point. I just want you to see the colors and what you can start ordering/accumulating. I avoided Au Ver a Soie this time, although I love it, because there were backorder problems with Ann Grant. This sampler, judging by preorders, is going to be HUGE in terms of how many people want this one. I don't want people to be without silks. The over-dyed silk companies will be informed about these well in advance.

Needlepoint Silks: 756, 692, 987, 871, 203, 505, 348, 335, 242, 633, 155A, 976, 635, 991

Belle Soie: Wheatgrass

Gloriana: Holly Berry and Vanilla

I also tried to keep over-dyed silks to a minimum, as they are expensive. But the original has some fading/striping that looks like over-dyed floss, and these colors were closest to the original. I WILL be doing a DMC conversion for those of you who prefer cotton floss.

Anyway, I just wanted to give you an update. I will keep everyone posted as the process continues, as I know so many of you are planning your winter stitching around Miss Ann's sampler.

Have a great weekend! I'll be stitchin'!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Miss Ann Womack arrived on my doorstep yesterday

Time is always moving on,
Time, we soon may say is gone,
Time, is fleeting, and we know,
Time, at last, will disappear.

Ann Womack. Aged 8 Years

Here she is -- isn't she gorgeous? The fabric is about a 38/40 count uneven-weave linen. It appears she used two different colors of red that she had (one is very fine and smooth, the other is less fine and a little more coarse.)

What I really like about this (besides it all being in red) is that it is definitely a LESSON. The first alphabet is in cross stitch. The next is the lower-case alphabet in a pleasing elongated style. The next alphabet is four-sided stitch. The next is Algerian Eye (which I LOVE!). And the last alphabet is over-one.

I also find the verse very charming...because it doesn't rhyme. Ann did a fabulous job (especially for an eight-year-old.) This one will be a joy to reproduce and stitch. Don't you just love it?