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?"