Scrap Quilt #22

June 26, 2021

I had started a scrap quilt in Tucson in 2020 that was possible because Patti – yes the same Patti mentioned in the previous post – generously shared bags of scrap fabric with me. Some other friends at Tucson Estates also shared fabric scraps with me too. Thank-you all so much. I thought I had brought enough with me, but was I ever mistaken.

It didn’t get completed in Tucson as we had to make a quick decision and head home due to the Covid-19 epidemic. We were lucky to get home before some of the states closed their borders and wouldn’t let out of state cars drive through.

Once back home, I was making a block a day when I got interrupted for 8 months with that tibial plateau break, but I’m back sewing and happily finished making all the blocks. The blocks butted up next to each other were too dark for me, and every time I looked at them, it made me sad. I could not make a quilt that made me sad:

It needed sashing. Sashing takes a lot more time, effort, and material. Did I want to put in all the extra time to make a quilt that I was going to donate? The answer was a resounding YES !!!

Even with a much darker room – the sun was setting – can you see the difference the sashing makes? Now I like it. I’m not crazy about all the extra bulk in the seams, and all the extra ironing I have to do, but adding that sashing transformed a dark scrap quilt, into something that brings me joy. It’s all about creating something that makes my heart sing, and mine is now singing, and dancing.

This will be quilt number 22 that will be donated to charity, and that makes me happy too. I hope you’re all making projects that make you happy too.

Hugs…

Primitive Threadworks Finish

June 18, 2021

I’ve been busy stitching and not blogging. It happens. One of my Arizona friends asked me to make a new post, so Patti, this one is for you. 😉

My older sister had a recent health scare (she’s fine now), and I couldn’t be there in person to hug her, so I decided to make something for her. She loves everything I make, which is why I enjoy stitching for her, and this project was extra special. It was made with some of our Grandmother’s old linens.

My Grandmother learned how to embroider from the nuns in Italy. She came to America in the early 1900’s and brought some of her pieces with her. I was the only one of the grandkids who liked old linens, and was lucky to receive them after she passed away. Some are on display around my home, and the rest have been washed and stored in acid free paper. I know my daughter won’t want them, and I am in that stage of life where you don’t save things for something special. Special is now, so I got the idea to combine my stitching with my grandmother’s stitching and gift it to my sister.

I had purchased the Quaker Bird Pinwheel pattern from Threadwork Primitives after seeing it on Mischievous Stitches floss tube channel. I got out a linen table cloth that had some stains and holes on it, but also had some of my grandmother’s embroidery. I cut out two pieces – one with a flying bird embroidered by my grandmother, and a piece of plain linen large enough for me to cross stitch the pattern.

Surprisingly, this 100+ year old linen fabric was sturdy enough to be stretched in a hoop, and I could see the threads well enough to cross stitch the design. This is how it turned out:





I made the braid for the edging and sewed it around the piece. Everything used was acid free, the fabric hand stitched and stretched onto the circle forms, and I’m hoping this will last another 100 years.

Now for a leg update. I’m still using a wheelchair and walker, but hope to graduate to using a cane by July. I’m also wearing a leg brace. It’s not the prettiest accessory I’ve ever worn, but it helps me walk with a close to normal gait.

In the scheme of life, this is a bump in the road. Yes, it would have been nice to have a full recovery, but so far, it hasn’t happened. Who knows? That could change. I’m certainly exercising, and doing everything I can to get my nerves to regenerate.

I’m getting my first ever massage next week. It’ll be done by a medical tech who specializes in helping people recover from injuries like I sustained. If that doesn’t work, then I’m considering acupuncture. I don’t give up easily. It’s been 8 months and this break has a 6-12 month recovery period. There is still time to get more function back.

Next, on my creativity radar is to fully finish another cross stitch piece. I have to add the beads, and then decide how it will be used. Could be an ornament, could be a flat fold. I’ll know more after the beading is completed.

I’m also machine piecing again. Slowly but surely a donation quilt top is being assembled. Hopefully, I’ll have pictures to share next week.

I hope you’re all doing well, enjoying life, family and taking care of yourselves.

Hugs…

First Finish in 2021 – Aviator Owl

January 23, 2021

Ta Da!!! My first finish of 2021 was the cutie patootie – Aviator Owl. The cross stitching was easy, but my oh my, was there ever a lot of backstitching. My iPad helped me quite a bit. I put the pdf file in iBooks and was able to color over the backstitching on the file as I stitched it. I was also able to enlarge the file – which was another helpful option in the app.

I used to be a monogamous stitcher, but there are a lot of designs I want to make, and now work on 2 at the same time. I put in at least 300 stitches on Old World Map 2 everyday, and just a thread length or so when I stitch on the second project – which was Aviator Owl. This gives me a little variety, and variety is the spice of life.

I’m a little surprised with how many contenders I have for the second cross stitch project. I haven’t even been back to cross stitching a full year yet, but I am a most excellent textile hunter/gatherer. Stay tuned for what will be started next. Will it be a Rosewood Manor Sampler, an Italian cross stitch ornament, a Dimensions Kit, a Russian design, another Heaven and Earth Design, a Long Dog Sampler, an Ink Circles design, or the wonderful free Threads and Linen SAL???

Leg Update – I’m starting to walk. Hurrah!!! I’m now 75% weight bearing, use a walker, and am progressing slowly but surely. Unless something can be done about my drop foot, that’ll be slapping down on the ground instead of the normal heel, toe walking motion. It’ll look different, but for now, I’m thrilled to be on my feet at all.

I’m still wearing the cumbersome brace, and hopefully that will be gone soon. Flop foot, brace set at zero flexion, and walker – it’s quite a distinctive method of ambulation. I almost asked my husband to take a video of this activity for laughs. Then I came to my senses. There is not one thing funny about this. I’d just as soon have this whole experience be a memory, and not immortalized in a video.

We’re both getting our first Covid vaccine this week. Still staying safe, and I hope all of you are staying safe and taking care of yourselves.

Hugs…

Happy New Year

January 1, 2021

I’m doing a year end wrap up and it has been a doozy of a year for me.

Lots of cross stitching happened this year, and I missed a full month in the hospital and rehab home, so was a bit surprised when I realized I stitched 119,761 full cross stitches over 5 projects:

The Finery Of Nature a Dimensions kit

Morning Praise a Dimensions kit

Stormy a Heaven and Earth Design

Aviator Owl CutePatternsbyMaria – an Etsy shop

Old World Map 2 a Golden Kite design

All have been pictured on the blog before except for Aviator Owl, so I didn’t post additional photos of them, but here’s a photo of Aviator Owl:

There is always debate amongst cross stitchers about back stitching, and this design has a LOT of backstitching. I think it really adds to the design, but am not a fan of the technique. My husband can’t see any difference between the two eyes. Can you? I can. I think it adds a lot of definition to the stitch out which is why I’m hanging in there and will continue stitching the back stitching.

I used a hand dyed fabric for this and when I ordered it, I thought it was more a stormy sky blue. I got grey. I don’t think it’s a great fabric choice and plan on adding a little blue to the fabric by lightly brushing on diluted Tsukineko ink with clear aloe gel. Sure hope it works.

I also changed a couple of the colors. The scarf called for 2 shades of orange. I’m a red and white scarf person, so used a mystery red from my thread collection for DMC 970, and DMC 321 instead of DMC 606. It really pops, and I wanted it to pop.

I’ve also worked on scrap quilts, and an embroidered quilt. Surprise, surprise, 2020 was a good year for creating after all. I don’t make plans because, heck, I’m retired. I have the luxury to do what I want, when I want, so anything accomplished is always celebrated. I am well and truly blessed.

A short update on my leg. My appointment was moved up as staff is being moved from private doctor’s offices to the hospitals because of Covid. sigh Please take care everyone.

Thursday’s x-rays showed my bone is still healing, but I’ve been approved for 25% weight bearing. If I do well, then it will be increased. If I do lousy, it’ll stop, then be restarted a week later.

I still have to wear the big brace for another 4 weeks, but I’ve been slowly gaining range of motion. I can now bend my knee 70 degrees. Yeah for that! This progress might be like taking baby steps, but I’m moving in the right direction. It’s good as far as I’m concerned.

I wish all my readers a Happy, Healthy 2021. May you surround yourself with kindness, serenity and creativity.

Hugs…

Sheesh

December 20, 2020

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post – with a very good reason. I was happily having a nice evening with my husband and daughter when I walked into the living room, and turned my body without turning my feet. Bamm, down I went with a broken leg. This happened October 17.

The ambulance came, and they strapped my leg to a board, and off I went to the hospital. Because of Covid, I was on my own. Xrays and scans happened, and I was told I needed a trauma team, and sent off in another ambulance to a hospital with a trauma team.

Lay in the hallway on a guerny for the next 5 hours till the team arrived. I was with all the criminals and police officers in that hallway. Let me tell you, I learned more about drugs, and where to hide guns than I wanted to know – all this from the criminals talking – not to the police – but on their cell phones to their friends.

I don’t remember even being taken to the operating room, but I do remember being taken to my room. I had a whole wall of glass and a beautiful view of trees. Yeah, even drugged, I appreciated the view. One night there was a spectacular lightening display. It was amazing.

The only time I slept was when I was drugged as there were 3 of us in the room. I was the only one who didn’t need a hearing aid. It wasn’t exactly quiet, but I was being well cared for, and the meds came at regular intervals.

I was then sent to a rehab home for the next 20 days. I had a private room which was really nice. I was the youngest person on the floor, and the only one with good hearing. It was loud.

I managed to sustain a tibial plateau break – about the worst tibia break you can get. It broke in 3 sections and took out part of my kneecap while it was at it. 12 weeks – we’re talking 12 weeks – non weight bearing -wearing this thing:

And oh yes, I also managed to get nerve damage. My foot doesn’t work like it should – that’s why I’m stuck not only wearing a brace from my ankle to my crotch, but also the lovely blue boot for the long 12 weeks.

If you’re squeamish, you might want to skip this next picture. It’s a picture of the plate and 8 screws in my leg. I don’t know about you, but I can only count 6 screws which get progressively bigger as they ascend my leg. I was assured there are 8 of them in there.

That big honking screw by my knee cap ought to make life interesting when I can start bending my knee. sigh

My next appointment is in January, and then I’ll find out if I can start gradually be weight bearing on the leg. Hopping around with a walker, is hard on my right leg. I broke the femur in my right leg less than 2 years ago, so am reluctant to hop around a lot – even with displacing some of my weight on the walker.

All I can say is 2020 decided to go out the hard way for me. I am extremely grateful to the doctors, nurses, and aides who helped care for me, I was in a quarantine unit in the rehab home, and tested 4 times for Covid. Let me tell you, those tests are not fun. Luckily, not all of them were the horrible one where I swear, they want to reach your brain. Okay, okay, that’s an exaggeration, but that’s how I felt about it at the time.

I am also grateful for my husband. Dealing with having all the hospital equipment delivered to the house, and caring for me, is a full time job. Yes, nurses, therapists, and private duty help all come to the house, but he’s left with the majority of the care giving. I would not be able to be home without him.

I have been able to cross stitch since I got home, and did finish 10 pages on my Old World Map 2 project. I love that design.

I’m almost halfway across the first row. It’s a Golden Kite design and has 696,960 stitches in it. I started out using 2 strands of embroidery floss on this 20 ct Aida fabric, but it was too dense for my hands. Switched to one strand, and the colors were not as vibrant, so am now using one strand, but instead of doing the two step X, I’m adding another leg to it. So first I make the X, then I go over the last leg of the X again. It’s 3 steps for each X. Multiply that extra leg of stitching to all those Xs and I’ve managed to turn an already long stitching project, into a LOT longer stitching project. It looks good though, and that’s all I care about.

Stay safe, be kind to each other, and as always,

Hugs…

Morning Praise Completed

October 5, 2020

I have not been blogging much this year, but I have been creating. I’m so happy to share that I completed Morning Praise a Dimensions kit designed by Susan Winget.

This design was started April 4, 2020, and finished October 5, 2020. That’s pretty good for me as I was also working on Stormy, which was completed this year also. When Stormy was completed, Old World Map 2 was started. It’s a Golden Kite design, which will take me approximately 7-10 years to complete. It’s a biggie – close to 700,000 stitches.

Morning Praise needs to be washed and ironed, then I will finish it without a frame. The jury is out on exactly how I’ll hang it, but I would like that completed this week.

I’m still sewing scrap blocks for a donation quilt, and will start a new cross stitch project. I have quite a few kits and design charts I’ve purchased. Some of the design charts are kitted up, some not.

On a personal note? All is okay. I’m not sad, I’m not over the moon happy. I am grateful to have a family I love, a comfortable home and enough to eat, but there is an underlying feeling that I should be doing more. I make plenty of donation quilts, I donate to food banks, yet I feel that something is missing.

I’m thinking life is a series of learning experiences. These unprecedented times have yet to reveal what is next, but there is always a next. I will greet it with open arms, an open mind, and a helpful attitude.

Take care, stay safe and as always

Hugs…

Stormy Finished

July 31, 2020

Ta Da!!!  I finished stitching Stormy

WIP 7-31-20

I started this cross stitch project 4/15/20 and finished it 7/28/20.  It has over 31,000 stitches in it – the way I did it.  I eliminated one large leaf on the right side of the photo.  It was located above all those little feathers blowing in the wind, and made the piece higher.   I needed this piece to be shorter, so eliminated that leaf.

There was another leaf on the edge of the right branch in the photo – touching the branches, but sticking out a bit all by itself.  Again it was a size issue.  I needed the piece to be a little less wide too.  The original design is lovely, and wish I could have stitched all the leaves, but space limitations led to these decisions.

This has been washed, dried and ironed, and those little wavy areas around the leaves, branches and owl will not lie flat.  The fabric itself lies flat, but not close to the densely stitched areas.

My stitching tension is fine.  I did the loop start, so eliminated as much of the thread bulk behind the fabric as possible.  It’s the difference between densely stitched areas and unstitched areas.  I love this piece, and it will look fine after it is padded and stretched.

There is a long list of cross stitch patterns I’d like to make, and one is on my scroll frame, and another on a Q-snap. As I make progress on them, I’ll post pictures.

I hope you are all stay safe, taking care and being creative.

Hugs…

 

 

 

Stormy Update

July 22, 2020

I’ve been busy cross stitching this month and am making great progress on my HAED – Heaven and Earth Design – Stormy.

WIP 7-22-20

I do believe it will be completed in another week or two, and I still love this design.   Considering I’ve spent quality time stitching on this project, I’m very happy I still love the design.

I am so over stitching with filament thread though.  A few thousand stitches call for this material, and as most cross stitchers know, filament thread is a bear to use.  Short strands and bees wax are helpful, but it still separates like crazy.

It will also be very nice not to stitch so many creams, off whites, light greys and many shades of taupe.  I can barely see them against the fabric, but what a difference they make.  The tree branch on the right in the photo is completed.  The tree branch directly under the owl is not.  Big difference, true?

I’m still attending ZOOM meetings with my art group, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to meet at our regular location for the rest of the year.  The internet sure has been a wonderful asset during these trying times.

I hope you are all taking care, staying safe and being creative.

Hugs…

Stormy

July 1, 2020

It’s been a long time since I last blogged.  I’m hanging in there, and I hope all of you are doing well.

I’ve become obsessed with cross stitching.  There is no other word for it.  It’s nothing for me to stay up till 2 or 3 am stitching away.  Then get right back to it as soon as I get up.

Here is a progress picture of Stormy – my very first HAED design:

7-01-20

This is what happens when I wait too late to take a photo.  I lose the light and a cream colored fabric looks dusky.  It is what it is.

I hope you can see the little insect hanging on for dear life on the left.  There is a surfing dude on the right too.  That wind is really strong.  I love this design, and while I don’t love doing a lot of confetti cross stitching, this project is worth it.

On the quilt front, I was continuing to work on another scrap quilt for donation, and realized, it’s all cut up, and I can bring this with me to Tucson for sewing in the craft room there – if it ever opens up again.  I’m going to box it up in a container and start cutting fabric for another donation kit – to be made in Tucson.  Maybe all this preparation will pay off, maybe it won’t, but I will be ready to hit the road, and there is lots to be said about having my sewing projects ready for travelling.

I hope you are all staying safe.

Hugs…

Diane

 

 

 

Felicity Quilt Top

May 25, 2020

Can’t believe I finally finished piecing this quilt top, and I chose the hottest day of the year so far in Upstate New York to do so.  Oh, did I mention that the AC in our house broke?  Picture me in shorts, t-shirt and pony tail, piecing and ironing at 2 am with the windows open trying to catch a breeze.  Now that’s quilty dedication.

Felicity quilt top

This is a good sized quilt – 67″ x 88″ and was supposed to be donated last year – before Christmas.  Yes, I’m late, but it’ll work for Christmas 2020 too.  The quilt was too big to photograph on my design wall, so you get the added bonus of my living room rug pattern showing at the sides.  😉

The pattern is called Felicity and was in an AQS magazine – sometime in 2019.  I no longer have the magazine, or I’d have given you the specific one.  It was not hard to make, and was mostly pieced in Tucson.  I ran out of the little red and polka dot square strips, so made do with the striped fabric  on the 2 bottom squares – which will be used for the backing and binding fabric also.  When you’re 2,400 miles away from your fabric collection, and you still want to sew, design opportunities occur.   Doesn’t that sound so much better than making mistakes?

A lot of cross stitching is going on, and I received a new android tablet so I could use an app – Pattern Keeper.  It is a stitch changer.  It’s so much easier to keep track of symbols now.  No more missing one here or there, and having to go back to fill in.  That alone is worth the app purchase.  It does lots more, and I’m using ALL the features – a first for me. I’m not all that fond of learning new software, apps, or operating systems.  I have to be really motivated to do so.

I have to admit, the minute that app becomes available for Apple products,  I’m getting rid of the android tablet and installing it on my iPad.  I love my iPad.  It’s so intuitive.

I can’t let the day go by without acknowledging all the service people – past and present.  I will forever be grateful for the sacrifices made by these brave people.  Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.

Hugs…