2022

January 8, 2022

I am so happy to be in 2022, and hoping it’s much better than the last two years.

Lots of stitching got done and a little bit of sewing. Would you believe I got over 217,000 cross stitches accomplished in 2021? When you’re stuck in a hospital bed and not able to walk for a good portion of the year, you either eat a lot, drink a lot, watch a lot of TV, or stitch. I stitched.

At the tail end of the PT for my broken leg, I managed to break a couple of bones in my back, so once again it wasn’t much moving around. This time I also ate a lot, and it shows. Such is life.

I did manage to get some sewing done in December though. I made a drawstring scroll frame bag from my hand dyed fabric, and scroll frame grime guards from some JoAnns sale fabric.

I also started a new cross stitch project. It’s called Mini Dandelions by Heaven and Earth Design. This is a screen capture from their website:

This image touches my heart. We have a lot of fox on our property, and I love seeing them every year. The first 6 rows of the pattern are completed and I am stitching 1 thread over 1 square on 28 ct Easy Grid Aida. Bring on the magnifier!!!

Alas, the magnifier is back home, and I’m in Tucson. I’m not about to purchase another big floor lamp and magnifier. I do manage to stitch 2 threads worth of x’s first thing in the morning. I keep on telling myself each stitch counts, and you know what? It does add up. This won’t get this completed in 2022 now, but does it really matter? I think not.

Plans? I don’t make any. Expectations can be stressful. I’m all about going with the flow. It’s easy for me to say that, as I’m retired. I really don’t HAVE to do anything. Each day unfolds, and somehow it’s filled with what I enjoy – family, stitching, good food, and plenty of TV shows now that we’ve dumped cable TV and have Netflix, Disney and Hulu – for 1/4 the $$$.

I hope 2022 is kind to all of you and full of creativity. Stay strong, stay safe and

Hugs…

Talavera Finished

December 3, 2021

It’s hard to believe it is December already, but the SAL (Stitch Along) I joined at Linen and Threads is now complete. The last charts of the year were shared and my 12 month journey has now been completed:

I loved stitching all the tiles, and was very surprised by the last charts. Those hearts do not fit my aesthetics at all. I loved the clean lines and the symmetry of the block designs. The hearts seemed to have come out of nowhere.

Now I prefer symmetry, but thought this has been a learning experience, loosen up and go with it. Do I like how it turned out? Not really, but I’m not sorry I stitched it pretty much well as designed.

There were 2 minimal changes made. The hearts on either end were stitched so they were symmetrical. The original design had one side wider than the other.

The middle of the large heart had another heart inside with arrows crossing. I just couldn’t stitch them because the feather end did not align with the arrow head. Yeah, I do have that thing about symmetry. Instead I stitched my initials, and the year completed plus a few small hearts tossed in for good measure.

If I had stitched to what I thought would look good, the bottom would have been the reverse of the top of the chart – nice clean lines. Then I would also have stitched my full name and the year completed. I do not like that my initials spell the word dim, but it is what it is. Stitching my full name would have avoided that nicely.

This piece will never be framed. It could be cut up and used for a project bag, but for now, it is in a time out. Hopefully, it will eventually see the light of day, because I really do love all the tile designs, and all the colors.

Currently, I’m down to 2 WIPs (Works in Progress) – the humongous Old World Map 2, and a small Arizona piece. I’ll share pictures of those two before the end of the year, and be prepared for a shock. I restarted Old World Map 2 – yes with over 100,000 stitches done, and the entire top row completed, and halfway down the side. It now has less than 10,000 stitches done. Yes, I’m nuts, but I prefer to think of myself as pleasantly eccentric.

Hugs…

Moon Hare Finished

November 24, 2021

My Heaven and Earth Design – Moon Hare – by Suzanne Gyseman is totally stitched:

The color is mega off. For reference, the fabric was white 22 count hardanger. This is what happens when you take a photo at night with a normal light bulb – not even a LED bulb. This was started 2/27/21 and completed 11/23/21 – 49,392 stitches. I am very happy with how it turned out, and the blissful fox in Mini Dandelion – another HAED design – will be a companion piece for this Moon Hare.

I either go cute or unbelievably traditional. This one is definitely in the cute category.

Life update – October 1, I hurt myself reaching for an item of clothing on my nightstand. I thought I broke a rib. After a week of pain, I called my PCP. She ordered an X-ray. The radiologist said nothing was broken.

6 weeks later I was no better, and let me tell you, every time I sneezed, it was a come to Jesus moment. I called to see a back specialist. After a couple of MRIs, it turns out I broke 2 bones in my back. I have a 3-5 month recovery ahead of me. About the only thing I can do is cross stitch, and I have graduated to being able to put on my own coat, and seat belt, so I am healing.

We’re getting take out for Thanksgiving, and looking forward to seeing our daughter. I’m still finding lots to be grateful for, still feel blessed, and I do wish each and every one of you who celebrate Thanksgiving a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Hugs…

Scrap Quilt Finished from 2019 Start

October 15, 2021

This quilt was made possible by the generosity of the members of Tucson Estates quilt group and particularly Patti, who let me go through several bags of her scrap fabric she had sorted according to color. Thank-you one and all. This is a great group of quilters who care about each other and their community.

This quilt top started out with those center blocks of rectangles. They are 2″ x 3.5″ sewn together kind of like a Courthouse Step quilt. You put two rectangles together and sew them together on the long sides to form the center of the block. Iron the seam, then add one rectangle to each side.

You now have 4 rectangles sewn together.

Sew 2 sets of 2 rectangles together, and add them to sides of the 4 rectangles. You keep on adding to the block till you end up with a 9.5″ square. There are no seams to match, and if you sew these blocks together, rotating them, it is a pretty easy quilt to construct.

I truly did not like how those blocks looked when joined together though, so I got the brilliant idea to complicate a simple design, and create a lot of having to match seams. What can I say? I really can’t make a quilt I don’t like. And yes, this is being donated, and yes, it added to the amount of time and fabric needed to complete the top, but I am oh so happy with how it turned out.

I used quite a bit of cream yardage for the sashing strips and more of my fabric scraps. The 9 patch cornerstones were sewn from 1.5″ squares of fabric, and the long cream sashing was 1.5″ x 9.5″. The center strips of color were composed of three 1.5″ x 3.5″ scraps sewn together on the short edges.

And guess what? I now know how fabric scraps reproduce. I was happily cutting little 1.5″ of fabric squares from some left over triangle shapes, and what was the result? I got my little required square, but I also managed to gain two smaller triangle shapes. No, no, no, Diane. Do not make more fabric scraps. Stop using triangles to get little squares of fabric. Save the triangles to sew to each other to make blocks. Sheesh, you’d think I’d know better, but now I do have the answer to the much asked question – Do our fabric scraps reproduce while we sleep? No, they don’t. They reproduce when we cut into them unwisely. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Next up is a scrap quilt for myself. It is made with blocks from a swap – again from the lovely quilters from Tucson Estates, and I’m not too sure this will be completed in 2021. I do love this one too, and am exploring a multitude of different ways to quilt it. Did some hand quilting, free motion quilting, some decorative stitching with my sewing machine, and now doing upteen gazillion hoopings to do some machine embroidery. Who knows what will be tried next?

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

Hugs…

September Sampler 2021

October 1, 2021

I finished the instagram September Sampler 2021 with a finish:

This is Summer Quakers by Rosewood Manor and I started it on 2/23/21 and finished it on 9/8/21. Yes it takes me awhile to update my blog with my finishes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I purchased this as a kit, and was allergic to the fabric, so had to wash it. Washing the fabric got rid of whatever made me itch, so that was great. It was hand dyed though, so most of the dye came out in the wash. Fabric color change meant I had to change some of the thread colors so they’d show up. It’s such a joy to have allergies – not.

The kit came with a 3 ply Valdani thread which I was not enamored with using. The thread itself was beutiful, but it was pretty thick, and personally I don’t like spongy looking crosses. I think a 2 strand floss would have looked better on this 28 count linen, and I should have changed it, but decided to do the whole kit experience for once in my life.

I love the pattern. I love how it looks, but by the end of the stitching I was modifying the designs so I didn’t have so many starts and stops. Even using pin stitches, the back got bulky when I had to stitch one stitch, then move over a few threads to add another one stitch, and this happened a lot. I couldn’t carry the thread along the back as the colors are beautifully saturated, and you can see the thread carries from the front of the fabric.

There were a few errors in the charts, but those were easily fixed when you looked at the picture, and compared it to the chart.

I am very glad that I was able to finish this project during Sampler September. Now to frame it, and I’m thinking about wrapping this around an acid free board, or around a canvas frame. I have plenty of linen so it would wrap around either.

I have 3 quilt design walls in my house, and would like to use one for display purposes only – a mixture of quilts and cross stitch finishes. I’ll share photos as it develops.

This is a short post as I’m heading out the door for an acupuncture treatment. All else has failed in getting my foot to work, so this is my last ditch effort before I face more surgery. I am walking with a cane now, so that’s good, but I’d like to be able to walk without one.

Enjoy our gorgeous autumnal weather and

Hugs….

Connecting Block

September 15, 2021

Surprise, surprise, I made a quilt block. I’m not remotely quilting or sewing like I used to anymore, as it’s just too much getting up and down. Juggling a cane along with what I want to carry is a royal pain in the behind. Oh, I’m grateful I can now walk with a cane, but it’s not conducive to the way I used to sew.

I have everything in my 2 sewing areas arranged so I have to get up to do just about everything – ironing, cutting fabric, using my design wall, etc… In the past, it was a great way to keep moving, instead of sitting in one place and getting no exercise at all. Well, that doesn’t work for me anymore. I’ll rearrange everything so I can do more from the sitting position, but stubborn head me, keeps on thinking my leg will gradually heal itself. It’s certainly not for lack of exercising. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Back to the quilt block. YouTube has some great quilting channels and I happened across Heather from The Sewing Loft, and her Connecting Block design. I thought I’d give it a try.

This block has partial seams, so ironing was a bit fussy, but it went together easily. I guessed at the measurements, so it might not be totally accurate.

Her block looked great – which was why I wanted to sew one for myself. I used fabric scraps as I knew this would be a one and done block experiment. She used some gorgeous fabric and sells the pattern from her blog. I linked to it above.

This was fun for me. I got to test sew a new-to-me block, and it was satisfying to know I haven’t lost my piecing skills. If you decide to purchase the pattern, be aware that the entire block perimeter is on the bias. As long as you’re careful with ironing, and piecing, you won’t have a problem, and the layouts for this block will create some great modern designs.

This picture was square when I added it to the blog, but with the changes wordpress made to their blog publishing, it distorts it. Hopefully, I’ll find an answer to this irritating issue.

Stay safe, and keep on being creative.

Hugs….

My First Project Bag

August 14, 2021

So, I did a thing. I made my first cross stitch project bag. I have oodles of projects kitted and ready to stitch, but they are in ziploc bags. Well, those projects deserve better treatment. I have a significant – to put it mildly – fabric collection, so thought I’d try my hand at making one.

This was so easy to make, and I love how it turned out. It’s a top zip project bag that is 15″ square. The size was determined by the width of the center panel.

I attended one of the Alex Anderson, Libby Lehman, and Ricky Tims traveling quilt show with a group of creative ladies, and Libby Lehman showed how to create interesting effects with decorative threads and circles. One of the ladies went home and played around with the technique – Sue. She used most of her piece for a project of her own, and had a small remnant she didn’t want to keep, so I happily added it to my fabric collection.

Like all too many pieces of fabric, it was “saved” for something special. Um, special is now folks. I’m not getting any younger, and I absolutely love this decorative piece of machine embroidery. Why not use it in something that I will see everyday? So I did – at 2 am this morning. Not sleeping is a different story though, and one I wish I did not experience so often.

I shopped my fabric collection and came up with the wavy print that complemented the remnant, then chose a batik I purchased in Tucson from SAS when they had a store there.

I learned a long time ago, if you want to find something inside a bag, make sure the lining is light. This batik fit the bill.

This project bag was really easy to make. I watched a YouTube video by Celeste Creates and simply made one of the front facing pieces a pieced panel. Thank-you Celeste for posting such a great tutorial.

I purchased a bag of zippers – can you believe I didn’t have any – with large zipper pulls, so they’d be easy for my fingers to find. That idea works great, and I don’t have to add any beaded zipper pulls to the bag. Yes, zipper pulls are pretty – all the beads, charms, and tags used, add a finishing touch, but I’m hoping to make at least another 5-10 bags, and find when you stack items with dangling parts, they tend to tangle.

Next up will be bags with machine embroidered designs, or maybe vinyl sections, or maybe some of my stamped fabric, or Shiva paint stick rubbings, or stenciled pieces, or, or, or…. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have been playing around with various techniques for a good 25 years, so have quite a stack of “saved” textiles. It will be good to enjoy bringing them to life, instead of having them stacked in piles around my home.

I hope you are all staying safe, and making time for yourself to create, relax, and enjoy every day we are gifted.

Hugs…

Old World Map 2 Anniversary

August 2, 2021

On August 1, 2020, I started my massive cross stitch project – Old World Map 2 from Golden Kite designs. I love this project, and it’s a good thing I do, as it has 696,960 stitches. After 1 year, I have stitched 100,000 full cross stitches.

I’m proud of that accomplishment. I missed an entire month of stitching when I was in the hospital and rehab, and I finished not one, not two, but three other projects while doing all that stitching. They were the steam punk penguin, a manger scene, and a Quaker ornament that was not only stitched, but also fully finished. Here is a screen shot from the Pattern Keeper software app I’m using to help with my stitching:

I know that’s a lousy picture, but you can see the numbers along the left side that show the stitch count, and how I am 14.35% done with the project. The actual stitching is all across the top, and halfway down the right side.

I’m also working on a Rosewood Manor sampler, the SAL generously shared by Linens and Threads, and a HAED – Mini Dandelion. Yes, I’m actively stitching on 4 projects. Little old monogamous stitcher me has been enabled by all the various floss tube channels I watch on Youtube. There are simply too many designs I want to stitch, and if I wait till I finish Old World Map 2, I might never get around to stitching anything else. After all, I am in my sensational 70’s, which haven’t exactly proven to be sensational yet.

I am also busily kitting up more designs, but will not start another till one of the current projects is completed. Seems 4 at once is my limit. I don’t put any of the 4 away, and stitch in my living room. There is a limit to the amount of clutter I can stand.

Wish me luck as I will also be starting to sew project bags for my works in progress. The zippers arrived Saturday, and I started pulling yardage from my considerable fabric collection for the first bag last night. Let the fun begin!!!

Hugs…

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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:

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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…