Saturday, December 15, 2012

Transylvania - Finished

Got this finished up today, despite becoming suddenly sick. Even got it cut and framed and all. You know what I love most about q-snap frames and buying rolls of Aida? Not having to fucking iron my embroidery (I still do sometimes, of course, but mostly not).

That's definitely my last Christmas embroidery. There was one more thing I was going to work on, and maybe I still will but I'll frame it after Christmas. I just don't want to go up to Michaels any time between now and Christmas, even on a weekday morning. 

I just finished a wonderful novel, Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie. Highly recommend both it and this talk she did on "the danger of a single story," (which is why I went and found her books in the first place).

Now I have to struggle to at least read 50 pages of this terrible book I got through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. It's partially that the subject matter isn't quite what I expected, but mostly the writing is terrible.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Transylvania - WIP02

Today I finished the largest chunk of my current project, using patterns from Charted Peasant Designs of Transylvania.

I think my dad will enjoy the insane horse quite a lot.

Granted I've been quite busy but that horse took forever! Lately I've been talking to people IN PERSON. I find it all quite shocking. I started a real, live book club (for non-fiction only) and I feel overwhelmed by the pressure to make it succeed.

I've also started listening some finished embroidery pieces, which I should should have done last week or the week before to make them more appealing as Christmas gifts. Right now only I don't feel I have to explain my art to you is left.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Transylvania - WIP 01

Oh, the holidays. Keeping me from starting new projects, until yesterday, that is.

This uses motifs from the Dover Needlework series book Charted Peasant Designs from Saxon Transylvania, which is an awesome book to have around. It has a lot of neat dragons and elk and things.

Under the tree thing will be this crazy dragony looking horse and above that a double-headed eagle. 

If only I could think of something else interesting to say then I could put off chores, but alas.

Monday, November 26, 2012

DMC Spiral - Finished!

Finished this yesterday and I AM happy it's done. All the DMC colors (barring the eight or so that are listed as complete duplicates by DMC) stitched in numerical order starting from the center. After the first color there are six stitches of each color done with two strands of floss on 18 ct. Aida.

Now that my numerical order projects are done I'm going to put my floss back in the order I like. I still keep the colors separated out, but I had each color in numerical order so I could find things. Now I can obsessively put it in shade order. Oh joy.

No idea what I'll stitch next. I might not work on store patterns until after Christmas, as I really should get some more work done in my wisteria project. I've finished enough of it that I would hate myself if I didn't complete the thing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

DMC Spiral - WIP 04

Well I've picked this up again! I'm a little over halfway through, I think.

In the last month I knit eight pairs of slippers (though three were for children). I've also been doing a lot of baking. 

Cold weather, hot fresh bread, and cheese are pretty much my life. This is not necessarily a good thing, given how much cheese I'm capable of eating.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Four Animals - Finished

My four, sweet animals are all done. I don't mind saying that the mouse is my favorite. 

The pattern is now for sale in my Etsy shop.

The pattern is quite large when stitched on 14-ct fabric (almost 11 inches wide!) and I really didn't want to use Aida as I wanted a softer look. Around here finding linen or Monaco in smaller than 28 ct is difficult, so I just stitched over one thread instead of over two. I was worried that the finished dimensions would just be too small, but I think it's actually a good size.

No idea what I'll be working on next. There's one thing I need to stitch for a Christmas present and something I need to finish knitting for a birthday in a couple weeks. Really I need to focus on doing a good thorough house cleaning now that I'm not saying "But I have embroidery to finish...."

Friday, November 9, 2012

Four Animals - WIP 02

Here's the second animal for this pattern, a lovely deer. I made a mistake around the tail, which wasn't so major that I wanted to unpick so many stitches but it does annoy me.

With this pattern I've managed to make most of my tweaks before stitching those parts, other than changing one thing around the ear and horn after finishing. 

In general, I think I'm getting better about that. At least I feel like I'm paying more attention while stitching and really before starting to stitch as well. Go me.

I've been feeling a general sense of accomplishment for having most of my Christmas shopping finished. The few things still to do are crafty things and shouldn't be too onerous.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Four Animals - WIP 01

Here's a peak at my new project.

It will eventually be a set of four animals, the bear plus a deer, mouse, and rabbit. I'm stitching them on monaco cloth, but only going over one thread. The deer will be the bear's right and it (and the mouse) will be stitched in a slightly lighter brown.

The designs all come from art deco and traditional Japanese motifs.

I'm happy the weight of the election of over with. My anxiety level was really skyrocketing. Yesterday was my nephew's birthday though, and that was a wonderful distraction. I can't believe he's four!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Rainy Umbrella

All done with my umbrella! The pattern is now for sale in my shop.

It's certainly been rainy enough here to justify it. Halfway through stitching it I thought I should have done a black umbrella and rainbow raindrops, so I photoshopped a picture to show both black and rainbow and black and light blue drops.

Next up with be some groups of animal patterns, based on traditional Japanese motifs.

Today I'm especially happy to be done with that piece because I think it's a good day to make bread. I tend to give the bread away fairly quickly, otherwise I will happily just eat bread and butter all day long. Heck, I'll eat plain bread dough pretty happily too.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Umbrella - WIP 01

Well, here's my new project! The raindrops are going really quickly and the handle should go quickly as well, so I may finish this sometime tomorrow.

There are a few errands that may get in the way of that though, as usual. At the very least the pattern should be in my store on Thursday.

I live in West Virginia's chemical bubble, where we get far less snow than our neighbors north and south of us. Seriously, Charleston's weather is always much less extreme than everywhere around us. However, in the valley we got a few inches of snow, and in the hills five inches or so (even on the roads). 

I'm happy for it to be colder, as then my electricity bill drops quite a lot. I like it chilly anyway, but being on the fifth floor I get a fair bit of heat from my neighbors. Glad this is our only fallout from Sandy, though. The pictures of NY and NJ I've seen are stunning in the horrible sense.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I want to eat chocolates... Finished

Well it seems to be Monday again. I face the dilemma of expecting a package but needing to go out. It's being delivered by FedEx and they tend to have difficulties in making it up here (my building has a locked main door that can be buzzed open), which UPS never seems to have an issue with.

Happily though, I finished I Want to Eat Chocolates... and it's now for sale in my Etsy shop. Again, the quote is from Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett.

There's also the horrible issue of not being able to buy beer until I get my Christmas shopping done. I tend to have everything done before Thanksgiving always, but the finances are even tighter this year and I just don't want to keep worrying about it. 

I've been working on the pattern for another blackwork quilt square, but I think my next piece with be something in cross-stitch but without text (gasp!).

Also, out of 666 books (ha! though technically I own about 686, but the last twenty I may not keep, so they haven't been catalogued), only two of them are by authors with last names' beginning with I. Doesn't that seem odd?

And yes, I am the type of person who has catalogued all their books.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I want to eat chocolates - WIP 01

It was another tiring and trying week. 

My dad recently moved back here, and I've been running back and forth a bit more because of that, and having my time taken up with more visiting. It's not a bad thing, really, just different. I do slightly miss my normal schedule though. He doesn't have internet so he's over here a lot to use mine.

In the meantime I've knit a number of pairs of slippers (from this free pattern), including this bright pair for my mom, which I've already given her.

The working on this new cross-stitch piece has been slow. The font is large and unfamiliar as well. It will eventually have a border. The quote is from Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett.

It represents how I feel right now. Lately I've been constantly reminded how many jerks there are in this world, how many people who take no responsibility for their actions, who are inherently selfish, who seem to lack any empathy.

When I become a mad scientist, my primary goal will be to invent an empathy ray, and then I'll ramp up everyone's empathy. I think that one single act would have an enormous impact on the world.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Books are Humanity... Up for sale!

I finished my Books are Humanity... piece and it is now for sale in my shop.

Can't remember if I announced it here or not, but at the end of each month I hold a random drawing for one customer (who made a purchase in that month) to win a free pattern coupon (good for four months).

Sadly, I think this blog will remain less active for a while, especially while I'm making Christmas presents. I would say that most of my family rarely looks at this blog, but you never know.

Next project is either Homsar from the Homestar Runner cartoons or a Seinfeld quote piece, if I can gather up the energy to dye some Aida.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Books are Humanity in Print

So I've been gone for a while!

I went out of town twice in September and just got back from a trip to DC. We went to the Taste of DC, which was great, and I regret not making a bigger pig of myself (if only to soak up all the alcohol!).

All the traveling has a detrimental effect on my stitching, of course, but I'm almost done with a new pattern.

The quote is by Barbara Tuchman, who is easily my favorite non-fiction writer. I'm especially partial to her book The Guns of August, which is about the first month of World War I. If you want to really understand WWI, you need to read that book. 

Anyway, I like the way my books turned out and the dark gold text makes for a nice contrast.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

In which I am tired

 I took a mini-vacation (three days) with Madre and it is taking a long time to recover. My energy levels have been a lot lower for the last six months or so and it's really difficult to deal with. Not least because I always feel I *should* be able to snap out of it. It's not something a body can snap out of, but I still feel guilty for not being able to.

Anyway, I've taken a slight break from stitching in order to work on a commission and a new pattern, and to knit. 

I completed another knit ball and finished a silly, colorful, floppy hat. It's not really quite finished, as I think it needs a big pompom, obviously. It will take a while for me to add it though, because I really dislike making pompoms.

We're going out of town again on Monday, so that's yet another crafting gap. I knit on the road, of course, but can't do it in the car if it's sunny (need to hold up a windshield reflector over me, making it difficult to do anything) and once we get settled I'm generally too tired to do it.

The drive home was Charlotte was absolutely miserable. I think wine was not strong enough to get me through it, so for the Monday trip (Chattanooga) perhaps I'll step it up to vodka!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Misuse of Language - Finished

The Misuse of Language is finally finished, and the pattern is for sale in my shop.

I'm not sure what I've been doing for the past few days, but I'm very tired. I'll be out of town this weekend, so other than working on a pattern commission I probably won't be doing any stitching. 

Traveling with needlework is definitely not my favorite thing. I've done it before, but now I think I'll stick to knitting. I've got most of the strips for another knit ball done, and I think I'll work on that.

Monday, September 10, 2012

the knit ball

I have finished this knit ball (free pattern here).

It seriously knits up and assembles SO quickly. The directions make it sound slightly intimidating, but it's honestly really easy. The ball isn't stuffed with anything, but has plenty of form and thickness while still being squashible (you can shape it back into a ball easily enough) and less painful when one child hurls it toward another.

If you were going to stuff it, I wouldn't use fiber fill, since little fingers can pull that out in tiny bits and leave it all over your floor (or eat it). I would use an old t-shirt, some rags, or one long knit strip - something that can't easily be pulled out. You can also add a jingle bell or some other noise-making device. Personally, I avoid giving children things that make any sort of noise, as that's a talent most of them already possess in abundance.

I'm also about halfway through with the Socrates quote, as you see. I'm using a slightly subtle variegating thread for the border, with a shade that matches the darkest part for the inner rectangle and one that matches the lightest shade for the outer rectangle. I have an urge to add red to the piece, but I think that would be a bad idea.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Misuse of Language - WIP01

First peek at the new project!

It will, of course, have a Greek-ish geometric border, since the quote comes from Socrates. I wonder if he would have felt that translating his words into English, such a mixed and random language, was a misuse. 

Of course, I only have this quote out of context. I find it hard to believe that he was referring to grammar. To me it speaks of the misuse of language in terms of lying, using confusing language to trick people, double speak and all that (aka, most politics). 

One inner desire of mine tells me to send this piece to Fox News or Mitt Romney or someone of that ilk. However, I don't think they'd appreciate it.

I'm also working on this knit ball, a free pattern from a Ravelry user. The knitting part couldn't be easier (just strips of stockinette), and the instructions are mostly just for assemblage. Great present for the kids, in any case, and I'm wondering how it would look if you felted one.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Patterns About People

Two new patterns are up for sale in my shop, as a two-pack, since I think they go together. They're two older blackwork/back stitch pieces I did a while back (pictured here).

If you’ve never done blackwork and it sounds intimidating, don't worry! It’s super easy (really just back stitch). Here’s what one of my customers says about it:

“I went to Meredith with a half-baked idea that I wanted a cross stitch pattern for Little House on the Prairie, and in no time at all, she had whipped up a beautiful pattern.  I started stitching it immediately, and it was such fun! The piece progressed quickly and easily.  As soon as it was complete, I sent the finished picture to Meredith.  I was in utter shock when she referred to it as blackwork! I had completed my first blackwork piece and didn’t even know it.  I had always admired blackwork but was too intimidated to try it on my own.  I had done a fair amount of cross stitch as a kid, but hadn’t touched it since I was 16.  At 33, I picked it back up again, and it was only about a month later that I stitched Little House.  Seriously, if I can do it, anyone can.”

Today I'm working on a pattern using a quote from Socrates. It's almost done, but designing the border has been slightly annoying. Hence, I am taking a break to write this entry.

My dad's in town so everything's been kind of busy and topsy turvy, with less crafting time than usual. I'm hoping to start this new piece tonight, but you know what they say about the best laid plans...

Monday, September 3, 2012

DMC Spiral - WIP 03

Here's the latest installment of my DMC spiral. Like the other piece it's also in numerical order, but has no color duplicates stitched and no non-duplicates left out.

I do like it so far, and I think it's easier to see the color runs than with the square project. 

I'm also still knitting every night, though somethings I'm just fucking around, looking at gauges, seeing how something knits up, rather than working on real project.

I'll have a new pattern in the shop tomorrow, though it's a blackwork one, and people don't like those as much. It's just back stitch ladies and gentlemen, easy peasy, I promise!

Saturday, September 1, 2012


I've been slacking on cross-stitch and doing some knitting instead.

Some new blackwork (back stitch) patterns will appear in my shop next week, from designs I stitched long ago. I knit this floofy pink thing, and then I made the Vortex pattern from Knitty.

The piece looks hard and impressive but it is SO easy! It has a repetitive pattern so you're not peering at instructions every five stitches and it knits up so quickly. I highly recommend it. I couldn't wait to knit it so I used whatever yarn I could muster (aka, not what the hat really demands).

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Time is a Drug - Finished!

Well, here it is in all its glory. I did finish it Tuesday night, but ended up going out for a lot of the day yesterday. With Etsy you always want to post patterns Monday-Friday from 9-5, because apparently everyone does their internetting at work now.

Anyway, the pattern is now for sale in my shop. I've altered the corner pieces a bit, to make them smoother and more pleasing, and adjusted the spacing of the text, so people making the pattern will have prettier pieces than me!

I'm really pleased with the colors on this one. I think it would look even better if you did a mix of the dark and light purple on the smaller flowers as well, though I like my way too.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Time is a Drug - WIP 03

So close to finished!

I think/hope that I'll be done today. The text shouldn't take long, so that seems quite doable at the moment. You know how it is though, you've got the whole afternoon free, then you get a phone call and someone needs you to do something or wants to buy you food.

People are always welcome to buy me food, though, as I'll happily sacrifice stitching time to eating tasty things.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Time is a Drug - WIP 02

I've gotten a lot done since my last post!

Using this many colors in this type piece is new for me and I've been bit unsure about it. Obviously I don't want it to be too busy, though perhaps with such a busy border having some color distinction helps that.

In any case, I do really like the colors I've used and I think I will be using an even darker green for the second part of the text. It would look nicest with the smaller flowers being done in both purples, but it's easier to stitch this way (again, I am super lazy!).

I'm hoping to get it finished and the pattern up in my shop on Tuesday, though you know how that goes... I didn't get much done yesterday, as I was lured up to my sister's house and spent numerous hours playing with the children. Kyla bought Benjamin the board game version of my first computer game, Big Bird's Special Delivery, which I played on our Commodore 128.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Time is a Drug - WIP 01

Here's the first look at my new project. 

The full quote is "Time is a drug-- too much of it kills you." The line comes from the Terry Pratchett book Small Gods, which is one of my very favorite Discworld books.

This piece will eventually have a super huge ornate border.

I woke up quite early today after staying up too late, because I was excited that my mum's home from Belgium. Of course this meant I accidentally took quite a long nap in the afternoon which means who knows when I'll fall asleep tonight, and it's all a VICIOUS CYCLE wherein I get very little done.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A departure

I've been doing more pattern designing than stitching lately. I'm also feeling guilty for having left that wisteria pattern for so long, but too hateful for that project to stitch on it.

The overwhelmed feeling has certainly come back in full force, and probably isn't helped by the fact that I'm embarking on a large new project and my current audiobook is read by someone with an accent I have to concentrate more on. Actually, maybe that will be a good thing, since I've been flightly and antsy for the last week.

Anyway, I made this quick, bulky hat for my niece, which I'll probably save for Christmas. I'm working on a second hat now though, and if it turns out very nicely then perhaps Evie can have the rainbow in the fall and the fancier one for Christmas.

That's right, I'm an annoying person who shops quite early. I will apologize for nothing!

Also on the knitting front, I'm gradually renewing all the knit hats in my other Etsy shop, Captain Yarnface. So if you need a pretty hat, I'm your gal.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

DMC Spiral - 02

Here's a look at the progress I've made on the new DMC project.

It's going quite quickly, and I wisely removed the duplicates from my thread cases so I wouldn't accidentally stitch the same color twice.

I wish I had more to say, but I ran a couple errands today and babysat my niece for an hour. She's adorable and incredibly sweet, but it was very tiring.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pray Speak Quietly...

This is a line said by Vincent Price in the movie The Fall of the House of Usher. I thought it was neat, and useful for all those times when you need to remind people to shut up.

I've actually designed two borders for this. The one you see, appropriate for Don't Wake the Baby needs, and one with rows of bats (the same as in the first design) on top and bottom and a scroll/tassel motif on the sides. I'll be stitching a section of the bats border later, but wanted to go ahead and post the pattern.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

New DMC project

How neglectful I've been of this blog!

I've been running the website and other web presences of the bookstore I used to work for, so that's taken up a lot of my internet energy. 

Plus there's the Tumblr for my Etsy store. I post art by other needleworkers there once a day, if you're interested.

Now I've started a new DMC color project, stitched in a spiral, and still in numerical order. It's just a side piece for in between patterns for my store. I really recommend doing something like that, if only to have a piece to work on that requires very little thought and no pattern. 

Tomorrow I'll post the pattern I've been plugging away at this week. Yesterday I had a lovely few hours with my niece and nephew, who cheered me up wonderfully (and messed up my hair).

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Fashion Club

My pattern for the Fashion Club is now for sale in a set with the Daria, Jane, and Trent pattern. 

I accidentally outlined the stripe on Sandy's shirt and forgot the yellow on Stacy's braids before I took a picture, but oh well. My embroidery will probably never be absolutely perfect. Oh there are some pieces with no real mistakes, but where I've changed the pattern to make it nicer. My brain will always tend to sloppiness, I think. 

When I worked full time, and when I was a dish crew leader at boarding school, then I paid strict attention and worked very hard, because someone else was counting on me. When it's just me, though, and just a way to keep busy and pay for supplies, that's different.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Daria, Jane, and Trent

My pattern of Daria, Jane, and Trent is now for sale in my Etsy shop. I think it turned out quite well, though the magic of backstitch decided "We'll twist these stitches just enough to make Daria look happy!" The universe has a funny sense of humor.

I'm already at work on the Fashion club stitching, and maybe a quarter of the way done already. It will eventually be one big group listing.

I've been so tired in the afternoons lately that I've gotten nothing done because I start falling asleep while I'm stitching. My instinct then is to get up and make lunch because that's involved enough that it wakes me up. I'm very much against napping, since I always feel dreadful or confused when I wake up from one. It's weird though, because sometimes I still can't fall asleep until late, despite barely making it through the afternoon.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

You're Standing On My Neck

This is my new project, Daria sprites or 8-bits or whatever they're called. This is a WIP picture, with just the outlining left and the text. 

I've also completed the patterns for the Fashion Club and will be doing Jake and Helen as well. There will be three separate patterns, each with quotes, but sold as a set. I'd like to do Britney, Kevin, Jodie and Mac as well, but I think they'll be much harder to do and I'm quite lazy. Stacy's braids were bad enough!

The quote under the Fashion Club obviously has to be "It's cute, but not too cute."

Monday, July 30, 2012

Empire Records Quote

Empire Records is a great movie. I once worked in a corporate type record store and sometimes when I was dusting in the morning and a really great CD was on I'd get to pretend for five minutes that I was in that movie.

So here's a quote from the movie, minus the name 'Warren' because I think it's silly to have something that's not generally applicable to everyone hanging up in your house!

Plus, this quote is something most artists and crafters think, probably on a daily basis, and the pattern is now for sale in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

All the threads!

I'll have a picture of my latest project and a new pattern in the shop for you tomorrow, but in the meantime here are all the DMC colors!

Only, not quite all because I realized there were four or five pinks waiting out to be stitched for the color project when I took these pictures. Oh well.

I can not keep them in numerical order only, since I rarely stitch things designed by other people. In order to pick out the right red I need to look at all the reds at once. Each separate color is in numerical order, to make things easier during the color project, but I hate how it looks. Plus you've got greens that look brown when next to other greens yet look green in the brown box, etc...

Once I finish up with the color pieces (I have another I think I'll start in the near future), then I'll organize each color by shade and it will look much prettier.

Friday, July 27, 2012

New Discworld pattern for sale

Here's yet another Discworld pattern for sale in my shop. The quote is from Terry Pratchett's book Guards! Guards!

The border and font match my "Logic is a wonderful thing but doesn't always beat actual thought," pattern.

Currently working on the Empire Records quote piece: "I don't feel I have to explain my art to you."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DMC color project - Finished!

Oh, hello. Look what I finished! In case you've forgotten, the colors are stitched in numerical order.

I am SO happy it's done. I especially love the colors in the last six rows and the way they flow into each other. All rows except row five are stitched from left to right. I thought about going back and forth, but that made it much harder to stitch neatly. Plus, I don't think it would have added much visually.

To make this type of piece a square you must leave out 13 DMC colors. I left out the following colors: 
311, 350, 370, 602, 605, 611, 703, 731, 782, 825, 832, 840, 912

However I just left them out randomly as I went along, and I would alter a few of these choices if stitching it again. There are some duplicate DMC colors. The same color with two numbers. I know of three: 3326/776, 731/732, 3760/806. I'm not sure if there are more, though I contacted DMC about it today. The DMC labels list the other color in parentheses under the number, but it's not listed on the DMC shopper's checklist or color descriptions sheet (by they way, they have a really helpful website!).

I found out all the DMC duplicates and here they are --
504 = 3813
731 = 732
776 = 3326
781 = 782
806 = 3760
971 = 740
3773 = 407

In light of that I would leave out the following 13 colors if I were stitching this again:
407, 504, 731, 740, 776, 782, 825, 832, 912, 936, 3760, White, B5200

Monday, July 23, 2012

Opera Pattern for sale, DMC wrong side

You may remember my awesome opera quote pattern (from Terry Pratchett's Maskerade). Well, the pattern is now for sale in my Etsy Shop.

Honestly if I were forced at gun point to choose a favorite Discworld book, it might be Maskerade. It's just... so accurate in its depiction of opera and theatre people. Also I love the witches and the Agnes vs Perdita back and forth.

I thought you might like to see the wrong side of the DMC color project. It looks really neat, I think. I've left longer tails when I end a square (bind off? weave in?) so that if a lower square loosens the last stitch of the square above it I have enough thread to grip to pull it tight. That's an awkward sentence and description, but it's relevant for anyone contemplating a similar project.