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.

Friday, July 20, 2012

West Virginia is the Best Virginia

I am pleased and proud to give you my West Virginia is the Best Virginia pattern, now for sale in my Etsy shop!

The state outline stitches up SO quickly. I do really like it, especially the detail of the outline, since I love how wibbly-wobbly West Virginia is.

It's also a completely factual statement, though I'd gladly add most of the Shenandoah Valley to West Virginia. Perhaps my Virginia ancestors would be disappointed, but they just didn't have to sense to move (after the cannibalism of the first Jamestown settlement, it probably took a while for sense to overtake their zombie predalictions).

There's a reason they focus on the bloody Mayflower pilgrims in school, but I feel like my ancestor, who had the tenacity to come over with the first group of Jamestown settlers, is getting shafted. History needs to cover the awful things we've done just as much as the good things (not that the pilgrims did a lot of good things though, they were just slightly less gruesome, and their horribleness and idiocy needs to be covered and not brushed over).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

West is Best - WIP 01

Today has been hot and busy, so I've not got much done on West Virginia is the Best Virginia (compared to what I had done last night, that is).

It feels like a pretty big project, because it's large in size, but the outline should go really quickly. Of course, I was slightly terrified of making of a mistake in that area, but then realized that no one will ever notice! Those are the benefits of having an oddly shaped state.

Now I'm thinking that I'll have to do a West Virginia county map for the kids. In many states children aren't made to learn even the counties in their area, but we do it twice in West Virginia as we have West Virginia History courses in 4th and 8th grades. In my school they managed to make these as boring as possible and didn't cover any of the amazing or interesting things about our state (and the book seemed to be have been paid for by the coal industry, which colored things in a certain way).

I made the mistake of going outside today, and even after a cold shower my skin is still burning. Tomorrow morning my Benjamin will be over though and he'll cheer me right up.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blackwork Quilt - finished!

Well, I had a few days in a row last week when I wasn't able to get any stitching done, so this did take longer than expected.

Here it is though, finally all finished and the pattern is for sale in my Etsy shop. I plan to do two or three more patterns with different quilt designs.

It is quite a lot of stitching, especially the background which took one and a half skeins of floss. I wish you could see it all in person, where the colors are more vibrant and the whole thing looks neater. Blackwork is just hard to photograph, I find.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

DMC color project - half done!

This piece is now a little over the halfway point. 

I realized yesterday morning that it was Monday so my embroidery shop was closed. Thus I haven't gotten any more work done on the quilt piece and I'm about as far as I can go on the color piece without buying some more thread.

There's plenty of other work to start, but it annoys me. I really want to finish the quilt piece. I'll possibly get to the store today, and if not then definitely tomorrow. 

When it's relentlessly sunny I can't drive anywhere myself. The sun hurts my skin even if I'm only in it for a minute or two, let alone being stuck in a car with it shining down. If someone else is driving I can cover myself with a windshield reflector thing and be okay.

If I can't get thread today I'll be starting a new project. It has the outline of West Virginia and says "West Virginia is the Best Virginia." Which it is. One side of my family may have stayed in Virginia for 250 years, but that was a mistake on their part (and what do you expect of Jamestown survivor descendents, that guy had probably gone made after the cannibalism).

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Blackwork Quilt Motif - WIP 04

Well, hello! Look at this piece with half the background stitched. That's a whole skein of green 935 on there. Now of course I'm out, so it will be at least tomorrow before I can start again. I will eventually outline the entire outside edge as well, just to neaten it up a bit.

At 4:30 the sky got so dark I couldn't use only natural light to stitch! We just had a massive storm, and it's still raining, so it might pick back up again. We're all excited about tomorrow, as the high temperature is *only* 87. 

This is me dying of heat exhaustion. This is me realizing that even my cold water felt a little warm at 9:30 am! This is me praying that some nice person in Scotland would like to adopt me.

I've got a few new patterns to start and I'm feeling rushed and overwhelmed, like I never accomplish anything. I've certainly been ignoring the housework in favor of embroidery. 26 craft projects completed and 90 books read isn't so bad for six months work, I guess, but it's hard to keep that in mind.

Speaking of books, how much do I recommend A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel? A million times! A billion times! It's about her life as a kid in a very small town (pop. 300) in Indiana, and she writes it from the perspective, and in the voice of, her kid self (up to about age nine, I think). It's SO good and I especially recommend the audio edition, which is read by the author.

Friday, July 6, 2012

DMC Color Project - 8/21 rows

Since I'm plenty sick of the blackwork quilt project, I thought you might be as well!

I've stitched three more rows on the color project, and that bottommost one is so gorgeous. Now that I play favorites between rows or runs of color...

If you don't know, I read quite a lot, a few books per week this year. So I want to recommend one of my recent reads: Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Don't worry, she's not talking about individual positive thinking. She's also not talking about finding joy in small things, which I'm quite good at (and without that talent I'm not sure I could cope). It's extremely worth reading and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blackwork Quilt Motif - WIP 03

Well, the main part is done now!

I ended up using one less color than I'd planned, because it blended into the fabric too much when stitched. I think using the blue-purple shade again was a good idea anyway, as it further reduces busyness.

Typically, I've completely changed the way I'm doing the background. Instead of doing another fill pattern, I'm just using straight lines. I *think* what I'll do is have all the lines pointing to the center of the star (it will end up being a perfect square)

So the corner pieces will have diagonal lines slanting inward, the triangles on the top and bottom will have vertical lines, and the triangles on the side will have horizontal ones. Is that clear? Does it sound like a horrible idea? Have I gone mad with power?!

I sketched it out and it looked good, but haven't changed the proper pattern yet.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blackwork Quilt Motif WIP 02

Here's some more progress on this. I love how quickly blackwork goes, compared to cross-stitch. Obviously it depends on the pattern and the level of detail, but I think it will always go more quickly anyway.

Once I have all the diamonds filled I'll go back to the DMC color project for a bit. Actually I tend to get a bit antsy when I'm not working on anything snarky or generally humorous, as though I'm betraying the name of my store and blog.

I'll be back to that soon enough, I'm sure.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Quilt project - WIP 01

Here's a look at my blackwork quilt motif project. I've actually gotten some more of the diamonds filled in and it's looking good. One of my original color choices had to be changed, but I think my plan now is even better.

When I get sick of it in the evenings I do a little work on the DMC color project and it's all working out well. 

Okay, that's ignoring the fact that I've felt especially unproductive lately, and I'm on a bit of a downer since the Euro Cup ended (and totally shattered all my hopes), but I'll get better soon.

I am quite excited for a book I pre-ordered to arrive. Normally, I am the stingiest, most miserable person on earth, and I buy all my books used or as remainders (I also rarely buy anything I haven't read). However, there is an exception, which are older comic books. Fantagraphics is publishing a Carl Barks library, and alternating between Scrooge and Donald comics, for some stupid reason. 

Anyway, the first of the Scrooge books comes out on the 4th and I can't wait! I pre-order because I want the publishers to know there's a demand and to keep up with the project. Fantagraphics is also the force behind the new complete Pogo project, which I'm equally excited about. Thanks, Fantagraphics, for making me so happy!