process

It’s becoming more and more clear to me that I am better suited to the freedoms of embroidery over counted cross stitching. This is actually a bit on the surprising side since I generally crave order and symmetry. But alas, I am not the most patient of people.

Plenty more to do, but conquered this bear and it did not drive me mad. Thank goodness for that!

Take this bear that I’m working on now, for example. I had so much trouble putting the browns in the right spot (and picking up the right color) and those pink spots on her dress… so endlessly frustrating.

The text around the bear was going well until…

Naturally I put the "with" in the wrong spot. Grr. I will finish this, just not tonight.

I went and put the “W” in with in the wrong spot — which put the whole word in the wrong place. Thankfully it’s only those four letters that need to be moved. But I was so sure I was going to be done last night. Of course, this is one of those ideas that I have in my head — next I am hoping to do a duck — so I am Determined to get this done. There will be some companion pieces — embroidery ones. I am saving those for the end both because I only have a sense of what I want them to be and because I will enjoy them more.

I keep hoping that with practice I will be better. I take the same approach with cross stitch as I do with other things and here it amounts to count twice & stitch once. Only it’s more like count six times, stitch three. Sigh. I will be glad to get this one done so I can move on.

Here’s to not giving up.

Back before the basement flood happened last year, I had made myself at home in the basement. After the flood, I reclaimed some space on the other side of the basement where I had been keeping a small desk. Plus, I scattered threads and bits of fabric around the house. That worked fine until my husband started taking his brewing hobby quite seriously. Then, it started looking more like this:

encroachment

That closet there is what I like to call the fermenting room — it’s full of beer that’s having a yeast party. Not to mention that soon after this photo, he added even more equipment and ordered several 50 pound bags of grain. That meant I was officially kicked out of this little nook. We installed some lovely wire shelves and all the grains and various pots and kegs are organized and neat. It’s a nice little set up actually. (And I love having all the beer he makes around. It’s good stuff.)

I decided that I’d move my things into the room that served as nursery for both the kids (they now share a bedroom with bunk beds and everything) which is now our guest room. It still held a lot of baby bits/memorabilia that we haven’t used in ages.

before

It needed a good bit of organizing, some new curtains, and then I had to go around the house and gather up all of my supplies and fabrics and hoops and whatnot.

This is the end result for now. A lot of the baskets on the shelves are just hiding things: soccer trophies, porcelain dolls, and other little items that need to be gone through. Still, I’m much happier to have all my things in a single place.

panorama

All my crafty books, inspirational books and books for chopping up.

bookshelf

My mother’s sewing machine that I keep meaning to re-remember how to use.

sewingmachine

And all my little bits and pieces that I have become so fond of.

I was so happy to have the space that I got started on a new piece. (And of course I am sure that I’ll just have to move yet again in a year or two when the kids need to have separate rooms again!)

Love love love this hand dyed floss.

Since it’s the New Year and everything, I thought it would be good to write down a few things that I’ve been wanting to accomplish and/or become better at doing.

Firstly, actual blogging. It’s been fits and starts for a while now. I don’t know that I want to set an actual schedule, but I’m thinking I can post more frequently than once or twice a month (which is the average around here). December was a good start. Six whole posts all in the same month.

Secondly, I would like to be a better drawer. Doodling shapes and squiggly lines is one thing — and don’t get me wrong, I adore both of those things — but I would really like to be better at actual drawing of real things. Thus, I embarked on a little adventure last night. It really started out as a tracing exercise — I’ve drawn on vellum over a photograph — but it’s still a bit tricky.

More of a peek. Feeling better about this as I go (I am an excellent tracer don't go giving me too much credit)

Further, as I go along and stitch I need to reference both the drawing I made and the actual photo. So it’s not all just trace and go.

Rosie. WIP. Started working in thread from my sketch last night.

I don’t want to sell myself short because I think there’s a fair amount of skill that I’m using here, but I did not draw from scratch.  Still, practice is practice and I know the more I do it, the better I’ll become. I am casually looking for a class here and there, but nothing right has come up so far.

Her name is Rosie, and that’s all I’ll say until it’s finished — I don’t want to spoil it. I’m saving the harder bits — hands, face and hair — for last. So far, I’ve used just about a skein of floss and three types of stitches. I’m planning on at least two or three other stitches, and a bunch more floss.

photo 1This Christmas I got some lovely stitchy presents, including the stand pictured above. I’m excited to have it and looking forward to working on some larger pieces without a lot of shoulder pain.

photo 2

I’ve been testing it out, and getting the height and angle right. At the same time, I am working on another idea that I have cooking. I think this particular idea will be much longer term. I still haven’t nailed down exactly what I want to stitch, but I know how I want it to feel. Olisa just posted about having a vision and editing and loving the process. I couldn’t agree more.

photo 3

In addition to this big piece that I’m still figuring out, I have two other things hanging around in my head. Yesterday the local needlework shop (which is wonderful, by the way, if you are in Northern Virginia, head to In Stitches Needlework and they will do you right!) was having a holiday sale and I picked up some hand dyed red, white and blue floss for a paper piece (not sure though if I am using all three or just one or two colors), new scissors, some dark grey and some lovely linen for a blackwork piece that I have had an itch to do. Mostly, I find that I let an idea work in my head until I just can’t stand it anymore and I must stitch. Otherwise I find that I will start something and then leave it unfinished for ages. (The bulk of the floss and the blue hoop are for my daughter who after stitching up an ornament this Christmas wants to do more embroidery. Yay!)

I can’t wait to get started on everything!

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