Friday, 31 July 2009

An admission

OK I admit I haven't been cross-stitching this week. I've just finished two weeks casual full-time work and have been too exhausted in the evenings to pick anything up. Being the end of the month I've also had two school council meetings to attend since I'm on both of my children's school councils. This is my second year on my daughter's (primary) school council and my first year on my son's (secondary) school council. I'm starting to get into both of them and am enjoying getting the inside info on how schools are run.

Tomorrow is also probably not a cross-stitching day as I'm taking my son to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and then my DH and I have one of his annual work dinners to attend in the evening. I hope I don't fall asleep on the table!

I have been doing a lot of reading lately though. I've nearly finished the third book in the Outlander series. I wrote before that I was reading the first book Cross-stitch. I then read Dragonfly in Amber and came very close to deciding not to read any more books in this series because of some of the very gory bits that were in the first two books. The description of Drawing and Quartering in Dragonfly was what nearly did me in. But I decided to go on with it and I'm now less than 100 pages from the end of the third book Voyager. This book has been much less gory and generally more enjoyable so I'm glad I've stuck with it. I'm looking forward to the fourth book Drums of Autumn which I have in paperback. My sister brought this book from the US to Australia when she last came to visit 10 years ago and it's been sitting on my bookshelf since. I've just read that it takes place in Charleston, South Carolina, where my sister lives, so I think I'm really going to enjoy reading it.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Only backstitching to go!

Here's the bridge with all of the cross-stitching completed! I've been working full time in a fill-in position and so didn't do any work on it during the week. Luckily I managed to finish it over the weekend. So the next time it comes around again I only have the backstitching to do to finish it off. Hooray! I'm really pleased with the progress I'm making on my projects this year.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Finally getting somewhere with the Bridge

I've finished the foreground of the Golden Gate Bridge despite the hiccup with the shades of green. With three green shades sprinkled amongst each other I don't think it is apparent at all that there is a minor colour difference between two areas of DMC3051. So the problem wasn't really a problem at all.

Closeup of the green area

Since I finished the foreground I've been working on the buildings on the other side of the bridge. This is where I've got small numbers of stitches of many different colours. Rather than keep threading my needle with a new colour I've been keeping the one colour and moving through the pattern doing as many areas of that colour as possible. Because it's harder to see any progress towards completion this way I now realise this is why this project has been seeming to take so long. I think now it's about 80-85% complete however so the end is in sight!

Last night I went back to doing some of the cloud areas in the sky. I made a small error near the end and decided to take a few rows out and re-do them. I'm working with DMC775, a very light blue. The threads I'm using are from a plastic spool in my mother's DMC box which I inherited. It's wonderful to have this collection with all of the DMC colours (excepting some of the newer ones) organised on labelled spools. The numbers on the spool tags are in her handwriting which makes it even more special. It's funny, my Dad was going to give the box away to a friend of hers after she passed away until I asked him if I could have it. It's a wonderful keepsake of her for me especially as she was such a craftswoman. She was also, however, a smoker and a heavy one especially towards the end of her life when the Alzheimers really affected her memory. She would light up a cigarette, forget she was already smoking one and light up another one. She nearly started a fire at least once when she put a lit cigarette in a plastic waste basket full of papers. When I first brought the DMC box home every time I opened it I would smell her cigarette smoke. This definitely brought back memories of her to me. I go into all this background because number 775 was stained due to the cigarette smoke. I didn't want to throw it out though so the other day I washed the thread with liquid detergent. Most of it lightened up. The one length of 6 strands that didn't I threw out.

My mother's DMC box--the box opens on 2 sides and both sides are full of DMC spools

The threads for this project organised into snack bags on metal stationery rings

I'm now close to finishing two of the five items in my rotations--this one and version 2 of The Fabric Collector. So now I can begin to think about what other projects in my stash I'd like to do next. It's exciting to be getting through projects like this! More on this later.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

DMC colour problem

I'm working on the foreground below the left support of the bridge doing the various shades of green there. I stitched one section with 3051, a medium green, then began stitching just below it with another strand of the same colour. After doing a few rows I realised that there was a slight (but to me noticable) colour difference between the two areas. The new strands I'm using are a bit darker, almost with a blackish tinge to them whereas the first strands I used don't have that blackish appearance. You probably wouldn't see the difference in a photo but when I finish this rotation and put a photo up you can have a look at it.

This problem has slowed my progress as I've found it discouraging. I've decided to keep going on with it and to look at the first area I've done after I finish stitching all of this colour. I may have to restitch what I did with the first two strands. It wouldn't be a lot of work. I hate problems like this.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Completed a quarter of Latrobe Terrace!

Well I've come to the end of a very productive rotation. I worked on two projects at the same time, completed one while starting a new one and I've finished about 25% of the new one! It is really refreshing to do something new and it's also refreshing to finish a project, especially one which has been hanging around for a while. And all of this was done during the kids' two week school holiday. I don't know how much more I can say about it.

So now I'm back to the Golden Gate Bridge. I'm ready to move on and leave Latrobe Terrace (and working on linen) and get back to Aida, even if it is 18 count. I need to set a method of attack for the bridge as I keep changing my method from trying to finish all of one color to trying to finish one area. This time I think I need to focus on one area and finish it. It's hard for me to estimate how far along I am with this project because there are gaps all over. I'm probably 2/3 done. I don't think I can finish it this rotation but maybe the next time it comes around I can.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Another Finish!

Yes I can finally report that I've finished the Christmas calendar. Hooray! After starting this in the lead-up to Christmas 2007 it is at last completed in time for Christmas 2009. I've uploaded this photo of it to webshots in a new album called 2009 Finishes.

So the remainder of this rotation is now officially Latrobe Terrace.

My rotation schedule now is:

1. Golden Gate Bridge
2. Verandas of South Battery
3. New England Sampler
4. The Fabric Collector #2
5. Latrobe Terrace

I'm dropping the Map of Australia for now. Maybe I'll contemplate adding it in tandem with another project when I complete the second Fabric Collector. Working on two in one rotation seems to work when I have a less favoured project because it enables me to choose which one to work on.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Updated webshots photos

Yet another post this week! I must have time on my hands! I've updated my webshots photo album with progress shots of three of my WIPs in a new album called 2009 WIPs. In it are the Christmas calendar, New England Sampler and Verandas progress shots. I may put more photos into it today.

I've also repaired the link to that website on this blog so you can actually click on it now and get there.

I think that's it for now.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Finished top of Christmas calendar

I know this is my third post this week and I usually don't post my progress so much but since I've been posting about Latrobe Terrace when my rotation actually is the Christmas calendar I thought I should post my semi-finish of the calendar.

So here is the top of the calendar which I finished last night. It's looking pretty good I think. Now just have to secure it to the bottom, fix the backing on the bottom and attach a hanging string and I can really report a finish!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Cross-stitch the novel

For a number of years I've toyed with reading this novel by Diana Gabaldon, mainly because of it's title. (It actually has nothing to do with cross-stitching and the book is titled 'Outlander' in the US publishing world.) I also like reading historical fiction so it was within my area of interest. I don't know why it took me so long to finally get around to it but last week I finished reading this book, the first in a growing series called the Voyager series. I'm now on the second book 'Dragonfly in Amber'. The seventh book is due for release this year.

Cross-stitch tells the story of Claire, a former WWII nurse, who in 1947 visits a stone circle in Scotland and is transported back to 1743. There (or should I say then?) she meets an outlaw named Jamie Fraser, marries him, although she is already married in the 20th century, and has many adventures with him while they try to elude the English forces occupying Scotland. Some of the details of what befalls them are gruesome but other details of life in this time are fascinating.

The second book begins in the 20th century with Claire and her 20 year old daughter Brianna(Jamie's child) returning to Scotland from New York where they live so that Claire can tell Brianna about her past. There is a 21 year gap in time from the end of the first book and readers are left to ponder when and why Claire left Jamie.

Anyway, yesterday I did a fair bit of cross-stitching on Latrobe Terrace and I've started the second building (the much larger one) to the right of the centre. The kids had a ball at the roller skating rink and I had 2.5 hours to myself to cross-stitch plus what I did last night. Today's we're going to see Ice Age 3 and a friend is coming over for a sleep-over. If I have time in the evening I will work on the Christmas calendar.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Started Latrobe Terrace!

scan of the kit cover

I'm cheating a bit with this rotation because I started Latrobe Terrace (Juniper Designs) before finishing the Christmas calendar. The calendar is coming along well but I seem to need to take breaks from it so I started sorting the threads from Latrobe Terrace. Then I bound off the fabric edges and marked the centre lines. Tuesday night after doing a bit on the calendar I decided to take a break and do some cross-stitching so I made a start on the small building to the right of the middle of the pattern. I've had a busy few days since then and have only done small amounts of work both on the calendar and this cross-stitch. But I have another week to get the calendar done so there shouldn't be any problems finishing it. I'm up to embroidering the reindeer's body. Then I can sew it on, followed by the head and lastly the outside ear. Then all I have to do is to join the top and bottom, sew on the backing and a hanging string and it's all done!

details of the houses

We're right in the middle of school holidays now. Despite what many people think these weeks are actually busier than school weeks with all of the activities the kids are up to. This next week we've got a number of playdates including a sleep-over scheduled. Tomorrow the kids are going roller blading. I can't join them in the rink because of my frozen shoulder so I guess I'll be cross-stitching. He, he.