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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stitchathon Challenge

The Cross Stitch Crazy posting board came up with a stitchathon challenge, which I joined. To help me keep track I figured I'd post it here and edit this post for each month's stitchathon. For those who do not know, a stitchathon is when a group of stitchers keeps track of their time spent stitching or the number of stitches they did, or both. It is meant to encourage people to stitch and have a bit of fun doing it. Jacque came up with the challenge for the year and it has three points, which are:

  1. I want to challenge you to predict how many stitches and/or minutes you will stitch during the SATs. Next December (after the last SAT) I will award a stash prize to the person who is closest to their final total at the end of the year in each category. (post your predictions under this thread so I can pull them all together easily, please)
  2. I'd like to challenge you to stitch as many stitches as I'm challenging myself to stitch. So, to anyone who stitches more than 50,000 stitches or 10,800 minutes during the SATs, I will award a prize. (tbd if it is stitched or stash)
  3. I'll award a stitched prize for the top person in each category for the year (time and stitches)

I predicted that I would do between 12,000 to 14,000 minutes stitching. I based that on my total of 6,773 minutes from the 2 (or 3?) stitchathons I had participated in towards the end of 2007 when I joined the board. I am curious to see if I even come close, so I'm going to post my totals here so I can keep track for myself. I am hoping I can do at least 12,000 minutes. Since I just started stitching again after not stitching for almost a year, I thought this challenge would help motivate me to continue stitching and increase my stitching time back to the amount I used to do (which was at least a couple hours a day).

January 2008: 1,531 minutes (I think that is a good start!)

Monday, January 21, 2008

sick sick sick

well I have managed to get myself sick. Woot! (NOT!!!) My head is all stuffy and feels like it is floating around the ceiling somewhere without the rest of me. My lungs are all congested and I sound like a seal when I cough (*bark bark). So I haven't gotten much stitching done. I did want to check in though, so no one would think I died or anything. LOL

I have joined another exchange. It is a seasonal exchange. I got my partner's name and what season I have to stitch, which is summer. I chose a nice little peice with roses and a garden bench and since roses bloom duriung the summer, I figure it will work pretty good. I hope so anyway!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

SBQ and Another Exchange!

This week's SBQ was suggested by Outi (linked to her blog) and is:
What is your favorite past time while stitching? Do you just enjoy
silence, listen to music/audiobooks or do you "watch" TV/movies? Do
you have specific favorites you listen to/watch while stitching?
(question linked to Blond Librarian's Blog..home of the SBQ)

When I stitch I tend to be hyperfocusing to control pain thus I do not watch tv or listen to the radio or anything while stitching. I focus on stitching to take my mind off the fact that I hurt. When I am stitching for enjoyment only I will sometimes stitch while watching movies or television or while talking with friends.

I got an email today letting me know who my match is in the Seasonal Exchange for Cross Stitch Crazy! I have to stitch a small peice that shows "summer" and send it, unfinished, to my partner. I am really excited! Now to go through my charts and find (or put together) something that will work in the size allowed and start stitching. I really hope my pal likes it!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Full Day With Baby- No Stitching yet

Tomorrow starts the January Stitchathon that runs from Monday the 14th through Sunday the 20th. It is when people on the Cross Stitch Crazy Board count the time they spend stitching and / or the number of stitches they put in. You post your totals on a daily basis. Its not a contest so much as a way of encouraging each other to stitch, cheer each other on and be supportive. It is also fun to see how much you actually did. I know for me that sometimes I feel like I did not get much done at all, but if I look at the time or stitch count I can see I did a lot more than I realized. That always makes me feel good. LOL I'm not sure how well I will do on this first stitchathon because of Bree. She's a wonderful, beautiful, sweet baby and 4 months old, so of course she takes a lot of time and attention. So far I have not been able to stitch since she got here, but I figure as we settle into a routine I will be able to stitch again. Its been 11 years since I had a baby in the house and I know I stitched when my DS was a baby once things got into a routine, so I should be able to stitch with Bree here. But, if I don't get to stitch, that's okay because taking care of Bree, watching her smile, seeing her giggle and all that is wonderful. I am really enjoying having her here!!!!!

I will try to get some pics up tomorrow of the progress on Stroke Of Midnight and the two doilies I have in the making but I can't promise. I have ordered Mirabilia's Crescent Moon because Stephanie wants to stitch it as a birth announcement for Bree. I can't wait until it gets here because then I will happily help Stephanie stitch it as a momento for the baby. It will be beautiful! I will have to help her select a really nice hand dyed fabric for it and we have to color change the blanket to pinks rather than blues but that should be easy enough.

Well that's it for tonight!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Stitching Goals 2008 and Cute Baby!

Everyone is talking about stitching goals so I figured I'd try to set some goals for my stitching and crocheting. Maybe stating my goals in publc (so to speak) will help me to acheive them LOL

1: have at least 10 finishes

2: complete stitched ornaments into completed ready to hang up ornaments

3: Finish either Stroke of Midnight or Woodland Fairy by TW (preferably finish both)

4: Participate in at least 2 swaps/exchanges (I was so happy to get my 2008 re-approval from CSC!)

5. Continue to encourage Curtis and now Stephanie (My sister-in-law who has moved into the house) to stitch as well.

6: complete at least one (preferably more) of the harder thread crochet doilies that are at the half way point (I am afraid I'll mess them up even though I have done them well so far LOL)

7: Organize my stash and threads better

8: Continue to make thread crochet items as practice and maybe try to do an afghan or something larger than a 16 inch doily

9: complete at least 2 more charity squares

I think that's a pretty good list of goals. I do hope to complete more than I stated here but I'm not sure how much stitching time I will get now that a baby is in the house for a while. Oh but I am so excited to have her here! Her name is Bridgette and she is 4 months old and such a sweetie! I am so happy to have her and her mom (My sister-in-law) Stephanie staying with us for a while.

SBQ January 9, 2008

This week's SBQ is: What was your favorite finish of 2007?

Answer: I only had five finishes in 2007 and all but one were small items. Though I do know which one is my favorite: The Blackwork Cat ornament from JCS Ornament Issue by Kitty and Me Designs. I love blackwork and I love the way it turned out on the opalescent fabric by Silkweaver and it is also my first completed Christmas ornament and my first ever cross stitch exchange (X-mas ornie exchange for Cross Stitch Crazy).

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Finish For Charity and SBQ

I was hoping to get this one done before the end of 2007 but doing the sachet bag for Curtis got in the way so this wasn't finished until today and is now my first finish for 2008 and my first ever charity stitching peice. I thought it was a real cute design! I stitched it for the Yahoo Group called WOCS. They take stitching, crochet, and knitting projects and donate them to hospitals and such. I hope to continue to do more charity stitching in 2008. Here is a picture of the King Tut Cow. The pattern comes from a French web site, and there are a bunch more cows and mitten designs to stitch. Some of them are real cute! I just loved the King Tut cow so I chose that to be my first charity cross stitch and I completed it earlier today. It is done on 14ct Aida fabric with DMC floss. I changed the color of the yellow as the chart called for one that seemed far too light in my opinion, so I selected a darker yellow and used that instead. Hopefully I will get it out in the mail tomorrow.
I have been working on Stroke of Midnight by Teresa Wentzler, but I have not taken a pic of my progress. I hope to do so tomorrow and post it for everyone to see. I am really hoping to do a lot more stitching in 2008 than I did in 2007. I did not realize how much I missed stitching until I picked it back up again a couple months ago. I have truly been enjoying stitching again, not just cross stitch but also thread crochet. I am currently working on a doily that will be 16 inches accross when I finish and so far it looks better than I thought it ever would! I am quite proud of myself.
I spent most of today in the waiting room of the local surgery center. I was there to be moral support to my friend Curtis and his mother. He had surgery on his shoulder. It repeatedly dislocates and causes him a great deal of pain so the doctor attempted a second surgery in the hopes of preventing further dislocations and pain. The surgery went well and Curtis came through just fine despite a small complication with a low blood oxygen saturation level. He is uncofortable but glad it is over. I just hope that this surgery is successful and he no longer has chronic pain once he is all healed up. I live with chronic pain so I know how horrible it can be. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, forget someone I truly care about and call a friend. Being in pain day in and day out, all day long, is extremely disheartening and depressing. It is even worse when one has a doctor like Curtis's that refuses to treat pain under the mistaken idea that a preson can't possibly feel pain from things such as nerve damage, bone spurs, arthritis, torn ligaments, and bone fragments from a broken joint socket. It utterly flabergasts me that any doctor could believe such a thing and I truly hate seeing anyone I care about in pain. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all better for Curtis, no more pain, no more surgeries, no more injuries..make him all better. Sadly, this is not possible so all I can do is continue to provide him with emotional support and with any advice I can think of that might help his pain levels.
I feel good though about sitting in the surgery center for 4 and a half hours today. I had to leave when my pain level hit an 8 (0-10 with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain I ever felt). Curtis was out of surgery and in recovery. His doctor said he came through the surgery really well and was doing just fine. I was there to be support for both him and his mother. Before I left his mother hugged me and thanked me for being there. She said that my presence made it easier for her to deal with the waiting around for answers and news while her son was in surgery. I am very happy that I was helpful to her as well as to him. I did feel guilty though for having to leave before I saw him in the recovery room, but I did wait until I knew he was in recovery at least, so I knew he was fine. He was really worried that he wouldn't wake up from anesthesia, which is a normal anxiety whenever one faces surgery and I wanted to make it easier on him if I possibly could. I called him on the phone a little bit ago to see how he was doing and he says he is doing okay. I am glad that he is allright, I was worried about him.
Today's SBQ is: Are you starting something new to celebrate the New Year or participating in "Guilt Free January?" If so, what are you planning on starting? (The question is a link to the original site as usual) I have not started a new project yet but I do hope to start one. I want to start "And A Forest Grew" from Rosewood Manor. It is a project for my DH who is the environment coordinator for Tyndall Air Force Base which basically means he ensures that the shops he is assigned to are following the laws for environmental issues. I jokingly call him a professional tree hugger, so I thought this design would be perfect for him. I am not sure when I will start it but it is one I am planning to start. I also joined a stitch-a-long for an ornament a month on the Cross Stitch Crazy posting board. I really like the idea of decorating next year's Christmas tree with a bunch of hand stitched ornaments. It just seems to me like they would have more meaning than store bought. I'm not sure I will be able to do one a month, but I will do my best. I am unsure what "Guilt Free January" means so I can't really answer that.
Well that's all I can think of for tonight, so I will stop her. I will try to post updated pics of my Stroke Of Midnight WIP tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

SBQ Catchup

Due to the holidays and other real life issues (such as my back putting me back on mostly bed rest) I fell behind on answering the SBQs posed by Renee. I will post the question and the date, with links to the original on Renee's blog.

Nov. 8, 2007: When you have to frog out stitches, do you reuse that thread or do you
start over with a new strand?
For me it depends on a few things: the condition of the thread after being pulled out, the type of thread, the length of thread that was pulled out. If the thread itself is worn or frayed, I do not reuse it. Metallics or blending filaments I do not reuse either. If I only had to pull out 1 or 2 stitches, the thread is too short and thus I do not reuse it.

Nov. 28, 2007: This one is a rather long one, here is the original post. There is background to this question that aids in understanding the question. For ease of reading my blog I have typed the questions asked followed by my answers.

  1. What would your stash tell others about you? Most likely that I have eclectic tastes that range from traditional designs to fantasy from easy designs to very complicated or very large designs. It would probably be obvious that my favorites are Teresa Wentzler, Lavendar and Lace, Passione Ricamo, Heaven and Earth Designs and other designers of fantasy based charts that tend to be complicated in nature or quite large.
  2. Have you thought about what you’d like done with your stash after your death? I would like my stash to go to another stitcher, someone who would use the materials and enjoy them.
  3. Would your family know what to do with it (your stash) or recognize its value? They probably would as I talk about cross stitching quite a bit.
  4. How well organized is your stash –would someone be able to come in and put together a sale easily, or would it require lots of organizing work ahead of time? As my stash is not extremely large it is fairly easy to keep it organized. (Though it is growing quickly now LOL) I try to keep it organized so things are easy for me to find, however unless the person going through my stash knows what they are looking at they may not find it to be what they would consider well organized.
  5. What would you like to see done with the funds collected from such a sale, i.e., should funds go to your family, to a charity or charities of your choice, to a charity or charities of your family’s choice, etc.? I would prefer my stash to go to another stitcher who will use it, free of charge. However, were my family members to actually hold a sale of my stash I would like to see the money go to a charity of some sort, preferably one having to deal with helping child victims of sexual abuse.
  6. Are there certain items in your stash which are rare and highly desired by stitchers that might make a much larger amount of money if sold on eBay? I am not aware of any that are rare or highly desired.
  7. Have you done anything to designate which items are the more valuable ones so as to guide your family in how to handle them? No I have not. I had not considered something like this as of yet. But it sounds like a good idea.
  8. Who would you tell your family should handle such a sale so that they don’t have to do it themselves? I would reccomend that my family have a friend of mine, who is also a stitcher, handle dealing with my stash if a sale were to take place. My friend is well versed in the various materials a stitcher has in their stash, what they are worth and how they are used, so she would find it easier to set prices for the items.
  9. Have you done anything to make these thoughts known to others, either through discussions or through a codicil to your will? No I have not but this SBQ has certainly raised some questions I have not considered and I do think setting down instructions would be a good thing to do.
  10. Have you ever attended a similar sale of a passed stitcher’s stash? How did it make you feel? Did it encourage you to make any changes in your stitching lifestyle? I have not attended a sale of another stitcher's stash before. However I have gone through the stash of a friend who stopped stitching and I think my feelings would be similar. Viewing the charts, threads, fabrics and embellishments that the stitcher chose would tell me a lot about the person. I found myself feeling very close to my friend through her sharing her stitching with me. I was saddened that she was no longer stitching, but heartened by the fact that she was not getting rid of her stash "just in case". I would guess that were I to be going through the stash of a stitcher who has passed away I would be saddened by the loss, curious as to the stitcher's personality and life events and I would feel that I shared something with him or her. I would be honored to have the stitcher's stash items to add to my stash as I know that the items that go into a stitcher's stash are often items that hold great meaning for that stitcher or in some way touch the stitcher either sentimentally, amusingly, sadly, happily, and many other emotional responses.

This was quite a long SBQ and it raised many thoughts in my mind. It caused me to look at my stash and think about it in a way I had not done before. For me, my stitching is a very important part of how I am (similar to my writings) and many of my charts elicit specific emotional reactions or remind me of a past experience. I know roughly how much money I have spent on my stash, but this series of questions made me realize that my stash has more value than just dollar signs.

Dec. 5, 2007: What tips would you give to a new stitcher to help her stitch faster
and neater while still keeping it enjoyable?
I would tell a novice stitcher to use short lengths of floss to cut down on fraying, knots and tangles. I would reccomend he/she use thread heaven for the same reason. I would also recomend that they start out with a small chart that they really like and to do some practice stitching on a separate peice of fabric. I would include horizontal rows, vertical rows, quarter stitches (all 4 directions), three-quarter stitches and backstitch as these are the most common stitches in most beginner charts. Practicing those stitches will help the beginner feel more confident while they stitch their chosen project. I would also tell him or her to ask any questions that they have or ask for help if they need it or just want it because I would be glad to help them learn.

Dec. 12, 2007: Do you do anything special to your threads before putting them through
your fabric to make them more manageable?
I use thread heaven thread conditioner on my threads as I have found it to be very helpful in cutting down on fraying, tangling and knots.

Dec. 19, 2007: Have you ever helped anyone else learn to stitch? Have you ever helped
anyone learn a new stitch or technique?
I have helped 6 people learn to stitch in the last 7 years. I have helped 3 or 4 people who already knew how to stitch learn how to stitch over 2 threads or how to do specialty stitches, add beads, couching and similar things.

Dec. 26, 2007: Did you receive any stitching-related gifts for the holidays? Yes I did and posted pictures of them in prior blog entries.

(FYI: each question is either a link in and of itself or has a link within it back to Renee's blog so you can see the original question, her answer, and access links to other bloggers who answered the question)

Well, that catches me up with all the SBQ's that I did not answer. I really enjoy the SBQ's as they provide information about how other stitchers do things and this helped me to feel better about my stitching and made me realize I am no longer a beginner stitcher yet I am not an expert either. I have really enjoyed reading other's answers to these questions and have learned a great deal from them. Thank you Renee and all those who submit questions to her for creating this SBQ series!

More Stitching and Sewing

My friend Curtis has decided that he really likes cross stitching, which I think is wonderful because he needed a hobby, something to keep him busy and give him something to do. Anyway, after the success of the santa ornament I helped him stitch, he wanted to stitch something for his mother that was not a seasonal only item. He selected a rose bud and asked if I could turn it into a sachet for her and I told him that yes I could. He stitched the entire rose bud by himself! He followed the chart, started and ended the threads, counted the stitches etc. His stitches came out real neat and straight. I did the backstitching because by then his shoulder was really hurting and he wanted it done, so I did the backstitching for him. It took me 2 days to turn it into a little bag and stuff it with potpourri. We couldn't find any red lace for the top edge so I crocheted a little trim for the top edge and used a red velvet ribbon to tie the bag so it can be re-opened and new potpourri added when needed. We gave it to his mom and she really liked it! She was quite impressed with his stitches as well. She pointed out how neat his stitches were and that gave me the opportunity to tell him "See? I wan't making it did do a good job!" and he smiled one of those proud of himself type of smiles. It was really nice to see a smile like that on his face as he does not smile like that very often. Anyway, here are two pictures. One is a closeup that makes it easier to see the stitching. I'm not real impressed with the job I did on the sewing it into a bag. I could have done much better if I had planned it out before hand. But Leveda liked it so that is good.

And now the closeup:

I had to lean the bag against the phone to get a good picture of it.

As for my stitching, I have put in a few hours on TW Stroke Of Midnight and am almost done with the King Tut cow for WOCS. I will try to get some pics of them tomorrow.