Saturday, December 22, 2012

Stitching, Needle Felting, and tea dying fabric, stuff

I'm back!   I just spent about 2 hours going through photos to post here.  While at it, I decided I better change the photo that appears under the title "ohohstitcher" above as it was way too big and took too long to open up.

So, I picked a lovely photo of a bee/wasp/some stingy bugs nest and just now realize that it looks like a skull.  sigh...  

If you are here for stitching, I will post that first. 

I finally finished the Mary Wigham sampler in October while on holidays. 

I liked it but it was just a bit too stark looking.  It was too new and didn't have the look of an old sampler, which is what it was.   While I was deciding that I wasn't too crazy about this finished sampler, a friend asked me if I had ever tea dyed a completed piece of stitching, and I hadn't.  That got me thinking.  So yes, bravely, I got my tea dye all set up in the kitchen sink and into it went Mary Wigham.  I even threw the tea bags on it for some extra "aging".

And I admit the lighting isn't the best in this next photo but this is the tea dyed Mary Wigham.   I find it really weird that the white DMC floss did not turn colour?   I find that really really weird actually.

The tea dying didn't change the fabric colour too much but I do believe that it toned the thread colours down a bit.  I like the few darker spots, which to me, gives the sampler some age.

I have this next photo to show the difference between the original fabric and the tea dyed fabric.  Again, not the best lighting conditions.

As well as finishing the Mary Wigham sampler while on holidays, I also finished, Fine China.  What a pleasure it was to stitch!  There was just enough variety to make it really interesting to stitch.

Fine China is truly one of the nicest pieces I have ever stitched.  I've had the pattern for years and years and was just too intimidated by it to start it but it turned out to be so easy and the instructions were great!  I love it!  Now, to get it framed!

One other piece I finished while on vacation, is this one.  It is "The Crowsline" by Cedar Hill. It was a very easy and quick stitch and I just loved the crows!

That is almost the end of my stitching.  I have gone back to Jane Greenoff's Hedgerow Sampler which I started about 2 years ago and hope to finish that in the New Year.  I am about 2/3rd's or more through the sampler.  I am stitching the sampler from this book of hers, but don't know if the pattern is available separately.

Stitching isn't all I have been doing.  Though perhaps, with the luck I have been having, maybe it's what I should stick to.

I decided to make my Mother something needle felted for Christmas.  I thought that maybe I could make her some poppies in a field, that I would frame for her.  

I took some stabilizer, 

added to it some merino wool,

and after much hand needle felting, came up with something I was totally not pleased with.  I disliked it so much, I was going to throw it out.  At the last minute, I decided to sew it onto a bag and give it to my Mom.  I added a few black beads for the centre of the poppies and some stitching near the bottom half.  This is how it looks on the bag:

The handles aren't complete.  My Mom is 88 years old and gets around with a rollator/walker.  I was trying to figure out how to make the handles so she could put them around her walker handles but I really should have thought of that before I sewed the felting on the bag.  Anything I try with do to try to make detachable handles will interfere with the felted poppies.  So live and learn.

So, because the poppies did not turn out, I decided to try something else.  I went through my photos and found some pictures of wild roses taken in the yard.  Again, I started with a small piece of stabilizer, about 4 inches by 5 inches and added wool and hand needle felted till I felt it was complete.  I learned something valuable here.   I suck at needle felting flowers!!!  LOL

I made a needle keep out of the wild rose.  My Mother has degenerative eye disease and can't see very well.  I am sending her some threaded needles so that she can repair any loose buttons or any small tears, etc.  This is how it turned out.

And finally......  with a very very deep sigh....   Do I post this or not???   

I was looking through blogs, and one that I follow showed a little demonstration on how to make felted Christmas trees for Christmas cards.  Well, I thought to myself, how difficult can that be?  

Please keep in mind that this project was done between the poppies and the wild roses above.  

Click on Christmas Trees to see what they were supposed to look like.

And this is where Judy shows you how she made them.

I did not want to copy what Judy did and decided I was going to put my threads on an angle instead of straight across to make them different.   Of course this was before I REALLY thought about it rationally.   How was I going to cut the trees out?  Well, I do not have a felting machine, not that it makes any difference, but this is what I ended up with after all the felting.

And it wasn't quite as ugly as it looks in the photos, but, not too far off!!  LOL

And when I cut it up to look like Christmas Trees, did it look any better?

NOPE!!  Do I threw them out!

Family and friends got purchased Christmas cards instead of home made ones.  I think it's a good thing otherwise, they might have thought I hated them!   

I have no idea if I am going to needle felt again after this.  I have to say that I don't mind the process of hand needle felting, but it is long and you end up with stuff that is much thicker than you want it to be unless you spend days and days and days needle felting it.  I would really like a new sewing machine and am not able to get a sewing machine AND a needle felting machine, so, I will figure something out.

And all during this, I have been trying to take Sharon's GIMP class.
It just finished.  I was able to get almost half way through it when my new laptop encountered some problems with the mother board so back to the manufacturer it went.   I did have the use of a loaner from my great local computer shop, Sites and Bytes, but I no sooner went through my photos (a second time) to find photos for the class, when my laptop was returned to me.  I will have to finish the course on my own in the New Year.

In the meantime, besides the great web sites listed at the right, here are some new ones, I think.

The Wilderness City Quilter

My Sweet Prairie

Kitchener Quilter    (for my sister) 

Laurie Swim    Whose workshops I hope to be able to attend one day
If you made it down this far, I wish you the most Merry of Christmas's.  May your New Year bring you and your family a host of Blessings and all things good.

May there always be JOY in your life.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

On vacation!

Well, I thought it would have been easier to get online to do some regular posts while away on vacation. but it is quite difficult.  The cottage we are staying at does not have Wifi but does have an outdated computer that is just barely good enough to an email or two out to family.  Even then, I get messages saying that many functions in gmail are not supported by the computer!  LOL

Anyways, we are gone for a month and it doesn't appear that I will get back on here until I get home.  I am at the Masstown Market right now in Nova Scotia.  We are having some lovely weather.  We are getting out enough on those glorious sunny fall days that when the fall rains come, we need the rest!

We have been gone for 2 weeks now and I don't know if I should say this or not, but I have taken over 5,000 pictures...   Good grief!  But there is so much to take photos of!  The fall colours are just beyond belief.  Beyond glorious!  We managed to make a 5 mile walk up Wentworth Mountain to ascend almost 1,000 feet our first week here.   We walked all of Five Island Provincial Park Beach, we drove to Cap d'Or and Cape Chignecto Provincial park.   Its been wonderful!

I will post a few and then hit the road! 

The view from the top of Wentworth Mountain

At Wentworth Provincial Park

at 5 Islands Provincial Park

Cap d'Or

Fall Colour

My new stitching project, Fine China.

Happy stitching!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Walker/Rollator bag for my Mom

Howdy!  Still here!   But am not very busy.  We got hit by another bit of tropical weather from way down south the last week or so and its been so humid its hard to get anything done.  We've had alot of rain and today, yikes!  It is around 20C out there right now, at almost 9 pm with a humidex of 30C.  I am NOT amused!

I still haven't put away my summer clothes and dug out my fall clothes which I will need to pack for our trip.

When my Mom was here a few weeks ago, she was complaining about this bag that she has clipped to her walker to hold things like shopping bags, comb, bus pass, etc.   You can see the bag here on my previous post.   I think she took the bag from her old walker or my Dads walker and it didn't fit properly so I took some measurements and said I would try to make her one.  Well, on top of trying to make her bag, I went through approximately 1000 photos I took when I was visiting with her earlier this summer, and then her visit here shortly afterwards, and picked 170 to put into two albums for her.   All this took me more time that I thought I would. 

This is the front of the bag I made for her walker.

I do not have any software downloaded yet that will decrease the pixels size of the photos and I can't see where I an do that in Picasa so I hate to think about how large that photo was.

In any case, this is the back.  It has three folded over flaps that are  joined together by what we commonly call "Velco" but should be called "hook and loop". 

I used an Extra Strong "Heat and Bond" to fuse the blue floral fabric to the blue demin fabric.  It made the whole thing nice and still but I hope not too stiff.  I used a lightly flowered beige fabric for the inside.   I had no pattern and so there are alot of mistakes or issues with the bag.  In any case, I feel good that it is done and it and the photos have been packaged up and are on their way by purolator to Mom.

With the summer being extra hot and humid this year, our gardens and trees and bushes have grown in this tropical weather.  Another thing that has grown is our spiders!  Good grief!  And there are so many!

The farmer is in the field across the road baling hay.  Most grain fields have been harvested and the farmers are now digging their potatoes.  The rain we've had lately is putting a damper on that but as soon as the sun comes out, they will be back at it!
Well, here it is near the end of September and it is going to be a long uncomfortably hot and humid night for sleeping.   But the cold will be here soon enough and I LOVE autumn!

Talk to you soon and have fun!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mary Wigham, vacation

I'm back!
I haven't really been gone, but the computer is gone!   I have had a PC or tower computer since 1994.  I have also used a tower computer at work from 1979 till about 6 or 7 years ago.  I decided to try a laptop.  HATE THE KEYBOARD!  Would have said the same thing for the mouse, but luckily, the place I got the computer at, Sites and Bytes, supplies a wireless mouse with the laptop.

So what has happened in the few weeks since I wrote last?  Well, Husband ran some races in Sydney, NS at the Canada National 55+ games and came home with 1 gold medal and 3 silver medals!   Yeah!
He also brought home a whopper of a flu!   He ended up really really sick and was not pleasant to be near.  i managed to live through the whole thing without catching the flu but ended up with pink eye in both eyes, a sore throat and left ear ache.

So needless to say, I got hardly any stitching done.  I will save this and take a photo of the Mary Wigham sampler which is the only thing that I was able to stitch. 

The sampler was on the Q-snap so I had to take it off to photograph it.  Sorry, but to get this blog done it is not pressed which in the blogging world I'm sure is gross!   This is my progress so far:

This is a close up of the upper right section:

As I've said previously, I am doing this with one thread of floss over one thread of fabric.  I am using 22 count fabric which is actually hardanger fabric.  I LOVE IT!  It is wonderful for stitching over one.

I have been using my Camedia software from my old digital Olympus camera to edit all of my photos.  With the new computer, it is no longer available to me so I have had to find other options.  I came across the site Picmonkey and I didn't find it difficult to use. 

Here are a few photos taken earlier today.

This is a field that has had the wheat harvested a week or two ago and the grass is already growing up in its place.
We stopped at Cavendish Grove, part of the Cavendish National Parks and took a little walk.   I was able to catch some reflection in a nearby pond.

We haven't had any frost yet.  Last night was the coldest so far at about 9 C.  I guess it was cold enough to get the trees motivated to start turning colour.

Well, I would love to tell you that I will be posting regularly and posting tons of new and exciting things from now on.  But, and always the big but, my husband and I are taking a vacation for the whole month of October!  That is one reason for the laptop instead of the PC.  It is portable and can come with us.  We don't have WiFi where we are going, which is a good thing, but WiFi is available about 15 to 20 miles down the road so I'm hoping to get some posts in.  Just not sure how often.

I have followed Lyric Kinard's blog since seeing her on the tv program "Quilting Arts".  She has proposed a daily reminder to take baby steps towards getting to our goal of achieving whatever it is we wish to achieve.  She is calling it taking "Baby Steps" and you can read about it here .   I LOVE IT!!!  I need to get off my duff.  One of the big things I want to do is my art journaling.  I took Sharon B's online course "Artists Studio Journal" and admit I haven't done too much with it.  We will be away at our favorite hide away and my goal to to make an entry in my art journal EVERY DAY.  I will have my camera with me so hope to post what I am doing.  I had a number of stitching projects lined up to take with me but this Mary Wigham is taking longer than I had hoped so I will take it and complete it.  I have a bottomless UFO pile so there is no shortage of what else I might be bringing with me.  No iron tho so don't expect miracles!  LOL

The girls in the Sunshine Deli have been busy so stop by for a visit!   If you want some really great fabulous stories to read, The Grumpy Goat Gallery is an absolute treat to visit! 

And of course, Judy Cooper and the Stitching Lady never disappoint!

Talk to you soon!   Happy anything!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mary Wigham, Stitching


I have been working a little more diligently on the Mary Wigham sampler.  First I have a few comments to say on the sampler itself.  I got the chart free from Needleprint.  I thank Needleprint as I really liked the sampler the moment I saw it.  The only photo of it though was just a small photo on the web site.  You did not get a photo of the completed sampler when you downloaded the chart.

I found what appeared to be errors in alot of the motifs on the chart.  After correcting 2 or 3 errors and coming across more, I realized that the errors may just be how Mary Wigham stitched her sampler so I did not make any more corrections.  It would be nice though to have a full photo of the sampler to see how it was stitched but I guess there are fears that someone else may copy out the chart from the photo and sell it.

In any case, there are errors but I left them in.  I think I am about two-thirds done.

Before I took it off the Q-snaps to photograph it, I had to laugh.  I start a new motif, or a motif within the motif, with a "waste-knot".  There are a ton of examples on how to do a waste knot if you "Bing" it or "Google" "waste knot".   I think the proper way to do a waste knot is to put it in so that it lays in the direction you will be stitching so that as you stitch, you stitch over the waste knot thread, if that makes sense.  In any case, I make my waste knots away from my stitching, allowing for lots of thread to thread my needle when I am ready to stitch it in and when I am in the mood for tucking them all in, I do a bunch at once. If  I take care of the waste knot while stitching each motif, I am in a hurry and make a mess of them.

A photo of my waste knots on my stitching.
The stand I use to hold my Q-snap, is something the husband of a friend of mine made for me.  It works wonderfully and holds the stitching very well.  I can use the stand as a table topper, and yes, it does swivel backwards and forwards.  The wooden part that sits on the table top can also be put under your leg so that you can stitch while sitting in a chair or recliner.  The side bar extends upwards a fair amount to bring the stitching up. To hold the extra fabric at the top and sides, I purchased some inexpensive hair clips from the dollar store.  The hair clip also holds my pattern as I stitch.  The needle minder in the upper right sits on my fabric and was something I made following instructions in a Cross Stitch and Needlework magazine.

And I don't mind at all showing what the back looked like before I hid the waste knots.

One thing I noticed though is how I end my thread.  I believe "they" say to just stitch it under a few threads on the back of your work and that's it!  Well, I have a real phobia about the "few threads" part.  I tend to weave the end of my thread almost through the entire motif to make sure it is securely fastened!  I'm sure that in a gazillion years from now, future Archeologists will be unearthing these strange things from the ground.  Fabric long disintegrated, but these masses of woven threads all bundled together!  What a puzzle that will create for them!

I am really looking forward to completing the Mary Wigham sampler though.  It is becoming not so fun, though I admit when sitting with it every day, now that the weather has cooled, it is going quickly.  Even though I have a million projects on the go, I am thinking of seriously started the 16 Square Pulled Thread Sampler from Kathrin's Blog (from Gitta).    And yes, I am only behind about 30 stitches in Sharon's TAST.    Oh dear!  Anyone have anymore lifetime's out there!!!???

In the meantime, some of my stitching and felting has won a few ribbons at our yearly fair.

I forgot to post how I finished off "The Pebble".  The instructions said to do a ladder stitch to join the front with the back.  Having never done this stitch before, I knew it needed a bit of practicing when I saw the instructions for it.  First of all, it is a horrible stitch!!!  LOL...   secondly, it just didn't work for this piece.  I had to take such small stitches, and it was not easy working around the bulk of the front and the back.  The needle just didn't get to where it needed to be to do the stitch, so I did a very basic "I can't remember at the moment what it is called" stitch!

And also, my first piece every completed in Sharon's online "Sumptuous Surfaces Embroidery" class.

Finally, the Three Sheep won as well.

Well, that's it for me!   Blueberries are well on their way here on the island.  I am going into town to see if my 10 pound box is in yet!

Don't forget the ladies at the "Deli" above right!  Judy Cooper is back from vacation and has shared an amazing list of blogs with us!

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep. - Scott Adams

Off to make mistakes!



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Life resumes, photos

Well, it's been a few weeks...    Where do I start?

What a difference a year makes!   Last few years, our summers have been horrible.  We never really had a summer quite honestly as it was just a long cold wet spring that became fall.  Last summer my sister arrived from a 2,000 km drive with her two daughters in the middle of July and our temperatures had not hit above 15C yet!   And it just rained and rained and rained prior to her arrival.  Though it got somewhat better after she got here, not by a whole lot.  The summer continued like that but I admit we had the most glorious fall.

This year has more than made up for the last few summers.  To the extreme really.  It has been a very hot dry summer to start off with and then about 3 weeks ago it turned humid.  Today, we have our first serious rainfall in a few months and conditions will be much more comfortable after that.  Temperatures with the humidex were in the mid 30's almost every day, not cooling off much during the night as there was little or no wind. This long spell of hot humid weather is unusual for us as we usually get cooled off by ocean breezes so needless to say, very very few houses on the island have central air or air conditioning!

Anyways, Mom has been and gone and we had a lovely time.  She is getting on in years and needs the help of a walker or rollator to walk.  She managed to get around quite well on her own, leaving me to remain splayed out in my recliner numb with the heat and humidity while she sat in the back yard listening to the birds and enjoying our "cool" temperatures.  You see, she comes from Southern Ontario, where the summer has seen temps in the high 40 's C with the humidity!  

I have done absolutely no stitching whatsoever!   I did pick up the Mary Wigham sampler the other day in the hopes of stitching while a small fan was blowing on me, but, the fabric was dampish and almost swollen in the humidity and the floss struggled to get through it so I left it for a drier and cooler day.

So what to talk about?  Well, I thought I might think on something I've noticed lately.  My husband and I like to go for drives and walks and so there is alot of opportunity for picture taking.  What I've noticed for about the last year or so is that when I have taken a photo that I especially like, I take a big breath and expel air when I have finished taking the photo, as if something quite extraordinary has happened.  I'm not sure I can explain what this breath is all about, but know it feels very satisfying and it is a good thing.

It usually comes when taking a photo like this.....

It was taken on the Homestead Trail at Cavendish National Park.  It's hard to explain what I feel at a scene like this.  The colour of the grasses are glorious and are made even more spectacular against the blue of the water and the sky.  It was such a lovely afternoon, not a soul in sight, nothing to hear except seagulls calling over the water and singing birds in the trees.  When I look at the photo, I can remember the smell of the grasses and seaweed in the water, and the salt in the water.  Taking the photo was like trying to capture a moment in time and keeping it forever. 

One of my favorite things to try to photograph is light and shadow.  There is something about the light and the dark that fascinates me.  These are two examples.

If I am not taking photos of the leaves, dark and light, in the summer, then it's tree trunks in the fall and winter.

The most satisfying photos are the one that come from a dramatic scene, the light and the dark.  The dark sky behind the light lighthouse, the sun shining in the distance through the trees, as seen below.

I have to admit that I haven't attached the best examples of my photo works.  I don't even know how many I have but I will admit to owning 3 external drives to hold them all!

When I sit as a passenger in the car, as my husband drives, or as I walk trails, the cliffs of our island, I am attracted by the colours around me.  If the scene before me is not dramatic because of light and dark, then it may be dramatic because of the colours, usually complimentary colours on the colour wheel.

I hope to capture that same excitement in my stitching and sewing.  I keep my colour wheel with me always and hope to create something dramatic and moving.  I am always turning my colour wheel back and forth to see what might be the best colour to use for what I want to do next.  But, sometimes, you just have to go with your gut.

I sit here now, the sun having gone down, listening to the rain gently falling to the parched ground.  Our grass has long since dried up and I'm sure I hear it joyfully laughing, lifting its arms up to capture as much of the rain as it can.. Perhaps a little melodramatic on my part but it has been a long hot summer and I am feeling a bit melodramatic and out of sorts! 

I hope to get back to stitching soon and perhaps bring a bit of sanity to my next post!

Hope you are all well.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lavender on Vacation

Just stopped in to say "hay!". 
Have been busy with my Mom.  She has more spunk and energy than I think I ever did!  I'm having a hard time keeping up to her with her walker even tho she is almost 88 and I am a young but geezerly "almost 59".

A short while ago I saw in a Nova Scotia tour book that there was a lavender farm a couple of hours away from the cottage we usually stay at.  Unfortunately, its just a little too far away.  It is called Seafoam Lavender Farm.  It looks like a wonderful place to spend some time at.

In the meantime, I found out there is a Lavender Farm on PEI.  It is quite charmingly called  "The Five Sisters of Lavender Lane". 

It may not be as large of an operation as the Seafoam Farm, but they have a lovely assortment of Lavender teas, Splashes, linen sprays, scents, sachets, soaps and jelly's and a few other things I can't remember!   Their little store is lovely as you can see:
The farm is situated at the top of the hill and has about 3 or 4 plots of lavender plants.  This is one of the plots.

 And a view of another plot:

My Mom is the one with the walker and the shop is the white building to the right.
Hope you are enjoying your summer as much as I am.... 

Talk to you soon.