More Black Belt Stitching Wizard Stuff

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I Don't Think Its going To Happen!

Well Todd's b-day is this Sunday... and I don't think Gone Fishing is going to be done in time. Today was pretty much a loss for stitching time. Tomorrow is another busy day, and Friday I'm surprising my Nephew with a trip to La Ronde in Montreal.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A finishing Bonanza!

Well I had another spurt of finishing energy this morning!!!!

So here's Jeannette Douglas's Mon Coeur. It looked like crap when I first sewed it together but a little cord and whoila it looks lovely!


Next is Poor Jack a freebie from Just Nan. Todd was a sweetie and helped me make the cord for this one. I used my ornament finishing instructions available on my webpage.


This is Christmas Tree By Elizabeth's Designs, also using my ornament finishing tutorial.


Tudor Rose Freebie by Of Woman's Worth, again using my ornament finishing tutorial. Todd also helped with the cord!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A New Tutorial!!!

Well its been awhile since I've made one for you (you know some day I will run out of techniques to make tutorials for!). Today I took a piece I stitched back in 2003 called Celtic Sampler, it was a fundraiser for EAC Seminar that year. I've turned it into a "layered bellpull". At least that's why I call it as you essentially create two bell pulls one slightly larger than the other. Soooo... head on over to my website and check it out!

Before I could start my finishing I of course had to find the right fabric which required a shopping trip. So after teaching Taekwon-Do this morning I popped over to the quilt shop nearby and found a lovely fabric for my bellpull and... another dragon fabric for the collection!

I forgot to answer the SBQ for this week, so here it is :

Q: When you get a project professionally framed do you get glass inserted into the frame? Why or why not?

A: I don't have my pieces professionally framed anymore, I frame them myself. Since I don't have any smokers in my house (and no one is allowed to smoke in here!) I frame without glass. I find you really loose something when you put your stitching behind glass!

Today I got in a couple of hours on Todd's birthday gift while he was out.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Pre-Weekend Progress Report

I thought I'd share progress pictures of my projects before the weekend rolls around since I think I'm going to have a lot of stitching time this weekend after I've taught my TKD classes Saturday morning. So far no exciting plans, but things can change.

Here's my travel/at the computer project - Zebra a kit from Lanarte. Its stitched over one with two threads using the tent stitch (aka : 1/2 stitch). Image on left.

Next, Celtic Banner, since my last piccy I've finished the box, and two bands. Soon I'll be reaching the half way point on this piece. I'm still really enjoying stitching the piece. Image on right.

Finally my last project (geeze didn't I say I was doing one at a time???) my sudden decision to stitch a b-day gift for Todd! Today I started Gone Fishing a chart from Heritage Stitchcraft, part of their silhouettes series. I'm only working on this project when either Todd is not home or he's in bed. So it'll be a challenge to have it finished and hopefully framed by next weekend! Image on left.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Round Robin Musings

Today I received a lovely e-mail from Michelle one of my blog readers asking me about round robins.

would you be willing to share pics of some of your completed RRs with me (I
know you did a Wee Beasties one a while back, but I don't remember seeing the
final product) so that I can kind of see how they're laid out? Also, can
you give me any tips or guidance on RRs. I've been reading your blog for
so long, I feel like you're the "expert" to go to.

Gosh what a wonderful compliment you made me blush! I'll never say I'm an expert but in the online stitching world I can easily say I've been around the block a couple of times now!

Where to start? Well I'll start with a picture of my Wee Beasties RR (started in March of 2004). There are two reasons why I hadn't really posted the final product. First I still haven't stitched my own bug on the fabric, second I'd like to put in a border similar to the ones on Terrance Noaln's other Wee Beasties. As you can tell its not high on my priority list to finish.

This round robin I laid out in a bell pull format. I got a long narrow piece of fabric (longer than it really needed to be) I basted a line down the center to help the members of my RR center their bugs. I think marking the center of the area(s) your RR participants is a huge help, and a huge time saver! If you have a specified area you want people to stitch in and do not want them exceeding that size, baste the area that's the maximum size allowed. This doesn't leave them guessing for placement!

I think the keys to a smooth RR are :

  1. Know the quality/ability of the people you're stitching with. One of my early RR's ended up in the garbage due to a stitcher that had such tight tension she pulled huge holes in the fabric. The RR was ruined. I love doing RR's with members from the TWBB this way I know they're good stitchers... you have to be to complete a Teresa Wentzler Design. I go to The World Wide Round Robins BB when I want to sign up for an RR as all stitchers have to have references! This is also a good place to go to see what people are doing and how they're setting up their RRs.
  2. Be clear! In your note/letter/instructions to your RR mates clearly state your theme your likes, dislikes, colours you love, colours you hate. Do you want them to sign their area? Where should it be signed is there a specific alphabet you want them to use? Then include a working copy for them to use. Do you want their signature in a specific floss colour? Think about what you want to do with your RR if its squares for a quilt you won't want beads, embellishments and perhaps fibers that may bleed or can't be easily washed. This way your RR mates will not second guess what you'd like done
  3. Zig zag, serge, or overcast your fabric to prevent fraying, remember its being handled by a lot of hand depending on the size of your group (4-8 seems to be the averages)
  4. Baste, baste, baste! Baste your center marks on stitching areas, baste your "maximum size" or borders. This makes the stitcher's life much easier all he/she has to do is select a design and start stitching. I like to use sulky silvers for basting it pulls out very easily and as its a ribbon like metallic it won't accidentally or easily be pierced when stitching. (found in quilt stores)
  5. When an RR arrives in your mailbox... don't procrastinate! Stitch! When I receive an RR I start it right away! By committing to an RR you're committing to a schedule. If you're late you throw the entire schedule off or you force another stitcher to be rushed so she/he can make the next deadline. If I can when I receive an RR I'll start it that evening, if the person I mail to doesn't mind I'll often send the piece on as soon as I'm finished. Its a way of being generous, giving the next stitcher extra time if they want it. Also I don't forget about he parcel and end up being late sending it out.
  6. Selection - picking what to stitch (unless the chars are provided... but then there's really no surprise, you should just stitch it yourself!) is tricky! First I always consider how much time I can contribute to stitching the RR before the next mail date. If time is a factor the piece I select will not be as complicated. If I have plenty of time the design may be more complicated. Select something that matches the style of what's been done so far, if everyone has done primitive designs, a TW will stand out like a sore thumb instead of blending in and making the piece harmonious. Also take the colours used so far into consideration, if everyone has used designs with muted colours, don't use neon pink!
  7. Your parcel - Clearly mark everything with your name, address, phone number and e-mail address that way someone can get it back to you or contact you no matter what! Put all the items of your RR in a ziplock bag, once again label the bag! Some people like to include a little notebook for stitchers to put their thoughts, information on their contributions. Please keep this in mind... keep it small, slim and light. Often I get bumped up into the next cost category at the post office because someone has included a fat or heavy notebook or other items in their parcel. Remember that the flatter and lighter the parcel the cheaper it'll be for your RR mates to send.

The best thing I can suggest is do to other what you'd like done to you! Treat every piece as if you'd be hanging it in a prominent place in your house!

Now many things can happen to RR's along the way and some of them are sad. They can get lost in the mail (some groups insist on tracking numbers to help avoid this however this doesn't always work when you're crossing borders). RR members can go AWOL or life gets in the way and they become incommunicado... with your piece as well. There can be spills, stains, accidents.

Despite all these horrible things I've said I've only ever had two RR disappointments. The first is the one I mentioned earlier where there was one really poor stitcher in the group. My second bad experience is a group member going AWOL with several pieces! Despite phone calls, e-mails, and letters, even offers to pay for postage she refused to send them on. Most stitchers out there are good people, and most RR's come home successfully.

I hope I haven't scared off first time RR stitchers! Its a great experience otherwise I would have never done one again!

Oh and I've been playing with my new camera!

Here's one of my favorite day lilies I don't know its name but its stunning!

I just love how the light of the setting sun was playing on the trees at the top of my driveway tonight.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My Day

I'm sure I mention it from time to time but I work in a school library. What most people don't know is that I'm at 12-month employee at that school. Actually the fact puzzles most people! Once they find out that I work all summer despite there being no students I'm always asked what do I do for two months?

Well Here's my biggest job! I take shelves like these which are quite messy and are quite packed (on your left). In the space of half a day I can take that one aisle and straighten, shelf-read (putting the books in exact order first by call number, then by author, then by title), and shifted if the shelf is getting full. And I turn it into this (picture on the right). Of course by the end of September the kids will have it all in a mess again!

I've had a couple of enquires in your comments about my Cube-It. Unfortunately a tutorial will not be forthcoming for this type of finishing. Why? Because its a technique I learnt from an instruction booklet made by Elegant Stitch. It can be bought from this page on their website. Now I can point you toward this other tutorial on the net to make a cube, but the directions and supplies are totally different from what is in Elegant Stitches How to Cube-It Book. The booklet I used does not involve any sewing or glue.

Tonight I made more progress on Celtic Banner but still not enough for another progress picture for you. I'm still working on the first band below the box I was working on during my last scan.

I had an impulsive moment tonight, Todd's birthday is coming up at the end of the month. Some time ago I bought a Heritage Stitchcraft Silouettes chart of a fisherman. Well I kitted it up tonight. I'm going to try to stitch it up "in secret" between now and Todd's birthday. Yes I've bought him birthday gifts but I'd like to give him something a little more personal.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Whoila! I put the finishing touches on my Cube-It tonight! I picked up some black, orange, cream, and green ribbons to embellish the cube. I have to say this is another neat finishingg technique that doesn't involve framing. Its also great for seasonal designs like "Pumpkin Patch". On the back I put this cute pumpkin fabric that I just love!

I also made a little progress on Celtic Banner tonight, despite a visit by the aged peas. I got that block finished and a wee bit of the next row. After work today I also replaced my old digital camera (about 5 years old) with a nice spankin' new Panasonic Lumix camera!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Celtic Banner Update

Well I had a great day working on Celtic Banner today, lots of progress... enough that I'll treat you to a scan! I was hoping to get this block finished tonight but alas I am out of time! Probably tomorrow.

In between stitching and doing the laundry I also started putting together my first "Cube-It". Its a pretty cool and easy process. Elegant Stitch sells an instruction booklet to make them, I bought mine back in the New Year and this is the first time I've made one! I won't share a picture just yet. I need to find just the right ribbons for the finishing touch!

Ooops! Its Freebie Weekend

I can't believe that I almost forgot that it was Freebie Stitch-A-Long weekend over at my bulletin board Needle and Thread. So in honour of the weekend I quickly went through the pile of freebies I have received over time from various online orders (love it that shop owners always throw in a freebie or two).

The first freebie that caught my eye and was stitch-able in a short period of time was Just Nan's freebie Poor Jack c2005. I've stitched it on 32ct Ivory Lugana using the required DMC floss. This was a super quick stitch! I'm not sure yet how I'm going to finish this, maybe into a cube-it or an ornament.

Now I can finally pick up Celtic Banner!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Model HD!!

Yay! Its done! I now have Dust Bunny Sanctuary by Dragon Dreams all stitched up! I hope you're looking forward to its release in August at the Charlotte Market!

Now I can put in more time on Celtic Banner by Butternut Road!

Whew! Another Close Call

Whoila the last dust bunny is finished, its now onto the lettering. I almost had to go "Ort Diving" again! I finished this last bunny with only 6 inches of the other colour of specialty fiber left! I would seriously recommend if you're stitching either of the new Dragon Dreams designs, "Dust Bunny" or "Dust Bunny Sanctuary" to keep a careful eye on your specialty floss use!

Karin asked me in her comments to my last entry if I do anything special with my orts. No, I don't I had thought about it in the past but never did anything. I've heard of some stitchers putting them into clear glass Christmas balls for their tree. I've heard of others using them to stuff ornaments.

Does anyone have any good Ort ideas to share?

Oh yeah I forgot to mention in my last entry, I'm quite excited! Yesterday I managed to get tickets for my Mum and I to see The Who when they come to town in September! September is going to be a stupid busy month for me, I think! I'm going to THREE big concerts! First, The Who, then Roger Waters of Pink Floyd (he's doing Dark Side of the Moon from start to finish in Montreal... Mum is also coming with me to this show!), and the month will wrap up with the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Christin and Chrisanne! What a fun time! I hope to have a smaller and better digital camera by then and hopefully I'll be able to get some descent pictures. I know I'm not close to the stage for any of these shows, but heck at least I'll be there!!!

Stitcher's Equivalent to Dumpster Diving!

What is the sticher's equivalent to "Dumpster Diving" well it would be ort jar diving!

Late last night (or early this morning some would qualify it) I was down to my second to last dust bunny on the Dragon Dreams model "Dustbunny Sanctuary". Every stitcher's nightmare happened last night! I ran out of one of my fibers and it was not something I keep in my stash. (The horror! The horror!)

So what is a girl to do? I went diving for orts! I emptied out the top layer of my ort jar (seen here) and pulled out any pieces of the specialty fiber I've been working with that was long enough for just a few stitches. I was lucky and found one nice long piece the rest were all about 2-2 1/2 inches long. In the end I found just enough floss to finish the last couple of rows on the bunny's feet. I have to apologize to Jennifer that those couple of rows aren't my best stitching (well you can't really tell) considering the little bits of fiber I was working with.

I guess I should of been more conservative while stitching but it was felt two cards of the fiber were going to be enough. I have to admit that I am not a floss miser, unless I know there is just enough or I might run out!

So I have now revealed to you my kind, and gentle blog reader my horrible secret and my ort jar! Its a nice big mason jar that I keep on the floor next to my stitching spot. I keep putting my orts in there as the year goes on, and I stuff it full until New Year's day when I empty it. It one of my little stitching rituals.

I'll be finishing up Dust Bunny Sanctuary today.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Another Sneak Preview!!!

Oh what fun this is! Jennifer of Dragon Dreams is letting me give you another SNEAK PREVIEW! This time of Dustbunny Sanctuary, which I'm not finished but I'm aiming for a Friday/Saturday Happy Dance. Here's a scan of one of the cuties living in the sanctuary!

Now its time for this week's SBQ...

Q : Since you started blogging, have you noticed any difference in your stitching habits? Tell us about them.

A : I don't think there's been any changes in my stitching habits since I started blogging. I've always been an addicted stitcher and I don't think that's really going to change. However I think my choices of what I want to stitch or things I have found I now like have been influenced by other bloggers.

Monday night Christin and I had a great time at Bluesfest! We saw Matt Mayes and El Torpedo followed by Sam Roberts. They both put on excellent high energy shows! Half way through Sam Roberts set the heavens opened and it rained! Part of the crowd left, but Christin and I stuck it out. Actually I think it made the evening more fun, what a blast it is dancing in the rain!

Tomorrow is technically Friday for me as I've taking Friday off from work. During the summer I'm allowed to work flex time where I work an extra 45 minutes a day for 9 days and I get the 10th day off. So I'm planning to sit here at home and finish that Dust Bunny Sanctuary!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

July Oranment

Whoila! There it is, as promised my July Ornament. Here's Elizabeth Designs Christmas Tree. Not a bad design, but I'm not too impressed with the beads as they go on in odd spots so you can't put them on by stitching an x. I attached them by going up and down the same hole in the fabric, so they tend to flop around instead of standing up like we normally want our beads to do. Oh well, I don't keep most of my ornaments anyhow!

Now off to start Dustbunny Sanctuary, a model for Dragon Dreams.

A Dust Bunny Is Born! Model HD

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you I'm actually letting you know what I'm stitching for Dragon Dreams. After Jennifer revealed in her July Newsletter (psst... there's a freebie there too!) what new designs were upcoming she gave me permission to tell you what designs I'm working on. I've finished the first of two designs tonight, Dust Bunny and let me tell you he/she is a cutie!!! I can see a lot of these being ordered at Charlotte. This design rings true for my life, I'd rather be stitching than cleaning! A special bonus for my blog readers only... here's a sneak peek of Dust Bunny! (I know I'm a total tease, but the whole design is for the shop owners to see first at Charlotte!)

So I'm going to take a quick one or two day break from model stitching and get my July ornament stitched up. This month's Ornament RR selection is Christmas Tree by Elizabeth's Designs from the 2005 JCS ornament issue. If tomorrow isn't a busy day I should be able to get it stitched up. Then it'll be back to model stitching and the Dust Bunny Sanctuary!

Its been a great weekend so far! Friday night was spent at the Ottawa Bluesfest where Christin, Chrisanne and I attended (along with approx. 20,000 other people) Great Big Sea (a Canadian East Coast Band). It was a great show, except for a couple of drunks we had to deal with who were quite out of control and had no clue that they almost took me and Christin out a couple of times with their jumping around and arm flailing! This afternoon Christin and I met up to go see Pirates of the Caribbean at the theaters. I don't go to the movies very often as I feel very strongly that a lot of the big movie theater companies have wayy outpriced themselves. Can you imagine paying $12.00 to see a movie or $9.00 for a matinee??? For me to go to the theaters it has to be something I really want to see. This week I've been to the movies twice! The rest of my day was spent with napping and stitching my two favorite past times!

Monday Christin and I will be back at Bluesfest to see Matt Mayes and El Torpedo followed by Sam Roberts.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Goals & SBQ

Gosh, I've realized that I haven't shared my goals for this month with you!

June Wrap Up

Stitch TWRR - Yup!
Stitch 1 Ornament - Yup!
Finish Montreal Sampler - Yup!
Work on celestial Dragon - Nope gone back to one project at a time
Work on Celtic Banner - Yup

July Goals
Stitch TWRR
Stitch 1 Ornament
Stitch 2 Dragon Dreams Models
Work on Celtic Banner

Now for the SBQ...
Q : What is the biggest mishap you have had with your stitching material(i.e. spillages)?

A : Fortunately I haven't had any big mishaps with my stitching. I've had some small oopsies. Like chocolate that was on my fingers getting on my fabric (common stitching mishap I think?). One time I was working in the staff room on a project during lunch and someone eating a blood orange was pulling the orange apart and of course the juice that squirts out... lands on my white fabric! Thank goodness for Ovrus all disasters were averted.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Back Home... and a Little Progress

Ahhh what a lovely weekend, with a couple of days away from home! I tell you I really needed this extra long weekend (5 days!) before I tackle my summer jobs at work.

In terms of stitching, Friday-Saturday I worked on my model, still coming along nicely. Sunday-Monday I was in Oshawa at my friend Marj's checking out her first home! I did stitch a wee bit but not much. Monday-Tuesday I visited with Ann, owner of Knowledge and Needles and we had a nice evening of stitching and chatting, I even made some visible progress on Celtic Banner (as you can see). There's something about Celtic Banner that I find incredibly peaceful to work on. I feel totally at peace and centered when I work on it. Have you ever had a paticular piece that makes you feel that way when you stitch on it? Tod
ay I'm back to the model stitching!

On Sunday night Marj and I went and saw Superman Returns. I have to give that movie two thumbs up! If you're a fan of the original Superman Trilogy you will enjoy this new one. The director did an awesome job making the movie feel like the original films with the same music and atmosphere. Well worth the money, I think I'll take Todd to see it.

Some new stuff in boom in my garden this week! My other clematis has just started to bloom and I'm going to have so many flowers this year! Also my Asian Lilly is blooming like crazy too!

Sooo tomorrow its back to the working world, gosh its wayy too long before I can retire and I don't think that's soon enough!!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day... and Happy 4th of July to my Southern neighbors.

Gosh when I'm model stitching I find there's not much I can blog about since so much of this blog is about my stitching. I have to say I'm getting close to the half way mark on my first of two models for Dragon Dreams. The specialty fiber in this design was a fiber I had tried in the past without any success. This time around I'm having no trouble working with it, and it makes up the majority of the design.

I can tell you I'm very relieved to have a 5-day weekend! I took Friday and Tuesday off from work and I think my poor body needs it! I've been very tired. Friday I found it necessary to take a nap with a migraine coming on. Today I attempted to nap but just couldn't quite settle down so I laid in bed and finished The Da Vinci Code. Lounging in bed reading is something I haven't done in ages and I found it just as restful as a nap.

Tomorrow I'm hitting the road, to check out Marj's new house!