More Black Belt Stitching Wizard Stuff

Thursday, June 30, 2005

No Mondo Mudslides For Dani :-(

Sniffle... Last night we went to Applebees (yay!). We had excellent food and excellent service. But to my horror, as soon as I ordered the Mondo Mudslide I had been looking forward to for ages we were told the blender WAS BROKEN!!! NOOOOOOO!

Even telling our waiter that I came all the way from Canada to eat at Applebees didn't get that blender going.

We suggested going to Wally World to get a blender. That didn't work.

The manager let us know it'll be back next week. NEXT WEEK!!! Its summer time a blender is essential in a eatery. This means no frozen margaritas, etc! Most girlie drinks require a blender. C'mon go to Wal Mart and buy one!

Sniffle. We're going to go to one in Knoxville tonight for desert and Mondo Mudslides! I will have that Mudslide before I go back to Canada

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Arrived Safe And Sound!& Stitching Bloggers Question

Oh My Gosh! I'm in a techno wonderland! Claire's fiancee is completely into computers. I'm sitting here in Chattanooga Tennessee there are three of us sitting here on laptops in Claire's living room. Todd and I are in heaven! We don't have high-speed internet in the boon-docks where we live. Nor do we have laptops!

The flight was uneventful. It was fun watching and listening to Todd as it was his first time on a plane, and he's 32 now. Also... my friend Christin says you can't take me anywhere without running into someone I know! Well it turns out there was someone I knew on my flight! One of the students from work. Yet another small world story to add to the collection!

Now onto the SBQ...

Q: When starting a new project, do you start in the middle? If you do, once you've worked down to the bottom, do you turn your chart and fabric around so that you are stitching the top section downwards again or do you just stitch upwards from the middle?

A : Once upon a time I was a center starter but now if I can I like to start my projects in the top left-hand corner. If there is an obvious border (like in TW deigns) I'll stitch that first before getting to the insides (or "meat" of the project). If not I tend to work my way down and to the right. I also like to stitch with one colour at a time using that as much as I can before switching to the next. I think its my OCD kicking in. I swear you have to have OCD to be a stitcher!
I'm Outta' Here!

Well its finally here my best friend Claire's wedding day. Actually its Friday but its down in Tennessee and I'm way up here in Canada. So I'm hopping on a plane today. If I have the time to get online while I'm down there I will and try to blog. I hope to come back with some lovely digi pics to share with you!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

For Carol : Celtic Band Sampler SAL Update

I've got to get to work but here's a quick piccy after working on this Sunday and Monday. I'll be taking this with me on my trip to work on since it doesn't involve as much supplies as Noah's Sub. I'm also almost out of the colour used for the letters (844?) so you might want to pick up an extra skein ladies!

Oh yeah, I also noticed... there are letters missnig to what I've stitched so far can you find them. Those poor letters why have they been abndoned? Were they not loved by the designer???

Monday, June 27, 2005

Tips on Increasing Stitching Speed

Thank you to Vincent for posting these on the TWBB! I felt these were great tips to share with other stitchers on the net. If you'd like to see some of the projects Vincent has stitched please visit his stitching pages!

These are only suggestions and not a must:

1. Keep the flosses short. I cut the blends in short 12 inches long (twice as long as the length of the skein thread). This speeds up pulling of thread. This also prevents the threads from getting worn out soon.

2. Develop chart-reading skill. Read the next symbols to stitch while stitching the last symbol. In other words, read symbols ahead your stitching. This will make your stitching speed in average rate. You will minimize pauses in stitching (caused by the longer time reading chart). I believe I develop this because when reading musical notations, you play or sing at the same time also reading ahead the next notes as preparation.

3. Use highlighters to mark your path. Know where the direction of same symbols go. Once you know the path, you can focus on other aspects of embroidery like speed, well-laid Xs, etc.Use as many as you need. I keep 5 colors, although I mainly use 2-3 at a time (yellow, blue and pink).

4. Stitch by hours, not by minutes. After a longer stitching time, you get focused on your stitching. This develops to a passionate stitching time with faster speed and even tension. Stitching in few minutes breaks the flow of passion and results to slow progress and uneven tensions in stitches.

5. Use scroll frames then use both hands in stitching. I use scroll frames. Because Teresa uses hundreds of blended/tweeded floss, I use a laying tool to lay both colors with my left hand. This prevents correcting and restitching if the flosses twist or are not laid properly. When backstitching, I don´t use a laying tool, so I backstitch with my left hand on top of the frame and the right hand pulling and poking the needle from under the scroll.

6. Organize symbols and flosses accordingly in groups or in order of your working direction. Before I knot the threads in my thread organizers, I write the symbols according to the order I will work (ex: from lower left to lower right, or with my TW PK, from Border, to Foreground grasses, to Lion, to Boy, to Lamb, to Trees), and not according to how Teresa listed them in the charts. This minimize the time spent looking for symbols because Teresa mixes the symbols.

7. Time organization. A. Pick the best time for you to stitch and stick to it. The best time for me is right after waking up. My sight is excellent after a whole night´s rest. So I make it a point that I stitch 1-2 hours in the morning daily. (I would not advise stitching at night when the eyes are already tired from the day´s work. That would strain the eyes and may lead to eye problems.)B. Limit your time surfing the internet. Keyword: DISCIPLINE. C. Either do your household & domestic duties first or stitch before you do them.

8. Get motivated. There are so many ways to get motivated. A. One is to keep others informed of your progress, like keeping an online album of WIP pictures or blogs. (It is not the goal to get others to respond to your posts; many are busy with their lives too.) Being inspired, enthusiastic up to the last stitch will maintain your stitching speed. B. Another motivation are your patterns collection themselves! Don´t we all want them finished in this lifetime? (I know, many would reply, "It´s enough that we have them all STARTED in this lifetime!" with all the UFOs they have: )

9. Make larger copies of the charts for better chart reading. Better chart reading = increase in speed.

10. Cut away parts of the chart copies that are already finished so they do not distract your sight and you can quickly focus on areas you still have to stitch.

11. Be flexible. in a way that you can easily get out of (and back to) your stitching workplace when called to eat or do something.

12. Develop skills that you find suit your personality. There are tips that will not work for you, of course. You might discover some tips in increasing speed while stitching that you can share with others. I would love to hear them. I have piles of patterns and I would love to finish half of them, if not all of them!

13. Thread needles as quick as you can. To thread quickly, I fold the threads not far from the ends, using the needle itself. Then press it with my fingers. This results to a stiffer, thinner and straight pair of threads ready for a quick and easy threading.

14. Stop Flipping your frames when starting and ending stitches by learning the Pinhole stitch! I will try to find a diagram. pls come back to check.Hope this inspires everyone! My favorite motivation is "I want to finish stitching all my favorite designs in this lifetime!"

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Framing Frenzy!!!

Its over! Yay! In the last 2-3 weeks I've framed 14 items! Today was my longest marathon yet. I spent 9 hours framing 6 school letters. They all look like this!

I'll be quite content not to have to touch my mat cutter, miter vice, saw or anything for a good couple of weeks! Once I'm done my dinner I'm going to go work on Celtic Band Sampler for the rest of the night!
Freebie SAL HD

Here it is like I said I would stitch it... the Tryout design for Mini mystery i from Chatelaine

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Freebie SAL Weekend!

Its the Freebie SAL over at the Needle And Thread BB! I'd love it if you could join us! There's a link over in my sideboard.

I'm stitching Mini Mystery i tryout. I know technically this isn't a freebie but its a bonus you get with the Chatelaine Mysteries and well I had all the materials out already!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Happy Dancing Again!

Last night I did treat myself to starting that Sweetheart Tree kit I got the other week! Well I've just finished it and its so cute! It was a nice stitch.

Here is Sunflower on Gingham c2004 Sweetheart Tree

Now for some real pretties, new flowers in bloom in my garden!

The clematis has started to bloom...

And so has my lilly

Now I'm going to do a bit more framing, its those school letters for Grads now... 6 of them then I'll get back to stitching and give Celtic Band Sampler a turn!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Chatelaine Happy Dance!!!

Well it felt like this mini mystery was longer than usual. But only because we got part 2 so early. Its been a week now since part 3 was released, and its finally done! I did find an hour or two to stitch amongst all the framing I did!

I think for the rest of the evening I will treat myself and start that Sweetheart Tree kit that I got a week ago!
Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week

Q: Are there any types of designs that you won't stitch?

A : Gosh this is one with an obvious answer ... anything I don't like! Actually I won't stitch anything with a poor cover photo on the chart until I see the piece in person. I think there are quite a few designers out there that need to put a little more money into photography and presentation. I don't like cutsie things. I once upon a time said I'd never do a sampler, wrong I'm working on Celtic Band Sampler right? I've also met the odd designer whose attitude towards others really bothered me, so that person won't be getting my money any time soon.

I like things that are well designed, eye catching, and make me want to buy it and stitch it.

Answering Karen's Question

Karen asked in my comments from my last post where did I learn how to do my framing? Just over two years ago now I registered for an evening interest course at my local college for picture framing. The course and instructor were fabulous. Were were taught everything on how to calculate how much molding you need, figuring out mats, colour, mounting and putting it all together. I mean they covered everything! It is a course that has paid for itself over and over! I really would like to invest in a better blade for my compound miter saw, and a professional level mat cutter. But those are someday things for now my tools are good enough. The initial investment is quite a bit, but it pays for itself after just a few pieces.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Framing Happy Dances

Why haven't I been stitching too much lately? Because I've been framing like a mad woman! So here are some of the framing jobs...

First, TW's Wedding Sampler as usual it looks best in person!

Next, five school letters. Four like this :

And one like this :
Darn it I'm not at home and I realized I forgot to upload the picture. I'll do that later so be sure to check back.

Finally, one watercolour paining :

I should have a stitching happy dance soon!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Things You See When Driving...

Today while out driving the backroads with my Mum I saw these two HUGE birds each sitting on a fence post. I mean HUGE as we got closer we could see they were Turkey Vultures, they have that ugly vulture-like head. Obviously there weren't a lot of warm air currents for them to soar with, they had a hard time getting up.

Friday, June 17, 2005

A Pain Free Day!!!!

Since the long weekend in May (Victoria Day weekend or the May two-four weekend) I have been experiencing quite bad lower back pain. It has seriously restricted what I have been doing and what I can do. After seeing a chiropractor I found out I had a bulging (slipped) disc in my lower back. I wasn't able to sit comfortably, go to Taekwon-Do, getting out of the car was quite an ordeal.

But today, I had my first pain free day in almost a month! I almost forgot what it was like to be able to do something and not worry about how much it was going to hurt! I'm especially surprised after the horrible shape I was in on Wednesday night, I could barely move!

So this weekend I have 6 pieces to frame. Five of them I'm just down to putting the frames together and assembling everything. The last piece I have to go and choose molding and mats for it which I I will do tomorrow.

This week we finally got the last part of Mini Mystery i from Chatelaine. This part seems to be the largest out of all of them and will take me a good couple of days to stitch. I'm looking forward to a Happy Dance. I'm also looking forward to starting Mini Mystery J and Midi Mystery 1 both by the same designer.

Oooh yeah I got some goodies in the mail this week, which I had ordered from an ONS. One skein of Gloriana Silk, the second I ordered is on backorder (this seems to always happen with this ONS and I don't know why I keep giving them second chances), a package of Mill Hill Beads, and I picked up a little Sweetheart Tree kit, Sunflower on Gingham. Boy its oh so tempting to start it. But I'm resisting... for now!

Sunday is Dragon Dreams SAL day over at Needle and Thread (link on the sidebar). I still haven't decided what I'm going to stitch!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week

Q : Do you feel the need to stitch a design from a specific designer just to say that you've experienced stitching one of their designs?

A : No. I stitch what I like. If you don't like it you will never finish it. I have stitched pieces as models/commissioned work and when you don't enjoy the piece it really is a horrible experience. If I like it I buy it and hope to someday stitch it!
Things You See When Driving

Tonight on my way home from work I saw a beaver corssing the road. I have come to the conclusion that beavers are just BIG rats with BIG flat tails. Urgh they're ugly!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Celtic Band Sampler SAL Progress

Well I think we're into week 6 or 7 now of this SAL? Which I'm doing with Katrina and Carol. I have to say these ladies are great to stitch with (in spirit, not in person unfortunately!). I finished my band from last week and got a small start on the next one before it got too late last night!

Last night before settling down to stitch I worked on my 10 framing jobs for about two hours. I now have all mats cut. The first 5 I've used foam core to raise up the mat from the backing to make a shadow box effect, I have 5 more to do. The I have to attach the school letters that I'm framing. The first 5 are due on the 21st.

Tonight was soccer night... we lost 2-0 again. Sigh, we did win last week (when I couldn't play... Coincidence?). I played my best with my sore back, I just wish I could play to my full capacity I'm sure it would be at least 30% better than I'm currently playing. Oh boy was it hot, 30c out and I was soaked by the time the game was over.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

I'm Kickin' Butt!!!!

On Noah's Sub oh yes I am! Yesterday I picked the sub back up, not looking forward to that sky. But somewhere, I found my groove! Yes! I'm out of 340 land and I've gotten a number of colours done in the sky. I think I've made significant progress this weekend!

Tomorrow night is my Celtic Band Sampler SAL night. I hope to be able to finish the band I stopped at last week and start the next one.

Also this weekend I've been framing, I have 10 school letters to get done this year. 5 for leaving staff, 5 for graduating students. I have all my pieces of mat board cut out. All the mats are cut for the leaving letters and I've got a start on the student letters. I should get all my cutting done tomorrow night then I'll start building them up as shadow boxes before I affix the letters and build the frames.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Ornament HD

Ahhh finally finishing something. I feel like I've had a stitching drought lately! I've not had much time to stitch, an hour here and there and when I do stitch, I don't feel overly motivated. I honestly don't think I'll get a full page of Noah's Sub done this month.

Why am I so busy??? Well its the usual end of the school year crap. Work is just insane! I have a gazillion framing jobs to get done. I'm playing soccer one night a week, trying to go to TKD one night a week (not done either of these in two weeks as I've been dealing with some back problems). I'd like to get some gardening done, but between time and the back that can be a challenge. Also my best friend's wedding is coming up faster than I'd like it to! Arrrgh! Stop the world I want to get off!

Anyhow, this ornament is another one from my round robin so as usual I please ask you to follow this link to see it.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Strange Things You See While Driving...

Tonight I saw a Mallard Duck just curled up sitting in the gravel on the side of a busy road! Go figure.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Finally Able to Garden!!!

After almost 3 weeks my back is pain free enough that I went out and gardened for about two hours tonight. And I took some piccies of my latest pretties for you too. I weeded some beds, planted some green beans and corn. If I'm lucky tomorrow I'll get out and get my sunflowers planted.

Tonight I'm working on my Christmas ornament from my RR.

Now on to the pretties ...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Celtic Band Sampler SAL : Week 6

Wow! I have to say I love working on this piece... now onto the piccy.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Sooo Dani, How's That Sub Coming Along?

Hmmm well its not been coming along as quickly as I'd like. I've gotten mired in the sky. Hopefully with tonight's break, stitching Celtic Band Sampler I'll be able to face Noah's Sub with a fresh outlook tomorrow.

Here's my latest progress pic.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Answering Kerry's Question

In yesterday's blog where I answered Lisa's question I was asked another question this time by Kerry. Since you can't reply via e-mail to comments that blogger sends you to your e-mail account I figured this is the best forum to answer these questions.

Kerry wanted to know what fabric I'm stitching Celtic Band Sampler on. Initially I wanted to stitch it on Queen Ann's Lace from Wichelt's hand dyed Joblean line. However I didn't have a piece big enough on hand. So I went thru my stash. To my surprise African Daisy from the same Joblean (28ct) line from Wichelt turned out to be perfect! So Kerry, there's your answer : African Daisy 28ct Joblean from Wichelt.

This is the second project I've used one of the Jobleans from Wichelt's Hand Dyed line and I have to say they're fantastic fabrics with subtle mottling which is what I like form a hand dyed fabric, not these harsh splotchy fabrics that area available on the market. Now don't get me wrong these fabrics have their places, and the perfect designs for them too. Also it all comes down to personal taste.

Tonight Noah's Sub has just a little more sky, I've been stitching with 340 for two evenings now.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Stitching Blogger's Question of The Week and Answering a Question from Comments

First I'll start with the SBQ...

Q : What do you like *least* about cross stitching?

A : Hmmm this is something I really have to think about. There's nothing I hate about cross stitching I have to say, there are things that bug me or irk me. Such as : never having enough stitching time. Running out of thread when you only have 3 stitches left. Frogging. Not being able to afford all the projects I'd like to do (those gorgeous Chatelaine kits in all silk!). Kits with cheap, crappy floss and fabric. That stitching shows (CATS, CSNF) are always in the fall when I can't take time off of work. I'm sure I've missed some things but this is what comes to mind.

Now, on May 30th Lisa asked me in my comments section if I'm planning on "antiquing" Celtic Band Sampler as the designer suggests in the instructions. Oh goodness no! I can't imagine dunking a project in tea, smearing coffee grains on it and so on. The idea is just terrifying! That's the reason I went with a hand dyed fabric, to give it that old feeling.

Last night I had my first soccer game. We lost 2-0 sigh. Honestly I shouldn't of played at all I've just made my back worse which was getting better after a week and a half. I also would of played better if I didn't have back trouble at the moment. Big sigh. I feel useless right now.

Well I should get all this online stuff done and over with so that I can get back to Noah's Sub!