Friday, August 21, 2020

Holly Beads have returned................

 I was thrilled when I got to work and was informed that the Holly beads had come back in as I had two of the Secret Santa ornaments waiting for finishing.  So I got busy and got the next two Santa's done.  Holly Santa and Deer Santa now join the pack of finished Santas.  Two more to go and I'll have caught up.  Can't wait...

I can't seem to get away from the Turkey Work beards, however, Deer Santa's does incorporate grey and I've made the beard longer by not trimming it so much.  I deed pull out the red beads to use on the garland on Deer Santa but then decided to make a Smyrna Stitch with metallic braid on the Holly Santa.  Again I satin stitched a nose on the Deer Santa and I made eyes on the deer using 1 over 1.  After finishing so many of these banner pieces I have to admit I don't dread the finishing like I do most finishing and cording has become easier as well.  On the Hands-on Design website Cathy has a tutorial on finishing for anyone that needs it., that is very helpful.  
 I worked with our Kathy and she was working on the Celebrate Summer tray from Madame Chantilly,

Celebrate Summer - Cross Stitch Pattern

  another favorite designer of mine.  Kathie stitched  Celebrate the 4th of July earlier and it was so cute.  She then mentioned they also had a Halloween tray, a Christmas tray, and an Easter tray.  So. of course,. I've pulled them out and now I want to get at least Halloween and Christmas done before each holiday takes place.  So my stitching lineup changes once again.  I love Halloween stitching, although I'm currently working on Hands-on Design Boo Banner, I'm going to have to start stitching faster because I really want to get this one done as well.  

Celebrate Halloween Cross Stitch Pattern| Madame Chantilly

I've already started Christmas stitching with the Secret Santa banner so I have plenty of time to add this project to my line-up.  I'm still trying to decide on fabric count.  But I have time to mull that over as well.  

And the Easter Celebration will be in the line up for 2021.  This series would be great for displays because you could create a finish where you just flip them out using the same frame.  
 I finally decided I had to make a move on finishing the Blackbird Design out of their Sewing Club booklet called "My Home Scissor Box."  It's been stitched for a couple of weeks, but it was the painting of the box that stopped me from finishing.  Didn't have the paint they listed so I decided to come up with a plan using what I had.  At first, I was going to do the box a blue, but as I surveyed my options in the house I saw a few issues for me, so then I thought about trying to match the color of the urn holding the flowers.  I had a golden color that was too bright but I had a couple of browns, so in the end, I combined the Gold with Khaki and I think it turned out just fine.  Of course, I also considered Black which is usually my go-to because everything pops, but wanted to step out of my usual box and try something different.  Then I needed something to wrap around the design.  I had a Storm Blue Ric  Rac by Lady Dot that matched pretty good, but just in case I also made a blue cording.  While I liked both, the ric rac won my overall vote.  Before I go any further I should add here that in the book, this is done over 1 on 28 ct. Veldt PTP linen.  But when I asked for the box, Sara handed me the box you see here.  This is actually used for the Ripe Pear scissor box in " the same book and it measures 4" x 6 1/2".  The matchbox design calls for a box that measures 4" x 2 1/2".  So while it took me a couple of minutes to realize this wouldn't work for me on 28 ct., even if I did it over 2, I switched to 32 ct. over 2 and used PTP Doubloon, and it fits perfectly. I did have to make a change because the date of 2020 too up more space than 2019 and it came too close to the motifs that were there, so I put my initials in the spaces and moved one of the motifs where the initial was suppose to be.  And now it can hold a whole lot more than just the scissors, like a needlebook, scissor and fob, and a small pin cushion.  That's always a good thing, right?

So now it's back to the Secret Santa Series and the Boo Banner Series.  But I've got plenty more in the lineup so I should be busy for several months.  
I hope you are all well, getting lots of stitching done and I hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

And then there were two!...........


Yes,  another Secret Santa is done.  "Naughty or Nice" has now been stitched and finished and I'm moving on to #3 later on today.  I'd say my stitching mojo is back and I couldn't be more thrilled.  It is really aggravating to think of the wasted time when I could have been stitching....but that's all behind me now so I'll move on.  There were a few changes with this Santa...the most noticeable one would have to be the missing packages that should be around Santa's head.  I make a last-minute decision to leave them out as this Santa has a huge presence in my mind and the presents were distracting me.  I also made a couple of color changes, for the gloves...I didn't have the green metallic that Cathy called for and I looked up a variety of Santa's and there were 4 colors used for the gloves, red, white or black, or flesh-colored.  With the beard, you wouldn't notice white gloves, and with his red jacket,,  you wouldn't notice red gloves.   I needed contrast so black ended up the color.  I changed the color of his buckle from WDW Curry simply because in the first Santa Cathy used metallic gold and so I used it.    As with the first Santa, I used a triangle of color a little darker than the face shade, to make a nose and the cheeks.  Because I couldn't use my usual embellishments to enhance this piece I had to go with different stitches to bring dimension to it.  So I Satin Stitched the border of his jacket as well as his  hat band.  I made a mustache which I then attached to his face and used Turkey Work to create the beard.  As I was patting myself on my back after gluing the front to the back I realized I hadn't put a hanger on it nor had I attached the beads...Yikes!  With the glue already dry enough  I didn't want to take a chance on pulling the backing off.  Finally, I came up with a plan and I was able to get the beads on, (thank God I hadn't done the cording yet so that I could hide the red thread) but the red ribbon hanger was just attached to the back which is covered in red scrapbook paper so it's not a glaring mistake, but aggravating.  Lesson learned hopefully.  Now on to the next one.  Happy stitching folks.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Still here and wearing the mask!

I've started this blog several times over the last several weeks, talking about our struggles with the shop and the hotel during this crisis, the I'd revise the blog,  a few days later revised it again and have kept that up about every week and today I finally erased it and I'm starting again.  While we are struggling with very few employees, etc., by cutting our hours to one shift it's helped us keep our sanity in the shops.  Every time Sara would try to figure out how we could run a second shift I said, no.  I'm 72 and while I can manage 1 shift I wasn't going back to doing 2, which ended when I was in my 50's.   Mary keeping the hotel 30% occupied helps since we don't have enough of a crew to clean it when its 100 %,  it so we are only renting what our crew can clean efficiently, so we're open, but it is definitely not our usual summer.  I try not to focus on the money aspic and just focus on what we can do. and tell the girls, "at least we got opened, as this could have been a total disaster if we hadn't opened at all."  I thank God every day for my cup being half full, although sometimes there are a few tears before I pull my big girl pants up and readjust my thinking. Knowing we are not alone also for some reason helps.  At least it wasn't something I did, I guess.  Anyway, we got a sign on all doors that masks are required and you must sanitize your hands upon entering at our sanitizer station.   I'm thrilled to say we have had complete cooperation from 99% of the people coming in.  Of course, a couple of people have come in and whined they don't have a mask, or don't want to wear one because it's not comfortable, and to each, we've said, "Sorry, without the mask you may not come in."  No one has thrown a fit, yes a few choice words about me have come out of their mouth, but I have selective hearing so I choose not to listen and then I tell Sara all about it.  It's provided us with entertainment.  But for those who have been in, we so appreciate your wearing your mask so we don't have to remind you.  It's for all our sakes, in my opinion,, and secondly, what do you have to lose.  Better to wear it and not need it, than getting COVID-19 and wish you had worn it.  So now you are caught up, almost.   I have had a problem finding my stitching muse.  She seems to have left town and I've been struggling to even pick up a needle and frankly have gone weeks without doing stitching.  It has about driven me crazy, but I just can't seem to get my stitch on.  However, I may be turning the corner on that as yesterday with great determination I sat down, turned T.V. on, and got out a project which I had started determined to finish it.  Then today, I decided to do the finishing on the Token of Love by Brenda Gervais, which has been done since June but waiting for me to do something,  and while it wasn't finished as I intended to do it, it's finished.  

Although I wanted to make smalls to put in the drawers,  I haven't done that yet, but that shouldn't take long once I get stitching again since I'm taking a couple of small motifs from the original design and making a fob, needle case and perhaps a pin cushion.  With the wooden chest, I had Vernon paint it black inside and out.   I had problems matching the blue in the pattern to anything to line the drawers and finally found Dove (Weeks Wool) to be close enough.  I covered the bottom of the drawers with no problem, but the sides just looked too bulky, but since I loved the blue on the bottom of the drawers I stopped with that and called it done.  I was going to paint the knobs on the drawers to match as well but finally gave up trying to match that blue with anything I had on hand.  Sometimes you just have to know when it's over!  Then I started the finishing of the Secret Santa by Hands on Design.  I started the series with Merry & Bright for some reason.  Sara picked out PTP Mint which very closely resembles the fabric it is shown on, and I used the fibers suggested.  I usually try to use embellishments to give the piece dimension, but I struggled with that.  In the end, I used satin stitch for his mustache and I used turkey work for his beard.  Oh, and I molded his nose by satin stitching a long triangle instead of a black outline which actually gave his face some dimension and I put in three stitches of red for his mouth between his mustache and his beard.  You can barely see it for the turkey work beard but that was on purpose.  I wanted his mouth to peek out not stand out.  I just realized I didn't put the bell at the end of his hat, apparently, I was going to make that dimensional and forgot.  Oops!  Anyway, to hang the ornament I used a simple 1/16" red ribbon.  And used DMC #5 pearl cotton #504 to make cording.  For the backing, I used scrapbooking Christmas paper.  Makes for an easier finish and I like the way it looks.  

 All in all, I love Cathy's banners and am looking forward to the 2020 Halloween banner.  My problem with this series is I'm a traditionalist and can't get beyond the color of the linen which is "so not Christmas."  So I'm a work in progress on this, I'm now on my 2nd Secret Santa and will be completing the entire series on mint.  By the time I get done I'm sure I'll love it.  And these stitched banners look fabulous when hung.  Well I know you stitchers have been productive because I check every day.  You give me inspiration and have helped move me towards my stitching spot.  So thank you and keep up the good work.  Stay safe, stay home if you can, and always wear the mask when you are out and about or in stores.  Thank you!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Finally Spring Quilt Tree is finished.

My day at work a few days ago started out a little rocky as a woman who wasn't wearing a mask came in and didn't want to wear the required mask and proceeded to get snarky with me when I informed her masks are required by the state and locally while you are in shops.  I was so exasperrated with this woman that I couldn't let her snarky comments go.  To me a rule is a rule.  If masks are required somewhere put the mask on.  I don't care if you have been tested (first it's your word you weren't tested in front of me.)  I don't care that you are tired of wearing them because so am I but I do it because I care enough about other people and the law.  She finally put it on, well not exactly it hung around her neck.  So again I said, you have to wear it properly covering your mouth and your nose.  So of course she said something snarky and pulled it up.  While part of me just wanted to let it go, I just couldn't.  I then said, if you don't wear the mask you must leave the shop.  She left wearing the mask.  Not 5 minutes later Patty Yergey walked in with charts.  At that point, thanks to Patty, my world returned to sanity.  It was so nice to see Patty again.  I miss the connection with other stitchers.  I have seen Judy and Kathy but I need others as well.  So my day got better than at 10 a.m. so now I can tell you about a finish.  Liz Mathews Summer Quilt Tree is now done and finished.  I watched her YouTube with instructions on assembling this piece and while I was leery of working with styrofoam I decided to give it a try.  It sounds so simple.  You make a slipcover of the stitched piece and slide it over the styrofoam tree you cut out.  The only styrofoam we had on hand was from appliance packaging.  Vernon brought me a big sheet of 1/2" styrofoam.  Liz said to cut it outside because it's messy and she was not exaggerating that.  I sat on my porch so I could contain the mess and it wouldn't blow all over the street. but that wasn't the hard part.  I had a proper utility knife as I stole it from Vernon when he was up here putting my new bathroom in.  (I felt guilty about doing it and ended up confessing to him-apparently I paid for it anyway through the hotel).  Moving on...I cut two trees out using a pattern I made from the stitched piece.  I then used double stick tape to glue them together so the insert would be at least 1".  While I believe Liz said to use 1 1/2" I decided to bring it down to 1".    But the tricky and really worse part of the job was shaping the sides so that they are tapered on the sides.  Because it was iffy and the styrofoam doesn't let you just shave the sides it was a pain in the butt.  I did the best job I could but was not thrilled with the result as it was uneven you can't get it to shave down properly.  I decided to cover the form with Warm and Natural and even that became a pain.  But I finally got it done and had it pinned in place and then sewed the linen and the backing together to make a slipcover.  First try-on allowed me to get perspective.  So I took it off and seamed it again as it was too big.  I seamed it a third time and then the top looked wrong so I rounded it instead of making it into a point.  Well that didn't look right so I went back to a point but a more tapered one.  Then one final taper seam on the side and I was closing in on the final look.  But with all the tapering the tree form was too large so I had to take all the warm and natural off to cut it down.  So once I got the warm and natural back on the form and the piece slipped back on I was satisfied with the finish was like looking at a girl who is wearing Daisy duke shorts.  You end up seeing a hint of ass cheek where if she had just not cut the extra inch off it would be short but nothing would show.  Well, I was certain if I looked closely I could see the ass cheek of the tree.  Liz used Spanish Moss under her model, but I  didn't have any and wasn't sure if I wanted that.  So I settled om Lady Dot Storm Blue which is a little darker than the Dove shown on the piece, but I didn't mind that and I think it's the perfect thing to use around the edge of the bottom.  I then put pearl cotton, 932 DMC around the spool which comes close to the color of the rick rack and I'm now O.K. with the finish.  When I get into Hobby Lobby or Michael's I'm going to try to find a paint that will match the Pearl cotton and paint the edge of the bottom of the stand. and the spool ends.  But for now, it's going into the shop and I'm moving on.  But I'm going to do more of these trees and make them various heights for a display.  Love the trees LizMathews...thanks and I see where she's got 2 more about to hit the market.  Yippee, I say.  

I also want to thank everyone who sent me Happy Birthday wishes.  I had a lovely day and it ended with the entire family sitting down to dinner at the hotel.  Lovely, especially during these times when families aren't able to get together due to the virus.  We even had Michael and his girlfriend, Liz join us so it was a very festive ending to a wonderful day.  I do want to share a few stitchy gifts I received....first from Sara who rarely has time to stitch due to lack of assistance in the shops but she managed to give me this lovely pouch she made and the pocket watch with a rose insert.
She worked so hard to get it finished and get everything perfect right down to the 2 tassels on the cord.  I couldn't be more thrilled.  Wonderful gift.  Thank you Sara, it is perfection.  And then the cherry on the sundae was a gift from Stasi Buhrman which was a wonderful surprise and a fabulous gift, or should I say gifts:
This fabulous bag, blue my favorite color, is stitched on both sides and it's big so all my stitching and little bags holding needles, glasses, etc., can fit in it so I can use it to tote my stitching in.  And to add to the surprise, Stasi included a Peeps treat...
So cute with the 4 peeps and the fabric filled with peeps which Stasi purchased when we were in Nashville so it's a remembrance of our Nashville market days as well.  Can't thank you enough Stasi, I love my gifts and will treasure them always.  I also love the little tag on the back.  She and Debbie are the ones that got me to start tagging the back of my pillows.  We learn from each other, and I learn new things all the time even though I've been a needleworker since I was nine, 61 years.  You would think I knew it all by now, but I don't.  Never to late to learn though.  Anyway, it's Saturday today, I'm at home working with windows open because we have a lovely breeze and temperature is in the low 70's.  A great day.  I know states are all easing out of the pandemic restrictions, but please, be thoughtful of others and wear a mask inside at least.  It won't kill us to do that, and it might kill someone else if we don't.  We are not home free yet, but if we are careful we could get there.  Hope everyone can put a few stitches in their project today.  Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Getting ready for Flag Day.....

Love patriotic stitching as it can be used for many different occasions....Memorial Day, FLag Day, 4th of July, Labor Day.. I finished my Brenda Gervais, Souvenir of the Heart's Star Spangled Spectacular and then West Side Frames made my favorite patriotic frame to finish it.  Love it.  The pattern called for over 1 on 28 ct. and of course, I completed missed that and began stitching over 2 on 28 ct. and by the time I realized something was off (it was too big to be a pincushion) I was too far along to rip out and begin again, so I just finished it as an over 2 stitch.  I also decided to do no embellishment on this, which we all know is strange for me since I love adding those little twists to my stitching.  I did do Smyrna Crosses in the bottom 3 motifs as it was killing me not to do something different.  This was a fun stitch and an easy stitch no matter whether it's done over 1 or over 2.  A great addition to your patriotic display.  Finished design size over 2 is approximately 5" x 6 1/4".  

As I said in an earlier post, I am currently working on a couple of other designs, so when I finished the Souvenir piece I should have gone back to one of those and worked on it, and that was my intention, however, the 3 drawer chest is sitting in my dining room reminding me I haven't done Token of Love by With Thy Needle & Thread, so of course I pulled it out and started it.  Again an over 1 piece, and I did read through the directions so I did start it on 28 ct. and stitching over 1 and it's coming along nicely.  
While the Token of Love is usually referring to partners, husbands, whatever...mine will have the initials of my 2 daughters, Sara and Mary, and their year of birth.   Well, now you know what's happening in my world.  And I've seen what several of you are working on as you share on Facebook and Instagram.  So keep it up, stitchers.  You inspire me and others every day with the beauty of your finishes.  Stay safe and mask won't kill you and if you don't wear a mask while in stores or crowds that may kill you, or perhaps someone else.    It's a small price to pay to stay safe.  

Monday, June 1, 2020

Coming to America-Women of the Mayflower

Things are slowly returning as we begin to open.  Salty Yarns has now been open full time for a little over a week and it's so wonderful to see our stitchers once again.  While mail-order was a blessing for us during the shutdown, we missed seeing you in the store.  So we really are so grateful to be open once again, and we want to thank everyone who took the time to order from was a blessing for us and we are so grateful.  Thank you so very much.   We are still only running the one shift, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and I'm not sure when that is going to change since many of our employees, both in the shops and the hotel, are still overseas with no word on whether they will be able to come to this country or not this year.  Hopefully, this will change as we move from one phase to another in this country, but in the meantime, we're just grateful to be open if even for one shift.  The big news right now is the introduction of the long-awaited Coming to America-Women of the Mayflower Sampler from Brenda Gervais.  Official registration for this sampler kit begins June 1st and lasts until June 15th.  There will be no other signup dates,  so mark your calendars now!  The sampler will be shipped and launched to start on September 6th and will last until November 9, 2020, for 66 days of stitching, commemorating the 66-day journey of the 18 married women aboard the Mayflower.  2020 is the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's landing in Cape Cod.  The kit includes the following: (1) Chart for the Sampler, stitch count is 125 x 422. (2) Self-adhesive sampler label to sign and date the finished sampler (3) Pilgrim Lady Needle Minder (4) Piece of cotton backing fabric.  The fabric is a reproduction of Mayflower passenger, William Bradford's handwritten journal, and was designed specifically for this project (5) Custom printed box to house the items.  This also doubles as a project box to keep all the goodies safe & secure while stitching the sampler. (6) Free bonus chart. The cost of this kit is $35.00 however it does not include the linen or the fibers to stitch the design.  We have the following options for those:

The model was stitched on 40ct. Vintage Country Mocha:
        Fabric-$16.00 (cut 12 x 27)
        Threads- $31.50 (includes 10 overdyed and 10 DMC)

36ct. Vintage Country Mocha:
        Fabric-$19.00 (cut 13 x 30)
        Threads-$32.15 (includes 10 overdyed and 11 DMC)

32ct. Vintage Country Mocha:
        Fabric-$23.00 (cut 14 x 33)
        Threads-$43.45 (includes 14 overdyed and 13 DMC)

Stitchers, please understand that the costs could adjust slightly as we are still waiting for Brenda's final announcement.  Please let me know what you decide by June 8!  

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Opening full time is but 2 days away.....excitement mounts

I had to go to the office yesterday as Mary was having difficulty with a report, and while there I stopped in the shops to see what the plans are for Friday's opening.  John has put into place plexiglass shields at the front counters as you will see in many shops, restaurants, hotels as they start to re-open.  John made a stand for the front as you come in the door of Salty Yarns, which holds the sanitizer which is now required upon entering the store, signs in the window stating masks and sanitizer is a requirement and we are armed with sanitizer sprays for the constant wiping down we will have to do.  We have multiple pens ready and containers ready so when a pen is used it must go into it's own container and be sanitized before it can be used again.  Sara wants to have only 4 people at a time because she's unsure about the social distancing thing.  She was cutting fabric and without realizing people were getting really bunched together at the fabric table.  Because both shops are connected I've suggested we open only one door so we control the flow, but this is definitely a work in progress.    Mary has been so proactive she not only had the signs made, but she also had distancing markers made.  But if you've been in our shop you realize that we barely have the room, but we're looking into how we can utilize them.  Mary, of course, in the hotel won't have that problem, but so many more problems than we will have in the shops I'm grateful I'm only involved in the shops.  However, Friday is the day...we will be back in business however we are limiting customers in at any one time.  Mary noticed the Paradise Plaza, which opened last weekend is running full...apparently they are not concerned with social distancing but we're not filling up the hotel at any time this summer, or until things are more settled and the pandemic is handled.  But I'm sure we will have issues coming up daily as we get used to life now, so please bear with us.  I  got the 2nd piece done for the galvanized tin, the Quilting Bird by Hands on Design.  So it's now in place which means no matter how you look at the tote you will see stitching and supplies readily available.
As you can see I have not only added the Quilting Bird, but also the Salty Yarns needle nanny provided by Shiela Fitzhugh (thanks Shiela) as well as a pair of scissors to what was the back side of the tote last week.  But now you don't know which side is front and which side is back.   As I come across ...goodies I will be adding them with magnets so eventually, everything will be near when I need them.  My chart and q-snap can be inside the tote along with anything else that can't be attached by magnets.  Of course, once Quilting Birds was finished that meant I could start something new.  Because Memorial Weekend is upon us, and such a Patriotic occasion, I picked Brenda Gervais, Souvenirs of the Heart-Star Spangled Spectacular.   I love  Patriotic pieces, in fact, have a hallway wall at home that is dedicated to Patriotic stitching so this will definitely have a home there, once I get to take it home.  I was so anxious to start this I missed an important instruction, it's over 1 thread on 28 ct. and I started stitching it over 2 threads.  As it grew the first night I kept thinking it seemed a little large for a pincushion, but plowed on, until close to midnight when I again questioned the size.   Then I read the pattern and of course found the problem.   It only took me a minute to decide to carry on as I had gone too far.  And as most of you already know I really don't care about size on most things and switch fabric sizes from what the chart shows often.  While I normally don't show my work until it's finished, I'm breaking out of the box and showing you some...

 Pardon the wrinkles and the parked threads, but I think you can see what's going on.   I have definitely had issues of my own making.  I'll be honest, my eyes are having problems seeing some of the differences in codes and colors.  Of course, I knew the vines were going to be green so I used the Pine Needles but looking at the graph I didn't realize there was a change for the leaves so I kept right on stitching.  You can see it on the right.  I began to wonder why there were 2 greens on my ring so I checked the chart closely under the daylight and of course realized the vine was one color and the leaves another.  I just couldn't stand tearing out at that point so I moved to the other side.  There you can see the difference in the 2 greens.  You can also see this is going to be twice the size since it's over 2, (suppose to be a little over 2" x a little over 3".)  But that's O.K. with me because it's a cute design and I'll figure out a different finish with little or no problem.  I told you before I had started "For the Parlor" by Shakespeare Peddler.  Well, it was put on the back burner to finish the Quaker Bird and Souvenirs of the Heart but I'm going to get back to it as soon as I'm finished this.  However, it will be an ongoing project as there are 8 parts.  I'm working it on banding...again please excuse the wrinkles.
I just have to finish the two borders on the side and the first section will be history....yeah!
And then there is one more that I'm working on and have been very periodically but now will start working on it more often to hopefully have it done by July 4th...
Not quite 1/2 done on this one.  It' the Heritage Sampler from Plum Street Samplers.  I started this last June but quit working on it after July 4th to work on fall projects.  Brought it back out last month and started working on the pumpkin patch but will put more time on this now to get it finished in time.  I love Plum Street Sampler pieces and have the sister chart to this already in my todo bag so I really do need to speed up my stitching to get all of this completed.  Having so much fun with all that I've got going on, I just need to stay awake longer.  I felt a cold coming on last Saturday so I took some NyQuil and rested a little too much.  That stuff is like a sleeping pill for me.  I slept through the night woke up on Sunday feeling just a bit better so spent the day sleeping with the t.v. on and finally on Monday was over it, but I lost 2 days to sleep.  Trying to make up for that by staying up longer but that backfired when I tried to go to sleep Monday, couldn't get to sleep so finally stopped trying at up started stitching and at 5:30 started working on the computer and didn't take a nap until noon.  So my sleeping is so screwed up time-wise.  But last night went to bed around 2 because I didn't want to put my stitching down and woke up at 7:45 just in time to get to Walmart to pick up my groceries.  Whew, too much sleep.  I still say if you can, stay home.  But if you can not please wear a mask and gloves to stay as safe as possible.  No one looks great in a mask and gloves, but it's better than taking a chance.  Will keep in touch.  Keep your needles moving.  Love seeing your projects on social media.  Keep it up....

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Reopening-May 22nd with Covid-19 rules in place....

Decisions have been made and now we have to figure out how to do that, putting into place a safe work environment and making it safe for our customers.  While the Mayor and Governor have declared things can open, including retail stores, this weekend, we will be closed for another week as we try to figure out how to implement the safety measures.  We are gloved and masked so we are ready, but it's figuring out the rest of it.  We can have 50% capacity....I'm not really sure how many that is.  6 feet between each customer, etc.  So it comes down to this...we may have to restrict how many come in at one time, but I'm afraid we are going to have to count on you, our customers, to keep the social distance to 6 feet.  The rockers will be out front so you can sit if you have to wait, but oh, my I'm too old for this.  Anyway, the news that I'll be back at work next week is O.K. as I can't complain after having been off since March 14th, but now I'm back to full time I think...oh, my have I mentioned I'm going to be 72 next month.  Is there a law I can't work?  I say let's implement that one.  No, I'm just kidding.  The only thing that gets a work out when I'm in Sea Trader is my mouth because I rarely get out of the chair, although since I'll be constantly sanitizing the shelves, etc., I may get quite a work out now.  Now that I have a goal of next Friday I've been working on the finishes and today I have another one.  Well, it's halfway done.  
The design is from a  Heart in Hand Wee One series and it's called Stitching Bird.  I got the galvanized tote it's shown on from Hobby Lobby.  I decided to attach it using magnets on the stitched piece and that way I can change it if I want to later.  After attaching it I thought it looked a little bare so I had the needle holder on a metal cart beside my stitching place so I added it above the bird and the fact that it shows a tomato pincushion was perfect, and then I started thinking about the things I would need while stitching and so I put a magnet next to the stitched piece and put my scissors on it, I took my threads which I already had on a metal 2" ring and attached that ring to the handle.   I'm sure before this makes it to the shop I will be adding things as I find them.  And with everything attached using magnets it's so easy.  And I stuck the piece I'm working on in there so now everything I need to stitch this piece is in this tote.    So easy to find when I need it.  This tote would be an excellent place to put all the needle nannies you collect.   Plenty of space here.  Anyway, I said it was 1/2 done because I'm in the process of stitching Quilting Bird which will be put on the opposite side so it won't matter which side you display.  You could do seasonal displays this way and if you attach using magnets you can easily move things on and off.  The Stitching Bird design is stitched on 32 ct. Ant. White linen using Classic Colorworks, Weeks Dye Works, and Gentle Art fibers.  The only thing I changed is the spool you see on the design that's really a micro spool which I added thread to and it replaced the called for JABCO button because I didn't have the button home and didn't want to go down to the shop to get one.   I added a real needle to his beak, just because I didn't feel like stitching the one on the chart and added tiny pins to the pincushion because I like real next to the stitched and I had them.  It's a fast stitch too, which you know I love and need at times.  Yesterday I finished the Brenda Gervais "Project Quarantine-Stay Home and Stitch.  After I finished the stitching I first thought about framing it because I stitched it on 32 instead of 36 and thought it was a tad too large for a pincushion.  But after studying it for about 1/2 hr., I came to the conclusion it could be a drum.  I talked to Sara to get her thoughts and she agreed so a drum was born.  I used Weeks Dye Works wool for the top and bottom.  The drum was stitched using 32 ct. linen and the suggested threads.  It was also a fun stitch.  It didn't have much that I could embellish but I did put a real tapestry needle in place of the stitched one which has a loose thread in it, in the hand of the stitcher on the right hand side.  On the pincushions, I also used real pins.  
And that is going to be my stitched piece to remind me what we've been going through for the last
 3 months.  I have another finish to do tomorrow and I love the piece but the finishing I'm not so sure about.  In any event, I'm done work for the day so I'll end this and again please stay safe and if you can stay home.    And those who can't perhaps we will see you next weekend.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Finally finishing has begun

I'm happy to report that I finally got around to finishing something.  Honestly, I've about driven myself crazy with my lack of discipline that has come with the pandemic.  Before I was finishing each project as soon as I was done stitching, at least for the past year.    However, one of the projects I finished yesterday was from 2015 ... oops, but in my defense, I was having a terrible time understanding the directions.  Now the directions were very clear, typed out and any normal person could have put this together in a minute, I'm sure,  but I was not there.  Which is why I kept putting it back in the finishing tote unfinished.  But circumstances made me have to do it yesterday.  Sara's birthday was yesterday, May 12th.  I got notice that the items I ordered for her about 10 days ago, which would have been here in plenty of time prior to the Pandemic, would not be arriving until May 13.    At first, I panicked just a tad, it's not like I could go shopping,  So I thought I should finish a piece of stitching and make it her birthday gift and I could give her the things I purchased when they arrive.  Plus I had a couple of things I was saving for a goodie bag for her so at least she'd have something to open.  First let me say that I loved this project, in fact, Sara originally saw it being offered by a group, could have been Shining Needle, and asked me if I would like to have it.  I took one look and said, OMG yes!  I loved it from the start, loved stitching it and the bargello heart is a favorite of mine of all time.  The project is called Sweet Heart of Mine by Barbara Jackson.
This was such a wonderful stitch and I enjoyed everything about the design.  My finishing experience was of my own making.  Barbara's directions were clear, but for some reason, I was blocked from getting it.  So in the end, I had to just finish it the way I normally finish things and I'm pleased with the outcome.  FYI, the original version has the scissor sheath finished differently and while I was on the road to doing it separately, just like the needle book which is done as instructed, I liked it attached so changed that part of the finish.  The needlebook, etui were done as close to Barbara's instructions as I could personally understand.  In any event, done and gifted.  Because I was set up for finishing, I decided to finish Erica Michael's Needle Berry as well.  I have fallen in love with her berry designs and have a stack of them lined up to stitch.  I chose the Silk Berry patterns but instead of using the silk gauze, included with the pattern,  I stitch over one on linen.  I usually use 32 ct. linen as it's easier for me to see.  I would love to be able to stitch on 36 ct. over one, but that became too arduous for me so I backed it down to 32 and love that as well.  I choose the silk pattern charts because they are packed with more detail than the linen charts.    I didn't realize that at first until Stasi Buhrman and I both did the Scary berry last year.  Stasi did the silk version and when she brought it to me to see I was amazed at the amount of detail which mine did not have.  So now I always stitch the silk design on linen.  I stitched using the colors listed and love it.  
Today I move on to another finish, the Quarantine Project by Brenda Gervais.  I loved this the minute I saw it and thought, how appropriate that I have a stitched reminder of such a tumultuous time in our lives.  Anyway, I'll give you an update once I have it finished.    I started my next new project, Jenny Bean "For the Parlor" from Shakespeare Peddler.  The first section is almost completed and I'm loving doing this one.  I picked a banding which is approx. 8" wide to stitch and it fits beautifully.  Of course, I'm still working on about 5 other projects at the same time, and when I saw the new Plum Street charts I had to have My Peaceful Home and A New Constellation.  I am forcing myself not to start those until I get a couple more finishes out of what's already started.  Well, that's what's been happening in my nest.  Please stay safe and wear a mask when appropriate.  I want to see all of you when this is finally behind us.     

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

What day is it?

I have lost all concept of time, most of the time have no idea what day it is or what time it is.  When Sara called me one Saturday and asked if the mailman had been at my house yet I informed her that the mailman doesn't deliver the mail on Sunday.  As you picture her rolling her eyes and thanking God I didn't live with her she said, "Mom, first of all, it's not Sunday, it's Saturday!"  I stopped listening after that and went back to the computer.  But I really can't tell morning from the afternoon, I'm no longer getting up at the crack of dawn, which frankly I don't like because I love the crack of dawn. But I'm sure many of you are feeling the same way so just know you are certainly not alone.   You would think I would get a lot of stitching in...and that would be wishful thinking on my part.  I started out devoting a few hours a day to getting new merchandise on the Salty Yarns web site.  Organize and set goals is what I told myself.  Initially, I was putting 10 items on the Salty Yarns site per day....for about 5 days and then I got bored and that number came down quite a bit.  I was also being distracted by my living room and dining room mess.  I stitch in the living room and I had just put stuff on every chair and 2 sofas in there and in the dining room where I work on my computer, I had dropped bags on each of those chairs.  In the kitchen, the grocery bags with cans and jars in them are still sitting on the floor.   It's distracting to have so much clutter sitting around.  So I decided to clean it up..dedicating one day to each room.  I started with the living room and spent a few hours, putting everything where it belonged and then dusted (first time in 2020).  It had something on every surface, even if it is stitching related. Now everything is put away and it's relaxing when I sit there with no clutter.  In going through the totes with stitching in them I did uncover a finished little Easter bunny from about 5 years ago.  So the next day I decided to get it finished since I've also just piled my finished pieces on the table and haven't been finishing anything.  When I don't have my usual Friday deadline to get models in the shop things just fall apart here.  But here it is...
It's from the Sue Hillis "Easter Parade."  The book has the cutest Easter ornaments (there are 5 different designs in the book), and I had picked this one to insert in a pocket watch to wear.  However, that idea was from 5 years ago.  While Nashville for the needlework market in March, I picked up this cute 3" pitcher and felt I would find something to attach to it.   This project was the perfect piece.  I attached it to the picture and added the rick rack to break up the white on white and it fits right into my Easter display.  I had kitted several projects for the Nashville trip and as usual, didn't do much stitching at all.  One of those projects was Mr. Bunn E. Tail.  It is a Brenda Gervais, With Thy Needle & Thread project and since it was already kitted, I pulled it out and proceeded to stitch it.  It was an easy stitch but I was concerned about the finishing but decided to worry about that after the stitching.  A couple of nights later it was done and joined the pile on the table.  I decided to pull it off the pile and do the finishing yesterday.  I'm thrilled to say it went together very easily, especially since I used my oval templates to get the correct size oval so he could be a stand-up.  Once he was sewn together, bottom sewn on it was time for his tail, whiskers and his nose.  In the finishing instructions, Brenda tells you to use the picture for the placement of the nose, easy, glue a cotton ball soaked in a coffee solution and dried in the oven.  I had some roving so I balled it up and sewed the tail on.  While I don't mind using glue and have done it frequently, I don't do it if I can sew something.  I didn't have any sisal rope fibers, but I find that carpet thread or button thread will work well since it is stiffer than regular thread and will stand up on its own.  Mrs.  Bunn E. Tail is definitely ready to move into the shop.  One more project off the table.
Mrs. Bunn E. Tail was worked on 36 ct. Winters Brew from R & R Reproduction and stitching using the called for fibers.  Button eye, whiskers made from carpet thread or button thread and a tail attached made out of roving.  Fun and fast project and easy finish.  
Last night I also finishing the stitching on the tomato pincushion, Thank God!  That almost did me in, so now I can pick out new projects, well I already started on Erica Michaels "The Needle Berry" and I really am enjoying the stitch.  I've got a couple of band sampler projects but have to get in the shop to get the banding since the width I brought home is too wide for one and too narrow for the other.  Oh, the trials of the stitcher's life.  To add to my list of "to-dos" is the governor's order for masks as of last Saturday.  So I spent one day just watching you tubes on making masks and finally picking one, then running back and forth for supplies, ironing, cutting, etc.  It's not that hard as many of you have found.  Getting elastic is the difficult part.  So I went to my stash and found the package I knew was somewhere, along with a couple of other packages, which I didn't know I had,  so I was good to go for a few masks.  I was more concerned for the girls as they are the ones who go grocery shopping.  Then it was on to the men and the children.  After getting everyone's masks the correct size I took a break and will make a few every few days until we have a surplus.  I'm so excited to be getting rid of some of my fabric, which I keep buying even though I haven't made a quilt in years.  Well, I'm off to start something, cleaning, dishes, laundry, who knows, but I do know stitching will be done sooner rather than later.  Hope you are getting plenty of stitching in while you are home.  It won't be too much longer stitchers, but please stay home.  It's better to be safe than sorry.  

Friday, April 3, 2020

Finally a finish....

But before I discuss the finish I've seen a big difference in activity in O.C.  Last week I took this picture on March 27th, which was a beautiful sunny day and I was scooting down the boardwalk to the shop to pick up supplies and encountered many people at a time we were supposed to be in quarantine, and the boardwalk is closed to everyone but Ocean City residents.  I can guarantee everyone I saw was not a resident.
The beach and ocean - March 27, 2020

Today, when I went to the shop to drop off and pick up new charts to get on the internet, and yes, to pick up supplies for myself,  there wasn't anyone on the boards but me.  Going home I saw one woman with 2 children and that was it.  I think people are getting the message to stay put, at least I hope they are.  Salty Yarns is closed like most of the stores, even though I think we are necessary for the mental health of the stitchers, but this is an argument for another day.  Sara works in there taking orders and getting mail orders out so the stitchers don't run out of things to do.  (I say that with humor as I know most of us could be shut up indefinitely and still never run out of projects to stitch.)  Sara and I are both get a lot of stitching in, but while Sara is working on the finishing of some of her class projects, which are fabulous and she's done a wonderful job so far, I, of course, am working on models for the shop.  While I normally finish my projects after stitching them so they are delivered to the shop every Friday, with the shop closed I haven't felt the rush to do that.  So they are piled on the table...UGH and of course now I don't feel like doing the finishing.  So today I decided I had to start, as it certainly isn't going to get done if I don't start soon.  The first finish is Lucky Berry, the strawberry from Erica Michaels.  I've said it before, I'm infatuated with these berries.  I use the silk berry charts to get all the detail then stitch on linen, 28, 32, or 36.  I really would prefer to stitch on the smallest linen but lately 32 becomes my go-to just because it's easier for me to see.  I stitched Lucky on 32 ct. Platinum linen using the recommended fibers.  While you can't see the lines on the pattern, there are lines stitched with a light fiber that on my linen didn't show up so I used a light green (DMC 3347) to stitch those lines.  Other than that I used the called for fibers.      
Before Finishing

 Top of the Berry-Circle of Wool first 
then single hearts on top of the wool
then the cap with the hanger

The back

The Front

One Side

Other Side 

So now I'll move on to finish the next piece....Mr. Bunn E Tail, by With Thy Needle & Thread.  Hopefully, I'll get it done tomorrow.  But for today, I'm done and back to stitching.  I was trying to finish stitching the last piece of My Stitcher's Heart, the pincushion, but due to Vernon's intervention, I have had to start Liz Mathews Spring Quilt Tree.  I have a fascination for her tree series and want to stitch many of them and asked Vernon to make a base....he's done about a dozen and I've yet to stitch it, so I'm on it now but it's been a slow go so far.  Not hard, don't know what my problem is.  Hopefully tonight I'll get a run going.  
Whatever happens I'll keep you posted.  There are so many projects and I have so little time to get these things done.  But I'll press forward and keep the fingers moving as quick as I can.  I know a lot of you are stitching like crazy because I see the posts.  Keep it up, you serve as an inspiration to the rest of us.  And it gives us plenty to do during this crisis.  Please stay home and stitch and don't venture out for a break.  I know it's a little hard but it could mean your life or your loved one's life so let's do this the right way so we can get through it and be able to get back to our lives.  To all the medical personnel who are risking their lives by fighting this on the front lines, Thank you for all you are doing.  I can't even imagine the pain and anguish of fighting at the front.  You are our heroes!  Stay safe everyone and I'll be talking to you tomorrow.  Keep the needle moving.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

I'm in the zone...

Yes, I'm fully back to stitching...staying up late and getting up at 3 a.m. to stitch, and have multiple projects put together for the Nashville Market, yes I'm fully back....however, I've lost some speed but I'm not going to let that get to me.  I'm trying not to set goals, in previous years I've tried to complete 4 projects per month.  But right now I'm just enjoying the stitching again, the fabrics, fibers, and embellishments and not setting a goal (although I find myself reviewing how many projects I've completed so far in 2020 every time I finish something)...but still not worrying about the numbers per month yet.  Arrived home Tuesday from Nashville where we once again had a successful buying trip.  Thanks to Stasi for all her assistance in Nashville.  It makes the job so much easier, especially for Sara, since I sit in the room and add inventory into the system and generate the price tags, while Stasi and Sara ran the floors doing all the buying.  Also a huge thank you to Kathie and Judy who worked the shops for us and did a great job, as always.  Thanks to Stasie, Kathie and Judy for all you do.  I'm glad to be home again.  And my bathroom is fully done and decorated by Mary.  It has the feel of a spa, all white with a tile floor that looks like wood, and the shower reminds me of a sauna.  It's stunning and quite relaxing.  So nice and clutter-free.  My challenge is to keep it that way.  So far it's working....but I'm only on day 4.    But so thankful for John, Vernon, and Mary for all the hard work.  And Brian who did the painting throughout and in the bathroom, as well as carpet cleaned the entire apartment.  What a wonderful surprise.  A nice treat for my homecoming. As you may already know, Brr...Berry by Erica Michaels is finally finished.  This was so much fun to finish as it took on a life of its own in the finishing.   It took me 3 starts to figure out the linen to use and in the end, it turns out to be a 28 ct. Babbling Brook Jobelan.   I was hoping to use 32 ct. but ended up picking up a piece of linen sitting on the cutting table at the shop and it turned out to be 28 ct.  I started stitching without even looking at the count and once I decided it was good, I didn't care what count it was.  While the amount of white over one was daunting, since I was having difficulty getting back to stitching, but that wasn't holding me back,  it was the scarf.  I'm old school and still have colors and patterns from the '50s and 60's that I can't picture together and the scarf had 2 of the colors I can't put together, red and purple.  In fact, when I did the one and only quilt I ever made I had to have the owner of the quilt shop pull the prints in the colors I wanted to use  so I would know which ones actually would go together since I thought no prints, stripes, plaids went together.  Anyway, to get beyond the color issue I tried many possibilities, ugh, I finally decided to just use cadet which is what was used for the mittens.  Due to the fact it is overdyed it, almost self stripped the scarf and I loved the effect.  I also did cross stitch over 2 under the scarf (the project is over 1 otherwise) and then satin stitched over it so it puffs out and then fringed the scarf using Turkey Work.  Of course, I used beads for the mouth and the eyes and I changed the hat ribbon to red in place of purple.  I had a slight placement problem which was a counting mistake but decided I could live with it, although every time I look at it the mistake is glaring to me: I just needed to get this project done as it was part of what was blocking me from stitching overall.  And the finish...  After stitching the back together and getting the top ready for the wool top, I discovered I didn't have the right color wool at home.  After checking the shop I didn't have it there either.  This led me to the finish shown.  I created a top hat for my strawberry out of felt, painted a little bird bead I had red to match the stitched birds and attached it to the top hat.  Easy breezy finish and I just love it.

  So once I got the stitching done, I moved on to Brenda Gervais' Holiday Hoopla's.  As we just got in the St. Patrick's Day Hoopla, that was the next project.  I stitched it on a neutral 32 ct. linen.   What should have been a very easy project proved a little difficult because I ended up stitching the clover on the sheep's butt about 4 times before I got it right.   The project is done over 2 except the clover on the lamb and it is done 1 over 1.  When I finally got it done the rest just flew by.  Again, there was one problem with counting but  I decided I just wanted it over, you really don't notice it so I can check that project done.   I was going to put it in one of the pedestal frames I used before, however after finding them during my massive stitching room clean-up, I moved them to a place I just knew I'd remember and of course, I forgot where that was so I had to come up with another plan. As it turns out, while in Nashville we went to their Hobby Lobby and found the perfect thing.  I made the piece into a pincushion and put it into a tin tart candle stand (#1793702).  I then dipped 3 pins into a green Testor paint (a Christmas gift from Sara)  so I'd have the perfect green pins.  Another project is done.

 While I pondered that finish,  I decided to leave it and move on to another spring treat.  Brenda Gervais, Holiday Hoopla Easter.  This was a joy start to finish.  Stitched it in 2 days and used 28 Ct. White Chocolate linen, used the suggested threads, although I did change the watering can to a gray, and I did the tail using Turkey Work.  I had a vision for the finish....since the rabbit is standing on a watering can, I decided to use a watering can as my finish base.  That is what prompted our visit to Hobby Lobby in Nashville.  I needed a size that would work and I had researched this and knew they had several, but I needed to see them.  Again, a tin watering can.  We picked a couple but the larger one was necessary for this piece.  I had hoped to have a completely open-top as I was going to put flowers in it, however, this didn't have the open-top, so I'm dealing with it.  A little harder to finish as the piece has to bend around the base somewhat but eventually I got it how I wanted it and hot glued it to the base. (Yes I said hot glue).  I tried several trims around the piece to give it a finished look and the only one I liked was a rick rack which I applied so that it stands up on the edges.  It may not be perfect but it looks good to me.  And it's a different kind of finish which is what I'm always looking for.
Must run, shop is waiting for me to help get Nashville out....Stay safe and try to enjoy the stitching time when you can.  Keep washing your hands and praying for all to stay well.  Talk to you soon.