Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Another finish.............

In the last post, I talked about Autumn Gathering by Brenda Gervais, as I had the stitching done but the finishing was not.  Well, it's completed now....and it wasn't that hard, amazingly enough.  

I'm really pleased with this finish as a shaped finish is always a little trickier than a square or circle, however, everything was a little easier than I had anticipated.  Brenda supplies a template for the cutout so having that made it easier than doing my own.  I gathered the circular top so it fit with no issues (just as you do when finishing a circular design) and I cut as close to the neck as I could without worrying and while I probably should have cut it a little closer, I was pleased with that as well.  When it came to the twill tape edging, I didn't realize we had the right size in the shop but was thrilled to see that we did so I decided to use it as well.  I loved Sara's reaction when I showed her the Twill and she said "oh, you have to sew it on both sides"...and after I finally stopped laughing I informed her I was gluing it on.  Yes I said glue.  I will glue on cording, etc., if it is not what I consider an heirloom piece, but a piece I enjoyed stitching but know when I go it won't be passed down through the generations.  The only problem I had with this finish is a personal thing.  I want everything I stitch to have a purpose.  I don't know why it's just part of my process.  So after the challenge of finishing it, I asked "What is it for?"  Stasi and Sara both answered it's just a decoration.  Finally, it was decided it should be a bowl filler.  While I have 2 dough bowls which I have filled with rolls, pincushions, ornaments, etc., this is not dimensional it's just flat, so I struggled.  Too late I thought, I could have made it into a needlebook or added a pocket to the back for needles and scissors.  And I suppose I could continue and add a back to it and still do those things, but, you know when you think you are done, often you are really done and don't want to put any more time into it.  That's where I am at this point.  So I put it on the counter in front of another piece and hopefully it will sit there and not fall on the floor.  But I have to say I liked stitching it and didn't mind finishing it.  I stitched on Fawn 36 ct using the fibers indicated.  I started out using 1 thread,  wasn't happy with it so I ended up using 2 strands for stitching.  The only exception to that was the stems of the flowers which I did over one using the stem stitch.  That made a pretty stem I think.  Anyway, moving now to another start and I might just return for a couple of fun days stitching on the SAL Coming to America which I have dearly loved.  I was trying to hold out until closer to the end day, November 6th, as I'm on the final section and really want the  finish to be on day 66. So I'll just stitch a few rows and then put it down again.  It's been exciting to see where everyone is.  It really doesn't matter when we get ours done, so if you aren't as far ahead as you'd like to be, don't worry there are others right where you are.  And it's not really about the end date as much as it is about the journey.  So whatever you are working on, enjoy the stitch.  

Friday, October 16, 2020

Wow...what a fabulous weekend we had.

Since we have canceled every event this year I thought Stitchers Jamboree would be no different...but Sara is not one to give up on an idea, so after Ocean City canceled Sunfest (a big closing party for the resort), Sara advised me she wasn't canceling our event, but she was giving stitchers the option to attend in person or take the classes using Zoom.   I thought no one would do it in person, but Sara had already sent out a note informing everyone it was still going to take place and the stitchers really stood behind the decision.  We had between 35-45 here in person, and the rest took it by Zoom.  Sara worked double time on this as she knew nothing about taking Zoom classes, but she got schooled by others who had done class by Zoom and came to the hotel to show her how to work the equipment, etc.  So she was ready to go Friday for the opening reception.  I had a difficult time wrapping my head around the changes, no opening reception in the lobby (each student showed up in their assigned classroom and there was a mini reception in every classroom, but no food.)  In fact, the classrooms became the stitching rooms when classes were done so there was no mingling in the lobby at all.  No continental breakfast, no Friday night dinner, no food served-Covid rules dictated and we observed the rules.  Sara had Malia, at one of our favorite cafes, do box lunches for Saturday's classes and people were sent the food options prior to the weekend so Malia would be ready and she delivered well-presented box lunches for everyone.  The teachers were fabulous and the projects this year were so special to us as Linda (Erica Michaels) designed a beautiful box project with the hotel theme, Pat and Peggy, (Fern Ridge) did a peyote fob with a white rocker in beads (those are on the front porch of the hotel, and Clara (Stitching Parlour) did the needlebook which shows the boardwalk/hotels, old fashioned bathers and on the third section a carousel horse on the outside.  And all the pieces fit in the box.  Thank you to the fabulous designers.  Kudos and well done!  And a huge thank you to the stitchers who joined us in person, and a huge thank you to all the stitchers who zoomed in.   There were very few glitches and the stitchers were very respectful of all the rules in place due to Covid-19.  Sara had assigned each classroom time in the shop so we never had a social distancing problem there.  Everyone wore their masks everywhere including in the classroom and even Vicki who had a coughing fit due to her allergies went to her room and joined by zoom because she didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable.  Now that's caring about others' feelings.  It had nothing to do with a cold, Covid or the like but she knew some might be concerned so she took herself out of the room. And several of the ladies brought show and tell, so I can tell you now stitching is definitely getting done and done beautifully.  It was so much fun to see it all.   Beautiful work....and finishing done well. So a Big Thank You to teachers and participants of the 2020 Jamboree.  We appreciated your attendance and look forward to seeing you all again.  

If you have read my blog at all during the course of the Pandemic you will know that I have been struggling to get back into stitching.  I have stitched and finished a few projects, but considering my goal has always been at least 1 finished project per week, I have definitely not reached my goal, or even come close.  But I have fallen in love with a project and can't force myself to put it down.  I'm back to stitching until midnight and waking up around 4 a.m. and stitching again and it feels wonderful.  I think you know which project I'm talking about.  Brenda Gervais, "Coming to America."  On September 6th, I put the needle through the linen and it just felt so good.  I decided initially to use the fabric called for, although for my sake I changed the count.  I love the look of the small count but it's a struggle for me at this point and since this is a long piece I wanted to be comfortable with the stitch,  I decided to pick the 28 ct. and with a twist decided to stitch over 1.  So now it's even smaller than if I stitched on 40 ct. over 2...yes love the smaller look.  I started at the top and instantly knew the seagulls in grits would not show up well enough for me so I changed the color to Gentle Arts Chalk.  It helps them show up a little bit more, for me.  I was going to incorporate gray on the head and wings but felt if I made too many changes I may burn out before getting to the finish line.  So I stuck with the Chalk seagulls and it's fine.  Then I got to the sails and couldn't even see the fiber as it really closely matched the fabric.  Then I saw many had stitched theirs and after the outline was put in they showed up, so I just outlined mine as well and that turned out fine.  Then the men boarded the ship and I noticed on line that the full gentlemen's jacket blended in with the ship (an advantage of letting others go ahead of you), so I changed that to Weeks Dye Works Onyx which is a brown/black color and that was fine.  Then I got to the Cape Cod and found that again I had trouble seeing the fish bones against my fabric, but because it is surrounded by a darker color I persevered and it looks fine.   I've had a few missteps and had to rip out and restitch, and sometimes I let the misstep go as it's not as noticeable, but I've truly enjoyed this piece and will really miss it once it's finished.  I had done the math before I started as I was concerned that I might not finish in 66 days due to my current (at the time) lack of stitching daily.  When I first figured out that I only needed to do 6.5 lines a day I figured I could handle that.  In some areas that is easily done, but the sections done border to border is a tad of a struggle for me as I get bored.  At first, I wanted to go over 6.5 lines a day in the event I didn't want to stitch every day.  Well, I'm now into the 24th day of stitching and I haven't stopped at all, so I'm way ahead of schedule. 

Please excuse the fact it hasn't been ironed....but here is my current delight.   Last week I finished the section with the names and the waves with the fish and I put the project down for a week or two so I can make sure I finish on the 66th day.  Truth be told I tried to put it down last weekend to work on a fall didn't go well.   But eventually, after realizing I didn't like it stitched with just 1 strand and changed to 2 strands I was able to complete another Brenda Gervais, Autumn Gathering stitched on 36 ct. PTP Fawn using the stated fibers.  I'm fascinated with the shape of this one, as I know it will challenge me with finishing,  but it's still sitting unfinished on my table...I think I'm afraid I'll fail, but I'm going to try again today to get it done.  And the final piece I got done a few weeks ago is also Brenda Gervais, Coffee First.  which I stitched over 2 on 32 ct. linen.  I was all over the place on finishing this one.  I wanted to make a small pillow using a red ticking fabric in my stash,  but my kitchen is so small that there really isn't room to sit it anywhere so I figured I'd hang it as I still have wall space, but I like to utilize wood pieces for finishing that I can just keep replacing the stitched piece for different seasons.  So I made a fabric covered backboard but was too big for the hornbook, so my finish is much simpler than I would have liked.  But at some point, one must just move on.  So I did.  But "Witches Brew" is out and I'm doing this whole series so perhaps I can do better with it.   

Well, it's back to stitching I go.  Have a great fall, keep wearing the mask as we enter into a possible 2nd round of Covid-19, and stay out of crowds.  Enjoy your stitching and post it to give everyone else inspiration.