Another Hobby Blog

Saturday, March 31, 2012

End of another month already?

Where in the world has March gone to? Was it washed away by the rain? blown away by the wind?? I only just got accustomed to the idea that February was over, and now March is gone too?? Who authorized that?!

March was full of many distractions for me. There was travel, and dance events, and travel for dance events. There was miserable drenching rain and billowing winds, and there was alluring sunshine. The sunshine was particularly devious: it made me want to attempt a garden. Doh! As a result of the weather, I ended up with several plant starts that needed repotting, so now I have five slivers, dirt underneath my fingernails, quite a few containers of potted vegetable starts outside in the yard, and several flats of five-year-old seeds taking over my dining room table that decided to germinate much to my shock and awe. (The seeds decided to germinate, not the table. ...though a germinating table would definitely hold a higher shock and awe factor than some sprouting seeds, even five-year-old seeds.) Yay! The beginning of a vegetable garden for the first time in YEARS! woot! My mouth is already watering with the thought of fresh peas and lettuce and green beans this season! I hope that my plants grow and thrive and produce produce! .. it would probably be more likely if I quit nibbling on the poor things long enough for them to get established. Heh. For the past two weeks I've been making a morning round of my container garden, peeking in at all the little plants and encouraging them to grow (Pep-talks help, right?)
And each morning I pull off one or two leaves from any plants that look big enough to spare them. :) Yum! spinach leaves and lettuce for breakfast! ... except that the plants are so small that I only get about three to five leaves total before I decide that I'd better not take any more or risk killing the poor things before they get a start in life.
(Patience is not my best virtue.)

All of which means that I ended up doing less stitching than I had anticipated over the course of the month. The travel and the dance events were very unfriendly to stitching, so instead, I took my tatting shuttles along with me and I made some tatted trims. You'll spot a couple of them on this month's block. The others will most likely find their way onto future blocks.

(The semi-transparent gray mask is my attempt to obscure the blocks from past and future months and clarify where March begins and ends.)
The wedge shape makes photography challenging, so here are a couple of detail shots as well:

I also managed to create my BJP mandala for March! woot!

Gardening and spring flowers definitely influenced my stitching this month in all of my work. The crocuses, grape hyacinths, and daffodils have come up in my yard to greet the spring weather (all three crocuses, two daffodils, and five-hundred-thousand-ish hyacinths that survived the floody-wet winters, anyway.) It's the color combo of spring greenery, daffodil yellow, and hyacinth purple/blue that determined my color selection for this month's BJP. :)

I didn't get much done on my TAST postcards, even with this past week designated as "catch-up week"-- so little, in fact, that there's really not much to show for Whipped Wheel and Barred Chain... I'll have to chip away at them as I can, and show them when there's something to show. CQJP and BJP take priority, and I'm really quite delighted to have accomplished as much as I did on both of those!

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import: away from keys

Well, I'm pre-posting this, so I don't have much to show yet. I don't have anything to show yet, actually! It's been the deadest week so far in terms of actually picking up a needle. The pressure is really mounting!
Spring weather came to Issaquah this week, and I must admit that I spent several hours out in the sunshine (drizzly, wet sunshine, but bright nonetheless) putting starter plants into pots. If all goes well, I will have fresh green peas, lettuces, carrots, and other assorted yummies to munch on this summer while I stitch and dream!
Tomorrow I spend the day catching up on laundry and packing because Friday my husband and I are driving to Idaho for a swing dance workshop weekend. Wish us luck getting over the passes-- it's snowy and icy and we might need chains. We should be able to drive home again on Sunday, but not in time to write this post.
I will bring my stitching with me, but the chances are really really really low that I'll have any time to pick up a needle while I'm away. (Sadly, I can't stitch in the car.)


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import: TAST wk 11- whipped wheel, and cqjp march

Where did the week go???
I swear! It just gets started and it's already over. I am NOT getting used to this!
Well, here's my TAST postcard for the week:

I chose this CQ postcard from my small (and diminishing!) stack of premade CQ postcard blanks because it has a repetition of circles throughout the fabrics, and I thought the whipped wheels would be really fun to add as another layer. So far I've only got the one whipped wheel started, though! I just didn't have much time to stitch.

I did get a couple of container garden pots started, though! I received a few garden starts (young plants) early in the week, and spent a couple of days making sure that they got transplanted. I am dreaming of fresh peas and beans and lettuce from my own garden this year! We'll see, though. I could lose them to weather or slugs or forgetting to water them, or to my sometimes-overzealous hired gardener.

I did a little better with my CQJP:

I think that's four additions from last week? Shoot. At that rate I might not finish March's block until November! yipes. Well, I am hoping that this coming week will be kinder, because next weekend will definitely not be!

With all of the out-of-house and actually-visiting-with-people and physically-occupied (dance, gardening) time that I spent this week, I found it much more compatible to carry a different type of handwork: tatting. In this endeavor I fared MUCH better! and now I have several little trims and doo-dads to add to this month's block and future ones. :)

The first one is just a tatted doodle that turned out pretty sweet! Basically, I wanted to test the Kreinik braided metallic thread that I have to see if it would be able to do tatting despite its texture, and surprisingly, it worked pretty decently! So I added a few green "leaves" and stem to make a little flower doodle. I really love the way the stem changes color every time I added a leaf. :) I left all the ends long so that I can use them to stitch the flower down to my CQ.

The second is a line of tatted trim that I created with the same Kreinik metallic thread and some varigated perle cotton. I will most likely add this length of trim to my March block, so perhaps that will help me feel more accomplished once I get it stitched in place.

I also did some work on my March BJP, but as it has gone wandering (Like January's did. .. How DOES that happen???), I don't get to post photos yet.

I hope you all had much more productive weeks than I feel like I had!!

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import: TAST wk 10, and CQJP March

A little behind schedule today, but happy to chirp now that I have a moment at the keys!
It's been another slow stitching week for me, or at least I feel like it has! I haven't gotten very far yet on March's cqjp block:

Just two seams. Pretty seams, sure, but pretty simple, too. I will have to get a lot more stitching time in the next two weeks if I want to keep from falling behind schedule!

I did a bit better with TAST:

I actually did quite a lot of running stitch on this postcard, but I chose very subtle threads, so a lot of the work doesn't show up well in the photograph. In real life the stitches add texture and depth to the postcard. In the photograph all that goes flat. I stitched with threads that are very close in color to the ground cloth: copper and metallic gold on the gold lame, black on the black and gold brocade, shimmery holographic silver on the silver brocade... I quite like the in-person effect, but I just can't get the photography to do it justice.
The back side shows a lot better just how much work was done:

And the holographic thread does kinda show up in the photograph in this detail pic:

I did also need to finish an ATC for an upcoming swap. The theme was "favorite flower" and I decided that my favorite flower would have to be the one that I get from my husband for Valentine's day! This year it's a red rose. I printed out a detail picture from the photographs I took of my valentine bouquet onto ready-to-print cotton fabric, and then I accented the image with simple stitches:

and an ATC for a birthday swap:

and one more line of stitching added to my TAST wk 9 (couching): I guess it wasn't as non-productive as I let myself fear! ... still, I've got a lot more work to do before the end of the month, and I'm worried because I have much travelling to do over the remaining weekends, much of which I'll be driving for, so I won't be able to stitch in-transit.

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Sunday, March 04, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import: TAST wk 9- couching

Well, I spent the early part of the week finishing up stitching my February block for CQJP, so I didn't get more than a couple of hours to work on TAST this week, and that only because I suffered terrible insomnia last night and decided to put it to good use. Now I need desperately to try to sleep again because I have mid-day plans, and I'm already going to be short on sleep even if I delay my alarm clock to the very last possible minute.
I do despise insomnia!
But I enjoyed the stitching that I accomplished, so at least that's something. If I'm lucky I'll get more chance to stitch on it before the next stitch comes out. I do enjoy couching!
On this postcard, I couched down a holographic woven ribbon with a simple but decorative blanket stitch to get warmed up.
Then I took three strands of perle cotton in three different shades of pink and twisted them together into a fringe as I couched them down. At the end of that seam I decided on a whim not to bring the ends to the back and tie off, but to carry the same threads into the neighboring block in a different couching exploration. Instead of twisting the threads together, I braided them together for a couple of inches and then, tired of braiding, I couched down each of the three strands independently in an overlapping decorative swirly pattern.
What fun!

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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Tuesday Stitchers import: CQJP feb

Okay, so I'm cutting it really close to the wire here for February's CQJP, but I've run out of time, and I'm reasonably satisfied. Of course, if time were no boundary, I could keep working on each of these wedges indefinitely! ..but time is a boundary, so I'm calling it good:

The size and shape of this "block" sure makes photographing a challenge!

Here's a pic of January and February with the BJP medallions set onto the wedges for the photograph:

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