Thursday, October 31, 2013

Down by the Bay...

I made a new start last week on Down by the Bay, and I picked it up again a couple of days ago and put some more stitches on it. It may look like I've gotten a lot done, but trust me, there is so much more to the design!

It's very hard to get this song out of my head once I get started. Did you guys sing this when you were kids? The line I remember the most is "Did you ever see a llama wearing pajamas?" What variations did you use?

This is definitely a fun piece to work on! And it's nice to come home after an intense day on the new job and pick this piece up, even if it's just for a few minutes.

Hope you're having fun with your xxx's!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Finish of the Year!

A quick stop at my LNS after work yesterday, a half hour spent putting the last few stitches in, and it's done! The American Flag Quilt is officially finished! Excuse me while I do my little happy dance...

This has taken me a little more than a year to finish - I started it September of last year (you can see my start here). I think that's pretty good! This is the biggest single piece I've ever done, and it's smaller than it's supposed to be (due to my epic fabric miscalculation)! It's roughly 21 by 12.5 inches, stitched on 28 count Bone Jazlyn.

If you're thinking about stitching this baby up, you're going to love it! The recommended threads are DMC (though there are Anchor alternatives), which makes it incredibly affordable and easily to restock if you run out of colors (as I have many, many times). Be aware that there is A LOT of backstitching - which I actually enjoy doing, but I know a lot of people don't. The backstitching brings all the little quilt squares to life, though, so it's a big part of the piece.

I loved stitching on this so much. I can't wait to get it framed and hung up somewhere - it's going to look fantastic.

Thanks for following our journey!

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Brand New Start

So I was happily stitching along on the American Flag Quilt when, for the second time in two weeks, I ran out of DMC 902, which is what I was using for the last stripes. I have ONE STRIPE LEFT - urgh! I haven't had time to head to my LNS, so until I do I thought I'd start on something new!

I ordered a couple of La-D-Da designs earlier this year and never got around to stitching them. I decided to pull one out and get a start on it. This is Down by the Bay.

I'm stitching this on 32 count Ivory Lugana using NPI silks. I've never stitched with silks before, and I'm absolutely loving it. The chart suggests stitching with one thread over two, but I decided to stitch two over two just to get more coverage. Loving this decision. The colors are so rich and thick. Here's what I managed to stitch up the last couple of days:

Now, here's something you should know: I love watermelons. When I was a kid I used to take giant slices, so you couldn't see my face anymore. And I loved this song too! I thought it was hilarious, and my sisters and I would sing it all the time. So this chart brings back a lot of special memories for me, which makes it all the more fun to stitch.

Lots of xxx's!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Very Nearly Done

Nearing the finish line! I got more work done on the American Flag Quilt the last few days - my husband's working out of town again this week, which means I have WAY too much time on my hands.

There was empty space on either side of the last four squares, so I thought I'd add some stripes. This is me improvising because of the fabric miscalculation I did about a year ago, where I've had to rearrange the squares to make it all fit.

I honestly don't know how I feel about the stripes. It was either that or go with a solid block of color, and stripes seemed more thematic. What do you guys think?

Lots of love,

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Quilt Square 54

The final square on the American Flag Quilt! It's another star square, on the other side of the last two state squares.

More color changes and teeny tiny details, but now that it's done I'm sad to see it finished. No more squares to stitch!

I've actually run out of the last two colors needed to finish this baby off. Hopefully I can go pick them up this week. I'm starting my new job tomorrow, though, so I'm not entirely sure how much time I'm going to have on my hands anymore. I guess I'll have a better sense of it tomorrow. It is nice to have something to occupy myself with, since my husband is off to another city again for work and I won't see him until next weekend. Urgh.

Happy xxx's!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Quilt Square 53

I finally got some more work done on the American Flag Quilt. It's been a while, right? I think it's a case of being so close to the finish line that you don't want to cross it. Does that make any sense?

Anyway, since the last of the states are done, I'm stitching some quilted stars on either side.

These take so much time to stitch! There are so many tiny color changes, and a lot of backstitching.

Nearly done!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Exchanges with Lija

I was passing by the post office again yesterday, so I popped in and found another goodie waiting for me!

Lija (from Stitching in Crosses and More) and I decided to have an exchange, the one rule being that it whatever design it was, it had to be stitched on a colored fabric (i.e., not white/beige). So, here is "Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful," a little cutie that can be found on the Sue Hillis Designs website. I stitched it on a pale blue 14-count Aida, finished it off as a flat hanging, with a lace ribbon and black fabric, and attached a little silver Christmas tree to it.

I also included a couple of charts, an embroidery hoop, Charles Craft Hopscotch fabric, and some tea from Yemen. As usual, completely forgot to take a picture of it all!

And this is what Lija sent me:

It's a gorgeous Big Ben bookmark that she designed herself! I adore it, it's so beautiful! She also sent me some hand-dyed fabrics (with notes on what they were dyed with, which I think is so cool), wooden buttons, some gold charms, a Cross Stitch Crazy kit, a booklet of cross-stitch designs, a Cornish tea towel, and a book by her favorite author, Paulo Coelho.

I have been completely and utterly spoiled! Thank you, Lija, I love it all - ESPECIALLY the bookmark!

Lots of love,

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Summer Holiday Exchanges

I haven't blogged in a week! Yikes! I do have very good reasons, though: I had a last-minute visitor (my sister), the last of my training and observations (which went really well!), and visiting my husband in a city two hours away, where he's been forced to work and live for the last two weeks (and the next two months!). Needless to say, all stitching has been put on hold.

I did manage to take a trip to the post office. Ingrid over at Mii Stitch organized a Summer Holiday Exchange a few months ago, and I drew Cucki, and Judith (no blog) drew me!

Ingrid let us run wild: no theme. That gave me a few ideas, but I finally landed on this one. This is Witch & Friends, from an old Leisure Arts magazine. Cucki's always stitching up little Halloween ornaments, so I thought I'd add to her collection! I stitched this on 14 count khaki Aida, backed it with black fabric, used a simple black ribbon to hang, and attached two little black safety pins to the corner. Very rustic!

I also included a couple of charts, some DMC floss, an embroidery hoop, and some cardamom-flavored Arabic coffee. I hope she liked it all!

And here is what Judith made me, a butterfly pincushion with really vibrant colors:

She also sent me a German book of cross-stitch charts, a collection of Friendship heart charts from Cross-Stitch Crazy, and some HA thread, which I've never heard of but looks really cool.

Thank you, Judith! I love it all. And thanks to Ingrid, who organized it all!

Big hugs,

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Another One for the Hope Chest

My first baby blanket! My husband and I don't have any children yet, but I've started putting a few little things together for the future, like the Teddy Bear Quilt I made.

The front

I've been knitting this little guy up for a few months now, whenever I have a few extra minutes or a couple of free hours. This week in particular has been really stressful for me, with the training going on and my husband being out of town for the whole week, so my knitting needles have been my therapy.

The back

I used the better part of three balls of a baby yarn called Nako Jelibon. It's a Turkish yarn I managed to find in my LNS, and I just love the colors in it. I learned how the eyelet stitch for this one, and how to add a border. It's the first time I've ever knitted anything this complicated, but it was so much fun! It measures 30x30 inches, a perfect square.

All right, off to more training. I can't wait for this week to be over!