Friday, February 26, 2021

Daily stitching and a challenge page

 I've been stitching a bit every day, trying not to disturb my arm, but it is still hurting when I do certain things, like reaching for the car door in the passenger seat or reaching for anything on that side. I've been putting Arnica gel on it twice a day and ice in the evening. 

I did  three more interlocking circles and the rest just what I felt like at the moment.

 My theme for February was Knots and Dots. I did a variety of French knots and also took advantage of the dots on some of the fabrics.

I liked this little garden of Pistol Stitches. I intended to put a strip of lace on each page, but I didn't want to hide this section so I cut the lace short. 

Here you can see my stitching on the dots.

My two pages side by side. I also took advantage of the fringed edges on the fabric.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Taking a Break--Ouch!

 My right arm and shoulder have been bothering me for a couple of months. Limited range of motion and a fair amount of pain. It would bother me in bed, especially if I rolled over onto that side. My sister suggested that maybe I was doing too much hand sewing. Nah! How would that affect my shoulder?

So I went to the orthopedic guy last Thursday and he deemed it to be Rotator Cuff and gave me a cortisone shot. He said that it would probably hurt more for a couple of days before it worked. Wow!  Was he right. It really hurt, as in throbbing by evening. I tried to do a little stitching in the afternoon and my sister was right! Every twist of the wrist was like an ice pick stabbing my shoulder. 

No sewing for several days and I missed it. Nothing to do while watching the impeachment trials, so I didn't watch much. I did a little sewing  Tuesday evening and a little more last night and only completed one square. My goal now (that I keep changing) is just to sew a bit every day. not necessarily complete a square. I don't want to totally mess up that arm/shoulder, my dominant side.

I thought it would be fun to have some interlocking open circles to mix in with the the whole circles in the rest of the squares. I was not aiming for a satin stitch, but rather closely spaced stitches. I think a satin stitch would be easier. 

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Daily Stitching and Threads

 I like doing my own challenge because I can change the rules anytime I want. So, I have decided not to give myself any restrictions, but just do what  feel like that day. Having said that, I did find myself doing variations of the chain stitch for five of my squares this week.

Half Lazy Daisies 

More half Lazy Daises. I think they look like a firefly or butterfly frenzy.

Just plain old French Knots with straight stitches

Long Tailed Chain Stitch


Lazy Daisy with Chain Stitch

Zig-Zag Chan Stitch. I think it looks like rickrack.

What's up on the wall as of this morning, just put up randomly. I had to take them all down to photograph a quilt and I did give a little thought as to color, but this will not be the final placement. 

I decided that I really like working with size 8 Perle cotton. It is about the equivalent to 2 or 3 strands of  floss. I found it to be a pain in the neck to have to separate the floss and I would end up with a big mess of partial floss skeins. With the Perle cotton, it's just cut your length and go. 

I went on Amazon and found what I thought to be a good deal plus free shipping. I had ordered from DMC before. They do have a gazillion colors, but you do pay shipping and what I had ordered the last time took forever to come. Joanne's only has it in a very few colors, so Amazon was by best choice.
They came in sets of 12.


Coral Reef



I talked about my 80th birthday last week. It was very special because of all the cards and postcards after my  birthday project of giving $80 to 80 people and asking them to pay it forward.

But that wasn't all that made it so special. I have a group of friends who go out to dinner regularly in normal times and go out for a lunch at a fancy restaurant on big birthdays. Claire tried to convince me to have small gathering at her house wearing masks, but I declined. My walking buddy called me in the morning to see what time I wanted to walk. I told her I had an appointment at the lawyers to sign a paper at 12:45 and we could walk after that.

When I pulled into my driveway there were signs all over the lawn and snow piles saying Happy 80th Birthday in many different ways. There were wrapped gifts, balloons, and flowers on the porch. I was flabbergasted. Then the garage door opened and inside were all my friends (with masks on) holding glasses of champagne. Not everyone is in this picture, but it is the best one I have. We moved out to the driveway and had my safely distanced, mask wearing birthday party. It was fabulous! I couldn't have been more surprised. It was my Best. Birthday. Ever!

I  am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Happy Birthday

 to me! Today, Feb. 4, I have reached the venerable age of 80! Hard to believe but here it is. I gave a lot of thought on how to celebrate this milestone.....a party?.....a trip? When I came across an article in ARRP magazine and how a woman named Peggy Wheatcroft celebrated her big day and I decided that that was what I wanted to do. You can read the whole article here.  And now with Covid ruling all, I could never have done a party or a trip anyway. My family trip to Poland was cancelled, of course. 

Peggy's premise was to give 80 dollars to 80 people and ask them to pay it forward. They could give it to some unsuspecting deserving person, break it up and give it to several people or a favorite charity. Included in the letters I gave or sent out were included self addressed, stamped postcards for them to send back to me telling me how they used the money.

I mailed the ones that had to be mailed on Jan 1 and handed out in person the rest over the next week. To date I have receive about 45 postcards back. The stories are many and varied. Several people added to it, either to round it up to $100, or added their age. A few people combined it with other family members to make it a bigger sum. Several went to foods pantries, a dire need in this pandemic. Some went to grocery clerks, restaurant servers and delivery men. One went to a charity in upstate New York that makes beds and delivers them with mattresses and bedding to poor children who would otherwise be sleeping on the floor.  The story goes on. They have all been fun to read, making it my best birthday ever!

Lest you think I was at a big super spreader party, I was not. It was just my sister, her daughter and my bestie, Claire.  All vaccinated.

But I still did a lot of stitching this week. I did three more letters and then moved on to cute little stars or snowflakes, still just using straight stitches.  We had a lot of snow this week and I did some snow dyeing, too.

W  I was afraid that this would look just like the M that I did last week. But with the M I used straight lines for the legs and the inner V went down to the bottom of the legs. With the W I made slanted legs and the inner V only goes half way, so an entirely different look.

E Sort of a basket weave. 

Two of my favorite snow dyes from this week. It's a funny thing, but green seems to be dominant. I thought I had spread an equal amount of blue and green dyes on these, but the green still shows through the most. And the dye grabber that I always add was a very dark green. Something to remember for the next time. I still have a LOT of snow on my deck, but I've had enough for now.

And that's it for this week, folks. Head on over to Off the Wall Friday and see what some other creative people are doing.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Daily Stitching and a Challenge

 This week I concentrated on using capital letters in a quarter inch grid, using alternate squares. I think I got some interesting results and some cool tassellations and secondary patterns. It doesn't work with all letters of the alphabet, but I'm trying a few more next week. I am still doing only straight stitching.

K  This is one of my favorites. I love the patterns it formed and it looks different each time you give it a quarter turn.

L With a little spike in the intersection. 

L  Turned on its side and three contrasting color spikes at the intersection. Whoops it wasn't until I saw it just now writing this that I see that I missed one of the L's spikes. Can you see it? I will fix it.

I  I like the basketweave look that it achieved.

 A  No having to guess this one. I think it is more interesting on its side.

M  Another favorite with the tallessations formed. This one looked good turned any way.

Y  No guessing this one either, but I still like it and it will look good turned on its side or upside down.

I was trying to outline the circles with a back stitch and I was never happy with the way it looked and usually picked it out and just did a simple running stitch. But I went on Youtube and watched a couple of videos on the stem stitch. I like it so much better and that's what I'll be doing for now.

All finished squares on my design wall. I am not sewing anything together yet because I want to mix up the designs. But so far, so good, I think.

My FiberWorks group has started another monthly challenge. Last year it was collage and this year we are inspired by Anne Brook, a charming hand stitcher from the UK.  There are several videos on Youtube. She gives you many options and I am making a 6 inch book with the pages made from batting. I am giving myself a guideline for each month and for January I said "only straight stitches". For some of the pieces I let the fabric tell me how to stitch and took advantage of patterns on the fabric. We were encouraged to use a consistant color scheme throughput our book and I chose blue, white, and gray. It was  rather labor intensive and I worked on it in bits and pieces but I did enjoy it. I have already started February, which is Dots and Knots. I 'll show it to you next month.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Daily Stitching and Tools of the Trade

 I've been faithful in keeping up with my stitching, in fact I'm a little ahead.

Least favorite of the week. Look at that wobbly outline and I don't like the color combo. I don't know why the background looks like it has wavy lines, because it doesn't. For some reason all of the squares using this fabric has the same lines.

Favorite of the week.

I know I said that I was only going to use straight stitches until I had exhausted the possibilities, but I couldn't resist putting French knots on this one. That little blip of blue on the French knot in the center is some blue marker that did not come out. I spritzed it again and it came right out.

I know that there are some super stitchers out there that could do these without any marking, but that's not me. For designs that are in a grid I drew a quarter inch grid with a blue wash out pen. I don't draw the designs, just the grid, to keep me on the straight and narrow.

I especially like this six inch, very thin, C-Thru Ruler

This marker is terrific. It makes a very fine line and comes out with a spritz of water.

I sent away for these plastic circle templates. The largest one is three inches, the perfect size for my four inch squares. They are so much easier to use than my former hand cut circles from template plastic and they don't get lost on my work table. 

And, yes, I made some more masks. I thought I was done and now I really am. Our regional Hospice, a charity I support, is putting on a new children's wing. A youth group is selling masks to raise funds. I do not know what they are charging, nor do I care. I know someone who has made over 1,000 masks. I can't imagine. I think I've made 70 or 80 and that's enough for me.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.