Tuesday, June 29, 2010

And it's official...

Hearts Entwined is up on the European Crosstitch website, and officially available for sale. :)

Yes, I know, the picture is small. I've sent a bigger one to Cindy and Angie!

Though while I'm here, I suppose I could do that here too.

The chart is a big one - 23 pages of instructions and diagrams and tips on how to add your own bands of text to make it a wedding or anniversary sampler. Hope you like it!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Some finishes and a much needed vent!

Okay, I'll do the vent first and get it over with. Charting and instructions are sooooooo tedious. Sometimes I really wish I did more charts that were just cross stitch. It would save me ever so much time. I also wish I was a programmer and could come up with better and more efficient software. These are ridiculous.

It's been very hectic the past few weeks. Work is crazy and I'm working 5, 6, 7 (or more) day stretches with only one day off before the next one starts. When I do get a day off, I have stuff I have to do around here - housework, laundry, errands, so I don't get much done on the computer other than answer a few emails. I've been doing charting here and there when I have time, but I generally like to do it when I have at least 4 or 5 hours to devote to it and I have the house to myself. It requires a lot of concentration doing the diagrams and I don't like being distracted. If I only have an hour or two, I don't usually bother because I know I won't get much accomplished and I'll just be getting into the swing of things and have to stop. I have the whole weekend off work, plus TWO days off next week because of the July 1 holiday, so I'm hoping to finish it up then. I put in 8 hours today and I'm about 1/3 done, but a lot of the diagrams from here on are a bit simpler. I'd keep going but my brain needed to rest, I was messing things up terribly. Maybe I'll go back to it in a little while. :)

I have been stitching here and there, trying to put in an hour or two in the evenings, and I've managed a couple of finishes. Both, in their own way, were major PITA projects so I'm really glad to have them done and out of the way.

A few weeks ago I finished Blackstone Fantasy Garden. Why was this a PITA you may ask? Only because my total silk snobbery has me so spoiled that working with cotton gives me nightmares. It feels awful to the touch, like twine!! Anyway, this was my last official work done in cotton. Nothing left to finish. A few kitted that I'll likely sell the kits for and re-kit in silk. Also, it was done on 32 count lugana with 2 strands of thread. The only thing worse than cotton thread is multiple strands of cotton thread. Anyway, the particulars - Blackstone Fantasy Garden is an Ink Circles design, and I stitched it in the suggested colours of Carrie's Creations floss, on 32 count Parkland Lugana from Silkweaver. I am happy with the finish, it is gorgeous, and Tracy's choice of colours is fantastic, I'm just glad to be done with it. Colours are pretty accurate in the picture.

The other PITA I finished is Rosewood Manor's Quaker Diamonds. Again, a lovely design, looks gorgeous finished. This one WAS stitched in silk, so why the groaning? CONFETTI. One stitch here. One stitch there. 2 stitches here. 3 stitches there. I had 2 choices - change colours of thread every second stitch, or try to stitch all of one colour in an area and have to count and count like crazy to find where the next stitch was. And because of all the confetti, it was really easy to miss one stitch here or there and have to pull that colour out again anyway. GRRRRRRRR. It did finish up very nicely, I'm happy I stitched it, it will look pretty on my wall, and I'm even happier I finished it because it drove me to distraction. Particulars for this one - I wanted to stay fairly close to the original colours but there was absolutely no way I was using cotton. So I converted the colours to HDF. Some are from the BE line, some are random d-bag skeins. And of course, I stitched it on 40 count so I could use ONE strand. Thank god, confetti and mutiple strands, I'd have probably burned it before I was through the first page. The fabric is Sassy's French Vanilla and it's gorgeous fabric. Highly recommended. Again, colours came out pretty accurate in the picture. For anyone wondering, I only used about half a 5 yard skein of each colour.

I had to put down EWS. I was working so much that it was hard to concentrate on something that intense, and white on white (or rather cream on cream) wasn't helping matters. Since finishing Quaker Diamonds last week (I think it was last week, days blur anymore - is it Saturday still?) I pulled out Alpine Seasons. Why oh why. More confetti, but at least this time I can be lazy if I want and carry floss behind because it's solid stitching. ;) I'm waiting for model threads for Forget Me Not and will start that when they get here. That one will be a breeze - it's all cross stitch.

I think I'll stitch some now. I worked hard today, I earned it. :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Oooooh.... new silks!

I was checking my facebook this morning and I noticed a link to Valdani and the word SILK. So of course I had to check it out!! I LOVE their colours, but of course I'm a total silk snob. So far it's just perle #12 - well actually it's AVAS Soie Perlee, which is somewhere between a #8 and #12 - and just a few colours, but I'll be keeping an eye out for the possible and hopeful addition of silk floss in their lovely colours! Just what I need, another company doing silk. My bank account won't be happy!

I also noticed that Threadworx has started dying Soie D'Alger and Vineyard Silk. Given that I love both of those, I'll definitely be picking up some of each of those. Only 20 colours in each so far, but I'll also be keeping an eye out. Really bright vibrant colours btw - and the food related colour names are making me hungry!

Other notes... I've started work on the chart and instructions for Hearts Entwinted. Yes, I finally decided on a name for it. :) Time permitting, it should be ready by the end of the month. Work is crazed right now, so it's a bit tough to put a date on it.

I've finally decided on colours for the next two designs and possibly the two after that. There are still four more I need to pick stuff for, but I figure I've got a bit of time. lol I suppose it's about time given that I've had the fabric here for ages and ages. Strangely enough, after a lot of back and forth, asking opinions, and general indecision, after test stitching the colours I chose were the ones I'd originally picked out months ago.

I got some stash for my birthday! Between money, gifts and gift certificates, it was a pretty good year. lol It felt SOOOOO good to buy something that wasn't for a model! It's been a few months since I could. I got the two celtic charts from Needle's Prayse and the threads to stitch them with. I'm sure I have a piece or two of linen I can use around here somewhere. ;) Surprisingly, I'm stitching them in the suggested NPI colours. I love how they look in the pictures, so really no need to change them. Plus, I've become re-addicted to NPI lately, they stitch so nicely.

I also picked up the newest colours of Gloriana and Dinky Dyes to keep my collections up to date. Just watch, the day they arrive, there will be MORE new colours. lol Really curious to see what they look like IRL, they all look so pretty online! I never thought, I should have ordered a few skeins of the Gloriana Florimel silk too - I want to compare it to the regular silk and see if there is a big difference in how the colours dye up.

And I started another new one. I finally caved and started the English Whitework Sampler. I was going to use Valdani on it but then Vikki put hanks of perle on sale so I'm doing it in Examplar White Chocolate on Ivory Ricamo linen. In retrospect, the Ricamo may have been a silly choice, it's not very well suited to pulled work - because it's so dense, it's a bit tough to get the holes to open well, I probably should have gone with something more open. But alas, it's started now, and I'm down to the first band of eyelet alphabet. You'd think after Hearts Entwinted I'd be sick of eyelets, but I'm still enjoying them.

It was actually a stupid mistake on my part that made me start it in the first place. I had gone to mom's for my birthday dinner, and of course she insisted I take H.E. so she could see it finished, and my test stitching for the next ones so she could "approve" my choice of colours. While I was rushing around trying to get ready to go, I just shoved it into a project bag that was on my stitching table. The project bag also had in it the threads for Blackstone Fantasy Garden, because that was what I had been working on. So why was that cause for a new start? Because I'm a dolt and forgot it at mom's. She was happy because that meant she got to take H.E. to work and show it off, but I really wanted to finish BFG!! So to cheer myself up, I started EWS. The project bag is home now, but since I've already got EWS in the q-snaps, I see no need to change it. lol

TANGENT ALERT - Does the acronym BFG remind anyone else of Doom or am I the only one? I've heard talk that a new Doom game is in the works, and I'm SOOOO excited. I've spent thousands of hours of my life on those games, it's one of my all time favourites. They really messed up on the movie though. While it was okay, and the first person bit was really cool, why the heck did they have to change the story??? The story in the game was that during teleportation experiments on Mars, they accidentally open a portal to Hell, which turns the surrounding marines into various sorts of zombies and lets in a host of other demons, which you have to destroy before they are able to invade earth. Great plot, and pretty darn scary, especially the levels in Hell. In the movie, the "demons" are the result of genetic experiments. Would have been an okay plot if it was a standalone movie, but not when you're basing it on a hugely popular game which people the world over know and love. But I digress...

I also have to report that my mother got me one of the coolest gifts I could ever have imagined. She got me an emerald. It's absolutely beautiful. My aunt was on a trip to Colombia recently and my mom asked her to bring one back for me. :) Now I need to decide, ring or pendant? She also got me a wind up alarm clock, which had me in hysterics. One of the joys of living in a small town is that everytime we get a thunderstorm, the power goes out at least once or twice. Every clock in my house is electric, except the battery powered clock on the wall that's needed new batteries for a year. And each time we get a nighttime storm, I call mom and ask if she'll phone me in the morning to wake me up - just in case the power goes out while I'm asleep and I lose my alarm clock. This has been a ritual since I moved here, and I think she finally got tired of it.

Speaking of weather, what is up with it???? We had an unseasonably warm winter, not much snow to speak of this year. Spring started pretty early, March was pretty much above zero. April we had a couple weeks of very nice weather, and then a couple weeks of hot, hot weather. May started out terribly - rain, rain, and more rain, and very cold. Then all of a sudden, two weeks ago it got hot and humid - like hovering around 30 hot with humidity pushing it into the high 30's. Now we get weather that hot quite frequently over the summer, but it feels so much worse right now because there was just no gradual change. It literally went from cold to hot in the span of two days. The rain today seems to have cooled it down a touch, hopefully we get some nice low 20's for a while.

That's it for today's novel. And they all lived happily ever after.