Monday, November 27

November WIPocalypse

So here we are with the November WIPocalypse report  -  I've managed two months in a row, crazy!

This was where Freshwater Pearls was last month:

And this is where it is this month:

There's actually a little bit more than that done, but I didn't take an updated picture.   I just got one thread done in that blank spot towards the middle.  I'm trying to finish out that bit of beige so I can get to the crab and move on down to the final third of the piece.   I still have fantasies of getting it done this year, but we'll see how that goes.

And then this weekend, I started working on the last of the Desert Sunrises/Sunsets.   I count all three of my pieces as one big WIP, and I have this fantasy idea that I'll get this done quickly and sweet talk Annette into taking them with her on her final sojourn to Nick's

Most of the floss used in this piece is blended.  This is one of the two? three? symbols/colors that's not.  It's just plain ol' 352, but it actually spans the whole width of the piece, so hopefully I got that counted alright and I can use that as the base.   To the left of the center of the piece, it looks like it has little "knots" along the line.   When stitching it, I counted by fives and would do a full cross after 5 stitches.  I learned to do that with Teresa Wentzler pieces - counting out and doing a full cross each 10th when going across a border or long stretch like that.  Fives worked better for me in this piece, the way I was highlighting (it's an older hand drawn chart without the thicker 10 grid lines).  This piece does not have as much coverage, so I'm hoping to get it done in a quicker fashion than my last desert panorama.

Question of the month:

What finishing style have you never tried but would love to do?

And this is where I give a big ol' shrug.   I'm not sure, by in large because I just finish things if I like the way I've seen them finished or if I think of something interesting.   I have fairly decent sewing skills, so I don't mind finishing into stockings or bell pulls.   I enjoy 3D finishes such as biscornus or Just Nan's little mice.   I've done some of my own framing, though I would rather pay someone else because I'm not quite as skilled.   I'm thinking of doing some flatfolds in the future, though?

Friday, November 10

International Quilt Show - Houston

This past weekend I went to the International Quilt Show in Houston with my friend Melissa.  I've been a few times in the past (when I lived in Houston), but decided to take a trek back to hang out and check it out.

There were many, many pretties, but unfortunately, they are also kinda strict on pictures.  It's understandable, most quilts can be deconstructed by people who are good quilters.  I am not an awesome quilter, so I did take a few pictures, but mostly just bought a few things.

We didn't get into the actual quilt show area - it took us an entire day just to walk the floor, and we didn't feel like coming back the next day.  

Fortunately (?) the 'Stros were kind enough to win the World Series, and there was a huge parade downtown as well.  The George R Brown Convention Center is just down the way from Minute Maid Park (the baseball stadium/park), so the parking/driving was a bit of  a mess, but the attendance was lighter than Thursday (we're spit-balling the idea that people either went to the parade instead or just stayed away from downtown).

We got to look at quite a few things and venture into the booths and there weren't too many problems with bumping into people.

So here's my haul and/or entertainment:

One of the things I suck at with regards to fabrics/sewing, is changing colorways.  It's funny how easy it is for me in stitching, but quilting breaks my little brain.  So I found this pattern I liked in another color scheme and took a picture for reference (not that I'd use the aquas, but I like the idea better than the original).

These are two quilts I just really liked.  I'm not sure I'd do them, though.
The "Wrented" one just gives me a giggle, and I found the preponderance of raccoons somewhat surprising at the Festival.  There were a lot of raccoon quilts, but I really liked these guys best.   I thought they looked like they might mug you for your Christmas prezzies.

This quilt I straight up bought the kit for... Ok, I didn't.  I thought about it for an hour or two and went back to it, hoping it was sold out because I really love the colors in it.  It's in a very different color way than the pattern (Poppin' In).  I loved it in the hot pink and I have a great place to display it in the Lady Lair.  Plus, I thought the kit was more than reasonably priced, especially because I wouldn't have to go hunting for the fabrics myself.
It was at a booth that sells those crystal bits, and while they were really pretty and sparkly, I won't be embellishing my own quilt.

Oh heck, here's the pattern from the interwebz:
There's a "Poppin' Out" pattern that is it convex instead of concave, and I nearly bought that one, too.

There was a booth with a lot of pincushions: Cats, Mice, Dogs, Pigs, etc.   They came in pretty small and fairly large pieces, and I just loved this mouse so I got it.   He's huge.  And all mine (and added more than a little weight to my overly burdened bag!)

I stopped by the Missouri Star Quilt Company booth, because I had to.  If you haven't been to their site, or checked out their youtube tutorials and you're into quilting (or want to be), they're my favorites.  So easy and not annoying ;)

This is Tula Pink's "Spirit Animal" layer cake.   I just kept saying "SPAAAACE OTTERRRRS!" because they make me laugh.  I have absolutely no idea what to do with it, I just wanted space otters.

I didn't pick up much in the way of fabric, because it's heavy, and to be honest, I wasn't seeing a whole lot that was so unique I had to have it.   Plus, the quilt show is a little pricey and I come from a state with tons of quilt stores (and FQs that are typically 0$.50-1.00 cheaper)

But there was a nice place that had really pretty metallic fabrics, and I thought these would make a fun table runner for Christmas:

The very first large purchase (so clearly my camera roll isn't set to chronological) is this quilt, Weeds in the Sidewalk.   They had this one displayed and I HAD to have it.  They had it in the pure black and white, and another with a yellow splash of color.  Melissa is a bad person and found the very last kit and presented it to me.   And of course I bought it.   At least it will go well with the white fur from Mona.

Oh heck, I'll stick them in here, too:  The two colorways.  I think the yellow is pretty, I just like monochromatic designs a lot more.

And then we stumbled upon a shop that does a lot of dish towels and pot holders and the like
A lot of them were really cool, and a lot of them were also Texas themed.

First off - I grabbed their very last UT dishtowel.   Of course they were the first school sold out ;)

And then I grabbed these three pot holders - sorry they're a little fuzzy.  I thought they were all cute, and I got duplicates to give out as Christmas gifts as well:

We swung by a shop called "Treasures of the Gypsy" that I remember from even my first quilt show in Houston.   The show sells 'exotic' fabrics and dolls (and patterns) by Arley Berryhill.  His blog/sale site is here.    Treasures... doesn't have a website, and it's full of really cool soft-sculpture dolls.  My only complaint is that the owner can be really rude sometimes.   They could also improve their signage re: not touching anything, because they're soft sculptures, people touch, and their signage is crappy.  More than a few people came away from that shop muttering/talking about 1. rudeness and 2. the need fore better signage.


Anyway, I saw a doll with a raven's skull, which I would have loved to purchase, but was priced for more than I was willing to spend. 
And I had bought a lot of the patterns for the dragons back in the day and they were lost or stolen, or who knows what, so I was looking to replace them.  But you know what?  I suddenly didn't feel the need to really sew them, and then I saw the firebird:

You can check out more/better pictures here - scroll down - (because again with the no picture taking), which I highly recommend.  I'm looking forward to using fashion fabrics - dupionis and jacquards to really make this special.  I love it.

And I also grabbed this six image panel - part of Fabric Fiesta by Dan Morris.  I'm thinking about cutting and sewing it into a long panel as as a dining room table runner, and embellishing them.  If there's a panel left over (size, y'all) or something, maybe I'll make a super blingy, embellished wall hanging.

And finally, a couple of patterns - this one is a sloth pattern;  I have a lot of friends who are obsessed with sloths, so I thought I could make a single panel Sloth Pillow for them - the pattern is fairly easy and straightforward and I think it looks like fun.

And the last of the quilt patterns - "God Bless Texas"
I've seen this one around quite a bit, and I was happy to grab this.  Fairly easy again, and I think fun for a smorgasborg of fat quarters.  I think I'd go with something other than white for the background because that section of the "supposed to be white re: the flag" is already so close; maybe a nice light blue.   It's hard to see in this photo (or the pattern itself), but they've actually quilted the Alamo, roses (presumably yellow roses ;) ) and other Texana into the backing.  Quite pretty.

I went by the Silver Needle, but sadly, they did not have what I was looking for in stock.  Their booth was in an odd location and seemed kind of small this year, but it's been a while since I've been there.

We also swung by the Bohin booth (on purpose!) and in fact, had cash in hand because they do not take cards.  I bought a few packets of needles - I usually buy them in bulk but have not found my bulk needles to take with me to Houston, and I grabbed a pair of bunny (er... "hare...") scissors.

They also had some hand made scissors for more than $500, but I managed to stay away from those, though they were STUNNING.

So that was the one day quilt show extravaganza.

The next day we swung by ABC Stitch Therapy, a stitching store on the NW side of Houston (fairly close to where I grew up, actually, though they weren't there back then).    They are pretty close to where 3 Stitches is, but since I've had nothing but bad experiences at 3 Stitches, I never darken their doorway any more.

Everyone was super nice at ABC, and lo'!  They were having a Primitive Hare trunk show.   I really LOVE her designs, but I know I'll never get around to stitching them, so I haven't bought a lot.

But I did find this, which I think would be perfect for the kitchen:

While I was at it, I went ahead and grabbed Dog Pile from Ink Circles, which I've been meaning to grab for a while (I always try to purchase from Brick and Mortar stores, and tend to get my yearly's wish list at the get together every year at Stitcher's Paradise in Vegas, but since I was here...)

I found this older Sweetheart Tree April sampler - I was actually looking for a biscornu to grab me, but this did instead :)

And my last grab was this:
They had different gates, but I liked this one best of all.  And it fit within my rule which is now: "Will this work with any of the mountains of fabric you already own"  haha.

So that's my Quilt Show weekend extravaganza/purchasing fest.  It was a lot of fun, and I hope to go again in the future (though not as soon as next year).

And one last final thing:  The scrap metal sculpture I picked up at the grocery store.  Because who doesn't need a longhorn santa that you then have to figure out how to transport home ;)

Wednesday, November 8

#WIPWednesday with Freshwater Pearls

When you're home all day with some sort of undefined funk (not flu, not sinus, but yuck anyway), you sit on the couch and do nothing.  Except maybe stitch.

So here's where I'm at!:

I sing a song that goes something like this when I'm working on this piece:
"This is the beige that never ends,
It goes on and on, my friend..."

Saturday, November 4

Framing is coming! Framing is coming!

In the past, I've gotten a few things framed at Nick's in Mesa (? I think it's Mesa, I visited my friends in Phoenix and they took me there).  Well!  One of my friends was in town (sorta) for work, and we met and had dinner.   She offered to take some of my stitching to Nick's since we're going to see each other again in a couple of months and I can fly home with my pieces (vs having them shipped like last time).  We didn't go to Nick's the last time a bunch of us were in Phoenix because he was ending his business, but for reasons he hasn't actually closed up yet.  Yay for us!

So we did some framing-by-text, but luckily Nick is pretty damn awesome and the options I got were pretty awesome from the beginning and I was happy.

First up is the Dracula book cover, which I finished earlier this year (and hey, this picture is really a color accurate photo of that Aries by Sparklies that I adore).   He is actually using two frames to make this, one frame acting like a kind of mat, which is WAY awesome.   This was so good that it was an immediate yes.   And to be honest, it's my favorite framing thing from everything that's getting done.

Next up is Ferret Knot by White Willow Stitching.   The other option had a frame that didn't have that gold edge, and I like the way it breaks things up.  I also love that suede mat, which I think should work super well with the overdye chocolate that I used in the design.   Much love for this (man these are going to be heavy ;) )

Next is Tapestry by Ink Circles.
And again, it's the double-frame thing.   Annette (link to her flosstube) showed me her Tapestry (or, rather, a photo of it) while we were hanging out a few weeks ago, and I really did like it.  This is the same thing she had done (and I think we've even stitched on the same fabric?  hah!).  We, and some other friends, all stitched on this together at the same time; starting at approx the same time.   It was kind of fun to be bouncing off of each other's progress pictures, and not only is it a gorgeous design, but I will always think of my wonderful friends when I look at it.   I can't imagine a frame I'd like better, honestly. 

Next up is Immaculate Heart (again, by Ink Circles).
It's a pretty small design, and I love the old world/medieval feel of it and wanted a heavy, thick frame to go around it.  And lo'!  This is the option Nick pulled.  So, yes?   Seriously, this guy is a genius.  And luckily this is fairly small so at least one of these will be easy to transport ;)

And finally, I bring you Celtic Christmas by Lavender and Lace/Told in a Garden
I stitched this back in 1998.  At one time, I "finished" it into a cheap Michaels frame using stitch witchery to hold it to the backing board, so there's still residue of that stuff around the edges.   Way back when I "didn't know any better" and what not.  Luckily the sticky stuff isn't anywhere near the stitching, but around the very edges;  it's not like that stuff comes off easily, either.

I don't have a blog post with her in it, but otherwise I stitched it as directed, same fabric, same materials, even that god awful DMC 284Z (I didn't even have to look it up, I remember that stuff!).  I recently hit this piece with a lint roller to try to get any extra dog hair off of it, and that gold started flaking!  So I thought I should get it framed tout-de-suite.

I didn't want it too look too Christmassy (hence the removal of the "NOEL" from above her head), but I stitched her because I love her red dress, so I knew I wanted red in the framing somewhere, but when it was the top mat, it just overwhelmed the framing.   This is eventually what we settled on - this was definitely the piece that took us the longest to pick a frame option for.  It's the costliest one we framed (I think the red is suede, and the tan is a really pretty silk mat, actually), but 1.  she's worth it and 2. it was still a helluva lot cheaper than if I'd framed her at a regular place here. 

I'm quite happy with this choice and now I have to decide if I want to hang her in a public area of my house or just put her above my dresser so I can look at her every day.

So that's the framing that's coming my way.  I should get everything by January at the latest, and I couldn't be more excited/pleased.   I hate to wish ill on Nick, but I hope the issues regarding his shop continue for just a few more months so I have one more crack at framing with him.   Mostly for those desert pieces.

Thursday, November 2

Fruit Cocktail by Glendon Place (and Dinky Dyes)

I related my Mixed Berry Cheesecake story already.  At the same LNS this year, I was once again digging through the depths of Stitcher's Paradise's back room, actually looking to see if there was another Mixed Berry for a friend, and I ran across this one.  Since it was small and relatively easy, I went ahead and purchased it, too.  Honestly, I'm not a fan of oranges/yellows, so I'm not sure what I was thinking, but hey, why not.

This kit also came with the Dinky Dye fibers and a 5 color sequence, specially dyed silk like Mixed Berry.  It did not come with fabric, though, but only called for white (I think?  Anyway, I got white).  I went ahead and grabbed a scrap piece they had for sale so I could start it soon.   I also kind of decided to stitch this one first as a practice for the second one.  And it's a damn good thing I did.

I noticed mine did not look like the model, my colors were in the wrong sequence.  While I don't hate the outcome, I think the sequence is far less obvious and I prefer the model.  Oh well.  To be honest, since I'm not sure I want to frame this or keep it, even, it's not the worst.   I have a beloved cousin who really liked this, I might finish it into a wall hanging or something for her.

The other issue I had with the kit was the same one I had with the Mixed Berry, in that the silks are skimpy as heck.   In fact, I ran out of the regular peach/orange, and I had to pull from my personal supply.  I blended it with the original so that the minor lot difference wasn't as noticeable.    Because of the issues with both kits, I would not recommend purchasing it unless you really like the design or just need to have the entire Glendon Place dessert series.

I started this well ahead of Mixed Berry but did not finish it first because when I finished all of the stitching, I realized that the kit did not come with the mill hill beads required.  I went through both kits/patterns and my personal bead supply and then ordered what I needed.

I started 1/14/2017 and finished 9/25/2017.   Stitched on 28ct white lugana.

Whole thing!  whoohoo!  Ok, so maybe I like it better when I look at it from a distance (still probably not going to frame it though ;) )

I still question the red beads, but whevs :)

I took pictures of this one in the setting sun like I did Mixed Berry, and I gotta say, I do love how the firey colored beads light up in that setting

And just for funsies, here is a side by side.   You can mainly see the sequence difference in the large motifs around the center/outside of the mandala.  I like the green in the middle of the motif more than I do at the bottom, where mine is on that motif; I also like the increased variation of colors on the diagonal motifs radiating out of the center, it's too blendy in mine for my tastes.   The upside is that I made sure to get the Mixed Berry sequence correct, since I was so bent out of shape about it on this piece.

Tuesday, October 31

Mixed Berry Cheesecake

There's a small story behind this one.

I saw someone post Mixed Berry Cheesecake (once upon a time), somewhere (couldn't tell ya where, sorry!) by Glendon Place and I fell in love with it.  Unfortunately, it was a limited edition piece and had been out for a while.  With the popularity of the Glendon Place desserts, of course it was sold out everywhere.   There were even a couple of stores that had it listed online, and yet when I ordered, they returned my money, because of course it was sold out.   I'd kind of given up (and I'm not one to engage in any illegal copying/sites).

I was in Las Vegas during my annual sojourn for MLK weekend, and I was at Stitcher's Paradise.   They have a crazy awesome, well stocked store.  More importantly are their two side rooms - one is full of fabric and is a great place to do floss tosses, and the other is full of old stock organized in those magazine holders by designer.

I've found lots of really good stuff in there and I love hanging out in there while everyone else is floss-tossing and doing other stuff.   Lo'!  And Behold!  They had one last Mixed Berry Cheesecake!

The cool part about these limited edition kits is that they have a specially dyed silk that is five of their regular colors and they tell you what the sequence is supposed to be and where to start/finish the particular portion of the design.  I think it's pretty cool.

I did not start it right away because I didn't like the fabric that came in the kit, Bashful by PTP, because it was way too pink.   So I spent a lot of time looking for a slightly pink, but not pink fabric.  I bought a lot of fabric that was pinker than the Bashful, and just sucked it up and used it.  Turns out it wasn't so pink!  Haha.   My only real complaint with the kit is that there was barely enough fiber to finish the design.   If I had made any mistake, I couldn't have finished it - and I tend to be fairly frugal with threads.  I think for a less thread-frugal person or someone who makes a mistake, they would be screwed.  It wouldn't have been much to add an extra length of each (especially the 5 color sequence that you can't buy extra of).  I have a full set of Dinkys, so I could have made up the difference for the solids - not everyone does, and of course there's the lot difference.

So here we are, my first finished Glendon Place Dessert, even if it is a mini.  I took pictures of it in different lighting to try to catch the pinkish (but not too pink) of the fabric.  My camera phone always goes bonkers with pinks/purples/blues, making them over saturated, but I'm still pretty pleased that you can tell what's going on in the design.

Started 9/10/2017 and finished 9/24/2017

Picture in the shade, the colors of the silks are pretty saturated here. 
I do love the beading throughout the piece as well.

In more direct light, the background is so pale it looks white against the berry colors, the silks are more true here, though the purples look a little grey.

Direct/setting sunlight, it shows off how much of the beading is throughout with the shadows.

These colors were so much fun to stitch.  So pretty and easy

Very true colors in this shot.

The middle is bead heavy.  I'm thinking of a triple mat using the pink/blue/purple (if I can get the framer to agree ;) )

I almost forgot to stitch the "natural" (not quite white) bits.

More of the corner beading.

I just added this photo because I accidentally put it through a filter and I loved it when it popped up.
So glad to have gotten this one finished!! :)