Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Scissors - Storklettes

My favorite camera has been repaired and returned to me, oh happy day!  In celebration I took pictures of scissors.

Look at these little cuties.  New little "Storklette" scissors in gold by Kelmscott.  Shown with a 3.5-inch standard size pair of stork scissors for comparison.  These little guys are so cute, and that's what they are made for.  The little blades are not really for cutting.

And the simplest, plainest pair of Dovo scissors you'll ever see.

Not fancy, but they are perfect.  *snip*

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

Shopping?  Maybe.  I want to go out and feel the energy of the crowds and get decorations and stocking stuffers for all and sundry, but to go shopping today would involve dragging the kids along so maybe we'll just hit one or two of the lower-traffic stores.  We are out of coffee so there's my excuse for an expedition.

But I did get to do some shopping for myself last weekend, there was a quilting and sewing show over at the fairgrounds.  My biggest purchase was this bundle of quilting cottons (and would have been the pattern too, but that was only $0.01 with purchase of the fabric, score!). 

I absolutely adore these colors and the model for this quilt was stunning and did not look so difficult, so maybe this will be a good Christmas-break project.  It'll be my first quilt larger than a couple placemats strung together, so we'll see how that goes.  

Also there was scissors acquisition involved but that'll be a future post.  Hee!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thank you to you readers out there, and for your lovely comments and support.  We're going to eat a feast in a few hours with family and friends, and I can't wait.  Since I did my share of feast cooking yesterday I can watch the big parade with the kids and stitch this morning.  The boy is more exited for the 'punkin chunkin' competition special that will be on later this evening, but he'll just have to wait until after the turkey. 

So what am I thankful for?

I am thankful to myself (why not) for making time to make beautiful things and make things beautiful.

I am thankful to my employer, because I still have a good job in this economy, and that once in a while I get sent to places like this, where I would not have found myself otherwise:

I also thank Teka for not going after whatever she saw down there:

And I thank Rocky for watching out for us, all the time, unless there is a tennis ball around:

I'm grateful that places like this exist, and that we have the means to visit them once in a while:

I thank this guy for carrying the water, and bringing me coffee just now:

And hugely thankful to these two, for making me stop and look at the world at their level.

Thanks everyone-- enjoy your day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Red snowflakes

After yesterday's snow came wind last night.  Everything crisp and icy and the sun is out this morning.  Stitching pretty red snowflakes by the warm fireplace with a mug of hot cider?  That's a good day.

Monday, November 22, 2010

First snow!

It started with a few flakes late yesterday afternoon.

We don't get much snow most winters, maybe just a couple morning we wake up with a few inches, but this winter promises to have a little more.  El nino or la nina, I can never remember which is which.

This morning when we woke up it was not snowing, just maybe half inch on the ground and bare driveway.  School not even delayed an hour.

But by the time we'd finished breakfast, it was snowing again.  So on went the mittens and boots.  The boy didn't even wait for his coat.

By the time it was time to leave, and I finally wrestled a coat on that kid, it was snowing HARD.  School still not delayed.  Because I forgot that my car doors freeze shut when it snows (German engineering at its finest) off they all went in the 4-wheel-drive.

The half-husky is in seventh heaven and is planning on waiting outside patiently for their return.

I plan on waiting inside, where there is a warm fire.  Somehow I will be productive and not distracted by the pretty snow on the leaves.

Or the pretty winter color scheme I just pulled out.

I wonder how successful I will be...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Stormy November - Gray and Green

A few days ago we had a windstorm typical of the ones we get in the winter, which make branches fall on powerlines and the power go out overnight. This last one was not "Storm of the Century" material, or even "Storm of 2010".  But still the next day there are branches and fallen trees everywhere, and I'm always glad we have a generator and a nice warm fireplace.  The aftermath is mostly cleaned up now but the streets in our rural area are still lined with branches.

 It's stopped raining for a few minutes, and I was struck again by how (as always) green dominates the landscape, but gray really takes over as well this time of year, what with the overcast sky and low lighting.  


If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New scissors- Pretty fancy?

The scissors I won from the eBay auction I showed on my new phone the other day arrived already!

Aren't they pretty?

These are the same mystery "Nogent" variety as the two birds scissors from this post.  According to the eBay seller, both pairs are Nogents by Claude Daugin...Which I've since learned are very I guess either I got a screaming deal, these are either Daugin's budget line (if there is such a thing), or these are good knock-offs.  This particular pair looks identical, except for color and maybe the interior edges less well polished, to the "Dentelle" pair  listed at Silent Stitches, but I got it for less than 1/4 the price.   In any case these are lovely and have a wonderful action, so even though I have a question as to whether they are authentic, I've spent more money for less quality before and don't feel too bad about it. 

But when you think about it, black-market counterfit name-brand scissors don't strike me as lucrative as say, fake Prada bags, and not something I would expect, you know?

Oh well, someday I'll have to get a for sure authentic pair of Nogents and compare, heh heh.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shimmering Shisha

I LOVE shisha mirror embroidery and the shisha stitch.  This little fob was my first Shisha (and goldwork) project several years ago, the pattern was from an old issue of an Australian magazine and it took me a long time to track down the materials.  It's a little worse for wear these days and part of me wants to make another one because I know I could do it better, now.

I'm putting a few on as impact/accent on my new freestyle project, which will remain nameless for the time being.  But I love these little shishas so much thought I'd share a hint of them now.

Attaching Shisha mirrors using Shisha stitch is simple, but a little fiddly and does take practice.  If you're interested in Shisha, the best instructions I've found are in select back issues of my favorite magazine, Stitch with the Embroiderer's Guild out of the U.K. (linked above), or in the hard-to-find book Sadi Thread & Shisha Glass Embroidery by Betty Luke. 

In other news I can not wait for my other camera to be repaired and sent back to me, this old one is that much more difficult to focus and take true color pictures, and eats AA batteries by the handful. NOM NOM.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Android apps for stitchers

A new phone!  Sharp!

This thing is so smart it's practically a genius.  Of course I went looking for Android apps for stitchers and embroiderers.  Didn't find any-- there are a few apps for knitters, but I'm not surprised, that bunch always embraces new technology quickly.  I did find a few apps that lend to creativity and making life easier, though.

One of the most fun in Benjamin Moore's Color Capture.   It really takes advantage of the great screen and photo technologies packed into the phone, and allows you to directly find colors from a photo (from the phone or linked from a web accout).  This is finding a green in a photo I just took of the weedy backyard:

Also can find complementary colors to one you've picked out of a photo.  This is a lot of fun.

Of course, eBay is a favorite of many people, but the eBay app already helped me win these scissors:

And say you're out shopping and you see a book or cd or refrigerator or whatever you want to comparison shop, whip out the price scanner app and go to town:

I've also had a good time already reading blogs on it, and stitching along to Pandora music and radio stations from around the world.  The mixture of high tech satellite and phone with my low-tech silk and linen is really delicious to me.

If you know of any great stitchy apps, let me know in the comments.  If I find more I'll keep you posted.

Oh, yeah-- it also makes phone calls...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Weather station

The budding scientist bought this with "his" money.  We set it up in the yard the other day outside his bedroom window, during a brief but precious period of sunshine.

He's already been able to tell us that our wind usually comes from the west.

and that we've had over an inch of rain in the last few days (oh, November)

But that most importantly, going outside to check it on a drippy afternoon near dusk can  be pretty awesome, you get to wear your boots and go in the puddles!

Friday, November 12, 2010

An apple a day

The old, old saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" has a grain of truth to it, and for me, that's also true for stitching.  So even though I've been busy with other things, I have not been neglecting the stitching entirely, even if it's just to put another length of thread into the border of my Grandmother's Christmas gift. 

Truthfully, working on this piece sometimes feels more like a chore, because the materials are not what I prefer to use and I do not enjoy stitching borders.  I do love the finished effect of the pretty satin-stitch leaves, though!

This is "Floral Bellpull" by Theresa Wentzler and is one of those projects that looks better when you can stand back a way, rather than close up.  Grandma stitched all the fruit panels several years ago-- she can no longer stitch so asked me to complete the boder and finish bellpull with the panels as individual pockets.  It has taken me longer than it should have, unfortunately, but now that I only have one more of the panels to stitch on and the border is nearing completion, I find myself moving faster on it because I can see the finish line. 

Won't be long now!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Can't get it out of my head

I know I haven't been stitching enough when I can't think of anything except the beads and fibers hidden away in the next room.  I can't get this color combination out of my head...

Soon, my pretties...soon.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thoughts on String

I just finished reading Bill Bryson's fascinating new book, At Home: A Short History of Private Life.  All about the changes to homes and houses over the last few centuries.  Among many other interesting subjects, he had a wonderful passage about thread:
String is marvelously elemental.  It is simply two pieces of fiber placed side by side and twisted together.  That achieves two things: it makes a cord that is strong, and it allows long cords to be built up from short fibers.  Imagine where we would be without it.  There would be no cloth, clothing, fishing lines, nets, snares, rope, leashes, tethers, slings, bows for shooting arrows, or a thousand useful things more.  Elizabeth Wayland Barber, a textile historian, was hardly exaggerating when she called string the "weapon that allowed the human race to conquer the earth." 
Wow, think on that.  Usually we think of inventions that started it all to be stone arrowheads, or the control of fire, or somesuch...but someone long long ago had to have the bright idea that two of those vines twisted together were so much stronger than one alone, and that they could be used to close the cloak, make a net, or hold together a container

And eventually, someone along the line hit upon the idea to use strings to decorate a simple cloth, to make something plain special and beautiful.  Archeologist have found evidence of embroidery on the clothing of ancient egyptian mummies.

It me ponder all those stitchers and fiber workers before me, and all steps along the way to get to this point.  There is a story in the stash box.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A view of the passenger seat

Not much time for blogging these last few days, as I suspected.  See my stitching in this photo?

It's in there.  Look hard.

Yeah.  Put away, inside the pouch with the purple trim.  Not much time for stitching, either.  It's busytimes!

But, this morning the little gal and I did break out the crayons for a hardcore coloring (and designing) session, so I am ever hopeful!

My go-to digital camera has a fatal lens error so I'm using the backup, previous-generation camera this week.  And my laptop battery stopped working and our DSL modem is breaking is amazing how all this stuff comes all at once!  Nevertheless, in spite of (or because of) all this, I expect I'll need to curl up with some non-electronic needles and thread this evening to decompress from the busy week, and there may be actual stitching content posted tomorrow...cross your fingers!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stitch where you can

The traditional end-of-the-year upswing in business is beginning to hit for my day job so my posts may be getting shorter and/or less frequent.  Or maybe it'll be more photos of my stitching in odd locations like this one from a couple months ago:

Yup, that's a fighter jet.  Stitching on my lunch break in my car, before doing a site visit at the flight museum.  None of my currently scheduled work sites are quite this awesome, but that can change and you never know what might be found on the way!