Sunday, March 16, 2014

WIPocalypse March Update!

Greeting fellow stitchers!  Wow, hard to believe it's time for the March WIPocalypse update already!  This last month has gone fast, but I've gotten quite a bit of stitching done.  It's still cold and snowy where I am, and that helps.

First, I have a finish!  This is Albero Felice, by AAN.  I stitched it on antique white 32 ct. Belfast linen.  I just love how this came out.  In fact, I like it so much that I bought the pattern to stitch a companion piece.  I thought they'd look great framed together.  I have the fabric and floss for the companion piece, too, so maybe I'll start on that in the coming month.

Next is a new start.  I mentioned last month that I have a milestone anniversary coming up this summer, so I decided to do a commemorative anniversary piece.  This is what I chose -- it's by Ellen Mauer Stroh.  I love the lacy look of the winter white border and, looking at the floss that I've gathered,  the colors in the roses are just gorgeous! 

Here is my start on it:

I'm doing it on light mocha linen, and I like the subtle contrast of the border thread color.  One problem with this project, though -- the symbols on the chart don't match the floss key AT ALL.  It's like they decided after printing the key to use completely different symbols.  The shop I bought the pattern at is awaiting word from the designer on this (I found nothing about the issue online), but I was able to start anyway since it was pretty obvious what the border color was supposed to be!

Next up is Tyler's Lion, my huge historical sampler.  It is really hard to get the whole thing in a picture, so I photographed just the part that I worked on this past month, which is that huge center house and trees motif.  I just need to finish that fence on the right side and that motif will be done.

Finally, since finishing Albero Felice, I pulled out Liza's Bouquet and I have been working on that for the past couple of weeks.  Here is my progress :

I LOVE working on this piece, because it is so colorful and fun that it just cheers me up to work on it.  As you can see, though, it's a fairly complicated and dense design, so it's one that I have concentrate on.  This design is by Ginger & Spice, and I'm stitching it on 14 ct. white Aida using 3 strands of floss because I wanted really full coverage.  I have been working on this particular flower the last couple of days, so thought I'd show a close-up:

Isn't that flower the most beautiful thing?  It just comes alive under my needle.

Well, that's the progress on the projects I worked on this past month.  As the March discussion topic, Measi suggested that we talk about our "stitching spot" and include a photo.  Well, here's mine, excuse the mess:

 I stitch in a chair in the living room so that I can be with the family when possible.  You can't see it in this picture, but I have a floor light right by the chair, and I keep my current projects and paraphernalia on top of that table.  I've got a pair of reading glasses there, as well as pencils and highlighters, a pencil sharpener, my home phone as well as a little speaker-stand that holds my mobile phone, and the coaster is for my omnipresent cup of coffee.  I like to listen to classical music while I stitch, and I can plug my phone into that little speaker and enjoy my music.  I have a lot of my music in the Amazon Cloud Player -- love that thing!

The contraption on the chair arm is a combination pincushion and trash bag.  I love this thing.  I keep a bunch of needles in the pincushion and then there is a magnetic strip right there that holds my embroidery scissors.  Under the table is a biggish basket that holds other projects, a couple of floss boxes, and things I may need soon but that I'm not using at the moment.

Til April, then -- happy stitching!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Magnetic Clip for Needlework

There was a thread recently on a message board that I frequent regarding using needle minders when you are cross stitching or doing other needlework.  I don't have a needle minder, but they are two-piece items with magnets on both parts so the minder (usually decorative) kind of "sticks to" your fabric.  The minder provides a safe place to park your needle while you are working, so that you aren't leaving stray needles in chair arms for another family member to accidentally find (not that I would know anything about that).

Well, I do not use a real needle minder, but I wanted to share what I do use, because it is effectively the same thing.  I use clips that are sold as food storage items -- you're supposed to use them to keep bags of chips closed, etc.  And I assure you, they are great for that.  BUT these clips also have strong round magnets on the back, because they are intended to stuck to the fridge for easy use while you're in the kitchen.  That magnet makes them PERFECT for needlework, too, because the magnet acts as a needle minder!

I bought the clips at my grocery store and they came in a set of 6, with multiple bright colors.  Here is a picture of the orange one, in use:

As you can see from both of the photos, I use a hoop when I cross stitch, and I roll up the extra fabric around my design and I simply clip it to the edge of the hoop with one of the magnetic clips.  I face the magnet part toward me, because then I can use it just like a needle minder -- as a super convenient place to park my needle while I answer the phone or grab another cup of coffee.  Because the clips are meant for kitchen use, they open up quite wide.  That's perfect, because I know that some people use hair clips to clip excess fabric onto their hoop, but a lot of hair clips just don't open up wide enough.  These clips do!

So, just wanted to share this little tidbit with my stitching friends.  I don't know exactly what brand these clips are, as I bought them some time ago and then "re-purposed" a few for my craft area.  But, I'm sure there are other, similar clips that would work fine.  The real point is just to recommend that if you're looking for clips to hold needlework, don't forget to check out the kitchen department.  You may just find the perfect clip and needle minder in one!!

P.S. Update on the fruit fly situation.  We are now on the THIRD dish of vinegar solution -- I leave the dish out for a few days and see what we get.  I got 25 or so fruit flies in the first few days, another 22 the second few days, and there are at least 10 more in the dish that is currently on the counter.  The moral of this story is, if you have a fruit fly problem like we did, there are probably A LOT MORE OF THEM in your house than you ever suspected!!  I plan to keep a dish of the vinegar solution out until we have no dead fruit flies after 48 hours.  And yeah, it's still really gross.