Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mid-December Finishes

Finished as of 12/11/2007:
Christmas Ornaments (two need buttons). Mom and I hand-dyed 16 count Aida cloth for the fronts and I designed the stars. The backs simply say Noel 2007 (and one that says Yule for me. ;p) We made 21 of them, one for each relative and one I'm giving to a friend. We used just about every shade of yellow I had and ran through a few.

Blackwork Leaves. I used three real leaves to sketch the outlines of turning leaves and charted them out with blackwork fillings. I used four different DMC Variations threads that just seemed to bespeak Autumn colors to me. I used two strands in the centers and outsides to try to make those areas darker. I like it. Now I just have to figure out how to finish it. It's on linen but I forget which count, probably 28.

Current project:
Starbuck's Coffee Logo for my co-worker. I'm almost finished with it. Once I do, I'll put it inside a travel mug so she can enjoy it with her caffeine addiction. Maybe the folks at Starbuck's would even be willing to use it instead of their own when she goes there every day. ;p

Next project:
Chameleon (if I can find the damned thing) I really should be working on it right now, but its travel bag has gone AWOL. Hopefully I can finish it by the time my nephew leaves in January.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Beautiful Star Quilting Ornament

Well, last night I was bored with the ornaments I really should have been doing, so I fiddled with some of the designs I'm making from quilting blocks. I stitched a cute little ornament for my Norfolk Pine on a 48ct (!) polyester remnant I bought at Wal*Mart. I used two of DMC's variations threads and ended up with a teeny tiny one-inch square ornament based on the quilting block "Beautiful Star". I would have taken a picture of it to show off to everyone, but whenI showed it off to the bus driver I ride with almost every day, he was enthralled by it. So, I gave it to him. I'll take a picture of the next one I do.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Stitcher's Philosophy

I am a stitcher. I know that seems obvious by the fact that this blog is to be solely devoted to my needlework efforts, but it seems to me that there is something to be said for calling yourself a stitcher. I take two or three or even more elements and put them together in a way that is pleasing to the eye. I make things beautiful.

My idea of beauty will not always meet someone else's standards, nor do theirs always meet mine. However, if you ask any stitcher if they think your work is beautiful, even if it's a design of something they really dislike, they'll tell you yes. You see, even the work of a beginning stitcher is beautiful. It's the time and effort and love we put into a piece that makes it so.

I will be the first to admit my stitching could use improvement. I'm always learning and getting better but I don't always make sure my top stitch in a cross-stitch is untangled and lays flat. I use the wonderful railroading technique most of the time, but somethimes forget if I'm in a hurry or just feeling lazy. My running stitches while quilting definitely need improvement. I love doing it, but I just haven't had enough experience yet to make them as small and even as my mother's and my grandmother's when she was still able to quilt.

All stitchers improve as they age. We learn more stitches or simpler ways of doing things we've done for years. We talk to other stitchers and other craftsmen and artists and develop new things. Our craft is learning and evolving just as we are with the addition of new technologies like Q-Snaps and ready access to specialty threads and fabrics.

We stitchers make useful things that a person will use daily. We make things that will be lovingly placed in a descendant's hands with the words, "Great-Aunt Sew-and-Sew made this for me when I was a child." We even make things that will be looked at once and thrown away, hopefully never finding out that our love and time was heedlessly tossed into the trash next to the chicken from last night's dinner.

We make people laugh with the pithy comments on our samplers. We make them cry at the sight of a loved one whose face was turned into a chart and stitched. We make people smile when they receive a get-well card with a Margaret Sherry cat with a thermometer sticking out of its mouth. We stitchers are important. We carry on what some consider dying arts. That crocheted baby blanket or the purple-sequined jacket that is just perfect for your Halloween costume are our efforts. They are our efforts to make the world a little more beautiful and a little more happy. Beauty done one stitch at a time.

This is what I am. This is what you are or could be. Try it. Make your life a little more than it already is. I do.