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  04:11:00 am, by Airycat   , 646 words  
Categories: Needlework, Hand Embroidery, Blessings Stitched Fabric Book

Blocks 11 & 12

I did this this evening.

Block 11, Blessing 7 (position 5) Health
Cross stitch flower, lazy daisy, back stitch, threaded backstitch


This is the symbol for the medical profession. I thought it was a good one to indicate health. Since one of my best friends died recently of a heart attack (too young!!), I really appreciate that I have such good health. Anything wrong with me is really minor, not really bad health. I am very fortunate and thank God for this.

I didn't do the cross stitch flower quite right and those snakes gave me fits, but I think it's okay -- not great, but okay.

Hmmm... I wrote that at 11:30 and forgot to hit the save button (or didn't hit it hard enough). I might as well show the next block. It's almost 3:30 and I just finished it. Maybe finished it.

Block 12, Blessing 8 (position 16) My Husband
Back stitch, satin stitch, running stitch (seed stitch?), darning stitch

I first took a one inch printout of a photo of Iqbal and chalked the lines and pressed it onto the block. I stitched a little bit, but it didn't look right, so I took out all the stitches and put on my thinking cap. "Hmmm....I have some water soluble stabilizer for machine embroidery. I know!" I taped a piece of the stabilizer onto a sheet of paper and printed the photo onto the stabilizer. Then I cut it out and basted it onto the block.

This is before I basted it:

Then I stitched the outline, his hair (except the comb-over which he doesn't have anymore because I finally convinced him he didn't need it), a few minimal features and his shirt. I didn't like how the shirt looked so I wove (darned) it. It looks like a sweater, now, even though in the photo it's a T-shirt. Still kind of wonky looking, but...

This is how it looked after stitching:

Then I dampened it with a wet paper towel to remove the stabilizer and Voila!

Some of the stitches are too loose, so I need to fix those. I still don't like the shirt/sweater, either, so I may redo that. I may also give him a little tea. LOL He looks a little pale. If I use this method in the future, I will replace the black ink (change color in the photo before printing) because it looks like it stained the fabric a bit.

Anyway, he is such a blessing. Today is a good example of how good he is to me. I just wanted to sit and stitch all day, but my son needed me to help him make some Indian treats for a pot luck he went to. I spent all afternoon standing over a hot stove in the kitchen. Alex did help clean up, but he was already late, so he didn't finish. It was 5:30. I was tired and just wanted to get to this stitching, so Iqbal finished cleaning the kitchen and happily ate a frozen pizza (well, I cooked it first) for dinner instead of expecting something nice. I think it took him about three years to figure me out and he's accommodated me ever since. I don't deserve to be treated like a princess, but I am! If that's not a blessing, I don't know what is.

I put him in square 16 because he's looking up in the photo, so it looks like he's looking at the other squares. He does actually look at each of them and ooooh and aaaahs over them.

EDIT: I forgot to say that I used a single strand of machine embroidery thread for all but the sweater/shirt, which was floss. (Maybe that's why I don't like how it came out.) Also - This looks much better -- smoother, not as wonky stitching -- in real life than it does in these extreme closeups. Everyone knew who it was, including himself.


  06:15:00 pm, by Airycat   , 881 words  
Categories: Needlework, Hand Embroidery, Blessings Stitched Fabric Book

Blocks 7 to 10

I have been working on this project, although not as steadily as I wish I would.

Block 7, Blessing 3 (position 4) My marriage
Portuguese stem, satin and back stitch


God knew who needed and gave me the grace to recognize him even though he was not my "dream" man (at first). It's hard to realize it's been 37 years. In some ways it seems like yesterday and in others, it's as if he has been part of me since the beginning. We balance each other. He's strong where I'm weak and vice versa. The old song that has been going through my head today is still true... "I love you more today than yesterday/but not as much as tomorrow..."

Block 8 Blessing 4 (position 6) My home
Back stitch, cable stitch, arrowhead stitch


Although something I wanted, moving to Oregon was stressful. The first house we found was nice, but not a good fit. Less than a year later we were looking again. We saw some really dreadful houses. Some of them my husband even wanted! When we came to this one, I was not enthusiastic. It's below the street. The street is barely more than an alley. It's a ranch style. The yard was way overgrown. It has no dining room. It was also filthy inside with fireplace and cigarette smoke/soot. But it was the right size and the right price and it had some good features (like arched doorways and a walk out basement).

We sold our Virginia house at a very good price, and the the first one here in OR sold quickly with no loss, so we were able to clean and paint this one before we moved in and had the living room windows replaced (the original ones didn't open), and the yard cleaned out. Now, five years later, it's not just a house but a home for my husband and me, my son (off and on), and for my 89 yo mom (plus 3 cats and a dog). My sister lives in the same city -- the first time we've lived near family since we've been married. I know there are many people who lost their homes recently and others who can barely make rent. I am very thankful for my home.

Block 9 Blessing 5 (position 8) Sunshine!
Back stitch, Pekinese stitch


I have SAD. I live in Oregon only because that's where my sister lives and expects to stay, because my son loves Portland and is likely to stay here. Aside form the life sustaining qualities of the sun, I very much appreciate and am thankful for its sunlight. My mom can actually get too much sunlight, but for me that's impossible. (I don't mean being out in it where I might burn.) We had about five minutes of sun, today. That was five minutes of smile time for me. &amp;#58;&amp;#68;

Block 10 Blessing 6 (position 25) Flowers
Stem stitch, fishbone stitch, Rosette Bud (ribbon)


Who doesn't love flowers? Even though I don't get as much sun as I'd like, the flowers seem to get enough, because they are blooming beautifully. The cooler than normal days made my roses fall apart, but they will rebloom and nothing else was bothered by the cold. Flowers help make up for the lack of sunshine here in Oregon. They seem to grow exceptionally well here. I am thankful for flowers.


My placement of the various blessings is pretty much random. I wanted to do another outline stitch so I did the grid on page 2 and it looked lonely with all empty squares, so that's why the flowers ended up there.

Stitching itself is a blessing. I find I enjoy it much more than I thought I would (or did in the past).

Also, I'm still learning a lot of these stitches. Because access to a book is easier than referring online (my printer is not being cooperative lately), I'm using my sister's books rather than Sharon B's stitch guide or TAST stitches (which I started out using). I love the Portuguese stem stitch, but it didn't come out as neatly as I'd have liked in the hearts. Pekinese stitch was an odd choice for the sun, but I wanted something different. It's another I really like. My cable stitch is messy, too, not at all how I wanted it to look. Some of this messiness has to do with the small squares and my old eyesight. Even with my stitching glasses, I need to find the optimal distance to see what I'm doing. If I could just see as clearly while I'm stitching as I can in these photos! (LOL I see where my hair has been stitched in, in a couple blocks.)

If it's not a drama, I can stitch while watching TV!! This is new for me. I've always needed to be too focused on one thing to do two and the easier (TV) always won out. This means I can sit with my husband for soccer games. I can stitch through World Cup!

I am committed to completing this book -- all 320-400 squares! By the time I'm done (1 year, I hope!!), I should have learned all the stitches and refined my skill at executing them. (Again, I hope!!) Then I want to make a king sized crazy quilt for my bed! I never pick the easy, simple projects. &amp;#58;&amp;#112;


  07:44:00 pm, by Airycat   , 298 words  
Categories: Chitchat, Hand Embroidery, Cross Stitch


I just got back from a visit with my sister and have borrowed eleven books on embroidery. She's done a lot more of it than I have. I'll be using these books to practice stitches in my blessings book sampler, so hopefully, I'll have something to add there, too.

These are the books (plus 1)       The widget doesn't work in this post.* Books returned. (09/15/11)

Mouse over a cover for title and author, or click a cover and it will give you more info and an option to go to either Amazon or LibraryThing.

I also took some photos of the cross stitch cats I did for her years ago. (here) There are five more in the series and I have the patterns somewhere. Maybe I will get to them, eventually. I want this and the accompanying photoblog to be a complete record of my work (however limited it is) so I will also be adding a couple of UFOs/WIPs.

Once I get my table cleaned off again, I will get back to the fairy quilt. It's amazing how things begin to pile up there. I don't intend that to happen, but once it does, and it tends to put me off working. I really need the clear space for working on the fairy quilt. My goal is to get it done by Tuesday.

I really hope this stitching phase lasts for quite a while. I'd love to get some things finished and do more!

Right now, I'm taking my sampler book and these books and I'm going to see what I can do.&amp;#58;&amp;#68;


* The widget is in the sidebar. It shows all my books, but if you are really interested, you can go to my LibraryThing (at the top of the widget) and open the Needlework and Crafts collection.


  01:11:00 am, by Airycat   , 275 words  
Categories: Needlework, Hand Embroidery, Blessings Stitched Fabric Book


I managed to stitch five squares in my blessings book, this evening. Three of them are practice stitches and two are blessings.


(Click image for larger view.)

My first blessing is my faith. While I am no longer a particularly religious person, I cannot even imagine not having faith, which really is that knowledge that passes understanding. I made the Bible with satin stitches and added straight stitches on top to create the illusion of writing. The cross is satin stitch in three sections. The bible cover is back stitch with a few satin stitches in the corner.

The second blessing (not necessarily second in importance) is my sewing glasses. I call them that because I don't need them for reading, except the very fine print, but I do need them for sewing and needlework. Since I enjoy the needlework, I'm very grateful for the glasses. Glasses and needle are back stitch, with the thread as a running stitch (tacked in at the needle eye).

The third box is the fly stitch on a diagonal. I used the diamond weave of the fabric as my lines.

Fifth box is a messy herringbone stitch. I need to practice this one more.

Twelfth box is Cretan stitch leaves. I like this stitch, but I need to work on making it more evenly spaced.

Box fourteen is fly stitch. This one makes me think of dandelions and snowflakes.

All the stitching is DMC, but I chose the threads color and didn't write down the numbers.

I learned the v (Edit 09/15/11: I'm not sure what happened to the rest of this post, nor do I remember what is missing.)


  03:33:00 pm, by Airycat   , 103 words  
Categories: Needlework, Hand Embroidery, Stitches

Herringbone Stitch

I'm not exactly doing the TAST Challenge, but I chose that to determine which stitch to use in the various stitch blocks in my Blessings book. As I get better at doing them, I will embrace more the spirit of TAST and see what else I can do with them. For now, however, this is more about learning the stitches.


Because of the close up, the threads of the fabric look a lot easier to count than they actually are. If I could see them this well, the stitches would be a lot more even. Otherwise, I think I did this OK.

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