Category Archives: Stitching

Felty, Beady, Sequiny Nostalgia, In Tree Form

There are few things on this planet that make us happier than our “heirloom” (read: “in battered, tattered condition, because they were perhaps loved too well when we were children”) Bucilla Christmas tree ornaments.

Santa Ornament

Reindeer

Tin Man

Boomer made the three above either before we were born or when we were very young. As we got older and she began imparting her crafty knowledge to us, we used to regularly raid her sewing room to dig out the Bucilla ornament kits she had buried under piles of other UFOs. Many a giggly, preteened summer afternoon was spent dreaming of Christmas, still months away, while snipping out little pieces of felt and affixing sequins to them with tiny glass beads. Truly, nothing spells Christmas for us better than that.

In our adulthood, we have often stared longingly at the scant few Bucilla items at our local Michael’s and felt horribly depressed that they just don’t make those projects like they used to. There’s been a void in our lives where felt and sequins and holiday cheer used to be.

Enter: “Fa La La La Felt”. Making our beloved Hooters H. Puffnstuff gave us the chance to discover that it is very easy to create a felt project… and just add your own sequins. A couple of weeks ago we dove in and made our own Bucilla-esque creations:

Pookie's owl

Pookie’s owl

Schnookie's bird

Schnookie’s cardinal

11/02/2010

Boomer’s cardinal

We shipped those three ornaments off to our friends at the Attic Needlework in Mesa to be included in their annual ornament auction to raise money for cancer research. And, um, we completely neglected to pimp the auction here… it’s over now, so if you were interested in bidding on any of the ornaments there, too late.

Anyway! The cardinals above were sort of self-designed, heavily modified from the “Fa La La La Felt” bird template, and, encouraged by my mad felt free-handing skillz, I decided the next project to tackle would be a Christmas tree. And behold! I am delighted with the end result:

Sequined Tree

Sequined Back

November 18 2010

Sequin Star

It doesn’t quite have that early ’80s Bucilla elan, but it’s getting closer. We’ve got a huge store of felt now, and buckets of sequins. The sky’s the limit, and our Christmas spirit is abundant!

[Posted by Schnookie]

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Filed under 25 Days Of Maple Hoo Christmas, Celebratory!, Pins and Needles, Seasonal, Stitching

Gifts From My Sister

It’s high time I cataloged here the fabulous stitching gifts my lovely sister, “KtG” (not her real name), has made for me over the years. KtG is an extraordinary needleworker who loves to make fancy, intricate stuff. She’s always picking out projects that call for tons of color-switching over one thread, or which call for specialty stitches, or which call for construction. I do not understand ever wanting to do these things, so I had pretty much resigned myself to a life without fabulous constructed etuis and scissor keeps and such. Little did I know that KtG would want to pick out projects with fussy stitches and construction to make for me! Who could ask for a better sister?

Here are some of the projects she’s made for me:

Acorn Scissors Keep and Fob

Scissor keep and fob; matching needle book not pictured.

Corner Finder Keep

Corner-finder keep; note that it’s personalized “Pookie”!

Corner Finders

Inside of corner-finder keep. I adore these little things; in fact, I think they’re my favorite non-scissor stitching tool.

Needle and Tread Keep

Needle book and thread keeper. One felt flap is for 26s and one for 28s!

Stumpwork Scissor Keep 2

I mentioned I had a new set of scissors without a keep, and then voila! This was under the Christmas tree for me this year!

Stumpwork Scissor Keep

So cute! So, so cute!

In short, KtG’s the best! And because she’s made such beautiful gifts for me, this year, Schnookie and I have presented her with the birthday gift of a quilt. We just need her to pick the fabric and pattern and then away we’ll go!

Posted by Pookie

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Greetings From Another Finished Project!

Saturday night saw another project finished, this time “Greetings” from the Blackbird Designs holiday book, Peppermint & Holly.

Greetings

I’ve been eyeing this one for years, and am so excited to have finally gotten around to making it up. I love the muted tones — it was worked in Gentle Arts and Weeks Dye Works overdyed floss — which are such a departure from the norm around here (i.e. it’s not Prairie Schooler Santa Red). I love the holly branches, the snowflakes, and the bird. I love the fact that it’s a Christmas piece that’s all about flowers (although I was a little weirded out to notice that the chart says it’s an amaryllis, not a poinsettia).

I especially love the font for the writing:

Greetings Detail

There’s only one problem with it. When I put in the last stitch on the “s”, I held it up for Schnookie to see. She said, “Oh. It only says, ‘Greetings’? Not ‘Season’s Greetings’?” I can honestly say I hadn’t considered that once. Not when I admired the project in the book, not when I was stitching it, never. And now? It’s all I can think of. I think I’m going to go around wishing everyone “Greetings” this holiday season, just to prove to Schnookie that it’s what Christmas pieces are supposed to say.

Now that the project is done (what did that take? A week and a half? Sweet!) I’m embarking on those Prairie Schooler Kris Kringles. Because I can only handle muted colors for so long.

Posted by Pookie

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Another Finished Project!

This Saturday I put the finishing stitches in “Santas and Snowmen” and can I just say, it’s quite possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever made. Schnookie said it’s like a Prairie Schooler black hole, it’s just so densely cute. I’ve seen a lot of Prairie Schooler santas in my life, and even stitched a few, but these little guys? Are the bee’s knees. If bee’s knees are almost unbearably cute.

Santas and Snowmen Finished

I started with the intention of only doing four squares, but once I got halfway through the santa in the middle, I thought, “This is stupid, why stop at four?” I wish I had planned it for six from the start, though, because I’m a little unhappy with how top-heavy this seems. Oh well! Too late now! (I think each of us is learning the true beauty of holiday stitching this year. There’s been an awful lot of “Meh, it’s only going to be hanging up for a month, I’m not fixing that mistake” going around Maple Hoo.) Other than the too-heavy top band (the houses should have been in the middle, or at the bottom), I’m super-duper pleased with how it looks. Converting from DMC to Au Ver Au Sois silk can sometimes be tricky with the bright reds and greens, but I think I nailed this conversion. Plus the charcoal-colored linen I impulse bought five or six years ago at In Stitches down in Virginia was the perfect canvas to make the snowmen really pop. All in all, I love it! There’s no way it’ll be framed for this Christmas, but I can’t wait to have it up next year.

So the enternal question remained… What to do next? I opted for the Blackbird Designs poinsettia, which was going swimmingly until Boomer left this on my laptop for me to see after work on Monday:

kriskringle

Picture from www.prairieschooler.com.

Wha-huh?!? How had I never seen that book before?!? Needless to say, the poinsettia’s looking distinctly less fun. Methinks I’m too fickle for this hobby.

Posted by Pookie

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I’m a Wreck

Remember all those progress reports on MFBville? Remember how not too long ago I was working at a square-a-week clip? Remember how I’ve stopped doing that? Yeah. Sigh.

The good news is this: the first project I chose in favor of continuing on with MFBville is back from the framer.

November Windows Framed

I’m insanely pleased with how this piece turned out. The frame Sandy (at the Attic) chose is perfect. Just rustic enough to go with the fox and cornucopia, but not too country to look out of place in our Modwardian decor. I think this might be the first picture to come close to accurately showing the tone of the hand-dyed linen. I hung this one up next to the front hall closet, so that when I’m leaving for work in the morning I can be reminded of how exciting it is to need gloves for driving again, and when I come home in the evening I can be reminded of how cozy our living room looks from the street with the window winking light.

So what’s the bad news, Gentle Reader? The bad news is I can’t figure out what to be working on now. I briefly returned to MFBville and finished the writing in the boring fifth square, but just wasn’t feeling it. Every now and then I’ll find myself working on a beautiful project but without being able to see it’s beautiful. I just couldn’t see the forest for the trees, and that’s usually a sign to put it down for a while. But where to go from there? There are so many choices!

Another problem I encountered was that mid-way through last month I started to get struck with the Christmas spirit. This wasn’t helped by flipping through my stash of charts to pick a small project to take on our trip to Dallas. The “holiday” section of the stash wasn’t just calling to me — it was singing! Singing Christmas carols! Plugging my ears with wax didn’t help and so…

Santas and Snowmen

I had this charcoal-colored linen on tap for one of the older Prairie Schooler santas, but the newest charts are just so darn cute! I started this thinking I’d do a four-square, but after doing one santa and one snowman, I decided they were too adorable not to do six of the eight. I was zipping through them but then I got struck by a horrible thought — what if I finished them too soon?

I have a traditional Christmas stitching game plan which has me working on one of Priairie Schooler’s “Woodland Santas” in late December, but at this rate, I was going to finish the santas and snowmen too soon, leaving me with extra time in December with no Christmas stitching. That would never do! So I re-evaluated my stash and decided we have a lack of Thanksgiving stitching pieces and wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate the month of November?

I pulled out the threads and linen for Blue Ribbon Designs’ “An Expression of Gratitude”, a band sampler that features a verse about gathering together to count our blessings, or something to that effect.

An Expression of Gratitude

It’s all pretty and serene, with its Autumnal Belle Soie threads and its glowing golden linen. I spruced it up a bit by using long armed cross for the dividing band, and I have plans to substitute some four-sided stitch in the name and date and the bottom. All of this should be exciting and fun, and the colors should be speaking to my Autumnlonging-brain. But…

Here’s the thing. Schnookie just started a new a project. A new Prairie Schooler project. A new Christmas Prairie Schooler. It has bright holiday reds and greens, and she’s stitching a pretty snowflake as I type. It’s killing me! Every time I look over at her end of the couch there’s a holly cluster taunting me. The stupid acorns on the Gather Together sampler took forever, the alphabet seemed never-ending, and there was that Christmas project laughing at me! I just couldn’t take it! I expressed concern that if I picked the santas and snowmen back up, I’d end up without enough Christmas stitching to do in the long run.

So what does Boomer do? She runs downstairs to her stitching stash and returns with this:

Peppermint and Holly

Backbird Designs’ “Peppermint and Holly”. [Happy sigh.] My love for Blackbird Designs is evident in how many of their designs show up in the quarterly season stitching post. My love for Christmas stitching is well known. Put the two together? I’m toast. In particular, this book boasts this fabulous poinsettia piece:

Poinsettia Picture

How beautiful is that? We don’t have any poinsettias in any of our Christmas pieces! It calls for overdyed flosses with colors like Dark Chocolate and Holly Berry! They might as well be “Christmas Candy” and “Christmas Tree”!

So here I sit, surrounded by projects. Do I be responsible and continue working on the Thanksgiving piece since it’s still only November 2nd? Do I be really responsible and say I should be finishing big projects instead of focusing on cop-out little projects? (I won’t be stitching 2008 on any large samplers; I’ve finished at least one every year since 2001.) Do I be realistic and say this is a hobby and I should do what makes me happy? Do I finish the adorable santas and snowmen now, knowing I have “Peppermint and Holly” waiting for me? Do I go crazy and start the poinsettia now because… well, because I can?

More importantly, what I am doing blogging when I should be stitching? Like I said, I’m a wreck!

[Written by Pookie]

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Happy Halloween!

Boo!

Halloween Sheep

Witch and Pumpkins

Witch and Pumpkins Detail

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Another Finished Project!

On October 6th I put in the final stitch and added my initials to “When Witches Go Riding”!

When Witches Go Riding Finished

From start to finish it only took 13 days (ooooh, spoooooky!) to work; the perfect amount for a little intermission from a big project like MFBville. This project really couldn’t have been more fun. I got to scratch that early Fall itch by immersing myself in Halloween motifs, I got to bask in the comfort-food-of-stiching simple joy of the Prairie Schooler style, and best of all, I got to play with different fibers. I said when I started it that I wasn’t completely sold on the Belle Soie silks, but I do believe I was wrong! Not only are the colors fabulous, but the threads are almost lighter than air. I was afraid I’d not be careful enough with the variegation, but in the end I’m pretty pleased with the effect of the gray in with the black.

When Witches Go Riding Spooky Tree

(Please ignore the results of what happens when you stitch with a cat in your lap.)

I was even more pleased with how the orange color (aka Lasagne) worked out for the leaves. I didn’t read the chart very closely in the store, and as a result I neglected to buy a gold color for the leaves by the owl. Instead, I used the darker end of a thread in the skein of Lasagne for one leaf, and the lighter end for two others.

When Witches Go Riding Leaves

So now this piece is off to the framer and then off to the basement until next Halloween when it will be taken out of storage with much, “oooh, the black cats are so cute” and “aaah, I love that spooooky tree!” and “hey, remember when we spent a Saturday pommerdoodling over this chart?” And now I’m off to MFBville, where I believe I left off with some pretty boring trees. Muh!

(Post by Pookie)

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