Thursday, February 28, 2013

Doing the math

My progress on my epic cross stitch journey.

Still on the first page with 17 grid squares done.
That's 1,700 stitches.
That's approximately 3% of the project done.
I have slightly less than 61,150 stitches left to go.
I'm not taking into account those scattered stitches already competed
on two grid squares.
1700 stitches completed in 7 days.
That's average of 243 stitches a day.
At this rate the epic will be completed in 259 days.

Hey! That's less than a year!!

Of course, I know me.
There will be those days that something else will distract me.
Something that will make me go: "Squirrel!"
(reference is to Dug from the movie "Up" - a favorite of mine)

Edited to add ... the finished project will look somewhat like this:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Color inspiration

I'd love some feedback from you creative types.

Where do you get color inspiration?

This picture caught my eye.
It came from a Wall Street Journal ... last week I think.
It was some article about health, and more than likely
the economics of health and/or the health industry.

I did not read the article.
But I kept the section because of this picture.
Everything about it spoke to me.
The color, the texture within the photo, the styling ...
it all appealed to me.

I can see this scheme work as a quilt ...
definitely a card!
Or a scrapbook page although I don't scrapbook.
Maybe even a painting?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Necessary things

I left this picture out of yesterday's post
of my start on the epic cross stitch project.
They are so necessary to me I felt they deserved their own post!

Love those scissors ... super sharp and super pointy.
They work better than those designed for embroidery.
You know, the ones with the little dip at the point to slip under the stitch.

And of course, where would us middle-aged crafters be without our readers?
I've worn glasses and contacts for most of my life
and discovered bi-focals really don't work for me.
So when contacts are on the eyeballs, the readers are a necessity.

Honestly, though, for fine, detailed work, I'm better with
bare-naked eyeballs with the work within 6 inches.

Last week I mentioned the thought of giving link juice to
all my generous commentors.

I still plan to do that, but rather than once a week,
I decided to do it once a month.

I was reading Google's dissertations on how
they rank pages and anything that resembles a link farm
could be de-listed from their directories.
Both the so-called link farm sites AND those linked.

I have no idea whether providing a list of links once a week
would constitute link farm behavior, but why take a chance?
Google can be precarious at best.

But I figured once a month will be OK.
Or at least ... I hope!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Needle Pulling Thread ... the start of an epic

And a small start it is ...

What the finished product will look like can be seen here.

I opted for the 20-count linen fabric option and am using DMC embroidery floss.
I had to use the clip to keep the pattern together because it was 
too thick for our stapler to bind all pages!

Threads and the thread chart.
I had most of what I needed in my stash and purchased
the rest, along with the linen, from my local needlework shop, Needlworkx of Plano.

You get an idea of the color palette ... I LOVE this palette.

Here's a sample of the pattern page, of which there are 15.
That's a total of 62,856 stitches.
Annabelle of Annabelle Serendipity said it looks daunting!
And yeah, it does look daunting.
But I've already tackled another daunting cross stitch pattern
so I'm fairly confident I'll get through this one.

But how does one complete a project like this?
For me --- one square at a time!

Each of those grids enclosed by the bold lines contain 100 stitches.
The thread chart has the key to the color attached to each symbol.
On complex patterns, I find it best to take one square at a time.

I will stitch into other squares, especially if there is a "run"
of stitches of all the same color thread, such as the ones
represented by the "%" symbol in the chart pictured above.

I will also step into other squares when working with a color that
is particularly different and/or brighter than the others
and use those as anchors from which to count off the other stitches.

The patternmakers strongly suggest marking the grid 
on your cloth to help keep track, but I'm lazy when it comes to prep work.
By basically making my progress one square at a time,
I find I don't lose my place.

The pattern also suggest starting in the upper left hand corner
and I whole-heartedly agree with that counsel.
Many patterns tell you to start in the dead center of the work.
I say "phooey" to that.

A well-written pattern has all the parameters and dimensions 
you needed to start on the upper left hand corner!
And the people over at Serenity Stitchworks provide very 
well-written patterns.
I highly recommend them!
They only offer advanced patterns, but if you have
the basics of cross-stitch down, and 
you follow their instructions,
you will have no trouble completing a beautiful work of art.

Just remember to take it one square at a time.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Link Love!

{Card made by me ... all images are © Stampin'Up}

I cannot promise I'll be able to do this every Friday ~~~
but I sure am going to give it my BEST try!

We all blog for a variety of reasons.
And no matter what our own set of personal reasons may be
we all have one thing in common ...
we like it when peeps stop by and read.

Not everyone cares about the "rank" of their blog
but since we all desire an audience at some level,
rank is important if you want your blog to be found.
Especially found by other peeps who are not seeing
where you have left your link to be discovered.
Not sure if that made sense ... 

Backlinks are probably the most important thing
a blog needs in order to get established with
a good ranking. 
After all, Google still rules.
Wish I bought stock in Google way back then!

So without any further ado,
especially since this is going to take some time,
I'd like to give some link juice, complete with full "follow" attributes,
 to all the wonderful peeps who visited my blog and left a kind comment!

Jacqueline @ Cheapskate Blethering
(in the future I may have to shorten that one!! LOL)
Stephanie @ The Enchanting Rose
Annette @ Under the Loupe

OK ... I think I got everyone, beginning February 1.
As I said at the start, I hope I'm able to do this weekly.
You all are wonderful peeps and I wish for all
a wonderful day and a boost in page rank!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Art Nouveau in threads

My heart is racing!

Artwork like the above will do that to me.
And you know what?
I just bought and downloaded this as a
cross stitch pattern from Serenity Stitchworks!

Just finished printing the 25-page pdf file as I was typing this.
Now I have a really COOL project to work on
when stuck inside in air-conditioned comfort
when the heat of the Texas summer takes hold.

For anyone who loves to stitch, check out Serenity Stitchworks!
They have loads of gorgeous artwork that has been digitized for stitching.
I paid just under $25 for this piece.
This will require 49 colors 
and I plan to use either a 20- or 22-count linen.

I'm am so excited!!!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Brego's homecoming

 ... coming off the trailer --- one last step ...

... Brego and Lelia: "I think I know her ..."

... meeting Harley, the Belgian and herd alpha ...

... a "getting to know you" session with Chic, #2 in herd hierarchy ...

This was Wednesday, the 6th.
Yesterday we got up there late in the afternoon
and Brego seemed a little spooky.
Guess it's hitting him that his whole world changed.
It would certainly freak me out!

Today I'll be spending the better part of the day up at the ranch
babysitting for our trainer/teacher/friend
who is heading over to the Fort Worth Stock Show
to hopefully see some "Cruiser babies."
Crimson Cruiser is one of the leading Quarter Horses
in the Western Pleasure world and is the sire of
a foal who will be making its appearance on the ranch
some time in March.

I'll be working with Brego a little bit ...
not that I know what I'm doing, but hopefully we
can teach each other.

There's not a whole lot for me to do all day,
so I'll be bringing the baby blanket, my iPad, my Android phone
and a book about Photoshop to keep me busy
and on track for my February goals.

I wonder if there is a Blogger app ...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Baby Blanket on the way

Yes, I have been working with some threads ... um, well, yarn.

Baby yarn from Cascade Farms -- Cherub DK
Lilac variegated 55% Nylon/45% Acrylic
The color is dreamy and the feel in the hand is extremely soft.

I usually prefer to work with natural fiber, 
but to get this "hand" at this level of softness
the yarn would cost a small fortune.
And who would want to spend a small fortune for yarn
to make something that will probably be ... um ... well,
you know what babies can do to blankets and clothing!

The stitch pattern is called "Eyelet Chevrons"
from the Teach Yourself Visually Knitting book.
It's basically a practice piece for knitting eyelets,
although when I bought the yarn I had the idea to knit
a baby blanket as a shower gift --- 
giving myself one week to complete the project.
~roll eyes~

Needless to say, I had to run out and buy a pretty little dress
at the last minute for the shower!
*** - ***

I'm using the garter stitch for the edges to prevent the stockinette roll.
I thought I had the bottom edge even with the sides,
but it wasn't until a few hours of work into the body of the blanket
I discovered they aren't quite even.
But I keep telling myself "It's only a practice piece!"
and besides, I may fringe the bottom and top edges so
hopefully the discrepancy won't be too obvious.
*** - ***

Here's a larger view of what I have completed so far.
It's about halfway done.
I thought I would get bored doing the same stitch pattern
over and over and over again ---
but no, it's not boring and it IS very de-stressing.
Except when I find a mistake one or two rows down
and I have to un-knit the piece to repair.
Sometimes I can fix without un-knitting, but when
the mistake involves the yarn over for the eyelet,
or the knit two together and/or the slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over,
I have to un-knit.
I've even been able to figure out how to fix some of the yarn over mistakes!
*** - ***

It's February 1 and I decided to set some small goals
at the beginning of each month in hopes I keep my focus.

So, my goals for this month are:

1.  Finish the baby blanket.
2.  Learn Photoshop Elements so I can make my pictures look prettier.
3.  Make a piece of lace!

I hope everyone has a great month ahead!
I still have many, many blogs to visit for the "Grow Your Blog" party.

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