Saturday, February 07, 2015

Grow Your Blog

Mugging with a mug I made for
National Craft Month
Hello, and welcome to the hoppers who are here via Vicki's (Two Bags Full) Grow Your Blog Party. My name is Nikki but I blog as Anna van Schurman. The short answer is that when I started blogging, I was in an industry where I would likely be googled and a very popular blogger had recently been fired for blogging. A nom de blog was just the thing. Anna van Schurman was a 17th century advocate of women's education, an artist who was also proficient in 14 languages. You can read more about this choice in the "About Me" page.

I started stitching 27 years ago...actually, I started cross-stitching 27 years ago. I think I did my first embroidery in the early 70s. When I was a kid, we spent summers at the beach in a rickety old house (with an outdoor shower) with two other families. (Our mothers scrimped and saved to have this trip, but we were kids and we didn't care about the accommodations.) Anyway, the rainy summer days were filled with card games, manicures, and embroidery, especially crewel which was all the rage back then. That's how I became proficient in French knots. I started doing them when I was a kid and didn't know they were supposed to be difficult.

My craft tendencies including starting with a gung-ho attitude that sort of peters out. In the end, though the important part of crafting to me is the doing--it doesn't matter where I am on a project. I'm in it for the "flow state," the relaxation, the yoga-ness.

I've been blogging for almost 12 years. Blogging gives me a way to think about crafting and to share those ideas with others. I share my works-in-progress, stitching tips, and news stories that start with the premise that stitchers are all a bunch of old ladies. Most posts are about needlework, but I am also a card maker, knitter, and general crafter. In March, I (try to) celebrate National Craft Month by posting a new craft every day. A new kind of March Madness, it's like Pinterest came to life. I appreciate the connections I've made with some of my readers over the years. I hope you will find something to enjoy here.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Days 27 through 31

This last week of January flew by! Although I haven't had a chance to show you what I worked on Tuesday (or Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday!), I did manage to stitch five more patterns.

This is Christian's Stocking by Shepherd's Bush. I'm stitching it for Jersey. But I will say right now that if I cannot finish all four of this family's stockings, I will finish the stockings for the girls (even though I've stitched less on theirs at this point).
The last of the scheduled Mill Hill Santa starts, Lapland Santa. This one had six different browns in it. I think they do this on purpose so you can have a nervous breakdown when you are sorting the floss. Seriously. I worked on this while watching the last episode of Hinterlands. I hope when the second series airs in the UK this fall, we won't have to wait long to see it on this side of the Atlantic.

I am restitching Mary's Stocking for Sissy. It has to be done so her sock matches the rest of the family's. Honestly I stitched this so long ago the first time, that I don't think it will feel repetitive. 

These were stitched on Friday and Saturday for two special little twins. I think these will show up in my February rotation in the "new start" slot. Gotta get these done and in frames before the babies have their first birthday! I am stitching this on a 28-ct white Monaco with Belle Soie silks in Carnation.

My goals for this month were to start a new project every day (check), stitch every day (check), and finish a small (check). Not a bad outing.

Week One: Love Me, Love My Dog (started CJC 2011)
Week Two: Oh, Baby
Week Three: Smalls project
Week Four: free stitch/craft

I hope to continue to work on my annual goals of stitching every day and finishing 12 projects for the year.

Okay, I'm way behind on commenting on your blogs and checking out the Grow Your Blog Party. Don't give up on me!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Days 25 and 26

On Sunday when we tootled over to Costco to pick up my new spectacles, I stitched on Wabbit's Wonder by Sheepish Designs. You might be able to tell that the picture on the pattern is reversed from my version. Believe me I have not flipped the stitching. I am following the pattern. Something got messed up at the printer. I'm sure it will be fine in the end. I'm using some kind of  Cranberry fabric instead of what was called for because, again, I have been hoarding patterns that have outlived the specified color; that is, R&R is no longer dying this one.

On Monday, I woke up to the fact that we were in the last week of the month and I still hadn't ordered Winter Weinerland, a pattern I thought I bought so put on my list. My LNS hasn't had it, and I didn't order it for some reason (because I was convinced it was hiding in the disastrous craftroom). Even though I have the fabric and the flosses I wasn't getting anywhere without the pattern. So I went to the basket of Mill Hill Santa Ornaments and pulled out a random one, Hawaiian Santa from the Tropical Santas collection. It was nice to stitch with some bright colors (compared to the Santas I've started so far).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Smalls SAL and Days 23 and 24

Last week, people kept saying January was "almost over." I kept saying to the dude, "I don't know what's wrong with them, I have another week left." And then the end of January came up and bit me in the ass. Work is crazy--I just got 300+ reports to edit, and we're in the middle of interviewing for a new team member. At home, I've been trying to get to some of those little projects that escape your notice until they have to be done RIGHT NOW. Oh, shit, I just remembered I didn't send in the car registration. See what I mean?

Anyway, it's the smalls check in. I continue this project with Heather at Stitching Lotus. I finished (and had to show) my small 26 days ago. In case you missed it, I stitched Bee Keeper by Drawn Thread.

I'm sorry to have to combine posts but I don't have enough days to show you the rest of my DUCJC starts!
On Day 23 (see what I mean by losing track of the month?), I started Ortilda the Witch. This was a kit that came with a small ort jar that I gave away. I really bought this for Ortilda's brilliant hairdo. It's about time I got around to this one! This is WDW Peoria Purple instead of the called for fabric. Or did the fabric come in the kit? I'm starting to lose all brain function.

On Day 24 I started Cinnamon Stars by Plum Street Samplers. I am stitching it on 35 count lambswool with the prescribed flosses. It calls for 35 count fabric, and this was the best I could do for a color match. The fabric is stiff as a board and I kind of hate it. But I loved this pattern the moment it came out. LOVE!

If I have any brain cells left tomorrow, I'll be back to show you more new starts.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Days 21 and 22

I'm guessing you could tell this is a Lizzie*Kate. It's a freebie called "Love Lives Here" that I actually have on paper. I checked, and it's not on the website. That's how old it is! The dude was at his always-runs-long meeting, so I turned on some mindless tv and got some serious stitching done! This is stitched in DMC on the same fabric as the Bent Creek Wedding Row. Whatever that was.

On Thursday, I was abandoned again but for less time and a better cause. (He was tutoring ESL.) Stella and I kept the couch warm, and I stitched this Amy Breucken design, Saint Nick's Noel, stitched with the called-for colors on 30 ct guacamole. (I can still not get the color of this fabric to come out!) I love all of her St. Nicks including the ones she did with her sister (Sister and Best Friends). But I once sent one out for a round robin that never returned so I've had a problem picking them up ever since. This is the beginning of a new day! (And a really cute sheep!)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Days 19 and 20

Even though I had MLK Day off, I didn't get that much stitched. In addition to spending time getting my shoes off the floor in the craft room (do you sense a theme?) the dude and I went to see Imitation Game. I'm pretty sure we've now seen all the movies with two word titles that start with I.

I bought this one ages ago (you can tell by the price tag!) to stitch for my MIL whose father was a lighthouse keeper. But I think I may keep this one for our house. After all, my husband's grandfather was a lighthouse keeper.
On Tuesday, I had a hairdressing appointment and was able to devote some time to this ladybug while I was waiting. I think I bought this when Best Pal and I were on a working vacation to Syracuse in the late 90s. I was doing archival research on my dissertation, and she came with me so the woman who owned the B and B could mistake us for lesbians. (That's not why she accompanied me, but that was the result.) The innkeeper made it up to us by finding out we preferred pancakes and waffles to granola and making us hot breakfast every day. Which, when I think about it, made up for the underinsulated bathroom we had. And when I was done with my research, we drove around to all the stitching stores that we could find in my little guidebook There Must Be a Needlework Store Around Here Someplace. We found a place in Baldwinsville and another in Endicott and another place that was going out of business and I can't remember where that was exactly. (I still have that book though, dated as it is.) Anyway, if I didn't buy this chart in Endicott, I definitely bought Weeks there. I remember buying ladybug and curry. Weird how the memory works!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Days 17 and 18

Dear Friends, thank you for your comments, for your admiration (or is it disdain?), for seeing me through my little rough patch. I appreciate your notes more than you know.

On Saturday, after I had walked the dog, picked up my eyeglass prescription, chosen two sets of goggles at Costco, dropped off two pieces for framing at the LNS sale, and picked up the joint a bit, I sat down to stitch Coussin Carres Fleurs by Blue de Chine. I've had this little lovely forever (and the fabulous fabric). I had stitched about another third of the center wreath but realized I was off by one stitch, and had to take that out. But you know what I did? I took it out. No more putting things away with a mistake. Just undo and get on with your life, right? We went to see Inherent Vice on Saturday, so that ate into my stitching time.
On Sunday, I was supposed to go pick up bagels while the dude walked the dog. Only he didn't walk her very far because of the dangerously icy conditions. I'm pretty happy I didn't head out for the bagels. I'm pretty unhappy that I had neither butter nor eggs to make a fancy Sunday breakfast.  So I ate a piece of toast and stitched. I also spent time picking up the craft room and cutting some of the fabric. (For a number of projects, I had the fabric and the design was going to take up most of each piece, but not all of each piece, and isn't it better to have those four inches to make ornaments and other smalls? Happily, I cut the fabric on the clean craft table! Woot!) This is a Ewe and Eye pattern that appeared in an issue of Just Cross-Stitch probably in the 90s. I'm stitching on unbleached linen with the prescribed Anchor floss.

Okay, kids, I'm back on track! I have a hair appointment tonight. My phone doesn't work in the hair salon so I will have some time to give my new start my full attention.