Thursday, April 7, 2011


Originally uploaded by polyrhythmic
Here's the bowl of bits for this month's Totally Useless StitchALong.

I squished down the orts from last month, so the fluffy ones on top are more obvious. Fewer orts this month. A bit from Storyteller, and some white and orange and brown for a surprise new quick project I didn't exactly mean to stitch on, but is almost done anyway.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Autumn Charm progress as of 2/28/11

Forgot to mention the progress on Autumn Charm during last February. It used to look like a pink blob. Now there are obvious leaves. All the full stitches are done, and now all that is left is filling in the rest of the area with half stitches. Then I can figure out the finishing instructions, which don't make much sense to me while reading them. Maybe they will be easier to figure out when I can flip stuff over and turn it around in my hands.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Storyteller progress as of 2/28/11

Here's the second progress picture since the beginning of the year. The first progress post is here. At the end of February, I had done quite a lot of stitching. This was instead of cleaning and getting a job, so not exactly a win for me. But good for fleshing out this picture.

The emergency corner motif is not so out of place now.

The straight lines of the inside of the border went pretty quickly, but I'm not so sure how the rest of the border will go. There are about 29 knots, each using 3 shades of their own color, plus 4 shades of gold and brown. That's a lot of color changes. Then there are the 4 big corner motifs, one of which is complete. Five colors in each one.

Really no worse than the rest of the picture. That has its own set of color changes and confetti stitching.

The distant castle is beginning to have actual spires.

The dragon's tail has a bit of a swoop, but is still mostly confetti dots.  Without backstitching, the foot is difficult to make out from the grass or moss or dirt it is standing on.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

WIP #8

Originally uploaded by polyrhythmic
Some time between 2000 and 2007 I picked up this little Dimensions Daydreams kit. It never got stored with the rest of the cross stitch stuff, but was in a box of mixed craft items packed for the move to New Hampshire in 2007.

It got stitched on for apparently one evening and I was very careful that the back consist of entirely vertical lines. I have never been that careful in any other WIP.

The final design looks like a lot of greens and browns, but this WIP is pink. It will eventually be lots of leaves around a square opening that holds a charm. At this point it is a square and some blobs.


Originally uploaded by polyrhythmic
Here's a shot of the Totally Useless StitchALong bowl after 4 more weeks. Definitely a month full of stitching. All on Storyteller, so there are lots of blues and greens, and a layer of yellows.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cross Stitch warm up

Snow greeting card
Originally uploaded by polyrhythmic
This is the piece I stitched to remind myself what cross stitch was all about. All my stash was still packed away in boxes, but there was this little greeting card/ornament kit that I picked up for like 10 cents in a Michaels or JoAnns clearance sale.

Tiny thing. Fewer than 10 colors. And still it took me two and a half full days of stitching in January to finish. That recalibrated my expectations right away.

Generally I don't do such small projects. There are Wentzlers and Lavender and Lace and Dimensions Gold kits and anything with a full page chart in any of the decades worth of magazines to be done. This time, this was the kit in front of me and it was fully worth doing. I've bought a few more for travel projects and interstitial stitching. So maybe a few more finishes this year.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

WIP #7

Originally uploaded by polyrhythmic
Here we have my very oldest WIP. Teresa Wentzler's Trotter. from the Dreamscapes #1 leaflet. My cousins had been cross stitching for a few years and at some point I picked it up from them. I remember in late middle school (~1985) or early high school going to a store with my cousins and my grandmother and finding this leaflet and the Dreamscapes #2 "Chestnut" leaflet. I don't think there were any more in the series at the time. My younger cousin chose Chestnut, the more Christmassy rocking horse and I loved Trotter, the grey with a rainbow saddle. Granny bought the leaflet and the materials for me.

We wound the floss onto bobbins together and I still have a couple of bobbins with the adhesive labels cut into small ovals by my older cousin. The best one have the Floss number written on them in Granny's handwriting. At the time, of course, I remember thinking that the labels weren't as good as the pre-printed ones, especially since Granny's hand had shaken and some of the numbers were blurry. Kids. Now, the 762 (v. light pearl grey) bobbin has migrated into the pack for Storyteller and every time I pull it out I see my Granny's handwriting and I just love it more than anything.  I shall be very sad if the adhesive ever wears or the label fades too much.

I stitched the colorful saddle right away. I'm not sure how much of the blue blanket and grey horse got stitched at that time. I'm pretty sure the pink reins were done then. It sat untouched for a while. I don't remember when I picked it up again to work on the grey parts. I liked how I had to change where to fold the piece when I put it away because the leg extended past the old fold.

At some point, I pulled it out to find that a marker had leaked a big spot on the leaflet, and some of the greenish black ink had rubbed on the edge of the canvas. There were also rust stains from leaving the needle in the the canvas for so long. Washing removed the worst of those stains, but with the leaflet horribly marred I couldn't continue. At least not without going to a cross stitch store and searching for a replacement leaflet, which I never bothered with.

Then the internet came and I had a job and income of my own. That's when the big Teresa Wentzler phase hit. I tried to collect all of her patterns through eBay. Still more of a collector than a stitcher, I gathered more patterns and magazines than I would ever manage to stitch. I finished Father Winter, and I started the Storyteller. I even collected two new copies of the Trotter leaflet, plus the book of all six rocking horses. But I never started stitching Trotter again.

Looking at it now, I see my young self using 3 strands of DMC floss on 14 count aida. I see that I had no understanding of how fractional stitches were supposed to work. Just look at that diagonal pink "line" for the reins. It should have gotten all the 3/4 stitches because it is on top of the blue blanket.. But I used mostly the 1/4 stitches, fo no fathomable reason. The back of the canvas is more of a mess than it needs to be. This early Wentzler does not have much confetti stitching and young me was not even as careful as older me is now about carrying the floss across the back. The ink and rust stains are not very noticeable or are close to the edge of the fabric, but on the lower rear flank, the lightest grey stitches are stained brownish and no amount of soaking or gentle scrubbing has removed the tinge.

I still love the pattern but I am thinking that this incarnation of the project is going to remain in the unfinished state. Perhaps in the future I will stitch all 6 horses and frame this attempt as is to go along with them and remind me of my younger stitching self.