Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Whipped Stitch and Running Stitch

I'm still plugging along on my Take a Stitch Tuesday weekly stitches. These are scans because my camera is still ailing, but I think you can see what I did. The new stitches continue to fascinate me but the ones I already know, like these two, provide a comfy visit.

This is the Whipped Stitch, from Week 17. This stitch gives a powerful punch to a crazy quilt block. The eye is drawn to these dimensional stitches and it provides a good starting place for a trip "around the block."
Whipped stitch
The center starts with #12 variegated perle cotton followed by two different colors of #8 perle cotton. I'll be adding beads around the fan at the very least.

This is two variations of the running stitch.
Running stitch
The dark purple on the upper right is a traditional pair of Running Stitches using silk floss, then loosely laced with the same thread. It was a bit fiddly getting the laced loops the same size but I finally got it. Then I ran another line of tiny running stitches up through the center to stabilize where the loops crossed. I'll be adding something more to this one, but I'm not sure what!

The green running stitches on the left seam could more accurately be labeled as straight stitches but I was doing them at the same time as the others so I'm calling them running stitches! ;0) Stitched with more perle cotton, these are staggered on either side of the seam and then a line of varigated Caron Watercolors pima cotton is looped through every other group of stitches. I'll be adding pearls to nestle down in the loops.


I sent my Quilt of Valor top and backing off to the long armer yesterday. Suzanne will be doing the quilting on this quilt. I've never had one of my quilts professionally quilted before so I'm a little bit excited!

That's all for now... have a great week and remember that, at least in the US, this coming weekend is Memorial Day which means.... three days off of work... WooHoo! ;0)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Taos Travel Journal

Morning ladies! I've had a bit of a frustrating week in the blog department. I finished my Quilt of Valor and took some pictures to post. When I plugged the camera into the computer, I couldn't upload any pictures. All the pictures were gone from my memory card! I was so ticked!! Ummm... until I remembered that I was the one who had dropped the camera... on the patio... that would be the cement patio. Damn. I'll do some more experimenting this weekend and see if it's the camera or the memory card that has died.

Anyway... the QOV turned out very nice... especially after I RIPPED out the right side green stripe that somehow... it could be because math was involved... somehow turned out to be 1/2" too narrow. After correcting that small deficiency I was able to put it all together quite nicely. The backing is just a big rectangle of the lime green with blue borders and I think it compliments the front. Now to get it quilted! Hopefully my assigned long armer will be able to quilt it, if not, I'll give it a whirl myself.

On the CQ front, I did do a couple of the Take a Stitch Tuesday (TAST) stitches on a CQ block but since I can't post a picture... ppfffhhttt! ;0)

So... since I can't imagine a post without pictures, I thought I would take you on the promised little New Mexico trip this morning. When we went to Colorado in April, I got to thinking that, since we were taking two days to drive back to Phoenix, it would be a good time to take a side trip to Taos, New Mexico. Rain was forecast for the day of our trip home so I wasn't too sure it would be a good idea to take an unfamiliar mountain road in a downpour; however, by the time we were close to Taos the rain hadn't been a factor so I suggested going through Taos to Glenn. Wonder of wonders... the man agreed! You have to understand, Glenn does nothing without a plan. For him to agree to an unplanned sidetrip was truly amazing.

Anyway, we headed for Taos on Hiway 64 but before going too far along the road we were stopped by a flagger for a roadcrew that was laying some sorely needed new asphalt on the highway. We were the first vehicle in line so we were chatting with the flagger and she suggested (while gesturing to the other side of the road) we could take pictures while we were stopped...
Buffalo 1
of the buffalo! Very cool! Of course we've seen buffalo in Colorado, but to have them magically (at least it seemed magic) appear while stopped in the middle of the road was rather cool. She then suggested that if we looked to the right as we went farther down the road, we could see another herd on the other side of the road...
Buffalo 2
and so we did! What you can't see in this picture is that, off to the left is a red pickup loaded with feed that the buffalo were following... too funny... but still cool!

A little farther along and we took the turn into and through Cimarron. It's a tee tiny little town but just on the outskirts was a huge herd of elk! We went past them so fast I didn't get any pictures, unfortunately. Just past Cimarron we entered Cimarron Canyon State Park. This site has some great pictures of the area so I'll let you click through them. The road was full of switchbacks that moved ever higher through the forest, crossing and recrossing the river as we went. We came out on top of the canyon to some high (8500 ft) meadows that were breathtaking...
with the clouds settling down over the tops of the mountains.

We drove through the high basin around Angel Fire and then headed down into Taos. I had done some online hotel shopping the night before (just in case we actually did get there) and discovered the Historic Taos Inn. I'm a sucker for these historic places when we do this kind of getaway and luckily we found it right away. I didn't have directions or anything, didn't even remember what street it was on, but we turned the corner into Taos and there it was! Yay! We stayed in Room 303 (just click on the room on the hotel map) and it was lovely. We had dinner at Doc Martin's Restaurant and we sat in front of the window you see there. Wonderful service, fabulous food and great atmosphere.

Outside our room was a lovely courtyard presided over by a very serene lady...
Closeup of bench and the daffodils were beautiful in the crisp morning air.
After breakfast (for me, just coffee for Glenn) we walked over to the Town Square just a short distance away.
Taos square
It's full of galleries and shops selling New Mexico souvenirs. Since we were early there wasn't much open but some of the stores were and we were really just window shopping anyway (well, we did get a couple of books and a T-shirt). Isn't this gate beautiful?
Iron gate
On the way back to the Inn, we saw this gentlemen coming in for coffee and I just had to take a picture...
Stopping for coffee
If you know anything about horses, you may think that this horse is about to... erm... fertilize the street; however, he was an Arabian and very excited to be there and I think he was just raring to DO SOMETHING!

We headed south out of Taos and we could see for miles out over the valley below...
The wild blue yonder

Rio Grande Canyon
That deep canyon you see in the center of the above picture is the Rio Grande River Valley. We headed down towards Santa Fe along the river and were surprised to find some beautiful farms and orchards south of Valverde.
Rio Grande Valley 2
Pretty soon the two lane road turned into a freeway and we were back in "civilization."

I think we'll be returning to Taos, the Rio Grande River Valley and the Cimarron Canyon and spending some quality time there in the future. It was a beautiful side trip and I'm soooo glad we went! Hope you enjoyed my little Taos Travel Journal!

Hopefully I'll have some quilty pictures by Monday!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Martha Edlin's Casket

Nope... not that kind of casket. Martha's casket is a small box made to hold her treasures in 1671. I spent my lunch hour wandering thru the Victoria and Albert Museum in London via their website when I found this beauty. I'm sure many of you know about it but it was new to me!

It is made of wood covered in panels of white satin which she embellished with intricately sewn scenes using colored silk, metal threads and applied pearls. Geometric patterns, flowers, birds and animals are done with great attention to detail. It also has the seven virtues and the figure of Music, dressed as a fashionable lady playing the lute. The video of her work is inspiring. She was only 11 years old when she made this! The close-up of the detail on the lute player is particularly wonderful. Martha made samplers as well and kits for those are apparently available at many retailers.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

7 Things

Well... I have been tagged by SharonB and Allie for the "7 Things About Me" meme.

#1 I am a Procrastinator extraordinaire. I'm getting better (finally) but if I don't like doing it, folks, it's gonna take awhile to get done. Bills? yup... taxes? yup... dental visits?... yup! Housecleaning? Definitely!

#2 I hate housecleaning (see #1). In fact, I hate it so much, my poor long-suffering hubby is now the housecleaner (he's genetically inclined that way). :0) Oh, yeah! In my defense, I do the kitchen (except he empties the dishwasher) (and mops the floor). I do all the cooking and we share the laundry. I feed the dogs and cat and he mows the lawn. Works for me!

#3 I am great at finding my way around and reading maps. I am the Navigator. Glenn drives and I navigate on long trips. If I've been someplace I can usually find my way back just because I recognize the landmarks along the way. This has come in handy more times than I care to think about.

#4 I am not a girlie girl for the most part. I don't wear makeup, I have maybe 3 pairs of shoes that I wear, and I don't like dresses. However, I love, love, love long dangly beautiful earrings (preferrably one-of-a-kind artisan types), beautiful painted nails (when I don't break them off) and shopping. Sigh, I love shopping... I denied it for many years but have finally faced facts and admitted it to myself. I love shopping. Especially clearance racks, Marshalls/Homegoods/TJ Maxx, fleamarkets and antique stores.

5# I have three sons. (You know this if you have read my profile.) What you don't know is that they were all born by C-section... all emergency C-sections... for three different reasons. I never (ever) had a problem getting pregnant but man, the birthing part totally sucked!

#6 I'm a loner for the most part. I'm uncomfortable in crowds, hate going anywhere new by myself and rarily socialize. When I do make friends I tend to lose touch with them because I feel like I'm imposing when I call or visit. For the most part I'm a terrible conversationalist, either I don't say much or I open my mouth and say something in a blunt way or ask an awkward question. I'm working on it and getting better but it's still hard.

#7 I'm a paper person. I have boxes of recipes, stacks of home improvement/decorating ideas and piles of quilting and embroidery lessons/patterns/ideas torn from magazines or printed out from the computer... they are everywhere. Books and magazines abound. I think I need to quit procrastinating (see #1) and figure out a system.

There, 7 things you didn't know about me. Now I'm supposed to tag 7 people for this meme; however, I think I'll just say this... if you want to be tagged, consider yourself tagged and leave a comment so we can find you!


Other news, my Quilt of Valor top is pieced and I'm working on the backing. I spent several hours last night trying to figure out a clever back but it wasn't to be. I'll just kinda mimic the front and call it good. Pictures to come in the next couple of days!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

TAST Progress - 3 Different Stitches

I've had these stitches in my flickr account for a week or so and am finally getting around to posting about them.

Here we have 3 types of Up and Down Buttnhole stitch (I am nothing if not behind on this challenge!):

Up and Down Buttonhole - 1
Using #5 perle cotton.

Up and Down Buttonhole - 3
Using Caron's Impressions cotton thread and #8 (I think) perle cotton.

Up and Down Buttonhole - 2
Using Soie de Alger silk thread. This one would be great for grass.

NEXT... Bonnet Stitch!

Bonnet Stitch
Using #5 Perle cotton.

And last but not least, Knotted Cretan Stitch:
Knotted Cretan Stitch
Using #8 perle cotton.

I like all these stitches, but I think I will use the Up and Down Buttonhole the most with Knotted Cretan a close second. I like the Bonnet stitch, too; however, I'm not sure I will use it much. I need to experiment with it a bit more to see what I can do with it.

There's not enough time to do everything I want to do! Gah!