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Starting Over

Kaffe Fassett started his autobiography "Dreaming in Color" like this:

As I set in my studio surrounded by my creative material - fabrics, yarns, paper prints, shelves of books, and collections of decorative objects - I can't help but reflect on the path that led me here.

In mid-June, after the Black Forest Fire, I was looking at the remains of almost everything and I've been following a different path ever since.  All the sudden the blog turned out to be unimportant.  But, it also turns out to be all I have left of some items.  My laptop survived, but none of the backups.  So I have some recent pictures.

Because of amazingly generous family and friends (and friends of friends and strangers), I've started recollecting creative materials and I need to keep track of what I make.  So, here are some of my first steps after the fire.

At first, I was too numb and shocked to do much, but slowly, I've started stitching and being creative.  I still don't have too much time.  Restarting and rebuilding takes time.  But some evenings when I have the energy I'm working on projects.  After 6 months, I'm beginning to have even more time.

My first project was a skinny Shepherds Bush sampler given by a friend.  At only an inch wide it was a good small project to start with.  At the bottom, after the word "home" was a gate.  I changed it to a home.

Deciding to hemstitch was probably not a good decision.  In my distracted state the corners weren't done well and I had to patch over one with some ribbon because I miscut and totally destroyed it.

Next, I finished a bookmark that was in a bag that was grabbed in haste during a rushed evacuation (I was at work and couldn't get to the house before the area was closed off).

It was part of a Stitchalong and was 90% done at the time.  All I needed to do was add the eyelets and finish.

Another project that was saved was my first pair of knitted socks.  One sock was complete and I had just knitted the toe of the second sock.  Given my lack of concentration and the fact that they were on size 0 or 1 needles I knew I wouldn't be working on them for a while (actually, I recently felt comfortable enough to pick them up again).  So, I got some dishcloth yarn at Walmart and knitted a new house from Chalk Legs.


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The ABC's of Cross Stitch Alphabets

Alphabets are quite popular on cross stitch samplers and there are many decisions to be made when choosing an alphabet.  Upper case or lower case is one decision.  It seems that upper case is most popular.  Using lower case causes all sorts of compications.  Extra space is needed for j, k, l, p and the other letters that extend above or below the main line. 

Another important decision is even or odd.  The alphabet above is odd.  That is, it is and odd number of stitches high, in this case 7.  Notice the B and D.  Both are symmetryical.

This is an even alphabet that is 6 stitches high.  Notice that the B and D are no longer symmetrical.  I prefer odd alphabets.  I've been known to change the size of a sampler to mak an even alphabet into an odd alphabet.

Both of these samplers are in a traditional font.  But it is easy to re-arrange the stitches to create different looks for you alphabet.  Here is an elegant alphabet that is only 7 stitches high:

Each letter takes up more space and gi…

Do Overs

Starting over means re-doing some of my projects.  A lot of the projects that I've done I don't want to do over.  Some turned out not to be the worth effort and others were not fun at all.  There's also a feeling of "been there, done that".    I've also discovered that I enjoy the act of creating more than the results sometimes.
My first do over was this penstemon I designed a while ago.  It's small and simple and only 2 colors.  I'll eventually be restitching many of my own designs.  Luckily, I still have the charts even if I no longer have the item or pictures of the item.
My second do over is actually actually stitching something for the third time!

After the second stitching, I'd had enough.  But, I was given the 2010 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue with the pattern and that was a sign that the reindeer needed to be stitched again.  Hopefully, that's it.
My last do over represents all the EGA seminars that I attended over the years.


The Next Lone Star

I am continuing to practice lone stars.
This time I tried a different tutorial.  Each one I find is slightly different so I get to try different techniques and see which ones work best for me.
Since I've gotten better with points and the quarter inch seam allowance and need to work on keeping the diamonds from stretching I picked this tutorial.  It has fewer, bigger diamonds so it should go faster.  It also doesn't have the set in squares and triangles so it will be easier to finish if I choose to do so.
As soon as I started cutting the diagonals I realized I forgot the starch.  I just jumped right in and missed the main point of the block.  So, I decided to continue and focus on being as careful with the fabric as I could.  Guess what, my diamonds didn't stretch out this time!
I got some stretching when I sewed on the triangles, however the block still turned out OK.  A couple of points are slightly off but most of them are right on. There is a slight hump in the center …