Friday, February 15, 2013


by Kelly

For Valentine's Day, I didn't get flowers, or chocolates, or an evening of dancing. I also didn't do anything special for my husband, except maybe make him a pretty poor excuse for barbecue sauce.

We agreed long ago that since we tell each other "Love You" like 50 times a day, that it wasn't necessary to celebrate a manufactured holiday of love and affection. Sound bitter and cynical? That's okay....we ARE bitter and cynical, but we're bitter and cynical together, and that's what really matters.

What I did get for Valentine's Day, however, was the first robin of spring. Actually, I got about twenty robins, in a flock, hopping about on the snowless ground and looking pretty cold and unhappy, poor guys.

This is absolutely the earliest I have ever seen a robin here in Illinois. My personal record before was February 29th of a leap year. I don't know what they're doing here so early, but I wish them well. I never believe the groundhog, but when robins show up, spring is on the way, and spring means green grass, sunny skies, and maybe a flower or two.

I hope I get this sweater finished before spring arrives! Back to work...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Embroidery Inspiration

by Kelly

I'm taking a break from the sweater project for a few days. I had all the increases done and was about to start the straight stretch when I thought to count my stitches and see if I had made a mistake...and I had 75 stitches...when I should have had 76.


Meanwhile, my husband and I went to an Estate Sale this weekend. Actually, we went to three. I'm hopelessly addicted, sadly. But I love the treasure hunting aspect of auctions, and estate sales are a sort of substitute during the Midwest winter when it's impossible to hold outside auctions.

So anyway, look what I found at the very first sale:

This is embroidery on linen. It has its issues...there are quite a few yellow spots, and the stitching is loose in a few places. And it would be neat if it was a purely original work, but when I look closely I can see the telltale blue outlines of a manufactured pattern under some of the stitches. There's a nameplate on the back that reads "The Old Farmhouse 1980". I have looked online, but haven't found the kit...yet.

Aside from all that, though, it's really an interesting concept, and that's why I picked it up. My main problem with cross stitch is filling in all the boring background. And here someone else thought the same thing, and picked up just a few details that were fun to do, and left the rest unworked. It's a very simple solution that appeals to my lazy side.

The stitch choices are nothing terribly exciting - long and short for the grass, stem stitches for the tree trunks, and 'lazy daisy' stitches for the leaves on the trees - but they are neatly done, and I especially love the flying birds. Had I done those birds they would be surrounded by holes in the fabric, where I couldn't get the stitches just right. Here, that's not the case.

The image also reminds me of illustrations from old children's books:

Narnia endpaper via Pintrest

Look at all the possibilities if I did the image above in embroidery. Different stitches could add texture to the trees in the background and the frozen twigs up front. And all that snow and ice would be perfectly illustrated with some silver or steel colored metallic threads...or even blending filament.

Such wonderful potential...but first I have to finish this sweater. Sigh.

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