On the verge

Today I realized that remedial or not, my stitching is taking over my life. I have started one of three new projects that I just kitted up. I'm missing a thread here and there, but I'm ready to go on all of them.
The American Needlepoint Guild (ANG) has a new project for the Stitch of the Month, which started this month and ends in December, "A Promise of Mystery," designed by Sue Reed. It really should be called "Project of the Year," since more than one stitch will sometimes be given in a month. What captured my interest? It's a geometric design, and I'm all about geometrics these days.
The designer's color palette was chosen to provide optimal differentiation for teaching, using three families, so I of course chose my own. I went with a monochromatic color scheme, and decided which shade would be which family based on the different kinds of threads in each. Family B, for instance, was the color for which I could find matching (or closely matching) colors in all of the thread types. I'm holding off on the Accentuate for this because (1) nobody in my area seems to carry it and (2) I have no idea how it's to be used so don't want to pick a substitute fiber till I have that last bit of information. How it's used could make the difference between substituting or ordering Accentuate online.
I'm anxiously awaiting February's installment. Meanwhile, I need to get started on "Stars for a New Millenium," for which I now have most of the threads. Yippee!
I am using Brenda Schroff's colorway, "Peacock," which starts with, surprise, surprise, the Thread Gatherer Silk 'N Colors SNC 007 Peacock. It's a departure from my usual go-to palette of purples, although there is a nod to purple with the periwinkle tones. The only threads I'm missing are the J.L. Walsh Silk & Wool and a Trebizond color that's been discontinued. I'll have to see if there's a suitable alternative in Trebizond, and if not, find a suitable alternative thread and color. I did substitute a couple of Neon Rays for two colors in the colorway because I wanted to maintain the texture of the original, and this colorway had used Impressions or Pebbly Perle. Even though I find Neon Rays a struggle to work with! I'm fairly sure that "kill me now" will be my mantra for those sessions of stitching.
I have to get started on the pre-work for this if I want to be ready for the next group meeting on February 7. So that will be two monthly bits of stitching I'll be doing this year. You may agree that I must have lost my mind when I signed up for ANG's Correspondence Course "Florentine Fancywork," by Toni McKelley.
Again, I have modifed the colors, but only because I didn't have the right color of Rainbow Gallery's Overture. I had one that had a very similar, softer range. I just stepped down a shade on some of the other threads, varied the tone on others, have one that I can't decide on so am reserving judgment till I start stitching (the two purple Splendors), and one that remained the same because there just wasn't a lighter alternative.
This one is only a 6-month project. Guess I'll have to keep an eye out for a project to fill out the rest of the year.


Ready, willing, and waiting

I've got my canvas attached to my Evertites and mounted on the Lowery. I'm itching to get started on "Stars for a New Millenium." All I need is some thread. Sigh.
In the meantime, I finished stitching "Maya" but haven't decided how to finish it. I'm tempted to put it on a tote bag, but I haven't found one that I like yet.
In the past few weeks I've collected two framed pieces from Clive Shepherd of the Brit's Gallery. He did a magnificent job on both.
Many thanks to Donna LaBranche, needleworker not in paradise, for selecting the blackwork fills for and stitching the entire center image. I came up with the design and stitched the simply cross-stitch side pieces, but she did the hardest (to me) part. I wanted the design to include blackwork, but I have never actually done blackwork and found out just how hard that could be. This piece will be entered in the Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition next month as a collaboration between the two of us.
Turnberry Ridge will also be going over to Woodlawn.


Eliminating Patina

While at my stitching group last night, I gave myself permission to abandon the Patina in the border of Maya. I just couldn't face the struggle any longer. Instead I'm using Pebbly Perle, which is much easier to work with and is a close color match. I also decided not to use the white in the center band of the border, after consulting with the group. I'll use a lavender Pebbly Perle used elsewhere in the piece. This was a good decision. I made progress with the innermost band of the border and hope I can complete the whole thing by the end of the week!
Yesterday and today, I've been compiling the thread order for the Stars group. I never expected it to be so confusing and complex, requiring me to make a spreadsheet in order not to miss a thread. Gah! I really don't use Excel much, usually only if someone sends me data, which I promptly save as a Word text file, something I can work with more easily. While poring over the colorways to organize them by manufacturer and brand, I've discovered a few errors along with a couple of discontinued colors. The book was published in 2000, so it's not surprising that some would be discontinued. The errors, however, can be perplexing without a swatch or online color reference to help figure out what the color number should have been. At the rate I'm going, I may not be able to place all the orders today. I still have to check my inventory for some of the brands to see whether I really need to order everything. Gah! If I ever say, "How hard could it be?", about this particular task again, somebody smack me.



Thanks to Jane, a member of the Tuesday night stitching group and a participant in the Stars stitchalong, I was able to finish the stitching on Maya that uses Bravo. Yay! So I started the outer border of a two-thread gobelin in Pebbly Pearl between one-thread gobelins of, sigh, Patina. The misery begins again, but it isn't nearly as bad doing this stitch. Damning with faint praise? Yeah.
Meanwhile, in other breaking news, we had a somewhat free-flowing, boisterous premier of the Stars group. Everyone did manage to select the variegated thread she wanted, well in some cases, threads to mull over and decide between. The consensus was, for the most part, to go with one of the colorways provided in the book. Canvas was tacked to stretcher bars. And I think that's all that was accomplished. I'm looking into another location for our future meetings because my dining table just can't handle that many people working on such a large project. My neighborhood community house would be a good place, if the usage fee isn't too high for Sundays.
To top off the afternoon, some of us went across the highway to have dinner at a very tasty Thai restaurant, Crystal Thai.


Trying to finish a WIP

I've found the cross-stitch piece I was working on not a good choice right now. The way I decided to stitch it is requiring way too much thought about every stitch. Hahahaha. So I decided to work on the Orna Willis canvaswork project I had started as a model for the shop, "Maya." I realized that I don't really have that much left to do on it and have nearly finished it. (I need to use a tripod when I take pics with my new camera. I don't have a steady hand.)
I only need to finish the bottom band and the outer border. I may have to set it aside for a few days, though, because I don't have enough Rainbow Gallery Bravo to complete the bottom row of Rhodes stitches done in RG Patina (I hate Patina!) and Bravo. Just 10 stitches! And I was evidently the only LNS in my area carrying it. Gah! If I can't beg some from a friend's stash (and how likely is it that someone has the color I need?), I may be forced to get my Web store up and running immediately so I can order it from RG. That's a pretty good incentive, doncha know.
The other thing I've discovered while stitching this is, as I mentioned above, I HATE PATINA! Really. Surely there's another thread that's less heinous to work with that gives a similar effect. Does anybody else find it as miserable an experience as I do? Probably not.
The last problem I've encountered requires frogging, which I'm not sure I'm going to do. I have one wrong stitch in the top portion done in Trebizond. Can you find it? I, of course, can't miss it now that I've found it, but I'm not sure the casual observer would see it. Decisions, decisions. Well, I have plenty of time to decide while I wait for the Bravo to appear.
In the meantime, tomorrow afternoon is the first meeting of the "Stars for a New Millennium" stitch-along. That will give me something to take my mind off my stitching woes.