Sunday, January 13, 2019

Swan Stitch-a-Long, part 6

Hi everyone! Happy new year and all that! It's time for the first stitch-a-long check-in of 2019!

I've been slowly making progress on my swan needlepoint. I've now filled in the outer background of the bottom half.  

I used a simple texture pattern and I really like how it came out.

I also did more on the central background, and stitched most of the "feather edging" on the left swan.

And... drumroll please... I rolled the piece on the frame so I could work on the top part. Or higher up, anyway.

Remember our grumpy friend, right swan?

Next steps are to finish the feather outlining on left swan, then stitching the eye and beak to match right swan. And then doing the outlining and stitching of the upper leaves -- including the ones swirling around the outer edge. My goal for the next three weeks would be to do as much outlining and stitching of the leaves to be able to roll the piece again so I could finish them up. But we'll see.

It's a new year, so we've had two new members join the stitch-a-long, and an old friend return. Visit their blogs to see what they're all up to! If you're interested in joining and getting some serious support and inspiration for your projects, visit Avis's blog for all the details.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, LindaHeidi, Jackie, Hayley, Megan, CatherineDeborah, Connie, and Clare... and welcome back Mary Margaret, and welcome to Renee, Jenny.

Our next update will be Sunday, February 3 -- let's get stitching!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

52 week drawing challenge wrap-up

One of my 101 in 1001 Goals was to complete a "52 Weeks of Drawing" challenge. I had found a super cute graphic created by The Paper Mama back in 2014 (??? the Internet *is* forever!):

I printed it out and pasted it into my sketchbook. And every Sunday -- well, okay, most Sundays, but I always made up for it! -- I spent 15 minutes or so sketching.

Now, I'm not going to call myself an artist just yet, but I do think my sketching has improved, at least a little. Besides, I enjoyed the physical act of drawing every week, and in the end I produced 52 drawings. Here are a few of my favorites:

1/21: Plant -- the cat tree in the front window, complete with cat.

3/5 (really drawn on 3/4, for some reason): Favorite Book - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

4/15: 2 - my feet.

7/29: Crafty - a cross stitch project I was working on for my Mom's birthday

8/19: Sky - a view from the Adirondack chairs at the side of the house.

10/21: Comic Strip - recounting our adventures getting to the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon.

11/4: Sweet Treat - a couple of sketches of pears.

12/9: Toy -- a plastic "solar dancer" that makes me smile just looking at it.

12/30: Your Choice -- a view from the couch at the cabin, looking out at the small barn.

I enjoyed this project so much -- and the ritual of sitting down and sketching for 15 minutes at a time -- that I found a nice set of drawing prompts on the Mona Lisa Lives Here blog … for a DAILY drawing project.

So far I am 10/10 on sketches, and I really enjoy it. I know there will come a day when I just don't get to it, but for now, it's really fun. You can download your own list of 365 drawing prompts from the Mona Lisa Lives Here blog if you fancy joining in!

Completing the 2018 challenge means I have completed 18 things on my "101 things in 1001 days" list -- with several more in progress. So it looks as if I'm way behind, but I'm only a little behind...

I'll share more of my sketch-a-day images later in the year ... and hopefully my drawing will continue to improve!

Friday, January 4, 2019

January OMG : Starting the 2019 Temperature Project

Hi everyone! I have (reluctantly) returned to the real world after our New Year's / Birthday break and, no surprise, feel like I am somehow way behind on this "kicking off 2019" thing. However, though it feels like December 31 was a loooong time ago, I realize today is only January 4 and there's time to get going. *IF* I set it as my One Monthly Goal!!!

In 2017 I made a temperature afghan. I loved the process of picking out the yarn -- in my project, a  monochromatic "Fifteen Shades of Grey" -- and I loved tracking the temperatures and watching the colors shift over the course of the year. Who cares if it ended up nearly 10 feet long; it's warm and cozy and really nice on our big bed.

But I knew I didn't need another massive afghan, so wanted to find another project to do. I thought about some sort of cross stitch project, or even a pillow top. But nothing really felt right. Then I remembered this lovely old thing in my basement:

note Kiki in the background...

When I was growing up we had two of these; one with a burgundy cushion and this one with a green cushion. I don't know what happened to the other one, but I insisted that I had to have it, and often thought of stitching a needlepoint piece and recovering the sadly ripped leather cushion. But then it just languished in my basement, an odd UFO.

I decided that, somehow, I would chart out a simple pattern and spend 2019 tracking the temperature in needlepoint. This was easier said than done -- it's HARD to chart out 365 spaces, darn it! Lots of sketches, tests, and recounts. Oh, and of course it's not a true rectangle, and there are those cutouts to contend with!

But finally, with some fudging and some shifting, a 365-space grid was sketched on an old piece of needlepoint canvas:

The center piece will include the year and a very simple border, and then the background of it will be whatever color corresponds with the temperature. But what color would that be, I hear you ask!

I wanted something with a little color, but I'm not super into rainbows. I recently crocheted a scarf from Mandala yarn that was in a muted rainbow, so I used that as my inspiration and spent a lot of time trying to choose colors of DMC tapestry wool... without being able to see any of them in person. That said, when they all arrived, I was really happy with the range -- everything is a bit muted or, as DMC calls it, "Drab".

Of course, one can't predict the temperatures for the coming year, but I made some guesses and ordered between 2 and 7 skeins of each color. The nice thing about this project is if I need to wait to restock a color, I can keep working on other days, unlike with my temperature afghan!

My One Monthly Goal for January is to really get going on this -- get the canvas in a frame and get stitching. Oh, and to decide what to call this project. Temperature Needlepoint? Temperature Tapestry? Temperature Topper???

This link-up is organized by Elm Street Quilts, you can check out all the monthly projects on the January Link-up Page.

Oh, and here's a gratuitous photo of one of my adorable cats...