Monday, March 12, 2007

Being Domestic & Stitching

Between stitching engagements, I've been soooo domestic that I am beginning to feel like Martha Stewart - NOT! I have however, been doing lots of cooking and "cleaning up". Yesterday dinner was - cornish game hens with my own special sauce, roasted yukon gold potatoes and roasted asparagus. I also made 10 cups of rhubarb conserve. 10 years ago, on our honeymoon in England, I came across rhubarb conserve in a tea shop in York. I like rhubarb - that wonderful fresh taste. The conserve had bits of orange in it and sugar - nothing else. The orange tasted almost candied, but that is a process that happens during the cooking - not separately. Since the first time I made it I had some tangelos, it has come to be Rhubarb Tangelo Conserve in my house.

Some other dishes that have emerged have been pork loin with rosemary and garlic, roasted broccoli, boiled baby yukon gold potatoes to use the rosemary garlic pork juices, marinated tri tip, various forms of steak sandwich, party wings, eggplant caviar, eggs benedict, matzah brie, matzah ball soup, and matzah pancakes, and more. It is so hard to eat low fat and eat prepared meals. Low fat can be tasty!

Meanwhile on the stitching front, I did a couple examples of blackwork bookmarks for the Cable Car Cablers/Smocking. We did the Greek Key design in class; in both double running and back stitch. I blathered about blackwork and smocking historically - 16th C or so. They had lots of questions and I managed to have answers for most of them. I don't mind saying I don't know, but it is always amazing to me how much I do know/retain from reading/researching. And yet there is so much I don't know and want to explore!

Our Guild meeting was a basic hardanger design. I had forgotten how much I enjoy doing hardanger. It was on 18 ct canvas rather than 22 ct aida and done with Watercolors (pearl pima cotton). Yes I'll post pics. I've also been stitching a couple new name tags. Laura Perrin was at the Stitching Festival and I picked up a couple of her freebie designs and $1 chunks of canvas. Not that I ever really follow a design, but ... In addition, I am doing 2 of our upcoming summer evening classes. I'll do the Greek Key for one and I am doing a Petite Project by Mary Knapp "Purple Mountains Majesty, a bargello altoids tin cover. Need to sit down and stitch the model for it. Also will need to do the "homework" for the English class. The specially woven linen canvas and silk (flat silk) has arrived. I need to do most of the tent stitch before the class. Now you know what I'll be stitching on in April.

I also need to do the model for one of our guild's kits - a design courtesy of Laura Perrin. We send simple embroidery kits to the VA hospital in Texas which houses returning vets. The kits are for family members to help pass the time. Our Guild is doing 3 new patriotic kits - 2 designed by members and this new one "American Star" -- 2 XS and 1 canvaswork. We will kit them in June - I hope. I'm shepharding the 2 members through the process of charting and creating "professional" looking instruction sheets.

If anyone wants to donate supplies to use - we need, preferably by June 15th:
14 count aida - white
18 count canvas - white or eggshell
DMC Floss - white, black, red 666 & 498, blue 797, purple 791, gold 725, green 699
DMC #5 Pearl cotton - navy 823, red 815, ecru
Ribbon Floss 144-001 Gold OR Kreinik 1/16th Ribbon 002-gold
Watercolors 008 OR 154 (#5 pearl cotton equivalent) OR Dinky Dyes Pearl Cotton #86 - note that Jo Mason of Dinky Dyes is providing us with a large "lot" of this
#22 and #24 Tapestry Needles
1 quart ziplocks
Email me or comment and I'll provide an address.

When I'm not stitching or cooking, I'm cleaning stuff out. More to go up on ebay soon. Garage sale this weekend. Lots more to charities and into the garbage. At least I can recycle the papers. We won't mention that I need to prep for meeting up with the tax man next week. Papercuts and stitching do NOT go together.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Knitting is a whole new language

No I haven't turned to the darkside. I knitted as a kid and then revived it a bit when I dyed my own yarn. Of course that project is still staring at me to finish.

Went to Stitches West on Friday last. I had signed up for a class on how to do scarves as I figured that with my limited knowledge I might be able to follow along. I learned buckets about how to do some effects (making holes, angles, multicolors, etc.). I asked lots of questions. The teacher didn't seem to mind since the other 3 students only asked vey mundane questions and just took in the whole exerience. I also introduced the teacher to some design color concepts like "poison" color use to make other colors "pop".

Then armed with my new yarn and needles I walked part of the floor before heading off to the "learn to knit" class. There were all sorts of threads and beads. There was also a fair contingent of things for spinners/weavers. Bought some yarn which is called "pencil" roving. It is tighter than true roving, but it should felt up really nice when knitted. I also bought some lovely dyed roving which will spin and knit up into something. Then I treated myself to a drop spindle. I wanted a nice one so if/when I go to events and spin, I'm not using the clunky one from class.

The "learn to knit" class came with plastic needles (far nicer than the old plastic ones) and baby blanket type yellow yarn. The best part was the instruction booklet. I was having some problems with remembering the pattern for perl. It also had good instructions for the knit stitch cast on (I had always done the half hitch cast), and several different ways to add, substract, and end off. Wish I had such good instructions for embroidery stitches. I'll need to do some thinking on what makes the booklet different than all the embroidery books I have in my library. (Note that I "won" at the EGA meeting opportunity drawing the book A-Z of Embroidery this week.)

Walked around a bit more after class before making myself leave without more purchases. I did treat myself to some more of the muskox yarn. Well, it was a little less than I paid in Fairbanks and I'm finally getting to the point where I might actually be able to knit with it; so it was my reward and goal (or so I reasoned TIC).