What Happened to New Year Resolve?!

Dear Reader,

I am very, very sorry that I have not kept to my schedule.  Truth be told, I threw the schedule away!  It wasn’t working for me.  That is not to say this is not the Year of the Blog.  Indeed it still is the Year of the Blog for me.  I have been blogging regularly over at The Shop Sampler.  I have chosen The Shop Sampler to showcase my efforts in Sharon Boggon’s challenge, Take a Stitch Tuesday 2012.  And you can follow the challenge and click on comments to see the work of the worldwide participants.  I’ve heard there are 500 or more participanting from around the world!  (I even practiced my French in commenting on one blog!  And the lady even understood me!)

I first ran into a snag with the schedule when I had problems with a table I was setting up to display photos on a blog.  And I was trying to figure out how custom menus work in WordPress.  So, I played around and made mistakes and finally seemed to start to figure it out.  Then I started to reorganize some info on my blogs with my new found knowledge.  It’s still a work in progress.  Please, don’t get discouraged with me and my blogs!  I’m discouraged enough for a football stadium full of people!

And, then there’s another little “thing” I’ve gotten involved in.  It’s called the Stitchers’ UFO Challenge.  This is an online support group for up to 100 stitchers like me.  Stitchers who have stacks of projects begun, but set aside in favor of the newer, more exciting, and sexier projects that we just have to start now!  The idea is to make a committment to complete some of these UnFinished Objects.  One should be kind and gentle to oneself and committ to the process and spirit of the project, not beat oneself up and turn those old loves to tortured projects you hate and strip of all their soul as you bash that pile into submission. 

With that in mind let me take you on a little tour of what I’ve accomplished since I last wrote here.  You should begin the tour by browsing posts in The Shop Sampler, Sight Sniffing, and Relatively Ryan, my three other blogs.  Then look through the following photos.  Written descriptions and links to the free patterns as appropriate follow the slideshow!  Get a cuppa or some pop corn and enjoy!  All feedback will be appreciated and replied to!

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First up…Family Stuff.  I have two sisters.  One just had her fourth grandchild.  The other is expecting her first in February.  One of them has asked me to bead something special for her (an eye glass leash.)  I repurposed a necklace I would never finish and am ready to start the beading project.  I pulled out a 12 year old UFO.  (That would be the quilt which is now finished!)  The hooded bath blanket for Baby Girl Burgess to be is from a free pattern.  So is the bunting, also for Baby Girl.  The quilt will be going to Lucas X. Robinson (along with a sweater that I have kitted, but not knitted—YET!)

Next on the tour—Projects For Me.  Well one (the blackwork chess board) is for Jeff, but the actual stitching part is a pleasure for me, even if it is still a UFO!  I have written  about the Blackwork Chess Board before.  I have fourteen chess pieces to stitch in black then outline the 16 in gold, wash the piece.  Once it’s fringed it will be done.  Maybe a month to go! 

There is a skirt on the table.  It is blue linen (and finished).  I have also made a lined blue linen vest to go with it, but I can’t turn it.  I’m sending to my sister to finish it for me.  (Heads up, Toni!)  I learned how to rework a pattern to make this wrap around skirt fit me properly and now have two wrap skirts as a result.  If you like sewing with linen, you must check out the Fabric Store.  It is the best source for linen at incredible prices.

The fingerless gloves are from a free pattern I found, knit in Deborah Norville’s Everyday yarn in Carnivale.  This was wonderful yarn to work with and I love the color.  (I have also started this hat in this yarn to go with the gloves, but it will not be picked up again until I finish the baby projects.  My head won’t get any bigger—I hope!)

The afghan is also a free pattern.  It is called Tree of Life.  I knitted it.  But you can crochet it.  You can also do a Tree of Life for baby with two tree panels and one garden panel.  I have absolutely loved knitting this.  Maybe because it was a challenge and I met it.  I didn’t give up!

And, finally, two projects I did with a group of fellow campers.  The redneck wine glasses were a lot of fun.  Tips if you try to make this project, beading glue E6000 is a good glue or epoxy.  Don’t soak your glass in water for lengthy periods of time.  Avoid the dishwasher.  If not–you may have to reglue!  The painting was done in an art studio in Picayunne, Mississippi.  Painting parties are a rather common thing around here.  I see all kinds of problems with this painting, but I had never used acrylics before and the paint was drying as quick as I put it on the canvas.  Guess you can use more than when you paint with oil.  This was a two hour class.  Everyone did a great job, really.

So you see, I may not have been writing here every third or fourth day, but I have been quite busy.  At this point I’ll strive to write here once a week or every 10 days.  More if possible.  If you’re missing me here, try my other blogs cuz I’ll be writing somewhere!

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Hand Health for Stitchers

Before we left for Mississippi, I had my thumb injected with cortisone as I was experiencing “trigger thumb.”  Very painful.  Possibly related to stitching.  I didn’t need the xrays to tell me I have arthritic changes in my hands.  I can see little knobs on my finger joints that told me several years ago that I would be heading for hand problems.  To be kind to my hands (and because I can’t freely bend my dominant thumb) I haven’t placed a single stitch on fabric for eight weeks now.  And I need to stitch.  Stitching is closely linked to sanity in my being!

Fortunately, The Universe sent me a special email message.  If you love stitching as much as I do, you need to read this message, too.  It is a timely post from my favorite Blogging Expert, Time Thief, entitled Hand and Wrist Exercises for Bloggers.  But, really it’s for anyone who uses their hands, wrists and fingers a lot.  Like stitchers.  It’s even got links for exercises for people with arthritis of the hands from experts no less than the Mayo Clinic!

I’ve already started doing the exercises, except for where it requires bending my thumb.  The thumb is getting better, but until the inflammation is gone, I’m not going to abuse it.  Instead I have splinted it and am finishing an afghan I’ve been knitting.  Just have to do the border now.  But how I want to stitch!