Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Snow Flies and so do the Birds

This is the barn with that little sprinkling of snow.  It does look very pretty....only deer tracks across it.

It is that day for Valentines.....a a big happy one to you.  I am amazed at the beautiful hearts that have been created for stitching.  Beth has many on the website.....and in the newsletter.  As I looked at the calendar, no way can it be February.  The little bit of snow I found enjoyable since we didn't have to shovel and it is pretty coming down,  but this up and down temperature business is the pits.  When I lived in the South we had mild weather most of the time.....except the few years in the mountains....and when it did snow down there, at the beach, it was exciting and everything came to a stop....and we enjoyed it.
It's done!!!!!!

The last block completed.....Giving thanks on Sunday!!!  How appropriate

I have completed Hawk Run Hollow which many of you have been following my progress.  On Super Bowl Sunday, several picked up the "stuff" to stitch it.  It was very enjoyable....maybe because the fabric was 28ct. which made seeing it much easier.  Finished it measured about 26 1/4 inch by 19 3/4.  Each block is about
6  1/2 inches square.  On 32 ct. it would be 5 3/4 inches a bit smaller.  It is in the process of framing. We selected a reddish brown frame about 2 inches wide. Phyllis' autumn Hawk Run is in the works for framing as well.  Hers is long! Hope I can load up some pics

I had started another block sampler by Brenda Keyes before I began Hawk Run and now I am back to working on it.  It is on 32 ct. linen, two strands of DMC.....I use the magnifier bigtime.It is titled A Sampler Story.  She gives numerous alternatives that you can use....again one or two  of the 24 blocks each of which measures 3 inches.  It is different than Hawk Run, but does tell a sampler story.

Here is a shot of where I am........actually it is a shot of the entire piece.....from the cover and I have completed the 12 on the right side.  Don't know why I started there.

Here is where I am.....the pic is on the left.


Here is something I found as I was going thru things that I save.......I will write it out...it says so much

My Favorite Store

The Strawberry Sampler 
Chadds Ford, PA

How could it be?
It all was so right
I had entered a world
Of beauty so bright.

From the towels and bibs, 
To the samplers and clock, 
I could see that this shop
Had magnificent stock.

Rabbits and dolls
Were displayed on the wall.
There were so many projects, 
I wanted them all.

I started to gather 
From each loaded rack.  
Then I realized quite gladly, 
I'd have to come back.

For stitching is not
An impulsive task, 
But rather an act
Of love meant to last.

This was share by Katherine Hoffken, Essington, PA in a magazine that was printed at least 15-20 years ago.   In it there was a place to write in about your favorite store.  We were thrilled with her thoughts. In those 15-20 years so much has changed in our retail industry and having been one of the "early birds" in the mid 70's, I seen the growth....at times overwhelming growth...of shops around the country.....and sadly the change in the number of shops that are still sharing "this cross stitch stuff".  It is because of friends like you all that keeps this poem relative......even those of you on the internet, mail order.  As these shops have closed their doors, we know it as our internet base continues to grow.   We're always so pleased to have "one of them drop by while traveling....just to say hi and to check us out. 

I will post this now, hoping my chatting you enjoy.  The birds are having a blast at the feeders.  Their bellies are full.  Haven't seen any squirrels yet.....but I won't hold my breath.  

Like this?.......Hope to chart it......BELIEVE
Never forget that your presence is treasured in this busy world we live in.  Abby, the boy's mom, my younger daughter who endures the challenges of  Crohn's disease, says "HI!"  We are hoping that she will  bring us some new X Appeal Designs in the near future.  We live next door....they're in the farmhouse while Beth and I share the old restored barn.  It is a uniquely blessful  situation.......being able to help out when needed and to share the ups and downs of life.  Stress is such a factor in this day.......and I am a firm believer that one of the reasons we have blessed is that keeping your hands busy is so important.  Remember the old days when the ladies sat around the quilt....at the quilting bees.....that's what our gatherings really are.......a bunch of us buzzing around sharing with each other.  We will miss Stitchin' at the Ford this month due to the holiday weekend, but back together in March.  I will bring the teaching frame and share some tricks or answer some questions..........One of my favorite Bible verses......

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God , and the peace of God which shall surpass all understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus.

And this modern translation says it well 

Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray.  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.

Through many years of difficult times.......as my doctor says"I have survived!"  I repeated many verses over and over until they are really a part of my life moment by moment carrying me through...not always around....what I am facing.  

Make a difference in the lives of all who walk on your pathway!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Not sure just where my blog got to and will redo it tomorrow.  Have to learn some more to make this work.  Finish Hawk Run Hollow. 

We had a wonderful group of ladies  and  a few men in for the sale.....It's amazing to see everyone and know they still enjoy coming into the store.   Those of you on the internet.....we'd love to see you , but truly enjoy notes and orders.  

Better go to sleep and think better tomorrow........RE

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Here we are, the night before Super Bowl.  What a fun time we have and have had over the years.  Remember the days when we put a yellow line on the floor to keep an orderly flow to the register?  The mid 80's and early 90's.  We still have a "line-up" at check out time---more orderly I guess. 

I have been working on Hawk Run Hollow .....  just about to finish but will show you a shot before the final block.  I'm not sure why I'm enjoying this piece so much....maybe the 28ct. of the fabric, but I think it is exciting to do a block at a time and see the progress.  It is a big piece... and Phyllis' is finished and getting ready for framing.  Her's is wide and beautiful.  I am contemplating doing one block for the top of a box, but not started yet.  

My plan on this "gabbing spot"  is to share with you tips and techniques that I have learned over the past 40 years....many from my studies in Copenhagen, Denmark in the 70's and 80's.  My approaches to counted cross stitch are greatly influenced by the Danes approach and don't always "sit right" with more .....can't think of a word....but Guilds across our country.  I smile and share kindly why I stitch the way I do.  Above in the picture, I had Beth make a photo of how I am holding my fabric.

Note my thumb....it is placed just below where I am stitching....see the under stitch I just completed.  If you could see the underside, you would find, my index finger just behind the area pressing against my thumb.  And, my little ring finger and pinkie are at the upper edge of the stitching area, helping to keep the fabric in place as I stitch.   Some always say, "You're not using a hoop or stitching bars......!"   No, my hand is my "hoop".  I will try to insert a picture later of this later.  One thing we often try to do is hold the fabric we're stitching on with our thumb and index finger......which puts a strain on the wrist and can lead to problems later on.  Why this way.......my first class at The Danish Handcraft Guild in 1977, I forgot to take a hoop when I packed.  But in the first class we were informed that we would not be using a hoop, instead our hand would become that tool.  Not easy at first, but I couldn't even cheat when I got to the hotel because I couldn't even find a hoop to buy!  So I made my hand work. We were taught to use "the sewing method", not punch and stab, to place the stitches.....Another lesson I hope to share.

On the left you see how we commonly end up holding our fabric......this is the one that puts a strain on the wrist.  On the right my fingers are under the stitching area.....perhaps not like the picture above with all of my fingers, but nevertheless, my index finger is right behind my thumb on the back side of the fabric.

When I see a picture of my hand....hands....I'm reminded of something that happened in the early 70's while I was teaching  a group of ladies how to do decoupage....hard crafts they call it.  It was spring and being a gardener....failing to put on gloves....my hands were a mess.  While helping a lady new to the area who was having difficulty adjusting to the move, I reached out my hands to help and quickly said," Oh my, I need to ask the Good Lord for a new pair of hands....these are a mess.!"   She very quickly stated, "And when He does that, would you ask Him to give me those.  I'd love to be able to use my hands like you do!"  

Well, I was suddenly reminded that we are what we are.....with all of the challenges that we never let on about.  She had no idea that I had been hospitalized the year before......when we got moved.....battling severe depression.  After 5 weeks I joined my family and with the help of therapy and medication, I learned to cope........and to share my challenges with others.  That was 40+ years ago and with new medications my life changed dramatically as that of my family.  With the help of doctors, we discovered a genetic link to depression which impacted ......  and impacts so many of us.

After looking at my "wad" of thread tails, I pulled out several ways that we have learned to store and carry our thread or floss as we are stitching.  Now if like me you are stitching several pieces at once, you may have to adjust your techniques.  I will show you some pics.

The floss is inside of a length of plastic......comes 100 to a package....with a hole in one end to put on a ring as you can see.....the pulling end comes through another hole on the opposite end.....and another hole allow for putting the remaining lengths of floss there instead of a "wad"......Tip......right here.......when pulling out a length of floss from the skein, ALWAYS go the the end with the number and pull from that end.  You will actually see an arrow in a circle configuration....used to be a hand.....and this allows for the thread to "come out"...usually without getting hung up. 

The above is a method that many of us have used, winding each color on a small plastic card that was...is   stored in an 8 x 10 plastic box.  I like this way, altho I find if the floss is wound too tightly, well....let's say....it may not always lay....lie so nicely...but that's just me.

Well, I must get back to my stitching to take with me to the shop tomorrow.  I'm just about done with "Giving Thanks on Sunday" .....

Hope to see you soon......thanks for being you....and making a difference for those who happen on to your journey through life.....Teach them to stitch!!
Ruth Ellen