Monday, February 02, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009-04

I’m afraid I skipped Weekly Geeks last week. I had a really busy week getting ready for Marcus’ birthday and all our visitors and I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to say about Classic books. They’re something I don’t read a lot of – more out of some vague fear than anything else – and I couldn’t form a coherent post. But this week is much more my thing. Here are the instructions from the Weekly Geeks site:

#1. What are you passionate about besides reading and blogging? For example, are you crafty (knitting, woodworking, scrapbooking, model building)? Do you cook? Into gaming (computer or board)? Sports (player or spectator)? Photography? Maybe you like geocaching, rock climbing? Or love attending events like renaissance fairs, concerts? Music? Dancing? You get the idea.

Tell us why you're passionate about it. Post photos of what you've made or of yourself doing whatever it is you love doing.

#2. Get us involved. Link to tutorials, recipes, Youtube videos, websites, fan sites, etc, anything that will help us learn more about your interest or how to do your hobby. Maybe you'd like to link to another hobbyist whose work you admire or tell us about a book or magazine related to your interest.

#3. Visit other Weekly Geeks. Link in your post to other Geeks who've peaked your interest in their passion. Or maybe you might find a fellow afincionado among us, link to them.

1. Other Passions

mestitching As anyone who has ever browsed this blog (or even just read my little “About Me” profile) will know, I’m an obsessed cross stitcher. I started stitching when I was about 17 and now, over 20 years later I’m still going strong. Between my health and a small child I don’t get as much done as I would like, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop completely. Right now, I’m working on a design called Second Chances by designer Tracy Horner from Ink Circles. I’m stitching it with very small stitches – 32 of them to an inch – so it’s a bit of a challenge, but I’m really enjoying it. Fortunately, my eyes can cope fine. In fact, I need to take my glasses off to see most clearly. When finished, it should look like this, but I haven’t done a lot yet. Here’s my current progress:


I run a small home business called Character Creations, where I convert artwork into cross stitch designs. I generally don’t stitch my own designs – all my creativity goes into the designing and I don’t have a lot left to consider actually stitching the piece. One picture I did like was the art for the cover of The Dawn Star by Catherine Asaro (who is also a favourite author). Stephanie Law (the artist) is one of the artists whose work I chart, but unfortunately she didn’t own the rights to this one. In the end, I managed to get permission from Harlequin to do it just for myself. It’s a really huge project (know as a ‘BAP’ among cross stitchers, which stands for ‘'Big A** Project’) and I’ll be doing it for years, but I love how it is turning out. Here’s my current progress on this one:


Other crafty things I do include some patchwork (I learned out of self-preservation when I got a job in an embroidery and patchwork store) isn’t a major hobby, but one I enjoy when I get in the mood for it. It makes a pleasant change from cross stitch when I still want to be creative and crafty, but need to do something a little different.

I’m currently working on a Triple Irish Chain quilt that has been many years in the preparation (and the making), but I’ll get it finished in the end. You can see some of my quilts here (the gallery is out of date now, but the pictures are all still there to see – oh, and the thumbnail of Dawn of the Third Age is wrong because it is actually a Babylon 5 quilt). This one below resides on Dave and my bed and is a bit faded these days from repeated use and washing, but it is still a favourite:

PMEB Sisters

Last year, I got into digital scrapbooking. My enthusiasm has faded a bit since then and I only do some now and then. I have an album of layouts that doesn’t include the most recent ones as lately I’ve just been doing them for myself rather than sharing them online. We recently brought a new printer that will print them at excellent quality, so my current goal is to (very slowly) print them out and make a physical album I can go through myself. Marcus also really enjoys seeing all the pictures of himself, so it will be good when he can just pick up the album and take a look as the mood strikes him, rather than me having to pull up the appropriate directory on the laptop. This one was done to commemorate the first Christmas Santa came to give Marcus presents.

081224santacame (Frames by Nancy Comlab; everything else by Kate Hadfield and Kaye Winiecki.)

I’ve flirted with a few other things like stamping and Hardanger, but these three are the ones that have stuck. I’ve also tried knitting, but it just won’t click in my brain. When I was pregnant I imagined I would knit something for the baby, but when I couldn’t even follow the instructions in the book to let me cast on, I faced up to the fact that knitting isn’t for me and I’ve never tried again. What with the reading, stitching, patchwork and scrapbooking, when would I have time anyway?

2. Online Resources

Hmm. In terms of cross stitch, I don’t really visit “resource” sites. My travels around the web mostly include shops – it’s always nice to drool over some pretty stuff one can’t afford to buy and doesn’t have the time to stitch – and blogs to keep an eye on other people’s works in progress.

There is a very good set of starter FAQs written by Kathy Dyer which cover all the basics and a bit more.

What about some of my favourite designers? There’s a core of them who consistently create beautiful things that tempt me, and here’s a list of some of them with links to their websites.

dragonfob I went exploring the links I’ve just typed to make sure I had everything spelled correctly and I’ve found a lovely new dragon scissors fob by Teresa Wentzler that I’d never seen before. Oh dear, something else to go on my wish list. This is proving to be a dangerous exercise!

I love looking at other stitching blogs as it is always fun to see what other stitchers are working on – even if it is something I would never consider stitching myself. For example, I love the art conversions of Heaven and Earth Designs, but I find them very fiddly to stitch (which is why my one, Defender of the Kingdom, is going very slowly). So checking out the progress of other stitchers is the perfect way to get vicarious satisfaction.

Some of my favourite stitching blogs:

Of course, as I’ve already said, I also browse craft shops for things I wish I could buy. If you’d like to look at my current dream list (as in ‘in my dreams’), it’s up online here.

3. Other Weekly Geeks

I’ve had a lovely time browsing through the other Weekly Geeks posts (okay, occasionally looking at the pictures more than the text as it’s getting late here and I really should go to bed). The following are the ones that attracted my eye the most.

  • Fiddle-de-dee's not English: Yati shares her love of patchwork with some beautiful photos and I also loved the way her books wormed their way into her photos even when it’s a post about other things. Yati, if you see this, Niccolo Rising is a bit of work, but well worth the effort and I’ve just recently reread (or technical relistened to) The Dark is Rising but I refuse to even consider watching the film.
  • Infant Biblophile: Another patchwork post, with lots of beautiful finished quilts. I especially like the last one – and the necessary book edition of The Lion in the Meadow which is a favourite in this New Zealand household too.
  • Random Wonder: I loved this post about scrapbooking, especially digital scrapbooking, and the way all the whole post is decorated with scrapbook pages. But I admit, it was the layout of the bookshelves at the bottom that really won my heart.
  • Crazy Comma Momma: I really admire a person who does “real” paper scrapbooking. I’d be too afraid ever to cut anything up or glue anything down. That’s why I scrap digitally. I love my ctrl-Z. Beautiful layouts in this post and some great links.

This had been a great theme for the week and even if it’s taken me several days to get my post together, I’ve really enjoyed doing it.


Bogsider said...

Seems like stitching is quite popular with bloggers :-) As well as scrapbooking. And you quilts look really great - I would never be able to make anything like that. But that is no wonder since I can even knit, crochet, sew, stitch or anything else in the crafty department ;-)

xinef said...

I was at the CreativFestival class where TW taught the dragon scissors fob. It is beautiful. I've had other priorities since then, so haven't finished it yet. I intend to get back to it once I've caught up with my BoINK.

Kristina said...

I cross stitch too!! I love your work. I have to say, I don't even know the first thing about making a cross stitch pattern out of a picture....that's amazing!

Infant Bibliophile said...

Oh, that scrappy quilt for your bed is absolutely stunning!! Your stitching is lovely too. I look forward to following your blog. I have enjoyed this project so much that I think I am going to be adding a lot more crafty content to our blog as well. (PS I'm in the US but married to a Kiwi). Would love any other recommendations for children's books by NZ authors. We have My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes and a NZ Counting Book in addition to the Lion in the Meadow.

Chris said...

Beautiful work! I need to get back into scrapbooking.

Gavin said...

A wonderful post. There seem to be lots of crafty people who blog. I am learning to felt and I used to needlepoint. May have to get back to it!

A little bit of crazy.... said...

I haven't cross stitched since I was a kid but it's definitely one of those things I'd love to do with my girls. My sister does one project she has framed every year for Christmas gifts. I'd never imagined they got as big as your BAP! It looks like it will be gorgeous when complete! What patience you have!

Amanda said...

The quilt is gorgeous. I'm always amazed at one's ability to make something so wonderful. I'm slowly learning to make things other than scarves with my knitting, but I've always wanted to make a quilt. I don't have the time or the patience for it though :) I like quick projects that I don't actually have to pay much attention to which is why I like knitting since I can do a basic stitch without having to watch my hands. Came across your blog by random, but looking forward to reading more. :)

crazycommamomma said...

Wow, what a beautiful quilt! I'm in awe!!

Thanks for linking to my post... I just now saw that! ;)