I missed out on a few...

Stitching Bloggers QOTW since I have been feeling so horrible the last few weeks. But since Alyssa is at her friend's house, and Aislin is eating popcorn and watching Nick Jr, I have a few minutes to get caught up!

May 11th: Given the option, would you rather buy a chart and get the material and floss together yourself, or buy a pre-packed kit?

I guess it all depends on two things: 1) Is the design available as a pattern? 2) What is the quality of the materials in the kit?

I have been finding that I am becoming more irritated with kit quality as I get into more complex designs. I used to stitch exclusively from kits because they seem to be more cost effective when you are on a very limited budget. But now I can't stand to stitch on Aida, and the quality of a lot of kit floss leaves much to be desired. In fact, I just started a limited edition Mickey Mouse kit and just couldn't bear the thought of stitching on the Aida provided, so I switched out with a piece of 28 count linen. If the kit is something I really want to do, and if it has linen or evenweave, I'll usually buy it. But if it's in leaflet form I will usually just kit it up myself.

May 18th: How many strands of floss to you prefer to stitch with? Why?

99% of the time I use 2 strands on a 28 count fabric. That is the standard and I'm quite happy with the coverage it gives most of the time. Some designers call for 3 strands on 28 count, which does provide a blanket-like coverage. But I find that the 3 strands get "lumpy" and start to really bug me. It doesn't lay nicely like 2 strands! My favorite stitching is over 1 with 1 strand. Over 1 allows you to get some great details into a design. And I think I like it because I know many people really aren't comfortable with over-1 stitching. Yep, I'm a cross stitch snob!

May 25th: How do you deal [with] a "stitching slump?"

I don't know about anyone else but I have had some ultimate stitching slumps. I had one that lasted for 7 years! It was bound to happen, considering I have been stitching for 22 years! I just walked away from it and didn't look back, until I found Teresa Wentzler's designs and her bulletin board. That got me completely obsessed again, and I became a collector.

On the smaller slumps, where I just don't feel like looking at any stitching, I usually read. Sometimes that helps, sometimes doesn't. Other times I will look at a designer that I normally wouldn't stitch, or find something that has a lot of different types of stitches in it. Just Nan samplers or any type of sampler is really good for this. I also look at Bent Creek or Lizzie*Kate designs, because most of them are fairly quick finishes and the use of overdyed threads makes the stitching a little more interesting. But other times there is nothing I can do, and I just have to let it pass. You can only be excited for so long at one time about making x after x.

Well, I guess I'm caught up now! Hopefully I will be on time with next week's answer...

...unless Dumbass cuts off his other thumb.


If it's not one thing...

it's another.

I really haven't felt like doing much at all this month. I got my students' grades in early, and after that everything just went to shit. Here is a summary of being me the last couple of weeks.

First, why Kenny Chesney, why? Why have you forsaken me? Didn't the thousands of emails and the underpants I sent mean anything to you? Don't you know the energy it takes for me to email you that much, and to follow you around the world? Not to mention the perfectly good pair of drawers that I sent. Do you not understand the trouble I could be in with my husband if he found out that I was following another man around the world? All the money I've spent on concert tickets and cds and t-shirts? The fact that I had my "Justin" tattoo scratched out and had "Kenny" tattooed right below it? Don't you understand the world of shit I would be in? No. You don't. Because you had to go and secretly marry a stick. With blonde hair. Yeah sure, she's got an Oscar. But does she really love you Kenny? I mean you've only known her for 4 months, while I've been loving you for YEARS! Years Kenny! Ok, ok, so you wrote a song when you saw her in "Jerry McGuire." Big deal. All your other love songs were about me, weren't they Kenny? You just couldn't wait until I could pay off my student loans so we could be together. Fine. If that's the way you want it. Mail me back my damn underwear! And by the way, you shouldn't run around barefooted so much. Grown men have ugly feet.

Yes that's a joke. I wish Kenny and Renee all the love and happiness in the world.

Second, Teresa Wentzler, why have you forsaken me also? Your cross stitch designs are what I live for. The obsession began with "Unicorn" and just spiraled from there. I guess people buying your over 100 designs just isn't good enough for you, is it TW? I've sent you birthday cards, and terrific emails, and have participated at your bulletin board for 8 years! 8 years TW! And you decide that you have to take a sabatical from designing cross stitch to pursue your other artistic endeavors! We don't even get the ones you are working on right now? I have EVERY ONE of your designs! Well except Mimi and Victorian Portrait. But I do have all the other ones. I guess the only thing I can do is sell off my TW collection, become a hermit, and never stitch or do anything crafty again. You did this because of me, didn't you TW? DIDN'T YOU? Am I not good enough to work on your designs? Just because I have so many started and have only finished 1 larger one, doesn't mean that I won't finish any more. Please, TW! Please don't quit! I'll send you all my money! I'll sacrifice myself to the Goddess of the Blended Threads! I'll go on Fear Factor and eat everyone's bugs and worms and eyeballs and moldy crap for them! No? OK fine. But I'll never be able to look at 3041 or 3042 again without relapsing back into what my medication takes care of. And it will be all your fault!

Yep, another joke. I wish TW all the happiness and success with her new artwork that she had with her cross stitch designs. What a wonderful woman she is!

Finally, in between the heart-crushing realizations that Kenny Chesney is off the market, and I will be getting no more cross stitch designs in the forseeable future from TW, I have come to the conclusion that I am married to a dumbass.

Yes, a dumbass. Said dumbass cut off his thumb. Yeah, you heard right. He cut off his left thumb right in the middle of the knuckle. And then he went to bed. Nope, he didn't tell me a thing, just put some tape around it and climbed into bed next to me. Check this out...he was out making wooden stakes on the table saw. I thought maybe at first we were having a vampire scare, but it turns out he wanted to stake off the driveway because we are putting in a yard. But one stake got caught up in the saw, and instead of turning the saw off and removing the wood that way, dumbass decides that it would be less time-consuming if he tried to "nudge" the wood through. And ZIP! there goes his left thumb. Most normal people, including most of the men I know who normally just fix their cuts with electrical tape, would have at least let their wives know, "Hey honey, I just cut off my thumb. Can you bring me a beer?" I don't even get that.

I went to bed at 10pm with the start of a migraine, and dumbass came to bed at 11pm. At 1am I hear the clear packing tape being pulled off the roll. You know the sound I mean...that "EEEERRRRRPPPPP!" sound.

So I go into the kitchen, and dumbass has a piece of gauze around his thumb, trying to tear off packing tape to wrap around it. So I go to help and find out what happened. Following is our conversation, word for word:

Me: Honey, what happened?
Dumbass: Oh I just cut my finger.
Me: Ok well let me help you. How bad is it?
Dumbass: Not bad, I think I cut off the tip, but I don't think I hit the bone.
Me: Well, that's good. Wait, you cut off the tip? Don't you think you should let me take you to the hospital? It may need stitches.
Dumbass: No I'm fine, I just need to wrap it.
Me: Justin! JUSTIN! Sit down! Justin SIT DOWN!
*sound of dumbass hitting the floor*
Me: Ok I'm calling mom and we're going in.
Dumbass: No please don't! I'm fine, I just got dizzy.
Me: No you are getting your ass in the car and we're going to the hospital! Now get your pants on!

So my mother says she is on her way to stay with the girls. Meanwhile I find that the bed, his pillow, and everything in that area is saturated with blood. Little did I know just how bad it was! We go to the ER and when the nurse takes off the gauze I have a mini seizure and start crying out "WHY? WHY DID YOU GO TO BED!" I realize know that he was in horrible shock, but it was probably the worst thing I have ever seen. Those of you familiar with table saws know that they don't make clean cuts. And of course since we live in a little bitty town, the ER can't do anything without an orthopedic surgeon to look at it. So the nurse kinda cleans it, and wraps it, and gives dumbass a shot of Demerol. But he has to wait to get it fixed until we can get to Lubbock (100 miles away) to see an OS. Luckily my mother-in-law is friends with one. But he is gushing blood and stuff for 15 hours. It's all sewn up now, no problem. He has an appointment tomorrow to get it checked and the dressing changed. And his best friend is calling him "Stubbs."

So the moral of this story ladies, is that when your dumbass tells you he's fine, say "OK honey"...

...and take him directly to the emergency room.


It's Friday, so I missed...

the Stitching Blogger's QOTW on Wednesday. I've been putting a bunch of things up on Ebay to get rid of. Plus my last day of class was yesterday so I've been grading and getting my students ready for their final exam on Wednesday.

But that's ok, because we get a 2-fer question this week!

Do you finish all your finished pieces? (pillow, frame, etc,) If so, how do you finish the pieces? If not what do you do with them?

I very rarely finish any of my pieces. My sister has two that are finished and framed, Lizzie*Kate's Bless the Graduate and TW's Wedding Sampler. Hopefully she will send me a picture of WS soon!

Other than those two the only things I have actually finished are some ornaments. Most of the Mill Hill ornaments I stitch I finish because I can just cut them out of the perforated paper and slap on some sticky backed felt. Nothing could be easier! I have sewn up and stuffed a few other ornaments, but I am so embarrassed by my lack of sewing skills that I try to avoid sewing anything. The ones I have done look so bad, but my family members that have received them really like them.

I think I've done a couple of magnets too. One for a friend and one for my sister. Those were easy to sew up.

The remaining pieces that I have stitched are sitting flat in a nice box. I would like to have them framed because my walls are so bare, except for the 3 million pictures of my girls. It does cost more money to frame than I have right now though so they will have to sit there for a while. But every once in a while I visit them!

What is your opinion of Internet "freebies?"

Freebie patterns are so diverse and varied. Between different designers and subjects, I could get really addicted to printing them out. In fact, I just got rid of a stack of about 300 freebie patterns! I have realized that I have far too many designs to stitch and need to get rid of about 75% of it.

Anyway, I try to stick to freebies from my favorite designers: Teresa Wentzler, Victoria Sampler, etc. I have all the freebies from Dragon Dreams too, but the rest I have are very different. I have to be realistic about any pattern I get, and ask myself if I am really going to stitch it or is it going to sit in the binder forever?

That probably didn't answer the question, but I'm in a hurry. I have to head to the university to pick up student essays. I have to take Aislin with me today because Mom is at work. Summer's coming...

no grading for 3 whole months!