Tuesday, July 23, 2013

RYO Reloaded: Semi-Automatic

The color adventure continues...

Animated GIF, cool eh? These are just 30-odd color combinations we've come up with so far.
This is the third chart in the Roll Your Own Mandala series. If you are interested in stitching this project you can get more info in this post.

I have one more question for you : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QV6FpYfbn0

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Six Degrees of Cirque

A little roundup of some pictures you've sent of beautiful finishes, six Cirques and four of their friends:

Cirque des Coeurs by Tara F.
She used 1 x 2 on 40 ct Colorscapes "Ale" linen with
Threadworx 10372, GAST Claret 0310 and Cherry Wine 0330
Anne E. stitched Cirque des Cercles
using Waterlilies Winter Wheat on Bone fabric
Cirque des Coeurs by Taynia
Cirque des Triangles by Taynia
Cirque des Carreaux by Taynia
Cirque des Cercles by Nancy M.
She used a custom silk from Carries Threads, both 1 and 2
strands for contrasts and Mill Hill Beads 2077
Close up of Nancy's Cercles
The Birds and the Bees by Rhonda B.
Love Letters: Fraktur by Rhonda B.
Rosetta by Rhonda B.
Here Comes Treble, Alto Gether Now,
and First Bass combined into a lovely
bellpull with added words and date
by Elizabeth E. for her musical daughter.
Wow! Are you also out of breath?  What an amazing group of finishes, showing so much style and personalization. I really appreciate being able to share all of your pictures. Happy Dances all around!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Twister Hack

Tonight I present to you a simple little tool hack that I just made. It was embarrassingly easy, made from free/salvaged stuff, and required very few tweaks to work as planned.


  • An article about a Dutch guy that built prison-style tattoo guns using miscellaneous found junk.
  • Cathy Habermann's finishing workshop in which we twisted cords from DMC to make cording.
  • My inability to find my little hand-drill style twister machine that I had bought, requiring me to use the twirling pencil method to twist my cord earlier this weekend.
  • Locating a discarded disposable electric toothbrush in one of my desk drawers that I saved because, "You know, it's got potential good parts!"

The case has a bottom end that pulls off, revealing a spot for two AA batteries. Once off, it allows you to pop out the innards. I used a hacksaw to chop off the casing just above the buttons.  I reinserted the parts and the batteries.  I used pliers to crimp on a mangled paperclip. The clip needs to be on there tight, and the apex of the hook needs to be centered directly over the motor's shaft, or it wobbles.

Things I may want or need to fiddle with: attaching the paperclip more securely just in case, and perhaps changing the buttons from needed an ON and an OFF to a single button that is only on when pushed.  But as you can see - it worked great. Note: it twists fast, but not so fast I felt like I needed to gear down the rotational speed.

I love it when a plan comes together!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Cecilia's Samplers in Branson

I think I've recombobulated finally after a wonderful trip to Branson, Missouri, to participate in one of Cecilia's Samplers cross stitch retreats.  This was my first big retreat away from my local stitching crew (if you call Portland/Vancouver local.)  Everyone was so welcoming and it was so much fun visiting Cecilia's Samplers shop. It would be a touch dangerous living so close to such a well-stocked shop. I'd never been to Branson before, or spent much time in the midwest, so there was a whole new culture and cuisine to take in.

I was very fortunate to have my buddy Cathy Habermann (of Hands On Designs, and formerly CherryWood Designs) there to make it the best ever. She picked me up from the airport and helped me make the most of the whole weekend. It was wonderful to talk to her about different aspects of design and production, saving the most philosophical topics to discuss on our balcony in the evenings over a beer.  She taught a finishing class where, even though I've done this easel technique before, I still picked up some great tips. I got to see a number of her pieces there at a mini-trunk show we put up, and I was in awe of all the beautiful finishing techniques she uses. Well, after all, she is a professional finisher and a great teacher! And might I add, just a wonderful gal to hang out with.

I didn't pull out the camera much with the stitchers, as it seemed like everyone was already snapping pictures right and left, but here are some of the photos I took.

Cross That Canoe - designed specifically for this Summer Camp themed retreat.
It's based on a quilt block called Crossed Canoes.
I used Cathy's expert finishing tips to make the easel when I got home.
Cecilia's had a wonderful fabric department. These are some of my stashing finds.
I'll need to see how available they still are before using them in any
designs I might be publishing, but I couldn't resist them.
More stash: 3 from Plum Street, a new PS card, colored storkies & more.
Cathy made a special design/kit for the retreat called Happy Camper.
I'll have to stitch that up soon to commemorate the event.
Little snips. One of the events is a grabbing frenzy where we all clawed through
tables full of those tiny pieces left over when custom cuts are taken from yardage.
Unlabeled and unknown, these will be great for tiny personal projects.
It was so neat to see how many people had brought along some Ink Circles charts to work on, or that they had recently finished.  A few people were also working up their versions of the Roll Your Own Mandala project.

A Cirque des Coeurs finish

Cirque des Triangles underway

I have no idea how to describe the town of Branson - something like a cross between Disneyland, Hollywood, and Vegas. These are all pictures from the main strip.

Reagan.  JFK was around the corner.
Although many places were truly damaged by a tornado last year, and
were still sitting there roofless, Ripley's just looks like it was hit.

I'm not a big country music fan, or I would probably recognize these faces.
I like the castle on the left. :-)
Bad shot from a moving car (Cathy was driving, don't worry) but
it's not everyday you see this sort of thing.
Or this.
Or giant chickens.
Giant plaster animals and music seemed to be the norm.  They had 12 Irish Tenors
down the street and this place with 3 Redneck Tenors.
I found even places that weren't trying to be funny were funny.
Lots of places for mini-golf, bumper boats, go karts, roller coasters, bungee.
And a yellow submarine.
We kept busy enough stitching, eating, and shopping at Cecilia's that we didn't go out to any of the evening shows, but the town offers so many venues one could be entertained fifty different ways.

Cheers to Cathy and to Margaret and her staff at Cecilia's Samplers! I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Roll Your Own: Reloaded

Time for another installment in the Roll Your Own Mandala series.  I started the Yahoo group with one basic mandala framework and a pile of colorways. The library of color combinations has grown to over 80! with a computer generated preview to tempt you. Rather than leaving you to stitch the same pattern multiple times using different colorways in order to use all of your favorites, I've introduced a "sequel" program. The first sequel "Bride of RYO" came out last month, and now it is time to introduce the next...

RYO Reloaded... #3 in the series
Members of the Yahoo group can opt in to these sequels for $5 a pop, or $20 for all six.  If you are interested, you can still sign up (no deadline.)  You MUST be part of the Yahoo group to participate, as that gives you all of the access to the color library and database.  Cost to join the Yahoo group is $25, which includes the PDF of the original RYO mandala chart.

 Reloaded              /                RYO            /               Bride of RYO
More info about the Yahoo group here.
Purchase this sequel, the series, or everything at once below using the drop down menu:

RYO charts are now available only in printed form from your favorite shop or directly from my webshop.