Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Oh My...

I know I’ve been busy, but I surely didn’t think it has been that long since I last updated my blog.  My goodness so much has happened in the past however many weeks it’s been.  Probably the biggest change is that I am now an “empty-nester”.   I’m having a rough time of adjusting to not having my “children” home.  

I went on an adventure to visit my youngest, who is attending DePaul in Chicago.  She needed to come home for a family wedding, but she was afraid to make the commute on her own.  Rather than drive the nearly 3 hours one way to the city to pick her up, I drove 1 hour to the east and got on the Metra train to the Loop.  From there, I found my way to the “L” to get the brown line which goes to the campus.  The trip still took nearly 3 hours to get to the campus, but I didn’t have to worry about driving in all that city traffic.  

I met my daughter and we headed back to the “L” to start the journey back home.  I was explaining to DD which train I took and why, when she interrupted me.  She said, “Mom, really I don’t care, I’m just following you.”  I admit, I was frustrated with her, but I still enjoyed my adventure.  It really was an easy way to get to the campus and back, but the 23 stops the Metra made on each trip in and out of the city was a little annoying.

Generic or Name Brand?

Do you buy generic or name brand items when you get your groceries, paper products, and just about anything else one buys?  Have you ever bought a generic item that you found to be better than it’s name brand competitor?  Aren’t there always some products that only the name brand will do?  

We really do get stuck on our favorite brands, don’t we?  How many times have we driven to several stores just to get the brand we like the best?  If one store is out of that brand, we just go to the next store and don’t stop until we get our favorite brand.

I recently acquired some skeins of Sullivans 6 Strand Embroidery Floss.  I’m sure you’ve seen their ads in the cross stitch and crafting magazines.  Some of you have even seen it in your local big box store like Michael’s or Hancock Fabrics.  I personally don’t have either of those stores near me and have not found the Sullivans Floss in any other store.  I was excited and yet skeptical about using the Sullivans Floss, but I did my own comparisons to see how it stacked up against my #1 floss choice - DMC.  Sullivans Floss is available in the same 454 brilliant colors as is DMC.  The labels on the Sullivan’s Floss also have the DMC number that corresponds to that particular color.  

My first comparison was to check how the Sullivans colors compared to the DMC colors. Granted, I only have a small sample of Sullivan’s Floss to compare, but I found the colors to be very close.  Of the three colors I compared, only the DMC 333 and the Sullivans 45066 had a really noticeable difference.

The next comparison I did was to stitch a small sample of each of the 3 colors I was comparing. I noticed right away how smooth and easy the Sullivans pulled from the skein.  Usually DMC pulls out of the skein ok, but I have had a quite a few times that the DMC bunches up and gets tangled when I pull it from the skein.  I’m not saying the Sullivans won’t ever bunch up and get tangled, just that I noticed how smooth and easy it pulled from the skein.

My stitch sample was on 28 ct Monaco fabric over 2.  I used 2 floss threads, which is the usual number of threads used on 14 ct fabric.  I normally separate 1 thread, bring the ends together through the needle and secure to my fabric using the loop method.  In my stitch sample, I used both the loop method and the other method (when 2 threads are separated and secured by running under a few stitches on the back side).  

In my experience with the two brands, I really didn’t notice that much of a difference in how the thread felt when I pulled it between my fingers.  I also thought the Sullivans was a little smoother pulling through the fabric.  I use the sewing method in alot of my stitching, so I also used that method while stitching my sample blocks and had no issues with it.  

The Sullivans ads state that the coverage is better than DMC.  I’m not sure I noticed any difference between the DMC and the Sullivans.  All in all, my comparisons prove to me that Sullivans 6 Strand floss is every bit as good as DMC, maybe even a little smoother to stitch with and I would not hesitate to purchase the Sullivans if it were available where I shop.

I guess the biggest obstacle in using Sullivans is actually finding it in a store near me or as easily obtainable as DMC.  The small scissor fob below is stitched using all Sullivans 6 strand floss.  I’m very pleased with the results.  What do you think?

In other stitchy news...

I’ve been working on a few ornaments for gifts and donations, so no pics yet.  I’ve also been working on a few exchanges, but since they are for other people, I’m not able to show any pics of those either.  You’ll all just have to wait.

I came across the JMD Designs website and blog last week.  Janet has some tutorials and lots of pictures of many different types of embroidery.  You can see her website here.

So Many Hummers

Just a few weeks ago, we had 6 pairs of hummingbirds.  My friend was able to capture pics of these beautiful little birds.  After last week’s cold, rainy and windy weather, I haven’t seen a single hummingbird.  They must have begun their migration south to warmer climates.  I really enjoyed sitting on my porch swing watching these busy little birds all summer.

Until next time,
Happy Stitchin!