Hallowe’en SAL – all caught up with Jul/Aug!

Halloween ornie SAL

Wow, I really got ‘in the zone’ this weekend with my stitching – I think I even surprised myself yesterday!!  Here are my choices for July and August.

July – Ghosts

20638661_10154797585668148_4050567271399719620_n “Happy Halloween” by Simple Stitches (freebie)
Stitched on 32ct summer khaki (or dirty?) Belfast linen
with my own choice of DMC threads (similar to the charted GAST)

 August – Creepy Trees

I once again went back to Prairie Schooler’s When Witches Go Riding to stitch the main tree – this is where I can see the colours are very different between the witch and the tree, so I guess I’ll have to re-stitch the witch etc before I’m 100% happy with it – will see how I feel at the end …

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Now that I’m al caught up with the Hallowe’en SAL, I’m about to start kitting up four months worth of Christmas ornament stitching – as usual I’m also behind on my Just Cross Stitch ornie SAL for this year too (using last year’s ornament issue).

Hallowe’en SAL – May/Jun catch-up

Halloween ornie SAL

I’ve been pretty useless keeping up with my SALs again this year – gee, what a surprise!  Eventually, though, I do put needle to fabric and do a bit catch-up session.  That’s what I’ve been doing this weekend, starting to catch up on my Hallowe’en SAL with Jo and the team.

May – Black Cats

For the black cats theme, I continued working on Prairie Schooler’s ‘When Witches Go Riding’. Unfortunately I’m chewing through the Crescent Colours Blackbird thread way more quickly than expected, and I only have one skein left, which isn’t enough to do all the dark areas … so I opted to use DMC 3371 instead for the top banner and the borders. Also unfortunately, the colour is very different to the Blackbird thread, which leaves me in a quandary … whether I should unpick all the other three elements I’ve stitched and re-do them all again in DMC 3371.  If I do end up doing that, it’ll be at the end of the year, I think. You can’t even tell that the dark thread is an overdyed thread, so in hindsight I should have just used 3371 in the first place … but that’s the thing with hindsight, it only seems a good idea after you’ve already put the effort in! 😉

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June – Something Green

Oh my goodness, it took me a very long time to decide on what to stitch for this theme. As it turns out I’d made my decision, but when I was in my stitching room I spied a totally different design, and ended up stitching that one instead.  This was my chosen project, and I have to say I really love it! The colours are a lot deeper/brighter in real life, though.

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“Jack o’ Juggle Spell” by Cathy Dean for The Victoria Sampler
Stitched on 32ct summer khaki (or dirty, I can’t remember) Belfast linen
Stitched with recommended threads, with the exception of replacing Kreinik #4 braid 010HL with 011HL.
I also subbed the black beads with ones I had in my stash, and added two extra legs on the dangling spider.

Next up is July, and the theme is Ghosts – another theme with lots of project choices, but I’m opting for a very quick stitch option to help me catch-up. With any luck it won’t be long before that one is sitting in the finishing pile, as I fully intend to start stitching that one tonight 🙂  Then I’ll be all caught up, and it’ll be back to When Witches Go Riding for August’s theme of ‘Creepy Trees’.

WIPocalypse May-July 2017

Oops, looks like life got in the way over the last few months – lots of things happening that took me away from my stitching, and what stitching I did do was basically non-WIP related … although I do now have additional WIPs for future months 😉

So, what took me away from stitching? First up in early May was a stitching retreat in Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains of NSW. We were very lucky to have Nora Corbett join us, and I got to meet a few stitchers in real life that have been Facebook friends for a wee while now. It certainly got me out of my comfort zone meeting so many new people, but I felt like I’d known them for years. I couldn’t stop chatting and laughing my head off with the ladies at my table – very unusual for the introverted stitcher, that’s for sure! It was really awesome, and so much so I’ve already signed up for next year’s retreat in February 😀

I’ve managed to stitch the retreat design since attending (I started it on the Sunday while I was there) – I decided not to add the words (Mirabilia, Australia, 2017) to it, but in hindsight I think I’m going to add them in as it’ll be more of a personal momento of the weekend … which means this is probably no longer a finish but rather a WIP 😉

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I even managed to win first place honours with two other talented ladies in the judging for best non-framed category. I was absolutely gobsmacked by this one, and still feel dead chuffed to this day. My Enchanted Mermaid has been one of my all-time favourite stitched pieces, so now I have even more reason to love her to bits 🙂 Here I am with my prizewinnings, a lovely scissors and tape measure set 😀 (Note the theme for the weekend was ‘tiara and pearls’, hence the tiara … it’s not my normal choice of attire haha.)

After the stitching weekend, I had a visit from my dear Mum for a couple of weeks which normally means lots of stitching time, but instead we were out and about seeing the sights and no stitching at all.  After she’d gone home, though, I made up for lost time, and the last month or so has seen me working on a WIP that I started early last year. After putting this into my Qsnaps I haven’t felt like working on anything else, and I’ve just kept plugging away at it until two days ago when I put the final stitches into it – woohoo, a HUGE happy dance happened at home, that’s for sure!  Here’s my 2nd finished HAED hot off the Qsnaps.

Daisy Blue copy

“Daisy Blue” by Jo Lynch (HAED)
Stitched on 28ct Lugana, 1 over 1 using full crosses
with recommended DMC
Finished size = approx 7″ x 5″

Next up is my Hallowe’en SAL project for the year that’s well overdue – this is the section I was supposed to stitch in May, for the theme of ‘Black cats’. Oh well, better late than never. I’m stitching with my choice of overdyed threads close to the original charted DMC, although I’m not not 100% sure of my choices. Oh well, “she’ll be right”… Here’s the ‘before and after’ – yeah, not that much to look at really 😉

And now onto the missing WIPocalypse questions – as usual, there’s the backlog responses here too …

April 2017:

“What projects are in your UFO pile?”

Pretty much everything down in the bottom of my right-hand sidebar are old UFOs with a few newer ones thrown in for good measure. Below are where they’re currently at, and why they stalled where relevant:

  • Monica Hunt: Hussif – 95% – this only needs the feather stitching done to attach the pieces together, and to add the button etc, all the individual pieces are completed. It’s quite pathetic why I haven’t done this one yet!
  • Homespun Elegance: Starry Snowman – 90% – this will only take an hour or so to finish, I think I just keep forgetting it’s there.
  • CA Wells: Sailors Valentine – 85% – I need to be in a good headspace to get back into the groove with this piece, and can’t even remember how to do the simple joining stitch, so I feel intimated by this one, especially with the finishing!
  • Teresa Wentzler: English Garden Sampler – 80% – I want to replace the alphabet with a nice saying, but can’t make a decision which saying to use.
  • Cindy Valentine: Bee Keeper Scissor Keeper & Fob – 80% – the scissor keeper is finished, I just need to stitch the matching fob which shouldn’t take that long to do.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Stumpwork needlework accessories (thimble pip) – 80% – I’ve lost my stumpwork mojo and really need to find it again! I’m not 100% happy with the tension on this one or the fabric used, and not 100% sure this will ever get completed because of that reason.
  • Ruth Schmuff Designs: Flight of the Bumblebees – 80% – I was waiting for a skein of Kreinik #8 to arrive, which it now has, so this will be joining my stitching list very soon, watch this space!
  • CA Wells: Cottage Etui – 75% – see the Sailors Valentine above.
  • Stoney Creek: Nature’s Resting Place – 70% – there are so many mistakes in this one it’s not funny – also the very first piece stitched on evenweave so about 30 years old and using older DMC colours – not sure I can be bothered salvaging this one.
  • Mediterranean Village scene – 70% – not in love with this at all, tried changing the colours from Anchor and don’t like the choices – not sure it’ll ever be finished.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Dragonfly – 70% – see thimblepip above.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Honesty & Heartsease – 70% – see thimblepip above.
  • Cindy Valentine: Apricot Elegance – 65% – unpicked the buttonhole edging so many times it isn’t funny, so it was thrown into the naughty corner over 10 years ago.
  • Hardanger Scissor Fob – 60% – not sure why this isn’t finished yet, it won’t take too long to do.
  • Berry Delightful bag – 60% – not feeling the love.
  • Beaded fish – 50% – can’t remember how to do the stitches!
  • CA Wells: Pyramid Etui – 50% – see the Sailors Valentine above.
  • Wool hotwater bottle cover – 50% – don’t like the colours chosen, and want to start again.
  • Summer Fruits pincushion – 40% – not feeling the love.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Oriental Poppy – 40% – see thimblepip above.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Pomegranates and Beetle – 35% – see thimblepip above.
  • Teresa Wentzler: Noah’s Ark – 35% – too many other things I love more.
  • Wool beehive needlebook – 35% – not sure why I stopped this one.
  • Chatelaine: Egyptian Garden Mandala – 35% – really dislike the fabric chosen, but gradually adding a few stitches this year as I’m determined to finish it if only because I spent so much money on the kit!
  • Shepherd’s Bush: Finch Song – 20% – missing some threads to kit it up (the chart was secondhand from a friend on loan).
  • ByGone Stitches: Quaker Christmas II – 20% – not 100% keen on my fabric choice, but I do a few stitches every now and then.
  • Country Threads: Paris – 20% – a newer UFO that will see daylight every now and then. One letter down, four to go.
  • Goldwork pea – 15% – I made a mistake right at the start, and not sure it can be fixed.
  • JCS magazine: Le Jardin Silk Sampler – 10% – really hate stitching with the Silk Serica, so it stalled and I haven’t picked it back up again.
  • Martha Schmidt: Hussif – 5% – don’t like my thread choices, and want to start again.
  • Rosewood Manor: Quaker Diamonds – 5% – love this one, just other projects have jumped up the priority queue – hope to do a bit more of this one this year.
  • Textile Heritage: Topiary Bookmark – 5% – can’t stitch in hand, so I need to attach somehow to a frame.
  • Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches: Raphael’s Raspberries – 5% – just got side-tracked with other projects.
  • Moss Creek Designs: Schwalmwork Pinkeep – 1% – got side-tracked with other projects I like better.
  • Mirabilia: Bluebeard’s Princess Mirabella – 1% – dislike my fabric choice, and want to start again.
  • Lavender & Lace: Celtic Summer – 1% – can’t decide what threads to use to replace the duck-egg blue Needlepaint ones that are no longer available.
  • Country Cottage Needleworks: The Tea Room – 1% – not sure why I haven’t done any more on this one.
  • Longstitch frogs – 1% – I just fell out of love with this one, and don’t enjoy doing longstitch anymore – I should really just give it away.

May 2017:

“Which designer’s projects do you absolutely love, but are too intimidated to try?”

I can’t say one designer in particular, but I do know hardanger filling stitches etc fill me with dread, so I’m definitely intimidated by those. I love specialty stitches on the whole, though, and enjoy the challenge … but these intimidate me more than normal 😉

June 2017:

“Show us your stitching space! Where do you sit, and what is going on around you while you stitch (TV, audiobooks, etc)?”

The blue recliner in the bottom corner is my stitching chair in my lounge – it usually sits a bit more off to the left, and you’ll normally find me watching TV or with my iPad plugged in listening to audiobooks. Actually the room has had a small shuffle since this photo was taken a few months ago, but it’s close enough to how it is today anyway.

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July 2017:

“What are your oldest and your newest WIPs?”

My oldest WIP/UFO definitely has to be Stoney Creek’s ‘Nature’s Rest’ (see comments in April’s FAQ above). And the newest one is probably the blue converstion of Mirabilia’s ‘Red’. Here they both are as they stand today:

WIPocalypse – April 2017

The only WIP I worked on during April was my Egyptian Garden Mandala. Here’s what it looked like at the start of the month:

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And what it looks like now:

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Yeah, not that different really, other than a bit of work done on the pyramid in the bottom corner. I haven’t had much time or energy to stitch this month, and needed to spend some time catching up on my SALs for the year, as well as getting a new start kitted up – that’s Mirabilia’s “Red”, except I’m doing a blue conversion. I’m going to a local Mirabilia retreat where Nora’s attending, so I was hoping to have it stitched before then … but seeing as it’s not started yet, and the retreat kicks off on Friday 5 May, I think I’m a bit out of luck on that score 😉

Hallowe’en SAL – spiders and cobwebs

Halloween ornie SAL

After having an extra long weekend I managed to catch up on my Hallowe’en Ornie SAL by completing the missing March design.  I ended up stitching a smaller ornament instead of starting a larger project, which was my initial plan.  Anyway, here’s my final choice – a freebie design by Jacquie Morris.  The March theme was “Spiders and Cobwebs”.

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“Owl” freebie by Jacquie Morris (design still available on her website)
Stitched on 32ct Frosted Pumpkin Belfast linen by Silkweaver (the real colour is more red/orange than the photo shows)
Stitched entirely with DMC 310

Hallowe’en SAL 2017

Halloween ornie SAL

Crikey, I’m not doing too well so far with my commitment stitching – I’ve just been plugging away at Chatelaine’s Egyptian Garden Sampler in the odd days when I haven’t been working mental crazy hours at work.  This last week, though, I finally got my fabric gridded up so I can start stitching my focus piece for the Hallowe’en SAL this year.  It’s my intention to find work on a larger design for most of the monthly themes, then I’ll do an individual ornament as well if I get time (or have the inclination).

Anyway, this week I’ve  managed to catch up on 3 of the 4 monthly themes, with just March left to do. I’ve already decided which one to stitch on, I just need to get it kitted up and on the Qsnaps, and I should be able to knock it over in a few hours as it appears to be quite a quick one (although that could be famous last words!!).

Here’s my progress so far on Prairie Schooler’s When Witches Go Riding, and the monthly themes I’ve covered on it so far are:

  • January – The Moon
  • February – Witches
  • April – Winged Creatures

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I’ve decided to change all the colours around, and using a random selection of overdyed threads from my stash that are somewhat similar to the charted DMC threads.

WIPocalypse March 2017

2015 WIPocalypseNot much stitching done in general this month due to crazy working hours and just feeling generally exhausted all the time.  But these last two weekends I’ve made up for it a wee bit by plonking myself in front of the TV in my stitching chair, watching loads of Gilmore Girls episodes back to back, and finally getting needle to meet fabric once again.  The result is a reasonable update to Egyptian Garden Mandala.  It feels good to finally make some progress – I was getting bored with my least favourite border section, so I moved onto one of the corners to have a break on one of the pyramid blocks. Next session I’ll go back to finishing that dratted border until the bottom part is finished – then once that’s done I’ll be flipping the frame around again to finish those over-one fishies in the centre and working on the beading and backstitching from the pond outwards. Anyway, this is the progress that I managed in March (the only WIPocalypse project I worked on):

Before:

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After:

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I’ve also dragged out a pile of small and freebie designs that I’d love to work on in-between larger projects, so I may do that soon as well – in a rotation of sorts. Maybe 10 hours (or a full weekend) on a larger piece of work, then slot in a wee freebie that will only take me a few hours to finish. Hmmm, I like that plan! Either way, it’s likely that Egyptian Garden Mandala will remain a key focus piece for a while. I must say, though, it’s a lot bigger than I expected it to be!

I just realised I forgot about the monthly questions, so I’ll do February and March together below:

February 26 – What is your favourite stitch other than the standard cross stitch?  (bonus points if you provide a how-to link or diagram it on your blog post!)
Let me think … I would probably say the various Rhodes stitches (especially hearts) and I also really love the look of Sheaf stitch. I really love doing canvaswork because of the interesting stitches, so there aren’t that many I really don’t enjoy.

March 26 – What stitchy blogs, groups, or flosstubes do you follow and why?
I haven’t truthfully read blogs regularly for a few years now, mainly because of my long work hours and not having as much free time as I used to … but in saying that I’ve been wasting much more time in Facebook groups, which seems so much quicker for me on my phone – I do miss reading my favourite blogs though, and every few months I’ll have a quick recap on some of my oldie favourites. I don’t follow Flosstube videos, as I find them too distracting and just generally not ‘my thing’.  Most of my spare time is now spent doing actual stitching rather than reading about it … a bit of a strange concept for me 😉