Final stitching stash – it’s a goodie!

After being generously gifted a copy of Walking the Water’s Edge by Diane Herrmann, I needed a piece of vintage eggshell mono canvas so I could make a start. I didn’t know of any local suppliers (but now I do, woohoo) that sell coloured canvas, so I made a big enough order to warrant the postage and ordered from a US supplier. Not for the first time with them, I’ve had to wait for well over 4 months for this order to arrive – and even then I was contacted just before Christmas saying they couldn’t get the chart or three of the threads for Bora Bora and what did I want to do. I ended up cancelling all the Bora Bora part of the order and getting a refund, then jumped online and ordered directly from Needle Delights Originals (and managed to get a pre-Christmas discount too, so the savings paid for the postage – double score!!).

I have to say I’m REALLY impressed with the kit from Kathy that turned up today at the same time as the other order – the canvas is cut to size and already edged with tape ready to be put onto stretcher bars.  I have to say it’s the most excited I’ve been about a stash haul in quite some time … I’m sooooooo in LOVE with Bora Bora and all those scrumptious and luscious bright threads. I don’t think it’ll be very long before I cave into temptation and start stitching this one! I think this just might be the project of choice in my canvaswork rotation once I start it in February.

26169794_10155193918673148_239708897986428435_n

I also ordered the kit for Double Delights – Charbleu while I was at it … another one with lovely rich colours that will be a really quick stitch.

26219949_10155193918628148_8228018787790122691_n

Next up were three more canvaswork designs – strangely enough also by Needle Delights Originals 🙂 I don’t have the threads for these ones yet, so it’ll be quite a long time before these are stitched unless I substitute from stash (although I’m not sure I have any threads I could use really). Anyway, I’ve got plenty to keep me going for now …

26229621_10155193918588148_5194789889855404353_n

This was the rest of the delayed order – some Congress Cloth, 30ct Legacy linen, the previously-mentioned canvas, and Floss-away bags primarily (and a few stretcher bars).

26230757_10155193918648148_316406856627759184_n

The Congress Cloth, Legacy linen and AVAS threads are for me to stitch this little beauty I bought a few years ago from Gay Ann Rogers – Pride and Prejudice, the Needle Book Edition. Note this is NOT my work, but taken from Gay Ann’s website. The full range is shown at the link above, however not normally available for sale – I just bought the needlebook instructions, and not the bookmark. I couldn’t decide which fabric to use, so I bought both – if I don’t use the Legacy linen for this one, I’m thinking of re-doing my version of CA Wells’ Pyramid Etui so I’ll likely use it for that as an alternative.

nbook-bookmkopt

So all-in-all a very very VERY good stash day indeed! I’d better make the most of it, because 2018 is my year to stitch from stash … not that I’ll need any with this lot 😉

 

Advertisements

WIPocalypse 2018 kick-off and craft goals for 2018

I didn’t want to set too many ‘goals’ this year because I have a tendency not to meet them … instead I’m thinking of these goals being like the Pirate’s Code, they’re more ‘guidelines’ 😉 It’s my lofty wishlist, because it’s full of my crafty hopes and dreams for the year even though it’s unlikely most of these will be fulfilled 😉

Cross stitch and embroidery

I still have way too many WIPs not yet finished, so I’d like to whittle a few of those down by the end of 2018 – although I have a large number of new starts I want to do too. It’s going to be a fine balance of new fun projects as well as getting some older (and perhaps not-so-loved) ones done at the same time.  I won’t list out the new starts in detail (aside from a couple), but I’ll give details of existing WIPs and what progress I’d like to see on them.

Cross stitch WIPs:

  1. Starfish by Mill Hill – this is the first project I wanted to complete in 2018, and I put the final beads into the piece late last night, so one goal ticked off the list already
  2. Red by Mirabilia (in a blue conversion) – I’d like to totally finish this, and it’ll likely be my sole project for January as I’m going to a Mirabilia retreat early February and I’d love to make serious progress by then (getting her finished would be even more amazing, but highly unlikely)
  3. Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor – 20 hours (ie two rotation slots) or two larger motifs completed
  4. Red Lace Sewing Case by The Drawn Thread – add the felt/beads and do the finishing … and finally gift it to the intended recipient
  5. Egyptian Garden Mandala by ChatelaineE – Finish the bottom half
  6. Quaker Christmas II by ByGone Stitches – Complete the motifs underneath Let There Be Peace on Earth (ie up to the three sailing ships) … but if not, at least finish the Let There be Peace on Earth motif in the centre
  7. When Witches Go Riding by The Prairie Schooler – I’d like to totally finish this, maybe doing some elements as part of the 2018 Hallowe’en SAL again
  8. Three Kings by Mill Hill/Jim Shore – I’d love to finish this … but if not, at least finish two of the three kings in the centre
  9. Progress on three other UFOs/WIPs, yet to be decided (but top contenders so far are Paris by Country Threads, Sailor’s Valentine by CA Wells, Cottage Etui by CA Wells, Pyramid Etui by CA Wells, English Garden Sampler by Teresa Wentzler, Raphael’s Raspberries by Forget-me-nots in Stitches, Starry Snowman ornie, and Hardanger scissor fob)

Other needlework WIPs:

  1. Flight of the Bumblebees by Ruth Schmuff – finish this by adding the embellishments
  2. Hearts & Berries by Marg Low – I’d like to totally finish this into the bag
  3. Make a Christmas Wish by Marg Low – I’d like to totally finish this and get it framed before Christmas
  4. Travel Cord Buddy by Michelle Marvig – I’d like to totally finish this
  5. Stumpwork – choose one old stumpwork UFO and make some progress

New starts:

  1. Start (and hopefully finish) at least two canvaswork projects
  2. Start a new HAED (or maybe two – one mini/QS and one larger one)
  3. Choose a project (or two) that has specialty stitches – eg hardanger, band sampler

Crochet

My goals here are much loftier than the cross stitch goals – but probably important to keep the impetus up while I’m learning so that the lessons I learn are more ingrained into my brain cells!

  1. Finish my striped blanket
  2. Make at least one (hopefully different) granny square or other blanket square every week
  3. Complete at least three months crochet projects from “Crate Crochet” (assuming I can afford to continue receiving them for that long and I deem them to be value for money)
  4. Make a coffee cup cuff
  5. Small granny square pincushion
  6. Make a shawl
  7. Start an Atlanticus (mandala) blanket
  8. Restart my Spice of Life blanket

Quilting

  1. Make some small pincushions
  2. A very simple goal here of starting a queen-sized bed patchwork quilt for myself
  3. Maybe start my Piece and Plenty quilt
  4. Maybe start my The Blue Collection quilt (but highly unlikely)

I’m already laughing at my wishlist for the year … but if you don’t dream, you don’t achieve 😉

Stitchalongs/Challenges

While my intentions started off great in 2017, my follow-through was woeful. This year the goals are essentially the same, but with everything else in the previous list taking priority, these may or may not happen this year.

  1. WIPocalypse 2018 – my favourite challenge every year, and probably the one thing that brings me back to my blog to post my update each month 😉
  2. Smalls SAL – time to start working through some of my folders bulging to the brim of small freebie designs from last 10 years and actually stitch a few!
  3. Hallowe’en Ornie SAL – I still have loads of Halloween stitch I want to do, including a bunch of new purchases last year by The Drawn Thread – even if I don’t manage the SAL all year, I’d like to make some progress here.
  4. Stitch from Stash 2018 – My change in financial situation this year means being very frugal with my craft spending. I did a big splurge in September, which is finally due to arrive this month, so that’ll keep me happy for a while. The only items I should be buying this year is anything Limited Edition (but unlikely), and any DMC etc I run out of that I need to complete a project.

WIPocalypse December 2017 – year in review

The best part of the year is going back through your progress from throughout the year. I felt my progress was woeful this year, but on review there was still some decent stitching done, along with a few finishes along the way. Going back through the progress piccies has also given me the spark back to get a couple of them finished that were oh so close to hitting the finishing pile. Sadly, though, there are also a huge pile of new starts I want to make, plus I’m a bit addicted to crochet at the moment which is seriously impacting my desire to stitch, as I’m having too much fun learning new crochet techniques!

Due to my financial situation changing a bit this year as well, it does mean that I’ll be stitching from stash in 2018 as much as possible, so any new starts will be coming from my existing stash (which is definitely in the S.A.B.L.E. range, so shouldn’t be an issue – that’s “Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy”). But on to the WIPocalypse question for month, and the 2017 recap!!

December 31 – Recap your accomplishments for the year! (Your finishes, your final before/after photos, etc).

Well, definitely not the best year for me for getting some progress done on my WIPs … but I did at least manage a little bit of progress (more so earlier on in the year). Here’s a recap of projects where I did make some progress, along with their before and after photos, and the two projects I managed to move into the “Finished” pile:

Finishes:

Topiary Garden(?) by Textile Heritage – Yippee, the first (but sadly only) UFO finish for the year!

 

Daisy Blue by HAED – A HUGE milestone for the year, my favourite finish for 2017!!

 

Progress made:

Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor  – a wee bit of progress managed during one rotation slot.

 

Red Lace Sewing Case by The Drawn Thread – the stitching is finished except for the beading/adding the felt pieces.

 

Paris by Country Threads – I managed to finish the letter R, but had no plans to start any of the other letters this year.

 

Egyptian Garden Mandala by Chatelaine – to say how painful I find stitching this one, I made decent progress this year. I can’t guarantee it’ll be finished in 2018, but I do intend putting a few more stitches into it next year.

 

Quaker Christmas II by ByGone Stitches – Another one I struggle with, but the odd stitch or two was put in this year to make a tiny bit of progress.

 

Flight of the Bumblebees by Ruth Schmuff – I’m sooooo close to getting this one finished! I just had to order some replacement gold paillettes to replace those I’d lost (or used elsewhere, which is more likely) – now these have arrived I had no excuses not to finish this early in 2018.

 

Grandma’s Cushions Stitching Accessories by The Cat’s Whiskers – I managed to stitch the remaining accessories this year to match the scissor pocket stitched a while ago … everything still needs to be put together though.

 

 

New starts (now WIPs for 2018):

While I managed to get a good head start on some of these, my stitching mojo disappeared after October, so progress halted on these.

 

Some new starts became finishes:

While not WIPs at the start of the year, I did manage to start and finish the following projects – mostly small ornies for an ornie challenge … and sadly most of my challenges petered out from the middle of the year due to a lack of personal motivation.

 

WIPs/UFOs not touched in 2017:

And here’s the bigger list of all the other WIPs that didn’t get a look-in … not even for a solitary minute … the poor things 😦

 

Happy hooker – getting hooked on crochet

I can’t remember if I mentioned earlier this year that I took a quick class on beginner’s crochet – my first attempts were a bit feeble as you can see below, and my tension is all over the place, as expected. After the class, though, I decided to attempt a dishcloth to practice the basic single/double crochet stitch. You can see the green disaster below with the missing stitches as I lost a few each time I turned rows. I persevered, though, and picked up pretty quickly where I was going wrong – I tried again with another blue cotton yarn and ended up with a dishcloth I was relatively chuffed with (although I still haven’t added a border to it yet).

 

Life then got in the way, as it does, and I didn’t have the mental capacity to learn to do more. Since moving into the new apartment, though, for some reason I’ve been wanting to learn more and more since pushing my boundaries at the patchwork retreat. I’m a bit bored in my job, I think, so I’ve been craving mental sustenance … what better way than to pull out some cotton yarns and get stuck into doing a bit more crochet again. This is what I’ve managed to get up to over the last couple of weeks …

First up I decided to attempt a coaster – not a perfect job, but not too bad either. I still have to make the mug cozy to go with it (which is the main thing I wanted to make but I accidentally started the wrong pattern then wondered why it was so square haha) – which I’ll do soon. The bigger one was my first attempt – then I got better tension with the smaller one – it’s still far from perfect, but it’s ‘OK’.

23905310_10155084693973148_54951898938147222_n

Next up I bit the bullet and started my Spice of Life blanket from the Spice of Life CAL by Black Sheep Wools. I thought I may be biting off more than I could chew being so new to crochet, but thought I’d give it a go anyway. I think I’ve unpicked way more than I’ve kept, and finally decided to throw in the towel at the below point to give me time to get a bit more confident before continuing. I’ve managed to lose a couple of stitches I think on the previous row, and I’m not happy with my tension in the last row I’ve done, so one day I’ll come back and re-do those last sections again. For now, though, I’ve decided to shelve it a wee while longer while I get a bit more confident with the basics.

24067907_10155084701503148_203751235928295018_n

Then I found some ugly-looking cotton yarn (it didn’t look that ugly in the ball, so that’ll teach me not to judge looks by its cover) and a YouTube tutorial for a nubbly dishcloth – the rest is history. The first one was quite large due to looser tension, but also due to a higher number of stitches. The next ones I reduced the stitch count and managed to get a better tension. I’m pretty chuffed with them overall!! When I told my Mum weeks ago I wanted to make some dishcloths, she put an order in for some so these will all be going to her in time for Christmas.

The final thing I made yesterday was a washcloth/facecloth – it’s so incredibly soft, I think I’ll have to make one for myself too! I struggled a wee bit with the stitches of this one until I got a rhythm going about 1/3 in, then it seemed to go a lot more quickly. This is dishcloth #97 from Leisure Arts #3027 The Big Book of Dishcloths. I ordered a copy from the Book Depository before realising you could order a digital download from the Leisure Arts store in Ravelry … so guess who now has both versions, because I couldn’t be patient enough to wait for the book to arrive in the post! 😉

I have some time off at Christmas so I think I’ll be seeing a bit more crafty goodness coming out of the spare time during that time … inbetween doing more unpacking and getting the apartment finally into some sort of order. The big question will be what craft gets air-time first … cross-stitch, crochet or quilting (which is also on the to-do-list) … time will tell 😀

 

 

 

 

Patchwork stitching retreat

As I mentioned in my last post, in early October I attended a Patchwork & Quilting Retreat in the Blue Mountains, NSW, organised by Linen and Threads. It was such a wonderful day away, I’m so glad I made the effort to attend in the middle of all the turmoil at home. I can certainly recommend the retreat – the organisation was great, the tutors wonderful, and the other attendees really lovely and welcoming.

These are all the great projects that were taught over the weekend, and the progress I managed to do in that week or two after I moved apartments. I love how each of the projects is big enough to give a challenge or two, but small enough to be totally manageable and more likely to actually get finished post-retreat!

The Little Things Pencil Case by Hatched and Patched

The Little Things Pencil Case by Hatched and Patched

The Little Things Pencil Case by Hatched and Patched

I was so chuffed with this one, my first ever wool appliqué project. I was a bit nervous about the construction, but actually managed it all without too much trouble. A huge shout-out to Anni, the designer/tutor from Hatched and Patched, who took me through all the key requirements one-on-one seeing as I wouldn’t be there the following day. Her tips were invaluable when I got home to start working on it! My rotary cutter now resides proudly in this wee case away from the elements. My very first wool appliqué project, and a finish no less!!

Snowmen & Santa Decorations by Hatched and Patched

The next project I attempted (and again actually completed) was another wool appliqué kit by Hatched and Patched – and I really, really love these wee ornaments! I will definitely do some more of these, they’re so much fun! I managed to whip through the stitching of these really quickly, and definitely will be looking to do more wool appliqué in the future! I guess that also means another stash pile of fabric will be starting very very soon 😉

22788986_10155011857513148_2913209406671543879_n

Snowmen & Santa Decorations by Hatched and Patched

The next couple of projects were by Marg Low Designs – and once again it was lots of fun challenging myself with new types of stitching, as well as doing the finishing by hand. I’ve managed to finish the first project, but still have to complete the last two.

Thread Roll by Marg Low

This is the one project of Marg’s that I’ve managed to entirely finish – however I changed my colours entirely from the designer’s version (mainly because of the pink colour being so prominent, and it’s by far my least favourite colour … so true to form I made mine in blues and greens instead). The picture below shows a sneak piccie of the original design, in the top left corner of the first picture, along with my fabric choices:

Thread Roll by Marg Low

Thread Roll by Marg Low

Make a Christmas Wish by Marg Low

Then I did the stitching on this one – but my initial thought of having teal/turqoise background fabric didn’t quite work out, I think … when I put the finished stitching onto the blue fabric it looks a bit ‘off’. I’m now thinking I might have to revert back to a red background fabric instead, hence why this one isn’t “finished” and frame yet. Seriously, how cute is that wee red reindeer button?!!

21742864_10154903085338148_684341353307517928_n

Make a Christmas Wish by Marg Low – the original chart with my choice of fabrics

Make a Christmas Wish by Marg Low

Make a Christmas Wish by Marg Low

Hearts & Berries by Marg Low

The final design by Marg Low was another one I opted to kit up myself – and as always I chose to have blue tones in my fabric … I tried to follow the designer’s recommendations to a certain extent, though, and ensured to have a checked red fabric for the trim. These colours are a bit out of my comfort zone with the red/brick highlights, so I’m still pushing myself a wee bit with my choices. I’ve only managed to get as far as stitching the heart for the outer of the bag so far – one day soon I’ll get the actual bag itself constructed and finished, though.

21731179_10154903085343148_1676351406146431217_n

Hearts & Berries by Marg Low – the original design and my choice of fabrics and embellishments

23130745_10155031745358148_3525092277345741332_n

Hearts & Berries by Marg Low

Travel Cord Buddy by Michelle Marvig

And lucky last, the project that scared me the most from the weekend away – doing wee quilt hexagons … yikes! To say I was out of my comfort zone for this one is a total understatement. I didn’t have to do that many hexagons in the scheme of things, but I have to admit this was the least pleasurable of all of the projects and I’m not sure why. Perhaps doing hexagons while trying to match all the stripes wasn’t the best way for me to learn this skill! I have to say, though, I was pretty chuffed with the results, even though not every hexagon is perfectly lined up. This one also had me running to find a thimble, which I don’t normally use, but crikey my poor wee fingertips took a pounding with this one. I’m also not keen on the quilting job I was doing as I couldn’t get the tension right on my machine and couldn’t find my machine manual, so it ended up getting put away at this stage. I’ll get back to this one again soon, though, because I found a digital machine manual I could download, and as soon as I unpick the last stitches and tweak the tension, I’ll have another crack at it (and this time start a bit closer in to the hexagons for the first quilting line). It’ll be wonderful to have it finished as it’s a really useful tool to use (it holds your power cords etc for travelling) – it’s a gorgeous wee project, that’s for sure. And maybe in the New Year, I’ll be ready to tackle another hexagon project again … maybe 😉

21728397_10154903082593148_5647639576913116685_n

Travel Cord Buddy by Michelle Marvig – original design and my choice of fabrics

23244125_10155037338883148_7902036317721791966_n

Travel Cord Buddy by Michelle Marvig

So there you have it – a really stunning selection of projects from three terrific tutors. I enjoyed myself so much even having just one day of attendance, that I’m already booked in for next year’s retreat on the Central Coast of NSW. I can’t wait to see what projects will be awaiting us next year … and by then I should have all these projects finished too 😀

 

WIPocalypse November 2017

Wow, where did the time fly? It certainly wasn’t spent doing cross stitching, I know that much!! Not much stitching to share for the last three months I’ve been AWOL, at least for my WIPs anyway.  The only WIP updates I have are to the following, and even the progress here is pretty minimal.

First up there was Roswood Manor’s ‘Quaker Diamonds’ in early September – before and after:

Then there was Mirabilia’s ‘Red’ (in blue) later in September – before and after:

And lucky last I managed a few hours on Mill Hill’s ‘Starfish’ kit a week or two ago:

The rest of the time has been spent unexpectedly moving apartments as the owner of the apartment I’d been living in for almost 11 years decided to sell. In the middle of moving I also had a stitching retreat to attend, so I decided to still go to one day of the weekend retreat anyway – partly because I’d paid for some kits and and prepaid all the costs and accommodation … but partly because I thought I deserved the break. My mum flew over to help me pack/move, but sadly her early signs of dementia made that add a bit more stress to the proceedings and actually slowed things down – it was fantastic having her company, though, in saying that. Anyway, I’m all moved in now, and only about 20 boxes left yet to unpack (!). Most of the stitching stash has been unpacked now, so at least I’m free to go back to picking up the odd WIP or two when I feel like it.

After moving I couldn’t find my XS stash for ages, but the good thing is that I had the retreat projects handy and ready to go. As soon as I’d returned home from taking Mum back to NZ, I gave myself a week off from unpacking and had a week full of doing some wonderful ‘new-to-me’ crafts. It was really awesome, and just what the doctor ordered. There was so much to post about, I’ll make a separate post for these projects – mind you, they’ve now become WIPs, so a couple of them may reappear again in the future as non-XS WIPs for WIPocalypse …

Anyhoo, to finish off the post, here are the outstanding questions:

September 24 – Which floss (or color of floss) do you absolutely adore and want to stash constantly?
I adore Gloriana silks, and about six months ago signed up with a floss stash program where I’m sent four skeins every month with no postage costs. If I could choose them all to be BLUE skeins I’d be in seventh heaven, but having an envelope each month with luscious-feeling silks in any colour has been heavenly in itself. Obviously anything blue is something I’m always wanting … and every time I go to find a blue silk or floss I still never have just the ‘right’ shade to use …

October 29 – How did you begin stitching?
I used to try different crafts out all the time when I was in my ‘teens. At some point I decided to try cross stitch, and bought a small kit on aida to make for our office receptionist’s retirement gift. It’s the only craft I’ve continued to do year after year, while all the other crafts have fallen by the wayside over the years.

November 26 – What finishing style have you never tried but would love to do?
I have so many ‘smalls’ that I’d like to try finishing the list would be endless … I can’t truthfully think of just one that stands out above all others, though.

 

WIPocalypse September 2017

Thanks to my rotation ticking along swimmingly, I’ve had another month with relatively good progress on my WIPs 🙂

First up is where my latest start finished up at the end of my rotation slot – this is Mill Hill’s Starfish, which was technically a new start last month, but I guess has migrated into the WIP definition now … Here’s how it looked like at the end of August’s WIPocalypse, and how it looked at the end of the rotation slot:

Next up was my “Large/BAP” rotation slot, so I dragged out an older WIP to get a bit of love. This is Rosewood Manor’s Quaker Diamonds, and what it looked like before and after 10 hours of work on it.  Lots of colour changes in this one, but it’s quite enjoyable to stitch on the whole – at least it looks like some decent progress was made anyway!

And now for the question of the month:

Which floss (or color of floss) do you absolutely adore and want to stash constantly?

That’s a no-brainer for me … anything blue! Every shade and deviation possible!! And whenever I stitch I never seem to have just the ‘right’ shade of blue … but it doesn’t matter, just flicking through my blue silk stash in particular gives me joy. As for threads themselves, Gloriana and Belle Soie silks are probably my ultimate favourites to stitch with, followed by Au Ver a Soie d’alger, and Rainbow Gallery Splendor silks.