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 😉

 

A spot of finishing on a rainy weekend

I dragged out my box of items that need to be finish-finished a few weeks ago and it’s been taunting me ever since sitting open in the lounge room.  This weekend I decided enough was enough, and I plucked up the courage to do a spot of finishing.  My skills may be a bit rusty these days, but it felt quite good to get a few small finishes under my belt for the weekend.

First up was an Easter design I a finished a few years ago – this was a freebie by Serendipity Designs.  It’s very spring-like, even though Easter down under takes place in autumn!

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Then I managed to finish half of the Bunnies in the Garden set by With My Needle.  As you can see from the back of the scissor fob, the stitching on this one took place way back in 2006 … it’s nice to see it gradually being finished.  You’re supposed to use ruched silk ribbon as the edging on the pincushion, but I didn’t have anything in my stash that would work, so I changed it up and used the same DMC cord that I used on the scissor fob.  I’m quite pleased with the result.

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Next up will hopefully be the needlecase of the Bunnies set, and the final piece which is the wee carrot scissor sheath – the sheath is actually finished except for the greenery around the top of the opening.

 

WIPocalypse – February 2017

2015 WIPocalypseYippee, February seemed to be a great month for working on WIPs – in fact WIPs have been the only things I’ve worked on.  Not a huge amount of stitching has been done during week nights, as I haven’t been sleeping well thanks to the heat at the start of the month, but I often made up for it on the weekends.

First up was this one – I fell out with this one ages ago because I really hated how short the kit threads were, and felt like I was only getting a handful of stitches out of each length of thread before having to cut off and rethread the needle.  So many times I felt like dragging out the DMC and re-kitting it up myself.  Apparently I’ve got more patience this year – I just forced myself to ‘suck it up, princess’, not think too much about it, and just ‘stitched’.  After a few colours I got into a rhythm again with it and just kept going until it was finished.  It’ll never be my favourite piece of stitching, but I do like it now it’s finished.  I think it may get turned into a slip cover for a notebook or photo album of stitching … I’m not sure really.  Anyway, here’s the before (how it was when I picked it up) picture and the finish.  The finished photo is closer to the fabric colour, but badly out of focus … oops.

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“The Formal Garden” by Textile Heritage Collection
Stitched on 14ct dark green Aida (kit fabric) with kit threads
Finished 12 February 2017

Then the next one I chose to work on is another older WIP – I hate this one with a passion for various reasons.  This one is Egyptian Garden Mandala by Chatelaine.

First of all I really hate the fabric choice … really and truly.  I love the colour, don’t get me wrong, but the fabric is quite closely woven thanks to the dyeing process and the opalescent threads make it even harder to see the holes.  Not to mention the beads are too cramped together and I keep having to omit and fudge the odd bead to get them to lay straight.  I’ve tossed up a few times whether to cut my losses and start again on a non-hand-dyed fabric, which I know I’d enjoy soooo much more, but I keep looking at just how much I’ve stitched in comparison to what is left to be stitched, and it does seem a bit crazy at this stage to start again.

As well as the fabric choice, I got fed up with the over-one stitching, messed it all up, and had to unpick it … at that point it got thrown into the ‘naughty corner’ before I turned it into a Mexican hat dance accessory.  Last weekend I bit the bullet and spent 2 hours pulling the over-one stitching out and started re-stitching it all again.  If I thought the rest of the stitching is difficult to see the holes, trying to stitch with metallic threads over-one is, quite frankly, a right royal bloody nightmare on this fabric!  I still have no idea how the hell I’m going to see to fill in the remaining stitches in those fishies!!

I spent so much on this kit, though, I just can’t justify throwing it out, and I really do love the design … so I figure I’ll just do little bits here and there in-between other more fun projects and eventually (some day before I retire and/or struggle with poor eyesight) it’ll become a finish … hopefully.

Anyhoo, here it is once again with the before and after photos.  I guess it’s nice to see a bit of progress, although I’m already getting the urge to move onto something more fun, so I think it may not see much more progress for a wee while.

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What’s next on the stitching agenda?  Well, I still have my Hallowe’en SAL piece to work on, so possibly that one … but maybe a nice quick freebie or smalls piece to give me a quick and easy finish … maybe … to be honest I really don’t know what I feel like stitching, so it’ll be a surprise either way! 😉

 

Mid-summer stitching frenzy

This summer in Sydney has been unbearable with the hottest January on record since records began – which means you’ll generally find me indoors hiding from the heat and sitting in front of the electric fan the entire weekend.  It’s been too darned hot to do much of anything else, and even my stitching chair is now covered in a towel to make it more comfortable and less hot to sit in … bring on Autumn, is all I can say!!

So what stitching have I managed to do so far? None of my WIPs have been touched since my last finish, but I have picked up some very small new starts to meet my SAL commitments in the two SALs I’ve joined this year.  And here they are:

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“Blue Snowman” by The Little Stitcher (2016 JCS Christmas Ornie issue)
Stitched on 32ct Vintage Country Mocha Belfast linen
with recommended threads (DMC) but changing the brown nose to orange

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“Merry Christmas to You” by My Big Toe (2016 JCS Christmas ornie issue)
Stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Lugana by Countrystitch ~ colour Limestone
with recommended DMC threads

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“Boo!” freebie by The Prairie Schooler
Stitched on 32ct sage green (?) mystery linen
with recommended DMC threads
For the Hallowe’en SAL theme of “Moon”

This next finish was so much fun to do, but it took me a couple of nights to get back into a good ‘canvaswork rhythm’ – now I’ve finished, though, I’ve got the bug back to do another one … I think I’ll be heading back into the stash pile this week to drag out a bigger one to work on very very soon! It’s so much fun to work with other threads instead of just DMC cotton floss, not to mention the amount of pleasure I get from working different stitches again – it’s so addictive!

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“Holly and Ivy” freebie by Laura J Perin Designs
Stitched on 18ct eggshell monocanvas

with recommended threads

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CCN Blue and Silver ornie

My latest finish for the month was a new start for me – it’s been kitted up and carried over to NZ and back twice in readiness for starting, but it’s taken me about 15 months to finally put the first stitch in!  I decided to just choose a blue thread that I liked when I was out shopping in Auckland kitting this one up, as I didn’t have the chart with me at that point – as it turns out, I’m thrilled with the result!  This is a gift for a family member, that was promised a year ago … hey, we don’t want to rush these things! 😛

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“Blue and Silver” ornament by Country Cottage Needleworks
(from the 2008 Jul/Aug? JCS ornie preview issue)
Stitched on 32ct Light Mocha Belfast linen
with my choice of threads:
Kreinik #4 braid in 001
GAST in Dungarees
DMC Blanc
DMC 3362 (as recommended)
DMC 938 I think (couldn’t find my 869)