May WIPocalypse

As I’ve posted about previously, May has seen my mojo return with a vengeance, and my energy levels and confidence towards my crafting endeavours has been really positive. I even managed to do a few small updates to some of my WIPs (not to mention adding tremendously to my WIP list with all the new starts in May … oops). Here is a review of the WIP upates from May during IsoMaynia.

Raphael’s Raspberries by Forgets-Me-Nots in Stitches

Mia Mermaid (retreat project) by Nora Corbett / Mirabilia

Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor

When Witches Go Riding by The Prairie Schooler

Finch Song by Shepherd’s Bush

My goals for 2020 have seen some progress in general, thanks to being stood down from work three days a week throughout May and more free time to work on crafts. So far I’m stood down until at least the end of June, so I’m hoping this will continue for another month at least πŸ˜‰

IsoMaynia – week three

Another week of stitching in isolation, which means another batch of crafty projects getting some love and attention.

15 May: New start – Tilda group needlework accessories

I didn’t actually put needle to fabric at all for this one, but I did manage to get two of the projects started by fussy-cutting a few of the pieces ready for later.

16 May: WIP – Spike stitch basket by Crochet Society

I made a bit of progress on a crochet project I started in March. I didn’t quite get it finished on the 16th, but I got up and finished it the next day on the 17th. This is using Caron Pantone yarn.

17 May: New start – Christmas Bullfinch by Punochka

I started the February ornament choice for the JCS Christmas ornie SAL group on Facebook. Hopefully I’ll get this one finished early next month when I move to a 10-hour rotation again, instead of daily project changes.

18 May: Project and accessory bags

While not a ‘new’ project, I decided to make a few more vinyl fronted project and accessory bags so went ahead and did all the fabric cutting and quilting.

19 May: New start – Surface embroidery

Unfortunately I’ve mislaid my download file so I can’t give credit right now to the website hosting this image, but I’ll add the details later. Stitched with a DMC Variations thread. I hadnt decided yet what I’ll use this one for.

20 May: New start – Time in the Meadow by One Day in May (Creations by Melissa Grant)

This design was a free one that I received from One Day in May with an online order. I had to reduce the size of it a lot to make it small enough for its intended use. I used a Cottage Garden thread for the bird and border outlines and a single strand of a hand-dyed silk thread for the flowers and stems.

21-23 May: Tilda quilted pocket challenge

I managed to finish the surface stitchery (Time in the Meadow) from the day before and used it to adorn my latest Tilda challenge project. This pocket is far from perfect, but it was a great learning curve, and once again gives me more experience to build my confidence back up again. For the first time I didn’t start something different each day, but rather opted to focus on this one project until it was finished, so this project ended up spanning three separate days (two after work evenings and Saturday afternoon).

IsoMaynia – week two

My crafty mojo remained high for another week – here are the projects that were at the end of my needle for IsoMaynia through the second week of May:

8 May: Piwakawaka, the Fantail by Lyn Manning

A small kit I bought from The Ribbon Rose in Auckland while Dad was in hospital last year. I’ve always loved fantails, and this is a really sweet little stitching project that reminds me of home. I didn’t quite manage to get it finished because I worked during the day, but I kept stitching on it the next day and managed to get it completed.

9 May: Stitch now, worry later by Lizzie*Kate

I changed the threads to my own choices of silk threads, trying to roughly match the colours I’d used in my last Lizzie*Kate a few years ago. I changed the thread spools to use satin stitch instead of cross stitch. This saying couldn’t be more relevant in these times! Eventually I’ll stitch the larger design as well.

10 May: Catherine Agnes by Indigo Rose

So excited to finally kick this project off – it’s intimidated me for years, but I put the feelings aside and just started. Such a fun project, I’m looking forward to getting back to this one again after May – I think this will definitely be going into the formal rotation I’m considering next month. A good challenging stitch with luscious silk threads … and yet more queen stitches!!

11 May: WIP – Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor

Finally dragged out an older WIP – it’s a goal to actually finish this one at some time this year, so once again this will probably become my focus piece in a formal rotation from next month. Sadly I stitched in the wrong place in a previous session, so the next time I stitch on it I’ll get around to frogging those random stitches. This week, though, I just avoided that area and started a new motif instead πŸ˜‰ I was busy during the day so not much to show for it – oh well, a few stitches closer to a finish, every little bit helps!

12 May: All you need is love and coffee by Design Works

I was initially put off by the stiff black aida that came in this kit, but it turned out to be really good for the style of stitching. Initially I used normal one-stitch back-stitches for the lettering, but it looked kinda clunky – when you look at the cover picture the back-stitching is all done as long stitches instead … so I frogged my back-stitching and did the same. It looks much neater and I really love the look. One of my favourite stitching projects so far during IsoMaynia, and I can’t wait to get back to work on this one again soon! I think I’ll be stitching this one more than once as well as gifts.

13 May: Tilda needlebook challenge

Still waiting for some Tilda fabrics to arrive that have been on back order for quite a few weeks, so I decided I didn’t want to wait anymore and wanted to start a needlework set now (I’d already missed all the past four challenges waiting for the fabric to arrive). I chose one of my favourite series of fabrics from Spoonflower, and think the set is going to be gorgeous in this fabric! Lots of glue, and not a lot of needlework involved in this one, but it’s another new-to-me challenge, it’s crafting of a different sort, and I did use a needle to buttonhole stitch the needlebook pages and then whip-stitched the lace on top of the felt. I used some light turquoise/teal felt I bought in Paris during my last visit, some wool flannel gifted to me by a dear friend recently for the needlebook pages, and I found some silk ribbon in my stash to finish it off. I did some fussy cutting for the first time, and I really love it!

14 May: Mia mermaid by Nora Corbett

This was the design we were given as the free gift at the Mirabilia Retreat in 2017 where Nora attended in person for the first time in Australia. I stitched this in 2017 after the retreat, intending to leave the wording and the date off. Over the last 12 months, though, I’d changed my mind and kept dithering about including the wording and date as a momento of the retreat weekend, which was also the start of some amazing stitching friendships. So I finally sucked it up and put her back into the Qsnaps to add the wording. I ran out of time to do the date as well, and I can’t really decide how to do it yet, so it’s not quite yet an official finish … maybe next month! I changed the wording colour to use the Pine Forest silk instead of the Copper as charted. The fabric colour is more accurate in the first photo.

IsoMaynia – week one

What an amazing boost to crafting goodness IsoMaynia has been for me. My engagement with my crafts has been through the roof, and it’s been wonderful to do some sort of creative endeavour every single day in May.

Here are the projects that were at the end of my needle for IsoMaynia through the first week of May:

1 May: Tilda Zippy pouch challenge

A Tilda Facebook group challenge, this was a totally new project to me, and got me back using the sewing machine and hand-sewing the binding on – first time using the plastic sheeting as well. The small one was the size for the challenge, and I chose to make a larger one as well for the designs I want to stitch each month for an annual Hallowe’en SAL challenge (of which I’ve been woeful at these last couple of years).

2 May: Stitching is the Berries by Periwinkle Promises

I’d actually started this one the week prior, so I’ve included a before and after shot to show how much I achieved on the day. The border is made up of lots and LOTS of queen stitches, and it’s using a different stitch technique that I’ve never seen before. I’ll be honest I struggled with it quite a lot, but after a while I grew to like it, and I ended up doing a few other projects using the same technique. It’s not my normal choice of colours, but I love the richness of the reds and it’s been fun to try some different stitches again. This is a kit that came with the fabric and threads and the finishing kit with the tin etc. Bought from a friend unloading some stash last year, it’s been fun to work on so far.

3 May: WIP – Raphael’s Raspberries by Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches

Oh my goodness this has been an unloved UFO for so very long – probably about five years now I think. I managed to get about six queen stitches done before throwing it in a corner for whatever reason. After the Periwinkle Promises queen stitches, though, I found I whipped through these ones pretty quickly. I think another full day of stitching and I just might have got all the main body of the stitching done … I think I’ll have to return to this one in June and get it finished. I have the matching sweet bag to go with it, so then I’ll set that up as a new start and a bigger challenge.

4 May: My other car is a broom by Lizzie*Kate

This was a kit put together by a LNS in Berry that has since closed down. In hindsight the fabric choice wasn’t great and the stitching disappears on it (the picture on the left is closer to the colour IRL). I wish I’d subbed the fabric for a darker one now, but it’s too late for that now (and I can’t be bothered unpicking the green and doing it again). I managed to start and finish this one on the same day, which is great – it was my first IsoMaynia finish πŸ˜€

5 May: Patch Coeur AoΓ»t by Un Chat dans l’aiguille

A different challenge today doing surface stitchery. This is a kit that I bought on my last visit to Paris with Mum, so it was time I gave it a try. I always felt a bit intimated by it, especially as the instructions are all in french, but the stitch diagrams are clear enough to work out what the stitches are, and I managed to translate the key areas of the instructions to get me on my way. Thoroughly enjoyed this one, although I’ve now learned how sewing the ends in the back can pull on the front stitching and it stuffed up my buttonhole wheels in the lighthouse – I’ll just redo them later when I pick it back up again. It’s actually a lovely change not having to follow a chart and count for every stitch πŸ™‚

6 May: Moose Joy by Angel Stitchin’

This was the January ornament choice by a JCS Ornie SAL Facebook group. I started it in January (so I’ve included the before and after photos), but just wasn’t feeling the love for it. I think it was more to do with my battling with depression and not having any mojo than anything being wrong with the design itself). I didn’t manage to get it finished on 5 May, but the next day I put the final stitches in place. Using my own choice of threads.

7 May: Aroha (Love) cushion by The Stitchsmith

Bought as a kit while Dad was in hospital last year, I started this one in February as my monthly stitching GTG project … mindless stitching while being able to chat and still make progress. Sadly February was the last GTG we had in person, so I figured I might as well give it some love for a short while. As this was a work-day, I only managed a short time working on it, but got the equivalent of one letter stitched – finishing the letter O and starting on the letter H.

Mid-May craft update (Apr WIPocalypse)

Wow, what a crazy year this has been so far – thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been stood down from work three days a week which stressed me out majorly when I heard the news … but in hindsight it’s actually been a godsend to me. I’ve been battling depression since Dad passed (I hadn’t realised just how much of a major toll it had taken on my health with Dad’s horrendous extended stay in hospital while managing Mum’s dementia at the same time – not to mention frantic and challenging work conditions back at home). Now the norm is working from home (which I love), and only working two days a week for a while. It’s not conducive to getting a great deal of work done each week, but it IS really conducive to me getting my life back on track craft-wise.

April WIPocalypse came and went – I thought about doing a post with my updates, but I looked back and realised there weren’t any! This month, however, is a totally different story – I have craft updates coming out the wazoo!!

We have regular stitching get-togethers with friends twice a month in real life here in Sydney, but due to the pandemic and lockdown all events have been cancelled the last couple of months … meaning we’ve resorted to Skype calls which have continued every Saturday. Three weeks ago I was joking that since being stood down my head is swimming with all the many things I want to do craft-wise – I just want to start everything at the same time and I felt really motivated. To sum it up we jokingly came up with the term of IsoMaynia – kinda like the major Stitchmania challenge every year, but just for while we’re in lockdown/isolation. My personal challenge was to attempt a different craft or stitching project every day in May – and to date that’s been working out well.

In the first two weeks of May I’ve managed lots of new starts, and progress on a couple of WIPs. Seeing as I’ve pretty much run out of Qsnaps now, I’ll likely be working on a few more WIPs for the rest of the month, but don’t hold me to that! πŸ˜‰

I’ll post all the updates in weekly bursts shortly – but first here’s the April WIPocalypse stitchers’ question of the month:

Tell us about a piece that you absolutely loved stitching.

Goodness, there are a number of projects that I really loved doing, so it’s hard to pick just one … I’ll just say the first one that comes to mind, which is Mirabilia’s ‘Red’ done in a blue conversion. The whole thing makes my heart sing … from Nora’s amazing design itself, down to the amazing conversion and colours by Beth, and being so happy with the fabric choice for her. It’s probably the quickest I’ve ever finished a Mirabilia design too, so that’s probably a good indication of how much I loved doing her – although a deadline of getting her finished before a retreat that Nora was attending might have been a bit of motivation too πŸ˜‰

Red (done in blues) by Mirabilia – Finished

WIPocalypse – Feb/Mar 2020

I don’t know where the year has gone already – I just realised I haven’t posted an update since the very start of the year. I wish I could say I was too busy progressing on my WIPs, but in all honesty I’ve been dealing with depression and a crazy time at work. After being stood down from work yesterday and being moved to working two days a week, it could be the impetus that I need to change my routine and kick me out of my depressive rut – or it will increase it, I guess – time will tell. I do know that I won’t be able to afford any of my bills or put food on the table some weeks for a while, but I also do know that I have a huge stash that is going to see me through these unprecedented tough times – as long as I have a roof over my head!

Anyway, enough of the doom and gloom – time to answer the year’s questions to date and work out if I have an update to show …

February:

In honor of β€œLeap Year,” tell the story of a time you had to make some sort of a β€œleap” in stitching – taking the chance on a new style of stitching, attending a meetup or class, etc.

When I lived in Auckland I used to attend classes all the time at my LNS – it took me out of my comfort zone all the time and I got to experience so many different techniques in a supportive environment. I miss those classes so very much! I’m very introverted so it was a big step for me to sign-up to classes on my own, but I’m so very glad I did. I managed to do classes on stumpwork, hardanger, surface embroidery and more … geez I really do miss that so much!

March:

Have you ever adopted a piece from someone else or gave up a piece to someone else? Which piece and why?

Yes, I adopted a Marjolein Bastin cross-stitched piece from someone who had fallen out of love with it. I still haven’t finished stitching it, but it will get done one day, even if it’s to donate to charity as fundraising for one of the animal shelter groups.

Progress on goals

Um, yeah … not so much really, considering we’re already a quarter of the way through the year! One or two items have been done, or started, though, so all is not entirely lost!

  • Make progress on three canvaswork projects (WIPs or new starts) – 1) I started Banded by Bargello by Kathy Rees as a Mystery SAL new start
  • Make progress on a crochet blanket – I had a new start of start of Marnie’s Garden by Hooked on Sunshine for a friend … not sure that was the intention for this goal, though, to start a new one πŸ˜‰
  • Finish at least three projects from Crate Crochet – 1) February 2020 box is done – Emily’s Cowl
  • Finish at least one project from Crochet Society – a hexagon cushion is in progress, it just needs to be put together
  • Complete 12 ornaments for Just Cross Stitch ornament SAL (Facebook) – 1) January is in progress, and has been since well um early January, it’s kinda stalled ‘cos I’m not enjoying it
  • Make some bat wraps and joey pouches for wildlife rescue – Done, I made a heap of joey pouches and hanging bags (photo to follow)
  • Sew an item of clothing – Done … can’t believe I managed it after all these years of not sewing, and I was pretty damned chuffed with myself, I have to say!

WIPocalypse – Jan 2020

Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!

About me

I’m in my 50s and work full-time as a web publisher for an airline. I currently live in Sydney, Australia, which I’ve started to love thanks to having a great friendship network with fellow stitchers, but my home will probably always be Auckland, New Zealand where I grew up and spent most of my life.

I’ve dabbled in lots of crafts over the years, but cross stitch remains my one constant and which makes me the most relaxed at the end of a long work day. I love learning new things, so I like to dabble in specialty stitches and other techniques. I haven’t focused on this area of my crafts for a long time, though, so I’m hoping 2020 will be the year to kick-start my energy and enthusiasm for that again – I’m always happiest when I’m learning something new.

Goals for 2020

This year I’m kicking the year off with 56 craft WIPs/UFOs, which includes needlework and crochet projects. After last year’s pitiful efforts, I’m trying to learn from my mistakes and keep my goals simple (and hopefully achievable) this year.

  • Progress on 12 WIPs/UFOs (aiming for a different one each month)
  • Finish Quaker Diamonds
  • Finish Three Kings
  • Make progress on three canvaswork projects (WIPs or new starts)
  • Start a bed quilt
  • Make progress on a crochet blanket
  • Finish at least three projects from Crate Crochet
  • Finish at least one project from Crochet Society
  • Finish at least one project from KnitCrate
  • Complete 12 ornaments for Just Cross Stitch ornament SAL (Facebook)
  • Complete 12 ornaments for Hallowe’en ornie SAL
  • Finish-finish at least 12 items in my finishing pile
  • Stitch at least one charity quilt block
  • Finish and frame the Ronald McDonald charity stitching
  • Make some bat wraps and joey pouches for wildlife rescue
  • Sew an item of clothing
  • Make progress on/start at least three projects with specialty stitches or non-cross stitch techniques (eg stumpwork, hardanger, etc)
  • Start a HAED

I also intend starting a rotation again this year to keep me more focused. This year, though, I want to ensure I have a rotation slot or monthly time allocated to new starts for gifts – I have a number of projects I’ve been wanting to stitch as gifts for years now, so it’s time to start getting those stitched. I also want to ensure I give myself time to enjoy other pursuits and not just cross stitch and crochet.

And to kick off the year, here’s my list of current WIPs and their approx status (rounded up to the nearest 5%) – some of these I may scrap and start again, especially those at 5% for various reasons, and some may be offered up for rehoming. But for now, this is where they’re all at …

My WIPs – status @ 1 Jan 2020

DesignerProject NameMain type% Done
Ursula MichaelsRonald McDonald charityCross stitch95
Nora CorbettMia Mermaid (retreat project)Cross stitch85
CA WellsSailors ValentineCross stitch85
Teresa WentzlerEnglish Garden SamplerCross stitch80
CA WellsCottage EtuiCross stitch75
Rosewood ManorQuaker DiamondsCross stitch70
Stoney CreekNature’s Resting PlaceCross stitch70
Mediterranean Village sceneCross stitch70
Mill HillThree KingsCross stitch60
ChatelaineEgyptian Garden MandalaCross stitch60
CA WellsPyramid EtuiCross stitch50
Prairie SchoolerWhen Witches Go RidingCross stitch40
ByGone StitchesQuaker Christmas IICross stitch35
Teresa WentzlerNoah’s ArkCross stitch35
Shepherd’s BushFinch SongCross stitch20
Country ThreadsParisCross stitch20
Lorri BirminghamButterlies and Hearts needlerollCross stitch20
Just Cross StitchLe Jardin Silk SamplerCross stitch10
Anita DiamondQuaker Flowers strawberry emeryCross stitch5
Textile HeritageTopiary tree bookmarkCross stitch5
MirabiliaBluebeard’s Princess MirabellaCross stitch5
Martha SchmidtHussifCross stitch5
Lavender & LaceCeltic SummerCross stitch5
CCNThe Tea RoomCross stitch5
Drawn ThreadAlmost HalloweenCross stitch5
Marg LowMake a Christmas WishNon-XS90
Monica HuntHussifNon-XS90
Cindy ValentineApricot EleganceNon-XS65
Berry Delightful BagNon-XS60
Wool hot water bottle coverNon-XS50
Inspirations Summer fruits pincushionNon-XS40
Inspirations Wool beehive needlebookNon-XS35
Moss CreekSchwalmwork PinkeepNon-XS25
Bullion rose faceclothNon-XS20
Goldwork peaNon-XS15
FMNISRachel’s RaspberriesNon-XS5
Long stitch frogsNon-XS5
Vicki’s cot quiltQuilting75
Jane NicholasStumpwork needlework accessory – thimble pipStumpwork80
Jane NicholasDragonflyStumpwork70
Jane NicholasHonesty and HeartseaseStumpwork70
Jane NicholasOriental PoppyStumpwork40
Jane NicholasPomegranates and BeetleStumpwork35
Beaded fishBeading50
Laura J PerinLahaina BreezesCanvaswork30
GCCOrnamental DelightsCanvaswork5
Crate CrochetBeginners beanie (box 6)Crochet95
LululovesGranny Square pincushionCrochet90
Hooked on SunshineAtlanticus blanketCrochet70
Maria’s Blue CrayonCoastal Indoor RugCrochet50
Crate CrochetCrate Crochet Hook RollCrochet50
Crate CrochetRipple ToteCrochet20
Crate CrochetC2C BagCrochet15
8-day kid blanket (blues)Crochet10
Teal-coloured beanieCrochet10
Hooked on SunshinePhoenix blanketCrochet5

Goal tracking

To help me keep track of progress this year, I’ve updated my monthly craft planner (all just done in Microsoft Word) and created a checklist of all my 2020 craft goals with space for me to write in any details. These are now all printed off and about to get hole-punched to go into a dedicated ringbinder. Other than being disorganised and lazy, I have no excuses now for not tracking my progress this year! πŸ˜‰