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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.

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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Lots of stitching finishes

Ever since I’ve been eating healthier, and sleeping better, I’ve managed to find my stitching mojo on a regular basis.  As such, it’s seen a bunch of finishes over the last two months – most of them new starts, with one UFO from the start of the year.

First up I was trying really hard to do a catch-up for a Halloween Ornie SAL I signed up for this year.  Unfortunately I found HAEDs at the start of the year and my sole stitching focus went into those for a while, then working life got turned on its head for a bit and crazy working hours became the norm once again.  I decided in October I really did want to catch up on the SAL, but I didn’t want to stitch a heap of ornies.  At the start of the year I’d planned on working on two larger projects, that each had a block containing something that would fit within the SAL monthly themes.  Because of me starting so late in the piece, I ended up just stitching one larger piece with a couple of extra ornies thrown in for good measure.  This is what I chose for the monthly SAL, which I stitched in strict order of the themes for the year (with the exception of the two ornies, which I stitched first):

  • January – Winged creatures (block 5, the owl and bat)
  • February – Mummies and Monsters (block 6, the Frankenstein head at the end)
  • March – Pumpkins (block 1)
  • April – Ghosts (block 2, the teeny weeny ghost hiding behind the tree)
  • May – Spiders (separate ornie, freebie by Lizzie*Kate)
  • June – Free choice (the geometric border)
  • July – Witches’ accessories (block 3, the witch’s cauldron)
  • August – Spooky words (the words in the border)
  • September – Bad fairies (still have no idea what on earth to do for that one)
  • October – Black cats (block 4)
  • November – Skeletons and Skulls (another separate ornie, Halloween Ornament 4 by The Floss Box)

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“Halloween Markings” by Heart in Hand
stitched on 32ct Steel Grey Belfast linen
with a couple of recommended threads, but mostly replacements from my stash
Stitched as an alternative to ornaments for a Halloween Ornie SAL

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“Eek” freebie by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 32ct ‘mystery’ grey Belfast linen
with recommended threads

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“Halloween Ornament 4” by The Floss Box
Stitched on 32ct ‘mystery’ linen
with recommended DMC threads

After my Halloween stitching binge, I decided to drag out a UFO from the start of the year.  This was one of my Crazy January Challenge pieces (15 starts in 15 days, which I’ve decided really isn’t for me anymore – I want to spend my stitching time working through all those WIPs/UFOs cluttering up my stitching space instead of starting a bunch of new ones!).  Anyway, after a few weeks chipping away at her, I had a few days of work this week and managed some major progress, and finishing her a couple of days ago.  This was significantly helped by throwing a few seasons of Buffy into the DVD player, it was great mindless, and amusing, fodder for the brain while completing a stitching marathon 🙂

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“The Christmas Elf Fairy” by Mirabilia
stitched on 32ct natural linen
with kit threads (Crescent Colours) and beads

The last one, hot off the Qsnaps on Friday night was one I’d originally stitched as a charity quilt square a few years ago.  I’ve been wanting to restitch this for myself ever since, and still had the DMC sitting with the chart ready for the day when I found time.  I decided it was finally time to pull my finger out and get it stitched up so I grabbed some fabric and threw it on the Qsnaps – I love this one, and it’ll beautifully with my ocean/beach theme in the lounge!

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“Chambered Nautilus” by Green Apple Co (original watercolour by Janet Powers)
Stitched on 32ct off-white Belfast linen
with recommended DMC threads

And that’s all for now I guess … I’m not 100% sure what I’ll choose to stitch on next.  I’ve been trying to finish off a lot of the WIPs sitting in crates so that I have a few Qsnaps free to use for new projects, so no doubt the next thing I choose to stitch will be something already started … Mind you, I do still have four ornaments left to stitch to complete the 2016 JCS Christmas Ornie SAL challenge on Facebook – I guess that’ll probably be the first thing ticked off, then it’ll be time to grab one of my WIPs as my next focus piece.  At the moment I’m tossing up between the following WIPs/UFOs – I just may have to toss a coin, because I really can’t decide right now! 😉

Very Scary Mystery Sampler – finito

Back in June I decided I needed to start working on a few of my WIPs and getting them finished, especially as the HAED I was working on was starting to give me headaches during a very stressful period at work.

The first WIP I decided to pick up and work on until it was finished was Lizzie*Kate’s “Very Scary Mystery Sampler” that I’d had kitted up for pretty much as long as the kit was first released.  I didn’t like the recommended linen at all as it was too close to the browns in the threads, and totally different to the cover picture, so I subbed with something from the stash that would ‘do’.  I was a bit worried the purple tones of the fabric would clash with the border threads, but I think it turned out OK in the end. The same as most people have done so far, I didn’t realise the ‘grass’ was all supposed to be done as satin stitch and not just the bottom section … but I couldn’t be bothered unpicking it all and it’s good enough for me 😉

Halloween Mystery Sampler by Lizzie*Kate

“Very Scary Mystery Sampler” by Lizzie*Kate
Started 31 August 2015 – Finished 12 June 2016
Stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Lugana by Countrystitch ~ colour Storm
with recommended (kit) threads and beads

The next project I finished was a huge achievement for me, and deserves a post all of its own … 🙂

Latest stitching efforts (picture heavy)

As I mentioned in my first ‘return from the dead’ post last week, I’ve managed to do a spot of sporadic stitching here and there over recent months – often the sessions were weeks apart, and each spurt of stitching energy was short-lived.  Anyhow, here are the updates and the WIPs and finishes that happened while I’ve been away …

It seems I never showed the final finish of this piece, which I finished back at the end of January:

Autumn Leaves by The Prairie Schooler

“Autumn Leaves” by The Prairie Schooler
Finished 25 January 2015
Stitched on 32ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
with recommended DMC threads

Here’s one I managed to finish in June – which now means I’ve stitched everything in that particular leaflet.  I was going to on-sell it or use it as a trade chart, but think it may come in handy for any future exchanges that I do, I think some of these squares are really cute:

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“Autumn Leaves” by The Prairie Schooler
Finished around 14 June 2015
Stitched on 32ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
with recommended DMC threads

At some point I decided a change of pace was in order, and I picked up a canvaswork project to stitch on.  This was my next finished piece, finishing it in early July – and one of the first times in ages I truly enjoyed my stitching experience, even with all the metallic ribbons!  Unfortunately I had run out of the turquoise ribbon, or it would have been finished much sooner!

Navajo by Northern Pine Designs

“Navajo by Northern Pine Designs”
Finished on 5 July 2015
Stitched on 18ct eggshell mono canvas
with recommended threads

Next up are all the current works in progress … I’ve just signed up to a bunch of other stitch-alongs in one of the Facebook groups I belong to, so there will soon be a pile more WIPs added to the pile – I’ve chosen SALs where I already have a project that is high up on my to-do list, so it’s motivating me to start stitching them.  Anyway, in the meantime here are the current WIPs:

“Flight of the Bumblebees” by Ruth Schmuff – this one is a very old UFO that I’ve started making a conscious effort to get finished.  Unfortunately, as per my normal luck, I’ve run out of one of the gold metallic braids, so I’m waiting for a stash parcel to arrive with the replacement (I had a splurge a month ago to finish kitting up some other charts that were missing threads).  I”m pretty pleased with how this one is going, though, and it doesn’t have too much more to go before it’s finished.

Flight of the Bumblebees by Ruth Schmuff

“Blue Birds” by Laura J Perin – While I was on a ‘canvaswork roll’, I decided to drag out a freebie from Laura J Perin I’ve had sitting in my stash for many years.  Sadly, though, I ran out of the navy Pebbly Perle that was used around the border, so once again another design sits unfinished.  A wonderful fellow stitcher, though, came to my rescue quickly and sent me a card of the thread I need.  As soon as I find my card of blue Tiara thread, which has apparently gone into hiding, I’ll be able to finish this one off pretty quickly.  I just LOVE the colours of this one!  If anyone is interested, the chart is still available for download at the Rainbow Gallery site.

Blue Birds by Laura J Perin

Wedding Sampler for Elie – This is a self-designed wedding sampler that I’m stitching for a close male friend.  I struggled the whole way with this one, so I haven’t pulled my finger out and started it, and the wedding was nearly 3 years ago!!  I’m still not 100% with the fabric and thread choice, but I’ve decided in this case I’m my own worst critic, and I should just continue on with it.  I think the groom will love it regardless of how it looks – the contents of the sampler are very personal to him, so hopefully it will be treasured.  I’ve shown a picture of what the whole thing will look like once it’s finished.  The photo isn’t very good at all, the fabric is a buttery creamy colour.

Elie's wedding sampler

Elie's wedding sampler

“Halloween Mystery Sampler” by Lizzie*Kate – This one was a gift from my Mum for Christmas when the designs were first released.  I also purchased the Tin Roof fabric that was recommended for this one, but really didn’t like it at all, so it sat in a box for ages while I found something else.  I’m still not 100% with this choice either, but I certainly like it a lot better than the Tin Roof one!  I started this one as part of a Sampler SAL, and really enjoying stitching it!

Halloween Mystery Sampler by Lizzie*Kate

“Quaker Christmas II – Songs of the Season” by ByGone Stitches – This is another one I’m really struggling with, as I can’t stand the fabric I chose to stitch it on.  It’s on a 35ct Weeks Dye Works fabric, and it’s just dreadful – it feels like I’m stitching on an old rag!  Anyway, the chart itself is at least enjoyable to work on, I just need to forget about the immense size of this one and keep focusing on one motif at a time.  I haven’t worked on it for well over a year, then when Mum came to visit a month or so ago I sat and stitched on it while we were both sick and watching TV all day.  It was a good design to work on when you didn’t have to concentrate too much!  I actually managed to do a lot more than I thought I had … I’m now almost 3 pages down, and only about 12 left to go … haha.

Quaker Christmas II - Songs of the Season by ByGone Stitches

As to what’s coming up next, there are a lot of decisions to be made … lots of SALs and lots of designs to choose from that will fit within each SAL – some decisions are going to be easier than others, that’s for sure!  I’ll do a separate post for my own sake so that I can refer back to it and help myself choose closer to the start times!  But I’ll also be continuing to work on these as well, as all my SALs chosen don’t have set finish dates … that means I can easily slot them into my rotation along with these other projects as well 🙂

Hallowe’en Ornie SAL catch-up (well halfway, anyway)

Halloween ornie SAL

I’ve been absent without leave for quite some time yet again – work pressures finally got to me to the point I wasn’t stitching, or even living well if truth be told.  Some changes at work have seen the last few weeks a lot more stress-free, so much so that I’ve been back stitching once again … and finally enjoying it.  The thing that has got me back into loving stitching (aside from being stress-free) has been doing some Halloween stitching … and catching up a bit on my ornie stitching backlog.  Following are the results of my endeavours until now (I still have to do the June and July ones yet).

September – “Spooky Words”:

Boo by Lizzie*Kate

“Boo” (from “Boo Hiss Eek”) by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 32ct Thunderstorm Belfast
with a mix of threads (GAST, Carrie’s Threads, DMC)

August – theme “Black Cats”:

Black Cat (Boo to You) by The Prairie Schooler

Black Cat (from “Boo to You”) by The Prairie Schooler
Stitched on 30ct Guacamole Weeks Dye Works linen
with recommended DMC threads

May – theme “Pumpkins”:

Eek by Lizzie*Kate

“Eek” freebie by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 32ct Thunderstorm Belfast
with recommended threads

I’ve done a few other bits and pieces since April as well, even though my stitching has been a bit sporadic – plus I see I forgot to schedule publish my last Smalls SAL piece, so I’ll create a new post later in the week to capture the rest of my stitching news.