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.

Missing a post about Halloween Ornie SAL 2015 + WIPocalypse

It appears I seem to be missing a post I could’ve sworn I’d made about joining the Halloween Ornie SAL for 2015.  I haven’t been accepted by the blog owners yet, but I’m still going to go ahead and do the SAL even if it’s just on my own blog for now 🙂  In fact I got so excited when I first heard about the blog that I went ahead and created my own button just for the occasion 😉

Halloween ornie SAL

And funnily enough, it seems that this SAL has spurred on my first finish of the year – the January theme is Witch, so here is my January finish:

The Floss Box - Halloween Ornament #5

“Halloween Ornament #5” by The Floss Box
Stitched on 32ct Thunderstorm Belfast linen
with recommended DMC floss (except I change the cat’s eyes to yellow)
Started 17 Jan 2015 – Finished 18 Jan 2015

2015 WIPocalypse

I also just realised that I haven’t managed to do my January post for the 2015 WIPocalypse, so here goes my first post for the year.  You’re supposed to introduce yourself and outline your plans for the year … well, I’ve already outlined my stitching plans in the last couple of posts, so I won’t repeat myself here.  For those of you who don’t know me already yet (if there is anyone else reading this haha), my name is Anne, and I’m a duck-loving stitcher … hence the name of the blog, Feather Stitching.  I’m … cough … 48 years old, single and working in a job with some really long working hours. My stitching time is much more limited to what it used to be, so at least one day a week you’ll find me playing hermit in my bedroom with stitching in hand trying to ignore the outside world and catching on a week’s worth of recorded TV.  Born in England, I moved to New Zealand when I was 5, and as an adult followed my job to Australia, where I’ve now lived for 11 years.

So what stitching have I been doing since the start of the year?  I’ve still been working on Prairie Schooler’s Autumn Leaves, which is relatively close to a finish really, but I put it to one side while I started my monthly SALs.  Unfortunately, though, my January Smalls SAL isn’t quite going as planned ‘cos I’ve totally stuffed up the border for my first project choice – I didn’t read the chart properly, obviously, and thought the little corner crosses were the same as all the other crosses around the border … I only worked out how wrong I was once I was stitching with that hideous DMC metallic floss and doing the beading on the back section.  Now I’m in a quandary what to do … either rip out the entire border (and the sunflower centres) and start again (which I’m kinda loathe to do, ‘cos I hated stitching that border!), or perhaps just unpick the bottom bee’s ‘flight trail’ and make it sit closer to the border on the right, which is how it’s supposed to look … that’s probably what I’m going to do, as truthfully I don’t love it as much as I thought I would, and now I just want to get it over and done with so I can move on to something I enjoy more (like the Halloween ornie I stitched this weekend).  The only reason I really pulled this one out of the ‘to-do’ pile is because it’s been sitting kitted up for too many years to mention, and I want to get as many of those part-kits completed this year.  The design is “Bee Keeper” by Cindy Valentine.  Anyway, this is where it’s currently at – if I leave it as it is, it only has the sunflower petals, backstitching of one bee, and the front piece border left to be done:

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And here’s the latest progress piccie of Prairie Schooler’s Autumn Leaves:

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And that’s basically my stitching summary for the last month or so.  I’m hoping I’ll still get the Smalls SAL finished in time for the end of the month, if I can summon up the ‘suck it up courage’ to finish it and not throw it into a corner where it will hide for the next two years … 😉

April & May WIPocalypse

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Hmmm, it seems I’m more than a ‘bit’ forgetful these days … it seems even though I was posting to my blog during April I totally forgot all about the official WIPocalypse update post … doh!! April saw a wee bit of stitching, including the completion of Nora Corbett’s Miss Valentine fairy and Blue Bayou by Northern Pine Designs … it also saw a couple of small ornie finishes … so all-in-all probably a reasonable month of stitching.  The ill-fated Flossy has found a happy home with my Mum (the Dragon) … we were going to offer it to a very close family friend, but Mum made me laugh when she said she has it propped up on her computer chair in her bedroom so she can see her all the time and she says goodnight to her every night as she goes to sleep … bless her.  When I mentioned giving it to our dear friend, her response was “she can have it when I’m gone”!  She’s even got plans for how to get her framed, so I’m pleased she loves her so much that at least she will be treasured.  I do have to admit she does look very pretty, even though she is dressed head to toe in candyfloss pink! 😀

Mirabilia (Nora Corbett)-Valentine Fairy

LHN-The Merry Skater

Shepherd's Bush-Joyful Night

Northern Pine Designs-Blue Bayou

When it came to the end of April and then into May, my mojo kind of disappeared a wee bit when I came to the end of my canvaswork rotation and started my “finishing” rotation … for some reason I have to really be in the mood to sit down and do finishing work.  I think part of the problem these days is that I don’t have a dedicated area that I can start items and then leave them to pick up and finish later … with my current flatmate I don’t feel comfortable doing my needlework or finishing in front of him (aside from the fact he comes and puts the TV on as soon as he walks in the room, irrespective of whether I was enjoying the peace and quiet or not in there myself), and I just don’t have the space in my bedroom with all the other junk that is piled up in there …

Last weekend, though, I decided “bugger the flatmate” and pulled a small fold-up table into the lounge, did a bit of finishing, then pulled the little table out of the way at the end of the weekend – it was also still there for this last weekend when I did a wee bit more finishing yesterday while he was out (mind you I only did that because I’d figured out he was going to be away for the rest of the weekend and out of my hair!!).  So perhaps I have found a solution for when I come to my finishing rotation again – and in fact I could possibly pull it into my bedroom too on a temporary basis as long as I pull it back out again before sleeping … hmmmm, I like that plan! So, what did I manage to do with my finishing rotation over the last few weeks?  I managed to finish off the following – which really didn’t need that much done to them for them to be 100% finished … First up 3 ornies – these just needed the felt backings and hangers for the Prairie Schooler ones, and the hanger and little snowflake buttons for the Just Nan one

Christmas ornaments

Next up I stitched down the binding on my teeny Halloween quilt … I did a bit of a hash job on the corners, but it’ll have to do …

Quilted mat

And then my final piece for that particular finishing session was to stitch the cord around the edge of this wee freebie:

Every oak must be an acorn

This last weekend just gone I managed to finish off one of my favourite Halloween pieces into a flat-fold … I found a bright trim in my stash along with some bright ribbons, and pretty happy with the way it turned out 🙂

Just Nan-Frightful

Just Nan-Frightful

Just Nan-Frightful

Then I finished off yesterday by trying to finish my Bunnies in the Garden needlework set that I stitched a few years ago … sadly it seems I don’t have the ribbon needed to completely finish it, so I’ve got as far as I can go without it … hopefully I’ll get chance next week to pop into Spotlight and find a silk ribbon that will work (assuming Spotlight still SELL silk ribbon, that is!).  Here is how it stands so far:

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The only stitching I’ve done since the last stitching update is to start a charity quilt block with the theme of butterflies.  I bought about a metre of 14-ct white Aida a few years ago in readiness to do some charity stitching, but with my city commute I just never had the mental or physical energy to do it … now I’m working closer to home I figure it’s time I pull my finger out and get some finished.  What also gave me the final kick in the pants was searching for an old XS kit in my wardrobe and finding a bunch that I’d bought especially to use for charity blocks … so out they came ready to start stitching!  Here are the kits I have in the charity block armoury to work my way through:

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And here is where I’m at currently for my first butterflies block … once I’ve finished this block it’s time to get back into my formal rotation once again.

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I still have a couple of gifts to complete, but I work better when I’m sticking to my rotation properly so they will just have to find a rotation slot to drop into and work together with my other pieces 🙂 I’ve probably dribbled on enough for now, but before I hit “publish” I’ll finish off with the two WIPocalypse questions for April and May:

April:  How do you keep your stash organised?

Oh my goodness, I don’t know if I could truly say my stash is “organised” per se … although I guess to a certain extent it could be a lot worse!  My problem is that it is scattered all over the place and not all together.  I’m also a lazy git at heart, so often I can’t be bothered putting something away after stitching it (eg threads etc) and I end up with a dumping corner with threads and charts not put away … it’s no wonder I can often not find what I’m looking for when I just “know” I’ve got it “somewhere”!!  On the whole, though, it is kinda organised in a disorganised way …

  • Threads:  On the whole these are all stored in Flossaway baggies in numerical or alphanumeric order and on individual rings according to their brand.  DMC floss is all stored in numerical order in two plastic tubs so they’re easily accessible as I generally use those the most.  Overdyed threads etc are mostly stored alphanumerically by the colour name, but with the thread brands separated on different rings.  For example, I have separate rings for WDW, GAST, Crescent Colours, Needle Necessities/Threadworx etc.  All these threads are housed in a cardboard storage tub that sits in my Ikea ‘bookcase’.  Silks are stored the same way, and pearl cottons and other specialty threads (pearl cottons etc) are stored in another plastic tub.
  • Fabrics:  These are stored by thread count in two Ikea storage drawers – they used to be sorted in colour groups but I quickly gave up on that idea after I’d rummaged around a few times and disrupted it all!  I also have a ‘tub’ of fabrics sitting on top of my DMC that I’ve obviously pulled out at some stage for a project and never been put back …
  • Charts:  Generally these are stored by theme in ringbinders on bookshelves.  Most of these are housed in the kitchenette on my main bookshelves, but most of my favourite designs/smalls charts are in my bedroom on a narrow bookcase.  I have a couple of folders of “to be stitched ASAP”, but I’m trying to focus on those already partially kitted up first (see below).
  • Finishing fabrics/trims:  Truthfully these are all over the place!  Most of my quilting fabrics are in Ikea storage drawers in my wardrobe, with finishing trims etc in a little plastic storage system that has a few pullout drawers. Not ideal, but seems to work OK for now.

My projects themselves are in a whole world of their own where organisation is concerned!  I’ll try to differentiate the different types:

  • WIPs:  My current rotation projects are sitting in their own storage tub with the project on scrollbars/Qsnaps and sitting with their threads/charts etc in a plastic envelope.  That way each project is ready to go immediately when I want to drag it out of the tub.
  • UFOs:  Older WIPs that I haven’t touched for years are sitting in a cardboard storage tub in my Ikea bookcase in my bedroom – these are not stored on scrollbars etc and may/may not have threads with them … they just sit there forlornly at the very bottom of the bookcase feeling unloved …
  • Partial & full kits:  When I was housesitting in Melbourne I went a bit crazy and cut up fabrics for a few tubs worth of projects and put the fabric with the chart … these are now housed in two separate areas – some of these are sitting along with other full kits in two storage drawers in my wardrobe, and the others have all been split into cardboard storage boxes according to their size that will fit with my rotation.  I basically have one box each for “Large/BAPs”, “Medium” and “Small” projects.  I’m trying to work through those items first before kitting up new designs, seeing as the fabric is already committed and cut up ready for stitching!  That seems to work about 95% of the time, but ever now and then a new project seems to leap out of the chart pile demanding to be stitched first!! 😛
  • Canvaswork:  My canvaswork projects are sitting to the left of my Ikea storage bookcase in a shopping bag – these are kitted (or semi-kitted as far as I can for now) with their canvas and threads/charts all ready for when my canvaswork rotation rolls around.  This bag probably makes me drool more than the rest of my storage boxes, if the truth be known!

May:  What designs or themes do you really wish you could find?  What do you think is missing among stitching designs?

Truthfully I can’t say I really have had problems finding a specific type of design … I have, however, had problems finding a specific design that has since gone OOP and hard to locate unless you spend a fortune.  Those are the designs I wish would be more readily available, especially now that PDF downloads are widely available and don’t require a full print-run by a designer.  The other thing I find frustrating is the number of designs only available as kits and not charts, and how many are only available with Aida cloth as the fabric – the fact that I inevitably substitute the fabric in all my kits is not a cost-effective way for me to stitch a design … I really wish that all designs had the option of either having linen in the kit or to just have the chart made available (although I know this would diminish some of the designer’s/distributors’ profits to a certain degree).

The only other thing that has been happening over the last few weeks is something that I can’t talk about yet on my blog, but it threw me for a loop temporarily and my mind has been very very distracted over recent weeks, and I’ve been even more forgetful than ever, if that was even possible!  Hopefully there will be further news sooner rather than later and I can talk about it openly … for now it’s just a case of “wait and see” 🙂

Halloween is on it’s way!

After hearing people talk about Halloween coming soon, I got a sudden urge to do a small bit of Halloween stitching … this little project has been sitting around for far too long in my ‘to be stitched’ pile, especially as the chart was on loan from a dear friend … so it finally got to see the light of day and I stitched it up over the last 2 days.  Unfortunately I didn’t have any of the green Fuzzy Stuff thread for the witch’s hair, and I’m too impatient to wait until I order some, so I just decided to use the green DMC that is used for Frankenstein’s face.  I also changed the fabric to something that I think suits it quite well 🙂

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“October” by Shepherd’s Bush
stitched on 32ct Thunderstorm Belfast linen
with recommended DMC threads, but using DMC instead of Fuzzy Stuff for witch’s hair

I managed to do quite a bit of stitching yesterday for the first time in weeks, and hope to have another happy dance in another day or two – a project I started in March this year when I was in NZ … and which was in my planned 2013 project stitching (Little Blue Potting Shed by Brown House Studio).

October WIPocalypse and a small finish (Updated)

Not much stitching was done on my WIPs this month … instead I was focusing on stitching a gift for Mum … but I’ve also just joined up for another smaller challenge which starts today and that is to complete 3 WIPs by the end of the year.  I may not be able to complete it entirely, as I have another couple of commitment pieces to work on before year-end, but I’ll try to focus each week on getting at least some stitches into those 3 selected WIPs … but the ones I’ve chosen are relatively small, so you never know your luck in a raffle, and I may be able to get them completed in time …

In the meantime, here is the only update I really have on my WIPs this time round – a couple of extra swirls put into With My Needle:

I started a page on my blog here to keep a track of the progress made during the year on my various WIPs – sometimes it’s hard to forget how much you manage to stitch over the course of a year when you put one stitch in here and one stitch in there, so I placed a progress piccie of how everything sat at the start of 2012 – once finished they get their final piccie added and get moved up into the “Completed” section … but for now I can easily see how my WIPs/UFOs currently stand, and it’s a reminder to pull my finger out and get some more moved into the finished section!  I think this will continue to be a feature on my blog until I start moving the bulk of my projects out of the In Progress section!

The other small finish I have is a little freebie that I started yesterday morning when staying at a friend’s place, and finished today:

“Jolly Pumpkin” freebie by Jodi Utter
Stitched on 28ct Mushroom Meran fabric
with recommended DMC threads
(The chart is still available from the Cyberstitchers website here)

Updated to add another finish:  Thanks to a public holiday in Sydney today, I also just managed to put the final stitches into my Halloween Fob by The Sweetheart Tree – it’s surprising how long that backstitching takes on these little projects, but it sure does make a massive difference to the end result!  One more WIP knocked off for the year, which is awesome! 😀

“Halloween Fob” by The Sweetheart Tree
stitched on 32ct Pipi hand-dyed Belfast linen by Countrystitch
with recommended DMC threads and Mill Hill beads

Halloween is just around the corner

Even though I don’t celebrate it as such, I absolutely ADORE Halloween stitching, and I’ve managed to itch my Halloween urge over the weekend with a new start on Friday night – an entire day of solid stitching later, and it was finished late Saturday night.  I just had enough WDW Bluebonnet to complete the wording, with about 3 inches left over!  Unfortunately I only had enough WDW Terracotta for the stripes on the stockings, but after scrambling through my other variegated threads I managed to find a skein of Crescent Colours in Fallen Leaves that seemed a perfect replacement without having to resort to DMC subbing … and it worked out pretty well in the top section border – I bet if I hadn’t told you, you’d never have known! 😉


“Happy Haunting” by Lizzie*Kate (from Fall Crazy leaflet)
on a mystery Wichelt-type linen (ie stiff)
with recommended GAST/WDW threads with the exception of Terracotta (after running out midway through)

Not entirely sure what is next on the stitching to-do-list – I want to start one of Nora Corbett’s “Letters”, but I’m waiting for some hand-dyed fabric to arrive for it, which might be quite a way away yet.  I’m keen to start another new start that would be quick to finish, but then again the other side of me is feeling a little overwhelmed with all the existing WIPs/UFOs sitting around, so I’m starting to feel a strong urge to at least start putting a few more stitches into those projects and reminding them they’re still loved.  Perhaps I should start a rotation once again, just to work through a few of those older projects until the 2013 challenge starts?  Oh decisions, decisions … and while I’m deciding I’d better go finish off the biscornu that’s due to be posted this week for an exchange – the stitching is finished, I just need to do the actual finishing …

Halloween finish

It’s been a challenging week this week, so I’ve tried to make an effort to put a few stitches into fabric when I can in the evenings – I came across this ornie kitted up in my suitcase (which I still haven’t finished unpacking – oops), so it’s had a lovely trip around the world and back … I decided to just stitch it up rather than trying to find space for it in my WIP/kitted up ready to go pile.


“By the Full Moon” by Ink Circles
stitched on 32ct Pearl Grey Belfast linen
with GAST as charted, with the exception of Onyx being substituted with Anchor black

The rest of my day today was spent doing the laundry (my normal Saturday chore), and cooking up a big pan full of beef stew, along with a little batch of Chocolate Banana Brownies (of which there isn’t much evidence left – my elderly neighbour had some and I made a huge dent in the rest … more-ish doesn’t remotely cover it!!).

And on that note I’m starting to go cross-eyed with tiredness, so it’s time to fall into bed for the night – I have loads of things in mind to get completed tomorrow so I’d better rest up to have some energy to tick that list off!

Into the Night – new start

My new start yesterday turned out to be Shepherd’s Bush’s kit, “Into the Night” … sadly, though, the kit contents were extremely frugal and I’ve managed to run out of two of the threads – even though I stitched right down to the last 2″ of thread of each of the strands.  So much for thinking I could get the whole project completed this weekend because of having ‘all the threads’ required.  Oh well, it means it’s now put to one side while I contact Shepherd’s Bush for some replacement threads 😦

For now I guess it’s time to return to an older WIP for the rest of the day – I can’t be bothered working out a new project again today so I figure that’s the easiest thing to do to keep me in the stitching mood for my last day of proper recuperation.

Next week my job will be to sit up at my PC and catching up on emails, of which there are well over 1000 unread emails 😦  I really do need to set up my laptop for my emails, as it’s so much easier to sit up in bed to catch up … it’s a real pain to sit up at my computer desk late at night when I get in (and when I’m not feeling well), so I find I tend to forget about reading them 😦

 

Weekend finishing frenzy

I had planned to get acquainted with my sewing machine over the weekend, but the end results weren’t actually what I’d planned … for some reason I got a serious urge to get some of my finished projects sewn up into pillows etc – it ended up being an exceptionally productive weekend on that score, with 9 pillows and a scissor fob completed, along with a little mini-quilt that just needs the binding to be hand-stitched … plus I also made some minor amendments to a lovely wall-hanging that Sylvia gave me years ago.  Anyway, here are the end results – I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

The Stitcherhood-Autumn LizzieKate-Fall Nathalie-Chatrouille freebie
Erica Michaels-Random Hearts LizzieKate-Boo Squared
Peacock pillow Plum Pudding Needleart-Love freebie Heart in Hand Needleart-Wee Valentine Bird Mosey 'n Me-Love February freebie
Pumpkin scissor fob Pumpkin scissor fob

This one just needs the binding to be stitched down 🙂

halloween-mini-quilt

Sadly Sylvia’s lovely wall-hanging was folding up due to the high humidity, so I chopped up the hanger into pieces and stitched it in 4 places directly onto a pretty wee wire hanger 🙂

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This is what first got me into “sewing machine mode” – the first month’s BOTM fabrics and instructions for my Piece and Plenty quilt … sadly it doesn’t come with any specific instructions for each block, and I’ve ended up spending a fair bit of time rummaging through my quilting books and online tutorials trying to work out how to do paper piecing – once I’ve got a bit more comfortable with my sewing machine I’ll be ready to start this one 😀

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