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December WIPocalypse 2014

As normal, I totally missed the December deadline … truthfully I haven’t been doing too much stitching, with some more long hours at work that cropped up.  I’m finally enjoying a fortnight off work over the Christmas break, and catching up on some chores, including my final catch-up for the year here.  I spent Christmas Day with my closest friends in Sydney, which was wonderful – we sat superglued to the lounge sofas for 4 days and watched all 4 seasons of Game of Thrones – that also meant I got a bit of stitching done, although I was more distracted by the TV, 2 dogs and 2 cats to get any finishes under my belt 😉  So, here goes the most recent stitching recap, and the final one for the year:

Finishes:

The first finish I had was Poppy by Mirabilia – this is a gift for my hairdresser, whose favourite colour is red, and she asked me to stitch something for her.  I just need to frame it now for her and give it to her in the New Year 🙂

Mirabilia-Poppy“Poppy” by Mirabilia/Nora Corbett
Stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Belfast by Countrystitch ~ colour Winter Sky
with recommended threads and beads
Started Sep 2014 – Finished 30 Nov 2014

The Drawn Thread-Summer Arbor “Summer Arbor” by The Drawn Thread
Stitched on 32ct Light Mocha Belfast linen
with recommended threads but substituted the brown beads
Started 7 Dec 2014 – Finished 23 Dec 2014

Lizzie*Kate-The Greatest Gift is Love“The Greatest Gift is Love” by Lizzie*Kate
(from 2001 JCS Christmas ornie issue)

Stitched on 32ct Natural Belfast linen (I think)
with a mix of recommended and substituted threads
Started 23 Dec 2014 – Finished 23 Dec 2014

Works in Progress:

While I was away at Christmas I managed to start the following two new projects (I took those because they were relatively easy to stitch so I didn’t have to concentrate on them 100% while being distracted by the TV and chatting to company).

First up was Red Lace Sewing Case by The Drawn Thread.  Sadly I ran out of thread for this one, stupidly thinking one skein of Gloriana silk would be enough, and no doubt a replacement skein won’t match the same dyelot, but I’ll have to wait and see once I get around to a stitching order. I was surprised just how quickly that design chewed through the skein of Gloriana! This will eventually be going to a new home (hence the hiding of the letter in the centre), so hopefully it won’t look too bad when the new skein arrives …  The only change I made was to use two strands of silk for the alphabet – I used one initially as per the design instructions, but I hated the look of it, so doubled the strands (sadly that wasn’t the reason for running out).

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Then I ended up starting a Prairie Schooler design called Autumn Leaves. This has been in my stash forever! In hindsight I wish I’d chosen a lighter fabric so the colours pop more, but I chose 32ct Lambswool that I thought the design called for … presumably they used a different linen to the Lambswool I chose! :/ Oh well, I’m sure I’ll still love it when it’s finished … (sorry, but the weird colouring of the fabric is due to my bed’s duvet cover behind it!)

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Recap of 2014 accomplishments:

It looks like I had a relatively poor stitching year compared to normal, thanks to some mental working hours.  Then again, though, some of the projects were quite large in comparison to other years, so all-in-all I’m still pretty stoked with my progress this year.  Here are all the projects I completed in 2014, including 1 older UFO and 2 WIPs carried over from 2013:

Crimson Fire Sampler by The Victoria Sampler LizzieKate-Cross Stitcher in Residence Mirabilia (Nora Corbett)-Valentine Fairy Lavender & Lace-Angel of Love Mirabilia-Poppy Periwinkle Promises-Blue Bell Sampler Accent Prairie Schooler-S is for Spring freebie Margaret Lee Rigiel-Starshine Penguin Poissons Bleus freebie by Si le Point Compte Lizzie*Kate-The Greatest Gift is Love Plum Pudding by JBW Designs Victoria Sampler-Christmas Heart Beyond XS 5-3 Shepherd's Bush-Joyful Night LHN-The Merry Skater Northern Pine Designs-Blue Bayou Butterfly Quartet by DMC Dance in the Rain-Lizzie*Kate Jardin Prive - Eiffel Quaker Green Apple Co-Chambered Nautilus M Designs-Thistle Needleroll pastels Northern Pine-Surf & Sand The Drawn Thread-Summer Arbor

Rotation plans for 2015:

When I was sticking to my rotation it really worked for me this year – and it gave me a place to start again when I did fall off the rotation wagon.  Therefore I’ve decided to keep going in 2015, but I’m leaving it as very much a ‘fluid’ rotation again – if I feel like stitching more than the allocated 10 hours for each slot, I’ll do so … whatever keeps me enjoying my stitching, and actually doing stitching, is what I’ll follow next year 🙂  In saying that, though, there are a few projects that I’d really love to work on during the year – I wouldn’t call them goals as such, rather a wishlist of sorts … but I know I change my mind on a whim where my stitching is concerned, so I won’t be too surprised if I change my mind again during the year!  Anyhoo, here are a few projects that are currently calling my name for my rotation next year:

Medium-Large projects:

  • Christmas Elf Fairy – Nora Corbett/Mirabilia
  • Trick or Treat Box – Just Nan
  • Three Friends – The Drawn Thread
  • Sweet Pea Pixie – Mirabilia
  • Lavender Rose Sewing Case – Fancy Work
  • Very Berry Needlework Accessories – Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches
  • Coffee & Tea series – Little House Needleworks
  • Witchy Way – Just Nan
  • Christmas Sampler – Jeanette Douglas
  • With My Needle – Just Nan

WIPs & UFOs:

  • Red Lace Sewing Case – The Drawn Thread
  • Autumn Leaves – The Prairie Schooler
  • Flight of the Bumblebees – Ruth Schmuff
  • Cottage Etui – C A Wells
  • Egyptian Garden Sampler – Chatelaine
  • English Garden Sampler – Teresa Wentzler
  • Sailor’s Valentine – C A Wells

Small-Medium projects:

  • The Formal Garden – Heritage Collection
  • Wee one birds (various) – Heart in Hand
  • The Tea Room – Country Cottage Needleworks
  • Sitting Pretty – Valerie Pfeiffer
  • Bliss – Bent Creek

Large-BAP projects:

  • Quaker Christmas II – ByGone Stitches (carried over from this year)
  • Quaker Diamonds – Rosewood Manor
  • Christmas Flip-its – Lizzie*Kate
  • Bluebeard’s Princess – Mirabilia

I can’t see many of those getting done, but I can certainly see a few new starts from that list getting started! 😀  As long as I enjoy the journey and continue to enjoy what I’m stitching, I don’t really have any other ambitions other than that 🙂

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Oct/Nov WIPocalypse

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Life got crazy at work, with some major hours being put in, so I’ve been locking myself away from the online world for much of the last two months.  I’ve now taken two days off as time in lieu (even though I’m probably due about 2 weeks of time off!) and thought I’d make the most of the time to do a catch-up.  While I haven’t been having evening meals half the time during the working week, never mind stitching, I have managed to do a wee bit on the weekends – in fact some weekends I’ve had some major stitching marathons just to make me feel ‘normal’ and I didn’t have the energy to do anything else.  So this will probably be a big post stitching-wise, with a few finishes under my belt.  Here goes …

Stitching finishes:

The biggest stitching news was finally finished my version of Angel of Love by Lavender & Lace.  I have decided to leave off her wings and I think of her now as my ‘regency lady’ for some reason.  I have to say I absolutely adore her, and think she looks just fine without the angel wings.  I really really enjoyed doing the beading – apparently there are just over 4,000 beads in her, and I enjoyed stitching every single one of them on!  I’ve added a photo of the detail in her skirt – just stunning!!

Lavender & Lace-Angel of Love“Angel of Love” by Lavender & Lace
Stitched on 28ct hand-dyed linen by Silkweaver, colour Dark Tan
with mostly recommended threads and beads – I substituted the DMC metallic with Kreinik braid

L&L-Angel of Love beading

Another piece I absolutely ADORE is the result of completing my Canvaswork rotation slot – while I was a bit concerned about the high level of coral pink in this initially, the final result is a tremendous blend of colours that work so beautifully together … these pieces as such FUN to stitch, it’s almost always a disappointment when they’re finished …

Northern Pine-Surf & Sand
“Surf and Sand” by Northern Pine Designs
Stitched on 18ct Eggshell mono canvas
with recommended threads and beads

After finishing Angel of Love my next rotation slot was Christmas ornaments and freebies, where I managed to whip up a couple of finishes:

Prairie Schooler-S is for Spring freebie
“S is for Spring” freebie by The Prairie Schooler
Stitched on 32ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
with DMC threads – I substituted the pink threads with blue ones (I bet you didn’t expect that from me LOL)

Margaret Lee Rigiel-Starshine Penguin
“Starshine Penguin” freebie by Margaret Lee Rigiel
Stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Lugana (can’t remember who the dyer is, sorry)
with a mix of recommended threads and substitutes

Poissons Bleus freebie by Si le Point Compte
“Poissons Bleus” freebie by Si le point compte (website no longer around)
Stitched on 32ct Ice Blue Belfast (I think)
with DMC variegated thread

Stitching WIPs:

I’ve tried to go back to my rotation as well, which means Quaker Christmas II saw the light of day again in September, and I’ve almost finished the top of the chart now.  Not sure if this will seen the light of day again before Christmas, but it will eventually get done for, say, 2018 … 😉

Quaker Christmas II 21Sep14

Next up in the rotation was Poppy by Mirabilia – she’s now become my focus piece as she’s a gift for my hairdresser, Giselle, whose favourite colour is red.

Poppy 5Oct14

Miscellaneous:

Before my hours got mental crazy at work, I started putting together a quilt top for a lap quilt, to start getting used to my new machine (thanks again Alison), and using a cheap jelly roll I bought at a craft show a few years ago.  Sadly this is the state it remains in, but hopefully I’ll get around to finishing this one soon:

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I also managed to frame my Bluebell pixie in a discounted white frame – sadly the joins aren’t perfect in the frame (I only realised when I was framing), but it’s for me so I think it’s fine:

 Bluebell framed

WIPocalypse Topics:

8 October – Are you a Halloween or Christmas stitcher?

The answer is a yes on both counts … although I have to say that Halloween is one of my all-time favourite stitching themes.  I don’t even celebrate Halloween, but I just love the ghostly ghouly designs, and the bright colours.  I’ve been going through phases with my Christmas stitching – I used to stitch quite a few Christmas ornaments, but these have tended to tail off over recent years and I’m focusing more on larger pieces.

6 November – What are your favourite and least favourite materials to use in your stitching?

Least favourite would have to be rayon threads, DMC metallics and Kreinik Blending Filament – and perhaps even Weeks Dye Works.  As for favourites, I love all the different threads and textures of canvaswork, and adore stitching with silk threads (Gloriana, Belle Soie and Au Ver a Soie in particular).  Cotton threads I love Crescent Colours threads and Needle Necessities/Threadworx the most.

Aug/Sep WIPocalypse (late as normal!)

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Only 2 days to go before the September WIPocalypse post is due … oops … life sure has a way to interfere with plans, and my memory is shocking, so yet again I’ve missed the deadline.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t been stitched, although I have to admit I haven’t been stitching as much as I normally do.  Work pressures have yet again put a hold of any mid-week stitching, although each weekend I’ve made sure I’ve had one day dedicated to stitching my little heart out.

So, here goes … here is what I’ve managed to get up to stitching-wise over the last two months.  I figure I may as well just have this as my September WIPocalypse post as well, as I can’t see me doing any further stitching between now and two days time that will be worth shouting from the rooftops 😉

First up I decided to just keep on stitching on my Eiffel Quaker until it was finished – I just love this one!

Jardin Prive - Eiffel Quaker
“Eiffel Quaker” by Jardin Privé
Started 11 January 2013 – Finished 28 July 2014
Stitched on 36ct antique white evenweave from Sewitall
with French Au Ver A Soie Soie d’Alger silk threads
Stitch count 150 wide x 143 high

I then decided to be responsible (unusual for me!) with my stitching and get a charity quilt block out of the way that I had committed to – I absolutely adore this one, and I’ve left the DMC threads etc all sitting with the chart in readiness to stitch this one again for myself … I love, love, love it! 🙂

Green Apple Co-Chambered Nautilus
“Chambered Nautilus” by Green Apple Co (artwork by Janet Powers)
Stitched for Love Quilts Australia
Stitched on 14ct white Aida with DMC threads

Then last weekend I started back loosely with my rotation, and picked up my pastel needleroll to finish off:

M Designs-Thistle Needleroll pastels
“Thistle Needleroll – Pale Colorway” by M Designs
Started 26 January 2014 – Finished 31 August 2014
Stitched on 32ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
with a mix of Olde Willow, Crescent Colours and DMC threads
(I had to substitute some threads and mix the colours as my Olde Willow threads
had faded so much over the years they were almost white!)

And then my final finish took place yesterday – I only had about 3 hours of stitching left in my ‘small/medium projects’ slot, but I opted to just keep stitching until I finished it (hence my comment about ‘loosely’ following my rotation!). This was a real joy to stitch, with some good challenges, and it just needs to be made into a little pincushion now.

Periwinkle Promises-Blue Bell Sampler Accent
“Blue Bell Sampler Accent” by Periwinkle Promises
Started 31 August 2014 – Finished 6 September 2014
Stitched using kit threads (AVAS silks) and linen fabric

Inbetween working on my rotation slots, I have opted to leave my current focus piece project sitting in the lounge on my floor frame. Every 2nd weekend I spend one day stitching my little heart out on her while catching up on recorded TV … which means I’ve sort of taken her out of my rotation, and I just stitch on her when I feel like sitting in the lounge. The rest of my rotation stitching is done in my bedroom sat up in bed stitching (my most common stitching location these days – I got into the habit of that with my last flatmate as I hated spending any time in the lounge when he was home). Anyhoo, here she is in her current glory (well almost anyway, I’ve actually done a bit more since this photo was taken – she’ll definitely be finished by the end of this year, which is awesome). Angel of Love by Lavender & Lace:

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After I’d finished my Victoria Sampler’s Crimson Fire Sampler, I needed to find another old UFO to take its place, and I chose this piece stitched on Congress Cloth. I managed to finally finish the darned bees on the left-hand side of the fabric, but my thread snapped while I was stitching the 2nd side of the hemstitching rows so I decided to give it a miss for a while and started stitching over on the main pain of the stitching. I hadn’t realised just how much metallic thread is used on this project, and it was a relief to finally get to the bee’s head and have something lovely and soft to stitch with. I opted to stop, though, at the end of the 10 hours rotation slot, but look forward to seeing that slot come around again in the future 🙂

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And next up in my rotation is Quaker Christmas II – this hasn’t seen the light since I did one rotation slot on it back in February, so it will be nice to add a few more stitches to this one … and that’ll give me something to show for my October WIPocalypse post 🙂

Talking of which, I guess I also need to answer the WIPocalypse questions for these two months as well, so here goes:

10 August:

“Tell us about your oldest and newest WIPs.”
Well, I guess my oldest one now is probably Stoney Creek’s Natures Rest. This is possibly one that will never ever be finished – aside from making a massive blue on the tree stump and the need to frog a huge section, because I can’t work out what was wrong and what was right, it was also using some older threads that I no longer have so there’s every likelihood that I will have mis-matched dyelots and this will show, especially with the greys. I don’t have too much love for this old project (my first ever on evenweave fabric, and I didn’t follow the instructions properly so I used 2 strands of thread in the background instead of 1 strand …). Whatever could go wrong with this piece, it certainly did – and it remains relatively unloved because of it!

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My newest WIP according to my rotation records is a canvaswork piece called Sand and Surf by Northern Pine Designs.  My canvaswork rotation is coming up soon, so I can’t wait to get back into working on this one again.  I have a feeling I won’t stop until this one is finished, as canvaswork tends to go quite quickly with some of the big chunky stitches.

Surf and Sand

9 September:

“Who is your favourite person to stitch for, or do you prefer to keep your stitching yourself?”
I have to admit over the years I’ve given most of my stitching away – over the last 10 years, though, I tend to stitch more for myself with the odd gift given out. I like to stitch gifts for people, but as soon as I make a commitment to do something my brain goes into meltdown and it removes the enjoyment of stitching for me – I’d much rather stitch something then decide after it’s finished to gift it to someone.

June/July WIPocalypse

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If you managed to read my previous post, you probably have an idea why there was no WIPocalypse post for June … and I’m back online again just in time to complete my post for July … which means for the 2nd time in a row I’m well and truly late … c’est la vie, such is life I guess!

Anyway first up is the piece that I started stitching a week ago, that I managed to finish today.  I started kitting this one up a few weeks ago but couldn’t make a decision on the threads and fabric.  Last weekend I started it and still wasn’t 100% happy with my choices – I put the last stitches in today then opted to pull one colour out and re-do it, and I’m so glad that I did, because I absolutely ADORE this one now!  As you can see, it really doesn’t look anything like the original version … I much prefer my choice of threads for this one!!  I’ve listed below the threads that I ended up using:

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 “Dance in the Rain” by Lizzie*Kate
stitched on 32ct Shell Wichelt linen
with my choice of silk threads (see below)

The threads that I chose to use were:  Belle Soie Beanstalk, Belle Soie Ocean Tide, Silk n Colors Aged Plum, NPI Silks 471, 336 and 991BB, and Rainbow Gallery Splendor S870.

The other stitching I managed to do over the last couple of months was to finish my charity quilt block for Love Quilts Australia:

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“Butterfly Quartet” – a Stitch Simple kit by DMC

While I was trying to work out how the hell to pay the rent until I found a new flatmate I start making up stitching rolls to sell … I’ve managed to finish 6 since then, although still haven’t worked out how to price them yet – once I do that, though, they will go up for sale, and I’ll also start taking orders for people who want other colours etc (and different sizes).  I’ve been a bit tired the last couple of weekends, though, so haven’t taken photos and worked out the final costings yet (I also had to go back to Spotlight to price up the fabrics etc that I use).  Here’s the first one I made, though, as a sneak peak:

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For the last two Saturdays I’ve also managed to get a few more stitches into my L&L Angel of Love – she is probably what finally kicked my butt into gear and brought my stitching mojo back again to be able to stitch my Lizzie*Kate finish.  I was primarily beading the top part of the skirt this time round, and oh boy is she stunning!!  Photos will never do this baby justice, that’s for sure!!!

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Even though I was on a total stash diet (and still am effectively) for the last couple of months, I did receive a small amount of stash that I’d already ordered previously.  One was a kit that I’d posted about previously that I’d been trying to track down for a few years, and managed to find on one Ebay – don’t even know what made me go put the search words in, but one came up straightaway so I just had to buy it … I’m glad Ian hadn’t moved out at that point or it would have killed me not being able to buy it and knowing one was available!!  The other items were a drawn thread book from the Book Depository and a delightful French design, with the cutest little wooden hoop button.  I bought two copies because one copy is for a dear friend.

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And I think that’s probably all my stitching news for the last couple of months … really not too much to show compared to how I normally stitch, but I guess life became more of a priority for a while.  Hopefully now I’ve managed to put needle fabric semi-regularly over the last two weeks (even if it was just at the weekends), my mojo will continue and I’ll get back into it once again.  It had better do that, as I have another quilt block I need to stitch by next month now!!!

I’ll finish off with the last 2 WIPocalypse theme questions:

13 June – Have you ever been to a stitch gathering such as a retreat or a festival? If so, tell us about it!

Yes I have – way back in 2000 I flew to Sacramento, California for a CATs stitching festival.  It was the most amazing experience where I got to meet some online stitching pals and had about 6 classes with well-known American designers/needle artists.  It was my first introduction to pulled thread (I thought I was learning drawn thread so I soon found out I didn’t know what I was talking about, and learnt a new skill I hadn’t expected to).  I went a bit crazy at the shopping mall, meeting some more designers face-to-face, and went to a local stitching shop where I was beside myself with all the thread choices etc.  I think I came home with pretty much an entire suitcase full of class projects and stash, along with my first floorstand and mat cutter!  It was an amazing experience that I’m ever so grateful I got to experience!!

12 July – It’s halfway to Christmas.  Do you start your holiday stitching this early?  If so, what do you hope to accomplish this year?

Truthfully I stitch my holiday stitching whenever I feel like it.  I always used to try to stitch a Christmas ornie a month, but now I just do it when I get the urge, or when I have a rotation slot dedicated to ornie stitching.  It doesn’t bother me stitching Christmas items throughout the year, although I have to admit the closer it gets to Christmas the stronger the urge to stitch something for the festive season!  This year I have no lofty goals, I just want to continue enjoying to stitch – and hopefully have a few finishes by the end of the year 🙂

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” 🙂

Still around … but without my mojo (& March WIPocalypse)

Well, it seems my mojo has totally deserted me over the last month or so – I haven’t touched a needle, literally, in over a month!  Work stresses and personal stresses have just seen my head too cluttered to stitch … while normally stitching would bring me relief at times like this, it had reached the stage where the thought of stitching just felt overwhelming for some daft reason.  Instead I’ve been spending lots of time on my laptop checking out stitching websites and just being generally lazy and doing ‘nothing’.

As for work, I still have a job but there are lots of people who have been in the company for many years that I worked with really closely that have now left, and they still haven’t worked through all the levels of the company yet, so many more heads yet to roll.  Even though I know my job is safe, it’s still very disconcerting and upsetting while other colleagues and friends still wait for the decision affecting them.  They haven’t given me much time to ponder it, though, as I was given a new ‘project’ to work on with an exceptionally tight deadline, so it’s been back to working 14-hour days again over the last couple of weeks, and next week will be “the week from hell” where I’ll be planning to pretty much sleep there for the week!!  At least now we’re back working closer to home I know I can be home in 20 minutes at the end of the day, so that’s a blessing if nothing else.

And as for today … well, would you believe it, today I’m going to FINALLY break that mojo curse, and I’m going to pick up my needle and do some stitching to try and get back into my stitching routine.  I have a huge list of TV shows I need to watch on my DVRs (so much that one has stopped recording because the memory is full!!), seeing as I haven’t been keeping up-to-date with it much, so that’s a perfect excuse to chill out at home with the TV on and my stitching on my lap 🙂  It will be interesting to see how much I can get done this weekend after not doing anything for so long!!  Here is my skimpy progress on Fern since my last WIPocalypse post, which was done a month ago now in the last week of February …

One good thing, though, is that I’m being forced to take annual leave and long service leave before the end of June … as I can’t afford to go anywhere, that means having 3 1/2 weeks of leave between now and then … I think I just may enjoy a couple of 2-week leave blocks around the home lazing around stitching – there’ll be no excuses not to get my mojo back then, that’s for sure!!! 😀

UPDATED TO ADD:  Oops, I forgot that the question for the March WIPocalypse was where our favourite stitching spots were … I have to admit since my new flatmate moved in he’s pretty much taken over the lounge and my favourite stitching spot in there is no longer my favourite unless he’s gone out for the weekend … instead you will now only ever see me sat up in bed doing my stitching, so this is now my favourite (actually I’ve always enjoyed sitting up in bed stitching, anyway, so it’s no hardship!).

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February WIPocalypse

It’s been a reasonable month for both stitching and blog posts … probably the most regular I’ve been in quite a few years!  Who knows how long it will last for, but I’m enjoying it so far that’s for sure!

As for my stitching progress, here are the progress piccies from the last month’s efforts, and comparing how they looked last time vs this month:

First up is a new start, which is a gift for someone if I can get it stitched up quickly enough!  Unfortunately, though, I just noticed a mark on the fabric so it’s off to spend some time in a tub and hopefully it will come out … if not, I guess I’ll be ironing up some new fabric and starting again …

Fern by Nora Corbett

Fern by Nora Corbett

And my other WIPs/new starts were:

And then there were a couple of new starts that were also finishes:

All-in-all it was a pretty amazing month of stitching … my work department moving closer to home again is doing wonders for my productivity, that’s for sure!!

And now this month’s topic:  “Topic: How many projects do you generally feel comfortable having in progress at a time?  Tell us about your one-at-a-time or rotation habits!”

I have to admit the high number of UFOs I have has started to bother me in recent years, so I’ve been making an effort to slowly work through them.  I’m starting to become more of a one-at-a-timer, but then when I get bored with a project I tend to just stop stitching, or I put it down and never come back to it again because I feel burnt out with that particular project.  This year I’ve tried to be more disciplined and have gone back to a formal rotation once again, and it’s really working on the whole.  I have 10-11 project slots, with a Focus Piece slot every 3-4 slots so that I can focus on one project to get stitched up more quickly (generally assigned to one of my BAPs or SAL commitments).  I’ve managed to stick to my rotation really well so far, although I’ve just decided to start a new gift for someone that needs to be stitched up really quickly before we meet up in early March, so my rotation has been temporarily put on hold.  It’s funny, though, I already miss my rotation and the discipline I’d built up, and I’m almost ‘resenting’ this project because of it … isn’t it funny how our minds work?  So far I’ve managed to finish up one old UFO this year thanks to my rotation slot and being disciplined … I’d like to see another 1-2 of my UFO list joining the finishing pile this year, but either way I’m just doing to enjoy working through my stash pile on a regular basis! 😀

As a matter of interest, here is my “rotation tub” … all of my projects are on their own scrollbars or Qsnaps, and sit in order of being stitched, along with their chart/threads in a plastic envelope or mesh project bag … this really helps me to keep organised during the rotation and I’m not running around each 10 hours trying to find the next project kit …

My rotation 'tub'

My rotation ‘tub’