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WIPocalypse November 2017

Wow, where did the time fly? It certainly wasn’t spent doing cross stitching, I know that much!! Not much stitching to share for the last three months I’ve been AWOL, at least for my WIPs anyway.  The only WIP updates I have are to the following, and even the progress here is pretty minimal.

First up there was Roswood Manor’s ‘Quaker Diamonds’ in early September – before and after:

Then there was Mirabilia’s ‘Red’ (in blue) later in September – before and after:

And lucky last I managed a few hours on Mill Hill’s ‘Starfish’ kit a week or two ago:

The rest of the time has been spent unexpectedly moving apartments as the owner of the apartment I’d been living in for almost 11 years decided to sell. In the middle of moving I also had a stitching retreat to attend, so I decided to still go to one day of the weekend retreat anyway – partly because I’d paid for some kits and and prepaid all the costs and accommodation … but partly because I thought I deserved the break. My mum flew over to help me pack/move, but sadly her early signs of dementia made that add a bit more stress to the proceedings and actually slowed things down – it was fantastic having her company, though, in saying that. Anyway, I’m all moved in now, and only about 20 boxes left yet to unpack (!). Most of the stitching stash has been unpacked now, so at least I’m free to go back to picking up the odd WIP or two when I feel like it.

After moving I couldn’t find my XS stash for ages, but the good thing is that I had the retreat projects handy and ready to go. As soon as I’d returned home from taking Mum back to NZ, I gave myself a week off from unpacking and had a week full of doing some wonderful ‘new-to-me’ crafts. It was really awesome, and just what the doctor ordered. There was so much to post about, I’ll make a separate post for these projects – mind you, they’ve now become WIPs, so a couple of them may reappear again in the future as non-XS WIPs for WIPocalypse …

Anyhoo, to finish off the post, here are the outstanding questions:

September 24 – Which floss (or color of floss) do you absolutely adore and want to stash constantly?
I adore Gloriana silks, and about six months ago signed up with a floss stash program where I’m sent four skeins every month with no postage costs. If I could choose them all to be BLUE skeins I’d be in seventh heaven, but having an envelope each month with luscious-feeling silks in any colour has been heavenly in itself. Obviously anything blue is something I’m always wanting … and every time I go to find a blue silk or floss I still never have just the ‘right’ shade to use …

October 29 – How did you begin stitching?
I used to try different crafts out all the time when I was in my ‘teens. At some point I decided to try cross stitch, and bought a small kit on aida to make for our office receptionist’s retirement gift. It’s the only craft I’ve continued to do year after year, while all the other crafts have fallen by the wayside over the years.

November 26 – What finishing style have you never tried but would love to do?
I have so many ‘smalls’ that I’d like to try finishing the list would be endless … I can’t truthfully think of just one that stands out above all others, though.

 

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WIPocalypse September 2017

Thanks to my rotation ticking along swimmingly, I’ve had another month with relatively good progress on my WIPs 🙂

First up is where my latest start finished up at the end of my rotation slot – this is Mill Hill’s Starfish, which was technically a new start last month, but I guess has migrated into the WIP definition now … Here’s how it looked like at the end of August’s WIPocalypse, and how it looked at the end of the rotation slot:

Next up was my “Large/BAP” rotation slot, so I dragged out an older WIP to get a bit of love. This is Rosewood Manor’s Quaker Diamonds, and what it looked like before and after 10 hours of work on it.  Lots of colour changes in this one, but it’s quite enjoyable to stitch on the whole – at least it looks like some decent progress was made anyway!

And now for the question of the month:

Which floss (or color of floss) do you absolutely adore and want to stash constantly?

That’s a no-brainer for me … anything blue! Every shade and deviation possible!! And whenever I stitch I never seem to have just the ‘right’ shade of blue … but it doesn’t matter, just flicking through my blue silk stash in particular gives me joy. As for threads themselves, Gloriana and Belle Soie silks are probably my ultimate favourites to stitch with, followed by Au Ver a Soie d’alger, and Rainbow Gallery Splendor silks.

WIPocalypse August 2017

My goodness, doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun? I can’t believe it’s check-in time again for the WIPocalypse … although for once I finally have some decent stitching to share!

This month I’ve decided to go back to doing a formal stitching rotation, with 10 hours stitching in each rotation slot. The first time I did this religiously I noticed I got a heck of a lot more stitching done, and it seems like this time is no exception 🙂 My rotation contains a mix of old and new projects to mix it up a wee bit, with plenty of opportunity to give some older WIPs/UFOs a bit of tender loving care. It also now means I have a number of new WIPs to add to my WIPocalypse pile, as most of my projects are ones that will take a few rotations to complete. My rotation is basically as follows:

  1. Focus piece – currently Mirabilia’s Red (done in blue)
  2. Medium-sized projects – new start Jim Shore/Mill Hill’s Three Kings
  3. UFOs
  4. Focus piece
  5. Small to medium-sized projects – something to get a quick finish or two under my belt, and primarily new projects already kitted up
  6. Large and BAPs – currently Rosewood Manor’s Quaker Diamonds
  7. Focus piece
  8. Stitching smalls & Christmas ornies
  9. Canvaswork
  10. Non-cross stitch – to give myself a regular challenge

First up is my focus piece – this one appears in rotation slots 1, 4 and 7, so it will be getting lots of love regularly until it’s finished. My current focus piece is Mirabilia’s Red done in a blue conversion by Beverley and available here. Here’s the before photo on the left, and after two rotation slots on the right – it was very exciting to move the scroll bars up a bit!

Next up came a new start for me – Three Kings by Jim Shore/Mill Hill. This is stitched on the recommended fabric and has been kitted up for a wee while now. I figured it was time to get it started and some return on my hard-earned $$$ spent 😉 Here’s how it looked at the end of the rotation slot:

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Next in line was the UFO slot in my rotation – and the one slot that’ll likely give me lots of WIPocalypse fodder in the future. I summoned up the courage to finally get the stitching finished on a very old WIP – Flight of the Bumblebees by Ruth Schmuff. It’s not 100% finished yet, as I can’t find my Access Commodities gold spangles to finish it off. I also couldn’t find the bee charms, but managed to dig those up last week woohoo. Spangles are on their way from a US store, and it means that by the time the UFO rotation slot appears again, I can use it to finish this delightful labour of love. I have to say I never EVER want to re-do that drawn thread border ever again on canvas … that was a lot of love with not much love 😉 I really do adore this project, though, and so thrilled to see how far along I managed to get it this month! Once again a before and after shot:

Because I still had six hours of my rotation slot left over after not being able to finish Flight of the Bumblebees I dragged out another UFO – I really struggle with this one, so those six hours felt like forever. Not sure I’ll continue to keep this in the rotation next round, or maybe I’ll do half the rotation slot on something else and half on this one … I dunno, will see how I feel closer to the time …

Next up was of course my focus piece again, which I’ve already covered – and then it was into the small-medium sized projects, which are new starts, so I’ll do a new post to cover those. All-in-all though a VERY productive month stitching-wise, which feels awesome! Before I sign off, though, here’s the question of the month:

How do you get yourself out of a stitching drought?

Truly I don’t stress about it anymore – if anything I tidy up my stash, fill up my wishlist online, and just look through the pictures in online stitching groups. More often than not, though, if my stitching mojo has gone it also affects my energy for everything else. I always know, though, that it will return … so I don’t stress and just do whatever my heart tells me to do until my mojo returns – and it has always returned at some point 🙂

 

WIPocalypse May-July 2017

Oops, looks like life got in the way over the last few months – lots of things happening that took me away from my stitching, and what stitching I did do was basically non-WIP related … although I do now have additional WIPs for future months 😉

So, what took me away from stitching? First up in early May was a stitching retreat in Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains of NSW. We were very lucky to have Nora Corbett join us, and I got to meet a few stitchers in real life that have been Facebook friends for a wee while now. It certainly got me out of my comfort zone meeting so many new people, but I felt like I’d known them for years. I couldn’t stop chatting and laughing my head off with the ladies at my table – very unusual for the introverted stitcher, that’s for sure! It was really awesome, and so much so I’ve already signed up for next year’s retreat in February 😀

I’ve managed to stitch the retreat design since attending (I started it on the Sunday while I was there) – I decided not to add the words (Mirabilia, Australia, 2017) to it, but in hindsight I think I’m going to add them in as it’ll be more of a personal momento of the weekend … which means this is probably no longer a finish but rather a WIP 😉

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I even managed to win first place honours with two other talented ladies in the judging for best non-framed category. I was absolutely gobsmacked by this one, and still feel dead chuffed to this day. My Enchanted Mermaid has been one of my all-time favourite stitched pieces, so now I have even more reason to love her to bits 🙂 Here I am with my prizewinnings, a lovely scissors and tape measure set 😀 (Note the theme for the weekend was ‘tiara and pearls’, hence the tiara … it’s not my normal choice of attire haha.)

After the stitching weekend, I had a visit from my dear Mum for a couple of weeks which normally means lots of stitching time, but instead we were out and about seeing the sights and no stitching at all.  After she’d gone home, though, I made up for lost time, and the last month or so has seen me working on a WIP that I started early last year. After putting this into my Qsnaps I haven’t felt like working on anything else, and I’ve just kept plugging away at it until two days ago when I put the final stitches into it – woohoo, a HUGE happy dance happened at home, that’s for sure!  Here’s my 2nd finished HAED hot off the Qsnaps.

Daisy Blue copy

“Daisy Blue” by Jo Lynch (HAED)
Stitched on 28ct Lugana, 1 over 1 using full crosses
with recommended DMC
Finished size = approx 7″ x 5″

Next up is my Hallowe’en SAL project for the year that’s well overdue – this is the section I was supposed to stitch in May, for the theme of ‘Black cats’. Oh well, better late than never. I’m stitching with my choice of overdyed threads close to the original charted DMC, although I’m not not 100% sure of my choices. Oh well, “she’ll be right”… Here’s the ‘before and after’ – yeah, not that much to look at really 😉

And now onto the missing WIPocalypse questions – as usual, there’s the backlog responses here too …

April 2017:

“What projects are in your UFO pile?”

Pretty much everything down in the bottom of my right-hand sidebar are old UFOs with a few newer ones thrown in for good measure. Below are where they’re currently at, and why they stalled where relevant:

  • Monica Hunt: Hussif – 95% – this only needs the feather stitching done to attach the pieces together, and to add the button etc, all the individual pieces are completed. It’s quite pathetic why I haven’t done this one yet!
  • Homespun Elegance: Starry Snowman – 90% – this will only take an hour or so to finish, I think I just keep forgetting it’s there.
  • CA Wells: Sailors Valentine – 85% – I need to be in a good headspace to get back into the groove with this piece, and can’t even remember how to do the simple joining stitch, so I feel intimated by this one, especially with the finishing!
  • Teresa Wentzler: English Garden Sampler – 80% – I want to replace the alphabet with a nice saying, but can’t make a decision which saying to use.
  • Cindy Valentine: Bee Keeper Scissor Keeper & Fob – 80% – the scissor keeper is finished, I just need to stitch the matching fob which shouldn’t take that long to do.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Stumpwork needlework accessories (thimble pip) – 80% – I’ve lost my stumpwork mojo and really need to find it again! I’m not 100% happy with the tension on this one or the fabric used, and not 100% sure this will ever get completed because of that reason.
  • Ruth Schmuff Designs: Flight of the Bumblebees – 80% – I was waiting for a skein of Kreinik #8 to arrive, which it now has, so this will be joining my stitching list very soon, watch this space!
  • CA Wells: Cottage Etui – 75% – see the Sailors Valentine above.
  • Stoney Creek: Nature’s Resting Place – 70% – there are so many mistakes in this one it’s not funny – also the very first piece stitched on evenweave so about 30 years old and using older DMC colours – not sure I can be bothered salvaging this one.
  • Mediterranean Village scene – 70% – not in love with this at all, tried changing the colours from Anchor and don’t like the choices – not sure it’ll ever be finished.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Dragonfly – 70% – see thimblepip above.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Honesty & Heartsease – 70% – see thimblepip above.
  • Cindy Valentine: Apricot Elegance – 65% – unpicked the buttonhole edging so many times it isn’t funny, so it was thrown into the naughty corner over 10 years ago.
  • Hardanger Scissor Fob – 60% – not sure why this isn’t finished yet, it won’t take too long to do.
  • Berry Delightful bag – 60% – not feeling the love.
  • Beaded fish – 50% – can’t remember how to do the stitches!
  • CA Wells: Pyramid Etui – 50% – see the Sailors Valentine above.
  • Wool hotwater bottle cover – 50% – don’t like the colours chosen, and want to start again.
  • Summer Fruits pincushion – 40% – not feeling the love.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Oriental Poppy – 40% – see thimblepip above.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Pomegranates and Beetle – 35% – see thimblepip above.
  • Teresa Wentzler: Noah’s Ark – 35% – too many other things I love more.
  • Wool beehive needlebook – 35% – not sure why I stopped this one.
  • Chatelaine: Egyptian Garden Mandala – 35% – really dislike the fabric chosen, but gradually adding a few stitches this year as I’m determined to finish it if only because I spent so much money on the kit!
  • Shepherd’s Bush: Finch Song – 20% – missing some threads to kit it up (the chart was secondhand from a friend on loan).
  • ByGone Stitches: Quaker Christmas II – 20% – not 100% keen on my fabric choice, but I do a few stitches every now and then.
  • Country Threads: Paris – 20% – a newer UFO that will see daylight every now and then. One letter down, four to go.
  • Goldwork pea – 15% – I made a mistake right at the start, and not sure it can be fixed.
  • JCS magazine: Le Jardin Silk Sampler – 10% – really hate stitching with the Silk Serica, so it stalled and I haven’t picked it back up again.
  • Martha Schmidt: Hussif – 5% – don’t like my thread choices, and want to start again.
  • Rosewood Manor: Quaker Diamonds – 5% – love this one, just other projects have jumped up the priority queue – hope to do a bit more of this one this year.
  • Textile Heritage: Topiary Bookmark – 5% – can’t stitch in hand, so I need to attach somehow to a frame.
  • Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches: Raphael’s Raspberries – 5% – just got side-tracked with other projects.
  • Moss Creek Designs: Schwalmwork Pinkeep – 1% – got side-tracked with other projects I like better.
  • Mirabilia: Bluebeard’s Princess Mirabella – 1% – dislike my fabric choice, and want to start again.
  • Lavender & Lace: Celtic Summer – 1% – can’t decide what threads to use to replace the duck-egg blue Needlepaint ones that are no longer available.
  • Country Cottage Needleworks: The Tea Room – 1% – not sure why I haven’t done any more on this one.
  • Longstitch frogs – 1% – I just fell out of love with this one, and don’t enjoy doing longstitch anymore – I should really just give it away.

May 2017:

“Which designer’s projects do you absolutely love, but are too intimidated to try?”

I can’t say one designer in particular, but I do know hardanger filling stitches etc fill me with dread, so I’m definitely intimidated by those. I love specialty stitches on the whole, though, and enjoy the challenge … but these intimidate me more than normal 😉

June 2017:

“Show us your stitching space! Where do you sit, and what is going on around you while you stitch (TV, audiobooks, etc)?”

The blue recliner in the bottom corner is my stitching chair in my lounge – it usually sits a bit more off to the left, and you’ll normally find me watching TV or with my iPad plugged in listening to audiobooks. Actually the room has had a small shuffle since this photo was taken a few months ago, but it’s close enough to how it is today anyway.

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July 2017:

“What are your oldest and your newest WIPs?”

My oldest WIP/UFO definitely has to be Stoney Creek’s ‘Nature’s Rest’ (see comments in April’s FAQ above). And the newest one is probably the blue converstion of Mirabilia’s ‘Red’. Here they both are as they stand today:

WIPocalypse – April 2017

The only WIP I worked on during April was my Egyptian Garden Mandala. Here’s what it looked like at the start of the month:

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And what it looks like now:

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Yeah, not that different really, other than a bit of work done on the pyramid in the bottom corner. I haven’t had much time or energy to stitch this month, and needed to spend some time catching up on my SALs for the year, as well as getting a new start kitted up – that’s Mirabilia’s “Red”, except I’m doing a blue conversion. I’m going to a local Mirabilia retreat where Nora’s attending, so I was hoping to have it stitched before then … but seeing as it’s not started yet, and the retreat kicks off on Friday 5 May, I think I’m a bit out of luck on that score 😉

WIPocalypse March 2017

2015 WIPocalypseNot much stitching done in general this month due to crazy working hours and just feeling generally exhausted all the time.  But these last two weekends I’ve made up for it a wee bit by plonking myself in front of the TV in my stitching chair, watching loads of Gilmore Girls episodes back to back, and finally getting needle to meet fabric once again.  The result is a reasonable update to Egyptian Garden Mandala.  It feels good to finally make some progress – I was getting bored with my least favourite border section, so I moved onto one of the corners to have a break on one of the pyramid blocks. Next session I’ll go back to finishing that dratted border until the bottom part is finished – then once that’s done I’ll be flipping the frame around again to finish those over-one fishies in the centre and working on the beading and backstitching from the pond outwards. Anyway, this is the progress that I managed in March (the only WIPocalypse project I worked on):

Before:

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After:

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I’ve also dragged out a pile of small and freebie designs that I’d love to work on in-between larger projects, so I may do that soon as well – in a rotation of sorts. Maybe 10 hours (or a full weekend) on a larger piece of work, then slot in a wee freebie that will only take me a few hours to finish. Hmmm, I like that plan! Either way, it’s likely that Egyptian Garden Mandala will remain a key focus piece for a while. I must say, though, it’s a lot bigger than I expected it to be!

I just realised I forgot about the monthly questions, so I’ll do February and March together below:

February 26 – What is your favourite stitch other than the standard cross stitch?  (bonus points if you provide a how-to link or diagram it on your blog post!)
Let me think … I would probably say the various Rhodes stitches (especially hearts) and I also really love the look of Sheaf stitch. I really love doing canvaswork because of the interesting stitches, so there aren’t that many I really don’t enjoy.

March 26 – What stitchy blogs, groups, or flosstubes do you follow and why?
I haven’t truthfully read blogs regularly for a few years now, mainly because of my long work hours and not having as much free time as I used to … but in saying that I’ve been wasting much more time in Facebook groups, which seems so much quicker for me on my phone – I do miss reading my favourite blogs though, and every few months I’ll have a quick recap on some of my oldie favourites. I don’t follow Flosstube videos, as I find them too distracting and just generally not ‘my thing’.  Most of my spare time is now spent doing actual stitching rather than reading about it … a bit of a strange concept for me 😉

 

WIPocalypse – February 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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