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WIPocalypse – February 2018

2018 WIPocalypseAfter making the decision to try to finish stitching the blue conversion of Mirabilia’s Red in time for this month’s Mirabilia retreat, I really pulled out all the stops and smoke was coming from my needle! I managed to do it, but only just, and oh my goodness I was shattered at the end of it all!

I have to say, though, I’m so incredibly proud of her – she’s one of my favourite Mirabilia finishes (the other one is Enchanted Mermaid) – and I was very pleased to see that she took 3rd place in the unframed category voting at the retreat! Here she is in all her beautiful glory (albeit a bit wrinkled from the journey to the retreat):

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“Red” by Mirabilia – using Beverly’s blue conversion
Stitched on 32ct Haven by Picture This Plus
with Beverly’s choice of threads and beads (with a couple of small bead changes by me)
Started 30 April 2017 – Finished 4 February 2018

I then sat in a stitching funk for a week or two before deciding to finally put the finishing touches into this very, very old work in progress.  This has been a gradual work in progress over so many years it’s not funny!  It finally got stalled again last year when I couldn’t find my gold paillettes – I managed to find a supplier in the US and bought a few vials ready for any future projects.  This is probably the most challenging canvaswork project I’ve ever attempted, but it’s now done and dusted and in the finished pile.  I don’t ever want to use metallic cord for drawn thread ever again in this lifetime, but gee I’m proud of this one!

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“Flight of the Bumblebees” by Ruth Schmuff
Stitched on recommended congress cloth
with all recommended threads and embellishments
Started 1 January 2007 – Finished 17 February 2018

28 February – Gadgets!  Show us your favourite stitching gadgets!
Oh my goodness, I have so many stitching tools that I love, I’m finding it hard to decide what to post. I guess the two things that I just can’t live without are my lap and floor stands and my OTT-lites.  I also find Thread Heaven invaluable for using metallic threads in canvaswork so I get less tangles.  I could go on and on … 😉

Oops, I just realised I never posted my first WIP finish for the year – I managed to put the final stitches into Mill Hill’s Starfish back on 10 January, so that’s another WIP crossed off the list this year!!

“Starfish” by Mill Hill (kit)
Stitched on 28ct Cashel linen by Countrystitch ~ colour xxx
with kit threads and beads

 

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WIPocalypse Jan 2018

All of a sudden I decided I’d attempt to finish Mirabilia’s Red (in blue) before I attended a Mirabilia retreat … considering I’m back at work full-time again after Christmas, this is possibly a very tall order.  If nothing else, though, it’s meant I have a WIPocalypse update so there’s something positive 😀

Here are my before and after shots … sadly I had to frog almost 2 inches of the dress two days ago, so that’s slowed progress down quite a bit.  Here’s how she looked at the start of January (and this photo shows the fabric colours more accurately than the other photos):

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Red (done in blues) by Mirabilia

And how she looked before the frog came to visit … darn you, you annoying frog!!

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And how she looks today.  I decided to give the bottom of the dress a miss for a while and work on the cape instead. I also can’t quite work out which stitches need to be done in 310 and which ones in 939 where the cape meets the dress, so I thought I’d stitch all the sections around there first, and come back to those to make a decision afterwards 🙂 Still not 100% sure I’ll be able to get her finished in time for the retreat, but I’ll keep going anyway just in case a miracle happens 🙂

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Hopefully in my February update I’ll be showing the finished version 😀  Now onto the monthly question:

27 January – What SAL’s are you participating in this year? and If you are participating in the Olympic Stitching Challenge, what challenge are you accepting?  What are your goals?

I’m having an easier year this year with SALs, and only intend participating in a few of them. I’m not starting until February, though, so I’ll be playing catch-up with the JCS and Halloween ones:

  1. Hallowe’en Ornie SAL – One of my all-time favourite SALs each year. I’ve got my January ornie decided, just need to kit it up with fabric and threads. I’m always a bit haphazard with these as life gets in the way, but the great thing is you can jump right back in when you’re ready, and Jo does an awesome job keeping the SAL active.
  2. JCS ornie SAL (Facebook) – Another SAL I ended up ditching last year as life got in the way, but I’m hoping to continue with this one again this year and using the ornies I didn’t stitch last year as my ‘wild cards’ for months I’m not too keen on the design. Often, though, I’ll still stitch designs I’m not keen on originally, as I’ve found the stitched version is a lot nicer, and it’s good to taken out of your comfort zone every now and then.
  3. Stitch from Stash – I’m not doing this officially with any formal group, just keeping myself honest and doing it on my own. I am in an Aussie Stitch From Stash challenge group, though, so that helps to give me a kick every month. My financial situation has changed dramatically since the apartment move late last year, so stitching stash is no longer a priority.
  4. Gifted Gorgeousness – Thanks to Jo for bringing this one to my attention. Once I manage to get back into some new starts etc this year, I’ll be contributing to this blog as I have a number of different charts etc I’ve received from friends over the years that I’d love to see finished.
  5. WIPocalypse – obviously 😛

I’m not doing the Stitching Olympics, as I’ve already got my rotation sorted for the year and want to get back into a routine again after Red is finished. I think doing the SO may derail me, so I’m going to forego it for now … but never say never haha.

 

WIPocalypse 2018 kick-off and craft goals for 2018

I didn’t want to set too many ‘goals’ this year because I have a tendency not to meet them … instead I’m thinking of these goals being like the Pirate’s Code, they’re more ‘guidelines’ 😉 It’s my lofty wishlist, because it’s full of my crafty hopes and dreams for the year even though it’s unlikely most of these will be fulfilled 😉

Cross stitch and embroidery

I still have way too many WIPs not yet finished, so I’d like to whittle a few of those down by the end of 2018 – although I have a large number of new starts I want to do too. It’s going to be a fine balance of new fun projects as well as getting some older (and perhaps not-so-loved) ones done at the same time.  I won’t list out the new starts in detail (aside from a couple), but I’ll give details of existing WIPs and what progress I’d like to see on them.

Cross stitch WIPs:

  1. Starfish by Mill Hill – this is the first project I wanted to complete in 2018, and I put the final beads into the piece late last night, so one goal ticked off the list already
  2. Red by Mirabilia (in a blue conversion) – I’d like to totally finish this, and it’ll likely be my sole project for January as I’m going to a Mirabilia retreat early February and I’d love to make serious progress by then (getting her finished would be even more amazing, but highly unlikely)
  3. Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor – 20 hours (ie two rotation slots) or two larger motifs completed
  4. Red Lace Sewing Case by The Drawn Thread – add the felt/beads and do the finishing … and finally gift it to the intended recipient
  5. Egyptian Garden Mandala by ChatelaineE – Finish the bottom half
  6. Quaker Christmas II by ByGone Stitches – Complete the motifs underneath Let There Be Peace on Earth (ie up to the three sailing ships) … but if not, at least finish the Let There be Peace on Earth motif in the centre
  7. When Witches Go Riding by The Prairie Schooler – I’d like to totally finish this, maybe doing some elements as part of the 2018 Hallowe’en SAL again
  8. Three Kings by Mill Hill/Jim Shore – I’d love to finish this … but if not, at least finish two of the three kings in the centre
  9. Progress on three other UFOs/WIPs, yet to be decided (but top contenders so far are Paris by Country Threads, Sailor’s Valentine by CA Wells, Cottage Etui by CA Wells, Pyramid Etui by CA Wells, English Garden Sampler by Teresa Wentzler, Raphael’s Raspberries by Forget-me-nots in Stitches, Starry Snowman ornie, and Hardanger scissor fob)

Other needlework WIPs:

  1. Flight of the Bumblebees by Ruth Schmuff – finish this by adding the embellishments
  2. Hearts & Berries by Marg Low – I’d like to totally finish this into the bag
  3. Make a Christmas Wish by Marg Low – I’d like to totally finish this and get it framed before Christmas
  4. Travel Cord Buddy by Michelle Marvig – I’d like to totally finish this
  5. Stumpwork – choose one old stumpwork UFO and make some progress

New starts:

  1. Start (and hopefully finish) at least two canvaswork projects
  2. Start a new HAED (or maybe two – one mini/QS and one larger one)
  3. Choose a project (or two) that has specialty stitches – eg hardanger, band sampler

Crochet

My goals here are much loftier than the cross stitch goals – but probably important to keep the impetus up while I’m learning so that the lessons I learn are more ingrained into my brain cells!

  1. Finish my striped blanket
  2. Make at least one (hopefully different) granny square or other blanket square every week
  3. Complete at least three months crochet projects from “Crate Crochet” (assuming I can afford to continue receiving them for that long and I deem them to be value for money)
  4. Make a coffee cup cuff
  5. Small granny square pincushion
  6. Make a shawl
  7. Start an Atlanticus (mandala) blanket
  8. Restart my Spice of Life blanket

Quilting

  1. Make some small pincushions
  2. A very simple goal here of starting a queen-sized bed patchwork quilt for myself
  3. Maybe start my Piece and Plenty quilt
  4. Maybe start my The Blue Collection quilt (but highly unlikely)

I’m already laughing at my wishlist for the year … but if you don’t dream, you don’t achieve 😉

Stitchalongs/Challenges

While my intentions started off great in 2017, my follow-through was woeful. This year the goals are essentially the same, but with everything else in the previous list taking priority, these may or may not happen this year.

  1. WIPocalypse 2018 – my favourite challenge every year, and probably the one thing that brings me back to my blog to post my update each month 😉
  2. Smalls SAL – time to start working through some of my folders bulging to the brim of small freebie designs from last 10 years and actually stitch a few!
  3. Hallowe’en Ornie SAL – I still have loads of Halloween stitch I want to do, including a bunch of new purchases last year by The Drawn Thread – even if I don’t manage the SAL all year, I’d like to make some progress here.
  4. Stitch from Stash 2018 – My change in financial situation this year means being very frugal with my craft spending. I did a big splurge in September, which is finally due to arrive this month, so that’ll keep me happy for a while. The only items I should be buying this year is anything Limited Edition (but unlikely), and any DMC etc I run out of that I need to complete a project.

WIPocalypse December 2017 – year in review

The best part of the year is going back through your progress from throughout the year. I felt my progress was woeful this year, but on review there was still some decent stitching done, along with a few finishes along the way. Going back through the progress piccies has also given me the spark back to get a couple of them finished that were oh so close to hitting the finishing pile. Sadly, though, there are also a huge pile of new starts I want to make, plus I’m a bit addicted to crochet at the moment which is seriously impacting my desire to stitch, as I’m having too much fun learning new crochet techniques!

Due to my financial situation changing a bit this year as well, it does mean that I’ll be stitching from stash in 2018 as much as possible, so any new starts will be coming from my existing stash (which is definitely in the S.A.B.L.E. range, so shouldn’t be an issue – that’s “Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy”). But on to the WIPocalypse question for month, and the 2017 recap!!

December 31 – Recap your accomplishments for the year! (Your finishes, your final before/after photos, etc).

Well, definitely not the best year for me for getting some progress done on my WIPs … but I did at least manage a little bit of progress (more so earlier on in the year). Here’s a recap of projects where I did make some progress, along with their before and after photos, and the two projects I managed to move into the “Finished” pile:

Finishes:

Topiary Garden(?) by Textile Heritage – Yippee, the first (but sadly only) UFO finish for the year!

 

Daisy Blue by HAED – A HUGE milestone for the year, my favourite finish for 2017!!

 

Progress made:

Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor  – a wee bit of progress managed during one rotation slot.

 

Red Lace Sewing Case by The Drawn Thread – the stitching is finished except for the beading/adding the felt pieces.

 

Paris by Country Threads – I managed to finish the letter R, but had no plans to start any of the other letters this year.

 

Egyptian Garden Mandala by Chatelaine – to say how painful I find stitching this one, I made decent progress this year. I can’t guarantee it’ll be finished in 2018, but I do intend putting a few more stitches into it next year.

 

Quaker Christmas II by ByGone Stitches – Another one I struggle with, but the odd stitch or two was put in this year to make a tiny bit of progress.

 

Flight of the Bumblebees by Ruth Schmuff – I’m sooooo close to getting this one finished! I just had to order some replacement gold paillettes to replace those I’d lost (or used elsewhere, which is more likely) – now these have arrived I had no excuses not to finish this early in 2018.

 

Grandma’s Cushions Stitching Accessories by The Cat’s Whiskers – I managed to stitch the remaining accessories this year to match the scissor pocket stitched a while ago … everything still needs to be put together though.

 

 

New starts (now WIPs for 2018):

While I managed to get a good head start on some of these, my stitching mojo disappeared after October, so progress halted on these.

 

Some new starts became finishes:

While not WIPs at the start of the year, I did manage to start and finish the following projects – mostly small ornies for an ornie challenge … and sadly most of my challenges petered out from the middle of the year due to a lack of personal motivation.

 

WIPs/UFOs not touched in 2017:

And here’s the bigger list of all the other WIPs that didn’t get a look-in … not even for a solitary minute … the poor things 😦

 

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.

 

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 🙂