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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! 😉

 

WIPocalyse: January 2017

2015 WIPocalypse So far the year has kicked off well stitching-wise … while I may not be churning out the stitching every week like I used to, I’ve managed to finish off a couple of older UFOs – all they need now is the actual ‘finishing’ to be done on them.

It looks like I actually kicked off 2017 with … {ahem} … {cough} … 44 WIPs/UFOs when I went back and counted them. Yikes!!  It’s no wonder I’m making a serious effort this year not to start a lot more, but trying to concentrate my efforts primarily on finishing these once loved projects.

The first finish of the year, though, is one that I can’t count as a previous WIP, as it was the wee Frangipanis kit that Mum started years ago but never finished.  I managed to find a number of substitute threads in my DMC stash that seemed to work OK, and finished this off towards the middle of January.

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I managed to meet one of my year’s goals – I finished the Letter R of Country Threads’ “Paris” kit.  If I don’t get anything more stitching this year that’s OK, my goal was at least to finish this one letter … but I’m sure this one will see the light of day at some point during the year, and maybe I’ll get another letter done … maybe …

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The next piccies are the two WIPs that I slayed this month.  The Red Lace Sewing Case I started two Christmases ago while watching the first 4 seasons of Game of Thrones … strangely enough I’d bought the DVDs of the same later last year, so I had to laugh when I realised that I’d actually finished the stitching while re-watching … you’ve guessed it … the Game of Thrones seasons 1-4!!  This is how it looked before Christmas:

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And the finished pieces since then:

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“Red Lace Sewing Case” by The Drawn Thread
Stitched on 32ct cream Jobelan
with Gloriana silk in Cranberry

Lucky last was this one – it’s became a bit unloved a while ago after realising I’d only bought one skein of the blue silk I needed, and replacement threads were an entirely different colour.  With only the needlebook left to be stitched, I stitched and unpicked three different thread options before deciding on the final one – a premium silk by Hand Dyed Fibers.  Then I also ran out of the beigey thread after stitching the outside needlebook pages … I just may have squeezed it in with the last strand of thread, but didn’t want to take the risk (I’m pretty much 99% sure I would have run out).  So for that one I ended up stitching the inside needlebook pages with another different thread – a Madeira silk this time.  Oh well, it may be a mish-mash of threads, but it still looks OK I think … and better to be a finished mish-mash than sitting in the WIP pile for years and years!

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“Grandma’s Cushions Stitching Accessories” by The Cat’s Whiskers
Stitched on 32ct Blue Ice Belfast linen
with a mix of recommended Dinky Dyes silk threads, and two replacement silks

And now for the February question:

What SALs are you participating in this year?
I’ve decided to have an easy time this year, and just want to focus on my existing WIPs with the occasional new start thrown in.  That means that I’m not really joining in many organised SALs in 2017, unless anything in Facebook groups happens to fit with my normal stitching plans.  The only ‘real’ SALs that I’d like to continue with are the following:

1) Hallowe’en SAL – one of my favourite SALs each year run by Jo, I’ll be doing the same as last year and hopefully choosing a larger project or two that will let me stitch a portion of it each month to match the month’s theme. January’s theme is “Moon”, so I’d better get cracking and work out which design I’m going to stitch on this year! The other themes coming up are Witches, Spiders & Cobwebs, Winged Creatures, Black Cats, Anything Green, Ghosts, Creepy Trees, Spooky Words, Pumpkins, Candy Corns/Food, and finally a Free Choice month.

2) JCS 2016 ornie SAL – a Facebook SAL continuing in 2017 after a successful challenge in 2016, another chance to stitch a Christmas ornament each month, with the aim to stitch 12 ornaments by the end of the year (from last year’s JCS Christmas Ornament issue). The polls were late being put up and the results have only just been advised, so I probably won’t start for a few weeks yet, then I’ll have a mini catch-up.  It was a lot of fun to do last year, so I thought it would be fun to participate again in 2017.

And that’s it for my SALs list … pretty much the shortest list I’ve made in years … and likely the first year it’s been a very responsible list that just may be achievable – maybe! 😉

 

 

WIPocalypse 2017 – January

Time to start dusting off the blog once again, and at least attempting to post once a month if nothing else.  I’m hoping that signing up for the Measi’s WIPocalypse again will help with that goal.  Seeing as I’m doing a Stitching From Stash challenge on Facebook, an almost non-existent stitching budget this year, and a never-ending pile of WIPs/UFOs, I think it’ll be great to have another year focusing on getting some of these older projects into the finishing pile, or if not finished at least getting a few more stitches into them by the end of the year.

To start with, we’ve been asked to do the following this month: Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!

So, for those who don’t know me, I’m a single 50-year-old stitcher living in Sydney, Australia. I work for an airline where I look after a lot of the online content for our side of the business plus something else that takes up the rest of my working day and often leads to long working hours.  It’s also unfortunately meant less play time for my stitching over the last 2 1/2 years, but I’m hoping 2017 will see that changing if I get my way 😉

I have very eclectic taste in XS designs/designers, and have enough stash to keep me going until I’m 500.  I tend to use Facebook more than anything these days, although I’m also loving Instagram for posting of stitching photos.  Aside from stitching, I’ve also been doing a 365 Photo-a-Day Challenge, which has been a lot of fun.

As for the projects, brace yourself with the unveiling of my WIP/UFO pile … I know I’m missing a handful of projects, but I’ll add details of those when I get home again and manage to take a photo.  I won’t be attempting to tackle all of these, but I’ve noted under each photo which ones I’d like to focus on this year.  As for goals, I’d just like to get 5-6 existing WIPs finished this year, with some decent progress on at least one of the bigger projects … and I want to enjoy my stitching and not stress.  I’d also like to finish a few tutorials this year.

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  1. Topiary Garden(?) by Textile Heritage – I’d like to finish this one in 2017.
  2. Bluebeard’s Princess Mirabella by Mirabilia – I’m not 100% sure of the fabric choice for this one, which is why it didn’t progress further … if nothing else, I’d like to make up my mind on fabric – not sure this will get too much love this year otherwise.
  3. Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor – I’d like to get 25% of this one finished this year.
  4. Starry Snowman ornie by Homespun Elegance – this only has a bunch of backstitching and charms to be added, so it should be finished in an hour or two and is on the list to be quickly finished off when I get home.
  5. Bee Keeper Scissor Keeper by Cindy Valentine – the scissor case has the stitching finished, so I just need to stitch up the matching scissor fob … I’d like to finish this one in 2017.
  6. Red Lace Sewing Case by The Drawn Thread – I’d already make some progress on this one by finishing the 2nd side (alphabet) before Christmas.  I’ll be finishing this one as a priority on my return home this week – it’s a gift for someone, so it’d be great to get it finished!
  7. Celtic Summer by Lavender & Lace – truthfully another one I’m not thrilled with my choice of linen, so it’s unlikely to get much love for a while.  I may look at this one towards the end of the year, but it’s not a priority for me.
  8. Finch Song by Shepherd’s Bush – I don’t like how a couple of the threads ‘blend in’ to the background green grass, so I think I need to make some substitutions plus find another cream thread for the sheep. I’d love to make progress on this one and get it finished in 2017, but it’s unlikely … if I could decide on the thread replacements, I’ll be happy!
  9. The Tea Room by Country Cottage Needleworks – another one that’s not a priority to finish, as there is hardly anything started on this one, and other projects are calling my name more than this.  Will see how I feel later in the year, though.

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  1. Noah’s Ark by Teresa Wentzler – one of my oldest UFOs that got stalled when I tackled over-one stitching for the first time. As I’ve now completed a mini HAED over-one, there’s really no excuse not to pick this one back up again … except others are more on my radar than this one.  Maybe if I just get a couple more animals stitched that would be good progress?
  2. Topiary Tree Bookmark by Textile Heritage – I need to stitch the sides onto some calico so I can put this into a Qsnap … I hate stitching in hand and the quality of these stitches are proof that I can’t get decent tension – not sure this one will see any progress this year.
  3. Hussif by Martha Schmidt (class kit) – this is one of the class projects from way back in 2000 when I attended a HOCS in Sacramento, CA. I actually dislike my colour choices for the blue threads as there isn’t any contrast between the two colours, so if nothing else I’d like to decide on two alternate threads to use instead, and get it kitted up ready for 2018 stitching.
  4. Nature’s Resting Place by Stoney Creek – OMG where to start with this one? My first ever project (and probably my 3rd or 4th EVER stitching project) on evenweave and I made a total hash of it. The background stitches are all stitched with two threads instead of 1 and I’ve made a massive boo-boo on the tree trunk at the front which will probably mean having to rip out the entire stitching, including the Canadian goose and goodness knows what else.  While I’m tempted to just chuck it out, the stubborn part of me thinks I may as well suck it up and unpick it all and just finish it off … but it’s no longer my ‘style’ of stitching either, and I’ll never put it on my wall or do anything with it, so I’m not sure what to do with it … probably nothing will happen in 2017 anyway, unless I just do the unpicking in readiness for one day in the future to fix it all up …
  5. Paris by Country Threads – one of my Crazy January projects from last year, I’d like to see the letter R finished this year if nothing else. Anything beyond that will be a bonus.
  6. Daisy Blue by HAED – I’d dearly love to get this one finished ASAP, so I think this will be high on the priority list in the first half of the year.
  7. Egyptian Garden Mandala by Chatelaine – this poor thing has been a UFO for way too long. I’ve never been 100% sure of the fabric, and need to unpick all the centre over-one stitching … as much as I’d love to give it some love this year, I’m not sure it will.  Perhaps if I unpick all the centre stitching, it’ll motivate me to pick it up a bit more, so I’ll make that my challenge for 2017.
  8. Quaker Christmas II by ByGone Stitches – this is a monster project that I’d like to see reach the halfway point in 2017.  I have no desire to get it 100% finished this year, but I think 50% may be doable …
  9. English Garden Sampler by Teresa Wentzler – I stopped this one after not being able to decide what to put in place of the alphabet in the bottom section. Obviously this is a trend for me … as soon as I have to make a decision on something ‘out of the ordinary’ it’s like a major stumbling block for me and nothing at all happens! I want to put an inspirational quote in there, so even if I don’t get any stitching done on it this year, I’d like to decide on the quote and have it charted up ready to go in 2018.  In truth, though, I’d dearly love to get some more stitching done on this one in 2017!

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  1. Sailor’s Valentine by CA Wells – it’s quite shameful how long I’ve had this as a UFO, when all it needs is the outside bands to be stitched. Guilt will hopefully see this one pulled out of the UFO pile as I’d like to finish this one in 2017, even if I don’t get the actual finishing done on it (that scares the bejeezus out of me, as I can’t even remember how to do the joining stitch anymore!!).
  2. Pyramid Etui by CA Wells – my oldest CA Wells class project but it may not get any love in 2017. I’m not 100% convinced my choice of silk thread was the best for the dark blue, but I’m probably too far down the track to do anything else. I need to just suck it up and get it finished, and then if I want to stitch it again in a different colourway (as it is, I totally changed CA’s threads to match my love of blues).  The silk thread reminded me of Monet’s garden colours, but the finished version didn’t match my fantasy …
  3. Cottage Etui by CA Wells – my final class project by CA, and another one I’d like to make progress on in 2017 … or perhaps I should wait until 2018 and make it a 10-year anniversary stitching session? 😛
  4. Stumpwork Thimblepip by Jane Nicholas – this is supposed to be a full needlework accessories set, but I’m not 100% sure on the silk fabric choice anymore, and my tension was dreadful for the wee hedgehog, not to mention the thread colours disappear in the signature piece … plus the spider web needs to be tacked down. Maybe I just need to do these final finishing touches and get it made up … maybe.

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  1. Apricot (Blue) Elegance by Cindy Valentine – I kept stuffing up the buttonhole stitch border and frogged it so many times I lost count, and then lost my confidence with it. Not sure 2017 will be the year I conquer this one, but never say never!
  2. Schwalmwork Pinkeep by Moss Creek Designs – another one I’m not sure will see any progress in 2017 until I get my confidence back! Perhaps another one for 2018?
  3. Raphael’s Raspberries by Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches – if I work on this one it’ll be later in the year. After I stitch this one there is a larger sweet bag that goes with it and uses the same fabric and threads, so I’d like to tackle them both at the same time if possible, and I really need my concentration and wits about me when I do that, which may not be 2017!
  4. Stumpwork Goldfish (EGA Group Correspondence Course) – this poor thing has been a UFO for way too long, but I’m not sure 2017 will see it get some love. I could surprise myself, though, as I want to get back into finishing some of my stumpwork pieces this year, and at least this one will be easier to see the stitches! 😉
  5. Hardanger scissor fob – I’d like to see this one finished quickly, as I intend it going as a companion gift with the Red Lace Sewing Case.
  6. Flight of the Bumblebees by Ruth Schmuff – I definitely want to finish this one early on in the first half of the year. I’d run out of one of the Kreinik #8 braids, but I recently bought a replacement spool so I’m ready to go again!
  7. Le Jardin Silk Sampler by Just Cross Stitch – not sure this will see any daylight in 2017, as I really hated working with the Silk Serica with a passion. I’ll review again later in the year though.
  8. Butterflies and Hearts Needleroll by Lorri Birmingham – I hated the thread colour in the kit, plus I’d managed to miscount on the fabric so it’s off-centre … all-in-all I need to unpick this in its entirety and start it again. My goal this year is to decide on a new colour scheme and kit up ready for 2018.
  9. Mediterranean Village Scene – still not convinced I should bother finishing this one off … I decided I didn’t like the blue colour used on the windows etc, and not sure what to do with it now as I’d never ever finish it into anything, I don’t think …

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  1. Beaded Fish – goodness I don’t think I could even remember how to do these now! I think most of these nine projects will end up being forgotten about in 2017, and I’ll see in 2018 if I can give them some love.
  2. Beehive needlebook – I don’t enjoy stitching in hand and was struggling with the fresh knots, so it became a UFO.
  3. Bullion knot facecloth – I hate pink with a passion, so it sits forever unfinished ever since I took the class to learn how to do bullions.  I’m tempted to just rip these out of the facecloth and forget I ever started it …
  4. Berry Delightful Bag – an old Embroiderers Guild project that’ll be finished eventually, just not in 2017.
  5. Wool hot water bottle cover – I fell out of love with the choice of wool threads I’m using, and would rather do again in blues and pale yellows/creams, but I can’t bring myself to start again … maybe in 2018?
  6. Frog longstitch – another project I think I may just throw out and give free to a good home to someone willing to stitch it. I don’t feel any love for this one, and it’s just sitting taking up space with no desire whatsoever to work on it.
  7. Goldwork Pea – I stuffed this one up with the pea facing the wrong way, so it put me off finishing it … but once I’ve built my confidence up with some of the other non-XS projects I think I’ll come back to this one again … in 2018 or beyond.
  8. Summer Fruits pincushion – Another one for 2018 or 2019 …
  9. Hussif by Monica Hunt – all it needs is the top attaching to the bottom piece by stitching Feather Stitch along both sides … considering the name of my blog you’d think that’d be a piece of cake, but for some reason it terrifies me and it sits as a UFO for that silly reason … especially when I’d managed to do the stitch along the shorter sides already!  Not sure 2017 is the year I’ll pluck up the courage though …

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  1. Honesty and Heartsease by Jane Nicholas – if I was to work on any of my stumpwork pieces this is one that would see the light of day first. I’ve noticed my eyesight declining a lot this last year, so I think I should do these sooner rather than later as the work is extremely fine … perhaps 2017 will be the year this one sees some love?!
  2. Dragonfly by Jane Nicholas – another one that is almost finished, it just needs the wings to be completed … it should be awesome to see this one done, but Honesty and Heartsease will probably win the popularity stakes if I had to choose one.
  3. Pomegranates and Beetle by Jane Nicholas – I stuffed up the direction of the stem stitch in one half of the tree, plus I attached the wrong half of the pomegranate slip to the fabric so it became a UFO. This was a class project with Jane herself, so I’d really like to get this one done one day, but probably after I’ve completed the others.
  4. Oriental Poppy by Jane Nicholas – yet another stumpwork UFO that has a lot of the pieces stitched and ready to go (not in the photo) … I really do need to pull my finger out and get some of these done, as they’ll be stunning when they’re finished!!

As well as the above, I have plans for a few more new starts, which are all kitted up and ready to go!  So far I’m keen to start work on Red by Mirabilia (but doing a blue conversion), Three Kings by Jim Shore/Mill Hill, and a couple of wee Mill Hill kits … but time will tell what I do actually start.  I’m stitching from my stash this year, so whatever I stitch will have to be kitted up already and ready to go 🙂