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WIPocalypse – November 2018

2018 WIPocalypse

What can I say … another three months have gone by, and I’ve only just managed to pick up my needle and do a bit of stitching! My foray into the world of crochet has taken over my crafting world for the last few months, and I’ve been engrossed in learning more and more … but I just realised the end of the year is almost upon us, and I started to feel a bit guilty for leaving my stitching WIPs neglected for so long.

I decided to drag out my Egyptian Garden Mandala and given it a bit of love over the last week.  The colours are starting to look a lot bolder, and I’m totally in love with the bright cobalt blue silk that’s starting to make a statement in those edge borders and flowers.  I’m still hating that fabric with a passion, and if I wasn’t so far along with the project I’d seriously consider starting it again – it’s a real labour of love, that’s for sure … emphasis on the word LABOUR … and I can’t wait to get it finished so I never have to drag my needle through that horrible fabric ever again.  It does look really stunning, though, so that’s what’s keeping me going!

Now on to the monthly questions – the current one, plus the last two I missed …


25 November – What new stitches or techniques did you learn this year?

I can’t say I’ve really learnt any new stitches this year … but as I mentioned earlier I have learnt how to crochet, and that journey has meant an awful lot of learning of new stitches and techniques.  It’s actually been quite invigorating to learn something new, and it’s given me a confidence boost to start tackling other techniques in my stitching wishlist in 2019.

28 October – Do you prefer to stitch on a rotation or one project at a time?

To be honest it depends on my mood – I actually love doing a rotation when I’m in the right frame of mind, and it really helps me to get a lot more stitching done.  Every now and then, though, I just want to stitch on something that is calling my name … so I often dither between the two.

30 September – How do you keep your stitching stash organized?

I keep my kits and patterns kitted up with fabric in large file boxes in groups of project size (eg Large/BAP, Medium, Small, Ornaments etc). My threads are kept in flossaway bags on metal rings and then in larger file boxes in their groups (eg silks together, overdyed floss together, DMC floss together, pearl cottons and other specialty fibres together). My charts are generally in ring binders. My works in progress are in tubs on their scroll bars or Qsnaps along with their chart and threads in project envelopes.

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WIPocalypse – August 2018

2015 WIPocalypseI managed to avoid a lot of my other crafts for a while this month, and got a bit more progress under my belt for my cross stitch WIPs. Reviewing my year’s goals last month lit a bit of a fire under me, I think, and got me to focus on ticking off a few more items if I could.

The first thing I did was to find three smaller, older WIPs and finished them all off … that means one more  done on my list!

“Starry Snowman” ornament by Homespun Elegance
from 1998 JCS Christmas Ornament issue
Stitched on 28ct Cashel linen (colour putty??)
with recommended DMC threads

Sue Hillis Design-Spool Ornament

“Spool Ornament” by Sue Hillis Design
from 2007 JCS Christmas Ornament issue
Stitched on 28ct antique white Cashel linen
with recommended DMC threads
All I needed to do was to add the buttons and it was finished!

A small Hardanger design I did myself

After I did that wee burst of quick finishes, I decided to go back to Mill Hill’s Three Kings and put some serious progress into this one over one weekend.  I intend continuing on this one now until the two kings are fully finished – I only have a couple more stitches to do on the right-hand king before starting the back-stitching and then the beading. It’s not the easiest fabric to stitch on at night, so it’s more of a weekend project while I have a bit of daylight to work with.

How it looked when I started (ie where I finished during the last session):

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And how it looks now … I can’t wait to start adding the beads to this and seeing this piece really come to life!!

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Now on to the monthly question, and review of the year’s goal progress to date – it’s been fun ticking a few items off the list finally. I can’t see me reaching many of these goals by the end of the year, but I’ve made more progress this year on goals that I ever have I think … it’s been fun!

26 August – Which is more satisfying to you and why – the process of stitching a piece, or the finish?
I think it’s more the process of stitching than the finishes themselves, but in saying that I do love to see the final stitches go into something as well, especially if it’s been a tedious project that I’d kind of fallen out of love with. It’s still all about the ‘process’, though, in the end.

WIPocalypse – July 2018

2015 WIPocalypseOops, I totally forgot to post my July WIPocalypse update. Time for a quick catch-up before the August WIPocalypse is due!!

While I’ve been really busy stitching during the month, there hasn’t been a great deal of progress done on my actual WIPs, so not too much to share.  I managed a bunch of canvaswork new starts (and finishes) during the last month (see my previous blog post), and a bunch of crochet (my latest learning craze) … cross-stitch, sadly, has been taking a bit of a back seat.

I did, however, manage to do a wee bit more work on Quaker Diamonds … enough to complete the entire bottom section of the chart, and managing to tick one more item off on my goals list for the year, woohoo! This is how it looked at the end of my last WIPocalypse post:

Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor 24Jun2018

And how it looked at the end of June:

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After I finished the bottom section, I moved on to spend a few hours on Mill Hill’s Three Kings.  Not a lot of progress was done, because it’s difficult to stitch at night, but it’s getting closer and closer to finishing off the middle king, and getting ready to do some beading very very soon.

How it looked when I started:

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And how it looks now:

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Now on to the monthly question, and review of the year’s goal progress to date – it’s been fun ticking a few items off the list finally. I can’t see me reaching many of these goals by the end of the year, but I’ve made more progress this year on goals that I ever have I think … it’s been fun!

Half-year recap: How are you doing with your goals so far this year?

Cross stitch and embroidery

  1. √ Starfish by Mill Hill – DONE √
  2. √ Red by Mirabilia (in a blue conversion) – DONE √
  3. √ Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor – 20 hours (ie two rotation slots) or two larger motifs completed – DONE √
  4. Red Lace Sewing Case by The Drawn Thread (X not touched yet)
  5. Egyptian Garden Mandala by Chatelaine (X not touched yet)
  6. Quaker Christmas II by ByGone Stitches (X not touched yet)
  7. When Witches Go Riding by The Prairie Schooler (X not touched yet)
  8. Three Kings by Mill Hill/Jim Shore – finish two of the three kings in the centre (X in progress)
  9. Progress on three other UFOs/WIPs, yet to be decided (X not touched yet)

Other needlework WIPs:

  1. √ Flight of the Bumblebees by Ruth Schmuff – DONE √
  2. Hearts & Berries by Marg Low (X not touched yet)
  3. Make a Christmas Wish by Marg Low (X not touched yet)
  4. Travel Cord Buddy by Michelle Marvig (X not touched yet)
  5. Stumpwork (X not touched yet)

New starts:

  1. √ Start (and hopefully finish) at least two canvaswork projects – DONE √: 1) Earth Spirit by Northern Pine Designs; 2) Holiday Square by Laura J Perin
  2. Start a new HAED (X not touched yet)
  3. Choose a project (or two) that has specialty stitches – eg hardanger, band sampler (X in progress)

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 – DONE √
  2. Make at least one (hopefully different) granny square or other blanket square every week (X not touched yet – will not complete)
  3. √ Complete at least three months crochet projects from “Crate Crochet” – DONE √
  4. √ Make a coffee cup cuff – DONE √
  5. Small granny square pincushion (X not touched yet)
  6. Make a shawl (X not touched yet)
  7. Start an Atlanticus (mandala) blanket (X not touched yet)
  8. Restart my Spice of Life blanket (X not touched yet)

Quilting

  1. Make some small pincushions (X not touched yet)
  2. A very simple goal here of starting a queen-sized bed patchwork quilt for myself (X not touched yet)
  3. Maybe start my Piece and Plenty quilt (X not touched yet)
  4. Maybe start my The Blue Collection quilt (but highly unlikely) (X not touched yet)

 

WIPocalypse – June 2018

2018 WIPocalypseAnother month of very little stitching, but a fair bit of crochet happening. Now I have more crafts on the go, I’m struggling a bit to give each of them air time – perhaps I need a rotation that includes all my crafts, not just cross stitch? Hmmm…

This month I’ve managed to do a wee bit more work on Quaker Diamonds. I’d like to finish the bottom section of the design before I move on to something else, but in all honesty I’m finding this one a real chore to stitch, so I think I’m going to have to mix it up with something else inbetween – either doing actual finishing of some of my finished pieces or working through some smaller kitted up projects for a bit of variety. I do love the finished look of this one though, even though it’s a PITA to stitch 😉

This is how it looked in the last WIPocalypse post:

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And how it looks now:

Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor 24Jun2018

 

24 June – Tell us what you think the ideal stitching retreat would include.
For me the ideal one is where I’m learning something new, so having some sort of classes are a must. Also having a general room available for stitching or chatting throughout the entire retreat would be great (ie not just available during the day). Obviously having a retail section is also really loved, especially for items that are harder to find locally. Affordable accommodation at the same venue is definitely preferred too.

 

WIPocalypse – May 2018

2018 WIPocalypseI haven’t been seeing much progress at all on my WIPs since I finished Mirabilia’s Red in blues – instead of working on my stitching I’ve been pottering along on my crochet journey and building my confidence a little bit with that. The highlight has been creating a blanket for my Mum, which I managed to finish and give to her on Mother’s Day during my visit home this month.  She was so thrilled with it, and has been showing it off to everyone that comes to visit. I’ll put photos at the end of this post 🙂

I have managed to wee bit of progress on one of my WIPs, though, and I’ve been making more progress on that since finishing Mum’s blanket. This one is Rosewood Manor’s “Quaker Diamonds” – I really love the colours in this one, but I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of the Valdani threads to work with, or the colour changes every two minutes. It’ll be worth it in the end, though, as I think it’s a lovely design.  This is what it looked like at the start:

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And how it looks now … I decided to scroll down and work on the bottom section after I got a bit bored with the middle bits 😉

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UPDATED TO ADD: Actually I just remembered that I did have one other small update – I managed to stitch the scissor fob for Cindy Valentine’s Bee Keeper Scissor Keeper and Fob. That means the stitching is entirely finished, and I just need to put them together 😀

Before:

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Bee Keeper Scissor Keeper by Cindy Valentine

After:

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And because I’ve been so slack with the WIPocalypse updates these last few months (because I had nothing to share), here’s a catch-up of the questions from the last few months:

25 March – What newer designers and product creators (fabric or floss dyeing, etc) out there have you discovered and recommend?
To be honest I can’t say there are any – maybe because I haven’t been looking at all. I like to stick to my trusted favourites if I can, and truthfully haven’t had the need so far to look elsewhere …

29 April – Talk to us about your longest-running WIP or UFO.
My oldest UFO is definitely an old design by Stoney Creek – one of my first ever XS projects, and I’ve stuffed it up so badly over the years, I don’t know where to start to frog it – and if I frog it I’m going to have problem with the dye lots because most of the thread colours have changed (the tree in the foreground probably needs to be frogged entirely). Also I didn’t do the content in the ‘background’ with only one thread, so it’s a total disaster really. I don’t have any love for this one, so not sure if it’ll ever see the light of day as a finished piece. (This isn’t the most current photo – because the tree in the foreground isn’t in this one!!)

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Nature’s Resting Place by Stoney Creek

27 May – Where do you love to shop for stash?
I now buy locally if I can from a FB supplier – but I still struggle with getting Rainbow Gallery threads for my canvaswork projects and have to order from overseas for those on the whole. After a poor experience from my normal go-to place for threads, I’m on the hunt for another store – the next time I need specialty threads I’ll be trying some new ones out. Otherwise 123stitch is probably still a favourite if I don’t buy locally.

Now here’s my pride and joy for the month – my Mum’s blanket! I had literally just sewn in the remaining ends and handed it to her, and within seconds she’d laid down on the sofa to try it out – she looks so happy here, it really warms my heart!! ❤ Originally it was going to just be a lap blanket, but I thought if I made it bigger it would be more useful anywhere, especially when she’s laying on top of the bed watching TV. She adores it!

 

6-day Kid Blanket” by Betty McKnit
Using 6.5 balls of Lincraft Cakes in Lovely Lilac
(YouTube tutorial videos are also available, which is great!)

 

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

 

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.