IsoMaynia – week three

Another week of stitching in isolation, which means another batch of crafty projects getting some love and attention.

15 May: New start – Tilda group needlework accessories

I didn’t actually put needle to fabric at all for this one, but I did manage to get two of the projects started by fussy-cutting a few of the pieces ready for later.

16 May: WIP – Spike stitch basket by Crochet Society

I made a bit of progress on a crochet project I started in March. I didn’t quite get it finished on the 16th, but I got up and finished it the next day on the 17th. This is using Caron Pantone yarn.

17 May: New start – Christmas Bullfinch by Punochka

I started the February ornament choice for the JCS Christmas ornie SAL group on Facebook. Hopefully I’ll get this one finished early next month when I move to a 10-hour rotation again, instead of daily project changes.

18 May: Project and accessory bags

While not a ‘new’ project, I decided to make a few more vinyl fronted project and accessory bags so went ahead and did all the fabric cutting and quilting.

19 May: New start – Surface embroidery

Unfortunately I’ve mislaid my download file so I can’t give credit right now to the website hosting this image, but I’ll add the details later. Stitched with a DMC Variations thread. I hadnt decided yet what I’ll use this one for.

20 May: New start – Time in the Meadow by One Day in May (Creations by Melissa Grant)

This design was a free one that I received from One Day in May with an online order. I had to reduce the size of it a lot to make it small enough for its intended use. I used a Cottage Garden thread for the bird and border outlines and a single strand of a hand-dyed silk thread for the flowers and stems.

21-23 May: Tilda quilted pocket challenge

I managed to finish the surface stitchery (Time in the Meadow) from the day before and used it to adorn my latest Tilda challenge project. This pocket is far from perfect, but it was a great learning curve, and once again gives me more experience to build my confidence back up again. For the first time I didn’t start something different each day, but rather opted to focus on this one project until it was finished, so this project ended up spanning three separate days (two after work evenings and Saturday afternoon).

IsoMaynia – week two

My crafty mojo remained high for another week – here are the projects that were at the end of my needle for IsoMaynia through the second week of May:

8 May: Piwakawaka, the Fantail by Lyn Manning

A small kit I bought from The Ribbon Rose in Auckland while Dad was in hospital last year. I’ve always loved fantails, and this is a really sweet little stitching project that reminds me of home. I didn’t quite manage to get it finished because I worked during the day, but I kept stitching on it the next day and managed to get it completed.

9 May: Stitch now, worry later by Lizzie*Kate

I changed the threads to my own choices of silk threads, trying to roughly match the colours I’d used in my last Lizzie*Kate a few years ago. I changed the thread spools to use satin stitch instead of cross stitch. This saying couldn’t be more relevant in these times! Eventually I’ll stitch the larger design as well.

10 May: Catherine Agnes by Indigo Rose

So excited to finally kick this project off – it’s intimidated me for years, but I put the feelings aside and just started. Such a fun project, I’m looking forward to getting back to this one again after May – I think this will definitely be going into the formal rotation I’m considering next month. A good challenging stitch with luscious silk threads … and yet more queen stitches!!

11 May: WIP – Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor

Finally dragged out an older WIP – it’s a goal to actually finish this one at some time this year, so once again this will probably become my focus piece in a formal rotation from next month. Sadly I stitched in the wrong place in a previous session, so the next time I stitch on it I’ll get around to frogging those random stitches. This week, though, I just avoided that area and started a new motif instead 😉 I was busy during the day so not much to show for it – oh well, a few stitches closer to a finish, every little bit helps!

12 May: All you need is love and coffee by Design Works

I was initially put off by the stiff black aida that came in this kit, but it turned out to be really good for the style of stitching. Initially I used normal one-stitch back-stitches for the lettering, but it looked kinda clunky – when you look at the cover picture the back-stitching is all done as long stitches instead … so I frogged my back-stitching and did the same. It looks much neater and I really love the look. One of my favourite stitching projects so far during IsoMaynia, and I can’t wait to get back to work on this one again soon! I think I’ll be stitching this one more than once as well as gifts.

13 May: Tilda needlebook challenge

Still waiting for some Tilda fabrics to arrive that have been on back order for quite a few weeks, so I decided I didn’t want to wait anymore and wanted to start a needlework set now (I’d already missed all the past four challenges waiting for the fabric to arrive). I chose one of my favourite series of fabrics from Spoonflower, and think the set is going to be gorgeous in this fabric! Lots of glue, and not a lot of needlework involved in this one, but it’s another new-to-me challenge, it’s crafting of a different sort, and I did use a needle to buttonhole stitch the needlebook pages and then whip-stitched the lace on top of the felt. I used some light turquoise/teal felt I bought in Paris during my last visit, some wool flannel gifted to me by a dear friend recently for the needlebook pages, and I found some silk ribbon in my stash to finish it off. I did some fussy cutting for the first time, and I really love it!

14 May: Mia mermaid by Nora Corbett

This was the design we were given as the free gift at the Mirabilia Retreat in 2017 where Nora attended in person for the first time in Australia. I stitched this in 2017 after the retreat, intending to leave the wording and the date off. Over the last 12 months, though, I’d changed my mind and kept dithering about including the wording and date as a momento of the retreat weekend, which was also the start of some amazing stitching friendships. So I finally sucked it up and put her back into the Qsnaps to add the wording. I ran out of time to do the date as well, and I can’t really decide how to do it yet, so it’s not quite yet an official finish … maybe next month! I changed the wording colour to use the Pine Forest silk instead of the Copper as charted. The fabric colour is more accurate in the first photo.

IsoMaynia – week one

What an amazing boost to crafting goodness IsoMaynia has been for me. My engagement with my crafts has been through the roof, and it’s been wonderful to do some sort of creative endeavour every single day in May.

Here are the projects that were at the end of my needle for IsoMaynia through the first week of May:

1 May: Tilda Zippy pouch challenge

A Tilda Facebook group challenge, this was a totally new project to me, and got me back using the sewing machine and hand-sewing the binding on – first time using the plastic sheeting as well. The small one was the size for the challenge, and I chose to make a larger one as well for the designs I want to stitch each month for an annual Hallowe’en SAL challenge (of which I’ve been woeful at these last couple of years).

2 May: Stitching is the Berries by Periwinkle Promises

I’d actually started this one the week prior, so I’ve included a before and after shot to show how much I achieved on the day. The border is made up of lots and LOTS of queen stitches, and it’s using a different stitch technique that I’ve never seen before. I’ll be honest I struggled with it quite a lot, but after a while I grew to like it, and I ended up doing a few other projects using the same technique. It’s not my normal choice of colours, but I love the richness of the reds and it’s been fun to try some different stitches again. This is a kit that came with the fabric and threads and the finishing kit with the tin etc. Bought from a friend unloading some stash last year, it’s been fun to work on so far.

3 May: WIP – Raphael’s Raspberries by Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches

Oh my goodness this has been an unloved UFO for so very long – probably about five years now I think. I managed to get about six queen stitches done before throwing it in a corner for whatever reason. After the Periwinkle Promises queen stitches, though, I found I whipped through these ones pretty quickly. I think another full day of stitching and I just might have got all the main body of the stitching done … I think I’ll have to return to this one in June and get it finished. I have the matching sweet bag to go with it, so then I’ll set that up as a new start and a bigger challenge.

4 May: My other car is a broom by Lizzie*Kate

This was a kit put together by a LNS in Berry that has since closed down. In hindsight the fabric choice wasn’t great and the stitching disappears on it (the picture on the left is closer to the colour IRL). I wish I’d subbed the fabric for a darker one now, but it’s too late for that now (and I can’t be bothered unpicking the green and doing it again). I managed to start and finish this one on the same day, which is great – it was my first IsoMaynia finish 😀

5 May: Patch Coeur Août by Un Chat dans l’aiguille

A different challenge today doing surface stitchery. This is a kit that I bought on my last visit to Paris with Mum, so it was time I gave it a try. I always felt a bit intimated by it, especially as the instructions are all in french, but the stitch diagrams are clear enough to work out what the stitches are, and I managed to translate the key areas of the instructions to get me on my way. Thoroughly enjoyed this one, although I’ve now learned how sewing the ends in the back can pull on the front stitching and it stuffed up my buttonhole wheels in the lighthouse – I’ll just redo them later when I pick it back up again. It’s actually a lovely change not having to follow a chart and count for every stitch 🙂

6 May: Moose Joy by Angel Stitchin’

This was the January ornament choice by a JCS Ornie SAL Facebook group. I started it in January (so I’ve included the before and after photos), but just wasn’t feeling the love for it. I think it was more to do with my battling with depression and not having any mojo than anything being wrong with the design itself). I didn’t manage to get it finished on 5 May, but the next day I put the final stitches in place. Using my own choice of threads.

7 May: Aroha (Love) cushion by The Stitchsmith

Bought as a kit while Dad was in hospital last year, I started this one in February as my monthly stitching GTG project … mindless stitching while being able to chat and still make progress. Sadly February was the last GTG we had in person, so I figured I might as well give it some love for a short while. As this was a work-day, I only managed a short time working on it, but got the equivalent of one letter stitched – finishing the letter O and starting on the letter H.

WIPocalypse October

Belatedly adding my update for October, although it’s the first WIP update I’ve made for quite some time. I’ve gone crazy stitching quite a bit since my return home – it’s helped me to take my mind off Dad’s passing and Mum coping on her own. So without further ado, here are my WIP updates and some other finishes.

Just Cross Stitch ornament SAL

I managed to finish all the remaining ornaments for a 12-month long ornament challenge using the 2018 Just Cross Stitch ornament issue – I used my two wild cards to change out two of the ornaments where I didn’t like one or didn’t have all the required threads and nothing to substitute with. The ornies I finished in October were:

Works in Progress / UFOs

I dragged out a few older WIPs/UFOs that were in my to-do-list for the year but that I hadn’t touched yet … I’ve failed my goals this year miserably, but at least I’ve managed some progress on a few projects for the year, even if it’s really small progress …

New starts

When I first came home I decided to start a new canvaswork project – I managed great progress until my fingers got too sore to keep yanking the threads through the canvas, so it’s been put into time out for a while, and I’ll probably pick it up again in 2020 to finish it off, if not before.

‘Lahaina Breezes’ by Laura J Perin

After I finished my JCS ornie SAL challenge, I decided to pick up a quick project that’s been kitted up for years – and finished it in a couple of days.

‘Under the Sea’ by Elizabeth’s Designs

Question of the Month: Do you prefer to stitch on a rotation or one project at a time?

It depends on my mood at the time, to be honest – I work well with a rotation when I’m in the mood, it helps me to progress through projects quickly as long as I have them all set up together ready for me to work through the order of projects without having to hunt for items, or frames, or threads etc. I’ve been doing a screaming rotation of sorts for a while now – just stitching on what I feel like stitching on and not counting the hours at all. I’d like to get back to a formal rotation again, but I think I’ll wait until the new year for that.

Back stitching after a personal loss

Those that are friends with me on Facebook will know that I’ve just returned home after 3 1/2 months of personal leave back in New Zealand. My beloved Dad had a fall and broke his hip towards the end of June, and his recovery was far from smooth-sailing. He developed numerous infections during his time there, and was eventually sent home with an untreated infection in his system that took his body over a week later. After 3 months (minus that one week at home after 2 months) he lost his battle in the hospital and passed away on 26 September. It was probably a blessing at that point because he was suffering so much 😦 RIP Dad – I love you and miss you so much, and I’ll miss our weekly phone calls catching up with all of your news. This photo is from his first day home from hospital before he became unwell again.

Not unexpectedly, my craft mojo was pretty absent while in NZ – I tried doing crochet but lost the ability to count and after a couple of weeks of attempting different shawl patterns had to frog everything back again. I also struggled to see the fabric holes properly to be able to do cross stitch so most of the projects I took with me to work on in the evenings wasn’t of any use. I finally settled on a charity piece of stitching that was stitched on 14-count Aida cloth, and it became the piece that I could stitch on in the hospital room while Dad was sleeping or doing crosswords.

Since returning home on the weekend I’ve managed to get a lot of stitching done, and it’s actually helped to calm my mind and give me a bit of peace after such a tumultuous few months. First of all I did a bit of the canvaswork piece I was working on before I had the phone call from NZ.

“Lahaina Breezes” by Laura J Perin

Then today I finished the Christmas ornament that I was struggling to see the fabric on while in NZ.

“The Heart of Christmas” by Rosewood Manor
(from 2018 JCS Christmas Ornament issue)
Stitched on 32ct white Lugana with DMC 816 and 895, Kreinik #4 braid 002,

and Mill Hill beads 03049
Started 8 September 2019 – Finished 15 October 2019.

Not sure what’s up next – I really want to finish the JCS Christmas Ornament SAL on Facebook this year, so that’ll probably be my main focus for the remainder of the year, unless I throw in a larger WIP inbetween the ornies. Time will tell …

Easter finishes

Over the Easter weekend I had an exceptionally lazy and indulgent four days stitching my little heart out while watching old movie DVDs. The result was to finish three projects that I started in February/March during my Mum’s recent visit to Australia. The dragonfly was an earlier WIP that’ll be the subject of my April WIPocalypse post 🙂

“Flying Geese” by Laura J Perin
Stitched on 18ct French Blue monocanvas
with recommended threads
Started 20 February 2019 – Finished 22 April 2019
“To All a Good Night” by Knotted Tree NeedleArt
from the 2018 JCS Christmas Ornament issue
with a mix of recommended threads and substitutes from my stash
Started 3 March 2019 – Finished 22 April 2019
Mirabilia Retreat dragonfly by Nora Corbett / Mirabilia
Stitched with kit fabrics and threads
Started 10 February 2018 – Finished 22 April 2019

A lack of crafty updates

Sadly I became quite sick in early February with some virus that has had me nauseous and wanting to be physically ill on and off for six weeks. Sadly that meant a few weeks of annual leave were spent laid up in bed or on the sofa apartment-bound. This all coincided with the final visit from my Mum, which sadly meant no fun road trips for us on this trip, and our all travel plans had to be cancelled. On the positive, though, we had plenty of girlie one-on-one time at home watching TV and movies and just generally chatting. Mum has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and these types of days will gradually become less and less, and she’s no longer able to travel on her own. It breaks my heart to see her memories disappearing, but I try to stay positive and just respond the same way for the 5th time I’ve heard the same story on any given day – I still treasure the conversations and the laughter that we always have 🙂

As for crafts, my gigantic plans for the year became scuppered very early on, and I’m very behind with blogging and crafting. I did eventually manage a bit of stitching while I was on ‘holiday’ though once the nausea started to wear off, and this has been the result so far …

Dimensions: Stacked Tea Cups

This kit was a gift from a dear friend in the US, and I’ve been itching to stitch it ever since it arrived. I decided the colours were exactly what I wanted to work on and made a start on it before Mum arrived for our holiday. This was also my chosen project for “New start January” in an Aussie Facebook group called JK’s Groupies. Eventually I managed to finish it during my recuperation. I really need to take a better photo in daylight without all those ugly shadows! I also want to stitch this one more time but on a 36ct linen next time with DMC – I’d love to see the comparison, because I hated stitching on that awful cardboard-like Aida and I have more Dimensions kits to stitch up.

“Stacked Tea Cups” by Dimensions
Stitched on 18ct white Aida (hideous kit fabric)
with kit threads

Started 12 January 2019 – Finished 15 February 2019

Elizabeth’s Designs: Ladybug

This was a WIP from 2018, and all I had to do was to stitch on the ladybird charm … five minutes later and it was all finished! 🙂

“Ladybug” by Elizabeth’s Designs
Stitched on 32ct natural Belfast linen (I think)
with recommended threads
Started ? 2018 – Finished 15 February 2019

Keslyn’s: Santa’s Hat & Boots

Next was the April Christmas ornament in a Facebook JCS Christmas Ornament SAL. I really struggled with this one initially because of my ‘fuzzy head’, but I persevered and managed to finish it eventually – but oh boy it wasn’t much fun, and it took me a fair few days to complete it!

“Santa’s Hat and Boots” by Keslyn’s
(from the 2018 JCS Christmas Ornament issue)
Stitched one-over-one on 28ct white Lugana
with recommended DMC threads
but I attached small bells instead of the ‘Bead Landing Sticky Gems’

Laura J Perin: Flying Geese

After I finished all that over-one stitching, I started a new canvaswork project – Flying Geese by Laura J Perin. I thought the larger threads and canvas would be easier for my head to manage. It’s been a bit slow going, but hopefully this will be finished over the next couple of months.

A canvaswork stitching spree

I’ve been on a recent canvaswork roll – a couple of smaller projects started me on the way to getting my canvaswork bug back in a big way, so I’ve been putting a few larger projects onto stretcher bars and making some good progress. I’ve really been enjoying getting back into the swing of things 🙂

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“Holiday Square” freebie by Laura J Perin
Stitched on 18ct mono canvas
with recommended threads
Finished 15 July 2018

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“Medley Miniature” (kit) by Anna-Marie Winter
Stitched on 18ct mono canvas
with kit threads (silks and metallics)
Started 15 July – Finished 16 July 2018

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“Double Delights – Charbleu” by Needle Delights Originals
Stitched on 18ct mono canvas
with recommended threads
Started 16 July 2018 – Finished 22 July 2018

As well as these smaller finishes, I’ve also made significant progress on another Laura J Perin design, Seaside Blues … I’m really loving stitching this one sooooo much, the colours are truly stunning and right up my alley!!

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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

 

Spooky time by Lizzie*Kate

I’m now all caught up with the Hallowe’en ornie SAL – here goes my choice for February’s theme of Candy corn.  I’m terrified of spiders, so stitching that charm on wasn’t much fun … I have a feeling that’ll be giving me nightmares in the future when it’s on display 😉

Spooky Time by Lizzie*Kate

“Spooky Time” freebie by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 32ct Thunderstorm Belfast linen (no longer available)
with Silks4U silk threads