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

 

On a stitching roll …

I’ve had two major finishes this month for the February WIPocalypse, but you’ll have to wait until Tuesday before I show those (unless you’re friends on Facebook, in which case you’ve already seen them!).  The finishes are “Red” by Mirabilia, and “Flight of the Bumblebees” by Ruth Schmuff – pictures will follow on 28 February 🙂

This last month is quite possibly the best stitching month I’ve had in ages for finishes … after I finished Flight of the Bumblebees I decided to stick with canvaswork for a while longer and picked up a new start that was going to be my canvaswork choice in my upcoming rotation.  I managed to start and finish this one in a matter of days – and reminded me just how much I love doing canvaswork … the interesting stitches and all different thread textures never cease to amaze me and give me so much joy to stitch!

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“Earth Spirit” by Northern Pine Designs
Stitched 18ct Sandstone mono canvas
with recommended threads and beads
Started 17 February 2018 – Finished 18 February 2018

After Earth Spirit I decided to grab some fabric and start catching up on my monthly SALs – starting with the Hallowe’en Ornie SAL.  For the month of January the theme was “winged creatures”, so I chose this design by The Prairie Schooler.

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“Eeek” (from Bump in the Night chart) by The Prairie Schooler
Stitched on 32ct Thunderstorm Belfast linen (no longer available)
with my choice of threads: basic black silk by Hand Dyed Fibers and an amber silk by Silks4U
Started 19 February 2018 – Finished 24 February 2018

The next item on my list for today is to stitch the January ornie from a JCS Christmas Ornie SAL on Facebook … then it’ll be time to catch up on the February ones for both Halloween and Christmas.

 

Final stitching stash – it’s a goodie!

After being generously gifted a copy of Walking the Water’s Edge by Diane Herrmann, I needed a piece of vintage eggshell mono canvas so I could make a start. I didn’t know of any local suppliers (but now I do, woohoo) that sell coloured canvas, so I made a big enough order to warrant the postage and ordered from a US supplier. Not for the first time with them, I’ve had to wait for well over 4 months for this order to arrive – and even then I was contacted just before Christmas saying they couldn’t get the chart or three of the threads for Bora Bora and what did I want to do. I ended up cancelling all the Bora Bora part of the order and getting a refund, then jumped online and ordered directly from Needle Delights Originals (and managed to get a pre-Christmas discount too, so the savings paid for the postage – double score!!).

I have to say I’m REALLY impressed with the kit from Kathy that turned up today at the same time as the other order – the canvas is cut to size and already edged with tape ready to be put onto stretcher bars.  I have to say it’s the most excited I’ve been about a stash haul in quite some time … I’m sooooooo in LOVE with Bora Bora and all those scrumptious and luscious bright threads. I don’t think it’ll be very long before I cave into temptation and start stitching this one! I think this just might be the project of choice in my canvaswork rotation once I start it in February.

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I also ordered the kit for Double Delights – Charbleu while I was at it … another one with lovely rich colours that will be a really quick stitch.

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Next up were three more canvaswork designs – strangely enough also by Needle Delights Originals 🙂 I don’t have the threads for these ones yet, so it’ll be quite a long time before these are stitched unless I substitute from stash (although I’m not sure I have any threads I could use really). Anyway, I’ve got plenty to keep me going for now …

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This was the rest of the delayed order – some Congress Cloth, 30ct Legacy linen, the previously-mentioned canvas, and Floss-away bags primarily (and a few stretcher bars).

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The Congress Cloth, Legacy linen and AVAS threads are for me to stitch this little beauty I bought a few years ago from Gay Ann Rogers – Pride and Prejudice, the Needle Book Edition. Note this is NOT my work, but taken from Gay Ann’s website. The full range is shown at the link above, however not normally available for sale – I just bought the needlebook instructions, and not the bookmark. I couldn’t decide which fabric to use, so I bought both – if I don’t use the Legacy linen for this one, I’m thinking of re-doing my version of CA Wells’ Pyramid Etui so I’ll likely use it for that as an alternative.

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So all-in-all a very very VERY good stash day indeed! I’d better make the most of it, because 2018 is my year to stitch from stash … not that I’ll need any with this lot 😉

 

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 🙂