Oct/Nov WIPocalypse

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Life got crazy at work, with some major hours being put in, so I’ve been locking myself away from the online world for much of the last two months.  I’ve now taken two days off as time in lieu (even though I’m probably due about 2 weeks of time off!) and thought I’d make the most of the time to do a catch-up.  While I haven’t been having evening meals half the time during the working week, never mind stitching, I have managed to do a wee bit on the weekends – in fact some weekends I’ve had some major stitching marathons just to make me feel ‘normal’ and I didn’t have the energy to do anything else.  So this will probably be a big post stitching-wise, with a few finishes under my belt.  Here goes …

Stitching finishes:

The biggest stitching news was finally finished my version of Angel of Love by Lavender & Lace.  I have decided to leave off her wings and I think of her now as my ‘regency lady’ for some reason.  I have to say I absolutely adore her, and think she looks just fine without the angel wings.  I really really enjoyed doing the beading – apparently there are just over 4,000 beads in her, and I enjoyed stitching every single one of them on!  I’ve added a photo of the detail in her skirt – just stunning!!

Lavender & Lace-Angel of Love“Angel of Love” by Lavender & Lace
Stitched on 28ct hand-dyed linen by Silkweaver, colour Dark Tan
with mostly recommended threads and beads – I substituted the DMC metallic with Kreinik braid

L&L-Angel of Love beading

Another piece I absolutely ADORE is the result of completing my Canvaswork rotation slot – while I was a bit concerned about the high level of coral pink in this initially, the final result is a tremendous blend of colours that work so beautifully together … these pieces as such FUN to stitch, it’s almost always a disappointment when they’re finished …

Northern Pine-Surf & Sand
“Surf and Sand” by Northern Pine Designs
Stitched on 18ct Eggshell mono canvas
with recommended threads and beads

After finishing Angel of Love my next rotation slot was Christmas ornaments and freebies, where I managed to whip up a couple of finishes:

Prairie Schooler-S is for Spring freebie
“S is for Spring” freebie by The Prairie Schooler
Stitched on 32ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
with DMC threads – I substituted the pink threads with blue ones (I bet you didn’t expect that from me LOL)

Margaret Lee Rigiel-Starshine Penguin
“Starshine Penguin” freebie by Margaret Lee Rigiel
Stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Lugana (can’t remember who the dyer is, sorry)
with a mix of recommended threads and substitutes

Poissons Bleus freebie by Si le Point Compte
“Poissons Bleus” freebie by Si le point compte (website no longer around)
Stitched on 32ct Ice Blue Belfast (I think)
with DMC variegated thread

Stitching WIPs:

I’ve tried to go back to my rotation as well, which means Quaker Christmas II saw the light of day again in September, and I’ve almost finished the top of the chart now.  Not sure if this will seen the light of day again before Christmas, but it will eventually get done for, say, 2018 … 😉

Quaker Christmas II 21Sep14

Next up in the rotation was Poppy by Mirabilia – she’s now become my focus piece as she’s a gift for my hairdresser, Giselle, whose favourite colour is red.

Poppy 5Oct14

Miscellaneous:

Before my hours got mental crazy at work, I started putting together a quilt top for a lap quilt, to start getting used to my new machine (thanks again Alison), and using a cheap jelly roll I bought at a craft show a few years ago.  Sadly this is the state it remains in, but hopefully I’ll get around to finishing this one soon:

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I also managed to frame my Bluebell pixie in a discounted white frame – sadly the joins aren’t perfect in the frame (I only realised when I was framing), but it’s for me so I think it’s fine:

 Bluebell framed

WIPocalypse Topics:

8 October – Are you a Halloween or Christmas stitcher?

The answer is a yes on both counts … although I have to say that Halloween is one of my all-time favourite stitching themes.  I don’t even celebrate Halloween, but I just love the ghostly ghouly designs, and the bright colours.  I’ve been going through phases with my Christmas stitching – I used to stitch quite a few Christmas ornaments, but these have tended to tail off over recent years and I’m focusing more on larger pieces.

6 November – What are your favourite and least favourite materials to use in your stitching?

Least favourite would have to be rayon threads, DMC metallics and Kreinik Blending Filament – and perhaps even Weeks Dye Works.  As for favourites, I love all the different threads and textures of canvaswork, and adore stitching with silk threads (Gloriana, Belle Soie and Au Ver a Soie in particular).  Cotton threads I love Crescent Colours threads and Needle Necessities/Threadworx the most.

April & May WIPocalypse

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Hmmm, it seems I’m more than a ‘bit’ forgetful these days … it seems even though I was posting to my blog during April I totally forgot all about the official WIPocalypse update post … doh!! April saw a wee bit of stitching, including the completion of Nora Corbett’s Miss Valentine fairy and Blue Bayou by Northern Pine Designs … it also saw a couple of small ornie finishes … so all-in-all probably a reasonable month of stitching.  The ill-fated Flossy has found a happy home with my Mum (the Dragon) … we were going to offer it to a very close family friend, but Mum made me laugh when she said she has it propped up on her computer chair in her bedroom so she can see her all the time and she says goodnight to her every night as she goes to sleep … bless her.  When I mentioned giving it to our dear friend, her response was “she can have it when I’m gone”!  She’s even got plans for how to get her framed, so I’m pleased she loves her so much that at least she will be treasured.  I do have to admit she does look very pretty, even though she is dressed head to toe in candyfloss pink! 😀

Mirabilia (Nora Corbett)-Valentine Fairy

LHN-The Merry Skater

Shepherd's Bush-Joyful Night

Northern Pine Designs-Blue Bayou

When it came to the end of April and then into May, my mojo kind of disappeared a wee bit when I came to the end of my canvaswork rotation and started my “finishing” rotation … for some reason I have to really be in the mood to sit down and do finishing work.  I think part of the problem these days is that I don’t have a dedicated area that I can start items and then leave them to pick up and finish later … with my current flatmate I don’t feel comfortable doing my needlework or finishing in front of him (aside from the fact he comes and puts the TV on as soon as he walks in the room, irrespective of whether I was enjoying the peace and quiet or not in there myself), and I just don’t have the space in my bedroom with all the other junk that is piled up in there …

Last weekend, though, I decided “bugger the flatmate” and pulled a small fold-up table into the lounge, did a bit of finishing, then pulled the little table out of the way at the end of the weekend – it was also still there for this last weekend when I did a wee bit more finishing yesterday while he was out (mind you I only did that because I’d figured out he was going to be away for the rest of the weekend and out of my hair!!).  So perhaps I have found a solution for when I come to my finishing rotation again – and in fact I could possibly pull it into my bedroom too on a temporary basis as long as I pull it back out again before sleeping … hmmmm, I like that plan! So, what did I manage to do with my finishing rotation over the last few weeks?  I managed to finish off the following – which really didn’t need that much done to them for them to be 100% finished … First up 3 ornies – these just needed the felt backings and hangers for the Prairie Schooler ones, and the hanger and little snowflake buttons for the Just Nan one

Christmas ornaments

Next up I stitched down the binding on my teeny Halloween quilt … I did a bit of a hash job on the corners, but it’ll have to do …

Quilted mat

And then my final piece for that particular finishing session was to stitch the cord around the edge of this wee freebie:

Every oak must be an acorn

This last weekend just gone I managed to finish off one of my favourite Halloween pieces into a flat-fold … I found a bright trim in my stash along with some bright ribbons, and pretty happy with the way it turned out 🙂

Just Nan-Frightful

Just Nan-Frightful

Just Nan-Frightful

Then I finished off yesterday by trying to finish my Bunnies in the Garden needlework set that I stitched a few years ago … sadly it seems I don’t have the ribbon needed to completely finish it, so I’ve got as far as I can go without it … hopefully I’ll get chance next week to pop into Spotlight and find a silk ribbon that will work (assuming Spotlight still SELL silk ribbon, that is!).  Here is how it stands so far:

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The only stitching I’ve done since the last stitching update is to start a charity quilt block with the theme of butterflies.  I bought about a metre of 14-ct white Aida a few years ago in readiness to do some charity stitching, but with my city commute I just never had the mental or physical energy to do it … now I’m working closer to home I figure it’s time I pull my finger out and get some finished.  What also gave me the final kick in the pants was searching for an old XS kit in my wardrobe and finding a bunch that I’d bought especially to use for charity blocks … so out they came ready to start stitching!  Here are the kits I have in the charity block armoury to work my way through:

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And here is where I’m at currently for my first butterflies block … once I’ve finished this block it’s time to get back into my formal rotation once again.

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I still have a couple of gifts to complete, but I work better when I’m sticking to my rotation properly so they will just have to find a rotation slot to drop into and work together with my other pieces 🙂 I’ve probably dribbled on enough for now, but before I hit “publish” I’ll finish off with the two WIPocalypse questions for April and May:

April:  How do you keep your stash organised?

Oh my goodness, I don’t know if I could truly say my stash is “organised” per se … although I guess to a certain extent it could be a lot worse!  My problem is that it is scattered all over the place and not all together.  I’m also a lazy git at heart, so often I can’t be bothered putting something away after stitching it (eg threads etc) and I end up with a dumping corner with threads and charts not put away … it’s no wonder I can often not find what I’m looking for when I just “know” I’ve got it “somewhere”!!  On the whole, though, it is kinda organised in a disorganised way …

  • Threads:  On the whole these are all stored in Flossaway baggies in numerical or alphanumeric order and on individual rings according to their brand.  DMC floss is all stored in numerical order in two plastic tubs so they’re easily accessible as I generally use those the most.  Overdyed threads etc are mostly stored alphanumerically by the colour name, but with the thread brands separated on different rings.  For example, I have separate rings for WDW, GAST, Crescent Colours, Needle Necessities/Threadworx etc.  All these threads are housed in a cardboard storage tub that sits in my Ikea ‘bookcase’.  Silks are stored the same way, and pearl cottons and other specialty threads (pearl cottons etc) are stored in another plastic tub.
  • Fabrics:  These are stored by thread count in two Ikea storage drawers – they used to be sorted in colour groups but I quickly gave up on that idea after I’d rummaged around a few times and disrupted it all!  I also have a ‘tub’ of fabrics sitting on top of my DMC that I’ve obviously pulled out at some stage for a project and never been put back …
  • Charts:  Generally these are stored by theme in ringbinders on bookshelves.  Most of these are housed in the kitchenette on my main bookshelves, but most of my favourite designs/smalls charts are in my bedroom on a narrow bookcase.  I have a couple of folders of “to be stitched ASAP”, but I’m trying to focus on those already partially kitted up first (see below).
  • Finishing fabrics/trims:  Truthfully these are all over the place!  Most of my quilting fabrics are in Ikea storage drawers in my wardrobe, with finishing trims etc in a little plastic storage system that has a few pullout drawers. Not ideal, but seems to work OK for now.

My projects themselves are in a whole world of their own where organisation is concerned!  I’ll try to differentiate the different types:

  • WIPs:  My current rotation projects are sitting in their own storage tub with the project on scrollbars/Qsnaps and sitting with their threads/charts etc in a plastic envelope.  That way each project is ready to go immediately when I want to drag it out of the tub.
  • UFOs:  Older WIPs that I haven’t touched for years are sitting in a cardboard storage tub in my Ikea bookcase in my bedroom – these are not stored on scrollbars etc and may/may not have threads with them … they just sit there forlornly at the very bottom of the bookcase feeling unloved …
  • Partial & full kits:  When I was housesitting in Melbourne I went a bit crazy and cut up fabrics for a few tubs worth of projects and put the fabric with the chart … these are now housed in two separate areas – some of these are sitting along with other full kits in two storage drawers in my wardrobe, and the others have all been split into cardboard storage boxes according to their size that will fit with my rotation.  I basically have one box each for “Large/BAPs”, “Medium” and “Small” projects.  I’m trying to work through those items first before kitting up new designs, seeing as the fabric is already committed and cut up ready for stitching!  That seems to work about 95% of the time, but ever now and then a new project seems to leap out of the chart pile demanding to be stitched first!! 😛
  • Canvaswork:  My canvaswork projects are sitting to the left of my Ikea storage bookcase in a shopping bag – these are kitted (or semi-kitted as far as I can for now) with their canvas and threads/charts all ready for when my canvaswork rotation rolls around.  This bag probably makes me drool more than the rest of my storage boxes, if the truth be known!

May:  What designs or themes do you really wish you could find?  What do you think is missing among stitching designs?

Truthfully I can’t say I really have had problems finding a specific type of design … I have, however, had problems finding a specific design that has since gone OOP and hard to locate unless you spend a fortune.  Those are the designs I wish would be more readily available, especially now that PDF downloads are widely available and don’t require a full print-run by a designer.  The other thing I find frustrating is the number of designs only available as kits and not charts, and how many are only available with Aida cloth as the fabric – the fact that I inevitably substitute the fabric in all my kits is not a cost-effective way for me to stitch a design … I really wish that all designs had the option of either having linen in the kit or to just have the chart made available (although I know this would diminish some of the designer’s/distributors’ profits to a certain degree).

The only other thing that has been happening over the last few weeks is something that I can’t talk about yet on my blog, but it threw me for a loop temporarily and my mind has been very very distracted over recent weeks, and I’ve been even more forgetful than ever, if that was even possible!  Hopefully there will be further news sooner rather than later and I can talk about it openly … for now it’s just a case of “wait and see” 🙂

October 2012 WIPocalypse update

Not as much stitching done all up as I’d like over the last month, although I’d thrilled to show that I did manage to get one 2-year-old UFO out of the “hiding in shame basket” and back onto the Qsnaps … over the last month I not only managed to put the final stitches into it, but last night I even finish-finished it!  I also stitched a little scissor fob to match it yesterday, but it’s still not sewn together yet.  I hope to do that over the next day or so though 🙂

“Biscornu 458” by The Floss Box
Stitched on 32ct Thunderstorm Belfast linen by Zweigart
with DMC threads

Scissor fob to match Biscornu 458, personalised with recipients details (not shown)

The other stitching I did was to put the bi-cones onto Letter S … still have to add the name to this one, but I’ve bought a frame for it in readiness and need to get this one finished sooner rather than later, as it’s a gift for a work colleague’s daughter (instead of a birth sampler) who has now left work!

“Letter S” by Nora Corbett/Mirabilia
Stitched on 32ct “Secret” hand-dyed linen by Steph’s Fabbies
with recommended threads and beads

Mum came over to visit for just over a week last the week before last – unfortunately we didn’t have a great deal of time together due to not being able to get time off work, but the first weekend she arrived we had a wonderful time and got out and about quite a bit.  We took a drive to a picture framers about an hour’s drive from home, and came home with 9 different frames and 2 huge pieces of mat-board, ready to go crazy and do some framing jobs.  I’m still waiting for 3 of the frames to be made up yet, then I’ll go pick those up … but in the meantime I did manage to frame up the following:

I managed to get this framed while Mum was here so she could take it home with her – she was so thrilled she is going to take it into the rest home where she volunteers to show everyone – it’s lovely when your stitching is appreciated! Freesias are Mum’s favourite flowers, so I’ve always wanted to stitch this for her 🙂

“Trick or Treat Fairy” by Mirabilia
Technically not finished framing yet, as I’m waiting for spacers to be added beneath the glass, then the backing put back one … but I couldn’t resist sharing early, as I just love this one! 🙂

And that’s probably all I have this month for the WIPocalypse … while my fingers aren’t necessarily flying every night (usually just the weekends these days), my stitching still remains my most favourite pastime on the weekends for unwinding from a stressful working week – I don’t know what I’d do without it!  Sadly my hours mean the only blog reading I’m getting to do is on the morning commute, and it’s too hard to comment on my phone, but at least I’m still getting the odd bit of blog reading in – and the WIPocalypse is at least motivating me to post at the moment at least once a month … who knows when that’ll change, as work is particularly stressful at the moment, but “que sera, sera”, “what will be, will be” 🙂

Photo Hunt – Framed

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This week’s theme is ”Framed” – this is the view through a ‘window’ in the Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour, Sydney, providing a natural framed view.

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And here are some Framed photos that are stitching-related, from my very first attempt at making my own frames and framing my own work.

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Back briefly

Sorry I have been AWOL for a while … all I can say is that I’ve been struggling emotionally, I guess, for a number of weeks now, and I’ve been in a bit of a ‘black fog’ for want of a better way to put it.  Anyway, I have been planning a trip back down to Melbourne for about 2 months now, but it was then put on hold indefinitely after Erin passed away until I heard about when her service would be held in NZ – as that is now likely to be the middle of January, on Monday night it was all of a sudden ‘full steam ahead’ and Katie and I started making plans once again for the trip.  It’s taken me probably until yesterday before I started feeling brighter and looking forward to the trip, but now I think it will do me the world of good … getting away from home and away from the stress and pressures of work will be great.  Of course it just may make me more homesick for Melbourne and those friends I left behind …

When I get home I think I may need to take a quick visit to the GP as well … according to my hairdresser the itchy scalp I’ve been developing over the last few weeks is likely caused by stress and upheaval, as opposed to a reaction to my conditioner … I guess my body’s trying to tell me something!  Oh well, only two weeks left and I’ll get some TLC at home when I fly over to Mum and Dad’s for Christmas – something else that I’m really looking forward to.  Recent events brings it home even more that family is really important!

I haven’t picked up a needle for weeks now, so I guess that gives an idea of my mindset of late, as that’s super super unusual!  I did force myself to do a bit of home DIY, though, as I had a gift I needed to get ready for my trip to Melbourne.  Unfortunately other gifts still aren’t done, so I guess those’ll have to go in the post later. 

Here’s the results of my labours that I finished last night (just have to have the hooks/hangers screwed into the back):

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A framing job I did first, but in a ready-made mat and frame from Target:

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The gift I needed to get finished for this weekend (as it would be too hard to post) – this is for my ex-flatmate and friend Lisa for her birthday:

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Then this one is especially for me – LHN’s Hannah Purington, to match our lounge’s marine/blue theme):

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The piece de resistance – Graeme Ross’ Tiger … I’ve been waiting many many years to see this one framed!

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And, finally, the one frame that I cocked up a bit (this was my 2nd framing attempt) … the corner shifted slightly when I was tightening up the clamps and I didn’t notice – c’est la vie, I still love it 🙂

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These are all photos taken prior to adding the glass – I can’t believe it only cost AU$29 for 5 pieces to be cut, and the canvaswork and tiger pieces are decent sizes!  Anyway, I’m really quite proud of these for first attempts – it feels wonderful to be able to say “I did all that” … from the stitching to the mat cutting, frame making, and the actual framing itself.  I think I’ll be doing more in the future to give myself some more practice, and get some items out of the finishing pile.

Anyway, I’d better go get my packing done … it’s 8pm and I still haven’t even started yet!  Maybe there’s still a bit of reluctance hanging around under that black cloud, but I’m sure that’ll be shaken off by the morning 🙂