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).
I don’t know where the year has gone already – I just realised I haven’t posted an update since the very start of the year. I wish I could say I was too busy progressing on my WIPs, but in all honesty I’ve been dealing with depression and a crazy time at work. After being stood down from work yesterday and being moved to working two days a week, it could be the impetus that I need to change my routine and kick me out of my depressive rut – or it will increase it, I guess – time will tell. I do know that I won’t be able to afford any of my bills or put food on the table some weeks for a while, but I also do know that I have a huge stash that is going to see me through these unprecedented tough times – as long as I have a roof over my head!
Anyway, enough of the doom and gloom – time to answer the year’s questions to date and work out if I have an update to show …
In honor of “Leap Year,” tell the story of a time you had to make some sort of a “leap” in stitching – taking the chance on a new style of stitching, attending a meetup or class, etc.
When I lived in Auckland I used to attend classes all the time at my LNS – it took me out of my comfort zone all the time and I got to experience so many different techniques in a supportive environment. I miss those classes so very much! I’m very introverted so it was a big step for me to sign-up to classes on my own, but I’m so very glad I did. I managed to do classes on stumpwork, hardanger, surface embroidery and more … geez I really do miss that so much!
Have you ever adopted a piece from someone else or gave up a piece to someone else? Which piece and why?
Yes, I adopted a Marjolein Bastin cross-stitched piece from someone who had fallen out of love with it. I still haven’t finished stitching it, but it will get done one day, even if it’s to donate to charity as fundraising for one of the animal shelter groups.
Progress on goals
Um, yeah … not so much really, considering we’re already a quarter of the way through the year! One or two items have been done, or started, though, so all is not entirely lost!
Make progress on three canvaswork projects (WIPs or new starts) – 1) I started Banded by Bargello by Kathy Rees as a Mystery SAL new start
Make progress on a crochet blanket – I had a new start of start of Marnie’s Garden by Hooked on Sunshine for a friend … not sure that was the intention for this goal, though, to start a new one 😉
Finish at least three projects from Crate Crochet – 1) February 2020 box is done – Emily’s Cowl
Finish at least one project from Crochet Society – a hexagon cushion is in progress, it just needs to be put together
Complete 12 ornaments for Just Cross Stitch ornament SAL (Facebook) – 1) January is in progress, and has been since well um early January, it’s kinda stalled ‘cos I’m not enjoying it
Make some bat wraps and joey pouches for wildlife rescue – Done, I made a heap of joey pouches and hanging bags (photo to follow)
Sew an item of clothing – Done … can’t believe I managed it after all these years of not sewing, and I was pretty damned chuffed with myself, I have to say!
Progress on my WIPs had been very minimal during April until the Easter weekend. Still getting over that dratted virus (close to two months now it’s been hanging around!) – and at crunch time of a major project at work meaning some long hours and not much mental capacity left over at the end of the day. My poor old crafts have been neglected majorly, and I knew if I attempted any I’d just end up frogging at the end of it … then Easter weekend arrived and that all changed!
Over Easter I decided to have a binge weekend watching old movie DVDs and stitching. That saw me putting the final stitches into the Mirabilia retreat dragonfly from last year. I stitched this one differently to how I’d normally stitch – I did it as a rough mirror image, starting from the same starting point on each side for each strand of thread (particularly the overdyed silks). There’s a bit of variation in places, but it’s pretty symmetrical and I really like it. The darker silk actually has a heap of deep pinks and purples in it, but I managed to get a couple of strands of just the green and grey-blues and cut out the pinks.
I made a couple of small changes to the design as it was charted – I only used one strand of thread for the lettering and moved the lettering down slightly on the fabric. I also chose not to stitch the swirly date as charted so it didn’t take away from the dragonfly itself – instead I just added a smaller ‘2018’ in one strand of 310 to match the lettering above it. It’s a great memento of the weekend away, and the photos will never do it justice, it’s quite sparkly in real life.
This is how it looked at the start of the month, and in it’s finished glory 🙂
And I just quickly snuck in one other WIP update today before publishing my post! I recently had a small windfall from work, and my biggest splurge for myself was the purchase of a brand new Janome sewing machine. To christen it I dragged out a retreat project from 1 1/2 years ago that just needed to be turned into the actual bag (I finished the stitching a year ago) – one more WIP into the finish-finished pile, woohoo!!
Question of the month:
Talk to us about your longest-running WIP or UFO.
Ah yes, my oldest UFO … I have so little love for this thing, I’m not sure it will ever get finished. I have made so many mistakes, it’s not funny! The first time I ever attempted stitching on linen, and the first time I’d come across a chart that didn’t use two strands of cotton for all stitches.
I stitched the top in two strands instead of one, which I can live with … but then I made a massive mistake on the big tree log or duck at the front, and I think I pretty much need to frog the entire section. Add to the fact that it’s using old threads that have since changed during the dying process and I don’t have enough old thread to restitch that log again anyway … yep, it’s a hot mess! I suppose I could always start stitching from the top down again and try to fudge the bottom, but I’m considering doing the backstitching of the parts I’ve already stitched, and cutting it up to have the deer or something else the focal point in a wee frame instead, or add it to a tote bag pocket or something.
Either way, I’m not sure this design will ever see the light of day as a fully finished piece! I don’t love it enough to worry about it – and it’ll never be framed and put on my walls (my tastes have majorly changed over the years) … the poor thing is a bit of a lost cause! Mind you, I guess I could finish it and give it to the SPCA to fundraise or something – maybe someone else would love it … maybe …
As I mentioned in my last post, in early October I attended a Patchwork & Quilting Retreat in the Blue Mountains, NSW, organised by Linen and Threads. It was such a wonderful day away, I’m so glad I made the effort to attend in the middle of all the turmoil at home. I can certainly recommend the retreat – the organisation was great, the tutors wonderful, and the other attendees really lovely and welcoming.
These are all the great projects that were taught over the weekend, and the progress I managed to do in that week or two after I moved apartments. I love how each of the projects is big enough to give a challenge or two, but small enough to be totally manageable and more likely to actually get finished post-retreat!
The Little Things Pencil Case by Hatched and Patched
I was so chuffed with this one, my first ever wool appliqué project. I was a bit nervous about the construction, but actually managed it all without too much trouble. A huge shout-out to Anni, the designer/tutor from Hatched and Patched, who took me through all the key requirements one-on-one seeing as I wouldn’t be there the following day. Her tips were invaluable when I got home to start working on it! My rotary cutter now resides proudly in this wee case away from the elements. My very first wool appliqué project, and a finish no less!!
Snowmen & Santa Decorations by Hatched and Patched
The next project I attempted (and again actually completed) was another wool appliqué kit by Hatched and Patched – and I really, really love these wee ornaments! I will definitely do some more of these, they’re so much fun! I managed to whip through the stitching of these really quickly, and definitely will be looking to do more wool appliqué in the future! I guess that also means another stash pile of fabric will be starting very very soon 😉
The next couple of projects were by Marg Low Designs – and once again it was lots of fun challenging myself with new types of stitching, as well as doing the finishing by hand. I’ve managed to finish the first project, but still have to complete the last two.
Thread Roll by Marg Low
This is the one project of Marg’s that I’ve managed to entirely finish – however I changed my colours entirely from the designer’s version (mainly because of the pink colour being so prominent, and it’s by far my least favourite colour … so true to form I made mine in blues and greens instead). The picture below shows a sneak piccie of the original design, in the top left corner of the first picture, along with my fabric choices:
Thread Roll by Marg Low – the original design with my choice of fabrics
Thread Roll by Marg Low
Make a Christmas Wish by Marg Low
Then I did the stitching on this one – but my initial thought of having teal/turqoise background fabric didn’t quite work out, I think … when I put the finished stitching onto the blue fabric it looks a bit ‘off’. I’m now thinking I might have to revert back to a red background fabric instead, hence why this one isn’t “finished” and frame yet. Seriously, how cute is that wee red reindeer button?!!
Hearts & Berries by Marg Low
The final design by Marg Low was another one I opted to kit up myself – and as always I chose to have blue tones in my fabric … I tried to follow the designer’s recommendations to a certain extent, though, and ensured to have a checked red fabric for the trim. These colours are a bit out of my comfort zone with the red/brick highlights, so I’m still pushing myself a wee bit with my choices. I’ve only managed to get as far as stitching the heart for the outer of the bag so far – one day soon I’ll get the actual bag itself constructed and finished, though.
Travel Cord Buddy by Michelle Marvig
And lucky last, the project that scared me the most from the weekend away – doing wee quilt hexagons … yikes! To say I was out of my comfort zone for this one is a total understatement. I didn’t have to do that many hexagons in the scheme of things, but I have to admit this was the least pleasurable of all of the projects and I’m not sure why. Perhaps doing hexagons while trying to match all the stripes wasn’t the best way for me to learn this skill! I have to say, though, I was pretty chuffed with the results, even though not every hexagon is perfectly lined up. This one also had me running to find a thimble, which I don’t normally use, but crikey my poor wee fingertips took a pounding with this one. I’m also not keen on the quilting job I was doing as I couldn’t get the tension right on my machine and couldn’t find my machine manual, so it ended up getting put away at this stage. I’ll get back to this one again soon, though, because I found a digital machine manual I could download, and as soon as I unpick the last stitches and tweak the tension, I’ll have another crack at it (and this time start a bit closer in to the hexagons for the first quilting line). It’ll be wonderful to have it finished as it’s a really useful tool to use (it holds your power cords etc for travelling) – it’s a gorgeous wee project, that’s for sure. And maybe in the New Year, I’ll be ready to tackle another hexagon project again … maybe 😉
So there you have it – a really stunning selection of projects from three terrific tutors. I enjoyed myself so much even having just one day of attendance, that I’m already booked in for next year’s retreat on the Central Coast of NSW. I can’t wait to see what projects will be awaiting us next year … and by then I should have all these projects finished too 😀
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 …
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!!
“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
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 …
“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:
“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)
“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 (website no longer around)
Stitched on 32ct Ice Blue Belfast (I think)
with DMC variegated thread
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 … 😉
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.
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:
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:
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.