As I’ve posted about previously, May has seen my mojo return with a vengeance, and my energy levels and confidence towards my crafting endeavours has been really positive. I even managed to do a few small updates to some of my WIPs (not to mention adding tremendously to my WIP list with all the new starts in May … oops). Here is a review of the WIP upates from May during IsoMaynia.
Raphael’s Raspberries by Forgets-Me-Nots in Stitches
Mia Mermaid (retreat project) by Nora Corbett / Mirabilia
Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor
When Witches Go Riding by The Prairie Schooler
Finch Song by Shepherd’s Bush
My goals for 2020 have seen some progress in general, thanks to being stood down from work three days a week throughout May and more free time to work on crafts. So far I’m stood down until at least the end of June, so I’m hoping this will continue for another month at least 😉
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.
Belatedly adding my update for November, even though I only have one small update to share. I decided to keep on stitching on Mill Hill’s Three Kings until I got that third king finished … thus ticking one more item off the ‘to-do-list/goal’ for the year. It’s now being put away until 2020 again, unless I get an urge to keep going on the border – never say never!
Question of the Month: What new stitches or techniques did you learn this year ?
This year hasn’t been a great year for learning stitching-wise, however I just started doing a couple of older subscription boxes from Crate Crochet and learning some new stitches and techniques in crochet. It’s been a nice change learning something new, and not being too stressed at work to enjoy some decent down-time on evenings and weekends. I’m hoping next year will see me doing these projects on time each month again, seeing as I’ve just resubscribed for another 12 months 🙂
Here are some of my projects I’ve been working on this last week or two – I even managed a mandala finish that I’m super proud of!
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 …
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.
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.
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.
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.
Then today I finished the Christmas ornament that I was struggling to see the fabric on while in NZ.
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 …
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 🙂
Yet again progress on my WIPs has been very minimal during March. Mainly due to feeling unwell for so long, and when I returned to work I just didn’t have any energy for stitching at the end of the day. I did manage to get a tiny bit of stitching done during the month, though, on an older WIP so at least I have something to post this month! 😉
This is the free chart we received at the 2018 Mirabilia Retreat on the Central Coast. I’m not entirely sure I like how the date appears so I decided to start my stitching session with unpicking the existing stitches. I’ve decided to stitch both sides at the same time and in the same stitching order, so the wings are going to turn out (hopefully) relatively symmetrical. Here’s the progress I’ve made so far, but I’m ready for a change, so I think it’ll be rotated out with something else in April.
Question of the month:
What newer designers and product creators (fabric or floss dyeing, etc) out there have you discovered and recommend?
Truthfully I haven’t really been looking for new designers or artisans, I’m a bit stuck in my ways and happy with the ones I already know – that’s not to say I don’t see the odd design that someone is stitching in one of the Facebook groups and might have a quick glance at their Etsy shop etc if I like what I see. I have to say, though, I haven’t found any so far that I’d add a “favourite” tag to. My favourite fabric dyer still remains as countrystitch.com, and my favourite designer this year is probably Needle Delights Originals (Kathy Rees) because I’ve bought a truckload of her canvaswork designs this year and kitted them up.
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.
The great thing about taking an extra week off work after Christmas is having more time to stitch and have a general overdue tidy-up at home. I came across this wee chart that has been kitted up for about 12 years as I was tidying up a pile of stitching ‘stuff’ – I figured rather than putting it back in it’s storage box where it belongs, I’d just suck it up and get it into the Qsnaps to get it stitched up. It took me two days to finish, but I really love it. And that also means another new start and another finish ticked off my 19 in 19 challenge for the year … bonus!! 😀
“Sweet Valentines” by The Sweetheart Tree Stitched on 28ct white lugana (I think!) Changed the red thread colours to be 309 and 816 instead of the chart colours (which were 316 and 3726) Started 6 Jan 2019 – Finished 8 Jan 2019 Stitch count: 40H x 40W
I’ve come to realise today just how woeful my online activity has been over the last 12-18 months or so, and my online albums are missing a lot of information and projects haven’t been added at all … my blog used to be the ‘source of truth’ for all my projects and chart information etc, but not any more. After spending an entire day today doing a bit of a tidy-up (nowhere near finished yet though), and trawling through a few years of photos on my iPhone (!), it’s prompted me to add the details of my last finishes from the end of 2018, and the first finishes of the new year. So, without further ado, here are the details …
“Joy” by Rovaris from the 2018 Just Cross Stitch Christmas ornament issue Stitched on 32ct Belfast linen with recommended DMC threads Stitch count: 36 stitches high x 71 stitches wide Started and finished 28 December 2018
“Special Delivery” by Pickle Barrel Designs from the 2018 Just Cross Stitch Christmas ornament issue Stitched on 32ct Belfast linen with recommended DMC and Weeks Dye Works threads (except using DMC B5200 instead of WDW Whitewash) Stitch count: 51H x 55W Started 28 December 2018 – Finished 29 December 2018
“City Sidewalks” by Glendon Place from the 2018 Just Cross Stitch Christmas ornament issue Stitched on 32ct Blue Sky hand-dyed Lugana by Hand Dyed Fabrics with Stephanie Stitched with a mix of Weeks Dye Works and DMC, using my choice of beads because I didn’t have all the ones as charted Stitch count: 78H x 68W Started 29 December 2018 – Finished 2 January 2019
“Two Stags and a Star” by Blue Ribbon Designs from the 2018 Just Cross Stitch Christmas ornament issue Stitched on 36ct evenweave from Sew-it-all Stitched with recommended Weeks Dye Works, except using B5200 Stitch count: 57H x 37W Started 3 January 2019 – Finished 5 January 2019