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Mid-summer stitching frenzy

This summer in Sydney has been unbearable with the hottest January on record since records began – which means you’ll generally find me indoors hiding from the heat and sitting in front of the electric fan the entire weekend.  It’s been too darned hot to do much of anything else, and even my stitching chair is now covered in a towel to make it more comfortable and less hot to sit in … bring on Autumn, is all I can say!!

So what stitching have I managed to do so far? None of my WIPs have been touched since my last finish, but I have picked up some very small new starts to meet my SAL commitments in the two SALs I’ve joined this year.  And here they are:

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“Blue Snowman” by The Little Stitcher (2016 JCS Christmas Ornie issue)
Stitched on 32ct Vintage Country Mocha Belfast linen
with recommended threads (DMC) but changing the brown nose to orange

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“Merry Christmas to You” by My Big Toe (2016 JCS Christmas ornie issue)
Stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Lugana by Countrystitch ~ colour Limestone
with recommended DMC threads

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“Boo!” freebie by The Prairie Schooler
Stitched on 32ct sage green (?) mystery linen
with recommended DMC threads
For the Hallowe’en SAL theme of “Moon”

This next finish was so much fun to do, but it took me a couple of nights to get back into a good ‘canvaswork rhythm’ – now I’ve finished, though, I’ve got the bug back to do another one … I think I’ll be heading back into the stash pile this week to drag out a bigger one to work on very very soon! It’s so much fun to work with other threads instead of just DMC cotton floss, not to mention the amount of pleasure I get from working different stitches again – it’s so addictive!

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“Holly and Ivy” freebie by Laura J Perin Designs
Stitched on 18ct eggshell monocanvas

with recommended threads

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CCN Blue and Silver ornie

My latest finish for the month was a new start for me – it’s been kitted up and carried over to NZ and back twice in readiness for starting, but it’s taken me about 15 months to finally put the first stitch in!  I decided to just choose a blue thread that I liked when I was out shopping in Auckland kitting this one up, as I didn’t have the chart with me at that point – as it turns out, I’m thrilled with the result!  This is a gift for a family member, that was promised a year ago … hey, we don’t want to rush these things! 😛

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“Blue and Silver” ornament by Country Cottage Needleworks
(from the 2008 Jul/Aug? JCS ornie preview issue)
Stitched on 32ct Light Mocha Belfast linen
with my choice of threads:
Kreinik #4 braid in 001
GAST in Dungarees
DMC Blanc
DMC 3362 (as recommended)
DMC 938 I think (couldn’t find my 869)

Final stitches for 2016

I’ve headed across the Tasman to spend Christmas with my parents, so not a great deal of stitching has been done, with the exception of the final three Christmas ornaments for 2016. I joined a Facebook group to stitch 12 ornaments from the JCS 2015 Christmas ornie magazine, and these are my final ones – and I think the only SAL I managed to actually start and finish in its entirety this year … with a whole 24 hours to spare in the year! 😛

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“Snow” by Val’s Stuff (2015 JCS Christmas ornament issue)
stitched on 32ct Lugana (colour unknown)
with a mix of recommended threads and DMC

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“Plenty” by Hands On Designs (2015 JCS Christmas ornament issue)
stitched on 32ct Steel Grey Belfast linen 
with my own choice of threads (Carrie’s Creation plus white DMC)
I changed the word ‘Plenty’ to be ‘Noel’ and added extra leaves and berries by the wording to balance it out a bit more

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“Christmas in Red” by MTV Designs (2015 JCS Christmas ornament issue)
stitched on 28ct white Cashel linen
with DMC 4200 (Wild Fire – Colour Variations thread)
This will be folded up into a diamond shape when it’s finish-finished

Then while I was waiting for midnight to arrive on New Year’s Eve, I sat and unpicked a very old UFO that Mum had started for me not long after she started stitching. Unfortunately our stitching tensions are so vastly different that it would have looked terrible to combine both sets of stitching, so I’m starting it again from scratch myself. Mum has agreed she won’t stitch it, and her eyesight isn’t good enough to stitch anyway at the moment, but I’ll still think of it as ‘Mum’s stitching for me’, as she chose the kit knowing I love frangipanis.  She gave it a good attempt, but it’s time to get it out of the UFO pile and into the finishing pile 🙂  Unfortunately, though, I think some of the threads have been mixed up, so I’ll need to find somewhere that stocks Anchor threads to make sure I’ve got all the right threads (there are 4 greens in the WIP envelope, but only 3 greens in the design for example, plus there are a red and a brown thread in the WIP envelope and these aren’t used at all – Mum must’ve had a senior moment I think).

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As for the year’s finishes, I don’t think I did too badly all considering – below is a visual summary of those I managed to finish before Christmas, plus the ones up above in this post) … yep, I’m relatively pleased, especially considering one of my finishes was a HAED mini and that’s a huge achievement in itself, I reckon!  I think it was 21 finishes in total 😀

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Christmas fever

Oops, I seem to have forgotten how to blog – I started this a couple of weeks ago in December, and didn’t publish!!

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I seem to be on a roll with Christmas stitching! First up I managed to totally finish a sampler I started in January for the Crazy January Challenge. I thought I’d stitch on something easy for a while but I ended up making more mistakes in this one than anything I’ve stitched all year! 

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“Christmas Spirit double flip its” by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 28ct hand-dyed Cashel linen by Countrystitch ~ colour Haystack
with mostly recommended threads (GAST/WDW) and the rest DMC

Then I picked up another old UFO started years ago – I’ve managed to totally finish one page of The Drawn Thread’s Red Lace Sewing Case.

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And I managed to finish another prince for this year’s ornie challenge!

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All-in-all not too shabby for the last month or so I guess 🙂

 

JCS Christmas Ornie SAL catch-up

Oh my goodness, I started creating this post weeks and weeks ago, and never got around to finishing it.  Since then so many things have happened … but for now I’ll leave this post as it is and I’ll do another update soon with the latest news and stitching.

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While I may not be doing lots of stitching each week I’m still showing slow progress on the ornament SAL – which means the little kitted up bags of fabric are gradually getting removed from the WIP crates and onto the Qsnaps. So far I’ve caught up with the following:

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“Dear Santa” by The Little Stitcher
from the 2015 JCS Christmas Ornament issue
stitched on 32ct Vintage Country Mocha Belfast linen
with a mixture of threads from my stash (mostly recommended ones)


“Pure Love” by The Snowflower Diaries
from the 2015 JCS Christmas Ornament issue
stitched on 36ct hand-dyed linen by Countrystitch ~ colour Pipi
with a mix of recommended threads and others from my stash


“Joyful Santa” by Homespun Elegance
from the 2015 JCS Christmas Ornament issue
stitched on 32ct Shell linen by Permin with a mixture of threads from my stash


“Christmas Test Drive” by Mosey ‘N Me
from the 2015 JCS Christmas Ornament issue
stitched on 36ct hand-dyed Edinburgh linen by Silkweaver ~ colour Tallahassee Teal
with recommended DMC threads

I’ve also picked up another piece of cheap second-hand furniture that I really love – a new wine rack that cost me the sum total of about $25! After I moved all my ‘old wines’ into the cabinet I was going to throw the old ones away … but then there was an awesome sale through work and I ended up stocking up big time and filling them back up again! I’m now sorted for wine until my retirement I reckon … unless my mum comes to visit, then it’ll get whittled down haha.


Final recap of WIP progress to date

While I’ve managed to get a few finishes under my belt in the last six months or so, I’ve also chipped away a tiny bit at a couple more WIPs.  The first one is “Quaker Christmas II – Songs of the Season” by ByGone Stitches.  This is how it looked the last time I took a progress photo:

Quaker Christmas II - Songs of the Season by ByGone Stitches

And how it looks now (or at least how it looked a month or two ago anyway – there’s only been a tiny bit more progress on the right-hand motif since the photo was taken, but I’m too lazy to take an updated piccie just for those few stitches):

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After I finished off Lizzie*Kate’s 2007 Special Edition Christmas kit, I wanted to stitch on something easy to work on – my choice at the time was the “Paris” kit by Country Threads. I was fully intending to finish off the letter R if nothing else, but in truth I’m not enjoying stitching with it in the scrollbars I’ve got it in, so I’ve since shelved it for a while until I find something else to pop it into.  As it is I’m having to stitch it sideways so I could get it on the scrollbars in the first place … that feels really odd in itself really. I’ve actually done quite a bit more than what is showing in the piccie – and I think with a concentrated effort I’d get this letter finished with a good week of stitching, except my efforts have moved on for a wee while to something else.

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I did a bit of online shopping and bought some lovely (balsa probably) wooden crates from Briscoes online (Australian version of the NZ store).  I thought they’d be great to put my UFOs/WIPs into to keep them in one place … except I found that in fact I could probably fill 3-4 crates once I included my older unloved UFOs.  It has made me more determined, though, to get some more of those WIPs whipped into shape and into the finishing pile.  I’d dearly love to get that pile down into just the one solitary storage crate … perhaps by the end of 2018 it may be doable … or 2019 … OK, 2020 if I’m truly realistic 😉 So yes, these are probably just half of the WIPs I have around the place, although they’re all on frames so they up a lot of room and it looks worse than what it is (that’s my excuse anyway).

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In an effort to start whittling the contents of one crate down, I’ve opted to go back to working on a Christmas SAL I started in January, where we stitch a selected Christmas ornie each month from the 2015 Just Cross Stitch ornament issue.  I have all the fabrics chosen ready to go for each month’s project, and I’m way behind in the SAL, so I figured it could be quite a quick thing for me to go through and get those out of the way.  Therefore my current WIPs will be, for the foreseeable future, various Christmas ornaments.  I managed to catch up and stitch April’s ornament, and I’ve made a (very) small start on the May one.

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“Very Merry Christmas” by Medina Originals
(from the 2015 Just Cross Stitch Christmas ornament issue)

Started some time in April 2016 – Finished 3 September 2016
Stitched on a mystery 32ct fabric that I can’t remember
with recommended DMC threads

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Well I did say it was a small start … haha.  I’ve actually done a wee bit more since then, although at my current rate of progress it’ll probably be another week away before this one is finished.  It’s stitched on 36ct hand-dyed linen with one strand of thread, and I’m feeling my age when I’m stitching this one at the end of a long business day staring at a computer screen …

And that, I think, is all the stitching updates I have for now!

Stitching catch-up

I didn’t realise it’d been so long since I’d posted!  Obviously just been really busy living life and the day-to-day humdrum that that brings.

I’ve managed to get a couple more very small finishes under my belt, the first one after I finally received a stash order from back in November last year.  As soon as I received my thread order it meant I could finish the following beautiful piece of canvaswork:

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“Blue Birds” freebie by Laura J Perin (on the Rainbow Gallery website)
Stitched on 18ct mono canvas with recommended threads
(I even managed to track down the discontinued Tiara thread!)

This was the rest of my stash order – the first I’ve had in a very long time!  It means a couple more projects are now able to be fully kitted up, which is great considering one of them was in my  Crazy 7 group of projects, and already started!

Since the Crazy 7 challenge kicked off, I’ve actually been doing really well at keeping my stitching going regularly each week.  While I may not have too much to show for it, my excuse is that I’ve started my very first HAED – Daisy Blue by Jo Lynch.  Considering I’d always called my dear friend Nicki a crazy woman for her love of over-one stitching, and hating over-one stitching myself with a passion, it seems I’ve caught the craze myself!  I’m stitching my HAED one-over-one on 28ct Lugana and I just can’t seem to put it down!  I think in a couple of months I should see this one finished … and I’ve already got a couple more in line to be started immediately afterwards 🙂  The crazy thing is that I have Noah’s Ark by Teresa Wentzler as a seriously mistreated UFO because I couldn’t handle the one-over-one stitching … perhaps it may be time to give it some love and get it finished now!

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This weekend, though, I really had to force myself not to pick my HAED back up again, and instead caught up on a monthly SAL I’m going of JCS Christmas ornaments from the 2015 issue.  So far I’ve managed the first three months, with Feb and Mar ornies hot off the Qsnaps this weekend (I managed the blackbird one in its entirety today!).  Here are the three ornies to date so far (they’re being stitched in order of popularity in a group vote, with January being the most popular).

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“Snowmates” by Blue Ribbon Designs (2015 JCS Ornament issue)
Stitched on 40ct Silkweaver hand-dyed linen (can’t find the details just now)
with mostly recommended threads

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“Winter’s Eve” by The Prairie Schooler (2015 JCS Ornament Issue)
Stitched on 32ct Permin linen ~ colour French Blue
with my own choice of Carrie’s Creation threads

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“Merry Christmas” by Samplers Not Forgotten (2015 JCS Ornament issue)
Stitched on 40ct Silkweaver hand-dyed linen (can’t find the details just now)
with my own choice of Belle Soie and Gloriana silk threads

As well as stitching regularly again, I’ve also joined a group of fellow stitchers to do a weekly cooking challenge.  I think my health struggles over last couple of years had really shaken my confidence in many areas of my life, and cooking was one of them.  It’s been really nice getting back into the kitchen on a regular basis and cooking up some healthy (and not-so-healthy) meals.  Even though I may not always like the ingredients chosen each week, I still make sure I give it a try and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results so far.

Looks like life is finally getting back on a bit more even keel … hopefully it’ll continue the same way for quite some time to come! 🙂