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Hallowe’en SAL – all caught up with Jul/Aug!

Halloween ornie SAL

Wow, I really got ‘in the zone’ this weekend with my stitching – I think I even surprised myself yesterday!!  Here are my choices for July and August.

July – Ghosts

20638661_10154797585668148_4050567271399719620_n “Happy Halloween” by Simple Stitches (freebie)
Stitched on 32ct summer khaki (or dirty?) Belfast linen
with my own choice of DMC threads (similar to the charted GAST)

 August – Creepy Trees

I once again went back to Prairie Schooler’s When Witches Go Riding to stitch the main tree – this is where I can see the colours are very different between the witch and the tree, so I guess I’ll have to re-stitch the witch etc before I’m 100% happy with it – will see how I feel at the end …

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Now that I’m al caught up with the Hallowe’en SAL, I’m about to start kitting up four months worth of Christmas ornament stitching – as usual I’m also behind on my Just Cross Stitch ornie SAL for this year too (using last year’s ornament issue).

Hallowe’en SAL – May/Jun catch-up

Halloween ornie SAL

I’ve been pretty useless keeping up with my SALs again this year – gee, what a surprise!  Eventually, though, I do put needle to fabric and do a bit catch-up session.  That’s what I’ve been doing this weekend, starting to catch up on my Hallowe’en SAL with Jo and the team.

May – Black Cats

For the black cats theme, I continued working on Prairie Schooler’s ‘When Witches Go Riding’. Unfortunately I’m chewing through the Crescent Colours Blackbird thread way more quickly than expected, and I only have one skein left, which isn’t enough to do all the dark areas … so I opted to use DMC 3371 instead for the top banner and the borders. Also unfortunately, the colour is very different to the Blackbird thread, which leaves me in a quandary … whether I should unpick all the other three elements I’ve stitched and re-do them all again in DMC 3371.  If I do end up doing that, it’ll be at the end of the year, I think. You can’t even tell that the dark thread is an overdyed thread, so in hindsight I should have just used 3371 in the first place … but that’s the thing with hindsight, it only seems a good idea after you’ve already put the effort in! 😉

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June – Something Green

Oh my goodness, it took me a very long time to decide on what to stitch for this theme. As it turns out I’d made my decision, but when I was in my stitching room I spied a totally different design, and ended up stitching that one instead.  This was my chosen project, and I have to say I really love it! The colours are a lot deeper/brighter in real life, though.

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“Jack o’ Juggle Spell” by Cathy Dean for The Victoria Sampler
Stitched on 32ct summer khaki (or dirty, I can’t remember) Belfast linen
Stitched with recommended threads, with the exception of replacing Kreinik #4 braid 010HL with 011HL.
I also subbed the black beads with ones I had in my stash, and added two extra legs on the dangling spider.

Next up is July, and the theme is Ghosts – another theme with lots of project choices, but I’m opting for a very quick stitch option to help me catch-up. With any luck it won’t be long before that one is sitting in the finishing pile, as I fully intend to start stitching that one tonight 🙂  Then I’ll be all caught up, and it’ll be back to When Witches Go Riding for August’s theme of ‘Creepy Trees’.

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)

WIPocalyse: January 2017

2015 WIPocalypse So far the year has kicked off well stitching-wise … while I may not be churning out the stitching every week like I used to, I’ve managed to finish off a couple of older UFOs – all they need now is the actual ‘finishing’ to be done on them.

It looks like I actually kicked off 2017 with … {ahem} … {cough} … 44 WIPs/UFOs when I went back and counted them. Yikes!!  It’s no wonder I’m making a serious effort this year not to start a lot more, but trying to concentrate my efforts primarily on finishing these once loved projects.

The first finish of the year, though, is one that I can’t count as a previous WIP, as it was the wee Frangipanis kit that Mum started years ago but never finished.  I managed to find a number of substitute threads in my DMC stash that seemed to work OK, and finished this off towards the middle of January.

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I managed to meet one of my year’s goals – I finished the Letter R of Country Threads’ “Paris” kit.  If I don’t get anything more stitching this year that’s OK, my goal was at least to finish this one letter … but I’m sure this one will see the light of day at some point during the year, and maybe I’ll get another letter done … maybe …

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The next piccies are the two WIPs that I slayed this month.  The Red Lace Sewing Case I started two Christmases ago while watching the first 4 seasons of Game of Thrones … strangely enough I’d bought the DVDs of the same later last year, so I had to laugh when I realised that I’d actually finished the stitching while re-watching … you’ve guessed it … the Game of Thrones seasons 1-4!!  This is how it looked before Christmas:

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And the finished pieces since then:

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“Red Lace Sewing Case” by The Drawn Thread
Stitched on 32ct cream Jobelan
with Gloriana silk in Cranberry

Lucky last was this one – it’s became a bit unloved a while ago after realising I’d only bought one skein of the blue silk I needed, and replacement threads were an entirely different colour.  With only the needlebook left to be stitched, I stitched and unpicked three different thread options before deciding on the final one – a premium silk by Hand Dyed Fibers.  Then I also ran out of the beigey thread after stitching the outside needlebook pages … I just may have squeezed it in with the last strand of thread, but didn’t want to take the risk (I’m pretty much 99% sure I would have run out).  So for that one I ended up stitching the inside needlebook pages with another different thread – a Madeira silk this time.  Oh well, it may be a mish-mash of threads, but it still looks OK I think … and better to be a finished mish-mash than sitting in the WIP pile for years and years!

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“Grandma’s Cushions Stitching Accessories” by The Cat’s Whiskers
Stitched on 32ct Blue Ice Belfast linen
with a mix of recommended Dinky Dyes silk threads, and two replacement silks

And now for the February question:

What SALs are you participating in this year?
I’ve decided to have an easy time this year, and just want to focus on my existing WIPs with the occasional new start thrown in.  That means that I’m not really joining in many organised SALs in 2017, unless anything in Facebook groups happens to fit with my normal stitching plans.  The only ‘real’ SALs that I’d like to continue with are the following:

1) Hallowe’en SAL – one of my favourite SALs each year run by Jo, I’ll be doing the same as last year and hopefully choosing a larger project or two that will let me stitch a portion of it each month to match the month’s theme. January’s theme is “Moon”, so I’d better get cracking and work out which design I’m going to stitch on this year! The other themes coming up are Witches, Spiders & Cobwebs, Winged Creatures, Black Cats, Anything Green, Ghosts, Creepy Trees, Spooky Words, Pumpkins, Candy Corns/Food, and finally a Free Choice month.

2) JCS 2016 ornie SAL – a Facebook SAL continuing in 2017 after a successful challenge in 2016, another chance to stitch a Christmas ornament each month, with the aim to stitch 12 ornaments by the end of the year (from last year’s JCS Christmas Ornament issue). The polls were late being put up and the results have only just been advised, so I probably won’t start for a few weeks yet, then I’ll have a mini catch-up.  It was a lot of fun to do last year, so I thought it would be fun to participate again in 2017.

And that’s it for my SALs list … pretty much the shortest list I’ve made in years … and likely the first year it’s been a very responsible list that just may be achievable – maybe! 😉

 

 

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 🙂

 

Lots of stitching finishes

Ever since I’ve been eating healthier, and sleeping better, I’ve managed to find my stitching mojo on a regular basis.  As such, it’s seen a bunch of finishes over the last two months – most of them new starts, with one UFO from the start of the year.

First up I was trying really hard to do a catch-up for a Halloween Ornie SAL I signed up for this year.  Unfortunately I found HAEDs at the start of the year and my sole stitching focus went into those for a while, then working life got turned on its head for a bit and crazy working hours became the norm once again.  I decided in October I really did want to catch up on the SAL, but I didn’t want to stitch a heap of ornies.  At the start of the year I’d planned on working on two larger projects, that each had a block containing something that would fit within the SAL monthly themes.  Because of me starting so late in the piece, I ended up just stitching one larger piece with a couple of extra ornies thrown in for good measure.  This is what I chose for the monthly SAL, which I stitched in strict order of the themes for the year (with the exception of the two ornies, which I stitched first):

  • January – Winged creatures (block 5, the owl and bat)
  • February – Mummies and Monsters (block 6, the Frankenstein head at the end)
  • March – Pumpkins (block 1)
  • April – Ghosts (block 2, the teeny weeny ghost hiding behind the tree)
  • May – Spiders (separate ornie, freebie by Lizzie*Kate)
  • June – Free choice (the geometric border)
  • July – Witches’ accessories (block 3, the witch’s cauldron)
  • August – Spooky words (the words in the border)
  • September – Bad fairies (still have no idea what on earth to do for that one)
  • October – Black cats (block 4)
  • November – Skeletons and Skulls (another separate ornie, Halloween Ornament 4 by The Floss Box)

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“Halloween Markings” by Heart in Hand
stitched on 32ct Steel Grey Belfast linen
with a couple of recommended threads, but mostly replacements from my stash
Stitched as an alternative to ornaments for a Halloween Ornie SAL

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“Eek” freebie by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 32ct ‘mystery’ grey Belfast linen
with recommended threads

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“Halloween Ornament 4” by The Floss Box
Stitched on 32ct ‘mystery’ linen
with recommended DMC threads

After my Halloween stitching binge, I decided to drag out a UFO from the start of the year.  This was one of my Crazy January Challenge pieces (15 starts in 15 days, which I’ve decided really isn’t for me anymore – I want to spend my stitching time working through all those WIPs/UFOs cluttering up my stitching space instead of starting a bunch of new ones!).  Anyway, after a few weeks chipping away at her, I had a few days of work this week and managed some major progress, and finishing her a couple of days ago.  This was significantly helped by throwing a few seasons of Buffy into the DVD player, it was great mindless, and amusing, fodder for the brain while completing a stitching marathon 🙂

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“The Christmas Elf Fairy” by Mirabilia
stitched on 32ct natural linen
with kit threads (Crescent Colours) and beads

The last one, hot off the Qsnaps on Friday night was one I’d originally stitched as a charity quilt square a few years ago.  I’ve been wanting to restitch this for myself ever since, and still had the DMC sitting with the chart ready for the day when I found time.  I decided it was finally time to pull my finger out and get it stitched up so I grabbed some fabric and threw it on the Qsnaps – I love this one, and it’ll beautifully with my ocean/beach theme in the lounge!

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“Chambered Nautilus” by Green Apple Co (original watercolour by Janet Powers)
Stitched on 32ct off-white Belfast linen
with recommended DMC threads

And that’s all for now I guess … I’m not 100% sure what I’ll choose to stitch on next.  I’ve been trying to finish off a lot of the WIPs sitting in crates so that I have a few Qsnaps free to use for new projects, so no doubt the next thing I choose to stitch will be something already started … Mind you, I do still have four ornaments left to stitch to complete the 2016 JCS Christmas Ornie SAL challenge on Facebook – I guess that’ll probably be the first thing ticked off, then it’ll be time to grab one of my WIPs as my next focus piece.  At the moment I’m tossing up between the following WIPs/UFOs – I just may have to toss a coin, because I really can’t decide right now! 😉