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A small finish Ahoy, and starfish overload

On Sunday I managed a new start, which also ended up being a new finish – gotta love those small projects and a good audiobook to keep the momentum going all day! 😉

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“Square.ology sandcastle.frame Ahoy” by Hands on Design
Stitched on 32ct hand-dyed linen by Countrystitch ~ colour Blue Ice
(the photo looks grey, but it’s actually a delightful pale blue!!)
with recommended threads – the felt star and button came with the chart

Next up is yet another new start – I only got one hour’s stitching into this one on Sunday night, and another 40 mins last night, but I have a feeling it’s going to be another quick one to stitch up as it’s nice and blocky on the whole! Hmmmm just realised it’s another starfish – there seems to be a theme happening this week! 😀

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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!

Crazy 7 Challenge & First finish of 2016

Well so far the year has started really well – I had a last minute invitation to a New Year’s Eve party very close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge with friends up from Melbourne. It gave a great chance to get up close and personal with the awesome fireworks display … Sadly the friends are moving shortly so it’ll be the last time – but it was a really great way to kick off the new year getting to bed finally at 4.30am!



I was feeling decidedly seedy on the morning trip home so opted to walk a couple of extra kilometres instead of catching the bus – it gave me some much needed fresh air and exercise and I enjoyed the beach walk immensely 🙂



Then in between sleeping the day away I managed to kick start my stitching plans and achieved very small starts on all my projects:

First up the Mirabilia SAL:


Then the first 3 days of the Crazy 7 (7 new starts in 7 days):


  
I also started my first Christmas ornament for an ornie SAL on 1 Jan then finished it off today for my first finish of the year.


“Beyond Cross Stitch – Level Three – Blackwork” by The Victoria Sampler

Sadly it’s back to work again tomorrow so my stitching will no doubt slow up again – but I want to get back into the habit of stitching most days/nights even if it’s just for a few minutes. Having some gorgeous new projects to work on will keep the motivation up I think 🙂

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.

Aug/Sep WIPocalypse (late as normal!)

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Only 2 days to go before the September WIPocalypse post is due … oops … life sure has a way to interfere with plans, and my memory is shocking, so yet again I’ve missed the deadline.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t been stitched, although I have to admit I haven’t been stitching as much as I normally do.  Work pressures have yet again put a hold of any mid-week stitching, although each weekend I’ve made sure I’ve had one day dedicated to stitching my little heart out.

So, here goes … here is what I’ve managed to get up to stitching-wise over the last two months.  I figure I may as well just have this as my September WIPocalypse post as well, as I can’t see me doing any further stitching between now and two days time that will be worth shouting from the rooftops 😉

First up I decided to just keep on stitching on my Eiffel Quaker until it was finished – I just love this one!

Jardin Prive - Eiffel Quaker
“Eiffel Quaker” by Jardin Privé
Started 11 January 2013 – Finished 28 July 2014
Stitched on 36ct antique white evenweave from Sewitall
with French Au Ver A Soie Soie d’Alger silk threads
Stitch count 150 wide x 143 high

I then decided to be responsible (unusual for me!) with my stitching and get a charity quilt block out of the way that I had committed to – I absolutely adore this one, and I’ve left the DMC threads etc all sitting with the chart in readiness to stitch this one again for myself … I love, love, love it! 🙂

Green Apple Co-Chambered Nautilus
“Chambered Nautilus” by Green Apple Co (artwork by Janet Powers)
Stitched for Love Quilts Australia
Stitched on 14ct white Aida with DMC threads

Then last weekend I started back loosely with my rotation, and picked up my pastel needleroll to finish off:

M Designs-Thistle Needleroll pastels
“Thistle Needleroll – Pale Colorway” by M Designs
Started 26 January 2014 – Finished 31 August 2014
Stitched on 32ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
with a mix of Olde Willow, Crescent Colours and DMC threads
(I had to substitute some threads and mix the colours as my Olde Willow threads
had faded so much over the years they were almost white!)

And then my final finish took place yesterday – I only had about 3 hours of stitching left in my ‘small/medium projects’ slot, but I opted to just keep stitching until I finished it (hence my comment about ‘loosely’ following my rotation!). This was a real joy to stitch, with some good challenges, and it just needs to be made into a little pincushion now.

Periwinkle Promises-Blue Bell Sampler Accent
“Blue Bell Sampler Accent” by Periwinkle Promises
Started 31 August 2014 – Finished 6 September 2014
Stitched using kit threads (AVAS silks) and linen fabric

Inbetween working on my rotation slots, I have opted to leave my current focus piece project sitting in the lounge on my floor frame. Every 2nd weekend I spend one day stitching my little heart out on her while catching up on recorded TV … which means I’ve sort of taken her out of my rotation, and I just stitch on her when I feel like sitting in the lounge. The rest of my rotation stitching is done in my bedroom sat up in bed stitching (my most common stitching location these days – I got into the habit of that with my last flatmate as I hated spending any time in the lounge when he was home). Anyhoo, here she is in her current glory (well almost anyway, I’ve actually done a bit more since this photo was taken – she’ll definitely be finished by the end of this year, which is awesome). Angel of Love by Lavender & Lace:

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After I’d finished my Victoria Sampler’s Crimson Fire Sampler, I needed to find another old UFO to take its place, and I chose this piece stitched on Congress Cloth. I managed to finally finish the darned bees on the left-hand side of the fabric, but my thread snapped while I was stitching the 2nd side of the hemstitching rows so I decided to give it a miss for a while and started stitching over on the main pain of the stitching. I hadn’t realised just how much metallic thread is used on this project, and it was a relief to finally get to the bee’s head and have something lovely and soft to stitch with. I opted to stop, though, at the end of the 10 hours rotation slot, but look forward to seeing that slot come around again in the future 🙂

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And next up in my rotation is Quaker Christmas II – this hasn’t seen the light since I did one rotation slot on it back in February, so it will be nice to add a few more stitches to this one … and that’ll give me something to show for my October WIPocalypse post 🙂

Talking of which, I guess I also need to answer the WIPocalypse questions for these two months as well, so here goes:

10 August:

“Tell us about your oldest and newest WIPs.”
Well, I guess my oldest one now is probably Stoney Creek’s Natures Rest. This is possibly one that will never ever be finished – aside from making a massive blue on the tree stump and the need to frog a huge section, because I can’t work out what was wrong and what was right, it was also using some older threads that I no longer have so there’s every likelihood that I will have mis-matched dyelots and this will show, especially with the greys. I don’t have too much love for this old project (my first ever on evenweave fabric, and I didn’t follow the instructions properly so I used 2 strands of thread in the background instead of 1 strand …). Whatever could go wrong with this piece, it certainly did – and it remains relatively unloved because of it!

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My newest WIP according to my rotation records is a canvaswork piece called Sand and Surf by Northern Pine Designs.  My canvaswork rotation is coming up soon, so I can’t wait to get back into working on this one again.  I have a feeling I won’t stop until this one is finished, as canvaswork tends to go quite quickly with some of the big chunky stitches.

Surf and Sand

9 September:

“Who is your favourite person to stitch for, or do you prefer to keep your stitching yourself?”
I have to admit over the years I’ve given most of my stitching away – over the last 10 years, though, I tend to stitch more for myself with the odd gift given out. I like to stitch gifts for people, but as soon as I make a commitment to do something my brain goes into meltdown and it removes the enjoyment of stitching for me – I’d much rather stitch something then decide after it’s finished to gift it to someone.

More beading on Angel of Love

During the week I managed to put in 3 hours of stitching, which seems me finishing my rotation slot for my Eiffel Quaker (by Jardin Prive) – one more slot will see this one finished, I think 🙂  The colours are actually darker in real life.

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This yesterday I decided to have an exceptionally lazy afternoon/evening and spent the entire day stitching my little heart out while catching up on some recorded TV shows.  I really loved stitching on my Angel of Love (by Lavender & Lace) yesterday … I’ve been enjoying stitching on her so much I’ve decided to leave her on my scrollbars in the lounge and will just keep stitching on her when I feel like it (mainly during the weekends) … and I’m not worrying about counting the hours on her unless I get bored and need to force myself to stitch on her (which will be wee while away yet I think).

Angel of Love 19Jul2014

Technically my next rotation slot is an old UFO, but I haven’t got the project decided yet, so I’ve been pottering around on my laptop instead updating picture files and reorganising my online stitching freebies etc … and that’s almost as good as stitching 🙂

 

Stitching Hermit

The title says it all really … in the last 2-3 days since being home I’ve locked myself away from the world and just stitched my little heart out.  It has really done me the world of good and today I feel a lot more relaxed and back to ‘normal’ again (what ‘normal’ actually is!).

I’ve tried to get back into my rotation slot once again, and it’s done me the world of good to have some sort of discipline again with my stitching – it really helps me to ‘focus’ and I get so much more one than I would normally.  The first rotation slot consisted of Christmas ornaments/freebies, and in my 10 hours I managed to finish 2 ornaments, and almost finish another one (I just had to put it to one side because I can’t find one DMC thread I need to finish it … yep, story of my life!!).  The two that I finished are as follows (I won’t show the other one until I’ve actually finished it!):

LHN-The Merry Skater
“The Merry Skater” by Little House Needleworks
stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Belfast linen by Countrystitch ~ colour Haystack
with recommended threads, except substituting DMC 712 with 3865
Started 21 Apr 2014 ~ Finished 24 Apr 2014

Shepherd's Bush-Joyful Night
“Joyful Night” by Shepherd’s Bush
from the 1998 JCS Christmas Ornament issue
stitched on 32ct Lambswool Wichelt linen
with recommended threads, except substituting DMC Ecru with 3865
Note: the chart called for pink DMC for the sheep swirl, which seemed to be an error,
so I replaced with DMC 3865
Started 24 Apr 2014 ~ Finished 25 Apr 2014

Then I moved on to my Canvaswork rotation slot … the last time I started this one (Blue Bayou by Northern Pine Designs) I found the WDW pearl cotton that was supposed to be PC#8 was actually PC#5 (it was mislabelled), and it really showed up with my stitching … so my first job yesterday was to unpick the original pearl cotton stitching … which ended up being a challenge in itself!  Because the waffle stitch has so few threads on the back to weave into, I’d managed to thread through a few stitches adjoining it, and it ended up being such a tangled mess trying to unpick I just ended up frogging those as well … which left me with 3 very small bands of metallic threads left.  Once I started stitching, though, I set the stopwatch going and really got into the rhythm of this one.  It’s one of those projects when you wake up in the morning and turn over to see your stitching on your stitching stand and it makes your spirits soar straightaway!

Unfortunately, though, I hadn’t realised I didn’t have one of the pearl cottons for this design, so I’m a bit stalled now … I originally hadn’t worried too much knowing that I should be able to get pearl cottons locally, until I realised last night that it’s actually an Anchor pearl cotton that I need.  I’ve decided, though, to just try and get a DMC equivalent as I really don’t think it’ll make that much of a difference.  Today I’m going to head out to my local Spotlight to see if they have what I need (although truthfully don’t hold out much hope!!).  If not, I’ll just start up a different canvaswork piece to start work on for the remaining 3 hours of my rotation instead.  Here is how Blue Bayou looks right now, along with some close-ups of those amazing stitches in it so far:

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