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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Enjoying two days off work

Oh boy it’s been mental at work lately … the bosses asked if we could bring the deadline forward by a day for a project that was already pushing everyone to their limits to get it completed by the original deadline … which ended up seeing a small handful of us working through the night (literally) for a couple of days beforehand.  I think my worst day was finishing at 3.30am the night before launch, and being back in the office at 7.00am again the next day (launch day).  It seemed OK at the time, but by the following Monday I felt like death warmed up and couldn’t concentrate at work.  I ended up waving the white flag on Tuesday and asked the big boss for 1-2 days off as days in lieu for all the extra hours … and he gave me 2 days, which I’ve just taken.

You would think that with a 4-day weekend I’d be stitching up a storm, but alas not a needle has been seen for the last 4 days … instead I’ve been superglued to my home computer 12 hours a day, uploading a lot of my old stitching finishes into Flickr, and adding copyright symbols onto every photo.  I haven’t bothered doing anything with my old photos since losing them all when Webshots closed down … but even though it’s taken a heck of a lot of effort (and I’m still not finished), it’s felt very rewarding.

Have you ever taken the time to go back through your old stitching photos and amazed yourself at just how much you’ve achieved during your stitching lifetime?  Well that’s been me the last few days!  It’s also been interesting seeing stitching trends over each year – for example 2010 for me seemed to be the “Year of Just Nan” … and also the year of the Great Pumpkin Challenge that I enjoyed so much.  I’d also forgotten how much detailed and varied work I did in the earlier years, and it’s given me the urge to revisit those days by choosing some challenging pieces for upcoming projects.  All-in-all it’s been such a wonderful trip down memory lane for me!!

It also means that eventually over time I’ll be updating a lot of the photos on this blog too, as most of the piccies disappeared when Webshots shut down.  I’m slowly working my way through 2011 and 2010 at the moment, and just focusing on the stitching finishes … I’m not sure if I’ll bother updating with the WIP piccies, but “never say never” I guess 😉

In the meantime, though, I can show the latest progress on Fern pixie at the end of last week’s stitching efforts from 30 March:

Fern by Nora Corbett @ 30 March 2014

Fern by Nora Corbett @ 30 March 2014

Still around … but without my mojo (& March WIPocalypse)

Well, it seems my mojo has totally deserted me over the last month or so – I haven’t touched a needle, literally, in over a month!  Work stresses and personal stresses have just seen my head too cluttered to stitch … while normally stitching would bring me relief at times like this, it had reached the stage where the thought of stitching just felt overwhelming for some daft reason.  Instead I’ve been spending lots of time on my laptop checking out stitching websites and just being generally lazy and doing ‘nothing’.

As for work, I still have a job but there are lots of people who have been in the company for many years that I worked with really closely that have now left, and they still haven’t worked through all the levels of the company yet, so many more heads yet to roll.  Even though I know my job is safe, it’s still very disconcerting and upsetting while other colleagues and friends still wait for the decision affecting them.  They haven’t given me much time to ponder it, though, as I was given a new ‘project’ to work on with an exceptionally tight deadline, so it’s been back to working 14-hour days again over the last couple of weeks, and next week will be “the week from hell” where I’ll be planning to pretty much sleep there for the week!!  At least now we’re back working closer to home I know I can be home in 20 minutes at the end of the day, so that’s a blessing if nothing else.

And as for today … well, would you believe it, today I’m going to FINALLY break that mojo curse, and I’m going to pick up my needle and do some stitching to try and get back into my stitching routine.  I have a huge list of TV shows I need to watch on my DVRs (so much that one has stopped recording because the memory is full!!), seeing as I haven’t been keeping up-to-date with it much, so that’s a perfect excuse to chill out at home with the TV on and my stitching on my lap 🙂  It will be interesting to see how much I can get done this weekend after not doing anything for so long!!  Here is my skimpy progress on Fern since my last WIPocalypse post, which was done a month ago now in the last week of February …

One good thing, though, is that I’m being forced to take annual leave and long service leave before the end of June … as I can’t afford to go anywhere, that means having 3 1/2 weeks of leave between now and then … I think I just may enjoy a couple of 2-week leave blocks around the home lazing around stitching – there’ll be no excuses not to get my mojo back then, that’s for sure!!! 😀

UPDATED TO ADD:  Oops, I forgot that the question for the March WIPocalypse was where our favourite stitching spots were … I have to admit since my new flatmate moved in he’s pretty much taken over the lounge and my favourite stitching spot in there is no longer my favourite unless he’s gone out for the weekend … instead you will now only ever see me sat up in bed doing my stitching, so this is now my favourite (actually I’ve always enjoyed sitting up in bed stitching, anyway, so it’s no hardship!).

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My stitching mojo is AWOL

The last couple of weeks have been quite stressful … while there have been highlights that have been really positive, there is the underlying stress at work as the company I work for makes some big decisions on reshaping the business drastically.  This of course means a lot of jobs are about to get axed or restructured, and we’ve already been given the hard line to expect that our team is going to be hit badly along with everyone else.  While everyone is still continuing along with their day-to-day business, and taking on new work etc, there is still that underlying ‘tension’ that is ever-present as people leave and positions are not filled, and you witness numerous meetings being held with the most serious faces you can imagine.  This is the 3rd time I’ve experienced this since moving to Sydney, and this is perhaps the biggest one we’ve faced yet … and quite frankly it is a bit emotionally draining continuing to witness the events and still keep working hard and trying to ignore the atmosphere …  I keep trying to tell myself not to think about it, as the outcome will be out of our hands either way – and stressing over it isn’t going to change the outcome.  I guess either way, we’ll all find out over the next week or two whether we still have a job (albeit a very different one, no doubt) or whether the grim reaper has arrived at your desk and has come to help you pack up your belongings.  In no way do I feel badly towards my employers though, it’s something that they really do have to do, and probably should have been done a long time ago … and I’ll continue to feel proud to work for them and support them in whatever decisions are made … but from a personal perspective, it’s obviously unsettling for now …

Add to that I’ve been just generally feeling really run-down thanks to my B12 deficiency, it’s lead to a very ineffective week’s worth of stitching – I’ve just not been in the mood to stitch whatsoever over the last week or two.  That mojo that was going great guns has just dwindled down to nothing … which is not good, seeing as I have my pixie that I wanted to give as a gift to my penpal in the first week of March … have a strange feeling that’s not going to happen, especially as I’m missing 2 skeins of Kreinik #4 braid and 2 packets of Mill Hill Magnifica beads!  I still have a couple of canvaswork threads that need to be posted by Nordic Needle (they were on backorder since before Christmas), so I’m going to ask for those to be added to my order seeing as I’m already paying an exorbitant price for shipping from them!  Then it really is a case of being really frugal with money for the rest of the year where stash is concerned … plus I’m going to go through and try and sell off a lot of my stash that I know I won’t stitch – I’ve already managed to offload some charts for a song through an Aussie Facebook group, but there is still lots left that I need to get rid of, so I guess I should finally learn how to sell on Ebay and get rid of them!

Anyway, enough of the doom and gloom … here is the progress so far on Fern by Nora Corbett … pretty sad really!  Here is the before photo from my WIPocalypse post, and how she sits now …

On a more positive note, however, I put my hand up to volunteer at a recent CEO Cookoff charity event – it was an amazing night and I really enjoyed the opportunity to help out and see the joy on the faces of the guests and feel like you were making a difference to their lives, albeit it for such a short time.  There were about 900 guests who are predominantly from homeless shelters etc, and some well-known local chefs donated their time to cook for the guests, along with some high profile CEOs (including our own) cooking as well and who raised funds through sponsorship for the event.  It was incredibly hard work, but incredibly and exceptionally rewarding – and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!!  I’d be happy to wear my red “Community Champion” shirt again with pride!!