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WIPocalypse – April 2017

The only WIP I worked on during April was my Egyptian Garden Mandala. Here’s what it looked like at the start of the month:

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And what it looks like now:

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Yeah, not that different really, other than a bit of work done on the pyramid in the bottom corner. I haven’t had much time or energy to stitch this month, and needed to spend some time catching up on my SALs for the year, as well as getting a new start kitted up – that’s Mirabilia’s “Red”, except I’m doing a blue conversion. I’m going to a local Mirabilia retreat where Nora’s attending, so I was hoping to have it stitched before then … but seeing as it’s not started yet, and the retreat kicks off on Friday 5 May, I think I’m a bit out of luck on that score 😉

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WIPocalypse March 2017

2015 WIPocalypseNot much stitching done in general this month due to crazy working hours and just feeling generally exhausted all the time.  But these last two weekends I’ve made up for it a wee bit by plonking myself in front of the TV in my stitching chair, watching loads of Gilmore Girls episodes back to back, and finally getting needle to meet fabric once again.  The result is a reasonable update to Egyptian Garden Mandala.  It feels good to finally make some progress – I was getting bored with my least favourite border section, so I moved onto one of the corners to have a break on one of the pyramid blocks. Next session I’ll go back to finishing that dratted border until the bottom part is finished – then once that’s done I’ll be flipping the frame around again to finish those over-one fishies in the centre and working on the beading and backstitching from the pond outwards. Anyway, this is the progress that I managed in March (the only WIPocalypse project I worked on):

Before:

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After:

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I’ve also dragged out a pile of small and freebie designs that I’d love to work on in-between larger projects, so I may do that soon as well – in a rotation of sorts. Maybe 10 hours (or a full weekend) on a larger piece of work, then slot in a wee freebie that will only take me a few hours to finish. Hmmm, I like that plan! Either way, it’s likely that Egyptian Garden Mandala will remain a key focus piece for a while. I must say, though, it’s a lot bigger than I expected it to be!

I just realised I forgot about the monthly questions, so I’ll do February and March together below:

February 26 – What is your favourite stitch other than the standard cross stitch?  (bonus points if you provide a how-to link or diagram it on your blog post!)
Let me think … I would probably say the various Rhodes stitches (especially hearts) and I also really love the look of Sheaf stitch. I really love doing canvaswork because of the interesting stitches, so there aren’t that many I really don’t enjoy.

March 26 – What stitchy blogs, groups, or flosstubes do you follow and why?
I haven’t truthfully read blogs regularly for a few years now, mainly because of my long work hours and not having as much free time as I used to … but in saying that I’ve been wasting much more time in Facebook groups, which seems so much quicker for me on my phone – I do miss reading my favourite blogs though, and every few months I’ll have a quick recap on some of my oldie favourites. I don’t follow Flosstube videos, as I find them too distracting and just generally not ‘my thing’.  Most of my spare time is now spent doing actual stitching rather than reading about it … a bit of a strange concept for me 😉

 

WIPocalypse – February 2017

2015 WIPocalypseYippee, February seemed to be a great month for working on WIPs – in fact WIPs have been the only things I’ve worked on.  Not a huge amount of stitching has been done during week nights, as I haven’t been sleeping well thanks to the heat at the start of the month, but I often made up for it on the weekends.

First up was this one – I fell out with this one ages ago because I really hated how short the kit threads were, and felt like I was only getting a handful of stitches out of each length of thread before having to cut off and rethread the needle.  So many times I felt like dragging out the DMC and re-kitting it up myself.  Apparently I’ve got more patience this year – I just forced myself to ‘suck it up, princess’, not think too much about it, and just ‘stitched’.  After a few colours I got into a rhythm again with it and just kept going until it was finished.  It’ll never be my favourite piece of stitching, but I do like it now it’s finished.  I think it may get turned into a slip cover for a notebook or photo album of stitching … I’m not sure really.  Anyway, here’s the before (how it was when I picked it up) picture and the finish.  The finished photo is closer to the fabric colour, but badly out of focus … oops.

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“The Formal Garden” by Textile Heritage Collection
Stitched on 14ct dark green Aida (kit fabric) with kit threads
Finished 12 February 2017

Then the next one I chose to work on is another older WIP – I hate this one with a passion for various reasons.  This one is Egyptian Garden Mandala by Chatelaine.

First of all I really hate the fabric choice … really and truly.  I love the colour, don’t get me wrong, but the fabric is quite closely woven thanks to the dyeing process and the opalescent threads make it even harder to see the holes.  Not to mention the beads are too cramped together and I keep having to omit and fudge the odd bead to get them to lay straight.  I’ve tossed up a few times whether to cut my losses and start again on a non-hand-dyed fabric, which I know I’d enjoy soooo much more, but I keep looking at just how much I’ve stitched in comparison to what is left to be stitched, and it does seem a bit crazy at this stage to start again.

As well as the fabric choice, I got fed up with the over-one stitching, messed it all up, and had to unpick it … at that point it got thrown into the ‘naughty corner’ before I turned it into a Mexican hat dance accessory.  Last weekend I bit the bullet and spent 2 hours pulling the over-one stitching out and started re-stitching it all again.  If I thought the rest of the stitching is difficult to see the holes, trying to stitch with metallic threads over-one is, quite frankly, a right royal bloody nightmare on this fabric!  I still have no idea how the hell I’m going to see to fill in the remaining stitches in those fishies!!

I spent so much on this kit, though, I just can’t justify throwing it out, and I really do love the design … so I figure I’ll just do little bits here and there in-between other more fun projects and eventually (some day before I retire and/or struggle with poor eyesight) it’ll become a finish … hopefully.

Anyhoo, here it is once again with the before and after photos.  I guess it’s nice to see a bit of progress, although I’m already getting the urge to move onto something more fun, so I think it may not see much more progress for a wee while.

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What’s next on the stitching agenda?  Well, I still have my Hallowe’en SAL piece to work on, so possibly that one … but maybe a nice quick freebie or smalls piece to give me a quick and easy finish … maybe … to be honest I really don’t know what I feel like stitching, so it’ll be a surprise either way! 😉

 

Egyptian Garden Mandala

The only stitching done this weekend was on EGM – I spent a reasonable amount of time on this one on Saturday, then had a break while I polished off book 4 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood (Butch) … then managed a few more hours last night while Katie and I watched a few more episodes of Dark Angel.  TV viewing has been appalling just lately, with many of our favourite shows now off the air, so we’ve been working our way through our TV shows on DVD instead.  Initially we dedicated Friday night each week as our TV DVD night (and what felt like never-ending weeks of Dawson’s Creek initially) – but lately we’d rather watch our DVDs than anything on actual TV.

Tonight was no exception, and I managed to put another couple of hours into Egyptian Garden Mandala (“EGM”), bringing the latest stitching effort to look like this:

EGM 12Jul10

I can honestly and truthfully say that this is a true “labour” to stitch … not a labour of love, just a “labour”.  I truly detest the fabric I’m stitching this one on … I will never ever in all my days choose an opalescent fabric to stitch on again – and don’t get me started on trying to stitch little over-one fishes in metallic thread in the centre of this piece, ‘cos I’m seriously VERY close to ripping the whole lot out, filling in the centre with normal cross stitches, and stitching on some mother of pearl fish buttons or something similar!  I keep getting tempted to scrap the whole thing and start over again on a new piece of normal Belfast linen, but the fact is I’ve come so far with the stitching now, I don’t know if I’d ever bother picking it up again … so I continue to force myself to stitch, and hope like hell each time that I’m getting closer to the edge of the next section, as each section that gets completed takes me one step closer to ending this stitching journey (which will, alas, be quite some months in the future I fear!). 

No sign yet of my back-ordered threads arriving at the overseas store, much less leaving the US, so this one will continue for a while longer yet (even though I have to strain to see over the top of it a bit in my stitching chair) … unless the urge to throw it out the window grows so loud that I’m starting to take notice …

I guess the good news is that it’ll be like motherhood when it’s finished … all the pain of the actual childbirth will be forgotten, and the beautiful creation that remains completed at the end will wipe all the memories of pain and suffering away … and it’ll all be worth it in the end … especially once it gets is sparkly beads stitched on.  In fact, I tried adding some more of the shitty over-one fishies over the weekend, ‘cos once they’re stitched up I’m going to start adding the back-stitching and beads as I go … and I think once they start getting added it’ll add a bit more ‘spring to my needle’ 🙂

Egyptian Garden makes a come-back

Back to work again for me today – still not 100% healthwise, but I managed to survive one day at work before the weekend is here again … the bad news is I’m so far behind in some work it means I’ll probably be going into the office over the weekend for a couple of hours to catch up, because deadlines are looming and I’m in meetings most of the day on Monday … c’est la vie 😦

Stitching-wise I managed to re-stitch my Quaker Huswif section while I was off work, and am moving on to the bottom section … which means it won’t be too long before I’m at the halfway mark on this project.  Unfortunately I took the photo this morning in dark light without much indoor lighting and the photo is dreadful … c’est la vie once again …  Once I’ve finished this project I’ll try to take some decent photos during daylight that will show off the colour of the thread and fabric nicely.

Quaker Huswif 8Jul10

Then tonight, also in poor lighting but this time only using my daylight bulb immediately over the fabric, I managed to take yet another appalling snap of my stitching update with Egyptian Garden Mandala (this time totally washed out!) … but I can’t be bothered waiting until daylight to take another one 🙂

Egyptian Garden 9Jul10

Each time I look at EGM I think the little border of birdies just isn’t ‘right’ – the blue/green birds blend in too much into the border background, so I think at the end I’ll backstitch the tops of all the birds to add a bit more emphasis to their shape.  I almost didn’t bother taking a progress piccie because I don’t feel as though I’ve made much progress, but when I look at the last progress piccie I guess you can see some headway made … just 😛

Egyptian Garden is such an unwieldy project on its huge Qsnaps that it’s a right royal pain to handle, so I’ve decided it will be sitting on my lounge stitching frame for a wee while longer … at least until my back-ordered threads arrive to complete Halloween Fairy anyway.  Quaker Huswif, as much as I don’t want to stop stitching on it, will continue to be my sitting in bed stitching project, so it may now take a lot longer to get much further along with it.

Anyway for now it’s time to stop gabbing and take my ringing ears and blocked sinuses off to bed … maybe time to read a chapter or two of Book 4 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood (Butch) … depending on whether the tumbler of port and brandy that I consumed this evening will allow me or not (for medicinal purposes, you understand LOL).

Resurfacing old U.F.O.

We spent the evening watching some TV and Supernatural episodes while I split my time between trying to resurrect my laptop (it keeps dying) and my stitching.  I managed to stitch as far as I could on Sapphire Star, and realised I am missing yet another thread somehow … will have to check my stash to make sure I haven’t just forgotten to add it to the ‘kit’.  Anyway, it’s looking great, if I say so myself!

Then I decided not to start anything new, but to pick up a very VERY old UFO that hasn’t been touched since … um … well … since April 2007 … yikes!!!  I haven’t touched any of my old UFOs since I finished Chatelaine’s Stitching Leporello last year, so I decided it was time to put a few stitches into it … I didn’t manage a great deal, but did manage to finish the stitching of the ‘bird band’ on the outside.  I still hate the over-one section in the middle, and would dearly love someone to wave a magic wand over it to make it be “finished” … perhaps I’ll make myself do one strand of over-one stitching each time I pick it up before I stitch more on the fun parts – but then again that may put me off picking it up full stop – hmmm, maybe I should just leave it until the end, so it has to be done before the beading, that should be incentive enough!  The “Before” picture shows the fabric colour more accurately.

Before
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After

Today I’ve been struggling on and off all day with a nauseous migraine, so have been in bed most of the afternoon.  I was getting restless so thought I’d tempt fate and sit up for a few minutes – but now I think it’s time to go back to bed again …

WIP’s and UFO’s

This is especially for Kathy of the Blig Blog … here are photos of the current state of all my UFO’s (I could pretend that they were WIP’s but seeing as the majority haven’t seen a stitch put into them in over 12 months, 95% would definitely be deemed as UFO status!):

Macaw by Ross Originals Beaded Fish WIPs
Macaw -&- Beaded Fish

EG-01May07 TW English Garden Sampler
Egyptian Garden Mandala -&- English Garden Sampler

Le Jardin Silk Sampler 21Jan05 Flight of the Bumblebees at 2Jan07
Le Jardin Silk Sampler -&- Flight of the Bumblebees

TW Noahs Ark Winter Queen 01Jun08 1
Noah’s Ark -&- Winter Queen

Designs by Lena Rose-In the Dark needleroll 1 With Love & Affection
In the Dark Needleroll -&- Love & Affection

st-wildflower-needleroll Apricot Elegance
Wildflowers Needleroll -&- Apricot Elegance

Hussif by Monica Hunt XS Bookmark
Monica Hunt Hussif -&- Classical Garden Bookmark

Nature's Resting Place Beehive Needlecase
Nature’s Resting Place -&- Wool Beehive Needlebook

Oriental Poppy & Cornflower Summer Fruits
Oriental Poppy -&- Summer Fruits Pincushion

Pomegranates, Snail & Gold Bug HOCS Hussif
Pomegranates & Beetle – Martha Schmidt Hussif

Thimble Pipkin Thimble Pipkin Thimble Pipkin
Stumpwork Needlework Accessories

Goldwork Pea Pods Wool Embroidery
Goldwork Pea -&- Wool hot water bottle cover

Honesty & Heartsease stumpwork Bullion Roses
Honesty & Heartsease -&- Bullion Rose Facecloth

Frog Longstitch Butterflies & Hearts needleroll
Long stitch frogs -&- Butterflies & Hearts Needleroll

Dragonfly Common Hawker Dragonfly
Stumpwork Dragonfly

Berry Delightful Bag Mediterranean XS
Berry Delightful Bag -&- Mediterranean Village XS

quilting-ufo-2
Vicki’s Cot Quilt

Stitching Leporello isn’t included in the photos, as I’ve been stitching a complete section each time, so no individual section is in progress at the moment. And I can’t put my hands to either a photo or the actual project of GCC Ornamental Delights, so I guess that one won’t be getting stitched in a hurry haha.

Very sad that some of these projects are over halfway and never finished, however there are many there that are barely started … I’m sorely tempted to just unpick the bullion rose facecloth, for example, as I don’t know if I truly ever want to finish it, the same with a couple more projects in there … will see how I feel after one more stitching session on them, I guess, before I make the ultimate decision to turf out. It’s funny when you look back through the photos and remember why you stopped working on them … for example the Lorri Birmingham Butterflies & Hearts needleroll, I really hated the colours used, as I felt the wording etc just faded into the background, so no doubt that whole piece will be unpicked and started again from scratch with my choice of threads 🙂

I’ve already gone out and pulled numbers out of the hat for the first round, and highlighted the text in bold in the main list in the previous post … and I’m really looking forward to starting my rotation – I just want to finish my current piece first … although I guess I could just choose to start at the “free choice” slot and start counting my hours, that way I can continue with my current project and be starting my actual rotation at the same time – ooh, I like it when a plan comes together!!! 😀

That means my new current rotation is as follows:

  1. Focus Piece:  CA Wells class projects
  2. Medium/Large:  Lavenderblue Celtic Knot Quilt – From Nancy’s Needle
  3. WIP’s/UFO’s:  Berry Delightful Bag
  4. Focus Piece:  CA Wells class projects
  5. Small/Medium: Jumpin’ Jelly Beans – DKT Originals (freebie)
  6. Large/BAP’s:  Egyptian Garden Mandala
  7. Focus Piece:  CA Wells class projects
  8. Christmas Ornaments
  9. Finishing
  10. Free Choice