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WIPocalypse November 2017

Wow, where did the time fly? It certainly wasn’t spent doing cross stitching, I know that much!! Not much stitching to share for the last three months I’ve been AWOL, at least for my WIPs anyway.  The only WIP updates I have are to the following, and even the progress here is pretty minimal.

First up there was Roswood Manor’s ‘Quaker Diamonds’ in early September – before and after:

Then there was Mirabilia’s ‘Red’ (in blue) later in September – before and after:

And lucky last I managed a few hours on Mill Hill’s ‘Starfish’ kit a week or two ago:

The rest of the time has been spent unexpectedly moving apartments as the owner of the apartment I’d been living in for almost 11 years decided to sell. In the middle of moving I also had a stitching retreat to attend, so I decided to still go to one day of the weekend retreat anyway – partly because I’d paid for some kits and and prepaid all the costs and accommodation … but partly because I thought I deserved the break. My mum flew over to help me pack/move, but sadly her early signs of dementia made that add a bit more stress to the proceedings and actually slowed things down – it was fantastic having her company, though, in saying that. Anyway, I’m all moved in now, and only about 20 boxes left yet to unpack (!). Most of the stitching stash has been unpacked now, so at least I’m free to go back to picking up the odd WIP or two when I feel like it.

After moving I couldn’t find my XS stash for ages, but the good thing is that I had the retreat projects handy and ready to go. As soon as I’d returned home from taking Mum back to NZ, I gave myself a week off from unpacking and had a week full of doing some wonderful ‘new-to-me’ crafts. It was really awesome, and just what the doctor ordered. There was so much to post about, I’ll make a separate post for these projects – mind you, they’ve now become WIPs, so a couple of them may reappear again in the future as non-XS WIPs for WIPocalypse …

Anyhoo, to finish off the post, here are the outstanding questions:

September 24 – Which floss (or color of floss) do you absolutely adore and want to stash constantly?
I adore Gloriana silks, and about six months ago signed up with a floss stash program where I’m sent four skeins every month with no postage costs. If I could choose them all to be BLUE skeins I’d be in seventh heaven, but having an envelope each month with luscious-feeling silks in any colour has been heavenly in itself. Obviously anything blue is something I’m always wanting … and every time I go to find a blue silk or floss I still never have just the ‘right’ shade to use …

October 29 – How did you begin stitching?
I used to try different crafts out all the time when I was in my ‘teens. At some point I decided to try cross stitch, and bought a small kit on aida to make for our office receptionist’s retirement gift. It’s the only craft I’ve continued to do year after year, while all the other crafts have fallen by the wayside over the years.

November 26 – What finishing style have you never tried but would love to do?
I have so many ‘smalls’ that I’d like to try finishing the list would be endless … I can’t truthfully think of just one that stands out above all others, though.

 

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WIPocalypse August 2017

My goodness, doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun? I can’t believe it’s check-in time again for the WIPocalypse … although for once I finally have some decent stitching to share!

This month I’ve decided to go back to doing a formal stitching rotation, with 10 hours stitching in each rotation slot. The first time I did this religiously I noticed I got a heck of a lot more stitching done, and it seems like this time is no exception 🙂 My rotation contains a mix of old and new projects to mix it up a wee bit, with plenty of opportunity to give some older WIPs/UFOs a bit of tender loving care. It also now means I have a number of new WIPs to add to my WIPocalypse pile, as most of my projects are ones that will take a few rotations to complete. My rotation is basically as follows:

  1. Focus piece – currently Mirabilia’s Red (done in blue)
  2. Medium-sized projects – new start Jim Shore/Mill Hill’s Three Kings
  3. UFOs
  4. Focus piece
  5. Small to medium-sized projects – something to get a quick finish or two under my belt, and primarily new projects already kitted up
  6. Large and BAPs – currently Rosewood Manor’s Quaker Diamonds
  7. Focus piece
  8. Stitching smalls & Christmas ornies
  9. Canvaswork
  10. Non-cross stitch – to give myself a regular challenge

First up is my focus piece – this one appears in rotation slots 1, 4 and 7, so it will be getting lots of love regularly until it’s finished. My current focus piece is Mirabilia’s Red done in a blue conversion by Beverley and available here. Here’s the before photo on the left, and after two rotation slots on the right – it was very exciting to move the scroll bars up a bit!

Next up came a new start for me – Three Kings by Jim Shore/Mill Hill. This is stitched on the recommended fabric and has been kitted up for a wee while now. I figured it was time to get it started and some return on my hard-earned $$$ spent 😉 Here’s how it looked at the end of the rotation slot:

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Next in line was the UFO slot in my rotation – and the one slot that’ll likely give me lots of WIPocalypse fodder in the future. I summoned up the courage to finally get the stitching finished on a very old WIP – Flight of the Bumblebees by Ruth Schmuff. It’s not 100% finished yet, as I can’t find my Access Commodities gold spangles to finish it off. I also couldn’t find the bee charms, but managed to dig those up last week woohoo. Spangles are on their way from a US store, and it means that by the time the UFO rotation slot appears again, I can use it to finish this delightful labour of love. I have to say I never EVER want to re-do that drawn thread border ever again on canvas … that was a lot of love with not much love 😉 I really do adore this project, though, and so thrilled to see how far along I managed to get it this month! Once again a before and after shot:

Because I still had six hours of my rotation slot left over after not being able to finish Flight of the Bumblebees I dragged out another UFO – I really struggle with this one, so those six hours felt like forever. Not sure I’ll continue to keep this in the rotation next round, or maybe I’ll do half the rotation slot on something else and half on this one … I dunno, will see how I feel closer to the time …

Next up was of course my focus piece again, which I’ve already covered – and then it was into the small-medium sized projects, which are new starts, so I’ll do a new post to cover those. All-in-all though a VERY productive month stitching-wise, which feels awesome! Before I sign off, though, here’s the question of the month:

How do you get yourself out of a stitching drought?

Truly I don’t stress about it anymore – if anything I tidy up my stash, fill up my wishlist online, and just look through the pictures in online stitching groups. More often than not, though, if my stitching mojo has gone it also affects my energy for everything else. I always know, though, that it will return … so I don’t stress and just do whatever my heart tells me to do until my mojo returns – and it has always returned at some point 🙂

 

WIPocalypse May-July 2017

Oops, looks like life got in the way over the last few months – lots of things happening that took me away from my stitching, and what stitching I did do was basically non-WIP related … although I do now have additional WIPs for future months 😉

So, what took me away from stitching? First up in early May was a stitching retreat in Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains of NSW. We were very lucky to have Nora Corbett join us, and I got to meet a few stitchers in real life that have been Facebook friends for a wee while now. It certainly got me out of my comfort zone meeting so many new people, but I felt like I’d known them for years. I couldn’t stop chatting and laughing my head off with the ladies at my table – very unusual for the introverted stitcher, that’s for sure! It was really awesome, and so much so I’ve already signed up for next year’s retreat in February 😀

I’ve managed to stitch the retreat design since attending (I started it on the Sunday while I was there) – I decided not to add the words (Mirabilia, Australia, 2017) to it, but in hindsight I think I’m going to add them in as it’ll be more of a personal momento of the weekend … which means this is probably no longer a finish but rather a WIP 😉

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I even managed to win first place honours with two other talented ladies in the judging for best non-framed category. I was absolutely gobsmacked by this one, and still feel dead chuffed to this day. My Enchanted Mermaid has been one of my all-time favourite stitched pieces, so now I have even more reason to love her to bits 🙂 Here I am with my prizewinnings, a lovely scissors and tape measure set 😀 (Note the theme for the weekend was ‘tiara and pearls’, hence the tiara … it’s not my normal choice of attire haha.)

After the stitching weekend, I had a visit from my dear Mum for a couple of weeks which normally means lots of stitching time, but instead we were out and about seeing the sights and no stitching at all.  After she’d gone home, though, I made up for lost time, and the last month or so has seen me working on a WIP that I started early last year. After putting this into my Qsnaps I haven’t felt like working on anything else, and I’ve just kept plugging away at it until two days ago when I put the final stitches into it – woohoo, a HUGE happy dance happened at home, that’s for sure!  Here’s my 2nd finished HAED hot off the Qsnaps.

Daisy Blue copy

“Daisy Blue” by Jo Lynch (HAED)
Stitched on 28ct Lugana, 1 over 1 using full crosses
with recommended DMC
Finished size = approx 7″ x 5″

Next up is my Hallowe’en SAL project for the year that’s well overdue – this is the section I was supposed to stitch in May, for the theme of ‘Black cats’. Oh well, better late than never. I’m stitching with my choice of overdyed threads close to the original charted DMC, although I’m not not 100% sure of my choices. Oh well, “she’ll be right”… Here’s the ‘before and after’ – yeah, not that much to look at really 😉

And now onto the missing WIPocalypse questions – as usual, there’s the backlog responses here too …

April 2017:

“What projects are in your UFO pile?”

Pretty much everything down in the bottom of my right-hand sidebar are old UFOs with a few newer ones thrown in for good measure. Below are where they’re currently at, and why they stalled where relevant:

  • Monica Hunt: Hussif – 95% – this only needs the feather stitching done to attach the pieces together, and to add the button etc, all the individual pieces are completed. It’s quite pathetic why I haven’t done this one yet!
  • Homespun Elegance: Starry Snowman – 90% – this will only take an hour or so to finish, I think I just keep forgetting it’s there.
  • CA Wells: Sailors Valentine – 85% – I need to be in a good headspace to get back into the groove with this piece, and can’t even remember how to do the simple joining stitch, so I feel intimated by this one, especially with the finishing!
  • Teresa Wentzler: English Garden Sampler – 80% – I want to replace the alphabet with a nice saying, but can’t make a decision which saying to use.
  • Cindy Valentine: Bee Keeper Scissor Keeper & Fob – 80% – the scissor keeper is finished, I just need to stitch the matching fob which shouldn’t take that long to do.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Stumpwork needlework accessories (thimble pip) – 80% – I’ve lost my stumpwork mojo and really need to find it again! I’m not 100% happy with the tension on this one or the fabric used, and not 100% sure this will ever get completed because of that reason.
  • Ruth Schmuff Designs: Flight of the Bumblebees – 80% – I was waiting for a skein of Kreinik #8 to arrive, which it now has, so this will be joining my stitching list very soon, watch this space!
  • CA Wells: Cottage Etui – 75% – see the Sailors Valentine above.
  • Stoney Creek: Nature’s Resting Place – 70% – there are so many mistakes in this one it’s not funny – also the very first piece stitched on evenweave so about 30 years old and using older DMC colours – not sure I can be bothered salvaging this one.
  • Mediterranean Village scene – 70% – not in love with this at all, tried changing the colours from Anchor and don’t like the choices – not sure it’ll ever be finished.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Dragonfly – 70% – see thimblepip above.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Honesty & Heartsease – 70% – see thimblepip above.
  • Cindy Valentine: Apricot Elegance – 65% – unpicked the buttonhole edging so many times it isn’t funny, so it was thrown into the naughty corner over 10 years ago.
  • Hardanger Scissor Fob – 60% – not sure why this isn’t finished yet, it won’t take too long to do.
  • Berry Delightful bag – 60% – not feeling the love.
  • Beaded fish – 50% – can’t remember how to do the stitches!
  • CA Wells: Pyramid Etui – 50% – see the Sailors Valentine above.
  • Wool hotwater bottle cover – 50% – don’t like the colours chosen, and want to start again.
  • Summer Fruits pincushion – 40% – not feeling the love.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Oriental Poppy – 40% – see thimblepip above.
  • Jane Nicholas (stumpwork): Pomegranates and Beetle – 35% – see thimblepip above.
  • Teresa Wentzler: Noah’s Ark – 35% – too many other things I love more.
  • Wool beehive needlebook – 35% – not sure why I stopped this one.
  • Chatelaine: Egyptian Garden Mandala – 35% – really dislike the fabric chosen, but gradually adding a few stitches this year as I’m determined to finish it if only because I spent so much money on the kit!
  • Shepherd’s Bush: Finch Song – 20% – missing some threads to kit it up (the chart was secondhand from a friend on loan).
  • ByGone Stitches: Quaker Christmas II – 20% – not 100% keen on my fabric choice, but I do a few stitches every now and then.
  • Country Threads: Paris – 20% – a newer UFO that will see daylight every now and then. One letter down, four to go.
  • Goldwork pea – 15% – I made a mistake right at the start, and not sure it can be fixed.
  • JCS magazine: Le Jardin Silk Sampler – 10% – really hate stitching with the Silk Serica, so it stalled and I haven’t picked it back up again.
  • Martha Schmidt: Hussif – 5% – don’t like my thread choices, and want to start again.
  • Rosewood Manor: Quaker Diamonds – 5% – love this one, just other projects have jumped up the priority queue – hope to do a bit more of this one this year.
  • Textile Heritage: Topiary Bookmark – 5% – can’t stitch in hand, so I need to attach somehow to a frame.
  • Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches: Raphael’s Raspberries – 5% – just got side-tracked with other projects.
  • Moss Creek Designs: Schwalmwork Pinkeep – 1% – got side-tracked with other projects I like better.
  • Mirabilia: Bluebeard’s Princess Mirabella – 1% – dislike my fabric choice, and want to start again.
  • Lavender & Lace: Celtic Summer – 1% – can’t decide what threads to use to replace the duck-egg blue Needlepaint ones that are no longer available.
  • Country Cottage Needleworks: The Tea Room – 1% – not sure why I haven’t done any more on this one.
  • Longstitch frogs – 1% – I just fell out of love with this one, and don’t enjoy doing longstitch anymore – I should really just give it away.

May 2017:

“Which designer’s projects do you absolutely love, but are too intimidated to try?”

I can’t say one designer in particular, but I do know hardanger filling stitches etc fill me with dread, so I’m definitely intimidated by those. I love specialty stitches on the whole, though, and enjoy the challenge … but these intimidate me more than normal 😉

June 2017:

“Show us your stitching space! Where do you sit, and what is going on around you while you stitch (TV, audiobooks, etc)?”

The blue recliner in the bottom corner is my stitching chair in my lounge – it usually sits a bit more off to the left, and you’ll normally find me watching TV or with my iPad plugged in listening to audiobooks. Actually the room has had a small shuffle since this photo was taken a few months ago, but it’s close enough to how it is today anyway.

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July 2017:

“What are your oldest and your newest WIPs?”

My oldest WIP/UFO definitely has to be Stoney Creek’s ‘Nature’s Rest’ (see comments in April’s FAQ above). And the newest one is probably the blue converstion of Mirabilia’s ‘Red’. Here they both are as they stand today:

December WIPocalypse 2014

As normal, I totally missed the December deadline … truthfully I haven’t been doing too much stitching, with some more long hours at work that cropped up.  I’m finally enjoying a fortnight off work over the Christmas break, and catching up on some chores, including my final catch-up for the year here.  I spent Christmas Day with my closest friends in Sydney, which was wonderful – we sat superglued to the lounge sofas for 4 days and watched all 4 seasons of Game of Thrones – that also meant I got a bit of stitching done, although I was more distracted by the TV, 2 dogs and 2 cats to get any finishes under my belt 😉  So, here goes the most recent stitching recap, and the final one for the year:

Finishes:

The first finish I had was Poppy by Mirabilia – this is a gift for my hairdresser, whose favourite colour is red, and she asked me to stitch something for her.  I just need to frame it now for her and give it to her in the New Year 🙂

Mirabilia-Poppy“Poppy” by Mirabilia/Nora Corbett
Stitched on 32ct hand-dyed Belfast by Countrystitch ~ colour Winter Sky
with recommended threads and beads
Started Sep 2014 – Finished 30 Nov 2014

The Drawn Thread-Summer Arbor “Summer Arbor” by The Drawn Thread
Stitched on 32ct Light Mocha Belfast linen
with recommended threads but substituted the brown beads
Started 7 Dec 2014 – Finished 23 Dec 2014

Lizzie*Kate-The Greatest Gift is Love“The Greatest Gift is Love” by Lizzie*Kate
(from 2001 JCS Christmas ornie issue)

Stitched on 32ct Natural Belfast linen (I think)
with a mix of recommended and substituted threads
Started 23 Dec 2014 – Finished 23 Dec 2014

Works in Progress:

While I was away at Christmas I managed to start the following two new projects (I took those because they were relatively easy to stitch so I didn’t have to concentrate on them 100% while being distracted by the TV and chatting to company).

First up was Red Lace Sewing Case by The Drawn Thread.  Sadly I ran out of thread for this one, stupidly thinking one skein of Gloriana silk would be enough, and no doubt a replacement skein won’t match the same dyelot, but I’ll have to wait and see once I get around to a stitching order. I was surprised just how quickly that design chewed through the skein of Gloriana! This will eventually be going to a new home (hence the hiding of the letter in the centre), so hopefully it won’t look too bad when the new skein arrives …  The only change I made was to use two strands of silk for the alphabet – I used one initially as per the design instructions, but I hated the look of it, so doubled the strands (sadly that wasn’t the reason for running out).

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Then I ended up starting a Prairie Schooler design called Autumn Leaves. This has been in my stash forever! In hindsight I wish I’d chosen a lighter fabric so the colours pop more, but I chose 32ct Lambswool that I thought the design called for … presumably they used a different linen to the Lambswool I chose! :/ Oh well, I’m sure I’ll still love it when it’s finished … (sorry, but the weird colouring of the fabric is due to my bed’s duvet cover behind it!)

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Recap of 2014 accomplishments:

It looks like I had a relatively poor stitching year compared to normal, thanks to some mental working hours.  Then again, though, some of the projects were quite large in comparison to other years, so all-in-all I’m still pretty stoked with my progress this year.  Here are all the projects I completed in 2014, including 1 older UFO and 2 WIPs carried over from 2013:

Crimson Fire Sampler by The Victoria Sampler LizzieKate-Cross Stitcher in Residence Mirabilia (Nora Corbett)-Valentine Fairy Lavender & Lace-Angel of Love Mirabilia-Poppy Periwinkle Promises-Blue Bell Sampler Accent Prairie Schooler-S is for Spring freebie Margaret Lee Rigiel-Starshine Penguin Poissons Bleus freebie by Si le Point Compte Lizzie*Kate-The Greatest Gift is Love Plum Pudding by JBW Designs Victoria Sampler-Christmas Heart Beyond XS 5-3 Shepherd's Bush-Joyful Night LHN-The Merry Skater Northern Pine Designs-Blue Bayou Butterfly Quartet by DMC Dance in the Rain-Lizzie*Kate Jardin Prive - Eiffel Quaker Green Apple Co-Chambered Nautilus M Designs-Thistle Needleroll pastels Northern Pine-Surf & Sand The Drawn Thread-Summer Arbor

Rotation plans for 2015:

When I was sticking to my rotation it really worked for me this year – and it gave me a place to start again when I did fall off the rotation wagon.  Therefore I’ve decided to keep going in 2015, but I’m leaving it as very much a ‘fluid’ rotation again – if I feel like stitching more than the allocated 10 hours for each slot, I’ll do so … whatever keeps me enjoying my stitching, and actually doing stitching, is what I’ll follow next year 🙂  In saying that, though, there are a few projects that I’d really love to work on during the year – I wouldn’t call them goals as such, rather a wishlist of sorts … but I know I change my mind on a whim where my stitching is concerned, so I won’t be too surprised if I change my mind again during the year!  Anyhoo, here are a few projects that are currently calling my name for my rotation next year:

Medium-Large projects:

  • Christmas Elf Fairy – Nora Corbett/Mirabilia
  • Trick or Treat Box – Just Nan
  • Three Friends – The Drawn Thread
  • Sweet Pea Pixie – Mirabilia
  • Lavender Rose Sewing Case – Fancy Work
  • Very Berry Needlework Accessories – Forget-Me-Nots in Stitches
  • Coffee & Tea series – Little House Needleworks
  • Witchy Way – Just Nan
  • Christmas Sampler – Jeanette Douglas
  • With My Needle – Just Nan

WIPs & UFOs:

  • Red Lace Sewing Case – The Drawn Thread
  • Autumn Leaves – The Prairie Schooler
  • Flight of the Bumblebees – Ruth Schmuff
  • Cottage Etui – C A Wells
  • Egyptian Garden Sampler – Chatelaine
  • English Garden Sampler – Teresa Wentzler
  • Sailor’s Valentine – C A Wells

Small-Medium projects:

  • The Formal Garden – Heritage Collection
  • Wee one birds (various) – Heart in Hand
  • The Tea Room – Country Cottage Needleworks
  • Sitting Pretty – Valerie Pfeiffer
  • Bliss – Bent Creek

Large-BAP projects:

  • Quaker Christmas II – ByGone Stitches (carried over from this year)
  • Quaker Diamonds – Rosewood Manor
  • Christmas Flip-its – Lizzie*Kate
  • Bluebeard’s Princess – Mirabilia

I can’t see many of those getting done, but I can certainly see a few new starts from that list getting started! 😀  As long as I enjoy the journey and continue to enjoy what I’m stitching, I don’t really have any other ambitions other than that 🙂

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.

Flossy is finally finished!!!

I haven’t been doing much of anything at all while staying with my parents, as I just don’t have the mental energy to “get up and go” … so the last few days I’ve been glued to the TV re-watching The Tudors DVDs while doing a tiny spot of stitching.  The weather has been abysmal over here, so it hasn’t been the weather to get outdoors (even the waterfront was flooded last week thanks to the tail end of a cyclone), and we’ve all been stuck in front of the TV in various rooms.  My Dad watches his TV at number 63 on the volume, whereas I usually have it between 10-15, so I often run away to the bedroom to avoid a migraine and frayed nerves … which also means not spending time with my folks as there isn’t enough comfy room for both Mum and I in the bedroom … not the best use of an airfare really, but I suppose if nothing else I’ve had a very lazy relaxed time I guess …

In saying that, though, I did spend a couple of days being a ‘techno geek’ for Dad and writing up a 28-page user guide for his mobile phone.  It’s a real ‘mobile for dummies’ with lots of screenshots and captions and step-by-step instructions for how to use his phone.  I guess if nothing else at least I’ve managed to do that for him this trip, so it wasn’t all wasted time 🙂

I also made a batch of my favourite Red Velvet Cupcakes for a treat, but I was really disappointed with them – not sure if it was the batch of flour Mum had, or the fact they don’t have digital scales making it hard to measure the 10g of cocoa properly, or the fact that the Organic Buttermilk here is quite ‘clumpy’ and a totally different texture to the buttermilk we have in Aussie … but whatever it was that was different, they were quite heavy compared to how I make them at home, so not a great treat really :/

The GREAT part of the trip so far, though, has been having a ‘stitching day’ with some Kiwi stitching pals … while not much stitching actually happened, it was lovely to have show and tell of people’s stitching finishes, and just having a general fun chat.  If I move back to Auckland again, I know this is one group of ladies I’ll definitely be spending more time with, they’re great fun!  Thanks again to Zeb, Jennie and Paula for a really fun day … and to Zeb for some really scrummy Trifle 😀

While I’ve had minimal stitching time I have managed to “almost” finish Fern Pixie by Nora Corbett.  I’ve managed to finished all the actual stitching, but I hadn’t realised there was one whole green bead on one of her shoes, and I didn’t bring those with me to NZ, so she won’t be 100% finished until I get back home again …

But one piece I DID manage to finish was the stitching of Nora Corbett’s Valentine Fairy – I finally frogged the different dyelot in her legs and restitched, then did the remaining metallics and beading … and now she’s 100% finito!!  I still don’t particularly love her, as she’s WAY too pink for my tastes, but I haven’t decided yet whether to throw her on Ebay or not.  Mum’s actually said that she likes her, so it’s quite possible that she’ll end up staying here in NZ and living the rest of her days in Mum’s bedroom … maybe 😉

Mirabilia (Nora Corbett)-Valentine Fairy

“Miss Valentine Fairy” by Nora Corbett (Mirabilia)
Started 6 Nov 2013 – Finished 20 Apr 2014
Stitched on 28ct Lavender Bliss Cashel linen
with Crescent Colours kit threads
(exception: replaced the Crescent Colours thread for the skin with DMC)

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