IsoMaynia – week two

My crafty mojo remained high for another week – here are the projects that were at the end of my needle for IsoMaynia through the second week of May:

8 May: Piwakawaka, the Fantail by Lyn Manning

A small kit I bought from The Ribbon Rose in Auckland while Dad was in hospital last year. I’ve always loved fantails, and this is a really sweet little stitching project that reminds me of home. I didn’t quite manage to get it finished because I worked during the day, but I kept stitching on it the next day and managed to get it completed.

9 May: Stitch now, worry later by Lizzie*Kate

I changed the threads to my own choices of silk threads, trying to roughly match the colours I’d used in my last Lizzie*Kate a few years ago. I changed the thread spools to use satin stitch instead of cross stitch. This saying couldn’t be more relevant in these times! Eventually I’ll stitch the larger design as well.

10 May: Catherine Agnes by Indigo Rose

So excited to finally kick this project off – it’s intimidated me for years, but I put the feelings aside and just started. Such a fun project, I’m looking forward to getting back to this one again after May – I think this will definitely be going into the formal rotation I’m considering next month. A good challenging stitch with luscious silk threads … and yet more queen stitches!!

11 May: WIP – Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor

Finally dragged out an older WIP – it’s a goal to actually finish this one at some time this year, so once again this will probably become my focus piece in a formal rotation from next month. Sadly I stitched in the wrong place in a previous session, so the next time I stitch on it I’ll get around to frogging those random stitches. This week, though, I just avoided that area and started a new motif instead ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was busy during the day so not much to show for it – oh well, a few stitches closer to a finish, every little bit helps!

12 May: All you need is love and coffee by Design Works

I was initially put off by the stiff black aida that came in this kit, but it turned out to be really good for the style of stitching. Initially I used normal one-stitch back-stitches for the lettering, but it looked kinda clunky – when you look at the cover picture the back-stitching is all done as long stitches instead … so I frogged my back-stitching and did the same. It looks much neater and I really love the look. One of my favourite stitching projects so far during IsoMaynia, and I can’t wait to get back to work on this one again soon! I think I’ll be stitching this one more than once as well as gifts.

13 May: Tilda needlebook challenge

Still waiting for some Tilda fabrics to arrive that have been on back order for quite a few weeks, so I decided I didn’t want to wait anymore and wanted to start a needlework set now (I’d already missed all the past four challenges waiting for the fabric to arrive). I chose one of my favourite series of fabrics from Spoonflower, and think the set is going to be gorgeous in this fabric! Lots of glue, and not a lot of needlework involved in this one, but it’s another new-to-me challenge, it’s crafting of a different sort, and I did use a needle to buttonhole stitch the needlebook pages and then whip-stitched the lace on top of the felt. I used some light turquoise/teal felt I bought in Paris during my last visit, some wool flannel gifted to me by a dear friend recently for the needlebook pages, and I found some silk ribbon in my stash to finish it off. I did some fussy cutting for the first time, and I really love it!

14 May: Mia mermaid by Nora Corbett

This was the design we were given as the free gift at the Mirabilia Retreat in 2017 where Nora attended in person for the first time in Australia. I stitched this in 2017 after the retreat, intending to leave the wording and the date off. Over the last 12 months, though, I’d changed my mind and kept dithering about including the wording and date as a momento of the retreat weekend, which was also the start of some amazing stitching friendships. So I finally sucked it up and put her back into the Qsnaps to add the wording. I ran out of time to do the date as well, and I can’t really decide how to do it yet, so it’s not quite yet an official finish … maybe next month! I changed the wording colour to use the Pine Forest silk instead of the Copper as charted. The fabric colour is more accurate in the first photo.

WIPocalypse – April 2019

Progress on my WIPs had been very minimal during April until the Easter weekend. Still getting over that dratted virus (close to two months now it’s been hanging around!) – and at crunch time of a major project at work meaning some long hours and not much mental capacity left over at the end of the day. My poor old crafts have been neglected majorly, and I knew if I attempted any I’d just end up frogging at the end of it … then Easter weekend arrived and that all changed!

Over Easter I decided to have a binge weekend watching old movie DVDs and stitching. That saw me putting the final stitches into the Mirabilia retreat dragonfly from last year. I stitched this one differently to how I’d normally stitch – I did it as a rough mirror image, starting from the same starting point on each side for each strand of thread (particularly the overdyed silks). There’s a bit of variation in places, but it’s pretty symmetrical and I really like it. The darker silk actually has a heap of deep pinks and purples in it, but I managed to get a couple of strands of just the green and grey-blues and cut out the pinks.

I made a couple of small changes to the design as it was charted – I only used one strand of thread for the lettering and moved the lettering down slightly on the fabric. I also chose not to stitch the swirly date as charted so it didn’t take away from the dragonfly itself – instead I just added a smaller ‘2018’ in one strand of 310 to match the lettering above it. It’s a great memento of the weekend away, and the photos will never do it justice, it’s quite sparkly in real life.

This is how it looked at the start of the month, and in it’s finished glory ๐Ÿ™‚

2018 Mirabilia Retreat dragonfly by Nora Corbett / Mirabilia
Stitched with kit fabric and threads
Started 10 February 2018 – Finished 22 April 2019

And I just quickly snuck in one other WIP update today before publishing my post! I recently had a small windfall from work, and my biggest splurge for myself was the purchase of a brand new Janome sewing machine. To christen it I dragged out a retreat project from 1 1/2 years ago that just needed to be turned into the actual bag (I finished the stitching a year ago) – one more WIP into the finish-finished pile, woohoo!!

Hearts & Berries by Marg Low
“Hearts and Berries” by Marg Low
Project from Linen & Threads patchwork retreat 2017
using my own choice of fabric and threads

Question of the month:

Talk to us about your longest-running WIP or UFO.

Ah yes, my oldest UFO … I have so little love for this thing, I’m not sure it will ever get finished. I have made so many mistakes, it’s not funny! The first time I ever attempted stitching on linen, and the first time I’d come across a chart that didn’t use two strands of cotton for all stitches.

I stitched the top in two strands instead of one, which I can live with … but then I made a massive mistake on the big tree log or duck at the front, and I think I pretty much need to frog the entire section. Add to the fact that it’s using old threads that have since changed during the dying process and I don’t have enough old thread to restitch that log again anyway … yep, it’s a hot mess! I suppose I could always start stitching from the top down again and try to fudge the bottom, but I’m considering doing the backstitching of the parts I’ve already stitched, and cutting it up to have the deer or something else the focal point in a wee frame instead, or add it to a tote bag pocket or something.

Either way, I’m not sure this design will ever see the light of day as a fully finished piece! I don’t love it enough to worry about it – and it’ll never be framed and put on my walls (my tastes have majorly changed over the years) … the poor thing is a bit of a lost cause! Mind you, I guess I could finish it and give it to the SPCA to fundraise or something – maybe someone else would love it … maybe …


Nature's Resting Place by Stoney Creek
Nature’s Resting Place by Stoney Creek

Easter finishes

Over the Easter weekend I had an exceptionally lazy and indulgent four days stitching my little heart out while watching old movie DVDs. The result was to finish three projects that I started in February/March during my Mum’s recent visit to Australia. The dragonfly was an earlier WIP that’ll be the subject of my April WIPocalypse post ๐Ÿ™‚

“Flying Geese” by Laura J Perin
Stitched on 18ct French Blue monocanvas
with recommended threads
Started 20 February 2019 – Finished 22 April 2019
“To All a Good Night” by Knotted Tree NeedleArt
from the 2018 JCS Christmas Ornament issue
with a mix of recommended threads and substitutes from my stash
Started 3 March 2019 – Finished 22 April 2019
Mirabilia Retreat dragonfly by Nora Corbett / Mirabilia
Stitched with kit fabrics and threads
Started 10 February 2018 – Finished 22 April 2019

WIPocalypse – March 2019

Yet again progress on my WIPs has been very minimal during March. Mainly due to feeling unwell for so long, and when I returned to work I just didn’t have any energy for stitching at the end of the day. I did manage to get a tiny bit of stitching done during the month, though, on an older WIP so at least I have something to post this month! ๐Ÿ˜‰

This is the free chart we received at the 2018 Mirabilia Retreat on the Central Coast. I’m not entirely sure I like how the date appears so I decided to start my stitching session with unpicking the existing stitches. I’ve decided to stitch both sides at the same time and in the same stitching order, so the wings are going to turn out (hopefully) relatively symmetrical. Here’s the progress I’ve made so far, but I’m ready for a change, so I think it’ll be rotated out with something else in April.

Question of the month:

What newer designers and product creators (fabric or floss dyeing, etc) out there have you discovered and recommend?

Truthfully I haven’t really been looking for new designers or artisans, I’m a bit stuck in my ways and happy with the ones I already know – that’s not to say I don’t see the odd design that someone is stitching in one of the Facebook groups and might have a quick glance at their Etsy shop etc if I like what I see. I have to say, though, I haven’t found any so far that I’d add a “favourite” tag to. My favourite fabric dyer still remains as countrystitch.com, and my favourite designer this year is probably Needle Delights Originals (Kathy Rees) because I’ve bought a truckload of her canvaswork designs this year and kitted them up.

WIPocalypse – February 2018

2018 WIPocalypseAfter making the decision to try to finish stitching the blue conversion of Mirabilia’s Red in time for this month’s Mirabilia retreat, I really pulled out all the stops and smoke was coming from my needle! I managed to do it, but only just, and oh my goodness I was shattered at the end of it all!

I have to say, though, I’m so incredibly proud of her – she’s one of my favourite Mirabilia finishes (the other one is Enchanted Mermaid) – and I was very pleased to see that she took 3rd place in the unframed category voting at the retreat! Here she is in all her beautiful glory (albeit a bit wrinkled from the journey to the retreat):

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“Red” by Mirabilia – using Beverly’s blue conversion
Stitched on 32ct Haven by Picture This Plus
with Beverly’s choice of threads and beads (with a couple of small bead changes by me)
Started 30 April 2017 – Finished 4 February 2018

I then sat in a stitching funk for a week or two before deciding to finally put the finishing touches into this very, very old work in progress.ย  This has been a gradual work in progress over so many years it’s not funny!ย  It finally got stalled again last year when I couldn’t find my gold paillettes – I managed to find a supplier in the US and bought a few vials ready for any future projects.ย  This is probably the most challenging canvaswork project I’ve ever attempted, but it’s now done and dusted and in the finished pile.ย  I don’t ever want to use metallic cord for drawn thread ever again in this lifetime, but gee I’m proud of this one!

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“Flight of the Bumblebees” by Ruth Schmuff
Stitched on recommended congress cloth
with all recommended threads and embellishments
Started 1 January 2007 – Finished 17 February 2018

28 February โ€“ Gadgets!ย  Show us your favourite stitching gadgets!
Oh my goodness, I have so many stitching tools that I love, I’m finding it hard to decide what to post. I guess the two things that I just can’t live without are my lap and floor stands and my OTT-lites.ย  I also find Thread Heaven invaluable for using metallic threads in canvaswork so I get less tangles.ย  I could go on and on … ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oops, I just realised I never posted my first WIP finish for the year – I managed to put the final stitches into Mill Hill’s Starfish back on 10 January, so that’s another WIP crossed off the list this year!!

“Starfish” by Mill Hill (kit)
Stitched on 28ct Cashel linen by Countrystitch ~ colour xxx
with kit threads and beads

 

WIPocalypse Jan 2018

All of a sudden I decided I’d attempt to finish Mirabilia’s Red (in blue) before I attended a Mirabilia retreat … considering I’m back at work full-time again after Christmas, this is possibly a very tall order.ย  If nothing else, though, it’s meant I have a WIPocalypse update so there’s something positive ๐Ÿ˜€

Here are my before and after shots … sadly I had to frog almost 2 inches of the dress two days ago, so that’s slowed progress down quite a bit.ย  Here’s how she looked at the start of January (and this photo shows the fabric colours more accurately than the other photos):

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Red (done in blues) by Mirabilia

And how she looked before the frog came to visit … darn you, you annoying frog!!

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And how she looks today.ย  I decided to give the bottom of the dress a miss for a while and work on the cape instead. I also can’t quite work out which stitches need to be done in 310 and which ones in 939 where the cape meets the dress, so I thought I’d stitch all the sections around there first, and come back to those to make a decision afterwards ๐Ÿ™‚ Still not 100% sure I’ll be able to get her finished in time for the retreat, but I’ll keep going anyway just in case a miracle happens ๐Ÿ™‚

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Hopefully in my February update I’ll be showing the finished version ๐Ÿ˜€ย  Now onto the monthly question:

27 January โ€“ What SALโ€™s are you participating in this year?ย andย If you are participating in the Olympic Stitching Challenge, what challenge are you accepting?ย  What are your goals?

I’m having an easier year this year with SALs, and only intend participating in a few of them. I’m not starting until February, though, so I’ll be playing catch-up with the JCS and Halloween ones:

  1. Hallowe’en Ornie SAL – One of my all-time favourite SALs each year. I’ve got my January ornie decided, just need to kit it up with fabric and threads. I’m always a bit haphazard with these as life gets in the way, but the great thing is you can jump right back in when you’re ready, and Jo does an awesome job keeping the SAL active.
  2. JCS ornie SAL (Facebook) – Another SAL I ended up ditching last year as life got in the way, but I’m hoping to continue with this one again this year and using the ornies I didn’t stitch last year as my ‘wild cards’ for months I’m not too keen on the design. Often, though, I’ll still stitch designs I’m not keen on originally, as I’ve found the stitched version is a lot nicer, and it’s good to taken out of your comfort zone every now and then.
  3. Stitch from Stash – I’m not doing this officially with any formal group, just keeping myself honest and doing it on my own. I am in an Aussie Stitch From Stash challenge group, though, so that helps to give me a kick every month. My financial situation has changed dramatically since the apartment move late last year, so stitching stash is no longer a priority.
  4. Gifted Gorgeousness – Thanks to Jo for bringing this one to my attention. Once I manage to get back into some new starts etc this year, I’ll be contributing to this blog as I have a number of different charts etc I’ve received from friends over the years that I’d love to see finished.
  5. WIPocalypse – obviously ๐Ÿ˜›

I’m not doing the Stitching Olympics, as I’ve already got my rotation sorted for the year and want to get back into a routine again after Red is finished. I think doing the SO may derail me, so I’m going to forego it for now … but never say never haha.

 

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.ย  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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ 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 โ€“ 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.