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On a stitching roll …

I’ve had two major finishes this month for the February WIPocalypse, but you’ll have to wait until Tuesday before I show those (unless you’re friends on Facebook, in which case you’ve already seen them!).  The finishes are “Red” by Mirabilia, and “Flight of the Bumblebees” by Ruth Schmuff – pictures will follow on 28 February 🙂

This last month is quite possibly the best stitching month I’ve had in ages for finishes … after I finished Flight of the Bumblebees I decided to stick with canvaswork for a while longer and picked up a new start that was going to be my canvaswork choice in my upcoming rotation.  I managed to start and finish this one in a matter of days – and reminded me just how much I love doing canvaswork … the interesting stitches and all different thread textures never cease to amaze me and give me so much joy to stitch!

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“Earth Spirit” by Northern Pine Designs
Stitched 18ct Sandstone mono canvas
with recommended threads and beads
Started 17 February 2018 – Finished 18 February 2018

After Earth Spirit I decided to grab some fabric and start catching up on my monthly SALs – starting with the Hallowe’en Ornie SAL.  For the month of January the theme was “winged creatures”, so I chose this design by The Prairie Schooler.

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“Eeek” (from Bump in the Night chart) by The Prairie Schooler
Stitched on 32ct Thunderstorm Belfast linen (no longer available)
with my choice of threads: basic black silk by Hand Dyed Fibers and an amber silk by Silks4U
Started 19 February 2018 – Finished 24 February 2018

The next item on my list for today is to stitch the January ornie from a JCS Christmas Ornie SAL on Facebook … then it’ll be time to catch up on the February ones for both Halloween and Christmas.

 

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Latest stitching efforts (picture heavy)

As I mentioned in my first ‘return from the dead’ post last week, I’ve managed to do a spot of sporadic stitching here and there over recent months – often the sessions were weeks apart, and each spurt of stitching energy was short-lived.  Anyhow, here are the updates and the WIPs and finishes that happened while I’ve been away …

It seems I never showed the final finish of this piece, which I finished back at the end of January:

Autumn Leaves by The Prairie Schooler

“Autumn Leaves” by The Prairie Schooler
Finished 25 January 2015
Stitched on 32ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
with recommended DMC threads

Here’s one I managed to finish in June – which now means I’ve stitched everything in that particular leaflet.  I was going to on-sell it or use it as a trade chart, but think it may come in handy for any future exchanges that I do, I think some of these squares are really cute:

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“Autumn Leaves” by The Prairie Schooler
Finished around 14 June 2015
Stitched on 32ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
with recommended DMC threads

At some point I decided a change of pace was in order, and I picked up a canvaswork project to stitch on.  This was my next finished piece, finishing it in early July – and one of the first times in ages I truly enjoyed my stitching experience, even with all the metallic ribbons!  Unfortunately I had run out of the turquoise ribbon, or it would have been finished much sooner!

Navajo by Northern Pine Designs

“Navajo by Northern Pine Designs”
Finished on 5 July 2015
Stitched on 18ct eggshell mono canvas
with recommended threads

Next up are all the current works in progress … I’ve just signed up to a bunch of other stitch-alongs in one of the Facebook groups I belong to, so there will soon be a pile more WIPs added to the pile – I’ve chosen SALs where I already have a project that is high up on my to-do list, so it’s motivating me to start stitching them.  Anyway, in the meantime here are the current WIPs:

“Flight of the Bumblebees” by Ruth Schmuff – this one is a very old UFO that I’ve started making a conscious effort to get finished.  Unfortunately, as per my normal luck, I’ve run out of one of the gold metallic braids, so I’m waiting for a stash parcel to arrive with the replacement (I had a splurge a month ago to finish kitting up some other charts that were missing threads).  I”m pretty pleased with how this one is going, though, and it doesn’t have too much more to go before it’s finished.

Flight of the Bumblebees by Ruth Schmuff

“Blue Birds” by Laura J Perin – While I was on a ‘canvaswork roll’, I decided to drag out a freebie from Laura J Perin I’ve had sitting in my stash for many years.  Sadly, though, I ran out of the navy Pebbly Perle that was used around the border, so once again another design sits unfinished.  A wonderful fellow stitcher, though, came to my rescue quickly and sent me a card of the thread I need.  As soon as I find my card of blue Tiara thread, which has apparently gone into hiding, I’ll be able to finish this one off pretty quickly.  I just LOVE the colours of this one!  If anyone is interested, the chart is still available for download at the Rainbow Gallery site.

Blue Birds by Laura J Perin

Wedding Sampler for Elie – This is a self-designed wedding sampler that I’m stitching for a close male friend.  I struggled the whole way with this one, so I haven’t pulled my finger out and started it, and the wedding was nearly 3 years ago!!  I’m still not 100% with the fabric and thread choice, but I’ve decided in this case I’m my own worst critic, and I should just continue on with it.  I think the groom will love it regardless of how it looks – the contents of the sampler are very personal to him, so hopefully it will be treasured.  I’ve shown a picture of what the whole thing will look like once it’s finished.  The photo isn’t very good at all, the fabric is a buttery creamy colour.

Elie's wedding sampler

Elie's wedding sampler

“Halloween Mystery Sampler” by Lizzie*Kate – This one was a gift from my Mum for Christmas when the designs were first released.  I also purchased the Tin Roof fabric that was recommended for this one, but really didn’t like it at all, so it sat in a box for ages while I found something else.  I’m still not 100% with this choice either, but I certainly like it a lot better than the Tin Roof one!  I started this one as part of a Sampler SAL, and really enjoying stitching it!

Halloween Mystery Sampler by Lizzie*Kate

“Quaker Christmas II – Songs of the Season” by ByGone Stitches – This is another one I’m really struggling with, as I can’t stand the fabric I chose to stitch it on.  It’s on a 35ct Weeks Dye Works fabric, and it’s just dreadful – it feels like I’m stitching on an old rag!  Anyway, the chart itself is at least enjoyable to work on, I just need to forget about the immense size of this one and keep focusing on one motif at a time.  I haven’t worked on it for well over a year, then when Mum came to visit a month or so ago I sat and stitched on it while we were both sick and watching TV all day.  It was a good design to work on when you didn’t have to concentrate too much!  I actually managed to do a lot more than I thought I had … I’m now almost 3 pages down, and only about 12 left to go … haha.

Quaker Christmas II - Songs of the Season by ByGone Stitches

As to what’s coming up next, there are a lot of decisions to be made … lots of SALs and lots of designs to choose from that will fit within each SAL – some decisions are going to be easier than others, that’s for sure!  I’ll do a separate post for my own sake so that I can refer back to it and help myself choose closer to the start times!  But I’ll also be continuing to work on these as well, as all my SALs chosen don’t have set finish dates … that means I can easily slot them into my rotation along with these other projects as well 🙂

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.

Blue Bayou finished … and I’m in love with it!!

The title says it all … a few days ago I put the final stitches into Blue Bayou, and oh my goodness I am so in love with it, it’s just not funny!!  I ended up substituting DMC 991 pearl cotton for the charted Anchor pearl cotton, as I just couldn’t find it quickly locally, and I was impatient to get it finished!

Northern Pine Designs-Blue Bayou

“Blue Bayou” by Northern Pine Designs
with recommended canvas and threads
Exception: Substituted Anchor pearl cotton with DMC 991 pearl cotton

I still had 1 1/2 hours left of my canvaswork rotation slot, so I immediately put another Northern Pine Designs project on the stretcher bars and made a start on Surf and Sand … much more subtle colours on this one, and a little too much pink for my liking so far, but I’m hoping once the light turquoise blue gets added it’ll balance the colours out a bit more … it’s very pretty so far, though, even with the pink! 😛  I’ve actually stitched half of the next bargello band as well since this photo was taken, but will show more photos later! Surf and Sand

As for the rest of the week, I’m finally starting to feel a bit more ‘normal’ after recuperating at home and being a hermit for a few days.  Today has been spent in the kitchen all day, which means I have a brown rice slice/pie (technically called “Ham Cheese and Leek Pie”) for the freezer for lunches, and a Red Wine, Beef and Mushroom Stew bubbling away in the crockpot for dinners this week … I still have a Pasta, Beef and Mushrooms dish to whip up for the freezer but my feet are killing me thanks to my stupid plantar fasciitis, so I think I’ll call it a day cooking-wise and finish the rest up tomorrow 🙂

And that means for the rest of the day I’m going to settle in and catch up on some more recorded TV in the lounge (thanks to the flatmate being at work), while starting on my next rotation slot … “Finishing”.  Hopefully by the end of the next 5 or 10 hour rotation (whenever I get fed up with it), I’ll have a few more finished items under my belt and out of the finishing pile, even if they’re just ornaments 😀 I also have some comments to respond too as well, which I’ll do shortly 🙂

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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Not one but TWO finishes!

I lived up to my word and poor old Flossy (well, she’s a babe really, to say she’s only been around for a week or two!) has been put on the shelf for now … the urge got to me yesterday and I spent the afternoon catching up on recorded TV while finishing off two of my WIPs I mentioned in my last post.

First up is Ebb Tide by Northern Pine Designs.  Oh boy, this was a fun design to stitch!  I can’t say I’ll be in a hurry to stitch with Rachel thread again, but once I got clever and used some nail polish across the top of the thread where I cut it, it was a lot easier to use!  It’s the first time I’ve ever done Jessica stitches, and they’re really quite cute, and easy to do once you get the hang of them!  I did them slightly differently to how the instructions told you to do them, as I’d seen them done on some other needlepoint blogs … by tucking the last two stitches inside and underneath the previous stitches, so they sit perfectly.  All-in-all I’m thrilled this one is finally finished … and I spent no time at all popping the next Northern Pine design onto the bars to start a new one!

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“Ebb Tide” by Northern Pine Designs
stitched on Leventeen Blue canvas
with recommended threads

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While I was trying to take a photo last night my camera was struggling a bit to focus … imagine my delight at the colours showing on the viewing screen when it will still a blur … it made me smile so I captured the image! 🙂

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Here is the next design ready for starting … just need to find a couple of the missing threads (geez I hope I actually have bought these ones, otherwise I guess it won’t be started soon! LOL).  If not, I’ll just have to find another canvaswork design to throw onto some bars … I think I always need to have a piece of canvaswork ready to go at a moment’s notice, it gives me such pleasure! 🙂

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Then I decided to put the final stitches into LHN’s Acorn Hill – it didn’t take too long at all to pop the final words into place, and it became my second finish yesterday evening.

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“Acorn Hill” by Little House Needleworks
stitched on 28ct antique ivory coloured Jobelan 
with recommended Crescent Colours cotton floss

After that I decided to go back to old Flossy, and managed to put a few more stitches into the top wings – I didn’t bother taking a progress piccie as there wasn’t really too much to show … perhaps the next time you see her she will be finished … or maybe not … LOL.