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 😉 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.

Back stitching after a personal loss

Those that are friends with me on Facebook will know that I’ve just returned home after 3 1/2 months of personal leave back in New Zealand. My beloved Dad had a fall and broke his hip towards the end of June, and his recovery was far from smooth-sailing. He developed numerous infections during his time there, and was eventually sent home with an untreated infection in his system that took his body over a week later. After 3 months (minus that one week at home after 2 months) he lost his battle in the hospital and passed away on 26 September. It was probably a blessing at that point because he was suffering so much 😦 RIP Dad – I love you and miss you so much, and I’ll miss our weekly phone calls catching up with all of your news. This photo is from his first day home from hospital before he became unwell again.

Not unexpectedly, my craft mojo was pretty absent while in NZ – I tried doing crochet but lost the ability to count and after a couple of weeks of attempting different shawl patterns had to frog everything back again. I also struggled to see the fabric holes properly to be able to do cross stitch so most of the projects I took with me to work on in the evenings wasn’t of any use. I finally settled on a charity piece of stitching that was stitched on 14-count Aida cloth, and it became the piece that I could stitch on in the hospital room while Dad was sleeping or doing crosswords.

Since returning home on the weekend I’ve managed to get a lot of stitching done, and it’s actually helped to calm my mind and give me a bit of peace after such a tumultuous few months. First of all I did a bit of the canvaswork piece I was working on before I had the phone call from NZ.

“Lahaina Breezes” by Laura J Perin

Then today I finished the Christmas ornament that I was struggling to see the fabric on while in NZ.

“The Heart of Christmas” by Rosewood Manor
(from 2018 JCS Christmas Ornament issue)
Stitched on 32ct white Lugana with DMC 816 and 895, Kreinik #4 braid 002,

and Mill Hill beads 03049
Started 8 September 2019 – Finished 15 October 2019.

Not sure what’s up next – I really want to finish the JCS Christmas Ornament SAL on Facebook this year, so that’ll probably be my main focus for the remainder of the year, unless I throw in a larger WIP inbetween the ornies. Time will tell …

WIPocalypse – July 2018

2015 WIPocalypseOops, I totally forgot to post my July WIPocalypse update. Time for a quick catch-up before the August WIPocalypse is due!!

While I’ve been really busy stitching during the month, there hasn’t been a great deal of progress done on my actual WIPs, so not too much to share.  I managed a bunch of canvaswork new starts (and finishes) during the last month (see my previous blog post), and a bunch of crochet (my latest learning craze) … cross-stitch, sadly, has been taking a bit of a back seat.

I did, however, manage to do a wee bit more work on Quaker Diamonds … enough to complete the entire bottom section of the chart, and managing to tick one more item off on my goals list for the year, woohoo! This is how it looked at the end of my last WIPocalypse post:

Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor 24Jun2018

And how it looked at the end of June:

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After I finished the bottom section, I moved on to spend a few hours on Mill Hill’s Three Kings.  Not a lot of progress was done, because it’s difficult to stitch at night, but it’s getting closer and closer to finishing off the middle king, and getting ready to do some beading very very soon.

How it looked when I started:

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And how it looks now:

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Now on to the monthly question, and review of the year’s goal progress to date – it’s been fun ticking a few items off the list finally. I can’t see me reaching many of these goals by the end of the year, but I’ve made more progress this year on goals that I ever have I think … it’s been fun!

Half-year recap: How are you doing with your goals so far this year?

Cross stitch and embroidery

  1. √ Starfish by Mill Hill – DONE √
  2. √ Red by Mirabilia (in a blue conversion) – DONE √
  3. √ Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor – 20 hours (ie two rotation slots) or two larger motifs completed – DONE √
  4. Red Lace Sewing Case by The Drawn Thread (X not touched yet)
  5. Egyptian Garden Mandala by Chatelaine (X not touched yet)
  6. Quaker Christmas II by ByGone Stitches (X not touched yet)
  7. When Witches Go Riding by The Prairie Schooler (X not touched yet)
  8. Three Kings by Mill Hill/Jim Shore – finish two of the three kings in the centre (X in progress)
  9. Progress on three other UFOs/WIPs, yet to be decided (X not touched yet)

Other needlework WIPs:

  1. √ Flight of the Bumblebees by Ruth Schmuff – DONE √
  2. Hearts & Berries by Marg Low (X not touched yet)
  3. Make a Christmas Wish by Marg Low (X not touched yet)
  4. Travel Cord Buddy by Michelle Marvig (X not touched yet)
  5. Stumpwork (X not touched yet)

New starts:

  1. √ Start (and hopefully finish) at least two canvaswork projects – DONE √: 1) Earth Spirit by Northern Pine Designs; 2) Holiday Square by Laura J Perin
  2. Start a new HAED (X not touched yet)
  3. Choose a project (or two) that has specialty stitches – eg hardanger, band sampler (X in progress)

Crochet

My goals here are much loftier than the cross stitch goals – but probably important to keep the impetus up while I’m learning so that the lessons I learn are more ingrained into my brain cells!

  1. √ Finish my striped blanket – DONE √
  2. Make at least one (hopefully different) granny square or other blanket square every week (X not touched yet – will not complete)
  3. √ Complete at least three months crochet projects from “Crate Crochet” – DONE √
  4. √ Make a coffee cup cuff – DONE √
  5. Small granny square pincushion (X not touched yet)
  6. Make a shawl (X not touched yet)
  7. Start an Atlanticus (mandala) blanket (X not touched yet)
  8. Restart my Spice of Life blanket (X not touched yet)

Quilting

  1. Make some small pincushions (X not touched yet)
  2. A very simple goal here of starting a queen-sized bed patchwork quilt for myself (X not touched yet)
  3. Maybe start my Piece and Plenty quilt (X not touched yet)
  4. Maybe start my The Blue Collection quilt (but highly unlikely) (X not touched yet)

 

WIPocalypse – June 2018

2018 WIPocalypseAnother month of very little stitching, but a fair bit of crochet happening. Now I have more crafts on the go, I’m struggling a bit to give each of them air time – perhaps I need a rotation that includes all my crafts, not just cross stitch? Hmmm…

This month I’ve managed to do a wee bit more work on Quaker Diamonds. I’d like to finish the bottom section of the design before I move on to something else, but in all honesty I’m finding this one a real chore to stitch, so I think I’m going to have to mix it up with something else inbetween – either doing actual finishing of some of my finished pieces or working through some smaller kitted up projects for a bit of variety. I do love the finished look of this one though, even though it’s a PITA to stitch 😉

This is how it looked in the last WIPocalypse post:

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And how it looks now:

Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor 24Jun2018

 

24 June – Tell us what you think the ideal stitching retreat would include.
For me the ideal one is where I’m learning something new, so having some sort of classes are a must. Also having a general room available for stitching or chatting throughout the entire retreat would be great (ie not just available during the day). Obviously having a retail section is also really loved, especially for items that are harder to find locally. Affordable accommodation at the same venue is definitely preferred too.

 

Quaker Diamonds update

So after posting my WIPocalypse update yesterday morning, it seems I couldn’t put Quaker Diamonds back down again … it became an obsession yesterday to do a complete page finish. Perhaps it was also because once I’d finished the page, I’d intended to take some time out to do housework … my inner voice dragged the stitching task out subconsciously perhaps, so it became too late to do housework. Whatever it was, it was fun anyway … and no, no housework ended up getting done, que sera sera 😉

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WIPocalypse – May 2018

2018 WIPocalypseI haven’t been seeing much progress at all on my WIPs since I finished Mirabilia’s Red in blues – instead of working on my stitching I’ve been pottering along on my crochet journey and building my confidence a little bit with that. The highlight has been creating a blanket for my Mum, which I managed to finish and give to her on Mother’s Day during my visit home this month.  She was so thrilled with it, and has been showing it off to everyone that comes to visit. I’ll put photos at the end of this post 🙂

I have managed to wee bit of progress on one of my WIPs, though, and I’ve been making more progress on that since finishing Mum’s blanket. This one is Rosewood Manor’s “Quaker Diamonds” – I really love the colours in this one, but I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of the Valdani threads to work with, or the colour changes every two minutes. It’ll be worth it in the end, though, as I think it’s a lovely design.  This is what it looked like at the start:

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And how it looks now … I decided to scroll down and work on the bottom section after I got a bit bored with the middle bits 😉

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UPDATED TO ADD: Actually I just remembered that I did have one other small update – I managed to stitch the scissor fob for Cindy Valentine’s Bee Keeper Scissor Keeper and Fob. That means the stitching is entirely finished, and I just need to put them together 😀

Before:

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Bee Keeper Scissor Keeper by Cindy Valentine

After:

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And because I’ve been so slack with the WIPocalypse updates these last few months (because I had nothing to share), here’s a catch-up of the questions from the last few months:

25 March – What newer designers and product creators (fabric or floss dyeing, etc) out there have you discovered and recommend?
To be honest I can’t say there are any – maybe because I haven’t been looking at all. I like to stick to my trusted favourites if I can, and truthfully haven’t had the need so far to look elsewhere …

29 April – Talk to us about your longest-running WIP or UFO.
My oldest UFO is definitely an old design by Stoney Creek – one of my first ever XS projects, and I’ve stuffed it up so badly over the years, I don’t know where to start to frog it – and if I frog it I’m going to have problem with the dye lots because most of the thread colours have changed (the tree in the foreground probably needs to be frogged entirely). Also I didn’t do the content in the ‘background’ with only one thread, so it’s a total disaster really. I don’t have any love for this one, so not sure if it’ll ever see the light of day as a finished piece. (This isn’t the most current photo – because the tree in the foreground isn’t in this one!!)

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Nature’s Resting Place by Stoney Creek

27 May – Where do you love to shop for stash?
I now buy locally if I can from a FB supplier – but I still struggle with getting Rainbow Gallery threads for my canvaswork projects and have to order from overseas for those on the whole. After a poor experience from my normal go-to place for threads, I’m on the hunt for another store – the next time I need specialty threads I’ll be trying some new ones out. Otherwise 123stitch is probably still a favourite if I don’t buy locally.

Now here’s my pride and joy for the month – my Mum’s blanket! I had literally just sewn in the remaining ends and handed it to her, and within seconds she’d laid down on the sofa to try it out – she looks so happy here, it really warms my heart!! ❤ Originally it was going to just be a lap blanket, but I thought if I made it bigger it would be more useful anywhere, especially when she’s laying on top of the bed watching TV. She adores it!

 

6-day Kid Blanket” by Betty McKnit
Using 6.5 balls of Lincraft Cakes in Lovely Lilac
(YouTube tutorial videos are also available, which is great!)

 

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.