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WIPocalyse: January 2017

2015 WIPocalypse So far the year has kicked off well stitching-wise … while I may not be churning out the stitching every week like I used to, I’ve managed to finish off a couple of older UFOs – all they need now is the actual ‘finishing’ to be done on them.

It looks like I actually kicked off 2017 with … {ahem} … {cough} … 44 WIPs/UFOs when I went back and counted them. Yikes!!  It’s no wonder I’m making a serious effort this year not to start a lot more, but trying to concentrate my efforts primarily on finishing these once loved projects.

The first finish of the year, though, is one that I can’t count as a previous WIP, as it was the wee Frangipanis kit that Mum started years ago but never finished.  I managed to find a number of substitute threads in my DMC stash that seemed to work OK, and finished this off towards the middle of January.

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I managed to meet one of my year’s goals – I finished the Letter R of Country Threads’ “Paris” kit.  If I don’t get anything more stitching this year that’s OK, my goal was at least to finish this one letter … but I’m sure this one will see the light of day at some point during the year, and maybe I’ll get another letter done … maybe …

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The next piccies are the two WIPs that I slayed this month.  The Red Lace Sewing Case I started two Christmases ago while watching the first 4 seasons of Game of Thrones … strangely enough I’d bought the DVDs of the same later last year, so I had to laugh when I realised that I’d actually finished the stitching while re-watching … you’ve guessed it … the Game of Thrones seasons 1-4!!  This is how it looked before Christmas:

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And the finished pieces since then:

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“Red Lace Sewing Case” by The Drawn Thread
Stitched on 32ct cream Jobelan
with Gloriana silk in Cranberry

Lucky last was this one – it’s became a bit unloved a while ago after realising I’d only bought one skein of the blue silk I needed, and replacement threads were an entirely different colour.  With only the needlebook left to be stitched, I stitched and unpicked three different thread options before deciding on the final one – a premium silk by Hand Dyed Fibers.  Then I also ran out of the beigey thread after stitching the outside needlebook pages … I just may have squeezed it in with the last strand of thread, but didn’t want to take the risk (I’m pretty much 99% sure I would have run out).  So for that one I ended up stitching the inside needlebook pages with another different thread – a Madeira silk this time.  Oh well, it may be a mish-mash of threads, but it still looks OK I think … and better to be a finished mish-mash than sitting in the WIP pile for years and years!

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“Grandma’s Cushions Stitching Accessories” by The Cat’s Whiskers
Stitched on 32ct Blue Ice Belfast linen
with a mix of recommended Dinky Dyes silk threads, and two replacement silks

And now for the February question:

What SALs are you participating in this year?
I’ve decided to have an easy time this year, and just want to focus on my existing WIPs with the occasional new start thrown in.  That means that I’m not really joining in many organised SALs in 2017, unless anything in Facebook groups happens to fit with my normal stitching plans.  The only ‘real’ SALs that I’d like to continue with are the following:

1) Hallowe’en SAL – one of my favourite SALs each year run by Jo, I’ll be doing the same as last year and hopefully choosing a larger project or two that will let me stitch a portion of it each month to match the month’s theme. January’s theme is “Moon”, so I’d better get cracking and work out which design I’m going to stitch on this year! The other themes coming up are Witches, Spiders & Cobwebs, Winged Creatures, Black Cats, Anything Green, Ghosts, Creepy Trees, Spooky Words, Pumpkins, Candy Corns/Food, and finally a Free Choice month.

2) JCS 2016 ornie SAL – a Facebook SAL continuing in 2017 after a successful challenge in 2016, another chance to stitch a Christmas ornament each month, with the aim to stitch 12 ornaments by the end of the year (from last year’s JCS Christmas Ornament issue). The polls were late being put up and the results have only just been advised, so I probably won’t start for a few weeks yet, then I’ll have a mini catch-up.  It was a lot of fun to do last year, so I thought it would be fun to participate again in 2017.

And that’s it for my SALs list … pretty much the shortest list I’ve made in years … and likely the first year it’s been a very responsible list that just may be achievable – maybe! 😉

 

 

Christmas fever

Oops, I seem to have forgotten how to blog – I started this a couple of weeks ago in December, and didn’t publish!!

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I seem to be on a roll with Christmas stitching! First up I managed to totally finish a sampler I started in January for the Crazy January Challenge. I thought I’d stitch on something easy for a while but I ended up making more mistakes in this one than anything I’ve stitched all year! 

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“Christmas Spirit double flip its” by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 28ct hand-dyed Cashel linen by Countrystitch ~ colour Haystack
with mostly recommended threads (GAST/WDW) and the rest DMC

Then I picked up another old UFO started years ago – I’ve managed to totally finish one page of The Drawn Thread’s Red Lace Sewing Case.

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And I managed to finish another prince for this year’s ornie challenge!

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All-in-all not too shabby for the last month or so I guess 🙂

 

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 🙂

Preview of the next tutorial

Yesterday I had a mini finishing spree where I did all the photos needed (almost all anyway!) for two scissor fob tutorials.  As you can see from my previous post I managed to complete one of them and have it published … I want to take some more photos before I publish the second one, though, so the cord attachment is more clear.  In the meantime, however, I can share my two finishes from yesterday – so you have a preview of which fob finishing method is coming next … 😉

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It’s felt really good doing the tutorials once again … perhaps my finishing funk is slowly disappearing and a wee bit of mojo is returning? … I really do hope so! 😀

 

Stitching Tutorial #1

I have just published the following tutorial in my Focus on Finishing blog, but thought I’d include it here as well …

This is the first of a number of upcoming Scissor Fob tutorials … and is the type of finishing used by The Drawn Thread freebie designs and similar to Mill Hill treasure ornament series.  The finish is a diamond shape, which I think is really attractive for a scissor fob.  This one in my tutorial is a bit large for a scissor fob, in my opinion, but the finishing is the same irrespective of the design size you choose 🙂  If you are interested, this is Pumpkin Keeper freebie by The Drawn Thread.

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Materials needed:

  • Stitched project – this needs to be a square design, preferably stitched in a diamond shape
  • DMC thread or sewing machine thread to match the stitching fabric (and contrasting sewing machine thread for basting, if desired)
  • Stuffing (your preferred choice, can be Polyfil, crushed walnut shells, or teddy bear pellets, for example)
  • DMC for cording, or ready-made cord
  • Pencil or cording drill

1.  Ensure you have equal sides on your stitching – the easiest way to do this is to count the number of squares away from each of your piece if stitched on aida, or count a specified number of threads away from each side when stitching on linen.  In this case I followed the Drawn Thread instructions, which was to count out 24 threads away from the stitched area and cut off the fabric edges.  I find the easiest way to do this is to count out your designated number of threads then remove the next thread, ie pull it all the way out – this leaves a clean channel for cutting a straight line following the weave of the linen, as you can see in the photo below.

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2.  Once you have cut away your edges and have a nice square piece of fabric, fold your stitching in half across the centre of the design, with the right side of the stitching facing each other.  Pin the edges together, and stitch a seam allowance at each of the short edges.  As it is hard to see my thread on the fabric, I have highlighted with red stitching where the seam line is below.

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I usually prefer top snip the corners slightly to make them easier to make ‘points’ once they’re turned the right-side-out.  If you do this, make sure you don’t snip them too close to the seam line, or it will unravel, and you don’t want that!

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3.  Now turn your stitched piece inside out, and put out the corners – sometimes I use a pointed chopstick to help get a nice point in the corner, but this needs to be done gently so you don’t poke a hole in the fabric!

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4.  Next we turn over the seam allowance on the top raw edges.  I prefer to give the seam a quick iron to make it sit flat.  You can just pin the seam allowance down around the top, or do as I do which is to baste it down using a contrasting sewing machine thread.

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5.  Next bring the two seams together to meet in the centre, and your stitching is in a diamond shape.  I usually pop a couple of pins in temporarily to hold the seams in place.  Turn your piece over to work out which is the top of your stitching, and where the cord will eventually be attached.  In this tutorial, because the fob is so big I’ve decided to just have a cord hanger at the top without any tassel or embellishments at the bottom – another tutorial will cover the option of adding tassels to your fob later.

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6.  Next it’s time to make your cord – obviously if you have purchased ready-made cord you can omit this step, but ensure your purchased cord is quite narrow so you can knot the ends easily.  I made my cord out of DMC cotton floss, and because of the size of the fob I opted to use 4 strands of DMC for my cord as I wanted it to be a bit thicker (my preference is usually 3 strands of either DMC or pearl cotton).  Sometimes it’s trial and error as to how thick the cord will turn out.  It is generally much easier to have another person assist you in making cord, but as I’m on my own I have to improvise with whatever is handy!  I apologise in advance for the poor photos in this section, I will do another tutorial soon to show the steps more clearly …

The first thing to do is to knot each end of the group of threads together.

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Next you need to rope in an assistance to help out by holding one end of the threads tightly, or do what I do by finding something you can attach the other end to … in my case I have a portable clothes rack that I used, by snapping a metal ring over the rail and hooking the ring through the middle of the threads at the knot end.  Alternatively you could tie the end around a door handle or something similar.

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If you have a cord drill, that’s perfect, otherwise you can make do by using a simple pencil to wind the thread.  Take your pencil and insert it through the middle of the remaining end of the thread (at the knotted end), and walk back until your thread is nice and straight.  Then start turning your pencil – it doesn’t matter in which direction you turn your pencil, as long as you continue to turn it the same way 😉  I prefer to use a cord drill as it’s so much quicker, so that’s how I finished my cord off this time round.

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You need to keep turning your pencil/cord drill until your threads are very taut.  If you slacken off your tension a little bit and your thread starts to ‘kink’ and turn on itself it’s generally twisted enough.  I let go of the tension a little bit here so I can hopefully show you what I mean about the ‘kinking’ of the thread.

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This next part is very tricky to photograph as I needed both hands …  Once your thread is twisted enough, carefully hold the middle of your twisted thread with one hand, then using your other hand bring the two knotted ends together.

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I usually use a self-made weight that I hang in the middle, but forgot to use it this time!  I’ll show that method another time, as it’s a really quick way to get the threads twisting onto themselves!  In this case, however, I just used my left hand (my right hand was still holding the two ends together) to slide up the thread about an inch, and using my thumb and forefinger gave the threads a gentle twist.  You continue to do that by working up the thread and helping the threads twice nicely onto themselves.  Eventually you end up with a beautifully twisted cord.  Then you finish off by knotting the two loose ends together so it doesn’t unravel.  And voilà your cord is finished!! 😀

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7.  Decide how long you want your cord to be – generally 3 1/2 to 4 inches is about the right length, but you may prefer to have your hanger longer than that – it’s all personal preference!  In this case I’d made my cord quite short so I could do the tutorial easier for you.  Knot the two loose ends together at your desired length.

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8.  Now it’s time to pick up your stitching once again, and we need to start stitching up the remaining seam.  My preference is to close it up using a ladder stitch, however you can use a whip-stitch if that is easier for you.  Start at the bottom of the fob, away from where the cord will be inserted.  To do a ladder stitch you just work your way alternatively up each side of the seam, taking a few threads in your needle for each stitch – this looks like the rungs of a ladder when the stitches are loose, and when you pull them tight they close up the seam very cleanly.  Keep stitching up the seam until approx 1″ away from the end.

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9.  At this point you insert your chosen stuffing.  I have opted to use teddy bear pellets for mine, as I really like the extra weight it gives the fob, especially for smaller fobs (in hindsight I probably should have used Polyfil for one this big!!).  When I stuff with pellets I use a little Tupperware funnel that I find really useful for this job – alternatively you can roll a piece of stiff paper into a funnel instead!

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10.  Now we’re on the homeward stretch, and it’s time to add the cord and close up the seam!  Take your cord, and place the knot inside the seam opening, then continue stitching up the opening to the top.  Sometimes I will take my thread through the cord at the top to stop it from moving around, but it wasn’t needed for my fob this time.  You can now remove all your basting stitches.

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And that’s it, your fob is all finished and ready to adorn your chosen pair of scissors!!

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As always, please feel free to leave comments and let me know if you have any questions.  It’s always good to know if you find the tutorials useful, or if there is something you would like to see more of, so the comments are always appreciated!

Kindest regards,

Where did the time go???

First of all Happy New Year everyone!!  I hope you all (if there’s still anyone out there) had a lovely Christmas and New Year, and that 2012 is treating you well so far!!

I don’t honestly know where the last 2 months have gone, but I do know that it is my record for non-blogging – I have ended up having a true blogging break, although it was never intended, so I have neglected both the updating of my blog as well as the reading of your blogs!  Since I came home for the Rugby World Cup final (go the All Blacks!!!) work has been hectic, my social life has been more active, and my stitching has pretty much been non-existent.  I have barely lifted a needle over the last month or so, and the month prior to that very little stitching was done either.  But there was just enough activity to see one old WIP finished …

Drawn Thread-Joyeux Noel
“Joyeux Noel” by The Drawn Thread
Stitched on 36ct hand-dyed Edinburgh linen by Silkweaver ~ colour Golden Harvest
with a mix of recommended and substituted threads

Then I managed to squeeze in one last finish for 2011 – and a nice simple design that would normally be completed in a day of stitching took me about two weeks!!

Les Grilles de Maryse-The Red Noel
“The Red Noel Ornament” by Maryse Dupont of Les grilles de Maryse
stitched on mystery 32ct hand-dyed linen
with Threadworx thread

I managed to put a few more stitches into my Goode Huswife design that I started as part of the 2011 Crazy January Challenge … it no longer looks like a gherkin, but still not much closer to a finish!  Pretty much how the entire January Challenge went for me last year – with my change in jobs, and 3 hours commuting each day, it meant my stitching time was very minimal … and I’m certainly not going to be signing up for any major challenges this year knowing this is something that will not be changing!

I did manage, however, to put a few more stitches into another of my Crazy January Challenge pieces, although yet again very far from being close to finished.

This year I am signing up for a challenge, but one that I can easily fit in with my new “hardly any time for stitching” lifestyle – I’m joining in with Measi’s 2012 WIPocalypse challenge.  Seeing as you just have to show progress with your WIPs on a monthly basis, I figure that even I should be able to do that!  Well, I’ll be giving it a go anyway!!  As I also want to remove the pressure from what pieces to work on, I have decided to list all my outstanding WIPs and UFOs and my goal is to just work on them this year with a couple of new starts/Christmas ornaments during the year as well to keep me motivated.  It means the remainder of my unfinished pieces from the 2011 January challenge will be leading the list … plus I have plenty of old UFOs already listed in my sidebar to keep them company!!  When I get my act together, I’ll upload the full list into a new post.

In the meantime, here is my pitiful display of stitching finishes for 2011:

 

Pumpkin Keeper freebie

This is the total sum of last week’s stitching efforts – yet another gloomy day/night photography so nice and blurry and not true to colour … but what the heck, a finish is a finish is a finish …

Drawn Thread-Pumpkin Keeper freebie
“Pumpkin Keeper” freebie by The Drawn Thread (available HERE)
stitched on 36ct Summer Khaki Edinburgh linen
with recommended DMC