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Spooky time by Lizzie*Kate

I’m now all caught up with the Hallowe’en ornie SAL – here goes my choice for February’s theme of Candy corn.  I’m terrified of spiders, so stitching that charm on wasn’t much fun … I have a feeling that’ll be giving me nightmares in the future when it’s on display 😉

Spooky Time by Lizzie*Kate

“Spooky Time” freebie by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 32ct Thunderstorm Belfast linen (no longer available)
with Silks4U silk threads

 

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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.

 

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.  If nothing else, though, it’s meant I have a WIPocalypse update so there’s something positive 😀

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.  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.  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 🙂 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 🙂

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Hopefully in my February update I’ll be showing the finished version 😀  Now onto the monthly question:

27 January – What SAL’s are you participating in this year? and If you are participating in the Olympic Stitching Challenge, what challenge are you accepting?  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 😛

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.

 

Final stitching stash – it’s a goodie!

After being generously gifted a copy of Walking the Water’s Edge by Diane Herrmann, I needed a piece of vintage eggshell mono canvas so I could make a start. I didn’t know of any local suppliers (but now I do, woohoo) that sell coloured canvas, so I made a big enough order to warrant the postage and ordered from a US supplier. Not for the first time with them, I’ve had to wait for well over 4 months for this order to arrive – and even then I was contacted just before Christmas saying they couldn’t get the chart or three of the threads for Bora Bora and what did I want to do. I ended up cancelling all the Bora Bora part of the order and getting a refund, then jumped online and ordered directly from Needle Delights Originals (and managed to get a pre-Christmas discount too, so the savings paid for the postage – double score!!).

I have to say I’m REALLY impressed with the kit from Kathy that turned up today at the same time as the other order – the canvas is cut to size and already edged with tape ready to be put onto stretcher bars.  I have to say it’s the most excited I’ve been about a stash haul in quite some time … I’m sooooooo in LOVE with Bora Bora and all those scrumptious and luscious bright threads. I don’t think it’ll be very long before I cave into temptation and start stitching this one! I think this just might be the project of choice in my canvaswork rotation once I start it in February.

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I also ordered the kit for Double Delights – Charbleu while I was at it … another one with lovely rich colours that will be a really quick stitch.

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Next up were three more canvaswork designs – strangely enough also by Needle Delights Originals 🙂 I don’t have the threads for these ones yet, so it’ll be quite a long time before these are stitched unless I substitute from stash (although I’m not sure I have any threads I could use really). Anyway, I’ve got plenty to keep me going for now …

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This was the rest of the delayed order – some Congress Cloth, 30ct Legacy linen, the previously-mentioned canvas, and Floss-away bags primarily (and a few stretcher bars).

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The Congress Cloth, Legacy linen and AVAS threads are for me to stitch this little beauty I bought a few years ago from Gay Ann Rogers – Pride and Prejudice, the Needle Book Edition. Note this is NOT my work, but taken from Gay Ann’s website. The full range is shown at the link above, however not normally available for sale – I just bought the needlebook instructions, and not the bookmark. I couldn’t decide which fabric to use, so I bought both – if I don’t use the Legacy linen for this one, I’m thinking of re-doing my version of CA Wells’ Pyramid Etui so I’ll likely use it for that as an alternative.

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So all-in-all a very very VERY good stash day indeed! I’d better make the most of it, because 2018 is my year to stitch from stash … not that I’ll need any with this lot 😉

 

WIPocalypse December 2017 – year in review

The best part of the year is going back through your progress from throughout the year. I felt my progress was woeful this year, but on review there was still some decent stitching done, along with a few finishes along the way. Going back through the progress piccies has also given me the spark back to get a couple of them finished that were oh so close to hitting the finishing pile. Sadly, though, there are also a huge pile of new starts I want to make, plus I’m a bit addicted to crochet at the moment which is seriously impacting my desire to stitch, as I’m having too much fun learning new crochet techniques!

Due to my financial situation changing a bit this year as well, it does mean that I’ll be stitching from stash in 2018 as much as possible, so any new starts will be coming from my existing stash (which is definitely in the S.A.B.L.E. range, so shouldn’t be an issue – that’s “Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy”). But on to the WIPocalypse question for month, and the 2017 recap!!

December 31 – Recap your accomplishments for the year! (Your finishes, your final before/after photos, etc).

Well, definitely not the best year for me for getting some progress done on my WIPs … but I did at least manage a little bit of progress (more so earlier on in the year). Here’s a recap of projects where I did make some progress, along with their before and after photos, and the two projects I managed to move into the “Finished” pile:

Finishes:

Topiary Garden(?) by Textile Heritage – Yippee, the first (but sadly only) UFO finish for the year!

 

Daisy Blue by HAED – A HUGE milestone for the year, my favourite finish for 2017!!

 

Progress made:

Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor  – a wee bit of progress managed during one rotation slot.

 

Red Lace Sewing Case by The Drawn Thread – the stitching is finished except for the beading/adding the felt pieces.

 

Paris by Country Threads – I managed to finish the letter R, but had no plans to start any of the other letters this year.

 

Egyptian Garden Mandala by Chatelaine – to say how painful I find stitching this one, I made decent progress this year. I can’t guarantee it’ll be finished in 2018, but I do intend putting a few more stitches into it next year.

 

Quaker Christmas II by ByGone Stitches – Another one I struggle with, but the odd stitch or two was put in this year to make a tiny bit of progress.

 

Flight of the Bumblebees by Ruth Schmuff – I’m sooooo close to getting this one finished! I just had to order some replacement gold paillettes to replace those I’d lost (or used elsewhere, which is more likely) – now these have arrived I had no excuses not to finish this early in 2018.

 

Grandma’s Cushions Stitching Accessories by The Cat’s Whiskers – I managed to stitch the remaining accessories this year to match the scissor pocket stitched a while ago … everything still needs to be put together though.

 

 

New starts (now WIPs for 2018):

While I managed to get a good head start on some of these, my stitching mojo disappeared after October, so progress halted on these.

 

Some new starts became finishes:

While not WIPs at the start of the year, I did manage to start and finish the following projects – mostly small ornies for an ornie challenge … and sadly most of my challenges petered out from the middle of the year due to a lack of personal motivation.

 

WIPs/UFOs not touched in 2017:

And here’s the bigger list of all the other WIPs that didn’t get a look-in … not even for a solitary minute … the poor things 😦

 

Happy hooker – getting hooked on crochet

I can’t remember if I mentioned earlier this year that I took a quick class on beginner’s crochet – my first attempts were a bit feeble as you can see below, and my tension is all over the place, as expected. After the class, though, I decided to attempt a dishcloth to practice the basic single/double crochet stitch. You can see the green disaster below with the missing stitches as I lost a few each time I turned rows. I persevered, though, and picked up pretty quickly where I was going wrong – I tried again with another blue cotton yarn and ended up with a dishcloth I was relatively chuffed with (although I still haven’t added a border to it yet).

 

Life then got in the way, as it does, and I didn’t have the mental capacity to learn to do more. Since moving into the new apartment, though, for some reason I’ve been wanting to learn more and more since pushing my boundaries at the patchwork retreat. I’m a bit bored in my job, I think, so I’ve been craving mental sustenance … what better way than to pull out some cotton yarns and get stuck into doing a bit more crochet again. This is what I’ve managed to get up to over the last couple of weeks …

First up I decided to attempt a coaster – not a perfect job, but not too bad either. I still have to make the mug cozy to go with it (which is the main thing I wanted to make but I accidentally started the wrong pattern then wondered why it was so square haha) – which I’ll do soon. The bigger one was my first attempt – then I got better tension with the smaller one – it’s still far from perfect, but it’s ‘OK’.

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Next up I bit the bullet and started my Spice of Life blanket from the Spice of Life CAL by Black Sheep Wools. I thought I may be biting off more than I could chew being so new to crochet, but thought I’d give it a go anyway. I think I’ve unpicked way more than I’ve kept, and finally decided to throw in the towel at the below point to give me time to get a bit more confident before continuing. I’ve managed to lose a couple of stitches I think on the previous row, and I’m not happy with my tension in the last row I’ve done, so one day I’ll come back and re-do those last sections again. For now, though, I’ve decided to shelve it a wee while longer while I get a bit more confident with the basics.

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Then I found some ugly-looking cotton yarn (it didn’t look that ugly in the ball, so that’ll teach me not to judge looks by its cover) and a YouTube tutorial for a nubbly dishcloth – the rest is history. The first one was quite large due to looser tension, but also due to a higher number of stitches. The next ones I reduced the stitch count and managed to get a better tension. I’m pretty chuffed with them overall!! When I told my Mum weeks ago I wanted to make some dishcloths, she put an order in for some so these will all be going to her in time for Christmas.

The final thing I made yesterday was a washcloth/facecloth – it’s so incredibly soft, I think I’ll have to make one for myself too! I struggled a wee bit with the stitches of this one until I got a rhythm going about 1/3 in, then it seemed to go a lot more quickly. This is dishcloth #97 from Leisure Arts #3027 The Big Book of Dishcloths. I ordered a copy from the Book Depository before realising you could order a digital download from the Leisure Arts store in Ravelry … so guess who now has both versions, because I couldn’t be patient enough to wait for the book to arrive in the post! 😉

I have some time off at Christmas so I think I’ll be seeing a bit more crafty goodness coming out of the spare time during that time … inbetween doing more unpacking and getting the apartment finally into some sort of order. The big question will be what craft gets air-time first … cross-stitch, crochet or quilting (which is also on the to-do-list) … time will tell 😀

 

 

 

 

Patchwork stitching retreat

As I mentioned in my last post, in early October I attended a Patchwork & Quilting Retreat in the Blue Mountains, NSW, organised by Linen and Threads. It was such a wonderful day away, I’m so glad I made the effort to attend in the middle of all the turmoil at home. I can certainly recommend the retreat – the organisation was great, the tutors wonderful, and the other attendees really lovely and welcoming.

These are all the great projects that were taught over the weekend, and the progress I managed to do in that week or two after I moved apartments. I love how each of the projects is big enough to give a challenge or two, but small enough to be totally manageable and more likely to actually get finished post-retreat!

The Little Things Pencil Case by Hatched and Patched

The Little Things Pencil Case by Hatched and Patched

The Little Things Pencil Case by Hatched and Patched

I was so chuffed with this one, my first ever wool appliqué project. I was a bit nervous about the construction, but actually managed it all without too much trouble. A huge shout-out to Anni, the designer/tutor from Hatched and Patched, who took me through all the key requirements one-on-one seeing as I wouldn’t be there the following day. Her tips were invaluable when I got home to start working on it! My rotary cutter now resides proudly in this wee case away from the elements. My very first wool appliqué project, and a finish no less!!

Snowmen & Santa Decorations by Hatched and Patched

The next project I attempted (and again actually completed) was another wool appliqué kit by Hatched and Patched – and I really, really love these wee ornaments! I will definitely do some more of these, they’re so much fun! I managed to whip through the stitching of these really quickly, and definitely will be looking to do more wool appliqué in the future! I guess that also means another stash pile of fabric will be starting very very soon 😉

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Snowmen & Santa Decorations by Hatched and Patched

The next couple of projects were by Marg Low Designs – and once again it was lots of fun challenging myself with new types of stitching, as well as doing the finishing by hand. I’ve managed to finish the first project, but still have to complete the last two.

Thread Roll by Marg Low

This is the one project of Marg’s that I’ve managed to entirely finish – however I changed my colours entirely from the designer’s version (mainly because of the pink colour being so prominent, and it’s by far my least favourite colour … so true to form I made mine in blues and greens instead). The picture below shows a sneak piccie of the original design, in the top left corner of the first picture, along with my fabric choices:

Thread Roll by Marg Low

Thread Roll by Marg Low

Make a Christmas Wish by Marg Low

Then I did the stitching on this one – but my initial thought of having teal/turqoise background fabric didn’t quite work out, I think … when I put the finished stitching onto the blue fabric it looks a bit ‘off’. I’m now thinking I might have to revert back to a red background fabric instead, hence why this one isn’t “finished” and frame yet. Seriously, how cute is that wee red reindeer button?!!

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Make a Christmas Wish by Marg Low – the original chart with my choice of fabrics

Make a Christmas Wish by Marg Low

Make a Christmas Wish by Marg Low

Hearts & Berries by Marg Low

The final design by Marg Low was another one I opted to kit up myself – and as always I chose to have blue tones in my fabric … I tried to follow the designer’s recommendations to a certain extent, though, and ensured to have a checked red fabric for the trim. These colours are a bit out of my comfort zone with the red/brick highlights, so I’m still pushing myself a wee bit with my choices. I’ve only managed to get as far as stitching the heart for the outer of the bag so far – one day soon I’ll get the actual bag itself constructed and finished, though.

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Hearts & Berries by Marg Low – the original design and my choice of fabrics and embellishments

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Hearts & Berries by Marg Low

Travel Cord Buddy by Michelle Marvig

And lucky last, the project that scared me the most from the weekend away – doing wee quilt hexagons … yikes! To say I was out of my comfort zone for this one is a total understatement. I didn’t have to do that many hexagons in the scheme of things, but I have to admit this was the least pleasurable of all of the projects and I’m not sure why. Perhaps doing hexagons while trying to match all the stripes wasn’t the best way for me to learn this skill! I have to say, though, I was pretty chuffed with the results, even though not every hexagon is perfectly lined up. This one also had me running to find a thimble, which I don’t normally use, but crikey my poor wee fingertips took a pounding with this one. I’m also not keen on the quilting job I was doing as I couldn’t get the tension right on my machine and couldn’t find my machine manual, so it ended up getting put away at this stage. I’ll get back to this one again soon, though, because I found a digital machine manual I could download, and as soon as I unpick the last stitches and tweak the tension, I’ll have another crack at it (and this time start a bit closer in to the hexagons for the first quilting line). It’ll be wonderful to have it finished as it’s a really useful tool to use (it holds your power cords etc for travelling) – it’s a gorgeous wee project, that’s for sure. And maybe in the New Year, I’ll be ready to tackle another hexagon project again … maybe 😉

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Travel Cord Buddy by Michelle Marvig – original design and my choice of fabrics

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Travel Cord Buddy by Michelle Marvig

So there you have it – a really stunning selection of projects from three terrific tutors. I enjoyed myself so much even having just one day of attendance, that I’m already booked in for next year’s retreat on the Central Coast of NSW. I can’t wait to see what projects will be awaiting us next year … and by then I should have all these projects finished too 😀