2019 WIPocalypse year in review

This post is a summary of my progress over the year, along with how I went with my 2019 goals. Because of personal circumstances (major project at work meaning extra-long working hours, and Dad’s hospitalisation and then passing away meaning 3 1/2 months of carers/compassionate leave), my goals were far from met this year, but as long as I managed to get some craft time in during the year I still think of it as positive progress.

WIP start/finish stats (includes stitching, crochet, quilting):

54 = Number of WIPs/UFOs @ 1 January 2019 (yikes!)
– 6 = Number of WIPs/UFOs completed in 2019
+ 7 = Number of new WIPs added in 2019 (ie started in 2019 but not finished)
—-
55 = WIPs/UFOs balance (oops – not my finest hour!)

WIP finishes:

The 6 WIPs I managed to finish in 2019 were:

  1. Glendon Place: City Sidewalks ornament (cross stitch)
  2. Elizabeth’s Designs: Ladybug (cross stitch)
  3. Nora Corbett: Mirabilia Retreat dragonfly (cross stitch)
  4. Marg Low: Hearts & Berries (embroidery and patchwork)
  5. Michelle Marvig: Travel Cord Buddy (patchwork)
  6. Simple ribbed beanie (crochet) (I can’t find the finished photo)

New starts in 2019:

Started and finished:

  1. Blue Ribbon Designs: Two Stags and a Star ornament (JCS ornie SAL)
  2. The Sweetheart Tree: Sweet Valentine
  3. Dimensions: Stacked Tea Cups
  4. Keslyn’s: Santa Hat & Boots ornament (JCS ornie SAL)
  5. Laura J Perin: Flying Geese canvaswork
  6. Knotted Tree NeedleArt: To All a Good Night ornament (JCS ornie SAL)
  7. Cherished Stitches: Christmas memories (JCS ornie SAL)
  8. Misty Hill Studio: Left Behind (JCS ornie SAL)
  9. Elsa in a heart (charity quilt block)
  10. Elsa with snowflakes (charity quilt block)
  11. Crate Crochet: Spontaneous Shawl
  12. Crate Crochet: Sweet Pea Mandala
  13. Crate Crochet: Whimsy scarf
  14. Dragon Dreams: What now? (JCS ornie SAL)
  15. Elizabeth’s Designs: Under the Sea
  16. Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery: Christmas morning goodies (JCS ornie SAL)
  17. JBW Designs: Noel 2018 (JCS ornie SAL)
  18. Leisure Arts, Big Book of Dishcloths: #32 dishcloth
  19. Leisure Arts, Big Book of Dischcloths: #70 dishcloth
  20. Rosewood Manor: The Heart of Christmas (JCS ornie SAL)

New starts that are still WIPs:

Out of all of the new starts I had in 2019, six remain as WIPs at the end of the year:

  1. Maria’s Blue Crayons: Coastal Indoor Rug
  2. Hooked on Sunshine: Phoenix blanket
  3. Laura J Perin: Lahaina Breezes
  4. Crate Crochet: Hook Roll
  5. Crate Crochet: Ripple Tote
  6. Drawn Thread: Almost Halloween
  7. Ronald McDonald house charity piece (just needs personalisation to be added at the bottom)

Other progress on WIPs:

While I didn’t manage to get these projects finished this year, I did manage a bit of progress – not sure they’ll be finished in 2020 either, but I’ll eventually keep chipping away at them slowly but surely.

2019 Goals – Review

Cross stitch and embroidery

Cross stitch WIPs:

  1. X FAIL  Quaker Diamonds by Rosewood Manor – I’d love to finish this one – Update: I didn’t finish this one, although I did make a tiny bit of progress.
  2. X FAIL  Egyptian Garden Mandala by Chatelaine – Entirely finish the stitching of at least one full corner (ie one full page of the chart) – This was a major fail because I decided to scrap it and start all over again on different fabric.
  3. X FAIL  Red Lace Sewing Case by The Drawn Thread – add the felt/beads and do the finishing … and finally gift it to the intended recipient. Update: not touched.
  4. √ DONE  Three Kings by Mill Hill/Jim Shore – finish the three kings in the centre
  5. √ DONE  Quaker Christmas II by ByGone Stitches – finish the Let There be Peace on Earth motif in the centre
  6. X FAIL  Progress on at least three other WIPs/UFOs
  7. X IN PROGRESS  Ronald McDonald House charity XS – managed to stitch everything except for the personalisation for the retreat house. Now I’ve heard back from the NZ Head Office, I’ll complete this in January 2020.
  8. X FAIL  19 in 19 – Start a new HAED and stitch 19 colours on it – didn’t start one
  9. X FAIL  19 in 19 – 19 new starts. Update: I managed 18!
  10. X FAIL  19 in 19 – 19 finishes. Update: I managed 18!
  11. X FAIL  19 in 19 – some progress on 19 existing WIPs carried over from 2019. Update: I managed 4 :/
  12. √ DONE  Stitch a charity quilt block
  13. √ DONE  Stitch 12 Christmas ornaments

Other needlework WIPs:

  1. √ DONE  Travel Cord Buddy by Michelle Marvig – I’d like to finish putting this together
  2. √ DONE  Hearts & Berries by Marg Low – I’d like to finish putting this together
  3. X FAIL  Make a Christmas Wish by Marg Low – I’d like to finish putting this together and framed before Christmas
  4. X FAIL  Stumpwork – choose one old stumpwork UFO and make some progress
  5. X FAIL  Start a new project from Inspirations magazines
  6. X FAIL  Make some progress on one of the 2018 patchwork retreat projects

Crochet

  1. X FAIL  Make a 1920s-style hat for the Napier Art Deco Festival
  2. √ DONE  Complete three crochet projects from “Crate Crochet”
  3. √ DONE  Start a shawl
  4. X FAIL  Finish my Atlanticus (mandala) blanket
  5. X FAIL  Restart my Spice of Life blanket
  6. X FAIL  Start a Briar Rose blanket
  7. X FAIL  Start a top (clothing)
  8. √ DONE  Start a crochet hook case
  9. X FAIL  Start a blanket for Brenda & Nigel
  10. X FAIL  Make a charity blanket for SPCA
  11. X FAIL  Start the Nuts About Squares CAL

Quilting/Sewing

  1. X FAIL  Make a small pincushion
  2. X FAIL  Start a queen-sized bed patchwork quilt for myself
  3. X FAIL  Start the Piece and Plenty BOM quilt
  4. X FAIL  Make a sewing machine cover
  5. X FAIL  Make a summer nightie
  6. X FAIL  Make a top (clothing)
  7. X FAIL  Choose three Pinterest projects to try (eg Project bags, Purses/pouches)

Stitchalongs/Challenges

I think the two SALs that I did do only lasted 2-3 months for me – my intentions were good, but life just got in the way this year. Hopefully 2019 will be the year where I do much better!

  1. √ DONE  JCS Christmas Ornie Facebook SALyay, completed all 12 ornies, which is a record for me, I think!
  2. X IN PROGRESS  WIPocalypseI managed to post some months, but not all.
  3. X FAIL  Hallowe’en ornie SAL
  4. X FAIL  Gifted Gorgeousness
  5. X FAIL  Stitch from Stash on Facebook
  6. X FAIL  JK’s Groupies (AU/NZ) on Facebook – “19 in 19” (my choices are 19 new starts, 19 finishes, and use 19 colours in a project)
  7. X FAIL  JK’s Groupies (AU/NZ) on Facebook – monthly challenges

WIPocalypse November

Belatedly adding my update for November, even though I only have one small update to share. I decided to keep on stitching on Mill Hill’s Three Kings until I got that third king finished … thus ticking one more item off the ‘to-do-list/goal’ for the year. It’s now being put away until 2020 again, unless I get an urge to keep going on the border – never say never!

Question of the Month:  What new stitches or techniques did you learn this year ?

This year hasn’t been a great year for learning stitching-wise, however I just started doing a couple of older subscription boxes from Crate Crochet and learning some new stitches and techniques in crochet. It’s been a nice change learning something new, and not being too stressed at work to enjoy some decent down-time on evenings and weekends. I’m hoping next year will see me doing these projects on time each month again, seeing as I’ve just resubscribed for another 12 months 🙂

Here are some of my projects I’ve been working on this last week or two – I even managed a mandala finish that I’m super proud of!

WIPocalypse October

Belatedly adding my update for October, although it’s the first WIP update I’ve made for quite some time. I’ve gone crazy stitching quite a bit since my return home – it’s helped me to take my mind off Dad’s passing and Mum coping on her own. So without further ado, here are my WIP updates and some other finishes.

Just Cross Stitch ornament SAL

I managed to finish all the remaining ornaments for a 12-month long ornament challenge using the 2018 Just Cross Stitch ornament issue – I used my two wild cards to change out two of the ornaments where I didn’t like one or didn’t have all the required threads and nothing to substitute with. The ornies I finished in October were:

Works in Progress / UFOs

I dragged out a few older WIPs/UFOs that were in my to-do-list for the year but that I hadn’t touched yet … I’ve failed my goals this year miserably, but at least I’ve managed some progress on a few projects for the year, even if it’s really small progress …

New starts

When I first came home I decided to start a new canvaswork project – I managed great progress until my fingers got too sore to keep yanking the threads through the canvas, so it’s been put into time out for a while, and I’ll probably pick it up again in 2020 to finish it off, if not before.

‘Lahaina Breezes’ by Laura J Perin

After I finished my JCS ornie SAL challenge, I decided to pick up a quick project that’s been kitted up for years – and finished it in a couple of days.

‘Under the Sea’ by Elizabeth’s Designs

Question of the Month: Do you prefer to stitch on a rotation or one project at a time?

It depends on my mood at the time, to be honest – I work well with a rotation when I’m in the mood, it helps me to progress through projects quickly as long as I have them all set up together ready for me to work through the order of projects without having to hunt for items, or frames, or threads etc. I’ve been doing a screaming rotation of sorts for a while now – just stitching on what I feel like stitching on and not counting the hours at all. I’d like to get back to a formal rotation again, but I think I’ll wait until the new year for that.

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 – April 2019

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

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

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

This is how it looked at the start of the month, and in it’s finished glory 🙂

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

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

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

Question of the month:

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

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

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

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


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

Easter finishes

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

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

WIPocalypse – March 2019

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

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

Question of the month:

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

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