Wednesday, February 22, 2017

February stitching post

Firstly, my February smalls for the 2017 Smalls SAL run by Heather of Stitching Lotus.
The above pink is closest to true color, though the actual fabric color does
have a smidge of a coral shade to it.
Crazy differences in color due to taking the top photo in daylight, and the bottom photo at night. Doh!

These are letters from "Love Blocks" by Needle Bling Designs from the Jan 2016 JCS magazine. I used all stash for this - I had some 32 count Lugana "Coral Reef" (not sure by whom); and I used Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe threads "Be My Valentine" and "Heirloom Grape" and GAST "Picket Fence." I had hoped to finish all 4 letters, but I didn't have as much time to stitch on my business trip as I usually do.

Incidentally, does anyone else have issues with the stretchiness of evenweaves? I'm guessing it's due to the polyester blend of the fabric. I just find it stretches out so much in both hoops and snaps. I don't really enjoy working with it.

Other February finishes:

Chilly Winter scene #2 by By the Bay Needleart:
Stitched with the charted colors on a very light blue, 32 count linen. The white doesn't 'pop' against this fabric color, but that's something I like about it. It reflects that soft, white-on-white sort of overcast day that I like so much in wintertime. (I stitched Chilly Winter Scene #1 last January, see post here.)

I knocked out two mid-sized WIPs from 2016; these are both projects that got put on hold for seasonal (Halloween/Autumn/Christmas) projects.

Ink Circles "Village Square":
I started this one at the end of last May, so it's nice to have it done! Stitched on 32 count "As You Wish" by Under the Sea Fabrics, with the charted Gloriana thread ("Bluegrass"). This was my first Under the Sea fabric, and I love it.

Modern Folk Embroidery "Japanese Hiragana Sampler":
The gradation from dark to light is due to the
lighting - I snapped the photo at work. The
middle is most true to color.
Started in July last year, stitched on 32 count linen in "Midnight" by Sassy's Fabbys. This fabric seems to have been painted, rather than dyed; the front of the fabric is much darker than the back, and from the front it's difficult to make out individual fibers/holes. I stitched this with GAST "Picket Fence" and "Shaker White," but given the complete lack of variegation in the threads, I think I could have used DMC Blanc and Ecru and saved a bit of money. Initials and year inexpertly charted and stitched 1 over 1.

 And finally, I framed Woolen Sheep for my friend:
The color of the frame doesn't exactly match either the blue or the green in the design, but complements them both nicely; and it's a shade my friend has in her house as an accent color. I didn't get the design perfectly straight when I framed it, but even with lacing up the back it was impossible to avoid a couple of wiggles in the borders. :( But she liked it a lot, so that's ok.


I started a freebie back in January, but still haven't finished it.

And I'm behind on the Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL - I put it aside (with everything else) in January to work on Woolen Sheep, and now I'm 3 parts behind. I'm also finding that my interest in it is waning. The colors are very pretty, but...I don't know. Maybe it's just mid-project-meh. I'm trying to decide if I want to push through, or move on.

Stitch from Stash report:

I'm doing pretty well so far! I've earned $58 in credits (not counting the Love Blocks), so even though I did spend $42 on silks for a near-future project (I wasn't going to do that, but after busting my a** to get Woolen Sheep done on time, I felt I deserved a treat), and $14 on a couple of cross stitch books I found at a secondhand bookstore, I have a remaining budget of $42 this month (via adding in last month's carryover budget and this month's budget).
This challenge did inspire me to do some serious thinking about subscriptions, and even though I LOVE Under the Sea Fabrics, I felt that 1) my general budget didn't support it, and 2) I need to both use up my healthy fabric stash as well as wait until I need a particular fabric and buy just what I need, in the color I need. UtSF will be getting my business when that happens, though. Seriously, her fabrics are lovely.

I am, however, keeping my Just Cross Stitch subscription and my Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe thread-of-the-month subscription. I get a lot of pleasure from perusing and re-perusing stitchy mags. And the VMSS threads are so high quality and such a deal in terms of cost per quantity, and I'm finding that as I accrue more of them I'm able to use them in place of other hand-dyed cotton threads as well as DMC.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Screeching in just under the wire

At lunch today I put the last few stitches into a birthday gift due on Friday. Started this on Jan 2 because I have bad judgement.
This is "Woolen Sheep" by the Cricket Collection, stitched 2 over 1 on some kind of super low count rough natural linen. So natural, in fact, that it has scratchy fibers poking out of the threads in places. O_o

I bought the pattern at an LNS and requested the charted linen, but they gave me this by mistake. By the time I realized this fabric was far too low a count to fit the project as charted, the LNS was going out of business so I couldn't exchange it. It's essentially the right color, though, and once I decided to stitch over 1, the design fit. The very loose weave did make over 1 stitching even more treacherous than usual - the threads wanted to vanish under every fabric thread.

I counted wrong in one spot, but had gotten so far along by the time I noticed that I just didn't have time to frog it. I fudged a couple more things to hopefully cover the mistake.

I can't WAIT to move on to something else, but between work and feverishly stitching this thing in hand without being able to use the sewing method (both because of the ridic fabric), my elbow and shoulder are killing me. So time for a short stitching break. :(

But yay it's done. I'll frame it over the next couple of days, probably in a shadow box frame.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

January Smalls SAL post

My first small for the 2017 Smalls SAL run by Heather of Stitching Lotus. It's a Lizzie Kate Tiny Tidings called Snow Bird. There are meant to be blue beads in the centers of the snowflakes, but I subbed blue stitches. Stitched on 32 count  linen in "Wren" by PTP (I think).

I had intended to have one or two other smalls done by now, but for some reason, I thought it would be a great idea to start a project on January 2 for a friend whose birthday is February 3. I've had to put everything else aside to work on it. I still have 1/4 of it left to do, and only a week to do it. :( I really like it, and it's going to be cute when it's done, but ack.

It is reminding me of why I stopped enjoying stitching years ago - I was stitching large-ish things, and often they were for people and therefore needed to be done by some date (which ultimately slid and slid and slid, and then I felt guilty about it), and I got so sick of whatever I was stitching on that it stopped being fun.

So, I'm going to finish this thing, and then I am going to so, so, so enjoy working on something new that doesn't have a deadline, and on WIPs that I have been plodding along on in a deadline-free, stress-free manner.

I do have one other gift stitch planned this year, but I have 3 possible deadlines (Mother's Day, mom's birthday in October, or Christmas), and it's not huge. So I'm fairly confident that I can at least get it done by the end of the year, without having to zero in on it until I'm sick of it....

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Bonus 2017 monthly challenge

I've been thinking of ways to support my stitch-from-stash goal, so I pulled out my binder of printed freebie designs and gosh I had forgotten how many cute freebies I had.

So I'm going to set myself the challenge of stitching a small freebie every month.

This will be January's:

From here:

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 stitchy goals

Happy New Year, everyone. I've been enjoying the look-back and plan-ahead posts folks have been making, so I thought I'd whip up my own versions.

Looking back: I completed 35 stitching projects (not including mini-finishes that were parts of SALs). I collected my 2016 finishes here.

Planning ahead:

The TL;DR version: I'm going to try the Stitch from Stash challenge, and continue doing the Smalls SAL.

Stitch from Stash (LOL)
I'm going to attempt Stitch from Stash (via Facebook) this year, because 2016 was really stressful and I seem to have done, hmm, quite a bit of therapy shopping.

My main goal is to seriously minimize purchase of patterns, but also to default to my fabric and thread stash before buying new.

So, WIPs I want to finish:
- Village Square / Ink Circles Made progress
- Japanese Hiragana Sampler / Modern Folk Embroidery
- Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL / Ship's Manor
- Flamingo / Mill Hill (just needs beads & assembly)
- Merry Bird / Lizzie Kate (needs beads & assembly)

WIPs I am struggling not to forget about:
- Joyful World SAL / Snowflower Diaries
- Frosty Feast / Crossed Wing Collection
- Spring Robin / Mill Hill

I didn't do any gift stitching last year, would like to try to gift a couple of things this year:
- Woolen Sheep / Cricket Collection (for a friend whose birthday is in February ack) Started
- Wildflower Wreath / Kazuko Aoki from "Cross Stitch Garden" (for my mom for Mother's Day)

Possible from-stash starts for me:
- Feather Fairy / Mirabilia
- Where There are Bees or As the Crow Flies / Prairie Schooler
- Weinachtsmarkt / Cuore e Batticuore
- Feathers 'n Fins / Tempting Tangles
- Bird Study / Kathy Barrick
- Jolly Jack / All Through the Night
- Whimsical Advent Calendar / The Primitive Hare
- Angel of Light / Lavender & Lace (or possibly Angel of Winter, or Angel of Christmas...)
- 3 Violets Humbug, Witchy's Sister Mouse, and Gingerbread Angel Mouse / Just Nan
- Easter Sampler / one of the British magazines
- Christmas snow globe / Jardin Prive
- Florilege / Camille Coljé Camps
- Mad March Hare / Cross Stitch Collection
- any number of patterns that I'm forgetting

Obviously, I have PLENTY of patterns and should not buy anymore, possibly forever, though I don't necessarily see that happening...

2017 Smalls SAL
I really enjoyed Heather's Smalls SAL, so definitely doing that again this year. Tentative plan is below. A few of these are rather big smalls, so depending on what else is going on at the time I may ditch the plan and grab something smaller from my stash.

Jan - Chilly Winter / By the Bay Needleart Started
Feb - Love blocks / Just Cross Stitch Jan/Feb 2016
Mar - Easter Egg / Cricket Collection
Apr - Spring Egg / Prairie Schooler
May - Blossom Home / All Through the Night
Jun - My Secret Garden / LizzieKate
Jul - As the Crow Flies "Sow 4 Seeds" / Prairie Schooler
Aug - Oktober Feast / With Thy Needle & Thread
Sept - [Autumn]
Oct - [Halloween]
Nov - [Turkey or Thanksgiving]
Dec - [Christmas]

Thursday, December 29, 2016

December Smalls post, etc

First, my small for the 2016 Smalls SAL run by Heather of Stitching Lotus. It's a Lizzie Kate Tiny Tidings called Jingle Jingle. I used DMC, and added a little jingle bell. Hopefully it will become an ornament before next Christmas.

I also finishes Shining Star by SamSarah, with lots of changes:

Now I'm back to my WIPs; I've made progress on Village Square by Ink Circles:

Oh, and the birth sampler I finished earlier this year has been framed:

I hope everyone has had/is having a great holiday season!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Smalls SAL post

My November small for the Smalls SAL, run by Heather of Stitching Lotus:
This is from a kit that came with an issue of Cross Stitch Crazy magazine. It will be finished into an ornament using the little felt frame that came with the kit. There are supposed to be little stars/snowflakes, but this fabric about drove me nuts with how hard it was to stitch on, so I left them off.

I'm also keeping up with the Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL, with tiny part 4 finished last weekend:

And I stitched Season of Love by Stitchers Anon:
She has an Etsy shop with TONS of adorable PDF designs, but she's closing the shop at the end of the year so if you like her stuff, now is the time to buy. :(

Lastly, even though this isn't stitching, I wanted to show the Christmas wreath I made:
It's a foam wreath wrapped with a color-blocked yarn. I made the felt flowers, added a couple cute berry picks and some jingle bells, and got the bow at Michaels. I'm really happy with how it turned out.