Sunday, May 1, 2016

April Smalls SAL check-in and more

I'm a little late for the Smalls SAL.  Heather at Stitching Lotus hosts this SAL.  It's very easy to participate, pick a small (you get to decide what "small" is), stitch it and post on the last Thursday of the month.  I have been stitching blocks from The Sampler Life's SAL, but I still haven't picked colors for the March block, so I picked up Plum Street Samplers 12 Days of Christmas and stitched Seventh Day.

Here's the entire piece:

I will get back to The Sampler Life SAL this month, as I do need to catch up.

I spent Thursday evening filling in the missed stitches on It's About Time and have another column finish.

Two more columns and I will have a page finish. I am getting much faster with this style of chart, but I am still looking at years to finish a project - Glad I like my HAED charts.

Friday evening I worked on Shakespearean Fantasy and got to here:

I may be able to finish the column next time I put this one on the frame.

Just Nan's Christmas Soldiers was on the frame for the weekend.

A few more holly leaves, poinsettias and filler stitches were added.  There is one more poinsettia before the bottom of the stocking.  This is stitching up faster than I thought it would - still plenty to do, but I may have a finish in the next couple of months.

No week night stitching for the next two weeks as I have to go into the office every day to attend two training programs - they will finish off a certificate program I have been working on for a couple years, but all that commuting will have me worn out.  I was able to reschedule my compressed day off to a week from Monday but I have an early appointment so won't get to catch up on my sleep too much. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

April WIPocalypse

I'm a few days late for the WIPocalypse check-in, but fortunately Melissa doesn't put a time limit on posting.  You can find out everything you need to know about WIPocalypse on Melissa's website Measi's Musings, but basically it's a reminder to give our WIPs some lovin' before we start something new.  Melissa also provides us with "Questions of the Month" so we can get to know each other.  This month's question is:  What do you listen to while stitching?  Most often I listen to audio books while I'm stitching.  I discovered them 18 months ago and love them.  If I'm not listening to a book, there is usually music on and occasionally the television.  If the television is on, it's usually on something that doesn't take a lot of active watching as I would rather concentrate on my stitching and not the show.

So WIP stitching...  three projects in my current rotation are on my WIPocalypse list - you can see the list in the "WIPocalypse Project List and 2016 Stitching Plan" tab up top there.

The three projects are:  Secret Victorian Garden; Shakespearean Fantasy; and, Christmas Presence.

I finally finished Secret Victorian Garden - I showed the finish photo in my last post, but I'll show it again.

Shakespearean Fantasy went from here:

I love how the black makes the greens pop.

Christmas Presence was here:

and today it's here:

Didn't quite finish the column, but will fill in those missing stitches and start a new column next week.
I also had progress on two other projects that are not on my WIPocalypse list, It's About Time and Christmas Soldiers.

IAT is now here:

Quite a few missing stitches in that column
and Christmas Soldiers is here:

Those stars in the middle are two different colors, they just aren't showing up too well.
All in all, it was a good stitching week.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

An IHSW check in and a finish

It was  this weekend and I officially participated for the first time in ages.  Joyce over at Random Ramblings hosts this SAL.  It takes place the third weekend of every month, so if you missed it this month you can catch it in May. 

My stitching weekend started Thursday night with It's About Time.  I added another 300 stitches.

The detail on this one still amazes me.

Friday's stitching was Shakespearean Fantasy

Not a lot of progress but I did finish all the green in the column and 150 or so more black stitches.

While I didn't get as much stitching time as I would have liked on Saturday and Sunday, I did finish
Secret Victorian Garden. 

I started this one on January 1, 2007 when it was called Mystery X.  I kept up with the monthly parts until August when I started packing for my move to Virginia.  It was in and out of the rotation, more out than in, for most of the next eight or so years, but The Hubs wanted me to enter something big in the needlework competition at the State Fair this fall, so out it came.
It is stitched on 32-count Carol's Meadow Jobelan from Silkweaver with the called for threads and beads.  I think I bought the kit from Drema at Needlecraft Corner (they don't carry Chatelaine kits anymore but are a really good source for materials). 
The random project picker picked Winter Watergarden to take Secret Victorian Garden's spot once I get back to my regular rotation.  I will be back stitching Christmas Soldiers next weekend and now have two wedding samplers to finish for next year as DNiece called a couple of weeks ago to tell me she's engaged. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

I took pictures!

Yes, pictures were taken last week of my stitching, but the blog was not written.  I am also behind on my blog reading and commenting - staying off the computer is giving me lots of time for stitching but it is putting me so far behind on what everyone is doing.  

The plus side of my blog slump is that I am right on time for the Gifted Gorgeousness check-in.  Jo at Serendipitous Stitching created and hosts Gifted Gorgeousness as a way for us to thank the people that gifted us with something stitching related.  I have three pieces this month that I fit into this SAL.  First up is Christmas Presence.  I count this one because it was a freebie from Heaven and Earth Designs for their 2015 SAL and therefore, a gift.

I am a couple of columns away from a page finish and then just a small page away from a finish.

The next piece is It's About Time:

The pattern for this piece was gifted to me by Kate at Needle and Haystacks. Another couple of column on this one and I will have a page finish.

Shakespearean Fantasy's pattern was gifted to my by Pull the Other Thread:

There are some single stitches in the green area to finish off before I have a column finish on this one.  It's on the frame for its regular Friday night stitch so another column finish is very possible.

I have been spending the majority of my weekend time stitching Chatelaine's Secret Victorian Garden.  Before ordering more dark blue beads, I decided to go through my beading supplies and was thrilled to find a large box of them. So the most heavily beaded part, the center, is done (except for the bicones and cubes).  All that is left is the rest of the border, one corner, and all the big sparklies.  

Speaking of a weekend.  It is  this weekend.  Head over to Random Ramblings to sign up.  You haven't participated before? You are missing out.  IHSW is the one weekend a month you are encouraged, by stitchers around the world, to sit and stitch all weekend. I don't know how much stitching time I will get in as the weather is supposed to be beautiful and I will want to be outside, but I am aiming for a finish on SVG, so I do have an incentive.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Lost a Couple of Weeks

Hmmm, after being ahead of things the beginning of the month things fell apart and I lost two weeks somewhere.  I have been dealing with a medical "thing" and it's been taking a lot of my time and energy.  Fortunately, it's turned out to be very treatable - I have sleep apnea and it caused a heart rhythm problem - so once I start treatment not only should the heart thing go away, but the sleep specialist is saying I'll probably have an easier time losing weight, remembering things and just be generally more healthy - who knew sleep did so much?  Of course, once the bills start coming in, I may just have a real heart attack.

I have missed two check-ins but I have been stitching in between all the tests and appointments, so I do have things to show.

The first check-in is for WIPocalypse which is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings.  She created and has been hosting this SAL since 2012 when she decided that she should finish, or at least make a dent in her WIPs before the world ended in December.  Well, as far as I know, the world is still here (although I suppose in some parallel universe it did end) and, unfortunately, so are most of the WIPs on my list.   Three projects on my stitching list/plan for this year are in my current rotation and I do have progress on all three.  Before I get to the pictures, Melissa gives us a discussion topic each month and this month's is:  Do you use hoops, stretcher bars, lap stands or Q snap frames and why? For anything larger than very small pieces or those done on perforated paper, I use scroll bars.  My hands cramp if I stitch in-hand for too long.  I have used hoops, Q snaps, and stretcher bars, but I always come back to scroll rods.  I like the tension and the fact that once the fabric is squared off and mounted, I don't have to worry about it wracking or going off square, so no blocking is required once the piece is finished.  I stitch "in the ditch" so I am only touching a very small portion of the piece so don't worry about dirt or grime but just to sure, I do cover my pieces with a clean tea towel when I'm not stitching.  For smaller pieces, I have an Elan lap stand from Artisan Designs and for my larger pieces a Needlework System 4 floor stand.  I love them both as they allow me to stitch two-handed, are easy to flip to the back to finish off ends and keep my piece within easy reach at all times.  

And what has been on my scroll rods since my last WIPocalypse check-in?

Christmas Presence from Heaven and Earth Designs.  At last month's check-in, it was here:

And today it is here:

More stained glass.
Shakespearean Fantasy went from here last month:

to here today:

and my final WIPocalypse project is Secret Victorian Garden from Chatelaine.  It was here last month:

and here is the beading of the center portion that is finished:

here is a close up of one corner:

Unfortunately, my kit was short on the dark blue beads, so I have to wait a bit before I can finish the final checkerboard and corner, but there are plenty of other beads that need adding.

The other SAL I am late checking in for is the Smalls SAL.  Heather at Stitching Lotus hosts the SAL.  This SAL celebrates smalls in all their sizes - yes, you get to decide what is small.  All you have to do is post a picture on the last Thursday of the month.  This SAL really motivates me.  I have been using the blocks from The Sampler Life's mystery SAL for my monthly pieces.  Each one is no larger than 50X50 so a very nice size.  For March, I finished Susanne's Samplerlife Ornament from Susanne Schmidt Farbenfroh.  I used one of the new variegated DMC for it and like how it turned out.

The photo is very washed out.
The April block was released today so I am officially two month's behind, my March block was the February release.  March's block is from Thea Gouverneur and will require a bit of work as no color numbers were given, just a color chart.  April's block is a choice of three from Artecy Cross Stitch.  I don't think I will stitch all three, but it will be difficult to pick which one.

I have one more piece that I have worked on that does not belong to either SAL - well it will fit into next year's WIPocalypse...  It is It's About Time from Heaven and Earth Designs.

It was here last time  I showed it:

And tonight, it is here:

Not much time for stitching this weekend as I leave early Sunday morning for Alexandria, Louisiana for work.  I'll be back late on Tuesday, but I am teleworking on Wednesday and took Thursday and Friday off, so it shouldn't be to bad a work week (and I hope to get a LOT of stitching in next weekend!!).

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A late TUSAL, Secret Garden, and Gifted Gorgeousness

It's TUSAL time!  TUSAL is hosted by Daffycat  and gives us something to do with all those little ends you cut off.  Instead of throwing them away (or picking off your clothes or cats), collect them in a pretty jar and participate in TUSAL!!

Here is my March offering:

It looks like some tamping is in order soon, that or a slight redistribution.

This month, the jar is sitting in front of Chatelaine's Secret Victorian Garden which saw more beading this week.  I am moving along at a fair clip, so should have it done in a couple of weeks - although the center is much more heavily beaded than the area I am working on right now - so I am probably being a bit optimistic with that thought.  Here's a shot of the gates, corner and path under the conservatories.

and here is a closer picture of the corner.  The picture should be clickable to enlarge a bit.

While I am late with TUSAL, I am early with my Gifted Gorgeousness post.  Jo at Serendipitous Stitching came up with the idea and gives us all a way to say "thank you" to everyone that has gifted us with something for our stitching.  I worked on three projects, all Heaven and Earth Design pieces that fit this SAL.

The pattern for Shakespearean Fantasy was gifted to me by Pull the Other Thread.  I filled in more green this week and found a number of stitches that I missed during my first pass through the area.  I think I will go to a stitch by column method rather than cross country to avoid missing any more.  When I put it away Friday night, it was here:

My second gifted piece is It's About Time.  Kate at Needle and Haystacks gifted me the pattern.  It has been a very different experience from Shakespearean Fantasy as there is design as soon as you start stitching.

The photo is rather washed out but you can still see the wheels, hands and designs.

My last piece, Christmas Presence, is a shoehorn in that it was a freebie from the company and therefore, in my opinion, a gift.  I worked on this one a bit longer than normal on Friday, but I was so close to a column finish that I didn't want to stop.

Not many columns left before page 2 is finished.  Page 4 is much smaller and has fair amount already done, so I am not too far from a finish.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Beading and stitching

Another productive stitching week.  I am very pleased with how my stitching plan has kept me motivated and I do hope it continues.  I believe a large part of the success is that I am constantly changing projects so it feels like a new start every day.

Thursday evenings are for Its About Time.  I put in another 300 stitches this week.

Friday evenings are for Shakespearean Fantasy - if it happens to be my compressed Friday Christmas Presence is on the frame in the morning and afternoon, but it was a regular Friday this week, so just the Fantasy:

More greens this week.  I have gone back to using my Fire for this section of the stitching.  The search and highlight function on ezPDF Reader makes it very easy to find and fill in the missing stitches.  I will be very happy to get those sections completed so I can go to the block/column stitching that I am using on Time as it is much faster for me.

The weekend is for my focus piece, currently Secret Victorian Garden.  Beading has been the order of business on this one.  Here's a little bit:

I do turn my beads to follow the direction of the design, so corners take a little bit of thinking and some beads end up on an angle.

And here is some more:

Picture should be clickable so you can see the beading
I had to do some fiddling with the area under the conservatory as I am using a hand-dyed 32-count fabric so solid beading doesn't quite fit. I think I left out two beads and if you look very closely you can see that some beads don't quite line up with the X.  Fortunately, the man on the trotting horse can't tell, so I am good with it.

Sunday mornings are for The Sampler Life SAL block.  February's block is from Susanne Schmidt Farbenfroh.

I am enjoying this one and stitching in a spiral.