Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A small WIPocalypse

The house is full of the scent of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg - I do wish I liked pumpkin pie as it smells so good.  I normally host Thanksgiving, but this year DMIL didn't feel up to the drive over, so they are hosting and I am bringing the pie.  It does feel strange not to be spending the day in the kitchen prepping but I did buy a turkey that I will cook this weekend as we like the leftovers so will still get to cook the big meal.

As we're getting towards the end of the year, I am deep in the planning stage for next year's stitching - yes, I do go into each year with a plan, I just tend to get waylaid - and was pretty happy with what I had come up with, when I got a text from DNephew's girlfriend showing a very pretty engagement ring.  No date set, but do have to get started on some sort of wedding sampler and a Christmas stocking.  I also expect that DNiece will be engaged in the not so distant future so another stocking is in the works. I already purchased the materials and pattern for her sampler (we all thought she'd be engaged long before her brother worked up the nerve).  So while my original plans are out the window, I'm not terribly upset.  I will use the rest of this year to try to finish up the things I'm close to finishing and next year will be primarily stitching for the soon-to-be families.

But all of that is in the future and right now, I have stitching and SALs to post about.  While it has been cancelled, a quick Stitch From Stash update, I spent $7.64 for floss to finish kitting Its About Time this month. That keeps me in the black, but as I will be purchasing fabric and floss for stockings before the end of the year, my budget will be completely blown.

One I have done a little better with is Smalls SAL.  The Smalls SAL is hosted by Heather at Stitching Lotus and is an incentive to give some of those smaller projects some love.  I am using The Sampler Life's SAL as my smalls piece each month. This month's is Sampler Motif from Wendy KC Designs:

and here is the entire piece:

I also jumped onto the Plum Street Samplers 2015 Sunday Mystery SAL and they are smalls if stitched individually, so I am counting each finish as a small finish.  As of today, it is here:

Stitched on 40-count Vintage Autumn Gold from Lakeside Linen with Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe threads
I am having a terrible time getting a good picture of this one but will keep trying.

Assuming Heather continues hosting this SAL, I will definitely continue with it into 2016.

The next SAL that I will continue into 2016, again assuming hosting continuation, is WIPocalypse  WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and reminds us to love the projects we've already started before we start a new one - that is really so much harder than it sounds. While my 2016 will have several new starts, I will also keep working on those WIPs.  Melissa provides us with topics or questions each month and this month's is: Which designer has inspired you to stitch the greatest number of designs and why do you think that is?   That isn't as easy an answer as I first thought and it really depends on when in my stitching journey you look.  If you look at completed and kitted/stashed, it would be Just Nan. I enjoy her use of color and her designs but I haven't bought a new design in 15 years, so she isn't my current muse. My current inspiration is Chatelaine.  I also enjoy her use of color, but where Just Nan stayed within a certain palette, Chatelaine changes hers to best reflect the theme of the design. Her designs are still very unique in the market.  I have seen a few mandala style pieces, but none with the amount of detail, specialty stitches or beading that Martina puts into hers. Finally, it is a thrill to finish one of her pieces.  With Just Nan or others, it's more "I'm done" and on to the next. With a Chatelaine it's "I did it" and you just sit and look at it for days.

Since my last WIPocalypse post, I have had progress on all three pieces that I showed in October. First up is Shakespearean Fantasy.  In October it was here:

and today it is here:

I am thinking of putting this on the frame and finishing that column of black this afternoon.

Christmas Presence has been the most problematic WIP for me this month. It was here when I showed it in October:

and today it is here:

Yes, rather than throw it out, I finished the page! I downloaded EZPdf reader and spent several hours, highlighting all the stitches that were missing and then filling them in. It proved MUCH easier digitally than on paper. I will most likely go back to paper for the rest of the design, but will keep the digital option open. I do hope to finish the bottom page this week.

And my final WIPocalypse is Secret Victorian Garden by Chatelaine,  In October, it was here:

And today it is here:

I need to get this one back on the frame and really make a push to finish it.  I am off today and tomorrow, working a half day on Friday and off next week. In between Christmas baking for DSon and card making, I hope to make good progress on this.

Happy stitching.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November Gifted Gorgeousness

Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and is wonderful way of saying thank you to the generous people that have gifted us with stitching wonderfulness.  As Jo says, the best way to show our appreciation is to stitch and blog about it.  There is a list of things that count as gifted and also the ever popular "whatever you can shoehorn" category.

I have two pieces that fit in the "regular" list very easily.  The first is Shakespearean Fantasy.  The pattern was gifted to my by Pull the Other Thread.  I made great progress early this month, but haven't put a stitch in since the last picture:

Stitched 1 over 1 on 28-count antique white Jobelan with DMC
My other fits-the-list piece is Its About Time.  The pattern was gifted to me by Kate at Needles and Haystacks.  As of last night, I have done 600 stitches:

Stitched 1 over 1 on 28-count antique white Jobelan with DMC
I am really enjoying this one.  I think part of the enjoyment is that there is a design to watch develop rather than just a black blob. I'm sure I'll start thinking the same thing once I get out of the black on Shakespearean Fantasy.
The next three I count as gifts, but are in the "shoehorn" category for the SAL, as they are freebies, which I am counting as gifts from the designers.
The first is 2015 Sunday Mystery Sampler from Plum Street Samplers. I am very behind on this one but very much enjoying the time I do spend on it.  As of this morning, it is here:
Stitched on 40-count Vintage Autumn Gold from Lakeside Linens with Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe threads
I do hope to get a bit more done on the tree this morning.  My next shoehorn is:
Christmas Presence.  I am on the verge of throwing in the towel on this one.  Trying to fill in all the missed stitches has become more irritating then enjoyable. I do love the way the finished bits look but I'm not sure I have the patience to spend another lots of hours filling in the rest.
And the last shoehorn is the piece for this month's The Sampler Life SAL.  I showed the completed piece in my last post, so I'm not going to show it again. If you missed it, it's here.
I also did a little bit on Chatelaine's Secret Victorian Garden. It went from here:
Stitched on 32-count Carol's Meadow Jobelan from Silkweaver Fabrics with called for threads
To here:
I am having the same issue with this piece that I do with all my large pieces, the closer I get to a finish the more I drag my feet stitching it.  I do not really understand why.  I want to see it finished.  I want to move another piece into the rotation, but I find anything but it to work on (as you can see above). 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Stitching bug is back!!

After months of feeling rather "meh" about stitching, my bug is back! I'm not sure why, but I suspect it has something to do with a challenge I joined on the HAED face book site, but whatever caused it, I am thrilled. All I know is that as soon as the day-to-day stuff is done, stitching is on the top of my list of things to do, so lots of stitching has happened the last week.

I do have a couple of SAL check-ins, but there is cross over in my projects so you'll be getting a twofer.  The HAP SAL is hosted by Stacy at Crossed Stitches and is designed to help us focus on those huge projects we may be stitching.  YOTA is hosted at Pull the Other Thread and is a WIP focused SAL.  The piece they have in common is Shakespearean Fantasy by James C. Christensen as charted by Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED). I am very pleased to say that I have a page finish!!

Stitched on 28-count antique white Jobelan with DMC 1 over 1
If you take all the stitches I have put in, I probably have two pages done but that block of black (with a few other colors) is a full page plus a couple blocks from the next.  My stitching style with this type chart is changing from cross country to parking so the next few pages are going to be a little strange looking as I make the transition.

Part of the reason for the transition is Christmas Presence.  I have spent more time than I care to think going back and filling in stitches that I missed while going cross country. I have finished two columns and hope to finish another one today.  When I put it up last night, it was here:
Stitched on 28-count antique white Jobelan with DMC 1 over 1
Because I am normally a one-color-at-a-time stitcher, I am using a low-tack tape to mask off the columns to the right of the one I'm working on so that my eye doesn't wander.  It looks funny but it does keep me focused and has the added advantage of pulling off the cat hair that has worked its way into my stitching.

The other reason for the switch is that I started Its About Time (the lack of an ' in the title is driving me crazy as I don't think the "its" is really supposed to be a possessive) by Ciro Marchetti and, again, charted by HAED using the parking method and it is sooooo much faster and easier than cross country. I was able to finish this:

Stitched on 28-count antique white Jobelan with DMC 1 over 1
in a little less than an hour with no missed stitches. I also saved time on the gridding as I am only doing the horizontal lines. I figured that if I was working on one column at a time I really didn't need the vertical lines.

Other than working on the three HAEDs, I also started and finished the November block for The Sampler Life's SAL.  It's Sampler Motif from Wendy KC Designs. It was charted for, to me, very spring time colors, so I switched them up and went more fall-ish. The colors are more muted than the photo shows.

Now that I have finished my small for the month, Sunday mornings will be devoted to the Plum Street Samplers Sunday Mystery SAL.  The HAEDs are put away for a while and I will be spending the rest of today and tomorrow afternoon working on Chatelaine's Secret Victorian Garden.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

WIPocalypse and Smalls Check-in

Today has not gone as planned. I normally telework on Thursdays but my work laptop (we have a ton of firewalls and protection so we can't remotely access our work files or network) decided to act up this morning. Tech support tells me that they can't do the updates remotely, so instead of being off tomorrow, I took today off and will be dragging the computer back into the office tomorrow to get it fixed. I would normally have just taken today off as a vacation day, but I have three things that have to be completed this week.  I am a bit out of sorts as I am having trouble switching my brain from work to off, but it is giving me a chance to catch up with my blogging and check-ins and hopefully some stitching.

Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED) had their anniversary sale last week and there were RAKs flying around their Facebook page and I was the lucky recipient of one!!  Thank you, Kate.

Its About Time

This is "It's About Time" by Ciro Marchetti. I have a piece of fabric in my stash that is large enough, have pulled threads (I need to buy a few), and just need to decide how I am going to grid the fabric before I start. I don't really *need* another WIP, but this one is really hard to resist! and I've got most of the supplies, so I'm taking that as a sign.

I am closer to being on time for WIPocalypse and Smalls SAL then I have been in a while, so I guess the day switch ended up being good.

WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and gives us a bit of incentive to work on, and hopefully finish up, some of the WIPs that plague many of us.  Melissa gives us questions each month and this month's is: "Are there any fibers or materials used in stitching that you're nervous to try?"  That is an easy one for me, no. I have jumped, feet first, into everything since I started stitching with very little thought as to difficulty. The only thing that gives me pause, and it's more due to expense than nerves is gold work. I would love to try it, but my budget just isn't in a place to allow me to try.  I have worked on three projects that are on my WIPocalpyse list since my last check-in.  First is Shakespearean Fantasy. Lots of black stitches were added and there are lots to go, but I am close to a page finish. At the August check-in, it was here:

and today it is here:

I would like to finish that column today.

Another HAED piece Christmas Presence, was here:

 and is now here:
I have been slowly filling in missed stitches. I still hope to have this finished this year.

And finally, Secret Victorian Garden from Chatelaine went from here:

to here:

I have finished through part 11 on the right side and part 9 (and a bit of part 10 and 11) on the left. As I really do want to finish this one this year, I have stopped my rotation and will work on this until it's done.

I also have a piece for the Smalls SAL. Heather at Stitching Lotus is hosting this SAL.  It gives me a break from all the large pieces that I gravitate towards. If it wasn't for my smalls, I would have very few, if any finishes, each year.  This year I am using The Sampler Life's SAL pieces as my smalls pieces.  This month's was Friendship in Bloom from Blue Ribbon Designs.

and here is the entire piece, so far:

I need to do a bit of housework and then onto stitching.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

October Stitch from Stash

Month: October
Spent: $0
Earned: not participating

It's Stitch from Stashtime again.  is hosted by Mel at Epic Stitching and is a reminder to love the stash you have. I didn't do so well last month as I gave into temptation for a project I had lusted after since last November, but I'm back on track. So for this month:

Carried forward:  $2.76.
September Budget: $25
Available: $27.76
Spent: $0
Balance forward:  $27.76

I had three starts from stash this month: Just Nan's Florentine Floral

Blue Ribbon Designs' contribution to The Sampler Life's SAL, Friendship in Bloom

; and,
Plum Street Samplers' 2015 Sunday Mystery SAL (although it really isn't too much of a mystery as we know it is the twelve days of Christmas). (following is a loooonnng story which is probably boring, so if you want, you can skip down to the picture and you won't miss much!) I had my fabric and threads pulled and was ready to start stitching when I remembered I had some Christmas colored threads that I won from Nancy at Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe (Nancy is always running give-aways so pop on over and see what's open) and decided I wanted to use those.  Well, hours later, I was so frustrated with myself.  I had done the old "put them in such a safe place I can't find them".  So I resigned myself to using my original picks, and they were good picks just not the perfect ones I knew the other threads would be.  Come Sunday morning, I downloaded the charts and sat down to start stitching and started thinking about those threads again.  Another several hours later, I found them!  But, there were two different reds, two different greens and two different golds, so more dithering trying to pick the perfect set. Had that all done and then started to worry if I'd have enough red to do the ornaments AND the border.  Now, Nancy's skeins are 20-yards each, so I was pretty sure I'd have enough to do it on the 28-count I'd chosen, but then I wasn't 100% , so.... instead of worrying about running out part way through, I went digging for different fabric in 32-count or higher.  I found a piece of 40-count Lakeside Linens Vintage Autumn Gold that was perfect but the label said it was cut for Village at Hawk Run Hollow - bummer - back to digging.  On another hanger, I found another piece of Vintage Autumn Gold that said *it* was cut for Village at Hawk Run Hollow!  Obviously, I haven't inventoried my fabric in a while (and at some point, I had disposable income) but I found my perfect fabric!  Fabric all cut, threads all picked, ready to stitch, right? Noooo, the thread didn't look as good on this fabric as it did on the original, so back to thread interviewing.  I think I have the right colors now and have started.  Of course, it took so long to do all of the above, that I didn't have time to do much stitching!  So after that crazy long story, here's my start:

Because I switched to 40-count, I'm using one strand of thread, so I will have plenty for the ornaments and the borders.  This photo does the fabric no justice at all, it is a mottled, dark gold color (I'd say about DMC610). Come to think on it, the threads aren't that bright.  I'll try for a better photo next time. I really like the subtle color change in the fibers and would definitely use them again.

Secret Victorian Garden is on the frame and I plan to get some stitching on it tonight - I'd like to finish up the last part 9 corner before I put it away. Elegant Doily goes on the frame tomorrow (after I do a bit on Friendship in Bloom and the Secret Sunday SAL.

Friday, October 16, 2015


That is the sound of my week off going by. It wasn't a vacation in the usual sense as we didn't go anywhere and I spent most of it getting things done around the house so that it's ready to be closed back up for the winter, but it was a good week.  I had quite a list of things to get done and finished all but one (needed different parts to fix the couch and are waiting for them to be delivered) by yesterday. One of the main reasons I was able to get so much done is that my computer was having issues.  Took it in to our friendly big box electronics store and they said it sounded like a software issue (The Hubs was sure it was the hard drive). We think my computer just doesn't play well with some part of Windows 10. Fortunately, I was within the "put back the old version" month and things seem to be running just fine.  Of course, I've spent way too much time reading blogs, surfing and just generally wasting time the last couple of days (so much for finishing early).

One of my favorite projects was finally doing something about the light in the dining area. 

This was taken after I had removed the bottom globe and I didn't feel like putting it back on for the photo
We've been in this house for eight years and the entire time I had a like/hate relationship with this light.  I liked the general shape but hated the bright gold color. New lights were crazy expensive and since the shape was good it didn't make sense to replace it.  I finally found a paint color I liked and went to work.  After a bit of elbow grease to clean and scuff it up and most of a can of spray paint, it looks like this:

I am totally chuffed with how it turned out and the price (right around $10 USD for the steel wool and spray paint).

I did manage to sneak in a morning of sitting on the deck and reading in between all the other fixes and cleaning.  Oh and there was some stitching that took place. But before I talk about that, I have to show you this:

DSon sent me this and it just made me laugh (which will probably tell you a lot about me).

So back to talking about stitching.  I'll start with my SAL check-ins.  BUT before I do that, have you seen the post about the 2015 Sunday Mystery SAL happening over at Plum Street Samplers?  You can find out about it here.  Paulette is going to finish the twelve days of Christmas ornaments that she started in the 2011 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue.  It starts this Sunday and a new part will be available each Sunday until the week before Christmas.  Just because I am a sucker for anything Twelve Days and I don't have anything else to do (heavy sarcasm here) I spent a chunk of this afternoon pulling fibers and fabric and should be ready to start on Sunday.

And once I start, I'll have another piece to add to my Gifted Gorgeousness check-in.  Jo at Serendipitous Stitching is hosting this SAL as a way for us to say "thank you" to someone that gifted us with fabric, thread, or patterns or for a piece that we will be gifting to someone (because what better way to say thank you than to actually use the gift??).  My main piece for GG is Shakespearean Fantasy. The pattern was gifted to me by Pull the Other Thread last year.  I started it as my January start and have not spent as much time with it as I would have liked (I am organizing my rotation for next year now and will most likely add this piece as a part of the rotation rather than the sometimes every other Friday it is now).  So when you last saw it, I was busily stitching black, black and more black and it was here:

I sat down with The Fellowship of the Rings audio book (if you get a chance to hear Rob Inglis narrate, I highly recommend it) and stitched black, black and more black again and when I put it away, I was here:

I timed it and it takes me a bit less than 20 minutes to stitch one 10X10 square (including stopping and starting threads).  So another six hours or so and I should be finished with page 1. 

My next GG is The Sampler Life block for this month (Since the designer donated the piece to the SAL, I figure it's a gift).  It's Friendship in Bloom from Blue Ribbon Designs.  I am a bit further than this,

but forgot to take a picture before I put it away. I found that the block above is off by one but don't think it will be terribly noticeable when it's all done.

I did have one new start that isn't part of any SAL.  This is Just Nan's Florentine Floral

It is stitched on 28-count Violet Mist cashel with DMC fibers. Not a terribly difficult stitch, but it took three tries to get the outline to close correctly. 

I also put a few stitches into Chatelaine's Secret Victorian Garden but didn't take a picture.

I am so far behind on my other SAL check-ins that I am just going to call a fail for them and go on, besides, this post is plenty long enough without adding the three four check-ins that I missed. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A chill in the air

There is a definite chill in the wind today. It is also damp, definitely feels like autumn. The trees in the low, wet areas are changing color and the others are looking very tired.  I have also noticed a shift in the bird population at the feeders.  More chickadees, cardinals and titmice and fewer finches and the gold finches are putting on their winter colors.  The hummingbirds have headed south.  There are two females that showed up earlier this week, but I don't expect them to stick around much longer. I read that they migrate to Central America and Panama for the winter.  It is hard to imagine something that small flying across the Gulf of Mexico. Nature is truly amazing.

What hasn't been amazing this week was my stitching.  As I mentioned in my last post, I worked from home this past week and had several hours a night for stitching that I don't normally have.  You know the old "best laid plans?",  yeah, that was me.  I did some reading, I did a ton of net surfing, I spent at least one evening searching for fabrics for Serenity Harbor, I got all my unkitted and three kitted pieces of  DMC loaded into my Xstitch app (Jo at Serendipitous Stitching did this review in April) .  The inventory has been eye opening, more for the questions it raises than anything - for instance, why do I have 16 skeins of 501? The only thing that I would change on the app is how the thread is sorted.  Currently the 3000 series is interspersed with the 300s and the 4000 with the 400s.  A fairly minor issue, but it did make initial entry and additions a little awkward.  I will quit whinging about what I didn't get done and show you what I did:

99 by Ink Circles came up in the rotation.  When you last saw it, it was here:

today it is here:

One piece I did start and finish this month is Jayne Netley Mayhew's Bluetit for The Sampler Life's SAL.  The only change I made is the addition of the backstitched border, it needed something to stop your eyes.  This is a minor addition /change and pretty much the limit of my ability.  If you'd like to see some amazing chart changes/modifications, you need to check out Kate's blog at Needles and Haystacks.  Her work completely blows me away every time I see it.  The blocks for the SAL are my Smalls SAL entries each month.  Heather at Stitching Lotus hosts this SAL that focuses on smalls and ornaments.  So here is my September entry:

and here is the whole piece:

I was a bit worried that it wouldn't fit with the other blocks, but I think its closeness to the rose block helps.

I am going to start my rotation back up in the hopes of getting through this stitching slump, so 99 will stay on the frame through tonight and Just Nan's Florentine Floral will go on tomorrow.