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Friday, March 27, 2015

Stitching Smalls from Stash

Month:  March
Spent: $0
Earned: $0

I'll go into that in a minute, but right now - I am not entirely sure where the last two weeks went.  I do remember helping the in-laws do some yard work last weekend, but other then that? No idea.

I do have SALs to check-in on and some additional stitching to show.

First up is my Stitch from Stash update.  Stitch from Stash is hosted by Mel at Epic Stitching and is a challenge, some months more than others, to keep a lid on our stash spending. We are given a budget of $25 a month, so it's more a diet than a fast, which rolls over so by the end of SFS there could be plenty for a good stashing binge.  My tally so far this year is:

Carried forward:  $50
March budget: $25
Available: $75
Spent: $0
To April: $75

I had one start from stash, Faby Reilly's Wild Rose Square. I also had two finishes, the same wild rose square and Lizzie*Kate's Holly and Hearts Sampler - I'm going to show it again, because I am so happy to see it finished.


And there was stitching several WIPs, Christmas Presence, Spring in the Air (a photo is my last post), and Secret Victorian Garden.

Christmas Presence by HAED went from here:


to here:


Chatelaine's Secret Victorian Garden went from here:


to here:


And Faby Reilly's Wild Rose Square went from here:

 
To finished:
 
Stitched on Lakeside Linens Vintage Light Examplar with DMC and Delica beads (the pattern called for bright gold beads, but I liked these better)

Wild Rose Square is my March Smalls SAL piece.  Heather at Stitching Lotus hosts the Smalls SAL. You get to decide what a small is. I will be doing The Sampler Life's Yahoo sampler SAL blocks for my smalls this year, so mine are all 50X50

It is not a style that I would normally do, but that's the great thing about this SAL, you get a chance to try out different designers without a huge investment in either supplies or time. Here they are together:

As this is my off Friday, I will be working on my two HAED pieces, Christmas Presence and Shakespearean Fantasy. Tomorrow will be a Chatelaine day and Sunday Elegant Doily will be making it's appearance in the rotation again.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness and a finish

It's time for March's
http://serendipitousstitching.blogspot.co.uk/p/gifted-gorgeousness-sal.html

Jo at Serendipitous Stitching hosts this SAL. As Jo said, "I am sure we have all benefited from the generousity of our fellow bloggers and here is your chance to show your appreciation for that generousness by doing what we do best - stitching and blogging about it!".  I have two pieces that fit the items in the list perfectly and one that I am shoehorning into the list.
 
The first piece is also a finish, Lizzie*Kate's Holly and Hearts Sampler

The Hubs gave the patterns and threads to me for our anniversary last year.  It is stitched on a 28-count Silkweaver Fabric solo from my stash. There are a number of "artistic license" items on this piece, so if you are stitching or have stitched it, yes, mine is different. 

The second piece is Shakespearean Fantasy from HAED. This pattern was gifted to me by Pull the Other Thread and is my first HAED piece I never do anything by half.  Here is where it was on my last GG check-in:


And here is where I left it last week:


A bit of green, a bit more dark navy and some more black.

And the third piece is Wild Rose Square by Faby Reilly. It is the second block in The Sampler Life's Yahoo groups SAL. I'm going to argue that, as a freebie, it is a gift from the designer...

Stitched on 28-count Vintage Light Examplar with DMC
 I have never stitched anything by this designer, but I am enjoying this square very much.

I also had progress on Christmas Presence from HAED. As this is a freebie SAL, I can shoehorn this one into the SAL too.


Just Nan's Spring in the Air was on the frame this week and it went from here:


To here:


Spring in the air certainly defines our weather today. I have been working in the yard most of the afternoon, pruning roses and generally picking up. Once I finish picking up the pruned bits, Chatelaine's Secret Victorian Garden is going on the frame and I plan to get a few hours of stitching in this afternoon and evening.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Another week

Around here, another week means another round of snow. We were in the 50s on Wednesday and the snow from the previous storms was just about gone and Spring was getting ready to, well, spring.  Then the temperatures started falling, the rain started freezing and it was snowing again. We ended up with a very nice layer of ice under about 5" of snow. This is so unusual for this area for March. It will be interesting to see what summer has in store for us.

I am late for two check-ins and early for one so far this month. Fortunately, they all involve the same projects, so three check-ins, one set of pictures!!

The first is for the HAP SAL.  The 2015 HAP SAL is hosted by Stacy at Crossed Stitches and highlights all those huge projects, defined by Stacy as "the smallest of the dimension of the stitch count is 300", you are or want to stitch and maybe even finish this year.  Shakespearean Fantasy certainly qualifies as a HAP and I do want to make some progress on it, so joining this SAL made perfect sense.  Here's where I left off:


This will be going on the frame sometime this afternoon for some concentrated stitching.

The second check-in is for WIPocalypse.  Melissa at Measi's Musings created and hosts this SAL. In addition to Shakespearean Fantasy,

Christmas Presence

and Holly and Hearts Sampler
Sooooo close
are on my WIPocalypse list. Melissa also gives us a question/topic to discuss each month. This months is: If money - and time - were not limiters, what projects would be on your stitching bucket list?  I have such a large stash that time is my biggest stitching enemy so if it were no longer a limiter, I would stitch all my stash, starting with my Chatelaines. Around 2040, At some point, it would all be stitched and sent off to Jill Rensel for framing, then it would be time to shop.  The items on my wish list tab would be first and then the Thea Gouverneur city kits.  The Sistine Chapel from HAED  recently caught my eye and would certainly be part of my stashing experience as would the recent gingerbread buildings from The Victoria Sampler. I think I would also plan a trip to Picture This Plus to stock up on fabric. I would also pay a ridiculous price on Ebay for Blackbird Designs Blessings be Thine. While it's not a project, I would love to attend a stitching retreat.

The one SAL that I am on time for is YOTA. YOTA is hosted by Pull the Other Thread and is a no stress, stitch on something in hopes of finishing it SAL. All three of my WIPocalypse pieces are also YOTA pieces, so no new photos.

Stitching OAAT (one at a time) is not working well for me, so I plan to start back up with my rotation this weekend. So, on Sunday, Just Nan's Spring in the Air  will go on the frame.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Long week and a check-ins

I travel fairly frequently for work, but it is usually Monday through Friday. My trip last week was Sunday through Friday and that extra day was huge. Combined with the three-hour time difference and the 12+ hour days, that extra day just about did me in. There was no blog reading, or much of anything at all for that matter. I would get back to the hotel and be asleep before 8:00. BUT I did get to see a fair bit of the state of Washington -it's on my list of places to go back to so that I can actually do all the touristy things - I did tour four sewage treatment plants (do I have a great job or what?!?), but most folks don't have those on their list of places to go and things to see when they're on vacation (or any other time I imagine).

I should be home for a few weeks before I head out again, so maybe I can catch up on my blog reading (which is probably all I will be doing as I am so far behind that I don't think I will be able to leave comments), stitching and reading.

I did finish up on piece before I left and it is my February

http://stitchinglotus.ca/2015-sal/

entry. Here is the completed Janie Hubble Designs contribution to The Sampler Life's Yahoo Group's SAL:


The pin is a placement reference for the next block, which should be released tomorrow.  I don't know which designer has done March's block, but I am looking forward to seeing and stitching it.

If you are interested in participating, the SAL is hosted by Heather at Stitching Lotus. You should be able to click on the badge above or in the sidebar and go to her site.

And one last SAL/Blog hop for the month is
https://sites.google.com/site/nccinternationalheadquarters/design

DESIGN allows us to highlight a designer each month, all we have to have is a current WIP. This month, I'm going with Lizzie*Kate. Linda is not a new designer, she's been designing for the cross stitch market since 1996, but she consistently puts out new and fun designs. The one I am currently stitching is Holly and Hearts Sampler.    This is the finished piece from her website.  This is the fourth or fifth Lizzie*Kate piece I have stitched and I have an equal number in my stash and several others on my wish list. Her color choices could be described as non-traditional but the colors all work well together. I guess whimsical best describes her style. Her pieces range from Snippets (5"X5" or smaller) to larger pieces. Many of her pieces use over-dyed threads and buttons and charms, but DMC substitutions are included and the charms, while cute, are only extras and not major parts of the design. She has a number of kits which I have found to be very high quality with more than enough thread to finish the piece. If you are looking for a fun stitch, this is really the designer for you.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

February Stitch from Stash update

As DSon said, "This map tells me one thing... it's COLD!!" Lake Ontario doesn't look frozen over, which we both found strange, but the prevailing winds may be pushing the ice away from shore (or maybe it's a strange shadow) but brrrrr covers the rest of it.  Our high the last couple of days has been significantly lower than our normal low. Today's forecast is for the ever popular "wintery mix" (snow, sleet and freezing rain). I am just glad I did all my running around yesterday and am safe and warm inside today. I am traveling tomorrow for work, heading to Washington for the week, so I do hope it makes the change over to rain earlier than expected as I really don't want to drive to the airport in ice.

Before I head out for the week, it's time for February's
http://epicstitching.blogspot.ca/p/stitch-from-stash-2015.html
update. Mel at Epic Stitching hosts SFS and started the challenge, and it certainly can be, to help us all put a bit of a curb on our stash spending. We get $25 (or your currency equivalent) each month to spend on new stash. If you don't spend it all, you can roll the balance over to the next month so by the end of the challenge, you could have $150 spending spree. We can also earn some extra money for finishes but I am not taking advantage of that portion.  So, for February:
 
Carried forward: $25.
February Budget: $25
Available: $50
Spent: $0
To March: $50
 
I had one new start from stash this month: 
Janie Hubble Designs contribution to The Sampler Life's Yahoo Group SAL
I also stitched on several WIPs but the only one that had any progress since I last posted pictures is Shakespearean Fantasy. It went from here:
 
 

 To here:

If you look really hard, you can see green!! Yes, I finally stitched something other than black or dark navy blue.

I hope to finish the Janie Hubble piece this afternoon and put Holly and Hearts back on the frame for this evening.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Computers. You can't live with them....

...and you can't throw them out the window - even though the satisfaction level for that would be very high. I had been having issues with my computer for a while, slow loading, hang-ups, just general awfulness, but lived with it. Last weekend I got so frustrated that I just turned it off and decided that I could live without it.  That thought lasted about as long as it took to think it. Fortunately, I was on travel for work last week and wouldn't be using it, so The Hubs took it on in to our friendly, local Geek Squad for diagnosis and repair. It came home this morning with lots of new memory and a brand new hard drive. No more slow loading, freezing or any of the other irritating things I had been dealing with, but between the computer issues and the travel, I am late for three check-ins.

So back tracking a bit to last weekend, I had check-ins for  and YOTA. Both SALs are designed to help us work our way through those WIPs that may be causing some guilty feelings when we look at them that just need a little bit of attention to get them through either the mid-project blahs or finished. WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and YOTA is hosted by Pull the Other Thread.  I have a list of projects that I would like to either finish or make progress on this year and worked on three of them, Christmas Presence, Shakespearean Fantasy, and Holly and Ivy Sampler.

Christmas Presence with a few more colors added. Stitched on 28-count Antique White Jobelan (1 over 1) with DMC
Shakespearean Fantasy still just two colors but the blob in the upper left corner is larger!! Stitched on 28-count Antique White Jobelan (1 over 1) with DMC
Holly and Ivy Sampler by Lizzie*Kate. Stitched on a 28-count mystery evenweave from Silkweavers with Weeks Dye Works and DMC (for the one color I ran out of)
For WIPocalypse, we are given a discussion topic each month.  February's is:  How do you overcome that feeling that you’re in a rut with a particular project?  I would love to say that that never happened but the reality is I hit the rut phase with every project. I am not sure why but it is always when I am close to finishing. As you can see with Holly and Ivy Sampler, there really isn't too much more to stitch but it has taken me weeks to get just that bit done that is showing on the left. I dither and dally and find all sorts of other things to do, even though I know if I sat down and really put my mind to it, this could easily be finished in a weekend. After years of trying to trick myself out of this habit, I have given up and just go with the slow pace and try to remember that I am not racing with anyone and that it will eventually be finished.

Two of the above projects are also my  pieces for this year. Jo at Serendipitous Stitching is hosting this SAL. It gives us a chance to show the people that have gifted us with patterns, kits or other stitching bits, that we do appreciate their gift and to thank them for their generosity. Shakespearean Fantasy was gifted to me by Pull the Other Thread as a RAK and Holly and Ivy Sampler was gifted to me by The Hubs as an anniversary present in 2014. The very nice thing about gifted projects is that not only is there the initial excitement of receiving a gift but the joy continues as you stitch it and display it.

I did work on one other piece  this month. This is Janie Hubble Designs contribution to The Sampler Life's Yahoo group SAL. One design is released each month until they run out of designers, I think they are at 22 right now, but more may have decided to contribute since I last checked. Each design is 50X50, so easily finished in a month. I am doing them all on one large piece of 28-count Vintage Light Examplar from Lakeside Linens with DMC fibers.  Janie did a companion piece that is available on her website and Northern Expressions Needlework provided a pre-SAL piece that I will also incorporate into the finished piece.

I had a couple of questions from my last post asking about the thread I used to grid my HAED pieces. I use Sulky Sliver metallic thread to grid all my pieces and the transparent or opalescent to do my beading.  I believe it is designed for machine embroidery so it is strong and doesn't stretch too much.  I use it for gridding on my HAEDs and as edges on my band samplers because, unlike sewing thread, it is almost impossible to pierce, it is easy to see and most importantly, it pulls out easily when I am done stitching with minimal disturbance to the stitches. It also looks pretty. I have had some issues with the red staining the fabric (just a thin line) but have not had an issue with any of the other colors. It is also, as far as I can tell, but I haven't tested it to the point of fail, heat resistant, so I can iron my piece if I decide to leave it in.

I just looked out the window and it has started to snow. We are forecast to have 7" to 11" before it's all finished tomorrow morning sometime. If we do actually get that much, I will not be going into the office tomorrow and most likely not Wednesday either - I used to feel guilty when I first moved here from New Hampshire when I didn't make an effort to get into work when it snowed, but after 7 years, I think I have finally gotten over it.  I will still be working but I will be set up at my dining room table rather than my office.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Februray 2015 HAP SAL check-in

Before, I jump in with check-in, I want to welcome and thank my new followers. I appreciate you taking the time to stop into my little corner of the word and read whatever it is I'm blathering about that day. I do try respond to all your comments but I have been having trouble lately with a few responses bouncing back, I am working on that, but please don't think I am ignoring you or don't appreciate your comments.

The 2015 HAP SAL is hosted by Stacy at Crossed Stitches and highlights all those huge projects, defined by Stacy as "the smallest of the dimension of the stitch count is 300", you are or want to stitch and maybe even finish.  I was planning to start Shakespearean Fantasy from Heaven and Earth Designs, so joining up made perfect sense.

When I posted my starting picture, I was here:


When I finished gridding, it looked like this:

completed gridding - 450X867 so definitely meets the minimum stitch count

And today, it looks like this:


I am stitching on 28-count Antique White Jobelan, one over one, with DMC thread. Mostly black and dark navy blue (DMC939)  with about a half dozen green stitches thrown in for variety.

I stumbled upon the 2015 Designer SAL on The Sampler Life's Facebook page and was sucked in. Each month a new piece is released, each is 50X50, from a different designer. I think the last count was 22 designers so it will stretch out well into 2016. I found a piece of 28-count Vintage Light Examplar from Lakeside Linens in my stash and should have all the threads, so this will double duty as a Stitch from Stash piece and my monthly small. The fabric is just wide enough for four blocks with five stitches in between and more than long enough for many more than 22 blocks. I am a little concerned as the fabric is an odd cut, 18"X55", so not something I would just normally buy, but there was no project name written on the label, so I do hope that a few years down the road I am not terrible upset with myself when I go to start a long, narrow piece and can't find the fabric, I know I bought.