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.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lost a week somewhere

First: Month reporting:  September
Amount spent:  $72.24
Amount earned:  Not participating

I could have sworn I posted last weekend, but it appears not.  I honestly cannot say what happened to the weekend and the last week. I do hope it was fun and exciting, although given that I can't remember it (and it is my life), it probably wasn't.

In addition to my sense of time, I have also lost my stitching mojo.  That's not to say I haven't stitched, but I when I have had time, I have found other things to do so that by the time I did sit down and stitch, I didn't get as much done as I could.  This usually happens in the summer, so not sure why it is showing up now.

I do have check-ins for Gifted Gorgeousness and Stitch from Stash that are due. So, let's see....

Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and is a way to show our thanks to those that have gifted us with thread, fabric or pattern. I have several pieces that fit into the definition of gifted pieces but only worked on two of them this month.  Shakespearean Fantasy was a gifted pattern from Pull the Other Thread and Christmas Presence is a freebie pattern so I am counting it as a gift from the designer.  Both pieces were shown in my last post and rather than show them again, there hasn't been any progress since then, you can scroll down just a little and see them or click here.

Stitch from Stash is hosted by Mel at Epic Stitching and is a reminder to love the stash you have. This is my second year participating and my fourth or fifth stitching from stash.  I did buy the pattern and materials earlier this year for a piece for DNiece, but this month, I bought things entirely for me.  First the $.24 part.  I needed a skein of floss for this month's The Sampler Life's SAL piece (My first thought was:  Really? Given all the floss I have, how do I not have this one?). So while on my way to Trader Joes, I stopped at Michael's.  As I was getting out of the car, I realized I had no cash with me, I tend to use my debit card for everything, and I wasn't going to just shop so that I could justify using the card. So I started rummaging around in the car and managed to find about $.35.  I knew the floss would be more than that, so I checked my Michael's app and there was a 40% off coupon, so with tax the floss cost me $.24 and I had money left to put in the change jar in the house.  I am sure the cashier thought I was on the crazy side of cheap, but I needed the floss and wasn't going to waste the coupon.  The rest of it?  I finally caved and signed up for By the Bay's Serenity Harbor.    I was so tempted when it was first announced but talked myself out of it.  I have been going back to look at it since it was released and the more WIP photos I saw the more my resolve crumbled. This month it fell apart completely. The parts are released on the 3rd of each month and you are normally charged then but because I joined so late, I was charged for the whole thing.

Carried forward:  $50.
September Budget: $25
Available: $75
Spent: $72.24
Balance forward:  $2.76

Still within budget, but more than I have ever spent for the pattern for a single piece ever and more than I have spent all at once for stitching supplies in years.   I have no idea when I'll get around to stitching it but the planning is fun.  I did start one piece from stash, Bluetit by Jayne Netley Mayhew for The Sampler Life's SAL, but as it is my Smalls SAL piece, I will wait to show it during that check-in.

I did also do a little stitching on Mirabilia's Santa's Magic.  He was here when I put him away last:

and today, he looks like this:

There are about 100 more Xs of Wisper thread in his beard in the bottom picture.

Because of the Pope's visit to Washington, DC this week and the resulting traffic and crush of people, the Office of Personnel Management advised agencies that a liberal telework policy was needed.  So, I will be working from home the entire week. I do hope my stitching mojo will come back enough for me to get some quality stitching time in the evening.  It will be so strange to be home from work at 5:00 rather than the usual 7:30ish every night.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Half a page

Half a page, half a page,
Half a page onward,
With apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, but I have finished half of page one of Shakespearean Fantasy.

In total, there are enough stitches to probably say there are a couple of pages done, but the great black blob, with one very dark navy stitch, is easy to count. Those hanging threads at the bottom are my first attempt at parking! I know, it doesn't really count with solid stitching but you have to start somewhere right?  I also just saw that you can see all of the travelling threads in this photo.  Fortunately, the black will cover them.

And that one photo takes care of my YOTA, HAP and part of WIPocalypse  WIPcoalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings, YOTA is hosted by Pull the Other Thread and the HAP SAL is hosted by Stacy at Crossed Stitches.  All three aim to help us focus on finishing what we have started rather than just adding to that stack of WIPs. 
In addition to Shakespearean FantasyElegant Doily and Christmas Presence are on my WIPocalypse and YOTA list.  Elegant Doily ended here:
Each month, Melissa provides a topic to discuss with our post. August's was to pick a piece we stitched on this month and discuss our stitching journey. I am going to use Christmas Presence from Heaven and Earth Designs.  I received Shakespearean Fantasy as a RAK and was planning to start it on January 1st.  As I was new to the solid stitched type piece, I went looking for all the hints and tips I could and ran across the HAED YUKU board. As I was looking through all the forums, I ran across a topic line to sign up for the 2015 Freebie SAL.  A part would be released on January 1st and the next three during various times through June. As the pieces were small parts from larger charts, they would be detailed but would be possible to finish in a year. I also thought it would be a great chance to try out various styles of HAED stitching - gridding, cross-country, parking, etc.  I signed up and went digging for fabric.  I found a piece of 28 count Cashel and set about gridding.  All the threads were pulled and I was ready for my January start.  As I stitched, I could feel myself becoming very irritated.  I was concerned as I had also just started Shakespearean Fantasy and if my irritation was with the style of stitching rather than something else, I was going to be very unhappy for a very long time.  After a bit I decided it was the unevenness of the Cashel that was the problem, so back to the stash I went and found a piece of 28 count Jobelan (the same fabric I had pulled for Shakespearean Fantasy). That change made all the difference and everything fell into place.  I have learned a lot on this piece, but most importantly, it's all just one X at a time. I am no speed demon but am making steady progress.  I have almost finished the first page and did it cross-country.  I am going to try parking on the second page as I think it will help with Shakespearean Fantasy once I get past the pages of black and really get into the confetti stitching.  I really do like the detail that is achieved and could very easily see myself getting hooked on these pieces.  Here's a collage of my progress:
I started September's square for The Sampler Life's SAL but will save that for a later post.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August Small Check-in

A day late, for Smalls SAL but the mid-week check-ins are tough for me and I forget to schedule posts, so late I'll continue to be.    Before I get going, thank you to all my new followers.  I appreciate you taking the time to read my blathering.

So, Smalls SAL is hosted by Heather at Stitching Lotus.  Because I like large, fairly intricate designs, if it wasn't for the SAL, some years I would have no finishes.  This year I am using The Sampler Life's Sampler blocks as my smalls pieces.  This month's is from Olde Willow Stitchery and is called Spring Hearts.  Here is the block:

The border and flowers on this one look springy to me, but the hearts remind me of sunflowers which aren't but I do like the finished piece.  Here is the entire piece so far:

The fabric is Vintage Light Exampler from Lakeside Linens and is too light in the photo but the thread color is fairly accurate.  All of the blocks are stitched with DMC and any beads are either Mill Hill or Delica.

Another few days of stitching what I want before jumping back into my rotation, I haven't been any more productive but it's been fun for me to flaunt the rules, even if they are my own!

The weather has been amazing here the last week and is supposed to last another day or two, so The Hubs and I are going to get up early tomorrow (just what I want to do on my day off), drive down to Virginia Beach to visit the boat (I'm sure it has been wondering where we've been) and go fishing. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

August Stitch From Stash

Month: August
Spent: $0
Earned: Not participating

I had a wonderful week in Portland. I didn't really get to see too much of the city, I was in an office during the day and the hotel we were booked into was in Lake Oswego; however.  I did get to participate in rush hour (that is such a misnomer in every city I have ever been to) each morning and afternoon.  It was much warmer (95 or so one afternoon) and drier than I expected but I would definitely like to go back to explore.

I came back to beautiful weather. It is in the low 80s with low, for central Virginia, humidity.  I would like to say we've turned the weather corner into fall, but that would be very premature for this area.

No stitching happened while I was traveling but I do have a bit of progress to show from last weekend as part of Stitch from Stash.  Stitch from Stash is hosted my Mel at Epic Stitching.  It is a helpful reminder that we don't need to purchase every new pattern that comes along. Anyway, each month we get a very generous $25 budget, so if you just have to have that pattern, or thread, or fabric you can.  It does roll over each month so by the end of the year there will be a very nice bit of change available.

For this month: 

Carried forward: $25
August Budget: $25
Available: $50
Spent: $0
To September: $50

I had one start from stash:

This is Spring Heart from Olde Willow Stitchery and is the August block for The Sampler Life SAL.  I hope to finish it this weekend.

I also spent some time with Santa's Presence from HAED.  He went from here:

to here:
Slowly filling in the gaps. I am seeing the draw towards parking with this style pattern. I may give it a go with page 2.
No more scheduled travel this year, okay through the end of September, but I am looking forward to spending a bit more time around the house and settling back into a routine.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Gifted Gorgousness

It's time for Gifted Gorgeousness.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and gives us a chance to thank people that have gifted us with patterns, fabric or fibers.  My major piece is Shakespearean Fantasy from Heaven and Earth Designs.  Pull the Other Thread gifted me with the pattern.  I started the first of the year and put a few stitches in each month. 

Here's where it was at last month's report:

and here's where it is today:

I have close to half of page one finished.  At this rate, I will have a finish sometime around 2030. 
I have decided to ditch the rotation for the next month or so as I would like to make some serious progress on Christmas Presence and that isn't happening with only an hour or so of stitching a week.  I won't get too much stitching in this week as I am heading to Portland, Oregon for a training session.  

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A rare non-SAL check-in post

For the first time in ages, I am not posting about a SAL check-in. 

Elegant Doily from Kayann's Kreations was on the frame this week.  The last time it was in the rotation, I found every excuse I could to not work on it. This piece is the only WIP I have that is a chore to work on.  I know, if it's not fun, why do it? Shear stubbornness.  I am so far along on it that I can't bring myself to throw it away and I know if I take it out of the rotation, it will never be seen again. 

Here's where it was when I pulled it out:

I finished the wrapping in those nine blocks and did a lot more cutting. I also decided that I didn't like the spider webs and took them out. I think I am going to leave the border open, but as always, it's subject to change.

In my last post, I talked about the Chatelaines I had finished. Jo from Serendipitous Stitching suggested I show them all. So, this collage is for you Jo...

The picture is clickable
The six smaller ones in the first two rows are the Mini Mystery Mandalas. I don't remember which one is which, but I do remember they are stitched on Silkweaver fabrics - the third one from the left in the top row was a finalist in their stitching contest one year (I don't remember that either).  The one on black fabric is Roses and Violets, it was Sampler Mystery IV when I did it. The Christmas one is Christmas Mystery IV. There are two photos of Egyptian Garden, the first shows it at the framers (Jill Rensel) and the second was taken at the fair.  Caribbean Mandala was Mystery XII when I stitched it. I did the framing, and it is hanging in my office.

I started the new The Sampler Life block this morning.  It's called Spring Hearts and was designed by Olde Willow Stitchery. 

This one was smaller, 47X47 then the others, 50X50, so I backstitched an additional border to make it the same size.  Shakespearean Fantasy is on the frame right now and I will probably be stitching black, black and more black this afternoon.