Friday, January 27, 2012

Extra day of stitching and some stash

Yes, I had an extra day of stitching this week.  The ice I mentioned in my previous post decided to pay another visit Sunday night/Monday morning.  They postponed the office's opening until 11.00, unfortunately that sort of timing doesn't work with my train schedule the absolute last train leaves right around 7.40 and gets in around 9.10 so the building wouldn't be open and I'd have no place to go for 2 hours and given that I would have had to leave the house at 6.50 to catch the train and it was still icing at 6.00, I did the only reasonable thing - took a day of annual leave, went back to bed and slept until a decent hour of course getting up at 4.00, *anything* later than that is a reasonable hour! and stitched the day away - safe and sound in my warm house.

Before I show my progress, thank you all for the comments on my IHSW progress.  I tried to do the email response thing, but couldn't get it to work.  I'll need to do some research on that as I feel bad doing generic "Thank yous".

Here is the stitching:

Japanese Octagonal Box by Chatelaine
Stitched on 32-count light blue Belfast with recommended fibers and beads
And here's the stash:

I used some of my Christmas money for the above,  I usually say I'm going to budget my gift money out through the year, but what usually happens is that it gets lost in the checkbook, and "life" gets it instead.  So this year I ordered early and with sales, so only a portion is going to "life".  So let's see, the thread you see in the left corner is a portion of my order of "Fat Tuesday" from Carrie's Creations.  I just love the purple/gold/green color combination and plan to use this for Ink Circles' Cirque des Cercles.  Speaking of Ink Circles, have you seen Willow Berries? Love the little pops of red.  Moving clockwise, the fabric is a piece of 32-count Summer Sky Jobelan that I'm planning to use for Deep Blue Sea this year's big mystery piece from Chatelaine.  I know a lot of people are going dark blue, but most of the fish, coral and other critters actually live in fairly shallow water so I decided mine will be Not So Deep Blue Sea and I just really like this fabric. The carded fibers are the Petite Treasure Braids and Petite Silk Lame a new fiber for me for Deep Blue Sea.  The skein of thread is Waterlilies Bermuda Reef - the only fiber that Martina didn't list a DMC substitute for.  Rounding out the purchases is Alexandra's Dream by Dimples Designs with the 32-count Platinum Belfast, and the necessary blending filaments, cord, braid and beads. 

Change of stitching tomorrow so Eightsome Reel from Papillion Creations will take its place on the frame for a week.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A hermitting kind of weekend

International Hermit and Stitch weekend fell on a perfect weekend for staying inside and stitching.  Rain with cooler temperatures were forecast, instead I woke up Saturday morning to ice.  We had freezing rain and sleet overnight and everything was coated in a layer of ice.  Put a pot of stew on the stove settled in for some much needed stitching - well in-between the laundry and other weekend chores.  More of the same on Sunday - less ice and chili in the slow cooker, but mostly stitching.

I worked on two pieces this weekend.  First up was New England St. Nick from The Goode Huswife.  I am stitching this one on 35-count Onyx from Weeks Dye Works with the recommended NPI threads.  Ohhh my aching eyes. It wasn't so much the black fabric or the small count as I got an amazing deal on a Mighty Bright magnifier at the after Thanksgiving sale at Jo-ann's I think it was something like 60% off, but it was the fact that the majority of my stitching was with a very dark brown and even with the light it was difficult to see.  I was so relieved when I finished up the outline and everything matched up.  That's an amazing feeling isn't it?  With the outline in place the filling should be easy famous last words if I've ever heard them...

I've got two pictures, you can see the outline better but the fabric color is all washed out.  The second one shows the fabric color perfectly but the outline is a bit harder to see.  Given my craptastic photography skills, I will probably never get a decent picture of this one.

The majority of my weekend was spent working on Japanese Octagonal Box by Chatelaine.  I started this one back when it was an on-line class in 2006 but life or something got in the way and I hadn't touched it in ages.  The pine cones are all done in queen stitch which is not my favorite stitch so that may be part of the reason I slowed down with it.  This is also the first piece that I was able to use my belt scroll frame attachment.  Instead of the scroll bars being on the top and bottom, they are on the left and right so you can keep an even tension on those long narrow pieces.  Here's a picture of the piece in the belt scroll before I started stitching:

Here's where I left off Sunday evening:

Japanese Octagonal Box by Chatelaine
Stitched on 32-count light blue Belfast with called for fibers and beads
There are small leaves on the bonsi in the bottom section, but they don't show up terribly well.

As with several other WIPs I have worked on so far this year, I keep wondering why I put this one down.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Feeling better and stitching

Thank you everyone for the well wishes.  I am definitely over whatever it was but it took the majority of this week to feel totally better - the fatigue associated with the bug lasted most of the week.  Welcome to all my new followers and congratulations to all the WIPocoplyse participants.  I didn't get to comment on every one's blogs, but I did read all the posts! I am not sure how well this it is going to work in reducing my stash as I have seen dozens of projects that I need right now would like at some point in the future or that I have in my stash and want to start. 

My stitching focus this week was Debbie Mumm's Summerhill House.  It was designed for and distributed by Mill Hill so there will be a ton of beads on the finished project.  I won't be adding those to the piece until the end so right now there are a lot of blank spaces.  This one is stitched on 28-count Bluebell Jobelan with DMC threads.  I was able to stitch all the green on the left side as well as the dog. This is part of a seasonal series, which I am a huge sucker for, so there are three more patterns in my stash which will be making their appearance in the near future. And that is one of those totally overly optimistic statements that I am prone to make when it comes to stitching.

I started New England St. Nick by The Goode Huswife today as part of International Hermit and Stitch Weekend.  I'll be posting update photos of it and Chatelaine's Japanese Octagonal Box later this weekend.  If you're interested in participating in the worldwide hermitting event jump over to Random Ramblings for all the information.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Uggghhhh, what a week!!

As if going back to work after two weeks off, the last 48 hours have been some of the worst I have had in years.  I won't go into details but I have become intimately familiar with the porcelain fixture in the bathroom.  Top that off with a 102 fever and I have been one unhappy camper.  I crawled out of bed this afternoon, showered and feel almost human, so hopefully I'm over it.

On top of wanting to curl up and die not feeling well I have been trying to clean up my Kindle's library one of the things I didn't get to while on vacation and it is possibly the most frustrating thing ever.  I am not removing from the Kindle itself, but permanently deleting from my library, you have to go to your library in Amazon, which isn't the real issue except that it takes forever to load the entire library and then you can only delete one item at a time! If you know how to do more than one at a time, please don't tell me right now, just wait a little bit and let me know. Wait for library to load, find book, delete and repeat and repeat and repeat!  I had 100+ so even with my wonderfully fast new internet connection, it has taken me most of the week.  At this point I think I'm done but it was a good lesson, if I know I will never read a book again, delete it right away.

I did get some stitching in before the crud attacked.  This is Marsh Marigolds on Logan's Creek by Brigitte Kozma.  It came from a 1989 issue of Cross Stitch and Country Crafts and is done on a light green not blue 14-count Aida with DMC. The three little stitches you see at the bottom is the bottom of the design so I am hoping that with another rotation I will have a finish.  I am not thrilled with the thread coverage 3 strands over 1 is really heavy but it's how it was started.  I do have a companion piece that will probably go into the rotation once this is finished.  As much as I don't like the thread usage and fabric, to make them truly a pair, I will have to continue with them.
Tomorrow is a rotation change day so Debbie Mumm's Summerhill House will see the light of day after a bit more than a year.  

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Given that the temperatures have been in the high 50s/low 60s the last few days and we've only had one night below 20, it is feeling more like March or April.  The grass weeds are still bright green, the petunias in my planters no I haven't pulled them out yet are on the verge of blooming again and the doors and windows are open.  I know, I know, part of the reason I moved south was to get away from the sometimes harsh New Hampshire winters, but  I really would like some bit of winter.

Now that I have gotten that out of my system at least for the time being, I'm sure it will come up again welcome to the new Followers.  I've crept up to almost 60!  Thank you all for reading. 

I used a bit of my Christmas money and did some stashing this week.  It all started with some innocent web browsing which landed me on Sew and So's website.  I did a little searching and found Alexandra's Dream by Dimples Designs.  Not only was it the last one they had, but according to the note, it is not being published anymore AND it was on sale. I think I mentioned earlier that I came late to the Russian Imperial Egg series by Dimples Designs and this one, for me, was a huge find.  You can see a photo of a completed one on Hans's  website.  It is the pink one to the left of "The Enchantment of Winter" which you can see as an "in progress" on Dani's blog. Hans is a wonderful stitcher and has some amazing finishes, but I should warn you that the last photo of his finishes is an extremely well-endowed nude male torso.  If you would prefer to not see it, please do not scroll down past the Tropical Fish Sampler - just saying...  So this new addition is winging its way to me as we speak and I have added it to my possible start list for 2012 if I finish "Twilight of the Tsar".  I will say I have heard lots of very good things about Sew and So but had never ordered from them, but they certainly came through in the fast service department and I will probably order from them again.  Speaking of wonderful customer service, I had an email from Karen at Wasatch Needlecraft saying Blackbird Designs Loose Feathers Winter was in and should be shipping soon.  This series is on my 2012 stitching list so very excited to have all the bits and pieces.

As far as other stitching, I have found that having a cable internet connection has been very bad for my stitching time.  When we had the air card only one of us could be on at a time or there would be terrible lag and it was just frustrating.  Now?  No problem, The Hubs and I can both be on and not even notice that the other is.  I have done way too much blog reading, surfing, etc. the last week.  Hopefully the newness wears off soon and I can get back to my stitching.  I did start my new WIPocalypse stitching plan this week and made some progress in between all the surfing.

Hawaiian got the majority of my time as it was this week's focus piece:

I was able to finish the left volcano and start the bit of hibiscus you see on the right.

My First Friday piece was a new start, Holly by Nora Corbett.  This has been on my to-do list since she was released.  I didn't get as much time to stitch on her as I would have liked as I took down all the Christmas decorations yesterday the house looks very empty right now,  but in the few hours I had, I got this done:

Wings!  The fabric is 32-count opalescent Antique White not blue at all and I am stitching with the recommended DMC threads.  I did sub the Kreinik #4 braids for Petite Treasure Braids and the green Mill Hill beads for Delicas.  I am still trying to find a good Delica sub for the red beads, but may leave them as they are all used for berries and the Mill Hill's round shape might represent that better. Listen to me talking as if I have an artistic bone in my body!

I have pulled out my focus piece for this week, Marsh Marigolds on Logan's Creek by Brigitte Kozma.  The pattern is from a 1989 issue of Cross Stitch and Country Crafts.  As I tore the pattern out of the magazine, I don't have the exact issue but it was early in the year as there is an announcement for a contest with a deadline of July 1st.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

This is likely to be long and possibly rambling as I am going to combine what would normally be two or three posts. 

I have a 2012 finish!!!  
Rose Garden by Blackbird Designs
Stitched on 30-count Old Mill Java by R&R Reproductions with
Faded Roses by The Gentle Art
I probably could have finished this yesterday but I ended up running several more errands and didn't get a chance to stitch until later in the day.  I will be keeping a running list on the sidebar, but will have a more detailed list on a separate page tabbed above as "Finishes".  Probably the most amazing thing about this photo is that it was taken outside on January 1st and I did not have on mittens, a hat or coat.  The high temperature today was close to 70 F!  Absolutely crazy, but I did wash the car and get a couple of things picked up and ready for the temperature drop predicted for later this week - the high on Thursday is supposed to be in the 30sF.

Next is my year in review.  My revised goals were: 

  • Angel's Song - stitch 6 bands  

  • Christmas Elegance - Finish

  • Egyptian Garden - Finish DONE

  • Hawaiian Garden - Stitch through Part 6

  • Holy Night - Finish

  • Santaberry Pudding - Finish DONE

  • Twilight of the Tsars - Restart DONE

  • I did finish several items that were not on my list but generally I had a fail for the year.  For 2012, my goals are a bit more realistic - to stitch on my WIPocalypse projects and keep up with the SAL postings.  I am not going to put any pressure on myself to finish certain projects or to get to certain points - just stitch. 

    I did better on my December goals:

  • Finish With Thy Needle and Thread's Birds of a Feather Mystery DONE

  • Complete two volcano corners and two pineapples on Hawaiian

  • Finish Lizzie*Kate's Socks & Underwear: Santa 2010 DONE

  • Stitch on Dimple Designs' Twilight of the Tsars DONE

  • I definitely get a pass for December's stitching.  As I mentioned above, my only monthly goals are to stitch on my WIPocalypse projects, so I won't be posting separate monthly goals anymore.  I have had commitment pieces for the last three years, it will be strange not having to have a piece finished but I think a nice change.

    Hawaiian  is first on my WIPocalypse list, so I will be working on that until Friday.  My first "compressed" Friday stitch will be Holly by MirabiliaAt some point during the week,  I need to sort floss, I'll be using Martina's DMC conversion, and get things labeled for the new Chatelaine mandala - Mystery XV Deep Sea.  I was given the bead pack and fabric for Christmas, but won't be starting it for several weeks as it was a last minute addition to the list.