Sunday, August 31, 2014

A little stitching on a small and Just Nan.

The summer stitching slump continues.  The college football season started yesterday so perhaps my brain will think, despite temperatures predicted to be in the upper 80s/lower 90s for the week, that summer is over and it is time to think about stitching again.  I am behind on several check-ins which isn't much of a surprise for those of you that have been reading my blog lately - thank you if you still are and welcome if you are new - I do hope that I can get back into a stitching and blogging mode again soon.
2014 Smalls SAL  As I did not finish a small, I am not officially posting for the SAL, but if you are interested in participating, Heather at Stitching Lotus is hosting and clicking on the badge there at the beginning of this paragraph should take you to the information page. 

2014 TUSAL  Sharon at It's Daffycat hosts TUSAL.  Collect all those bits and pieces of thread that you would normally throw away in a pretty container and post a photo of it each month.  As the name suggests, it isn't really very useful but it is pretty.

I've combined my Smalls and TUSAL photo this month.  The house needs a front door and some landscaping but I should be able to finish it in September. 

One SAL that I am not late on is the Just Nan SAL 2014.  Zeb at Keep Calm and Cross Stitch is hosting this SAL. As its name implies, pick a Just Nan pattern, stitch and post.  Spring in the Air is my current Just Nan project.  The pansies are stitched over-1 and are worth the extra time they are taking.

Santa's Magic by Mirabilia is on the frame for this week.  This has been a fun stitch so I am hoping that it will be just what I need to get stitching again.  Here's where he is right now:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

August Stitch From Stash

With all the travel the last few months, I was in Alabama last week, summer has passed me by with a whoosh!  I really do feel like I completely missed out on it this year.  Normally that wouldn't bother me too much as summer is my least favorite season, but this year, the weather was very nice and I would have liked to take more advantage of it.

My stitching mojo has also passed me by with a whoosh this summer.  Fortunately, the lack of stitching mojo has had a positive impact on my stashing mojo making the  2014 Stitch from Stash  challenge easy.  Stitch from Stash is hosted by Mel at Epic Stitching and has a duel purpose - love your stash and save your cash!!  Each month you get a $25 budget and sometimes, like this month, you can have a bit more.  If you don't spend your regular budget amount, you can roll it over to next month so you could have a rather substantial amount for a splurge by the end of the year.  If you can't wait that long, you do get a by month when you could go stash wild.  For August, my spending report is:
               Carry over:  $175
        August Budget:  $  25
   August Purchases:  $   0
     Balance Forward:  $200
I had two starts from stash this month:  Just Nan's Spring in the Air:

and Little House Needleworks' Red House in Winter

I did stitch a little on a WIP this month, but only a little.
This is Secret Victorian Garden by Chatelaine.  My progress was those blue stitches around the backstitched motif with the heart.  Not much progress, but each stitch in is one stitch closer to done.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August WIPocalypse

I had the perfect opportunity for lots of stitching this week.  We were encouraged to telework on Tuesday and Wednesday this week due a summit in DC and all the associated extra traffic and closed roads and with Thursday my usual telework day I had an almost normal life - work, home at a decent hour, fix dinner, clean up and still plenty of time to stitch - instead my summer stitching slump made its appearance.  I had no desire to stitch.  Didn't look at it, didn't think about it, didn't read any blogs, and didn't really miss it.  I did read and comment on some blogs this weekend and managed to switch pieces on the frame so maybe it will be a short slump this year.  I do have some pre-slump stitching to show and will do that as part of my August 2014 WIPocalypse post.  WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and is a WIP reduction SAL.  You make a list of projects you would like to complete, stitch and do a post on the full moon each month.  Easy?  Yes it is (unless, of course, you're in a stitching slump and there isn't too much to post about.  Thankfully, this year Melissa posted prompts for each month and this month's is "Tell us about your oldest newest WIP". 

Newest is easy!   It's Just Nan's Spring in the Air.  I posted a photo of my progress in my last post but I did some stitching on it before the slump hit.  Here's where I left off Saturday evening a week:

This is done on a 28-count Antique Ivory evenweave with DMC fibers.  The pansies are over-1 so a little slow to stitch but the results are well worth the time.

Oldest is a little harder.  It's either Crossed Wing Collection's Flower Power or Cross My Heart's Floral Welcome.  I started Flower Power on New Year's Day 1996 or 1997 as a SAL on RCTN and I think I started Floral Welcome in 1996 to go over the door of our new house in New Hampshire.  There was a major family medical issue around this time and stitching fell by the wayside while dealing with it, so there isn't a ton of progress on either of these despite them being so old.

Here's my progress on Floral Welcome:

It's stitched on 18-count White Aida with DMC and Kreinik.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it as the New Hampshire house was sold seven years ago and I'm not sure it really fits the house here in Virginia.  I suppose if it takes me as long to stitch the C, O, M, and E as it has to do the W, E and L, this house could be sold and it will fit perfectly in the next!!

Here's where I stopped with Flower Power:

I think this is a 28-count evenweave but other than "blue" I don't know the color.  It's stitched with DMC.  The insects are all over-1 and I believe I did the hummingbird beaks over-1 also.  The hummingbird heads and throats use Krienik blending filament to give them a bit of shimmer.  I recall that I didn't do any of the backstitching as everything seemed to stand out quite well without it, but will revisit that decision once it's back in the rotation.  
Secret Victorian Garden made it onto the frame for its time in the rotation, but I am not sure how much stitching will actually happen.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Economizing My Posts

A week ago Wednesday, I got on a train headed for Union Station in Washington DC and then on to Toledo, Ohio.  While I have traveled by train in the past, numerous times in Italy and once on the Acela from Boston to Washington, DC the Acela is Amtrak's high-speed train and is a very nice way to get along the east coast and every day for work, the trains involved were very different than the ones I was on for this trip so I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  If you haven't considered Amtrak for travel, you definitely should.  Yes, it does take longer than flying and the schedules can be a bit challenging, but it's about 1/3 of the cost and you can get up and walk around anytime you chose, stretch out to nap (more than enough room for the seats to recline without landing in the lap of the person in back of you), visit the dining or cafe cars for food and drinks or sit in the observation car and just watch it all roll by.  I did a lot of sleeping (two overnight trains), looking out the window and reading.  My sister picked me up in Toledo rather than me taking the bus to the Detroit area and I spent a wonderful week with my family.  First at my sister's, (thanks JANE!!) and then at my parent's (thank you Mom and Dad!).  Went to a family reunion, talked, laughed and ate way too much, there are some awesome cooks in my family, and generally just lazed around and relaxed the rest of the time.  While I was gone, several of my SALs had posting dates so you are going to get four updates for the price of one!!! starting with 2014 TUSAL.

TUSAL is hosted at It's Daffycat.  All that is involved is that you save all those bits of thread that you used to throw away and on the new moon, post a photo.  Simple as can be.  This month, my TUSAL photo is also my Just Nan SAL 2014 photo.  Zeb at Keep Calm and Cross Stitch is hosting this SAL.  All you have to do is stitch a piece or pieces designed by Just Nan. An easy one for me as I have a ton of her designs in my stash.  So in an economizing post, I'm economizing on photos too!!

I know what you're thinking - the jar is full, the fabric is blank.  Yep, getting the fabric (28-count Antique Ivory) straightened, ironed and marked is all I got done on my Just Nan piece this month.  I do hope to get some stitches in Spring in the Air tomorrow as its rotation is up and Secret Victorian Garden will be going on the frame Sunday morning.

Next up is 2014 Smalls SAL.  Heather at Stitching Lotus is hosting this SAL.  Pick a small, stitch it and post on the last Wednesday of the month.  How easy is that?  I really enjoy participating in this one as I tend to stitch large projects and if it wasn't for these smalls, I would have very few finishes in a year.  I was able to finish this one just under the wire - I have a feeling my summer stitching slump is trying to make an appearance - while at my parents.
Winter Sheep by Little House Needleworks  - stitched on 30-count Weeks Dye Works Straw Linen with DMC and Just Another Button Company buttons
The directions call for the holly sprig to be stitched onto the hanging cord, but I liked it on the piece and being the stitching rebel that I am okay I knew it would take me a while to actually finish this into an ornament and that I would probably lose the button so it was safer to attach it...

And last but not least, a not late, YOTA post.  YOTA is hosted at Pull the Other Thread and is designed to provide incentive to work through those WIPs that you may have sitting around.  I think I have posted updates of all the WIPs on my YOTA list so here is a photo of my progress on Lizzie*Kate's Holly and Hearts sampler.  Although it's not on my YOTA list, it is a WIP that I would like to get done this year.

Holly and Hearts by Lizzie*Kate - stitched on an unknown piece of hand-dyed linen with Weeks Dye Works fibers.
It is supposed to be a wet weekend here in central Virginia, so once the laundry is done, I should have lots of time to stitch!!  I don't even have to worry too much about cooking - the air conditioner's compressor went out last week and we're waiting for the part so trying to keep heat production to a minimum calls for slow-cooker and grilled meals - neither of which take lots of preparation time!!