Thursday, December 31, 2015

December Smalls Check-in

My final SAL check-in of 2015 is for 2015SmallsSAL. A thank you to Heather at Stitching Lotus for hosting this SAL and continuing it into 2016.  If you are interested in participating, click on the 2016 button on the left and it should take you to the sign-up page. If it doesn't, click here.  I have said it before, but if it weren't for this SAL, I would have very few finishes each year.

All of my finishes can be seen in the "Finishes" tab up top.  I had been using The Sampler Life SAL blocks as my Smalls SAL pieces, but this month decided to focus on Plum Street Samplers 2015 Sunday Mystery SAL instead. Like The Sampler Life, the motifs for the mystery SAL could be stitched as individual ornaments/pieces.  I had toyed with the idea of individual pieces, but I am even worse at finishing-finishing things than I am at finishing the stitching so gave that idea up quickly.  So, as of right now, I am here:

This is still on the frame as I plan to do a bit of stitching while watching this afternoon/evening's football games. I will continue with this piece as my Smalls SAL piece until finished and then back to The Sampler Life pieces.

I did a bit more on Christmas Presence yesterday. I got tired of the parked threads of page 4 (bottom right) getting in my way, so concentrated on getting as many of them done as I could. I ended up going cross country with them, but the majority of them are finished and out of the way. I then worked on the next column of page 2.  When I put him away last night, he was here:

It is fun to see this piece in a photo.  Because I stitch this under a magnifying lamp, I only see scattered stitches and bits of color that really don't make a lot of sense, but when I step away and take a photo, there is a glove or a coat sleeve and all the color bits make sense. Santa will be on the frame soon as I would like to finish the column.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December WIPocalypse

It's a few days late, but as the topic for this WIPocalypse check-in is to recap our 2015 stitching accomplishments, it gave me a few extra days to stitch - which didn't happen but it was a good thought.

2015 was a good stitching year.  I had 18 finishes, mostly smalls, but given the limited stitching time I have, it is quite a lot.  All of my finishes can be seen in the tab above titled Finishes (catchy isn't it?).  I put a list of WIPocalypse projects together about this time last year, unfortunately, there will not be much difference in my 2016 list. From the list, I had two finishes:

Holly and Hearts Sampler by Lizzie*Kate

and Spring in the Air by Just Nan

I had some progress on all the others on my list:

Mirabilia's Santa's Magic went from here:

 to here: 

Elegant Doily by Kayann's Kreations was here on January 1st:

and here when I put it up last: 

Secret Victorian Garden started the year here:

 and ended it here:

Shakespearean Fantasy and Christmas Presence from Heaven and Earth Designs were blank pieces of fabric the beginning of the year and are here today:


I kept up with my rotation fairly well this year.  The last couple of months have been "stitch what I want when I want" and very relaxing, but I can feel the rotation calling again, so will most likely start it up after the first of the year.  I also did better than expected with my SALs and checking in - well I did until the end of August when they started to get away from me.  I have pared back the SALs for 2016 to a much more manageable three (if you are interested in participating in any of them, the badges at the top of the page should be clickable and will take you to the respective pages). 

I have this week off from work and have a stitching plan worked out (which I have already deviated from) which could have me finishing one or two more smalls and making some progress on Secret Victorian Garden; however, I will not be too upset if I don't. I do have a new start planned for January 1st, Just Nan's Christmas Soldiers stocking, and have several other pieces that I will be starting throughout the year, or I may start them all in January and create a rotation around them, or something else will come to me in the next couple of days and throw this all out the window.  This is the first year in a long time that I have not had a solid stitching plan in place this close to the new year and I am not sure if that is good or bad.  I suppose as long as I am stitching it doesn't really matter. 

I hope you all had an enjoyable and productive stitching year and that 2016 will bring more of the same.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December Gifted Gorgeousness

It's Gifted Gorgeousness time again.  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and serves several functions. First of all, it lets us thank the generous folks that have gifted us something stitching related - patterns, thread, fabric, etc. and it also lets us highlight the pieces that we are stitching as gifts.  And the best part is the "shoehorn" category - that one lets us put on our justification hats and tell the world why it fits this SAL.

Soooo, I have two pieces that fit perfectly, Shakespearean Fantasy and Its About Time. Both of these patterns were gifted to me by the very generous Pull the Other Thread and Kate at Needle and Haystacks respectively.

Shakespearean Fantasy looks like this today:

And Its About Time looks like this:

Right now, I don't have any pieces that fit into "gifts I am stitching" category, but I will in 2016.  I do have two pieces that I am shoehorning in as they are freebies from the designers and are, in my mind, gifts.  The first is QS Christmas Presence.  He was part of the 2015 Freebie SAL on the Heaven and Earth Designs Yuku bulletin board.  I have put a few more stitches into him since I last showed you. Today he looks like this:

All those ratty ends on the right are the starting of threads for the10X10 square that I finished - very heavy confetti stitching.  The next couple of squares are not as confetti heavy so should stitch up much faster.

The second shoehorn is Plum Street Samplers, 2015 Sunday Mystery SAL. I am slowly but surely working through each day and have it to here now:

I have stitched "Sixth Day" in the next block, but that's all.  I doubt I will have this finished for Christmas but may by Twelfth Night. Thinking on it, as I am stitching this with thread won in a give-away at Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe, I think this one actually fits into the "perfect fit" category and not the shoehorn.

As I mentioned, I plan to reduce my SAL commitments in 2016, but this is one that I plan to continue with.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Well, the time went somewhere...

I am unsure how it got to be the middle of December, but here we are.  I missed a couple of SAL check-ins, again, but will not try to make them up, will just have a fail for the year for a couple of them. I took the first week of December off to do all my baking and crafty Christmas things.  I am happy to say I finished everything.  DSon texted to say he got his boxes and was binging on cookies (I send all but a couple of each cookie to him - they look much better on him then they do on me!!). I still have to get the cards in envelopes and mailed, but they are made. I went a bit outside my usual for the cards but enjoyed designing and making them. Here's a not very good photo of a finished one (and the mess that is my crafting area - also known as the dining room table):

Unfortunately, not a lot of stitching happened during my time off or this past week.  My focus piece has been Plum Street Samplers 12 Days mystery. I managed to get it from here:

to here:

The first photo is closer in color to the piece even though the second one was taken in natural light.  Oh well, DSon is the photographer in the family not me. I am using Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe's threads for the first time on this and like the subtle variation in color. I am having an issue with tangles, but I think it's more an issue of my thread being too long (user error) rather than an actual issue with the thread.

We are having ridiculously warm weather.  We're supposed to be near 70 F (21C) today with no major cold snaps predicated - it's great for my electric bill as the heat hasn't kicked on in several days, but it's not doing much for my holiday spirit. Looking out the window, there are still large patches of green in the yard and a flock of about 50 robins (that's the American version, which bears very little resemblance to the European variety) just flew in - they're about six weeks early. 

I am still puttering around with my stitching plans for next year.  I will be cutting back on the number of SALs I sign up for if that sounds familiar, I said the same thing last year about this time, and will be doing some major project changes in my rotation to get the promised Christmas stockings finished for next Christmas and try to get a little ahead on the wedding piece stitching, but for this weekend, I think I will work on Christmas Presence  and the 12 Days sampler.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

So much easier

I cannot believe how much easier it is stitching Christmas Presence by column!  I have finished another page, a small page, but a page none the less, which brings him to half done.  Here's where he was on Wednesday:

And here's where he is today:

He is put up for a few days as I would like to make some progress on the Plum Street Samplers SAL piece and do need to put a few stitches in Secret Victorian Garden but I expect he will be on the frame again soon.

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.