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.