Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Stitching Finish!

After a bit more than 9 years, to be fair, it did sit in hibernation for 5 or 6 years, the stitching on Secret Victorian Garden is done! 

Started January 1, 2007.  Stitched on 32-count Carol's Meadow from Silkweaver's Fabric with kitted materials from Needlecraft Corner (they no longer kit Chatelaines)
My favorite part is the blackwork and gold in the corners.  Now on to the beading.  I have done a few in the top outside border, but there many, many more to go. 

I did have some progress on my other pieces too.  I had a column finish on Its About Time;

  Christmas Presence now has a bit of stained glass;

and, after finishing a column and bit of black on Shakespearean Fantasy, I added some green. I will probably work on the green for a while as I would like to have all the colors done so that I can just stitch the black without having to look at the pattern for the next page and a half.

And this morning, I worked on The Sampler Life's February block

The March block was released today.  It's a very pretty wreath by Thea Gouverneur.  I am looking forward to working on it as I have always admired her designs but never stitched one. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Smalls, Progress and WIPocalypse

I had another productive stitching week, not like last week, but given the last few year's output, I am very happy.  I am still trying to figure out what has caused the sudden return of my stitching mojo, but am not looking too hard for fear of scaring it away.

So two check-ins this post, WIPocalypse and Smalls SAL

WIPocalypse is hosted by Melissa at Measi's Musings and you can find out all about it and sign up by clicking the link or icon up on the left.  Basically, it's a reminder that we should love and maybe even finish the projects we have started rather than looking for something new all the time.  Melissa gives us topics for discussion each month (they are not mandatory so don't hold back joining up because of them) and this month's is:  If you have any pieces on display in your home, which attracts the most plaudits?  I have quite a lot of stitching up in my home, but we don't have many visitors, so none of them really garner a lot of attention.  This one gets lots of comments when people do see her.  Lavender & Lace's Lady of the Thread. 

She is stitched on 18-count black Aida.  I worked on this at work during my lunch break and finished her in 1996.  The frame was an unfinished one I got on clearance at a box craft store.  I bought a DIY gold leafing kit and went to work.  I think this may have been one of my first large frame-it-myself pieces.

On to more current stitching.  Up at the top is a tab with my WIPocalypse pieces and my stitching plan.  I am currently stitching on three pieces on the list: Shakespearean Fantasy; Christmas Presence; and Secret Victorian Garden.

No surprise to those that have been reading my blog for a while, but I stitched more black on Shakespearean Fantasy. This goes back on the frame this evening so I should have a column finish and will be bit further than half through page 2.

Christmas Presence is still here:

but he go on the frame as soon as I finish this post, so there will be some progress this afternoon.

And Secret Victorian Garden is in the homestretch for a stitching finish:

I should be able to finish the border tomorrow afternoon.  After the stitching is finished there are almost 2,000 beads, bi-cones, cubes and other sparklies to add for a finish-finish.  This will teach me to bead as I go!

The next SAL check-in is for the Smalls SAL.  Heather at Stitching Lotus hosts this one and it is dedicated to, as the name implies, stitching small pieces.  You get to decide what a small is.  Mine are all 50X50 stitches as I am using the blocks from The Sampler Life SAL as my smalls entry.

I finished Welcome Spring for this SAL 
 and started 50*50 by Susanne Schmidt Farbenfroh

I'm not sure why that right corner is wonky but it isn't like that one the frame.  Anyway, this is a pick-your-own thread piece and I am using DMC 4215.  I am trying something different and stitching in a spiral towards the center. 
And last but not least a project that doesn't fit either SAL but did have more progress Its About Time.
 I am averaging about 300 stitches each session on this one and this week was no different.  I love all the detail in this piece.  I just need to work out a way to better measure over two squares for my starting and stopping threads.  Something to think on while I'm stitching all that black this evening.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Lots of stitching and Gifted Gorgeousness

Today is Presidents Day here in the states which means, for me, a 3-day weekend.  Friday was my compressed schedule off day, so I decided to make my nice 4-day weekend into a really nice 5-day one and took Thursday off.  My plan was to pull Chatelaine's Secret Victorian Garden out of hibernation and spend as much time as possible working on it. 

When it came out of the WIP box on Thursday morning, it looked like this:

I spent the late morning and afternoon stitching, but decided to keep regular stitching schedule and include my other stitching in the fun. So that evening, Its About Time was put on the frame and had another 300 stitches added

Friday became a HAED stitching day. I started working on Christmas Presence in the morning and hit a rhythm with it and didn't want to stop. I finished a column and the stitching with all the parked threads on the last page.  I estimate about 600 additional stitches total.

After  I finished with Santa, Shakespearean Fantasy was put on the frame and I spent a rather relaxing time stitching nothing but black.  I added almost 700 new stitches.  I may actually get to add some color at the bottom of this column!!

After running errands Saturday morning, there was more stitching on SVG.  Sunday morning is reserved for smalls stitching and  I finished Welcome Spring by Jardin Prive

Given that I am looking at snow and freezing rain right now, this square is a definite mood lifter.  I didn't start the next block as it's a "pick your own color" block and I haven't decided on one yet. 

So that brings us to Monday evening and I am very happy with my progress on Secret Victorian Garden .  As of right now, it looks like this:

Sorry for the horrible photo, but it was the best I could get given the lighting and space needed to get the whole thing in frame.  I have about half of the outside border and all the beading left for a finish.   I probably could have finished it if I hadn't done all that other stitching, but I am very pleased with the progress on everything and would not change it.

WAIT!! What's the Gifted Gorgeousness you mentioned in your blog title?  Gifted Gorgeousness is hosted by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and is a way for us to thank people that have gifted us with charts, fibers or fabrics, by showing them what we are doing with their gift.  It also gives us a place to show what we're stitching for gifts.  I won't repost photos, but the patterns for Its About Time and Shakespearean Fantasy were gifted to me by Kate from Needles and Haystacks and Pull the Other Threads respectively.  I am shoehorning Christmas Presence and Welcome Spring into the SAL as they are freebies and, in my estimation, a gift from the designer.  I have one piece that I am working on right now that is a gift, Just Nan's Christmas Soldiers.  Am I the only one that hears the tune for "Onward Christian Soldiers" when I read that?   Probably not now :-)!

That was my stitching journey this week.  I am, as I mentioned, very pleased with my progress on everything.  I'm not sure when I will have the opportunity for another stitching binge, but I will not hesitate to grab it.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Frogging, Stitching and TUSAL

I was so excited this morning, all the housework was done and dinner was slow cooking in the oven, so I had the entire day for stitching!  Pulled my chair up to the stitching frame and worked on The Sampler Life's SAL block from January.  I almost finished it, but I didn't want to take too much time away from my focus piece so put it away.

I expect I will finish it during next Sunday's stitching session and start on this month's block. I settled in with Just Nan's Christmas Soldiers for an afternoon of uninterrupted stitching.  I finished one band (not the entire band but all that is stitchable with the side bars I have on my frame) and moved on to the next one when I realized I had used the wrong motif to start my count from.  There was no way to make it work, so frogged several hours of work.

The threads are from the leaves I had to pull out.  I'll be pulling the last bit out as I need the thread to redo each leaf.  I know that statement will horrify some purists out there, but as long as the thread hasn't become all fuzzy or split, I reuse frogged thread.  I also lick thread ends, pull short pieces out of my ORT jar for just one or two stitches, have food and drink near my piece and use the same scissors for thread and metallics!  I hope to get one or two of the leaves done before it's time to head to bed.

Two pieces that I didn't have any trouble with this week were Shakespearean Fantasy and Its About Time.  I have found my comfort zone with these pieces and enjoy stitching them, although for different reasons.  Shakespearean Fantasy is no stress stitching as it's just row after row of black. I put on a binge watch show on television or put on an audiobook and just go. 

Its About Time gives me instant gratification with little bits of a picture every time I stitch - almost like a jigsaw puzzle.

I can do 300 to 400 stitches an evening on each of these, so a column plus a little bit a month. I will win no speed records but I am happy with any progress.  Once I finish all my obligation pieces this year, these will be incorporated into my regular rotation.

Last but definitely not least.  Tomorrow is the official TUSAL check-in day.  You haven't heard of TUSAL?  It's hosted by Daffycat and is just a fun thing to do.  All you have to do to participate is stitch, save those little bits you cut off or are too short to use, and post a picture on the new moon each month.  So simple and if you're interested in participating, click on the little badge and it should take you to the information page.  My photo for this month:

Not the best photo, but you can see all the snippets.  My ORT container is a repurposed Yankee Candle medium jar candle jar, but some participants have some beautiful containers.  I enjoy reading all the posts just to see all the different containers.

We have snow in the forecast again this week, but I don't think it will be anything like two weeks ago. I will probably bring my computer home with me, just in case. I have an extra long weekend this coming weekend and will be changing up my stitching a little bit. I promised The Hubs that I would finish Secret Victorian Garden this year, so will pull that back out and spend as much time as possible with it. I will probably get a bit of work in on other pieces too, but my focus will be the Garden.