Sunday, January 14, 2018

Making Progress

Well, January seems to be speeding along already, and my needle is trying to keep up. Not a whole lot to show this week, but I did make some decent progress on Morning Glory:
I feel like the dress is really starting to take shape, though there's still quite a bit of stitching left just in the skirt. I've started into one of the buds she's holding, and would like to finish those before the end of the week, but we'll see. I'm starting to get that feeling like I'm not making enough progress on her, and she'll only be halfway done at the end of the month. (Those wings look particularly daunting at the moment.) But I shall persevere! One more week, then I'll be switching to Luna for a full week for my facebook challenge.

I've also kept up with my Temperature SAL for Stitch Maynia:
We started to warm up there for a moment, then came the cold and the ice and the snow. Thursday morning at 3am (when I get up) it was 52°F. At 3pm, it was 8°F. Typical KC weather. But it makes for pretty colors on my chart:

Last week I mentioned a cool little ornament that Katy A. was doing for the Temp SAL. Well, it's cuteness got the better of me, and I started stitching that one as well. I just think it's something different, and it's a neat design:
I'm stitching mine 1 over 1 on 25ct White Jobelan, so it will be 4.2 inches square. If you'd like to stitch this as well, even as just a cute side project with your own colors, the chart is free from Hetti on her blog, Creative Workshops from Hetti. For the SAL, we're just stitching one block per day, so it's easy and colorful. :)

That's really all for this update. I've been working on my Quotes SAL a bit, but I think I will put a couple more days into that before I share my meager progress. I'm also prepping for my first in the Year of Starts, which involves some yummy silks and specialty stitches. :) So, see you next time!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Welcome 2018!

The first week of the year is already over, and I think my stitching routine has regained much of its "normalcy." I've stitched on 3 things this week, and although progress is never enough, I think I'm getting better at finding time to stitch in the evenings.

First, I finished off my 12 days of working on Jim Shore's 12 Days of Christmas. I finished the stitching for block 1 last year, so this year so far was all about block 2, the turtle doves. They are actually kind of cute, but it's a lot of stitching:
After all the greens and yellows from the first block, I really enjoyed stitching all the blue, which are some of my favorites. I was sorry I didn't have time to fill in more of the white, but it's coming along nicely.

Next is the first of my 2 new starts from the first. This is Morning Glory, by Nora Corbett:
The Lilac fabric is working out really well, and it's so pretty I keep just staring at it. :) I'm really pushing to get her finished this month, either entirely or at least all the stitching. There are a ton of beads though, 5 packs in all. So far, I've got about 1600 stitches in.

My second new start is for the Temperature Chart SAL in Stitch Maynia, where we stitch a color each day to represent that day's high temperature. I just thought the idea was really fun, and I've really enjoyed seeing everyone's progress and different designs on facebook. The Stash Queen herself is doing a very intricate design that I can't wait to see develop. Mine is a simple chart of my own design, stitching each month in columns. Each day's block is 8x3, because I wanted something small and easy to stitch, but I also want to see the colors clearly from across the room. The first few days were really cold here, so I got to stitch some lovely purples to start:
So that's the first five days of the year. I plan to stitch the month names above each column as well, but I might do that in the color that represents the average temperature for the month. Just an idea.

Well, that's all I've got for this update. Hopefully I will see you again next week. Until then! :)

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 Review: The Wips

Hello again! Happy New Year! :)

Well, 2017 is officially at an end, and I must say I'm happy to say goodbye to such a disappointing year! In the last 12 months or so, I've had to pack up and move twice, help my mother recover from falling down the stairs, deal with difficult family until they finally left and cut all ties with us; I worked about 130 hours of overtime over five months, and was rammed in a hit and run that totaled my car. There's more, but you get the gist. Not fun. So here's hoping for better next year!

Needless to say, I wasn't able to stitch as much as I wanted in 2017. I still managed a ton of stitching somehow, but many projects were neglected or not touched at all. But I want to share a few of my favorites, some that did see a good bit of progress.

For the year, I managed 114,637 stitches. Less than last year, but still over my goal of 100k. Total time was 570 hours, 349 days. I really tried to stitch everyday this year. I think it was my New Year's resolution. And I actually managed it until July, when I had to move the second time. I'll definitely be trying again in 2018.

So, pictures! I'll start with my current favorite, Moon Indigo from HAED (retired). I was zooming along great for the first half of the year, but barely touched her the second half. So I didn't meet my goal of finishing page 11. It's halfway though, and she's really starting to look good:
Her face is coming out so well! In person, you can actually see a bit of dark blue in her eye. The details are awesome. :)

I also worked pretty hard on Crystals and Crows, though I'm still shy of a page finish:
I'm loving all those colors in the crow's tail. It's actually a lot of dark blue, not black, and very pretty. I also started parking instead of doing cross country stitching. I didn't want to at first because there are so many colors, and I didn't want 50 threads hanging around. But it's actually not bad at all, and it really helped get some progress going. I think I'm starting to prefer stitching in rows rather than columns as well, especially for heavy confetti projects. Somehow the colors flow more easily. Hard to explain, but my needle seems to like it. Also, that is one of my newer needleminders, from Sun Spot Creations on Etsy. I've named him Sir Thomas. :)

Those are the only larger wips I managed any real progress on. I worked on Wisdom for a bit, but only got a couple columns done, and it's nothing worth showing yet. Blood also has another page, but it's just more background gray.

So for new starts, I'll begin with Angel of Grace, my New Year's start for 2017:
I still really love this design, though the fabric is still impossible to photograph. There was a moment where I realized I'd been stitching with the wrong color, so she spent time in the naughty pile until I finally frogged and fixed it. But now she's back on my favorites list, and I wish I had stitched on her a lot more. Getting there though.

The Quotes to Live By SAL from Stitchrovia occupied much of my year, but I'm only about halfway done. This is why I usually don't participate in SALs. I do love the design though, and plan to have this finished around September:

My big wip this year was my first Chatelaine, Herbularius:
This has been so much fun to work on. I only managed 5 days this year -- it's hard to put down once I start. All those silks are so luxurious and bright. I'd love to finish up the center portion next year, but we'll see.

Another favorite I started back in May is Jinn, from HAED. I'm tent stitching this one so it goes a bit faster, and managed to finish the first page. I so love the colors in this, and all those swirls are fun to stitch:

Sometime in 2016, I took a little trip to my "local" needlework shop (about an hour away) to see what they had. Their chart selection wasn't spectacular, but the walls were festooned with finishes, so the eye candy was very worth the trip. One of the many things that caught my eye was a 12 Days of Christmas piece, charted by Jim Shore. I think I'd seen the chart online and passed on by, but seeing it in person was like, whoa. First of all, it was huge. Like, 2 feet by 3 feet? But the wow factor was the beads. I mean tons of beads, in all different colors. So I had to buy it. :)

I started this in July, but have picked it up again to work on for Christmas, plus the following 11 days. The plan is to work on it every year during the same time until it's done (even if that's 10 years down the line). I'll be working on this 'til the 5th, but I've just finished the stitching on block 1:
I kept having to check to make sure the stitching was done, as there are so many gaps left for beads. And the block is about 6 1/2 inches square on 32ct. So yeah, huge. I'm working in qsnaps, so I'll have to save the beading for the very last. But I do adore this design. :)

Well, those are the highlights for the year. I'll show all my other wips at some point, probably when I pull them out to work on again. In the meantime, I already have two starts planned for New Years Day. I know, I'm a glutton for punishment!

First, I'm really looking forward to starting Morning Glory, one of the Nora Corbett garden pixies. I had a bit of purple fabric in my stash that I hope will look well with her. It's from Hand Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie, 32ct Lugana in Lilac:

I'm also participating in the Temperature SAL in Stitch Maynia. I just thought this would be fun, and colorful. :) I'm just doing simple blocks of color in columns, one column per month. I wanted to keep it small in case I felt like doing this again, so I could easily display them in 8x10 frames. This will be on 32ct Taupe Lugana:
Yummy, huh? :)

Plans for 2018: I'm still doing the Year of Starts for Stitch Maynia, starting a new project on the 18th of every month. I also have a few extra starts planned, so I think my total is 22. (I'll reform next year.)
Moon Indigo is still my focus project, so I'll try to finish off the row this year.
I've also joined a Facebook group called Full Coverage Fanatics, and they're having a monthly SAL called Stitch By the Numbers. The goal is to put in 1200 stitches on a project each month, and I'd like to feature a different project every month. (That's still only half my full coverage projects...)

Eventually, I'll be focusing on more finishes than starts, but that time is not yet. For 2018, I'm just going to enjoy stitching all the things. I hope everyone has a good stitchy year, and a good year in general. May your needles be swift and your counting true. Until next time! :)

Monday, December 25, 2017

2017 Review: The Finishes

Hi all! Man, I really fell off the map this year. I didn't mean to. There was just so much going on with family drama and work, I didn't have time for much stitching or blogging. I'm hoping that will change for 2018, so I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. :)

For 2017, I had a total of 22 starts and 8 finishes, so my total number of wips at the moment is 47 (though a few of those might be UFOs). I just did a count and realized 24 of those wips are full coverage pieces, the smallest of which is 3 pages, the largest 220 pages. This year was so crazy, I didn't get to stitch on 10 of them, so I feel like I've lost a year's worth of progress almost. I am starting to want a finish on one of them though, so I may be adjusting how I work on them in the future. (Still thinking about it...)

I don't think I'll be showcasing all of my starts this year, but I may show a few of them in a later post. For now, here are my 8 finishes!

The first you may remember from earlier this year. "Time For God" by Lizzie Kate was finished April 8th, as a present for my mother's birthday. Stitched on 32ct Vintage Exemplar from Lakeside Linens:
Another gift was "Friends are like Bras" also from Lizzie Kate. Stitched on 32ct Cream Lugana, finished on April 20th:
I made the mistake of gifting "Friends" to my co-worker at work, so I was then bombarded with requests to stitch something for everyone else who saw it. One lady even asked me to stitch her two of the same project, for her two besties. Like, no big deal, right? Anyway, there was one request I gave in to, probably because it was so small. This is another Lizzie Kate, though I added the seven initials in honour of my friend's seven grandchildren, whom she calls her "Lucky 7." Stitched on 32ct Ivory Lugana, this was finished on June 20th, though I forgot to get a picture of it framed:
I gave in to another co-worker's demand as well, though he was willing to pay for the framing and supplies. I actually had fun with this one, and really like how it turned out. This is from Summer House Stitche Workes, called "Sophia." Stitched on 28ct Dubloon Cashel from Picture This Plus, I finished it June 25th:
Next I finished one of my 2016 starts. This is "Red Riding Hood" from the Prairie Schooler, on 32ct Antique White Lugana, finished July 7th:
This was a year of stitchy gifts, and this one went to a dear friend who happens to be obsessed with Outlander, so I thought a thistle would be appropriate. This is "Tiny Thistle" from The Sweetheart Tree, stitched on 28ct Platinum Cashel. It was really fun to do something so small and delicate. I think this is the second project I've ever beaded. It was finished on August 20th, and again, I didn't take a photo of it framed:
Another from last year was finally finished on November 10th. I am sad to see this little guy go, but he does look adorable. This is Geometric Bunny, stitched on 16ct Aida:
Last but not least, I finished up the first block on Frosty Forest. Actually, he's not entirely finished. I still need the french knots for his eyes and nose, but I don't want them to get crushed in the qsnaps, so I'll add them later, when I add all the buttons. This is "Raccoon Cabin" by Country Cottage Needleworks, stitched on 32ct Belfast in Touch of Gray, finished December 12th:

So that's it for all my finishes. I'm generally pleased to get one done a year, so having 8 is really unexpected. Helps they were fairly small though. :)

Thanks for reading, or just looking at the pictures. Hopefully I can get back into the blogging community, since I really enjoy reading about everyone's projects and seeing updates. I've missed you guys! I should make one more post this year to show off a couple wips, and maybe talk about plans. Anyone else doing a new start on New Year's? (can't wait!)

One last thing -- I keep forgetting to mention that I'm also on Instagram. So follow me @impstitcher if you're into that kind of thing. Until next time. Happy stitching, and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May WIPocalypse

Hi all! It's been quite a while since I've posted, but hopefully that will get better. At work, we had a total of 5 weeks of mandatory overtime, which I think is a record. Things have eased up for the moment, but things may get hectic again next month when I switch departments.

So, stitching! My stitching time has been very limited, but I did get some good progress in on Luna. I was hoping to have a page finish by the end of this month, but I don't think that will happen. I did get very close though:
See those darker colors on the right? Yes, that's her hair! So excited to finally get to the lady herself. I hope to get through the next page as quickly as possible, but there's a ton of confetti coming up, so we'll see how fast I can go. :)

I've also managed a bit of progress on my Stitchrovia SAL, though I'm still woefully behind. However, I did manage to finish that huge banner at the top, and I've just completed the first quote:
It would be nice if I could finish at least one quote a month from now on, but that might be a bit much. I will keep this in my monthly rotation though, and hope for a finish within a year.

This month's question is: Which designer’s projects do you absolutely love, but are too intimidated to try?
I think the last time this question was asked (or something similar) I mentioned Chatelaine. I've finally started mine this year, but I've only done cross stitch so far. I have some Jessica stitches coming up, and they are very intimidating, I confess. But something else I find intimidating is hardanger. I've always wanted to try it, but it just looks so... exacting. There are a few patterns by Victoria Sampler which I find beautiful, but I don't think I could do all that stitching and then mess up on cutting the fabric (and I know I would). But perhaps one day I'll give hardanger a try, just because. :)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Moving Along

Hi all! It's been a while. Didn't mean to disappear, but... well, you know how life can be. :)

This is the time of year where it gets really hectic at work and overtime hours are encouraged. In fact, there's been a mandatory requirement of 8 hours overtime these past couple weeks, so stitching time has been quite sparse. Yet still, I persevere!

In fact, I've taken on a really fine challenge and finally started my Chatelaine! I'd been planning since last year to start it this April -- even took a day off work to give it my full attention -- and I am so in love with it! This is Medieval Cloister Herbularius (Herb for short) and it's going to be a real stunner some day:
My mother predicts this will take me 110 years to finish, but I think I've done pretty well so far. This is three days work, about 13 hours in (thanks to my marathon stitching on day 1). All the normal cross stitch for the center part is done, but there's lots of gaps for specialty stitches and beads. And more beads. And there's a ton of beads!! I hope they all fit, 'cuz this is 32ct Jobelan, and I really want everything to fit. (I think it should be fine though, really.)

Stitching with all that silk is a-ma-zing! Most of the blues are NPI, but there's also Gloriana and Gloriana Florimel, Waterlilies, and Dinky Dyes. Love using all those silks! The 3/4 stitches have been a bit tricky, especially in the water lily things, but I think I managed to make it look okay:
Oooh, silk... And yes, those gaps are for beads! :)
Can't wait to try my first Jessica stitches. Hope I don't mess those up! I'm hoping to get through part one this year, but I'm saving all that beading for last. The kit included a bit of beading thread, so that will be fun to play with. :)

This month, I also managed to finish a smaller project intended for a friend's birthday. This is Friends are Like Bras from Lizzie Kate:
This was really quick to stitch, taking just 7.8 hours in 8 days. I didn't use all the called for overdyed threads, but it still looks good in DMC. Hopefully I can find a suitable frame and gift it next month. :)

Also, I've had a lot of waiting room stitching this month, so my favorite travel project has a bit of progress. Still no ears, but Geometric Bunny has a face! Isn't he cute?
Love how these colors have turned out. Don't think you can tell from this picture, but from across the room, he really has some depth. Can't wait to start on his ears (finally!) but I will be so sad to see this little guy go. I've noticed this pattern isn't available from Velvet Pony Design anymore, and I don't know why, but hopefully they will put it back up again in the future.

Well, think that's all for now. Hope everyone is finding time to stitch and enjoying the spring weather as I am! Until next time! :)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

March WIPocalypse

Can't believe it's the end of the month already! Time is just flying by all of the sudden. Again, I haven't had much stitchy time during the evenings (I've stitched a total of 5 weeknights this month) but morning stitching has been going okay, and I'm still working on Moon Indigo every Sunday (I call her my Sunday Special. See? I love nicknames!).

I've actually gotten a lot done on Luna, considering she's out only one day a week. Last month I was just shy of finishing page 9. I'm happy to say page 9 is done, and I'm halfway through the second full column on page 10:
At this rate, I may be onto page 11 by the end of June. :)

I haven't worked on my Stitchrovia Quotes SAL yet this month, though it will be my morning stitching for next week, so hopefully next month I will have an update. However, I did manage to have two new starts, both on the same day, in fact. The first was planned, and one I've been wanting to stitch since I bought the pattern almost a year ago. But I've been slowly kitting up threads and waiting on fabric, and finally made it my start for the 17th, for the Stitch Maynia SAL on facebook. This is Summer on Cherry Hill by Brenda Gervais, from With Thy Needle and Thread:
It's a mixture of Classic Colorworks and GAST, and a few Weeks, though the variegations are very subtle. It took me a while to decide on the fabric, but in the end I went with the recommended 40ct Sand linen from Picture This Plus. My first project on 40ct! I've done bits of test stitching on 40ct, but never an actual project. It was a little intimidating at first, but now I really like it. It's not much different from any other evenweave, except I do have trouble seeing the actual weave sometimes, so I have to be really careful about which hole I'm aiming for. but usually I can just guess where to stab. :)

I've only managed 4 days on Cherry Hill, thanks to my second new start. It was a kind of impulsive start, but I want to gift it for a birthday in May, so I figured I'd better get to it. But it's stitching up a lot faster than I thought it would, and I'm actually almost done. This is Friends are like Bras, by Lizzie Kate, stitched on 32ct cream Lugana:
You may remember, I did the companion piece for another friend last year. She loved it, by the way, and decided to display it at work. Consequently, it has become the motto of her department! For Friends, all I have left are the flowers at the bottom. Don't know when I'll get to them, but it will definitely be done next month. Now I just have to find a frame.

So, our question this month is: What stitchy blogs, groups, or flosstubes do you follow and why?
Well, most of the blogs I follow are on the list in the right hand column.

On facebook I'm in Stitch Maynia, Golden Kite, and the New Official Heaven and Earth Designs Group. Unfortunately, I don't really post much, I just like looking at all the pretty pictures. :) These are pretty active and welcoming groups, definitely worth checking out if you have the time.

On Flosstube, I'm all over the place. I am forever behind, and I insist on watching things in order, so a lot of my watchlist is from 2015. But I'll recommend a few of my favorites.
I think everyone knows Vonna Pfeiffer, so I'll just get her name out of the way. ;)
Definitely check out Emily C, Blitstitch, Half Stitch Cross Stitch, and the Stash Queen.
Some of my personal favorites are Olivia B, Organic Granny, Kay's Cross Stitch, Alis Stitching Studio, and Abi Bellastitch.
I know a few bloggers who have jumped onto Flosstube: Ms. Oh Sew Crafty, Confetti Stitcher, and Nikki Crafts.
I could go on, but I don't think you want a list of 80 names. :)

I think that's all for now. See you next time!