Sunday, February 19, 2017

Trying Really Hard

Hey stitchers! This year has been off to such a rocky start, I feel like I'm still spinning in circles, trying to find my direction. Moving in with extended family has its own headaches, but I still haven't had time to get things set up just right, including my main stitchy spot. But I am slowly getting there, and things are beginning to settle down. My mother injured her knee just before Christmas, but now she's well enough for physical therapy and she is finally able to walk with just a cane! So that makes a huge difference in how much I do for her, and gives me lots more time to stitch. :)

I've kinda been all over the place with stitching, but I've managed some decent progress on a few projects. I never got around to solidifying my goals for this year, but there is one goal I hope to stick to. I've decided to try and stitch Every Single Day this year, even if it's only 30 stitches. After barely stitching at all last Autumn, I feel like I lost a lot of potential progress, even if I'd only managed 10 minutes of work. So, this year, it's stitch every day! I've already had a couple nights where it's the last 10 minutes before bed, but I feel so much better the next day, knowing I made that small effort.

So, February started off with Flora, though I only managed 4 days of stitching. Last time I focused on the purple iris, so this time it was the pink shawl. There's also a pink/red flower toward the top that's slowly taking shape:

I also pulled out Crystals and Crows, which has been calling to me since last year. This project is so large, it's difficult to get it all set up, but I managed to put a pretty big dent in the sky on page 2, with a little bit trailing into page 3:
I really love that hint of lavender at the top. The colors are blending so beautifully together. There's a lot of sky on this page, so I hope I can get through it fairly quickly and make a start on page 3 later this year. But we'll see. It still amazes me that the original version was done in watercolor.

My Geometric Bunny saw a week of progress, and is now doing a fair imitation of a chipmunk. :)
This one is very relaxing to stitch, and feels good on a stressful day. All the symmetry and solid blocks makes it so easy, I'm gonna miss him when he's done. But that's still a ways away.

Angel of Grace also got 4 days of work, though I was sick for two of those days. However, yesterday turned out to be a really good stitchy day, my first all year I think, so that kind of made up for a bad week. I worked mostly on the flare of dress to the left, and I'm close to finishing some of those pretty pleats and ruffles:
I am so tempted to keep working on this project! I may keep her out a few more days, we'll see. The dress is supposed to be edged with DMC Metallic gold, but since no one has ever had a kind word for that thread, I want to substitute in something else. I thought of using Kreinik, but now I'm thinking Petit Treasure Braid? (I've never used that.) Only they have so many shades of gold! So now I get to have fun picking and choosing, which give this project an added personal touch and makes it even harder to put down. But alas, other projects are calling...

Luna got some love as well, but I think I'll save her for WIPocalypse so you don't get sick of tiny bits of blue. I've been struggling with my Stitchrovia SAL though, since it was an unplanned project. (I haven't even started the quotes yet!) Hopefully in March I can get my act together. I'll also be pulling out Scale pretty soon, as I've really started to miss her. Hopefully I can get another two pages done this year and finish off her lips. :)

In the meantime, I've been kitting up a new project. Another Massive project. And yes, it's a Golden Kite.
This is Palazzo Con Personaggi. It is 896x654, or 585,984 stitches. I plan to tent stitch this on 25ct Magic Guide. I don't know that I'll ever finish it, which I'm fine with, but I really want to start and at least stitch that couple on the left, the woman seated in green, and the man standing in dark blue. I think just those two take up 30 pages or so, but the pages are half the size of a regular HAED. So, for the last couple weeks, I've been slowly amassing materials and making lists of symbols for my Pako organizers, which really help in sorting those blended threads. I had about half the floss on hand, and thanks to a very convenient sale at Joann's, I now have the rest. So now I am slowly bobbinating before I start snipping lengths of thread and filling needles. It's a very labor intensive process, but very worth it once I begin stitching. If you're curious, I'll try to show more of my setup process in a later post. :)

Well, I think I've rambled enough for one post. Thanks for reading. Until next time!

Monday, January 30, 2017

January WIPocalypse

Well, I've had the best intentions for keeping up with blogging and commenting, but alas, things are still a bit hectic. It feels like my stitching has suffered a bit as well (at least my larger projects have) but my stitch count for the month is already over 12k! Even I was impressed by that. :)

This year I've got wips and smaller projects all over the place, but I'm trying to focus on just a handful of the larger ones (I call them my Prime 9, cuz I like nicknames) plus a couple smaller wips that I'm hoping to finish this year. This month, I worked on a few out of the handful, and made dubious progress.

My main focus is still Moon Indigo, so hopefully you'll be seeing a bit more blue every month. I managed to finish off two columns, so I'm halfway through page 9:

I also worked a few days on Flora, beginning a new page and a new row. There's a big purple iris that dominates the page, so that's what I stitched on:

And I got a lot done on my first square of the Frosty Forest series, from Country Cottage Needleworks. I'm not sure how far I'll get this year, but I want to at least finish this square and start a second:
Stitching that house was actually a lot of fun. And I love those teal accents! :)

This month's question is:
What Stitch-a-Longs (SALs) are you participating in this year?
Actually, I just joined my first ever SAL, and it completely took me by surprise. Stitchrovia on Etsy has designed a series called "Quotes to Live By" which I think will have 9 parts, so only goes through September. I love Emma Congdon's designs, so I jumped on this as soon as I saw it. And the best part is, all proceeds go to a UK charity called MIND, which supports those with mental illness. So, win-win! I've seen lots of people personalize the colors, which is awesome, but so far I'm sticking to the colors as charted:
Still have a ways to go to catch up for January, but I'm really enjoying this one. I've also had my eye on the Clouds Factory and Frosted Pumpkin SALs, but I don't think I could keep up with them throughout the year. So perhaps I'll just buy the patterns down the road...

Guess that's all for now. Happy stitching everyone!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The First 10 Days

Hi all! Back again with actual progress this time! :)

Since starting my Angel of Grace on the 1st, I actually managed to stitch on her every day of her rotation, which was 10 days. I wasn't able to stitch as much as I would have liked (still dealing with unpacked boxes and an injured mother) but since I'm focusing on the reams of white in her skirt, the stitches still added up pretty quickly. So here she is so far, with about 2700 stitches in:
All that white is reminding me of Scale, but in a good way. Pieces like this one almost make me want to go back to being a one at a time stitcher... Almost. But I have a closet full of wips screaming at me, so I've put her away for the time being. Next time, I hope to continue with the skirt and maybe start on that band of confetti along the hem. You might be surprised to know there aren't any beads in this one, just a bit of metallic curving around her. If I had known how simple she was to stitch I would've started her years ago!

During the week, I also got a tiny bit of morning stitching done, though I've been sleeping in a bit these days. I worked on my R2D2 Silhouette, which kind of got abandoned last year. So here is three days of progress:
I'm finally getting to the interesting part, where the outline turns into trees and landscape. Still, it's a lot of black. Odd that my first two pieces of the year were mostly white and black stitching. I'll have to find some color soon. :)

That's all I got for now. Still trying to fuss with what I'll be stitching this year. Stitch Maynia on Facebook is doing a sal with new starts on the 17th of every month, which would be an interesting way to space out new projects. And HAED is doing a mystery sal that looks pretty interesting (love those griffins on the preview). Still haven't gotten myself organized enough to attempt something fancy like the Clouds Factory or Frosted Pumpkin sals, but maybe one year it would be nice to try.

Hope you all are having a good stitching year so far. Until next time!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

My (Belated) 2016 Review, Part Two

Hello again! Thank you for all the lovely comments on my previous post. I really enjoy seeing everyone's progress at the end of the year, and I think it's fun to see just how much stitching we all got done. :)

This post is dedicated to all the new starts I had last year. I think there were 19 in all, but it's possible I've lost track of something (though I hope not!). I did a lot of shopping in 2016, and found a few designers that I had been completely oblivious to and now adore. I admit I have been easily enabled through Flosstube and Facebook, but these projects are so much fun! It's like Pokemon, but it's Stitchimon -- gotta stitch 'em all! :)

So let's get to it!

I didn't have my traditional New Year's start last year as I was still recovering from surgery. So my first start of the year was a bit impulsive, and I never managed to really fit it into my rotation. But here is Climbing the Dragon Gate by Stephanie Law, chart by Heaven and Earth Designs, began February 7 and starting on page 1. It's on 25ct Lugana, using tent stitch:
I am still in love with all those greens, even though green is not my favorite color. We'll see if I can at least finish that page this year.

Something new last year was my developing love of samplers. I don't know why I like them so much, but show me a chart with an alphabet, some trees, a little house or little people, and a meandering vine with flowers, and I'll probably buy it. Bonus if it has an interesting verse. This one is the Three Things Sampler by Moira Blackburn, began February 19 on 18ct Aida:

For a few years, Kansas City hosted an awesome artist's convention, called Spectrum. I was lucky enough to attend the three years it came here, and saw so much art I was dazzled. One of the artists I adored from the get go was Omar Rayyan. So when HAED began charting his work, I knew it was only a matter of time before I chose one to stitch. I picked Crystals and Crows max color version, began April 8 on 18ct Aida, and finished page 1:

Another sort of impulsive start was Blood, by Melanie Delon, another HAED. I'd been wanting to start this for a long time, but kept waiting for the right moment. I finally got fed up with waiting and just threw some stitches at her, beginning on April 24. I'm tent stitching her on Pewter 25ct Lugana. This is another simple (if boring) background with only three colors at the moment, so I actually finished page 1 in early December:

And of course, I had to celebrate my birthday with a new start! This is another HAED called Ginger Nova by Gracjana Zielinska. I was very disappointed with my progress on her -- only halfway through page 1! But she is a joy to stitch, so I intend to make it up to her at some point. This was started May 28 on 25ct Lugana:

My mother was kind enough to buy me a special birthday present last year (after I whined and begged enough). This is a kit by Riolis, a Russian company that has some really nice designs. As I adore almost anything Rococo, I fell in love with this kit instantly. It's a bit large as far as kits go, and uses lots of blended colors. I only really sampled the stitching (starting in the center just above her shoulder) so I don't count it as a true start, but it has been started, so I'll include it here. This was begun on June 4 on the included 16ct Aida:

That little sampling of Riolis made me curious about their other kits, which use wool instead of floss. That led to the purchase of French Lavender, and its subsequent start on June 8. I must say, that wool is very nice stuff, and a pleasure to work with. It gives excellent coverage on the included 14ct Aida, without being bulky. This kit hasn't made it high into my rotation, but I like to pull it out now and again:

I found this R2D2 Silhouette on Etsy and thought it was a pretty cool, very simple pattern that I could work on in my spare time (ha!) or keep as a travel project. All that black is a bit tedious, but it's also kind of relaxing to just sit and stitch without having to think too much. I started this on June 15 on 18ct Aida:

As Abi at Bellastitch would say, I had to "drink the kool-aid" on this one. The design is just too cool! When I saw it, I kind of ransacked my stash and started it on the first fabric that it would fit on, even before I had the chart. That may have been a bit precipitate, as I'm not really crazy about the thread I chose. It's a Threadworx variegated cotton I had on hand, and it's really thin. But I do like the color, so I haven't quite been able to decide if I want to restart or just go with it. But here is Death by Cross Stitch, from Long Dog Samplers, began on July 3 on 20ct Aida:

The Frosty Forest series from Country Cottage Needleworks is just too cute! How could I not start it? I'm doing all 9 on the same fabric in a 3x3 grid. This first one is in the middle of the top row, began on July 16. It's stitched on Wichelt 32ct Belfast in Touch of Gray:

I love this design by Stitchery Stitch on Etsy. It's simply called Paris, and represents the city in geometric blocks of color. The color palette is packed with jewel tones and brights, which I don't get to stitch with very often. This was started on July 23 on 18ct Aida:

Another cool Etsy find is my Geometric Bunny from Velvet Pony Design. This became my travel project for the year and has accompanied my to many waiting rooms since starting on July 26. I've stitched from about the brows to just above the nose, on 16ct Aida:

And who can resist the Disney princesses? Not me, apparently. This is another Etsy find, from Neni Design, and I bought a bunch on their 10 for $10 sale. Ariel is my favorite, so I started her on July 31 on 16ct Aida, though she only saw 3 hours of stitching:

Sampler Game Board by The Drawn Thread is one of my absolute favorites. I love those tiny houses! Each one is unique and feels like a tiny finish. I began this on August 7 on 32ct Platinum Belfast:

He Holds Tomorrow by My Big Toe Designs was stitched as a birthday present for a friend, and was my second finish for the year. This was also the first time I framed a piece with foam core and pins. I think it turned out pretty well. This was stitched on 32ct White Lugana. I started on August 15, and it took 12 mornings to stitch:

Cats in Winter is another Riolis kit, and it's pretty tiny, just 5x5. It's part of a series of cats in their various seasons, and they're all rather cute. It was an impulse buy from Everything Cross Stitch when they had it on clearance for $5, and I've only stitched on it once. The included 16ct Aida is a bit small for the wool, but not too bad. I started this on August 18:

I sort of "discovered" Prairie Schooler designs last year and splurged on quite a few charts. Red Riding Hood is my first of their designs, and I think I'm hooked. I started this on August 21 on 32ct Antique White Lugana:

I also stitched my first Lizzie Kate design last year. This is Big Girl Panties, my third finish for the year, and another gift for a friend (though I'm late in getting it to her). The chart has a companion piece that I may stitch for another friend sometime in the future. This is on 32ct Ivory Lugana. I started on October 11 and it took 11 mornings to stitch:

My last start of 2016 came about through restlessness and chance. I was attempting a bit of stash organizing, figuring out which patterns to stitch next and which fabric to pair with them, and ran across a bunch of Rosewood Manor charts. RM has become a favorite designer, and I stash their charts whenever there's sale. When I discovered I had all the supplies for Quaker Compass, I just sat down and started stitching. This one is on 32ct Platinum Belfast, began October 16 (forgive the q-snap wrinkles!):

So that's it for my 2016 review! Hope you've enjoyed all the pretty pictures. :) It's kind of staggering to see just how many wips I have now. I'm hoping I don't end up with a wip for every day of the year -- that would be too overwhelming. Yet part of me dreams of starting everything in my stash (or at least a good chunk of it) and just stitching on whatever strikes my fancy. The other part of me -- the progress oriented side -- thinks that is too absurd and I should focus more on finishing. So starting a bunch of smaller wips was kind of my compromise. (Did I mention I'm a Gemini?)

I've got lots more starts planned for 2017, in addition to working on all of my current wips. Sounds like a challenge! Hopefully I can make a Goals post soon, at least to keep myself straight. In the meantime, happy stitching everyone!