Saturday, September 17, 2016

September WIPocalypse

Hello again! Can't believe it's already September!

Unfortunately, my stitching has slowed way down as I'm getting the house ready for a new roommate (my Aunt) and preparing for an eventual move. When I can, I've been slogging along on Scale, though progress is very slow, especially considering there's only one color I've been stitching. But I'll get there eventually (or at least I keep telling myself that):
So, about 30 rows done, another 30 to go. Lots and lots of pale skin. But I'll be so glad once it's finished. :)

In the mornings, I've been stitching on one of my Olympic Challenge starts. This one will be a gift for a friend, as her birthday is next month. This is He Holds Tomorrow by My Big Toe Designs:
I've changed the color of the lettering and flowers to the same dark blue (791, I think) as it's my friend's favorite color. The flowers are supposed to be monochrome, but I plan to go back and give them all yellow centers, just as soon as I sit down and pick out a good yellow. Hope to have this one done at the end of the month, as I want to try to frame it myself (gulp!). But I have lots of time to get this done.

I also managed a finish this month, my first of the year. I've already shown these off in a previous post, but here are my Tigers, all done!
This was finished Sept. 6th, and it's still awaiting my signature. Just haven't had time to really look at it and decide where I want it. But I'm in no rush.

This month, our topic is: Tell us a story about the journey you took through one of your completed pieces.
I guess I will talk a bit about my Tigers. This kit was given to me by my mother for my 18th birthday, back in 1998. At the time, this was the biggest chart I owned, and I knew it would take a long time, but I never thought it would be half a lifetime. :)

In '98, I was a senior in high school, and about to make the transition to college. I started this in May, and had a very short time with it before packing everything away and leaving for school. I remember starting with Mama tiger's stomach, in the center, then worked my way left. I had only just started her legs when I put her away.

I had every good intention of continuing once I got settled, but you know how college is. Lots to adapt to. So it was almost a year before I picked it up again. It was actually during a very stressful time, and I thought, "Isn't there something I could do to help me relax?" And I thought of my Tigers. There was a certain afternoon that is very vivid in my memory, when my roommate was gone, and even though I could have been studying, I chose to spend a couple hours stitching. It was the best thing I could have done. Afterward, I was so relaxed and refreshed, I promised myself not to neglect my stitching in the future. (Though of course, I did.)

Over the next two years, I gradually made my way to the left, finally finishing the lone leaf at the edge. That was a triumph! But making my way to the right was not so easy. Lots more confetti at this end. I was still working on the third baby tiger in the early 2000s, but I wasn't feeling the love. When I finally made it to the leaves, I was so tired of it, I felt I just had to put it down. So I did. For years. And years.

Last year, my mother asked me, whatever happened to my Tigers? It was a coincidence that I was thinking I needed to pick them up again, so I took it as a sign and made it my goal to finish this in 2016. And I've succeeded! Couldn't be happier with the results. Now, I just need to get it framed. :)

That's all for now. Happy stitching everyone!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

It's a Finish!!

Hello again! It's been a while since I've updated (very sorry about that) but I'm back with a finish! It took 18 years, but finally my oldest wip is complete! Here are my Tigers, captured in full:
I finished them on Tuesday the 6th. The backstitching took a little over three hours, not including the other little baby's face near the tail. That bit was done somewhere around a decade ago, I really can't remember. (Sad, isn't it?) Close ups!
Two little darlings, curled up under Mama's tail
So cute! Those lazy daisy stitches turned out really well.
Tiger luv! :3
Perhaps this one shows just how much the whiskers interfered with proper chart reading. All those lines were just in the way! But I'm so glad it's done. :) I haven't signed it yet, though I plan to. It'll be my first, as I always seem to forget that part. Haven't decided just where to stitch my initials; probably around mama's right paw. Eventually, this will be washed and framed. (My mother insists.)

I haven't been stitching a whole lot lately, but I'll share a few things. First, I'm up to 10 days on Paris from Stitchery Stitch, and made some good progress last weekend:
I actually did all that green in one day. It kinda felt like I was stitching the emerald city for a while, but I just kept stitching. It's kind of hard to stop when it's all big chunks of color, and I kept thinking, "oh, just this one little bit here." Totally addictive stitching.

Another addictive one is Red Riding Hood from Prairie Schooler, which I worked on the last week of August. This is only 5 days of work, but it's coming along really well:
Just started on the house in the middle. Those trees have a nice rhythm to them, it makes for a very relaxing stitch.

And, because I can't resist, here's day 3's progress on Sampler Game Board from The Drawn Thread:
The first two houses are complete, three motifs are done, and the third house just needs the sky. This is such an awesome design. I'm really looking forward to stitching all the different little houses, each with a different landscape. There's a lot of detail packed into those little squares, so it's a lot of fun. All the motifs are upside down, for the "gameboard" effect. It's kind of strange to stitch things in that orientation, but I like it. :)

I am still stitching on Scale, trying for a page finish this month. I'm about halfway there. I'm also working on He Holds Tomorrow from My Big Toe Designs as a gift for a friend. That's about halfway done (why don't I have a picture of this?) and should be finished by the end of the month. (Pics then, I promise.) 

In other news, Life is about to get really hectic for me (though last month was no picnic). We are planning on moving later this year, hopefully late November if we find a good place. So I'm super busy cleaning, organizing, pretending to pack (why do I have so much stuff?). But to make it fun, my Aunt is moving in with us at the end of this month, so my craft room (aka the spare bedroom) needs cleaning out now. So, stitchy time is getting shorter, and I haven't been as good about reading and commenting on blogs (sorry about that!) but I'll keep trying. I don't know how the rest of the year will pan out, but hopefully I can keep stitching at work if nothing else. :)

As always, thanks for reading. Until next time!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August WIPocalypse/Challenge #5

Hello everyone! Time again for WIPocalypse and a recap for the Olympic Challenge. I signed up for both the Rotation and Distance challenges, and I think both were a success! :) I've been updating bits of each challenge all month long, so if you'd like more detailed info on all my wips, you can look back at earlier posts. For now, I'll update with the last four days of the rotation challenge, and reveal my overall progress for distance.

Thursday was another new start. This wasn't a start originally planned on, but more of a backup piece just in case. But it is really cute, so I'm glad I was able to incorporate it into the challenge. This is called Cats in Winter, a kit by Riolis:
The colors are a bit off in my pic (should be brown and gray) but you get the idea. Started in the upper right with a bit of building and sky, then managed to get one of the cats done! He's kind of hiding in the background, and I didn't even see him when I first bought the kit. This is going to be pretty small, just under 5 inches square. It uses the wool blend, and came with 16ct Aida. But it was a good Zweigart Aida, I was really surprised! I wish it were 14ct though, as the wool makes it a bit bulky. But not bad enough to start over. :)

Friday I went back to my Tigers, since they need all the love they can get. Didn't make much progress, but perhaps you can tell I got their noses in:
Aren't they so cute together? The chart is still proving vexing, as all the backstitch lines are covering up the symbols. Even using a magnifying glass, I've been missing symbols. But I'll get there eventually.

Saturday I went back to a recent favorite. I started this last month and found I couldn't put it down. It's been a regular fixture weekend mornings (until the challenge started) so I was glad to pull it out again. This is Paris from the Etsy shop Stitchery Stitch:
 I really love the colors in this chart, even though it's not my usual style. It's all bright jewel tones that just scream with vibrancy. And I also like the faceted effect, similar to my Geometric Bunny from Day 2. I've started in the middle, with the Eiffel Tower, of course:
Didn't get a whole lot done this time round, but I'll probably continue my weekend sessions with this for a while. It's actually very relaxing to stitch on, and easy to do while I'm watching flosstube. :) I'm stitching this on 18ct Aida.

Today I splurged on another new start. (This is what I'd hoped to start Thursday, but it didn't happen.) A while ago, I finally gave in to the "Prairie Schooler Apocalypse" and started stashing their charts. This is one that was on my list even before that, because I really love the design. This is Little Red Riding Hood:
So there's the first corner tree, and the first wolf lurking behind it, starting in the upper left. The whole design is only three colors, but so far it is lots of fun. I just love how she's running along the outside of the center image, and the wolf is always hiding ahead or stalking just behind her. I'm stitching this on 32ct Antique White Lugana, 2 over 2. I have a couple more of these story themed designs I also plan to stitch, Three Little Pigs and Tortoise and the Hare:
I also bought a few of their Halloween charts (a first for me), their alphabet series, and the months of the year. So you might be seeing more Prairie Schooler lurking around here in the future. :)

So that's it for my Rotation Challenge! I had a ton of fun doing it, but I'm also glad it's over. I'm looking forward to spending more time with each of my lovlies, except I really don't know which one to pick up first! Actually, the one I'm stitching as a gift will be first, but after that...

Okay, now for the second part of the challenge, Distance. I've been stitching on Scale every day since the 5th, trying for at least an hour a day, and I think I averaged that. There was one really rough day where I spent 10 minutes on 11 stitches, but that's life. (Had a migraine. Still tried to stitch. Yes, I'm crazy.) I've been posting little updates all month, but here is the full progress comparison:
To be honest, I had hoped to get much more done, but I'm not totally disappointed. I did manage to finish page 7, and I've got a good start on page 8, which is mostly white. I do love how she's looking though, and I will probably stick with her for the rest of the week. For the challenge, I managed 3,367 stitches, so not too bad.

This month's question is: Have you ever read any fictional books that involve embroidery?  If so, give us some recommendations?
Short answer is No, but there is a mystery series on my radar that begins with a woman opening up her very own cross stitch shop. The first one is called The Quick and the Thread by Amanda Lee. I know there are a couple more stitchy themed books out there, so I'm looking forward to seeing what others recommend. :)

That's all I have for now. Looking forward to getting back to a longer stitching rotation. Hope you all have fantastic progress on all your stitchy endeavors. Until next time!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

WIPocalypse Challenge #4

Yes, another update. :) The Rotation Challenge continues!

Monday I worked on a new start, but this is actually planned as a gift for a friend's birthday in October. The design is fairly small, so I should get it done in time. This is from My Big Toe designs, called He Holds Tomorrow:
This is actually my first time using overdyed cotton (that's Monkey Grass from Weeks). I don't always do one stitch at a time, but I can still see a subtle color change, if I look really hard. The scrollwork was a lot of fun and worked up quickly. Looking forward to getting back to this again. Stitching this on 32ct Jobelan.

Tuesday called for something easy, so I pulled out another newer start, but one I haven't posted about before. This is another HAED, called Blood by Melanie Delon:
 I started this in March, I think, because why not? :) Actually, I really love this image, though it's hard to pinpoint why. There's just something about her stance and expression, and that wispy black smoke. And, my favorite color is gray. (Weird, I know.) Melanie says this is a portrayal of one of her RPG characters, which probably explains why she looks so fierce. I've started on page one, working on 25ct Pewter Lugana in tent stitch:
Most of a row done, not bad for an hour. But at the moment, it's only two colors. :)

On a side note, if anyone is wondering, I always like to work horizontally across a page when I use tent stitch. Every time I try tent stitching in vertical columns, I end up with "humps" and a visible separation between each column, even when I try to stitch across grid lines. I don't get that stitching across. I believe this is a tension issue, since loose tension lets the fabric pull more, but I have yet to try tent stitching on my Millennium frame. At some point I will though, and I'll probably share the results when I do. :)

So today, Wednesday, I went back to one of my Riolis kits, French Lavender:
It's still a blob, but the blob is growing! I still love stitching with this wool. It's sooo soft, and it hardly tangles at all. I'm still stitching in the shadows for the moment, but once I get to the lighter colors, they will seem all the more vibrant. Man, too many projects I don't want to put down!

For the Distance Challenge, I've finally hit a milestone with Scale and finished page 7!
I think she looks awesome. The nose looks so real, like it jumps off the fabric. This is one of those designs where the color choices during stitching seem really odd, but the result is stunning. I've already made a small start on page 8, so we'll see how much I can get done before the challenge ends on Sunday.

That's all for now. See you again soon! :)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

WIPocalypse Challenge #3

Hello again! Back with more WIPocalypse Challenge! :)

Thursday I picked up something I've barely started, but couldn't resist. This is Ariel, done in the art nouveau style by Hannah Alexander. She's been drawing lots of Disney princesses apparently. This one is from Neni Design on Etsy:
Isn't she gorgeous? I've always had a soft spot for Ariel, probably because that film came out when I was about 10 and very impressionable. :) This is a full coverage design, and those flowers are gonna be confettilicious whenever I get to them. I've started in on the background in the upper left, outlining the green border:

Friday I had an unexpected day off thanks to a dead car battery (calling in was easier than fixing it during a thunderstorm), so I pulled out Climbing the Dragon Gate from HAED, by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Here's the full pic:
This was an impulse start back in February, and I haven't touched it since early March. But I do think about it quite often, so here's my one day's progress:
I managed to finish that third row! Love how easy this design is, and all those greens. I definitely need to pull this out more often.

On a sidenote, if you're really interested in Stephanie's artwork, you might want to own her new book, Descants and Cadences. It's on pre-order from Kickstarter for $35.

Saturday was hectic, so I pulled out something nice and simple to work on: the Three Things Sampler by Moira Blackburn:
A few more letters, a bit more shading in the flowers... I actually really like stitching up the alphabet, more than I though I would. But I was dead tired Saturday, so didn't get too far.

Today (Sunday) I was a bit more adventurous and pulled out Ginger Nova. She's been quietly screaming at me for some weeks now:
Getting closer to a page finish. I really did not want to put her down, but I had to get back to Scale at some point, so Ginger will just have to wait.

As for Scale, no page finish yet, but I'm really close. The good news is all the white is done for the current page. And most of the ecru as well. Just gotta fill in all those tiny bits of confetti:
Can you spot the difference? Hard to tell, since I've been stitching mostly white for three days. I even got that bit at the bottom right where it fades into her cheek. (Didn't notice that, did you?) Next update for sure I should have a page finish. And then more white. So much more white.

That's all for now. I'll be back again mid-week for another awesome update. :) Happy stitching!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

WIPocalypse Challenge #2

Hi everyone! Back with an update on the WIPocalypse Olympic Challenge. I've been having lots of fun switching through projects every day, though it's sometimes hard to put them down so soon!

Monday I worked on Death by Cross Stitch, which is still lots of fun:
The lighting at work is really bad, but you get the idea. :) Making good progress on my unicorn!

Tuesday I got back to my R2D2 Silhouette. Forgot to take a "before" picture, but I added 294 stitches. Pretty easy since it's all black:

Today I picked up a newer start. This is from the Frosty Forest series, from Country Cottage Needleworks:
I plan on stitching all 9 in the series on the same piece of fabric, so I've got a loooong way to go! But the little critters are so cute, I think it's worth stitching all that endless snow. Stitching this on 32ct Belfast in Touch of Gray.

Still plugging away on Scale, but progress has been a bit slow. Starting to get down to all the little confetti stitches, but that means I'm closing in on a page finish:
She's finally got her nostrils! Well, most of them, anyway. But I think it really makes a difference. It would be nice to have a page finish this weekend... but we'll see. :)

Guess that's all for now. Until next time!