Sunday, December 2, 2018

November Wrap Up

Well, I didn't get in as many stitches this month as I'd hoped, but I was still fairly productive so I shouldn't complain. November was actually a stressful month for me at work with training people and deadlines; and when I'm really stressed at work, I'm usually too tired to stitch in the evenings, which really stinks. But I've been really conscious lately of how lucky I am to have my stitching in the first place, so I try not to let setbacks get me down. :)

Last week, I pulled out and older kit I started in 2016. Sad to say, I'd only stitched on it for 6 days in 2 years. So that has to change. This is a Riolis kit called French Lavender, stitched with wool on 14ct Aida:
It finally looks like I'm making progress! I've felt stagnant with this piece for a while, and I think it's because the color blocks are smaller and so randomly placed, it's hard to find a "path" for my needle to follow. It's not confetti, really, but a lot of stop and start stitching. Plus, the wool thread has to be used in much shorter lengths than I'm used to, so it's a constant balancing act between picking areas to stitch and not wasting thread. Finally, I decided to work on the basket as a way to ground my approach, and it seems to be working so far. The wool is still great to work with, but it does feel like a totally different type of stitching.

Next up is the Marquise de Caumont La Force. I'd hoped to get the first page completely done, but turns out that would mean completing 5 diagonals. I won't say I didn't try, but 3 diagonals felt like a good stopping point:
Yes, I'm still stitching that dark green/brown background. It looks boring, but it's really easy to stitch, so I'm enjoying it. I think the top of her hair is at the bottom of page 3, but it'll be many years before I get to anything interesting with this one.

But here's something interesting: I've finished a row on Luna! I am so pleased about this. Here's the before:
And since I had to adjust the frame, here's the full picture:
Isn't she just so pretty? :) I love seeing how far she's come along. I've already got her rolled up and started on the next page, so it's back to stitching the darker sky again. Hopefully I can finish a couple more columns this year.

Finally, here are my Temperature SAL updates. Can you believe there's just one month to go?
So, it's definitely cooling down now. It's interesting to see the symmetry of colors play out. It has been a colder year than usual, I think. We've already had some significant snow here, and usually that stuff holds off 'til the end of December. We'll see how the next month looks.

Okay, that's all I've got for now. Back to stitching! :)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Queen of Autumn

Well, no bonus points earned this round. I'd hoped to get a third of this chart done this rotation, but all those color changes proved too much for me. Still, I got the bird and basket done, and isn't that just the sweetest motif! I have half an inkling to stitch that as a little pin cushion pillow, even though I've never done that before. Anyway, here's my progress:
Not too shabby, though those acorns take a lot of stitching. The one I managed to finish is stitched with Apple Cider for the bottom part, but I'm not sure it's dark enough for my liking. It's even a little darker in the picture than in real life, which is still not as dark as the model. I'll wait 'til I pick it up again to decide, but I might do a bit of color swapping. We'll see. Otherwise, I'm really loving this chart.

Next week, I'll be pulling out my old Riolis kit, French Lavender. I can't believe how close we are to December! Usually I spend December stitching on whatever I want, usually picking up things I've neglected during the year. But there's so much stuff I've neglected and want to stitch on this year, I'm having trouble deciding. Lately, Pavonia has been calling to me, but I should also work on my untouched Chatelaine, plus a few other projects I need to pick up. Meanwhile, I'm busy kitting up one of my supersized HAEDs. Alas, so little time, so much stitching...

Hope you are all having fun with your end of the year plans. Christmas is only one month away! Hope you can reach all your stitchy goals by then. Until next time! :)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Year of Starts #11

Guess I have a bit of catching up to do since I was too lazy to post last week, so I'll start with last week's project. I worked on Blood, which is never exciting to look at, and made a good bit of progress on page 3:
I'd hoped for a page finish, but I knew I wouldn't manage it. Just not enough time! But I'm working on my plans for next year, and I should be able to catch up. :)

This week I pulled out Frosty Forest and started a new block. This one is the third in the series (I think). Anyway, this sits in the top right corner of the block of 9:
All that snow really takes a long time to stitch! But I'm happy with my progress. I'm making this a sort of focus piece next year, so I should have this block finished relatively soon.

And of course today I had a new start for the Year of Starts. This is one I've wanted stitch for a few years now. (I feel like I say that about everything.) This is Queen of Autumn by With Thy Needle & Thread, stitched on 40ct Sand from Picture This Plus:
I am really loving this so far! There is a ton of floss for this one, so I actually started kitting it up early last year. But the color palette is nice and soft, perfect for a cozy fall day. And since Thanksgiving is this week, it seemed a perfect choice. I'm hoping to get the left third done this week, so we'll see how it goes. (Bonus points if I get to the lady!)

As I mentioned, I'm already deep into my plans for next year, and I do plan to change things up a little bit. After agonizing over which chart to start on Jan 1st, I kind of had the idea to not start anything, but instead to finish up the project I started last year on the 1st, my very much neglected haven't-touched-it-since-January Morning Glory. Sounds good, right? I really hate to break my tradition, but sometimes you gotta go with what makes sense. (Doesen't mean that will happen this time.)

I do know I won't be doing the year of starts next year. Much as I love putting stitches into new charts every month, it's time to start finishing what I've got going. 63 wips is kind of too much for me, even though they aren't all active wips. So the goal is to finish more than I start, though at the moment, I'm not planning any starts next year. Yup, you read that right. No planned starts. Of course, I have been known to be impetuous. :)

Okay, enough rambling for now. Hope you all are having a great stitchy month! Until next time!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

October Wrap Up

Hi guys! Got a lot to share this week, I almost don't know where to begin. Guess I'll start with last week's focus piece, which was Autumn Fraktur by Plum Street:
My, how that little plant did grow! :) I feel like this has sort of been a year of Plum Street for me, but I really love her designs. The only thing "bad" about them (not that I would change it) is that they take a little longer to stitch because of all the little details that require stop and start stitching. Like those little dark bits on the acorns, for example. I do a pin stitch for all of those because I don't like to carry thread (unless it's full coverage) so they took a while to complete, but I love the end result. I was happy to get the bird started as well. It feels like I'm stitching him a nice fair isle vest. I'm stitching this with one thread on 36ct, so the coverage is a little sparse, but not too bad.

Now for my full coverage pieces. As always, I stitched two more columns on Moon Indigo, so I was able to complete the moon (at least for the time being):
I'm definitely going to finish the row this year, but I'm going to try and push myself and see if I can get a start on the next row this year as well. Three more pages and I'll get to start on her wings! It's a ways off, but I can't wait to see what they look like stitched up.

My other focus piece for October was supposed to be Crystals and Crows, but you probably already know about my little distraction that interrupted that plan. Nevertheless, I was able to get a good bit done, about 2,000 stitches altogether:
You might notice I started page 3 stitching cross country, but decided to try out diagonal stitching on this project as well. I wasn't sure if I would like it since there's quite a bit more confetti in this chart, but I liked it much more than expected, and over all, I think I'm a little faster at stitching this way (at least on this chart) although the EZPdf app is helping a lot, too. I've already got a wing done of that pale green butterfly, and it keeps calling for me to finish it. So maybe I'll get in a few more stitches in November.

As for my distraction, aka the Marquise, I managed to reach the bottom of page 1, though I am halfway across the top of page 2:
I'm going to stop these diagonals with the first row of pages, otherwise it would be too difficult to stitch, but I like the way it's shaping up so far. Each diagonal will have 670 stitches now until the end of the row, and I really like just working my way down them. It's kind of addictive, actually. I'm hoping to finish off page 1 completely this month, which means 4 diagonals. I hope nothing else comes along to distract me. :)

Last but not least, here are my Temperature charts, all done through October:
You can see we're cooling down quite a bit, with lots of green (finally!) and a little blue. I think this is how April should have looked, but it just kept snowing! On the ornament chart, I've finished off the alphabet round, and now I'm on a round of diamonds. There's only one round after this one, but each side will represent one day, for the last four days of the year. It's strange to think I've only got two months left on these projects, but I'm looking forward to seeing them completed. The average temperature for October was 65.8°F, which is 704, the lime green which is hard to see in these pictures.

Whew! That's all for now. I'm hoping I can stay this productive through the end of the year -- it's a good distraction from online shopping. :) Happy stitching everyone!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Jack's Bash

Just a very quick update this week to show my progress on Jack's Bash, by Plum Street. So, here it is:
I'm really enjoying how it's looking on this fabric so far. The oranges and yellow are really bright, and that mansion looks nice and spooky. I'm looking forward to stitching that alphabet (whenever that may be) as I really like the font. But of course, I'm switching projects next week, so it'll have to wait.

That's really all I have for now, but there is something I'd like to share. If you'd like to see some truly beautiful embroidery, check out the Russian artist Shimunia. She makes these awesome little landscapes with all kinds of yarn and thread, and they fit in your hand. Here's just a few:
She sells her work on Etsy, but they usually go pretty quick. (They're pricey, too.) To get the full scope of her work, you gotta check out her Instagram. It's so pretty! I really wish I was talented enough to do things like this. She doesn't use a template or anything, just starts stitching. Maybe one day I'll give this a try. :)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Year of Starts #10

Hi all! Back with another update and another new start. At least you knew this one was coming. :)

First, I'll show you my progress on Hillside Travelers, which I worked on for six days over the last two weeks. Here's where I left off:
The lake was originally charted to be stitched in a gray-green color, the same color as that gentleman's jacket. I know lakes can be murky at times, but I wanted a nice blue color. I couldn't decide what to pick, so I just grabbed a color at random and went with it. I ended up with 3752, which seems like a nice gray-blue on the bobbin, but looks kind of bright in this piece. Here's the full view out of the qsnap:
After that, I spent several days filling in the bottom portion. I like to stitch in all the background before I do letters when it's full coverage like this. I think when you do the letters first, the threads kind of get sucked back into the fabric and end up looking sparse. I haven't gotten to the letters yet, but I think you can see what it says:

And of course, on the 18th, I had a new start. This time it was on Jack's Bash, by Plum Street. I went way out of my comfort zone with this fabric color. I had originally thought to stitch this on a light tan color, but I had this fabric in my stash, and when I saw the colors against this fabric, it just seemed to click. I've only worked on it for two days, so I don't have many colors in yet, but here it is:
The fabric is 40ct Cedar Plank by Lakeside Linens. It's a nice warm mottled gray, and some of the darker spots have almost a purple hue. I thought it would end up looking like an eerie, foggy night, perfect for a Halloween party. :) It's a bit more difficult to stitch on gray 40ct than tan, but I think I can manage.

Well, that's all for now. I'm still obsessed with my Marquise, so I won't have too much progress on Crystals and Crows this month. But there's always next month. :) Hope you all are getting in some good stitching! Until next time!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

A Minor Distraction...

This wasn't planned. This was a totally spur of the moment thing. I've been fighting the urge for a new start for a while -- after all, I'm starting something on the 18th, right? -- but I wanted something large. I know it's crazy, but I was even contemplating starting one of my supersized HAEDs. But I resisted, for a while. Now I guess my willpower finally failed me, or maybe this chart was just too irresistible. In any case, I've got a new project to show you.

This is the Marquise de Caumont La Force, charted by Golden Kite:
Isn't she lovely? I've had this chart for a few years now, and I always told myself this would be one I'd like to finish in my lifetime. But I kept putting off starting her, probably because I'm too lazy to set up all those blended threads. But I've been doing a lot of thinking about my stash and the way I stitch, and which charts I want to work on in the future. So last week I printed out her thread list and put her in my "to be kitted" pile.

I couldn't stop thinking about her though, so I started to look at her more closely. Her first two pages have only five symbols, and all the colors were in my stash. I had the fabric, too. And plenty of needles. See where this is going?

I was home Friday, taking an unexpected sick day, but I wasn't too sick to stitch. And that was when I caved in completely. Stitching was about all I did that day, but not on my focus projects for this month, Crystals and Crows or Moon Indigo. Nope, I threw all that planning out the door and went for my Marquise. And not just on Friday, either. This affair has lasted all weekend, and I really don't want to stop! We are having too much fun together. :)

I'm trying out a new style of stitching with her, the "diagonal" method. I've kind of made up my own way of doing it, but I am stitching rows of 10, with each row offset by 1 stitch. So here's what she looks like:
I started in the top left corner, which is mostly green with bits of black and brown. Pretty boring so far, but it really has been difficult to put my needles down. I've done 1275 stitches so far, and have just touched into page 2 at the top. My plan is to stitch across the top row of pages in this diagonal fashion, then drop down to the second row, so I won't be stitching diagonally across all the pages from corner to corner. She's got 72 pages, after all. :) Of course, that plan might change once I get to the heaviest confetti, but I'll work it out when I get there.

Usually I like to set up Golden Kite charts with those cool Pako organizers. It takes maybe two for the floss and 3 or 4 for the needles, but they really are a life saver. Since I just threw this project together, I'm going the cheap route for now, putting all my blends onto bobbins. If you've never tried this before, here's how it looks:
I just cut equal lengths of thread from both colors and wrap them together around the bobbin, and mark each one with both colors and the symbol for reference. I like long lengths of thread, so I cut all mine to 31 inches. There are 313 inches of thread in a skein of DMC, so this means 10 lengths from each skein. Just a little fyi in case you want to start a blended project, too. :)

I don't know how long I'll keep going on her, but I'll probably keep her in the rotation for the next several weeks. I'll try not to neglect my other projects too much. (Now I'm feeling guilty...)

If you'd like to learn more about diagonal stitching, check out Blitstitch on YouTube. He is very technical, but it's good info. There are other tutorials out there, though. I think the one that made it click for me  is this one from Needle Bugg. Don't be afraid to try new things! You might find a method that is perfect for you. :)

That's all I have for now. I should be back with a more normal update next week. Until then, happy stitching!