Sunday, July 8, 2018

Christmas in July

I'm going to say something blasphemous here -- I don't really care much for Christmas stitching. I know! I'm horrible! Ornaments and Santas and Christmas trees don't do anything for me. But for some reason, I love charts featuring the 12 Days of Christmas. It's probably because it's a series, and I'm crazy about collecting things.

Anyway, I thought I'd do my minimal celebration of Christmas in July with Jim Shore's 12 Days of Christmas. I started this last July and finished the Partridge last year. This year has been all about the two Turtle Doves. Here's my progress for the week:
I'm hoping that if I continue working on this every July and for 12 days starting on Christmas (see what I did there?) I can finish one block a year and be done with this project sometime in 2029. Yes, I plan for the long haul. Of course, I may increase my rotation at some point, but I'm really in no hurry. :)

At some point, I may break down and start the Nora Corbett version of the 12 Days. Have you seen these? They are gorgeous!
The only reason I haven't started yet is I couldn't decide if I wanted to stitch these individually or all on one fabric. I was going for the all on one thing when I realized the swan is 9 stitches taller than all the others, and the piper is both taller and wider than the others. It kind of threw me off. I was contemplating just hacking a bit off of each, but I hate to do that, though the thought of 12 frames is also a bit daunting. However, I may do something a little different and stitch three sets of four. Sad that it took me over a year to have that little brainstorm, but better late than never. So, it may be a while, but this project is definitely in my future. :)

I think that's all for this time. I may keep my Temperature charts to just once a month, especially since the summer colors are so boring. So, happy stitching everyone. Until next time!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Quotes is Finished!

Hi all! Big news to share this time as I have managed to finish my Quotes to Live By! I am so happy to have finished it in June. So here was my progress since last time:
And here is a full shot, though it was a bit tricky to get this picture:
I started Quotes on January 15, 2017, which feels a lot longer that it was. For this project, I counted 19,168 stitches (not counting backstitch) which took me 115.65 hours in 103 days. Whew! I didn't stitch two of the blocks as charted though. Blocks 4 and 5 were meant to be full coverage, but I thought that was a bit random and looked a little odd. I was lucky to see some other finishes without the pink background and decided to do the same. And I love the result! It's a little bit odd in size, 12.5" by 17", but I may frame it myself in a standard 16x20 frame. What do you think?

Last month I also managed a page finish on Luna! Last time you saw her I was about halfway through page 12. Now it is complete:
Only a page and a half to complete the row! If I don't manage that this year, I'll feel really lazy. :)

I've also managed to peck away at Elizabeth Oliver enough to move the qsnap. So here is a complete picture of her fresh after a pressing, though you'll have to excuse the poor lighting:
The verse is about the Hour of Prayer, which isn't the most lyrical verse in the world, but I'm not going to change it. Those words do seem really big though, so I guess prayer was very important to Miss Oliver. I believe this is halfway across the sampler now, even though I've hardly made a dent in it lenghtwise, and I'm still really loving it. :)

Well, we're halfway through the year, so my Temperature charts are now halfway done!
June continued to get hotter, but at least there were a few days of mild relief. We actually made it to 100° in my neighborhood last Thursday, but the official Kansas City temperature for that day was 98°, so no new color yet. I'm sure we'll make it in July though. The average temp for June was 87.9, so I've backstitched the month in 608, my darker orange. I love that all the months are different colors on my chart. I'm looking forward to stitching the rest of the year. :)

I know I've already rambled on quite a bit, but since it is the first of July, I thought I'd include a little mini review for the first half of the year. Back in January, I made two resolutions about stitching. The first was to stitch every day, which I have (yay!); the second was to try and stitch 150,000 stitches for the year. So far, I've done 72,731 stitches, so I'm a little behind, but I'm still pleased with my progress. Realistically, I know 150k is a bit out of my reach, but we have to aim high to achieve more, right?

So far this year, I have had 17 new starts (most of which were planned) and 3 project finishes along with 5 page finishes, which I think is pretty good. I'll keep going with my year of starts, so I've got at least six new projects coming, though deciding on which projects to start is becoming increasingly challenging. I'm also trying to rotate through as many projects as possible while still making progress, which is also a challenge.

I've made a new Wips tab to show all my projects -- I think I'm down to 61 since Quotes is finished -- but it's still kind of under construction. Hopefully I can sit down and update everything soon. There's just never enough time!

Well, I think I've truly rambled enough for one post. Hope all of you are meeting your stitchy goals and having a great year. Until next time! :)

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Year of Starts #6

Yes, this is my second new start in as many weeks, but whatever. I'll reform next year. ;)

On June 18th, I started a cute little bird chart from Tellin Emblem. It's from their Birdies & Glories series (I think there's just two) called Kingbird. I'm stitching on 32ct Raw Natural Belfast, and managed just over 1600 stitches last week:
I really like this design, and definitely plan to stitch the second one, called Grosbeak. It's fairly small, about 5.5 by 8 inches on 32ct, but I can't say it's stitching up quickly. It takes me about an hour to get two leaves done. They're small, but it's a lot of stitches. I won't be adding the pink heart button, but I might attach the emblem on the lower right. There is an alternate chart to stitch my initials there though, so I'm still thinking about it.

If you want to stitch this design, I've got two warnings for you. First, it takes a lot of colors for such a small design, 32 colors total. Most of the leaves are different greens, and all the morning glories are different as well. The good news is that the same colors are used in the second design. Second, I had to do a bit of unstitching as the chart does not match the model picture. On the chart, the lattice in the background is stitched in a grid that also crosses the space where the worm is, just under the bird's beak. I had stitched it in according to the chart, but when I saw the discrepancy, I unstitched it, thinking I would also like a gap there. It's really irritating when the charts don't match the picture, but as least it was a small fix.

I also made a tiny bit of progress on Stitcher's Prayer, which I started back in May. I just had a little bit left to do to finish off the first half of the design, so I pulled it out and got it over with. Mainly, I wanted to finish off the details on the lady, who now has her needle and thread and a pair of eyes to see what she's stiching:
It took me four tries to get those french knots right, but I think I'm getting the hang of them on linen. The chart said to do them with just one wrap around the needle, but they were much to fine to see like that, so I did two wraps. I was also supposed to use two strands for the red thread, but she's doing extra fine work, so she only required one strand. ;)

Here's a close up of the lady. I think the stitches in her apron turned out really well. (yes, I'm bragging.)

Last, I have my temperature charts for the week. We had some clouds and rain move in mid-week, so there was a nice cool down. Typical for Kansas City weather, our first day of summer was the coolest it's been all month:
I got another round done on the ornament chart, but now it's back to boxes and squares. At least it's really easy stitching.

Well that's all for this week. Hope you all have some awesome stitchy progress! Until next time!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Eliza Bell Cox 1832

Hi gang! I'm back with an update on Eliza Bell Cox 1832 from Hands Across the Sea Samplers. I started this last Tuesday, so I've only worked on it for 4 days, but I really love this chart! Stitching is slow going because it's 46ct linen, and also because there are lots of color changes. But I love seeing how all the colors interact with each other. So here is my progress after about 5 hours of stitching (started in the top left corner):
I really can't say enough about how lovely this chart is. If you've been thinking about trying a HATS chart, I would encourage you to do so. They are very well printed, in color, and made so large that even all the over one charting is very easy to read. I'll put in a very small snippet of this chart to show you:
This is about a life sized photo (use the quarter for reference). It really is big! There are also little helpful arrows that point out colors for the straight stitches used in the pansies. Really, it's just a gorgeous chart. I think looking at the chart was what made me want to stitch it right away. :)

Also, I should mention I'm stitching with the called for DMC, not the silks, and I think the conversion is pretty much perfect. I'm usually fairly critical of given conversions, especially with NPI silks, but I think these colors are spot on to what's shown in the model picture. Of course, my phone can't quite capture how it looks in person, but that is another story.

And what's it like stitching on 46ct linen? Honestly, it's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I stitched this using a stand I prop up on my desk, so it's fairly close to my face as I stitch, but I didn't have any extra magnification, or even any special lighting while I stitched this, and I could see fairly well. I did use a magnifier to place the starting stitch, but that was all. It's not much different than 40ct, which my eyes can still see pretty easily. And of course the coverage is fantastic, without being bulky. I'd like to stitch more in these higher counts, but I know my eyesight won't last forever. :)

Well, I suppose I'll stop gushing about Eliza and show you my Temperature charts. I've got a new color for this week:
We went over 95°F this week, so I got to use my darker red, to show that I feel like a boiled lobster. :) I do like how the ornament is looking, like there's a definite cutoff between the spring and summer temps. We'll see how the rest of the summer goes. Until next time!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Quote #4

It's been a weird, busy week, but also kind of productive. I pulled out my Quotes to Live By and managed to finish off quote #4:
This one was a really quick stitch (especially since I didn't do the background fill in) and I'm really excited now that it's done. I've got just one quote left! Then a bit of fancy scroll work in the border, and it's done! I'm putting this away for now, but I'll put it back into my rotation in a few weeks. Maybe I could finish it this month? Well, next month for sure. :)

In the evenings, I pulled out Pavonia for this month's 1200 stitches challenge in Full Coverage Fanatics, and I managed a page finish:
It's not a huge amount of progress, but I'm glad to see another page done. I'm glad to use the challenge as a reason to rotate through all my huge wips, but I've put Pavo away for now as I'm really anxious to get back to Luna.

And here's a look at my Temperature charts this week:
I'm closing in on another round on the ornament chart, and I think it's really interesting how the colors on this round are so different for the previous rounds. Anyway, the forecast calls for red and orange for the foreseeable future, so it's kind of boring to stitch. I think if I do this again, I might make my temperature ranges smaller, maybe three degrees per color instead of five. Just a thought.

In other news, I'm planning a new start (again) this Tuesday, because again I like the date: 6-12-18. And thanks to some birthday kindness, I'll be starting this beauty:
Yes, I'm jumping on the bandwagon for Eliza Bell Cox from Hands Across the Sea Samplers. I first saw this a few months ago on Instagram where someone stitched the central rose up top, and I kind of fell in love with the floral border. Apparently there's a SAL for this piece that started June 1st, so I've been teased with images of this all month. It'll be my first time stitching on 46ct linen, so wish me luck! Until next time! :)

Sunday, June 3, 2018

My Birthday Week

Hi all! First off, thank you so much for all the birthday wishes. You guys are awesome! But I have realized, belatedly it seems, that I don't get those cool email notifications when I get comments, and now I also realize I don't know how to reply to people in a reliable way. That "no reply blogger" stuff always confused me, and I just haven't sat down to figure it out yet. But thank you anyway! Hopefully I will get better at these things. =)

So my mystery birthday start (sorry for the vagueness last time) was a kit from Design Works called Blue Floral. It's part of a series of four -- there's also peach, pink and purple -- but I like blue best. I only managed three days on it, but I'm liking it so far. Also, Casablanca is one of my favorite movies, so of course it's my minder for my birthday project:
What I love about this pattern is that it's just a giant splash of color that's totally ambiguous. It doesn't become a flower until I put the backstitching in, which will all wait until the end. So I started in the middle and kind of worked my way down and left, then around and up. The colors are really beautiful together. I love the pattern, but I subbed out everything in the kit with my own DMC and some 16ct aida. The kit came with 14ct aida, but it was a looser weave than I like, so I switched. So if anyone wants the kit when I'm done (original materials are untouched) just let me know and I will pass the stash. :)

I didn't get much done on Blue Floral because Elizabeth Oliver was still screaming at me to be worked on. And I think I got a lot done. This is where she was last week:
I managed to fill in as much as I could, then moved the qsnap over and kept stitching. So here she is now:
I could still keep going on this. Every time I work on her I think, okay, now just fill in this part, now stitch this, now just this little bit here... And I never want to put my needle down! But I think I will put her away for a little while. Maybe.

Anyway, another month is over, and my Temperature charts can tell you how hot it's been:
I feel like I'm stitching a ring of fire on my ornament chart. The last week of May we had one day below 90°. Just one. In May. The average for this May was 84° (supposed to be 77°), so I've stitched the month on my chart in the corresponding orange (it was supposed to be yellow). Kansas City weather is weird, so it may actually cool down in June before heating up in July. Then again, we do get odd years where summer temps go up around 105 or higher, so it may get interesting.

Well, that's all for this week. Next week I'm pulling out my Quotes chart again since I missed it last month. Hopefully I can get it a good week of stitching before the overtime hits again. I wish you all happy stitching! :)

Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Bit of Wisdom

I had a bit more time for stitching this week, so I finally managed a bit of progress on Wisdom. She was this month's pick for the monthly challenge in Full Coverage Fanatics on Facebook, so I needed to get at least 1200 stitches done. I managed slightly more than that, around 1400, but I don't think I'll get any more done on her. Still, it was enough to finish off the lower page 9 and start on page 2:

In the mornings, I've continued to stitch on Elizabeth Oliver, which I am still in love with. I think I'm making decent progress, but I still don't want to put her down! I think I'll keep stitching until I reach a proper stopping point, when I'll need to move the qsnaps. So I'll at least finish of that pile of apples, and perhaps another honeysuckle:
So far I think it's looking pretty good. I love the color changes in the floral border. The first horizontal border is probably my least favorite aspect of the sampler, so I'll probably try to stitch all of that first. I am really looking forward to the house toward the bottom, but it will be a while before I get there. :)

My Temperature charts are still scorching hot, and it keeps getting hotter:
I've finished another side on the ornament chart, but this band will continue through most of June. At this rate, I might run out of orange before then. On a side note, I love air conditioning! :)

Well, tomorrow is my birthday, so I'll be starting something new to mark the occasion. I was going to start another HAED, since it's like a tradition, but I've decided to go with a smaller kit instead. Ah, there's just so much I want to stitch! One project I did not manage to touch this month was Moon Indigo. So I''ve decided to challenge myself to see how much I can stitch on her next month. Wish me luck!