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!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

WIPocalypse Challenge #1

Hi stitchers!

So, the WIPocalypse Olympic Challenge has officially begun, and I am super excited about it! Normally I don't get to participate in challenges thanks to my awkward schedule (and things are already starting to get hectic again) but so far I am having lots of fun. :)

Since last week was my normal rotation for Flora, she was my official kickoff for the Rotation Challenge on Friday. Thursday, I was able to finish off a tiny partial page (yay!) so Friday's progress was all aimed at page 7. I'm hoping to get an hour's stitching on each challenge piece per day, so here's Flora's hour:
Lots of pink added here (that's going to be a rose eventually) plus a few background colors. This page is past the halfway mark now, so I'm should be able to finish it by the end of the year.

Saturday was crazy, so I did my stitching in the waiting room at my mechanic's. (One hour for an oil change and a new lightbulb? Really?) This is a recent purchase from the Etsy shop Velvet Pony Design, called Geometric Bunny, which will eventually look like this:
Isn't he so cute? I started stitching in the center, with all those dusky blues and grays. This is an awesome pattern to have on the go, since it's just solid blocks of color. But I really like the effect:
 Not bad for an hour, but it was so cold in there, my fingers were stiff! Doing this on 16ct white Aida. (Yes, it's white, I promise.)

Sunday was also crazy, with lots of errands, but finally I sat down and treated myself with a new start. Lately I've been really charmed by patterns with cute little houses. Well, this one's got 32 tiny little houses in cute little miniature scenes. I just couldn't resist! This is Sampler Game Board by The Drawn Thread:
Managed almost an hour and a half on this. Was hoping to get that first little house done, but ran out of time. Still, this will be an easy and very fun stitch. Can't wait to get back to this very, very soon. Stitching this on 32ct Platinum Belfast.

For the Distance Challenge, I'm working steadily on Scale. I've only managed an hour a day so far, but progress is coming pretty quickly, and I'm happy to say I'm really getting back into this piece. All that white kind of killed my enthusiasm for a minute, so I'm only stitching colors for now. The white should fill in fairly quickly after that:

So that's it for the last three days! I'll try to update mid-week so these posts don't get too long. I've got quite a few new starts and barely starts to work on, so it'll be nice to switch up my normal rotation for a while, even if progress is minimal. :) See you all next time!