Monday, December 25, 2017

2017 Review: The Finishes

Hi all! Man, I really fell off the map this year. I didn't mean to. There was just so much going on with family drama and work, I didn't have time for much stitching or blogging. I'm hoping that will change for 2018, so I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. :)

For 2017, I had a total of 22 starts and 8 finishes, so my total number of wips at the moment is 47 (though a few of those might be UFOs). I just did a count and realized 24 of those wips are full coverage pieces, the smallest of which is 3 pages, the largest 220 pages. This year was so crazy, I didn't get to stitch on 10 of them, so I feel like I've lost a year's worth of progress almost. I am starting to want a finish on one of them though, so I may be adjusting how I work on them in the future. (Still thinking about it...)

I don't think I'll be showcasing all of my starts this year, but I may show a few of them in a later post. For now, here are my 8 finishes!

The first you may remember from earlier this year. "Time For God" by Lizzie Kate was finished April 8th, as a present for my mother's birthday. Stitched on 32ct Vintage Exemplar from Lakeside Linens:
Another gift was "Friends are like Bras" also from Lizzie Kate. Stitched on 32ct Cream Lugana, finished on April 20th:
I made the mistake of gifting "Friends" to my co-worker at work, so I was then bombarded with requests to stitch something for everyone else who saw it. One lady even asked me to stitch her two of the same project, for her two besties. Like, no big deal, right? Anyway, there was one request I gave in to, probably because it was so small. This is another Lizzie Kate, though I added the seven initials in honour of my friend's seven grandchildren, whom she calls her "Lucky 7." Stitched on 32ct Ivory Lugana, this was finished on June 20th, though I forgot to get a picture of it framed:
I gave in to another co-worker's demand as well, though he was willing to pay for the framing and supplies. I actually had fun with this one, and really like how it turned out. This is from Summer House Stitche Workes, called "Sophia." Stitched on 28ct Dubloon Cashel from Picture This Plus, I finished it June 25th:
Next I finished one of my 2016 starts. This is "Red Riding Hood" from the Prairie Schooler, on 32ct Antique White Lugana, finished July 7th:
This was a year of stitchy gifts, and this one went to a dear friend who happens to be obsessed with Outlander, so I thought a thistle would be appropriate. This is "Tiny Thistle" from The Sweetheart Tree, stitched on 28ct Platinum Cashel. It was really fun to do something so small and delicate. I think this is the second project I've ever beaded. It was finished on August 20th, and again, I didn't take a photo of it framed:
Another from last year was finally finished on November 10th. I am sad to see this little guy go, but he does look adorable. This is Geometric Bunny, stitched on 16ct Aida:
Last but not least, I finished up the first block on Frosty Forest. Actually, he's not entirely finished. I still need the french knots for his eyes and nose, but I don't want them to get crushed in the qsnaps, so I'll add them later, when I add all the buttons. This is "Raccoon Cabin" by Country Cottage Needleworks, stitched on 32ct Belfast in Touch of Gray, finished December 12th:

So that's it for all my finishes. I'm generally pleased to get one done a year, so having 8 is really unexpected. Helps they were fairly small though. :)

Thanks for reading, or just looking at the pictures. Hopefully I can get back into the blogging community, since I really enjoy reading about everyone's projects and seeing updates. I've missed you guys! I should make one more post this year to show off a couple wips, and maybe talk about plans. Anyone else doing a new start on New Year's? (can't wait!)

One last thing -- I keep forgetting to mention that I'm also on Instagram. So follow me @impstitcher if you're into that kind of thing. Until next time. Happy stitching, and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May WIPocalypse

Hi all! It's been quite a while since I've posted, but hopefully that will get better. At work, we had a total of 5 weeks of mandatory overtime, which I think is a record. Things have eased up for the moment, but things may get hectic again next month when I switch departments.

So, stitching! My stitching time has been very limited, but I did get some good progress in on Luna. I was hoping to have a page finish by the end of this month, but I don't think that will happen. I did get very close though:
See those darker colors on the right? Yes, that's her hair! So excited to finally get to the lady herself. I hope to get through the next page as quickly as possible, but there's a ton of confetti coming up, so we'll see how fast I can go. :)

I've also managed a bit of progress on my Stitchrovia SAL, though I'm still woefully behind. However, I did manage to finish that huge banner at the top, and I've just completed the first quote:
It would be nice if I could finish at least one quote a month from now on, but that might be a bit much. I will keep this in my monthly rotation though, and hope for a finish within a year.

This month's question is: Which designer’s projects do you absolutely love, but are too intimidated to try?
I think the last time this question was asked (or something similar) I mentioned Chatelaine. I've finally started mine this year, but I've only done cross stitch so far. I have some Jessica stitches coming up, and they are very intimidating, I confess. But something else I find intimidating is hardanger. I've always wanted to try it, but it just looks so... exacting. There are a few patterns by Victoria Sampler which I find beautiful, but I don't think I could do all that stitching and then mess up on cutting the fabric (and I know I would). But perhaps one day I'll give hardanger a try, just because. :)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Moving Along

Hi all! It's been a while. Didn't mean to disappear, but... well, you know how life can be. :)

This is the time of year where it gets really hectic at work and overtime hours are encouraged. In fact, there's been a mandatory requirement of 8 hours overtime these past couple weeks, so stitching time has been quite sparse. Yet still, I persevere!

In fact, I've taken on a really fine challenge and finally started my Chatelaine! I'd been planning since last year to start it this April -- even took a day off work to give it my full attention -- and I am so in love with it! This is Medieval Cloister Herbularius (Herb for short) and it's going to be a real stunner some day:
My mother predicts this will take me 110 years to finish, but I think I've done pretty well so far. This is three days work, about 13 hours in (thanks to my marathon stitching on day 1). All the normal cross stitch for the center part is done, but there's lots of gaps for specialty stitches and beads. And more beads. And there's a ton of beads!! I hope they all fit, 'cuz this is 32ct Jobelan, and I really want everything to fit. (I think it should be fine though, really.)

Stitching with all that silk is a-ma-zing! Most of the blues are NPI, but there's also Gloriana and Gloriana Florimel, Waterlilies, and Dinky Dyes. Love using all those silks! The 3/4 stitches have been a bit tricky, especially in the water lily things, but I think I managed to make it look okay:
Oooh, silk... And yes, those gaps are for beads! :)
Can't wait to try my first Jessica stitches. Hope I don't mess those up! I'm hoping to get through part one this year, but I'm saving all that beading for last. The kit included a bit of beading thread, so that will be fun to play with. :)

This month, I also managed to finish a smaller project intended for a friend's birthday. This is Friends are Like Bras from Lizzie Kate:
This was really quick to stitch, taking just 7.8 hours in 8 days. I didn't use all the called for overdyed threads, but it still looks good in DMC. Hopefully I can find a suitable frame and gift it next month. :)

Also, I've had a lot of waiting room stitching this month, so my favorite travel project has a bit of progress. Still no ears, but Geometric Bunny has a face! Isn't he cute?
Love how these colors have turned out. Don't think you can tell from this picture, but from across the room, he really has some depth. Can't wait to start on his ears (finally!) but I will be so sad to see this little guy go. I've noticed this pattern isn't available from Velvet Pony Design anymore, and I don't know why, but hopefully they will put it back up again in the future.

Well, think that's all for now. Hope everyone is finding time to stitch and enjoying the spring weather as I am! Until next time! :)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

March WIPocalypse

Can't believe it's the end of the month already! Time is just flying by all of the sudden. Again, I haven't had much stitchy time during the evenings (I've stitched a total of 5 weeknights this month) but morning stitching has been going okay, and I'm still working on Moon Indigo every Sunday (I call her my Sunday Special. See? I love nicknames!).

I've actually gotten a lot done on Luna, considering she's out only one day a week. Last month I was just shy of finishing page 9. I'm happy to say page 9 is done, and I'm halfway through the second full column on page 10:
At this rate, I may be onto page 11 by the end of June. :)

I haven't worked on my Stitchrovia Quotes SAL yet this month, though it will be my morning stitching for next week, so hopefully next month I will have an update. However, I did manage to have two new starts, both on the same day, in fact. The first was planned, and one I've been wanting to stitch since I bought the pattern almost a year ago. But I've been slowly kitting up threads and waiting on fabric, and finally made it my start for the 17th, for the Stitch Maynia SAL on facebook. This is Summer on Cherry Hill by Brenda Gervais, from With Thy Needle and Thread:
It's a mixture of Classic Colorworks and GAST, and a few Weeks, though the variegations are very subtle. It took me a while to decide on the fabric, but in the end I went with the recommended 40ct Sand linen from Picture This Plus. My first project on 40ct! I've done bits of test stitching on 40ct, but never an actual project. It was a little intimidating at first, but now I really like it. It's not much different from any other evenweave, except I do have trouble seeing the actual weave sometimes, so I have to be really careful about which hole I'm aiming for. but usually I can just guess where to stab. :)

I've only managed 4 days on Cherry Hill, thanks to my second new start. It was a kind of impulsive start, but I want to gift it for a birthday in May, so I figured I'd better get to it. But it's stitching up a lot faster than I thought it would, and I'm actually almost done. This is Friends are like Bras, by Lizzie Kate, stitched on 32ct cream Lugana:
You may remember, I did the companion piece for another friend last year. She loved it, by the way, and decided to display it at work. Consequently, it has become the motto of her department! For Friends, all I have left are the flowers at the bottom. Don't know when I'll get to them, but it will definitely be done next month. Now I just have to find a frame.

So, our question this month is: What stitchy blogs, groups, or flosstubes do you follow and why?
Well, most of the blogs I follow are on the list in the right hand column.

On facebook I'm in Stitch Maynia, Golden Kite, and the New Official Heaven and Earth Designs Group. Unfortunately, I don't really post much, I just like looking at all the pretty pictures. :) These are pretty active and welcoming groups, definitely worth checking out if you have the time.

On Flosstube, I'm all over the place. I am forever behind, and I insist on watching things in order, so a lot of my watchlist is from 2015. But I'll recommend a few of my favorites.
I think everyone knows Vonna Pfeiffer, so I'll just get her name out of the way. ;)
Definitely check out Emily C, Blitstitch, Half Stitch Cross Stitch, and the Stash Queen.
Some of my personal favorites are Olivia B, Organic Granny, Kay's Cross Stitch, Alis Stitching Studio, and Abi Bellastitch.
I know a few bloggers who have jumped onto Flosstube: Ms. Oh Sew Crafty, Confetti Stitcher, and Nikki Crafts.
I could go on, but I don't think you want a list of 80 names. :)

I think that's all for now. See you next time!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Every Stitch Counts

Hi all! Can't believe it is March already!

I know I just showed Luna last week, but today I managed to finish page 9, so I had to share. :)
I am so looking forward to starting page 10. (double digits!) There is a real motivation to keep stitching, no matter how slow my progress, because the last column on page 10 contains a few tantalizing blocks of her hair! I don't plan on getting there until June, but I love seeing how close I am every time I stitch. :)

For my morning stitching last week, I worked on Red Riding Hood by Prairie Schooler:
This is one I plan to finish this year, but it will probably take me another couple weeks to get there. I've really been enjoying this one though. It's simple and quick, and I love the sort of spiral to the design.

And of course, I was bad and started something completely unexpected. But I am really glad I did. Things are still kind of rough at home (too much family drama) and I didn't get any evening stitching done for an entire week prior to starting this. So, it was kind of a special treat to lift my spirits. And I think it worked! I stitched on this for 9 days straight, though during the week it's usually less than an hour a night. Still, the stitches are adding up, and I've loved every stitch. This is Hoity Toity, where I left it on Saturday night:
There is so much more I want to stitch on this before I put it down, I'm actually debating giving this another week. My stitching rotation has kind of fallen apart this year, but I figure as long as I'm still stitching something, I'm happy. I don't want to abandon my other projects though, so we'll just have to wait and see which I choose. :)

Think that's all I have this week. Crazy as things have been, I'm still working on getting everything ready for my next Golden Kite project. I've just gotten my necessary floss bobbinated, so next I'll be cutting lengths and organizing colors. And I do hope to post pics of my process, so hopefully I can give you ideas about starting your own blended thread project. :)

Until next time! Happy stitching!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February WIPocalypse

Hi all! Hope everyone is having a good stitchy year so far. I haven't been getting as much progress as I would like on the projects that need it most, but my stitch count is still right where I want it, so I shouldn't complain too much. :)

Luna saw a fair bit of progress, though I couldn't quite manage a page finish:

That last column is 17 stitches across, so it's taking a bit longer, but I feel like I'm closer to finishing the page. The sky is turning a bit lighter again, so perhaps there will be a few newer shades next update.

I'm sorry to say I barely stitched on my Stitchrovia SAL. Luna kind of took over one weekend, and last weekend I was absorbed in a new project (more on that in a moment). Still, a tiny bit of progress is still progress. Hopefully I can finish the banner and start the quotes in March:

As for my new start? I'm totally in love with it! I saw the picture online when it was released in January, and every time I looked at it I found more to love. So I bought the hard copy as soon as it was available and managed a small start on the 24th. Then Saturday, after a full morning of errands and chores, I sat down to stitch for a little while around 2pm. Somehow I was still stitching at 8:45. I've never done that before, but it felt really good. I don't get much time to stitch during the week these days, but I've managed bits of progress here and there. So here's Hoity Toity, from Long Dog Samplers, started in the upper left corner:
Don't you just love it? It's a bit bold, but I really love the colors. I'm doing this in plain DMC, not the fancy stuff, but I think it's beautiful. :)

So, our question of the month is: What is your favorite stitch other than the standard cross stitch?
I haven't done specialty stitches in a  really long time, and I've only done a few. However, I can't say I've done one I didn't like, and that includes French knots. I think eyelets are my favorites because they look so satiny and shiny, and I like they way the fabric is pulled back in the center. But they do use a lot of thread. I also like smyrna stitches, 'cause they're like little stars. I am anxious to get my fancy Chatelaine started in a couple months, and then I can play with Jessica and Rhodes stitches too. But there's still a lot to be said for simple Xs. :)

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

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!