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!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The First 10 Days

Hi all! Back again with actual progress this time! :)

Since starting my Angel of Grace on the 1st, I actually managed to stitch on her every day of her rotation, which was 10 days. I wasn't able to stitch as much as I would have liked (still dealing with unpacked boxes and an injured mother) but since I'm focusing on the reams of white in her skirt, the stitches still added up pretty quickly. So here she is so far, with about 2700 stitches in:
All that white is reminding me of Scale, but in a good way. Pieces like this one almost make me want to go back to being a one at a time stitcher... Almost. But I have a closet full of wips screaming at me, so I've put her away for the time being. Next time, I hope to continue with the skirt and maybe start on that band of confetti along the hem. You might be surprised to know there aren't any beads in this one, just a bit of metallic curving around her. If I had known how simple she was to stitch I would've started her years ago!

During the week, I also got a tiny bit of morning stitching done, though I've been sleeping in a bit these days. I worked on my R2D2 Silhouette, which kind of got abandoned last year. So here is three days of progress:
I'm finally getting to the interesting part, where the outline turns into trees and landscape. Still, it's a lot of black. Odd that my first two pieces of the year were mostly white and black stitching. I'll have to find some color soon. :)

That's all I got for now. Still trying to fuss with what I'll be stitching this year. Stitch Maynia on Facebook is doing a sal with new starts on the 17th of every month, which would be an interesting way to space out new projects. And HAED is doing a mystery sal that looks pretty interesting (love those griffins on the preview). Still haven't gotten myself organized enough to attempt something fancy like the Clouds Factory or Frosted Pumpkin sals, but maybe one year it would be nice to try.

Hope you all are having a good stitching year so far. Until next time!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

My (Belated) 2016 Review, Part Two

Hello again! Thank you for all the lovely comments on my previous post. I really enjoy seeing everyone's progress at the end of the year, and I think it's fun to see just how much stitching we all got done. :)

This post is dedicated to all the new starts I had last year. I think there were 19 in all, but it's possible I've lost track of something (though I hope not!). I did a lot of shopping in 2016, and found a few designers that I had been completely oblivious to and now adore. I admit I have been easily enabled through Flosstube and Facebook, but these projects are so much fun! It's like Pokemon, but it's Stitchimon -- gotta stitch 'em all! :)

So let's get to it!

I didn't have my traditional New Year's start last year as I was still recovering from surgery. So my first start of the year was a bit impulsive, and I never managed to really fit it into my rotation. But here is Climbing the Dragon Gate by Stephanie Law, chart by Heaven and Earth Designs, began February 7 and starting on page 1. It's on 25ct Lugana, using tent stitch:
I am still in love with all those greens, even though green is not my favorite color. We'll see if I can at least finish that page this year.

Something new last year was my developing love of samplers. I don't know why I like them so much, but show me a chart with an alphabet, some trees, a little house or little people, and a meandering vine with flowers, and I'll probably buy it. Bonus if it has an interesting verse. This one is the Three Things Sampler by Moira Blackburn, began February 19 on 18ct Aida:

For a few years, Kansas City hosted an awesome artist's convention, called Spectrum. I was lucky enough to attend the three years it came here, and saw so much art I was dazzled. One of the artists I adored from the get go was Omar Rayyan. So when HAED began charting his work, I knew it was only a matter of time before I chose one to stitch. I picked Crystals and Crows max color version, began April 8 on 18ct Aida, and finished page 1:

Another sort of impulsive start was Blood, by Melanie Delon, another HAED. I'd been wanting to start this for a long time, but kept waiting for the right moment. I finally got fed up with waiting and just threw some stitches at her, beginning on April 24. I'm tent stitching her on Pewter 25ct Lugana. This is another simple (if boring) background with only three colors at the moment, so I actually finished page 1 in early December:

And of course, I had to celebrate my birthday with a new start! This is another HAED called Ginger Nova by Gracjana Zielinska. I was very disappointed with my progress on her -- only halfway through page 1! But she is a joy to stitch, so I intend to make it up to her at some point. This was started May 28 on 25ct Lugana:

My mother was kind enough to buy me a special birthday present last year (after I whined and begged enough). This is a kit by Riolis, a Russian company that has some really nice designs. As I adore almost anything Rococo, I fell in love with this kit instantly. It's a bit large as far as kits go, and uses lots of blended colors. I only really sampled the stitching (starting in the center just above her shoulder) so I don't count it as a true start, but it has been started, so I'll include it here. This was begun on June 4 on the included 16ct Aida:

That little sampling of Riolis made me curious about their other kits, which use wool instead of floss. That led to the purchase of French Lavender, and its subsequent start on June 8. I must say, that wool is very nice stuff, and a pleasure to work with. It gives excellent coverage on the included 14ct Aida, without being bulky. This kit hasn't made it high into my rotation, but I like to pull it out now and again:

I found this R2D2 Silhouette on Etsy and thought it was a pretty cool, very simple pattern that I could work on in my spare time (ha!) or keep as a travel project. All that black is a bit tedious, but it's also kind of relaxing to just sit and stitch without having to think too much. I started this on June 15 on 18ct Aida:

As Abi at Bellastitch would say, I had to "drink the kool-aid" on this one. The design is just too cool! When I saw it, I kind of ransacked my stash and started it on the first fabric that it would fit on, even before I had the chart. That may have been a bit precipitate, as I'm not really crazy about the thread I chose. It's a Threadworx variegated cotton I had on hand, and it's really thin. But I do like the color, so I haven't quite been able to decide if I want to restart or just go with it. But here is Death by Cross Stitch, from Long Dog Samplers, began on July 3 on 20ct Aida:

The Frosty Forest series from Country Cottage Needleworks is just too cute! How could I not start it? I'm doing all 9 on the same fabric in a 3x3 grid. This first one is in the middle of the top row, began on July 16. It's stitched on Wichelt 32ct Belfast in Touch of Gray:

I love this design by Stitchery Stitch on Etsy. It's simply called Paris, and represents the city in geometric blocks of color. The color palette is packed with jewel tones and brights, which I don't get to stitch with very often. This was started on July 23 on 18ct Aida:

Another cool Etsy find is my Geometric Bunny from Velvet Pony Design. This became my travel project for the year and has accompanied my to many waiting rooms since starting on July 26. I've stitched from about the brows to just above the nose, on 16ct Aida:

And who can resist the Disney princesses? Not me, apparently. This is another Etsy find, from Neni Design, and I bought a bunch on their 10 for $10 sale. Ariel is my favorite, so I started her on July 31 on 16ct Aida, though she only saw 3 hours of stitching:

Sampler Game Board by The Drawn Thread is one of my absolute favorites. I love those tiny houses! Each one is unique and feels like a tiny finish. I began this on August 7 on 32ct Platinum Belfast:

He Holds Tomorrow by My Big Toe Designs was stitched as a birthday present for a friend, and was my second finish for the year. This was also the first time I framed a piece with foam core and pins. I think it turned out pretty well. This was stitched on 32ct White Lugana. I started on August 15, and it took 12 mornings to stitch:

Cats in Winter is another Riolis kit, and it's pretty tiny, just 5x5. It's part of a series of cats in their various seasons, and they're all rather cute. It was an impulse buy from Everything Cross Stitch when they had it on clearance for $5, and I've only stitched on it once. The included 16ct Aida is a bit small for the wool, but not too bad. I started this on August 18:

I sort of "discovered" Prairie Schooler designs last year and splurged on quite a few charts. Red Riding Hood is my first of their designs, and I think I'm hooked. I started this on August 21 on 32ct Antique White Lugana:

I also stitched my first Lizzie Kate design last year. This is Big Girl Panties, my third finish for the year, and another gift for a friend (though I'm late in getting it to her). The chart has a companion piece that I may stitch for another friend sometime in the future. This is on 32ct Ivory Lugana. I started on October 11 and it took 11 mornings to stitch:

My last start of 2016 came about through restlessness and chance. I was attempting a bit of stash organizing, figuring out which patterns to stitch next and which fabric to pair with them, and ran across a bunch of Rosewood Manor charts. RM has become a favorite designer, and I stash their charts whenever there's sale. When I discovered I had all the supplies for Quaker Compass, I just sat down and started stitching. This one is on 32ct Platinum Belfast, began October 16 (forgive the q-snap wrinkles!):

So that's it for my 2016 review! Hope you've enjoyed all the pretty pictures. :) It's kind of staggering to see just how many wips I have now. I'm hoping I don't end up with a wip for every day of the year -- that would be too overwhelming. Yet part of me dreams of starting everything in my stash (or at least a good chunk of it) and just stitching on whatever strikes my fancy. The other part of me -- the progress oriented side -- thinks that is too absurd and I should focus more on finishing. So starting a bunch of smaller wips was kind of my compromise. (Did I mention I'm a Gemini?)

I've got lots more starts planned for 2017, in addition to working on all of my current wips. Sounds like a challenge! Hopefully I can make a Goals post soon, at least to keep myself straight. In the meantime, happy stitching everyone!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

My (Belated) 2016 Review, Part One

Whew! I had a lot going on in 2016, including a lot of stitchy stuff. Moving took up a big chunk of my year, (which is why this is a bit late), and there've been some family issues as well, though nothing too serious. It's just been a lot of a lot. I'm still trying to get things back to "normal," which at the moment means getting totally unpacked. Plans kind of fell apart mid December, so it'll be a while. Plus, I'd rather stitch than organize, so all those boxes will just have to wait. :)

So at last, here is my review! It's going to be a long one -- so long I've broken it up into two parts. I had 30 active projects last year, including 19 new starts (went a little crazy), but also 3 finishes! I am a notorious list maker and stitch counter, so I'll start off by dazzling you with my stitchy stats for last year. Ready? Ok!

All told, I did 131,496 stitches last year. Can you believe it? I can't. I never thought I'd do over 100k. I've had a busy needle, I guess. Part of that is doing lots of tent stitches instead of full crosses. Part is also due to my early morning stitching before work. Usually I only get an hour in the mornings, but I guess I'm a fast stitcher (?) as I can usually do 200 to 250 stitches in that hour, so even a few days a week can really add up.

I also know I've stitched about 623.85 hours last year, so my average is 210.8 stitches per hour. Sounds about right. I didn't manage to stitch every day (only managed 10 days in December) but for the year, I stitched 303 days. I would like to stitch every day this year, but over 300 is still pretty good.

I've got more detailed lists and spreadsheets with even more stats, but I don't think any normal people care about all that. You want pictures, right? Right! So here's all my wips carried over from 2015:

First is Pavonia. I had hoped to do so much more on her, but I got kind of overwhelmed by the confetti and had to set her aside. I did manage to get one section done though, and was very happy to get one of her eyes done:

Moon Indigo was a focus piece this year, so I tried to work on her every month. I really wanted to get that last column finished in 2016, but just couldn't make it. Still, I pretty much met my goal with her, finishing up pages 6, 7 and 8, and starting page 9:

Scale is a lot of fun, but can also be a lot of work with all that white! In the end I just powered through it and finished off two more pages this year. My mother now calls this one "Big Nose":

Euphoria is one of my easiest wips, with just 3 colors in the skin, plus she's tent stitched. I finally got part of that flower stitched this year, so it's not quite so boring to look at:

Wisdom is one of my favorites, but I just can't seem to get going on her. I did manage to finish page 1, but not the page beneath it. Halfway is still good though:

Madchen is nothing but sky at the moment, but there's more of it now than in 2015:

Flora saw a good deal of progress this year as I finished off 3 more pages (one was really small though). The bottom two rows are now complete:

Kabuki was kind of forgotten about halfway through the year. I had hoped to get her face done, but the chart is tricky to read, and she's not always fun to work on. But she will be back in 2017:

Favorite Bird is my biggest wip, so I should really try for more progress. But 3 pages last year is good enough for now. But I'm going to be stitching floor for a while:

Cassiopeia is another that wasn't picked up as much as I wanted. She is so easy and relaxing to work on, and I love those colors. Managed to get the bottom border done, and have just started working on her couch:

Tigers was my oldest wip, an old kit from Nature's Window. I was so happy to finally get it finished last year! Yes, it's still sitting in a drawer, but it is still a finish:

So that's it for all my older wips. The only wip that did not see progress was White Queen, which is a little sad. But I will try again this year.

All my other projects were new starts last year, which I'll save for part two of this post, in a day or three. Hope everyone is having a good stitchy year so far! Until next time! :)