Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year End Wrap Up

I didn't do this last year because of my lost mojo hiatus but I remember doing it in 2011 and it was pretty fun. So stats ahoy!

A quick look at everything I stitched this year:

And a look at numbers:
Total finishes: 15
New starts: 13
Pieces started and finished in 2013: 10
WIPs at the start of the year: 12
WIPs at the end of the year: 9
WIPs that didn't see a single stitch last year: 5
Oldest WIPs: From 2009

Fastest finish: 5 hours
Most time consuming piece: 170.5
Pieces that took 10 hours or less: 7
Pieces that took between 10 & 50 hours: 4
Pieces that took between 50 & 100 hours: 2
Pieces that took over 100 hours: 1
Total hours stitched in 2013(approximately): 731.5

I'm in disbelief over 731.5 hours. I can't believe I stitched so much, specially since I've been convinced I was in a slump for the first half of the year. Previous years for comparison:
2010 - 825
2011 - 635.5
2012 - 687
2013 - 731.5

I have lots of plans for next year: doing WIPocalypse (since some of my old WIPs fill me with shame), StitchingFromStash (because I really need to stop buying more stash), Smalls SAL (because I have so many little pieces of fabric that I need to use up and I just keep starting big things).

Here's hoping that 2014 is an year filled with stitching for us all!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Here Be Dragons

I started the Light and Shadow series by Firewing Design and finished them up pretty quick. I wanted to use up some of my leftover overdyes so I stitched them over one on 28 ct and they came out very tiny. I went with two threads that had very different variegations and two that were more subtle. And I went two silk, two cotton. So mixtures everywhere :)

Taking a good picture where you could clearly see the variegation but keeping it small enough that it wouldn't be so easy to count right off the picture was tricky (and I'm not sure I quite got the right balance so I hope these are ok).

Stygion - Waterlily Umbria
Fulgent - Waterlily Oasis

Lambent - Dinky Dyes Rosella
Umbral - Dinky Dyes Desert Sands

FireWing Designs
Start dateDecember 3,2013December 9,2013December 13, 2013December 18,2013
Finish dateDecember 9,2013December 13,2013December 17,2013December 20,2013
Total time
7 hours
8.25 hours
6.5 hours
6.75 hours
28 ct antique white lugana
Waterlily Umbria
Waterlily Oasis
Dinky Dyes Rosella
Dinky Dyes Desert Sands

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fun With Blackwork

I love blackwork: the geometry and symmetry please me but I'm never sure what to do with it and I usually end up making biscornus. So I was very happy to find Tanja Berlin's free blackwork project, which is a little different and not biscornu-suitable.

I started it back in February of last year when it was still a mystery and only part one was out. But then, in classic "me" fashion, I put aside after a truly horrendous counting error that meant half of what I'd stitched had to be frogged. Since it was black on white I thought that the leftover black fuzz would be too obvious to overlook so I just put it away and pretended it didn't exist. But after discovering how useful a lint roller is (something I'm sure everyone knows but I didn't) I thought I'd give it a try. It worked and I decided to put a few more stitches in and then sort of forgot to stop.

The original project is meant to be a greeting card holder which I have no use for. I don't send physical cards and never get any. So I've decided to turn into a key holder. This is supposed to be used as individual pieces to separate the cards, but I changed it to a band because I thought it would work better for the key holder. Whether I actually get around to making the key holder is something best not discussed LOL

I really liked stitching the animals. And while the bands in between look intricate and complicated they were really very easy. The instructions are incredibly detailed and very well done.

And speaking of things that need to be finish-finished: I actually have a set of smalls that I finished last week and haven't posted because I wanted to shock everyone by actually having them finished. I, uh, don't think that's going to happen so I'll be posting those sometime soon.

TitleBlackwork Mini Mystery Project
DesignerBerlin Embroidery Designs
Start dateFebruary 11, 2012
Finish dateDecember 28, 2013
Total time17.75 hours
Fabric32 ct White Lugana
Floss DMC 310

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hot Off The Q-Snap!

Here's Why Hoard Gold? I just took her him off the q-snap. I love backstitching on Dragon Dreams patterns because it's so easy and the result adds so much clarity.

The chart calls for Anchor Marlitt threads, which are these awful slippery monstrosities. I stitched a giant chunk of the dragon while cursing every moment and then put him away for two years. Several satisfying hours of frogging later I started again with DMC. Since Jennifer has a standard palette that she reuses I felt pretty confident that I could come up with a good substitution.

Here it is, just in case (and in case I want to reuse it at some point lol):

TitleWhy Hoard Gold?
DesignerDragon Dreams
Start dateNovember 10, 2013
Finish dateDecember 22, 2013
Total time36.75 hours
Fabric28 ct White Jubilee
Floss DMC conversion of my own

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Getting Close

I was out of town recently so very little stitching for far too long. I did manage to finish all the cross stitch on WHG and started some very small projects that I'm having trouble taking photos of, so just WHG today. Hopefully I can finish it before the end of the year.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Accept Defeat & Start Over

I started Why Hoard Gold? in 2010 and haven't touched it since October 2010. Since then I've put about 15 minutes in, so I decided to finish it off as a break from all the greys and blues of Deco Spirits.
Ten minutes in I remembered why I put WHG away. It's stitched in Anchor Marlitt threads which are a slippery nightmare. I was determined to continue because I was half-way done the dragon and I didn't want to waste the effort or the thread. Another five minutes and I was ready to throw it right back into the depths of the WIPs drawer.

So I frogged the whole thing (which took a long time and a good lint roller). Then I dug up a different Dragon Dreams chart for a conversion. Since Jennifer tends to use the same general palette it was pretty easy.

Because the holes from the previous stitching were very pronounced (you can see it in the bit of body where I ran out of thread) I matched up the stitching so that they would fall in the same place. It wasn't difficult at all and I'm pleased I went the extra step.
And now I'm even further than I was before. I'm pretty sure I'll be done by next week. Sometimes it really is best to accept defeat and start over again.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Little Shocked

One hundred hours and two and a bit Spirits in, I'm in a bit of a shock. I think it's the realization that I've actually stitched one hundred hours straight on one WIP. Still they look good!

Deco Spirits
32 ct White Lugana

Sunday, November 3, 2013


I was picking out which photo to use when I realized that those green things near the bottom of Water are fish. I thought they were greenish waves when I was stitching them! And I really think those green and gold "waves" are tentacle suckers. Now I'm wondering if this is some sort of Ursula-like half-woman half-octopus being...

Deco Spirits
32 ct White Lugana

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Part Two Of Four

I finished off Earth and am quite a ways into Water. I really hope I got the space between them right, but I'm not too worried since there won't be a problem as long as I make sure the other two balance out.

Deco Spirits
32 ct White Lugana

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Why A Star

I'm so close to finishing Earth and then it's onto Water which is about half Kreinik. Also, if she's Earth then why does she have a star? That's not very earthy...

Deco Spirits
32 ct White Lugana

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Blue, White and Grey

I rewarded myself for my recent spree of finishes with a new start. It was toss-up between Mirabilia's Cinderella and Deco Spirits and I eventually went with the latter.

I got a ridiculous amount of stitching done this week so you can see a fair bit of Earth here.

Deco Spirits
32 ct White Lugana

There is so much metallics in this! And it has strange cotton/metallic combinations too. It has one symbol that's 2 strands DMC and one Blending Filament. Is there anyone out there who likes stitching with that stuff? There's another that's one strand Kreinik #8 and one strand DMC. The Kreinik simply shreds the DMC to pieces! I've made the executive decision to stitch those with a full cross in #8 and put a half cross on top with one strand DMC. Same for the BF ones (one strand #8 full cross and one strand DMC half cross on top). I hope it works out.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Another Circus Over

Cirque des Triangles is finished! It will now go into the "to frame" drawer next to Cirque des Cercles and wait until I stitch Cirque des Cadeaux (and Cirque des Coeurs once I actually get around to buying it).

It's stitched on 32 ct Lemon Whip lugana, 2 over 2. The floss is DMC 115 which is part of DMC's older series of varigated threads. All that is exactly the same as Circles, but Triangles took one hour more.

And in case folks want a better look at some of the motifs:
TitleCirque des Triangles
DesignerInk Circles
Start dateAugust 12, 2012
Finish dateOctober 6, 2013
Total time98.5 hours
Fabric32 ct Lemon Whip Lugana
Floss DMC 115

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Music to My Ears

I ended up taking a short break from Cirque des Triangles to finish Here Comes Treble and First Bass by Ink Circles. There is a third design called Alto Gether Now which I won't be stitching because I'm not familiar with that particular clef.
I'm not a musical person. I think I have a tin ear. I like listening to music, but it's mostly a matter of "I like how that sounds". I had to take music or art as a humanities elective in high school. I was highly encouraged to do music since the art teacher thought I had no aptitude for it. However I wasn't a particularly good music student either. I never did any of the work or practiced. I "played" the violin for two years because I needed to make my high school transcript look "well-rounded". It was mostly a matter of memorizing where my fingers were supposed to be in what order. I could never tell if my violin was in tune or not. I was the despair of my music teacher! I put my violin into storage as soon as I got my university acceptance and haven't touched it since. Despite this I still have a fondness for listening to the violin (even though classical music puts me to sleep). I thought I'd stitch the two clefs I knew as a tribute to that grumpy teenager who'd have much rather been reading a book and the poor teacher who had to suffer!

They are stitched over one on 25 count and I was going to post as soon as I finished, but in a fit of optimism I thought I'd finish-finish them over the weekend. That didn't happen, so I'll throwing in the towel and posting them anyway.

Fans of Cirque des Triangles fear not! I picked it back up and am zipping along.

Here Comes Treble
First Bass
Ink Circles
Start dateSeptember 22,2013September 23,2013
Finish dateSeptember 26,2013September 27,2013
Total time
6.75 hours
7.25 hours
25 ct antique white lugana
DMC as charted

Sunday, September 22, 2013

More Red, More Triangles

I'm about 75% done with Cirque des Triangles and it's been pretty easy going. I'm debating between taking a break from it to stitch something small or pushing for a finish. It feels like I've been on a finishing streak lately, which is always good. But I feel like I haven't started anything new in forever.

Decisions, decisions.

Cirque des Triangles
32 ct Lemon Whip Lugana, DMC 115

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bow to the Queen

As promised Spring Queen:

It took me 10 hours to get all the beads on her, so you get all the close ups in their glory.
There were quite a few beads in her hair but I think Winter Queen had more. I vaguely remember having to leave out several beads in Her Winteriness' tiara to get it to sit properly. Or maybe I'm better at getting beads to sit now? I love how snooty her face looks.
Most of the beading was the detail on the border. At times it was a nightmare to get it to fit in the right place, especially the bits where it's a solid block of beads. These are the medium-ish beads. There's a smaller size that Nora uses that sits better but is more expensive. I think back when this chart was released Mill Hill didn't have that type available. I could have probably switched to it but they're a bit more expensive (and I used the medium ones on Winter Queen, so I had to maintain symmetry).
Fancy sleeve! I couched the necklace. I actually find it easier to couch metallics than backstitch them and there's no broken line effect so it's prettier!
While all the baby's breath (that's what those flowers are, right?) have beads there actually aren't any in the flowers themselves. It's a bit weird because the leaves on the dress have beads. I think the flowers are the biggest patch without beads. I could've swapped some in but that would involve too much work ;)
The brooch/pin/ribbon holding thing. When I was first stitching it I thought the whole thing was beaded and wasn't looking forward to trying to fit the beads in such a block, but it's actually half-beads half-metallic so it was easy. I had to look twice because I was expecting to use only red beads to fit the pink ribbon so I was thrown off by the blue and purple.
The ribbon is actually pretty interesting: there are beads on one side and the side where it's twisted around are metallic. I didn't realize this when I started beading because I thought it was all beads and I had to break out my Kreinik again every time I got to another bit of ribbon because I hadn't stitched it.
A shot of her upper body because I think the first picture shows off the dress but reduces the impact of the upper portion.

And finally, with her fellow Queen:
In a weird coincidence it took me about 170.5 hours for each queen. I always planned on stitching both of them, so I mirror imaged Spring so they'd be facing each other. I have no plans to stitch Autumn and Summer. Summer because she doesn't have the same pose and Autumn because I really don't like the colours.

I know the fabrics look very different but they are actually both white lugana. Oh well, if they aren't it's far too late now!

TitleSpring Queen
Start dateJanuary 1, 2011
Finish dateSeptember 11, 2013
Total time170.5 hours
Fabric32 ct white lugana
Floss DMC and beads as charted
Kreinik 002 instead of DMC 5832

Sunday, September 15, 2013

No Queen, Just Red-Faced

So um. I finished Spring Queen. Except that the pictures I took are very blurry and out of focus and my batteries just died when I went to try again so I can't take any better ones. So have a picture of Cirque des Triangles instead? I'll pick up some more batteries and have tons of pictures tomorrow, with close ups of all the beads (there were a lot of beads!)

Also the red fluff left behind after frogging red floss is an non-removable nightmare.

Cirque des Triangles
32 ct Lemon Whip Lugana, DMC 115

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ready For Bling

There was a lot of great advice about what to do regarding Misaki and the skewing and I'm still deciding what to do, so I switched gears and tackled more of Spring Queen.

Here she is all ready for beading. And there is a ton!

Spring Queen
32 ct White Lugana
I'm hoping for a mid-week finish.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Admire the Hair

I never thought this day would come. I have actually finished a HAED! I'm rather insufferably pleased with myself.

I stitched QS Heather as part of this year's HAED freebie SAL. She's stitched in tent stitch with two strands on 25ct. This is the full version of Heather. I was under the impression that she was a mermaid, but apparently she's from a steampunk world. Which explains that green bit in the lower right (I thought it was part of a tail).

This is the third HAED I've started (sort of) and the first I've finished. My first start was Autumn Winds which is still floating around; my second (which I re-started) was Blue Moon which I've given up on.

I'm pretty sure the only reason I finished Heather is because I parked and went column by column. She took a whopping 115.5 hours but it didn't feel like I stitched for all that long. I think that's because I did it as a SAL and so it was only a page every few months. Apparently I can stick with projects if other people break them down and hold my hand along the way :)

TitleQS Heather
DesignerHeaven and Earth Designs
Start date January 4, 2013
Finish date August 31, 2013
Total time 115.5 hours
Fabric25 ct antique white lugana

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Background Worries

Finished off all the cross stitch on Misaki and now I'm on the backstitched background. Except that I'm worried and need advice/help.

32 ct Ruby Wine Lugana
What you can't tell at all from this photo because it isn't ironed or on a flat surface is that the tension isn't even. The rightmost yellow edge bends a little where it goes from the parasol to the middle yellow part. And the bottom isn't a straight line either. The top is actually straight; the picture is not taken straight on. Actually this is an awful picture but the rest are even worse. (Maybe I should take a class on taking decent photographs!)

Anyway, back to the main worry. I'm worried that the rest of the half-stitched background is going to skew the whole thing even more. I had that happen to a needlepoint canvas years ago which drove me away from needlepoint. I'm worried that if I try to pull/stretch it I'll just warp the threads and make everything worse.

I know knitters/crocheters damp and stretch things out with pins. Does that work for cross stitch too? Is there something I can do now to make sure the edges come out as a proper rectangle or should I wait until I'm finished and then try to make everything straight.

I'm starting to think that maybe I should picked a different colour fabric and skipped the background but it was the whole effect that I like and and and


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Unfurl the Parasol

When I posted last week I was hoping that I would be able to finish the sleeves for today. Instead I've managed to finish all of Misaki and am on the parasol.

I started listening to the audiobook version of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy and was so riveted that I ended up parked in the chair for hours. Since I stitch while listening this meant that I got a lot of stitching done. But I've finished the series and who knows if my next choice will be as gripping ;D

32 ct Ruby Wine Lugana

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Unexpected Colours

Continuing Misaki, I've managed to finish most of the sleeves and the obi. I was surprised by the yellow and green in the obi since I didn't have the model picture handy and was expecting more red. Sometimes it feels like the only colours in Misaki are red and black ;D

32 ct Ruby Wine Lugana

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Fill It Black

I have a few more WIPs close to finishing but I decided to tackle Misaki on impulse. I had to slough through that mindlessly boring black but I've moved onto the more fun bodice and sleeves.

From this:

to this:

32 ct Ruby Wine Lugana

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pedants Unite!

Riding the high from finishing Iris I dug out something I thought wouldn't take too long to finish:
If you're wondering if you've seen that before, the answer is no. I started this in August of last year because I wanted something for Halloween. That was in the middle of my slump so it didn't really go anywhere. It's Prairie Schooler's Sweeping Cobwebs.
Now let's take a moment to be horrified at the appalling (I say appalling!) language error in that chart. "when witches can be seen.. with her" Yes, it's the famous subject-pronoun disagreement. I'm especially sensitive to this because I spend a great deal of Grade 9 being berated by my English teacher for my constant failure to keep this straight. I also had the most horrifying run-on sentences which I'm sure didn't help with keeping everything straight (something I haven't quite gotten over!). But even as I feel in love with the chart I knew that I would never forgive myself if I stitched it as is. And of course, Ms. Robins would never forgive me. That's not very pedantic, you say? There's also only two dots in the ellipsis, which properly has three dots. I fixed that too.

I dutifully recharted it and went on stitching. I was about to start stitching "witch" when I realized I'd added in an extra "e" because apparently my de-pluralization skills are sub-par as well. Thank goodness I caught it before it got too far.
This was a pretty relaxing piece. Four colours, light coloured fabric, large count, lots of individual elements, a very simple border. Big enough for my Q-snap. It stitched up very fast.
I really like these cats. I thought I would like the moon the best since I love PS' laughing crescent moonmen but something about the cats just stole my heart.

And finally both my Prairie Schooler Halloween pieces:
TitleSweeping Cobwebds
DesignerThe Prairie Schooler
Start date August 23, 2012
Finish date July 30, 2013
Total time 26.25 hours
Fabric32 ct Peach Whisper

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Jewel Toned Beauty

Break out the champagne! I've finished Iris B and it is gorgeous!
When I first started this I debated between black or white aida and went with black because I thought it would pop more. Then my lamp died and I regretted my decision. And then I bought a new lamp and now that Iris is done I'm glad I went with black! Isn't that the way of things though: hindsight is 20/20 :)
I made so many changes. The biggest is that I didn't want to use any metallics on 18ct so I switched to DMC. This is what the original looks like.
You really can't see most of the backstitch from a distance but it's quite visible close up.
I have to repeat it again. I just love the colours. They're so bright and look even more gorgeous in person. I can't imagine how incredible it would have been with metallics, but I just love my all DMC version.

TitleIris B
DesignerAaron Art
Start date February 2, 2013
Finish date July 27, 2013
Total time 70.5 hours
Fabric18 ct black aida