Sunday, January 31, 2010

January Achievements & February Goals

Goals for January:
1. Finish Holly Done
2. Start Legend of Dragons Done
3. Start Autumn Winds Nope. She didn't call me
4. Stitch a needlebook Sort of...I started but got nowhere
5. Stitch a bag Completely forgot!
6. Stitch at least 20 hours on Ganesha No. And it's about time I accept that it's just not going to happen in the near future

Other things I did that were unplanned:
1. Finished Christmas Angel
2. Started and finished a motif from Mother Maya
3. Started and finished Small Token
4. Finished Baby Shamrock Biscornu
5. Started Weekend in Paris
6. Started Jack-O-Lantern Fob

Goals for February:
1. Finish Jack-O-Lantern Fob
2. Finish Weekend in Paris
3. Start Autumn Winds
4. Stitch a needlebook
5. Stitch a bag

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Taking advantage of GFJ

or Guilt-Free-January.

I haven't felt like working on any of my WIPs. All my large ready-to-go pieces aren't calling. So I pulled out Dimensions' Weekend in Paris on the 18th. (Yes, 10 days ago.)

Why no picture? Because a few hours after starting I also started Ink Circle's Cirque des Cercles. And then didn't work on either of them for a few days. The weather was lousy and I was listless. But I got back to Weekend, so it's all good.

Of course, I'd cannibalized the 18ct ivory aida for I-have-no-idea-what purpose and had to replace it with white. Then I realized that while my top stitches usually all go \\\ this picture will look better if the stitches go ///. So now I have to work on it sideways so that it'll come out fine.

It's 5"x7" so it should stitch up relatively quickly.

Weekend in Paris

Oddly the title of this piece is "Weekend in Paris" but the text on the design says "Weekend a Paris". I'm pretty sure the "a" is supposed to be "à" with the accent. Now I was taught that the translation for "weekend" was "la fin de semaine".

So questions for any Francophones:
Is "weekend" vs "la fin de semaine" a Quebecois vs France-French thing?
Should there be an accent on the "a"?
Are there any other spelling mistakes? (Is Arc de Triomphe ok? Why do I want to stick an accent on it?)
My French is tres mal.

Also: when did Dimensions get bought out?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Trim, ribbon etc giveaway

Riona over at Oubliette is giving away ribbon, trim and lace.

It's a first come first serve basis. You can pick out 15 yards of whatever you like. She just wants postage. There's a ton of stuff, so I suggest you take a look to see if there's anything you like.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Is 3 a collection?

I finally finished Baby Shamrock biscornu, which brings my total biscornu count to 3.

Side 1

Side 2

Before assembly:

Start date October 10, 2009
Finish date January 22, 2010
Total hours 18
Fabric 28ct antique white lugana

I made quite a few little changes to this one:
Since I didn't have the requested overdyed green I did all that part with a blend of 2 DMCs.
Subbed the requested beads with ones I had. The result is that the green are seed and the white are petite.
The original had the shamrocks alternate colours. Since the lack of symmetry made me twitchy, I made them mirror images.
Couldn't find any buttons I liked, so I just used green beads.

This was my first time doing a beaded edge of any kind, and it was much easier than I thought it would be. The problem I had (same as my other biscornus) was stuffing it. I'm always convinced that it's about to explode as I'm stitching up the final bits, but once the polyfill gets evenly distributed it always ends up being just a bit short. It looks fine, but one touch will tell. One day I will master the ability to stuff the perfect biscornu. (But that day was not today...)

It's very cute and I adore it. There is a fob as well and I'm trying to decide if I want to stitch it.
I only have two scissors and they have fobs already.

To wrap up, a picture of my little collection:

Biggest to smallest: Baby Shamrock, Kissy Cross, Bulgarian Motif

Off topic: I have 50 followers as of yesterday! I'm stunned and flattered and still smiling like a loon. I was planning a mini giveaway to celebrate 100 posts (this is 91), since I figured that would be my first milestone, but apparently not! Since I haven't still gotten everything together I'll just have a double celebration. Probably in 9 posts.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Moving past the arch

The reason my Rose of Sharon was stuck here is because of that arch.

There are 4 greens, 5 pinks, 1 brown and 4 creams in there. They aren't in blocks, they're not random confetti. They are pervasive, everywhere and are a pain to do. I've always known that I need to finish the arch and the columns before the dress because the dress is the ultimate goal and I'll stop once I hit that. So everything else has to go first.

This weekend I dragged her out and got the hardest part of the arch almost done. There are a few stitches missing where I didn't notice them, but I'll just fill those when those colours pop up again. I got a bit down a column and I got bored. Again. Now while I can keep on stitching her I keep finding excuses not to go near. So I put her away at this point:

A shoutout to Andie who inspired me. The original yellow dress did nothing for me and so RoS was not on my list until I saw her red version and had to have one of my own.

Friday, January 15, 2010

TUSAL January

I joined the TUSAL this year, and almost forgot to post a picture for the first day. *Sigh*

I decided to make mine a floss orts only glass. I think I should switch to a bigger glass. Or maybe I'll look for a nicer one...

Let's see:
The green and pink threads are from Small Token
The blue from Legends of Dragons
The white is my attempt at whip stitching Baby Shamrock and failing.

Join here. There's nothing involved but collecting orts. (And frustrating yourself trying to find a pretty container.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Blowing my own trumpet, patting my own back

and other acts of egoism.

I had quite a few people ask me why Christmas Angel was going into storage (because I lack the funds to get her framed right now), and I decided to take the opportunity to show off some of my stuff.

Warning: Lots of bragging and photos to follow!

First the explanation: I love stitching large pieces, which means that I have to get them framed, because honestly, how else can you do justice to some of them?

As of right now these are in my "To Frame" pile. I frame stuff about twice a year, usually when my framer has a special going on. The way I work it out is that I have two massive expenses but I only have to feel horrified by the expense twice a year. (It works and I'm not messing with it.)

Christmas Angel


When Witches Go Riding

Trick or Treat


Winter Queen

Hmmm. I didn't realize that I had so many finished Nora Corbetts/Mirabilias.

Not pictured are pieces destined for non-framing, like Think on These Things (bellpull), Out for Coffee (cushion), Scheherazade (table topper) and assorted undecideds.

Now for the ones around the house:

Mermaids of the Deep Blue

In Harmony

Part of Fantasy Sampler

Buddah and Bonsai

Four Animals Silhouette

Dragon Ride

Butterflies Among Bamboo


Stretch, Coffee Chocolate & Men, Coffin Buzz, Book of Ink Circles, Garden Friend aren't shown, because I haven't gotten around to taking semi-decent pictures of them framed.

And no pictures of my smalls/other finishes. Well, no pictures on this post. Everything has pictures in various photogenic degrees in my sidebar.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


My beads finally arrived and I finished off Christmas Angel.

Here she is as she heads off to storage...

Start date November 16, 2009
Finish date January 12, 2010
Fabric 32ct Pewter Lugana
Total hours 73.25

Because I was obsessive and wrote down tons of numbers, I'll share them. The crosses took 54.5 hours, the backstitch 13.75 and the beads 5, for a total time of 73.25 hours.

The snowflakes are actually in the exact position as charted. Even the ones out in spaces. Hey, what can I say, I was in a very strange mood!

And copying from the last post about her, all the changes I made:
Some of the snowflakes are supposed to have grey centres but I didn't like it, so they're all transparent.
No halo because I think it looks better without.
No french knots because a)I hate them. b)She's fine without.
No backstitch on the sleeves.
I also used 002 instead of 102 for the inside of the wings.
Replaced the transparent beads in her earring with white ones.

Slightly off topic: these snowflakes (like every single stitched one I've seen) are 8-sided. Traditionally snowflakes are 6-sided. I assume there's something about the 6-sides that makes it much much harder to chart than an 8-sided. (Even I can do an 8-sided!)

Here's my question: has anyone come across a 6-sided cross stitch snowflake?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Magic Begins

This was another New Year Start for a SAL on the TW Yuku board. "Legends of Dragons" a collaboration by Dragon Dreams, TWDesignworks, and Black Swan. The SAL is a tribute since all three are no longer designing.

Progress as of 11 hours:

Originally I wanted to stitch the hardest parts first. The plan was: border->wisdom->majesty->magic. However it was taking me a bit too long to figure out where to start the border. I have "issues" starting. If I try to start somewhere other than the middle, my margins always, always end up wonky. So I just gave up and started in the middle.

I usually save all the backstitching for end because I like to see the effect it has on the picture. However this has Teresa's work, and I know better than to leave the backstitching for the end. (A lesson learnt when I was stitching Dragon Rider.) So I'm going to finish each dragon including backstitch before I go on.

The new plan is: magic->border->wisdom->majesty->over 1 text. So it'll be in 5 parts, with one part a month.

I am leaning towards just picking a gold/yellow overdye for the border instead of the multiple floss changes that all Teresa's borders seem to be. Don't get me wrong, I adore her work, but sometimes it just drives me crazy having to change needles every 5 seconds!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jennifer's Giveaway

Jennifer over at Feathers in the Nest is giving away a very cute pattern and frame. I am, of course, doing everything in my power to increase my chances!

Not much on the stitching front, because school started this week, and it's insane! It's been four days and I already feel swamped. I spent my winter break sleeping in till noon so it's going to take me a while to get my sleep cycle back to normal. Once it is, I'll get back to stitching.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

On Pins and Needles

Well, the title of the piece is actually Small Token by Blackbird Designs. But I always forget and just call it Pins and Needles.

Start date Jan 2, 2010
Finish date Jan 3, 2010
Total time 8 hours
Fabric 28 count Bayleaf something

I just went with the DMC equivalents instead of the called for Crescent Colours since I don't have any. (All the patterns I've stitched so far call for DMC, Kreniks, or come as a kit, so I don't have any overdyed flosses and I'm not buying them for such a tiny pattern!)

I modified it just a bit because I didn't feel like putting in the year or my initials right in the piece. While stitching the words I ran out of the dark purple/pink when I had the "eedle" in "needles" left. I complained to my brother about how the universe was mocking me. This was the third piece that I could finish in a few hours if I had the required floss/beads/etc. He stared at me, and then said "Just use a different colour. You've already changed so much of it already." I ignored the part about changing many things (because I hadn't), but I undid the "s" and the "ins" and did it all in the lighter pink.

Of course then I couldn't figure out what that yellow stitch in the four purple flowers was. And the chart and model photo were no help. Finally I just threw up my hands and did an Algerian eyelet (thank you hardanger!)

It was fun to stitch and it's always nice to have a HD. But then we come to my main problem with smalls. What to do with them? Large pieces are easy: frame and stick on the wall.
With smalls I can never figure out what to do. If I make pinkeeps and biscornus and put them baskets around the house, my mum complains about the clutter. Depending on the needlebook it either get used to death or put away on the shelf to look good and never be used. *Sigh* Into the "Finished, but now what?" pile it goes.

Friday, January 1, 2010

An unforeseen finish

I only had the beads to finish, so I did that today.

Start date December 29, 2009
Finish date January 1, 2010
Fabric 32 count waterlily Jobelan
Total time 29.5 hours

Now if you've just said "Hang on, I don't remember any previous pictures of this!" you're right. Take a look at the start date.

When I fell of my "no new starts December" I did on the 29th with this. And then stitched madly everyday. I thought that I might be able to squeeze it in before the new year! Insane, but at certain times it seemed doable. However I slept in very late on the 31st, and ended up just a bit short. 3.5 hours today and she's done.

Keeping with the uniform fabric colour, she's on Waterlily like my other two pixies. I couched the metallics, but left out the red beads near her berries because they looked a bit odd. If I change my mind I can always just add them in (I doubt it, but the option is there).

She was fun to stitch and very very quick. My fastest pixie so far! This takes care of all the pixies that I like enough to stitch. (Unless I like Nora's next one...)

Starting as I mean to go on

A new year's start and finish.

This is the "crazy monkey" from Mother Maya by Ink Circles.

It's on my last scrap of 32 count pewter lugana in DMC 838.
Total time: 3.25 hours

The plan is to make it into a needlebook. This won't be happening anytime soon. I have made needlebooks before, but they were all very basic. I want to make a more complicated looking one so I've been going through all my charts, tutorials and guides to cobble the best parts out of them all.

Now I'm off to start something else...