Monday, December 30, 2013

stitchy plans for 2014!

I've already posted my December results and new January goals.  Now it's time for stitching goals for 2014 as a whole.  I'm feeling ambitious since 2013 was a BIG stitching year for me, with 23 finishes.

For fun, let's break it down:
- 5 big finishes (ex:  full size Mirabilia)
- 6 medium finishes (ex:  pixie size Mirabilia)
- 11 small finishes (ex:  ornaments, simple patterns)
- and one large knitting finish!

Sooooo I think I can handle a lot in 2014. :p

The first two categories are for current WIPs.  I have ten at the moment, and I've assigned all of them to a category since I want to ensure that I make progress on each one in 2014, even if I don't plan to finish them all.  I'll try to make these the priority, but of course new starts will sneak in from time to time. :)

current WIPs to complete in 2014:
- Angel Procession (Wentzler)
- Beaded Dragonfly Tile (Chatelaine)
- Bluebeard's Princess (Mirabilia)
- Gypsy Mermaid (Mirabilia)
- Hope (Brooke Nolan)
- Spring Knotgarden (Chatelaine)

current WIPs to work on in 2014:
- Air ACEO (Butcher/HAED)
- Fatum (Passione Ricamo)
- Night (Wentzler)
- Transcendence (Sessler/HAED)

And now the planned new starts.  Trying to keep these to items on my bucket list so I can start getting through my absolute favorites instead of being distracted by every new thing!  I'll be doing a bunch of Just Nan designs as well, since I joined Zeb's SAL.  I don't know which ones I'll manage to finish, so I won't list any beyond the two I really want to get done. :)

new starts to complete in 2014:
- A Day at the Beach (Swetheart Tree)
- Busy Bee Sampler (Sweetheart Tree)
- Floral Fifteen (Just Nan)
- Harmony (Just Nan)
- Honor Thy Needle Etui (Twisted Oaks Designs)
- Letters from Nora A (Mirabilia)
- Pennellate di Magia (Renato Parolin)
- The Perennial Border (Drawn Thread)

new starts to work on in 2014:
- Chinese Garden Mandala (Chatelaine)
- Day Nymph (Mirabilia)
- Fairy Idyll (Mirabilia)
- Etude aux Fraises (Veronique Enginger)

AND I have a round robin to keep up with!


But don't you get excited just LOOKING at this pile of stuff waiting to be started?

PS - cruising right along with Hope, too!  Loooove that hair!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

last goals update of 2014!

First up, monthly goals. :)

December's goals were:
- finish Butterfly Garden (almost there!!) - YES!
- make visible, significant progress on a WIP - YES! (Bluebeard's Princess & Transcendence)
- no new starts! - NO! (three new starts, but finished two of them!)
- no shopping unless it's with money earned from online sales (FOTM doesn't count!) - YES!

I'm not going to put "no new starts" on my goal lists anymore.  It's been good for me to take a break from my large WIPs and stitch a small project.  I've done more stitching this year than ever before, and it's because I allowed myself the satisfaction of starting and finishing a small project now and then.  I'll try not to start any HUGE projects on a whim, though!

The new start that I'm carrying over from this month is Hope by Brooke Nolan.  This was a design I intended to start almost exactly two years ago for crazy January 2011!  When I dropped out of the challenge, she got stuffed back into the pile of kits and stayed there forever after.  It's time to start stitching the stuff on my bucket list when I'm in the mood!

Here's Hope!  First pic is my tiny progress, second is what she'll look like finished!

January's goals are:
- finish stitching on Bluebeard's Princess (removed Jan 12)
- finish part 2 of Spring Knotgarden (added Jan 12)
- finish Hope
- start and complete half of Floral Fifteen (for Just Nan SAL)
- keep spending to $25 or less (for Stitch from Stash)

That's a lot, mainly because of Bluebeard's Princess since there's still a LOT of skin and most of her tail to go, but a challenge is good. :)  I'll save the beading for next month to give myself a bit of a break!

Here's the fish princess so far:

She looks pretty creepy with just half her face stitched!  And those lips are scary without the backstitch around them, so I think I'll finish her face next so I'm not freaked out by the weird splotches of color. :)

Next post will be a biggie about 2014 stitchy plans!  Stay tuned. :p

Friday, December 27, 2013

sneaking in another finish!

Because I'm an overachiever like that, got one more finish from a new start.  This is our wedding sampler, and I intended to make it in the early part of next year, but I got puppy-eyed into starting it sooner.  I think I started this the day after our anniversary, which means this took me only four days (24, 25, 26, and 27) to stitch!  Fast but lovely pattern. :)

So here it is, Wedding Sampler Love by Sisters and Best Friends.  I LOVE all the bling on this.  Unfortunately, it's hard to see in the pictures but trust me, this thing has a LOT of beads and charms.

Our names are already stitched on the sampler in both photos!  Photoshop did a great job with the content-aware fill on the first one, making it look like just blank fabric.  You wouldn't even know there had been something there if I hadn't told you.  Probably. :p  I had to scratch them out with the paintbrush on the angled photo, so you can see how the names are actually positioned on the sampler.  So maybe it's good that the fill didn't work out after all...

mini giveaway!
Does anyone want the chart and leftover beads?  There's a TON of beads left over, but not too many of the large charms and flowers (no hearts left).  I can probably top it up with some flower beads from my own stash but I don't have any substitute hearts.

If anyone still wants it, just comment! (US only please, I can't afford to send internationally at this time.)

Monday, December 23, 2013

last finishes of the year?

The title says it all!  I don't think I'll be able to finish anything else before the end of the year, since my remaining projects are all monstrous. :)

First up, a cute little JBW designs kit, Bluebird of Happiness.  There's a matching design and mini bag with drawstring top that I'd like to get eventually.  We saw it at the LNS but the rick rack trim on the front was messed up, almost like it had been melted by ironing!  Since it's a pricey doodad, I wasn't going to pick it up in anything less than perfect condition, so it stayed at the store.  Boo.

This little bag is for small goodies and will be nice for toting around scissors and other small notions.  It was tough to stitch on since the bag is pre-assembled but it came out nice. :)

Next, my BIG finish for the weekend, my first ever big knitting project!  It's Taygete by Romi Hill and we are seriously not going to talk about how long it took me to make this. :p

Okay, I'll give you a hint.  It took me a MONTH to do the picot bind off.  In my defense, I really only knit when we go to our weekly knitting group (so about 2 hours per week) but still!  Slow, I haz it.

At least it was finished just in time to wear to our anniversary dinner last night. :)

I'll be posting more before the end of the year... just not any finishes. ;)

Friday, December 20, 2013

starting to plan for next year!

Mmmm, everyone loves digging through stash and planning what to do next, right?  Right!  So to get in the mood, I've joined some SALs and a round robin so I can have some more interesting goals for next year.

First up, the top portion of my band sampler round robin!  Yeah, it's done more than a month in advance, but I didn't want to wait until the last minute on this.  With and without flash...

Next, I joined a Just Nan SAL for next year. (Click the button in my sidebar if you want to join too!) I thought for sure I didn't have enough for an entire year of stitching, but once I pulled everything out and put it all together... yeaaaaaah.

 Annnnd I did a bunch more on Transcendence.  So many greens!

Getting close to a page finish, actually.  This is page eight, but I still have to go back and finish pages 5-7 (all very tiny partials or not stitched at all - page 6 is all black so not doing that one!) before I can say it's solidly done up through page 8.  Clearly this will NOT be on my "to finish in 2014" list. :p

Whew.  That was a lot. :D

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

20 questions

I've seen this going around so I thought I'd hop on the bandwagon. :)

1) Which fabric do you most prefer?
I'm a Belfast girl all the way.  I seriously HATE evenweave.  Just last week I frogged a project that I had started on *shudder* 28 count evenweave.  I'll redo it on LINEN. ^^b

2) What is your favorite fabric count?
32, duh. *points to question #1* :p

3) What colour fabric do you most enjoy stitching on?
Honestly, I don't have a favorite.  I love hand dyed fabrics and plain ones too!  If you want to know who my favorite dyer is, that's Picture This Plus, closely followed by Hand Dyed Fabrics by Stephanie and Crafty Kitten!  And Sugar Maple Fabrics but good luck getting any of those!

4) What is your favorite fiber?
Hmm, hard to answer but probably Dinky Dyes silk.  The strands are nice and full, and it doesn't seem to tangle as much as other silks (NPI I'm looking at YOU).  And good old DMC is way up there too!

5) How many of the 450 DMC Colours do you own?
All of them.  Bwahahaha. XD
Oh.  Wait.  I don't have the new colors that came out this year!  Boooooo.

6) Of your last 5 projects -- how many used DMC/Anchor as the main floss?
Of the last five I finished?  Two.  Wow, I thought it would be all five! (Of my *cringe* nine WIPs, all but one are mainly DMC.)

7) Of the last 5 projects, if you didn't use DMC/ANCHOR -- what did you use?
Two used NPI silk (which I hate) and one used Dinky Dyes silk (which I LOVE!).

8) What needles do you prefer?
The ones that aren't rusty.  Haha.  I'm not picky about needles but I do NOT like petites or needles that are too thin.  Blunt, fat needles don't split the fabric threads, people!

9) What is the UGLIEST design you've encountered?
I dunno, there's a lot of horrible old lady designs of misshapen teddy bears and stuff. XD  I don't really take note of things I don't like.  If I had to pick something, I'd say there are some HAED "artists" who really need to learn what human anatomy actually looks like, but I feel like that's cheating since those charts are conversions of existing pictures.

10) What is the most BEAUTIFUL design you've encountered?
So hard to choose... how about five?
~ Herbularius (Chatelaine)
~ Spring Knotgarden (Chatelaine)
~ Enigma (Renato Parolin)
~ Bluebeard's Princess (Mirabilia)
~ Night (Wentzler)

11) Who is your favorite designer?
Do I have to pick ONE?  Here are my top five, no particular order.
~ Mirabilia / Nora Corbett
~ Teresa Wentzler
~ Ink Circles / Tracy Horner
~ Sweetheart Tree
~ Renato Parolin

12) Least Favorite Designer
I don't really waste brain space on stuff I don't like. XD  In general, I don't like primitives, quakers, samplers, or other things in that vein.  This goes hand in hand with my dislike of antiques.  Dead people stuff.  No thanks!

13) Will you/would you support a designer who's personal beliefs offended / angered you?
No, mainly because I feel like businesses shouldn't be going around showing their ass in public.  If a business owner is vocal about personal beliefs that could reasonably alienate customers, that person is not acting like a professional.  And if someone is that careless about their public image, how can I trust their products to be high quality?  Of course, it's just as unprofessional for people I agree with to act stupid, but at least I won't feel like I'm supporting a bigot.

14) Do you have a lamp especially made for needleworkers/crafters?
Nope, I just have daylight bulbs in a plain old lamp!

15) What brand of stitching lamp do you have/prefer?
None, don't care, it's the bulb that matters. ;)

16) What kind of environment best suits you when you are stitching?
On the couch, under the lamp, with the TV on in the background as my wife watches yet another episode of Pokemon.  Haha. XD

17) Have you stitched any design more than once?
Yup, Mirabilia's Mediterranean Mermaid because the first time I was a dumbass and used a piece of fabric that was too small. :p

18) Favorite design you have stitched and finished?
Probably Octopus Treasure Cave by Chatelaine. :)  Love the subject, and all the specialty stitches and intense work made it a very challenging but super satisfying stitch!

19) Least favorite design you've stitched and finished?
Butterfly Garden by The Drawn Thread.  I have no idea why I hated on that poor thing so much while I was stitching it, because it's actually very pretty and would have been a quick stitch if I hadn't kept avoiding it!

20) Last, but not least, what's your longest running WIP?
Ahahaha, poor Angel Procession is probably old enough to be considered a legal adult in the US!

Posts without pictures are boring so check out my newly organized Pokemon collection. :p

Sunday, December 15, 2013

round robin inspiration!

I'm participating in a band sampler round robin next year, and I've had the hardest time choosing my fabric and thread colors.  Last night I sat down to pick out all my materials for the THIRD time, and inspiration came from an unexpected place.. :)

I was torn between a blue/pinkish fabric and a pretty green.  I looked up and saw one of my pokemon plush sitting on the sofa across the room from me, and inspiration hit.

My band sampler will be based on the colors of my favorite pokemon. XD

I'm a big collector of Snivy and her evolutions (seriously, there is Snivy stuff in just about every room of the house now!) and if the colors are good enough for my favorite sassy reptile, they're good enough for me!

Snivy approves of this decision! (just ignore the cat hair on the carpet, haha)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Stitch from Stash!

My prayers have been answered, ahaha.  Mel from Epic Stitching is hosting a Stitch from Stash 2014 event, and I'm joining that SO HARD.

I don't have any fun/awesome progress pictures to post right now.  Bummer.  Let's see if I can dig up something interesting from ye olde archive...

There.  Did I ever post this?  I made this for my sister's birthday a few years ago. :3

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

stealth finish!

Of course, when I'm supposed to be doing one thing (focusing on my HAED for a challenge group I'm in), that just makes me want to do something else.

So I did.  Here's Autumn Arbor from The Drawn Thread.  Started Monday night, finished about an hour ago.  Yes, I'm crazy.  I'd say this was about 15 hours total of stitching.

Sorry, the pictures are worse than usual!  It's gloomy around here so I had to use the flash, but that always washes out the colors.  There is a gorgeous finish in another blog (by Bine) but she definitely used some different threads for hers.  I'm kinda jealous! :)

Unfortunately, this project was rather disappointing for me.  I got the kit from The Drawn Thread and there is not enough silk included to finish the project.  If you look closely at my picture, you might be able to see that the dark green vines and leaves on the pumpkins at the top isn't the same as the green in the borders.  These areas are supposed to match but it was impossible to conserve the thread enough to make it through the entire design.  Close calls on the yellow and brown as well. :(

The worry about "will I have enough?" really spoiled the enjoyment of this stitch for me.  I spent all my stitching time today trying to plan efficient thread paths instead of just stitching.  I am not a wasteful stitcher and I didn't have to frog any major mistakes.  There is no excuse for a kit to be put together so cheaply.

Other disappointments are the beads (they are more like flat little donuts than seed beads in shape), the chart itself (four charting errors!), and the quality of one of the Gloriana silks.  One of the colors was constantly tangling (we are talking HUGE knots here) and had a rough feel to the thread.  Attempts to untangle it caused the silk to fray and break!  I was ready to fling my qsnap across the room at a few points!

Oh well.  At least it's done!  It looks nice even though it caused a lot of whining.

Monday, December 09, 2013

my craft room is gross :(

You know... most of my house is super neat.  But there's just something about the craft room / library / dumping ground for everything else room ... that makes it impossible to clean.

Oh, you think that's not too bad?  Check out the corner that's out of frame to the left!

SIIIIIIIIIIIGH.  I'm going to go fix this up a little right now.  We do have some better shelving on the way that should take care of the yarn overflow issue.  And that huge box that's sitting in the middle of the room will go away when the living room shelves go up.

But there is still TOO MUCH STUFF in this room! :x

Okay guys, show me your messy rooms so I can feel better about this. :p

Sunday, December 08, 2013

a sea of green

I haven't posted an update on Transcendence in forever... mainly because I haven't worked on it in months!  I finished up a "page" - which is really a page from my printer, since I split each real page in half (top and bottom) and work on one half at a time.  I just finished the top half of page eight.  I had a good portion of it done already but I'd say the work I did this weekend amounts to about a quarter of a full HAED page.

Unfortunately, this only looks like a sad little blob since I didn't take it off the snaps for a full picture.  I've already moved down into the bottom half of the page... the spot on the right where a lot of threads are parked is the halfway line for the page.

It's kind of neat because you can see a little purple butterfly in the top left, finally. :)  I don't even want to think about how many colors were in that thing, though. :x

Chart pic as a reminder. :)  Yes, my purple blob is the very FIRST butterfly on the left.  So many more stitches to go...

This will continue to be my only focus through next weekend.  I wonder how much I can do!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Butterfly Garden is all done!

FINALLY.  Finished this last night after almost two years as a WIP.  Way too long... but you have to admit it looks pretty good. :D

Also visited ABC Stitch yesterday, which is now an LNS for me.  I found that they didn't have as much of a selection of charts compared to 3 Stitches (my other LNS) but the thread selection is scary huge!  There's a nice selection of fabrics too.  I'll continue shopping at both stores depending on what I'm looking for. :)

I plan to do the Ink Circles chart in the blue/green silk, but not on the fabric shown.  I don't like 28 count but my wife liked the color of the linen so we got it anyway.  I'll stitch it on my usual Belfast. :3

For the next week, I'll be working on Transcendence.  I joined a FB group challenge and that's the project my partner chose for me to work on. :3

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


Well, I didn't finish Butterfly Garden over the weekend (you might have guessed since "finish it!" was still in my December goals) but I've managed to get most of the way there.

I just have to finish up the blackberry and add the insects!  Oh, and the french knot centers of the sunflowers... blah.  That part won't be fun.

Oh, and my exchange partner received the ornament, so I can show the front now!

Yes, it's the TW Father Winter Ornament... I kind of bit off more than I could chew by agreeing to the exchange, but fortunately I had stitched this piece a while back.  I really intended to do something different but with the way work was going, I was too stressed out to deal with a new TW.  It was pretty lucky that I had this to fall back on.  Not that it's a bad design, I love it and I'll be restitching it for myself!  I just wasn't up to the challenge of picking something new and getting it stitched AND finished in time.

Okay, time to get back to stitching... maybe I can finish tomorrow. :)

Monday, December 02, 2013

December goals & an ornament teaser!

Whoops, forgot to do this over the long weekend...

November's goals were:
- finish Mermaid Azure - YES!
- make visible, significant progress on one of my other WIPs - YES!
- no new starts except for TW ornament exchange - YES!
- no shopping unless it's with money earned from online sales (FOTM doesn't count!) - YES!

Wow, I met all my goals.  Probably a world first. :p

December's goals are:
- finish Butterfly Garden (almost there!!)
- make visible, significant progress on one of my other WIPs
- no new starts!
- no shopping unless it's with money earned from online sales (FOTM doesn't count!)

So really, the same stuff as last month, but with a new project to finish!  I'm not sure what my next focus will be after Butterfly Garden.  I have Bluebeard's Princess in that category for now, but I might want to dig out one of my older WIPs for some love.

Kind of want to do more on a Chatelaine... I was doing really well on my little dragonflies until I started having trouble fitting all the beads.  All I need to do is leave out one or two in the long rows (columns fit without any problem) but that will mean some undoing of the huge row that's already there.  Maybe I'll leave that for later and just continue with the rest of the stitching.

To make this post less boring, here's a picture of an ornament I made for a Teresa Wentzler FB group.  Unfortunately you only get to see the back since my partner hasn't received it yet! :p

Also mulling over some ideas for 2014 stitching.  I want to work from my stash next year and keep new purchases to a minimum... I've finally figured out that trying to keep up with all the pretty new releases is a fool's game!  There are so many amazing things already in my stash, and they're all being neglected in favor of shiny new toys.  My spending on crafty stuff has been out of control for a long time, and that needs to stop.

I thought about doing a group or challenge (with a catchy name like Stitch Your Stash 2014!) but I don't know if I want to commit to hosting anything.  I'd JOIN something for sure, though...