Friday, July 31, 2015

has it been a week already??

Wow, time flies when you're... well, I don't know what I've been doing, to be honest! Trying not to have a meltdown in this summer heat, probably. And yet I'm the nut who's experimenting with setting the thermostat to 80F/27C indoors and sitting in front of a fan. Electric bills suck. :p

I actually had a new start... I was looking back through my stash tag and noticed so many nice things that haven't been started (and some that have been sold/traded on without being used) and that kind of bothered me. So I made a small start on the Cherry Blossoms Biscornu by Sweetheart Tree. I thought it would be an easy stitch, but it's pretty fussy so I gave up after a few days.

Here's where I left off:

Also not a fan of the fabric stinginess of Sweetheart Tree kits. I totally get that this is going to be a biscornu and thus, most of the excess fabric will be cut off, but I'm really not comfortable with having less than one inch to spare around each half of the design! Makes it impossible to put into a q-snap without sewing extra fabric to the edges, which is a pain. :x

Made some progress on my fairy's wings last night at knitting group. Yes, I bring stitching to knit group because I DO WHAT I WANT. I always get lots of interest and compliments, so it's not like anyone actually minds. It's either stitch and stay the entire time, or attempt to knit and want to go home after 30 minutes. Since my wife is a SRS BSNS knitter, you can guess what she prefers... :p

So, here's the fairy (and everyone seriously adored all the sparkles that are going on here!):

I blurred out the corner because I was too lazy to move the chart, haha.

And I received a surprise gift last night too! The shop owner had a customer come in with some "lace yarn" she'd bought from Etsy... which turned out to be pretty much thread. Apparently the photo on Etsy was an extreme closeup that made it look like normal yarn! The customer asked if she knew anyone who could use it, and she thought of me, thinking that maybe it could be used as cross stitch thread!

I'd been looking for a nice variegated pink for Cirque des Coeurs for a long time, and now I have it! And it's 100% silk too. It's soooooo soft omggggg :p

I need to do some test stitching to see if I'd have to use one strand or two on Belfast. I'm hoping it's just one because getting two strands that match will probably be impossible, depending on how it's dyed. Plus, according to the chart, I'd just barely have enough yardage if I did two strands.

Might have to snag some 40ct fabric for this one in that case...

But isn't the fabric amazing? PTP Phoenix, perfect fit for this chart. :D

Friday, July 24, 2015

PR mystery SAL... years later :p

So, I'm back working on the very first Passione Ricamo mystery SAL from a few years back. Yes, I started it when this was new, kept up for a couple of months, then fizzled out for some reason. That's just how I roll.

So I'll be working on parts 5-8 next. As you may have guessed, 5 and 8 are the parts with a lot of border going on, so I've been doing those first, but then I got bored and hopped over to part 7 to add some of the wings. It doesn't look like all that much yet because they're not filled in, but they'll pop nicely once I get all the colors in there.

I'll have to rechart parts 9-12 to remove the word at the bottom. Might take some fussing to get the border to line up, but I haven't taken a close look at the charts yet to see how much fudging I might have to do. Or maybe not, I don't know! I did see a pic of a finish without the word and it looked pretty good, so I'm sure it must work out well.

Parts 5-8 will probably be the most heavily stitched areas, so I'm trying not to get discouraged by slow progress. Hey, at least I'm not stitching the solid blue background! (whyyyyyy)

Well, there we go, visible progress for today! Almost everything below the rather visible line of parts 1-4 was added this week! (Just not the border section on the right!)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

visible progress!

I think I'm going to make that my goal for just about everything. Make visible (or at least noticable) progress in the things that I want to accomplish. I find that I'm the kind of person who finds deadlines and even self-imposed goals to be irritating rather than inspiring.

There's lots of things I want to do every day, like exercise, eat a bit healthier, stitch, study, write, organize, etc etc. And then the periodic things like checking in on our budget, major chores, keeping in contact with family, taking care of important errands, and blah.

Well, you're not here for my ramblings. It's all about the stitchy pics!

So here's my visible progress on Beaded Dragonfly Tile!

Took out that pesky row of beads that didn't fit and redid it, plus I added all the other beads that go around the inside of that inner border. It's still a bit annoying that they couldn't all be facing the same way, but it's either rotate them or never finish stitching soooo...

Anyway, I think it looks pretty good, and if you view it from a distance you'd never notice that some of the beads were facing the opposite way.

And a closeup of the corner I'm working on! There's actually yet another border outside of this one, so I haven't reached the outside of the piece yet, but almost. That outer border is relatively thin and has a lot of beads, so I look forward to working on that!

I also changed the thin black border to the Waterlilies color that was used for the rectangular rhodes around the inner portion. If you think I'm stitching black on black, you are nuts. :p  Also, I saw a finish on black that made the same substitution and it was lovely!

So yeah! Even if it's not a huge amount of progress yet, I'm happy about fixing the bead problem and then being motivated to finish up the inner beading.

The only thing that bugs me about this piece now is that the fabric seems to have been cut a little small.... I guess there's 2-3 inches left around the entire thing but it just seems like it's not quite enough. Maybe that's my imagination...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Reflections of Joy finished!

I've finished my first (and maybe last?) needlepoint project!

This is Reflections of Joy by Orna Willis. Hmm, looking at that page now, I realize that I didn't stitch the outermost border, but let me tell you who doesn't care. THIS girl. I think it looks much better without it!

It was a fun and easy stitch, but a bit fussy and expensive due to the many different types of thread used. If I'd been more knowledgeable going in, I definitely would have subbed out and consolidated some threads in order to reduce the cost and irritation. One thread was completely wrong in the list of materials, and some were barely used at all. I also nearly ran out of one thread, though I did have to frog a small area of stitching I'd done with it, so that was really my fault.

I did make a few substitutions, like using the green/yellow Wildflowers thread for the corner Jessica stitches, and I subbed a Waterlilies from my stash that was close enough to the rainbow-ish border. I also used gunmetal beads from my stash instead of the recommended bronze-y color. I think the dark beads look really good with the muted threads!

I found the directions a bit lacking, but maybe this project was intended for a somewhat experienced needlepointer. I didn't have any trouble because I've done plenty of specialty stitches, but the stitch diagrams and descriptions didn't measure up to what I'm used to getting with, say, a Chatelaine design. And Comic Sans everywhere... my sister would lose her mind!

Overall, it was a nice stitch and turned out just as I expected!
And I learned my lesson about reading directions and planning ahead! :)

I'll probably pick up another pattern by this artist so I can use up the remaining portion of the needlepoint canvas I bought, but I'll be smart and take advantage of my stash for the rest!

But for now... back to cross stitch! :3

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

a little finish!

I've finally finished the last of the three patterns in Espressioni by Renato Parolin! I tweaked the colors a bit as I didn't like the orange-y leaning reds that were used.

The colors aren't quite as harsh as this picture shows, but I couldn't get it corrected the way I wanted, so this will have to do! :p

Ahhh, debating with myself about buying fabric. I want to start some of the patterns from that crazy magazine I got a few months back, but I've already done one of the charts on cream Belfast, and I want them to match. Thing is, I'm out of cream Belfast. I can get a yard of it for under $50 shipped, but I hate spending that much on plain fabric when I already have SO MUCH FABRIC.

Pretty sure I'm going to have to suck it up and just buy fabric, because I can't stitch anything from this mag without it, and I wanted to make one of those my next start.

Huff, pout, whine, etc. :p

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

needlepoint in progress!

I should probably post more often, because it's almost done and this is my first pic. Oops.

The colors are a little better than this in real life, but as usual, it's kind of dim in here right now and I'm not good at taking pictures.

It's very pretty and it's been super easy so far (thx Chatelaines for giving me tons of specialty stitch practice!), but in terms of "hours of fun per dollar spent" I have to say that needlepoint is not really worth it. The materials for this were about $40 all told and I've spent maybe 10-15 hours on it? If I spent $40 on cross stitch stuff, I'd be stitching away a lot longer.

Well, maybe that's because I have a big stash of DMC, fabric, and beads on hand, so I could blow that $40 on a few charts... say about three Mirabilia designs, which would probably take about 250-350 hours to stitch. If I had to get all the supplies from scratch, I'd probably end up spending a lot more per hour of cross stitching...

Oh, but if I got $40 worth of kits (say two big Dimensions ones), I'd be going at that for ages. So I dunno. Maybe it's just a bad comparison all around. Hmm.

Well, I'll definitely snag another needlepoint chart to use up the other half of the canvas I got, but I think I'll be sticking to cross stitch in the future.

Friday, July 03, 2015

another RR square (er, rectangle) complete!

Ahhhh, finished up my bit on the current round robin...

Yes, it's a dark and crooked photo. As usual...

And here's the entire piece so far!

Now, I was going to hop right back into Espressioni and finish the last design in that leaflet, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to take a detour and work on my first needlepoint project. I was nosing around on Facebook and one of the designers I follow posted about a redesigned needlepoint site, so I decided to take a peek. Ahhh, what a mistake! So many pretty things!

So I ended up getting the pattern for one called Reflections of Joy. (If you see anything you want, there's a coupon - use code 'Grandopening' for 15% off! It works on PDF patterns too!)

I'll be doing it in the "blush" colors. Check it out!

I didn't buy the kit because I intended to use stuff from my stash, but there are a lot of ribbons and things I don't have on hand. Luckily, both of my LNSes were having sales, and I got away for MUCH less than the cost of the kit materials on the website. Woohoo!

And my wife had a gift card that she's been carrying around forever and finally remembered to use, so double woohoo!