Thursday, December 29, 2016

Etude aux Fraises - finish! :)

As you may have guessed from the title, I have a finish for you today! :)

Please excuse the wrinkles, I haven't ironed this yet. :p

Gotta have a few close up images too... I really love the sketchy effect of these designs. They look just like old botanical drawings (er, which is kind of obvious, haha) and that makes them super classy. I'll definitely be stitching more in this series.

PS - I've already stitched Wisteria if you want to check it out. :3

And how about a mini giveaway? If you'd like the chart for this design, please comment stating your interest! If more than one person wants it, I'll choose at random. The only rules are:

~ Please be a follower of this blog.
~ Please be genuinely interested in stitching this design. No hoarding. :3
~ I can only mail to the US and Canada at this time, sorry.
~ Giveaway closes in one week (January 5).

I'll announce the winner in the next post I make after January 5, so please be sure to check back - I'll need you to send me your mailing address if you've won. :3

And note that two pages (out of four) have been cut/trimmed to make stitching easier. It's still perfectly usable (honestly it's MORE usable this way!) but it's not minty fresh and brand new anymore. :p

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Etude aux Fraises - update #7

Super quick post today, just a progress photo so I can't keep telling myself that I've accomplished nothing in the past week!

One more leaf and some smaller bits to go. Surely I can manage this by the end of the year...

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Etude aux Fraises - update #6 & Sakaki - update #1

Whoops, another week has flown by! Here's my update on Etude aux Fraises:

As you can see, it's gotten big enough that I had to move the qsnap to cover part of the design in order to get access to the rest of the fabric. All that's left now are two leaves at the top, some text, and backstitching all over the project. Hopefully I can manage by the end of the year, but it might be a bit of a push because...

I started a new knitting project! I generally don't knit a lot - I know how to do it, I just don't enjoy it very much - but this is a project I've wanted to start for a while. The pattern is Sakaki by Romi Hill, and I'll be tracking it on my Ravelry page.

Long story short, this is a charity pattern, I had a lovely yarn that's about the same color as actual sakaki leaves, and Romi is my wife's favorite knit designer ever. But... Sakaki is also the last name of my favorite fictional character of all time (of all time!), and I've spent an embarrassing amount of time obsessing over him. So. There was no escaping this project. ♥

It's a simple pattern and I've managed to finish one chart repeat per day since starting, but I don't know if I can maintain that pace if I want to finish Etude.

Well, time to shut up and go stitch. :p

PS: I almost forgot! If anyone has a fitbit and wants to add me as a friend, feel free! :D

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Etude aux Fraises - update #6

Oops, I keep meaning to post and then forgetting, so before I forget again...

I've added quite a bit more already, so expect another update soon. :)

Thursday, December 08, 2016

2017 Stitching Plans!

As usual, it's time to make plans for 2017 that I will totally ignore all year, haha.


I had big plans for the WIPs I carried over from 2015 into 2016, but pretty much didn't meet any of those goals. :( But I will persist in making WIP goals for next year anyway. :p

I'll put them in order of importance, most to least, just like last year.

- Etude aux Fraises (Enginger) - will be completed before 2017!
- Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL (Ship's Manor) - keep up with SAL
- Beaded Dragonfly Tile (Chatelaine) - finish in Q1 2017
- Chinese Garden Mandala (Chatelaine) - complete at least one part every quarter
- Night (Wentzler) - goal undecided
- Fantasy SAL (Durene Jones) - complete borders
- Transcendence - Sessler (HAED) - on hold
- Air ACEO - Butcher (HAED) - on hold

Seriously, I need to get Beaded Dragonfly Tile done. Now that I'm keeping a bunch of threaded needles on hand for this project, there's no reason to avoid it. I mean, aside that it's stitched on black Belfast... and there's a bunch of over-one... ahem. :p


Planned new starts for 2017!

I only completed three of my five planned new starts from 2016 (the Bride's Tree ornaments, South Seas Mermaid, and Etude aux Fraises... which isn't done yet but will be!) and I didn't even start the other two! So the first one here is a repeat from last year. The other unstarted one is going to hang out in my stash for a bit and I might add it in later. :3

Rosewood Manor - Summer Quakers
(on Crafty Kitten Vintage Petals, similar to the model)

Ink Circles - Cirque des Coeurs
(on PTP Phoenix with DMC 4170 & white)

Nora Corbett - Wisteria and/or Waterlily
(not sure of fabric for Wisteria, but Waterlily is set!)

And that's it for now. I'm only choosing a few because I do want to focus on finishing projects... I refuse to have a WIP count in the double digits! If I make good progress, then I'll pick more things from my bucket list to start. Maybe I'll do a half year review to see how I'm doing with my goals.


Also, I'm stupidly toying with these ideas...

I know, I know, I'm the one who was all "I am never stitching a PR design again" but...  I've had fabric for Fairy of Dreams for years. YEARS! And I really love Prosperity Fae too. Sigh. At least the charts are available as PDF now instead of those ridiculously massive single page foldouts.

But I don't own either of these charts yet (I had the paper charts but sold them immediately once PDFs became available), so I'll keep this idea on the back burner for now...

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Etude aux Fraises - update #5

I finally feel like I'm making some good progress here! As usual, backstitching makes a huge difference in how the stitching looks.

I'm working down toward the bottom right now, so next time that area will be complete! :)

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Etude aux Fraises - update #4 (and goals)

First up, some more strawberries!

I feel like I'm finally making some good progress on this piece. It does help that the flower in the background is mostly a single color. Anyway, the color is really off; the fabric is cream and the thread colors are a bit brighter than shown.


Next up, goals!

For November, I said:

- blog about progress once a week - YES
- finish Bride's Tree Ornament #11 - YES
- start/finish at least three other small projects! - decided to focus on WIPs instead :3
- comb through stash again and pull out things I no longer want to stitch - YES
- NO craft/stash shopping, for real, NO exceptions, even if I sell things! - NO, but...

...I ran out of beads for the Bride's Tree ornaments, so I ended up spending $15 total on beads, several skeins of DMC, and one chart from a designer who seems to have disappeared almost immediately after publishing her first designs. I usually don't worry about charts going out of print and being impossible to find, but in this case I felt it was a real possibility.

For December, I want to:

- blog about progress once a week
- finish Etude aux Fraises
- NO craft/stash shopping unless I NEED something for an active WIP

So there. :p

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Etude aux Fraises - update #3

Nothing particuarly exciting to show today, but I like posting to see my progress so...

Most of the new stitching is at the top, and I'm starting to work out toward the left side as well. Hoping to make some good progress by the end of the year! :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Etude aux Fraises - update #2

Well, I ran out of beads for my Bride's Tree ornaments, so I'm a bit stuck at the moment while I wait to get some more. Oops! But of course that doesn't mean I'm going to stop stitching. I finished the fourth part of the Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL (no pic, sorry!) and after that, I picked up Etude aux Fraises by Veronique Enginger.

I've only shown it once on the blog, so here's a comparison of the progress. :)

Not all of the progress is recent, but you get the idea. :)

And as a reminder, here's what the full project looks like:

Soooo... there's a lot of strawberries to go. Unfortunately, this is a color chart, which makes it hard to make a working copy, and the colors on the chart are so dark it's pretty much impossible to highlight my progress. I know lots of people love color charts, but I am not one of them! I need to scribble all over everything to keep my place when stitching. This is probably why I put this project down for such a long time, even though it should be very easy - only a few colors, no blends, just regular and half stitches, etc. Sigh. :(

Thursday, November 17, 2016

getting close to a big finish!

The final Bride's Tree ornament is done! And this one is 100% complete with beads... which means I just need to go back and bead the other eleven in the series for a BIG finish. :)

Well, that's horribly blurry, but you get the idea...

And here's how this ornament ties them all together!

#1 - house in basket
#2 - heart on pocket
#3 - flower on pocket
#4 - bunny in pocket
#5 - bird on hat
#6 - apple on hat & basket over shoulder
#7 - rainbow trout
#8 - blue rose
#9 - teapot in pocket
#10 - pinecone in pocket
#11 - angel in basket

I'm kind of amazed that all these mini motifs fit together in one design!

Next time, I hope to have reasonably clear photos of all the beaded designs. Gotta remember to clean my lens before taking pictures, haha... :)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

weekly progress!

Another week, another update!

First up, cruising right along on the last Bride's Tree ornament - this is Santa, and what's really cute about this one is that he has all the motifs from the previous eleven ornaments incorporated into the design! Right now you can see a rose and the outline of a teapot, but an element from every single ornament in the series is in there. I'll point them all out once I finish.

And finally, my progress on the Ship's Manor Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL. This is parts 1, 2, and 3, with some bits missing since I don't want to stitch half a motif in variegated thread. I'm waiting until the entire motif is available before adding anything that's split across multiple parts.

Also, the colors in this photo are horrible... the fabric is a pretty blue/green, but it looks very washed out and somewhat purple in the picture. Oh well, I'll do better next time.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

ornament #11 is done!

Whew, it took a lot of work to get this angel finished, but she's finally ready! The dress was pretty boring but I have to admit that it looks great once all the backstitch is in.

Two photos because each of our phones is so different! My camera's photo is on the left, and the colors are more accurate, but it's not as clear. The right side is from my wife's camera, which tends to overexpose everything, but the quality is just better in general.

As usual, the beads will be saved for the very end, once I finish the final ornament in the series... which is the next one! I can't believe I'm almost done with this entire set! This is a beautiful series of ornaments and I know I'll be stitching more Brooke's Books in the future too. :)

Friday, November 04, 2016

small progress post! :)

Not a huge amount of progress to share today, but since I've committed to posting at least once a week, I want to keep to that promise. :)

I'm more than halfway done with the eleventh Bride's Tree ornament, and I honestly can't wait to be finished with this blue dress! It's super tedious, especially since the "variegated" floss I chose is pretty much just a solid. In fact, I'm running out, so I started blending it - one strand of variegated and one of plain DMC - and there's absolutely no difference in the color. I'll probably end up using straight DMC for a small portion of the dress, and it won't matter. Well, I guess it's a relief in that way!

I'm going to push for a finish on this one over the weekend.

Hmm, I thought I had a photo of the Ship's Manor Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL to show, but I can't find it in my dropbox! Oh well, I'll just have to stitch part three and take a new picture. :) I'll post about it next time!

Also, all the no-buys are still going strong! I even managed to return an item that was rather pricey (and totally not the color advertised!) so it was great to see that refund on my credit card. Of course, the real solution is to not buy in the first place, and that's what I'll be doing.

Or not doing. Whatever. :p

Monday, October 31, 2016

smalls SAL & monthly goals!

Just like last month, I'm combining these two posts into one. :)

It was a successful month for smalls, though I haven't stitched much at all since my last update, so I don't have anything new to show. Still, I finished five smalls and that's not too bad! Here's a collage since showing them all individually again would be overkill. :p

And more to come next month, of course!


On the goals front, things were not quite as successful...

- blog about progress once a week - NO
- finish Bride's Tree Ornament #10 - YES
- start/finish at least three other small projects! - YES
- NO craft/stash shopping - NO

I'm glad that I got all the stitching done earlier in the month so my goals wouldn't be a total bust!

I haven't been posting because I haven't been stitching... and I haven't been stitching because I've spent most of the month moping around while my wife was away on an international business trip. I didn't have the energy or drive to do anything, really, so... yeah. Bit of a letdown there.

Also, I had planned to break my shopping ban, using only money earned from selling things from my stash, but... yeah. I didn't do that badly on the stitchy stash front, to be honest (even returned an expensive item that wasn't right for me) but there was other recreational shopping going on, and that can't be allowed to continue.

So, I've joined the warmup for the Stitch from Stash FB group, which means my no-buy starts NOW instead of at the beginning of the year, and it extends through June 2017. I'm also on a no-buy for nail polish and makeup items for the remainder of 2016. These are my three problem areas, and since moderation isn't working for me, time to go cold turkey. Wish me luck! :)

My new goals for November!

- blog about progress once a week
- finish Bride's Tree Ornament #11
- start/finish at least three other small projects!
- comb through stash again and pull out things I no longer want to stitch
- NO craft/stash shopping, for real, NO exceptions, even if I sell things!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bride's Tree Ornament #10

Yet another little finish for the month! Here's the tenth Bride's Tree Ornament, one of my favorites so far! I love the look of this pretty pinecone.

Sorry about the relatively awful photo, it's late here.

As always, I'll be adding the beads later on, so I'm calling this done for now! :)

Monday, October 10, 2016

four little finishes!

I haven't been posting as much as I'd like, but I'm definitely stitching! I've started and finished four small projects since the last time I posted, which already meets my monthly goal of finishing three smalls this month, so I'm pretty happy. :)

Here they are in order of completion!

Celtic Jewel Keyring (Textile Heritage)

Betsy's Butterfly (Elizabeth's Designs)

Charming Christmas #7 (Paw Printings)

Autumn Bounty kit (Mill Hill)

 At this point, I think I'll bounce back to my Brooke's Books ornament for the month and get that finished off, then I'll start on the next little kit in line.

Oh, but speaking of goals, I won't be keeping to all of them this month. I've decided to back the Ship's Manor Kickstarter project, so this won't be a zero spend month for me by any means. One of the rewards is a preorder for a fabric of the month club for next year. Ooh! :) If you want to check it out too, here's a sample image and a link!

I also joined the Ship's Manor Beautiful Sea Quaker SAL because... I can. :) I'll be making a start on it as soon as the thread pack arrives.

I've been selling stash on FB again (mostly things left over from my mother's stash, which I inherited over seven years ago), so I'm allowing myself to use those funds to pick up things from my wishlist. Now, before you think I'm going to go nuts, I already signed up for a Stitch from Stash FB group for the first half of 2017, and my budget is set to $0 per month! I'm only going to allow myself a small amount of credit for finishing pieces, and my ultimate goal is to buy nothing but DMC needed to complete active projects.

And, of course, I will carry on with my "go nuts and stitch a lot of smalls" project for the rest of this year, because it's already been such a success for me! :)

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Smalls SAL & monthly goals!

Going to roll a couple of posts into one to save some space! :)

First up, the 2016 Smalls SAL hosted by Heather of Stitching Lotus. I didn't quite manage to completely finish my small in September, but I just finished it up tonight, and that's pretty close! Here is the ninth Bride's Tree Ornament by Brooke's Books.

Er, that's an awful picture, I know, but it's late here and the lighting in my house isn't all that great (except the stitchy lighting, of course!) so use your imagination. :) As always, no beads have been attached, I'm going to add them all at the very end once all twelve ornaments are done.


Now, goals! Here's what I had for September:

- blog about progress once a week - YES!
- blah blah Ghost Story progress blah (possible finish?) - YES, finished!
- NO craft/stash shopping - YES!
- and a stretch goal: finish Wintry Blooms Biscornu - YES!

I think it's safe to say I'm fairly pleased with myself! And Solo September hosted by Justine was a big success for me - I finished four projects! Well, technically three, but let's pretend I finished this ornament yesterday as planned, okay? :p

So here are my October goals:

- blog about progress once a week
- finish Bride's Tree Ornament #10
- start/finish at least three other small projects!
- NO craft/stash shopping

I recently went through my entire stash and discovered tons of hidden gems I'd forgotten about, so for the rest of the year, I'm going to work on getting some of those small projects finished! There's no reason for so many cute things to be sitting around gathering dust, when many of them would only take a few days of stitching to complete. So I'm going to shop my stash and use the excitement of fun things I already have to squash the temptation to buy anything new. :3

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wintry Blooms Biscornu - all assembled!

Here's the lovely biscornu all finished! I'm so happy I'm married to someone who actually enjoys assembling this sort of fussy thing, haha.

The pictures are a bit overexposed... my wife's phone tends to overbrighten everything, plus I tried out my new lightbox, which also has really bright lights, so the problem was compounded. Hopefully it's not too bad, though the first one here is pretty bad, haha...

As you can see, I decided to finish it with a pair of mother of pearl ornaments. The flower shape reminded me of the lilies (? I guess? I'm not good with flowers!) on the biscornu. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Wintry Blooms Biscornu - Finished!

After a lot of specialty stitches, it's all done! Not assembled yet, but I'll have more pictures once that's all done too. :)

I'll just let the pictures do the talking for me...

Whew! I think it's safe to say that I'm pretty good at spiderweb roses now. :p

I'll be going back to my Brooke's Books bride's tree ornaments now... I haven't touched them in a while since I got a couple of months ahead, but now I'm falling behind a little! Maybe I can still get September's ornament done this month...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Wintry Blooms Biscornu - Update #3 (& SAL idea)

Back on track! Thanks for all the kind comments on the last update. My wrists are feeling much better now and I was able to finish up the cross stitching on this piece over the weekend. :)

There's lots of backstitch and specialty stitches to add now, but I'm hoping for a finish by the end of the week! Well, at least a stitching finish... I'll leave it to my wife to assemble this thing! I'm not very good at patiently sewing things together. :)


Also... is anyone out there a Stitch from Stash veteran, or interested in the idea of working with the stash you already have instead of pursuing more? I'm starting to put together a short (maybe half a year?) not-quite-SAL with a focus on stash appreciation and use. :)

It will be more focused on thoughts and reflections rather than reporting on stitching and spending, though that can be included too if the participant chooses! I was thinking something along the lines of having a monthly theme or activity, and participants could also choose a personal goal for the challenge - like going on a no-buy, or setting a budget, or a goal of completing X number of projects before buying anything new, etc. That would be 100% up to you, though!

Here's some possible examples of monthly activities:

January: inventory your stash and post about it (not necessarily what's in your stash, but talk about any hidden gems you uncovered, themes you've noticed in your collection, where your "problem" areas are, etc etc)

February: identify bucket list items in your own stash and (if possible) begin kitting up one or two of those items with materials already in your stash

March: review your wishlist and compare to your inventory, identifying ways to edit the wishlist down to a smaller list (maybe you don't need the exact shade of fabric/silk/bead because you already have something similar in your stash, etc)

And so on. Basically, I'm thinking of organizing a short series of monthly mindfulness exercises that we can all share with each other. There's so much joking about "whoever dies with the biggest stash wins" and stuff like that, and while it's fun to amass a lot of stuff, it can also be wasteful. Supplies are meant to be used and appreciated, not stuffed into a box and forgotten.

I'm super guilty of being like a dragon with a hoard in many areas of my life, primarily stitchy stash and nail polish, and I'm working on being more appreciative of what I already have. I would love to have a few people join in with me! Please let me know if you're interested and I'll start getting these ideas into a more concrete form so we can start in January. :)

to clarify: This SAL does not involve a 'no-buy' or reporting on budgets - participants are free to set their own goals and to shop or not shop as they see fit, to meet those goals. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Wintry Blooms Biscornu - Update #2

Whoops, it's been a week since my last update! Here's a new picture:

It's a small amount of progress compared to my usual pace, but I'm taking things slow for a while. I think I pushed too hard on Ghost Story... I had to bend myself into some weird positions to finish parts of her, and I think I put too much stress on my wrists and elbows. So I've been wearing wrist/elbow braces while sleeping and that seems to be helping, but I'm not 100% yet. Kind of annoyed and a bit worried about it, but I'm going to go easy for a while longer and see if that helps.

Okay, about "weird positions" and stuff, I basically use my body as a stitching stand whenever I use a 11x17 qsnap or larger. Generally I sandwich the qsnap between my legs and chest to hold it steady, which frees both of my hands so I can stitch two-handed. If it sounds ridiculous, it is. It also looks ridiculous, but I don't really care when I'm sitting on the couch at home. :)

Why not just use a stand? I've tried a few, but they're all in a jumbled pile of parts in the corner right now. None of them hold the stitching close enough to my face. (I'm nearsighted so I stitch without my glasses, but I need things to be relatively close or I can't see clearly enough!) I feel like I need something with two parts, like two separate jointed poles with a couple of clamps on them that would hold a qsnap firmly, and could also be rotated...

Hmm. Maybe I need to venture into the realm of design and construction!

Friday, September 09, 2016

Wintry Blooms Biscornu - Update #1

Thought I'd finally show some pictures of this cute little project. :D

It's available as a PDF download from Faby Reilly's website if you want your own copy! :)

The back is already finished! I knew I wouldn't want to fuss with the back after finishing the front (which is way more complex) so I stitched it first. But the colors are all wrong...

And here's my progress on the front! The colors in this picture are much better, the fabric color is much more accurate so you can get an idea of what it really looks like. I'm using the recommended fabric and thread colors, so you might want to check out the link above for better model photos. My camera is kind of horrible...

There's actually a lot left to do. I've only managed about a quarter of the cross stitching, plus there's other specialty stitches I still need to add around this area. I really love the cute sequins and the surrounding accent stitches for them. :)

Hopefully I'll make good progress soon...

Monday, September 05, 2016

Solo September Success!

Oops. I was a little too successful. Ghost Story is all finished!

These pictures were taken with my wife's phone, which tends to overexpose the lighter colors, so I'll try taking more photos with my own camera later. Those will be blurry but probably a little truer to the actual colors. :)

However, the brightness of the camera really brings out the color of the fabric!

I'll have to take a closer photo of her face. There was a lot of fussing to get her eyes just right, and I also changed the "darker" skin color to one that actually contrasts with the "lighter" one! I did end up adding a sketchy outline of an ear too, but I didn't do anything super detailed for it. I can't draw well and especially not ears!

So, she's mostly stitched as charted, with a few small changes:

- used whatever I had on hand that was close enough for metallic threads and beads
- changed darker skin color to 945
- backstitched skin in 840
- changed a few purple stitches on her bust to white (they looked like nipples, haha)

And she's stitched on Haunted Belfast by Picture This Plus - not only the perfect color, but also the perfect color name!

Next up to be conquered: Wintry Blooms Biscornu!
And no, I still don't have a picture! Next time. :)