Monday, February 29, 2016

February/March goals! (and South Seas #3!)

Another month, another set of goals!

But first, February's results!

- stitch part two of hardanger SAL - YES
- complete one "page" worth of stitching on Fatum - finished that monster!
- complete the next Bride's Tree ornament - YES
- start South Seas Mermaid! - YESSSS

Here's how my lovely mermaid looks after two weekends (and the week between those weekends, of course) of stitching:

She's an absolute pleasure to work on, and I plan to do much more on her in March. And yes, all those empty spaces are for beads! Between all that and her shiny body, she's going to be really blinged out. Just what I love. :3

March's goals are:

- stitch part three of hardanger SAL
- complete the next Bride's Tree ornament
- finish body & tail of South Seas Mermaid
- visible progress on Beaded Dragonfly Tile

Ten bucks says I'll end up finishing South Seas Mermaid and not touching Dragonfly, though...

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Smalls SAL - February 2016

Here's my February check in for the Smalls SAL, hosted by Heather at Stitching Lotus. :3

This is the February design for the Round in Circles hardanger learning SAL, and this part contained the first bit of cutting. Eep!

It came out pretty nice, except for one place where I cut one thread too many, but it's not really visible unless you look really closely. And I'm not going to point out where it is, so there!

Overall, it was pretty easy except for trying to cover up my mistake, but I'm not too worried since the whole point of this SAL is for me to learn and make mistakes now, rather than on a larger project.

If you're interested in the SAL, you can still sign up!
Round in Circles SAL page

Thursday, February 25, 2016

South Seas Mermaid post #2

Tiny post today, just an update pic of South Seas Mermaid. I've been slowed down a bit by working on replacing all of the blended colors with one solid color. Now that I have that all sorted out, I should be able to move quickly. Unless, of course, the color replacements aren't quite right. :)

Hoping to get a lot more done over the weekend!

Monday, February 22, 2016

new start! South Seas Mermaid post #1

Now that my oldest WIP is done (see previous post!), I thought it was time to bust into one of my planned new starts for the year. I've wanted to stitch South Seas Mermaid by Mirabilia for a LONG time, and after adding her to a round robin last year, I knew I had to get started soon.

Plus I'm doing this one as a very informal SAL with Mel of Epic Stitching! Basically, we just post whenever we have progress to share, and encourage each other to keep going. :)

Here's where I am after two days of stitching!

Not bad, huh? She's hard to put down. :)

I'm stitching on Sunset Garden Cashel from Crafty Kitten. I love this color and I actually have two more pieces in Belfast... bought one and accidentally ordered another because I liked it so much and forgot I already had it. Whoops!

I normally stitch on Belfast, but the beading on this project is so dense that beading it as charted would be near impossible. I'm a bit worried about the look of my stitches on this looser fabric, and I'm trying to be very careful about keeping my tension light so I don't end up with the dreaded big holes look. So far, so good, I think. :)

I can't wait to work on her more tomorrow...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Fatum is finished!

Now those are words I never though I'd get to say or type! This was one of the toughest projects I've ever worked through, not because it was technically challenging, but because it was just not appealing to me for a variety of reasons. I'll talk more about that below, but for now, enjoy some pictures! I have to admit, she looks pretty good once she's all finished...

Somewhat more detailed images of the top and bottom halves. I ended up using flat little crystals (sometimes called pailettes, at least when used on Sweetheart Tree charts!) in place of the large beads that were meant to represent stars.

And here's a detailed closeup of her face and arms, showing the beading on her dress, the netting in her hair, and best of all, the star-shaped Swarovski crystal I placed in her hands.

I made a number of changes to the pattern to compensate for things that were over the top (beads in the border, solidly stitched background) or things that I didn't like (boldly veined wings, text at the bottom, size 6 beads in the sky):

- Replaced size 6 beads with pailettes.
- Added a star in her hands.
- Used a blue fabric instead of doing the solidly stitched blue background.
- Left out the veining on the wings.
- Removed the text at the bottom (and modified the border to match).
- Removed about half of the beading in the border.
- Replaced the remaining purple beads in the border with variegated thread.
- Filled in "empty" section of her left leg with appropriate dress color.
- Fixed/smoothed backstitching and/or modified stitching to match backstitching better.

The most annoying part about this chart was the horrible backstitching. There are so many places where the backstitch doesn't make sense when you look at the stitching under it. I had to go back multiple times to add or remove stitches, or redo the backstitching, to make it look okay. You can still see a purple spot on her neck, inside where the straps of her dress cross, which I still need to fix. It's clearly not supposed to be there, since the backstitch line is charted to exclude that stitch from the "inside" area of the strap! There were little problems like that all over her skin and dress.

In addition to that, the backstitching was poorly planned and often called for piercing the exact center of an existing cross-stitch. Other times, it was impossible to stitch as charted because the stitches didn't match up with any holes in the fabric, even on linen.

Looking at the completed project, I also wonder about the dress color on her right leg (left side in the photo) and the matching dark purple nearby on her cape/wrap thing. They seem really out of place, like they should have been done in a lighter color.

Lots of complaints, I know, but I'm honestly glad to be finished with this project, even though right now it's mostly a sense of relief! I will not be buying charts from this designer in the future. I also won't be signing up for any other mystery SALs!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Fatum again :)

Not much to say, I just wanted to show my progress over the last few days. :)

It's probably safe at this point to say that I'll be stitching on this until it's finished. There's honestly not that much to go! This is my oldest WIP at the moment, so it'll be nice to get it off the list.

Of course, my next oldest WIP is a huge HAED, so... that will be the champion for a while...

Saturday, February 13, 2016

more Fatum progress (and goals)

First up, a new progress pic on Fatum! I'm showing the previous photo as well so I can stop whining about not making a lot of progress. Zip it, self, you also completed an entire ornament in the time between these two pictures! You've been doing plenty of stitching!

Considering that I've only worked on this for three or four days from one photo to the next, I really shouldn't be complaining at all. :3


I'm starting to think that my stitching goals for the year may be a bit too ambitious. I'm doing well with keeping up with my once-a-month stitching (bride's tree ornaments & the hardanger SAL) but I'm not sure I can reach all the goals I set for my current WIPs if I also include all the new starts I'd intended for the year. I don't expect to finish all those new starts, but I also don't want to overburden myself with too many WIPs at once. Never want to get into the double digits again! :/

I'm not going to start editing my goals just yet, though. Fatum is almost done, and Beaded Dragonfly Tile has a bit more progress now than it did the last time I blogged about it. Not a ton, but I did reach the outermost border and started on the motifs there.

Well, I guess I'll finish up Fatum first and see how I feel about it!

Monday, February 08, 2016

Bride's Tree Ornament #2 - finished!

Whoops, forgot to take any WIP pics of this one, but it stitched up incredibly fast... I started it as soon as I finished my hardanger SAL piece for the month, and finished it up about an hour ago. Only took a total of three good stitchy days to finish up, thanks to the large blocks of color and small size.

The colors aren't that good in either of these pictures, but hopefully you can get the idea! The colors are a really cute combination of pinks, purple, and green, and I love the patchwork look of the heart and the stitchy motifs!

That weird thing in the bottom left is a pair of scissors. I know it doesn't look like one, but that's because the handle is all beads and I'm not attaching beads yet. I'm working these on three long strips of linen, each long enough for four of the ornaments. Once I finish the first set of four, I'll bead them and cut them apart. But not before!

Cute angled shot just for fun. I normally hate lazy daisies but they really add a lot to this piece. And these are my very first spiderweb roses! I was surprised at how easy they were to do, and how nice they look when finished.

I hope next month's ornament is easy too! :p

Thursday, February 04, 2016

more Fatum! (lots of hair!)

Okay, it's becoming hard to deny that this might actually be finished sometime soon!

And for fun, progress over the last few weeks:
Jan 18 .............. Jan 31 .............. Feb 3

Not sure if I'll be able to keep up the pace, though! We've been watching the excellent Neil deGrasse Tyson version of Cosmos in the evenings while crafting, but we finished up the series last night. Highly recommended to anyone who has an interest in space or science! The series presented the heroes and triumphs of science in a real, human way, explained complex topics in an easy to understand (but not condescending) way, and had a lot of beautiful and uplifting content. I especially appreciated the no-nonsense, no-apologies tone of the entire series. Good stuff!

I've definitely reached and exceeded my February goal for this piece, but I may press on with it a bit longer, while I still feel like working on it. After all, there's still plenty of time left in this month!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Mirabilia freebie alert!

There's a new Mirabilia free pattern courtesy of Just Cross Stitch magazine - a Queen Anne's Lace pixie! She's sooo pretty!

She can be downloaded as a free PDF on the JCS site here: download page!