Friday, March 11, 2016

Whole Lotta Stitchin' Goin' On

Lots of bunny parts around here.  I finished the arms and legs yesterday, and I'm hoping to get at least one ear done tonight.  I'll try to finish him up this weekend.  Grabbed a cute fat quarter this week and I'm going to attempt making him a bow tie.  I couldn't find green/orange plaid, but I did find something with green and orange in it.

I worked on Blackberry House a bit this week instead of waiting until this weekend to make progress.  A few more minutes work should see page 1 complete on this.  I'm really enjoying my time working on this and might need to work it into my weekday rotation instead of only working on it a few hours on the weekend.

I divided my time this week between 3 HAED projects.  The first was The Great Snail.  I only managed to complete a little over 900 stitches on this before eye strain and a headache drove me to put it up and work on something else.  I think this will get more time on the frame once I manage to get past all this background work.  It's very motivating when little details start to take shape, but can be a bit disheartening to put so many hours into it and not see anything at all.  I am not going to give estimates on completion on these three projects because not working on them for the full week has really skewed things.  Let's just say that if these estimates are correct, I hope my eyesight holds out for many, many, many years :-D

Next I decided to restart one of those projects I sat aside due to not being happy with the coverage.  I had fabric big enough to work this, so figured I may as well get it back into rotation.  This is Mini Bottom of the Garden, and is a chart purchased for me by my friend Brandi for Christmas.  I also completed just over 900 stitches on this one, but those 900 stitches were completed much faster than those on The Great Snail.  Both of these patterns are by the same artist and feature fairies with other fanciful creatures.  I plan to hang both in my spare bedroom when completed.

The last HAED design I worked on is another new start.  I got the first 130 stitches in on Mini Days Like These.  Not much to see yet, but I only worked on it for a bit one evening.  Hoping this one moves faster once I get it worked into rotation.

I have several more that need to get worked into rotation, both restarts and new starts.  My goal is to get fabric and work at least one of them in each month until they are all started.  I know it seems crazy to have so many going at once, but this way I have a nice variety to choose from and hopefully won't get burned out.  I tend to get tired of projects and set them aside if I try to work on them exclusively and it takes a long time to get them done.

This week, Ornament Enchanted Christmas is back in rotation.  I put it on the lap frame Paul made me last week.  I really like working on this frame, but I think I might have him make it a bit smaller for me.  I don't seem to have the coordination needed to work with my left hand on the back side, and my right hand won't reach all the way to the other side, so I wind up only being able to work on the lower left 2/3 comfortably.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Weekend Recap

I pulled out the green bunny and worked on it for a bit on Saturday.  I really need to get my butt in gear on this since Easter is right around the corner.  I don't think the limbs and ears will take too long, so I'm going to try to complete one each day before moving on to my cross stitch.  That will see it finished this weekend.  I think it's going to need a nice bow around its neck.  Maybe I'll try my hand at making a bow tie instead.  Some nice spring looking orange and green plaid fabric might do the trick.

I worked a bit on Paul's stocking this weekend too.  It doesn't look like much is completed, but I did get most of the white done on the snowman, and started working on his hat.  Maybe next weekend I'll work on the flesh colors for the children's faces, hands, and legs.

I spent the better part of Saturday working on the Blackberry House sampler.  I finished the scallops across the top, and I'm almost complete with the rest of page 1.  Really liking the colors in this.  I had Paul make me a new lap frame yesterday.  Might try to put this on it and see if work goes any faster this week.

Friday, March 4, 2016

HAED Enchanted Christmas 3/4/16 Update

 I never did get around to blogging about my "side" cross stitch projects this past week, and one of them isn't going to get blog time today either.  Just not enough completed on it to make it worthwhile to show off.  I think I'm trying to stuff too many projects into my weekend craft time again.  I'll be setting aside the Joyful World Calendar project for the most part, and concentrating on the Blackberry House Sampler.

After a rough start and 2 sessions of picking out everything I had completed, I'm finally making some headway on this.  I plan on hanging this in my dining room when it's finished.  I already have one sampler hanging in there, and I think this one will go nicely with it.  This week, my HAED project is on 25 count fabric, and I have to use a magnifying lamp when working on those.  I can only work on these type of projects for so long before eye strain becomes an issue and I get a doozy of a headache, so I'll probably only work on that during the afternoons while listening to an audiobook.  In the evenings, I'll pull Blackberry House out to work on instead.  This is on 28 count fabric too, but since I'm working over 2 threads, eye strain doesn't come into play.  Hopefully a lot of progress to show of this next week.

Enchanted Christmas had its turn on the frame again this week.  I completed 2,992 stitches on this, and it is currently estimated to be complete in early July 2016.  It's hard to tell, but the dark area that I completed this week is the sleigh.  On the leftmost edge is a lantern that can be made out.

I'm not 100% happy with the coverage on this project, but I'm not so unhappy as to start it over using higher count fabric or more strands of floss.  This is on 14 count using 2 strands.  I had started another project using 14 count and 3 strands, but it was so bulky, I scrapped it.  The project I am completing on 18 count with 2 strands feels a bit thick, but I am really happy with the coverage.

At one point, I had made the decision to set aside 2 projects I was working on 14 count fabric.  Then I asked Paul what he thought of the one I was doing for him, and since he said it looked fine to him, I was going to continue on with them as is.  Now, after seeing what this one looks like, I'm back to the mindset of starting over.  Neither project had a full page complete, so it's not like I would be scrapping months of work on either one, and I'm sure I'll be much happier working on them on 18 count fabric instead.  I'll also never use this cream/off white colored fabric again.  It sticks out like a sore thumb when coverage isn't great when using dark colored floss.

Live and learn I guess.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Weekend Recap

I finished up the March "A Year of Celebrations" design this weekend.  2 days to spare!  I haven't started the April design yet because I need to dig around to find some higher count fabric.  Several of the frames I bought cover up a bit of the design, so I need to do a few that will turn out smaller.  I know I have some extra 18 count in the craft room somewhere, just need to find it.

I didn't spend as much time working on Paul's stocking as I hoped, but I did get quite a bit done on the snowman's head.  You can see the beginnings of his face now.  I also spent a bit of time picking out all the half cross stitches I had completed.  I had stitched them all using 3 strands of floss, but it was only supposed to be 1.  Sigh.  Oh well, better to discover that now than after I had too much more stitched up.

I spent some time working on the Blackberry House sampler and the Joyful World Calendar too, but I will save blogging about them for another day.

I really shouldn't have, because I have way too many projects in progress already, but I started something new this weekend.  Not my fault though.  I blame this completely on Paul.  He knows I have too many things going, but came home with a request from a co-worker to make her a bunny for her son for Easter.  A green bunny with floppy ears.  This won't take long to complete, just need to crochet a bit every day or so.  The head is almost complete.  I need to go find the eyes and noses I'm sure I have before going any further though, or I won't be able to attach them.

Friday, February 26, 2016

HAED ASiT 2/2016 Update

I need to take photos of these a bit further away and quit zooming in so close.  Some of the detail is lost in these closeup photos.  Oh well, next time.

I got more stitched on A Stitch in Time this week than I originally thought I would.  Normally, I would still be stitching on the current rotation on Friday, but I decided I was going to start rotating on Friday morning instead of Monday morning.  That way I can blog about my progress at the end of the week instead of lumping everything together into a post on Monday.

I was able to get 2,220 stitches completed, which gave me a page finish last night.  The bottom row of pages on this are smaller, just shy of 1/2 the size of all the others.  At my current rate of stitching speed and rotation, this is estimated to be complete in January 2029.  LOL!  This will change at some point, of course, as I work on it more often.

I'm only working on this currently once every 4 weeks, as I have 2 other projects that I wanted to work on.  One of those is also being worked on every 4 weeks, and the other is being worked on every other week.  As I finish a project, I will decide whether to add in a new one, or just rotate between two.  Knowing me, I'll add in another to the rotation, and move something new into the every other week spot.  Hopefully I can keep to this rotation and not add in too many new starts.

I love how the fox turned out!  It is so adorable.  The white on the far left side is a tree trunk.  I'm not positive, but I believe the blue and turquoise are book spines, and it looks like the blue and white to the right of the fox is a lady working on needlework.  I think I can see an arm and a hand near the top of the stitching.  The white looks like it may be an apron over a long dress, and the grey/green look like the stitching.  I refuse to look at the cover art because I want to be surprised as details come to life on this.  Book spines are a logical guess because this is a bookshelf chart, and the lady working on her needlework is a logical guess because there are little scenes of this exact thing throughout the shelves.

This week I am back to working on Enchanted Christmas.  Ah, 14 count fabric!  Such a nice break from working on that 28 count.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Fox In Sox

I didn't quite get the fox completed, but you can certainly tell that's what it is.  This pattern is going to be so much fun to work on.  So many little surprises waiting to show themselves as soon as I take a step away from the work.

Not a lot more to blog about today, but I did finish up the lighter green on the March cross stitch.  If I don't get this finished before, I may dedicate Friday to working on this so it's ready to display on the 1st.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Weekend Recap

I made quite a bit of progress on Enchanted Christmas last week.  Just a couple more blocks and the sleigh will really start to take shape.  Still loving this project, and still want to get it done quickly, but I'm putting it away this week. I don't want to work on any one project so long I get burned out and lose interest.  That's what happened last year with the cross stitching, and I wound up putting all of it away for most of the year.  Slow and steady wins the race in this case.

I don't have a progress photo to share yet, but this week I'll be working on A Stitch In Time.  This is one of two bookshelf designs I will be stitching.  The artwork is by Aimee Stewart.  I currently have 3 charts of artwork by her.  Must figure out a way to live to be 200 so I can stitch all these lovely charts I have.  I started this one in the bottom left corner, and today should see the little fox stitched.  Progress photo tomorrow.

Just a tad bit of progress to show on Blackberry House.  I had done about half of the border across the top, then decided I wasn't caring much for the color I chose.  I was planning to use whatever colors I had in stash, but when I didn't like what I had stitched, I picked it all out and ran to JoAnn's for the called for DMC colors.  Much happier with it now, and hey, the stash only grew by about 7 skeins.  That's not too bad.

I finished up 3 colors on the little March pattern last week.  Started working on the next one after snapping this photo.  Hoping to have all the green finished this week.  I'm trying to stitch one strand every day to keep progressing on these.  Plus, I will be working on these during my Tuesday Skype sessions.

Made progress this weekend on Paul's stocking.  Spent most of my stitching time working on the little boy this time.  This is going much faster than I remembered it going when I first started it.  Could it be that working on those gigantic HAED charts has changed my perspective a bit?  Still enjoying working on this one, so it's going to remain my weekend project for awhile yet.

I finished the applique on the March wall quilt yesterday.  This is now layered and ready for quilting.  The sewing machine is all threaded up and ready to go.  I should get this one done this week, just in time to hang for March.  I think I'll finish up the February one after that, then move on to April.  I've also cut out all the base pieces for May and June.  I finally feel like I'm a bit ahead of the game on this project.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Wall Quilts

I spent a bit of time in the sewing room yesterday, and snapped a few photos since I had everything out.

February's is all set to be quilted.  I've set it aside until March is complete though.  It shouldn't take very long to quilt this since I'm doing them by machine, but the March quilt has oodles of applique pieces, so it's taking a bit longer than the other ones.

I have started on the applique for March.  The little border squares are all done, as are the tree trunk and branches.  This one has a lot of layered pieces, so I can't just lay them all out and iron away like I was able to do for most of the other quilts.  I got a bit carried away last night when putting the leaves on.  I only meant to do the ones you see pictured on the left side, but wound up doing all of them.  Oops, now I need to be a bit careful since I hadn't finished with the birdhouse.  Knew I shouldn't have started on those leaves until I had the birdhouse done, but figured I could start since the iron was hot.  It will take me a couple of days to finish sewing around the pieces that are already on this since I'm not spending a lot of time downstairs this time of year.  It gets cold down there!  I've been doing a bit each time I go down to do a load of laundry.

April's base is completed and ready for applique pieces.  I need to get some more fusible webbing before starting on those pieces.  Since I have to wait on that, I looked ahead at other months to see if I had the right fabrics to complete their bases.  I just might have the right ones for May and June.  Getting the bases out of the way will help speed things up later.

I completed about 600 stitches on the reindeer yesterday.  I got lucky and hit some areas where there weren't a ton of color changes so things went a bit faster.  I think I'm going to continue filling in the area in the center and work my way back over to the right side where the sleigh is.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Weekend Recap

I decided to put Basilisk away Friday morning so I could catch up a bit on monthly themed projects.  I don't have photos yet, but I did get quite a bit done on the quilted wall hangings.  February is all appliqued and ready to be quilted, the base for both March and April are pieced, and I've begun the applique for March.  I've decided to concentrate more on March now instead of trying to finish up February.  I will probably only be able to get one completed by month's end, so I'd rather it be the one I will hang next instead of one that will be put away for next year.  I'll come back to February and work on it when I get a bit ahead of the game.

I also worked on the February cross stitch design until it was finished.  Now I just need a frame for it.  I'll be out and about later this week, so I'll pick up a couple of them.

I managed to get a bit of the March design done too.  I'm going to leave the supplies for these out instead of tucking them away.  That way, I can work on them when I have a time to stitch, but not enough time to make headway on the big HAED projects.

I'm still plugging away a bit each day on Paul's sweater.  Just about to the point where I start working on the body and skip the sleeve stitches.

I love this pattern, and the yarn I'm using.  Here's a bit closer look at the pattern stitches used.  It's hard to tell in these photos, but the top portion is ribbed using post stitches.

Because I'm never happy with just 100 projects, I started 2 more.  These will be worked on primarily on the weekends, but I may pull them out when my eyeballs need a break from reading HAED charts.

The first is a Plum Street design that I am doing as a SAL with my friends, Amanda and Brandi.  We have agreed to show our progress each Friday on Facebook to keep each other accountable for finishing.  I am in love with this design company and will most likely be purchasing more of their patterns.

The second is a SAL that I discovered when the Facebook group popped up as a suggestion for me.  It is a free monthly calendar SAL found on The Snowflower Diaries blog.  I'm planning to stitch them all as one piece and have it framed.  I'm stitching this over 2 on 28ct, so I need to find a pretty big spot on the wall to hang it.

I made some progress on Paul's stocking this weekend too.  I might have to work on the little boy next weekend so he starts showing up better.

This week I'm back to working on Ornament Enchanted Reindeer.  Working on Basilisk last week was a nice break, but I really want the reindeer done this year, so it's back on the frame.  I also made the decision to restart two more of the HAED projects at some point in the future.  While I really love the reindeer, and it is being worked on 14ct Aida, I find that I much prefer the look of these pieces on 18ct and higher fabric, with 18ct being my preferred choice as I don't have to use my magnifying lamp.  Both Mini Gone Fishin' and Mini Bottom of the Garden were started on 14ct. and I'm not caring for the coverage I'm getting.  I will most likely restart one of them, along with a new chart I purchased recently, later this year when I complete the reindeer.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Lots of Stitchy Goodness

Last year when I was sorting through all my craft magazine deciding which to keep and which to toss, I came across this adorable series of monthly patterns and just had to make them.  My plan was to work on them every Tuesday when I was doing my weekly Skype session with my mother and Amanda.  This was around October, and I started with the December pattern to give myself plenty of wiggle room to get each completed in enough time to be framed and displayed in its proper month.

I managed to finish the December one in plenty of time, and then as is the custom, another bright shiny new project called my name, and since these are so small and can be finished quickly, I decided working on them could be put off for awhile.

The January one was finally completed and framed about a week into the month.

 February still isn't complete, but I pulled it out and will work on it today until it is finished.

Then, I think I might skip a couple of months and jump into working on May to give myself some time to get them complete.  Or maybe not. I work pretty well with looming deadlines, it's the "if I work on this 2 hours per week I can have it done in 6 months" kind of thing that gets me in trouble.

When I tried to get a progress photo of Basilisk last night, I noticed that the clips I'm using to keep the extra fabric rolled up and out of the way look a lot like spiders from this angle.  Creepy!  Good thing that isn't the way I see them when I'm stitching, or nothing would get done.

Am I the only one who sees this?  It's not so bad on the lighter one.  Maybe I should go buy another of those and get rid of the dark one?

Basilisk is really starting to come alive now.  When I take a step or two back, I can see the flowers and blue jay, and now the tree trunks are really starting to show up.  I can't wait to get to the next page and see the lady's face take shape.  I will probably put this one away for a bit next week though.  I really want to get Enchanted Reindeer finished by end of June, and it needs some attention so it doesn't fall behind.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

New Frame and Stand

It's certainly nice to have a handy hubby around.  I've been struggling with my cross stitch using traditional hoops.  Those worked fine if I wasn't stitching using the parking method.  However, I found that parking was working out better for me.  Also, the projects I'm working on are rather large, and they were a bit cumbersome using a hoop.  The extra fabric kept getting in the way.

So Saturday morning I showed Paul some photos of nifty homemade stands using pvc, and asked him to build me a basic one.  So far it's working out great!  This cost about $20, plus a couple hours of his time.

My stitching is going much faster using this.  I've completed more than 1100 stitches on Basilisk in the past two days.  It's amazing to me to see what these look like when I take photos.  When I'm working on them, all I see is the individual stitches.  It's like seeing the pixels on the TV screen when you stand right up on it.

I've completed enough on Basilisk to not feel guilty working on a new project for an hour or so.  I'm doing a stitch along with a couple of friends and we're supposed to post progress photos every Friday on Facebook.  I thought this week's photo from me would only be of my supplies, but looks like I'll have some actual stitching done.

Can't wait to Amanda and Brandi's projects!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Just Pick One Already

As I do nearly every year, I started off January with lofty goals of getting loads of my WIPs completed.  I was going to work on this one, and that one, and the other one, and that guy over there, and that cute little one in the closet, and where oh where did I put that gorgeous one I just have to get done so I can hang it in the bedroom?  If you're a crafter like me and suffer from "ooooh look a shiny new project" syndrome, you know just how my January looked.

I started off on the right foot.  I pulled out all of the projects and organized them into their own little containers to make it easier to grab what I was going to work on.  I did my very best to add all the tools that would be needed into each container so that when it was grabbed, it could be worked on immediately.  I came up with all kinds of "games" to choose what to work on since there are so many, and I do tend to get bored if I work on a large project for too long.  I worked on way too many projects each day and, though with a few exceptions, got just the tiniest bit done on each one.  When January ended and I looked at what I had accomplished, my progress was spread out over too many WIPs, so it looked like I had done precious little.

Why can't I get it through my head that this "work on all of them" thing doesn't work?  I mean, I try it just about every year, and it lasts for about a month, then I remember that in order to see real progress on these big projects, I need to work on them for more than an hour a day, once or twice per week.

Keeping that in mind, I have chosen 2 of my big cross stitch projects to work on daily.  The first is being worked on 18ct Aida, and if I do just under 200 stitches per day, will be complete by the end of the year.  Or thereabouts, considering that I may not work on it each and every day.  I have only completed 1/2 of the first page, but this one is only 9 pages.

The second is being worked on 14ct Aida, and will be complete by end of June working just over 200 stitches per day.

I have also decided that my weekends will be dedicated to one of the many smaller projects I have started.  I will choose a new one to work on if, and when, I get bored with the current one.  No more weekly choosing.  I may still use the handy RNG though, since I spend way too much time trying to decide which one of them I want to show some love to next.  Currently, I will be working on Paul's Christmas stocking, which I started 3 years ago.  I got sidetracked by a bright shiny new project before I had gotten very far, and then this was packed away when we moved and hadn't seen the light of day until now.

I don't have much done yet, but you can definitely see the boy and the girl already.

I had originally planned to continue working on that mermaid until she was done, but when I started working on her last week, I remembered why she had been put away for so long.  I started adding beads the last time I worked on her, and then realized that I couldn't put it in a hoop any more because the beads would get in the way.  I tried putting her on a scroll frame, but the beads caused issues with rolling the work up.  I tried working in hand, and don't care for that at all.  Can you say tension issues?  I have a fairly large q-snap frame that I can put it on and only use clamps on the sides where there aren't beads, but the one I have is awkward and I have problems stitching with it.  I decided to just put her away until I figure out how to resolve this issue.

Of course, there are still the quilting, sewing, knitting, and crocheting projects to be completed too.  Not sure how I'll handle those, but I'll squeeze them in here and there.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Little Monthly Wall Quilts

Not a lot of progress on the stitching front to blog about today, so I thought I'd share a few photos of the little monthly wall quilts that I finished while on break from blogging.

I finished up the November, December and January quilts.

I've got some of the February quilt pieces cut out, but I'm just not finding the time to get downstairs to sew lately.  Sebastian is a little (well huge truth be told) terror and gets into all kinds of trouble if I leave him alone too long.  I need to just stick him in his crate to whine for an hour here and there, and get downstairs to work on these quilts.  Maybe I'll do that tomorrow after my massage appointment.  Make some tea, turn on an audio book, and relax downstairs with some fabric and the sewing machine.