Friday, January 29, 2016

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave

Most of my cross stitch projects look like plates of spaghetti when I try to photograph them.  I'm trying to determine which way of stitching I prefer.

I started this one (Ornament The Enchanted Christmas) using a version of cross country stitching.  That's where you stitch with a color until you've completed all the stitches of that color on a page, or the entire project (extreme cross country).  I don't complete all of them on the whole project, or even on the current page.  I stitch with that color until the current thread is finished, then I go back to the beginning and thread up the color for the next unstitched symbol.  And so on, and so on.  Gridding my fabric really helps with this process so I don't lose my place.

I had tried parking on another project, but didn't have much luck with it.  With that method, you stitch one 10 x 10 square at a time, completing all stitches on one color, then bringing the thread up in the next stitch of that color in an adjacent square and leave it "parked" until you complete that square.  I decided to try again, only starting at the bottom of the project instead of the top.  When I tried it before, I thought it was taking me too long because I was constantly threading and unthreading the needle.  Turns out I am actually stitching faster with this method because it takes less time to park one color then thread up the next than it does to search for the next symbol of the color currently on the needle.  My only problem now is I have tons of threads hanging around that are bound to get tangled up.  I need to find a method of keeping them organized when I put a project away for any extended period.

The photo above is what my project looked like on Tuesday evening after I finished stitching.  I'll get a new photo tomorrow, and plan to show progress on this one weekly.

Below is what Stocking Walk As One looked like at the beginning of the week

And here is what it looks like after finishing up yesterday.  Not a lot of progress, but every stitch counts and gets me closer to a finished project.

I didn't work on the stocking this afternoon as I was finishing up a few other projects that are gifts and need to get in the mail tomorrow.

I did work a bit on The Kiss however.  Again, not a lot of progress for the week, but every little bit helps.

This weekend I will again be working on Time I.  I'll show starting and ending photos on Monday.  The handy dandy RNG chose another Mirabilia project to be worked on next week.  This one is a mermaid that I've been working on a bit here and there for several years.  Again, photo on Monday.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Year of Cross Stitch

It's amazing to me how quickly you can get out of the habit of doing something.  It's been months since I blogged.  At first it was because my computer went up in smoke. Seriously, it made a funny buzzing sound, the screen froze, then smoke billowed up out of the keyboard.  Oh the smell!

Hubby was having issues with his too, so he arranged for repair, which entailed waiting for Dell to send us packing boxes, then sending the computers to them and waiting for them to be returned.  This took almost two months.  During the time I was computerless I didn't blog because I don't like to do things like that on my phone.  Then, when I got the computer back, the holidays were upon us and I was busy, so I let the blog sit awhile longer.

Now we're well into the new year, and I decided enough was enough.  No more putting off blogging until tomorrow.  I enjoy it once I get started, it's the getting started that can be difficult sometimes.

I did finish up some projects.  Below is an applique runner I made for my buffet. I used the same pattern to make some kitchen towels to add to the goodies my hubby gave to his coworkers.  They turned out so darn cute, I'm going to have to make a set for myself next year.

I also finished another table topper.  My goal is to have a runner for my buffet and topper for my table for each month of the year.

I have a few more photos of finished items, and I'll share those throughout the rest of this week.

Anywho ......

Last year turned out to be a bit of The Year of the Quilt.  This year is looking to be The Year of Cross Stitch.  I pulled out all my needlework projects and organized them.  They all have their own little container.  The smaller ones have all supplies tucked neatly into a ziplock and are stored in bins in my spare bedroom.  The larger ones are in plastic storage bins.

I got all geeky with a spreadsheet that someone in a cross stitch group started.  It's meant to organize all your DMC floss for large projects (like Heaven and Earth Designs patterns), with a tab for each project that calculates how much floss you need and how much you already have.  I tweaked the file a bit to suit me, adding a tab that calculates overage/shortage of each color so I know where I can get floss for any new projects I want to start without having to buy new.  My hubby likes this because I can kit up a new project from stash instead of spending more money.  I also added a tab that calculates when the project will be completed.  I've calculated this in two ways; first on average number of stitches completed per day using start date, and second on average number of stitches completed per day using actual number of days stitching.  This tab already calculated the % complete a project was based on how many stitches were completed.

Why did I do all this?  Well, because I'm geeky like that and analysis and stats make me happy.  Also because I like to use weird methods to determine what projects I work on.  I use a random number generator to choose a knit/crochet project to complete when I get too many of them just sitting around not getting worked on.  I'm using that method to choose one of the non-HAED needlework projects too.

This week, the RNG chose a fairly large piece.  It's a Mirabilia pattern called The Kiss.  I started this way back in 2004!  At that time I was pretty much a non-stop knitter, so this didn't get much love at all.  Add to that I had it on a scroll frame without a stand, and it wasn't comfortable to work on, so it got shoved into a storage bin and was all but forgotten until I did my organizing.  It will get at least 1 hour of work time each day Mon-Fri this week.

This will be a gorgeous piece once it's finished!

Because I have craft project ADD, I need to have several projects being worked on at once or I get burned out and quit working on them.  That's when serious startitis infects me and I get into serious trouble with too many things sitting around not getting any closer to completion.  With that in mind, I've set this geeked out spreadsheet tab to choose several large HAED patterns to work on each week.

 I added conditional formatting to highlight the one that is estimated to be complete soonest based on actual number of days stitching.  I will work on this one in the evenings while watching TV.  Currently this is Ornament The Enchanted Christmas, which is estimated to be complete at the end of May.  I'll add a photo of current progress tomorrow.

I added conditional formatting to highlight the one that is estimated to be complete last based on number of days since start.  I will work on this one on the weekends.  Currently this is Time I, which is estimated to be complete in 2105 LOL.  Of course, that's only because I started it, then let it sit for more than a year, so avg stitches completed per day is only 8!  A couple of weekends worth of work and that will look much better.

I added conditional formatting to highlight the one that has the least % complete.  I will work on this one during the day M-F, if I have time and get tired of working on the RNG chosen project.  Currently this is Stocking Walk As One.