Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pockets of Progress

This Ultimate Crazy January Challenge has completely ruined my ability to focus on a single piece for an extended period of time. 3 to 4 days seems to be the absolute maximum before I just have to switch out my projects.

So I end up with a little bit of progress on a bunch of pieces. This update features two projects that haven't seen the light of day since I started them in January.

I Stitch Therefore I Stash (pattern from Cross Stitch Crazy):

I have decided that I am not a huge fan of stitching with variegated threads. I don't love the blocky/streaky look, and I find that my stitches don't lay as well when I have to do one stitch at a time.

QS Blue Butterfly (HAED):

I'd gotten used to stitching over 2 on a lot of my other UCJC projects, so it took a bit to get back into stitching over 1. I will admit that my love affair with HAEDs has waned. I still love the projects I'm doing and will eventually finish them all, but I like having other types of projects on the go as well. There are just too many patterns in the world that I am dying to stitch.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A new crafty endeavour

I got it into my head that I should have a go at dyeing my own fabric since I love the look of hand dyed fabric so much. I went on a bit of a hunt for dye and I scoured the internet for instructions, hints, tips, tutorials, and videos. I found some RIT dye at Michael's, but my internet research was not as fruitful. It seems that either people don't want to share what works for them because they don't want to lose business OR not many people hand dye cross stitch fabric. I followed what was on the manufacturer's website (the bulk of my knowledge came from there), and also took note of a few other tips and tricks that I had gleaned.

I gathered all of the necessary materials (dye, fabric, measuring spoons, disposable containers, rubber gloves, etc) and gave it a go despite feeling very in the dark about what I should be doing.

I must say I'm pretty damn proud of the results. My fabrics still need names (suggestions welcome), but I didn't keep recipe notes this time around, so I doubt I could replicate these. Next time though, since the initial thrill might have worn off by then, I will take copious notes.

I used either 28 or 32 ct lugana, RIT dyes, and low water immersion techniques.

First try on 32 ct:

I underestimated the strength of the purple dye, and it overwhelmed the initial teal colour I used. This is the most "tie dyed" look that I got.

Second try (28 ct):

I just used purple dye for this one. The dyeing technique is neat -- you cram wet fabric into a small plastic container, pour the diluted dye mixture over top, smoosh it around, then microwave it for one minute. Then you just rinse it out in cold water, wash it in warm water, and rinse again till the water runs clear.

Third try (32 ct):

Just teal dye, but this time I used a small plastic baggie instead of a plastic container. (No microwaving in this technique. I just let it sit in the baggie for 30 minutes.) It seems to give a much more subdued mottled look. In person, this is a much brighter, fresher teal. I can totally see a Mirabilia mermaid on this fabric.

Fourth try (28 ct):

Again I underestimated the strength of the dye. The mixture went on black, washed out kind of purple, and left me with a lovely dark green. I also used the baggie technique on this one. It looks more green in person. I think this piece would work really well with Christmas designs - reminds me of old pine needles.

Fifth try (32 ct):

Here I went back to the plastic container technique. I started with a very light grey dye mixture, then added 3 drops of the purple dye. BUT I didn't mix it together, I just plopped the fabric straight in. I love the subtle purple hints in this. To be honest, in non-natural light, it looks a lot more purple-y/lavender-y. I've already decided what I want to stitch on this one ... definitely Sabrina by Mirabilia.

Sixth try (32 ct):

I LOVE this one! I am so pleased with how it turned out. I actually double dyed it. I created a nice tan dye mixture, shoved the fabric into the plastic container, and nuked it for a minute. Then I carefully removed the fabric and left most of the dye behind, mixed in a little bit of grey dye to darken the mixture, put the fabric back in, moved it around, and microwaved it again for 30 seconds. This gives it a great antique-y look that would be great for a lot of LHN or Lizzie Kate designs.

I can't wait to dye again! Now to figure out what to do with all of this scrumptious fabric!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ripping and restarting

I took Rules for Life by Kincavel Krosses with me when I went to visit my parents at the beginning of the week. Just a few days before that I had decided to incorporate more solid colours into the design to compliment the Caron Collection Waterlilies variegated thread I was using on the border, so I popped over to my LNS and picked up a few skeins of Waterlilies and HDF silk. As I was stitching the border, my hatred for the piece grew more and more. My stitching just looked uneven and awful!

Original start:

I decided to switch gears and stitch some of the solid colours to see if that helped. That was when I realized that the original variegated floss I was using wasn't really purple, blue, and white. The white was more of a cream colour. It looked horrendous beside the glowing white I wanted to use as the inner line in the border. Ugh. I just couldn't figure out a way to be happy with this piece. I hated every stitch I put into it. So, of course, I decided to rip it all out and start again.

For my restart, I decided to go simple ... solid white HDF silk on the gorgeous Royal Purple 18 ct aida from Sassy's Fabbys.

I'm actually enjoying stitching it! I think the white totally pops, and I have now done almost 3 times what I had to rip out! Woohoo!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I've been busy stitching (during what little free time I have), and somehow I still end up being late with my updates. Anywho, I have a TUSAL update for June with lots of new orts!

I have made some progress on Austrian Heart I by Bleu de Chine over the weekend (thank you IHSW). This seems to be a very quick stitch, and I am enjoying it immensely. I love the intermingling of cross stitch and blackwork.

And yet another UCJC finish (again thanks to the sequestering of IHSW). I've finished the NATO Phonetics Subversive Sampler by Kincavel Krosses.

This is stitched on 28 ct lugana, over 2, using Carrie's Creations silk thread in Fantasm and HDF silk in BeWrayed. To be honest, I'm not loving the lettering on this piece, but I couldn't find anything that matched better. Since it's done now, I'm not fussing with it anytime soon. Maybe I'll come back to it in a few months and think of a way to improve it.

Over the past two days I put in some time working on Rules for LIfe by Kincavel Krosses, but I just hated the way that the Caron Collection Waterlilies silk was stitching up. All of my stitches looked horrendous! It was uneven and warped and hideous, so I'm ripping out the 300-400 stitches I put in and will be restarting it with HDF silk in white. Hopefully I'll have a new start pic in a few days.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I sense a pattern here

It seems like every stitching post lately has a progress pic for one project and a finish on another! And this post is no different!!

I spent some time working on Weiniec Korona - a freebie from Penelopis and managed to finish the crown. Now just the wreath is left to do. This is stitched with black HDF silk on 32 ct white lugana.

And a finish!! A cute little kit called Carolyn's Garden Violet by Serendipity Designs.

This is the 11th finish for my Ultimate Crazy January Challenge. Woot!

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Finish for June WIPocalypse

I feel like a finishing MACHINE!!  I was so used to working on big projects where finishes were rare. Now I'm working on all these smaller projects and the finishes just won't quit rolling in!

Just in time for this month's WIPocalypse report, I've finished Tribal Butterfly by Sparklies.

It's stitched on 16 ct aida in Whimsy from PTP using HDF silk thread from Vicki Clayton. That's 10 of 31 UCJC starts that are now completed. Woohoo!