Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 31 ... and done!!

I can't believe this day is finally here. I also can't believe I managed to start 31 new projects in 31 days!! Holy crap! If I wasn't crazy before, I am now. What a ridiculous challenge!

Today's start is SK Oriental Courage by Lee-Anne Seed (HAED). I'm stitching this on 28 ct black jobelan , 2 over 1 tent stitch. I decided that since this piece has such huge chunks of colour that I would try tenting on this one too. I find the stitches are a little uneven right now, possibly because I am adjusting to stitching on black, which is more difficult than I had expected. Good progress for not a lot of stitchy time.

This challenge was 100x more difficult than I had expected. What a lot of ups and downs! It started off super exciting and fun, but within a few days the stress of switching projects every day started to get to me. I hung in there, and the stress of switching diminished thankfully, but then I couldn't remember most of what I'd stitched -- it was a blur. After 3 weeks, when I had 10 starts left, the exhaustion set in. While I enjoyed my daily stitching, I really wanted the challenge to be over.

Today I take a big sigh of relief -- no more pressure to start and stitch daily. No more pressure to blog like a mad woman. I can just stitch as much or as little as I want on whatever I want. Hurray!

I originally thought that I'd pick up Drama Queen and put some time into that piece once the challenge was over, but I don't have the energy or concentration for such a complicated piece. I think I'll pick up one of my simple, monochrome silk projects from the beginning of the challenge and just relax for a bit. :) It'll be interesting to see what gets finished in the next 11 months.

To my followers, old and new, thank you so much for joining me on this adventure.

Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 30

I stitched a Lickle Ted kit last year, and I know how tiresome stitching shades of cream and beige can be. Add to that the annoying fractionals and loads of backstitching, well, I have no idea why I chose to do another one. I will admit they are very cute though.

During the entire challenge, I dreaded starting this project the most.

Oddly enough, I rather enjoyed stitching today. I was bummed that I only had a very limited amount of stitchy time.

So, today's start was Lickle Bit Shy by DMC. I traded out the aida in the kit (stupid to have aida with a pattern with so many fractionals) and replaced it with some 32 ct white lugana.

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is the last day of the challenge. I've been trying to decide what project I'll work on on February 1st, but I really can't decide. Maybe I won't stitch at all, who knows?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 29

I was so not in the mood to stitch today. I am burnt out from all these new starts. I dreaded starting today, and I dread starting projects for the next 2 days. But ... after getting this far, I'm going to finish the stinking challenge.

Anyway, today I started the last of the tiny kits - Sapphire Snow Christmas Jewels Charmed Ornament by Mill Hill.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 28

Another fun and easy start today!! I was working on a freebie ornament called Christmas Eve Flight by thesamplergirl.com.

I made decent progress too. :) It's stitched on 18 ct white aida using DMC 321, 433, and 826. The blue might be a bit bold, but I like it!

Friday, January 27, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 27

I really liked today's project, even though the stitches started off a little funky.

Today I started a new HAED - QS Blue Butterfly by Ching Chou Kuik. I'm stitching this on 25 ct Night Magic lugana by Sassy's Fabbys, 1 over 1. The picture doesn't do the fabric justice AT ALL. It's not grey, it's actually a very deep, dark teal. It's gorgeous.

The first 100 or so stitches in this piece looked funny to me, and I was worried that the hand dyed fabric was responsible for the weirdness. Although, as I put more stitches in, it seems to be working itself out.

It's very strange to be stitching with so much pink (this is the second project this week that has been nothing but pink so far), but I'm kind of enjoying the happy, bright, bold colours. I think this piece is going to look amazing on the dark background.

To be honest, it shocked me when I printed out the chart ... only 2 full pages and 2 itsy bitsy partial pages. For a HAED, even a quick stitch, it's tiny! This might just be finished this year after all!

4 more starts to go. :)

Edited to add a slightly better photo:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 26

Today I started Imperial Irises by Serendipity Designs. I did not make much progress. It really doesn't look like anything yet. But it's a start! LOL

Side note -- This past weekend was IHSW (International Hermit and Stitch Weekend). While I did stitch, I feel like I have nothing to show that's new. Everything I stitched has been posted as part of the UCJC. So, sorry for falling short on that mark. Next month -- I promise it'll be better!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 25

Another Serendipity Design -- Carolyn's Garden Sunflower.

It's hard to believe I've started 25 projects, and still have 6 more to go. To be perfectly honest, I'm exhausted. I usually stitch every day for an hour or two, but with this challenge, I feel pressured to not only stitch daily, but to make enough progress that a photo doesn't look like nothing.

As well, the first 15 projects I started were designs that I LOVED, and couldn't wait to stitch. I already know where I want to hang half of them. The last 16 projects on my UCJC list, well, most of them I'm starting because I have the kit, and I like them, and I should start them eventually, but the passion to stitch them isn't really there. I also feel guilty for starting a few new HAEDs, even though I haven't put much of a dent in the current HAEDs I have on the go.

I'm glad I did this challenge. Organizing my projects was a blast, and most days the stitching has been fun. It certainly got me out of the stitching rut I was in. I will not do this again next year. (I think I need next year just to finish what I started this year.) If I do this challenge again (perhaps in 2014), it will only be 15 starts. 31 is just too insane.

But I will finish the challenge this year. I will start them all!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 24

Another fun stitchy day (though not as much time spent stitching as I'd like)!

Today I started another Serendipity Designs kit called Carolyn's Garden Violets. These kits are actually really nice. I love the thread sorter card that comes in the kit and the pattern is easy to read. I have a few of these in my UCJC list -- cute kits, but I doubt I'd buy any small kits like these again. What can I say? I like bigger projects.

Anyway ... here's my progress:

Monday, January 23, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 23 & January TUSAL

I had such fun stitching today! I started on a little design from a book called Quick to Stitch Cross Stitch Cards. The design itself is a little pink kimono by Joan Elliot.

I think I made decent progress. I'm not normally a pink kind of girl, but this was just so cheerful! I like that I can SEE substantial progress.

It's also time for the first TUSAL post of 2012. (TUSAL = Totally Useless Stitch-a-long)

I didn't think I'd have much in the jar, but I have done a ridiculous amount of stitching over the last 3 weeks. I'm so used to stitching large, complicated projects where I spend half my time threading needles and planning my stitching route. I don't make a lot of ORTs with those projects. All these crazy starts generated not just a lot of ORTs, but a wild array of colours too!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 22

Not much to see today, but it's still a start.

This is Snowflake Tree - part of the Festival of Trees Charmed Ornament line by Mill Hill. I actually stitched this same ornament last year and I loved the look of it so much, I'm stitching it again!! It's a pretty easy stitch and shouldn't take me long to complete, once I get a chance to put some time into it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 21

I decided to try tenting again.

Today's start is a HAED called Catch a Falling Star by Julie Fain (retired). This was the first HAED pattern I ever bought, and I LOVE IT. It is a huge piece though, with dimensions of 400 x 509 stitches or 16 x 22 1/2 inches. I would like to finish it in my lifetime.

I'm stitching it on 25 ct ice blue lugana, 2 over 1 tent, using DMC. For some reason, this time around my stitches are laying quite nicely, though the coverage isn't spectacular. I keep reminding myself that it only looks bad when you're inches away from it. It'll look fine at a distance.

This is also the first time that I really felt the need to grid. I've gridded my other HAEDs, but only by page, not by 10x10 block. I'm a cross country stitcher, and a pretty good counter, so I never really saw the purpose of gridding each block. This piece is completely different. So much of it is the same colour (139,929 stitches of DMC 939) that it is almost impossible to accurately count the tent stitches. Gridding makes it SO MUCH easier -- consider me converted.

I will say that tenting is just ridiculously fast. I only put in a few hours here and there today, and I managed 728 stitches (or 14% of the page). That's lightning speed compared to my other full-cross HAEDs.

I have 2 other HAED starts coming up in UCJC -- I think I'll do the butterfly in full-crosses, but the Storykeep might just get tented too.

Ages ago, before Christmas, I took a picture of all of my kitted up projects spread out on my treadmill. I took another picture today. Hard to believe there are so few left on there. Only 10 more starts. :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 20

Not much stitching got done today, but I still managed to start another project. Today I was working on a kit called Oriental Orchid by Dimensions.

The aida isn't dirty; it's got this weird background shading on it. I stitch overtop some of it. There's also two blends in there, but it's difficult to tell. It all looks the same in the photo.

I love the design, hate the aida. Yuck.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 19

I missed stitching with silk!!

Today's start was the Oh Bugger Subversive Sampler by Kincavel Krosses. I'm stitching it on a 16 ct aida called Tarnish by Picture This Plus using Carrie's Creations in Mostly Deadly Nightshade.

This combination happened accidently when I was kitting up all my UCJC starts back in November. I was sorting through all of my fabrics and silks, and I put them to the side for a few minutes to do something in the kitchen. When I came back I saw this silk slung across a corner of this fabric, and I loved it. I knew immediately that I wanted to use them for this design.

Though I didn't find much time for stitching today, it was definitely happy stitching.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 18

This was an interesting one today. I first saw this pattern when it was a SAL on crossstitchforum.com and XandraS was kind enough to mail me the pattern when she was finished. I kitted it up ... and never got a chance to start it. A year and a half later, and here we are. When I pulled it out last night to prep it, I realized I had made some pretty funky (and my funky I mean awful) colour choices. So I spent half an hour (at least) browsing my DMC boxes to create a much more suitable colour palette.

The pattern is "I Stitch Therefore I Stash" out of an issue of Cross Stitch Crazy (no idea which issue though). I used the same fabric I'd originally chosen -- an odd bluey-green piece of 18 ct aida from Picture This Plus called Glacier. I'm using some variegated DMC, solid DMC, and some Kreinik #4 to add some bling! I'm actually really liking the new colours I came up with. It's unusual, but I like it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 17

Today's start is a little kit from Serendipity Designs called Carolyn's Garden Poppy. After the blah time I had with the Mill Hill kit the other day, I wasn't looking forward to today's start. Happily, it turned out to be a very nice little chart to stitch. I think I made decent progress as well.

This might just become a Mother's Day present ... :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 16

I started this piece just after midnight, and I was so not into it. I did a little more stitching this afternoon and it got a little better. For some reason, this piece (even though I love the design) was not fun to stitch. Perhaps it's the super stiff aida that turned me off. Maybe it's because I was stitching with 4 stands of floss, so I had to change from my usual DMC size 28 needle to a size 26 gold John James needle. Every time I pulled the needle through the aida it squeaked. *cringe* It was like nails on a chalkboard.

Anyway, today's stitchy project was Woodland Enchantress by Dimensions Gold Collection. It's stitched on 16 ct dove gray aida. Not a whole lot of progress. :(

Sunday, January 15, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 15

Today is the last day of the Crazy January Challenge. Luckily for all of you -- I'm doing the ultimate version, so there are still 16 more starts to come.

It's amazing ... a few days into the UCJC I was feeling very off-kilter because I found it frustrating to change projects every day. Now, 15 days (and 15 projects) later, I can't remember what I've started. There are SO MANY projects that it's a bit of a blur. I can barely remember what I stitched on yesterday, let alone what I worked on 10 days ago.

The interesting thing is that I no longer find it stressful to switch projects every day. I have a routine. I stitch till about 10pm, then I take pictures and blog about that day's stitching. Around 11:30pm I start prepping my project for the next day, and if I'm still awake enough to stitch, then I'll put in a few stitches after midnight. Rinse and repeat.

Originally I was just going to do the 15 start version of this challenge, so I had saved the "best for last." I have been wanting to stitch Cirque des Carreaux by Ink Circles since the second I saw the pattern several years ago. I've been tossing around colour ideas for ages, but I finally settled on a combination that I really hadn't seen anywhere else yet. I've chosen to stitch this on 25 ct Night Fall lugana (Sassy's Fabbys), 1 over 1, using Carrie's Creations silk in Epiphany. The neat thing (I think) is that I'm doing an almost tone-on-tone version.

This start is also part of the BAP Challenge hosted by Becky over at Becky Bee's Stitching Hive. I'll make a separate page for that challenge.

So, all of the pieces in the first half of this challenge were projects that I'd been dying to work on for ages. In the second half of this challenge, I'm mostly working on kits that I have had in my stash for far too long or on HAEDs that I shouldn't start but am going to anyway. It should be an interesting ride.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 14

I'm back on the silk wagon!! Today's project is the Welcome Sampler by Kincavel Krosses stitched on 18 ct white aida using Carrie's Creations Pizzazz.

I must admit that I kind of "altered" the silk I'm using. I love the blue, green, and purple in Pizzazz, but there's actually a fourth colour (brown) that I've cut out of the lengths of floss. It was just so icky compared the the richness of the other colours. It'll be our dirty little secret, okay?

Friday, January 13, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 13

My stitching didn't start off too well today ... but it ended on a good note. :)

Today I started the first kit in my UCJC line-up - a Mill Hill bead kit called Diamond Holiday from the Christmas Jewels Charmed Ornament line. It's stitched on perforated paper, and as I started I was rather disgruntled with it. The first stitches just looked all funky and funny and awkward. BUT I was good and kept on going even though I wanted to put it away.

I'm glad I kept at it because it's starting to come together. I'm about half done the cross stitches, then it'll be on to the beading. It should only take another evening session or two to finish it (once UCJC is done).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 12

Had a major visit from Mr. Frog today, so even though I was on a roll with my stitching, there isn't as much progress as there could/should have been. Good news is that I caught the booboo early and I'm still loving this piece. Big chunks of colour and non-varigated thread make this a joy to stitch.

Anyway, today I'm stitching the Spring Pansy by Solaria Gallery (I prefer to call it Stained Glass Pansy -- it's more descriptive) on 32 ct antique white lugana, 2 over 2, using DMC.

It's strange to think that everyone doing the Crazy January Challenge are beginning to wind down, the end is in sight. But for me, because I'm doing the Ultimate version, my challenge isn't even half done yet. Craziness!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 11

I find it fascinating that you can look forward to stitching some projects (like yesterday's start) and then not enjoy it once you get going, and other projects that you aren't as excited for, end up being a delightful stitch (like today's start)!

So, today I started Austrian I by Bleu de Chine (pattern in JCS Jan/Feb 2010) stitched on 32 ct white lugana, 2 over 2 using Carrie's Creations Heart on Fire (not silk sadly).

I think I made decent progress today, and I really, really enjoyed stitching it. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 10

Just a splash of colour ... you'll see.

Today I started Rules for Life by Kincavel Krosses on 18 ct Royal Purple aida (by Sassy's Fabbys) using Caron Waterlilies Tropic Seas.

I didn't really ejnoy stitching this. :( I'm not sure if it's the thread or the fabric that's throwing me off. Both are beautiful ... but the thread is really twisty and funky and my stitches dont look great, and the fabric holes are really small and difficult to find, possibly because it's been dyed. I don't know -- this might have to sit a while before I'll come back to it. But the colours are gorgeous!

I'm super busy at school, so my progress on my starts the past few days has been rather miniscule. I'll try to do better. :P

Monday, January 9, 2012

WIPocalypse - January progress

To be honest, I don't have much progress to show on my WIPs because I have been so busy with all my starts for the Ultimate Crazy January Challenge. As of today, I have 9 new starts and it's boggling my mind a bit. :)

Anyhow, I thought I would show the tiny bit of progress I made on Drama Queen during the holidays.

It's a whole lot of red. :) And there's still more red to go in there.

This will be on the backburner until all my new starts are, well, started. February will be the perfect month to stitch red!

2012 UCJC - Day 9

Didn't have as much time to stitch today as I would have liked, but I do have a little bit of progress to show.

Today I started Elizabeth by Miribilia on 32 ct Silvery Skies lugana (by Enchanting Lair), 2 over 2 using DMC and Mill Hill beads. I must admit that I just LOVE the fabric I'm stitching this on. I can't wait to see how all the colours come together on it.

I love this design ... but I don't think it'll get much love in the first half of this year. Too many other things to stitch!! LOL

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 8

I have to give a big shout-out to my LNS - Thread & Eye. Kathy and Neale are just the nicest, sweetest people ever!

Today's project is Metamorphasis by Ink Circles. I ordered the chart near the end of November, but it didn't arrive at my LNS till after I had left town and headed to my parents' place for the holidays. I'd already made arrangements with Kathy & Neale to kit up the chart for me so it would be ready to go when I picked it up at the beginning of January. Lo and behold, I get an email just before Christmas from them ... they had everything ready for me, but they had some hand-dyed fabric that would look lovely and would I like to see it before they cut the white lugana I had original planned on using? (Twist my rubber arm!) So they waited for me to pop by in January and they showed me the most perfect fabric! It's a gorgeous buttery beige and the threads looked stunning when I did the floss toss.

So, I am now stitching Metamorphasis on 32 ct Heritage lugana, 2 over 2, using the recommended GAST threads. I'm loving it!

I made decent progress today too. I will be getting back to this one sooner rather than later. :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 7

Today I started a freebie by Penelopis called Wieniec Korona. I'm continuing the silk trend too -- black HDF silk, 2 over 2 on 32 ct white lugana. I didn't have a lot of time to stitch today :( so my project doesn't really look like anything.

My only complaint with this pattern is that when I printed out my working copy, the graph paper was all fuzzy and blurry and the pattern was very difficult to read.

I had to rechart it by hand so I could follow it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 6

The silk trend continues ...

This is a sweet little chart by My Big Toe Designs called Christmas Snow. It doesn't really read Christmas to me ... so I like to call it Swirly Snow. :P Anyway, I'm stitching it on 32 ct Siren's Ocean lugana by Enchanting Lair, 2 over 2 with (you guessed it!) white HDF silk. I {heart} silk.

This piece is fun to stitch, and I love the look of the white on the hand-dyed fabric. I'm getting used to stitching with just one colour thread per project, not sure how I'll adjust when I get a chart with lots of colour changes. LOL

I've been trying to follow as many other Crazy January Challenges as possible, and a common thread of conversation revolves around how difficult it is to start so many new projects so quickly (and we're only 6 days in). I must say I feel that way too. I love starting the projects - it's really satisfying to start all these charts that I've had in my stash for ages and just never found time for. I like seeing my thread and fabric decisions become a reality in my hands. At the same time, it's really disconcerting to stitch for a few hours, take the piece off the q-snaps, tuck it away in its baggie in my drawer of starts, and then prep the new start for the next day. The urge to continue stitching on one project is almost overwhelming. It's just weird.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 5

More silk!!!!

Today's start is a fun one, that's for sure. I'm stitching the NATO Phonetic Subversive Sampler by Kincavel Krosses on 28 ct white lugana, 2 over 2 using Carrie's Creations Fantasm. (It's not subversive -- yet! But it is beyond pretty!)

Close up!

This one is fun -- amazing colours, lovely silk, and a simple, straightforward design. The size amazes me though, it's so small -- only 4.5 x 3.5 inches. I look at the chart and my brain thinks it should be as large as the page is for some reason. Once it's done, this will be a fun piece to tuck on a shelf in my office at school and see if anyone notices the subversive message! LOL

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 4

In case you haven't noticed or didn't know, I LOVE LOVE LOVE stitching with silks. This is my fourth project in my UCJC and it's the second one using silks! There are 7 more in the line up as well. I'm seriously addicted to them. Love them!

Today's start uses Vicki Clayton's HDF 2125 on some hand-dyed 16 ct aida (Whimsy it's called) from Picture This Plus. I'm stitching the Tribal Butterfly by Sparklies.

In person the silk is much brighter and shinier; I am already in love with this piece. It looks great and is stitching up pretty fast. Plus, it's such a simple straightforward stitch -- a very welcome change from what I commonly stitch. It kills me to put this one down!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 3

Tried something new today -- hardanger. It was a little intimidating at first; I didn't really understand the chart and the threads were like nothing I'd ever worked with before. Caron Watercolours (aka perle #5) is gigantic!!!

So this piece is called Clover by Mabel Figworthy's Fancies. The model is stitched tone on tone, but I thought clover should be green ... and have some POP to it! So I chose to stitch it on 25 ct white lugana using Caron Collection threads in Emerald (Watercolours and Wildflowers) with some Mill Hill Petite Seed Beads.

Once I got going and got used to the threads, it was actually a lot of fun to work on! No cutting has been done yet, but it's coming!! I am looking forward to coming back to this piece and finishing it soon.

I love starting all these new projects with UCJC, but I almost wish I had a little more time with each start. I'm just getting into a piece and I have to put it down again. It'll be a month before I can touch this again.

Anyway ... NEXT!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 UCJC - Day 2

Today's stitching did not start off as well as I'd hoped. I decided to try tenting on some of my larger, fully stitched pieces b/c I really want to get some finishes in sooner rather than later. I loved the idea of being able to stitch 2x as fast this way.

Full of high hopes, I started stitching Fractal 284 Bookmark, and after almost 200 stitches ... I HATED it. My stitches looked all funny and uneven. (Though they look better in the pic then they did in real life.)

No offense to those out there that tent, but I just can't fathom enjoying stitching an entire piece that way. This means that the other 3 pieces I was planning to tent will now be done with full crosses, and will take forever to finish. :(

So I spent an hour or so frogging out all that I'd done, and restarted using full crosses.

I'm 240 stitches in, and it looks ok. There's something about this piece (perhaps it's the fabric?) that's making me not love stitching it. This one might not get pulled out again for a while.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

And it begins ... 2012 UCJC - Day 1

I've been so excited the past few days just waiting for the 2012 Ultimate Crazy January Challenge to start! 31 new starts in 31 days -- how crazy am I??

So here I go ... Day 1!! Today's start is the 2009 Christmas ornament by Tor Rhuann Designs. (Check my UCJC page for a picture of what it should look like when finished.) I love the look of assisi-style designs, and it feels good to get a head start on my ornaments for next Christmas. I'm stitching this on 18 ct white aida with HDF silk (Ethereal Ice) and PTB Silver.

And my progress today:

I also have a card to share today. I played around with creating my own washi tape the other day using authentic Japanese origami paper. I love how it turned out, and it was fun to make an Asian-inspired card.