Monday, December 30, 2013

Reviewing, planning, and goal setting

2013 was not my best year. It had some major lows (like the passing of my mom) and not many highs. For some reason, I had the forethought to not get involved in any blogland activities this past year - no TUSAL, no WIPocalypse - and I rarely remembered to participate in IHSW (International Hermit & Stitch Weekends). I did a decent job keeping up with my own blogging except for the first few months after mom passed.

When you look at my goals for 2013, it looks like I did a really good job (even though several of the goals were add-ons throughout the year).

My goals for 2013 were:
  • Complete 3 pages of Drama Queen 2 pages completed
  • Finish Cirque des Carreaux DONE
  • Finish Rules for Life DONE
  • Start & finish Metamorphosis (mini blue) DONE
  • Start & finish Frozen Flower DONE
  • Start & finish Metamorphosis (fire) DONE
  • Start & finish Birds of a Feather DONE
  • Start & finish Metamorphosis (tone on tone blue) DONE
  • Start Sunflower Bee STARTED
  • Start Ciara Blue STARTED
  • Start Baked Alaska STARTED
  • Start Evening in the Park
  • Finish Elizabeth
I managed to finish 13 stitchy projects and 2 crochet projects this year. There was a definite blue trend in my stitching in 2013 -- forshadowing perhaps? I was disappointed that I didn't manage to start Evening in the Park. I love this Chatelaine design and have had the materials for it all kitted up for months now.

For 2014, I've decided to join the Turtle Trot SAL hosted by BAP Attack. This SAL is intended to help make progress on some older projects. The rules are as follows:

1. You must have a blog, because you'll be posting links to it.
2. Pick 10 unfinished projects to work on.
3. Take a picture of them and make a blog post by the 10th of January.
4. Each month, by the 10th, post whatever progress pics you have.
5. Post a link to your progress post on BAP Attack's blog.

I'll post about my choices for this SAL in another post.

In general though, my goals for 2014 are:
  • Finish 3 pages of Drama Queen
  • Finish Elizabeth
  • Finish Welcome
  • Finish Wise Wisdom
  • Start & finish Damask Square
  • Start Eron the Wizard
  • Start Evening in the Park
  • Participate in "Turtle Trot SAL" each month
Here's hoping for a happier and stitchier New Year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Double Update

There is something about seeing substantial progress that is both deeply satisfying and highly motivating. :)

Christmas Day was a very chill day for me, most of which was spent working on Ciara Blue by Blackwork Journey.

This piece is often mind-numbingly repetitive and boring, but it is also stunningly beautiful. Even though there is still a long way to go, I am excited about the finish.

My desire to work on the blackwork was inspired a little by doing the backstitching on the first owl in Wise Wisdom by Stoney Creek. As you can see … backstitching makes such a difference!

Working on some of my WIPs (like Ciara Blue) that I haven't touched in months certainly rejuvenates my stitchy bug.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A little more skirt

I've been working on Elizabeth again. She's very relaxing to work on. Big and blocky = easy peasy stitching!

There's still so much more skirt to go though.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A wise start?

I've been thinking about my stitching plans for next year (that'll be another post) and I decided to look through all my patterns and see if anything jumped out and yelled "Start Me!" To be honest, I want to start it all, but that's not realistic. Surprisingly, nothing that wasn't already a planned start landed in the to-do pile (we'll see how long that lasts).

That being said, there are a few new starts waiting … along with a rather large pile of WIPs and UFOs.  I didn't mean to start anything new till January, but that did not go as planned. I started Wise Wisdom by Stoney Creek.

This is one of those patterns that normally wouldn't appeal to me, but the moment I saw it, I knew who I had to stitch it for and why. So it was bought and has been sitting in the to-start pile for a few months. It is a wonderfully simple pattern and I am whizzing through the first part faster that I expected.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Done in Time

I spent the last week working on the crocheted scarf for my dad whenever I got a spare moment (which were few and far between). I managed to finish it and block the fringe yesterday!

This morning I trimmed up the fringe and got the rest of it all blocked. I'm really quite pleased with it.

And I was especially pleased that I finished it before heading to my Dad's place for a pre-Christmas visit. However, the weather (an impending ice storm) has squashed my travel plans. Now it looks like I won't be able to visit until early January. Guess I didn't need to rush after all. Although it does feel good to be done. No more crocheting for a while though ... I need a break!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A definite difference

I wasn't planning on it, but I ended up taking the weekend off. No schoolwork, no guilt, no nothing. It was WONDERFUL!!

So instead, I spent the weekend stitching, watching soccer, and napping. Glorious! I decided to work on Elizabeth again. Mostly I've been stitching stuff for other people during the last few months, and this piece is for me.

Here she is the last time I updated the blog:

I've put a few stitches in her on and off since then, so here she is before I started the weekend:

And here she is as of tonight:

It feels so good to see such progress on a piece for me.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I love packages in the mail

I do. I really, really do. I LOVE getting packages in the mail. Unfortunately, that usually results in a corresponding dent in my wallet. :(

But I digress … today the sweetest little bundle turned up … a fat eighth bundle of Twirl by Me & My Sister Designs for Moda.

So cute!!! And there's more in there then you'd think - 38 different fabrics!

I don't usually go for these colours (I am not a pink, orange, or yellow kind of girl) but I just fell in love with these fabrics the instant I saw them! It's taken a while to track them down too, since the collection came out a year or so ago. I originally had just wanted a jelly roll, but I like that I ended up with the fat eighths - more versatile.

Now to wait for another package … so I can start planning what to do with these fabrics. :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Still crocheting - slowly but surely

I've been working on this since the end of August I think. I promised my dad 2 years ago that I'd crochet him a red and black scarf. Here's my progress so far:

I'm crocheting it in an unusual way … lengthwise instead of widthwise. I don't think I need much more before it's wide enough. :) This is a ridiculously easy (though time consuming) project -- nothing but single crochets and slip stitches.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thankful to be done

I did it! I gave up a little bit of sleep and ignored a few chores and I finished Metamorphosis 4.0. I think it looks smashing!

As a refresher -- this is stitched over 2 on 28 ct cornflower Jobelan using Carrie's Creations silk in Periwinkle. I think the tone-on-tone with just a hint of varigation looks fantastic. I do love blue!

It's already at the framers … I can't wait to see it all done up.

I am very thankful to be done this piece though. Four times is too much for one design, especially when you stitch the last two versions back-to-back. Ugh - won't do that again.

I'm trying very hard to resist a new start (goodness knows I have enough stash to have a dozen new starts at least). I did however pull out Elizabeth by Mirabilia and put her back on a Millenium frame. She got a few stitches Thursday night and I enjoyed them all! Pics of her next week. :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Metamorphosis 4.0

I'd been doing so well all year -- blogging 6-7 times a month -- now I can barely scrape together one post a month. Sorry!

I travelled for two weeks at the end of October / beginning of November, and even though I brought some stitching with me, I didn't pick up my needle once. I just really have not had the desire to stitch. I have especially not wanted to work on Metamorphosis again.

However, I did manage to force myself to put in some time and stitches once I got back home. It's amazing what a few hours of concentrated stitching can do!

I must admit I'm getting pretty tired of this pattern. Thankfully blue is my favourite colour! Now that I'm past the halfway point, I am starting to love this piece again.

Only two more motifs to go!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thread & Eye Stitching Retreat

Last weekend I went to my LNS' stitching retreat. The first day and a half was spent just chillin and stitchin, and then on Saturday I spent the day (and most of the evening) working on the counted canvas class project. After a little extra work once I got home, I managed to finish it.

The design is by Needle Delights. The class was wonderfully organized and everyone was able to pick a colourway they liked with an array of different floss types. As an added bonus, a finishing method was provided too. It isn't simply a frame for the stitching, but it's actually a trivet/mug coaster. How cool is that?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Bye bye bug

I have lost my stitchy bug. He has been gone for quite a while now. I certainly haven't had much time to stitch in the past 6 weeks, what with school starting and my own research activities really ramping up.

But, what I think really made my stitchy bug disappear was my mom's poor health. She was diagnosed with cancer in April and spent the summer receiving chemotherapy treatments. The last 3 months have been terribly difficult. She was ravaged by the chemo and the cancer; she spent most of her time sleeping and wasting away. At the end of September, she lost the battle and passed away.

Stitching has been my therapy, my relaxation, my happy place for years now, but somehow I find it very difficult to muster the energy it takes to pull out my stitching and work on it.

So I am sorry that I have not updated the blog in a while and I am sorry I have no pictures to share. I'm sure you can understand why though.

I'm off to a stitching retreat this weekend, and I'm hoping that will rejuvenate me and kick my stitchy bug back into gear.

Next time there will be pictures. Promise.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Double the starts

So I did a little something silly for IHSW -- I started two new projects! (I know, I know. I already have a kajillion on the go, what the hell am I thinking starting more? Trust me, I squash that little voice often!)

So my little stitchy group got together on Friday night and most of us started an "A-maze-ing Dessert" from Glendon Place as a sort-of SAL. There's a Pumpkin Swirl, a Tiramisu, a moldy Plum Pudding (aka Plum Pudding done in greens instead of purples), and I started Baked Alaska.

This is my first time using Dinky Dyes silks and so far I am liking them very much! Others in the stitchy group have also found them a joy to stitch with. There's just something about quality silks!

The group hadn't really seen each other since before the summer, so more talking than stitching got done. I'll have an actual progress pic when there are more than 10 stitches to show off.

I also started another project -- can anyone guess what it might be?

Both of these projects are done in silk - I forgot how lovely stitching with silk is! I'm tempted to start a few more things now. LOL

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The biggest dress ever

I've been working on Elizabeth by Mirabilia in spurts lately, but there has definitely been progress! The big black bow is mostly done and I've finally started adding to her skirt on the left-hand side. Knowing there are several more pages of pattern just of her skirt ... it blows my mind how big her dress is. Holy cow she's going to be huge!

Thankfully she's beautiful and fun to stitch. :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Another happy dance!

It feels so good to have another happy dance! I finished Metamorphosis by Ink Circles for the third time.

I changed the colours for this one a few times mid-way through the project, and I'm so glad I did. I think the progression from yellow to orange to red works really well. It's all ironed and ready to go to the framers later this week.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Neglected Blackwork

I don't think I've touched my blackwork project, Ciara Blue by Blackwork Journey, all summer. It feels like it's been forever! I finally picked it up tonight and gave it a little love.

It is definitely a delicate, beautiful piece. I totally love it.

I do find blackwork difficult to concentrate on for long periods of time. It is best done in short spurts. :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

six motifs done & one to go

The fire colourway of Metamorphosis by Ink Circles is looking great! I am loving how this piece is growing! 

Just one more motif in dark red to go!

Monday, September 2, 2013

An unexpected happy dance

I went to visit my parents briefly this weekend and of course I took a few projects along with me. Mostly I did schoolwork, but I did find a few late night hours to put into stitching. Lo and behold, I made progress. A lot of progress!

So much progress, in fact, that Birds of a Feather by From Nancy's Needle, my very first counted canvas piece, was finished!

I am delighted with how it turned out though. And yes, I will stitch another canvas piece, but I've decided not to start something right away. I'd like to make some more progress on the size of my WIP pile before I start more projects (and there are already a few new planned starts in the pipeline).

I'd like to frame it and put it on the wall, but I'm undecided how I want it framed and what colour mats to put with it. Any suggestions? I think this one might require some prolonged thought before it goes to visit the framer.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lots of Swallows

Picked up my counted canvas piece for the first time in a while, and managed to get all of the flying swallow motifs stitched in the big border.

I see a happy dance in the fairly near future! End of September (or earlier) is what I'm aiming for.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A quiltin' I will go ...

A few months ago I was introduced to English paper piecing (a hand-stitched quilting technique) and I couldn't resist trying it out. I now have two projects on the go. :)

My first and major project is a Batik Hexie Quilt. It is mostly dark blue with green, purple, and aqua blue flowers and will consist of just over 1200 hexies. I've managed to make a few more, bringing the total up to 119 basted hexies:

I've also started a wall hanging piece made of 96  2" diamonds.

These are done in Robert Kaufman Fusions Mist fabrics in Pear, Forest, Sable, and Ivory (I think - not sure about the greens). I've managed to baste more than half of them:

And I've figured out the design layout for the 6-point star I'm making:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Keep on stitching ...

School starts soon, so class prep has started and is taking up quite a bit of time, but the stitching keeps progressing.

Elizabeth (by Mirabilia) has really grown over the past few weeks. I'm excited that the black blob now actually looks like a bow!

Metamorphosis (by Ink Circles) has made huge progress! I forgot how quick this one stitches up. I'm already working on motif six, and there's only one more after this one!

Now, if I only stitched on these two pieces, progress would continue by leaps and bounds. Alas ... I have other projects that steal my attention at times. More on those next time.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Life gets in the way

Seriously, I had such high hopes for blogging this month. I even took my camera and cords with me when I went travelling for two weeks. But nothing happened ... I stitched, that almost always happens, but the blogging thing got pushed to the side. Sorry about that.

I also missed posting for IHSW (International Hermit and Stitch Weekend), even though I did hermit quite a bit last weekend. I'm hoping the structure and schedules of September will help me keep on top of things. Again -- sorry!

There will be lots of update photos coming in the next week, but today I have a framed finished for you!

After much bitching, whining, and grumbling, I finished stitching the all-white hardanger piece Frozen Flower by Mabel Figworthy's Fancies.

This piece was stitched as a gift for a dear friend who defended her PhD dissertation earlier this week. I am happy to say she was successful and is now a doctor!! I chose this design for her because she writes a blog called White Cabana -- unsurprisingly it's about all things white, including interior design, decor, art, and architecture. Over the years I have sent her links to stitching and cardmaking sites featuring all-white projects. Every year I make her birthday and/or Christmas cards in all-white. (Not as easy as it sounds!) So I could do nothing less than an all-white piece of stitching to mark this great occasion.

I knew I had to choose a design with style, elegance, and texture. This piece had it all. (Though it was a much more challenging stitch then I had expected. Not that the stitching was particularly difficult, but the tedium of all those woven bars (approximately 280 of them) made my mind melt. It was a challenge to stick with this piece. However, the look on my friend's face when she unwrapped it made all of those hours so worthwhile.) I can't wait to visit her in her new house and see it in all its glory!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A bit of a bender

Some insomnia plus a little extra "me" time means a good amount of progress!

Elizabeth got most of her bodice and more of her bow added:

I love this one more and more now that it actually almost looks like something. She is going to be huge though!

Metamorphosis had two motifs completed and a third started:

This is such a quick, easy stitch. I forgot how fast it can go. The fire colourway looks better than I had hoped - I like it!

A new start was made on my next crochet project - a stripey scarf:

I must admit that I struggled to get this one started (had to chain 432 ... twice!), mostly because I have fairly tight tension in my stitches and the first chain was just too tight to use. On the second try, I moved up two hook sizes to make the foundation chain, then went back to the called-for E hook and it is now going swimmingly! I really, really enjoy working on this. It's super simple as well, using either slip stitches or single crochets. I do appreciate the mindlessness. :P

And the quilting store received another visit from little ol' me (oops):

I just love the Robert Kaufman Fusions Mist fabrics -- great colours, awesome mottling, and subtle print. I keep thinking of things I want to make!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Updates on progress, finishes, framing, and a new start

I have a bad habit of not updating on projects when I only do a tiny bit of work on them. Over the course of a month or so I might work on a project several times, but only minor progress occurs each time. However, that progress adds up. :)

Today's post is full of updates -- most of the work took place over the last month and not just since my last post. I sadly can't spend that much concentrated time on my crafting.

Alright, let's get on to the good stuff! Pictures coming up ...

Birds of a Feather got some zig zag added:

Elizabeth has more of her poofy pink skirt:

Rules for Life came home from the framers:

My granny square lapghan is finished!! It is currently being blocked. (This is my first time ever blocking something, so it isn't perfect, but it's a huge improvement from before I blocked it.)

And I started something new ... Metamorphosis (by Ink Circles) in a "fire" colourway (think yellow-orange-red ... eventually):

It always feels like I never have much time to craft, but looking at this post makes me think I manage just fine. Yay! :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Finally picked a new reader

Although I am sad that Google Reader is now defunct, I have finally choosen a new reader - Bloglovin.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I should never just pop by a store

I recently discovered the blog of a local quilting store, Cornerstone Quilts, and since today was the Christmas in July sale, I popped by just to look around.

I should know better ... I never just "look around" in places like this. I walked out with half a metre of each of these:

I'm thinking of doing a 60 degree diamond hand-pieced wall decoration (or something, I don't know, I'm new at this stuff) for my mom.

And I also picked up some fat quarters so I can do a diamond wall thingy for me too.

Now I just have to convince myself that I don't need any more fabric ...