Sunday, March 30, 2014

The VERY first

Okay, so I don't think it's the very, VERY first thing I ever stitched, but it's the first one kept by my mom. I'd guess that it's at least 30 years old.

Stitched on plastic canvas with what looks like worsted weight yarn, it's acually a pretty nice piece. The stitching tension is good, and it has another piece of plastic canvas to hide the back of the work. The edge is neatly wrapped to hold the two pieces together.

My mom used it for years too. Makes me laugh a little every time I look at it. There was a compainion piece to this one, all green with white lettering and a cute fuzzy fringe on two sides. I will have to look for it next time I visit my dad.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Time for something new … seriously?

I've said on here several times that my spare time is extremely limited. A PhD is not conducive to endless hours of leisure time. However, this fact doesn't seem to stop me from picking up new hobbies. Last year I added English paper piecing and counted canvas to my repertoire and the year before I taught myself how to crochet.

After much urging, encouragement, and enabling by a dear friend, and despite my weak attempt at resistance, I have succumbed and agreed to try knitting (again). I tried once when I was a little girl, but my tension was so bad that after a few rows it was impossible. I had thought that I was never going to be a knitter. With age and crochet experience comes a better feel for tension, and so I tried again.

I picked up some cheap needles and pulled some ridiculously green acrylic yarn from my stash and gave it a go.

Not to shabby for a first try! Look at all that pretty garter stitch. I am a knitting whiz! Slipping stitches like a pro!

*fast forward 3 days*

Sadly adding in purl stitches and the pretense of a pattern (k3, p3) and it all went to hell. LOL

As much as I hate to admit it, I need to practice. Here's to umpteen rows of stockinette stitch in my future!

Monday, March 24, 2014

MMSC - Week 12

I made time to get it done … a big beautiful star is born!

And my points line up pretty well too. :) It was very satisfying to finally sew the two halves of my star together. I love it! I'm very glad I chose the brown star design after all.

Now I need to get back to basting diamonds again.

This week I also found a little time for my Batik Hexie Quilt and basted 15 more little hexies. This means I've exceeded my New Year's goal of basting 100 hexies this year. I think I might have to adjust my goal -- who knew I'd be so inspired by a link party?

As usual, I'm linking up to the Monday Morning Star Count at Life Under Quilts and Hexie Friday at A Quilting Reader's Garden.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A start delayed

For the past few months I have not had my usual raging, all-consuming stitchy bug. It's been a struggle to motivate myself to stitch. Back in early February, I became insanely excited about a Facebook SAL I found that is being hosted by Northern Expression Needlework. It's a 24-part SAL with a part released at the beginning of each month. I joined 6 months into the SAL. It's called the Learning Sampler and is chock full of specialty stitches.

The designer recommended using The Silk Mill silks (which I'd never even heard of before) and I could not resist! I immediately picked out my colours and ordered the silks from Europe.

The orginial design suggests an ombre range of colours, but I decided to go bold with the bright blue for the letters and and the two greens for the alternating bands. The off-white/cream is for the borders.

The silks are gorgeous! The smoothest, sleekest, shiniest silk I've ever worked with (and I work with silk often). Thankfully someone on the FB page had warned me how slippery this stuff is, and it certainly is slippery. Craziness … but SO pretty!

I started this piece with gusto, but in my head it was nowhere near this huge. Even after buying the massive piece of fabric (stitched over 2 on 32 ct lugana) it didn't register with me. It wasn't until I started stitching that I realized that I'd signed up for a huge, huge project. That realization kind of killed my bug. And the piece got set aside for a while.

Finally, after the rejuvenation of last week's stitchy get together with some friends, my bug is partially back, and I tackled this piece again. I was determined to finish the letter A. (I still need to finish B, C, D, and E and the top border just to complete part 1.)

Now that I have the desire to work on this again, I don't have the time. Story of my life!

Monday, March 17, 2014

MMSC - Week 11

Last week was a very bad week on several fronts. So what did I do? I submersed myself in EPP. At least that was under my control and (compared to my schoolwork) I could see tangible progress. My energy only lasted a few days though, before work and apathy overtook me. By Friday I was a grumpy, irritable mess who couldn't sit still and focus long enough to work on anything crafty.

But my friends unwittingly came to my rescue! A crafty get together was planned for Friday night, a friend offered to drive, and I couldn't really get out of going. So I went. It was the exact thing I needed. I stitched, I ooh'd and aah'd over other people's work, and I laughed. Such a balm to an unhappy soul! This of course revitalized my stitchy bug and I spent much of my free time on the weekend stitching.

Ok, enough of my rambling, it's photo time! I sewed together 3 more of the big diamonds, so my big star is only 2 pieces now, and will hopefully come together this week.

I also did some basting … 18 diamonds and 5 hexies.

A plan is beginning to take shape in my mind for my big star blanket. I'm thinking of a 4 quadrant background in light and medium beige, with two big stars and a few little stars appliqu├ęd randomly all over it. I haven't decided about a border or backing fabric yet. I think I need to learn how to use a sewing machine for that, and that won't happen any time soon. However, I have also started playing with layouts for the second big star:

Can you picture the white inner star? What do you think?

As usual, I've linked up to the Monday Morning Star Count at Life Under Quilts and the Hexie Weekend at A Quilting Reader's Garden.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Earth tones and tension

I don't post many photos of my crocheting, mostly because (a) I am a very slow crocheter and (b) I don't crochet that often. I seem to go in spurts -- I'll crochet every day for a week, then I'll put it down for a few weeks. To be honest, I simply forget to post photos cause I don't see a lot of progress in my projects.

However, it has been a long time, so there is progress to show! I'm working on this scarf for one of my brothers. It'll look a little bit like the red/black/grey scarf I did for my Dad for Christmas (but I'm actually following the pattern for this one).

I went to a friend's place for a crafty afternoon last week and when I pulled this out to work on it, she ooh'd and aah'd over it (what crafter doesn't love that?!?) and she complimented me on my tension. I'd never really thought about it before, I just keep hooking away. I took a closer look when I got home, and you know what? My tension isn't that bad!

It's nice to realize something like that, but it causes a problem too … I gave up knitting long ago because my tension was far too tight and resulted in unknittable disasters. This realization about my crochet tension gives me hope! Now I just have to resist the urge to learn how to knit (I really need to finish my PhD first).

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I made something!!

And by something I mean something unusual (for me) and crafty that doesn't involve cross stitch or crochet (these are the only crafty hobbies I have that I actually manage to finish projects in, everything else is just hopes and dreams at this point).

I made this … with my own little hands and borrowing the basic idea from here.

Except I didn't have a super adorable bowl to stuff it into. And the cute-from-a-distance green flannel looks rather atrocious close up. Oh well, I like it!

I did learn a few things from whipping up this pincushion. 1) Sergers are not good on curves. 2) The ladder stitch is kind of awesome. 3) All the buttons and doo-dads I bought in my previous life as a papercrafter do come in handy eventually. 4) It helps to have multiple hobbies and multiple stashes when it comes to late-night crafting. 5) I really should learn to sew ... with a machine. Like the one collecting dust on the dresser in my room, cause that's where sewing machines should be kept, right?

At least I found a use for some of the pearle cotton I have laying around.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Turtle Trot - March

I'm a day late and don't have a whole lot to show. :( When I started thinking about this post the other day I realized how little stitching I've done in the past month. Almost nothing. I need to do something about that.

I did manage a tiny bit of progress on two pieces.

Damask Square:

Ciara Blue:

I wouldn't mind working on some other pieces, but my Millenium frames are full and I have projects on them that I don't really want to switch on and off (like Ciara Blue - she's on my extra long side bars). I ordered 2 more frames in January and am waiting impatiently for them to arrive. One frame will be dedicated to the Chatelaine I want to start and the other will be intended for switching between projects.

Monday, March 10, 2014

MMSC - Week 10

First off, how is it almost mid-March already? Craziness. Hard to believe we're 10 weeks into the New Year.

I must give the Monday Morning Star Count at Life Under Quilts a big shout out … because of the inspiration and motivation I've gained from this link party, I have done almost as much EPPing in 10 weeks as I did the entire 6 months I EPP'd last year. (I only started EPPing in June.) I am more hooked on EPP than ever! (And my lack of cross stitch progress is showing it. Teehee.)

So, on to the real business … progress photos!

Again, I found basting to be therapeutic and relaxing this week and I managed to get 20 hexies done. That's 85 hexies basted since Jan 1 (my New Year's goal was to baste 100 before Dec 31, 2014) and 204 in total.

This weekend I also plucked up the courage and stitched together 3 of the big diamonds in my 6-point star:

Taking out some more of the papers was totally satisfying, I can't wait to do it again.

Finally, I am still being tempted into a new project start by my fabrics … resistance is weakening. (Sorry for the smidgeon of blurriness.)

This post is also linked up to the Hexie Weekend at A Quilting Reader's Garden and the "in hand" epp link party at Splish Splash Stash.

Monday, March 3, 2014

MMSC - Week 9

It's been another high work, low energy week. I did not sew any shapes of any size together. However, I did manage to baste 40 hexagons for my Batik Blanket.

I know!! 40 Hexagons! Can you believe it? I normally find the basting process tedious and slightly painful for my hands, but this time it was oddly relaxing and theraputic.

I have two lovely EPP projects underway. Neither of which is particularly far along. Am I crazy for wanting to start something new? (The new fabrics I received in the mail have nothing to do with this urge, surely.)

As always, I'm linking up with Jessica and her Monday Morning Star Count at Life Under Quilts and also Hexie Weekend at A Quilting Reader's Garden.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Filigree Progress

I have not done much cross stitching lately … my bug has gone on a bit of a hiatus. Last night I pulled out my blackwork project. I find blackwork funny -- sometimes the progress is at breakneck speed and sometimes it is slower than a snail. The part I'm working on now is moving like a snail. :)

The filigree is very pretty but it takes forever to stitch. I don't seem to have a lot of patience with this bit, so I only do a little at a time before I put the piece away again. I'm trying to think of ways to make this part less painful ...