Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2013 Goals

Getting ready for the New Year.
I have learned to not post specific goals because they act as Anti-Goals: Things Which Never Get Touched Again.  I am hoping that since I list so few that this will be the year I break that curse.

I didn't keep up with Wipocalypse last year but it did get me focused onto WIP thinking and working which I continued for most of the year so it was a success for me even though I did not have monthly stitching. 

2013 Goals

More Wip killing!
1.  12/12: 12 wip finishes in 12 months (or more: see how many I can finish & to use that number as a goal to exceed in 2014)
2.  Keep new starts to a minimum: finish any new starts within the same year (except for any SALs)
3.  Get reacquaintedwith my wips: stitch on at least 1 wip by every designer I have already started.

Specific Goals:
1.  Tony Minieri Stars for a New Millenium: stay on track.
2.  Pieces of 8: only 5 octagons left: finish this.
3.  Blackbird Designs: Xmas Garden: finish this.
4.  SB:Sheep, my NY tradition: start & finish a small sheep piece.
5.  Permission to start 1 really good sized piece during 2013 (then try to not start anymore big pieces).

1.  Put my stash room back together - the annual organization & clean up.
2.  Round up my NP canvases.  Catalog them.
3.  Organize my frame stash.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Oct Nov Dec Catch up: By The Bay, Periwinkle Promises

I had not realized it has been so long since I last posted.  I can't say that I have been stitching up a storm but I did manage a few small pieces.

By The Bay 


I love the By The Bay mural type pieces.  I have seen a lot of wallpaper murals in old New England houses.  I love them!  I have had the 2 largest triptyk BTB pieces kitted for a long time.  I haven't started them because they are huge!

I couldn't resist starting the smaller Fall sal version of a mural.  I even had a small piece of a coffee dyed blue-ish green cloth that evokes the background wall paper color (which looks more gray than blue green in the pic).  Sadly I don't have a big enough piece of it for the bigger pieces - which maybe one of the other reasons, other than size, that I haven't started it: I am not totally happy with the cloth I have.

By The Bay: Fall 2012 SAL
Here is the little Fall sal.  I really appreciate how the finished piece fit so easily into an off the shelf, easy and inexpensive to obtain, frame.  I added some textural stitched, changed the overdye (leaves) to one I had on hand.

Periwinkle Promises


Another small piece.  I love the Periwinkle Promises Accents.  I don't love them as pillows, though.  I have assorted little pillows completed - stitching completed, yes.  As pillows, no.  I have the finished pieces waiting in a chest for an idea of what to do with them.

To solve that problem with future unpillowed accents, I started expanding the patterns so that they fit into a 5 by 7 frame.  It usually doesn't take much work to do that.  Just some math and some repetition of bands.

My first attempt at doing this was in 2010.  I stitched on this while marathon viewing the British TV show: Kingdom starring Stephen Fry.

Periwinkle Promises, adapted
This was based on the Snowflower Accent, from Series 2.  The cloth in the kit was not big enough but it was not difficult to find a scrap of cloth in my stash.  The other joy of these is that the kit AVAS silks work well on 32 ct.  I may have added more beads.  I love beads.

The latest attempt was during a marathon streaming of Grey's Anatomy.  The actual stitching took a couple of seasons of that.  I knit during most of the rest.  This is based on Periwinkle Promises Series 1, "August," with some textural stitches added and I notice now: I forgot some layering stitching on the band of 3 thistles which I can add before I frame it.   That band must have been during some of the better episodes.

Periwinkle Promises, adapted
A side comment: Kingdom was the better written of the 2 series.  Too bad it had so few seasons.

Other Odd Bits

Not much to show for the couple of monthsI started an old Danish Handcraft guild kit with 30 ct linen with danish flower thread.  I thought for a moment about changing out cloth and threads then kicked myself for again making complications out of simply relaxing.  I started it using the kitted ingredients and have been the more relaxed because of it.  I hope to have a picture for next time - which will hopefully be in the couple of days off that I have at Christmas - YAY for time off I really need it.   It is a blessing to still have a job but the stresses that come with it are even worse now.  

Dealing with those stresses when my brain can't handle cross stitching I knit on my own design of a couch snuggly which is the third one I've worked on since I've started knitting them last year.  The other 2 are used by family members to wrap themselves in or under, while watching TV or reading;  as this one and the others to follow it will be.  Aside from a basic border and some dividing bands, each one is different: size, patterns, color...errors: different errors on each of them.

Other than that, I just looked through portions of my pattern collection.  That was as relaxing as stitching.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Brightneedle and a Spangler

Just a couple of things.  

Brightneedle Designs: Ezmeralda's House


I was pushing myself to finish Ezmeralda's House as I did much more than I originally planned but my interest in continuing with it dropped off.  I pretty much wasted a week of (non) stitching trying to push myself to finish, pushing myself to only work on Ez until done. 

Brightneedle Designs Ezmeralda's House
 It didn't work.  I spent a week not stitching because I just didn't want to work on it for more than 1 needle full of thread.  I would have gotten more done on something else had I only given up and moved to something else.  

Maybe I will finish Ez the next time I pick it up, whenever that may be.

HAED Storykeep: Spangler's Autumn


In the meantime, taking advantage of my sudden love of working on canvas which I really used to hate, I started a test Heaven and Earth Designs' pattern on congress cloth.

 I originally took out my Spangler Train of Dreams, a pattern I love as I love all of Spangler's little dragons.  I didn't get much progress, made a major mistake whose situation I worsened by trying to pick it out.  It was the too loosely woven 22 count hardanger which was causing that most recent problem.  That was also one of reasons for so little progress over so many years.   I cut apart the Train cloth.  So much for that for now.

I still loved the pattern.  I loved all the HAED's I have but there is no way they were going to be done on the cloth I thought I was going to use.  I needed something stiffer.  With encouragement from posters at the Heaven and Earth Designs Message Board at Yuku, I decided to try out a smaller HAED on a canvas.  In this case a 24 ct congress cloth I dug out of my deep stash.

HAED Spangler Storykeep Autumn
The progress doesn't look like much but it was a lot more progress in a few days time than my Train of Dreams on hardanger ever had over more time.  I still have to fine tune some stitching techniques on it but I am so loving the continental stitch, 2 ply on 24ct.

Congress cloth comes in a small selection of colors, some of them dark so I won't be limited to stark white.  It also comes in a 55 inch wide selvage so I won't be limited to small projects.  I can order congress cloth just like I did cloth. 

My short attention span may be ready to wander again now that I know the 'test' worked.  I am looking across the room to a Martina Weber stacked against the bookcase.  It has been too long since I have had a really deep immersion stitching session.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Another really old piece had a wake up!

Brightneedle: Ezmeralda's House

Another project started so long ago, probably not too long after the pattern came out.  Working from the top down, I got most of the bedroom done before I put it away.

This past week I finished the bedroom and started on everything below it.

When I first thought about this project I did not want to do this over 1 but I still wanted it to be small scale stitching and since it was Halloween I was leaning towards something funky: thus the tiny uneven cloth 44/48.  It has a beautiful dense hand to it.  I hope I have some more buried in the stash somewhere.

Joane Wallwin

More work on Wallwin.  Making my way across the second band.  

That third band area with the snake is going to be nasty.  The colors are alternating on all motifs there including that diagonal. There is no neat way to make the trip.  The colors will sometimes not alternate.  Also the thickness of the snakes waxes and wanes

Fortunately I am not a purist about sampler reproduction because I would not have made it past the first band where I miscounted, making the sampler wider than charted then adapted everything below.  The snake band colors will alternate as they end up alternating and I am not going to compare that with what is charted other than to marvel if I just happened to match. 

That's it until next week.  I don't know what projects will be inprogress then.  I am still poking through older wips.  I would like to finish all of Part 1 of Wallwin before I put her away.  I had planned on only doing the kitchen on Ez's House but I'm having enough fun to continue to the porch and her foyer so we'll see.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Filet Chilean Sunset

I forgot to post the adapted Filet color test.  This is the HDF Chilean Sunset finished. 

This is an amazing color.  It seriously changes color depending on the light and distance viewed. 

The picture is what it looks like from a few feet away.   From across the room it looks like a medium rose red.   Closer up it is more of a sunset firey orange - red.  I am not usually a fan of anything orange but this is an amazing color.

Stars for a Millenium

The Wagon (a Yuku board) is hosting a 2 year SAL on this counted canvas piece.  It is intense but it also moves pretty fast.  

One of the reasons it is moving along fast is that I make myself finish stitch steps in 1 stitching session.  I do that because I do not know if I am interpreting the instructions correctly so I strive for consistency. 

That diagonal blue woven step required so many clippings and redoings!  I also had to add additional thread plies because too much canvas was showing through.  It may be a little too thickly muddled now, but at least the canvas is covered.  

If I were starting this again I would start it on a darker canvas.  

Intense but fast, so far.  I don't want to burn myself out on it so still being in the mood for canvas I hope to pick up either Pieces of 8 for the final 4 blocks or taking on Lahaina again.  We shall see which one wins the mood.

Joane Wallwin

After 10 years of inactivity with very little, a week of work produces a couple of bands. 

I would love to finish Part 1 of the pattern before I put this back to sleep...for less than 10 years, I hope.

I forgot what count my Oyster cloth was: it is 36/40, very tightly woven.  I need to use a slightly sharp needle to get between the threads.  I try not to split the stitching threads while doing so but I don't always succeed.  The DMC can't tolerate much of that: it is shredding horribly even with short 15 - 18 inch strands.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It finally feels like Autumn.

The Summer weather continued up until a front blew through overnight.  Today was the first day that feels like Autumn to me: overnight is chilly, morning air is crisp, midday is warm, some trees are starting to show color.

With that comes a change of mood which affects my stitching focus.   I took out some pieces which have not seen progress for a year or more.  One will go back to sleep as it just did not hit 'the spot.'

HDF 'Woodland Path' Filet


I finished the small HDF thread test on the woodland pathlike color.  

The greens are more green in real life.

Wiehenburg: Quaker Welcome

Still in the mood to stitch with HDF, a mystery unlabeled spool,  I hauled out my WIP of this very long Quaker Welcome sampler.  I finished a motif, started another then put it down.   

I will be putting this away until another time.


 HDF Chilean Sunset Filet

Then I started another HDF color test: Chilean Sunset.  

The colors were much better than I expected.  

This is using another filet lace pattern.

 JCS Ornament Sampler

I am often inspired and influenced by stitching on other blogs and on assorted stitching message boards. 

 All the talk about the 2012 Just Cross Stitch Christmas issue made me take out my JCS Christmas Ornament sampler.  

 I  have neither need nor desire for too many small stitched things.  I have no display cases and my book shelves are already overfull so I do not stitch things unless I can make them fit in a frame.

A long while ago I started this a piece of cloth a Montreal stitcher generously sent me.  The New Castle line of linens were just coming out.    She sent me a fat quarter of sand New Castle which I had not known existed.  I immediately started a sampler with ornaments from the 1997 JCS Christmas Ornament magazine.  

Since then I have included ornaments from other years.  I put them in as I can get them to fit.  My optimistic intent was to fill up this cloth then start another and another.   

Since this one has been about 8 or more years in the making to this point, you can appreciate how optimistic that thought is.  I have changed some colors, added beads, textural stitches as the whim hits.  The sand color does not show up in the above picture.

I am still waiting for my 2012 issue to get to my mailbox.

SANQ Joane Wallwin

SANQ article Part 1
Another reawakened interest from a topic on a message board.   I dove into my stash, grateful that at least some of it is still organized.  Out came the piece which confirmed that I am in for a change of focus on my stitching.

original Wallwin
 I hauled out Joane Wallwin which has not seen any work for at least 5 years or longer.  The uncertainty of not having all the threads called for is no longer going to hold me back.  The strangeness of working over 3 threads on tightly woven Oyster cloth is also not an issue anymore.  I don't know why these changed feelings happen but I am very glad for them.

SANQ Spring 2002 cover
The pattern as printed in SANQ over several issues, charted by Page Dorsey, Sampler Workes, is charted for Au Ver a Soie  silks: Soie de Paris and 100/3.  

The Soie de Paris's numbers are the same codes used for regular AVAS silks which I can match for color.  

The 100/3 silks are an issue.  I have no clue if these numbers are equivalent to any other line of thread or yarn.   I had some of them in my stash but not all.  
Designer's Model stitched Part 1

The designer used a 40/50 count uneven Oyster cloth.

I don't know how she tamed some of those threads!  

The tight twist of the 100/3 makes it too stiff to sit over 3 on my oyster cloth.  It arches up too high for my tastes. 

10 years of my progress
 I used DMC cotton floss instead, eyeballed to the 100/3 color or just chosen to correspond to my interpretation of the color name in the required  color family values.  In one case, the first band's "light salmon." I changed to a deeper one.  The original light color was not showing up on the cloth.  The DMC is still a little too thick for crisp blackwork lines but I do not have anything thinner.

 Blackbird Designs Christmas Garden

I loved it when I saw it.  I do not love it now.  Mostly enjoyed it but now not so much.  I still hope to finish it by the end of the year.

 I finally got a picture which is a truer representation of the cloth color.

 Tony Minieri's Stars for a New Millenium

New SAL, a 2 year project with The Wagon (a yuku board)  starting in October.  It scares yet excites me.  I have the pattern, the threads, the canvas and bars.  I just need to arrange them and wait for the start.   No picture yet: tune in next month.

Chances of finishing this year's chief WIPS:


Bicknell/Needlepoint Now: Pieces of Eight: Most likely.

Blackbird Designs Christmas Garden: Most likely but I will have to set aside days that I make myself work on this.

Perin Lahaina Breezes: Not likely.  I have to change the thread in the outer most border.  Satin stitching the 5 or 6 strands of DMC is just fuzzing up too much even with short strands.

Martina Egyptian Mandala: No way.

Lizzie Kate Winter Alphabet: Probably not.

Martina Japanese Panels: One more panel hopefully, but I would rather have more progress on Egypt.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

More Summer Updates

Pieces of Eight

 I did not get work done on Pieces of Eight since my last post because I could not put down the Filet Bluework but I did take an updated picture of progress made in June.   

When I post the finish I hope to include notes about what colors I feel the magazine got wrong when ccompared to the photos and my own work.  Not all the colors listed in the directions need to be bought.  Based on my study of the photo of the original piece, it had  fewer colors with better distribution.  

I finally started making more of my own choices as I progressed.   I wished I'd made them sooner to better balance the colors.  I love it anyway.

Chatelaine: Egyptian Mandala

I am finally starting to feel like I am getting somewhere.  It is funny to me, that while I longed to be done with the inner block sections there was something reassuring about filling them in.  I have to pay more attention to the chart now.  

New territory to be stitched.  I am on to other shapes, other motifs. 

Filet Lace Bluework 

This piece did not take long as I could not stand to put it down.   The colors are still a little off but a little closer than the older picture.

I enjoyed working on this piece so much I dove into my stash of HDF spools then found another small pattern to start.

Filet Leafy Scrollwork 

A semi mystery thread.  It is HDF.  It is labeled.  It is a Single Stranded Regular silk.  The mystery is how I got it because I never ordered SSR a la cart.  I suspect it came in a bag of mystery spools from an old carrot option in the shopping menu.

I absolutely love the SSR.  I wonder if the new SSR is like this onld one.   The coverage on 36 ct is better than 1 ply from the 6 stranded. 
I also love this color.  It reminds me of leaves starting to change for fall or a forest path.   The color numbers listed on the mini  spool are: 5135/5271/3255/3221 which I think is a combination  of Kodiak Bear 5135/Jackalope 5271/Luteus Green 3255/Willow Withies 3221

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Recovering Some Stitching Mojo

Long time no blog, I know.  Sorry.  I just lost my stitching  mojo for a while.  I am still with the SALs and challenges in spirit: they kept me on track during the winter doledrums.  They certainly kept me focused, kept me from starting so many other projects that I would have otherwise.  But by June it just became more work than passionate hobby.

I'm back now.  I did do some stitching over the summer.  I have updates to post of a few projects but I will only do 2 of them today.

Blackbird Designs
 Christmas Garden. 

 I finally got part of an alphabet in there.  The alphabet used was from another Blackbird Designs chart whose name escapes me right now (head/palm moment).

I have a little bit more done since the picture was taken but not much more.  Some of my color placements are not as charted.  I wasn't a fan of as much gold as there was charted so I subbed in the green in most of those places with some brown in at least one other place.

Bluework Blue, no name design from a Filet Lace book,  vol 6.

Bluework Blue is the name of the color, a blend of 4 blues from Hand Dyed Fibers, it was a custom forum call.  I finally got onto one before the calls were closed up.  I am usually too late for most of them.

This is 1 strand silk over 2 threads on Antique White 36 ct linen.  The thread color appears lighter than in real life.  In real life there are more gray/blue tones.  All of it being slightly more to the blue tone than the picture has.  

It was still a bit of a shock for me when I got them.  I guess the attempted facsimile of colors on the HDF forum call had as much of an issue with exact colors as I'm having with my camera.  Either way, I still love the color and have plans for more after this piece.

While I was looking for a small piece to test the color out, I found a scrolly design with a peacock in it in the same book that just about screamed to be done with this thread but the pattern was more than twice as big as this one.  I wanted something small, working up quicker to act as a test for show 'n tell.

Many designers have recharted old filet lace designs then sold them as individual cross stitch patterns.   I saved a lot of money and found a greater selection of patterns by searching out filet lace books.  There are even some online at sites like Gutenburg project and other archivist sites.  The charts are a bit of a chore sometimes but with a pen marking up the photocopied page that is easily fixed.

So until the next time when I can update more work on my Chatelaine Egypt and an almost completed pieces of 8 where I'm on to the last 4 medallions.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Blackbird Designs: Christmas Garden

This is my 2012 BAP challenge about which I have forgotten to send monthly updates to Becky who started this challenge.   I am still keen on finishing this piece by the end of the year. 

So here is April's work.  Picture taken at the end of last month's work.

It continues to work up slower than I imagined it would.  There has been less restitching of misplaced motifs than previous months.  If I can get south of that horizontal dividing line with May's work then I will still be on track.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

WIPocalypse # 5

This has been another crazy month...actually,  this might be the first sane month I have ever had for stitching since I haven't flitted about 20 projects.  I didn't start 20 new projects but stayed with 4 already started pieces.  The 3 challenges I joined this year have really helped me to focus.  

First up: Gayle Bicknell's Pieces of Eight.

Eight more octagons finished.  1 stalled for changes.  Eight more to go. 

I stalled on this last one because the colors listed in the instructions are not the colors that look pictured - but I know how misleading that can be given how out of whack my own pictures are which never photograph the cloth colors the way they actually look. 

I thought the dark green would work as it is a part of the multi color NN which shows up in a few blocks above it but I finally decided it looks too dark.  When I pick it up later in May I will clip out what's there to replace it with a lighter green.  From there, I may even be able to zip through the final 8 for another Wipocalypse finish...unless I get to another color decision.

Martina  Weber's Egypt Garden Mandala

I am thrilled about the progress on this one, too.  I had 2 vacation days which I spent mostly stitching.   Not the best picture but I was in a hurry as the camera battery was running down.

 I am finally out of the inner sections (except for a few stitches and beads here and there).  I am out on the golden sections with trees, pillars and other scenes.  

I can't believe I am seeing progress.  I think at one point it was hopeless to think I would ever get anything done on this.  Now I dare to think I might get it finished.  It gets more beautiful as it progresses.  Even family members are beginning to comment on it as it doesn't let look like a blue blob.

Nora Corbett: J Fairy

I wanted to work on something small for the instances where I didn't have much time to haul out a bigger project with a lot of components.  I thought this would fit the bill.  It didn't really.  One evening's work amounted to some over 1 flesh on her arm and shoulder.

For some reason, she wasn't the itch I wanted to scratch this month.  I think  I still wanted to work on Egypt but I just couldn't haul it all out.  I looked at some other small projects I had within reach but nothing screamed to me.   I switched to knitting some  more on another family snuggly afghan slims.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wipocalypse #4 recap

I have made some posts on my wip work this past month but not all of them.  I have been busier stitching than posting which is a good thing in some ways but bad in other ways because the posts help me keep track on what I have been working on - otherwise it all blends together and it feels like I got nothing done.

Old wips worked on for this reporting cycle:

Martina Weber's Egyptian Mandala:

This piece is so slow going, so labor intensive that it doesn't give  much of a sense of progress even after you spend hours  working on it.  I would love to have this more than halfway finished by the end of the year.  I hold no illusions about actually finishing it this year.

Ink Circles: Croakworth:

I reported on this in more detail previously.  I stopped at over half way because I could not make up my mind about combining this piece with the companion piece Quackworth.  I cut the cloth to put the two on top of one another, combining them into a longer piece.  

 But now, I am changing my mind.  I don't have the heart to cut that much cloth off the piece but I will have to.   I want the 2 of them stitched then framed separately.  I will feel better about it when I find something else to put on the cloth trimmed off.

  I think that was it for older pieces as I was obsessed with the Laura Perin piece - which only qualifies as an old collected pattern which had been in my stash forever.

In catching up on some of my blog reading on other stitchers I am reminded of some more old WIPS of mine which haven't seen progress for ages but look so wonderful as other stitchers work on theirs.  Maybe my old huge Prairie Schooler ABC blocks can come out to play for the next update.  It has 4 foot scroll rods.  I will need some vacation days, I think.

Or maybe just more work on Egyptian.  There is always more work to be done on Egyptian.

Laura J. Perin Lilac Collage

I had such a hard time putting this one down that I barely spent time with anything else.  I didn't want to happen what happened with Pieces of 8: I totally lost my momentum for progress on Po8 when I put it down for the challenge pieces. 

 I did some work for the next Wipocalypse report (a previous post) and hope to do some more.  I did very little on Blackbird Christmas which I think I forgot to report last month.  I did some time consuming work on the Egyptian Mandala - which can also be applied to Wipocalypse, I suppose.

But returning to the Lilac!  I can't believe it is finished.

There were  several discrepancies between the chart and the cover photo.  You have to look at both then decide which way you will go.  The good thing about projects like this is that there is a lot of fudge space.  I did clip out some areas, including the lilacs for assorted issues.  The chart came with a packet of beads which I did not put on the piece. 

I changed out the entire lilac area to restranded floss instead of all perle.  The threads fit together better.  I also added some more leafage to balance it out more in its rectangle  

I also tried to put the swiss dotted 504 in the back of the lilac but it looked too busy and I hated the ghost threads - which I could have masked in framing but I did not like the green measles look.  I tried some light patterning with a single floss thread.  I finally decided the lilacs can sit by themselves.  I added my initials and the year, lightly at the base of the lilacs.

What made this project work from the beginning is that I decided that as long as stray threads did not show through to the front that I didn't care what the back looked like.  This was the biggest reason I could work the NP on the lilacs.  I refused to put this project down for any other stitching until I slogged through those lilacs.  I knew if I ever put them down for long they would never get finished and the project would never be finished.  

Only after the lilacs were done did I let myself work on the really fun layered blocks.

So I finished Lilacs.  I started in on Lahaina Breezes as a reward.  This one should go even faster because it looks like larger scale abstract stitching even though it measures 10 by 10 to Lilac's 9 1/4 by 9 1/8.   I have only just begun it and I already encountered a discrepancy between chart and photo.

   It was fun working on this last night but I will put it down to get some progress going on the challenge pieces.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

WIPocalypse Stitching with the Peepers

The weather was unseasonably summer like and the peeper chorus was loud even through closed windows.  Here is the progress that the peepers inspired.

I can never get the cloth color right in the pictures.  This is stitched on 32 ct. Waterlily linen with HDF silks.

The before picture:
The after:
I had hopes of finishing as this is just below the half way point but my small attention span too me back to canvas.  

I restarted the Laura J. Perin Lilac Collage - this time on the canvas called for in the chart.  More on that later.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In Search of More Old Pieces for WIPocalypse

Strangely, it was kind of sad to finish off the old Dragonfly row.  I'm thrilled it is finished but I am also a little sad.  It has been in the WIP pile for a VERY long time.

It wasn't alone.   I went diving into my old WIPS for some more contenders. 

Crossed Wing's Warblers 2 Bellpull.
 The cloth is actually a mocha color which my camera never seems to pick up.  I don't know anything beyond point and click so it's most likely me not setting something properly in it.

At least 1 have 1 bird to show for 10 years "work."  This is 32 ct. Mocha Belfast, worked with 2 strands of Anchor.  I used the Anchor conversion printed on the chart - which can sometimes be quite funky in pattern contrasts.  I went through a thread phase inwhich I was converting everything to Anchor.  The results were more vibrant but with not always the best shading results.

I have since become more lazy and just work with the ever more discreasing quality DMC on projects when I can't afford the high quality relatively inexpensive (for silk) HDF silks on conversions.  I still think Anchor is the better, stronger cotton fiber over DMC but it is tougher to find and the conversions can be problematic.

This is as far as I got on bird 2 because I thought I made a mistake when I couldn't find my place but after I frogged then restitched, I discovered that I had it right the first time just that my brain couldn't figure out where I should have started in again.  

The gray birds get a little depressing so this wip didn't stay out long.

I have since taken out my version of Ink Circles Croakworth & an old Lu Fuller kit whose cloth I switched out to a 40 ct.  Pictures of those next time.  If I can find my Quaker Go Away Banner, I will take pictures of that, too.  I was more in the mood to work on that than Croakworth but one Quaker style isn't that much different from any other.

WIPocalypse: Dragonfly Quilt Row A FINISHED!!!

Granted, it wasn't that large and it shouldn't have taken 10 years (or thereabouts) but it is finished.  It could have been finished years ago if I had only kept picking it up but I didn't.  I didn't even LIKE working on it at several points.  

I have loved every minute I have worked on it since picking it up for the WIPocalypse and the 2012 HAEDless stitching challenge.  It is done.  Scary part is that I'm tempted to now start another row instead of picking up another old piece to finish off.

Here are some closeups: 
 This is block 4.  The directions recommended putting some pottery shard or something like that in the medallion.  In a past medallion on MW's Bluebell mini, I put in a small crystal.  I couldn't conveniently find one I liked for this so I just stitched in the attribution information.

Some pictures of the border.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

2012 Challenge: Blackbird Designs Christmas Garden

I worked on this at the beginning of February, putting it down only after stitching every single motif on the right side TWICE due to counting & positioning errors which could not be fudged.

So, not much project for actual acreage covered, but the amount of stitching is twice what you see.  This was a painful month with this design.  I hoped to pick it up again before March but I know now, with 4 days left to go in this month that that is just not going to happen.  If it wasn't for the Challenge I probably would not be picking this up in March but I will be.  See you about this then!

WIPocalypse Pieces of Eight

I had a change of projects for the WIPocalypse.  I have been bitten by the canvas bug thanks to conversational threads at The Wagon (a Yuku Board).  The enthusiasm of assorted canvas project discussions swept me up and carried me off the nether regions of my stash storage in search of canvas pieces I haven't touched for YEARs and had little intention of more progress.  I just hadn't gotten around to tossing them out yet.

It's a good thing I didn't.  I resurrected the oldest piece thanks to Marilyn, a Wagon poster who finished this piece and posted pictures.

Here is my starting point for the WIPocalypse.  This was where I abandoned it almost as soon as I started it in 2000. 

This is an embryonic Gayle Bicknell's Pieces of Eight published in a series of issues of Needlepoint Now, 1999 - 2000 with the listed threads on 18 ct. Sandstone mono canvas.

I did not have a thread stash beyond embroidery floss weights so I used the charted colors & threads.  They are not my colors, but it wouldn't hurt to have an eyeball alka-seltzer on the wall with my other pieces to wake up the visual senses.  If you have a stash of assorted size and textured threads: go for it.  This piece was designed using leftover threads from the designer's stash.   I will have a couple of sacks of weird threads leftover from this so I will be looking for more UseTheScraps Needlepoint charts.

This is where I left off 3 days later.  I clipped out the original start.  It was easier to clip out to restart then to try to figure out where the stitch sequence left off.  I wasted an hour trying.  LOL  

As Marilyn warned in her posts, there are several issues with the directions as printed.  Some stitch instructions are not adequately explained, or even properly sequenced but armed with Jo Ippolito Christensen's The Needlepoint Book and an openness to let it fly, to make something else work that will be close enough and fun enough, I jumped in.   I have made some changes in color placements and modified some stitches to better suit me.  The project just bit me in the right place and hasn't let goI could not put this piece down.  I referred to it as my stitching crack on the forum.  

The next octagon is another heavy thread in few holes modified Amadeus beast...actually the next 2 Octagons are like my interest is flagging a little right now.  I suspect I will be returning to some cross stitching for a little while but I really don't want to put this away.  Maybe I will just work those modified smyrna borders for a bit.   Then I will enlarge the heck out of the small diagrams,  pour a big glass of wine then jump in.

The new starts of the last 2 weeks.

Remember when I said I didn't know what I was in the mood for?  It took me a couple of new starts plus some work on the 2012 Challenge piece and 2 WIPocaylpse pieces  to settle down.  Here are the new starts.

 Martina Weber: Japanese Box 

My plan with this is to frame the panels.  It will have better protection framed than it will done up as a box- at least at my house.  

Sorry about the wonky picture.  I didn't want to take it off the Q snaps because I want to return to it.  The panels work up pretty fast.

I changed the material since my first picture of supplies. I changed it out twice.  I went from Platinum 32 ct to a beautiful Waterlily 32 ct then back to a Platinum but 28 ct.  I think Waterlily is a discontinued color now, but even if it hasn't been discontinued in a 28 count, I really wanted to work out of my stash.  The Platinum works well though the Waterlily would have been really lovely.  The Waterlily is of that wonderful DMC 500 range.  

The reason I went to 28 was because I didn't want to crowd the stitches.  I have other Chatelaine pieces on 32 which I now sort of regret.  I can get the stitches to lay down, but the stitching process isn't as relaxing for me when I have to work that much at it.

Everything else on this is as charted, except that I swapped out the solid NPI for the less expensive DMC.  

Lizzie Kate Winter Alphabet

I started this a couple of weeks ago but didn't have pictures handy until now.  It was fun but my short attention span took me away to other things.

 Charted threads on 36 count flax, 1 strand over 2.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Laura J Perin Lilac Collage Failed Experiment

I have loved Perin designs for years.  I even collected a handful over the years.

The problem is that I don't like working on canvas.  I am not sure what it is about canvas that I don't like but I hope I get over it because converting the design to cloth just didn't work.

Here is the final clipping, the 5th start/restart  and 2 days of counting, recounting, frogging, picking and reworking  some of the adjacent rows to the center section.  I had also done more portions of the center lilacs 4 times before this picture to check over 1? over 2? back to 1? back to 2?  It must have been watching Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy during this which kept me calm.

In the past I was able to work some needlepoint patterns on cloth.  This wasn't one of them.  I finally gave up and found some websites which sold the listed ingredients.

While I was at it, I ordered a consolation chart from Laura J Perin's website .  I love so many of her designs.  I just hope I will overcome whatever I have against canvas because now I have one more piece in my want to start immediately  - or as soon as supplies get here - pile: Lahaina Breezes.  

I don't know if my stubbornness will get me to restart Lilac Collage or if I will just move on to the newest bright shiny in my collection, but whichever it is, I will keep you posted.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

WIPocalypse & finishing challenges update but with a NEED of something else.

All week I have been feeling the pull of other things.  I have been concentrating on trying to finish all 4 blocks of Chatelaine's Dragonfly Quilt, Row A.  I am so close to the finish.  

Is it going to happen?  No.  Not at this time.  The border is done except for the beading - which is not in the original pattern but the rest was beaded so I added beads to the border pattern.  Block 4's plain X around the perimeter with assorted little bits on the inside...I can't do any more.  I keep walking away to other distractions so time to put it away for a bit.

As much as I thought the dragonfly was my favorite block I think I like Block 3, with the gold and blue beads background the best.

Meanwhile, I am being called by these other 3 projects which I kitted up this week when I needed to walk away from the almost finished piece above.  These have been calling to me for sometime I just didn't have them ready to go.  Now they are - not in any particular order:

Chatelaine's Japanese Octagon Box that will not be a box.  The cloth is a greenish 32 ct Platinum.   I am still not convinced about the color.  The other alternative is a 32 ct raw linen.  

The only thing I'm convinced about that choice is that the white will show up.  Part of me keeps wanting to try it on 32 ct Flax but I know from experience the white thread won't show up very well on that.  Since I didn't finish the Dragonfly piece I can't bring myself to start this one.

Which leaves one of these as a February start:

Lizzie Kate's Winter Alphabet on a 36 count ancient mystery Green Mountain dyed cloth.  The cloth is a grayish khaki with slight mottling and some stray marks.  1 strand over 2.  I love 1 strand work.

Lizzie Kate's Autumn Alphabet on a 36 ct tea dyed edinborough.  Different teas produce slightly different results.  This one had slightly more beige-tan than the other piece I was thinking about.

At least I waited until February.   

With the exception of the 2012 semi- BAP challenge, I finished the 2 pieces I started in January.  We will see if I can continue the trend of finishing what I start in the same month started.