January 2023 WIPocalypse Update

Hey everyone! I hope you have had some sun wherever you are – it was late arriving for the “summer” holidays here in Aotearoa, so late that I was joking we missed it in the lead up to Christmas. Unfortunately January has also brought in some pain, as B farewelled a school friend (very hard to do at 22) and a family friend drowned and another has passed due to cancer. Please, please – take care of yourselves and your loved ones. The city has also lost four people in the horrific flooding that’s taken us over.

Right. Stitchy stuff.

I have completed one goal in my annual list!

  • FO Seas the Day (Hands on Design)
Seas the Day, Hands On Design, GAST – Weeks conversion.

Seas the Day was completed on January third, while we were travelling State Highway 35 around the East Coast of the North Island.  I have found a frame too and just need to re-colour it.

Other pieces that have been worked on this month include

  • A Stitch in Time (825 or 41.86%)
  • The Letter P Fairy (429 or 9.09%)
  • Rogue Dragon (757, now 70.06%)
  • Seasonal Trilogy Autumn (400, now 10.49%)
  • Strawberry Fields Forever (2623, now 49.67%)
  • Tournee du Chat Noir (4559, now 15.79%)
  • Jim Shore’s 12 Days (474, now 29.43%)

Strawberry Fields has become my go-to stitch, as it’s mostly GAST and Weeks, which I love, and there’s a bit of repetition. Perfect for binge watching – we’ve done Wrexham and all the Broadchurch this month, and there’s been a lot of cricket. I’ve also put most things into Pattern Keeper to make it easier on myself, but that 12 Day’s number refers to only days 3 & 4. That’s all I’ve re-charted right now. Days 1 & 2 were completed prior to March 2021. In total I hit 11038 stitches, well over target.

WIP Wednesday #294

Woo hoo! Back from a long, invigorating and inspiring weekend away, followed up by illness then a holiday weekend, I’m resenting being here in the office when I have so many things I want to do. My personal highlight from the retreat has to be that (I think) seven or eight people rang the bell after FFO’ing their biscornu! It was the first time I’ve released a full design into the wild, so to speak, and it was cool seeing all the variations of it.

I brought quite a bit of haul – less so than what I thought I might tho – and the best is already started. Hannah had finished Blackbird Design’s Strawberry Fields Forever, and Catherine was able to part kit it. I’m using mostly the charted threads on 28ct Countrystitch Toitoi lugana.

Catherine also had another skein of the waterlilies thread I needed for Red Velvet, and that was a finish on the 12th.

I also finished up CloudsFactory Labyrinth on the 14th – not sure why I didn’t get this done months ago!

Since then I have completed 2% more of Tournee du Chat Noir and while I’m struggling to complete a diagonal, I am just popping all over putting in some bulk ecru when we’re talking, or the red circle around the cat when I’m by myself and can concentrate.

9.84%
11.84%

I am watching the first season of The Chelsea Detective on Acorn (a mostly British TV streaming service). It’s quiet, thoughtful, quirky – all the good things. Each episode is about 90 minutes, long enough for a good story. The second season is in production and hopefully there will be a lot more.  Reading-wise, I finished the third Richard Osman book, The Bullet That Missed.  Again, it’s quiet, thoughtful and quirky – I really enjoy the characters in this series. If only I’m as sprightly as Elizabeth when I’m retired! I have a bit of a book hangover now, so I don’t know what to start next. I’m listening to Anne Cleeves “Vera” novels but flirting with fluff books on my reader. Any suggestions?

WIP Wednesday #293 & September WIPocalypse

Hi everyone, sorry I didn’t write last week but honestly I had nothing to say (and today is Friyay, definitely not Wednesday!).  It was post-daylight savings and I’m always a mess then, and I didn’t really have much of a stitchy bug. I worked for a few nights on Cliffhanger, then swapped over to the Ink Circles Red Velvet, which I am actually doing in a Caron Waterlilies thread, 177 Sapphire. I’ve realised that I will fall short there as it will take more than the full skein, bugger, but I’ve put a call out in local groups to see if anyone has any. I initially borrowed the pattern from Liz C but have since purchased it on Tracy Horner/Ink Circle’s website and loaded into Pattern Keeper – much faster progress! I have become too used to digital charts now. The freedom to zoom in and jump around is really helpful to me. I wish all of Cathy Habermann/Hands On Design worked in there too. I have a lot of those to do.

Red Velvet in Blue

September 25 – Are you a seasonal stitcher? If so, which seasons do you find yourself more productive or less productive? I love stitching Christmas stuff, but I find I am stitching more as the whim hits, rather than seasons. Not sure what I will do next year, but I am tempted by a No Starts, as then I’d get finishes…but then I’d also have more stuff simply hanging in the wardrobe unframed.

This weekend I am off to Thames, for the 2022 Cross Stitch retreat. I am so looking forward to catching up with people and collecting my haul from Catherine. Not sure now how much I am looking forward to teaching my first class – the stage fright is real.

August 21 WIPocalypse

Hello everyone! WIPocalypse is the monthly check-in SAL hosted by Measi on her blog, and via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers! Click on the icon to the right to learn more.  If you’re a crafter, please join up either on your blog or via the Facebook group.

Last month I signed up to do the Marathon, which basically meant I needed to be monogamous to the one piece. I’d started the Bothy Threads/Hannah Dale Moongazer pattern and as it was relatively easy to transport, staying faithful to it was also easy (also helped by UPS sitting on my other parcel for five weeks).  I got to roughly the half-way mark during the event, which I was pretty happy with. I finished Tiger later in the month and switched over to Fairy Idyll, as that’s what I was feeling.

Saturday mid-month is our local Stitch Group meet-up in Te Atatu, a small peninsula here in West Auckland. I look forward to this get-together but sometimes I’m a bit cross with myself, that it took me so long to find a group of crafty, funny, soul-enriching people. I put the kids and SI’s refereeing first for so many Saturdays but now that we’re getting into the next phase (only one truly dependent child, woot!) it is easier to be selfish. I used this meet-up as an opportunity to pass on some of The Dragon’s stash, and about ¾ is now gone. The remainder will go into the pile I’ll take to the annual meet-up next year, or to the Hospice shop. The additional benefit this last weekend was that Mase was at a birthday party/overnighter so there wasn’t any hurry to be somewhere after. Next month will need to be a Teams or Zoom meeting I guess.

At my embroidery class I’ve mastered stem stitch, and surprised myself by remembering how to do woven roses without any nudging. I’m making myself a felt scissor pouch to start with, as the clippers I use came in the most useless, fragile plastic wallet and really need to be contained. Hopefully I will find the Stitchsmith Tree of Life project that I put away in a fit of feeling inadequate and be able to finish it. Class is now postponed until we are in Level One. Bugger.

Looking at my second half’s goals:

  • Complete Un Ricarmo per Rinascere COMPLETED
  • Complete Bothy “Moongazer” COMPLETED
  • Complete the Chatelaine Castle I (at half way mark) REPLACING WITH FAIRY IDYLL
  • Complete Faby Reilly Fox biscornu (at back stitch mark, & back to stitch)

Pretty content with where I’m at for this point, altho I am thinking of simply not making the Fox biscornu into a biscornu, and just framing the front piece. I have so many things that I want to work on that I am going to end up doing small-Mira-small-Mira for a while. And by Mira I mean that I will take one of the kitted ones and work on it until I’m bored or frustrated, then switch to a small. Fairy Idyll is be the first cab off the rank, as I have the two arms over one and some of her dress to do, then she’s done…

  • Fairy Idyll (three quarters completed)
  • Elliana (started the conversion)
  • Twisted Mermaids (want to convert to be the twin of Under the Deep Blue)
  • Ophelia (not started, going to use Dewn’s face conversion)
  • Garden Prelude (not started)
  • Feather Fairy (not started)
  • Holly Pixie (not started)
  • Moonlight Laguna (not started)
  • Sunrise Laguna (not started)
  • Coral Charms (convert to the same as my Luce Mia mermaid)
  • Bella Vita (convert to the same as my Luce Mia mermaid)

September is Sampler September, and as is typical, I cannot find my chart of Le Nouveaux Sampler (yes, another Mirabilia!) so I’ve borrowed Zeb’s via a non-contact delivery, and have started this on 28count Feijoa Lugana from Countrystitch. A replacement has left Chicago airport and is on it’s way out to me now. This means of course that I will find my original chart in a couple of weeks…

August 29 – Which of your project finishes made you the most proud? The most relieved?

I think my favourite finish would be the Alma Lynne Noah’s Ark sampler. This is the first piece I modified, adding in the details about Brandon at birth; the first time I substituted in different threads, using metallic for the lightning bolt; and the first I had framed for our own house.

The most relieved would be Persephone. Not only was she HUGE I was using my own colour conversion and a fabric that could have gone very, very bad. I can see a couple of things I’d change now but overall, phew, she’s on the wall!

June WIPocalypse

Hello everyone! WIPocalypse is the monthly check-in SAL hosted by Measi on her blog, and via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers! Click on the icon to the right to learn more.  If you’re a crafter, please join up either on your blog or via the Facebook group.

June is that time where we recap our stitching goals for the year.

  • Complete stitching Red Skies at Night; DONE
  • Stitch Autumn/Winter and Spring series from Hands On Design;  NO
  • Stitch couple of Sandra Cozzolino Santa’s; NO but I brought more, does that count?
  • Start a second full coverage piece; NO
  • Work a little bit on Fred (Tapestry Cat); NO
  • Learn some new stitches. DONE, thanks to a partially completed Chatelaine.

I’ve been letting my whims take me along recently; and since the Christchurch stitch meet-up I’ve continued to expand my stitchy horizons. I’ve managed to get to one of the monthly Auckland meet-ups at Te Atatu Library (next one is 17th July, from noon, come along if you’re local & crafty); started a stitch Te Reo class (Te Reo being the Maori language, Maori being the indigenous people of New Zealand) and have brought a few more things, including a reprint of a Dimensions kit, The Finery of Nature; and two recent Mirabilias, Ophelia and Twisted Mermaids. I think I’m reaching SABLE point!

This last month I’ve worked on my Te Reo piece, E pai ana au (I am good) which is the answer to another kit, E pēhea ana koe? These are designed by Gemma Steward, @gbsneedlepoint on IG, and most of the class has completed their design, which is a great indication of how good a tutor Gemma is, as most of the class hadn’t stitched before. I’m there for the language and people.

At work, I’m reading and working on the Mill Hill Sunday Night kit, one for me and one for Louise. For only the second time, I’ve run out of a thread doing the second piece, but as it’s all DMC I’m not fussed. Home has been Un Ricarmo per Rinascere, and I’m into the bottom half of the chart. I’d like this to be done before Ophelia arrives.

I’m going to set some goals for the last half of the year:

  • Complete Un Ricarmo per Rinascere (past half way mark)
  • Complete Bothy “Moonlight” (not yet started)
  • Complete the Chatelaine Castle I (at half way mark)
  • Complete Faby Reilly Fox biscornu (at back stitch mark) ALSO find where I put that, whoops

I’m not making any buy/sell promises or goals. We all know I’m not sticking to anything there!

WIP Wednesday #288

Hello everyone! I had quite a productive week, but not stitch-wise. A very dear friend had the unenviable task of cleaning her family home, preparing for the sale, so we helped out there; I went for a couple of long walks then snooze-crashed; there was a LOT of laundry as we transition to the winter wardrobe; time with the kid and time reading. I only watched my Rabbitohs play this week, not even the TV could keep me awake!

Bear is now sitting on part of his floe. Maybe a finish this week?

Woo-hoo!!

Hello everyone! I am feeling on top of my little world right about now, having finished the Auckland half marathon series with a PB in the 5KM portion (which is what I am limited to), finishing at 53:40 and 219/259 finishers. Si also got a PB yesterday for the half, and Mase ran in his first race and pulled up happy with his performance, but outraged that his age group is from his 11 to (family friend’s son) James’ 19! He will need to learn how to pace himself, as he went too fast in the first two K, then walked a bit, then ran the last 2K. Here he is at the finish line:

I’ve hung my collection of medals from the 10K at Devonport & Omaha; and the three 5km events from Maretai, Coatesville and the Waterfront on the end of my desk, as a daily reminder that even tho these things can be hard, and getting out there is important.

January WIPocalypse Update

Hi everyone. Apologies if you’ve been looking for a post from me, I took several weeks away from most media. It’s summer here and while we’ve had a few crap days, on the whole it’s been good weather and good family time. Three of us went down to Rotorua; walked in the Redwoods forest, around lakes and did the gondola/luge (Mase loved the luge so much we are now the proud owners of annual membership passes, #facepalm) and ate like kings. Then back to work, in the horrid lead up to the fiscal year end, and I cannot wait for this to be over!

Up in the Redwoods

I made up my mind regarding stitching –following along with the Magical Stitchers group again. The group is following the Percy Jackson series, so lots of Greek gods and legends; it’s the series Mase and I planned to read together this year anyway. Last time I did this I did stitch a heap and on a wide variety of projects, and I wasn’t bored for very long at all. So far, closing week five, and I’ve got (to be precise) 9948 stitches in on my focus full coverage (Mirabilla’s Red Skies at Night) and so have a finish for 2021, and I only started it on December 27th.  Yes, I do have the “new start” buzz! It does mean that I will need to find another Full Coverage to focus on – I’m thinking a Christmas stocking as I’ve had a particular chart for years. All up for January I did 10128 stitches, so feel like I channelled a bit of Stephanie!!

Red Skies

My other goals are to complete the Autumn/Winter and Spring series from Hands On Design; and to get at least a couple of Sandra Cozzolino Santa’s done. That doesn’t seem too unachievable. I’ll measure the Stitch From Stash just for my own curiosity – it got very ugly in the last few months of the year as I brought all the things…so I have 25 smalls on my list which is far more than ever before. I have also spent quite a bit this month so…yeah. Without any further purchases (not likely) and any finishes (I’m sure I’ll squeeze in a few) I will finish the six months in credit, but just. Purchases included some silks and beads for Red Skies, two FQ from Countrystitch (Fern & Feijoa), a Nora Corbett chart and the etsy one I mentioned above.

This month I have also worked on Tapestry Cat (a massive 180 stitches) and kitted Mase up in an Etsy version of van Gogh’s Starry Night. He is doing this on plastic canvas and I think I’ll do one on gold perforated paper, and cut the result out like a frame. There’s a few more by the seller, Cross Stitch By Narnie (no spaces on etsy) including The Scream, American Gothic, The Kiss, The Great Wave off Kanagawa etc. I’m pretty happy he’s stitching again as it’s good to have a hobby that doesn’t involve his computer screen!

This month’s WIPocalypse question is: Tell us about a WIP on which you’ve really struggled to make progress. Explain its history. What appears to be the reason you’re struggling? Easy! Tapestry Cat is one I am definitely struggling to focus on. I brought Fred as a kit in December 2006 and he’s been in and out of rotations ever since. Part of that is that it’s the typical Teresa Wentzler design, with lots of blended threads and half/quarter stitches and a ton of backstitch. That top portion of the frame is just about complete! Part of the reason is that I need quiet to concentrate on him; and the other bit is that right now I have positional hypotension (low blood pressure) and he’s just too complicated. Sorry Teresa!

WIP Wednesday #279

Hello lovelies. I’m going to start today’s post with a bit from the wonderful, gentle soul that is Kristen Strong. Long time readers might remember me talking about her books Girl Meets Change or Back Roads to Belonging. I really do go back to these books, and Change in particular. I am NOT good at change.

Kristen has one passage today that really spoke to me. “This Christmas season may be the most difficult one you’ve experienced to date. If that’s true, then I’m so sorry. Like the people of Israel who didn’t receive what they expected but needed, I pray the Lord shows you today, even this hour, a glimpse of His Light telling the dark corners of your heart  exactly what it needs to know.”

If you want to read the whole blog entry, or see more from Kristen (who is also part of (in)courage) check her out HERE https://kristenstrong.com/letting-go-of-expectations-and-letting-in-the-light/

On Sunday Si & I went back up to Omaha and competed in the half marathon/10K distances. Both of us finished, both slightly slower than Devonport despite the fact the track was flatter as it was HOT! I ended up needing medical attention as (for the first time in my life) my blood pressure dropped like a stone. I don’t know why as I drank heaps during the walk; I can only put it down to eating breakfast which I wouldn’t normally do prior to exercise. I shan’t make that mistake again, as I’m still a little shady.

A sculpture I walked past about half way…

I am planning on scheduling in training times, adding in a few bootcamps, getting proper orthotics for my plantar (on-the-shelf product isn’t working as well as I would hope) and maybe doing a virtual event between now and Valentine’s Day, which is the next event on the calendar.

Stitching wise, I had a thread finish on the Barbados Santas but I didn’t want to take beading away with me, so I took the Hands On Design (Cathy Habermann) Well Rounded summer stitching away with me. I have completed the smaller design of the three and started the middle, which has the beautiful use of negative space that I like. I think I will hoop finish these then put Velcro on the back, so I can hang each season vertically down a wide ribbon.

The first Summer circle is stitched

I am still trying to think about 2021. Do I want to float from project to project as the wind or whim takes me, or be focused via the Magical Stitches list? Or simply pick 21 projects for 2021? That at the least might help reduce my WIP or stash pile, which has grown by a huge chunk (and is about to grow more, as I spent a ton on 123Stitch’s Pre-Christmas sale).  I wanted to stitch a stocking or two this year, but didn’t even start one. I have all those lovely charts that I picked up from Tina’s clearance, and most of the threads, so that would be inexpensive to roll out… decisions decisions!

November WIPocalypse

Hello everyone! WIPocalypse is the monthly check-in SAL hosted by Measi on her blog, and via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers! Click on the icon to the right to learn more.  If you’re a crafter, please join up either on your blog or via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers!

Oh gosh. Here we go again with a catch-up post, as I missed October’s. Stitching without real goals means I am not at all as regular with posting as I would like to be, especially as I do use this blog as a form of a diary. Must do better, Paula!!

Since my last WIP Wednesday post, which would have been my last stitching update, I have finished Luce Mia, however she is quite converted from the original. Not so much that it’s glaringly obvious, but more so that she fitted in with the mermaid wall and our overall household aesthetic.

Converted Luce Mia
OriginalUsedfeatured
Luce Mia
722GAST Silver Fern2 skeins
3347987 
33483347body
898/4203078/3852hair
3347/3348987/3347tail
991924ribbon
958931ribbon
993932ribbon
9643752ribbon
1623753ribbon
MH 10030MH 42029ribbon
MH 42031MH 10030hair
MH 42031MH 02007body
3799356skin
3799898brow
3799310eyelash

I have completely given up on Stitch from Stash. I’m sick of feeling guilty about spending this year, and figure that my spend is helping smaller businesses and individuals who are finding it tougher than I am.  I am thinking about maybe next year trying to do it all from stash, as that could be a reasonable way to get thru my list and be a bit more productive than I have this year. I am toying with the Magical Stitchers group challenge, which will be based around the Percy Jackson books. Mase and I were planning on reading these anyway, so it could be a good fit. I’ll have to see which charts I can match to mythology – probably quite a few Mira’s!

At work I have been moving along on the Barbados Santa’s, and these are about three quarter’s done now. I will have new Santa’s for my tree this year! At home, I am working on a Faby Reilly biscornu and sadly, think this might be the first & last time I purchase one of her designs from Etsy. In the UK magazines, her charting symbols are quite clear and distinct from each other but I haven’t found this to be the case here. The actual result tho is amazing even without back stitching, so it might be something like childbirth, where you forget the pain and do it again anyway! I have also sent away for the teaching resources for the Embroidery Guild modules – OMG!! Scary stuff indeed.

October Question: How do you choose what you’re going to stitch on next? Right now, it’s all about what makes me happy. I’ve only got the backing to do for one of my Secret Santa presents; and this biscornu; then I can leap into something else. I’m thinking Holly, or Day Nymph (both by Nora Corbett) or finishing Fairy Tales (which needs those yellow roses frogging and re-doing, as the colours aren’t showing well enough). I just brought a hessian-like tree skirt from Spotlight and am thinking of doing some of Nora’s Reindeer around it…

Hands On Design altered for my Santee

November Question: What new discoveries did you have in the stitching world this year? I learnt that I like the DMC variegated threads when I use them in embroidery; and I learnt how to do French knots finally! Didn’t really venture too much out of my lane, except with the Sirens of the Sea piece and starting a Chatelaine banner. It’s enough that I want to learn more, hence applying to do the EGNZ modules.

I can’t believe that we are finally in the home stretch of 2020. I hope 2021 is a better year; that a validated vaccine against Covid-19 is available (and cheap for developing countries). That we all get to spend more time with family and friends than we do with fear. And so on… My list is growing!