WIP Wednesday #291

Hi everyone! It was an odd week, with highs and lows. RIP Queen Elizabeth; you served your people faithfully and well. I intend to watch her service and give thanks. I expect Mum would have hung the bunting out in heaven; she always wanted to meet the Queen.

In fun stuff, I am planning a Taskmaster party for Mase’s birthday. He was sick the original weekend, and now of course nearly every weekend is another friend’s party, so we’ll do it in the warmer weather. Not a bad thing, really. It should be hilarious. And messy. These things often are!

Stitching wise, Stitch West had a meet-up and it’s so good to be with other needleworkers. We are so different in our goals, experiences and beliefs but everyone treats each other with respect and humour. I love that. And it’s less than a few weeks to the annual retreat – this time at Thames, a coastal town in the Coromandel.

I have some good progress on Rogue Dragon, and his top half is nearly complete. He’s really satisfying to work on as there are so few people stitching him, so the little quirks are a surprise. A few people have asked for the conversion details too which is very complimentary. It’s not complete yet so no sharing.

Hope you all have a good week.

WIP Wednesday #290

Well – so much for willpower, as I said on the facebook post. I have not finished the Garden Porch mice, or the second set of waves on the Thames biscornu, but I started the Rogue Dragon.

Garden Porch Mice on Floba, using DMC Perle #5

In Nora Corbett’s patreon, the majority of people chose her red/orange colourway in the first posts. Me, I’m different (hold the phone!) but as I said then, I’ll work on a conversion. It was going to be blues, so Talith , from MacCaffrey. Talith was the dragon to suggest using the fire lizards stone to create the flame that kills Thread. I know, ironic isn’t it? Someone else is using Glaurang, from Tolkien; and I’m sure there will be other names from literature. And probably a Fred or two. And then I went greens, so this is Morath, who rescued Debera from her father’s attempt at imprisonment post Search. This is with seven day’s work.

Rogue Dragon on Platinum lugana

And if you don’t know the series, start with Dragonsdawn by Anne MacCaffrey. That way you can read chronologically rather than as she wrote/published, as those dart around as her muse took her. And there’s a few books written by her children to round out the series. But only if you like fantasy. If you want a non-fiction, and I’m aware I may be a bit late to the party, but I was recommended and started Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle by Claire Hunter (pub 2020).  It’s fascinating.

We had a lovely weekend away with Mase. He’s now 13, and we got the best email from his teacher, so decided to go do his things in Rotorua as a treat. Did the usual luge (where I watch, coffee and stitch while they race), a couple of touristy things like Paradise Springs, and another bout of mini golf where I won again, hooray! Si “borrowed” one of B’s rugby balls (turned out this was without permission, eep) so he took photos of the ball and sent them to B frequently. Who sent back ridiculous text messages in return. Oh dear, this is my life!

A Very Late Update

So it’s been a long while since I wrote. If you haven’t been on my IG, we’ve got a lot to catch up on.

Family-wise, we’ve grown although maybe not in the expected way. Back in February, Si  was putting in the last of the Expol underfloor insulation. I was in the room above him and I heard an “oh shit!’ then a much much louder “go and get your mother!”. I went around and under the house where he told me that he thought we had rats. We don’t even have a compost bin and live in suburbia, and I thought this was really unrealistic. Sure enough, after I grabbed his headtorch and had a look, it wasn’t. I was exceptionally passive aggressive when I made the torch shine directly in his eyes and said “…it’s kittens”.

Turns out Mama Cat was dumped when the people behind us moved out. She wasn’t much more than a kitten herself and was malnourished and therefore so were the kittens. We found three live kittens and brought them into the house to be warmed up and fed. So now we have Charlie (was 205gm), Elise (was 225gm) and Kayn (was 265gm) – at nearly six months, Kayn is “average” while the girls are much smaller, but everyone is now thriving. Mama is now spayed and re-homed, but the three terrors are staying with us.

Charlie, day one
Kayn, Elise & Charlie, night one
Charlie, on Sunday. An ideal builders cat!

And I have a teenager again – and we’ve done the high school visit. Ouch.

Work-wise, nothing much has changed for me. The role has reduced down again, so it’s getting to time to look for something more. I have read over the material for the next Tikanga paper, and decided not to proceed there. I think language might be the go, or a dressmaking course. Honestly, it’s all about me so I’ll move the way I want to.

Reading-wise, I am devouring older Nora Roberts, Deb Kastner, Becky Wade and anything that has a Christian/K-9 Assistance trope. Luckily that’s a huge swathe of Harlequin novels so I’ll be there until that runs out.  Re-watching older episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Taskmaster UK, and The Great British Sewing Bee. I made a lined waistcoat for Si, for his formal awards dinner (his team theme was loud), and now I’ve mastered darts and bagging out. Woot. Patrick Grant would still be looking down his nose at it!

Stitching wise, I have finished quite a few things, started some more and purchased even more. I have mastered a few embroidery stitches – queen was a real headache to ensure it was even – and have put off starting a Chatelaine mandala as (insert gasps here) I have fallen into the full coverage rabbit hole. I know. I know!! Please God, let me live to 102… Pattern Keeper is an amazing app

Finishes:

  • Mirabilia Fairy Idyll
  • HOD North Pole Trading Company (adapted to two antlers, not three)
  • Mill Hill Sunday Night (two of course, and FFO’d)
  • HOD Cookie Exchange SAL (need to FFO on a kitchen board)
  • HOD Reflect Upon Your Present Blessings
  • La-D-Da Sweet Pea (on Floba, FFO’d even!)
  • Tis The Season Abigail’s Sampler (good for learning new stitches)
  • Faby Reilly Fox biscornu (ready to FFO at the Thames Retreat)
Sweet Pea #ffo

Still to complete:

  • Chatelaine Castle I (still back stitching the gate)
  • Beth Twist/Heartstring Samplery Coffee Quaker (my over one conversion)
  • Mirabilia Princess Elliana (still working on conversion)
  • Mirabilia Le Nouveau Sampler (LHS of garden)
  • Mirabilia Fairy Tales (to bead)

Started since we last chatted:

  • Nora Corbett Coral Charms (converting to the same look as my Luce Mia mermaid)
  • Stitching Jules’ Watercolour Sheltie (via etsy, about 15%)
  • HAED Lesley Anne Ivory Tournee Le Chat Noir (about 12%, but it’s HUGE)
  • Ink Circles Red Velvet
  • HAED Aimee Stewart Cliffhanger (mini, just over 26%)
  • Just Nan Garden Porch Mice (on floba)
Cliffhanger by Aimee Stewart

I’m also working on the Nora Corbett Patreon pattern, Rogue Dragon. He’ll be converted, as hers is red/orange tones, and that isn’t my jam. He’s the next cab off the rank once Garden Porch Mice is done, as I really do want to see what & how the humbug forms. I’ve not completed one of those before. One of the ladies at the embroidery group I go to had one done last month, but on 32ct so much smaller. I have the 32ct for this one still with the chart, but I doubt I’ll do it again. Also, the urn and mice could go well into another Hare, especially if I was to use the same shape as the Sweet Pea I finished this month.

Anyway, I will try to write more frequently. I’d like to get back into a weekly routine again, and Zeb has been asking for flosstube again. Not sure if I have the emotional spoons for that but we’ll see. Where on earth would I start from??

Take care!

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!

July 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.

Since I last posted, I have some finishes! Un Ricarmo per Rinascere is done, and the following day I finished the beading on Nora Corbett’s Winter Bear. He’s a little altered from the original, as I am going to mount him on a canvas and I used a different bugle bead. Otherwise he’s as per the chart, on 28ct Evening Shadows Lugana from Countrystitch. URPR is on 28ct Geyser Lugana from Countrystitch, beads and threads as charted.

On a positive note, I found the fox biscornu bag! I haven’t opened it, but at least I know where it is now – in my WIP pile in my stitch dresser. I also did some “housework” and cleaned up my DMC threads, added them into Stash Cache and sorted out all the other brands (Anchor, Sullivans) to go to another stitcher.

There’s an upcoming WIPocalypse challenge based around the Summer Olympics. From Measi’s blog:

The rescheduled Tokyo Summer Olympics will take place July 23 – August 8, 2021. For the duration of the Olympics (defined as beginning of the day to the end of the day in your time zone), you can pick and choose from the following “events” to add some spice to your stitching. All optional, of course!

  • Marathon – pick one piece, and dedicate yourself to progress on that single piece for the duration of the Olympics.
  • Olympic Flag – You may stitch on any piece or combination of pieces, but only stitch in the colors of the Olympic rings – blue, yellow, black, green, and red, as well as white (the background of the flag).
  • Sprint – Choose either a time block (for example, 3 hours) or a number of stitches that you can do fairly quickly in an afternoon, and see how many projects you can work on during the Olympics. If you prefer to limit to a certain number of pieces and just do a rapid rotation, this also would count as a sprint.
  • Decathlon – Pick ten pieces by ten different designers and complete at least 200 stitches OR 3 hours on each during the Olympics.

The Bothy Threads kit Moongazer (why did I call that Moonlight last month??) arrived at work while I was away sick, and so therefore all temptation to have a new start ceased, and is the real reason I have two finishes J however, I intend to do the “marathon” event for the Olympic stitching, and hopefully this one will be a finish long before the Games are over. He really is very beautiful, confetti and all! I am stitching him on 28ct Cashel (for a change) in Waterfall from Countrystitch.

Moongazer after four days work

On that note, and probably because I am risk-adverse and at heart a scientist, but What The Actual?? Who thinks it’s an okay idea to run an event of this size and nature during a pandemic? Also, Boris et all should be taken out the back and locked up for being criminally negligent. Pretty happy the Australian and NZ Rugby League teams won’t be travelling to the UK in a few months.

July 25 – Have you ever attended a stitching retreat? If so, tell us about your experiences. As I said last month, I attended the Christchurch meet-up that was open to all NZ members. It wasn’t a retreat as such, as the accommodation and the event were in different locations, but it’s opened me up to meeting new people. I’ve attended two of the three West Auckland meet-ups, and once rugby season is over, I’ll be going to the monthly North Shore events too. 

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 #289

Hi everyone! I’m resonating with the line from a Mariana Zapata novel, where the child has been “ranting for a small eternity”. Anyone else have the feels here?  It’s raining heaps, the household is full, at work we’re all full on, and patience is running out. Yay, Winter. But we need the rain, our local dam has been running very low for quite some time (atho not as low as the Hoover in the States – did you see that news article? The “bath rings” quote was apt). Of course our new water tank (which is not household, just for my gardens & topping up the pool in summer) isn’t installed yet.

There’s a bit of gaming going on, and a bit of Lego. A lot of sport, and for me, a lot of reading (Penny Reid mostly). I have divided up my stitch WIPS to Un Ricarmo per Rinascere at home (last worked on in September 2019), and a new start, a Mill Hill church kit at work. I love Mill Hill for work/travel; easy to pick up where you left off, easy to work on while in the car, or having a conversation; not quite small enough to work on at my desk however!

NOTE: If you’re looking for Un Ricarmo, it’s only available as a digital download from Casa Cenina in Italy. Nora Corbett designed her as a memorial for those who were affected by the earthquakes that rocked central Italy in 2017. Please do not buy second hand or via Etsy/eBay/whatever – the true purpose of the chart will be lost if you do. https://www.casacenina.com/mirabilia-design-nora-corbett/un-ricamo-per-rinascere.html

I reached the finish point of the May Cotton & Twine kit; I haven’t used their border as I want to personalise this once we buy a seaside getaway/retirement home. I did add a French knot for the door handle – perfect with the first attempt! – so it’s to one side for now. No rush. I’m swapping out last month’s chart and threads for a previous release and looking forward to next month’s kit – it’s a new-to-me finish, on a coarsely woven bag. So while expensive, I am enjoying these kits. I didn’t stitch even one of the charts from Sassy Devils (altho for the most part I liked their fabric and extras) so that’s nice.

Anyways, off to look after the sick littlest this afternoon. Hopefully by the time I get there he’ll have finished vomiting and we’ll have a quiet snuggly afternoon.

WIP Wednesday #289

Hello everyone! It’s late Wednesday and I’m about to head off to bed… My brain is very very tired. But before I do, here’s my WIP of Mirabilia Princess Elliana, definitely a work in progress with an awful lot of frogging.

This is just tonight, playing with the band above the blue (which is brown in the original). I’m still not sure about the darkest band, but I’ll wait a few days and see… The hair, collar, skin and tassel are as charted.

My second drool piece is a copy of Elisabetta Sforza’s latest. OMG.

I brought my copy of Ricamare il Mare from the most local retailer – A Stitch in Time in Tasmania! I’ll be visiting that shop when we head over to explore.

I’ll need to do a lot more practice and drop some cross stitch projects down the want to work on list. I brought a pattern today for a felt apple, each wedge being an example of a set of stitches, then the finished item becomes not only a visual guide but a practical item too – a pincushion, or with a weighted fill, a paperweight perhaps.

Anyway, have a lovely week. Take care of yourselves, physically and mentally. A challenge for you – keep a 7 day diary, just one sentence of something that makes you happy that day. I’ll share mine next week.

April 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!

April was a mixed bag for me; I have gone well outside the SFS budget, especially as I found all the things (this particular book is on an airplane as I write, and I totally concur with Mary Corbet’s view of it being gorgeous –

https://www.needlenthread.com/2020/10/a-sea-to-stitch-and-its-gorgeous.html ) I finished stitching Winter Bear from Nora Corbett (he still needs a few beads that I am waiting on), did a little on my Chatelaine, a little on the Faby Reilly fox biscornu, a little on a Mill Hill ornament, a little on Mirabilia’s Fairy Tales – you get the picture. I did get one finish but that’s technically a May one – Merry Berry from Hands On Design/Squareology was finished in a temporary hoop, as I don’t have any 4” ones as yet.

Yesterday was my birthday, so I treated myself to a new start – Princess Elliana by Mirabilia. I plan to convert a lot of her dress to shades of blues but keeping the hair/skin/flower tones as is. This is on Countrystitch’s Urewera Mist, the same fabric that I used for Shakespeare’s Fairies.

April 25 – Have you found yourself to be more or less productive in your stitching during the Covid-19 pandemic? Given we only had a relatively short lockdown and of that, I only had a week off work, I’m actually finding myself quite burnt out now. Life here in NZ is still quite “normal” in most areas, except Tourism, and I find myself impatient with those countries that haven’t seemed to have caught on that this pandemic is horrific, unforgiving and needed to have shutdowns to effectively close if off before we can vaccinate. I was a lot more productive last year when working from home as I kept something by my desk to keep myself calm, but can’t do that in the office sadly! I do manage about half an hour a day at work during my breaks but most is at home, squeezed into my weekend.

WIP Wednesday #285 & a WIPocalypse update

Hi everyone. Again, long time no write. I am really struggling for motivation, both in work and play. Our clocks went back on Sunday last week, wah, and it feels like summer has up and left. Saturday I was lounging around in shorts, and Sunday I was scrambling for trackies! The rest of the week we’ve been hovering in that almost overcast 21 degrees area, so it’s not quite sundress but not quite a wrap weather.

I made the decision to leave #magicalstitches for the remainder of this year at least. I wasn’t keeping up with the reading, let alone the stitching, and the notifications were overwhelming. It’s too big a group for me and was making me more anxious – the very thing your hobby shouldn’t make you! I did very little stitching for a good 2-3 weeks, just spending (oh boy!) and therefore I’m not going to keep up with SFS this year either. It’s all good as I don’t have a budget as we’re very lucky to not have our incomes affected, and still afford to have teenager appetites scrounging off us.

So no finishes since the last time I wrote, and I’m waiting on one order from Catherine at Countrystitch, two 123Sttich orders, the last Sassy Devils pouch (I cancelled this sub as the quality has dropped over the last two pouches, possibly as they had one of the team leave) and I added on the Spring box from Cotton & Twine as it has an exclusive Emma Congdon/Stitchrovia design that I want to do. Even if it is on the (to be supplied) aida! I could always give that away I suppose.

So, to WIPocalypse and the questions. February was What stitch-a-longs (SALs) are you participating in this year? and March was What is your process for working on WIPs? Are you a one-at-a-time stitcher, a rotation stitcher, or something else?

So. Feb is easy now – absolutely NOTHING (please say NOTHING in your best Sergeant Schulz voice, okay?).

And for the March question – that’s much harder. Right now I am whateverying, or stitching on whatever I have a whim to work on. Last week I pulled out Mirabilia’s Fairy Tales, looked at it for a few days, frogged the offending colours, looked at it again for a few days, then started stitching. I am not a fan of the rose colours here but I can’t get them quite right – hopefully third time will be the charm! I do want to finish this one and maybe Un Ricarmo before I start another – I have several mermaids, plus Holly, Feather Fairy and the Christmas Fairy to start. Or I just start all the things!