I need a Fabrics Anonymous

What have I been up to lately? Well, work has been keeping me busy, so I haven’t had much to post yet. But I’ve been working on a few things here and there…

A bit more of “Enjoy Today” (satin stitch is still doing my head in, but it’s getting there!)

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I finished my Merry Snowmen latch hook…

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And I took another trip to Spotlight because they had 30% off printed fabric!

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I’ve acquired some cream and red fabric for all those Christmas stitheries, as well as a couple of different options for my “New Beginnings” that I want to start soon. And of course, no trip would be complete without a couple more fat quarters!

I also ordered some hanky linen online for some of my projects that are in a set, just to make it easier if I choose to do the other ones – with my track record, it’ll be years and then I won’t be able to find the old fabric! I also grabbed a couple of pieces of wool felt that I need for another project I’m doing as a present.

It’s been a bit of stash building, but in my defence almost all of it has plans – now I just need to set up my study/craft room and give myself some space to put it all!

WIPocalypse!

In my various browsing around crafty blogs, I came across one that had created a WIPocalypse. Which is just perfect for me, because not only am I trying to encourage myself to post more, and find other crafty blogs, but I’m really hoping this will encourage me more to actually work on my projects that I’ve started, as well as my new ones.

Anyone can sign up, and there’s a monthly ‘check in’ where people can update how they’re going on all their WIPs. The topic for January was relatively simple – introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals.

So, for new readers – I’ve got an incredibly crafty mother, who introduced me into craft at a young age. As I grew older, I drifted from it, but then about 18 months ago really got back into it. The main thing that drew me back in was cross stitch, but I’ve also expanded this out to latch hooking, and stitcheries/embroidery – with a side of quilting that will be developing in the future. I did give needlepoint a go, but it frustrated me and it’s not for me, so I think I’ll be tossing those projects.

I’m a compulsive starter, and tend to impulse buy a lot of projects for my stash, which I will one day get to! I’m not so great at finishing – I tend to find new projects, and set the other one aside, for far too long. I’m also a bit of an overachiever, which results in me picking large projects, rather than smaller, easier to finish ones!

I’ve already set myself a list of goals for 2014, so I won’t repeat those again. Some of them are WIP, some of them are new, but for the WIPocalypse I’m going to try and be a bit more specific.

In terms of WIPs that I want to make progress on (I’m being realistic – not all of these will be finished this year);

  1. “Watching It Fly” cross stitch
  2. “Hogwarts” cross stitch
  3. Christmas ornaments cross stitch
  4. “Love” wedding sampler cross stitch
  5. “Love / Hope / Joy / Peace” stitchery
  6. “Enjoy Today” stitchery
  7. “Sierra Wonderland” latch hook
  8. Lion huggable latch hook

I also have a number of projects that I’ll be starting in 2014, so they’ll eventually be added to the list. I’m hoping at least half of these can be knocked off – but we’ll see, I guess!

Tutorial: How to finish a Latch Hook

Well, I did it! My first official finish for 2014 – and it’s a project that I’ve had, on and off, for the last 5+ years (most likely more – I can’t remember when I first bought this kit).

I finished the Snowmen latch hook off on Saturday, but this one below I’d actually finished around about 18 months ago, and never fully completed the whole thing. Which.. was just finishing off the edges and sewing it up. In retrospect, very easy.

The latch hook kits all seem to have the same directions for finishing off a completed latch hook, and are all rather useless, hence me putting this off for so long. I tried to search YouTube, but for once it’s let me down in terms of tutorial videos. I did come across a couple of blog posts, but they were a bit tricky to follow. So, trial and error ensued, and thanks to a couple of requests, I’m detailing the process. It’s by no means perfect, but I think I did a pretty decent job for my first go!

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Decent scissors were a must, to cut through the fabric. I also used some larger needles (Chenille, Size 18, according to the packet, although it doesn’t really matter), and some DMC Perle 5 thread. Perle 8 would work just as well, I think, it’s just that Spotlight only had the colour I wanted in Perle 5.

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I started by cutting about two squares up (just under an inch?) from the edge of the completed rug area. The straight side was obviously the easiest part, and so I started with this side. You could probably go a little closer, but in the end, it didn’t make a huge difference.

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I knotted off at one end, and tucked the fabric over. Then, it was just a simple matter of going through each square, one by one. I’ve tried to get a good picture to show what I did – basically, go on the diagonal, and make it loop over. Don’t worry too much if you catch the wool – I did this quite a bit and you can’t see from the other side, as long as the needle & thread are pulled through securely.

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Sometimes the canvas can be quite thick, and doesn’t move with the stitching (see above). Just fold it down as you get to the area, and it’ll stay in place as you stitch nearer to it.

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The rounded sides were a little trickier for me, but I continued with the rough pattern of two squares around the edge.  Less is more – you can always trim it if a certain bit gets too fiddly to work with, like I did.

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I did the corners in different ways, although I didn’t get a picture of the second one. In this one, I cut it down and folded it over, to try and make it a bit neater, however it didn’t really make a huge difference – the next one, it was 2 squares on either side and folded up nicely. As long as both sides are equal, and you keep them flat when sewing, they’ll sit quite nicely.

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I admit, the rounded areas aren’t the prettiest – when it went down 1 square each row, it was neater than when it went down 2 or 3 squares. Either way, the canvas is fairly easy to manipulate, and you should be able to do some kind of stitch on each diagonal square to catch the fabric. Don’t be worried about doing extra stitches, sometimes they are needed.

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As you finish each length of thread, knot it off and start another one. The finished product should hopefully end up something like this, roughly even around the whole thing. There is latch hook/rug binding which can be purchased to sew on top and produce a more polished finish, but I didn’t bother on this one – after all, nobody’s going to be looking at the back, and this is a Christmas themed rug anyway.

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The finished product! As you can see, it tucks well under and you can’t see where the stitching has come through. Relatively quick and simple to do, for a nice finished edge all round.

Luckily, I’ve only got one more that is rounded, and the rest of my latch hooks are rectangular or square, so it’ll be a lot quicker to sew along. I do have a couple of the “huggable” latch hooks which turn into a toy which have been proving to be a bit of a challenge – if I manage to work out what on earth I’m doing with those ones, I’ll try and put up a tutorial for that one too.

I can never stop at one thing!

Well, after my post a couple of days ago, I managed to finish off my latch hook yesterday. Which leads to the question – why am I so horrible at finishing my WIPs??

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Now, I have two latch hooks done, and just need to work out how to bind them and finish them off. I’ve had a look around online and pretty sure I have a decent idea, so I’ll be playing a bit of trial and error to see how I go with it. I’ll try and take pictures of the process, as a couple of people have asked about how to bind it. No guarantees it’ll work, though!

So with that, I decided a trip to Spotlight was in order, to pick up some thicker thread.

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As you can tell, I purchased more than the thread. I always seem to do this – trip and accidentally put more things into my basket.

Also pictured – a pile of fat quarters and thread for a project, some buttons that were on sale that I may or may not need (I believe a pattern called for “two” buttons, but they were on sale!), a tin to put my needles in, a pile of Christmas themed fat quarters that were also on sale, a jelly roll that I have no plans for but were great colours, some fat quarters that I can possibly use for those Christmas patterns I keep buying, and because who doesn’t like adding to their stash, some needles, and of course the thread I came into the store to get in the first place!

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A close up of the fabrics I selected for my “Happy Days” needlebook I’m planning as a present, and the matching threads. Technically I didn’t need a fat quarter – I needed far less – but the colours are gorgeous together and I may even make another one.

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I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this one before, but this is my work on my largest latch hook project to date (it’s quite literally as tall as me), and this got put aside for about a year. I’ve pulled it out again, and am slowly working on 10×10 blocks in the theory that as long as I do a little bit of work on a project each day, I’ll get some progress going. It seems to be going well, although the piece is so large I have to do on the bed, as it won’t fit out on the couch. This one isn’t on my list of goals or working towards a deadline to finish, as it’s just so damn huge. Maybe some day!

More goodies!

Has it been almost a week since I’ve posted? Whoops! So much for my goal of remembering to post regularly…

I’ve found a new store and I’m delighted to say that it’s close to me! A Patchwork Quilt is run by the delightful Jess, and opened at the beginning of this year. It’s currently online only although Jess hopes to open the doors to the public in the future – and just a couple of suburbs over from me, I’m overjoyed. It’ll be so nice to have a store in the northern suburbs.

I promptly went ahead and purchased a couple more patterns to add to my stash – I’ve got plans for one of them, but not the other two (yet..) and am waiting on a couple more to come into stock.

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The middle “Thought of the Month” series has a ton of great quotes, and I can easily see me buying the rest of them …

I’ve also signed up to a couple of the BOM programs – Rosalie Quinlan’s “Best Friends Forever”, and the Cottage Garden Threads club. Both begin in February, and I’m looking forward to receiving my goodies each month.

Not entirely sure when I’ll be able to start these patterns, as I’m trying to get through my WIPs which seem to keep growing out of control…

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I’ve decided this is my next one to tackle, while I take a break from “Enjoy Today” and the cursed satin stitch (it’s really not that bad, it’s just I can’t handle stitching neatly in this heatwave), so I’m hoping I can finish the hooking over this weekend. Then I just have to bind it – and find where I put the binding!

It’s never too early to be planning presents

I got back from annual leave yesterday at work to discover that my most recent online purchase had been delivered – yay!

I tend to get parcels delivered to work, rather than home, because with my work schedule and varying delivery times I never know if I’ll be home, and this is far easier to juggle.

This particular parcel included a number of stitchery projects that I plan on doing as Christmas presents (and will also count towards my goals of finishing some projects). I can’t wait to get started on them, but I really should finish off a couple others first.

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Projects for my nephew, and a couple others to give to family members as Christmas presents.

Now all I need to do is stitch them up – and then go on a trip and find the matching fabrics to finish them!

In other crafting news, “Enjoy Today” is stitching up quite nicely – I’ve almost finished the flower petals and just have a couple left, and am moving onto the satin stitch.

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The satin stitch looks fantastic, but god is it frustrating!

Watching It Fly – 6 months progress

I wrote about this briefly in my goals post a few days ago, but I’ve had a few people ask about my epic cross stitch, so I’m putting a post up in full explaining it.

A while back, someone got me onto Heaven and Earth Designs. They created a monster – aside from this project, I’ve got a bunch more charts purchased and printed out, for when the time fairy comes to visit.

I fell in love with “Watching It Fly”, although for the sake of my sanity I chose to stitch the “mini” version, which is the same chart, just condensed. Because they’re still so large, it means that very little detail is lost.

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I printed out the entire chart and laid it out – you can barely see the picture here, but this demonstrates how large the project is! I’m starting from the bottom left up, and have managed to do the bottom page, as well as the full page above that, and am now midway through the next page. This will take a while.

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I ordered all of my threads ages ago in preparation from 123stitch.com – as much as I like purchasing them here as it’s faster, it’s hard to justify when doing such large projects as it’s almost half the cost to buy the DMC threads from the US. As you can see, there’s a lot of colours in similar shades. I may go crazy.

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About 6 months ago, I began the first stitches. All of the fabric you can see here is the size of the eventual finished project – the fabric is a bit longer, but I haven’t cut the right side off for fear of cutting the wrong size!

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Here’s a look at the finished design, and what it’ll hopefully look like. I should point out, this is a colour print out! The final result will have 74,100 stitches. Yeah.

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I haven’t done much work on this for about a month, but this is where I’m currently up to. Despite the pain of so many different shades of grey, it’s coming up quite well and you can start to see the clouds in the sky properly forming (along with the tiniest bit of hair!) Page 1, which I’m currently stitching, has a lot of similar stitching in it, with a god awful amount of metallic thread. I hate that stuff. Luckily, the majority seems to be on the left half, so by the time I get halfway through, I will have finished the bulk of metallic threads.  I think.

I’ve been focusing on my stitchery lately, rather than my cross stitch, but I’m hoping to go back to this, or at least put it into my rotation and work on it at least once a week. After all, one of my goals is to finish 3 pages of this, so I can’t get too lazy!