I’m alive, and crafting!

I swear, I’ve still been doing craft. I just haven’t posted about it. I’ve been keeping myself busy this last month with Oz Comic-Con in both Perth and Adelaide, and the inevitable “conflu” which comes afterwards.  But! I have managed to make a sizeable amount of progress towards numerous projects, and even (gasp) two finishes…

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I’m working on “New Beginnings” by Melly and Me still – this one is getting towards the end of stitching, and even though it’s meant for a December present, I’ll be glad to knock it off the list.

Previously I was doing each animal at a time however that was resulting in a ton of thread changes, as I’m getting closer to the end and past the halfway point I’m working on a different system, of trying to finish one colour each day. I think it’s achievable, and it’ll keep me encouraged to finish it. So, fingers crossed, this time next week, it’ll be done!  Yesterday was finishing off the pink (above), and today I’ve been working on the orange at work because it’s incredibly dead.

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This is a progress picture of my most recent finish – I’m not going to put a full picture up as it’s a Christmas gift. Look at all of the damn satin stitch in this snowman! That being said, working on this project has managed to downgrade my immense hatred of satin stitch down to a moderate dislike, which is always a positive change. Maybe eventually I’ll come to not mind it? (ha!)

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Speaking of satin stitch, look what finally got worked into my rotation!? Rosalie Quinlan’s “Best Friends Forever” block of the month. I’m incredibly behind – I’m about 2/3 done on the first stitchery from installment one. Which has four stitcheries. And I’ve also received installments two and three, and by the time I finish this single stitchery, I’ll probably be onto installment four…

However, I finally allowed myself to buy a couple of things to help out with the quilt that I was refusing to allow myself until I’d started it, which I’ll post about in the next few days. Any excuse will do!

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It’s going pretty well – I managed to do some stitching on the flights (Melbourne -> Perth -> Adelaide -> Melbourne) by pre cutting lengths of thread and taking just one needle. Couldn’t take the scissors but this worked out quite well as I didn’t need to keep tying off the threads. I’m still tossing up whether to do all the stitchery, and make the hexagons at once, or to do the hexagons as I go…

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Doing this one also made me realise that I’ve never actually done chain stitch before, or if I had, it was years ago and I’d totally forgotten how to. I think I’ve managed to nail it! I found an amazing tutorial online which essentially reverses the chain stitch and makes it far, far easier to do than the traditional method, and I think it looks just as good. I was hesitant about doing the chain sttiches (particularly as they’re so prominent – just like my favourite satin stitch!), but I’ve actually become pretty fond of them quickly.

Even though I’ve been making tons of progress, I feel like there’s heaps I still need to do – I’m behind on the Once Upon A Time sampler – April was released and I haven’t even printed off the pattern! Let alone the border and January. I also need to go back to a couple of other stitchery projects that are WIPs such as the “Enjoy Today” I started at the beginning of the year, and keep working on the BFF quilt otherwise I’ll end up having a millon hexagons to stitch and will chuck it in the too hard basket!

Oh, and I also need to work on my latch hook lion at some point, along with “50 shades of grey” cross stitch as it’s become dreadfully neglected, as well as bind my epic latch hook of epicness. And let’s not even talk about the other cross stitch projects that I’ve started and have set aside… I have commitment issues to projects!

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I’m on a roll…

I’ve actually been consistently working on my craft projects, but not only that, I’m making tons of progress! Clearly it’s the apocalypse, because normally I’m awful at actually finishing things.

I’ve managed to finish the March block of the Once Upon A Time sampler, ahead of schedule. I’m going to try and work on the border a little bit, then do January when I’ve finished April as it’s on the other side of the linen.

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I’ve also finished all of the stitching for the ark on New Beginnings, and have started on the (adorable) animals, which is what I’m currently working on.

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And lastly, I’ve managed to finish and put the border fabric around my mystery project. I just need to get some more fabric so I can finish it completely. I can’t put up a picture yet, but here’s a sneaky pic at the fabrics I chose (kudos to my mum, for helping out) –

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I haven’t had a chance yet to look at all the blogs linked up in this month’s WIPocalypse, but I’ll get there shortly, I promise!

All this progress means that I may finally be able to start the Best Friends Forever BOM – which is good, as I’ll have month 3 before I know it, and the Simply Blessed BOM is starting soon too. Eeeek.

March WIPocalypse check-in

It’s that time of the month already! The March check in post for the 2014 WIPocalypse. This month’s topic is favourite places to stitch. Technically, we are meant to show it, but my craft room is a mess at the moment as I’ve only recently turned the room into a craft room, so I still need to sort it out.

I’ve taken over the front room, and have a desk set up there with my laptop as well so that I can watch things on my computer while I’m stitching. Multitasking is one of my strong points, apparently. I keep all my projects in individual folders so that I can grab them as I need them, and the current WIPs that I have in my rotation are kept there. It means that when I decide I want to change projects, they’re handy and everything is all together (fabric, patterns, threads) as I need them so I don’t have to go hunting.

March has been promising for my WIPs! Obviously, I knocked one off the list – the large latch hook that I posted about last week. Technically it should still be on there as I do need to finish binding it, but I’m waiting on some binding to be posted out to me as this one will be hung up.

I managed to finish the February square of the Once Upon A Time sampler:

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How aodrable is the happy little frog!? Sadly I haven’t made any further progress on either March, the border, OR January, but I’m hoping I can knock off most of March by the end of the month. I’m still tossing up whether to work on the border exclusively, or block by block when I have the time.

I pulled out “50 Shades of Grey” and while I’ve only done a little bit of work on it, I’ve been setting myself goals of 10×10 squares (eg. I’ll finish 3 squares tonight) and I’m hoping that will make it more manageable! I really do need to finish this page, as it’s the ‘worst’ in terms of absolutely nothing going on in the pattern, once I get across to the next pages I think this will keep my attention and stitching speed up as I’ll be able to see more of the actual design.

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So. Many. Similar. Shades.

My snowmen is going well, however! I’ve been taking advantage of being very quiet at work to stitch in the back office when all the work is done and I’m waiting for my late arrivals.

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I love these fat little snowmen. It’s currently on hold though as I need to work on another project, plus I’ve just about run out of the DMC thread and I need to grab another skein (and hope the dye lots match).

March’s Cottage Garden Threads club was delivered this week, as well. I just love these colours –

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The design is lovely, too. The design from last month was very intricate, but it didn’t call out at me to stitch it. This one is a completely different story! It’s definitely going in my ‘to stitch’ pile that keeps growing. I also need to sketch out the progressive sampler (and also get some fabric big enough) at some point and make a start on that too.

My other project is going well, the stitchery is almost complete however I can’t put a photo up just yet as it’s a gift for someone at the start of April.

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I did, however, get the mini charm pack in the mail (it was a good week for craft goodies) that I’ll be using for the outer border. Such bright colours! I just need to finish up the stitchery, and then pick out the squares I want, and sew it all together. The design calls for it to be framed, but I’m tossing up turning it into a wall hanging or wrapping it around canvas, so I may take a trip down to Spotlight on my days off and sort.

How is everyone else’s WIPs going? Hopefully it has been a productive month!

It’s finished!

The giant epic latch hook? It’s finally finished!

I am so proud of myself for pushing through and finishing this one – shows how dedicated I can be if I really put my mind to it! I’ve actually found that I’m making a lot more progress towards quite a few different projects, so something I must be doing is working.

I started this one about 18 months ago – and then promptly put it away. I pulled it out again about 6 months ago (if you’ll remember, I made a ‘bet’ with my husband to finish this before August), and finished it a couple of days ago. It still needs binding, and I still need to work out the best way to hang it, but the actual hooking is done.

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Some stats for you: this is approx 75cm high by 125cm high. There’s 16500 pieces of wool in there. And I don’t want to think about how many hours, or how many episodes of trashy TV shows I watched whilst doing it.

In typical fashion, I immediately jumped into a new project.

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I don’t want to post too much, because it’s going to be a gift, but I have about 3 weeks to do this! I’m well on track – 2/3 of the stitching is already done, and I’m just waiting on a mini charm pack of fabric to arrive in the mail so I’ll be able to finish this one. The design is absolutely adorable, by Janelle Wind, so I can’t to share it once it’s finished and gifted.

I also pulled out my mum’s light box (which I apparently borrowed a few months ago, and we both forgot I had), so I could start tracing the above one, and a few others while I still had it.

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Another Christmas present – I probably won’t start stitching this one for a while, but it’s (seemingly) a small and quick one, plus this way it’ll be ready when I want to start.

I also pulled out my other patterns I have waiting for the fabric to be cut up and designs traced onto, because I’m planning on tracing out all of these ones on my days off, so they’re easily ready for me to pull out.

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I have a lot of patterns. Thankfully, a couple of them are iron on transfers.

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Look what else arrived in the mail! Block two of the Best Friends Forever block of the month. Oh dear – two months in and I haven’t even started either instalment. I probably won’t for another month, at least, so they’re piling up (and calling out to me), but I’m loving receiving these and looking at the patterns, and the gorgeous Candy Bloom fabric.

I haven’t forgotten about my cross stitch, either… (although “50 shades of grey is on a temporary hiatus – I need to work that back into my WIP rotations).

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The February block is nearly finished in the “Once Upon A Time” sampler! Which is a good thing, as we’re 1/3 of the way into March and I’d love to get a start on that. Still adore the design, although now I’m down to all the little fiddly bits that require 3-4 stitches in each colour. This is currently my immediate goal, to finish this block, and then move back to another stitchery project.

I have far too many projects on the go, but I’ve been making decent amounts of progress on all of them. Here’s hoping that keeps up, I’d love a couple more actual finishes this month!

A latch hook disaster!

I’m getting so close to the end of this latch hook – I’m hoping to finish it by the end of the weekend, and for once I think this is an achievable goal.

I did hit a massive snag today though with the canvas – can you see the problem in the picture (hopefully not!) which made me scream in frustration and work out how to fix it?

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Hopefully you aren’t able to see it! In the sky, between the mountain and the tree on the right, I started that column and saw this on the canvas:

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The canvas seems to have been cut somehow! I nearly cried, because there was no way of doing those, and when I tried to do the ones around it, it pulled the rows out further due to the tugging on it.  I think I managed to fix it well though (and here’s a mini-tutorial in how to fix latch hooks while I’m at it).

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There is quite a bit of excess canvas around the edges, so I cut off a section that was a little bit bigger than the hole, and unpicked a bit more. Then I put the wool back through, but tried to pick up both canvases. It was tricky, but I mainly wanted to get it secured around the edges and work my way in.

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Then I secured it at the top, and worked my way around the edges and down towards the middle. It was still a bit tricky to do – and it’s by no means perfect, but it’s a lot better than it was and at least I haven’t had to leave any gaps!

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This is the finished section – because the wool goes in different directions, I can manipulate it a bit more to cover any gaps.

In hindsight, I would’ve (and would recommend) selected a larger piece of canvas as my ‘patch’ to cover it up more, as I had difficulties in some bits even with the double layer, as it is hard to do the edges. But, that said, here’s hoping I never come across a mystery hole in my latch hooks ever again!

Thankfully it hasn’t set me back too badly, and it taught me a new skill at least!

Fingers crossed that no more craft disasters appear any time in the near future…

WIP Wednesday

It’s March! Already! How did that happen?

This does mean however that I’ll be getting my March edition of the Cottage Garden Threads club and the Rosalie Quinlan Best Friends Forever block of the month in the mail – and I’ve promised myself I won’t start the latter until I finish the latch hook and at least one other project.

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That said, I’m on track to finish my latch hook probably in the next week or so – I’m going through the top third of it now and it’s just under half done. I love the design although admittedly I’ve been getting a bit sick of it from such intensive work. I think this is part of the reason I like having a number of projects on the go, so I don’t get burnt out from them.

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I’ve also made progress on my Merry Snowmen and have finished the first one! I adore this project and how cute it is, and it’s stitching up so quickly! I’ve ordered myself another one from this designer but a different pattern as I just love it so much and they’re going to make great Christmas presents. Yes, I’m thinking 9 months ahead!

March also means the new block in the Once Upon A Time sampler has been released. Oh dear – I haven’t done any more work on it! The new pattern is the Three Little Pigs and it is absolutely adorable, I’m dying to get into it but need to finish February (…and January) first.

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I pulled it out again last night and have started the frog – you can see there how I had to rip a few stitches out because I had a counting ‘moment’. Irony is having to ‘frog’ the frog, I guess. The border for this one is so intricate and while I’d love to be able to get ahead and finish that all up I have a feeling for the first few months I’m going to have to do the border as I go.

I’ve got another parcel coming in the mail (I just can’t help myself!) as I’ve decided on the spur of the moment to make a present for my friend’s son’s birthday. Next month. I like to challenge myself, I guess. On the upside, for the next month or so I’ll be working at the new property our hotel chain is opening which is extremely quiet compared to my current hotel (approximately 20% of the size) so I suspect I may actually get some down time there!

Lastly, I remembered that I have an Instagram account and have started posting some craft pictures over there, too – it’s great seeing other people posting the same projects that I’m doing and it’s really keeping me motivated and inspired. Feel free to go and follow me – AlexHulett

Progress – and some new projects!

Wow, I’ve been incredibly slack at not only my own blogging, but also keeping up with everyone else! Sorry about that – I expect I’ll be going on a commenting spree shortly, I have tons of posts lined up in my reader that I need to comment on, as well as a bunch more from the WIPocalypse that I need to actually start reading.

I’ve been keeping up with my craft at least, and have some updates! No more updates on the cross stitches at this stage as I’ve got other things in the rotation, but I’ve made a bunch of progress on the wonderland latch hook:

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I think from my calculations, this is about 70% complete? I’m putting most of my energy into this one as I can’t wait til it’s finished (although I may put off the binding for a while) and it will look soooo good. As a reminder, it’s almost as big as me and is about 1.3m wide. Yeah.

I also received my first delivery for the “Best Friends Forever” block of the month from Jess over at A Patchwork Quilt. Love the stitcheries and the fabrics – I doubt I’ll be starting this one for a bit and will probably have a few months at once to start with, but at least I can quilt as I go.

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The fabric is Rosalie Quinlan’s “Candy Bloom” and by the end of the program I should have the entire set for use in the quilt. So colourful!

I’ve also signed up for Rosalie’s new block of the month, “Simply Blessed”, also from Jess (sign up link is here) and will be doing it in the French colours.

I honestly did not need another project but I am in love with the stitcheries – plus, at least these stitch up faster than my cross stitches!

I spent the last couple of days down at Rosebud with the hubby and spent a lot of yesterday relaxing and stitching. I could’ve taken some of my current projects, but in my typical fashion I’ve instead decided to start two more projects, adding to my WIP list!

These are both projects that I need to have completed by December – oh sure, it’s months away, but given my tendencies to purchase or start new projects, I wanted to at least start them and work them into my WIP rotation so that I wouldn’t be madly trying to finish them in time.

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This is for my nephew – I’m planning on having it finished up in time for his second birthday at the start of December. Isn’t it such a cute design!? I love how colourful it will be in the end.

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This is going to be a Christmas present – I don’t want to reveal too much of it, just in case, but it has three snowmen on there and is just adorable. There’s a bunch of satin stitch in the scarf of the second one, and you all know how much I love that…

Here’s hoping that next post, I can have some more progress pictures to show you (and haven’t started any more new projects!!)