United Stitches

I’m excited – happy mail today!  I’ve signed up for “United Stitches”, which is Rosalie Quinlan’s 2015 block of the month (I’m still working on 2013 – Best Friends Forever & 2014 – Simply Blessed, we don’t talk about those just yet…)

Unlike the previous ones though, this is designed around a ‘stitch and switch’ theme.  Each set of stitcheries is numbered, and actually comes with two stitcheries of each design.  The intention is that you stitch one for yourself, and one for someone else – either in a sewing group, or as a round robin, or by posting on the Facebook group and finding someone to swap with, and most people will select whether to do the odd or even designs.  The team over at Creative Abundance have been posting up pictures of all the stitcheries, and I have to say they are ADORABLE!

I’m going to be doing this one with my mother, who is the one who took me down the rabbit hole of craft addiction, so it seems only fitting. I predict as usual she will be way ahead of me, as I tend to take on far too many WIPs at once, but it’ll be nice to do even if it takes me a couple of years!!

20150129-215553.jpg

The pack arrived today and includes a fat quarter bundle of the “Chirpy Lola” fabric which is gorgeous, all of the Cosmo threads needed, extra linen for the quilt, the quilt instructions, a tin to keep all the swap cards, a 4 1/2″ template for the stitcheries/blocks, and the first two stitcheries.

I can’t start it just yet as a) I want to get up to date with the Story Time Sampler and a couple of other cross stitch projects, or reach a certain point, and b) I meant to order some thinner stabiliser as I don’t want to use Parlan on this, but totally forgot to! So I’ll be ordering some of that shortly now that I have the requirements for the full quilt.

20150129-215604.jpg

This is the finished quilt that Rosalie finished – isn’t it just so bright and adorable?? I think putting it together may be a bit of a challenge, but to be honest, once I’ve reached that point I’m hoping to be more confident with some of those blocks.

20150129-215626.jpg

The Story Time Sampler is trucking along and I’m definitely going to reach my goal of finishing all of the frames before the next clue is released on the 31st (which is Sunday lunchtime here due to the time differences).  The frames are all so intricate and so require a lot of concentration when counting, although I’m pleased to report that I have remembered how to count properly so haven’t had to rip out whole frames any more!!

20150129-215633.jpg

One of my friends who is also stitching this came over for dinner tonight and we were working on this together so I managed to make some decent progress – I’ve begun the last frame! I probably won’t finish it until Friday evening but I’ll definitely have it done, which means that I can hopefully put some solid progress in on the banner and knock out some of that before the clue is released.

I’m determined with this to stay up to date and having the frames is helping so I can jump straight into the stitching – I managed to stitch up Alice incredibly fast and on the day that the clue was released, so I’ve proven to myself that I *can* knock things out and I can stay on target – and I’ve got a couple of other friends who are doing this as well to keep me on track 😉

Is anyone else doing either the Story Time Sampler or United Stitches? I’d love to see your plans and if you’re staying 100% true to the design or making a changes to give it your own personal touch!

2015 Projects: Cross Stitch edition

Once again, I’ve been neglecting my blog! I have been stitching up a storm though, so here’s some of my progress lately!

I’m trying to set myself a list of projects to work on this year – these are all projects that I’ve either started, or am planning to start sometime this year.  I’m not going to set myself goals like last year in terms of “finish x amount”, I would like a few finishes, but my aim is to at least make progress on every one of these and hopefully post a before and after at the end of the year with my progress.

I’ve got cross stitch, embroidery, and quilting projects, which I’ll blog about separately, but I’ll start with the cross stitch as that’s what drew me back into crafting again a couple of years ago. So, without further ado:

20150122-204356.jpg

2014 “Once Upon A Time” sampler by the girls at the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.  I am abysmally behind on this one as you can tell – I’m really wanting to try and smash this out by the end of the year and try and work on it in between other projects. The blocks are so adorable, but I got behind and then just struggled to catch up and ended up bailing on it for quite a while.

Stitched 2 over 2 on 28 count linen from Picture This Plus (I forget the colour, but it’s the recommended fabric).

20150122-204413.jpg

The 2015 “Story Time Sampler“, from the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. I’m actually on track (if not slightly ahead!) of this one, as the first clue – Alice – was released on the 15th along with the frames, and then will be on the 31st and then at the end of each month. My goal for this is to get all of the frames stitched before the next clue is released, which, barring any major difficulties I should be able to do – I’m hoping having the frames will make it easier for me to keep up compared to last year!

Stitched 2 over 2 on 36 count linen from Picture This Plus in Crystal Storm.

20150122-204420.jpg

Remember my Grey Blob? Yeah. “Mini Watching It Fly” from Heaven and Earth Designs – I’ve been doing this one forever. I pulled it back into my rotation about a month ago, and I’ve very nearly finished the top page! The stitchy bug for this one has come back and I think a large part of that is finally being able to see the clouds form (even if it did take hundreds of stitches in B5200 to get there). There’s still a crapload of grey in this but once I get across to the next set of pages at least it’s got some more variety (and then I’ll start cursing all of the confetti).

Stitched 2 over 1 on 18 count Aida.

20150122-204456.jpg

My tribute to ‘Dogloaf’, my sausage dog who died late last year – he had an awesome life and was nearly 18, but it was still very upsetting as I’d grown up with him. When I found this pattern I fell in love with it as it looks so similar to my dog. As much as it feels like a couple of the colours are identical, I love the shading that’s going on here.

Stitched 2 over 2 on 32 count linen (I think?)

20150122-204502.jpg

This is a new kit which I haven’t started, but it’s a small one and the design is quite cute.  I don’t have any specific plans for it – maybe somebody will come along that I can gift it to, who knows – but I’ve had this kit for a couple of years and want to at least make a start on it.

20150122-204510.jpg

I started doing this one ages ago for a friend’s wedding, but circumstances changed so I shelved it. It’s still adorable and I’d like to finish it at some point, whether for someone specific or if I’ll just stitch it up and leave the name blank, but I want to pull it out eventually. This one has delightful blended stitches which is always fun, but I’ve made a decent start on it at least.

Stitched 2 over 1 on either 16 or 18 count Aida.

20150122-204516.jpg

So close on this one! The fiddly border was annoying me, and then I got distracted by something else.  I really should finish this – it’s so close that it’s on the list to definitely try and do this year which I should be able to! This is another one from the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery and is their 2014 Christmas Celebration Sampler.

Stitched 2 over 2 on 36 (?) count linen in Crystal Gingerbread from I think Picture This Plus – I purchased a kit on Etsy for this one.

20150122-204523.jpg

I have no idea where the front of this is! This is a set of Christmas ornaments that I bought as a Dimensions Kit ages ago, back when I very first started getting back into cross stitch. I haven’t touched this in about 3 years and have no plans for whether I’ll gift them or keep them, but I’d like to get at least a bit further on these!

Fairly sure this is 2 over 2 on 14 count Aida?

20150122-204530.jpg

Hogwarts! Another one I’ve had forever and sporadically pull out – one of my friends has just finished this and it looks amazing, so I’d like to knock a bit more of this out. Maybe finish the outline, or at least the middle part of the crest?

Stitched 2 over 2 on 18 count Aida.

298f6feb015d154623a95aab2a3e9e98.image.290x400

This is going to be another new start – Mini Red Riding Hood by Heaven and Earth Designs. I stumbled across this and fell in love – I’ve already got all of the threads, bobbined up and everything, along with the fabric, ready for me to make a start. I can’t bring myself to pull this out yet though until I at least finish a couple, or at least get up to date on a few, but I’m itching to start this one. Someone I follow on Instagram is stitching this up at the moment and I just ADORE it.

Well – that’s my cross stitch projects for the year, there’s a ton of them but I’m looking forward to trying to make some decent progress on them. I’ve decided that 2015 is going to be the ‘me’ stitching year after making so many gifts last year, and this year I want all that time and effort to go towards things that I can display – some people found it surprising how much time went into making things!

WIP Wednesday

I swear, things would be finished a lot easier if I didn’t have CDD – Crafting Deficit Disorder!

But, I’ve been working steadily still –

20141029-173649.jpg

Started a new Gail Pan stitchery which is another Christmas present.  I traced this out months ago but finally pulled it out as I realised it’s less than 2 months til Christmas and I really need to get a move on!

I appear to have run out of DMC 115 though – I swear I have one floating around but my craft room is an absolute mess at the moment so I think I may have to duck down to Spotlight to pick one up.

20141029-173658.jpg

I’ve been making some decent progress on my dachshund cross stitch – the shape is starting to form! The ear is probably just over half done but I’m loving the colours in here and how complex they are.

20141029-173714.jpg

I am in LOVE with this range – it’s Color Theory by Moda. I went from these….

20141029-173724.jpg

…to 160 of these! I just need to pick them out in groups of 7, sew them into rows, then sew those rows into a quilt. So far the sewing machine has been working like a charm, so here’s hoping that it works out well! Fingers crossed…

I also have to make a start on another Moda BOM – a lot of the ladies in the FB group have finished Month/Row 1 already and given that Row 2 starts in 3 days, I need to kick my ass into gear!

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:

20140315-175743.jpg

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.

20140315-175754.jpg

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.

20140315-175807.jpg

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 –

20140315-175857.jpg

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.

20140315-180005.jpg

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.

20140310-203116.jpg

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.

20140310-203129.jpg

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.

20140310-203138.jpg

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.

20140310-203146.jpg

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

20140310-203155.jpg

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).

20140310-203215.jpg

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!

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.

20140305-004144.jpg

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.

20140305-004233.jpg

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.

20140305-004240.jpg

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

Wipocalypse: February check in

I’ve been busily crafting and have actually managed to make progress on three of my WIPs! Okay, technically two existing ones, and one which I’ve just started – but now it’s a WIP so it doesn’t really matter, does it?

It’s also time for the February wipocalypse check in (a few days late, because I’m shocking at remembering dates). This month’s topic is “How many projects do you generally feel comfortable having in progress at a time?  Tell us about your one-at-a-time or rotation habits!”

If you know me, at all, you’ll know I’m hopeless with WIPs. I’ve currently got at least 9 on the go, although admittedly I’m only working on about 4 or 5 of them currently. I think this is my max – although having 3-4 is probably better.

Previously I’d struggled with keeping up with all of my WIPs as I tend to get sidetracked by the new shiny projects, but I’ve just come across a new way of keeping up with them – setting myself mini goals. I’m going to be aiming to get to a certain point on each of these projects before switching off to the next one. That way I’ll not only ensure semi-regular progress, but I’ll also be more motivated to finish them to move onto the next thing! I’ll be giving it a try for a month or so to see what kind of progress I make – depending on how I go, I may change up my rotation habits, or see if I can’t introduce a 4th WIP into the mix.

My progress, this month, on things has been decent – I’ve finally pulled out ‘Watching It Fly’, and I’m still trucking through the latch hook.

20140219-124610.jpg

This is the start I’ve made on my Once Upon A Time sampler. It’s my first time stitching on linen and took me a bit to get used to counting – I had to redo a couple of sections repeatedly because I kept messing up the whole ‘over two’ stitches bit. I think now I’ve got a bit more of the border out, that I shouldn’t have as much trouble.

I’m definitely not going to be caught up by the time March is released, but it’s surprisingly quick to stitch up now I’m getting the hang of linen, so maybe by the end of March I’ll be all caught up?

20140219-124644.jpg

The epic latch hook is making some more progress, too – I think I’ve actually done one more column but forgot to take a picture of it. I’ve been powering through and found that watching TV shows whilst doing it is really helping, because it makes me race against the clock to try and finish 3 squares (300 pieces of wool!) by the end of the 42 minute show. So far, I seem to be doing mostly okay with this target, so I think I’ve found something that works for this. It’s still just over half done, but I’m pulling this one out next from the rotation to make some more solid work on it.

20140219-124701.jpg

Just look at all this confetti in my ’50 million shades of grey’ (actual title: Watching It Fly’) cross stitch! I finished this section last night, and it did my head in having to stitch 4 or 5 stitches of the one colour. Knowing the Heaven and Earth Designs I am aware that it could be a lot worse, but it’s still frustrating. I do love how it turns out, though.

20140219-124711.jpg

So much grey and white! But I managed to finish the section I was aiming for, after pushing myself when the endless grey was driving me crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I love this piece, but it can sometimes make me loopy when stitching it. I think once I get past this page it won’t be so bad, as the next ones have more in it to break up the monotony at least.

Here’s hoping by next month’s check in I’ve made some more progress to show you all! I’ve also received another block in the month in the mail yesterday which I’ll blog about later – gorgeous, but I am refusing to let myself start until I’ve knocked at least two WIPs off my list. More incentive, at least!

How are everyone else’s WIPs going? Are you as insane as me?