6 month wrap up!

Oh dear – I’ve just realised it’s been 6 months since I last posted.  I have no idea how it got that bad – I’ve still been crafting, and have had the intention to post, but then just kept thinking I’d do it later and then all of a sudden it was October.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what I’ve been working on since my last post, though…

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I pulled the Lion Huggable latch hook out of the craft room to try and do it again. I’ve got to say, I’m really not loving this project. I remember why I got rid of it in the first place – I’m at the stage where I need to sew it together and it is driving. me. crazy.

I’m currently stuck trying to sew the ears onto the head and think I may have to pull apart some of the stitching I’ve already done – I’m really hoping though that once I get the head done, the rest of the body won’t be as bad. I need to finish this by Christmas for my nephew, so I’m working to a bit of a deadline.  I tell you, it’s a lot easier to work to a deadline when I’m enjoying the project…

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I attended Stitches In Time with my mum (hey, remember how last year she took me to one of these and it started my stitching obsession? At least this time I didn’t pick up a new hobby).  It was a great day, we got 4 projects and they’re all in Cottage Garden Threads – this was one of the ones designed by Ramona that I have finished. It’s in “Mistletoe”, from memory. I’m dying to start the others, but I need to finish others first.

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I started a new cross stitch (because I clearly needed more…) – I’ve been working heaps on this one as the pattern is the spitting image of our late sausage dog who sadly had to be put down a couple of months ago. He was almost 18 so had a fantastic life, but I miss him quite a bit and I’m hoping that this will be a fitting tribute to him. I’ve done quite a bit more of this, so I’m hoping to put a separate post up with some progress shots.

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I am…incredibly behind on the Frosted Pumpkin Bakery “Once Upon A Time” cross stitch. I’ve still not finished April – and yes, I’m well aware that it’s almost November! I keep meaning to go back to this but just keep getting distracted by other projects.  I really do need to make a move on this one, particularly as I signed up for their 2014 Christmas sampler that starts next month, as well as purchased a few other patterns of theirs – plus I’m sure they’ll put out a 2015 monthly sampler!

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I finished the stitching for one of my Christmas presents..

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And bought a new sewing machine! I’ve got a ton of projects in mind for this for when I crack it open (hopefully tomorrow!) I bought this from a local sewing store and I’m in love with all of the fancy features that it has!

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I finished the stitching for this one, too!

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Block #2 of Rosalie Quinlan’s “Simply Blessed” BOM is complete – I am loving the blue/brown colour scheme on this one.

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As is block #1! Rosalie’s designs so often feature satin stitch – I’m still not a fan although I’m getting relatively decent at it. They also feature a TON of chain stitch, but I’ve luckily come across a different method of chain stitching which I found a lot easier to do, and it means that I can do it quicker with the added bonus of making the stitches tinier.

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I made a bit more progress on my Hogwarts Crest – this is a project I’m going to be stitching forever, at this rate – it’s nearly been 2 years since I started it!

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And lastly, I finished Leanne Beasley’s “Enjoy Today”. I haven’t worked out if I’ll frame these or wrap them around canvas as I need to finish the companion “Live Simply” which is sitting in my stash awaiting to be put into my rotation.

What have you all been up to?  I promise I’ll be making some more posts soon about specific pieces and more regularly as hopefully that’s going to keep me on my kick of making quite a bit of progress!

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!!)

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

Less work, more crafting

Phew! Finally at the end of my ‘work week’ – 8 days in a row. I will be looking forward to not having my alarm on at 5am tomorrow, let me tell you …

I did however get a nice surprise at work from my delightful husband – he got oriental lilies (my favourite) delivered to work for me, which are absolutely gorgeous.

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Also pictured – the single long stem rose that one of our residents gave to me, and the bunch of roses that I grabbed from one of our other hotels. They had a regular guest check in who brought in probably a dozen bunches of flowers of the staff, and when I was over there they offered me one. I’m hoping I have enough large vases!

I’ve also had an exciting week with the mail – my Cottage Garden Threads came in yesterday from A Patchwork Quilt and has such a great variety of colours. I’m really looking forward to getting these monthly. It’s got a progressive stitchery which has designs to show case each thread colour – I probably won’t get started on that for a while, but it should look fantastic when it’s complete. Sharon over at Lilabelle Lane is much faster than me and has already sewn her four threads from this month!

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I also got the rest of my supplies for the Once Upon A Time sampler! I’m very impressed with how fast the postage was (especially considering I’m still waiting on something I ordered in October to be delivered – and the resent item – I think I may have to give up on that one!)

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The threads were from The Workroom in Canada – a couple of you asked how come I bought them overseas. It turned out that they had the thread packs all made up, and these turned out to be cheaper, including shipping, than buying them here, because they offered a small bulk discount. I also purchased the thread before I bought the pattern as I was spreading this out over pay cycles, so it meant I didn’t have to wait to find out what threads I needed.

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The fabric is hand dyed linen from Picture This Plus, and is the fabric that the original was stitched on. It’s my first time stitching on linen, so I suspect this will be a bit of a challenge to begin with, but what is crafting without trying new things?? I’m hoping to make a start on the border of this over the weekend, and hopefully get myself up to date in a couple of months so that I’m stitching as each month is released.

And of course, the latch hook of epic proportions is continuing. Not much more progress from the previous picture, but at least I’ve got colours other than green in this section.

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I’m rather impressed with my efforts though – I may just finish this before my August deadline!