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!!

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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!

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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:

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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?)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

Christmas progress!

I’ve been working like a busy bee the last few days…

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I tracked down another skein of the DMC 115, so I managed to finish the stitching for one of my Christmas presents.

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Which meant I could get started on this one! It’s also a Gail Pan design, but this one is stitched in Cottage Garden Threads “Bush Christmas”.

I must say, I love having a local patchwork shop – and Jess over at A Patchwork Quilt is AMAZING. I had the original thread this pattern called for in my stash but I wasn’t feeling it with this particular pattern so I browsed a few of the other CGT colours. If you haven’t checked them out, you seriously should – they’re hand dyed and the colour changes are so subtle, but the best thing is they’re pre cut strands!  I messaged Jess on Facebook to see if she had this in stock and she popped it in the mail for me the next day (because I do so many BOMs through her, she had my details on file ;P) and so I was all ready to go.

I also learnt from the previous design that I am pretty awful at freestyle drawing straight lines, so I made sure to use a ruler when tracing this pattern. I think it looks a lot neater.

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I also made a start on the Moda Bakery “Trifle Dish” sew along that Jess is doing on FB – there’s a group of us who are sewing this, some with fabrics she has chosen, the rest with their own from their stash.  I am remarkably behind – this is month one, and we’re already on month two!

When I went to sew this though, I realised that I’d never actually sewn HST before. I thought I had, but apparently not!? So a few google searches later to get a couple of tips and I had a pile to trim up and sew together.

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I think I did okay for my first go! This is block one of five – I haven’t done any of the other cutting but I’m planning on cutting up the rest of the blocks this week and at least putting the pieces into bags so I can get it out of the way.

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And despite seeing a few “whoopsies” on the FB group, guess what I promptly did? Argh!!!

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All better now! I still need to sew the border on, and give it a press, but I’m pretty proud of myself. The points don’t line up perfectly but I think it’s a decent attempt for my first go, and I’ve picked up a few tips for the next blocks.

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I also came across the Farmer’s Wife Quilt. FabricDirect.com.au are doing a sew along – it’s about to go into month 8, so I’m already behind, but seeing as that seems to be the story of my life I messaged Eve to see if I could still join in. I’ve seen so many pictures and blog posts of this around and I love the modern take on this – I need a new BOM/project like I need a hole in the head, but I’ve been really interested to see all the different colour schemes people are using on this, as well as the stories behind the blocks. Plus, it’s going to (hopefully…) be great at skill building, especially as for this QAL it’s starting with the easier piecing and moving up to the more complicated.

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I went into Spotlight today to pick up some needles and some template plastic. Turns out they had a 30% sale on fabric. Someone take my credit card away from me, honestly. I picked up these GORGEOUS fabrics though to make a quilt for my nephew – still tossing up a few designs, and I want to see how my interwoven quilt turns out to see if I want to do something like this, or if I want to get a few more different fabrics in, but it’s the first quilt that I’ve decided I want to make without following the exact pattern, so fingers crossed!

Back to some more stitching – with all these projects I’m aiming to do at least some kind of craft each day otherwise I’ll never get anything done!

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 –

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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.

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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.

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

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…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!

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!

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!

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.