Sunday, June 6, 2021

Maynia! Of a sort...

Since I started watching FlossTube I discovered the various iterations of "Maynia" and even though I've still resisted joining in with videos, etc. I decided to do a version of "monogomaynia" this year and finally get cracking on that Fairy House kit that I menionted in my goals for 2021. So there aren't a bunch of projects to show this time, but I did get quite a bit of stitching done on the two projects I did touch in most of May and I have an FFO! I wasn't completely monogamous on the Fairy House since I did also keep up with my Temperature Tree and for the long Memorial Day weekend I started into a few projects since I got a random bout of "start-itis". I'll put more about those new starts in the June round-up.

I decided to do a hoop frame finish on "Pumpkin Smiles" that I finished last fall as I continue to try to make a dent on all of those old finishes that are literally sitting in a pile on the table behind me right now. I also decided to glue some felt over the back of this one as I play around some more with finishing techniques (no pic of that since it's just a circle of orange felt glued to the back):

Here's where I got to on Fairy House at the end of May which is A LOT of progress considering that I started the month with about 20 total stitches in the project (and those were from back in around 2016):

And here's Temperature Tree through the end of May. We've gotten up into the lower 90s a couple of times so a new color showed up, but the weather has been pretty cloudy and rainy for a few weeks so we've been relatively cool for late May in Central Texas. (Anyone who knows anything about weather history in this area won't be surprised in the slightest that we had Flash Flood Watches and Warnings over the Memorial Day Weekend.)

I also had a lot of (one might say TOO MUCH) haul this month. I bought few digital patterns on Etsy - which you'll probably see stitched soon since they aren't all that big - and quite a few more Mill Hill kits (my MH addiction is well-documented on this blog), a Dimensions kit, and I decided to try a couple of the Russian-made kits that have been showing up in the US market recently. One little side note - every time I look at the Cyrillic on the Russian kits my brain does a strange hiccup. I see it and at first my eyes register it as incomprehensible, and then the synapses catch up to the eyeballs and remember that I took 4 semesters of Russian in college and that my brain does indeed know how to read some of it. Although unfortunately my vocabulary is pretty weak now, and I certainly didn't learn a lot of craft terms (mostly science terms for the version of the classes I took). It's actually quite disappointing that that little perception gap is there now since when I was at the height of taking the classes I actually had that gap down to almost nothing (although I never was able to completely "think" in Russian the way a native reader would). But as they say - use it or lose it!

Anyway.... I decided to get a
Riolis kit of a Russian folk art style Firebird because I saw it while browsing 123 Stitch and it really caught my eye. I really like those kinds of designs and I've long been a fan of Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" so this was a no-brainer. The kit is very high quality and I'm really looking forward to stitching it eventually. I'm also curious to try the wool/acrylic blend fibers. (Part of the reason I bought it is that I knew if I went back for it in a few years and it was discontinued I'd really kick myself - that's a lesson I've learned the hard way WAY too many times, especially with things I saw on vacation in places I never know if I'll ever get a chance to visit again). And I also picked up Parisian Street by Panna since I wanted to try one from that brand as well and it caught my eye (and it was on sale at the time!).

As I mentioned up top, I ended up with a bad case of "start-itis" at the end of May, so I'm working on a few other projects and taking a little break from Fairy House. And I technically had a re-start, but I'll go into more about that next time. Since I don't have a ton to show on any of those projects yet, so I'll update more next month! I have a ton of vacation time I have to use before the end of the summer (more accurately, the end of July, because things get crazy in August as we get ready for a new academic and fiscal year) so I expect to get a fair amount of stitching in over the next two months. I'm also really hoping to get some more FFOs done, but I've been dragging my heels on those. Some of the old projects need to be framed, so I'm going to go browse sale shelves at the craft stores on one of my days off. And I need to enjoy it all while I can since I'm going to be back in the office full-time starting at the beginning of August which means I'll lose some of my evening time to commuting again. Booooo. But it will be good to start seeing more folks in person again and not just through a Zoom window on my computer!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

April stitching round-up

In a reverse of how this usually goes - I felt like I did a lot of stitching this month and then when I went to do the round-up, there didn't seem to be as much as I thought. Maybe because I also spent a bit of time doing some finishing? I do actually have 4 FFOs this month, but they are all pretty small projects. As I continue to try to clear out some old stash, I pulled out 4 small hoops I had and found some small designs to put in them (and I used a few old bits of fabric too!).

First up was this little bonsai tree that I had some fun with. The design is from "The OmniBook of Quickies" that I've had for easily 20 years (more likely 25). I have a half dozen or so Weeks Dye Works skiens that I picked up when my LNS closed that have just been sitting in storage, so I pulled out #2202 "Bullfrog" for the greenery on the trees and used DMC 4130 for the planter. In hindsight I should have chosen a little lighter brown for the trunk of the tree, but I'm still pretty happy with how it came out. The leaves on the tree were charted for two DMC greens and I used a variegated thread instead so I just hopped around the design as I was stitching to mix it up. The range in the colors wasn't huge, but I still like how it came out. The bottom was a variegated DMC thread that was supposed to look like a copper planter, which I think it kind of does.

Next was this cute little penguin that I got from the JCS 2013 ornaments issue. I changed the color of the hat though to something that fellow fans of a certain 2002 sci-fi TV series might recognize. :)

Last weekend I tried my hand at tea-dyeing fabric for the first time. The fabric for both of the next two are on the results. I was using a scrap from my stash and I wasn't sure if it was 100% cotton or if it was a blend, so I made the tea pretty strong. Maybe a little too strong as it turns out since I'm pretty sure now that the fabric was completely cotton after all. But I'm still pretty happy that I gave it a try and I learned a few things before the next attempt.

This design was from the JCS 2012 Halloween special issue and I altered it a little from the original. I substituted DMC 90 for the moon and it came out a little more stripey than I would have liked so now it looks more like the cat is watching Jupiter rise!

And this one was from the JCS 2011 Halloween issue. For this one, I changed out the thread for the "booo" to WDW "Trick or Treat" which I used before on a border for another Halloween design. The lightest yellow was probably a little too light for the fabric, but I'm still pretty happy with how it came out. The more interesting thing was that it was the first time in over a decade (at least) that I've stitched on 28 count over 1 and amazingly my eyes didn't bleed thanks to the new glasses I got last summer and my magnifying lamp. I had a hard time getting this centered like I was aiming for, but after messing with it for far too long, I called it "done". I also left off the "to you" part that was along the bottom since I just wanted it to say "booo" because we had a black cat named Boo when I was a kid. :)

That's it for the FFOs, but I also have a partial finish because I wrapped up the spring quarter of Celtic Seasons. I started it on the first day of spring and finished it a month later (although I wasn't working on it exclusively). I'm happy with how it is looking on the black fabric and I can't wait to see how the remaining seasons come out. I'm not quite sure about some of the backstitching though since it looks like it is getting a little lost in some of the stitching and I don't know if that would have been the case on a lighter fabric.

And I've been keeping up with my Temperature Tree. I usually stitch up the previous week's worth of leaves up on the weekend, so this is complete through the end of April. (sorry the color balance is a little wonky on the photo, I was too lazy to fix it this month!)

I technically had a new start this month... yet another Mill Hill kit... but I'll wait until next month to post more about that. It might even get finished in May, although I'm going to try to concentrate on the "big project" I'm hoping to either finish or get a lot done on this year. And I'm just now touching it in May so.... good luck to me, especially since I'm expecting that a lot of that extra time that I got back in my schedule during the pandemic is going to start to go away in the next few months. I also did some shopping this month (I seem to every month these days!) but I'll share more about the Mill Hill kit I bought in that batch in a future update when I actually get started on it.

That's it for April!

Sunday, April 4, 2021

March round-up

I managed to get a fair amount of stitching in this month (mostly thanks to Spring Break) and even have three FFOs!

I did finish up the little Mill Hill kit from my birthday 123Sttich order that I mentioned last month. This design is called "Wine Glass" and it is now all finished up and stuck to my fridge.

And I framed Oppy (just using a press board and frame I already had in my stash):

And I did manage to finish the lighthouse AND frame it! I like doing the "before and after backstitch" photos, so those are first, followed by the framed picture. This was also finished with a press board and a frame from my stash (finally starting to use up all of those frames I've been collecting over the years on close-out sales.) Right now it's on the shelf behind me so it shows up over my shoulder on my constant Zoom meetings.

I've been keeping up with my Temperature Tree, so here's how that's looking now (through March 31):

I have one new start from March, or rather, re-start. I mentioned last month that I started on Celtic Seasons but then ripped it out since I wasn't happy with my stitching, but now I've re-started it. I'm still not 100% happy with how my stitching is coming out, but I've decided not to stress over it too much. I'm not trying to get a blue ribbon and this is just for me, so it doesn't have to be perfect. I'm going to stitch each season in that season, so I started Spring on the first day of spring! Here's where I am so far:

I also have a litle bit of haul from late in the month. I decided to start filling out my Mill Hill bead collection so I bought a couple Elizabeth Ward bead organizers (the one with the 78 mini containers) and I'm going to start adding a couple of bead packages on to all my 123Stitch orders. I had a pretty good organizing system before but since I want to keep adding more, I needed a system that was easier to add new things into (which my old one wasn't). I have a decent collection, but some of them are just remainders from various kits so I'm buying full packages of those colors too. And of course I added another little Mill Hill kit on my most recent order! Look for that one in an upcoming post since I'll probably start stitching on it soon.

That's it for this month - let's see how much I manage to do during a very busy April!

Sunday, March 7, 2021

February check-in

Well... that was certainly an interesting month! Given the big hiccup in the middle of it, I still managed to get some stuff done! (For those of you who haven't seen old posts, I'm in Texas... more about that below.)

I've continued to experiement with some non-stitchy crafts and I bought a 3-D puzzle kit by Robotime that was supposed to be a British Pub, but ended up being a British Music Shop. Apparently I wasn't the only one who had that issue, as I discovered when I went searching around to try to find someone who was selling the actual British Pub kit. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find one since all of the hits that came up in my searching had people commenting that the item was 'not as pictured' and was indeed the Music Store instead. Regardless, it was a cute kit and I'm glad I gave it a go. I have done a variety of 3-D puzzles over the years but this was the first one I did that was on wood. I also bought one of the dollhouse room kits that I've started to see pop up in crafty circles online, but I haven't started that yet. Here's the British Music Shop all finished:

I've been able to keep up with my Temperature Tree, which is now a record of the incredible weather we had last month. I wrote early last month:
[When] I saw what the temps were starting to look like, I decided to switch to the "Hot Temps" color scheme so I will probably get to use all of the colors. We've had a few days where the high was below the lowest temperature color, but I don't expect we'll have a whole lot more. We're expecting another cold snap next week, but I still think that will only mean 2-3 days with the coldest color leaf. We went through a cold patch a few weeks ago (and had 2-3 inches of SNOW!) and then quickly rebounded back into the 60s and 70s. And I have a feeling I'll be using all of those 100+ colors once we get into the summer months! Of course, with my luck, we'll end up having a polar vortex blast in Dec. 2021 and I'll have a completely pink branch or something.
I'll note that I posted that on February 7, so yes, we already had a good idea that we were expecting some more cold weather at that point. It ended up lasting a lot more than 2-3 days, which you can see clearly in the light pink at the end of the second branch up on the left. So in the end I didn't have to wait until December for a polar vortex blast and a pink branch. We got ice, then lots of snow (about 6" of the light, fluffy kind), then more ice, then more snow, then some melting, but overnight re-freezing... it was a hell of a week. I ended up not having electicity for a little over 80 hours and I had water issues on and off, but I never completely lost water so I was lucky in that respect. We've lost hot water at my apartment a couple more times, including for a couple of days last week, as they continue to do repairs from the storm.

I've also worked a little more on the lighthouse that I started last summer but then set aside to work on autumn/Halloween things. I guess all of that cold weather had me thinking of summery things, so I pulled it out and worked on it a bit more (there's a little more at the bottom if you compare it to the picture back in August 2020). I think I'm going to make it a focus for the rest of this month and try to finish it soon.

I actually managed to start AND FINISH a project in February and early March and I will probably have it fully finished (framed, in this case) today or tomorrow, so I'll show that next time. This is "Lost Opportunity" by SonovaStitch on Etsy - I saw several people posting it on the cross stich subreddit and I knew I had to do it! The was the first time in quite a while that I had done anything on black and I ended up buying a small lightboard to put on my desk under my stand to help me see the holes. I also noticed that black is definitely less forgiving of sloppy stitching, so that is something I'm definitely going to work on more in the future. Even though I've been stitching for 30 years there is still a lot I can improve!

I technically had another start in the month, but I decided to rip out what I had done and start again. I've had Celtic Seasons from the Vickery Colleciton in my pattern stash for ages and I decided to start it on a piece of 18 count black aida but I wasn't happy with how my stitching was coming out so I frogged it (see above about trying to improve my sloppy stitching). I started on the winter section, but after I ripped that out, I'm going to try again on the spring side. I think it's going to look amazing on black so don't want to completely give up on it!

Finally, I did a little brithday shopping from 123 Stitch and got some fabric, some thread conditioner (which I've never tried so I thought I finally would) and a couple of kits. Of course, one of the kits was another little Mill Hill kit! I'm working on that right now, so I'll show it next month since I know I'll finish it pretty quickly. And yes, I already have a ton of fabric but almost all of it is 28 and 32 count and I've decided to start playing around with 18ct aida again because it will make some of the larger projects I've been looking at become a bit more managable (yes, I know I could do 36 count instead but I'm pretty sure my eyes would never forgive me if I did). I've been getting some smaller, inexpensive cuts, such as 9"x13", to see the colors before getting larger cuts if I decide to use it on those projects I've been eyeing. Plus, I like the little cuts for ornaments and other small designs so it never goes to waste!

That's it for the February round-up! Since I'm taking Spring Break off, I expect to get a fair amount of stitching done in March. It's not like there's a whole lot else for me to do since I'm not vaccinated (like a whole lot of Texas) and our governor unwisely decicded to open everything back up starting next week, so I'm going to be extra careful for a while. Thankfully a lot of local businesses are keeping their mask requirements, but I'm still going to be cautious until I get my jabs!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

January check-in!

I want to do at least monthly check-ins this year but I realized I didn't actually do any stitching in January. Most years I would get dissappointed in myself over that BUT this time I'm not because instead of stitching I was working on other crafts! Neither really fall under the "whatever else I stitch together" but - eh - close enough. :)

A few years ago I bought a few Metal Earth kits and started into the Hubble Space Telesscope model only to realize that I needed to start with something a little more simple. So I bought a couple more kits and... they all sat in a bin for a few more years. But I decided this was the year I was finally going to do them! And once I got into a groove (and bought a nice little tool set) I managed to finish all four of them. I got a better as I went along too!

The first kit I finished was The TARDIS which ended up being my "learning experience" kit. It came out okay, but I broke the part on one of the doors that allows them to open and close. So now that it's on the shelf - I'm not moving it! But, lessons were learned.

Next up is the Hubble Space Telescope that was the one that I originally started with but hit PAUSE on until I got a little better at these kind of kits. And you can see in this photo that one of the big drawbacks to the Metal Earth kits is all the fingerprints you end up with on your model! Another lesson learned on this one was to be careful with the thin parts that stick up - I broke one of the antennae off (which would be a big problem if that happened to the real Hubble!).

After Hubble, I did the Neuschwanstein Castle kit, which I was pretty pleased with. I had an issue joining the main two sections and getting them to lay flat on the base, but isn't too noticeable. And I didn't break anything on this one!

And last but not least - the final one I did was the Millennium Falcon! Not surprisingly, it came out the best since it was the fourth one I put together. There were still a few tricky bits and I'm glad I saved it for last since I was able to take into account things I learned from doing the other ones. Getting curvy parts into the right shape is - at least for me - the hardest parts of these kits so if I do more of these eventually I'm going to have to seek out some tips and tricks for that. (I suspect that molding it around another object might be the key.)

The other thing I finally tried was diamond painting! Bought a little kit in the middle of 2020 but I didn't actually start on them until right the end of the year and I completed them about a week into the new year. When I went shoppping for a starter kit I kept finding all of these huge projects that I really didn't want, so I ended up with the ones you see below, which are actually meant to be stickers. I put them on index cards and I'm going to glue felt and magnets to the back and put them on my fridge eventully. I couldn't resist this kit of mostly Marvel characters with Supes and the Bat from DC thrown in randomly. I enjoyed trying diamond painting and I'll probably do some more eventually, but probably not any of those huge pictures I see some folks on FlossTune doing. These little things are more my speed (and what I have space for!)

That's it for the January round-up! I have already done some stitching in February, so I expect to have a few things to show in the next check-in. I'm now all caught up with my Temperature Tree for the year so far and once I saw what the temps were starting to look like, I decided to switch to the "Hot Temps" color scheme so I will probably get to use all of the colors. We've had a few days where the high was below the lowest temperature color, but I don't expect we'll have a whole lot more. We're expecting another cold snap next week, but I still think that will only mean 2-3 days with the coldest color leaf. We went through a cold patch a few weeks ago (and had 2-3 inches of SNOW!) and then quickly rebounded back into the 60s and 70s. And I have a feeling I'll be using all of those 100+ colors once we get into the summer months! Of course, with my luck, we'll end up having a polar vortex blast in Dec. 2021 and I'll have a completely pink branch or something. But I'll have photos of Temperature Tree next month, along with a few other things!

Friday, January 1, 2021

2020 Wrap-up and Stitching Goals for 2021!

Happy New Year! We made it!

As I mentioned back in April, I had a big increase in my stitching time this year, although my stitching productivity still had some ups and downs over the course of the year. I finished the lettering on Wonders of Space so it's now off the q-snaps, washed, and ready to frame (or, more accurately, sit in my 'to be framed' bin for some unknown period of time). Here is it before I took it off the frame:

(the lighting was a little weird when I took the photo which is why it is oddly yellow-ish on the left side)

When I look back at my goals for 2020, I did okay. One goal was to keep up with and finish the Wonders of Space SAL, which I did! Other than that, I ended up mostly doing small-ish things. I ended up chucking the re-stitch of Lichtenstein Castle because I really wasn't happy with how it was coming out. Some of that was me, even with my magnifying lamp, having trouble seeing it. I got new glasses over the summer, so I think if I tried it again I could stitch it a lot neater. And I have a few WIPs that I ended up not touching... but that leads me to:

Goals for 2021!

- Keep up with my Temperature Tree. I think I'll do a week's worth of leaves on over each weekend most of the time. I'm looking forward to seeing how it comes out!

- Finish the lighthouse that I mentioned back in August. The pull of the fall/Halloween stuff proved too hard and the lighthouse did indeed end up in the neglected WIP pile.

- Do one large project from the two that have been in the WIP pile for ages. I really, really want to get one of those two large projects finished and off the q-snaps! I think I'm going to do "Fairy Cottage" from a Janlynn kit I bought ages ago. I did a tiny bit of stitching on it about 4.5 years ago and that's it (see below). And I switched out the kit fabric for a 28 ct opalescent lugana called "Autumn Blush" that I had in my stash.

Beyond that - I'm not sure! I haven't really figured out what's calling me from my stash of patterns and kits right now, but I'm sure something will strike my fancy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

October and November stitching

This time when I went to see what I'd worked on since the last post, I definitely didn't have as much to show since my stitching slowed down quite a bit recently. It's actually overall not a bad thing since part of what has been eating into my stitching time is that I've gotten off my lazy butt and made a deliberate effort to get out and walk for exercise a lot more. We're heading into the time for the earliest sunsets here in Texas so I might try to start getting in more walking during my work day because it's getting dark so early now, so I'll get back more stitchy time in the early evenings!

But here's what I did manage to do in October and November:

Yet another Mill Hill kit! This is "Glowing Pumpkin" and I decided to finish it as another magnet instead of an ornament. I bought one more fall-themed MH kit with my most recent 123 Stitch order, but that one has been set aside for next fall.

And I finished the trunk and branches of Temperature Tree! Now it's just ready for 2021's daily high temps! Right now the long-range forecasts are trending warm and dry for us (thanks La NiƱa) so I'm not sure if I'm going to get a chance to use any of those cooler temperature leaf colors. Maybe by the end of the year!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

September Stitchy Stuff!

I had thought that I didn't do a ton of stitching this month, but when I started to take stock of things for this post, I had done more than I realized! Some of it wasn't stitching itself as much as finally doing some FFOs, including some projects that have been FOs for about 20 years.

First up - the final part of the Wonders of Space SAL is done! There is also a quote above and below the pictures that I need to stitch, but I'm waiting for a thread I ordered to come in. It calls for a medium blue, but I thought I would try a sparkly blue DMC etoile. If I stitch a little with it and I don't like how it looks, I'll just go back to the called for color.

Next up - I had to commemorate 2020 somehow and I really liked some of the plague doctors I was seeing around, so I got the Plague Doctor Ornament by Night Spirit Studio on Etsy and just did the doctor part on black perforated paper so I could keep it small and make a fridge magnet out of it. (And this a photo of it already on my fridge - I just finished it this morning!)

This is another finish that has been a little while in the making! The pattern is "Pumpkin Smiles" by Ursula Michaels from the October 2015 JCS magazine and I made a few slight changes in the DMC colors, but it's still pretty close to the orignal. The reason there was a gap in my stitching of this project was that it is on 32ct. fabric (2 over 2) and I was working on it when I realized that my old prescription glasses just weren't cutting it for working on that small a count anymore (and that's WITH a magnifying lamp). I got my new glasses back in July and started working on this again on and off since then and it's a definite improvement! (Which is good since I still have a lot of 32ct fabric in my stash and I really don't want to have to add even more magnificaiton since it starts to give me a headache after a while.) I took a photo with it still on my q-snaps and tabletop stand, but I did take it off to wash and iron yesterday. Let's see how long it sits around before becoming an FFO!

And here is yet another cute little Mill Hill kit! I really am addicted to them. And judging by the various cross stitch social forums I follow and how often they are sold out on 123Stitch, I'm not alone in that! This one is Moonstruck Manor, which is think is new for this Halloween/Autumn season. And this is an FFO and also already on my refrigerator.

I have one big new start this month - Temperature Tree by Stitchin' Mommy! I mentioned last month that I really liked the temperature record projects I have seen people do, including this one, so I bought the pattern and started on it this month. I decided to go with 18ct aida (2 over 1) since I didn't want it too big since it's going to be sitting around all year while I stitch on the leaves. The fabric is 'Jade' by Picture This Plus that I ordered on 123Stitch just for this project. I had also ordered a couple of skeins of the brown that I thought I wanted to use for the trunk and branches, but when I held it against the fabric, I didn't like it as much so I switched to DMC 801 (which isn't quite as dark as it looks in the photo, but it is definitely darker than the color I was originally going to use). As you can see here, I've done a big part of the trunk and the January branch. I might try to get all of the branches done before the end of the year since it actually goes pretty fast being all one color.

Now - the older projects that I made into fully finished objects!

This first one isn't all that old, since I only stitched it earlier this year. This is the same pattern of The Child that I did on perforated paper and made into a magnet, but I also did on a piece of scrap fabric and did as a hoop frame finish. I'm still perfecting my techniques on hoop finishes, but I think I'm improving!

I also decided that I was going to do something with the various bookmarks that I've stitched over the years. I ended up just glueing felt to the back and skipped trying to add the tassles to the tops of the ones that came as kits. The pumpkins were a relatively recent finish back at the beginning of 2020, but the other three are from old Textile Heritage kits. The Irish Shamrocks and one of the Tudor Roses were from kits that I bought on various trips to the UK and the other Tudor Rose one was a gift from a friend (more about that here... from 2010!)

I also have a bunch of other Textile Heritage kits that I've bought over several trips to the UK, most of which were stitched well over 10 years ago. I think all of these were originally meant to be cards, but I've made the four smaller ones into magnets and two into ornaments. I have a little rack next to my front door that is meant to hold keys, but I hang cross stitch ornaments there instead. I needed some other non-seasonal things to put there for when it isn't Fall/Halloween/Christmas. There are still more of this kits in the "to-be-FFOed" pile, but I know what I want to do with them, I just need to get around to doing it!

That's it for September! Now on to more Halloween and Fall stitching until the Christmas crafy bug bites me!

Sunday, August 23, 2020

August round-up!

I didn't do a ton of stitching since the last post but I did do enough to post an update! And, oh the irony, part of the reason that I didn't do as much stitching as I would have liked is that I finally (after much, much resistance) fell down the FlossTube rabbit hole. Although I doubt anyone who would take the time to read this blog doesn't already know what FlossTube is, I'll explain it anyway. Basically, it's stitchers making videos about what they stitch. Some do stitch-alongs, some throw in tutorials (very helpful, even for someone like me who has been stitching for 30 years), some also quilt, or knit, etc. And anyone who knows me knows that it's only a matter of time until I start doing my own! I've actually already snagged "Lara's Loose Threads" as a channel name just in case. :)

Which also reminds me... the 13th anniverary of this blog is in a couple of days! It's interesting how stitching blogs were all the rage for a while but kind of trailed off and now it looks like FlossTube is the newer version of the same thing. I've been in various stitching-based online social communities for about 25 years now so it's been interesting to see how the come and go. The first one I was on was the rec.crafts.textiles.needlework USENET newsgroup and some of us in central Texas started our own subcommunity from there and did stuff in person. And I actually just discovered that RCTN actually still exists on Google groups after they absorbed the old USENET groups - tempted to rejoin but I really don't need another thing to keep up with! Interestingly, they have all the archives so I can actually go back and look at some of my old posts from the 90s - what a trip down memory lane! I eventually dropped off the newsgroup and my in-person group, but in the mid-2000s I started reading stitching and quilting blogs pretty regularly and, of course, started my own. As my stitching time waned, I fell off blogging, as did a lot of the stitchers I followed. And then a got a wild hair to start following the r/CrossStitch subreddit a year or two ago and recently joined a cross stitch Discord. So yeah, FlossTube was pretty much inevitable. But at least they are all encouraging me to do more stitching! (and blogging about it!)

The next-to-last section of the Wonders of Space SAL was posted last week and I've already stitched it, so I've been pretty good at keeping up with that project which is kind of encouraging me to try another one in 2021. I've been leaning towards doing one of the patterns were you stitch a little something every day that is coded to the high temperature for the day. I've seen some people do blocks in a calendar, another one did little flowers in rows, but right now I'm leaning towards the Temperature Tree with different colored leaves by StitchinMommy on Etsy.

The other main thing I've been stitching on is this lighthouse that I found on Etsy. In my quest to use up some of the small cuts of fabric still in my stash, I knew I needed a lighthouse for this fabric, so I found this one and have made a fair bit of progress on it. It's been a while since I've stitched on linen (as oppposed to evenweave) and I've gotten a little sloppy with my stitches which seems to show up more on linen. Oh well... it's not like I'm going for the blue ribbon at the fair or anything. I really wanted to finish this during the summer but the Halloween and autumn stuff is pulling at me SO HARD right now.

And I finally got around to purchasing a replacement for the cottage that I talked about here that went missing from my office a few years ago! Yay eBay! I've prepped it for stitching by sorting and labeling the floss and rinsing and ironing the fabric and putting some fray-check on the edges, so this might become an WIP soon.

That's it for now! If (when?) I start doing FlossTube videos, I'll post about it for the one or two people who may still stumble across and read this blog. Happy Stitching!

Sunday, July 26, 2020


So, after my last post, my stitching roll did slow down a little, even though I'm still working from home (19 weeks/4.5 months and counting!). My webhost for my Tudor History site was migrating to new servers so I had to do some updates to make sure things didn't break, which took away some of my stitching time. But it was actually kind of fun to work on the site a little again! I really haven't worked on it a whole lot in recent years so when I did work on it again it didn't feel like as much of a chore.

But I did manage to keep up with the Wonders of Space SAL! Here it is with 2 more parts to go:

I did do a little bit of needlework shopping too, now that the floss inventories are starting to improve again (although there were a few colors I still couldn't get!) and, of course, I threw a couple of the new autumn Mill Hill bead kits in the order. I might have those ready to show off next week. And they might be the first products I stitch on my Dutch Treat perforated paper stitching frame now that I finally have the 8" clamps! I hunted around for those for quite a while and even had them in my shopping carts a few times but when I went to check out they would give me a "sorry, not available" message. So I wasn't too optimistic when I actually managed to order them from ABC Sttich Therapy in Houston, but about two months later they arrived! It's kind of hilarious that I looked at shops all over the US and a couple in the UK and finally managed to get them from a shop practically in my own back yard! And I could have just used the 15" clamps with the smaller projects, but they are overkill for those little projects. But they'll be great when I work on some larger things on plastic canvas and/or perforated paper!

I've got a couple more small-to-medium things in the works in between SAL parts and I might have one ready to share by next time. I got a new pair of glasses a few weeks ago with an updated prescription and with my magnifying lamp I can actually manage to stitch on 32 count (over 2) again. And since we're in the heat of summer - I'm really ready for the fall and Halloween stitching! (And the cooler weather, of course!)

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

April stitching!

As our shelter at home and working from home continues, so does my increase in stitching time. Here's some of what I managed to do in April:

First up - I actually dug out the ol' sewing machine and made a mask from my long-neglected quilting fabric stash after I found some elastic. Although I had forgotten how much I dislike sewing with anything stretchy!

And I've kept up with the Wonders of Space SAL, adding in the Crab Nebula (lower left):

And I've been continuing to make a few more magnets. This one is of the robot from Epbot that someone posted... somewhere? Crap, I'm not sure where I found it now! Maybe on the Friendly FOEs group on Facebook?

Next up, in my quest to use up all my small cuts of fabric, I did this little Halloween owl from one of the Just Cross Stitch Halloween issues. I changed out the border with a variegated floss instead of the one the pattern called for:

And finally, I did this cute little fairy cottage that I found on Etsy. The original was on 14-ct plastic canvas, but I decided to do it on fabric (see above about trying to use up small cuts of fabric). I'm also missing some little charms that I'll eventually get when I can comfortably browse the craft store or maybe order when we eventually get to a point that I won't feel guilty ordering something that is totally not a necessary item. And I haven't done a "before and after backstitching" in a while, so I did it with this one!

That's it for this round-up!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

A definite increase in my stitching time...

Well, when I was planning out how to squeeze more stitching time into my year, I certainly didn't have "being stuck at home for two months during a pandemic" on my radar. I'm working from home, so it's not like I can just sit around and stitch all day, but not having to drive home after work definitely gives me back some of my evening time!

And instead of just finishing up some long-neglected WIPs, I've been starting a ton of new things. I have a huge stash of hand-dyed fabrics from being in a Fabric of the Month club for years and I've been having fun matching fabrics to old kits and patterns. And I've been buying a bunch of new patterns on Etsy, especially when I have a clear mental picture of what should go on a certain color fabric. I treated myself to a Dutch Treat perforated paper stitching frame shortly before the lockdown since I got a good tax refund and my birthday was in early March right before everything went pear-shaped here in Texas. I sometimes get hand cramps when I have to hold a project in one hand and stitch with the other and so I really prefer using frames so I can stitch with both hands (plus I'm faster that way!).

Here's a catch up on a few things from the past month and a half:

Here are the first three months of the Wonders of Space SAL! I've been able to keep up with this pretty well, especially with a little more time on my hands.

And there is a definite theme to the other things I've done in the past month! Two of these are on my office fridge, so I can't take a photo of the completely finished versions, but the one with the Child holding his little broth cup is here at home. I got all three of these off /r/crossstitch (freebies posted by another redditor). I probably should have used three strands of black on The Mandalorian's helmet, but I really dislike stitching with three strands. I did use three on the eyes and soup cup on the second version of The Child though which I think did look better. I didn't worry about it as much with the lighter colors since I was stitching on ecru perforated paper.

I have a few other things in progress and I'll post more photos when I finish the stitching on those!