Thursday, December 28, 2023

2023 Wrap-up and plans for 2024

It's the end of yet another year and time to check in on the stitching that I managed to do in 2023. Considering that all of the WIPs that I had pictures of in last year's wrap-up are not only still WIPs, they are WIPs with the exact same amount of stitching in them since I didn't touch any of them... that gives you a bit of a clue as to how things went in 2023. But I did manage to do some stitching - and even finished a few things - and started a couple of projects that will just get added to the WIP pile as we head into 2024. One other thing I did this year was to keep a stitch diary on a spreadsheet (as opposed to a written journal) which made it much easier to track what I stitched this year so I could do this write-up! There was a fair amount of stash aquisition this year, but a lot of it was for organizing things (mostly threads and beads). Once I get it all finished, I'll post some photos!

Other than the magnets below, this was my only FFO for the year (stitching finished in 2022) - it's probably going in my office at work.

Although it took me a whole year to post about it, I did finish "Autumn" from The Cricket Collection not too long into the new year (February), so it is hanging the closet with a bunch of other things waiting to be fully finished. Here's a photo of the completed stitching (click for larger version):

And I did Caterpillar Cross Stitch's "British Isles Sampler" stitch-along and mostly kept up with it month-by-month. Sorry that the color of the background fabric gets a little weird toward the left... I was trying to get it into some natural light for the photo but I couldn't quite get the whole thing in. It's also hanging in the closet waiting to be framed - maybe something to try to concentrate on in 2024! (click for larger version)

One little thing I did was "Moonlight Nessie" by Lola Crow Cross Stitch (purchased on Etsy). Since this one was on a very dark fabric it prompted me to finally buy a new magnifying lamp that was brighter and had more magnification than my old one. This one is also waiting to be fully finished (once I decide what I wante to do with it).

And finally, I started doing each month of Tiny Modernist's "Folk Calendar" on perforated paper to make magnets to put on the giant metal filing cabinets in my office. I back them with felt and then glue a ~1-inch long section of a strip magnet on them. Here are the four that I've finished (and fully finished!) so far:

And the new starts from this year that will finish 2023 as WIPS are:

"Spring" by The Cricket Collection - not much done here yet! The fabric has slightly more of a greenish tint than you can see in the photo.

"S'Mores Anyone?" by Lola Crow - this one benefitted from the new craft lamp! I stalled on it a little when I got to the part with the blended threads (not my favorite). But I expect to get back to this one in 2024 and hopefully finish it. (Wow, you can really see all the lint on that black fabric...)

And finally, I started "Hayride Happenings" by Blue Ribbon Designs when I was in the mood to stitch something autumnal after Halloween. But I didn't get a lot of stitching time for the rest of the month, so I didn't get too far.

Plans for 2024

To be honest, for the first few months of 2024, my goal will be to find some time for ANY stitching. I realize that a very busy and stressful time is exactly when I should try to find more time to stitch, but who knows if I'll manage to make it happen. If I do actually get any stitching done in early 2024, most likely I'll keep working on the Tiny Modernist "Folk Calendar" magnets since they are small and go fast, so I'll feel like I've actually accomplished something. After that - who knows? I think I'll just work on things that I feel like stitching on instead of trying to follow a plan. Maybe if things ever manage to slow down at work (HA!) I'll try WIPGO or something like that in the years to come.

I think that's about it for 2023 - Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 31, 2022

A look back at 2022 and a look forward to 2023!

Just like everyone else, I find myself at the end of a year wondering where the time went! Especially the last two weeks since I'm not ready to go back to work on Monday.

I had one finish since my last post - I had hoped to get it done by Halloween, but I didn't quite make it (it was a fast stitch, but I wasn't getting a whole lot of stitching time). This is "Candy Corn of Mischief" from Bent Creek, which I purchased as a kit and was stitched with pearl cotton over 2 on 20ct raw linen. It was fun to mix things up with a different kind of thread and fabric count that I'm used to!

And I *almost* managed to get "Autumn" by The Cricket Collection done before the end of 2022 - I had originally hoped to get it done before the actual end of autumn itself - but there isn't a whole lot left. Since I'm so close to a finish, I'll just post an update in the new year once I'm done.

Older Works in Progress

Since it's customary on Flosstube to end and/or start a year with a WIP parade, I decided to pull out all of the projects in my WIP basket (and the two that are too big for it) to take progress photos and discovered that I had far fewer on the go than I thought! Although a number of those projects have been in progress for several years so I probably should actually try to make some progress on them in 2023. I think part of the reason I thought there were more things in progress was that I had a couple of projects that I abandoned, mostly to restart because I wasn't happy with how the stitching was coming out on the fabics I had chosen, so they aren't WIPs at the moment. Well, one is, which I'll talk about below.

These two biggies in my WIP pile that I didn't touch last year are the Janlynn "Fairy House" and the Glendon Place "Sleepy Hollow". Part of the reason that Sleepy Hollow has stalled is that I'm still trying to find a comfortable way to stitch on it, so I'm giving Rolaframes a try. Here are the status pics for those two, along with the pictures of what the final version will look like:

And poor "Monlit Kitties" by Mill Hill has managed to go another year with barely any stitching on it (but I *did* do some!) - maybe this would be a good one to try to finally finish next year. I'm not sure why this one is taking me so long, especially given how quickly I make it through the small Mill Hill kits!

I think I stitched a bit on "Tudor Cottage" by Cross My Heart at the beginning of the year, but then set it aside for some reason or another. This is another one that I might try to focus on getting finished next year.

I worked a little more on another of the "Christmas Kitties" kit that I picked up AGES ago. I finished that first cat quite a while ago but then didn't pick it back up to work on any of the other ones until just in the past year or so. (Ignore the slightly yellow-ish tinge to the image - I forgot to color correct for the lamp I had shining on the table.)

I did a little stitching on the Dimensions kit "Mediterranean Flavors", but not a whole lot of progress. This is another that might finish up quickly if I concentrate on it since the part that I *have* stitched didn't take all that long. Although there will be quite a bit of backstitching when I get to that point.

The last two are a couple of things that I haven't done much on at all - the starts were mostly just a test to see if I liked how it looked. The first is the restart of Celtic Seasons, this time with 1 strand of floss instead of two. I'm still not sure how well the backstitch will show up, but I should be able to tell if I like it when I get a bit more of the light green on the right done.

And finally, the 3-D cottage kit that I bought ages ago, but only started recently... although I somehow managed to not put it on my tracking spreadsheet so I'm not exactly sure when. I've really been wanting to try a 3-D stitching project, so I might give this one some more love in 2023.

And last but not least - my ort jar (or bowl) for the year! And because I was amused at what it looked like when I took the threads out, a photo of that too.

Plans for 2023

I would REALLY like to make some progress on both of my really big projects - Sleepy Hollow and Fairy House - and maybe finish up some of the smaller ones, especially the Tudor Cottage magnet and Moonlit Kitties since they both have a fair amount of progress already. Given how few WIPs I have compared to a lot of the stitchers I follow on YouTube and Instagram, I probably shouldn't feel all that guilty about what I have. Although I would say the AGE of some of my WIPs isn't as common, I've noticed. I just chuckle when I hear someone say that have "such an old WIP" and it's from 2019 or so. I have a few things that I'm pretty sure are about 10 years old at this point, and in the past I've had things that were WIPs for even longer!

On new projects, my goal is to do the rest of the Cricket Collection seasons this year, since I've discovered they actually stitch up pretty quickly. And maybe, just maaayyyybbbeeeee, I'll finally start to tackle a Hawk Run Hollow design... most likely Autumn or Year at Hawk Run Hollow.

I'm sure in between some of these larger things will be more Mill Hill kits since I can't resist those and they stitch up so fast! And I've already pulled out a couple of small things to work on after I finish "Autumn" and before the fabric for "Winter" arrives. One is a freebie that I'm going to use to test a potential fabric for a Hawk Run Hollow. I have a feeling that it is going to be too rough and thick for such a large project, but we'll see how I like stitching on it with this small design.

One other thing that I would really like to do is finally get some of my older finished projects *fully* finished, mostly framing. I have 4 or 5 all pinned and ready to go, I just need to choose and/or order the frames. And some of those have now been finished for something like 15 (or more?) years, so it's time to finally get those things on the walls!

I think that's it for 2022! I hope everyone has a good stitching year in 2023 (myself included!)!

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Crafty catch-up

I need to start finding more creative titles for these posts. 😁

As I expected, my stitchy/crafty productivity of the early-to-mid pandemic fell off as everything at work started getting back to normal. And by normal, I mean completely hectic. And then I moved in May, which certainly didn't help (especially with a longer commute)! But the positive side of the move is that I finally have a real home office/craftroom/library and I'll eventually post some pictures of that once I get things a little more to the final layout and organization I'm aiming for. It's actually not that far off right now but I'd really like to replace one of the tall cabinets with some shelving instead so I can SEE my stuff all the time. Even if I don't have as much time to use the stuff, I can at least look longingly at it on the days I work from home.


I actually have a few FFOs since my last update, several of which were stitched, finished, and FFOd this year. I also finished and FFOd the Sun and Moon Mask by Olga Antropova that I posted as a WIP back in January. I made a few small changes to the backstitching and extended the beading from the design to make the hanger. You can see that here:

My next set of finishes were my Tiny Van Gogh paintings by XStitch Obsession on Etsy. I decided to do them on perforated paper, so I had to make a small adjustment to the backstitching on Cafe Terrace. They are all backed with felt and made into magnets and are currently stuck on a filing cabiet at work.

And an FFO from just last week - yet another Mill Hill kit! This is the second of their butterfly designs that I've done and I'll be on the lookout for more to go with the ones I've already done.


I have a few stitching finishes that need to be FFOd, but I'm still making decisions about that. So here are the stitched pieces in the meantime!

First up is Wakanda Forever by Parkhopper Bart. I made one main color change since I really wanted to use this fabric and the original yellow (which I changed to green) just completely disappeared on it. I also changed the original white around the Black Panther mask to silver Kreinik braid. This one will probably end up framed eventually, and maybe I can get it to fit in a standard frame size!

Next is a cute little picture I bought on Etsy from Craft Time in Arkham and it will probably end up in a hoop frame and will go to my office. I made a small goof on this and did the backstitching on the dino in black instead of the dark-grey-green-blue it was supposed to be. And I did the lettering with flower thread since it's a little bit thicker.

And finally, Nightmare Before Coffee, from the 2021 Just Cross Stitch Halloween magazine. I had this nice orange-y fabric from Fortnight Fabrics that I really wanted to use for this, but the lettering kind of got a little lost, so I outlined it in a medium orange color. I probably should have used a slightly darker shade, but I think it will show up okay with decent lightling (which I didn't have when I took the photo). This is the one that I'm still trying to decide how to do the final finishing on, but I'm leaning towards a little flatfold since this will probably end up in my office too, over by my little coffee-making area.


I didn't take photos of my WIPs today, but I have a couple of things that I've been working on since I finished the Mill Hill butterfly. I'm still slowly making my way on Mill Hill Moonlit Kitties, which I'm pretty sure I've been plugging away on for about 10 years at this point. (Admittedly, there were several years of almost no stitching while my eyes got gradually worse.) I've also started on a little kit by Bent Creek called Candy Corn of Mischief that I ordered a month or so ago and it just arrived this past Friday. It's stitching up pretty fast so that might be a finish next time!


I won't detail all of the stash aquisitions I've made so far this year - and there has been quite a bit of it - but I did want to mention that joined the Fortnight Fabrics "Oodles of Ornaments" fabric club for 2022 so I've expanded my selection of fabrics for smalls. Expect even more ornaments in the years to come!

That's it for this catch up post. I'll try to get at least one more update in before the end of the year - which is approaching rapidly!

Sunday, January 2, 2022

2021 Wrap-up and 2022 Plans

Happy New Year! Like many of us, I'm happy to say goodbye to 2021 and slightly nervous about what 2022 has in store, but here's hoping that things will get better from here on out.

Catching up on a few things from November and December - here's my completed 2021 Temperature Tree! We ended up with some pretty warm high temps for the last few days of 2021 (low 80s), and true to Texas weather fashion - the high temp the day I'm writing this (Jan 2) was in the upper 40s. Weather whiplash!

And I finished the Charlie Brown Christmas design I started in November. There were stitched snowflakes in the design but I left them off since the sparkly fabric already kind of looked like snow (that's what I was going for when I chose the fabric in the first place).

And I finished the final two Mill Hill instrument ornaments, so now I have a set of all six!

Finally, from 2021 - my ort jar! I had been using a little plastic organizer bin for my thread remnants and then I realized that this little bowl would be perfect! I received it as a thank you gift for an astronomy talk I gave to a gardening club a few years back and I love it.

I have just a couple of new starts/WIPS from December - one of which would have been a finish if I had the right spool of Kreinik, but now it has to wait until my latest 123 Stitch order comes in.

The first is the Sun and Moon Mask by Olga Antropova that I bought through LoLaLottaShop on Etsy (before she moved back to a stand alone site when her Etsy store was hacked). I just need to finish some of the backstitch and the metallics and add a few beads and then this one will be a finish.

And I've made a bit of progress on my Tudor Cottage magnet that I made a small start on earlier in 2021.

Plans for 2022!

I still haven't decided on any big plans for the whole year, so I'll probably try going month-to-month on goals. Although I guess one year-long plan is to keep a stitch journal about what I work on from day-to-day and week-to-week. Given how busy with work I'm likely to be in the spring, it's hard to say how much stitching time I'll get. Although with things being kind of up in the air with respect to the pandemic, who knows! My short term goals are to finish the Sun and Moon mask and to make more progress on the Tudor Cottage and the "Mediterranean Flavors" Dimensions kit.

I'm also going to make more progress on the two big projects in my WIP pile - Fairy House and Sleepy Hollow. I've decided to try some Rollaframe scrollrods for Sleepy Hollow since I was having trouble stitching it on the big q-snaps, so hopefully that will help me make progress on that. I would also like to keep up with fully finishing things, especially some framing. I've got a number of finsihed projects pinned on foam board so now I just need to get mats and frames - most of which will need to be custom sizes, so that might have to be a monthly thing since they are going to cost a little more.

I do want to try to post monthly updates again, but if there isn't much to update about, they might go back to being a little less frequent. Although not the annual "sorry, nothing to see here" posts that I had for a few years while I was trying to get my stitching mojo back (which mostly involved finally getting my eyesight situation sorted...).

Until next time - have a great 2022!

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Catching up!

I was doing SO good at keeping up with a monthly post but part of that was actually having enough to share! But as work has continued to return to mostly normal (i.e. very hectic and busy) and I'm going into the office four days a week (still working from home most Fridays) I haven't had all that much time to stitch or blog. But I do have a few things to show now, so I figured I'd go ahead and write a post.


Part of what inspired the finishing frenzy from earlier this year was that I wanted to have the Tower of London finally framed by the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001 (see this previous post for more background) and I sort of managed to do it. I have the piece pinned to foam core and I did a test fit in the frame but I haven't actually laced the stitching yet or mounted it in the frame. But I did snap a picture of what the final object will look like!

And I managed to fully finish a couple of smaller projects: "Nevermore" by Satsuma Street - which I had hoped to finish before Halloween but didn't quite manage to - and "Pizza Slice", another of the million Mill Hill kits I have. "Nevermore" is meant to be a hanging ornament but I decided to make it a magnet instead.


I've been keeping up with Temperature Tree so here are the updates through the end of September and October. You can see we started to get a little taste of fall by the end of October, but the really nice, cool weather will start to show up in the November branch.

New Start

For some reason I was really itching to start something Christmas-themed, so I started this "Charlie Brown Christmas" pattern that I bought last year and then spent too long trying to figure out what fabric to use, so it didn't get started until this year. This week I've managed to stitch the little tree and Charlie Brown's hat:


I had managed to hold off on any shopping sprees for a few months, but I did need a few things and we all know that thread (and beads) cannot travel alone so... (and yes, of course there are some Mill Hill kits in there)

Other hobbies!

I also have finally started dabbling in another hobby that I've been wanting to try for a while and have begun restoring my old Apple IIgs computer! I started with de-yellowing (aka 'retrobrighting') the keyboard and mouse you see here, as well as the 3.5" and 5.25" disk drive cases (which weren't as stark a contrast, so I didn't bother with pictures). Next will be the CPU case and then finally the monitor, assuming I have enough room in the retrobright box I made. In the irony of all ironies, even though I live deep in the heart of Texas, it is basically impossible to get direct sunlight on my patio, so I had to come up with a way to retrobright indoors. I lined a plastic bin with tin foil and then covered the inside top with UV rope lights and then placed the plastic parts (coated with peroxide cream and cling wrap) inside for several hours. I'm pretty pleased with the results!

That's it for this round-up! I'm hoping to get a fair amount of stitching in over the Thanksgiving break and I guess with the fact that there are only six weeks left in the year, I should start thinking about 2022 plans! I bought my usual day planner that I've used for a few different things over the past couple of years, but this time I think I'm going to mostly use it as a combo general journal and stitch journal. Here's hoping a have a lot of stitchy things to write down in it!

Monday, September 6, 2021

What did I manage to stitch in August?

Not as much as I would have liked, as it turns out. But I knew that would probably be the case since I was planning to go back to the office most days so I could get back into that groove after working from home for so long. I'm still working from home on Fridays and I hope to keep that going as much as possible, but I know the more "normal" things get back to, the less often I'll be able to make that work.


No FFOs this month but I do have a stitching finish! I started Cosmos by SonvaStitch on 16ct opalescent aida by BeStitchMe at the very end of July and finished it three weeks later - and that was with a crunch in my stitching time. When I saw this design I had an idea of the fabric that I wanted to stitch it on and I had seen some good space-like fabric around and this is the one I ended up with. I don't stitch on aida a whole lot anymore but I saw the note on the website that the darker colors dye better on aida, so that's why I went with it. This is all in DMC and two threads on the cross stitches. I probably should have used three on Voyager, but I really don't like stitching with three threads! I did try something a little different on the "Wanderers" lettering though that seemed to help a lot. I had been wanting to try running a single thread up through the middle of the lines of stitching to see if that would fill out stitching that looked a little sparse and it worked! I only did it on the "Wanderers" letters since that's where the coverage issue really showed the most.


Not a ton of progress on the WIPs this month since I concentrated on finishing Cosmos, but I did keep up with Temperature Tree. I still didn't get to the colors above 101F in August, which is kind of astonishing. But just as I posted the update on Instagram with the note that I know better than to say I don't expect to use the higher temp colors for the rest of the year, the Texas weather proved why because we hit 102F! So I'll get to use one other color at the high end when I catch up next weekend. I think I can actually safely say that I won't use any of the hotter colors above that (reds) though since the odds really are good that we won't hit 106F or higher - at least I hope not!!

And I did manage a little bit of work on Sleepy Hollow! Not a whole lot - for some reason this is NOT a fast stitch for me - but at least it's a little progress after it was sitting around untouched for so long. Sorry for the moiré pattern on the thumbnail here!


I picked up the Mill Hill pizza slice again yesterday so I'm going to try to get that finished before doing more work on Sleepy Hollow. I might also do some more work on and older Mill Hill that I've been stitching on and off for a while now. It's one of their bigger (6" x 6", I think?) kits and it's very detailed and is taking a lot more time than the smaller ones do.

Have a great September! I hope the weather is cooling down for those who are too hot and warming up for those who are too cold!

Sunday, August 1, 2021

July FFOs and stitching round-up

Wow, it's already August. As I wrote on another blog, as a life-long Texan, I see August as something to be endured, while in many parts of the northern hemisphere people are enjoying it as peak summer. Pretty much the only time I've ever enjoyed August is when I've had a chance to spend a few weeks of it in Maine!


Let's get started with the remaining FFOs that weren't quite completed in the June FFO Frenzy!

First up is my second flat fold, this time of "Autumn Harvest" that I finished stitching in 2013. I think this is now the oldest stitched piece that was waiting for finishing that isn't being framed (there are definitely some older ones in the pile of things that I'm going to frame... more about one of those in a couple of months). I'm pretty happy with how this one came out, even with a little flub on the trim on the bottom. But hey, it's on the bottom so it's not all that easy to see!

Next is this little pillow I made from the thistles kit I finished in early 2020, shortly before everything went pear-shaped in the world. I had originally planned to frame this but when I mounted it I realized that the kit fabric wasn't square and it was going to be quite noticeable in a frame, but since this was small enough I figured it wouldn't take all of my fiber-fill to make it into a pillow. Plus it's always a bonus when I can pull out the sewing machine and continue to shake the rust off those skills a bit.

And finally, this was a stitching finish and FFO from the past month. I actually started this back in April but I did the bulk of the stitching in July. This is, of course, a Mill Hill kit! I decided to try doing this with only 2 strands of floss - most Mill Hill kits are supposed to be stitched with 3 strands - as a bit of an experiment. I don't really care for stitching with 3 strands, although I have figured out a way to do a modified loop start, which helps. But this design had a lot of colors and small areas, so I was afraid it might be a bit of a challenge with 3 strands, plus I was curious to see how the coverage came out with 2 strands. All-in-all, not too bad! I went back to 3 strands with my current Mill Hill, but I have another one in the stash that I think I might do with 2 strands instead of 3 since it's another more detailed design like this one.


Time for a check-in on Temperature Tree! This is now complete through the end of July and I'm abolutely gobsmacked that I've only used the 99-101F color a few times so far this year. I'm beginning to think that there is some weird connection between my choices for this pattern and the actual weather. It was warm to start the year so I chose the hottest color range and then a week or two later, we had the Big Freeze. And now we've only hit 100F twice so far this year and that's been the highest temperature we've reached at all (NOTE: this is NOT A COMPLAINT). I'm sure that August will still be quite hot and I'm sure that I'll use at least one of the hotter colors, but I'm sitting here listening to thunder rumbling from the storms that kicked up with a "cold" front that is slipping down into central Texas. August fronts are rare, and especially this early in the month. It won't drop the temperature by much, but it will probably take some of the humidity out of the air, which always helps!

These next few WIPs are from the end-of-May bout of start-itis.

First is "Mediterranean Flavors" Dimensions kit, but I switched out the kit fabric for 28ct French Vanilla Swirl from my stash since it looked like it would be perfect for this design and look like a stucco wall in an Italian restaurant or something. (Sorry about the moiré pattern on the thumbnail)

Next is "Oregano" from a Mill Hill kit (on fabric, not perforated paper, like most of their smaller designs). This is part of a series of herbs that I want to do for my kitchen but I've only purchased this one so far. And I love oregano, so even if I never do the others, this one will still be appropriate for my home! Just the flower pot so far on this one.

This one is technically a re-start since I decided to start "Celtic Seasons" again, but this time with only 1 strand of floss. I cut out the Spring section that I had already done earlier this year and I'm going to try to make it into something eventually. I think the 1 strand version will work a little better with this design since it doesn't seem to make the backstitching disappear as much (and there is a lot of backstitch on this one!). This kind of threw off my plan to keep up with each season in that season, but I might get Summer started in August and then finish Spring next year as I come back around to it.

New Start

I technically have two new starts in July, but there really isn't much to show on the newest one, which I just started yesterday. But I thought I would show my current little Mill Hill, which you might even be able to already recognize as the "Pizza Slice" kit which oddly is part of their Autumn Harvest collection - I don't know about you but I eat pizza year round! :)


No haul this month (I'm putting myself on a buying diet for a while) so straight into plans! I'm mostly hoping to work a little more on the WIPs and new starts I mentioned, and possibly finish a couple of the smaller ones. But since I have been seeing it pop up a lot lately, I've been inspired to put my Glendon Place "Sleepy Hollow" back on the q-snaps and actually do some stitching on it for the first time in about 10 YEARS (!!). I did a little stitching on it to get it started (see below) and then it ended up sitting in a corner for a long, long time. Part of that was the time I was struggling with my eyes and then once I got a magnifying lamp, trying to figure out a good way to use it with large projects. But now that I've got that sorted - which is why I was able to work on Fairy House back in May - I think it's time for some stitching on the Headless Horseman! Here's where I got to back around 2011:

That's it for this month! Happy stitching to anyone who stumbles by the blog!