Saturday, October 8, 2011

Last weekend's finish

I finished this last week but of course I'm just now getting around to posting the picture. This is the "Acorn House" from this year's Just Cross Stitch Halloween ornaments issue. I don't often get the hand-dyed or over-dyed floss that a lot of these designs call for (I use the DMC or Anchor substitutions), but I just happened to be in the local needlework store when they had their Weeks Dye Works floss on sale. So, I picked up a couple of skeins of "Trick or Treat" which is the color around the border on this design. I love the way it looks!

The original in the magazine was stitched on a darker fabric, but I didn't really have anything on hand that I liked, so I went with this lighter one instead. Some parts don't look as good on the fabric I chose, but some of it looks better. I should have oriented it a little different so that some of the lighter stitching ended up on a darker part of the hand-dyed fabric. Oh well.

You'll notice that the owl, cat and fence on this design are stitched over one (on 28 count fabric in this case) and when I went to do those parts I discovered that my eyes just can't handle it any more. So, it was a good excuse to pick up a small magnifying Ott Lite at a local craft store. :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Last weekend's finish

I was trying to find time to post this all of last week but obviously I never got around to it! This is from this year's Just Cross Stitch Halloween ornaments collection. I'm working on a few other designs from that issue including one that has a few parts that are over one on 28 count fabric, which prompted me to run out and finally get a magnifying lamp. I started a few stitches and basically my eyes said "no way!".

I've also made a few stitches in Sleepy Hollow, but just a few small areas to get started. That project is going to take me forever at the rate I find time to stitch! As an indication, I expected to start stitching it when I posted about finishing Halloween Fairy a year ago. :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Recent finishes and blogiversary!

I never got around to posting these last weekend, but here are the two other things I finished during my stay-at-home vacation last week.

This is the finished version of the ornament that I posted a progress photo of back at the beginning of the month. I have no idea what I'm going to do to finish it (I'm leaning towards a little pillow ornament) so it goes into the ever-growing "to be finished" basket.

And this is the beaded ornament kit that I picked up during my vacation. I have the mandolin one now too and will probably get the whole set. (They are similar designs to the Fifteen Year Christmas Ornaments, but hopefully they won't take me that long to finish!).

And finally... yesterday was my fourth anniversary of starting this blog! I had some stitching stuff posted to my personal blog before, but I split it off to be its own thing four years ago. It's been a lot of fun going back through and writing up all my old projects and it's been very valuable in keeping track of current projects, so I'm really glad I started it!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hardanger holly ornament finished!

My 9-day stay-at-home vacation got off to a good start - I actually finished another project! Granted, there wasn't a whole lot left to do and it stitched up fast, but I'm still happy that I've finished another thing in my pile. I've stitched a little more on the other Christmas ornament from the post below and I've started on a Mill Hill bead ornament I picked up at my LNS.

Of course, now that the JCS Halloween issue is here, I have plenty more small projects I want to start... :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Latest stitching

As I mentioned in the previous post, I've been stitching on some Christmas ornaments to try to take my mind of the incredible heat we've been suffering through here in central Texas for the past two months (actually, it started getting hotter than average back in April).

First up is a progress image of the Blue Ribbon Designs ornament that I started a week or so ago:

As you can see, the fabric is a loose weave, so you're seeing the light coming through the window behind it. I haven't gotten too far on it because I decided to finally start this little hardanger ornament that I bought in kit form sometime in the past year or so:

I got pretty far on it so I should be able to finish it this week. This is a "no cut" hardanger design that I picked up from Nordic Needle. I experimented with hardanger for the first time a few years ago, but I still need to get some really good scissors for cut work. So when I saw a kit that didn't require cutting, I snapped it up!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hey look - I stitched something! And blogged about it!

I've taken a break from the cottage in the post below since I was getting bored with all of the browns, so I pulled this little castle from 501 Cross Stitch Designs by Sam Hawkins and stitched it up on some spangly Silkweaver fabric. I haven't decided what I'll do for the final finishing, so it's going to the "to be rinsed" pile and eventually the "to be framed/finished" basket until I think of something cute to do with it.

In the meantime, I've started the Blue Ribbon Designs Christmas ornament in the July/August issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine. It's been a miserably hot summer here in Texas already (actually, it started in early June, which is technically still spring - 106F... really???) so dreams of Christmas is just the relief I need. Actually, I'm most looking forward to the *next* JCS issue, which will be their annual Halloween issue. Just a quick look through the blog will show that I have a big thing for Halloween and Autumn designs! And speaking of, I've already pre-ordered the Just Cross Stitch Halloween Collection book that is coming in September.

A few weeks ago I finally broke down and bought a new floor stand to use for my larger projects. I have one that clamps at the top, but unfortunately the two big designs that I've put on the Q-snaps are just too heavy for it, so I had to get one that clamped on both sides. And after first getting the wrong item (which was resolved quickly and at no extra charge to me), I now have a Stitch Master stand for my big projects. It holds the Q-snaps pretty well, but I might need to play around with it some to get a bit more of a secure fit. I haven't actually started stitching with it yet, but I think it will work well for large designs.

That's it for this update... hopefully there won't be another three-month gap before I blog here again!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Swiss Cottage progress report

Here's the first picture of an old kit that I'm finally stitching. I picked up four Cross My Heart cottage kits AGES ago and I'm just now starting to stitch them (well, this one at least). I switched the fabric out with a hand-dyed Silkweaver fabric that is very subtle and is a light blue/gray color (I had to use the flash on the camera so it's a little washed out).

I really like the Cross My Heart designs, but I really hate hand-lettered charts! There are some nice details around the windows, but the chart is really hard to read because of the partial stitches and backstitching lines. I'm stitching the whole stitches right now and then I'm going to blow up the chart around the harder to read areas and see if it gets any easier to see.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Some finishing from last weekend

I got a bee in my bonnet last weekend and finally did some finishing of projects that the stitching was completed on ages ago (in some cases, over five years ago!)

First up are two Christmas ornaments from previous Just Cross Stitch ornament issues, both with some awkward shapes. I didn't want to just do a regular square or round ornament, so these were experiments with some different shapes.

Doing the corners at the bottom was very tricky on this one! It's hard to tell from the picture, but the felt backing is dark green.

Annoyingly, this one ended up crooked on its backing, but I'm still fairly happy with it overall.

Next is the Hedwig Four-Patch freebie that came out with the release of the last Harry Potter book. So, of course, I took a photo of it on my Harry Potter shelf!

This one is finished as a stuffed ornament. I think this was the first time I have done a stuffed finish with a ribbon hanger, which was a little tricky, but it came out well.

The next is a framed finish of The Mary Rose, stitched from a kit that I picked up when I visited the museum in 2000.

The photo for this one was taken on one of the many shelves of Tudor history books in my apartment.

And finally, I pulled an old needlepoint kit out of the frame it was in and finished it into a small pillow. I still want to add a trim around it, but I don't have one on hand that I like so I'll have to that some other day.

I was looking for some decent light to take a picture in, and of course the second I set it on the floor one of the cats decided she had to investigate.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Catherine of Aragon is finished!

It took about three years of off-and-on stitching, but I made the final push and finished the patterned underskirt last night.

I have a couple of medium-sized projects that I've started, and I'm thinking that my next big project (once I get some more large q-snaps) will be a cute whimsical fairy cottage kit that I bought a month or two ago. I'm substituting a sparkly Silkweaver fabric for what came with the kit. I also have a bookmark kit that I started... too many projects going, as usual! I have also been playing around with some finishing of older small projects, including taking an old needlepoint that used to be in a frame and making a little pillow out of it. I really need to get some of these old projects finished up into ornaments, flat folds or framed, etc. and get them out of my "to be finished" basket!

Updated to add: I think part of the reason I was able to *finally* finish this project was that I have *finally* managed to put together a good stitching spot after buying a folding table. I initially bought it to make a sewing table (I bought an extender for my machine since I don't have one of those in-set sewing cabinets) but I also discovered that it works well with my needlework tabletop/lap frame. I had been trying to set up the frame on my computer desk, but it was a little too tall, the light wasn't as good and got in the way of me using the computer. :) So, I now set up my new table to the side and can spin between the computer (often with a podcast or Hulu running) and my stitching. I also stitch in bed sometimes, but now that I have two cats instead of just one, that has proven to be a little more difficult!

And updated again: I meant to mention that I have the other 5 of Henry's wives in the queue to do one of these days, but I'm going to work on a few other projects before I start on Anne Boleyn

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A finish!

I finished the stitching on this AGES ago, but put off the final finishing for a while since it seemed a bit involved (which it was). It was in a kit that I got in this grab bag (errrr, box) back in 2008. The kit originally came with white fabric, but I substituted in a scrap of light green so the white beads of the snowman would stand out better.

I haven't had a lot of time for stitching lately, but I've been trying to do the "15 minutes a day" approach that I've seen on a few other blogs. Even if I only get 15 minutes in, it's 15 minutes that I can slow down and concentrate only on fabric and thread. :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Christmas kitty #1

I stayed up probably too late finishing the back stitching on the first of the Christmas kitty ornaments I picked up in a kit late last year (I'm such a sucker for a sale and cute kitties).

This is the first time in a while that I've worked on something in 14ct (plastic canvas in this case)! I picked up a small scanner to have at home with some of the bonus money I got at Christmas, so this is a scan of the piece, rather than a photo. I'll probably start scanning more of the small projects in directly since finding good light for photos in my apartment is difficult sometimes.

I've started working on a little blackwork bookmark this afternoon - pics when I have enough progress that it actually looks like something. :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy New Year!

I was shocked to see how long it had been since my last post when I went to write this post today! Of course that also means that I haven't been doing a lot of stitching lately, but hopefully I'll be able to get some more in for this new year.

Looking back on 2010, I did meet at least one goal and finished Halloween Fairy, although I still have one large project left that I need to finish (Catherine of Aragon) which will have to be a goal of 2011. I also want to start to make a dent in some of the old kits I still have around.

In lieu of recent stitching, here are two older projects that I was recently able to finally get some photos of. The first is, I think, the first "over one" on a small count (28 ct in this case) project that I did. It was originally a gift for my grandmother and now is at my dad's. The pattern was from a British magazine from the 1990s, but I don't know which one.

And the second is the largest needlepoint project I've ever done. It was from a kit and I probably stitched it at some point from the late 1990s to early 2000s.

I'm almost done with the first of six kitty cat Christmas ornaments that I picked up last year and I think I'll set it aside after I finish the one I'm working on. I just hope they don't turn in to another set of "15 year ornaments" like the batch I finally finished a few years ago!