Monday, January 14, 2019

On Hiatus

After the new year, I had one more week off and I started a few projects. However I haven't had time to sit down and write any posts. In fact since coming back to work in the new year I haven't been able to put in a single stitch. Work has been crazy and my hours have increased, so by the time I get home my eyes are too tired to do anything. I have some stuff happening at home as well, which cuts into my stitching time as well.

As I mentioned I do have some updates to share and I would like to share them with you but it will have to wait for things to calm down and get back to normal. It might be a few days, a week or a few weeks. Just right now, things are up in the air and I felt I should post something on here to let you know in case you haven't heard back from me. I know I got a few emails in the last two weeks that I still haven't replied to. I didn't forget you! I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 Goals

I did okay on my goals for 2018 despite the fact I didn't really work on my older WIPs. I was at least on point with my major goals.
  • TUSAL posts same as usual ---DONE
  • Stitch Hanabatake by Margaret Lee (Japanese bead embroidery) ---DONE
  • Stitch Japanese Landscape by Mary Brown (Goldwork) This one needs to be finished in time for Seminar ---DONE
  • Stitch on Bouquet from the Heart of Japan (Japanese embroidery) I want to make some sort of progress on this piece every month ---DONE
  • Start Hedebo Starburst by Jette Roy Finlay-Heath (Hedebo) ---DONE, I did start this piece but haven't shared yet as there isn't much to see yet. Lots of borders and prep.
  • Learn tambour beading ---Not even close
  • EAC Design course ---Way behind. I've only completed lessons 1 to 3 and haven't even started lesson 4.
  • Older WIPs. I'm putting these back in because they still need to be done. I'm hoping I do better this year.
    • Complete at least one page of Ink Circles' Bramble and the Rose ---One page is sort of completed, so I will mark this as DONE
    • Stitch the stonework on Teresa Wentzler's Tracery Dragons ---Not even close
    • Stitch the hemstitch border on Donna M. Olson's Fantasy Lace ---Not even close
    • Finish Katherine Drummond's Romantic Rosebuds ---Not even close
    • Finish Annie Penin's Fleur de Sakura ---Not even close
This year's goals will be:
  • TUSAL posts same as usual but this time I will do it on the last day of the month
  • Complete phase 1 Bouquet from the Heart of Japan (Japanese embroidery)
  • Complete Mermaids of the Deep (cross stitch)
  • Stitch on Hedebo Starburst by Jette Roy Finlay-Heath (Hedebo)
  • Start and keep up with the phase 2-3 piece Hiogi Fan (Japanese embroidery)
  • Stitch Blackwell Roundel by Jenny Adin-Christie (metal and silk work)
  • Stitch Russian Domes class (goldwork)
  • Stitch Colour wheel by Sew by Hand (Or Nue)
  • Work on completing the EAC Design course (lessons 4-8)
  • Learn a new technique
  • Older WIPS. I'm putting these back in because they still need to be done. I'm hoping I do better this year.
    • Complete at least one page of Ink Circles' Bramble and the Rose 
    • Stitch the stonework on Teresa Wentzler's Tracery Dragons 
    • Stitch the hemstitch border on Donna M. Olson's Fantasy Lace 
    • Finish Katherine Drummond's Romantic Rosebuds 
    • Finish Annie Penin's Fleur de Sakura 
I've added in a few new projects for this year, but as usual you never know what may come. I'm going to try very hard not to purchase any new kits as I feel like I already have too many, but again you never know.

No major trips this year, but I hope to attend the EAC seminar. This year it's hosted in Victoria, British Columbia. This is another city I've always wanted to visit as I've heard it is beautiful.

I signed up for a 2 day class only as I wanted more time to tour Victoria. Crossing my fingers I get my first choice. The plan is to fly in a few days earlier and drive around, nothing has been set in stone yet. 

I was hoping to go down to Atlanta this year to take phase 2 in Japanese bead embroidery at the JEC but it came down to choosing between it and starting phase 2-3 in Montreal. So that will have to be pushed again to next year. That's all I have for plans so far.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Looking Back at 2018

Looking back over this year I managed to finish 7 projects and two crochet. I didn't manage to finish with 12 as I was hoping. In fact my numbers went down but I was working on some very complex projects this year.

I made two amigurumi gifts this year for two friends who were both expecting over the summer.

I didn't do as much whitework as previous years, spending most of my time on goldwork and completing four pieces.

Still in love with beading. I hoped to do more this year but Hanabatake took the bulk of my time. It still needs to be finished into a case though.

I still have some WIPs leftover as always. I never did cleanup that section, instead I added my bouquet which I hope to finish this year. I've put in some progress over the past few days and finally figured out those cords, but there is still lots to do.

I also added a new Mirabilia piece to the list in the last month. I've been putting in a few hours every day so it has seen some progress.

To keep with the tradition, I will be stitching on Bramble and the Rose on the last day of the year. There is still hope I will meet at least one more goal this year.

December TUSAL Finale

The last TUSAL of the year! I'm posting my TUSAL report very late again as I wanted to take a snapshot at the end of the month of December so that I can start the new year with an empty jar. This year's jar is looking nice and full. 

I've been keeping two other ORT containers, one for goldwork and another for my silks. These two won't be emptied for the new year, but I do plan on emptying the silks container once I've completed the bouquet.

I still have to write posts for my year in review and 2019 goals. As of the new year I will be introducing two new projects (maybe three if I'm good). If you'd like to follow along, you can see my progress on my Instagram account where I will be posting daily.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Finishing Hoops

In between working on the bearded iris, I took the time to finish Mr. Blue and Tansy Beetle for hanging.

For Mr. Blue I wanted to do something a little different. I didn't like the look of the back of Foxy unfinished the way it was. So I decided to try a new finishing method I saw on Instagram. I looked through my fabric stash and found this piece of blue with white swirls.

I originally bought it to bead the swirls thinking it would make a pretty beaded pillow. The swirls would be an excellent practice for stitching clean curves. For now, it will make a lovely backing. I attached it using a ladder stitch.

Mr. Blue is now ready for hanging.

I wanted to do the same with Tansy Beetle but didn't find a matching fabric in my stash. I'll keep on the lookout for the perfect piece and also one for Foxy. I did shop for a pretty ribbon to hang Tansy.

Both pieces are now hanging on my cork-board. There is still a few spots for other ornaments. I will be on the lookout for that perfect piece to hang there.

I have one more piece to finish off and it's Hanabatake. I'm so close! I've attached the zipper and I finally finished the piece that goes inside the case this week. Now I just need to sit down and attach it. My goal is to finish before the end of the year. So at the time that I write this, I have two more days. Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Bearded Iris Completed

Hope you all had a lovely holiday with your friends and families. I think I forgot to mention that I would be off from work for two weeks over the holidays. I'm taking advantage of the off time to finish a few projects and get ahead on others. One of which is the Bearded Iris. The last time I showed this piece I had put in the veins on the petals. I wasn't sure that I would like it once it was finished but I guess I should have put more faith in Alison.

As soon as the petals were outlines with gold twist, everything just fell into place. I still would have preferred a different color for the petals than this beige but it looks much better now.

The last step was to put in the beard of the iris. It was kind of weird, we had to overstretch a strand of bright check and then crumple it up. I would have never thought of doing this one my own.

I spent a whole day just doing cutwork for the stem. I had a hard time with the angles and unpicked it a few times. It's stitched with three kinds of purl and the bright check purl kept throwing me off as it's bigger than the other two purls.

I normally love chipping but I found this a little harder to do. Random is not something my brain does easily and in this case I had to do it with three different purls which increased the complexity. To help I took a break to work on the little bud before going back to finish all the chipwork. Sometimes a break helps things along.

Here it is all done. I finished it around noon on a sunny day, so I was able to take nice pictures. You can really see the color of that velvet and it looks lovely with the gold.

I'm hoping to take it to the framer sometime next week since I'll still be off work and will have time.

Now that this piece is finished, I can now spend all my time on my Japanese embroidery piece. I still have lots to do and only a few days to do them before the new year comes. Once the new years rolls in I will be starting brand new projects.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Japanese Embroidery Phase 2-3 - A new beginning

I can finally share with you my kit for the next phase in Japanese embroidery. I mentioned back in September that I had picked Hiogi as the next piece. We placed a group order at the beginning of October and got it at the end of the month.

I got a little extra something for me, a pair of professional Japanese scissors, called nigiri-basami in Japanese. This will be my gift for finishing phase 1, so it will stay packed until I do. It will be my carrot to finish the piece.

If you're curious to know what a 1000 CAD worth of Japanese embroidery material looks like, here it is. It's basically two kits. Japanese embroidery is not an inexpensive hobby. As you move up the phases, kits get more and more expensive. Most of the cost is from the fabric, since as you do more phases you'll need to buy less silk reels and metal threads. Many colors come back and by the time you get to phase 9 or 10 you will have accumulated stock.

Back to my next piece. I ended up having to buy a second frame. I figured I would need a second one regardless for the future as I want to pursue Japanese bead embroidery, the frame cost is not that expensive and they are can be used for any large project. So it's a good investment. We spent the whole day on Saturday putting it on the frame and double lacing it. It's not often that we need to frame pieces so we had to refresh our memories. It's all ready to go, I'm just waiting on confirmation of what we're expected to have ready for our class in the spring.

Now that I've covered the next phase, I can give an update about the present phase... it hasn't moved forward. In fact it moved backwards. My last progress didn't sit well with me, so after consulting my group I decided to remove the cords on the bouquet. I spent Sunday morning unpicking them. I made a little surgical error snipping the threads at the front, so I flipped the frame and finished unpicking from the back. It wasn't anything major and easily fixed.

I wasn't planning on trying the cords again on Sunday, but I still had the afternoon so I made a second attempt. The second attempt didn't go any better than the first.

I sent a picture of my progress to my friend and she suggested working on a different area of the piece for now. She also suggested doing some counted work as a change. Like me, she finds surface stitching stressful, so maybe a switch would work. It's funny she mentioned that because three weeks ago, when I started getting frustrated with the cords, I had already started a new WIP. I set up the Mirabilia kit I bought for my sister's birthday and have been stitching on it every night for about an hour or two. I forgot how addicting cross stitch could be.

Back to the phase 1 piece, I think the best course of action for now is work on the last pink flower, add in the gold thread for all the pinks and then go back to the cords. Maybe not the cords on the wrapping paper, but the cords on the other side that don't have a curve. It could possibly help me get into the groove.