Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Looking Back at 2015

I like to look back at all the projects I've worked on during the year. This year, I've tried to branch out my needlework interests.

I did a lot of cross stitching but also tried out pulled and drawn thread (lots of whitework, my new love). I also did some crochet and learned a bit of knitting (still trying to improve that by the way).

So here's a final count: I have 6 finishes this year and 4 WIPs left. I'm not including the Creative Festival projects as WIPs since most of them I think of as learning pieces.

This year I learned that:

I love working on a project with a group. It's so much more fun to see every one's progress. I hope to be able to do more of this next year.

I absolutely love whitework of all types and want to try all of them.

I enjoy stitching outside.

Starting multiple projects at the beginning of the year doesn't work for me at all. Although I did my best, some of them fell through the cracks. For example, I did really good work on Fantasy Lace and Tree of Hope.

But Tracery Dragon didn't see the light of day all year.

Finally, although I will never truly enjoy doing "finishing" I can do it when I need to.

P.S. I haven't forgotten Bramble and the Rose. In fact, it's been taken out of hiding and had quite a few stitches put in. We're doing a Star Wars marathon at home before going to see the new movie and Bramble and the Rose is the perfect project for it since there is no color change. I'll post an update after the new year.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

WIPocalypse 2015 – December

This month's theme is a recap of what we've stitched and finished this year. I will do a later post on this as I'm hoping to finish one more project.

I didn't work on Bramble and the Rose yet. The plan is to take it out tonight and work on it until the New Year. So there should be an update of this in next years WIPocalypse.

No Update
Ink Circles - The Bramble and the Rose

Tree of Hope is all done! Well the cross stitch is done. I will start the beading sometime after the New Year.

Mirabilia - Tree of Hope

I still haven't touched Tracery Dragons. No idea if I will work on it this year.

No Update
Teresa Wentzler - Tracery Dragons

In my rush to finish Tree of Hope I didn't take out Fantasy Lace at all. I might switch between this and Bramble and the Rose.

No Update
Satin Stitches - Donna's Fantasy Lace

Since I finished Tree of Hope ahead of time, I decided to see if I could finish stitching one of the Creative Festival class kits. So I took out Precious Jewel by Gingerbread Girl Designs. I only had the bullions and beading left to do. I'm quite happy with how the bullions came out this time (I guess I was in the right mood for it). I've started the finishing process (which I really dread). I hope I can finish it before the New Year.

Previous Jewel - Gingerbread Girl Designs

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tree of Hope Quick Update

I've been stitching non stop on Tree of Hope hoping that I would finish all the cross stitch before the new year. It's looking good for me as I've managed to stitch the big flowers on either side of the maidens.

All that will be left is a little stitching at the bottom and the maidens' dresses which I've been avoiding finishing. It's entirely stitched with the Caron thread which always give me a headache. I want to aim to finish these by Saturday so that I can spend the last week of the year on Bramble and the Rose. A project that hasn't seen any stitching action since last year.

Monday, December 14, 2015

December TUSAL

Finally some color. This is the last TUSAL of the year, so here is what my jar looks like after a year of stitching. I've surpassed last year that's for sure :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Two Maidens and Dessert

This weekend felt both interminable and short at the same time. I had my office Christmas party on Saturday. The night felt like it would never end. Then waking up Sunday morning, the day just flew by. I also got a new mixer that I wanted to try out so that took a small chunk of my stitching time. Isn't it pretty? The color is called Ice Blue. I'll have to match it to a DMC color, it would look great with a light purple.

We decided to test it by using an old recipe of my mother's. It's a pineapple upside down cake. My mom was telling me that back when she got this recipe, everyone was making this cake (we loved it as kids). But after we moved to Canada, everyone was about the banana cake. All I remember was that we used to fight over those pineapples. They were always sugary sweet.

I did manage to get some stitching done on Tree of Hope the week before. My two maidens are now at the same stage. I really would love to finish this before new years, but I don't think that will happen. I will settle for getting as much done as I can.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Virtual Stitches Stash Sale #2

Virtual Stitches had their second stash sale a few weeks back. I wasn't really planning on getting anything, but there were a few choice kits and patterns. It was very hard to resist. Most of these beauties were put up for sale by Jeanine Robertson. I guess she has a huge stash from her years of stitching.

Can you guess why I bought it?

I'll say it: I'm obsessed with anything white work. This piece has a lovely Reticello center and I've always wanted to try Bargello. The design is called Strawberry Lace Sewing Case and is by Diane Clements. I did a little bit of research and found out that this was a class that was offered by the EGA. Ms. Clements has since passed away, but you can still find some of her class kits for sale on eBay.

When I received the pattern, I was shocked by how thick the book was. Over 80 pages of instructions, from how to stitch each section to final assembly of the case. And that doesn't even include the pages for the actual pattern. The kit itself also contains everything you'd need to stitch and finish the project. The actual cost of which would have far exceeded what I payed for it (not to mention the cost of the class itself). I can't wait to start reading the book. I need to start prepping before I could even think to start stitching.

I've also really gotten back into Tree of Hope. I'm trying to finish stitching the skin of the second maiden. Hopefully I'll get that done this week.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

WIPocalypse 2015 – November

This month's topic: Which designer has inspired you to stitch the greatest number of designs and why do you think that is? I think at this point the designer I've stitched the most of is Kathryn Drummond aka Gingerbread Girl. I try to take her classes whenever I can and have quite a few of her patterns to stitch (although Teresa Wentzler has her beat, I have more of TW's patterns than any other designer). The reason for that is I love cut work and counted thread combine that with luscious colors and you have me hooked :)

Onto the updates, nothing on Bramble and the Rose. I'm thinking I'll take it out a week before New Years to stitch on it like I did last year.

No Update
Ink Circles - The Bramble and the Rose

Tree of Hope is back on the frame as of yesterday. I did put in a few stitches but not enough for an update. I realized that I've missed doing cross stitch.

No Update
Mirabilia - Tree of Hope

I still haven't touched Tracery Dragons.

No Update
Teresa Wentzler - Tracery Dragons

I did stitch on Fantasy Lace. I worked on it in between sessions on my sampler for a change of pace.

Satin Stitches - Donna's Fantasy Lace

18th Century Sampler is FINISHED! I'm really happy that the piece is finally done. With this piece finally completed I can finally put in a dent into my other WIPs.

SJ Designs - 18th Century Sampler

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

18th Century Sampler - Finished!

In my last post I was trying to decide how I wanted to stitch the outer border. Thank you for all of your comments, it really helped me make a decision :)

The outer border is done in a wide Herringbone stitch. I settled on using the green thread for the border and wanted to add beads to anchor the Herringbone stitches.

I tried the beads on one edge and kept looking at it, but in the end I decided to take them out. You couldn't really see them from afar and just this little bit took hours to put in. Once the decision was made to go without, the border was quickly finished.

I'm quite happy with that decision :) but you never know if I'll change my mind. I'm going to wait till the class ends before framing it. Just in case something comes up and I need to make changes.

 I made a quick video for my Instagram account of the finished piece.

So my 18th Century Sampler is all done, but it's not too late to join in the fun. The class is still ongoing on Facebook and won't end till February. You can find all the details here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

18th Century Sampler - Hemstitch Bands

I spent much of last week prepping the canvas for the hemstitch bands. The bands in the sampler use a drawn thread technique which is different from pulled thread.

In a nutshell, drawn thread involves cutting fabric thread and withdrawing them from the fabric. Afterwards, the remaining fabric thread is either wrapped or grouped to create lacy designs. Pulled thread on the other hand involves no cutting. All the lace-like designs are created using tension by pulling on the working thread and creating gaps between fabric threads. Check out Nordic Needles post for more information.

The first step, figure out which threads are supposed to be cut. In this case, we're cutting 6 horizontal canvas threads (for the sake of simplicity I won't use weft and warp) in the middle of the band. Be careful to only cut the thread that's indicated. It's not the end of the world if the wrong thread is cut (I learned that pretty much anything could be fixed if you ask the right question), but why cause trouble if you can avoid it by counting and triple counting ;)

The next step, withdraw the canvas thread that should be removed completely. I removed these all the way to the edge of the canvas (I did it up to the masking tape).

In this case, we had to remove three and leave three.

The remaining horizontal threads are also going to be withdrawn, but up to a point. These threads are going to be woven in place of the ones that were taken out. I noticed that canvas threads have a tendency to fray, so I had to be careful when pulling out these threads as I didn't want to unwind them.

For this pattern, a diagram shows where we should stop withdrawing the thread, and that's where the weaving will start.

It's important to look at the canvas threads above and below the empty space. This will tell us how the weaving will begin, either above or below the vertical threads. In the band below, I had to go under the first vertical thread.

The thread is woven all the way till the edge of the canvas, making sure not to lose track of the over-under sequence.

I found that weaving was much easier from the back of the canvas. For some reason the thread twisted less when I did it this way and the end result looked more natural.

But if it's a little bumpy, that's okay. That area will get covered with the outer border. Weave the remaining threads the exact same way for a seamless finish. I did the same on the other end and for the second band.

Here you can see all the edges finished. From afar, once the outer boarder is stitched you can't even see the re-weaving that was done. I'm definitely adding this technique to my arsenal.

And here are my two stitched hemstitch bands. If you have eagle eyes, you'll notice that the second band's weaving has an extra vertical thread. That's to make sure we ended up with a pair number of groups so that we can twist them together.

An overview of the piece. That acorn band is growing on me by the way. I don't think I will be unpicking it.

All that's left now is the outer border. I'm still trying to decide if I want to stitch it in green or ecru. I also have some cream beads that I could add to it. Ideas?