Friday, July 31, 2015

WIPocalypse 2015 – July #2

This month's topic: What makes you pick up a long-abandoned UFO rather than beginning a new piece? (this question comes to us via Paula) It all comes down to guilt. It's the only reason Flower Patch was ever finished. That and lack of space. All my stitching stuff is stored in my room and I can't really have multiple projects on different frames in there. Also, I only have one set of frames per size, so if a project is on scroll bars, I have to finish that one before I can put in another one. Saying all that, I'm not very qualified to answer that question since the oldest any of my WIPs have gone was 2 years.

Still nothing on Bramble and the Rose.

No Update
Ink Circles - The Bramble and the Rose

I spent more time on Tree of Hope. I finished stitching the tree...

Mirabilia - Tree of Hope

And then started on the maiden on the right of the tree.

I still haven't touched Tracery Dragons.

No Update
Teresa Wentzler - Tracery Dragons

I finished the button hole border on Fantasy Lace and started stitching the eyelets, but didn't get very far.

Satin Stitches - Donna's Fantasy Lace
You can't really see it, but here are the eyelets.

Since I finished Pretty Little San Francisco I decided to start another "small" WIP. This is a schwalm piece from Inspiration magazines issue #86 called Eidelweiss.

Deborah Love - Eidelweiss

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Stitchy Bug

It's been a week and four days since my lamp stopped working. I tried stitching with my small craft lamp but it was too dark, so I haven't really stitched on anything in a while. I spent my time reading instead. I asked my dad yesterday and he says he will hopefully have it working by this weekend no guarantees though.

But wait! As if Melanie knew that I was going to lose my stitchy bug, she sent me one of hers. I got it in the mail this week with a lovely Nora Corbett card.

Here is a close of the stitchy bug needle minder. Hopefully it will bring me luck and lots of stitchy time :) Thanks Melanie!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Wishful Thinking

I guess I didn't cross my fingers hard enough. There was no stitching for me last night. I got home and the first thing I did was plug in the new bulb I bought, and... no light. The bulb was making a weird ringing sound, so I figured something was wrong with it. Back to Michaels I went to switch it for another one, tried it again and still no light. My dad is now in the process of dissecting it right now.

I had posted an image of the light bulb on Instagram and got back some interesting remarks from one stitcher. Carolskorner0 was saying that all the replacement light bulbs she ever bought for her Ottlite never worked and she's had to throw away the lamp entirely. Bbrown426 on the other hand loves her Ottlite and has several (five to be exact). Has anyone else experienced this issue with replacement bulbs? The one I have at home right now is the 13w craft organizer.

In the meantime, I will be using my old (much smaller) desk lamp for stitching. But this means Eidelweiss will be on hiatus until my lamp is fixed or I get a new one. My old lamp just doesn't give a strong enough light for white on white stitching.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Weekend Stitching

This weekend was nicely productive. Friday, I sat down and really powered through Eidelweiss. It doesn't look exactly like the one pictured in the magazine, but that is because I'm stitching on a different count. I'm learning to let go :)

Since I did so well, I rewarded myself with some time on Tree of Hope.

I was only planning to work on it Saturday evening and then Sunday I would go back to Eidelweiss. Unfortunately, that's when my OttLite stopped working. I guess it's been almost 10,000 hours since I bought my lamp and it was time for a new bulb.

I passed by the Michaels near my office at lunch time to get a new one. Did you know those things cost $39.99!? Good thing I had a 40% off coupon. Next time, I'll just order it from Amazon (if I remember). They have them listed for $19.99.

Crossing my fingers I get uninterrupted stitching time tonight.

Friday, July 17, 2015


Nothing much to say for this month's TUSAL, so I'll just leave it with an update on my WIPs.

I still have two petals to go. I was bad and skipped yesterdays (so tired).

When I was good though, and stitched that day's petal, I got to stitch on Tree of Hope. I started on the skin, which is stitched 1 over 1 on the 32 count fabric.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Eidelweiss Part 3 - Update 1

Part 3 will have two updates, because I'm not actually done on this part. I think this flower will take a few days to finish.

Starting with the center. After doing the reverse chain and coral stitch outline, the center was filled with a satin stitch filling. It wasn't very clear in the directions, but I could see in the picture of the finished project that the satin stitch blocks sort of overlapped. In other words, each row is stitched one thread lower so that they are in between two blocks.

Again the petals are outlined. One thing to mention: From classes I've taken, all the instructors agreed that (no matter what type of embroidery technique) you should stitch the items that are in the back first and then do the ones in the front. This pattern doesn't do that. I've been stitching the flowers first and then the stamens and then eventually the stems. What I should have done was stitch the stems first, then the stamens, flower petals and then flower center. Not sure how that affects the final look, but for the petals in this flower, I did follow that rule.

Once I finished the outline, I could start on the filling stitch. This time it's Eyelets. I already mentioned in my previous post that I dislike them. Not because they're hard or anything. They're just really time consuming and boring, like leaves.

To make my eyelets with a nice big open center, I used a few tips I picked up from other stitchers and books.

  1. Find your center.
  2. Enlarge it by carefully pushing an awl through the center.
  3. Start stitching the eyelets in alternating holes, i.e. stitch one stitch skip the next, making sure to pull on the thread to enlarge the hole. What I do is as I'm preparing to go back into the center, I hold the thread tightly away so it doesn't loosen the previous stitch.
  4. Do that until you reach the beginning and then go back around filling in the missing stitches
It's better to use a sewing motion, but I found it really awkward with the hoop. I could never get my needle back out where it should. instead I used a stabbing motion, but didn't pull on the thread till my needle was back out of the fabric.

So far I've stitched three petals, I still have four more. I really should just power through them, but I feel my mojo slipping just looking at them. Here's to hoping the next few days are productive.

Tree of Hope: The Tree is Finished!

I still can't believe. This tree felt like it was taking forever. It was going super fast at the beginning, but once I started on the leaves... I think leaves are my cross stitch weakness, those and eyelets (more on that later).

Here it is all done. I can finally unwind the fabric to start a different section. I looked at the pattern and I think I will start on the maiden on the right. Her hand seems closest to the tree.

One thing I have to make sure not to do, is lose myself in this piece and neglect Eidelweiss.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Eidelweiss Part 2

Life got in the way this week, so I wasn't able to put in as much time as I wished on Eidelweiss. In fact Wednesday was the first day I got the chance to stitch on it since Sunday and it feels like forever. I really wanted to work on it, but I kept being away from my desk. Because of how small it is, I need to stitch at my desk where my Ott lamp is set up and I can lay out my copy of Inspirations magazine.

So onto the pictures. When I stopped on Sunday, I had finished the cross stitch filling. The next step was adding the pinwheel blanket stitches right above that area (not my favorite stitch so far).

The last filling stitch was the four sided stitch. It's a very simple stitch as long as you concentrate and don't have anyone interrupt you. My sister came by a few times and I noticed when I looked at the back of my piece that I stitched the sequence incorrectly and had to undo it :| You'll know if it's incorrect because it forms x's at the back and stitched out of sequence the upper legs will not all be going in the same direction.

Below the two petals is a row of alternating detached chain stitch (a lazy daisy if you will) and straight stitches. Since I wasn't sure how far they should be from each other, I drew lines where I would stitch the detached chain stitches. The straight stitches will just go in between them.

Unfortunately, I didn't like how the detached chain stitches looked. The ones from the photo looked much narrower and had a sharper point. Mine came out a little rounder and you can see the fabric.

The solution? Fill the space with a straight stitch. I actually like how to looks now. I almost wish I could get the cotton broder special in a color other than white. It would look really nice in pink and white, mint green or lilac,... I could go on. Maybe I'll stitch another one in color if I can get my hands on the thread.

I stopped there at the end of the night.

The final step are the flowers stamens, which I stitched Thursday night. The stalks(?) are coral stitch again and the stamens themselves are stitched using blanket stitch, making sure to open up the center of the circle.

I've already started stitching the second flower, but I'll wait till I have more before posting pictures.

By the way, I've been toying with the idea of adding color in the piece using beads. The stems are all stitched with coral stitch, so I'm thinking of adding light green beads. I still have to check to see if I have any in my stash, but it would look like this. What do you guys think?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Eidelweiss Part 1

Last month I finally decided to subscribe to Inspirations magazine after deliberating for months.

Issue #86
I found a few projects I'd love to stitch, but the first one I decided to do is a Schwalm embroidery piece called Eidelweiss. It is designed by Deborah Love from Australia. I think it was a teaching piece from Beating Around the Bush 2014 (click on 2014 to look at last year's catalog). I remember it from all my drooling of their catalog.

Eidelweiss - Deborah Love
Unfortunately, it would be too expensive (not to mention a really long flight) to hop on over to South Australia to attend workshops. I will have to make do with the magazine.

The first step is transferring the pattern onto the fabric. I used a Copic archival sepia pen (for those interested you can get them from Amazon). It's permanent, but it's faint enough that it will be covered once it's been stitched. Archival pens are awesome for this since they don't bleed into the fabric. The fabric I am using is a 32 count Belfast linen.

Pattern is traced
I like organizing everything before I start, so I made a photocopy of the pattern and highlighted each part with a different color for each stitch type.

Once that was done I was ready to start. The threads used in this are DMC broder special in #16, 20 and 25. You use it right out of the skein.

Floss toss
 I'm using one of Hazel's needle books since it conveniently has all the needles I need in one place :)

I started with the flower in the lower left. The first layer is the reverse chain stitch (click the link for instructions). It's a really easy way to do the chain stitch. I know I enjoyed it more than the regular chain stitch.

The second layer is the coral stitch. It's not as fun as the reverse chain stitch, I found myself constantly turning the fabric around. This stitch I had to do in hand (i.e. without the hoop), it made it easier to poke the fabric.

Here's a close up of the coral stitch.

The first filling stitch was the honeycomb filling stitch. It looks nice and was easy to do. The hardest part was figuring out where exactly to start, but once that's done you just follow the pattern and compensate for the rounded edges. I followed Hazel Blomkamp's rule from her needle lace class (paraphrased) : "If you're not sure if you need that extra stitch, add it anyways because in the long run you'll find that you need it." :)

Honeycomb filling stitch
The next filling stitch was a cross stitch filling stitch. Being a cross stitcher, this is the easiest stitch so far ;) I did notice that mine doesn't look like the picture because of where I stitched my starting row, but that's OK as long as the stitches are all consistent.

Cross stitch filling stitch
 Here it is at the end of the first day. Sorry the fabric is all wrinkly. Between the hoop and my hands, it's gotten wrinkled.

That was one day of my weekend. I also spent some time on Tree of Hope and Fantasy Lace. I did promise to post more updates.

It's not much, but it's something. I finished a big block right above the bird in Tree of Hope and have started stitching the eyelets in Fantasy Lace.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

WIPocalypse 2015 – July

This month's topic: Reality or Fantasy. Which do you prefer to stitch? Figures or Abstract? (this question comes to us via Jo) I like both, but I do admit I'm more choosy when it comes to figures. My religion doesn't "allow" us to decorate our homes with art that portray people or faces. So I tend to lean more towards faun and flora. Which is really hard for me, because that limits me on the type of patterns I buy (for now, i.e. until I move out and get my own place). Some of you will ask: What about the Mirabilias you're stitching? I argue that those don't count since you can't really distinguish their facial features (kind of like Amish art if you've ever seen it). As for abstract, I love geometric/symmetric patterns. I don't have any patterns in my stash like that but I still love it. In any case, for me, what really drives me towards a pattern is COLOR. I love bold and bright, pastels, dark. It doesn't matter, if it's well used it will attract my attention. It's too bad I don't know enough about color theory to do it myself.

Still nothing on Bramble and the Rose.

No Update
Ink Circles - The Bramble and the Rose

I finally finished stitching all the leaves. I've been really neglecting this piece because of them. Now I have just one more color to stitch on the tree and I can finally move on.

Mirabilia - Tree of Hope
Update: Due to the fact that it was Canada day yesterday, I ended up working a little bit more on Tree of Hope.

I want to thank Marcy for her suggestion on how to stitch with Waterlilies. Here it is for those who would like to try it:

I cut 2 of the same length of my over dyed floss. Pull off one strand from each length and combine the 2 for stitching. It makes a soft tweedy effect that I like better and doesn’t take any extra thinking or planning.

I still haven't touched Tracery Dragons.

No Update
Teresa Wentzler - Tracery Dragons

I worked on Fantasy Lace at the beginning of the month and then neglected it for the rest of the month. But then on Saturday, I took it out and powered through all those button holes to finish them in time for this post (by the way, at the time when I'm writing this it's Monday and I haven't actually finished them. Let's see if I can make it happen). It's very tiny (sorry for the bad picture, it was cloudy yesterday), but you can see the stray thread. Unfortunately, I ran out of the #5 perle cotton and wasn't able to finish the border. I'll be getting some more this Friday (I hope).

Satin Stitches - Donna's Fantasy Lace

Pretty Little San Francisco took up much of my stitching time. It went from being my take-away WIP to my main WIP. I have about two hours of stitching time during the weekday and I think I spent pretty much all of it on San Fran, but as a bonus last Wednesday was a holiday for us in Quebec. That's an entire day off work to stitch. Despite that, I can't believe how much I got done since the last WIPocalypse post.

Satsuma Street - Pretty Little San Francisco

All in all I'm very satisfied this month :)