Monday, January 18, 2016

Boring weekend

I was really bored this weekend. I started off on Saturday with working on finishing parts of Precious Ornament. I made the cord and tassel, quickly putting them both away. I wasn't up to doing the actual finishing.

My brand new Kreinik cord maker

I didn't feel like working on any of my WIPs, so I decided to spend it learning something new. Remember these:

You thought they were just going to stay in my stash forever didn't you? I thought that too. I can't count how many times I took them out, looked at them and put them back in my (still unpacked) tote from the Creative Festival. I figured since I now have a weight (the orange thing in the first picture), it was now or never.

I started with the thick braid that came with the disk and a YouTube video to figure how how to start.

And quickly caught up (it works really fast). By the way, the thick cord hurts your fingers.

For some reason the Buttoned Up bracelet looked too complicated for me, so I started with the Four Color Spiral bracelet instead. Here I am stringing up the beads. This part takes the longest to do.

The bracelet itself uses the same movement all through it and is very quick to make. I followed the instructions in this video.

The hard part for me was putting in the clasp since I'm not used to manipulating wires. It's a little big, but I'm very happy with it. It makes me wish they had the second color in stock, cause I really wanted the second color.

I got so addicted to it, that I started stringing up the second kit. I didn't go to sleep until it was done, so that first thing in the morning on Sunday I can doing the actual Kumihimo. The beads had to be strung randomly which was kind of hard for me.

I was dreading the actual finishing, but it was actually easier than the clasp. This time I was more careful about sizing.

So despite the boredom, my weekend was still productive ;)

I don't have anymore kits but I will definitely be on the lookout for more at next year's Creative Festival. The kits themselves have everything you need to make the bracelets except for the disk, the weight and finishing tools (i.e. pliers). Even the braid ends are hardened for you to make stringing easier. Personally, I would love to get this necklace kit. I'll have to make sure to add Kumihimo to next year's budget.

Tree of Hope Finished!

Last week I put in the last bead for Tree of Hope, making it my first finish of 2016. I had to wait for good lighting but here it is all pretty. The beading took less time than it did for Stargazer. I haven't tallied up the time I spent on it yet thought.

As usual, the back of the piece for recording purposes.

Thoughts: Although I have multiple Mirabilias on my wishlist (I really should update that page), I think it will be a long while before I stitch another one (unless it's Sabrina, I love Audrey Hepburn). I still love cross stitch, but feel like I should spend the little stitching time I do have on improving my embroidery techniques. In the mean time, I'll live vicariously through other stitchers' Mirabilias ;)

Friday, January 8, 2016

A Visit to the Clinic

The knit clinic that is.

In October I started a lace knitting project to prepare myself for the class I was taking at the Creative Festival. You'll be glad to know that I didn't stop knitting, but have been keeping up with it for 4 months. Up until Christmas, when certain things started not making sense.

It took me 4 months to get through the stockinette section (about 40-42 rows). The entire time I kept thinking my center line doesn't look very centered. I kept reassuring myself it was okay, that everything will get aligned once it's been washed and stretched. I should have listened to my instincts. I finally went to visit a knit clinic that is held at a shop near my house and the saleslady told me what I've been suspecting all along. I've been doing the increases in the wrong place. It would all have to go.

She managed to salvage some of it. It seems that I started well enough, but somewhere along the way I got lost. The instructions for the stockinette section is pretty confusing in terms of where the marker should be and where the increase should happen. So, with this new start I'm going to forgo using the marker. The thread is all kinked up, but that's okay. It's a practice piece. If it takes me another 4 months to knit the stockinette, maybe I'll finish in time for next winter ;)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Nice Little Update

I did say I would post a small update on Bramble and the Rose but it seems like the days have passed by really fast.


I didn't make a whole lot of progress, but pretty good compared to last year. As I mentioned before, the goal this year is to at least finish stitching one page. For now, I'll be happy if I reach the corner :)

For January 1st, I didn't do any new starts. Instead, I decided to work on the beading for Tree of Hope.

So far I've finished beading the tree and the bird.

I haven't done much stitching over the holidays, spending most of it reading. It's funny, I was really looking forward to having some free time to stitch and I did so little of it.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 Goals

I confess that I wasn't very good at stitching on the projects I had selected for 2015. I've realized that I can't have more than one cross stitch project running. Also, since joining the guild and subscribing to Inspirations magazine, it was much harder not to succumb to temptation. I will have to try better this year.

Last year's goals didn't fare very well, but I did finish a nice number of other projects.
  • Ink Circles - Bramble and the Rose - current
  • Mirabilia - Tree of Hope - current (cross stitch all done)
  • Teresa Wentzler - Tracery Dragons - current
  • Donna M. Olson - Fantasy Lace - current
  • Brodeuse Bressane - SAL Dentelle
  • Finished 2 more projects from Creative Festival 2014 (so that's 4 out of 6)
  • Finished 1 project from Creative Festival 2015
  • Satsuma Street - Pretty Little San Francisco - started and finished
  • Deborah Love - Eidelweiss - started and finished
  • SJ Designs - 18th Century Sampler - started and finished
I'll have to try much harder this year, but I won't be starting any new projects on the New Year as I did for 2015. For this year the only set plans will be the following:
  • TUSAL posts will now be wordless unless I post an update of a WIP
  • Keep up with WIPocalypse, I'm picking easy goals for this:
    • Finish the beading on Mirabilia's Tree of Hope
    • Finish at least one page of Ink Circles' Bramble and the Rose
    • Try to put in some sort of stitching on Teresa Wentzler's Tracery Dragons
    • Finish all the eyelets on Donna M. Olson's Fantasy Lace
  • Stitch up and finish the Creative Festival class kits by Gingerbread Girl Designs
  • Start Hazel Blomkamp's Midnight Meander
2016 will be a very big year for me. The EAC holds a seminar every year in May and this year it will be in Toronto. It will be my first time attending and I can't wait.

I was lucky enough to be awarded a grant by my home guild Virtual Threads, which means I'll only have to cover the cost of the kit. In other words, more money for stash acquisitions ;) I'm still waiting on the confirmation email for my class which should come soon. I'm hoping and praying I get my first choice, which is a Punto Antico class with Barbara Kershaw called Fandango. You know my love of whitework =D

Being awarded the grant means you will be reading a lot about this WIP as the conditions for receiving the grant are a submitted report for the guild newsletter of my experience at the seminar and sharing photographs of the project. So since I have a blog, I will be posting lots of progress pics :)

But that's not all I'll be doing in May. Right after seminar (in actuality I'll be leaving straight from Toronto), I will be flying out to France for The French Needle's Tour of Paris. I've been holding this news in since July. So glad it's finally out! I'm super excited that it's now only 5 months away.
The tour will include:

  • Visit to la Maison Sajou where we will also receive a lesson in "Broderie Blanche" (whitework embroidery =D)
  • Two 3-hour classes at la Maison Lesage for tambour beading lessons
  • Visits to specialty boutiques like Mokuba, la Droguerie, Au Ver a Soie
  • Walking tours of Paris and visits to Versailles, Museum of Toile de Jouy, Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Nissim de Camondo Museum
  • A concert at Notre Dame de Paris
  • A dinner with Hélène Le Berre who is a french needlework designer and illustrator

Isn't that a dream vacation for a stitcher!? The big day will be Monday May 16 when I will be taking the train from Montreal to Toronto with a fellow member of the guild (I've always wanted to take the train!). Later on, on Saturday May 21, I will be flying out from Toronto so that I will be in time for the check-in in Paris on the next day.

2016 is going to be a fun year all around =^_^=