Sunday, December 31, 2017

Looking Back at 2017

Looking back over this year I managed to finish 10 projects and one crochet. Again 2 more than last year! Maybe I'll have 12 finishes next year.

One amigurumi this year again. I will have more next year as I have two friends expecting a baby in the summer.

This year I learned that:

I am still in love with whitework techniques. I did more Punto Antico but also tried two new techniques: Italian drawn thread and Hedebo.

Absolutely love beading and even tried my hand at creating my own design with the little pouch.

I've added goldwork to my list of favorite techniques. I did 3 projects this year and I would love to do even more in the future.

I have quite a few WIPs leftover. I will need to look at some of these and make some decisions on whether I will actually work on them at all. I realized this year that cross stitch no longer holds my interest the way it used to, which you can see from the dismal progress on Tracery Dragon and Bramble and the Rose.

To keep with the tradition, I will be stitching on Bramble and the Rose on the last day of the year. So I will have at least one update for my oldest WIP next year ;) As for the others we'll just have to see what the new year will bring.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December TUSAL Finale

Hope everyone had a good Christmas. I've been keeping busy with a new project that I will share with you all in the new year. If you want a sneak peek, I've been posting pictures over on my Instagram account.

I'm posting my TUSAL report very late 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 doesn't look as full as last year, but that could be because I was mainly stitching with sewing thread. In any case, both have been emptied ready for the new year of stitching. 

I've already written my blog posts for the year in review and the goals for next year. Both of these will be published automatically Sunday and Monday. In the meantime I will be on a stitching marathon. Have a happy New year everyone!

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Today I want to talk about Pinterest. We all use it and we all love it. It's a great way to bookmark and save pictures to go back to in the future. It's a great mood board tool to find inspiration when designing. However, it's also a cesspool of copyright infringement.

I was going through my emails this morning and opened up one from Pinterest. They often send those "we think you might like these pins/boards" emails, which is fine as I often find some new stuff in there. But then I saw a picture that looked very familiar. It was Lucy Barter's Craftsy design, but not any of the ones I'd seen before on the Craftsy page. This one was stitched on cream fabric. After a closer inspection I realized it was mine. Which is fine because it just means more exposure for my blog. However, the pin itself says 'uploaded by user' with no reference or credit to my blog. This means that whoever stumbles onto the pin will never be referred back to me or any of my social media accounts. This also means that they will also never know who stitched it and whose design it is. They are not only stealing credit from me but also the rightful owners of the designs.

It might be that the person doesn't know how to properly pin pictures from blogs, I've seen other pins on their board that do point to the correct locations but many more that do not. So here is a little tip for when you try to pin an image from a blog post:
  •  make sure you've selected the title of the post so that it loads the page with only that post. 
  • pin the image that you want from that post
By doing this, the next time you click on the pin to open the image's source it will take you to the appropriate source and not to the main page. This is something that I always do when I want to pin something and ensure it brings me back to the correct page.

I've put in a request to Pinterest to remove the pins and that's all the action I will do for now. However, if it happens again I will have to take drastic measures. And believe me it won't be as just a watermark because I know from other bloggers that it's useless.

Not the post you were expecting from me I'm sure, but it had to be said :)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Another Sort of Finish

Yes, another sort of finish, because like my other completed projects it still needs to be "finished" into it's final form. But for now we can still admire the sparkles.

Last week was another long week at work where I had no time or energy to do any stitching. Luckily things will start slowing down now that we're getting closer to the holidays. I work in software development and as we get closer to the holiday season, we implement what is called a code freeze. This means that there is always a rush right before to make that final deployment into production. Afterward, it's a little more relaxed. For me, last Friday was when it all ended. This meant I could finally get back to stitching.

Since both my whitework and goldwork pieces were finished it was time to put all my concentration on my beadwork piece. The last time I touched it was last weekend after finishing the goldwork flower. I was able to put in some time on it and finish a row of petals.

Between Friday and Saturday, I managed to finish stitching all of them.

The final touch were these hexcut beads. In our kit, we got extra black Czech beads (the ones used in the outline) and we were expected to use the same ones in between the petals. However, the original model used hexcut beads in dark navy. We spoke to our teacher about the possibility of making a substitution and she who okayed it. I decided to go with a dark green but I suspect there might have been some dark teal mixed it as I kept finding them in there. That's okay, it just makes the piece more interesting.

Here is what the final design would look like with all the different beads. The picture isn't that great as I took it at night. My camera had some problems focusing. Much like my eyes! I love goldwork and beadwork, but sometimes my eyes have a hard time focusing because of the glare. Does anyone else have that problem? What did you do to solve it?

An overall look to the piece.

And here's the back. It's always important to inspect the back on bead pieces for any stray loops. If there are any, they need to be anchored down as it could cause issues later. A bead might snag and get pulled out of place.

Next step is to gather all the supplies I need to finish it into an eyeglass case. That will take some time. I'm hoping to do it over the holidays. In the meantime, I will be catching up on my other older WIPs. I have between now and the start of the holidays to do that. This means there will be no new starts until then (I have to be very firm with myself on that). Not sure what I'll have to post, so content might be very random ;)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Craftsy Goldwork Class - Part 5

I did promise you all a finish this week and I'm here to deliver. Last week when I showed you pictures, I only had the chipping (or chip work) left to do. This technique is my favorite as it's very similar to beading. Your beads in this case is small pieces of bright check.

I like to keep this technique for last or at least after all the cutwork is completed. This way, whatever pieces didn't fit right during the cutwork I can then cut into smaller pieces and use in the chipping. This will help make sure you have enough in your kit to finish. In this case, it worked out just right. All I had left at the end was this tiny piece of bright check.

The very last technique on this piece are spangles.  It helps a lot to separate them by size, below I have large, medium and small. I had a hard time differentiating between the medium and the small as there isn't much difference in the size.

The spangles are applied using a single thread with a couching stitch. One thing I realized when I got to this point, I wish I hadn't marked off the dots for the spangles like they had in the design outline. If I hadn't, I would have been able to put more or less spangles and move them around. Since mine were marked with ink, I had to hide them with the spangles.

And here it is, all done! I was lucky enough to finish it in the morning while there was still light outside.

A few close up photos. I love the mixture of the different couched threads and the cutwork.

A few comments on the class, design and kit:

  • the class is excellent if your just starting out or even if you've already done some goldwork. Sometimes just reading about a technique isn't enough and you need a demonstration. Not all of us are lucky enough to be able to take a class with a teacher and this is a great way to have access to one remotely.
  • the design is lovely, it has a combination of the major goldwork technique (padding in felt, soft string and hard string, couching and plunging, basketweave, cutwork, s-ing, chipping, spangles). It's a great way for beginners to dip their toe in. The design itself is not very complicated, but the combination of the different metal threads used together gives an intriguing effect. This piece is a great sampler for me to go back to and study in the future when I will want to design my own pattern.
  • the kit I have somewhat of an issue with. I guess at this point you can consider me an intermediate embroiderer in goldwork. I didn't do any unpicking and I was very careful when I was stitching not to be wasteful. However, I still ran out of the passing thread and have what amounts to nothing left of the bright check and Japanese thread. The rest of the smooth purl, pearl purl and spangles I can re-use in another project. When I ran out of the passing thread, I chalked it up to a mistake when my kit was put together, but after having so little left of the bright check it worries me. If I was an absolute beginner, I don't think this kit would have had enough for me to finish if I had made mistakes, in the cutwork for example which is the hardest technique. 

With this, I've just finished my second goldwork piece in my planned trio. I will be starting the last one sometimes at the end of December. So while all of you will be doing some last minute shopping and celebrating the holidays, I will be setting up my piece and stitching away :)