Sunday, 29 April 2012

When the going gets tough, the tough eat chocolate!

I'll start with the stitchy stuff, and then move onto the chocolate eating stuff.

 Here's the Cat.  I've taken it to work with me this week and managed to get a bit done on a couple of lunch breaks in addition to working on it this morning.  It looks a bit strange, not very cat like, other than the eye, but it's coming on.  I only wish that I could manage to take a photo which showed you the real colour of the fabric, which is Wichelt Desert Sand in 28 count evenweave.

 Page 2 of Carnation has started off very well.  I've had to start at the bottom of the page because my floor stand (Opus by Siesta Frames) isn't designed to hold a 27" frame, so I've got it positioned back to front in order to manage.  You can probably see a ridge in the unstitched part of the fabric running down from the top - that is one of the wooden screws on the clamp holding the frame, which should actually be poking out the top.

I've made some enquiries and done some price checking.  What I really need is a Lowery Workstand - these are made of metal and will hold a frame of any size.  The only problem is cost - my Opus came from a charity shop and I paid about £5 for it.  The cheapest that I can find a basic Lowery is £81.  However I look at it this way - I don't smoke or drink, and a piece like Carnation is worth doing properly so I reckon that I can spend my play money on buying the right equipment for the job - don't you agree?  And it will be instead of buying the stash I'm entitled to for finishing Page 1.

Now for the chocolate section of this post - apologies in advance for venting all over you, but there isn't really anyone else.  Mum is a bit better - the shingles are drying up, but she is still in pain, both from the shingles and the injured back muscles.  However I was out and about yesterday morning doing a few little weekend jobs when I met a dear friend of the family.  I almost didn't recognise her.  She has been in remission from lymphoma, but the evil thing is back and this time it is in her bones.  She's back on chemotherapy and having treatment for other effects of the evil thing, and IT'S NOT FAIR!  I want to stamp my feet and kick things and scream and shout!  And she's not the only one - one of my parents' neighbours who was in remission from breast cancer has also had it return and it's in her bones too!  I hate it, this evil, evil thing which eats into our loved ones and takes them away from us before their time!

I'm crying here, I'm crying because I'm scared, not just that I might lose these particular people, but that one day it could be much closer to home.  I shall carry on doing my bit, doing the Race for Life in August to raise money for Cancer Research UK, working with the local Marie Curie group to raise money for nurses to care for the terminally ill in their own homes, but I know that you will understand that there's a shadow over my heart tonight and that chocolate can only do so much.

My love and best wishes to all of you who know that shadow too.

Monday, 23 April 2012

IHSW Report - April 2012

Sometimes things just don't go according to plan.  When I signed up for this month's IHSW, I knew that I was having my eldest niece for a sleepover on Friday night, but I thought that would still leave me Saturday afternoon and Sunday for stitching.  In theory, that is.

In practice, things went slightly differently.  The sleepover went very well, apart from having to rescue my niece when she managed to turn her blow-up bed on top of herself.  On Saturday morning I took her to her swimming lesson and eventually took her home just before 12 noon.  What I hadn't planned for was the sheer exhaustion of having someone else in my home.  I love my nieces dearly and enjoy spending time with them, but when you have lived alone for 12 years, having someone else occupying your space, especially when they aren't yet tall enough to reach the taps on the bathroom sink, sure takes it out of you.  I spent Saturday afternoon recuperating and then had an early night.

Sunday morning I worked on the Cat between loads of laundry.  As usual the photo is not very good, but I'm working towards the right hand side.  I meant to do more after I'd been shopping, but when I went round to my parents to pick my Dad up, life took a different turn.

Mum hasn't been well again recently - very tired and under the weather.  She wrenched some back muscles the other week and has to take it easy.  Now, to top things off, she has shingles!  I just came home from the shopping trip and comfort ate due to the stress of again having to face up to the fact that my parents are getting older and more infirm, that they aren't invincible and that one day I am going to lose them.

Carnation is sort of on hold.  I need to find some way to readjust my floor frame so that I can actually stitch the top of Page 2 as in its current position there are bits in the way.  If I get really stuck, I may have to stitch the bottom part first while I work out how best to deal with the top section.

No decisions made on starts or stash yet - my brain isn't working properly at the moment.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose - Page 1 Happy Dance

I'm celebrating!  Just a short post to show you that Page 1 is finished!

 For me, Page 1 includes all the part squares on the adjoining pages, which will give me a head start on Page 2 seeing as the left hand edge is already filled in.

Now that I have finished both the Fuschias and Page 1 of Carnation, I am entitled to a new start and to buying new stash.  These are both serious propositions.  At heart I am not a "smalls" type of stitcher - I do stitch Christmas ornaments for my nieces, but I gave up on cards quite early on.  Both the list of possible starts and the list of possible stash are all biggish projects, but I currently have one BAP (Carnation) and am working on a medium sized design with the Cat (21.4cm x 18.6cm).

The Cat is on a deadline and I can and will make it a travelling piece if it becomes necessary.  But I fancy buying a Chatelaine or a Randal Spangler HAED, both of which are large, time consuming projects.  I know that I don't have to turn the new stash into the new start, but I also know that buying this type of new stash means finding an extensive block of time for them at some point in the future.

So what to do with regards to start and stash?  I would welcome your thoughts on the subject.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Close, but no cigar!

This is a late post because I spent the weekend at a family history conference indulging in my other hobby.  I went away at Friday lunchtime and came back yesterday evening.  I had a great time, learnt a lot and talked to people of a like mind.  However, despite having said great time, this did have an impact on the amount of time that I had available for stitching.

I nearly made it to the finish line with Carnation.  If you look closely at the bottom right hand corner, you will see that I am into the final square!  Unfortunately going away meant that I lost the Friday evening and time on Saturday that I would otherwise have spent finishing Page 1.  I'm not in the least upset - I still have more than a month before the first anniversary of this piece comes round, and they say a change is as good as a rest.

I'd bought a new frock (and the upholstery to go under it!) and dug out my high heeled dancing shoes to take away with me.  So on Saturday night, my friend and I were the first on the floor and the last off!  You have to let your hair down sometimes.

I did however take the Cat with me.  I got quite a bit done on Thursday night, which was Patchwork Night, although for some reason it got mistaken for a bird!  I also put some stitches in after lunch on Saturday, so that should make up for missing my normal Sunday morning slot.

Today I got up early and went to my parents to see my cousin and cuddle her baby.  I've also done my shopping for the week and caught up on the laundry.  Inspired by the conference and an email that I received today from a fellow researcher, I've also done some family history.  I've also signed up for the International Hermit and Stitch Weekend next weekend - this may be slightly hampered by an overnight stay by a small person, but I've signed up for it anyway.  And tomorrow I go back to work!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Late Easter post

I was too late home last night to do my usual post - we had family high tea and an Easter egg hunt at my parents, plus I was on taxi duty to take our guest home, so I'm posting tonight, having had a lazyish day, and the prospect of back to work in the morning.

I'm starting off with the Cat because I haven't done much on it recently.  I didn't get any more done on Saturday night because the light wasn't good enough in the house that I was babysitting in.  I did however get some done yesterday morning in between the four loads of laundry that I did before having lunch and going to pick up our guest.  It's coming on slowly and I'm quite enjoying it, but with it being my Sunday morning piece, I just don't get an uninterrupted run at it - I'm always up and down to the washing machine. 

Although I posted a pic of Carnation on my WIPocalypse post on Friday, I'm showing you another because not only did I finish the second block, I managed to complete a third block as well.  So now I only have three blocks to go before I finish Page 1 and claim my new book and the right to buy stash. 

The purchase of stash will be assisted by the money I earned babysitting on Saturday night - the kids were good as gold and I read my new book which I claimed for finishing the Fuschias.  Mum picked out "The Horn of Merlyns" by Violet Needham, published by Girls Gone By. For my Easter present to myself, Mum picked out "The Winter of Enchantment" by Victoria Walker, published by Fidra Books.  I already have a number of books by Violet Needham and this one was very enjoyable.  Victoria Walker is a new author to me, and I also enjoyed this book very much.

Friday, 6 April 2012

2012 WIPocalypse - April Full Moon

Well, doesn't time fly?  Where has the year gone?  How can it be April already?

However it is April and a Full Moon, so it must be WIPocalypse reporting time again.

I was determined to have the Fuschias finished for this report, so I put in three hours work this morning so that I could take this picture.  They still need to be washed and pressed, but they are finished and I didn't run out of thread, and nor did I have a problem with the wretched french knots!  I don't hate this piece, but I didn't enjoy doing it - the aida was very stiff and for some reason it was difficult to find the holes with the needle. 

Sounds daft, I know, but I'm glad that it is done and out of the way.  I'll claim my new book from Mum tomorrow (the other two that I ordered turned up the other day), but will leave choosing a new start for a couple of weeks as I have non-stitching things that I need to do first.

No pictures of the Cat today - however, I'm taking it babysitting tomorrow night so with that and my regular Sunday morning stint, I hope to have something to show in my next post.

Carnation has been a bit slower this week.  I said in my last post that I was only aiming to get two blocks done this week due to the Easter holiday and so on.  Well, I've nearly finished the second block, and hope to get it completed tomorrow. 

However I know that there is a mistake in this second block because the stitch count is off.  I can't see the mistake, I don't know exactly where it is and the thread colours are all so similar that I'm just going to fudge it, rather than frog all the work that I've done since, most of which I know is right, cos I've counted from the other side of the block. 

In the grand scheme of things, i.e. a piece of work that will be 18.4" wide and 21.9" long on 16 count aida, an invisible mistake somewhere in the top left hand corner is not going to make a big difference. 

Right, it's nearly 10pm UK time, so I'm going to check in with Measi and then call it a day.   I'll save looking at other people's WIPocalypse reports for another day.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

It's gone cold again :-(

Well, so much for the nice warm weather that we were having!  The temperature has fallen about 10 degrees and we are due for a heavy shower of rain on Tuesday.  The rain is not necessarily a bad thing - they keep threatening us with a drought - but it was a bit chilly last night.

Just a couple of pics to show you today - I haven't been sleeping well the past few nights and so I had a lie-in this morning instead of working on the Cat.

I've done some more on the Fuschias - that bottom flower is now finished cross stitch wise.  Once I've got the flower in the top left done, that will just leave the backstitch and the dreaded French knots.  My main concern is that I appear to be running low on thread.  The kit doesn't refer to any thread numbers, just colours, so I haven't got a clue what I'm using.  I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed that if I do run out, I can find something to match amongst my DMC threads.

Things are going very well on Carnation.  I finished the last block on the right hand side, and then got two done on the bottom row, so another three blocks down and only six to go before I've finished Page 1.

Life is about to get a little busy with Easter coming up and a couple of other things in the diary, so I'm going to lower my sights a little.  If I can manage two blocks a week for the next three weeks, then that will bring Page 1 in under the wire a month ahead of this piece's first anniversary.  I think that it is do-able, and if I can get more than two blocks done, so much the better, and if I can't, well I still have a month or so in hand.

Mum's taken delivery of three of the books I ordered and it's WIPocalypse on Friday.  If I put my mind to it and stop reading other people's blogs at lunchtime, maybe I can claim a finish on the Fuschias and a new book!

Right, I'm bone tired so I'm going to love you and leave you.  I'll see you Friday with my WIPocalypse report.