Sunday, 26 August 2012

Carry on carrying on

So here we go again with another Sunday update - mainly stitching as there is nothing really exciting going on in my world at the moment.

 Starting with Delft, we have another butterfly and the beginnings of the second flower.  I seem to be losing my mojo on this one.  However, tomorrow is Bank Holiday so I will try to put a bit of time in on this in the hope of then being able to finish it during our stitching day on Friday.

Moving on to Train of Dreams, although this still does not look very exciting, progress has been made.  I have decided on a change of technique.  The first two rows were stitched bottom leg for 80 stitches and then top leg back along the row.  This was fine for the first row, but I seemed to spend most of the second row turning the hoop over to check that I was putting the needle through the right hole.  

I am now stitching complete stitches - it will use up a lot more thread, but it is actually covering the fabric faster and I can be confident that the needle is going where it is supposed to go.  There is still quite a lot of black to do before it gets more colourful, but the right hand side is beginning to show the outline of the spine of one of the books.

Last, but definitely not least, we have Carnation.  My four blocks for the week are done with some progress into the next one, so I am still on target for getting page 2 finished by my birthday.  I will also be hitting the 18 month mark at about the same time.  This piece is really special to me - it's a real achievement, something to be proud of.  It may well be that at some point I start to feel the same way about Train of Dreams, which is also a BAP - single colour threads rather than blended, but on a significantly larger count fabric, 25 count as opposed to 16.

In other news, Dad has an appointment at the hospital on Thursday at which he should find out about the things they removed the other week - fingers crossed.

I was a good auntie today.  My sister and brother in law were redecorating the flat they let out, so I took my nieces on my weekly grocery shop with Dad.  He had No. 1 niece who is relatively sensible and I took on No. 2 niece who is more wild and woolly.  They were quite well behaved - having worked in that particular supermarket in my youth, I know how difficult small children can be when out shopping - so later on there was cake.

Friday is stitching day with the Patchwork group and also the second August full moon, so WIPocalypse time - see you then.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

IHSW - August 2012 Report

This week I'm starting with the new start that I hoped to be able to show you last week.  This is Train of Dreams by Randal Spangler, my first HAED.  I'm stitching it on the recommended 25 count and I can tell already that the challenge of this piece is how badly I am going to strain my eyes working on it.  What you see here is the top two rows of page 1 - the second row is not yet complete as I have to take a break every so often to re-focus my eyes.  

Question - do other people who stitch HAEDs stitch them on 25 count or do they convert to something more manageable?  If you are stitching a HAED on 25 count, advice on how best to cope would be gratefully received.  I am not setting any deadlines on this one - progress is going to depend on whether I've got good light to work in and how tired my eyes are.

As you can see, the basic border on Delft 3 is complete, leaving the corners to be filled in at a later date.  I have also completed the first of the three butterflies.  I've decided that with this piece, it is going to make more sense to backstitch each motif as it is finished.  If I'm going to get this done in time for the second August WIPocalypse, I need to put some time in on this - less blog reading at lunchtimes methinks.

Another completed row on Carnation - 7 down and 3 to go before page 2 is finished.  I've done some counting and checked my diary.  If I can keep up the 4 blocks a week routine, I'll be done in 6 weeks, just in time for my birthday and the September WIPocalypse post.  If I only do 3 blocks a week, I'll be done in 8 weeks, halfway through October.  I'm already a week or so ahead of my original October deadline, which makes me a happy bunny.  We shall see.

In other news, my Dad had day surgery this last week.  They didn't find what they were looking for and took out something else instead.  Hopefully we'll get the test results later this coming week.  He was a while on the table (under a local) while they ferreted about, so is in some pain and discomfort at the moment.  

Also my sister landed me with a Hermann or friendship cake thing the other week.  Remembering to stir it and/or feed it has been a pain, and then yesterday I had to bake the wretched thing.  I very rarely do anything in the baking line.   I had to go out and buy most of the ingredients and borrow a pan from my sister to bake it in.  Anyway, after much aggravation, it got done and tastes OK.  I've given some to Mum and Dad, and plan to take some into work tomorrow.

Finally, my aunt just rang.  She really likes the Cat and appreciated how much work I had put in to it.  So that makes me feel really good!  A nice way to end this month's IHSW.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Stash and nearly a new start

The plan was to have a nice new start to show you, but you know what happens to plans ...

Starting with the new stash, HAED had a 50% off sale this week which I couldn't resist.  They have all sorts of yummy things on there, but I managed to keep my buys down to three charts.  My "Want to Stitch" list currently includes things like Joan Elliott's Renaissance ladies, flowers by Thea Gouverneur and Nel Whatmore, birds by Lesley Teare and Chatelaine's Medieval Town Mandala.  Did I buy anything that would fit into any of these categories?  No, I did not!

For some time now I have been eyeing up works by Randal Spangler - whimsical colourful pieces which combine dragons with books and a touch of magic.  So I bought three of his pieces - Train of Dreams, Medieval Shelf and So Many Books, So Little Time.  

I decided that I wanted to start with Train of Dreams, so I printed off the pdf, made up the thread cards, bought the A5 zipper bags to keep the threads in, sorted out which threads I've got and which I need to buy, and looked in my stash box for the extra large piece of 25 count that I knew I had in there.  This is where the plan to show you a nice new start fell to pieces.  The extra large piece of 25 count was only 27 inches by 20 inches.  I need a piece which is 31 inches by 13 inches.  So now I need to go buy more stash in order to start work on the first lot of stash, which is slightly annoying.  I could fit Medieval Shelf on the original bit of fabric, but now I'm all psyched up and sorted to stitch Train of Dreams.  Having checked the charts, So Many Books isn't going to fit on the extra large fabric either, so that will mean more stash further down the line as well.

So as there is no new start, I will show you the current WIPs.  Starting with Delft part 3, this has not been getting much of a look in - I've spent my lunchtimes on-line rather than stitching.  However I took it to Patchwork on Thursday night and stitched the whole of the pale blue border and the additional border bits in the bottom right hand corner.  I've done this in order to make it easier to get the other parts of the main chart in the right place - there are three butterflies and another large flower.  I also did a bit whilst babysitting the other night.

Moving on to Carnation, I took this to Patchwork on Thursday to show them how it was coming on and they were impressed.  I got the usual comments about not having enough patience and how small the stitches were, but they do know enough about cross stitch to appreciate it properly.  I've had another cracking week this week.  I finished off the incomplete block from last week, stitched the next four blocks and moved into a fifth.  Admittedly nothing much else is getting done around the house, but never mind.
There's another three weeks (give or take) before the next Full Moon.  I would like to get Delft 3 finished (and Delft 4 started), Train of Dreams started and some good progress on Carnation.  How's that for goal setting?

In other news, the garage's insurers rang my colleague on Thursday evening but she is only back in the office tomorrow, so I will have to wait and see what happens next.  Also my Dad goes in to have his lymph gland removed on Wednesday, so wait and see on that as well.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Coming right along!

Although it is only a few days since my WIPocalypse post, I do have some progress to show you.

 I'll start with a photo of the Cat in its final form.  As usual, trying to show the real colour of the fabric has not really worked, but I can assure you that it has framed up really nicely and my only problem now is how to get it to Cardiff without any damage.  I have a week or so in hand and I'm hoping to be able to show the finished article to the Patchwork Group on Thursday before sending it off.

While I was waiting for the framers to open on Saturday so that I could collect the Cat, I managed to finish and backstitch the first flower on Delft part 3.  It's not a brilliant picture, but if any of you have any idea what sort of flower it might be, I should be glad to know.

Having completed the week's three blocks in time for my WIPocalypse post, I managed to get another block and a half done by close of play on Sunday, which is my cut off point for progress photos.  This puts me slightly ahead of schedule and I plan to keep pushing on this one.  If I can squeeze an extra block or half a block in every week or so, I might manage to get page 2 done by my birthday at the end of September, instead of towards the end of October, which would be a nice birthday present to give myself.

In other news, my former garage has passed my colleague's letter on to their solicitors, but there has been no formal response.  Following last week's little trauma, my colleague has written another letter to the garage, outlining the additional problem, asking who their solicitors are and saying that if we don't get a proper response by the end of this week, we will take action without further notice.

Finally, Mum and I did the Race for Life yesterday.  We finished in 53 minutes 2 seconds, having done 5km at a briskish walk.  The first woman home did the course in 22 minutes, but the chances of me running 5km at any stage in my career, past or present, are nil to zilch!  This was followed by a family birthday tea at my sister's to celebrate Dad's 70th, which was very nice, thank you, little sis!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

2012 WIPocalypse - August Full Moon No. 1

And there is a full moon lighting up the sky again, and with two full moons this month, it really will be a challenge to get some good stitching in.

 I'm starting with a Happy Dance!  The Abyssinian Cat by Jayne Netley Mayhew is finished and even finished before yesterday's deadline.  I finished it on the morning of Saturday 28 July, washed and pressed it, and took it to the framers in the afternoon.   This photo gives a reasonable idea of the colour of the background fabric.  It was certainly interesting trying to find a suitable colour mount and frame for this piece.

This photo gives you more of a close up view.  Those whiskers had me using somewhat unparliamentary language, as it was not very easy to see where they were supposed to go, especially the ones that overlaid existing stitching.  However I am very pleased with it and will have another photo to show you when I have picked it up from the framer this weekend.

 I had serious doubts at the weekend as to whether I was going to be able to stay on target with Carnation.  Having spent my stitching time on Saturday finishing the Cat, I didn't post on Sunday evening because I had had another scare with the car in the afternoon.  Fortunately there was nothing too much wrong, although I had to take a day off on Monday to get over my fright and take the car to my new garage to get it sorted out.

However, despite all that, I have not only managed to complete last week's three blocks, but having been able to focus on this piece, I have also completed this week's three blocks ahead of schedule.  I am now well into row 6, more than halfway through page 2, and anything more I do this week will be a bonus!

While I was waiting for the garage to sort my car out on Monday, I did a bit on Delft no. 3.  This will now be my travel piece for the time being.  This particular chart is my least favourite of the four as it does not resemble any flower that I know of, whereas the other three are easily identifiable.

In other news, Mum and I will be doing the Race for Life again on Sunday, raising money for research into breast cancer.  This is a 5km women only event held at locations all around the UK and this year will be my 17th Race for Life.  Dad comes along and volunteers as a marshall - this Sunday is his 70th birthday - what better way to celebrate three score years and ten?  His blood tests came back clear, so now they want to remove a lymph gland for testing.

I would also like to thank all the kind people who have commented on this blog.  It really boosts my confidence when other people say that they like my work.  I really will try harder to leave comments on other blogs - that can be my Full Moon resolution.