Sunday, 27 January 2013

2013 WIPocalypse - January Full Moon

I find it hard to believe that it is WIPocalypse time already - where has January gone to?  However, life has just about returned to normal and I'm starting to get back to a normal level of stitching.  The only WIP that I have not made progress on this week is "Serena", one of Just Nan's Angels, which is part of a project that I am stitching for my Mum.  I am not too fussed about this because the deadline is mid November.

First up, progress on Bouquet part 2.  Although the wheelbarrow is not yet finished, I have stitched the first pot and there are some leaves coming in.  The combination of colours on these pieces is very strange, but the back stitching does seem to make a big difference.

Next up is my Turkish Challenge piece.  I'm still working on the leaves, but where that stalky bit is, there will be eventually be a flower.

According to my WIP photos, it has been three weeks since I worked on my HAED piece, Train of Dreams.  We had a lovely sunny morning today and I got in a couple of hours on this between loads of laundry.  I am pleased to report another finished block (top right) and progress in a couple more.

 Finally, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.  I am delighted to report that row 6 of page 3 is now complete.  Most of this row was confetti heaven, but the first few blocks of row 7 look to be fairly straightforward, thank goodness.

I would have like to have got more done this weekend, although I spent Friday (my day off) working solely on Carnation.  However, I was in desperate need of a haircut, then I had to reschedule my shopping session to accommodate Dad, and then today I took my nieces to the theatre.  We saw "Why the Lion Danced?", a children's play for the Chinese New Year.  All three of us enjoyed it very much, but it has meant less stitching time.

The challenge for the week ahead - finish the wheelbarrow, continue working on the leaves of Turkish Challenge, complete at least one block on Train, stitch my usual three blocks on Carnation, make some progress (no matter how small) on Serena, and sort out the fabric for Enchanted Garden.  I have called it a challenge rather than a plan, because I may well end up with littlest niece for a sleepover on Friday night, so no guarantees.

May the Full Moon shine her blessings down on you and yours.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

IHSW - January 2013 Report

Evening, and apologies for the delay in posting.  I have spent the last two nights doing emergency babysitting while my sister and brother in law dealt with my eldest niece's brief stay in hospital recovering from an asthma attack.  She is home now but it was worrying at the time.

Unfortunately I don't have a lot to show for my hermitting and stitching weekend, or for the week that preceded it.

I wasn't exactly laid low but I was in some pain and thereby distracted from stitching by a gum infection for which the dentist gave me a short course of antibiotics.  On top of that, I spent most of Saturday entertaining my youngest niece, which was fun but exceedingly tiring.  However we did manage to reach a decision on what I am going to stitch her for her 5th birthday in June.

This is "Enchanted Garden" by Joan Elliott, a chart from issue 98 of Cross Stitch Gold.  Apologies for the photo - I couldn't eliminate the glare off the magazine page.  Littlest niece wanted fairies and I am reasonably happy with this - it is not too cute or too complex to achieve in the time frame.  Despite being a Joan Elliott, there is no beading or metallic threads.  The finished piece will be framed rather than turned into a cushion.

I did manage to get a few extra stitches in on my Turkish Challenge piece, but I really need to get a grip and use my lunch breaks more profitably.  At the moment I keep getting distracted by other people's stitching blogs.

Finally the usual update on Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.  Last week's three blocks were full of confetti - that is another Chinese lantern starting to show behind the rose bushes.  To be perfectly honest, I am more concerned about getting my three blocks a week done on this piece than any of my other deadlines.  This is my BAP, this is the piece that my mother takes seriously, this is the piece that makes me feel that I really can achieve something worthwhile.  I am not saying that it is perfect - there is the occasional stitch in the wrong colour, the back is more like a carpet than a piece of stitching, but this piece is the special piece.

I have booked the day off on Friday - I need a duvet day and the first full moon of 2013 is on Sunday so a WIPocalypse post is just around the corner.  I am going to have a lie in and just potter and stitch.  

Wishing you all the best for better weather and peace to stitch in.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

First Finish of 2013

Evening, folks!  Well, I don't just have my first finish of the year to show you - I also have two new starts!

I finished the backstitching on the watering can bouquet, which actually looks better than I thought it would.  Unfortunately I then discovered that I had actually used the wrong colour thread for the dark pink down the left hand side.  However it was too late to change it and I don't think that you would really be able to tell if I hadn't mentioned it.

Having finished the watering can bouquet, I then moved on to the next of the six bouquet charts.  This will be three pots of flowers sat in a wheelbarrow.  This is the barrow part of the wheelbarrow.  Again I am not sure of some of the colours, but will try to use the right colour threads this time!

This is my second new start - in fact it was only started today.  This is 'Anenome', otherwise known as the Turkish Challenge.  It is being stitched two over two on 36 count white Edinburgh linen.  The chart says to do it one over two, but the fabrics that will be used with it are so dark that I thought that it would need a bit more oomph.

Carnation is moving along quite nicely - the usual three blocks were finished by Friday morning due to their lack of confetti.  I am now on row 6, and another two weeks should see me on row 7.  The top of the second little girl's head should start showing up in the not too distant future - something to look forward to.

I have nothing to report on Serena or Train of Dreams.  This is because I have had an interesting weekend.  Yesterday Mum and I went to the early showing of "Quartet", a film set in a retirement home for musicians starring Billy Connolly, Maggie Smith and Pauline Collins.  I thoroughly enjoyed it despite being the youngest member of the audience!  We then went to visit a friend's son's new house - I'm jealous of the amount of space he's got but not the location.  Then we had a late lunch in a local tea shop before going back to my parents to sort Mum out with her emails.

Early this morning Mum and I and a friend went to Leicester in Mum's car to the fabric shop where I spent so much money on threads last time.  I was a lot more restrained on this occasion, but did buy four pairs of embroidery scissors at £2 a pop.  After we got home, I took Dad shopping.  We got down the road and round the corner before I realised something was wrong with the car.  I had a completely flat tyre!  Having called my breakdown service, it turned out that there was a screw in the offending tyre so now I need a replacement.  The spare was put on quickly enough for me to get my shopping done, and then Mum rang my mobile to say that she had accidentally bought another dolls house on Ebay and needed to go and collect it in the local area.  So she and I went and collected this dolls house, then I came home and started my Turkish Challenge piece while I did the laundry that I should have done this morning!

Maybe I should have stayed in bed today, it being the 13th!

I intend to sign up for International Hermit & Stitch Weekend next weekend but will be spending part of it with my youngest niece trying to sort out what I am going to do for her 5th birthday in June. 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Looking at stitching things afresh

Happy New Year to you all, and may it be better than the last!

It is indeed a New Year and, although I've already done a 2013 WIPocalypse list in my last post, I think that I need to look at where I am with my stitching and where I want to go with it this year.  

At the moment I have four WIPs - Carnation, Train of Dreams, Serena and the watering can bouquet, my current travelling piece.  I have deadlines in place for Carnation and Serena, but the other two pieces are as and when.

I also have deadlines for two other pieces that I haven't yet started.  These are the Turkish Challenge and my younger niece's 5th birthday present.  However I have made a little progress on these two this week.  I have decided what I am going to do for the Turkish Challenge - this is "Anenome" by Thea Gouverneur from her book "Flower Portraits in Cross Stitch" which I bought on Ebay over the holiday period for 99p plus postage.  I have also ordered the 36 count white linen for this piece.  In addition, I have made arrangements for my niece to come round in a couple of weeks time to look at fairy charts and then go out for lunch together.

Going back to work on Wednesday, I learned that my colleague, with whom I have worked closely for over 6 years, got engaged on Christmas morning.  They haven't set a date yet but I'm thinking that a little something would be appropriate, so that's something else to bear in mind.

The festive season has thrown me all out of kilter and I'm still not back on schedule.  I also have a busy week coming up, which is not going to help me get myself straight.

This week I managed to do my usual three blocks on Carnation with a good overlap into the next block.  Next week will see me into row 6 of this page, so over the halfway point.  By my calculations, there are 16 weeks worth of 3 blocks a week left to do, and according to my diary, this means that I should finish page 3 by the end of April, about 4 weeks before the second anniversary of this piece.  However, whether that happens will depend on how things go with the Turkish Challenge and my niece's present.

This morning I also managed to complete one more block on Train of Dreams (top left) and move into the next block.  The weather was so dull and grey that it was quite hard going on such a small count fabric.

No progress was made on Serena or on the watering can bouquet.  On the bright side, it is Patchwork Group this coming week so I hope to get some if not all of the backstitch done on the bouquet piece during the week.

That is where I am, so where do I want to be?  Ideally I would like to hit all my deadlines as planned, or as near as damn it.  Through working on Serena, I want to become more confident with special stitches, metallic threads and beading - this will help me to move forward onto other projects that use them - Chatelaine, Joan Elliott etc.  If I can finish page 3 of Carnation to schedule, page 4 is only a partial page, so I would like to finish that this year and move on to page 5 if possible.

I will be participating in the 2013 WIPocalypse and intend to continue participating in the International Hermit and Stitching Weekends.  And somewhere in and around all these stitching plans, I need to continue working full-time, spending time with my family (especially my nieces, who are growing up so fast) and putting in more effort on my genealogy studies.  Has anyone got any spare time to sell?