Sunday, 28 July 2013

It's still too damn hot!

Despite two or three heavy downpours, causing localised flooding in some areas of the county, it's still too damn hot round here!  I managed to catch too much sun yesterday while visiting friends, so have that well cooked look down the side of my neck and left arm.  And then today I got bitten on the neck by my friend's vampire budgie from Hell - no blood but a painful experience!

On the stitching front, however, things have been going well.

 I've made good progress on Bouquet 4 this week.  That is supposed to be a blue teapot on a stripy tablecloth.  Still to come are the flowers and foliage, followed by the backstitch which will make it look so much better as usual.  

Next up is Train of Dreams.  What you see on the left hand side is just two rows more than a full page's depth of stitching - three blocks this week!  There has been another slight change of plan on this one - I have now decided that, as the lower pages of this piece are only 66 stitches deep, I am going to carry on stitching to the bottom and then work my way across to the other end.  I have now gridded the whole of this end, and am still enjoying the parking method of stitching.

Last but not least comes Carnation.  I now have to stand on a stool in order to get a decent photo of this piece.  I didn't quite finish row 4 this week, but hope to be well into row 5 by my next post.  But according to my stitch counting gadget in the sidebar, I am now officially a quarter of the way through this piece so I'm a happy bunny!

I also have a problem - I am desperate to start something new, but I dare not.  I don't have enough hours in the day as it is to do all the things that I need to be doing, let alone starting a new piece of stitching.  Mentally I'm tossing up between a new HAED (this time to be done on 18 count) and Lesley Teare's bird series from Cross Stitch Collection.  Neither project would be small or quick, and I really ought to put in more time on Mum's Guardian Angels than they are currently getting.  Also I've got some family history research that I need to get sorted this coming week so that I can get it posted off.

On the bright side however, I lost another 2lb this week, bringing me down to 12 stone 3lb.  If I can lose a further 1.5lb this week, then that will be my first half stone award.  Yesterday was not a good day though as I was visiting friends and therefore not in control.  All the same I am very happy that when I do the Race for Life with Mum on 11 August, I will be carrying less weight than  I was earlier this year.  

Hoping that all is well with you and yours, and that the frog stays away from your house!

Monday, 22 July 2013

2013 WIPocalypse - July Full Moon & IHSW - July Edition

And it's too damn hot!  The temperature gauge in my toolbar says 30 degrees at gone 7.30pm, so I won't be getting much sleep tonight!  I can only hope that the air conditioning is working properly for Kate - not the best of days to be having a baby!

I think that this is the second time this year that WIPocalypse and IHSW have come together, so here goes with the update.

Starting with a finish, here is Bouquet 3, which as with the previous two, looks so much better with the backstitch done.

Having finished the third piece, I moved onto No. 4 in the Bouquet series.  This will be a blue teapot with flowers coming out of the top when it is done.

Next up is Serena, my first Guardian Angel.  Her skirt is now finished apart from the central panel, which is backstitch and beading, and will have to wait til last.  The next section will be her collar and her head, with the wings coming in after that.  I am enjoying this, but it certainly requires more concentration than some of the other pieces.

And finally Carnation - I am now onto row 4 and enjoying every minute of it.  I'm thinking that if I really put some effort into this, I could get page 4 finished for my birthday at the end of September.  What do you reckon?

In other news, I lost another lb this week, bringing me down to 12 stone 5lb, so a total weight loss of 3.5 lb.  The hot weather doesn't really help because I don't really feel like eating, let alone cooking.  

Mum has been back to her consultant about her heart.  He is not very concerned, but she is having a couple of tests done to check things out before they discuss whether or not she is going to have a procedure done.  She is very much "I told you so" about it, so I'm keeping schtum about it.

Other than that, things seem to be fairly positive (if you like sport - I'm not that keen) and fingers crossed for a happy healthy royal baby and a happy healthy Kate.  And for the rest of you, may your needles stay sharp and your thread never tangle, and your stitching keep you smiling!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Time to experiment!

Well, its been horribly hot here for a while, so when I've not been at work, I've mostly been stopping in where its cooler.  I don't do well in weather like this - I don't sleep well and I lose my appetite.  On the bright side, it does mean more stitching time.

So first of all, I'll show you my experiment.
This is my HAED - Train of Dreams by Randal Spangler.  You've seen it before but not for a while because it went on hold while I worked on Enchanted Garden.  The experiment is the handful of threads in the bottom left hand corner.  Some of you will recognise this as the parking method, where you work across a row stitch by stitch, leaving each thread where it next appears on the chart.  It is a slow process, perhaps more so on this 25 count fabric, but it does have the advantage of not leaving any holes behind.  If you look just to the  left of the blue bell at the top right, you will see some little white specks.  These are places where I need to fill in with a different colour thread.  As I'm stitching 2 over 1 on 25 count, you can imagine how awkward and niggly it is to do fill-ins like that.  The bottom two blocks on the left have been stitched using the parking method. The new plan is to carry on to the bottom of the page, and then go back up and work down the next column, and so on across the page.  Do any of you use the parking method?  If so, do you have any useful tips?

Next up is Bouquet 3, which was the beneficiary of Patchwork Group on Thursday.  I am now three flowers down, and two to go before I start back stitching.  I just need to get a grip and stitch at lunchtime instead of reading other peoples' blogs.

 Last but not least is Carnation.  Another three blocks done means that I am just over halfway through row 3.  I did consider using the parking method on this, but as I am using blended threads as well as stitching across the page, I feel that it would complicate matters too much.

Nothing to show you on Mum's Angels this week, but I did lose 1lb at Slimming World so heading in the right direction again.

Well, its hot and sticky and my eyes are beginning to sting with tiredness, so I'm going to call it a day.  Wishing you and yours all the best for a great week ahead (and plenty of stitching time).

Monday, 8 July 2013

And it's hot, hot, hot!

We British always talk about the weather - and at the moment we do indeed have something to talk about.  I know that for many of our American and other overseas cousins, temperatures in the high 20s are nothing to go on about, but for us temperate British types, it is indeed hot, hot, hot!  And I will confess to not liking it at all.  I'm not keen on extremes of temperature, but at least with minus figures, you can just put on more layers.  When its like this, there is only so much that you can take off without getting arrested :-)

However, as it was so hot these past few days and I had Friday off, I stopped in most of the weekend and stitched.

Taking it from the top, here is Bouquet 3.  The bottom of this piece is now complete bar the back stitch, and I am one flower down and four to go.  It's still not ringing my bells, but I've started it so I will finish it!

 Next up is Serena, the first of four Just Nan Guardian Angels, my first piece on linen.  She now has both arms, so the next job is to complete her skirt, bar the central section which is beading and backstitch. Progress is slow but satisfying.

 And finally another minor happy dance!  Yes, that is row 2 of page 4 of Carnation complete.  I'm enjoying this page because it seems to be moving on so quickly, and as usual it looks so good in the photo.

What else?  Last week was not a good week weight-wise as I put on 1.5lb - must try harder.  The boss is off this week, which will hopefully mean that I manage to get some of those "oh, I'll do it in my spare time" jobs done, like the backlog of archiving that needs seeing to.  I also have a funeral to go to - one of my neighbours, but it is also Patchwork Group that night, which should cheer me up a bit afterwards.

Anyway, I need to go and sort my tea out, so here's hoping its good stitching weather by you.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Can it really be July already?

Where does the time go? How does it happen that we are already halfway through 2013?  Looking back at my goals, I've hit a lot of my deadlines already - page 3 of Carnation, Turkish Challenge and Enchanted Garden.  There are still a couple of items outstanding - finish Guardian Angels for Mum's birthday (this might have to be Christmas) and complete page 4 of Carnation by the end of the year.
I'm starting with Guardian Angels, a piece that you haven't seen for a while as I last worked on this at the beginning of December 2012.  Recent work on this angel (Serena) includes one over one hands (definitely a learning curve), barred & crossed oblong crosses (the bit still being worked on in the photo), more Kreinik and more straight cross stitch.  I'm getting back into this but there is still a long way to go, and I am seriously thinking about moving the deadline to Christmas.

Bouquet 3 is showing slow progress.  For some reason, I'm not getting the urge to stitch at lunchtime and end up surfing the Net instead.  I really must get a grip on this as it would be better for my eyes to have a break from the computer screen.

And finally a very, very minor happy dance.  Row 1 of page 4 is finished and you can now see the whole width of Carnation!  It really feels good to see where the edge is and to have a better idea of how it will look when finished.  And as always it looks so much better in a photograph.

What more can I tell you?  Well, I went and got weighed on Thursday and I had lost 2lb, which was a very nice surprise.  I'm not good at telling if I've lost weight or not, so I'm always a bit dubious before I get on the scales.

The weather here is up and down as usual - we had a lovely sunny weekend, and then it went grey and wet and dodgy again.  However the end of the week looks better so fingers crossed.  I'm really quite tired tonight, so here's wishing you all warm and sunny days for your stitching.