Sunday, 26 January 2014

First New Start of 2014

Well, this week has been a bit like the curate's egg - good in parts!  My stitching time has been limited - firstly by three mostly enjoyable nights out and secondly by a black dog weekend.  However I do still have some photos to show you.
The Patchwork Group had a sewing day on Friday and I took the opportunity to make a new start.  What you see will eventually be a wedding present for my friend who is getting married in May this year.  The chart comes from issue 201 of World of Cross Stitching and is a heart shape made up of various relevant motifs.  I have changed the floss colour from DMC 498 to DMC 817, which I felt was more appropriate.  Under the heart I will be stitching the happy couple's initials and the date of the wedding.  I will be referring to this piece as Wedding from now on in.

Next up is April, where I have finished the blue of the skirt and made good progress on the angel's apron.  I still have to add the trowel handle or what ever it is and a bit more apron before moving on to her arm.

 Finally I have one more block complete on Carnation.  This piece suffered from an active social life this week, so I only got in a couple of hours on this one.

As I wrote above, this has been a black dog weekend.  I have been feeling tired and lacking in mojo, and the weather has been vile.  When you have to pull the curtains at 2.30pm because of the impending thunderstorm, it's bound to bring you down.  So I have done no stitching at all since Friday - Train and Angelique have seen no progress at all.  I have managed to do essentials like shopping, laundry and reading, but nothing else of note.

I also have no progress to report on the weight loss front because I went on a work colleague's leaving do (Greek tapas followed by cocktails) instead of going to Slimming World.  Now I just have to concentrate on eating properly this week in the hope of making up for last week.  I also have no evenings out (except my regular Pilates class) to come between me and my needle. 

All the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay away from your stitching! 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

2014 WIPocalypse - January Full Moon & IHSW - January Edition

Here we are again with another year of WIPocalypse and International Hermit and Stitch Weekends to enjoy.

For this month's WIPocalypse, Measi asked us to talk about ourselves, our projects and our goals.  So here goes:  I'm 42, single, childfree and working full-time in the legal sector.  I read like I breathe - it's a simple bare necessity of life.  Cross stitch keeps me calm and helps fight off the depression that likes to drop by every so often, especially at this time of year.  My other hobby, family history, has suffered over the past couple of years due to my growing addiction to stitching.  I've talked about my stitching projects and goals in my last couple of posts, so I shan't repeat them here.  My main personal project/goal for 2014 is to get a grip on my life - I've got into a serious rut and need to make changes on all fronts, so any and all encouragement will be gratefully received.

So as it was WIPocalypse on Wednesday and IHSW this weekend, I really should show you some stitching.  Where to begin?

I'll start with April as it currently has the earliest deadline.  We are now well into angel territory.  A bit like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland (which appeared smile first), this angel is appearing feet first. This is working out easier than the shrubbery below, mainly because it is blocks of one colour.  And I do like the blue - such a nice change from the green!  This coming week I hope to finish the skirt and get well on with the apron.

Speaking of angels, Angelique came out to play this weekend.  We had some Smyrna crosses, some rice stitches and some Leviathan stitches to contend with.  I have also re-charted her face and hands, as she was the only one of the four angels not to have those elements done in petit point, and the whole piece will look better if they all match.

Moving on to the Big A** Projects, I got one block done on Train of Dreams today and it took me two hours!  That could partly be because I had a very late night last night so had a very late start this morning, but I will say that there was quite a lot of confetti in this block.  However I need to take this piece more seriously.  I've counted the remaining blocks on these two pages and one block a week is not going to cut it if I want to finish them this year.  Another place where I've got to get a grip!

Last but not least, Carnation.  Just one block completed on this piece as well this week.  However I look at the next row down and say to myself that it shouldn't take too long as there has been so much overlap from the current row.  Part of the problem here is that April has taken over the morning stitching slot, leaving Carnation with the evenings which are often taken up with other things.  This coming week I will be out three nights, so will be struggling to get more than one block done again.  

In other news, on the positive side I lost 1.5lb this week, taking me back to my lowest weight of 11 stone 7.5lb.  My friend and I stayed to class for the first time in a while, and it does inspire you to try harder.  On the thoroughly annoying side, my car had a flat battery first thing on Monday and then again today.  Tomorrow morning's job before work is to go and get a new battery fitted!  On the domestic improvement front I now have a deadline to contend with.  Littlest niece, who comments on my dusty bathroom, is coming for a sleepover at the beginning of March, so I now have to fit getting the house sorted into the timetable as well.  I really could do with several more hours in the day. 

I really need a good night's sleep after last night so will love you and leave you.  May all be well with you and yours, and may the frog stay away from your stitching!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Getting back into the swing of things

Well, I survived my first full week back in the office after the festivities, but it seemed very long and I was very glad when Friday came round.  I also went back to Pilates after three weeks off, and the teacher was not gentle with us.  Hope that you had a good week yourselves.

Things have gone reasonably well on the stitching front this week.  

 It was Patchwork Group on Thursday so I worked on Mouse & Robin by Margaret Sherry, as this is the only WIP that I have at the moment that is either not for a member of the group or too big to carry around.  The robin now needs his legs (fractional stitches on aida are a pain) and the pink stitches are the mouse's toes.  It still looks a bit odd, but not quite as odd as it did last time you saw it.

Please accept my apologies for this picture.  I finished the back stitch on this section of April and forgot to take a photo before taking it round to Mum's for help in moving the fabric so that I can work on the angels.  I find that you get a better tension if there are two sets of hands involved in the stretching.  So, starting on the left hand angel tomorrow before work!

My last update this week is on Carnation.  I've done another two blocks and, as you can see, have also done quite a bit on the next row down.  I really like taking progress pictures of this piece because you get a far better idea of the development of the picture from a photo than you do when you are right up close and personal with the actual work.

Nothing to report on Angelique or Train of Dreams this week.  This is because I had arranged a day out with my friend today, and so Sunday chores such as laundry and grocery shopping had to be rescheduled.  I have not got my friend's wedding present sorted out yet either, because I need to work out the size and font of lettering to go underneath the heart motif.  However progress must be made!!

On the weight loss front, last week was a busted flush.  On the bright side, my weight gain was just 0.5lb and I am hoping that walking into, around and back from town today may have had an impact on that.  I have promised myself that this year I am going to get a grip on all sorts of things - stitching, family history, weight loss, clutter clearing, going places and so on and so forth!  I may however need a shove or a swift kick in the rear now and again, so if I look like I'm slacking, please do not hesitate to let me know!

All the best to you and yours, and may the frog steer well clear of your stitching!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

First post of 2014 - stitching goals for the year [Edited]

And a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to you all!

Well, I went through last year's achievements in my last post, so in this post I am going to set out my goals for the coming year, starting with those which are time critical.

1) Start and complete present for my friend's wedding on 17 May.  I have chosen which piece to do, and just need to sort out fabric, threads and get started.

2) Complete "April" for V's 70th birthday in August.

3) Start and complete "Corgi" by YiotasXStitch for I's 80th birthday in September.

4) Complete "Guardian Angels" for Mum either by mid-November or for Christmas.

5) Choose and complete 2014 Christmas ornaments for my nieces.

6) Complete at least one page of "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose".

7) Complete current pages of "Train of Dreams".

8) Take part in 2014 WIPocalypse and IHSW each month.

I think that these goals will be enough to keep me stitching for the time being, don't you?

Having had New Year's Day off, I feel as if I have had two Mondays this past week and so have been feeling somewhat tired.  I have however managed to get some stitching done.

As you will see from this photo of April, I have finished the cross stitching on this bottom section.  If you look very closely, you will also see that I have started to back stitch back towards the centre section.  Once the back stitch is complete, I will then need to move the fabric down and start work on the angels.  

It's been some months now since you saw this piece, but Carnation has come out of its wraps again.  There's about 2.5 hours work there - a start on page 5.  Very nice to be working on this piece again.

Unfortunately I have been so tired that neither the Angels or Train have seen the light this week.  However I had some news this week which might change things.  

EDIT - The doctor's receptionist got it wrong.  I spoke to the doctor herself on Monday.  The blood tests came back with a possibility of an overactive thyroid, not an under-active one.  I am not happy about this, but will have to wait three months for another blood test to find out more.  The symptoms that I have fit an under-active thyroid more than an overactive one, but I'll keep you posted.

On a brighter note, I went back to Slimming World on Thursday, after two weeks of festive eating, to find that I had maintained and still weighed the 11 stone 8.5lb that I had done before Christmas.  Not bad going at all!

I shall look forward to reading all of your goals for 2014 in your blogs and watching you work your way through them.  However, I will love you and leave you as I really need to go to bed and get some sleep.