Sunday, 23 February 2014

IHSW - February 2014 Report

I must say that I do like IHSW and WIPocalypse weeks - they save me from having to think up a catchy title for my blog posts.  I will also say that I love, love, love my cordless mouse - I'm no longer putting off going on the computer just because I can't bear the thought of fighting with the mouse for ages in order to get anything done.

Anyway, how are you all?  The weather is still acting abnormally, but I am feeling better than I was.  I went out for a meal with friends on Wednesday - we talked mostly about my friend's wedding, the music to be played at the reception, her fiance's house that she is going to be moving into, but other things as well.  The food was tasty, the company was great and we had a very good night out.  I'm out again this week with other friends - we won't be talking weddings, but it should be a good night out.

Moving on to the stitching side of things, it didn't quite go according to plan this week, but never mind.

First up, Wedding.  The big motif is now complete, and I just need to add the initials and the date.  This piece will take priority this coming week in the hope of getting it done by the end of the month.

Next up, April.  The left hand angel is completely finished and work has started on the right hand angel.  I'm feeling good about this piece - I just need to be clear in my head about the placing and type of lettering.

Especially for Leonore at Needle, Pen & Sword, here is a close up of the completed left hand angel, back stitch and all.

 In third place, we have Corgi.  That is his nose that you can see there.  This is all whole stitches and no blended threads.  The current plan is to work up to the top left and then across to the right, completing the top half before moving on to the lower section.

 No. 4 is Carnation.  Two blocks this week so row 12 is now halfway complete.  Gridding this piece with water soluble marker pen took me about two hours when I first started it.  When it is finally finished, I will pop it in a pillow case and put it through the wash on a low temperature, which will deal with any lingering blue marks.

Last but not least, Train of Dreams.  Just one block this week, but any progress is good.  Once I get the deadline pieces out of the way, I'm not going to start anything new.  I am just going to concentrate on this and on Carnation in order to get the current pages finished.

 Large World Traveler Book Shelf - Click Image to Close  

However Aimee Stewart does have a new HAED design out - this is World Traveller Bookshelf in the large version.  But I have to be sensible - I have too much on my plate at the moment.

So moving on, I put on 1.5lb this week, so back to 11 stone, 7.5lb.  I'm not too bothered - it went on easily, it'll come off again.  

I'm not setting myself any stitching goals for the coming week, apart from working on Wedding.  I have littlest niece coming for her first sleepover next weekend - arriving Saturday morning, going home Sunday.  This means some forward planning and unfortunately some housework - although I did hoover the visible bits this week :-)  I'm thinking lunch out and The Lego Movie in the first instance.  Wish me luck.

Big Zen hugs to you all, and may the frog stay away from your stitching.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

2014 WIPocalypse - February Full Moon

Somebody please explain to me how we come to be half way through February already?  And when is the weather going to pick up?  All it does is rain, and then sometimes it blows a gale (either with rain or without).  I want some sunshine, and I want it soon!!!  I know that I am very lucky to be living in an area of the UK without flooding, and neither do we have the seeming endless snow that they are getting in parts of the US, but this constant blurgh weather is dragging me down.

On the brighter side of things, I went out today and bought a wireless mouse for my computer.  The old mouse was driving me mad - it wasn't responding properly and it took ages to get the pointer where I wanted it.  New mouse is just wonderful - super responsive - and now I can fall in love with my computer again and get caught up on all the things that had fallen by the wayside because I didn't want to fight with my mouse.

Moving on to stitching, Measi's discussion topic for this WIPocalypse is as follows:

How many projects do you generally feel comfortable having in progress at a time?  Tell us about your one-at-a-time or rotation habits!

At the moment, I have 7 projects on the go.  Of these, 4 are for other people and have deadlines attached.  Two are for me and are both BAPs.  No. 7 is a cover kit which only gets worked on at times and in places where none of the others are appropriate.  To be honest, at the moment I don't feel comfortable with this many projects - 3 or 4 would be fine, but needs must.  I suppose I do work in a sort of rotation.  I have set times for certain projects, even if I don't always work on them at that time.  Weekday early mornings before work are currently for April, lunchtimes for Wedding and evenings for Carnation.  Saturdays should be for Guardian Angels and Sunday mornings for Train.  Where Corgi is going to fit in, I am not sure - probably weekday lunchtimes once Wedding is finished.

Now for a quick run down on the week's stitching:

Wedding is coming along.  I still aim to have it finished by the end of this month.  Once I have the heart finished, I just need to do the initials and the date.  Then I need to find a suitable frame and finish it off.  

April is also making good progress.  The left hand angel is now complete, bar the back stitching which I intend to do this week.  I will then move on to the right hand angel, but I still need to decide on the font for the lettering in the middle.  It will be interesting to see the effect of the back stitch - it lifted the bottom section so much that I am expecting great things of the angel.

This is my new start - "Corgi" by Yiota's X-Stitch.  This has to be completed by September for an 80th birthday.  The blue streak is where the water soluble marking pen got on my finger without my noticing and then got on the fabric.  At this point, I had marked everything up and couldn't be bothered to wash it out and start again.  It will be dealt with when the piece is finished.  I am stitching on 16 count white aida in order to fit the piece into a 12 inch square block.

 Finally, Carnation - just one block this week as I was out three nights and had an early night Friday in preparation for a long drive on Saturday.  I hope to do better in the coming week when I should have more time in the evenings.

On the weight loss front, I have lost another lb, taking me down to 11 stone 6lb.  However the extra weight would have come in handy on Saturday morning when I was driving to Telford in very windy conditions.  I went to a family history seminar entitled "The Next Generation", where all the speakers were under 40 and talked about their research, their use of technology and other resources, and preserving their work for the future.  It was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Now that I have a properly working mouse, I can get back to my own research.

Monday is something else that comes round too soon, so I need to go take the seminar stuff out of my bag and put my work stuff back in.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay away from your stitching!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Rainy Day Blues

I am so fed up with this weather, and am mortally grateful that I don't live in the West Country or the Thames Valley.  My deepest sympathies are with those who do and who are currently in difficulties.  Here the sun only seems to shine briefly and mainly during those hours that I am stuck at work.  I am so looking forward to the days when the sun will still be out when I leave the office.

On the stitching front, it has been a bit of a Yeah, but, no, but week.

I got my wedding invitation today, so the deadline date is now firmly fixed in my mind.  As you can see, the right hand side is finished and I have started on the left hand side.  I'm enjoying stitching this - the only issue is making sure that there is no show-through from the back.  Every motif is being stitched separately in the hope of avoiding this.

Moving on to April, the left hand angel is complete except for her wings and the back stitch.  I am pleased with my progress on this piece - if all goes to plan, this angel should be finished before the end of the month.

 Just a little close-up for you.

Another two blocks completed on Carnation - so that's a row finish to report as well.  Although I'm not exactly motoring with this one, I am pleased with the progress that I'm making when you take into account the deadline pieces that I have to get done.

The No, but pieces this week are Angelique and Train.  Angelique fell by the wayside because I spent a lot longer shopping in town yesterday than I had originally planned.  Train missed out because I spent this morning chucking stuff out of my bathroom cabinet and kitchen cupboards, dealing with my backlog of recycling, scrubbing the loo and starting to deal with the mountains of paperwork in my lounge.  However I feel better for having done it and made some space.  Although my youngest niece has demanded that I leave her some dust for her to deal with when she comes for her sleepover next month!

On the weight loss front, I lost 1lb this week, so that's the 0.5lb that I put on last week plus another one.  I am now down to 11 stone 7lb, which is the lowest I've been since I started this journey at the end of last May.  I was going to reward myself with a cordless mouse for my computer as the one I have is driving me mad.  Unfortunately the cheapy cordless mouse that I bought yesterday doesn't want to work and will have to go back to the shop.  Maybe some fabric and threads will be more reliable :-)

Next week is going to be a busy week with limited stitching time, but I hope to make some visible progress.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog steer well clear of your stitching.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

2014 Goals - January Progress Report

So here we are at the beginning of February, so I think that a quick run-through the progress so far on my 2014 goals is an appropriate theme for this post.

1. Start and complete wedding present for my friend:

Certainly I can tick off the started part of this goal.  Wedding is coming on nicely - I need to finish this bird and the branch it is standing on, stitch the mirror image on the other side, and then the initials and date underneath.  Although February is a short month, if I put my mind to it, the stitching could possibly be done by the end of the month.  Then I need to think about framing it.

2. Complete 'April' by August:

The angel is slowly appearing out of the fabric.  I have done my calculations and there is about 8.5 hours work there.  I'm not sure whether that amounts to slow stitching or a normal speed.  I need to finish the rest of the angel's body, the flower in the flower pot, her head and her wings.  Then do it all again on the other side and add the word 'April' between them.  I would like to get this angel finished and the other one started by the end of the month.

3. Start and complete 'Corgi' by September:

Still nothing to show on this one.  I have the chart, but am trying to decide on the font for the lettering of 'November' which will run down one side.  Once the lettering is sorted, I can measure and cut the fabric, and get started.  I hope to have something to show on this before next month.

4. Complete Guardian Angels by Christmas at the latest:

If you think that this photo looks familiar, that is because it is.  There has been no progress on this piece in the last couple of weeks.  However I am hoping that the gradual return of the sun will help me to get a grip on myself and move forward on this.

5. Complete at least one page on 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose':

I managed to complete two blocks on Carnation this week, which means that there is one block left to complete the first row of page 5.  Also there has been so much overlap into the next row down that I should be able to get through that one reasonably quickly.  I would like to be stitching on row 3 by the end of the month.

6. Complete current pages of 'Train of Dreams':

As with Carnation, I managed two blocks on Train this week which is a definite improvement.  Once this column is completed, I will feel that I am over the halfway line (even though in reality I am already there, thanks to the section at the top right).  However, having four columns complete out of the eight will be a boost.  By the end of February, I want to be well into column 5.

7. Christmas ornaments for my nieces:

Not even thinking about thinking about this goal yet.  Far too early!

In other news, I only put on 0.5lb during my two weeks without a weigh-in.  When you consider that during those two weeks, I had lunch out in a Thai restaurant, a Greek tapas leaving do followed by cocktails, leaving cakes, and a large chips, fishcake and beans (caused by the depressingly horrible weather) in addition to my normal diet, then I feel that 0.5lb is perfectly acceptable.

I have made a small in-road into the tidying up, but there is plenty more to be done before littlest niece comes for her sleepover. 

Before I call it a night, I just want to thank my followers and anyone else who comments on this blog.  It makes a big difference to know that other people who know what is what (and don't go on about 'Oh, I don't know how you have the patience'!) like my work.  The other thing that I need to do this month is leave more comments on other people's blogs.

Big Zen hugs to you and yours, and may the frog stay away from your stitching!