Sunday, 27 April 2014

A big step forward

I am quite sure that at some point towards the beginning of the year I posted that this was my year to get a grip and sort my life out.  This has been a work in progress over the last four months and I am slowly getting there.  Yesterday I made a big step forward.  I went to the British Quilt and Stitch Show at Uttoxeter Racecourse with L from the patchwork group, and I bought a sewing machine.

For a long time now I've had a bit of a phobia about sewing machines.  When I was a child, my Mum managed to put her sewing machine needle through her thumb.  As Dad was at work and there were only us kids in the house, she had to carry the machine across the road with the needle through her thumb, so that our neighbour could deal with it.  Something like that tends to stick with you.

Anyway, this little problem of mine has meant that every time I needed some fabric hemming to start a new piece, I have had to take it round to Mum and wait for her to have time to deal with it.  So I've been thinking of getting a grip and getting a machine.  I didn't intend to get one yesterday, but they were on offer at the Show (£59 reduced to £35) so I bought one.  In fact, I bought three (and paid £90 for the lot) - a pink one for me, a blue one for eldest niece and a purple one for littlest niece.  They are very basic - just 10 stitch options, don't go too fast, weigh 2.3kg so can be lifted in one hand - fairly idiot proof and therefore ideal for me.  Also they are a reputable brand (Janome) and were designed for John Lewis, so good quality.

L has said that she will teach me how to use it - a much better idea than letting Mum teach me - and we have an initial project in mind, so I will keep you posted.

Moving on to the stitching:

Now that April is finished, I have made good progress on Corgi.  My plan is that during the next three days (to the end of the month) I will concentrate on this in order to have a page finish to report in my goals post next week.

Carnation has also seen some progress.  I've stitched another block this week and therefore completed the 6 blocks needed to achieve a page finish by the end of the year.

I also managed another block on Train of Dreams this week, but am unlikely to achieve my monthly goal of 6 blocks on this one.

Nothing to report on Guardian Angels again, but Mum has told me to concentrate on getting Corgi done and not to worry about her piece.

To CathieJ - my secret for dealing with a large piece is gridding, as per the photos of Carnation and Train.  I use a water erasable pen, but I know that other people use fishing line or some other kind of thread, or use Magic Guide fabric which is already gridded.  I then start work in the top left hand corner of the grid.  With Carnation, I am working across the page row by row, but with Train of Dreams, because I am using the parking technique, I am working down the page column by column.  However, you should do what is easiest for you.  I also have a working copy of the chart and colour the stitches in with a highlighter as I do them so that I can keep track of where I am.

In other news, I managed to lose 1lb this week so am back down to 11 stone 6lb.  However I was at a hen do last night for the friend that I stitched Wedding for, so I'm not sure what the scales are going to say this week.

Anyway this next week is going to be my first full working week for three weeks due to the conference and Easter, so I am going to call it a day.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay well clear of your stitching.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Easter Happy Dance! and IHSW - April Edition

Well, I hope that you all have had and/or are having a lovely Easter, depending on which time zone you are in.  I should have posted this yesterday, but we had family high tea at Mum and Dad's, so it was late by the time I finally got home.

As you will see from the title, this is a Happy Dance post, one big one and one small one!

Ta Da!  April is now finished!!!  I put the last stitches in on Easter Saturday and it's been washed and pressed.  Now I just have to sit down with Mum and sort out how to transform it into a 12 inch square hanging, but that shouldn't take long.  The hard part is over - it has taken me about 5 months to get to this stage.  I'm really pleased with it and the few people who have seen it really like it and think that V will like it too.

 Moving on, I have a row finish to show on Carnation.  I've done 5 out of the 6 blocks that I need to do for April in order to get a page finish by the end of the year.  And it's looking good.

I also have some nice progress to report on Corgi.  The very faint line of stitching at the top is actually the top of the page.  Now that April is finished and I can put some serious time into this piece, I might just have a page finish for the end of the month.

And this week I have managed to get some time in on Train of Dreams.  Just the one block, which makes 2 out of 6 for the month, but that is better than nothing.

Nothing to report on Guardian Angels again this week, I'm afraid.  And despite having a finish, there won't be a corresponding new start for some time yet, even though I have a list as long as my arm of pieces that I would love to be working on - too much to do!

In other news, as a result of going to my conference, I put on another 1lb this week, so I am back up to 11 stone 7lb.  I have a wedding to go to in just under a month, so need to crack on and get some of this weight shifted.

Unfortunately it is back to work tomorrow, so I will finish here and get on with all the stuff I need to get done before then.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay away from your stitching!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

2014 WIPocalypse - April Full Moon

For a change I am actually posting on the night of the full moon, which I have just seen hanging big and bright in the night sky as I pulled the curtains.  The main reason for this is that I have been away for a few days without any internet access.  As a result I am slightly off schedule and unfortunately do not have a lot of stitching to show.

I have made progress on Wedding to the extent that I have now been out and bought a frame for it.  Now I just need to wash it, press it and get it framed.

I still need to stitch the lettering on April and would like to get that done over the fast approaching Easter break.

Corgi came away with me and I did manage to get a bit done off and on, in addition to what I stitched at Patchwork Group because the future owner wasn't there.  He now has an ear (or most of one) and looks more like a dog than before.

What with going away and getting ready to go away, I only managed to get one block done on Carnation this week, but that was better than nothing at all, which was the case with Angelique and Train of Dreams.

I do however have some stash to show you.  I was bidding for something non-cross stitch related on Ebay, and ended up bidding not only for that, but also for a lot of other things.  What you can see there is Lavender & Lace's Celtic Autumn, Chatelaine's Mini Mandalas II, Taj Mahal Mandala Garden and Indian Summer Reflections.  There is also a thread catcher from Beadin'handy and a tacky bead mat (not Ebay).  I also won a number of vintage Cross Stitch Gold magazines, and am now determined to steer clear of Ebay for some little while.

While I'm talking about stash, this month's WIPocalypse question was how we keep our stash organised.  I think that the correct answer in my case is not very well.  I have one large six drawer cabinet and two small three drawer cabinets that I keep my DMC threads in - colour co-ordinated.  I have one 30 litre plastic box that I keep fabric in and one 30 litre plastic box that I keep charts and cover kits in.  I also have I don't know how many cross stitch magazines, some in those cardboard magazine holders and others in stacks on the floor.  My spare frames live in the gap between the end of the settee and the radiator, and the other end of the settee to the one I sit on houses projects not currently being worked on and miscellaneous gubbins.  It all needs sorting - what I am short of is the time to do it in.

In other news, I put on 1.5lb last week, mainly due to an attack of the Black Dog, so was back to 11 stone 6lb.  Unfortunately going away for the weekend has probably not helped matters as I was staying at a hotel with all meals provided.  I will just have to get back on the wagon and start losing again.

As I am still catching up on my sleep, I will wish you and yours a very happy Easter and may the frog stay away from your stitching.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Short and sweet - sleep needed!

The reason that this post is a day late is because I needed an early night last night and I knew that if I came on the computer, an early night would never happen, so here we are tonight briefly.  

On the stitching front,  there is some progress and some non-progress as usual.

All of the back stitching on April is finished.  I have decided on the lettering - I am going to use the darkest shade of blue from the angels' dresses.  So all I need to do now is get on with it.

Corgi has benefited from the near-completion of April as it has had a few more sessions that it otherwise would have.  I do however really need to have a go at the confetti.

I got two blocks done on Carnation this week so am on target for the month.

A distinct lack of sleep on Saturday night meant that Train of Dreams only received limited attention on Sunday morning.  Just the one block this week so some catching up to do on this one.

There is nothing to show on Guardian Angels as I have not worked on it this week.  I am involved in a family history project which requires research at our local archives.  The archives is going to close in October for some months to undergo extensive building works, so work on the project is taking precedence on Saturdays.

In other news, I lost another 0.5lb this week, taking me to 11 stone 4.5lb.  I also got my Club 10 award for having lost 10% of my original body weight, so very pleased with that.  I've also got an appointment at the hospital to get my overactive thyroid checked out, but not until the end of May.

Right, my eyes are starting to close so I am going to love you and leave you.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay away from your stitching.