April WIPocalypse – Stitching progress

I have been mostly crocheting and cross stitching lately, not getting far on my needlepoint projects. I’ve made a lot of progress on some charity projects, which is a good thing. I’m looking forward to going to Celebration of Needlepoint at the end of the month where I will start a project not on the list – Northern Expressions’ Twisted Bank Sampler.

 

Projects to start in 2015 – progress since 3/7/15

Woodland Fairy 4-4-15

Woodland Fairy by Mirabilia on 32ct. Misty Blue linen

Cross Stitch
2001 Mirabilia Cherub – none
Blossom Harvest – none
Mermaid of Atlantis – none
Queen Mermaid – none
Woodland Fairy – several hours
Touching the Autumn Sky – none
Amethyst Fairy – a few hours
Christmas Wishes – a few hours

 

Crochet
10 infinity scarves for gifts or to sell – not started
Temperature scarf – ongoing (but no recent progress)
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan – restarted with new colors and yarn, only block 1 is finished (but no progress this month)
special project I need to finish with a friend in February – FINISHED! It was a rainbow stole a friend of mine and I at church stitched for our pastor’s first commitment ceremony.

 

Projects to finish in 2015 – progress since 3/7/15

Garden Verses - 4-4-15

Garden Verses by Mirabilia on light blue linen

Cross Stitch
Garden Verses (Mirabilia) – several hours
Angel of the New Dawn (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10
Sleeping Beauty (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10 (OMG, this one’s taking for-ev-er!)
Mermaids of the Deep Blue (Mirabilia) – a few hours
Quaker Diamonds (Rosewood Manor) – several hours

Needlepoint (I don’t remember designers at the moment) – haven’t stitched on any needlepoint projects
Geisha Cats (picture at top, just need to finish the ribbon embroidery and beading in “hair”)
Chinese Dragon – none
St. Basil’s – none
Santa stocking – none

Crochet
Tim’s afghan – not a stitch
Temperature scarf – ongoing, but no recent progress
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan – restarted with new colors and yarn, only block 1 is finished (no recent progress)
Baby blanket (soooo close, can finish it in a night or two) – finished in February, but gave it away before I got a final picture

Mo shawl 4-4-15

WIP – shawl for my sister using Berroco Modern Cotton (color – Bluebird)

Other projects (there will always be some!)
Three charity scarves – finished in February
Four more charity scarves — finished in Feburary
Receiving blanket for charity – finished in March
prayer shawl for charity – finished
prayer shawl for charity 2 – started
prayer squares for charity – 27 stitched in March-early April
Chain stitch infinity scarf for a friend – finished
Fairie Treasures – no progress since 2/10
shawl for my sister – made some progress after starting over using different design

April WIPocalypse – Part One

Which specialty stitches do you love doing on projects?  Which do you dread?

I like most specialty stitches. I started learning them while stitching designs from Just Nan and the Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issues, and both had great instructions for all sorts of stitches. When I started to needlepoint a few years back, I learned how to use special stitches to make painted needlepoint canvases more interesting when I stitched them, and I have reference books I use for ideas regarding stitches that are good for sky, water, buildings, etc. I love the look of a needlepoint canvas with different stitches.

My favorite stitches vary, depending on what I’m doing. I tend to like Rice, Herringbone, Algerian Eye, and Rays when working on linen. When I’m needlepointing a painted canvas, I often find myself using Byzantine, Diagonal Mosaic, Cashmere, and Scotch stitches. I sometimes use “light stitching” on painted canvas, where the effect is more about giving the color that is already on the canvas a bit more interest than to completely cover it.

I also like to learn new crochet stitches, though I’m not as accomplished a crocheter as I’d like. I want to learn Tunisian Crochet and how to make Broomstick Lace. I’m also starting to work with crochet thread and smaller hooks, so we’ll see how that goes.

As far as stitches I dread, there are only a few:

  • I refuse to make Bullion Knots – and I have a good reason. I made lots of them on a freestyle piece I made several years ago, and something about the way I was making them gave me tendonitis in one hand, and it took a long time to go away. I love the look of them, but it’s just not worth it.
  • My Queen stitches look horrid on linen, but not as bad on canvas, for some reason. There is probably a trick to making these that I haven’t yet learned.
  • I was scared to death of Hardanger for years, but took one of Julie Norton‘s classes at Celebration of Needlework two years ago and am a little better, though I should probably take a refresher course or sit down with my work, as I haven’t worked on it for a while.

Crochet – Keyhole Ripple Stitch

prayer shawl - keyhole ripple stitchI’ve tried a few ripple stitches, but this is my favorite because I don’t have to worry about increases and decreases. I also like the look of the “keyhole,” as it adds a little airiness to project. I quickly finished this prayer shawl using the Keyhole Ripple Stitch, a solid yarn and a variegated yarn. I plan on using this a lot in the future, and I think it would also make pretty scarves using various types of yarn.

NSAD-Keyhole-Ripple-Stitch-EX

I found easy instructions at New Stitch A Day. The blog provides a plethora of crochet and knitting tutorials and allows fellow bloggers to share them. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it.

St. Patrick’s Day sampling

Photo by kkmarais on Flickr

Photo by kkmarais on Flickr

If you are in the mood to do some green or Irish-themed stitching these days, I found just a few items that you may like. As you know, a Google search will turn up a ton of such designs. I thought I’d share a few that I found that I liked.

Letters Leprechuans Luck

Letters, Leprechauns, and Luck from Blue Ribbon Designs

The cross stitch design I chose is Letters, Leprechauns, and Luck from Blue Ribbon Designs. The model is stitched on 40ct linen with a mix of DMC and Sampler Threads. It could be easily stitched on 32ct or 28ct linen, it will just be bigger. The Sampler Threads could be switched out for similar DMC, but you’d lose some of that hand-dyed effect.

Glitz and Glamour Emerald from DebBee's Designs

Glitz and Glamour Emerald from DebBee’s Designs

 

The needlepoint design I really liked for St. Patrick’s Day is this gorgeous green counted canvaswork piece from DebBee’s Designs. If you visit her site, you will see so many gorgeous designs that you won’t know where to begin. Her Glitz and Glamour designs each focus on one particular shade of a color (for the most part), and this one is Emerald.

Free shamrock square from from FreePatterns.com

Free shamrock square from from FreePatterns.com

Finally, I found this really pretty shamrock square design that is lacier and different from most of the chunkier designs I’ve found. This is a free design from FreePatterns.com, but you have to be a member (it’s free) in order to download it. I’d probably stitch it in a more green and less sage color than is here, but I like the design itself very much.

Throw Back Thursday

Christmas Elegance

This was the second Mirabilia I finished, and I think she’s my favorite of them all, though “favorite” tends to be a moving target when it comes to Mirabilia designs. I just love the colors in this one, the beads, the metallics – everything.🙂 When I stitched her, it was the most beadwork I had done on one project. I believe she is stitched on 32ct Misty Blue Wichelt linen. I have since discovered I prefer Zweigart to Wichelt, but I have stitched a few Mirabilias on this color and like the end result.

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday 3-11-15

This week seems to have been my cross stitch week. For a long time, I was crocheting most of the time, but now I seem to have my cross stitch mojo back. Stitching all those beautiful Mirabilias definitely helps – that, and I’m looking forward to Celebration of Needlework in Nashua, NH at the end of April. I finally finished starting the rest of my 15 Miras in 15 Days list. I made decent progress on all of them, but am particularly happy with Woodland Fairy, probably because I backstitched her face so that she seems a bit more real. Above are my most recent photos (in order) of Mermaids of the Deep Blue (not sure of fabric), Christmas Wishes (on 32ct Dyeing4U 32ct Gold Dust lugana), Amethyst Fairy (on 32ct Ray of Light linen, and Woodland Fairy (stitched on 32ct Misty Blue linen).

Most of these I started this past week, but I started Mermaids of the Deep Blue back in January, so I actually have a comparison photo. I find it really helps me to see my progress when I put them next to each other. To be honest, I would have had more done on this one if I hadn’t been off on the skin of the arms of the second mermaid and had to take some of it out. Still I’m happy with my progress. (The second photo is a more accurate color portrayal, as the first one is a bit grey.)

First photo, 1-16-15

First photo, 1-16-15 (several days of work)

Second photo, 3-11-15

Second photo, 3-11-15

WIPocalypse – March 2015

March WIPocalypse

March question: If money – and time – were not limiters, what projects would be on your stitching bucket list?

Since money would be not object, I would have the space and proper equipment to work on larger projects. I’d also have the money to buy the canvas and wool for a needlepoint rug – and the time to make it. I’ve always wanted to make one, but can’t imagine how long it would take me and how expensive it would be to stitch and then finish. Then there is no way I would allow anyone to actually walk on it, so I would need the wall space to hang it. I have seen some gorgeous rugs on display at some shops, but – for once – I’m being realistic about my time and money.

Projects to start in 2015 – progress since 2/10/15

Stitching on 32ct. Belfast Misty Blue

Stitching on 32ct. Belfast Misty Blue

Cross Stitch
2001 Mirabilia Cherub – started
Blossom Harvest – started
Mermaid of Atlantis – started
Queen Mermaid – started
South Seas Mermaid Woodland Fairy – started
Touching the Autumn Sky – started
Amethyst Fairy – started
Enchanted Dreamer  Christmas Wishes – started

 

Crochet
10 infinity scarves for gifts or to sell – not started
Temperature scarf – ongoing
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan – restarted with new colors and yarn, only block 1 is finished
special project I need to finish with a friend in February – FINISHED! It was a rainbow stole a friend of mine and I at church stitched for our pastor’s first commitment ceremony. 

Projects to finish in 2015 – progress since 2/10/15

Cross Stitch
Garden Verses (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10
Angel of the New Dawn (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10
Sleeping Beauty (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10
Mermaids of the Deep Blue (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10
Quaker Diamonds (Rosewood Manor) – not a stitch since 2/10

Using Planet Earth silk, Threadworx 6-ply cotton, Kreinik, and Rainbow Gallery threads

Using Planet Earth silk, Threadworx 6-ply cotton, Kreinik, and Rainbow Gallery threads

Needlepoint (I don’t remember designers at the moment) – haven’t stitched on any needlepoint projects
Geisha Cats (picture at top, just need to finish the ribbon embroidery and beading in “hair”)
Chinese Dragon – some progress
St. Basil’s – some progress
Santa stocking – not a stitch

 

 

Uses Caron Simply Soft

Uses Caron Simply Soft

Crochet
Tim’s afghan – not a stitch
Temperature scarf – nothing in the last week, but progress before that
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan – restarted with new colors and yarn, only block 1 is finished
Baby blanket (soooo close, can finish it in a night or two) – finished in February, but gave it away before I got a final picture

Other projects (there will always be some!)
Three charity scarves – finished in February
Four more charity scarves — finished in Feburary
Receiving blanket for charity – started
prayer shawl for charity – started
Fairie Treasures – no progress since 2/10

Throw Back Thursday

Why Hoard Gold

Isn’t that a precious face? I stitched Dragon Dreams’ “Why Hoard Gold?” several years ago. One day, I will actually get her framed. I believe she is out of print (please correct me if I’m wrong on that), but you can Google her and find her at a few online shops. She was a lot of fun to stitch, even though part of the pattern called for rayon floss. Stitching with rayon floss drives me crazy – the stuff is so darn slippery! – but it really gives a nice shiny effect to part of her without being metallic. I actually love stitching with most metallics, but in this piece the gold really needed to stand out and probably wouldn’t have if there were more metallics used.

And when I finally get her framed or finished as a wall hanging, she will go on MY wall.🙂

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday 3-4-15

I’ve been getting a lot more done on my needlepoint projects this week, though I started one that I had no intention of beginning for quite some time. Funny how that happens. Long story short, I couldn’t find my threads for my St. Basil’s canvas, so I started another canvas that is similar. Then, I found my hiding place for my threads — a “safe place” I had obviously forgotten — so, I also worked on that one. I also started crocheting a shawl and a new Mirabilia.

StBasil_full_3-2-15 StBasil_detail_3-2-15I’m using all Planet Earth silks for St. Basil’s, except for the two Kreinik gold braids I’m using for decoration on the buildings. If you needlepoint and haven’t used Planet Earth threads, I highly suggest you give them a try. They have stranded silk, as well as other types of threads. I usually use the single ply, which is ideal for 13ct canvas, and would probably work well for 14ct canvas. I bought all the colors when I originally bought the canvas, though I will probably need to purchase more black, blue, and tan for the borders and sky. Buying all those colors in silk cost a pretty penny, but the threads are so gorgeous and easy to work with that it was worth it. I normally use lots of different stitches, but with all the detailed colors in this one, I decided it made more sense to work in basketweave, with a little texture in the sky using the Byzantine stitch.

Russian_full_3-2-15 Russian_detail1_3-2-15

I’m also using Planet Earth silk for the other canvas that I just call “Russian.” I think it’s a more whimsical take on St. Basil’s, but I’ll confuse them if I call them the same thing. I’m debating whether or not to stitch the “clouds” that look like waves. I bought Rainbow Gallery Flair in two shades of blue and in white to stitch it, but I’m not sure if it will add to the design or take away from it. It adds a flair of whimsy, but I could also stitch the entire sky in navy without the light colors showing through. Either way, I’m not stitching the stars in the sky but will instead use some beads for stars. Some of the building tops will also use Rainbow Gallery Neon Rays ribbon. For example, that’s what I used on the green part of the yellow and green turret. Right now, I’m just playing around with various stitches, but I like it a lot so far.

Mermaid of Atantis 3-4-15

As part of my 15 Miras in 15 project, I started Mermaid of Atlantis on 32ct Lagoon Belfast from Picture This Plus. My Kreinks and Caron Waterlillies are on order, so her hair looks a little strange at the moment. Since I mentioned how much I like Planet Earth silks earlier, I feel I should also say how great it is to stitch with Waterlilies – it’s like buttah! Originally, this was a challenge to start/continue with 15 Mirabilias the first 15 days of January. Well, that ship has sailed, but I’ve decided to keep to the basic idea and keep them going or start them all sometime in 2015. A few are on my WIPocalypse list to finish this year so that I actually make some progress and am not just starting projects (which I tend to do).

blue shawl 3-4-15I also started crocheting a shawl for a gift, using some beautiful yarn I bought at Loop a few weeks ago. This is Berroco Modern Cotton in Bluebird. It’s 60 percent cotton and 40 percent rayon, so it has a nice sheen to it and is a nice lightweight worsted yarn. That was my first time in that shop, which is down on South Street, and it was a great time. A good friend took me, as she is a regular there. The people working there were very helpful, and I will definitely be returning. As for the yarn, I love the color and drape of it, but it’s a bit more slippery than I’m used to — rayon gets me again! I feel like my tension is all over the place on this one and I may take it out and start over. It took me a while to get a feel for the yarn and the areas between the shells, so I think if I start over it will look better. It will be a gift for someone I care about very much, so I want it to look as good as possible. (And now that I got away from it for a day and see the photo, there is something funky going on in that third row. Yeah, it’s comin’ out!)

Fun crochet, cross stitch, and a new book from Erik Larson

By now, you know that sometimes I find something on the Internet that I must share immediately. Today is another one of those times. They are completely random, but I think all are pretty awesome.🙂

Quick-and-Easy-Crochet-Cowls-600x3381. Petals to Picots is sponsoring a giveaway for an online cowl class from Tamara Kelly at Moogly. Quick and Easy Crochet Cowls includes seven lessons for three beautiful projects. The cost has been reduced from $29.99 to $19.99, and the first 1,000 people to sign up receive a free skein of yarn. However, you may also try to win it for free from Petals to Picots.

Designed by Backstage Stitching

Designed by Backstage Stitching

2. I was reading through one of my blogrolls and found this great post at Backstage Stitching. She has graciously made this available in the Free Patterns section of her blog. This is such a cute and hilarious design that I just had to share it. I think a lot of my fellow stitchers will enjoy it.

dead-wake-larson3. And for something completely different — Erik Larson has a new book coming out on March 10: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. BookPeople’s blog features a great review and you may purchase it through their independent book store in Texas (link provided in the blog post). It’s been difficult for me to find time for my needlework and reading, but I’m definitely going to make time to read this. I enjoy his books very much.