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.

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

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!)

February WIPocalypse – Part Two

FebWIPocalypse collage

 

Now for the nitty-gritty of WIPocalypse: all those projects I vowed to work on this year. As I said in my earlier post, I don’t make timelines to finish most projects, but there are a few I’ve been working on for a while that I should be able to finish this year without putting myself out too much. I do like to have a few goals, just don’t want to put so much pressure on myself that I don’t enjoy the journey.

So, let’s see what progress I’ve made, given I haven’t been paying attention to the list I made in January, lol.

Projects to start in 2015 – progress since 1/5/15

Cross Stitch
2001 Mirabilia Cherub – not started
Blossom Harvest – Forgot I had already started, and have made more progress
Mermaid of Atlantis – not started
Queen Mermaid – not started
South Seas Mermaid – not started
Touching the Autumn Sky – started
Amethyst Fairy – not started
Enchanted Dreamer – not started

Crochet
10 infinity scarves for gifts or to sell
Temperature scarf
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan
special project I need to finish with a friend in February

Projects to finish in 2015 – progress since 1/5/15

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

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
St. Basil’s
Santa stocking

Crochet
Tim’s afghan – not a stitch
Temperature scarf – going to catch up on this by the end of the week
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan – finished first block, starting second block this week – really!
Baby blanket (soooo close, can finish it in a night or two) – finished, but gave it away before I got a final picture

Other projects (there will always be some!)
Three charity scarves – finished
Receiving blanket for charity – started
prayer shawl for charity – started
Fairie Treasures – made a little progress
Mermaids of the Deep Blue – made a little progress

 

 

February WIPocalypse, Part One

This month’s WIPocalypse question is: How do you overcome that feeling that you’re in a rut with a particular project?

I don’t know that I overcome it, but I work around it. I have many projects going at once so I always have something to keep my interest. If I’m working on a large project, I usually work on it for a while, work on something else, then come back to it. If I have deadlines I try to start early enough to give myself time to do that.

Sometimes, I have deadlines that are looming (holidays, birthdays, commission jobs) and I just have to work through it. When that happens, I make sure I take small breaks so that I don’t overtax my hands and get away from it for a few minutes — take a walk around the block, just chill out for a little while, read, etc.

If I’m truly not interested in a project I started, I will put it away for longer. Sometimes I will get the urge to work on it again, and then I get into a groove and get a lot accomplished. I’ve had a few small projects that irritated me much more than any large projects, and I just got rid of them — life’s too short. I also learned that I really cannot take on any needlepoint projects that are strict basketweave or continental with few colors, because stitching them make me fall asleep – literally. I found I prefer using different stitches because it helps keep my interest. I do use continental and basketweave in many of the projects I have in my stash, but I’m changing colors often and still using other stitches, so it keeps my brain occupied.

I think it really depends on what kind of stitcher you are. Some people really don’t like to have one or just a few projects going because they feel pressure to finish them. For better or worse, I don’t feel a lot of pressure to finish most of my projects anytime soon, except for gifts and some charity stitching, so I’m OK going from one project to another. Once in a while I get in a “finish” mode, and that is helpful.

I don’t want to go on and on, so will update my actual WIPocalypse projects in another post.

Colors for Temperature Scarf and Moogly CAL

Finally got to the store today and picked my yarn for the temperature scarf and Moogly’s CAL. I ended up going in a different direction than I thought I might for the CAL colors, but that often happens.

temp scarf colorsI changed the colors a little from what I originally planned for the temperature scarf, as I didn’t want to order anything, just go straight to the store and use what they had in stock. The colors to the left are what I’m using, and I think it will make for a bright and colorful scarf. I just finished stitching the first eleven days (below). I like how it’s looking so far, definitely has a wintery look. The green was for the two days that were warm before it dipped down again.

 

temp scarf 1-11-15

CALFinal

As for the CAL, I haven’t started the first block but I have finally chosen the colors. They are all from the Impeccable line from Loops & Threads: solids are Teal, Amethyst, and Lavender; ombre is Luxury. I think I’ll use at least a little of the ombre in each square and then one or two of the other colors at most. That should help bring all the colors together well when I finish all the squares and stitch them together.

Have any of you started the Moogly CAL, yet? I’d love to see your progress. I’m hoping to hunker down next weekend at the latest to work on that first square

The first block is up from Moogly’s CAL

2015-Afghan-CAL-Main-Graphic

The first block of Moogly’s 2015 CAL is up!

…and it’s gorgeous! I’m still deciding on color combinations, but I guess I’ll have to figure that out soon because I’ll be behind in no time flat, and I have a very important project that I need to make major progress on this month.This CAL is definitely going to offer challenging squares for me, judging by the first one, but I’m up for new ideas. I don’t want to steal Tamara’s thunder, so visit her blog to view the square.

So, I guess I better get myself to the store at some point this weekend to get the Caron yarn for my Temperature Scarf and the yarn for this CAL. I think I’m going to use Vanna’s Choice yarn, as I’ve heard that yarn is very good when it comes to dyelots. Not sure how many colors I’ll use, but probably between two and four. I’ll see how the colors work when I get to the store. Need to get some more yarn for my other project, if they have it. I’m hoping I won’t have to order it.

January WIPocalypse

2015 WIPocalypse collage

January 5- Topic: Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!

I’m Mindy. I’ve been cross-stitching for over 30 years, needlepointing for at least five years, crocheting for a tad over two years, and adding in a little ribbon embroidery, embroidery, and crewel into the mix. I also want to start crazy quilting, but really want to get some of my WIPS out of the way first. Until I discovered the Internet, I was very good about not starting a new project until I finished the old one. Then, I found all these designers I didn’t know existed and found out about rotation stitching. Again, I was good with the rotation stitching until I discovered needlepoint, then crochet – now it’s all gone to heck and I have so many projects going I don’t know what to do with myself, lol.

I currently work two part-time jobs. While it’s not ideal, it brings in enough money to keep me going. If only I were independently wealthy and could volunteer a few days a week and stitch the rest. Ah well, this is the way most of us get by. 🙂 I was doing really well with exercising, but after a bout with Lyme in August (they caught it quickly, thank God!), and continuing dealings with anemia and anxiety, my energy levels haven’t been great. I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things and have found some ways to start dealing with my anxiety and iron issue besides just taking anxiety medicine and iron supplements – though those are definitely life-savers! I also know that I need to make time for my hobbies, which also helps me fight anxiety. That may be TMI, but I’m a believer in not hiding such problems. If I had a broken leg people wouldn’t think less of me (probably depends on how I broke it), so people shouldn’t think less of people dealing with illnesses that cannot be seen.

On a happier note, I watch a lot of TV while working on my projects. I don’t read as much as I used to, but I do read when I take the train downtown two days a week for that job, so I get it done slowly. I think I need to get more audio books so that I can stitch and “read” at the same time. I enjoy everything from Game of Thrones to Bob’s Burgers, and I can probably quote just about every episode of Seinfeld and King of the Hill.

My general WIPocalypse goals include starting specific projects (I’m in the 15 Mirabilias in 15 days group) and finishing some in each type of hobby in which I engage. I also plan to crochet various scarves to have on hand as gifts and to possibly start a stock to sell. So, I’m sure my list will change as I go, but this is what I’m starting with.

Projects to start in 2015

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

Crochet
10 infinity scarves for gifts or to sell
Temperature scarf
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan
special project I need to finish with a friend in February

Projects to finish in 2015

Cross Stitch
Garden Verses (Mirabilia)
Angel of the New Dawn (Mirabilia)
Sleeping Beauty (Mirabilia)
Mermaids of the Deep Blue (Mirabilia)
Quaker Diamonds (Rosewood Manor)

Needlepoint (I don’t remember designers at the moment)
Geisha Cats (picture at top, just need to finish the ribbon embroidery and beading in “hair”)
Chinese Dragon
St. Basil’s
Santa stocking

Crochet
Tim’s afghan
Temperature scarf
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan
Baby blanket (soooo close, can finish it in a night or two)

Well, I’m not sure if that’s realistic or not, but let’s see how it goes. I will probably throw in some small projects here and there to break things up, just not sure what at this time. I have some cute stuff from last year’s Celebration of Needlework in New Hampshire, so there are some possibilities there. Many of the Mirabilia WIPs I’ve listed are at least half done, though I have some others that are barely started. I’ll concentrate on them next year.