Friday 31 January 2014

Peacock Tapestry Border Section 4

Looks like just when I was telling Carly that strict rotation rules don't work for me...I found one that does! At least, it did for the last week, we'll see how lonk it will last. It's a fairly quick rotation - last weekend, I was changing twice on some days - but that's just the thing I need with how...monotonous Peacock Tapestry is at the moment. What I'm doing right now is the following: I divide each border section into three parts (inner border, outer border, and the part in between), than I alternate one of these with three 'blocks' (the 10x10 sections on the chart) of the Little Mermaid, and both are getting on just lovely right now.

 So today, I finished the next segement of Peacock Taprestry(which means another 960 stitches, for those of you who count) - only two more and I'll be at the lower edge! I had a nightmare today of how I reached the lower edge and it was only about ~1/4" away from the edge of the fabric. I need to get there quickly and make sure that won't happen for real!

I also made some nice progress (432 stitches, to be exact) on The Little Mermaid. It took me a while, but I think I might have found my 'flow' on this one now, too - or maybe it's just that I reached a section where I don't have to change the color after every two stitches. Anyway, if I can keep this pace up, I'm positive that I will finish by April, which is kind of an unofficial deadline for this piece.

I've also done a lot of gaming over the course of the last few weeks, because I had promised my friend Steffi to hurry and reach endgame in Final Fantasy XIV - which I did this morning, so hopefully, there will be more time for stitching now! Or maybe not, because FFXIV is really the only MMORPG since Ragnarok Online that has managed to actually grab my attentions and made me want to go raiding. I've never seriously raided before, a whole new experience for an old nerd, hehe. Well, hopefully, it will at least keep me from this crazy thoughts of kitting up yet another TW-design sometime soon - not that I could if I wanted, because why do they have to stop making certain kinds of fabric? Sigh, first world stitchers problems...and than I saw some beautiful dark red linen at a sale today...I might just go back there next week, and if they still have it, I might just ruin my nice 0$-SFS-balance.

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Tackling huge projects

Carla, Nancy and I were discussing the best way to handle the fabric while working on projects as huge as our current Teresa Wentzler designs, and since I found my words insufficient to describe the way I hold my frame and a picture does say more than I thousand words, I thought why not just show the girls what I'm doing:

What you probably can't see right in the picture (that Felix took, but not without declaring that he thinks me a little crazy) is that I'm proping the elbow of my left arm (the one holding the Q-snap) on my left knee so holding it doesn't get to heavy. I like sitting cross-leged like this (and snuggled into my blanket ^_^) while working, but the same thing also works while sitting at a table - I just prop my elbow on the tabletop in that case.

For the moment my biggest problem is that I'm working downwards now instead of left to right...I'm always tempted to turn the frame and work left to right again, but than I have to change the direction of my stitches or the won't fit in. Still need to adjust to that, so today saw a little frogging again...

And if you should be disappointed that you only found a picture of me in this post (but seriously, why would you?!), I am happy to announce that I also found the time to make some small adjustments to the blog itself - I now have two more pages which you can find in die side menu on the top right. For one, I made a gallery of my finishes (well for now it's only two, but it would have been a real mess to convert everything into a proper gallery if there already were a lot more) and a list of projects I'm working on or PLAN to work on at some point - just in case you're curious what else to expect here in the future.

Sunday 26 January 2014

Toby the Fox Finish & January SFS

So...about three days, 505 little crosses and lots of backstitching after you last saw him, little Toby was finally finished - and he also IS my very first cross stitch finish for this year!

 What's curious is that even though I really love the woodland folk-series and I had a lot of fun with Toby, I don't feel like doing any of the others - might be that all that backstitching *was* a little tiring.

Be that as it may, I have a cute little bookmark to go into A Dance with Dragons now. One can never have enough bookmarks, and I had about - none. So probably, I will make some more in the future, but not now, because now I'm super-motivated for my other projects, with which I have been very busy this weekend (making up for the not-so-good IHSW), so there probably will be another update really soon. While being busy, we finished season 7 of NCIS, and now I have ordered season 8 which we already started, because it finally dropped into my price range (well to be honest, it was still a few euros above, buuuut season 7 ended with a very mean cliff hanger and I HAD to know what happens next). While we were waiting for the parcel to arrive, we started watching Fringe, which we will continue watching after NCIS (while waiting for season 9 to get a reasonable price...).

Also, I did some shopping yesterday! Stitching supplies were carefully avoided, so I can actually finish January's Stitch from Stash with a big round zero, but I did get some yarn for exciting new croochet projects.

Well, actually, the projects aren't that exciting, it's just me who is excited, just some oven mitts and such, but still. Also, this yarn is way to expensive (~3.50€ per ball, which is abot $4,80 - it's a good thing it's not Crochet from Stash or something), but I liked the colors so much, and I know that it's just perfect for what I want *sigh* Still, I'll have to try and get on with the cheaper stuff eventually, I'll need quite a few even mitts when I actually want to learn cooking - I'm a little, let's just say accident-prone, and stick with that.

Thursday 23 January 2014

How needlework is saving my studies...

...or, put less dramatically, keeping me awake. You see, I have this...let's call it condition for the lack of a better word (I blame it on my abyssmal low blood pressure) that when I just have to sit and listen and don't actually DO something, I kind of dooze away. I can't do anything against it, as much as I try, and I can assure you, it's neither that I'm just tired (as it happens at all times of the day and after 8 hours sleep just as much as after 6) nor that what I'm listening to ist boring - I regularyly drift off in the cinema once popcorn and such have run out, and I even missed some talking in the musical we went to see last year (thankfully, the songs were loud enough to bring me back, woud be a shame to miss something one paid that much for!).

As you can probably guess, it's especially frustrating during lectures - most of our profs do those with power point presentations, and those are way to fast to take good notes, so I usually missed a good part of them. I tried several ways to keep my hands busy in order to stay concious, but most of them just involved to much thinking and I still missed most of the lecture. Until Felix had the great idea to just take my needlework with me - not stitching, that's not portable enough and involves to much counting to be done 'on the side', but crocheting seems just right.

So over the last two weeks I tried that out - printed a pattern, grabbed my hook and a ball of yarn, and stashed them in my backpack - and it works! Why didn't we think of this ealier, it would have saved me a lot of hassle and revising in previous terms. So over the course of three lectures (which is about 4-5 hours, plus a little finishing at home) I crocheted a 'Pop Heart'.

This still involved quite a lot of counting, which lead either massive frogging (I just learned that word - I like it) or missing parts of the lecture again, but still, it's so much better than before, because now I am in control when I'll just keep crocheting or when I'll put the needle down to just fully focus for a few minutes.

I already got my next project planned and actually started yesterday, though I'm not telling yet - still have to see how it works out. Two hints though - a) it involves next to no counting, which makes it ideal for working in the lectures, and b), it's actually useful for once - as much as I love Amigurumi, most of the time I don't know what to actually do with them, so now I'm trying to focus on making at least my crotcheting (and hopefully knitting, if I manage to learn that again - knitting and I, we have a history, but that's a story for an other post) on making stuff that has actually a purpose. I might talk about that some more later, but I don't want to rob myself of a chance for a small blog post some time I don't have actuall progress to show, now do I? For now, I'm off to university. And crocheting.

Monday 20 January 2014

January IHSW - Recap

As I already mentioned, last weekend was the very first IHSW (International Hermit and Stitch Weekend) I wanted to participate in, and as I also mentioned, I wasn't even home over the weekend, which made things quite a bit more complicated. You have to know that Felix' family - while all of them are very nice people - is also pretty demanding in terms of time, so hermiting was quite...difficult. Some stitching was done, however - as promised, I started on the 'Toby the Fox' bookmark from DMCs Woodland Folk series, and I got quite a bit done already.

I might even have finished it - I already got the top part done, but than I realized that I was off by one stitch horizontally, so I had to pull everything out again, which not only cost me quite some time but also had a great negative impact on my motivation. But now I'm right back on track (the picture shows where I was sunday evening, by now there is some more fox in the picture) and I guess I'll have it finished in a few days, than I'll get back to Peacock Tapestry.

As I already mentioned, the weekend was really busy and crazy, though I enjoyed spending time with with Felix' sister Evelyn and his brother Max and, of course, my dear friends Jule and Frank. But I'm still a little bummed that I couldn't join the IHSW hangout with Carla and Nancy and Krystal and everyone else. I had plans for this weekend, plans, I tell you! Sadly, life usually has other plans whenever I try to make some of my own, but I guess that's just like it has to be.

On a bright note, we finally got around to watch Pacific Rim which we wanted to do ever since we saw the Honest Trailer. To be fair (the following is not meant to contain any spoilers, but if you are very sensitive to stuff like that you might want to skip the rest of the post), the movie is not half bad, though I DO smell a lot of wasted potential here (like - what exactly IS on the other side of the Breach? And why are the governments so adamant about shuting the Jaeger programm down?). But as far as giant robot movies go (okay, I only watched Transformers so far, and those are minuscule compared to the Jaegers) it was pretty good. Made me almost forget my stitching while watching - almost! And that's where I'll be heading now. Back to stitching. See you guys around!

Thursday 16 January 2014

2014 WIPocalypse - Project list and introduction

As already mentioned in an earlier post, I'm following the WIPocalypse this year, and the rules suggest to update on each full moon, which is neat as it won't collide with any other project this way. There's also suggested topics for each update, and while I won't promise that I will answer all of the questions, I'll try. So here comes WIPocalpyse update #1 - Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!

So for a detailed introduction of myself I kindly point you to my very first blog post on December 28th - this whole blog is still quite new, and I would basically just be repeating myself if I wrote another one. I will, however, gladly introducy my ongoing and planned projects to you - so let's start with what surely is my most imortant project right now - Teresa Wentzler's Peacock Tapestry.

I started this on January 1st to participate in the '2014 - The Year of the Magnificent Teresa Wentzler'-project. First, it was really just a replacement - my first project was supposed to be The Enchanter, and I just got PT because I found the kit for little money on ebay, but because of I couldn't start the Enchanter when I wanted to, and now I'm totally in love with Peacock Tapestry, though it will probalbly take most of the year to finish.

So here's where I am right now - while taking the picture, I realized that my work wasn't, in fact, as centered as I had aimed for, but I still got almost 3" on every side and the fabric won't fray, so it's nothing to start ripping good work out about. I think.

So far, I have done the top section of the border, and I'm aiming to finish all of the boder/frame before moving on to the actual picture, which might get quite repetitive, so it's a good thing I have other projects to alternate with. 

Most prominent amongst these other projects is the mid-sized The Little Mermaid from the Thomas Kinkade Disney Dreams Collection, one of the few WIPs that carried over from a very productive year 2013. When I saw Thomas Kinkade's Disney-cross stitch, I fell in love instantly, and I wanted to start with one of the mid sized ones because the small ones are, you know, small, and the big one quite intimidating, though I really want to try one or two of them some time. Anyway, I worked on this quite intensively for some time, but there is a lot of color chaning involved (sometimes after only one or two stitches), so it's quite tiresome and I somehow lost my 'drift' on it, if that makes any sense.

Right now it's only a few stitches here and there - when I don't want to move PT, or when I finished a section and can't find my camera and don't want to move on before taking a picture - so it's going rather slowly. The last time I actually worked on it was when I was at my grandfather's in december, caught on the couch with nothing else to do, and I made quite some progress then, so I guess all I need is to find some motivation and this will be done in no time.

Well, and I guess technically, this tulip pillow case by Vervaco is still a WIP, too, even though all that's left to do is the finishing - so I need to pull myself together and put tha backside on. Piece of cake, I hope. Working with such thick and fluffy yarn surely was an experience - one I'm not sure I want to repeat. Seriously, I'm not sure - somehow I liked it, and somehow I didn't; it's quite confusing.

So, that much for my ongoing WIPs. I do have some ready-to-go projects lying around here (either complete kits or just projects I gathered all the supplies on) that might become WIPs during the course of the year, including (but probably not limited to as I'm always forgetting about stuff):
  • Toby Fox Bookmark from DMC's Woodland Folk series
  • Seashell Treasures from Dimension's Gold Collection Petites
  • Flowers in vases by Vervaco
  • Still Life with Martini by riolis
  • Grandchildren are flowers by Dimension Crafts
  • Teresa Wentzler's The Enchanter
  • A Bookmark I want to make based on a friend's artwork
Since I'm also participating in Stitch from Stash and therefore don't want to spend spend a lot of money, this will probably be about what you can expect here during the course of the year (I do have some other UFOs hidden somewhere, but those are mostly from my cross stitch beginning times 10-15 years ago, so there will have to be some serious considering which of some actually will be finished), though I do plan on doing some seasonal stitching along the way, so we'll see. Also, I by no means intend to finish all of this projects this year (I would sure like to, but I don't think there's any chance for that happening, not with two projects as big as PT and the Enchanter), but I'll sure do my best.

So, that much about my stitching plans for the year...time to move on to the more imidiate future. Since I won't be home for the weekend (tonight, my boyfriend - his name is Felix by the way, I feel a little stupid writing 'my boyfriend' all the time - and I will drive to where his parents live, because it was his brother's birthday and there are also some other apointments he needs to attend) I sadly won't be able to participate in my very wirst IHSW (International Hermit & Stitch Weekend) in the way I want, but I'll still try to get some stitching in. I don't want to move PT, though - it's currently all nice and cosyly settled in it's little basket and I'm afraid it will get all tangled up if I put it into a bag or something - and I don't feel like doing much work on the little mermaid, either (though I'll take her with me, just in case), so I prepared the Toby Fox bookmark, which will make for a nice break from all this PT-border-thing.

Once I get home, I can than decide whether I do some more border stitching, or work on the Little Mermaid, or even start the Enchater so I have to big projects to alternate between. Or maybe, just maybe, I already started the next part of the border because for some reason, I can't keep my hands off of this not-quite-a-bird-yet. Oh well.

Sunday 12 January 2014

Getting into the flow

Since university has started again, everything I do seems to be painfully slow. Might be that I'm just attempting to do to many things at once - Little time plus reading multiple books, coding on multiple projects and playing multiple games makes for very little progress in each of them. Thankfully, stitching proves to be an excaption, because here I managed to focus solely on one project - Peacock Tapestry! I'm making great progress with the border and as such I was able to finish the next section. Now only a little more before I reach the upper right corner - if I can keep this pace, I'll only need about three months. For the border. Oh well.

I did encounter another problem this week: For some reason, my kit contains two different shades of golden metallic thread. From comparing whyt I got with pictures on the internet, I gathered that I probably have some 002C (maybe even 002, the structure seems to be quite different, too) in addition to the 102C I actually need - and of course I started using the wrong kind. So I ripped all the gold I had used so far out again, only to be faced with another problem - the 102C alone obiously wont't be enough for everything I need, and the only shop I know that stocks the Kreinik Cord-Palette is the UK-based sewandso that also had the fabric for my enchanter, and I don't want to order there for just one single roll of floss. So for now, I'll only do the cross stitch-parts of the gold thread (I should have enough for those) and once  get around to ordering the floss, I'll do the backstitching as well - this way it won't matter as much should I get s slightly different shade than.

On a brighter note, their shipping times seem to be a lot shorter than they announce - because after only about a week, the fabric I ordered has already arrived, together with the Romeo & Juliet-Leaflet I spotted in their stock. Can't order just one item, you know the drill. So now only some threading bobbins and cleaning the edge of this shiny new
fabric, and the Enchanter is good to go, too. Which means should I ever get into a situation where I can't continue working on PT (which might well arise as I have read that lots of this kits are missing certain colours after all or, if not, have unsufficient supplies of some, so I might need to reorder even more stuff at some point) or am just plain bored with it, I won't need to pause with the Year of TW after all. Also, this order kind of marks the official start of Stitch from Stash for me, as I haven't ordered anything else back in 2013, so everything I need and buy from now on will count. Phew.

So, I'll be off to stitch the next section now, which is quite a bit smaller than the last one, but as I'm not home the next weekend, I might only update after that. Oh wait, I think I need to post something on the 16th für the WIPocalypse, so I guess I'll update again before the weekend after all...

Monday 6 January 2014

Welcome to 2014

Well hello again, my dear readers and co-bloggers, and a merry welcome to 2014, which we all know by now belongs (almost) entirely to the wonderful art of the magnificent Teresa Wentzler.

But let's start at the beginning once more - I spent New Year's Eve at my boyfriend's home, which ment a three-and-a-half hours trainride on the afternoon of the 31st which I spent almost entirely reading and finishing the frist Sherlock Holmes 'A Study in Scarlet' on my kindle. And once again I realized that a lot of German translators obviously do something wrong - when I started my grandma's (German) Version of the Complete Sherlock Holmes some time ago, I almost fell asleep a few pages in, while I could hardly put the original version down. Oh well.

We then continued to have a rather quiet evening, watching a movi (Dr. No, the first of the James Bond movies most of which I never got around to watch), than we went up on the hill to enjoy the fireworks and celebrate a little with his parants, than back home to watch the Little Mermaid (they finally released a BlueRay version which has the great original German synchronization from 1989 instead of the not-so-great remake from 1998) and finally start my Peacock Tapestry, which you will see below.

The remaining days until we went home on the 4th of January were rather busy visiting lots of relatives and friends, which was nice, because I got to see a lot of great people again, but also a little sad, because I had hoped for some more movie & stitching time (though we did manage to watch The Nightmare before christmas, which neither of us knew yet, There's something about Mary, which only I didn't know, and Man of Steel, which was my first Superman-movie ever and quite okay, I guess, though I'm more of a Marvel-Fangirl). Since we got home we're watching NCIS again, which makes for a great stitching-background, and we just finished Season 6.

Okay, now finally on to the important part - Peacock Tapestry! I followed Teresa's own advice to start with the border instead of the center of the picture, so I very carefully measured how much spave there would be on each side and where I should begin (so far it's looking good) and than  I started on the left upper corner  block.

It took me over I day of really motivated stitching to finish, because as you can see, it's pretty detailed - there's also some gold thread on there, but it doesn't show in the photograph. I didn't put on the beads yet as I'm afraid they'll eventually damage the fabric if I attached them already. I do have to admit that I'm making things a little harder for me than they ought to be, because the borders of this diamon eyelets are supposed to be straight stitched, but I didn't like the look of that (to be honest, I just forgot at first, but I tried it out later and still didn't like it) so I went for this teeny-tiny backstitches instead, which I like a lot more.

In the meantime, I also did one section (so, everything that fit on the first page) of the upper border (actually I already started on the second section, but it's not much yet and I didn't want to take it out of the hoop again), and my progress now looks something like this:

I really like how the border is coming along (though it's curious that it seems to be a lot darker than on the picture of the model), but it's also a lot of the same and quite repetitive, so it's a good thing I have some other projects in store so I can take a break now and than - I might even start the Enchanter once the fabric arrives, so I can at least alternate between to different borders ^.~

Concerning the Enchanter, while the fabric hasn't arrived yet, I finally got the missing skeins of floss I ordered back in December. And of course I couldn't just order six skeins of floss alone, so there's also a few more boxes and bobbins to keep my floss oganized and a kit that was on sale for only 5€ instead of the original 20-something (and that I liked. I'm NOT just buying stuff because it's cheap xD). The retailer I usually order from also includes somthing extra with almost every order - usually it's just a catalog or something, but this time I got an old issue of a cross stitch magazine which has some really amazing patterns - a beautiful parrot, and Indian sampler and a chinese vase all in blue and white, for example, so I was quite happy.

I'll get back to stitching now and hope I can soon update with the second section of the border, but starting tomorrow it's back to university, so we'll see how swiftly that will go...