Thursday 27 February 2014

February SFS

So I guess it's time for February SFS now, tomorrow being the deadline and all. I actually wanted to wait until all of my parcels have arrived so I could just SHOW you everything I got, but that last one doesn't even have a shipping confirmation yet, so I might as well post now.

First of all - I wasn't nearly as good in February as in January, but I guess that's allowed as long as I keep to the budget - which I suppose I did but I haven't actually calculated that yet, so this might come as a surpise for me as well! Let's just start with a picture of everything that has arrived so far:

First off we have 'A Cross Stitcher's Oriental Odyssey', a wonderful book by the wonderful Joan Eliot, containing amongst others the patterns of the three Oriental Ladies I'd really like to stitch some day. Sadly it's been out of print for a while, but I managed to snatch a very well preserved used one for the breattaking amount of 3€, which is great and I'd love to stitch almost everything in there eventually ^_^

Then, I finally ordered the Kreinik Cord I will eventually need for PT - my favorite online shop is truely awesome, because they don't normaly stock this kind of floss but the ordered it especially for me at no extra cost - which is another 1.99€, and since I didn't want to pay shipping fees for just this one article, I also got the starting supplies for the Game of Thrones bookmarks - a 15.5"x17.5" piece of 16ct antique white aida (2.99€) and a total of 8 skeins of DMC floss à 95ct - I only got the colors for two out of nine bookmarks and I will order the rest with my next bigger order from the US.

Finally, the Thomas Kinkade Disney Dreams Collection: The Lion King kit you can see in the picture was my gift for myself for the splurge weekend; I had so much fun working on The Little Mermaid that I want to make the big ones too; all of them, eventually, even though that probably will be work for a life time. But I'll start collecting the kits now before someone stops producing them (*shoots a nastly glance at Zweigart and DMC and all the others who think that stopping to make certain supplies is a neat idea*). Anyway, that was $29.99 for splurge weekend, + horrendous amounts of shpping which thankfully doesn't count for SFS, but I realized that buying those kits here for the ~45€ they usually cost is not really more expensive once you add shipping and import taxes.

So, my total comes to 15.58€ which equals $21.28 at today's rate, plus $29.99 out of $100 from the splurge weekend. I also ordered two small kits for 4.50€ ($6.14) each that I want to make for my grandma's birthday, but if they arrive soon and I start working on them right away, I (hopefully) won't have to add them to my total.

That much for SFS, now a short excursionto this week's progress so far: I finish cross stitches on the Little Mermaid, now I only need to add the backstitch when I feel like doing so sometime before April and I should be fine. For now I'm taking a little break with PT, but as I won't be home next week I'll have to decide on some smaller project to take with me, probably wither Seashell Treasures or those bookmarks I was talking about earlier. And once I get home, there might be a whole lot of extra stitching time, because me amazon Prime account just got upgraded to unlimited video streaming yesterday and there's sooo much on there I NEED to watch ^_^

Monday 24 February 2014

February IHSW - Recap

I swear, one of these days I'll spend an IHSW just as it is meant to be spent...but this month wasn't it. All week I have been reeeeally busy with The little Mermaid because I wanted to get the cross stitching part done, and then for the weekend, motivation just...left me. And knowing me as I do, I felt like this was a time to slow down rather than to push through; don't want some stitchers-burnout or something hit me. But at least I got to join Carla and Crystal on the hangout for some time, which was quite awesome despite me being terribly shy about my spoken English. I hope that next time I can join them for a while longer, but I can't promise because it's my birthday that weekend and people tend to assume I want to spend time with them on that day - however do they get that idea, I ask you? ^.~

So here's my combined week-of-IHSW-progress...even going slow, it shouldn't take me more than a few days to finish now, then some crazy backstitching-action, and then off to find a nice frame for it!

That is, if those items for a gift I'm planning to make don't arrive earlier than expected, because once they do, I'll have to focus on them - SFS rules and stuff like that. By the way, I'm holding off with my SFS post for a few more days because I'd like to really show you guys what I got, along with the crazy german pricing of stitch supplies - I do SO envy you sometimes...

Friday 14 February 2014

2014 WIPocalypse - February

So...February is halfway through and I'm told that it's time already for the second WIPocaplyse post. Before I get to the subject of this month, letz me show you real quickly what I've done so far:

I've made some progress on Peacock Tapestry - how much really depends on whether you're regularly following my blog or only check in for the monthly WIPocalypse updates. While in the latter case, the amount of finished border has more than doubled, in the former there's just one new section, albeit a rather big one. Either way, now it's only one more page-long section and I'll have reached the lower edge - I'm pretty confident by now that my nightmares about having started to low and not having enough space on the bottom will not turn true. Once I got there, I guess I'll first complete the very outermost edge so I can better see the true dimensions of the whole thing.

For The Little Mermaid, again it depends - for WIP-only readers, there's quite some progress, for my regulars probably not as much as expected - because I've already abandoned my new rotation again, at least for now, since I really wanted to finish another section of PT for this update. Therefor, I will now shift my focus on little Arielle here a little more, so I can atually get her done in March.

I also started and finished two bookmarks that you can find in my 'Finishes'-tab on the right along with links to the detailed descriptions. So, now to the 'subject' of this month's WIPocalpyse: 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! To be honest, I don't have much of an answer to this yet. I'm fairly new to projects that are big enough to actually justify 'rotating' them in any way - before that, I mostly did designs that were finished within a few weeks, so I either finished them in one go or I lost motivation halfway through and put them aside to become UFOs and to be picked up again some (long) time later, if at all. But now that I'm starting on bigger projects, I really start to feel the need for some variation - but for progress' sake, I try to not start more than two big projects at a time, maybe with some small design like a bookmark inbetween as a 'snack'. Still trying to figure out a rotational habit that really works for me and whether two designs really is the optimum (or even feasible in the long run), so I'm looking forward to read about some other people commenting on the subject :)

So...what else to tell you. Some more shows have been watched, we now finished Season 8 of NCIS and also Season 1 of Fringe. Also, we decided to watch some more movies if we have the time - we always be them, and then end up watching shows again. So far, Felix' choice was Grown Ups, an actually pretty funny comedy with some rather famous actors, and mine was 20 30 40, a chinese movie about three women of the respective ages struggling with finding and losing love in modern Taipeh. Also, we watched Valentine's Day yesterday, which Felix got because I insisted to do at least something for the date. I'm not much of a fan of RoCos, so I'm still not sure whether it was supposed to be more of a gift or a punishment for forcing him to celebrate, but it was pretty okay in the end. Oh, and if you're asking yourself why we did watch it on the 13th instead of today - 1, rebellion!, and 2., there's once more responsibilities which made us visit his parents for the weekend, so right now he's at band practice and I'm sitting here alone, writing this, listening to reaally old Beatles albums, and getting some stitches into my little mergal ^_^

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Kindle Cover #1

As I already mentioned some time ago, I got a amazon Kindle ebook-reader for christmas this year. With it came this great leather case that also has a little lamp and looks really beautiful - but it has one big flaw: There's nothing to keep the front closed, and so I never dared to just put it into my backpack because I was afraid something would get between the cover and the display and cause damage.

So when I picked up crocheting again recently, one of my first ideas for an actually usefull project was a cover for my kindle - just something simple to put it in that would keep everything closely together. As that would practicaly mean crocheting a big rectangle and involved next to no counting, it was also a great project to take to university with me. Also I spend some time picking a nice pattern; there are lots of different crochet patterns I want to try and this seemed like a simple enough practice piece.

In the end, the pattern didn't turn out quite how I had imagined it - it was supposed to have more of a 'woven' look, maybe something was off about the strength of my needle or yarn or something - but it's still pretty enough for me to be pleased with the result. There's not a stitch sewed on this (apart from fastening loose ends and the button), everything is crocheted together.

To make this, I used my favourite acrylic yarn - 'Versailles' from German manefacturer buttinette. It's really nice and easy to work with and a pleasure to make amigurumi and such, but for larger projects it's actually a bit thin, which is why this took quite a while longer than expected. But I still got quite a lot of this yarn in several colors, so for the moment I'm going to continue using it ^_^

Next up is an other kindle cover for Felix - same yarn, but in black and bright red, and a different pattern. But as tomorrow is my last lecture ever, I'll have to see when I find time to work on it...can't neglect stitching, can I?

Sunday 9 February 2014

Emergency Bookmark

Even though it's been near to twenty years and I've since passed elementary school, highschool and a fair part of college, I'm still in contact with one of my kindergarden teachers - mostly in the form of birthday or christmas cards. She also lives nearby, so we run into each other every so often.

So when I heard she had an accident last week, I was a little shock for me, although it was nothing severe - she tripped and fell and some stitches had to be applied inside her mouth, which is sure to feel nasty, but will probably heal without leaving a trace. Maybe it's even a good thing in a way, because she's always really stressed out and tired since she's involved so much with church and charitiy work, and now she is forced to stay at home for a while, to recover and - as she said - catch up with her reading.

So, since it was also her birthday on Saturday, I decided that I wanted to stitch a bookmark for her - something nice and bright and colorful to cheer her up. I didn't have any kits left though, and rummaging through my (very limited) stash of patterns didn't produce anything nice either. Since TW's knotwork bookmarks requite materials I know I didn't have, I went pattern-hunting on the internet. I found quite a few free patterns online, but lots of them had very few images and instead lots of text in them (which wasn't an option, since those texts were in English and as far as I know she doesn't understand that and I didn't have the time to play around and translate everything in a way that would still fit the pattern). Other I just didn't like, and the ones I DID like were mostly from some Russian site and in my eyes the looked much to clean for free patterns, more like scans from some magazine or something, and the decription was all Russion so I didn't understand I word and decided on not risking it.

Than I stumbled upon some rather nice patterns on Kincavel Krosses, including a cute Bird & Florals bookmark I could settle for.  I then went through my stash to get out the supplies I needed (and oh, the things I have seen - I'll have to do a lot of sorting out eventually) and found some leftover aida, but I soon discovered that the design would turn out way to big to be properly used as a bookmark on this - the same was true for some ribbons I got some time ago. So I did some more rumaging and finally found some rather coarse evenweave (maybe 20 or 18 ct, I guess) on which I could over-one it.

Picking out the floss went much more smoothly, as the pattern only required four different colors and I have quite a collection (though it's mostly  a mixture of Anchor, some no-name brands and leftovers from kits, and most of them unlabeld, which is one of the reasons why I didn't want to do a pattern with more...delicate shading), and although it was almost time for bed on wednesday evening, I set to stitching right away.

And that is where things started to go wrong. I don't get it - it's flowers and a cute birdie and bright and colorful and I love all of these things, it should have been a fun little project - instead, it got to be one of the most brutal experiences I've ever made while stitching. I just couldn't get into it. It would be too harsh to say I suffered through it, but I didn't enjoy it either - an than it was more than 1300 stitches in only little more than two days, and the fabric was driving me nuts because it was so soft and my thread would slip right through to the next hole (don't ask me how it managed to, but it was annoying). All the time I was working on it (and I did little less this two days) all I could think was how much I wanted to get back to Peacock Tapestry.

When I finally finished late at night on friday, I almost cried with relief - for one, because I was done, and than because I had bean half afraid I wouldn't be pleased with the result. But than I was quite happy with how it had turned out, and glad I could make it in time too - I havenn't heard from my teacher as of yet, but I'm quite sure it will have been worth the effort :)

So despite this not being the most pleasant cross stitch experience ever (I might even have to revise my answer in Carla's interview concerning my mos brutal project yet, hehe) I'm still happy I made it - and if I have learned one thing it is I should really start a binder or folder of such emergency projects so I won't have to panic and search all over like I did this time. So should anyone of you now some free or cheap patterns for small projects like this, I'd be much obliged if you pointed me at them :)