Friday 28 November 2014

November SFS

Oh boy (Or rather 'Oh girls'? I don't think I have lots of male readers, or if I have, they never leave comments), time really does it really the end of November already? Which also means, I don't have much time left to finish my thesis, but on the other hand, I have so much exciting, fun stuff to share with you today, so this post is probably going to be a bit on the long side anyways. Don't worry, there will be pretty pictures amongst all the rambling as well!

Let's start of with this month's SFS. I've done a bit more of pattern-gathering, but well within my budget - in the beginning of the month, I bought Cloudsfatory's 'Magical Creatures' Sampler, the 2014 SAL, for $16.99 - I will stitch it some day in one piece, just wanted to secure the patter before the year is over because I don't know if they will still offer it afterwards. And just today, I signed up for Stacy's Mystery Band Sampler SAL for $7, I'm planning to actually stitch along with this one, so I will need to get supplies soon. This brings my total for this month to $23.99. I also made use of the current exemption - Love Thy Thread will be going out of business in a few days, so we ware allowed to get the patterns without it eating away on our budget. It took me a while to decide, but I finally got two of them - Fragile and The Loneliness of Autumn.

I also bought a kit off ebay - Bothy Threads 'Cut Thru Cottage' - but that shouldn't cont for SFS, as it's going to be stitched right away as a gift for Felix' sister and her boyfriend, for when the move into their new home next year. I saved about 9€ by buying it from someone who's cleaning out their stash of un-opened kits, so at least I made some right budgeting choices!

To be honest, I've been eying th Cut Thru' series for quite a while now. They are all so cute, so colorful and look really fun to stich. If stitching this is only half as fun as I imagine, it won't be the last one I stitched from the series...there's also Noah's Arc, and a pirate ship, a fairy hill, a much fun!

So much for my new stash, lets got on to the happy and exciting things mentioned earlier:
The first bit of happy news is that I finished-finished Peter Polarbear. It was my first try at any kind of ornament finish, so I kept it simple - he has a backing of red felt and is stuffed with the thread-bits I collected while stitching AoF, which makes him kind of extra special, at least that's what I like to tell myself! He's by no means perfect as an ornament, but I'm still pretty pleased by how he has turned out, and I sincerly hope that whoever will get to get him will love him as much as I do!

Of course, I also continued stitching on Angel of Frost, and...I finished! Not the whole thing, of course, but the stitching part. I just need to add beads now. Thankfully, there wasn't that much stitching left to do anyways: I just had to backstitch around the inner and outer edge of the border, do onther line of wrapped backstitch around the picture area, then add the cords to her cloak and basket (I'm starting to actually like wrapped backstitch)  and do the details on her skirt (I loooved those, so much detail, and not at all repetitive!). Now I'll need to get started on the beading, which makes me a bit nervous...but I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually.

So with only the beading left, I have a bit of free stitching time at my hands - I can only do the beading at my desk (and only when the light is good because I don't have a proper lamp there yet). I'll try to get a bit done every day, but most of the time I have put aside for stitching is in the evenings, when I watch shows with Felix, so did start Cut Thru Cottage for that (I actually got a few stitches done on Lady before CTC arrived, but really not enough to show - I promise you'll see her again before the end of the year, however!).

I haven't gotten much stitching in yet, but let me say a few words about the kit itself - it's marvelous, probably the best kit I ever had! The thread came pre sorted on two color cards, marked with the symbols already instead of some name or number; the chart is divided in 9 regular sized pages (big print), and there are two versions of it - one is the background, so cross stitch only, the other has all the backstitching. So fun to work with! The materials are really good quality as well, 16ct light blue Zweigart aida and Madeira threads. I'm pretty sure I'll stitch some more Bothy kits eventually, but for now I'll focus on this one!

One more thing befoe I commence with non-stitchy stuff (and an apology to my regular readers, who will read this for the second time and probably a few more times in the future): As statistically speaking, quite a few more people read this SAL-checkins then my usual updates, I want to take this opportunity to do a little advertisment for the SAL I will host next year: DESIGN.

DESIGN (Designers Everyone Should Instantly Get to Notice) is a SAL where each month, you pick one project you worked on during the year (doesn't matter whether you just started, finished, or are somewhere in the middle), then talk a bit about the designer of said project - why you like him/her, what's special about them, is it your first (or last?) project by this designer, and so on. I think it should be a fun way to introduce everyone to your favourites, and possibly find news one! No need to participate every month either. For more info and sign up, click here.

So now (as I have been writing on this post on and of for over eight hours), let me just get to the non-stitchy part really quick. Not much happend this week (again), but a bit of watching: The Walking Dead (S3, E8+9) continues to be awesome, The Nanny (S4, E1-8) continues to be funny, and Once Upon a Time...Man (E3-5) is still semi-informative and give me nostalgic feelings. We also watched Breaking Dawn Part 1 + 2...and I feel the need to explain (although I think it's really a shame anyone should feel the need to explain and defend themselves for liking or disliking something): I am by no means a...what do they call themselves no? Twihards? I read the books when I was a teenager, and I really enjoyed them. I can see why other kids that age do. When I got older, I got to realize that they are not that great, really - the image they paint of love is just too unrealistic, too one sided, and they are not that well written either (though I'm afraid that a few figures of speech have found their way into my own english wasn't that sophisticated [not to say that it is now] when I read them, and I did read them in the original). But there were still a few things that I liked, maybe just by looking at them from another perspective. Those things were what made me drag Felix to the first three movies (and he 'suffered' through them bravely!). We didn't see the last two in the cinema (because by then, ticket prices had risen way too much and it just wasn't worth it for us), but now that both had appeared on amazon prime, we still wanted to watch them - the last one was bound to have some nice special effects, and really, I think it was the best of the five. In fact, the movies were quite good, considering the books - they just used the wrong actors. Seriously, apart from Jacob, Charly and maybe Renesme noone looked even close to what I had in mind while reading. Thank god for stitching, so I was mostly listening to the movies anyways :D

So, after that 'confession' on my part, I'll be going right back to work...and maybe stitching...or shopping, it's Black Friday after all, even online for us Germanys. See you!

Saturday 22 November 2014

Middle-of-actual-IHSW post

So it turns out IHSW acutally should be this weekend instead of last, just as I thought - not that it's going to make any difference for me, my weekend all tend to be about the same those last few weeks/months/how long has this been going on now? Getting up, trying to work, failing miserably, getting a few stitches done, trying again, maybe actually get stuff done, then some movie watching and stitching in the evening before bed. Not just the weekends, but just about every day looks like that now, but there really is light at the end of the tunnel - I'm at 25 pages of my thesis, so I only need about 15 more (although more is always good) and I pretty much know what to write, I just need to get it done. Should be posible during the next 8 days or so, right? Right? I hope I'm right...

ANYWAYS, you're probably not here to hear me rambling, so lets get to actually stitching and stuff - short and sweet due to a lack of time, lets not get into that yet again. I did work more on AoFs border (after finding another skein of Ecru in The Enchanters threads), and as you can see, I actually finished all of the diamond lattice as well as the lazy daisies. I've become a lot better with those now! In fact, there's very little stitching left to be done, so little that I actually hope to get down to the beading before next week's post. I actually started planning my next project already, but I'll tell you more about that in the SFS post next week.

I also finished stitching my ornament - not done the finishing-finish yet, but maybe I can get to that tomorrow. Everyone seems to share their ornaments now, effectivly lifting the whole secret-thing, so I might as well do it myself: This is Peter Polar Bear, one of the free patterns of Brooke's Books Advent Animals series. I didn't stitch the number '2' that usually comes with him to make hm 'stand alone' and I was thinking about putting something else there, but I think it looks good as is actually. Eventually I'm going to do all of them to get a full set (so I'll do Peter again as well), this little guy was really fun to stitch ^_^

We were so very busy this week, not even a whole lot of watching happened.  (Also, the last post was on a Monday, if I remember correctly, so it hasn't been a full week yet). There was a bit more of The Walking Dead (S3, E3-7) and The Nanny (S3, E19-24), and since we had enjoyed Wasabi that much last weekend, we also watched another Jean Reno movie, Rubin & Quentin/Tais tois! which also has GĂ©rard Depardieu to make it extra funny - Reno is a cold-blooded killer and Depardieu a stupid petty criminal who meets him in prison, decides that he's his best friend, and refuses to leave him, even when he flees from prison. Very funny and just what you need after working with numbers and stuff all day long! :)

I hope I'll be able to tell you more next week, but for now that's it...have a fun weekend, and goodbye!

Monday 17 November 2014

November - Post-Pre-IHSW

So...I actually meant to have this up on Saturday morning, but then I overslept and my dad got here before I could post; we spent the day with him as well as Sunday morning and by Sunday noon I jst thought I could make this a proper post-weekend post instead. It might even have been IHSW, the judges are still not sure whether it should have been last or next weekend. Long storey short, life happend and got in the way and so my post comes now.

So as predicted, I mostly stitched Snowflakes on Angel of Frost. I got them all done in four days, and they turned out really pretty (if I may say so!). Next up was the diamon lattice which is made with wrapped backstitch, and I have to say I'm not to fond of that...working with six strands is not so much fun, especially the beginning and end of a thread, and it just looked so...bulky. I had half a mind to rip it out again, maye try three strands or just the backstitching instead, but luckyly I decided to put the lazy Daisies in in the section I had been working on, and with them I can now see how rich this border is actually going to be, especially when the beads will be added (lots and lots of beads, to be precise), and I think the wrapped backstitch will look good after all, so I will continue doing it - if I can find another skein of Ecru, I know I have one or two in my stash, the satin stitch and the wrapped backstitch just ate through it really quickly. By the way, that makes three stitches I'd never done before!

With all this wrapping or no wrapping, I got a little frustrated with AoF this week, so I decided to actually start on this ornament I have been talking about. It took me a while to find a pattern I like (and actually have the supplies for), but I finally found something nice and I already finished most of the stitching - I hope I can take it to my grandparents later this week to get my sewing stuff and finish it. As it's for a secret exchange, I won't share my progress with you just now, but I can show you the floss toss I did before starting, and share a few hints: White and red are the colors used most, and it's winter-y, but not neccessarily christmas-y.

Other than my stitching progress, most of my time focused on writing my thesis this week. I already got 14 pages down, so I am optimistic to finish it in time - I just miss doing other stuff so much! You wouldn't believe it, because I actually got a bit of stuff done this week, but apart from our usually hour-or-two of relaxing on the couch and watching stuff in the evening, it was really just things that were almst done already: I finished a little game on my PS Vita called Doki Doki Universe, where you play as a robot looking for the girl who left him on a lonely rock in space and at the same time learning but being human is about, because otherwise he'll be trashed by the company that made him. He then travels from planet to planet, looking for the girl and helping people by bringing them stuff. Fun little game, but it did get a bit repetetiv in the end.
I also finished my most current book, which was 'The Memoires of Sherlock Holmes'. I really like this stories, and the end was pretty sad - if I didn't have the next volume titled 'The Return of Sherlock Holmes' on my kindle already, I might have cried a little; but as things are I'm just really looking forward to read that.

As for watching, I realized that last week, I totally forgot about two movies we watched: The Hangover, which I had actually never seen before (shame on me) and really enjoyed, even it the homour was a bit...crude? for my taste at bits; and also Babylon A.D., which I enjoyed, but not really understood.

This week, there was some more of The Walking Dead, we finished S2 (E9-13) and started on S3 (E1+2). We already watched quite a bit of The Nanny (S3, E5-18) because it makes for a great, short working-break and I don't want to watch TWD right before bed. Then I also watched E3 of Once Upon A Time...Man, and when my dad was here we saw Wasabi, a creat French/Japanese production starrind dad's favourite Jean Reno, and a few short episodes of Shaun the Sheep (S1 E1-3), a stop/motion animation by the guys who also did Wallace & Grommit. Sounds like a lot, but didn't really feel like now I'm back to writing before I'll hopefulyl get to watch another merciful episode of something, then fall into bed :D

Saturday 8 November 2014

November WIPocalypse

So it's already time for the second-to-last WIPocalypse update for this, where has time gone? It really flies by, even more so if you're really busy...and busy I have been this past month! Between moving and lots and lots of university stuff and stitching and life, I hardly have time to breathe, but I can see light yet at the ends of all those tunnels, so no reason to despair! It just means I'll have to keep these blogs and stuff a little shorter than usual, so let me jump right up ahead and into the update.

The question for this month is What are your favorite and least favorite materials to use in your stitching?, and that's a good one for me to answer because I can't say a whole lot to this yet - I haven't done a lot of experimenting yet. For fabric, I think I can say that my favourite is evenweave - more even (hence the name, haha) and easier to work on then linen, much prettier in the finish than aida, escpecially if you love hand dyed fabrics (which I do!). My least favourite at this point is probably waste canvas - you can do really pretty things with it, so I won't get around using it more often, but it's a realy pain to get your stitches even and to properly attach the canvas to the fabric, I will have to do a bit more experimenting to figure that out I guess.
As for floss, I haven't worked with anything but cottons so far (not counting one pillow cover that was done with a really thik yarn like stuff, which was strange), so those will have to count as my favourites - I really like hand dyed/over dyed here as well, especially subtle color changes (although I will have to do something rainbow-y eventually!).

Now for my actual progress - there was much more of it then I expected! I had finished the remainder of the cross stitching by saturday evening, then I spent all sunday doing the backstitching on the wings. The tree in the foreground took me almost two days, since it wasn't always clear which lines should be stitched in the green of the tree and which in the grey of the snow, but I eventually figured it out and I think it looks okay now. The remainder of the regular backstitching went much more smootly, lots of straight lines and not as much as I had feared at all, and I finished the 'regular' backstitching tomorrow morning. I then decided to also put in the over one backstitching on her face, even though that's much further down the list of instructions, but it just felt strange to have her look at me without a real face. That part was done yesterday evening, and went by rather quickly as well, only that one of the colors used wasn't listed with the floss needed and I didn't have it, but it was only a few stitches and easy to substitute.

Here's another picture which is more of a closeup of the face area...I'm not 100% satisfied, but I can't frog on the over one two often or I will dissort all of the other stitches as well, so I think it will be okay like this. Now on to the 'special instructions', I will probably spend most of next week stitching snow flakes on the border.

It's only been a week of backstitching now, but I already really, really miss cross stitching...maybe I will take a short break soon to stitch up an ornament for an exchange I want to take part in.

As for other stuff, I didn't have time for much, but some watching had to happen or would never have made as much progress: And after The Walking Dead finally showed up on amazon prime, there was no way to keep Felix from watching that anyway. We already finished all of Season 1 (which is only six episodes), and E1-8 from S2. I don't think we'll watch much else before we caught up, this show is quite fascinating...
Apart from it, we've only watched a bit of The Nanny (S3, E1-4) and E1+2 of Once Upon A Time...Man. That's a rather old (1978) animated, educative show which is originally from France. Some of the facts in there have been proven wrong or incomplete by now, but I used to watch these as a child and I'm now doing it again mostly out of nostalgia. This first season deals with the history of humanity, there are quite a few more, but only the first three (Man, Space and Life) are on amazon prime so far.

So that's it for this week, I'm going back to working and stitching snow flakes now...see you!