Sunday 30 December 2018

WIPocalypse - December Recap

It's the last Sunday of the year (gasp! Wherever has it gone to?!) and so it's time for the final recap of WIPocalypse achievements. This year I was trying to do '18 in '18' - meaning I picked 18 projects, some WIPs, some new starts, to work on and/or finish in 2018. Well, I think concluding I can say, I bit up a little more than I could chew! Thanks to the Longest Day SAL in June, when I stitched on length on every WIP, I have very little projects that did not get touched at all, but here are all the ones that didn't see any noteworthy progress:

  1. Snow White - The goal was one length a day but she fell by the wayside pretty early, pretty hard.
  2. Whacky Witches in Stitches - I wanted to finish this, but only worked on it for the Longest Day. Maybe next year?
  3. Viajante - I wanted to finish this, but only got a few hours of knitting in.
  4. Baby Blanket CAL - I think I did a few rows one time, but it's nowhere near to a finish! This is a set goal for early 2019, though.
  5. BB8 - I didn't even get around to hunt for the missing pieces on that one...
  6. Endangered Young 'Uns - not even started.
  7. Fans of the Far East - No progress apart from the Longest Day SAL.
  8. Lizzie Wallet SAL - dito
  9. Lady and the Tramp - dito
  10. Disney Princess Fobs - I stitched one or two in the beginning of the year, but nowhere near to the full set I wanted.
  11. Blackwork Water Lilies - No progress apart from the Longest Day SAL.
So that's eleven out of eighteen I failed on...kind of depressing, if it wasn't for the awesome progress I made on the other seven!

Fire and Ember - all finished and framed:

The Puppeteer - the goal was one length of black a day, and apart from falling behind by a few days over the holidys (which I'll surely catch up on within a week or so), I've been doing great. In fact I'm just a tiny bit short of finishing row four, which marks the halfway point!


99 - Finished in July, well in time to be a birthday gift in August:

The Mermaid - started and made some good progress, although I need to really push forward on her now to make the deadline!

Cut Thru Cottage - Finished in December for a Christmas present:

Arke - finished very early in the year and already worn a lot!

Ornaments of the Month: I still have a few extras to stitch, but made a full set:

So...that was my WIPocalypse for 2018. I have yet to do the total count of finishes for the year, but there were a few big ones and quite a few smaller ones - lots of knitting and crochet as I'm content. Over the last few weeks, I've been making plans for 2019...which are similar, but not quite the same, and probably also way to ambitious, but who cares as long as I make progress and have fun along the way!

Friday 28 December 2018

December Gifted Gorgeousness - Special Christmas Edition

I apologize for the lateness in getting this post up, but with all the gift making going on in December, it just seemed appropriate to wait until after Christmas to write this one. I am currently enjoying a somewhat lazy time, just reading and gaming and crafting at a leasurely pace because the pre-Christmas-madness is finally over!

So...let's see. First, I finished that hat I've been working on. Somehow in the hurry of giving it away, I didn't catch a really good picture, but here it is:

It turned out a little baggy, but it's so warm and soft and I made the pompom detachable following a tutorial from Youtube.

Then, I was working on gifts for two of my coworkers who had babies in November. One is another on of the bunny blankets (it's close to being finished, but I forgot taking a picture), the other is a Baby Surprise Jacket. I love the colours, and had the perfect little bee buttons in stash:

I also finished Cut Thru' Cottage, a present for sister in law and her boyfriend. Felix framed it up perfectly, and I should be happy to be done with all the backstitch - but I just want to start another one right away!

And last but not least, my mum saw the dragon scale wrist warmers I made for my grandma and requested to get a pair of her own, which I made the weekend before Christmas - I think these are my favourite colourway yet, and I should have just enough yarn left over to make another pair!

Thursday 27 December 2018

The people's choice - Dragons!

In the December edition of Jo's 'The people's choice' SAL, our subject is 'Dragons', and you already know what's coming next...after all, there is only one dragon I've been working on for every month of the last two and a half years! I finally finished Fire and Ember in November, and Felix framed it for me last week. Now we only need to find the perfect spot to hang that gorgeous red dragon!

Monday 24 December 2018

Adventcalendar Blog Hop - 24

This year I got the big jackpot in Jo's famous Advent Calendar Blog Hop - Christmas Eve, or Heiligabend, as we call it here! What will you find behind the door?

I actually tried to stitch something new for the hop, but I also had a last-minute present to finish and then there just wasn't enough time to do here is an ornament I did last year - 'Snow Birds' by Country Cottage Needleworks, from the 2013 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments Special Issu.

So that is one part of the blog hop done, the other part is talking about our favourite Christmas songs. Man, I love Christmas songs...that makes it reeeeally hard to chose just one! So I'll give you a few runner-ups before I get to the number one.

So, the song that makes me feel the most christmas-y inside is the old German Oh du Fröhliche. It's always the last song we sing in church on Christmas Eve, right before we go home and have food and presents, so ever since I was a child it's just pretty much the song that really start's Christmas for me.

Felix' and mine favourite Christmas album for the last couple of years has been 'A Hollens Family Christmas Album' by Peter Hollens. I love that guy...have you seen/heard his version of Angels from the Realm of Glory? Instant-Goosebumps, and time of year!

But my currently favourite Christmas song is his original December Song. I love the music, the text and most of all the message - let everyday be Christmas!

Wednesday 19 December 2018

November Pie

I really don't feel like blogging much lately, so I've had this pie-picture saved and ready for two weeks now...

My overall numbers were a bit lower last month - I think that's mostly because I had rented a game I really wanted to finish fast - but I still got some good work done. I had two do-not-show-yet gifts that I finished (one only had a few minutes as I finished it sometime around 0:30 on December 1st), then I knitted that hat I already showed you (and that would be finished by now if I could only find my pompom maker!), and the wristwarmers for my grandma. I stitched one page each on Fire and Ember and Cut Thru Cottage, and the In The Bleak Midwinter ornament, and did some finish-finishing on the Ornaments of the Month.

Noose is a new, using-up-leftover-yarn project that I started, but there really isn't anything to show just yet:

And the Bascetta Star is a papercraft project that I still vaguely hope to finish by Christmas:

Tuesday 27 November 2018

The people's choice - Birthstones

This month's theme for Jo's 'The people chose' SAL is 'Birthstones' - which will ring a bell with long and even not-so-long readers of this blog, since I've been working on a lovely series of ornaments for the last four years (can't believe it's taken me that long!). When this theme came up, I knew I just had to use them and I've been working really hard to have a special don't get any ideas, I still have not finished all of them, but I DID finish-finish all the ones that I had stitched up, so now I have a complete set to show (there are several birthstones for some months and I still need to stitch most of those).

So here they are - you might notice there are fifteen in total instead of twelve, and that is because I already stitched some of the duplicates. Here is the complete list of birthstones used:

January - Garnet
February - Amethyst
March - Aquamarine
April - Diamond
May - Emerald
June - Pink Alexandrite (missing: Pearl, Moonstone, Green Alexandrite)
July - Ruby
August - Peridot
September - Sapphire
October - Pink Tourmaline & Opal
November - Yellow Topaz & Citrine
December - Blue Topaz & Tanzanite (missing: Blue Zirconia)

November WIPocalypse

Hello everyone and welcome to the November installment of the WIPocalypse, for which I am only a teeny-tinsy bit late. Ignorable, really - it's even November still (she says, confidently, as she starts writing the draft on November 26th).

The question for this month is What new stitches or techniques did you learn this year? and I have two comments on that: For one, I LOVE the question because I really love learning and trying out new stuff, and then, I have to admit I didn't really learn anything new in stitching this year. Shame on me! I did learn how to knit braids and how to crochet a moebius loop though, so that is something, right?

Now, onto my progess for the month, which is pretty least I think that it is, we'll see what you think.

1) Fire and Ember SAL

To jump right into it - we have a finish! I stitched the last page of Fire and Ember in the middle of this month and now it is all done and shiny and dragon-y. I started looking at frames and hopefully this will be up on the wall before Christmas. I had a ton of fun in the two-and-a-half years I've been working on it, and my brain is hard at work making plans for new starts to replace it in my rotation!

2) The Puppeteer

Less exciting, but I am still proud for keeping up with this for so long. It is now apparent that I will not be finishing the row before the year is over - I am still not quite done with page 27, and there is another page of almost only black before the row is over with - but that just means I get to start 2019 off with a row finished, which is nice too!

6) Cut Thru Cottage

With Fire and Ember done, I picked another project I'd like to see finished before the year is over, and that is Cut Thru Cottage. In fact, I'd love to get it framed up as a Christmas present for Felix' sister! I spent the weekend finishing the cross stitch on this page, now I'll add the backstitch and then start on the last page for this slot of my rotation. Shouldn't be too long.

16) Ornaments of the Month

While I didn't stitch up any new ones, all the ones I did stitch are now finish-finished. That means I finished four of them this month - April, July, June and August. See the People's Choice SAL for the full set!

Monday 19 November 2018

November Gifted Gorgeousness

After some deliberation, I decided to go back to the embedded comment form...I hope none of my regular readers will have any issues with it (and if you do, please let me know!) but not being able to properly reply to 'No-Reply' comments is driving me nuts! Why is it that there never is a perfect solution with Blogger?!

So, in any case, now that Christmas is drawing nearer, I have seen a (only somewhat related) increase in gift making around here. As I said in my last WIPocalypse post, I've been trying to be better at focusing on single items instead of jumping around too much, and I've actually been able to finish some things! Two of them I can't show just yet, one isn't gift related and will be in the spotlight at a later point (can you guess what it is?), so that leaves us with one finish and to WIPs for right now.

The finish is an ornament for our yearly exchange on deviantArt. The pattern is called 'In The Bleak Mid Winter' and was a freebie by the late Gaynor French of Stichers Anon Cross Stitch Designs. I have a lot of her patterns, both digital and in print, and this one really called to me this year...I was a little worried how the dark colours would work on the dark blue aida (of which I realized a have a LOT more than I thought...cue crazy plans for next year), but I LOVE how all the swirls and snow flakes came out! I underestimated the amount of stitching on this, just over 14 hours, this took me longer than a page of Fire and Ember would have (and it's about the same amount of stitches, too).

I tried something new for the finish...I made cording for only the second time ever (and it came out okay, I guess) and loosely followed this tutorial for a felt mounted ornament. I'm not sure how much I like it...I think it might be better suited for smaller ornaments.

As for WIPs/new starts...grandma asked for another pair of wristwarmers. I'm glad she likes them, plus they knit up quickly (about six hours a pair), so of course I said yes! She even supplied me with the yarn, which is a little special - it's a tiny bit older than me. As in, grandma bought it when she was pregnant with my mum, which was almost sixty years ago (don't tell my mum I said 'almost sixty years'...although it's true!). Yeah. Apparently it's good quality yarn as it is still pretty nice to work with, and I really like the way it looks! I'm almost done with the first glove now.

And then, I started another hat last weekend...I promised a coworker to make him one...two years ago? I'm really bad at keeping promises in a timely manner, but I am almost done with my list of long overdue things now and moving on to more recent ones! I wanted to use the same pattern I had for my other hats, but I couldn't find it, so I'm kind of wining it's a different yarn. Pure alpaca too, it's SO soft! After the last ones all turned out a little tight and short, I might have ended up making this one a little too wide...hopefully, not too much as of to become a problem, though.

So that's it for this month, but there will be a lot more gift knitting and crocheting going on over the next few months...among other things, I have at least six baby gifts to make (depending if I decide to make something for some of the older siblings as well). I have some really fun things planned, and I'm looking forward to every single one of them ^_^

As a little addendum; there are two more projects I finished this month - a pair of socks for Pamela that I had promised her a long time ago, and since the yarn was so lovely to work with, I also made a pair of wristwarmers from the leftovers:

Sunday 11 November 2018

October Pumpkin Pie

Before I get into the pie-post proper, I just wanted to mention that somehow, I am no longer able to directly reply to comments on my blog. I usually replay by email, but if you are a no-reply blogger for some reason and I don't have an email address for you, I can't answer! It's very annoying and if anyone knows how to fix this, please let me know. For know, let me assure you that I still read and appreciate your comments, even if I'm not answering.

Since you all seemed to like it, and I enjoy them as well, I shall continue with my monthly pie-charts!
For October, I logged the complete month and racked up quite a nice total.

Happy Halloween, the Wedding Ornament and the Mini Bird were finishes. Halata got a good bit of work done during our work retreat, and I made quite some progress on the Mermaid as well!
My 10-extra-hours project was The Puppeteer. I actually started those hours in September, so it doesn't look quite as impressive!

Sunday 4 November 2018

October WIPocalypse

Just a week late! I'm getting better at this already :D

Can you believe it's November already? Barely two months left to the year, and I guess time to admit I won't make quite a few of my goals...which I'm okay with, I did make plenty of progress on plenty of things, I might just have to go differently about being organized. Which ties in nicely with the question for this month: Do you prefer to stitch on a rotation or one project at a time?
I will certainly never be a true "one at a time" stitcher, but lately, my "rotation" has degenerated into stitching on 3-5 projects on any given day, and I didn't really feel comfortable with that, either. I'll try to be a little stricter about what I work on again, probably limiting myself to the one strang on The Puppeteer plus another project that I'll stick with until reaching a specified goal. We'll see how long that will last.

I didn't work on too many of my '18 in '18' projects last month:

1) Fire and Ember SAL

Another page finished, and doesn't it look stunning? Just one more to go, this is really exciting!

2) The Puppeteer

This was my '10 extra hours' project of the moonth, which allowed me to get all caught up and have a few 'page finishes' too (two of them had barely any black at all, so they were super fast to stitch for now). I'm getting near to another row finish which will actually get me past the halfway point!

5) The Mermaid

I haven't actually worked on this since Gifted Gorgeousness, so here she is again.


Wednesday 31 October 2018

Halloween Blog Hop

Good morning, spooky ones! Here is the second Halloween thing I threat promised you yesterday.
When I started the Halloween SAL this year, I had big plans to stitch three of our chosen patterns... then life happened, and I barely finished one. I did start two new ones (one of them unplanned) though:

And that unplanned one is what I have finished! It's a mini pattern that came free with Ashley's Pumpkin Doodle Cats and I think that little birdie is just sooo cute:

But of course, that's not what you're here for. You are here for the letter - which is an N -  and the link to the next blog - which you can find here. In case you have absolutely no idea what's going on here, check out Jo's post about the blog hop to find the start.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Monthly People's SAL - Halloween

Our beloved Jo's latest brilliant idea is a themed SAL where the theme is voted upon each month. Most fittingly, the first theme, for October, is Halloween, and even more fittingly, I have been stitching on some Halloween projects this month!
...and totally typical for me, instead of getting the SAL posted in the beginning of the month, as I had intended to, I'm only sneaking in on the almost-last day and with the Halloween Blog Hop (also Jo's brainchild) going up tomorrow, you will have to suffer through two Halloween themed posts in a row!
I even had the stitching done almost two weeks ago...but of course, getting it ironed and picture-ready is the much bigger hurdle. And then apparently didn't even get the hoop marks out looks fine in person, but they are stull visible in the picture:

So here we go! This is one of my Halloween SAL projects, Happy Halloween by LuckyStarStitches. I used waste canvas to stitch it on a purple tote bag. Perfect for collecting treats...or just put anything else in there!

Sunday 28 October 2018

October Gifted Gorgeousness

I'm ages behind with my posting, but my stitching is quite on track! And besides, stitching is just a small part of this post, I have a lot more things to share.

On the stitching front, I put some more hours into The Mermaid, steadily working away on the sea-area and finally reaching the lower end. It doesn't stretch too much further to the right, so I think I should be able to finish it soon!

The other thing(s) I want to talk about were all amazing gifts to me (although I was involved in one of them). You might remember how, a few months ago, I announced  Felix' and my wedding and asked if anyone would like sending some small things for decorations? Well, I was not disappointed and got some great things!

First there was Pamela, who sent us these lovely placemats all the way from Japan:

Then there was my friend Nancy from Canada, who stitched this lovely little pillow, modeled after the writing on our 'Save the date' cards:

Next was Jo, who has outdone herself to send us a full set of twelve Bride's Tree ornaments. And such lovely little ones, too! My favourite is the rose, but really, I adore all of them.

My friend Magical designed a special pattern for us, which I stitched up myself the days before out wedding. I finished it off into a little pillow, using a piece of fabric from my wedding dress (from where it had to be shortened; there is no pillow shaped hole in my dress now!)

And last but not least (although regretably a little late for the party; turns out the postal services don't know when they should hurry up!) where these cute little coasters from Rosey - four dark and four mint green. I love them!

I have to say, I am so very happy to be part of a community that is so loving and generous. I (or rather, we) love everything you made for us. Those pieces made our wedding just a little bit more special, and we will surely treasure them forever. Thank you so very much - this is true gifted gorgeousness <3

Monday 15 October 2018

Who wants some pie?!

I have always admired Jo's monthly pie posts. I have a thing and love for all things scienc-y and spreadsheet-y, but I am usually not organized enough to keep them myself. I even tried to keep track on the days worked on each project briefly, but...that didn't last long. And besides, plagiarism stinks, right? fancy pie for me. Unless...

Well, when I did the Longest Day (or weekend, in my case SAL) in June (another one of Jo's babies), I realized how many lovely WIPs I have, and how terribly I am neglecting most of them. I didn't really know what to do about it, but the thought stayed on my mind as I visited other blogs and saw the many, many ways people will arrange their rotations...until a few weeks ago, I finally had an idea: I'll be picking one of my WIPs at random and work on it for an extra ten hours, while still keeping up with my current projects. The goal is to make it through at least one of these random-rotations each month.

So far, so good - only problem was how to measure the ten hours, since I've never really been keeping time, either. So naturally, I went to the app store and tried out a few (one seemed to think it was appropriate to add an extra 24 hours to every timer running past midnight) until I found Timesheet, a neet little app that let's me track different projects, lets me add or remove time at will (in case I mess up)...and let's me create neat spreadsheets and statistics for each day, week, or month! Do you see where this is going?

Now I can create those lovely pie diagrams at the end of each month as well...and they are logging total work time instead of days (which is good, since I'm working on 2-5 projects on any given day, anyways!). I'm not actually sure whether I will show them each month, that is still kind of Jo's thing, but I can have them and look at them, and keep track of my random rotation too. Just to give you an idea what I'm talking about, here's the pie for half of September - I didn't actually start using the timers until the middle of the month:

Oh, and about that random slot? In September I drew...Fire and Ember, which I would have been working on anyways. So I finished that page, and drew the next one for October...which was The Puppeteer, which I am working on EVERY DAY. I was behind by about to weeks though, so I'm taking the opportunity to play catch up. Hopefully the random thingy will start playing nice soon-ish!

Tuesday 9 October 2018

September WIPocalypse

Hello, my lovelies! Apologies for being so late with this update (or any update, really) but the pre- and post-wedding stress was holding me firmely in its claws. Today, I have at last a glorious free day (still off work, but no more organizing to do!) to get caught up with my life a little, so it's time for the WIPocalypse too!

The question of the month was How do you keep your stitching stash organized? and I think the honest answer would be 'Just barely'...but if you want details, here we go:

Almost all of my stash is living in my beloved Kallax shelf from Ikea (please excuse the I said, post-wedding-stress!). You can see my DMC boxes and two shelves of books and patterns, the red drawers hold beads and specialty threads, the blue ones miscellaneous knitting, crochet and sewing supplies. I have one box of back-up threads, one box of WIPs, one box of stitching fabric, two boxes of yarn, one box of kitted up cross stitch projects and two boxes of mixed stash that I really need to get sorted out. That x-shaped shelf is supposed to be for wine bottles, but now some of my crochet and knitting WIPs live there. One box has sewing fabrics, and then there are some mixed craft supplies and non crafty stuff on some of the other shelves. I think I'll need to do some form of destashing soon, I really don't have any more room!

1) Fire and Ember SAL

Somehow I managed a page finish amongst all the busy-ness, so only two more to go! I'm hoping for a finish in early November.

2) The Puppeteer

I've been doing some catching up and while I'm not quite therem I made some nice progress and actually had a page finish! I love these shots of the whole project...

5) The Mermaid

I added two more colours to the border (one was only used in the corner blocks, so not a lot of stitching there) and started on the sea. More lovely blues and grays, so much fun!

16) Ornaments of the Month

I finish-finish the already stitched up Blue Topaz ornament from December, and stitched back to September Sapphire, which I finish-finished too!