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 post...now 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 exciting...at 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, too...at 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...plus 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.