Wednesday 30 January 2019

January WIPocalypse

 ...and I went and disappeared from my blog again for two weeks. Sorry about that! I missed IHWS (well, I didn't really miss-miss it, but I didn't feel all that stitchty that weekend, didn't get a lot done and just skipped the blogging) and there are just not that many checkins in the second half of the month. There is WIPocalypse though (to which I am a couple days late because I caught some nasty stomach bug last weekend), so here we go!

The question for the month one of my favourites - What SALs are you participating in this year? This year, I have three year-long actually-stitching-along SALs (on top of our yearly Halloween SAL, that runs from August to October and that I will tell you more about once we decided on a pattern) as well as a couple of low-effort, blogging SALs.

You already know the first of my stitching SALs - Hetti's Temperature SAL. I seem to be working on this roughly once a week to stitch the squares for the last few days, and I'm actually caught up to last Sunday. We had a bit of a cold spell (average temperatures below freezing), which brought a pretty new purple, and than an uncharacteristically warm day, which brought that one green heart, but I think we are back to a typical southern German January for now. I'm very glad to not life in the mid US right now, with all that arctic cold incoming, and hope everyone who does live there will be safe!

The other two SALs are hosted by my friend Magical525 and are released in monthly parts on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month, respectively (she does have SALs on the first and second Tuesday too, but I only have so much time). The first his her Mamluk SAL, which is actually really cool. Magical does a lot of pattern inspired by old manuscripts, or her Weavers Band SAL that was very popular last year (and is back this year for a second installment), and this one is designed after a scrap of stitched fabric that was found in Egypt and is supposed to be up to 800 years old! I played with the colours a bit, choosing white on blue instead of brown on beige, and I'm thinking a nice rich darker blue was the secondary colour...although I still need to pick that one! I stitched part one as it was released - the shapes of some months are a little odd to even out the stitch count:

The second is her Blackwork SAL. For this one, she gave a colour scheme that I decided to follow (for now) and after finishing the basic shape, filling in each month will be way quick. I really don't know why I don't do more blackwork, and this way I'll at least do a little each month.

For blogging SAL, I'm mostly doing the usual suspects:

Hope I didn't forget anything!

Of course I'm also doing my own '-19 in '19' this year, and that's been going...not so well, this far. Small wonder, though, with three new starts for the three SALs alone! It's all good, though, as those will all be finished within the year, right? I also started the Valentine's stitch I had you vote for in my last post (elephants won).

I also finished the NYA SAL - stitched up the back and turned it into this cute little (not very little, though) biscornu:

I also finished Smooth Sailor, a vest/shawl/loop/versatile thing from the 2016(?) StrichMich! Club. I completed the knitting in December and only had to weave in the loose ends and wash/dry it, and it's lovely! The yarn is Manos del Uruguay Marina in the special colour 'Martina's Berry Pie' and it's incredibly soft and light, only 100g/800m. I'm sure I'll use it again in the future.

The Little Monkey was finished as well. I used Chiara's DMC conversion and while I mostly loved how it came out, I'm not super pleased with the banana. The yellows she picked are lighter than the ones included with the kit, so the contrast to the orange is much greater...I'm not sure if I like the effect that has or if I might go back and replace it. What do you think? Otherwise, I really like how the little guy turned out!

Last but not least, I've been working on my Rainbow Baby Blanket. This has more than doubled in size since the beginning of the year! I really enjoy working on it. Technically, it's finished (well, apart from adding the border), but I'm not satisfied with the size yet. It was supposed to be 60x90cm, but for some reason mine turned out a little wieder (about 65cm) and a lot shorter (just below 70cm!). So I'll add a little more to it, I think about 30 or 40 rows should do. I'm still on the first ball of yarn for some colours, and barely started the second ball for the others, so there's plenty of yarn to go!

In total, that brings me to 50 WIPs, or +1. That's the magical number I swore myself not to cross, so I'll have to bring it down a little before the next check in!

Tuesday 15 January 2019

January Gifted Gorgeousness

Hello, lovely people!
Yes I know, I am as shocked as you are to be this on time for yet another checkin...could this be a new trend?! If so, I don't want to jinx it, so let's dive right in!

It's time for Gifted Gorgeousness, the SAL for anything gifty or gifted, hosted by the lovely Jo over at Serendipitous Stitching (whose blog and SAL make sure I never forget how to type these pretty impressive words).

So, since the beginning of the year, I mainly worked on two qualifying projects. One is the Baby Blanket CAL, which is actually going a lot faster than I thought it would go - I even might be able to make my early February deadline! I picked it up on Saturday and have since finished part 7 (two rows or so remaining) and all of parts 8 and 9. Each part is 10 rows, so I did 22 rows or almost 15 cm/6" in less than a week. There are only three parts (plus a border) left now, but judging from the current measurements, the blanket will be more square than blanket-shaped at that point, so I might repeat some parts of it. Which should be okay since it's going so fast and I'm still on the first set of yarn (I bought two balls of each colour). And I am surely having a lot of fun with this super colourful project!

The other project I want to show you is a traveling pattern Chiara from The Grey Tail started. It's a Russian kit for a little monkey, and I was first in line to stitch it and got the pattern in early December. Well...Christmas happened, and stitching it didn't happen, but now that I finally started, it's going pretty fast and I hope to soon be able to send it on! I'm using the FMC colour conversion Chiara made and a piece of white linen. I think he will be super cute once he's done!

I also did a little knitting on the next BSJ and started the second ball of yarn, but it won't be interesting enough to show again until I actually finish - hopefully soon!

Now before I end this post, I have one more GG related question to ask you. For the past two years, I've been stitching Valentine's cards for Felix from this set that was published in the Cross Stitch Collection magazine, February 2014:

I already did the lovebirds and the cats, so this year I have a choice of either owls or elephants, and I can't decide! So, you need to help me. Please cast your vote on which one it'll be this year. I'll count and pick once the Little Monkey is done - probably this coming weekend :)

Sunday 6 January 2019

December Christmas Pie

Sorry to spam you with blog entries today, but I'm going back to work tomorrow and I'm afraid blogging will become a weekends-only thing then (I always try to be on time, but somehow it never happens!), so I just wanted to get everything out of the pipeline before then. We have one monthly post still missing, and that's the December timechart pie!

As you can see, December was quite productive - mostly because I had the week after Christmas off and spent it mostly sleeping and crafting. Before Christmas, I was mostly taken over with gift making, and it will most likely be some time before I get into a decent rotation again, as I have some tiding up to do. I think the only thing on that list that I have not yet talked about is Sacrifice - and it's a pretty sizable 'thing'! Sacrifice is a gorgeous pattern by Unconventional XStitch that I have owned for quite some time. And now that I finished Fire and Ember - and found out I had a perfectly sized and -coloured piece of fabric for it - and could even get a great deal on the thread pack...well, things just came together too nicely to not go for it! I started stitching on it in mid-December and put some serious work in after Christmas. Originally, I only wanted to show it to you once I had a first page finish to show, but it takes a little more time than I thought it would. First I tried stitching by column, but that took about 5 hours for the first one (on Fire and Ember, I took about 12 hours per page, which equals 4 columns). I started doing the remainder of the page per colour to see which way was quicker, but I didn't quite make it, so this is where I am right now:

I do love the colours, such a nice change after all the reds and browns!

January WIPocalypse: 2019 Intro

I lost track of how many times I took part in the WIPocalypse (I, could, of course, check my older blog entries, and I'm pretty sure I started in 2015, but let's just say it was so long ago I no longer remember!) and it continues to be fun and motivating and so I'll just keep doing it! It's the first post of the year, so that means introducing both myself and my goals. So here we go, with a slightly updated version from last year:

Hi, I'm Leonore, I'm 29 years old and from Southern Germany. I life together with myhusband, and my extended family includes my grandparents who life nearby and with whom I still spend a lot of time. In real life I'm a computer scientist working towards my PhD, which makes me travel around the world from time to time. I love cross stitch, knitting and crochet, and I'm also trying to learn how to sew. I also like to try out new crafts and have a few things lined up, we'll see if I can get to them this year! My other hobbies include reading and videogames, and I like to watch movies and shows while I craft.

Last year, I was doing '18 in '18', so I chose 18 distinct projects to work on. That only worked out so-so - I had some finishes, but a lot of them didn't really get touched, I got sidetracked, etc. So, this year I'll be trying something slightly different, and that is ' -19 in '19'! What is this, you ask? I'll gladly explain!

Late last year I hit 49 ongoing projects, which is slightly too much for my tastes. So, the goal for this year is to bring that number down - preferably to 30 or less projects, which means I'll have to finish 19 of my older projects as well as everything I start. Or finish twenty of the old ones and all but one of those I start. get the drift. So, -19 it is! I'm not picking the projects to finish in advance, although I did go through my list and verified that I have 20+ projects that could be finished in no more than a week or so each. I'll probably make a page to list all the additions and subtractions from that list that happen during the year (for example, I already had a new start, bringing me up to 50), and that'll be what I'll talk about in my monthly updates as well.

I'm actually kind of excited to tackle all those projects lurking around - I just know some of them will be a lot of fun to finally finish!

The people chose: New Starts

It's a new year, but some things never change, and one of these things are Jo's wonderful SALs on every corner of the year! I somehow managed to be quite on time for this first checkin of the year, but I am not so confident that isn't going to change either...well, we'll see.

In this SAL, we, the stitchers, get to chose the subject each month, and a most fitting topic for the new year is 'new starts'. I have been good and only had one new start this year (and I hope to keep it this way for a while, apart from a few smalls that I can finish right away). The one start I had could not wait any longer because it's a Temperature SAL - the same one Jo herself did last year, in fact, I'm using the same colour chart she did. If you don't know what that is: It's a free pattern created by Hetti which is divided in 365 blocks of 5x5 stitches (some are a little bigger than that), one for each day of the year. The colour chosen for each day depends on the temperature - I am using the avarage temperature in each day to even out 'spikes' in both directions. Here are the first five days I stitched this afternoon:

It was a lot of fun to do these first few stitches, and I'm kind of bummed I can't stitch more right now! I don't know if it's just the 'high' of having a new start, the colours, or being back to my favourite fabric (32ct Murano <3), but I'm really enjoying this one.

Thursday 3 January 2019

Finish it in 2019

My friend Magical is hosting her 'Finish it in 2019' SAL again (well, it wasn't actually 'in 2019' the last time around, but you know what I mean) and since I have big plans to shorten my WIP list this year, I'll be joining her :) My plans for this year's WIPocalypse are in line with this as well, but I'll talk about those in the appropriate post.

My WIP/UFO (aka the list of SHAME) list has gone way out of hand over the last few years, and I really want to clean it up a little. I love everything on there, and those projects just don't deserve being ignored for so long! So the motto of the year is, finish what you start, and finish what you started before as well. Now I won't give you a rundown of the complete list - it's 49 projects, and I don't have pictures for all of them - but instead I'll choose a few to focus on for now, and work from there.

I have four projects that I'll probably finish really fast - I've been working on them throughout December and they are getting close! Those are Bunny Blanket #3 (just needs finishing the actual blanket and assambly), Smooth Sailor (only needs weaving in all the loose ends), Early Morning Santa (needs a little more cross stitch and beading) and BSJ Lucia (2/3 done):

I'll also be working on the NYE Mystery SAL - I'm on part 11 right now (our of 15, plus a backside), and should be able to finish it within the next few days:

Then there are two bigger projects I want to finish on - one is the Baby Blanket SAL I started a few years ago and want to finish for a friend who is due in February, so I better oil that needle!

And then of course there is The Mermaid, which will be a present for my dad's 60th birthday in July, so she needs some attention as well.

So I guess I got my work cut out for now...I will be focusing on these until I finished at least the first five, then I might pick a few more.