Thursday 31 October 2019

Trick or Treat! The Halloween Blog Hop

Spooky time! (Hopefully. This is my first time scheduling a post, so I hope everything works!) It's Halloween, and thus time for Jo's yearly blog hop. If you don't know what I'm talking about, please go to her blog here and check out the post she probably made about how this event works. If you do know what I'm talking about, here is my spooky stitching:

This is All Hallow's Eve by The Frosted Pumpkin stitchery. I bought the pattern years ago, and started it this month for a challenge on a fabric taster by Jodyri Designs (the colour is called Scatty Chick, but I don't think it's part of her main range right now). After the challenge (which was 'stitch 1000 stitches on a Halloween project over a weekend') I only had about 250 stitches left, which I added this week. I think it's very cute and now I just need the perfect finish-finishing idea <3

Buuut you're probably not here to hear me rambling about my stitching, you want the letter! The mysteriously-spooky letter I'm to give you is


and the next letter will be waiting (or be posted later today) here:

Wednesday 30 October 2019

October Gifted Gorgeousness

I know I am - once again - super late for this SAL, but after a bit of a finishing-frenzy over the last copuple of days, I actually have something to show for it. I honestly can't remember whether I ever talked about this here before, so here we go! I've been making a lot of baby gifts lately, so I really wanted to try something new that wouldn't take a ton of time. I found these patterns for some really cute animal bibs and decided to give it a try. I chose the bunny, but wanted to go for more realistic colours, so I bought a light brown yarn and started. The 'body' of the bib was quickly done, but as usual it took me a while to work of all the small parts, and even more time to sew them all together. I didn't get the face quite how I wanted it to look, so I decided to not add the eyebrows. Lastely (and that took even MORE time...) I  bought some soft brown fabric to add to the backside (and make it more comfortable to wear...I hope). So basically, it took me two months to finish I project I spent a total of five hours working on - so much for quick and easy! Don't get me wrong, the pattern is great and I like the result, that's just me being strange and life getting in the way.

I also continued working on my Mermaid, and got a lot of her over one skin done, but there's still quite a bit left to do. Fingers crossed I can really stilly finish her this year!

Last but not least, I had a new start as well...this is Lettuce be Friends by Bothy Threads. As soon as it was released, I just knew I had to stitch the too sweet guinea pigs for my grandma, and bought the kit, but it's been collecting dust in my stash for the last two years. But after my grandpa's death I felt like I should finally start and stitch this as one can never know when it will be to late, so I decided to get stitching and hope to get this done by Christmas! It's stitching up fast, here is the first colour all finished (unless I missed some stitches, of course):

Sunday 27 October 2019

Fully Finished Gallery - October

I'm seriously late for this post (as for many others), but as you know my life has been a little...uprooted lately. As has been my vacation earlier this year - I had grand plans of tiding up my sewing corner and actually getting some serious finishing done! Well, I barely managed to tidy up but haven't even touched my sewing machine, so that'll have to wait for another time. So as plan B, I decided to finish and finish-finish an ornament I started stitching earlier this month - this is the June Pearl Ornament from the 2015 Ornaments of the Month, designed by my friend Magical! I started this series when it came out and still haven't done all of them. In fact, this one was the first one I stitched this year - and I so, so missed it!

Can you see it? I know it's hard to make out on the pictures, but it's so pretty in real life! I was arguing back and forth about changing the fabric or colours, but decided against it to have a matching set, and I'm so happy that I did. I finish-finished the ornament the same way I did the others, adding some creamy-pearly beads to the edge:

So, here we go. Just a small finish again, but finish is finish, even if I'm very late!

Sunday 20 October 2019

The all-metallic Geostar

I promised you this post a while ago, and I really only need to copy all the details from my deviantArt and add a couple explanations and pictures, so here we go!

A while back, I read about a pretty cool challenge on dA - basically, you chose a medium you wanted to work with, gave a couple constraints (like 'no nudity' or whatever), and then they gave you a prompt and you had one month to make something with it. Of course I chose needlework, and my friend Ashley, who's actually a community volunteer on dA, gave me the following challenge:
I challenge her not so much on theme as I do in execution: a 5x5 square on 14 or 18 count, it could be a mandala or other symmetrical pattern, but she must use strictly metallic threads to see it done. These could be DMC metallics, Kreinik in various weights, or any other thread manufacturer. It does not have to be a 'full coverage' pattern for the size but it should keep in the spirit of the challenge! 
Here's what I made, together with the decription I wrote:

As Ashley has obviously noted going through my gallery, I tend to shy away from using too much metallics in my work, so I decided to use this challenge to take the bull by the horns and experiment with a couple of different metallics. I dug into my stash and asked on a copule groups on facebook which brands people recommended. These are the five threads I ended up using (starting from the middle outwards, I stitched the 'frame' structure first and filled in all the little bits in the end):

Petite Treasure Braid (Copper/PB39): This one came highly recommended, and it really is a joy to work with! It comes as a one strand floss on a card of 25 yards and is a little on the expensive side, but so worth it. It's super pretty and has just enough coverage for 14ct stitching (but is probably better for for 16 or 18ct).
Ease of use: 5
Sparkliness: 4

Madeira Metallics No. 10 (Gold/325): A pretty traditional metallic I've had in my stash for a few years but never got around to using it. It comes in a twist of two strands I'm not entirely sure are supposed to be seperated, but I did so anyways as one of the strand had perfect coverage (I wouldn't recommend it for smaller counts, though). It was pretty nice to work with, but hard to thread a needle because the splitting of the strands made the floss super fray-y. It's EXTREMELY sparkly, nothing subtle about this one! It comes in a package (it's a little weird, not really a skein) of 20m and is one of the cheaper options for metallics.
Ease of use: 3.5
Sparkliness: 5++

DMC Light Effects (Silver/E168): I had actually used this before, but only on a little backstitching. For that it was nice; it's a lot less cooperative for cross stitching! It comes in six dividable strands, in skeins of 8m, just like the usual DMC, and just like that, I had to use two strands to get a decent coverage. It wasn't that hard to work with, but sometimes a little tricky to make it lay nice on the fabric. It's not super sparkly, but has a nice sheen to it that I really like. It's also on the cheaper side, and the six-stranded-ness gives it a lot of versatility.
Ease of use: 3
Sparkliness: 3

DMC Diamant (Gold/D3852): A newer thread by DMC. It comes as a undividable, one strand floss on a spool of 35m. It's a really nice gold colour and I bet it's super nice to use for detail work or even cross stitch on lower counts, but one strand is just not enough coverage on 14ct, and two strands are a little too bulky - my stitches with this floss are by far the least-neat looking ones I've made in years! It's a little pricier as well.
Ease of use: 2 (in this scenario)
Sparkliness: 4

Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid (Copper/3270): The classic of the metallics, at least for me! I've used my fair share of this one (although not as much as my friend Magical, she's the master of Kreinik!). It's pretty nice to work with, and the #4 had a nice coverage on 14ct (there's all kinds of strengths for different uses). It's not quite as metall-y as the others I've tried, there is a fair bit of some kind of nylon (I guess?) base in the thread, but it's still a pretty decent sparkle and comes in a huge range of colours. There's only 11m on a sppl, though, so if you need a lot of it, it can get quite pricy.
Ease of use: 4
Sparkliness: 3.5

So there we go...they are all pretty nice to work with, but I think my favourites are the Petite Treasure Braid and (surprisingly) the Madeira Metallic No 10.

Now to the specs of the design itself:
Fabric - Nevermore linen by JodyriDesign (I thought it was 16ct, so I was a little worried there, but turns out it's a 14ct after all so all is well!), a leftover from my Turtles all the way down 
Design: 'Geostar' by KLT Charting - if you now the design, you'll probably notice it's not complete. There will be a final round of 'spikes', bringing it to almost 8" spare instead of the 4.4" it is now (I'm calling this 'close enough' for the challenge requirements). I didn't have time to do the whole thing and it'd be too big anyways, but I will use my favourite two colours (the PTB and MM) to finish it of soon.

Total time (so far): 11h 24min
Of course I'll continue working on this now that the challenge is over (the results are still out, but there were so many awesome submissions I don't think I'll win - which is totally fine as I had a ton of fun!) and show you the result in the end.

Friday 18 October 2019

The People Chose Cats

In an attempt to not fall hopelessly behind on my blogging (because, knowing me, I WILL be catching up on all these posts eventually, and I WILL hate myself for it if there's 18472 posts to do), I'm linking up with Jo's monthly themed SAL today.

I went through my pictures looking for cats - and found a lot!

An apron I stitched for a friend with a self-made Pusheen pattern. All that gray was a little boring, but I was pretty happy with how it turned out!

A Vervaco kit I stitched for a friend of my grandma. She had to kittens (brother and sister) who looked just like this. Sadly Felix, the red one, has died since then, and Trixie is almost an old lady by cat standards now!

 I made this for Felix' mum, and loved the whole thing, but isn't that black kitten just darling?

 Halloween Cat by Satsuma Street. I loved the colours on this one, especially the trees and the pumpkins.

No stitching, but a knitted kitty! He's soooo fluffy.

 Last month I had you looking for bees, this time I'll ask you to count the cats in the Cut Thru' Cottage! Can you find all of them?

 A little Valentine's card I stitched for Felix last year. I'm sure I have some more cats, there are some Halloween projects I suspect feature a black cat somewhere, but I'll save them for another time. I also have two cat WIPs -

Charming, a Dimensions kit. I used him as a travel project last spring and he's been waiting for a new chance to shine since then!

And here we have my Pumpkin Doodle cats! I have since filled in the right side and the bird and I really need to take a new picture on this, don't I?

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Of Lateness and Sadness

Whelp, here I am again with a couple of late posts to catch up on. I actually had ten days off in the last two weeks, with plans to just relax and get caught up on everything, but thins went sideways really fast. My grandpa, who just turned 90 this summer and was keeping in high spirits, despite his various ailments, saw his health take a nosedive over the last weeks, and finally succumbed to acute kidney failure, septic shock, and what we assume was pneumonia early last Sunday. He's been like a father for me for most of my life, so I'm stuck between immense sadness and disbelieving on one side, but also great relief that he could go relatively peacefully, without pain, and didn't have to go through the lengthy and potentially painful procedures that were supposed to start this week, and which might still have left him completely dependent on external help or even forced our hands to put him into a nursing home, where he never wanted to end up.
So naturally, my days and hands are full of funeral planning, cleaning his stuff out, crying, and being there for my grandma (who, at 87, is still going strong and taking it like a champ, but we don't want her to be alone too much, obviously). I'm trying to keep up with my crafting and blogging and general online socializing for my own sanity, but I'll have to ask you to bear with my posts being sparse and late for a while.
I'm also thinking about doing some special project in memory of my grandpa next year, but haven't found the right one yet. I'm sure inspiration will strike when I need it the most...

Tuesday 8 October 2019

Finish it in - October Edition

I'm a week late, and don't even have much to show for list for the rest of the year still has five projects:

1) The Mermaid
2) Reindeer
3) Wuffi the Dog
4) March Fobs
5) Viajante

and I only worked on two of them. On the Mermaid, I made some progress, finished the regulat cross stitch and started on the over one section, her skin. I finished one hand and most of one arm so far:

I also did a few rows on Viajante, getting down to 168g left to use - so I used up another 18g last month. My list remains the same, and at this point I expect that some of them will have to be carried over into the new year!

Saturday 5 October 2019

September Stitchy Pie

I still havea few posts to get caught up on, and since I actually got some stitching done today and feel quite nice and relaxed, I think it's a good time to start! September was a bit of a crazy month for me...I can't even tell you why, I think I just took a bit of a nose dive mentally as lots of things stated to catch up with me. I didn't realize quite how stressed out I was until I got this long weekend (Thursday was a holiday, and I had Friday of work too) to decompress, and had a look at my September chart and saw I did a good ten hours less than my usual!

On the bright side, it looks a good bit more focused than usual too! I did my usual SALs, but I put a good chunk of time into the Mermaid, and then Lady Justice and my Halloween project saw some focus too. Geostar is a cool new project I'll tell you about soon (I'm preparing a seperate post for it, that's how cool it is!), and the Pumpkin Hat...well, that was a bit of a desaster. It's my newest baby gift, I planned to start it waaay back in August, but after casting on the first couple stitches I got stuck waiting on intel for the babies head circumference...I finally just guessed (on the larger side, figuring she'll grow into it eventually), and got started. The pattern calls for pretty short circular needles, and I thought I wasn't likely to use those a lot, so I got a cheap set from amazon...too cheap, apparently, because not only were they a hassle to work with, but last Sunday the rope actually I'm going to have to get some new needles and save a couple stitches! Here's the current state (don't worry, so orange isn't quite as toxic as it looks in this photo, but it's late and I don't have natural light):

Wednesday 2 October 2019

September WIPocalypse

As our hostess Measi said, I have no idea where September went! October and fall just snuck up on me, although I can't say I'm complaining too much about their arrival as this time of the year usually starts getting a lot less busy. Right now, I have a lot on my plate, both professionally and private, but I have a few days off work starting tomorrow and hope to cross some things off my list during that time, and recharge enough to make it until Christmas!

Now for the only-slightly-late WIPocalypse post - the question of the month is "What finishing style have you never tried but would love to do?" I managed to try some new things this year, including a round ornament, but there are still lots of things left to try. I really want to work on my sewing skill for more elaborate finishes like project bags, pillows, or quilts, and I also want to do more in terms of 3D finishing.

As usual, I've finished my monthly work on the three monthly SALs I participate in, and as usual, I've been having a ton of fun doing so. First I stitched the Mamluk SAL, finishing another row of the design - I think October (or maybe November) will probably reveal how the last part will look like, which I'm really looking forward to!

The Temperature SAL is back in the greens and yellows. I rather enjoy being out of the reds and oranges, but hope we'll continue to see yellow for a bit yet before we dive down into the blues!

Last but not least, there is the Blackwork SAL, which I only stitched yesterday. This month had a bit of a bigger section to stitch, which was really fun - after doing a few rows, I got into the flow and could continue right without looking at the pattern. I hope the remaining thre sections will be just as fun!

WIPocalypse is also hosting another 'one a day' event for October, in which we are encouraged ti choose one project to work on every day, and be it for just one stitch. I have, once again, chosen to work in The Mermaid, hoping to finish the skin this month. I already finished most of a hand these past days:

Lastly, for my list of shame WIPs, I'm back up to 48 after having 3 new starts - one of them is the Bunny Bib, which is still awaiting being sewn together, the other two will make an appearance, and hopefully be finished, soon as well.