Tuesday 29 December 2020

The November SALs

 Yes, I know this is ridiculously late, thank you for noticing! We shall talk no more of it as I continue to get back on track with my stitching and blogging and jump right into the pictures :D 

Let's start with the Blackwork SAL, which is quite exciting - I even got it ironed yesterday to show it off in all it's glory!

"Wait", you may ask, "this is pretty and all, but how come it looks so finished when it's only the November part of the SAL?" As you might remember, there was a bit of a mixup with too many patterns being released each month in the beginning of the year, or rather, this setup having too little shapes (there was an other template that had more), so now the two patterns for December are actually 'extras'. I do have something planned for them and am actually sitting down to stitch them right now, so stay tuned for another little update in January - hopefully rather towards the beginning of the month!

Next up is the Temperature SAL - this one was actually pretty exciting for November, as I don't think I ever used this many colours in one month! It started off in the yellows, crossed right through the greens and blues and ended up in the early purples. 

As far as I can tell, I think December will stay mostly in the blues with maybe a few greens and purples for good measure.

Lastly, there is the Bookmark of the Month! This time, Magical gave us the choice between autumn colours and a rainbow, and as I was in the need for something bright in my life, I chose the rainbow! It's another on-piece-finish, similar to the first bookmarks of the month, and was a lot of fun to stitch. I just finished it last weekend, so here it is:

Monday 28 December 2020

Beady Cactus - Finished!

 I think I haven't had a regular progress update in a while, but I'd like to get back into the habit of it again! So, to rewind a bit, back in October was the last time I consulted my random number generator to pick up a project for a rotation, and my Beady Cactus came up. I was quite happy with that, as I had only put around 5 hours into it originally, and was quite sure that another ten would see it finished!

I was right about that, but I just didn't expect those ten hours would take me almost two months! But then in November I got caught up with the new starts, and then with finishing them, so I only picked it up again last week. There wasn't much left to go, though, and now it's all finished and pretty and sparkly!

FLK-190 (aka 'Beady Cactus')

by Volshebnaya-Strana

Total Time: 12:54h

It came with everything you needed for finishing - the wooden shape, beads, thread and needle, of course, a perfectly cut of thing green felt to cover the back with (okay, I *did* need some glue to do that, although I think I probably could have sewn it on as well?), and the wooden stand with that adorable little 'doily' shape (made from foam). I thouroughly enjoyed working on this and I am sure I'll get more of there kits in the future, they are so fun and pretty (and rather inexpensive as well).

Wednesday 23 December 2020

December Gifted Gorgeousness

 December is a very special month for this very special SAL hosted by the very special Jo, our very special hostess (all these "specials" make it sound like something is wrong with her, but there isn't, I swear!). Special, because towards Christmas, my crafting turns from 50% gift focused, to almost 100% gift focused, and so of course I have a lot of things to show! For once, I could just re post every single project from my FFG post a couple days ago, but that would be boring, so I'll just link to it. I'm also not going to bother with WIPs this time, because they'll all show up again eventually, and I have three brand new finishes to show you that I think I've never talked on this blog before! They have all been received already so I can finally share.

First, I made a shawl for my bestie. She actually picked up this yarn for me last year and jokingly called 'dibs' on whatever I make from it. Little did she know that was my plan all along! Now the only issue was I needed to find a pattern that would work with the one cake I had, and still be long enough for her (she's pretty tall, so tiny shawls would look odd on her), and I finally found the 'Easiest LYS Shawl' pattern on ravelry that was perfect for my yarn. Sadly, the cake had a knot in the middle, that made for a bit of an odd 'jump' in colour, and also sadly, I only have this one picture of it, but I do like how it turned out:

Next one is another shawl that I made for a new, but already very close friend I made this year from one of my facebook stitchy group. I knew she liked this type of pattern, and I had tons of that black and white yarn in my stash from years ago that I never knew what to do with, and now it was just a perfect fit! So I found this free Houndstooth pattern online, and made a nice, warm loop shawl for her:

And last but not least, I tried my hands at something new! When we were in Japan last year, I picked up a couple of crafting kits, some techniques that I had never tried before. My grandma has an amazing physiotherapist who has been a great help to her for years, and he's also a japanophile, so I wanted to give him something special for Christmas, so I finally sat myself down with a free evening and my phone to translate the Japanese instructions (that thankfully had plenty of pictures), and got to work.The first half didn't quite turn out as it should, but thankfully, this is a temari, so it's a ball and naturally, one side will have to face down! The other side and the middle aren't quite perfect yet either, but for a first try, I'm very happy and I'll likely look into getting another kit like this:

Monday 21 December 2020

The People's Choice SAL: Stitching Disasters

 As we are inching (or rather, rushing!) closer to Christmas, I try to get caught up with everything on my todo list, and after ornament finishingand  gift wrapping, there are also a couple of blog entries left to write! Some still need preparation in terms of crafting, but this one is ready to go. I don't plan on producing any more disasters this year, after all!

So, this is Jo's brainchild, a lovely low-maintenance SAL with a different theme every month. This month we are talking about stitching desasters, and thankfully, there is only really one that comes to mind, and that turned into one of my buggest successes - Fire and Ember!

It was that most classic tale of stitcher's woe - I set to work on this big project, my biggest to date, and a SAL too, worked on it for a couple of months, got some pages in and then I started to realize that I was getting awfully close to that edge...hm...what might have gone wrong?



Of course I had done the rookie mistake of not double checking the rotation of my fabric before starting, and now it was not going to fit! It wasn't just a matter of cutting it close with the border, either, the fabric literally ran out an inch before the stitching was done. I was frustrated and set it away for a bit, contemplating what to do. A fair bit of ranting and test stitching later, I had figured out my plan of action - I cut off the excess fabric from the bottom of my piece, pinned it to the right side, and started stitching over the intersection:

I proceeded to work down the right edge of the design to secure it all, which got me here:

And once it was all finished and framed, it was hardly even noticable anymore!

So yeah, I guess I averted the worst possible outcome. But you can still bet I double and triple check the rotation of my fabric with every new start!

Sunday 20 December 2020

Fully Finished Gallery - December Edition

 It's time for my last entry into the 2020 Fully Finished Gallery SAL, hosted by he wonderful Rachel! As usual, I am making my update pretty last minute (or rather, as I just noticed, about ten hours too late...I only remembered this was due on the 20th, but didn't check the time!), but this time, I have very good excused, as I just spent a weekend of frantic ornament finishing. As you haven't seen most of this projects since I started them (and one not at all), I'm going to give you a short rundown of each.

The first one I think I've never talked about on my blog. It was a goft for a friend who was going through a hard time, so I and some others teamed up to send her some little brighten-your-day gifts, and since it has now arrived, I can show it.

Rainbow World - Purple

FabyReilly Design

Total Time: 3h30m

Remember earlier this year, when all the designers put out love and freebies? That was when I snatched up this cute little hart that FabyReilly Design published in all the colours of the rainbow. I've been wanting to stitch one of them, and this seemed like a good opportunity. It's a real fun and quick stitch and I can see myself stitching up different colours in the future! I bought some cute little frames to finish it and used this tutorial - I think it's one of my new favourite ways to finish things and I'm glad the frames only came in a set of 8 (or was it 10?).

Jolly Jumper 

Susan Penny

Total Time: 9h37m

My Naughty November start #2 and my first finish of the lot! This cute little ornament came as a kit with Cross Stitcher magazine October 2017 and I finally stitched it up as a Christmas present for my MIL. It was a fun stitch, but deceivingly dense, being almost full coverage! And it used a pretty strange kind of plastic canvas that seems to be...woven from plastic covered fibres? I made a three coloured braid using some left over floss, and glued it on together with the blue felt the kit provided. Using glue is not my favourite way to finish things, but sometimes it just works out best.

Cute Deer

Durene Jones

Total Time: 6h25m

My Naughty November start #3 and I just finished this today! Both the stitching and the finish finishing actually. I really enjoyed this one, such a cute little deer and the back stitching just made it pop so much! Durene Jones has a gift for cute little patterns and I should stitch more of hers. This one is for my SIL and I'm not totally sure how to call this finish - it was stitched as a square standing on one corner, then sewn together diagonally, and the too thin corners come together on top. Really fun and quick!

Beneath His Wings

Lee Fisher

Total Time: 10h01m

The last start and finish of Naughty November! This one is for Felix' grandma, so I picked something a little more traditional. But I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought once I started stitching it! There's a on of sparkly backstitch on the wings too, although I had to substitute the called for champagne for some silver I had in stash. This one too, deceivingly much going on! For the finish, I combines the classic round ornament with the hoop finish technique I used earlier, and I'm very happy with how it turned out, all without using glue! 

I think I definitifly upped my finishing game this year, and I'm looking forward to explore even more different techniques and improve on the ones I've tried so far.

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Naughty November #4

 Since I am already taking a break from my crazy Christmas stitching, I'll take the opportunity to finally talk about my last Naughty November start too! Like the last two, this one is a Christmas ornament - this one is for Felix' grandma, so I went a little more traditional this time. It's called 'Beneath His Wings' from this year's Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue, designed by Lee Fisher - never heard of her before but I think it's very cute!

I've worked on this one quite a bit since the weekend I started it, and it's probably going to be the first of the three I'll finish (maybe this week?). 

So that's it for the Naughty November starts! I kind of wish I had the time to do bigger starts, there are some very exciting things in my stash, but I really want to get my WIPs down a little before the end of the year. There will be other opportunities for naughty starts next year I'm sure, and I still had a lot of fun with these small ones :)

November WIPocalypse

 Sorry for the lack of updates lately - I'm in crazy Christmas finish mode, trying to get as many things as possibly done by the holidays, and then possibly be the end of the year! It's all great fun, but I'm also looking forward to get back into a little more of a routine in January.

What little routine I do still have, though, mostly goes into stitching on TLOA, slowly working away on that second colour, and I'm gettin real close! First, though, the WIPocalypse question of the month: What new discoveries did you have in the stitching world this year? Well, I can't really talk about new discoveries without mentioning pattern keeper - I started using that this year, and it really changed the way I'm stitching full coverage things for the better! Another new discovery is Witchy Stitcher, the one that designed Ho Ho No. Lots of great patterns on her store! I did find some other fun designers on Etsy, but haven't baught/done any of their patterns yet, so I can't really recommend anything.

Noooow back to TLOA - you can probably tell that's what I really want to talk about here! I'm still stitching away on 3371, but it's getting strangely exciting. Last time, I was here, halfway done with row #4:

In November, I finished with row #4, and then I got to #5...now that first page was something, let me tell you! I think I sunk well over a thousand stitches into that one, but eventually I made it through. This brings my new total to 22.4% and 26.602 stitches.

Now if that looks to you like I'm almost done, you might be right! That's just 1,418 stitches left in 3371 (and actually, as of today, I crossed into 700-stitch-territory) so I'm getting awfully close to adding some colour to this!

Thursday 3 December 2020

Online Stitching Advent Calendar, Door #3

As every year, Jo is hosting an Online Advent Calendar again, and I have the honour of providing door #3!

First, a picture of something Christmas related I stitched. The only Christmas thing I finished this year was the ornament for the TW Ornament exchange - here as photographed by my exchange partner, another Jo (but not the hostess of this blog hop):

In addition, we are given a conversation topic, and that is 'Your favourite Christmas Book'. I have two, both from my childhood and both no longer available, but I grapped the title image off the startup image search for you. I think they were both only available in German, sorry for that!

The first one is 'Unser großes Weihnachtsbuch' (Our big Christmas book) by several authors with illustrations of the talented Felicitas Kuhn (please check out her work, her fairy tale illustrations are so cute!). It's an advent calendar in book form and features stories, songs, and also recipes if my memory serves me right, as well as an over-arching story about the little angel Plotsch, who is super clumsy but still looking to find his (her? I was never quite sure) place in the heavenly work shop before Christmas. After arriving, he meets several people, and other angels that aren't quite sure where they belong, but of course, in the end, there is a place for everyone!

The second one has a similar setting, but less story - it's more of a description of everything going on up there before Christmas! It's called 'Die Himmelswerkstatt' (the heavenly work shop) by Emmerich Huber, and it's gorgeously illustrated as well. I loved all the details of little angels making toys - guess I always was drawn to crafting! - and drove my grandma crazy making her read this to me as the writing was quite small. She was very happy once I learned to read and didn't have to pester her anymore!

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Naughty November #3

 I am very busy these days, but not too busy to tell you about my next Naughty November start! #3 was another ornament, this one from the Just Cross Stitch 2019 ornament issue - I got the digital subscription a couple weeks ago, and since that included two years of back issues, I intend to make the very most of it! 

This little cutie, aptly called 'Cute Dear', is by Durene Jones, and will be a pretty interesting (however, hopefully simple!) finish when done. Doesn't look like too much stitching either, so I'm hoping to be able to get it done by Christmas.

P.S.: I'll give your the 'which ornament for which in law' solution as I finish each of them :D

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Naughty November #2

 No more starting binges I promise, from here on out it's a nice and slow one start per naughty weekend...and I might or might not be two weeks behind in posting, so here we go!

My - very modest - plans for the remainder of this event is starting one Christmas ornament per weekend, so I can gift them to Felix' mum, sister, and grandma, respectively. For my first one, I picked out a little kit from a Cross Stitcher magazine I got from a friend some years ago. It's charted to be a brooch, but I'll add a loop hanger instead and save the ornament backing for something else.

Isn't he cute? I've made pretty good progress and only need to fill in the light blue of the sweater, then add a minimal amount of backstitching. Should be done by Christmas easily! Bonus point if you can guess which of the three ladies I'm making this one for :D

November Gifted Gorgeousness

 It's that time of year when almost everything I'm working on is a gift but I can't show half of it! Might be a good thing to, because I do have a lot of things I can show as well! So for this month's Gifted Gorgeousness, let's jump right in and next month, there might be a slightly overlength Christmas special!

I'm saving an update on Zoe until I finally fully finish that (aaaany day now), but I am going to show you Ho Ho No again - it's still stuck in transit to my exchange partner in the US, but I hope it'll get there soon!

I also finished the  cat ragdoll I had been working on - she and the horse now have going to our neighbors' kids, and I am told they are both dearly loved so full success!

And then, as every month, my bookmark of the month (well, of October) - another one for the collection of emergency gifts!

That's it for stuff I finished, so let's move on to current gifty WIPs...I picked up my Beaded Wooden Cactus to work on in between SALs, and it's almost done! Full update coming soon, hopefully (I bought this from a gift card a friend gave me for my birthday):

The House Rule project I started for Naughty November is a double GG hit, as the fabric was a gift by my friend Carla and the finished project is going to be a gift for two friends of mine. This is also going to be my new ten hour focus piece come the new year, but I'll probably be busy having fun finishing up gifts until Christmas!

And last but not least, with the cat finished (but a new baby on the way and on my list...) I moved on to working on the Little River Blanket I put away in January. I even have plans to maybe make another blanket using the leftovers if I am careful! And I'm having a lot of fun with this one for now.

My other three starts from the Naughty November will also be gifts, I have three crafty gifts going into the mail this week, and a new craft I need to try out for yet another gift so...as I said, see you for a nice over length GG in December!

Thursday 19 November 2020

November Fully Finished Gallery

 As every month, I'm linking up with Rachel the Ten Hour Stitcher for the Fully Finished Gallery, and I finally have some fully finished things to show! And one half-fully finished thing, but we'll get to that in a moment.

But first, let's start with a finish you might have already seen - my October Bookmark of the Month:

I stitched this on a piece of linen banding (somewhat mystery banding, as I got it in a grab bag a couple of years ago), and this had a bit of a hemstitch thing going on around the border, so I was struck by a creative spark to pull some ribbon (that had been laying in my craftin area for months) through the holes. I added a second piece of banding for the back to hide the back of my stitching, and used a bit of double sided tape to secure the ends and prevent excess fraying. This has worked out amazingly well - Jo would call it serendipity I'm sure - and I am very happy with it!

Speaking of Jo, my next finish was the Morning Meadow sampler that she and I had been stitching over the summer. I had a dig around in my drawer of frames and found a lovely light gray one I bought a couple years ago with no real plan, and the size was a perfect fit, so I pestered Felix to frame it for me and he did!

Next there was Ho Ho No that I promised you before! I finished this as a flat fold, mostly following the tutorial by the TwistedStitcher. 

For the backing, I used leftover fabric from my Halloween wallhanging, and I applied some orange pom pom cording I had ordered a while back on a whim to the edges (I love how all this finishing was working out with stuff I already had around!)

And last but not least, what (I assume) you've all been waiting for! Well, confession time - I did NOT fully finish the Zoe Box yet. I did, however, make a start on the finishing! I finished the base of the box last weekend, and as it took me more than four hours to get this far, so I didn't do the lid yet, but I'm pretty sure I can pull it off by the next checkin. But even if it's only halfway done, I still wanted to show off, so here you go:

In the end it was less scary than I thought - a lot of work, a couple almost-broken fingers, but in the end it just boild down to careful measuring, lots of pins, and a ton of whipstitch over 2-4 layers! All the same things go for the lid, so I feel much more secure facing that now.

Monday 16 November 2020

Naughty November #1

 Rachel and Tiff cooked up another new start challenge for this month under the heading of 'Naughty November' and this time, the timing was just right for me (having finished my last focus project) and I'm in! The official schedule is four starts for the four Saturdays of November, but I had two SALs starting on the first so I shifted it over to Sundays, and having a total of six new starts (well, and my bookmark later in the month, but I'm not really counting that as it was planned from the beginning of the year!). I *might* also have carried this over to the Stitchy Quest to Destory the One Ring facebook group as a type of 'start all the things' event, where about 20 people have joined in doing between 1 and 30 starts for the month, and I don't even feel guilty :D

So, back to my starts. On November 1st, I had two starts - one was Magical's Autumn Mystery SAL, which she releases at the pace of one part (about 60-80 stitches) per day. I'm not entirely caught up, but will be again soon, so here it is up to part 12:

The original colour scheme for this was greens, reds, and browns, but Magical helped me convert it to oranges and purple with the greens for a bit of a halloween-y look, and I'm loving it.

The other SAL I'm doing with Jo - we had so much fun with out Morning Meadow SAL this summer, we decided to do another one for Winter. As there were only two Just Nan Christmas Samplers we both owned, the choice was easy and now we are stitching Snowfire Christmas. I have to admit I am super in love with this, the way the grays and white go with the bold reds and greens...this is a bigger sampler, so after three weeks I spent about 14 hours with this already, and made it through the first 8 bands - that's about halfway there! Well, actually, made it through the first band, and then 3-8, as band 2 is almost entirely beaded, and we'll add the beads last.

So those were my pre-starts...now the first proper starts, on the first Saturday of the month, will be my new focus piece. It's a German Houserule-style design by Schrägstich Design. You can see the original here, but I'm doing my own colour way in blues and reds, on a Jodyri Limited Edition Christmas fabric from last year called Snowy Skies.

This will be a (late) housewarming gift for a good friend of ours, who just moved in together with his boyfriend this summer! Red and blue are their respective favourite colours, so I'm doing my best of bringing them together without going for a 'naval' look. There will be sparkle, too! This first word is going to be 'Versprechen' (promises), I will translate the rules for you as I finish them.

Sunday 15 November 2020

Ho Ho...No?

 Sorry for chucking out so many short updates lately, but some things really deserve a post of their own on top of being tucked away into some SAL, I think! This one I stitched for the Secret Santa gift exchange on the Stitchy Quest to Destroy the One Ring facebook group. My partner hasn't received this yet, but I really wanna share and don't think she reads my blog, so I guess it's okay. 

The theme of the exchange was, unsurprisingly, Christmas and winter, but we each did a short questionaire to get our likes and dislikes and my partner told me she likes Halloween much more than Christmas, so that got me thinking. I looked around and finally stumbled across the store of WitchyStitcher on Etsy. She's a new to me designer but has so many fun patterns - and one of them was just what I needed! Meet the adorable little reaper:

I love him so much! There's a Valentine themed one I want to stitch for Felix next year too :D And I got to break out my lovely orange evenweave again, so that was a plus too. I changed out a couple of colours (the gray was charted as one of the new DMC colours I don't have yet, and the fluff on the santa hat was a yellow-ish off white that kind of faded into the background), but otherwise I completely enjoyed this pattern. Only I though this would be a quick stitch...turns out it was about 1.4k stitches and took me 13 hours! But that is including the finishing, and that is for another post ;) 

The People's Choice SAL: Magic

 This month's them for the 'People's Choice' SAL, hosted by the most magical Jo, is Magic! Pretty close to last month's theme of Wizards, but this time, I actually have some stitching to show. For example, there is this witchy cat, who I am pretty sure has some magic of his or her own:

There is this tiny witch flying on her broom under a cheesy moon (which I really should finish into something sometime):

There is my Whacky Witches that I finished last year - tons of witches, and some other magical creatures too!

And last but not least, my little blood moon witch I finished this summer:

So it seems that when it comes to magic, I am mostly drawn to witches. I have some other magical creatures in my stash though, like this Fall Fairy kit I bought years ago:

Looking at how much I love fantasy, dragons, unicorns, and everything magical, I sure don't stitch a lot of it! Maybe I'll need to change that soon.

Friday 13 November 2020

The October SALs

 Two posts in one night? What's this? Could it be...my desperately trying to get caught up while I have time (and am in a mood) to write? No, of course not! This is just a...happy little coincidence, nothing more.

So, let's talk SALs. I was better keeping on track with them on October, only the Temperature SAL took some extra time and was only finished yesterday - but one thing after another. First up, the Blackwork SAL:

I just realized that picture is awfully blurry but you can clearly see that his is filling in quickly! Due to a mishap with counting patterns this main shape will be finished this month. but never fear, I do have plans for the extra patterns coming out in December! Fun ones too. 

Next, let's talk bookmarks - the October one was kind of a diagonal band sampler, and super fun! I dug out my Nina's Threads from the Hobbits Mealplan project once again and I saw love how the colours look on the raw linen banding, especially the green:

The finish on this one was fun too, making use of the special structure of this band, but I'll talk about it a little more in my FFG post, hopefully soon. 

Last up, and hot off the needles, the Temperature SAL! We are firmly back in the greens, with a couple forages into the blues and onl two pale yellow sunny days. November has been even worse so far, so expect to see a lot of blues from here on out...