Monday 27 January 2020

Lady Justice - ten more hours, seven more colours

So when I picked Lady Justice up again, I wasn't really in the mood to stitch a ton more of green, so I took a shortcut and started on one of her floaty scarf/belt/whatever thingies. There are two of them, that both start near the bottom of the design and connect to the body close to her waist. So last time you saw Lady Justice, she was here - with the dress a short distance below her waist:

So I started to her left, and got out the new colours - there were surprisingly many of them, I expected just three or four, but turns out it were seven! (Is it kind of sad that I'm excited about this? :D) Anywas, I *almost* made it back up to Lady's waist, so next time I work on her, I should be able to finish the right floaty thing and work on the dress for a bit more. Here she is with a total of 55 hours:

For my next ten hours, I'm going to stitch Felix' Valentine's card for this year, and start my new Temperature SAL.

Sunday 26 January 2020

January WIPocalypse

It's WIPocalypse Sunday and for once, I am actually posting on the day itself! Yes I know, I don't really understand what's going on here.

The topic of the month is What SAL’s are you participating in this year? and I think by this time in the month, you've already seen most of them, but let me give you an overview nonetheless, there are quite a few now!

There is WIPocalypse, of course - checkin on the last Sunday of the month, answer the monthly question take part in a few fun extra challenges throughout the year. I'll also use these checkins to you you my progress on Rachel's and mine The Loneliness of Autumn SAL - a slow one at one 50cm length of thread a day!

Speaking of Rachel, I'm also taking part in her Fully Finished Gallery SAL again, showing fully finished objects on the 10th of each month. I am aiming for a minimum of two per checkin, and since I'm also stitching a couple smalls, that shouldn't be too hard to do.

Then there is a bunch of SALs hosted by Jo - the Gifted Gorgeousness, posting about gifts and gifted projects on the 15th, and The People's Choice, posting about a new topic every month on the first Saturday. She's also hosting a couple of Blog Hops throughout the year (the first one being Valentine's Day Secret Sweetheart, which is open fpr signups right now), and I might be teaming up for a SAL with her later in the year as well.

Some of you might remember my D.E.S.I.G.N. SAL (Designers Everybody Should Instantly Get to Notice) that I hosted a couple years back. My friend Ashley is doing a revival of the concept over on deviantArt, so I'm linking up there each month. Here's my post for January (I actually might go ahead and link to this every WIPocalypse as well, if anyone is interested).

My friend Magical is also hosting a bunch of SALs again this year. I am stitching the Bookmark of the Month and the 2020 Blackwork SAL and will soon start her Temperature SAL as well! On top of that she has a couple of Mystery SALs throughout the year (usually one in spring, one in autumn, and one on New Year's Eve) that I will attempt to stitch along on.

I hope I didn't forget something, but I think that's plenty already, isn't it?

Now for some actual stitching...Here is TLOA after 26 days, or 2.168 stitches, or 11:46h, or 1.8%!

That's almost two pages of my first colour, and I'm actually quite happy with progress so far. According to my calculations, I should be able to finish the first two colours this year, which will amount to about 25% of the whole thing done!

I'm also doing 10 + 10 = 20 this year - working in chunks of 10 hours (check - this is going really well so far, and I already have a new 10 hour update to post, later today or tomorrow) and getting my WIP count down by 10. Just yesterday, I finished the green/silver shawl I stared in December (I took it along to two movie nights with friends, then took a few minutes to get all the ends woven in):

This (together with finishes on The Temperature SAL and the Twisted Headband, and starting the new Blackwork SAL) brings my total to 47. However, I'll soon be starting the new Temperature SAL as a year long projects, so I'm actually just down by one WIP. Still, it's a start :)

Friday 24 January 2020

January Gifted Gorgeousness

Yes, I have to admit I'm a little late for this one...and I must also admit I don't really have anything new to show you. I think we the ten-hour-updates I've been doing this month, I'm just posting a lot more about my current stitching, so I don't necessarily have new stuff for the monthly checkins. I hope you don't mind too much!

I only really worked on two gifts this month - Lady Justice, which you last saw here:

I'm about halfway through another ten hour rotation, so there might be more progress to show over the weekend! She's going to a present for my mum's 60th birthday.

And this bookmark, which will probably a Christmas present, I just don't know yet for whom:

I might have more to show in February - a new baby was born in our circle of acquaintances, and a coworker will become a dad in April, so some knitting or crochet might be in order!

Wednesday 22 January 2020

January Bookmark and Blackwork

 In the latest slot of my ten hour rotation I had two new starts. First, I decided to stitch up the January Bookmark from Magical525's Bookmark of the Month SAL - I want to try and stitch all twelve of them so I have a couple of small but usefull gifts come Christmas! The January edition features a nice colour gradient of snowflakes in different shades of blue, a little silver backstitching (I used DMC Lighteffects instead of the called-for Kreinik) and a vers interesting shape! Here it is all nice and finished, and I'll talk a little more about the unique finishing (which isn't all that visible, but was fun!) in the next FFG post.

The whole thing took me 9:05h, including the finishing, so I had a little time left for another start before getting back to my focus piece - and what a fun one it was!  After hosting a comparatively small Blackwork SAL last year, the 2020 Edition is a little more ambitious. Not only is the pattern much bigger, but there's also a lot of potential to make it your own. Firstly, Magical doesn't just give us one pattern - there where different layouts available at the beginning, such as squares, rectangles, octagons and, my favourite, plus-shapes. Then she gives us a number (four, in this case) of blackwork patterns each month, and we can go about and fill in our layout as we want. I chose to start in the upper left corner, but you can go about it any way you like, chosing to do bigger or smaller bits of the patterns you really like or don't like that much.
Magical also doesn't tell us what colours to use, so I had to get a bit creative...and boy, did I get creative! First I thought I was doing to use some hand dyed fabric...or hand dyed floss...or maybe both? but then I suddenly remembered that piece of chocolate, 18ct Aida I had left over from starting The Puppeteer, and suddenly I had all that visions of glorious autumn to the floss box I went, and here is the result:

I chose four colours for the patterns, one orange, one green, and two yellow/goldish ones, plus one (a dark gold) for the layout. I might pick up a few more colours as I go along, but for now I am happy with these five. I'm adding the layout above the finished blackwork, so I'm only stitching lines when they are 'surrounded' from both sides, and I'm doing the layout in two threads and over two squares to make it a little bolder and stand out from the blackwork. I'm so in love with this, I think it's my favourite project at the moment, and I can't wait to work on it more in February!

This part took me 2:46h, so it's back to one of the focus projects for now. I decided to stick with Lady Justice, but made a deal with myself that I got to start on a new area of the paper (actually not a new area, but filling in the missing parts of the lower half of the patterns with colours I haven't used yet) so I won't get bored!

Friday 17 January 2020

Fully Finished Gallery - January Edition

Last year, Rachel started a new SAL to motivate us and fully finish any thing we finished stitching, and a couple items from that pesky box of shame, as well! I didn't quite make all the checkins last year, but posted about fully finished 14 items. This year, I'm aiming to check in every month, with a minimum of two finishes per post (probably one current, one older on many occasions).

Now, checkin was on the 10th, and I haven't yet finished anything new this year...I do have two December finishes that were after the last FFG, though, so let me show you them again and talk about them in a little more detail, too!

The first one, I can only take partial credit for...I stitched Lettuce be Friends, of course, I washed and ironed it and picked out the frame, but I usually leave the actual framing to my husband. I don't have the patience to do it right...and I say that with a straight face after spending about 60 hours on the stitching!
By sheer luck the frame of this matches the small guinea pigs I stitched for my grandma a couple of years ago, so that's a nice bonus!

The other one I did all by myself, and tried a new finishing method out as well! Rachel posted a tutorial in December on how to make her trademark backed-ornaments, and I just had to give it a try. I had to improvise at some points - I didn't have any wadding so I tried padding the ornament with a bit of regular stuffing material instead, which is not a lot of fun, let me tell you! - but I did get some of that narrow double sided tape and it was a game changer! I think I'll be buying lot's more of that in the future. I really enjoyed using the ribbon too, so I might keep my eyes open for when I can pick some pretty ones up.

The finished 'product' is a little bigger than I usually like my ornaments to be, but so pretty! It's a great way to showcase pretty fabrics and small pieces of stitching.

Wednesday 15 January 2020

A twisted headband and ten hours of justice

After my last update on Lady Justice, I took some time (less than an hour) to finish up the headband I crocheted (is that a word?) over the holidays. So what was just a long, unimpressive piece of crochet before is now a lovely headband - with a twist! This uses a pretty cool, loop-and-twist kind of construction, but it was a little confusing and took a few tried (and a lot of clipping stuff together) to get it right. I really like how it came out, though, it's cute! The matching scarf is in my to-go back, for when I have a few minutes to work on it on the go.

After that brief excursion, it was back to Lady Justice! Here is a quick reminder of where we left her in the last update (although it hasn't been that long - I'm feeling very productive with my new rotation so far!)

Now I spent another ten hours filling in her skirt and I'm pretty happy with my progress! The topmost stitches are about half-height of chart, and almost everything below that is filled in (at least in the skirt - there are still to scarfy-bit hanging down on either side of her). I think in the next ten hour slot I might get up to her waist (the skirt is so much narrower now it should go quickly) and then her belt will actually introduce the second set of colours (spoilers: no greens!).

I'm putting her aside for a moment to stitch the January Bookmark and possibly start the new Blackwork SAL. After that, it's either more of Lady Justice or maybe a little Mermaid for a change.

Tuesday 14 January 2020

The People's Choice SAL: Lizzie*Kate

I am very happy to report that Jo is continuing to host the monthly "The People Chose" SAL. I just realized I missed the December checkin amonst all the craziness of life, but I'm back for January and the theme of the month is Lizzie*Kate!

I haven't stitched a lot of L*K's designs so far, but there are a few that I really like. I feel like I am drawn more towards her bigger, text-heavy designs and not so much the smaller 'snippet' ones.

In fact, I finished two of her designs and have one WIP. I finished 'A perfectly kept house' as a house warming gift for two friends of mine, and a purple conversion of 'Promise me' for my best friend:

My WIP is actually the oldest one of the three - The Things Unseen Mystery SAL. I think it was released in 2014 and Felix' actually bought the full kit for me and I got the parts as they were published. I really need to get working on's the most current picture I could find:

I have a couple more of her patterns I want to stitch, especially the "Less...More" and the 3 Little Words series.

Sunday 12 January 2020

December and 2019 Stitchy Pie

How is it that we're not even two weeks into the new year, and I already have four (yes, four!) posts in the pipeline that I need to get out? Talk about resolutions and not falling into old patterns! :D

Anyways, it's time for the December Stitchy Pies and, since I started taking time at the end of 2018, also the first time I can give you a total pie for a whole year! However, the export function of Timesheet is still broken, so I had to get creative with screenshots, I hope it's not too bad.

Here are all my projects for December - of course, Lettuce be Friends saw the biggest junk of time, followed by a couple crochet projects and SALs, mostly. The Mermaid and Lady Justice didn't come put to play at all.  The total time is about average, but I did about 30 hours of that in the week after Christmas - before, it was just too busy!

Sorted by tags - I did a lot of crochet during family game time and the likes when we were at Felix' parents after Christmas. For finishing, I did the Holiday Dragon ornament, but also had a lot of weaving in ends to do on the Little River Blanket!

And now for the complete 2019 pie - I didn't do tags for the whole year, which would have been more interesting, but it's still nice to see which projects ate most of my time. Of course The Mermaid is leading, and if I ever feel guilty about not finishing her, I just need to look at the graph to see that I still did a lot!

Monday 6 January 2020

Lady Justice, or the first ten hours

I am happy to announce that, at least for now, I am super happy with my new rotation plans, and super motivated too! Thankfully, I also had a lot of extra stitching time on my hands this past week, and so I can already show you the result of my first ten hour 'slot'. I started working on Lady Justice as she needs to be finished in just under four months' time (she's a birthday present for my mom, who's a judge). Even though I had spent about 25 hours on her so far, I never really focused on her (I just picked her up for an hour or two here and there during 2019) so I didn't really have a feeling for how long she's going to take me. Now after spending my first ten hours with her this year, I am happy to report that while there is a lot of stitching to do, I'm making good progress, and I'm reasonably sure I can do it, if I keep focusing!

So, as a reminder, here she was when I last put her away - as you can see, I was stitching away at her skirts kind of awkwardly, doing a little here and there, up and done, trying to get the edges in, but leaving some strange gaps in between (and I don't mean the circles that will be beaded later):

So I spent some time filling gaps, finishing these weird, half finished rows, and slowly filling the skirt in from the bottom up. I think it looks much nicer now with about 2000 extra stitches!

I'm really enjoying stitching on her, so much that I had a hard time putting her down. In fact, I think I'll just take a moment to sew my headband together and continue with another ten hours to make use of this momentum!

Sunday 5 January 2020

WIPocalypse - 2020 Intro

Today is the first checkin of the year on one of my favourite SALs ever, the WIPocalypse - 2020 Edition. I think it's my sixth year taking part - wohoo! Checkins are usually on the last Sunday of each month, but for January there's an extra 'introduction' post to talk about us and out goals for the year.

So, here we go - slightly updated from last year (and probably the year before that too, I tend to recycle stuff...):

Hi, I'm Leonore, I'm 30 years old and from Southern Germany. I life together with my husband, and my extended family includes my grandmas, who lifes 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.

Now, how about my crafting 2018, I tried doing '18 in '18', choosing 18 specific projects to work on...which didn't work all that well. In 2019, I did '-19 in '19', trying to get my WIP count down by 19, which didn't work at all! So this year, I'll try and do '10 + 10 = '20' - which has too parts. The first one is simple - I still want to cull my WIP list, so my goal this year is to get it down by at least 10 (which would mean 39 from the 49 I started the year with). The second part is that I'll try to focus my stitching around 10 hour 'chunks' - something I copied off both our hostess Measi and her ten hour rotation, and Rachel the TenHourStitcher, and briefly played with last year. I hope they won't mind me playing around with it :)
I think ten hour is a pretty good time for me to focus on a project - long enough to get some serious stitching done, but short enough to circle through a couple projects each month and keep me from getting bored. I'm not going to impose any strict rules on myself - the next project might be something that needs finishing, something chosen by a random generator, or something I just want to work on. Right now I really want/need to finish Lady Justice and The Mermaid (both are birthday presents - LJ is due April 30th and The Mermaid is already way past her deadline), so I'll try to make at least every second slot one of those. Once they are done, I might pick a new focus project, or maybe not, we'll see.

To keep things exciting, I also want to throw a couple of monthly SALs in the mixture...although at this point, I'm not quite sure which ones. My friend Magical has a TON of exciting SALs going on again this year, and I'd love to stitch all of them, but know I won't find the time. I'm pretty sure I want to do her Temperature and Blackwork SAL, and I'm really excited about the Bookmark of the Month, but I'm not sure whether I'll stitch all of those.

As for linkup-SALs, apart from WIPocalypse I'll continue to do Jo's Gifted Gorgeousness as well as Rachel's Fully Finished Gallery (assuming she continues to host it). I'll also try to take part in Jo's 'The People's Choice SAL' as often as I can.

The SAL I'm maybe most excited about is one Rachel and I have been hatching in private for the past couple of month. During the Autumn Colours month on the People's Choice SAL, she showed her pattern of The Loneliness of Autumn (and for those of you who don't know it, I'll put the image in my sidebar in a moment) and I commented that I had a different version of the chart in my stash (her's is by, and mine by Love Thy Thread. She jokingly replied that we should SAL on it, and I jokingly agreed, and before we both new it, we weren't joking anymore but seriously planning, and then we were seriously ordering supplies, and now here we are. We both new a start of this size (and confetti!) was not the sensible thing to do, but it was so, so fun to plan, and when I woke up on new years day, it was the first thing I did! One length of thread a day is our goal. We thought that would work out to about 20 minutes a day, but so far it's more like 30 minuts for me (probably because I'm stitching on 28ct and that one length amounts to almost a hundred stitches each day).

We both chose the same course of stitching - extreme cross country, one colour at a time, starting with the colour that has the most stitches, which is 310 for her and 939 for me (a whopping 16 670 stitches of it!). Then we'll do the second most common colour, and so on. We might switch to just filling in pages once all the 'big' colours are done, but that's still some months (or rather years) off. It'll be fun to see the two versions of the chart grow side by side! Here is mine after five days of stitching:

By the way, I'm using the Pattern Keeper App on this for the first time, and I'm loving it! It doesn't support everything yet, but I think I'll try using it for as many of my digital patterns as possible from now on.

Before I end this post, I have two more things to share: The last start of 2019, and the first finish of 2020! On December 23rd, I started the prestitch of this years NYE Mystery SAL. The official start was on December 27th, and we were at Felix' parents then. I stayed caught up until about part 10, but there are over 30 parts this time, so I still have quite a bit left to stitch. Such a pretty pattern, though!

And for a finish, I spent a few days catching up on the 2019 Temperature SAL! During the last two months, I had to change colours almost every day (no wonder I was so tired all the time, that weather would drive everyone crazy!), so it took a while, and then the last four days are a complete new 'row' all around the pattern, so that took some time as well. But I do love the end result!

So here I am at 49 WIPs again. Let's see how I can change that for next month...hopefully in the right direction!

By the way, I think this post is way longer than anything I posted in the last couple month. I'm off work until the 7th, and I took that time mostly to recharge (and stitch a ton) instead of frantically trying to catch up on everything (like blog reading, and updating my finishes page...), and I think that was the right decision, since I really feel much better now. I'll try my best to get everything else back on track in the coming weeks, and also to not let myself get overwhelmed with stuff as much as I did last year. Please take care of yourselves!

Friday 3 January 2020

December WIPocalypse

I think this is my last 2019 post to catch up on - yay! And December WIPocalypse is meant to recap all your accomplishments of the year, and since a lot of crafting happens in those few precious days after Christmas, I usually don't get it up before the new year anyways :)

So, recapping...alltogether, 2019 was a crappy year for my life, but not too bad for my crafting. I didn't reach all of my goals, but I made a lot of progress and I even tried out a few new things over the year. Hopefully, this trend will continue into 2020 - I have a few very loose, but very exciting plans picked out and can't wait to share them in the new WIPocalypse intro (hopefully up this weekend!).

So, for more tangible goals...I was doing three monthly SALs this year. In November, I fell behind on all of them, but I'm happy to report that I finished both the Mamluk and the Blackwork SAL before the year was over! Temperature SAL will follow soon. Now begins the process of deciding what to make off them...

Now my big goal of getting down to 30 WIPs...I failed spectacularly on that, but at least I never went over 50 either. Actually, I finished the year as I started it - I had a couple of new starts that brought me back up to 49 WIPs. Try again this year, I guess!

Two of these starts where thanks to my best friend, who scored some amazing yarn at a discount store (Action, for my European friends) for me, and I just had to start a shawl with this lovely green-gray-sparkly-fluffy stuff. I used one cake completely and before I started the second one, made a headband too (which still needs sewing together). I hope to work on it some more soon!

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Gifted Gorgeousness - December Edition

Hello my lovelies, and Happy New Year! Here on my blog, we are not totally ready for the new year yet, there are still a couple of posts missing that I fully intend to catch up on soon...I think the lesson for me this last year has been to accept that I can't do everything at once and sometimes, that's okay. Work has been crazy up to Christmas (and actually even after...I just submitted my latest research paper this Tuesday), so I haven't had any time to actually get into a festive mood, do any decorating or baking or whatever, but that's okay, too - I didn't feel a lot like Christmas anyway and I can always do some baking during the year too. I'm still not quite back to myself emotionally, but I'll get there, and I'll get caught up with everything around here too - someday :) For now, let me share all the gifted gorgeousness that has been happening before and on Christmas, because that's something I actually found time for!

Perhaps most importantly, I finished Lettuce be Friends for my grandma well in time, and Felix framed it for me. We gave it to her on Christmas and she loved it! We're actually going to pick a place for these guys tomorrow.

I also managed to finish two more pairs of the Dragon Scale wristwarmers. One pair using the last of the red yarn I bought the year before, the other some leftover blue alpaca yarn from a hat I made some time ago, sparkled up with some gold. One pair I already gave to a friend, the other pair will follow soon (being sent to another friend):

A couple friends were doing a Secret Santa ornament exchange...sadly, a few of us (including myself) got very caught up with life and haven't been able to send anything out yet. However, I actually did manage to finish and finish finish mine, a cute little freebie from Dragon Dreams (using a finishing tutorial from Rachel, but I'll talk about that more in the January FFG).

And last but not least, I got some crafty grub myself for Christmas! Two awesome crochet books from Felix' grandma, two cute crochet kits from mine, and this amazing Little River Blanket kit from Felix. I had to start it right away and it's about 1/4 done already, so much fun!