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 gro├čes 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