Sunday 31 January 2021

House Rules - 20 Hours

To make up for all the lost time in November and December (well, not lost, but severely distracted!) I already finished my second rotation of the House Rule chart, so I am at 20 hours now.

As you can see, I finished the second line from the top - it says 'Say "please" & "thank you"' - and made a good start on the top most row, so I think that puts the design close to half way finished! I'm due to pick it up again the coming week, so you might see more progress on this real soon.

Saturday 23 January 2021

January Gifted Gorgeousness

 Jo's main SAL, the Gifted Gorgeousness, is continuing for another year into 2021, and as I still have lots of gifts to stitch, I will follow right along. As usual, this SAL is to talk about all the gift and gifted projects we are working on, as well as anything else that can be shoehorned in! For me, that usually means a lot of knitting and crochet on top of my cross stitching.

You've already seen most of the gifts I finished over the last couple posts, so today I will focus on a couple WIPs you either haven't seen yet or haven't seen in a while.

One of my current main gift projects is the Little River Blanket by Emma Varnam via Black Sheep Wools. This baby blanket is a gift for a friend who should have had her second baby sometime in the last week, but I haven't heard from her yet! In any case, it's a good thing I am nearing the end of it, the blanket should be finished this week and then I'll only have two rows of border left to do.

I've also been working on a very, VERY fluffy scarf for a friend. She found this loop-y faux fur yarn out shopping, fell in love with its fluffyness, and asked me if I could make something with it, so I promised to figure something out. Turned out this was an 'of the hook' kind of yarn with pre-made loops, so it can be 'knitted' without using needles, and one ball actually gives out a lot better than I expected. With the first ball I made this scarf for her (still need to figure out how to secure the end) and I still have a second ball to play with! (please excuse my couch, I've been meaning to fix that tear for ages...)

Last but not least, there is a little start I had yesterday - I won't say much about it yet, but you still might recognize it! This will be Felix' valentine's card this year when done (or maybe a valentine's ornament/flat fold, it's a little bigger than what I usually do for the occasion...)

Friday 22 January 2021

Zoe Box - Fully Finished!

 A couple days ago, I finally finished finishing (hah, there's a sentence that only makes sense in the crafting world!), and I realized I never made a post when I finished the stitching back in...I wanna say late October? because I anticipated doing this post soon afterwards. Hah! So that didn't happen, but get ready for a picture heavy post now instead!

So last time I had just finished the top of the lid, and I went on to stitching the bottom of the box. As most of it won't be visible (with the box standing on it and everything), there was very little stitching going on, so this part was done soon:

The last two parts were the front and back of the little biscornu that goes on the lid as a handle. There was a lot of pretty stitching going on in those two little squares - including a repeat of the pretty specialty stitches seen on the box and lid - but they still didn't take long to stitch.

That was all the seperate parts of Zow box done and I was left with the taxing task of assembling it all! Here are all the parts together before I cut them up (which was a little scary, so it took a couple of days to get the courage to do it). As you can see, there were lots of little pieces left over for ornaments and other smalls. 

I finally managed to cut everything up, wash and iron the single pieces, and prepare have Felix cut to size the interfacing. He did a great job so I could folg the pieces in between the inside and outside of the lid and pin them nice and tidy:

This was the hard part, it turned out - the sewing together was just some backstitch to seperate the panels, and a whole lot of whip stitching to hold it all together! I kind of enjoy whip stitching, even though doing four layers at once seemed a little daunting at first:

Rinse and repeat everything for the lid, stitch up the biscornu (secured with a cute little crystal from above and below), and here we go! I'll leave you with a couple pretty shots from different angles of the inside and outside:

Zoe Box

Faby Reilly Designs

Total Time to finish: 73h 10m

Sunday 17 January 2021

January Fully Finished Gallery

 One of the SALs that is continuing this year is Rachel's Fully Finished Gallery, and that's a good thing because I *still* have a box full of unfinished stitching (well actually I just upgraded and started putting them of them in a folger, so I could keep them all nice and ironed at least!).

In any case, in an attempt to start the year off strong I sat down to bring you another two fully finished objects this month. First, I stitched and finished the December bookmark. Again I got to use some aida banding, red with gold this time, and I went very Christmassy by using two greens and more gold in the stitching too. The finishing itself was very simple then, just folding and securing the band at the top and bottom:

The second finish is a little more exciting...because I finally finished the lid of my Zoe box! Now that I knew how things go, it went a lot quicker and more smoothly. I even kind of want to make another box, is was so much fun! Let me tell you though, I was extremely relieved when the lid fit the box as well as it did. 

I'll do a seperate post with lots of pictures some time soon, but I can tell you I am very pleased with this project, it was a complete joy start to finish.

Saturday 16 January 2021

The December SALs & 2021 Plans

 I finally got around to finishing the last of my 2020 SALs (two weeks into the new year - that's not too bad to get caught up, isn't it?) and of course I want to share them with you all!

The first one to get finished (this was still in December, even) was the Blackwork SAL. You might remember that I actually filled my square-made-from-plusses shape in November due to a mixup with the number of patterns given, but I had a plan as to how to deal with the remaining two patterns! See, my plan for this is to make a tablet/laptop cover/bag at some point, so I used the extra patterns to stitch a little extra thing to go on the flap of that. The as of yet empty rectangle is meant to hold initials and/or a date - I'm not sure whether I'm making the cover for mine or Felix' hardware, so I'll fill it in when the time comes.

Next I finished the Temperature SAL earlier this month. December had a lot of  wasn't even *that* cold - January has been much worse so far, but that's a subject for a new Temperature SAL! For now, I am quite happy to have this one done, it was a lot of fun and I think at some point I'm going to have to dedicate a whole wall to all of these.

Last but not least, I stitched up the bookmark for December! I am deliberately saving the close up for another post (as to avoid too many duplicate pictures, don't want to bore you guys!), but a while back I was asked for a completely lineup of all twelve of these bookmarks, so here we go:

December is the bottom right - again I got to use some aida banding I had laying around and I went full Christmas on the colours! 

In any case, lining them all up like this really shows that I put some work into them this year! Do you have a favourite? For me it's really hard to pick, but if pressed I'd probably go with the diagonal band sampler from October. I really loved how everything came together on that one.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've also been thinking about what SALs (if any) to join this year. Of course Magical is hosting a couple of interesting ones again, and her's are always my first go-to! I knew I wanted to do her new Temperature SAL as soon as she announced it. There are two versions this year, and I'll have a hard look at my fabric stash and decide from there which one to do (one is slightly bigger than the other). She's also doing a Sampler SAL that sounds pretty interesting, using all kinds of materials and stitches. This one is a weekly SAL, doing one 'page' of stitches every month, and I hope to use up some more stash joining in.

I was thinking really hard about wether to join her new Blackwork SAL as well, or maybe this year's Ornaments of the Month, but finally decided against it. Instead, I will be trying to finish some of her older SALs on my WIP list, namely the 2019/20 NYE Mystery SAL:

And the 2020 Autumn Mystery SAL:

I've also been working on the 2015 Ornaments of the Month, and the 2020 Mini Mystery SALs - for those I don't have a design currently started, but as I am counting the whole series as one ongoing WIP it'd be nice to get them off the list. There are so many more of Magical's patterns that I want to do, but I should be sensible and take care of these WIPs first, as they really aren't too big!

Tuesday 12 January 2021

House Rules - 10 hours newest focus stitch was started in the beginning of November, but due to all my crazy Christmas stitching it took me until early January to really start focusing and finish my first ten hour rotation! I just managed to get all six colours (two of them Kreinik) in there as I am doing my own colour conversion and I wanted to know how they look, and I am content, so I'm officially hooked now.

The picture is pretty true to colour and even shows up the lovely Snowy Skies ice dyed fabric by Jodyri Designs - a 2019 Christmas special given to me by my good friend Carla. 

As you can see I finished two lines - the upper one (stitched all in Kreinik) is 'Dance in the kitchen' and below that is 'Keep your promises'. There will be one more line above the one I just started, and then three more below what I got so far, but some of them are a LOT more stitching so I'll need to keep at it to finish this soon! But it's all letters and fun and stitches up relatively fast, so I'm not too worried and think I'll get this done in March (which gives me plenty of time to start and finish the focus project after that by July...I think?).

Sunday 10 January 2021

New Year, New Start, New Finish - Hope

 After I was very good with my finishes in December, I treated myself to a New Year's start...and a January 3rd finish! Yup, it was a small one, but I'm still happy to have stayed this focused for three days.

I've been meaning to stitch Little House Needleworks' Little Sheep Virtue series for a couple of years now - I own four of the patterns with the called for buttons and fabric for six and probably will boy the others soon. The first of the patterns is 'Hope', and I thought this was a great sentiment to start the new year on, so my first couple of stitches went in shortly after midnight on January 1st. It took me two days to stitch the border and one day for the inside:

Isn't it cute? I love the little sheep with his fluffy white body and dark legs and head! I'm stitching these on 32ct raw linen that's a little lighter than what was suggested, so I switched out the Ecru charted for the snow and snowflake for a true white (B5200 since I couldn't find any Blanc, but I think it looks good), since it looked a little dirty otherwise. I also had a special colour set aside for the sheep itself - a handdyed by Nina's thread called 'White Sheep' that I'm planning in all of the patterns (or almost all, I think some of the sheep are all brown).

Total time: 8:48 h.

Right now my plans are to start one of these patterns during each of the starting events I'll take part in during the course of the year - they are fun and easy to stitch, and it'll be a good ways into the series! Not sure how to do the finish-finishes yet, but I still have time to decide.

Friday 8 January 2021

WIPocalypse - 2021 Intro

 Welcome, welcome - it's the tenth edition of WIPocalypse, and for me personally, it's the eighth time taking part. It's still one of my favourite SALs, as it is so low stress and low effort, and everyone can just make it fit their own style of stitching and posting! The usual signin is at the end of the month but as usual, January gets an extra post as in introduction, so here we go - slightly updated from last year (and the year before that, and before that...):

Hi, I'm Leonore, I'm 31 years old and from Southern Germany. I life together with my husband, and my extended family includes my grandma, who lives 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 (although thanks to the pandemic, it's been a while...). 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.

As for my crafting goals - I'm getting less ambitious every year as I never seem to get around to any goal I set in January anyways! For the last two years, I tried to stop my WIPs from soaring over 50, and just barely managed to achieve that - I never really got below that number, either, but I'm still trying. No promises, though! I will continue my ten hour rotation from last year, alternating working on a focus project for ten hours with something else from my stash, as that seems to work quite well. Hopefully I'll manage a couple of finishes while still touching a decent number of my older projects!

As for focus projects, I got several planned this year. I still need to fully finish the Zoe box for a wedding present in April (hopefully, considering the current situation!), I started my a House Rules project in November (update on that soon-ish) that needs to be finishes asap for a house warming gift, and after that I'm going to start a Wrendale for my bestie's mum's birthday in July. After that I have another, as-of-yet secret project lines up, but still need to finalize the details. Nothing as massive as Lady Justice or The Mermaid last year, but plenty of fun stitching to do!

I also have a project on the go that is going to show up throughout my WIPocalypse posts, and that is The Loneliness of Autumn as charted by Love Thy Thread, after a painting of Leonid Afremov. It's a big colourful project that I am SALing with Rachel the Ten Hour Stitcher - she has a different version of the chart, but we're both going extreme cross country, one colour at a time, at a pace of about one length a day/ten hours a month, and we are both about 25% finished! At the end of 2020, after one year of working on this, I had just started my third colour, and the first one to really pop and show up:

I hope to finish this colour by March and make my way through a couple more this year!

As for other SALs, I will continue to link up with Jo's Gifted Gorgeousness and The People Chose SAL, as well as Rachel's Fully Finished Gallery. Stitchingwise, I will be doing Magical525's new Temperature SAL and possibly her new blackwork and/or Sampler SAL, but somehow time got away from me in December and I haven't finalized my plans yet! So there might be a couple surprises along the way. I'm also planning to join in with the "New Starts" events Rachel is planning to host (hopefully without totally ruining my WIP count!), so I'm sure I won't be bored ever, as usual!

The People's Choice SAL: Designer of 2020

 This fun little SAL dealing with a different, democratically chosen topic every month is a brainchild of our wonderfully creative Jo, and this month the topic is 'The designer you enjoyed stitching the most in 2020'. For me, this is a wonderful opportunity to stitch to stitches with one needle, because I haven't shown you the project I'm going to talk about yet!

Actually, I stitched a lot of wonderful projects this year. For a moment I considered putting Mirabilia, since I really enjoyed working on Lady Justice, or Faby Reilly Design, because isn't the Zoe Box the most precious thing ever?! But actually, the thing I enjoyed stitching the absolut most this year, and maybe ever, was the Snowfire Christmas Sampler I've been SALing with Jo in November and December. I'm not sure what it was, but I think the mixture of gorgeous colours and all these precious specialty stitches, and then aaaaall those hundreds of beads, it's just so pretty. I'm considering having this one professionally framed, which would be a first for me (but I'm not sure as I don't have a ton of fabric margin, so not a lot of room to play with fancy mats!). Here it is in all it's (as of yet unframed, but a little ironed) glory:

Snowfire Christmas

Just Nan

Total Time: 38h25m

So by proxy, the designer I enjoyed stitching the most this year is JustNan! Surprisingly, as I had a lot of her patterns in my stash (also not as many as some...) and just never got around to stitching them. Jo and I also SALed another band sampler last summer, the Morning Meadow one:

I enjoyed this one a lot as well. Now I'll have to decided which of her patterns to stitch next this year, I'm sure I'll be able to fit one or two in there! There are going to be a couple more SALs on the JN facebook group, so maybe I can join in one of those, we'll see.

Thursday 7 January 2021

November, December & 2020 Crafty Pies

 Look at me, one week into the new year and I already have a list of back-logged posts I need to get up...oh well. Wouldn't feel like my blog if I didn't ^^" 

So, looking back at 2020 one more time (not for the last time, there are at least two more posts concerning my December crafting yet to come), you might recall that I never got my November crafting pie diagrams online, and of course December is also still missing, so let's do that all in one post! 

First, my November tags:

Lots of stitching, a fair deal of crochet and knitting, and some excursions in finishing, beading and diamond painting...wait, what? between all the Naughty November starting, I snuck in another start - I had one of my UnconventionalXStitch patterns kitted as a diamond painting and of course I had to start it right away. It's a gorgeous blue butterfly on a white and turquoise background, and so far I am here:

It's not a lot yet, and that has two reasons - for one, the only surface big enough is my desk, which is in our bedroom, and it's *cold* in there right now, so it's not very enjoyable to sit there for longer periods of time, but that will take care of itself once we get closer to spring. The second reason was I had some issues working with the little plastic packs the drills came in - I finally caved and bought myself a bead organizer, and spent some time of my vacation organizing and labeling, so I am now all ready to really start once it gets a little warmer again:

(That's not all the drills in there, I still got some extra packets of some of the more prominent colours!).

Now the project list for November:

Yes, it was a little crazy! Nothing you haven't seen yet, though.

December wa a little better once I starte finishing off things:

The 'other' category was the Temari ball - I liked making it, but it doesn't warrant a whole new category on my tag sheet. Otherwise, my crafting thinned out a bit after Christmas, with all the crazy deadlines behind me I was a little burnt out, but don't worry, I still did a little every day and my stitchy bug is returning with a passion :)

As another year has passed, I also want to give you some year-long statistics. Here are my tags for all of 2020:

Unsurprisingly, stitching is in the lead by far, but my other crafts got a nice portion of time too. I'm sparing you the project pie - it's way long and has far too many tiny slices to really make out anything - but my total number of crafting hours in 2020 was 958:15h, which is actually more than 60 hours down from 2019 - I know I was busy this year, but I kind of thought I'd make up for it with the lack of socialization. Apparently not! 

I also have a breakdown of my daily crafting hours. Interestingly, my crafting is spread pretty evenly throughout the week and weekend. Wednesdays are my weakest day, probably because we usually spend the evening at my grandma's. Everything considered, I think I didn't do too bad!

Friday 1 January 2021

December WIPocalypse

 Hello lovelies! I'm starting to write this post on NYE, 11:47pm, and that's as close to 'posting still in 2020' as you're going to get ^.~ I planned to write this earlier today, but time got away from me preparing my New Year's start and video chatting with friends. This time, I'll do it a little different and put the actual WIPocalypse stuff at the end. Let's start off with The Loneliness of Autumn, which I've been SALing on with Rachel for exactly one year today!

Last time I was at 22.4% and reeeeal close to finishing the 3371:

I finished that colour on the 18th, at 23.59% and 28,020 stitches total:

And that's where things got exciting, as my next colour was 4,231 stitches of 3852 - a real colour, a nice dark yellow, that still looks super bright against the dark colours around it! As it's spread out a bit more than the background colours, my average stitches-per-thread have gone down a little, but over the 14 days since I've still made good progress. Right now I am at 24.38%/28,968 stitches total after 158:27h with 3,283 to go until the next colour.

As you can see, I made it through the first row of pages, and almost two pages of the second row. Most of the stitching happens in rows 2 and 3 so the yellow will be pretty dense there. At this rate, I might be able to start my fourth colour as early as March! It's back to a boring brown then, but enough exciting colours are to pop up during the next year to keep things going.

Now, to move on to more WIPocalyptic topics...the topic of the month is Recap your accomplishments for the year! (Your finishes, your final before/after photos, etc). You have seen most of my before and after pictures already, and apart from TLOA I didn't really have a year long project, but I can talk a bit about my goals in general. Last January, I decided that I was going to do a 10+10=20 thing for the year - working in 10 hour rotations, and reducing my WIPs by 10 (from 49 to 39). The first goal worked pretty well, at least until September or so - that was when my goals just blew up and everything went crazy, but I am very much looking forward to getting back to a bit more of a structured rotation now. The second goal I totally failed fact, I just yesterday managed to get my WIP count back to where I started! So at least it's not gotten any worse! ... I guess. 

All in all I am pretty content. I finished a couple big projects (Lady Justice, The Mermaid, and the Zoe Box only needs a liiiittle bit more of finish-finishing), a ton of small ones (including so far 11 of the 12 Bookmarks of the Month), and made decent progress on some others. Hopefully 2021 will be just as productive, or even more - I have a couple of fun things planned, but that's a topic for the next WIPocalypse and the 2021 kickoff.