Sunday 31 December 2023

December WIPocalypse

It's time for the final WIPocalypse of the year - and once in a blue moon, I am actually on time as well! So are you ready to let go of 2023 with me and embark on new adventures in 2024? On the verge of the new year I am always feeling strangely energetic and excited, even though I now it's just a random date to base any change on. Still, it feels good to start over fresh, with new goals (and, as a crafter, with some new starts!). So naturally, the question of the month is Recap your accomplishments for the year! (Your finishes, your final before/after photos, etc).

When I introduced myself to WIPocalypse in January, I brought with me three projects that I wanted to make progress on this year. Now while none of them have been finished, they all have seen serious progress! Let's see where they are now...

My first project that you've been seeing all year long is The Loneliness of Autumn, which I am SALing with Rachel at a pace of roughly one length a day/ten hours a month. On this I fell behind a bit this year, have since changed my modus operandi from extreme cross country (by colour) to filling in pages, and thus won my mojo back, and I am pleased to report a full month of stitching in December. 1457 stitches this month brings us to page finish #3 and a new total of 95,282/118,800 stitches or 80.20% done:

Thanks to all those slow months on this, I only added 14% this year, but I still think a finish in 24 just *might* be possible as I am getting more excited for this with the finish drawing closer!

Another project I wanted to focus on this year was my oldest WIP, which I dubbed Medow Tablecloth (for lack of a better title). Last time I worked on this was for the July focus even, and it got so close I thought I'd be able to finish...alas, it's really hard to find motivation for this one!

On the other hand, it really is just a couple hundred stitches left to go...I think I will bring it with my to NYE-movie time at grandma's place and try to get a few stitches in, to set the right tone for hopefully an early 2024 finish. We will see.

Last but not least, I wanted to focus on my Guardian of Wayfarers...I did quite well on it for the first couple months, but then totally neglected this since June! In fact I only put in a couple stitches today to put it at a solid 110 hours of stitching total, so I can have a clean start for 2024. This guy is going to play quite a central role in my plans for the year...

He went from 32% to 49% done and, including back stitch, I need just 19k to finish him. Might be possible? We'll see!

I will talk more extensively about my plans for 2024 once the new year rolls around, but after a couple years of leisurely stitching I feel like I want some tangible goals again for 2024, so I am joining WIPGO, among other things. My board will have 12 slots for GoW and 12 for different WIPs I want to see some progress on, and I'm excited to get started!

A lot of my getting off course this year was due to a newly enkindled love for knitting and crochet, and I'm still feeling that, so my plans need to leave some room for yarn crafts too. Not quite sure how it'll all balance out, but we will see and adjust as we go, as usual! Nothing is written in stone and everything is supposed to be fun, relaxing and productive.

So that's it from me today, next time I post will be the new least in Germany, depending on how long I sleep in, everywhere else as well! Hope you get there safely, my friends. Thank you for you continued support through another year of crafting and life :)

Some last finishes...

So here I am again, rearing my head after being offline for a couple well deserved days of friends and family time after the holidays, trying to get some tidying done - both physically (cleaned out and organized the snack cabinet much snacking!) and online, by getting this blog ready for the new year! I've had some last successes during the last couple weeks that I haven't talked about yet, and really wanted to get them on her in the correct year, at least! 

In an effort to reduce my number of WIPs a bit more, I picked up two Christmas-appropriate, long time WIPs in December, with the goal to get them off the list...and I did! 

First was this set of Bascetta starts - I started them in 2018-ish. It's a paper folding technique in which you fold 30 identical shapes from square paper, then combine them into a big, 3D star. I worked on the first one a little here and there but never actually sat down to focus on it. Which is a shame because now that I did, it took about an hour to finish the first one, and two hours to do the second one from scratch! Sadly they came a little late to join this year's decorations, but will be ready for next year.

The second project was also started around 2018, and it's a little Reindeer amigurumi. I didn't actually pick this one out myself, but was helping out the designer (FrogAndToad) by proof reading the German version of the pattern, and started it to test out some sections. I finally picked him back up again to finish off the big parts in November for one of my stitching games, then added all the small parts a couple days before Christmas. Isn't he cute? I'm not going to make another 8 of them as the pattern suggests, though!

Saturday 23 December 2023

Advent Calendar Blog Hop - Day 23

Hello lovely people! Today it is my time to write a post for Jo's wonderful yearly Advent Calendar Blog Hop. I'm going to start with a picture of a new Christmas stitch I made this year, a little flat fold for my sis in law.

This is 'Waiting for Santa' designed by Maria Warmke of 'The Stitcherhood' and released in the 2021 JustCrossStitch ornament issue. I thought 'waiting for Santa' would fit this post very well because, Jo's topic that she gave us this year was Santa stories, and, sure will be waiting for those! Honestly, I don't have any Santa stories because we don't do the whole Santa thing here. *gasp*, I know, but here me out...history lesson time!

I do not know how the Santa tradition evolved in other countries, but in Germany, things are as followed. Originally, there were no presents on Christmas itself, but St Nikolaus used to bring little gifs for the children on December 6th. Then, when reformation happened, the newly-emerging protestants thought the whole St Nikolaus business smelled of veneration of Saints, and hat's a Catholic thing that any respectable protestant wouldn't want in their house, no thank you. So instead, they started the tradition of the Christkind - baby Jesus himself - bringing the gifts on Christmas Eve. So we had St Nikolaus for Catholic areas, and the Christkind for protestant children.

Times went on, and traditions evolved. I guess mostly they evolved because children love presents, and before long, Protestants started celebrating St Nikolaus again as well, and Catholics adopted the Christkind. And while all that was happening, the protestant regions in the North of Germany became influenced by their Scandinavian and British neighbors, and started replacing the Christkind with their own version of Santa Clause, the Weihnachtsmann. So it's not as easy as saing 'Germany doesn't have Santa Clause', but for me, living in the South of the country, it has always been the Christkind.

The Christkind, by the way, can be seen at the Christmas Market in Nürnberg, where they select a blond girl for the role every yeah, evolution! Even though technically the Christkind is baby Jesus, in any depiction they are usually portraid as a girl, some kind of female angel. And not so much baby, too, I think you need to be 18 to get elected in Nurnberg! 

So how did things work in my childhood? I think it's another thing 'different' here in Germany that often the living room is not central to the house, but a little off to the side. About a week before Christmas, the door to the living room would suddenly be locked, with some kind of decoration around the doorknob that indicated - angels at work! During that time, the Christmas tree and all the presents would find their way in there. On Christmas Eve, we'd go to church in the afternoon and have dinner when we came back (traditional South German Christmas dinner is potato salad and ham, because the ham can cook while everyone is at church). Then after dinner we'd change into our Christmas clothes (I remember always having a special dress or jumper for the occation) and at some point, a little bell would ring - which was the sign that everything was ready and we could go into the living room to open presents now! 

I know one year I (at that age when you are getting sceptical of the magic) remarked that the bell would always ring while grandpa was out of the room. So the next year, the bell suddenly rang when everyone was present! To this day I have no idea how they did it, but I continued to 'play along' (not quite convinced, but not willing to take any chances either) for several more years.

Friday 22 December 2023

December Gifted Gorgeousness

Hello and welcome again to one of my favourite SALs, Jo's Gifted Gorgeousness, the all in one for all things gifted and giftee! Ah, December...*the* month for gift making, it would seem! As usual I made three ornaments to gift to my mother in law, sister and law, and...grandmother in law? but you won't see those today as I need them for other fact, you've already seen one for FFG this week, and will see the next one tomorrow! I do have other things to show, though.

One was a pretty spontanous start and finish, born just from the need to knit with yarn that's a little thicker than sock I picked a kit for a loop scarf from my stash and when it was halfway done decided it would be a Christmas gift for my mum. Although I'll have a hard time parting with it because...just look at those colours...and believe me when I tell you it's sooo squishy!

My other project is the Spirits of Volcano wrap, the kit for which was a gift from my grandparents a few years back. I'm trying to do one part per month, but this time, due of end of year obligations, only managed half a part.

Yes, the next part is four of these supre pretty motifs using overlay crochet, in different colour combinations, and I finished two of them. Hopefully the other two will be finished soon, and maybe I can get started on part four as well!

Tuesday 19 December 2023

December Fully Finished Gallery

I swear, December is just getting more busy and exhausting every year! Work is in chaos mode with some people already missing and end-of-year deadlines looming, I'm still exhausted after being sick, it feels like half a dozen Christmas parties need to be attended and chores and tasks just pile on and on! So glad when this week is over and I'm off work for a while. For now, though, that's enough whining, I am here today to (just in time) present you my finished object for Rachel's Fully Finished Gallery this month, and I think (without checking) I actually managed one again every month this year! Still think I gained a couple unfinished objects which is worrisome, but for another day...

This month, I want to show you the first of my Christmas ornaments. I got two more left to fully finish, but should be able to do that on the weekend at the very latest. This one, which will probably be a gift for my mother in law, is called 'Christmas Polar Bear' from the Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue 2021. It's designed by a Russan designer called Punochka, who seems to no longer be active on Etsy (as so many Russian designers had to leave after the war started). Isn't it cute?

I did a simple finish with foam board, card board, and some backing fabric. Decided I liked it best without and trimming around the edges, so even though it's not the cleanest corners I've ever done, will leave it this way. I certainly am out of practice with my finishing skills, goes to show I've really taken the easy route most months this year!

But it's also shown me that if I really sit down it just takes 30-60 minutes to actualy finish something, so maybe I can coax myself back into doing a bit more next year. We will see!

Friday 15 December 2023

The People Chose: Chocolate

This month for Jo's wonderfully versatile all purpose SAL, the topic is 'Chocolate'. Apparently, just like our lovely hope, I do a lot more eating than crafting when it comes to that, because I couldn't find even a single project with chocolate in my pictures!

So the only thing I got to share today is this pattern set by Lizzie*Kate that I picked up at some point, but haven't stitched anything from and, I have to confess, have no immediate plans to stitch from, either. The cookie buttons are very cute, though!

Saturday 9 December 2023

November WIPocalypse

Anyone else really losing touch with time this late in the year? There is just so much to do and plan (yes, I said there would be no plans for 2024...but I've since fallen down a very deep rabbit hole and not sure yet where I will get out at the other end!) and just not enough time for it, and suddenly you look up and it's a week later! I guess this is my very roundabout way of saying hello, I am once again late for WIPocalypse, but I am here!

The question of the month in November was What is your favorite way to finish ornaments and/or smalls? I think my answer to this has to be - whip stitch, either as a biscornu or a rectangular ornament, with a beaded edge. It's easy, quick, and clean! I'm trying to do more of other types of finishing, but this is what I always get back to in the end, and that's okay.

In November, I kept working on The Loneliness of Autumn, filling in gaps along the first row of pages. I actually finished page 2 quite early in the months, so I kept going and did mots of page 3 too, but didn't quite manage to finish that, so maybe two pages in December? We'll see.

Stitchwise, my progress was pretty modest - these leaves really are full of confetti, so many colours, but I love seeing them all show up now! See those lovely light blues there? I so enjoy it all coming together now!

Anyways, total progress for November was just 1172 stitches, bringing the new total up to 93,763/118,800 stitches done, or 78.93%! Maybe I'll manage to hit 80% before the year is out, that would be another really nice milestone. We'll see, as currently I am still in the middle of some Christmas crafting and hope to get back to this afterwards!

Wednesday 29 November 2023

November Gifted Gorgeousness

Remember when in my last post, I talked about to kinds of people around this time of year? Well, seems I have now crossed from the one group to the other! I'm freezing and sneezing and all that good stuff, but so far I am not quite bedridden enough to stop crafting and blogging, just slowing down a bit. So once again I am here (very late) for my favourite SAL, Jo's Gifted Gorgeousness! Once again, I have two projects to share with you, one gifted to me and one to be gifted. Or actually, it was already gifted - I took the left over yarn from with socks I made last month, and made some new wristwarmers for my grandma. I even tried to incorporate the little braids from the socks but messed up a little on centering them. Gladly, grandma doesn't mind, it's not all tha noticable unless you do a posed picture like below, and I know what to do better next time!

For something that was gifted to me, I did part 2 of the Spirits of Volcano CAL, the kit for which was a gift from my grandparents a couple years ago.

Part 2 used a fun mosaic technique that I had not tried before, but got the hang of after a couple rows and really love the effect of it! I might try something like this again in the future again, maybe even an all mosaic pattern.

Part 3 uses some overlay techniques that I've used before, but it can never hurt to practice some!

Monday 27 November 2023

2023 Q3 Stitching Stats

Once again I am very running behind on's just that time of year, when half the population is out sick, and the other half has to do twice as much work to make up for it! Not telling you which half I currently belong to, but you can probably make an educated guess!

So, (very) late stitching starts for third quarter, because I love my statistics and I won't be parted from them!

To no one's surprise, stitching still had the pole position among my crafts, but to some surprise, it no longer has the absolute majority! I really picked up my knitting and crochet this summer, and got a lot done of both.

In terms of projects, I worked on 20 in the third quarter, and finished 9 of them in the meantime. A couple were new start and a couple I picked up after not touching them for years - I think it was a good mix!

Alas, all that knitting and crocheting took its toll on my monthly stitch numbers. Not the lowest monthly totals since I started documenting, but pretty down there! But then if I counted knit stitches that would be way up, so it's not all bad I guess. You can also see a clear uptick from when I got my stitchy bug back at the retreat in September!

Sunday 19 November 2023

November Fully Finished Gallery

Once again, I am sneaking in right under the radar for this might have noticed I didn't have anything framed in the while. That's because Felix usually does all my framing, but he hurt his hand in May and hasn't been able to do much. But now he's playing his drums again, so I figured that means he'd also be able to do some framing again, and some proding and nagging we are!

So right after finishing my Pumpkin Doodle Cats, I picked up this cool dark-silver frame. Please excuse the bad picture, he literally just did the framing after I mentioned that I really didn't want to break my streak of checking in (just) in time for this SAL!


Tuesday 14 November 2023

The People Chose: Circles

Welcome to Jo's wonderfully versatile all purpose SAL, where you get to pick the subject! This month the people chose circles, and usually this would be where I go through all my old picturesand pull the most appropriate projects up. But this month, I got something different planned! The sad thing is I had it ready to go on the actual date of the SAL and it still took me until now to write up this post...but never the less, here we go.

This month I want to use this space to introduce a new WIP...if you followed my retreat posts, you might already have caught a glimpse of it. This project fits the subject so well, I've already seen several people use it as an example on their entry for the SAL, but I actually started it and did my first 10 hours. I present to you...the most circly cross stitch ever made...Ink Circles 'Cirque des Cercles'.

The fabric is a 40ct Verdal evenweave, dyed by the wonderful xJuDesign in the colourway 'Teracorra Dream' and bought at StitchBasel, and this floss that goes so very well with it is Jodyri Design's 'Sahara Dunes', a lmited edition that I fell in love with and stocked up on back in 2020. And finally I get to use it! 

This actually stitches up kind of fast, and 10 hours (well, actually 10:30 because I wanted to finish the shape I was working on filling in) already got me to 9.17%. And it's tons of fun, I can't wait to get back into it soon!

Friday 3 November 2023

Oktober WIPocalypse

So here we are, another month on, in November - I hope you're all doing well and enjoying the autumn days! For me, October was pretty productive, but still pretty busy, especially as the weather was keeping nice and sunny way late into the month! November, however, has started off gray and rainy, perfect for lounging around inside and crafting!

The WIPocalypse question of the month is How do you begin planning for the next year with your stitching? Tell us your process. To be honest, I am not much of a planner. More often than not, I will have a big deadline to work towards, and then also identify a couple more projects I want to make progress on, and plan around that. Recently though I've been avoiding deadlines, so I haven't made a lot of fixed plans, and I've been enjoying it, so I'm not sure how much planning I will do for 2024 at all!

To stay on theme with that...I did not hit my goals of catching up, or even just doing a full month of stitching (in my one-length-a-day definition) on The Loneliness of Autumn...but still, exciting things are happening! Rachel is back, and while she's not posted any recent progress on TLoA yet, we did talk about it, and talked about switching from working by colour to working by page. I've been thinking about it for a while, and she mentioned she had intended to do that once she hit 75%. As I had passed that point a while ago, I took that as permission to change my mode of stitching I set up project cards, and pulled a lot of colours to start and filling in page one.

I pulled a total of 35 colours so far - proof that if I hadn't made this change, it would have been a long time before I saw any page finishes! Of course, working page by page, I only do a couple stitches with some threads, so I'm not finishing as many full threads, but that will even out over time and my count will start to add up least that's what I hope! At any rate, I completely filled in page 1, adding a total of 1864 stitches, and making a start on page 2 as well.

My new total is 92591/118800 stitches or 77.94% done. I hope to continue to fill in a page per month for the forseeable future, at least until I hit the less densely stitched parts around the middle of the design - at least I am pretty motivated to work on this one more again, as I am actually seeing some real progress here!

Wednesday 1 November 2023

2023 Trick or Treat Blog Hop

Omg...if you came by earlier looking for a letter, I am so sorry! We were out of the house all day yesterday, and then I just totally forgot. And that after I worked really heart to stitch something new to show you! So without any further ado - welcome to my (very late) part of Jo's Halloween Blog Hop! If you have no idea what I'm talking about - good for you, because you weren't coming by in vain before, but also shame on you, go check it out immediatly!

Now if you are all tuned in, you are here for a letter and a picture. Since I've already made you wait long enough, I will tell you right away that letter is


and your next blog to check out is here. And for the picture...I pulled out an older stitch, the Pumpkin Doodle Cats by MakeItPink that I started in 2018. It's not a big piece by any means, so I have no good excuse why it took me to long, and now I finally finished it up. I only had from the lower half of the pumpkins down left to stitch, plus the Kreinik for the eyes and mouths and all the backstitch. Didn't take too long t finish, and I hope to get it framed soon!

Thursday 26 October 2023

October Gifted Gorgousness

I have a good reason for being late for Gifted Gorgeousness this month...and that reason is...laziness! Well. Both projects I wanted to show you today needed ends woven in, and if it wasn't for this SAL I probably still wouldn'd have done it! So really you can be glad I'm around to post at all. Or something. Anyways!

This is one of my favourite SALs of the month, Jo's one place stop for all things gifted and giftee! I got something for both categories this month. 

This is the 'Spirits of Life' CAL in the 'Volcano' colourway. It was the Sheepjes CAL in 2017, and at some point between then and now, I got the kit as a gift from my grandparents. It's got some new-to-me crochet techniques so I've been hesitant to start it, but finally went for it on my last vacation. This is a 9 part CAL and I hope to keep up with one part a month, we'll see how that goes! This part was mostly single and double crochet with some relief work in the upper half, and sooo many loose ends to weave in. Luckily, the next part is only two colours, but will be my first try at mosaic crochet - very exciting!

The other project is a gift from me, for Felix - a pair of socks with this beautiful sock yarn by Ferner Wolle. I bought is last year and he instantly called dibs, so I just needed the right pattern (the Togetherness Socks by Little House Designs) and then they went pretty quickly. The yarn gave me some trouble around the heel of the first sock (kept breaking on me) but after a couple metres quieted down and other than that it was just a joy to work with!

I also finally splurged on my first pair of sock blockers, and it won't be my last - no more awkward taking pictures of feet!

So that's it from me for today...see you next month with more yarn work!

Monday 23 October 2023

Stitch Basel - Retreat Pattern

I already showed you the small scissor fob I finished, but I also finished the main pattern from the Stitch Basel retreat kit! This was designed by LillyPillyStitches, a designer I hadn't heard before, but go check out her shop, she got a couple cute patterns!

Not this one though, as it was exclusive to the retreat, and it's very cute too. I really like the little goat, the tiny Edelweiss flowers, and in case you are not recognizing the other motifs: that's a Tram (local trains in Basel), a Basel gate, the uniform of their soccer team, and pattern inspired by the glazed roof tiles on one of their churches!

It was a fun and easy stitch and I think I'll try to make it into a project bag to take to the next retreat...if I ever make friends with my sewing machine, that is!

Monday 16 October 2023

Colours for Autumn

Last weekend, the weather around here finally took a turn towards autumn, and just in time for the colder mornings and chilly evenings, I finished my big, snuggly Sekamelska shawl. After finishing part 6, I did some math and figured out I had enough yarn for another repeat of part 1. Since the original repeat was pretty small, that was nice to give the pattern more chance to shine! Part 1b worked up pretty fast, despite the long, long rows, and then there was the subject of the border, which was pretty but took aaaages to do, and then it was done!

Isn't it pretty? I am very much in love with the colour gradient, going from lime green, over yellow and orange, into a set of brilliant purples. With all the somewhat complicated patterns, this one took over 68 hours to make, and used 1500m of yarn, but I loved every minute of it and amlooking forward to wearing this all throughout the gray season!

Sunday 15 October 2023

October Fully Finished Gallery

It's time for the October entry of Rachel's Fully Finished Gallery, and while she has quietly teasing me about joining in at the very last minute again (it's okay, I deserve it!) I am actually not quite as late this month - in fact, I fully finished my object on the 13th and just needed some good sunlight to take the pictures!

Last week I started (and finished, because it's tiny) the scissor fob that came with the Stitch Basel kit by Lilly Pilly Stitches from the retreat, and I finished-finished it, as I already meantioned, this past Friday. Just a simple backstitch + whipstitch, nothing fancy, no beads, and a pretty blue ribbon I thought matched the pattern really well. Isn't it cute? I really like it!

While I was at it, I also took a couple more pictures today, so hopefully work will not be too crazy next week and I'll be able to write up another post or two...

Thursday 12 October 2023

The People Chose: Weather

Here we go again...October is already getting away from me again, with almost half the month gone already, but at least I've been having a great time! We had the first week of October off, and while our plans to travel fell through due to Covid (we didn't get sick, but the friend we wanted to visit, and my mum who should have taken care of grandma while we were gone did), we still enjoyed out staycation. Now I've been back to work for almost a week, and that has been incredibly busy too...but I'm still getting stuff done!

At any rate - welcome to Jo's wonderfully versatile all-purpose SAL! This month the theme was "Weather", and while very few of my projects are actually weather-themed, I think there are some we can fit in!

As probably most stitchers do, quite a few of my projects feature snowflakes - most of them stitched, but a I got a knitted shawl covered in them as well!

While I don't have one currently on the go, I stitched temperature samplers for a couple of years:

And I'm also throwing in these turtles for fun, the design is called 'Sun Catchers'!

Thursday 5 October 2023

September WIPocalypse

Another month has passed, and what a month is was! My stitching retreat in Basel has well and truly recharged my crafty batteries, and ever since I've been happily crafting away on various projects. And after a brief period of wanting to work on and start everything right now, I think I now ready to go back to somewhat more organized crafting. Which is good, since I still got some goals to accomplish this year! Which will also influence my choice for the focus months challenge, but I'm getting ahead of myself. First, for the question of the month: Are you a seasonal stitcher? If so, which seasons do you find yourself more productive or less productive? I'm not massively seasonal myself, but the way life works, I'm usually more busy in the summer months (in terms of events, visiting people, and traveling), so naturally I find less time for crafting and if I do, it's more travel-sized projects. Which is why I am so happy about autumn coming out to play now, so I can cozy up on the couch and get some serious stitching done!

Now this is usually the spot where I get to talk about my progress on The Loneliness of Autumn, which I am SALing with Rachel at a very conversational pace. This year has ended up with both of us being massively behind, but I am very happy to report that in September, I finally managed to get a full month stitching in, finishing a total of three colours, and even managed to catch up a couple days I missed earlier in the year! Still lots of catching up to do, but I'll get there. It's my mantra!

My new totals are 90845/118800 stitches or 76.47% done, with 1869 stitches added in September. Maybe I can make it to 100k finished this year?! I might, if I focus, which brings me to the last part of this post. October is the last One-Stitch-A-Day focus challenge of WIPocalypse, and I usually make this one length a day on whatever project I pick. I've been thinking about what to pick for months, but now that I'm hear and so far behind on TLoA...I decided to double down. So for the month of October, I'll try to do a total of 62 lengths on TLoA, which would bring me just about back on track to where I was supposed to be at the end of the month, give or take a week or so. Let's do this!

Tuesday 3 October 2023

September IHSW at Stitch Basel!

I finally sorted through all my stuff an took the appropriate pictures, so here we go with the reatreat post! 

You know I don't usually post for IHSW - more often than not I forget all about it until after the fact, or I remember but the weekend in question is just too busy to allow for any kind of hermitting. But the weekend of September 15th to 17th was a special one - it was the first Stitch Basel cross stitch retreat! So about 50 stitchers from all over the world (mostly Europe, but we did have one or two ladies flying in from the US) gathered in Basel, Switzerland, and we hermitted together. I apologize in advance that I won't post any pictures of the venue or actual stitchers, but I didn't feel comfortable to post pictures of other people on this blog without asking...if you go around Instagram or Flosstube, I'm sure you can find some impressions under the #stitchbasel tag, though!

The retreat started on Friday morning and was running until Sunday evening, with the stitching room (located at the Bar du Nord at Basel Bad Bf) closing up late each night and opening up early in the morning. It was organized by three lovely Swiss ladies (Dawn, Ina and Amy) who made sure we had the perfect location (including an outside stitching area by a fountain), drinks, snacks, and the best time ever! 

Since I don't live too far from Basel (about an hour door to door, taking the slow train) I didn't get a hotel room, but instead opted to go home every night (which turned out to be a good thing, as I could bring my goodies home every day and didn't have to carry everything at once on the last day!), an I arrived shortly after the 10am opening on Friday morning. At first I was a little intimidated, as a lot of the people already there already knew each other (apparently, there is a surprisingly big German/Swiss flosstube community called Die Stechmücken that I didn't even know about!) and the tables were either full, or completely empty. I decided to settle down on an empty table and was soon joined by Mia, an impressive stitcher and multicrafter from northern Norway, Marion from France, and Paolo, who was local to Basel (and working on the most gorgeous Chatelaine I have ever seen - a smallish Mushroom-mandala that will definitely go on the wish list!). In the afternoon, my friend Giselle also joined us, so there was a familiar face among all the new friends.

That first day, I had a hard time settling in to actually stitch. Too exciting all the new people to meet and things to look at! A couple of vendors had joined the retreat, both as participants and to sell their stuff - from Hungary, we had xJuDesign with her wonderful fabrics, SnowflowerDiaries and VintageTulip, both with wonderful patterns. There was Starparade with his patterns, ColourFever from Switzerland with the most wonderful floss, and the Stechmücken Shop from Germany with a mixture of fabrics and little goodies. This first day, I only bought a piece of fabric and a set of patterns that I couldn't resist, and will show a little later.

Our wonderful organizers had also found a long list of sponsors, including DMC, Zweigart, Sulky, Casa Cania and many more, and filled a goodie bag for each of the participants. This is not even everything that was in there, but will give you a good idea of how very spoilt we were!


There was a freebie table too, where people could unload unwanted supplies and sometimes WIPs for other people to adopt. There was a lot of gorgeous things going around, and I was trying very hard not to be greedy, so I only ended up with a couple of things.

Later in the afternoon, I finally manage to settle in for some stitching. I had brought several projects, but this first day I worked on Kitsune, one of my UXS projects (that still needs a page finish this year), and added a couple hundred stitches.

That first night, me, Mia, Marion, Giselle and her boyfriend went out for dinner (which was delicious but damn, food is expensive in Switzerland!) and then I took the train home together with Elena, another new friend. Who apparently grow up less than 2km from where I grew up, is the same age as me, and it took us 34 years and a trip to Basel to finally meet!

Saturday morning, we were back in the stitching room bright and early. Saturday was the day I did most of my shopping - I had picked some stuff out the day before, slept on it, and made my decisions. Not that some last minute purchases wouldn't slip in on Sunday - oops! 

So I got some patterns (the center set is the one I got on Friday)

and some more fabric. I wasn't too naughty, I got plans for both of these! The brown 40ct will be nice for the patterns I bought, plus some other smalls, and the moody-green one is for the Greenhouse of Oddities by Lola Crow Cross Stitch (if you haven't seen that one yet, check it out - I had eyeing it previously but someone brought a finished version to the retreat, and NEED!)

I also picked out some of the gorgeous colour fever flosses. For these I got at least...kind of...a plan? The blue-ish cottons I wanted for the border of the Cloudsfactory Magical Creatures Calendar that I've been meaning to start for years now. The purple silks maybe for a small-ish Ink Circles and the blue and orange go well together and I'm thinking maybe some kind of quaker-ish design? I'll have a deep dive into patterns eventually, but don't need any immediate start plans right now!

Also on Saturday was the Smalls Exchhange, but I've already told you all about that! What I haven't told you about was that some of the participants also had prepared small gifts to share with all of us. I felt woefully underprepared and am already thinking about what I could prepare for next time!


I also had my retreat start. I had not actually planned to have one, but the goodie bag I showed you before also contained not one, but 4 (or maybe 1/2) fully kitted and exclusive projects! Exciting, isn't it? There were a biscornu and pin cushion, designed by VintageTulip and SnowflowerDiaries and kitted up by xJuDesign:

These two I have no doubts I'll end up starting sooner rather than later. The third one though was a retreat pattern designed by LillyPillyStitches, with different motifs with a connection to Basel and/or Switzerland, and that one I wanted to start during the retreat, while the memories were still present and fresh, and that's what I did!

I stitched that cute little goat on the mountain and most of the multicoloured diamonds (they were inspired by the roof of a church in Basel) during the retreat. The four little Edelweiss-flowers were added a couple days later, I didn't take a proper picture of my retreat progress.

We went home a little earlier on Saturday since we were (well, at least I was) pretty exhausted after two long days of socializing (although being around like minded people and stitching helped a ton with keeping my social batteries loaded!) and then back early on Sunday. 

First on the agenda was some last minute shopping, as the vendors were starting to pack up! To back up a bit, in the goodie back there was also a beautiful project bag, hand sewn by one of the organizers for each of us. Now I had so far resisted the call of these bags, since I was pretty sure once I bought one, I'd have to buy them for all my projects...well...I was right, and so I bought one more, and maybe will be getting some for Christmas...(left was in the goodie bag, right is the one I bought, with a sneak peak on that fabric from Friday!

At this point I had bought something from all the vendors but SnowflowerDiaries and Starparade (they both have patterns that I really like, but neither brought any paper copies of the ones I might have bought), so I looked at what else they had on offer, and got a needle minder from Starparade and selection of adorable wooden buttons from Snowflower Diaries!

This has been a long post already, but we're almost at the end! On Sunday, there was some more relaxed stitching...mostly outside, enjoying the morning air and some good coffee, and then inside, as more and more people were leaving and the remaining stitchers moved closer together. I think we were all a little sad to see it end and part with our new-found friends! 

So after some last stitches stitched, finishes admired, prizes handed our...wait, prizes? Yup! There were doorprizes (raffled off at every full hour...or usually, a bunch at a time, once a day), a quiz, and some prizes for special achievements. One last prize was given out for 'most stitches done during the retreat' and I think I just got lucky because most of the heavy hitters had already left, or just weren't counting their stitches, but I won with about 1.6k stitches done over three days! My prize was this beautiful Dimensions kit on the left (the Russian kit on the right was the door prize I won on day one).

But after that, it really was time to go home. I had retreat hangover for a couple of days - it really was hard to get back to normal life after three days of such fun! - and am now anxiously awaiting the announcent of the next stitchy event. But thankfully, I got in contact with a lot of stitchers who live not too far away, so we'll probably have some get togethers in the mean time too! 

As a last note, the retreat also totally revived my stitchy bug and left me with a terrible case of I've been flitting around projects a bit. I promise though, I'll be back with some mores erious progress on things soon! There has been one more sneaky post-retreat start, featuring that gorgeous fabric I've been teasing you about...turns out it was a great match for some Jodyri-floss I got a couple years back, so I started my first Ink Circles, Cirque des Cercles, on this amazingly soft 40ct evenweave!

I hope you enjoyed this 'little' excursion. Regular updates will (hopefully) resume soon :)

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Gifted Gorgeousness & Fully Finished Gallery for September

Well hello, beauiful people! This post is exciting for several reasons! For one, it is the first one I am writing from my new laptop. That's right, no more greenish tints and pink spots, I can see actual colours again - even prettier colours than before, as the display is better as the old one was to begin with, so I can't wait to explore all your blogs again! And secondly, I have returned from my first retreat, and I have much to share. That will, however, be a topic for another post - including all the stash I brought home, the stitching that happened, and the friends I met. Today, I am talking about something I stitched before, and for, the retreat. Just give me a moment and you will see why this is a perfect fir both for Jo's Gifted Gorgeousness, and Rachel's Fully Finished Gallery!

You see, one of the events held at the retreat was a smalls exchange, so even though my stitchy bug was a little awol at the time, I had to put some thought into what to make. You've already seen my first attempt, but it felt too small, too little, so I decided to give it another go, and went and bought a pattern I had been eying for a long time, and that was Ring a Ring of Foxes by FabyReilley Designs. 

I just loved the colours in this - autum colours are my favourites - and the little beads that look just like tiny berries! And then of course the foxes - aren't they cute?! I loved them, and working on this absolutely revived my stitchy bug! This reminds me so much of the Zoe Box I made some time ago, with the leaves and their different colours.

As you can probably guess by the stitching, this was finished as a not-so-little biscornu. Following the instructions, I did not put beads on the edge, but used different colours for the backstitched outline and the whip stitch, which gave the edge a very unique strip-ey look.

It was almost too precious to give away, but I did so anyway. It want to Veerle form the Netherlands - I don't know if she got a blog, but she is @verle1606 on Instagram.

The whole exchange was held by randomly picking out a packed object, and the package was supposed to give you a general idea of what was inside. Mine had a dried leaf on it, and inside was this beauty:

!!! I love it so much! Thank you for this wonderful gift, Franziska aka Colourfever Floss (if you don't know her, check out her Etsy shop filled with wonderful hand dyed silks and cottons. And if this doesn't convince you, just wait until I post about my stash purchases!)

So that's it from me this month (well, for these two SALs at least, I have lots more to post) - see you soon, my friends!