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 Stechm├╝cken 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 Stechm├╝cken 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 :)