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 N├╝rnberg, 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!