Friday 19 April 2024

April Fully Finished Gallery

Hi, it's me! Still behind and still fighting my sewing machine, but slowly getting there. Today I am checking in (once again, very late) with Rachel's Fully Finished Gallery, where we attempt to do something with all these pieces lurking in our treasure chests and boxes of shame.

Last month I shared my struggles with finishing the second one of the Little Sheep Values. They have been continuing, but after some more sewing and unsewing and cutting and measuring I've come to a couple conclusions:

1) It's a bit of a curse that the first one I finished came out so neat and perfect because

2) I probably don't have the sewing skills yet to make 12 identical pillows and finally

3) I'm probably okay with that.

My first concession was to get some different kinds of lace - I didn't have enough of the original one for 12 pillows anyway - so they'd all look a little different because of that alone. Then, after I had sewn, frogged and resewn Courage just to discover it was still a bit wonky and I probably wouldn't be able to fix it cause I had made a mistake with cutting, I had a good long think and realized - it's okay. I finished Hope next, and for that one I had to do the centering of the stitched piece differently anyways because it has a big button right in the corner, and now that there are three (and not just one perfect and one wonky one) I'm feeling more at ease with them. I will continue to practice, but if in the meantime not everything comes out perfect, I will accept it - how else am I going to make progress? So here we have LSV #1, #2 (finished two months ago) and #4. I'll try to re-finish #3 Peace and #5 (which I am currently stitching) for next month.

Wednesday 17 April 2024

WIPGO - April

April is halfway gone already (I know we are getting close to 2/3...but until then, we're going with halfway!) and I am still veeeery much behind on stuff around here...but I just came back from a very nice four day vacation and still got a week and a half of work, and I'm very motivate to get stuff done! In fact, most of the reason I am behind on stuff was putting in some extra time at work so I could get everything done in leave for two weeks with a clean concience. So we'll see what I can get done with all this time! (probably I now jinxed it and won't get anything done at all, but one can hope...)

Anyway, while it's a little late, here we go with my April WIPGO post...March was pretty successful, while I had some spil over into April to get all my goals done, it wasn't my WIPGO-goals, so all is well on that front ;) 

For Guardian of Wayfarers, I added 1481 stitches in March. No backstitch this time as I realized I had a LOT more left to do in crosses! But I'm finally starting to see some 0s (colours with no stitches left), so that was pretty exciting. And in April, I might even get to stitch a bit on the actual dragon, so that's another exciting thing to look forward to!

My other project for March was Charming, a Dimensions Gold Petit kit I started some years ago. I put in 1639 stitches and look how close it is to a finish now! I finished the cat himself and made some progress on the cushion (or whatever that is) too. Just 1342 stitches left to go (plus some minimal backstitch that I don't have in Pattern Keeper, but it really isn't all that much!). So depending how the year goes, I might come back to finish it, or definitly do that next year - I'm starting to think 2025 might be a year of finishes again!

Now for April the numbers called were 18 and 21, so that means another rotation of Guardian of Wayfarers (that's working well so far!) and also Jacquie comes out to play:

This is the last panel that needs to be stitched, so half of part 7 and all of part 8. I'd say I *might* get a finish on this, but part 8 has a lot of stump work to do (four more of these wings!) and that takes a lot of time, so I'm not sure. At the very least, I will get close, though!

Here is the board for April - looking good so far!

Saturday 6 April 2024

March Smalls SAL

Still in the process of catching up, both stitching and blog wise - and today I'm linking up the the Smalls SAL, hosted by Rachel this year. I started the 4th of the Little Sheep Values last weekend, and finally finished it yesterday! These stitch up really quickly once you get stuck in, and I really enjoy working on them. 

April was Courage, and it's very pretty with the different greens and the purple. I'm really glad I'm finally stitching these this year - now my finishing just needs to catch up to my stitching!

Friday 5 April 2024

March WIPocalypse

Once again, I am on a mission to get caught up with...just about everything! I need to stitch things, read things, blog know the drill, but work has been a bit crazy the last two weeks and I just haven't had as much time as I wanted, even with the long Easter weekend (most of which we spend with Felix' family). I'll get there though, you know I always do eventually!

So let's dive right into the question of the month - What colors – and brands – of floss do you love using? Do you have a particular color that you absolutely love? I love pretty much anything that isn' brown, tan or gray - nothing against the neutrals, but we use them a lot in stitching and they can get a bit boring! Bright colours though, or pastels...lovem. Especially the ones which are really soft colours, and really soft know the ones I'm talking about! Brandwise, I don't really have a favourite. I'm perfectly happy with good old DMC, love a good hand dyed, and silk...oh boy. Yes, I admit, I'm a flossaholic! 

Now for actual stitching, again I made progress on The Lonelines of Autumn, my long time SAL with Rachel, the Ten Hour Stitcher! I didn't quite make my goal of one length a day, but still managed more stitches than in February when I's all about how the colours work out, I guess! 1506 stitches added brought me to 84.29%, and 100,132 stitches finished - I have to say, hitting this 100k milestone felt like a big deal!

I also had another page finish up in the middle there - 8 down, many more to go (honestly, I didn't count)!

For the one a day challenge in March, I worked on Meadow Tablecloth, one of my oldest WIPs, and actually it took me just 11 days to finish it! Full picture coming up once it's had a wash an iron, but here is sneak peak in the mean time.

I decided to take the rest of the month off from the challenge, but had a look at my next oldest WIP, another table cloth, and it's actually less stitching than I I might just pull that out for the next challenge month!

Friday 29 March 2024

Jo's Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop 2024

So sorry for the late post! I should have written it right after getting up this morning, because then my day got a bit derailed (nothing bad, don't worry, just not quite as planned) and litereally only remembered when I just went to bed to sleep! So this is going to be a quick one, just in case you'e been waiting for the letter all day.

Hello and welcome to my little entry in Jo's Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop for 2024! Please check out her blog for all the details, but assuming you've done that, I know you are here for three things: a picture of something Easter-y I stitched - I already used this for Valentine's, but I really liked it, and it really fits for Easter too, this is Valentine's Hare by Stitcher's Anon:

A letter to collect - which is O - and the next blog to hop to:

Again, so sorry to keep you waiting - have a very happy Easter, and see you soon!

Monday 25 March 2024

March Gifted Gorgeousness

Continuing my theme of late check ins, here we go with the March Gifted Gorgeousness! This long time SAL by Jo continues to be one of my favourites, as I usually have plenty of gift projects on the go.

This year there are a lot of babies to craft for, any my current project is a granny square blanket for one of them. I'm almost done making the squares - just 6 more to go!

Hopefully, by the next GG, I'll have them all done and joined together. I am making this up as I got, so will see how much of a border I'll give it - probably a couple rounds, though. Maybe fringes, too, we will see!

One more gift project was finished this month, for my grandma's birthday - of course she had to have another pair of wrist warmers, and as she really liked the neon yarn from those socks I made, I used that (plus some black since I didn't have a lot left over) to make her some. I was in such a hurry to gift them that I forgot a picture of the full pair, though, so here is the first one and you can use your imagination to picture its twin!

Friday 22 March 2024

The Sock-Blog

Lately, I've been very into knitting (perhaps helped by the fact that some of my closest friends have also been doing a lot of knitting lately), and I don't always know how to incorporate that into my blog here. I know many of you don't knit and have no idea what I'm talking about when I'm going into specifics, and sometimes the WIP pictures don't give you a great idea of the progress I'm making if you're not a knitter myself! I do try, however, to at least update you on any finishes I have, but it seems I have been amiss doing even that. So today I wanted to remedy that fact, and show you two pairs of socks I have recently finished. I even treated mself to some wooden sock blockers off Etsy - these 2D feet shapes that you can put your socks on so they stay in shape, as sometiems socks can look quite weird without a foot inside!

First, we got the 'Little Hocus Pocus' socks by This Handmade Life. For this, I used some really nice, super soft hand dyed merino sock yarn that I bought at the yarn fair last November. I actually started these socks right after I got home, but then got distracted by other stuff over Christmas and only finished them in early February.

I just love patterns with cables, so these were very fun to make - they are symmetrical, by the way, so the right sock has the same cable, just on the other side! 

These were made for myself (a rare thing for me, I know, but I'm getting better at it) and took me just over 21 hours to make, which seems a ridiculously time for a pair of socks...I'm not a very fast knitter, but again, getting better now that I'm getting more practice!

Then we got these - the pattern is called Mokamami and it's been designed by Birgit Ka. My friend Sam made a pair in a violent neon green and it turns out this pattern is just amazing for crazy yarn, so I dug out this Regia Neon that I got years ago and made a pair of my own.

I really like how these turned out - maybe not a look for every day, but they were so fun to make and I think would make great house socks or something. Again, took me 22 hours to make, but they are a little bigger as they are not for my own tiny feet, but for a friend of mine.

These took me just over a month, from early February to early March, and before you ask, I did start a new pair since then, but it is not much to show yet, so will get to it at some point later.

Tuesday 19 March 2024

March Fully Finished Gallery

Welcome to my (very late) update for the March Fully Finished Gallery, in which I...admit defeat? Learn a lesson? Maybe both. 

March has been a bit of a crazy month for me, not because of any one thing, but because I've been sick a little, my grandma has been sick a medium amount, and Felix has been sick a lot (he's still feeling very under the weather this week), throw in a couple birthdays and a lot of my best laid plans have been derailed. Crafting is still happening, but after work and chores and anything else that might come up, I just want to sit on my couch and relax, not get out my sewing machine!

So my grande plans of finishing both Little Sheep Virtues Hope (January) and Peace (March) were severely derailed. I found some time to iron the stitching and cut the fabrics, but couldn't committ to actually sit and sew! not being able to face losing my 'streak' for FFG, I tried to force it last night, sitting at my sewing machine at a time that I should actually have been in bed already...I kept messing up and making stupid mistakes, but I was tired and stubborn and pressed on. And of course, I messed up big time with the seam allowance and ended up with this...I could have screamed in frustration!

I'm moderately sure I can fix it...unpick it, cut new fabric for the front, and do it all again. The stitching is not lost. But lesson learned - I'm getting better with the sewing machine, but not good enough to work tired and under a time crunch! So I'm going to take a step back. I'm going to accept that a finished object is not going to happen this month. I'm sure I'll make up for it eventually...or maybe not, and that's okay too. I'm still posting this to show you I tried, and will (hopefully) be back with better results next year!

Friday 1 March 2024

WIPGO - March

My second month of WIPGO was slightly less successful than the first one - I actually had to spend about 40 minutes today to reach my last goal. Now could blame that one the month being a day short; but honestly, I was also 'slacking off' around the middle of the month, focusing on a couple knitting and crochet projects, so it's not as if I don't know where the time went! Still, 40 minutes is not a lot, and I did reach my other goals for the month too, so I'm still counting this as a success.

I did 1000 cross stitches on Guardian of Wayfarers - all of them blue - then spent the remainder of my ten hours back stitching (I don't have an accurate count on that, as CrossStitch Saga counts backstitch differently than I usually do). It did bring my new total to 58.5%, however, which is nicely on track to finishing this year!

You can see the difference the backstitch makes...I mostly added the branches in the background, but also started a little bit on the dragon's wing. Lots more to go, though!

My other project for the month was the Lizzie Stitching Wallet by FabyReilley Designs. I continued where I left off the last time I worked on it (probably I couple years ago), finishing section 5 (cross stitch) and 6 (backstitch, knots and beads) of the SAL, which completed the outside of what will evenually be...well, a stitching wallet.

I then scrolled down to a fresh section of fabric, and spent some time outlining the inside of the wallet, which will eventually hold Section 7, 8, and part of 9. I even managed to stitch up all of section 7, and make a small start on section 8.

I think another ten hours might see the stitching done or very close to done (there is very extensive finishing instructions, though). I'll also need to locate the right shade of green felt (not sure if I already bought it when I started this project, or not) for section 8 and 9.

So, let's look at the board for March, then:

My plan is still working out nicely, with one call of GoW and one other project...which is Charming, my little kitty. I've worked on this one on and off over the last year or two, but never focused on it so I'm not sure when's the last time I showed it - at any rate, this is where he's currently at:

I got about 2000 stitches to go on this one, plus some (mild) backstitching, so it probably won't be done in ten hours...but it might just get close enough to try and finish it anyways. We'll see how it goes!

And there we are - add in TLoA, my monthly sheep, and some crochet, and I'm all set for another month - let's go!

Thursday 29 February 2024

February WIPocalypse

Once again, the end of the month hits me completely unprepared...and that with the month being a day longer and all! But that shall not keep me from jumping right into the February WIPocalypse post, and making the rest up as I go.

First, the question of the month - What stitch-a-longs (SALs) are you participating in this year? Most of them are monthly blogging things - I do Rachels Fully Finished Gallery on the 10th of the month, and the Smalls SAL on the last Friday, as well as Jo's Gifted Gorgeousness and, of course WIPocalypse! I also joined a 'Year of the Dragon' SAL on Facebook and WIPGO, which fits nicely as they both focus on my Guardian of Wayfarers.

Now for my stitching this month, it was not as successful as it was in January, but I still met my goal of one length a day and filled in some of the empty space around the middle of row two:

I added just 1379 stitches this month and didn't quite make another page finish - not enough to finish the whole piece at this rate, but I'm not giving up just yet! I did reach one mile stone, and that was 600 hours stitched on this design. At just over 83%, I have a feeling I might hit 700 before it is done...

Now for the making-it-up-as-I-go part: It's the one stitch a day challenge again in March, and since I still haven't made it any further, I am once again participating with my Meadow tablecloth. I think for once I will actually ry to make it every day and not just hit the total number of stitches...I finally want this finished!

Monday 26 February 2024

February Smalls SAL

And here we go for the February installment of the Smalls SAL, hosted by the wonderful Rachel this year :) I am stitching Little House Needleworks' Little Sheep Virtues this year, and so far I am nicely on track, having just finished the third installment - peace:

Spring has sprung for out little sheep, and there are lots of leaves, flowers, and even some little fish in this design. I love how it's all come together and will try to finish-finish this one soon!

Tuesday 20 February 2024

February Gifted Gorgeousness

Welcome to the February installment to Jo's Gifted Gorgeousness, one of my all time favourite SALs! As I said last time, for the forseeable future, I will be very busy making gifts for various babies in my life, and I started with one I had planned for a long time: A scrap blanket. When I finished the Little River Blanket years ago (the yarn for which was a gift, by the way!) I ended up with little leftovers of all different colours. Since then I had made plans to turn them into granny squares, adding some white to bind everything together and make the squares the right size. And now, after some experimenting, I figured out what size square to make, and here we go!

I'm currently working on this a little every day and might be able to finish all ~50 of the squares by late March, at which point I will attach them and add a border. Not sure about the exact layout yet, I'm making this up as I go!

Oh and by the way, that little basket I put everything into? Made from some yarn a friend gave me years ago, cause I got annoyed with all the little yarn balls and finished squares cluttering up my space. Bam, triple entry! (Blanket is a gift, colourful yarn was originally a gift, plus the yarn for the basket...)

Sunday 18 February 2024

February Fully Finished Gallery

Welcome to the February edition of FFG - or maybe FFFG? No? Okay! I'm pretty late this month, but I also got a lot of pictures to share, so let's get onto it!

My first finish-finish for the month was actually done well in advance, at the beginning of the month - it was my little Valentine's Hare, which was both a gift for my husband, and my entry for Jo' Valentine's SAL this year. I made it into a little pillow using fabric that Felix had brought my from a business trip once, and I didn't hand sew, I used my sewing machine! Yes, I am determined to make friends with her this year.

As this was a bit of a double dip, I really wanted to get something else finished, but of course didn't get around to it until way late...but since Rachel herself was late this month putting up the sign up page, I took that as an excuse to procrastinate a bit more, and just this afternoon I finally returned to my sewing machine, and finished the first of my Little Sheep Values - Love, or the February one, was stitched years ago, but as I returned to the series this year, I also need to finish January and February, and wanted to get this one done in the right month.

I recently bought some Gingham fabric in four different colours that I plan to use for all twelve designs, and made a little pillow using some lace too. It's far from perfect, but I like how it turned out and it feels good to actually be sewing!

So much for finished objects this month, now let's talk about some unfinished ones. As it is the 5ths anniversary of this SAL (I can hardly believe it's so long!) Rachel had the idea that we should all show some of the stuff lurking in our boxes of shame. Mine has a lot of projects that have plans that will take some more work, or pieces that are waiting for Felix to frame them, but also a couple that I don't have any idea what to do with yet - most of them are older stitches, from my pre blogging days. These are all stitched on aida, and some are not as cleanly stitched as I would have liked them today, so I think I want to turn them into something useful, where I won't be depressed if they maybe get a little dirty eventually. Maybe some kinds of bags? We got three designs of Popcorn the Bear, a pair of horses, a Christmas Tree and Mouse and Elephant from a popular German children's show:

Let me know if you got any ideas! I'm thinking maybe drawstring toy bags for the Popcorn ones, but I'm open to any and all suggestions!

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Secret Stitching Sweetheart 2024

Hello and Welcome to the 2024 Edition of Jo's Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop! I'm doing a very sneaky post at work, and as it's a busy day I don't have much time, so I kindly refer you to Jo's Post on the matter for the details on the hop :)

So now that you know what this is all about, let's dive right into it! The picture I was sent by my secret sweetheart was this:

It's very pretty, but I am not entirely sure *what* it is, to be honest - is it an elephant? Flowers? Japanese or Chinese letters? I want to know, so I hope that who ever stitched this will come forward and tell me soon! 

Going back into work busy-busy mode now, I'll do my own hopping around over the next couple days, probably :) 

Sunday 4 February 2024

WIPGO - February

My first month of WIPGO is officially over and I am happy to report I hit all my goals (actually, I hit all my crafting goals in January - go, me!) Just eleven months left to go!

First I put in ten hours on The Guardian of Wayfarers, which came up to 1811 stitches. I finished the upper half of the circle and started adding some backstitch. Doesn't it just pop on the deep blues?

New total is 53.63%! I think next time this comes up, I'll try doing 1k cross stitch, then focus on  back stitch for the remainder of the time, just to spice things up a bit.

I also put ten hours into Angel of Cross Stitch, and I learned a couple things: For one, I still enjoy working on it, but I'm still not totally in love with the end product. Which is okay, I'm very much a progress stitcher. The fabric is nice and soft, but not completely even - not enough to mess with the design, I think it's about 1mm off on 5cms or so. The colours and threads are gorgeous. I've also made a mistake, but fixing it would have required unpicking a couple hours of work. Can you spot it?

It seems obvious to me now, that there is a one stitch too much soace between the B and C - but the more I think about it, the more I like the message of it. This whole part of the design is a sampler hanging in the background, o having a mistake in there means even the Angel of Cross Stitch makes mistakes in her stitching...does that make any sense? I guess the point of it all is: not scrapping this one just yet, but also not making it a focus any time soon. I'll just pull it out every now and then for a couple stitches.

So, now what about February? Let's have a look at the board:

So as you can see, we will see GoW again (yay) and the other project for the month will be the Lizzie Stitching Wallet. This was a Mystery SAL from Faby Reilley a couple years ago, I started it when it came out and stitched along until halfway through section 5:

In ten hours I should be able to finish sections 5 and 6 (finish the cross stitch and do backstitch/knots/beads on the right panel). Then I need to put in the outlines for the inside of the wallet, and hope to make a start on section 7 too! The most densly stitched parts are done, so hopefully will get some real progress on this one.

Tuesday 30 January 2024

January WIPocalypse

Hello and welcome for the first proper checkin on the WIPocalypse SAL in 2024! I hope everyone has had a good January so far, I sure have, at least stitching wise (and in some other areas too, I am certainly not complaining). First things first, we have our question of the month, which is Tell us about the oldest WIP you have in your stash. I've actually already talked about that in my introduction post earlier this month - my oldest WIP is a stamped table cloth I lovingly dubbed the Meadow Tablecloth and that I started well over twenty years ago. I had big plans to finish this in 2023 which didn't quite work out, but I actually got it over 3/4th finished, and even continued to work on it throughout January, so I am really, really close now!

The unstitched part in this picture is literally all I need to stitch still! Also, that bit of pink on the flower on the left is the only bit of actually old stitching that is still left. Everything else (which wasn't a lot) looked horrible and was ripped out. This bit I am not super happy with either, but I might leave it so I can actually still call it a 20 year old WIP. On my last tablecloth, though, I did end up restitching everything, so we will see about that!

On to (just slightly) newer WIPs, my big focus project for this SAL is The Loneliness of Autumn, which I am SALing with Rachel. And I am really happy with my progress this month! I added a total of 1961 stitches, which is well on track for a finish this year, and finished filling in not one, not two, but three full pages (and also a partial one, but that was barely ten stitches wide). Obviously, I won't have that kind of success every month, there just weren't a ton of stitched missing on these pages, but it still feels really good.

As you can see, the uppermost row of pages is now fully filled in, and I made a start on the second row. Around the middle of the design, there is a lot more white space left than on the top, so pages will be slower there, although stitches might be quicker (less confetti, hopefully). We will see! For now, I made it to 97,244/118.800 stitches or  81.86% done.

Monday 29 January 2024

January Smalls SAL

Hello and welcome to my very first entry to the Smalls SAL! I've seen this SAL for years on the blogs of a couple of my friends, but as I never stitched that many smalls, haven't joined in so far. But since I am guilty of collecting way too many small charts, I figured it would be a good opportunity to actually stitch a couple of them!

What a nice coincidence it was that right when I decided to join in, the hostess of this SAL switched from Mary, who hosted for the last five years, to Rachel, who already does the FFG SAL on the 10th? I am, of course, happy to join her on this adventure! 

My plan for this SAL is to stitch up all of the Little Sheep Virtues by Little House Needleworks. I had already stitched up the first two of the twelve charts at an earlier time, so for January and December, I am picking something else. 

This is 'Valentine Hare' by the dearly missed Gaynor French of Stitchers Anon. I got a lot of her charts that I want to eventually stitch, and most of them are rather small-ish, so it seemed fitting to start off the SAL with this one! The fabric is a 28ct 'Earthen' Lugana from PTP, and less pink and more brown than this pictures shows. 

This will be finished into this year's Valentine's Day present for my husband, so I hope I'll find a minute to do that next week!

Tuesday 23 January 2024

January Gifted Gorgeousness

Hello and welcome to the January installment of one of my favourite SALs, Jo's Gifted Gorgeousness, THE place for all things gifted and giftee! For me this is usually the place to show off all the little yarn crafts I make for family and friends, and this month, I got two to show.

First, there is this moebius scarf I made for Felix - I made him one years ago and he picked out a yarn cake shortly afterwards for his next one, and then I just never got around to it. It was one of those things that I started feeling really bad about, so I finally just started in December. I had to adjust the pattern as this was designed as a regular loop scarf and he really wanted the moebius, but once the pattern was set up it worked up pretty quickly! And the colours, which looked rather boring in the cake, really grew on me, as well:

The second project was an amigurumi I started quite some time ago for a friend. I think I even showed the first stage, which was just a purple blobb-ish thing. Then the next step sounded a little annoying in the pattern, so I put it off, and off, and I needed to send said friend some stuff anyways, and that was the push I needed to finally get through it! It was a quick project, just a bit over 5 hours in total, so I am a bit annoyed at myself for not finishing it sooner. But anyways, meet Drifloon, my friends favourite Pokémon! (it's supposed to be shaped after a balloon, in case you can't tell.)

My Spirit of Volcano Wrap that I used to show in this space will be taking a little break...I got a lot of yarnish gifts to make this year (not the least reason for which being no less than 4(!) pregnancy announcements among immediate family and close friends), so these will take precedence for a while. I actually made a tiny start on a baby blanket last weekend, but will show and tell next month, when there actually is something to show!

Saturday 13 January 2024

January Fully Finished Gallery

Welcome to the January installment of the Fully Finished Gallery, FFG for short, a SAL that Rachel has been hosting for 5 years now (can' believe it's been tha long already!) The goal is to post at least one fully finished object each month. This is one of my favourite SALs (as it motivates me to actually finish all that stuff in my box of shame), but also a bit of a personal nemesis as I regularly swoop in at the very last minute (Rachel keeps the checkin open for 10 days, starting from the 10th of the month). I always swear to do better but we all know it'll never stick!

This month though, I am coming prepared! The following object was finished on December 24th, so well after the last checkin, and I haven't shown it to you yet so I declare that it counts! This is Penguin Greetings, from the 2021 Just CrossStitch Ornament Issue, and designed by Tangled Threads and Things. 

Here you can see him, freshly finished! He was designed to hold up to chains of letter beads, spelling out 'Merry Cristmas', but since I didn't have any of those and wanted to finish from stash, I gave him some charms to proudly show off instead. Although these candy canes caused some confusion, no one could tell what they were!

He is the last of my ornaments for 2023, and was a gift for Felix' grandma. From next month forward, I am hoping to show my finishes from the smalls SAL in this spot, in finish-finished versions, of course. Fingers crossed!

Friday 12 January 2024

January WIPocalypse Introduction

Hi and welcome to a new year of WIPocalypse! As Measi has pointed out, this will be the 13th year of this SAL (although I haven't been around since the beginning - but it is still the 11th year for me!) and we are all choosing to see this as a lucky number. To lots of productive stitching days in the year ahead!

This first SAL post of the year is meant to introduce us, our projects and out stitching plans for the year. I already jumped the gun on the latter, by putting up my WIPGO post a couple days ago, but I think I can still find some things to talk about without repeating myself!

So, intro first. Hi, I'm Leonore, 34 years old and from the beautiful town of Freiburg in Southern Germany. I've been crafting in some way or form since my grandma taught me how to crochet 30-ish years ago, and been blogging about it for 10. Which in fact reminds me that I totally missed my big bloggoversary in December, dang! So that's probably another thing you should know, despite sometimes appearing so, I am really not all that organized or good with dates. I'm trying, though! 
By day, I'm a software developer, have been married for 5 years, and my husband and I are taking care of my 91 year old grandma, who is often the recipient of my crafting. Gotta spoil her while I still can!

For my projects, there are way too many - I've been working on bringing the number down, and reduced it from 50 to 42 over the course of 2023, but I'm not going to introduce them all in this place. Instead, I will be talking about three that have a special place for this SAL, and the others will just pop up as they do. In fact, these are the same three projects that I was talking about in this same spot last year, and in my 2023 WIPocalypse I guess there will be a bit of repeating myself after all.

First and foremost, there is The Loneliness of Autumn, which I have been SALing with my friend Rachel for the last couple ears. I recently switched from stitching by colour to filling in pages, and just hit 80% done in December. Throughout the year, I am aiming to continue stitching on this at a rate of 1 length of thread a day, and maybe, just maybe, we might see this finished by year's end.

My other focus project for the year is Guardian of Wayfarers by PatternNadGavr. It is heavily featured in my WIPGO goals for the year as I will attempt to work 10 hours on this every month. At the end of 2023 I was at 49% done so I am really hoping to get it done by December!

In 2023, I wanted to get my oldest WIP done, which was a tablecloth kit without a name, dubbed 'Meadow Tablecloth'. I worked on it for most of the focus challenge months, hoping to finish it, but ran out of steam in the end. So it's back on the plate for this year - hopefully I will finish it during the first focus challenge in March, or even before then if I'm being really good.

I'm not completely sure yet what I will pick to replace it, but I will let you know for sure! 

So that's me and (some of) my projects. Thank you for joining me on this journey for another year, and now, let's get stitching!

Wednesday 10 January 2024

The People Chose: Designers for 2024

Hello and welcome to the (sadly) last installment of Jo's wonderfully versatile all-purpose SAL - but I can understand she's putting this one on pause for now, it's been going for a long time and she's put a lot of work into it! This months topic is actually kind of a repeat, or let's call it a tradition, as it's been the January-theme for quite some years now - Designers for 2024! (well obviously, it's been the respectie year each know what I mean.)

At this point I want to take a quick moment to link back to my 2023 designer post and the grand full coverage goals I set myself back then...let's just say, those goals went out the window pretty fast. At least I put some stitches into all three designs mentioned here, and made progress on Possibilities and The Loneliness of Autumn, so the only one of these 'true' full coverage pieces I didn't touch was Dark Forces. That's something, I guess!

This year, I will be setting my eyes on much smaller Designer for 2024 is Little House Needleworks! So far, I have stitched two designs by this designer, both from their Little Sheep Virtue series:

And with any luck, by the end of the year there will be twelve, as I stitch up the remaining motifs in the series! 

LHN has been a staple for cross stitchers for many years, and they have tons of cute, easy to stitch designs. They often do series of charts and who can resist a good series? I have no immediate plans to stitch another one, but let's just say I'm also not looking too closely until my sheep are all stitched up...

Thursday 4 January 2024

2024 Stitching Plans and WIPGO Start!

After two (or was it three? Time is flying by so fast) years without any definite plans, this year, I actually felt like making some again this year, so of course I am going to share them with you! I am still leaving some wiggle room - in fact, if all goes will the plans should make up for about 40 hours of stitching a month, which is between 50 and 80% of my crafting time, depending on the month, so I still got plenty of time for my other crafts and sudden obsessions...hopefully! 

There are three parts to my plans this year:

1) Continue working on TLoA with a slight possibility of a finish this year. This is my monthly SAL with Rachel, and while she is aiming for ten hours a month, I usually try to do the equivalent to one length of thread a day, which takes me anywhere from 10-15 hours depending on the area I'm working on.

I am currently at ~80% done with 23518 remaining, so a finish would require me to do almost 2k stitches a month, which is above my usual total of 1500-1800 stitches. Since I am now filling in pages and doing a lot of confetti stitches, the stitch count is even lower some monhs. But then I might just be triggered to do a little more as I get close enough to *smell* that finish, so I am including the possibility, without it being a definite goal.

2) Joining the Smalls SAL - I've been watching this SAL for a couple years now without ever joining myself, but I accumulated quite a collection of small over the years, and figured that aiming to actually stitch one a month would be a great way to actually stitch a couple of them while also getting that start/finish thrill each month while focusing on my bigger projects.

My first plan was to pull 6 charts and 6 kits and grab one each month, but I have now decided that I want to finish the Sheep Virtues series by Little House Needlework. Here are the last eight charts I bought, but I actually own all twelve, including the matching buttons.

I already stitched two, which leaves ten. So I am going to start Januarty with stitching my yearly Valentine's small for Felix, then spend ten months stitching sheep, and for December I am doing my usual Christmas ornaments, so that should cover it. The sheep are a little bigger than what I usually count for smalls, but they are not too densely stitched and easy to count, so I think it sill works.

3), and this is the big one - WIPGO! This has been going for some years now and I always liked the concept, but was so firmly in my 'I do not want to make plans right now' mindset that I never bothered joining. This year I finally did! My board consists of 12 slots for Guardian of Wayfarers, 12 WIPs that either need some love or are so neglected I need to pull them out to reevaluate if I even want to keep going. The 'free' spot #13 is a new start, and while I haven't put a definite project in yet, I'm pretty sure it's going to be the Greenhouse of Oddities by LolaCrowCrossStitch. The goal is 10 hours on each project (or the decision to trash it) which, on Guardian of Wayfarers, should be just enough for a finish.

The numbers for January have been called and perfectly in accordance with my plans I will have one slot of GoW and one on another WIP this month. GoW is starting here, at 49%:

For now I will continue filling in the upper half of the circle and I think once I reach the right side, I will get a start on the (quite extensive) backstitch.

My second project for January is one of my longest neglected WIPs - Angel of Cross Stitch by Joan Elliott. This is not the crazy, uses-every-colour-known-to-dmc version of the pattern, but the simplified one that was published a a Design Works kit. The thing is, I bought this when I was still quite new to anything other than the simple Vervaco kits sold in stores here, it was one of the first JEs I ever saw, but while I was quite mesmerized with the possibilities, I never fell in love with the pattern explicitly.

However I do remember enjoying working on it, I switched out the fabric from the kit with a very soft evenweave that was quite nice to work on, and the colours are so pretty...also, picking it up I realized I had more done of the border than I remembered, which was a pleasant surprise!

So I figured I'll give this a couple hours, see if I still enjoy it as much as I remember. Even if I am not completely in love with the end result, it is a cute pattern and I think I know some people that would like it as a gift, so if I still love working on it, that's enough reason to keep it in the WIP pile! Will let you know my decision (and show any progress that happened in the meantime) at the end of the month.

So here we go, these are my 2024 stitching plans (along with my usual SALs that do not require specific stitching goals for them - don't worry Jo, I'm still aboard for GG and all your Blog Hops!). See you around soon for some progress, I hope.