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 off...now 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 outro...so 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 January...you 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 designs...my 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.

Monday 1 January 2024

Q4 Stitching Stats (2023)

Happy New Year, stitchy and bloggy friends! I hope it found you all well and in high spirits. I for one have had a very good first day, and won't jinx it by making any predictions about the other 365, haha!

Let's start off this new year on a high and rare note, by posting something in a timely manner. And that something is my last stitching stats for 2023.

The last quarter of 2023 was pretty busy for me, but I tried to fit in as much crafting as possible! I worked on a total of 21 projects, 12 of which are now finished. Not bad at all! I pretty much hit my goal numbers on TLoA, and didn't do too badly on Spirit of Volcano too.

As for distribution of crafts, I'm staying true to my trend this year - about half cross stitch, half yarn crafts (and a couple others, some time was spent finishing the Christmas ornaments, and that two hours of 'others' was the Bascetta stars).

As for stitch counts, October was my third strongest month of the year, but November was pretty good too! December is lagging behind a bit, but that was to be expected. In total I am down to 64k from 2022's 95k, but considering that I was working full time again and did a lot of other crafts too, I am quite okay with that. 

I'm also attaching my craft distribution for the whole year (no surprises there) and my project pie, including times for the top 5. Despite not quite hitting my goals on The Loneliness of Autumn, it still say a good amount of stitching! 


What do you say, do we continue these quaterly stats for another year? I'm doing a stashdown challenge with some knitting friends so will additionally keep track of any yarn going in and out of my stash, so that might be another interesting thing to look at...