Saturday, 27 June 2015

Finish Number 18!

After a week or so of what seems like endless wrapping and weaving - A Confetti of Hardanger is finally finished!

Confetti of Hardanger - Finished!
I think it is quite possibly my proudest finish to date, not least because I can remember being totally petrified of stitching it three years ago when I purchased it!  That is the joy of stitching though, because with an extra three years stitching experience under my belt when it came to it, this design wasn't so terrifying after all!  I may even stitch it again, but this time the uncut version, as alternative stitches are offered in the chart for stitchers that might not be ready to take out their squissors just yet!
There was a time, a few years ago, when I avoided doves' eyes like the plague, never mind stitching a filling stitch inside anything other than kloster blocks!  It is a good reminder that any new skill takes time, patience and above all practice - you can't become an expert over night.  You learn so much in stitching by your own experience and often making mistakes is the best way to learn (which is why I always remember to go under the last "leg" of a dove's eye ;)).  My CoH isn't perfect by any means, case in point - my buttonhole bars bear more than a passing resemblance to Cornish pasties........dare I share a picture....
Buttonhole Bars - CoH
Excuse untucked cut ends :)!
The point is, despite its imperfections, I'm thrilled with the overall finish and it reminds me of the progress I've made as a stitcher over the past few years and that is a good thing.
This means I now only have one WIP left, my goldwork, which I am just not in the mood for right now.  I also have fabric for my Butterfly Quote and freebie project, they both need finishing.  As Mr Milkybar Kid reminded me this week, stitching is supposed to be fun not a chore and I can do what I like - so I will be starting one of my Summer stitching pieces this weekend!  It will be so lovely for a change, to just stitch little crosses!
I've only really stitched on about 12 days of this month, so feel I would really like to get stuck in to a new start (or starts).  With Wimbledon starting on Monday I'm thinking this will be a good opportunity for an IHS FORTNIGHT not just Weekend :) and an excellent time to unplug from social media and focus on enjoying my stitching (not to mention apparently we are to expect a heatwave in the UK next week.......I won't hold my breath though!).
Hopefully I'll have some progress to show in my next post - it depends on how exciting the tennis gets!
Happy Stitching!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Summer Stitching Plans 2015

This post is coming to you slightly earlier than planned due to a lack of motivation on my part to get on and finish my WIPs - until the WIPs are complete none of the following beauties can be started (I am currently 1 WIP down with 2 to go).  This is the carrot approach to encouragement - the stick approach arrives next week when The Sister comes to stay for a few days lol (she isn't that bad really!).

From past experience I know that my level of productivity stitching wise drops sharply in the Summer due to Wimbledon fortnight and the ever present hope of warm sunny weather and outdoor activities!  I've chosen four projects to stitch on throughout July and August so that I can chop and change according to my mood in the hope of keeping my stitchy bug alive throughout the Summer.

Here are my plans!

1. Living with Charm by Lizzie Kate:

Living With Charm Materials
This one will be stitched as one long piece with the plan to finish it as a wall hanging :).  It will be stitched on 28ct Permin Buttermilk linen with all the threads exactly as charted (for a change).  I have had these charts in my stash for years and it will be wonderful to finally stitch them up.  28ct will be a nice rest for my eyes after all the 36ct and 40ct I've been stitching on lately!

2.  Sleeping Beauty by The Primitive Hare:

Sleeping Beauty Materials
This time last year I was stitching on The Primitive Hare's Red Riding Hood, so it's fitting that I should also stitch on this chart after a year of it sitting in my stash.  Again this one will be stitched with all the recommended threads and fibres and on 36ct Edinburgh cream linen to match Red Riding Hood.

3.  The Butterfly Garden by The Drawn Thread
Butterfly Garden Materials
Another long time member of my stash!  This one had an option to be stitched in silks or cottons, but as is often the way with me I chose my own hand dyed threads for the chart (all counting to Operation Threadporn totals of course!) - seven Jodyri Designs hand dyed cottons and a Waterlillies silk (which was actually in the materials list).  This one will also be stitched on 36ct Edinburgh cream linen, as at 355 stitches wide it cuts down on size!

4.  Emma and Eliza in the Garden by Just Nan:
Emma and Eliza in the Garden Materials
This chart also had a cotton or silk materials option and I again opted for cottons (and 1 silk!).  Although I had some of the called for AVAS in my stash, I did not think it necessary to invest the stash cash in the others when I had plenty of other options available to me.  This again will be stitched on 36ct Edinburgh linen (is it obvious I have metres of this in my stash lol?!) and this time with an assortment of different cottons:  GASTs, Threadworx, Mo's Sale and a random one from Canada!  I couldn't resist the call of the AVAS, so the wording in this chart will be stitched in silk.
If by some miracle these get finished before the Summer is out, there are four Cloudsfactory designs up next in the to be stitched pile - they require a bit more thought on materials and such before they are ready to be stitched up :).
For those of you that prefer the long winded waffling of the audio/visual version:

The prospect of having a clean slate and then four new starts is tantalizing - let's hope this motivates me to get on with finishing up my hardanger and goldwork!
Happy Stitching!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

WIP Update!

Not a great deal of stitching has been going on at Milkybar Towers this week, so I'm going to have to get a move on if I want all my current projects to be finished before the start of the best sporting event on the planet ;).

I've cut the border for the final part of Confetti of Hardanger and am looking to get that finished next week hopefully:

Part 15 cut

I've also been chipping away at Jodyri Butterfly Quote and just have the word "world" to stitch, so looking for a finish this weekend then it will be off to the fabric shop to find suitable fabric and trimmings!
Jodyri Butterfly Quote WIP 4
I just love this colour!

I've also picked my colours for my thread challenge pieces this month, I think I must have been influenced by all the blue sky we've had around here lately!

June's Thread Challenge
The colour combination for my hardanger piece this month may prove interesting, but I had that Watercolour in my stash so I figured I might as well use it and step out of my comfort zone!  My freebie piece this month is a bit selfish as it is no longer available, it is by The Sampler Girl aka @bzmama on IG aka Tanya Marie Anderson.  Nowadays she is much more about the knitting and yarn, so if you love that too check out her ravelry page, blog and vlog!  I do miss her Jane Austen inspired designs, but I have a few in my stash to keep me going yet ;).
Here's to having a more productive week next week!
Sidebar:  Thank you to everyone who entered my vlogaversary giveaway last week and who left comments on my video.  There were 170 entrants and the winners have been drawn and notified and their charts will be in the post in a few days!
Have a good weekend everyone and Happy Stitching!

Friday, 5 June 2015

Box of Delights Block Four

A quick post for Box of Delights, only two parts left now!

My colour choices for Block 4:

Block Four colours
L-R Top: Parisian Chic, Summer Sunset, Raspberry Lime PB57
Bottom: Tabs' Tangles PB24, Jade Dragon PB06, Arabian Days
 The stitched block:
Block 4 complete
And the bigger picture:
Blocks 1 -4
I love being able to go crazy with the colours and not obsesses over what matches!
For any vloggers that may be reading, I've just uploaded my Vlogaversary video on my revamped channel.  It will be the last of my looooooong videos (had a bit to catch you all up on!) but if you make it to the end, I have some charts that I'm giving away :).
Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

May Operation Threadporn Report

Slightly later than usual, here is the monthly progress report on my thread challenge for May!

Once again for my SOTW hardanger square I choose DMC and Anchor perles for the design - pink seemed to be my theme for the month!

May SOTW Hardanger
This was the first time I'd stitched unevenly woven bars and I really like the effect - plus the fact that it makes it easier to run your thread underneath them on the back!  I'm not sure what I will do with my 12 hardanger squares at the end of the year, maybe I will pinch Jo's idea and scrapbook them along with a record of threads and stitches used.
My freebie for this month was taken from this blog: Les Chalet des Perelles (I love a good French needlework blog if anyone has any suggestions!) and I decided to stitch it in silks, mainly because when I saw the colours I knew I had an excellent selection of pinks, reds and greens in hand dyed silks!  I thought I would have issues with greys though - I mean who has several shades of grey in their silk collection??!!!  Urm that would be me - I'd forgotten I have approximately 12 shades to choose from!  Anyway here is my finish,  a little stretched canvas:
Freebie from Le Chalet des Perelles blog
I know I'm not particularly adventurous with my finishings, but for me after years of never finishing ANYTHING, even ornaments, pillows and canvases are a vast improvement!
I also have an update on my Jodyri Butterfly Quote (chart available for free on the Jodyri Designs FB group), I've finished all the words in Unicorn Magic, just need to add the words "butterfly" and "world" for a finish.  I decided that all the nouns should be in a different colour thread so I'm waiting to decide on colours (either Crystal Seas or Deep Dive) for "world" after I've stitched the word "butterfly" to see which blends in better:

Jodyri Butterfly Quote WIP 2
This means that the stats up until the end of May are:
Percentage of hand dyed stash used to date: 10.99%
Number of different stitches used to date:     38
Number of finishes to date:                          17 (9 of which are "finished finished")
Once I start my summer stitching I am confident that I will reach the magical 12% stash goal and possibly by year end will have surpassed the 15% I thought impossible!  I will definitely be rolling Operation Threadporn over into 2016 as it is really making me think about my thread usage.  Using such a wide assortment of threads in close succession also makes for great comparisons (or not so great in the case of some threads!).  Whilst I think that I am cured of my thread buying addiction (though The Sister says we must remain vigilant for signs of waivering!) I definitely know which threads I would focus my stash pennies on in the future should I wish to add to my collection :).
Happy Stitching!

Monday, 1 June 2015

May Achievements and June Goals - It's time to clear the decks!

I know I have a few things to update you on (Threadporn, Jodyri Butterfly Quote - which actually it turns out I didn't stitch much on after last Monday), but you have to have a goals post on the first day of the month don't you!

May Goals
  • Complete Block 3 of Box of Delights (outlines already completed) - DONE!
  • Stitch on Plum Pudding from 1st - 7th May as part of my SAL with Nic - PLUM PUDDING NOW COMPLETE!
  • Continue stitching on Golden Daisy - aiming to work on it at least once a week instead of the few hours I've put into it in two months! - bit of a fail on this one in more ways than one, I only managed a day on it.
  • Complete parts 10 - 14 of Confetti of Hardanger - DONE!
  • Jodyri Butterfly - Complete at least the first two lines of text - DONE and more besides, just the word "world" and "butterfly" to go!
  • Stitch the May Hardanger square for Operation Threadporn - DONE!
  • Stitch and finish my Operation Threadporn freebie project for the month by Le Chalet des Perelles - DONE!
  • If I feel the need for a new start, pick from one that is fully kitted from this list - I started Milady's Blossom Garden, the new SAL over on The Stitch Specialists and completed the first two parts
The graph representation............
May's Stitching
9 days with no stitching this month!!!  You can tell we've had nice weather.......!
June Goals
  • Complete Block Four on Box of Delights
  • Complete Part 3 of Milady's Garden (Part 3 due out towards the end of the month)
  • Stitch the June Hardanger square for Operation Threadporn
  • Stitch and finish my Operation Threadporn freebie for the month
  • FINISH Golden Daisy
  • FINISH Confetti of Hardanger (only 1 part left, a pretty big part though!)
  • FINISH Jodyri Butterfly
  • Then and only then can my care free easy summer stitching plans be embarked upon!
  • June will be a NO SPEND stash month, I was lucky enough to be the winner of an awesome needlework prize in May so there is no excuse (unless I use the last needle I have on the planet of course!)
Public Service Announcement :)
June sees the arrival of my first Vlogaversary (never in a million years did I think I would end up with 1500+ subscribers!).  I've not filmed a video for quite a few months, but will be filming one this week to catch everyone up on what I've been doing these past few months if they are interested (some stitchers hate blogs - can you imagine!).  After a lot of toing and froing, I've decided to make a return to vlogging, but very much on my terms - my stitching, my way.  The focus will be needlework (although cross stitch will of course be included!) to better reflect my stitching and the path my work is taking me.  Videos will be more frequent, shorter and topic focused - that way you can pick and choose what interests you as I appreciate that not everyone will want to hear my experiences with Goldwork, but they might want to know how a recent cross stitch project turned out.  This way I hope I can please both my blog followers and vlog subscribers, whilst keeping myself engaged and interested in both at the same time :).
If you are reading this as someone who is 100% blogger then don't worry - my blog won't change, I will still report on all my stitching endeavours here.  If you ever wanted to view the odd video, they would be like the "bonus material" on the DVD that is my stitching journey :).  Of course if you are not one for vlogs at all, then feel free to ignore any links to videos that I post on my blog, I am happy to have you here regardless of your preferences - you are under no obligations to cross over to the other side lol!
I shall return tomorrow all being well with an Operation Threadporn report and a proper update on my Jodyri Butterfly Quote!
Happy Stitching!