Monday, April 16, 2018

March WIPocalypse check-in

Hello everyone!

March was a rather spotty stitchy month for me. After having 2 finishes in both January and February, my remaining projects are in that slogging part of the process. Too far into it so your momentum/excitement has fizzled but far enough from the end that you can't envision an FO on the horizen. Ugh. I guess this is why so many of these projects have not seen the light of day in years. I keep telling myself the more of these oldies I finish the more I can focus on all of my new stash that I have so carefull built up in the last year when I rediscovered my love of stitching.
I did work on 4 projects, about 1 week on each. I worked on my Winter Quaker from Rosewood Manor. I did 2 sections so the top third is done. This is my first Quaker design and I'm really enjoying.

Then I did a huge push on my Joan Elliott Winter Walk. I've been trying to stitch by rows on this one but I ended up following the colors down the dress so I probably did way more than my goal on this one.

Snow Family from Dimensions was up next. This one is getting frustrating because although I can see the end I've also been having big problems. At least 2 of my colors are missing, and since this kit is like 10 years old my threads are in a rats nest anyway. Then I switched to some mindless border work to at least get SOMETHING accomplished...only to realize that my borders weren't lining up! I almost cried and had a bonfire that night. Late at night I thought it was unsalvageable. Luckily, I looked at it again with a clearer head the next morning and I think I can make it work. But I still put it in time out for now.

Happily, my at work piece is making me happy. I'm doing an ink circles design Phlox Box from a Just Cross Stitch issue from a few years ago. I'm using a stash piece of linen and Colour and Cotton Festival as my colorway. Can I just say I didn't think I would like 1 color designs and now I feel like I want to stitch on nothing but!?
My next piece in my rotation was supposed to be my Angel of Cross Stitch, my oldest WIP. Like from the late 90s oldest. But I really wanted to keep my monthly FO mojo going, so I picked up another ornament out of my YOW and WIP rotation and pushed that out this weekend. It's super cute!
Now I'm starting my Angel. After 2 nights I've cleaned up my hanging threads and and trying to get into a groove. Long work days and a bout of the late winter crud is inhibiting me. I hope to finish this one in 2 sessions (this rotation slot and then my focus on a finish slot), but it's tough going. I think it's because there are SO many mistakes that I have to get creative with almost every area. Not to mention an ungodly amount of color changes.  OMG i used to think the was the sign of a "real stitcher" was complicated color changes. Now I certainly know better. Almost there though!

So our monthly prompt is to discuss a new discovery we've made. I adore Colour and Cotton! I feel like I got in on her fabric of the month club as one of her early members and I'm so happy I did!! Angela always creates beautiful shades on her fabric, and she makes SO much work for herself by creating a unique color for each fabric style for both her neutrals and brights line. I think it's 6 unique colors a month. She's always so kind to work with in customer service, and has patiently helped me out when I was unable to find something on her website. She even combines shipping with your FOTM with anything else you might order. Awesome! I haven't joined her thread of the month club, buy I'm severely tempted each month when I see her colors. Check her out for sure!

That's all for me now. I'm heading to work this Good Friday/Passover/regular TGIF but dreaming about tackling my Angel. Best wishes for the holiday if you celebrate, and I hope you have lots of stitchy hours until next time!


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February WIPocalypse Check in

Whaaaaat? The end of February already?? This one totally sneaked up on me. I guess watching all that Olympics just zoomed the time by. I absolutely LOVE the Olympics. I'd watch it all the time! But I often get overruled by the other 3 boys in the house. I have an extra soft spot for the Winter Olympics now because I watched the 2014 Olympics on my first maternity leave with my older son! Now seeing the sassy 4 year old while the Olympics are on makes me all misty. In fact, both my boys are born in Olympic years. My little one was born after the Summer Olympics in 2016. My husband just rolls his eyes. I have a such a keeper - he didn't even make me go down to the playroom TV and watch. I got to hog the big TV every day.

I guess you could say I did a Relay Rotation for the Olympics. I had 2 finishes, 1 give-up, and worked on 5 pieces in total. My stitch from stash budget is loving all this productivity!
My finishes are Summer Splendor from Bucilla and an ornament from Janlynn:

I decided to give up on Winter Reindeer. I hated the fabric, I hated the 4 strand half stitches, and then I had a counting mistake and I was about ready to throw the whole thing out the window. Ugh! Life is too short to hate your WIPs.

I also tried to work on my Frog Pile and Snow Family. I struggled with my stitchy bug and so progress is slow. I didn't meet my stitching goals but had to move on so I didn't lose my mojo completely.

But I did have a bonus start this month! I had a really emotional day and wanted to escape life. Since I couldn't fly away to a deserted island or tropical getaway, I decided on a new start. I started Phlox Box from Just Cross Stitch using a random hand dyed linen I found in stash and a Colour and Cotton floss I picked up during one of Angela's sales. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll have enough, as I think the colorway has been reformulated or discontinued. I've turned it into my work project and its stitching up beautifully. Yay!

February's blogging question is to identify your favorite gadget. I've returned to stitching after a long hiatus, so I don't have a bunch of gadgets that I'm loving. I'm trying a laying tool but I keep forgetting to use it. I enjoy my Qsnaps, but I think what I use most often is my ORT jar! I picked up a pretty vase from Michaels' and have used it for years. So here is my ORT jar...which is kind of my TUSAL check in too. :)

So I think that's all for now from my neck of the woods! I'm going to enjoy a glass of wine and catch up on all my shows from the last 2 1/2 weeks. 

Until next time, Happy Stitching!


Sunday, January 28, 2018

January WIPocalypse Checkin

Happy New Year, blogland! January 2018 has hit the ground running, both personally, professionally, and stitchy-wise! I hope you and yours have a happy and healthy 2018.

Now, on to the stitching! January has been super productive. My goals-based rotation is really working for me. My motivation is high and I can't wait to reach my goals! I may have to remind myself that it's a marathon, not a sprint. All these projects do not have deadlines and there is no rush. Except for all the pretty projects I want to start soon!!

I have 2 finishes and a mini finish for the month. I finished Snowballs by Filigram and an ornament from my kit of ornaments from Janlynn. I also completed a frog in my Frog Pile. Go me!

The January WIPocalypse questions are: What SALs are you participating in this year? What event for Stitching Olympics will you be doing?

SAL: I'm doing Year of WIPs in Soulful Stitching and Stitch from Stash. I may do some of the one day SALs in Stitch Maynia but I'm trying to focus on all my starts from last year and get a bunch complete. I'm not sure what my optimal WIP count is, but I can tell you 16 big kit projects is too much. I'm trying to complete a bunch so I can do the more modern projects I have found in the last year since I got back into stitching. That goes hand in hand with Stitch from Stash. I discovered sooo much exciting projects last year I completely blew my budget. This year is time to be more discerning and thoughtful in my purchases.

Olympics: I love the Olympics!! My current rotation fits in nicely with the relay option. I'll try to get through a bunch of projects while I root for the USA!

Until next month, happy stitching!!


Sunday, December 31, 2017

My 2018 Rotation Plans

I thought I'd share my attempts for a rotation from recent times. I've gone through a few iterations, especially since Flosstube has enabled me to move away from monogamous stitching. Don't be afraid to mix things up or try something new! Especially if it isn't working for you.

Attempt 1:
2017 was my year of starts...I did all my kits I had bought and not yet started over the last few years. Initially, I started a new project every 2 weeks and worked on it monogamously. But then Stitch Maynia came calling and I started all the things in Maynia 2017.

Attempt 2:
Now that everything was started, I chose 4 projects for a weekly rotation, working on them for 1 week each. This worked pretty well for me, but I wanted to try to touch more of my WIPs for Soulful Stitching's Year of WIPs. So I thought I'd get crazy.

Attempt 3:
I had big, beautiful, ambitious plans for this rotation. I hope someday to return to this set-up when I have more time to stitch (so in like, 30 years...). I tried this for about 2 months. I loved the idea but I just can't stitch long enough in the evenings with 2 small kids. It takes me most of an hour for 100 stitches, so I could never get through the whole thing on weeknights.
100 stitches on a full coverage piece
100 stitches on a quarterly new start
100 stitches on a monthly focus piece
300 stitches at least on a weekly focus piece

Current attempt:
I'm going to try a goal oriented rotation. Once my set goal is completed, I'll move onto the next category. Some of my pieces fit in more than 1 category so I can work on them for a couple of rotations if they're calling to me. I also have some duplicate categories, so once the piece is finished I'll replace it with a different kind of piece. I hope that this variety will keep me interested and keep my progress going on more pieces. We'll see how long this lasts. I have hope for now.

Quaker - Winter Quaker. Finish 1 page
Christmas - 12 days of Christmas by Joan Elliot. Finish 1 day
Christmas - 12 days of Christmas by Dimensions. Finish 1 day
Full coverage - Summer Splendor. Complete 21 blocks.
BAP - Christmas Bears treeskirt. Finish 1 bear
Ladies - Winter Walk. Finish 1 row.
Oldest WIP - Angel of Cross Stitch. Finish 30 blocks.
Whine and WIP - Frog Pile. Finish 1 frog.
Seasonal - Snow family Christmas. Finish the top border to the corner.
Series - Christmas ornaments by Janlynn - 1 ornament
Smalls - Christmas ornaments by Janlynn - 1 ornament
Houses - Enchanted Dragon. Finish top of the castle
Halloween n/a
Free choice - TBA
Kid's choice - Snowballs. FO
Random generator - TBA
Focus on a finish-  Snowballs. FO
Work piece - Winter Reindeer. A little bit daily.
New start - Snowballs. FO
Magazine - n/a
Glendon place -n/a
The Drawn Thread - n/a
Gifts n/a

I hope to work through each category, then restart. Wish me luck!

I'm focusing on 4 Facebook groups this year:
Soulful Stitching's Year of WIPs. I hope to finish 8 of my 16 WIPs.
WIPocalypse. I hope to blog monthly and show actual progress.
Stitch From Stash. I failed miserably both halves in 2017 so I'd like to finish in the black this time!
Stitch Maynia. I may follow some of the daily SALs but I'm going to do a WIP-Maynia in May. All my remaining WIPs will get live in May for at least a day or two.

Now, I'm off to stitch!!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

WIPocalypse Introduction and Jumping Into this blogging thing

Hello out there! I'm jumping headlong into the online world blogging...and we'll see how this goes. This blog will be primarily to share my love of cross stitching, but I'm sure family and life stuff will occasionally slip in as well.

My name is Julie and I love to cross stitch. I have been crafty my whole life, but cross stitch and handwork has been the one medium I keep coming back to time and time again. Some of my earliest memories are making towers out of my mother's thread spools keeping her company as she sewed quilts. At the age of 5, I picked out scrap colors and my mom made a simple wall hanging and showed me how to quilt the outlines of shapes onto each square. And the rest, as they say, is history. My mom was an avid quilter throughout my childhood and adulthood, and taught quilting classes for 20+ years locally in my hometown. She's now moved on to painting, but I inherited a good chunk of her fabric stash, so I'm not complaining. She was always drawn to machine sewing and quilting, but I loved how stitching something by hand grew and changed right before your eyes. Creating a picture and art stitch by stitch is not only meditative but addictive for me. My mom showed me the basics of cross stitching when I was about 8, and I instantly fell in love. Where else can you make such a simple stitch create a beautiful work of art??

But cross stitch takes patience. And time. And there were plenty of times growing up that I had only 1, or neither. So cross stitching would be set aside for a while. Sometimes years at a time. But every once in a while, I would hear the siren's call and pick up another project. I worked on projects off and on even in my college dorm room for friends. I created a program as a building RA on the basics of cross stitch and taught my underclassmen students I mentored. It was always there.

College and the business of adulting really put a damper on my stitchy bug. Although my parents tell me these moves don't count because it was only in and out of a dorm room and everything fit in my car, I moved 17 times in 6 years as I finished school, including an overseas stint (5 different dorm rooms in my first 5 semesters, then my last year of school was a series of 5 internships in 4 different places, one of them in Rennes, France) . Then I moved everything I owned 3 states away and became a professional. And moved 3 more times. I got engaged. Then married. We bought a house. Then we had kids. That's enough for anyone's stitchy bug to hibernate!

But cross stitching finally came out and spoke to me again last fall, as I was preparing for the birth of my younger son. My nesting instinct came out as a compelling need to dig out every last cross stitch kit and pattern I had squirreled away for "someday" and organize. I re-discovered my stitching blogs I once religiously followed. While reading those blogs, I was introduced to the world of Flosstube. And I started figuring out how to find "my people" in stitchy Facebook groups. It was a whole new world for me, and I couldn't get enough! My entire maternity leave was full of Flosstube streaming, cross stitching, and stashing. I realized kits were no longer the pinnacle of awesomeness that I thought it was. I rediscovered my true taste and preferences in projects. I created wishlists (and then proceeded to buy most of them). I immersed myself while I was home and had a ball! Of course, I cuddled my Tiny Man as well. But cross stitching was BACK!

And I'm still going strong, just over a year later. I survived my first Maynia and my year of starting all the kits that I had. I learned that I will never buy a Dimensions kit again...especially a Dimensions Gold. I fell back in love with pieces. I scrapped pieces. I adopted out WIPs to other stitchers who would more fully enjoy them. I have tried several different rotations and have found that with 2 small children and a full time job, I can only stitch on 1 or 2 projects at home in the evening. I started bringing a project to work and realized how much of an icebreaker it is in the breakroom. I failed misterably trying Stitch From Stash twice...even though I hadn't bought any cross stitch anything in the previous 5 years at least.

So here we are, at the end of December. I'm looking forward to 2018 as a new, fresh start. I have big plans for next year and I can't wait to get started! I'm still going to work towards Stitch From Stash. I'm doing Year of WIPs, and now I've started WIPocalypse. My goal is to get all of the kits I have on the go completed so I can do more of what I really want to do as a more mature stitcher. I have 16 WIPs now and am planning on 4 starts this year, one for each of my family's birthday months (January, April, August, November). I'd love to complete 8 more more this year, but as you can see, most of these are rather large pieces so I'm not sure how this will pan out. I had initially made grand plans to stitch on 4 pieces daily of at least 100 stitches: A quarterly new start, a full coverage piece, a monthly focus, and a weekly focus (300+ stitches). Then I realized that I have to stitch most of an hour to put in 100 stitches (does that make me fast or slow? I wonder...). I commute 1+ hours each way 5 days a week and work full time as a pharmacist in a clinic in downtown Boston. Then, if I hope to spend time with my houseful of boys, I am lucky if I get 2-3 hours of stitching a night on weeknights. So after trying that for a month or two, I had to throw it out. Now I'm planning more of a goal-oriented rotation. I'm going to set a specific goal for each piece, then move onto the next one. I think this will allow me to touch more of my WIPs this year while still keeping my interest and momentum on them. I'm going to try it for a couple of months and see how this works.

 Winter Quakers: I've completed section/page 1 (out of 9). I'm going to complete 1 section per rotation.
 Snow Family Christmas by Dimension. I'm going to complete the upper border to the corner. I hope to have this complet in 4 or 5 more rotations.
 Christmas Bears treeskirt. I'd like to complete 1 bear per rotation, but I haven't touched this in a while and I'm not sure if that's feasible.
 Ice Fairy by Joan Elliott. Once Winter Walk is completed, I'll work on her. I'll do a row on her each time.
 Lighthouse Summer Garden. I'll try for 2100 (21 blocks) stitches per rotation.
 Angel of Cross Stitch. She is my oldest WIP and she needs to get done this year. I have about 90 blocks left on her, so I'm going to try to complete 30 each rotation and get her done this year.
 12 Days of Christmas by Dimensions. I'm going to do 1 day per rotation.
 Winter Reindeer by Dimensions Gold. This will be my work project so I will try to do a little bit every day until I'm sick of it and will switch it for something else.
 A Christmas Wish by Dimensions. Until I have a better demarcation, I'm going to do 21 blocks per rotation.
 12 Days of Christmas by Joan Elliott. 1 day per rotation
 Enchanted Castle by Bothy Threads. 21 blocks per rotation, unless I can divide the castle in a way that makes sense.
 Holiday Village by Dimensions Gold. 21 blocks per rotation. This and Christmas wish will not be touched until I complete Summer Splendor.
 Since I want to try to have at least 1 finish per month, I'm throwing these ornaments in so if I need a slam dunk finish I can. I have 4 left in this kit . Janlynn ornaments.

 Summer Splendor by Bucilla. My current full coverage piece; will do 21 blocks per rotation (about 3 left). However, I think I have run out of one of the browns in the house so I might either have to give up or get creative on this one.
 Winter Walk by Joan Elliott. I will do 1 row per rotation.
 Frog Pile Design Works kit. I will do 1 frog per rotation.
New Year New Start for January 1. My Big Kid picked this one out. I'm doing a DMC conversion and hope to have this finished in January, February at the latest.

Ok, that was super long! Everyone is asleep in my house at the moment. We have early mornings here in Massachusetts, so I better sign off too. I'll share a little bit more about my real world persona next time, since this post is already super long. Until next month, stitchy friends!


March WIPocalypse check-in

Hello everyone! March was a rather spotty stitchy month for me. After having 2 finishes in both January and February, my remaining project...