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!



  1. Hey Julie! Great first post :) I am very intrigued by your block goals. I too am a goal rotation stitcher but have only ever used page finishes as my goal, which can sometimes take quite a long time on a full coverage piece.

    Your projects are beautiful! Looking forward to following your progress :)

  2. You have some great pieces in your rotation. Looking forward to seeing your progress on them.


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