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My helper

My helper

I’m so far behind with blogging my crafty projects, that I think I’m going to cheat and make a post for each project by linking to its Flickr album, as I am pretty much up to date over there. Before I do, I wanted to add a little background on each one, especially the new ones that I’ve started since my unintended blogging hiatus began.

Fandom in Stitches Doctor Who SAL

I can’t actually remember where I first heard about this one, but it was right as it was about to begin. I suspect it was through a link on Facebook though. Fandom in Stitches generally design foundation pieced quilt blocks of various fandom-related themes. (I now have file directories on my computer for a Harry Potter quilt, a The Hobbit quilt and part of a Lord of the Rings quilt as that one is still ongoing).

Differently, this quilt was to be made up of 12 embroidered blocks that could then be patched together however the stitcher chose, although there was a suggestion for the borders. A new pattern came out each week and I’m very proud of myself that I managed to keep up, including when I decided to redesign 3 of the blocks myself to make them more like the quilt I wanted to make. (That’s the 8th and 10th doctors and the final 12th block; see the PDF patterns category link in the sidebar to find them.) I’ve really enjoyed making this (I’m quilting it now) and look forward to showing it off once it is done.

Doctor Who Foundation Pieced QAL

If I heard about the previous project on Facebook, then this one was probably the same. It’s a foundation pieced quilt of 20 Doctor Who themed blocks. It had started just one week before the FiS one and its blocks come out on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month. So I wasn’t too far behind and I decided to take the plunge and join both. It’s been a little stressful now and then, but I’m having a lot of fun. I have never done a lot of foundation piecing and the first block was the TARDIS, which turned out to be rather a challenge. I’ve taken the lessons learnt on that one to heart and the later ones have, generally, been easier. I now have the TARDIS, a Time Lord, K9, SS M. de Pompadour, Bad Wolf and a Werewolf. This month’s task is the current sonic screwdriver. I have no idea what I’m going to do with this quilt when it’s finished, but I’ve decided that isn’t really the point, and if I’m enjoying making the blocks right now, that’s what counts.

Hexagons are Cool

Embarrassing as it to admit it, this quilt (started long before the two above) also has a (much more subtle) Doctor Who theme. I’m making a 900 hexagon small quilt made from scrap hexagons with Who themed ones scattered through it. Since I was last posting I have finished all the hexagons (I ended up with 923) and I have 8 strips of 10 hexagons sewn together.

Kiwiana Quilt for Marcus

When Marcus moved from his cot to a toddler bed, I quickly threw together a single bed sized quilt for him to have on the bed – ironically, I made if for the summer when it is more comfortable to sleep under a quilt that a full-blown duvet, and it’s been well used. (It has faded fabric patterns, which I consider a sign of good use.) Towards the beginning of this year, we faced up to the fact that he was getting too big for it – especially when he wanted one of us to lie beside him and we ended up on the floor. So we went looking for a bigger bed. After considering king singles and doubles, we took the leap and bought a queen size. We figured there was plenty of room if mum or dad needed to climb in with him and if we had a couple to stay, they could always use his bed while he slept on a camp bed in out room.

Only problem, the quilt was now way too small. So I started a full sized quilt for Marcus; my main requirement was that it not be too “childish” so that he could still use it as a teenager when dragons or trucks or lego or something similar might not be so cool. I finally found a lovely quilt that used Kiwi-themed motif fabrics in an issue of Australian Patchwork and Quilting and decided to go with that. In typical Kerry fashion I changed the pattern a bit and the colours a bit more, but I ended up with something I think I’ll be able to be proud of. I’ve started the quilting on it, but it is so big (the biggest quilt I’ve ever made) that I had to take a break – especially when I had Doctor Who embroidery and paper piecing to do to a deadline.

Did I tell you about Dirk the Dragon and the Weighted Blanket?

I so, I won’t bother you again. If I didn’t, let me know and I’ll add a “get up to date” post for that too.

Autumn Queen

By Mirabilia’s Nora Adams, this is the fourth in a series of seasonal queens. I have not only done the first three, but managed to slot all four into a Doctor Who (good grief, it shows up again) fanfic I wrote back in the late 1990s (I’m even willing to put that up if someone really wants me to). Somehow, I never got to the last one, so right now she’s lying about attached to some scroll rods, wondering is she’ll ever be stitched on again. I hope so, but I’m right out of cross stitch mojo right now, which is why I’m doing surface embroidery, hand piecing, paper piecing and quilting instead. I would like to get her done and finish the set one day though.

Defender of the Kingdom Restart and QS Garnet Restart

These are Heaven and Earth Designs charts that I (wisely? stupidly?) decided to restart as tent stitch 2 over 1 on 28-count instead of the 1 over 1 crosses I’d been doing on 25-count. The theory was that they would be a lot quicker to stitch that way, which would make up for the time I lost restarting. Maybe it would of worked, but that’s about where my stitching mojo went AWOL so I haven’t got all that far. I also had other issues with QS Garnet, that I’ll cover when I do an update post on that one.

Seekrit Project

The fact enthusiasm rules over sense will be confirmed with this one, where I started yet another HAED project (2 over 1 tent on 28-ct if you’re wondering) to be a present for Marcus. It’s run off with the stitching mojo and right now it’s at a stand still.

Cinderella and Illuminated Medieval Sampler

See all the above cross stitch projects that are currently unloved and uncompleted, but that I can’t put aside. I still really like both of these. I still want to finish them. I remain hopeful but realise it would be unwise to hold my breath for such a result. All the same, I’ve been smart enough not to restart either of these two.

So there you go. I think that covers the main projects. It’s my bedtime now, so I’ll work through my list and try to get some pictures up before too much time goes by. I’ll also try not to start anything else. (But there’s that dragon quilt for Marcus that’s still in the postage bag wanting to be done by this birthday in January…)

Really, I won’t start anything else. 🙂

It hasn’t been a great February so far on the crafting front. In all honesty, I didn’t think it would be, although I hoped otherwise.

Basically, Marcus went back to school and I collapsed. There are a lot of squares on the calendar where I mark what I did each day that simply say “too tired”. I’ll add photos from the few days of crafting I got to do as soon as I can.

The first weekend of the month I went down to Christchurch for a couple of days for a good friend’s 50th birthday party. It was lovely to catch up with him and his partner, spend a couple of days with friends and to see the “new” Christchurch. It’s hard to believe it’s almost two years since the earthquake and there is still so much damage all around.

The thing I found strangest was a bit of road with empty land and weeds growing on either side of the road and a pedestrian crossing (with lights that still flashed at night) to help you from one bit of nothing to the other. My friends said it used to be their local shops, so the crossing was there for a reason. It’s just that it’s gone now. So much work has been done, but there’s still so much to do as well.

Christchurch Catholic BasilicaI remember going to the most beautiful fully choral Mass here many years ago. Never again in this building.

Christchurch Catholic Basilica
I remember going to the most beautiful fully choral Mass here many years ago. Never again in this building.

Crossing to Nowhere

Crossing to Nowhere

 

Once again, no stitching for me. Saturday is a pretty busy day for us anyway as it always includes our weekly trip to the library and Marcus’ swimming lesson. Today also required a decent amount of tidying as we have a 9 year old birthday party on Monday (which is a public holiday here).

There may be no stitching/crafting photos from me, but I do have some to share. I haven’t taken the moment to get Dave to take them, but today I was a little more organised.

My every so lovely friend, Nicki, gave me the most lovely Christmas present this year. As I recall (and I admit I might be recalling wrong but I think I’ve got the gist of it), she shared a photo of this shawl on Facebook and, of course, I immediately squee-ed about how nice it was.

Now look what I’ve got!

My beautiful shawl knitted for me by Nicki.

My beautiful shawl knitted for me by Nicki.

Look at those very cool TARDIS motifs. Aren't they awesome?

Look at those very cool TARDIS motifs. Aren’t they awesome?

Nicki, I’m sorry it took so long to send you some photos, but as you can see, it hasn’t really been shawl weather. Should I be sending it back to you in snowy England to keep you warm?

I think I did too much over the weekend and Monday. I certainly wasn’t feeling up to much of anything.

I read a little bit of a book (The Alleluia Files by Sharon Shinn) and tidied up a few pages on my book blog. Otherwise, I spent the day trying to keep Marcus entertained, having very exciting 2 minute noodles for lunch because my brain was too tired to think of anything else (he got sausages which was a mild improvement) and having the Australian Open on in the background.

Not a productive day. Sometimes I really, really hate being sick.

I’ve got a record of what I have (or haven’t done) for the rest of this week, I just haven’t had a chance to get things uploaded and posted. It didn’t help that I wrote things in the wrong squares on the calendar I’m using as a tracking tool. I’ve sorted that out now and will try to get the appropriate photos up over the weekend.

Sorry it stopped being daily, but I still have the pictures and progress to post.

It’s a bit cooler today (despite the forecast) so I thought I’d working on cutting out the body pieces for the dragon.

I’ve just discovered that I don’t have enough fleece to cut the body and tail in a single piece with the stretch in either direction (up the body or along the tail). I can cut the body and tail in two pieces and sew them together or I can cut the whole piece on a diagonal to the stretch. (I’m probably going to do the latter, but haven’t decided yet.)

The last time I was in the local Spotlight (where I originally bought the fleece) I looked for more, seeing that I was getting low, but there didn’t appear to be any there. Since it’s lime green, it would be rather hard to miss if it was there.

I had what I thought was a good idea and rang Spotlight customer service. If I had done my shopping on my VIP Card, I asked, would there be a record of my purchases on the computer so exactly what I have could be identified and other stores could be checked? Yes, but only for the last three months. Damn, I’m sure it was longer than that, because I originally bought the fleece to make Marcus pigs, not a dragon.

(In fact, I’ve looked it up by checking my photos to find the first Angry Bird photo. That was at the very beginning of June last year, so I’ve had it since then.)

The very helpful lady at customer service asked me what I needed. When I explained it was fleece, she said she doubted there would be any. It turns out (obviously if one thinks about it) that fleece is a seasonal fabric. Since I was using it to make toys, that hadn’t occurred to me. The bad news is that since it’s now summer I can’t get any more. The good news is that once it gets closer to winter, it’s likely to be back. I think I’ll buy my colours a metre at a time this time, instead of just 25cm, because I’ve found it’s terribly useful to always have some for the next thing Marcus might decide he needs.

In the meantime, I just have to get my dragon pattern pieces out of what’s left.

Oh, and move Helper Cat.

Helper Cat continues to be convinced she's helping

Helper Cat continues to be convinced she’s helping

I was chatting with Mel in the comments to her post about Haunted Hardanger, that I really wanted something I could easily stitch at the moment and maybe I should pull out the Hardanger I started many years ago.

I did that this morning, and while I still like it, it’s just too big and not want I want to try to work on at present. All the same, I thought it deserved a photo.

I did a beginners Hardanger class when I was working at Needlecraft so that I had some more knowledge to offer customers who came in asking about it. I was never an expert, but I did graduate to the intermediate class and then go totally insane by starting a runner for my mother’s antique sideboard. I don’t remember the exact dimensions I worked out, but I know it was going to be over a metre (3 feet) long. This is as far as I got.

My progress so far

My faithful helper is back

It has now been packed away again and I’m trying something else. Hopefully this one will stick (see next post for details).

I guess it’s a day that comes in most stitchers’ lives; that day when you have to face up to the face you don’t see as well as you used to do and you can no longer stitch some of the things you’ve started. I’ve known this for a while, even if I’ve been trying to avoid admitting it.

I now see better up close (ie when stitching) with my glasses off than with my glasses on. But if I want to stitch and watch TV (something I used to do all the time) I need something big enough that I can see it with my glasses on.

This has forced me into a hard acknowledgement. Basically that, if I want to watch TV, I can no longer stitch on anything smaller that the equivalent of 16-count (ie my favourite 32-ct Belfast over 2) and even that is pushing it.

While I’ve been working on Defender of the Kingdom recently (1 over 1 on 25-ct lugana or whatever it’s called now) I’ve been listening to podcasts or audio plays and leaving my glasses off. That’s fine if that’s what I want to do.

But…

The Rugby World Cup is on right now and while I’m not a mad keen rugby fan, I am a New Zealander who grew up in a rugby household. That means I’d like to be able to do some stitching while watching the matches. If I try to do nothing more than sit there and watch it drives me batty. I need to be doing something with my hands.

But of my current WIPs, especially now I’ve tossed out Cinderella (see today’s earlier post), I find I’m left with very little that I can actually see if I want to be able to leave my glasses on while stitching.

  • Defender of the Kingdom, 1 over 1 on 25, NO
  • Dawn Star, 1 over 1 on 25, NO
  • Garnet, 1 over 1 on 25, NO
  • Dragonfly Quaker, 1 over 1 on 28, NO
  • Second Chances, 1 over 1 on 32 (was I insane?), NO
  • The Bookshelf, 2 over 2 on 32, but totally not interested right now, NO
  • Illuminated Medieval Sampler, 2 over 2 on 32, on floor stand, YES

Are we seeing a trend here? I love those 1 over 1 projects, but I can’t stitch them like I used to. So I have pulled Chatelaine’s Illuminated Medieval Sampler out of the study, pulled off the quilt that covers it (I made it to cover Marcus’ incubator, so it’s the perfect size for covering the stitching on a floor stand) and set it up in the lounge. I hadn’t worked on it in nearly a year and I must say that I’m enjoying it, so that’s good. When this bit of enthusiasm burns out (or the World Cup ends), I don’t know what I’ll do after that. For now, I’ll see if I can make some progress on this one.

I took a photo of my progress up to last night, so that’ll be the next post.

For various reasons I’m not going to go into in public, I ended up at the doctor’s on Wednesday, highly stressed (to the point of feeling physically ill) and feeling all over pretty crap. Along with plans to deal with the cause of the stress (if you’re a friend who follows the saga of my life, you’re welcome to email me for details, but I feel it’s not appropriate to discuss in public), I was told I had to make more effort to look after me.

I’ve got so caught up in all the stuff going on around me that my world has started contracting into little more than looking after Marcus and sleeping. So I decided I needed a space in the house that was “my space”. I’ve set myself up at the sofa in our bedroom and I want to try to spend some time there reading and stitching. (I admit, I’ve planned to do this before and not followed through, but I realise I really need to do this, so I shall do my best.)

Kerry's Space

Unfortunately, there was an immediate problem with this as show below.

Stolen!

I shall have to be strong an insist that it is my space and not hers. I have put a sheepskin rug down on the floor and I’m hoping we’ll settle into a compromise. So far, I’ve done a few hours stitching over a couple of evenings and I’ve also managed to listen to some Big Finish Doctor Who audio plays that I’ve had sitting around for ages and never found the time to listen to. I really am going to try to keep this up because I recognise that I’ve been letting my own identity slip away in family and health stuff and that isn’t a good thing.

For starters, I have a couple of updates for Defender of the Kingdom for you, which I’ll post next.