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wip_button3I have learned the hard way, that I don’t do well with hard and fast goals these day. Between my health and Marcus’ needs, I can never be sure if I’ll be able to do things as I plan. It’s why I don’t commit to much these days, although I’ll do things if I can manage.

With it being New Years Day today, I’ve been considering over the last few days if I want to have any guidelines (not resolutions or goals) for my stitching and reading in 2014. I was going to say no, when I found WIPocalypse 2014 through Zeb’s blog Keep Calm and Cross Stitch.

I like this one. It doesn’t require me to plan to do huge numbers of projects, or work on a particular theme or stitch things from a particular designer. What it does do is encourage me to keep working on my current projects and have a chance to share and chat with other stitchers doing the same thing. That is exactly what I want to do.

So yes, I’m taking the plunge and signing up.

I have a few projects I want to focus on this year. Knowing my health issues, I’m not necessarily expecting to finish anything, but I want to make some progress, especially on the first three. (Links go to my Flickr album for each project.)

I am considering letting myself start one small project as well this year. If I finish that, I can start another, etc. Right now I have two things that would fit into this plan and I remain tempted by both, but don’t want another actual start right now. (Links go to the designers’ sites.)

On top of that I have several quilting projects I want to keep up with. Not cross stitch, but otherwise they fit the WIPocalypse category just like my big stitching projects do. (Links for the Flickr albums again.)

(If you sensed a theme in the quilts, that’s because 2013 was Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary year and lots of designers tempted me with cool things, although the hexgaon quilt I came up with on my own.)

Updates are to be posted around the full moon of each month and there will be a discussion topic as well. These are (as of the beginning of 2014) as follows:

Full moon dates and Topics for 2014:

  1. January  16- Topic: Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!
  2. February 14 – Topic: How many projects do you generally feel comfortable having in progress at a time?  Tell us about your one-at-a-time or rotation habits!
  3. March 16 – Topic:  Show us your favorite places to stitch.
  4. April 15 – Topic:  How do you keep your stash organized?
  5. May 14 – Topic:  What designs or themes do you really wish you could find?  What do you think is missing among stitching designs?
  6. June 13 – Topic:  Have you ever been to a stitch gathering such as a retreat or a festival? If so, tell us about it!
  7. July 12 – Topic:  It’s halfway to Christmas.  Do you start your holiday stitching this early?  If so, what do you hope to accomplish this year?
  8. August 10 – Topic:  Tell us about your oldest and newest WIPs.
  9. September 9 – Topic:  TBD
  10. October 8 – Topic:  Are you a Halloween or Christmas stitcher?
  11. November 6 – Topic:  TBD
  12. December 6 – Theme: Recap your accomplishments for the year! (Your finishes, your final before/after photos, etc).

As always with something like this, I have no idea if I’ll be able to keep it up or not. I want to, but real life has a habit of getting in the way. We’ll see and I’ll give it my best shot.

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. 🙂

Pic 2 + 8 days by rocalisa
Pic 2 + 8 days, a photo by rocalisa on Flickr.

I got a bit done this evening after Marcus’ birthday party. It was nice to know I got a bit more stitched before the end of the month.

My other great project of the day was the birthday party. I don’t have a lot of photos, but I do have a few pool ones and some of a surprise special guest. I’ll try to post a couple tomorrow.

I managed to get back to Autumn Queen, which was lovely. With that section of wisper done, I’m starting to have a decent area that has been solidly stitched, which is very satisfying.

27 January 2013 - Autumn Queen progress

27 January 2013 – Autumn Queen progress

I’ve decided to stick to three (or possibly four) projects this year. I don’t get a lot of opportunities where I have both the time and the energy to stitch, so my progress is slow. My goal is to try to stick with a few projects and actually make some progress rather that flit from here to there and not really get very far.

So I’ve chose to go with my three favourite designers, who are also responsible for my current favourite and major projects. That’s Mirabilia, Chatelaine and Heaven and Earth Designs.

I’m going to work on one for a month, getting however much stitching I manage done in that time, then switch to the next one. If I stick to a rotation of three, that should give me four months stitching on each.

So my plan is:

I’m giving myself the option of two HAED patterns as I have both started and can’t choose which to work on. I may switch it around or I may choose one as the year goes by and stick with that.

That’s the plan. It may or may not last the distance.

It does mean that I really want to get a bit more of Autumn Queen done before the end of the month. Today (I’m writing this on the 28th) is Marcus’ birthday party and tomorrow (29th) is his actual birthday, so I don’t know if it will happen or not. Watch this space.

21 Jan 2013

My first section of wisper finished using the DMC floss on the bottom, wisper on the top trick. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

Pic 2 + 6 days by rocalisa
Pic 2 + 6 days, a photo by rocalisa on Flickr.

Now that the dragon is finished, I’m relaxed enough to go back to Autumn Queen without feeling I should be doing something else.

I got the wisper finished today and I’m very pleased with how it came out. With this half and half technique I’m not afraid of wisper any more.

I tried stitching while the Australian Open tennis was on and managed for a while, but I really can’t see my stitching with my glasses on and I can’t see the TV without them on. By evening I’d gone back to a podcast instead.

Close up on wisper by rocalisa
Close up on wisper, a photo by rocalisa on Flickr.

Finally, I seem to have managed to take a good photo of the wisper, showing it nice and fluffy but behaving. The half done crosses at the bottom are white DMC and I’ll do their top halves with the wisper.

Pic 2 + 5 days by rocalisa
Pic 2 + 5 days, a photo by rocalisa on Flickr.

I’m really liking the way the wisper is working out. I’d hoped to get that whole white section done, but got too tired so took the sensible course and stopped.

Pic 2 + 4 days by rocalisa
Pic 2 + 4 days, a photo by rocalisa on Flickr.

We have Wisper!

My Wisper and Mill Hill treasures arrived today (8 days or less from the UK to NZ which I was most impressed about). So I decided to face reality and try to stitch some of the Wisper.

Some wonderful person (sorry, I don’t remember who it was) suggested doing the bottom half of each stitch in plain white DMC and just the top with Wisper. It’s a brilliant compromise and, by using short lengths, it’s actually proving relatively easy to do. Long may that last.

I also tried to take some photos of the texture of the Wisper, the way some people do it so well with beading. Mine didn’t come out that well. Still, I was trying to use a phone camera, holding the phone with one hand while holding up a large white envelope underneath the fabric to stop the light from above showing up all the holes and whatever was underneath.

I did upload a couple of the Wisper photos to Flickr, so if you want to, you can see them here and here.

Supplies for Autumn Queen by rocalisa
Supplies for Autumn Queen, a photo by rocalisa on Flickr.

Yay, shopping.

I ordered the Wisper thread and Mill Hill treasures I needed for Autumn Queen from Sew and So in the UK. I was very impressed to find them in the PO Box today. They got here in 8 days (or less, once we don’t check the box everyday in the holidays). I’m very happy with the service.

Now I have to face up to using the wisper.