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.

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John Hurt's War Doctor Block

John Hurt’s War Doctor Block

Having finished my embroidered Doctor Who quilt from Fandom in Stitches, life went on and we were treated to the wonderful 50th Anniversary Special featuring John Hurt as the War Doctor, followed just days ago by the 2013 Christmas Special where Matt Smith regenerated into Peter Capaldi.

I needed more Doctor Who blocks.

I developed a pattern for the War Doctor from online pictures of John Hurt in the role and finished stitching him last night. I’m really pleased with how it has come out.

If anyone else needs to stitch John Hurt’s Doctor, you can download a PDF pattern of the file from my dropbox here. I’d appreciate a credit if you use it, but I won’t drop dead without one.

Now all I need to do is wait however months it will be before we get enough good pictures of Peter Capaldi in costume as the 12th Doctor to make a pattern for him. My plan to to add the same kind of blue borders as I used in the quilt and then make a cushion with Hurt on one side and Capaldi on the other. Hopefully it will be finished before the end of 2014.

Scarf Block by rocalisa
Scarf Block, a photo by rocalisa on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
3 October 2013

Okay, so I really should have been taking it easy and getting ready to go on holiday tomorrow, not madly sewing the 4th Doctor’s scarf. But I’m up to date now, so I can go away knowing there’s nothing hanging over me when I get back.

I tried to match the colours as best as I could, although I’m still not sure how close I got.

If anyone is interested, the background fabric says "Millennium". I bought a metre of the fabric in 2000, planning to use it that year and I never did. It’s been sitting in my fabric stash ever since. So when I started this quilt, I decided this was the time to use it. It seemed appropriate for the Doctor.

Dalek Block by rocalisa
Dalek Block, a photo by rocalisa on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
3 October 2013

I was all set to make a red dalek, when my son requested a white one, since the white is the Dalek Supreme and you’ve got to have the boss.

Getting four suitable shades of white proved to be a challenge, but my not-so-near quilt shop came through and I ended up with what I needed. I also found the very cool red and yellow background at the same time.

Sadly, at that point I was stupid and washed the white with the red (I can only say I was tired and not thinking). Guess what happened? Two of my white fabrics now had splotches of pink on them. I had to swap out one for something I already had and managed to cut around the pink for the other. So finally, we ended up with a white dalek. But it was a bit of a challenge along the way.

Via Flickr:
20 September 2013

Marcus, being a 9 year old boy, has the bad habit of growing. His weighted blanket is now too short and he asked me to make it longer. This proved to be a lot easier said than done, but I’ve got it finished now.

I almost killed my poor old and loyal sewing machine in the process. I think sewing the two sections together pushed it to, and probably a bit beyond, it’s natural limits. I broke three or four needles and instead of the single unbroken length of zig-zag I was imagining, it’s lots of short lengths of stitching before the thread broke or the machine locked up or the needle broke. I’ll have to sit down between now and bedtime and tie of the many thread ends.

But it is done and my faithful machine has survived. I guess bedtime tonight will be the big test.

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. 🙂

Final FiS quilt block

Final FiS quilt block

To finish off my Fandom in Stitches Doctor Who quilt, I decided to make my own final block as well. I love the one provided by the wonderful designers, but I’m going to make it into a cushion as the style is a bit different from all the others. Instead, I came up with this. I’m very happy with it.

As with my other blocks, you can download the pattern from my Dropbox if you wish.

I couldn’t get a nice, smooth outline for this pattern the way I did with the others. So instead I’ve simply included the motifs with the instruction to trace around the outlines to put the patterns onto your fabric. That’s what I did and it worked out well.

Happy stitching.

I’ve just put my alternative 10th Doctor block for the Fandom in Stitches quilt up on dropbox and given the referring URL to here, so I figured I better pop the link up here as well so people can find it if needed.

I’m dreaming of getting myself back up to date here as I’ve been doing lots of stitching and sewing, what with the two stitch/quilt along projects and the odd bits and pieces for myself. I don’t quite know where to start – I may just link to my Flickr albums with some commentary and then try to go on from there. And hey, I even did some six months old mending, so I guess that means I’m on a roll.

My 10th Doctor

My 10th Doctor

I chose to do my own version mostly because, if I’m honest, I found the eyebrows on Jennifer’s block kind of scary. It’s still a great block, so check it out before jumping to this one.

If you do like this one, you’re welcome to download the PDF from here and stitch it yourself.

Starting the blockI know I’ve neglected this blog for ages – I’ve got so many things on the go the idea of keeping up with them all was daunting.

One thing I have been really enjoying is a Doctor Who themed stitch-along quilt being run by Fandom in Stitches (fandominstitches.com). I’ve stitched 7 doctors so far and I’m working on number 8 at the moment.

My Flickr album of my progress on the project is here.

The blocks have all be great, but since Paul McGann is my favourite Doctor of all 11 so far, I really wanted to have his block looking exactly the way I wanted. So I made a pattern of my own. I’m rather impressed with myself that it worked out as well as it did. I’m maybe a third of the way through stitching it now and happy with how it is turning out.

I had several people on the FiS Facebook page asking if they could have a copy too, so I’ve turned it into a PDF and put it up on Dropbox. If you would like a copy of this embroidery pattern, you can download it here.

Kiwiana quilt patternFabric and patternEight blue Kiwiana fabricsEight red Kiwiana fabricsFabrics for Kiwiana quiltReplacement blue #1
Replacement blue #2Replacement redThe ones that didn't make itFirst stripsBlue and Red cross cut strips

Kiwiana Quilt for Marcus, a set on Flickr.

(I’m testing sending this directly via Flickr. We’ll see how it turns out. Edit: Clicking on a picture takes you to the Flickr page, but at least it makes it easy for you.)

Now Marcus has a double bed, he needs a bigger quilt than the one he has. Preferably finished by about June/July for the peak of winter.

I’ve been looking for a pattern that is suitably boy-ish, but will also work for him when he’s older than he is now. I finally went for this Kiwiana pattern I found in an issue of Australian Patchwork and Quilting (Vol 21, No 12). I’m going to make a few changes, making the squares line up rather than offset and using black for the background instead of white.