Sunday 6 June 2021

May WIPocalypse

May has come and gone so quickly and the heat of June is already upon us. Gazebo stitching has commenced in earnest although not as often as I would like. Planting my pots and cleaning up the garden has taken precedence. A special thank you to my dear husband for his help with all this. It's been such a treat to be outdoors again after being cooped up inside throughout the pandemic. Hopefully we'll be able to have some family and neighbours visit soon.

The first weekend in May I participated in the Blackbird weekend SAL which is being hosted by Brenda and Laura of Brenda and The Serial Starter fame on Floss Tube. Basically you pick any Blackbird Design that you fancy, either a new start or one in progress, and stitch on it the first weekend of the month. Then you post your progress on Instagram using #bbdweekendsal.

Initially I was going to find a small start for the weekend but after looking through my WIPs I found a Blackbird Design which I had started in 2019 and not completed. Last Rose of Summer Sewing Box can be found in the Ooh La La book. It calls for 36 ct Picture This Plus Gingerbread linen. I only have 32 ct Gingerbread so I chose another of their linens in the 36ct. I wasn't happy with my fabric choice and hadn't stitched all that much so I decided to start the whole piece over again. This time I used 36 ct Fiber on a Whim Muted Sedona which is fairly close to the Gingerbread colour. It tuned out so well on this fabric and I'm really pleased with it. 

The only thing that bothers me about this finish is that the letter J for my last name looks more like a T to me. I'm going to see if I can find another cursive alphabet with a J or else redesign this one myself. I checked in some of my other Blackbird books but quite often the letter J doesn't appear in alphabets. The hunt is on! Then I'll have to finish it in the oval to place in the sewing box which I'm lucky enough to have. I purchased one at the last Prim Stitchers Society retreat that I can use for this.

About halfway through my finish of the above design I learned of another weekend SAL taking place with Annie of The Proper Stitcher. This one is a sweet sampler from Little Robin Designs called Clarissa Beaumont 1875. I had downloaded the pdf chart from her site several days before I heard about the SAL and had already kitted it up as a new start on my immediate radar. I'm using the called for DMC and 40ct XJudesigns Light Hazelnut linen. The colours are quite bright and cheerful. This SAL takes place every weekend and your progress can be posted either on Instagram or Facebook on The Proper Stitcher. Here's my progress as of the end of the first weekend.

The rest of the month I gave some much needed attention to My Precious Jewel. I can see the finish line approaching on this one. I've completed all of the motifs now and I'm currently working on the over one verse. After that only the border remains. I have restitched some of the white in the motifs with a brighter floss and I still have to go back and restitch a couple others.

The first two photos are where I left off last month.

Here's my updated progress:

Now I'm off to find another Blackbird Design for the weekend SAL.

I'll leave you with a few pics from my garden. I love seeing all the flowers in bloom once again!

One of my favourite columbines!

It was a banner year for my lilac, seen here in the background.

Saturday 1 May 2021

April WIPocalypse

I realized only a week ago that I have spent the entire month of April working on my large finishes and neglected to start anything small at all. So consequently you will only see this post from me and no Smalls post. Hopefully I can find the time to get started on another small finish for May. In the meantime I have some pictures to share of my larger works in progress.

You will remember from last month's post that I was close to a finish on Thirza Hudson 1825. Shortly thereafter I powered through and finished off the over one with her name and date and then the remaining border. 

 This has been such a joy to stitch and it's the sweetest little sampler! I have already had it stretched and I'm hoping to get it framed in the very near future. 

After finishing Thirza, I turned my attentions back to 1897 Schoolhouse Designs My Precious Jewel. Because I didn't have the chosen fabric for this design, I went with Picture This Plus Earthern, which I had in my stash. However I have had to adjust the colours of floss I'm using accordingly. I had hoped to do the whole sampler in silks but that hasn't worked out for various reasons. So as it stands, I'm stitching with a mix of silks and overdyes, some of which are the called for overdyes. 

This was my progress as of March.

Here's my progress as of April 23

The called for floss for most of the white areas is Gentle Art Shaker White. My lot was more of a creamy colour and I wanted to achieve the white look that the chart displays on its cover so I went with Picket Fence. It worked well for the house and area but hasn't worked as well in some of the smaller motifs at the top of the piece. I'm currently trying to decide whether to frog them and go with another colour of floss altogether or find a brighter white that will stand out more on my fabric choice. 
 My brain was tired of trying to make a decision so for now I moved on to the funky tree that drew me to this piece in the first place. I also love the little teapot motif at the top which is ghosted now with the white. 

Up close the motifs look like they work but from a distance they're just ghost shapes on the design. I'm still working on the tree and surrounding area while I let my frustration settle. I'll have to decide at some point but for now I just want to stitch!

I recently picked up the birth sampler I did for my sweet little grandson along with a LaDDa finish from 2018. I used the same frame for both pieces and I absolutely love how they turned out. As you can see from the one photo, my grandbaby isn't quite sure how he feels yet, lol!

This weekend marks the start of a Blackbird Designs SAL, a new start or a WIP. It's being sponsored by Brenda and Laura of Flosstube fame. I have pulled out a start from 2019 from the Ooh La La book which is called Last Rose of Summer. I actually am going to restart the piece on a different piece of fabric and as well I now have the called for floss. I wasn't happy with my original fabric choice and some of the DMC conversions of the overdyes. I'll have a pic of my progress from each weekend for you. I'm already enjoying it much more this time around.
I'm also looking at several starts of another small sampler....  Little Deeds by The Scarlett House, Little Robin Designs Clarissa Beaumont 1875  and Hedgerow Stitching Jane Thwaites 1828. I'm just in the process of kitting each and then I'll decide which to start first! See you next month!

Wednesday 31 March 2021

March WIPocalypse

 Last month I was so close to the finish line on Heartstring Samplery Victoria's Garden that I just powered on through to finish it up in the first few days of March. I started this last May on my birthday and I was determined that it would be done before my special day rolled around again once more! 

This was such a sweet stitch although I must say that the border needed close attention. The child who stitched this originally was easily distracted and the border was never guaranteed to be the same number of stitches where you expected it to be. I love how she adapted when the corners would meet! 

After my finish I felt it was only right to begin something new. I know I should have returned to stitching my 1897 Schoolhouse Sampler piece but I was being drawn down a rabbit hole. Thirza Hudson 1825 is the sampler which dragged me down, lol!

There are a lot of stitchers out there on social media who have fallen for this sweet, little sampler. I've seen several finished already! Thirza is a design from Whilst Iris Naps and is available as a PDF download. As you can see, I'm also very close to a finish on this one. Only the border and the over one stitching remain. In taking this picture I discovered an error in counting so I have since spent some time frogging and restitched a portion of one of the trees. I should have the border complete in a few days but I'm not sure if I'll have enough silk floss to complete the over one. I'm thinking of removing that one letter and starting with a different silk. 

The sampler called for some R&R fabric which I didn't have and with the mail being what it is these days and linen supplies difficult to find, I chose to find an alternative from my stash. I'm stitching this on Lakeside Linen 40ct Vintage Chantilly Creme which has a very soft blush undertone to it. I'm using the suggested floss with one DMC substitute in addition to the silk floss for the over one. I started stitching with the called for floss for that but it just seemed too thick for the 40 ct and silk works so much better when doing over one on the higher counts particularly if it's a Tudor silk.

My plans in the coming month are to finish Thirza Hudson, get back to My Precious Jewel and possibly join in on a local SAL of Brenda Gervais' Winter Rose Manor. I have it kitted up but I'm on the fence as to whether or not to start it. There are a couple of other designs that I would prefer to start first. I'm just not in the mood to stitch Christmas either. I have two Blackbird Designs all ready to go in addition to The Scarlett House Little Deeds Sampler. Then I received my order from the Needlework Expo with Hannah Ann Wallace, 1850.  Oh my word, she's a beauty too! 

A lot of my stitching time has been replaced over the past six months with my efforts at a healthier lifestyle. I spend an hour or so every day walking. When the weather was too cold to walk or it snowed heavily I relied on a dance video to burn up those calories. We have returned to more healthy eating, including a lot of vegetarian meals, lots of beans, lentils, chickpeas and more chicken and fish with very little beef or pork. Over the course of those months I have lost a total of 55 pounds and I am now in remission from my diabetes and have been since November. In my case the pandemic has helped because we are not eating out and cook all our meals at home. Here's a before and after pic. 

Taken in September with my youngest sister

Taken in March

I intend to continue on the journey and lose more weight over the next few months hopefully. Shortly after the second pic was taken I decided to take the plunge and change my hair colour. My natural colour has quite a bit of gray and I decided to head in that direction. Here's the new look!

I hope everyone is remaining safe during these times. I know many of you in the US may have already had your vaccines but here in Canada the rollout is much slower. I figure it will be several weeks before I feel that needle. It can't come soon enough! See you next month!

Tuesday 30 March 2021

March Smalls

 I've been trying to get this post up for a couple of days now. It seems I have issues uploading my photos from both my phone and my computer! It's been extremely frustrating trying to get anything done.

At this point I have one of my finishes that I can show you. This is one that I had already kitted up earlier in the year and put aside. Not knowing what I wanted to do this month I decided to go with the obvious. This design is from the 2017 series of Fragments in Time by Summer House Stitche Workes. It's number four in the series.

I've stitched a couple of others from this series previously and gifted them to friends but this little one will be made into a pin pillow for me. I don't have the entire series of eight designs. I think I just picked out the ones that appealed to me and ordered them but they do make great gifts!

Okay so I thinked I've worked out all the bugs with my photos and have managed to get them all where I want them. Amazing!

My second small finish for this month was done in anticipation of spring and the upcoming Easter weekend. Spring Rabbit and Cart is a design by Jenny Hoffman of Country Rustic Primitives. It's a sweet little finish and it also will be sewn into a pin pillow and added to my bowl of spring finishes on display.

I'll also share with you a few pics of my Easter/Spring displays.

Definitely more room to add a few more finishes. I really don't have a lot of Easter/Spring decor.

I'm not sure if I'll get a small finish stitched for next month. It's tax season and I start working on our taxes tomorrow morning. Plus I'm really into working on some lovely bigger designs right now. You'll see some pics on my WIPocalypse post in a day or two. See you then!

Monday 1 March 2021

February WIPocalypse

 Besides a new start this month I've spent some quality time with a WIPocalypse that I started last year on my birthday in May. Heartstring Samplery's Victoria's Garden is a lovely reproduction design. I've really been enjoying my time spent with her.

As you can see, I'm in the final few days of stitching this beauty. Only the border remains and let me tell you, I'm having an interesting time with it. It met up but after stitching it I have decided that the child who originally stitched this was easily distracted, lol! You can't go on auto pilot when stitching this border. She added stitches, she dropped stitches and she improvised her corners just as many of us may have done throughout some of our own stitching. I am loving every stitch!

When I need a bit of a break from Victoria I turn to my new start, 1897 Schoolhouse Samplers My Precious Jewel - Ann Alice Townshend. Lianne Van Leyen is the brains behind 1897 Schoolhouse Samplers and is a personal friend of mine. She is passionate about reproducing the samplers in her collection, particularly the ragamuffins. Although I have several of her reproduction samplers in my stash this is the first I chose to spend any time with and it certainly won't be the last!

When I pulled the called for floss for this I realized that I didn't have many of them in my stash. With the pandemic and shipping times what they are, I didn't want to wait and so I have chosen to stitch this with silks from my stash. The majority are Belle Soie choices so far. I'm sort of converting as I go. 

I hope to continue with this one during March and I'm sure Victoria's Garden will be complete by the end of the coming week. I haven't decided which design is next but I have several in mind. 
I hope you are all staying safe and stitching your hearts out!

Sunday 28 February 2021

February Smalls

It's been a great month for stitching as the weather turned much cooler in our neck of the woods which led to more time spent indoors. I aim to get out and walk daily but as the month progressed we started to get more snowfall. I won't walk outdoors until the plows have got the streets cleaned up and even then I'm very careful because of ice. After all I've known of two friends who recently fell and broke limbs, one an ankle and the other her arm. So I've stayed put more often, looking for other means of keeping active but also stitching more often.

Consequently I managed two small finishes for this month and made some significant progress on some of my larger finishes which I'll show in a later post.

 My first finish was in keeping with Valentine's Day. This is a freebie chart which was offered by Hands On Designs.

This was a very quick stitch for which I chose some lovely Dixie Sampler Hand Dyed Fabric called Cranberry Crunch. Final finishing should have been done but I was having too much fun doing actual stitching and immediately moved on to my second small.

The second stitching finish is one I did to add to my St. Patrick's Day bowl fillers. Threadwork Primitives Lucky Crow was a super fun stitch and this week I'll be hunting through my stash for some co-ordinating fabric and trim.

Love the leprechaun hat!!

I'm not sure what direction my stitching will take me in next month. Spring, maybe? That's only if we get rid of some of the snow around here though. I'm still not feeling spring yet. Looking forward to seeing what has inspired everyone else. See you next month!

Sunday 31 January 2021

January WIPocalypse

It's hard to believe that we're already starting another year's WIPocalypse. Although 2020 seemed to drag on in many ways because of our isolation, the year was over much sooner than I expected it to be. Thank goodness! 

 This is the first year that I haven't posted any WIPocalypse goals or picked out any new starts for the year. That whole format just hasn't worked well for me in the past so this year I'm just going wherever my stitching leads me and pulling out whatever I feel like working on. 

I'll start my post with my final finish for 2020 which I squeaked out on December 31st! This was the kit by Shakespeare's Peddler which I had started from stash. It's called A Wassailing and it's a limited edition kit that Theresa released several years ago. Not sure yet just how I will finish this one off. I may have it framed but I'm thinking that perhaps it would look nice as a board finish on a piece of barnwood .

I knew that I had another birth announcement to stitch for my nephew and his wife who were expecting in mid January so I was hesitant to start anything new at the start of this year. I was afraid that I would enjoy the new start so much that I wouldn't get to the birth piece in a timely manner. So while I waited for them to decide on a chart I pulled out a WIP that I had started in April of 2020. 

This is Blackbird Designs Her Fair Work from the Ooh La La booklet. I pretty much only had to finish the border on this and one small motif so it only took three days to finish it up.

I realized after the finish that I hadn't changed the year of completion to 2021. I may or may not change it. After all the majority of it was completed in 2020.

I worked on a couple of smalls until I was ready to start the birth announcement. You can see them on my previous post. I found the chart for the baby on Etsy. They had picked out a pattern in November but after getting started on it I realized that the pattern was really poorly designed. It looked more like it was a digital pattern taken from a picture. I was a little wary of it but stitched a small motif. The colours were really poorly done though and the detail wasn't coming through.  So we started over and they picked another chart from a different designer.  This one is so sweet and is stitching up really quickly. I should be finished it by the end of next week. Baby was born last Saturday and I still have to chart out his name and date of birth.

I had to pause my stitching on the baby piece since I realized I was missing one of the floss colours. While I was waiting for it to ship my dear friend Lianne of 1897 Schoolhouse Samplers gifted me with her latest release. I fell in love with My Precious Jewel - Ann Alice Townshend's work. 

I pulled the called for overdyes and was missing a few. Rather than wait for an order of more floss, I decided to do a conversion to silks that I had in my stash. Most of the silks are Classic Colorworks Belle Soie and couple of NPI silks. My fabric is Picture This Plus Earthen.

 I've completed a good portion of the house already. Only the window trim remains to be done. I'm currently working on the man and woman on either side of the house. This one is going to be my go to stitch for the next month. I'm really enjoying it and the sampler is not a large one. Sorry about the colour of the fabric. It's really not that pinkish. The lighting wasn't great. I'll try and get a better picture next month.

When I tire of any of the above stitching I've pulled out Heartstring Samplery Victoria's Garden. I started stitching this one in May of last year and hope to get it done before the spring. I'll have a progress pic for you next month. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has chosen for their new year starts!