Posted in WIP's and Plans

Anything Goes August Update

Hi Everyone

I’m not sure about you, but August is wearing me out and I’m looking forward to moving onto September. Work and life stuff has been getting in the way. So much so, that I feel like I’m coming down with a cold as I’m writing this post because I’m feeling run down. And it took me longer than I expected to finalised and publish my last post. The good thing though, is that my boyfriend and I have managed to escape our home in Canberra for the weekend and we’re at the coast. It’s windy, but the sun’s out and it feels really nice in the sun inside or a sheltered spot. The importance of mentioning this is much of the South-Eastern side of Australia is getting a chilly blast of weather that’s come up from Antarctica and many areas are experiencing snow and colder temperatures than what we’ve experienced for a while.

The other really good thing with the weather at the coast at the moment is that I’m finally able to get back into some running! For the last few months my muscles have been giving me grief because of the chair I had been using whilst working from home. I’d had the chair since I was in high school and leading up to the pandemic, I’d been using it intermittently over the weekend to write the posts or do other crafty things in my craft room. However, because of the way I sit in that chair – especially over extended periods of time – I was putting too much pressure on some of my muscles in my left leg, causing my left knee to balloon up because my muscles were too tight. One of the key things I need to work on now is improving my cardio fitness and endurance. I’m able to run on the treadmill for short distances. The maximum to date on the treadmill has been 2 kilometres (km) (1.2 miles). I’m looking forward to getting back into the groove of things and being able to run 5km without the need to walk to catch my breath! That said, it will be just my luck that as I start to reach this goal, spring time will be in full swing and I’ll be battling hay fever and birds swooping!

Now lets get to one of the main reasons why you’re here!

Cross stitch update

When I have been able to sit down and relax a bit and get some stitching in, I’ve been working on three main projects – Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms, Autumn Castle and Moon Lit Waters.

Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms

My key motivator with this project has been the reminder of why I started this project and why I chose this particular photo to convert to a cross stitch pattern. As ‘airy-fairy’ as this may sound to some of you, I’ve been getting reminders from the world around me that I need to make a career change from the corporate world to the entrepreneurial world.

Since I last talked about this project, below are the before and after pictures:

The top left image is what the project will look like when completed, bottom left is my progress from June 2020 and the picture on the right is my progress as of 22 August 2020. I’m getting really close to a page finish for this project. A part of my struggle with this page finish is some fudging and so much confetti stitching.

Autumn Castle by Evgenia Kolesnikova

I’ve found this project to be interesting to stitch and for the most part, I think I’m struggling with it because I’m stitching it when I’m tired, because of the amount of fudging I’ve needed to do. Thankfully, the majority of fudging has been in the middle of the page rather than around the edges, so that my mistakes don’t carry over to the rest of the project. I need to give myself time and space to be able to make mistakes that are unique to each page!

Meanwhile, the image on the left shows what my progress had been since June 2020 and the image on the right is my progress as of 22 August 2020. The image in the centre is the cover image of what the project will look like when it’s finished. Because I’m so close to a page finish (I’m going to leave the ghost because I don’t have the thread I need for it), I’m not sure if I should move to the right and start work on page 2 or move down and work on page 7…

Moon Lit Waters by Heaven and Earth Designs

I’ve fallen back in love with Pattern Keeper. I’m also remembering why there’s a long time between updates on this project. When I first started working on this project, I was working off the paper copy that I had purchased many years ago. Since then Pattern Keeper came into my life and DMC added new colours to their range, which has had a major impact on the digital version of this pattern. To effectively use this pattern on Pattern Keeper, I did the right thing by purchasing the digital version of the pattern and import the pattern to the app. If I thought that I was doing some fudging on the first three pages I’ve completed, since I started using Pattern Keeper for this project, the current page I’m working on has nothing on the others for the amount of fudging I’m doing!

I also need to make it clear that any grumbles I am doing about this project has nothing to do with Pattern Keeper, the artist and designer for Moon Lit Waters or Heaven and Earth Designs. My grumbles are all to do with me adjusting to the decisions I’ve made with the project. Additionally, I love Pattern Keeper for this project because it’s making my life ten times easier to quickly locate the threads I need for the areas I want to stitch. When I was working with the paper version for this project, there were times when it would take me about 5 minutes or so to find the thread that matched the symbol in the key. At times I would end up forgetting which symbol and area I was working on once I found the thread I needed, because of how long it would take me to find the thread. Which is part of the reason why I had to fudge so much of the first three pages I’ve completed on the project. So without further adieu, below are the progress pictures of Moon Lit Waters:

The image you see on the far left and second from the left are images of what the project will look like when completed and what it looked like back in May/June 2020. The images on the far right and second from the right is my progress as of 22 August 2020.

Because of the amount of fudging I have done to date and how much more I’ll need to do for the current page, I’ve changed my approach for this page. Normally I’ll work from left to right on a page. However, I’m changing it for this page to work from right to left, so that I know that the rest of the work I do to the right of the current page (theoretically at least!) won’t need as much fudging as what the current page needs.

September Plans

By the time I publish my next post, we’ll be well and truly into September. For sampler enthusiasts, this will be the month for them! I’m yet to find a sampler that jumps out at me and says “Stitch me! Stitch me now!” Earlier this year I had contemplated dedicating September to stitching the smalls and trying my hand at a biscornu. There are some beautiful biscornu patterns out there which is great! However, with the way August has panned out, let alone most of this year, I’m not sure if I’ll start a biscornu this year.

I may however, make the most of September to prepare for October – the month of all things spooky! I’ve purchased a few Halloween themed patterns and they’ve been imported to Pattern Keeper. My challenge will be sourcing all the things I need for those projects in time for the start of October. I’m hoping that I’ll have all that I need in my current stash collection and that I’ll only need to pick up the odd thread from my local craft stores. This is largely due to the availability of some stock in my local craft stores and the amount of time it may take for some of the products I need to arrive via mail, if I need to make some online purchases.

Until next time,

Happy Stitching.

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Posted in Stitch Maynia, WIP's and Plans

Stitch Maynia. Big versus small projects

Hi Everyone

Since I’ve started watching Flosstube, I’ve become increasingly aware of Stitch Maynia and each year I’ve been increasingly tempted to participate. because it looks like a lot of fun and I’m really good at starting a bucket load of projects! My challenge will be to finish everything that I start!

Based on what I’ve seen on the ‘Net and Flosstube, Stitch Maynia had started in May 2015 and based upon the year 2015, Stitchers were encouraged to started 15 new projects. The projects could be whatever the Stitchers wanted them to be and the aim was to get as many of those projects completed by the end of 2015. If Stitchers hadn’t been able to finish their 2015 starts by the time 2016 rolled around, they would need to include those WIP’s (works in progress) and whatever new starts they wanted to make up the 16 projects for 2016 Maynia. If Stitchers had completed all of their 2015 Maynia WIP’s, then they would be able to have 16 new starts for 2016 Stitch Maynia!

If I participate in Stitch Maynia this year, it would mean that I would need to have 20 new starts and I could start these in any which way I want – as long as they’re all started by the end of May.

Big versus Small Starts

Considering that there are meant to be 20 new starts this year, having 20 big starts may be overwhelming because of the amount of floss each project would need, where to keep it all, how to manage it etc.

Big Project Starts

Working on a big project is a challenge within its self because of the shear size of it, the amount of colours it may require, the length of time you need to spend on stitching it and that strong sense of achievement when you’ve finished it. To me, a big project is something that will take years to complete – especially if it’s the only thing I’m focusing on. Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED’s) are the first thing that comes to mind when I think of big projects. In some of my earlier posts, I’ve talked a bit about my progress on my first HAED – Moon Lit Waters.

My first HAED

If you choose to do at least one large project, check out the Pattern Keeper app if you haven’t already. It will let you know which designers are compatible with the app and if you’re trying to narrow down what to stitch, its compatibility with Pattern Keeper may be the decider!

If you choose to do 20 big starts as part of Stitch Maynia, the awesome thing is that not all projects need to have a bucket load of colours to give it that wow factor. One of the trends I’ve noticed with a lot of the Flosstubers is the amount of people who are in love with samplers – especially samplers based on or inspired by ones from over 100 years ago. Many of these samplers don’t have a lot of colours in them. Some of which are just mono-chrome or use variegated threads and make the most of the different hand-dyed fabrics available.

Another option for your big starts is to be part of a Stitch-A-Long (SAL) that releases patterns at the start of each month and by the end of the designated time frame, you will have a beautiful large piece.

Small Starts

To me, there’s something exciting about starting a new project – once I’ve decided on what I’m stitching and I have everything kitted up (unless I’ve chosen a kit). The excitement is in the new beginnings, fresh starts and seeing something come to life on the fabric. It also has bit to do with my attention span and getting the itch to start something new every few months or so.

Therefore, to me a small start is something I can complete within a week or two – a month maximum. It may just take me a while to fully finish it!

One of the things I really enjoy stitching are cards for various celebrations – even though I don’t stitch them very often. Partly because I struggle with fully finishing them as cards. However, with Stitch Maynia I now have the excuse to stitch a heap of Christmas and birthday cards and related paraphernalia! It may also prompt me to start some Halloween projects that I’ve been eyeing off for a while now and talked about in some of my blog posts.

The other cool thing with stitching cards is that I’m able to use some of the off-cuts of fabric I have floating around the house!

A bit of both?

Since there are meant to be 20 new starts this year, there’s nothing wrong with mixing it up and having a combination of big and small projects. Which means that you should be able to get a sense of achievement by the end of May because of the small starts being finished or nearly finished. And you should also be able to see a bit of progress with some of your bigger projects.

Theoretically, this will satisfy my need to stitch a mixture of small, medium and large projects. I’ll be able to continue working on my current WIP’s and get some small cards done. My main challenge will be deciding on what to start and when. I can plan something to the last inch of its life. My struggle point is putting those plans into action! Mostly because I’ve put so much time and effort into the planning phase, that in my mind I’ve already put those plans into action and I feel like my job is done. Funnily enough, I’m not always able to follow other people’s plans as well. There’s something about my need for independence and flexibility. There’s also an element of trying to follow something exactly and then there’s a change to my routine and I struggle to get back to the regular program.

But I digress…I’m still hopeful that I’m able to stick to the plans and projects I’ve put together for Stitch Maynia and that I can keep it flexible enough to keep me happy. The other thing that I’ll be testing during this maynia month is the use of coloured pencils on my paper patterns I can’t load into Pattern Keeper. My aim is to use a different coloured pencil for each day that I work on those patterns so that I can see how much progress I’m able to make. My goal is to stitch a minimum of 200 stitches for each medium to large project before I can move onto the next project. I’ve found that for most projects this is achievable because I’m able to spend a couple of hours at least on them, and for most projects I’m able to easily get the 200 stitches in!

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

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