Saturday, 23 February 2013

I Am An Experienced Stitcher, Hear Me Roar Fail!

I have to say, one of my proudest stitching achievements was completing a page from a Heaven and Earth Design in 10 days.  Yes! 10 freaking days!!!

So, when I confidently put aside my dragon to begin the afghan for my best friends little boy, I did so with the utmost confidence that I would be picking up that pattern by March.  After all, it's super easy, with it's great big blocks of color and it's lack of blends.  Just a few stitches, a bit of back stitching and voila, watch me pop off these adorable little baby animals as though I was a crazy one-woman assembly line!

Easy peesy, amirite?

But no, I was wrong.

First off, this afghan is a major PITA (for those not in the know, a pita is a pain-in-the-a$$).  The cloth is so thick it's like trying to cross-stitch on wool, and the fibers of the cloth regularly get wrapped around my thread. It's worse than stitching with a shedding cat sleeping on your lap.

THEN, the pattern calls for 2 threads, which definitely isn't enough.  I picked out my stitching and increased it to 3 threads, which I'm still on the fence about, I think I could go as high as 4.

THEN comes the stitching itself.   It has to be done very loosely.  As in ridiculously loose.  (As in, is this going to fall apart after the first wash?) 

I can't say I'm exactly enjoying this project, but I will persevere, and I will overcome!!!!  (I say confidently, with a wobbling lower lip)

So, here is my first panel - the owl.  This singular panel only took me ... oh ... (looks at calendar) 13 days.   I don't know whether to laugh or cry at that admission.

I don't know whether to hate the damn thing, or dance around it proudly and declare "Look! Look what I have made" in a sad rendition of Tom Hanks after he created fire in "Castaway".

Anyway, there it is.  I'm off to the next panel, which is a little frog.

Hopefully it won't be another 13 days before you hear from me again.

~Rai Rai

Monday, 11 February 2013

Page 3 of Dragon Treasure is Done

In what has to be record time, I have managed to finish a page of my Dragon Treasure stocking in exactly 10 days.  Go me!!!!

A bit more of his face is revealed, and some of the lovely red of his wings can now be seen.  I'm afraid my next page will take far longer, because there aren't nearly as many patches of one colors, but rather the usual HaED, which is one stitch of a color here, not to be repeated until eight grids later.

Apologies for the wrinkles in the cloth, he had literally just come off of the Q-snap.

But this is where I take a hiatus from this project for THIS one:

This is for my best friend, and it shouldn't take me that long to complete at all.  I will post each square as I finish it.

I should be back to stitching my dragon in a couple of weeks.  I think this will be a nice break from the teeny tiny stitches of HAED.  I think my eyes are going to thank me.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

February's TUSAL

I can't believe it's been an entire month since the last TUSAL (or, for those who aren't in the know, the Totally Useless Stitch A Long - click HERE to find out more.)

Again I wasn't able to get a really good photo. Sometimes the iPad is a hit or miss. I've taken some really beautiful pictures with this contraption, and then other times, not so much. This was one of those "other times".   I think it was just too dark, and any attempt at aiming a light on my vase resulted in a reflection that drowned out the threads.

Anyway, here is my TUSAL.   Hopefully next month the weather will be nice enough that I can get a photo outside.

I received my pattern n the mail! (Insert raucous applause and w00ting from me).  I have decided to start it after I finish the current page of my Treasure Dragon, which should be in a couple of days, so I will hold off adding a photo at this point.  But suffice to say, I am still stitching like I have a deadline or something.  I've been averaging about 600 stitches a night.  When I first decided to participate in this years TUSAL I bought the biggest vase I could find, and thought that there was no way I could fill it.  Well here I am two months in and already nearly 1/4 full. 

On a sad note, it looks like the website that provided me with those pretty colored completion bars to the right of this page has been disabled. It's a shame because they were the loveliest colors.  So I'm on the lookout for a new completion bar to add to the page.  Anyone have any suggestions?  I'm all about the pretty, so if you've seen any that make you go oooOOOOOooo then don't hesitate to throw me a link.  (Update: Thank you, Emma! The new completion panel works like a charm.)

That's all for now.  Look for an update post with page 3 of my Treasure Dragon within the next few days.

And Mariah, please please please start a blog!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Who's a Stitching Maniac? Why, me!

Page 2 is done!!!!  Even though I started a job that kept me pretty busy this month, I managed to stitch like a maniac.  Although, to be fair, page two had a lot of patches of one color - a rarity in Heaven and Earth Designs

But page 2 was started on Jan11 and finished officially Jan 31.  Go me!

His greedy little face is slowing starting to appear!

I have been waiting and waiting for a pattern to come in so I can break my own "one pattern at a time" rule and start a second, far quicker project.  My best friend had a baby oh... about a month ago now, and even though I ordered an afghan and book "Forest Babies" from my local store back in November, there always seemed to be a hold up.  Finally the book came in - only to find the wrong one had been ordered.  Admittedly, Jungle Babies are adorable, but I live in the Pacific Northwest and Forest Babies actually jive with the types of animals we have right outside our door, and it just has more meaning.  I didn't want to wait another 3 months for an order to come in, so I ordered from 123stitch, which actually had the pattern in stock. Hopefully it will be here this week, and I've heard that the afghan was shipped a week ago Tuesday.   

I'm going to have to make it in record time, because I so far haven't bought her anything! I feel like such a bad friend.  I usually knit a baby blanket for my friends when they have babies, but she knits circles around me, so an afghan x-stitch it is!  My next pattern after Treasure Dragon will also be for her boy.  Wouldn't you know, she picked a Heaven and Earth Design.  Normally I do Christmas stockings for babies first Christmas, but she is Jewish.  Sooooo, not really applicable there.  I know I'm going to be doing Heaven and Earth designs until at least summer, and maybe beyond.

I'm not complaining though. I love big projects, and if I can make it for someone who I love dearly, then even better!

Well, it's on to page 3.  I hope it goes as fast as page 2.

Wish me luck, my fellow kindreds!

~Rai Rai