Saturday, 31 December 2016

My Last Update of 2016. Page 33 of Adrift.

Adrift Page 33 is complete. I stitched through adversity to get this done before the New Year.  Adversity, you ask? Why yes, adversity.  To be more specific, my stand broke.  It broke Christmas Day.  The bolt that keeps the Q-Snap tightly held, so I can stitch, stripped, rendering it a challenge to stitch the last 3 columns of a really bloody heavy piece.  After a complete and total meltdown, which may or may not have included several words not fit for this blog, my solution was to shove it into the stand anyway, and then balance the bottom on a tin box, which was balanced on my lap.  It kinda, sorta worked as long as I sat veeeeery still and did.not.move.  Because the tiniest move would send Adrift tumbling out of the stand and onto the cat, who was trying to sleep peacefully on the rest of my legs. He eventually left in a huff, after Adrift fell on him about 10 times or so.   But on the plus side, I think I've invented a new thing - Cross Stitch Yoga.  It challenges you to sit as still as you can while stitching 7000 stitches.  And because I had a blanket on my legs, after a while it became Hot Cross Stitch Yoga. It's a thing, I tell you!  I'll probably end up famous because of it, and you can all say you knew me when...

Back on planet reality, I ended up going to Sew and Sew Uk and just buying a Lowry.  I have to say, it was a pretty good price, too!  I was expecting to really pay through the nose, but they were having a Christmas sale, and because I was a brand new customer, I got another discount.  So I ended up paying 77 pound sterling for the frame AND shipping, which, translated to Canadian funds, is $127. Not too shabby!  My current stand, a K's Creation, the owner has offered to replace the broken piece if I send it back, or just buy a new piece for $50 usd plus shipping.  I might still do that, and have a second frame on standby in case something happens to the Lowry.   Like me stripping the screw.
It will also be a frame that I can loan to guests who come and stitch.  

Now, back to Adrift, in the bottom picture, that line you see is just from the Q-Snap, it won't be permanent.  I hurriedly took a photo as soon as I was done because I was boiling from Hot Cross Stitch Yoga, and dead tired.  So I took a photo, packed it away and went to bed.  I know many people are worried that Q-Snaps will damage their work, but it won't.  Not permanently.

So, I think we can all agree that 2016 was a pretty crappy year, the one thing that I did get done was a mountain of stitching.  On this, the last day of the year my stitch tally stands as such:
Adrift: 13 page finishes
Snow Stocking: 8 page finishes
Winter Hat Owl: 6 page finishes. 
Giving me a grand total of 27 HaED Finishes.  Then there was the little Thing 1 and Thing 2 bibs that I made for my co-worker.  She had boys, by the way.

So even though 2016 was not the year we will look back on with "undiluted pleasure" to quote the Queen, I can at least look at this year and think to myself that I will never beat this record.  So the year isn't a complete loss.

I wish all of my kindreds who read this little blog a Happy New Year.  May your needles stay shiny and sharp, may your scissors never be confiscated by security at the airport, and may you stitch, stitch, stitch.

I'll see you all in 2017, or at Hot Cross Stitch Yoga.  

Monday, 12 December 2016

Page 8 of Snow Stocking has been Completed

I think the count is off of my stocking.  The pattern says 236 x 331, which equals 778 116 stitches.
Incidentally, the mini Snow full pattern says the dimensions are 325x229.  So something is definitely awry.  All I know is my complete bar says I'm at 50% complete, but there is no way that I still have 50% of the pattern to complete.  I only have 3 partial pages to complete.  It should say closer to 75% complete.  Oh well, I'll just keep tallying up my stitches until I have 100% complete.  Then it won't matter. 

I managed to get some good stitching in, even though I've been working a lot.  I'm back on Adrift, but I don't think my needle will be smoking on this next page.  Don't get me wrong, time permitting, it will be.

I'm getting so eager to just finish these two projects.  They are both so tantalizingly close to completely.  After Christmas I will frame. I will have 2 HaED's to frame, my owl and Adrift, but I can only do one at a time. I'm thinking Adrift first.

I was at my stitch-n-bitch yesterday and I caught a snippit of a phone conversation from  a lady who had sent her work in for framing and the framer had used some sort of "protection" on the piece.  Only she had used Waterlillies floss, which, if you've ever used it, you have to a. wash first to color block it or b. to keep the color vibrant, don't wash it, and then stitch your piece carefully so you don't need to wash it when it's done. Well, I guess she had chosen option b, but suffice to say, her colors had all bled, absolutely ruining the finished product.  She had phoned in tears asking if there was anything she could do.  I didn't hear the advice given, because a gaggle of giggling ladies were calling to me, but I couldn't imagine having something happen like this.  Because there is so much red DMC in the Owl, I hadn't planned on washing him - why chance it?  But now, I just may have to specify to not treat him at all when framing.  I've never heard of such things, but then again, I've had very few of my pieces finished.  I just...I don't think I could emotionally recover if one of my pieces, especially a HaED that I've worked on for years, were to get ruined by someone else.  Or even myself. It's definitely left me wary!

I'm just curious if anyone who follows this blog has had a similar experience?  If so, what did you do?

Was there anything TO do?

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Adrift, Page 32 is Complete

I am now 92% complete!  I'm in the 90's!  I think this is the fastest I've ever stitched a complete page. I started this on Nov 24 and finished just after midnight on Dec 1.  To be fair, it was less than 10 colours, the majority of it being 3371, so it was easy to put all of the other colours in first, and then just watch season 2 of Poldark and not even have to think about what I was stitching. 

Another bonus is, I've discovered on Ezpdf Pro, that I can crop the sides of pages, so I can crop the white space between pages out, set up the tablet to read two pages at once, and voila, I have very little break on pages and can just continue on with stitching. A far cry from Goodreader, which made us flip between pages and then always defaulted to the bottom of the previous page and the top of the next.  It's these little user friendly details that make all the difference in an app.   If the programmers at Goodreader were smart, they would tap into this market. 

I'm back on Snow, it's about a 3/4 page, but I'm about to start the December rush, where I work almost non-stop, so I'm not sure how much stitching I will be able to do.   But come January 9, I start a new job, with a dedicated schedule!  No more 12 hour shifts, no more 7am-7pm, or worse, 7pm-7am.  I will be doing 8 hours, which will leave me dedicated time to stitch.  Of course I won't have those marathon nights any longer, where I was shifting from day schedule to night schedule and I would just sit and stitch for hours (goodbye 1500 stitches a sitting)  but the new job is a good thing.  It will be nice to have a routine and a set schedule again.   January 9th can't come soon enough.

I hope to have an update of Snow soonish for you all.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Snow Stocking Page 7 Complete

44% Complete for this project.  It's like music to my ears.  This was my last full page, all the rest are partials, so it's all downhill from here!

Just a quick update tonight, because my husband is cooking pizza and that trumps blogging. I have about 20 minutes to get this up and posted and the clock is ticking! 

I'm back on Adrift, and I'm expecting this next page to be a quick stitch. 

I have to say, for Adrift, I'm working on Lugana, and for Snow I'm working on 18 ct Magic Guide. Although, for me, Magic Guide is less hassle as you don't need to grid, I find Lugana more pleasurable to stitch on.  I find with Aida I have to stitch a tighter stitch, and it strains my fingers. 
Has anyone else encountered this?

My next projects will be on Lugana, I think I'm pretty much done with Aida.

Curious to know what everyone's favourite cloth is to stitch on? Linen? Lugana? Aida?  Anyone have a preference?  I personally find Lugana softer, but the downside is sometimes stitches can slip under the weave and I have to really watch for that happening and correct it as I go.  Otherwise, I quite enjoy stitching on it. 

I'd love to hear what you like/don't like about your fabrics.

I smell pizza, so sorry to cut this short...but pizza!! 

Monday, 7 November 2016

Adrift Page 31

Not much of all to see, but it sure was a fast, easy stitch.  Here you see the finished length.  Only 4 more page to go!

As an early Christmas present to myself, I bought myself a Samsung tablet, so I can run Ezpdf Pro on it.  What a difference a device makes.  No more crashing, no more sucking the battery dry in 3 hours.  I don't know why I didn't do this sooner!  Although I did like Goodreader on iPad, I really, REALLY like the search feature on Ezpdf.  I reached out to Goodreader and threw all sorts of suggestions at them from asking if they would consider expanding their search feature to cater to the x-stitchers who use their app to publishing a Goodreader Lite, which focuses on the highlighting and search feature and market it specifically to the stitchers, but no bites, other than polite thank you's.  So, as the saying goes, if you can't beat em, (or convince them to cater to your niche), join 'em.  I'm really hapy with my Samsung.  Honestly, stitching is all that I will be using it for, so I won't suck up battery life using other apps, I will have my iPad for that. And it's given me piece of mind for when I travel, I won't have to worry about my app eating my battery mid-flight.

That's all for now. I'm fighting a cold and a slight ear infection, so it's back to the couch for stitching and cups of tea.  I'm back on Snow, so hopefully I will have an update for you in a few weeks.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Snow Stocking Page 6 is Complete

With a closeup by special request by Thistleberry!   Just the tiniest peek-a-boo of her wings and part of her arm.  I just noticed that my next page will be my last full page, the rest are all partials - some of which are more than 50% of the page, but still....   There are 5 pages left of this project and 5 pages left on Adrift.  Which means 2 finishes at once, which means TWO STARTS!!!!

It really is amazing how long these projects take to complete, isn't it? But I'm glad, because with Mirabilia's, which I loved to do, I could bang them off in 2-4 months, and it was just getting too expensive.  The upside of that was I could do whichever caught my eye.  But with HaED's, I have to choose carefully, because it will be a multi-year commitment, and I don't want to get stuck in the middle of one that I fall out of love with.  I'm stubborn, and would finish it anyway, but it would be arduous and not a labour of love. 

Well, the sooner I can get this posted, the sooner I can start my final row of Adrift.  So ta ta for now and I will see you in a couple of weeks. 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Adrift Page 29 and 30

Apologies on the quality of photo.  She is now so large that I have to lay her out on the floor, unfortunately it doesn't make for the best lighting.  In this photo, she looks a little monochrome, and in reality she is vibrant!  She is also very heavy.  I'm worried she is going to bend my stand.  I now only keep her on the stand when I am going to actively stitch.  You don't really think about how heavy these large projects weigh once you're nearing completion.  I can't imagine the weight of a 99 page pattern. 

We have a row finish!  The next row and a partial row is all that is left to do.  86% complete.  Next page I'm hoping to hit 90.  The light is now at the end of a long, dark tunnel.

The stitching for the entire row is going to be fast, because there is so much of dark ocean, which is only about 3-4 colours. Just a tiny bit of tail remains.  I'm so looking forward to having her done. I was going to just stitch her until complete, but I must admit, all of those dark colours leaves me needing to stitch some light colours, so back to Snow I go.   It's just a partial page, so it shouldn't take too long. 

When I'm done with Adrift, I promise to lay her out under proper lighting in order to get a good photo.

Hopefully I will have an update of snow in a week or two.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Snow Stocking, Page 5 is Complete

Her lovely face is now complete.    That being said, this will not be completed for Christmas, like I had hoped. Well, it could be, if I worked exclusively on her, but Adrift is calling and her calls are so loud! 

The best thing about working on a smaller project, is when you have a page finish and you update your Progress Bar, it jumps a huge amount.  With this update, I went from 28% to 35% finished.  I'm used to a measly 3% per page with Adrift.

Because I'm getting close to a finish, I'm seriously looking at what patterns I want to work on next. There are just so many, purchased and yet to be purchased.  But I've got my eye on one that I might request as a mini.  I think it will translate well into being a mini.  And I've got a couple that are serious considerations, including one that I have been sitting on for years.  I purchased it online before I ever knew what Heaven and Earth Designs was, and when I got it, it was so big and intimidating that she went immediately into a drawer.  A clean out of my old supply drawer to move into my snazzy new cabinet revealed her again, and I've gone back again and again to her. So she is a clear contender now.   No names as of yet, because I haven't made my final decision, but it's kinda fun looking through the HaED site and my own stash to see what I want to do next.  

As for today, it's Sunday, my Stitch-n-Bitch day, and it is going to be a full house. 

Happy stitching, kindreds.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Adrift, Page 28 is Done

Page 28 started July 27 and finished Sept 4.  To say that August was hot was an understatement.  It was so hot that stitching was unbearable.  But page 28 is done. I'm now 82% complete.  After the next page and partial page, I will only have a full row and a partial row and she will be done! 

She's getting so heavy, my little K's Creation stand is having trouble holding her up.  I hope I don't break my stand! 

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my little floss cabinet.  For those of you on Facebook, I've created a group for storage ideas for our floss and stash.  It's open to anybody who would like to join.  It's still in its infancy, and I'm hoping more people post their storage ideas.   

Now that the weather has turned a touch colder, I'm hoping to be able to get lots of stitching done.  In fact, my sister and I are having a stitching weekend this month in Pt. Angelas, which is about 1/2 way point for both of us to travel.   It will be good to see her. I love that she is stitching again.  

Well, that's about all I have to report at this point in time.  Hopefully I will have an update for Snow soon.  

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Floss Cabinet Unveiling!

At the beginning of summer I had finally saved up enough to commission someone to build a floss cabinet for me.  The carpenter, Jim - who goes by Old Kranky (which is funny, because he's neither old, nor cranky), really listened to what I wanted and he build me the most beautiful cabinet.  I got a little over excited and ordered hand painted ceramic knobs from India (off eBay) and this is the beautiful result!

What I love the most about it is the notches in the bottom, allowing me to stand my bobbins, which means if I have to take a group of closely numbered floss out of the drawer, the rest of the floss won't fall over.  Such a simple and brilliant solution!

There are approximately 350 bobbin slots per drawer and I have 3 of them, and the bottom drawer is just a regular drawer for me to put my linen, and other odds and ends inside. For those who which to acquire one for yourself, Jim does ship!   He was utterly brilliant to work with, and I would recommend him in a heartbeat. Don't hesitate to contact him for quotes.

Currently it is sitting in my spare room as a night stand.  I had wanted to put it in the living room, but if my wood-chewing cockatoo were to take a chunk out of it, I think my heart might break.

On the cross stitch front, I'm only about 1/2 way through my latest page of Adrift. It's just been too darn hot to stitch.  But  with Sept on the horizon, I'm sure the cooler weather will come.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

And Now Time for Something Different

I know I promised an update of Adrift, however, I found out that a lady I work with is pregnant with twins.  I was thinking of ideas for a gift, when I happened upon an old Dr. Seuss book, The Cat in the Hat. Everybody remember Thing 1 and Thing 2? 

So, I scoured the internet for pictures and found this:
Then I found a free app called CreatePattern for cross stitch and I converted these into a pattern.  It took a little bit of fussing to get the size exactly right, but this is the result!

I used 310 black and 666 red for the colours.  I'm so beyond happy with the results, I think it's beyond adorable!   Even more so, because she is hoping to keep the sex of the babies a secret. 

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you my little side project.   As of tonight I am back working on Adrift. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Snow, Page 4

So pretty so far.  Started June 24 and finished July 26.  7372 stitches. 

Sometimes it's hard to put a project down when I come to the end of a page.  For me, this was one of those times.  That lovely face is just starting to show and I want to work on her more until she reveals herself fully.  But that would mean Adrift takes a back seat again, and I'm getting closer and closer to that last row, that I have to pull her out and work on her.  And being that she is getting close to the end of the row, and the final row, I'm sure I'll feel the same way when it comes to the end of her page.
Right now work is interfering, as it always does, with my stitching time.  But work means I can afford more projects.  Therefore work = good!!!

I was just visiting my sister in Washington State and she has the prettiest oasis in which to stitch outside.  I wish I'd taken a photo.  It was in her back yard, around a garden path where she had a lovely little set up, complete with hammock and chairs and a little table.  Her husband served as out Cabana boy and served up drinks while we stitched the afternoon away.  It was one of the loveliest afternoons stitching that I've ever had.

 I wish I had something clever and witty to say at this point, since my posts are sparse, but this heat is sapping my energy, so I guess I'll just offer this update with little fanfare, and I hope to see you in a month or so with Adrift.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Adrift, Page 27

The beginning of the tail's end.  It's a lot darker than the rest of the tail, understandably, as it's in deeper and darker water, so I thought I'd add a photo of the work in progress, so you get a bit more detail than what actually shows up in the finished page.

For this page, the biggest challenge was packing her up and putting her away in favor of Snow Stocking.  The end is getting close and the urge to just sit and stitch her is almost overwhelming.   But pack her up, I did.  If I want to hope to finish Snow Stocking this year, I have to work on her.
And I'm going in to the busy time of year where my stitching time gets seriously eaten away at.  I'm hoping to have an update by August for you.  Fingers crossed.

On another note, I've been listening to the audiobook of Game of Thrones.  I love reading, but when it comes to free time, I'd much rather stitch, so it's been a while since I've had a really good book engulf me.  Until now.  Do any of you listen to audiobooks when you stitch?  I'm so engrossed in this book, I'm about 25 hours in (it's a really BIG book) and I find the time just goes by in a blink of an eye.  2 of my favourite pastimes combined.   Add a purring cat on my legs and life is just about perfect!!

Now I'm off to bed to sleep the day away so I can be ready for graveyard shift.  A drizzly day and a purring, snuggly cat beckoning me to bed.  It couldn't be a better day to sleep away.

Goodnight, kindreds. I hope to see you all soon.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Snow, Page 2 and 3 is complete.

Started April 22 and completed June 8.  7546 stitches.

This makes my completed pages (partials included) a nice round 13 so far this year.

She's pretty fantastic so far, and this is the entire width of the top of the stocking.  I'm thinking she's going to be a pretty quick stitch.  There is way more confetti in this than in Adrift (well, the water and bubbles, anyway) and that slows me down a bit, but so far she's a delight to stitch.

Those iPad/iPhone users among us, I must share with you the most brilliant app.  It's called "Thread Tracker" and it's an inventory for thread!  SUPER easy to use, and makes keeping track of your DMC stash a  delight.
This is what it looks like.  You can search a thread, and it's just a quick tap if you use the last skein and need to add it to your list to purchase.  It took me a little bit to set up, especially because I had a lot of repeat colours, but once they were in the system, keeping it up to date is a breeze.  Just a quick tap of the screen and I can see what I need, or, if I'm looking for a specific colour, see how many skeins I have in inventory.    Sadly, this is only available for iPad/iPhone, but hopefully android will come out with something similar soon.   It's worth it!  Trust me!

Adrift is up next, with lots of lovely reds to show off. I can't tell you how much I've been looking forward to stitching this page.  Stay tuned! Hopefully I'll have something for you in a few short weeks.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Back to Adrift, Page 26 is Done!!!!!

Started April 23 and finished May 22.  7315 stitches.  *Shakes fist at work for putting a serious damper on my stitching time*

Apparently I told a wee fib when I said the next page would be mostly tail.   Oops, just the tiniest of peek-a-boo tail for this update, but a whole lot of water and bubbles!   Lets just take a moment to appreciate the bubbles, shall we?   Mmmmm.  Bubbles.

I must apologize for the quality of the photo, too.   I used to lay her out on my couch and smooth her down to take a photo, but with this addition, it no longer fits on the couch, with the good light, so I had to place her on the floor and try my best to smooth her out, which, as you can see, wasn't so successful.   I'll have to come up with another plan for the next update, because THAT, my kindreds, WILL be mostly tail.

I also want to share with you that I found a lovely carpenter who has agreed to make me a floss cabinet!  I'm so excited!  It's not as expensive as I was expecting a custom piece to be, but my biggest must have was to have a slot where I can slide my bobbins in to where they will stand without having to lean on the bobbin in front or behind.  I'm sure I'm not alone in the OCD department when I say that taking bobbins out of my box for a project and having the left overs fall over and end up out of order, drives me crazy.  This will eliminate that AND give me quick at-a-glance look at what bobbins are out for projects.
He's got a few projects that he's got to do first before starting on mine, but I will, of course pimp ... brag... er... share the finished piece with you all, along with the carpenters contact information, should any of you want to go the same route. 

I will post pictures as soon as I have this lovely in my grasp.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Snow, Page 1 is Complete

Started March 24 and finished April 22nd. 7546 stitches.

This one was a bit challenging because I couldn't quite see the pattern evolving.  It's easier now that I have a full page, I can see the tip of her ear.   But it was slow moving.  I also tried using the app EZPDF, but I found it arduous, particularly in the fact that it crashed every 15 minutes or so and heated up by iPad to a degree where I was scared it was going to fry it.  I've heard that this app works brilliantly on Android tablets, but Apple, not so much.

I've been using Goodreader, which is an amazing app, for those of you looking for a reliable app.  But it's one short fall is the search only allows you to search a singular symbol at a time, which isn't very helpful.  It's much easier to have a page of the same symbol light up, than a single one, which you are stuck hitting "next" over and over.   So I've tried a few more apps and I've found Documents by Reddie to be pretty good, however, I do think you need to have PDF Expert in order to get all of the bells and whistles, but the search feature works pretty well for iPad.

Maybe Goodreader will offer a better search feature in the future.  It's a brilliant app.

Also, I got my sister back into stitching after a very long break, which is funny, because she's the one who started me down this path when we were girls.  She's working on Annya Kai's "Fall Owl".  She's finished her first page and I thought I'd share her progress.

This is her first time working with grids and the parking method.  Give her some love, I know she reads this.

I'm now back on Adrift, which feels like welcoming an old friend.  It's been a while since I picked her up and I'm really enjoying her.   I'm off to Mexico in 3 days and I'm taking her with me.  I'm not sure how much stitching I'm going to do while I'm down there, but I plan on spending at least one day in a beach chair stitching the day away.

I hope to have an update of Adrift for you soon!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Winter Hat Owl is Complete!!

Page 15 and 16 started Feb 23 and finished March 13, and pages 17 and 18 started March 13 and finished March 24.  A total of 14586 stitches.

And here he is!

 He looks a little washed out, for some reason.  But trust me, he is vibrant and lovely!
So I now get to label this under Completed!  

I'm surprised I got through the final 4 pages so fast, with my work schedule. I wasn't expecting this to be finished until mid April at the earliest, so this is a pleasant surprise.  But I have to say, I marathon stitches last, night, completing the last 1800 stitches.  Don't try that at home! 

So, this little guy will be off to the framers soon, what project is waiting to take his place, you ask? 
Well, I try to make a stocking for my friends as they have babies, so the next project is an overdue stocking for a friend, whose girl is now a year old.  Her brother got the Treasure Dragon stocking, so I felt I needed to stitch something complimentary and special. 

So, I found a pattern I really liked and special ordered a stocking version of it from HaED.
Voila!  I give you Snow by Maxine Gadd.

I'll probably start her tonight, and do a page of Snow before going back to poor, neglected Adrift, who, honestly, I needed a bit of a break from before I jump back in for the final push of pages.  I will be stitching her on 18 ct Magic Guide, 2x2. 

And that's pretty much all that I have for news on my end.  

Thank you all who have followed my journey with this little owl.   Once I get him framed, I will post a final photo of him.  

~Rai Rai

Monday, 22 February 2016

Adrift, Page 25 is Complete

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!   This page was kinda...ok I'll say it, dull.   But it was a really fast stitch, which is always a good thing, amirite?   Page started on Feb 5 and finished Feb 18.  I wish they all could that fast.  Of course, it helps that it's February, the weather outside is drizzly and work isn't too busy. 

I've also hit the 70% mark of the project!   The end is kinda, sorta in sight!

The next page of Adrift is the start of her big, glorious fin.  I think it's going to be breathtaking.

I'm back on the Winter Hat Owl.  I'm stitching the last 4 pages.  It's so close I think I may just work on him until he's complete.  It won't be a fast stitch, though.  I'm working on the bottom of the hat, with its myriad of colours and confetti, and March is looking to be an absolute hellish month for me, workwise, so there likely won't be any updates until mid April.  But trust me, it will be a beaut!

So until then, happy stitching everyone!

~Rai Rai