Posts Tagged With: Magical Creatures

Still Here, Still Stitching

Clearly, I’ve been out of the loop for a bit, though I’ve still been stitching. A second round of work travel, a few night shifts, and a scratched cornea left me rather distracted. Meanwhile, my brother has convinced me to run a half-marathon in a few months, and I’m learning parkour. With what little free time I have left, it’s pretty much blog or stitch, and I chose to stitch. (Because otherwise there wouldn’t be much to blog about, am I right?)

But whatever. I’m here now, and I have updates. April or May or whenever was a while ago. Now that I’m uploading all the pictures, it occurs to me I might not want to cram all of this into one post, but if I don’t I’ll just give up and figure I can write this thing another day. Not sure if we’re in a rut or a vicious cycle, but I’m not going to analyze it too closely. I’m also going to tackle some of the WIPocalypse questions I missed, but for now let’s talk about the stitching progress.

Finishes first. Hold onto your hats.

May Calendar Girl - Completed 5/10

May Calendar Girl – Completed 5/10

Here’s the May Calendar Girl from Little House Needleworks. I have the rest of them, but I second guessed myself as to how I want to finish them. They’ll sit for a minute until I figure it out. Since I already have 3 finished, I’ll most likely keep stitching each one separately just so I don’t have to redo them. I have enough other pieces languishing in the stash that I’m not really in a hurry. They’re cute, but I just don’t know what I want to do with them.

Colonial Dry Goods

Colonial Dry Goods

I really like this one, and I had my eye on it for a while. This is Colonial Dry Goods, also by Little House Needleworks, finished 5/23. Fun fact, that blue is actually green. At least, it’s called green, which really threw me for a loop. The left side looks a little weird because I don’t stitch on a hoop and haven’t stretched it out for framing yet. I’ve been waiting until I have more things to frame because I’m cheap and don’t like to pay for shipping. It happens. The lettering at the top is a Classic Colorworks floss called Rod and Reel, and it’s one of the best overdyed flosses I’ve used. Everything else is just variation within the same color, which is subtle. This one is a little more in your face.

Sugar is Sweet - 6/8/14

Sugar is Sweet – 6/8/14

The picture doesn’t do this one justice. The lighting in my kitchen really messed with the various shades of pink. Maybe it’s just me, but in this picture the pinks look a little purple when in reality they are definitely pink.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is Sugar Is Sweet by the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. I could have sworn they said they were doing either 4 or 5 alphabet samplers this year with a similar layout, but so far there’s only been one other than this. Oh well. The ribbon is just wrapped around the outer part of the hoop. The fabric isn’t mounted in the hoop very well. There’s no glue involved, just a drawstring type situation in the back, so I’ll probably take it down and fix the mount at some point.

A Full Heart - 7/11

A Full Heart – 7/11

This is A Full Heart, the first part of the 2014 Shepherd’s Fold by Shepherd’s Bush. This is the first pattern of theirs I’ve done, and I admit it was harder than I expected. I’m still not sure why. The beads and specialty stitches weren’t particularly hard, and it’s only 32 ct fabric. Maybe the silk was throwing me for a loop. I don’t know. I love looking at this piece now that’s it’s finished and I would certainly do it again if I went back in time, but it was a relief when I reached the end.

A Full Heart mounted on the shaker box

A Full Heart mounted on the shaker box

This piece was designed as a box topper for a sewing box. Yes, I splurged and got the box. Up until now my notions have been a little out of control (and would often turn up in strange places), so it’s definitely handy to have the box.

My Home - 7/27

My Home – 7/27

Here’s My Home, a scissor fob and the second part of the Shepherd’s Fold. I admit I don’t know the purpose of a fob. The stitching wasn’t a problem, but the finishing was surprisingly difficult. I followed the instructions in the kit, but it just kept looking worse and worse until I finally took it apart and tried again. The “correct” way was to sew it wrong side out, flip it the right way, stuff it, finish closing it, then attach the ribbon. Mine looked just awful. I ended up making a backstitch border around both sides and sewing the backstitches together, looping on the ribbon and beads as I went.

Here's the reverse side of the same piece.

Here’s the reverse side of the same piece.

That’s my last finish, so let’s move on to some of the more… long range projects I’m working on. Here are a bunch of blocks for Once Upon a Time:

May

Jack and the Bean Stalk

June

The Princess and the Pea

July

Thumbalina

I’m two months behind. These blocks go pretty quickly, so that’s not so bad.

Here's what the whole thing looks like right now.

Here’s what the whole thing looks like right now.

And then there’s the Magical Creatures Calendar:

Not Merlin. "Thaddeus."

Not Merlin. “Thaddeus.”

Some dragons for good measure.

Some dragons for good measure.

And a mermaid who is not named Ariel but has a Disneyfied sense of fashion.

And a mermaid who is not named Ariel but has a Disneyfied sense of fashion.

Honestly? This makes me pretty uncomfortable. Cloudsfactory is expanding into more original designs, but a lot of her patterns use trademarked characters. I bought this one because at first it had original characters and I figured it would stay that way, but the wizard and mermaid who look like Disney but with different names in the pattern… I’ll finish stitching this pattern, but that will probably be it for me for Cloudsfactory unless the company fully shifts away from trademarked characters.

Now how about something new?

Mysterious Halloween Town

Mysterious Halloween Town

This is the Mysterious Halloween Town from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. It’s being released this fall in four parts. This is 1-3, with part 4 coming out later in September. I love that variegated purple on the bakery. The individual parts of this were fairly quick to stitch. Part 4 will go along the bottom.

I’m working on the SamSarah mystery sampler, but since they’ve asked folks not to post pictures until it’s over, I’ll hold off for now. I’m almost finished with the first part (for those who are doing the same pattern, I haven’t finished filling in that bit on the left, but everything else is done). The designer has sent out part 2, but the shop I’m using hasn’t gotten it yet.

Finally, here’s this:

Fun Every Day - Tuesday

Fun Every Day – Tuesday

This is the first tag for the Fun Every Day perpetual calendar SamSarah put out a while back. I’m going to have to start over. The perforated paper is driving me nuts; I usually use the sewing method on linen, so this is just too slow for me. I’ve ordered a large enough piece of linen that I can stitch all the tags in hand, then trim them to size and glue them to the paper tags. I do so hate to redo things, but perforated paper takes like three extra motions per stitch. Not cool.

I’ve done some work on Quilty Stitches, but I can’t remember what I last posted about or how far I am right now, nor do I have any pictures of it handy. I guess we’ll come back to that one.

Let’s look at some of the WIPocalypse questions I missed.

May: What designs or themes do you really wish you could find?  What do you think is missing among stitching designs?

This one is a little hard for me to answer. I don’t generally look for specific themes, and it’s a little hard to pin down why something appeals to me. I tend to look at Americana and nautical first, but I generally choose pieces because I like the color scheme or the layout. A Full Heart doesn’t strike me as something I would like, but I do. I can’t explain it. So I don’t know what I wish I could find, because I have a hard time searching for something specific. I just kind of see things in passing and know I like them.

June: Have you ever been to a stitch gathering such as a retreat or a festival? If so, tell us about it!

Negative.

July: It’s halfway to Christmas.  Do you start your holiday stitching this early?  If so, what do you hope to accomplish this year?

I haven’t done any Christmas stitching yet. I certainly wasn’t doing any in July. Then again, I’m doing two Halloween patterns this year, which is not usual for me, so if I weren’t doing those I would probably start Christmas patterns. I have two so far this season; one is ready to go once I reach a stopping point with some of the Halloween stuff, and the other is waiting on fabric.

August:  Tell us about your oldest and newest WIPs,

Newest is the SamSarah Halloween sampler. I just started that September 3. The oldest one I’m actively working on is Once Upon a Time, which goes back to late December, but the oldest thing gathering dust (not really, it’s in a bag to protect it from dust) is a blanket on which I once thought I could stitch the Super Mario World overworld map. That’s been around since early 2010 (or maybe late 2009? I really can’t remember). I’m a little more realistic about things these days, so much as I would love to see that one finished, I bet I never get back to it. There are just too many other fun patterns out there that are more manageable. (More sane?)

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Categories: WIP | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Dreaded Floss Bin

I can’t stand shopping for floss in person.

I mean, I want to be able to see all the colors in real life and feel all the textures before I buy it (not to mention saving shipping costs), but ugh. It’s always such a disappointment to dig through that floss bin.

My complaint isn’t even that you can really only get DMC unless you are lucky enough to live near a specialty shop (if I do, I haven’t found it yet). When I can shop for floss in person, I don’t have much choice except the big chains. Michael’s, Joann Fabrics, A.C. Moore, that sort of thing. There’s nothing wrong with those stores, but embroidery is not the big, money-making department. You get maybe an aisle of materials to work with. While the big chains generally have the full DMC display of 6-strand cotton floss, it’s a little sad once you dig in.

Inevitably, at least one of the colors I’m looking for is gone. So much for saving on shipping. Even better (“better”) is when the shade you want is full of randomly colored skeins of floss. Not just someone picks up a red, changes their mind, and puts it back in the wrong red. No no, I mean blue, green, and purple thrown into a red slot with absolutely no red in sight.

I won’t judge a store if like shades get mixed together (though I will be irritated). I will judge a store if colors have clearly been put back in the wrong slot. That tells me none of the employees are walking through that aisle thinking about merchandising. A quick glance might not tell you like shades are mixed, but blue and yellow thrown in with the red? That’s just sloppy.

It’s frustrating, and in the end I don’t really come out ahead because I have to buy the missing flosses online anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why the big stores don’t take the embroidery as seriously. These stores certainly have their strengths, but it still puts me in a bad mood whenever I go in.

On to other things.

If you’re looking to join in on Once Upon a Time, February’s block is now out, starring a cute little frog and lots of smooches. Also, the second block for Quilty Stitches came out earlier this week.

Finally, I was able to get started on the Magical Creatures calendar from CloudsFactory. They also have some frogs and love going for February:

Two for the price of one: Finished January and February

Two for the price of one: Finished January and February.

Floss is a mix of Weeks Dye Works, DMC, and Sullivans. The white shows up better in person and is actually glow-in-the-dark DMC. I’m not a fan of this floss. The effect is fun, but the texture just drives me nuts. It’s too slick, and the plies don’t stay together. With two strands, that’s four plies trying to escape the needle. I couldn’t even thread the darn stuff until I switched to a larger needle.

I actually ordered a second piece of fabric for this project, but since it had to be custom dyed I don’t have it yet. I decided just to use this cut so that A) I wouldn’t have to sit on this project for a few more weeks, and B) I don’t know what the rest of the pattern looks like, so I don’t want to risk my new fabric clashing with something I haven’t seen yet.

Categories: Materials, WIP | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Mail Call

Good news, everyone! (Raise your hand if you mentally read that in Professor Farnsworth’s voice.)

After weeks and weeks of waiting, first because I was moving and had no mailing address, next because these things take time, I finally got a packet in the mail from the fabulous folks over at Picture This Plus! PTP specializes in hand-dyed cross stitch fabric, and they are amazing. Go ahead, pop over there and click through some of the fabric thumbnails. I can wait.

Fun, amiright? There are so many colors I would love to buy, but I have no idea what I would do with them.

I got three cuts of fabric today, one in Crystal Doubloon and two in Sand. The Doubloon is for the Pumpkins’ Once Upon a Time sampler, I think as 32-count Belfast linen (I would check the tag, but there a beast asleep in my lap). The two cuts in Sand (28-count Cashel) are for the secret mystery gift I’m making for a friend and for a pattern I drew up myself last November.

I’ve gotten a fair amount of crafty mail in the last week or so:

So much fun!

So much fun!

The gold fabric is the doubloon, and the khaki is the sand. In addition, I also got the floss for Once Upon a Time and Clouds Factory’s Magical Creatures sampler. The Once Upon a Time floss is a mix of Weeks Dye Works and Cosmo. This will be the first time I’ve used hand-dyed floss; to get the full effect, you have to use a different technique. We’ll see how it goes (I mean, it will be fine, just a little slow). I’ve used Cosmo before and much prefer it to DMC, but I haven’t decided if I like it enough to keep paying extra for it. On a good day, the price doubles. I’m using DMC and Sullivan’s for Magical Creatures, DMC so I can compare it to eh Cosmo in my other projects and Sullivan’s because one of my floss sources recommended it over the DMC. It costs about the same as the DMC.

Only thing I’m missing is the fabric for Magical Creatures. I actually ordered two different cuts of linen, but I haven’t decided which one I’m going to use. One should be here in a few days, but the other probably won’t turn up for two weeks or so. Eh, there are plenty of other projects to work on until it gets here.

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