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Monday, August 15, 2016

Olympic Stitching Part 2

Part 2 of my Olympic Stitching hasn't gone quite as well as part 1, but here is what I managed to do.  You can see my progress of Part 1 here.

Day Six
Stitchlympics: New Start Marathon
Summer Olympic Challenge: A piece with specialty stitches

I had planned and planned and planned for the new start marathon event of Stitchlympics, but I didn't realize that it was on a weekday instead of a weekend.  Shucks.  Going to work really puts a dent in my stitching time, LOL.  In order to count as a new start, you had to put in at least 50 stitches.  I only managed two projects in the time I had after work.  The start of a Margaret Sherry Christmas card:


And the beginning of my next Lizzie Kate Round Robin piece (Believe from Living with Charm series):


I also put a few stitches into a 3rd project, but didn't quite manage 50 stitches before I crashed and had to go to bed.  This was also what I was going to count as my specialty stitches (the piece had Smyrna crosses), but since I didn't get that far, I got a nil on the Maynia challenge.  Forgot to take a picture of what I did manage to do, so I'll have to share that one later.


Day Seven
Stitchlympics: Specialty stitches
Summer Olympic Challenge: A piece with green in it

Didn't do any stitching this day.  :(


Day Eight
Stitchlympics: Wind bobbins for 10 minutes
Summer Olympic Challenge: Triathlon, stitch on 3 pieces

I don't usually use bobbins to store my floss at the moment, so I was out for this challenge.  And this day was also a non-stitching day (had a date instead).


Day Nine
Stitchlympics: Go For Gold: Stitch with something sparkly
Summer Olympic Challenge: A piece with red in it

This was Saturday, so I finally got some progress to report!  For the sparkle challenge, I pulled out the materials to start Brooke's Books Annie the Autumn Witch, and started on her hat brim because it's all Kreinik #8 braid.  It was my first time working with a Kreinik braid and it went much easier than I thought it would!  I managed to get the whole hat brim done:


I wish you could see it in person, the color is actually a combo of orange, purple, and black that's so nice and Halloween-y and it doesn't come out in the picture at all.

I also started a ladybug design that is a Durene Jones freebie called Love Bug for my red piece.  Don't know what I'll do with this when it's finished yet.


The red was the only color I could find in my stash on short notice (the rest are likely all kitted up with something else, so I just did a good chunk of the red outline around the ladybug's spots).


Day Ten
Stitchlympics: Stitch with beads
Summer Olympic Challenge: A piece with animals in it (especially horses if possible)

I had planned on pulling out a Mill Hill project for beading day, but by the time it actually rolled around I didn't have any that were ready for beads yet.  So I decided to focus on my Lizzie Kate project instead while watching a movie:


After the movie was over, I didn't really feel like switching projects, so I compromised on the animal piece by stitching while watching The Incredible Dr. Pol, which at least is a show full of animals.  Got almost done with the word "believe" before I stopped for the night.


So that brings me up to tonight.  We have company coming off so I'm fairly certain I won't be meeting tonight's challenges.  But we'll have to see.

How is everyone else's stitching go?
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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Olympic Stitching Part 1

Hello readers!

We're several days into the Olympics, so I've been working hard on my Stitchlympics and  Summer Olympic Challenge pieces.

Apologies in advance for some of the photos.  For some reason my phone has been taking really bad pictures lately.

Day 1 was the Opening Ceremonies.  The Stitchlympics challenge was to count your stitches while watching the opening ceremonies (or equivalent time).  I happened to DVR the ceremonies (yay for fast forwarding through commercials and the Parade of Nations!) so we actually watched a couple finals from American Ninja Warrior while I stitched on my Disney piece for the Round Robin (BTW, Linda I know you asked for the name of the pattern/designer, I'm trying to find out for you!).  I was able to stitch 213 stitches and finish off Aladdin's hair:


The Stitch Maynia Summer Olympic Challenge was to stitch on something blue (for the blue in the Olympic Rings).  Not a lot of blue available in my Disney project, so after finishing Aladdin's hair I also started a new project I'm calling Welcome Home.  That's where the rest of my 200+stitches came from. This will be a square for World of Charity Stitching:


Not much to look at yet, just some blue highlights.  With only two colors and very minimal backstitch, it should stitch up pretty quick though.

Day 2 of Stitchlympics was a 15 minute stitching "sprint" to see how much you could stitch in 15 minutes.  To maximize my chances I decided I should stitch on a single color block, so I chose to start the orange of Lady's face from the Disney project:


51 stitches after 15 minutes.  Not bad.  :)  The Stitch Maynia challenge for Day 2 was to stitch on something with an international theme.  I only had about 15 minutes to stitch on Saturday because we had company over so I decided to fudge and also count the Disney project for that one as well.  Hey, the characters are from international locations, right?

Day 3 of Stitchlympics was a 3 hour stitching marathon.  I pulled out the Disney project again and finished up Lady and started on Ariel's hair:


There's a lot of hair!  The other challenge for this day was to stitch on something with yellow (again for olympic rings).  Sadly I failed at this one.  I just didn't feel like pulling out any other projects because I wanted to focus on the Disney piece.  Oh well, I did stitch orange on Lady; that's in the yellow family, right?

Day 4 of Stitchlympics was another "sprint" stitch, this time a 30 minute sprint "relay".  I managed 101 stitches on Ariel and almost finished her in my 30 minutes:



The Maynia challenge for Day 4 was to stitch something with water in it, so I stretched a bit again and figured my Ariel mermaid counted for a water challenge.  So after the 30 minutes was up for Stitchlympics I finished up the last little bits of Ariel and completed her:


Since I was so close to finishing my part of this piece completely, I decided to spend a few extra minutes for the single stitches I'd been kind of leaving until the last minute (eyebrows, cheeks, etc).  Would you believe it took about 30 minutes to put in about 20 stitches?  Gah, I hate changing colors.  But it made a difference.  Here's what my part looked like when all finished:


Day 5 was yesterday which was left handed stitching for Stitchlympics and a piece with black in it for Stitch Maynia.  Sadly I had a flare up of pain in my left elbow which made stitching difficult, so I don't have any progress to report for that.  So my brother and I and a friend went to see Suicide Squad instead.  :)  But it's feeling a bit better today, so I'm hopefully I'll have something to share for Day 6.

Here's wishing you all lots of stitchy progress!  I plan on making much more as I keep watching over the next couple weeks.


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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Stitchy Progress and New Stitching Challenge

Well, we made it through Mom's knee surgery and she came through okay, so hopefully things will be settling down soon.  In the meantime, I made progress on the next Lizzie Kate Round Robin piece.  This was the letters S and T from the ABCs of Aging Artfully:



I had to break it up into two pictures since the S was at the end of one line and the T on the beginning of another.  Actually, I was scheduled to stitch a little more than just these two letters, but since last month's Etsy RR piece (the sugar skull) took so much time, I ran out of time to finish my section of these completely.  Oh well!

My next up piece was the second round of the Etsy rotation, and I have to say this is a project I love.  It's Disney, so what can I say?  I've done Chicken Little, most of Aladdin (he's missing his hair), and started on Lady from Lady and the Tramp so far:


This is the piece that kept me from going crazy while waiting out the surgery in the hospital.  Just need to finish up those three then stitch Ariel and it will be onto a new home.  I'm not sure I like the red color of Lady's ears.  I always thought of them as more of a reddish brown, but in real life they really are like a dark red.  Other than that, this has been super fun to work on.  Funny story, I almost picked this same pattern as my Etsy piece for this round robin, so there's a good chance I will cave and purchase it later and you will see it again sometime.

So as you can see, most of my stitching so far this year has been round robin stuff.  I haven't really done much personal stitching since January.  Frankly, I've lost my stitchy bug a bit, and the only thing that's keeping me going some months is that the RR pieces are mandatory stitching (for lack of a better word).  Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy doing (most of) them, but the motivation comes more from a sense of obligation than anything else.  I find I love planning and picking projects, but I don't have a lot of finishes lately.  I have a bad case of start-itis for sure.

So I decided a stitching challenge might be what I need to get me out of the slump.  And being the crazy person that I am, I found two.  As you probably know, tomorrow is the start of the Summer 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.  The Olympics are one of the few sports I actually enjoy watching, so I look forward to them every couple years.  So when I found two Olympic challenges on Facebook, I knew it would be perfect.

The first is Stitchlympics hosted by the Cross Stitch It's Fun! Facebook group, and the second is the Summer Olympic Challenge hosted by the Stitch Maynia Facebook group.  Both groups have an individual stitching challenge for each day of the competition.  I'm going to try and combine daily challenges wherever possible.  Stitchlympics is a team competition, so hopefully I will do well and help bring my team to victory!

So along with wanting to stitch along with the challenges I'm going to try and keep up my blogging progress every few days as this goes along.  Wish me luck!  Tomorrow (the opening ceremonies) the challenge is to stitch for at least two hours, and for Stitch Maynia, to stitch on something blue.  I think I can come up with something that meets both of those.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Here's what I've been doing lately

Well, I suppose I am long overdue for an update.  Work has continued to be crazy and I've been dealing with some health problems in the family, so although I still have been stitching, it has slowed down a bit.  But here's what I've been working on.

First of all, lots of Round Robin stitching.  I finished up the last project in my sampler round robin, which was a couple bands from Just Nan's Queen of the Needle design:


I feel really blessed that I didn't get a part with lots of specialty stitches, because they really intimidate me.  As it was, this was my first time doing eyelets (the yellow center of the purple flowers) and I think they turned out okay.

I also finished up another part in the Lizzie Kate Round robin.  This was the Give Santa Cookies part of the Christmas Rules series:


I just love these patterns, I can't wait to stitch them myself (when I have a chance to pull them out of my stash cupboard).  I thought pink was an odd choice of color for the cookies though.  (shrug)

I also spent quite a bit of the last month working on my first project for the Etsy Round robin I joined.  This one was half of a purple sugar skull:


I have to say, this pattern was one of the reasons I am distrustful of people selling patterns on Etsy.  Pretty much it looked like the graphic was just fed into a cross stitch conversion program.  It really could have used quite a bit of cleaning up (in my opinion) to remove some of the confetti and make the design much more symmetrical.  I was happy when this one was over.  It pretty much drove me crazy.

In addition to the round robin pieces, I have made a bit of progress on a few other things.  Best Friends Share has progressed from a random orange blob to two kitties and the start of a basket:


And more purple has been filled in for Singing Owl.  This pattern has so much fill in!


But at least the stomach is done now.  I had to put this one down for awhile and take a break though.

Next up, I'm working on the next Lizzie Kate RR piece and the next Etsy RR piece.  Also, I really, really need to get started on my planned Christmas gifts for this year if I have any hope of finishing them by the end of the year!


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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Calling for Round Robin Participants

I really shouldn't...but I did.

Since the Sampler Round Robin I have been participating in since last September through Facebook is about to wrap up (only one more project!) I decided to join another round robin, this one themed for patterns purchased from Etsy.  We start in June (or maybe July) and guess what?

We need 2 more people.

So yes, I am resorting to begging to see if anyone would be interested in joining us.  I know I've gotten comments on here before from people who were wanting to know how to join a round robin, so here's your chance.

If you've never done a Round Robin before the basic idea is that you pick a project, divide it up into parts (for however many participants you have), kit up your project with fabric, pattern, floss and mail it off to the next person in the round.  The person behind you in the round then mails you their pattern, and you work on a part of their project with the included pattern and supplies.  Then, in the next month you mail off that project to the next person and receive a new project in the mail to work on for the month.  When the round has been completed, you receive back your project completed (or almost complete depending on the size).

It's a great way to try out just a bit of lots of different patterns and projects!  If you're new to the blog and you'd like to see some examples of things I've worked on for the 3 round robins I've done so far, you can search the Frosted Pumpkin, Sampler, and Lizzie Kate round robin tags I have on my blog posts.

As I mentioned above, this particular round I'm recruiting for is for Etsy patterns, which simply means it's a pattern that you purchased from a designer who sells their items through the Etsy website.  So it's a huge open theme with lots of possibilites!  Some of my favorite Etsy designers are Brooke's Books, Satsuma Street, Tiny Modernist, Fiddlesticks AU, Cloudsfactory, DoNaStitch, Fangirl Stitches, Pinoy Stitch (home of the cutest owl patterns ever!) and of course one of my favorite UK magazine designers Durene Jones even has her own Etsy store with exclusive and out of print patterns.  So far for this round I've selected a typography pattern from Plastic Little Covers.  And there's tons more designers out there that I haven't even found yet!

Anyway, if you think you might want to join us, here's a few of the requirements:

1.  You must live in the US or Canada.  This is because it's hard to mail projects across the sea in a timely manner.  If you live in Europe,  they're going to a specific round for you guys too!

2.  You have to check in monthly on Facebook.  Since this is a Facebook based group, you will have to check in using your Facebook account.  That doesn't mean you have to be actively on Facebook all the time, but you will need to record your mailing/receiving in the group.

3.  You must have the time to complete a part of the project every month.  As you can see from my progress updates, this does cut a lot into personal stitching time.  But for me it's totally fun and worth it anyway to try all different sorts of things.

So if you're intrigued and you think you might want to join up, here's the main Facebook group page.  Make sure you read all the requirements in the pinned post at the top, then go to the Etsy event page to sign up for this round specifically.

Hope to see a couple new faces!  And you can of course expect to start seeing new projects here in my updates too.  :)

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

An Explosion of Stitchy Progress

Well, somehow despite my best intentions I disappeared for a little over a month again. Oops.  Life has been super crazy and I've been working the equivalent of a second job during the weekends, so lately it seems like things like blogging get pushed out of the way.  Luckily though I haven't lost my stitchy bug, so I have A LOT of progress pics to show you. Here's what I've been working since my last overdue post.

It's been awhile since you've seen Mr. Let It Snowman.  Here's what he looked like the last time I took a photo of him:


I've actually gotten a bit farther with this, but I haven't worked on it in quite awhile. I got sick of all the white I guess.

Also, a lot of stitching has been done for my round robin projects lately.  On the sampler front, I finished my section of two rounds.  The first was a couple blocks in Frosted Pumpkins Spring Sampler:


I really do like Frosted Pumpkin's patterns, but for some reason I really struggled with this one and I'm not sure why.  But I got it done in the end, so there you go.

The next sampler round was the bottom-most part of this Strawberry Shortcake Sampler:


My section was the green cake plate and the little plaid stripe underneath it.  This one was a fun pattern, it went pretty fast for me and I ended up ahead in the round robin for the first time ever.

I also have a lot of progress to show for my Lizzie Kate Round Robin projects.  First is the finish of the February stamp that I showed progress in last time:


I wasn't sure how I was going to like the colors on this one together as I was stitching it up, but I decided once it was finished it wasn't too bad.  Those little blank spots in the flowers will eventually be covered up by little purple buttons when the owner gets the project back.

The next project I got in the mail were for Lizzie's Boxer seasonal patterns.  We could choose which part we wanted to stitch and I chose the top half of the winter pattern:


This one stitched up really quick, even with all that blue fill in.  Although I totally miscounted the snowflakes the first time and had to frog them all.  That's what I get for starting it on a road trip I guess.

My most recent Lizzie Kate finish is one of the Boo Club series of patterns.  The frog turned out a little weird because his black eye buttons won't be applied to the end:


The interesting thing about this pattern was that the owner asked us to do it in only 1 ply thread, which was new for me, but it kind of grew on me the way it turned out.  I personally don't like that kind of coverage, but I bet it makes your overdyed threads go much farther!

I've been digging through lots of my old magazine issues lately and even though I have tons of WIPs to work on, I couldn't help picking a couple patterns that stood out to me for World of Charity Stitching's friendship quilt theme.  These will probably get there a little late to be included in that, but I'm sure they'll be put to good use (or I might find another use for them in the meantime).

This one is a pattern from Lucie Heaton, and the individual pattern doesn't have a name, so I called it Dancing Divas in my head.


Not much to look at now but I stitched all I could with the colors I have on hand at the moment, so that's all there is for now.  This is definitely a pattern that will greatly benefit from the backstitching, which seems to be a common theme in Lucie's patterns.  But they're super fun to stitch and work up really quick!

The second pattern I pulled is a card design called Best Friends Share from a really old copy of Cross Stitch Card Shop.


I just started this one last night, so right now it's pretty much just an orange blur, but eventually this will be two cute little kitties curled up in a basket together.

I think that catches me up with everything for now, and of course I promise to try and update more frequently, although the way life has been lately, who knows?


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Friday, March 11, 2016

Free Pattern Friday: Super March Edition!

Well, if I'm getting back into the blogging swing of things, that means Free Pattern Friday is also due for a return.  Since I've missed the past few weeks, I have a super sized edition with 3 different free cross stitch pattern links to share!  Actually, this could even be considered an "international edition" of FPF.

First of all, March is my birthday month, so I'm going to spend FPF's sharing charts with one of my favorite sweets: cupcakes!   This is a cute and sweet (no pun intended) chart from one of my favorite UK designers, Lesley Teare.  It's the perfect size for stitching up and making a quick little birthday card, keychain, or magnet.  You can find the pattern and key to save in JPEG format on Lesley's blog archive.

And since my birthday is coming up this weekend specifically in March, I also have a cute little birthday chart to share.  This cute little bear and his snail friend are surrounded by lots of colorful confetti and comes from the Russian design blog Aliolka Designs.  Normally finding cross stitch patterns on Russian websites indicates a red flag for pirated patterns, but I'm happy to report this blog is totally legit!  She even has some alternative color schemes for this same pattern on the post if you're interested in changing the colors up a bit.  The pattern for this design can be found here in JPEG format.

And last but not least, March is also the time of Saint Patrick's Day (which is also the birthday of one of my oldest friends).  St. Patty's is not until next week, but since FPF will come the day after, now is time to share a themed chart.  It's actually the perfect design for when Easter is in March like it is this year because it combines Irish themeing into a Faberge style Easter egg.  This comes from the Facebook page of another one of my favorite UK designers, Durene Jones.  You can find the chart for this free cross stitch pattern here, although I think you might have to log in to Facebook to access it. 

Happy stitching!
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If you ever come across one of my posts that contains a chart that breaks copyright law, please email me and let me know right away. In picking and posting my free cross stitch pattern posts, I make every effort to ensure the designs I share are legitimately free charts.