Friday, 27 March 2015

SFS - March


For more information as to what Stitch From Stash (SFS) is, please click the button above.

From last month the carry over was € 8.14

This month:

Month: March
Spent: € 42.83
Earned: € 25.50
Carry over: ( € 25.50 + €8.14 + € 25.00) - € 42.83 = € 15.81

My spending:

Unfortunately the Kreinik Solar Silver I got last month was not enough to complete the stitching of Wolf so I had to order more, of course when ordering one wants to at least make it worth while, so a few additional bits found their way into my basket.
In addition to the 2 spools of Solar Silver, a spool of petite facets as well as DMC Memory Thread 6200 (not in photo), DMC Colour Variation Thread 4025 and 4240 (neither in photo) were added. Total cost: € 19.27

It also became clear that I had nowhere near as many beads as I needed for Wolf so I had to go and get more.
I got 2 x 2 different types of dragon beads to add to what I had already and as I was planning to bead another section of Wolf I got some beads I thought would suit, sadly this was not to be, he didn't like them and I ended up stitching the area. To get the free shipping I spent a small amount extra (which is less than the shipping costs so worth it) and got myself the white beads. I also had a 5% coupon which I used for this order. Total cost: € 20.66

I also found that the shop that sells the cases got them in so I was able to order them too - as well as more boxes, though after Carla's gift (see below) I had to order even more cases and boxes! These do not count fortunately or I would really have issues money wise hehe.

I ran short of black floss so got some more as well as some needles and a new type of needle threader, which has so far proved it doesn't break as fast as the wire ones. As only the skeins count for SFS the cost was: € 2.90

Gifts:


This was my lucky month! First of all my bf surprised me with these large 6 x 8mm Swarovski beads
The shop where I bought all the storage boxes gave me these: 
If you want to read all about the storage of my beads have a look here: So.. I got organising...  

The shop where I got the dragon beads gave me these:
Last, but certainly not least, Carla blessed me with the Gift Of Stash - and more! The photo below is a tad hazy, it was a quick excited photo made with my tablet shortly after it all arrived. The 3 patterns are Stephanie Seabrook Hedgepath's Rescue the Rain Forest, Graphworks International's Age of Romance: Beauty and the Beast, and Sitka Stitches Designs' Totemic Whale.
If you look carefully you can see the amazing DRAGON! I have never had a needle minder before so will need to see how that works for me. I later found out that the ribbons and lace were from her friend Leah - such an awesome gift!
 
This is what it all looks like after bobbinating and sorting into bead boxes - 65 in total so you can see why I needed to get more. It has all been merged into my stash now giving me even more options when I make things.

My subscription stuff:

I have a monthly subscription at Jodyri for the monthly hand dyed fabric, monthly hand dyed thread and a subscription for a set of 5 threads from the standard collection, however it's not yet arrived so I can't show it now.

My earnings:

This is the place where I make my spending somewhat less scary and where you get even more pretty photo's to look at! 

The March ornaments:
This month I finished 2 ornaments using the pattern I've made for my Ornament of the Month SAL. The fabric is 16ct antique white Aida that I got last summer when I was in the UK and the threads are from my stash, most of which were collected before 1995 though of course I have since added any new colours and topped up colours I finished. The beads I used are also from my stash. The thread I used for the hanging loops is craft thread my bf gave me last September. 
















The bigger ornament is 47 stitches square and the smaller one 35 stitches square so each ornament earns me $ 4.00 each for a total of $ 8.00 which according to the currency converter today is € 7.29



Celtic Wolf:
I finished all of the cross stitching and back stitching this month so decided to use those stitches now as earnings rather than waiting for the beading to be completed as they do not count. I checked with Mel, who confirmed that the beads don't count as they are new and said that to cover for the fact that the fabric is new and not from stash we are counting half of the stitches, which I think is fair.
I adjusted the size of the grid to remove the area that might have been covered with the beads as they don't count anyway and took half of each side's stitch count which came to 67 x 77 stitches. This means that I can count $ 8.00 for Wolf which converts to € 7.29

The Fob a Month March edition:
I have started a second SAL: a Fob a Month where each month I stitch a scissors fob and share the pattern here on my blog, with the main aim being to use what I have to hand and try and avoid buying anything new. This month I made this:



The fob is 24 stitches square on each side which gives it an earnings value of 2 x $ 2.00 which converts to € 3.64

The Sophie Card:
I also stitched a freebie from the CrossStitcher magazine: Sophie Card. I added more of the accessories than perhaps was intended by the creators but it was fun doing so.

It is 35 x 37 stitches which gives it an earnings value of $ 4.00 which converts to € 3.64

The needle book: 
And lastly during the IHSW I designed and stitched this little needle book, which you can read about here: ISHW end report & a finish. You can find the pattern here: Pattern: Blue floral needle book
The embroidery part is 35 x 48 stitches which gives it an earnings value of $ 4.00 which converts to € 3.64

This brings my total earnings at:  € 7.29 + 7.29 + € 3.64 + € 3.64 + € 3.64 = € 25.50

I need to get better at using my stash for things, preferably the older stuff!



Pattern: Blue floral needle book

On Wednesday I posted photo's of my needle book that I'd designed and stitched during IHSW. Today I'm back with the pattern and finishing instructions for it. I'm a big fan of adjusting patterns to colours that suit you so please do change them to something you like! If you don't have something look in your stash and see what you do have that might work, it's how this embroidery came about too.

What I used to make mine:
  • A piece of 18ct Aida or 36ct linen that is about 6 1/2" x 9 1/4" (After embroidery it needs to be cut to 4 1/2" x 7 1/4" if you are comfortable with less space around as you stitch that is the minimum you need)
  • A piece of fabric for the inside of 4 1/2" x 7 1/4"
  • A piece of batting of 4" x 6 3/4"
  • 2 pieces of felted wool of 3 1/2"x 5". I used 2 colours but one is fine.
  • A button to match that's not bigger than 1/2"
  • Sewing thread
  • DMC variegated threads:
    • 67
    • 90
    • 101
    • 103
    • 122
  • DMC Colour variations:
    • 4020 - Tropical Waters
  • Kreinik Silk Mori Milkpaint:
    •  0416 - Very Dark Hemlock
  • Kreinik blending filament:
    • 085 - Peacock
Key:
Stitching:
ยช    90
³    103
*    67
"    4020
Back stitching:
122    Flower stalk on the right
101    Flower stalk on the left
Kreinik Silk Mori Milkpaint     Stalks and leaves of the dark blue flowers
Kreinik Blending filament        Butterflies








Instructions:

  • Fold the Aida in half and make a crease, then fold the right hand side into 4 to find the middle. This is the place to start counting from to stitch.
  • Count 10 stitches to the right starting from the last cross stitch on the right and make a button hold stitch loop, I used only 1 strand of floss for the starting loop but more is perhaps more practical. A nice tutorial showing how to do this can be found here: Ysolda.com: sewn button loops
  • Once the stitching is done press the embroidery carefully with a not too hot iron - you don't want to accidentally melt the blending filament.
  • To trim the embroidery to 4 1/2" x 7 1/4" you need to start by measuring 1/4" from the stitch after the loop you just made. Mark this line.
  • Next count 12 stitches down from the lowest flower stalk/leaves on the bottom, add 1/4" then mark this line as well.
  • The 3rd cutting line is found by counting 13 stitches above the last stitch of the tall flowers and add 1/4", mark this line.
  • The last cutting line is found by measuring 4 1/2" from the butterfly. Mark this line and then cut out the embroidery.
  • Place the batting on the back of the lining fabric making sure it's 1/4" from the edges on all sides. 
  • Baste the batting in place making sure that if you knot your thread the knot is on the good side of the fabric so you can easily remove the basting later. You can also use temporary fabric adhesive for this.
  • Place the fabric good sides together onto the embroidery making sure that if your fabric is directional it's pointing the same way up as the embroidery. Turn it over so the embroidery side is facing up and pin the layers together.
  • Stitch the layers together starting about 1" away from the middle lower seam. I used a back stitch as I like to be 100% certain nothing will come loose.
  • Stop stitching about 2" away from your starting point, you need quite a big gap to get it all through and if the hole is too small you might damage the embroidery fabric making closing the last bit very complicated (it happened to me so umm yeah...)
  • Cut the corners off at the diagonal making sure you do not damage the seam so you get nicer points once turned.
  • Carefully turn the needle case the right way round, use a knitting needle or chopstick to press the corners out.
  • Make sure the batting is nice and flat before carefully sewing the last bit of seam closed.
  • Remove the basting.
  • Count 9 stitches from the butterfly on the left. Mark this with a line that goes from top to bottom line.
  • Count 11 more stitches from this point and mark that with a parallel line.
  • Using one of the blues make stitches using 2 threads that go through all 3 layers, make sure you do the stitches over 2 Aida squares or 4 threads and skip the same distance before making the next.
  • Leave the thread loose at the end as you will need to go back in a moment.
  • Do the same with the other line. 
  • Place the needle book embroidery side to the table.
  • Fold each piece of the wool felt in half and finger press to find the centre line. 
  • Place this line onto the line of stitches you can see on the inside. Make sure it's centred top to bottom - about 1/4" from the edges.
  • Pin in place. Turn the needle case over again and rethread your needle. This time make the stitches in the spaces you left open making sure you also stitch through the felt. Finish off the thread and then do the same with the other piece of felt.
  • Sew the button onto the back edge making sure it's not too big for the loop and is centred.
  • If you like you can now mark your pages with the needle size.
I hope you enjoy the pattern and have fun making one yourself! If you have any questions please do ask, you might just not only help yourself but someone else too.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

ISHW end report & a finish

 
So as it happens I didn't post on Monday about what I did during the IHSW nor on Tuesday - but today I am so all is good in the world again! What I didn't do was add more beads to Wolf. I also didn't finish the Dylon project nor did I do a single stitch on the tiny I have going. So far all we have is a lot of stuff I didn't do however I did do something else! I designed a new pattern while chatting with Carla in her hangout on Saturday, then I stitched it while talking with her and later with my bf on Skype and I completed it while again chatting with Carla in the hangout! Quite a productive series of person to person chats I have to say and I'm very pleased with the results.

It's made entirely with materials I had to hand as the shops were closed so I was unable to do any shopping. I used mostly DMC variegated threads as they are more natural for flowers and stems. The tall stems of flowers each use a different colour of thread to add even more variation. I have some Kreinik Silk Mori Milkpaint 0416 in my stash and decided to try that out - it's the darker green thread for the flowers at the bottom. Last of all I used some Kreinik blending filament 085 peacock to make some back stitch butterflies.

I used a bit of 18ct white Aida left over from another project. I used some wheat Hoffmans Bali batik for the inner cover and 2 pieces of wool fabric I have had for many years - they came in one of the Moda fabric tins many moons ago. The button I found in a basket while looking for something else and thought it was a nice shiny blue that would suit the embroidery. I included a layer of thin cotton batting to give the cover some oompf
Top view where you can see that the 4 pages of the book completely fill the spine.
Side view: Unfortunately the light is gone so I can't re-take this photo as it doesn't actually have this squished together look when it's laid flat, it's just that I forgot to adjust it a bit before taking the photo.

Open - the numbers on the pages are the number of the needle size so I know which is which, added with felt tip pen so probably not the best method.

If all goes to plan I shall be posting the pattern of this on Friday.

Oh btw - for those of you who know Carla but have lost her, it's because the name changed on her blog and Blogger now thinks it was deleted (instead of being clever and redirecting people to the correct place), the right place is here: Alaska Wolf Pack. Please adjust any bookmarks, buttons to her misc projects etc if you haven't already, Thank you!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

IHSW & TUSAL


It's been a while since I last did a IHSW post, not really sure why - it's just not happened. If you are wondering what IHSW is just click the button above and you will find out all - and hopefully join in too! This weekend I plan on having some fun with Dylon paints and some fabric and thread as well as complete a tiny I'm working on and maybe also add some more beads to Celtic Wolf. The last time anyone saw Celtic Wolf he looked like this:
The whole bit of unstitched grey is to be covered in beads - if I stitched it, it would be over 4500 stitches but it will be a lot less beads hopefully!

I shall return with a report of what I've done over the weekend on Monday.


Now it's time for the TUSAL part of this post. Please click the button above to find out more - it will explain all about this slightly mad but ever so fun SAL.
I've been a busy bee the past month working very hard on Celtic Wolf - most of the shiny thread you can see in my jar is from him, as well as the darker reds, blues and greens. I took some time out from him to work on my Ornament of the Month, which added some lighter blues to the jar.





This is, for those that don't read my blog often, a SAL I host over on another site: Nerd Central Command International Headquarters - or NCCIH for short, which is also slightly less of a mouthful. Click the button to the left to be taken to the first 3 free patterns.


After I'd completed the cross stitch of Celtic Wolf I started the beading, which I can only do in daylight due to the sparkly nature of the beads and my eyesight, so I started stitching some other things in the evenings. Initially I made a new fob which is the first of my new Fob a Month series of free patterns that I host on this blog: A Fob a Month, which added a lot of bright colours to the top of my jar.







Right at the very top are the threads of the Sophie Card kit that I am stitching right now - it's almost finished as I only need to complete the back stitching and then decide which clothes I want to add.

So all in all a very productive TUSAL month! On the less productive months I'm even more happy I keep track of my threads as I can then remind myself that I did actually do something.

Friday, 20 March 2015

A Fob a Month - 1

This started, as is often the case, with a conversation between some friends and I. In this case it started with the idea that it would be nice to have a different pair of scissors for each season - or at least for Halloween. I said that it was possible to have that without the cost of buying new scissors by simply making a fob you can swap to as the seasons change. Of course I had to then go and make this happen so here I am.

The idea is to make a new fob each month - it may or may not be directly linked to the month's special days, sometimes it might be more seasonal than others but the main point is to have a bit of fun on a small project so you have a chance to perhaps try out that new type of thread or a colour combination you might not otherwise try.  All colours I suggest are exactly that - suggestions. If you want to make yours different please do! That is what will make it uniquely yours, which is a wonderful thing.

I will supply the patterns(s) needed as well as any templates to make your life easier when assembling it - if I think it will be helpful I will link to places that show how to do something I have done in case you don't already know a technique. I will also suggest an alternate method of assembly if there is more than one. Each new pattern will be posted on the 3rd Friday of the month.
This month I was inspired by 2 things: Spring and St Patrick's Day. The front of the fob is a bright and sunny stylised flower while the back is 2 greens making a Celtic style pattern. The pattern is 24 stitches square.

What you need to make the example above:
  • 2 pieces of 4" square of 28ct linen (mine was tea dyed)
  • DMC thread in the following colours:
    • 164    light forest green
    • 307    lemon
    • 444    dark lemon
    • 740    tangerine
    • 741    medium tangerine 
    • 910    dark emerald green
    • 947    burnt orange
  • 35" of green craft thread to make the cord (you can use DMC as well of course)
  • Your stuffing of choice

Note: The pattern has the templates included this month - the black lines are the sewing lines and the brown lines are the cutting lines.

Instructions: First stitch the two sides of the fob or, if you prefer, just do one side and use another fabric for the back. Only the flower has some back stitching which was done with 164 along the outer edges and 947 inside the flower.

If you wish to use the closing method often used for a biscornu then back stitch the black lines on both the front and the back, then cut them out using the template or a short way away from the back stitching. Whip stitch the sides together right sides out. Include the cord along one of the sides with the green leaves and stuff before closing the last seam.

Otherwise cut out along the cutting lines, tuck in the cord so it aligns with one of the green leaves, then sew right sides together leaving an opening to turn. Turn, stuff, and sew the final seam shut.
















How to do a biscornu closure by none other than my dear friend Carla: The Correct Way to Make A Biscornu Part One you don't need to start in the middle for this particular shape as we are not making the corners at right angles to each other but the way of sewing them together is what I'm pointing to.

If the colours I used are not to your taste you could, for example, make a pink flower and back using DMC 600, 602 and 605.

I hope you enjoy this pattern! Please do let me know if you make it - I'd love to see what you have done!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Celtic Wolf - WIP post 31 + Announcement


Monday saw the end of the embroidery and the start of the beading - or so I thought. As it turned out I had trouble working from top to bottom and getting the beads to stay even slightly flat and close together so I ripped it all out and started again - at the bottom. This went much better and I was able to slowly start adding beads. I can only do a few at a time as otherwise my back lets me know in no uncertain terms that this is not on and threatens to go on strike.
This is how I sit and bead, which gives me both hands free to do so - this is good as I need one hand to hold the bead where I want it and the other for my needle. You are of course wanting to see the progress since I restarted - it's a grand total of 32 beads - not much unfortunately but I'm sure things will speed up once I'm feeling better and have done a few hundred more.
As you can see it's not all that much, but it's progress none the less. As the beading will be so much slower I am going to reduce the number of posts about Wolf but that will give me space to talk about the things I stitch in the evening after the beading "window" is over.

A sneak preview of the back & colours used.
If you thought that was the announcement then I'm afraid you were wrong! I have decided to start sharing a pattern a month to make a scissor fob, the idea for me is to have something that's small, portable and easy(ish) to make - it may be single or double sided but it will have a free pattern to make the sample I will show and I'll try and include finishing instructions as well. The best part of these patterns will be that you can choose to do them in the colours I chose or use whatever you have lying around or a new thread you want to try out, after all a small fob is perfect to experiment with!

See you tomorrow - with something else - not sure what myself lol.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Celtic Wolf - WIP post 30

Sunday's progress can be seen above - I was *so* close to finishing the cheek area! Yesterday I was able to complete the stitching despite being ill. I then washed and gently pressed Wolf to get all the creases out from folding and pinning the excess fabric out of the way. Due to the amount of metallic thread I didn't press the embroidered part for very long and only on a really low heat with a pressing cloth, which wasn't enough to dry him out. As I can't move the hoop to cover areas that have been beaded I decided it was time to get out my old quilting hoop and see if that would be the right size for Wolf - it is, just - but it works. I pinned the corners that stuck out on the right out of the way to the back so I couldn't get the thread caught on them.
Because he was still rather on the damp side I waited till after dinner to start beading and then found out that what with my visual issues and the sparkliness of the beads I was unable to see the hole in the bead to stitch it down - the one bead you see took me a good 2-3 minutes to do, which isn't exactly speedy. It takes 2 stitches to balance the bead to point in the direction I want it to as I'm planning on letting the point of the bead follow the curve of the area. To start with I'll be using Kreinik Vatican gold cord as the thread for the beads, which will hopefully sparkle as much as the beads themselves, otherwise I'll give another thread a go.
These are the dragon scale beads - I have 3 different colours mixed together to make it more interesting to see when it's complete. I will be adding them completely randomly, even if this means having a group of the same together. The colours I'm using are: Crystal Copper Rainbow, Crystal Capri Gold and Crystal California Gold Rush.


Stitches done: 171
Beads done: 1
Total stitches:  13106
Total backstitches: 63.62 inches
Stitches left: 0

See you tomorrow with hopefully more beads attached!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Celtic Wolf - WIP post 29

Saturday's progress got me very close to the end of the stitching but not quite past the finish line. Yesterday I finished the planned stitching and back stitching. I also made a decision about what to do with the cheek and decided in the end that stitching was the way to go. I looked at my threads and felt that going with gold would be my best bet but as I wanted a slightly different shade than I already had I needed to blend threads. I chose E3821 and E3852 and used one thread of each. This made using the threads a bit more difficult as you need to fix the thread to the needle with a loop to avoid the thread splitting too much, which required shorter bits of thread than I'm used to for DMC but it has been working out for me.
This has of course added some stitches to the total but on the whole it's not all that much really. Unfortunately I was not able to complete the stitching yesterday as hoped as I wasn't feeling too well and still am not but as there are only 171 stitches left of the cheek I think I can make it today.

Stitches done: 196 & 20.86 inches of XL backstitch.
Total stitches:  12935
Total backstitches: 63.62 inches
Stitches left: 171

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Celtic Wolf - WIP post 28

Friday brought me closer to the end - with just 839 stitches left to do I hoped I'd be able to complete the main part of the stitching yesterday. Sadly I was not able to do so despite my best effort. A weekend with the kids home means they need time and attention and although I was up till silly o'clock I had to admit defeat before I was finished.
As you can see there isn't much left to do stitching wise - just 81 stitches left! Oh and 20.81 inches of XL back stitch but who's counting? I'm still unsure about the cheek area so have not added that to the total left to do yet. Either way it's not all that much so I should be able to complete it today AND get to do some beading at last!

Stitches done:758
Total stitches:  12739
Total backstitches: 42.76 inches
Stitches left: 81

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Celtic Wolf - WIP post 27

Yesterday I showed you Thursday's progress, not so much but still not the least amount of progress I have made. Yesterday I had to do some cleaning as my evil house does not clean itself, although admittedly it might be creepy if it did. My eldest son also descended with a friend wanting to dig out some old computers from the shed and see if they can make a working computer from all the bits - this should have had them off doing stuff but somehow it required a whole string of questions that came every few minutes, leading to me losing count, having to frog stitch and finally giving up on embroidery till the friend had gone. It also didn't help that they wanted me to see if some of the old hard drives worked which meant shutting down my computer, which is where I have the pattern for Wolf, adding the hard drive and then starting the computer again... and again... and again... till all of them had been checked.

Once the friend had gone home I settled down to do the last bit of dark blue I could reach (only have 22 left to do) and then the red (still have 3 stitches left of this colour) then I moved on to do some medium blue. Because I wanted to move the hoop so I could reach that last little corner I decided to first do the ear which I chose to use Kreinik 025 for a lighter shiny grey than the DMC E313 I was originally planning.
If you look carefully you can see the subtle shine of the grey, which is not as similar to the background as the photo seems to imply. This non holographic Kreinik is *so* nice to stitch with! It's a lot smoother to work with as it's not as stiff and "crunchy" which meant I could use slightly longer lengths and didn't have to mess around knotting stuff. I will however add that the slightly more difficult holographic threads look amazing and are totally worth the effort!

One thing I am less happy about is that none of the beads I have or recently got for the cheek area are ones that Wolf is happy with leading me to start wondering if I should stitch this area after all - it would only add another 286 stitches to the total so wouldn't take long to do but I don't want the same colours as I already have in use so I need to think this one through a bit more.

Stitches done: 444
Total stitches:  11981
Total backstitches: 42.76 inches
Stitches left: 839

See you tomorrow when I'll hopefully have made up my mind about the cheek.