Friday, 25 January 2013

IHSW, TAST, and more

I didn't get as much time as I'd hoped to stitch during the IHSW, nor did I have as much energy as I'd like - I'd seriously underestimated how long it takes to recover from pneumonia and how easily I tire still, which is also why this post is so late - I just have not had the energy left after dealing with everything else.

What I did manage to achieve was a start on a bookmark for a special someone, which I finished last night. The completed bookmark is 7" x 1 " / 17,5 x 2,5 cm. the little blue figure is a Lego minifig the recipient chose from their collection for me to use as the inspiration. He said that he thought the minifig looked dead because of the X eyes and the fact that he's lying down which he thought was extra fun - that's kids for you lol. The name is done with red variegated thread, the rest with standard DMC floss. Made on a scrap of 18 ct Aida.

I sewed one of the two Elements biscornu's together - the fire and water one, which I won't include now as it's not yet got the button on, looks exactly the same as the last one and I'll make a separate post with both of them once completed.

I also cut out 2 cloaks from fleece for the kids that I still need to sew together, and, as there isn't much to look at apart from a pile of fleece I won't be showing photo's of them yet either.

This year I'm joining in with the Take A Stitch Tuesday project where every Tuesday (or almost every Tuesday) a wonderful lady shows how different embroidery stitches are done. Since I want to expand my stitch knowledge this seems like a good thing for me to join in with and hopefully it will be fun to do. One of my many UFO's was a partially finished frame that I couldn't remember what I had started it for. I realised that this would make the perfect frame for me to try and do all the TAST stitches in, hopefully also creating a pretty picture in the process.
 I have already done this weeks stitches for this - not much as I don't want to run out of space prematurely and I can always add more later. I am also working on completing the frame of cross stitching.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Elements biscornu's + IHSW

This weekend is IHSW and, although the kids are home this weekend I still hope to mostly complete the two Elements biscornu's (I still need to buy new buttons for the centres but I'll do that when there is less snow on the ground). I may also finally get round to measuring out the fabric needed for my large project of the year and dying the fabric several shades darker to give it a nice background before I start working on it. 

Not embroidery related but still stitching: I need to appliqué the 12 months of Christmas project circle to a background so I can continue that, this will be done by hand so I also consider this stitching. 

A couple of days ago I made this and uploaded it to deviantArt but was too dead afterwards to also make a post here, so here it is after all:
It's freezing cold outside, with snow ankle deep on the ground and, as I've got pneumonia (on the mend though - the antibiotics seem to be helping), it's best I don't go outside unless it's a dire emergency. However we are running out of bread and don't have enough for lunch, so I had to bake something. Times like this I'm not really up to kneading bread so I dug out my favourite spelt bread recipe which requires no kneading at all!

This recipe is one ANYONE can make as long as you have the ingredients and an oven. The first time I made this I didn't include any of the seeds and it worked nicely as well, though I'd suggest adding a bit of extra flour to compensate for no seeds otherwise it will be too wet.

This time I pulled out all the stops and didn't just add sunflower, sesame seed and linseed but also pumpkin (50 gr) and poppy seed (15 gr) and I scattered sunflower and pumpkin seed on top as well.

I'm really happy how this one came out and can't wait to see the kids reactions when they get home for lunch as they LOVE fresh home made bread :)
 They did in fact LOVE the bread and it had completely disappeared by the next day!
All 4 sides are now complete. I had to do quite a bit of ripping as I'd miscounted the width of the darker blue one and also miscounted the hight of the green one. as I was lazy and didn't count the fire one but used the green and blue ones as guides I ended up with the fire one being one stitch too high AND one stitch too wide. So out it all came and I re-did the sides I'd miscounted. I also had to do a bit more ripping on two of the spokes of the fire one as I'd missed a corner stitch. After I'd taken the photo's I also noticed that I'd missed a single stitch on the dark blue corner spokes but decided that as it wouldn't be noticeable on the completed product I would leave it as is (on the fire ones it would have been noticeable as the backstitching would have been almost touching in places).

All I need to do to complete these is cut them out, stitch them together and stuff them.

For those of you wondering how my health is: The antibiotics have been doing their job and I'm much better - didn't need any naps today and haven't felt totally exhausted just by being awake and pottering around a little.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Air, earth and water biscornus + TUSAL

I did remember to get the green thread I needed to complete the earth biscornu on the way from the doctors to the pharmacy (I literally have to bike past the shop so didn't go out of my way) so was able to finish the earth biscornu side. I am in the middle of doing the water side of the fire and water biscornu - this time in plain embroidery cotton and not silk. The red backstitching is the frame for the fire side.

I've not been all that well for a while now and the visit to the doctor was to see what was up. Turns out my cold wasn't a cold but pneumonia so I've been told to rest lots and have been given horse sized antibiotics tablets that I somehow have to take (Since I can't swallow pills in general these are impossible so they get broken into 2 halves, crushed into smithereens, mixed with the really sour oj I hate and knocked back like I'm drinking shooters). Resting lots means lots of sleeping and reading/embroidering to me so I'll see how much I get done in the coming days.
It being TUSAL time of the month (see the link in the bar on the left hand side for more info) I've made a photo of the jar I started in December. It contains threads from the clown embroidery I finished and the air, earth and water biscornus I have been working on. Not as much as previous months but well.. I also do other stuff hehe.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Air and earth biscornu: Update

Things are progressing on the biscornu front - or at least they were till I ran out of the darkest green (699) that I'm using. You may notice that the X is missing from the top right corner - that's because I just ripped it out due to me forgetting to do the first stitch on the corner, as I'd only removed the stitches in the corner I had to fiddle with the ends to tidy up the ends.

I need to go close to the shop where I can get more thread tomorrow morning so I've decided to wait till then to get more. In the mean time I'll start work on the fire and water #2 as the first will be heading to a certain someone in Alaska soon ;-)

Size of embroidery before being sewn : 2 1/4" / 5,75 cm square
Size of completed biscornu will be approx.: 1 1/2" / 4 cm square
Fabric: 18 ct Aida

The Air side:
Colours used: ecru, 3753 (light blue), 932 (slightly darker blue) and 931 (darkest blue)
Total number of cross stitches: 632
Total number of backstitches: 488

The Earth side:
Colours used: 722 (lightest green), 703 (light green), 701 (slightly darker green) and 699 (darkest green)
Total number of cross stitches: 632
Total number of backstitches: 404

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

12 Months of Christmas


 I can hear you thinking "what on earth is she talking about? Christmas was last month, it doesn't last all year!" and you are entirely correct, it doesn't last all year. What this is, is a new plan of mine that I thought of because I was disappointed that I just didn't find enough time in the run up to Christmas to make some additional Christmas decorations as I had planned. So, I thought to myself, "What can I do to have the additional home made decorations without running out of time?" And the answer was actually quite simple: make something each month during the year. Each month I hope to find time to make something new and I will share the result. If I create the pattern myself I will also share it, otherwise I will direct you to where I got the idea/pattern from, however the plan is to think of each months creation myself. 

Some things I've been thinking of making but never got round to:
  • Place mats 
  • Additional baubles 
  • Wall hanging (this might take more than a month) 
  • A new door wreath (can't use real foliage due to allergies) 
  • Napkins (Christmas deserves real fabric napkins) 
  • Napkin rings/holders
Since I'm all about using what I already have as much as possible I'll certainly delve into the boxes of bits and pieces I've collected over the years, not to mention my rather sizeable fabric, bead and thread stash. I'll be sewing, quilting, embroidering and who knows what else to make these projects and my hope is that I don't need spend a penny on the projects and that I can do them all from my stash.

The First project:

I had a 16 inch wide x width of fabric striped Christmas fabric that inspired me to start project 1 - what will probably become a tree skirt. I cut it using a 9 degree circle wedge template and cut it in such a way that the pattern continued all the way round the circle - a rather wasteful way of cutting BUT it achieved the pattern I wanted. This is what the fabric looked like while cutting:

I only wish my fabric had been wider - just a few more inches would have meant I could get 10 slices out of the width instead of 8 making it a 1/4 per run of cuts that I got out of the fabric which then in turn would have meant I got a nice complete pattern all the way round. Halfway sewn - you can see how much smaller it gets when the seam allowance is used:
And this is them all sewn together - to make a full circle I'd have needed 40 sections but I only got 38 from the fabric.:

At the moment it's on my bed with different fabrics underneath while I decide what borders to give it as it's a bit too short to cover up the basket my fake tree sits in.

As you can see it's a really effective way of using a striped fabric and really easy too!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Air and Earth Biscornu - Side 1: Air complete.

Today I finally finished the air side of the second biscornu. This one took quite a bit longer to make than the last one - mostly because I didn't do much embroidery over Christmas.

Size of embroidery before being sewn : 2 1/4" / 5,75 cm square
Size of completed biscornu will be approx.: 1 1/2" / 4 cm square
Fabric: 18 ct Aida

The Air side:
Colours used: ecru, 3753 (light blue), 932 (slightly darker blue) and 931 (darkest blue)
Total number of cross stitches: 632
Total number of backstitches: 324 +  164 around the edges (still to do)

Saturday, 5 January 2013

First Finish of the year: UFO #9 - Clown

This is my first Finish of the year and also the first finish for the Finish It In 2013 Project

It had gone unfinished for 2 reasons:
1. When I was originally working on it I made a mistake in counting and this is probably why I chucked it aside. I had, of course, forgotten this by the time I got round to working on it again so I adjusted the pattern a little to "fix" the issues as I worked on it, as there was no way I was going to rip anything out.
2. I had lost the pattern so thought I couldn't finish it till I had a good look at the cover image of the kit and realised that the picture showed the crosses well enough and, as I still had the threads that went with the kit, I could finish it after all.

It's not perfect but it's done and that to me is the most important bit for this particular project.

The stats:
Size: 3 3/9 inch x 3 6/8 inch / 8,5 x 9,5 cm
Aida: 14 ct / 5 squares per cm
Colours: 14 not sure which though as the packet doesn't say. 

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Finish It In 2013 project

So this year I want to complete ALL my remaining cross stitch UFO's fortunately it's not as big a job as it may seen as I already did a chunk last year as many of you may have seen already.

New Project:

I am also going to start a "large" and complicated new cross stitch project this year based on a photograph by a really talented Alaskan photographer who was incredibly kind and said I could make a cross stitch of it. The photographer is Mike Gates, go check out his site - his work is amazing!

The pattern was made for me as a prize for winning a competition on dA. It's 10 inches wide  x 14 1/2 inches high = 180 x 261 stitches on 18 ct Aida and it uses 147 colours. I am truly intimidated but I did ask for the pattern to be as close to the photo as possible and didn't limit size or colours and I certainly got what I asked for!

The Current WIP's:

Sagittarius star sign by Lanarte - central area complete

Air and Earth Biscornu -  1st colour (of 4) of the air side done.

Clown 1/4 finished - pattern lost, but picture clear enough to work from.

The UFO's:

8th century tile floor embroidery in greens and blues.

2 sleeping bunnies - a Priscilla babyland embroidery - about half done but I *so* hate doing 1/4 and 3/4 cross stitches.
Dog embroidery (portrait) made from a photo years ago by a company - about 1/5th done.

Dog embroidery (standing) made from a photo years ago by a company - barely started.

Autumn leaves needle book WIP - embroidery is 1/2 finished.

Sampler - barely started