Come visit with me as I stitch and craft my way from one Christmas to the next - I like to have Christmas projects close by me all year. I have a particular fondness for Santas and Angels. If you have the time, leave a comment so I know you've visited.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Have to get out those charts soon ...

I'll be going camping for a week soon, and there's no way I want to take my floorstand with me, so I'll be having to decide on a small project/s to take with me. I think I'll stitch a Christmas ornament for my great-nephew. He's one of the children I stitch an ornie for each year. So, I'll get my Christmas charts out today and try and decide on a design. Luckily, he's only 2, so I can recall what I've stitched for him in the past. Some of the children I stitch for are teenagers now, and there are many times when I wish I'd kept a photo record of the ornies I've stitched for them over the years. Many a time I have agonised over a design, knowing I have stitched it before, but not remembering who the recipient was.

My planned camping trip has also caused me to think about the Totally Useless SAL. Much as I love my big glass jar, I don't fancy taking it on an outing. So, I've decided to switch to a zip-lock bag for ort collection, and transfer the contents into my jar when I return. I think I'll keep a zip-lock bag with my stitching basket at home too, and transfer the contents to the jar at the end of each stitching session (or every couple of days when I'm feeling lazy). That will limit the chances of my jar tumbling gracefully to the slate floor when I accidentally nudge my basket with my floor-frame, as almost happened last night. Of course, I was enthralled in the Australian Open tennis semifinal match at the time (yay, Nadal!), so I wasn't giving my ort jar the consideration it has grown used to.

Week 2 progress pic, HAED JOF

My progress at the end of my second week of stitching - does it look like 84 hours work? I think not. But I can assure you that it took me 84 hrs to achieve this much. I'll be very happy to move on to whites and reds once I get to the bottom half of page 2 - I'm a bit 'over' blues right now.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My first milestone reached ...

I have just placed the final stitches in page 1 of Jolly Old Fellow. Major HD for me! I'll be back later to put in a progress pic.

I have to admit to being a trifle disappointed with the floss coverage. I prefer a fuller coverage of the fabric. I guess that's because when I started stitching I used 18 count Aida and 2 strands of floss, and that covered the fabric well. I obviously got used to a full coverage. I've used 1 strand before when stitching on 22 count and didn't notice any problem, but those items were smaller, background not stitched, and most probably dark blue (not my favourite colour!) didn't feature heavily in the designs. I'm going to persevere with the 1 strand of floss for the sky, but I think for the Santa I'll switch to 3 or 4 strands of floss and tent(continental?) stitch. I'm going to trial a few variations before I start stitching, and see what pleases me most.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm getting excited ...

I willl finish page 1 of my HAED Jolly Old Fellow sometime today. And the best thing about that is that on page 2 I'll be stitching something other than sky! Finally I'll get to use the colours that I associate with Santa - reds and whites. Joy!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Totally Useless SAL

I know I'm a few hours early (and of course down under we're a day ahead of most people anyway)- but Jan 26 happens to be Australia Day as well as being the New Moon - and I'll be out celebrating all day, with no chance to stitch or to sit at the computer. So, here's the pic of my ORT jar as it will be on Jan 26. The blue threads are from my current project - HAED Jolly Old Fellow. As well as threads, my jar contains an empty reel from DMC fil or I used in some Christmas fridge magnets, and the tags from some DMC floss.

Week 1 survived!

I can hardly believe that it is just one week since I started my HAED Jolly Old Fellow. It has been an interesting week, and I have learned SO much about myself. Until now I had no idea that I was such a results-oriented person. To have stitched for 46 hours this week, and only just half-finished page 1 of 36 ... takes some adjustment for me! And no Santa in sight yet - just sky. I had never realised that the part I like most about stitching is actually finishing the stitching! I guess the fact that I finished 200+ (mostly small) items last year may have given me a clue, but no. So, this project is going to be a major challenge for me. I have calculated that if I continue to stitch at my current rate (about 45 hrs per week) it will take 60 weeks to finish. That's assuming that I stitch only on Jolly Old Santa. It's unlikely that I'll do that. So, my current plan is to stitch Jolly Old Fellow over 3 years. I'm aiming at finishing at least one page every month between now and August, and then I'll reassess the situation. I've never taken longer than 3 months to stitch a project before, so I'm on a steep learning curve here.

Friday, January 16, 2009

200 stitches finished ... 203,400 stitches to go

I've made a start on HAED Jolly Old Fellow. I'm stitching it on Hardanger 22, over 1, with 1 strand of DMC floss. The fabric piece is huge - 70 cm wide and 95cm long (28" x 37" approx). So far I've stitched the tiniest corner of the sky and used just 3 of the 90 floss shades. It's years since I used my floor-frame, and I've forgotten most of what I used to know about it. So far it's been taken to pieces and reassembled 3 times, and I think I finally have it right. I've had my floor-frame for 15 years - I know that because the floor-frame and my new puppy came into the house at the same time (as evidenced by the chewn wooden base of the frame), and my puppy is now in her 16th year. I put the floor- frame away about 4 yrs ago, when I got a lap-frame. The lap-frame is more portable and takes up less space, but I really prefer stitching on the floor-frame. It's so much easier to turn my work when it's on the floor-frame, and the lap-frame has a nasty tendency to collapse when I least expect it.

I'll be reporting progress on Jolly Old Fellow each Friday.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My 2009 Christmas Project

My heart won the battle for supremacy - so, here's the Santa I'll be stitching all this year (and probably next year as well!). It will be the biggest project I have stitched - by far. It's completely stitched (no unstitched fabric in the background). There are 36 A4 pages in the chart, and I think I'll have to enlarge the pages in order to decipher the chart (my eyes not being as good as they once were). It is 400 stitches wide x 509 high, and the stitched piece will measure 18 inches wide and 23 inches long if I stitch it over 1 on 22 count Hardanger, which is my tentative plan. It is meant to be stitched over 1 on 25 count linen, but I think that's just asking for trouble for my eyes! I'm thinking I'll use 1 strand of DMC for stitching.
I'm getting out my floor frame from its storage bag today, and I'll think about organising floss (125 skeins DMC to start with)and fabric this weekend, and I should be ready to put in the first stitches on Monday 19th January. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another 12 tiny trees fnished

I have just completed turning my12 tiny bead-decorated trees into fridge magnets. They're stitched on Aida 18, and decorated with DMC fil or, delica beads and tiny spherical gold, red, and opaque white glass beads. That's my second batch of 12 tiny trees for January. I'm going to have a change now, and make a batch of 12 tiny bead decorated wreaths, which I will also put into tiny gold frames. Half will be fridge magnets and half will be in stand-up frames.

Decision pending ...

I am really tring hard to make a decision about my 2009 Christmas project. My heart is leading me towards HAED's lovely Santa, and my practical side is mounting a heated campaign for something less time-intensive. I feel my heart may win this battle ...

A batch of fridge magnets in progress

I've stitched up another 12 tiny Christmas trees, and decorated all but 2 of them. I should finish them up as little fridge magnets tomorrow. Tomorrow being Wednesday it's our Christmas stitching SAL, so when I finish my Christmas tree fridge magnets I'll start a batch of 12 tiny wreaths to be framed/made into fridge magnets.

I've found a nice jar to use for the Totally Useless SAL. It's a nice big one, and hopefully will accommodate a year's worth of stitching left-overs. I did a test run by collecting my stitching waste for 3 days, and was astounded at the volume I collected. I was also surprised at how pretty the threads looked. Since I had been stitching tiny trees my threads were all greens, reds or gold, and they actually looked very festive together.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tiny framed Christmas trees

I've been stitching and decorating tiny Christmas trees for the last couple of days, and I have just finished my first batch of 12. They're stitched on white Aida 18 and decorated with DMC fil or, delica beads, and some tiny spherical beeds in gold, green, and red. They're framed in tiny gold frames just 3.75cm (1.5inches) wide and 4.4cm (1.75 inches) tall. I'll make another 18 of these tiny trees in the coming week.
We've had a few cooler days here lately, and even some fine misty rain. I have really appreciated the break from the heatwave we'd been having. I manage to stitch so much more when the weather is bearable.
I am looking through my Santa charts looking for a Christmas project to stitch for myself this year, but so far I've not been able to settle on one. I'd like to make a start on it by the end of February, so I'm going to have to make a decision soon.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My first finish for 2009 ...

and it's a Christmas ornament. It's Carol Emmer's design from the 1997 JCS Ornament issue, but I finished it as an ornament not as a bellpull as charted. I stitched it on cream Lugana 28.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Yoyo's new SAL

I've joined Yoyo's new Totally Useless SAL which starts on January 26. It should be fun - the only commitment is to collect all ORTS and other stitching left-overs during the year and show monthly progress pics. I've found a lovely big jar for mine - I figured I'll need a big jar because I do seem generate a lot of stitching waste.

Wednesday is for Christmas Stitching

On Wednesdays I'm doing a Christmas related SAL with two friends. We can stitch anything relating to Christmas. Today was our first stitching day. I finished stitching a Carol Emmer Santa that I started just before Christmas. I had hoped to finish it in 2008, but that just didn't happen. I still have the border to finish, and a backing piece to stitch, but I hope to have it made up into an ornament before next Wednesday. I'm tempted to add some stars and beads to the border, and I'll certainly add beads to the joining seam and also do a beaded hanger. This will be my first finish for 2009. It will join my collection of Santa cross-stitched ornies - this will be number 10.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My stitching plans for 2009

I'd like to say I have a clear plan, but in truth I haven't yet decided. I am very tempted to stitch a lovely Santa by HAED, but it is just huge at 400 x 509 stitches and would probably take me 6 months of constant stitching. Which would mean I would get nothing else stitched in the first half of 2009. Also it won't fit on my lap-frame, so I'd need to get the floor-frame out, and that's awkward to use with my recliner. So I'm leaning towards maybe holding the HAED Santa over to 2010, and using 2009 to stitch all the other stuff I want to get done in the next 2 yrs. If I do that I will need to decide on another Christmas project for 2009.

The other things I want to stitch in 2009 are:
  • Christmas ornaments for Dylan, Thomas, Brittany, Jackson. Matthew, Daniel, Emma M, Grace, Emma F, Judith, Edin, Ainsley, Wendy, Julie, Gayle
  • Baby's First Christmas Ornie for Georgia
  • 60 tiny Christmas designs for finishing as fridge magnets or in tiny gold frames
  • 5 biggish ornaments
  • Carol Emmer's Santa Bellpull design from JCS Ornie issue 1997 (finished as a rectangular slightly padded ornament)
  • 4 Christmas Samplers, framed in bought frames

I'm also toying with the idea of stitching another Australian bird to be framed - something colourful. I have space on my loungeroom wall for one more bird to join Graham Ross's Kookaburra, Galah and Magpie, and Couchman's Cockatoos. I have the chart for Ross's Rainbow Lorikeet, and I may just settle on that as my major non-Christmas project for 2009.

I also have a desire to learn to bead in 2009. I'd like to bead some of Jill Oxton's lovely charts - tiny stockings, a lovely Christmas angel, and koala ornaments for a start.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Christmas - my second passion

Christmas is my favourite time of the year. For most of the year I keep Christmas around me by working on Christmas projects and searching for Christmas collectables - particularly older Santas and Christmas ornaments. The photo above shows just a few of my Christmas treasures. The tree is an Advent tree. This photo was taken before Dec 1. Each day of December one of the stars on the tree is turned over to reveal a Santa.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A new start for the New Year

My first attempt at Blogging. Here goes...

I'm a dedicated cross stitcher, and have been for the past 20 years or so. I'll stitch on any fabric, and I have stitched a wide variety of designs. My favourite things to stitch are Santas, angels, Christmas designs, Australian birds, flowers, and samplers. I usually stitch one large (framed) Christmas project and one large non-Christmas project for myself each year, and one other large project for a relative or friend. I also make lots of little projects. I particularly enjoy stitching and hand-finishing Christmas ornaments. Last year I made over 200 items, half of them Christmas ornaments.

The ornaments at left are the last things I finished in December 2008. The angels are adapted from TIAG's 1986 Amish Angel freebie, and the border and names of the recipients are beaded. I used a lovely opalescent Aussie hand-dyed Jobelan fabric in pretty green shades for these ornaments.