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.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Happiness is ...

seeing my Santa grow!  I have just put the final stitches into pages 17 & 18.  That fnishes the third row of chart pages.  The pic looks a bit wonky, but that's because of the way I had it thrown over the sofa back when I took the pic.  It really does have straight edges in real life.  Now that Santa has a face, I am feeling the compulsion to keep on stitching on this project, with a view to fnishing it this year,  I had originally planned to stitch pages 14-20 this year, but I certainly didn't expect to finish 5 pages in January.  In previous years, I was lucky to get one page finished each three to four weeks.  My current plan is to keep stitching for February and March, with the aim of finishing Row 4 (pages 19 to 24) in that time.  If I manage to do that, I will then probably keep stitching on Santa to try to get him finished and framed for Christmas this year.

On a more serious note, happiness is really being finished with chemotherapy and brachytherapy (radiation therapy), and having a clear result (no cancer cells) on the PET scan.   I wasn't having the treatments myself, but when one member of the household is fighting cancer, it really does seem as if everyone in the household  is fighting cancer.  It is a major relief to have moved on from that phase of our lives.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Half-way there!

Page 16 of Jolly Old Fellow is now finished. So now just over half of the design is stitched - yay!!

I am really happy with my progress.  Santa now has personality showing through.  I now want to finish this row before the end of January.  That's just two more pages to go.   Page 17 is a full page (7315 stitches) but page 18 has only 1140 stitches.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Santa is starting to look jolly!

Page 15 is now finished -yay!
I'll be working hard now to finish page 16 so Santa has a whole face not half of one!  Also, when I finish Page 16 I'll have just over half the chart stitched - now that will be a day of celebration for me!

This page was the fastest I have stitched.  I did work on it at least 8 hours each day, but that's not unusual for me when  I have a large project underway.  I finally feel that I have come to terms with working on a huge project like this HAED.  It only took three years to work out a system that suits me - obviously I'm  slow learner!  I have never gridded or marked charts as I worked, but I soon discovered that when working on the HAED chart this wasn't working for me - I spent as many hours counting stitches and finding my place as I did actually stitching.  I tried gridding (several times using different sized grids), carrying threads at the back, stitching in 10 stitch squares (not for me - this one drove me almost to abandoning the project), marking the chart with highlighter, and eveything else anyone suggested.

I found that this is what works for me:
  1. I break down each page chart into two halves, and enlarge them slightly.  This gives me a manageable size chart to work with, and I attach it to my fabric using magnets, so it's always in sight. 
  2. I keep the next page handy as I work at the edges of the page, and check any isolated stitches to see if they continue onto the next page - if they do I stitch them.  This saves having to start a fresh thread for one or two stitches.
  3. I attach a dark lead pencil to my frame, and before I end off a thread I mark on the chart the stitches I have just put in, checking as I do that they are correct (this saves frogging later, and I often discover another stitch charted in the same floss just a few stitches away from what I've done).
  4. When I'm stitching an area, I first stitch any isolated stitches or small groups - I find that easier than going back to do them later, and if I carry threads across the back for a few stitches the threads get covered up later when I stitch the adjacent stitches.  In any case, I don't move on to another stitching area till all those pesky confetti stitches are done.
  5. I laminate the floss list, and attach it with a long colourful ribbon to my scissors - that way it's easier to find both when I need them.
Sounds so obvious - but you'd be surprised just how much of a difference these little steps have made to my stitching pleasure!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

WIPocalypse - January 9

It's January 9 here, so I'm making a start with my WIPocalypse report.
My current project is HAED Jolly Old Fellow.  I started it in 2009, and have worked on it for  block of time  (several months) each year since then .  I have now finished 14 of the 36 pages.

This is what it looked like when I started stitching this year (on Jan 2):

Here it is with Page 14 completed yesterday (I took it off the frame for this pic):

and this is what it looks like when I finished stitching tonight:

I hope to finish page 15 and make a good start on page 16 in the coming month.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A finish of sorts ...

I have just put in the last few stitches in Page 14 of Jolly Old Fellow.  It feels like a finish, so I'm counting it as a finish.
Now onto Page 15 ...

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I've joined the 2012 WIPocalypse on Measi's blog.  It sounds like it might be fun.  The first step is making a stitching list for 2012, so here goes:
  1. HAED Jolly Old Fellow - This is my current WIP and I started stitching it in 2009.  My target for 2012 is to finish at least pages 14 to 20.
  2. Personalised Christmas ornaments for the children in my life - I will be stitching at least 16 (for Brittany, Jackson, Matthew, Daniel, Thomas, Emma, Grace, Dylan, Chloe, Amelia, Niamh, Ciara, Kate, Matthew, David, and Megan), and I may add more names to the list as the year progresses.
  3. A Santa ornament for myself.  I haven't yet chosen it, but it's likely to be a Vermillion design.
  4. A Christmas design for my sisters Wendy and Gayle.
It doesn't look like much - but I'm sure it will keep me busy in 2012!

Progress pic - Jolly Old Fellow

I am very pleased with how much I have been able to stitch in the past 3 days.  I estimate that I have stitched well over half of page 14 now, and I am hopeful to finish page 14 by this time next week. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

HAED Jolly Old Fellow is now back in play ...

He's on the floor-frame, I've checked all my threads, and I've made the first few stitches for 2012.

I have to make an emergency trip to my lns tomorrow to replace all the threads I've 'borrowed' from JOF in the latter half of 2011, while JOF was 'resting'.  But I do have enough threads to go on with, so I'm settling down now for an evening of getting re-acquainted with JOF while watching the tennis on TV.  Since I am normally a one-project-at-a-time stitcher, and I tend to stitch obsessively until the one project is finished, it's a unusual for me to be having to get back into a project.  I can hardly believe that this is the fourth year I will have stitched on JOF, and I won't be finishing him this year - or next - and that is way out of my comfort zone. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

My wish for 2012 is that it brings a year of better health, peace of mind, and contentment for all my loved ones.  And for me as well.  And also for you.

It's been a hectic week in my house.  We have done our annual "get the house back to normal before New Year" thing.  Over the years I have discovered that this is one thing that does not get easier with practice!  I am slower, less patient, and way less limber than I used to be, and each year my Christmas items grow in size and number.  Nevertheless, we succeeded, and here are the pics to prove it!

This is what my dining room table looks like now. 
 And just one week ago, it looked like this:

This is how the lounge room corner now looks:
And one week ago it looked like this:

Another part of the lounge-room now (note Maddie looking so cute and healthy on the lounge!):
 and last week:

Now that 2012 has actually arrived, I'll be getting my HAED Jolly Old Fellow back in the floor frame for a few months solid work.  I hope to get at least another 6 pages done in 2012.  He's been packed away since mid 2011, so it's about time he saw the light of day again.