Sunday, 30 January 2011

A little finish

Well on Thursday I said I'd post my latest finish on Friday, but you know how it is!!! Last week I stitched the Cherished Stitches pin keep from the 2010 JCS edition - which matches the needlebook I stitched earlier this month. I used the green border to make a matching back, with my initials and date in the lovely pink:

I then started Hedgerow Birds by Blackbird Designs. After looking at the loose weave of the fabric I decided against using a frame, and am stitching this in hand (which is very unusual for me, with anything bigger than an ornie). That said I am really enjoying the 20ct linen, and using 3 strands of floss - a real contrast to the 32ct/1 strand of floss stitching I've been doing of late!! I took this yesterday afternoon, but started some more of the birds last night:

I have one niggle though - the patten clearly states it needs 10 yards of Apple Cider - which my lovely sister bought me - but I've almost finished the first skein. I've still got quite a bit of it to use on the first side - and I'd say that there's just as much Apple Cider on the back. Hmm, maybe it's a typo on the pattern - if anyone else has stitched this I'd love to know if they ran short of this colour.

Yesterday I was supposed to go to a quilting class, but sadly it was cancelled. I was a bit listless all day, until I decided to pull out my lace pillow. I've very nearly finished the little circular motif that I started back in May - not that you can see much under the pile of bobbins and pins!!!

I'm going to try and finish this today - but it will prove tricky, as it's the first time I've ever made lace right side up - it's easier to make the lace this way up, but much trickier to join up the trail around the edge at the end. It'll then take me a while to tidy up all of the threads that got thrown out along the way... but eventually I should be able to show you the finished design!!!

Finally, thank you all for the lovely encouraging comments on my last post, they really do mean a lot :)

Happy stitching!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

What a difference a year makes...

It's about one year since I started my weight loss journey. Over the year I've steadily lost an average of 1.1 lbs per week, and for the most part either lost (either a little or a lot) or stayed the same each week. I gained 4 times - once after 4 weeks in the US, at Christmas and New Year and on 2 other weeks when I perhaps tried to squeeze too much fun (and too much food) in. I'm now an amazing 4 stone 2.5lbs lighter (that's 58.5lbs for the non-UK types), and 3 dress sizes smaller - and I feel fantastic! I still have a way to go to be a healthy weight - I'm just on the border between obese and overweight for my height right now - but I'm in no rush!!

A while ago Dani said I should post some before and after pictures - and having got all dolled up for a family wedding at the weekend, it seems like the right time to share a photo of the new, slimmer me!!! But first the before pics... this was tricky, as like many people, I had a tendency to shy away from the camera. So these were taken a few months before I joined weight watchers - my guess is I was a few pounds heavier at that first weigh-in, but to be honest I really don't know!!

March 2009 - at a stitch and bitch at Sonia's. Left to right: Sonia, Emma and Pam, then me working on Fantasy Triptych.

July 2009, on holiday in Wales.

January 2011 (with the benefit of a new hair cut!!), with Eddy, at Trudy's wedding. Love the Monsoon dress and shrug I picked up in the sales...

Today I was a good ww girl, and went for a swim, instead of spending all day on my arse stitching... although I plan to put the not moving from the stitching sofa plan into action as soon as I've posted this. And I have a little finish to share with you tomorrow.

Happy stitching :)

Friday, 21 January 2011

Loving those motifs

Thank you to everyone who has commented on my last few posts - it really means a lot to read what you have written, and it's really exciting to see so many people commenting, and my number of followers increasing.

Gina asked about the back stitching on Wild Thyme Fairy - I have to say although it looks really really detailed, there actually wasn't that much! Most was on the wings and her limbs, the dress has a few flowers on, and there are a few other areas with just a little bit of detail. The only bit that was remotely tricky was her face, as some of the bs was over one, but as I'd stitched her skin over one to begin with, it wasn't too much of a challenge - although I was pleased that I had a sharp needle!!

This week I've been stitching on A New Beginning. I'm really enjoying all of the different motifs, and I'm already 1/4 of the way through!! I last worked on it back in June, although I had finished the letter B and the other small yellow motif between taking the last photo and picking it up again.

A New Beginning (c) Abbey Lane Designs

I realised a while back that my vertical centre line was a bit off-centre - thankfully the whole piece fits with just over an inch to spare - I'll have to be careful when framing this piece though. Serves me right for being too eager to get started with the stitching to begin with!!

Thanks for popping by, and have a lovely stitchy weekend! We're off to Eddy's cousin's wedding tomorrow, so I won't have much needle time!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Finally finished

It's been a busy week around here again... On Tuesday I popped down to Birmingham and stayed with Margaret. I took with me everything to make the 2010 ornament that matches the one I just finished (yes Karen, it's on my to do list!!), but didn't even open the bag! Wednesday morning I picked up a colleague from Canada at the Uni, and for the rest of the week we worked on a paper. So no stitching time until Friday. And at that point I shocked Eddy as I was too tired! He did wonder what the body snatchers had done with me ;)

Anyway, yesterday I forced myself to pick up Wild Thyme Fairy again. And once I'd got a couple of lengths in, I was quite enjoying it... and a little after midnight I finished it!

Wild Thyme Fairy, (c) DMC

Today I picked up a New Beginning again... I'll post a progress picture in the week (I hope!)

Happy stitching!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Fancied a change...

I know, I know, there was a happy dance sooooo close, but I just couldn't resist. I didn't have much time for stitching in the week. On Friday the fairy definitely WASN'T calling to me... I fancied some hand dyed fabric and fibres... so I looked at what supplies I'd bought in for ornament stitching and started Christmas Joy Needlebook by Cherished Stitches from the 2009 JCS ornament issue. I finished it earlier today - what a beauty:

Christmas Joy Needlebook, by Cherished Stitches
Stitched ob Sparklies 32ct Parchment in Weeks and GAST.

Hmm, the finishing into a needlebook looks a bit more advanced than anything I've ever done before, but hey, time to learn somehting new :) But not just yet ;)

Anyway, I also realised that I never reviewed my December goals... so here we go:

In December I wanted to:

1) work on my lace project hmmm, maybe for 1/2 hour
2) finish another WIP yes, Pooh and Eeyore
3) start something new started and finished stitching Holiday Peacock
4) do the finishing for some ornaments erm, no, didn't find the time :( - the only ones I did this year were for the TWCOE
5) do some quilting did the first square of Amish Star

Not bad, all in all.

So what for January:

1) stitch an ornament (yes, I've done that, but I'd planned to do one this month)
2) finish Wild Thyme Fairy
3) start Hedgerow Birds
4) work on another WIP
5) lace, hopefully...

Finally, Avivah asked what an ORT is - it's an old ratty thread. I had to ask that a couple of years ago, but it's a great phrase.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

More fairy stitching

Since I've been back at work I've not had as much time to stitch, but this is where I have got to with Wild Thyme Fairy:

Not much to go now... hopefully I'll manage a happy dance this weekend (especially given this design has so little back stitch).

This year I've decided to join in the totally useless stitch along - while stitching collect all your ORTs in a pretty container, and post a photo of it every full moon. This year the TUSAL is being organised by Sharon.

Here is my ORT 'jar' - I could only find Kilner jars in the house, and I thought Eddy would object if I used a new kilner jar... so I'm using a pretty small vase instead!!

Since I only decided to join in the TUSAL 2 days ago, and I've not had chance to stitch since then, it's totally empty... time to go away and Christen the new ORT jar I think!!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Yearly re-cap

2011 is already rushing past at an alarming rate (how can I be back at work already????). I really need to sum up my 2010 stitching!

Medium-sized and larger cross stitch happy dances (7):

*Pooh and Eeyore
*Fantasy Triptych
*Sunflower charms
*Mini Greek Island
*Laugharne Castle
*Postman Pat birth sampler
*Pomegranate and Pear Stitches

Ornaments and other small cross stitch (13):

*Joy, Love & Peace
*Storyteller ornament
*Holiday Peacock
*French Country Star
*Oh Christmas Tree
*Winter sampler
*Santa's buddies
*Dragonfly pincushion
*Holly ornament
*Peacock heart
*Winter song

Knitting and other crafts (6):

*Cable knit scarf
*Stripy scarf
*Lacy scarf
*Tulip Scissor Keep
*Quilted mat
*Torchon lace garter

I stitched slightly fewer medium-large projects than last year (9), but more smalls (up from 6) and did lots more non-cross stitch crafting compared with last year, when I completed 2 lace projects. I was also pleased that I managed to blog more often in 2010.

At the start of 2010 I had the following WIPs:
* Eeyore's problem didn't touch it
* Peacock firescreen made good progress
* Fantasy triptych FINISHED!!!
* Gaelic banner didn't touch this one either
* Wild Thyme fairy getting close...
* Postman Pat FINISHED!!

This year I am starting with the following WIPs:
* Eeyore's problem
* Peacock firescreen
* Gaelic banner
* Wild Thyme fairy
* A new beginning

* Sampler quilt
* Amish star quilt
* Milanese lace
* Bedfordshire lace flower
* Bedfordshire lace butterfly
* Lace ornament

Hmm, that's quite a bit on the go :)

So how did I do with my goals for 2010?

1) finish Postman Pat YES
2) finish Fantasy Triptych YES
3a) finish at least one more WIP NO but I finished my Jan 1st start - Pomegranate and Pear Stitches
3b) and make good progress on all of the rest partially met - I didn't stitch on two WIPs
4) start another large TW NO, still not decided which one!
5) stitch lots, on what I want, and enjoy it!! HELL YES :) )

So what for 2011:

1) Finish Wild Thyme Fairy
2) Finish Peacock Firescreen
3) Work on the other 3 cross stitch WIPs
4) Finish the lace ornament and 1 more lace project
5) Finish a quilt
6) Start a large TW
7) Start Hedgerow Birds (Blackbird Designs)
8) Do the finishing on some of the many ornaments I stitched in 2010
9) Stitch lots, on what I want, and enjoy it!!(my favourite goal from 2010!!)

I think that will keep me going ;)

Monday, 3 January 2011

Last Happy Dance of 2010....

... OK so this is a little late. I finished Pooh and Eeyore in front of Battlestar Galactica on the 30th, washed and ironed it, but didn't have time to post as we had visitors for New Year. So here it is a few days later than planned:

I had a lovely New Year celebrations with old friends - a 3 day / 2 night eating extravaganza!! It was the best New Year I've had in years - pretty low key and spent with people I care about. On New Years Day we went to Roundhay Park to let the kids run off some steam (and get some needed fresh air), watched Shrek 2 and went out for curry... Everyone left after a lateish lunch yesterday, at which point we crashed out!

Today I need to drive Eddy (and his many presents) back to Nottingham, and it's back to work tomorrow... once again the holidays seem far too short. I think I'll post my yearly review and goals over the course of this week.

Happy 2011 everyone :)