SAL Update – Bee #2

April 11, 2021 at 7:59 am | Posted in Embroidery | 10 Comments
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The bee (or rather the background around the bee) continues to grow! I’ve worked on the pink flowers on the upper left side of the image, and am planning to work my way up to the upper left corner from here. Still enjoying all the colours, although I definitely prefer the oranges and reds to the pinks of the flowers.

Here’s last time’s progress:

Progress picture of cross-stitch image showing the head of a bee, some red-orange background and a couple of partially done pink flowers on the left.

And this is today’s progress:

In-progress shot of a counted cross-stitch project, featuring two big pink flowers on top of each other.

Patternkeeper tells me I’m sitting at 9.37% done right now, which sounds a lot and a little at the same time. Next time we’ll look at the owls again!

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda and Helen.

SAL Update – Prism Owls #19

March 21, 2021 at 8:51 am | Posted in Embroidery | 10 Comments
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As promised, today there’s an update on my owl. Turns out that starting a new project is just what I needed to also continue making progress on this one. I have now learnt how much I prefer working on 25-count fabric, it’s just so much more solid and less fiddly than the 28-count I’m using for Bee! So, here’s our owl today:

In progress picture of a colourful owl in counted cross-stitch

She’s got feet now, and you can see the negative space where the tail feathers and the branch she’s sitting on will go. That’s rather more progress than I expected to make, so yay! Here’s the comparison to last time:

Cross-stitched wol in reds and green with finished head and body.In progress picture of a colourful owl in counted cross-stitch

The compare doesn’t work perfectly here because I had to extend the frame a bit to show the bits at the bottom, but I still think it gives a good impression on what’s happened since last time.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda and Helen.

SAL Update – Bee #1

February 28, 2021 at 9:10 am | Posted in Embroidery | 14 Comments
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As promised, today’s the first progress report on my new project. It’s another one from the fine folks at Gecko Rouge, and it’s called “Bee” by Lorna Laine. Here’s my progress for the first three weeks:

Progress picture of cross-stitch image showing the head of a bee, some red-orange background and a couple of partially done pink flowers on the left.

I love the colours of this so much! There are several new things I’m trying out with this:

  1. The fabric is 28 threads per inch instead of 25. Small difference, and I can stitch it just fine, but I feel that especially in confetti-heavy areas there’s just not enough space for all the stitches. Will be fine for this, which turns out not to be very confetti-heavy, but I’ll stick with 25-count in the future.
  2. Gecko Rouge is switching its Magic Guide fabric to another brand. This one has one coloured thread every 10 threads, the previous one had two every 20. I appreciate things being marked every ten threads, but the main difference is one vs. two coloured threads – with two the lines on the pattern are exactly between the two lines, no thinking required. With one I had to decide and remember which row/column lies exactly on the coloured thread, which takes slightly more thinking when counting.
  3. I’m trying out Pattern Keeper, an app where you can import PDFs of Cross-stitch patterns and mark your stitches on a tablet instead of on a paper copy. This one’s a total game changer, making things much more portable and easier not to miss single stitches hiding in the crowd. Will use this going forward. Currently only available for Android, but if you have an Android tablet, it’s worthwile checking it out.

Pattern Keeper also counts exactly how many stitches you have done and how much there’s still to do, which is fun. The Bee also is a much smaller pattern than my Owls, so you can really see progress. But as promised, I’ll switch back to the owls for the next update, so they will get finished at some point!

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda and Helen.

SAL Update – Prism Owls #18

February 7, 2021 at 9:03 am | Posted in Embroidery | 12 Comments
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I managed to finish the body of my owl! Here she is:

Cross-stitched wol in reds and green with finished head and body.

Here’s the comparison to last time, using the handy compare feature again:

Cross-stitched wol in reds and green with finished head and body.

Since getting there, I couldn’t face starting the next section, which is his feet and a huge chunk of the branch he’s sitting on, which are mostly similar colors so makes sense to tackle together. Instead I started a new project, for various reasons. I’ll explain more and show you a first project pic three weeks from now. It’s a fun one! For the moment, I’m aiming to switch between them at every SAL weekend, so you’ll get to see progress on both in alternative posts. In the long run, the new one will probably become my travel project, once travel is a thing again.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda and Helen.

SAL Update – Prism Owls #17

January 17, 2021 at 8:59 am | Posted in Embroidery | 16 Comments
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It seems like I continue to work on this in bursts. I think one of the reasons is that when set up, my cross stitch needs the part of my craft table that other projects need as well, so I’m not inclined to swap while in the middle of a project. The last weeks I was occupied with a still secret quilting project, which I finished up yesterday. So in order to not have a no-show again, I did add a few stitches before taking a new picture. So, let’s do a game of “Spot the difference”!

Last time vs. this time:

Tried out the image comparison function in WordPress – just move the division in the middle around!

So, let’s see what happens for next time – that probably depends on how long it takes me to get stuck into the next creative project that needs space.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda and Helen.

Flying Geese

January 6, 2021 at 7:05 pm | Posted in Patchwork | Leave a comment

For my current (secret) project, I’m making rather a lot of Flying Geese blocks. Since I like to be efficient in my sewing, I looked up ways to make the blocks without waste and with as little fuss as possible. I settled on this tutorial. It’s a nice and efficient way to make the blocks four at a time, which is exactly what I needed.

While doing a trial block, I noticed I had rather a lot of overlap in the middle when laying out my white squares on top of the blue one:

Blue square of fabric on the diagonal, with two smaller white squares on top in the left and right corners, overlapping in the middle.

The original tutorial doesn’t have quite as big an overlap, but the reason this happens is that I like to make blocks like this a bit bigger than needed, in order to be able to properly square them up later. So I asked myself whether I really need that overlapping fabric? Turns out I don’t, since the vertical line I drew on the white fabric shows where the second cutting line will be in the end, the first one being the horizontal line drawn in. Anything going over that vertical line to the other side will end up creating unnecessary bulk without any function, so I decided to go ahead and cut those corners off:

Square piece of blue fabric on the diagonal with two smaller white squares on top - overlapping fabric cut away where the white squares meet.

After sewing to the left and right of the horizontal line, cutting in the middle and ironing, this is where we are:

Two units with half a blue square on the bottom and two smaller white half squares sticking out on top.

The second cutting line will now be a vertical right down the middle, where the white fabric doesn’t overlap and add bulk. Here’s the four blocks after sewing the remaining two white squares on, cutting and pressing:

Four Flying Geese blocks

Those obviously still need squaring up – if anybody is interested in how I go about that with this kind of block, let me know!

I think adding those two small cuts at the beginning helps making the whole process easier at the end, and I’m always for avoiding unnecessary bulk. I was surprised at first that I just could do away with the overlap, but thinking about where my sewing and cutting lines will be made it clear that there would be no problems with doing that, and my trial blocks confirmed that.

SAL Update – Prism Owls #16

December 27, 2020 at 8:43 am | Posted in Embroidery | 12 Comments
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I started this project about a year ago now, and it’s going slowly but surely. I got to play with lots of colours this time! Here’s last time:

And today it’s looking like this:

I’m currently working my way through the fringe of feathers under the eyes, with the rest of the body to follow. Below that, his feet and the branch he’s sitting on.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda and Helen.

Another Challenge Finished

December 24, 2020 at 3:13 pm | Posted in Patchwork | 3 Comments

In addition to our regular yearly challenges (latest installment), occasionally the pile of leftover fabrics from my group’s charity quilts and challenges gets too big and needs purging. What happens is that at our yearly quilting retreat (remember those? We were lucky to go in January, when we could still be together in a big room for a weekend), a set of piles of matching stuff will be created. Then we draw numbers from 1 to however many we are, and whoever got the lucky number 1 can choose a pile first. There was some stuff I had my eye on, but as I had a number solidly in the middle, I expected most of it to have gone first. I did think I could possible get the fabric I actually got though, since I love it but it was pretty controversial at the time we did that challenge back in 2014. I may have been the person who chose it back then. So yay, I did get all the scraps of the black and white fabric from it. A fellow group member still had some she was willing to part with, so I ended up with a decent amount of fabric.

Here’s my quilt from the original challenge:

While those extra challenges don’t come with any instructions but “Use this stuff, come back with something for next year’s exhibition”, I wanted to set myself a few restrictions. Apart from the print, I wanted to use only solid colours and black. Given the amount of fabric I had to work with, I also decided to make another 40*40cm pillow cover. Here’s the result:

40*40cm pillow cover featuring nine pinwheel blocks in the middle.

I was pretty sure I had enough fabric to make the nine windmill blocks for the middle, and decided to set them at different rotations against the black background. Once I was finished with that, I realized I had almost but not quite enough fabric left for a border. I decided to insert a square of each of the solids I used, and fill in anything still missing with a few bits of black. The quilting is fairly simple – lines going mostly parallel to the seams. Done, so let’s hope we can actually have an exhibition again in November 2021.

Wishing all of you happy Holidays and a better year 2021!

A Month of Postcards

December 13, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Posted in Patchwork | Leave a comment
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2020 was finally getting to me, and November promised to be particularly fraught. I decided I had to do something constructive to replace some of the doomscrolling, and posted this on Twitter on the first of November:

I had started making cards earlier this year, first as samples for my Green Woman quilt, and later to make my yarnbombing project for CoNZealand mailable. This was an extension of that, trying to figure out what else I could do with the format, and generally making things. I kept at it, and ended up with 30 cards at the end of the month. Here they are in all their glory:

Thirty textile postcards laid out in a 6*5 grid

You can follow the link to the tweet to see the whole thread of cards, but in addition, here’s a gallery of all of them:

  • Two fabric postcards each with a swan on water. On the left, a needle-felted swan, on the right, an appliquéd one.
  • Textile postcard with five diagonal stripes on a dark blue background.
  • Two textile postcards with needle-felting on top of a striped background from hand-dyed fabric. Three spirals in white on the left and a stylized tree on the right.
  • Two fabric postcards with an olive green backgrounds and a single oak leaf on top - on the left needlefelted in red, orange and brown, on the right just outlines machine-quilted.
  • Two textile postcards showing dark trees against a brown and golden background.
  • Textile postcard with light blue fireworks in beads and sequins on a dark blue background.
  • Two textile cards showing an appliquéd tulip on top of a striped background intended to evoke tulip fields seen from the air.
  • Textile postcard made from strips in rainbow colours from red at the top through violet at the bottom.
  • Textile postcard in beige and black fabrics showing musical symbols, mostly in gold.
  • Pair of textile cards with a vertical strip of white fabric with tiny black cloverleaves on it. Rest of the card are horizontal stripes in mostly pastel solids, overlaid with big black appliquéd cloverleaves.
  • Textile postcard from a dark checkered fabric with a white abstract flower and leaves quilted on top.
  • Textile card with a green background. Vertical strip of green machine lace on the left, white tatted flower with added beads.
  • Two textile postcards with a blue background, overlaid with strips of lace. Focal point on the left card is a butterfly from machine-stitched lace, and the right a dimensional flower in Irish crochet lace.
  • Textile postcard consisting of small squares of colourful fabric randomly assembled.
  • Textile Postcard with a violet background with machine-couched yarns primarily in pinks/purples/violets on top forming an abstract skyscape.
  • Two textile postcards from a printed fabric sample with a dark blue/violet background. Left one has the letter "D" from the Dublin 2019 Logo as a star constellation, right one has two planets and a rocket.
  • Textile postcard with colourful diagonal stripes on a dark blue background.
  • Two textile postcards with a fall theme - print with leaves and cones and berries on a black background, narrow lace edging, quilted leaves on green background.
  • Two textile postcards with a rainbow gradient spanning both, the seams embroidered crazy-quilt style.
  • Textile postcard in greens and oranges with a stripe of autumn-themed printed fabric as focal point.

I really enjoyed making small finished pieces almost every day, and finishing things I started was definitely one of the habits I was trying to get into. A format this small also helps me to get past my perfectionism into a more playful state of mind. I had a rough list of ideas before I started, but I didn’t really get around to exploring all of them, but did multiples of others, which is perfectly fine.

I used my scrapbox as the primary source of fabrics to use, so this is also an overview of what my favourite themes and colours are, with snippets of fabrics of many past projects making an appearance. There’s a lot of nature-themed ones, and a rainbow or two – both things nobody who knows me is going to be surprised about. I also did get around to raiding my lace box, but I’m still not quite sure how to incorporate more lace into my quilts – it’s not because I don’t have enough.

SAL Update – Prism Owls #15

December 6, 2020 at 8:27 am | Posted in Embroidery | 18 Comments
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After finishing my November postcard project (the promised post still needs to be written), I took a few days to add some stitches to my owl, just to have a sense of making some progress. So here’s the previous version:

Progress shot of counted cross-stitch embroidery of a cute owl

And this is today’s state of things:

I’m working on the beak, and there’s also some structure appearing on the wings. I may have caved on buying a couple of other kits from Gecko Rouge that I absolutely adore, but I’m committing to finish this owl before starting the next one when it arrives.

Here are the other members of the SAL who are posting today. Make sure to check out their work, it’s amazing: Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda and Helen.

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