Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last Update, I Swear

I know I said the last post would be the last update of the year, but I had to post this picture.

Can you believe this small amount of stitching took almost 7 hours! Now, I REALLY understand what everyone is talking about. This does not bode well for the rest of this project.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Last Update of 2013

I'm happy to say that Peacock Tapestry is leaving 2013 on a high note. I cannot believe the amount of progress I've made in less than 6 months.

Yesterday I finished stitching the peacock, although there is still back-stitching to do (I'll do those as I go). This part went by so fast and I really enjoyed stitching it. I'm very glad I decided to stitch him in 2 parts. It allowed me to take a break from the blending filament. So when I went back to using it, it wasn't so bad.

Here's a last look at Peacock Tapestry for 2013:

Now as for my other projects. I've been terribly neglectful. And I should feel terrible, but I don't because, one: I only have 2 other projects in pending, and two: who could feel terrible at this amazing progress :)

Here's to hoping that 2014 will be this great =D and inspire excellent stitching mojo (and bring lots of stash!).

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Trees in The Grove

I finished another part of Peacock Tapestry. This part was all half cross-stitches. It was kind of hard finding places to anchor the thread and you do NOT want to see the back.

All in all, Teresa Wentzler is a genius. Stitching this part in half stitches really gives a fare away look for these trees.

Here is what the Tapestry looks like so far. I'm very happy with my progress so far, but I'm starting to get worried about something. When I took it off the frame I noticed a slight warp in the fabric about mid-way through the tapestry. I'll have to do some research to see if there is anything I can do to fix that.

Tiny Fantasy Kingdom Over 1

I actually finished Tiny Fantasy Kingdom a while ago. I was so into stitching it I finished it in a week. I really enjoyed working on this (I love 1 over 1 patterns).

This is one of the patterns from the Creative Festival and is from Dragon Dreams by Jennifer Aikman-Smith. It's mainly DMC, but it also uses Caron Waterlillies which I've never stitched with before. Let me tell you it was a dream stitching with it it's so soft =D

Jennifer was kind enough to give me permission to post pictures. So here it is! It is really small and I'm not sure what to do with it, but it's so cute. The entire time I was stitching it, I kept waiting for a dragon to show.

One thing I love about stitching over 1 is the back. If you stitch it right, it will look exactly like the front.

Even though this pattern was created for the Creative Festival, it will eventually be made available for sale by Dragon Dreams on their site. Jennifer did mention though that she has a few kits left over from the festival that she will put up for sale on eBay (once she has time to do so). I'll post up an update here if I get a link.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Quick Update

I just wanted to post a quick update of my current progress on Peacock Tapestry.

One thing I realized is that I don't like stitching in tent stitch. I don't like how messy it makes the back, especially with popcorn stitches. This means that when I finally to stitch an HAED, it will not be stitched in tent stitches.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

December TUSAL

It's the last TUSAL of the year! I'm a little late putting this up. I haven't really stitched on any of my projects for 2 weeks. Most of the thread you see at the top is from a project I had to work on for someone (doesn't the thread look pretty next to the green from Peacock's Tapestry?) Anyways, here is a picture of all of the threads from this year's TUSAL together:

All in all a very productive year. Can't wait to see how much I accumulate next year :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Huge Milestone

I think so far, the peacock tail felt like it took the longest. I think the reason for it is the constant change of color and having to go over some of the stitches again with Kreinik blending thread. Because I'm looking at my logs and it only took 2 months at about 103 hours, while the border took 177 hours to stitch. But looking at the results now it is well worth it.

Next up is the two trees that are to the left of the peacock.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A First!

So this project represents a lot of firsts for me. It was my first Mirabilia design, my first big finish on this blog and the first thing I've ever framed. Also, it is the first frame we've hung ever in our home. We lived at the apartment for almost 20 years without ever hanging anything and we've been at the house for 2 years and never hung any of the picture frames we've bought or the paintings my sister has made.

So now, my room is the only one with anything hanging. The frame is over my bed, so it's still kind of weird to see it there when I wake up in the morning. But it's looks great in my room.

I ended up getting Stargazer framed at GEMST. They gave me a very good quote and the sales person was great. As soon as I showed him Stargazer, he knew exactly what I needed and picked out different frames that could match. We ended up picking a frame that has a line of "pearls" with an inner frame so that it would lift the glass over the fabric on account of the big 6/0 beads.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November TUSAL

A very fulfilling TUSAL. I did a lot of work on Peacock Tapestry. You'll also see thread in there from another project that I've completed which I'll post on soon :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Creative Festival 2013

I'm back! Well I got back on Sunday, but I've been down with a cold so it took me longer to unpack everything and take pictures.

First off, I will definitely be going again next year. It was really fun to be able to stitch the same project with other people. Being the youngest in the classes, I still have a lot to learn and, it was a great experience to talk to the other ladies and learn from them. For example, I finally learned how to knot a thread :D, which is something I tried learning from videos but couldn't get.

So I'm not going to post pictures of the kits I got from the classes since I'm not sure if it would be okay, but I will tell you what I thought of each class. So first thing Friday, I had "Introduction to Needle Painting" with Carol Arsenault. All the other students in the class were beginners so we were all at the same level (no one got bored lol). What I did find was the class was way too short for this technique. It is not something that is easy to learn and requires a lot of practice, time and patience to get it right. Carol Arsenault had a booth and was selling some amazing patterns, some of which were stitched entirely in French Knots. I decided to get one of the smaller kits. She promises that by the end I will be able to make a perfect French knot lol.

French Knot Flowerpot Pincushion
At the end of Friday, I had a presentation class called "What to Look for in Yarn" with Lily Chin. Although I don't knit (yet), the class was very interesting and Ms. Chin is an amazing presenter. We learned the difference between different yarn weights, where they come from and how they are used. She even gave tips to identify mystery yarn. She has a book called Lily Chin's Crochet Tips & Tricks: Shortcuts and Techniques Every Crocheter Should Know (she also has the same book for Knitting) that I will definitely buy.

The third class I had, held on Sunday, was "Tiny Fantasy Kingdom Over 1" with Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams. I already have experience stitching over 1, but I couldn't help myself from taking this class. It was a lot of fun and Jennifer is really interesting to talk to. When I walked into class, a volunteer from the festival came directly to me calling me by name. It turns out I wasn't the last person on the list to get there, but I was the only person whose face she didn't recognize. It seems that a lot of the ladies who were attending have been coming to the festival for years and taking classes with Jennifer. Jennifer was also teaching 4 other classes this year and had some kits leftover. So I also brought home a kit from one of the other classes called "Blackwork Knight", a companion to "Blackwork Princess" which I will definitely have to buy.

My last class at the festival was "Sashiko: 2 Styles in 1" taught by Alma Laidaw who is the owner of Sew Fancy. I took this class out of curiosity, I saw a lot of really nice pictures on the Internet and found the designs lovely in their simplicity. So when I saw the class listed in the catalog I decided to try it out. Again this class wasn't long enough for all the material Alma Laidaw had to teach us. By the end of it, I decided that although I really like the results from Sashiko, this is probably not for me (at least for now). I will however try and finish the kit that I got from the class.

Now to the fun part =D. Here are pictures of what I brought back from the festival. We had tickets for Saturday and Sunday and shopped both days. Now although there weren't that many needlework booths there, it was still hard not to buy everything I saw. I did try to shop in moderation, but then I kept telling myself winter is very long and I'll need something to keep me busy.

From Sew Fancy I got some good needle threaders, Clover tatting shuttles and my sister asked me to get here the threads. It's called Floche and is 100% Egyptian cotton (and super expensive). Knowing what she might do to it, I almost don't want to give it to her.

Linda Lachance of Northern Pine Designs had a booth where I bought the kit for this gorgeous butterfly. I'm jumping the gun getting another needlepoint kit when I haven't even started the one I already have, but it's so pretty. She also had other designs on display featuring snow and winter in general, all gorgeous and sparkly. But I had to stop myself from buying them. We don't celebrate Christmas, so there would never come a time when I would be able to display them.

She was also selling off some of her old stash.

X's & O's was one of the few stores featuring cross stitch work. They had this pattern stitched and on display at their booth and it was gorgeous (I know I'm using this word a lot lol). So I bought the pattern and specialty thread and beads, I'll get the fabric and DMC thread later. The fabric on the left is Hardanger fabric (another technique I've been meaning to try).

Here are 4 more kits. The Damask Rose kits (needle book and scissor fob) are from Ruach Crafts and the two Dimension kits are from Mary Maxim who was holding a 2-for-1 sale.

There were many booths that were selling supplies of all kind for quilting, sewing, embroidery,... I took the opportunity to buy a few things I wouldn't be able to find in Montreal. I also snagged this D.I.Y. embroidery kit by Kiriki.

Another booth was selling craft books of all kinds. On Friday, I saw two ladies looking through this book and was disappointed to find that it was the only copy. They said they were going to buy it, so I figured no loss. Now that I know what it contains I'll just order it from Amazon. Imagine my surprise when I pass by on Sunday and find the same book on display in front of the cash register (with a shorter waiting line).

There were so many booths selling knitting yarn, that I couldn't help myself. I don't knit, but it was such a good opportunity to buy nice thread for the day I do decide to start knitting. The three ball of light purple yarn (it's actually shiny) and the book are from The Wool Boutique (50% off). The turquoise yarn is from Stix and Stones Yarn Boutique. The knitting needles, threader and purple yarn is not from the Creative Festival. My sister and I got the chance to see Toronto, and I made sure we made a detour by Lettuce Knit while in Kensington Market.

That's it from the Creative Festival. But we didn't spend all of our time there. We had dinner at the CN tower in the 360 restaurant Friday night and went shopping at Yorkdale on Saturday. With all that, there wasn't any time to work on the stitching project I brought with me, so no update pics this time.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Almost There

I'm back to stitching Peacock Tapestry. Every time I think of stitching something else, I look at it and think "just a little more". I've finished the peacock's tail on sections 8-9, I've moved up to sections 5-6. I will be glad when all the blending filaments are in (there are only 3 symbols using it in the pattern). I like the final results but can't stand working with it.

Before (2013/09/25)
I'm looking at when I took the before picture and a month passed in between. Once I'm done stitching the tail (up to where the green part of the peacock stops) I'll go back and fill in the eyes.

Only 4 more days till the beginning of the Creative Festival.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

New Experiences

In my last post I mentioned a huge stash enhancement possibility in the near future, but that is only part of it. I am participating in 2 new things this year.

The first is starting this Saturday. I signed up for Tatting classes at Boutique La Maillerie (which is located inside Machine A Coudre Excelle). It's 4 classes on alternating Saturdays. I'm still not sure what kind of tatting it will be (i.e. shuttle or needle) but I'm very excited to start. I've already started looking at tutorials online. I found this very good blog about shuttle tatting called Tatted Treasures.

The second is not starting for another 9 days and will mean that I will be out of town for the weekend (impromptu vacation ^_^). Some people might guess since they would also be counting down the days till it starts, it's the Creative Festival which is hosted in Toronto. I found out about this festival last year but it was too late for me to attend, so this year I made sure to note it on my calender and I've been following their blog to keep up to date on what will be happening.

I won't be going alone, my sister decided to join me and we decided to splurge. We booked plane tickets to Toronto (Hurray for Aeroplan miles!), reserved a hotel room and bought 2 bronze passes so we'd be able to register for workshops. My sister went Zentangle all the way (something she is regretting right now thought :P), while I obviously went all needle arts. I'm doing: "Intro to Needle Painting", "Tiny Fantasy Kingdom: Over 1" (this is a cross stitch workshop with Jennifer Aikman-Smith) and "Sashiko: 2 Styles in 1". What I really can't wait for is the show floor, which will be like a mini mall of all things crafty to try out and buy.

One thing I've already started doing is looking into embroidery/knitting/crochet stores in the Toronto Area. We have Saturday free, we will probably use this opportunity to go to Korea Town and maybe Kensington market, but if I can find a shop in the area I want to try and go there. If anyone knows the area and has some suggestions please let me know.

Update 2013/10/18: I just found out that my tatting class was cancelled :( Apparently some people either cancelled or couldn't make it for the days the classes are scheduled to start on. So they had to postpone and the owner couldn't tell me when the class will be rescheduled for. Oh well, at least I still have Toronto. Only 8 days left!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Stash! Finally!

It's been more than 2 month since my last stash acquisition (I've been very good), but I couldn't help myself when I saw this Cameo needle minder by Elizabeth Turner Collection at The Nimble Needle. And while I was at it, I saw what else would catch my eye. The store mainly specializes in canvas needlepoint, but they did have a few cross stitch kits that were cute. I decided on "Spring Blossoms Welcome" by the Sweetheart Tree and the owner was kind enough to throw in the custom cut mounting board, to finish the ornament, for free ^_^

Now, except for this minor lapse, I'm going to try and stay good and not buy anything at all to prepare for an even bigger stash enhancement opportunity that will be coming very soon. In 2 weeks to be exact! More on that in a later post.

Monday, October 7, 2013

October TUSAL

My October TUSAL is a little late this month. It's a mishmash in there this month. Some crochet thread from the pincushion and doily, thread from Bramble and the Rose. Most of it is from Peacock Tapestry which I am back to working on as of this weekend :) I am now working on both sections 8 and 9.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In the Mood for Crochet

When I made that pincushion I realized how much I missed crocheting. I decided to pull out my huge ball of Aunt Lydia's thread and pick out a doily pattern.

Here's how it turned out:

This is Petite Pineapple Doily, a free pattern by Priscilla Hewitt. I am happy to say that the size came out exactly what it should, and it's so pretty.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Need a Change

I need a change from Peacock Tapestry. I started working on the tail, but I noticed a pain in my neck from sitting at my desk. So I decided to take a break and pull out another WIP. Here is where I last stopped:

The WIP I pulled out is Bramble & the Rose. It's been a long time since I've worked on it (not since July, around the time when I picked up Peacock Tapestry). I put in some stitches this weekend:

After comparing the two pictures, it doesn't look like much progress lol.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Quick Update

I finished the trunk on Peacock Tapestry. Here is how it looks now:

I already started stitching on the Peacock's tail yesterday. I'm stitching with blending filaments for the first time. I read Teresa Wentzler's Miscellaneous Tips page before starting Peacock Tapestry to see what she recommends on metallics. One of her tips was to cross stitch as usual but then go over the top leg of the completed stitch with the blending filament. This was a great tip, because she is right the filament does stretch and is very hard to manipulate. I can't imagine having to stitch it in combination with the other threads. It would have been a complete nightmare. I was glad to see that there were only 3 symbols that required the blending filament.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I see a Partridge

I finally took a picture of my progress on Peacock Tapestry. I had a hard time stopping on this one. I just kept going and going.

3 weeks ago
Most of the backstitch is done on the leafs. There are a few left that overlap with the peacock's tail, so I'm leaving them for later. What I'm stitching right now is the trunk which is in section 9.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Crochet Pincushion

I saw this last year on Ravelry and I always wanted to try it out:

The designer, Kara Lyon, basically covered a Dritz Tomato pincushion with crocheted thread. I decided to do the same, but I wanted mine to look like this pincushion by Sandra Paul:

So mixing the two together, you go from this ugly color:


I wanted to make the body white, but I figured that would get dirty. I had to modify the template to work with the pincushion but the top part of it is exactly like same as Sandra Paul's. The strawberry looks a little sad though, it needs more color. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

September TUSAL

Even more Peacock Tapestry! These are threads from the border and the bottom grass section (although you can't really see the green thread).

I keep meaning to post an update picture for Peacock Tapestry but every time I get to a good stopping point, I forget and keep going. I am half way through section 11.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fall Cleaning

I know it's typically spring cleaning, but I just couldn't take it anymore. I decided to use Labor day weekend to finally organize all my stitching and crochet stash. They have been living in a box at the bottom of my closed (thread) or in plastic shopping bags (yarn).

I remember reading a post somewhere mentioning hardware stores, so I shopped online on local hardware stores to figure out what would best fit my needs.

I found this at Reno-Depot under Toolbox and Storage Organizers. The price was pretty reasonable and the drawers were wide enough to hold a DMC skein without bending it too much.

The stash you see below is what I bought from my 2010 trip to Morocco (best stash enhancement trip ever!!) I had just started cross stitching and my cousin took me to the fabric market in Casablanca. I'll try to upload the pictures I took in the market.

It took me an entire day, but It's done. I even emptied my ArtBin super slim satchel. The DMC boxes that you see in the before picture are still in their box. I just put them all together in the cardboard box you see there. I re-used the plastic container to store the yarn that were in plastic bags.

It's not perfect, but it's getting there. I still have a yarn that is not properly stored and I think I should get more plastic containers for other stitching accessories. For now the next shopping expedition is for a proper desk light and chair. The light I'm using now is not strong enough for stitching and the chair is too low for my desk.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Border is Finished

I'm finally done with the border :) Well it's not really done, I haven't added the gold thread and there is still beading, straight stitching and diamond eyelets. But for now, I feel like I did very good progress and the fun part can begin ;)

I did make some changes from the pattern. I noticed that the bottom border didn't mirror the top border the same way the side's do. So I flipped it:

I tallied the total number of hours I've already spent on it: 177 hours!!! I can't believe how fast time passed (2 months already).

I've already started stitching the grass section at the bottom left. After 45 minutes I only had this little part stitched. I sense that this will require a lot of organization. But I'm determined to pull through :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Almost There

It's been two weeks since my last post on Peacock Tapestry. I was hoping to finish the border  by now, but got distracted by new stash... from Amazon =D I spent several days going through all the books I ordered. I think I have only 1 left (out of 7 books) that I didn't read. So that didn't leave much time for stitching.

But I'm still happy with the progress I made. I only have the bottom border left to do and then I can start stitching the center piece before I go back to finishing the specialty stitches on the border.