Thursday, January 29, 2015

Knitting Again!

Hi everyone! Hope you're all having a wonderful week. Mine's been pretty hectic, though that's not necessarily a bad thing. My husband's been away on business the last couple of days, so I've been keeping busy.

And one of the things I've been doing is knitting! I haven't knitted anything in a long while, and it's been lovely to be working with yarn again. Here's a progress picture:

I got the idea for this from a free Martha Stewart pattern I found here. I'm not being very faithful, though - I'm adapting it A LOT. For one thing, I'm making it smaller, so it's just a lap blanket really. I'm also using completely different yarns: so far it's alternating blocks of Red Heart's Super Saver in Burgundy and Cherry Chip. I've actually finished the first strip already:

It measures about 40 inches in length and 10 in width. There will eventually be four different strips that will be attached. The problem is that the yarn I bought for the second strip isn't working out. I thought I would have alternating blocks of Cherry Chip and White, but the White is way too white, if you know what I mean. It needs to be a lot more beige. Which means I'm going to need to place another order and wait a while before I can pick this baby up again. Oh well!

Happy xxx's!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Joyfulness Sheep Update 7

Had quite a long day at work today, but I'm feeling good and energetic, strangely enough. I had 4 1/2 hours of classes straight, then finally had a 1 1/2 hour break for lunch, and then another 1 1/2 hours of class. Picked up the dry cleaning on the way home, had dinner with my husband (take-out, there was no way I was cooking), did some dishes and laundry, and now I'm finally sitting down to my blog.

It's Sunday, so it's Sheep SAL check-in time! Here's how I'm doing so far:

This is Joyfulness after 1400 stitches. Actually, no, it's more like 1430 - I got a little carried away with the sheep and thought I could finish it off with a couple of extra stitches, but it became apparent that wasn't going to happen.

I finally finished all the borders and started on the sheep. I've stitched the head, the hooves, the design in the middle, and the beginning of the fur. Like I did with Hope, I'm using Wisper thread for the white fur. As you can tell from the picture, it was very sunny this morning.

Thank you all so much for your support and your lovely comments about my sampler design! You can't know how much I appreciate it. It's been sitting around waiting patiently for me to pick it up again and fill in all those spaces... Hopefully I'll have more progress on it soon!

Lots of love,

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What I've Been Stitching...

All right, so it was one of my New Year's resolutions to finally, after 13 years of cross-stitching, to stitch my own design. I don't know what I was thinking. This is way harder than I thought it would be. You'd think after stitching gazillions of designs that I would have a better idea of what I'd want to stitch.

After much scribbling on paper, and several failed attempts at understanding cross-stitch software, I have something to show for myself! Be kind, please...

First I started with a quote. Every good sampler needs a quote, right? This one is from a much-beloved classic, Pride and Prejudice. Yes, I'm a shameless Jane Austen fan, what can I say. And this quote from Mr. Darcy is one of my favorite moments, so it was a no-brainer, really. I used a free alphabet I find on the Victoria Sampler website here, and I stitched it with DMC 838.

Then I thought I'd better decide how big I wanted this piece to be. I wanted it to be kind of a standard size, and with the quote taking care of the width, I marked off the top of the piece with a pretty little border:

It's super simple, but I'm over the moon about it. I just love how the colors work together. I used DMC 500, 502, 351, and 352. The fabric is a random piece of 32-count pale blue linen that I've had in my stash for a while. Here are the two elements together at this point:

I'm just going to add elements slowly to this piece. I don't have a clear picture of what I want it to look like, but I have a color palette in mind, and I want to incorporate some of my favorite motifs. I'm not too worried about making mistakes, either. I know I've already made one in the quote and one in the border (those teeny tiny holes are nearly impossible to keep track of!). I'm not too fussed, though. I'm thinking of this as an experiment, and it really doesn't have to be perfect.

Until next time!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Joyfulness Sheep Update 6

Oh my goodness, I've had an insane day. One of my colleagues had to go back home to England for a family emergency, so I'm substituting some of his classes on top of my own. And then I got stuck in traffic on the way home... Anyway. Shaking it off!

It's Sunday, of course, which means the weekly progress update on the Sheep Virtues SAL. These pictures were taken super quickly this morning before I rushed off to work, 13 hours ago now. I just hope they turned out well!

This is Joyfulness after 1200 stitches. I've finished the border along the right side and have started the top one. Nearly done!

All right, I'm going to do a little laundry and dishes and then I'm going to crash. Oh, don't forget to join my 3rd blogoversary giveaway! You can do so here.

Big hugs,

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The January Gifted Gorgeousness SAL

Whew! It's been a busy week here. I finally put the suitcases away last night - they'd been sitting around since we got back from Kuwait on Saturday. Work started again after the holidays. I still have a massive to-do list, but I actually managed to get a lot done this past week.

Including some stitching! So I've joined Jo from Serendipitous Stitching's Gifted Gorgeousness SAL this year, and what we have to do is stitch on all those lovely charts that we are gifted in exchanges and giveaways, and post about our progress on the 15th (because it's 2015) of every month. Anyone can join in at any point during the year, so if this sounds like a good idea to you, jump in!

The first piece I'm tackling is actually a recent acquisition: Bent Creek's Free Betsy! The wonderful Shirlee from The Easily Influenced Stitcher gifted me this little kit as part of our last exchange. I picked it first because I LOVE sheep (who doesn't?) and because it was already kitted up! No rummaging through boxes trying to find floss and fabric.

Here's my start:

Not much, I know, but again, it's been a busy week. I'm hoping to have this finished by February's SAL check-in. Really loving stitching this!

The fabric is 25 ct. Dublin Flax linen, and the floss is a mix of DMC, WDW, and GAST. For some reason, the picture on the front has the red and blue parts switched. I just realized this now! I was following the chart faithfully and didn't even notice that the picture was different. That's a little weird...

Oh, and if you haven't joined my 3rd blogoversary giveaway, you can do so here.

Happy xxx's,

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Joyfulness Sheep Update 5

Hi everyone! I'm back! We only spent a few days in Kuwait visiting my dad. We landed in Dubai last night and were back at work this morning (groan). I'm home now on my lunch break trying to get as much laundry done as possible before I have to go back for my afternoon classes. So I thought I'd pop in to do a little update too!

So here's how my Sunday Little Sheep Virtues SAL is looking:

This is Joyfulness after 1000 stitches. I've finished the bottom border and I'm heading up the right side now.

That's all I've got right now! And don't forget to join my 3rd blogoversary giveaway if you haven't yet (you can do so here).

Lots of love,

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The First Finish of 2015!

Woohoo! Happy dancing here! I have finally finished Three Blind Mice!

The Prairie Schooler's Fables and Tales series is incredibly cute, but I've decided not to stitch the last two, The Owl and the Pussycat and The Fox and the Grapes, just because the stories aren't particular favorites of mine. I'm going to stick with the three I've finished, The Three Bears, The Tortoise and the Hare, and now Three Blind Mice. Here are all three together:

Now I just need to decide how to finish them! I'm thinking of having them framed as a trio, like three sections of one big frame. We'll see.

My husband and I are traveling to Kuwait tonight for a few days. This is a minor miracle, because my husband hasn't been allowed into Kuwait since our wedding (visa problems), so he's finally going to see my father again after 3 1/2 years! (For those who don't know, my father is Kuwaiti, and I was born and raised in Kuwait. He still lives there, even though my mother, who's American, is currently in the States with my sisters.)

So, while I'm away, don't forget to sign up for my blogoversary giveaway! You can do so here.

Big hugs,

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Joyfulness Sheep Update 4, 2014 Review, & 2015 Goals!

Whew! It's been a crazy beginning to 2015! I wanted to get my blogoversary giveaway going, so I haven't even had a chance to review 2014. So here it is, super quick. In the past year, I have:

- Entered 2 of my pieces in a competition, the Quilt and Stitch Art Show (I didn't win anything, but I liked being involved and I'm definitely going to do it again this year!),
- Finished a lot of pieces, actually! This surprised me, because it felt like a slow year. I finished 25 cross-stitched pieces and 5 knitted pieces,
- Participated in 7 different exchanges with some truly wonderful partners (thanks, ladies!),
- Participated in 2 different traveling patterns, one of which I started (woohoo!),
- Participated in 1 SAL. Yeah. That one needs definite improving.

Do I have any goals for 2015? Sure I do!

- Have a lot more exchanges!
- Finish the Prairie Schooler Fables & Tales - this week, I hope!
- Keep going with the Little Sheep Virtues SAL,
- Join another SAL - already done this! I've joined Jo's Gifted Gorgeousness SAL, where we stitch on all those lovely charts that people gift us in exchanges,
- Start and finish knitting a new blanket,
- Enter the Quilt and Stitch Art Show again - you never know, this might be my lucky year!
- Design and stitch my own cross-stitch sampler - this one has been on my mind for a while, and I think I should just get my butt in gear and do it already.

There you have it! Should be totally do-able, I think. And speaking of the Little Sheep Virtues SAL, here's my Sunday progress:

This is my Joyfulness after 800 stitches. I've finished the border along one side and started another.

If you've made it this far, thank you! And don't forget to join my 3rd blogoversary giveaway (you can do so here).

Happy xxx's,

Friday, January 2, 2015

3rd Blogoversary Giveaway!

Happy New Year's, everyone! I've got a special surprise to celebrate, too. In about a month, on the 3rd of February, it's going to be my 3rd Blogoversary! I can't believe it... It absolutely doesn't feel like it's been 3 years since I started blogging.

So! To thank you all for your continued love and support, I'm having a giveaway! Here's the full package up for grabs:

1. A really adorable pear sampler that I stitched up just for you!

I found this adorable pattern here at Samplers and Santas and stitched it up on nice sturdy 14-count beige Aida. I finished it off with a piece of lace to hang it.

2. A baggie full of antique wooden spools,

3. Two Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe flosses (red and green),

4. Five fat quarters of finishing fabric (how's that for alliteration?),

5. The Dimensions' "Frederick the Literature" kit, complete with fabric, floss and needle,

6. Some lovely turquoise and silver earrings from Yemen.

There you have it! I'll leave the giveaway open for the next month, until my blogoversary on the 3rd of February, so you plenty of time to join in! The rules are simple:
1. Be a follower of this blog,
2. Have an active blog yourself,
3. Leave a comment on this post.

Good luck!