Tuesday, 24 November 2009

End of Latrobe Tce Rotation

Considering the amount of time I've been out these past two weeks I haven't done too bad on this rotation. I'm probably about half way through the Queenslander house on the left of the centre of the pattern. Had I had fewer distrations I would have been aiming to finish it in the two weeks. But that just wasn't possible so I figure any progress is good progress. I've also had a tickle in my throat for over a week and I've been coughing more and more to the point where I just feel drained of energy. I'm taking anti-biotics now and hoping that will bring me back to life.

I know this isn't a reading blog but I've reported from time to time how I'm going with Diana Gabaldon's Voyager series. Well yesterday I finished the 6th book in the series called A Breath of Snow and Ashes which goes up to December 1776. It was a really good book and I'm so glad I kept with this series through the more gory bits in the earlier books. I am really looking forward to reading the latest book An Echo in the Bone which was just published in September. I've put a reserve on it at my library. The new book is going to cover at least part of the American Revolution so that should be quite exciting. Right now though I'm taking a break from Diana Gabaldon and trying a new author Di Morrissey. (What is this with all the Dianas and Dis?)

The other cross-stitchy news is that I had my two Xmas presents framed. Here they are still with the protective packing around them. They look great.

So I'm now back to the beginning of my rotations and on Verandas again. Worked on it last night and it's going well.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

I've been stitching for the past couple of weeks

I'm slowly struggling back into it. I picked my stitching back up with no idea of which project or week I was on. So I made an executive decision to work on the New England sampler and I had a productive week with it. by last Sunday I'd just about finished the lower band to the middle of the pattern. I'm very happy with it!

From October 16-18 I was away interstate and started a new 'travel' project that I could work on while I was on the go. This is a small Daydream kit called
Life is a Journey. Since then it's stayed in my handbag and I've worked on it from time to time. I'll keep this one in my bag and continue to work on it on a casual basis.

I'm now about to head into my second week of Latrobe Terrace. I've only worked on it twice this week and next week with two evening meetings isn't looking too good. But at least I hope to get some more done on it.

I've finally put my two Xmas presents in for framing and I pick them up this Wednesday.

It's only about a month until we go to the US for Christmas and there is so much to do with Christmas and travel preparations. My DH has painted our lounge/dining room a lovely off-white and over the next couple of weeks I'm getting a few curtain quotes. These won't be done and hanging before we go but if I at least order them we can get them in in January. This is just such a busy time of year!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

I've fallen in a heap

Well craft work has certainly taken a back seat this month. With three weekends away and all the packing and unpacking associated with that plus several work days in between and the usual Mum's taxiing time has been limited. I've also taken on an additional unpaid job of Membership Secretary for a non-profit organisation this month and I also applied and was tested for an online editing job. We'll see what comes of that. I think I'm getting a few things under control now.

I'm starting to think more seriously of Christmas and I need to get my completed cross-stitches to the framers.

The weekend before last I went away to a friend's sheep farm with Jade and because we flew I took a very small new project with me. Surprisingly I got a bit of it done. It is one of those Daydreams quick weekend projects which shows a few suitcases piled up and says 'Life is a Journey'. It's still in my handbag and I've pulled it out a couple of times since. I think I'll leave it in there and do it when I get the chance.

Right now I need to figure out where I'm supposed to be with my rotations. I think I'm on the third rotation in my list--the Chinese themed one--and I don't know that I really feel up to picking up something new right now. Something that I'm more familiar with would be better. So I may make another executive decision and go for the next project in the list which I think is the New England Sampler.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Getting back into it a bit

Another weekend away but I did manage to do some stitching last night on Verandas. Yes I figured out that that is the rotation I'm on.

Brought my stitching to the swimming pool today to get some done while my daughter has school swimming then discovered I forgot to bring a needle! Instead of sticking it through the margin of the fabric I left it sticking in the arm of the couch! It doesn't look like I'm going to get very much work done this week either!

As promised here is the updated photo of Cottages II. Not a bad start to that one.

Friday, 9 October 2009

A bit of a lull in proceedings

October is here and the busy end of year season has started early. We had a lovely break away last weekend to Phillip Island south of Melbourne. This weekend DH and I are off on a work retreat for his work to a winery area. And the following weekend Jade and I are off to a friend's near Canberra. So with all of the washing, organising and packing and unpacking I haven't touched my stitching for a week and may not do much this rotation. I'm not even sure which rotation it is!

I am also reading another Diana Gabaldon tome of nearly 1000 pages. It's the fifth one in her Outlander series called The Fiery Cross. I'm just over half way through the book and under pressure to finish it before October 23 as it's due back in the library then and someone else has a reservation on it so I can't renew it! After getting a bit tired of reading about Claire and Jamie I've hit my second wind and intend to go through to the next book before Christmas. The most recent book in the series isn't on the shelves of the library yet and there are 3 reserves on it so it's unlikely I'll get my chance to read that before Xmas.

I will leave posting a photo of my Cottages progress to a later entry.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Golden Gate Bridge finish!

Another finish for the year! This time it's Debbie Patrick's Golden Gate Bridge. This project has been in the works since about May 2007 so it's one of my older projects and one that I blogged about here in 2007. I started it as my 'travel' project and in the early days mainly worked on it when my son was having his weekly tennis lesson. I found it very fiddly, though with frequent colour changes and lots of small patches of one colour. This made it difficult to work on as a 'pick up' project so when I re-planned my rotations this year I stuck it in as one of the rotations and that's worked out well.

So now (probably in a week or so) it's off to the craft shop to have this and the two Fabric Collectors framed. That will be great to get those all done!

Now I continue on with Cottages at Oak Bluffs II. Here a progress photo of that.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

My birthday

Friday was my birthday so I finally got to open my Daylight Ultimate Floor Lamp! I put it together yesterday morning with some help from my son and now it's all in place and ready to use. It looks fabulous! Last night I was too tired to do any stitching after working in the afternoon so today will be my first opportunity to try it out. My family are all marvelling at the lamp especially about its attachments--the magnifying lens, clip to hold a pattern and the utility tray. The only thing it's really missing is a cup holder! I've been waiting to own a lamp like this for over 20 years.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Started Cottages at Oak Bluffs

OK cheating a bit here. I finished some of the backstitching on the bridge then realised I was running out of DMC356 (medium terracotta). Since I don't know how old some of my floss is I was wary about starting a new area with an old skein and then switching to a new skein in case there was a colour difference. So I started on the next project for this rotation until I get a chance to go to the craft shop and get more DMC. Then I ran into the same problem on cottages except this time I'm running out of DMC840 (medium beige brown). I've relied so long on my built up supplies of DMC that it's a bit of a shock to be running out of floss! Guess it's time to go shopping.

The colour descriptions for the floss are taken from this website: http://www.shopdmc.net/List%20of%20DMC%20colours.asp

Monday, 21 September 2009

Latrobe Terrace half finished

In just two rotations I've finished half of Latrobe Terrace. I can't believe it. I've never worked so quickly on one of these Juniper Designs street scenes. (And I've already completed five of them.) When I've worked on them in a dedicated way prior to using a rotation system one has taken me about 10 months to finish. Here I am only the equivalent of one month into this one and I'm half done (not counting backstitching). I'm getting sold on the rotation system.

Today is the first day of the Term 3 school holidays which means I'm on an even more irregular schedule than normal with ferrying the kids around. Jarrah has a couple of orthodontist appointments (today is actually his official treatment start date) and baseball training on Wednesdays. Jade has a busy gymnastics training schedule with more mornings than usual. Thank goodness Paul takes her for the 7am starts! I've also got work this Wednesday and my usual Saturday afternoon examinings this Saturday. So who knows what will get done this rotation? One good thing is that this is the final rotation on the Golden Gate Bridge and there's only backstitching to do. I've done a bunch today but there's heaps more with all of the bridge cables. I hope I have enough DMC356 to finish it all!

I'm going to make a list of all of the patterns and kits I have. It's going to be painful doing this because it's only going to highlight the impossibility of getting through it all.

We went to the Melbourne Show (actually the Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show--like a US State Fair) yesterday and I took a few photos of the kids. I thought I'd upload one of them in the animal nursery.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Good progress on Latrobe Terrace

I'm halfway through my Latrobe Terrace rotation and well into the building on the far right of the pattern. I have just a bit of foreground and background to do to finish this area and the whole right side of the design. And this is only my second rotation on this project. It's amazing how quickly it has gone in just 3 weeks! I can remember similar projects like this taking 10 months of dedicated work to finish. At the almost half-way mark I can't believe how fast this one is!

Yesterday I prepared the fabric for Cottages at Oak Bluffs II. I bound off the edges and made the centering lines. I'm going to do this one the same as Oak Bluffs I where I stitched both houses on the one piece of aida and then framed them as a set. The first one hangs in my son's room and looks great there. The second one will go in my daughter's room.

Today I ordered 5 new Barbara & Cheryl (of Verandas and Rainbow Row fame) patterns that I love. I inherited two from my mother but wanted to do some others as well. These will be waiting for me at my Dad's in the US when we go there for Christmas. The patterns I ordered are: The Garden Wall, Shady Afternoon (love the red and pink tones), Queen Street Alley, South Battery View and Ironwork Gate. I just discovered that the gate in Ironwork Gate is the one in another Barbara & Cheryl that I already have: Under the Oaks. I'll be doing one of my many Barbara & Cheryl patterns in the Verandas rotation once I have finished Verandas.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Fabric Collector #2 Finish!

I'm a week late writing this but I finished the second version of The Fabric Collector by stretching its rotation into a third week. I had really lost most of my interest in the project after already completing one but thought I should continue on and get it done so that I can take the two of them for framing at the same time and well before the Christmas rush. I'm just going to wait to finish the backstitching on the Golden Gate Bridge which I should do in its next rotation later this month and then I'll take all three for framing.

So here is the second Fabric Collector. I did a better job on this one in not making the couple of errors I made on the first one. But in comparing them they look pretty similar. At any rate, the two recipients--my sister and sister-in-law--don't live anywhere near each other so they'll never get the two of them side by side for comparison.

In extending one rotation by a week I decided to cut the rotation on New England Sampler by a week and so I have a photo of that also to show. I didn't put a lot of time into it over the week. I finished a couple of small buildings, the deer and some of the foreground to the centre of the sampler. It is coming along slowly.

Friday, 21 August 2009

New Daylight lights have arrived!

My two new Daylight lights have arrived but (Boo Hoo) I've been told I have to wait a month for my birthday to open the large one.

I just picked up the small portable one from the post office this morning. I got it for a real bargain price on eBay. It's a $120 lamp which I got for $62. I'm hoping the family isn't going to make me wait to use this one as well! Maybe what they don't know can't hurt them. He he.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Continuing with Fabric Collector

My work this rotation has been sporadic because I've spent more time in the car driving children from place to place. Last week Jade had a training camp at the VIS (Victorian Institute of Sport) in Prahran (inner Melbourne). The traffic and parking down there is horrendous. Thankfully this time all of the parents of the gymnasts involved formed a car pool so we didn't have to do as much driving and waiting around as last time.

Yesterday I had a ridiculous day driving Jarrah to school early for band practice, waiting around for 40 minutes to access the once a week secondhand uniform shop so I could drop off uniform to sell, waiting around for another 50 minutes, taking him to the dentist, driving him back to school, coming home for an hour then going back to Jade's school to pick her up and take her to training, coming home for 2 hours then going back to pick her up at 5. The day was a total write-off but I did do some cross-stitch in the evening.

Since I haven't had as much time as usual to cross stitch I'm planning on continuing with this project into next week in order to finish it. Rules were meant to be broken, weren't they? This will cut into the two weeks of the New England Sampler a bit but that's not my favourite project and it's a long way from being finished so that's OK.

Friday, 14 August 2009

On House #2

Another great rotation where I finished House #3 and made a good start on House #2. I'm beginning to be able to predict the finish of this project. About 3 more rotations to finish the cross-stitching then one more for the backstitching. So 4 rotations. That would be a May 2010 finish. Close but not that close I guess. The main thing is that I am progressing on all my projects at a rate that I wouldn't be otherwise. Certainly if I wasn't rotating at all I wouldn't be getting through these projects the way I am.

I decided to swap the order of the next two projects I'm working on so I've started back on The Fabric Collector. I'm doing this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to break up the big projects and not do one big one after the other--ie Verandas followed by the New England Sampler. Secondly, I wanted to break up the linen projects--ie Fabric Collector followed by LaTrobe Terrace. So this rotation is my second on the second version of the Fabric Collector. I haven't done heaps on it but I am making progress.

At the moment I'm really struggling with getting good light on my work. It seems that no matter which way I turn myself or the lamp or the magnifier that I wear around my neck I get shadows. So I've finally broken down and bought a specific craft lamp--the Daylight Ultimate Floor Lamp. I bought it on ebay and saved about $30by doing so. I just picked it up from the post office this morning and it is waiting for me to assemble it. It is a new lamp in the box.

Not only that but I also bought the Daylight portable light to use on the go. It also has a magnifier with it.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Back into the swing of things

I've been working very well on Verandas since Sunday. I finished House #3 and am doing the foreground in front of the house now. My aim for the rest of this week is to finish the foreground and start on House #2 (the yellow house on the left side of the project).

This morning I went to Spotlight and bought some new DMC for various projects on the go and for one I am preparing to start. I bought 2 skeins of white, and one of 3051, 934, 775 and 3813. I also looked at daylight lamps. I am having eyestrain from the lighting I use. I have been using a floor uplamp with a 'daughter' arm but I can never seem to aim the light so that I don't have any shadows. I'm looking through a magnifying glass which I wear around my neck and that is a big factor with the shadows too. This week I've added another floor lamp with a daylight bulb but still I'm not getting enough light. I don't know whether to get a Daylight light or an Ott light. Today I saw a lightbox which sits on your lap and shines up through your work so I don't know if that is something I should consider. It would be helpful if there was some way to try these things out first because they cost hundreds of dollars and who knows how good they are?

Anyway, here is the new project I'm getting ready to do. It's another Debbie Patrick.

Friday, 31 July 2009

An admission

OK I admit I haven't been cross-stitching this week. I've just finished two weeks casual full-time work and have been too exhausted in the evenings to pick anything up. Being the end of the month I've also had two school council meetings to attend since I'm on both of my children's school councils. This is my second year on my daughter's (primary) school council and my first year on my son's (secondary) school council. I'm starting to get into both of them and am enjoying getting the inside info on how schools are run.

Tomorrow is also probably not a cross-stitching day as I'm taking my son to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and then my DH and I have one of his annual work dinners to attend in the evening. I hope I don't fall asleep on the table!

I have been doing a lot of reading lately though. I've nearly finished the third book in the Outlander series. I wrote before that I was reading the first book Cross-stitch. I then read Dragonfly in Amber and came very close to deciding not to read any more books in this series because of some of the very gory bits that were in the first two books. The description of Drawing and Quartering in Dragonfly was what nearly did me in. But I decided to go on with it and I'm now less than 100 pages from the end of the third book Voyager. This book has been much less gory and generally more enjoyable so I'm glad I've stuck with it. I'm looking forward to the fourth book Drums of Autumn which I have in paperback. My sister brought this book from the US to Australia when she last came to visit 10 years ago and it's been sitting on my bookshelf since. I've just read that it takes place in Charleston, South Carolina, where my sister lives, so I think I'm really going to enjoy reading it.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Only backstitching to go!

Here's the bridge with all of the cross-stitching completed! I've been working full time in a fill-in position and so didn't do any work on it during the week. Luckily I managed to finish it over the weekend. So the next time it comes around again I only have the backstitching to do to finish it off. Hooray! I'm really pleased with the progress I'm making on my projects this year.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Finally getting somewhere with the Bridge

I've finished the foreground of the Golden Gate Bridge despite the hiccup with the shades of green. With three green shades sprinkled amongst each other I don't think it is apparent at all that there is a minor colour difference between two areas of DMC3051. So the problem wasn't really a problem at all.

Closeup of the green area

Since I finished the foreground I've been working on the buildings on the other side of the bridge. This is where I've got small numbers of stitches of many different colours. Rather than keep threading my needle with a new colour I've been keeping the one colour and moving through the pattern doing as many areas of that colour as possible. Because it's harder to see any progress towards completion this way I now realise this is why this project has been seeming to take so long. I think now it's about 80-85% complete however so the end is in sight!

Last night I went back to doing some of the cloud areas in the sky. I made a small error near the end and decided to take a few rows out and re-do them. I'm working with DMC775, a very light blue. The threads I'm using are from a plastic spool in my mother's DMC box which I inherited. It's wonderful to have this collection with all of the DMC colours (excepting some of the newer ones) organised on labelled spools. The numbers on the spool tags are in her handwriting which makes it even more special. It's funny, my Dad was going to give the box away to a friend of hers after she passed away until I asked him if I could have it. It's a wonderful keepsake of her for me especially as she was such a craftswoman. She was also, however, a smoker and a heavy one especially towards the end of her life when the Alzheimers really affected her memory. She would light up a cigarette, forget she was already smoking one and light up another one. She nearly started a fire at least once when she put a lit cigarette in a plastic waste basket full of papers. When I first brought the DMC box home every time I opened it I would smell her cigarette smoke. This definitely brought back memories of her to me. I go into all this background because number 775 was stained due to the cigarette smoke. I didn't want to throw it out though so the other day I washed the thread with liquid detergent. Most of it lightened up. The one length of 6 strands that didn't I threw out.

My mother's DMC box--the box opens on 2 sides and both sides are full of DMC spools

The threads for this project organised into snack bags on metal stationery rings

I'm now close to finishing two of the five items in my rotations--this one and version 2 of The Fabric Collector. So now I can begin to think about what other projects in my stash I'd like to do next. It's exciting to be getting through projects like this! More on this later.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

DMC colour problem

I'm working on the foreground below the left support of the bridge doing the various shades of green there. I stitched one section with 3051, a medium green, then began stitching just below it with another strand of the same colour. After doing a few rows I realised that there was a slight (but to me noticable) colour difference between the two areas. The new strands I'm using are a bit darker, almost with a blackish tinge to them whereas the first strands I used don't have that blackish appearance. You probably wouldn't see the difference in a photo but when I finish this rotation and put a photo up you can have a look at it.

This problem has slowed my progress as I've found it discouraging. I've decided to keep going on with it and to look at the first area I've done after I finish stitching all of this colour. I may have to restitch what I did with the first two strands. It wouldn't be a lot of work. I hate problems like this.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Completed a quarter of Latrobe Terrace!

Well I've come to the end of a very productive rotation. I worked on two projects at the same time, completed one while starting a new one and I've finished about 25% of the new one! It is really refreshing to do something new and it's also refreshing to finish a project, especially one which has been hanging around for a while. And all of this was done during the kids' two week school holiday. I don't know how much more I can say about it.

So now I'm back to the Golden Gate Bridge. I'm ready to move on and leave Latrobe Terrace (and working on linen) and get back to Aida, even if it is 18 count. I need to set a method of attack for the bridge as I keep changing my method from trying to finish all of one color to trying to finish one area. This time I think I need to focus on one area and finish it. It's hard for me to estimate how far along I am with this project because there are gaps all over. I'm probably 2/3 done. I don't think I can finish it this rotation but maybe the next time it comes around I can.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Another Finish!

Yes I can finally report that I've finished the Christmas calendar. Hooray! After starting this in the lead-up to Christmas 2007 it is at last completed in time for Christmas 2009. I've uploaded this photo of it to webshots in a new album called 2009 Finishes.

So the remainder of this rotation is now officially Latrobe Terrace.

My rotation schedule now is:

1. Golden Gate Bridge
2. Verandas of South Battery
3. New England Sampler
4. The Fabric Collector #2
5. Latrobe Terrace

I'm dropping the Map of Australia for now. Maybe I'll contemplate adding it in tandem with another project when I complete the second Fabric Collector. Working on two in one rotation seems to work when I have a less favoured project because it enables me to choose which one to work on.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Updated webshots photos

Yet another post this week! I must have time on my hands! I've updated my webshots photo album with progress shots of three of my WIPs in a new album called 2009 WIPs. In it are the Christmas calendar, New England Sampler and Verandas progress shots. I may put more photos into it today.

I've also repaired the link to that website on this blog so you can actually click on it now and get there.

I think that's it for now.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Finished top of Christmas calendar

I know this is my third post this week and I usually don't post my progress so much but since I've been posting about Latrobe Terrace when my rotation actually is the Christmas calendar I thought I should post my semi-finish of the calendar.

So here is the top of the calendar which I finished last night. It's looking pretty good I think. Now just have to secure it to the bottom, fix the backing on the bottom and attach a hanging string and I can really report a finish!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Cross-stitch the novel

For a number of years I've toyed with reading this novel by Diana Gabaldon, mainly because of it's title. (It actually has nothing to do with cross-stitching and the book is titled 'Outlander' in the US publishing world.) I also like reading historical fiction so it was within my area of interest. I don't know why it took me so long to finally get around to it but last week I finished reading this book, the first in a growing series called the Voyager series. I'm now on the second book 'Dragonfly in Amber'. The seventh book is due for release this year.

Cross-stitch tells the story of Claire, a former WWII nurse, who in 1947 visits a stone circle in Scotland and is transported back to 1743. There (or should I say then?) she meets an outlaw named Jamie Fraser, marries him, although she is already married in the 20th century, and has many adventures with him while they try to elude the English forces occupying Scotland. Some of the details of what befalls them are gruesome but other details of life in this time are fascinating.

The second book begins in the 20th century with Claire and her 20 year old daughter Brianna(Jamie's child) returning to Scotland from New York where they live so that Claire can tell Brianna about her past. There is a 21 year gap in time from the end of the first book and readers are left to ponder when and why Claire left Jamie.

Anyway, yesterday I did a fair bit of cross-stitching on Latrobe Terrace and I've started the second building (the much larger one) to the right of the centre. The kids had a ball at the roller skating rink and I had 2.5 hours to myself to cross-stitch plus what I did last night. Today's we're going to see Ice Age 3 and a friend is coming over for a sleep-over. If I have time in the evening I will work on the Christmas calendar.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Started Latrobe Terrace!

scan of the kit cover

I'm cheating a bit with this rotation because I started Latrobe Terrace (Juniper Designs) before finishing the Christmas calendar. The calendar is coming along well but I seem to need to take breaks from it so I started sorting the threads from Latrobe Terrace. Then I bound off the fabric edges and marked the centre lines. Tuesday night after doing a bit on the calendar I decided to take a break and do some cross-stitching so I made a start on the small building to the right of the middle of the pattern. I've had a busy few days since then and have only done small amounts of work both on the calendar and this cross-stitch. But I have another week to get the calendar done so there shouldn't be any problems finishing it. I'm up to embroidering the reindeer's body. Then I can sew it on, followed by the head and lastly the outside ear. Then all I have to do is to join the top and bottom, sew on the backing and a hanging string and it's all done!

details of the houses

We're right in the middle of school holidays now. Despite what many people think these weeks are actually busier than school weeks with all of the activities the kids are up to. This next week we've got a number of playdates including a sleep-over scheduled. Tomorrow the kids are going roller blading. I can't join them in the rink because of my frozen shoulder so I guess I'll be cross-stitching. He, he.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

My first finish for 2009!

It seems rather strange to be reporting a finish! Just goes to show how used I am to doing large projects that take up to or over a year to complete.

I finished The Fabric Collector half way through the second week of my last rotation. I knew I could finish it during that rotation but, a you may recall, I'd made a boo-boo on it right at the beginning of the rotation and then didn't pick it up for about 4 days because I knew I'd have to fix it up and that's a drag. Well I fixed it up at the same time as working on a new area--did a bit of fixing then a bit of new stuff--and that kept me interested enough to go on with it. I am just amazed that I finished it in 3 and a half weeks!

This is the first time I finished something while using this rotation system and all of a sudden I wondered what to do with the remaining half week of the rotation. Should I do another Fabric Collector for my sister-in-law who is also a quilter or should I sort out the colours from the Latrobe Terrace kit and get that ready or should I get a half week's head start on my next rotation? All possibilities opened up. In the end I decided to start another Fabric Collector as a second Christmas gift since the first one only took 3.5 weeks. I think I've made more progress on it the second time around than I did in the same amount of time on the first one. I'm being more careful this time about counting my rows so that the pattern elements are correctly positioned. Not that it really matters with the first one. I think it looks great!

The kit contains enough fabric and floss to make 3 samplers but there were only enough buttons for one (the buttons go in the corners and mid way along the top and bottom) so I went to Lincraft and bought 6 buttons for the second one. I'm hopeful of finishing this piece when its rotation comes around again.

Second round of The Fabric Collector--another Xmas gift!

So now it's the end of June, about the time when I planned to add the Christmas calendar to my rotations. I've decided I hate the map of Australia so much that I'm going to put it aside for a while and work on things I like. So I started back on the Christmas calendar again. I've been working on this off and on since about October 2007. Back then I finished the pockets and nearly all of the ornaments that go in them to count down to Christmas. Last year I started a bit earlier, finished the last ornament and then worked on the top part of the design with Santa and the pine trees. There's a lot of work involved in cutting out the felt and sewing the sequins on the various pieces there so I didn't finish it in time for Christmas again. But the kids used it as it was and it was fine. This year it's going to be finished. In fact it will be finished this rotation.

Yesterday I started in on it by doing the sequins on the part with the pockets. That was fiddly especially as some of the beads wouldn't thread through the needle. Anyway, I got that part done last night then started on the part with the pine trees. I stuffed and sewed the snowman on and part of the sign in front of him. I've worked again on that area today and he's coming along well. I have yet to sew on his right arm, hat and the sign in front of him. Then it's on to the reindeer which is the last element in this area. Finally it's attaching the top to the piece with the pockets and sewing the backing on and it's finished!

Piece with the pockets with sequins--finished!

Santa and the snowman (nearly finished) waiting for the reindeer.

I haven't yet decided if I'm going to start Latrobe Terrace next in lieu of the map of Australia or if I'll go back to the Golden Gate Bridge and the start of my rotations. I'm mindful that if I add too many projects in rotation it's going to take me longer and longer to get around to them. Hummmm. I'll see how I feel when I finish the Christmas calendar.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Half way through my current rotation

I started this rotation with great enthusiasm last Monday by working on the border of the sampler then . . .whoops! . . .discovered after I'd finished one side that I'd mispositioned the thread spools by one row. Oh darn! I was really annoyed. This project just seems to invite mistakes. I don't know what it is. Maybe because all of the stitched areas are separated. I don't know. All I know is that I didn't seem to find the time during the week to undo what I'd done. On Saturday I started to fix some of it up and last night I finished fixing my mistakes and also finished all of the thread spools on the other 3 sides of the piece.

Sunday nights are a really good time for me to get a lot of stitching done. I should probably be brain dead from sitting in front of the TV for 4 hours but I don't mind all of the forensic TV shows. They keep me entertained while I stitch. So here's where I'm up to as of this morning. You can see I even started the saying at the bottom. I just keep jumping all over the pattern and doing whatever I feel like. I still have to go back and finish stitching all of the fabric on the shelves and there's a small quilt on the upper right wall to do. There's a bit of backstitching as well. How far am I going to get this week? And will I make any more mistakes????

Friday, 19 June 2009

One rotation finishes and another one begins

I made a big push last Sunday night to bring the small section of the New England Sampler to some sort of a finished state. As I previously wrote I'm doing the lower band starting on the left hand side and going across. This area depicts a farm scene with an apple tree and some buildings. I finished the apple tree and the foreground in front of it and did some of the foreground below the buildings. I've also decided not to stitch the phrase 'Stitched by . . .' in the dark green foreground. I always put my intials and a date on my stitching and I'd rather just do that. So I'm doing the bottom of the foreground totally in the dark green. It looks nice so far so I hope it will turn out nice.

I received a surprise email from a former co-worker who liked the two Charleston cross-stitch patterns I had (Rainbow Row and Verandas) so much that she copied them and finished Rainbow Row long before I'd even started it. Now more than 10 years later she's working on Verandas and she emailed me because she was missing part of one page of the pattern. It's amazing that we're both working on the same project in the exact same area of the project without knowing it. Not many people have my taste for doing large cross-stitches of houses so it's great to be able to share the journey with someone. So I thought I should put up a photo of Rainbow Row which I finished nearly 10 years ago in November 1999. Wow, I had no idea it had been so long!

Now I'm working on the small sampler Christmas present for my sister. I don't know why but I keep making mistakes on this one. I'm working on the border and mispositioned some of the thread spools so I'm unsititching at the moment. Frustrating!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Thank you for voting!

Thanks to everyone who voted on which Juniper Designs street scene I should start next. I don't know if voting was along a state-based bias or not but I agree with the result. I think LaTrobe Terrace is the most interesting of the 4 projects because of the unique style of the houses and the bright colours. I can't say I've ever seen LaTrobe Terrace in person where I have seen the other three, but why should I let that stop me!

I'm into my second week on the New England sampler and it's going well but not fast. I've had a lot of extra 'outside' activities on including my daughter's appearance in the state gymnastics championships. Life does get in the way of stitching sometimes! I did end up going down from the middle and I'm working on the lower band of the sampler. My main focus has been an apple tree. I'm enjoying this area very much because it uses several tones of the same colour of apple green (what else!). I've got a few days left on this rotation but we'll be having houseguests from tomorrow and over the weekend so I don't know how much more I'm going to be able to do.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Reluctantly time to move on to next project

Well my Verandahs rotation is up. This is my favourite project so I'm really sorry not to be continuing on it. I didn't finish the house I was working on but I'll finish it next time for sure.

So now it's on to the New England Sampler. I feel reluctant to pick this up again because I'm enjoying the Verandahs so much but also because I have to start a new section of it and, since I've finished the middle of the design, I have to decide whether to go up or down. I think I'm going down.

There are definitely projects I like more than others and I wish I could spend more time on the ones I like--but then the others would never get done. So there it is!

Now about my poll--it looks like LaTrobe Terrace, Brisbane is narrowly leading Sydney. LaTrobe is the most colourful of the designs so that's probably not surprising. I'll have to decide where I'm going to fit it into the rotation. I'll do another rotation on the Fabric collector sampler then probably slot it in after that because I'm hoping to come close to finishing the Fabric collector this next rotation.

I'm going to have a push this week on the decluttering I've been doing. I just want to get it done and I also have guests coming next week so it would be nice to finish it before they come and to have the house looking really nice. My DH is also having a big declutter in his junk room. He must have 20 + boxes of papers in there plus other stuff spread all over the place. The decluttering he's doing now is the most I've ever seen him do. I just hope he either finishes before the guests come or keeps it up after they've gone. Well I'd best get back to sorting through piles and deciding what to do with them.

Monday, 25 May 2009

First week of Verahdahs rotation

I thought I should update my blog to show that I've really been working on my cross-stitch. Well here it is. I've just taken a quick photo without removing my work from the hoop. This is a photo of House #3, the house just to the left of the middle of the piece. I really love its colours even though they are in the light brown family. I think it just looks superb. The roof is is a dark brownish purple which just sets the house off beautifully. Here it is.

What you see here in the hoop has all been done this week. This includes the light green bush to the right of the house. With one more week to go on this rotation I think I'll be able to finish the lower part of the house. It does have a flowering bush or tree in it to make it a bit tricky but I still should be able to complete it. I may not be able to do all of the foreground because it's got a lot of colour changes. But we'll see how I go.

Now I'm starting to think about starting another project and adding it to the rotations. I'm thinking of doing one of my Juniper Designs street scenes. I have four of them--Strahan, Tasmania, Beechworth, Victoria, Sydney and Brisbane. I've had Strahan the longest--about 10 years. Brisbane is the most recent one I've bought but even that must be 5 or so years ago. You can vote on which one I should do first!

Strahan Tasmania

Beechworth, Victoria

The Rocks, Sydney

LaTrobe Terrace, Brisbane

Friday, 22 May 2009

Naughty, naughty!!

I can't tell you how many times I've intended to update this blog!!! Each time I got sidetracked. I've been doing a bit of eBay selling lately and much of my computer time has been taken up with that. But it's gone a bit quiet for now so here goes.

I'm not very proud to say that the Aussie map didn't go very far. I did some work on it the first couple of days of the rotation but then couldn't bring myself to pick it up. So that was a very unproductive 2 week rotation.

I did much better the next 2 weeks working back on the Golden Gate Bridge (Debbie Patrick pattern). In fact that has really come along. I haven't posted a picture of it for absolute ages so here it is!

As you can see I'm working all over the place. Sometimes I decide that I want to complete one area--such as under the bridge. At other times I decide that I want to follow one colour and do it wherever it is on the pattern. On this rotation I finished under the right bridge support, the water section between the two supports and then I started doing DMC#775 (very pale blue) all over the sky. There is a lot of that colour so I didn't finish it. No idea where I'm going to decide to pick up next time.

That rotation went very quickly and now I'm back on the Verandahs one from Charleston. I think this is really my favourite piece right now. I don't know why. I just love doing the houses. I've started working on House #3 which is the house just to the left of the centre of the piece. I haven't done heaps but it is going well. I'm working from the roof of the house down and I've done some of the bushes between it and the completed House #4 to its right.

This is still my first week of this rotation and I want to make the most of it. Next week my son goes away on a music camp for 3 days so they'll be a bit less driving around for me and maybe a bit more stitching?