Monday, 18 October 2010

Finished the cross-stitching on Verandas

House #1 finished

I only worked on this project about 4 times over the past fortnight and got it out for the last time this rotation after dinner last night. After I'd worked on it a couple of hours I realised that I could actually finish the cross-stitching so I stayed up to 11:45 to get this done. Luckily I'd gotten involved in a Swedish movie that went that late and that I was surprisingly able to follow even though cross-stitching meant that I wasn't able to read all the subtitles. I finished the bushes to the left of the last house (House #1) then went back and filled in the one and two stitch gaps I'd left in the palmetto tree and house. The last area I did was the inserts on the front door of the house which were DMC #415. For some reason I didn't have this colour with my threads for this project and it also wasn't in my mother's DMC box so I had to go searching in my craft cupboard for it. Luckily I found it and so was able to finish the project.

The whole Verandas scene--cross-stitching finished!

I'm now back to New England Sampler. With only 4 projects in my rotations they seem to come around more often. Funny about that.

I bought a photo frame for the two Chinese projects and have cut the matting so that I can mount them. It's a cheaper alternative to having them professionally framed but I didn't think they deserved that level of expense. The photo frame is really nice and they will hang vertically one over the other so I think they'll look nice.

On to reading now--I'm on Book 3 of the Tales of the Otori which is titled Brilliance of the Moon. There is only the sequel to go after this and I'm trawling the library website to pick this up so I have it on hand and ready. I'm thinking of reading Stig Larsson's books after this.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Work going slowly

There have been a few personal happenings lately which have meant that I'm only working on projects sporadically. My mother-in-law has been unwell since late August so there have been lots of trips to the hospital and then the temporary care facility. The past couple of weeks we've been involved in the search for a permanent nursing home for her as well. Plus I've accepted three weeks part-time casual work! So personal time has been greatly curtailed. I have managed to complete the NZ possum scarf--just in time for the weather warming up. I finished the cross-stitching on Cottages II and started the backstitching but unfortunately didn't finish this before the rotation ended. I'm now working on Verandas and so close to finishing the cross-stitching on that as well! But the first week of its rotation I didn't work on it at all so I'll really only get one week's work in on it.

Here is the possum scarf!

I started reading a new series of books called Tales of the Otori and I'm enjoying them. I'm on the third book of the series which confusingly is called Book 2 because originally the series was a trilogy but then the author wrote a sequel and then a prequel. I started by reading the prequel. I'm enjoying the books very much. After these I must go back and finish a Series of Unfortunate Events which I've been slowly creeping through. I'm up to Book 11 there. My daughter Jade just started Book 12. (Of course there are 13 books in the series.)

It's a busy time of year!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Finally got a good start to The Rocks

I just finished one week's work on The Rocks. This is one of the biggest Juniper Designs street scenes, if not the biggest. Wish I'd figured this out before I started!

Anyway, it's going to take me a lot longer than Latrobe Terrace did. Here is a comparison of the stitching areas of the various Juniper Designs street scenes:

The Rocks, Sydney 16 x 53 cm (current project)
Latrobe Terrace 10 x 49 cm (just finished)
Beechworth 11 x 49 cm (stash)
Strahan 13 x 49 cm (stash)

Port Fairy 12 x 51 cm (completed)
Windsor 12 x 44 cm (completed)
Adelaide 12 x 45 cm (completed)
Maldon 13 x 49 cm (completed)

So you can see in both length and height The Rocks is considerably larger than any of the other street scenes. I guess it will be good to get this one out of the way especially since I'll soon be finishing the large street scene in Verandas.

It was good to have some concentrated time to work on this one as I discovered I made a mistake on the wall and was doing it two rows too high. I had to take a lot out but it didn't bother or discourage me. I just re-did it while I was doing adjacent areas. In the end I've got the wall area to a nearly finished state. The next part's going to be fiddly as it's a large spreading tree. Lots of potential for putting stitches in the wrong place!

I'm now back to Cottages II and, with a good push, could finish this this rotation. I'm getting spoiled with all these finishes! I will definitely have to be off to the framers soon!

Friday, 17 September 2010

LaTrobe Terrace finished!

Here is the full project, done except for the lettering of the name and my initials and date

The left side of the scene.

The right side of the scene

Yes Latrobe Terrace is finished! The backstitching took me a couple of days to finish off during this rotation. I had a bit of a problem interpreting what backstitching color went where as they used locations like 'paving' which could have been a couple of different things or 'grass' and 'tree branches' and I couldn't tell which lines near the trees were supposed to be grass and which ones branches. Process of elimination plus looking at the colour photo on the kit with a magnifying glass solved the problem.

I just looked back to see when I started Latrobe Terrace and it was July last year--so 14 months ago. When I used to work on one project alone it would take me 10 months to finish one of these Juniper Designs street scenes. So 14 months part-time work isn't bad considering how many other projects have been finished or nearly finished in that time as well. Looks like a trip to the framers is coming up!

So this rotation is now another Juniper Designs--The Rocks, Sydney, which I started on a trip to Sydney back in June. I'm working on a wall in the middle of this project and just discovered I did a few hours work two rows too high so I've been frogging and restitching for a couple of days. I've got it fixed now and am 'going forward' as they say. I'll put up a photo of it after this rotation ends this weekend.

I am close to finishing two other projects--Cottages and Verandas--and I've nearly finished knitting the NZ possum wool scarf.

You may notice I've condensed my rotations down to 4. I want to see if that hustles up progress.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Chinese II finished!

I managed to whip through the remaining three patterns of Chinese II in just over a week. With most of a week to spare in the rotation I decided to get out LaTrobe Terrace and try to finish off the backstitching in the remaining time. I managed to get through about 2/3 of it, which was good but a bit disappointing. I always think that I'm going to get through things quicker than I do!

Then it was back to the proper place in the rotation which was the New England Sampler. I think I spent three weeks on this because I didn't get around to doing anything with it for a week or so. I've finished the top border including the corners. (Just delaying having to do more of the internal pattern which is going to require some concentration.)

Here are details of the corner designs. I think they're really pretty.

I don't have any photos but I'm also working on the possum/wool scarf. I'm on the third and final ball now. Will have it finished just in time for the end of winter!!!

What else is new?

Well I went to Adelaide for a footy weekend with my son Jarrah and we also saw the pandas.

And our kitty Nimbus is getting cuter and more lovely every day. Here he is sleeping in his basket on the scratching post.

I'm also doing a lot of reading and have finished the first three volumes of the Twilight series. Now I'm reading Dan Brown's latest book The Lost Symbol.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Nearly Finished Verandas House #1

I'm a bit late with my posting this time. I had a good rotation's work on the last, far left house on Verandas. The house is very nearly finished including the foreground. There's just a bit to do around the palmetto tree. Unfortunately there is still the gate & bush area to the left of this house to do and with the way I'm going I think that's going to take a full rotation in itself. Then they'll be another rotation for the backstitching. So hopefully just two more rotations to completion.

I'm also knitting the navy scarf in New Zealand possum wool and this week I ordered and received an additional ball of this wool from a shop in Canberra so that I can make a matching hat for the scarf. The new ball is slightly different to what I had in that it has a touch more shine to it. But the colour is pretty much spot on. In order to blend this new ball in I unravelled the second ball of knitting I'd done on the scarf so that I can knit this new ball in as the middle of the scarf. I'd done about half of the second ball so that was a bit of work lost on the scarf. I've since made up that lost work with the new ball.

I also decided to knit a sweater so I took a pattern I already had (and had already knitted--but I'd given away the sweater) and went to a wool shop in Malvern and bought wool for this sweater. I'd hoped to start this soon but I think I've got too many things on the go and I should finish the scarf and hat first. Darn!

I'm now half way through my rotation on the second Chinese cross-stitch. I finished the second of the 4 patterns and I'm well into the third pattern. If I pushed it this week I could possibly finish the whole thing but we'll see how it goes. I won't post a photo of this until after I finish this rotation. I'm getting frustrated that I seem to be so close with several projects but it's taking so long to finish any of them!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

A finish on one and substantial progress on another

Time to rotate projects again. I've made big progress on the second house of Cottages II starting it from scratch this rotation and getting it about 2/3 complete. Hopefully that means I can finish it the next rotation?

I also finally finished sewing Jade's flannel quilt and she's thrilled about that. I also made and finished a matching pillow to go with it.

I am so close to finishing so many projects that I'm going to go through them and give an indication of the stage each is in.

1. Cottages at Oak Bluffs (2 houses) 60% complete, 2 rotations to finish
2. Verandas of South Battery 90% complete, 4 rotations to finish (there is a lot of back stitching)
3. Chinese II 25% complete, 2 rotations to finish
4. New England Sampler 60% complete, 6+ rotations to finish
5. LaTrobe Terrace 95% complete, 1 rotation or less to finish

So with so many finishes in sight I'm considering which projects to begin in their places. I've already started The Rocks in place of LaTrobe Terrace so that's a lock. Cottages will become Jade's baby sampler and I'll start another Barbara & Cheryl possibly in place of Chinese II.

Here are some other happenings around our place:

Jade dressed for communion with her stole. She is just gorgeous in her dress!

Cat condo being constructed by the boys.

And finally our own home-grown Master Chef!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Second house on Cottages II well underway

After one week's rotation on this project I've got the second house well underway. It's coming out prettier than I thought it would with the green and pink. It will look lovely in my daughter's room. My son has Cottages I in his room.

I'm finishing off Jade's flannel quilt as well. Last night I sewed the binding on and today I've pinned it ready for hand-sewing. I also promised to make her a pillow in the same fabric so will do that. It won't take long.

Jade has a week's holiday from gym training and I'm trying to make as much use as I can of the extra time I have not driving her around. I've got 4 hours extra work correcting IELTS papers Tuesday and Wednesday, got my car booked in to fix the radio antenna and am continuing to work on finishing off projects as well.

Oh and here is our kitten Nimbus's new toy!

Friday, 9 July 2010

More photos

It's good taking photos of projects as they come along. It makes you have a good look at what you've been doing.

I just made a change to Jade's communion stole to the 'E' in her name. I flipped the E as it was upside down on the stole. It looks much better. I put the new photo on my last post.

Then I took a photo of my knitting with the NZ wool and discovered a small error where I must have gotten the row pattern out of order. I'm now going to take it out down to there and count my rows a different way so this is fixed and doesn't happen again.

As I already posted I didn't do a lot with the Sydney cross-stitch but thought I should post a photo of where it is now.

Also here is the lighthouse rug hooking all hemmed and ready to hang.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Three finishes, a knitting project and . . . a new kitten!!!!!

I have got so many things on the go that it is starting to drive me crazy! So I decided to finish off a few things and managed to finish three including a UFO--but started another!

When we came back from Sydney last Monday my sights were set on finishing the binding off and sewing of the brown hooked rug. I'd been progressively gluing the edges of the backing where it was fraying over a few days in preparation for this. So last Tuesday I machine sewed the binding on the rug and hand-sewed it. Finished! Then I put it in the dryer with a wet towel mainly to try and fluff up the older hooked wool pieces which were flattened. There were also areas where the pieces went in different directions (where the new hooking met the old hooking) and I was hoping that a fluffing would fix this up. I also wanted to freshen the rug up and remove any dust as it had been in my Dad's attic for a few years. Well the fluffing certainly freshened the rug up and fluffed it up but there are still patches where the wool goes in different directions (although the hooking is in the same direction) and the backing shows. Anyway, I proudly gave this to Jarrah to put in his room and he has it beside his bed where he puts his feet out onto the floor in the morning.

My next finish was my daughter Jade's communion stole and this was becoming more urgent as she needs to wear this for her first communion on the 17th of July. I had already done preliminary work on this squaring off the stole fabric which was quite skewed and also cutting out the felt pieces to go on it. I sewed up the stole and pressed it and then using double-sided tape placed the felt pictures and her name on it. Done!

Then to the UFO. Jade wanted to learn to knit so I bought her some chunky velour-like yarn and showed her how to knit. While she was knitting I started working on a wool and possum scarf for myself from yarn I bought in Queenstown, New Zealand in 2007. (Hence another new project started.) I also had a hot pink, brown and gold scarf made in funny, bumpy yarn that I'd nearly finished but which had problems so had been put aside. I'd tried to unravel the end of it and because of the bumpy wool had been unable to. I'd dropped stitches so there were a couple of holes, the stitches were all off the needle and it was a mess. I spent a couple of hours on it trying to find all the dropped stitches and put them back on the needle and to crochet up the holes, etc. Anyway, I did as best I could, cast off and used spare wool to close up the holes and make it look nice. It's so fluffy and bumpy that you can't see that there was any problem anyway.

I have to confess that I didn't work on the Sydney cross-stitch when I was in Sydney but it did travel with me to its home city so I guess that's something.

So where am I now? I want to finish off a couple more projects. The lighthouse rug hooking is pinned and ready for sewing. I'm not using binding on this as it's going to be a wall-hanging. I want to frame the Life is a Journey Daydreams project I finished. I want to work on Jade's flannel quilt and I want to get back into whatever cross-stitch is this week's rotation.

But we have someone new in the family and he is getting a lot of attention. We have a new kitten! He is a silver tabby, about 4 months old and he came from the RSPCA. We got him last Saturday so he's only been with us for 3 days. His name is Nimbus. He is a beautiful kitty, very playful and cuddly and loving. But he needs supervision as he tends to claw the furniture and climb the curtains. This is actually a good week to have him home as the kids are off school and have the time to play with him and watch him. We haven't left him alone in a room with furniture yet because of the clawing. This will get better as he learns and as he gets older.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Lots and lots of updates!

I've got a few weeks to update with photos now that I'm well on the mend.

I finished the first of 4 designs on Chinese II.

Sorry it's on it's side.

I also finished the hooking of my lighthouse rug hooking. Only the hemming to do.

I then did a two week rotation on the New England Sampler. Just managed to finish the right side border and the line along the top separating the border area from the centre. Since I was spending some time in bed I worked on rug hooking while I was there because the light wasn't good enough for cross-stitching. When I came down and sat in the TV room with my lamp I did cross-stitching. Hence, more rug hooking got done than cross-stitching.

Since I finished the lighthouse so quickly I pulled out a hand-me-down project from my mother's house which was only partly done and worked on that. It's a small rug hooking and it had a few problems with fraying edges and it was also worked from the top instead of the bottom so I had to decide how to tackle it.

When I started on it there was nothing done along the bottom but most of the left edge had been done. Don't know why. I will need to buy some rug hemming tape to stablize the edges. It's too bad someone trimmed them!

Here's where the rug is as of this morning. You can see it won't take long to finish it off. It's a big help that the left side and top were already done. I'm planning to put it in the dryer with a damp towel once I finish it to fluff up the older hooked areas. They don't lay nicely.

Now I'm starting on a new project The Rocks, Sydney. This will replace LaTrobe Terrace in my rotations. Yes, I know I haven't finished LaTrobe Tce yet but this is the weekend I'm going to Sydney and we're staying in a hotel in The Rocks so I just have to bring this project and work on it so at least some of it is done in the place it's named for. I'm also going to have a look out for the buildings in the cross-stitch and see if I can photograph them.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

On the mend and slowly crafting again!

Hey, that rhymes! Well the old gallbladder is gone as of 7pm Thursday evening. That was a long day of fasting (from 8am) and waiting! I went into hospital Monday evening (7th) due to pain which was 3 days earlier than expected. I'm now resting at home. I brought a couple of smaller xstitches to hospital but didn't really feel like working on them until Friday morning after the op because that's when I really started to feel like my old self again.

I finished one of the 4 designs on Chinese II so there is progress. I've now started a new rotation on the New England Sampler. As I think I indicated before my next project in rotation is going to be The Rocks, Sydney as I want to take this project on my weekend in Sydney 25-28 June even though I haven't finished LaTrobe Terrace yet.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


I've been having abdominal pain for a week now and it looks like I've got a nice big gallstone stuck somewhere. I have little energy for crafting and I'll hear tomorrow from the doctor about what the next step will be when she gets the test results. So I'll be taking a short break from this blog.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Moving on to a new project

I didn't get nearly as much done on Verandas as I thought I would. I just didn't push it and ended up spending time getting new projects ready by sorting thread bundles in the kits, binding off edges of fabric, and running centre thread markers through several new projects. I also did a few rows on my rug hooking and finished the quilting part of the flannel quilt. All this while also taking care of my son Jarrah while he was recovering from oral surgery last week. So I guess I haven't done too badly.

Now I've started the second Lanarte Chinese Culture project. It's still a small project but has four separate designs on the one piece of fabric.

And . . . I've decided to do The Rocks Sydney instead of Strahan when I finish LaTrobe Terrace because DH and I are going to Sydney at the end of June for a weekend of wining and dining and hopefully a show. Even if I haven't finished LaTrobe Terrace I'm going to bring Sydney with me to Sydney!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Two small finishes

Red long stitching on the matting done!

I'm still regrouping myself and trying to get back on track. After my last post I decided to get out the Chinese project and finish it off. All that needed to be done was long stitching the Chinese characters on the matting. That only took an hour or so to do so that project is now officially finished. So I'm posting photos today of the two small projects I've finished.

The two parts of the Chinese project. I may have to cut them apart to position them under the matting. This project comes with matting but nothing else for framing. I'm going to try and get some glass and clips from a glazier to frame it. I'll never find a 7.5" x 7.5" ready-made frame.

Close up of half of the project

And the other half of the project

Life is a Journey finished. Luckily this one comes in a kit with matting and glass so is all ready for me to frame it.

I've now gone back to Verandas. I've undone a couple of the stained thread sections but not all of it as I found it hard to locate the ends. I'm stitching the palmetto tree in front of the house. I'm hoping to get to a craft shop today to get more 762 so I can fix this project and feel happy and motivated about it again.

Today I'm going to finish the machine quilting of my daughter's flannel quilt--the one that's been sitting in the machine for a few weeks. That one hit a snag when I ran out of quilting thread and it took me a few weeks to get to Spotlight to get more.

If you want to see what nicotine staining can do just have a look at the comparison of the stained white DMC on the spool with a new skein of white next to it in the photo below.

My son Jarrah is gradually healing from his oral surgery last Friday. This is a photo taken of him on Saturday with his 'chipmunk cheeks'.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

A bit of a hiccup

Well things don't always run smoothly with craftwork. I've been working on the last house on my Charleston streetscape Verandas and ran out of DMC #762, a light grey. Fished around my various stash locations and came up with the end of a skein in my mother's craft box and used that on about 3 window frames. Then I looked at them and saw they were noticably browner than the other window frames. Oh. It must be the nicotine staining. My mother was a great crafter. But also a heavy smoker. So what to do? Well I guess the perfectionist in me says to undo the new stitching and re-do it with a new skein. Only I didn't have time to go to Spotlight to get some. So I tried washing the canvas and also the end of my mother's skein. Both came up lighter but still not as light as what I had been using.

So on Thursday night I had a wet project I couldn't work on the next day and no more 762 anyway. My son Jarrah was going in very early Friday morning to have his wisdom teeth and another baby tooth taken out and an impacted tooth exposed. The op was going to take an hour plus the recovery time. So a great time for me to do some cross-stitch while waiting. I'd just finished my small Daydreams project Life is a Journey (hooray!) and the next project in rotation was also basically finished except for doing long stitches on the matting which I didn't want to do in the waiting room because it is too fiddly. So I decided to go on to the project beyond that in rotation--the New England Sampler--and work on the border. Nice and easy and a repeating pattern easily followed when out and about. So that's what I did.

Now I'm back home taking care of Jarrah giving him ice packs, pain relief and mashing up food and I kind of don't know which project to pick up again. I have three new ones waiting at the sewing machine for me to bind off their edges. But the machine is set up for machine quilting (with a quilt in it)so I haven't done those yet.

I have to make an executive decision about what to do.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

An early start to the next rotation

Huge progress on Cottages at Oak Bluffs--I finished the cross stitching on the first house a week and a half into the rotation! I was really surprised that it went so quickly but once I started in on it I was able to see progress and that encouraged me to try and finish it off.

As I got close to finishing the xs I had to decide whether to then start the backstitching right away, go on to the second house (which is a separate project but on the same piece of Aida) or to go on to the next piece in the rotation. I couldn't face backstitching because I wanted to have a break so that I felt I had 'finished' something. For the same reason I couldn't face starting the second house. So I picked up my next rotation Verandas where I'm also on the last house which I should finish this rotation as well. Then I'll face the same question--backstitch now or go on to the next rotation?

This is my Daydreams 'handbag' project Life is a Journey. It stays in my handbag for the times I'm waiting somewhere and have a few minutes to pick something up. Always having a project on hand has been a great idea and I have a new project picked out to take its place.

Thanks to everyone who answered my question on the CountedCrossStitch and xsers forums about length of backstitching. It was both the Daydreams project and LaTrobe Terrace that prompted this question plus the fact that I'm now or soon will be backstitching on five projects! Some of the Daydreams border is backstitched over 2 stitches and I've decided I like this so will leave it. It wouldn't have looked good in the main part of the project so I'm glad I'm now sure in my mind about bs over 1 square.

I have four! new projects waiting in the wings for me to start very soon. I'll be replacing LaTrobe Terrace with another Juniper Designs street scene--Strahan, Tasmania.

My new handbag project will be Juniper Designs Stonehouse with Settle.

I have a second Lanarte Chinese themed project to replace the first one.

And I'm going to start a baby xs for my 9 year old daughter! This one is called New Baby and can be viewed here: Why do one for her now? Well I thought she should have one as her brother has one made by my SIL in his room. His is this design as well.

So of my rotation list only the New England Sampler is not near completion.

Yesterday I finally went through my stash to see what was waiting for me. I have three WIPs waiting. Two were my mother's and are close to completion. One is that horrible Australia map that is so difficult.

I have eight Barbara & Cheryl Charleston patterns, 4 of these are what I've termed 'small' --ie 2 pages or less. I have three remaining Juniper Designs kits--two street scenes and one individual house. And I have two large Chinese landscapes. so large that I don't know if I'll ever do them.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Latrobe Terrace oh so close!

Well Latrobe Terrace isn't finished as I originally predicted. But it's close. I'd say a week or less will finish it. There's a tiny amount of xs to do then the backstitching. It really wasn't as 'big' of a project as I originally thought. Normally these Juniper Designs street scenes used to take me about 10 months to do before I started the rotation system. If I added up the rotations I've done on this I won't have spent anywhere near that amount of time. Just had a look back through my posts and I've seen that I started this early last July and have done about 5 rotations on it--so a total of 10 weeks. Rotations really do get projects completed. I'm seeing that now especially since I'm in my second year of rotations. Last year I started several of these larger projects so I didn't finish many of them. This year I'm going to see them all finished plus a bunch of others.

I am so glad to be getting away from linen for the moment though. It really takes a lot more concentration especially with half stitches. I'm doing the trees on the far left of LaTrobe Terrace now and I think I've gotten a couple of half stitches one thread off of where they are supposed to be. I just can't face fixing them now so I'm leaving them for next time.

I'm also up to the backstitching on the small Daydreams 'Life is a Journey' project and I can't decide how long to make my backstitches. I think I'll ask this question on one of the xs lists.

Well, I've been avoiding Cottages at Oak Bluffs II but it's time has come around so I'm starting my first rotation on that this year. When I was working on it before I found it very fiddly--one stitch here and another there. I picked it up about 4pm yesterday and concentrated on doing 3 colours--black, a dark grey 413 and the green railing. Just doing those has given it so much structure and has brought it along so much that it's really much farther along than I thought it was. I'd say that first house (house #3) is 45% done. This is going to be a good productive rotation and I'm really enjoying it. I may even get this house close to finished! TG for Aida!