Victorian House Update

So...I had posted back on the home blog a page about the Crazy January cross stitch challenge I jumped in to with both feet.  I had not anticipated the level of anxiety that particular challenge would cause me. 

Here is the short version of the challenge.  Start a new counted cross stitch project each day in January.  Click here if you are interested in the longer version.  There are three challenges to choose from or do all three. 

At any rate, I plowed on in, this was my thinking.

1. I didn't have much of a stash as far as counted cross stitch.  Had invested in buying embroidery floss in every color, almost, so go that all sorted.  Bought some bulk buys on eBay to have some extras.  I know, but as I said, I jumped all in to this.   Figured that going on a few shopping sprees before the end of 2012 would be a fun way to build up my stash.

2. I wanted to do the challenge, so bought kits...lots of kits and some charts.  Made a list to make sure I would have enough kits and such to actually have a new start each day.  At least for 15 days at anyway, that would be 15 new projects started.

3. Kind of saw what I was doing...rather where it was heading so joined in on another challenge of sorts.  A Stash Diet.  That is where I pledge to not buy any kits or such for the rest of the year.  Or...at least not until I finish a project, then you can treat yourself to a new kit or such.  This of course does not include any supplies you may need to finish a particular project.  Thought that would keep me from going too far overboard.

Only one problem with all of this.  I can't stand to have projects that aren't finished.  It was just too much mentally for me to think about having to start a new project - rather figuring out which one to start - and would eventually have at least 15 projects going at once, if I stopped with the short challenge.  So...I dropped out of the challenge, after two days. Yeah, I know, I am a total whimp of a basket case. 

If you have read through my Home blog, you would know that I have been setting my sewing/craft room back up after having it packed all up for a time.  When I was able to start setting it back up, I went through not only the most current packed boxes, but boxes that had been packed away for some time finding all kinds of UFO projects.  Not just cross stitch projects either.  I did have a few cross stitch projects that were in various stages, so tried to get them organized and moved to the "to do" list of all the things I want to finish. 

After closer inspection, and trying to start back up where they were left off, I realized that only two of the projects were realistically salvageable or workable.  The Nativity, a larger piece that shows the birth of Christ with the animals and wise men.  The other project is a small little hanging of a pot bellied stove that has some bead work to it.  As I said, the rest is not worth trying to finish as they were.

One project was of a southwest angel that a church friend had given me.  Sweet as she was, she started changing colors and such and there was just too much work to remove all the affected areas to get it back to looking good.  I ended up just tossing it.  I did however, buy the book the angel was from as the pattern was in shreds.  Bought a new piece of cloth, all the correct flosses that particular chart called for, copied and enlarged the chart (to make it easier to see and for marking progress) and put it all in a binder.  In other words I made a new kit of it.  Now it is a WHIMM (Works Hidden In My Mind) have not put a single stitch to it. 

The other project that was treated the same way, one called Lovely Victorian Home.  I had started it in 2000, was all revved up to start working on it and finish it.  About the third session in to working on it again, it became painfully clear that I had screwed it up in a major way, way back when I started it.  It would have looked like a picture that had been cut up and then put back together but with pieces of it missing. I really love the design, so I bought new fabric and decided to start over. 

The best thing I ever did.  Truly it was.
I have learned a lot in the past few months with the help of some really great internet friends on my Yahoo groups.  This is the new start, I did this for the challenge, Jan. 2 was the start.  The best thing I ever did was to mark a grid on the cloth.  OH MY GOSH has that every been a help.  I do think however that I want to change it to a scroll frame, this is my first experience with the Qsnap style frame, just not sure about it.  Those few little stitches took me about 4 hours to accomplish.
Now, I have been working on it for a little bit the past few evenings.  I can actually see the house starting to form.  It already looks so much more promising than the one I scrapped. 

Long and short of it, while I can admire the compunction of those Crazy January Challenge participants I am not cut out for it. LOL  I am now peacefully working on my projects when I can find the time.  I will post progress along the way to the finish.  Also, while I do love counted cross stitch, I am learning patience with this type of work and maybe that is why I was lead to do it.

As for other embroidery projects.  I recently purchased hand embroidery quilt pattern called Betsy's Closet In Stitches.  Most would call the blocks red work, or one color work.  The blocks are actually in different colors, but is outline work.  I LOVE REDWORK or one color work.  Simple embroidery stitches that for me goes quickly.  I like to make these types of blocks in to quilts.  That being said, I have a very difficult time transferring the design to the fabric for quilt blocks.  I had thought of using my printer to copy the images onto fabric sheets that I could then use for the blocks, but honestly, the cost was prohibitive.  A friend of mine mentioned a lightbox. She had one that I could borrow.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized how many things I could use that lightbox for.  So...you guessed it...I bought one.  Found a great deal, cheaper than JoAnn's sale price, which they only have available online, and free shipping.  Win win deal all around.  When I get it, I can make a whole set of the blocks and then work on them in the living room.  No chart to keep up with, no stitch count to keep track of, only a few colors of floss to carry around.  Yes, I do love my one color (because I rarely do the color red) embroidery blocks.

Well, I am off to get in a few stitches while the grand baby sleeps. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to leave a comment.


New Things Happening

Welcome to my new blog created for all things embroidery.  I will post here about counted cross stitching, hand embroidery, machine embroidery and of course crazy quilt embellishment.  Which crosses over a bit because it is done on quilt blocks.  Then again, most of my embroidery work is done for quilt blocks.  Counted Cross stitch is in a category all on it's own, but I will be sharing how those projects go on here as well. 

At the moment, I have three counted cross stitch projects that I am working on.
This is the Nativity.  I actually started on this one about 16 years ago.  It had been just barely started then packed up, then we moved, it sat in storage for a long time.  When I was able to put my sewing room back together and operational, I found this in a box.  I worked on it quite a bit in December.  This was my progress as of the end of 2012.

Then, I had the brilliant idea to join in a Crazy January Challenge on one of my Yahoo groups.  The challenge was to start a new project each day of January.  Challenge 1 was to go through the 15th.  Challenge 2 would take in the whole month.  I did the first two days of January and realized that it would just drive me crazy to have 31 counted cross stitch projects sitting around.  I have this weird need to finish a project and I seem to be able to only focus on one thing at a time.  Okay, I get obsessed with one project at a time.  My quilting wins out every time.  The good side to that is that I don't usually have very many UFO's at a time.

For January Challenge I started two projects.

This one is called Blooming Poppies and is a small kit from Dimensions.  This is as far as I got the first day.  Most of my time was spent putting in some guide marks, hooping it up and then actually figuring out where to start and putting in a few stitches.  I think this one took me two hours to make about 50 stitches.  It will go faster, the actual start is always a bit slow.  We had just come in from a week long trip to see family in Texas, so was still unpacking that day along with cooking for New Year's meal.
This is a larger kit, an older kit as well, called Lovely Victorian House.  I actually bought this kit in 2000 when we first moved here to California.  I needed something to do in the hotel while we waited for the house we had bought to be ready to move in.  I did a decent start on it, then put it away to move in and then just never picked it back up.  Then, like the Nativity, I found it when going through some boxes to go in to my sewing room.  After deciding that I would finish it, I kept finding that I was way off on my rows.  I was easier to start over than to rip out all that I had done.  I could think of ways to work around the mistakes, but it would have looked like a photo that was cut in pieces and put back together.  Not quite lining up right.  I figure if I am going to bother to put in that much time on a project I should do it correctly.  This photo was the second day of the challenge and that was as far as I got that day.  Like I said earlier, the start of a project takes the most time.  I was very careful to make sure that all my stitches where in exactly the right spot.  I have done more and what I have done feels good.  It is too soon to actually start seeing the design take shape, but am liking what I have done.

One thing that I did change with both of these projects is that instead of trying to do all the spots of the same color, all over the place, I am working in sections.  Much more organized, makes more sense to me, easier to keep my stitches in their correct place.  I only cross stitch when it is late at night and the house needs to be quite for every one sleeping.  During the day, on week days, I take care of my youngest grand son, Mr. M.   He is 18 months old, walking every where, so not much time for any stitching while he is around.  But I sure wouldn't trade it for anything.

Oh, and let me also mention that I have other little helper that thinks it is great sport to play with my thread while I stitch.  I have to thread more needles over again when she starts swiping that paw and tail around.

That's it for now.  I think I just about got this blog where I want it, design and structure wise.  Just a few more little tweaks now that I am finally figuring out how to do what I want it to do.  Thanks for stopping in and visit any time.