March 2018 WIPocalypse Check-in

WIPocalypse ButtonHappy Spring everyone!  (And a Happy Autumn to those living below the equator, of course.)

My mom and Erich’s dad and step-mother are visiting this weekend for a belated birthday celebration for Max.  Before the day gets going, I wandered downstairs this morning for a cup of coffee with Erich as Max watched his morning shows… and it started snowing!  After three Nor’Easters in two weeks, plus a fourth that thankfully fizzled for us (but hit hard south of us), snow is the last thing I want to see right now. I don’t care if it helps get me into the cozy mood to stitch in December.  By March, it’s an unwelcome visitor.  I want sun and spring flowers now!

Of course, they’ll come soon enough.  And I’ll (hopefully) forget my winter grumblings for a few months.

After a pretty good February, I’ve found myself in a huge stitching rut for most of March.  Most of this is due to the need to catch up on things that just didn’t get done around the house for a couple months during the big Sick and Shut In round here, but also because of the deadlines these days at work.  I’m simply too tired in the evening to focus on stitches most nights, and my days with my stitching circle have been taken over by some life necessities that I can’t push off.  So… I sadly have no WIPocalypse update of my own at the moment… but next month I think I’ll get my butt back in gear to stitch.

I mention this because every month there are folks who say “I know I’m late with my WIPocalypse post.”  Nope.  No such thing.  Post when you want or can.  We all have lives, we all have schedules.  Sometimes you can stitch and not post.  Sometimes you have all the time in the world to post, but don’t feel like stitching.   If the person who is organizing the stitch-a-long can have some off months… you absolutely have the right to do that, too.  Don’t apologize for “being late.”  The posting date I have below is honestly for MY benefit so I get my butt into gear to get this check-in post up for everyone.  You don’t have to adhere to it!  🙂  (and we all know that I’ve missed that a few times, too.)

Anyway… it’s a trend I’ve been seeing in some posts, both in blogs and on the Facebook group… and it always makes me feel a little worried people are feeling pressure to post.  I just want to quiet any fears about that.  You post when you can and want to.  We’ll just all celebrate when you do!  🙂

That’s it for this month… enjoy your stitching, keep those needles flying, and enjoy the (hopefully) lovely weather where you are, now that we’re not in extreme winter and summer.

Until next time,
Mel.

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Important SAL Announcements…

Question of the Month – What newer designers and product creators (fabric or floss dyeing, etc) out there have you discovered and recommend?

Next posting date: April 29th, 2018

Topic(s) for next time: Talk to us about your longest-running WIP or UFO.

Need the dates for upcoming check-ins?  Go here for all details!

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Please remember that this stitch-a-long is intended to be fun – so if you’re too busy to post, too busy/ill/etc. to stitch – no worries. Post when you can and share what you have going, even if you’ve only been able to toss a single stitch into it. If you miss a few months, not a problem – just jump back in when you’re back with us! It’s not a race or a competition – we’re all just here to cheer each other on with our progress.

Due to different browsing software, some bloggers have found it difficult to check-in with their posts. There are three different ways to check in:

    • Via Auto-link
    • Via comments (make sure you include your blog address!)
    • Via email – to measiwitch(at)gmail.com, only if the other two options are not working. Again- make sure you include your blog address! I’ll add it to the auto-link myself when I have a free moment.


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February 2018 WIPocalypse check in

WIPocalypse ButtonHello again everyone,

Happy end of February!  It’s crazy that this month is over already.  It’s been a busy one here between work, Max’s school, and my own little stitching retreat get-away.  I’m still (still) working on recovering from the bronchitis, but it is genuinely showing some good signs of improvement now, so I’m hoping I’m truly over it, and it’s just my lungs in a bit of rough shape after all of these weeks of coughing.  Hopefully the incoming spring air will help me feel myself again!

As I’ve been browsing posts on blogs and in the Facebook group, it seems quite a few people were enjoying some Olympic stitching in some form… whether formally joining the mini stitch-a-long or just using it as an energy boost to get some stitching done. I confess it’s always one of my favorite small-term stitching challenges. It also gives me an excuse to plunk down on the sofa to watch the Games more. “Sorry hon, I need to get my Olympic Stitching done for the challenge…”

(I don’t think Erich buys that excuse very much, honestly, but I’ll try anyway).

This year I did struggle to get my stitching in… I’m always a Rotation Relay stitcher, and I’ve used the relay to revisit some of my old long-quiet projects to see if I have any energy for them again. This year between work and this cough, I just wasn’t able to do the crazy stitching of years past, so it became somewhat of a combo rotation and endurance challenge for me. I’m happy with my results, and will be sharing them in a separate post.

I’d like to know if there are other mini stitch-a-long/challenges you’d like to see in the group… let me know either in the comments here, on the Facebook page, or via email (my contact is on the right bar of my webpage). All ideas are most welcome!

I hope February was another great month for you, and that you can continue into March! Whether spring or autumn is approaching for you, may you have some cozy, relaxed stitchy time.

Best,
Melissa

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Important SAL Announcements…

Question of the Month – Gadgets!  Show us your favorite stitching gadgets!  and How did you do with Olympic Stitching, and what goals did you achieve?

Next posting date: March 25, 2018

Topic(s) for next time: What newer designers and product creators (fabric or floss dyeing, etc) out there have you discovered and recommend?

Need the dates for upcoming check-ins?  Go here for all details!

*~~~~*~~~~~~*

Please remember that this stitch-a-long is intended to be fun – so if you’re too busy to post, too busy/ill/etc. to stitch – no worries. Post when you can and share what you have going, even if you’ve only been able to toss a single stitch into it. If you miss a few months, not a problem – just jump back in when you’re back with us! It’s not a race or a competition – we’re all just here to cheer each other on with our progress.

Due to different browsing software, some bloggers have found it difficult to check-in with their posts. There are three different ways to check in:

    • Via Auto-link
    • Via comments (make sure you include your blog address!)
    • Via email – to measiwitch(at)gmail.com, only if the other two options are not working. Again- make sure you include your blog address! I’ll add it to the auto-link myself when I have a free moment.


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February Stitching Updates

February was a bit of an odd month for me for stitching. I’d been missing a lot of my weekly hangouts with the girls at the library due to the horrid bronchitis I’ve been battling since Christmas, and so my progress so far this year really had been non-existent. Thankfully I started feeling well enough to get back together with everyone by the second week of February. But as always happens, the social calendar seems to take over my normal plans. This month was an odd development – my child now has a serious social calendar. Between school parties and friends’ birthday parties and class assignments? I need an entire section of my planner now just for the kiddo. He has more of a social life than I do!

And Kindergarten is coming. Soon.

(shudder)

Stitchers Hideaway Winter Escape – Stitching Room at the Publick House in Sturbridge, MA

Anyway… the vast majority of my stitching this month was in the form of my yearly retreat to Stitchers Hideaway. The Winter Escape is held every year around the third week of February. When I first started going, it was only a two day retreat. Then a third day option was added, and now there’s an option to do a hard-core five day retreat. Truthfully, I don’t know if I could do that… by the end of day three, my eyes are getting pretty crossed! (and the food is wonderful, but so much heavier than I normally eat). I find that three days is just perfect. It’s enough time to ease into the mood, do some chatting, and still have time to get some great stitching done.

Anyway, my friend Christine and I went together as we do every year now. As we entered our hotel room on Tuesday night – our final night this year, we looked at each other and just said “this was a great retreat.” Tons of laughter, a great catch-up time with people we don’t see that often, fun shopping, great food, and both of us managed to get a very satisfying amount of stitching done. I’m always a little tired when I get home, but I felt refreshed and happy… the sign of a great vacation.

My original plans for the WIPocalypse Olympic Stitching challenge went a little astray. In years past, I always liked to do a rapid relay to revisit some old stalled projects. Normally I’ll do a couple hours on each to see if they’re grabbing me enough to get them into a rotation. This year between everything, I wound up really only focusing on two projects for the month, with a third thrown in for this past weekend because it’s an easy, fun stitch after spending a lot of time on intensive work at Hideaway. So it became a little bit of a Rotation Endurance thingy. I’ll take it!

Most of the first half of the month was spent doing backstitching on Floral Bellpull by Teresa Wentzler.  I’m on the peony block, which is the bottom square on the chart and sample piece… but the fifth of six on my piece because I didn’t pay attention and started the wrong page (whoops).  It’s coming together nicely. I had some straight-forward block definition work to do a couple flowers up that I’d forgotten along the way – the inside edge of every square’s border that faces the main flowers is backstitched.  If I’d left the others unstitched, it would have been fine… but stitch one, and you need to stitch them all!   I then moved on to the peony block to work on the somewhat tedious but worth it backstitching on the peony flowers.  The petals and buds are now outlined, and now I just need to work the leaves for both this square and the morning glory square above it.  Then I’ll finish the border stitching for this square and the final square below it before filling in the pansies.  I’m really hoping to wrap this project up this year.  It’s been going forever, but I know I can get this done if I keep it on a strong rotation.

I did my first day of Stitchers Hideaway on Floral Bellpull before switching to my second selected piece, Four Seasons of Mystic by Jeannette Douglas.  This piece was my second class at Stitchers Hideaway back in 2011, and was shelved when Max was born due to the focus needed for all of the specialty stitches involved.  Spring had me struggling a bit due to the over-one stitching.  Summer less so – I did a lot of it during my trip to Florida with Dad a couple years back.  Autumn was accomplished in just over a month.  I just really got into the zone with this one!  It felt good, too.  There are a couple little errors here and there, but nothing that matters all that much. I’m just considering them my own personal touches to the piece (grin).

There’s a lot going on in this piece – tons of specialty stitches, a fun mix of wool, silk, and metallic fibers, plus beads and charms.  Each band is just wide enough to make it challenging, but not overwhelming before you move on to the next one.  The brick stitch (which comprises the hill under the house in the autumn block) is the one constant throughout – each column has a brick stitch somewhere.  You can also see a bit of it in my summer block in this photo… it creates the ocean under the sailing ship.

This is another I know I can finish this year, so it’ll be staying in the rotation until it’s done.  Of the four blocks, Winter appears the easiest to me.  I’m confident this one will be done within a couple of rotation rounds – quite possibly by the end of the spring, including all of the beadwork.

Since I was at a good stopping point on Four Seasons of Mystic, I decided to pull out a long languishing UFO for my morning at the library yesterday, and decided to continue it for the remainder of the Olympics.  I’ll probably crank a full 10 hour rotation on it before putting it away for this round.  I hadn’t worked on Quaker Compass by Rosewood Manor for quite a while.  Truthfully, I don’t recall the last time I pulled it out.  I know I’ve done a little on it post-Max (my stitching now dates pre and post Max birth.  It’s honestly a little pathetic in a way, but it’s the only accurate way to explain things).  I am not doing this in the called-for colors.  I’m using ThreadworX 1157 (“Morning Meadows”) as the main color scheme, and I’ll be filling in some of the smaller motifs and all of the letters in DMC solids based off of the ThreadworX overdye of bluish grey, soft green, and purple.  The letters, for example, will be in green.  I discussed this with the other women in my group yesterday, and with their advice decided that I’ll be stitching the large Quaker motifs around the edges and the center first, to ensure that I have enough of the ThreadworX to complete them all.  Then I’ll start filling in some of the smaller motifs that might still benefit from the color changes.  My skeins all date back to about 2012, so while I don’t know how different current dye lots are, it doesn’t hurt to be a little cautious.  Plus some of those scattered motifs in between the large Quakers are so small, they really won’t benefit from the change in an overdye.  The solids should help balance things a bit.

So that’s my February update.  Now I need to start considering my next rotation, starting March 1st!

G’night all…

Mel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My updates for January…

It’s taken me the week, but I finally have the photos to upload for my stitching updates for January. Aside from this pure hell of bronchitis that will not go away, I managed to get a decent amount of stitching done through the first half of the month. The latter half, not so much. A mix of conjunctivitis, strep, my bronchitis, a couple colds with both boys… there was no desire to touch my stitching and permanently etch the germs into things. (ick)

So I haven’t quite finished my full rotation as hoped for the month. I still am pleased with what I got done…

First… a not-quite-finished small. This is a little ornament that one of the women in my stitching group handed out a couple years ago as a little memory project from our annual trip down to New Jersey for shopping and stitching. I still need to do the finishing work, but the actual pattern stitching is now complete. This is stitched on antique white linen with DMC floss (815… I think).

The ornament is a pretty and slightly different shape.  I’m looking forward to getting it together once I stop hacking up a lung.  There’s ironing and interfacing involved, so I want to make sure I have a steady hand when I finish it!

The next piece wasn’t on my actual rotation, but I finished the ornament early in one of my library stitching mornings and needed something from the immediate stash to work on… so my Four Seasons of Mystic came out of the bag for a spin.  When I last left this, I had started the pumpkins on the top row of Autumn.  Thanks to the Patriots game and some other cozy afternoon football stitching, I managed to throw some more rows into this surprisingly quickly.

This has been a fun stitch, although I fell a bit out of favor with it after Dad died, since I’d taken it with me, and therefore reminded me of the  nowtrip down to Florida with him – the last real family vacation.  I seem to have some energy to keep going on it, so I’ll be adding this to my next rotation.  It may come to Stitcher’s Hideaway with me in three weeks… right back to where it started!  🙂  I only have the bottom half of Autumn and the Winter band to do, and it’s done.  So this is definitely getting to very do-able for this year.

Next, I did some backstitching on Floral Bellpull.  There really aren’t any exciting photos of it – it was mostly outlining a single square.  But a bit of progress is progress.  I was working on this piece when the cough got worse again, so I’m still on that leg of my rotation.  I have about three more hours of backstitching to go before I fulfill my ten hour rotation goal on it.

Finally, I have my New Year’s start for this year.  This is the only piece I’m allowing myself to start until I clear through several WIPs in my stash.  This is Alpha-Bits by Wild Hearts Designs.  I’m stitching it on antique white banding with Cherry Coffee thread by Nina’s Threads.  So far each letter plus its specified specialty stitch takes roughly two hours each.  I only stopped because I need to find my scroll bars to continue!  This will definitely be a fun stitch this year.  I will finish this as an actual bellpull when finished (as opposed to Floral Bellpull above, which will be framed).  This is another piece I may bring with me to Stitcher’s Hideaway… provided that my scroll bars announce themselves!

So what’s in store for February?  Lots of stitching, once I get healthy!  I’ll be participating in the Stitching Olympics, as I always do.  I will do a rotation relay, and I’m thinking of planning it as a one-project-per-day arrangement.  I need to do a little more thinking on it, though.  My best laid plans always seem to get thwarted due to the insanity at work.  So we shall see.  Any stitching will be good stitching.

I’ll be at Stitcher’s Hideaway in Sturbridge for three days/four nights.  The retreat is designed for up to five days – way too expensive for me, but I do manage to get three days in.  So Sunday through Tuesday are my selected days away.  I’ll head up Saturday night and come home Wednesday morning.  I’m looking forward to it and seeing folks that I really only see once per year.

That’s my update for the month… see you in a couple weeks with the actual Olympic plan of attack!

Happy February,

Mel.

 

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January 2018 WIPocalypse Check-in

WIPocalypse ButtonHappy New Year everyone!

So… apparently I don’t know Saturday from Sunday, and put the 27th down on the calendar for the check-in for January.  Whoops!  (blush)  This must be a side effect of having a preschooler!  The check-in should have been listed for the 28th, on a Sunday just like every month.  Apologies for the confusion!

I hope you were able to embrace the energy of the new year and get a great amount of stitching done.  I always find that the first couple months of the year are my most productive, so I try to embrace it as much as I can.  Yukky cold weather always seems to help – when I’m stuck inside, I stitch more.  I’ve made some good progress on things this month and look forward to getting my own check-in post up later today.  (I’m secretly hoping to finish an ornament today before I post so I can have my first complete finish for the year!)

The only issue, and I think that quite a few people seem to be having this in the States this winter, is the blasted illness bugs that are sweeping around.  I’m still dealing with the bronchitis that I caught at Christmas – now with additional bugs that Max has been bringing home from the Petri dish that is preschool.  I just started new medications on Friday for the cough, which are helping but are giving me some slight  tremors.  I know it’s temporary, so I’ll just ride it out.  I may just have to adjust my plans and stitch on something that’s a little easier for a while. (progress on unplanned pieces is still progress!)

Our first organized stitch-in of the year starts in just a couple of weeks… the Stitching Olympics!  This will be the third time WIPocalypse has one, and I’m sure you’ve found a similar stitch-a-long on several boards on Facebook or elsewhere.  As with any SAL, this is optional.  If it’s something that will throw your comfortable stitching pace off, don’t feel the need to do it.  If you’re looking for a challenge or some variety, though, I’ve found this to be a great way to give yourself a challenge.  The WIPocalypse version has three standard options, but if you have another idea or are doing one for another group you belong to that appeals to you more than these, please feel free to jump in with it instead (and if you want to recommend it as another option for 2020, let me know!).  This year’s South Korea Olympic options are:

  1. Rotation Relay – rotate through as many projects as you can during the Olympics (for those who like to work on a bunch of different pieces)
  2. Endurance Race –  stick to ONE piece for the Olympics, and see how far you can push that one piece toward finishing (for those one at a time stitchers, or anyone else who wants to do some serious focusing on a particular piece)
  3. Celebrate the Nations (stitch only in the colors of the Olympic rings on your WIP pieces, OR… your nation’s flag, OR… on some sort of piece that is reflective of where you live, eg. Americana pieces for US residents).

As a reminder, February’s posting date will be delayed until the 28th of the month specifically to accommodate the timing of the Closing Ceremonies and any stitching folks might do for the broadcast.  I know a lot of international stitchers likely have them shown live, but NBC here in the States will have everything on a delay for their prime time packaging on Sunday night, so we won’t see them until many hours after they actually conclude.

That’s all for this month.  Have a lovely February, and happy stitching everyone!

Melissa

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Important SAL Announcements…

Question of the Month – What SAL’s are you participating in this year? and If you are participating in the Olympic Stitching Challenge, what challenge are you accepting?  What are your goals?

Next posting date: February 28th, 2018

Topic(s) for next time: Gadgets!  Show us your favorite stitching gadgets!  and How did you do with Olympic Stitching, and what goals did you achieve?

Need the dates for upcoming check-ins?  Go here for all details!

*~~~~*~~~~~~*

Please remember that this stitch-a-long is intended to be fun – so if you’re too busy to post, too busy/ill/etc. to stitch – no worries. Post when you can and share what you have going, even if you’ve only been able to toss a single stitch into it. If you miss a few months, not a problem – just jump back in when you’re back with us! It’s not a race or a competition – we’re all just here to cheer each other on with our progress.

Due to different browsing software, some bloggers have found it difficult to check-in with their posts. There are three different ways to check in:

    • Via Auto-link
    • Via comments (make sure you include your blog address!)
    • Via email – to measiwitch(at)gmail.com, only if the other two options are not working. Again- make sure you include your blog address! I’ll add it to the auto-link myself when I have a free moment.


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