More Roses

My time for cross stitching is more limited on Monday nights because we spend time together as a family for Family Home Evening.  We generally have a little devotional and have some kind of treat, although some times we play games together or do some other activity.  Last night we talked about David and Goliath and how difficulties in our lives can either be stepping stones or stumbling blocks depending on the way that we react to them.

I did get some time to stitch and I am pretty happy with what I was able to accomplish.  When I first started this piece I thought that the roses were rather tedious to stitch.  I must be getting used to them because I really enjoyed stitching them through this diagonal.  In the end I was able to put in four hundred stitches and made it down to the hat.

Working on Midsummer Roses

This week I am working on Midsummer Roses by Paula Vaughan.  I am getting close to the half-way mark on this piece and am really enjoying how it looks.

When I start working on a piece I can’t help setting a little goal of what I would like to accomplish on it for that week.  This time I am hoping to be able to hit the bottom right corner.  That would be a great milestone to reach because when I reach that point I know that the diagonals are going to get shorter and that a finish is not far off.

Last night I was able to put in three hundred stitches.  I am working through the bouquet, which is the most complicated part of the design.  The way that colors are distributed through the flowers makes it so that I am constantly threading and un-threading my needle as I stitch.  I am used to working this way, but it does take a little longer to work through the pattern.

This is what it looks like now:

I am looking forward to watching this grow this week.

The Spirit of Christmas

A couple of weeks ago I decided that I needed to start a new piece.  I had the urge to stitch something with a Christmas theme.  After some deliberation and a little help from the FlossTube community, I decided to start The Spirit of Christmas, which is a design by Lavender and Lace.  It is a picture of Santa surrounded by a wreath that is wrapped in a red ribbon.  This is what he looks like so far:

This has been a joy to stitch.  I love the rich reds of the ribbon and Santa’s suit.  The greens are a perfect complement to all of the red.

I am stitching this on 32 count raw Belfast linen, which is the fabric called for in the chart.  I was tempted to stitch him on a blue background like Stephanie did.  However, I  decided that I liked the way that the light brown of this fabric went with the reds in Santa’s coat.

I hoped that I would be able to finish him for Christmas.  However, I am coming to the realization that if I continued working on him he would end up being late for Christmas. Instead, I am going to put him away for a little while and work on getting him ready for Christmas in 2018.

Winter Sampler Progress

I have spent the last three weeks working on Winter Sampler.  This is what it looks like now:

It has felt good to spend so much time on this piece.  I feel like I have accomplished quite a bit.  A large portion of the skating scene has appeared.  Also, the picture of the snowman is almost finished.  Finally, the clock with the “Happy New-Year” ribbon is complete.  I am starting to work on the “Winter” arch that covers the skating scene, which makes me feel like I am starting a new section of the design.

As an added bonus, I have hit the upper corner.  That means that the diagonals are starting to shrink.  This is a welcome development because I feel like I have made it over the hump and things are starting to go downhill.  I look forward to working on this piece more.

I have decided to take a little break from it, though.  There is a lot of white in this piece and white is not my favorite color to stitch.  I need to recharge with something else for a time.

And a Forest Grew Finished

This last week I have been working on And a Forest Grew.  I am happy to report that I was able to finish it.  Here is the final result:

I have really enjoyed working on this piece.  I have always enjoyed stitching trees which made this design perfect for me.  Also, stitching each tree gave me a sense of accomplishment which encouraged me to continue stitching.  I think that this design uses every shade of green in the DMC pallette to great effect.  Finally, the little pops of color that are seen in the redbirds and the blossoms on some of the trees add a touch of color that really pops out from a distance.  I am so happy with how it has turned out and I will miss working on it.

For the next month or so I am going to work on Winter Sampler by Sandy Orton.  I have decided that I am going to be a “monthly monogamous” stitcher.  What this means is that I plan on working on one project exclusively and will decide at the beginning of each month whether to continue with the project that I have been working on or whether I will change to a new project.  Winter Sampler seems appropriate for now because it will satisfy my growing itch to work on something Christmas-related.  I am interested to see how much of this project I will be able to stitch over the next month or so.

Life has become a little more interesting for me in the last week or so.  I now have some church-related responsibilities that will make it so that I will be unable to stitch a couple of nights each week.  As a result I am not going to make as much progress with things as I have in the past couple of years.

Autumn Magic Question

I spent most of last week working on Autumn Magic.  I have really enjoyed working on this and this week was no exception.  This in spite of the fact that I am stitching background trees that are really just blobs of orange, yellow, and green.  This is what that page looked like at the end of the week:

However, I have been stymied by a question that came up while I was browsing through the Heaven and Earth website at the end of the week:  What is the difference between a regular chart and a chart with max colors?  Does the result justify the extra work of stitching a chart with increased confetti?

There are now two versions of Autumn Magic: a regular version and a max color version.  The only difference that I can see in the mock-ups between the two versions is that the max color version is lighter.  I like the lighter version because I think that the chart that I am stitching is eager to choose black when the colors get darker.  Logic would indicate that more colors would increase the amount of confetti in the piece and that it should increase the detail as well.  However, I wonder if there is some kind of law of diminishing returns when it comes to the number of colors in the chart.

Has anyone had experience with this?  Have you ever compared the two versions and determined which is the best?

I suspect that in order to find the answer to my question I am going to have to stitch at least a page of the max color version so that I can see the difference.  Based on the results of that experiment I will probably decide whether or not I want to switch versions. However I can’t do this experiment right now and I don’t want to spend time working on this project if there is a possibility that I will be changing to the max color version.  So for now I am putting this project on hold.

The Forest Continues to Grow

I had hoped to be able to finish And a Forest Grew this month.  After all, I was planning on working on it for two weeks.  There were only four pages left to stitch and my pace was about two pages per week.  What could go wrong?

What did go wrong was a business trip to Norway where I was so busy that I only had minimal stitching time.  To add to the difficulty, my scroll bars were too big to fit in a suitcase, which meant that I had to figure out some way to get good fabric tension while I stitched.  I decided to try using a hoop, which did give me good tension.  However, holding the hoop while I stitched slowed down my progress.  At the end of the first week of October I had only stitched about half a page.

When I returned home I was glad to have my scroll bars back.  At the end of the second week of October I was able to finish the rest of the page I had been working on as well as another page.  This is what my forest looks like now:

Those two pages were fun to stitch.  I love how there are so many different colors there–even including some colors that don’t appear anywhere else in the chart.  I am excited to be close to a finish and am tempted to spend another week working on it.  However, I also don’t want to cheat Autumn Magic of the time that it deserves this month.  So I am going to put this away for now and hope for a finish next month.


Latest Autumn Magic Progress

I spent the last couple weeks of September stitching Autumn Magic.  I have really started to enjoy working on this piece.

One of the things that has helped me to like it is that I have started stitching 20-stitch diagonals instead of the 10-stitch diagonals that I have stitched in the past.  This has made it so that it takes longer to stitch a block.  However I think that it also speeds up my stitching a little bit because the minimum number of stitches that I can stitch in one stitting is now 200.  Also, I think that it helps me work through confetti-filled areas more easily because I have a larger area to work on which means that there are potentially more stitches per color in a block.

I do have another milestone to celebrate as I finished another page.  This is what it looked like after that page finish:

I also had time to work on a new page.  I decided to move up to the top of my stitched area and work on the trees there for a little bit, partly because I was tired of stitching the yard.  This is what that page looks like now:

This section of the chart is not very exciting because right now it just seems to be blobs of color.  When I get to the right edge of the page, it looks like I will be stitching the edge of the house.  Hopefully that will help a little bit.

I am looking forward to working on this again in a couple of weeks.

And a Forest Grew Update

I have been working on And a Forest Grew for the past week.  This is what it looked like before I started working on it:

2017-08-14 20.50.06

In spite of appearances, it actually woudn’t take very long to finish this piece.  At this point there are six pages left to stitch and it takes me three to four days to stitch a page.  So that means that it would take me less than a month to finish.  For this reason I have decided to focus on finishing it.

Here is what it looks like after a week of stitching it:

I was able to stitch two pages.  In the process I finished stitching the large tree and the text that is inside of it.  Most of the other trees that I added are just small trees that seem to be used to fill in some of the empty spaces.  I am looking forward to stitching one of the larger trees that shows up to the right of this area.

Finish: Pintail

For the past few days I have been working on Pintail.  This is a design that was in the November 1994 issue of For the Love of Cross Stitch.  It is one of a set of four designs that were taken from still lifes of duck decoys that were painted by Judy Gibson.  Donna Vermillion Giampa adapted the paintings for cross stitch.

This is the second of the four designs that I have stitched.  Last year I stitched the Mallard decoy.  This is what it looks like:

Since I had already stitched a large part of Pintail I had a goal to finish it.  I am happy to report that I have finished it:

Based on the pictures in the magazine, this was my least favorite of the four decoys.  I didn’t really like the colors and the duck seemed a bit boring to me.  However, now that I see it stitched I really like it.  It has been a nice easy and fast stitch.

Pintail was stitched on 28 count light mocha Cashel linen using DMC floss.  I started it on 31 May 2017 and finished it on 5 September 2017.  I worked on it for a total of 18 days.