Stroke of Midnight Finished

It has been a couple of months since I finished stitching this piece, but I wanted to post the final picture.  So here it is:

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I am so happy with how she turned out.  I think that this is the biggest piece that I have ever stitched.  I have not really ever used beads before and I think that they add the perfect finishing touch to this piece.

Messiah

Listening to the Messiah while I stitch makes me wish that I was working on something a little more Christmassy. At any rate, that is the perfect music for this time of year.

I was able to finish four blocks last night and I was also glad to see a little green to break up the monotony of the yellow windows. It won’t take too much more stitching before I am ready to scroll up. At that time I will start to feel like I am in the home stretch.

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Advantages of Parking (Threads)

It is probably time to post here again.  A couple months ago I found a couple of tutorials on YouTube that showed how to park threads.  I decided to take their advice and give it a try.  I have found that parking has helped my cross stitching quite a bit.

There are several reasons why I like working this way.

First of all, it cuts down on the decision making.  Before, a lot of my time was spent deciding which color to stitch with next.  This included a lot of staring at the chart trying to decide what had already been stitched and what would be the best color to stitch with.  Now that decision has been made for me.

Once I started stitching with a color I had a hard time knowing how far to go with it.  If the color was widely dispersed throughout the chart, I had to decide what was the best way to travel and also decide how many stitches to skip.  I would frequently miss a square and then need to go back and stitch that missing square, which was a pain.

Parking essentially divides the chart up into smaller pieces.  I can certainly understand a block of one hundred stitches and stitch it in about an hour.  I get a small sense of accomplishment when one block is completed that helps propel me along.

Finally, I can easily tell how much of the chart is completed and how much is left to do.  I have been measuring the amount of time that it takes to stitch each block of one hundred and I have been entering those values in a spreadsheet.  Some easy calculations allow me to make an estimate of how much time is left on a design, or how much time it will take to stitch a design.  This makes things really fun.

There are a couple of disadvantages.  The back of my work is quite messy, but with something like the design that I am working on, which has a ton of confetti, the difference is not terribly noticeable to me.  I do seem to be going through floss a little more quickly as well.   Finally, it is kind of a pain to have all these loose threads hanging all over the place.  I think that on the next design I work with I will work horizontally and confine myself to one row of blocks at a time.  This will minimize my hanging threads and make it so that I can scroll down over a complete complete section of the design.

I have seen a lot of people that work in straight blocks, but I found that this was putting faint lines in my stitching at the boundaries of the blocks.  Now I shift back and forth to create a zig-zag edge, which eliminates the possibility of lines.

My progress has been amazing to me.  I thought that it would take years to finish this, but now I know that if I keep working at the same rate as I am now I will be finished sometime at the beginning of next year.

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Slowing Down

Working on this plant has slowed my progress.  It takes time to figure out what color that empty square in the middle of all that green is and then trying to see if there are unstitched squares that are the same color.  However, I was also able to stitch more of the steps.

 

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More Stairs

I have finished the stairs on the right side and have started working on the plant on the left side.  This has turned out to be pretty painful because there is a lot of confetti there and I am having a hard time seeing what stitches still need to be stitched.  For a little break I started working on the right-side stairs.  Maybe working on the plant from the top down will be a little easier.

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Gray Stairs

Being able to scroll up makes me feel like I am starting a new phase of this project.  I have been stitching a lot of gray stairs.  It gets boring, but is also a lot easier than finishing the urn and plant that is on the left-hand side.  I think that it is really neat that you can already see the outline of her shawl and gloved arm.

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Vine Border Finished

I have been working on Stroke of Midnight by Teresa Wentzler ever since I finished Santas of Fable and Fantasy.  It has been going pretty well, up until I hit the vine border on the bottom of Cinderella’s dress.  The over-one stitching brought things down to a crawl.  I finished that section last night, so I will be doing regular cross stitch for a while.  I have also reached a point where I can scroll up on my scroll bars.  It feels like quite an accomplishment to reach this point.

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