Finish-along Update!

How are you guys coming with your Finish-along projects?! Mine are actually coming along pretty well!

If you remember, I had quite a list of things I wanted to get done, only some were embroidery. I’ve been trying to go through them based on what can be finished most quickly. So I did finish and block the shawl for my mother (forgot photos though, d’oh!) and also finally blocked my Henslowe shawl, which was a knit-along with the lovely Karen from Henrys Shed.

Finish-along update

Aak! Taking a photo of a shawl on your own is hard, especially if you have no useful place to lay it out nicely. Nevermind – just trust me on this one, it came out lovely and it’s a fantastic design. (It really is a shawlette though, not a snuggly sort of size. Keep that in mind if you knit it!)

I also finished my Orangework sampler:

Finish-along update
Finish-along update

– so now I’m almost caught up on my samplers!

And I’ve finally figured out a way to stitch those little flowers in my Eels lyrics embroidery:

Finish-along update

One strand of silk floss, chain stitched in a teeeeensy spiral. These flowers are only about 1/4″ across (shown here larger than actual size), which makes me ridiculously happy. But because I made them so small, I couldn’t find a way to stitch them all Mackintosh-style as they were in the vintage pattern I used, so I just went for a nice round flower instead.

I’ve started doing them in white with very, very pale blue stem stitched stems, but I’m not sure if that will make the whole thing too colorless. I was originally going to use pale pink for the flowers, but that seemed a bit typical. Now I wonder if typical would be actually be quite nice in this context, since the lyrics themselves are not. So I may end up pulling those few flowers out and re-doing them in another color, but that’s ok. Working out how to stitch them was the hard part!

Finish-along with &Stitches

If you are an &Stitches reader (and I hope you are!), you’ll know that we’re starting 2014 off with a finish-along. A good way to start a new year, I think – tidying up the project basket and getting things done!

My finish-along goal might be a little different than others, because I don’t have one project to focus on, I have a pile:

Embroidery to Finish-along with &Stitches!

This pile is my official entry to the &Stitches Finish-along, because it’s all embroidery. It might seem a bit excessive, but this whole post (embroidery and otherwise) is full of projects that are nearly all at least 80% finished — and I don’t honestly expect that I’ll finish them all. So pictured above:

  • French Knot sampler, with only one partial section left to complete.
  • Orangework Sampler, not quite half done, but this is a fairly small and quick project.
  • Eels lyrics embroidery! Oh, how I love this project so, and am so sad that it got so deeply buried at the bottom of the basket. There’s not much left to do really, but I was stumped by the best way to stitch those teeeeensy flowers and it was put on pause.
  • The cross-stitch pictured is from a kit bought at the Bronte House about 12 years ago. It’s a reproduction of a sampler Charlotte Bronte stitched as a little girl. She must’ve had amazing eyesight, because this has lingered for so long simply because it is so tiny I can barely see it. But there’s only one line left to stitch!
  • And lastly, those blue-gray blobby flowers? Those are updated from a pattern book from 1915 and are something I started a very, very long time ago. I honestly doubt I’ll get to this one in time, but I can give it a sporting try, right? Those flowers are all done in satin stitch, and there’s leaves too, and it’s a slow project – but I do enjoy it a lot.

Although not officially tied to the &Stitches finish-along because it’s not embroidery, I’d also love to see this pile finished:

Knitting Projects to Finish-along

Again, all projects nearly done, it’s just silly that they’re still lingering. The magenta is my Henslowe shawl, which only needs blocking. The white is a secret thing that may possibly become a pattern – with very little knitting left to do. The camel alpaca project is a new shawl for my now-home-from-the-hospital mother. To be fair, this has only been on the needles for about a week, but I’m already on the edging and I don’t want it to linger, so I’ve included it. And the mustard colored project is a sock for my brother (the second of the pair) which is perfect for train travel and my upcoming visit to Amsterdam.

EPP project to finish-along

And lastly, this set of English Paper Pieced pillow covers, a gift for my mother now over a year late. Yikes. EPP is slow going, which is why I like it, but it is admittedly very unlikely to be finished quickly. However, one top is already finished and the other is about halfway, so it’s worth mentioning it here and hoping for the best.

These are, sadly, not all of my UFOs, but they are the UFOs that I: a.) definitely want to finish. There are one or two I’m not convinced about continuing, so they aren’t taking part in the finish-along, and b.) are far enough along that quick completion isn’t a pipe dream. Long-term UFOs like my Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt don’t count, those are meant to be ongoing. I tend to only get frustrated by projects that linger unnecessarily, and that brings me to my one and only crafty resolution for 2014:

Less projects, more often.

Because I start too many projects at once, they all take for-ev-ar to finish, which means I’m totally sick of the sight of them by the time I get near the end, which means I let them pile up to this point I’m at now but I really don’t want to work on them anymore! This year, I want to have fewer WIPs going at once, so that I finish them and move on to new things faster. Shortening the cycle, as it were.

And the best place to start? Clearing out the basket. Let’s go!

Eels lyrics, now with tiny flowers.

Eels Lyrics WIP

I love this project so much! I just want to work on it all day. But then it would be finished, which would be sad. Like when you love a book and can’t put it down, but don’t want it to end. Not the worst problem to have, though.

Anyway, I’ve finished the text and I’m really happy with how it came out. I used one strand of Soie d’Alger silk thread, and did it all in back stitch.

Eels Lyrics WIP

Now I’m adding in some lovely teeeeny tiny flowers (sorry about the poor photo, it was late last night when I started tracing them into place), from a vintage pattern and found in the Flickr Hoop Love Vintage Transfers group. If you’ve never been there, go check it out – you’ll have a stack of new projects to start before you finally force yourself to leave!

Crafting it Slow.

The other week, Nicole from Follow The White Bunny wrote a post about “Slow Crafting” and it was funny timing because it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately too. Ever since I announced at the beginning of the year that I was determined to steal back a little more time for my own personal, non-business projects, I’ve been enjoying the kind of craft that really lets you take your time and sink your teeth in. So I want to take this week to share my slow projects with you guys and talk a little about why slow crafts are so awesome.

To start, I want to show you something that I just started this weekend. This is not just a slow project, it’s one that may continue throughout my whole life if it goes as I have in mind.

I’ve mentioned before that music is very important to me, and I even used to think I would write about music professionally one day. That seems a little silly now – if I’m honest about it, I was never really so good at it anyway, and I kind of feel that if it didn’t happen, it wasn’t meant to be. But music still is one of the biggest loves of my life, and I’m always looking for a way to connect it to my needlecrafting loves.

Eels Lyrics

A while ago back, I had a notion to stitch up some lyrics. That’s not a hugely original idea on its own, I’ve been inspired by lots of stitched lyrics I’ve seen online. I’ve even done a couple myself, but those didn’t seem like enough. It’s such an obvious way for me to pay tribute to something I love so much.

But I couldn’t choose just one line from one song! I couldn’t even narrow it down to a genre. So I thought on it some and ended up thinking that all the lyrics I love deserve to be stitched equally. Funny hip-hop rhymes, sad country lines, inspiring folk poetry. I love them all the same.

I decided to stitch them all, of course! Not all at once, that would be madness. But each as its own little mini-project, to gradually become part of a larger whole. My vision at the moment is that eventually I will have a whole wall or corner in my house dedicated to these embroideries, each one a line that inspires me in some way big or small. They won’t all match, they’ll all be on fabric and in styles that suit them, but they will belong together.

Eels Lyrics

This weekend, I finally started the first one. This is a line from “Hey Man! (Now You’re Really Living)”, by Eels (one of my very favorite bands, who I am ridiculously excited to be seeing live for the first time in April, EEP!). This is such a special song because it joyously celebrates ALL of what makes up a full life, all the wonderful bits and sad bits and all the bits in between. It’s so beautiful. Eels get me every time.

I’m working on a linen handkerchief that I think my parents bought for me at Versailles, or maybe just France generally, about a hundred years ago. I found it packed away when I redecorated my bedroom and it asked to be stitched on. I’m using silk thread and will probably add some sort of floral embellishment on it after the text is finished. And that will be just one part of a much larger project. So, while I finish, tell me about your slow projects!

(Thanks for bringing this topic up, Nicole!)