Tuesday, October 30, 2018

2 weeks into the 100 day challenge!

Up to now, I have been able to keep up with the 100 day challenge. Of course, there were a couple nights where I only put in one stitch, just to keep up and not miss a day, but I have been doing pretty well so far.

Here is where I left off with my last post:

Here is my progress:

I am stitching this on 28ct evenweave, 1x1, and it has been quite the experience so far. The stitches are so tiny, and starting/ending the threads on the back side is interesting, as well.
Also, the back of my project just looks so messy! This is the worst I have had a project look on the back, but I don't think there is anything I can do about it, really. The confetti with this project is killing me, and I am sure there are many other projects that are much worse than this one.

Also, in one of my stitchy groups on Facebook, someone suggested a 12 days of HAED, to start a new HAED starting Dec 26. I seriously gave this some thought. I love starting with people, but having 12 new starts, all of them HAED, would be too much. Plus, I would have to buy lots of fabric and floss, too. I decided against joining this particular challenge.

That being said, I already had assembled a list of the HAED projects that I would want to start for this, and there are 3 in particular that are still talking to me, begging for a new start. I have determined NOT to have a new start until I get at least one page on Farewell to Anger completed. In addition to that, I want to try to have another finish first (probably won't happen).
You guys reading my blog will, of course, be the first to know when I do finally cave and have a new start. It's only a matter of time, after all.
I know you guys understand.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Grime guard, needle minders, and ezPDF

So many things have been happening for me lately, stitchy-wise. As I posted about earlier, I started my first HAED. Since this was going to be a big project that would take me a while to complete, I treated myself to pre-gridded fabric, as well.
As a further treat for passing my test, I bought myself a set of qsnaps, and I love them so far.

Well, I have taken things even further. To go along with the qsnaps, I naturally had to have a grime guard to go around the outside. Since I have quite a bit of fabric that I wanted to tuck into the edges, I ordered a slightly wider guard to accommodate that.
I have to say that I love it so far! I had a bit of a challenge getting the fabric to roll up right to fit into the grime guard. As it is, I'm not too happy with how it is rolled, so I will probably re-do that part.

As I was stitching with my new qsnaps and grime guard, it suddenly hit me. I can now use a needle minder! After having sold a bunch in my Etsy shop, I still have not actually used them before, since I tend to work on my projects in hand. I pulled out some of my already-made needle minders, and picked one that I love the most. I had to remove a bunch of my needle minders from my shop, but I still have a bunch laying around.
The one I picked is in my most recent progress picture that I posted earlier, here.

I started stitching again, and I would catch myself repeatedly studying the pattern, trying to find all the symbols, and again it just hit me. I can use an app on my tablet for that.
I downloaded EZ PDF onto my Windows tablet and played around with it for a while. I was eventually able to figure out how to search for symbols, and it has made it so much easier for stitching. It is so easy to find what to stitch for a particular color I am working on. Up until now, I always worked from printed paper copies of my patterns. This has been a game changer!

I can't even explain how much I am loving all the new additions to my stitching. I always saw people using these in my stitchy groups on facebook, but I never considered going so far with it. Now that I have, I don't know what was holding me back. I was just being silly! I will never go back.

Monday, October 22, 2018

One week down and IHSW!

Originally, I was going to be traveling this week for work, but my plans changed. My mom ended up in the hospital, so I stayed home while my husband does the traveling.
Since I have the house to myself, I'm hoping to have more stitchy time, too!

This weekend was IHSW, which is the International Hermit Stitch Weekend (that is held once a mont), and I am part of a 100 day challenge, too, to just stitch on one piece every day for 100 days. For the 100 day challenge I joined, I have my new start, which I used for both events this weekend. We are one week down so far, and here is how far I have gotten.

I'm hoping that with my extra stitchy time, I will be able to get a lot more done this week. If only I didn't have work to deal with, too...

Sunday, October 21, 2018

My first Qsnaps!

Since I started my first HAED, I decided to treat myself and buy a set of Qsnaps, too. I see everyone using them, and keep hearing how great they are.
First, I did a little research on them, big shocker, I know. I decided on the 11x11 set, and I extended the splurge to include a grime guard (which should be in next week). I even went to Michael's and got some felt to put between the fabric and the snaps (because I am paranoid about damage to the fabric from the "teeth").

My Qsnaps came in yesterday, and I opened them right up. I was super excited, so I started to put them together when I noticed a problem. All around the lip of plastic where the connectors go in, I noticed a bunch of little cracks encircling it. If there was just one crack, I wouldn't have noticed, much less care, but there are a bunch all over the tip.
I quickly pulled out the other pieces, and inspected them, and they are all OK, just this one part is damaged. I wasn't sure if this was something seen with Qsnaps or something that just may happen over time, so I asked the awesome folks over at Stitch Maynia if it was normal, and I was assured that it was definitely not.

I went to Amazon and tried to initiate a return for my Qsnaps. The website then gave me an error that this item isn't returnable. Since it arrived damaged, though, I went ahead and initiated a chat on their website, and the agent was able to take care of everything. She was able to get the reorder processed within 2 minutes, and told me that this item doesn't need to be returned, so I can hang onto the damaged Qsnaps or throw them out, whatever I like.

While I am waiting for the new set, I decided to give the damaged one a try, to see what it is like to stitch with the Qsnaps. First thoughts, I really like it! I have tried using hoops in the past, but I don't care for them much. When the fabric gets loose, it's a pain to tighten it again, plus there are the creases that the hoop leaves, too. I will use these a little more, but so far so good!

Update: I got my new set of Qsnaps, and they also have this same cracking, but this time on 3 of the 4 parts. Ultimately, I have one whole set that works between both, so I'll just mix and match to use them. This is kinda disappointing. Maybe these are just from a bad batch, or something. Who knows?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Starting my very first HAED

I got to dig into Farewell to Anger for a couple days, and decided to give my initial thoughts.

First, I decided to do this one on 28ct Easy Count Lugana Evenweave. I am stitching this 1x1, full cross. The coverage with this configuration is great. When I was first planning on this project, I was worried about coverage and the different options that were available. I am quite pleased with the coverage that I have with 1x1 on the 28ct fabric.
But, Oh my Goodness, these crosses are so tiny! I haven't ever worked on anything quite this tiny before, and it is super small to me. I have done several hundred stitches so far, but they are all in one small area because it is so small.
Also, because it is so small, I have issues with ending the tails. I really do miss my loop starts, and ending the tails has been a bit of an ordeal. Granted, I usually have some problems with this at the beginning of any project, but since I have to secure both ends of the threads, now, it is super noticeable. Since the count is so small, it is proving difficult to run the needle underneath the stitches in the back to secure my ends. I'll stick with it for now (what choice do I have, really?). I'll post more on this, later, I'm sure.

So, here is where I started, LOL!

Of course, this being a new start, there is no previous progress to post. I did just start a 100 day challenge, to stitch on one project every day for the next 100 days, so I'm hoping that I get a good amount done in that time.

Here is where I am:

I also have gotten a little bit more done with Palace Garden.
Here is were I left off last:

Here is where I am now. I got some of the blue done as part of a SAL and since I didn't have very good lighting when I was working on it at the time.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Love scheduling posts!

Can I just start out by saying how much I loooove the schedule option for posts. That allows me to whip up a post and have it all set to be published at a later date. A few months ago, I got several weeks' worth of posts all done and scheduled and ready to go. Unfortunately, they have all caught up with me during my test studies, so I am at a post-to-post point right now.At the same time, I love being able to start typing up a post, then saving it for later when I have more pictures/info/etc. These tools have been very useful!
I try to put up a post every 4 days or so. Hopefully I can keep up.

That being said, I have a couple new starts that I want to do! The first one takes me back to my days scouring SpriteStitch forums every day. It is a Super Mario design.

This one is a fairly small project (for me), so I don't think it will take too long to complete. I have fabric I can use for this, already. Just need to get started. I want to finish my Blue Bird first, but I'm at the very end of that one.

The second one that I want to start is a HAED. I have been wanting to start this one for quite some time, but I am starting to REALLY want to work on it lately.
It is Farewell to Anger, by Leonid Afremov.

I have the pattern already, I have just been waiting until I can get the fabric I want. I plan on getting the Easy Count 25-ct lugana for this one, and will stitch 1x1. I just bought the floss colors that I was missing, too. I am going to treat myself to the fabric and floss for this one as a reward for passing my test.

All the colors in this one just talk to me. I love bright rainbow colors, and this one has everything!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Blue Bird is finished!

I have a finish! *happy dance*
Finishes are few and far between for me, since I normally pick large projects and get bored with them part-way through. This one was small, and it was such a joy to stitch (despite the fact that there are so many colors in this things).

I loved seeing this come together, and the finished product is amazing. The only thing that I'm not thrilled with is the pink backstitching on the wing. I don't know how to change it to make it look better, either. I  may just have to leave it how it is.

Forgive the wrinkles. I haven't pressed it, yet.

I went out of town with my husband for the weekend. I took this project with me so I could finish it, but the lighting in the hotel was abysmal. Luckily, I also took Palace Garden with me, and found a spot of just one solid color that I could do without much light.

I was able to finish the bird yesterday, and get more done on the Palace Garden. I'll post progress on the Garden later, as I don't have a picture of it right now.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Blue Bird is almost done!

First, I wanted to let everyone know... I passed my test. Yay! More stitchy time, now!

I am so close to finishing Blue Bird. All the stitching is done, all I have left is some backstitching. I have gotten a chunk of it done, but there is a lot in this thing.

I love how the purple flowers just take shape with the backstitching done, vs the purple blobs they are without it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Test pushed back, but I got to stitch!

So, unfortunately I didn't get to take my test on Friday. I got all ready for it, and at the last minute, the proctor was unable to get connected to my computer properly (this was an online proctored exam).
Due to this, I had to reschedule my test. I just pushed it to the next Friday, so early in the morning, I will get this knocked out.

Since I had already planned on stitching this weekend, I went ahead and did it, anyway. It was nice to get my mind off of the studies for a few days.
My original plan was to get the Blue Bird finished this weekend, but I fell short. I have been taking this one very slowly to make sure all the stitches look perfect, since I plan on entering this one into the fair next year.

Here is where I was last weekend:

Here is where I am now, after this past weekend: