Monday, December 7, 2015

Boreas progress - page 2 finish!

We have an elbow!

I know it's taken me a while, but at long last, I've finished page 2 of Boreas! I've been plugging away at it (with a brief break for a side project) and it's been awesome to see more of the pattern develop, especially when I get to stitch something that isn't a dark blob! I know page 3 has a lot of dark blobby stuff on it, but I'm excited to start on it :)

While I'm blogging, I have a question! I've noticed lately that my scroll frame is going crooked in a way - instead of staying in a true rectangle, one of the bars will skew so things are out of alignment. This picture shows what I mean - see how the bars aren't parallel?

I have to tighten the bars a LOT to get decent tension, and it seems when I pull them really tight, it causes them to skew. I had my boyfriend hold things in place while I tightened them last night, but they flipped out of alignment while I was working! Has anyone else dealt with this? Any tips?

- Leigh

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Long overdue update!

Hi guys! Sorry for disappearing for such a long time! I've been settling into my new apartment and I'm really happy with how I've gotten my stitching corner set up:

We found that armchair at Goodwill for $25! So much comfier than my awful old couch. I've already spent lots of happy hours stitching and I've completed another column on Boreas!

You might see that I had a brief flirtation with using a marker to grid. I found that it wasn't precise enough for me - the line was thick enough that I couldn't tell exactly which row of holes marked the edge of a column, which means it wasn't very helpful as I still had to count to double check. I ended up going back to the Guideline, which I find much easier. But next time I start a large project I'll DEFINITELY be buying Magic Guide fabric.

Finally, yesterday I visited the state fair and I got to see my cabin project on display! No ribbon this time around, but maybe if I ever finish Boreas, I'll submit that and see what happens :)

- Leigh

Friday, July 24, 2015

Boreas progress - page 1 finish!

Hello everyone! I know it's been a while, but I wanted to wait to post until I hit a major milestone. And now it's here! I present my very first HAED page finish:

I feel like I've really gotten into the swing of things. I'm stitching two columns at a time now, which I think does move things along faster, and I've FINALLY found the right pdf app for me (I'll probably do a separate post on that soon).

I'm really excited to move on to page 2, but it may have to wait a bit as I'm moving apartments next week. Stay tuned!

- Leigh

Monday, June 22, 2015

Finish - Block M

Hello everyone!

I'm happy to report that my total lack of progress on Boreas lately was for a reason - I was working on a surprise Father's Day gift for my dad!

We're both Michigan alumni so I knew he'd like the gift :) I was surprised at how long such a simple pattern took - this was nearly a month of work! I'm back to stitching Boreas now and very happy to be working on it again.


Monday, June 1, 2015

New stash

Hello, world!

Sadly, I don't have any progress to post, but I did want to share the fruits of my recent trip to Jo-Ann Fabric:

This is for a new pattern that I haven't been able to start just yet, but I'm so excited about it. It's fun to look at all the bright colors, since Boreas is a little on the muted/drab side. It even has metallic thread! I've never used metallics before, and I understand they can be a huge pain to work with, but I think the effect will be worth it!

(I'm sure eventually I'll look back on that last sentence and curse myself, but that will be another day!)

- Leigh

Friday, May 22, 2015

Boreas progress - week 3

Boreas is coming along swimmingly! I feel like I'm really getting the hang of things. I've made peace with all the waste knots, and I am starting threads by stitching over the tail when possible - there's so much confetti that I can't always do that, but it does help when I can.

When I finish the current column, I think I'm going to try stitching two columns at a time instead of juts one. Someone online (I can't remember where I saw it) said they found things go a lot faster that way, so I'm gonna give it a shot!

In other news, this weekend I'll be taking advantage of Jo-Ann Fabric's floss sale to kit up something new!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Boreas progress

Small update!

I've finished the second column! Some very exciting dark blobs are developing :)

I also got my first needle minder from Robot Mom Sews on Etsy! It arrived very speedily and I love having the little fox watch me stitch.

- Leigh

Thursday, May 7, 2015

New start - Boreas

I've started my next big project - Heaven and Earth Design's Boreas! This chart was given to me by the lovely Rachel at Ten Hour Stitcher as a prize for her blogaversary giveaway.

This project is a LOT of firsts for me: it's my first HAED pattern, my first time stitching on evenweave, my first time parking, my first time stitching one over one, my first time using my Lokscroll frames. It's a very different experience than stitching over two on Aida, but I'm happy to say that I'm LOVING this project so far!

Progress as of 5/7/15 - page 1

I've just finished the first column in page one. Since I'm new at this, I have a LOT of questions. If anyone has any advice or can point me to any resources or blog posts, I'd be really grateful!

  • I'm liking the Lokscroll frame, but I'm having trouble getting good tension compared to my Q-snaps. Is that just a difference between Aida and evenweave? Or is there some trick to getting the fabric more taut? I'm rolling the scroll bars as tightly as I can, but I can't seem to get the fabric how I want it. It's something I can live with, but if any of you have tips, let me know!
  • I'm stitching one over one on 28-count evenweave. I'm pretty much stuck with all these waste away knots, right? I can't use the loop start method since I'm only using one thread, and I've heard of pin stitches but I'm not sure that'll be any easier. Again, I can live with this, but I'm wondering if I'm missing something!
  • I'm really getting the hang of parking, which is awesome, but it seems like most people I've seen don't stitch one column at a time, but rather multiple columns at once. How does that work? I'd totally get it if I were still cross-country stitching, but with parking, I need a place for all the knots so I'm not sure how I could work more than two column at a time. Is it okay to stitch column by column? Or am I going to end up with horrible grid lines? What strategies do you all use for working down the page?
  • I guess my biggest question is that this first column has gone well, but I'm not sure how to approach the "big picture" of the entire first page. 
Any tips and advice would be very much appreciated!

- Leigh

Monday, May 4, 2015

Framed cabin!

Look what I picked up yesterday!

I'm incredibly happy with how it turned out and now it's hanging in my living room with pride!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Tiny update

Two small things:

I've taken the cabin in to get framed! They did indeed say they could mount it for me, and it should be ready in about two weeks. I can't wait to share it with all of you!

I'm nearly done prepping the fabric for my next big project! Once I start stitching, I'll let you know what it is, so stay posted :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Finish - Cabin

It's done!!!

I started this project way back on June 5th, 2013, so it took me just under two years. I'm super pumped to finally be done with it and get it framed!!

Speaking of framing, does anyone have any recommendations for mounting material? For smaller projects I've just cut cereal or pasta boxes down to size, but I don't think I'll find any big enough for the cabin. Can I just use a matting board?

Here are some close-ups of the details!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Small tease

Hi everyone! Now that I've finished the Tudor Rose, I'm back to finishing the cabin! I thought I was very, very close to being done but then I discovered an area that needs backstitching that I had overlooked before, whoops. I still anticipate a finish very soon :)

I don't have any pictures of the cabin to share right now (so many waste knots all over the place!), but I did get some shopping done over the weekend for my upcoming new start:

I'm incredibly excited to get going on this new project and I hope I can announce what it is very soon!

- Leigh

Monday, April 6, 2015

Finish - Tudor Rose

I finally have some new stitching to share!

I've taken a hiatus from the cabin for the past couple months in order to complete Tudor Rose as a birthday gift for my mom! I stumbled on the pattern online months ago and knew that I wanted to stitch it at some point. I'd never done blackwork before, but I loved the intricacy of the different patterns.

I do feel a little sad about the framing job on this one - for some reason I was convinced that I had stitched this on 16-count aida, so I bought an 8x10 frame, and discovered that I'd actually stitched it on 14-count and the frame was too small. I did go out and by a larger frame, but it ended up not working either and I decided to just use the 8x10 frame and cut off a couple of the leaves. Don't be like me, kids!

Here are some progress pics! I can't wait to blitz through the last of the finishing on the cabin, and I'm hoping next weekend I can start buying supplies for my next BAP!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Past finishes!

Well, I don't have any progress to post, as I haven't had much time to stitch this week and my current project is a birthday surprise for someone, so I can't post pictures of it yet!

Instead, I thought I'd post some smaller projects I completed in 2014!

This was a Valentine's Day gift for my boyfriend last year :) I got him to watch 30 Rock, my favorite show of all time, and this is a joke from the show. I made the pattern using StitchPoint's writing tool. I added in the little border myself, which meant a lot of counting and scribbling as I tried to figure out an even spacing for it!

I made this one using Steotch's pattern for my brother's birthday, since he's a huge Archer fan. This was the first project I used gridding for!

Warning: the last project contains NSFW language, so I've put it behind a cut.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Hi everyone! Sorry I went AWOL - I spent a long weekend up in Duluth with my boyfriend :)

First, I need  to say thank you to the amazing Rachel over at Ten Hour Stitcher! I won a HAED chart from her blogoversary giveaway! I can't wait to get started on it and tell you all about it once I wrap up the cabin project.

Since I was out of town, I haven't made much progress to post, so I thought I'd talk about gridding!

I hadn't even heard of gridding until sometime last year when I first started reading cross stitch blogs, and it immediately made a lot of sense to me, as I often find myself making tiny mistakes in my counting. I decided to try out gridding with a small project and found that it helped a lot - I did make a few mistakes still, but I caught them MUCH sooner when it was still possible to fix them :)

This was my first time gridding, which I did with normal sewing thread. I was so pleased with how it worked that I bought some Easy-Count Guideline for my next small project!

The one thing that I dislike about gridding is how long it takes - putting in all the gridlines for that second project took me three hours! And that's not even a particularly large project! I love how much it helps, but I can't even fathom how long it would take to grid a HAED chart. (Though I do gather that some people grid one page at a time, which could be more manageable.)

How do you guys like to grid? I know there are things like magic guide evenweave and pens you can use to mark up your fabric. What works for you?

- Leigh

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cabin retrospective

I'm really hitting the home stretch on my cabin project - I have the majority of the backstitching done! (I still have a bunch of French knots to look forward to, ugh.)

It's crazy to think how far I've come with the cabin. I began it all the way back in June 2013, and I don't think I really grasped how long it would take me at the time! I bought the kit on Amazon after searching for "cross stitch kits." (Very clever of me, I know.)

Look at how little things used to be! Look at how much confetti there was right away, yikes. It's weird remembering when I used to stitch on a hoop. I never really got the hang of hoops and didn't like them much. I was soooooo happy when  I discovered Q-Snaps! Under the cut, there are a bunch of progress pictures of the cabin over time.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My first scroll frame and stand!

I recently bit the bullet and decided to purchase an Ergo stand and several Lokscroll frames to go with it (thank you, tax refund!). I learned to stitch with a hoop, but I never really warmed to hoops and I finally learned about Q-Snaps about a year ago. I LOVE my Q-Snaps, but I eventually wanted something that would work better for larger projects, and as I began reading more about stitching online I started looking into getting a scroll frame.

My Ergo stand came last week and I'm SO IN LOVE WITH IT.

It was incredibly easy to set up (I think it took me 15 minutes tops) and I can't emphasize how much I love having a stand. I now have a completely free hand since I don't have to hold the Q-Snaps up, and I sometimes find myself resting my chin on my free hand while I stitch with the other! I definitely want to start two-handed stitching, but my current set up means the hand on top completely blocks the light, so I need to look into getting a new lamp. Which I needed to do anyway, since my current lamp can light either the frame or the pattern, but not both at the same time. The clamp holds onto the Q-Snaps really well, and I LOVE how easy it is to flip it over so I can see the back of the work. I also love how well-made the stand is. Every time I turn a knob or adjust the stand, I find myself marveling at the craftsmanship.

I also got the Deluxe Chart Holder, which I love! It includes a pincushion for my needles (fantastic for me since I don't have a needle minder), pegs that I hang loose threads on and spots for my scissors and colored pencils for marking the chart.

I've set up some of the Lokscroll frames, but I haven't started stitching with them yet since the cabin is too wrinkled to work in them and I want to focus on getting it finished. I do want to take some time soon to practice stitching on evenweave so I figure out if I want to attempt a HAED pattern once the cabin is finished. I bought a random piece of 28-count a while ago and soon I want to do some test stitching on it to see how I like it. If anyone has any tips about transitioning from aida to evenweave, I'm all ears!


Monday, March 2, 2015

Hello, world!

Hi, everybody! I've been getting more serious about cross-stitching and I've decided to finally join the blogosphere (which is a word I can't take seriously, but it's fun to use)! I started cross-stitching 6 or 7 years ago, I think, but I had one project that I worked on intermittently for a long time. In grad school, some friends and I decided to take up stitching again, and I finally completed that project (sorry, no pics) and a new one soon after it:

 After I finished the peacock, I bought my first BIG project, which I'm on the verge of finishing! It's taken me nearly two years, but it's been amazing watching it go from this:

 to this:

I just have the backstitching and outlining left! It has a lot of couching, which I reeeeeeeally hate (I keep getting tangled trying to work with two threaded needles), but now that I'm doing more of the regular backstitching it's going much quicker.

I feel like I'm finally joining the ranks of the Super Serious Stitchers now that I've gotten my first scroll frame! I recently bought some Lokscroll frames on eBay and my Ergo stand arrived a few days ago! I'm also about to try out stitching on evenweave for the first time (I've only ever used aida before) so I can figure out what I want to stitch my next BAP on.

I'm also still trying to figure out how I want this blog set up, so bear with me as I play around with things!

- Leigh