Friday, May 29, 2009

Crystal News

Just a quick note: Crystal Symphony went in for framing today. She's going to get a medium gray mat and an antique-style pewter frame. We should have her back in about 10 days, and I'll post pictures then.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Knotgarden progress

The great thing about working on geometric patterns is that they do move along fairly quickly.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

And now for something completely different...

I got Chatelaine's Knotgarden started this week. I'm working it on 28 count antique white lugana. I thought the beads would sit better on the 28 count rather than the 32 count, and with the eyelets that are part of the design, it may come out more evenly on the lugana rather than my usual linen.

I'm debating about using the hand dyed flosses (I'd be buying Waterlilies) and substituting a similar DMC floss instead. We'll see - I have a long way to go before I get that far!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

And she's finished...

There isn't a square inch on Crystal Symphony that doesn't have beads - it's not quite as obvious on the photograph as it is when you see it up close. As you can see, I opted to leave off the frame and chandelier - there's so much going on with all of the beading that I thought it was overkill.

As it turned out, I did have enough Magnifica beads - there were all of five leftover. Whew! Talk about cutting it close.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Beadwork Teaser

Just a close up of some of the beadwork that I've been doing on Crystal Symphony

I'm going to be short on some of the black Magnifica beads, so I'm going to have to do a little shopping so I can finish her up.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

2 skeins of white later....

While it may not look much different from the earlier picture, I've actually managed to fill in all the white on the dress - it took two whole skeins of white floss. Ack! I also got most of the backstitching on the dress finished.

I may actually be able to get Crystal completed soon.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Full Circle

I first learned to cross stitch before I was 10 years old, and have been doing it on and off ever since then. There's been some periods in my life where I've done more and I've done less. For various reasons, I really wasn't stitching much between about 2002 and 2008 - I did a few projects here and there, but not very much.

I'd wanted to get back to stitching, so after finals were finished last spring semester, I visited a needlework store in PA (I am up there visiting my boyfriend often), and picked up the materials for Crystal Symphony (I had a choice of all of two Mirabilias that they had on hand LOL). So I got started back on Crystal (Nothing like a simple project to ease back into stitching, right?)

I worked on Crystal on and off during the summer, rotating with a filet crochet tablecloth (which I did finish):

It's worked from the center out, much like round lace doilies are worked. It's done with a size 10 thread, so it's a little thicker/more durable than a finer thread (the slightly thicker thread is also easier for me to work with - size 20 kills my hands and eyes). I've done so many afghans over the years (I learned how to crochet in the late 80's) that I rarely do them anymore - there's only so many I need :-). Extra lace pieces, however, are easy to store (and I end up giving away a lot of the smaller pieces).

A close up so you can see some of the detailing:

This is how far I got on Crystal Symphony before she got rotated out:

Crystal got bumped when I finally got the Mermaids of the Blue (Mirabilia patterns were a little tough to get last summer because of distribution reorganization). I really have not worked on her since - she didn't stand a chance once I started working on getting my Queens finished LOL.

With my finish of the Queens series last week, I've been kind of bumping around all week, deciding what direction to go in. I've been bouncing around projects this week trying but really haven't been able to settle into anyone. I ended up sitting down last night and spreading out all my WIPs and my kitted projects (an impressive pile, I must say) to basically work out what I should be focusing on for now.

Crystal is currently my oldest WIP, so I need to get back working on her for a while. I'm debating about simplifying the design, because I'm not thrilled with the chandelier at the moment. I may skip the frame entirely, or perhaps just leave that part out and lower the top edge of the frame. On the body, I have most of the colors filled in, and need to fill in a LOT of white, which will take a long time AND make it appear that I'm not progressing LOL. I was having trouble with her left arm (I did the flesh parts in over 1) so I frogged a chunk of that last night (ouch). I've since decided that over-1 just is not compatible with my eyes and my patience, so I won't be doing any more over-1's, but I'll have to finish up Crystal that way since it's nearly finished. As my official oldest WIP, I think I need to focus on getting her done.

There's also Edith Wolford, also started last summer, which has so little done that I haven't even bothered taking a picture LOL It's a beautiful purple and orange iris from Silver Lining, which I put aside because there's a lot of confetti stitching with very similar colors. I'm going to go back and start working it in 10x10 blocks (working off what I have already done), and I carded up all the floss last night so I can keep the cut floss on the cards as well to tell the colors apart better.

I'll no doubt work on some other projects as well, but I'm going to try to focus on getting these two finished this summer.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Floss Spree!

I had a little shopping spree at Michael's this week, thanks to a 20% off my order coupon. Since the cashiers have to ring up one skein of floss at a time, they must love me when I buy about 125 or so at once LOL

I got floss for:

Knotgarden - I started getting this kitted up with the floss; I also had a couple of packets of beads in my stash that I'll need. I still need to order more beads and Waterlilies floss. I confess - I also snuck over to the cross stitch store and got a piece of 28 count lugana for her.

Mermaid of Atlantis - I bought the Waterlilies for this the other week, and I'm going to do her on the leftover Fathom lugana from Sleeping Beauty. MoA is very petite for a Mirabilia (although very blinged out and detailed) so she actually fits - just barely - on that fabric AND it works for her. Again, still need beads and Kreinik for this (of which there are a LOT).

Royal Holiday - Yes, another Queen! I have a piece of 32 count cream linen leftover from doing Fairy Idyll earlier in the year, and that will work out nicely for RH. More stuff here to add to that massive specialty thread & bead order that's building.
Sneak Preview

Clearly I was going to start this sooner than later.

Just playing around with it for a few days, then I'll go back to working on one of the other WIPs.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

So, What's Next?

Now that the Queens are finished, I'm getting asked what's next for my cross stitch projects.

For the moment, I'm going to be giving a little TLC to some of my other works in progress. I'm currently working on "Meeting on the Turret Stairs" again, which is an Artecy cross stitch reproduction of the Burton painting. I'm working on an 18 count Aida for this - normally I don't use Aida but since there's none of the background showing it was a good choice.

And of course, there is Midsummer Night's Fairy, Crytal Symphony, and Edith Wolford to work on as well.

I will be starting Sleeping Beauty by Mirabilia soon. I've had her kitted up for several months, and it's been gnawing at me to get her going. I have a piece of PtP Fathom 32 count lugana for her; I trimmed it down last night, and there will be enough leftover to do Mermaid of Atlantis on as well. I also have My Sweet Rose from Artecy fully kitted, but I don't think I'll start that until Turret is finished.

I am going to be starting another series as well. Although I love my Mirabilias, I want to do something very different from the ladies, so I've decided to do some of the Garden Mandalas from Chatelaine. I will probably not do all of them, but on the hit list are Knotgarden, Watergarden, Alhambra Garden and Misty Morning Vineyard. That should keep me busy for the next ten years, eh?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Five Weeks

I began low carbing again five weeks ago. Things that have changed:

- I no longer have to keep track of my water. I just always have a mug of it and have no problem drinking about 90 -100 oz a day.

- My barely-fitting jeans now not only fit WITHOUT a muffin top, they're verging on baggy

- I automatically eat what I'm supposed to without thinking much about it other than to plan meals ahead, without feeling deprived, without jonesing for stuff I shouldn't have.

- The chip addiction has been broken - I no longer prowl around hunting for bad stuff to snack on, especially when I really do not need a snack. If I want a snack, I have a deviled egg or some cheese and then I'm done.

- I have successfully eaten out at least twice a week the whole time. I don't stress over it - I just make sure I go to places that I know I can find something appropriate.

- When I've had a rough day and feel the need to treat myself, I don't think to treat myself with chocolate or a donut. It's a new paperback book or some cross stitch supplies or some really great body lotion.

- I eat far more veggies on a regular basis than I did previously

- I know I have to get on the scale tomorrow morning, and that's a good thing, rather than something to be dreaded

Sunday, May 03, 2009

All Four Queens - Together At Last
All the "Snooty Ladies" hanging out together - finally!
All Four Queens - Together at Last

Spring Queen Mirabilia #34, released 1998. Started and completed in 1999.

This is where it all started. When I started Spring Queen in 1999, Autumn Queen had not yet been released. From the very beginning, I always intended on completing the whole series of seasonal Queens. Although I completed her 10 years ago, I never had her framed because I wanted to wait for all of the Queens to be completed so they could be framed to match. She is done on an antique white 32 count linen.

Autumn Queen, Mirabilia #45, released 1999. Started in 1999 and completed in 2008.

Ah, Autumn Queen...my albatross. I started her in late 1999, and worked on her until she was nearly complete. I put her aside (probably to work on another project, although I couldn't tell you what that project was), and ended up not long after going into a fairly dry spell for cross stitch. I did two or three projects (no Miras) during that time, but wasn't consistent with it until early 2008 and I started working on Miras again. I completed Mermaids of the Deep Blue in September, and decided to start working on Winter Queen, because I still wanted to complete the series. In October, I took a break on Winter Queen, and decided I really needed to finish Autumn. Fortunately, I'd bagged her up along with all of her threads and beads, so after 8 years, I was able to pick up where I'd left off. She was so far along it only took me two weeks (!!!) to complete her. I dislike using Wisper threads, so I just used white DMC for her cloak. Autumn Queen is done on 32 count linen - the fabric is slightly darker than the others, so I would say it's either cream or an antique off white.

Winter Queen, Mirabilia #13, released 1995. Started and completed in 2008.

I started Winter Queen in September of 2008. I already had the pattern and jumbo piece of linen that I'd bought to finish both Winter and Summer on ages ago, so it was easy to get her going. Overall, she was an easy stitching project. She went very smoothly and I managed to finish her just 2 or 3 days before Christmas. I replaced the Wisper thread that is part of her cloak for a combination of a white DMC metallic floss and regular white DMC floss. It gives her cloak a little extra sparkle. Winter Queen is completed on a 32 count antique white linen.

Summer Queen, Mirabilia #22, released 1996. Started in 2008 and completed in 2009.

And last but not least, Summer Queen. I started her in 2008 while I was still working on Winter Queen. I was getting a bit fed up with all of the blue and white and I just needed to stitch in other colors, so I spent about two weeks working on Summer's teal skirt. I took a Queen break after Winter, and played around with a couple other projects. In early March, I decided I really needed to get Summer (and thus the whole series) completed, and started working on her in earnest. I just finished all the beading yesterday. Yes, I omitted some of the rose petals that were falling around her - I like the cleaner look without them. I also omitted the short strand of beads that is next to the two longer drapes of beads. Summer Queen is stitched on 32 count antique white linen.


I've always wanted them to be framed to match - same style frame, same size. The mats will coordinate with the colors on the individual Queen, but will all be the same material so they go together. Framing will have to wait for a little while though - that's going to be a hefty bill!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

At Last....

Not only is Summer Queen finished, but I have FINALLY finished the entire seasonal Mirabilia Queens set. Only took me 10 years to do it!

More tomorrow...I'm exhausted.

I visiting Salty Yarns yesterday, since summer is on it's way and I usually won't go down to Ocean City during the tourist season. I wanted some of the specialty threads for Mermaid of Atlantis, by Mirabilia, which I am slowly but surely kitting up. There's quite a bit of specialty threads & beads for her, and I picked up the Caron Waterlilies hand dyed silk threads that I'll need for her.

And....I've fallen in love. Again. I've seen Chatelaine Designs mentioned in some of the online needlework groups that I belong to, but hadn't really seen any of their designs up close. Salty Yarns had two of the Mandalas.

I'm not sure what it is, but the designs utterly fascinate me. I've always liked Celtic knotwork, and from a distance, they remind me of that which is what caught my attention. The whole kaleidoscope effect is mesmerizing. However, when you look closer, there's SO much going on within the patterns. Really, really interesting. I ended up getting The Knotgarden, and am going to have to order The Watergarden sometime soon, because I'm not sure which one I like better.

The Mandalas are mostly cross stitch, but incorporate some other stitching methods - for example, Knotgarden has algerian eyes, rhodes stitches, and a few others. It also incorporates variegated hand dyed silk threads, seed beads, bugle beads, metallics, glass treasures, and DMC floss, so there will be a considerable investment in this piece (plus the pattern is pricey, plus linen). Ack! I'll have to just buy a few things at one time, so I can pretend it's not as expensive ;-).

For those who like instant gratification, you can buy patterns online through Chatelaine as pdf files via Paypal. Alternatively, Nordic Needle and ABC Stitch both carry some of the patterns.