Out of My Comfort Zone

I always like to have a New Year’s Day start and this year was no exception.  I wanted 2018 to be a year where I not only focused on whittling down the enormous pile of WIPs, but I also wanted to work on something that would stretch my skills a bit.  Last year I started the year off with Williamsburg Remembered that so intimidated me that I quickly lost interest in working on it (much to the chagrin of the ladies I was supposed to be SAL-ing with).  But after spending so much time in 2017 catching back up on one of my absolute favorite blogs (who sadly has since quit blogging), I kept being so inspired by her projects and the level of skill that she demonstrated that I thought I needed to step up my game a little bit.

Back in 2010 Amy Mitten designed a piece for our guild‘s tenth anniversary.  It was a mystery sampler that turned out to be an amazing Adam & Eve piece with a large Tudor Rose at the top (for the Tudor Rose Sampler Guild).  Be still my heart.  We started off stitching in the rose in class, but when Amy passed around her model we quickly saw how beautifully aged and mottled her piece was.  Not at all like the (I think it’s) Lambswool that we had in our kit.  Amy explained that she had tea-dyed her fabric to give it that look.  The photo above is of the top half of the sampler.  Gorgeous, right? And I love those splotches of color she said were from Orange Pekoe tea.

If you’ve been reading my blog here or watching my videos for any length of time, you know that getting stuck or frustrated with a piece is usually the last time it sees the light of day.  I wanted to tea-dye my fabric but I’d just stitched that  big red flower with hand-dyed silk.  Dilemma!!!

When I decided at the end of last year that I really wanted to pick this piece up again and that I wanted it to be my New Year’s (re) start, the first order of business was to rip out all my stitching.  I was able to salvage most of the silk, but unfortunately not all of it.  Once I had all my stitching out, I did some tea dyeing on my fabric.  I dunked it in tea for a bit and then let some tea bags sit on the fabric for a bit as well.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

It has a lot more life to it now than just the basic lambswool linen.  I love it.  So, that done, I was ready to go on January 1.

I started by restitching the foundation for the Tudor rose.  The petals will be 3-dimensional and eventually added.

Managed to get all those little leaves done.

Double running stitch for the trunk and branches (the trunk and branches become the tree Adam and Eve are beneath).

And I finally got to add the first of the leaves in the color Venom.  Absolutely love how it’s looking and while challenging, I just took it one step at a time.  This is what I got done in basically a week of stitching before I moved on to something else.  I’m anxious now to pick this back up and work on it some more.

Here is what the whole thing will look like when finished.

Pretty fabulous, no?

I am grateful for inspiration to practice new skills.

Flosstube Episode 47: Three Years

Thank you so much for tuning in to the Cozyegg flosstube/podcast! In this episode I share the beginning of my 2018 WIPocalypse.
WIPs:
  • Mystery 9 (Le Potager du Roi) by Chatelaine Designs – Silks and Petite Treasure Braid with delica beads and Swarovski crystals
  • Ten by Amy Mitten (restart) – Fibers to Dye For silks on 40ct Lambswool
  • His Eye is on the Sparrow by Heartstring Samplery – called for GAST and Weeks on 48ct Gander linen

Gifts:

  •  Poison bottle project bag and accessory bag from Diana itiskismet stitches
  • Renaissance by Long Dog Samplers stitched by Robert

Books:

  • A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

I am grateful for taking a chance three years ago.

2018 – Let’s Do This

This will be my third year of working on whittling down my WIPs.  In 2016 I drew names of projects and then worked on each until finished (completed WIPs = 1) and in 2017 I joined the Year of WIPs Challenge and chose 12 WIPs to focus on over the year (completed WIPs = 3).  This year I thought I would join the WIPocalypse.  I actually participated in WIPocalypse years ago and was pleasantly surprised when I heard it was still going strong.  So, I spent some time at the end of December deciding which WIPs I wanted to focus on for 2018 (I talked about them in my last Flosstube video of the year).  So, here they are!

Anniversaries of the Heart by Blackbird Designs

This is the whole piece currently.  I am working on the 9th (September) block, Clara Ellen.  I set this aside because some of the thread colors on this block are way too light and need to be ripped out and restitched in a darker shade.

Halloween Neighborhood

This piece was a round robin originally, but last year I pulled it out and started adding some additional blocks to it.  My plan for 2018 is to work on this for #dark13stitching every month on the 13th and to start filling in some of the gaps.  I started charting the whole thing out so I can do some planning.  Here are the blocks I added last year.  The first one was By the Light of the Moon – a freebie from The Primitive Needle with a few alterations.

Halloween Rules by Milady’s Needle.  I changed up the configuration on this one too.  The tombstone on the left says 2007, the year I started this RR.  I’ll put the year it’s finished on the other tombstone.  The one at the bottom says E.A. Poe 1849.

This is a portion of a class piece from Brightneedle called Ghoulies and Ghosties.  I just can’t get over that witch hat roof.

And finally, I’m in the process of working on what was originally my block at the start of the RR (having to restitch because my first RR was lost).  This is the cemetery from Village of Hawk Run Hollow by Carriage House Samplings.  I flipped the design so that the tree is on the right hand side and I’ll be eliminating the black background that is on the original piece.

Green Santa by Birds of a Feather

This poor Santa has been a WIP for a ridiculous amount of time.  I picked him back up in November to work on for Santa Sundays #santasundayxs on Instagram.  I decided to keep him as a focus piece so that I can hopefully complete him and then move onto one of the other BOAF Santas.

Vierlande Winders’ Keeper by Amy Mitten

This piece is one of my challenge pieces.  While the stitching itself shouldn’t be challenging, the finishing will for sure.  I started this the year my dad died and haven’t had the heart to pick it back up since then.

His Eye is on the Sparrow by Heartstring Samplery

Sparrow wasn’t on my radar at all until two things happened – I saw that Tracy P had just purchased this and was planning to make it a 2018 piece.  I got it out to share a photo of mine and remembered how much I love it.  And the second thing was that I’ve been binge-watching Nicole’s videos and am missing my sampler stitching dreadfully.  I’m stitching this on 48 count Gander linen with the called for threads.

Mystery 9 (Le Potager du Roi/The King’s Vegetable Garden) – Chatelaine Designs

I had hoped to have M9 done in 2017, but alas that didn’t happen.  I have LOTS more to say about this piece, but for the purposes of this post I have completely finished (minus crystals and bugle beads) the top left corner including the beading.  Next I’m moving over to the top right corner.

Here’s how the whole thing looks currently.

Model for Cozyegg Designs

In 2018 I hope to finish the model and release my first design – with more to come!

Dutch Beauty by Permin of Copenhagen

Emily and I decided to start Dutch Beauty together in June of 2017 as kind of a last Maynia start.  I’m doing my own color conversion with a mix of silks, overdyed cotton, and DMC.  Started at the right bottom corner a la Nicole.

I’m so in love with this piece and can’t wait to spend more time with it in 2018.  I’m currently working on that big vase of lilies.

And finally, my New Year’s Day re-start.

Ten by Amy Mitten

This was a class I took back in 2010 at the Tudor Rose Sampler Guild.  Amy designed this piece for our 10th anniversary.  It has been sitting since then with a very small amount stitched because I wanted to tea dye it after seeing Amy’s model.  So, the last week of December I ripped out that stitching and tea dyed my fabric and then started it again on New Year’s Day.  The reason I chose to make this a focus piece this year is because of all the specialty stitches and because it intimidates me A LOT.  So, this is my second challenge piece for 2018.

This is where I’m at after working on it almost a week.  And below are the detached buttonhole petals that will get attached to the flower to give it dimension.

So there you have it, my focus WIPs for 2018.  As I finish these off (because I’m being optimistic), I may rotate other WIPs into my rotation.

I am grateful for a brand new year.

Eat, Pray, Love

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Eric and I have been married almost six years. Our wedding ceremony and reception were greatly influenced by his Italian heritage on his mom’s side. For our honeymoon, we went to Rome. When we were planning our wedding, Eric ran across a phrase in Italian that he really loved. It translates to “my heart is yours forever”. We wanted it engraved inside our wedding bands, but there was no way all that was going to fit. So instead, we went for a shortened version in Italian. I know you can’t see the engraving inside the rings in the photo (my photography skills aren’t that good), but trust me…it’s there.

So, when I saw Siobhan’s bonus block for her Anniversaries of the Heart piece, I fell in love with how she’d used something more meaningful than just the charted alphabet. So, the gears in my head started turning and I decided that I really wanted to use our phrase in my bonus block. So I charted and re-charted until I thought I finally had it. And last weekend I finished the stitching on this block. I’m really please with how it came out.

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I’m counting each of these blocks as a tiny finish, so I was happy to celebrate another finish for the year! And no sooner had I finished this block did I start gathering my stuff to start the March block. That is until I got some news on Wednesday that considerably moved up my time table to get my Anniversaries of the Heart finished. So, instead of starting on the March block, I started on the June block that will honor my dad and his mother – both June birthdays. I’d like him to see at least this block finished.
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So, that’s what I’ve been working on for the most part. This week I did receive my supplies for an online class I’m taking from Amy Mitten. My guild is doing this as a SAL. Once I had the fabric and fibers in my hot little hands, I couldn’t help but put in a few stitches.
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I’m looking forward to seeing this one come to life.

I am grateful for every day we have.