WIP Wednesday 2: The Runaway

The big slog is about to begin.

As of this morning I finished all of the main design except the white in the horse. Gorjuss is clinging to him hair and ribbons flying. I think I’ll wait until after doing the borders before fill in the horse because I may get my greasy mitts all over it or spill coffee or chocolate sprinkles. Who knows. I just think it’ll stay more pristine if I do it last. So here’s what I got:

Ta Da!  The whole thing as of today.

Ta Da! The whole thing as of today.

I just plugged away last week. I didn’t have any major mishaps, thankfully. The mane was time consuming, but everything went smoothly. Now all that’s left is the blue sky background on the top with a few planets (that’s what that ball is in the top right), stars and a moon, and then the rainbow the horse is leaping over on the bottom made entirely out of sparkly thread that’s already driving me nuts because it doesn’t want to stay on the card. Then I’m in the clear for backstitch, star sequins, and beads—with the white part of the horse done sometime before that.

I have no idea how long all of that will take. The border at the top is done with only one strand of thread, which is usually quicker than regular two-strand stitches because I don’t have to worry about threads lying neatly or tangling. Also, the thread goes twice as long, so fewer stops and starts. I’m hoping it will only take me a few days, but we’ll see.

The last part I worked on. I'm not sure if the black and white part is a ribbon or a scarf? Maybe the backstitch will make it more obvious

The last part I worked on. I’m not sure if the black and white part is a ribbon or a scarf? Maybe the backstitch will make it more obvious

I wish it photographed better, but doe you see the two light blue ribbons next to Gorjuss' knee and to the right? That's done with one strand of clear sparkle so it shimmers in the light.

I wish it photographed better, but do you see the two light blue ribbons next to Gorjuss’ knee and to the right? That’s blue stitched with one strand of clear sparkle so it shimmers in the light.

Wish me luck and continued motivation. Maybe after this one I really will take a break. Riiiight.

WIP Wednesday: The Runaway

You didn’t really think I could stop, did you? I knew I’d be back sooner than anticipated. In truth, I should have posted last week, but I hadn’t started a big project last week, I was working on a little side project, but it bled into the big one I started.

I have a kit for The Runaway from Bothy Threads. It’s supposed to be a birth announcement piece, but since I’m not planning on having a child anytime soon I thought I would put a quote to the left of the runaway carousel horse about imaginations or dreams. I haven’t settled on one yet but I’m leaning toward:

Some things have to be believed to be seen.
—Ralph Hodgson

I’m getting ahead of myself though. The little project I started last week is one of a set of 6 carousel horses. I thought I could put them about the room to tie in with The Runaway one. I made the first one to spec. Except I didn’t do any of the border work. I thought I could attach some star sequins and maybe stitch some little stars in the corners like the big one so they tie in more to the big horse. But then I lost my nerve and thought maybe I should stitch them as they are and finally I decided I wouldn’t know what to do until I made the big one to have something to compare them to—that’s how I ended up talking myself into starting another big project.

Here’s what I’ve got of the little one so far. I haven’t finished the french knots on it because I think they look dreadful. I’m half-tempted to rip them out and replace them with beads. The gold thread the magazine listed to use (which I had to search high and low for) is terrible to work with. And I’m blaming the crinkly lopsided weirdness of the french knots on it, the Anchor Coats Reflecta.

IMG_3017

The french knots on the bridle

The french knots on the bridle

The half-finished french knots on the saddle.

The half-finished french knots on the saddle.

Any thoughts? I’m not crazy, those french knots are ugly, right? Should I just use beads?

So, Friday I started the big project to give me time to mull over how to proceed with the little horses. And by Saturday I realized I miscounted 2 stitches and realized I had to rip out all of the two back legs and 2 full length strands of the red rainbow I did at the bottom. I’m most concerned about the red rainbow because I can’t reuse what I tore out. I’m pretty sure it’s Glissen Gloss, if I run out of it because of my error I have no idea the exact color of the thread.

The state of the horse pre-ripout. I thought his legs looked a little short...

The state of the horse pre-ripout. I thought his legs looked a little short…

Since that fiasco I’ve forged on. I try not to get upset when I make a big mistake. Just recover from it as best I can and keep going. I’m also trying to switch colors more often because I only noticed my mistake when I added a second color to the outline and noticed it was off. The downside to my error? I’ve got a few big holes next to the horse’s back feet where the design shifted. It’s probably not noticeable to anyone that isn’t looking for it, and this project is for me to hang above my computer desk someday, so I’m not going to get my panties in a bunch over it.

If you look at the top left of both hooves and also all around the bottom of them you may be able to see the large holes. The bottom may be partly covered up when I try to put the rainbow back in.

If you look at the top left of both hooves and also all around the bottom of them you may be able to see the large holes. The bottom may be partly covered up when I try to put the rainbow back in.

And here’s where I am as of now. I’ve got a lot of the body in. I’m working my way over to the front legs. And then I’ll go up and do sleeping Gorjuss clinging to the horse’s mane. So far all I’ve got is her blue boot and part of a leg. 😉

IMG_3020

Like Mirabelle this piece has a lot of border stitching. I was going to alternate doing the horse and the rainbow at the bottom, but that floss is a little temperamental to work with and I think I’d rather save it for the end so I don’t have to worry about pinching or snagging it in the frame when I move the project around. FYI, the horse is going to be white. I haven’t done much of the white because I don’t want it to get dirty, so I’m saving most of that until later.

More on this saga next Wednesday!

Work Completed Wednesday! Mirabelle, “If Only”

Late Monday night I stitched my last backstitch on Mirabelle and breathed a sigh of relief. She was done! Not quite, actually as I still had some beading to do and per instruction I wash and press her in between.

After the last back stitch. She looks a little funny because of the camera's flash. Hubby was asleep, so I couldn't light the house up like a Christmas tree.

After the last back stitch. She looks a little funny because of the camera’s flash. Hubby was asleep, so I couldn’t light the house up like a Christmas tree.

She immediately took a warm soak in some quilt soap while I watched tv. After that I rinsed her off, hung her up and went to bed.

The next day I ironed her. I don’t know if it’s because I have a cheap iron (I do), no ironing board (I use a cookie sheet covered with dish towels), or just bad technique, but I’m never really happy with how they look after being pressed. There’s a horizontal crease going through the fabric that will not come out. It was there to begin with, and it will be there till the end of time I’m sure. Part of me really wants to invest in one of those clothes steamers to see if that will help alleviate some of the crease marks.

After ironing I carefully sewed pink beads onto her dress trying not to add fresh creases. I’ve read that the glass beads are heat resistant and you can iron them, but I stick to what I’ve learned. After that she really, really was done.

Ta da! She's finished!

Ta da! She’s finished!

The beads going up her bodice lend so much depth.

The beads going up her bodice lend so much depth.

The french knots weren't too bad, but I had trouble determining how many twists to do.

The french knots weren’t too bad, but I had trouble determining how many twists to do.

IMG_2990

The pattern across the top.

The pattern across the top.

Close Up of her pouty little face.

Close Up of her pouty little face.

And this is the kit from bothy threads. I love their kits so much. They're expensive for us in the US (it's a British company) but high quality.

And this is the kit from bothy threads. I love their kits so much. They’re expensive for us in the US (it’s a British company) but high quality.

And now I’m taking a break. Really. I swear. It took all of my willpower not to pick up one of the kits I have waiting (two more Mirabelle, one Gorjuss) it helps that I can’t decide which I want to do and just keep going. But Xenoblade X released yesterday and I downloaded it for my much neglected Japanese Wii U. I’m going to enjoy exploring that world for a while before I pick up one of my kits. I love cross stitch, but it takes so so much time. I think I’m just really slow at it.

So, I hope to be back with some more works in progress in 3-4 weeks if I can hold out that long. Until then, happy stitching!

WIP Wednesday 3: Mirabelle “If Only”

You know how I said last week that I was going to chug on until I finished Mirabelle? Well, almost immediately following thinking that, I thought how nice it would be to have a shift in perspective and a little break. So I made a birthday card. It took about 2 days, and it was nice not doing completely straight stitches for those two days.

We're sorry, but your birthday is in another castle...or something.

We’re sorry, but your birthday is in another castle…or something.

I’ve never made a card before, and I’m not quite sure how to put it together, or what to say on the inside, but I loved all the pretty beads. I regret that I miscounted the text and most of it is 1 square too low. It would have left ugly holes if I took it out, so I left it. I don’t think it’s really noticeable unless I tell you. 😉 The pattern is from world of cross stitch magazine, which I frequently buy digitally (OMG a print subscription to the states is expensive!) If you’re interested in the pattern I also found it on the designer’s Etsy shop. She makes some lovely whimsical designs.

The castle was stitched on hand-dyed evenweave. I’ve never worked with evenweave before, and while it wasn’t that difficult to stitch on, counting on it—since you work across two holes for each stitch—was absolutely horrendous. It was also my first time working with Kreinik blending filament. I like metallic thread, and it wasn’t terribly difficult. I just had to stitch a little slower and use short lengths. The hardest part was threading the needle.

After my brief sojourn into castles and beads I returned to Mirabelle if not exactly renewed, at least determined. I finished up a lot of the bottom left hand side, and then decided to tackle the peach border on the right. Originally I was going to perform the miraculous task of counting alllll the way to the top and working my way down. That’s just how I stitch: top to bottom, left to right. But I decided that was rather narrow minded and so I stitched bottom to top and finally reached the top. So now I’ve reached all four borders. Yay!

Mirabelle's state of completion as of  4/8/2015

Mirabelle’s state of completion as of 4/8/2015

I expect to continue working on the bottom right side and work my way toward the middle, and then try and finish up the top left peach border. The part across the very top will be quite monotonous and I’m not looking forward to that, but I have to work up on the left to do even start that.

The bottom is filling in! On the left at least.

The bottom is filling in! On the left at least.

Here’s hoping I’ll be done in the next two weeks. I have carousel horses to stitch!