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.

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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. 😉

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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.

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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 5: Mirabelle “If Only”

I stitched like a fiend last week and did indeed finish up the regular cross stitch late Sunday night.

じゃんじゃあああん!She's done! (ish)

じゃんじゃあああん!She’s done! (ish)

Of course finishing the regular cross stitch doesn’t mean she’s done. And I wouldn’t even let myself sleep after finishing that. I had to immediately start on the backstitch and do some of the vines. I love backstitch. It goes much more quickly than the cross stitch and it’s like instant gratification. It just makes everything pop and look even better.

This is what I ended up stitching Sunday night.

This is what I ended up stitching Sunday night.

Sorry for the poor lighting. Lamp-lit pictures are’t the best.

Since then I’ve been stitching away. I finished all of the outlining of the vines and flowers and of Mirabelle herself except for a little of her dress on the right that I can’t get to because of the frame. So now I’m left with the designs on the top and bottom. Sound familiar?

Today's state of completion.

Today’s state of completion.

I really love the effect of the silver and black threads, but those designs are challenging and time consuming. There’s no clear linear way to stitch it, so I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity to waste thread going here, there, and everywhere. That’s also going to take me the longest time to complete. I’m about halfway across the top, but the pattern repeats inverted on the bottom.

The top border.

The top border.

I also have to finish outlining the pattern on the bottom. I started it, and I’m hoping it gets better. It uses a lot of half-stitches and they’re a little hard to follow. Also it doesn’t make the design pop as much as I thought it would, but it might be because it’s not finished.

Here are a few close-ups of some of the finished work. I’m pretty certain I can finish this in the next week. After that I’ve sworn I’m going to take a week or two hiatus before starting another project, but it seems like the second I finish one I start another, so we’ll see. Until then!

Climbing flowers on the left

Climbing flowers on the left

Mirabelle's face.

Mirabelle’s face.

WIP Wednesday 4: Mirabelle “If Only”

I am still slogging along with this beast, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel!

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I took a slight detour and worked on another mini project for part of the week. I finished it and I’ll post pictures next week. I made it for a friend and I don’t want to ruin the surprise. I also successfully made last week’s birthday castle into a card using a lot of double-sided tape and a few pins (thanks for the suggestion Cross Stitch TV!)

It was actually a lot easier to mount than I thought it would be.

Finished birthday card

Finished birthday card

As for Mirabelle, I am too lazy to remove her from her snap-frame, so the edges are cut off in the photos, but I managed to work up the left side with the peach border and run it alllllll the way across the top. The awkward size of the frame—11×17 means I’ve literally stitched upside down and backwards to try and work comfortably. At least the project is making me feel like super woman.

Where I am in my quest to finish the top border.

Where I am in my quest to finish the top border.

The border along the top isn’t quite as bad as I thought. With a few more X-Files episodes (yup, I’m rewatching the series while I stitch this) I think I could get it done.

The bottom work. The right side is smushed under the frame, but I got it all finished.

The bottom work. The right side is smushed under the frame, but I got it all finished.

After that it’s just filling in the bottom, which is feeling more and more doable. I filled in all of the darker green, and all of the single vertical rows, so I have the big empty space where the flourishes of light green and light brown go and then just the solid brown and light green that flank the dark green. I’ve so got this. Hopefully by next week I’ll be doing the backstitch.

The end table my cross stitch took over.

The end table my cross stitch took over.

That funky silver and black thread. It's the one marked █

That funky silver and black thread. It’s the one marked █

I haven’t even opened the backstitch diagram. I have no idea how much I have to do, but I know it has some intricate parts with a really interesting silver and black thread.

Until next week!