I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I quite enjoyed working on this. The picture does not do it justice, the colors are so vibrant and the design is lovely! I hope it doesn't take me another seven years to get back to it!
I started working on my neglected projects. First off I finished Heaven Above.
Next I worked on Frog Prince.
I must admit I have a love/hate type of relationship with this project. On the one hand I love it since it makes me think of my youngest daughter. When she was small she had beautiful ringlets and loved frogs, plus this is one of her favorite designs. On the other hand, the conversion so far has not been very good. The artwork is just not this dark. I am hoping that when all is said and done it will come together like I have seen other HAEDs do. So I will persevere, but for now I'm going to work down rather than across. So this is the first page, plus the first 35 rows of the second. And while I still think it is far too dark, I can see some detail there.
Finally, Houses of Hawk Run Hollow.
Dream Dance Fear... Sad that there won't be much to see on this one for a while, but at least I do love stitching blue!
And Flower Power... It's been a very long time since I worked on this one and it was a lot of fun getting it out again.
I was so happy that I received the fabric for Treasure Hunt Bookshelf along with some q-snap extensions and new clamps right at the beginning of my Christmas break. I was so excited to be able to start this and have two uninterrupted weeks to work on it! I added the extensions to my q-snaps (two each on the top and bottom, giving me a 23" x 11" frame), bundled and clipped the fabric using these scroll rod covers from Amy's Sewing and Cross Stitch and some hair clips. This worked great and I was so pleased that I seemed to have tamed the excess fabric beast. And then I stripped the knob that tightens the clamp on my stand and couldn't get it to grip the q-snap. I would be going out the next day and figured I would stop at Lowe's and pick up a new knob, but in the meantime I thought I could just use a regular nut to hold it. Tightening that caused the bottom of my clamp to snap off! I was devastated... particularly since the gentlemen who made the stand has passed away and I can't get a replacement. My whole day was absolutely ruined! And the incident put a rather gloomy damper on my spirits for the remainder of my vacation. I did finally manage to jury-rig something using the clamp from my Lowry stand so that I could at least stitch. I had hoped to get more done, but time spent moping and scouring the internet for a replacement clamp (or stand) made a pretty big dent in my progress. I managed just a little more than a page.
And here is a picture of how I managed the fabric:
The scroll rod covers were just the ticket. The elastic on the ends helped hold the big roll of fabric on the end while also containing the excess at the bottom.
One of the other things I did over my break was update my web pages. In doing so I became really sad about how some of my projects have been neglected. I have some that I still want to do but haven't touched for 10 years!! So I wrote a query for my database to give me everything I haven't worked on since before 2010 and have decided that I am going to have a turn at each of those 19 projects before restarting my rotation. So yesterday I screwed some metal plates onto the bottom of my clamp (which I had previously super-glued back together) and started work on Heaven Above, which I have not touched since 2007 and for a while had considered not finishing it at all since I originally started it as a memorial sampler in honor of my brother and then decided this Memorial Sampler would be better. I will continue on it until it is finished which shouldn't take more than two weeks and it will also be nice to start 2014 with a finish (particularly since I had no finishes in 2013).
And now, sadly, I must prepare for my first day back to work. I am really not looking forward to it...
I'm also dying to start Treasure Hunt Bookshelf. The only question is do I go for the enormous version or the simply very large version? Michelle posted a mock up of the bottom corner of each on Heaven and Earth Designs Facebook page and I have to say I'm leaning toward the enormous one. Just what I need, another project that I probably will not be able to finish in my lifetime.
And this brings up a question that Cathy asked. How to handle all that fabric? I have a StitchMate floor stand (which I absolutely love, but sadly the gentleman who made them has passed away) and a Lokscroll frame. I love this thing, the largest size the have is 30" and everything fits on them except Peace, Flower Power, and Hannah Lynn Montage. For those I have tried a variety of things. I purchased a couple of 48" dowels and was using clamps from my q-snaps to attach the fabric and the sidebars that came with the floor stand (you stick the ends of the rods through holes in the sidebar and then tighten it down). That worked okay enough for Peace (although I damaged the q-snap clamps since they weren't quite big enough), but it was nigh impossible to roll up Hannah Lynn since you need a couple of inches clearance at each side to grab. Then I found some 48" scroll rods with the No Baste velcro from American Dream Products and decided to give them a try, but it was really hard getting the fabric tight enough. I might try them again when I'm down to the second row of pages and can roll some of the top fabric around the rod.
Ultimately, I end up back with the q-snap frames. I twist up all the excess fabric and gather it together in a pony tail holder to keep it contained and out of the way.
Dream Dance Fear
Hannah Lynn Montage
Beauty and the Beast
Days of Advent (Rahab Block)
Tower at Stony Wood
As always, clicking on the names will take you to a web page with more information.
And, finally, I wanted to share some pictures from the marvelous adventure my daughter and I had at Universal Studios!
We had the best time ever and even after a week didn't want to leave! Can't wait to go back (another year of penny pinching, but it is SO worth it)!
Babysitting. This is from the original chart, which has been retired. It is small and does not have as many colors as the one that is currently available, but still looks pretty good (imo).
Next I worked on Ballet Pigs. I hadn't work it this one for over three years! I don't know why it took me so long to pick it up again, it is such a whimsical design and so much fun to watch those little piggy smiles appear as you are stitching. Sad to say, though, I had some trouble with the light bands. Drat these aging eyes! Hopefully stronger reading glasses will help with that.
And finally, my precious, Darkling Mini. Unfortunately, I did not make much progress. For one she came up during the week and I was home late most days. And second I was too distracted by the weird thumping thing that was happening in my chest. It had been going on for a week, and while I am pretty sure it's not actually my heart (since I can still exercise with no problems), it certainly feels like the thing is trying to jump out of my chest through my throat. I think the underlying cause is anxiety, which I have been having a lot of trouble with lately, and then worrying about what the heck it was certainly didn't help with that! I cut out my morning coffee and ate almost nothing for two days and it seems to have finally stopped. So probably stomach related, which was probably caused by the anxiety, and maybe made worse by the caffeine. If it starts again, I'll go to the doctor.
For the new rotation I have 5 slots with 1 project (Darkling of course!) in slot 1, 3 in slot 2, 6 in slot 3, 12 in slot 4, and the rest in slot 5. This way I'll be able to work on my darling Darkling at least once a month and also be able to spend more time on those that are my favorites. I don't know how long it will last, but the first five are:
1. Babysitting (slot 3)
2. Ballet Pigs (slot 4)
3. Darkling Minin (slot 1)
4. Dream Dance Fear (slot 5 and will be a new start, yes shame on me, but I just can't help myself)
5. Hannah Lynn Montage (slot 2)
I starting working on Babysitting yesterday.
I was planning to start a new rotation at this point, but still haven't quite decided on how I want to go with that. I was thinking a monthly rotation with 3 focus pieces, 9 "favorites" allotted 3 slots a month, a BAP, and a slot for everything else (in reverse alphabetically order). But I've been working on my web pages lately and seeing all of the stuff I have going makes me want to work on everything! And so then I was tossing around the idea of having 1 to 3 focus pieces and the remaining slots alphabetical. Or even to just start in alphabetically and work through until something else started screaming so loudly I could no longer ignore it.
The idea has become moot, though. I find that I am too focused on Darkling right now. I am getting so much more done on her than I have on anything in a long time (1,200 stitches yesterday!) that I just don't want to stop. I finished the third page in two weeks, which is really a major feat when you consider that I was on our annual Knoebels trip for almost half of that time. So for now I will stick with her.
So... I did set up a new rotation, but then got seriously caught up in Darkling Mini. I haven't made so much progress in a long time. I changed the way I'm stitching a little and I think that may have helped. I was stitching in 10 x 30 blocks, moving across the page. I changed to working 10 x 10 blocks only and it seems I am getting a lot more done. I will keep on with this for the next couple of days until I go on vacation with the extended family. I'm not sure what will happen when I'm back from that... I might finish up the third page or I might end up starting up with the new rotation.
I'm not sure why people are having difficulty adding my blog to their pages, although it could possibly be that I've never upgraded my template... the one I'm using is very old (back when you needed to know html to do any real editing). I really like mine (I actually paid money for it!), and I'm too lazy to figure out how to switch it over. So I guess blogger might just hate me.
I've still not gotten back into a rotation, although I did have to put up the Hannah Lynn Montage shortly after my last post since I completely ran out of 550 (cannibalized all my other projects until there was not a single thread left).
I did make a feeble attempt at the rotation at that point and did some work on Mistress Winter and Jack Frost. Hard going on this one since I'm having more trouble working with 28 count fabric (I guess it must be the old eyes) and I've always had trouble with threads that are the same color as the fabric. Add the two together and now I find myself really struggling. I hope it gets better with this one because I really love the design and would hate to have to put it aside.
The Tower at Stony Wood.
I worked on this until I had finished the row. Getting very close to the end on this one! I had considered just keeping on until it was finished, but then I got some new 48" scroll rods and the need to use them was overpowering.
So I put some velcro on Hannah Lynn Montage and attached it to the scroll rods with mixed success. It was good not to have all that excess fabric to deal with and it was also nice to have enough room for the chart, but it was nigh impossible to tighten the fabric. It's just too hard to attach 46" inches on top and bottom evenly (at least for me). I really wish the lokscrolls came in 48".
Heaven and Earth Designs had a 50% off sale and I broke down and purchased Darkling (no website for her yet) and wasted no time starting it.
I had thought to maybe continue with it until she was done, but now I'm not so sure. I have a new plan for a rotation percolating in my brain and so may have to give into that. And, of course, it is also unlikely that I will be able to hold out against Dream Dance Fear.