Dienstag, 18. Juli 2017

July Gifted Gorgeousness

Can you believe it's July already? More than half the year is officially over! As usual, my plans are not half as finished as I would like them to be - mostly because I'm way too easily distracted - but that's okay, progress is happening and that is good enough for me.
Now it's time for another Gifted Gorgeousness post, and for a moment I thought I didn't have anything to show, but then I realized that, while I didn't make any new progress on my to-be-gifted projects, I still have quite a few things that will fit!

First, I got this wonderful box from my friend Magical, stuffed with all sorts of wonderful stuff!

The majority of the contents here (the tea, delicious stroop waffles, Jodyri threads, those cute 'shows' (it's a magnet) and plate as well as the coloris pattern) were a prize for a content on dA I won a while ago and both of us had almost forgotten about, then there are the beads and sequin-candidates for my Lizzie Wallet SAL (she had the right beads in stash and generously offered to send me some) and then this adorable little pair of scissors that she got a bunch of and included one - they are sold as phone charms, but are working scissors nevertheless, and so cute and tiny that it should be no problem to take them on a plane too! (the blade is less than 1cm I think).

I then went on and used those beads to fully finish part 2 of the Lizzie Wallet SAL (which I couldn't do the week before dues to the missing beads). I also have the Coloris thread and a few more options on the sequins now, so I can dive right into part 3 and 4 and get caught up!

I also finished the second part of the Steochalong last week (and still have no idea what it is going to be!). As I think I previously mentioned, the pattern is pay what you want, and I will probably donate a little at some point, but it still feels more like a freebie(two way gift than actually buying the pattern so let me just shoehorn that one into the GG ;)

Now for the non-GG part, we were at Felix' parents last weekend, spending most of the time outside camping with a campfire and friends and lots of foods and games. It was quite relaxing most of the time, so I made the most of the daylight I got and worked on page 13 of the Fire and Ember SAL. I was hoping for a page finish actually, but that didn't quite work out - there just wasn't enough stitching time, and I also ran out off a few colours on my thread card and didn't bring extras! Still, I made some nice progress, and I'm looking forward to finishing this page, as it already looks quite cool.

Last but not least, I also brought some knitting along with me - Viajante, a big shawl-loop-hood thingy I started last year and never really got into much. I have done about 35 rows, finishing the triangle start and am now working in the round, which seems to go faster and also looks reallyreally need. Now I just need to continue like this for a looong time, and since the look won't change spectacularly, it will probably be a while before I show her again!

Mittwoch, 12. Juli 2017

Two SALs and a finish

While I was still a little busy last week (not gaming...definitely not gaming...maybe), I still have some progress to show. First up is the next part of the Lizzie Stitching Wallet SAL - I finished the backstitching and French knots, but I'm still missing the beads (as well as supplies for the third part), so I'll have to pause a little until everything arrives. I still really enjoy this, the colours are so nice and soft and the design is so delicate :)

And since I don't have enough on my plate yet, I started another weekly SAL, the Steotchalong by Steotch - they've done some fun and geeky patterns in the last years, but I have no idea what it will be this time, which is half the fun! It's pay what you want and doesn't need a lot in term of supplies, though, and the parts are really small, so it's worth the 'risk' for me. Here is part 1 all stitched up, I really like the colours used :)

Over the last week (and then some on the weekend) I finished my baby blanket I worked on in Cyprus. It was just a few more rows, but at this stage, one row took me almost an hour! I got it all nice and blocked to, so it's now nearly quadratic in shape and measures about 90x90cm (or 36", if I'm not mistaken).

I've also worked on my second security blanket bunny - the blanket part has been finished for a while, but I finished the head last week and the ears over the weekend. Now I only need the arms before I can sew everything together.

This coming weekend, we'll be at Felix' parents, and mostly outside too - I still hope to make some decent crafting progress to show afterwards!

Freitag, 7. Juli 2017

The Alphabet Club - X

And again we are back with another installment of the alphabet club...this time, in time! We have arrived at 'X', so only two more to go after this post...I'm getting excited for the new 'thing' starting at the end of TAC that Jo has been teasing about. Of course, this is not an easy letter (unless you 'cheat' and count 'x stitch', then it gets really easy!), but I looked through my finishes and found those two. Don't the just look like big, elaborate X's to you?

Finding a word for 'X' isn't any more easy than finding stitching - I think all German words starting with an 'X' are Greek in origin and thus almost the same as in English. But we actually have a town (well, at least the one that I know of) with an 'X' name - Xanten. For me it was just one of those towns whose existence I was mildly aware of, without actually knowing much about it, but I did some reading about it - Xanten is in the middle-west of Germany, near Düsseldorf. It plays a prominent role in the Nibelungen-legend (the one that all the operas by Wagner are about) and has a history as a Roman settlement and military camp around the year 0. Maybe I will visit some day!

Montag, 3. Juli 2017

June WIPocalypse

So...I'm a bit late on the WIPocalypse for June, but I do have excuses! Firstly, I was...distracted last week (okay, they opened a new server for Ragnarok Online, which I played a LOT up until a few years ago, and a few old friends and me started playing again for nostalgia), so I needed to finish something to actually show you, and second, I needed to do some cleaning so I could take pictures for the monthly question!

So let's just start with that question...Show us your stitching space!  Where do you sit, and what is going on around you while you stitch (TV, audiobooks, etc)?

This is my my main stitching space - my corner of the couch in the living room, in front of the TV as I like to stitch while watching shows and movies (mostly with Felix, sometimes alone). As you can see, I have arranged my recent projects around me (and in that pink bag at my feet) and I also have my laptop nearby to pull up digital patterns. I only use that stand for a few of my projects, so it's not always there - I put it behind the couch when I don't need it.

This is my desk in "my" corner of the bedroom - as you can see, I have my sewing machine there and I also use it for everything that needs a bit more surface. Or rather I will be using it now, since this hast been the first time in quite a while that it has been tidy enough to actually use for anything!

Last but not least, this is my shelf for my stash (amongst other things). You can see two cubes of books and patterns, some knitting/crochet WIPs and my DMC boxes, but most of the boxes and drawers also hold craft stuff: the red drawers are needles, beads and specialty threads, the blue ones are for my knitting needles, crochet hooks and small sewing supplies. Then we have the top right yellow box with my (sewing) fabric stash, one of the orange boxes with stitching fabrics, the other orange and one of the white boxed hold kits and kitted up projects, one of the blue boxes is WIPs, the other thread storage (project specific, additional skeins, and leftovers), the second white box is frames (at the bottom) and finished projects (on top), the white box above it has various craft supplies and then the remaining three boxes in the lower right are my yarn stash.

Now for my stitching update, due to the reasons stated above I don't have much to show now, but I did finish this:

Part one of the Lizzie Stitching Wallet SAL by Faby Reilly Designs. And just in time, because today part two was released! I really like this flowers, and part two will add the backstitching, so it will look awesome, but still be finished quicker.  I'm looking forward to it!

Dienstag, 27. Juni 2017

The Alphabet Club - W

You might have noticed that the 'Catch Up' is now missing from the title of these posts - that is, because, even if there are only a very few days left in June, I have finally managed to catch up and will be presenting this post to you in time! Woo!
And to celebrate, there will be not only one, but two pictures of cute little Witches today:

...and also two words, that both are kind of from the 'intranslatable' category: The first one is 'wanderlust', which you probably know since the English language has 'adopted' it - it's the feeling of joy when you are out hiking, or the longing to go hiking when you are not, or, less literately, the longing to travel or to move and not stay in one place for too long. In German, 'Wandern' can not only refer to 'hiking' as a past time, but also famously to the 'Wanderjahre', the 'wandering years' - it's something that, in old times, all people of trade had to go through after finishing their apprenticeship: For some years, they had to leave their village or town and travel around, work for masters in different place and learn from them. They were not allowed to come within a set distance from their home. Some trades, especially carpenters, still practice those 'Wanderjahre' or 'Walz' today, although it's no longer mandatory to go.

The second word I want to talk about (although it's less interesting maybe) is 'Waldeinsamkeit' - being alone in the woods. Historically, it's mostly used for monks and ascetics who chose to live alone in the woods, but in modern times it can also relate to seeking out the soltitude of the forest to calm down from a hectic modern life.

So that's it for the 'W' post - I'm looking forward to July, when I will hopefully be able to get my 'X' post up right away (if I can think of anything with that letter at all!)

Donnerstag, 22. Juni 2017

Two pages done

Just a quick post to catch up with my progress before I disappear for the weekend (four days of Paris with Felix and my best friend!) - as I told you, I've been working on some non-gift projects as well, and I have progress to report on both.

I have finished the June page of the Fire and Ember SAL - getting into the dragon again, so I think the next page might be interesting!

And then I have also finished another page of black on The Puppeteer - page 4, for a total of about 6.500 stitches now!

Dienstag, 20. Juni 2017

June Gifted Gorgeousness

Hello, lovelies! A few days late, but still in time, I think, to show you some progress on my GG projects. There are a few more this month than last time, so let me get right into it!

I've been working on Sophie Sheep the last time we visited Felix' parents - on the car ride. She is slowly becoming my favourite travel project, and she's recently been promoted to 'gift stitching' - a friend of my grandma and me loves sheep, so she'll get this when done (I also have the other two kits in the series - and another friend who will love the cow, I think. The pig I will keep for myself once I get to it.) I've been stitching more on the frame section, fixing a few small mistakes as I went along, and I think I will soon be ready to start the actual sheep.

For the same trip, but the time not actually spent in the car, I also brought Fans of the Far East for a wonderful Saturday afternoon stitching session on the balcony (that was before temperatures soared and I started feeling like melting into my seat all the time...). I realized it's been a while since I showed it - not just in terms of time, but also in progress, since I used to add a thread here and there and it added up, so here are the before and after pictures.

As you can see I finished the pink band and tassels (as far as they fit the hoop) and worked more on the gold background. I really need to work more on this - there is so much more left to do, and my new goal is getting it done by Christmas, but I'm not sure that will work out if everything else I still want to work on...

Another thing I worked on (mostly in the week before our visit, but I only finished it afterwards) was this bunny comfort blanket. A coworker of mine had his second son (or rather, his wife had their second son) last winter and is going to introduce us to him soon, so of course I had to make something. For the first son, I made one of my baby jackets, but this time I wanted to try something different (they still have the jacket, after all!). The parents are a little...let's say environment-concerned and he once made a comment (I'm not entirely sure he was joking) about how I should use something more natural when I make something for his kids again...so I thought, that I can do, and I went for all natural un-dyed sheep wool. There's still a little hay in it! It's very interesting to work with, but so scratchy and stiff that I thought making clothes from that would be a little cruel, hence, the blanket-thing. I made a few changes to the pattern that brought it from pretty bunny girl to cute and sleepy bunny, and I am pretty pleased with the result - so pleased I am now making a second one with the colours reversed so both brothers can have one.

I also worked on Cut Thru' Cottage, but still not as much as I'd liked. Felix' sister and her boyfriend have now moved into their house, so I really need to get it done now! So I guess this will be my main focus for the next month or however long it takes to finish.

Last but not least, I had another finish yesterday - a pair of socks I have been knitting for Felix! I really like those colours, so my next goal is another pair of wristwarmers with the remaining yarn. I really hope they fit, but with the current heat he is refusing to try them on!

So, that's it for GG relevant projects this month! I've worked on a few other things, but I'll keep those for another post - hopefully a bit sooner this time. Just one more picture - a bit of a teaser for a new SAL I started.

It consists of several parts, and this is the outline of the first of them. I'll tell you more about it once I have a bit more to show!

Montag, 19. Juni 2017

Alphabet Club Catch Up - V

Hello lovelies! Due to me being me (busy me, for the most part, but with a four day weekend at home with no big plans that's not much of an excuse!) I didn't get to show you my current stitching last week, but I hope to make up for that soon. Still, I can't fall behind again on TAC, so here we go with another post.

The letter is 'V', so here is a Valentine's card with two birds ("Vögel") on it! Now for my word of the week, I'll do another 'typical German' one - we had 'pünktlich/punctual' for 'P' and now we'll do 'Verspätung'/'delay' for 'V'. So the next time you are running late or have to wait for the train, you can now curse about it in German!

Donnerstag, 8. Juni 2017

Alphabet Club Catch Up - U

I'm getting so close to catching up now - maybe I will be able to post on time next month!

I didn't find any actual U-pictures of stitching, so instead we're going to have something 'unfinished' this week - my 'Fans of the Far East', were I haven't quite managed to finish one of three fans yet! I also post this to remind you were I was on it, since I am planning to take it along for my weekend stitching this week (although the picture is not quite up to date either, but the most recent one I have).

Finding an appropriate word today was a bit more difficult, but I finally settled on 'unterbuttern'. To translate this literally is a little more difficult - 'unter' is 'under' or 'down', and 'butter' is, of course, just 'butter' as well, but what I always read it as was 'to put butter under someone'. I was wrong to think so, though! The colloquial meaning of 'unterbuttern' is to dominate or suppress someone - in the sense that you let them do stuff for you or don't let them say anything in a conversation. After a little google search I found out it actually comes from the process of butter making - when beating the cream, a lump of butter is formed, that has to be pushed down 'under' the remaining cream again and again until you are done. So it's more a 'to push the butter down' than 'to put butter under somebody'!

Freitag, 2. Juni 2017

May WIPocalypse

My apologies for being a bit late...even more so because most of the stitching here is actually a week or older...but there were some posts (and a lot of reading) I had to catch up on before getting to this.

The question of the month is Which designer’s projects do you absolutely love, but are too intimidated to try? My first thought when reading this was "Châtelaine!" but after giving it some more though, I think I'm not actually intimidated by her designs, but just shying away from the cost for now, and I haven't really decided which of her many wonderful designs I love most. I don't think I'm easily intimidated by any 'regular' stitching anymore, only maybe scared I could run out of patience! What I am intimidated by (though I am still determined to try soon!) is Hardanger, or any kind of 'cut' work really. I don't think it's difficult per se, but mistakes do happen all the time (I have to fro a stitch or two on my cross stitch almost every day), and I don't want to imagine that happening when you are getting a blade near something you've been working on for weeks!

Now, let's get down to business...what have I been working on? The last weeks were of course dominated by our trip to Cyprus, so I had to sync my crafting with that too. I did not date bring my crafting on the plane - it was my first time flying and I didn't want to risk and hold up at the security lines - but I used the car ride to the airport and back for some stitching on Sophie Sheep. I outlined the frame now and hope to start dilling in all those flowers soon.

The lectures on Cyprus, I used to crochet on my giant granny square baby blanket. The yarn I'm using for this is really interesting, it consists of four seperate strands that are not tightly twisted together, and the colour gradient is achieved by gradually replaying one strand after the other with another colour. I still have three more colour changes to go, and the blanket is about 75x75cm (30") at this time, so it's going to be a fairly small blanket, but will do, I think. It's also not perfectly square, but that will probably be fixed when blocking. The baby I'm making this for hast been born last weekend, so I better hurry up now!

After our return, I used to following four day weekend (despite catching up on gaming, household chores and shopping) to stitch on two of my ongoing Unconvential X Stitch projects. I made a bit of progress on The Puppeteer, and finished the black of page three. I'm still behind a bit, but don't you love how this is starting to show up in the negative?

I also finished the May page of Fire and Ember, and just in time too! This page had a lot of colour bloks, I think the next page that I'm about to start is a bit more complicated again.

Mittwoch, 31. Mai 2017

Alphabet Club Catch Up - T

I think I'm quite in time for my next catchup post for a change...maybe I'll even get a post out without having to catch up one of these days, who knows!

This week's letter is 'T'. Now I could have used my turtles again, but where is the fun in that? Instead, here is a finish I made last year for Felix' grandmother, and as I was thought (I think it was by Jo), that square-stuff in the background is called a 'trellis' - I'm learning new words every day, which is just in the spirit of this SAL, right?

On the topic of words, my 'T' word is another fun one, I think - 'Torschlusspanik', literally the 'Gate close panic'. This goes back to medieval times, though in some places it was still the case in the 19th century - when the gates of cities and towns were closed at sundown, and people were hurrying to get inside and not be trapped outside over night. The word Torschlusspanik today is also used when you are scared to miss something - most typically when you feel like you are getting too old to find love/have kids/make some other experience you associate with being younger. It's probably close to a midlife crisis, but the term can also be applied to other situations. 

What happens on Cyprus...

...must be shared on the blog! Hello lovelies.I know it's high time for me to report back from my business trip to Cyprus earlier this month - it was great, lots and lots of food, nice people, and some interesting lectures too. Sadly, we didn't have much time to actually explore the island, but we had a guided tour and some bus trips to get a good impression of stuff. Cyprus sure had a rough history, being invaded again and again, the the current situation isn't looking all that bright either, but as usual, I don't really want to get political here. And the locals we met were all so very friendly and nice. It was fun and very interesting, but I'm not sure I will be back if business doesn't take me - the island is beautiful, but there are so many other places I also want to see - and I can't even remember the last time I traveled outside of Germany (and longer than a weekend) for pleasure!

As a crafter, of course I was interested in local techniques, and not having time to go look for them, I was very pleased to accidentally stumble across two of them. First, we got a little goodie bag hat the hotel, which contained these coasters. I don't have the name right now, but it's a special weaving technique (the coasters are photographs, not actual fabric), and there also was a flyer for a museum to learn more about it, but sadly, we did not have time to go there.

The other one I only say shortly before our departure, at the airport. It's called Lefkaritiko and seems to be a kind of hardanger-like embroidery. Of course the pieces on sale were all pretty expensive - they are hand made, after all - but if I had known about this earlier (and given the time), I would have liked to see if I could find some craft stores and maybe patterns for this kind of work. It looks so pretty, so I'd love to try it out! Maybe some day.

I'll be back with a post about my own crafts shortly, so stay tuned!

Donnerstag, 25. Mai 2017

Alphabet Club Catch Up - S

I've missed one week (last week was really busy as we were away on business last weekend - more on that later), but it's time for another post on the road of catching up!

This weeks letter is 'S', so here are my 'Turtels all the way down', and 'turtles' in German is 'Schildkröten'. Literally, that means something like 'shield toad' or 'armored toad' - you know how Germans are, we rather combine words in funny ways than invent new ones! Another example (and incidently, it also starts with an 'S') is 'Schnecke' - 'snail'. And then 'slug' means 'Nacktschnecke' - 'naked snail'!

Dienstag, 16. Mai 2017

A little Gifted Gorgeousness...

...and a lot of other stuff! I did work on some gifts this month (most importantly, I finished the Mermaid Tail), but now that is time for the actual GG post, I only have one thing to show. At least I am somehow on time - depending on timezone, it might still be the 15th when you read this (well, probably not because I got distracted and posted later than intended). Anyway, my one Gifted Gorgeousness project is Lady and the Tramp, which I got for my birthday a few years ago from my grandparents. I really wanted to work on this again, so when we went to Felix' parents last week, I just took it with my. It's been a while since you saw it, so here is the before and after shot - for a busy weekend, I got quite a bit done!

Then I had another start to work on during that lecture series I mentioned a while ago (we fly on Friday! I'm pretty excited.) This is Smooth Sailor by StrickMich Designs, and when finished it's going to be a vest/shawl/shrug hybrid. The construction is pretty interesting, but from here on it's pretty much just straight knitting. The yarn is a hand dyed lace by Manos del Urugay, and it's lovely, but I had a few problems with it - when opening the skein, I must have cut a wrong thread, because somehow I ended up with not one, but five pieces. Two are very short, so I dismissed them, and the remaining balls are 10g, 30g and 60g, respectively. I started with the 10g and I can at least do the whole 60g one too without looking at the pattern again, so perfect to work on during lectures.

I've continued working on the 2016 Halloween SAL, and I finally finished the next section. The middle is all done now, next I'm going to move to the bottom section.

But first, I'm going to have to finish the current page of Fire and Ember! I started page 8 (but the 11th page for me) last weekend, and so far I got one colour done. Many more to go!

And last but not least, I played some more catch up on the Puppeteer. I got another ~550 stitches in and I'm getting closer to a page finish, but I'm still more than two weeks behind on this one!

So, that's it again for today. For next month, I hope to start (and possibly finish) a few more gift projects again, and there are quite a few holidays coming up, so I might have more to show in the June post :)

Mittwoch, 10. Mai 2017

Alphabet Club Catch Up - R

Hello, lovelies! Another week, another letter to catch up on - thankfully, a letter much easier than the 'Q' we had last time.

So my stitching for this post is this cute little rubber duck (coincidentally, that would be 'Quietscheente' in German - if only I had though of this last week!) from Mill Hill, and my word of the week is...well actually, I thought this would be much easier than 'Q', but I really can't think of any funny or interesting words, so it's going to be an expression instead - 'Rad ab', literally 'wheel off'. If someone has a 'Rad ab' (is missing a wheel), he or she is kind of crazy or idiotic. Another way to say that (and on the same theme, too!) would be 'nicht alle Tassen im Schrank haben', 'to be missing some cups in the cupboard'. On this basis, some people (not me...nooo never me) will think up more creative variations, like someone is missing some keys from their keyboard, or some chocolates from their box, you get the picture ;)

Donnerstag, 4. Mai 2017

April WIPocalpyse

Hello my lovelies! Live has been good lately - good, but really busy - and I hardly get to read all of your lovely blogs, yet alone blog myself! Nevertheless, here I am, just a tiny few days late for this month's WIPocalpyse checkin. Things have been happening, and I'm going to talk about those things in a moment, but first I'm going to answer the current WIPocalpyse question of the month: What projects are in your UFO pile? Well, over the last few years, a few projects have accumulated that I haven't touched in a while. Still, I wouldn't consider any of them UFOs, since I really want to finish all of them and love working on them, and honestly, it hasn't been THAT long! I do, however, have three table clothes I have had forever, and I don't really enjoy working on them, so I'm counting them as UFOs. (I was sure I had a picture of them, but I can't find it, and they are buried way to deep in my WIP box to dig them out right now!). I still hope to get them finished some day.

Now for my newer progress - first of all, and most important, I finished my mermaid tail blanket! I think I used about 35 skeins of yarn in the end (I had to reorder some because I only bought 30 initially) and it's heavy and big and snuggly. I'm really proud of myself and tempted to make another one to keep someday. I still didn't have a chance to give it to our friend - she was supposed to visit last weekend, but then she got sick and had to cancel (we still had a lovely weekend with Felix' parents, brother and best friend who did visit - featuring laser tag, an outdoor escape room-esque mystery walk, and an awesome movie soundtrack concert), but maybe I'll get to see her next weekend.

Then I worked some more on Cut Thru Cottage. I finished the light blue on the current page and started filling in the other colours. It will still be a while, but I enjoy working on this bit by bit.

I had been itching to do this for a while, so after finishing the blanket I allowed myself to pull out last year's Halloween SAL (which still wasn't even a third done). I stitched the border of the right most block and started on filling in the motif. I think I will allow myself some more time with this before moving on to my regular stitching for the month (mostly, the next page of fire and ember).

Over the past month, I had fallen behind quite a bit on my Puppeteer project. To make up for the lost time, I've been doing two lengths of thread most days for the past two weeks or so. I'm still behind by quite a bit, but I'm getting there! So far, I have finished page two and added another ~700 stitches to page 3.

Also, I finally found some time to work on my Blackwork Water Lily again! We spent a lot of time at my grandparent's lately, but there was always something to do and until today, I never got to just sit and stitch, but now I added three whole petals.

Last but not least, I also made a new start - this is one of two projects I want to take to a work trip/lecture series I'll be going to later this month, and I want to get them both to the point where I can work on them without thinking or counting (the other one is a bit stubbor, but will make an appearance soon just as well!). This one is going to be a giant granny square blanket. I want to use the whole ball of yarn you can see in the picture, so I can get the full colour gradient, and since I have no idea how far that will get me, I'm leaving this one up to fate - depending on size, it will either be a baby blanket for a friend of ours, or a full size blanket to keep.