WIP Wednesday – What I’ve Been Stitching

Hello, Stitchy Friends. It is time for another Work-In-Progress Wednesday. I may not have been posting much lately but I have been doing my best to keep up with my stitching.

Joyful World SAL, designed by Maja Matyas of Snowflower Diaries (WIP)

 

I’ve made a bit of progress on the October square for the Joyful World SAL. I adore this piece, but the fabric is so big and hard to work on. Still, it will get done, just a little behind schedule.

Speaking of schedules, I’m doing pretty good with Victoria Sampler’s O Canada! Sampler. I want to be able to finish it up on or before Canada. (July 1st for you non-Canadians.)

O Canada! Sampler by Victoria Sampler (WIP)

There is some pulled work beneath the letters in the upper section, but it is hard to see since it is essentially tone-on-tone. I’ve got a bunch more to do at the bottom, and I also still need to chart out the 150 for the upper section. Thank goodness I still have a few months until my self-imposed deadline.

Canadian Beauty, designed by Joan Elliott (WIP)

Joan Elliott’s Canadian Beauty is also coming along nicely. I was in a rush to finish her head because I was afraid I cut her fabric too small. But, nope, it is just right. Thank goodness! The fabric is a beautiful piece of Meadow from Enchanting Lair.

I’ve been doing a lot more crochet and knitting than stitching lately, though, and tomorrow I’d like to share something special and very interesting with you.

Smalls SAL – Don’t forget, the next check-in for the Smalls SAL takes place on Friday, March 31st. I can’t wait to see what you have stitched. 😉

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Smalls SAL 2016 Plans

2016 is getting closer and closer, and I am so excited to begin my planning for next year! I rarely follow through with my plans exactly as written, but I do love having some sort of game plan to work with.

SmallsSAL2016When it comes to the Smalls SAL (soon to enter it’s 3rd year, or 4th if you count the Ornament SAL I ran originally), I like to have a pool of designs to pick from every month. One year I decided to stitch one design from each Just Cross Stitch ornament issue, another year I stitched a Dragon Dreams Christmas ornament every month. This year, I gathered together a bunch of little kits and picked the one that inspired me the most each month. For 2016 I’m going to try something a little different.

Stained Glass Ornaments kit, designed by Teresa Wentzler (aka B Ornaments)

Stained Glass Ornaments kit, designed by Teresa Wentzler (aka Byzantine Ornaments)

Part 1 of my plan is to stitch all six of Teresa Wentzler’s Byzantine Ornaments (aka Christmas Ornaments, aka Stained Glass Ornaments). They measure about 45×45 stitches, which I think I can manage each month.

Twelve Days of Christmas, designed by Joan Elliott

Twelve Days of Christmas, designed by Joan Elliott

Part 2 of my plan, for when I finish the ornaments, is to stitch one section of Joan Elliott’s Twelve Days of Christmas as my small for the month. Again, each of these sections is somewhere around 45 stitches square-ish. And, while not a small in and of themselves, they are small, discrete designs separated by boarders, as laid out in the rules to the Smalls SAL.

So, tell me what you think. Am I crazy for trying to stitch six TW ornaments? Do you think the Twevle Days designs shouldn’t count as smalls? What are you plans? Let me know!

Also, if you’d like to going the Smalls SAL in 2016, head over to this page for all the information.

Lotus Case

Ugh, I really did not enjoy stitching the case for my new phone. But, at least it has turned out nicely.

Lotus iPhone Case, from a design by Joan Elliott

Lotus iPhone Case, from a design by Joan Elliott

The design is a small section of the Wonderful Waterlilies candle wrapper from the special edition magazine The Ultimate Joan Elliott Cross Stitch Collection. I left off the backstitching because I couldn’t actually fit it in! It turns out that my case was defective, and the holes in about 90% of the case weren’t actually punched all the way through. I could have sent it back, but the postage would have cost more than the case itself, so I powered through… and ended up putting the needle through the tip of my finger many times.

Yuck. That doesn't look nice at all.

Yuck. That doesn’t look nice at all.

So, the finish was hard won, but I don’t even like it. Unfortunately, the case isn’t very well made, and the rough plastic on the corners is picking up dirt (and dye from my jeans!) really easily. So, after all the blood and tears, I’ll probably end up replacing it soon. 🙁 Oh well, at least the lotus is pretty to look at for the time being.

I have learned a lesson, though: Don’t ever buy the cheapest stitchable iPhone case on eBay.

iPhone Case Redux

Two Octobers ago I stitched a case for my iPhone 4. Since then, Apple has released a few different iterations of the phone, but I’ve never upgraded. I’ve stuck with my iPhone 4, and my lovely dragon case. But, my poor phone has started to lose its mind a little (the GPS is often wrong among other issues), and my poor dragon has started to fray. So, just as you buy a new car when the ashtray is full*, it is time for me to get a new phone.

Where is my phone?!

Sadly, my new phone is on back-order and I have no idea when it will arrive. Apparently the gold phones are very popular, which actually surprised me. But, thankfully, my new cross stitch case is here and I can get my phone’s home started.

I’ve been stressing out so much about what to stitch. I keep thinking that I have to make just the right choice since I will be living with this phone for a while. But, my husband took pity on me and remind me that these cases are actually pretty cheap compared to many other cases, so if I don’t like what I stitched, it will actually be okay to buy another one, or even get a regular case instead. 

iPhone case and lotus

iPhone case and lotus

So, after look through my (far too big) collection of charts, magazines and books, I settled on waterlilies designed by Joan Elliot, and found in the magazine/book The Ultimate Joan Elliot Cross Stitch Collection.

Hopefully I’ll have the stitching all done by the time my phone arrives.

* An old family joke, but from when I was a kid, people smoked in cars, and my parents smoked like chimneys. Cleaning out the car’s ashtray always grossed out my mom. Do cars even have ashtrays anymore?

Review – The Ultimate Joan Elliott Cross Stitch Collection

Until recently, I probably wouldn’t have said that I was a fan of Joan Elliott. While I have probably always appreciated her work, her cutesy designs never really appealed to me. But, as she seemed to get more of her fantasy and figure designs published, my interest in her grew dramatically. So much so, that I added her book [amazon_link id=”0715329278″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Bewitching Cross Stitch[/amazon_link] to my collection not too long after it was released. Her latest book, actually a “book-a-zine” released by Future plc (the publishers of several UK cross stitch magazines), has also found a home on my bookshelf.

The Ultimate Joan Elliott Cross Stitch Collection (cover)

The book-a-zine (gosh, I don’t like that term. I’m just going to call it a book), is £9.99 and was available for order directly from Future Publishing as well as on newsstands here and in the UK. However, it has now sold out on the Future plc wensite. Apparently, it is still avaliable for sale on the newsstands in Canada and the US, but I haven’t seen it here yet. I’m not sure what it sells for over here in North America, but given the current exchange rate, I expect it is probably around $16-$20CAN. Which, clearly, is a great deal for forty-four charts given that Joan sells her chartpacks for $12US.

The book is a bit larger than a typical softcover craft book. In fact, it is the same size (except thicker, of course) as a UK magazine. The chart presentation, also, is reminiscent of a UK magazine. So, if you’ve ever read Cross Stitch Collection or World of Cross Stitching or the like, you know what to expect: large pictures of the finished design, a blurb about it, and a large colour chart.

Interior View

There is also a small write-up for most designs talking about where to start, how to add beads, etc. They often feature a lovely close-up of some element of the design, as well as advertise another design of Joan’s that you can order. You’ll also notice in the picture above a full page add for another Future plc magazine. Honestly, they don’t bother me very much, since this book is so filled with charts and the number of ads is limited. My only issue with them is that they will be terribly out of date in no time at all. And, this is the sort of book that is going to be on your shelf at home for years. Why waste the space advertising a magazine I’m not going to be able to order in a couple of months?

Joan Elliott Bio

Another nice feature of the book is a fairly lengthy bio on Joan. It talks about her inspiration, her two homes, and shows some lovely pictures. I’m pretty sure that’s my dream home right there.

Now, I’m sure you are probably most interested in which charts are included in the book. It’s a long list, with lots of variety.

  1. Spring Fairy
  2. Summer Fairy
  3. Autumn Fairy
  4. Winter Fairy
  5. Green Goddess (an exclusive design)
  6. Stitching Renaissance (aka The Musician)
  7. Castle Princess (aka The Reader)
  8. Renaissance Rose (aka The Gardener)
  9. Golden Buddha
  10. Thank Heaven for Little Girls (four small country-style designs for Thank You cards)
  11. Flamboyant and Free (a peacock)
  12. Oriental Lady
  13. Water Wonderland (a lotus and dragonfly design, with two additional motif charts)
  14. Eastern Promises (another geisha with two kanji designs for cards)
  15. Jolly Stocking
  16. The Lady in Red (holiday Victorian lady, along with separate dog motif chart)
  17. Christmas Post
  18. Teddy Bear Christmas (stocking)
  19. Father Christmas
  20. Angel of Peace
  21. Christmas Angel (not the same one as is shown on Joan’s Order Chartpacks page)
  22. Wings of Heaven (aka Angel in White)
  23. Heavenly Host (a set of four country-style angel designs for cards)
  24. Country Escape (a lovely cottage)
  25. The Time of Your Life (a wedding sampler with two additional small designs)
  26. Unicorn and the Maiden
  27. Thank Heavens for Mum (four country-style card designs)
  28. Water Goddess
  29. Fire Goddess

Hmm, that’s 45 at my count. Maybe the wee dog design doesn’t count.

Overall, I really like this book. It is large, full of easy to read charts, and very few disappointing designs. I am a bit sad that only two of the four elemental goddesses are included. It is going to cost me $24US to purchase the remaining charts. So, two designs for more than 44. Not very sporting, in my opinion. I could also do without the country-style designs. They seem a bit out of place among the lovely ladies and stately Santa. And, of course, there are the colour charts. But they are par for the course with a UK cross stitch magazine, which I knew when I purchased this book. The biggest minus of this book is that only one design is exclusive. If you’ve been buying Future plc magazines for the last few years, there is a good chance you already have most of these designs in your collection. Thankfully, that isn’t the case for me.

If you are a Joan Elliott fan, and you don’t already have these designs, I think this is a book worth picking up.