May Stitches

May Stitches

May stitching brings the completion of five months of my daily stitching routine and to say that this has changed my life is an understatement! It has become the best part of my day, the thing I look most forward to, and I am still amazed at how this has sparked my creativity.

And, I really love that I can look at each day’s stitching and remember the inspiration.

The collage:

And, May complete – pale, lighter, awakening. All the good things that May brings!

June is off to an interesting start as well. I felt I was getting too comfortable in working circularly from the center out, so I am changing things up to a more linear approach this month. I love how uncomfortable it feels right now. That is a sure sign of good things!

Unraveled Wednesday

Unraveled Wednesday

I have been a faithful participant in Ginny’s Yarn Along, but all good things much come to an end. And, so it is with Yarn Along. So, what do you do when reading and knitting are major a major theme for your blog (and, quite frankly, your life?) Maybe you think creatively and determine to make a new spot for those who have the same theme in their life?

And, that is exactly what I did; Welcome to Unraveled Wednesday’s!

I think this is something we all do rather well – in both knitting and reading. And, while unraveling a book might be less painless than unraveling your knitting – it is necessary occasionally.

I hope you will join me on Wednesdays and unravel the stories you are reading and share your crafting inspiration – knitting, crochet, spinning, sewing, quilting, weaving, drawing, etc.

This week my reading was stellar – I finished A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny. This is the fourth Inspector Gamache novel I have read, and like others have said before me, this book did not disappoint at all. My love for Armande Gamache grows with each book. I gave it 5 stars and cannot wait to read book five. What’s next? Last year I read and loved Derek Miller’s Norwegian by Night and am looking forward to his new book – The Girl in Green. It is up next in my reading queue.

Knitting is progressing, albeit slowly. However, today I am sharing my stitching pieces from January and February, and March to date – they have yet to be washed or blocked (I don’t know if this is something I am supposed to do or not, research is in process…) I have just a few more days of stitching in March and I am pleased with how this turned out. I have some wonderful ideas for April as well as some lovely fabric swatches that I am going to incorporate. And, I am so excited to begin using lighter colors in my stitching!

January 2017 Stitching

February 2017 Stitching

March 2017 Stitching, thus far…

I am really pleased with how January and February have turned out. If you are interested in learning more about my stitching process, I post my daily stitching on Instagram, please feel free to follow me there! And, if you want to get started on your own stitching journey – I would be happy to share with you the process I am using, and I would encourage you to get a copy of Claire Wellesley-Smith’s Slow Stitch book. It is the best starting point and gives great ideas and inspiration!

That is all I have for today – if you would like to join me, please add your blog link below:

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MKAL’s, Good Listens, and February Stitches

MKAL’s, Good Listens, and February Stitches

Clue one just arrived and I have my yarn and needles ready! Cast on will be happening shortly!

In my ears is a book I have quickly become engrossed in – I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. Excellent narration and a fascinating story. I have read one other book by Zusak, The Book Thief, which I loved. I am the Messenger is nothing like The Book Thief, but I am enjoying it tremendously!

Finally, today begins a new month in my stitch journal – and February brings wool, flannel, and a fresh set of stitches. I am excited to see how this unfolds.

Linking up with Ginny and her Yarn Along and wishing you a very happy February First!

 

A Joyful Tuesday

A Joyful Tuesday

Month One of joy is almost over, so how is my Joy Meter doing? What sparked joy in January?

Well, there were so many things!

The joy started with “virtual cheers” shared with Honore´ (okay, maybe this happened for me before midnight, but I am counting it!)

Joy continued with Mary’s help on this bit of hat knitting.

Joy overflowed in the books I read this month I finished 6 books this month! Best of the bunch: The Nix, The Secret History, Moonglow, and The Cruelest Month.

There was joy in the unity of the Woman’s March on Pittsburgh.

There has been so much joy in daily stitching – I just must add today’s stitches and the first month is done! I am so happy with this new outlet for creativity!

And, there was all kinds of joy inspired by all of you. Joy from your comments – joy from your posts – and most importantly, joy from the community we share!

What brought you joy in January?

Filling the Creative Well

Filling the Creative Well

“You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Last year I had high hopes of creating these incredible stitching projects – yet when it came right down to it, I was my own worst enemy. I did not like what I was creating. I had high expectations and, sadly, my own critique was just as high. I spent more time removing the previous days stitching and my internal criticism soon shut down any creativity and the stitching went in its box and was not opened again.

Enter 2017.

This year I decided on a new approach – I am giving myself permission to fail. Seems simple, but trust me it has not been. There have been many days that my stitching did not seem right. But, I ignored that voice and left the stitching in the piece. Sometimes the next day, the previous day’s stitches seemed a bit better to me, and sometimes they did not – but over the course of days and after adding more stitches something incredible began to happen. This awkward stitches now seem to fit. Or maybe that small quiet voice of creativity is gaining confidence and my “creative eye” is figuring out how to – well, be creative!

I have gotten many questions on Instagram about how I am doing this and what am I using. It is a challenge to give all the information there, so I thought it would be nice to share it here. I am not accomplished in stitchery – I have done some counted cross-stitch, and some quilting – neither of which were ever “free form.”

My inspiration came from Bonnie Sennott – who stitched last year and shared via Instagram. She is stitching again this year, but now is only sharing via a Patreon account if you want access to see her work. I was also greatly inspired by the Slow Stitch book by Claire Wellesley-Smith – and really, reading this book was the GREATEST inspiration. It has been out a while now – and I would check with your local library, but I recommend this book as an excellent addition to your library!

So, what am I using to my stitch work – really, the simplest of things. I got my fabric from Joann’s – it is linen (I got a remnant which I washed in the washing machine and then air dried) I divided this remnant into three sections – I will get more linen when I need it.

I have several embroidery hoops, but the one I like best for my daily stitching is a small 5″ hoop. The goal is to not stitch all day, but rather spend a few minutes each day and this small hoop keeps me mindful of that.

Now, let’s talk about thread – could you use embroidery floss? Yes, you absolutely can – you can use whatever you’d like! I am using DMC Perle Cotton size 12 – which I also got at Joann’s. The color choices are extremely limited in stores, but they have good basic colors – white, ecru, black, red, darker red, and navy. I had in my “stash” some Valdani threads – I do not remember where I got them but, as Mary shared with me, Amazon has a good selection and at very good prices! The Loopy Ewe is also carrying some Perle Cotton in size 8 and Valdani threads as well. As the season’s change, I will be adding in more colors.

I have a local stitching shop – but they are mainly focused on needlepoint and cross-stitch, however I have picked up a few bits of thread from them – they range in sizes from slightly smaller to slightly larger diameter than the Perle Cotton but I like that diversity in the stitching.

Needles – I am using DMC Chenille needles in size 22 and 24 depending on the thread I am using. I find a needle threader extremely useful as well.

Stitching has become something I look forward to each day and I will be sharing my journey as the year progresses.

I hope you find this helpful – here is to a year of un-stifled creativity!

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