WIP Introduction – Angel of Hope by Lavender and Lace

Today I want to share with you one of my many, many WIP’s which as the title of this post suggests is a Lavender and Lace pattern.

The late Marilyn Levitt Imblum, the artist behind Lavender and Lace, was a prolific and incredibly talented designer. Her portfolio includes everything from angels and Santas to ladies and children. Her figures are wistfully graceful often draped in flowing robes or gowns. While I am generally not a big fantasy buff, her angels certainly captured my heart. I was smitten at first sight and before I knew it, I was slowly but surely building up my collection.

One of the first angels I acquired was the Angel of Hope. Of all the L&L angels she is still one of my favorites. When I bought the pattern I was just getting my feet wet in the stash acquisition world. I was very careful about the purchase and thought long and hard before I committed to it. It was one of my very first online purchases and I lived in dread until the package finally reached me safe and sound a few weeks later. I was beyond thrilled when I received it and I distinctly remember some cooing and cuddling of the pattern before I put it away.

Angel of Hope by Lavender and Lace
Angel of Hope by Lavender and Lace

Another haul at roughly the same time had left me with a piece of 28 count Cashel linen that was big enough for this pattern if stitched over 1. It was not the color called for in the pattern but was dark enough that I felt all the white in the design would stand out more. I was also being very careful at the time about stash acquisitions because:

A) Lack of local options – I have no local stores I can visit and browse. There is only one store in my area that sells fabric in very limited counts and colors. But they are ridiculously over priced. I would much rather spend all that extra money on buying a few more patterns.

B) Unreliable online fabric swatches – I had to rely on online pictures of fabric swatches to judge the true color of the fabric. I wasn’t confident enough that anything I did pick would wind up looking the same in real life.

C) Astronomical shipping rates – The most reasonable source of supplies for me is the US. The rates there are far cheaper for me than any other country after factoring in the currency conversion rates. But often the shipping would cost more than the item thereby negating any savings I was making. Not to mention the shipping takes FOREVER! My larger packages from the US have taken up to 2 months to arrive! (I kid you not. You may now pick your jaw up off the floor). I’ve also had a package lost in the mail twice! O, the horror!

All things considered and being the cautious shopper I was back then, I wasn’t too keen on purchasing any new fabric for my Angel. I didn’t want to waste the fabric I already had and so decided to stitch the Angel of Hope on it rather than buy a whole new piece.

I put my first stitches in on the 20th of October, 2014. She is being stitched on 28 count cashel linen, full cross 1 over 1.

Fresh off the hoop after stitching on Day 1
Fresh off the hoop after stitching on Day 1

Much time has passed and since then I have turned over to the dark side and become a serial starter. My best (worst?!) day was when I started four (yes FOUR!!!!) projects in a single day. But more on that later.

Pretty soon my multitude of projects started to weigh on me. I felt like I was stitching and stitching but not making any progress. Most of my WIP’s were larger pieces and since I was switching back and forth so much I didn’t really have much progress to show on any one piece. I finally decided to make the Angel of Hope my focus piece. She was among my first starts and one of the smaller ones so hopefully I could manage a finish with her relatively soon. Once I made that decision and started concentrating on her it was like a weight had been rolled off my shoulders. It felt good to see how steadily she was growing and I was delighted to mark minor milestones like a wing or a neck or a sleeve. She is far from done but I do intend to keep working on her steadily. Here is my progress as of today.

Progress as of 06 June 2015
Progress as of 06 June 2015

Do you get overwhelmed too with multiple projects? How do you manage to keep the lack of finishes from bogging you down?


Cross stitch for the home

So in my last post we covered how I got into the fascinating world of cross stitch. Today I’m going to talk about one of the very first projects I attempted that was intended for myself –  or at least for our home. A project that was not driven by a class grade or a deadline for a birthday/farewell gift but simply an urge for a handmade piece to decorate our first home as a couple.

Even before I completed my Praying Hands project, cross stitch had me hooked. I immediately wanted to sink my teeth into a new WIP and I stumbled upon this beautiful freebie while trawling the world wide web.
His Name is Jesus by Martha Pilgrim
His Name is Jesus by Martha Pilgrim

What I love about this pattern is that nothing is set in stone. You could pick any fabric/floss your heart desires. The possibilities are endless.

After much agonizing, I chose green and yellow as my color scheme to match my living room decor. So it was that I started the pattern with some 14 count white aida (the only fabric I owned at the time) and some DMC I had lying around. Here is how far I got with this project.
Can you believe this beautiful pattern is FREE?!
Can you believe this beautiful pattern is FREE?!
Looking back now there are so many things I would have done differently for this pattern.
  • For starters, I really wish I hadn’t been lazy and had gone out shopping instead for some better color combinations. (How could I have foreseen that in a few more months I would start building up my DMC stash?)
  • I’ve now outgrown the white 14 count aida I started it on. (I had no clue back then about linens and evenweaves. And those higher count fabrics with perfect coverage even when using 2 strands. And don’t you just love how they make your stitches look like nice, plump little morsels?)
  • I now know this pattern would have looked stunning on some hand-dyed fabric or even on a plain fabric with variegated threads. (Omiguness! Why didn’t anyone tell me about dyed fabrics/threads before? I love how they can elevate even the simplest of stitches to a whole other level)

I must confess that this project has now become a UFO. But I am not going to frog and re-do the bits I’ve already completed. Instead I am tempted to pick it back up some day and finish it simply because in spite of all its shortcomings this was one of my first projects.

I still love the pattern just as much as the day I started it. In the short time that has elapsed since then I can already see how much I’ve grown and how much more I’ve learnt about this craft. And since I don’t have any of my other beginner pieces, it will be nice to have this one completed exactly as I first envisioned it to document my growth as a cross stitcher. So here is my promise to myself and to all of you… I WILL finish this someday (Note how I cleverly omit to mention exactly WHEN that will be).

 Do you look back at your old projects too (whatever craft they may be) and reminisce on how much you have grown? Would you change something on an old WIP if you had the chance?

My cross stitch journey

I must confess that up until a couple of years ago I disdainfully considered cross stitch as something only a grandmother would take up to fill in those idle moments. Now before you cross-stitchers grab your pitchforks (ummm… needles?) and have a go at me, let me present my defense that the only patterns I had been exposed to until then were old fashioned, flat and repetitive. I have since been enlightened that cross stitch is an incredibly modern and constantly evolving craft form. Today’s patterns somehow manage to re-create stunning pieces of art ranging from Van Gogh to Whitney and everything in between. Easy now… gently place those needles down. My eyes have been opened to the truth.

This post is going to be a flashback of sorts. A look at how I first got into the craft of cross stitch and how I have grown by leaps and bounds over the past year or so. Seeing as how cross stitch is my current favorite hobby you can expect to see a LOT of posts on the subject in the days and weeks to come.

Continue reading “My cross stitch journey”