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?

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Cross Stitch for Fathers Day

Hello world!

I must apologize for my terribly long absence. I’m hoping you will forgive me when you hear my reason for being AWOL. I was determined that the next time I touched base with you I should have something to show you. So although it meant considerably more time between posts than I would have liked, I return bearing a finish… my very first finish for 2015!

With Father’s Day just around the corner, I was trying to figure out what I should do to make the day extra special. Now as many of you will agree, shopping for a man is a pain in the you know where. No matter how much I exerted my poor overworked brain I simply could not come up with a WOW! gift. So this year I decided to try and make something instead of a store-bought gift. And what would I make? Why, a cross stitched piece of course!

So I got to work searching for small, quick Fathers Day patterns. And while I readily found some really cute Mothers Day patterns (already bookmarked for next year!), sadly there weren’t too many Fathers Day options out there. The pickings were so slim that I finally decided to just use a simple, elegant font and design my own pattern. Perfect for pulling together a last-minute gift. I must insert here that my father is by no means a cross stitch aficionado. But I love it. So he should love what his precious daughter loves right? Or am I the only one who gifts other people things that I like? Hmmm… just me? Okay then… MUST work on that.

Anyhoo… I pulled out some supplies that I already had in my stash – DMC Ecru floss and some 36 count Cognac linen. And here is what the piece looked like as I stitched it up.

A deceptively simple design
A deceptively simple design

When I first started, I expected it would take me no more than a few hours. Funny how I always seem to over-estimate my powers. I wound up working on it for roughly 6-7 hours – NOT including the time it took me to figure out the pattern and layout. Designing a pattern is not as simple as it looks. I finally did manage to finish it without losing too much hair in the process and while it is not as glorious as it looked in my head, it is passable. Dad will simply have to love it (whether he likes it or not. Get it? Haha).

My initial plan was to add a backstitched border but instead I added a smattering of french knots. I was quite pleased with how they turned out initially. The french knots (which a lot of stitchers seem to hate with a passion) came out perfectly for me. Sadly however that didn’t last long. By the time I finished stitching the linen was horribly creased. No amount of ironing could seem to work out the wrinkles. I was finally forced to dampen the piece (GASP!) and give it a good iron on high heat. I can still see the phantom hoop marks (Or am I just being paranoid?) but what is worse is that the french knots which once looked like pouf-y little snowflakes before now resemble deflated pancakes. Lesson learnt. Next time I will finish any washing/ironing BEFORE adding any french knots. Funny how every piece seems to teach me a new lesson.

Sigh... my smushed french knots :(
Sigh… my smushed french knots 😦

I now need to decide how I am going to finish the piece. I will be on the lookout for a white frame and can just imagine how pretty it would look matted and framed. If I can’t find a suitable frame I will make it into an aperture card. I’ve never done that before so it will be an interesting experiment. This piece is a lot of firsts for me – my first time stitching on 36 count linen and my first time (sort of) designing my own pattern. Maybe I can add making a card to the list too?

The glorious (?!) finished piece
The glorious (?!) finished piece

Are you working on any gifts for Fathers Day?

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