Friday, June 30, 2023

June Recap: More Events Than Stitching!!

Well, the second half of June was far busier than expected!  Starting with the Canadian Wildfires bringing smoke to New York State:

This was not only spooky and caused potential health hazards but it meant the cancellation of the last two weeks of my volunteering in our community garden with students from the Garden Club of a local charter school.  This actually worked out well as it meant it gave us more time to review our activity plans and pack for our upcoming trip.

And There Was Some Travel....

Next up, we got to run away from the smoke conditions (despite traveling towards Canada!!) for our planned vacation camping trip back to Acadia National Park in Maine!  We got to do all of things that we didn't get to last year like hike the Bubble Mountains:

The view of the pond from the summit!

After which we made our now obligatory stop at the Jordon Pond House for popovers and lunch!  

We spent another day in Bar harbor where we also got to finally walk the Bar Island Sand Bar and hike that island.

When the tide is high, Bar Island is a boat ride away...

However, when the tide is low, it is a simple walk to the island!

The view of the "path" from the Bar Island side.

Another day we visited the "quiet side" of the island and one of the things we did there was check out the Seal Cove Auto Museum.  For those that know about Acadia and its famous Cadillac Mountain, did you know it had a connection to the Cadillac car brand?!?  I didn't!!

Click the picture to read the history of the connection between the two.
This information is from when we visited Cadillac Mountain last year.

By the way, if you're like me and thought that electric cars are a new invention, think again!

As members of a community garden, we also looked forward to visiting two gardens in the area: Outside of the park, we checked out the Asticou Azalea Garden (and unfortunately at the time of our trip, the Thuya Garden wasn't open yet for the season).   Inside of the park, we visited the Wildflower Garden and hiked the Jessup Path at the Sieur Du Mont Nature Center.  Needless to say, over all it was a really great trip and there is still more we'd like to see if we ever get back to this park! 

Now Back to the Stitching! 

All of that meant that a whole lot less quilting and cross stitch than planned got done!  For starters, June was supposed to be about "Stitch June", the patriotic themed stitching prompt from the Fat Quarter Shop.  As noted in my June Plans post , I had picked out three patriotic themed projects to work on.  I also wanted to finally start my first "full coverage" piece called "Open Your Heart" during our trip.  The stitching plan for June had been to stitch the patriotic pieces on a three day rotation over the course of the month and work on "Heart" during the week we would be away.

What actually happened was that I started with "United We Stand", a small pin keep designed by Primrose Cottage Stitches.  I thought this would be the easiest of the projects to do considering that all three were delving into stitching on tighter weave fabrics than what I have used to date.  

I stitched "United" on 18 count Vintage Country Mocha Aida, a fabric coloring I've heard referred to on many a Floss Tube video.  Well this presented the first problem in that after getting the first two lines of stitching done, I realized that I had stitched on the "wrong side" of the fabric.  

The wrong side is on the left, the "right side" is on the right.

Vintage Country Mocha is a mottled fabric but it turns out the mottling is only "printed" on one side!  Since I wanted the mottled look in the piece, I had to rip the stitching I had done and re-do it on the "right" side of the fabric!

Up to now, I had mostly stitched on 14 count Aida and one project stitched on 10 count.  I had previously started a project on 18 Count but that used silk floss so didn't stitch any different than when I used cotton floss on 14 count.  The 18 count fabrics are a much tighter weave than 14 count, meaning it has much smaller holes.  Using cotton floss, I found it really hard to get into and keep track of the holes when using the two strands of thread and size 26 needle (stitched over one) that I have traditionally used up to now.  

It wasn't too long before I did some research and found that for 18 count using cotton floss, it was suggested to stitch with only one thread and a size 28 needle.  So I ripped and restarted again!  The change did make the stitching go sooo much easier although I was not always sure that I liked the coverage that a single strand of floss gave.  

I will also say that when I continued working after changing the thread and needle, while the stitching was now smooth, the counting was not!  Over the course of it, I had to rip and restitch to make "adjustments" on many parts of the piece as I stitched.  Count twice, stitch once!!

Needless to say that all the issues I had stitching on this meant that I in no way wanted to rotate off to another piece!  I continued stitching "United" right up until our trip to Acadia so wound up taking it and "Heart" on the trip.  Although our stay in Acadia was longer this year, because of all of things we wanted to see and do, I did not do a whole lot of stitching while in camp.  

However, I did manage to finish all the words before we headed back home and completed the outer blue border once we got back.  Additionally, contrary to the "Stitch June" plans, I didn't manage to get to the "fully finishing" of it yet. 

In other cross stitch news:  Since what little stitching I did in camp was on "United",  I wasn't able to finally start on "Heart" until the drive home.  "Heart" is a six page (!) pattern and I had gridded my fabric before the trip.  

I had decided to start stitching the part of the design on page 5 since it had both a lot of filler that needed to be done in a single color but also picked up enough of the color changes in the design to give me some opportunities to work through that.  However, in the car I was only able to start on some of the filler.  

This project is going back to the easy stitching of working on 14 count Aida but with a "full coverage" design it means there is A LOT of stitches to lay down!  Even working with just one color, you have to count carefully to leave space for the color change areas.  Once back home, I started on the color changes and this is as far as I've gotten:

With the stitching on "United" finished, it also meant I could start on the second of the planned "Stitch June" projects. 

This is another Primrose Cottage design called "Home of the Free".  Much like "United", this one is also proving challenging, once again, because of the base fabric used.  

This is my first foray into stitching on Evenweave (25 count also in Vintage Country Mocha).  While I can stitch this with two threads, I am "stitching over two".  Unlike the easily visible holes of Aida (which are stitched "over one" meaning from one hole to the next),  I have to count the threads in the weave of the fabric and stitch over what is effectively a 3 x 3 area for each stitch (stitch in one hole, skip a hole then stitch in the next hole).  I love the look of the tighter weave of the fabric but this will be a very slow stitch until I get used to working with it.  

As for my quilt projects, I thought about them (particularly all of those that need to be quilted) but none got worked on at all this month.  I do have big quilty plans for July so I'll see what I can get done for that!

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Cross Stitch Plans for June

Now that Cross-Stitch May-nia is over, it's time to "Stitch June"!  Back when I laid out my May-nia plans, I had noted that originally I planned to work on some "patriotic" pieces for that event.  However, then I decided to instead move those to June and it turns out that was a good decision.  About mid-May I learned that Kimberly Jolly, now also a big influencer in the Cross Stitch world, had decided to lead a new June sew along with the same theme!

Watch her Floss Tube announcement video here

In June, the Fat Quarter Shop will be stitching daily on cross stitch projects with a Red, White and Blue theme.  If you are interested but don't have any patterns or kits along those lines, the Fat Quarter shop can help you with that!  They have compiled a page of patterns and supplies perfect for the SAL.

Another opportunity to stitch along with other cross stitchers on patriotic themed projects is being offered by Nicole Sphor who is doing a Summer Stitch Along (SAL) for her "flossiversary".   Nicole is a Papercrafter, Quilter and Cross Stitcher who I was introduced to when I decided to make the FQS "Jelly Snowflake" quilt as part of my Red & White Christmas quilting last year.  

As I said, I had already made similar plans and already have the ones I want to work on in house.  The projects I'll focus on for the month are:

When I wrote about these in May, I also said I had another piece coming in and it was this one:

Okay that one's not strictly Red, White and Blue but I plan to display it where I will display the rest of them so into the mix it goes!  It will also be my first foray into stitching on a high count linen and adding a button embellishment designed for the project.  

The plan for the month is a three day rotation of the three projects.  None of them are very big so it may not take the whole month to get them done.  I am hoping to include the "fully finishing" part in the rotations as well.

Since we will also be traveling during June, I had another project I wanted to start on the trip:

I had prepped the floss while waiting during May's refrigerator repair debacle and had chose and cut the fabric back when I kitted the threads.  During the next two weeks, I need to make sure I have all the needed notions gathered for when we are ready to go.  

More Summer Stitching Fun

I've said it before:  cross stitchers know how to keep themselves busy and motivated!  I also just learned about another Summer stitch challenge from a Flosstube video:  Sheri, the Colorado Cross Stitcher, has led a virtual "Cross Stitch Camp" since 2021 and has held them in the Summer, Fall and Winter.   

This one is not for working on a specific project but "theme prompts" are given for the type of project or challenge to work on for each month in June, July and August.  She has already given the prompts in this video.  The challenges are free to join and there are chances for prizes and there is a free pattern for stitching up a "camp badge".  

The only rules are that you "check-in" on Instagram at the start of the month with a new project using the appropriate hashtags (which she shares in the video) and then finish (but NOT necessarily "fully finish") your project by month's end and check-in again to share it.  Although she also says that you can qualify for a few more prize entries if you do "fully finish" your project.

The other good thing is that you don't have to participate for all three months, just jump in where you wish.  That's good for me as I don't already have a project that fulfills the June prompt and already have plans for focusing on my quilting during July.  However, I might be able to come up with something for the August challenge which is (always) "Try Something New".   Heck that describes my whole cross stitch journey so far!!  So I'll see if I decide to do something and participate for that month.

If things keep up like this, cross stitch will really start to challenge quilting as my primary interest.  It's not quite there yet, though!!