It’s pretty early, I can’t think of a better, more clever title. Literal always works well, right?
I have been looking, (lazily I admit), for this Dimensions kit for years. Like as long as I remember. Before college? Anyway, my brother likes the painter this is based on and I finally found this one on sale and snagged it. (I know that’s not a very exciting story, but it was pretty satisfactory when I finally found it on sale) I’m bored of and/or frustrated with everything else I’m working on, so I started this one yesterday when Penny and Mike came over for a visit. That’s prime crafting time for me, because I get double the help with kiddo stuff.
Anyway. I digress.
I should mention I’ve never done a stamped cross stitch before. Turns out it is easier than I thought it would be, and quite a bit quicker, since I don’t have to count every little stitch. Which is pretty nice because I’m super tired of the big x stitch I’m also working on. More on that later. Counting is hard.
ANYWAY…
This is Dimensions Kit #2330, “Snooze”. It comes with everything you need, two needles, thread (conveniently organized! woot!), chart, directions, and fabric. I’m using a hoop for this to keep the stitches even. It’s from Loops and Threads and I’m really impressed with it. It’s easy peasy to adjust and it feels good to hold it; it’s just a comfy hoop. Awesome!
I didn’t take a picture of everything in the bag before I opened it. I’ll let you use your imagination.
First things, first, I always make a color copy of the pattern on as many pages as needed. This one is only two copied pages. This prevents me from damaging or losing the original pattern. I only lost one pattern, but it was devastating lemme tell you. Good news is that Dimensions will happily replace any patterns, or even extra thread if you run out. I like keeping a copy to mark up and highlight.

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Speaking of marking up, yay sharpies! I mark the color-coded symbols right onto the thread organizer to make it easier to change thread while stitching. I mark the symbol, the stitch needed, and the number of threads required. For example: [] 3x = symbol for black thread, three strands, cross stitch. In this kit I abbreviated couching as “c” and backstitching as “b”. It’s not rocket science, but it’s fun to draw and label things. :-) I think organizing and preparing the kit is part of the fun!

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Some kits don’t come pre-organized like this, and I use the included thread card or my own index cards to organize loose threads. Like combined colors! This kit uses combined colors, so I use an index card for those. You have to combine them yourself, which I do as needed in the project because it takes awhile and I’m too excited about starting as soon as possible.
I write the symbol, and the ratio of colors next to it. The names of the colors along with the number of strands needed, and the stitch required. So the top left combined color would read: red star = 1 strand gold+2 strands dark gold as a cross stitch. I punched holes in the card next to the color to hold the thread (I forgot to do that before I took the picture-use your imagination).

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I know it looks like a lot of work, but it took me less than 10 minutes, since the thread was already organized for me. This method is really helpful when the thread just comes in bundles and you have to separate the colors one by one.
My progress from yesterday:

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I did all those blue stitches. Yup, some of them are backwards. Oh well. I think I have the hang of it now. I read somewhere that it’s bad luck to have every single stitch a perfectly perfect stitch, that the “wrong” ones just reflect how nobody is perfect. I agree with that and will add that if there isn’t any stray pet hairs in there it isn’t finished. lol
Oh, I said something about another project, didn’t I? I was having trouble keeping track of those half stitches in Man’s Best Friend, and learned about graphing out the 10×10 blocks used in the pattern. I had some leftover red thread, so I counted out the blocks. When I’m done stitching I’ll simply pull out the red thread. It took me 3-4 times to get the stupid blocks right, and exactly 10×10! ack! But this should help a lot in keeping track of where I’ve been. Sometimes just counting is not the easiest way. I decided to stop fighting myself over it and do the grid. It certainly looks less daunting now.

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There is a lot of prep involved with cross stitch, but I think putting everything in it’s place is half the fun. ;-)

One more thing! I found a pouch when I cleaned part of my room, and I put all my favorite pens in there, plus all my embroidery and tatting needs, so I won’t (hopefully) lose anything I need for a project again. Like misplacing the nice scissors, or wondering where my good highlighter went.

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Office supply stores always have a bunch of different pencil cases on sale in September. I can never have enough of them.
Okay then. Off to stitch some more. Happy stitching!

I haven’t finished anything yet. But I found a little bag at Hancock Fabrics, it was on sale for under $5 so I grabbed it. It fits my tatting perfectly! I went ahead and sewed along the edge (on the crappy bias tape) to strengthen it a little. You can see I have stuffed all my WIPs except the Epic Doily in there! Sweet! I’m having so much fun.

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And a quick look at a cool keychain/chatelaine I made for tatting. I’m going for an Wonderland theme. I’d love to find a dragon charm, or something similar, for the Jabberwocky. It needs a cheshire cat too! Maybe a picot gauge?

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Here’s what’s happening on the tatting front:
I did finish the third round on the Epic Doily! I estimate this thing is going to be at least 24 inches across when I’m done. I admit, I considered thoring in the towel since it is going to be so big, but meh, I don’t want to start over and it will be fun to see how big it gets, lol. B says we can use it as a lap blanket. I say table cloth for Special Occasions. Or a net to catch things maybe. I had to put it in a bigger bag instead of my usual box because it has outgrown it’s previous home. Oh, and I switched to both the Moollit and Aerlit shuttles because they have hooks on them and it makes the tatting a lot faster. I will have to buy more thread soon. What have I gotten myself into??

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I also started Tatted Mask from www.free-tatting.com. It’s another Russian pattern written and shown as a diagram/photo. I wrote out the pattern from the  notes and the pics, and printed out a copy of the pattern picture. It’s coming along nicely! I’m using Purpleberry LizBeth Twirlz size 10. I think the size 10 will be just right for an adult face. I’m already thinking how fun this mask would be if it was themed as Batman villains or something. :-)

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On another note, Taos Wool Festival is coming up in only 4 weeks!! SO excited! Penny and I are going again, and maybe some more friends. Sounds like she’s going to bring her new wheel. I’m already thinking about what to bring. I’ll bring my mask, doily, a pair of knit fingerless gloves (the cashmere stuff I bought at Taos last year) and maybe one more thing. Maybe not. I always bring too much then buy something new and ignore everything I brought, lol. I’m going to bring better coffee too (for the motel-I’m one of those people) and since I’m driving I’m thinking of fun on-the-go dinners to pack everyone for the car ride. Last year Penny made us bento dinners with rice and veggies. They were delicious! It’s my retreat, a familiar, comfortable place I get to visit once a year at the beginning of my favorite season with one of my favorite people. So excited!

Update #2:
:-) I tried it and it fits! So cool!
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I’m going to make the other side, and attach it at about the halfway mark, where I can see it on the picture. I like using the Twirlz for this because you can’t tell which is the front or back; it matches well.

I think I can finish this round today!! I have about 5 more rosettes/flower clusters to go, then I can take a break with a different color thread (love that variegated) and an easier round. It’s Sunday on Labor Day Weekend, we have NO plans for today, we’re still in our pjs, I can finish this fiddly round.

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It seems like I finish something every Labor Day. Once I read an entire book over three days (The Ruins), started and finished a doll for my son (a crocheted Mario), and one year I made a little activity cloth book for the boys. This year I want to finish round 3 of the Spring Doily 2014 and start round 4. I still have a day left, so I might even finish a book I started last week (The Lost Island) since I only have about 75 pages left. Oh! And our 8th wedding anniversary is in two days. Labor Day weekend rules!