Tag Archives: mirabilia

Winter’s Lament

I keep on mentioning this, but it’s finally time. I finally have a moment to introduce you to my unfinished darling. Winter Queen, by Mirabilia.

This is one of the designs that started it all for me, really. In early 1998 I purchased Garden Verses and Winter Queen. I believe Garden Verses came first. This was back in the days when Lincraft stocked a better range of cross stitch supplies. Had they never stocked Mirabilia, I may never have caught the bug, because Home-Sweet-Home stuff just doesn’t appeal to me (though my taste has since evolved to include an eclectic range).

I started Garden Verses first, but if you remember, that start was doomed. Not long after that, I discovered to my delight… an LNS! I seem to have outgrown that same store now; most of my stash arrives by mail. But back then, it was a magical haven of all things new and glorious. I discovered linen came by the metre, not just in pre-cut pieces wrapped in plastic. After the Garden Verses debacle, that was a huge relief. I purchased some fabric, floss, and beads, took my bounty home, attached the fabric to Mum’s old tapestry frame, and started with enthusiasm.

Everything went swimmingly from the crown down to the waist. When I hit the endless blues and whites of the gown, I stalled. A lot. Over the years between then and now, WQ has re-emerged a number of times, been worked on some more, and then banished to the cupboard once again.

When I really became assimilated into the world of stitching – late 2001, early 2002, I decided that I really should finish WQ before getting crazy with too many other projects (ha!). I pulled her out again and did a lot more on that gown. Then I realised she had bigger issues, and that I didn’t really know what I would do with her if I did finish her. Let me explain:

Fabric colour
Why, oh why did I choose cream linen for this beautiful design that needs white. Or antique white, at the very most. Cream! This is far and away the worst problem, I just don’t like her on this fabric.
Dye lot differences
Hmmm. I have since learned my lesson – buy all the floss needed for a design at the same time. The dyelot differences in the a few of the floss colours are seriously noticeable. For me to be happy, I’d have to unpick a lot of stitching and restitch with one dyelot. Just quietly… that’s not going to happen!
Yep, and lots of it. Poor stitching practices (holding onto the scroll bar where the fabric was attached) plus poor storage over a long time, have caused the cream fabric to become really dirty, not to mention a lot of the white stitches now look cream as well. Yes, I know about Orvus. Trust me, I’ve tried everything on this baby. Orvus, Napisan, Woolwash (yes, I know I shouldn’t). Even… {shock, horror}… the washing machine. Yep, I threw her in our front loader, beads and all. ‘Twas for nought though, she’s still just as dirty. The white areas could be frogged and restitched… but see above for how I feel about that. And as far as the fabric goes, well I don’t think it could be fixed at all. Possibly it could be hidden by a close mat if it were ever framed.

So. That’s what’s wrong with WQ. If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a prize. That’s her. I know, she looks not so bad in that pic. Trust me, all those problems look worse in real life.

She weighs on my mind a lot. For a good long time, I felt that if I didn’t finish her, I wasn’t a real stitcher. I finished a lot of small stuff, but nothing big, until Celtic Christmas, and more recently, Waiting For Ships. Finishing those two, and particularly WFS, has eased my mind a little. The other reason I think about her a lot is that I do still really like the design. But restitching the whole thing does not thrill me one bit, given how far I got. So if I turf her, it is very likely she won’t ever hang in my home. But if I don’t turf her, she’ll still never hang in my home. So you see my dilemma!

Cha Cha Cha


At last! 😆 The curse of the Winter Queen is broken, and I have finished a Mirabilia design, almost 8 years after buying my first two charts. Finn was pretty insistent I finish it this morning, which was nice. I discovered he had ulterior motives though. As soon as the last bead was in, he decided I had to do ‘a yellow mermaid’ next :yuk: lol. Think I’ll distract him with his Noah’s Journey piece instead.

I’m pretty chuffed with this achievement. Not only is it my first finished Mirabila, but my first finished piece on my own hand-dyed fabric. I couldn’t get the sparkly picture I promised (how hard is sparkle to photograph?!), but hopefully the tweaking I did brings out the colours reasonably well, although the fabric has quite subtle patterning, and is also tricky to photograph well. Rest assured, she looks wonderful, and I will hopefully go in and choose some framing materials early next week. In the meanwhile, I’m just going to continue cha-cha-chaing around the room :giggle:

So Close, Yet…

Aaaargh, beading! I reneged on my decision not to use the invisible YLI thread again, which is not helping. You may notice I didn’t achieve my goal of finishing WFS in my school break – I returned on this Thursday just gone, to acquaint myself with my new units, Usability Engineering and Web Database Applications. (The latter requires a large group assignment, to which I say :yuk:, but otherwise it should be a more pleasant semester than last.)

But back to WFS – a HD is definitely nigh. By the end of the week, all things being equal (read: “if I ignore studying for the rest of the week” :giggle: ). I finished all of the beading on the top half tonight, and some of the tail fin is already done. I must say, despite my frustration with it, the beading on this is a lot more enjoyable than that on Celtic Christmas, which just got plain tedious after a while.

Really, really glad I switched out the Mill Hill beads for delicas, they look great. They have a squarish profile compared to the rounder MH beads, but I prefer to stitch them at an angle, which gives them the illusion of being curvier – it works for the strings of ‘pearls’, anyway.

After I finished tonight’s effort, I sat Her Gorgeousness in the light for a while and just gazed upon her glory. I really can’t wait to show her off… I’m going to have to try and get some photos that show off the sparklies.

My Mermaid, She Grows

You have no idea what I had to go through to bring you this simple image. I quite forgot that my laptop was recently rejiggered, and was therefore missing all crucial software. Dagnammit. Anyway, feast your eyes. As usual, image links to a closer look. (Hmmm… gotta tweak my javascript that does that though – the windows aren’t opening up exactly as they should…)

Have sorted out the beads to my liking. The best pale blue delica I could find in my stash is still a little bit too close to the fabric colour, but the better size means they don’t disappear quite so much. The substitute I have for the cool darker peacock-blue beads is not quite as nice, but should still work really well. Now I just have to hope I have enough beads! A-beading-I-will-go…

Can’t Talk – Stitching

So I know you’re all on the edge of your seats waiting for that picture I promised! But to tell the truth, that ‘little bit of braid’ I had to stitch was almost the whole darn lot of the emerald #4 braid. I decided to wait until I’d finished it to get a picture, and, well, it took a whole darn lot of time. I don’t normally have an issue with stitching braid, but I’ve never stitched so much at one time (except on Celtic Christmas, where I used Petite Treasure Braid, which is a dream compared with Kreinik). Thank goodness for Thread Heaven and my needle threader, or I would have cursed more than I did! Anyway, the braid is finished now, but I’m too tired to get a picture, and besides, it will look better taken in daylight. So you’ll just have to wait some more… meanwhile, you can go check out Mindy’s HD of the same design, if you like 🙂

Oh, I also started the beading – I attached 30 or so beads before I decided they’re all coming off and being substituted. The petites are too small on my 28 count fabric, and in addition, the pale blue beads totally disappear on the colour. I’ve got a sizeable Delica stash, so I’m going to have a dig in that, and hopefully come up with some substitutes tomorrow, and begin beading in earnest. Fingers crossed I can still get this finished before next Thursday (back-to-uni).

Grrr Argh!

Am totally irritable today. Like PMS without the M. My studying is erratic because of it, and I just can’t get into any sort of groove. Minor little issues from a couple of BBs are getting under my skin, so procrastinating on there is not even helping 😡 So instead, I’m day-dreaming about my month off 😆

Exam number two is on Monday evening. Evening! An exam that starts at 5.45pm! Crazy behaviour. My plan on finishing that is to come home, open a bottle of red wine, and have a long, long bath. I’m not even going to stitch that night (or at least, not much!) I plan on getting the first of many early nights – at least pre-11pm, I hope. Not having enough sleep lately (…for the last 6 months) is no doubt contributing much to my current mood.

For the time I have off, I have 3 planned stitching finishes:

  • Something secret… for my seasonal exchange partner. It’s approximately half stitched, but I have some fancy ‘finishing’ to do on it as well.
  • Little Angel Birth Sampler, for an expected nephew. This will only be a near-finish… obviously I’ll have to wait for the name/date/details to stitch on later.
  • Waiting For Ships. Waiting to be finished. This will be my first Mirabilia finish, despite having bought my first two Mira charts some ten years ago! There will be much rejoicing!

After that I plan to have another attempt at setting up a rotation. I expect it will all turn to mud again in the first month or so of my next semester, but I do hope to get a bit more stitching done in the 2nd half of the year than I have in this. The focus piece of my rotation will probably be the dreaded Noah’s Journey. It’s supposed to be a ‘birth’ piece for Finn. I might have mentioned he’s 2 and a half already. 😳 Oops! It’s such a pain to stitch (Dimensions colour chart, need I say more?), but I really do want to finish it. I’ll post a WIP picture here soon, but trust me, it’s not that impressive.

I also plan to do a bit more hand-dyeing. I have some white Quaker cloth and some Cashel (I think), and I want to get a good colour for my planned Lilly conversion.

The most important non-stitching plan is a trip across to the Clare Valley (South Australia) for several days of camping and cellar door hopping. We haven’t done that since before Finn was born – that should be fun, what with the 10 hour drive each way :ill:

Anyway, I have to survive until Monday night first. Nose back to grindstone then… 🙁

Good Riddance to SeC

Exam number one went better than could be expected, considering my lack of motivation to study for this one. I expect around 80-85 overall for the unit… better than I expected, but sadly a bit of a blemish on my overall program results (I would have been in raptures with an 80 in my undergraduate degree – I was far less conscientious back then :giggle: ). It’s a public holiday here tomorrow, so OtherHalf is home. I’m planning to head off to the library for a while to start reading up for exam number two.

But tonight, way hey, I’ve stitched! I think my goal of finishing WFS during my month off school is achievable, I really do. Last weekend I managed to sneak enough stitching around my exam revision (told you I wasn’t motivated 🙁 ) to finish off her arms, and tonight I’ve stitched her face and neck. I toned down the “Adam’s apple” she seems to have. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t like this design at first. Added to the fact she has a fairly prominent chin, I felt it made her quite masculine. Come to think of it, she’s fairly flat chested as well. Hmmm… perhaps she’s a merman in drag?! Well, you’ve got to admit, it would explain that rather lurid shade of pink lipstick 😉 !

I’m teasing. Really, she’s very attractive. And now, with a smoother neckline (I didn’t alter the chin), I’m really glad I’m stitching her. The only thing bugging me now is that I’ve left all the beads for last, even though I swore I wouldn’t do that again after Celtic Christmas. I’m considering an alternative to YLI Invisible thread for stitching the beads on this time… I hate wrangling that stuff. I know some stitchers use blending filament, which is a bit more visible, and it gives a nice extra sparkle too. Perhaps I’ll try that.

Yes, this is a stitching blog!

And to prove it, here’s a glimpse of my current favourite WIP… which is somewhat like a parent saying they have a favourite child (although in my case, the latter would be less contentious 🙂 ) At any rate, this lovely, albeit headless, mermaid is Mirabilia’s “Waiting For Ships”. No beads attached yet, but I’m nearing the end of the regular stitching. Part of the reason she is so special to me is because she is the first piece I’ve stitched on one of my own hand-dyes. Also, I think she goes very nicely with the Ocadia blog theme I’m currently featuring 🙂 Image links to a closer look.

And just in case you thought I was done singing the praises of WordPress… wrong 😆 This post illustrates the use of categories. Categories filter the posts by topic. Select the Stitching category to see only stitching-related chatter. Further, select the Works in progress, or Finished sub-categories, to see only those posts. (Though there are no HD’s yet – perhaps I’ll post some retrospective finishes in the near future).