Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Advent Blog Hop December 22nd

I haven't blogged in a while and when I saw the email from the lovely Jo about her Advent Blog Hop I htought that wasw just the thing to get me started again.
However "Man proposes, God disposes" and if I thought I had been busy then December has been nothing short of manic.  It has been almost a needle free zone with many other things taking priority. Luckily I did finish and mail a Christmas card for a small exchange I organised.
This is the card I sent
It's a design by Joan Elliott from an old magazine

This is the card I received in the exchange.  He is so cute   I love snowmen and have a display of them as part of my Christmas decorations so this little fellow fits right in

I also finished a Christmas design which was stitched in October/November.  I mounted it onto to a hanger by Rico which I bought from www.artsanddesigns.com
I highly recommend this site - great service and prices

The design was a freebie from Le Chalet des Perelles http://perelles.canalblog.com

I used my favourite DMC variegated thread 115 and DMC blanc on 32 count opalescent raw Belfast linen.  It was a really enjoyable stitch.

Jo has asked if we have any Christmas Eve traditions.   As I have always been working on Christmas Eve I'm afraid my traditions are wrapping the last of the presents for the children/grandchildren, prepping the veg for Christmas lunch and attempting to get to bed at a reasonable time.   Not very exciting but for our family the excitement starts on Christmas Day and includes Boxing Day as we celebrate both days (and have Christmas lunch both days).

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas however you spend it and a happy, healthy and stitch-filled New Year.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Stitch From Stash Reporting July 2015

July Budget: £20
July Spends: £13.99
Earned: £1.50
Carried forward: £7.51

I have found it really difficult to find time for everything I want/need to do these past few weeks and as a result my blog posts have fizzled away.

What little spare personal time I have had I have prioritised my stitching.

The plus side of course is that I haven't had a lot of time for stash shopping either.

In July I managed to fit in a visit to my favourite London shop, Liberty's, when I was there on business.   There was a sale on and I bought a few presents as well as treating myself to some irresistible fabric and a bargain needlepoint kit.   Liberty's don't sell a lot of cross stitch material but I did find a piece of French 32 count linen for only £3.99 - I couldn't leave it behind even though I don't know yet what I am going to use it for.

The other expenditure was on some hand dyed threads from Jodyri's Designs.

Only one small finish this month - a birthday card using a Michael Powell design from a magazine.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Stitch from Stash June

Monthly budget: £20
June spend: £5.60
Earned June: £0

Total budget for SFS 2015 A: £120
Total spends : £63.68

I bought 2 cross stitch items for myself this month.

This irresistible chart from The Frosted Pumpkin became a "must buy" when they offered a 15% Summer discount

It's called Fibery Friends and as you can see I have found the perfect fabric in my stash.  I will also use threads from stash as it will be easy to sub any I don't actually have.

I also bought part 5 of the Shepherd's Fold kit series by Shepherd's Bush.   I'm not counting this spend as I was already committed to it before SFS began (in fact the series should have finished at the end of 2014 but it has taken much longer than expected).  

This is one of my favourites in the series as I love needlerolls

There is only one more kit to complete the series -  hopefully before the end of 2015!

One of the ones I have scratched my retail itch this month in particular is by buying a few stitchy items as presents for stitching buddies.   Here are the 2 that have been given in June:

Wonderful Clips bought at the Malvern Quilt Show together with a pretty tin to store them.

Permin linen and Jodyri Designs silk threads.   The card includes a pattern for the hardanger design.

I am looking forward to part 2 of SFS - I know that one of the challenges will be when the birthday discount vouchers start to arrive.........

Monday, 15 June 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness June

 Middle of the month means it is time again to report for the Gifted Gorgeousness SAL

Having already completed and presented a wedding sampler this year I was not expecting to add another to my projects.   But I was delighted when the invitation arrived.   This will be the 2nd marriage for both which means of course that when they move into their new home together they will already have what they need and 2 of a lot of things.   As a result they have asked for donations to be made to their favourite charities.  I will be happy to do this but wanted to stitch a sampler for them as well which I think will be appreciated.

I don't have a lot of time so I have gone for something fairly simple by one of my favourite designers, Ursula Michael.  I wrote a post for the DESIGN project about her work here

I think that the simplicity of the design will appeal to the happy couple.  I am stitching it in a hand dyed silk by Jodyri Designs on a piece of hand dyed fabric from Sparklies.

These are my first stitches to ensure that I am happy with the fabric and thread combination.  The photo doesn't show the colours properly but I am happy with the look and as always love the feel of the silk thread.    This will be my main gift project for the next few weeks as I have a deadline to meet.

Thanks for popping by

Monday, 8 June 2015

WIPocalypse SAL June update

I am late posting my progress on the WIPocalypse SAL this month but at least it isn't because I haven't made any progress at all.

This SAL is hosted by Measi who is now back to normal after problems with her website last month.

I got my topics mixed up and reported on the June topic in May so this will be a fairly short post.

First of all I am delighted to report that I have completed another month on my CloudsFactory Zodiac Sampler SAL.  OK it is the March installment and June's has now been released but anyone who has read previous WIP posts will know that I have been really struggling with this piece due to the satin floss used for the frames.   A few people suggested I unpick and re-stitch in DMC but I couldn't face that and felt that there was even more chance of this becoming a UFO if it did that.   Instead I persevered and completed Pisces.

I am never going to be a fan of satin floss and fully expect this to be the last project I ever use it in but I do love the overall piece and the little figures are really cute.  Excuse the strange white shadow on the bottom right of the photo - it was sunlight streaming through the window.

On the other hand I really like the Weeks Dye Works threads that are used in the design so that sort of compensates for the satin floss.

My second monthly SAL is the Story Time Sampler by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery and I have kept up to date with this one.  

May's story was Charlotte's Web

One of the cute features of this design is the image at the top of each frame - a spider this month.

My Mirabilia piece At the Met received some attention during the month and as before I was sorry to put her down.   I mainly concentrated on the sash of her dress which uses wonderful Caron Waterlillies silk

I've kept up with the Smalls SAL and will post about those separately.

I have also added another wedding sampler to my WIPs but I will post about that in the Gifted Gorgeousness update.

Although I originally thought of this as a Small (and it is only a small design) I have added Blackbird by Blackbird Designs to my WIPs list and I made a bit of progress on it in May.  I also voted for the Blackbird in the English National Bird vote (result not yet declared).

My other WIPs were neglected this month.  Like many stitchers I also enjoy gardening so although the longer evenings are perfect for stitching there are other calls on my time.   Are there any stitchers who are content to do nothing I wonder.    Most of my stitching friends love to be busy.

Thanks for popping by.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Smalls SAL May

I'm late posting this update on the Smalls SAL for 2 reasons - I didn't actually finish a small design until late in the month and then I delayed posting about it because it was a gift for a colleague who occasionally visits my blog.

But that's still no reason for not posting at the weekend.   As usual Monday came around far too quickly without me opening my lap top.   I use my iPad all the time but prefer to update my blog on a laptop or desk top with a proper keyboard.

Anyway without further ado here is my May small - a retirement card for a colleague who is planning to spend more time in the garden.

The pretty design was from an old cross stitch magazine using DMC and white evenweave.   I changed some of the colours as I used some of those little bits of thread that I have accumulated from kits and finished projects.

Having been behind in May I am already ahead for June as I have already finished the stitching on a couple of small designs.   Hopefully I can finish at least one of these before the next report is due.  Watch this space!

D E S I G N May - Jardin Prive

This month I would like to talk about a French website called Jardin Prive which features the work of 2 designers  Nathalie Cichon and Camille Camps.  And as an added bonus for a fan of hand dyed threads they often use (and sell via their website) the beautiful Threads by Nina.

The site is in both French and English and some of their designs have also been translated as they often use words in their work - this is one of the features I love as I have a passion for stitching designs with text.

The WiP I have been working on from Jardin Prive is The Way to Happiness and I'm delighted to say that I have finished it.  I started it in July 2014 and finished it in May 2015.  I enjoyed every single stitch and the only reason it took so long was that other priorities came along.   I chose to stitch it on white 28 count linen using Threads by Nina which are subtle hand dyed threads available from the Jardin Prive site.   

Here is a link to the Jardin Prive site where you will see that the design has been produced in 5 languages - French, English, German, Spanish and Italian and even better is completely free.

I would love to stitch the piece again in the French version and have enough fabric  and threads to do this.

This is the first piece I've stitched from Jardin Prive but I'm hoping it won't be the last. Not only are there lots of other freebie designs on the site which I really like I also bought a few of the paid for patterns last year including a Christmas pattern which came with wooden buttons.  I particularly like the free Fleurs de Cotons design as well as the cute sheep (moutons).

There is an alphabet series which appeals to me - lots of words again.  Here is the link to H for Harmonie.

As well as the subject matter and the colours used in the designs I really like the fact that you can choose between pdf or printed chart.  I am increasingly using pdf charts on my iPad to stitch from as I love the way I can zoom in on the area I am working on and then zoom out to get the full perspective on the design.

As a confirmed linen lover I like the way that designs are shown on linen.  There is very little backstitch or confetti stitching or fractionals making them nice and easy to stitch.

What do I have to do for each month's post?

First, you need a WIP by the designer you want to talk about. Doesn't matter if you only started working on it or just put the last few stitches in - you only need to have worked on it at some point during the year. Then write your post, including picture of your current work and the following questions, interview style:

What project are you talking about this month? - Please include the full name of the design, designer and artist (if applicable), and a link to what the design will look like when finished, if possible from the designer's own homepage.

Have you stitched a project by this designer before?

Would you buy/stitch a design by this designer again? Why/Why not?

What made you choose this particular design/designer?

Did you notice anything that distinguished this designer from others? - For example specialty stitches, fractionals, much/little 'confetti', beads, special fibers...

Feel free to add any other information you want to share in your post.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Stitch From Stash May 2015

Monthly budget for May:       £20
Spent in May:                         £27.13
Earned:                                   £0
Carried forward from previous months: Jan £10.51; Feb £3.74;  Mar £11;  Apl £23.80 = £49.05
So carried forward into June: £41.92

It's reporting time for Stitch from Stash again.   This month I have spent more than my monthly budget of £20 by spending just over 35 euros on some wonderful linen band by Vaupel & Heilenbeck.  I saw  on Instagram a piece stitched on the hearts linen and had to track it down.   I have been a huge fan of linen for many years so this was simply irresistible for me.    They are a German company and this is what they say on their website

For years we have been producing fine linen tapes and ribbons here in Wuppertal, and we take great care to supply consistent top quality.
Linen has always been near to our hearts and it is our pleasure to offer - besides our traditional linen tapes - products and ideas that are new and out of the ordinary, and all centring around this special material.
"Sold exclusively through specialized dealers."

I found an Italian site that sold the linen called www.casacenina.com and I was blown away by their range of stitching goodies.   I could have gone mad but in the end restricted myself to 2 pieces of linen band spending just enough to benefit from free postage (not often offered for international sales).  The package arrived in the UK 3 days after I placed the order which I think is wonderful service.

I liked the linen even more when I got to see and feel it and having started stitching a small design on the lavender band I love it.

No earnings this month although I have made a start on a wedding sampler using chart, threads and fabric from stash.

As I mentioned in the SFS update in April I went to the Malvern Quilt Show with some stitching buddies and did some non cross stitch spending there.  However I set myself a budget first and kept under it so I was quite pleased with myself and delighted with my purchases.  They are a mix of things I needed such as the Pigma pens, wonderclips and replacement rotary cutter blades, a few things for presents and a few things I just fell in love with.   So my stitching to do list continues to grow.

Thanks for popping by and I look forward to reading how everyone else has got on.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness May update

This year long SAL is hosted by the lovely Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and the check in date is the 15th of the month so I am late in posting.

However I do have reasons for the delay.

Firstly I spent Thursday and Friday with some stitching buddies and there wasn't time for blog posting.  We went to the Malvern Quilt Show and had a great time in spite of the dreadful weather and awful traffic.

Secondly it wasn't until Sunday that I collected the framed wedding sampler that is the main subject of this post.

I have never been disappointed when taking pieces to this framer - they aren't cheap but they know how to lace needlework and how to enhance a piece.  For this one they suggested a round aperture might look good and I agree.

Not only is this piece a gift but I also won the thread I used (variegated perle by Riotous Colours) so double qualification for this update.

Now that I have finished this gift piece I have room in my rotation for another.

Shepherd's Bush stockings are a great favourite of mine and I have stitched around 14.  Last year I didn't stitch any but I did still buy the latest addition to the set - Lula.

I have made a small start on it and it is intended as a gift for a dear friend.  Just not sure whether it will be finished for this Christmas!

As I am trying to Stitch from Stash as much as possible I am using DMC instead of the overdyed threads which I would have had to purchase.

This is what is will eventually look like:

It is stitched on 18 count Floba with #5 perle threads which are very easy on the eyes and ideal for stitching outside (where I can't use my magnifier).  

Thanks for popping by.

Monday, 11 May 2015

2015 WiPocalypse May 4

Time to check in with Measi on progress made on the WIPocalypse SAL.

The topic set for the May 4 check in (Star Wars Day) was;

"Do you find yourself more productive with stitching in summer or winter?"

I'm afraid my answer is going to be very boring as I don't think the season has any influence on my stitching output.  What impacts me is time and every season has time challenges.  For example 4th May was a Bank Holiday in the UK so a 3 day weekend.   Always very welcome although as usual I had more things I wanted to do than time to accomplish them all.  Monday was a glorious spring day  - perfect for stitching outside in the wonderful natural sunlight.  Except that after 2 days of rain I wanted to get some gardening done.  Winter might seem like a perfect season for stitching except that Christmas brings a host of extra activities and tasks.  And so it goes on.  I just try to fit in as much stitching as I can whatever the season.

Which brings me neatly to the subject of progress on my WIPs.

This month I managed to make reasonable progress on Mirabilia's At the Met and I was sorry to have to put her down and move onto completing the wedding sampler which had a deadline.

The Wedding Sampler (All You Need is Love) is now at the framers so I hope to be able to show it off in my Gifted Gorgeousness update and / or my Stitch from Stash update.

The Zodiac Sampler by Cloudsfactory has continued to frustrate me.   I really really dislike stitching with the satin floss so have only stitched a little bit more than last month.   I use Thread Heaven.  I use short lengths and a bigger eye needle.  I've tried dampening the floss.  Nothing stops it slipping and springing as well as shredding.    Never again!  It's such a shame as I really like the design and love the fabric I chose.    But at least I haven't given up and this check in is helping to prevent it becoming a UFO.

I have been far more successful at keeping up with the other monthly SAL - Story Time Sampler by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.

April's story was The Wizard of Oz and Dorothy and Toto were completed just ahead of the release of May's part which is Charlotte's Web.   I have stitched the frame and the spider.   A very appropriate story given the birth of Princess Charlotte on 2nd May.   I love the way that the theme of the story for the month isn't known in advance.   We have been promised The Lady of Shalott and Little Women (one of my favourite books from childhood) but the others will be a surprise.

I like to encourage wildlife in the garden and particularly birds.  So I decided to vote for Britain's National Bird     There is a short list of 10 and voting closes at the same time as voting in the General Election.  I voted for the Blackbird and so I decided to get out my Blackbird Designs piece and put in a few hours on that.

And finally I also managed a few stitches on The Way to Happiness.  The end is in sight for this one so I would like to be able to report a finish in next month's update.   Then I have to decide whether to stitch the French version ............

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Smalls SAL April

Most of my stitching time this month has been spent on WIPs but I did manage a small birthday card from a free kit which came with an old issue of Cross Stitcher magazine.

I have a stash of these card kits - if the chart isn't with the kit I photocopy the page from the magazine and file it with the kit.   They are kept in a shoe box which is to hand when I need something quick and easy to stitch as I did this month.   Because the fabric and threads are in the kit I can start stitching straightaway and I particularly like the ones that come complete with cards especially when they are illustrated like this one.   I think it gives quite an impressive effect for just a few stitches.

It is for a Special Birthday (one of those that end in zero) for a friend who loves "messing around in boats".

Thanks for popping by.

Monday, 27 April 2015

D E S I G N April

D E S I G N  is an interesting project organised by NCC International

It's fascinating way to read about different designers and why stitchers chose their designs.  

This is what participants are asked to do:

What do I have to do for each month's post?

First, you need a WIP by the designer you want to talk about. Doesn't matter if you only started working on it or just put the last few stitches in - you only need to have worked on it at some point during the year. Then write your post, including picture of your current work and the following questions, interview style:

What project are you talking about this month? - Please include the full name of the design, designer and artist (if applicable), and a link to what the design will look like when finished, if possible from the designer's own homepage.

Have you stitched a project by this designer before?

Would you buy/stitch a design by this designer again? Why/Why not?

What made you choose this particular design/designer?

Did you notice anything that distinguished this designer from others? - For example specialty stitches, fractionals, much/little 'confetti', beads, special fibers...

Feel free to add any other information you want to share in your post.

This month I am talking about Ursula Michael and in particular her Words designs.   She is a very prolific designer and her charts can be found in magazines and under different brands such as Imaginating.   My preferred way to purchase her charts is from the CrossStitch site because they sell patterns as downloadable pdfs which you can print off and/or store for use at any time.  This method not only helps with reducing some of the space my stash occupies in my home but I also like to use an iPad when stitching as I like the way I can easily enlarge and zoom in on the current part of the chart.   Not to mention the fact that the pattern is available instantly without any postage costs.

My current WIP by Ursula Michael is Let's Find Rudolph

This is what it will look like when finished

 I haven't made a lot of progress on it but I'm sure I will be inspired to continue stitching it when we get nearer to Christmas.

I'm stitching it on sparkly white evenweave and plan to add some beads at the end.  I think I may have swapped some of the DMC colours though I have stuck to the overall effect of using red, blue and orange/brown.

I have stitched other Ursula Michael designs.  This is the first of the larger Words designs I finished:

It's called Let's Sew and I stitched it on hand dyed evenweave using variegated thread.  Sadly it is in the drawer of  "finished but unfinished" projects as I can't decide what to do with it.   I thoroughly enjoyed stitching it.

This is a card I stitched for a special birthday on hand dyed fabric.  The pattern was in a magazine - Cross Stitch Card Shop I think, although it is now available as a chart pack separately.

I have other charts in my stash by Ursula Michael and would love to stitch them all.  The birthday card was one of a series that I would definitely use for an appropriate occasion - I particularly like the baby rattle.

What distinguishes these designs from others is the clever way that appropriate words are used to create the picture.    With some of the charts I would make slight adjustments to change the spelling to the English rather than American version e.g. Colour not Color though I have learned to live with Floss for Thread.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my thoughts on this wonderful designer.  Thanks for popping by.

Stitch From Stash April update

Monthly budget for April:          £20
Spent in April                             £3.20
Earned:                                       £7

Time to check in with my Stitch from Stash report - organised by Epic Stitching

I finished my "All You Need is Love" piece at the weekend - just in time as it is going to be a wedding sampler.

The chart is from an Etsy shop called Wonder Needle and I purchased it in June 2014.   When I found out that this song is one the couple are using in their wedding ceremony I thought it would be perfect.  Then I was lucky enough to win some threads from an Instagram giveaway by Riotous Colours and as soon as I received them I thought that the pink variegated perle would be ideal.    What I stupidly didn't do was check whether I would have enough thread and about 2/3 completed I realised I would run short.   I contacted Lisa from Riotous Colours and she eventually found some of the thread in her personal stash so I was able to carry on and finish, thanks to Lisa. The white linen came from stash an I am claiming this finish n my earnings.

I also stitched a small card from an old free kit from Cross Stitcher magazine.   I still need to mount the stitching in the card so I am claiming the stitches in my earnings and will show the finished item in my Smalls SAL update later this week.

My spends were on the extra thread I needed plus a #5 perle I was short of for a Shepherd's Bush stocking I intend to stitch.  I was really pleased that I only needed the one skein - I have all the other colours in my stash.

Although this SAL only tracks spends and stitching on Cross Stitch I have found that the good habits I am developing here are also encouraging me to restrict my spending on stash for other crafts.  Having said that I did succumb to buying some beautiful Lynette Anderson fabrics as soon as they arrived in my local Quilting Shop.   Once a month at my stitching group we like to do a joint project and I plan to use these fabrics for the May one so I'm not just adding to my fabric stash.

But before I appear to be like Goody Two Shoes I should mention that we are planning a trip to the Malvern Quilt Show next month so there may be some spending there!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness SAL - April update

It's time again to report on progress in the Gifted Gorgeousness SAL organised by Jo of Serendipitous Stitching

That must mean we are already half way through April as updates are due on 15th of each month - where has the month/year gone?

I had hoped to post a finish in this update as I have been stitching a design for a wedding sampler.  Unfortunately I realised I wasn't going to have enough of the #5 perle (which I won in an Instagram giveaway from Riotous Colours).  Lisa managed to find a partially used skein in her personal stash which has been mailed to me but hasn't arrived yet.  So progress has been stalled.

This is a chart bought from Etsy and says All You Need is Love in a heart shape.  When I receive the additional thread I will measure it and then use a length and count the number of stitches I get from a single length.  I should then be able to estimate if I will have enough.  Fingers crossed.

I was also lucky to win a Mirabilia chart in another Instagram giveaway from an American company called Embroidery Central    I could choose any Mirabilia chart and decided on one of the latest which is called Moon Flower

As anyone who reads my blog or follows me on Instagram will know I am a huge fan of Nora Corbett (Mirabilia) and the colours in this design really appeal to me.   As I am also taking part in the Stitch from Stash SAL another attraction is that I already have in my stash the one colour of Waterlillies needed.  I have checked the bead requirements but as I won't be starting this for a while and I always do the beading last I have plenty of time to sort those out.   I will be strict with myself and finish At the Met before starting this though I may be tempted to sort out the DMC and then do a "floss toss" on some of the hand dyed fabrics I have in my stash to decide on the one I like best.

If you look back at my last Gifted Gorgeousness post here you will see The Caring Fairy which was framed as a gift.  I think there are a lot of similarities in the pose of the figure so they would make a lovely set displayed together.

I also want to share with you this wonderful set of sewing smalls which were made for me by a dear friend

There are 3 scissor keepers for different sizes of scissors, a pincushion, a scissor fob and a drawstring bag.  How lucky am I?     I am really enjoying using them as well.

As always I am looking forward to reading the other posts in this wonderful SAL

Thanks for popping by.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

WIPocalypse April update

This month's topic for this SAL is:

April 4 – Which specialty stitches do you love doing on projects?  Which do you dread?

Many moon ago when I first started decorative stitching (as opposed to dressmaking which had been my main stitching activity) I stitched a few pieces of what is called Needlepoint in the USA and Tapestry in the UK.   Basically wool stitching completing covering the canvas fabric.   Without calling them specialty stitches I learned how to stitch quite a lot of the stitches I started using when I moved onto cross stitch and specifically cross stitch samplers.

I am a huge fan of Just Nan, The Victoria Sampler, The Drawn Thread, Shepherd's Bush and Patricia Ann designs, all of whom use some specialty stitches in some of their designs.

I enjoy pulled stitches as I like the lacy effect they create and my least favourite are probably bullion and colonial knots.   I enjoy drawn thread and hardanger but with both I still find the cutting of the fabric very nerve racking.

I don't mind doing French knots but I have a dread of bullion knots as they never seem to look right.  I am sure the answer is practice as it is with most things   

This month's WIP activity has been focused on trying to keep up with the 2 monthly SALs

I'm happy with progress on the Story Time Sampler by The Frosted Pumpkin as I finished the March frame just before the end of the month and also stitched a length on the banner.   Sherlock is my favourite so far. 

I've made some progress on the Zodiac sampler by CloudsFactory though I am behind and have been stitching Aquarius which was February's instalment.  I love the look of this piece but still don't enjoy using the satin floss. Thread Heaven helps but doesn't solve all the issues.  On the other hand I really love the colours of the WDW threads that have been used.

I managed to complete a small piece for Easter which I will show in my Smalls SAL update and also made progress on a wedding piece which is my Stitch from Stash project.

The Way to Happiness received a tiny bit of attention this month.

As usual I don't have enough stitching time to do all the things I want to do.  Such a common complaint amongst us stitchers but at least we're rarely bored.