Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Smalls SAL 2015 January update

I am taking part in the 2015 Smalls SAL hosted by Stitching Lotus and this is the first check in of the year.

My Smalls finish for January is a little scissor fob stitched on mint green Cashel linen using DMC for the cross stitch and silk ribbon for the flowers.

The pattern is from an old magazine (no longer published) called Jane Greenoff's Cross Stitch.  There were some other designs using simple ribbon embroidery stitches which are now on my list of possibles for future Smalls stitches.

I have a collection of scissors and one of the reason for stitching this design was that I didn't have a fob that matched this pair.  So this is for me although the scissors were a gift so I may include this in my update on the Gifted Gorgeousness SAL and the Stitch from Stash SAL as nothing new was purchased for this project.

And as I am participating in a number of different SALs there is quite a degree of overlap.  I will endeavour to include something new in each update but there will be some repetition.

I stitched a little card for a friend's birthday so I am also claiming this as part of my Smalls update for this month.

It was a free kit from the Jane Greenoff's Cross Stitch magazine mentioned above - can you tell that I was looking through old magazines during the Christmas break?    I have hundreds of stitching magazines and they are a wonderful resource of inspiration and while I have space for them I will continue to store them.

I'm looking forward to reading and seeing what everyone else has stitched this month.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Stitch From Stash January 2015 Update

January 2015 Stitch From Stash report
Spent: £10.99 from a budget of £20
Earned: $2 = £1.50

So I think this gives me a balance to carry into February of £10.51

This is the year I resolve to make a dent in my stitching stash and end the year with less than I started (excluding finished items of course).

So I have joined the Stitch From Stash SAL organised by Mel at Epic Stitching

You can read all about the rules by clicking on the above link but basically everyone agrees to keep to a monthly stash budget of no more than $25 which I have converted to £20 because so much of what I have bought in the past has been from the USA and we usually have to pay the same in £ as the item cost in $.   And don't get me started about the extortionate cost of DMC in the UK compared to the US.................................

Anyway because I have a rotation plan for 2015 which includes 4 SALs I will have very little time for stitching anything else so I don't need to buy any more stash - the more I say/write this the more likely I am to stick to it (that's the theory anyway).

One of the new features of Stitch from Stash for 2015 is that we can claim additional budget if we stitch an item from existing stash (more than 6 months' old).   Well I've stitched a small birthday card using a free kit from an old magazine (Jane Greenoff's Cross Stitch) which ceased publication quite a few years ago.   It was only a small kit so my "earnings" amount to $2 or £1.50

My other finish this month is Christmas Village by Prairie Schooler

This was a UFO passed on to me by a friend so although it was started well over 6 months ago it was only gifted to me in the autumn so I am not going to claim any "stash credit" for this.  I am just delighted to have completed it and plan to get it framed for display this Christmas

I think my main challenge will be resisting the temptation of new releases and projects I see that other stitchers have done.  The first of these temptations is the final chart in the Blackbird Designs series of Beatles inspired charts.

Like Barb at Blackbird Designs I have been a Beatles fan "forever" - in fact they were the first band I ever saw perform live so as I also love Blackbird Designs generally I instantly fell in love with this series of patterns.  There were issues with the designers getting the approval from the copyright holders which you can read about here but all has been sorted and all 6 patterns are now available.   Ordinarily I would immediately add this latest one to my stash because I am a sucker for completing a series, but this time I am holding back as I already have Long & Winding Road, Strawberry Fields Forever, Blackbird and Eleanor Rigby and haven't stitched any of them.

I can tell what I spent this month but I can't show you as they are hand dyed threads from Jodyri Designs which haven't arrived yet.   I signed up for the threads of the month club last year and decided to go ahead with the January pack.   I may or may not continue with this next month ...... watch this space.

Apart from the 2 finishes above I have been stitching on 3 SALs, all of which started in January.

My chosen design for the Mirabilia SAL is At the Met and this is my progress in January:

I am really enjoying stitching this, my first large Mirabilia design for some years, and was quite sorry to put her down to move onto SAL number 2 . There are no time constraints on the Mirabilia SAL - the only "rule" was starting on 1st January - after that it is up to the individual.  Quite a few of us have a rotation while others are just stitching their Mirabilia. I certainly won't be the first to finish.   I think there are 4 of us who chose At the Met and it is fascinating to see the different ways in which we are approaching the stitching of the design.

The fabric is Twilight Shadows Cashel linen by The Crafty Kitten and I love the colours in it.  The yellow spheres on the design are stitched with DMC satin thread which gives a lovely shiny effect but is not easy to use, even with Thread Heaven, short lengths of thread etc.   The sampler starts with Capricorn and then continues with a new pattern element released each month.    Payment for the whole year was taken up front and I already have all the supplies so no spending will be required until I need to frame it.

SAL number 3 is the Story Time Sampler by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - another design released in monthly parts and paid for upfront.   This one is released on 15th of each month which translates to the early hours of 16th for us UK stitchers.   I didn't buy the recommended fabric by Picture this Plus as it is very expensive to buy fabric from the USA and I prefer to support our UK based dyers.    I bought (in 2014) a piece of fabric from Sparklies which I thought would be suitable but when I printed out the pattern I wasn't sure that the frames which are stitched in Weeks Dye Works floss would work.   I turned to my stash of hand dyed fabrics and found a couple of alternatives also by Sparklies.

The colours in this photo aren't very accurate but the dark grey at the top left was my original choice and after some test stitching at the weekend when I could judge the colours in daylight I decided to go with the bottom left which is 28 count Cashel linen in Misty Morn.

The most problematic colour is the middle of the 5 - SeaFoam which is a pale green.  It just didn't show up on the darker fabric.

This is the progress I made at the weekend, mainly on Sunday evening after our visitors had left when I enjoyed an evening of great British TV dramas - Call the Midwife, Last Tango in Halifax and Broadchurch.

The actual colour of the linen is more of a blue/grey than in this photo which was taken in artificial light.  Hopefully future photos will show the colour more accurately.  I started in the middle with one of the 12 frames and am working towards frame number 1 which includes the featured story for  January which is Alice in Wonderland.  

So that's my update for January - I'm looking forward to reading how everyone else is getting on with this challenge.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness SAL 2015 January update

This is a new SAL hosted by Serendipitous Stitching which gives us the opportunity to blog about anything we've stitched which is or has elements of being a gift.  And as, in my experience stitchers are incredibly generous folk I anticipate that I will have no shortage of things to share.

As I'm participating in a few different SALs I think there may be duplication for which I apologise.

The main project I would like to show you is Christmas Village by Prairie Schooler which is almost finished.

By the time I do my Wipocalypse update at the beginning of February it will be finished so there will be a different photo.

This piece was gifted to me by a friend who had a "clear out" and passed me what she described as a "few cross stitch bits and pieces".  Actually there was a cornucopia of charts, threads, fabric, buttons and a small number of UFOs, this being one which I fell in love with and immediately set about completing.  It is stitched on antique white evenweave using DMC in a lovely set of colours - this was a large part of the appeal of the design for me.

My intention is to have it framed in time for display in December.

I also stitched a little birthday card as a gift for a friend who loves tea

It was a free kit from a long since discontinued magazine called Jane Greenoff's Cross Stitch.

And finally I am going to include one of my new starts in 2015 - Mirabilia's At The Met because 2 of the 4 Caron Waterlillies needed for this fabulous design were part of the gifted stash from the friend who had the "clear out"

I am stitching this as part of a SAL for Mirabilia stitchers and am really enjoying it.  I have stitched quite a few Mirabilias in the past but it's been a while since I tackled a larger design.   I was really sorry to put her down and move on to the next project in my rotation but she will be waiting for me next month.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Cross Stitch Collection Feb 2015

Cross Stitch Collection and Cross Stitcher have been sold to Immediate Media (publishers of World of Cross Stitching, Cross Stitch Crazy, Cross Stitch Gold and Cross Stitch Card Shop).   Subscriptions were automatically transferred and this is the first one under the new ownership (I think).

I am very impressed with the range of designs and there are lots I would like to stitch.  Of course I realise that these will all have been commissioned by the previous owners and it does concern me that there may not be enough buyers/readers to sustain all of these magazines.

This Sheena Rogers' needlepoint pincushion is the latest in a series (I do love a series of designs).  This could be my favourite so far as I love the spring colours.

This sewing machine cover and matching needlecase is fabulous 

Next on my list of designs from this issue is this delightful card inspired by papercuts.  I really like single colour designs on bright fabric

Also monochrome but a much bigger undertaking is this sampler from Jacob de Graaf

This next one is my favourite design in the magazine.  Emma Congdon is a comparatively new designer who has had quite a few designs in the magazines recently and I've liked them all but this I really love

I've always liked blue and white china and flowers so this immediately caught my eye

And last but not least these cute designs really appeal to me

So all in all one magazine would keep me occupied for months (years) - great value.  And no I didn't include all of the designs, just most of them.  The cover design of the puppies for example is cute but not something I would stitch.

Monday, 5 January 2015

2015 WiPs

Hello and Happy New Year to anyone popping by to read about my plans for 2015.

The topic for this month set by Measi is

Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!

A bit about me - I'm a long time stitcher but a new blogger.  I live in the UK, work full time, have a disabled husband for whom I am the main carer when I'm not at work plus a large extended family.   All of which means that I don't have as much time as I would like to spend on my beloved hobby.   But at least I am hardly ever bored.

For as long as I have been stitching/sewing/crafting I have always had a longer list of projects I want to do than I can achieve in a reasonable time frame and I'm not sure that 2015 will be any different.

However my overall goal for the year is to Stitch from Stash as far as possible as I have more stash than some needlework stores.

I don't like to set stitching goals too far into the future (too much like work) but this year I plan to work on a rotation as I have seen many other stitchers do.

My rotation will consist of:

  1. At the Met by Mirabilia
I started this on 1st January 2015 as part of a Mirabilia SAL organised by MrsMilkyBarKid - check out her videos on YouTube if you aren't familiar with the name.
It has really taken off and stitchers across the globe are stitching a Mirabilia design of their choice and sharing progress on YouTube/Instagram/Blogs.
I think there are 4 of us stitching this design and it is fascinating to see the different way is which we are stitching the pattern.

2.    Walking Through the Stars Zodiac Sampler by Clouds Factory - a monthly SAL

This will be my next new start

3.     StoryTime Sampler by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - a monthly SAL

The first part of this is released mid January.

4.      I also plan to continue to take part in the Smalls SAL so the 4th part of my rotation will be a monthly small design.  I've got plenty of ideas for this one.

5.    I would like to make some progress on some of the WiPs I was working on in 2014:

The Way to Happiness
Stitcher's 12 Days of Christmas
Merry & Bright
Let's Find Rudolph
Christmas Village - I had hoped to finish this by the end of December but had to unpick a whole afternoon's work and put it aside after that.   I will pick it up again though as I really like the design.

Other projects in my stash which I would like to work on include:

Shepherd's Bush needleroll which was a Christmas gift

A wedding sampler (haven't finally decided on the pattern yet but will be something from my stash).

Jane Austen sampler by Cobweb Designs, a kit I bought years ago and "discovered" whilst unpacking the Christmas decorations

And last but not least the Shepherd's Fold projects by Shepherd's Bush 

Wish me luck - I'm going to need it.

Really looking forward to seeing what everyone else has planned for 2015 (and beyond in my case...)