Friday, August 31, 2007

Klimt Geometric - Cobweb Designs

I'm afraid I'm going to rant a little about this kit - I ran out of the metallic thread used to highlight part of the design, and there's no indication on the kit what it was. The company just confirmed that the kit was discontinued ... I'm not profligate with thread, so heaven help those that aren't as economical... In the end, because I couldn't match the gold, I used a black metallic, which works okay, although there was already some black back stitch in the design. I could have frogged all the existing gold and replaced it, but it would have taken too long for my impatient heart!

That said, it was a nice kit to stitch, the colours are simple but work well, and I think it's more interesting - and stylish - than a lot of other designs on the market. But then again, I think Gustav Klimt is a genius...

Design Details

Fabric: 14 count aida, unknown colour
Threads: unknown stranded cotton
Designer: not credited
Chart Details: Klimt Geometric - Cobweb Designs (c) 1999
Stitch Count: 41H x 41V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch,
Threads Used: unknown stranded cotton in black, white, gold, ecru. Unknown gold metallic. Metallic black from the DMC Light Effects range. Cross stitch in two strands.
Embellishments: None.
Modifications Made: Some back stitch done in metallic black not metallic gold.

Tartan Thistle Needlebook - Textile Heritage

Of course, being half Scottish, I have to stitch the odd thing which reflects my heritage ... haggis not being terribly attractive, I have a few thistles lurking in my stash...

In real life, the colours are really nice, and although they don't immediately say "Scotland" to me, they were nice to work with.

The design is much simpler - and quicker - to stitch than it looks, as long as you follow the instructions and construct the framework first!

The instructions called for the cross stitch to be done in three strands, but I find that looks terribly chunky, plus it's a pain to get twelve strands into one hole - I like stitching to be smooth and quick, not a tug of war! So I did it in two, and it looks fine to me!

The piece will be made into a needlebook, but I have reservations about the making up instructions included in the kit - has anyone done any Textile Heritage needlebooks like they say?

Design Details

Fabric: 14 count aida, white
Threads: unknown stranded cotton
Designer: Lesley Clarke
Chart Details: Tartan Thistles Needle Case - Textile Heritage (c) 2002
Stitch Count: 45H x 45V on each piece
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch, Satin Stitch
Threads Used: unknown stranded cotton in dark purple, mid purple, pale purple, green, turquoise, grey.
Embellishments: None.
Modifications Made: Cross stitch and some back stitch done in two strands, not three.

Bumble Bee Needleroll - Lorri Birmingham Designs

Ages ago, I stitched the scissor fob which matches this needleroll, so at last, this will be joining it in my basket of smalls!

The design calls for the bee's body to be stitched in French knots, but when I stitched the fob, my French knots left a lot to be desired (they can still do so...) so I stitched the bee in cross stitch - so I chose to do this for the needleroll too. It makes the bee look less "fuzzy", but the colour changes are more visible, so it's swings and roundabouts I guess.

Design Details

Fabric: 28 count linen band, white
Threads: DMC stranded cotton
Designer: Lorri Birmingham
Chart Details: Bumble Bee Needle Roll Item # 271K - Lorri Birmingham Designs
Stitch Count: 48H x 48H
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch, Fractional Cross Stitch, Hem Stitch
Threads Used: DMC stranded cotton in white, 209, 827, 937, 3799, 3820, 340, 470, 725, 745, 317, 801, 828
Embellishments: Four Czech Fire Polished Crystal beads
Modifications Made: Hem Stitch done over four threads, not two. Cross stitches used in place of French knots on bee's body.

USA International Heart - The Victoria Sampler

I'm started stitching these Hearts and I'm not really sure I like them any more ... but I have a couple more of the places I've visited to go, so I'll see how I feel after that ... I did the England one a while ago, and the so called "robin" on it was awful!

Victoria Sampler kits are a model for all kit manufacturers - the instructions are very clear, the contents of good quality, and in generous quantities too, and they stitch up very nicely.

I think I might make these into a quilt. Maybe.

Design Details

Fabric: 25 count Lugana, white
Threads: DMC stranded cottons, Kreinik #4 braid
Designer: Thea Dueck
Kit Details: International Heart - USA - IH #05 - The Victoria Sampler (c) 2003
Stitch Count: 48H x 42V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch, Star Darn Stitch, Herringbone Stitch, French Knot,
Threads Used: DMC white, 645, 3371, 3706, 891, 304, 3364, 3362, 930, 931, 729. Kreinik #4 braid #002
Embellishments: None.
Modifications Made: None.

Easter Holiday Cracker Kit - Bent Creek

I love Bent Creek kits - the materials included are top quality, and there's plenty of them - lots of spare fabric round the design, so there's so many options for finishing ... that said, this will probably be framed, as it will be on show for at least three months of the year!

I made a couple of modifications - the bottom left corner became yellow and not raspberry, to make it symmetrical, and one of the raspberry blocks was stitched in cross stitch and not Rhodes stitch - why do all that extra work and then hide it behind a button? LOL The chick's beak, eye and legs didn't show up very well in the charted colour, so I made them black instead...

Design Details

Fabric: 32 linen, natural
Threads: DMC, Weeks Dye Works and Gentle Arts Sampler Threads stranded cottons.
Designers: Marsha Worley and Elizabeth Newlin
Kit Details: Easter Cracker Bent Creek (c) 2001
Stitch Count: 65H x 65V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Straight Stitch, Satin Stitch, Colonial Knot
Threads Used: GAST Summer Meadow, Peacock, Mulberry, Evergreen, Raspberry Parfait, Maple Syrup, WDW Whitewash, Cocoa, DMC 775, 612, 310. Two strands used throughout for cross stitch.
Embellishments: Four hand dyed green buttons.
Modifications Made: DMC 310 substituted for 938. Bottom left corner stitched in Summer Meadow. One Raspberry Parfait block was stitched in cross stitch and not Rhodes stitch.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ribbit, ribbit!

I don't often blog about the process of stitching - what's there to say, really? My projects aren't generally big enough to make a progress pic worthwhile, and most readers of this blog know how to stitch ...

And so most of you will also be familiar with frogging! I'd had a bad day yesterday, which is why I think I miscounted not once, not twice, but three times on a fairly simple project! So, rather than getting very wound up about it, I put it aside to do the frogging when I was calmer, and moved to the next project in my rotation ... only to find there was a counting mistake in that! And it was on a row of fine backstitch ...

I thought then I was being told something, so I sorted the floss for my September goals and put it all on organisers, rather than risk another stitch!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Baa - The Bold Sheep

Sheep are another favourite thing of mine to stitch, and I thoroughly enjoyed stitching this funky specimen! The colours really sing, and it's impossible to look at Dolly (yes, I named my sheepie!) without smiling!

Because the design was whole stitches only, and no backstitching, I kept the aida that came with the kit. I find using a fine Petite needle makes stitching on aida a pretty smooth process - the needle doesn't need the usual tug to get through the hole so I might be becoming reconciled to aida - maybe!

The only downer on this kit was I ran out of one colour with six stitches left to make - which was very annoying, as I'm very economical with thread, and there was plenty of the others left. What made it worse was that the threads used are Anchor, and I have only a (relatively) small collection of that, whereas I have a full set of DMC!

This will probably be finished as pillow.

Design Details

Fabric: 14 count aida, white.
Threads: Anchor stranded cottons.
Designer: Louise Ellwood.
Kit Details: Baa - The Bold Sheep (c) 2004
Stitch Count: 60H x 60V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch
Threads Used: Anchor 24, 109, 140, 147, 255, 386, 403, 874, 943. Two strands used throughout for cross stitch.
Embellishments: None.
Modifications Made: None.

Stitching Goals - September

I'm back on a roll with my stitching, which is a Good Thing! I've been very good at finishing projects that I've started, but then again I am concentrating on "smalls" :o) Working through my kits - although born out of financial necessity - has been good too, as I don't need to procrastinate and gather supplies, I can just open up the package and get started!

However, lurking at the back of my mind are all my UFOs and projects needing making up into "something" - be it a card, a needleroll, an ornament, a cushion, or simply framing... so I need to do something with those, as well.

I think I can finish my current WIPs by the end of the month, so my September goals are:

New Starts
  • Strawberry Pincushion - Historic Needlework Guild
  • Strawberry - Needleworks by Sue Hawkins
  • Spring Needleroll - Lorri Birmingham Designs
  • Shep - Anchor
  • Sewing - Penelope
  • Baa - The Bold Sheep
  • Bless The Blooms - SanMan Originals
  • Bless This House - Cathy Bussi
  • Bumble Bee Needleroll - Lorri Birmingham Designs
  • Celtic Stones - Textile Heritage
  • The White House - Rowandean
  • Wild Roses - Needleworks by Sue Hawkins

List the remainder of my kits in my "Next Up on The Hoop" spot (which is limited to 5 when other people look at it, believe me, it's a lot bigger! LOL)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Derbyshire Day Out

My closest friend J and I took advantage of a rare sunny day yesterday and went out to the Peak District - which is only a 15 minute drive from my place on the fringes of the city. We had a great time!

Our first stop was at David Mellor in Hathersage. David Mellor is one of the best known of British designers - no, not stitching, but useful things - like cutlery. He also designed the familiar UK traffic lights, so - even if you don't know it - he's been a huge influence on the British street landscape - his other work includes postboxes, bollards and benches!

His cutlery is timeless, and is made in the Peak District - it's unusual to find a factory in a National Park, but this is small scale, and actually was built utilising the foundations of an old gas holder, so the factory is circular, and has an amazing lead roof. It's almost unbelievable that this is a working factory. but the cutlery is largely handmade inside this building. We're going to go back on a weekday and see it in action. It will be interesting for to compare it with the mass production of cutlery I've seen in my previous roles.

J is an architect, so had wanted to see the building for a while, as she has a special interest in sensitive conservation and sustainable development. The rest of the buildings have been converted from the old gas works too - including a small design museum, cafe and kitchen shop - all of which are a cut above the average.

We had coffee and shared a delicious cake in the cafe, and stayed for ages chatting before venturing out to take advantage of the sun! We quickly explored Hathersage - there's not a lot to see, really, although the village has connections with both Charlotte Bronte (who visited, and based Thornfield Hall on North Lees Hall, and named Jane Eyre after a local aristocratic family who lived at Hassop Hall) and Little John of the Robin Hood legend, who is buried in Hathersage churchyard.

Following small roads, we planned to go to Bakewell to pick up a Pudding for tea to share with DBF, who had chosen to stay at home. We stopped outside the Italianate church of Hassop Hall to eat our sandwiches, noticing a party of ramblers also doing the same. We have concluded that once one becomes a rambler of a certain age, floppy hats are mandatory...

Isn't it a rather bizarre thing to see in the heart of the English countryside?

Bakewell was very busy, so we didn't really feel like exploring all the wonderful nooks and crannies in the small town. We of course got our Bakewell Pudding (they are puddings, not tarts, to us Derbyshire natives!) - not from the rather touristy "Original Old Bakewell Pudding Shop" but Bloomers, which also does amazing pork pies, according to DBF - being vegi of course, I forgo these, and just have another slice of pudding!

No visit to Bakewell is complete without a visit to Wye Needlecraft - which is ostensibly the reason why I'm posting this to my stitching blog, and not the general one!

The range of stitched models is amazing - although I'm going to be picky and say I wasn't impressed with the quality of stitching of some of the Rowandean models in the window - which is a shame, as they can be gorgeous!

I enjoyed looking round at the stitched models, but I honestly wasn't tempted to add to my stash - partly because I genuinely can't afford to, but also because I know I have some very nice things still waiting to be stitched. I'm currently working on my stack of kits, so I didn't even need any threads! I did make one purchase - two packs of Petites needles - but I came out having spent the least I've ever done there! Although Wye are competitive on price when it comes to threads, fabrics and UK kits/charts, they are out of the loop on the US stuff - even more expensive than (say) Sewandso. One really nice touch though was the fact that they will substitute linen for aida (and vice versa) in any kit - which I guess is where paying that little bit extra is worthwhile.

On our way back to Sheffield, we dropped into the Froggatt Show, as we'd seen the signs on our trip out. This was such a quinessentially British experience! The sun was shining, a brass band was playing, small children were riding recalcitrant small ponies in the ring, a marquee was filled with garden produce...

Our first trip was the horticultural show, where there were murmurs among the rhubarb display - the first prize winner had won despite his rhubarb being bent - had payments in brown envelopes been exchanged? Even the children's displays were not exempt - mutterings of "that's never the work of a five year old" were heard... dark doings indeed! LOL

Watching the pony classes (average number of entrants - three) was quite amusing. the smaller children were basically being towed around the area by sweating parents as the ponies did whatever they pleased - which was basically digging their heels in and not moving!

Other attractions included vintage cars and vintage tractors. My uncle has restored four vintage tractors of his own, so I can tell the difference between Fordson, Ferguson and John Deere ... we keep telling my uncle he should exhibit his, but he's 75, and I think he feels travelling round the county would be a bit much for him. I think it's great he still works on such a physical hobby at his age, though! Also for the mechanically minded was a wonderful display of small steam engines and pumps of varying kinds, tended by proud owners... both of which are a dying breed.

Of course, it wouldn't be a Show without a tea tent! It was really nicely done, too - homemade cakes and tea served in proper tea cups (with saucers!) and on pottery plates - no paper or plastic in sight! Very environmentally friendly, although the dish washing crews were kept very busy! J and I shared a cheese scone and some delicious ginger bread, but passed on having an ice cream! Outside the tea tent, and in front of the band stand were loads of wooden chairs and tables, more than sufficient for the crowd, so it was all very civilised!

However, J and I may have let the side down. The brass band finished their set with the National Anthem. And all around us, people stood up! Admittedly, they were mostly middle aged and elderly people, but we were so gob smacked - first at the anthem itself, and then at the standing to attention - that J & I just looked at each other. Initially, we didn't stand because it simply never occurred to us, and then, as the tune progressed, it became a matter of principle. We talked about it afterwards. Whilst we both have respect for the institutions of this country, and are upstanding, law abiding, participative citizens, it would feel wrong to stand for an anthem for which we feel no connection. "God Save The Queen" - neither of us believe in "God" as portrayed by the major monotheistic faiths, and neither of us actively support the monarchy - it's anachronistic and unnecessary. We probably wouldn't have stood for "Land of Hope & Glory" either (although I would do so for "Flower of Scotland" at a sporting event...). I think the ladies that were also at our table were slightly non-plussed by our stance (or non stance!) but then we were city folks...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bumble Bee - Penelope

This was a small kit I picked up at a car boot sale for the princely sum of £0.50 - and it kept me entertained for several hours, which is good value in my book! That's what I like about stitching - one might feel guilty at the cost of buying stash, but when it gives hours of pleasure when stitching, and then on-going pleasure having the finished item around, it really is a value for money hobby! There are people I know who spend more on a mass produced print than I do on a cross stitch project, and that baffles me a little :o)

Anyway, the project - small and sweet. I wasn't sure about the oranges for the honeycomb at first - they are much brighter than on the kit front - but they seem to work okay. I'm going to put this in a tiny pine frame and secret it on one of my bookcases along with the honey jars and other small things.

Design Details

Fabric: 14 count aida, white.
Threads: Anchor stranded cottons.
Designer: Not credited.
Kit Details: Bumble Bee - Penelope "Momentos" from Coats Craft UK
Stitch Count: 26H x 25V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch.
Threads Used: Anchor 295, 302, 298, 304, 355, 235, 236, 403. Two strands used throughout for cross stitch, one for back stitch.
Embellishments: None.
Modifications Made: None.

Celtic Stones - Textile Heritage

I didn't realise the kit was so small when I bought it from eBay, because a quick glance made it seem quite detailed - and it is pretty effective in real life. I was uncertain about using the gold on the stones, as it seemed very bright in the border, but next to the greys, it became much more muted.

It was a very quick stitch! The directions called for stitching it with two strands, but I find that looks very chunky on 18 count aida, so I went for one.

The kit came with a nice red card to mount the stitching on - I will do that, then mount the whole lot onto a bigger cream card and frame it.

Design Details

Fabric: 18 count aida, cream.
Threads: unknown stranded cottons.
Designer: Lesley Clarke.
Kit Details: Celtic Stones - Textile Heritage Collection
Stitch Count: 27H x 27V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch.
Threads Used: Unknown stranded cotton in 7 colours. One strand used throughout.
Embellishments: None.
Modifications Made: Stitched in one strand throughout (directions called for two)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

May Our Home Be Too Small - Design Works

Another kit bought from eBay, and another one which I substituted out the aida! I think evenweave or linen looks more attractive if there are large areas on show.

The message is appropriate, because our flat is tiny! My DBF wondered if I was going to change the message to read "stash" or "books" - both of which would have been equally valid - but I stitched it as charted!

The design was straightforward to stitch, despite some very close colours, as it was virtually all whole cross stitch, with a little back stitch outlining. There was a generous amount of thread included, so no problems there! I really like working with golds and yellows, I find them both soothing and cheering! There's a little more blue in this design than I would normally like, but it sets off the golds beautifully - the scan doesn't really capture the vibrancy of the piece.

The finished article will be framed and added to my "wall of bees".

Design Details

Fabric: 28 count evenweave, cream
Threads: unknown stranded cottons
Designer: Joan Elliott
Kit Details: Our Home - 9757 - Design Works Crafts Inc
Stitch Count: 68H x 86V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch.
Threads Used: Unknown stranded cotton in 20 colours. Two strands used throughout for cross stitch, one and two used for back stitch.
Embellishments: Mill Hill beads
Modifications Made: Substituted beads for black French Knots. Substituted evenweave for aida supplied in kit.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bee Kind Needleroll - Lorri Birmingham Designs

This picture is the flat piece - I have now made it up into a needleroll, but with my camera out of action, couldn't add a picture of the 3D piece! It's also not been a great finish - I made it a little narrow, but it is still very pretty! Probably at the limit of my girly tolerance ...

I don't really like Lorri Birmingham kits because the instructions are not the best, and this kit was no exception. There was some perle 12 thread included which was never mentioned in the instructions, the colours used for backstitch weren't explained, and the placing of the quartz beads wasn't charted either - so it's a good job I'm an experienced stitcher, a beginner could have been really thrown!

I do like the fact that the linen banding is pre finished though - it can be a slog to make a needleroll otherwise!

Design Details

Fabric: 28 count linen band, white
Threads: DMC stranded cotton
Designer: Lorri Birmingham
Chart Details: Bee Kind Needle Roll Item # 251 K - Lorri Birmingham Designs
Stitch Count: 57V x 50H
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch, Fractional Cross Stitch, Hem Stitch
Threads Used: DMC stranded cotton in Ecru, 676, 677, 680, 729, 869, 3363, 3364, 3726, 3727
Embellishments: Two gold plated bee charms, four rose quartz heart shaped beads
Modifications Made: Hem Stitch done over four threads, not two.

Amethyst - Classic Embroidery/Adele Welsby Designs

What I like about hardanger is the speed with which it grows - if you get the counting of the Kloster blocks right!

It really is an impressive looking technique for not a huge amount of effort - just a steady nerve when it comes to cutting!

The kit instructions were very good, and there was sufficient (just, in a couple of cases!) thread to complete the design.

I stitched this almost as charted - the only modification I made was omitting the picots on the woven bars, as 1. I think they look too fussy and 2. I can never get them even!

I'm not sure what I will finish this as!

Design Details

Fabric: 22 count hardanger, white
Threads: unknown perle cotton in 5 (four colours) and 8 (white)
Designer: Sandra Pim
Chart Details: Amethyst (Hardanger Tile Collection) - HC409 - Classic Embroidery/Adele Welsby Designs (c) 1996
Stitch Count: 108H x 108V
Stitches Used: Satin Stitch, Algerian Eye Stitch, Four-sided Stitch, Woven Bars.
Threads Used: Perle 5 in white, green, dark pink, pink, Perle 8 in white.
Embellishments: None
Modifications Made: Omitted the picots on the woven bars

Beehive Sampler - Charland Designs

This kit was a birthday gift several years ago from my good friend Marci, and I finally finished it! I brought it out at a sad time for Marci, and I hope she could feel my thoughts with her as I stitched on this sampler.

The chart for this kit is particularly clear, with excellent instructions for the speciality stitches, so even though some were unfamiliar to me, I could approach them with confidence.

I loved using the differently textured threads, although at some places, I felt the Wildflowers was a little chunky - there also wasn't enough included in the kit (grrrr...) which held up completion - I had to order them from the USA, as Caron threads are very expensive in the UK! Fortunately, there was more than enough silk included- which is very nice to work with, but I'm not sure it's worth the extra expense to use silk on a regular basis.

I haven't used the silver charm on this yet (it's gone AWOL) but I think - when I find it - I'm actually going to attach it to my charm bracelet, and use another charm for the sampler!

Design Details

Fabric: 28 count linen, natural
Threads: Gentle Art Sampler Threads, Soie Cristale, Caron Wildflowers, Perle 8 Cotton
Designer: Charland Designs
Chart Details: Bee Hive Sampler - Charland Designs (c) 2000
Stitch Count: 45H x 155V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch, Satin Stitch, Diamond Smyrna Stitch, Upright Cross Stitch, Long Arm Cross Stitch, Pulled Thread, Modified Rice Stitch, Algerian Eye Stitch, Smyrna Stitch, Cable Stitch, Pattern Darning, Mosaic Stitch, Oblong Cross Stitch.
Threads Used: GAST Soot, DMC blanc Perle 8, Soie Cristale 0057, 0079, 4003, 5004, 6043, 7061, 7063, Caron Wildflowers Moss, Golden Grain, Periwinkle
Embellishments: Sterling Silver Beehive Charm (not used)
Modifications Made: Omitted black beads - substituted Soot cross stitch. Substituted GAST Soot for WDW Charcoal. Omitted some backstitch, and changed colours on others.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Photobucket appears to be down, and that's where I've saved all the scans from my recent finishes.

Of course, it would happen today when I finally have time to sit at the PC and blog ...


How did you get started stitching? Was there a person that inspired you?

I've always been "crafty" - I could knit before I went to school, and I had my first stamped cross stitch kit given to me when I was 6 or 7 - it became my first UFO :o)

My mum, especially, was and is a stitcher, and my gran and great gran were very good knitters and dressmakers. Mum taught me the basics at a very young age, and was quite unhappy with the way we were taught needlework at school - and the fact that the standards expected were rather lower than hers! I think because of the way stitching was taught, and because I never felt I could match up to my mum, I didn't serously do any embroidery until I was in my early twenties. I bought a kit (of Piglet, from Winnie the Pooh) for my sister's birthday, intending for her to stitch it. My mum said to me that it would be a waste of money, as my sister would have no interest in it. I was broke, and had no money to buy her another gift, so I set to and - up against a tight deadline - finished the kit! And from that moment, I was hooked...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Winter Peace - Sisters and Best Friends

I finished the stitching on this one in January 2007, but put it away as I didn't have the charms needed to complete it. Unfortunately, when I took it out again, I left it too close to an uncapped ink pen, and there was a black ink stain about 5mm across on it! Disaster! Especially when the ink didn't budge after two washes and Stain Devil treatment!

However, I raided my box of embellishments, and found the four snowflake buttons pictured - and one of them (guess which one...) covers the stain pretty effectively!

The colours on the scan are a bit duller than in real life - the effect is actually quite pretty, and wintery without being Christmassy. The fabric was one I had in my stash - it was quite a grubby cream/pale tan with greyish bits in it, I can't remember where from! The greyish bits also help disguise the remnants of the ink stain!

I enjoyed stitching this, but all the white on the snowman seemed to take forever!

I will probably finish this as a small banner as I have some nice hand dyed quilting cotton from Silkweaver that I think would co-ordinate well with this.

Design Details

Fabric: 28 count evenweave, colour unknown
Threads: Gentle Art Sampler Threads, DMC
Designer: Sisters & Best Friends
Chart Details: Winter Peace - SBF12 - Sisters & Best Friends (c) 2003
Stitch Count: 59H x 115V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch, Algerian Eyelet, Straight Stitch.
Threads Used: DMC 310, 3609, White. GAST Hyacinth, Butternut Squash, Cornflower, Pine, Avocado, Sugar Plum, Morming Glory. Two strands used throughout for cross stitch, one and two used for back stitch and straight stitch
Embellishments: Four snowflake buttons
Modifications Made: Substituted buttons for recommended charms. Omitted French knots on one snowflake.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bee Mine - The Victoria Sampler

Design Details

Fabric: 25 count Lugana, white
Threads: DMC
Designer: Thea Dueck
Kit Details: Bee Mine - The Victoria Sampler (c) 2001
Stitch Count: 16H x 30V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch
Threads Used: DMC 745, 223, 932, 3347 3371, 3345. Two strands used throughout.
Embellishments: Two bee charms.
Modifications Made: None.

Bee Happy - The Victoria Sampler

Design Details

Fabric: 25 count Lugana, white
Threads: DMC
Designer: Thea Dueck
Kit Details: Bee Happy - The Victoria Sampler (c) 2001
Stitch Count: 16H x 30V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch
Threads Used: DMC 437, 3777, 3347, 3790, 3371, 3345. Two strands used throughout.
Embellishments: Two bee charms.
Modifications Made: None.

Bee Gentle - The Victoria Sampler

Design Details

Fabric: 25 count Lugana, white
Threads: DMC
Designer: Thea Dueck
Kit Details: Bee Gentle - The Victoria Sampler (c) 2001
Stitch Count: 16H x 30V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch
Threads Used: DMC 745, 437, 223, 932, 3042, 3347, 3790, 3371, 3345 Two strands used throughout.
Embellishments: Two bee charms.
Modifications Made: None.

Bee Kind - The Victoria Sampler

Although the kits in this series are designed for beginners, and I left that category some time ago, they are so sweet - as well as being my favourite theme - that I collected the lot over time through eBay.

I did a couple last year when I was feeling really low and struggled with them - that's how I knew how bad my depression had got - but this one and it's three companions were all stitched during a 20/20 cricket match - so they took maybe 45 -50 minutes each.

The instructions in the kits were a credit to Thea Dueck's teaching skills - I'm going to keep them for when I get the chance to teach my niece (15 months) to stitch!. The fabric was cut to an adequate size, and there was plenty of thread included in the kit - as well as the bee charms and pretty mount/greeting card!

I haven't yet mounted this properly in the card yet, as I want to back them with interfacing, but I popped them in to scan them, as they look so much more effective like that!

Design Details

Fabric: 25 count Lugana, white
Threads: DMC
Designer: Thea Dueck
Kit Details: Bee Kind - The Victoria Sampler (c) 2001
Stitch Count: 16H x 30V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch
Threads Used: DMC 745, 223, 932, 3347, 3371, 3345 Two strands used throughout.
Embellishments: Two bee charms.
Modifications Made: None.

Beehive Beaded Pin - Mill Hill

(Apologies for the poor image - scanning an object with beads on isn't ever going to be hugely successful!)

This was something of an experiment for me - I bought this kit off eBay because basically it was a beehive - I wasn't sure about all the beading, but thought I would give it a go!

The hardest part of the kit was sorting the beads - fortunately, I had a spare bead caddy which I could use, but it was still annoying that all the beads were just jumbled together in one bag, especially as three of the colours were very similar when viewed "hole on".

There were sufficient spares to allow for dropped or misshapen beads, and a good quantity of thread, which was DMC. The instructions were very clear, and the formation of the flowers looked more complicated than it actually was!

Stitching on perforated paper is nice because the needle passes through so easily - no effort required! :o)

The suggested finish is as a brooch, but that's not really my style, so I think I might actually mount the finished piece onto a velvet background and frame it.

Design Details

Fabric: 14 count perforated paper, light brown
Threads: DMC Light Effects metallic threads
Designer: Ellen Scheidler
Kit Details: Spring Bouquet III - Beehive MHSB26 - Mill Hill (c) 1994
Stitch Count: 29H x 25V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Satin Stitch
Threads Used: DMC 319, 3046, 310 Two strands used throughout.
Embellishments: Mill Hill Beads 332, 62031, 2014, 62041, 62034, 2005, 123, 2011
Modifications Made: Substituted black cross stitches for the black beads in hive opening.

Jewelled Bracelet - DMC

I don't, as a rule, like stitching with metallics, but this little kit was so attractive I couldn't resist when I saw it in my LNS sale. In "real life" the colours are a little brighter, and the stitches stand pretty proud - in fact, DBF initially though it was a beaded piece when he saw it lying on the PC desk.

It stitched up pretty quickly, and as for finishing - there wasn't any, as the fabric was pre-overlocked, and the bracelet clasp already attached! The threads were reasonably well behaved, although I had to knot them into the eye of the needle. I couldn't find my "Thread Heaven" but I really didn't need it.

Design Details

Fabric: 14 count aida, black
Threads: DMC Light Effects metallic threads
Designer: unknown
Kit Details: Light Effect Bracelet - Jewel - DMC (c) 2005
Stitch Count: 6H x 75V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch
Threads Used: DMC Light Effects in E3849, E703, E718. Two strands used throughout.
Embellishments: None
Modifications Made: None

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Alphabet - Historic Needlework Guild

(The piece is actually straight, this is just a bad scan!)

I bought this kit from eBay a while ago, and stitched it on Saturday whilst listening to the 20/20 Finals day on the radio. Cricket commentary and needlework are an excellent combination, as I don't switch off my hearing so much when stitching, which I tend to do when either reading or sitting at the computer - this took me about seven hours all told

As per the last HNG kit I stitched, hoop positioning was a bit of a pain, as the fabric was cut very small and to stitch the borders I had to keep moving the hoop - I hate that!

I stitched the design pretty much as charted, although I changed the Queen Stitches (which I hate doing, they're very fiddly) to Diamond Rhodes stitches - much quicker, plus they give a nice raised texture!

The design has been finished on the chart picture as a very fancy small cushion, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it - it certainly won't be anything so girly - it will probably just be framed and hung with the rest of my traditional style sampler collection.

Design Details

Fabric: 28 count linen, antique white
Threads: unknown stranded cotton plus gold metallic
Designer: Alice Okon
Kit Details: Alphabet, Little Exquisites Collection by The Historic Needlework Guild (c) 1997
Stitch Count: 66H x 66V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Algerian Eyelet Stitch, Diamond Rhodes Stitch
Threads Used: unbranded stranded cottons in seven colours. Two strands used throughout. Metallic thread used in one strand blended with one strand cotton
Embellishments - Sterling silver heart charm
Modifications Made: Diamond Rhodes stitches substituted for Queen stitches.

Winter Basket - Lizzie*Kate

I stitched the main part of this earlier this year, but couldn't find the button required to finish it off ! This has now been rectified!

Lizzie*Kate is one of my favourite designers for fun, easy to stitch pieces that fit the relaxed style of this household! I didn't really like the designs when I first saw them, but I was involved in several online stitching groups where people were huge fans, and gradually I got sucked in ...

I enjoyed stitching this - it grew quickly, and I think the colours work well. Because it was such a long time ago, I can't remember exactly what I did - I think I used the DMC substitutions for most of the work (I'm not using over dyed threads for half a dozen stitches!) but I used overdyes for the alphabet, basket and foliage.

I have the other three seasonal baskets in my stash to stitch - someday!

Design Details

Fabric: 28 count linen, cream
Threads: Gentle Arts Sampler Threads & DMC
Designer: Linda Ebright
Chart Details: Winter Basket Snippet #S58 by Lizzie*Kate (c) 2004
Stitch Count: 49H x 48V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch
Threads Used: GAST: Maple Syrup, Shutter Green, Tarnished Gold, Dried Thyme, Pine. DMC 729, 3781, 221, 224, 3722. Two strands used throughout.
Embellishments: Pine Cone Button (JABC)
Modifications Made: Colour substitutions from as above. Stitched on cream linen, not antique white.

Bird in Tree

I bought this kit from eBay a while ago, and stitched it early this year. I've only just got round to pressing it and scanning it though!

It was quite straightforward to stitch, although hoop positioning was a bit of a pain, as the fabric was cut very small - I hate that in kits!

There is supposed to be a silver heart charm attached over the pink heart, but I've decided to omit that. The birds and the heart were also supposed to be stitched "over one", but as there was no fine detailing - the stitches were done in blocks of four - I stitched "normal" cross stitches over two! I also substituted Rhodes stitches for eyelets, as I find them easier.

The design has been finished as a flat fold needlebook, but I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it - I may even try to frame it to go with the collection of the traditional style samplers I have in the bedroom.

Design Details

Fabric: 28 count linen, antique white
Threads: unknown stranded cotton plus gold metallic
Designer: Alice Okon
Kit Details: Bird In Tree/Love Birds, Little Exquisites Collection by The Historic Needlework Guild (c) 1997
Stitch Count: 71H x 59V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Satin Stitch, Rhodes Stitch
Threads Used: unbranded stranded cottons in ten colours. Two strands used throughout. Metallic thread used in one strand blended with one strand cotton
Modifications Made: Silver heart charm omitted. Over one charted areas stitched over two. Rhodes stitches substituted for Algerian eyelets.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Back in the swing...

I didn't realise how much I was missing stitching until I started again! I have a rotation organised, and I seem to be back up to full speed - projects are growing quicker than I expected!

I'm using one of those small sets of drawers designed for offices to hold papers - with five sections, they are big enough to hold everything for each project, including a pair of scissors, hoops etc, and they keep the chart flat and uncreased too! They are also big enough to hold the things I think I will use for finishing - cord, fabric, even a small picture frame. Best of all, I can lift out a drawer and move around with it keeping everything together, then shove it away neatly when it's time to finish!

I hope that I don't "burn out" but I don't think I will, I'm prepared for when I slow down a bit, but I have so many lovely things in my stash, it would be such a waste to let them moulder :o)

I've decided that I'm going to stitch as many of my kits as possible, as they are taking up the most room overall - plus it means that (hopefully) I don't have to buy anything to complete them - although of course, there's always the time when the manufacturers haven't put enough thread in, grrr ... I'm short of enough Anchor 147 to finish six stitches - and I don't have a huge selection of Anchor, the very local LNS stocks DMC ... so I've just rung my mum to see if she can help!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007



Design Details

Fabric: linen, cream
Threads Used: crewel wool
Designer: Barbara Jackson
Kit Details: Strawberries - American Legacy Collection. Historic Needlework Guild (c) 1997
Stitch Count: not applicable
Stitches Used: New England Laid (Romanian Stitch), Stem Stitch, Satin Stitch, Split Stitch, Seed Stitch
Modifications Made: none

I'm not really hugely big on freestyle embroidery, because I find it all a bit too unpredictable - the repetitive nature of cross stitch on a grid (even if the fabric is fine) means I can switch off my brain to some extent and reach a meditative state, whereas with embroidery I have to concentrate a lot more on getting my stitches even, going in the right direction etc etc.

This is the result of my first completed attempt at traditional crewel work - the finished piece is about 3 inches square. I've done some of the stitches before, but I'd never attempted New England Laid stitch before, which was used to fill in the berries - I was pleased with how they turned out.

I find stitching with wools not very relaxing either, as they need a bit more effort to get them through the fabric, and they wear quite quickly - so you need to use shorter lengths, hence finishing off and starting off more often too!

I may finish this as a pincushion, or as the centrepiece of a larger cushion.

Jungle Room Plaque


This was a UFO (UnFinished Object) which I'd intended to stitch for Molly as a Christmas Gift for 2006. At least I will be ahead of myself for this Christmas!

This was a kit I purchased on eBay, and originally it came with 14 count aida, which I switched out, as I dislike stitching on aida, even with small (26) Petite needles. I thought that there would be fractional stitches, but the shaping is done solely with the backstitch.

I'm pleased with how quickly, relatively, it stitched up - and it's so jolly and cheerful! Molly loves animals, and her room is decorated with jungle creatures already, so this will add to the zoo!

I will either frame it or make it into a small padded wallhanging. Molly's room is quite small, so it may be the former, as this will fit a 5" x 7" mount.

Design Details

Fabric: 28 count evenweave, white
Threads: unknown stranded cotton
Designer: Gene Frehely
Kit Details: 16699 Room Sign, Sunset Jiffy by Dimensions (c) 1999
Stitch Count: 62H x 89V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch, Back Stitch, French Knot
Threads Used: unbranded stranded cottons. Two strands used for cross stitch, French knots, some backstitch, one strand used for remaining back stitch.
Modifications Made: Substituted 28 count evenweave in white for 14 count aida supplied; did personalisation in all capital letters; omitted white French knots in eyes.

Mothers Tree


It was my mother's birthday a couple of days ago and as she has pretty much everything she needs, as her main present I actually broke out my stitching for the first time in months and made her a sampler!

The sampler is of the matrilineal line - including my niece Molly, we now have 10 generations known, so I thought it an appropriate gift to mark the occasion, and the sampler commemorates three of my mum's major interests - family history, gardening, and needlework!

It's based on a concept I saw by designer Marilyn Leavitt Imblum, but I thought the actual design rather over done, so I raided my books and my magazines, and came up with a Jacobean Tree of Life (designed by Mary Hickmott) which was about the right size, and so I set to with graph paper and pencils to get the right sort of alphabet.

More by luck than judgement, it worked out okay - I was designed as I stitched, in terms of colours and "font" for the alphabet - I did get a bit close to the top edge by the time I'd finished, but as I was finishing the piece as a bellpull, it didn't really matter.

I hand finished the hanging with a matching backing fabric in green and gold. The cord was also handsewn on, and was a piece I had hanging around in my stash, I think it's a good match! I guess when you use one colour family a lot, everything you have tends to match!

I tried to find out more about Margaret Riddell, but in the limited time I had (from design to completion the piece took two weeks) and with limited resources, drew a blank. The full list featured is

17?? Margaret Riddell
1780 Elizabeth Reid
1805 Margaret Dey
1835 Margaret Silver
1874 Jane Smith
1901 MaryAnn Mitchell ("Little Granny")
1923 Donaldina Mitchell
1947 Sylvia McLeod
1970 Joanne W***
2006 Molly G******

(I scanned it, as digital camera is dead, only it's bigger than A4! So you can't see the last two names, nor the twisted hanging loop I did)

I did think about adding a piece to the back explaining I was the last of that particular branch, but I didn't know how to word it without it sounding a bit pathetic, really! But there's no way I'm having a baby just to add a name to a sampler :o)

I also stitched a card for mum - an Art Deco style iris - irises are her favourite flower. The scan didn't work out right, and I didn't notice until I came to do the upload just now, so I'm going to have to get my mum to do it, as the card's now in her possession, obviously!

I used to be a real stitching addict, but haven't done any for ages, it's very nice to feel like I'm getting back to it.

NB For grammar pedants, there were several possibilities for the apostrophe in Mothers. The reason there isn't one is that it is a tree of mothers, and not just my mother's tree. And that's my explanation. You may have done it differently, but I was the one with the needle and thread :o)

Design Details

Fabric: 28 count linen, colour unknown
Threads: DMC stranded cotton

Tree of Life
Designer: Mary Hickmott
Publication: Cross Stitch Gallery, Issue 11
Stitch Count: 61H x 92V
Stitches Used: Cross Stitch
Threads Used: DMC stranded cottons: 472, 702, 869, 910, 561, 743, 977, 351, 434, 817, 783
Modifications Made: None

Designer: Holly Witt
Publication: Cross-Stitcher's Big Book of Alphabets & Borders ISBN0-696-00034-2
Stitch Count: Not Known
Stitches Used: Back Stitch
Threads Used: DMC stranded cottons: 869, 561, 817
Modifications Made: None

Welcome back!

I've been over on Livejournal for the last couple of years, but as there seems to be a lot more stitching action over here, I've resurrected this journal as a place to keep a record of what I've worked on - which to be fair hasn't been an awful lot over the last couple of years either!

So, new start, new blog, new enthusiasm for all things stitchy. My Livejournal will continue, as it's a repository for book reviews as well as my thoughts on my daily life, but most of my friends over there are book people, not stitchers, so details of every last colour change might be a little tedious for them!