Monday, March 31, 2008


Well, I finished the good luck present for the two guys I work with - it turned into a small flatfold, and they were thrilled with it! I should have a photo to show of it completed when it comes back from being a lucky charm in the dressing room ...

I'm working on the pinkeep for the Hooked on Exchanges exchange, and I think I've chosen too big a design - especially as I'm stitching it on 28 count fabric. When I've made it up, it will be about 5" x 6" which seems a trifle large to me. I do have a smaller design I could stitch as a replacement ... especially as this current design would fit into the "freebie" theme for the next exchange, if I'm fast enough to sign up. Oh, what to do ... perhaps this is a sign I should keep away from exchanges, as I cocked up the last one I was in too, I got the lady's birthday date wrong :o( How silly - and such a shame for the recipient! The package is in the post now, of course, but I haven't heard if it's got there yet.

I'm having trouble getting my digital camera to talk to my PC at the moment - the PC recognises it's there, but it won't upload the photos! I've got stacks of finishes to share, but no way of showing pictures ... I might bring the camera and USB cable to work, and try and sort things during my lunch break, as this blog is rather dull without pictures! It's probably a bit dull with them, but I tell myself there are people interested in my witterings...

Right, I'm going to go and get stitching on a pinkeep - which one yet, I don't know!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Stashing on the cheap ...

I'm still sneezing and coughing, but I keep telling myself it will pass - I'm drinking a herbal tea called Yogi Tea Himalaya which is mostly ginger - it's strong stuff, and it's certainly helping. It's very warming and helps clear your head at the same time!

Yesterday, after the Hermit and I had brunch at our local cafe, I went for a browse around the shops in our neighbourhood. I'm lucky enough to have not only a general craft shop but a quilt shop within 20 minutes walk of the flat, as well as a host of charity shops, so Ith ought a walk in the fresh air and a visit to these treasure palaces would make me feel better, and I was right!

In one particular shop, I struck the crafter's equivalent of gold :o) Stash! I bought George the Giraffe (RRP £10.50, charity shop £0.79)and a Little Suzy's Zoo Card kit (RRP £6.49, CS £0.99) - both of which I will stitch for my niece. I also - because I do knit from time to time - bought a kit for making a felted bag (£0.50) and 800g of Aran yarn in a funky purple, which will be enough to make a cardigan for me (£3.50). It's always nice to have new stash, but it's even nicer when it's a bargain, and when you've helped a good cause (our local hospice) too!

I then went to the quilting shop. Nothing there can really be said to be a bargain, but she has such nice fabrics ... I bought a fat quarter of a Chinese print for backing the good luck symbol I'm making for the guys I work with, a half yard of a fabric for making a finished project into a pillow (or possibly a wall hanging), some assorted FQs (these were a bargain, 6 for £5)and three skeins of Stef Francis threads. So I probably blew all the money I saved in the charity shop, but I've told myself I needed all that I bought, and that I had projects in mind for what I got - which is mostly true! Oh, and I shouldn't really link to websites - I've just seen the special offers on Stef's website, and the kits, and the pewter charms, and the buttons and ...

Okay, deep breath, calm down.

When I got back - and after I'd shown the Hermit my stash, and he'd made the appropriate interested noises, I settled down to stitch. The Chinese good luck symbol is being stitched in half cross stitch over one group of threads on read 22 count hardanger. I'm using an odd thread I found in my stash - I think it's coton a broder - it's thicker than perle 12, and matt. It's looking very effective, but it got to be a strain as the evening got darker, stitching on quite a small scale. So, I also started my HoE pinkeep exchange piece - in fact, I started it twice, as I wasn't sure about the colour scheme - it's a freebie from a favourite designer of the recipient, but I am doing it on a lighter fabric than the designer used, so everything needs tweaking. This designer is a favourite of mine, too, so I will complete both, and then decide which one to send - it will probably come down to which one I finish best, as I've only made a pinkeep once before!

Okay, it's probably time to get back to the needle - I have a lot to do if I want to have a finished finish for tomorrow morning! Thanks for dropping by, and thank you to all who comment, it's appreciated!

Friday, March 28, 2008

I'm full of a cold at the moment, and being at work is interesting - the guys I work with have a World Premiere performance on Monday, and so we're trying to avoid each other ... which is a bit tough when I'm also trying to sort out press and such for the event and need their input ... my office is next to the rehearsal room, and the tech stuff has been added, so I'm getting all the sound effects and music score now - think Victorian Music Hall. Well, it makes the working day interesting ... I'm online at the moment because I've just decided to stitch a good luck card for them, featuring the relevant Chinese character, given that the play involves a "Chinese" conjuror. Yay for Google - I found a great freebie, so with a bit of personalisation, I will have something nice for Monday!

It will mean that Random Thoughts get pushed aside for a while, but as I didn't sleep well last night, I got quite a bit done on it in the wee small hours! I'm over one third done, and even the over-one stitching isn't proving too tough. I've changed the Queen Stitches again though - they have to be my least favourite stitch of all time. Is there anything you really dislike working?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Getting up to date!

Well, I've finally finished posting about my 2007 finishes ... there's still a way to go until I get totally up to date though - I've been stitching up a storm, plus there's a host of exchanges to admire too :o)

I've decided though that I'm going to chat about my stitching even if I have no pictures to share, as the process is part of the fun. And also, I might move some of my more personal stuff, which I blog about on Livejournal over here too, as I'm not happy with some of the changes on Livejournal.

So, this blog could see action on a more regular basis :o)

I started a new major project over the long Easter weekend - Drawn Thread's Random Thoughts. I think I bought the chartpack from Sally several years ago, when she was rationalising her stash (thank you Sally!), and having recently stitched My Favorite Things, wanted to stitch something else by the same designer, as it was so enjoyable! I've chosen a DMC vintage linen from my stash to stitch it on, and the combination of stitching on linen with silk feels quite decadent - my daily travel projects are all on aida with cotton! Already I have done several of the spot motifs - it's very addictive, I keep saying "just one more ..." I'm looking forward to getting back to it this evening, I didn't really want to come to work!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

December Sampler Accent - Periwinkle Promises

I think I will scan this and replace the picture, but this will give you an idea of how one of my last 2007 finishes looks!

It's another little sampler accent kit from Periwinkle Promises, and doesn't it look all serene, with the little angels on it ... those angels caused rather a lot of swearing and frogging, as the spacing isn't consistent across the row, something I failed to recognise, until my angels didn't line up under their haloes ...

I'm still to be convinced that silk is somehow "better" than cotton for stitching with too.

This shall be finished as a mini-pillow, hopefully before this December!

Design details:
To be added

Ho Ho Ho Scissor Case - Lizzie*Kate

This was rather easier to stitch than the "Autumn" Scissor Case - no fiddly over one parts, and I used just two colours. I think I used GAST Buckeye Scarlet and Dried Thyme rather than the Weeks Dye Works threads called for, as I don't particularly like those - I think they stitch up thin.
I wish there was a more general "winter" kit like this - perhaps one day there will be ...
Design Details
To be added

Monday, March 17, 2008

Jungle Room Plaque

I finished this earlier in 2007, and finally made it up into a wallhanging as a Christmas gift for my niece. The pale yellow is to co-ordinate with her room, and I used some mini pegs so it could be hung on a ribbon. I also left a reasonable margin in the hems so that it can be framed at a later date, when Molly's mum is happy to allow a framed picture in the room - little fingers are a tad too curious at the moment!
Years ago, I gave my sister a bellpull for her birthday (I could afford to have it framed) and left about 1.5 inches all round the stitching in total - she had the piece framed last year, and the framer has done an excellent job, which is good for the future - I'd like Molly to enjoy stitched pieces now, but also in the future, and framing behind glass does preserve things - even though it empties the wallet ... LOL

Christmas Bells - Janlynn

This was the Christmas card I stitched for my parents. The kit came from a charity shop, and although it wouldn't necessarily be a design I'd choose to stitch again, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. I substituted beads for the charted red and gold french knots, and they added a bit of Christmas sparkle to the design, as well as looking neater. I can't stitch french knots - technically, mine are colonial knots, and they can look a tad baggy!
The card mount had embossed holly leaves on it which was a nice touch, I thought.
Design details:
To be added.

The White Cat - Bent Creek

I'm not sure why I like this, but I do :o) I'm really one of the least cat loving personI know, although my partner is fond of them, and would love for us to have one!

I think it's the expression on the cat's face that I love. This mouldered for a while in my finishing pile, but I got the motivation to finish it up when I got my wonderful packet of mini buttons which I've often mentioned before! I wanted a simple finish, so I just made it into a mini pillow/pin cushion. The back is a very small beige country floral print, which echoes the flowers on the front.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Christmas Wishes Stocking - Thistle Threads

This is the made up ornament I stitched for my sister. I'm not entirely happy with it - I tried to get an even border of aida round the stitching, but that didn't really work, so I made it more of a freehand shape. I can see why the designer made it for one of her pre-shaped cards now... LOL

The Holly and The Ivy

This was the Christmas card I gave my sister and BIL this Christmas just gone. The design was a free cover kit from one of the UK stitching magazines (Cross Stitcher, I think) back in the 90s. I mounted it in a better quality card, and used peel-offs for the greetings inside and out. I'm not very good with peel-offs, even manipulating them with tweezers, so the writing got a bit distorted!
Only a few more Christmas pieces to post about, then I can get onto this year's stitching!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Christmas Ornament - Brightneedle

This cute little pincushion is a Brightneedle ornament, stitched in petit point over one. the design is from the 2002 JCS Ornament Issue, I think. This would have been stitched about four years ago, and it was only this Christmas that I made it into a finished article!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Stitching as Therapy

Isn't stitching soothing in times of stress? Sorting and kitting up my stash was an excellent displacement activity for some of my worries about Dear Partner this week, and working on My Favorite Things is helping me deal with the news from my dearest friend this weekend. These things aren't stuff I feel comfortable talking about yet in a public blog, but my mind can't dwell on them while I have needle and thread in hand, and the calm, repetitive nature of stitching does bring peace to my frazzled brain.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Goals, reviews and future plans...

Where has February gone? Even with an extra day, it's just zipped by!

Fortunately, I achieved my goals for the month, so I'm a happy bunny :o) (white rabbit! by the way)

I'm still very behind on posting pictures to my blog, or even writing much to this one, but I'm getting there - at least photographs have been taken of everything I stitched in 2007, plus exchanges that have arrived here, and some of the things I've made this year ... I'm in awe of the people whose blogs I read, who manage to write something entertaining regularly, and post regular updates!

I don't know if I've mentioned, but my new job is part time, flexible hours (and it's bliss...) - so Thursday and Friday I had the flat to myself, so I hauled out the charts from my stash, the boxes of fabby from my stash, and tried to kit as much as I could up! And yup, it took a day and a half ... obviously, some of the fabric that the charts called for I had, and some I didn't, so often it was judgement calls - and have you noticed how inaccurate the cover photos on charts can be when it comes to fabric colour? I used to specify a lot of print in previous roles, and would never have accepted some of the repro I've seen... Anyway, I have nearly *blushes* 150 projects ready to go with fabby, and I've divided them up into little groups of 8 or 10, and my goal is to work my way through a bag in six months... the upside of this is that I've really looked at my stash, and some charts on my pile I just didn't feel like giving up my precious hoard of fabric to use, so they will probably get passed on.

As a result of this exercise, I have a new start - one of the many Drawn Thread charts in my stash, none of which I have stitched. It's called My Favorite Things, and can be seen here.

I'm not actually stitching it on the specified fabric, but the floss toss worked for me, and I'm enjoying it so far. It's a little more challenging that a lot of the things I've been working on lately, but that's a good thing - and the instructions are incredibly clear.

The picture is a little dark, but it shows my progress after one evening - I've nearly completed four sections, just the backstich tree trunks to do but I can't find my floss in that colour. There's something like 32 sections in total LOL so there's a way to go yet. I have a craft shop within five minutes walk of the apartment, so the lack of floss will shortly be rectified :o) Unfortunately, the shop has become less of a needlework shop in the time I've lived here, and more a papercraft shop, but that seems to be a general trend. At least I'm okay if I run out of DMC :o)