Saturday, June 28, 2008

Softie Tortoise

Design: Tortoise
Designer: Jean Greenhowe

This was a little tortoise I made for a softie exchange - the whole thing was less than 4 inches long. You can't really see because of the frill, but underneath the shell is a felt body with legs. The shell was made from a circle of fabric gathered, and the hat is a lace flower which I coloured with a marker pen to make it look more like a daisy. The fabric is some vintage Laura Ashley which I found in a charity shop.

Another Bloom - Lizzie*Kate

Design: Bloom - freebie available here
Designer: Lizzie*Kate
Threads: DMC as charted
Fabric: 14 count aida, tea dyed

This was my first version of Bloom and I made it into a little softie for a softie exchange. The front and back are made from felt - just the ordinary store bought stuff, not felt I've made myself! - the back is a peachy colour to match the tulip. The buttons came from my stash - the ladybug is hiding a little wrinkle where I stitched the flower closed after stuffing :o)

I was pretty taken with this finish, it was hard to part with it!

Tin Topper Finish

Design: Needles and Scissors (adapted)
Designer: The Victoria Sampler - a freebie available here

Threads: DMC

Fabric: 28 count linen, R&R Reproductions, Light Cocoa

This is not my usual style, I have to say. And not my usual finish- I did it as this month's challenge over on the Monthly Finishing Challenge Blog. There is rather too much glue involved for one of my finishing methods ;o) but it worked out okay. I adapted the lettering on the original design as I thought about giving this to my sister - I know for a fact she doesn't own a needle ... but with a mother and a sister who have hundreds, why should she? LOL. The other modification I made was to the hardanger section - instead of cutting and weaving in dove's eyes, I just stitched eyelets. Cheating? yes, but it looks good!

I think there's a bit too much 'bling' and fussiness for my taste but for what it is, I'm pleased with how it turned out, and the braid does hide the raw edges and such. The fabric is some I've had in my stash for years, I think it goes very well.

The base has a small padded 'cushion' so the stamps don't stick to the bottom. I think if I was making another one, I'd make the base a bit bigger.

I'm glad I did it, just not sure I'd do another!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Freebie Exchange

Design: Bloom freebie available here
Designer: Lizzie*Kate
Threads: DMC
Fabric: 28 count evenweave (quaker cloth)

My freebie exchange for a recent Hooked on Exchanges exchange went to Laurie in the USA.

I so enjoyed this freebie that I stitched it twice - once over two as a pin cushion, and once as petit point over one to make the scissor fob.

Each is trimmed with a butterfly charm from my stash. I used the DMC conversions and some evenweave I had in my stash. The tassel on the scissor fob is made with threads pulled from the left over fabric.

You can see the rest of the exchange over on the HoE blog

Friday, June 20, 2008

Goldfinch Card

Design: Goldfinch
Designer: Not known, from a British Cross Stitch magazine of the 90s
Threads: DMC
Fabric: 28 count evenweave

This card is a companion piece to the card I gave my dad for his birthday, but this time it was Father's Day.

Goldfinches are another bird that flock to my parents' garden - drawn by the seeds they put out, and the sheltered spot they have, with plenty of trees and shrubs. I love finches, they are so perky and cheerful!

I have two more birds stitched up, so that is next year sorted... (Lord willin' an' the creek don't rise...LOL)

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Hmmm... I have taken pictures of my latest WIPs, but the USB cable to download them has gone missing, so I'm afraid this is going to be a picture free post.

Morning Song, my stitch along with Sally, is still stuck on the sheepies, but that's because I've been distracted by knitting and didn't spend much time with it this week! It was World Knit in Public Day on Saturday - I sat for a couple of hours by the fountain in the Botanical Gardens with my needles and some wool. I started a project which I've just finished - it's the Twisty Bag from Sheepfold (I picked the kit up for 50p at a St Lukes shop, I wouldn't have paid £24.50, I'm too cheap!) I felted it in the washing machine - a tad risky, considering we've just had thte pump replaced but it turned out really well! It's my first attempt at felting, I've impressed myself as it was quite a scary thing to do with something that you've spent hours on...I've already started on another bag, using a multi coloured yarn - I think my knitting mojo is back :o)

I've arranged some trades - do check out my list and see if there's anything you fancy - so I will be getting some 'new to me' stash soon - always exciting! I've been pretty good about using my existing stash, but I think that's because I'm finding it more exciting than a lot of the new releases.

I bought a tin of mints from Marks and Spencer so I can do the Monthly Finishing Challenge - I think I'm going to use a Victoria Sampler freebie as the tin is virtually the same as an Altoid one, just green. I've never done a tin topper before, and as there's glue involved, I'm not sure it's going to be a happy experience!

I have a couple of exchanges to work on as well, which are the priority. I have an ornament to make for a Christmas in July exchange run by Simone but that doesn't have to be cross stitch, and I think I know what I'm doing for that. The other exchange is the Little House Needleworks exchange over on Hooked on Exchanges and I finished the stitched piece for this a while ago, but I need to make it up - probably into a pinkeep.

I don't think I'm going to have much progress to report next week either, as this weekend is going to be very busy with the exchanges, which will have to be kept under wraps - but hopefully I will find the camera cable and put up some pictures of the bag and the SAL,

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I haven't got a picture to share, but I'm on the sheep band in my Morning Song SAL - I wonder if I can finish it by the end of the month? I'm finding it a really enjoyable stitch, and I'm going to continue to stitch on a Just Nan project once a week, I think. I have quite a few in my stash. I fancy doing ... hmmm... don't know about that, maybe September Song next?

I've returned to Neat Country Stuff by Homespun Elegance, this is where I picked it up at:

I've finished the moon and stars block and have started the one in the bottom left, which is Noah and his ark.

I'm also working on the next blocks of my quilt. They are both tacked to the paper pieces and just need sewing together now.

I'm bored with working on Wooly Sheep. There, I've said it. I think I'm going to retire this to my UFO pile for now. I think it's the working with perle on a large count fabric - I've done several pieces like that recently and I want a change. There's not really any challenge with this, and I need something to occupy my brain a bit more.

Of course, this means that Random Thoughts can come out again ... ;o)

One of my exchange pieces for the month is done and just needs assembling, and for the other exchange, I have to make a Christmas ornament. I have a pattern pulled out, and I'm going to be moving away from cross stitch for it - I can't tell you more in case the recipient reads this blog!

Let It Begin With Me - SanMan Originals

Design: Let It Begin With Me (exclusive message board freebie)
Designer: SanMan Originals
Fabric: 28 count evenweave, antique white
Threads: Six Strand Sweets - Jelly Beans for the lettering, toning solids for the symbols

This has been lurking in my stash for nearly four years, stitched but not 'finished'. It was part of the 12 Days of Christmas freebies series that SanMan released in 2004 and I was going to stitch one a day from Christmas Eve onwards. This was the first - and only - one I completed, as my grandmother died unexpectedly on Christmas Day.

I do like the piece - I was a member of CND in my youth - but if I'd shared it with my gran, I can picture her wearing that slightly disapproving look she had - I am too liberal minded for us to have seen eye to eye on many subjects butwe saw past each other's hobby-horses :o)

This is a very simple wallhanging finish, with some lightweight batting inbetween the face and backing. I will use mini pegs to attach it to a hanger, when I've found somewhere suitable for it to hang.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wren - Birthday Card

Design: Wren
Designer: unknown, from an old edition of Cross Stitcher (UK) - I think
Threads: DMC
Fabric: 28 count evenweave, cream

To go with the gift, I also stitched my dad a birthday card. This had been lurking in my finishing pile for ages, and was going to be part of a patchwork cushion as there are three other birds in the series. However, my mum isn't keen on birds in art, so I thought it might be better to have the little jenny wren only on temporary display!

I chose the wren for the birthday card as there is nearly always a nesting pair of wrens in one of the hedges that form the boundary to my parent's garden. They are such sweet and perky birds, and I think that the designer has captured that very cleverly - before the backstitch went in, the bird was just a beige blob, but the outlines really brought it to life.

Celtic B - Mike Vickery

Now that this is safely installed in it's new home, I'm free to share some pictures!

Design: B - from the book Celtic Cross Stitch

Designer: Mike Vickery

Fabric: 25 count linen, antique white

Threads: DMC - three strands for cross stitch, one for back stitch

This was finished last month and given to my dad as a birthday present. I made it into a pillow as he likes his comfort :o) The pillow was a pre-made one, and I appliqued the design onto the front after turning a small hem. I used threads drawn from the excess fabric so the stitching couldn't be seen.

The design is one I started years ago and left unfinished at this point:

As you can see, there wasn't actually all that much to do, but I think I'd got fed up of the half stitches and the back stitching! I completed this mainly on my commute - the journey is short enough so that I didn't get bored, but the twice a day stint meant that the stitching grew quite quickly.

I love how the colours interact, but I'm not sure I would stitch something like this again.

Dad loved it, and it made a change for him from his usual "bloke gifts"!

Can I just say "thank you" to everyone who comments, and I see there are some newcomers and/or delurkers - it is much appreciated and I'm reading most of your blogs when I can - I'm sorry I'm not returning the compliment at the moment.

Hazel - in answer to your question, I'm not far away - I live on the southern edge of Sheffield and I work in Chesterfield. I was in the Peak when we went out with my dad for his birthday :o)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sunday Update

I'm still rushing around a bit, but in a couple of hours I shall be safely sat ona train, with nothing to do the the three hour trip except stitch (I don't bother looking out of the window, I've done the trip hundreds of times). I'm off for two days of courses in London, so I have a couple of evenings where it will just be me, my book and my needlework in a hotel room - no chores, no interruptions, no pressure ... I can't wait.

Sally - hopefully I will have some progress to show on Morning Song when I get back!