Monday, April 27, 2009

Petites Lettres Rouges - Blackbird Designs


Design: Petites Lettres Rouges
Designer: Blackbird Designs - freebie available here
Threads: Stef Francis Fine Mercerised Cotton - Colour 41
Fabric: 28 count evenweave (jobelan) - antique white

I think I ought to rename this Petites Lettres Arcs-en-ciel, because of the rainbow of colours in it :o) They haven't come out very well, as it's a very dull and rainy day here today, and I wanted to email the picture to Alma and Barbara.

I loved stitching this, because using my great grandmother's name triggered many happy memories - she was so much fun, and always full of mischief, even when her health failed and she developed Alzheimer's. I've misplaced a CD of family photos, so I can't share any at the moment, but there is a classic one of granny pinching sweeties ...

My sister has a very strong resemblance to my great grandmother as a young woman. My grandmother too looked very like her mother. And my sister's child, my niece - bizarrely, given that she was born almost twenty years after the death of little great gran - has some of her mannerisms - and way of walking ;o)

I have to say, I look more like my other maternal great grandmother, but in character I think I'm more like my little great gran - I try not to take myself too seriously, certainly!

The Drawn Thread Exchange




Design: Spring Keeper
Designer: The Drawn Thread (freebie available here)
Threads: DMC as charted
Fabric: 28 count jobelan, antique white

I stitched these for Marie for an exchange on the Friends Through Threads exchange board (where there are better pictures, Marie is a better photographer than I!) I did most of the stitching on a lovely spring weekend I spent in York.

I made one into a scissor fob, and then using the same method, made the other into a floss ring.


Marie was also my sender, and she took my breath away with this piece - it has been beautifully mounted onto a photo album which co-ordinates perfectly! The design is taken from Brown Ranch Sampler chart. Marie also kindly included a Prairie Schooler chart, thread, fabric, buttons, tassels ... lots of goodies in my favourite colours - there's a good photo on her blog of everything, and a better photo of the album!

This was a fun exchange - thank you Marie!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Winter Quaker Exchange




Designs: Quaker Needlework Accessories
Designer: With My Needle (Ellen Chester)
Source: Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issues
Threads: House of Embroidery, Touch of Grey (27A and 27C)
Fabric: 28 count jobelan, antique white

I stitched these for Laurie for the Hooked on Exchanges Winter Quaker Exchange. I thought using the designs from the Christmas Ornament issues would be appropriate, but I wanted to make the designs wintery, and not Christmassy, and the House of Embroidery threads seemed to talk to me of grey and icy winter days! House of Embroidery threads are lovely to work with and the colours are gorgeous!


I finished the swan as a pincushion (I think the original called for a needlebook) and beaded the edge with one of my last purchases from my now-closed LNS.


The reverse has mine and Laurie's initials stitched over one in a fairly random placement, using the alphabet from another design in the series. I like to think of the flowers as snowdrops, carrying on the winter theme.


The scissor fob was tiny - just over an inch square - and manipulating the fabric to bead the edges was tricky! I think it was worth it, though!


This time, I just put Laurie's initials on the reverse.


One day, I will stitch the entire series for myself ...


And I'm so pleased my new camera takes decent pictures :o)

Friday, April 24, 2009

End of the week update


My Happy Sock is coming along nicely - I'm currently on the toe decreases, only a few more rounds and the dreaded grafting to do and then it's done! I'm already planning my next pair, I love having socks on the go, they are so portable!


And only one more band to do on the Antique Hearts Needleroll too, although of course there's quite a bit of hem stitching needed at this point. The picture is 'fresh off the hoop' - I'll iron it next time!


Somehow - probably because it got stuffed in my bag - Petites Lettres Rouges met with either ink or eyeliner ...

However, with my trusty bottle of Stain Devil and a cotton bud ...


I'm very relieved, because it really is a pretty piece. I've also washed it in dish detergent and warm water and the colours stayed absolutely in place, which is always a relief when dealing with hand dyed threads!

So, hopefully this weekend, in between completing a Uni assignment, I will have at least one happy dance!

September Sampler Accent - Periwinkle Promises


Design: September Sampler Accent
Designer: Periwinkle Promises
Threads: Silks as charted (provided in kit)
Fabric: 28 count Glenshee linen

This was a quick construction to make the sampler accent into a little mini pillow to co-ordinate the others I have made from this designer. I didn't make the little tassels for the corners as I think the design is busy enough as it is!

Biscornu Exchange Arrived



I'm slightly behind in posting pictures of goodies received, but how could I not share this beauty? Verona from Hooked on Exchanges stitched it for me, and it is so pretty and delicate. The finishing is just perfect, too, with two cute little buttons.

What a lovely addition to one of my smalls baskets, thank you so much Verona!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bloom Where You Are Planted - The Victoria Sampler



Design: Bloom Where You Are Planted (freebie available here)
Designer: Thea Dueck, The Victoria Sampler
Threads: DMC
Fabric: 28 count evenweave

My partner in the HoE Biscornu Exchange was Gabi, and having looked at her blog, I thought that she might like a design from The Victoria Sampler, so I chose one of the freebies and set to work.

I also liked Just Nan's way of using two different fabric colours for a biscornu. Isn't it amazing though just how different a design can look on a different background?

I used DMC threads through out, and I personalised the back with our locations and the blog name - our names were a bit too small to fill the space :o) I used beads to fill in the corners.


This was taken with my old camera, so it's not a very good picture of the top - the flash has washed out a lot of the detail, but the none-flash photos were too blurry to use!


Here is a close up of the back. For some reason, this photo came out fine!


And this is the full package I sent to Gabi - I went for nice flowery things to complement the stitched piece.

I do enjoy making biscornu, and receiving them too - my next post will show the one I received!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Valentine's Flip It - Lizzie*Kate


Design: Valentine's Flip It
Designer: Lizzie*Kate
Threads: DMC and various overdyes
Fabric: 14 count aida, tea dyed by me

This little cute and cheery design needs the charm attaching, but I thought I would share it anyway.

As far as I can remember, I used the charted DMC conversions and also some of the new DMC varicoloured threads. I really ought to keep notes ...

The fabric was part of a batch tea dyed with my own fair hands, and I have a couple of other pieces to stitch others in this series with.

The series will be framed in simple pine frames from Ikea, to go with the original monthly Flip Its I stitched.

Woodland Exchange Received!

I think this exchange from the USA had wings, because it arrived Thursday morning, having only been posted on Monday! Unfortunately, I've been tied up with work and Uni stuff to post pictures before now, but I have been using and admiring my gifts!


Stacy made both these fabulous items for me - a needlebook/beading wallet and a scissor case.

The design is by The Drawn Thread, one of my favourite designers, and is called Four Fat Friends (freebie available here)

The backing fabrics perfectly match the design, and are in some of my favourite colours, and the cord is handmade to match too.


Opening up the pouch, there are some little pockets which are just the right size for a packet of needles, and Stacy included some Piecemaker needles - my first packet of these very famous necessities!

But wait, there's more ...


Open another flap and there is a non-slip surface for putting beads on so that they are easily accessible when embellishing stitching! And it works great - I used it when I was adding beads to one of my current WIPs and it's so much easier than juggling with my bead caddy!

And can you see the little quilted bird? Here's a close up:


There's a tree pattern quilted into the back of the pouch too, but I couldn't get a good photo of that :o/

Thank you Stacy so much for such a wonderful, thoughtful and creative gift!I'm amazed at the attention to detail in your stitching and finishing. I hope you had as much fun making it as I will using it!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Works in Progress

I've been a busy little bee recently - yes, even on the stitching front - but some of my recent finishes I can't share with you yet, as they've not reached their destinations.

However, I thought I'd show some of the things that are currently in my workbag.


First up is my current commuting project, which will be a sock when it grows up! I'm knitting it on 2.5mm needles, from a pattern in Charlene Schurch's excellent book. The book looks scary at first, all figures and tables, but it really is a joy to knit from.

I wish I could say the same about the yarn though. It's Wendy Happy (colourway: Taurus) and it's not making me very happy. It is 75% bamboo, 25% nylon, and it feels fabulous, don't get me wrong, all soft and smooth and squooshy and silky, but it splits and untwists, and I don't like how the colours repeat, even though I like the colours. I'm also not convinced - despite being sold as sock yarn - that it will prove to make comfortable socks that don't slouch. Anyway, I should have this sock done by the end of the week, and that will be the pair done, so I will wear them and report back!


The dodgy photo isn't the fault of my new camera, it's the fault of the old photographer!

This is going to be the latest addition to my every growing baskets of smalls. It is based on Shepherd's Bush's Antique Heart Needleroll but stitched on my own choice of linen and using beads, charms and lace from my stash. It's coming along nicely, but since the picture was taken, I've already changed the charm!


I don't normally start something as soon as the chart is posted, but this design just spoke to me - I think it was seeing it on Vonna's blog which did it!

The design is a Blackbird Designs freebie, and I've chosen to stitch it on cream 28 count jobelan, with a Stef Francis fine mercerised cotton. I used this hand dyed fibre for an exchange piece last year, and I've been itching to make something for myself with it ever since, and this sampler seemed the perfect thing!

The designer suggests using a family name for the 'signature' and as the sampler is called Petites Lettres Rouges, I'm using the name of my very petite great grandmother. My 'little great gran' was always tickled by her title, and at well under five feet, was just the right size for a cuddle when we were little.


Here she is on the right hand side. The baby that is being admired is my own good self ... the curly hair was yet to grow in :o)

By coincidence, LGG's maiden surname is the same as my partners, so it also fits.

As my Ma has traced back eight maternal generations from my own, I could do quite a few samplers ...

Thank you for dropping by, I hope your day is as sunny and bright as mine is!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rescued Stitching - Pincushions


I was rootling through the picture frames in a local charity shop, and found one that was the perfect size, finish and shape for one of my projects. Aha! So I pulled it out of the box, and saw that it already had stitching in it. Which made me a little sad, that someone could give away stitching, but the stitching and frame cost me only £1 and I knew both were going to a good home...

The multi aperature mount for the stitching was pretty poor - badly cut out and faded - so I took the whole thing apart, and - as planned - used the frame for something else. The stitching had been attached to the mount with double sided tape, and on looking closer at it, the stitching itself was uneven, with crosses going in both directions, and some stitches hadn't been completed either, and left half finished. The pieces were all on different sizes of fabric too. I wondered at the story behind them, and wondered what I could do with them...


A trip to my fabric stash found the perfect oddment of fabric with a garden theme, and I made them up into pincushions. This wasn't as easy as it seemed, as the borders on each piece weren't even, and on some I only had 2 or 2 aida blocks as a seam allowance...

But I do now have a trio of pincushions, and the colours match my living room decor! (as you can see - the photo was taken on my living room carpet)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring - Prairie Schooler


Design: From Spring Samplers (out of print)
Designer: Prairie Schooler
Threads: DMC as charted
Fabric: 28 count jobelan, antique white

I stitched this for the Year Round Prairie Schooler Exchange. My recipient was a very special blogger, and I wanted to make a special piece for her. I'm glad to say Barbara seems to have liked it!

The piece is from an old out of print chart, and I stitched a section of one of the samplers. I really enjoyed it, and I can't wait to stitch it for myself - the colours blend beautifully, and the motto reminds us all that in every life, pleasure always comes - even if we have to go through bad stuff first!

I did alter it very slightly - I changed the quilt block section for another from the chart, and I added my initials in the alphabet section. Barbara's were already there :o)


I used the country style fabric you can see here to back the piece and I made it into quite a large pinkeep.


I'm sitting out of the current round of exchanges, but I'm looking forward to joining in again when I get a little more time.

Friday, April 10, 2009

March 2009 Goals and Results

These were my March goals:

  • Winter Quaker Exchange - DONE - I stitched a pincushion and matching fob
  • Drawn Thread Exchange - DONE - I stitched a scissor fob and thread tag
  • Mother's Day Card - NOT DONE - Ma got a purchased card this year!
  • Mother's Day Gift - NOT DONE - Ma got a couple of T-shirts for an uncoming holiday, something she could use, and I think she actually preferred that. My Ma is very practical!
  • Dresden Plate Quilt Block - NOT DONE - this quilt is just not happening :o(
  • Lizzie*Kate Round Robin - Lizzie*Kate - NOT DONE - this isn't one that needs posting, it is to fill in a block on one that was returned to me incomplete.
  • 31 March - Pair of Socks - DONE
In addition, I finished another shawl on the knitting retreat I organised - it's HUGE!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

February 2009 Goals and Results

These were my goals for February:
  • Follow Your Heart - Lizzie*Kate - Wallhanging - I was going to 'finish' this into a wall hanging, but it didn't get done. The fabric has been chosen and cut, though!
  • Pair of Socks - DONE - These were made from yarn I got at Christmas, so I'm pleased about that!
  • Biscornu Exchange - DONE
  • Neat Country Stuff - Homespun Elegance - this is now definitely a UFO!
  • Prairie Schooler Exchange - DONE
  • Wild Goose Chase Quilt Block - no. I have been invited by the quilt shop owner to her drop in sessions though, so I'm hoping to get some work done soon!
  • Winter into Spring - The Drawn Thread - no, although it is all kitted up!
However, it wasn't all bad, though, I did get these other items done:

  • Kiri Shawl - you can see this in one of the posts below.
  • Chunky Cable Beret - a project that caused me more problems than the shawl!
  • 3 pincushions - made up from some 'rescued' stitched pieces
  • September Sampler Accent - made into a mini pillow
  • Bookmark for a birthday gift
  • Valentine Flip It - Lizzie*Kate - stitched and ready to frame
I don't think I did too badly, especially as that month my hours at work were increased, and I had my birthday and the related celebrations...


Has it really been more than six weeks since I last posted an update? So, what have I been up to?

  • I turned 40
  • I had a huge declutter of the flat
  • I started working more hours per week
  • I made a big presentation and proposal for one of my Uni courses
  • I went to York for the weekend with my stitch n bitch friends
  • I read a lot of books
  • I knitted three pairs of socks and a shawl
  • I stitched two pinkeeps and two scissor fobs
  • I secured funding for my job for the next two years
  • I got a new digital camera with my birthday money and then had a tea-related incident with it
So - what have you all been up to?

(and I do have a working camera, so there will be photos coming soon!)