Friday, 24 February 2017

February Smalls SAL

Stitching Lotus Ornament SAL

The Smalls SAL is hosted by Stitching Lotus

This year I will be showing both my Hallowe'en and Christmas SAL partworks as well as any actual smalls I stitch.

Hallowe'en is Happy Hallowe'en by Imaginating and this month I stitched  a tipsy witch!

stitched on 32 count Lime Green Murano

For Christmas I am stitched Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas and this month I stitched two loved-up turtle doves:

I also stitched a small seasonal freebie which I made into a cube finish for Valentine's Day:

Tiny Heart by Amint Kipatten

Finally, some small daily stitching - my Ten-a-day project.  Now in it's 55th day:

Just Nan - Spring in the Square

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Theme-tas-stitch February Finish Focus

Theme-tas-stitch is hosted by Kerry

The cousin to Theme-a-licious, one of my favourite themed SALs and the birthplace of the stitching shoehorn!  Each month Kerry will be setting us a theme to fit our stitching into and then we link up on the 21st of each month.  Because there's a lot going on at the end of the month already!

Focus Finish February - 
Is there a WIP in your stash that you would love to get finished - then focus on a finish in February!
My current rotation is to stitch on my four monthly SALs and then focus on one project for the rest of the month with a view to making some major progress on some of my BAPs.  This month it was the turn of my Chatelaine.  A new start on Gardens of London.  Highly unlikely to see a finish there!   But here is my progress so far:

Day 1


Day 10 
stitched on 32 count Belfast Linen in Cotton Clouds by Crafty Kitten

I'm using a combination of the recommended DMC, some of the speciality threads (just started the Dinky Dyes silk) and my own conversion.  I've got a Jodyri thread lined up next.

This is absolutely going to be a long term project, we're looking at years rather than months but it's been a long time ambition so I'll just enjoy the journey.

I have also been looking at some Finish-Finishing this month.  So far we have a framed finish with a fabric border:

Just Nan - Counting Bats

A hand painted box frame:
Nora Corbett - Little Snowy Gray Cottage

A simple wooden frame from a charity shop:
The Workbasket - Fox Forest

A low-sew cube:
Amint Kipatten - Tiny Heart

and some scrapbook pages for my Hallowe'en scrapbook:
Witchy Stitches - Witchy Brew
Lizzie*Kate - Sampling Hallowe'en 

I keep my scrapbook finishes quite simple and I've left room for an additional pattern to be added on each page.  I am quite pleased with the variety of finishing styles I have used this month.  It was a deliberate decision so I would have something to show for this post!  Thank you Kerry for the incentive.

Finally, I've been ten-a-daying now for over 50 days which means I have over 500 stitches on my project piece:

Just Nan  - Spring in the Square
520 stitches.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Gifted Gorgeousness February Link-Up Post

2017 GG

Welcome to the first Gifted Gorgeousness link-up of 2017!  The link-up date will continue to be the 15th and I will keep the link-up open until the end of each month so you have plenty of time if you are late posting.

The format remains exactly the same, there is a list of rules on the main sign-up page if you want to check what is required but basically anything connected to the word "gift" is allowed, whether it was a gift TO you or is a gift FROM you.

I have continued to stitch daily on my Joan Elliott 12 Days of Christmas.  This month I completed the Two Turtle Doves, started the left hand Herald Angel and stitched more border.  This kit was a gift from my MIL.

I started and finished JBW's Antique Christmas Trees which was a giveaway prize from someone (sorry, generous person!).

Stitched over 1 on 32 count linen

Of course, the big news is that I started my Chatelaine, Gardens of London which was my Birthday present last year.  I have just stitched with DMC so far, all gifts from Susan.  Look how tiny it looks on this big piece of fabric:

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds Belfast linen from Crafty Kitten

Rather blurry close-up:

And now it's over to you.  This is where you link up your post for this month.  Please use your name or your blog name in the field and NOT the words "February Update" so I can easily see who has linked up this month.  And link to the actual post, not just your blog.  It is easier if you copy and paste the link, rather than typing freehand.  



I also received a gift last week, an early Birthday present.  Very early - it's not until September!  

Some gorgeous Sparklies fabric, two charts

and a little ornie:

Who sent all this gifted gorgeousness?

The one and only Mouse

Thank you, Mouse, I can't promise to save any of it until my Birthday LOL.  I've been working on a blog project for some time now, adding a page to my Happy Dance blog with all the stitched things people have sent me.  I do hope I haven't missed any!  You can find it here.  I have received some lovely handcrafted things over the years and wanted to have all the photos in one place to remind me of dear friends.

Finally, thank you to everyone who took part in the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop yesterday which was a great success.  Some people managed to hop round yesterday and others were planning to do it today.  Hopefully you all know who your sweetheart is by now!  
Easter Hop in two months time 🐇

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Secret Stitching Sweethearts Blog Hop

Happy Valentine's Day and welcome to the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop.  Over the last few weeks I have been receiving some lovely photos of love through the email.  At the weekend I emailed them out to the participants in this year's blog hop to display on their blog and wait for their Secret Stitching Sweetheart to come and comment.

Here are this year's particating blogs:

💖 Kitten Stitching 💖
💖 Jeremiah's Mom 💖
💖 Ariadne from Greece 💖
💖 Le Coeur Celtique 💖
💖 Stitch Niche 💖
💖 Jocondine 💖
💖 Thoughts & Musings 💖
💖 Needle, Pen & Sword 💖

To help inspire everyone with their stitching I posted a list of freebies designs suitable for Valentine's Day.  You can see the full list on my Themed Freebies page.  Here's the one I stitched this year:

It was my project for FFO Sunday this week and I made it into a cube finish, you can see the backing fabric here:

It's not quite an FFFO (Finally Fully Finished Object) because I realised that I didn't have any pink or red felt for the base.

The design is from the Amint Kipattan blog.  There are lots of different hearts there, look up "sziv" in the sidebar.  I hadn't noticed the little ribbon roses when I printed the chart out!   There's a first time for everything though and they look OK.  I stitched this on 32 count Pink Belfast linen from Zweigart using my own DMC colours and some random beads.  Which need reattaching where I caught them on the invisible thread!  I also changed the leaves to satin stitches.

I've stitched quite a few hearts over the years, here's a collage of some of them:

Finally, I've been making great progress on my Chatelaine but I'll keep it short today as you all have a lot of blogs to visit for the hop and I'll be back tomorrow for Gifted Gorgeousness.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

I Did It, I Only Went and Did It!

What did I did?

Here's a clue:

And another one:

And the next day:

And today:

Close-up to give you a better idea:

Bit of an angle:

Any guesses?

Regular followers may have noted my profile in the side bar gives a clue.  "My ambition is to stitch a day!"

Well that day is here!  Was here, last Friday to be exact.  I have finally started my Chatelaine.  So why has it taken so long?  I've been stitching for 24 years (big anniversary next year) and have done all sorts of complicated designs, speciality stitches and fibres.  I've done BAPs and tiny intricate pieces so why not a Chatelaine?  

Two reasons - One is indecision!  How do you narrow it down to just one design?  They are all so wonderful.  I knew I wanted to stitch a Mandala, I knew I wanted all the sides to be different, I knew I wanted it to be meaningful to me, somewhere I had been or wanted to go.  When Gardens of London was released a couple of years ago I knew I had found "my" design, it fitted all the criteria and was beautiful.  So why didn't I start it then?

Reason two - price!  Chatelaines are stinking expensive.  The charts are expensive, the fibres and beads even more so.  Yes, you can stitch them in DMC but isn't it nice to use the silks and the special threads?  Last year I was celebrating a special zero Birthday so I decided it was the perfect time to splash out on the design.  Martine was having a flash sale in the Summer and I managed to be there the one day she put Gardens of London on 20% off.  I suggested to people that they "sponsor" a thread so several of the speciality fibres have a person's name in the bag.  The DMC were all provided by Susan who is a real enabler!  The fabric and chart came from Birthday money my family gave me.

The fabric, incidentally, is 32 count Belfast linen in Cotton Clouds by Crafty Kitten.  Dawn and I joked about choosing a stormy grey but this is prettier and London does get sunshine too.  The colour in the first photo is probably most realistic.

So far I have stitched 3 DMC colours.  I plan to stitch as much of the DMC in the centre to make sure I get the placement right before I start on the Dinky Dyes and metallics.  I don't mind frogging and binning DMC!

Talking of metallics, there's a lot more on 12 Days of Christmas:

Close up of last night's section:

You can see I am stitching ////// then \\\\\\\ rather than each stitch individually.  You can also see I made a start on the second Herald Angel.  I decided that each time I stitch a block I will stitch the next day on the top part of the design to hopefully finish it by the end of the year.  The border will continue to be my evening project.  For ever....

Day 43 of the Ten-a-Day challenge:

Just Nan - Spring in the Square

Finally, what is the best Birthday present ever if you are 8 years old?  A helium balloon.  The Small Boy has played non-stop with his helium balloon.  Best £3.50 we ever spent!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

My Dearest Darling Edward

The two turtle doves arrived this morning and are cooing away in the pear tree as I write.  I'm so touched and grateful.
With undying love, as always, Emily

12 Days of Christmas (Correspondence) - John Julius Norwich

I have completed the second block of Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas:

It didn't take long at all because so much of it had been done for the 12 Days SAL at Christmas.  Here is the whole piece so far:

You can see where I am diligently stitching the gold metallic on either side of the red border.  I had used up one of the two skeins provided before I was even half-way done and it was obvious I would need more.  I emailed Design Works on Friday 3rd February with a photo of my progress and explaining the need for another skein of metallic thread.  They replied within the hour promising to send one.  Which arrived on Tuesday 7th February.  At first I assumed they had asked a UK stockist to send it, but no, the skein came all the way from the US in just four days, two of which were a weekend!   That's good service for you. 

I worked on Sunday so I decided the FFO for the weekend should be a simple one.  I found a great frame for £1 in a charity shop which was perfect for Fox Forest by The Workbasket:

I even managed to get an accurate photo of the fabric colour too.  It's 32 count Light Khaki linen.

I'm doing so well with the Ten-a-Day Challenge, stitching and posting photos every day.  Here is the current progress on Day 39:

That violet border is going to take some time!

Here's the first 36 days collage:

Finally, it's nearly time for the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop.  If you signed up to take part, please could you email me your photo by Friday 10th February.  If you haven't signed up then you have until Friday to let me know you'd like to be involved.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Sensationally Super Alphabet Society

It's the first Saturday of the month so it's time for detention!

"They only met online, but it changed their lives forever"

I think most of you know the lovely enigmatic Chiara who blogs at The Grey Tail?  We were chatting via email a while back and between us came up with the idea of an A-Z language challenge.  We batted some ideas around and are calling it the The Alphabet Club.  Chiara has the full details on that link but basically she will post a link-up post on the first Saturday of each month (Saturday being detention day in the film) reminding us of the month's letter and we will all link up with themed things, from stitching to designers and local customs.

S is for Skeleton from The Dark Alphabet by A Note of Friendship Blog.  The charts are no longer available on the blog, but contact Julie or Becky via their emails and ask if you are interested in stitching this project.

S is for Sampler, this month's block in The Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke's Books:

stitched on 28 count afghan

Here is the page I have just completed.  I plan to make a soft book out of these when I finally finish the stitching.

So, Sampler, I love Samplers!  Modern ones, reproduction ones, large ones, tiny ones. I just love them.  In fact the first project I ever cross stitched was a mini sampler:

14 count aida, stitched in 1993

I won't attempt to show every sampler I have stitched, that's what The Happy Dance blog is for.  But here is a collage of my older finishes, these were all completed in my pre-blog days prior to 2011:

S is for Speciality Stitches.  Apparently Americans say "specialty" instead of "speciality", another example of the missing vowels to go along with all the missing letters "u" in words.  This little sampler is one of my favourites for speciality stitches, there are 14 different stitches in a piece 3 x 2 inches in size:

Love by Drawn Thread

There are plenty of designers beginning with S to choose from too.  I counted 16 on my Happy Dance blog!  Three of my favourites are Satsuma Street, Shepherd's Bush and The Sweetheart Tree, so here's one design from each:

Pretty Little London by Satsuma Street

Bilberry by Shepherd's Bush

Tudor Rose by The Sweetheart Tree

S is for SALs, you can see the full list on my WIPocalypse post or you can click on the icons in my sidebar to visit the hosts.  SALs are a great way to keep you on track with your stitching and your blogging.  They are also a good way to connect with other stitchers and feel part of our community.  There's nothing like knowing that people all over the world are thinking "there's a new moon, time to show the world my ORTS" at the same time as you are!

Now the really hard bit - the Blog Roll.  There are so many S blogs it would be impossible to list them all!  Again, I have a list of blogs I follow in my sidebar if you want to check them out but here are a few who comment regularly and I have followed the longest.

and lastly, because she's pretty much the only S blogger without the word "stitch" or "sew" in her title:

Secret Stitching Sweetheart

Finally, a whole slew of S's - Secret Stitching Sweetheart!  The next blog hop I am hosting is for Valentine's Day.  All you have to do is send me a photo of something you have stitched which is suitable to send to a stitching friend.  I will send the photos to the participants who will post on their blogs and then we hop around to find out who sent which photo.  I need the photos by Friday 10th February please to give me time to sort them out.