Monday, 17 February 2014

It's been so long

Oh, dear. I had such good intentions, but you know what they say about those!

This blog was supposed to be a way for me to keep track of my stitching but I fell by the wayside and I'm struggling to remember what I stitched, and when.

Any road up, I'll try again. (It would help if I could remember how to type. It's taken ages to get this far!)
 Last time I blogged, I think I had finished stitching Diligence but the poor thing lay around until just before Christmas, when a trip to the Range resulted in the purchase of a frame for the princely sum of £8.99. A few (OK, a lot) of swear words later, Diligence was ready to hang in all its glory.

 Linen - 35ct from kit
Threads - AVAS from kit
Now, this is where things get a bit hazy.  I think the next thing I stitched was another Scarlet Letter sampler, Bird in Bough.  The kit was beyond my means so I ordered the chart, along with two others (more on those later).  I had a piece of 36ct Edinburgh linen in flax and, a quick tea bath later, I had my linen and I went with the DMC conversion.  It would be lovely to be able to stich with AVAS silks all the time but DMC suits my wallet.
There are two charts to choose from; a straightforward cross stitch chart and one with the bough and leaves stitched in split stitch and stem stitch. Guess which one I chose? Yep, always make things hard for myself! Once again, the trip to The Range secured a frame (£3.99!) and we were good to go.
Now, I know I've stitched more stuff, but this is all I can find on my camera. It's a Christmas ornament from, I think, The Gift of Stitching. I stitched it twice so that I could make it into a biscornu.  The blue side is GAST Chalk on 32ct Belfast - Blue Spruce and the white side is DMC 931 (I think) on a scrap of 32ct Belfast, possibly Antique White.
The air is turning blue, here, as my arthritic fingers keep hitting the wrong keys so I will finish this post and go hunt for some more stitching to photograph for another post.
Regards, Anne

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Long time, no post

With all the good weather we've been having, I've spent more time outdoors and so less time stitching.

I do have a new start. This is a kit that the lovely Carmen gifted to Irene and me. Carmen sent two kits with the instructions to fight it out decide between us who would stitch which (does that make sense?).  Irene decided that she probably wouldn't stitch this one so generously gave it to me.


The Golden Garden Sweet Bag by Forget-me-not in Stitches.

Here is my progress so far.

Not much to show, yet, because I have two major problems.  I have lost the ability to count and, although I can read the words, I have lost the ability to understand what I'm reading!!!   Plus, I think there is a whole family of frogs hiding in the Golden Garden!
The forget-me-not flowers and the butterfly have been stitched twice and that's not counting the many individual stitches that have been removed and done over....and over (it's the counting thing).
Now, I usually stitch one project at a time but this stitching was threatening my sanity so I have been catching up on Marly's pears.
The Christmas one was done a while ago and the other two I've stitched in the past three weeks. 
 You may have noticed that they are, as yet, unfinished. This has made me realise something about myself and my approach to stitching. 
I like to stitch for the sake of stitching. I'm not so good at finishing my finishes, if that makes sense.
Exhibit A
I was looking for something else (which I didn't find) when I came across this little lot!
Guilty as charged, my Lord.
I should be ashamed of myself but they'll get done some day....I hope.
A little story to illustrate the problems I face in everyday life.
I had been working in the garden when my son put in an appearance.
Me: You can really see the couch grass since I pulled out the ..em.. what-ye-mi-callems.
Son: you mean the FORGET-ME-NOTS!
No, don't laugh. My mother always told me it was rude to mock the afflicted.
Regards, Anne

Saturday, 18 May 2013

I have a finish!

Diligence is finished! I started this sampler on 16th January, 2013 and finished it on 15th May, 2013.

There may be a few mistakes personal touches and I added my initials and the date but it is otherwise as charted.

The Scarlet Letter
35tc linen and AVAS silks from kit
I think it will be a while before I take on such a big project again. I tend to stick with one project at a time and, although I really enjoyed stitching Diligence, I prefer smaller projects for a quicker finish.
Such as the ones below.
I can't remember for sure but I think this is a collection of motifs from various sources.
I was playing about with this one  and just stitched it as it came.


 Oh, dear. I can't find the charts for these two. I know I've got them somewhere "safe". Why is it that, when you put something in a safe place so that you don't lose it, you can't find it again. This happens to me all the time.

This is my first attempt at blackwork and making a pinkeep. I think it was also my first time using evenweave.  This was a design my loaned to me by my friend, Irene, at least 4 years ago.
I will finish, today, with a pic from my garden. I stepped out the door to go to work and noticed the sun shining through the petals so I dashed back and grabbed the camera.
Dicentra Spectabilis
Regards, Anne
ps  How could I forget?  (Sorry, Irene)
There is a dragonfly in my garden! 
My friend, Irene, made this for my birthday. Yes, she created this with her own fair hands. Its home is at my window but here it is on my cherry tree (I would have had to clean the windows so it was easier to hang it on the tree for the photo). Irene is such a talented lady. Thank you, friend. 


Monday, 29 April 2013

Diligence progress and my needlebooks

I thought I'd start with my progress on the Diligence sampler that I'm stitching as part of Nicola's Scarlett Letter Challenge.  I've finally finished the gardening and have started on the last borders but I'm not sure how much I'll get done this week because work will be busy, for a change.
Anyway, here's my progress.

Now, on to the needlebooks. I don't have many since I tend to make one as I need it.
 Let me show you.
This first one was stitched to fit my first project box so I measured the space and fiddled about with bit of motifs to create what I wanted.  This box is my everyday box for holding various needlecrafty things and the threads for my current project (Diligence).

Here it is at home.

Next up is the one I keep in my embroidery project box. I am trying to teach myself freestyle embroidery but I get easily distracted by cross stitch so progress is slow.

And this is its home. As you can see, this one is much slimmer (wish I could say the same about myself).

I can't remember where this design came from but I'm sure it was from a French chart book that I borrowed from a friend some years ago.
The next one is a Moss Creek design from JCS Christmas issue, 2008. It holds needles that I only use occasionally and it lives in my crafty bag.


Then there is the one with my beading needles. Not that I do much beading, but some designs call for beads and, sometimes, I use a beaded edging on ornaments. This is another cobble-up of motifs.

 Home for this one is an old wash bag where I keep my meagre stash of beads.

Last, but not least, we have the needlebook from a Stitcher's Journey by Blackbird Designs, stitched because I liked it and that's as good a reason as any!

This one doesn't have a proper home so it sits in a dish with my other smalls.

Well, that's a bit more done in my catch-up of stitching.

Thank you to all who have left comments. I really appreciate them.

Regards, Anne.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

The latest big project

Last year (2012), I treated myself to a few charts for my birthday. One of the charts was "an Elizabethan Purse" by Dames of the Needle and I thought it was all cross stitch.  Boy, was I ever wrong!!

I bought the chart because I wanted to try a new (to me) finish and I liked the idea of the purse with accessories. What I got was what looked like a book with all the instructions for the many stitches as well as the finishing instructions.

The first set of pictures shows the actual purse.

The purse has quite a variety of stitches as well as cross stitch - Montenegrin, tent, Palestrina Knot,
 Linen stitch, Alycia Lace, alternating fly, rice, Smyrna Cross plus some others I can't remember.

The next photos show the pincushion, the scissors fob, the scissors case and the needle book.

I would show the inside of the needle book but I went a bit wonky with the lining and the pocket so it remains firmly closed.
The purse took some time to put together since it all stitched by hand and included gussets and a silk lining. That's not to say it was difficult, just slow going.  It hasn't put me off trying another purse in the future.
Ok, that's the big stuff recorded. Now I need some sunshine so that I can take photos of the small stuff.
Until next time,

Monday, 8 April 2013

Another challenge

Ok, 2nd time lucky. I don't know what I did but I just managed to lose a post. I wish I did know so that I don't do it again!

Anyway, as I was saying, I like to try something different to take me out of my stitchy comfort zone and keep the old brain cells ticking over.

My challenge for 2011 was the Embroideress Band Sampler in Stitch magazine, Issue 65 (and 66 and 67), designed by Jane Greenoff.  It took a while to gather the supplies and even longer to gather my courage!

It was so worth it.

This is the whole sampler.

The top section has cross stitch and back stitch and then hem stitch followed by queen stitch. It was quite scary cutting and withdrawing the threads.

It was even scarier cutting the threads for the square! This was the first time I had tried something like this. There is also detached buttonhole stitch and braided cross stitch and then more hem stitch and zigzag hem stitch.

This section was easier with queen, Rhodes and detached buttonhole, but mostly cross stitch.

Here's more cross followed by hem stitch, half eyelets and somersault stitch.

This section was a real challenge. You'd think the hem-stitch square would be the most difficult but I found the bullion knots the most trying. The braid stitch had me baffled until I checked online and found a video. What did we do before we had the internet?

Here we have darning, cushion stitch, detached buttonhole, backstitch and needleweaving.

This section was easier with backstitch and queen stitches, then somersault stitch with beads.

The final section has satin stitch, cross stitch, queen stitch and eyelets.

This has to be my all time favourite project, in terms of both visual appeal and stitching satisfaction. There may have been times when I doubted my sanity but it was so worth it in the end.

Right, there's just my 2012 major project to document and then I need to start taking pics of the smalls.

Until next time,
regards, Anne

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

More oldies

The next oldie is a design I saw in a little shop in Ellon when I was visiting family, probably in 2008 but I can't be sure.  Although I was really taken with the design, it soon became apparent that I did not have the necessary stitching skills to even attempt it. Fast forward to 2011 and I felt much more confident.  Presenting "Blue Sky Sampler" by Elizabeth Designs, stitched in 32ct Belfast linen using my own choice of Kaalund silk threads.  If you have not heard of these threads before, they are available from the Sampler Guild website.

This sampler uses a variety of stitches and was a bit of a challenge.

Hmm, the last picture doesn't want to turn. Anyroad up, there are cross, satin, Rhodes, leaf , herringbone and eyelet stitches in this. I was really pleased with this when it was finished but, unfortunately, it remains unframed/finished. I can't make up my mind what to do with it.
Next up is Sarah Hopwood, a 1999 Barrick Samplers design, stitched 1/2 on 40ct flax linen and finished in a frame that came from Tesco (or it could have been Wilkinsons).

This next one is a favourite of mine. My friend, Irene, lent me a copy of her chart after I had been telling her about the blackbirds eating all the cherries from the tree in my garden. It just seemed so appropriate.

I returned the chart so I'm relying on my (unreliable) memory and I think this is a Blackbird Designs,
using DMC (?) on 32ct Antique White linen. The frame is cherrywood and I bought it in the Range.

Well, the sun is shining for a change so I think I'll head out into the wilderness garden and try to tidy up.

Regards, Anne.