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.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Order, order

I have been trying to put my finished pieces into some kind of date order and it's proving quite a challenge. With a bit of luck, this blog will allow me to keep a better record of what I have stitched and when I finished it.

I've taken some pics of older pieces and, hopefully, they are in the correct order.

First up is a piece of freestyle embroidery stitched in 2008 at a time when I wasn't sure what type of needlework I wanted to do.

The design came from Inspirations magazine, but I gave a load of magazines to a friend who was convalescing and this was one of them so I have no idea of the issue number.

Cross stitch won out over other forms of needlework and this is a freebie from Blue Ribbon Designs, stitched in 2010.
This was stitched over one on 28ct evenweave using DMC threads. The frame came from Poundland and this was the only stitching that would fit!

I know there seems to be a big gap between the first piece and the second but that is because most of my stitching is of smalls such as pincushions and needlecases and I haven't got around to photographing them yet. If we ever see the sun again, I might be able to take some more pictures!

Next up, we have two versions of Blackbird Designs "les petite lettres rouge" stitched for my Grandmothers.

Annie Flett was my paternal grandmother, known as Little Granny because she was tiny, and Alexina Garvick was my maternal grandmother, known as Big Granny.  Not that she was actually big - she was just bigger than Little Granny.

Next on the catwalk, we have Tree of Life Sampler from Cross Stitcher Magazine, issue 230, stitched over one on 28ct cashel linen in 2010.

I think I used the recommended DMC for this one.
It was about this time that I decided to give myself more of a challenge and that was because I saw the Betsy Morgan Tiny Treasures in Inspirations magazine, issue 65. I think this was the first time I had stitched on 32ct Belfast linen.  It was also the first time I changed the threads. I can't remember what were the recommended threads but I converted them to Hand Dyed  Fibres.

If you've ever seen the magazine, you may notice that there is an extra item. The thimble pod on the right was in a previous issue (could be 63) and it is a perfect match to the other pieces. The stitching was no problem but the finishing involved much huffing and puffing and, maybe, just a few swear words!

Ok, I think that will do for now. It's getting late and I have a headache so an early bed is in order.

Regards, Anne