Saturday, 4 July 2015

The Alphabet Club

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) starting with the letter A and we will all link up with A themed things, from stitching to designers and local customs.

Now there was a vote on Chiara's blog as to whether we would start in July or August, and August won the vote.  So I thought I would start a month early, but not with A.  I toyed with the idea of inventing a new letter or maybe using a symbol but then thought I would go for the Entire Alphabet, yes, all of it.  In other words - Alphabet Samplers I have stitched.  So here are just a few...

DSC02062ABCSampler.jpg ABC Sampler
A little tiny one from a cross stitch magazine back in 1995

DSC02050bluesampler.jpg Blue Sampler
Blue Sampler, started by my Mum and finished by me in 1995

SpookyABC.jpg Spooky ABC
Spooky Hallowe'en from Better Homes & Gardens book of Alphabets and Borders.
Stitched in 1996

DSC02062ABCSampler.jpg ABC Sampler
Another tiny from a cross stitch book, stitched in 1999

DSC02062ABCSampler.jpg ABC Sampler
Sampler for the Large Boy, chart from a library book.
Stitched while pregnant in 2002

Vavi ABC
Freebie from Vavi
Stitched on 40 count linen in 2012

A Dark Alphabet
Free design from  Note of Friendship 
Stitched over 1 on 28 count tea dyed evenweave in 2011-12

Turquoise ABC Sampler
Turquoise ABC Sampler from Cross Stitcher 249
Stitched on 32count evenweave in 2012
Birth sampler for my friend with her two children's names added

Scarlet Letter - Elizabeth Burrows 1725
Stitched on 35 count SL linen
Using Olde Willow and DMC

This sampler was stitched as part of the Scarlet Letter Year challenge to celebrate Nicola Parkman's 50th Birthday in 2013

The Little Owl Sampler by Knotted Tree Needleart from the Just Cross Stitch Hallowe'en Ornie Special 2012.  Stitched in 2014

So, there we have it!  A wide selection of alphabets for you to enjoy.  Of course, several of my samplers have an alphabet somewhere within them but I wanted to show those where the alphabet is the main focus of the piece.

To finish off I will show a year long project I completed in 2013, the JBW Alphabet Kitties:

I chose a different fabric and thread colour for each month and finished them into a little ornie embellished with a suitable charm.

Finally, the cat pictures bring us nicely to the Summer Postcard Blog Hop where the theme is Pets.  So far it seems that stitchers love their cats!  I do have some other animals too and it would be nice to have some more. The first postcard has been sent out to Stitching Noni, so go and stalk her blog as it will be appearing there soon.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

July WIPocalypse Reality or Fantasy

WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi's Musings

The focus of my WIPocalypse will be my "15 in '15"which are 15 charts I want to stitch in 2015 (following on from my "11 in '11", "12 in '12", "13 in '13" and "14 in '14" - imaginative, eh?)
Over the last month I have stitched two of my 15 designs, and completed 1, which brings the total of finishes to seven!  Plus the Hallowe'en Cubes are more than half finished.  So over halfway at the halfway point of the year is pretty good.

The finished piece was Joan Elliott's Believe:

Stitched on 28 count Robin's Egg opalescent by Silkweaver

And here is the latest Cube from Primitive Hare:

Stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain linen

Measi always sets us a topic of discussion and this month's was suggested by me and Freddie Mercury - 

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide, (of WIPs?)
No escape from reality.

July - Reality or Fantasy. Which do you prefer to stitch? Figures or Abstract?

I think that this is a question that most of my followers will be able to answer for me!  It's got to be Fantasy with Dragons right there at the top of the list.  If I was forced to choose just one topic for the rest of my life I would just stitch Dragons.  Closely followed by Hallowe'en and then Samplers.  I think I have quite eclectic tastes, a peek through the finishes on my Happy Dance Blog should prove that.  But if you see something there and think "That's not very Jo" then the chances are that it is a gift for someone else.  If you are stitching for another person it's only fair to choose something they will like.  So choose your friends carefully! 

Just to prove it, here are the two projects I have worked on this week:

Satsuma Street, Pretty Mini London, a fantasy version of Old London Towne!

Stitched on 28 count black evenweave

and Book of Spells by The Goode Huswife:

Stitched on 40 count Jewelled Butterbeer linen

I stitch a little bit on this one each evening and it also comes into work with me if I do a full day and get a lunchbreak!  I'm currently alternating between filling the moon in and working along the bottom border.

Finally, the Summer Postcard Blog Hop will be starting very soon.  Next post in fact!  I just have to update my spreadsheet and make sure I don't post anyone their own photo!  It's not too late to join in.  Just take a photo of something Pet themed you have stitched or crafted and email it to me along with a message about what pets mean to you.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

June D.E.S.I.G.N SAL


The idea of this Blog Hop is to choose a different designer each month and do a post focusing on a piece of their work you have stitched on during the month.  The hosts of D.E.S.I.G.N ask us to answer a few questions on our chosen designer.

1. What designer are you talking about this month?

Brenda Gervais from With Thy Needle & Thread.  That link goes to Brenda's blog of the same name while this one Country Stitches Online goes to her shop which sells her own line of charts plus those from other designers too.  She also sells charms, fabric, ribbons and other embellishments.

The design I chose this month was the unseasonal January Wordplay:

stitched over 1 on 32 count Star Sapphire linen.

I changed the fabric to this pale blue which necessitated changing most of the colours too.  I even changed the bluebirds to red cardinals because I do love the pop of their red.  I used all DMC threads too.

You can see the original colours in this photo of the model stitching:

2. Have you stitched a project by this designer before?

Yes.  Last year I stitched April's Wordplay which as a gift from blogger Jenny:

stitched over 1 on 32 count lemon evenweave

3. Would you buy/stitch a design by this designer again?  Why/Why not?

Yes, I would.  Because I am a sucker for seasonal series!  At this rate I will finish the whole series in 2025 which is fine.  They are quite quick projects so will be ideal for my "25 in '25" challenge!

4. What made you choose this particular design/designer?

Both these charts were gifts.  Jenny sent me the first one which I really enjoyed stitching so when Shirlee offered her chart in a giveaway I threw my name into the hat and was lucky enough to win it.

5. Did you notice anything that distinguished this designer from others?

Brenda has a primitive style, whole stitches only, very little backstitch.  She is not a well-known designer in the UK.  I couldn't even find her charts on the SewandSo website (unless they are hidden in the Other Designers category) but I did discover that Patchwork Rabbit stock them so I will be able to puchase the rest of the Wordplay series.  There are several Hallowe'en themed charts on the WTN&T website which are rather tempting too.

Her blog is always very interesting.  She talks about the design process, showing her floss tosses and discusses the issues around colour.  She also charts reproduction samplers and shares some of the history of the pieces.


And here is the Pie Chart for June:

And since we are halfway through the year (yikes!) here is the year-to-date.  It's not a Pie Chart, it's a Doughnut Chart!  Sorry if these stats are making you hungry:

In this one I have bundled together the designs which have only been worked on for a small amount of time.  The numbers represent days.  The days may be of varied lengths, I don't count hours but it all evens out.  Book of Spells is worked on every day but only a little bit each evening usually.  Those 11 days are when I didn't stitch on anything else.  Usually when I worked a full day and took it in with me for my lunchbreak stitching.

Finally, I have launched the annual Summer Postcard Blog Hop.  The theme this year is Pets.  All you need to do is email me a photo of something you have stitched on this theme plus a little message about what pets mean to you.  Once I have a few I will start emailing them to the participants who will display them on their blogs.  The Blog Hop lasts all Summer so don't worry if you don't have anything suitable stitched yet.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Stitching on a Sunny Weekend

The third weekend of every month is IHSW (International Hermit & Stitch Weekend) or INBW (International Numb Bum Weekend (Butt for the US)).  Somehow it always manages to fall on the one weekend when something prevents me from actually Hermitting.  This month I had to work both days.  So I simply moved it to the Friday 19th and Monday 22nd and worked hard on Elizabeth Shephard:

stitched on 30 count linen using AVAS silks

I finished the border around the rose motif and all the smaller pieces around it.  I'm going to move to the top next and work left and then down.  This is a Scarlet Letter design which was a gift from Nicola last Christmas.  The Scarlet Letter blogs are very quiet now but all the action is taking place on the FB page if anyone is interested.

I have finished all my "obligation" pieces this month for the various SALs so it was a case of "what next?"  I had a little rummage through my DUCJC starts from January and chose this very unseasonal piece.  It's the January Wordplay by With Thy Needle & Thread.  This was a gift from Shirlee, who sadly did not enjoy the stitching process as much as I have been!

This is where I left it in January after one day of stitching:

And here it is now.  You can see I have totally changed the colour scheme.  I have converted to DMC anyway and having chosen a blue fabric I have gone for colours which go well with that.  The top photo is much more true to the actual colour.

Stitched over one on 32 count Star Sapphire linen.

When I was taking part in the DUCJC I photographed each piece with the cover picture as well, just so you could see what it would look like.  Chiara the Grey Tail has suggested we do this all the time.  Not just to show the finished piece but to prove we bought the original chart.  Copyright theft is in the stitching news again following the revelation that two stitchers quite well-known (on FB at least) have been caught uploading and downloading charts to those vile Chart-Sharing Forums.

Here is what Chiara has to say on the subject - #realstitchersdontsteal

And here's a very interesting post by Nicole of Northern Expressions Needleworks about the statistics of piracy - Sad Commentary

Finally, don't forget the Summer Postcard Blog Hop.  The theme this year is Pets.  Just send me an email with a photo of something pet themed you have stitched or otherwise crafted plus a little message about what pets mean to you.  I'll pass the photos on to the next person and we'll have a nice little hop this summer.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

June Smalls SAL

Stitching Lotus Ornament SAL
The Smalls SAL is hosted by Heather from Stitching Lotus

This year I am going to have two monthly challenges:

1. The Primitive Hare Hallowe'en Cubes SAL
2. The Hallowe'en Ornie SAL themed blog.

Here is my O block:

stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain linen

and here is the Free Choice for June on the Hallowe'en Blog:

stitched on 32 count Twilight Blue linen

Regular followers will have seen both of those before, so just for you, here is some new progress.  Pretty Mini London:

stitched on 28 count Black evenweave

Pretty Mini London is a design by Satsuma Street which I am stitching every Tuesday as a SAL with Linda and Kate.  Check out their blogs for their progress on various SS designs.

Finally, my Summer Postcard Blog hop again!  The theme this year is Pets.  All you need to do is email me a photo of something you have stitched on this theme plus a little message about what pets mean to you.  Once I have a few I will start emailing them to the participants who will display them on their blogs.  The Blog Hop lasts all Summer so don't worry if you don't have anything suitable stitched yet.  Just leave a comment saying you would like to be involved and I will remind you later.  With a serendipitous stroke of luck Gazette 94 has just released some new freebies which are cats!  What are the chances of that?

Saturday, 20 June 2015

June Stitch from Stash

Month: June
Spent:   £ 0.00
Earned: £ 0.00

Stitch From Stash 2015
Stitch from Stash is hosted by Mel from Epic Stitching

Essentially the idea behind Stitch from Stash is that we are limited to spending US$25 (or £15) per month. There are various exemptions (Birthday money, existing mag subs, clubs etc) but the idea is not to try and pervert the rules and to stitch some of that stash!  I will be posting on or around the 20th of each month because that is when I get paid!

January Budget
£ 15.00
January Spend
£   0.00
February Budget
£ 15.00
February Spend
£   5.50-
March Budget
£ 15.00
March Spend
£ 32.46-
April Budget
£ 15.00
April Spend
£   4.99-
May Budget
£ 15.00
May Spend
£ 14.67-
June Budget
£ 15.00
June Spend
£   0.00
Current Balance
£ 32.38
Look at that, a zero spend for June!  However SFS has been divided into two halves this year with SFS-B starting on 1st July with the balance being zeroed.  So I still have ten days to spend that £32.38 or lose it from the budget.  I will keep you informed.

This week I have stitched two different pieces, the first was my usual Tuesday Satsuma Street SAL with Linda and Kate.  I am making great progress on Pretty Mini London:

Stitched on 28 count black evenweave.

This week I worked on St. Paul's Cathedral, the big red bus, the first part of the Gherkin and some trees.  We have the full height and width of the piece now.  It is quite mini, 50 x 74 stitches.

Then I moved on to my Hallowe'en Cubes, this is O:

Stitched on 32 count Vintage Grain linen.

I'm using the recommended DMC for most of the design but I substituted 4130 for the fire.  This is one of the variegated threads they produce.  This one is quite subtle so I will be using it for Book of Spells too.

Thank you to everyone who has linked up for GG and entered the GGGG (Gwen's Gifted Gorgeousness Giveaway) this month.  I haven't managed to visit everyone yet, that pesky real life stuff!  But I will come and comment soon

Finally, my Summer Postcard Blog hop again!  The theme this year is Pets.  All you need to do is email me a photo of something you have stitched on this theme plus a little message about what pets mean to you.  Once I have a few I will start emailing them to the participants who will display them on their blogs.  The Blog Hop lasts all Summer so don't worry if you don't have anything suitable stitched yet.  Just leave a comment saying you would like to be involved and I will remind you later.  I remembered this blog today and it has a few suitable designs.  You have a peacock or a chicken as a pet?  Yes?


Tuesday, 16 June 2015



It's TUSAL time again!  For those of you new to blogging, the TUSAL is a project run by Daffycat, click on the button on the right hand bar for more details.

Here is my ORTS jar posing with the current stitching project:

And here is the project itself:

This is a Mill Hill beaded sampler called Frosted Heather Rose.  I won it in a giveaway organised by Rosey of Ishkabibble.  This is a nice quick stitch, provided you can set up your area in such a way that you won't be disturbed for a few hours!  It is easier to bead as you go too.  Now all I need is a nice little frame.   I am sure I will have one in my frame stash somewhere.

This was my second recent finish.  The other is Boo Mansion by Blue Ribbon Designs:

Stitched on 32 count Twilight Blue linen

and scrapbooked along with Owls by Midnight:

Finally, my Summer Postcard Blog hop again!  The theme this year is Pets.  All you need to do is email me a photo of something you have stitched on this theme plus a little message about what pets mean to you.  Once I have a few I will start emailing them to the participants who will display them on their blogs.  The Blog Hop lasts all Summer so don't worry if you don't have anything suitable stitched yet.  Just leave a comment saying you would like to be involved and I will remind you later.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness June Link Up Post

  Gifted Gorgeousness

For newbies, this is my first year long SAL.  Click on the picture above for the full details.

We will be posting and linking up on the 15th of each month, because it is 2015.  Should be easy to remember.

Since last post I have stitched another weekend on Elizabeth Shephard (a gift from Nicola):

Shown with my ORTS from last month

I completed the Kingfisher which will be a gift for the teaching staff at the Small Boy's mainstream school:

stitched on 28 count blue evenweave

And I also completed Believe which will be a gift for his other school:

stitched on 28 count Robin's Egg evenweave by Silkweaver

And some small progress on the Mill Hill sampler which was a giveaway prize from Rosey:

stitched on 28 count evenweave.

I am beading as I go because it is so heavily beaded it is just easier!

I also have continued to work on Book of Spells by The Goode Huswife which is stitched on gifted fabric:

stitched on 40 count Jewel Butterbeer linen.

And now over to you - Here is the place for you to link up so we can see what Gifted Gorgeousness you have been stitching so far this year.  Please use your name or your blog name in the field NOT the words "June Update" so I can easily see who has linked up this month.  
And link to the actual post, not just your blog.  People are still getting this wrong!
Thank you.  I can amend links if you make a boo-boo though.



Last month we had a GGG (Gifted Gorgeousness Giveaway) for a Shepherd's Bush chart donated by Stitching Noni.  This was won by Kay from Stitching in the Country and should be winging it's way to her right now. 

This month we have a GGGG (Gifted Gorgeousness Giveaway by Gwen!).  The lovely Gwen from Guava Gems said to me that she had some charts she'd like to donate for giveaways.  I was very happy to facilitate and sent her my address.  Well, an entire box arrived!!  I have selected six very varied charts (because it is the sixth month of the year).  There are enough charts to have giveaways all year now!

GGGG 1 - New Baby by Butternut Road

GGGG 2 - Tea Cozys and Sampler by Linda Palmer

GGGG 3 - In the Forest of the Unicorn by Black Swan Designs

GGGG 4 - Rambling Rose Sampler by Nancy Sturgeon
this is miniature needlepoint stitched on the 40 count gauze provided

GGGG 5 - My Treasures Sewing Case by With My Needle

GGGG 6 - Strawberry Bouquet by The Gentle Art

All you have to do is link up for June's Gifted Gorgeousness SAL and chose one or two charts from the above list, leaving a comment below stating your choices by the end of the month.

Finally, don't forget the Summer Postcard Blog Hop.  Details at the bottom of the last half a dozen posts because this one is quite long enough already!