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Friday, 6 June 2014

All Frogs Have Been Banished from the Kingdom!

What a relief!  After the massive frogging session on Noel Blanc I decided to spend all of Sunday re-stitching it so I was back where I started from.  Here is the latest progress picture:


See, I have completely finished the bad border and reached the far end of it too.  Now I have to stitch the outer border and then I can reward myself with the lovely alphabet.  The frogging was a pain but it was worth doing because there was no easy way to fudge this as it is a double border, it just threw the outer border and the symmetry totally off kilter.

Usually at the beginning of a month I start with my obligation stitching and my monthly challenges to make a good start.  This month I have signed up for a Joan Elliott SAL on FB.  The border was released this week and there will be eight further parts over the next eight months.  The layout is very much like a round robin with four larger blocks and four smaller blocks, there will be eight faces to go in the blocks.

As usual there has been lots of chat about fabrics and colour schemes etc.  Many of Joan's fans are English because she regularly features in the UK magazines and like many English stitchers some of them are surprisingly inexperienced with evenweave and higher counts.  I find the English obsession with 14 count aida hard to fathom!!  I do appreciate the ease with which you can stitch on it, the fact it is clear to see the holes and easy to count spacing out.  But compared to the feel and look of evenweave - no contest!!  Personally I blame the magazines, they rarely feature anything other than plain aida and considering we have three* of the finest hand-dyers in England this seems strange to me.

Anyway I am hoping this SAL will open up the beautiful world of hand-dyed fabrics of all counts to my countrywomen.  Which brings me on to my dilemma.  The stitch count is 139 x 139 so 10 inches on 28 count.  I looked in my stash bag and found some nice 28 count Crafty Kitten hand-dyed and started stitching the border.  While thinking "this is big, it's not 32, is it going to look too chunky?"  I don't have any suitable 32, most of it is either bright solid colours or neutral linens for samplers. Then I thought "what about over 1?"  I checked with Sharon Shebafudge to see what she thought, she damned me to hell and back because she has a lovely piece of fabric which the SAL will fit on over 1 and now she can't shake the idea!  

But I was concerned about the faces and whether they would lose the definition.  Joan does not use so many fractionals as a Mirabilia but they are there in her faces.  So the only way to tell (other than wait a month for the first one!) was to stitch one.  Luckily I have alot of Joan's charts and I chose Autumn Fairy for my sample.  Here she is, nearly finished:


I had to change the metallics to plain DMC, I rather like the bright yellow and there's an orange to come.  The beads will be French Knots.  The only issue now is the backstitch, the charted colour is way too heavy so I'm thinking of using a sewing cotton instead in paler colour.  Most of the design doesn't need bs anyway, just the outline of her face.

But I'm still in two minds!  I know the designs look lovely over 1, really delicate, but do I want to lose the metallics and beads?  I don't know!!  I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure...

Finally....
* wondering who the three are?





28 comments:

  1. Looks great Jo!
    By the way, you have won the old issue of Just Cross Stitch featuring Scarlet Letter. Please send me your address. :)

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  2. Hmmmm darn frog!... must of been your turn! Its is very beautiful though :)
    Joan Elliott designs are lovely and I have many of the UK magazines with them in. I was chuckling to myself reading your post today as I am really puzzled with the UK's fascination with adida too! Maybe the 'English ladies' like 14 count aida because its easy on the eyes as you suggest! Or they are all blind as bats! hee hee Your dead right about the UK magazines only using aida... its terrible. I only branched out this year to other fabrics and there is no turning back for me! I am currently stitching on 28 count eavenweave over 1 and loving it... cannot say too much as its for Kim in the Round Robin.
    Have a lovely weekend sending happy smiles your way :) :)

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  3. What a lovely design Jo. So glad the frogs finally left you. I only stitch on 14ct aida cause I'm blind as a bat.

    Linda

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  4. Jo you are a (UK) stitcher after my own heart! I too do not understand the magazines' obsession with aida! Sometimes they do suggest in tiny print somewhere that you could use a 28ct evenweave, but do so in such a way as to suggest that it is only for advanced stitchers - sure it puts people off! Don't get me started on the fact that they also think the only threads out there are DMC, Anchor, Madeira and the odd reel of Krenik! Sorry, getting off my soapbox now - your stitching is gorgeous and I'm looking forward to seeing more of your JE SAL, be it over 1 or over 2!

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  5. Sweet design ..and I hate me.frog :)

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  6. Darn frogs - its always better when they hop off! Stitching is looking great. Did the thread arrive safely xx

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  7. Aw, poor little frogs. I have this mental picture of them tramping dejectedly out of your house with all their worldly possessions in knotted hankies on sticks over their shoulders.
    You can stitch over 1 with metallics, I've done it. You need a #4 braid or a blending filament. Also the petite beads will work. I'm not saying it's EASY but it can be done

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  8. Great job done,
    I'm impressed by all that specialized comments, feel like a student attending (with pleasure) a master class of stitching !
    Reverso traduction session was overheating too.
    For you, after reading your post I have reprimanded the frogs of my little garden pond. Telling them to stay silently quiet into the water, be forgotten (and stop disturbing the baby water lily)
    Friendly wish

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  9. Oh my goodness - what beautiful stitching. I absolutley love these designs. Well done!

    hugs
    xxx

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  10. Glad you got rid of the frogs! Yeah, shame about the Aida. Must be a modern trend, because my English mum got me going on linen straightaway, when she taught me to cross stitch, well over 40 years ago.

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  11. Glad you chased off the frogs and were able to get everything lined back up. I do like it over one. Can you get the DMC metallics? While I think they're awful to stitch with they do break into strands which might work on an over one piece. Aida has it's place but for most of my pieces I use an evenweave.

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  12. Kick that frog to the curb!! Glad you are back on track now with Noel Blanc. I tend to toss my stuff to the side when I realize I made a big mistake until I can look at it again! Lol!! Love the Autumn Fairy 1 over 1. So delicate and the face is very detailed. Don't think you loose any definition with 1 over 1. As for aida, I have a few pieces of it I'm trying to get rid of. I'm not a big fan of it and would rather stitch on linen and even weaves!

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  13. Which is why I stopped buying the magazines. I get my inspiration form the internet and my stitching buddies around the world :)

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  14. Lovely, Jo, indecisive? That is certainly now how I would describe you.

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  15. Sorry, forgot to say how lovely Noel Blanc is looking although a shame about that Frog Prince!

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  16. Oh Jo, Noel Blanc is lovely, even though the frogs jumped all over it. Send them back to the swamp !!
    I too am stitching the JE SAL. I just started the border on evenweave 28ct. My eyes won't always take to 32 ct, although I do love the look of it. Your Autumn fairy 1/1 is lovely. Have you thought of using 1 strand of DMC light effects instead of the #4 Krienik !! I have back stitched on 32 with them and it was lovely. I don't like to xs with two strands though, it seems to bulky to me. Happy stitching !!

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  17. Glad you are now frog free. I second guess myself too when I make changes to fabric or fibers. But really the only rule is that there are no rules. Go with your gut.

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  18. Noel Blanc is soooooooooooo pretty.
    I'm guessing it was worth the frogging to have it right.
    Autumn Fairy is looking good on that fabric.
    I agree, magazines don't do the designs justice with the fabrics they picture.
    Marilyn

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  19. I am from the UK and I dislike using Aida, I try to avoid it all costs but since moving to Poland there is not a lot of other fabric choices and my current design is on aida and I think it looks a mess close up and not enjoyable to work on.

    I would choose linen or evenweave any day.

    I cant wait to see your progress :)

    frozensunshine.blogspot.com

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  20. I am from the UK and I dislike using Aida, I try to avoid it all costs but since moving to Poland there is not a lot of other fabric choices and my current design is on aida and I think it looks a mess close up and not enjoyable to work on.

    I would choose linen or evenweave any day.

    I cant wait to see your progress :)

    frozensunshine.blogspot.com

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  21. Dear Queen Jo (only a queen can banish things from her kingdom!!)
    Good luck with your choices, have read other posters answers - Christines made me smile lol.

    I agree with the 14ct aida, but then again we don't have nice stash shops where you can be touchy feely with the lovely fabrics, they are always in bags.

    Noel looks fabulous.

    Will await further updates from the castle as the page announces them.... oh dear, got my silly head on now lol.

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  22. Looks great!! :) both wips! But i really like fairies so your autumn fairy is my favorite :)

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  23. Lovely Noel Blanc!!!!
    Beautiful SAL!!

    Hugs,
    Lili

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  24. She does look lovely over one...and I don't think you'll have to lose the metallics. If they are Kreinik braids, you can substitute blending filament...if you double it in the needle and anchor the loose ends (I.e., your needle sits in the fold of the fiber), it's not too bad to stitch with. And you still might be able to find some size 15 beads that would work. Let me know what you need and I'll check my stash...I would bet I have the blending filament you need!

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  25. Keep your frogs lady, keep your frogs! To late, you already sent them over here, didn't you? Glad you managed to get back to where you were originally fairly quickly.

    I finally made a decision on fabric today and I am going to stitch over 2 on 32ct. Not aida and not over one. The fabric is an old SMF I had still - Fairy Garden. I chickened out of doing the whole thing over 1. :)

    I don't know what I am going to do for your birthday now! I was going to get you 5 metres of the very best 14 ct white aida (insert evil laugh). I love all three of the dyers that you mentioned but particularly Crafty Kitten and Sparklies who have WONDERFUL customer service. I don't use Polstitches much so can't comment on Jo's customer service.

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  26. Hope the little beasts can't swim, lol! Yes, those daft girls made me laugh!

    When I first moved to the US, well, maybe five years into my stitching career, i was so excited to see British stitching magazines ......but not for long, sigh!

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