Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The Gorgeous Gardens of Lovely London

Guess what I spent most of this month stitching?

From this:

To this:

Look at all those lovely Queen Stitches forming the garden in the centre:

I'm putting this to one side to work on the Alphabet Club, Hallowe'en and Christmas SALs then my focus piece for March which will be M is for Mary (providing my fabric gets here in time!).  After March I need to work on Gathering Honey and I want to start my Discworld map so it could be a couple of months before you see London again.  I'd like to finish Gathering Honey for my friend's Silver Wedding this August.

I did spend some money this month.  I needed to kit up M is for Mary by Nora Corbett for my cousin's new baby.  I also had my Cross Stitch Collection renewal.  Now that magazine has ceased to be published so my DD was transferred to Cross Stitcher which I used to get and cancelled.  They only gave me two days notice so I thought I'd let the subscription run and see if the magazine has improved.  It's always had good articles, and this month has designs from Emma Congdon, Shannon Wasilieff, Durene Jones and Helen Philipps.  While all four design the more simple, modern style their designs do look fun to stitch and attractive to display.  Unlike when I last got the magazine and everything was huge blocks of colour, boring to stitch and dull to look at.

Plus, I'm only paying £8.72 for three issues and the current subscription is £22.39 for six issues.  A saving of £10.68 a year.  So I'll stick with it for three months and see where we are by the end of that.

The stitching spend looks like this:


M for Mary £9.12 Chart
Beads for Mary £1.22 Beads
CC for Mary £4.06 Threads
Fabric for Mary £7.50 Fabric
CSC Sub £8.72 Magazine
Total £30.62

But the good news is that Mary is all from my Christmas money and magazine subs are exempt from Stitch From Stash so that's a zero spend to declare this month.

I mentioned earlier that Gardens of London was my focus piece for this month and here is the proof in pie form:

Joan Elliott's 12 Days coming in second because I stitched the Two Turtle Doves for the Christmas Ornie SAL and it's the project I take to work when I do a full day and get a lunch break!

Finally, in my last post I mentioned the new Blogger of the Week Blog I am putting together.  I was very pleased with the reaction to the idea so I will be working hard to get it ready to go live on Friday.  I have a few people lined up already but once it goes live I will be asking for people to volunteer to be featured so don't be shy!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

February TUSAL and WIPocalypse Speciality Stitches


It's TUSAL time, the Totally Useless SAL where we all show our ORTS and link-up on Daffycat's blog.

Here is my TUSAL jar with my two main projects of the month:

And here are the glittery ORTs from the Joan Elliott project on the right:


WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi's Musings
Also linking up with 17 in '17

Each month we have to share the projects we want to complete before the End Of The World.  I have chosen my "17 in '17" which are the 17 projects I want to focus on this year.  You can see the full list on this page here.

I have done well again this month, thanks to my SALs.  I worked on six different projects.

You can see a glimpse of my Chatelaine in the top photo and here it is in full:

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds by Crafty Kitten

You saw my Tipsy Witch from Happy Hallowe'en by Imaginating for the Smalls post:

stitched on 32 count Lime Green Murano

I have completed all the metallic around the inner borders on Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas:

I completed another page on my Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke's Books:

stitched on 28 count afghan

I added the I to my conversion of Lavender & Lace's Enchanted Alphabet:

stitched on 32 count Tiger Lily by Sparklies

And of course I continued to add ten stitches each day to Just Nan's Spring in the Square:

Day 57

Measi always gives us a topic to discuss

February - What is your favourite stitch other than the standard cross stitch? (Bonus points if you provide a how-to link or diagram it on your blog post!)

I am not sure this is my favourite speciality stitch but it certainly looks pretty and I've been enjoying doing them this week:

The Queen's Stitch is used to great effect in the centre of my Gardens of London Chatelaine.  I am using the charted Gloriana silk called Winter Brook.  This silk was donated by Mouse.  It is a very subtle variegated silk and make a lovely effect for this section of the design.

For my bonus points, here's a diagram for how to stitch a Queen's Stitch:

And an awesome giant diagonal Queen Stitch!

Finally, I have a new blogging project I've been working on.  One of my favourite articles in the now defunct Cross Stitch Collection was their Blogger of the Month.  I have decided to continue to showcase some of my favourite blogs and bloggers with a series of posts called Blogger of the Week.  I have my first victims contributors lined up already and if I have time this week, I will be launching the blog on Friday!  Watch this space for more details and a link too.

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 second 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!