Monday, 22 February 2021

February IHSW


IHSW or International Hermit and Stitch Weekend always starts on the third Friday of the month.  It's a chance to lock yourself away and focus on your stitching for the weekend.  You can take part on your blog or via the Facebook page - IHSW on Facebook.

Having completed my WIPGO choice on Thursday, I decided to dedicate IHSW to Number 6 on my board which was called and worked on in January.  I knew I could finish it this month.

Here is the Spring Sampler started back in 2012 when I joined a forum called Samplermakers.  They gave us a selection of motifs to arrange into a sampler.  I charted it out and started stitching, got the fence, the plant pot and the right hand tree done and there it stopped.  I just stalled on the left hand mirrored tree.  I pick it up every Longest Day Marathon and work a little bit on it.  I decided this year that it really needed to be off the list and completed.  Voila!

stitched on 28 count Slightly Lilac evenweave from Sparklies

The year was easy to update, I'd charted it for 2012 so all I had to do was swap around the 1 and 2 and make 2021!

Hoping it will fit a standard frame and I can display it this Spring.

I used the Tiny Decision app to decide what to stitch next and Gathering Eggs came up.  Started back in 2017 but never a real focus piece so on the list for this year.  I completed the girl herself and now just have the background to do.

stitched on 35 count Vintage Country Mocha linen

I decided to stitch the background in just one strand so the figure stands out more.  2 strands is quite dense on 35 count but the coverage is fabulous.  I'm going to work on her until the end of the month.

I started a new bath-time project, another ornament from the Gift of Stitching magazine series.  This one is Quaker Diamond Noel from November 2009, another Rosewood Manor design.  I have completely changed the colour scheme so it co-ordinates with my other ornaments.

stitched on 32 count Reed Green linen

There will be some bright red and some gold beads added as well as these two greens.

Finally, the next IHSW will be 19th - 21st March so make sure you note the date in your diary or come and join us in the Facebook Group - IHSW on Facebook. If you don't do Facebook then you can check in here by leaving a comment on my post.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

WIPGO Weekend Wins

Q: What is WIPGO?

A: It's like Bingo for your WIPs.

The idea is to make a board with 25 squares, add a goal to each square, each month the Admin call 2 numbers and you try reach those two goals.

When you complete a row or column, you can reward yourself with something nice.  A new start?  A new chart?  An uninterrupted afternoon of stitching?  Your choice.

This was my board at the start of the month:

The numbers called for February were 4 and 20.  But first I worked on number 13 from January and completed Cackle Lozenges by Hands on Design:

stitched on 28 count Radioactive Linen from Chromatic Alchemy

Then I turned my attention to a new start, number 4 - Hallowe'en at Hawk Run Hollow by Carriage House Samplings.  I got a good chunk of Block 7 done:

stitched over 1 on 25 count Cassia Rose evenweave from Chromatic Alchemy

I'll carry on with this one, when it comes up on WIPGO or on my Tiny Decisions wheel.  I can't tick the box off until I complete this block.

Number 20 was next, a complete success as the goal was to complete one small block.  The dragon only took 3 days so I decided to continue with the owl at the top.  This block was one of the reasons I stalled with this design back in 2014.  It was charted for a rather chonky cat which I didn't love.  But I didn't know what to put instead because it was a mystery SAL.  So I left it.  People used various ideas and this owl was popular.  He took 4 days to complete, including his beads:

As with the dragon I stitched the background with one strand of thread which gives it a slightly softer look.  I did the wings on the Fairy the same way, they look almost transluscent with the fabric more visible.

stitched on 28 count Snapdragon Jazlyn from Crafty Kitten

As it only took a week to stitch both small blocks, I am revising my WIPocalypse goal to all four small blocks this year.  The other two will be stitched next time this comes up on my WIPGO board.

The next project in my rotation will be number 6 from January  - Spring Sampler.  I hope to get that finished well before the end of the month so I have time to fit one more project into February.

Finally, a progress photo from my Just Nan band sampler SAL.  We are currently stitching Winter Blues and I have just finished Bands 11 and 12:

stitched on 28 count White Jobelan

We are currently choosing the next sampler from a shortlist provided by Leonore.  So if you're a JN Junkie, do look for the poll and join us.  There's also going to be a Mouse-a-long organised by another member of the group.

Monday, 15 February 2021

Gifted Gorgeousness February Link-up Post

Welcome to the February Gifted Gorgeousness link-up.  The link-up date continues 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.

Deb sent me the charts for the Stoney Creek 2019 Ornaments which were my Stitchmas project this year.  I started all 12, one per day and will be completing one per month.  February was the Two Turtle Doves:

stitched on 32 count Lime Green evenweave

This little design was the Cover gift from Cross Stitcher magazine, a calendar from Tiny Modernist:

stitched on 32 count Summer Sky Belfast linen from Silkweavers

The Stitchonomy Winter SAL was a fully finished item, the kit was a gift:

stitched on 14 count Riveria Aida

The WIPGO Board chose Joan Elliott's Faces SAL, the fabric for this was a gift from Dawn of Crafty Kitten.  I planned to stitch as much as I could for the WIPGO Weekend and actually finished the little dragon, all except his beads!

Here is the whole piece so far:

stitched on 28 count Jazlyn in Snapdragon by Crafty Kitten

The beads will be added when the Small Boy is back in school next week!

Now it is your turn to show us your Gifted Gorgeousness for the 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.



Finally, thanks to everyone who took part in the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop.  I do hope that you found your sweetheart and also that you discovered where your stitching went!  The next Blog Hop will be the Easter Treasure Hunt and I will start taking sign-ups at the end of this month.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop

Happy Valentine's Day and welcome to the Secret Stitching Sweethearts Blog Hop.  My annual chance to show some stitchy love to our fellow stitchers.  Over the last month my inbox has been filled with various lovely stitched and crafted pieces on the theme of Love and Friendship.  On Friday I sent out them to randomly allocated participants who will be showing their Valentines on their blogs today.

Please hop round and see if they have found their Secret Stitching Sweetheart yet.  The following blogs are participating this year:

As the organiser of the Hop I don't get a secret sweetheart but sometimes I still get some love!

One participant sent me a close-up of her full piece.  See if you can work out who got the full piece and who the stitcher was as you hop around.

Finally, don't forget to leave some lovely comments on all the participating blogs, share the love!

Thursday, 11 February 2021

February TUSAL and my Stitching Library


It's TUSAL time!

Here is my TUSAL tin with my current project:

This was a new start last Friday called for by my WIPGO Board - Hallowe'en at Hawk Run Hollow from Carriage House Samplings.  I have loved the HRH designs since I first saw them and said "if they bring out a Hallowe'en one I will stitch it".  So here it is:

stitched over one on 25 count Cassia Rose from Chromatic Alchemy

You can see from the cover photo that the finished piece is quite large so I wanted a high count.  It was either 40 over 2 or 25 over 1.  Using 25 count meant I could buy a standard 18 x 26 cut and have a nice margin for framing.

I am using DMC as charted but I might use a subtle variegated for the pumpkin in this block and the one next to it.  Some of those blocks are full-coverage so this is a long term project.  Ideally  I'd like to get four blocks completed this year.

What's on my Shelf?

This is a new feature I'm going to include on my TUSAL post until I run out of books!  I started a Page on my Happy Dance blog for my Stitching Library and realised what a huge task it was so decided to break it down to one book per month.  For the next four years...

The first book we are going to look at is one I've used a couple of times for small designs.

Title: 365 Tiny Cross Stitch Designs
Author: Kooler Design Studios
Publisher: ASN Publishing
ISBN: 035409937329 or 9780881959437

Actually, there are 366 because they give you a leap year design too!  There are several monthly series within the book (Zodiax, teapots, wreaths) as well as various season stitches.  Mostly in the "cute" vein.

I love these mini samplers, Vickie has stitched these for her cubby which inspired me to buy the book

So far I have stitched the Zodiac signs for myself:

and these Bride's Tree Ornaments for Leonore and Felix:

Those were not actually a series, I just picked various designs from throughout the book to suit the theme for each ornament.  You can read more about them on my blog post - Bride's Tree Ornaments

Hope you enjoyed this look at a book, if you have one you would like to share please make a post and leave a comment letting me know.


Finally, I have all the photos from the Secret Sweethearts so I will be sending them out tomorrow ready for our Hop on Sunday.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Finally Fully Finishing Fun for February

Hosted by Rachel the Ten Hour Stitcher

This SAL is designed to motivate us all to do something with that box of Finished pieces instead of just storing them under the bed.  We will all be linking up on Rachel's blog on or after the 10th of each month (10 Hour Stitcher - 10th of the month).

Since last month I haven't had a lot of finishing time as my son is only in school 3 short days of the week and I try to cram as much into those hours as I can!

I did finish this lovely ornament from the November 2008 Gift of Stitching issue.  Designed by MTV Designs and called Treasure Christmas Pincushion:

stitched on 32 count mid-green linen

The backing fabric is an upholstery sample

I finished stitching the Stitchonomy Winter SAL and fully finished it almost immediately.  I had this reindeer hanger in my stash from a couple of years back.  It had the letters XMAS hanging down but those were easily cut off and ribbon attached so it made the perfect hanger for Winter.

stitched on 14 count Riveria Aida

I'm not an Aida stitcher usually but I got the kit and it was such a beautiful colour I decided to go with it.  It did make finishing much easier as it is stiff enough not to need stretching or lacing.  I just used double-sided tape to fix it to a piece of card.  Nice and easy to follow the threads to fold it perfectly straight too.

Here are some close-ups of each section:

The charm and the pom-pom trim came with the kit as did all the DMC

This was the final Stitchonomy SAL for 2020 and was free if you signed up before the deadline.  Now you can purchase it from the Etsy store - Stitchonomy Etsy

The next SAL will be the Homely Houseplants Version 2 - if you want to grab that for free, make sure you sign up on the website before the deadline - Stitchonomy website

The design was very appropriate because we've had quite a bit of snow here this week.  Enough to shut the schools for two days which further cut down on my finishing time.  So the next piece is not quite done yet.  Here's a hint for next month!

Finally, it's the TUSAL tomorrow and a new feature on my blog which I am quite excited about.  And then the Valentine Hop at the weekend.  It's all go here!

Saturday, 6 February 2021

The People Chose Birds

This SAL is all about what you want to see on the blog. Each month I ask for suggestions for themes and then put them up to the members of the IHSW Group on FB to vote for their choice. This is what they have chosen:

February - Birds
March - Spring
April - Blue

Birds of all shapes, sizes and colours are a really popular motif for stitching.  Even if you have never stitched an actual "Design of a Bird" the chances are there will be birds somewhere in your sampler stitching, your seasonal stitching, your ornaments etc.

They feature in Spring designs - bluebirds and Easter chicks, Summer designs - seagulls, Halloween designs - ravens and owls, Christmas designs - cardinals and robins.  

Satsuma Street - Nest Egg

Madame Chantilly - On the Beach

Just Nan - Crowjackers

Blue Ribbon Designs - Woodsy Winter

And in my current obsession - 12 Days of Christmas designs!

Fun fact - if the design features all the numbered birds you will stitch 23 individual birds in the series.

JBW, Just Nan and Plum Street Samplers

This is probably the largest and least enjoyable bird I have ever stitched!  It was a commission for a friend, charted on a computer.  I did get paid for doing it but by the end I was combining symbols all over the place, the computer chose such similar shades that really were not necessary.

This is a smaller, more fun one I sort of designed myself:

Anna, the Stitch Bitch, challenged us to stitch the design on the right which is a freebie from Plum Street.  I wanted to add something so the design was true to me and chose the tattoo style bird and dagger on the left.  Then I made it into a pillow and sent it to Anna because I knew she would appreciate it.

I could go on for several more photos, there are just so many to choose from!   But now it's over to you.  All you have to do is make a post on the theme of Birds, mention The People's Choice SAL (you can copy the picture I used at the top of this post and in my side bar) and my blog.  Please link up using the URL of the actual blog post, not the home page of your blog.  I look forward to seeing what you all post.



Finally, I need your suggestions for the next poll.  Any thing, no matter how obscure, weird or random will go into the poll.  Keep the theme suggestions to a single word or two - so you could have Cats, or Green, or Holidays, or Warmth etc.  Really anything which could be illustrated in cross stitch.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

January WIPocalypse Troublesome WIPs and some Pie

WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi's Musings

Each month we have to share the projects we want to complete before the End Of The World.  Since 2011 I have chosen a number of projects to focus on that year, starting with my "11 in '11" and increasing to "21 in '21" for this year.  This month I stitched on 4 of them.

2. Samplermakers Spring Challenge
stitched on 28 count Slightly Lilac evenweave from Sparklies

10. Stoney Creek 12 Days of Christmas
stitched on 32 count Lime Green Linen

13. Bothy Threads 12 Days of Christmas
stitched on 32 count blue-grey linen

14. Hands On Design Scary Apothecary
stitched on 28 count Radioactive linen from Chromatic Alchemy

The full list can be seen here - WIPocalypse and 21 in 21

Measi always gives us a topic to discuss too.

January - Tell us about a WIP on which you’ve really struggled to make progress. Explain its history. What appears to be the reason you’re struggling?

Perfect question for this month as the Spring Challenge Sampler is a great example.  I started this back in 2012 and was really enjoying it.  I stitched the first tree and then had to flip it to stitch the second tree.  Which is where I stalled, the chart when scanned and flipped just wasn't clear enough, the symbols for the brown tree and the green leaves were too similar.

When I started looking at my older WIPs for the Longest Day Marathons I decided to pick just one or two to work on each year and reduce the number of older projects.  This year it's the turn of the Spring Sampler and I have now broken through the tree barrier and just have the lovely alphabet and a few motifs to complete.  Looking at the other older WIPs it seems style of stitching is my big issue:

Around the World in 80 Stitches - fiddly colour changes with the speciality stitches
Coffee Fairy and Art Nouveau Head - full coverage
English Transitional Sampler - Holbein and outlining not inspiring me
Joan Elliott Faces - over one skin and dislike of one block
NOEL Letters - Hardanger
Little Snapdragon - computer generated chart

Now for some pie.  Regular followers will know I produce a delicious home-made pie to illustrate my focus projects for the month.  I don't record minutes or stitches so this gives an approximate idea of how much time each WIP got.  It doesn't show the daily sampler or the bath-time stitching.

You can see it's been a Rotation Year so far, rather than a Focus Year like 2020.  I was enjoying the Tiny Modernist Calendar so much that I continued and stitched February already.  I'll show you in the next Smalls post.

I also signed up for Stitch from Stash again.  This is my 7th year, I skipped 2016 as it was my Big Birthday and I didn't want to restrict myself.

Those don't actually count for the SFS challenge on FB but I like to monitor my total spending for my own purposes.

Finally, I will be running the Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop on Valentine's Day.

Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop

It's really very simple, all you have to do is email me a picture of something you have stitched which is suitable for a stitching friend on Valentine's Day.  It could be a heart, or a pair of cute creatures, or the word "love" or anything which warms your heart.  Really anything you think a fellow stitcher would like to receive in her email Inbox.  It can be something you've stitched in the past or something you've made especially for this year.  It could also be quilted or sewn this year as I know some of my followers do other crafts too.

Send me the email by 10th February.

When I have all the emails I will randomise them and send one to each participant on 13th February. Then on 14th February you must post the picture you receive onto your blog under the heading

Secret Stitching Sweetheart Blog Hop

There will be a list on my blog of everyone joining in, so check out all the blogs and find out who got your picture and identify yourself in their comments as their

Secret Stitching Sweetheart

Does that make sense to everyone? I hope so!

If you'd like to be involved then leave a comment on this post or send me an email if you are "no-reply". I'll be putting little reminders up from time to time and will email on 9th February to make sure you send the pic in time.