Monday, 18 March 2019

March 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.  Links at the bottom of this post.

I was working all day on Friday so I took my current Just Nan small with me for lunchtime stitching:

Fairy Roses - stitched on 32 count Antique White linen

I stitched two of the palest pinks this time.  I've got about 2/3 of the lightest one and then some smyrna stitches to fill the centres of some of the flowers.  Then I'm done.

On Saturday I stitched The Land of Fog?

The Land of Fog (or the Foggy Islands) is a group of small islands widdershins of the continent of XXXX. Very little is known about them, partly due to their being shrouded in perpetual cloud and fog. It was missed, like everything else, by Sir Roderick Purdeigh on his voyages. What scanty reports there are indicate a mountainous terrain dotted with sheep and a few rugby players. According to legend this is where XXXX keeps the lawnmower. This legend, however, is only told on XXXX.
A reference to New Zealand. When the Maoris first came to NZ they saw snow on the mountain tops (rather uncommon in their own previously tropical latitudes) and called this new land Aotearoa or "land of the long white cloud". Also famous for having more sheep than people and being home to The All Blacks.

Source - LSpace

I worked all day Sunday so I used Monday as the final day of my weekend and moved over to XXXX and the banner, alternating between the green and the lettering:

stitched on 32 count Murano custom dyed by Sparklies

That green will complete the island so then I can backstitch the whole place.

A few people have said that they don't do Facebook and asked if I could host a link-up for them, so here it is! Just add your name and the link to your actual IHSW post, not just your blog home page.



The next IHSW will be 19th - 21st April 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.

Finally, most serendipitously, Friday 19th April is also Good Friday in England so I will be hosting my Annual Easter Treasure Hunt.   If you would like to take part this year, just leave a comment here. The week before Easter I will send you a letter of the alphabet which will form part of the mystery phrase. On Good Friday you will post that letter along with a photo of something seasonal that you have stitched (could be Easter or Spring or just something cheerful and sunny or floral). We all hop around like little bunnies to find the Mystery Phrase!

Here's a link to last year's hop so you can see how it all works - Easter Treasure Hunt Blog Hop 2018

Friday, 15 March 2019

March Gifted Gorgeousness Link-up Post

2019 GG

Welcome to the March 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.

The first design is stitched on gifted fabric.  The lovely Tiff Stitches sent me this gorgeous piece of acid yellow from Chromatic Alchemy and I decided to stitch this Satsuma Street design titled Nest Egg which I call "Goose in a Bonnet" just for fun.

Here is where the piece was left last month:

stitched on 32 count Belfast in Marie's Daffodil by Chromatic Alchemy

And here is where I am now:

look how much nicer that wing looks in the lighter shade of peach

I worked on my Chatelaine for one week this month.  This was a Birthday present and a number of bloggers donated threads for it.  Here is where I left the second Garden last month:

And here is where I am now:

Not a lot of progress this time.  I did stitch a lot of Queen's Stitches in the border.  Unfortunately the pink in the right garden looks different to the pink in the left which I prefer.  So I see another frog in my future.  Then I stitched the rice stitches in both gardens.  Next month will be speciality stitches in the right garden and in both outer borders.

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds Belfast by Crafty Kitten

My Discworld Mappe will be a gift for my son, hopefully for his 18th Birthday in 2020.  Here is where is was at last GG post:

And here is where I will pick it up for this month:

stitched on 32 count Murano custom-dyed by Sparklies

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 "March 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, it is IHSW this weekend.  The weekend where we hide away from the rest of the world and stitch to our heart's content.  Unfortunately I have to work Sunday but I will be picking up Discworld on Saturday and starting on the lettering.  Hopefully I can add Monday to my weekend as I'm not working that day.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Finally Fully-Finishing Fun for March

Hosted by Rachel the Ten Hour Stitcher

This new SAL is designed to motivate us all to do something with that box of Finishes 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).

Once again, I have been focusing on my scrapbooking.  You're going to see a LOT of scrapbook finishes for this SAL over the year!  I had the Christmas Ornament from February and some Just Nan smalls which were waiting for the perfect paper.

Ink Circles Poinsettia from Just Cross Stitch 2008

Just Nan Noah's Rainbow

I splashed out and bought the official charm for this one!

Just Nan Butterfly Bouquet

Just Nan Butterfly Rose

Just Nan Thanks a Bunch

That was a satisfying way to spend an afternoon; cutting and sticking.  I do enjoy going through my papers and finding the right background for each piece.  By February all the calendars at work have been reduced to 75% off so that is the perfect time to grab a bargain, 12 pages for only £2.50.  You may recognise the artwork of Monet for several of my Just Nan designs.


Finally, Easter is rather late this year but I will be running my usual Easter Blog Hop where we all Hop around like Easter Bunnies to find the mystery phrase.  Supply your own chocolate!  I will be doing a sign-up post soon with full details of the Hopping fun.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019



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 two projects:

I left all the orange floof in the tin so you can see how much there is.  That's my evening ORTs tin and there's usually very little in there.  But this month I decided to frog a large piece of the goose.

Have a look at the previous photo of goosie:

and now:

Satsuma Street - Nest Egg
stitched on 32 count Belfast in Marie's Daffodil by Chromatic Alchemy

The orange in her back was one shade too dark and the more I looked at it the less I liked it.  So I frogged it and will restitch it.  I do love those eggs but I feel this will benefit from some backstitch, just to outline the eggs and the goose.  Not black but a dark grey.

The other project in the TUSAL photo is my spooky conversion of the Enchanted Alphabet by Lavender & Lace.  I am adding a large full moon charted from a photo of the actual moon using Pic2Pat.  I am happy with how it's turning out but progress is a little slow thanks to extra work shifts due to World Book Day this week.  Today I did shop visits for 93 Primary School children aged between 5 and 9.  Luckily not all at the same time!

Finally, here's some rocks I painted for World Book Day, these will be hidden in our shop over the weekend for children to find:

Saturday, 2 March 2019

The People Chose Freebies

Regular followers will be aware that for over 3 years now I have run a themed SAL on the first Saturday of each month.  First we spent 26 months doing The Alphabet Club and then 12 months of the Zodiac.  Now I have decided to listen to the People and post about your choice of theme.  Each month I ask for suggestions on the blog and then make a poll in the IHSW Facebook Group from those suggestions.

March - Freebies
April - Speciality Stitches
May - Flowers

Who doesn't love a freebie?  Especially when you are doing Stitch from Stash it's a great way to try a new designer, a new technique or just stitch a small.

Back in the olden days before t'internet freebies were sent to the needlework shops who gave them out to their customers, sometimes with the purchase of a specific item.  Just Nan did this a lot with her small designs.  You bought the charm and got a free chart.  As the internet grew in popularity designers realised they could have free designs on their websites which would bring customers direct to them.  The hope was that while you were there you would be tempted by a chart for sale.

So freebies serve a purpose - they are there to increase traffic and sales.  Which is why I loathe Pinterest so much.  It does neither.  It's rare that the link goes to the original designer.  When I am trying to find genuine freebies via Google, I used to get a page of links to websites and blogs, now I get a page of Pinterest.  Many of which are not even free charts.
So if you are sharing a freebie - please link to the original website or blog.  Don't show the chart.  Don't link to Pinterest.  Support our designers!

According to my records, my first freebie design was this one:

Lavender & Lace Christmas Angels found here

This was given to me by my local needlework shop back in 1998.  I then discovered that all the previous years were available online.  There are 20 altogether and I have stitched 12 of them, some as gifts for other people.

When I started blogging, I started storing freebie designs on my laptop along with the links which I keep on a separate page in this blog - Themed Freebie Links.  I do try to keep it up-to-date as links do vanish sometimes.  If you have any good links to add, please leave a comment.

One of my favourite blogs for freebies is the French designer Gazette 94.  I know very little about her except that she produces some wonderful freebies!  Here is the first one of her designs I stitched back in 2012:

Another favourite free series I collect is the Fairy Day Celebration series from Passione Ricamo.  Sadly, I have only stitched one and gave it away.

I really need to get these all stitched on various different hand-dyed fabrics.

A more recent trend is the freebie SAL which designers have realised is a great way to get people actually stitching the design - peer pressure at it's finest.  These are usually found on Facebook groups.  The designer releases a part of the SAL each week or month and everyone gets excited and joins in, encouraging more people to join the Closed Groups thus increasing the designer's following.

Great idea, everyone benefits.  If you keep up with the SAL.  

Otherwise you end up with something like this!  Started in 2014 and stalled because I didn't like the second block.

I did start the third block while querying the wisdom of stitching the skin over 1:

I will finish this one day.  I'm adding one older WIP to my rotation each year so this will have it's hour.  One day.

Now it's over to you. All you have to do is make a post on the theme of Freebies, 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 Blue, or Holidays, or Warmth etc.  Really anything which could be illustrated in cross stitch.

Looking forward to reading them all!

Thursday, 28 February 2019

February Pie and Stitch from Stash

If January felt like it had 93 days, the February had about 12!  It's just whizzed past.

My planned rotation is 1 week on Chatelaine, 2 weeks on Discworld and the rest of the time on Christmas, Hallowe'en and a "19 in '19" project. 

Here's the February Pie:

Because of work and February being only 28 days long I didn't quite get the full 14 days stitching on Discworld but I did reach my target.

Here's where is was at the start of the month:

And here's where it is now:

I completed the whole of the banner, the second heraldic hippo and the top part of the country XXXX.  All backstitched too.

stitched on 32 count Murano custom dyed by Sparklies

You'll notice that I finished the banner despite running out of that shade of pink last month.  When I ordered the threads for this project I ordered the darker pink not the lighter.  So that skein accounts for my entire Stitch from Stash spend this month!

1 skein DMC £0.95
Total £0.95

Yes, that is what we pay for a skein at our LWS (Local Wool Shop) who luckily sell DMC as well as wool.

Finally, I made nice progress on my current Just Nan small; Fairy Roses.  Added another colour to the roses, 3 lighter shades to go:

stitched on 32 count Antique White linen

Sunday, 24 February 2019

February WIPocalypse Listening and Watching

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 "19 in '19" for this year.  You can find the full list here.

This month I stitched on seven of my list, with 2 finishes:

1. Enchanted Alphabet by Lavender & Lace

stitched on 32 count Murano in Tiger Lily from Sparklies

2. Gardens of London by Chatelaine

stitched on 32 count Belfast in Cotton Clouds by Crafty Kitten

3. Discworld Mappe by Lyndisfarne Designs

stitched on 32 count Murano custom-dyed by Sparklies

4. Alice & the Flamingo by Mrs Peggotty

stitched over 1 on 25 count blue evenweave

5. Summer Typography by Just Nan

stitched on 32 count Pink Linen

6. Nest Egg by Satsuma Street

stitched on 32 count Belfast in Marie's Daffodil by Chromatic Alchemy

7. Poinsettia by Ink Circles

stitched over 1 on 28 count green evenweave

Measi always gives us a topic to discuss too.

February – What do you listen to while stitching?
It will one of a number of things:

1. Other people chatting if I'm at coffee morning
2. Planet Rock on the radio
3. FlossTube (if I'm alone) or Good Mythical Morning (if the Large Boy is at home)
4. Telltales sounds of the Small Boy getting up to mischief!

Let's talk about FlossTube though as it's the most stitchy related.  I follow a number of FlossTubers now and have several favourites.  Is it fair to pick out a couple?  Probably not!  Let's just say that three of my favourites are bloggers as well as YouTubers.  I think there's something about knowing the person blogs as well as makes videos which makes me feel we have more in common.

This afternoon I was listening to Stitching Noni, so here's a link to her latest video.

Finally, I'm slowly updating the Happy Dance blog.  When Photobucket wanted to charge us all to use their service they removed access to all our photos but then realised they weren't allowed to do that and put them back but with a nasty Photobucket watermark on.  So I am gradually working through older blog entries and my Happy Dance blog to replace them all.  It's not a fun task but it is nice to look at some older finishes!

Friday, 22 February 2019

February Smalls SAL

The Smalls SAL is hosted by Mary's Thread

I don't have a lot of smalls in my rotation this year, it is the Year of the BAP Focus.  But I do have the Christmas Ornie Blog and my Just Nan smalls.  I'm also counting all the additions to the Enchanted Alphabet spooky conversion for this one.

First up a finish for the Christmas Ornament.  This one is Poinsettia by Ink Circles from the 2008 Just Cross Stitch Special:

stitched over 1 on 28 count green evenweave

I completed Just Nan's Thanks a Bunch on 5th February:

stitched on 32 count Antique White linen

and moved straight on to Fairy Roses the same day:

stitched on 32 count Antique White linen

For my spooky conversion of Lavender & Lace's Enchanted Alphabet I added some cats, all from Just Nan charts:

stitched on 32 count Murano in Tiger Lily by Sparklies

And that's about it for Smalls!  Tune in on Sunday for the WIPocalypse update of the BAPs and others.

Finally, it's been lovely weather here so we went out and did some rock hiding with a friend and her children.  Here's our batch: