Monday 30 May 2011

Blogger fix for comments

Thanks to the wonderful Daffycat, there is a way you can allow your loyal followers to comment again:

"Change your comment form to the pop-up window type.
Go to:
Comment Form Placement

There are still lots of people I follow that I can't comment on, I'm not ignoring you, I just can't comment!

I've been stitching away on the Baby Swing and the Fairy this weekend.  I'll post pictures when Blogger allows me to.  I want to finish the chubby little legs on the baby tonight then start on the leaves.  The Fairy just needs her border and some metallics for the wand.  As soon as baby pops out I can add her name and details.

Reading wise we've just started the Anne McCaffrey Dragonriders of Pern series.  We being the large boy and me.  The first one we're reading is Dragonsong about Menolly and how she found her firelizards and became a harper.  I know the first one should be Dragonflight and Lessa's story but I read Dragonsong first as a child so wanted to follow the pattern.  It was published when I was 11 so I was at least 3 years older than the large boy when I read it to myself.  It's lovely to read it aloud and remember meeting all the characters for the first time so many years ago!

Hope you're all enjoying the Bank Holiday long weekend, I understand it's a long one in America too so perfect for stitching!

Thursday 26 May 2011

EEK, some WIPS

I've started 2 new birth pictures this week, one for my friend's new daughter and one for my great-niece due any minute.

The first is a Nimue design, The Baby Swing.   It's soooooooooo cute I had to have it.  The baby is fairly non-gender specific so it would have been okay for either gender.   The fabric is a 32 count Murano from Crafty Kitten, dyed specially for me.  I wanted a greeny-yellow that had the effect of sunlight though trees.  The chart photo was a plain dark green.
My scanner has decided only to scan the middle of the fabric with the stitching on so it looks very long and thin!

OK.  Now Blogger won't load photos.  How annoying is that?  Also I can only leave comments on blogs where the "follow" button is on the side, not when it's it the top margin thingy!

The second design you can't see is a Passione Ricamo freebie, Fairy Celebration.  I decided to go with the majority and stitch her in white.  It looks lovely and does indeed "pop".  If I was doing it for myself I'd have gone with the tone-on-tone scheme but as it's for my niece and her DD white it is.  I hope it's a DD, she's had a few scans as baby was breech but has luckily turned the correct way up.

I finished E is for EEK! this week as well.  What a nice little block that was, full of Hallowe'en motifs and a nice simple Ermine Stitch for the grass.  Even if I did do the straight line on top instead of underneath the diagonals!

I will post now and try add the photos as a later time.  In the meantime, here are the links to my Yuku album so you can at least look at them there!

Nimue - Baby Swing
PR - Fairy Celebration
E is for EEK!

Yay!  The photo adder is working again!  Sun 29th May

Sunday 22 May 2011

Giveaways Galore

Here are this week's Giveaways:

Blu is celebrating 200 followers and is offering to stitch a cute little Hallowe'en design for you

Sarah-beth is just giving for the joy of giving and has a book and 4 mags.  She wants you to share your first stitch memory with her.

Saturday 21 May 2011

Smokin' Needles

That's what I have this week!  I have romped through another Drawn Thread freebie, All You Need is Love.

In this tiny little finish (3 x 2 inches) there are no less than 14 different types of stitch.  How many can you see / name?  No prize, just the satisfaction of being a sharp-eyed clever clogs!

I stitched it on a piece of 32 count evenweave I got from the LNS before it closed.  It is quite a loose weave so not a Murano.  The greens are from my bits bag and the pink is a hand-dyed from Oliver Twists.  I have had it for ages and never used it.  It is quite subtle for a hand-dyed, not much variation but perfect for this.  The frame has been languishing in my stash chest for approx 12 years just waiting for this design.  I bought it at the Olympia Cross Stitch Show.

"Smokin' Needles" is an expression lots of us use from time to time.  Someone told me in Germany they say "glowing needles" (I think) so I wondered what other expressions do you know in other languages?  And Yes - Australian and American are other languages as far as I'm concerned (heeheehee).

Thank you to everyone who came up with suggestions for the Raspberry Fairy.  I hadn't thought of white/cream but will do a floss toss and try them out.  Thanks for your help.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Not very seasonal finish

Blogger still playing up, still can't get into Dashboard to see who's been posting.  So apologies to all the people I follow, I'm doing my best to find your blogs using the list on the side of mine!

I have just completed this sweet little freebie from The Drawn Thread.  It's called First Snow and as soon as I saw it I wanted to stitch it so it leaped up the priority list and I completed it in only 2 days!  I stitched it on a scrap of mint green pearlescent aida I got in the closing down sale of my LNS.  I have a nice frame ready with is just a teeny bit wide so I'm planning to get some ribbon to go down the left and right sides.

As yet another from the Joan Elliot Oriental booklet.  The free gift with Cross Stitcher was the blue felt frame with a chart for an orange cartoon fox.  Why?  Apparently foxes are in vogue.  News to me.  Owls - yes, see them everywhere, but foxes?  Anyway the iris in a pot fitted perfectly like it was made for the frame and is much nicer.

I finished my decimal week of stitching Bluebeard's Mermaid tonight.  I finished the tailbody, just the tail fin to go now.  There is so much space left for metallics and beads, I hadn't realised how blingy she will be!

And E is for Eek!  Coming soon.

Realised I haven't posted D yet!  Minus the detached buttonhole which I haven't attempted yet.

Sunday 15 May 2011


Blogger is driving me crazy!  I can see my blog in read-only mode but can't get at the Dashboard.  I have to go into someone else's blog, leave a comment to log in to Blogger then I can edit my own blog!  And my Picasa photo album is having a tizzy fit too and won't load any photos.  I have to add them to my blog then move them into the relevant photo album then delete them from the blog.  aaaaaaaaghhhhhhhh!

Anyway I have a decision to make about thread colour.  I want to stitch this fairy for my great-niece who is due any time.  I have a piece of raspberry aida to stitch her on but can't decide on thread colour - magenta? pink? purple? a total contrast?  Any ideas?  I want to do a plain colour not a hand-dyed but other than that I'm not sure.

The fairy is a Passione Ricamo freebie, there are several different fairies on their site.  If you click on "X stitch brand line" on the left hand side of the screen it will bring up the link to the free charts.

I have finished a cute Japanese Beckoning Cat design by Joan Elliott this weekend and framed it in a bargain frame.  The bric-a-brac people left a box of bric and brac in our Toddler Group hall and while I was moving it to a safe place I couldn't help but notice three picture frames.  I was told everything was 10p so I generously gave them 50p for all 3!

The cat is known as Maneki Neko (or Beckoning Cat) and more information can be found here.
招き猫 These are the Japanese characters for Maneki Neko which I might try stitching along the bottom of the picture.  Alternatively I might find some oriental braid and fix that along the bottom.  I found a great shop in town recently which sells lovely trimmings.  The shop is at the grotty end of town and is a bit tatty on the outside.  Inside it's a jumble sale but they do have some great finds if you don't mind rummaging.

Friday 13 May 2011

Easy Blogging

I've just joined a Fantasy Stitching Blog (Faeries, Dragons and Mermaids - Oh My!) and have posted my introduction to myself on there.  So just to share with everyone and make a nice easy blog post, here it is:

I'm Jo from the East of England.  I've been into the whole fantasy genre since I out-grew Enid Blyton books.  Back in the 70's there wasn't much for the pre-teen market so I started reading Science Fiction instead.  Asimov and Andre Norton to start with then moving onto the Anne McCaffrey Dragonriders of Pern books.  I played D&D as a teenager (my female elf Helena Henna was a pun on Kerrang's Pandora Peroxide!) and drew endless pictures of dragons.  During the late 80s and 90s the Fantasy genre exploded and I read every series going from Marion Zimmer Bradley to Terry Pratchett via the Shannara books and the Belgariad.

So it seemed logicial when I started stitching in 1993 to stitch fantasy designs.  My first large design was Teresa Wentzler The Castle - a rite of passage for any fantasy fan!

If you go into my Picasa photo album you can see all my finished TW's after The Castle (I try to be organised!).

I veer between fantasy and traditional samplers now usually alternating between the two genres.  I now have an 8 year old son who shares my love of dragons and fantasy (cross stitch not so much although he does show an interest in what I'm stitching).  Together we are reading all my favourite books and some new ones.  We have just finished our second reading of the entire How to Train Your Dragon saga by Cressida Cowell.  We read The Hobbit earlier this year and are debating whether to dedicate an entire year to Lord of the Rings (that's how long it took my Dad to read it to us!).  Right now it's Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.  We love Greek Mythology too!

Monday 9 May 2011

A Dark Alphabet progress

I finally finished the letter C.  C is for Coven which features three witches silhouetted against a yellow harvest moon.
This design is being produced a letter at a time by A Note of Friendship.  Every few weeks another letter appears on their blog along with lots of historical information about the picture chosen and the stitches in it.  Here is my progress so far:

I decided to make a sampler 4 blocks by 7 blocks with 2 blocks blank for personalisation, one at the top left and the other bottom right.  I am so pleased I decided to do it this way as it mean C is in the corner which is the best place for such a densely stitched block.

Frankly I was regretting deciding to do the piece over 1 halfway through the first witch.  It is sooooooooo time-consuming.  In this close-up I can see the tension was too tight in the righthand witch but it doesn't show further away!  I resorted to timing myself on each length of the yellow - 22 minutes was the quickest time to stitch one length, average 30 minutes!  It made the end seem closer somehow.

D is for Devil is waiting in the wings and I'm eager to see what E stands for.

You must check out the blog if you are interested in the history of samplers and stitching, it's fascinating.  They are currently recounting the story of their trip to England which is fun and informative.  I love the observation that England appears to have no schools, all the children are simply loaded on buses and taken to the nearest museum for the day!  Anyone who has visited a tourist attraction during termtime can certainly relate to that.

Saturday 7 May 2011

What a busy week!

What a busy week!  I had a small shared stall at a craft fair on Bank Holiday Monday.  My friend does decoupage and "shabby chic" boxes and I had my cross-stitch.   It was quiet but I sold 2 cards, a picture and took some commissions for wedding samplers and some name plates too.  The fair is held in our church hall every Bank Holiday to raise money for Hope HIV.  There are only a dozen stalls and everyone is very friendly.  I got some "Pandoro" style beads which are meant to be threaded onto a bracelet but which will look good on a stitched piece.
Aren't they sweet?  The nice man gave me "stall-holder's discount" so they were only 50p each!  There are several Just Nan squares which will be perfect for the top four.  The bottom two are more for children's birth samplers.

I spent most of last weekend stitching cards, here are some of those I finished:

These are from the Joan Elliott Oriental Booklet free with WOCS 177.  I stitched them on scraps of 14 count aida - the middle one the aida had been washed and ironed and shrunk slightly, the left hand one the aida was landscape and the right hand one was portrait.  It just shows that the squares in aida are not necessarily square!
Helen Philipp's Design adapted to fit in an oval.

Andree Langhorn

WOCS Issue 177 - Flower of the Month.

Lesley Teare.

The bears were designed just using back-stitch and having seen how effective they were and how quick to stitch I decided to try with the rose from WOCS.  The red and green shading effect is simply fabric pens coloured in after the back-stitch was completed.  The little fairy is the same.  She is part of an ABC with a different fairy for each letter.  I removed the letter, changed her hair to make it more suitable for this technique and used blackwork to fill her dress in.
Interestingly, these two were the two that sold!  I was pleased because I'd put my own artistic input into them rather than just stitching someone else's design "as is".

School has taken up most of the week, I help out with a Year 3 class and also run a Road Safety Club for Years 4 and 5.  Stitching-wise I've been slogging through "C is for Coven" from the Dark Alphabet.  It is almost solid stitching 1 over 1 and not very exciting to do!  But it does look good now I am almost finished.  For light relief I have been stitching another Joan Elliot - the waving cat from her Oriental Booklet on red aida.  The waving cat is a lucky symbol in China, this will be for the large boy.

And talking of cats - here is a gratuitous picture of a cute cat!  We have time-shares in a stray cat, we do breakfast and tea, my neighbour does lunch and supper it seems!  We were all in the garden and the cat had been getting lots of fuss and attention then had gone off for a rest.  She seemed to think this was a good place to be!  She then tried to roll over in the pot!

I'm yawning now, the paparazzi are sooooooooo boring!

Almost forgot!!!  The new Joan Elliott book-a-zine (as she calls it!) is out in the UK.  It's amazing and only £9.99, it's sold out online already but should be in overseas shops by the end of May.  So keep your eyes peeled.