Tuesday 30 August 2011

WIPocalypse and Giveaways

Measi of Measi's Musings is worried the World is ending in 2012 so has decided to try get some of her WIPS finished before then.  Because, of course, unfinished needlework will see St. Peter turn you away at the Pearly Gates to be doomed to spend eternity in the perfect LNS with no needles.

Here's the link to join in with the WIPocalypse: WIPocalypse.  The rules are great, very open to your individual interpretation, the important one is to post every New Moon with a picture of of WIP in order to be entered into the end of year draw (if we're all still here, otherwise you'll get your prize in the afterlife).

On this gloomy subject, I do wonder what will happen to my stash when I'm no longer here.  The finished items are no problem, there are loads of people who would want them but only a fellow needleworker would appreciate all the unstarted stuff.  I think I'll put a bit in my will to say you guys get first dibs on my stash when I go!  An enormous stitch-in wake would be good too...

On a happier note, Violarium is having a September magazine giveaway here.  Violarium is where I ordered the Nimue charts from, they were very speedy with their delivery and included half a dozen freebie charts from various designers which was a nice surprise.

I haven't got any new pictures, the cover kit from Cross Stitcher is stitched but not framed because of the rubbish cards included, I've emailed to ask for some replacements.  The Margaret Sherry from WOCS is nearly finished, just the bs.  I've stitched "K is for Kelpie" and will show-and-tell when I've stitched "L".

So here's a random picture from the archives:
Stitched from Needlework magazine in 1999.  Cute isn't it? 
Although I need to move that bee's bottom to the left!

Finally, I have found a nice online Ebay store which sells Tibetan silver charms ideal for my growing Just Nan collection.  Some are available in mixed bags (Hallowe'en) but others come in packs of 10 the same.  But at 99p for 10 I can't complain.  So if I buy 10 the same I'll be passing the spares onto you guys.  My Giveaway thoughts are progressing.  I have a main prize, and some ideas for bits to go with it, only 3 more followers or 17 days and we'll be there! 

Saturday 27 August 2011

Vote for me!

I have been told it is okay to say that.  The Gift of Stitching online magazine is having a tape measure competition this weekend.  Last issue they printed some little patterns ideal for covers and asked people to post their finishes here.  You won't see them until Sunday 29th August then you can vote for your favourite.  Which will be mine of course!  Truthfully I don't expect to win, I stitched on aida and stuck it to a square tape measure, no fancy finish or anything.  But it does have nice colours and it's all "stitched-from-stash" so very eco-friendly.

This is my second attempt at finishing:
It's a notebook cover made from one of the fabric samples I was given earlier this year.  But I think the fabric was too thick to be used in this way and the corners are rubbish!  The picture is too exposed on top and will get battered during use.  So this was my next attempt:

Our local papercraft store was having a 20% off for Bank Holiday weekend and I bought a stack of cardstock, all postcard sized and ideal for mounts.  The colours go nicely together and I could cut a shape out of the middle to frame it or just stick it on top.  I also bought some more frames from a charity shop (honestly, I'm obsessed with them) including 2 square ones and a gold hinged triple set which will look great with Christmas designs in.

The rose is a freebie from Free Patterns.  Great name, does exactly what it says on the tin!  You have to register to download the patterns but you can opt out of getting emails afterwards.

The final picture is Part 2 of iStitch's Mystery SAL.
This is stitching up really quickly.  There are links on the blog to all the completed Part 1s.  I like my white and blue but I also like all the other colour schemes too.  I know at least one person has decided to redo her's in variegated having seen how good they look.  I did think about stitching it twice, next time over 1 on 28 count.  That led me to think about stitching a design alot of times in different ways.  Which led me to think about the Crazy 15 Challenge, 15 starts in January, which I opted not to do in favour of "11 in '11".  Which made me think I could choose a small project and stitch it 15 different ways, starting one on each day in January.   This requires more thought.....

So, in conclusion - Vote for Me, and let me know which one of those finished for the rose you prefer - the notebook (if I sort those corners out) or the simple picture mount.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Happy Dance, Happy Dance!

Firstly, the song titles were "Freebird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd and "Maybe Tomorrow" the theme tune to The Littlest Hobo.  Well done to anyone who recognised them both.

Now onto the Happy Dance.  My Mermaid is finished.  She is Mirabilia's Bluebeard's Mermaid stitched on 32 count Murano hand-dyed by Dawn from The Crafty Kitten, colour is Waterfall.  I used the recommended DMC and my LNS subbed the Carons for DMC and Just Threads.  I changed the mermaid's bs to turquoise and the seahorses to 500, the crown is in one strand of 3371 not 2.  I moved the border out by 5 stitches top and sides (as recommended on the Mirabilia Yuku forum!) and didn't bs it.

I started stitching her for the Mermaid SAL in January but discovered I don't like rotating, my "weeks" invariably became 10 days, so since July I've worked on her constantly.  She has her own page here on my blog so you can see the progress throughout the year.

As it's my Birthday in less than a month (have I mentioned that before?) I will be getting her framed as my present from hubby.  Unless he wins the lottery in which case we will be flying First Class to see Jill Rensel.  Even better I could pay her to come here and frame for all my UK friends!

Enough talk, here she is in all her blingy glory!

And finally, if anyone is still reading, I made a decision on what to spend my gift certificate on.  I discovered that the Victoria's Samplers are both available from SewandSo in the UK so I can easily get them for a little cheaper too, so they are now on my Christmas list.  Therefore I will be treating myself to Prairie Moon Thine is the Trick and the Treat and also Ink Circles Masquerade.  I have not seen them on any UK sites so far.  YaY!  Big thanks to Raven and to everyone for their voting help.  Next I will need you to decide which to stitch first!

Monday 22 August 2011

There’s a voice that keeps on calling me...

There’s a voice that keeps on calling me
Down the road is where I’ll always be
Every stop I make, I’ll make a new friend
Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again.
Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on.
Down this road, that never seems to end,
Where new adventure, lies just around the bend.

Bonus points for anyone except Hannah who can name the tune!  I was going to use Whitesnake's Here I Go Again but somehow this one seemed more suitable.

It is, of course, the Travelling Pattern singing it's merry song.   Thank you to everyone who asked to be part of the Stitcherhood of the Travelling Pattern.  It was very VERY hard to choose just one person.

But before I announce the winner, there's this:-

IHSW was a great success.  I am (this) close to finishing Bluebeard's Mermaid, only half a seahorse and the treasures to fix then I'll be Happy Dancing round the room.  I also stitched my entry for the Gift of Stitching's Tape Measure competition which I won't show here as I'm not sure about the rules on that.  There will be a vote when all the designs appear in their Gallery next weekend.

I can show you this:
This is how I finished my two Loves from The Stitcherhood.  I wanted some red/black ribbon with hearts on it but could only find red with white hearts.  I tried using various pens to colour the white and it just didn't look right.  But I did find these heart buttons in my LNS which look good.  The design is posing with a statue which represents our family (I think it's called Circle of Love).  I bought one of a couple with one child when hubby and I moved in together to represent me, him and the large boy, then I bought one of a man holding a woman in a wedding dress when we got married (although we'd already done the whole carrying me over the threshold thing).  This one I bought when the small boy arrived on the scene and we became 4.
The carved love spoon was a wedding gift hand-made by a close friend.  She is a very talented craftswoman, as well as carving wood she makes stained glass pieces and has tried her hand at cross stitch too.

I suppose you're still waiting to see where the Travelling Pattern goes next?  I am pleased to announce - drum roll here - the Travelling Pattern will not be needing a Visa or passport for it's next journey, it is off to.....

So if Mouse could let me know the address of the Mouse House, the Travelling Pattern will be off on it's travels once again.  Apologies for everyone else but there can be only one lucky stitcher, pop over to Mouse's blog for a chance next round. 

Friday 19 August 2011

I won something and need your help!

I won something!  Raven posted recently about a sampler she's stitching and noticed a small error when she posted the photo on her blog.  She invited people to try "guess the error".  I think stitching people are just too kind to point out errors in other people's work and only two of us tried.  Raven sent us both a gift certificate to use at Down Sunshine Lane, a lovely online needlework shop.  One of the things I like about the stitching community is our reluctance to criticise each other's work.  I used to attend alot of model soldier and model airplane conventions (don't ask).  The guys there were so critical of each other's work - "actually I think you'll find they didn't use that particular buckle until November 1916 whereas your figure is from early 1916".

So now I have to decide what to buy....  I have enough pennies to buy two of the following:

Prairie Moon's - Thine is the Trick and the Treat

Debbie Draper - Ribbons.  This one comes with floss:

Victoria's Sampler - Christmas Village
75 - Christmas Village Sampler

Victoria's Sampler - Santa's Village 
 121 - Santa's Village Sampler Chart

Ink Circles - Masquerade 

Prairie Schooler - Santa's Night

What do you all think?  I'm going to try do a little poll in my right hand side bar.  Wish me luck!

Other news:  I have finished Part 1 of iStitch's new SAL.  Here it is:
I'm stitching it on 36 count white evenweave over 2.  The blue mass is a hand-dyed silk from De Havilland threads.  I have had it forever since I used to go to the Olympia Shows in London pre-kids.  It was all neatly plaited until I cut it loose.  Now it looks like my hair when I've had it plaited for a day or two, except my hair is not currently blue.  My hair is dark brown, orange (where the red is growing out) and white. 

Wednesday 17 August 2011

For I must be travelling on, now....

For I must be travelling on, now,
'Cause there's too many places I've got to see....

Yes, it is time for the Travelling Pattern to be travelling on (bonus points for first person to identify song lyrics).

This TP was started off by Daffycat (aka Sharon) who is having a giveaway at the moment, she is nearly upto 800 followers (WOW!) so pop along, see the home of the Travelling Pattern, enter her giveaway and follow her if you don't already (cannot believe that there are people who don't already follow her, she's like the matriach of stitching blogs!).

The TP is by Shakespeare's Peddlar and is called "Count Your Blessings".  I stitched it on the weird fabric I talked about before using random threads from my scraps bag.  The red brick for the house is the same red used on my Doll's House project (which is nice).  I added a fanlight to the door and a beak to the bird.  I also removed a row from the house so all the windows are the same height and changed the vine so the bird came down by two rows.  This was to stop the design falling off the edge of the fabric which I cut thinking it was 32 count not 26!

The rules of the TP are as follows:
1. Comment on this post, saying you would like to be part of the Stitcherhood.

2. By leaving this comment, you agree (if you are chosen) to stitch the design and send it along to the next person in a timely manner. If this means dropping everything in your rotation to concentrate on this be it. If you can't bring yourself to do this ~ don't sign up.

3. You must have an active blog to participate. If you have a blog but never post to it ~ you won't be chosen to be the next stitcher.

4. This is a giveaway-type Traveling Pattern. That means you must follow it from blogger to blogger to enter each time it is ready to send along. Commenting on this post doesn't make you a guaranteed part of the Stitcherhood.

The Traveling Pattern has been stitched by:

1. Sharon of It's Daffycat, Oklahoma, USA
2. Karen of Karen's Handiwork, South Carolina, USA
3. Patty of Hanging On By A Thread, Florida, USA
4. Terri of Chocolates for Breakfast, Stitching for Lunch, USA
5. Lynda of A Cozy Little Place for Stitching, Oregon, USA
6. Nataly of Nataly's Needle Creations, Massachusetts, USA
7. Erin of Fairy Tales & French Knots, NY, USA
8. Jo of Serendipititous Stitching, Suffolk, UK

The links above are all for the posts where the TP appears in all it's glory so you don't have to rummage through the blogs to find them.  Aren't I good to you?

As the rules state, to be the next member you just need to comment on THIS POST only.  Just for fun I'd like to know "who is your stitching blessing?"  OK not a very grammatical question!  We all have much the same blessings in life - our partners, our kids, our grandkids, our furbabies, our health and the fact that we live in countries where we can indulge ourselves with this amazing hobby rather than spending 8 hours a day looking for clean water: SO - who do you count as your biggest stitching blessing?  For me it'd be Erin who passed the TP on to me!  If your stitching blessing has a blog please include a link.  I need to follow more blogs (hahaha).

Here's my progress on Periphaeria's Star SAL, I have nearly done all of Parts 1 and 2 and most of the middle so I'm quite pleased.  The fabric is 28 count Purpleberry Spludge from Sparklies who will be having a sale on the Bank Holiday Weekend.

Other news - it is one month exactly to my Sapphire Birthday and I currently have 88 followers.  I will be doing my first giveaway at either 100 followers or on my Birthday.  I need half a follower per day to reach 100 before the big day, so if you are half a follower please sign up and bring the giveaway forward!

Edited to say:
I will be choosing the next person on Monday 22nd August, so make sure you post by midnight Sunday.  And don't forget to tell me who your stitching blessing is.

Friday 12 August 2011

This week's progress and Is it Just Me?

First of all the Travelling Pattern:

This was two steps forward, one step back this week.  I only stitched the end of the fence on Tuesday as we were busy but on Wednesday I realised I had missed out the central post in the gate and it looked all wrong as it is supposed to echo the Blessings curve.  So I unpicked and restitched the right hand side and voila, all fine.

The problem with choosing your own colours is that you do tend to try something, doesn't work, try something else and end up stitching twice.  The leaves are a good example.  Paler colours don't look good on this fabric.

Next up is my Mermaid, I've been concentrating on the boring border.  I've started to back stitch it but don't like it so will unpick it and leave it plain.  The eagle-eyed Mira obsessives may have spotted I've moved the border out.  This was advised on the Mira board and is a great idea.  I moved the top and side borders by 5 stitches each but left the bottom border and the seahorses where they were.  I've bs the seahorses in DMC500 not the 3371 recommended which I used for the crown but only in one strand.  Her skin will be bs in turquoise not 3371 (yuk).

Number 2 in the series "Doesn't Everyone Do This?  Oh OK Just Me Then"

These are my "scraps bags".  When I finish a kit I always have loads of thread left over and I just used to put it all in a large bag.  This year I spent time sorting it into colour groups and putting into individual bags.  Each length is on a piece of cut-up thread sorter.  I use spare cardboard as DIY thread sorters if the project doesn't come with one.  Even the threads which claim to be DMC colours go into this bag as I learned early on that things-are-not-always-what-they-seem-to-be.
Now when I need a thread for a small project I just go to the relevant bag and select a suitable colour.  There's usually only one length of threads from cover kits but from larger kits there is often half a skein leftover.

So do you do anything like this?  What's your "it's just me then" thing?

Monday 8 August 2011

Sarah's Giveaway and the Travelling Pattern

The lovely Sarah at CraftyMoo is having a giveaway.  I love Sarah because she appears to be wearing a pink feather boa in her profile pic which always makes me smile.

This is my progress on the Travelling Pattern after 2 days of stitching:
I chose a piece of rustic fabric I bought when my LNS was closing earlier this year.  It appeared to be 32 count.  But I discovered it is only 32 count horizontally, vertically it is 26 count.  How random is that?  So the design is coming out much taller than expected!

The red and blue threads are DMC variegated but there doesn't seem to be much varience apart from the paler blue at the beginning.  The brown fence is a tweeded pair from my scraps bag.  I do like a bit of tweeding!

It seems from the comments on my last post that I am the only stitcher in touch with her inner-6-year old who marks her chart nicely with lots of pretty colours.  Next post I will show you my scraps bag and see if I'm a minority of one in that too!

Edited to add - a friend wants to learn how to make cushions, small decorative pillows and ornaments, things that involve sewing.  Does anyone have a tutorial page on their blog or can recommend a good one?  Thanks!

Saturday 6 August 2011

Charting, Mermaid and Inky Darkness

 It's funny how when you are self-taught and you find a way to do something you sort of assume that everyone does it that way too as it seems obvious.  Recently I've seen a few posts where people have referred to marking off their stitches on photocopied charts with a pen, so I thought they did it like me.  But it seems people only use one colour (opens eyes in amazement).  I have always produced a multi-coloured pattern as I go.  It just seemed logical, if you are stitching dark blue then why mark it in fluero yellow?  And you get a lovely coloured-in version of your work!  Here is my mermaid, she seems to have 4 arms because she's copied onto 2 A3 pages and I like a large overlap.

 And here's the stitched version.  I found a new setting on my camera which takes a more accurate colour picture.  I have started the metallics which I'm loving.  I can't believe I let blending filament put me off using Kreinik #4 for so long!  I was glad I saved some of the boring border because we had a two hour power cut one evening this week and I ended up sewing by the light of a 60W energy saving bulb hubby had wired to an inverter attached to the car!  He actually bought the inverter to keep the fridge-freezer going during such events but he allowed me one light too!  Large boy had a chargeable emergency light in his room, good job we're prepared!

This is the latest square on The Dark Alphabet.  Very intensely stitched and different in places to the chart.  I stitched the bottom /// in black and the top \\\ in 939 navy.  I did all the /// first and then all the \\\ as I thought it might seem quicker that way and I'd only have to count once!  I still miscounted in about 6 places and as I refuse to frog over 1 the last two branches are a little different to Julie's.  I also made one window into a door.  The large boy liked this square and used the house for inspiration for his latest drawing entitled "Bib-babs and friends in a graveyard".  Nice child.
For new followers this is a design by  A Note of Friendship in memory of Lisa Roswell.  they produce a new letter every few weeks and I'm stitching them as I go.  I seem to be the only person keeping up with the design but I have a plan....

I have managed to get Google Reader to play nicely this week.  Every time I've tried to use it, the entries are all squashed up and you can't see anything until you click on them.  But this week I'd got really far behind with my reading (the world and his wife blogged at the end of July) and tried again to use it.  One day I went into the Reader via my "history" rather than my dashboard and Hey Presto it looked great - I could see all the posts and everything!  I can now keep up with everyone's blogs and never miss a single vital post!

Finally, the Travelling Pattern arrived this afternoon.  Perfect timing as I've just finished "I" and am ready to start the next thing ("J" is nearly finished, only one day's work there).  This pattern started with Daffycat and came to me from Erin from Fairy Tales and French Knots.  I'm off now to choose some fabric and threads.