Monday 22 April 2024

April 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.

This year I am trying something different for IHSW - an A-Z Challenge!  These usually take place in April and people stitch one letter every day except Sunday.  I don't want to swap projects daily so thought I could do 2 or 3 letters per IHSW instead.  

April is G and H.  Once again I wasn't working Friday so I started there with H for Hocus Pocus Cabinet from Primitive Hare.  

Here's where I finished:

stitched on 32 count Vintage Country Mocha  linen

Next up on Saturday was H for Head - Art Nouveau Head from Craft Collection and now my oldest WIP.

It went from here:

to here:

stitched on 14 count white aida

I got loads done as it was quite easy and repetitive.  I had originally swapped G and H over as I thought my big stitching day was going to be Sunday and I wanted to focus on Gardens of London for the day.  However, it turned out that I got more hours in on Saturday.  The problem with Gardens is that I need to have the computer open and sit in front of it to stitch which wasn't possible on Saturday.  Whereas the Art Nouveau Head is just one piece of A4 paper and a smaller piece of fabric.

I did get the gold backstitch finished on one Guard's Box and started on the final one:

stitched on 32 count Cotton Clouds Belfast from Crafty Kitten

I'm thinking of adding in another day on this one before the end of the month to make up for it.  At least to finish the gold on the boxes.

Another very successful IHSW.  It's fun to get a chance to work on some of my older pieces for more than just 30 minutes for the Longest Day Marathon.

Next month I have only one project for each of I and J.  Then we come to my first blank which is K.  I do have a Lizzie*Kate design on my 24 list so I may have to start that one.  To fit in all the letters in 12 months I have to have two months where I stitch 3 letters or skip a letter.  It makes sense for May to be that month.

Finally the next IHSW will be 17th - 19th May 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.

Monday 15 April 2024

Gifted Gorgeousness April Link-up Post


Welcome to the April 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.

My focus piece for February was stitched on gifted fabric and I picked it up again over the Easter Weekend and got a finish!

Cricket Collection - Spring

stitched on 32 count Marie's Daffodil linen from Chromatic Alchemy

Close-ups of the letters

So many little details, I added beads for the raindrops

This one was a gift from the designer and the fabric was a gift too.  

Steady Thread - Tree of Life Temperature SAL

stitched on 28 count Meadow Mist linen from Silkweavers

I record the temperature each day and then stitch the leaves on the Sunday morning.

My Dark 13 design is stitched on gifted fabric, a beautiful 40 count linen called Witch's Brew from Zweigart.  My plan is to stitch one letter per month until we reach October and then complete it during Dark October.

stitched on 40 count linen called Witch's Brew from Zweigart

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 "April 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, I will do my best to pop round and visit everyone this month, I'm a little behind in my blog reading again!

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Finally Fully Finishing Fun for April


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).

I was quite organised this month and have two framed pieces to share with you.  One was finished this year and the other is a little bit older (2021),

I went through my frame box looking for a frame for the first piece and found two, a gold rectangle and a blue square.  Then I went through my finished pieces folder to see if there was anything that fitted into the square frame better,  There was, so I framed both pieces.

Here is the first one, the intended FFO for this month - September Strawflowers from The Sweetheart Tree:

Here's the second bonus FFO - Peacock Tapestry from Just Nan:

I didn't have the peacock charm for the centre but I did have this lovely sparkly rainbow star so I used that instead.

While I was doing the framing, I took some photos to show how I frame my pieces and get them centred and straight in the frame.

The first thing I do is measure the aperture of the frame and measure the width of the stitching.  Take one from the other and divide by two.

So the frame was 9cm and the stitching was 7cm which leaves 2cm to be divided by 2 so 1cm margin.

Do the same for the height. In this case, it's a square but always doublecheck!

Then I take the stitching and remove one thread 1cm from the edge of the stitching, as below:

Fold along those lines and fold the corners diagonally.  Take a piece of card ever so slightly smaller than the aperture of the frame, eg 8.9cm for this frame.  Lay the stitching face-down and centre the card onto it.

Put a small piece of double sided tape in each corner and fold the corners over diagonally.  You can use the removed thread lines to make sure they are straight.

Repeat for all four corners, then add double sided tape to the middle of each side:

Although I'm using tape, it never touches the back of the stitching so won't affect my threads over time.

Fold the edges over, looking at the front side to make sure the fold is exactly down the removed thread line.

Here's the back when all four sides are done.  You could stitch across the corners if the linen is very loose or springy but I don't usually bother.  If I was going to stick metal washers to the back and mount it with magnets then I probably would because it will keep the corners secure for longer.

Pop it in the frame and take a photo!  

Hope you found this useful for framing your small pieces.

Finally, thanks to everyone who took part in the Easter Treasure Hunt this year.  The Mystery Phrase was :

Hippity Hoppity

Just like this bunny that was sent to me by Beth in IL a few years ago.  I get him out every Easter for my display.

Monday 8 April 2024

A Baker's Dozen of Blogging Years

Today is my 13th Blogaversary, a Baker's Dozen years of blogging fun and hops around our community.

So, here are the stats:

13 years
1407 posts
1,963,323 pageviews

This time last year I was focusing on my Halloween at Hawk Run Hollow project which is now a finish.

It went from here:

to here:

Chatelaine Gardens of London went from here last April:

to here:

Just a little bit of gold on the guards' boxes to do for that section

My Spooky conversion of CCN's Main Street went from here:

to a finish:

Mirabilia's Fairy Idyll grew from here:

to here:

Bothy Threads 12 Days of Christmas went from here:

to here:

I also completed one of my oldest WIPs - Little Snapdragon by Kustom Krafts, so that was a good achievement.

All my current projects are small or medium this year so hopefully they will all be finishes by next year?

Circle Cross - Art Nouveau Zodiac Tarot Cards
The Steady Thread - Tree of Life Temperature SAL
Cottage Garden Samplings - The Swans
Cottage Garden Samplings - Halloween Sampler
Cricket Collection  -Spring
The Primitive Hare - Hocus Pocus Cabinet
La Broderie - Quiet Hour Sampler
Cottage Garden Samplings - Partridge in a Pear Tree

How about you?  What's been your greatest achievement over the last year?

Finally, a Happy Birthday to my Blog's twin - Susan from Yellow Flower Meadow!



It's TUSAL time!  

Here is my TUSAL jar with my current projects:

On the left we have A Partridge in a Pear Tree from Cottage Garden Samplings and on the right The Quiet Hour Sampler from La Broderie.

I am really enjoying both of these projects, the colours are beautiful and neither are overly complicated.

In particular I am enjoying the letters on Partridge, it's been a while since I have stitched letters and there's a whole alphabet under the picture.

stitched on 35 count cream linen

Although Quiet Hour is an older hand-drawn chart, the diagrams for the speciality stitches are very good so, again a pleasure to stitch.

stitched on 28 count White linen

Finally, do pop back later for a celebratory post from me! 

Friday 5 April 2024

April Plans

At the start of the year I made a list of 24 projects I want to stitch this year for my "24 in '24".  The order I stitch them in is going to be determined by the WIPGO Board.  Jessie-Marie calls two numbers each month and those will be the two projects I stitch that month.  One small and one medium.

In March, the numbers were 1 and 10.  These related to September Strawflowers from the Sweetheart Tree and Hocus Pocus Cabinet from Primitive Hare.

I completed September Strawflowers and might even FFO it in time for the FFO Gallery on the 10th!  Hocus Pocus Cabinet hit a frog but is looking good and will be added to the "Finish if I have any spare month left" pile.

stitched on 32 count Vintage Country Mocha linen

In April, the numbers are 18 and 21.  These relate to the Quiet Hour Sampler by La Broderie and A Partridge in a Pear Tree from Cottage Garden Samplings.

I started Quiet Hour on the 1st, I've been so looking forward to this one because of the sentiment and the colours.  I wasn't going to spend £6 on a skein of Waterlilies but found a nice Jodyri with suitable colours to use.  It's called Aurora Borealis and I cut it at the white portion so use that as the tail to secure it so you won't see any white thread.

Here's where I am now:

stitched on 28 count white linen

The half-stitched word will say "And" when I backstitch the next line.

The larger focus piece is the first in a 12 Days of Christmas series from my Designer of the Year - Cottage Garden Samplings.  It's an unusual series in that each one is a different size and shape and the models are stitched on different fabric colours and counts.  There is a layout to stitch them as one large piece but honestly, I don't need a 20 x 27 12 Days of Christmas framed picture.  So I decided to stitch them individually on 35 count to keep the size down and because I happened to have a massive piece of sand-cream 35 count linen I like stitching on.

The linen was 54 x 36 inches but had a quarter used already so was an L shape.  In order to work out how best to cut the pieces, I made a scale model!  I worked out all the sizes for each block plus a 2 inch margin and cut out pieces of paper in the right proportions.  Then I drew out the linen on a piece of card and played Tangrams with the pieces!

Here's the layout:

I had to leave a piece big enough to stitch 2 of The Primitive Hare Celebrations that are left to do.  Well remembered me.  Future Jo will be happy.

I'm using one strand of DMC so there's a nice vintage look to this traditional sampler.  The First Day could easily be a stand-alone piece it's so nice.  In fact, I was thinking of doing that - a collection of First Day designs from lots of different designers and having a "Partridge Tree".

Here's where I am so far:

stitched on 35 count cream linen

Finally, thanks to everyone who took part in the Easter Treasure Hunt this year, there's still time to Hop around and guess the Mystery Phrase.  All will be revealed in my TUSAL Post next.

Sunday 31 March 2024

March Stitch From Stash and Pie

Here's my monthly Pie for March:

Very varied thanks to the A-Z Challenge.

The WIPGO board chose The Primitive Hare Hocus Pocus Cabinet as my focus piece and I was doing really well until I realised that I had miscounted the top border and now have a floating head!

stitched on 32 count Vintage Country Mocha linen

That will be coming out next time I stitch on this piece.

Instead I decided to spend the Easter weekend on something more colourful and pulled out Spring from Cricket Collection.

stitched on 32 count Marie's Daffodil linen from Chromatic Alchemy

One more day and I should be able to finish this one off.  The rest of the pieces can be seen on the GG and IHSW posts earlier in the month.

In the evenings I started with the Cheshire Cat from Rainbow Hunter, then my WIPGO piece from The Sweetheart Tree and finished the month on the Circle Cross Zodiac Tarot on Etsy. 

I finished Aquarius:

And Pisces!

Only 2 more signs to go!

stitched on 28 count Sky Blue evenweave from Silkweavers

Finally, the only things I spent money on this month were two magazine subscriptions and they are both exempt from Stitch from Stash so I'm doing well.  I do want to buy some fabric for three more Nora Corbett Zodiac Signs and also the lovely Alice blackwork I purchased last month.