Saturday, 4 July 2020

People's Choice SAL - Most Stitched Designer

Hello all!

It's the first Saturday of the month so time for the People's Choice SAL run by Jo from Serendipitous Stitching. Continued thanks to Jo for hosting this unique SAL which has a different theme each month.



This month's theme is most popular designer, i.e. the designer I have stitched the most.

Some people (including our host) can't get enough of one particular designer and seem to stitch almost everything they release. I tend to stitch projects because they appeal to me but that doesn't mean to say the two don't overlap.

According to my all-telling spreadsheet, the designer I have stitched the most is Lizzie Kate with 32 finishes and loads more waiting in the wings.

Back in January Lizzie Kate was the choice of this SAL - link here - so not wanting to repeat myself, I decided to move on to the second-placed designer I have stitched the most. And that is Durene Jones with 19 projects and, again, lots more on my to-stitch list.

Durene Jones designs for just about every cross stitch magazine, has an etsy shop and posts a Friday Freebie on her Facebook page nearly every week. Her style is fairly recognisable although, as would be expected, has evolved over the years. I prefer her earlier small, cute and easy to stitch projects rather than her newer ones, something definitely confirmed by my stitching and my stash!


I started my Durene Jones stitching in 2016 with this Snowman, one of her Facebook Friday Freebies:



Then in 2016 and 2017 I stitched these Dolphin Beach Buddies from issue 218 of Cross Stitch Crazy. There are another three in the set but I'm not quite so keen on those.




This Cute Animal Calendar was stitched during 2017. It's still waiting to be FFOd, since finishing it off the way I have in mind means cutting out each month individually and I haven't had the guts to do that yet!



These two Words Christmas Cards were stitched last year. There are four more in the set which are on this year's and next year's to-stitch lists.



I also have quite a few of her projects in my stash. These are my favourites:

Halloween Characters

Snowman Snowflakes and Cute Robins


I already have the 'perfect' fabrics for these so have a feeling that one day Durene Jones will overtake Lizzie Kate to become my most stitched designer; only 14 finishes needed to make that happen... no problem!!

Next month's theme for this SAL is freedom. I'd better get my thinking cap on as to how I'm going to interpret that one!

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

#24HoursOfCrossStitch - June Challenges

Hi all,

Here comes another month end post for the #24HoursOfCrossStitch Challenge, the brainchild of Jen from QuirksandStitches, where we have fun matching our stitching for the month to various challenges. I also find it a convenient way of rounding up my stitching for the month.



Here come the challenges then...

1) Stitch for 24 hours during the month, including a minimum of 24 minutes each day
I was definitely back to normal this month, managing a total of 55 hours and 45 minutes with no day seeing less than 60 minutes. What a difference!


2) Fill in the acrostic DAY AND NIGHT, explain the connections and pick a 24 minute, 4 hour, 8 hour, (or other) goal for each letter.
These are the 11 projects I chose for June's acrostic, along with their goals and my successes:


D - Kings And Queens by Bothy Threads (WIP)
Connection - Edward V disappeared without a trace
Goal - start and finish (about 4 hours?)
Actual - 3h 15m


 A - The Loneliness Of Autumn by Artecy (2020 WIP)
Connection - it should have lots of attention this month
Goal - minimum of 15 hours of progress
Actual - 25 hours!


Y - Advent Calendar Day 23 (Two Birds) by JBW Designs (new start)
Connection - the birds are yearning for each other
Goal - start and finish (about 2 hours?)
Actual - 45 minutes of progress BUT NOT FINISHED


A - Cute Kakapo by FuzzyFoxDesigns (new start)
Connection - it's an Australasian bird
Goal - start and finish (about 5 hours?)
Actual - 6h 5m


N - Winnie The Pooh 4 by Designer Stitches (new start)
Connection - there's definitely no hunny left!
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 4h 35m


D - Happiness Delivery by Soda Stitch (new start)
Connection - the big tree will need a lot of decorations
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 4 hours


N - Advent Calendar Day 2 (Presents) by JBW Designs (new start)
Connection - the presents are nicely wrapped
Goal - start and finish (about 2 hours?)
Actual - 45 minutes of progress BUT NOT FINISHED


I - Advent Calendar Day 22 (Little Tree) by JBW Designs (new start)
Connection - it's an ickle tiny tree!
Goal - start and finish (about 2 hours?)
Actual - 1h 25m


G - Lady In Red by Heritage Crafts (new start)
Connection - the colours are gorgeous
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 5 hours


H - Winnie The Pooh 3 by Designer Stitches (new start)
Connection - he's still looking for more hunny
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 4h 10m


T - Advent Calendar Day 10 (Christmas Tree) by JBW Designs (new start)
Connection - it's a Christmas tree
Goal - start and finish (about 2 hours?)
Actual - 45 minutes of progress BUT NOT FINISHED


I thought I'd been quite ambitious with my June goals, but actually things didn't work out too badly. There were only three goals I didn't meet, but they were tiny in comparison to my achievements on the others, especially The Loneliness Of Autumn. I'm not quite on track for the year as a whole but not that far behind either.


3) Connect 12 or more of the given holidays to your projects and stitch for at least 24 minutes on each. Eleven projects meant doubling up on one. I found them really difficult this month, but I did them.

Day 1 - Flip A Coin Day - Advent Calendar Day 2 - with more than one (currently invisible!) present to choose from perhaps flipping a coin is the best way of deciding which to open first?

Day 2 - National Rocky Road Day - Cute Kakapo - the kakapo's road to recovery from near extinction has definitely been rocky, but made possible because of positive human intervention.

Day 8 - Name Your Poison Day - Kings and Queens - nobody knows what happened to the Princes in the Tower. Perhaps they were poisoned?

Day 9 - Call Your Doctor Day - Winnie The Pooh 4 - the hunny pot is well and truly stuck on his head; perhaps a doctor is needed to help get it off?!

Day 11 - National Corn On The Cob Day - The Loneliness Of Autumn - although corn on the cob can be eaten all year round I usually associate it with autumn when the nights begin to draw in. No idea why!

Day 17 - Eat Your Vegetables Day - Winnie The Pooh 3 - with Pooh's penchant for hunny, this is probably good advice!

Day 18 - National Splurge Day - Advent Calendar 10 - this is definitely a dense tree (when I've stitched it!) and could be well decorated if the owner splurged on purchasing ornaments.

Day 19 - Take A Roadtrip Day - Happiness Delivery - perhaps these two went on quite an excursion to buy the tree?

Day 20 - National Bald Eagle Day - Advent Calendar 23 - bald eagles are birds, as are the two doves on this design (not that I got round to stitching them!)

Day 22 - World Rainforest Day - The Loneliness Of Autumn - rainforests have trees, as does this design; not as many, but enough.

Day 23 - National Pink Day - Lady In Red - the fabric is a lovely pink called Dried Petal.

Day 24 - International Fairy Day - Advent Calendar Day 22 - this tree has a star at the top, but it's also traditional for fairies to sit at the top of Christmas Trees.


4) Additional 'Just For Fun' Challenge: list 24 local needlework shops you hope to visit someday
Well, that's easy, there aren't any! There is one small art and craft shop which sells a few kits and the full range of DMCs but that's it. It's about 5 years since I went to decent LNS and that was hundreds of miles away and only visited because it was en route to my destination. As much as I love the relaxation of internet browsing, how I would love to visit a proper shop for once!


My goals for July are very ambitious, mainly due to having 13 projects to stitch on because the acrostic is 13 letters long. I'm not expecting to be successful but it'll definitely be fun trying.

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday, 29 June 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #13 Winnie the Pooh 4/5

Hi all!

Unlucky for some, it's week 13 of this Spring Into Summer New Start Binge being undertaken by Tiff, Annie and myself. It's also four months down, one to go... how time flies!

This weekend was for the fourth of five Winnie The Pooh designs. Numbers three and four have been swapped around, so this is actually number three in the story but will be number four in the FFO.



I made a really good start over the weekend, although all I have to show is Pooh's arms holding the hunny pot. It's a bit ghostly, don't you think!

Winnie The Pooh And the Hunny Pot 4/5 by Designer Stitches
Stitched on 16ct Cloud Blue Sky over-dyed aida by sewitall.com
Stitching time to date - 4 hours 35 minutes


Next weekend, I think I'll start the last of Valerie Pfeiffer's Solos birds; he's getting lonely and wants to join his friends in the WIP pile!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday, 27 June 2020

The Loneliness Of Autumn - 60 hours

Hi all!

I'm definitely on a roll this month and my needles are smoking!!

I managed to sneak in some daytime stitching last week which enabled me to work more on this piece I'm SALing with Leonore. That additional time means I've caught up and am exactly where I should be at the end of June... woo-hoo!

Lots more dark blue 939 was added to basically the middle half, filling in the tree trunks and adding to the density of the black already there. I've identified the area as the section between the red dots. Even in daylight I can't really see much difference between the two colours but, trust me, it's there!



Here's Leonore's progress after 6 months. She's still on her first colour but about the same percentage of the way through as me, which is what we were trying to achieve.

The next 10 hour session in July might see me finish the dark blue and move on to the third colour. Not that I'm getting too excited as it's an off-white. Only with the fourth colour do I actually start to stitch a 'colour', and for that I can't wait!

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday, 26 June 2020

Smalls SAL - June 2020

Hello all!

It's the last Friday of the month so time for the Smalls SAL. Thank you, Mary, for continuing to host this fun little SAL. Pop over to Mary's Blog to see what other participants have been stitching in the way of Smalls this month.



Each month I stitch a small project specifically for this SAL which doesn't appear elsewhere on my blog.

For June I decided to return to Rachel James' Little Birds series, and stitch the kakapo. As you'll find out below though, these are native to New Zealand, not Australia as I said last month, so apologies for the error.

Cute Kakapo by FuzzyFoxDesigns
Stitch Count 41 wide by 31 high
Stitched on 16ct Kelp over-dyed aida by sewitall.com
Started - 3rd June 2020
Finished - 5th June 2020
Total stitching time - 6 hours 5 minutes


I'd never heard of the kakapo so did a bit of research. This is from, or has been paraphrased from, good old wikipeadia:


The kakapo, also called owl parrot, is a species of large, flightless, nocturnal, ground-dwelling parrot endemic to New Zealand. It has finely blotched yellow-green plumage, a distinct facial disc, a large grey beak, short legs, large feet, and relatively short wings and tail, There are only about 210 remaining, up from around just 50-60 in the 1980s and 1990s, all of which have been tagged and live on four islands cleared of predators. They weigh about 2-4kg and can live up to 95 yeas.

Here's one with Davic Attenborough during his filming of the 'Life of Birds' series:

The Life of Birds | Songs


And if you want to see a real male in its habitat and getting amorous with a human, here's a YouTube clip from Stephen Fry's 'Last Chance To See' series. It's really sweet and good for a giggle!


In this Smalls SAL I'm also re-showing other qualifying small projects I've stitched during the month. This month it's just my Monarch, the never-crowned Edward V:



Next month I will be stitching another little Mouseloft kit. But which one?

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday, 22 June 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #12 Lady In Red

Hello again!

It's week 12 of this Spring Into Summer New Start Binge being undertaken by Tiff, Annie and myself, where we aim to start a new project each weekend during the months of April, May, June and July.

This week's new start was the third of Valerie Pfeiffer's Solos birds. This is Lady In Red, a beautiful cardinal.



We don't get cardinals in the UK but I've seen them appear on so many projects it's actually been lovely to stitch one! It wasn't my intention to stitch just the bird but once I'd started her I couldn't stop. She's almost complete, just hasn't been backstitched or have her feet or an eye:

Lady In Red by Heritage Crafts
Stitched on 16ct Dried Petal over-dyed aida
Stitching time to date - 5 hours


So next time I pick her up I've more or less just got the foliage to stitch.

Next week, another Winnie The Pooh.

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday, 20 June 2020

The Loneliness Of Autumn - 50 hours

Hi all!

Stitching life in June has been really good, so I'm back with another update on The Loneliness Of Autumn, my SAL with Leonore.

I carried on with the second colour, dark blue 939, working as far down as the little red dots I added for reference. There isn't an obvious difference between the black and dark blue colours but there is certainly a visible difference in the density of the stitching.



I still need to add another 10 hours to catch up and be back on track with this piece by the end of June. Apart from working on new projects at weekends, I'm going to stick with this and hope that will be the case. Fingers crossed!

Take care,
Rachel x