Thursday, 21 November 2019

Hogwarts In A Bottle - 130 hours

Hi there!

So Hogwarts barged its way onto my frames and demanded more attention. There were good blocks of colour in this section so a LOT of progress was made during the ten hours.

Last time:


And this time:


And the full piece:



Now to go left a bit to finish the bridge supports and stitch some more mountains. Oh goody!

Take care,
Rachel x

Sunday, 17 November 2019

A Monarch A Month - Edward III

Hello all!

Over the course of the next four years I will be stitching Bothy Thread's Kings and Queens at the slow pace of one monarch per month.

This is monarch number eleven, Edward III:

Edward III from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 14th November 2019
Finished - 17th November 2019
Total stitching time - 5 hours 5 minutes


Here's my summary of Edward III's reign, whose appearance reflects his love of warfare.

EDWARD III
Preceded by Edward II (father)
Succeeded by Richard II (grandson)
Lived 1312-1377
Reigned 1327-1377
Married Phillipa of Hainault 1328-1369 (died)
Fathered 8 sons and 5 daughters

14 year old Edward became king when his father was forced (by his mother and her lover, Roger) to abdicate. Edward soon banished his mother and had power-hungry regent Roger executed, leaving him King in his own right.

In 1337, Edward claimed he was also the rightful King of France and thus began the English/French Hundred Years War. After numerous conflicts, he finally renounced this claim in 1360 in return for French lands (which he subsequently lost!)

Scotland continued to be 'problematic'. Despite a truce in 1338, the next two decades witnessed fighting and negotiations as King David II failed to hold Scotland and England failed to successfully install Edward Balois as King. In 1356 Balois 'abdicated'. David returned as King in 1357.

In England, Parliament was developed into the House of Lords, for summoned nobles, and House of Commons to represent the people. The position of Speaker was created in the latter.

Edward also created the title of Duke for close family members (his sons were all made 1st Dukes of ...) and the Order of the Garter, possibly to represent the chivalry of Arthurian Knights of the Round Table.

The Black Death reached England in 1348, killing about one third of the population and two, possibly three, of Edward's children.

Edward had a good relationship with his sons, who often carried out military and political duties on his behalf, and a number of trusted advisers. Edward was a competent monarch but England's military might and Edward's reign definitely weakened as these advisers aged and/or died.

Edward died in 1377, one year after his eldest son, and was succeeded by his grandson, Richard.

So next month, ten year old Richard II.

Take care,
Rachel x

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Link-up for Fully Finished Gallery SAL - November 2019

Hello all!

It's the 10th of the month so time for another Fully Finished Gallery SAL.


This is the place which will hopefully encourage you to fully-finish off one or more of your cross stitching projects which may have been recently completed or sitting in a bag or box or cupboard or drawer etc. for months or years, neglected and not out on display as it/they should be.

The link-up for this SAL opens on the 10th of each month and stays open for 10 days, so you have plenty of time to turn those UFOs into FFOs and join in.


So, what have I been up to this past month? Just catching up with the birthstones really:

1) September in Sapphire was finished in the usual way:




2) As was October In Tourmaline:




3) And November In Topaz:




Ages ago, a couple of you asked if I would do a tutorial as to how I finish these. Seeing as next month is the last one I'd better do it then! The tutorial will be at the end of this posting next month. Promise!


Now it's over to you to show what you've been finishing this month.

Please link-up using the URL of your FFG SAL post and not the home page of your blog, adding a thumbnail of a finish and either your name or your blog name as the caption. The link-up will remain open for 10 days, closing at 6am UK time on 20th November.



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And please don't forget to follow other links and see what fellow fully-finishers have been up to; you never know, other projects may give you an idea for your next finish!

Once the link-up has closed I shall update the FFG SAL 2019 page with the number of entrants and entries. We are currently at 337 FFOs - can we make 350 by the end of the year?


Next month's post will go live on 10th December at 6am UK time as usual. Hope to see you there, perhaps having had a little push to get some things FFOd before the beginning of 2020!

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday, 8 November 2019

Bird Candelabra - finished!

Hi all!

I have another little finish to show you. This was the third Sue Hillis Dark Shadows project I started during Dark October and now the third finish.

Here's how it looked at the end of October:


And now finished:

Bird Candelabra by Sue Hillis Designs
Stitched on 16ct Purple Potion over-dyed aida by sewitall.com 2 over 1
Stitched with black Etoile and Miyuki silver-lined gunmetal seed beads
Stitch Count 50 wide by 67 high 
Started - 24th October 2019
Finished - 8th November 2019
Total Stitching Time - 5 hours 15 minutes


Actually, it's not completely finished as each bird is supposed to have a french knot for an eye, the same as the bats in my previous finish, Trick or Treat. However, having attempted the eyes numerous times (including with beads) and not succeeded to make them look at least partially realistic, I left them out. I don't think it spoils the overall effect; afterall, the designs are supposed to be silhouettes, right?

Next up as my two-thread-lengths-a-day project will be Boo!

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

November In Topaz - started and finished!

Hi all!

At the beginning of each month I will be stitching a little calendar piece, by Palkolp, in that month's birthstone colour. This idea was inspired by Jo's People's Choice SAL Birthstone posting and from her link to a website about birthstones.

November's birthstone is topaz:

Who first comes to this world below
In dreary November's fog and snow
Should prize the topaz amber hue
Emblem of friends and lovers true.

Visit here if you would like to read little interesting snippets of information about topaz.


I was very much looking forward to the colours on this one. It's the same variegated thread I used for Scaredy Cats and stitches up beautifully. But whereas for Scaredy Cats I used mainly the darker half, for November I'm using mainly the lighter half since, in my mind, topaz is more orangey-yellow than orangey-red. There is a mistake in there, but I fudged it and am really really pleased with the way it turned out (and at least the acorns are a similar colour to real-life!):

November by Palkolap
Stitched on 16ct Tangerine over-dyed aida by sewitall.com 2 over 1
Stitch count 47 wide by 47 high
Stitched with DMC variegated 51 and Mill Hill frosted seed beads 62044
Started - 1st November 2019
Finished - 5th November 2019
Total stitching time - 5 hours 50 minutes


So, as I'm sure you have worked out, that's 11 months down and one to go; last one next month!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday, 2 November 2019

People's Choice SAL - Autumnal Colours

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 the theme is autumnal colours.

Autumn is my favourite time of the year and autumnal reds, browns, yellows and oranges my favourite colour palette but it doesn't follow that autumnal colours have to be used for autumn projects. However, in all my projects it does! So let's see what I've stitched:

Angel of Autumn by Lavender and Lace was started in 2000 and finished in 2003 with a long break in the middle. You saw her when we did 'finishes' as a topic for this SAL but I like her so much I'm showing her again!



Autumnal Abstract is one of my top 5 all time favourite pieces, started in 2005 and finished in 2014 with a very long gap in the middle when I'd given up stitching in favour of scrapbooking. I have seen a couple of different colour versions (bieges and blues for winter, and pinks and blues for spring) and would love to have the time to stitch one for each of the seasons, but I don't realistically think that's ever going to happen (especially since I gave the chart away and have never found another one!)



Autumn Alphabet by Lizzie Kate was started and finished in 2016 and about as close to a sampler as I will ever get. The autumnal colours are more muted than I would normally consider autumn colours to be, but they work.



Autumn Bird and Autumn Twirls, both stitched this year, also have the autumnal colour palette. The latter's colours were specifically chosen to match the backing fabric, although aren't too far away from those suggested:



As for what's in the pipeline... Autumn (and the three other seasons) by Cross Eyed Cricket are on my list for next year. They're not my usual type of project but are still well within my comfort zone.



Finally, if your want autumnal colours (and a few more) in artwork, then look no further than practically all of Leonid Afremov's work. HAED and crosstitch.com have both charted a number of his designs. Two of my favourites are The Loneliness of Autumn and Night Aura. I would absolutely love to have the patience to stitch them but all I have to do is look at the confetti on the chart and I start twitching! Never say never, but in the meantime I'll just admire his work:



There must be loads more autumnal coloured designs out there so hopefully I'll see a variety as I hop around the other People's Choice SAL posts.

Next month... Winter.

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday, 1 November 2019

#24HoursOfCrossStitch - October Challenges

Hi all,

Here is my monthly posting for the #24HoursOfCrossStitch Challenge, the brainchild of Jen from QuirksandStitches (blog fairly inactive but she does do Facebook, Instagram and Flosstube).

This is also a good excuse to round up and summarise all the stitching I achieved during the month. Apologies that much of this is a repetition of yesterday's Dark October post but I need to put the same piccies in here too.



I had so much fun again this month, although it was made a little easier by stitching on thirteen different projects and therefore having so many to choose from. I'm still shoe-horning though, so for those of you who like that fun element I haven't let you down!

I've slightly changed the way I'm listing everything so that it's more in keeping with the format of the challenges. The same information is still there though.


1) Stitch for 24 hours during the month, including a minimum of 24 minutes each day

Not a problem! I stitched for a total of 70 hours 30 minutes during October, much more than usual due to stitching a little bit for Dark October most mornings and treating myself to a couple of selfish and intense stitching days.


2) Fill in the acrostic DARK OCTOBER XS, explain the connections and pick a 24 minute, 4 hour or 8 hour goal for each letter.

I'd planned my month around nine projects, duplicating four in order to complete the 13 letter acrostic. However, towards the end of the month four additional projects which just 'happened to slip in' conveniently replaced the four duplicates. Total goal time adds up to just under 40 hours. All goals were achieved.


 D - A Little Wizard Of The Night by Soda Stitch (WIP)
Connection - it is being stitched on Dusky Sky fabric
Goal - at least 24 minutes
Actual - 5h 45m (a couple of good long sessions when hubby was away!)


- Haunted Library by Mill Hill (new start)
Connection - in libraries fiction books are shelved alphabetically by author
Goal - at least 4 hours
Actual - 6h 30m


R - Spooky Hootie by Pinoy Stitch (new start)
Connection - RIP is written on the gravestone
Goal - at least 4 hours from start to finish
Actual - 6h 10m


K - Trick Or Treat by Sue Hillis Designs (new start)
Connection - when children go trick of treating they knock on doors
Goal - at least 4 hours
Actual - 9h 40m


 O - A Little Witch Of The Night by Soda Stitch (WIP)
Connection - she has bright orange hair
Goal - at least 24 minutes
Actual - 1h 45m


C - Hocus Pocus by Sue Hillis Designs (unplanned new start)
Connection - there is a cat in the design
Goal - originally none, but at least 24 minutes once started
Actual - 2h


T - October Birthstone by Palkolap (new start)
Connection - the birthstone of the month is tourmaline
Goal - at least 4 hours from start to finish
Actual - 5h 40m


O - Candelabra by Sue Hillis Designs (unplanned new start)
Connection - because it's very ornate
Goal - originally none, but at least 24 minutes once started
Actual - 1h 55m


B - Hogwarts In A Bottle by CutePatternsbyMaria (WIP)
Connection - a lot of backstitching needed to be added to the buildings
Goal - at least 8 hours
Actual - 15h 35m


E - Chandelier by Sue Hillis Designs (new start)
Connection - it's being stitched with Etoile thread
Goal - at least 8 hours from start to finish
Actual - 8h 30m


R - Bird Candelabra by Sue Hillis Designs (unplanned new start)
Connection - it's home to three rooks (or ravens? but definitely not crows) 
Goal - originally none, but at least 24 minutes once started
Actual - 1h 45m


X - Kings And Queens by Bothy Threads (WIP)
Connection - Edward II was the tenth (X in Roman numerals) monarch
Goal - at least 4 hours from start to finish
Actual - 4h 30m


S - Boo! by Sue Hillis Designs (unplanned new start)
Connection - when someone shouts 'boo!' it's usually to scare you!
Goal - originally none, but at least 24 minutes once started
Actual - 45m


3) Connect 12 or more of the given holidays to your projects and stitch for at least 24 minutes on each. (Each of my thirteen projects went on one holiday. See above for time spent on each one.)

The 14th is definitely my favourite!

1st - World Vegetarian Day - October In Tourmaline - I'm an October baby and I've been a vegetarian for 31 years.

2nd - National Walk and Bike to School Day - A Little Wizard Of The Night - why walk or bike when you can use a broom and fly?

6th - National Mad Hatter Day - Boo! - because there's a hat in the design.

9th - National Chess Day - Kings and Queens - there are kings and queens on a chess board (although my queen usually goes AWOL quite quickly!)

10th - World Mental Health Day - Candelabra - there are candles on the candelabra, and candles often help people relax and improve their mental well-being.

11th - World Egg Day - Bird Candelabra - birds lay eggs.

12th - National Farmers' Day - Spooky Hootie - one type of owl is a Barn Owl and barns are usually associated with farms.

14th - National Kick Butt Day - Chandelier - in The Phantom of the Opera, the Phantom brings down the chandelier onto the audience in the Paris Opera House as a message that he means business and shouldn't be messed with. Is this the 19th century version of kicking butt?!

19th National New Friends Day - Hogwarts In A Bottle - because school is a good place to make new friends.

26th - National Pumpkin Day - A Little Witch Of The Night - she has a pumpkin hanging from her broom (although I haven't stitched it yet!)

27th - National Black Cat Day - Hocus Pocus - because there's a black cat on the design.

28th - National Chocolate Day - Trick Or Treat - when children (or adults!) go trick-or-treating at Halloween it's usually in exchange for chocolate.

29th - National Hermit Day - Haunted Library - if you're going to be a hermit then a library is as good a place as any.

What fun!

November's challenges are out and already being populated. However, since I have no intention of stitching on so many different projects in November, they may be a little more difficult to fill in. Find out this time next month.

Take care,
Rachel x