Thursday, 17 October 2019

Dark October - week 2 progress

Hi all!

So I'm slowly making progress on my Dark October stitching. If you remember I'm stitching the Chandelier from Sue Hillis' Dark Shadows at the rate of two thread lengths per day.

At the end of week one I was here:

At the end of week 2 I was here, having finished the main chandelier:

With just the flames and chains to do this will be a finish very soon, I'll then have the reason I need for starting a second design from this set. Oh goody!

Take care,
Rachel x

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

A Monarch A Month - Edward II

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 ten, Edward II:

Edward II from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 8th October 2019
Finished - 11th October 2019
Total stitching time - 4 hours 30 minutes

I have absolutely no idea why he's in this pose. Perhaps he had too dull a personality to chart differently, but I don't think so. See what you think.

Here's my summary of Edward II's reign. I'm really not happy with it but I think I've done about as much as I can do.

Preceded by Edward I (father)
Succeeded by Edward III (son)
Lived 1284-1327
Reigned 1307-1327
Married Isabella of France 1308-1327
Fathered 4 legitimate and 1 illegitimate children

Edward became king in 1307 after his father's death. He was the youngest of 16 siblings but the only surviving son.

Edward quickly abandoned his father's 1307 Scottish campaign, but it was his defeat by Robert the Bruce in the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn which more or less marked the end of his Scottish policy.

In 1308 Edward married 12 year old Isabella, King Philip IV of France's daughter. However, Isabella had to compete for Edward's affection with two of his 'close friends', Piers Gaveston and Hugh the Younger.

Gaveston and Hugh, along with Hugh's family, were arrogant, influential and deeply mistrusted by all except Edward. Gaveston was captured in 1312 and executed for treason, whilst the 1321 Despenser War attempted, but failed, to permanently exile the Despensers from England.

Edward's estranged cousin, the Earl of Lancaster, was involved both times so, seeking revenge, Edward had Lancaster executed in 1322.

By 1325 Isabella herself wanted rid of Edward and the Despensers. She was able to secure enough resources and support from her lover, Roger Mortimer, to make this possible by agreeing to betroth her son to Roger's daughter.

Edward fled but was eventually captured. He had no real option other than to abdicate in favour of his son, Edward.

He died in September 1327 and was buried in Gloucester Abbey.

But Edward's reign wasn't all negativity and family feuds; he did try to ensure justice was fair across the land, and continued holding parliaments, thereby involving more than just the nobility in decision making.

He did, of course, have the usual problem with money - taxing too highly, and losing the confidence of people.

So next month, Edward III, the first monarch to become king before the death of the previous one.

Take care,
Rachel x

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Link-up for Fully Finished Gallery SAL - October 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? Not that much actually; my UFO pile is getting bigger.  :(

Scaredy Cats has been my only FFO this month. It was the second finish from my Summer Of New Starts and finished off using coordinating spooky eyes backing fabric and tinsel wool. Bling for Halloween? Why not?!

The tinsel wool is a new-to-me idea which resulted from not being able to find any suitable eyelash or tinsel ribbon. I have used two lengths each of King Cole Black and Orangutan Tinsel Wool twisted together to get the effect. It definitely tested my patience to attach, but once I had found a rhythm of how to twist and anchor it down it became easier. I then took a lot of time releasing the little strands which had been caught under my thread. The result is exactly what I was hoping for!

This particular wool is available in 40+ colours so I shall definitely be purchasing more and using it in the future for anything that needs a bit of bling, especially Christmas projects. Plus it's really cheap; a 70m ball of wall costs about the same as 2-3m of tinsel ribbon. No-brainer really, and plenty left over for many projects to come!

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 October.

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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. Last month was a bit sparse, but I'm guessing that was summer getting in the way.

Next month's post will go live on 10th November at 6am UK time as usual. Hope to see you there!

Take care,
Rachel x

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Dark October - week 1 progress

Hi again!

Just a quick post to show you the progress on my Dark October stitching. Whilst other stitchers are deep into their Dark October Halloween projects, I am slowly stitching a small piece from Sue Hillis' Dark Shadows set. In case you didn't guess, this is the chandelier.

Here's my progress after day 1:

And after week 1:

You can't see it in the photo but the Etoile is certainly adding a tiny bit of sparkle, as will the beads once it's their turn.

Naturally I'm absolutely desperate to work on it more, but I'm being a good girl and putting it away after adding just two thread lengths each day. I'll show another update after week two (unless I stop being good and have finished it by then!)

Take care,
Rachel x

Sunday, 6 October 2019

October In Tourmaline - started and finished!

Hi all!

First things first... a little celebration as this is my 500th post!!! I would not have imagined when I started this blog I would get to 500 in 5 1/2 years. Just goes to show how much I have to say! Here's to the next 500.  :)

Now back to reality...

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.

October's birthstone is opal (or tourmaline):

October's child is born for woe
And life's vicissitudes must know
But lay an opal on her breast
And hope will lull those woes to rest.

Visit here if you would like to read little interesting snippets of information about opals and tourmalines. The opal is particularly interesting.

October is my birth month and, given that I am not keen on opals, I chose to stitch a pink tourmaline version although, where tourmaline is concerned, it seems that almost any colour could have been chosen!

October by Palkolap
Stitched on 16ct Dried Petal over-dyed aida by 2 over 1
Stitch count 47 wide by 47 high
Stitched with DMC variegated 48 and Miyuki Opaque Pink seed beads
Started - 1st October 2019
Finished - 5th October 2019
Total stitching time - 5 hours 40 minutes

I added a couple more bows to the pattern to make the fabric under October look less empty and love how it turned out. Now to FFO it!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday, 5 October 2019

People's Choice SAL - Cats

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 is the 13th month of this SAL, so it's ironic that this unlucky number should be accompanied by a lucky theme - cats.

I'm not a 'cat' person as such but we did inherit a couple from the previous owner of the first house we bought as he couldn't take them with him. Both were totally gorgeous and totally black apart from Bagheera had a white mark under his chin and Midnight had a white tip on her tail. But they have long since departed and I'm not sure my cockatiels would appreciate it if we had any now!!

But I digress...

Off the top of my head I couldn't think of many projects in my finished, WIP or stash piles which have cats on them. Then I looked through my spreadsheet and found I'd actually finished 31 pieces, have 7 WIPs and have well over 40 in my stash; obviously I'm drawn towards cats much more than I thought!

Now I'm obviously not going to show all of my cat pieces, so here are a random few.

These Purr-fect Pets were stitched from a magazine chart back in 2000 before I kept accurate records. I think there are only three or four colours in each one so were really quick and easy to finish.

Sleepy and Big Eyes Kitty are two of a set of six sepia kittens by DMC. Sleepy was stitched between 2007 and 2012, and Big eyes Kitty in 2014. They could have been shown in the monochrome-themed SAL but I thought I'd put them in this one instead. I do have the other four in the set; I'm just waiting for that elusive 'one day' to arrive!

(the stripes you can see in the background are the spokes of an
umbrella I was using to try to stop reflection.)

This set of four magazine charts, called A Taste Of Tuscany, were some of the first pieces to appear on my blog when I started it back in 2014 (as was Big Eyes Kitty above, actually) so hold really strong memories of becoming a part of the online stitching community. I have no idea at all why they appeal to me, they just do!

Out of my 7 cat WIPs, one is a large chart, so is on hold, and the other 6 were started for DSDUCJFC 2015 so are on my list to be finished sometime during the next four years. I'll only show the biggie which is OMG Tigger Is Out by UnconventionalX (etsy) which I've barely started. I'd love to stitch more though (famous last words!) since the confetti isn't too bad and the colours quite soothing to work with. Seeing the gridlines, I think this is the only project I have actually gridded, presumably to help with the confetti.

Finally, on my to-stitch list is this set of 12 monthly Nelson and Tibbs charts which were in a free-with-magazine calendar. I'd definitely start with my favourites and may not even do them all. Not that's it's worth thinking about at the moment as that 'one day' is still light years away!

There, I've tried to keep it brief and am very surprised I wasn't tempted into showing lots more. No doubt I'll be able to fit them into other categories at some point.

Next month's theme is autumn colours - perfect for the time of year and right up my street!

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Dark October - the beginning

Hi all!

Dark October is a stitching SAL which has been around for a few years. It was the brainchild of Michelle Cozyegg and Emily Eclectic Possessions (thanks, Jo, for pointing me in the right direction there) with the idea (I think) of stitching on just Halloween projects for the whole month, whether that be one project, a few projects, or even a new start every day.

I love the idea of Dark October but the format doesn't really fit in with my current stitching schedule. So I had two choices; either change most of my October schedule to make it 100% Dark October, or make Dark October work alongside my original plans. After much procrastination I chose the latter (although, as I'm writing this, I'm thinking if changing my mind again!) mainly because I thought knew the former would tempt me into one or two far too many new starts.

So now my October plan is as follows - stitch on the pieces I had planned to stitch on anyway, but for about 20-30 minutes each day work on one of these Dark Shadows projects by Sue Hillis Designs. That way I can do my planned stitching and participate in Dark October too, if only a little.

Dark Shadows - Cross Stitch Pattern

Here is yesterday's start. I think you should be able to tell which one I've chosen to stitch first. And if I finish this one then I will start another, and so on, until the end of the month.

Stitched on 16ct Purple Potion by 2 over 1

There are going to be a few changes to the designs - to give them a bit of sparkle I'm substituting the charted blacks and greys with their closest Etoile counterparts, and for the chain-y bits on the candelabra and chandelier I have some silver-lined dark grey beads which I would really like to use. I don't know if they will work but it's worth a try so fingers crossed.

I would say wish me luck, but it's not exactly going to be the most difficult SAL in the world (except perhaps the putting-down-after-only-a-short-while bit!)

Take care,
Rachel x