Thursday, 5 December 2019

December In Turquoise - 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.

December is the final month and the last time you will have to endure these little poems based around birthstones. Many of them have been quite negative but at least December ends on a more cheery note!

December's birthstone is turquoise:

If cold December gave you birth
The month of snow and ice and mirth
Place on your hand a turquoise blue
Success will bless whate'er you do.

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

And here's the stitched piece. It's a little bit darker than I would have liked, but brings out the darker brown stripes which often appear in turquoise gemstones:

December by Palkolap
Stitched on 16ct Glacier over-dyed aida by 2 over 1
Stitch count 47 wide by 47 high
Stitched with DMC variegated 4025 and Miyuki seed beads
Started - 2nd December 2019
Finished - 4th December 2019
Total stitching time - 5 hours 15 minutes

And so comes to an end my year of birthstones. It's hard to believe a year has gone by!

I was conversing with another blogger about how stitching a similar design every month started to become a bit of a struggle around August/September time, and she gets the same sort of feeling. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed stitching each one, but I had a similar problem when I stitched Durene Jones' Cute Animal Calendar back in 2017 and the LK Stamps in 2015. I have a few more annual sets I would like to stitch but probably not as year long pieces. Instead I'll just pick up a random month as and when I feel like it. Having said that though, do you see the same pattern as me... 2015, 2017, 2019... perhaps in 2021 I'll change my mind!

Take care,
Rachel x

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Candelabra - finished!

Hello again!

I have another finish! This is the fifth of the six Sue Hillis' Dark Shadows projects I started for Dark October. Those of you with keen eyes may have spotted this finish in my #24 post, but here's the post with all the details.

This is how I had left it:

And now finished:

Candelabra by Sue Hillis Designs
Stitched on 16ct Purple Potion over-dyed aida by 2 over 1
Stitch Count 47 wide by 73 high 
Started - 26th October 2019
Finished - 29th November 2019
Total Stitching Time - 5 hours 45 minutes

It was stitched in 310 Etoile, to give it a tiny bit of sparkle, and silver-lined beads to represent the chains.

Only one more of these Dark Shadows projects to go, which I am confident will be finished in the next couple of weeks.

Take care,
Rachel x

Sunday, 1 December 2019

#24HoursOfCrossStitch - November Challenges

Hi all,

Here is my monthly posting for the #24HoursOfCrossStitch Challenge, the brainchild of Jen from QuirksandStitches.

There are three monthly inter-linked challenges but what I really love about this SAL is that the level of participation is completely up to the stitcher - the idea is to enjoy the stitching, not get bogged down trying to meet targets etc. I complete all three challenges simply because I really enjoy them (even though the Holiday Challenges often give me a figurative frustration headache!)

This post is also a good excuse for me to round up and summarise all the stitching I have achieved during the month. I wish I'd done that sooner as it's a neat little reminder. Anyway, let's see what those achievements are:

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 59 hours during November, which is a little above average. There were two days when I stitched for less than 24 minutes, but I was able to put in a couple of long days so that made up for it!

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

This month I planned my stitching around the letters rather than the other way round, although these were the projects I would probably have worked on anyway! There were ten projects in total, one for each letter, with goal time adding up to around 33 hours. All goals were achieved.

 - Haunted Library by Mill Hill (WIP restart)
Connection - Haunted Library was a restart in October
Goal - at least 4 hours
Actual - 5h 5m
(more about this in a post when I reach the 10 hour mark)

- Kings And Queens by Bothy Threads (WIP)
Connection - my monarch this month was Edward III
Goal - at least 4 hours from start to finish
Actual - 5h 5m

- Bird Candelabra by Sue Hillis Designs (WIP)
Connection - birds have wings
Goal - at least 4 hours to finish
Actual - 3h 30m (so less than estimated)

I - Candelabra by Sue Hillis Designs (WIP)
Connection - to be a working candelabra the candles need to be ignited
Goal - at least 24 minutes of progress
Actual - 3h 50m to unexpectedly finish it!
(finishing post to come soon)

N - Happy Christmas by Durene Jones (new start)
Connection - another word for Christmas is Noel
Goal - at least 4 hours from start to finish
Actual - 7h 50m

D - Hocus Pocus by Sue Hillis Designs (WIP)
Connection - this is from a set called Dark Shadows
Goal - at least 24 minutes of progress
Actual - 2h 35m

T - November Birthstone by Palkolap (new start)
Connection - the birthstone of the month is topaz
Goal - at least 4 hours from start to finish
Actual - 5h 50m

 I - Snow Globe Tree by Lucie Heaton (WIP)
Connection - the scene is inside the snow globe
Goal - at least 24 minutes of progress
Actual - 6h 30m!

M - Hogwarts In A Bottle by CutePatternsbyMaria (WIP)
Connection - I've been stitching the mountains
Goal - at least 8 hours of progress
Actual - 10h

E - Boo! by Sue Hillis Designs (WIP)
Connection - it's being stitched with Etoile thread
Goal - at least 4 hours to finish
Actual - 8h 45m

3) Connect 12 or more of the given holidays to your projects and stitch for at least 24 minutes on each. 8 of the ten projects went on one holiday, the other 2 went on 2. See above for time spent on each one. I have been finding this part of the challenge increasingly difficult each month, but I'm stubborn and will not to be defeated. Hope you love the one very very very obvious shoe-horn!

1st - National Author's Day - Hogwarts In A Bottle - love or hate the stories, you have to admit J K Rowling and her creation of Harry Potter and Hogwarts have made her one of the most famous authors of the modern era.

2nd - Look For Circles Day - Bird Candelabra - the ornate details of the candelabra look almost circular.

3rd - National Homemaker Day - Kings And Queens - my monarch this month actually cared for and got along with his wife and children!

5th - Bonfire Night - November in Topaz - bonfire night is celebrated in November.

9th - Chaos Never Dies Day - Hogwarts In A Bottle - if you're familiar with the stories you'll know there's never a dull moment at this school!

14th - National Pickle Day - Haunted Library - gherkins are pickled, gherkins are green, the slime left behind by the ghosts in the Ghostbusters films was green and the first place they haunted and slimed was the library, the little pickles!

16th - National Button Day - Haunted Library - this is a Button and Beads kit.

19th - Have A Bad Day - Hocus Pocus - because, when you have a bad day, don't you wish a little magic could make it all better?

22nd - Go For A Ride Day - Boo! - there are part of a witch on this piece and witches ride broomsticks.

26th - National Cake Day - Candelabra - a candelabra holds candles and candles are often associated with cakes.

27th - Pins And Needles Day - Snow Globe Tree - Christmas trees are sometimes fir trees and fir trees drop their needles.

30th - Stay At Home Because You Are Well Day - Happy Christmas - most of us don't have to go to work on Christmas Day so it's a good reason to stay at home, even though we are well.

Phew, done it, and with only a few hours to spare!

December's challenges have been released so I shall now start on those. i wonder what lays ahead in the last month of this year?

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday, 29 November 2019

Smalls SAL - November 2019

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. This month it was the first of six Christmas cards by Durene Jones:

Happy Christmas by Durene Jones (etsy)
Stitch Count 45 wide by 45 high
Stitched on 16ct silver lurex aida 2 over 1
Started - 6th November 2019
Finished - 13th November 2019
Total stitching time - 7 hours 50 minutes

I love this little piece, especially with the beads which, I think, look much better than the burgundy french knots they were charted as. I know it's designed to be a card, but I have something else in mind!

For this Smalls SAL I'm also re-showing other qualifying small projects I've stitched during the month.

My birthstone of the month, November In Topaz:

And my monarch of the month, Edward III:

December's Smalls SAL will be another of Durene Jones' little Christmas cards.

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday, 25 November 2019

Boo! - finished!

Hello all!

I've been continuing with my one or two (ish) thread lengths per pay Dark Shadows projects started during Dark October and have now finished Boo!

Here's how you saw it at the end of Dark October:

And now completed:

Boo! by Sue Hillis Designs
Stitched on 16ct Pink Pixie over-dyed aida by 2 over 1
Stitch Count 52 wide by 81 high 
Started - 25th October 2019
Finished - 24th November 2019
Total Stitching Time - 9 hours 30 minutes

It almost looks like the witch is carrying a sandwich board which is slightly too big!!

I think I know how I want to FFO these Dark Shadows projects but will wait until all six are finished before making my mind up. I've only got two more to go so if those are finished before Christmas I can plan a good FFOing session sometime over the Christmas holidays.

Take care,
Rachel x

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.

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