Friday, 15 January 2021

Grow Your Own - 40 hours

Hello all!

After rekindling my love for Walter, and those gorgeous and colourful vegetables, I couldn't help but carry on working on him for the last few days of 2020 and then into January to take me up to the next 10 hour mark.

Last time I added the juicy carrots and some of the radish tops:

This time I finished the radish tops, added the cabbage and then had a few minutes left to start on the radishes themselves:

I'm afraid Walter has got to go away for a couple of months now so that I can concentrate on finishing off a few WIPs which don't require too much work. But he should appear again after Easter (ish).

Take care,
Rachel x

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Link-up For Fully Finished Gallery SAL - January 2021

Hello all!

It's the 10th of the month so time for another Fully Finished Gallery SAL, the place to show your FFOing achievements since your last link-up.

And this year there is a new logo! I thought I'd go Ye Olde Worlde, with a scroll of parchment written (on purpose) in Blackadder font. It's available on my sidebar if you want to grab it.

The link-up for this SAL opens on the 10th of each month and stays open for 10 days so you can join in whenever you're ready.

But before delving into this month's FFOs, let's take a look back at 2020.

In 2020, 394 FFOs were submitted by 18 different bloggers - fairly comparable to the 389 FFOs by 23 participants in 2019. That's amazing! Thank you all so much, not only for joining in, but in taking the time to create wonderful fully-finished objects from your beautiful stitching.

For those who like statistics, here's how many participated and how many entries were received each month:

Apart from June, there's a fairly good correlation between the two, with obvious enthusiasm at the beginning and end of the year waning a little in the middle.

This FFG SAL isn't competitive, but I do have to do a few shout-outs to:

* Jo, Leonore, Mary H and Suzanne who linked up every month.
* Jo who submitted the most FFOs during the year with 55, closely followed by Suzanne with 51.
* Katie who submitted the most entries in one month with 19 in January.

But well done all of you; even one FFO is one less in those Boxes/Drawers/Cupboards Of Shame!

So let's see what 2021 brings - any guesses as to how many FFOs could be achieved this year? There's probably not as much of a backlog as in previous years, so I'm expecting numbers to be a little lower.

Having said that, I had an FFOing binge during Twixmas so am starting the year off with 17!

First up is Daisy Hugs, a start from 2015 finished in December 2020. It's FFOd to match last month's Daisy Umbrella, on metallic card with some gems for a bit of bling and a ribbon bow to finish:

Next up, October's Smalls SAL piece, Witchy Spookie Hootie. He's been mounted in a frame made from black card covered with black glittered felt, with ribbon added for a hanging loop and ric-rac for an extra bit of colour:

Then we have November and December's Smalls SAL pieces, two Christmas Words Cards by Durene Jones. For these I used foam mounting board, covering the back piece with sparkly fabric and the front piece with the padded cross stitch. Silver and blue tinsel wool was added around the outside (to cover the join!) and as a hanging loop, and a little tassel added at the bottom:

And then the Gold Stars Christmas Tree started on Christmas Day and finished a few days later. The ornie was originally going to replicate the shape of the tree, but as I didn't want to lose the fabric it became a mini pillow, with gold and silver tinsel wool twisted together to create the edging, bow and hanger. Bling bling!

Finally, we have Durene Jones' Cute Animal Calendar. Although stitched on one piece of fabric for the 2017 Smalls SAL, I always intended to FFO each month separately. However, I didn't leave much space between them so had that nagging doubt about cutting the fabric. But on Boxing Day I took the plunge and turned this...

... into these...

... and then into these:

Each month's piece was stuck onto felt and then onto metallic linen-effect card. Ribbon was added as a hanging loop and onto which a button and a couple of raindrops were attached at the bottom.

I wanted to mix rather than match the purples, greens and blues and deliberately make each card different, but I just couldn't do it; apart from the backing card, my brain told me they all had to be identical! In some ways it's a shame, but it does mean that I can save other card-finishing ideas for another time.

So with 17 FFOs to start off the 2021 FFG SAL, it's now over to you.

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 January.

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And please don't forget to follow other links and see what fellow fully-finishers have been up to; an encouraging comment can go a long way.

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

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Gold Stars Christmas Tree - started and finished!

Hello everyone!

It's been a tradition for the last few years for me to start a new project on Christmas Day. These have generally been biggish projects which haven't seen the light of day again for quite some time, so this Christmas I decided to do a much smaller project which would hopefully take only a few days to finish. And it did, becoming my 45th and final finish of 2020, thanks to a few nights of insane insomnia and lots of stitching!

This type of project is not normally my sort of thing, but I chose it because I desperately wanted something Christmassy to go on the starry fabric!

Gold Stars Christmas Tree by NandiStitch (etsy)
Stitched on 16ct Fairy Dust Gold and Silver by
Stitch Count 78 wide by 102 high
Started - 25th December 2020
Finished - 28th December 2020
Total stitching time - 12 hours 50 minutes

Other than swapping out the colours, using amber instead of pink beads, changing the location of most of the beads, and stitching the base of the tree using blended threads rather than just the lighter colour, it's as charted! I was planning to add Etoile but forgot and am actually glad I did; together with the beads and patterned fabric it might have been a bit OTT.

I'm pleased to say it's already been FFOd so will make another appearance the FFG SAL very soon.

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday, 2 January 2021

People's Choice SAL - Designer Of The Year 2020

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 Designer Of The Year, as in the most projects I worked on by one designer during 2020.

Edit: I've just seen in Jo's post that this is supposed to be the designer I most enjoyed stitching in 2020. Instead of changing this post I've left it as it is, partly because I found it difficult to narrow the list down to five, let alone one, and partly because I've already written it. Oh well, enjoy this post anyway!

I think we all have designers we are drawn towards, or would avoid, because of both their style and type of stitches used. But unlike 20 years ago when choices were limited to a few companies which produced kits and booklets there are nowadays hundreds to choose from, thanks to availability of internet shopping and (my favourite) etsy.

I don't think I've ever bought or stitched a project simply because it's by 'xxx'; I buy and stitch them I because I like them. But subconsciously, I suppose the designer must influence what I buy.

In 2020 I started and/or worked on and/or finished projects by 21 different designers:

5 projects: Designer Stitches

4 projects: Ursula Michael (for Imaginating) and Valerie Pfeiffer (for Heritage Crafts)

3 projects: Fuzzy Fox Designs (etsy), Cute Patterns by Maria (etsy), Margaret Sherry, Mouseloft and Soda Stitch

2 projects: Bothy Threads, Durene Jones (etsy), Lucie Heaton (etsy), Pinoy Stitch (etsy), Susan Ryder (for Heritage Crafts) and Whispered By The Wind

1 project: Artecy, JBW Designs (24 advent pieces but one 'project'), Nandi Stitch (etsy), Satsuma Street (etsy), Sue Hillis Designs, Toni Goffe (for Heritage Crafts) and ... me!

So my Designer Of The Year is Designer Stitches. This is a bit misleading because the five pieces weren't exactly different designs, but a set of 5 Winnie The Pooh charts:

Here's how far I got with starting them during the Spring Into Summer New Start Binge:

Given the blocks of colours, none of these should take too long to finish... whenever that may be!

Designer Stitches seem to have focused almost exclusively on Winnie The Pooh, and very well they charted them too! I have a number of their booklets and a couple of kits in my stash, bought years ago in anticipation that my children may like the characters, but they never did, so nothing got stitched, not even their initials.

Actually, I tell a lie; when my eldest was just a few months old I stitched two snowflake designs; Eeyore's Snowflake and Piglet's Snowflake. I can't find either of them and don't have any photos, but I know they are around somewhere. This is what they should look like (ish):

I've also got one other Designer Stitches item which isn't Winnie The Pooh; it's this gorgeous Dolphins kit gifted to me way back in 2007. Like so many other things, one day!

I believe Designer Stitches have now stopped trading but, in the UK at least, their kits and booklets frequently appear on ebay. So if you like Winnie The Pooh you know which company to look out for. 

Next month's theme is Birds. Oh goody!

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday, 1 January 2021

2021 Stitching Plans

Good morning everybody, and Happy New Year!!

Here's hoping 2021 is an improvement on 2020 :)

It's time for me to reveal my stitching plans for 2021. If last year's plans were ambitious, that's nothing compared to this year! I know I won't get everything done, but I never have been one for setting sensible and achievable goals!

So, assuming life doesn't get in the way, here are my plans for 2021:

1) CONTINUE STITCHING Kings and Queens at one monarch each month. This will take me from James I (second on fourth row) to Victoria (end of the fifth row).

2) CONTINUE STITCHING The Loneliness Of Autumn at 10 hours per month
. This should see a further 5-6 colours added and take me from about 22% to about 44% complete.

3) STITCH one small project each month for the Smalls SAL. These have all been chosen and are ready to go.

4) NEW! - MISCHIEVOUS MARCH - start four projects over the four weekends of March. I have chosen the four; just need to decide on the fabric.

5) NEW! - CHRISTMAS IN JULY - a completely open SAL and a fun chance to enjoy a bit of festive stitching in the middle of the year. If you want to join in the choice is yours... start 1 project, start 31 projects, work on WIPs or even make an early start on your Christmas ornies. I shall be starting one project and hoping to finish one WIP.

NB numbers 5 and 6 overlap

6) TOKYO OLYMPIC STITCHING CHALLENGE - at the time of writing, the Olympics is still going ahead (23rd July to 8th August) so this will be my second attempt to start 17 projects over the 17 days of the Olympics. I'll be joined by my 'startner-in-crime' Tiff; are you mad enough to accompany us?!

7) START Magical Bookshelf during Dark October. Postponed from 2020, this will be my next biggish Harry Potter project.

8) NAUGHTY NOVEMBER - start four projects over the four weekends of November. I have the four small charts all kitted up and ready to go!

9) CHRISTMAS DAY - start Lizzie Kate's Christmas By The Letter.

10) FINISH LOTS OF WIPs - it's not like I don't have many to choose from!!!

11) FFO as much as possible. And if I can empty my Box Of Shame that would be a bonus.

* People's Choice SAL - first Saturday of the month hosted by Jo of Serendipitous Stitching
* Fully Finished Gallery SAL - 10th of the month hosted by me!
* Smalls SAL - last Friday of the month hosted by Mary of Mary's Thread

And that's it!

I'm not intending to stray from these plans, but if something interesting comes up I may be tempted ;)

So basically, the first half of the month will be taken up with stitching the monarch, the Smalls SAL piece, and The Loneliness Of Autumn, and then the second half of the month will be for working on and trying to finish as many WIPs as possible.

Yes, I know there will be loads more new starts in 2021, but the number of WIPs I have doesn't bother me. Having said that, I think 2022 and 2023 might have to be two years where I focus on finishing WIPs and severely limit new starts (yeah, right, as if that's ever going to happen!)

But one thing's for sure... all of your plans for the year, if you have them, will be much more sensible than mine! I look forward to reading them. :)

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and stitchy 2021,
Rachel x

Thursday, 31 December 2020

2020 End Of Year Summary

Hello all!

Crumbs, is that another year gone already?! Time once again for me to look back on my stitching and FFOing over the last twelve months.

Warning: contrary to the title, this is not a 'summary' Plus it comes with a 'boring post alert', so beware!

I knew I wouldn't achieve everything I had planned to stitch in 2020 - not only did I have a blip at the beginning of the year but there was just too much to fit into one year anyway! But I had an amazing time trying!

To go back over my goals for 2020:

* Finish 6 WIPs from 2015 - NO, only finished 2
* Finish 7 WIPs from 2019 - NO, finished 5 and made progress on a 6th
* Stitch 12 monarchs - YES!
* Stitch 12 Smalls SAL pieces - YES!
* Stitch 24 Advent Calendar pieces - YES (and an additional piece for the 25th)
* Start and half finish Magical Bookshelf - NO, postponed until 2021
* Start 17 projects for the Tokyo Olympics - YES! (as the Spring Into Summer New Start Binge)
* Stitch 10 hours per month on The Loneliness Of Autumn - YES! (so glad to have kept up)
* Christmas Day new start - YES! (although not the one I had planned!)
* Start 3 other projects? - YES! started 4 for Naughty November (but not the three I had in mind!)
* #24 hours of cross stitch SAL - YES and NO - gave up after July
* #24HOCS ABC Challenge - YES! but decided not to blog about it
* People's Choice SAL - YES! every month
* FFG SAL - YES! every month
* Smalls SAL - YES! every month
* Dark October - YES, although for only part of the month

At the end of 2020, I'm definitely a happy bunny. The only thing I really failed on was finishing some of the older WIPs, but considering the amount of new starts I had I actually achieved an awful lot more than I thought I would.

With all the new starts and finishes, my statistics now appear like this:

Number of WIPs brought forward from 2019 - 47
Plus number of new starts - 61
Less number of finishes - 45 (and 1 purged)
Number of WIPs to carry forward into 2021 - 62

Here are the projects which make up those statistics. Those in red have now been finished, those in black will be carried forward to 2021.

NB, the statistics look inflated because I counted the 25 Advent Calendar pieces individually. Well, they were all FFOd individually, so why shouldn't they all be counted as individual new starts!

1) Mythical Dragon (True Colors)
2) QS Emerald Dragon (HAED)
3) SK The History Of Chocolate (HAED)
4) QS Come Softly (HAED)
5) Mini Bookworm Fairy (HAED)
6) Mini The Owrd Lord (HAED)
7) Mini One (HAED)
8) Dolphin Ruins (Rabnann - ebay)
9) OMG Tigger Is Out (UnconventionalX - etsy)
10) Dragon Eye (not yet blogged)
11) Magnolia (not yet blogged)
12) Tribal Dragon (Thread Geeks)
13) Hogwarts In A Bottle
14) Kings and Queens
15) Lilac Ballerina
16) Giraffe
17) Greedy Robin
18) Friends For Life
19) Feline Groovy
20) Loves Me ... Love Me Not
21) Daisy Hugs
22) Book Worm
23) Carefree Summer
24) A Tatty Friend
25) Dandelion Time
26) Flower Power
27) All Aboard The Walnut Shells
28) Christmas Wishes
29) Daisy Umbrella
30) Cuddly Feline Friends
31) Choc-A-Holic
32) I Love Butter
33) Good Morning Nelson
34) Winter Hugs
35) Lickle Snooze
36) A Windy Day
37) Little Green
38) Start Trek TOS
39) Clue
40) Evil Minions
41) Pandas
42) Snow Globe Tree
43) A Little Witch Of The Night
44) A Little Wizard Of The Night
45) Christmas Cat With Present
46) Haunted Library
47) Grow Your Own

NEW IN 2020
1) The Loneliness Of Autumn (Artecy)
2) Robin On Postbox

3) Advent Calendar Day 1 Wreath
4) Advent Calendar Day 9 Stocking
5) Advent Calendar Day 21 Baubles
6) Chirpy Bird
7) Advent Calendar Day 4 Reindeer
8) Advent Calendar Day 5 Candle
9) Advent Calendar Day 11 Gingerbread Man
10) Polar Bear Cub
11) Advent Calendar Day 6 Snowman
12) Advent Calendar Day 7 Ice Skate
13) Advent Calendar Day 16 Angel
14) In The Gloaming - PURGED
15) In The Gloaming
16) Snuffles
17) Chick Berry
18) Humming Along
19) Pretty Little Toronto
20) Duckling
21) Pooh 1 - Eating Hunny
22) Basket Case
23) Pooh 2 - Looking Into Empty Pot
24) Mouse Reading Book
25) Wonderful Fright
26) Cute Kakapo
27) Happiness Delivery Couple
28) Pooh 3 - With Head On Ground
29) Lady In Red
30) Pooh 4 - Standing With Pot On Head
31) Advent Calendar Day 2 Presents
32) Advent Calendar Day 10 Christmas Tree
33) Advent Calendar Day 22 Little Tree
34) Advent Calendar Day 23 Two Birds
35) Simply Wren
36) Tiny Toadstool Mouse
37) Pooh 5 - Looking At Smashed Pot
38) Mouse With Books
39) Advent Calendar Day 3 Heart
40) Gatekeepers
41) Advent Calendar Day 13 Dove
42) Advent Calendar Day 19 Garland
43) Advent Calendar Day 20 House
44) Snuffles In Aqua
45) Advent Calendar Day 8 Sleigh
46) Advent Calendar Day 15 Bunny
47) Advent Calendar Day 17 Houses
48) Advent Calendar Day 12 Church
49) Advent Calendar Day 14 Rocking Horse
50) Advent Calendar Day 18 Sheep
51) Advent Calendar Day 24 Santa
52) Advent Calendar Day 25 Happy Christmas!
53) Pink Patchwork Hootie
54) Spooky Hootie
55) Jingle All The Way
56) Let's Bloom
57) Let's Have Fun In The Sun
58) Let's Breeze Into Autumn
59) Let's Be Frozen
60) Let It Snow
61) Gold Stars Christmas Tree

So I ended the year with 16 more WIPs than I started with. Ooops!

As for my Box of Shame, I started the year with 25 pieces in it, added 45 more, fully finished off 47, so have therefore ended the year with 23 pieces.

Here's the list of the the projects which were in and added to my Box Of Shame. As above, those in red have now been FFOd, those in black will be carried forward.

1) January Calendar
2) February Calendar
3) March Calendar
4) April Calendar
5) May Calendar
6) June Calendar
7) July Calendar
8) August Calendar
9) September Calendar
10) October Calendar
11) November Calendar
12) December Calendar
13) Spotted Owls
14) Midnight Manor
15) Parrot On Parade
16) Christmas Cat Yawning
17) Green Halloween Banner (half FFOd)
18) Chandelier
19) Trick Or Treat
20) Bird Candelabra
21) Happy Christmas
22) Boo!
23) Candelabra
24) Ho Ho Ho
25) Hocus Pocus

1) Robin On Postbox
2) Advent Calendar Day 1 Wreath
3) Advent Calendar Day 9 Stocking
4) Advent Calendar Day 21 Baubles
5) A Little Wizard Of The Night
6) Chirpy Bird
7) Advent Calendar Day 4 Reindeer
8) Advent Calendar Day 5 Candle
9) Advent Calendar Day 11 Gingerbread Man
10) Polar Bear Cub
11) Christmas Cat With Present
12) Snow Globe Tree
13) Advent Calendar Day 6 Snowman
14) Advent Calendar Day 7 Ice Skate
15) Advent Calendar Day 16 Angel
16) Snuffles
17) Duckling
18) Cute Kakapo
19) Advent Calendar Day 22 Little Tree
20) Tiny Toadstool Mouse
21) Advent Calendar 2 Gifts
22) Advent Calendar 23 Birds
23) Advent Calendar 10 Christmas Tree
24) Snuffles In Aqua
25) Advent Calendar 3 Heart
26) Advent Calendar 13 Dove
27) Advent Calendar 19 Garland
28) Advent Calendar 20 House
29) Advent Calendar 8 Sleigh
30) Pink Patchwork Hootie
31) Advent Calendar 15 Bunny
32) Advent Calendar 17 Houses
33) Advent Calendar 12 Church
34) Advent Calendar 14 Rocking Horse
35) Advent Calendar 18 Sheep
36) Hogwarts In A Bottle
37) Witchy Hootie
38) A Little Witch Of The Night
39) Advent Calendar 24 Santa
40) Advent Calendar 25 Happy Christmas
41) Jingle All The Way
42) Daisy Umbrella
43) Let It Snow
44) Daisy Hugs
45) Gold Stars Christmas Tree

What is evident in both lists is that I'm much better at finishing and fully-finishing the more recent projects than the older ones. I guess the lure of the new projects is greater, especially since the older ones are tucked away in a different box. They'll make their way to the top and become red one day!

During the year I stitched for a total of 564 hours, averaging out at just over 1.5 hours per day. The hours that I lost during my blip at the beginning of the year were clawed back in November and December with some late night / early morning stitching. Thank you insomnia, perfect timing!!

As for my stitching plans for 2021... well, they're big, they're ambitious, and they will all be revealed tomorrow morning.

Well done if you reached this far!

Have a great New Year's Eve!
Rachel x

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

The Loneliness Of Autumn - 120 hours

Hi all!

So, this time last year, Leonore and I were about to start our SAL of The Loneliness of Autumn by Leonid Afremov, stitching one thread length per day (which just so happened to work out for me at about 10 hours each month) extreme cross country.

And here we both are, one year on and, believe it or not, almost a quarter of the way through!

During this latest 10 hour stint I finished the fourth colour. This is how it looked after three and four colours. This is now deceivingly 23.94% complete after putting in 15,943 stitches in 112 hours and 35 minutes:

Then it was back to the top to start the fourth colour, 814, a burgandy/red. I got through pages 1-4 on the top row and half of page 5 on the second.

As usual, here are the comparisons after 110 and 120 hours:

You can just about see how the the top quarter is looking a little denser.

Leonore had some excitement this month in that she finished her second colour and is now onto her third which, after dark blue and brown, is that first splash of autumnal colour. I'll add her link here once she posts.

For me, it's now more of 814 for another couple of months.

Take care,
Rachel x