Friday 18 April 2014

New Start - Scarlet Macaw Preening by Shinysun's Cross Stitching

Hello fellow stitchers!

First of all, thank you to the replies I had concerning Needle Needs. I'm sad others have also had issues and found them awkward to deal with. By all accounts they are certainly not a customer-orientated company. Please feel free to mention my "rant" to others you know or post a link to it. I would certainly be interested to hear more comments, whether positive or negative.

Now for happier news.....

I'm back with ANOTHER new start although, to be fair, I already had this one planned as a TBC on my WIP rotation at the beginning of the year. I just needed the bars.

This chart was perhaps the most heart-stopping and GOT TO HAVE IT NOW moment I've ever had! I didn't care how big the design was, I just had to add it to my WIP rotation. I had been looking for a decent Scarlet Macaw chart for ages but the birds all seemed too false. This one, however, was perfect even though the finished size on 16ct will be 25" x 33" before framing! Congratulations to Rebecca Latham for producing such a fantastic work of art and to Shinysun's Cross Stitching for charting it!

I am not going to stitch the background, which will cut out well over half the chart, but have chosen a subtle hand-dyed brown fabric. I chatted with Silkweaver Fabrics first to ensure that it was suitable and would look like its screen shot but, naturally, when the fabric arrived it was not what I had expected and disappointment sunk in. It should have been brighter and with a buttery tinge.

However, having spent £40 on the fabric and been robbed of £13 for import duty, I was not going to spend another £7 to post it back for an alternative (they do offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee). After all, who's to say I would not have also been disappointed with its replacement? So I decided to stick with it and the more I look at the fabric now I've started sewing on it the more I like it. At that price it's a case of having to really!

This BAP has an estimated stitching time of about 650 hours! The confetti stitching isn't too bad and the colours are going to be great to work with so I know I'm going to enjoy stitching him. I say him because I've given him a name - Sherlock! Other family suggestions have included Cosmos, Spectrum, Horizon, Mrs Hudson, Cinnamon and Watson. What do you think?

So, here's the first WIP picture. On the full piece of fabric there's not that much to see at the moment but it's going to be very interesting (and hopefully not too boring) watching him grow. For your information, the fabric is browner than the picture shows, 30" wide and only just fits on the top of our chest freezer which is where I laid it for the photo. I said it was big!

Scarlet Macaw Preening by Rebecca Latham
Shinysun's Cross Stitching
Stitched on 16ct Antique Almond by Silkweaver Fabrics 2 over 1
Stitch count 400 wide by 532 high (260 x 470 without background)
Started - 15th April 2014
Stitching hours to date - 10

I'm going to stay with Sherlock for another 10 hours so (with hubby away for a few days) I'll be back soon with a second update.

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Needle Needs - rant alert!

Hello all!

ADDITIONAL MAY 2015 - since writing this post in April 2014 Needle Needs have updated their website to indicate orders will take 8-12 weeks to process (at the time of writing it was 28 days) Whilst you can be guaranteed of receiving excellent quality products you must be prepared for a long wait. There is no doubt that Needle Needs products remain very popular among stitchers, a fact which appears to have made the company a victim of its own success.

I really need to get something off my chest and thought that sharing it with fellow stitchers would be a good way. If you don't like rants, please move away from this page now. You have been warned.

I mentioned in my last post that there was a reason I could not start my new WIP. This was because I needed the 30" Millennium Bars. Many stitchers use the Millennium frames and accessories, so to you in particular, what do you think of this as service from Needle Needs? Have you had a similar experience with them? or have I just been unlucky?

02nd February - order placed for 30" Millennium bars and 3 pairs of Bar Parks. All items were in stock.

20th February (day 18) - I emailed them asking if there was any progress on my order. They replied asking me to give them 28 days.

21st February (day 19) - my order was marked as being processed. What a coincidence!

19th March - (day 45) - I emailed them again asking when I could expect to receive my goods.


28th March - (day 54) - I phoned and asked where my goods were. I was informed that my order was 5th on the list, should be processed by the following Wednesday (today was Friday) so would be with me by the end of next week (5th April).

05th April (day 62) - guess what?

07th April (day 64) - phoned again, leaving name and number for them to phone me back.


09th April (day 66) - phoned again and was informed that my order was being processed today.

14th April (day 71) - phoned again and was informed that my order had (eventually) been sent on 10th April.

15th April (day 72) - guess what arrived at 3pm? Finally.....

Now, I am generally a patient person and understand that Needle Needs might have (had) issues which caused this delay including (1) having a baby, (2) moving house, (3) drafting in family members to cover, (4) an increase in the number of orders and (5) working on a new product but I had no courtesy communication from them indicating an order processing delay, nor an apology of any sort, even during phone conversations. It's almost as if they didn't care. In one conversation I was informed how a good review in America had increased their orders and how they have been working on a wonderful new product. Did I care? No. Did I get an apology of any kind about my order? No. Do I think that my small order was put aside to deal with bigger orders? Yes, (although I have no proof of that).

With hindsight, maybe I should have made a nuisance of myself and chased this order up more frequently or been more assertive and demanding, but that's not my style.

So, is it just me or do others agree that this is not how a business should be run? 28 days to fulfil an order is bad enough, but 72? That's pants to put it politely. My husband and I run a small internet Lego shop and there is no way we would treat any of our customers this way. Grrrrrrr!

I do not deny that Needle Needs produce good quality products (of which I have many that were purchased at craft fairs or through eBay) but their order turn around time is rubbish, especially considering their £10 delivery charge and the fact that all items were in stock when I ordered them.

So a word of warning - if you want anything from Needle Needs make sure you order well in advance and/or are prepared to put up with excuses and delays. Or are very assertive. Or perhaps you won't have a problem.....

Thank you for having the patience to read this rant and I hope that this experience does not happen to you - with any business you have contact with.

Now that I actually have my bars I can make this long-awaited start on a my new project. I don't care about washing or housework or food (or children/mother/pets) today - I just want to stitch!!!

I'll be back with a new start - and much happier - post soon. :)

All the best and

Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Sunday 6 April 2014

Big Eyes Kitty - Finished and Framed! and New Start Tease

Hello again everyone!

Wooo-hoooo! It's happy dance time!

It took me one hour to finish the stitching on Big Eyes Kitty and another hour to mount and frame her, so here she is - Big Eyes Kitty (or Misty) in her finished, mounted and framed glory! I hope you like her.

Big Eyes Kitty by DMC
Stitched on 16ct Cream Aida 2 over 1
Stitch count 96 wide by 96 high
Started - 4th March 2014
Finished - 6th April 2014
Total stitching time - 51 hours

I must remember to get some non-reflective glass for the frame. The reflections you can see in the glass are from the spokes of the umbrella I was holding up trying to prevent glare in the glass!

And, as a reminder, here is Misty with her sibling Cottonsocks:

I have three more in this set waiting to be stitched but will not do them for some time yet. I need a break from sepia tones!

So, on to the New Start Tease - I have been waiting a long time to start this chart but still cannot start it just yet for reasons I will explain (rant about) in my next post. But as a tease here are the fabric and threads needed for the project. The fabric is actually a darker brown than the picture shows (but for some reason my camera refused to take an accurate photo of the colour) and about three times the size! The chart is on my Current Stash page, so pop over and see if you can guess which one (of the 90!) it is!

I hope I can provide this chart's first post soon.

Until then,

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Saturday 5 April 2014

Big Eyes Kitty - 50 hour update

Hi all!

Although only just over a week, this latest ten hour stint seems to have taken ages. I can't remember ever being so devoted to and completing a project so quickly. Here are the 40 and 50 hour pictures of Misty:

After 40 hours

After 50 hours

I'm very excited as the end is so close. I've only got the backstitching left and some threads to fasten off on the back, then she will be framed to match her sibling Cottonsocks.

The children are now at home for the next two weeks, so I don't know how much stitching I will be able to do. I'm hoping to get rid of hubby to his parents for a few days over Easter so may sneak in a couple of late nights/early mornings then!

See you very soon with a completed project and another new start.....

All the best and
Happy stitching! :)
Rachel x