Sunday 28 February 2016

Balloon - DUCJC 2016 Finish 7/31

Good morning bloggers!

Well, as you can see from the title of this post, my February finishing streak continues.

When I put this one on my frame I only intended to stitch the balloon. But then I just HAD to stitch the dog too which left just the backstitching and I couldn't leave it there, could I? So on I plodded (it's a hard life sometimes) until he was finished!

Here is how I left Odd Dog back in January:

And here he is all completed:

Odd Dog by Lili of the Valley
Stitched on 16ct Cloud Blue aida from 2 over 1
Stitch count 45 wide by 85 high
Started - 15th January 2016
Finished - 27th February 2016
Total stitching time - 8 hours 20 minutes
(estimated 10 hours)

I know that, like me, a lot of you find Odd Dog really sweet. He's by a small English company called Lili of the Valley. They only have 22 charts in their catalogue (dogs, girls, boys and nativity) so really are a small company! I do hope they design and release more Odd Dog charts soon.....

I loved stitching both of the Odd Dog charts but now have to move on to something else. I may make March a month of Lizzie Kates..... or I may not. We'll see, as I never really know where my needles will take me next!

Back soon!
Rachel x

Thursday 25 February 2016

Smalls SAL - February 2016

Hello everybody!

It's the last Thursday of the month so time to check in with the Smalls SAL run by Heather of Stitching Lotus.

This month I have another Lizzie Kate Tiny Tidings which I have not only stitched but, for the second month in a row, actually finished! I love the simplicity of these designs and how they stitch up so quickly! Here's how it looked after the stitching.....

..... and after I had made it into an ornament using wadding, Christmas fabric, Christmas ribbon and matching cording:

Joyeux Noel
Lizzie Kate Tiny Tidings XV
Stitched on 16ct Cloud Brown over-dyed aida from 2 over 1
Stitch Count 49 wide by 49 high
Started - 15th February 2016
Finished - 17th February 2016
Total stitching time - 4 hours 55 minutes
Plus a couple of hours to finish off

The wadding is still a little thin at the top but overall I am much happier with the finish this month. I will certainly not be embarrassed putting this one on display at Christmas!

Now to pop over to some of the other Samlls SAL blogs.

See you next month.
Rachel x

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Bert Badger - DUCJC 2016 Finish 6/31

Good morning all!

I'm back with finish number 6 from my January new starts!

Bert Badger was enjoyable and easy to stitch up, although I did fudge the backstitching again. Justine described the backstitching as "sketchy" which suits the design perfectly and means a bit of poetic licence could be used.

This is how Bert looked last time you saw him:

And here he is all completed and ready to join Sally in my Box of Shame until all 6 Woodland Folk have been completed:

DMC Woodland Folk
Stitched on 16ct Kelp over-dyed aida by Fabric Flair 2 over 1
Stitch count 57 wide by 57 high
Started - 6th January 2016
Finished - 23rd February 2016
Total stitching time - 15 hours
(estimated 16 hours)

So that's another WIP checked off my list.

As for what's next..... probably not another finish, but a couple of the larger pieces on which I wish to make some progress. But, you never know!!

Hope everybody's keeping those needles busy!
Rachel x

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Sally Squirrel - DUCJC 2016 Finish 5/31

Hello again!

Thank you for all of your comments on my last couple of finishes. I'm surprised by how many of you liked Cantankerous' orange fabric. When I get around to it I intend to stitch each of the 12 Cattitudes on different colours of Murano so at some point in the future you will see lots more gorgeous colours.

In the meantime, I have another finish! I chose to work on Sally Squirrel because I knew she would be a quick and easy finish.

Here's how I left her on 2nd January:

And here she is completed (with more accurate fabric colour):

DMC Woodland Folk
Stitched on 16ct Kelp over-dyed aida by Fabric Flair 2 over 1
Stitch count 55 wide by 54 high
Started - 2nd January 2016
Finished 15th February 2016
Total stitching time - 11 hours 15 minutes
(estimated 15 hours)

The backstitching could have been a nightmare because the suggested route involved splitting the aida "squares" not only in halves but also in quarters. I wasn't prepared for all that faffing around so modified the backstitching to make it easier! I don't think it shows.

I have already decided that the 6 Woodland Folk creatures will be framed together. All I  have to do is finish the other 5 - one of which is already on my frame. But as to which one it is, well, you'll have to wait and see!

Happy stitching!
Rachel x

Sunday 14 February 2016

Cantankerous - DUCJC 2016 Finish 4/31

Good morning all!

So, here I am back with another finish from my stack of January starts!

This piece jumped onto my frame as soon as I had finished Sleepy Book and just stayed there until I had finished it! The orange fabric was really nice to work with and it doesn't bother me in the slightest that it shows through under the white.

Here's where I left her back on 9th January:

And here she is all finished:

Featured in Cattitudes Calendar 2003 by Margaret Sherry
Stitched on 32ct Tangerine Murano evenweave 2 over 2
Stitch count 79 wide by 65 high
Started - 9th January 2016
Finished - 13th February 2016
Total stitching time - 19 hours 35 minutes

The border was adjusted very slightly and stitched using two strands of black, to give it more definition, as opposed to one strand per the instructions.

I'm not sure yet how to finish-finish her. I may wait until I have completed some others in the series and then frame them all together, I may frame them individually, I might scrap-stitch them or I may make them into an ornament of some sort. Decisions, decisions. I really really don't know. But there's no rush.

Time to move on to another WIP then. This time I think I'll pop down to the woods to look for some wildlife.

Hope you're all having stitchy fun too,
Rachel x

Wednesday 10 February 2016

A-Z Challenge April 2016

Hello one and all!

Last year you may have seen some bloggers taking part in the April A-Z Challenge. This year I am joining in and have already signed up as participant  number 653!

The idea is that every day in April, excluding Sundays, you post about that day's letter of the alphabet. So 1st April would be the letter A, 2nd April B, 4th April C and so on (3rd April is a Sunday so you get that day off).

I have had a simple alphabet pattern in my stash since about 1994 which I have always wanted to stitch so this seemed like a good opportunity. I shall accompany a picture of my stitching for the day with other things about the letter, but haven't yet decided on a theme. I would like to keep it stitchy related but don't want to copy ideas used by The Alphabet Club (i.e. finished projects, current WIPs, favourite designers etc.) so am open to suggestions if you have any ideas. If I can't come up with an interesting theme you might just end up reading little snippets of information about me - how egocentric would that be???!!!

If you would like to join this challenge click on the image on the right hand side of my blog. This will take you to the rules and sign-up pages.

You've still got ages to decide and register so I do hope some of you will take the plunge and join me in April.

In the meantime, I'm well on my way to another finish so should be back with another Happy Dance soon!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 6 February 2016

Sleepy Book - DUCJC 2016 Finish 3/31

Good morning!

Woohoo! I have another finish to share with you! That's two in one week and four so far this year! This girl is steaming!!

This is Sleepy Book from the Odd Dog range and was my start for day 16 of the challenge. Here is how I left him:

Here he is after completing the stitching:

And, finally, here he is after adding the backstitching:

Sleepy Book by Lili of the Valley
Stitched on 16ct Cloud Blue aida from 2 over 1
Stitch count 64 wide by 43 high
Started - 16th January 2016
Finished - 5th February 2016
Total stitching time - 12 hours 45 minutes

I can't stress how much I love this cute piece, even though the colours have not come out quite as bright as suggested by the cover picture. The sleepy yawn is exactly what happens to me when I try to read and, judging from previous comments, a lot of you feel like this when you pick up a book too!

I haven't yet decided how to finish him so, for the time being, he will join my other Orphans in my Box of Shame.

So, what's next on my frame I hear you ask? Well, I have chosen a piece on which I only intend to make a few hour's progress before moving onto another finish. However, I have a feeling I will not be able to put it down. I suppose it just depends on my cattitude!

Back whenever!
Rachel x

Wednesday 3 February 2016

French Country Witch - DUCJC 2016 Finish 2/31

Hello all!

This number-crunching geeky nerd is back again!

Thank you for your comments about my bar chart - it was a bit of light relief after all of my new starts and your opinions made fun reading.

I promised I'd be back soon with a finish, and here it is! I couldn't wait to pick her up again - probably because all I had to do was count, not concentrate on different symbols and changing colours.

This is where I left French Country Witch and how she looks now:

French Country Witch by JBW Designs
Stitched on 32ct Halloween Mist Murano evenweave from The Crafty Kitten 2 over 2
Using Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe thread Halloween Purple
Stitch count 87 wide by 47 high
Started - 27th January 2016
Finished - 2nd February 2016
Total stitching time - 7 hours 50 minutes

The hand-dyed thread has very subtle variations of colour but the photo doesn't really pick them up. Have you noticed too how her cloak contains lots of little icons such as acorns, apples, baskets, birds, cats and even a squirrel? Very clever and a lot of fun to stitch.

The piece of fabric was too big to do just this project, yet not really big enough to cut, so I plan to fold it in half and stitch something Halloween-related in the same thread on the back. Just what and when, though, is anybody's guess!

I'm now going to work towards another finish so won't be back for a few days. Which finish?
Clue: I'm feeling tired.

Keep those needles burning!
Rachel x

Tuesday 2 February 2016

DUCJC 2016 - End of January Statistics

Good afternoon!

I just can't keep away can I?

One of my recent comments asked how much estimated stitching time I had remaining on my challenge pieces. Bearing in mind that I love statistics, love spreadsheets and love keeping track of my progress, this information was instantly available! I tweaked the data a little, based on how much I'd actually stitched in January, and can now provide the following information:

Estimated time to stitch all 31 pieces - 526 hours
Time spent stitching them in January - 91 hours 50 minutes
Estimated time to complete them all - 434 hours 10 minutes
Which means I've stitched about 17%, as shown by my progress bar at the top right of my blog.

But how about a graphical representation as well?

This bar chart shows how far through each of the 31 new starts I am. It's pretty self explanatory and much better than I expected it to be. I especially like the 100% for 24th January. Hopefully by the end of the year most of them will be standing just as tall!

It's quite sad that I keep so much data but as the saying goes, "little things please little minds!" Maybe I'll show this bar chart again during the year, and then again at the end of December just to show you how I'm doing/have done. It'll be interesting to track my progress (although probably quite boring for most of you!)

And, yes, I do have exactly the same bar charts available for my 2015 challenge pieces and my large projects. So very sad!

I'll be back very soon with a finish. Promise :)
Rachel x

Monday 1 February 2016

DUCJC 2016 - Day 31 - Bear

Good morning all!

Well, this is it, the last day of Debbie's Ultimate Crazy January Challenge 2016. Debbie, I hope you are looking down smiling at the craziness and projects I, and fellow stitchers, have started in your memory.

I would like to say a massive thank you to all the comments and support I have received during the month. I haven't answered many but please rest assured that they have all been read and very much appreciated.

For the final day I was left with Bear from the Christmas Pals Ornaments. Here he is then:

Stitched on 16ct Ice Blue aida 2 over 1
Stitch count 44 wide by 44 high
Estimated stitching time 13 hours
Stitching time to date - 2 hours

So that's it..... that's all you're getting from me.

Some of you have asked if I will be carrying on into February but the answer is an emphatic NO! I've had my starting fun..... now I want to make progress on and/or finish them, proving to you and me that I am not just a serial starter. Afterall, working on and finishing a project is just as much fun as starting one, right?

I deliberately chose smaller projects this year and believe I can probably finish at least 24 of them, although that very much depends on how many of my WIPs from last year work their way into my finishing pile. I also have a few other new starts planned during 2016 but they are not too big so should stitch up fairly quickly. Then, of course, there are my larger projects to consider which have been neglected far too long. Whatever the case, there should be lots of progress reports and Happy Dances between now and Christmas.

So, which project will I pick up to finish first? I know, but I'm not telling you lot! One commenter has already guessed correctly but the rest of you will have for a Happy Dance post. Stay tuned!

Don't miss me too much!
Rachel x