Friday 27 January 2017

Smalls SAL - January 2017

Good afternoon!

As it's the last Friday of the month it's time to post my project for this month's Smalls SAL. Thank you once again to Heather of Stitching Lotus for continuing to run this fun little stitch along.

My first project for 2017 is from a Facebook challenge run by Durene Jones in 2015. I don't belong to FB but after enquiring about the charts she emailed them to me! So thanks go to Durene for being such a good egg!!

January Calendar by Durene Jones
Stitched on 16ct Nantucket from 2 over 1
Stitch count 43 wide by 56 high
Started - 1st January 2017
Finished - 6th January 2017
Total stitching time - 7 hours 10 minutes

This little squirrel was an absolute joy to stitch, especially his big swirly bushy tail! And how cute is the little robin? I hope the other months are as much fun to do. The only change I made (after deciding I was actually going to keep the months in) was to use two strands of black for backstitching the month instead of one; one just didn't look thick enough.

The whole calendar is going to be stitched on one piece of fabric so if I decide to make this my 12 Small SAL projects for the year I'll have only one project to finish-finish at the end. Result!

See you at the end of February with the next one.
Rachel x

Monday 23 January 2017

Cats In Love - finished

Good morning all,

As expected, it didn't take long to finish Cats In Love. This is my fourth finish of 2017! Don't worry, there won't be any more for a while as my remaining projects are not as small and will therefore take longer.

After a good burst of steam ironing to even out and close the stitches, here's how the finished piece looks:

FluffyFuzzypatterns (etsy)
Stiched on 16ct Lavender aida from 2 over 1
Stitch count 100 wide by 137 high
Started - 1st January 2017
Finished - 22nd January 2017
Total stitching time - 26 hours 25 minutes

Requiring just under three skeins of black I'm really surprised I didn't get fed up with the monotony of going backwards and forwards row by row. But I thoroughly enjoyed not having to concentrate or count much and seeing progress with each line. Silhouettes really are a no-brainer! And, as an added bonus, it stitched up far quicker than I had estimated.

So, on my frames now (I'm keeping projects on three different sizes of frames) are two WIPs from 2015 and my new start. I don't know which project will appear on my blog next, so watch this space!

Keep those needles burning!
Rachel x

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Cats In Love - 20 hours

Hello again!

Well, doesn't time fly when you're having fun! So much so that another ten hours has passed on me stitching Cats In Love. Here's where I left them after 10 hours:

And now after 20 hours (with a much truer representation of the fabric colour):

My calculations tell me I'm about 75% of the way through, although I think I'm a little further along than that. Whatever the case, I'm sticking with this until it's finished.

Funnily enough, the WIP from 2015 I've chosen to work on alongside this contains a black cat too! Guess I'm either looking for some luck or am a closet witch!

Enjoy your little x's,
Rachel x

Tuesday 17 January 2017

Christmas Pals Bear - DUCJC 2016 Finish 28/31

Morning all!

So, here we have another finish from last year's January new starts. This is the final Christmas Pals Ornament - yippee! I stitched a fair bit during the final two days of 2016 so only had the background and backstitching left to do. I should have taken a photo at that point but didn't. Nevermind.

I left him looking like this last January:

And now he's all happily finished:

Stitched on 16ct Ice Blue aida 2 over 1
Stitch count 44 wide by 44 high
Started - 31st January 2016
Finished - 16th January 2017
Total stitching time - 11 hours 55 minutes
(estimated 13 hours)

Looking back, it did get a little monotonous finishing all six more or less in a row, but at least there were enough variations to keep them interesting. If I ever did a set like that again I think I'd space them apart a bit more.

Now to work out how to finish them off instead of letting them collect dust in my Box of Shame.

I've only got three projects from last year's January Challenge to complete now - Spring, Summer and Winter from the LK Seasonal Alphabets - but they are going to be put on hold while I work on a few WIPs from 2015. Back in 2015 I started 59 projects during January and February and still have 42 left to complete! I have prioritized 12 which I would like to finish this year, all I have to do is choose one from that list. Decisions, decisions.

Oh, and there's a medium-sized (about 180 hours) unplanned new start which has naughtily snuck its way onto my frames too. I just couldn't help it!! To be honest, it's the colours that caught my eye as it's not normally a palette or design I would work with. And it's one of a pair. No more information until after the first 10 hours though!

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 13 January 2017

Christmas Pals Polar Bear - DUCJC 2016 Finish 27/31

Afternoon all!

Last night saw another finish from last year's January Challenge. This cute little polar bear has been completed just in time for the cold/snowy snap we are due for the next few days. He's my second finish of the year (the first being my Smalls SAL piece which I won't blog about until 27th January) and one which I wasn't expecting to pick up because, after finishing four out of the six Christmas Pals Ornaments at the end of last year, I thought I'd had enough of them. But something drew me towards him so here he is!

Here's how I left him (well, his border!) on 29th January last year:

And here he is all wrapped up for winter:

Stitched on 16ct Ice Blue aida 2 over 1
Stitch count 44 wide by 44 high
Started - 29th January 2016
Finished - 12th January 2017
Total stitching time - 13 hours 45 minutes
(estimated 13 hours)

There is no doubt I'll now be picking up the final Christmas Pals Ornaments in order to both finish off the set and cross another WIP off my list.

Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Sunday 8 January 2017

New Start - Cats In Love - 10 hours

Good morning,

Like a good number of stitchers I began 2017 with a new start. This is a really easy piece as it's all black! The chart has been in my stash pile for a while, shouting at me to start it, but I just about managed to wait until 2017 before putting in the first stitch.

It's also a chart on which I can return to my blog name and post my progress after every 10 hours! Yey!

Here's my first progress picture then:

Cats In Love
FluffyFuzypatterns (etsy)
Stitched on 16ct Lavender from 2 over 1
Stitch count 100 wide by 137 high
Started - 1st January 2017

I had a huge choice of coloured fabrics I could have chosen to stitch this on, but opted for Lavender for two reasons; firstly I didn't want the predictable sky/love/sunset colours of blues, pinks and oranges/yellows, and secondly, I hadn't used this colour for anything else so it seemed a good opportunity to remedy that! I think it gives it a deep moonlit feel and I really like it.

I've already changed the size and position of two of the hearts and might be tempted to add a few more once I've finished the whole piece. I'm at the halfway point height-wise but stitching-wise I'm about one third of the way through. Here's a link to the original chart if you want to see what the finished piece will look like. Actually, I should not have looked at FluffyFuzzypatterns's shop as I've just seen a few more silhouettes I like. I wonder if temptation will get the better of me or not!

Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Lots of Framing

Hello everybody,

Nothing new in the way of stitching to show today, just lots of framing I've been doing. This means I now have 8 less pieces in my Box of Shame. It's a start!

Here we go then.....

1) Winter Owl
I completed this piece towards the end of 2015 and am so pleased to have now framed him. Even though he looked good with brown and red mounts, I opted for just a simple black frame with non-reflective glazing and leaving the minimum of fabric showing. He's quite small measuring just 6.5" by 7".

2 and 3) Odd Dogs - Sleepy Book and Balloon
I absolutely adore these little pieces I finished in 2016 so treated them to some custom-made frames in Airforce Blue with non-reflective glazing. They were a little expensive but well worth it, especially as they allowed me to keep a lot of the cloudy background fabric showing. I love them to bits!

4 and 5) Ocean Critters - Seahorse and Dolphin
Because I wanted a lot of fabric around these projects I was able to fit the designs into standard 10" x 8" black frames costing just £2 each from Asda. Having normal glass, it was not easy to get a good photo but I think this is OK.

6 and 7) Cattitudes - Cantankerous and Contentious
I didn't want anything fussy for these cat designs, so these simple 7" x 7" black frames seemed purrfect! I ordered 6 from so that when I stitch more of this series I will already have matching frames. They have normal glass so, again, getting a good photo was a little problematic.

8) Mini Midnight Manor
This was framed in the same 7" x 7" frame as the cats above. Simple but very effective. Sometimes less is best.

So that's 8 projects fully completed. Now to do a bit of rearranging to fit them all on the wall!

More (slightly more interesting) framing coming soon - I'm on a roll!

Take care,
Rachel x

Sunday 1 January 2017

Happy New Year and 2017 Stitching Plans

Good morning everybody and Happy New Year!

Image result for happy new year 2017

I hope you're all raring to get stuck into your first stitching project of 2017! I sure am, but before I do I thought I'd outline my plans for the year.

1) Smalls SAL
Like last year I shall continue stitching (at least) one small piece each month for the Smalls SAL run by Heather of Stitching Lotus. I have a variety of potential projects lined up so will definitely not be spoilt for choice.

2) Decrease my number of WIPs
I am very much still in the mood for working on and finishing my remaining WIPs from 2015/2016. There won't be as many finishes as last year, as the projects I have left are bigger, but I'll be happy if I can average one per month.

3) New starts
I have 6 new projects I would like to start (and finish!) during the year. They'll appear as and when I feel like it.

4) Decrease the number of finishes in my Box of Shame
I am beginning the year with 58 projects which need to be framed, made into ornaments or finished off some other way. I would really like to decrease this significantly and have set up a progress bar of shame to track the results. I already have the frames for some of the projects, I just need to get around to mounting them!

5) Large projects
My larger projects have been neglected for the last two years and I have no plans to work on them this year. But one or two of them might end up back on my frames. We'll see.....

So, there we have it... no definite targets, just a few plans so that I can basically stitch on what I want when I want and for how long I want. Bliss!

I am not participating in the January Challenge this year as I found myself choosing projects for the sake of it rather than because I actually wanted to stitch them, and that's not right. Nor will I be doing he April A-Z Challenge as I simply don't want the commitment.

Right, I'm off to choose my first project of the year then!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and very stitchy 2017.
Rachel x