Friday 30 November 2018

Smalls SAL - November 2018

Hi all!

For the penultimate time in 2018 it's the last Friday of the month and time to post my piece for the Smalls SAL, run by Heather of Stitching Lotus.

November saw me go bananas and stitch another piece of cheeky fruit:

Banana from Fabulous Fruit
Designed by Jenny Barton in Cross Stitch Crazy magazine issue 192 (I think)
Stitched on 16ct Sundrop over-dyed aida from 2 over 1
Stitch count 35 wide by 38 high
Started - 1st November 2018
Finished - 4th November 2018
Total stitching time - 5 hours 45 minutes

I actually made a mistake and stitched it off-centre which meant I just about had the required amount of fabric to make it into an ornie - and I mean just! So I very carefully finished it off using yellow spotted backing fabric and coordinating barley twist cord:

And here's my four pieces of healthy fruit salad I've stitched this year:

There are still six more pieces of fruit to stitch but I won't be doing them for a long while yet; I'm not so keen on them and four is a healthy enough fruit salad to be getting on with!

For the final month of 2018... something Christmassy.

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 26 November 2018

Winter Alphabet - finished; all 4 Seasonal Alphabets framed

Hi all!

So this is finish 31/31 from Debbie's Ultimate Crazy January Challenge 2016 and is, of course, Winter Alphabet by Lizzie Kate.

At the end of October I had stitched this much:

And now all completed it looks like this:

Winter Alphabet by Lizzie Kate
Stitched on 16ct Cloud Winter Sky aida by 2 over 1
Stitch count 112 wide by 159 high
Started - 26th January 2016
Finished - 10th November 2018
Total stitching time - 36 hours 35 minutes

And as the title of this post gives away, I have also framed all four Lizzie Kate Seasonal Alphabet pieces. Thanks to I found the same frame in four different colours to match each season - red for spring, green for summer, brown for autumn and blue for winter. It makes them a bit more interesting than them all having the same generic gold-edged wooden frame, which was my other option. Here they are before framing...

... and after...

... and all together:

I think they look really good, but then I am more than slightly biased and would say that! I'm a very happy bunny indeed.

Considering samplers are definitely not my thing (are these truly samplers?) I thoroughly enjoyed stitching all four pieces. There was a great sense of satisfaction in working on them and watching them grow, especially as psychologically each letter of motif counted as a mini-finish!

And, of course, framing them all means my Box Of Shame is getting emptier! It definitely won't be empty by the end of the year, but it won't be far off.

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday 21 November 2018

A Shower - finished and fully-finished!

Hello all!

I didn't think it would be long before this little cutie became a finish instead of a WIP, and I was right (although it's taken me a few weeks to post about it due to taking a long time to fully-finish it off). Over the half-term school holiday (last week of October) I was able to put in some long stints and stitch later into the night (read early mornings) than I would normally. Half-term couldn't have been more appropriately timed for completing this piece!

Here's how I left A Shower after ten hours:

And finished:

A Shower by Soda Stitch
Stitched on 16ct Margarita over-dyed aida by 2 over 1
Stitch count 60 wide by 53 high
Started - 28th September 2018
Finished - 27th October 2018
Total stitching time - 19 hours 30 minutes

I don't usually take any photos before adding backstitching but thought I would with this piece just to remind myself what a difference it can make.

Instead of making it into my usual ornie I had a few different ideas about how I would like to finish-finish it. But bearing in mind I will probably want to finish all my Soda Stitch designs the same, when it came down to it, the ornie won. However, there are differences to my usual finishing style; it's been given a heavy helping of cuteness, perhaps even sickliness if you don't like fancy things!

How's this for starters:

But there's more - the final finishing touch...

... complete with a tiny bow:

I told you it had been given a heavy dose of cuteness!

The fabric is from a Hobbycraft green-toned FQ bundle, and the ribbon is plain 10mm lime organza.

[For those of you in the UK who need backing fabric, might I suggest you check out the FQ bundles at Hobbycraft (in store and on line). I've picked up quite a few in various colour tones and themes. They're very reasonably priced and not bad quality either.]

I think having the fabric showing on the front to give the design a border really works. And as for the ribbon, well, I will totally understand and not be offended at all if you say you don't like it, but I think it works in adding that finishing touch.

All of the fabric borders were stitched on by hand and took three attempts before I was happy. And as for the ribbon, that also took two failed attempts to work out how to gather and attach it before I came up with what I considered to be an easy, but time-consuming, solution. It took a lot of ribbon though - almost 5m for a 72cm perimeter! Not that it needed to be gathered so much, but less didn't quite look right.

If I do finish an ornie like this again I would definitely create a bigger fabric border but that's about the only thing I'd change.

If you're interested I took step-by-step photos along the way which I would be willing to share as a sort of tutorial. I didn't want to bore you with them here but let me know if you'd like to see them and I'll do a separate post at some point to let you in on my secrets. ;)

Take care,
Rachel x

Thursday 8 November 2018

New Start - Midnight Manor - 10 hours

Hello all!

Following the completion of A Shower, my next new start for 2019 is another piece I've been wanting to stitch for a-g-e-s. Admittedly it's a little late for this Halloween but at least it will be ready in plenty of time for the next one!

Midnight Manor by Waxing Moon Designs
Stitched on 16ct Tangerine over-dyed aida by 2 over 1
Stitch count 113 wide by 121 high
Started - 28th October 2018

This is how it will look when finished, although I will be making a few small changes including getting rid of the spider and making the pumpkins pumpkin-coloured.

I may also add yellow lights in the windows, as I did with Mini Midnight Manor, and stitch the moon with glow-in-the-dark thread, although need to be careful not to unbalance the simplicity of the design by introducing too many colours. We'll see. Either way, I'm definitely looking forward to stitching more of this - sometimes it's really nice not to have to think about different symbols and colours changes!

Take care,
Rachel x

PS for those who are still interested, I've now put a link on my previous post to the free monthly charts by Palkolap. It's just above the pictures of the charts. :)

Saturday 3 November 2018

People's Choice SAL - Birthstones

Hi all!

So here I am back for the second month of Jo from Serendipitous Stitching's People's Choice SAL Thanks to Jo for hosting this unique SAL where we will be posting about a different theme each month.

This month's theme is Birthstones - something for which I have definitely done no direct stitching. So let's see what I can shoehorn.

The only thing I've stitched which remotely resembles a birthstone is QS Emerald Dragon by HAED (but then the dragon isn't really green so the title itself is somewhat misleading!) I started this back in 2013, before I started blogging, so other than on my Large WIPs page it's never actually appeared on my blog. I've only reached the 10 hour mark, having given up because I found the confetti stitching too frustrating. I adore the colours and am really hoping to pick it up again one day, maybe when I can better cope with confetti (and perhaps when I can count all my other WIPs on one hand!)

Stitched on 18ct Sandy Pool aida from The Crafty Kitten

I've recently stitched a couple of Patchwork Hooties by Pinoy Stitch which could be shoehorned into birthstones - the one on the left could represent Citrine for November, the one on the right Amethyst for February.

But... preparing this post has given me an inspirational idea about the following charts I have in my stash and which are on my 2019 reserve 'if-I've-got-time-to-spare' stitching list (although I have to admit my fingers are itching to start them now, so that might have to change). These were doing the rounds a few years ago but have only just moved close enough to the top of my to-do list to warrant kitting up. They are freebies by Palko-lap and are available here.

Like most people who have finished them, I had intended to stitch each one with multi-coloured variegated thread which reflected something during the month, eg February would be pink/red for Valentine's Day, October black/orange for Halloween etc., but now - and this is a rare light bulb moment - I've had the idea of stitching them in a single-colour variegated thread to match that month's birthstone. Admittedly, some of the motifs will seem a bit strange, such as red snowflakes in January and blue leaves in September, but, you have to agree, it will make them unique!

So here are the fabrics and variegated threads I will be using to represent the respective birthstones:

January garnet * February amethyst * March aquamarine * April diamond
May emerald * June alexandrite * July ruby * August peridot
September sapphire * October rose quartz * November citrine * December blue topaz

What do you think? If I'm feeling adventurous I may even add some blending filament for a bit of sparkle, especially to April otherwise that could look very plain.

Next month's theme is Dragons. I'm already looking forward to that!

Take care,
Rachel x

Thursday 1 November 2018

October Progress on 2015/2016 Challenge Pieces

Hello there!

Another month gone and another month of steady progress to show you on a couple of projects I started for Debbie's Challenges back in 2015/2016.

During October I finished and framed Pretty Little Paris (posted previously) and made progress on:

Winter Alphabet by Lizzie Kate
started 26th January 2016; last worked on last month
continued alphabetically (the gap is for a picture which covers two rows and three columns)

Hufflepuff by theworldinstitches (etsy)
started 11th February 2015; last worked on August 2015 (oops!)
finished the top section and started on the name

In November I plan to finish Winter Alphabet and make further progress on Hufflepuff, the last Challenge piece I will be stitching on in 2018.

Take care,
Rachel x