Friday 30 August 2019

Smalls SAL - August 2019

Hello all!

It's the last Friday of the month so time for the Smalls SAL. Thank you, Mary, for continuing to run this fun little SAL. Pop over to Mary's blog to see what other participants have been stitching in the way of Smalls this month.

Each month I stitch a small project specifically for this SAL which doesn't appear elsewhere on my blog. This month it was one month from a year long set by Bent Creek. This is the best link I could find which shows them all and the rhyme they make if all stitched together, but here's the original for November:

I have no intention of buying or stitching the others but liked November. However, I made some changes - I swapped 'November' for 'Autumn', I changed every thread colour from their recommended DMC to colours I liked better, and, instead of using the snaps provided, I added some tiny matching autumn-coloured buttons. The differences aren't that obvious but here's my version:

November Twirls by Bent Creek
Stitch Count 50 wide by 50 high
Stitched on 16ct Ochre over-dyed aida from 2 over 1
Started - 1st August 2019
Finished - 8th August 2019
Total stitching time - 6 hours 35 minutes

It'll be made into a little ornie at some point - I'm a bit behind with my FFOing at the moment.

For this Smalls SAL I'm also re-showing other qualifying small projects I've stitched during the month.

My birthstone of the month, August In Peridot:

And my (unfinished because the Leopard doesn't have his spots) monarch of the month, Henry III:

In September I will be stitching a Hootie, although I haven't decided yet if it will be the pink, blue or green one. Decisions, decisions! Any preference?

Take care,
Rachel x

Thursday 29 August 2019

Scaredy Cats - finished!

Hi all!

With the mini heatwave we've just had - 3 days of 30C+ temperatures (which I know is nothing for some of you but really affects me quite badly) - I didn't feel like working on a big project so pulled out one of my small and easily finishable recent new starts.

Here's how I left Scaredy Cats after working on it for a weekend:

And after a couple more days of attention:

Scaredy Cats by JBW Designs
Stitched on 16ct Mushroom over-dyed aida by
Stitch count 151 wide by 33 high
Stitched with DMC black and variegated 51
Started - 10th August 2019
Finished - 29th August 2019
Total stitching time - 9 hours 40 minutes

I moved a couple of cats very slightly but other than that it's as charted.

I had an idea about backstitching around the cats to give them a bit more definition but, as it's one of those designs that looks better from a distance, decided against it. Anyway, if I did the cats then I'd probably have to do the letters too and I'm positive that would spoil it.

I have the fabric ready to FFO the piece but free evenings, when I usually FFO, have been in short supply over the summer holidays so my UFOs are gradually piling up. But life will return to 'normal' soon so FFOing can once again happen.

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Autumn Bird - finished!

Good morning all!

With so little left to stitch I think it was quite obvious it wasn't going to be too long before this little birdie was completed. I had a 'spare' evening before starting my weekend new start (and didn't want to get Hogwarts out for just one day) so decided to work on this piece until finished.

He was the third of my Summer Of New Starts binge and I left him like this:

Now he's been given the rest of his wings:

Bird by Hobikolik (etsy)
Stitched on 16ct Peach Cobbler over-dyed aida by 2 over 1
Stitched in Threadworx 1076 Honky Tonk
Stitch count 80 wide by 80 high
Started - 3rd August 2019
Finished - 23rd August 2019
Total stitching time - 7 hours 45 minutes

I'm really pleased with the way he's turned out. I have the fabric and the cord so now all I have to do is FFO him. I've got a few pieces piling up in my Box Of Shame but hopefully he won't be in there too long.

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 26 August 2019

Summer Of New Starts #6 - A Little Wizard Of The Night

Hi again!

Well, having started A Little Witch Of The Night last week, how could I not stitch her Little Wizard male companion for summer start number 6?

This time I started with the sky, but once I reached his cute little head of hair the needles just kept working. I'm a little frustrated that my eyes gave in before his face was completed but nevertheless I am really happy with my progress over a very successful weekend:

A Little Wizard Of The Night by Soda Stitch
Stitched on 16ct Dusky Sky over-dyed aida by
Stitch count 60 wide by 56 high
Stitching time to date - 5 hours

And how he will look when finished:

If I don't manage to get back to him before the end of October, he'll definitely return for a bit of attention at Halloween. Well, how could he not?!

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 23 August 2019

Green Halloween Banner - finished!

Hello everyone!

Here's a Happy Dance for a much anticipated finish. Yes, Green Halloween Banner was completed last night.

Last time you saw it I didn't have much left to stitch:

I stitched the tree-thing, filled in the remainder of the black and here it is, all finished:

Green Halloween Banner by Artecy
Stitched on 16ct cream aida 2 over 1
Stitch count 57 wide by 201 high
Started - 25th January 2019
Finished - 22nd August 2019
Total stitching time - 69 hours 10 minutes

I really really enjoyed this one and would love to be able to start the other three in the set but, alas, I have a million-and-one other things which I ought to work on first. One day...

In the meantime I know exactly how I want to FFO the banner, and it's with this gorgeous and perfect fabric:

But whether imagination and reality will successfully merge is another matter. The finish is a bit complicated and potentially fiddly so I'm not going to rush it.

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 19 August 2019

Summer Of New Starts #5 - A Little Witch Of The Night

Hi again!

Staying with the Halloween theme for summer start number 5, this cute Soda Stitch chart has been high on my to-do list for quite a while.

I was really looking forward to working solely on the little witch over the weekend but the first stitch didn't actually go in until 11.45pm Saturday! At least I got a couple of hours in on Sunday to make up for it. Here's my start on her hair and adorable little hat:

 A Little Witch Of The Night by Soda Stitch
Stitched on 16ct Dusky Sky over-dyed aida by
Stitch count 60 wide by 55 high
Stitching time to date - 2 hours 35 minutes

And here's how she will look when finished (without the numbers):

Those with a very keen eye may have noticed I've changed the aida colour since teasing this as a new start. My original choice was a sort of dirty browny/greeny mixture called Smudge. However, when I purchased this Dusky Sky fabric I immediately fell in love with the steely blue/grey colours (even though the screen picture indicated it was a mid-dark grey!) There would have been nothing wrong with using Smudge but the characters have a cute and fun element which I think is more suited to a less-dreary colour. Needless to say, I'm delighted with my swap.

I'll be using this fabric again next weekend.

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 16 August 2019

A Monarch A Month - Henry III

Hello all!

Over the course of the next four years I will be stitching Bothy Thread's Kings and Queens at the slow pace of one monarch per month.

This is number eight, Henry III, who marks the beginning of the second row of stitching. Seeing as how I am moving the monarchs around slightly, I spent absolutely ages counting and recounting and making sure his adjusted position was definitely correct before the first stitch went in. And then I counted again, just to be sure he was definitely in the right place. He is!

Henry III from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 9th August 2019
Finished - 14th August 2019
Total stitching time - 6 hours 10 minutes

Note, Henry's walking a Leopard but the black spots will be beads so are not going to be added until the very end. Up until then it will have to look like he's walking a big yellow cat-thing!

So here we go with tiny snippets of Henry III's history. In the big scheme of English monarchs, Henry III is not well known but I find his life fascinating and 300 words is certainly not enough to do his life justice. Anyway, here goes:

Preceded by John (father)
Succeeded by Edward I (son)
Lived 1207-1272
Reigned 1216-1272
Married Eleanor of Provence 1236-1272
Fathered 2 sons and 3 daughters

Henry became king at the age of 9. His father had trusted him a guardian and 13 executors to oversee his early reign. By 1227 Henry had decided he would rule by himself.

He married 12-year-old Eleanor of Provence in 1236, probably as a strategic alliance. Yet he was a faithful husband and devoted father (certainly spending more time with his family than any previous monarch!)

Despite almost 200 years of 'English' monarchy, Henry's court remained French in both language and traditions.

Henry loved visiting and staying at his castles, and retained his father's menagerie in the Tower of London (hence the Leopard above).

Territory-wise Henry gained authority in Wales, maintained peace with Scotland (his daughter married the King's son), and gave Ireland to his own son. However, he had an on-off relationship with France, unsuccessfully invading twice to reclaim lands lost by his father but, at times, also making peace with and relying on the support of the King.

Henry gradually lost popularity due to inconsistent decisions and policies, such as heavy taxation and wasting money planning unfulfilled crusades.

After a small baronial coup d'etat, Henry was faced with The Second Baron's War, 1264-1267. Initial attempts at appeasement, by Henry agreeing to once again rule through his barons (1265 Provision of Oxford) soon failed and civil war ensued. Despite Henry being captured, freed, and surrendering, the rebels were eventually defeated, mostly by Henry's son, Edward, and his loyal royalist followers.

Henry died in 1272, whilst planning another pilgrimage. He is buried in Westminster Abbey, a building he adored and which had been heavily redesigned during his reign.

He was succeeded by his son, Edward.

So next month, Edward I.

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 12 August 2019

Summer Of New Starts #4 - Scaredy Cats

Hi all!

Summer start number 4 sees me keeping with autumn colours but moving on to a Halloween theme. This week I chose Scaredy Cats by JBW Designs. Obviously block stitching makes for rapid progress so this was my achievement over the weekend:

Scaredy Cats by JBW Designs
Stitched on 16ct Mushroom over-dyed aida by
Stitch count 151 wide by 33 high
Stitched with DMC variegated 51 and black
Stitching time to date - 4 hours 50 minutes

The finished design will look like this:

The DMC Colour Variation thread I originally chose was a bit too autumn-y rather than Halloween-y (not surprising considering it was called Fall Harvest!) so I swapped it for the darker half of DMC variegated 51 Burnt Orange. Much better for giving that fiery-look I wanted.

After seeing me tease this as a new start, Shebafudge started her version. She's using similar thread colours (we both agreed the cats should definitely be black) but on a gorgeous spooky purple-y fabric.

I'm just under half way though, so this is another project which will not take too long to finish when I pick it up again (I think I've now said that for the past three weeks!)

Finally, there's still plenty of time to enter the FFG SAL in the post below this one. Go on, fully-finish off a UFO or two... you know you want to!!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 10 August 2019

Link-up for Fully Finished Gallery SAL - August 2019

Hello all!

It's the 10th of the month so time for another Fully Finished Gallery SAL.

You all know the blurb by now... dig out those UFOs... try some FFOing... no pressure... fun... etc, etc, etc... so let's just get on with things, shall we?!

I'm afraid I have to hang my head in shame this month as the only FFO I have is one piece from my Box of Shame. But I have two good excuses - firstly the barley twist cord I need to finish off the Smalls SAL Christmas Cat hasn't arrived, and secondly I've been so busy since finishing August's birthstone that my only free time has been at night when I always put stitching first. What this does mean, however, is that I'll have more to show next month to make up for it!

My solitary finish this month is Humerous Alphabet which was stitched for the April A-Z Challenge in 2016 (does anyone remember my daily posts?) It only took me 25 years to cross it off my to-stitch list; at least it didn't take me that long to FFO it!

I did think about framing the finished piece or making it into a wall hanging but... surprise surprise... ended up doing my usual thing, mainly because I fell in love with the backing fabric. The barley twist cord was left off as it didn't go with the aida or threads at all. So here's my naked pillow. I hope you like (and understand!) the little bits of humour; very clever.

Now it's over to you to show what you've been finishing this month.

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 June.

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And please don't forget to follow other links and see what fellow fully-finishers have been up to; you never know, other projects may give you an idea for your next finish!

Once the link-up has closed I shall update the FFG SAL 2019 page with the number of entrants and entries.

I know a few bloggers have been hinting about their FFOing this month so I'm really looking forward to clicking on your links and seeing what you've come up with. I hope you all (quite rightly) manage to put me to shame!!

Next month's post will go live on 10th September at 6am UK time as usual.

Take care,
Rachel x

Thursday 8 August 2019

August In Peridot - finished!

Hi all!

At the beginning of each month I will be stitching a little calendar piece, by Palkolp, in that month's birthstone colour. This idea was inspired by Jo's People's Choice SAL Birthstone posting and from her link to a website about birthstones.

August's birthstone is peridot:

Wear a peridot or for thee
No conjugal fidelity.
The August born without this stone
'Tis said must live unloved; alone.

Ah, that's so sad but I'm sure it's not true!

Visit here if you would like to read little interesting snippets of information about peridots.

You might remember seeing the top half of this in my #24HOCS post but here's the finished piece, most of which was stitched on a couple of train journeys. It's not quite as neat as it could be but it's only noticeable close-up:

August by Palkolap
Stitched on 16ct Ochre over-dyed aida by 2 over 1
Stitch count 47 wide by 47 high
Stitched with DMC variegated 92 and Mill Hill frosted seed beads 62049
Started - 28th July 2019
Finished - 5th August 2019
Total stitching time - 5 hours 55 minutes

Hopefully this will be FFOd in time for the FFG SAL on the 10th, but I'm not holding my breath this month!

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 5 August 2019

Summer Of New Starts #3 - Autumn Bird

Hello all!

For start number 3 I chose the final seasonal bird, autumn, working on the tail first so you weren't just seeing a duplication of last week's Winter Bird. Time was on my side so I was able to stitch a bit more than usual and consequently made a really good start.
Bird by Hobikolik (etsy)
Stitched on 16ct Peach Cobbler over-dyed aida by 2 over 1
Stitched in Threadworx 1076 Honky Tonk
Stitch count 80 wide by 80 high
Stitching time to date - 5 hours 35 minutes

This will only take a couple of hours to finish off, whenever that may be (although hopefully sooner rather than later!)

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 3 August 2019

People's Choice SAL - Monochrome

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 monochrome. Monochrome is usually interpreted as black and white, but it can also mean various hues of the same colour.

Looking through my all-telling spreadsheet, I've stitched quite a lot of pieces that would qualify as being monochrome. However, I am going to limit what I show here to just the sepia ones (which have that oldy-worldy look that really appeals to me) in the hope that some of the other pieces will come up in future categories such as birds, pets or TV/film (three ideas there for your list, Jo!)

Sepia Baby by Vervaco was stitched in 2004 as a birth sampler for my daughter. It was my original intention (famous last words) to flip the chart and stitch the reverse image for my son but I found a different birth record design for him so it never happened. I would quite happily stitch this again though... maybe if grandchildren appear one day!

Heritage Crafts have produced a stunning series of sepia Silhouettes depicting quintessentially English scenes from years gone by. So far I have stitched three; Canal Crossing, The Lock and Milk Train. These are the type of project where the everything looks like a big smudge of colour until you take a step back. I have quite a few more in my collection, waiting for that elusive 'one day' to arrive!

HAED's One by Zindy Nielsen (the mini version) was started way back in 2014 during my ridiculous HAED starting binge. It is perhaps the most likely HAED WIP I will finish as it contains only 31 colours and therefore not too much of that dreaded confetti. I really should make an effort to stitch on this again.

In my mind, where art is concerned, the king of monochome, as in black, greys and whites, is Escher. I love his optical illusions and could sit and look at them for hours. I think they would be a lot of fun to stitch, but they would have to be big otherwise a lot of the detail, and therefore the optical illusion effect would be lost.

Here are a couple of my favourites charted by who other than Heaven and Earth Designs.

Ascending and Descending


And that's it from me this month. I'm hoping that my travels around the other participants in this SAL will result in seeing much more colourful monochrome projects, but I hope you liked my sepia ones; I do, but then that's why I stitched them!!

Next month is bees. That won't have me buzzing with so much excitement but see you there nonetheless!

Take care,
Rachel x

Thursday 1 August 2019

#24HoursOfCrossStitch - July 2019

Hi all,

Warning... long post alert!

I've been caught in a trap - the #24HoursOfCrossStitch trap!

(I gotta get me one of these clocks!)

This SAL is the brainchild of Jen from Quirks and Stitches and is primarily a Face Book / Instagram group where, I believe, the original idea was to stitch for a straight 24 hours.

But out of that spawned further ideas resulting in three monthly challenges where fun, creativity and shoe-horning are strongly encouraged!

Because I plan my year of stitching in advance, a lot of SALs are not for me. But with this one I can work the SAL around the stitching I would be doing anyway. I didn't join in in June but this month there was absolutely no stopping me!!

The three parts of the challenge are:
1) stitch for 24 hours during the month.
2) connect your project(s) to an acrostic and track either time or stitches (optional)
3) connect your project(s) to various holidays throughout the month, stitching for at least 24 minutes or 120 stitches on each (bonus challenge)

I participated in all three, and definitely had moments of frustration trying to find connections - although I should emphasise it was not the type of frustration where I wanted to pull my hair out but rather the sort where the answer to a quiz question is on the tip of your tongue for ages but you only remember at 3am!

I was contemplating whether or not to show pictures, as most have been recently posted, but since this is a stand-alone post I thought I'd add them in. If it's too much then I can always leave them out next month, but I like that it's actually quite a nice month-end round-up, something I've never done before.

So here we go...

1) Stitch for 24 hours during the month

I managed a total of 37 hours 15 minutes, which is a bit below my monthly average but still over the required amount. My time was split between eight projects:

July in Ruby - 5h 35m - started and finished

Yawning Christmas Cat - 6h 30m - started and finished

Kings and Queens (King John) - 5h 15m - started and finished

Green Halloween Banner - 5h 35m - progress
(which brought me to the end of a ten hour stint)

Hogwarts In A Bottle - 4h 40m - progress
(only a peek because I haven't reached the full 10 hours yet)

Snow Globe Tree - 3h 25m - new start

Winter Bird - 4h - new start

August In Peridot - 2h 15m - new start

2) Fill in the acrostic TEAM 24 HOUR (I wanted to include each project at least once)

T - Hogwarts In A Bottle - progress was made on a couple of turrets
E - Kings and Queens - this is being stitched on evenweave
A - Green Halloween Banner - the chart was designed by Artecy
M - Winter Bird - the colour of the thread is Moonlit Skies
2 - August In Peridot - I stitched for 2 hours (and a bit) on this project
4 - Snow Globe Tree - I will (eventually) be using 4 Etoile threads on this project
H - Yawning Christmas Cat - he is wearing a lovely Santa hat
O - Snow Globe Tree - the snow globe is round, like the letter O
U - Green Halloween Banner - I was unperturbed by the amount of black stitching
R - July In Ruby - the thread was ruby coloured

3) Connect 12 or more of the given holidays to your projects and stitch for at least 24 minutes on each. (I allocated two holidays to each project, so 16 holidays. See above for time spent on each one.)

1st - Creative Ice Cream Flavour Day - Green Halloween Banner - in recognition of all the black I had to stitch I chose Marmite flavoured ice-cream. Yum!

3rd - Stay Out Of The Sun Day - Snow Globe Tree - because I don't want the snow to melt.

4th - 4th Of July - Green Halloween Banner - in recognition of all the banners which are flown on the occasion.

6th - World Kiss Day - July In Ruby - the prince had to kiss Snow White's ruby lips in order to wake her up.

7th - National Strawberry Sundae Day - July In Ruby - because rubies are red, just like strawberries.

9th - National No Bra Day - Winter Bird - I've heard it said that when ladies go bra-less they are either 'floating free' or 'flying free'. Most birds fly, some also float.

11th - Cheer Up The Lonely Day - Yawning Christmas Cat - cats make good companions and this little one would certainly cheer up a lonely person.

12th - Simplicity Day - Winter Bird - a simple project because there's only one symbol on the chart.

15th - National Give Something Away Day - Yawning Christmas Cat - because Christmas is a time for giving.

16th - World Snake Day - Hogwarts In A Bottle - it was during the final battle at Hogwarts that Neville killed Voldemort's snake, Nagini.

20th - Space Exploration Day - Kings and Queens - the first American to orbit the Earth was John Glenn, obviously named in honour of my monarch of the month, King John!

22nd - National Hammock Day - Snow Globe Tree - because hammocks are traditionally suspended from trees.

23rd - Hot Enough For Ya Day - August In Peridot - peridots are symbolic of the sun and the sun has recently been giving the northern hemisphere some extraordinarily hot weather.

25th - Thread The Needle Day - August In Peridot - because I stitched this project on a train and kept giggling when trying to thread the needle whilst the train was wobbling!

28th - Parents' Day - Kings and Queens - many kings and queens would not have been monarchs themselves had it not been for their parents being monarchs. I  wonder how many actually appreciated that?

30th - International Day Of Friendship - Hogwarts In A Bottle - because schools are one of the places lifelong friendships are forged.

And that's it! What a thoroughly enjoyable challenge this is! If you like this SAL then I hope you have found my interpretations enjoyable too and may even think about joining in.

The only other blog participant I've seen so far is Katie, so go check out her post too. (I'll update if I see any more).

Next month's tasks are very similar to this month's and I can't wait to get my needles and old grey matter working on them. Back on 1st September with more #24HOCS fun then!

Take care,
Rachel x