Sunday 29 September 2019

Hogwarts In A Bottle - 100 hours

Good morning all!

I had a really successful time stitching on Hogwarts last week so have another update already! It's hard to believe I'm already 100 hours in... 100 hours! Doesn't time fly.....

As hoped, I filled in the gap between the buildings on the left and the right with the addition of more gloomy sky, a turret and some roofs. As you can see, I tend to jump around a lot when stitching so am not at all bothered by missing chunks, but I do like that it looks a bit tidier now.

Last time:

This time:

And the full piece:

I'm quite amazed at how well-defined the buildings are without the backstitching; it's so easy to distinguish one from another and pick out the windows, etc. Next time, before delving into more blues and browns, I'll be adding lots of backstitching. We all know what a difference backstitching can make but no doubt my jaw will still drop at the difference!

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 27 September 2019

Smalls SAL - September 2019

Hello all!

It's the last Friday of the month so time for the Smalls SAL. Thank you, Mary, for continuing to host 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 a Patchwork Hootie by Pinoy Stitch (etsy). I didn't know whether I would be stitching the blue, green or pink one and asked if you had any preference. Votes were tied between blue and green, so I chose blue to match my September birthstone:

Blue Pachwork Hootie by Pinoy Stitch (etsy)
Stitch Count 55 wide by 42 high
Stitched on 16ct Glacier over-dyed aida from 2 over 1
Started - 7th September 2019
Finished - 20th September 2019
Total stitching time - 10 hours 10 minutes

I didn't think the charted blues went together very well so I chose my own colours. However, two of the three looked so alike when stitched that they could have been mistaken for the same thread. So I did a bit of frogging and substituted the darker blue at the last minute. I don't think it works but, hey-ho, I've stitched it now and am not going to unpick it again. Anyway, seeing as owls are neither blue nor patchwork, any colour combination would work really!

What don't work, though, are the white dots in his eyes. Looking in opposite directions they make him look sinister so I'll probably change them before he's FFO'd.

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

My birthstone of the month, September in Sapphire:

And my monarch of the month, Edward I:

October's Small SAL will see another Hootie, although this time I'll be sticking with the charted colours!

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 23 September 2019

Winter Bird - finished!

Hello everyone!

A few of you correctly guessed that it would not be long before I finished this little project. He was the second of my seven new starts over the summer and is now the third one to be completed.

Here's a reminder how I left him after a weekend and 4 hours of stitching:

And now all finished:

Bird by Hobikolik (etsy)
Stitched on 16ct Stormy Sea over-dyed aida by 2 over 1
Stitched in Threadworx 1140 Moonlit Skies
Stitch count 80 wide by 80 high
Started - 27th July 2019
Finished - 17th September 2019
Total stitching time - 6 hours 55 minutes

He was. as always, an absolute joy to stitch; those colours are so soothing and Threadworx threads a delight to stitch with. He will be FFOd to match the other three in the set, after which I will photograph and show all four together. I wonder if I (or you) will have a favourite?

Take care,
Rachel x

Thursday 19 September 2019

Hogwarts In A Bottle - 90 hours

Good afternoon!

It's been a long time coming but I've finally finished another 10 hours on Hogwarts.

Here's a reminder of how it looked after 80 hours::

You saw a glimpse of some progress in the July #24 posting but here's the full progress at the 90 hour mark:

And the full piece:

As you can see I stitched the beginning of the halls, towers and turrets on the right. Next time I'll be working towards the middle and hopefully joining up the two sides. I will probably wait until the buildings have been completed before adding more backstitching, but who knows?!

I've now revised how long I think this project will take to finish since more colour changes means the amount of stitching I'm achieving in each 10 hour stint has decreased. Another 35 hours have been added, which means I'm not even half way through after two-thirds of the year, so way behind schedule on that planned year end finish. There have been a few distractions, however, such as finishing Parrot on Parade and Green Halloween Banner, and starting a number of pieces over the summer, but I certainly don't consider those bad distractions.

I could push hard to finish it this year but I've calculated that, even if I make this my sole focus piece once my three beginning-of-the-month projects (Birthstone, Monarch, Smalls SAL) have been completed, it's still unlikely. Therefore if any of my recent new starts wriggle their way onto my frames I won't stress about it. Hogwarts is such an enjoyable piece to stitch that I don't think I'll ever want it to end anyway, and if the new starts do find themselves receiving attention then there may well be some more finishes in the meantime. I can't lose!!

So what will be on my frames next, I wonder? Hogwarts or one of the summer starts? I think I'll pick... that one... hehehe!

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 16 September 2019

A Monarch A Month - Edward I

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 monarch number nine, the first of three successive Edwards:

Edward I from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 9th September 2019
Finished - 11th September 2019
Total stitching time - 5 hours 15 minutes

Here's a brief summary of Edward I and his reign. So much to say yet so few words allowed meant I have had to be very brief about most things, especially the conflicts in Wales and Scotland which are really interesting (well, to me anyway!) You'll also find a few words in inverted commas, primarily because I couldn't easily express their real meaning. I hope you understand what they're trying to convey.

Preceded by Henry III (father)
Succeeded by Edward II (son)
Lived 1239-1307
Reigned 1272-1307
Married Eleanor of Castille 1254-1290 (died) and Margaret of France 1299-1307
Fathered (probably) 5 sons and 11 daughters by Eleanor and 2 sons and 1 daughter by Margaret

Edward became king, whilst on Crusade in 1272, after the death of his father. He finally landed in England in 1274!

He was nicknamed Edward Longshanks due to his intimidating height of 6' 2" and, centuries later, 'Hammer of the Scots'.

He admired the legends of King Arthur and had a Round Table featuring the names of the knights made. This still hangs in Winchester Cathedral.

He married 13 year old Eleanor probably for political purposes, yet they were devoted and he was deeply affected by her death. His second marriage to the French King's sister was also political.

In 1295 Edward unwittingly 'created' the first 'House of Commons' by summoning 'commoners' (county knights and borough representatives) to parliament to assent to (rather than simply agree with) decisions made by his parliament of Lords.

By 1284 Edward had conquered Wales. He introduced English Laws, constructed numerous castles, and crowned his and Eleanor's final child Prince of Wales, all as statements of his power and intent.

In 1290, when Scotland had no direct heir, Edward became 'temporary custodian'. John Balliol was appointed King in 1292 but Edward continued to interfere in Scotland's affairs. In 1296 Edward successfully invaded, imprisoning John and proclaiming Scotland his.

Wanting Scottish independence, William Wallace led rebellions against Edward until caught and executed in 1305.

In 1306 Robert the Bruce proclaimed himself and was crowned king of Scotland. Edward began retaliating but died in 1307 before Scotland's 'ownership' had been resolved.

He was succeeded by his only surviving son from his first marriage, Edward.

So next month, Edward II. I hope his reign is a bit easier to confine to 300 words!

Take care,
Rachel x

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Link-up for Fully Finished Gallery SAL - September 2019

Hello all!

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

This is the place which will hopefully encourage you to fully-finish off one or more of your cross stitching projects which may have been recently completed or sitting in a bag or box or cupboard or drawer etc. for months or years, neglected and not out on display as it/they should be.

The link-up for this SAL opens on the 10th of each month and stays open for 10 days, so you have plenty of time to turn those UFOs into FFOs and join in.

So far this year there have been over 300 projects entered into this SAL, many of which may not have otherwise been FFO'd. Thank you for keeping this SAL populated!

I'm trying to play catch-up, since my own FFOing has been quite poor recently, mainly because of having a different routine over the summer. Excuses aside, here are my achievements since the previous link-up:

1) August In Peridot, August's birthstone of the month was finished like all the other birthstones so far this year:

2) Autumn Bird was one of my Summer Of New Starts and finished very soon after being started. It's been fully-finished to match the Spring and Summer versions, with coordinating fabric and cord:

3)Autumn Twirls was my August Smalls SAL piece, adapted from November Twirls by Bent Creek. Given the fabric, I think it's now obvious why I swapped out the colours of the leaves for my own choices. I wanted some of the fabric showing at the front and had an urge to add more autumn-coloured buttons, which I did in the corners. There's a piece of wadding for a bit of puffiness and the whole thing is attached to thick card, backed with the same autumnal-twirly fabric.

And that's it! I was worried at the beginning of the month that your host would let you down so it's a big phew that I haven't!!

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 September.

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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.

Let's hope you've all had a successful month although, with it being summer, I'm assuming your time may have been spent enjoying the sun instead!

Next month's post will go live on 10th October at 6am UK time as usual. Hope to see you there!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 7 September 2019

People's Choice SAL - Bees

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 bees, those beautiful, useful but annoying little insects whose buzzing noise really gets on my nerves!

I struggled to find any projects I have stitched with bees in them as insects in general are not one of my things. I just about found two... literally just! These are Lizzie Kate's June and August Flip-It Stamps, and would probably not have been stitched had they not been part of a set.

Of course, bees make honey and that reminded me of a silly little poem:

Isn't it funny how a bear likes honey?
Buzz, buzz, buzz! I wonder why he does?

Which led me on to the biggest fan of honey, or rather hunny, I can think of..... Winnie the Pooh.

I have a couple of Winnie the Pooh booklets by Designer Stitches, inside of which are some bee-related charts - perfect for this post!

These are taken from the Winnie the Pooh Honey, Trees and Bees booklet. They have all been on my to-stitch list for years but keep getting pushed further and further down as new projects come along. They tell a lovely little story without the need for words. Aren't they sweet?

Finally, we all know that bees live in beehives and I remember for my letter B of the 2016 A-Z challenge I showed this chart by HAED. I still find the exaggeration of the hairstyle really amusing! Fashions come and fashions go, and some come around again, but can you really imagine the beehive coming back into fashion any time soon?

Bee Hive by Lisa Desimini

So now I'm going to buzz around blogland and see what other bee postings have been made.

Next month... cats.

Take care
Rachel x

Thursday 5 September 2019

September in Sapphire - started and 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.

September's birthstone is sapphire:

A maiden born when autumn leaves
Are rustling in September's breeze
A sapphire on her brow should bind
To bring her joy and peace of mind.

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

Here's my version for the month:

September by Palkolap
Stitched on 16ct Glacier over-dyed aida by 2 over 1
Stitch count 47 wide by 47 high
Stitched with DMC variegated 121 and Mill Hill frosted seed beads 60020
Started - 2nd September 2019
Finished - 5th September 2019
Total stitching time - 5 hours 35 minutes

I loved the blue for this one especially as the darkest shade is an exact match to the sapphire in my engagement ring. More to the point though, leaves and vines are always blue, wouldn't you agree?!!

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 2 September 2019

Summer Of New Starts #7 - Christmas Cat With Present

Hello again!

This weekend's new start is a reminder that Christmas is just around the corner! This is one of Lucie Heaton's four Christmas Cats:

Christmas Cat With Present by Lucie Heaton
Stitched on 16ct white silver lurex aida
Stitch count 55 wide by 56 high
Stitching time to date - 4 hours 35 minutes

Here is the set. The remaining three will be stitched 'at some point'. I think it's quite obvious which one I've started.

If you think these cats look familiar, they are the same as I stitched a while back, only last time she was having fun in the garden. Remember these?

This project now marks the end of my Summer Of New Starts. Needless to say, the new start craving I was yearning for has been satisfied. I do feel a little guilty I've added to my WIP pile when I was trying so hard not to, but all of the projects are small enough to be finished fairly quickly so it's not too bad. Anyway, two have already been finished so I'm pretty sure the remaining five will be finished by the end of the year.

By the way, I'm aware I have been posting a lot recently, especially towards the end of August, mainly because of these new starts. Things should quieten down now but thanks for sticking with me!

Take care,
Rachel x

Sunday 1 September 2019

#24HoursOfCrossStitch - August 2019

Hi all,

So I'm back again for the #24HoursOfCrossStitch Challenge for August. Another month where some parts were easy whilst others were challenging and frustrating. Hello shoe-horning!

For August the three challenges were similar to July. For challenges one and two I was determined to include each project at least once, for challenge three each project was included twice.

1) Stitch for 24 hours during the month

I stitched for a total of 57 hours 15 minutes during August, which is w-a-y above the required 24, thanks to the school summer holiday. Because of quite a few new starts the time was split between ten projects this month. Here's a recap of most of my stitching this month:

August in Peridot - 3h 40m - finished
(stitched bottom decoration and border)

Autumn Twirls - 6h 35m - started and finished

Kings and Queens (Henry III) - 6h 10m - started and finished

Green Halloween Banner - 9h 10m - finished
(stitched bottom left tree and black behind it)

Hogwarts In A Bottle - 4h 15m - progress
(not really enough progress to make it worth showing; you'll see it in the next 10 hour update)

Autumn Bird - 7h 45m - started and finished

Scaredy Cats - 9h 40m - started and finished

A Little Witch of the Night - 2h 35m - new start

A Little Wizard of the Night - 5h - new start

Christmas Cat with Present - 2h 25m - new start
(you'll be seeing this as a new start tomorrow so I'll save the photo for then)

2) Fill in the acrostic XSTITCH DAY (each project was used once)

X - Green Halloween Banner - because it's now been x'd (crossed) off my WIP list.
S - Scaredy Cats - S is for scaredy in the chart name.
T - August In Peridot - because it was mostly stitched on trains.
I - A Little Witch Of The Night - I think she's out looking for ingredients for her potions.
T - Autumn Twirls - T is for twirls in the chart name.
C - Autumn Bird - the bird has a very curly tail.
H - Henry III - H is for Henry's initial.
D - Hogwarts In A Bottle - I continued stitching the turrets which house the dormitories.
A - A Little Wizard Of The Night - because wizards are associated with the word 'abracadabra'.
Y - Christmas Cat With Present - because Christmas just about marks the end of the year.

3) Connect 12 or more of the given holidays to your projects and stitch for at least 24 minutes on each. (each project went on two holidays, so 20 in total)

This was really hard, but that was half the fun!

1st - National Mountain Climbing Day - Hogwarts In A Bottle - because Hogwarts is on the top of a mountain (well, more of a hill I suppose but we'll call it a mountain!)

2nd - National Colouring Book Day - August In Peridot - because peridot is a colour.

3rd - National Watermelon Day - August in Peridot - watermelon skins are green, like peridot. Just!

6th - Wiggle Your Toes Day - A Little Wizard Of The Night - he's riding his broomstick barefoot and your can see his cute little toes.

7th - National Lighthouse Day - Christmas Cat With Presents - in recognition of The Lighthouse Keeper series of books, one of which is called The Lighthouse Keeper's Cat.

8th - World Cat Day - Scaredy Cats - I think 11 cats in this design is a good enough contribution to World Cat Day.

10th - Lazy Day - Autumn Twirls - as the leaves lazily fall to the ground in the gentle autumn breeze.

11th - Son And Daughter Day - Henry III who was the first English monarch to actually really love and care about his children.

12th - World Elephant Day - Henry III because he kept a menagerie at the Tower of London, which included an elephant gifted to him in 1255 by the King of France.

13th - Left Hander's Day - A Little Witch Of The Night - she's holding her broomstick with her left hand.

14th - National Creamsicle Day - Autumn Bird - the colours of the bird look like vanilla, butterscotch and toffee ice cream.

15th - Relaxation Day - Christmas Cat With Present - because Christmas Day is a time for relaxing.

18th - Serendipity Day - Scaredy Cats - because black cats are a symbol of good luck.

21st - Poet's Day - A Little Witch Of The Night - in recognition of the ditty always associated with witches, 'Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble.'

22nd - Be An Angel Day - Green Halloween Banner - because I feel like an angel for having finished it!

23rd - Ride The Wind Day - Autumn Twirls - because leaves ride the wind as they float to the ground.

29th - More Herbs, Less Salt Day - A Little Wizard Of The Night - I don't think wizards would put salt in their potions, but they definitely would put herbs.

30th - Frankenstein Day - Green Halloween Banner - Frankenstein's Monster is usually portrayed as being green, and certainly appears regularly in Halloween pictures.

31st - International Bacon Day - Hogwarts In A Bottle - because another name for a pig is a hog!

Phew! So that's August finally completed. I'm interested to see what others have done for August and now can't wait to get started on September!

Take care,
Rachel x