Friday 31 January 2020

Smalls SAL - January 2020

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 Mouseloft kit called Robin on Postbox:

Robin On Postbox by Mouseloft
Stitch Count 26 wide by 28 high
Stitched on supplied 14ct cream aida 2 over 1
Started - 2nd January 2020
Finished - 3rd January 2020
Total stitching time - 3 hours 5 minutes

I'll be stitching a few Mouseloft kits this year. They are technically my mum's but she's more or less given up stitching so I agreed to stitch them for her. Shucks, it's a hard life!

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

My monarch of the month, Henry IV:

And 3 Advent Calendar pieces by JBW Designs. At 25x25 these definitely qualify as smalls!

See you next month!

Take care,
Rachel x

Tuesday 28 January 2020

New Start - The Loneliness Of Autumn - 10 hours

Hi all!

If you read my stitching plans for 2020 you may remember that I have undertaken a mad long-term SAL with Leonore to stitch Leonid Afremov's The Loneliness Of Autumn, one colour at a time extreme cross country.

I'm stitching Artecy's version on 18ct 2 over 1 for an average of 20 minutes per day (which 'just so happens' to be about 10 hours per month!) whereas Leonore is stitching Love Thy Thread's version on 28ct 1 over 1 at an average of one thread length per day. Leonore is putting in roughly twice as many stitches as me but, as her chart is almost twice the size we are, in effect, stitching at the same speed. How good is that?!

Here's a reminder of the design:

Towards the end of the month I'm going to jump slightly ahead so that I can post a regular 10 hour update. If I didn't, the only time you would see my progress would be in my #24 post and, let's face it, this BAP deserves a post of its own, at least that's what I think!

My first colour is DMC 310, black, of which there will eventually be 5,718 stitches.

Here's the first picture:

And the whole piece:

As you can see, I made it all the way across the top of the chart and added a good chunk of tree trunk on the left. I don't count stitches but I reckon I'm about 25% through the black, or a whopping 1.88% through the whole piece!

Here's a link to Leonore's post if you wish to compare SALs.

Next month... more black!

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 24 January 2020

Hogwarts In A Bottle - 150 hours

Hi there!

Another 10 hours and another update.

This time I added lots of steam. I started with the steam clouds on the left, then my needle wandered to the steam clouds on the right it 'happened' to discover the bottom of the chart!!! It's now fairly clear exactly how much I have left to stitch.

Because I've now reached the bottom, there's no point in showing both the progress picture and the picture of the whole piece as they're the same, so here are just the pictures of the full piece before and after this latest ten hour stretch of stitching:

For those in the UK of a 'certain age', you might understand why I was mimicking 'phsss-chi-coof' (sp) to myself whilst stitching the steam!

Whereas previously I 'only' thoroughly enjoyed stitching this, I'm also now letting a tiny bit of excitement creep in as I'm getting closer to the end (although I reckon I've still got about 50 hours to go!) I deliberately left stitching the train to last and 'can't wait' for that first red stitch to go in... maybe not next time... but soon!

Take care,
Rachel x

Tuesday 21 January 2020

A Little Wizard Of The Night - finished!

Hi all!

Although this is actually my 5th finish of 2020 (one of which hasn't appeared on my blog yet) this is what I would call my first major finish. It is one of my seven Summer Of New Start pieces from last year and is now the fifth of those seven to be finished. I didn't have a lot left to do, just the bat and the village really, along with the backstitching of course.

Here's where I left it at the end of December:

Before the two hours of backstitching:

And now all finished:

A Little Wizard Of The Night by Soda Stitch
Stitched on 16ct Dusky Sky over-dyed aida
Stitch Count 60 wide by 56 high
Started - 24th August 2019
Finished - 18th January 2020
Total stitching time - 16 hours 15 minutes

He's just so darn cute!

I would like to FFO this in the same way I did my other Soda Stitch, A Shower, which is as a little pillow with ruched ribbon around the edge, assuming I can find appropriate fabric and ribbon. I already know the ribbon will take a long time to attach, but at least it doesn't have to all be done at once, and the result is well worth it.

Now onwards and upwards... plenty more stitching time left in January yet!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 18 January 2020

JBW Advent Calendar - Days 1, 9 and 21

Hello all!

Throughout the year I am planning to stitch JBW Designs' Advent Calendar. Each day will be stitched separately and in no particular order; I'll just pick whichever day appeals to me at the time.

I will be making a lot of changes along the way, though:
* none of the numbers will be stitched because, as you can see, I have a cunning plan
* a lot of the colours will be changed to make the motifs more uniform
* quite a few beads will be added for that little extra something
* the (expensive) recommended charms will be replaced with small ones from my stash

This month I stitched three pieces, all on 16ct silver lurex aida:

Day 1 - Wreath:

Started  - 4th January 2020
Finished - 14th January 2020
Total Stitching time - 2 hours 10 minutes

Day 9 - Stocking:

Started  - 5th January 2020
Finished - 14th January 2020
Total Stitching time - 1 hour 40 minutes

Day 21 - Baubles:

Started  - 11th January 2020
Finished - 14th January 2020
Total Stitching time - 1 hour 45 minutes

Because they stitch up so quickly they are great for a very satisfying one night start and finish, something which I don't ever think I've done before.

All three have been FFOd but I'll save those pictures for February's FFG SAL.

Only 21 more to go!

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday 15 January 2020

A Monarch A Month - Henry IV

Hello all!

So I'm now in to year 2 of 4 of stitching Bothy Thread's Kings and Queens at the slow pace of one monarch per month. How the last year has flown!

This is monarch number thirteen, Henry IV:

Henry IV from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 3rd January 2020
Finished - 4th January 2020
Total stitching time - 5 hours 10 minutes

Here's my summary of  Henry IV's reign. Little seems to have been written about him, suggesting he wasn't one of the more interesting monarchs. Perhaps Shakespeare's Henry IV (parts 1 and 2) might tell you more but I'm not going down that route!

Preceded by Richard II (cousin)
Succeeded by Henry V (son)
Lived - 1367-1413
Reigned - 1399-1413
Married - Mary de Bohun 1381 (died 1394) and Joan of Navarre 1403
Fathered - 4 sons and 2 daughters by first wife, and 1 or 2 illegitimate sons

Following a successful uprising by Henry against his cousin, Richard II, Parliament declared Richard a tyrant and Henry King.

England finally had their first monarch since the 1066 Norman Conquest whose first language was English rather than French!

Henry was also the first Lancastrian monarch which, unwittingly, initiated The Wars Of The Roses (note 1).

With rumours abundant that Richard was still alive, Henry spent much of his reign fighting off similar rebellions to that which had put him on the throne.

One of the biggest threats was from the self-proclaimed Prince of Wales, Owain Glyndwr. His rebellions were unsuccessful, but events escalated after Henry's cousin (and potential claimant to the throne) Edmund Mortimer was captured in 1402.

Henry wasn't really bothered by this, but Edmund's ally, Henry Hotspur was. With Welsh and Scottish support, Hotspur rebelled against Henry, culminating in the 1403 Battle of Shrewsbury, where Hotspur was killed.

Henry had Battlefield Church built to remember the thousands who had died that day.

Aided by the French, Owain Glyndwr rebelled again but Henry's son, Prince Henry, ensured the threats were quickly suppressed.

In his last few years Henry suffered bouts of illness. As a result, he allowed his son a limited regency.

Henry's crown was beside him on his deathbed in 1413 and it is said that, when it was thought he had died, Prince Henry took the crown, only to be reprimanded by his still-alive father for being too eager!

Henry is buried in Canterbury Cathedral beside his second wife.

So next month, Henry V.

Note 1 - It was the question of the male-only line of succession from Edward III which was responsible for The Wars Of The Roses - the Lancastrians (Henry IV, Henry V and Henry VI descended from Edward III's third surviving son) took the male-only line of succession, whilst the Yorkists (Edward IV, Edward V and Richard III descended from Edward III's second surviving son but via a female descendant) did not. It was not until the succession of Henry VII in 1485 that the Lancastrians and Yorks were united (as far as warring families can be united!) under the Tudor dynasty.

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 10 January 2020

Link-up For Fully Finished Gallery SAL - January 2020

Hello all!

It's the 10th of the month so time for another Fully Finished Gallery SAL, the first of 2020, and the place to show how you have changed your sitting-in-drawers-or-boxes UFOs into displayable cross stitches.

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.

Please note that this copy of last year's logo should very soon be replaced with a nice new one for 2020.

The new logo will be of last year's winning entry by Suzanne H who, thanks to Jo's brilliant idea, kindly gave me permission to make it into this year's logo. Only it hasn't been done yet, ooops. Keep those entries coming during 2020; who knows, next year it could be your entry which becomes the 2021 logo!

Back to this month though...

I was hoping to achieve lots of FFOing over the Christmas break but, surprise surprise, it didn't happen! I did achieve two though - the Durene Jones Christmas-themed Smalls SAL pieces from November and December:

Happy Christmas...

... and Ho, Ho, Ho:

For the front I placed some wadding underneath the cross stitch and attached it to a piece of foam mount board. For the back I attached some sparkly fabric to another piece of foam mount board. After placing a hanging loop and a tassel between them, the front and back were stuck together and some tinsel wool attached around the edge to cover the joins (2 rounds of red or green and one round of silver). The tinsel wool was annoying to attach but well worth the effort.

Now it's over to you to show what you've been finishing this month. Will there be some more Christmas finishes, I wonder?

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 January.

Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Thumb-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.

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 page with the number of entrants and entries.

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

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 4 January 2020

People's Choice SAL - Lizzie Kate

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 Lizzie Kate.

When it comes to a single designer I think we generally tend to either like or dislike their work. I'm a bit polar with Lizzie Kate; I'm drawn to some of her earlier designs but none of her later ones which became a bit more 'sample-like' if you know what I mean.

I do, however, like the fact she has designed lots of sets, and that's what I've been most attracted to.

The monthly Flip-It stamps, stitched in 2015, were my first foray into the world of Lizzie Kate and totally enjoyable to stitch. I altered the November design from a pheasant to a poppy to make it more suitable for the UK.

The Green series charts were stitched in 2016. I can't say I really enjoyed stitching these so don't find the end results anything more than 'OK'.

A few Tiny Tidings were also stitched in 2016 as Smalls SAL pieces. These were also the first ornie FFOs I made. I'd really like to improve on them, filling them with stuffing rather than wadding and swapping out the ribbon hangers, but I don't know if I want to spend time doing that. They're not 'right' but they don't look too bad as they are.

These four Seasonal Alphabets were stitched between 2016 and 2018. They were definitely fun to work on and easy on the mind, with each little motif being a psychological mini finish. I'm glad, from the fabrics and frames, it's obvious to work out which season is which!

Also stitched in 2016 (2016 was definitely a LK year!) were a couple of little Boo! Club Halloween pieces. I don't have the others in the series so can't complete the set; probably a good thing!

In terms of stash, I have another three monthly sets, plus a few annual Santas and various Tiny Tidings charts. Top priority, though, is this set, Christmas By The Letter, which I would love to be on my 2021 list:

Naturally there are also a few more charts I would like to purchase and stitch, all of which are Christmas and Halloween themed. Given the opportunity (ie the ability to stitch 24/7) these ABCs of Christmas and Halloween would be top priority:

I almost forgot... I won this LK One Hundred Years chart in a giveaway from Clare at Aimetu's Stitching a few months ago. I had every intention of stitching it this year but forgot about it until this post. How very rude of me (sorry, Clare). So somehow this needs to be added into my 2020 stitching plans.

And that's it for Lizzie Kate. With so many designs available, I'm sure there will be lots of different ones on other posts.

Next month, the people have chosen penguins.

Take care,
Rachel x

Thursday 2 January 2020

#24HoursOfCrossStitch - December Challenges

Hi all,

Here is my monthly posting for the #24HoursOfCrossStitch Challenge, the brainchild of Jen from QuirksandStitches.

Have I really been taking part in this SAL for 6 months now? Doesn't time fly (pun intended!) By the way, I now have one of these clocks and absolutely love it. It goes well beside my backwards clock!

You know the format of these posts by now, so let's see what I achieved during December:

1) Stitch for 24 hours during the month, including a minimum of 24 minutes each day

Not a problem! I stitched for a total of 54.5 hours during December, a tad above average.

2) Fill in the acrostic 12 DAYS OF XS, explain the connections and pick a 24 minute, 4 hour or 8 hour goal for each letter.

Ten letters/numbers meant 10 projects to chose to work on. Here are my projects, my goals and my achievements:

 1 - Christmas Cat With Present (WIP)
Connection - this is number 1 out of the set of 4
Goal - at least 24 minutes of progress (finish the rug)
Actual - 2h 55m

2 - Kings And Queens by Bothy Threads (WIP)
Connection - my monarch this month was Richard II
Goal - at least 4 hours from start to finish
Actual - 4h 5m

 D - A Little Wizard Of The Night (WIP)
Connection - the fabric is dusky sky
Goal - at least 24 minutes of progress working on the owl
Actual - 1h 15m

 A - A Little Witch Of The Night (WIP)
Connection - she looks astonished
Goal - at least 24 minutes of progress working on the pumpkin
Actual - 1h 10m

Y - December In Turquoise (new start)
Connection - it is the last of the year long birthstone projects
Goal - at least 4 hours from start to finish
Actual - 5h 15m

 S - Haunted Library by Mill Hill (WIP)
Connection - if it's haunted then it's spooky!
Goal - at least 24 minutes of progress
Actual - 1h 20m

 O - Hogwarts In A Bottle by CutePatternsbyMaria (WIP)
Connection - I'm currently listening to The Order Of The Phoenix whilst stitching on it
Goal - at least 8 hours of progress
Actual - 10 hours

F - Grow Your Own by Bothy Threads (new start)
Connection - the bunny is eating one of her five a day
Goal - at least 8 hours
Actual - 15 hours

X - Ho, Ho, Ho by Durene Jones (new start)
Connection - it's an xmas (yuk!) themed piece
Goal - at least 4 hours from start to finish
Actual - 9h 30m

 S - Hocus Pocus by Sue Hillis Designs (WIP)
Connection - it was the sixth start and finish from this set
Goal - at least 4 hours to finish
Actual - 4 hours

3) Connect 12 or more of the given holidays to your projects and stitch for at least 24 minutes on each. Eight of the ten projects went on one holiday, the other two (Hogwarts and Grow Your Own) went on two. See above for time spent on each one. Thankfully, this was much easier than previous months have been!

1st - Eat A Red Apple Day - A Little Witch Of The Night - it was a witch who gave a red apple to Snow White.

7th - Letter Writing Day - Hogwarts In A Bottle - despite being magical people, most still communicate via letter at Hogwarts.

8th - Pretend To Be A Time Traveller Day - Kings And Queens - as I stitch the monarchs and write up their histories I sometimes feel like I'm actually there with them.

11th - Kaleidoscope Day - December In Turquoise - all of the birthstones have produced a kaleidoscope of colours.

15th - Cat Herder's Day - Hocus Pocus - witches have cats but even they can't control how they act or when they come and go.

16th - National Chocolate Covered Anything Day - Grow Your Own - I know I love chocolate (a lot!) but I wouldn't go so far as taking some of this bunny's vegetables, covering them in chocolate and eating them. Chocolate onion anyone?!!

17th - National Maple Syrup Day - Grow Your Own - following on from the 16th, you can keep your Maple Syrup to use on pancakes etc... keep it away from this bunny's vegetables!

19th - Look Out For An Evergreen Day - A Little Wizard Of The Night - there may not be an evergreen tree, but the wizard has an evergreen owl!

22nd - Be A Lover Of Science Day - Haunted Library - in a library you can research scientific information (at least you would before the internet came along!)

25th - No 'L' Day - Ho, Ho, Ho - Santa always arrives with his belly-deep ho-ho-ho at Noel.

29th - Still Need To Do Day - Christmas Cat With Present - because, ironically, I still need to do (stitch) the cat herself!

30th - Bacon Day - Hogwarts In A Bottle - bacon comes from pigs, and pigs are hogs, right?

You may have seen or read that Jen has pre-released the complete challenges for 2020 in one big booklet. There are even more fun challenges in there too, although I probably won't take part in all of the additional ones as some are not 'me'. You'll know why when I mention them each month. Here's looking forward to a fun year of #24HOCS challenges!

Take care,
Rachel x