Monday 29 June 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #13 Winnie the Pooh 4/5

Hi all!

Unlucky for some, it's week 13 of this Spring Into Summer New Start Binge being undertaken by Tiff, Annie and myself. It's also four months down, one to go... how time flies!

This weekend was for the fourth of five Winnie The Pooh designs. Numbers three and four have been swapped around, so this is actually number three in the story but will be number four in the FFO.

I made a really good start over the weekend, although all I have to show is Pooh's arms holding the hunny pot. It's a bit ghostly, don't you think!

Winnie The Pooh And the Hunny Pot 4/5 by Designer Stitches
Stitched on 16ct Cloud Blue Sky over-dyed aida by
Stitching time to date - 4 hours 35 minutes

Next weekend, I think I'll start the last of Valerie Pfeiffer's Solos birds; he's getting lonely and wants to join his friends in the WIP pile!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 27 June 2020

The Loneliness Of Autumn - 60 hours

Hi all!

I'm definitely on a roll this month and my needles are smoking!!

I managed to sneak in some daytime stitching last week which enabled me to work more on this piece I'm SALing with Leonore. That additional time means I've caught up and am exactly where I should be at the end of June... woo-hoo!

Lots more dark blue 939 was added to basically the middle half, filling in the tree trunks and adding to the density of the black already there. I've identified the area as the section between the red dots. Even in daylight I can't really see much difference between the two colours but, trust me, it's there!

Here's Leonore's progress after 6 months. She's still on her first colour but about the same percentage of the way through as me, which is what we were trying to achieve.

The next 10 hour session in July might see me finish the dark blue and move on to the third colour. Not that I'm getting too excited as it's an off-white. Only with the fourth colour do I actually start to stitch a 'colour', and for that I can't wait!

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 26 June 2020

Smalls SAL - June 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.

For June I decided to return to Rachel James' Little Birds series, and stitch the kakapo. As you'll find out below though, these are native to New Zealand, not Australia as I said last month, so apologies for the error.

Cute Kakapo by FuzzyFoxDesigns
Stitch Count 41 wide by 31 high
Stitched on 16ct Kelp over-dyed aida by
Started - 3rd June 2020
Finished - 5th June 2020
Total stitching time - 6 hours 5 minutes

I'd never heard of the kakapo so did a bit of research. This is from, or has been paraphrased from, good old wikipeadia:

The kakapo, also called owl parrot, is a species of large, flightless, nocturnal, ground-dwelling parrot endemic to New Zealand. It has finely blotched yellow-green plumage, a distinct facial disc, a large grey beak, short legs, large feet, and relatively short wings and tail, There are only about 210 remaining, up from around just 50-60 in the 1980s and 1990s, all of which have been tagged and live on four islands cleared of predators. They weigh about 2-4kg and can live up to 95 yeas.

Here's one with Davic Attenborough during his filming of the 'Life of Birds' series:

The Life of Birds | Songs

And if you want to see a real male in its habitat and getting amorous with a human, here's a YouTube clip from Stephen Fry's 'Last Chance To See' series. It's really sweet and good for a giggle!

In this Smalls SAL I'm also re-showing other qualifying small projects I've stitched during the month. This month it's just my Monarch, the never-crowned Edward V:

Next month I will be stitching another little Mouseloft kit. But which one?

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 22 June 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #12 Lady In Red

Hello again!

It's week 12 of this Spring Into Summer New Start Binge being undertaken by Tiff, Annie and myself, where we aim to start a new project each weekend during the months of April, May, June and July.

This week's new start was the third of Valerie Pfeiffer's Solos birds. This is Lady In Red, a beautiful cardinal.

We don't get cardinals in the UK but I've seen them appear on so many projects it's actually been lovely to stitch one! It wasn't my intention to stitch just the bird but once I'd started her I couldn't stop. She's almost complete, just hasn't been backstitched or have her feet or an eye:

Lady In Red by Heritage Crafts
Stitched on 16ct Dried Petal over-dyed aida
Stitching time to date - 5 hours

So next time I pick her up I've more or less just got the foliage to stitch.

Next week, another Winnie The Pooh.

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 20 June 2020

The Loneliness Of Autumn - 50 hours

Hi all!

Stitching life in June has been really good, so I'm back with another update on The Loneliness Of Autumn, my SAL with Leonore.

I carried on with the second colour, dark blue 939, working as far down as the little red dots I added for reference. There isn't an obvious difference between the black and dark blue colours but there is certainly a visible difference in the density of the stitching.

I still need to add another 10 hours to catch up and be back on track with this piece by the end of June. Apart from working on new projects at weekends, I'm going to stick with this and hope that will be the case. Fingers crossed!

Take care,
Rachel x

Thursday 18 June 2020

A Monarch A Month - Edward V

Hello all!

I've added another Monarch Of The Month to the collection and thought it was about time he appeared on my blog. This is number seventeen, Edward V, looking young and very scared (or at least I think that's what his pose is supposed to be).

Edward V from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 1st June 2020
Finished - 2nd June 2020
Total stitching time - 3 hours 15 minutes

This period of history was dominated by Edwards and Richards and can be confusing.
Edward IV - the late king
Edward V - son of Edward IV
Richard, aka Gloucester, later Richard III - Edward IV's brother and Edward V's uncle
Richard - Edward V's bother

I've tried to make them as clear as possible in my little summary.

Preceded by Edward IV (father)
Succeeded by Richard III (uncle)
Lived - 1470-1483
Reigned - 1483

Edward V became king after his father's death. At 12 years old he was already a well-educated and well-liked young man.

However, per Edward IV's will, Gloucester was to act as Protector until Edward came of age.

En route to London for his coronation, Edward was met by Gloucester who immediately dismissed and/or executed Edward's entourage.

Edward was then 'escorted' to The Tower Of London where he was housed 'for his own safety'. He was joined a few weeks later by his only brother, Richard.

Gloucester then declared Edward IV's marriage to Elizabeth Woodville invalid and their children illegitimate, thereby proclaiming himself King Richard III.

In the Tower, Edward and Richard were seen less and less, and by the end of 1483 it was assumed they were both dead.

Because no-one knows what happened to The Princes In The Tower, their fate has been the subject of numerous theories.

Shakespeare wrote that Richard III was the likely murderer, smothering the boys with a pillow.

Author Phillipa Gregory suggests in her books The White Queen and The White Princess that Margaret Beaufort, mother of the future Henry VII, was the instigator as she cleared the path for her own son's succession.

In 1674 the bones of two young children were found in Tower of London. Assumed to be those of Edward and Richard they were re-interred in Westminster Abbey.

In 1789 the coffins of two children were discovered in a vault adjoining Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. Not those of their two children who predeceased them, their identities remain unknown.

Edward V may never have been crowned king but his disappearance makes him one of the most mysterious monarchs of the last 1000 years.

Next month then, the infamous Richard III.

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 15 June 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #11 Winnie The Pooh 3/5

Hi all!

Another weekend, another start of the 17 week long Spring Into Summer New Start Binge being undertaken by Tiff, Annie and myself.

This week I chose the third of five Winnie The Pooh designs. This is in fact number four in the series but, as the only one that's landscape, I'm having to swap around numbers three and four to make them fit my FFO idea. It's a bit of a shame, but the story these five pieces are telling still just about works.

Here's my start. I'm happy that I actually managed to stitch all four colours, working my way down after starting with his bottom!

Winnie The Pooh And the Hunny Pot 3/5 by Designer Stitches
Stitched on 16ct Cloud Blue Sky over-dyed aida by
Stitching time to date - 4 hours 10 minutes

Next week, another of Valerie Pfeiffer's Solos birds, I think.

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 13 June 2020

The Loneliness Of Autumn - 40 hours

Hi all!

The Loneliness Of Autumn is a SAL with Leonore which we are stitching one colour at a time extreme cross country at the equivalent rate of one thread length per day. For me, this 'just so happens' to work out at a nice and neat 10 hours per month.

I fell behind in April, only managing 5 hours, and didn't stitch on it at all in May, meaning I've got a bit of catching up to do. I'm hoping to reach the 40, 50 and, if I'm lucky, perhaps even the 60 hour mark by the end of June.

Happily, I've achieved the 40 mark, but before I show the pictures, there's another milestone to show - the completion of the first colour, black 310. Assuming I haven't missed any, this is 5,718 stitches, and 8.56% of the total, completed in 38 hours 30 minutes; quite a bit less than the 46 hours I'd estimated it would take.

The second most common colour is dark blue 939 making up 6.23% of the project with 4,148 stitches. I made a small start to bring me up to 40 hours.

Here are the 30 and 40 hour comparisons. You can just about see how the top right is a little denser with the addition of some blue:

So now lots more dark blue to stitch as I stay with this project on weekdays and work towards the 50 hour mark. But first it's the weekend. and that means another new start!

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Link-up For Fully Finished Gallery SAL - June 2020

Hello all!

It's the 10th of the month so time for another Fully Finished Gallery SAL, the place to show your FFOing achievements since your last link-up.

The link-up for this SAL opens on the 10th of each month and stays open for 10 days so, even if you have nothing FFOd today, or tomorrow, or the day after that, you still have plenty of time to join in.

This month I've been working on little ornies and pillows.

First up, is Polar Bear Cub. This was my February Smalls SAL piece and finished off as one of my usual ornies. I tried some little pom-poms around the outside but they were too distracting, so used barley twist cord, in white as opposed to blue since none of the blues coordinated.

Next up, the very pink Snuffles, my April Smalls SAL piece. This was always going to be a little ornie but instead of using barley twist cord around the outside I decided to use beads. Not only do they pick up the dots on the backing fabric but if you squint they look a bit like dragon scales! The beads came from Tigerz, with about 300 in the bag in a variety of colours. On their own they look really cheap and plastic-y but I'm really pleased how much better they look with the fabric. I don't think this will be the last time I use them, especially if I'm successful in stitching that shelf of rainbow Snuffles' I'm after!

Then we have Duckling which was my Smalls SAL piece last month. He's from the same set of Heritage Craft's' Little Friends series as the Polar Bear Cub above so was finished off to match. These were both stitched from my mum's stash so have been returned to her as completed pieces. I feel a bit like an Elf, performing magic when she wasn't looking!

Finally is A Little Wizard Of The Night, one of last year's Summer Of New Starts and finished earlier this year. He's been FFOd to match another Soda Stitch design I finished last year. I hand stitch all of my ornies which means this was very time-consuming, but so satisfying to watch come together over a number of days. The fabric was a chance find; I was looking for something black and Halloween-y, maybe with bats on, when I saw this one. I thought the swirls resembled the path the wizard might have taken as he flew around the night sky! The ribbon is plain black organza, gathered tightly to form the frill.

And that's it for me this month. Now it's over to you to show what you have finished.

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.

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. Last month there were 10 participants with another 27 FFOs, making 178 FFOs so far in 2020. Keep it up!

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

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 8 June 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #10 Happiness Delivery Couple

Hello all!

The first weekend in June marks the beginning of the downhill stretch of this Spring Into Summer New Start Binge during which 17 new projects will be started during the 17 weekends of April to July.

Here are Tiff's and Annie's posts.

Last weekend I worked on a Halloween project, this weekend I kept the holiday theme and skipped on to Christmas. This is one of many Soda Stitch charts I have and is called Happiness Delivery Couple. I think the title has been lost in translation (they're Korean) but I will keep to it as I think it's quite cute.

I don't actually like the big smiles on these designs so will be changing the boy's smile  I'm hoping I can do a good job of it when I get there.

Here's my start. I'm really pleased with how much I achieved over the weekend.

Happiness Delivery Couple by Soda Stitch
Stitched on 16ct Pine over-dyed aida
Stitching time to date - 4 hours

I think next week's new start will have to be another of the Pooh designs, so lots and lots of gold to look forward to.

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 6 June 2020

People's Choice SAL - Dragonflies

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 dragonflies.

Easy peasy - absolutely nothing! Nothing stitched, nothing WIPed, nothing in my stash!

They may be pretty but I have no inclination whatsoever to stitch any insect / bug / critter of any sort; such charts fall well below my radar.

But that won't stop me from posting! Good old Google came in really handy and I picked out a few dragonfly charts that looked interesting or pretty, just in case you might to stitch one.

This pretty little one is available from NonStopStitch on etsy. I like how the dragonfly subtly blends in with the flowers. It's definitely very high on the 'pretty' scale.

Dragonfly cross stitch pattern Instant download pdf Dragonfly image 0

This one by Filigram available at 123stitch shows a variety of real dragonflies.

Dragonflies - Cross Stitch Pattern

Then there's Lesley Teare's Dragonfly Alphabet, available at I think this would look a lot prettier if the dragonflies were stitched in brighter colours, but then they might not stand out against the letters so well.

Cross stitch dragonfly

Finally there's good old Mill Hill who can be relied upon to have a design for just about anything! Here are their beaded Rose Dragonfly ornie and Dragonfly Capri kit.

product image

Dragonfly Capri - Laurel Burch - Cross Stitch Kit

And there ends my delve into dragonflies. Next month's theme is The Designer You Have Stitched The Most. That's going to be very interesting.

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday 3 June 2020

#24HoursOfCrossStitch Challenges - May 2020

Hi all,

Time already for yet another monthly posting for the #24HoursOfCrossStitch Challenge, the brainchild of Jen from QuirksandStitches, where we have fun matching our stitching for the month to various challenges. I also find it a convenient way of rounding up my accomplishments for the month.

1) Stitch for 24 hours during the month, including a minimum of 24 minutes each day
Not too bad this month. I managed a total of 29 hours and 15 minutes, mostly at the weekends on my new starts. There were, however, 10 days where I stitched for 10 minutes or less, but at least I still stitched every day.

2) Fill in the acrostic HOURGLASS, explain the connections and pick a 24 minute, 4 hour, 8 hour, (or other) goal for each letter.
Here are the 9 projects I picked for May's acrostic, along with their goal and my accomplishments:

H - Basket Case by Heritage Crafts (new start)
Connection - the cat is hiding
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 2h 45m

O - Kings And Queens by Bothy Threads (WIP)
Connection -it's out with the Lancastrians and in with the Plantagenets
Goal - start and finish (about 4 hours?)
Actual - 4h 30m

U - The Loneliness Of Autumn by Artecy (2020 WIP)
Connection - I should be going back up to the top
Goal - 10 hours of progress
Actual - NONE AGAIN :(

R - Hogwarts In A Bottle by CutePatternsByMaria (2019 WIP)
Connection - still waiting for that red train to appear!
Goal - 10 hours of progress
Actual - NONE AGAIN :(

G - Winnie The Pooh 2 by Designer Stitches (new start)
Connection - greedy Pooh has eaten all the hunny!
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 5h 50m

L - Mouse Reading Book by CutePatternsbyMaria (new start)
Connection - books can be found in a library
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 5h 5m

A - Duckling by Heritage Crafts (new start)
Connections - aahhhh, what a cutie!
Goal - start and finish (about 5 hours?)
Actual - 6h 20m

S - Winnie The Pooh 1 by Designer Stitches (new start)
Connection - he's scooping out the hunny
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 2 hours

S - Wonderful Fright by Sue Hillis Designs (new start)
Connection - the fabric has stars on it
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 3h 5m

So I met seven of the nine goals. In theory, and in normal stitching circumstances, I should have had time for everything but I've again had to choose between projects. Was it wrong to neglect my two larger WIPs in favour of starting 5 more new projects? Yes and no! The new starts have done me good but neglecting Hogwarts (which I'm desperate to finish) and The Loneliness Of Autumn (which is a SAL) not so good. I'll catch up one day.

3) Connect 12 or more of the given holidays to your projects and stitch for at least 24 minutes on each. Only nine projects meant doubling up on three of them, chosen at random, depending on what fitted!

Day 1 - Loyalty Day - Hogwarts In A Bottle - Hufflepuffs especially, are said to be loyal but throughout the whole Harry Potter series loyalty was important, whichever side the characters were on.

Day 2 - Baby Day - Duckling - a duckling is a baby duck.

Day 5 - National Teachers' Day - Mouse Reading Book - at primary school level teachers are brilliant at helping children learn to read (only for them to be put off at secondary school when introduced to Shakespeare and 18th/19th century 'classic' literature!)

Day 6 - No Diet Day - Pooh 1 - with Pooh's fondness of hunny there is no way he will voluntarily go on a diet!

Day 7 - National Tourism Day - Hogwarts In A Bottle - the Hogwarts experience at Warner Brothers Studio is a major tourist attraction. Can you imagine how many people would visit Hogwarts if it was a real place?!

Day 9 - National Windmill Day - The Loneliness Of Autumn - autumn is usually accompanied by strong breezes and strong breezes are needed to turn the sails of traditional windmills.

Day 10 - Clean Up Your Room Day - Basket Case - when tidying a room, a laundry basket, like the one the cat is hiding in, is often needed for all the dirty washing.

Day 11 - Eat What You Want Day - Pooh 2 - Pooh definitely eats what he wants, and that's always hunny!

Day 13 - Frog Jumping Day - Kings And Queens - jumping frogs implies leap frog and Edward IV certainly leap frogged Henry VI and his son and heir to take the throne - twice!

Day 16 - Love A Tree Day - The Loneliness Of Autumn - there are plenty of trees in this picture which could be loved.

Day 18 - No Dirty Dishes Day - Kings And Queens - with his huge appetite for food, I'm wondering if Edward IV literally 'cleaned' his plate!

Day 31 - Save Your Hearing Day - Wonderful Fright - with all the screaching and screaming going on with various ghosties and ghoulies at Halloween you need to cover your ears in order to avoid at least temporary hearing loss.

4) Additional 'Just For Fun' Challenge: list 24 things to watch or listen to whilst stitching
As usual, I won't list, just talk about. When I stitch I often find myself blocking out external noise without realising, so whatever I listen to or watch needs to be familiar so I don't miss out on anything important!
Listening tends to be either Planet Rock or the Harry Potter audio books. It doesn't matter if I miss a song or two on the radio, and audio books can easily be rewound if necessary.
With TV I'm not so fussed. Sometimes I'll just scroll through what's on and end up with a film or historical documentary which looks interesting. If I'm not impressed with the choices on offer then I'll usually end up with a favourite such as Star Trek TNG, Top Gear, or panel shows such as QI, Mock The Week or Whose Line Is It Anyway. A very selective and eclectic mix!

On a completely unrelated note to this post, one of the weird/annoying/frustrating (and now funny when you look back) things at the beginning of lockdown was the disappearance of toilet paper off the shelves in a matter of seconds. Well, follow this link and you'll find out where it all went. The chart's titled "The King Of Toilet Paper". I hope it brings a smile to your face!

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 1 June 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #9 Wonderful Fright

Hi all!

So this week marks the half way point of this new start binge, an attempt to start 17 projects over the course of 17 weekends. Tiff and Annie have been mad enough to join me and are, hopefully, continuing to enjoy it as much as I am.

So, having started four projects on blue fabric this month I decided to end with something different. I think it's perhaps a bit too pretty for the theme, but it went with the colour scheme, so I thought I'd give it a go.

This week's chart is this one:

And here's my progress over the weekend:

It's The Most Wonderful Fright Of The Year by Sue Hillis Designs
(or Wonderful Fright for short)
Stitched on 16ct Fairy Dust Cloud Lilac over-dyed aida by
Stitching time to date - 3 hours 5 minutes

I don't do many projects with words, so this has made a real change, and stitching the individual motifs made it feel as if I have already finished a few mini projects along the way.

Next week, how about jumping from Halloween to Christmas?

Take care,
Rachel x