Friday 31 July 2020

Smalls SAL - July 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.

July saw another little kit from Mouseloft which I stitched for my mum to add to her collection. Out of all of them so far, this is my favourite by a long way:

Tiny Toadstool Mouse by Mouseloft
Stitch Count 23 wide by 25 high
Stitched on supplied 14ct Cream aida
Started - 7th July 2020
Finished - 8th July 2020
Total stitching time - 2 hours 45 minutes

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 again, the unscrupulous Richard III:

Next month's Small will be a different colour version of one stitched a couple of months ago. But which small, and which colour?

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 27 July 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #17 Gatekeepers

Hi everyone!

So this weekend marked the final start of the 17 weekend-long Spring Into Summer New Start Binge. As a reminder, this binge was undertaken as a way of starting the 17 new projects originally planned for starting during the 17 days of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Tiff and Annie have been accompanying me along the journey.

This weekend would have seen the opening ceremony and first couple of days of competition, so it seemed fitting that the final start was taking place over the weekend when the Olympics should have been beginning. The timing was not a coincidence!

My new start was Gatekeepers by Whispered By The Wind.

I'm not a fan of blackwork, but do like the way it's been used to create some of the wrought iron detail. Plus it stitches up quickly, and who doesn't like that?!

The gate is charted in 3799 but I chose to use one strand of 3799 and one strand of Etoile 3799 to create a little bit of texture and sparkle. It's looking good so far.

Gatekeepers by Whispered By The Wind
Stitched on 32ct Vintage Grey Murano evenweave
Stitching time to date - 5 hours 10 minutes

I really don't want to put this one down and am tempted to stay with it for the rest of the month. But that would be at the expense of Hogwarts. Again. Decisions decisions.

So that's the end of this Spring Into Summer New Start Binge. In a week or so's time I'll do a round-up post, summarising the starts, my thoughts and revealing some exciting news!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 25 July 2020

The Loneliness Of Autumn - 70 hours

Hi all!

It was back to normal this month, stitching the allotted 10 hours on The Loneliness Of Autumn, the big project Leonore and I are SALing over the next 4-5 years.

During this 10 hours I finished off the second colour, dark blue 939, and made a very small start on the third, 3865 off-white.

Here are the comparison pictures between the completion of the first and second colours. This is now 14.81% complete with 9,866 stitches after 69 hours 30 minutes.

Very luckily I didn't find one counting error with the black. There was always the possibility that, stitching extreme cross country with un-gridded fabric, some of the first colour would be in the wrong place but, nope, all is well and I am pleased to report I can obviously count!

And here are the 60 and 70 hour comparison pictures with the start of the off-white. The 30 minutes remaining from my allotted 10 hours was enough to stitch all of 3865 on the top four pages, not that there's much (about 50 stitches) and not that you can really see it against the cream fabric but, trust me, it's there!

There will eventually be 3,086 stitches of 3865 which will generally make up the lamp lights and their reflections on the ground. There's lots of block stitching to look forward to as I get further down the design. For a bit of fun I thought I'd show you the chart I'm working from, basically 16-and-a-bit sheets of A4.

I scour the chart and highlight the colour to stitch in pink, and when I've worked the stitches go over the pink with blue. I know Pattern Keeper is the obvious choice with full coverage pieces but I'm an old-fashioned girl and do like my paper copies and highlighters. Or, to put it another way, if there's an easier way I won't take it!!!

I'll add Leonore's progress after 7 months here once she's posted. Remember, she's stitching a bigger version by a different company so our stitching is not exactly comparable, but that's the exciting part of the SAL; it would be boring if they were both the same.

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 20 July 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #16 - Mouse With Books

Hi all!

It's hard to believe that almost four months of a new start every weekend have passed and that this weekend was the penultimate start of 17 new projects. Tiff and Annie have been joining in the fun of this Spring Into Summer New Start Binge too, so pop over to their blogs to see how they have been getting on.

As I mentioned last week, I knew which of the two remaining projects I would be leaving to last so had no choice as to which one to start this week. It's another of these Merry Mice:

But which one to stitch? I chose number 22 which I have called Mouse With Books.

With the other mouse I started, number 21, I just stitched some of the book and not the mouse itself, so this time I concentrated on the mouse and left the books. Here's my start over the weekend. I just love his expression; he's so happy!

Mouse With Books by CutePatternsbyMaria (etsy)
Stitched on 16ct Glacier over-dyed aida by
Stitching time to date - 4 hours 40 minutes

Next week I'll be starting a Whispered By The Wind design. I hope it doesn't cause me as many problems as the other Whispered By The Wind chart I started way back on weekend number one!

Take care
Rachel x

Saturday 18 July 2020

A Monarch A Month - Richard III

Hello all!

This month's monarch of the month is number eighteen, the infamous Richard III. I have no idea what his pose is supposed to represent but he does look as if he's strolling with purpose.

Richard III from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 1st July 2020
Finished - 6th July 2020
Total stitching time - 4 hours 55 minutes

For clarification, there are two Edwards and two Richards in this summary:
Edward IV and Richard III were brothers
Edward V and his brother Richard were the sons of Edward IV and known as The Princes In The Tower.
I hope this doesn't cause too much confusion!

Preceded by Edward V (nephew, never crowned)
Succeeded by Henry VII (a distant cousin)
Lived - 1452-1485
Reigned - 1483-1485
Married - Anne Neville 1472
Fathered - 1 legitimate and 2 illegitimate children

Richard III became king following the death of his older brother, Edward IV, and his declaration that Edward's marriage had been bigamous and therefore his sons and heirs, Edward V and Richard, illegitimate.

During Edward IV's reign, Richard had been loyal to his brother, resulting him being named Lord Protector of the young Edward V. However, after 'escorting' Edward to the Tower Of London to await his coronation, Richard proclaimed himself King and was crowned in July 1483.

Those loyal to Edward rebelled. They failed but did start the myth that Edward and Richard, The Princes In The Tower, were dead, and that Richard III was responsible.

In 1485 Henry Tudor led a second rebellion.

Like Richard, Henry was a descendant of Edward III - Richard being the great-great-grandson of his fourth son, Henry the great grandson of his third son - although being descended through a Beaufort, who were barred from the line of succession, his claim was questionable.

They met at Battle of Bosworth Field where Richard was unhorsed and killed, leaving Henry to take the crown.

Originally buried in Greyfriars Church, Richard's remains were lost and famously rediscovered under a car park in Leicester in 2012. He was re-interred in Leicester Cathedral in 2015.

During his reign Richard improved law, order and the judicial system all over the country, including making all aspects accessible to more people. But it is his connection to The Princes In The Tower that will always tarnish his reign.

Richard was the last King to die in battle and, because his son had predeceased him, the last Plantagenet King.

So next month, Henry VII, and the beginning of the Tudor dynasty.

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday 15 July 2020

JBW Advent Calendar - Days 2, 10, 22 and 23 finished!

Hello all!

This year I am hoping to stitch all of the 24 designs which make up JBW Designs' Advent Calendar.

At the end of June I squeezed in three borders and one finish, all of which appeared in the #24 post. Now I'm posting about them properly, as they're all finished!

Day 2 - Gifts:

 Started - 29th June 2020
Finished - 10th July 2020
Total Stitching time - 2 hours

Day 10 - Christmas Tree:

Started - 29th June 2020
Finished - 15th July 2020
Total Stitching time - 2 hours 10 minutes
(I'm thinking of swapping the gold beads for red beads as they would show up better)

Day 22 - Little Tree:

Started - 30th June 2020
Finished - 30th June 2020
Total Stitching time - 1 hour 25 minutes
(the skinniest and saddest-looking tree I've ever seen!)

Day 23 - Birds:

Started - 30th June 2020
Finished - 13th July 2020
Total Stitching time - 1 hour 30 minutes
(why are they green???)

That means I've now finished 13 of the 24. Given that they are really quick projects, I don't think it will be too much of a problem to finish the others in plenty of time for December.

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 13 July 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #15 Winnie The Pooh 5/5

Hi all!

So we're now into the final three weeks of this four-month-long Spring Into Summer New Start Binge being undertaken by Tiff, Annie and myself. I feel like I'm now freewheeling towards the finishing line!

This weekend I started the final Winnie The Pooh chart:

I didn't achieve more than a splodge of yellow over the whole weekend but, as everyone points out, even one stitch is a start!

Winnie The Pooh And the Hunny Pot 5/5 by Designer Stitches
Stitched on 16ct Cloud Blue Sky over-dyed aida by
Stitching time to date - 1 hour 10 minutes

Next weekend is the penultimate start, and since I know which one of the remaining two I'm leaving to last that narrows down the odds of which one I'll be starting! It's another cute mouse, but this time I'll hopefully stitch the mouse himself!

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 10 July 2020

Link-up For Fully Finished Gallery SAL - July 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.

Just the one finish for me this month, Cute Kakapo which was June's Small SAL piece. This was finished off as one of my usual ornies with coordinating fabric and barley twist cord.

I did have hopes of FFOing more but stitching took priority, which was not a bad thing.

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 July.

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 8 participants with another 38 FFOs, making 216 FFOs so far in 2020. Keep it up!

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

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 6 July 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge - #14 Simply Wren

Hello again!

It's week 14 of this Spring Into Summer New Start Binge being undertaken by Tiff, Annie and myself. We're into the final month now, so it's definitely all down hill from now on.

This week's new start was the final Valerie Pfeiffer bird in her Solos collection. This is Simply Wren.

As seems to have been the case with all but one of the birds in this series, I have only stitched the bird (minus eye and legs). I say 'only' but it was still over 5 hours' work! Just the foliage and backstitching to do next time I pick it up.

Simply Wren by Heritage Crafts
Stitched on 16ct Sand Dune over-dyed aida
Stitching time to date - 5 hours 15 minutes

Only have three projects left to start now. I know which one will be my last so think next week will be the final Winnie The Pooh.

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 4 July 2020

People's Choice SAL - Most Stitched Designer

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 most popular designer, i.e. the designer I have stitched the most.

Some people (including our host) can't get enough of one particular designer and seem to stitch almost everything they release. I tend to stitch projects because they appeal to me but that doesn't mean to say the two don't overlap.

According to my all-telling spreadsheet, the designer I have stitched the most is Lizzie Kate with 32 finishes and loads more waiting in the wings.

Back in January Lizzie Kate was the choice of this SAL - link here - so not wanting to repeat myself, I decided to move on to the second-placed designer I have stitched the most. And that is Durene Jones with 19 projects and, again, lots more on my to-stitch list.

Durene Jones designs for just about every cross stitch magazine, has an etsy shop and posts a Friday Freebie on her Facebook page nearly every week. Her style is fairly recognisable although, as would be expected, has evolved over the years. I prefer her earlier small, cute and easy to stitch projects rather than her newer ones, something definitely confirmed by my stitching and my stash!

I started my Durene Jones stitching in 2016 with this Snowman, one of her Facebook Friday Freebies:

Then in 2016 and 2017 I stitched these Dolphin Beach Buddies from issue 218 of Cross Stitch Crazy. There are another three in the set but I'm not quite so keen on those.

This Cute Animal Calendar was stitched during 2017. It's still waiting to be FFOd, since finishing it off the way I have in mind means cutting out each month individually and I haven't had the guts to do that yet!

These two Words Christmas Cards were stitched last year. There are four more in the set which are on this year's and next year's to-stitch lists.

I also have quite a few of her projects in my stash. These are my favourites:

Halloween Characters

Snowman Snowflakes and Cute Robins

I already have the 'perfect' fabrics for these so have a feeling that one day Durene Jones will overtake Lizzie Kate to become my most stitched designer; only 14 finishes needed to make that happen... no problem!!

Next month's theme for this SAL is freedom. I'd better get my thinking cap on as to how I'm going to interpret that one!

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday 1 July 2020

#24HoursOfCrossStitch - June Challenges

Hi all,

Here comes another month end post 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 stitching for the month.

Here come the challenges then...

1) Stitch for 24 hours during the month, including a minimum of 24 minutes each day
I was definitely back to normal this month, managing a total of 55 hours and 45 minutes with no day seeing less than 60 minutes. What a difference!

2) Fill in the acrostic DAY AND NIGHT, explain the connections and pick a 24 minute, 4 hour, 8 hour, (or other) goal for each letter.
These are the 11 projects I chose for June's acrostic, along with their goals and my successes:

D - Kings And Queens by Bothy Threads (WIP)
Connection - Edward V disappeared without a trace
Goal - start and finish (about 4 hours?)
Actual - 3h 15m

 A - The Loneliness Of Autumn by Artecy (2020 WIP)
Connection - it should have lots of attention this month
Goal - minimum of 15 hours of progress
Actual - 25 hours!

Y - Advent Calendar Day 23 (Two Birds) by JBW Designs (new start)
Connection - the birds are yearning for each other
Goal - start and finish (about 2 hours?)
Actual - 45 minutes of progress BUT NOT FINISHED

A - Cute Kakapo by FuzzyFoxDesigns (new start)
Connection - it's an Australasian bird
Goal - start and finish (about 5 hours?)
Actual - 6h 5m

N - Winnie The Pooh 4 by Designer Stitches (new start)
Connection - there's definitely no hunny left!
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 4h 35m

D - Happiness Delivery by Soda Stitch (new start)
Connection - the big tree will need a lot of decorations
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 4 hours

N - Advent Calendar Day 2 (Presents) by JBW Designs (new start)
Connection - the presents are nicely wrapped
Goal - start and finish (about 2 hours?)
Actual - 45 minutes of progress BUT NOT FINISHED

I - Advent Calendar Day 22 (Little Tree) by JBW Designs (new start)
Connection - it's an ickle tiny tree!
Goal - start and finish (about 2 hours?)
Actual - 1h 25m

G - Lady In Red by Heritage Crafts (new start)
Connection - the colours are gorgeous
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 5 hours

H - Winnie The Pooh 3 by Designer Stitches (new start)
Connection - he's still looking for more hunny
Goal - make a start of at least 2 hours
Actual - 4h 10m

T - Advent Calendar Day 10 (Christmas Tree) by JBW Designs (new start)
Connection - it's a Christmas tree
Goal - start and finish (about 2 hours?)
Actual - 45 minutes of progress BUT NOT FINISHED

I thought I'd been quite ambitious with my June goals, but actually things didn't work out too badly. There were only three goals I didn't meet, but they were tiny in comparison to my achievements on the others, especially The Loneliness Of Autumn. I'm not quite on track for the year as a whole but not that far behind either.

3) Connect 12 or more of the given holidays to your projects and stitch for at least 24 minutes on each. Eleven projects meant doubling up on one. I found them really difficult this month, but I did them.

Day 1 - Flip A Coin Day - Advent Calendar Day 2 - with more than one (currently invisible!) present to choose from perhaps flipping a coin is the best way of deciding which to open first?

Day 2 - National Rocky Road Day - Cute Kakapo - the kakapo's road to recovery from near extinction has definitely been rocky, but made possible because of positive human intervention.

Day 8 - Name Your Poison Day - Kings and Queens - nobody knows what happened to the Princes in the Tower. Perhaps they were poisoned?

Day 9 - Call Your Doctor Day - Winnie The Pooh 4 - the hunny pot is well and truly stuck on his head; perhaps a doctor is needed to help get it off?!

Day 11 - National Corn On The Cob Day - The Loneliness Of Autumn - although corn on the cob can be eaten all year round I usually associate it with autumn when the nights begin to draw in. No idea why!

Day 17 - Eat Your Vegetables Day - Winnie The Pooh 3 - with Pooh's penchant for hunny, this is probably good advice!

Day 18 - National Splurge Day - Advent Calendar 10 - this is definitely a dense tree (when I've stitched it!) and could be well decorated if the owner splurged on purchasing ornaments.

Day 19 - Take A Roadtrip Day - Happiness Delivery - perhaps these two went on quite an excursion to buy the tree?

Day 20 - National Bald Eagle Day - Advent Calendar 23 - bald eagles are birds, as are the two doves on this design (not that I got round to stitching them!)

Day 22 - World Rainforest Day - The Loneliness Of Autumn - rainforests have trees, as does this design; not as many, but enough.

Day 23 - National Pink Day - Lady In Red - the fabric is a lovely pink called Dried Petal.

Day 24 - International Fairy Day - Advent Calendar Day 22 - this tree has a star at the top, but it's also traditional for fairies to sit at the top of Christmas Trees.

4) Additional 'Just For Fun' Challenge: list 24 local needlework shops you hope to visit someday
Well, that's easy, there aren't any! There is one small art and craft shop which sells a few kits and the full range of DMCs but that's it. It's about 5 years since I went to decent LNS and that was hundreds of miles away and only visited because it was en route to my destination. As much as I love the relaxation of internet browsing, how I would love to visit a proper shop for once!

My goals for July are very ambitious, mainly due to having 13 projects to stitch on because the acrostic is 13 letters long. I'm not expecting to be successful but it'll definitely be fun trying.

Take care,
Rachel x