Monday 31 August 2020

The Loneliness Of Autumn - 80 hours

Hi all!

Back for another month of this SAL I'm stitching with Leonore. I think you're all familiar with it by now.

This month was onwards with the 3865 off-white. Luckily, because it's in blocks you can just about see it, but not that clearly. It forms the lamp lights and their reflections in the puddles, mostly around the bench.

Leonore's happy to have started her second colour but, like mine, it's not very different to the first.

I've only got a few blocks of white reflection left to stitch in the bottom right before moving on to a 'proper' colour. So next month you should see a splash of autumn; exciting stuff!

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 28 August 2020

Smalls SAL - August 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 August I returned to a piece I stitched earlier this year, but in a different colour. This mean I've now got two on what will hopefully be a rainbow shelf full of Snuffles!

Snuffles In Aqua by FuzzyFoxDesigns (etsy)
Stitch Count 32 wide by 30 high
Stitched on 16ct aqua over-dyed aida 2 over 1
Started - 6th August 2020
Finished - 9th August 2020
Total stitching time - 4 hours 40 minutes

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

There's this month's Monarch, the stingy Henry VII:

And five of the Advent Calendar Days. I know you've only just seen them but I'll pop them in here again:

So not a bad month for Smalls in August!

September's Small SAL will be a cute little Hootie, although I haven't yet decided which colour.

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 24 August 2020

Hogwarts In A Bottle - 180 hours

Hi there!

Here's the next part of Hogwarts:

Last time:

And now:

I've just about finished the train so only have the clouds of steam and lots of backstitcing left to do. These, as most of you have suggested, will take about 3 more 10-hour sessions, so the end is definitely in sight now.

Next time I'll be starting with some backstitching; I may be desperate to get the whole piece stitched up but there is also no way I want to leave the amount of backstitching left to last!

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday 19 August 2020

JBW Advent Calendar - Days 3, 13, 19, 20 and 8 finished!

Hello all!

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

So far I've stitched 13, and have now added another five to add to the collection:

Day 3 - Heart:

Started - 24th July 2020
Finished - 9th August 2020
Total Stitching time - 1 hour 25 minutes

Day 13 - Dove:

Started - 5th August 2020
Finished - 9th August 2020
Total Stitching time - 1 hours 30 minutes

Day 19 - Garland:

Started - 5th August 2020
Finished - 10th August 2020
Total Stitching time - 1 hour 35 minutes

Day 20 - House:

Started - 5th August 2020
Finished - 15th August 2020
Total Stitching time - 1 hour 50 minutes

Day 8 - Sleigh:

Started - 11th August 2020
Finished - 15th August 2020
Total Stitching time - 1 hour 45 minutes

So that's 18 down and 6 to go. All of the remaining borders have been stitched and the numbers attached, so it's now just a case of filling in the motifs. I'm hoping to have them all finished by the end of September.

Take care,
Rachel x

Sunday 16 August 2020

A Monarch A Month - Henry VII

Hello all!

This month's monarch of the month is number nineteen, Henry VII. Here he is, holding onto what is presumably a gold-filled money box, given his propensity for saving.

Henry VII from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 1st August 2020
Finished - 4th August 2020
Total stitching time - 5 hours 55 minutes

Is it me, or does anyone else think his crown and hair on the right, as you look at it, looks wrong? It's stitched per the chart, and the cover picture is the same, but it looks as if about two columns of ten rows have been duplicated. It's annoying me...

Preceded by Richard III (a distant cousin)
Succeeded by Henry VIII (son)
Lived - 1457-1509
Reigned - 1485-1509
Married - Elizabeth Woodville 1486
Fathered - 3 sons and 4 daughters

Henry VII became king, and the first of the Tudor monarchs, following the death of Richard III.

Henry's mother (who was only 13 when had him) always believed it was 'God's will' that he would be King despite, at one point, being only seventh in line to the throne.

After fate had removed five of those in front of him, only Richard III remained, and he was defeated by Henry's forces at The Battle Of Bosworth Field in 1485.

In 1486 Henry married Edward IV's eldest daughter Elizabeth Woodville, thereby uniting the warring houses of Lancaster and York and creating the Tudor Rose emblem. Initially a political marriage, their love grew and Henry soon became devoted to his family.

Due to taking the throne by force, Henry often felt insecure, so he made it illegal for nobles to raise their own private armies and imprisoned or executed a number of potential or actual rivals, including one of the most dangerous, Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be Richard, the younger of the (assumed dead) Princes In The Tower and therefore the rightful king.

Overall, Henry's reign was successful, building up the treasury by astute taxation (and mismanagement), making peace with France, Spain and Scotland (the latter two through proposed marriages with his children) and ensuring the country had a good judicial system through the appointment of local Justices Of The Peace.

Henry's health declined following the deaths of his eldest son, Arthur, in 1502 and his wife in 1503, He died in 1509 from tuberculosis and was buried in Westminster Abbey beside Elizabeth. His crown passed to his second son, Henry.

So next month the larger-than-life Henry VIII (and goodness knows how I'm going to fit his extraordinary reign into 300 words!)

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 10 August 2020

Link-up For Fully Finished Gallery SAL - August 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 managed to FFO five small pieces.

First up is Tiny Toadstool Mouse, July's Smalls SAL piece. Five minutes to trim and insert into the little Framecraft frame and it was all done!

Then came the four Advent Calendar pieces finished in June and July; days 2, 10, 22  and 23 depicting gifts, a Christmas tree, a little tree and a couple of birds. These were finished off as usual with some glittered felt. The day 10 Christmas tree originally had gold beads for baubles but I replaced them with red and added a couple more.

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 August.

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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 page with the number of entrants and entries. Last month there were 7 participants with 11 FFOs, a little less than usual, but still bringing the 2020 running total to 227 FFOs so far.

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

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 7 August 2020

Hogwarts In A Bottle - 170 hours

Hi there!

It's been far too long since I spent time on Hogwarts (middle of March in fact) but, thankfully, I've finally managed another 10 hours and, as you can see from the pictures, THERE'S A TRAIN!!! Or at least a good portion of it.

As I left it back in March:

And now:

I did think about working up and stitching the clouds of steam first, but I couldn't resist starting the train any longer! Isn't it lovely to finally see the red?

During August I'd like to finish the train and get some more backstitching in. Now I've returned to it, there's no way Hogwarts will be neglected again; by hook or by crook, this will be a finish this year!

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday 5 August 2020

Spring Into Summer New Start Binge Round-Up Post

Hi everyone!

As you are probably fed up with hearing by now, Tiff, Annie and I have spent the last four months starting a new project each weekend. We called this the Spring Into Summer New Start Binge, the replacement for the Tokyo Olympic Stitching Challenge which was postponed alongside the Olympics.

The original plan of 17 new starts in 17 days was, if I am honest, a little daunting! Spreading them over 17 weekends, was much less so, and perhaps even more enjoyable. Not once did it feel like a burden with 'oh not another new start' and not once did I regret my choices.

I'm sort of sorry that it's actually all over (I certainly have enough projects to carry on for many many weeks) but am also glad that I can now concentrate on the projects which are on this year's to-finish list.

Here's a reminder of all the new starts:

Five Winnie The Poohs:

Four Solo birds:

Chick Berry

Humming Along

Lady In Red

Simply Wren

Two Gothic-themed Whispered by The Winds:

In The Gloaming


Two Merry Mice:

Mouse Reading Book

Mouse With Books

Two Seasonal designs:

Wonderful Fright

Happiness Delivery Couple

And two others:

Pretty Little Toronto

Basket Case

The most productive new start was Chick Berry with 5 hour 55 minutes of stitching over the weekend, the least productive was Pretty Little Toronto with only 10 minutes.

The most complicated new start was definitely In The Gloaming with countless stitching, frogging and thread changes until the right combination of colours was found.

However, my favourite new start was also In The Gloaming. I must have stitched that bit of roof four or five times, but it didn't alter my enthusiasm for the design one little bit.

Luckily I don't have a least favourite new start. although am assuming that all the yellow-gold required for the five Winnie the Poohs may get a little tedious if I don't spread them out.

The most fun new start was Mouse With Books; the mouse's expression is contagious and the designer really makes things subtle with the use of blended threads. She's the designer who charted Hogwarts In A Bottle so I knew what to expect, and I love using blends.

And, finally, my favourite fabric was the purple with clouds and stars used for Wonderful Fright. I don't often stitch on 'busy' fabrics so that was an enjoyable change.

As for finishing them, 7 of the 17 require less than 10 hours work, and another 5 less than 20 hours, so these 12 should become finishes 'fairly' quickly once I pick them up again. The remaining 5, especially Pretty Little Toronto, will require a bit (lot) more work. I knew it unlikely that any would be finished during the four months, and probably not even this year, but what's another 17 to add to my WIP pile (I'm up to a disgusting 62 if anyone's counting!)

I absolutely loved this binge and have been thinking about another, and this is the exciting news.....

Tiff and I have discussed a much smaller starting binge towards the end of the year. We thought November would be good - it's not too soon after this one plus it's after Dark October but before the Christmas rush. Tiff came up with the name 'Naughty November'.

So if any of you fancy joining us for a four weekend mini new start binge in Naughty November (starting weekend of 7th-8th) please do!

Unsurprisingly, I already have my four projects planned. I won't show the charts but will show the fabrics; the first three of which I'm convinced were designed with the charts in mind.

At the top are (and their names are a not-so-subtle hint as to the type of designs to be stitched on them) Shades Of Spring and Shades Of Summer and at the bottom Shades Of Autumn and Cloud Winter Sky. I did purchase Shades Of Winter but it was too greeny-grey for the design and I don't want to change the colours.

As for the actual postponed-until-next-year Tokyo Olympic Stitching Challenge, well, assuming the Olympics goes ahead, I'm planning another 17 starts during the 17 days between 23rd July and 8th August inclusive with one new start each day.

Should the Olympics be cancelled completely (since it's been agreed another postponement is not an option) then the plan is to do the same as this year and spread those 17 starts over the 17 weekends in April, May, June and July in the Spring Into Summer New Start Binge 2021. I'll keep you updated as announcements are made.

Whichever the case, I'm excited already and you've got plenty of time to plan if you wish to join in.

Now to look forward to Naughty November...

Take care,
Rachel x