Friday 26 February 2021

Smalls SAL - February 2021

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's the second of Durene Jones' cute dogs:

Going For Walkies by Durene Jones (freebie)
Stitch Count 39 wide by 35 high
Stitched on 16ct Golden over-dyed aida by
Started - 1st February 2021
Finished - 4th February 2021
Total stitching time - 7 hours 20 minutes

Isn't he just absolutely adorable (again)?! I'd definitely take this scruffy fluffy dog for a walk!

In this Smalls SAL I'm also re-showing other qualifying small projects I've stitched during the month. Again, it's just my monarch:

See you next month for cute doggie number three!

Take care,
Rachel x

Tuesday 23 February 2021

The Loneliness Of Autumn - 140 hours

Hi all!

Here is February's progress on The Loneliness Of Autumn by Leonid Afremov as charted by Artecy on which I am SALing with Leonore extreme cross country one colour at a time.

This month I finished colour number 5, 814. Here are the comparison pictures after the completion of the fourth and fifth colours. This is 28% complete after 18,795 stitches and 136 hours 55 minutes. You can just about make out the increase in the density of the red, especially on the middle right and bottom left:

So then it was back to the top and onto colour number six, 742, for the remainder of the ten hours. I didn't quite make it across the top row but you can definitely see the new colour emerge between the 130 and 140 hour comparison pictures:

March will be all 742, which is fantastic as not only is it such a beautiful colour to stitch but it will start to define the glow of the lights.

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 20 February 2021

A Monarch A Month - Charles I

Hi all!

Another month, another monarch. This month it's number 26, Charles I.

I have a sneaking suspicion this picture might give a clue as to his fate:

Charles I from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 4th February 2021
Finished - 7th February 2021
Total stitching time - 5 hours 45 minutes

I forgot to mention in last month's post that, with Elizabeth I being the last of the Tudor dynasty, James I became the first of the Stuart monarchs.

Preceded by James I (father)
Succeeded by Charles II (son)
Lived - 1600-1649
Reigned - 1625-1649
Married - Henrietta Maria of France in 1625
Children - 4 boys and 5 girls

Charles became heir apparent in 1612 following the death of his older brother, Henry, and King in 1625 following the death of his father.

He was an unpopular monarch throughout his reign, starting with his marriage to a Roman Catholic (prompting fears of a resurgence of Catholicism) and building throughout due to his belief in 'the divine right of kings' i.e. that monarchs were appointed by God and answerable to no-one.

Based on this belief, Charles dissolved Parliament in 1629 and ruled until 1640 as an absolute monarch - the 'Eleven Years' Tyranny'.

By 1640, with treasury funds depleted and only Parliament able to legally raise taxes, Charles was twice forced to reconvene Parliament. In return for funds, Charles reluctantly agreed to some of his closest allies being impeached for treason.

Charles himself suspected five members of Parliament of treason and, when Parliament refused to hand them over, personally interrupted a sitting in order to arrest them.

By over-stepping his monarchical authority, Charles' invasion of Parliament helped trigger the 1642-1651 English Civil Wars - Charles' Royalist 'cavaliers' versus the Parliamentarian 'roundheads'.

Three years of skirmishes, battles and failed negotiations ended with Charles' defeat and imprisonment in 1645. After a brief escape in 1647 he was recaptured and put on trial in 1648.

Because of his belief in the divine right of kings, Charles considered the court unlawful. Nevertheless, he was found guilty of treason i.e. of putting his own interests ahead of those of his country.

He was beheaded in January 1649 and (after his head had been sewn back on!) buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor.

There then followed a period of 11 years without a monarchy, known as The English Commonwealth. This can be divided into three stages:
- 1649-1653 under a Rump Parliament (basically those not in favour of a monarchy)
- 1653-1658 under Oliver Cromwell (who, having just overthrown the monarchy refused the title of King but was given the non-hereditary title Lord Protector, which was more-or-less the same thing)
- 1658-1659 under Oliver Cromwell's son Richard, who was a weak leader, not really interested in the role and forced out very quickly

By 1659 opinion in favour of the restoration of the monarchy had begun to gain momentum. Charles' son and heir, having fled abroad in 1648 was asked to return to Great Britain as Charles II.

So next month another Charles. Let's hope he learned lessons from his father about how not to be a monarch!

Take care,
Rachel x

Tuesday 16 February 2021

Simply Wren - finished!

Hi all!

Here comes another finish.

Simply Wren was the 14th start for last year's Spring Into Summer New Start Binge and is now the 4th finish. It is also the last bird in this set of four Solos by Valerie Pfeiffer (and the last time I shall make a comment about doing so many fractionals on aida!)

Here's how I picked it up:

After finishing the stitching:

And after the backstitching:

Simply Wren by Heritage Crafts
Stitched on 16ct Sand Dune over-dyed aida by sewitall
Stitch count 66 high by 67 wide
Started - 4th July 2020
Finished - 15th February 2021
Total stitching time - 16 hours 15 minutes

This one had the least amount of backstitching - just the eye, beak and a bit around the edges of the bird to create a ruffled-feather look.

I thought I knew how these were going to be FFOd but might have changed my mind. I want them done in time for March so can't procrastinate too long!

Talking of March, here's a gentle reminder that it's only a couple of weeks until the Mischievous March new start SAL.

If you don't know what this is, it's a fun opportunity to start and work on four new projects during the month - one each full weekend - then link up on this blog the following Monday. But if weekends aren't convenient then go with whatever suits you best; these SALs are always flexible.

If you are planning to join in, I hope you have all your supplies ready? Mine are all ready to go and I have to say I am really looking forward to starting four brand new projects, especially given I've finished four WIPs this year. Four out, four in... that nicely balances the scales!

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday 10 February 2021

Link-up for Fully Finished Gallery SAL - February 2021

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 you can join in whenever you're ready.

We had a really good start to the year last month with 63 FFOs - the highest number since the 71 in the very first SAL two years ago today!

This month I have five to show. These are quite old ones which have only recently been 'found' and added to my Box Of Shame; how nice to put them in the box in January and take them out in February!

Toby the Tram Engine from Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends was stitched w-a-y back in 2005 for my then young son. He has been made into a simple card (yes, the letters are supposed to be wonky!):

These two monsters, also stitched in 2005, are from a set of three from a Cross Stitch Crazy magazine. For finishing, the stitching was just sandwiched between two pieces of card and some mini gingham ribbon added around the aperture to cover the mess on one of them where my cutting blade slipped. In fact the ribbon looks so effective that I'm tempted to say the slipping of the blade was deliberate!

Smiley Cat by Mouseloft was stitched in 2008 and took all of 5 minutes to trim and put into a mini Framecraft frame:

Finally, this Boofle Christmas card was a magazine cover kit stitched in 2015 but never blogged. I used the card from the kit but added a Christmas-themed brad and a piece of red glitter felt under the stitching for a bit of depth:

In addition, but not counting towards the FFO total, are four dolphin cards I re-FFOd. I wasn't particularly happy with the amount of card around the aperture so have made them a little bigger. I've also added ribbon and an extra gem on each and am much happier now; that extra 7mm each side makes all the difference.

That's it from me, so now it's over to you.

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 February.

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And please don't forget to follow other links and see what fellow fully-finishers have been up to; an encouraging comment can go a long way.

Next month's post will go live on 10th March at 6am UK time. See you there?

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 6 February 2021

People's Choice SAL - Birds

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 Birds.

I don't have a 'thing' for birds as such, but it appears I have stitched quite a few over the years. I haven't included all of them, leaving out owls and the really tiny ones in the hope that both may be themes in future months.

So here goes my showcase for the month:

Hobikolik (etsy) does a fairly simple chart of a bird which I have stitched with four different variegated threads to represent the four seasons:

FuzzyFoxDesigns (etsy) has charted a range of Cute Little Birds. I have stitched five so far and plan to stitch at least one each year for the Smalls SAL. Here are the Cockatiel, Eastern Rosella, Gouldian Finch, Kakapo and Kookaburra. They are charted facing both directions so, after having stitched four facing right, I decided the next four would face left:

Then there is Mr Scruffy aka Parrot On Parade by Bothy Threads. I absolutely love this one, although he has yet to be framed. I'll probably frame him with Walter Rabbit once he's finished.

Finally here are the four birds in Valerie Pfeiffer's Solos range by Heritage Crafts. I have recently finished three - Chick Berry, Humming Along and Lady In Red - and hope to finish Simply Wren very soon. Unlike all the others, these are actual 'birds' as opposed to characterisations!

As for stash, well, Janet Morningstar's Fantasy birds ( have been kitted up with hand dyed-fabric and variegated threads for a few years but keep getting pushed down my to-start list. When I bought these I remember reading that there were going to be twelve in the series, but these are the only four I've ever found. Maybe they'll make their way onto my 2023 stitching list?!

And I can't go without showing the gorgeous Scarlet Macaw Preening by Shinysun's Cross Stitching. My long-term readers may remember I have had a few attempts at starting this on various hand-dyed fabrics but have never been happy with them. I'm still on the lookout for the 'perfect' background fabric and am sure it will appear one day.

To end with, here are my own pet birds. The darker cockatiel is Pepper, the lighter one Snoopy. We thought they were brothers... until we discovered Snoopy laying eggs! Pepper can't fly anymore, and Snoopy struggles to get lift, so both are usually quite happy siting on the back of the settee or my shoulders. Females don't make much noise but Pepper certainly makes up for it with all the tunes he whistles and phrases he says. His favourite at the moment is 'What ya doing?' Nosey boy!

Next month's theme is Spring. I feel there might be an abundance of lambs and chicks!

Take care,
Rachel x

Thursday 4 February 2021

In The Gloaming - 30 hours

Hi all!

I had a fantastic stitching month in January, completing all my 'compulsory' pieces, finishing three WIPs, AND making a fair amount of progress on In The Gloaming by Whispered By The Wind. I think I'll name it Jolly-rific January!

I last stitched on In The Gloaming for Dark October, leaving it here after just over 20 hours of progress:

This ten hours was enough time to finish the top half and make a good start on the bottom half; gotta love how some of the birds are sitting on an invisible fence!

Here's a reminder of how the finished piece will look:

You may remember that I used one strand of normal DMC and one strand of Etoile for the moon and thought it looked a bit pale against the fabric? Well, instead of frogging and restitching it all I simply backstitched around it in a slightly darker Etoile. I think it's just about enough of a difference to make it satisfactory - it's more visible in real life.

As for the remainder, my intention is to stitch all of the monument before the wrought iron railings, not only because the railings are the bits I'm looking forward to the most, but because they will contain Etoile which I absolutely LOVE stitching with. In my humble opinion, I'm definitely saving the best to last!

Take care,
Rachel x