Friday 30 April 2021

Smalls SAL - April 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.

Unfortunately I missed last month's check in (that's what you get when you schedule posts in advance and don't check your blog for weeks!) so I'll try to put the link up after this one.

For April I stitched the fourth of Durene Jones' cute dogs:

In The Bath by Durene Jones (freebie)
Stitch Count 40 wide by 33 high
Stitched on 16ct Golden over-dyed aida by
Started - 1st April 2021
Finished - 5th April 2021
Total stitching time - 8 hours 5 minutes

He's obviously not that happy about being dunked in a bath full of bubbles but I'm sure he'll feel happier once he's cleaner!

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, James II:

See you next month for the final cute doggie!

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday 28 April 2021

The Loneliness Of Autumn - 160 hours

Hello everyone!

Time again to show another month's progress on The Loneliness Of Autumn by Leonid Afremov, which I am SALing with Leonore one colour at a time extreme cross country.

This month's stitching consisted of just under nine hours to finish off the yellow 742 in the bottom half, and just over one hour to start the seventh colour, 3371 dark brown, in the top right. It's going to be quite difficult to see the 3371 being added as it's mostly random stitches around the black and dark blue to help fill in the gaps.

And since I finished off the sixth colour this month, here are the photos showing the comparison between the end of the fifth and sixth colours. This is now 32% complete after 21,390 stitches in 158 hours 45 minutes. Thankfully it's very obvious where the sixth colour was added!

The next ten hours will consist of just 3371.

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 24 April 2021

A Monarch A Month - James II

Hi all!

Goodness me, these months seem to roll around so quickly and I can't believe it's way past time for another monarch! This is number 28, James II. I'm think he's supposed to be walking away from his crown carrying his Great Seal Of The Realm:

James II from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 6th April 2021
Finished - 8th April 2021
Total stitching time - 5 hours 25 minutes

For the next three monarchs religion plays a key role. It was not a bloody time, as seen during the reigns of Henry VIII and Mary I, but did shape the succession of the monarchy.

Preceded by Charles II (brother)
Succeeded by William III and Mary II (son-in-law and daughter)
Lived - 1633-1701
Reigned - 1685-1688
Married - (1) Anne Hyde 1660-1671 (died) and (2) Mary of Modena 1673
Children - 25 over 32 years!
                 8 with Anne (only 2 girls survived infancy)
                 10 with Mary (only the last two survived infancy)
                 7 illegitimate (five survived infancy)

James II became King following the death of his brother.

Despite being Catholic, James was initially a popular monarch, working hard and tolerating religious differences, but that popularity soon waned as he increasingly favoured Catholics over Protestants, giving them important positions in the army and  his ministry.

In late 1685 James dissolved Parliament after it raised concerns about the influence of Catholics, meaning he was now an autocratic Catholic monarch.

England held out hope his heir, his Protestant daughter Mary, would soon succeed him (note 1).

However, in 1688 James fathered a son (not covered by note 1) thus securing a Catholic heir (note 2).

Now fearing a Catholic succession, Mary's Protestant and popular husband, William Of Orange, was invited to invade England and claim the throne.

During this 1688 'Glorious Revolution' James was captured but, to prevent him becoming a Catholic martyr, was allowed to flee to France with his wife and baby son.

A reconvened Parliament in 1689 agreed that James, having deliberately discarded his Great Seal, had forfeited his crown. They therefore proclaimed William and Mary King and Queen.

But James still had support in Catholic France and Ireland and in 1690 attempted to reclaim his crown. He was defeated by William at the Battle Of The Boyne and returned to France.

James remained in exile until his death in 1701. He was laid to rest in The Church Of The English Benedictines in Paris.

So next month, the only joint reign in England's history of the monarchy, William and Mary.

Note 1 - with the exception of Mary I's short reign, England had been Protestant since Henry VIII had denounced Catholicism in favour of Protestantism. When Charles II failed to produce any legitimate heirs, and it became clear his Catholic brother, James, would be his successor, Charles decreed that, in order to ensure the continuation of Protestants on the throne, James' children would be raised as Protestants.

Note 2 - the birth of a Catholic heir meant James' family, and the Stuart dynasty, was now divided by religion. The Protestant side, through James' daughters Mary and Anne, inherited the crown, but the Catholic side remained strong contenders in the form of James' son, James (The Old Pretender) and, later, his own son Charles (The Young Pretender, or Bonnie Prince Charlie). These, and their followers, known as Jacobites, will pop up during the reigns of the next few monarchs.

Who said families weren't complicated?!

Take care,
Rachel x

Tuesday 20 April 2021

Hedwig In A Bottle - finished!

Hi all!

I've now finished the second of my four Mischievous March new starts - yippee!

Hedwig In A Bottle was a new start on the third weekend of March. Once the weekend was over I carried on stitching on her for the rest of the week meaning that I only had about a third left to complete when I picked her up again a few days ago.

Here's how I left her after the weekend of starting her:

Completed before the backstitching:

And all finished:

Hedwig In A Bottle by MagicStitchStudio (etsy)
Stitch count 44 wide by 54 high
Stitched on 16ct Sketch Grey aida
Started - 20th March 2021
Finished - 18th April 2021
Total stitching time - 17 hours

I'm pleased to say the backstitching was nowhere near as bad as for the previous Bottle and, looking at the other Bottles, I'm sure I picked the worst one first, so that's a consolation.

I'm now working another of the remaining two. I don't think it will become an April finish but, if not, it won't be far too off. Fingers crossed.

Take care,
Rachel x

Thursday 15 April 2021

Platform 9 3/4 Sign In A Bottle - Finished!

Good morning everyone!

I have finished one of my Mischievous March new starts! It was a little bit of an uphill struggle towards the end, as the backstitching was a bit fiddly (especially the brown on brown around the sign) but it's done and was well worth the effort.

Here's how far I got during the weekend I started the project:

And here it is finished:

Platform 9 3/4 Sign In A Bottle by MagicStitchStudio (etsy)
Stitch count 46 wide by 54 high
Stitched on 16ct Sketch Grey aida
Started - 27th March 2021
Finished - 14th April 2021
Total stitching time - 17 hours 40 minutes

I'm usually fairly good at estimating how long a project will take to stitch but was a long way out with this one; I'd estimated 10-12 hours, so almost 18 came as a bit of a shock! With that in mind, there's no way I'll have time to finish the other three by the end of April, but I'll definitely finish one more.

As for FFOing, well, I've just laid my hands on some Harry Potter fabrics, so it looks like it's going to be a mini pillow or hanging ornie. I just need to decide which of the fabrics to use!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 10 April 2021

Link-up For Fully Finished Gallery - April 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.

I have six FFOs in progress, but only one completed FFO to show this month, a recently-retrieved finish from 2002. This is Eeyore's snowflake.

I gave Eeyore a pearlescent silver mount and then inserted Eeyore and his mount into a pearlescent purple card out of which I had also cut an aperture. Some purple/silver ribbon, silver snowflakes and purple mittens were added for effect.

Good to know it only took me 19 years to FFO!!! Somewhere I have the matching Piglet's Snowflake but goodness knows where. At least I know how he'll be FFOd when he eventually comes out of hiding!

Now it's your turn.

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 April.

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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 FFG SAL post will go live on 10th May at 6am UK time. Hope to see you there!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 3 April 2021

People's Choice SAL - Blue

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 Blue, I colour I think of as being either quite cold or associated with water and sealife.

Off the top of my head I thought I'd probably stitched a fair amount of blue, but was surprised to discover blue fabric has actually been used on over 60 projects! Obviously I won't show them all so have stuck to the bluest of the blue, whether that be regarding the fabrics and/or threads and/or the item(s) used to finish them.

So, starting with the smallest and working upwards to the biggest pieces, my bluest of the blue are:

Mr Daydream, stitched on Cloud Spring Sky and finished with a blue card:

September In Sapphire, stitched on Glacier with a blue variegated thread, blue beads and blue backing fabric:

Seahorse Critter, stitched on an aptly-named blue fabric called Ocean:

Dolphin Splash, finished with a double blue mount (the fabric is a bright white but my camera at the time was brilliant at picking up other colours!):

Dreaming Of Dolphins, treated to a blue frame:

And, finally Hogwarts In A Bottle, stitched on some gorgeous blue fabric from Chromatic Alchemy called Lazurite:

I also have quite a few WIPs with a blue feel, the bluest being Let's Be Frozen which is being stitched on Cloud Winter Sky using all blue Etoile threads:

And Dragon Eye, a new start for all of four hours back in 2015 and which should become a focus piece in 2024!

So that's my trawl through the theme of blue. I hope you enjoyed it.

Next month's theme is Traditional Samplers :(

Take care,
Rachel x