Friday 31 December 2021

2021 End Of Year Summary

Hello all!

Another year gone, and another year of lists coming up!

A few hiccups during 2021 meant the year didn't go quite according to plan and I didn't achieve all I set out to do. However, given that my plans were also very ambitious, I am extremely happy with how much I did achieve and am not complaining one little bit.

But before I get into the summary, I never showed you my Stitchmas Tree, so here it is. This is the first Stitchmas Tree I've decorated but won't be my last, although I might need a bigger tree next year!

On to the summary then. My 2021 plans were:

A Monarch A Month - stitch 12 monarchs ❌ only stitched six
The Loneliness Of Autumn - stitch for 120 hours ✅
Smalls SAL - stitch 12 small pieces, one per month ✅
Mischievous March - start four projects ✅ and finish all four projects ❌ only finished two
Christmas In July - start one project ✅ finish one WIP ❌ didn't even work on the WIP
Tokyo Olympics - start 17 new projects ✅
Dark October - start Magical Bookshelf ❌ sensibly postponed because of too many WIPs!!! πŸ˜‡
Naughty November - start four projects ✅ and finish all four projects ✅
Christmas Day - new start ❌ carried on with the Christmas In July piece instead πŸ˜‡

In addition:
Tokyo Paralympics - started 13 new unplanned projects πŸ˜‰
Finish lots of WIPs - finished 7 out of a potentially-planned 16
FFO as much as possible - could have done better but still reduced the amount in my BOS
SALs - joined in with People's Choice SAL, FFG SAL and Smalls SAL every month 😊

So lots of new starts and not that many finishes (in comparison) means my overall statistics are now as follows:

Number of WIPs brought forward from 2020 = 62 (including BAPs I may never work on again)
Plus number of new starts = 52
Less number of finishes = 26
Number of WIPs to carry forward into 2022 = 88 (well, at least it's not triple figures!!)

And here is the list of projects which make up those statistics. Those in red have been finished, those in black will be carried forward to 2022.

[I have been asked why I don't include pictures in this summary, and the simple answer is that there would just be too many! If you're interested in all my current WIPs and finishes this year there are page tabs at the top.]

1) Mythical Dragon (True Colors)
2) QS Emerald Dragon (HAED)
3) SK The History Of Chocolate (HAED)
4) QS Come Softly (HAED)
5) Mini Bookworm Fairy (HAED)
6) Mini The Owrd Lord (HAED)
7) Mini One (HAED)
8) Dolphin Ruins (Rabnann - ebay)
9) OMG Tigger Is Out (UnconventionalX - etsy)
10) Dragon Eye (not yet blogged)
11) Magnolia (not yet blogged)
12) Tribal Dragon (Thread Geeks)
13) Kings and Queens
14) The Loneliness Of Autumn
15) Ballerina
16) Giraffe
17) Greedy Robin
18) Friends For Life
19) Feline Groovy
20) Loves Me ... Love Me Not
21) Book Worm
22) Carefree Summer
23) A Tatty Friend
24) Dandelion Time
25) Flower Power
26) All Aboard The Walnut Shells
27) Christmas Wishes
28) Cuddly Feline Friends
29) Choc-A-Holic
30) I Love Butter
31) Good Morning Nelson
32) Winter Hugs
33) Lickle Snooze
34) A Windy Day
35) Little Green
36) Start Trek TOS
37) Clue
38) Evil Minions
39) Pandas
40) Haunted Library
41) Grow Your Own
42) In The Gloaming
43) Chick Berry
44) Humming Along
45) Pretty Little Toronto
46) Pooh 1 - Eating Hunny
47) Basket Case
48) Pooh 2 - Looking Into Empty Pot
49) Mouse Reading Book
50) Wonderful Fright
51) Happiness Delivery Couple
52) Pooh 3 - With Head On Ground
53) Lady In Red
54) Pooh 4 - Standing With Pot On Head
55) Simply Wren
56) Pooh 5 - Looking At Smashed Pot
57) Mouse With Books
58) Gatekeepers
59) Let's Bloom
60) Let's Have Fun In The Sun
61) Let's Breeze Into Autumn
62) Let's Be Frozen

1) Let's Play
2) Going For Walkies
3) In The Dog House
4) Deathly Hallows In A Bottle
5) Golden Snitch In A Bottle
6) Hedwig In A Bottle
7) Platform 9 3/4 In A Bottle
8) In The Bath
9) Resting My Eyes
10) Galah
11) French Country Butterfly
12) Merry (TT XI)
13) Merry Christmas By The Letter
14) Autumnal Baby Dragon
15) Burrow Snow Globe
16) Dragon Shelf
17) Godrich's Hollow Snow Globe
18) Mexico
19) Korea
20) Mouse Lighting Candle
21) Mouse Reading Scroll
22) Netherlands
23) Paris
24) Privet Drive Snow Globe
25) Rome
26) Russia
27) Shell Cottage Snow Globe
28) United Kingdom
29) USA
30) Witch's Hat Shelf
31) Dragon With Chick
32) Dragon 9
33) Dragon 2
34) Dragon 11
35) Dragon 4
36) Dragon 5
37) Dragon 10
38) Dragon 12
39) Dragon 1
40) Dragon 6
41) Dragon 3
42) French Country Squirrel
43) French Country Pumpkin
44) Watercolour Dolphin
45) Green Patchwork Hootie
46) Halloween Hootie 9
47) Noel
48) Moonrise Gravestone
49) Moonrise Fence
50) Moonrise Mansion
51) Moonrise Memorial
52) Season's Greetings

So I ended the year with 26 more WIPs than I started with... ooops!

As for my Box Of Shame, I started the year with 30 pieces in it (having found five previously mislaid at the end of 2020) added 26 more, fully finished off 34, so have therefore ended the year with 22 pieces.

So, here's another list of the the projects which were in and have been added to my Box Of Shame. As above, those in red have now been FFOd, those in black will be carried forward.

1) Eeyore's Snowflake
2) Four-eyed Monster
3) One-eyed Monster
4) Toby
5) Piglet's Snowflake
6) Smiley Cat
7) Boofle Christmas Card
8) January Calendar
9) February Calendar
10) March Calendar
11) April Calendar
12) May Calendar
13) June Calendar
14) July Calendar
15) August Calendar
16) September Calendar
17) October Calendar
18) November Calendar
19) December Calendar
20) Spotted Owls
21) Midnight Manor
22) Parrot On Parade
23) Green Halloween Banner
24) Christmas Cat With Present
25) Spookie Hootie
26) A Little Witch Of The Night
27) Jingle All The Way
28) Let It Snow
29) Daisy Hugs
30) Gold Stars Christmas Tree

1) Let's Play
2) Chick Berry
3) Humming Along
4) Lady In Red
5) Going For Walkies
6) Simply Wren
7) Winnie the Pooh 1 (need the set of 5 before I can FFO)
8) Winnie the Pooh 2 (need the set of 5 before I can FFO)
9) In The Dog House
10) In The Bath
11) Platform  9 3/4 Sign In A Bottle
12) Hedwig In A Bottle
13) Resting My Eyes
14) Galah
15) Merry (TT IX)
16) Dragon With Chick
17) French Country Butterfly
18) Green Patchwork Hootie
19) Spookie Hootie 9
20) In The Gloaming
21) Noel
22) Moonrise Gravestone
23) Moonrise Fence
24) Moonrise Mansion
25) Seasons Greetings
26) Moonrise Memorial

I may still have 22 UFOs but I'm really happy that I ended the year with fewer than I started with.

OK... boring lists over!

During the year I stitched for a total of 592 hours, averaging out at just over 1.6 hours per day, which is slightly over my daily target. December was my best month, with 82 hours of stitching, June my worst with just 8.5 hours!! I was really happy that the hours lost between April and July were able to be made up in the last three months of the year.

And... I will be ending the year having caught up with all my blog reading, and with an empty inbox! I doubt it will be long before I fall behind again, but at least I will be starting the year afresh.

As for my stitching plans for 2022... well, they're as wacky as usual and will be revealed tomorrow!

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Thursday 30 December 2021

Smalls SAL - December 2021

Hello all!

It's the last Friday of the month (well, I'm posting this a day early because I've got my end-of-year round-up post tomorrow) 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 I stitched the final ornie from a set of six by Durene Jones; it's satisfying to have now finished the set:

Season's Greetings by Durene Jones (etsy)
Stitch Count 45 wide by 45 high
Stitched on 16ct White Silver Lurex aida 2 over 2
Started - 6th December 2021
Finished - 15th December 2021
Total stitching time - 9 hours 5 minutes

As usual I replaced the french knots with beads, but that's the only change I made.

And my Queen Anne monarch is also a small this month:

So next month we start another new year and I have something prickly but seasonal in mind!

Take care,
Rachel x

Monday 27 December 2021

Moonrise Ornaments 1, 2, 3 and 4 all finished!

Good morning one and all!

For Naughty November I started four new projects, all of which were fairly small and all of which I hoped to finish this year.

Well... guess what? I have!!

I actually finished the first two during November, but kept it quiet so that I could post all four finishes together. Here they all are after my first weekend of Naughty November progress and now completed:

Ornament 1
I made a couple of changes to this one. Firstly I ripped out the RIP and replaced the charted 3799 with 310 as I didn't think it stood out enough. And secondly I added Etoile to the moon. The moon was charted for 168 and 762 but for the lighter parts I combined 762 with C415 and for the darker parts 168 with C318. I'm really pleased with the way this all turned out:

Ornament 1 'Gravestone' from Moonrise by Whispered By The Wind
Stitched on 32ct Vintage Dark Grey Murano 2 over 2
Stitch count 47 wide by 56 high
Started - 6th November 2021
Finished - 11th November 2021
Total stitching time - 12 hours 55 minutes

Ornament 2
For this one I stitched the moon as above, and in the fence substituted one strand of 3799 for one strand of Etoile 3799:

Ornament 2 'Fence' from Moonrise by Whispered By The Wind
Stitched on 32ct Vintage Dark Grey Murano 2 over 2
Stitch count 55 wide by 60 high
Started - 13th November 2021
Finished - 19th November 2021
Total stitching time - 13 hours 20 minutes

Ornament 3
For this one Etoile was added to the moon and the roofs of the house but, other than that, it's as charted:

Ornament 3 'Mansion' from Moonrise by Whispered By The Wind
Stitched on 32ct Vintage Dark Grey Murano 2 over 2
Stitch count 49 wide by 55 high
Started - 20th November 2021
Finished - 13th December 2021
Total stitching time - 12 hours 15 minutes

Ornament 4
This took a bit longer than anticipated, but I didn't mind as I absolutely loved stitching the memorial. Once again I added Etoile to the moon and also changed the colours of the memorial from the charted (darkest to lightest) 840, 841, 842 and 3866 to 167, 738, 3823 and 3865 respectively. I still think this would look good in greys so may stitch this again... one day!

Ornament 4 'Memorial' from Moonrise by Whispered By The Wind
Stitched on 32ct Vintage Dark Grey Murano 2 over 2
Stitch count 48 wide by 67 high
Started - 27th November 2021
Finished - 23rd December 2021
Total stitching time - 19 hours 35 minutes

I'm over the moon (no pun intended!) with all four pieces.

Now to work out how to FFO them. I'd like to do something different, and have an idea or two so need to go looking for some inspiration around that. Failing that, you'll see them FFOd as ornies!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 25 December 2021

Merry Christmas!

Good morning and...

Merry Christmas 2021 everyone!

I hope you have a relaxing and peaceful Christmas, filled with love. laughter and wonderful presents Santa has rewarded you with for being good all year! Perhaps there will be the odd stitchy goody among them?

I was very good and didn't ask for any stash this year, although that doesn't mean I won't have a browse around the Christmas sales for the odd treat or two!

For those who do not celebrate Christmas, I hope you enjoy the end of year break.

And to all, stay safe.

Love and hugs
Rachel x

Tuesday 21 December 2021

A Monarch A Month - Anne

Hi all!

It's now time for monarch number 31, Queen Anne. Here she is, resplendent in royal purple (although I do think with her 'wand' she looks more like a fairy godmother than a queen!):

Anne from Kings and Queens by Bothy Threads
Started - 5th December 2021
Finished - 10th December 2021
Total stitching time - 7 hours 5 minutes

Anne's biography wasn't easy to write! I didn't want to write more about the line of succession, but ended up doing that anyway, and certainly didn't intend to summarise her relationship with Sarah Churchill into just a few words. I was also drawn towards her numerous unfortunate pregnancies and spent ages looking at the births, lives and deaths of each of her children. So sad. Coping with even one child death must have been heart-breaking, but to suffer so many... you have to wonder how she coped.

Preceded by William III (brother-in-law and cousin)
Succeeded by George I (second cousin)
Lived - 1665-1714
Reigned - 1702-1714
Married - Prince George of Denmark in 1683
Children - 17 pregnancies, no surviving children
               (7 miscarriages, 5 still births, 4 infant deaths, 1 died aged 11 in 1700) 

Anne became Queen following the death of William III in 1702.

She and George were a devoted couple, Anne taking on her heir/Queen responsibilities and George being content as her loyal husband and supporter. They grieved the deaths of their children together, and Anne was similarly grief-stricken when George died in 1708.

Despite being blighted by gout, and often unable to walk, Anne was a popular Queen who took a genuine and serious interest in politics, the military and the arts. 

However, because of her lack of political affiliation, and her closeness to personal 'favourites' Sarah Churchill and, later, Abigail Hill, Anne was often criticised for being weak and too easily influenced by those around her.

In 1707 the Act Of Union was signed, uniting Scotland and England as 'Great Britain'. Not only was this beneficial for economic and trade purposes, it also meant that Scotland had to accept Anne's heir as outlined in the 1701 Act Of Settlement (up until then Scotland had had its own Parliament and could choose its own monarch, which England feared could be Anne's ousted Catholic father James II, or her half-brother James Stuart).

Anne died in 1714 following a stroke. She was buried in Westminster Abbey alongside her husband and nine of their ten children (their penultimate child having been buried in St George's Chapel, Windsor).

Despite rumours that she secretly wished her half-brother to succeed her, the 1701 Act Of Settlement was invoked, thus making Anne the last monarch of the House Of Stuart.

So next month, with Sophia, Electress Of Hanover having died two months previously, it was Sophia's son and Anne's second cousin, George I, who claimed the throne and began the House of Hanover.

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 18 December 2021

The Loneliness Of Autumn - 240 hours

Hello everyone!

This is my final update on Leonid Afremov's The Loneliness Of Autumn this year, and as I've reached the 240 hour mark it mean's I've also managed to catch up! Yay!!!

I started this 10 hour stint by finishing 743, medium yellow, on the final 6 pages, meaning that 10 out of 83 colours have been stitched. Here are the comparison pictures between the end of the ninth and tenth colours where you can see the addition of a lot more yellow, especially around the lights. This is at 45.53% complete after 236 hours and 30,323 stitches:

With four of the ten hours left I was able to start on the next colour, 606, bright orange-red. I started back at the top, completing pages 1 and 2 and the top halves of 3 and 4 (out of 16 pages). The new colour is similar to, and mostly in the same areas as, the red already stitched. You can see a bit of difference in the branches on the right:

My calculations tell me that the remainder of 606 should just about carry me through the next 10 hours.

Take care,
Rachel x

Thursday 16 December 2021

2000 Days

Good morning everybody!

I'm not intending this to be a bragging post or anything, just wanted to share with you the fact that yesterday marked my 2000th unbroken day of stitching - that's every day since 25th June 2016. And had it not been for missing the previous day (hurrrumph!) this could have stood at 2,541, or every day since 1st January 2015.

Sometimes, especially over the last couple of years, finding time has been difficult, but sheer stubbornness prevented me breaking this streak - I would pick up my needle every day, no matter what, even if only for five minutes.

I am exceptionally grateful that my lifestyle allows me to stitch every night; if I was someone who needed more than six hours of sleep to function, this days-in-a-row tally would have stopped long ago!

So here's to the next 1000 days which, if you're interested will take me to 10th September 2024. I wonder if I can do it???

Take care,
Rachel x

Friday 10 December 2021

Link-up For Fully Finished Gallery SAL - December 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 three FFOs this month. All three are framed pieces, finished with simple frames and anti-reflective glazing from my usual online framer, 

First up is Spotted Owls from the Young'uns collection by Gloria and Pat. This was finished way back in May 2018 and was one of the oldest pieces in my Box Of Shame. The frame is 15mm Wenge, a sort of browny-black colour which is slightly darker than the branch the owls are perched on:

Second is Midnight Manor by Waxing Moon Designs. This is another long-term Box Of Shame resident, having been in there since in October 2018. For this one I chose a simple 13mm painted black frame:

Third is the very-recently finished In The Gloaming by Whispered By The Wind. This is in a 12mm dark grey painted frame and was an absolute PITA to frame! Not only is the fabric evenweave but it had slightly stretched at the bottom, which meant getting all four sides straight without any puckering took absolutely ages and lots and lots and lots of patience! Even now, the side railings aren't quite vertical so I just have to believe that the heavy ravens have bent them over time!

I do admit I framed a fourth piece, but I'm saving that for January, just in case I don't manage any FFOing over the Christmas period!

Now it's your turn.

Please link-up using the URL of your FFG SAL post, 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 December.

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And please don't forget to follow other links and see what fellow fully-finishers have been up to; you might even get an idea or two.

Next month sees the beginning of a new year of the FFG SAL. The new logo has been designed and will be available on my sidebar soon.

January's post will start off with a summary of your 2021 FFOing achievements, which means I'd better have caught up with all my blog reading by then!

As usual, it will go live on 10th January at 6am UK time. Hope to see you there!

Take care,
Rachel x

Tuesday 7 December 2021

The Loneliness Of Autumn - 230 hours

Hello everyone!

Here's another update on Leonid Afremov's The Loneliness Of Autumn, which I am SALing with Leonore. I'm now at the 230 hour mark and now shouldn't have a problem catching up by the end of the year. Yippee!!

This time I started a new colour, 743 medium yellow, and finished pages 1-10 out of 16. To point out where the colour is, as it's not all that obvious, there's some between the branches in the top right and top left, a little bit above and behind the bench, but mostly it's around the lights, making the white glows look more rounded.

Here are comparison 220 and 230 hour photos:

Next time I should finish 743 on pages 11-16 and start on a new colour. I won't tell you which one it is, but will just say it's a perfect colour for the time of year!

Take care,
Rachel x

Saturday 4 December 2021

People's Choice SAL - Fancy Finishes

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 Fancy Finishes.

So 'Fancy Finishes' could be interpreted two ways, the stitching itself being finished off fancily (with beads perhaps?) or the way the finished design has been fully finished off. I'm going to go with the latter since, apart from adding maybe a few beads or a bit of Etoile, none of my stitched pieces are particularly 'fancy'.

Those of you who know me will know that fully-finishing off is something close to my heart. It started a few years ago when I not only felt guilty about the amount of un-finished finishes in my Box Of Shame, but from also noticing that many stitchers tended not to fully-finish off their stitched pieces either.

So I started the FFG SAL, which has resulted in me FFOing over a hundred pieces in the last three years, and other participants finishing nearly one thousand pieces! And amongst them are numerous 'fancy finishes' although, unfortunately not mine!!

My finishes tend to be framed, made into cards or made into simple ornies. But there have been a few which have been a little more fancy.

There are currently three mini pillows which have ruched ribbon (which took ages to gather and attach):

Cookie and Cream (magazine chart)

A Shower by Soda Stitch

A Little Wizard Of The Night by Soda Stitch
(the matching A Little Witch Of The Night is still languishing in The Box)

A few which use tinsel wool, usually two different colours twisted together:

Dark Shadows by Sue Hillis Designs
(you can't really see it on the top ones)

Christmas Cards by Durene Jones (etsy)
(four of the six; the other two will be FFOd soon...)

Gold Star Tree by NandiStitch (etsy)

And even one where I actually attached loads of pom-poms individually rather than use pom-pom trim. I must be mad!

French Country Witch by JBW Designs

But that's about it! I'm not into making purses, or bags etc., and keep saying I want to branch out and try something new in the way of FFOing, but I never do! Maybe I will in 2022...? Hopefully you've all got something a bit more fancier than my finishes to show!

Next month's theme is Designer of 2022 i.e. a designer I am keen to stitch. Argh! Where to start!!!

Take care,
Rachel x

Wednesday 1 December 2021

The Loneliness Of Autumn - 220 hours

Hello everyone!

My intention for November was to stitch two months' worth on The Loneliness Of Autumn, but Naughty November sort of got in the way so I haven't quite caught up yet. But I'm only one month behind, so that's still achievable in December.

This ten hours saw me finish 740, tangerine at exactly the 220 hour mark.

So, first up, the comparison between the 210 and 220 hour marks where I added the 740 tangerine to the bottom half. The reflections of the lights are certainly much more defined:

And then the comparison photos after the end of the 8th and 9th colours. This is now 42.81% complete after 28,512 stitches:

Next up, a new colour! It's 743, medium yellow of which there are 1,811 stitches. These are mostly in the gaps between the white lights and their yellow glows, although there are some scattered among the branches too.

Take care,
Rachel x