Saturday, 31 December 2011

Here's to a stitchy New Year

As I bid a fond farewell to 2011 I wish you all the best for 2012. I will never forget 2011 as it gave me my wonderful little boy who I can't believe will be 1 year old in a few months!!! Where does the time go.

Santa brought me plenty of stitchy gifts- mostly which are for my crazy 15 - I can't wait to get started!!!!!
In addition to that he got me a kindle which has shamed me into get cracking on with my reading, rather than stitching, which is a massive stash to rival my stitching stash. Mostly fantasy books but I think there is around 80 - oh my!!!

I think on your recommendations I'm gonna order a Q snap frame and see how that goes, so thanks for the advice.

On Christmas day Vinnie decided to stand all by himself not holding onto anything. Which got whoops of excitement from me and my MIL. He hasn't done it since but what a Christmas present. He had a blast on Christmas day and even had a full 3 course dinner followed by a long nap of course. Need a big reorganise of the house as it's full of toys!

So I've been saving my excitement for stitching ready to start my crazy 15 tomorrow so watch this space! I have no idea what kind of mess this is going to get me into but it sure does seem fun. I'm normally a one at a timer so for me this really really is a crazy challenge. I just hope by the end of the 15 days I have myself a plan of action cos I'm sure I'll have new project blindness by then and not know where to start!

Keep stitching...

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Frames? Hoops? or Clips?

I'm looking for some stitchy advice this week.

I've mostly been up to festivities rather than much stitching but I've had a great time. I'm super excited for Christmas day now with it being my son's first Christmas!!!

I can't wait to get started on my crazy January projects.

My best friend gave me some sew and so vouchers and I've been looking into frames etc. I used to use a floor stand with a huge elbsee easy clip frame but my stand has succumbed to wear and tear and now lists badly as the middle post is threaded in the wood. Anyway I think that is for the best, as a floor stand would just be a hazard with my now increasingly mobile and inquisitive tot.

But I'm really struggling with a 26 inch easy clip balanced on my lap. I've been considering delving into the loft looking for my old hoops, but I ditched them because of the nasty marks that appear and are a pain to get out on large projects. So I was wondering what you all use? Got any recommendations for me.

I keep looking at these type of clip frames.
9" x 9" Plastic Snap Frame

But I'm not sure if these are any good for large projects would the clips crush stitches for moving it around?

A very merry Christmas to you all and I hope santa leaves lots of stitchy gifts under your tree.

Keep Stitching...

Friday, 16 December 2011

Cute cards and Christmas holidays

Mostly this week I have had a dash on and completed a side project of a new baby card for friends.

I think its totally adorable. I did use some glissengloss blended with the darker pink on the bear and the hearts in the corner. Why do sparkles not snap well its so annoying!!! I flapped about on Sunday wondering if I had the time to do but it's stitched up really quick. I do think its good for stitch mojo doing these spur of the moment projects. The design is from an old issue of Crossstitcher that I had on the shelf. I love the bright pink felt that a stash dive produced gives it a bit of zing. I'm not a huge fan of the washed out baby colours, for my son his room was filled with rainbow primary style colours which I love better.

I should have more stitch time from now for the next 2 weeks seen as school has broke up for the holidays!!! Yippee and not a moment too soon as the end of term is always crazy busy in the office.

Its started to snow this morning so is starting to feel really festive.

No pic of Starry night this week it kinda got abandoned for the card and that I was so tried I didn't have the energy for concentrating lol.

I've updated a page for my crazy january challenge so check that out!

Keep stitching...

Friday, 9 December 2011

Busy times and SAL sign ups

I've been having a busy few weeks the last few, with being back to work, sorting Christmas shopping and other festive goings on. So stitching has been on the back burner but I'm really hoping to knuckle down soon. I haven't really had time for much blog hopping but got caught back up last night and realised I'd missed you guys!! Here's my meagre progress for the last week on Starry Night.

I've been still sorting through and looking at challenges for next year and I couldn't decide what I want to stitch next, I have so many I want to do. So in blog hopping I saw Xeihua (Sara)'s post about all the SAL's she is joining and got me thinking.

So I've joined the Crazy January challenge join here starting 15 means I don't have to decide what to stitch so much as just make a start on it all.

I'd already signed up for TUSAL join here as this was the first SAL I encountered in my new web stitchy world.

I'm also going to sign up to WIPocalypse join here so that I can add the Starry Night my current WIP to the 15 and also I want to get a UFO that was never meant to be a UFO out.

I'm going to have to get organised over the next few weeks and work out a system for it all

Phew that's enough planning I need a rest and get some stitching done lol

Keep stitching...

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Riolis Rescue Yippeee!!!!

I can't express how happy I am. After many days of getting annoyed with tangling threads on my Riolis Starry Night kit I'm currently on with - problem solved!! I got so annoyed the other day I checked out their website and filled in their feedback form saying how I was loving the kit but the constant tangles were causing me so much bother. And they replied the very next day!!!!!
Good Day!
Thank you for your letter and kind words!
You don't have to wind the bundles onto bubbins, probably that's the reason your threads tangle so much. We recommend to unwind the bundle till it's made a full circle, then cut the circle in half, and you will have a bunch of threads approximately 1 m. long - perfect for stitching! Fold a thread in half and it's ready to go.
Please don't be worried about the amount of threads in the kit. As a rule we provide extra threads (+40%) just to be on a safe side. But if you face any problems, please feel free to write to us, we will gladly send you more threads.

What stella customer service! I have to admit I've been shaking my head thinking why did I not think of that but problem solved. Means less time untangling and more time stitching yippee!!

So here's my progress from last week.

There's also a bit on their website about why they use wools why use wool

So all in all I'm much happier with my Riolis kit now!

Keep Stitching...

Saturday, 26 November 2011

TUSAL and naughty felines

I've signed up for next year's TUSAL but I'm getting into good habits so here is this month's
I only started it on the 1st so not bad going. It's not very colourful it's full of black mostly from backstitch and the start of the Starry night. My cat Dot is here 'helping' as she has been all day. She has ran off with threads, sat on my stitching and just generally made a nuisance of herself today. Love her to bits though.

I've also finished the X stitch for another of the christmas houses so just one more to do then I'm on with making them up.

While out shopping I saw the cutest advent calendar, it was a garland with 25 little stockings hung along it with the numbers on, so you could put your own little gifts in them. It was one of those moments I looked and thought I can make one of those but as the hubby pointed out its only 4 days till December. Not that that stops me with madcap spur of the moment projects normally lol.

Actually enjoyed being back at work for the half days but did miss my little man like crazy. Sure Monday will be the big test as I'm in whole days from then.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Festive Frenzy

Progress is going slow but steady on the Starry Night, I'm just working on the first page of four. I've had a busy week of stitching distractions.

I'm just starting back work after my maternity leave just doing a couple of half days this week to get back in the swing of things and then back proper next week. So that's gonna be a shock to the system I'm sure!

The other thing that is consuming my time is my DS has decided that crawling wasn't very exciting and is now pulling himself up to stand as well. I'm super proud of course but this comes with alsorts of new challenges especially bumps as he seems to think that he can just get up and walk off!! So nothing is safe now and I'm working on using those eyes in the back of my head lol!

I'm also getting distracted drooling over stitching stuff I want Santa to bring for me. It's a hard balance between getting charts and the stuff to complete them. So I've been looking at all my wish lists and had my threads out to start working out what I need to complete what. I have already ordered HAED Middle Earth which I was totally tempted to get thanks Ewa ( It'll go quite nicely with the anniversary editions of LOTR and The Hobbit that should also be in the big man's sack to go under my tree this year.

I'm totally in love with these little things too. I keep finding myself looking at the web page for ages!
Crimson Hearts and Silver Bells

I saw them in a magazine, there's a full range of different designs and they are just the cutest. It's just a question of what order the list goes in and how the numbers crunch to what I'm ordering lol.

So excited for Christmas it's unreal!! Can't wait to take my DS to see Santa!!

Keep Stitching...

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

True love and tangled threads

I have made decent progress on stuff this week considering that I haven't done much the last couple of days as I have been away for my sister's wedding.

Here's the sampler I stitched for it, I did this at the beginning of the year to make sure I definitely had it done with not knowing how much time I would have to stitch with my son arriving in March.

I let my sister pick which kit she wanted as I had asked if she wanted a sampler. Sometimes I worry if people get sick of stitchy gifts. She's a huge Tatty Ted fan so this is one she picked. It was a pretty easy stitch (only took a week to complete) but is very cute and I'm sure it'll look great in their home.

I have made a start on my small project. It the freebie kit from Crossstitcher magazine 244 the little Christmas houses. I'd been dying to do them when they came but I decided to be focused and get other stuff finished first. I've stitched the cross stitch for the first one. So got 2 more to do and then make them up.

Progress is coming along nicely on Starry Night despite a few initial grumbles with the Riolis kit.

Even though its only 2 colours I'm loving the vividness of it so far. And it seems to be stitching up well as the chart is easy to follow.

When I first opened the kit I wasn't impressed with the thread being more wool than cotton. These were all in little bundles as well with just a shade card.
I ended up with a right tangle situation with the first bundle I used, spent nearly a whole day trying to untangle and I still haven't done it. I tried to wind another one onto a bobbin card that I use for my DMC cottons but that got tangled too. I was nearly cursing the whole kit and chucking it in a corner; when my DH gave me a hand so we sat side by side on the sofa watching TV with my DH with his hands out front with the loop of wool over his hands while I wound it onto the bobbin giggling at the sight of us. But ah that's true love!!

Seen as I'm still full of cold along with my DS and DH I think I'm gonna cosy up on the sofa and get stuck back in after my little break.

Keep stitching...sniff sniff

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Time is not on your side

Seen as I've started new projects the other day I haven't really much to show at the moment but watch this space. So I thought I'd post the first of my many archived pieces.

This one is a clock that I designed to commemorate the 10th anniversary of my father's priesting. I wanted to stitch him something special. It is probably the first time I had done a bit of designing myself. It started from seeing a clockworking in a NS so I picked it up and set my brain ticking thinking what to do with it.

I took some pics of the Cuthbert Cross which he likes and he was priested at Durham Cathedral where Cuthbert was buried. I also had a pattern template that my mother used to design the silk and gold work ones she stitched on his stoles.

 I then spent many painstaking hours hand charting it. I do have a computer software program but it never seems to make them how I would like. I hate the way that it pixalates the image and those type of charts do my noggin in. I spent many hours with the papers on the window tracing and retracing till I got it right.
 I then stitched the design on black Aida. Love the contrast it gives and makes the colours pop! I used gold metallic thread for the main outlines to give it a richness.
 The quote is from one of my dad's college lecturers when he was studying theology, one of those quotes that really stuck with him. And this was the perfect quote for my ambitious idea of finishing that I had had for this. It also is one that will resonate with every stitcher!!

I added a Celtic border from a book didn't think that designing that was a necessity seen as there are so many already out there. I also added the dates to and from in the top corners. And turned my piece into a wonderful clock that sits in my father's study.

Making the stitching into the clock was the scariest part of finishing a cross stitch I have ever encountered. In adding the clockwork you need to drill   - Yes I said it DRILL a hole through the middle of the stitching. If ever there was a time to not mess up it was now!! It was then housed in a box frame.

Luckily all went well and the finished clock is a thing of beauty!

I think someday I'll have to be brave and make another cross stitch clock.

Keep stitching

Monday, 7 November 2011

Another day, another finish..

I'm on fire at the mo lol. After finishing the Mr Men height chart I've now finished the Christmas bauble.

I'm really pleased with it. I think its much more special and personal than the bought printed baubles you get for a baby's first Christmas.

This is the final side that needed doing and then I've added all the trimming on. This was the second stitching of this as I had already started it before I managed to get coffee everywhere!!

So here's the full set of close ups.

The front piece of silk had got a splash of coffee across it but I used a bit of coffee to stain it an even colour so it just looks a richer gold than it did before.

The hardest bit of making the baubles is getting the hole through the middle of the polystyrene ball. It takes some effort to get it through and even more to get the hole in the centre. I use an 8 inch mattress needle from an upholstery set of needles I got. It does the job great but always seems a bit scary sure I'll end up with it through my finger!!!

 Here's a peek in my Christmas bauble box from my stash. This contains christmassy fabrics, floral pins, sequin pins, upholstery needles, polystyrene balls, trimmings, ribbon, tassels and bells.
So my house is slowly filling up with Christmas decorations but it would be no point putting them away so close to getting them back out now would it? At least that's my excuse anyways!!!

Keep stitching..

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Watching my Mr Small become Mr Tall...

Well today's been an exciting day of finishing!! So I've got a blog full of pics

Last night I finished the backstitch on the Mr Men Height Chart.

I'm really pleased with it and the characters look so cute. Here's a closer look at them all...

My husband always asks what Mr Tickle is doing to Mr Happy....I just shake my head lol

So today I have had the sewing machine out and backed it; I added an eyelet at the top (well the hubby did the hammering) so all that needs sorting is it hanging in my son's room. Then I can watch my Mr Small become a Mr Tall!!

It would have nice for the kit to have come with at least a suggestion on finishing it. But apart from that was a wonderful stitch and I just adore the bold colours.

In having all this on the go today, means that I have a good stash rummage especially in my favourite two boxes.
The top one being my finishings/ sewing machine type stuff and the bottom one is my beloved boxes of DMC cottons all organised and various bits of fabric ready for what ever the mood takes me. My mother started me out with the first one of the thread boxes and I have added and added to it over the years.

However I have found I have a massive amount of kits still piled in another box. Dunno how I'm going to ever find the time to complete them all and know that there will be more getting added with Christmas just around the corner!!! But it's too hard to resist asking Santa to add to the stash.

This isn't counting any UFO's, small freebie kits from magazine's and other charts I have ear marked,

 I know that I'm going to stitch the Van Gogh- Starry Night next. Love the design but it's from a manufacturer I haven't used before so we'll see how it goes.

Maybe I'll have a think and set myself some challenge for the new year? Any ideas for maximising productivity?

Keep stitching...

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Progress is going well on the Mr Men chart I'm on with the back stitch.
The backstitch has to be the most rewarding part of a project as it brings it all into focus.
The cross stitch was fairly straight forward with each mr men like a mini project so made for a satisfying stitch.

I did have to do a little frogging though as I ironically made my Mr Tall a little too tall!!!

The other great thing that backstitching means the project is almost complete so I get goosebumps with the excitement of thinking about what project is next.

The next thing lined up for my large project is Starry Night. Haven't done much on the bauble since coffeegate since I need to stash dive for a new bit of fabric for the last piece. I then should really finish the Hungry Caterpillar Quilt I'm making for my son. I started it at the beginning of the year but my baby bump was getting in the way so it got shelved for a bit.

I'm also thinking of going off and rummaging for a TUSAL jar and join you all in collecting up my ORT probably better than all over the chair arm as they end up currently lol

Keep stitching xxx

Friday, 28 October 2011


Well I haven't really had chance to sit down with the needle for a little while but I'm planning on settling down to some tonight with a scary movie. I have however been up to a few other Seasonal craft activities. I'm always off on little side projects but I always come back to those lovely little XXX's. So meet Frankenkin

I've carved a pumpkin for a few years now. Cos its fun and I get to make pumpkin pie yummy!

I've also made a pom pom/ pipe cleaner bat and spider mobile which my mother in law turned up with for my son but he's too little so of course I had to make it up for him lol.

Only the glue in the kit wouldn't fix anything, good job I'm a crafter so I grabbed my tub of Copydex that will stick all manner of craft materials. It was always what my grandma used and I would agree is a must for all craft boxes - that and double sided sticky tape.

Have a happy Halloween

Keep stitching

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

A good snapshot stops a moment from running away. ~Eudora Welty

Well I have to say I'm rather enjoying all that starting this little blog has brought about. Love that I've found a whole world of fellow X stitch addicts out there. No doubt its gonna be fatal - sooner or later I'm gonna see all your lovely stitching and set off adding more things to my already long stitch list lol

My biggest tip to anyone starting stitching would have to be always take loads of photo's. I have done this for years but there are some projects I have no lasting memento of. Most of my stitchings end up as gifts etc so the photos are all that's left at the end to say I stitched that!

 I have 2 albums with cross stitch and craft photos in but they don't really get out apart from when I try to show them to some poor relative or other visitor who hasn't really got any interest and just says that's nice. But this has led me to start up this blog not knowing if anyone would really read any of my stitching babble. And to my amazement and joy I have found a whole other world how exciting!!!!(not that my hubby is enjoying my new computer hogging habits)

The other reason photos are a must is that some projects you just don't get any sense of actually how well they are coming along from always being so close up. So when you take a photo it gives you a little bit of distance and the progress you are making stands out more. I do this mostly on those photo real pixaled type projects! They are a real love hate they look amazing when finished but the jumble of colours and pixalation just frustrates the hell out of me and you can't see or imagine that any kind of picture is going to ever emerge!! But one little snap and its like a different project. I think there are a few I've done that if I hadn't been photographing they would have become those dreaded ever lurking in the stitch stash UFO's (thanks for the lingo

I'll be sure to go through my back catalogue over time cos behind every photo there's always a story!

Keep stitching

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Christmas comes early

My main stitch this year has been one I've had on my stitch list for ages, fell in love with it as soon as I saw it. So hear it is Joan Elliot's Father Christmas from issue 177 of Cross Stitch Collection which is from 2009.
I decided to bring this to the top of my stitch list after stitching 2 bulldogs followed by a Tatty Ted I was screaming out for some colour to stitch! And this definitely gave me plenty of that. It took me about 7 months to complete which is not bad considering I started this stitch just before my son came along and I think it went well and truly on the back burner for a while. I love all the detail in this design.

 The sack of toys think was my favourite bit to stitch as I stitched each present at a time. All the metallic extras and beading give it a real Christmassy feel. I'm planning on backing it with some fabric to make it into a banner. So it is easy to roll up and store with the Christmas decorations. I think he's going to stick around from now until Christmas though seems rude to put him away for such a short time after I have spent most of the year with him on the stand, making my hubby sing Christmas carols in June lol

I received my new copy of Cross Stitch Collection the other day and what luck! Joan Elliot's newest design Madonna and child is just going to be the perfect companion piece so this will be going on my stitch list but I've got a few things that a still ahead of it at the moment. I'm a big fan of Joan Elliot's designs having done a few of hers now.

Loving the fact that the chart is a fold out so its all on one page as my 2009 copy with Father Christmas is looking rather dog eared pages falling out the lot.
So if your looking for a large traditional style Santa then this one is a must, and will be gracing our home every Christmas for years to come. If your looking to get a hold of a copy of the chart it can be found more recently in The Ultimate Joan Elliot Cross Stitch Collection bookazine. Which has added about 10 years onto my stitch list lol.

Keep stitching..

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Disaster strikes


I've just somehow managed to spill an entire cup of coffee over my work basket!! Could have cried and am now hanging my head in shame at the whole debacle.

Luckily the Mr Men kit was on the sofa as I'd lifted it out earlier phew!

The bauble only got minimal splashing as I dived for it first. But the silk panel I think is going to have to be completely coffee stained so it matches rather than having a discoloured edge, cos there is no way I'm gonna get it out without making it worse off the silk.

Once I got to the bottom I've been lucky and there is a couple of magazines soaked, my little book of stitch wishes, a bit of fabric, and some threads which are now drying on the radiator.

The only thing of note is the final panel of the bauble but I had only just started it so hopefully I have a bit more fabric and that can be replaced.

So calm is now restored and I think I'll be getting my next cuppa in a lidded beaker lol

So far....

I haven't really had much chance to sit down with the needle and thread for a little while not easy finding the time with a 7 month old baby. Not that I'm complaining of course just its an addiction and I find my fingers twitching when I haven't had some cross stitch time lol.

Here's where I'm up to with the Mr Men Height Chart:
Still got about another four Mr Men to add and a ton of backstitch but it seems to be coming along pretty fast so hopefully you'll get a completed picture soon!!

I'm still on with the bauble for my son as well. It's very nearly complete

The first side I have stitched name and date onto some silk. I did this by writing it on with a pencil and stitching over the top. I used some scrap fabric I had in my stash for the background pieces I think its scraps off one of my dad's waistcoats. I think I get funny looks when I collect up wastage from other people's projects but I know one day I know I'll find a use for it. I have quite a few tubs under the bed of all the bits and bobs I have collected up over the years. I get this from my grandma, she used to have a cupboard full of stuff and always put all sorts in her bag in case we could use them for 'crafty' later even the empty milk pots you get with your coffee in cafes. She wasn't wrong though they made many hats for Barbie!

These are the completed sides of cross stitch I think they are looking rather good. I got the motifs from an old book '101 Christmas minis book 2' by Holly DeFount. I inherited this from my mother, who no longer cross stitches. I've had it on my shelf for many years now and who knew they are the perfect size for these baubles. It was just meant to be! I have the last side still to do and then there is just the trim to put on to cover the joins.

Well I'm off now to get on with one of these while my son is still napping :)