Wednesday, 27 April 2011

You Know You're an Addict when...

you look at the clock and realise it's 3:06am and you're still stitching...



Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Two of My Favourites and a Couple More Besides...

I love to stitch for my kids and the cool thing is, that for the moment, they love my stitching too.

They're both learning - I'll show you their stitches one day, doting mama that I am, I think they're pretty awesome.

But, the point of this post, is to show you the four pieces that hang in pride of place in my children's bedrooms.

This is Jacob's birth record.  I started it before he was born.  We knew he was a he and so I picked this well in advance.  Hit a bit of a bump in the road when I slipped down a flight of steps eight weeks before he was born.  Broke my arm.  Basically put the stoppers on any form of stitching for a while there.  I finally ended up finishing it in time for his first birthday.

A Star is Born

This chart came from my all time favourite cross stitch magazine, Quick and Easy Cross Stitch, which sadly, has now been discontinued.  It was a British mag but they changed it when scrapbooking and cardmaking suddenly exploded onto the craft scene.

It's stitched 2 over 2 on 32 ct linen.  The hedgehog's prickles used several different blends. The background took ages.  Thank goodness it was all half stitch or I would have ripped all my hair out before it was done!


I've shown you Lily's "Dreamer" in an earlier post but I love it and I'll show it off again, just because I can!  I was nowhere near as efficient in getting her birth record done.  It was finished not long after her fourth birthday but because of the delay in starting, it's a piece that really reflects her personality.

I stitched these little bears during the time we were trying to get pregnant with Jacob.  He's our little miracle.  It wasn't looking likely that things would happen without intervention and then all of a!

So these are also hanging on Jacob's wall.  He's getting a little old for teddies I suppose but he hasn't complained, so they'll stay as long as he wants them.  Then we'll put them away for his firstborn... sometime in the far distant future... LOL.

Lily was our surprise baby.  She wasn't planned but was a very, very welcome surprise when she did pop along.  Whilst expecting her - and knowing she was a girl - I stitched some more teddies.  This time, my favourite little bear:  Newton.  He's just adorable and I couldn't resist stitching him several times over.


They're growing up, my babies.  Jacob would like me to stitch "Train of Dreams" from HAED.  I guess that'll replace the teddy bears... If I get started now, I might finish in time for his tenth birthday.  Train's a whole lot smaller than Queenie, after all...




ETA: BTW, I cheated on Newton's white spots - I couldn't do French Knots back then, so I used white beads...

Monday, 25 April 2011

Happy Easter and More Progress

A Happy Easter to you all!  We spent Sunday with dear friends doing very little.  The kids had an egg hunt in the back yard, we took them to the park and that was about it.  Loved it.

Saturday night, I made headway on the sampler.  More frogging - aargh! - but it's worth it.  I'm very happy with it so far.  I decided to add all the beads to the top half.  They're such pretty colours that I couldn't resist playing with them.


The chart calls for them to be attached with DMC 822.  I've changed this out for Ecru but decided to attach the beads with YLI invisible thread.

This is all well and good - looks great but have you ever tried to thread a super fine beading needle eye with two strand of invisible thread?  There's a reason this stuff is called invisible thread. It's invisible!!! Well d'uh!

I first used this on the beading for the Letter T so luckily, this time, I knew what I was letting myself in for! LOL.  I recommend you use the loop method to get started.  It's way too hard to keep track of your tails for tacking down on the back - remember, this stuff is invisible! - The bonus is; it's invisible!  You don't need to worry about carrying the thread too far and it being seen through from the back!  I attached all those beads with just two pieces of thread!   Yay me.

Oh, and as for how to thread the needle? Well, it's all in the way you hold your tongue!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Who Let the Frogs Out?

I hate frogging.

Let me say this, right from the outset:  I don't frog.

Well, that's not strictly true.  I don't frog unless I ab-so-lute-ly have no. Other. Option.

Last night, I had no other option.  Couldn't stitch over the top, couldn't add another stitch in.  It was just plain wrong.  I realised when I got to the bottom of the left hand side, that I'd done something wrong on the right hand side.... aaargh!

I really, really tried to figure out how to get around it but in the end, gave in to the inevitable "rip-it, rip-it, rip-it" of those dang frogs.

Lucky for me this is not a big design.  It is loaded with quarter stitches though and they are a pain-in-the-patootie to frog.  Lucky too, for me that I'd decided to do the left before continuing down the right or I would have been a real cranky-pants sometime in the not too distant future.

The final deciding factor in the "to frog or not to frog" decision: This is for my Mum.  I want her to have my best work not my "get it over and done with" work.

So here is my Thursday night *SAL effort on Mum's Pearl and Roses sampler:

Photobucket You can see both sides are lovely and even now.  Both ending in the same spot.  Yay.  I have to say i love the effect of the Corner Stitch.  There are four of these . . . one for each corner.  Fancy that.

Hey, by the way; A big "Thank you" to all of you who have joined me as followers.  I wish you all a blessed and safe Easter.

. . . and lots of yummy Hot Cross Buns and chocolate Easter Eggs!




ETA: * SAL = Stitch-a-long.  This particular one being the cross stitch forum SAL, "Come Stitch With Us."  We stitch Tuesday/Thursday night each week and then post our progress on the forum.  No rules other than: have fun, post photos, don't forget your drool cloths.  We love visitors and anyone else who loves to stitch.  So why don't you "Come stitch with us?"

Thursday, 21 April 2011

New Start.


I'm not supposed to be starting anything new until the UFO's and WiPs are done but this one is an exception . . .

It's for my Mum. That's a good enough excuse.

I'm in Australia.  My family are in Christchurch.  Yes.  Christchurch.  The city that's experienced something like 6000 earthquakes since September last year and now has swallowed up the entire world's supply of chemical toilets and "port-a-loos."  (BTW - that's completely true, no joke.)

My parents are coming to visit me in 7 weeks time.  Right in time for my Mum's birthday.  So as most years I am complete rubbish at getting her anything, this year I decided something special is definitely in order.

I've just started the June, Pearl and Roses Sampler from The Sweetheart Tree.

PhotobucketMy progress thus far, looks something like this:

The process of getting started gave me a little bit of a headache.  When I ordered my supplies from 123, they were all out of Platinum Cashel.  So, I got a little adventurous (for me) and ordered a piece of Vintage Bittersweet Cashel by Lakeside Linens.  It duly arrived and is beautiful.  A stunning piece of fabric.

I got all my bits out.  Chucked them all down for a floss toss and thought - blah.  It just looked blah.  Very upset.  I just wanted to get started.  So, boring as it may seem, I finally ended up using a  piece of antique white Belfast from my stash.  I've changed out the 822 pearle and floss for ecru and suddenly it's not blah any more :)

The design has plenty of beads for bling and a yummy Threadworx variegated "shortcake" that I'm looking forward to using.  So I'll save my Vintage Bittersweet for something else equally special.  Don't know what.  Something will come up - doesn't it always?




PS: I'm sorry my photos are not great.  Camera's not happy and phone doesn't take the best shots... need to get it sorted asap.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

This Week...

I hit the 3000 stitch mark on Queenie.  Sounds like a lot but there's such a long, long way to go yet.  I've got another thousand stitches before I even make it to halfway through the first page...

3000 Stitches 13/04/11
Queen of Hearts.  3000 stitches.
Don't get me wrong though.  I'm really enoying working on Queenie.  The whole monochromatic thing is a new experience for me though.  So far this is all Black 310, and Purple 154.  There's a smattering of "Back Stitch Brown" 3371 and five, yes, count them if you can, five stitches in... oh rats, another colour that has just escaped my brain.

My last two major finishes were both Stoney Creek pieces.  The first was my daughter's birth record.  For such a small design it had huge number of colours.  More than Queenie by a long shot!  I think it was 72 different colours, 28 were different shades of green!  Can we say CONFETTI to the MAX!  Here it is:
Stitched on Antique White Belfast.

Beads, Kreinik BF's, a bazillion quarter stitches... I loved every stitch... although, I do admit to getting a bit bogged down when I was doing the confetti at the bottom.

I finished Beautiful Dreamer in 2010.

Early this year, I hauled out an ancient UFO.  I've made a resolution not to start anything new until I've finished all my WIP's and UFO's.  I think I need to amend that to "don't start any new MAJOR project" as I've already started some new bits and pieces. (I guess I've just found the topic for my next blog post)

So this ancient UFO.  Well, I started it back last century - really ancient, LOL.  1996 to be exact.  My flatmate at the time chose it.  It was supposed to be for her 21st but somewhere along the way, she disappeared off the radar so I put it away.  It was never a favourite of mine back then but in finishing, I discovered a love for it so I'm quite happy that I get to keep it!

I intend to get it framed and hang it in my music room.

Finished! 28 Jan 2011

Again, it's a Stoney Creek.  50-odd colours, heaps of confetti, quarter stitches, back stitching, BF's and Gold Cord.

This means that my venture into the world of HAED is only daunting because of the sheer size of the undertaking.  The stitching itself is easier than even my very first cross stitch.  It had quarter and three-quarter stitches on aida!  No-one told me to start on something small, LOL.



Friday, 15 April 2011

Naughty Me!

The Lilybug and I went to my (not-so-local) LNS today, on a whim. Everything there is ridiculously expensive, you'll find this to be my pet whinge about cross stitching supplies in Oz and NZ.  The Crewel Gobelin is a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL, store but as a general rule I won't even consider buying anything.

Today, I wanted to look at linen colours IRL. Every computer monitor gives a different impression of the colour and I didn't want to buy something on-line and then find out it was not at all what I wanted.

Well, I found the linen colour I want. Happy me. DH will probably get it from 123 for me for Mother's Day. I made the "mistake" of looking in the off-cuts bin for fabric. Came away with two stunning pieces of Blue Whisper Belfast linen, they have a gorgeous subtle mottled dye to it, one piece more so than the other, both 18" x 27" (Woo Hoo - Mira, L&L and PR designs standard size) and a piece of 25ct lugana that will fit "Train of Dreams" perfectly. Not that I'm planning on starting Train in the near future. Haven't even bought the chart yet, but Jaba has requested Train and I haven't stitched anything for him since he was a baby.

Anyways... as I was paying for the fabric I happened to notice the Gloriana Silks were half price... still pricey for me but so beautiful to look at. Shop Lady points out the bowl on the counter at this point "Have you seen these?" Well, no, I hadn't, but now we're in trouble! A bowl full of silks... beautiful Caron silks... for only $2 each. They'd normally be selling for at least four times that here and double in the US. There were also some Gloriana silks and some of Crescent Colours used in Nora Corbett's alphabet fairies for only $1. ONE dollar???!!! NO WAY was I leaving them behind. So I took the lot...


I only went to see what colour "Bo-peep" is IRL...



I did exercise SOME self restraint - the other half of the bowls' contents: gloriana silk ribbons. SO pretty. I left them behind.
So tonight, I'm on a silken thread high... Now what can I do with them...

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Time for a Happy Dance!

I finished my first Nora Corbett/Mirabilia piece on Monday!

I started the "Letters from Nora" T last year.  I couldn't finish her once our Australian summer arrived as hand-dyed floss and sweaty hands just don't go well together.  Now the weather has cooled down and the horrible humidity is no more, I was able to get all the beading done.

My sister's birthday is at the end of April, I really wanted it finished in time.

And here she is:


Monday, 4 April 2011

I Must be Mad...

Right now, I'm working on a huge piece called "Queen of Hearts" from Heaven and Earth Designs.  It has a total of 317 500 stitches.  I'm estimating it'll be finished in time for my DH's 60th birthday - in 15 years time!  I started her at the beginning of March.  Now at the beginning of April I've completed 1600 stitches... yup, right on track for that 15 year target.  At the moment it looks like nothing but a square of black.  I assure you though, there are three different colours meandering their way through that square... really, truly, there are!

1600 stitches 25/03/11
"Queenie"  1600 stitches in.

I'm stitching her on 32 count antique white Lugana.  '1 over 1'.  So, this means that in a 1 inch square, you'll find 1024 stitches... apparently I'm a mad woman with a death wish for my eyesight.  Actually, the real reason for stitching her on such small count fabric - she's huge.  By stitching on a smaller count fabric, I not only end up with a finished piece several inches smaller but I save dollars on fabric and floss and framing!  Saving dollars is important: means I can spend those saved $$$ on . . . more stash!



Sunday, 3 April 2011

My First Ever Blog Post

You know what?

I've never understood the desire some people have to document for the world,  the goings on of their day to day life.

I've never kept a diary, except for one year in High School - I found said dairy not so long ago. I read a couple of pages and nearly died of embarrassment!  A few minutes later, I lit the fire and had a ceremonial burning.  I just pray that Mum never gave in to the temptation of reading that diary.  There was nothing incriminating within its' pages - My teenage years were very well behaved actually - it was just so full of horrendous teenage angst that I embarrassed myself reading it!

So I guess the question becomes: Why decide to start blogging now?

I still have no desire to document my day to day doings for strangers to read.  I'm a mum, a wife, a music teacher, a lousy housekeeper and an avid reader.  These things will be of next to no interest to most of you.  The real reason I've started this blog is to keep track of my addiction hobby; Cross Stitch.

My chill out and relax time, such as it is, is spent cross stitching. My spare pennies, when I have them, go on new charts, specialty threads or embellishments and my latest discovery: Hand dyed fabric.

I have enough in my stash to last a lifetime, yet still I find myself adding to wishlists here and filling on-line shopping carts there... (I feel this is the best time for a plug for my favourite on-line store 1-2-3-Stitch They are awesome!)

So, I'm going to keep track of my stitching - and my stash - here.

If you've decided I'm worthy of "following" I thank you.  I'll try not to bore you to death.  If I lead you further down the path of your own addiction, I'm sorry but please don't sue me - I'm more than happy to enable another addict in the art of cross stitch.  In fact, I'd love you to "show me yours" too!

Well, there we have it.  My first blog post.  Not too bad I guess... I'll be back in a bit.