Thursday, 30 April 2015

April Achievements and May Goals

Plans for April

Evidence of the below can be seen with updated WIP pics here:
  • Stitch on Plum Pudding from 1st - 7th April as part of my SAL with Nic - Done!
  • Continue stitching on Golden Daisy goldwork project - Done, though only managed a bit of chipwork
  • Stitch and finish my April freebie project for Operation Threadporn - Done - two freebie projects completed!
  • Stitch the April Hardanger square for Operation Threadporn - Done!
  • Complete Block 2 of Box of Delights - Done!
  • Complete parts 5 to 8 of Confetti of Hardanger - Done - Parts 1 to 9 complete!
And just for fun, here is how all that looks in a pie chart a la Jo :)
Days spent stitching in April
8 days passed with no stitching!
May Goals
  • Complete Block 3 of Box of Delights (outlines already completed)
  • Stitch on Plum Pudding from 1st - 7th May as part of my SAL with Nic
  • Continue stitching on Golden Daisy - aiming to work on it at least once a week instead of the few hours I've put into it in two months!
  • Complete parts 10 - 14 of Confetti of Hardanger
  • Jodyri Butterfly - Complete at least the first two lines of text
  • Stitch the May Hardanger square for Operation Threadporn
  • Stitch and finish my Operation Threadporn freebie project for the month by Le Chalet des Perelles
  • If I feel the need for a new start, pick from one that is fully kitted from this list
A big thank you to everyone that stops by my blog and especially to those who comment, I try and reply to everyone via email.  If you haven't received a reply, it's probably due to the fact that you are a no reply blogger (which you can change if you want to), I just wanted you to know that I appreciate all of your comments too (I know where to track most of you down lol)!
Happy Stitching!

Monday, 27 April 2015

April Operation Threadporn Report

It's that time of the month again to report on how I have got on with my monthly thread challenge!

For my April SOTW hardanger square this month I choose to use mainly DMC perles in their variegated and variations series - not everything I do has to use hand dyed :) (although they don't count towards my thread challenge totals).  I stitched portuguese ladder stitch for the first time and I also had to stitch what I refer to as" maggot stitch" - aka bullion knots, which I hate!  Fortunately I had a straw needle large enough to take #8 perle, so that made them a bit easier, though they are still one of my most hated stitches lol!

April SOTW Hardanger
I then chose two freebie projects to stitch this month, each of them was only an evening's worth of stitching and I got to use more threads :).  Firstly was the La-d-da Rose Freebie, I chose 28ct Jobelan in Mummies Curse by Polstitches and Valdani and Crescent Colourworks threads and finished it as a little cushion with some of my new fabric stash:
A Rose is a Rose by La-d-da
Valdani Threads: Old Rose, Old Brick, Muddy Monet, Crispy Leaf
Crescent Colourworks: Hickory Sticks

I also stitched the Stitching Days freebie by Glory Bee, this time using 28ct Jazlyn in a pink/yellow solo by Chromatic Alchemy, silks by Thread Pickerz and metallic and beads for a touch of sparkle and turned it into a needle book, with a page for each of the needle types I use:

Stitching Days by Glory Bee
Thread Pickerz Silks: P3 and Fuschia
Pages for beading, chenille, crewel, straw and tapestry needles

So the stats for this month are:

Percentage of hand dyed stash used to date: 9.07%
Number of different stitches used to date:     27
Number of finishes to date:                          14 (8 of which are "finished finished")

Now to think what I want to achieve next month.......

Happy Stitching!

Friday, 24 April 2015

Progress on Confetti of Hardanger

I've been plugging away on the buttonhole stitch border of Confetti of Hardanger this past week and it is finally complete along with parts 5 and 6.  As I said on Instagram, I will never win awards for my buttonhole stitch but it's done!  Stitching white on white and having one hole shared by five stitches in #5 perle isn't always easy and all those corners ugh!

Confetti of Hardanger Parts 1-7
Each of the inner cut squares are a part in themselves, but I think the part that will take the longest will be the final part where I have to cut the whole of the kloster block border and add in doves eyes and buttonhole bars.....think that's a month's work right there!
Here are some close ups of Part 6, wrapped bars:

Confetti of Hardanger Part 6 - Wrapped Bars
And Part 7, woven bars:

Confetti of Hardanger Part 7 - Wrapped Bars
Finally, earlier in the week I had my penultimate delivery of my Jodyri monthly threads and FOTM which is one of my favourite Limited Editions ever - Amethyst (in Brittney Opal):
April Stash
My only stash of this month - the sister induced stash diet is obviously working :)!
Next month sees me get thread number 250 - the last in the regular cottons range at Jodyri.  From June the ten thread a month club will be starting at number one again so an ideal time to join :)!
According to my stitching plan for the month, I have part 8 of CoH and some goldwork to do before month end - as well as "finish finish" my freebie thread challenges pieces for the month, so that should keep me out of trouble!
Happy Stitching!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

A Long Awaited New Start

I thought it was about time that I started watching Poldark - I had six episodes of it on the PVR and as a Cornish maid I figured I'd better check it out.  I usually avoid any dramas where actors attempt to voice a Cornish accent - they inevitably fail and come up with some generic Westcountry "ooo arr where's my tractor" accent which just bugs me.  Friends had assured me that the accents weren't too bad so I took a chance.  It's so funny to see places portrayed on screen that you know like the back of your hand (Charlestown for example) and it makes you realise how much they splice things together for the end result!

What has this to do with stitching?  Well if I was going to have a TV marathon I needed a stitch to accompany it, some easy straight up cross stitch.  I've stitched my Threadporn projects for the month and I can't touch Plum Pudding until May so tragically I had to start something new :).  I have had a certain design in my stash for two years, but kept changing my mind on fabric count and colours - until finally I kitted it up at the end of last year and told myself I couldn't change my mind!

Any of you that are members of the Jodyri Designs FB Group will recognise it as you can find it for free in the group files.  I can't show you what the design looks like as it doesn't have a front cover, only the actual chart but it's called Butterfly Quote.  The quote is "Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over it became a butterfly" and the word butterfly is in the shape of one.

Here is where I've got to, I'm stitching it on 36ct Edinburgh cream linen over 2 and using Jodyri cottons:

Jodyri Butterfly Quote WIP 1
I've chosen Unicorn Magic for most of the text because, well it's purple and the word caterpillar is in (the appropriately named) Poisoned Apple as the colours reminded me of the book The Hungry Caterpillar.  I'll be using The Sunshine State for the butterfly wings and Nevermore for the body.  I may carry on with this over the weekend as well as making a start on the buttonhole stitch border on Confetti of Hardanger which I have been avoiding!
As for Poldark?  When it comes to period dramas it's no Downton and I'm not quite sure what all the fuss is about Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner), I guess it depends on whether you like your Cornishmen dark and brooding (I don't and mine isn't :)).  I would say that the star of the show is definitely the scenery and it makes me realise how very lucky I am to have lived in this little county for all of my life!  I just have to hope that all the millions of people that have been watching Poldark don't all want to come to Cornwall on holiday now - otherwise they'll be no room on the beach for me this summer........emmets ;).
Happy Stitching!

Friday, 10 April 2015

Current Craft Crushes

Right from the outset I want to state for the record that the word "craft" in the title of this post is purely there for alliteration purposes only - the work I am going to mention (IMHO) is most definitely 100% ART!

Next to stitching, one of my other favourite activities is discovering new sources of needlework inspiration, so today I thought I would just share a few things that have set my creativity buzzing recently!

Firstly I am completely in love with the work of Lynn Harrigan, who I discovered thanks to Jo (who discovered it via Mr X Stitch.).  Lynn is working on her Calendar Project where she embroiders the weather and mood at her home each day - you can read more about her project here and see her daily squares by following her Instagram feed @obliquepoet.  I cannot put into words how amazing, beautiful and delicate her work is!

I've been interested to see the rise in popularity of Art Therapy (AKA colouring books for adults), and considered getting kitted up with a few myself - except it would take away from my stitching time, so I quickly dismissed the idea!  However Mary Corbet's article yesterday really caught my attention where she discussed using these books for embroidery inspiration!  I thought is was a fantastic idea and something I definitely want to have a go at!

I've also been swooning a lot over the contents of this book this week:

Such beautiful things on every page and definitely keeps me motivated to perfect my goldwork and embroidery techniques!  On a side note, thank goodness for my local library and free reservations - they've seen a sharp rise in activity on my account lately!  I do have a soft spot for libraries though, seeing as they have, in part, kept me fed and watered these past 15 years lol!
Next up Trish Burr, her incredible work has fascinated me for a while.  I know that needlepainting is and will forever be, completely beyond my skill level, but I still love looking at her amazing work.  I just cannot fathom how so much detail is captured with needle and thread - such talent (not to mention patience!).  However it had completely escaped my notice that as well as needlepainting she has also recently designed a series entitled "Shades of Whitework"  - now that I have a chance at!  This one particularly caught my eye - I wonder why:
You can find Trish's designs for sale via her Etsy Shop and I'm thinking that some of those Shades of Whitework designs will be finding themselves on my Must Stitch list next year!  Incidentally, some of her designs use DMC Floche which is really hard to track down in the UK, so if anyone knows of a UK supplier please let me know, otherwise I'll just have to source it from the US (although I might be able to use Coton a Broder instead - further research required!).
Finally, thanks to Mabel's Blog, I discovered some surface embroidery freebies which I will definitely be having a go at, possibly next month, as I really want to step away from the holes!  Kelly Fletcher's Craftsy Shop has 12 beautiful freebies in her Bloomin' Marvellous series which will be a great way for me to practice my stem stitch, chain stitch, split stitch etc etc.  I'm hoping to get away with using some 40ct linen for them (though I have some linen in my non stitching fabric stash which might suit too) and they are charted in stranded DMCs so that shouldn't be a problem :).

Anyway, there is a little insight into my creative brain for today!  I'm thinking that at the end of this year I will have to have a bit of a craft clearout (queue giveaways on my blog and vlog!).  I feel that some of the cross stitch patterns/charts I've been hoarding need to find new homes as they are holding me back from working on new projects with new techniques.  I'm sure you are all familiar with that feeling of "guilt" we sometimes have over projects we've not stitched!  Fortunately I've never been one for collecting charts, I've always been about the threads which in hindsight works in my favour, as although my needlework tastes are changing, threads are pretty much universal for most projects.  Also for practical reasons it will free up a few drawers for new materials.......possibly metal threads, silk ribbons and crewel wool!  I think I will forever be a threadhead - there is no cure!
If you've reached the end of this blogpost - congratulations!  I love that I have this little space to talk about my needlework passions and inspirations which is something I never felt that I could do on my vlog. So a big thank you to all of you that stop by and read my musings and especially to those of you that comment - I appreciate every one!
Have a great weekend and happy stitching!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Plum Pudding by Glendon Place - April Progress

Nic and I are SALing on Plum Pudding by Glendon Place on 1st -7th of each month, I picked this on up on Friday and here is where I got up to by Tuesday:

Plum Pudding WIP 2
A lot of stitchers have commented on the way I have chosen to stitch this piece - working from the inside out in a round instead of page by page or corner to corner.  I've stitched quite a few mandala designs in my time and I've always found it easier and quicker to stitch identical elements together as by the time you've stitched something for the 4th/8th/12th time you know the pattern by heart!
One of the questions I get asked the most over on my YouTube channel is "How do you stitch with variegated floss?" - to which my (probably unhelpful) answer is "However you like, as long as it looks good to you that's all that matters!".  Of course we all have our preferences, but there are very few rules in stitching and far be it from me to make my methods rules!  In Plum Pudding there is only one really variegated thread out of the six silks used and that's Moonie Ponds.
Moonie Ponds
I have no hard and fast rules on how I choose to use multi-coloured/variegated/overdyed/space dyed etc etc threads, I take it on a project by project basis. I'm a stitcher that doesn't mind the stripey effect you sometimes get when using these threads, I stitch with them vertically, horizontally, in a round, to match the shape - but for areas of Plum Pudding I chose to stitch with Moonie Ponds diagonally, horizontally and vertically!  I wanted the change in colours to go in the same direction as I felt the shape was going - if that makes any sense :).
Plum Pudding Variegation Close Up
I love stitching on this piece - stitching goes so much faster when you are using silks!
Not sure what I will stitch on next, possible my Threadporn projects - here are my thread choices for this month for my SOTW Hardanger square:
April's SOTW threads
Not much in the way of hand dyed threads for this one in April, but there is nothing wrong with good old DMC and I have a mountain of perles to get through!
I couldn't decide between two freebies this month, so decided to stitch them both as they are only small.  One is from La-d-da (you can probably guess which one by my thread colours!) and the other is from Glory Bee in their archives section:
April's Threadporn Freebie Projects' threads
I've picked out hand dyed fabrics for both (Polstitches and Chromatic Alchemy)- I've got them so I might as well use them!  Top threads are a mixture of Valdanis and Crescent Colours and bottom threads are Thread Pickerz silks which were left overs from Twisted Rainbow (I LOVE leftovers!).  The Glory Bee design I've chosen was originally charted in GASTs I think - I've pimped up the design a bit with pink, purple and sparkles :).
Happy Stitching!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Box of Delights - Block Two

This one didn't take long to stitch up as I had already completed the black outlines and border last month, so it only took a couple of hours to add the filling patterns.

Here are my thread choices for Block 2:
Thread choices for Block 2
L-R Top: Bruised Ego PB04, Ruby Slippers PB25, Sherbet Dip
Bottom: Genie of the Ring PB06, Love You Lots, Artic Splash PB38
Here is Block 2 complete:

Block 2
And the piece as a whole so far:

Blocks 1 & 2
Roll on Block 3!  Now it's back to some "serious" stitching on Plum Pudding over the Bank Holiday weekend - I'll be back with an update on Wednesday :).
Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

March Achievements and April Goals

Plans for March:
  • Start and stitch on Plum Pudding by Glendon Place from 1st -7th March as part of my SAL with Nic - Done and enjoyed every stitch!
  • Start a project using a technique that is new to me (very excited about this!) - Done! (evidence in the Current WIPs tab)
  • Stitch and finish my March freebie project for Operation Threadporn, something from La Comtesse Done!
  • Stitch the March Hardanger square from Songs of the Weather SAL by Mabel Figworthy - Done!
Those are the priorities, if they are done then one or more of the following could be started:
I also started Liz Almond's Box of Delights, I had forgotten to add it to the list!
Plans for April
  • Stitch on Plum Pudding from 1st - 7th April as part of my SAL with Nic
  • Continue stitching on Golden Daisy goldwork project
  • Stitch and finish my April freebie project for Operation Threadporn
  • Stitch the April Hardanger square for Opertion Threadporn
  • Complete Block 2 of Box of Delights
  • Complete parts 5 to 8 of Confetti of Hardanger
If I feel the need for a new start then I can choose from the same designs as I listed in March - with the possible addition of Sleeping Beauty by The Primitive Hare which is also kitted and ready to go.
Hopefully April will be another interesting stitchy month!
Happy Stitching!

March Operation Threadporn Report

Thanks to Box of Delights, March saw a steep rise in my used thread percentage for March!  Before I get to the statistics, here are the projects I stitched specifically for this little challenge.  Firstly my Hardanger square from Mabel Figworthy's Song of the Weather series, stitched on 25ct white lugana using DMC perles in white, 905 and 907 and Caron Wildflowers in Rosebud and Chili:

Mabel Figworthy's March SOTW SAL
This was the point I stopped at when the SAL originally started - I took one look at the basque knots and chickened out!  Turns out though, they really aren't that difficult to do and make a very nice border stitch in this instance:
Close up of Basque knot/double knot stitch
For my freebie project for the month I chose a spring design by La Comtesse - she has many many beautiful seasonal designs!  I stitched this spring freebie on a 28ct Jazlyn in a green/yellow solo from Chromatic Alchemy and used Mo's Sale silks and a Silk Mill silk:
Spring Freebie by La Comtesse

Spring freebie back
Backing fabric

I will confess I had initially planned to make a flat fold  a la Vonna @ The Twisted Stitcher - but when it came to it I was feeling lazy and didn't feel like all the cutting and sticking required!  So with some mount board and wadding, I laced my stitching on one piece of board and the backing fabric on to another and stitched the two together. 
I had thought to make some cording, but this piece is quite big and without a cording drill I didn't really feel like making over a metre of cording by hand :).  I considered embellishing it with buttons and/or sequins, but eventually thought I would just let the gorgeous fabric and silks do all the talking!  I get my little easels from The Works (I think just about every town in the UK has one of these shops!), they are an inexpensive way to display small pieces without the need for holes in the wall and make it easy to change things up with the seasons.

So after all that, my percentage of threads used this month has risen to 7.58% - halfway to my annual goal, thanks to Box of Delights.  My number of different stitches used this year now stands at 21, not too shabby!

Happy Stitching!