Monday, 28 September 2015

A Weekend with Jane

Here is my penultimate Autumn/Winter start!

This is by a designer who I absolutely adore and have stitched several of her pieces in the past.  One of my favourite things to do as the nights draw in is to curl up with my stitching in front of a good film, or more likely in my case - stream a TV boxset lol!  Making sure that things match appeals to the OCD part of my personality, so when what I watch mirrors what I stitch I am a very happy Janeite!

I am of course speaking of Tanya Marie Anderson AKA The Sampler Girl (@bzmama on IG).  Although she focuses less on cross stitch now, if you are into knitting podcasts and videos you should check out her YouTube channel and blog.  In the meantime I still have a few of her stitching patterns squirreled away for future Austen marathons and those days when only Jane will do!

Here are a few of my previous TSG finishes from the past:

TSG - At Home with Jane
At Home with Jane
TSG - Elinor Dashwood Holds It Together
Elinor Dashwood Holds it Together

Sound of Music by The Sampler Girl
Sound of Music (freebie)
The Sampler Girl - Sense and Sensibility
Sense & Sensibility
And here was my new start for the weekend:

Jane Austen & Me by The Sampler Girl
I've chosen to stitch it on 40ct linen 1 over 2 entirely with silks - my new favourite combo as it appeals to me not only because of its delicacy but also its frugality!  The chart calls for 15 different shades and I picked out silks from my stash covering seven different brands - including one shade imaginatively called Moose Drool :):

Stash for Jane Austen & Me
Glorianas, Dinky Dyes, HDFs, Waterlillies, Carrie's Creation, Thread Pickerz and AVAS!
And here is where I got to, with Emma and P&P for company:
Jane Austen and Me by The Sampler Girl WIP 1
I was so tempted to carry on stitching it for a finish - but I still have one more new start to squeeze in this month and the final part of MBG came out over the weekend too..........
Happy Stitching!

Saturday, 26 September 2015


Autumn has always been my favourite time of year.  I love the colours, I love the food, I love the weather!  Although we are two thirds through the year, September always feels a month to start again or turn over a new leaf - something left over from my school days when September saw the start of the new academic year with fresh exercise books and newly sharpened pencils!  I was always one of those children who couldn't wait for the Summer holidays to be over so I could get back to school - less so as an adult working in an educational establishment as September is the most stressful month lol!

I knew this year I wanted to have a project with a real autumnal feel and with a bit of a colour change I found one!  Yet again it is a design by Abi Gurden of Bee's Needleworks, my third this year.  A few years ago Abi released a design called Tree of Stitches, which many of you have seen and no doubt stitched!  It will always remain one of my all time favourite finishes as it was the first time I chose my own colours for a design and my first time stitching speciality stitches.  From that moment on I was hooked and I discovered the two things that now bring me the most joy in my stitching!

Tree of Stitches Framed photo TOSFramed.jpg
Proof that sometimes I do frame and display my finishes!
A few years later Abi released another design, Summer Tree of Stitches and I knew that it would be another must stitch piece for me.  This year, with my need to crack open those skeins of hand dyed floss, proved the perfect time to start it!
I had the perfect fabric that I'd been saving for it in my stash - it's Jodyri Designs Sept 2014 Ltd Ed Fall Trees in Brittney Opal, reminiscent of the Indian summer skies we get at sunset here on the coast.  Initially I was going to stitch the whole thing in silks, but I like to use perles for some speciality stitches to mix up the textures (and preserve my sanity!) so I picked out some Wildflowers too:
Autumn Tree of Stitches stash
This floss toss is by no means all the threads to be used, but just a taster.  I basically went through my stash and picked out all my autumnal coloured silks and wildflowers and will choose the colour for each section as I go.
Here are parts 1-3, there are 12 parts in all:
Autumn Tree of Stitches Part 1 - 3
Threads used so far: Bark Wildflowers, AVAS 1423, Gloriana Autumn Arbor, Gloriana PPP Cinnamon and PTB48
Needless to say I am very much looking forward to stitching this one up!
Just a note for my UK readers - Lidl currently have an offer on for a daylight craft lamp for £12.99.  I picked one up on Monday and have been using it all week and I love it!  Particularly useful for my new start on 40ct linen!
Happy Stitching!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

A Much Anticipated New Start!

Any of you that have been following my needlework adventures since my YouTube days may remember a video I did last Summer on my top three wishlish charts for 2015 which I planned on stitching.  Red by Mirabilia was the first, Plum Pudding by Glendon Place was the second and now begins the journey of stitching the third :).

I'd never been one for reproduction samplers, that is until several years ago when I discovered Nicola's wonderful blog and exquisite stitching.  After following her stitching journey through several beautiful Scarlet Letter pieces, I knew one day I would have to stitch at least one of Marsha's samplers myself.  As I'd decided that in 2015 I would be stitching what I want when I want and not be tied down to my usual designers - this year seemed perfect timing to fit a Scarlet Letter sampler into my stitching schedule!

Being the type of person that I am, I read everything that I could on Scarlet Letter samplers, I've never been one to jump in feet first and panic later!  I'm so grateful to Nicola and Jo and all the contributing bloggers on the various Scarlet Letters Years blogs for taking the time to explain and photograph their work.

I had a few questions about fabric choice - Edinburgh or Floba?  Who better to ask than Nicola herself!  As Floba was a fabric I'd not tried before, Nicola very very kindly sent me a sample piece so that I could see its merits for myself.  I took the opportunity to give it a trial run and stitched up this little freebie by Blackbird Designs:

Souvenir de France by Blackbird Designs
I loved stitching on Floba!  It's lack of slubs and fine appearance compared to 100% linen made it the perfect choice for me for whatever Scarlet Letter chart I decided upon.  It was a given that I would stitch the sampler in the charted AVAS d'Alger as I adore stitching with those silks.  I find by planning my projects early that I can work large 100% silk projects into my stitching budget and thereafter it encourages me to stitch from stash as much as I can :).
All that was left now was to decide on the sampler!  I have a real love of bargello/Florentine/flame stitch (call it what you will), so the solution was obvious and screamed at me from the Scarlet Letter catalogue - it had to be 🔥✖️!
A Flamestitch by The Scarlet Letter
35ct cream Floba and the recommended AVAS d'Alger

Now you can see why this start is much anticipated as after being in the pipeline for over a year I can FINALLY put silk to linen - well linen mix if we want to be 100% accurate :).
So here is my start!

A Flamestitch WIP 1
It goes without saying that stitching on this one was well worth the wait - I absolutely adore it!  For someone who loves stitching fonts and lettering, it really is a wonder that it took me this long to stitch a reproduction sampler!
Now I really should put this down and work on my Operation Threadporn pieces for this month - including a freebie in commemoration of a much anticipated TV programme returning to UK TV screens for its final series:

September's Thread Choices
But maybe I'll do just do one more row on Flamestitch...........
Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The Four Elements....well three actually.....

I kicked off my Autumn/Winter stitching by starting three charts that have been in my stash for a few years.  For quite some time they terrified me, that is until last year when I started and finished one in a few days and realized my stitching had actually moved on in the years they'd been sat in a drawer!

I'm talking about The Four Elements series by The Victoria Sampler.  I absolutely adore their (Thea's) designs as the majority of them combine all the things I love (silks, speciality stitches, drawn thread and pulled thread) into one beautiful package.

Here is the one I stitched up last year, Crimson Fire - it terrified me for so long due to the doves' eyes, formerly my hardanger nemesis (especially if they were surrounded by anything other than kloster blocks!), but in the four years or so that this one was sat in a drawer, I'd had quite a bit of practice with them:

Crimson Fire Sampler by The Victoria Sampler
The remaining three in the series were always pegged to be in my Autumn/Winter stitching as although they are challenging designs they aren't difficult and now my Summer butterfly brain has gone and the nights are drawing in (boo hiss!) I can concentrate on my stitching more.
So here are the other designs in the series:
The Green Earth by The Victoria Sampler
The Green Earth Sampler

Crystal Waters by The Victoria Sampler
Crystal Waters Sampler

Fresh Air by The Victoria Sampler
Fresh Air Sampler
As far as materials for each of these, I'm using antique white cashel linen for all of them.  I'd used white quaker for Crimson Fire and I usually like to use the same fabric for matching sets, but when it came to it I figured what are the chances that not only will these get framed but actually find themselves side by side on a wall somewhere when they are finished lol!  Cashel was what I had so it's what I went with, though hindsight tells me I could have been easier on myself and gone with Brittney instead but I didn't want to cut into my metre pieces.  For threads, I've mainly gone with what is listed in the chart where I have it in my stash, with a few substitutions here and there as I much prefer using Petite Treasure Braid over Kreinik any day of the week!
I started all three and worked down until the first drawn thread band on each, just so I could have fresh eyes for that bit and not be squissor happy!
Green Earth WIP 1
Crystal Waters WIP 1
Fresh Air WIP 1
Ignore the unsightly threads on Crystal Waters, they'll be gone when the design is finished.  I've kept them on for added security as this is a very delicate piece of cutwork due to groups of four threads being cut on the side panels but unusually groups of six threads being cut in the centre panel (leaving some bars literally holding on by a thread, or two!).  Ordinarily my general rule of thumb is to leave all cutwork until the stitching is done, but I couldn't face stitching the whole piece and then have the cutwork not go right.  How do I know that could happen?  Because I've stitched that hardanger window twice - the first time following the instructions but the second time I went with my instincts which I should have gone with in the first place :).
Incidentally if you like the look of these, you can find free patterns on The Victoria Sampler website which takes small sections of these particular designs and charts them to be turned into needle cases, pin cushions and pillows (you might be able to see the end results on the charts in the pic above).
I'll be back in the next few days with another new start which is proving mighty hard to put down!
Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

The End of Summer.........

Well Summer here in the UK actually ended somewhere around the second week in July, but I'm talking about the end of my Summer stitching as I have finished The Butterfly Garden by The Drawn Thread!

Butterfly Garden by The Drawn Thread Complete!
At over 20 inches long, even on 36ct, it's pretty hard to get a decent full picture of the piece so here are a few detail shots:

Butterfly Garden Snapshot 4
Butterfly Garden Snapsot 1
Butterfly Garden Snapshot 2
Butterfly Garden Snapshot 3
I'm really pleased with my thread choices for this one and it's always a joy to use my Jodyri threads whenever I can.  There are a few other charts in this series which I am tempted by, but they remain firmly on the wishlist for now :).  I also think that it would be very easy to turn each of the flower sections into a little small or card on its own, all in all a great value chart in so many ways!  Interesting fact about this piece:  it is the first time in all my years of stitching that I have actually stitched my initials on a finish!
Now of course that WIP tab up there is looking very empty so I will have to do something about that :).  Those of you that follow me on Instagram have already had a little sneak preview of the 7 designs that I have picked and kitted for my Autumn/Winter stitching.  I think I will do as I did previously for my Summer stitching and start them all to get that bit out of the way and then stitch on them as and when I feel the need.  I'll introduce them to you over the coming weeks as I stitch on them.  All told it means that come the end of the year I should be at 46 ish finishes for this year which is insane and probably never to be repeated!
Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

August Achievements and September Goals

August Goals

The tabs above have been updated with evidence of the below!
  • Complete Block 6 of Box of Delights - DONE!
  • Complete Part 5 of Milday's Blossom Garden - DONE!
  • Stitch the August SOTW square for Operation Threadporn - DONE!
  • Stitch a freebie project for Operation Threadporn - yet to be decided - DONE!
  • Stitch on Butterfly Garden by The Drawn Thread - DONE!
  • Stitch on Living with Charm by Lizzie*Kate - DONE! Project now complete
  • Stitch on Sleeping Beauty by The Primitive Hare - DONE! Project now complete

The graphical representation:

August's Progress
11 days with no stitching this month!

September Goals
  • Complete Part 6 of Milady's Blossom Garden
  • Stitch September's SOTW square
  • Stitch a freebie project for Operation Threadporn (as yet undecided)
  • Finish Butterfly Garden by The Drawn Thread
  • Start A Flamestitch by The Scarlet Letter (very excited about this!)
  • Pin down my Autumn Winter projects and make a start on any or all of them!
Happy Stitching!