Friday, 27 February 2015

Les Dentelles - Penultimate Part!

Not much stitching has been going on here, but quite a bit of reading and research has been taking place........

My sister also very kindly gave me an exemption on thread purchases so that I could buy the AVAS I needed for my Scarlet Letter Sampler, A Flamestitch, that I plan to start for my Autumn/Winter project this year.  After I heard the terrible news about the AVAS factory fire, I wanted to make sure I had the threads I needed sooner rather than later.  I now have all the threads I need for my projects this year........
I have finished my Operation Threadporn freebie project for February, I just need to find some buttons for the finished finish and get it sewn up over the weekend, but here is a sneak peak:
And finally.........I've finished Part 8 of Les Dentelles, all ready for the release of the final part on Monday:
I'm looking forward to starting Plum Pudding with Nic on Sunday :).

Happy Stitching!

Friday, 20 February 2015

Les Dentelles and other happenings

On Monday Esther at Brodeuse Bressane released Part 7 of  Les Dentelles SAL (taking place on FB and her blog) - only 2 more parts to go!  I'm stitching mine on Oatmeal Cashel linen and using Anchor 778 and 387 (Ecru by any other name) and Caron Wildflowers in Maple.  I'm also using DMC #8 perle in Ecru for the blackwork element.  I would have preferred to use a #12 perle but #8 was what I had in the colour I wanted so in the spirit of stitching from stash that is what I used!  Here are Parts 1 - 7 completed:
Les Dentelles SAL - Part 7
I wanted to go for a light and delicate feel to match the title of the piece (Lace), so neutral tones on neutral fabric was what I went for.  For the top part of Part 7 I used what I will describe as a woven lattice stitch, as I prefer the look of the longer lines and like to add a bit of texture!
In other news, I received my monthly subscriptions from Michelle at Jodyri Designs - always a welcome package in this house! 
The FOTM is gorgeous as are the new antique silks.  The only problem is that I think I have welcomed more hand dyed threads into my stash this month than I have used - which means Operation Threadporn might be a bust for February.........oops!  There are still 10 months to go though!  My sister was no fool when she put the percentage rule in place.......
Speaking of my sister, have I mentioned that she is in charge of my stash budget this year?  It's not as frightening as it sounds though and has worked out very well so far, making me focus on what I really want to have and not just randomly spending stash pennies on silks (my default setting!).  Branching out into new areas of needlework inevitably means new stash, but the items have to be on my wishlist before they are even considered as a viable purchase!  If it's a request for more (unnecessary) threads, the chances are it will get vetoed.  In fact for March and April I am not allowed to purchase any more threads outside of my subscriptions, so good news for Operation Threadporn if nothing else!  In fairness though, my sister is the only other person on the planet aside from me that knows the full extent of my stash, so she knows that I am not lacking in the thread and fabric departments!
I've pulled threads for February's Operation Threadporn projects and will be stitching them for the rest of the month.  I changed my mind a few times, but that's all part of the fun and here are my final selections - projects to be revealed at the end of the month:
February's Thread Challenge Thread Selection
Finally I gave a very talented friend of mine my Jodyri Dragonfly finish from a few years ago and a bunch of fabric I'd been saving for a "special project" as you do (except this time I was obviously right to do so!) and she made me this gorgeous pin board which now hangs above my desk in the craft room:
Happy stitching everyone!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Red is finished!

I spent my Saturday beading and adding the finishing touches to Red by Mirabilia.  She was my New Year's New Start for 1 January and I was stitching her as part of the Mirabilia SAL going on over on Flosstube.  Last year I named three charts that I was desperate to start in 2015 as they had been on my wishlist for ages and Red was one of them as I adore fairy tale themes, costumes and dresses (incidentally the other two designs were Plum Pudding by Glendon Place and A Flamestitch by Scarlet Letter).  As this year I am having a moratorium on Chatelaines and HAEDs (HAEDs turned out to be very easy to give up!), it means that all my stitching time can be dedicated to all the other designers' charts I have sitting in a drawer that I've wanted to stitch for ages!

So here she is, Red - my first (and probably my last!) Mirabilia and fifth finish for 2015:
Red is stitched on Crafty Kitten's Winter Skies belfast linen and I am so pleased with the way she turned out on that fabric.  I was going for a "Winter Wonderland" feel rather than an "Enchanted Forest" feel :).  I stitched her skin over one and although it was a bit of a killer (I'm naughty and don't use a magnifier!), I think it was worth it!
The part I enjoyed the most was actually the beading which surprised me.  Don't get me wrong I LOVE beading - just not beading with Mill Hill seed beads, I've been spoiled by the Delica beads of Chatelaines!  I was feeling a bit meh about her until I added the beads, they really made the design for me.
Beaded Detail
I think if I'd stitched my first Mirabilia a few years ago, I would have gone crazy and stitched a fair few, but after stitching Chatelaines it's hard for other designs to measure up for me sometimes.  As the majority of my finishes end up in The Finished Drawer, the enjoyment of stitching is all in the process for me - picking my own colours, the threads I use, the different techniques and stitches required etc - and not so much about the finish (I will add at this point that I am a stitcher that has NO UFOs!).  So although I may not stitch another Mirabilia myself, I will continue to enjoy seeing others stitch them up as they are beautiful designs - that is the great thing about stitchers sharing their work, you get to stitch vicariously!
Now I get to play with my stash and pack away my Red threads and pull new ones out for my two Operation Threadporn projects for February.  The desk in my craft room is covered in threads that need to be bagged and tagged so as I'm a bit stitched out after finishing Red, playing with stash is the next best thing to stitching!
And what's next for Red?  Well she is destined for The Finished Drawer, but don't worry she'll have Celtic Spring and Joan Elliott's Medieval Lady to keep her company and show her the ropes .............
Happy Stitching!

Friday, 13 February 2015

The Kindess of Stitchers

I think it is a truth universally acknowledged that stitchers are some of the most kind and generous people out there.  I appreciate that I am slightly biased in this area, but if anyone else is reading this I'm sure they will agree!  The stitching community abounds with RAKs (Random Acts of Kindness), whether it be gifting chart, fabric or threads or a wonderful finish made just for you.

I've been on the receiving end of such generosity several times, but what I like most about it is that it means I have a memory of that stitcher, of a connection we shared, that is never forgotten.  I remember each gift received and the kind hearted stitcher that gave it to me, I remember that stitcher as I use the materials they generously gave me.  So, I know that there is a beautiful skein of purple Polstitches floss (amongst other things) in my stash from Lesley, two gorgeous skeins of Caron silks (purple shades again) from Tiff and some wonderful fabric and threads (yep you guessed it purple again!) from Nic.  Last year a generous stitcher in the US sent me about 10 or so precut packs of linen as it was a fabric she could no longer stitch on, but she knew it was a fabric I loved.  I've had charts RAK'd to me that I enjoyed stitching all the more so as someone had picked it out especially for me:

HAED Mini Unleash the Butterflies stitched with HDF silks
Hand painted mount by Passifloral - special treatment for a special piece ;)

This year has proved to be no different, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank two stitchers for thinking of me.  The first is Lynda, the designer behind LoopyLou Designs, who after seeing a video where I featured one of her designs (Floral Spring) sent me one of her beautiful charts as a thank you:

A Little Victoriana by LoopyLou Designs

The colours for this design are so elegant and I can't wait to stitch it and of course finish the designs as they are intended to be finished!

This week I also received an exciting envelope all the way from Australia from a stitcher that I "met" on the Cross Stitch Forum.  The envelope contained these beauties:

An amazing selection of hand dyed cotton and silk, perle and stranded threads!
To say I was thrilled with the contents is an understatement!  Collecting hand dyed threads for me is a (dangerous!) hobby in itself separate to my stitching with them, so I was excited to see a few threads from Aussie dyers that I had yet to add to my collection!  A huge thank you to Marilyn for a stitching parcel that made my day!
Kindness and generosity are not always shown by tangible things like threads and fabrics though.  One of the most precious gifts any of us has is time.  Stitchers are generous with this too.  I know that I would not be the stitcher I am today if it wasn't for those of you out there that have shared your knowledge, experience, WIPs and finishes via your blogs or on stitching forums.  Those of you that have shared tutorials and taken a great deal of time to photograph or video each step.  Stitchers have shared a wealth of information and even if you find your question still goes unanswered, they are always happy to help!
To all those stitchers I say thank you and have a great stitchy weekend!
Happy Stitching!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Inevitably Awkward First Post.........

Hey Stitchers!  I've decided after many years of reading other stitchers' blogs, that the time has come to start my own.  As some of you already know, I've been vlogging about my stitching on YouTube since June 2014.  There are however, certain advantages that I can see with blogging.  Firstly I don't need to worry about lighting, editing and ridiculous upload times and let's face it bad hair days, fat days and an untidy craft room!  I can also blog at anytime of my choosing, in my PJs, drinking wine and eating chocolate (although in my case it's more likely to be sipping on a green smoothie whilst eating apples and almond butter).  I will still be making videos for my channel, but I wanted to find a quiet corner of the internet where I could spread my wings in more ways than one.

So first things first, let's deal with the name, my nom de plume - Mrs Milkybar Kid.  Contrary to what some people may think, I do not have a penchant for a certain well known white chocolate confection by Nestle.

However, my husband as a child (and I've known him since I was 5) was the spiting image of the Milkybar Kid as seen in the iconic TV commercials over the years.  To be fair he still has blonde hair, blue eyes and glasses - but is now a much chunkier version!  So by virtue of the fact that I have been married to him for the past 15 years, that makes me Mrs Milkybar Kid in my book.

I've started this blog not only to share my cross stitching and other counted threadwork, but to share my new adventures in needlework.  I've always been really interested in embroidery in all its various forms, but now I've finally plucked up the courage to have a go myself.  I have a terrible habit of cyber stalking Royal School of Needlework graduates and students - their work is exquisite and such an inspiration (can you imagine going to uni in a palace for goodness sake?!).  I want to try new techniques and this time my normal motto of "If at first you don't succeed, destroy any evidence you ever tried" will not apply.

I will aim to update my blog at least once a week with my various stitching exploits and will be happy to have you join me.

Happy Stitching!

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