Saturday, 27 December 2014

Just Nan December update

Here is my final Just Nan finish (stitching only) for 2014. It's Mitten Men. This took me much longer to complete than I expected, but at the rate I stitch, I should have learned by now that I don't do 'quick stitches'. Given how poor the light has been during the past couple of days, I'm pleased to see that the four blue sequins show up in the picture. I should manage to complete this as an ornament for Christmas 2015; Ha! Ha!
Mitten Men - Just Nan
stitched on 32ct natural Permin linen
I'm glad that I joined the Just Nan SAL in 2014. Without it I probably wouldn't have completed five Just Nan finishes - Patience, Sunny Summer Happy Garden, Beach Roses, True Blue heart and Mitten Men.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

It's the most wonderful time ... Day 3

Last but not least there was the Christmas ornament exchange at The Stitch Specialists. When I arrived home this weekend, this lovely package of items were waiting for me from Ruth. In addition to my ornament, Ruth had included two silk threads and a snowman scissor fob. Ruth also signed the back of her ornament.

From Ruth at The Stitch Specialists
front of ornament
Christmas ornament exchange
From Ruth at The Stitch Specialists
signed back of ornament
Christmas ornament exchange

I stitched a hardanger humbug ornament for Abi. 

Hardanger Christmas ornament - Yvette Stanton
For Abi at The Stitch Specialists

Monday, 22 December 2014

It's the most wonderful time ... Day 2

Front of holly ornament from Frances
Friendly Stitchers Christmas ornament exchange

Back of holly ornament from Frances
Friendly Stitchers Christmas ornament exchange
I haven't been very active on the Friendly Stitchers forum this year but I couldn't miss their Christmas ornament exchange. Frances was my stitching partner and she sent me the lovely holly ornament (shown above) with matching Christmas threads and holly napkins.

I love the way that Frances signed the back. I must do something similar in my future exchanges, where appropriate.

Partridge in a pear tree - Needlecraft magazine
Sent to Frances, Friendly Stitchers
Christmas ornament exchange
The ornament I sent Frances was of a partridge in a pear tree. I know the design comes from an old issue of Needlecraft magazine but I can't find it at the moment in order to say which edition.

This also highlights an issue I have right now. My stitching stash has got disorganised, so in the New Year I will need to reorder it so I can more easily find what I'm looking for.

It's the most wonderful time ... Day 1

Due to work commitments, until now I've been unable to update my blog with the lovely Christmas exchanges I've received. To do each one justice, I'll do a daily post over the next three days to show what I've received and what I made.
My first Christmas ornament came from Gill at Needlecraft Haven. She made this beautiful Santa/St Nicholas ornament with a rocking horse charm. Unbeknown to Gill, she fulfilled a childhood dream. I always wanted Santa to take me a rocking horse and now he has :)

Santa ornament from Gill
Needlecraft Haven Christmas ornament exchange
I stitched a Santa ornament for Clare in this exchange. This was a Prairie Schooler 'freebie' pattern. I liked this design, so I plan to stitch it again.

Santa - Prairie Schooler sent to Clare
Needlecraft Haven Christmas ornament exchange

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Just Nan November update and other stitching

It's hard to believe that we are so far through the year. With the exception of one month, I've stitched on a Just Nan piece every month. I'm still working on Mitten Men. It's not quite finished but it's getting there.
Just Nan - Mitten Men
stitched on 32ct natural Permin linen
 I wanted something that would stitch quickly and this freebie from The Little Stitcher fulfilled that need perfectly.
The Little Stitcher - Winter Sheep design
Stitched on 28ct Sandstone Permin linen
 I've been stitching for a couple of exchanges and I'll share those when I know the exchange items have been received.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Just Nan 2014 SAL October update

I didn't do any stitching in September but I returned to my Just Nan designs in October. I finally finished stitching 'True Blue Heart' but I have no idea yet what it will be made into. I didn't have the original embellishments for the design so I had to find alternatives. I'm happy with the Sapphire flowers that I bought but less so for the Amethyst Opal heart. It blends into the surrounding threads too much for my liking. I might change it later if I find something that I think is more suitable.

True Blue Heart - Just Nan
Stitched on 28ct White Cashel linen

I've made a start on Mitten Men as I wanted something small and quick. It's small but I'll need to come back to you as to whether I found it quick. All being well, this design will be finished by the end of November.
Mitten Men - Just Nan
Stitched on 32ct Natural Permin linen

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Stitching time

I've started to stitch my Christmas ornaments and here is the first one. When I saw this 'Santa's cat and dog' design from Madame Chantilly earlier in the year I just had to get it as I have so many cat and dog lover friends. Here is the dog design which has still to be finished into a hanging ornament.
Santa's Dog - Madame Chantilly
Stitched on 36ct hand-dyed linen (hand-dyed by Madame Chantilly)
I met Madame Chantilly at a needlework show in Pexiora, Aude. She was delightful to speak to and I hope to buy more of her designs in the future.

I finally filled the pillow I made for Little Blue Bungalow, our birthday thread exchange at Needlecraft Haven. It's only been waiting since May. Why I kept putting it off, goodness knows, because it didn't take that long to do.
This free design can be found on the Weeks Dye Works website, here.

Little Blue Bungalow - Blue Ribbon Designs
Stitched on Goldrush 32ct Murano by Crafty Kitten
If all goes to plan, I'll get some stitching time today and I'll start another Christmas ornament.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Season of mists and

Autumn exchanges! I haven't been stitching much lately but I just had to find time for Needlecraft Haven's Autumn exchange.

I received this lovely acorn wall hanging from Deb which as you can tell from this photo is hanging from the mantle of my fireplace. The close-up of the stitched acorn gives you an idea of the detail.

Acorns were obviously the 'in' thing as I sent this free acorn ornament from The Workbasket to my exchange partner, Ursh.
Quaker Acorn - The Workbasket
Stitched on 32ct Permin raw linen
Needless to say that having taken part in each of the seasonal exchanges at Needlecraft Haven this year, I have already signed up to the winter exchange. I have an idea of what I'd like to stitch but that might change when I find out who my stitching partner is.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Needlecraft Haven holiday exchange

As those who read my posts know, I love exchanges. During the summer holidays I took part in Needlecraft Haven's holiday exchange and here is what I received from Clare. A lovely sea themed biscornu (the other side has lighthouses); a postcard of Tywyn, Wales; 2 variegated threads which are aptly named, Beachcomber and Clam Shell; as well as this All the World Sampler.
Once again, thank you Clare.

Needlecraft Haven Holiday Exchange 2014
Gifts received from Clare

Friday, 29 August 2014

Just Nan SAL 2014 August Update

Another month, another Just Nan finish.

I've admired Beach Roses for a long time and when I decided to take part in the holiday exchange at Needlecraft Haven, I knew exactly what I wanted to stitch. The only question was - did the design suit being made into a biscornu as that was how the stitching had to be finished.

While stitching Beach Roses, I recalled many happy day trips to the seaside when I was a child. As children we loved to walk along the beach to see what we could find - seashells, shellfish, sand crabs ... but never beach roses :)

All in all, I'm pleased with the end result.

Beach Roses - Just Nan
Sttiched on 28ct Permin Lambswool

Beach Roses - Just Nan
Finished as a biscornu 18 Aug 2014
Stitched for Needlecraft Haven Holiday Exchange 2014

Sunday, 24 August 2014

That was the week ... Month? ... that was

During the past month I've continued to combine part-time work with stitching. Most hotel rooms aren't conducive to stitching as the lighting doesn't suit. So last week, I bought a Vusion craft light. It has both a light and magnifier and can be used clipped on to my work or be left free-standing on a table. I haven't had the chance to try it yet but I'm looking forward to it.

So what have I done stitching wise? I've made progress on the Mojo Sampler SAL on The Stitch Specialists Yahoo group and I'm now on part 8. I'm loving all the difference stitches that I've been trying in this sampler.

Mojo Sampler - Abi Gurden Bee's Needleworks
Stitched on 32ct Cashel White
I've also stitched an item for an exchange but I will post on that later in the week. By that time, the item will have been received.

Happy Stitching everyone.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Just Nan SAL 2014 July Update

July just went by in a blur. I got a two month work contract and since then I have done very little stitching.
I managed to make a start on JN's True Blue design. I like how it is coming along and wish my photograph could do it justice. As I bought the chart used, I've had to find my own charms and beads to complete it. They arrived yesterday and I think they will suit. It can be hard to tell when you are buying things online.

Just Nan - True Blue
Stitched on 28ct Cashel White linen with recommended DMC threads

Monday, 30 June 2014

I'm so lucky

Today was opening day for Needlecraft Haven's summer exchange and I received this lovely bookmark and linen threads from Alison. This bookmark is perfect for me as I collect them.
Needlecraft Haven 2014 Summer Exchange
Received from Alison
By chance, Alison was my partner in this exchange and I sent her this pincushion Spot of Summer by Drawn Thread.
Spot of Summer - Drawn Thread
Stitched on 32ct Belfast Sand
Stitched for Alison, Needlecraft Haven 2014 Summer Exchange
I mentioned yesterday my summer exchange from Sharon at Friendly Stitchers. Well here it is. In addition to the pillow with a motif from the Summer Sampler by The Victoria Sampler, she sent me a supply of goodies that I will also put to good use.
Friendly Stitchers 2014 Summer Exchange
Received from Sharon

Once again, thank you to Alison and Sharon for their lovely stitching gifts. No wonder I say "I'm so lucky".

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Just Nan 2014 SAL June Update

After the high of completing Just Nan's Patience sampler in May, I decided to stitch one of her smaller pieces this month. I chose Sunny Summer, Happy Garden as I thought it would be perfect for my Friendly Stitchers summer exchange with Sharon. As I know she has received it, I attach photos below of the stitched design and of it finished as a biscornu.

I enjoyed stitching this and it made up more quickly than I expected. I'm currently working on JN's True Blue Heart, which I expect to complete shortly.

Sharon sent me a beautiful stitched pillow and a wonderful selection of other goodies, but I'll share these in a separate post.

Sunny Summer Happy Garden - Just Nan
Stitched on 28ct Cashel Light Blue linen
Sunny Summer Happy Garden - Just Nan
Finished as a biscornu

Friday, 6 June 2014

Mojo Sampler SAL Update

Since I can't show my other stitching at the moment because they are exchange pieces, I thought I'd share the latest update on the Mojo Sampler SAL over at The Stitch Specialists. Abi of Bee's Needleworks has created a sampler with a delightful selection of stitches. With a part released every two weeks, this week's selection were the Diamond Ray Stitch, Cross Stitch and Woven Back Stitch. The Woven Back Stitch was new to me. Of the three stitches, my favourite is the Diamond Ray Stitch as I think the fan effect of this stitch can be versatile in use - to create diamond shapes, trees, etc.

Mojo Sampler - Abi Gurden Bee's Needleworks
The Stitch Specialists SAL
Stitched on 32ct White Belfast linen

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Just Nan 2014 SAL May update

I'm very pleased to say that I've completed Just Nan's Patience Sampler. It took me longer to stitch than I expected but it has been well worth it. I've loved the variety of stitches that this sampler has but I never grew to love the recommended fabric.
Very few of my finished pieces are framed. Having waited for about ten years to get this pattern, it will be going to the framers. So Pelican Picture Framing, here I come!

Just Nan - Patience
Stitched on 30ct Legacy White Swan linen
Completed 31 May 2014
So what will I stitch next? On the Just Nan front, I'm going to stitch 'True Blue Heart'. I'm also taking part in two summer exchanges - one with Needlecraft Haven and the other with Friendly Stitchers. So all of that should keep me busy during June.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

A Contribution to History, a Finish and a WIP

I couldn't resist the phrase 'A contribution to history', it makes me smile. I haven't done anything dramatic or earth shattering; just stitched my initial using DMC 321 on a 15cm square piece of linen and sent it to the Textile Museum Parc Wesserling in Alsace, France. DMC are having a permanent exhibition where the stitched initials will be displayed along with the names of the participants. Closing date for contributions is 12th May. Further details are here (in English) and here (in French).

Initial M
Stitched on 32ct white Belfast

I completed Little Blue Bungalow,(a free design from Blue Ribbon Designs) which is the 2014 chart for the Birthday thread exchange on Needlecraft Haven. The picture below shows an unfilled pillow as I need to buy some more filling. I love how the colours really stand out and fortunately I had some suitable pink/fushia fabric that I could use for the pillow.

Little Blue Bungalow - Blue Ribbon Designs
Stitched on Goldrush 32ct Murano by Crafty Kitten

I have started the Mojo Sampler, which is the current SAL on The Stitch Specialists. I've decided on a combination of purples (DMC 333, 340, 3746) and yellows (DMC 725, 744). Unfortunately, the yellow backstitch lettering isn't showing up too well on the fabric. If I am still unhappy with it when the SAL is completed, I will switch it for another yellow. The lettering reads 'I love to stitch'.

Mojo Sampler - Abi Gurden, Bee's Needleworks
The Stitch Specialists SAL
Stitched on 32ct White Belfast

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Just Nan SAL 2014 April update

So near to completion and yet so far! I am on band 21 of 23 of Just Nan's Patience Sampler. There have been plenty of specialty stitches in this project which have been fun to do. I'm still not a fan of the recommended linen but if you don't try something different, how will you learn these things.
If you pop over to Zeb's blog, Keep Calm and Cross Stitch, you can see and find links for other updates in this SAL.

JN's Patience as at 27 April 2014
Stitched on 30ct Legacy linen

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

I forgot to say

I was so pleased with the items that I received in my recent exchanges, I forgot to show what I had stitched for my exchange partners.
For my Needlecraft Haven partner, Christine, I stitched this Spring sewing pocket found at Createand decorate
Spring Bunny Sewing Pocket -  Terry Loewen
Stitched on 28ct Natural Cashel linen
and for my Friendly Stitcher's partner, Thoeria, I stitched this needlecase for Stitcher's Day. The pdf for this free design can be found here.
Coeurbroderie2 -
Stitched on 32ct natural Belfast linen
I enjoyed choosing each of these designs. For me, one of the things I like about exchanges (other than the surprise of receiving something beautiful from another stitcher) is that I HAVE to finish my stitching as something. I'm not very good at finishing my stitching for myself. Left to my own devices, a completed piece of stitching is often put in a drawer and just taken out to be admired now and again. In contrast, the stitched gifts I receive are displayed in a basket where I can see them every day.

Is not finishing stitching for yourself a common affliction or am I in the minority?

Needlecraft Haven Easter Exchange

I know I seem to have been busy stitching for exchanges recently. Here is what I received from Alison at Needlecraft Haven. There was a chocolate bunny included, but he didn't last long :)

Easter card and beaded egg ornament - Needlecraft Haven Easter Exchange
Due to postage problems, I'm waiting on my exchange stitching to arrive, so I'll not post a picture yet.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

I'm so lucky to have received ...

... these beautiful exchange gifts.
The first is from the Spring Exchange at Needlecraft Haven. Dusty sent me this lovely bag as well as a notebook, ribbons, tissues and a metal Eiffel Tower charm.
Neeedlecraft Haven Spring Exchange 2014 from Dusty

Close-up of stitched centre. Design: Spring Basket by Lizzie Kate
My second exchange piece was this lovely stitched pocket from Theoria (My Little Corner of Cyberspace). This was part of the Stitcher's Day Exchange at Friendly Stitchers.  
Sewing pocket  front - open

Sewing pocket back - open
I am so pleased to be the recipient of these beautiful pieces of stitching.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Just Nan 2014 March SAL update

Where has the month gone? As I mentioned in my last post, I had only managed to stitch one and a half rows on JN's 'Patience' sampler. Since then, ... I've still only managed to stitch one and a half rows in March. Oh well, something is better than nothing. It's another step nearer to completing this project and the main thing is, I'm happy with how it is turning out. I have plans to frame this piece.

March update - Just Nan ''Patience' sampler

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Busy, busy, busy ...

I think I've fallen into the trap of trying to do too many things at once and making little progress on any of them!

Since I had little opportunity for stitching last year, I seem to have been trying to make up for lost time, particularly in regard to sewing exchanges. I've had three on the go at once - perhaps not one of my better ideas. I posted two of my exchange items at the beginning of this week. One is a Spring themed item for my Needlecraft Haven partner and the other is a Stitcher's Day item for my Friendly Stitchers's partner. I will post pictures when the items have been received. I'm also doing an Easter exchange and I've started stitching an Easter card and Easter shaped ornament for my Needlecraft Haven partner. I have until the beginning of April to complete that.

In the meantime I am making progress on pieces for myself. First up, Just Nan's Patience Sampler - I've only stitched one and a half rows since I last showed it. Hopefully I will be able to get a better photo next time.
Just Nan Patience as at 18 March 2014
I've made quite abit of progress on my quilt. I finished machine stitching the green/yellow squares and still have to finish machine piecing the red/yellow/burnt yellow squares. However, I got enough done to do a provisional layout to see what it will look like when finished (see below). What I have learnt from this design is that trying to get points right, is enough to make you want to pull your hair out! While not 100% perfect, they are almost there.
My Animal Farm Quilt - taster layout

Saturday, 8 March 2014

I'm ready to sew

After cutting 463 pieces, it's time to get the sewing machine out and start joining the pieces together on this quilt top. Hurrah! Given that the animal panels have been my inspiration, I'm thinking of calling this quilt 'My Animal Farm'. With all those triangles, getting the points right will be important. As a relative novice, I found a useful tutorial on making practically perfect pinpoints by Anjeanette Klinder. It can be found in her blog, here . I wonder how much sewing I will have completed by next Saturday.

463 pieces of fabric waiting to be stitched

Friday, 28 February 2014

Just Nan SAL 2014 - February post

In my mind, I'm a quicker stitcher than I actually am in real life. So despite thinking that I would have Just Nan's Patience sampler finished, I have only passed the half way point. I'm more used to stitching on the recommended fabric now but I wouldn't rush to buy it again. I'm very happy with the look of this sampler and wish I could take a photograph that does it full justice. About halfway through Row 6 I lost my rhythm and ended up removing and restitching the same section of the row about 4 times! Thankfully I got it sorted in the end. To see the progress of others in the Just Nan SAL 2014, just click here.

Just Nan 'Patience' as at 28 February 2014

Thursday, 20 February 2014

My next big quilting project

I went into town yesterday and bought material to go with a 2 metre animal motif fabric that I got last year in a remnant sale. I'm looking forward to starting this in my patchwork group. When finished, it will be a quilt for a single bed. It will keep me busy for the next few months.
Single bed quilt material

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Valentine Exchanges

Okay, it is a little late in the day but I still want to share the lovely gifts that I received from two Valentine Exchanges I took part in.
Firstly, I received this lovely gift from Kate - a friendship stocking (Plum Street Samplers), sweets, tea and a small candle.
Friendly Stitchers Valentine Exchange from Kate
I sent Kate this hardanger heart along with some tea and soap. I only took a photograph of the heart. This free design can be found here.
Hardanger Heart - Lee Albrecht
At Needlecraft Haven, you stitched your partner a heart or friendship themed scissor fob and enclosed 3 small gifts. I received this lovely set of heart themed goodies from Ursh.
Needlecraft Haven Valentine Exchange from Ursh
I sent my gifts to Jacklyn at Needlecraft Haven and again I only photographed the stitched piece. This was a 2011 Thanksgiving freebie from Dragon Dreams. I altered the wording to another phrase I preferred.
2011 Thanksgiving Freebie - Dragon Dreams
I really enjoy taking part in exchanges. I love the challenge of finding what I think will be the 'right' chart to stitch for my exchange partner and of course, there is also the delight of waiting on that parcel to arrive and seeing what you've received. Win - win!