Thursday, 31 December 2015

Another year almost over

Just taking a moment to wish everyone a Happy New Year. May 2016 bring you what you wish for and if you make resolutions, that you are able to keep them.

Here is my last stitched piece for 2016 which is 'Winter' by Prairie Schooler. I stitched this as part of Needlecraft Haven's four seasons SAL.

Winter - Prairie Schooler
stitched on 16ct Flax with recommended DMC threads

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Memories of Autumn

With Christmas almost here, it seems odd to be casting my mind back to Autumn but I haven't been able before now to share what I sent and received in the Needlecraft Haven Autumn exchange.
The exchange was for a pincushion and my partner Dusty and I stitched each other a biscornu.
This is the lovely biscornu I received from Dusty accompanied with autumnal themed napkins.

Needlecraft Haven Autumn Exchange 2015
received from Dusty
 I stitched and sent this autumn design that I found on
Autumn -
stitched on 28ct Cashel Platinum,
DMC threads- white, 350, 400, 831, 3822, 3828 

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Prairie Schooler seasons

Throughout 2015, Clare has been running a four seasons SAL at Needlecraft Haven. To date, I hadn't shared my stitching with you so I thought I'd remedy that. Let me show you, Spring, Summer and Autumn from Prairie Schooler. Only Spring is fully finished and the other two seasons are just stitched. These designs were in The Gift of Stitching, Number 25, February 2008 (now discontinued).

Now all I need to do is stitch the winter design and finish off it and the other seasons so that they too can sit on a mini easel.

Spring - Prairie Schooler
stitched on 18ct Flax aida

Summer - Prairie Schooler
stitched on 18ct Flax aida
Autumn - Prairie Schooler
stitched on 18ct Flax aida

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Midnight Cow

I finished Lizzie Kate's 'Midnight Cow'. I enjoyed stitching this design. This was probably because it was for my sister who keeps a small herd of cattle and I knew she would like it.

It has been framed with a black mount and black frame but I won't see the finished framed piece until December. In the meantime, here is the finished stitching.

Midnight Cow - Lizzie Kate
stitched on 28ct Jobelan Dark Red
using recommended Sampler and DMC threads

Back again!

"Back again!" - When my niece was learning to talk, this was a favourite expression of hers when visiting her Granny. She always exclaimed it with such joy.

With work and holidays, I've had little time for stitching over the summer but I decided it was time to come back again and share what little I had.

During June/July, Friendly Stitchers had a biscornu exchange. My partner was Gillie and I received this lovely biscornu and skein of thread from her.

Biscornu and thread from Gillie
Friendly Stitchers Exchange

For Gillie, I stitched a Teresa Wentzler freebie, Peacock Tapestry ornament. I love how rich the colours are in this design. It caused a lot of conversation in my sewing group as the big debating point was whether or not to include a charm or button in the centre. The consensus was no and I decided that I preferred it without a charm too. Sadly I did not get a good photograph of the finished biscornu. I like this design so much I intend to stitch it for myself. Maybe I'll get a better photograph of the finished piece then.

Peacock Tapestry ornament - Teresa Wentzler
stitched on recommended fabric and threads

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

My LHN chart win from Clare

Last month, Clare (Aimetu's Stitching) held a cake bake for Multiple Sclerosis. Sadly I don't live close enough to order a cake but Clare offered LHN's Baked Goods in an online raffle to those who made a donation. I'm pleased to say that I won and Clare raised £300 for the charity.

Thank you for this chart Clare, I'm looking forward to stitching it.

Monday, 22 June 2015

When the cows come home

Or in this case when Lizzie Kate's 'Midnight Cow' comes home. Now that I have a short term work contract until the end of July, very little stitching will be done. Therefore my Alpine Seasons Garden has been put away until August as I don't like working on it in short bursts (one hour or less).

As a result, this Lizzie Kate design is perfect for travelling with me so that I have something to hand if I feel like stitching in the evenings. Based on recent experience, I am quite tired in the evenings, so it is more likely that I will content myself with reading during the week instead of stitching.

I hope that you are getting more stitching time than I am at the moment.

Midnight Cow - Lizzie Kate
stitched on 28ct Jobelan Dark Red
using recommended Sampler Threads and DMC

Friday, 1 May 2015

101 Magpie Line

A friend sent me a video link of Janie Hubble describing her vision of an emporium for stitchers. I found it interesting and thought I would share the link to 101 Magpie Line. Below the video, there is also a link to a survey where you can share your thoughts with Janie Hubble to help her develop this concept.

101 Magpie Lane

It's May Day

Traditionally, lily of the valley is sold everywhere on streets in France on the first of May and is one of the symbols of springtime and of good luck.

I haven't stitched any lily of the valley designs (yet) but I fancied a quick and easy project yesterday so I made this small card needle holder and I'm pleased with the result. 

Card Needle holder - closed
Heirloom Wedding Sampler free pattern
- Victoria Sampler
Stitched on 28ct Cashel, colour unknown with DMC 842
Card Needle holder - open

I used this free design from The Victoria Sampler as the 23H x 23W stitch design was the perfect size. 
This idea is not mine. I received one of these as a Christmas exchange gift in 2013 and have copied the idea.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

One, Two, Three ...

That's the number of pieces I've worked on during the past week and I think it is my limit for the number of different projects  I can work on in a given week. When I start something, I just want to work on it to the exclusion of anything else.

Some more progress on Alpine Seasons Garden:
Alpine Seasons Garden - Chatelaine
stitched on 32ct Belfast Summer Khaki linen with recommended threads

with a close-up of the corner. There is some metallic thread in this section and  I love the way it catches the light.

I've finished the base of the basket and have started to fill in the bowl on Bluebird Thread Keeper. I am doing this as part of the Blackbird Designs SAL at Needlecraft Haven.
Bluebird Thread Keeper - Blackbird Designs
stitched on 32ct unbleached natural linen using suggested DMC threads

Finally, the rear end of Midnight Cow by Lizzie Kate. This is my sewing group project, so I will only be working on it twice a month. As it is a relatively straightforward design, I have this idea that I will be able to talk and stitch without making too many errors. Well, one can but hope. :)
Midnight Cow - Lizzie Kate
stitched on 28ct Jobelan Dark Red using recommended threads

Saturday, 18 April 2015

A chicken pincushion in cross stitch

My sewing group seem to have a 'thing' about chickens. For the past three months, most of the group have been making a project sized zipped bag in the shape of a chicken. We've previously made chicken pincushions and keyrings. Having missed the first week of the project, I decided to give making the zipped bag a miss.

However, I recently came across this free design (scroll down the page) from Creative Workshops from Hetti for a humbug chicken and stitched it for our next meeting on Thursday. My beads are smaller than I would have liked but I decided to go for a right colour and wrong size combination rather than the right size but with the wrong colour for the design. I think this cross stitched chicken pincushion will be popular.

Chicken Humbug - Creative Workshops from Hetti
stitched on a 28ct light Taupe-like evenweave with unknown fils à SoSo thread

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A Stitcher's Day Exchange and progress on Alpine Seasons Garden

The Friendly Stitchers forum recently had a Stitcher's Day Exchange and I received my stitching exchange from Mouse on Saturday. She sent me this beautiful ornament, fabric, ribbon and scissors. I've attached my latest scissor fob to these pink polka dot scissors as they go so well together.

Stitcher's Day Exchange from Mouse

In return I sent Mouse this hanging ornament which has a pocket on the back to hold needles and/or scissors as well as two skeins of thread and a packet of Bohin needles. I like this free design from Glory Bee.

Stitching Days - Glory Bee Designs
Stitched for Mouse for Stitcher's Day Exchange
Reverse of stitched ornament for Mouse.
Pocket added to hold packet of needles and/or scissors
 I'm expecting slow progress on this next section of Alpine Seasons Garden. It is solid cross stitch with a lot of thread changes. I only managed to stitch most of the bottom right hand corner over the weekend.

Alpine Seasons Garden - Chatelaine
Stitched on 32ct Belfast Summer Khaki linen with recommended threads
Progress as at 12 April 2015
The sun is out, so if I go and finish the housework now, I might get some time to sit outside and read this afternoon.

A mini scissor fob

Back in January/February, I stitched Just Nan's 'Tiny Beaded Heart' but until now, I didn't finish it. Last week, I finally made it into a scissor fob. So after adding a little heart on the reverse side of the fob, here it is.

Tiny Beaded Heart - Just Nan
stitched on 28ct Cashel linen

Reverse of scissor fob with small cross-stitched heart

If I were to stitch this again, I would add a backstitch border around the heart (4-6 threads out from the design) before stitching the two sides together as it would frame the design and make the fob a little larger.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Easter Exchange

I took part in the Needlecraft Haven Easter Exchange again this year. Like last year, participants had to stitch an Easter card and stitch an egg shaped ornament. I found this lovely free design from Passione Ricamo for the egg ornament and stitched this design from Primitive Acorns after seeing it on Carin's blog, which I sent to Dusty.

Easter Lamb - Primitive Acorns stitched 1 over 1 on 28ct Natural linen
Easter 2012 - Passione Ricamo stitched on 28ct Natural linen

I received my card and ornament exchange from Lindsay. She also included a packet of Bassett's Jelly Bunnies, which I admit didn't last beyond Easter Sunday. That's what happens when you have a sweet tooth like me. I didn't eat them all myself, they were shared with my husband!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Nevermore ...

Well that's how I feel after stitching this double-sided key fob on 28ct evenweave, 1 over 1. I didn't really enjoy it and if it hadn't been for a little seven year old girl who loves all things 'Frozen', I would have put it to one side and never looked at it again.

However, an aunt's love knows no bounds and it is now in the post to her. I just hope that she hasn't switched her affiliation to Cinderella before it arrives.
Elsa - Crafty Guild
stitched on 28ct white evenweave
Anna - Crafty Guild
stitched on 28ct white evenweave

Saturday, 21 March 2015


Well, I finally made myself sit down and finish off some stitched projects. It was a slow process but I got there in the end. Two of these I can't show yet as they are for exchanges but the other two I can as they have been received.

First up is my double sided ornament of Anna and Elsa from Frozen. These were free mini projects from the Crafty Guild. I knew I had to finish these, sooner rather than later, as the tastes of a 2 year old girl can change quickly. Thankfully, Disney's Frozen is still popular.

Else - Crafty Guild
stitched on 28ct white evenweave
Anna - Crafty Guild
stitched on 28ct white evenweave

It was the birthday of a dear friend during the week so I stitched Lizzie Kate's 'Dogs leave paw prints'. This is the third time I've stitched this, so I think most of my dog loving family and friends have now got one. 

Dogs leave paw prints - Lizzie Kate
stitched on 28ct Permin Sandstone

Since it was St Patrick's Day last Tuesday, I baked a Porter Cake for my sewing group which met on Thursday. Most of the ladies were surprised to be served a cake which included Guinness but it was successful. Everyone took a second piece of the cake as well as a copy of the recipe I had used. Since I don't often bake, I was very pleased that they liked it. No photo of the cake as I never thought to take one.

I'm away for a few days next week but when I get back, I will be stitching on Alpine Seasons Garden again. It has been neglected during the past two months.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Slow but Sure

I think that is probably the best way to describe my stitching at the present time - slow but sure. Well, it is certainly slow.

I've stitched some more on my BBD as part of the Needlecraft Haven SAL. I'm looking forward to finishing this as a small stocking.

Joyeux Noel - Blackbird Designs
stitched on 28ct Cashel Platinum

At my sewing group, I'm working on this kit from Shepherd's Bush, Peace and Plenty. Given that we talk as much as we stitch, I am not working quickly on this one.

Peace and Plenty - Shepherd's Bush kit

Later in the week I will spend a day finishing my stitched finishes. Among various things that I could complete, my priority will be my two exchange pieces - the stitching is done, they just need to be made into something!

I follow some wonderful blogs but today I'd like to mention 'Stitches by Carin'. I've only recently discovered this blog and she has the most beautiful finishes. I will be looking at them in the future for inspiration on how to finish my stitching.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

More starts

I've signed up for two exchanges and I joined the Blackbird Designs (BBD) SAL over at Needlecraft Haven.

On Sunday, I started on 'Joyeux Noel' from BBD. I will need to change one of my threads as it blends into the fabric too much. You might have spotted the holly sprig under the word 'Noel'; that thread will need to be changed. At the moment I'm undecided between a more beige cream or an off-white. I will try both and see which I prefer, if either.
Joyeux Noel - Blackbird Designs
stitched on 28ct Cashel Platinum

I've started stitching on an Easter exchange, also at Needlecraft Haven and though I'm unable to show it just yet, here is the colour selection I am working from. I am really pleased with this colour combination.
Thread selection for Needlecraft Haven Easter exchange

My second exchange is over at Friendly Stitchers and it is for Stitcher's Day. I haven't decided what I will do yet but I have an idea of which colours I will be using as my partner has expressed a preference for pinks and greens with maybe a touch of blue.

So I will definitely be busy over the next few weeks. I haven't forgotten about my 'Alpine Seasons Garden', I am just having a short rest from working on it. I thought of setting up a rotation cycle for working on all these projects but I know it wouldn't suit me. Even though, it would probably help me to be more efficient, I prefer to work on something until time constraints say 'hey, it's time you moved on to something else'.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Sweet Feet Valentine Exchange

Participants in this year's Needlecraft Haven's Valentine Exchange had to stitch a card with a love/friendship theme and include a pair of socks accompanied by a matching skein of thread. My stitching partner, Deb, was very generous, as you can see, as she included heart themed fabric with her gifts. I love all this pink and I'm not normally a 'pink girl'. Thank you Deb.

Gift received from
Needlecraft Haven Sweet Feet Valentine Exchange 2015
I'll show my efforts next time.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

January Just Nan

I so enjoyed stitching my Just Nan projects in 2014 that I thought that I would like to continue with a monthly post on my Just Nan stitching in 2015.

For January, I stitched Tiny Beaded Heart. I am going to finish this as a key fob.

Tiny Beaded Heart - Just Nan
stitched on 28ct White Cashel linen

Sunday, 25 January 2015

An overdue finish

Fairy Moon - Mirabilia
stitched on 28ct Smokey Pearl Cashel (I think)
First up today is an unfinished project that has been waiting since about mid 2011 for me to add the final 30 or so beads. I had almost finished Mirabilia's 'Fairy Moon' when I ran out of beads. By the time I got a new packet, I had moved onto something else and this project went into my 'someday' pile. 
I plan to get this framed as it is too large to do anything else with it. That is definitely for 'someday'.

Alpine Seasons Garden - Chatelaine
stitched on 32ct Summer Khaki Belfast linen
I feel I've made some good progress on Alpine Seasons Garden this week. The octagon border is almost completed - just 2.5 sides of backstitching around the Rhodes stitches and it will be done. Then it will be seasonal alpine trees scenes. I'm looking forward to getting onto this next stage.

I also finished the stitching on my Elsa ornament. Instead of making two separate ornaments, I'm thinking of making this a double-sided ornament with Anna on the opposite side.
Elsa - Crafty Guild
stitched on a 28ct White evenweave

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Mid January - already?

I'm still in a flitting mood as I move from one project to another.
I've stitched a little more on the border of Alpine Seasons Garden. It's rather creased at the moment. Can too much ironing distort the fabric? I mean ironing the non-stitched area.

Alpine Seasons Garden - Chatelaine
stitched on 32ct Summer Khaki Belfast linen

I know two little girls who are mad about anything to do with the Disney film Frozen, so I thought I'd earn myself some Brownie points by stitching them each an Elsa and an Anna ornament. I'm not so keen on stitching 'characters' so I'm now thinking that one set will be made up as ornaments and the other as key fobs. I'll stitch the key fobs over one. Here is my start on Elsa which is a free design available at Crafty Guild. I'm stitching the mini versions.

Elsa - Crafty Guild
stitched on a 28ct White evenweave

I've also stitched my card for the Sweet Feet Valentine exchange on Needlecraft Haven so I can't show that until next month.

I'm still stitching my jumper but I think I've ripped out as much as I've knitted. Just when I think I've got the hang of the cable stitch, I knit it in the wrong direction! Knitting was supposed to be what I did when I didn't need to concentrate so much. Obviously I should have stuck to stocking stitch if I wanted to do that. I'll post a picture next time. Hopefully I will have completed the back by then.

Monday, 19 January 2015

A belated winter exchange

Due to pressures on the Christmas postal system, it was only a couple of days ago that I received my winter ornament in the Needlecraft Haven Four Seasons exchange for 2014. It was due to arrive before the end of December. Thank you Ursh, I think it is lovely. It will hang in our sitting room until Spring. Those blues are perfect for winter.

Received from Ursh in Needlecraft Haven Winter Exchange

Sunday, 11 January 2015

A bit of this and a bit of that

During this past week, I found it difficult to settle to one thing for any length of time. That also includes my housework - well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
I made some progress on my Alpine Seasons Garden by completing what is currently an outer border and I've just started to fill it. I can already see that my progress on this is going to vary quite alot, week on week. I think there will be times when I have to remind myself that some progress is better than none.

Alpine Seasons Garden - Chatelaine
stitched on 32ct Summer Khaki Belfast linen
as at 11 January 2015

It's ages since I've done any knitting and having seen some jumpers that my sister-in-law knitted recently, I got the knitting bug again. Here is my limited progress on a cable knit sweater. If it's not finished for this winter, at least I'll have it for next.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

A goal for 2015

I'm not into making New Year's resolutions but I have decided to set myself a stitching goal for 2015. It is to complete the stitching on Chatelaine's Alpine Seasons Garden. For those of you familiar with Martina Rosenburg's designs, you will have spotted that I only said stitching. From what I've read, attaching the beads is almost like doing a separate project - so whatever I manage to do in adding beads will be an additional bonus.
Here is where I currently am on this project. Sadly the photo doesn't do the colours justice as the light has been so poor these past few days.

Alpine Seasons Garden - Chatelaine
stitched on 32ct  Summer Khaki Belfast at 3 January 2015

Friday, 2 January 2015

Happy New Year and my final finish of 2014

Happy New Year; I hope that 2015 will be the year that you hope for.

I finished the Mojo Sampler during the evening of 31 December 2014. I was determined to add all the beads on Wednesday as I had already stitched the year on the piece and I had no wish to change it.
I have decided to put this on the front of a photo album which will contain photographs of most of my stitching over the past 25 years. I say 'most' as there are a few things I've given away where I forgot to take photographs first.

Mojo Sampler - Bee's Needleworks
stitched on 32ct White Belfast