Friday, 15 September 2017

Gifted Gorgeousness September Link-Up Post

2017 GG

Welcome to the September link-up for Gifted Gorgeousness. The linky will stay open until the end of the month so you have plenty of time to link up and join in.

The stitching hours have dropped off a little bit over the last week since the boys went back to school and I had a couple of extra days at work (annual stocktake, although I didn't have to do the actual evening shift stocktake).  I am also very far behind on answering emails!  But I will catch up.

These are the gifted pieces I did manage to work on since the August Link-Up post.

Two whole bands on Memories by Just Nan - a gift from Vickie:

The ninth block on the 12 Days of Christmas by Joan Elliott - a gift from my MIL:

Dragon of the Winter Moon by Dragon Dreams - a gift from Riona.

Lots of progress on my focus piece, here's where I was for August's GG post:

And here is where I am today:

stitched on 32 count Moondust Murano by Crafty Kitten

Close-up of the gorgeous Caron Waterlilies in the wing, well worth spending £5.25 on one skein!

So now I hand over to you. This is where you link up your post for this month. Please use your name or your blog name in the field and NOT the words "September Update" so I can easily see who has linked up this month. And link to the actual post, not just your blog. It is easier if you copy and paste the link, rather than typing freehand.


Finally, I was able to announce the winner of the Blogger of the Week competition, congratulations to Faith from Faithfully Stitching who has already decided what she wants to spend her voucher on!  I'd also like to say Thank You to Irene from Ricamire who said:

If I win, I do not want a voucher, but I would like you make an offer for this initiative for people who suffer in my country. 

I think this is a great idea, it's a very worthy charity and I will definitely be doing so.   They have a selection of PDF designs from a wide variety of designers, all raising money for rebuilding after the Italian earthquake.  Thanks to Irene for that suggestion.  I recommend that you all visit the website and maybe buy a pattern to help the fund.  They have nearly raised EUR 15,000 so far!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Look here, Edward

This has gone far enough.  You say you're sending me nine ladies dancing; all I can say is that judging from the way they dance, they're certainly not ladies.  The village just isn't accustomed to seeing a regiment of shameless hussies with nothing on but their lipstick cavorting round the green - and it's Mummy and I who get blamed.  If you value our friendship - which I do less and less - kindly stop this ridiculous behaviour at once.


12 Days of Christmas (Correspondence) - John Julius Norwich

The picture that accompanies this chapter is wonderful.  I do recommend that you buy the book (ISBN 9780385410281) for the illustrations.   Thankfully Joan Elliott's Lady Dancing is rather more sedate than Quentin Blake's drawings.

The gaps are for beads to be added at the end.  In the evenings I've been working on the lettering at the top:

Here is where the piece was last month:

And here we are now:

I have completed another Just Nan ornie as part of my 30-a-day stitching challenge.  This was a quick one, a mere 18 days for the stitching.  I will finish it as an ornie next weekend:

Just Nan - Lacy Diamond
stitched on 32 count Twilight Blue linen

Of course, a finish means picking up the next ornie in turn.  This one is called Holly Knot and is stitched on 32 count lavender evenweave:

I stitched 60 stitches on it when I started it back in March so I have a head start with 90 stitches already on Day 2.  It's a pretty one, all in greens and pinks.

Finally, the competition on the Blogger of the Week is finished and I have published all the comments.  I will announce the winner on Friday.  So stay tuned for that!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Happy Dance for Hallowe'en Happiness

This year for the Hallowe'en Ornie SAL Blog I have been stitching Hallowe'en Happiness by Sandra Cozzolino for Imaginating.  By luck, each part of the design fit perfectly into the theme for the month.  Not really surprising when you consider who chose those themes!

The collage shows the piece I stitched for each month and here are some more photos for September's theme of Spooky Words:

Here is the whole piece, ready to be framed:

Our local Wilkinsons do a frame for three photos which is the perfect size if I remove the triple mount.  And only costs £6!  So this one will be up and ready for Hallowe'en.  Now I just have to finish the Oberlin Sampler's Witches as a companion.

I stitched this on 32 count Lime Green Murano using the recommended DMC.  The chart will be a prize in the Hallowe'en Blog Hop this year, so make a note in your diary if you'd like to win it.  People who post pictures in the Blog Hop get an extra chance in the draw too.

Speaking of prizes, you have less than 5 hours to enter the competition on the Blogger of the Week blog.  That ends at midnight tonight, so hurry over and have a go if you haven't done so already.  And while you are there, check out this week's featured Blogger:

Finally, I am pleased that people are excited about the replacement for The Alphabet Club - the Zodiac SAL.  Satsuma Street have now released MY star sign so I will be buying and downloading that very soon:

Saturday, 2 September 2017

The Zenith of the Zany and Zealous Alphabet Zoo

It's the first Saturday of the month so it's time for detention!

"They only met online, but it changed their lives forever"

This is it, the final Alphabet Club post for me!  The idea for the Alphabet Club first came about when Chiara and I were chatting over two years ago.  We have been joined by various bloggers each month, although Chiara herself is taking a little break from blogging.  Because of this, I've added the linky for the final month here.  Whatever letter you are doing in September, please link up here so people can come and check out your progress.


As usual the first piece I will show is from A Dark Alphabet by A Note of Friendship.  This was a partwork mystery sampler which Julie (the designer) and I raced each other to finish!  We have Zombees for Z.  Julie explains why in this post - A Note of Friendship

For those of you who would like to see the entire piece in more detail, you can check out my Danse Macabre post.

The next project I always show is my Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke's Books.  This month we have a brightly coloured Z for Zigzag:

Here's the final page:

and here is the whole piece laid out on the floor!

The plan is to stitch a title in the gap on page one, next to A and then sew the tops and bottoms of each page together to make a soft book.  I'll make sure I post photos when it's completed.

Z is for also for Zebra, here's a tiny one from an Alphabet Sampler I stitched:

And a pair from Joan Elliott's Noah's Ark:

Z is also for Zombie, as well as Zombees!  Here is a cute Zombie Kitty designed by Carand88.  I stitched two of these for friends who were organising a Horror Festival.

I don't have anything from a designer beginning with Z but there is one big name in the stitching world - Zweigart!   The people who make the fabric, as ubiquitous as DMC in the stitching world.  Zweigart are celebrating their 140th anniversary this year.  They are popular because of the range of fabrics they produce, in a rainbow of colours, the quality of the products and their famous "orange" line trademark in the selvage.  If it isn't orange, it isn't Zweigart!  They also produce chart books and have a blog with some great ideas for how to use their products.
Both the website and the blog have a Translate button on the rop right if you don't speak German.

It's a good thing that Zweigart have a blog, because there are no other Z blogs in my Reader at all.

Which brings us to the final topic, an answer to the question everyone has been asking as we approached the end of the Alphabet -

Q: What are you going to do next?

A: It begins with Z and here are some examples:

Joan Elliott

Three from Maria Diaz:

From SewandSo:

Lesley Teare


Soda Stitch 1 and 2

My personal favourite from Satsuma Street, being released one per month:

But this is the design I am going to be starting this month while I wait for Satsuma Street to release Virgo and Libra!  

They come from this book which I picked up very cheaply from Waterstones Marketplace.  A really good place to find older, out of print books at very low prices.

So there you have it, the plan for the next 12 months is to Stitch the Zodiac.  I will continue to post the first Saturday of each month and add a Linky which will last all month for you to join in.

You can choose a design like I have with small versions of each sign, or a larger design like the Joan Elliott and Lesley Teare, or just the individual signs for you and your family.  But here's the really good part - you don't even need to stitch a Zodiac design to join in.

I'll be starting with Libra for my first post; Libra is an Air sign represented by the Scales.  So you could share something related to Air, or balance, justice, weight, anything that says "scales" to you.  You could even shoe-horn a mermaid or fish in there!  You can look up the birthstone or flower for Libra and show that.  You can show a current piece, a WIP or an older finish.  If you have a Libran in your family you could show something that relates to them.

Finally, I'll be posting the first Linky on Saturday 7th October, which serendipitously is my Grandad's Birthday!  The first in a long line of Librans in my family.  Please join in, it's always more fun stitching with friends!  You don't have to post on the 7th, but that is where you'll find the Linky for the whole month.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

End of the Summer Pie

We've reached the end of August and only a few more days of the Summer holidays left so I took a day trip to London to "geek out" on two major exhibitions - The Art of the Brick: DC Superheroes and Star Wars: Identities.

Both were awesome!  A great day out for me and the Large Boy.  You can learn more about both exhibitions by clicking on our favourites photos below:

And this is the identity I created for myself:

A train trip means one thing - train stitching!  Nearly five hours of stitching time saw me add quite a bit to Just Nan's Memories band sampler.  I took this because it's small, doesn't use many colours and is an easy pattern for travelling, the repetition makes it easier to follow:

I stitched everything below the line with "memory" in it.

As it is the end of the month, it's time to assess the stitching.  I didn't get quite so much time on my focus piece because the 12 Days block was more time consuming that in previous months.  However I managed 11 solid days and there will be more next month as I have decided to continue with my Dragon in September.

Start of the month:

End of the month:
stitched on 32 count Moondust by Crafty Kitten

The first photo is more accurate for colour.

How does this look on the pie?

Spending-wise it was an OK month.  I had a quarterly magazine subscription come out and I got some fabric on Stash Unload UK.  She had some gorgeous colours of hand-dyed very reasonably priced but I was good and only bought two pieces.  The first piece was a Colour Cascade opal Belfast in Sorcerer.  As ever, it's much prettier in real life, more blue than grey and will either be good for the Dragon of the Summer Sun or one of Nora's Bewitching Pixies:

The second piece was labelled by the manufacturer as "35 count white linen 19 x 23 inches".  Only some of that information was correct!  As soon as I saw it I knew it wasn't 35count, so I measured and it turned out to be 30count.  Which is OK, it's a nice big piece anyway so maybe I can tea dye it.  It was only £5 would have been an absolute bargain for 35 count and not bad for 30 count!

So here is the spending for the month:

CS Crazy sub £25.44
2 x fabric £11.00
Total £36.44

Finally, the competition on the Blogger of the Week blog is still open and we have a new interview to read too.  So pop over and have a look at both.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

August's Stitching Drought WIPocalypse

Don't worry, the title definitely does not refer to me!  It's the topic for this month's WIPocalypse!

WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi's Musings
Also linking up with 17 in '17

Each month we have to share the projects we want to complete before the End Of The World.  I have chosen my "17 in '17" which are the 17 projects I want to focus on this year.  You can see the full list on this page here.

I've worked on 7 of my 17 and had a finish too.

1. Happy Hallowe'en by Imaginating:

2. Witches by Oberlin Samplers:

3. 12 Days of Christmas by Joan Elliott:

4. Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke's Books:

5. Enchanted Alphabet by Lavender & Lace:

Added a pumpkin to the O

6. Dragon of the Winter Moon by Dragon Dreams:

7. Spring in the Square by Just Nan:

I didn't have the charm for the centre but I found this nice little button to use instead.

Measi always gives us a topic to discuss, and as the title suggest this month we have:

August - How do you get yourself out of a stitching drought?

I have no idea!  Probably cut back on doing other things which take up your stitching time.  The only times I have had droughts have been due to circumstances beyond my stitching control!  Here's a chart of my finishes from the year I started stitching to the year before I started my blog:

Can you guess what happened in the least productive years? 2001 I was doing a lot of overtime, 2002 my first son was born, 2006 I was dating my husband and moving house, 2007 we got married, 2009 my second son was born.  Life events stop you stitching!

Obviously this is quite raw data as it doesn't show the size of the projects I was working on.  For example 2006 was the year of Mirabilia's Sleeping Beauty so although I only had 2 finishes, one of them was massive!  I also didn't stitch so many smalls in those days which is why I have stopped the graph at 2010 when my stitching style changed from OAAT to rotation.

For people who find themselves in a slump, I recommend the Ten-a-Day method which has worked so well for Spring and Summer in the Square.  Just do ten small stitches each day and put the project away.  Looking through your stash works for some people, for others it can be overwhelming.  Fully-finish some old pieces, even if all you do is iron them and stick them into a scrapbook you can see them to inspire you.

Finally, read some blogs and leave lots of encouraging comments for other people.  Why not enter a competition like the one we are having on the Blogger of the Week blog?  Click below to see what it is all about!