Thursday, 30 June 2016

June Smalls SAL

The Smalls SAL is hosted by Heather from Stitching Lotus

This year I have two Small Challenges:

For the Hallowe'en Blog I have done something a little different this year, I've chosen a band sampler by Just Nan called Counting Bats and each band corresponds to the monthly themes on the blog.  June was a Free Choice and I stitched this band which has a variety of spooky motifs:

Here is the whole piece so far:

The theme on the Christmas Ornie SAL blog was Animals and Pets and I decided to stitch three more of Daffycat's cute little reindeer freebies.

Stocking Reindeer

Ribbon Reindeer

Star Reindeer

Here are all six together:

And here's what I made them into:

I mounted each square on some thin card and then whipstitched them into a cube.  I threaded some beads onto a piece of cotton thread to make a hanger and then the other ends of the thread to make some beaded tassels at the bottom of the cube.

Regular readers will know there has been a lot of Just Nan recently.  In fact, since the last Smalls post I have started three of her freebies and complete two of them:

My Fair Ladybug

Beehive Violets

Big Bee, Little Bee
not quite finished yet!

You Were Hatched by Teresa Wenztler is a little bit big for a true "small" but it's not too big.  I have stitched all the blue and all the green now:

stitched on 28 count lilac evenweave.
which never looks lilac in any photo!

I also did do more spending in June!  Where has my willpower gone?  I don't know but it's a good thing I'm not doing Stitch from Stash this year.

Crafty Kitten Fabric £19.20
JN October's Eve £6.98
JN 2 Mice £21.52
Beads £1.27
JN Charms £1.52
Chatelaine £22.75
CSC Subs £8.72

Monthly Spend £81.96

The fabric was an impulse buy, she was having one of her One-Off Pieces Auctions and I bid on a few but said "only let me win one, draw again if I get more than one".  I got a nice piece of 32 count Belfast called Nebula:

Here are the three Just Nan charts I bought:

And here is the image of the Chatelaine Gardens of London:

Which I got for 20% off

Time for some pie:

June was dedicated to Dragons and Just Nan!

Finally and unbelievably we are half way through the year already so here's how the Pie looks so far:

It is the year of Nora Corbett so far with Just Nan and Brooke's Books some way behind her.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Not Much to Show for a Busy Weekend

Mostly because I've been concentrating on my Brooke's Book's letter for next Saturday's Alphabet Club post.  Here's a sneak peek:

You can really see the weave of the afghan in that photo.  The natural blocks are actually over three threads but I'm stitching over two.  Which makes counting fun!

I did some more of my Teresa Wentzler dragons, You Were Hatched:

stitched on 28 count lilac evenweave.

I've completed all the blue now and the green is next, four shades of pistachio.

I've also been buzzing on my Just Nan for the evenings, Big Bee, Little Bee:

stitched on 28 count evenwweave

One beehive done, three to go!  You may remember that Kim sent me a bee-themed parcel as part of her Big Birthday RAKs.  Well, since then I have noticed so many bee charts and designs!  Including this new one from La Comtesse, based on a poem by Emily Dickinson:

Talking of freebies, Passione Ricamo always releases a Fairy Silhouette for Fairy Day on 24th June.  This year Laura has put together a celebratory e-book with all the previous designs and the new one for this year.  I've only stitched one of them but I'm itching to stitch another!

I also discovered that Rainbow Gallery have reorganised their freebies into a single document for each year.  You can find them all here.  They do needlepoint freebies too.  Alot of the cross stitch designs are a monthly series.  Christine had another of her brilliant ideas inspired by my Reindeer Cube.  She suggested I do a monthly series and make a dodecahendron out of them.  She truly is an evil genius!  She's even started on her desert lair.

I do need a recommendation from you all.  I want to stitch an alphabet in black and heard someone talk about Weeks Dye Works' Peacoat being a nice variegated black.  It looks more blue in the photo but I know it's hard to take good pictures of colours.  Can anyone recommend a subtle variegated black or confirm that the WDW is a good one?  Thank you!

Pea Coat

Finally, the Small Boy is proving his worth and providing for his family already.  These are potatoes grown at school.  Planted, watered and dug up with his own fair hands.  And his t-shirt from the looks of it!  We had them for tea with some chicken (not provided by the school, they don't do animal husbandry until college!) and they were delicious.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Recovering from the Marathon!

Thanks to everyone who commented on my Marathon Post.  It was such a fun day and so much easier and less stressful than trying to do a Start A Day like the DUCJC.  I will definitely be doing it again next year.  It was worth taking the time in advance to sort out the projects, making sure the charts, threads and fabric were all in one place.   And didn't they look great all laid out on the bed?

Thanks for the feedback on Bande de Dragons too.  I think I will be taking Christine's advice and cutting down what I have already done and completing the segment of the border as a stand alone piece.  Then restarting the design on a higher count over one.  It's not just the scratchiness of the fabric it's the large scale.  I am used to 32 count or 28 count hand-dyed which shrinks.  14 just seems enormous and it's a big design to start with.  25 count over 1 will bring it to a more manageable size.

At least three other bloggers joined me for the day:

Why not pop over and see how they got on?

Prior to my Marathon we had IHSW hosted by Joysze of Random Ramblings and I made some fantastic progress on my Elizabeth Shephard sampler which has been my designated IHSW project for the last two years.  Here's where she was before the weekend:

And here she is now:

I stitched the rest of the swan motif, all the one to the left and some brown border!  There really is just one weekend of stitching left in her and then I get to choose another long term IHSW project.

Prior to that I continued with the Daffycat Reindeer series.  I completed six of the designs and made them into a cube finish.

Stocking Reindeer

Ribbon Reindeer

Star Reindeer

Here are all six together:

And here's what I made them into:

I mounted each square on some thin card and then whipstitched them into a cube.  I threaded some beads onto a piece of cotton thread to make a hanger and then the other ends of the thread to make some beaded tassels at the bottom of the cube.  Now all we need is Christmas!

I also completed another one of my Just Nan smalls, Beehive Violets:

stitched on 28 count evenweave

Which meant a new start on Big Bee, Little Bee, also by Just Nan:

stitched on 28 count evenweave

There are four of those beehives to stitch and some corner border too.  This is quite a stitch-dense design compared to the previous one and is taking a little longer.

The day after the Marathon I had quite a lot of household things to do which were held over from Monday.  And trying to decide what to stitch first out of all the choices!  When I completed my 30 minutes on Teresa Wentzler's You Were Hatched I noticed that the dark blue did not meet up with the lighter blue I'd stitched for the DUCJC.  I thought the best thing to do was find the error and fix it right away than put it away and not want to face the frog.

So here is where I left off after the Marathon:

and here is where I was after the frogging session:

All of that top blue was out by one row.

And here's where I am now:

stitched on 28 count lilac evenweave

I've stitched all of three of the blues and most of the lightest blue, you can really see the design taking shape now.  Of course, those four colours are actually eight because it's a Teresa Wentzler which means Blended Threads!  This was intended as a Birth Sampler for the Small Boy, he's only seven after all!

Finally, I'm still really behind on blog reading but intend to try and catch up over the next week.  So sorry, if I haven't been to visit recently.  Also, if you took part in The Longest Day Marathon, let me know and I'll add you to this post with Brigitte, Melinda and Kerry.

Monday, 20 June 2016

June WIPocalypse Longest Day Marathon

WIPocalypse is hosted by Measi's Musings

Each month we have to share the projects we want to complete before the End Of The World.

The focus of my WIPocalypse will be my "16 in '16" which are 16 projects I particularly wanted to concentrate on in 2016.   The full list can be found on my WIPocalypse page where you can also find my secondary list "16 Series in '16".

And this is where I would usually explain how many of each category I have stitched on this month.  But this month I am doing something different!   Monday 20th June was the Longest Day in the Northern Hemisphere (and the Shortest in the Southern - Happy Winter).  I decided it would be fun to have a Longest Day Marathon and stitch on as many WIPs and UFOs as possible in one day!   I got my lists out and discovered 21 projects I could work on.  From ones in my current rotation to ones on the WIPocalypse list for this year to ones I haven't touched in goodness knows how long.

Here's the collage I made, there are only 20 projects here because one is so old I couldn't even find a photo of it on the PC!

I got up at my usual time, had breakfast with the boys and saw them off to school.  Then it was time to make the bed:

That seems to cover it!

Project 1 - Little Snap Dragon by Kustom Krafts

9:30 - stitched on his tail 

Project 2 - Gathering Honey by Jannlynn 

10:00 - backstitch round the stones 

Project 3 - You Were Hatched by Teresa Wentzler 

10:30 - the darker blue (blended of course!) 

Project 4 - Dragon of the Winter Moon by Dragon Dreams

10:58 - some more white! 

11:00 - coffee and doughnut break
(I only ate one!)

Project 5 - She Tends by Shepherd's Bush 

11:30 some green leaves on both trees 

Project 6 - Elizabeth Shephard by The Scarlet Letter 

12:00 - some brown border 

Project 7 - Counting Bats by Just Nan 

12:28 - 6 for... 

12:30 - lunch break 
which took longer than I wanted as I put some laundry on and answered some emails!

Project 8 - Christmas Cubes by The Primitive Hare 

13:30 - a snowflake minus one stitch because I just could not squeeze one more stitch out of the length of thread! 

Project 9 - Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke's Books

14:00 - the lace in the border 

That was the last of the regular rotation (except for my bathtime stitch)

On to UFOs

Project 10 - Hallowe'en Town by Frosted Pumpkin 

14:30 - some fence 
I am NOT feeling this project and will cut it short when I finish the page.

Project 11 - Faces by Joan Elliott 

14:58 - the lightest green in the ribbon 

15:00 - coffee and cake break 

Project 12 - My Lovely Sewing Tools by Marie Suarez 

15:30 - some of the border 

Project 13 - Coffee Fairy by Yiota 

16:00 - one line of coffee 
The Small Boy is home from school and demands SNACKS AND ATTENTION

Project 14 - Art Nouveau Head by The Craft Collection

16:30 - the brown above the pale blue 

Project 15 - Around the World in 80 Stitches by Papillon 

17:00 - some green border 
and a singalong with CBeebies

18:00 - Teatime
I also shared an icecream with the Small Boy (not pictured because he wouldn't wait)

The Evening - I decided to switch to a 20 minute rotation to fit them all in

Project 16 - Bande de Dragons by Dessins DHC 

19:20 - a tiny bit of red border just above the G 
I adore this design but loathe the fabric.
14 count aida so hard and scratchy I got a friction burn when I stitched on it a lot.
I think the solution is to restart on 25 count evenweave over 1.
I have done a quarter and cannot face another 3 quarters on this fabric!

Project 17 - Autumn Tree from an old Yahoo Group 

19:40 - added some yellow star stitches 

Project 18 - Spring Challenge 2012 by Samplermakers 

20:00 - some green leaves 

Project 19 - English Transitional Sampler by The Scarlet Letter 

20:40 - some blue Holbein stitch 
I did more of this project as I was in the Large Boy's room with him spending some time before bedtime reading.  A Hat Full of Sky by Sir Terry Pratchett.

Project 20 - Noel by Ernie Bishop 

22:00 - continued the green 

Final Project of the day!  
Project 21 - Big Bee, Little Bee by Just Nan
AKA my bathtime project 

22:30 - finished the dark rose and added some medium rose 

22.45 - time for bed - good night, sleep tight, don't let the stitchy bugs bite.

Finally, my reflections on the day -  I really enjoyed it!  I did the DUCJC in 2015 (31 projects over 31 days) and this was much better because I knew I could get back to my rotation the next day.  I discovered 30 minutes is just long enough to get the project out, photograph it, post on FB, stitch one length of thread, photograph it, post on FB and move on to the next one.  I usually stitch with thread of just over 12 inches long.

Some of the old designs were great fun and I'd like to see them back in the rotation.  I really dislike aida and size 24 steel needles.  It's like stitching on sackcloth with a knitting needle!  Give me evenweave and a gold plated petite 28 any day.   There's only one project I'm not really loving and that's the Hallowe'en Town.  It's just too cutesy for me.  The Bande de Dragons is awesome and I think over one is the way to go for that. 

So what was your favourite and what would you like to see more of?