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Saturday, 15 April 2017

mini-makes

I have been busy stitching large stuff lately, from Indian elephants to the Mother of All Christmas Stockings, but in between these big projects I`ve managed to finish a few smaller designs too, so I thought I`d gather them up and make one decent sized blog post out of them all.
First up, a recent issue of Crazy had this butterfly shaped frame with it as a freebie and I wanted to stitch it as soon as I saw it. My mom was here for a fortnight while the wee man was off school for the Spring/Easter break and I knew she`d go back home in time to celebrate my gran`s birthday so I had the perfect excuse too: I stitched it for her 84th.


While I was working on this, I remembered that there was another white wooden frame freebie in an earlier issue of Crazy, so I dug through my freebie bag and found it, a heart shaped one - I stitched this one for my mom, as a belated birthday present because we couldn`t be together in February.


I`m always pleased when I can give them matching gifts - for Mothers` Day (which is in May in Hungary) I got handbags and chocolate for them - I hope the carefully wrapped parcels survived the journey in mom`s suitcase because they can`t open them till 7 May. 😊
For Mothers` Day here in the UK at the end of March, I stitched another freebie kit for my MIL,  a card from the Diary of an Edwardian Lady series. It was a bit FK-heavy but even that didn`t matter, I was so elated to be able to start AND finish a project on the same day. 😂


And then sometime around March, there was another freebie kit that came out in WOCS, a Fizzy Moon card that I`d stitched... or, to be precise (and to sound like Thomson and Thompson), HALF a Fizzy...? 😕


Of course, it made much more sense when I saw it made up as a card: he`s peeking from behind a door! 😀


Apropos teddies: the other week I saw a random advertisement on my page from DMC and it looks like their new printed cross stitch kit range is up and running. I stitched this Tatty Teddy from their Me To You series and I have to say, this has been the most joyful way EVER to stitch a Tatty Teddy because for the first time, I didn`t have to bother with the BS-heavy fur as I only had to sew the present with the ribbon and those few flowers. 😁


I`m not a great fan of printed cross stitch per se, I think it`s very hard to be exact during the printing process and my OCD flares up when I see out-of-line... lines, I guess, but I have to admit that this is the quickest and easiest way to have a framed Tatty Teddy picture on your wall while feeling that sense of achievement that you get from a finished piece that you have stitched yourself. 😉
Have a lovely Easter weekend, people, and happy stitching!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

cottage kitten - The World of Cross Stitching 253

Since I`m almost back to normal flu-wise and, happily, I`m at least several days away from that panicky stage where the idea suddenly hits me that I was hugely mistaken when I thought I was getting on surprisingly well with my current project, I have decided to post about the latest publication before I end up like with the last one, losing track of time.
I`m not sure when Issue 253 of WOCS is coming out, probably next Mon or Tue, but I`ve already received my subscriber copy and I was pleased to see that my little kitten is on the cover of the magazine.


I tried to look up who the designer is but could not find it - there is an image in the mag of the original artwork that has been translated into a cross stitch chart but to find out more about the artist, it seems I would have to register with Image by Design, which I don`t want to do (not that it`d be too much of a hassle, but because I`ve registered on so many sites lately that I`m running out of password ideas).
I know I always say this but I loved working on this project. Which is probably a good thing, come to think of it: it might even be a prerequisite of being a model stitcher, the ability to find something lovable in every project, otherwise cross stitch would become a chore and that`d be pretty dismal. And there was plenty to like in this one:


First and foremost, I love stitching in blocks, both in shapes and colours. This project had `daily blocks` on the one hand - the kitten, the curtain, the leaves, etc. - and on the other, nice big chunks of blue, yellow and greens, when I could just thread a dozen needles and off I went. I admit, I`m not the biggest fan of tons of backstitch, although I don`t hate it as much as some, because as I have said it before, I like the way it brings the pieces alive and besides, it usually means I`m towards the end of the project, near the finish line. There was plenty backstitch to be done here - if I remember correctly, those leaves almost reduced me to tears 😉 - but I quite enjoyed adding the details to the fur and especially the beams (how clever is that play with shadows under the window ledge and the thatched roof? Love it!). Anyway, the whole project took 85 hours and since I only had about two weeks for this one, I didn`t stop to take photos as often as I usually do; however, I still have a few pics that I managed to string together in a mini video to save scrolling time. Hope you enjoy it, happy stitching!

video

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Welcome to our home sign - Cross Stitch Gold 136

Confession time: I don`t really know how long this magazine has been out - I seem to have lost a few days and weeks lately. I managed to get the flu about 3 weeks ago and since then this is the first day when I don`t feel like I`ve been thrown under a steamroller, so I`m making the most of it and (apart from stitching like mad because I have a deadline next Tuesday) I thought I`d post some pics of the chalkboard design from issue 136 of Gold.


I was so glad I got this project. There was a time when I stitched almost exclusively Durene Jones designs but then they stopped - not the designs, I mean she`s probably more prolific than ever; they just always seem to go to other stitchers, so I was glad that this one came to me. 😊 I love chalkboard style designs: they`re not the easiest things to stitch, true, and a lot of people don`t like working on black fabric (or evenweave, for that matter), but I think they`re worth the effort because the impact is stunning. I already love how the white pops on the black fabric - and then there are all these bright greens, pinks and oranges (not to mention SUNFLOWERS!!!), all working together to turn a traditional cross stitch staple, the home-sweet-home sampler, into something contemporary and fun. Oh, and it has chili peppers too, for goodness` sake - how cool is that? 😂
It also grew fairly quickly: the whole project took 42 hours and it might have been even less, had it not been for my new batch of needles that are too big-headed for French knots (since then, I`ve ordered another batch from another retailer and these are suddenly-wide types too, even though that`s not how they looked on the photo. I don`t know what happened to the gradually-tapered needles of yore that used to put up less of a fight... all I know is, I had to work hard on almost every individual FK on this project, and every new one ever since). So my hunt for good needles continues but in the meantime, here are some pics of how this sampler came to be - enjoy! 😊

5 hours in and the biggest chunk is practically done
- a great morale booster 😉

15 hours - SUNFLOWERS!!! 😀

20 hours - my high-tech fabric gridding method for evenweave 😉

42 hours - all finished (NB. the thread is NOT pulled on the H,
that must have happened during making up the hanging)

I hardly ever take pics of the back but I did for this one so I add it to the bunch,
I quite like the effect of the `dotted line` around the banner


Friday, 27 January 2017

kingfisher cushion - The World of Cross Stitching 252

Subscribers have already got their copies of the latest issue of WOCS so even though it only hits the UK shops next Tuesday (I think), I can now show you pictures of this lovely kingfisher I stitched last May - yes, 8 months ago! :O Usually, we don`t work this far ahead, I think I only got this one so early because it is part of a quartet of `birdy cushions` designed by Amanda Gregory. As I happen to know her on Facebook - and I happen to NOTHING about botany -, I asked her to tell me the names of the flowers featured on my cushion, so that now I can look all knowledgeable and say: I hope you like the marsh marigolds (top left - oh and btw these grow in or near water *looks up from notes*), the reed mace (top right; these are often mistakenly called bulrush - may I just add, I would NEVER make that mistake! 😝). The mauve flowers are violets (which even I knew - yay, go me!) and the yellow ones in the bottom right corner are primroses (I thought these were the marigolds, just shows you how much I know about flowers).
So here they are, all these lovely blooms and paisley motifs, surrounding my gorgeous wee kingfisher. I really enjoyed stitching this picture, I love projects where you can get on `chunk by chunk` and as you`ll see from my mini-vid, the colour blocks are just so that you can get quite a lot done in five hours, which is always a good morale-booster when you work on larger projects. Hope you like this and the other 3 cushions too, happy stitching! :)



video

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Crazy 226 and some storage solutions

Yesterday was a busy day. Hubby took me for a day out: we had a round of bingo (he won £20! Friday the 13th and all that) and we did loads of shopping... well, it seemed a lot but not really, just the kind where you-hunt-for-school-shirts-in-every-shop-and-until-you-find-the-right-size-in-one-of-them-you-buy-a-couple-of-things-in-every-one-of-them. And so in my search for shirts for the wee man, I ended up, among other things, getting this new storage system for my threads - and I surprise even myself with how ridiculously happy I can get just looking at it! :D
OK, so this is how I stored my threads until now: lots of zippy bags in a large Ikea box.


I keep my threads in small zippy bags, which in turn are kept in larger zippy bags that are numbered by the hundreds, according to the DMC numbering system.


To be absolutely fair, this wasn`t a bad system - my biggest problem was that I didn`t like squeezing the air out and closing the zip every time I took a colour out or put it back. Erm, I probably need to revise what `problem` means but anyhoo, I was really chuffed when I saw this stackable drawer solution in Matalan yesterday: I`ve been looking for something like this for some time, I just never saw the right size, the drawers were either too big or too small. Not this time though, mwahahaha!


The units came in a 2-small-1-big arrangement and I bought 4 of them; luckily, the plastic frame comes apart, so I could rearrange the 12 drawers to build one tall tower - now tell me it`s not a thing of beauty! ;)


When we came home, the latest issue of Cross Stitch Crazy was waiting for me - love surprise Postie! :) - and I was happy to see the little wooden heart freebie that I`d stitched a few months ago. I loved working on these, they were such a breath of fresh air in between the other projects - usually I work on large designs and if you are a stitcher, you know how good it feels to sew something that you can start AND finish on the same day. ;)


By the time I sorted my threads last night, I admit I was too tired to go past the first page - which means I have the pleasure of reading through THREE magazines today, yesss! Yesterday I finally got round to buying the first issue of The Art of Cross Stitch (actually, I dilly-dallied so long that the 2nd issue is out now too). So I bought that one as well and now I can`t wait to see what they are like inside: I think I`ll give the no-brand threads to my friend`s daughter to make friendship bracelets with but the aida will come handy for cards and the hoop from issue 2 will be ideal for framing the flowery number I want to stitch for MIL for Mothers` Day. ;) And no matter what I find inside, I`m already happy that this magazine exists: anything that popularises our hobby is a good thing in my book. Happy stitching! :)


Saturday, 7 January 2017

4 seasons windows - Collection 271

In the UK shops now is the latest issue of Cross Stitch Collection and in it is the Seasonal Windows pic I stitched sometime before Christmas. It`s a Maria Diaz design and I enjoyed working on it a lot because one, I love her work, two, I love 4-seasons pictures and three, it is a really fast-growing project (once the walls and window frames are done, the middle fills out very quickly and there`s hardly any backstitch). The whole project took about 45 hours and as there are not too many colours and no fractionals or French knots, this could be an ideal `first big project` for somebody new-ish to cross stitch who`s ready to tackle something larger.
As I was working on this just before Christmas, I don`t have too many photos, I only took one at the end - but as the evenings were long and dark (they still are, by the way), my piccie turned out darker-than-usual too, so I took one close-up of each of the 4 windows too, these are a bit brighter. But I`ll add the photo from the magazine as well - not only is it much better lit than any of mine, it also shows the finished picture in its frame.
Hope your New Year is promising so far - happy stitching! :)