Thursday, 29 March 2007

More Light Please

I stitched for a few hours last night on the Northern Lights Sampler - it's by Canadian designer Jeannette Douglas, and I'm always up for anything Canadian :) I've uploaded a shot of the model. It's stitched on 28ct Blue Spruce linen, which is a lovely dark smoky blue-grey colour, but I'm beginning to realise that stitching on dark fabric isn't as straightforward as I had imagined. The first band of the sampler portrays the eponymous Northern Lights - beautiful beautiful shimmery and sparkly overdyed Needle Necessities Kreinik #8 braid stitched in a series of satin stitches. Although I'm finding that it's also kind of hard to stitch with. Fiddly and knotty. But I think worth the effort. I'm quite pleased with how it's looking, and I'm more than halfway done this band, so with a little more concentration and stitching directly in the glare of our 110W halogen light, I will be finished, and on to (hopefully) more straightforward bands. I'm really looking forward to progressing through this sampler as, being kinda new to stitching, there are lots of really gorgeous threads which are all new to me - GAST, fuzzy Wisper threads, Thread Gatherer Silk 'n' Colours, and Needle Necessities overdyed floss.

I've signed up for the Blackbird Designs Loose Feathers Club for 2007 through Thread Bear - where the lovely lovely Kate has been no end of help and kindness. I'm really looking forward to getting the new chart, and I've gone for the R&R fabric option as well. I am just finding it so difficult to locate a LNS where I can get anything more than DMC threads or twee cartoon character kits. And ONS's are great, don't get me wrong, but sometimes I just want to browse and inspire myself (okay, and admittedly go a little crazy on the credit card). I'm hoping to pop into Thread Bear next time I am around the Croydon area - although probably not until June. I'm definitely looking forward to visiting the Button and Needlework Shop in Victoria on my trip to Canada - I may well come back with a few more goodies than I should, strictly speaking...

I woke up in the middle of the night last night with a sudden inspiration for putting together the Folk Art sampler - I had been playing about with how to arrange the various elements/motifs but it still bugged me that I hadn't quite got it, and I just woke up and it was there. So I crept out of bed and stumbled downstairs to my stash of graph paper and quickly got it from brain to page. Now I'll need to work out borders and putting in an alphabet and getting every element positioned exactly in the right space so that it doesn't look all skew-whiff (although I may have to play the 'it's a bit more charming that way' card if I don't quite get it right!). Planning this all on pieces of A4 graph paper is time-consuming and painstaking, especially as the finished 'chart' will be wider than a single page, but I shall persevere...

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Where is my thread?

This is my Monday project - Silver Needle by Just Nan. I love the pink fabric and delicate spring colours, and I'm really loooking forward to carrying on with this one when I can - this is the 2nd project I'm stalled on, this time waiting for 2 skeins of Caron Waterlilies. I've ordered these from an ONS I use, but didn't realise they weren't in stock and were put on backorder. So far it's been four weeks of waiting...oh well. Unless I get a delivery soon, that will free up next Monday to work on my second Mother's Heart (MH2) - at this rate I'm going to be working on that 7 days a week because I'll be waiting for supplies for all the other projects! Annoyingly, I have since ordered some Waterlilies from my closest LNS (about 20 miles away) and they had it in my hands within about 7 days. I wish I'd had the foresight to order it all in one go!

Anyway, enough moaning. I worked on more of MH2 on Tuesday - I've completed the heart border and the first part of the wording - 'A mother holds her children's hands for a while...' (the next part '...their hearts for a lifetime' is at the bottom of the sampler), and it's looking really good. I'm sure I ordered the fabric - 28ct Quaker Cloth in cream - from the same place as I'd ordered it to stitch the design the first time, but weirdly enough it's very different, and I've realised that the first piece of fabric is closer to 22ct than 28ct!

I'm really excited about a 'Stash Enhancement Programme' that I signed up to on Tuesday - it's with Traditional Stitches who are based in Calgary - feeling patriotic! I've never signed up to one of these before (although been sorely tempted), because they are usually just thread, or a certain type of fabric, and I want MORE! TS's SEP is for a bit of everything - charts, fabric, thread of all descriptions, random bits & bobs. It gets posted out around the first of the month, so I'll let you know what's in it!

Monday, 26 March 2007

Being a Busy Bee

My Friday project is the Busy Bee Sampler. I think it's going to work up quite quickly (even for me) as it's only about 8 inches long and just over 2 inches wide. I love the delicate leaves and twining tendrils of the floral band. This is as far as I've gotten in one Friday.

Saturday's project is A Mother's Heart, which I'm stitching for the second time this calendar year. The first time is intended for my mum for Mother's Day (in May in Canada, as opposed to March for the UK and Ireland), and this second one is for my mother-in-law for her birthday, also in May. I'm not going to post any photos of either of them just yet, as I'm keen for it to be a total surprise on the day for them both. The heart outer band though is nearly complete, and I'll probably move some of my regular projects to the backburner in the coming weeks so that I make sure to finish this second one in time for my mum-in-law's birthday. So I'll post some photos later on this Spring.

Sunday is Paradigm Lost. I love this one! It's so huge though it's going to take me months, especially on my current rotation system. It's a wonderful design though. I've decided to use 32-count Lambswool linen, and overdyed Crescent Colours threads - I've gone for a rich green colour called 'Bejeweled'. I ordered just a single skein to see whether I liked the colour (seeing it on the Internet is never quite the same, and I don't have a needlework shop near me, at least not one that stocks anything more than a few skeins of DMC and Anchor stranded cotton - certainly nothing out of the ordinary), so I'm in the process of trying to get more - the online shop I bought the original skein from had only a couple of skeins left, and this project is going to take in excess of 30. So I got up really early on Sunday morning to watch Canada in the world curling finals (which they won - hurrah!) and stitched away on this one. I managed to used up all the thread I have, so I guess this project will be well and truly stalled until more thread arrives.

I'm really looking forward to going back to BC for our holiday in April/May. I miss the obvious things like seeing my friends and family, and being there to celebrate and commiserate with them, but it's often the intangible things I miss - the air of excitement during the NHL play-offs (when the Canucks are still in them anyway!), swimming in the river, hiking up a mountain, or the smell of the earth after a thunder storm. I even miss driving for an hour to get to anything like a big town, and not feeling worried about walking outside past a group of rowdy 15-year-olds at night. And of course there are the tangible things - peach cider and Crispy Crunch bars for example! England is just so very different. Good, but different.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Miss Kitty's Dragons

Here's a photo of my first proud finish! I really enjoyed stitching this one, and it only took me a few weeks - not bad for me, as I'm no champion speed-stitcher. Before this, I'd finished some smaller projects - cards and little things - so I was really pleased with how this turned out. I decided to frame it and contacted Sue at SDS Framing who was a wonderful help. I bought one of her 'Stitch-It Frame-It' kits - do-it-yourself framing which works out much (much!) less expensive, and I think the result speaks for itself (there's no praise like self-praise...). It's now proudly hanging on our bedroom wall. Since this one, I've finished 2 others - A Mother's Heart (also a pretty quick finish) and Titania (a Mirabilia fairy design that took me about 6 months), but I don't want to post photos yet in case my mum or sister happen to see this - they're presents for our long-awaited trip back home to BC this Spring.

Thursday, 22 March 2007


So this is my first post! I'm at home on H's laptop, which means no access to photos because the memory key works only sporadically - and today doesn't seem to be a sporadic day. Technology can fail you when you feel you most want it. So I'd like to extend a welcome to anyone who's out there and reading this. I intend to learn how to upload photos and keep you updated with the stitching projects I'm currently working on. I've just recently decided to go to a 7-day rotation, but as I'm also working full-time, I'm not sure whether this is a sensible decision or merely a shortcut to frustration at not getting anywhere with any of the projects! Today is Thursday, so I should be working on Folk Art Sampler, which is actually a sampler I'm trying to put together from a magazine pattern of several smaller 'folky' motifs. I'm struggling a bit with the charting (by hand) so any tips on helpful software most appreciated! I haven't even threaded a needle yet for this project, and already I'm nearly dreading a Thursday, so perhaps this is too much of a stretching challenge for me. I've only been stitching for about 7 months, but I've really caught the bug, and knowing me I'm likely to try and run before I can walk. When I do get to start stitching this one, I'm looking forward to trying out DMC linen threads, as well as using Crescent Colours overdyed cotton, which I love and think are beautiful.