Monday, 30 July 2007

I Did It!

I finished my very first tin top! Okay, it certainly isn't perfect. In fact you could probably apply the adjectives 'lopsided', 'uneven' and 'amateurish', but frankly I don't care because I managed to do it all by myself! With a little help from H (now a cording master) and from some extremely helpful hints, tips and how-to's that I have discovered on various blogs out there in blogland. Actually that sounds more like a team effort, although I will of course accept all the blame for the imperfections myself :) (Also, please ignore the dust on my windowsill, thank you.) I am now using the tin as a project box for the current small that I'm working on.

Friday I stitched a bit on Love Is Patient, and have now completed three lines of the verse (not including the gold diamonds that separate the phrases). I think I might finish this project in August, and I can't wait to have it framed up and hung on our wall.

H was over in Dublin on Sunday learning more about this potential job. All is looking well there, although it doesn't look as if anything is going to happen imminently. So we'll be here for another few months anyway! I had a quiet Sunday afternoon and evening, and worked on Paradigm Lost. I definitely won't achieve my goal of completing the first 2 pages of this design by the end of July, but I'm pleased with my progress nonetheless.

The weather is improving here, so I'm hopeful that we might actually get out on the golf course this weekend for the first time in about 8 weeks. Fingers crossed for at least a decent August after the weather havoc of July...

Happy stitching!

Friday, 27 July 2007

Dashing for the Weekend

Apologies that this is going to be rather a hurried post. This week has been frantic at work, thus my silence. (My co-workers wouldn't normally associate me with silence, so it's been online silence only!)

A quick update of the week runs thus:

Monday - finally finished the awful bear 'row', please don't examine his left ear too closely, it appears that he was operated on by a slightly drunk veterinarian. The next row - ulu (stone cutting knives I believe) is nearly completed.

Tuesday - a new start - yippee! After much deliberation, I elected to start the next Loose Feathers pattern - Awake the Dawning Day. Not much to show below (I was late home on Tuesday).

Wednesday - another new start, as I haven't had an opportunity to get the finishing bits for the Shepherd's Bush tin top. A trip to Reading is planned for Saturday in order to stock up on all manner of cords/buttons/fabric/ribbon etc that I could possibly use. So hopefully an update early next week (H spilt coffee on his laptop, and it now doesn't work, so no weekend updates for the moment!). So I started a design from Cat's Whiskers called Queen Anne's Lace - the chart includes a box top and a scissor fob, and I am stitching the pincushion:

And, finally, Thursday - more Spanish Wine - more eyelet border - more of the same. That also means more enjoyment, as this is still my favourite current project!

So that's me very swiftly up to date - wishing you all a wonderful weekend and very happy stitching!

Monday, 23 July 2007

Harry Potter Weekend

So, as you probably know if you have children, or if like to read books (or if you watch the news) the latest and final instalment of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released on Saturday. I therefore spent Friday reading the sixth book (so I was completely reminded of all the action and plots leading into the final book) and then spent all of Saturday (until about 2am) reading the new book. Needless to say, it was great. I think you either love Harry or you don't, and I am definitely in the former camp.
So I haven't much stitching to update you on. I did get out my needle on Sunday and lazily stitched away in front of the British Open coverage, which was another wonderful event this weekend given that H is over the moon that Padraig Harrington has won the Open for a jubilant Ireland! In between shots I worked away on the tin top that I am doing, and which is now complete and ready to finish. I need to pick up a few bits and bobs for finishing, which I will probably do that later in the week. For now, here is a photo of the finished stitching:

Shepherd's Bush - Gathered Hours Pincushion (to be finished as tin top)
stitched on 32ct Kiwi Illusions Bourbon 'n' Cola from Country Stitch
using suggested DMC

Once that was completed, I picked up Love Is Patient, as I'd not stitched it on Friday, and it's getting quite close to finishing. And a finish means a new start! So I've stitched all the border details, leaving only the verse to complete plus one flower inside the heart border. I should finish this in no time. Such a lovely design, I realy enjoy this one. (I know, I say that all the time.)

Happy stitching to you all - our thoughts are with those in the UK who are affected by the terrible flooding.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Happily Stitching the Border

I really can't work out why I love Spanish Wine so much. It's a beautiful design, of course, but I'm still (still STILL) stitching the inner border. It's time consuming. It's repetitive. It's all the things I hate. And yet, I love it! Anyway, best not to question why, and instead just look forward to stitching it every week. Here is this week's progress photo - hopefully I will start stitching one of the sections soon so that I have something more interesting to update you with!

Hoping you all have wonderful weekends, wherever you are. Happy stitching!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Small Update

Hurrah - finally the thread came through to finish my sister's little pincushion - so here it is (it's sitting on the fabric that I used for the back). I'm no expert sewer, so the finish detail is okay rather than excellent, and this was my first go at tassels. They are staying on at the very least, LOL!

I managed to put in a few stitches last night on the Shepherd's Bush tin top, but it is for some reason not straightforward to photograph, so this is my best effort.

I did do some stitching on Northern Lights on Monday, but I'm very dissatisfied with the Wisper (well, really I'm very dissatisfied with my ability to stitch with the Wisper, but I shall blame my materials) so I haven't taken a photo. I've decided to carry on for the moment as is, and I may decide to frog it all once I've finished the sampler (i.e. at some date very far in the future, thus absolving myself from making a decision about it now). I didn't get around to starting a new project on Tuesday; I'm humming and hawing a bit, and haven't quite settled on which one I'd like to do. Also, I went for a lovely long walk in the evening with H, and was too tired to make a decision on our return. We've actually had some decent weather this week for the first time all summer, although I see from the forecast that it's about to end quite abruptly just in time for the weekend!

Happy stitching all!

Monday, 16 July 2007

Carefully Counting 1, 2, 3

I spent Sunday afternoon carefully counting, then carefully frogging, then carefully re-counting and then carefully re-stitching, and now Spanish Wine is back on track - hurrah! In all honesty, it didn't take too much time to 'repair' my mistake, and now it's all looking lovely, if I do say so myself (although I'm still working on the inner border, so there still isn't much to see!). The inner border is all eyelets, so am carefully putting these in (no sense in making the same mistake twice!).

And, even better, I spent Sunday morning in FINISHING Silver Needle! I carefully threaded the last few beads on, so here it is in its finished (albeit unframed) glory:

This is wonderful news as I have a short attention span, and it means that I can start a new project, something I love to do, almost more than finishing :) That will be on Tuesday, so I can't wait to sift through my stash and figure out what I'm going to do next.

I also spent some time this weekend on two other WIPs - Love is Patient, in which my inability to count also came to the fore, and has necessitated me not quite following the chart for the lower right hand corner, but which hopefully you wouldn't know the difference unless you were comparing stitch-by-stitch to the chart (and this is what I couldn't be bothered to do, and thus why I didn't frog it and correctly re-stitch wherever it was I went off-plan. Hopefully I will not live to regret this carefree decision!). But I have now finished both the outer border and the inner heart border for this project, as well as charting our (mine and H's) initials in the bottom left corner, so it does feel as if I've come a long way in a short time on this one. In case you are wondering, I have stitched 2006 (rather than 2007) because that is the year that H and I got married, and the verse which will eventually appear in the heart is adapted from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians, which was one of the readings that we had at our wedding.

And, finally, my entire Saturday, when not watching Jack Bauer wrestle with the forces of evil on 24 (we watched the last half of series 5 most of the weekend), was devoted to Paradigm Lost. Keeping in mind my attention span, I am so far pleased to say I actually look forward to picking this up every week, long may it continue (and, according to Carol who has recently finished PL herself - and beautifully I might add - it will indeed continue for a long, long time...).

Oh - and one final thing. The tin that I am using for the Shepherd's Bush tin top that is currently my Wednesday project is a small tin of sweets purchased at Lidl for a whopping 79p. They are round gold-coloured tins about 4.5 inches in diameter, so could be used for small round or square designs. Unfortunately we don't get Altoids over here, so finding suitable tins can be a struggle! The Lidl sweets tin tip was given to me by the lovely Leena - and while I am at it, I'm going to give a freebie plug (!) to Leena's shop, Violarium, which is WONDERFUL!
Hope you all had happy weekends and are having much better weather than we are! Happy stitching!

Friday, 13 July 2007

You Have to Laugh, Otherwise...

Last night I got out my current favourite project, Spanish Wine, and carried on with the border. I was going great guns, right until I could see wasn't going to match up at the final corner!!!! You have to either laugh or cry, and I'm much more a laughing person, so after several minutes of itsy bitsy stitch counting accompanied by rueful chuckling on my part, I have found the problem: it transpires that the very first row I stitched (the top row) has 2 extra stitches in it, so when I did the last vertical, well, you can imagine! I haven't taken a photo of my ignominious inability to count, but rest assured that I will be doing lots of frogging this weekend!

On a happier note, I started a new small project on Wednesday. Leena had very graciously sent me instructions for finishing a tin that I had seen on her blog (and which was gorgeous), and now I'm feeling (possibly over)confident enough to give it a go. I've chosen a Shepherd's Bush design called Gathered Hours which includes a small circular design for a pinkeep and looks perfect for the tin. I'm using the suggested DMC threads, but have chosen a different fabric. I'm using some absolutely gorgeous linen from the lovely Catherine at Country Stitch - a NZ company which hand dyes fabric beautifully. The fabric is from their Kiwi Illusions range, and is called Bourbon 'n' Cola. It is not just the name that appeals :)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, and happy stitching!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Big Update with Lots of Photos!

I've been quiet for a few days as I've had a couple of days' holiday - relaxing and cleaning and shopping and stitching. It's been remarkably refreshing not thinking about work! But now I'm back (and wishing quite hard that my short break wasn't over - I keep telling H it is time to retire, but somehow it hasn't happened yet LOL!)

So this is what I've been up to stitching-wise. I've nearly finished the inner heart border on Love Is Patient - although I had a minor heart attack which I've decided I will work around (rather than frogging). I was carefully stitching one row of the border and then diligently crossing it off on my chart, and it was all fine on the left hand side of the chart/heart, but on the right side, I got to the bottom to join them up and still had 2 rows left (allegedly) on my chart! Whoops! So I've just carried on and sort of faked it, and as long as the central wording doesn't get in the way, it should be all fine. It could all get interesting once I start the middle bit though!

I also got nearly done on the assisi pincushion that I am making for my sister's birthday. Unfortunately, it seems that I need 5 yards plus 8 inches of the Dinky Dye thread that I am using, so although I have enough left for the remaining two tassels, I haven't got enough to wrap the bottoms of the tassels or attach the tassels to the pincushion! So for the moment, it looks rather forlorn. It also looks as if the pincushion is going to be late to her (Royal Mail and Canada Post both being what they are) as the thread is currently on backorder! I'm not too worried about it, especially as I am still waiting for my Christmas present from 1994...

I spent a whole day on Paradigm Lost this weekend, carefully stitching the large left-hand motif. I am really really enjoying this project, but it is so big that it will be quite a challenge - and quite a day when I actually finish it! I've pledged to finish all of pages one and two this month, and I'm about halfway there I reckon, hurrah! I think my camera doesn't really show the variegation of the thread brilliantly, so I've taken a close-up (bottom photo) of the motif I stitched. It's a bit blurry, but hopefully shows the colour a bit better.

I spent one of my holidays on Northern Lights - this project isn't so big as Paradigm Lost, but it's full of tricky stitches and frequent colour changes, so I find I refer to the chart about six times before each stab of the needle. Time consuming rather than large (although it will eventually stretch to 20 inches as you can see in the 2nd photo, so it isn't small by any means!). I managed to finish the blanket toss/Tlingit mask row (the brown circles), and then a row of cloudberries and blueberries. I managed half of the polar bear before I just couldn't bear to stitch any further with Wisper and had to put it down. Arrghh. Luckily, there isn't too much of it left... (the Wisper, not the project)

Lastly, I worked on Silver Needle, which I am SO CLOSE to finishing - I have just half a handful of beads to attach and that will be a celebration from me. On the upside though, the project I want to start next isn't quite kitted yet (still waiting for fabric), so there's a few extra days for it to (hopefully) arrive in the post!

Thanks for your patience in getting this far! Happy stitching!

Friday, 6 July 2007

Still a Border

It's true, things on Spanish Wine haven't progressed much this week, as I only managed to finish the left-hand border and get halfway across the bottom. My excuse for my low stitching output this week has been my seeming inability to get home anything like on time once all week. This has been variously due to lightning strikes on train signal boxes, clients calling 5 minutes before you are set to leave and then waffling on for 10 minutes when 2 minutes would do, and 6-minute gaps in service on the Bakerloo Line (trust me, 6 minutes is just far too long to have to wait). So last night I tempted H out to Reading for a nice dinner in our favourite Italian as a reward to me for being such a stoic commuter, and I didn't have a lot of time to stitch after we got home, very full of gorgeous food.
Such is the commuting life I suppose, there are good weeks and bad weeks. Actually, there are only bad weeks, as I'm discovering that my tolerance for commuting seems to be about 3 and a half years, because now I'm fed up with it, and want to stop. Where is that lottery ticket again?!
Happy stitching!

Thursday, 5 July 2007

First Pincushion!

I've nearly finished my first pincushion! Last night I carefully cut the backing fabric, sewed together the stitching and the backing fabric, stuffed the pincushion, and then did a very awkward (and actually fairly untidy) slip stitch to close it all up - I did do my best, but my sewing skills leave a lot to be desired, as my mother can vouch for. But it will be hidden by the blanket stitch that I'm going to put all around the pincushion, so no real harm done, and I'm looking at it as practice, as in practice makes perfect! LOL

Here it is so far - yet to attach corner tassels and do blanket stitch. It is from June's The Gift of Stitching magazine, and I am pretty much finishing it as recommended, although am using cotton fabric rather than linen for the backing. The fabric in the background of the photo is the fabric I've chosen, as this is for my sister, and she is a rather funky girl.

Happy stitching all!

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Even More Stash

Firstly, I must apologise to everyone - I've been quite distracted and busy, so haven't been reading your blogs - but I should be back on track and catching up very shortly!
Another lovely parcel arrived in the post last night from Countrystitch, in New Zealand. I wanted to try their fabrics, so ordered several different 32ct fabrics - they do a sort of 'grab bag' based on the colours of the seasons, so I chose Autumn, as well as a small piece of their Kiwi Illusions Acorn, and this is what arrived:

L-R: Acorn, Rustic Glow, Bourbon 'n' Cola, Pirongia Mist, Feijoa

The Acorn isn't nearly so dark IRL. I can't wait to use them!

I didn't do any stitching on Monday night - I was feeling tired rather than inspired, so Northern Lights will have to sit patiently until next week. Tuesday is Silver Needle, so I carried on with the v e r y s l o w smyrna stitches in the final flower band - it felt like I really didn't get much done, although I am now nearly finished with these small, time-consuming stitches. Also, to be fair, I wasn't concentrating 100% on my stitching as we received the first 2 DVDs from series 5 of 24 in the post yesterday, so H would hear of nothing else but putting it straight on and watching all 4 episodes!

Happy Independence Day to our American friends, and happy stitching all!

Monday, 2 July 2007


Yes, Sunday was also spent in pyjamas. There is nothing I love more on a wet, rainy weekend than staying inside in my pyjamas and doing absolutely nothing active whatsoever. And the good news is, I'm winnning over H to love the same! Hurrah!

Sunday qualified under 'wet' and 'rainy', so we caught up on lots of films, and I stitched happily away on the Assisi Pincushion I'm working on (and have now finished stitching), and Silver Needle, which I'm getting darn near finishing.

With the stitching done, I just need to sew the pincushion all up and stuff it and make the tassel things for the corners - I thought I would experiment with tassels as I have never done one before. I realised that I don't have any coordinating thread, or even any pins to hold the stitched linen and the backing fabric together, so I'm off to a sewing notions shop tomorrow afternoon to pick up a few much-needed supplies. Photos hopefully soon of the completed article!

So with not enough key materials to finish this off, I thought I'd sneak in an extra session on Silver Needle, seeing as I've set a goal to finish it in July. I have only the bottom band to complete - it's quite fiddly however, with lots of tiny smyrna crosses - and then add in all the beads.

Happy stitching everyone!

Sunday, 1 July 2007


Happy Canada Day all! There won't be much in the way of fireworks or celebrations here in Berkshire, but nevermind, we'll celebrate ourselves :)

Friday night I worked on Love is Patient - I'm really enjoying this as it's the first time I've stitched on a higher count fabric (36ct) and it looks really delicate doing stitching 1 over 2. I love the threads as well - Crescent Colours - they are deep, rich colours, which I love. Here is the progress:

Saturday morning brought Chris, our friendly postman, and his bag full of goodies for me - yes, the spoils of my recent stash-buying. Today it was a parcel from Naomi at Stitches and Spice in Australia, which included, from L-R below: 32ct Spice Blend Heritage; 36ct Spice Blend Sugar Cane Crunch; Mulberry Hand-dyed cotton; 32ct Spice Blend Tundra. I'm really pleased with them all, they are just gorgeous, and I can't recommend these guys enough :)

Saturday we had a very lazy day in front of the telly watching films one after the other - there was (yet again) drenching rain all day, so we just couldn't bring ourselves to get off the couch. It's a recurring theme for our weekends! I worked on Paradigm Lost, finally finishing the alphabet and going on to some of the smaller motifs.

And, finally, a goals update from June and for July
finish biscornu - check
finish scissor fob - check
finish Their Song - check
continue Silver Needle - check
continue Northern Lights - check
continue Paradigm Lost - check
continue Love Is Patient - check
start Spanish Wine - check
I think maybe I gave myself a too-easy task, seeing as I managed to achieve all my goals! So, for JULY:
finish pincushion
finish a second small
start a third small
finish Silver Needle, and start another project
continue Northern Lights
finish entire page 1 and page 2 of Paradigm Lost
continue Love Is Patient - finish outer border and heart border
continue Spanish Wine
Happy Canada Day and happy stitching all!