Monday, 26 November 2007

It's DONE!!!

It's finally done!

As you may remember, I was pretty worried about the whole sewing thing for finishing Orlaith's stocking, but I decided on Sunday to bite the bullet and just go for it, and see what happened. I made the precaution of buying twice as much fabric as I needed, just in case, and with that lifeline in place, felt able to begin! After only one false start (I cut the backing fabric the wrong way round the first time!), I carefully designed a pattern, cut out the pieces one by one - the backing, the cuffs, the lining and, most alarming, the linen - pieced them all together, and, after a very deep breath and a calming cup of tea, started up the sewing machine. And it worked! And I'm so pleased! I've attached large photos, just because I'm so proud of myself. I really can't tell you how apprehensive I was about this finishing task - now I'm mainly just feeling relieved LOL!
I also started stitching my Fair & Square Round 4 squares for the wonderful Annemarie, but I know she occasionally drops in, so no sneaky preview photos - I don't want to ruin the surprise.
Oh, and I bought this year's first Christmas ornament on Saturday! H was a bit nonplussed as he was picking out a new shower screen, and all I was interested in was browsing wide-eyed in the Christmas section!
Happy Stitching!

Friday, 23 November 2007

A Quick Post

Just a quick post from me today - work is still crazy! Last night was the Snowbird SAL, so here is my progress with Paradigm Lost - it's going rather well at the moment!

I've also finished Orlaith's stocking - the stitching bit anyway. And, to answer Marne's question, Orlaith is pronounced 'Orla', the extra 'ith' is the Irish spelling. In my experience, Irish seems to use a lot of extra letters that are phonetically ambivalent - somehow they exert their influence over the pronounciation of the word, but not in a way that is necessarily apparent to native English speakers! I'm now partway through attaching the charms (but I haven't taken a photo of that yet), and I intend to get underway with the finishing this weekend. I am quite scared about this, but have had few long conversations with my mum, and we've traded a few emails (hers mainly starting out with NO DON'T DO IT THAT WAY!). But I have lots of finishing material, and frankly I can wield a seam-ripper with the best of them!
Finally, just a quick update on broadband, which will be the key to my finally having time to post regularly and also to read all your wonderful blogs regularly, which I just don't have the time to do anymore at work :( The broadband is set up, the computer is ordered and set for delivery next week, the broadband hardware is waiting for me at the post office to pick up on Saturday. All being well, we should be up and running by this time next week. Phew!
Thanks for stopping by; wishing you all a wonderful weekend!
(Am I the only one planning the tree and getting excited about hauling out the ornaments and Christmas decorations??? It's nearly December!!!)
Happy stitching!

Friday, 16 November 2007


I've found a local fabric shop! Hurrah! It's Fabricland - a chain in southern England. Does anyone have any views, good or bad, about them? H and I are going to go on Saturday and pick out some fabric for the back and lining of Orlaith's stocking. H is really following the progress of the stocking avidly as Orlaith is his first niece (he isn't normally be so keenly interested in the rest of my stitching! LOL), so I think he'll have some views about what to choose. Probably the only time I'll ever get him inside a fabric shop without protest :)
Last night was the Snowbird SAL night, so here is my Paradigm Lost update:

Slowly but surely getting this motif finished! I've got renewed energy for it, though, and really enjoying stitching it. This SAL is my first, and I'm finding it really motivating for such a big project. I think it might be the way to go for larger projects in the future as it's so much more fun doing it with all the other wonderful stitchers to keep me motivated.

I spent some time on Wednesday stitching Spanish Wine - the grapes are starting to appear.

Wishing you all a happy Friday and a most wonderful weekend - happy stitching!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007


Two days spent on Spanish Wine, and I'm getting somewhere on it! I really love this project, and it is stitching up beautifully (which is more a comment on how much I'm enjoying it rather than a comment on my stitching LOL). I'm nearly done 'band 2' which is the green double-running grape leaves and vine. I know they are grape leaves and vines, because the gaps in the band will soon be filled with big purple bunches of grapes.

In the quest for broadband, things are going well, we have signed up for the service, and now have plans to go computer shopping at the weekend. I'm very excited to think that I will be able to blog (posting and reading) and answer emails at my leisure, rather than squeezing it between phone calls at work!

The ankle is healing quite rapidly, which is wonderful. So I'm going to try playing hockey again tonight (very cautiously) and see if playing on Saturday will be a viable option. I am frankly quite a lazy person exercise-wise, so not doing my weekly hockey is a bad habit to slip into, even if injury is driving it!

Happy stitching!

Monday, 12 November 2007


The weather has really gone cold here all of a sudden - it properly feels like November now! Work's been a bit busy, and as we are still on the brink of joining the 21st century and getting broadband and a home computer (!), for the time being I'm still posting from work - which isn't always easy! Thus my silence over the last few days. Hopefully we will soon be connected at home...

I have been quite a busy stitcher - I spent quite a bit of time finish-finishing some secret stitching which I'll be able to show you over the coming weeks, but until then, I'll have to make do with some of my other project updates!

Firstly - a wonderful thank you to Michelle from the Crazy Exchange for her return gift - she made me a flat-fold in autumnal colours. Not only my very first flat-fold, but her stitching is so neat and precise. And her finishing?? Wow. There are definitely some very talented crafters over at the Crazy Exchange! She also sent me some beautiful silk floss, which I already have plans to use.

Paradigm Lost - the SAL is going really well - if you're stitching either PL or Cirque des Cercles (or have this in your 'perhaps one day' pile), do visit the SAL blog - you'll be impressed and motivated with all the lovely stitching that everyone is doing! I know I am :)

I also managed to keep going on Orlaith's Stocking, finishing the floral backstitching - you can almost see the stocking shape now, and all that is left (stitching-wise) is adding in Orlaith's name at the top, and securing all the little buttons, trinkets, beads and charms. Then it's on to the finishing. Which reminds me, I must look for some fabric to do that with!
And, finally, I had a good session on Awake the Dawning Day - I've finished the birds and the roof of the house, and am now beginning on the house itself. The most recent Loose Feathers design came through my letterbox recently, and boy am I ever looking forward to stitching that! It's called Autumn Song and is a circular box covering along with a needle-cushion. Truly wonderful!
Hope you all have had lovely weekends. Thanks for stopping by!
Happy stitching!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

A Relaxing Day Off

Whoops - no time to chat today! I had a very relaxing day off yesterday to collect the car and rest up my ankle, and as a consequence am manically busy at work today! I got lots of stitching done on both Orlaith's Stocking:

...and also on Spanish Wine. It's so wonderful picking up a some of my bigger projects that have languished in the WIP pile whilst I've been finishing up Christmas stitching and exchanges! Sorry for the blurry photo.

Thanks for stopping by - sorry for the short post!

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Slowly Recovering

Both the car and I are slowly recovering - thank you for your kind wishes! The car is at the 'doctor's' today, and I'm keeping my ankle up as much as possible. The swelling is slowly receding, but the colours are blooming :)
I stitched a couple of hours on Orlaith's stocking last night, but there isn't really much progres to show you, so I'll save a photo until I've completely finished the band above Santa. Then, treat of all treats, I got out Awake the Dawning Day and had a good ol' session on it - it felt really good to dig this out of the WIP pile. The last time I stitched on this was at the beginning of September - *guilt*. It was the birds I was working on last night, and the top ones are half done.

**Just had a car update - it was a loose wire, and no major repair needed - hurrah!!

Thanks all for stopping by - happy stitching!

Monday, 5 November 2007

More Progress on Santa, and 2 owies

I stitched on a little bit on Orlaith's stocking this weekend - Santa now has all his backstitch on his person completed, and is carrying his star-topped staff. This week, I'll plough on and do the swirls and moons above him - and then I'm nearly there! Now I need to start thinking about what I'm going to line and back the stocking with, and find some fabric quickly. Orlaith's birthday is the 16th December, so I'm hoping to have this stitched, finished and posted by the 10th December at the latest. It sounds like I have so much time, but I'm quaking in my socks about the finishing, so I'm hoping to steam ahead with the stitching, and leave myself plenty of time to do the rest.

The rest of the weekend, I stitched on my piece for the Cross Stitchers' Lottery. Now, I'd like to know what you all plan to do - are you going to show progress photos? So far I haven't, and I think I'm leaning towards keeping it a secret until I post the final photo on the Lottery blog - I think a surprise would be nicer - do you? So, for now, it's all on the QT.

In fact, I wasn't going to do a lot of stitching this weekend; instead I had a number of plans involving visiting friends, clearing out the garden and planting my spring bulbs, and going on a shopping trip for lots of lovely finishing bits and bobs in Reading. But two owies have prevented my doing any of that. First, I sprained my ankle in my hockey game on Saturday - I was going to post a photo, but even I was slightly taken aback by the photo H took - it really does look as if my ankle is afflicted by elephantiasis, so I think I'll just leave the swelling and beautifully emerging purple and green colour to your imagination! So Sunday was spent hobbling about and muttering 'ow, ow' constantly under my breath, but I might still have managed the shopping trip (at a very slow pace!), had not the second owie involved our poor car. After doing the shopping (rather heroically and despite being temporarily crippled! LOL!) on Saturday evening, I got back to the car, loaded in the bright orange Sainsbury's reusable shopping bags, got behind the wheel and...nothing. I immediately thought battery, but the lights and radio seemed to work, so I called the RAC, waiting a suprisingly short time (only 15 minutes!) and he eventually got the car started. Not fixed though, so that's another job for this week. But it left us rather stranded at the weekend, as I wasn't able to walk all the way to the train station, and there is no shopping to speak of in our little village! But nevermind, I can't claim to be too disappointed, since I got to stitch all weekend, and I'm really loving stitching on my secret Lottery project (tantalising you, I know!).

Well, I'm off to ring the garage now and sort out the car's owie, and I need to get my feet back up (it's difficult at my desk at work, but I'm giving it my best try!) to try and heal my ankle speedily. Thanks for dropping by!

Happy stitching!

Friday, 2 November 2007

Lots of Photos!

Phew. I must sit back and take a breath. Life has been quickly whizzing by, and I've been trying to catch up on my blog reading, and have just realised that I'm a wee bit behind in my posting! So this is a bit of an eclectic, ramshackle post trying to catch me up!

The good news is I've finished all my little bits of Christmas stitching - apart from Orlaith's stocking - but of course it's all secret, so I can't show you just yet. This is one of the reasons I've not been showing lots of photos - much of my stitching has been hush hush.

So, first and foremost - Fair & Square Exchange. My partner for Round 3 (my first round) was the very talented Sue Wild from Topeka, Kansas. Sue doesn't have a blog, so I'll post what I made for her (Autumn Spot by Drawn Thread) and what she so beautifully crafted for me (Primrose Path I think the design is call, by Just Nan): (I hope these are click-able for you)

As you can see, Sue also kindly sent me a postcard from Kansas, some finishing fabric and some pins (I didn't take a photo of the little extras I sent her - I always forget that!), and the pins go really well with the metallic thread and sweet charm in the sitching, so I'm thinking of finishing the squares as a pinkeep. I really love what Sue stitched for me - not only a beautiful choice, but oh my isn't her stitching so neat and carefully done. I really enjoyed my first Fair & Square experience, and I can't wait for the next round. I've put a link in my sidebar, and I think sign-ups are being taken until mid-November or thereabouts, so do take a look if you're interested!

Next, for the Crazy Exchange (for which same applies - link to the board is in the sidebar, and new exchangers are always welcome), I made Michelle, who lives in France, a tin topper using a French design - Petite Pause from Tournicoton. I had a little mishap with my flair for (should that be ineptitude with?) numbers and math, and cut too close to the design for the finishing. I think I rescued the situation credibly by stitching the fabric border around it, and was in the end fairly pleased with it - but I have learnt my lesson to measure, and then measure, and then stop to think about whether the measurements make sense, then measure once more, and THEN cut!

Yesterday, I FINALLY got Paradigm Lost out again. It has been sitting forlornly in my WIP pile since late August, but the wonderful Dani and Kathy over at the Snowbird SAL (see new link in sidebar) have been wonderful and I've got lots of newfound energy around this one. I didn't really get much done last night - I'm working on the incomplete motif below and to the right of the 'Z' - but as the rest of the girls on the SAL are just starting, I'm not too worried about falling behind too much (that time will come, once they have all caught up to my slow pace!). The SAL also features a number of lovely ladies stitching Ink Circles' Cirque de Cercles, so have a look at their wonderful progress as well - very inspiring!

And, finally, to finish off this unaccustomedly lengthy post, a quick goal review. October went pretty well, and I'm not giving myself too many tasks in November as I want to try and ease my way back into my rota, which has been pretty much abandoned in the last couple of months!

October Goal Review:
Stitch and send Fair and Square Exchange squares to Sue YES!

Finish Marne's return Crazy Exchange and post before 19.10 YES!

Stitch and send a Crazy Exchange for Michelle YES!

Stitch 2 Christmas gifts YES! In fact stitched 3!

Stitch Santa on Orlaith's stocking YES!

Order materials for Stitcher's Lottery project, and begin stitching YES!

Carry on with Spanish Wine NO

Carry on with Awake the Dawning Day NO

And, for November:

Finish stitching Orlaith's Stocking

Finish stitching Lottery piece

Finish-finish Christmas gifts

Snowbird SAL - stitch Paradigm Lost on Thursdays

Carry on with Awake the Dawning Day

Carry on with Northern Lights

Carry on with Spanish Wine

Thanks for stopping by - and happy stitching!