Monday, 30 March 2009

Double figures and a finish!

When I 'blogged on' today I found that over the weekend my list of followers had risen to ten! Thanks to everyone who follows and/or leaves comments. I hope that there will be plenty for you to come back and see in the future, and keep those comments coming I enjoy reading them!

This weekend I finished the Thistle Biscornu which was designed by Sharon, The Purple Thread. I am really pleased with it.

This was in every way a freebie. The silks were left over from The Drawn Thread Spring Arbour. The beads also came from that project and a Mill Hill calendar. The big pearl beads in the centres I got from my Mum's bead stash. The 28 count Cashel Linen (lilac) had been brought for a project still in the stash. The floss in my stash most matching this in colour was Anchor 103.
This week in the rotation it is the May Calendar from Mill Hill.
I have been invited to join Stitchers Showcase. So I am off to explore!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Mandalas, SALs (Totally Useless) and Santa

When I got home today there was an email from my Mum and this was the attachment.

The Holland Mandala, finished. Then she tells me the last download arrived on Tuesday! Never mind my melting red pen her needle must be glowing. It looks great.

Today it's the new moon and time for a picture of my ort jar for the Totally Useless SAL. As I was taking it upstairs to photo The Other Half commented that there wasn't much in it! Mmm, I replied that I am very frugal with my orts. Especially as over here, Treasure Braid, hand dyed silk and all the other speciality floss that are used in Chatelaine designs, Waxing Moon Designs etc are VERY expensive. Very little DMC floss in this jar so far!

So here is my contribution to the Totally Useless SAL this month.

At the end of stitching tonight this is how 'The Red Santa' looks.

The picture does not show the metallic embellishments on his coat and I have to say that in the end I frogged all the French Knots except the ones in his eyes as I did not like them. There is quite a lot of couching to do but I am going to leave that until the whole thing is finished. So the next time this hits the rotation it's on to 'The Pale Blue Santa'. A sort of finish for this week or not?

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Backstitch and French Knots

So it's back to 'The Red Santa' this week and backstitch and French knots is what I will be doing. Even The Other Half has said that he, 'The Red Santa', that is, is looking good.

I rashly said over breakfast that I might even get him finished this week and then it is on to 'The Blue Santa'.

Marking update 50/75 and 1/68, red pen is going into melt down!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Done ~ beads 'n' all

After a MEGA stitching session yesterday, no late night though, and about an hour this morning White Nights Part 1 is finished, including all the beading. The crystals are still to be added but I'm going to leave them until the end.

Part 2 seems to have gazillions of Algerian eyelets, which I don't particularly like doing, as I think mine always turn out 'funny'. I'm not sure I pull the hole open enough, but hey ho, I might master them this time round.

Off to the stash room to do the ironing and to find the DMC floss which matches Zweigart's Lilac Cashel Linen for doing the back stitching on the Thistle Biscornu. I wonder which will be done first!

In fact has anyone ever matched the different colour linen to floss shades, and if they have where do you find it?

Thursday, 19 March 2009

More frogs!

This time of the amphibian variety, I'm glad to say. Every morning I look out into the back garden from an upstairs window and for the past few days the pond has been like a Jacuzzi! So this evening I went to investigate, knowing exactly what I would find; and I was not wrong.
Frog spawn, and lots of it.

Here's hoping that all my frogs do stay in the pond, a phrase I found on the bottom of someone's blog, sorry don't remember who's. Especially this weekend as I want to get out and do some gardening 'cos they don't half make you jump when you come across them unexpectedly; and I thought frogs were supposed to do the jumping!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Woops! Frogging required

I thought I would post yesterdays progress on White Nights and in cropping the photo noticed an error! See if you can spot it.

Marking update 6/75, getting there ~ slowly. But next week I will have 68 Y11 mock exams to be marked and by 2nd April. So if I am absent from this blog for a bit you know what I am doing, not stitching that's for sure!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

More done than it appears

Last night was another late night, well for me, that is. Not as late as on Sunday but I didn't have to frog most of my evening's efforts this time. I had set myself a goal and I wasn't going to bed until I had achieved it! The goal was to complete all the white cross stitch inside the small squares, I think only one of them actually had it's outline at the start of the evening.

You can just about make out the white stitches on the photo, or is that wishful thinking on my part? Tonight it's back onto the colours.

On a totally different topic the A Level coursework has started to come in; progress so far 1/75 marked (see post Off to a bad start if you are wondering what I am going on about).

Monday, 16 March 2009

Another biscornu finish!

Whilst at 'The Railway' this weekend I was able to finish the Valentine's biscornu. Here it is

I was also able to start the Thistle biscornu designed by Sharon (The Purple Thread). I'm doing this on lilac linen using the left over silks from the Spring Arbor. I was getting on like the proverbial house on fire when last night at ten o'clock I noticed that I had made a MASSIVE mistake. I ended up having to frog half of the front side. Not a happy bunny, as they say. What has made things even worse is the fact I am using left overs, I had to raid the ort jar to get sufficient silk to finish certain colours. Anyway I am almost back on track now.

This week it's the turn of White Nights. I'm hoping to finish part 1! I think Sitchery Doo is starting the Hawaiian Mandala this week so we will be having our own mini SAL!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Stash expansion

Look what arrived today.

I've had a bit of a spending spree on Just Nan charts and embellishment packs; Floral Fifteen and all three parts of Barnabee's Quest, to go with When Barnabee Met Bella already in the stash. That's what the lilac linen is for and the antique white just comes in handy! The lilac linen is such a nice colour I'm also going to do The Purple Thread's biscornu on that using the left over silks from the Spring Arbor.

Here is the progress so far this week on Simply Summer.

I have made one modification replacing the American flag on the bird house with the flag of St George, still, at the moment, needing it's red cross.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Rotation change

This week it should be back to the St Nicholas Tree Skirt and 'The Red Santa' but instead I am going to start 'Simply Summer' from Waxing Moon Designs. Last autumn I did 'Simply Halloween'. This is what it looks like in real life.

The photograph provided on the chart shows the linen to be a purple/white colour. As you can see it is, in fact, very witches broth green! I found other designs in the 'Simply' series on their website and decided to to the four seasons.

Let me explain. A couple of years ago, for a Christmas present, my Mum got me the windowpane and some of the kits from the Mill Hill Simply Seasonal Windowpane 2006 series. I really liked the idea of changing the pictures every two months rather than having the whole lot on the wall at once. We have quite a few large pictures, and I quite like to see some empty space on the walls - I don't do clutter, as The Other Half will tell you. This is why I am doing the Mill Hill Calendar (2003 version, as did not like the 2008 one) and why I have got the seasonal arbors by The Drawn Thread and now this series from The Waxing Moon. At the moment the intention is to display them according to the season but I think that The Drawn Thread ones may find a permanent home somewhere, eventually.

So here is 'Simply Summer' ready to go.

What's even better, because these charts are considered 'old', my Mum found them in the bargain basket at The Nimble Thimble.

Monday, 9 March 2009

The Totally Useless SAL

I found this SAL on Sitchery Doo's blog. All you have to do is find a glass container, fill it with orts and/or other stitchy left~overs and post a picture every month at about the time the full moon. The SAL lasts until December and, hopefully by then you should end up with some 'art'. What a fun idea! So I went in search of a suitable jar that would also be a bit of fun.

Here it is:

What do you think?
With all the reflections this flask is already quite 'arty'. It is a two litre flask, the type used by mad scientists in chemistry experiments. As I am a science teacher I asked the lab techs at school if they had any glassware that they wanted to get rid of and this is what they came up with. I then had to explain why I wanted it, mmm....
If anyone wants to find out more about The Totally Useless SAL click here.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

This morning's task

Here are some photos of the way I have mounted all the Calendar Series pictures. Firstly I glue wadding to 1/4" thick mounting board (don't know the proper name as a nice young chap at the framers cuts it and sells it me for 50p a go). Then I centre, stretch and pin the work.

Next comes the lacing. I pull the pins out as I go because I always catch the lacing thread on them.

And finally ...

Then the fun bit is the staging for the final photo. Last weekend The Other Half bought two Thorntons chocolate rabbits. The only way I have stopped him from eating them is to say that I needed them for the April photo.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

April is finished

It feels like I've spent most of the day on this.

Tomorrow I will block and stretch it. Framed picture to follow.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Hundreds & Thousands

What are the similarities between these

and these?

Hundreds & Thousands come in lots of nice colours, so do Mill Hill beads. When you knock them onto the floor they both go ALL OVER THE PLACE! as I found out to my cost last night. Now normally I do my sewing on the settee, and I know that if I rest the beads on the arm then they are likely to tip up so I always, always, always shut the lid on my trusty bead container. As mentioned in the post 'In car sewing' (26/01/09) this little box is brilliant at stopping spillages.

Last night I thought I'd be sociable and keep The Other Half company in the kitchen whilst he was 'creating'. Trusty bead box on the table, not too close to the edge, lid open. Don't ask me how I did it but I caught my trusty little box and sent the whole lot flying! No exaggeration they went everywhere! It took me an hour to pick them up and that included taking a short cut with a dust pan and brush. I even found some this morning.

As you can imagine progress on April was not as good as expected but I'm still hoping to finish it this weekend, fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Off to a bad start

Well it started off badly and then got worse! Firstly when she was getting dressed this morning my Mum noticed that this gone wrong blister thing on her heel, got from wearing steel toe capped DM's at the place she and The Other Half call 'The Railway', had started to bleed. Then she noticed that there were drops of blood from this blister thing all over the floor! Then The Other Half got his shoes out of the wardrobe and proceded to walk coal dust and other black stuff (as said pair of shoes were last worn at, you've guessed it, 'The Railway'!) across the same carpet, which happens to be ivory in colour. So, still in her night stuff, Mum was in cleaning mode and all before 7.15 am. Well I think that this 'Railway' place is to blame and quite frankly, they should stay home and keep me company, especially since my sister went to the Big Cat Basket in the sky and I'm now an only one!

Whilst at work my Mum also realised that she has 75 pieces of A Level 'coursework', whatever that is, to mark before 15 May and none of it has been handed in yet, and they're going away for a few days over Easter and at May Bank Holiday. Needless to say they didn't ask if it was OK with me! However, The Other Half and me are thinking about going away for a few days on a 'Big Boy's Holiday' just to get out of the way, the week before the 15 May is looking good!

They also had a meeting at after work today about some 'online reporting system', don't ask me I'm only a cat. Anyway, I heard her tell The Other Half that it was supposed to make life easier and reduce workload, well guess what? She can't log on to the system!

So I am doing the Blog today as Mum is lying down in the Stash Room. This is a picture of something called The April Calendar

By the way my name is Stripey and if Stewey over at Spinster Stitcher's Blog can post, then so can I, but I think he's better at it than me and he's a dog! This is my photo. I am sitting on my favourite step but the photographer didn't get my best side!

Did I mention that as my Mum was fixing the breakfast this morning I chucked up all over the kitchen floor? I'm off to hide somewhere where they won't find me. The airing cupboard is probably the best place as I haven't hidden in there for ages!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Stash Room

As there was no real progress on the April Calendar last night due to The Other Half and me needing to 'synchronise diaries' as it were, for the next three months (I could go in to great detail as to why this happens every quarter but no, far too tedious to worth a mention, suffice it to say it's driven by Railway Weekends), I decided to photograph 'The Stash Room'. I've mentioned it a few times on this blog.

Now when we, my sister and me, were little, my Dad used to go to the local tip with garden waste and such, a lot. This was long before the days of kerbside recycling. My Mum used to say, jokingly, I hasten to add, that if she were to ever go missing that was where we had to look for her!

When I disappear for half an hour or so 'The Stash Room' is where I'm to be found.

OK, so reality check, I also spend a lot of time in here because it's also 'The Ironing Room' but all evidence of that mundane activity has been 'airbrushed' from the photos.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Odd or even?

Back onto the subject of biscornu, by the way the Valentine's one is now in the handbag, just in case I get a few minutes spare somewhere! Should the number of back stitches on each side of the biscornu be odd or even? So far all the ones I have done have had an even number of stitches. The Valentine's one has an odd number and so does one my Mum gave me by Polstitches Designs. With an even number of stitches positioning the corner a long the middle of the side is easy but with an odd number, well easy enough but is the whole thing not slightly out? Does it really matter as long as the sides have the same number of stitches? If anyone has an opinion please leave a comment.

Anyway, this is White Nights at the end of stitching yesterday.

I'm going to be true to the rotation, for now, so this week I am going to start the April Calendar from Mill Hill. With a bit of luck it will not take all week so I could have another short session on White Nights at the weekend, fingers crossed!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Bowl of Biscornu?

So, I'm following the Basket of Biscornu SAL, a month behind everyone else, and have been looking for a suitable basket to display my growing collection. Well, my Mum came up trumps with this, an early Easter present, a hand turned, shallow wooden bowl with a pokerwork border.

As mentioned in the previous post I had decided to do the freebie design from The Solaria Gallery as a Valentine's themed biscornu for February. I reckoned that my Mum had some dark blue aida in her stash, left over from an ocean cross stitch I did years ago, and I was right. So whilst at 'The Railway' this weekend I managed to stitch the first side.

I only used the centre motif as using 14 count aida stitching the whole design would have made this biscornu much too big for my liking. Even The Other Half, has said how striking this one looks. Anyway, I only have one evening left on White Nights before going on to the next thing in the rotation so I'm off to do a bit more!