Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week

How do you deal a "stitching slump?"

I try not to worry about it and enjoy just sitting and watching TV or reading - something I don't really do when I'm stitiching.

If it lasts more than a couple of days I'll reorganise my stitching nest and tidy it up - looking at all the lovely things waiting to be stitched is always a good incentive. I have very few HDs so looking at charts is always good.

I try picking up the needle and stitch one length of floss - no more no less.

One of the things that helps the most is chatting on Aion and reading all the blogs 'cos enthusiasim seems to be catching and I soon get the itch to stitch.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

From UFO to HD without a single stitch

Last evening I made a decision.

I turned an UFO into a HD without a single stitch.

When I first discovered Chatelaine Designs and the wonderful Martina Weber the Mermaid Treasure Box and Toys was just about to start - I enthusiastically signed up and waited with baited breath for each installment.

The online class has 12 installments and by the end you will have a box and some 'toys' to keep in it.

After a couple of months I had finished the box top and was ready to move onto the sides. Then Mystery Sampler 1 started and I got totally engrossed in that.

The box top was still on the frame and leaning against the hearth when last night inspiration struck - it's finished.

No sides, no toys just a lovely mermaid.

I really like the finished box but just not enough to start stitching the sides - especially when it's more of the same in blues - not my favourite colour. Yes I now if I don't like blues why sitch a sea theme.......................................hindsight is a wonderful thing.

So it's off to the framers at the end of the week - what a lovely feeling HDing is!!!


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Stitching Blogger's Question of the Week

How many strands of floss to you prefer to stitch with? Why?

How long's a piece floss? Sorry. Seriously I think it really depends on the fabric. I prefer to stitch on 28 count and 2 strands gives a lovely coverage if stitching over two - however if stitching over one then a single strand gives a lovely delicate appearance to your work.

I've just about finished a small scissor keeper/key fob designed by Sue Hawkins and this uses six strands - now that is a really interesting effect.

So a short answer this week. Must go stitch..............


Monday, May 16, 2005

Frogging made easy

Once a month the Silkweaver Stash of the Month (SOTM) parcel arrives on my doorstep, carport, outhouse (depending on the mood of the postie).

Each month there is some fabric, some thread and some odds and ends and/or gadget. It's complete pot luck and I usually like what I get.

This month I got this:


This is Judy's Boo Boo Stick. The handle is made of walnut and the brushes are sturdy - it's a well made gadget. However, I was sceptical of its usefulness. The blurb that came with it explained how it will help you safely and neatly remove stitches.

I had reason to try it out this weekend. Whilst stitching my own design for the Aion Mail Art Design I decided that one of the colours wasn't right and that I would have to frog a whole section. What an ideal opportunity to try the Boo Boo Stick.

I snipped the front of the stitches then on the reverse of the stitching with the large brush I used an 'upward circular motion'. May I take this opportunity to say this is something everyone should have in their work box. It removed all the snipped stitches perfectly. I went back to the front of the work snipped the remaining stitches and repeated the 'upward circular motion' on the reverse and hey presto easy frogging!!!!!!!

The small brush is more gentle and apparently can be used on the front of the work to clean up any stray fibres.

Now when will my next SOTM parcel arrive.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

Stitching Blogger's Question of the week

Given the option, would you rather buy a chart and get the material and floss together yourself, or buy a pre-packed kit?

I really enjoy the whole process of kitting up a project - sourcing the materials, ticking them off when they arrive and doing all the preparation before putting that first stitch in.

Over the past few years I've amassed a really good list of online suppliers both UK and USA that means I get almost anything called for. I update it regularly when I stumble across new suppliers - especially if someone starts stocking something in the UK that I could only previously get from the States.

I occaisionaly buy kits mainly when there isn't a chart only option. Even then I will usually have to change the fabric as I never stitch on Aida.

The one exception (and I know I'm not alone in this) is that I buy full kits from European Cross Stitch for Chatelaine Designs. There are several reasons for this - Martina's designs use many different threads, silks, crystals, beads etc and it can take ages to get everything from all the different suppliers. You can often arrange to pay for your kit in installments and as Chatelaine projects aren't cheap this is a wonderful opportunity. Also they come so beautifully packaged that it's like getting a birthday present from a special friend.

So that' s my answer - a bit of everything really.


Update on the Mystery Sampler

I have finally remembered to both take a picture and bring the camera with me so here is the progress as at 7am this morning - yes I was stitching the windows at 6.30am!!!

Click to enlarge.

The top is rolled around the frame so you can't see a couple of inches at the top. When I finish the centre motif I've finished part 3 of 6.

Click to enlarge.

I was hoping to thave the saying finished by tomorrow and start the centre motif over the weekend. DH is away so I've got lots of stitching time booked!!!! However, as you can see I'm on a bit of a roll so am well ahead of schedule. Just got the door, roof and some shrubs/trees o the right to do and then it's on to part 4.

I really want to enter this into our village show at the end of July. The last part is released first of June and I'm a bit behind. I think I could still do it if I get some serious stitiching in. I need to allow three or four weeks for framing so I will need to finish on or before Sunday July 10th which gives me just over 8 weeks. I've also got to get a piece of Mail Art done for the Mail Art Exchange on Aion and I'm going to a stitiching weekend with the Cross Stitch Guild in six weeks - we've also got a big conference at work so I'll probably loose a week of evening stitching in June also.

Better go get that needle out.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Bought any good stash recently?

I've bought some really good stash recently.

I love my Gingher scissors.

Free Image Hosting at

I had wanted a pair for ages but wasn't aware of a UK stockist and then Jayne's Attic started to stock them. I know they are rather pricey but they are by far the best scissors I have ever used.

I placed an order with The Silver Needle, they are in the States and stock the most amazing range of tools and accessories (posh phrase for nick knacks). This time I bought a baby ort collector

Baby Ort Collector Posted by Hello

Mine is pink, purples and yellows and is really cute. I've popped it on the little table next to my stitching nest and it's really useful. Flap bit is heavy with a pin cushion on it and that goes on the edge of the table and the bag bit hangs down. I'll take it when I go out and about stitiching. I'm going on a stitching weekend with the Cross Stitch Guild in June and it will be really useful then.

I also got a couple of mesh project bags from the Silver Needle.

I've begun to collect Dragon Floss and Olde Willow Stitchery threads from Jayne so there's been a couple of delivery of them. This morning I got a lovely piece of fabric also from Jayne. Its Polstitches Rustic Rhubarb

Hosted by

I'm going to use it for the Mail Art Exchange on Aion so I can't really say any more here but watch this space. I also bought something else for this piece but don't want to say what it is yet.

Also my Silkweaver Stash of the Month parcel arrived this week - some fabric, threads and a Judy's Boo Boo stick!!! I really enjoy getting this even if some of the items aren't that useful I think I'll get it for a few more months and then I might switch to the fabric of the month one for a bit.

I think that's about it for now. Off to stitch on Mystery Sampler 1 I'm on a roll now the over one is finished - will take piccie tonight promise...........................


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Do you finish all your finished pieces? (pillow, frame, etc,) If so, how do you finish the pieces? If not what do you do with them?

Finished pieces - what finished pieces (see previous entry). Actually I'm very good at when I do eventually finish a piece I take larger pieces to the framers almost straight away and do smaller ones myself within about a week.

I also love finishing ornaments so again normally done in about a week.

I've never done a pillow although I like the idea of the tuck pillows and have found a UK supplier so I may go down that route later in the year.

What is your opinion of Internet "freebies?"

I love internet freebies. Firstly they are usually quite small so are useful quick in between pieces and good for gifts. Secondly you can use them to 'try out' new designers and get a feel for how their designs stitch up. I think we should all say a great big thank you to those designers who are willing to share some of their hard work for free.


I must be a very slow stitcher

This year I have had three finishes.
  1. An easter ornament for the Easter Bunni Exchange on Aion.
  2. Chris the Cricketer for my son
  3. my Aion name badge for the GTG.
I don't stitch in rotation and I don't have many WIPs so I conclude I must be slow. I read many blogs and am amazed and in awe at how many finishes some people achieve.

I'm still plugging away at the Chatelaine Mystery Sampler I and will take a piccie tonight to post. I've managed to finish rather a lot of over one stitching which slowed me down both mentally and physically. I'm on a bit of a spurt at the moment so maybe I can show some real progress over the next week!

My WIPs are:

Mystery Sampler I - Chatelaine
Ornament from Nuneaton GTG
Just Nan And Many More needlecase
Mermaid Treasure Box - Chatelaine

Waiting in the wings are:

Alpine Seasons - Chatelaine
Piece of mail art for the Aion Mail Art Exchange

And the list of things in the stash pile is too large to mention and getting larger each week.

I always have one quite large piece on the go and maybe that's why I feel slow......................time to stitch.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Lots and lots to say

I've just retrieved this from my Mother's camera. It was stitched as a gift for a friend of hers. It's from JCS Christmas Ornaments 2004 - it was a really quick stitch and I'm really pleased with it.

Free Image Hosting at

I've been working away on the over one stitching for the Mystery Sampler I. I've got the hang of the over one now and quite enjoy it. There's a slight mistake on one of the letters but I'm going to leave it - mistakes prove it's hand made LOL.

Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at

I've been neglecting to read the Yahoo groups recently and was presently suprised that I was able to download all parts to this along with a significant number of the passwords. I completely forgot it was a mystery until my Niece was asking questions about it at the weekend. She's only 8 and couldn't quite understand that I had no idea what the finished thing was going to look like. She needn't worry because its stitching up beautifully.

In answer to last week's question of the week my next speciality stitch will be the Diamond Eyelets in the inner border of this piece.

Aion Get Together - Nuneaton

Last Saturday I drove for 2 1/2 hours to get to Nuneaton to attend the Aion Ezboard Get Together. I was really nervous as it was the first one I'd been too. I'd needn't have worried it was a lovely day. Everybody was so friendly and the shared love of needlework made for a very exciting day. Can't wait until October for the next one and thanks again to everyone for
making this one so fantastic.

I even managed to do some stitiching whilst there - the blue rectangle and what looks like bulls horns at the top of the piece. It doesn't look like much but the two 'horns' are all individual stitches of different colours so it takes a while - plus there was so much chatter I'm suprised I got this much done LOL

Free Image Hosting at

Just realised its the Great Northern Needlefest Show in Harrogate this weekend so I've booked Friday off work and I'll pop along there for the day. Looking forward to plenty of S.E.X.


Monday, April 04, 2005

An A-Z of me

I've read this on a couple of blogs today and really like it so here is my version:

Animals: Toe Toe (albino, blind, Guinea Pig) Herbert (tortoiseshell Guinea Pig) brother of Toe Toe, Thumper – Netherland Dwarf Rabbit (about the size of a small cat/large kitten)
Best Friend(s): Since I was 17 one really good very, very bestest friend – she knows who she is.
Car: Silver, Shogun Pinin
Desire(s): every since I was little it’s been the same – to be happy, healthy and wise.
Eye Color: Brown
Favorite Foods: Chicken Dhansak Curry.
Garden Stuff: more trees than I can count, a ‘host of golden daffodills’, two washing lines, a white picket gate, bonfire pile, hammock, tables and chairs, Guinea Pig/Rabbitt run, lots of grass and the most amazing views you have ever seen – hanging the washing out is a real joy.
Hometown: somewhere, anywhere, everywhere.
Ice cream: Ben & Jerry's Phish Food
Job: Company Director – ssshhh don’t tell anybody
Keepsake Favourite: my wedding ring was made from the gold of my Mother’s wedding ring when she was married to my Father. They may not have been married long but I like to think that at least one good thing came out of their marriage – me.
Languages: English and a smattering of French
Manias : Cross stitching, lace making
Name: Sparkly Stitches
Outfit I love: Long flowing skirts
Phobia: Birds especially pigeons
Quality I value the most: compassion
Relationship: Married
Suspicious of: the world media – the power they have is phenomenal
Television Show(s): Charmed, Medical Investigation, CSI
Unsavoury Characteristic: judgemental
Volunteer: yes I do
Webpage: only this blog
Xylophone (or other instrument): my voice
Year Born: 1969
Zodiac Sign: Scorpio – watch that sting

I know it's not stitching related but just thought it was fun.


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Itch to Stitch - no more

After yesterday's rant about stitching shows - sorry everyone and then complaining about not stitching enough recently. I went home plonked myself down in the chair and managed about 4 hours of stitching. Even got DH & DS to cook supper - you should have heard the running commentary and it was only Tuna Pasta Bake!!!!!

Anyway managed to get a good start on part 3 of the Mystery Sampler 1 - duh just realised I completely forgot to take a picture - will have to post tomorrow after another burst of stitching tonight. Must just go and check some of the WIP pics on the board cos one of my inner borders looks a bit wonky...............


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Stitching Blogger's Question

What are your thoughts on craft and/or needlework shows? Have you one or are you planning on going to one this year?

The first needlework show I went to was the show in Harrogate last November. I looked forward to it for weeks - especially as I live in Harrogate and the venue was only a 5 minute stroll from my office.

Boy was I disapponted. I have never been in the presence of so many rude women in my life. I was elbowed and shouldered out of the way when looking at stands because somebody else wanted to look. No "excuse me please". People were just stopping in the middle of aisles causing big jams and then other people just barged through - at one point I was sent flying.

I was suprised at how many stalls appeared to have little if any connecion with needlework. Some stalls that I was interested in I was ignored by the stallholders and in one instance when I asked a question regarding a particular silk I was interested in I was give a very curt answer. This supplier I know imports these silks from the States but obviously they weren't prepared to talk to me at the venue. I came away having spent very little and immediately went online shopping in the States - much more satisfying.

It is for these reasons I am not going to Olympia. I haven't decided if I'll brave Harrogate again - it seems such a shame when it is so close.........................we will see.

I went to a Lace Day also held in Harrogate a couple of weeks ago. The venue was tiny and I did still get pushed about by people wanting to be where I was - but at least the stalls were relevant, the stall holders wanted to talk to their customers and there was room to move.

Waste of time

On a different note I've just had about 10 days away from the office. I did hardly any stitiching. Now I'm back at my desk and my fingers are itching to stitch I can't believe I 'wasted' so much time. I managed to finish part 2 of the Mystery Sampler 1 and am planning to start part 3 tonight.

I use stitching as my primary stress reliver so I guess when I'm not working I don't get stressed and don't feel the urge to stitch as strong. Still I feel cheated - only 2.5 hours until I can go home and stitch. My fingers really are itching to stitch..............


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Stitching Blogger's Question

On *average*, how many hours a week (7 days) do you think that you spend cross-stitching?

Lets see - I work full time so that's no stitching during the day. I do an hours housework before dinner, cook dinner - then get to sit down on stitch so that would be 2 hours a day except Thursdays when I go to my lace making class.

Saturday mornings are busy with football and cricket practice so I usually get to sit down about 2.30 - so that's about 4-5 hours.

Sundays are pretty much free time - I do lace homework in the mornings for a couple of hours and then sit down to stitch about 11 - probably do about 6 hours.

So on an average week I think I manage between 15 and 18 hours. I hadn't looked at it like that before.

Just think how much I could do if I didn't go to work..........

After my thoughts on my favourite designer one of the comments I received commented that Chatelaine designs seemed to be "a different league". Well Martina frequently although not exclusively designs using gorgeous silks - some varigated. There is also the frequent use of beading. However, in answer to your question Julianna they are mainly cross stitch with some speciality stitches included. There really is no need to be apprehensive about the these though because not only does Martina include excellent instructions the online community are very patient with those of us who constantly ask 'how to' questions.

If you like the designs give it a go you'll be suprised at how much pleasure they are to work on.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Stitching Blogger's Question

"Do you have a favourite designer (or designers)? If so, who is it and why is he or she your favourite?"

There is no contest my favourite designer is - Chatelaine - Martina Weber.

Her use of colour combined with the different types of cotton/silks/beads/crysals and speciality stitches always result in the most stunning designs imaginable. Personally I am not a fan of cartoon or character stitching and find many designs available in the UK a little twee and uninspiring - personal opinion only of course.

Despite the apparant complexity of the finished work the charts are always easy to read and the support offered from Martina herself along with the enthusiastic online communities found at yahoo and ezboard make stitching a real 'family' affair.

I'm currently working on three Chatelaines at the moment - the Mystery Sampler referred to below.

Mermaid Treasure Box - having a wee rest from this one at the moment to concentrate on getting the sampler ready for the Village Show.

Alpine Seasons - this has just started and I am stitching if for my Mother's 60th birthday.

The downside is that using such wonderful materials can make kitting up a little expensive. However, with Alpine I bought from European Crosstitch Company who not only offer a good price, they often allow monthly payment terms (that's how I afforded Alpine) and when the parcel arrives it is so beautifully packaged it's like recieving a present from a friend.

I wonder who everybody else likes? Better go read some blogs.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Stitching Hiatus - not

I feel as if I've had a stitching hiatus. Notice I say feel cos when I sat to think about it actually I've had two finishes. I finished stitching the name badge for the Aion get together in April. I then made it into the badge so it's all ready to go................which is more than I am there's a list as long as my...........little finger of things to prepare, pack, finish etc. Now where did I put that goody bag.

I also started and finished an Easter Ornament for the Easter Bunnie Exchange on Aion - better not say anything more than that......................................will post piccie after Exchange has finished. I was really please though cos for the first time I diviated from a pattern. Using the Silkweaver Stash of the Month from February I used both different fabric and different threads to the pattern and cos the fabric was so nice I didn't fill in the background.

I suppose what I mean by a stitching hiatus is that I haven't done anything on the Chatelaine Mystery Sampler 1 for about a week. I had a lovely time with my best friend over the weekend (thanks Julianna for your best wishes) although when I sat down to stitch while we chatted one afternoon she was almost rude humpf - no chance she was going to get the bug. Good suggestion though from my annoymous commentator.

However I now have the most wonderful incentive to catch up and finish in June. I got a sneak preview of the schedule of classes for our village show today (DH helps to organise it and as he hasn't got an e-mail address everything comes to me - he tells me he doesn't need one. After all he's only got 6 today!!!!!) Anyway there is a Cross Stitch and Drawn Thread class that I would love to enter this into. However the last part will be published June 1st and I need to finish stitcing and get it back from the framers by 10pm on July 29th!!!!!!! I've almost finished part 2 and part 3 was released March 1st so I can play catch up over the Easter break and provided I can motivate myself to stay on track I should be able to do it.

"The Mrs S B Ward Cup for best embroidery knitting or sewing goes to Sparkly Stitches"

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Don't get me wrong but.................

I really do love my best friend. She's witty, intelligent, fun, mischievous, can down many a G&T and simply adores chocolate. But - you just knew there was going to be a but didn't you - she doesn't stitch.

I moved 200 miles away a couple of years ago so see her infrequently and love her visits. She's coming tomorrow and leaving on Monday. We will have a lovely time, shopping, chatting, watching girly films, giggling, eating chocolate annoying DH and DS.

I will get zero stitching done for three days. Normally Saturday and Sunday are my main stitching days and I often do 5 hours on each day which means I make real progress on whichever WIP is in the frame. I get so little opportunity to stitch during the week that I'm feeling quite despondent about this weekend.

"Hi my names Sparkle and I'm obsessed with stitching"


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

How many.............................

..............magazines do you read.

I think I've got a problem. There was a time when I would buy one magazine a month - a quite grown up glossy full of home decorating, cooking and general well being advice.

Now however............................................

There's the World of Cross Stitching - a monthly magazine with a few articles - not bad.

Cross Stitcher (UK) - I like this one it seems to have more words in it than many UK ones and some of the articles are actually aimed at people who enjoy a challenging stitching project.

Cross Stitch Collection - not very many words in this one and only occaisionaly something I would consider stitiching.

Cross Stitch Gold - same as Cross Stitch Collection really.

Jane Greenoff's cross stitching - I like this on as it has a really personal touch and is written in Janes voice. I'm also in the Cross Stitch Guild so the two go together really.

New Stitches - this caters for more of a varied audience and includes some challenging pieces although again there is only occaisionaly something I would stitch.

There's another one I can't remember the name of that is similar to New Stitches.

Then there's a couple of American ones that I like to get when I can - Stitchers World - DH bought me a subscription for Christmas. I've also just subscribed to The Cross Stitcher which I really like but is hard to get here in the UK. Finally I buy Just Cross Stitch when I see it although I'm sure I'll take out a subscription to that shortly.

Now bear in mind I buy all these every month - that's approximately £40. I am a fast and impatient reader and although I read them at least five or six times the initial read through is usually over in 10 minutes.

I think I have to ask myself - "is this good value for money?"


Monday, February 21, 2005

I think I've found my stitching saturation point. Yesterday I did between 5 and 6 hours and had actually had enough at the end of it.

The first couple of hours I started on my badge for the Aion get together in April. This is the first time I've used my Q-Snaps...................I love them. They are so easy to use and although they are heavier than a hoop overall this isn't really a disadvantage and I look forward to a long and productive relationship with them.

The badge is coming along nicely.

Free Image Hosting at

After a couple of hours on this I switched to my current obsession - Chatelaine Mystery Sampler 1. Last time I posted a picture there was no gold stitching - just look at the difference a bit of sparkle makes -

Free Image Hosting at

Then yesterday I concentrated on the central piece of part 2. It doesn't look much but that bird took about 3 hours to do - well worth the effort though -

Free Image Hosting at

I may have had enough yesterday but I'm raring to go now - pass me that needle..............


Friday, February 18, 2005

Stitch & Craft Group

After six months of procrastinating last night I finally plucked up the courage to go to my local Stitch & Craft Group.

I managed to make a complete fool of myself before I even got there. I happily set off and arrived 10 minutes early and sat in the car to make sure I was walking in bang on time. Went up to the door and it was locked and the main hall was in darkness. Realised that what I thought was the Community Centre was the Youth Centre and I had no idea where to go. Drove up and down the long road a couple of times but couldn't find it. Rang DH for the address and phone number out of the phone book. I was definitly on the right road but still didn't know where it was. Thought about going home but decided I'd ring the centre first. Very embarrassed to learn that not only was it opposite the Youth Centre but I was parked outside.......LOL.

So I managed to be about 20 minutes late but I'm so glad I persevered. What a lovely bunch of ladies and how talented they all are. There was plenty of stitching going on - cross stitch, crewel work, quilting and some other stuff I don't know the name off. There was some beading and some card making too. It was lovely to sit and stitch with other stitichers - what a treat.

The group meets once a month and alternate between work nights and speaker/workshop nights. Next month it's a beading workshop although I believe you can still do your own work if you want to. Looking forward to it.


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I love living in the countryside - miles from anywhere. However, there are disadvantages - no broadband - after a week away from the office I am so pleased to be back at my computer. I don't miss civilisation at all but I do miss the online stitiching community enourmously.

You would think a week away from the office would mean lots and lots of stitching done. It didn't quite work out that way. It was half term here (although I believe it's half term in the rest of the UK this week) so we had a couple of day trips planned, lunch with Grandma, trip to the cinema and then there was all the chores etc to be done.

Stitiching wise this is my progress to date on the Mystery Sampler from Chatelaine:

Free Image Hosting at Free Image Hosting at

I'm really pleased with how this is stitching up. I'm about a third of the way into part 2 now. Unfortunately I had to stop working on the part in the top right corner because I suddenly realised I had the wrong thread. That's been ordered now and hopefully I'll be able to add the satin stitch this week.

Tonight I'll work some more on the internal border and maybe start the center detail of this part.

I've been reading about various trips to the Nashville market - it sounds totally exhausting trying to fit so much into so short a time but must be great to meet designers and see all the new designs. There are some lovely things coming out. Fortunately nothing that screams at me so no immediate S.E.X for me. After the mad S.E.X of a couple of weeks ago I've calmed down a bit. I've a wish list for payday so watch this space.


Friday, February 04, 2005

All going well

Mystery Sampler 1 is working up really quickly - nearly finished the bottom half of the border. Hoping to finish the top half over the weekend and then work on part 2 next week. It's a real pleasure to work on.

When I'm up to date on that I think I'll start part 5 of the Mermaid's Treasure box - it's one of the short sides - not too big and it's repeating the theme from the box top so it's there won't be any suprises in the chart - should be a nice stitch.

The 'travel project' - needlecase - hasn't been touched this week 'cos I've enjoyed working on the Sampler too much.

Got the latest newsletter from the Sampler Guild last night - a really interesting copy. I'm tempted to sign up for the 2005 stiching project - should I/shouldn't I - silly question if I don't I might not get the opportunity to stitch that project ever again!!

Still waiting for my orders from the States to arrive - fingers crossed they'll come next week.

Not going to work next week. It's half term and got a few things planned - hoping to get loads of needle time.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


February already. I love the winter and am at my happiest from September to April. May to August I find more trying I'm not really an outside person and like to sit inside with my stitching and be warm and cosy. I'm hoping DH will 'build' me a stitching nook in the garden this summer. I see a pergola giving shade, with a useful table and a wooden reclining garden chair position by the trees overlooking the village.

As it's February the fifth part of the Mermaid Treasure box was released yesterday - one of the short sides. I'm not starting it just yet as I pre cut the fabric and didn't leave enough spare around the edges so I'm going to get some more fabric and this time leave it big to fit on a nice q-snap (when it arrives from the States).

The second part of the Mystery Sampler 1 was also released. Very nice indeed. I stitched an hour or so on the border last night and it's working up really quickly. I have a week off next week so I'm planning on getting this up to date and then spending the rest of February on the Mermaid Treasure box.

Managed to fit in another little shopping exursion yesterday whilst looking at a quiliting site I found that Artbin have released a stitching line. I was already looking for a small box to put all my odds and ends in on the table next to the stitching chair and there was one on the site. I remembered that one of the scrapbooking shops I visit online sells Artbin and voila they had it on their site too. One quick click and it was ordered - whilst I was there I also ordered the Sew 'n Go Tote . My justification for this purchase is that I'm going to join my local stitch and craft group and it will be so useful for those meetings/workshops. Mmmmmmmmmm as if we needed to justify S.E.X.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Clickity Shop, Clickity Shop

How did we manage to get supplies before the Internet? I've managed to restrain my online shopping recently I'll admit it was getting a little out of control. So throughout November, December and January I didn't buy anthing.

It was payday last Thursday and to celebrate a small payrise I've been doing a bit of shopping.


I've been lurking on the Terea Wentzler's Ezboard and am taken with the Lady of Shallott and the 12 days of Christmas.

Image Hosted by

©Leisure Arts, Inc. P.O. Box 55595, Little Rock, AR 72215

I haven't stitched any TW but have decided to add them to my to do pile. I ordered the charts yesterday from Sew and So and as usual their service was impeccable. I've been studying the LoS chart this morning it looks a bit daunting but I do love the colours and the intricicy of the design makes this a truly sumptious piece.

Image Hosted by

©TW Designworks, PO Box 176, Montoursville, PA 17754.
All rights reserved.

The 12 days of Christmas is so lovely and makes a change from so many Christmas ornaments you see. I think I would like to stitch these as two bell pulls with six ornaments on each. I have a huge brick fireplace and they would look stunning displayed this way.

I also got the latest chart from Sue Hillis. I love her "I shall wear purple...." design and it's also in my to do pile. This made me laugh when I saw it so just had to add it to the pile.

My chart buying theory is that if I don't buy it when I see it when I get around to being ready to stitich it will be out of print and hard to get!!!!


This is definitly stitching related because when reading about the Lady of Shallot on the Ezboard I read about Loreena McKennitt and ordered her CD with the song on it from Amazon. The whole CD was so fab I ordered another one of hers yesterday which arrived today. It's such lovely music to stitch by.

I have also joined Silkweavers Stash of the Month Club - very excited about that and can't wait for it to arrive on this side of the pond.

My final spree for the month was at The Silver Needle where I've got some Q-Snaps on order, some thread straighteners and a ruler. Again just got to wait for their long journey to finish.

Mmmmmm looks a lot when you write it down - that's it now until next payday. I'm writing a wish list during the month and then the things I still want on payday I'll consider buying. This month I actually deleted a few things off the list - so much for impulse shopping.


Monday, January 31, 2005

Framing the first time

I've done it - my first attempt at framing. Unfortunately this didn't get finished in time for DS stocking but he's thrilled with it all the same.

Free Image Hosting at

The frame came from Heritage Stitchcraft and is sold specifically for the Squircles range. I found some instructions in a magazine for lacing and spent a happy hour pinning and lacing whilst DS made a birthday card for my SIL - a lovely crafy time. Quick question - do you leave the pins in after you have laced?

Well thanks to Carol (my first comment - thank you) and a good kindly Moose I took the plunge and on Saturday the horrible fabric came off the frame and was replaced with a lovely piece of vintage belfast. The difference was amazing.

I stitched on the Chatelaine Mystery Sampler 1 Saturday evening and almost all of yesterday. I've not only caught up with where I was but have done loads more. I didn't have to do any frogging and it looks really nice.

Free Image Hosting at

I am so pleased that I took the plunge 'cos now I'm really enjoying stitching it whereas it was a bit of a chore before. So an important lesson learnt - isn't the online community just great.


Friday, January 28, 2005

Decision made - perhaps

Some new fabric arrived yesterday for Mystery Sampler 1. It's a nice belfast linen with a lovely feel to it. I chose one that had a varigated effect - it's described as 'vintage' the effect is a little uniform but when its got stitches on parts of it that probably wont be noticeable.

DH was shocked that I was going to start again which made me question my decision. However, thanks to the comments of a good ole moose on the Chatelaine Ezboard I feel a little more confident and will do the deed over the weekend.

Tomorrow sees the return of indoor cricket practice for DS so my travel project will see some serious input on a regular basis. Made my first none stitiching related impulse buy in ages yesterday - an ipod mini. However, it isn't entirely unrelated to stitching as I'll be able to listen while DH watches hours of Sci Fi and I stitch. It will also be invaluable during the cricket practice stitching!!!


Thursday, January 27, 2005

I've started so I'll finish


I start with new thread in one of two ways-

Loop method - when using an even number of threads I take a long strand double it over and thread the two loose ends. This leaves a loop at one end. Come up through the fabric from underneath go back down in the appropriate hole and thread the needle through the loop on the underside. A nice neat secure start.

Pinhead start - if I'm using an uneven number of threads, if the threads have already been used and cut or if I'm using varigated threads I will do a pinhead start. I read about this on one of the Ezboards (can't remember which one) and just love it.

It works best on linen because you need 9 holes.

1 2 3

4 5 6

7 8 9

Come up from underneath through hole six - make sure you keep hold of a wee bit of thread underneath.

Go back down through hole five.

Go back up through hole four - remember to hold that wee bit of thread tightly.

Go back down hole five.

Start your cross stitch by coming up through hole 7.

When the cross is made the small pinhead start will be covered and you will have a secure and neat start. Although it sounds fiddly I've become quite speedy at it. In fact because I don't have to flip the frame I can probably do it quicker than a loop start.


I'm not as happy with how I finish stitches. Where possible I thread under a few stitches on the reverse side do it again and then snip close to the base.

I believe it is possible to do a pinhead finsh - I need to research this a bit more 'cos I'm not sure how that would work. Surely you'll see the finish on top of the cross - unless of course you move the cross out of the way and will that effect the tension of the stitch.

Time for a bit of practice I think.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Fabric Disaster?

I was thwarted in my stitching last evening and only managed to put in 1 1/2 hours on Mystery Sampler 1.

Mystery Sampler 1 is a Chatelaine design by Martina Weber and will be released in monthly installments over six months. It is on 32 count linen and stitched using Olde Willow Stitchery Threads, The Thread Gatherer Silk 'n colors, Rainbow Gallery Peitite Treasure Briad. Delica Beads and a hard to find Mill Hill Treasure enhance this sure to be beautiful design.

I am still working on the first colour in the outer border which was the first installment at the begining of January.

Free Image Hosting at

Lower right corner.

I know this is hard to see but it's not the photograph it is the fabric. I'm really not happy with the fabric I have chosen. I couldn't not get the fabric specified as it appears to have been discontinued. I think the colour is too dark and the finish on the linen is very stiff - it's not at all pleasant to work with. At this stage I have probably only done about five hours on it so the question is do I stop now and order some other fabric or do I soldier on?

This part of the border should be really simple to stitch and should not be causing me any difficulties but you would not believe how many times I have had to frog.

I think I shall do some browsing on Silkweaver website and see if I can be tempted to restart the piece before I get any further.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

And many more, a needlecase - Just Nan. Posted by Hello

And Many More.... A Needlebook

Last night I managed about two hours stitching on this needlebook. I finished the picket fence and began some of the flowers and leaves that intertwine around it - oh yes and part of the bird house too.

It doesn't look much for a couple of hours but there were lots of stitches that I decided to start and finish rather than carry over a distance - fiddly but worth it.

This needlebook is designed by Just Nan as an anniversary exclusive for the Silver Needle which is just about my favourite ONS. I spend many a happy hour web shopping and wishing I could visit in person.

The needlebook is stitched on 28ct linen in 20 shades of Splendor Silk and a hand-dyed Silk 'n Colors by The Thread Gatherer. I chose it because I loved the design and like to use nice things on a daily basis also I don't have a needlebook at the moment so it will be nice to pop one in my project bag.

It's supposed to be my 'out and about' project but I just love stitiching it and I didn't feel like backstitiching on the Mermaid Treasure box or working on the horrible fabric that I've got for Mystery Sampler I.

The finishing will be a challenge but I'm not thinking about that until I've done all the stitching.

Whoops somebody left it on the hoop for a couple of nights. Should be OK because the finishing means I'll only use/see the actual stitched bit. I'm thinking of getting some q-snaps. I've asked a lot of questions and read a lot of good things about them so I may give them a go. Will have to get them from States though as I can't seem to find a supplier in the UK - what a suprise!!!!


Monday, January 24, 2005

After several months of total addiction to blogs I thought I would see if it was something I could create and maintain myself.

I am a completley obsessed cross stitcher who is particularly fond of the designs of Martina Weber - Chatalaine Designs.

My current WIPs include - Mermaid Treasure Box by Martina Weber, Mystery Sampler 1 by Martina Weber and Twenty Flowers Needlecase by Just Nan.

Waiting in the sidelines I have Apline Seasons by Martina Weber which is an online class due to start March 1st 2005 and Mystic Meadows a design by Martina Weber for the Designing Ladies series by Judy O'Dell.

Like many other stitchers I also have a huge wish list and basket of kitted up projects that will get my attention one day.

Right time to post this and develop my blog.