Saturday, November 24, 2007

Stitch Friends - part 4

Since Thursday the Knitting & Stitching Show has been on in Harrogate (UK). I live about 20 minutes outside Harrogate so it would have been rude not to go.

I went on Thursday afternoon by myself.

Today I went with some friends from A Crafty Natter.

Stitch Friends are the best. Today I saw things that I somehow missed on Thursday. On Thursday I thought the show was OK but not brilliant. Today I think the show was amazing.

I didn't buy too much. I got some pearl gray 32 count belfast linen (for a specific project), a subscription to Stitch Magazine from the Embroiders Guild, a really little craft light/magnifier to take to Guild meetings, workshops, meet ups and lace lessons. I also got a little box for £2 which has 24 bobbins, some buttons, stitch ripper, needles, needle threader and zips. It's going to live next to my sewing machine and be really useful.

We chatted, and laughed. We fondled Caron threads. We Ohhed and Ahhed at the buttons and gasped at the price of some of the charts/materials.

So for the past 3 weeks I've spent Saturdays with Stitch Friends - I'll miss them next Saturday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stitch Friends - part 3

The day at Nuneaton was lovely.

It's so nice to spend several hours in the company of like minded friends. We chatted and laughed. We drank tea and shared goody bags. Some of us did a little bit of stitching but most of all we had a fantastic time.

Thank you everybody and see you at the next one.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Stitch friends - part 2

As I've mentioned before I chat often on a forum called A Crafty Natter (link on the right cos I'm a Mac user with Safari and I don't seem to get the same posting options as when I use IE). A couple of times a year we all meet up in Nuneaton (UK).

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the November meet up. It is a couple of hours drive for me but so worth it. I've missed the last couple and before then they were the Aion meet ups so this will actually be my first Crafty Natter meet up - and I'm really looking forward to it.

My stitching bag is packed. I'm taking the festive candlewrap and Pretty in Pink which is the perfect meet up stitching. I don't have to concentrate too much and I'm in the flow of the pattern and it's so huge it's a great conversation piece.

I've got a goody bag - we all take one and get one back full of goodies.

I think I've decided what to take for show and tell - Forever Loved, Alpine WIP and my current lace project.

Just need to decide what to take for lunch and I'll be ready.

This is the second of three consecutive stitchy weekends for me. In fact if I wasn't going to Nuneaton tomorrow it would have been my EG meeting. Next Saturday - Knitting and Stitching Show, Harrogate, UK.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Stitchy Friends - part 1

On Saturday my bestest stitchy friend and her hubby drove a couple of hours north to come and visit my family and me.

I'm very lucky that if you drive north through the Dales you come to a small place called Embsay. Many people know if for the steam railway that runs from there. Crafty types know it for a different reason - Embsay Crafts.

It's a wonderful place in a large old woolen mill in the depths of Yorkshire. split into three halves (yes I know that' not possible but I think it describes it better than saying split into thirds).

The newest part and the one I rarely visit is a department dedicated to Scrapbooking.

There's a large patchwork section. This has grown recently and carries a wonderful range of fabrics. Unfortunately I find patchworking so expensive that it's not something I do very often.

My favourite part is the needlework shop. I've been visiting Embsay for four years and for a couple of years I felt that the needlework shop was being 'run down'. The stock wasn't exciting and it felt like it wasn't being updated. I suppose during this time they were devleoping the Scrapbooking and patchworking departments so maybe that was taking their time and attention.

Colly and I were dropped off by my wonderful DH who kind enough to go to the supermarket so I could go out to play.

We started off at the beads - this is another new section that they have given a largish alcove to. They had some really nice ones we were a bit dismayed that there didn't appear to be any Mill Hill beads. After a quick ask of the lovely lady behind the counter we found them. They were in a really awkward place.

Colly is a wonderful designer and I've been stitching since I was nine. This means that we are both quite particular when it comes to charts and kits that are available in shops. Imagine our delight to come across some charts/kits that neither of us had seen before.

Embsay had a wonderful display of Rico Designs all with a Christmas theme. What pleased us the most was the innovate way the kits were made up - they included the hardware for bell pulls!!!!

Although I was sorely tempted I was seriously broke so I could only look. Colly succumbed and bought this one..........

Isn't it fab?

The next room is full of threads - this is another area that has really improved recently. It was crammed with threads. Both every day ones and more speciality ones. There was also a small sale area where Colly picked up something - better not tell what it's for though.

Feeling in need of tea and cakes we started to go upstairs. This takes some time because the walls are lined with some wonderful pieces of work. In particular we ooohed and ahhed over the Moira Blackburn samplers.

There is a lovely tea room upstairs next to the knitting section where we had the largest, scrummiest mug of hot chocolate.

Then it was a quick look at the patchwork and cardmaking sections and we went back to the needlework bit to pay for Collys stuff.

It was the first time I have been to Embsay with a stitching friend and it was so much more fun than going alone - thank you Colly for a perfect afternoon.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Three down several more to go.

When I woke up this morning I felt as if I had a huge hangover. Unfortunately I hadn't had the pleasure the night before. This made me determined not to waste my Sunday.

First of all I finished a name badge. I chat regularly on an ezboard forum called A Crafty Natter (link on the right). It's a great place where some wonderful people hang out. For me it replaces the mighty Aion which sadly closed during the summer. A lot of the girls from Aion have joined A Crafty Natter and we've met lots of new people too.

Next Saturday we are having a meet up and the talented Colly from Cols Creations designed name badges for us to make.

Then I decided to finish a needleroll for a Christmas Exchange I'm in on A Crafy Natter. I had finished the stitching and had hemstitched one end. This morning I hemstitched the other end and got the sewing machine out and sewed it up the back. Unfortunately the ribbon I had bought for it is too thick so I was unable to stuff it. Still nearly there. No pictures yet because it's an exchange.

On a bit of a roll at this point I picked up a piece that I started at a workshop about 18 months ago. It was a lovely weekend hosted by Jayne of Jaynes Attic with Carol Tinson from Heirloom Embroideries teaching. The workshop piece was Forever Loved which I don't think was on general release at the time. Carol guided us through changing the colours of the threads and the beads.

This morning I realised it only needed 11 beads and it would be finished - well that bit was easy.

A quick rummage in the fabric bag and I found a perfect piece of fabric for the backing and my friend Colly had already generously given me a piece of lilac fabric for the lining. I had recently bought some interfacing for another project so I was good to go.

Two hours later.....................

Think I'll go and finish the festive candlewrap.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

On the Hoop

As well as one large project I usually have at least one smaller project that I’m working on.

These tend to be for exchanges, gift or decorations. At the moment I am finishing a needleroll for a Christmas Exchange on A Crafty Natter – I can’t share that one at the moment.

My other small project is a Festive Candlewrap by one of my favourite designers – Colette from Cols Creations (link on the right).

Hardanger is one of my favourite types of needlework. In the summer I was fortunate to win a silver cup at our village show with a piece of Hardanger. I have a large Hardanger table cloth on the go and a Handanger bell pull that just needs finishing off.

There are so many things I enjoy about Hardanger:

The rhythm of stitching Kloster Blocks. Understanding the pattern and mindlessly doing five over four is a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

The challenge of button hole stitch. I haven’t done much of this stitch. Pretty in Pink the large table cloth has a lot of it and I’ve done a little bit so far. The Festive Candlewrap has it all around edge.

To begin with I was finding it scruffy and the thread kept untwisting and coming apart. I asked for advice on A Crafty Natter (don’t you love forums) and as a result I changed my needle to one that is slightly thicker and with a larger eye. This is placing less stress on the thread as the hole in the fabric is made larger so passes through more easily. A larger eye also helps hold the thread more gently.

I’m not totally satisfied with how it’s looking but I can tell it is getting better. This is a stitch that I need lots of practice with.

Cutting the threads. What can I say – sharp scissors, good light, patience and plenty of time.

Wrapping the stitches. Another part that I find rhythmic and satisfying and the work really starts to take on the personality of the design.

Decorative stitches and beading. This is the icing on the cake. At this point I sometimes question if they might be too much making the piece too fussy. I am always wrong. As the decorative stitches take shape and the beading begins to sparkle I watch a beautiful design come alive.

I think the candlewraps that Colly designs are such a good idea. At the December meeting of the Embroiders Guild we all take a Christmas Decoration for the festive table and I have decided to take two of these wrapped around red candles – very festive

Sunday, November 04, 2007


I'm not normally a fan of backstitch. When it is used to define a picture that has already been stitched I find I get bored.

I'm doing part 3 of Alpine at the moment and the whole part is backstitching. It's quite complicated there are a lot of different colours and I use my computer to look at the colour chart where the thread numbers are listed so I can get the colours right. I use the paper chart to get the placement right. I was dreading it............I thought it would be tedious.............I was wrong.......

This is a classic case of have trust in the designer - it is looking absolutely fabulous (even if I say so myself).