Sunday, 25 November 2012

A Christmas finish

Despite the somewhat nasty weather we have been experiencing this week, I have a finish to share with you.

 I'm pleased to be able to introduce you to Elf H, my Christmas 2012 ornament for my eldest niece.  I stitched most of him at the Patchwork Group's Sewing Day earlier this week.  The original motif to accompany the H was a robin, but I didn't like it so swapped in the Elf.  The intention is to finish finish him and Snowman A into hanging ornaments backed with a cream fabric with golden stars which I bought a couple of weeks ago.  Just how this is done will have to be discussed with Mum.  I'll show you a photo when they are done.

Next up is Serena, the Guardian Angel.  Work on this is progressing slowly due to the special stitches and the special threads.  This week I learned how to do Crossed Rice Stitch and used Kreinik thread for the first time.  The  colours are not photographing brilliantly, but I will keep trying.

Some nice progress on Train of Dreams this week.  I completed another two blocks and have started work on the blue bell in the top right hand corner.  I'm currently thinking that the best plan is to work down the right hand side until I catch up with the left hand side.  However things may change.

I got the usual three blocks done on Carnation, but they were finished earlier in the week than usual, thanks to having some time off work .  This next week will see me into row 4 ahead of schedule thanks to the extra block that I managed last week.

Good news to report on the family front - Dad has given up smoking again.  He had to see the doctor about his lung function test results because the nurse didn't understand them.  It turns out that his bronchial tubes are now permanently narrowed due to all the years that he has smoked.  Even using an inhaler only slightly improves his results.  So on the way out of the surgery, he told Mum that he had given up.  That was over a week ago and he has stuck to it.  I'm really proud of him and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he manages to carry on.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

IHSW - November 2012 Report

Well, I have quite a lot to report this time.  A finish, a finish finish and a new start.

"I'm Snowman A and I'm very pleased to meet you.  I hope that you will soon be meeting my good friend, Elf H."  So that is one 2012 Christmas ornament for my nieces off the blocks.  The plan is to start Elf H during my lunch break tomorrow and then take him to Sewing Day on Thursday.  The only change made to Snowman A is to backstitch the outline of the white areas to make him stand out better - he was designed to be stitched on pale blue aida rather than white.

The finish finish is Little Miss Gorgeous' Teddy stocking to go on her first Christmas tree.  I'll give him a press before I send him off, but I think that he has come out nicely.  Her parents love the Noah's Ark, so I think that they will appreciate this piece too.

This is not a good photo of my new start but as it is being stitched on 28 count white linen, I think that the fabric doesn't help with photos at this early stage.  This is Just Nan's Serena, being the first of four angels that I am planning to stitch on one piece of linen in response to a request from my Mum.  This is going to tick off a number of firsts for me - first piece on linen, first piece using special stitches, first piece using Kreinik threads - and second piece with beading.  I'm using a 30 inch frame with my Lowery floor stand, so another BAP to join Carnation and Train.

Another block completed on Train and some good overlap into the block below.  I lost the morning light again today due to having to make an early shopping trip to accommodate Mum's birthday tea, but still some progress made.  Despite the issues of using 25 count fabric, I do like the way this looks and how close it is to the original picture.  

Lovely progress on Carnation this week.  In to row 3 and it was so nice and straightforward that I got four blocks done instead of my usual three.  That puts me a tiny bit ahead of my deadline of finishing page 3 by the second anniversary.

So for this week coming, I have a Sewing Day with the Patchwork Group on Thursday.  My plan is to take Elf H and crack on with him with the hope of getting both ornaments made up by the end of the month.

Hope all is well with you and yours, and that you are keeping snuggly warm in this wintry weather.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Slow and steady does it.

This is not going to be a long post tonight as we had family visiting this weekend, which affected the amount of stitching done, but a baby is a lovesome thing, God wot.

Starting with my Christmas snowman, I took him to Patchwork Group this week.  I had to frog his hat almost immediately because I had gone one stitch to the left too many.  However by the end of the evening, he had hat, face and a good start on a body.  The remainder of his body and the start of his blue A got done on Saturday night.  I rather think that I am going to have to backstitch him as well as his A - he was designed to be stitched on pale blue aida rather than white, so does not show up brilliantly.

Train has really suffered this week.  Due to my cousin's visit, I have only put half a dozen or so stitches into this today, but I have completed another block, bringing the total to 17.  Hopefully better luck next week.

On to Carnation, which got its regulation three blocks again this week.  One more block on the current row and then down to row 3 next week.  My camera lost the plot taking this photo - I took the picture and a message came on the screen - "Blink detected".  If you can see anything in this picture capable of blinking, then you have better eyes than me!

Next, my frames came for Mum's Angels and for Four Seasons.  The Angels will have to come first, but it did take two of us to get the fabric onto the clip frame properly.  Now I just have to get my thread organisers sorted and get started.

Finally I had a quick word with my littlest niece today when she came round to my parents' house to see the baby.  It turns out that she wants a picture similar to the one I did for her big sister (see Sunflowers on my 2011 Finish page).  This means that Mum and I will have to do some serious adapting of the Sunflower chart - reversing it is just going to be the start as I really don't want to do the exact same piece.

Anyway, here's wishing you all well for another week, especially anyone still suffering from Sandy chaos.  And as it is Remembrance Sunday, at the going down of the sun, we will remember those who gave their lives that we might live freely.  Willie and Jack, your names live on in our hearts.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Help needed!

I have a little problem relating to the fabrics that I have so badly photographed here.  Z, the honorary member of our Patchwork Group, came back from Turkey with a range of fabrics, including these.  As a result, the group is now faced with a challenge.  By Easter next year, we have to create a piece 6 inches by 24 inches (approx. 15 cm by 60cm for metric people) using our selection of fabrics.  Personally I wasn't keen on any of them, so ended up with these florals.  I have thought long and hard, and the only thing that I can think of is to stitching a climbing rose incorporating the colours in the fabrics and then get Mum to combine my stitching with the fabrics to create the right size piece.  The problem is that I cannot find a suitable chart of a climbing rose.  There are issues about width, complexity (I have limited time to do this in) etc, etc.  So can anyone out there suggest something that I could use or adapt?  All suggestions gratefully received.

Right, moving on - I have both a finish finish and a new start to show you.  Here are my Delft pieces made up into cards to sell for Marie Curie.  It isn't a brilliant photo because I forgot to leave them unbagged so that I could take a photo without glare.  I think that they look just fine and am hoping that someone will take a fancy to them at our stall later on this month.

The festive season fast approaches and therefore so does the need to start work on this year's ornaments for the girls.  This start will eventually be a snowman with a red scarf standing next to a blue A for my littlest niece.  This is taken from an alphabet in the current copy of Cross Stitch Collection (issue 216).  Eldest niece will have a green and red Christmas elf standing next to a bright orange H.

On to Train of Dreams.  Just a little progress here due to this morning's expensive excursion, about which I will say more in the Stash section of this post.  One more complete block and a couple of nearly completed blocks, courtesy of last night's late night waiting for the fireworks to calm down.

Carnation got its regulation three blocks but also quite a bit in the next block, which should speed things up this coming week.  It's very satisfying watching this lovely painting emerging under my needle.

Now - the Stash Update.  As some of you may know, HAED's Halloween Sale expanded from 35% to 50% off.  I had a couple of items in my wishlist and thought why not?  So I did.  As a result, my chart stash now includes Golden Wood by Ruth Sanderson, which always reminds me of the fairytale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and Birthstone Sapphire by Rachel Anderson.

This morning Mum and Z and I went to a fabric warehouse in Leicester.  I don't really go for the fabric but they do stock some DMC threads and other stitching bits and pieces.  Today I spent £137.13 - aren't 0% purchase credit cards so useful some times?  On this occasion, they had far more DMC threads than usual at 40p a skein (85p each in Hobbycraft).  I just went along the rows taking one of each colour that they had in stock - 300 skeins later, I was not massively popular with the people on the checkout - it took three of them to count up how many I had.  The remaining £17.13 was aida, waste canvas, thimble, needle threaders etc.  But as I pointed out, I don't smoke, very rarely drink, don't go clubbing, and so on and so forth - and all those threads will keep me going for quite a while!  Carpe diem, as they say!