Sunday, 27 October 2013

Stormy weather ...

The Met Office are promising us gale force winds and associated havoc, so I've battened down the hatches and will wait and see!

In the meantime, I have stitching to show you.

This is the snowman ornament for my youngest niece.  I went for a singing snowman because she would like to sing in the school choir.  Another quick start and finish for me - started on 21st and finished on 25th October.  Now I just need to get my iron back from my sister so that I can wash, press and finish finish both ornaments.

Moving on to Serena, she now has both wings, eyes and a mouth.  There is some more back-stitching to do on her gown, but I have finally decided to leave all the beading to the end.  That way, the process can only drive me mad once and I only get the one opportunity to drop beads all over the floor instead of four!  Now that Serena is nearly finished, she's looking quite pretty.  I am now tossing up between Grace and Angelique for my next angel.

Finally on the stitching progress front, here is Train of Dreams.  I got another three blocks done today and am now on the bottom page for this column.  The green book is now completely finished and the next column will see me start on some new features.

I am however frustrated because I am having difficulty tracking down the fabric that I need for my next project.  It is in an old issue of Cross Stitch Gold dating back to August 2002 and calls for 28 count Zweigart Cashel linen in beige.  In the magazine it looks a sort of sandy colour, but there is no number listed to help me identify it on the Zweigart website.  I confess that I am a bit OCD about this sort of thing - I need to be using the right fabric and threads, and find it difficult to make changes to projects.

On a brighter note, I lost 0.5lb last week, so still heading in the right direction, and am now down to 11 stone 11lb.  Unfortunately there is likely to be cake or sweets this week as two of my colleagues had birthdays while they were on leave last week.

It still seems to be quite quiet outside but I am going to call it a day and turn in.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog steer well clear of your stitching.

Monday, 21 October 2013

2013 WIPocalypse - October Full Moon & IHSW - October Report

Once again the WIPocalypse and IHSW fall at the same time.  This is good because it saves me from having to think up an enticing title for this post.

I'm really pleased with myself over this piece.  This will be a Christmas ornament for my eldest niece and is actually a start and a finish!  I started it on 14 October and finished it on 19 October, which is really good going for me.  He comes from Issue 130 of Cross Stitch Crazy.  Eldest niece actually learns recorder and keyboards, but the closest I could get was a flute playing snowman, who actually looked like he was chewing a stick, so I went for cheerful, happy cymbal snowman.  Littlest niece would like to sing in the school choir so my next piece will be snowman with song book.

Train of Dreams is coming along nicely.  The green book is very nearly finished - just a few stitches remaining in the next block or two.  I'm looking forward to seeing the moon ornament develop as I move down the page.

Nothing to show on Serena this week because on Saturday Mum and I went to a local patchwork exhibition.  The patchwork group holding the exhibition includes some of the members of the group that I belong to, so several of the pieces on show were old friends.  There were some stunning quilts, including a fabulous Chinese dragon, and as usual other pieces that just didn't inspire at all, but everyone has different tastes.  We had a very nice time, meeting several people we knew, but Mum was feeling a bit under the weather so went for a nap when we got home.

However I did promise you stash pictures.  I tried to get it all into one photo, but failed miserably.  Anyway this is the insanity part of my stash purchase - two Teresa Wentzler charts.  I took everything to Patchwork Group the other week and as soon as I showed Peacock Tapestry, one of the other members said that she knew someone who had done it!  I would dearly love to have a look at their finished piece for guidance, but unfortunately they are not very well at the moment.

Next comes the cute part of my stash bonanza.  Two charts by Valerie Pfeiffer of Heritage Crafts.  I do think that the Christmas Chick is by far the nicest of her Chickadee series - there is something about the way the eyes are done on the others that doesn't appeal.  And the Chorus Line is just so sweet - I don't normally do cute, but I just couldn't resist.

Last but not least a Joan Elliott Design Works kit and a Just Nan chart with charm.  These come in the more challenging but not insane category, between Peacock Tapestry and Christmas Chick.  Speaking of Just Nan, I sent her a query about beading Mum's angels, and she replied that she normally beads as she goes along, but that she stitches her angels singly rather than in a row.

So that's stitching and stash - what else can I tell you?  Well I lost another 1lb last week so I'm down to 11 stone 11.5lb, so another 3lb to go before I've lost a stone.  I know that it's slow but I also know that it works and I will get there eventually, so I'm not too worried.  It's school half-term here so work is quite quiet - I'll have two days on my own this week so will hopefully get some backlog cleared. 

Now I really must go and put my tea on, so all the best to you and yours and may the frog steer well clear of your stitching.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

More happy dancing!

Despite the distinct downturn in the weather which makes me want to crawl under the covers and stay there, I have another finish to report!

 Bouquet 6 is finished!!!

So I can now show you all six Bouquet pieces together.  As soon as I get my iron back from my sister, these will be washed, pressed and made up into cards which will hopefully sell at our Marie Curie coffee morning next month.  I will have a photo of the finished finished pieces in due course.

Moving on to Serena, I have made some good progress here.  She now has a wing, so just the other wing, the backstitch and the beading to go.  I'm still not sure about when best to do the beading, and will need to make up my mind in the next week or so.

And last but not least, Train of Dreams.  I am pleased to report that column 2 is now completed and column 3 has been started.  

What else?  Well, having lost 1.5lb unexpectedly last week, I put it back on again this week.  I'm not worried about this - I have had a vile cold which is still lingering slightly, and consequently was not exactly concentrating on what I was eating.

I meant to show you the stash that I received from Ebay this week, but forgot to take a photo so will have to do that next week.

Having finished the Bouquet series, I have my next project already set up.  As Christmas is beginning to loom over the horizon, I have chosen the pieces for my nieces' tree ornaments and will soon be starting work on a couple of musical snowmen.  After that, Mum has reminded me that two of the Patchwork ladies are celebrating birthdays with a 0 on the end next year.  We are not making them quilts as they have so many of their own already.  Instead we are making 12" bound blocks representing the months of the year to be presented with a hanger so that they can rotate them as appropriate.  I have to stitch April for one lady and November for the other.  Time to put my thinking cap on.

I can hear the rain on the windows again, so time to put the kettle on for a hot water bottle and then turn in.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog steer well clear of your stitching!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

To bead or not to bead ...

now - that is the big question!

Until I went down with a streaming cold in the last couple of days, I was making good progress on Serena, the first of my four Just Nan angels.  She still needs wings, back stitching and beading though.  My question is this - on the basis that I have three more angels to stitch on this piece of linen, should I bead each angel as I complete her, or would I be better off waiting until I've done all four and then bead the whole lot at the same time?  Some advice would be very much appreciated as this is a whole new ball game to me.

Although I can't work on a complicated piece like Serena with a cold, I can work on Train.  I got another two blocks done this morning between loads of laundry, taking about 2.5 hours.  All being well, my next session on this will see me finish column 2 and start column 3.

 I've also made good progress on Bouquet 6.  The bottom of the piece is now complete.  It just needs flowers, leaves and back stitching.  With any luck, another couple of weeks should see this done and I can start work on Christmas ornaments for my nieces.  So I ought to start wading through my magazines now for suitable pieces.

I also had a successful Ebay session this week - specific old cross stitch magazines that I've been wanting for ages, two Teresa Wentzler charts, two Valerie Pfeiffer charts, a Just Nan chart with charms and a Design Works kit.  An array of interesting parcels should be arriving at work for me over the next week :-)  I'll hopefully be able to show you my haul in my next post.

What else?  I've had a lovely week off (apart from my cold) - lunch out with my sister and nieces when the schools were on strike, lie-ins when it was raining, both the new books I was after being in the shop rather than having to order them in, and also miracle of miracles, a 1.5lb weight loss despite coffee mornings, parties, lunch out etc.  The only drawback is that when I drag my cold-ridden self into work tomorrow, the chances are that I won't be able to see my desk for files and from past experience I may not even be able to sit on my chair without having to move some files first.

Right, I am going to dose myself, set my alarm clock and go to bed.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay away from your stitching.