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Monday, 21 November 2016

Spring door - Cross Stitch Gold 134

The new issue of Gold comes out tomorrow and as I have received my subscriber`s copy, I can show you some pics of the lovely Maria Diaz design that I stitched in July - wow, four months ago it was still Summer?!? So hard to believe, sitting here under 3 blankets even with the heating on full blast... meh.
Anyway, the project. It took 67 hours and I loved working on it, even the bits with metallics which are usually not my favourite part. I don`t know how visible it is but apart from the obvious golden oval frame, there`s leftover snow on the end of branches, on the logs and in the foreground in Light Effects white, so they shimmered under the light of my stitchy lamp (I suppose the photos don`t do it justice). Nevertheless, here it is, the framed picture from the mag, and a little `film` of how this design came to life. Happy stitching! :)


Monday, 14 November 2016

Rudolph stocking - Cross Stitcher 312

Just a flying visit this time because I have a pressing deadline... make that deadlines, actually. So in between 12-hour stitching sessions, I took a wee break today to walk to W H Smith and buy the latest issue of Stitcher that has this gorgeous reindeer stocking in it, designed by Susan Bates. It took only 28 hours to stitch so compared to some of the stockings out there that you look at and think that a lifetime wouldn`t be enough to stitch all those details, this one could be an ideal choice if you wanted to make a stocking before Christmas 2016. Happy stitching, peeps! :)

My finished stitching with the (now trademark) bleached photo with the flash :D

The sewn up stocking in Cross Stitcher 312

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Christmas pudding recipe - Cross Stitcher 311

Well, well, well. Same week, second post, another cover piece... :O #likebuses
We`re back from Iona and on the way home I picked up the latest issue of Cross Stitcher - my mum`s here visiting and I stitched this Christmas pudding recipe the last time she was here, which puts everything in a neat frame for my OCD, lol. The design is by Emma Congdon and I loved working on this (erm, apart from the whisks in metallic silver, hehe) because 1) it`s Christmassy, 2) it`s food-related, 3) it`s colourful, 4) it`s useful and 5) it grew so quickly (the whole picture took 32 hours, including metallic whisks). ;)
Here it is on the cover and inside the mag:

I have a few closeups of parts of this design, plus a bright photo of the whole. Hope you`re all having a good time, I`m off to cook with my mom and then stitch, happy days! :)

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

carol singers - Cross Stitch Gold 133

Flying visit - I`m literally typing this while packing a wee case AND emptying the fridge at the same time (we`re going away for 3 days only but, naturally, you have to empty the fridge, the freezer and, preferably, all the cupboards as well, as if you were moving out of the house forever).
The latest issue of Gold hit the UK shops yesterday and I`m sooooo happy to finally be able to share some pics of Joanne Aston`s Victorian carol singers, one of my all-time favourite projects to date.
For all the minute details that create this stunning picture, it grew surprisingly fast - I finished it in 70 hours and that included all the backstitch in 8 different shades and the dozens of French knots. I`m also happy to see it on the cover of the magazine - funnily, I`ve just noticed that it`s in a golden frame there, yet inside the mag it`s in a red frame to complement the door (I think both look lovely btw):

I have made another mini-film with the 5-hourly photos I`d taken but before that, here`s a sneak peek I`ve spotted right under the close-up shots of the carol singers: a preview of the Maria Diaz picture I stitched a few months ago. Happy stitching, everyone! :)


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Home For Christmas sampler - Cross Stitcher 310

Remember how I said in my last post that I`d just finished with the Christmas projects? It turns out, that was just a one-off mini break: I`m back on stockings this week. You`d think I`d be sick of them by now but on the contrary: I`m enjoying this current project so much that I almost forgot to show you another project (yes, it happens to be a Christmassy one) that`s out now in the latest issue of Cross Stitcher.
Funnily enough, for someone who hates stitching the same motif over and over again - I get bored very rapidly with repetitive stuff... makes you wonder how I can spend most of my time stabbing some fabric with a needle, then, but there you go. Anyway, I guess it`s more like... I couldn`t (or wouldn`t want to, to be more precise) stitch the same teddy bear design 3 times for three nieces, for example - but band samplers, I love! Stitching just 3 or 5 of the same mini-motif isn`t enough to qualify as `repetitive` and there is something rewarding in watching the whole grow one band at a time. In addition, I liked both the fabric I got for this one and the `traditional with a modern twist` appeal (besides, anything that has a red VW Beetle on it can only be good in my book). I`m glad to see it on this months`s cover in the frame that complements it so well:

Here`s my own photo, sans frame, but at least in its entirety:

And - still on the subject of Christmas - I also spotted in next month`s preview the funky Christmas pudding recipe I stitched in the summer. *sings in Bing Crosby voice, `May your days be merry and bright, / Here`s a pudding I stitched in July*

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

partridge in a pear tree - Cross Stitch Gold 132

This week the latest issue of Gold hits the UK shops and I can finally share some pics of this lovely design by Porterfields that I worked on around April. Yes, that means I`ve been singing The Twelve Days of Christmas since April. Actually, I just finished working on Christmas designs, so I can take a wee break for Halloween, basically, and then the real Christmas starts - no wonder I`m in a festive mood all year round! ;) 

It took 58 hours and I love its folksy feel, plus - I don`t know if you can see this - but there are 3 variegated threads used: apart from the obvious green one in the frame, the purplish blue and the sandy coloured background are variegated too, and somehow the subtle colour changes make stitching big blocks more enjoyable. #orisitjustme


This Gold is the first really Christmassy issue this year and I love seeing all the reds, golds and greens, and all the Santas, Rudolphs and snowmen starting to appear - maybe that`s why I love stitching them almost all year round? Oh, and lookee what I spotted on the preview page: my gorgeous carol singers will be in the next issue! :) *starts to sing 12 Days of Christmas, again*

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

chandeliers - Cross Stitch Crazy 220

The new issue of Crazy hits the shops tomorrow but I got my subs copy a couple of days ago and decided this morning to tear myself away from the latest commission (it`s a Maria Diaz and I`m having so much fun with it, it`s hard to put it down!) to share some pics here of the chandeliers I`d stitched a few months ago. They were designed by my Technical Editor, Fiona Baker and were, in a way, an experiment, to see how jewellery beads would work - as opposed to the more customary Mill Hill beads that we usually see on cross stitch projects. I`m happy to report that the large beads were great fun to work with: I enjoyed that I didn`t have to worry about the needle size and also the challenge of finding the best way to secure them to the fabric so that they`d stand upright and glimmer as they`re supposed to. And I`m glad to see that - with the exception of one or two rebels that must have fallen on their faces in transit, lol! - I`ve succeeded. :)

I love the finishes too, these metallic hoops look great! :)

And since this is Cross Stitch Crazy, the only magazine that publishes the stitcher`s name, I can have my 15 minutes of fame too:

Not to mention that - albeit anonymously this time - I provided another pic for this issue: the pub signs I stitched for Twilleys of Stamford are among the recommended kits in the Sherlock Anne section of the magazine - yay! :) Happy stitching, folks!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

mandala cushion - Cross Stitcher 308

Out now in the UK shops is the latest issue of Cross Stitcher with this gorgeous mandala cushion (yes, a cushion. I see a theme developing here!) by Felicity Hall. I stitched it in April-May and if I`m honest, it wreaked havoc with my OCD that I couldn`t stitch the complete design, only a section of it (and even that wasn`t bang on a quarter or half) but I loved the colours and how quickly it grew. I stitched it on 20 count evenweave, 2 over 2, which meant the crosses were the size of peppercorns, so it built very rapidly (the magazine estimates the stitch time at 32 hours but in fact it was only 23, which makes it, I think, an ideal last-minute wedding, birthday or housewarming present).
I only have a few progress pics for this one: since stopping every 5 hours wouldn`t have made sense here, I rather just took the occasional break and a photo when I started to add a new colour.

And would you believe it, as it turns out, all the while I was stitching it upside down! :D

Saturday, 25 June 2016

latest publications: Collection 264 and Cross Stitcher 307

Yesterday my hubby must have been W H Smith`s star customer when he bought all these stitchy magazines for me. This month is a double whammy again: my sunny cushion was always meant to be in issue 307 of Cross Stitcher, and the shoe sampler, which I stitched around Christmas, was originally planned for the March issue of Collection but got bumped up to 264. So now I have all these goodies to share with you, yay! :)
First, Lucie Heaton`s sunny sampler. This is such a cheerful design with all the beach- and summer-related mini motifs, plus I stitched it on pale yellow fabric, the colour of custard, hmmmmm... so anyway, I was smiling the whole time while I was working on it. Not to mention the sunglasses & bucket combo reminded me of ZZ Top, so I was in quite a giggly mood but that might have been partly due to the general euphoria of knowing that we`d go on holiday as soon as I finished this one. And here it is, a plump little pillow - what is it with me and cushions lately? :O

Cross Stitcher 307

And in the new Collection, there`s the Jenny Barton shoes sampler that I stitched last December; originally, I wasn`t going to work around the Christmas holiday but I couldn`t resist this one: if you like stitching big blocks of colour that grow quickly, this is a dream project! :) I finished it in 99 hours and since I have loads of 5-hourly progress pics for this one, I strung them together in a mini-movie, as usual. Thank you for reading my post and happy stitching! :)

Cross Stitch Collection 264


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

sunflower wreath - WOCS 244

The latest issue of The World of Cross Stitching is in the UK shops now, and in it is the gorgeous sunflower wreath I stitched just before last Christmas (I should have said Christmas last year. Now I`ll be singing Wham! all day). I love, love, loved this project! One of my first-ever larger-than-card stitches was a bouquet of sunflowers in a vase, also by Susan Bates... lemme see if I can find a picture of it! :)

The Susan Bates sunflowers I stitched for myself in 2011, from WOCS 141

And five years and a hundred issues later, here`s another beauty - and since sunflowers are my favourite, this project has been right up my street! ;)

This project took 47 hours to stitch and I have put my 5-hourly progress pics in a mini-film to save some scrolling time. Hope you`ll enjoy it, happy stitching! :)


Monday, 13 June 2016

Kate Knight cushion - Cross Stitch Gold 130

I`m so chuffed that I can finally share pictures of this gorgeous design! :D I stitched it in February-March - it didn`t take 2 months to stitch (actually, it was a fairly quick one at 70 hours) but there was a little delay due to fabric hiccups. I loved the first one I got, it looked a bit like washed denim but it was evenweave; unfortunately, I realised pretty soon that it`d be more suitable for freehand embroidery. The warp and weft of the fabric was so dense (or fluffy?) that I couldn`t see the holes not only with a white pillowcase on my lap but I actually put a lamp (= a torch in a box with a see-through lid) under it - NB. Don`t try this at home! I still couldn`t see the holes but nothing else on top of that, I almost blinded myself, rofl.
So after a quick discussion with the editors, we decided that since I don`t have 3 or 4 years to finish this one project, we`d better get some `more standard` evenweave from Zweigart - and I`m so glad we did! The new fabric was perfect not only because of the holes were easier to see but also because the darker navy blue was closer to the shade of Kate Knight`s original artwork and it made the colours of the birds and the leaves stand out even more dramatically.

I took this photo to plead with the editors, lol: the one on the left shows the progress after 2 days of stitching;
the one on the right took 2 hours on the new fabric ;) #Irestmycase

I`ve decided not to make a `film` this time: since it only took 70 hours, I only have 7 photos, taken every 10 hours. I thought in this case it`d be pointless to stop after every five because it`s one of those designs where not much seems to be happening between progress pictures. Once the middle section was done and I stitched the first shade of green on the leaves, it was just a matter of going round and round, adding more and more shades in cross stitch and backstitch. So here are my photos first, and finally the picture of the cushion in Cross Stitch Gold, one of my favourite finishes of all time! :)

Saturday, 28 May 2016

stitching galore

This month, instead of one big piece, I have several smaller ones freshly out in print. First up is the latest WOCS, issue 243, and the funky neckties alphabet by Rhona Norrie that I stitched... last September, I think. Quite a long wait - oh, and I`ve seen the Susan Bates sunflower wreath in next month`s preview, I stitched that `only` around Christmas so practically, `the other day`. :D So here`s my snippet of this Fathers` Day alphabet:

Next up is Cross Stitch Collection 263 - before I forget, remember the shoe sampler I mentioned a few months ago? I was just about to give up on it as `lost at sea` but I bought Collection yesterday and spotted it in next month`s preview, it`ll be the giant chart in the next issue. But back to the current one: there`s a cute little card in here by Jenny Barton, of a wee mouse hanging out the washing, nawwww. :)

Hmmm, interesting, I just spotted the stitch time in the magazine and it`s not what I put on the form. We have to record everything, from the lengths of threads we use to the time it takes us to complete a piece - I often wonder why anyway but especially when it`s not even used or taken into account. Oh well. Anyway, mag says 5 hours, I say 8 - and I thought I was a fast stitcher but who knows, maybe I had an off day...? ;)
And finally, here`s my little bouquet of flowers in Cross Stitcher 306 - I love this Felicity Hall design, it was such a pleasure to stitch. I do like the difference backstitch makes to a picture but from time to time, you just want to stitch something without it, gleefully jumping from one block of colour to the next, knowing that once they`re done, that`s it, the whole picture is done.

And finally, here they are in their respective magazines - don`t say that all you ever see here are bleached photos or pics taken in twilight. ;) Hope you`re all keeping busy, happy stitching, peeps!