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Sunday, 15 April 2018

cover kits, cards, coasters and scrapbooking

This week the latest issue (242) of Cross Stitch Crazy is out and I`ve got several projects in this mag - technically, two, but one of them is 7 cards, so... Anyway, first up is the cover kit:

This Emma Congdon design has been turned into a funky wee hanging on green felt - I love the cute little dowel rod they put in the kit! 😃

Also in this issue, there are Fiona Baker`s 7 applique cards with the lovely butterflies... most of which you can`t see in this pic...

...but they all make sense once the wing-shaped pieces of fabric are added:

In other news, we had a great Easter. My mom came to stay with us for the school break so we did some "going to places & seeing things" again - and not only that but we actually managed to put all our postcards, tickets, etc. in the frame that`s been waiting patiently since Christmas, so now we have a permanent "scrapbook on display". 😊

A lovely reminder of our trips to York, Rogie Falls, Balmoral, Blair Castle, Kenmore, Queen`s View, Oban, Mull, Iona, Dunnotar Castle,
the Discovery in Dundee, Fort Augustus, Loch Ness, Falkirk, Stirling and Glasgow

The day my mom flew back to Hungary was my gran`s birthday, so I made a card and a coaster for her that mom took home and since gran already received them, I can share their photos here. Hope you all had a great Spring break too, happy stitching!

Friday, 6 April 2018

The Hunt of the Unicorn - The Stirling Palace Tapestries

Yesterday was a magical day in many ways. My mum`s here for the Spring school break and after anxiously watching the weather forecast (and the persistent snowfall) for days, it finally stopped on the very day we`d planned to go on a day trip and so we could set out in brilliant sunshine to Stirling.
I`ve visited this beautiful place in the heart of Scotland once, back in 2000, well before I got married, had a baby or even toyed with the idea of ever attempting any form of needlework. So little did I know that this time, when I went back with my family, one of the main attractions of Stirling Castle would be The Tapestry Exhibition.
In 2002, a dedicated team of master weavers embarked on a 13-year-long labour of love, recreating 7 tapestries depicting The Hunt of the Unicorn (the original gobelins are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York). According to the guide book, "the Stirling Tapestries project has been the biggest weaving task undertaken in Britain for a century, conducted in partnership with the Quinque Foundation of the United States. With contributions by 18 weavers from all over the world, and more than 16,000 hours spent weaving a single tapestry, this has been a labour worthy of medieval master-weavers." I could not agree more and, to honour the 18 amazing people who gave all this time and talent to achieve their goal, here are their names and the length of time they each dedicated to these tapestries:

And here are a few examples of what they`d been working on - everybody should see these tapestries "in the flesh" because photos don`t do them justice but for the now, they`ll have to suffice:

Like the originals, the new tapestries were woven on their sides too; as the guide book explains, "there is a technical reason for this. The lines of a tapestry look softer when it is woven sideways to the warps; whereas a stepped effect is produced when a line is woven vertically". 

In the modern tapestries, silk was replaced by the stronger mercerised cotton, and instead of gilt, gold thread spun around a cotton core was used. However, the main weft thread was, as in the originals, wool: after careful colour matching, large batches were dyed (with chemical dyes, as opposed to the natural dyes that would have been used in the 1500s). The teams also decided to break with the tradition of making the gobelins from the back: "weavers prefer to see what they are working on, and weaving this way is much more interesting for visitors to watch".
In the specially designed studio constructed at Stirling Castle, over 5 million people saw the birth of 4 of these tapestries (the other 3 were woven at The West Dean Tapestry Studio in West Sussex). And now, after the work has finished, the studio houses an exhibition telling the story of this mammoth project and visitors can also watch short films, see the loom and touch the cones of colourful wool. There is also an extensive introduction to the history and symbolism of the Unicorn Tapestries - something I didn`t have the time to read with a 12-year-old itching to see the armoury and the cannons of the castle... so here`s tonight`s reading material - I hope you`ll enjoy zooming in too! 😊

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Cross Stitcher 330

Yesterday I bought the latest issue of Cross Stitcher (the first thing to go into my trolley, this purchase was the highlight of my food shopping trip). Not that I`m obsessed with cross stitching. 😂

It turns out I have 1,5 projects in this magazine (I didn`t stitch the notebook cover). However, the two floral banners on the spines of the folders are mine:

Usually, the paperwork accompanying magazine commissions contains every detail - from the fabric count to the number of colours used - but for some reason, Cross Stitcher never puts the designer`s name on the form. Actually, I quite like it though: I enjoy guessing by the style of the chart and then get a thrill when I see the name in the magazine. So it seems, this month I got the Emma Congdon Special: both the stationery set and the globe on the cover are her designs.
I loved, loved, loved working on that globe! Emma Congdon is already in my good books because of her hardly ever using backstitch on those nice big blocks of colour where you can just let your needle fly, and I also like her signature lettering that is present on this adventurer`s globe too. The grass and flowers make the foreground quite busy so it`s worth taking some time marking the chart, methinks - it saves time in the long run. So that`s it for the now - hope y`all have a very happy Easter with lots of chocolate eggs and stitching (not necessarily at the same time) 😉

8 hours
20 hours

30 hours

44 hours

Sunday, 25 March 2018

lovebirds, princes and fairies

Now there`s a title I never thought I`d write - sounds a bit like a collection of fairy tales, doesn`t it? But no, it`s just a list of some of the cross stitch pieces that have been published lately. First up, Lucie Heaton`s cute little fairy gift tags that are the free gift with this month`s Cross Stitch Crazy (241):

They were a lovely quick stitch, a very enjoyable day-off from the larger project that I was working on at the time, and the finished tags look super sweet:

Next up is issue 146 of Cross Stitch Gold: the free gift in this magazine is mine too, a sparkly bookmark to commemorate the upcoming royal wedding.

And finally, in the same issue of Gold is this gorgeous pair of parrots (both the lovebirds and the bookmark were designed by Fiona Baker). I enthusiastically started to take pictures of this project every ten hours, thinking it`d take much longer but those bands of oranges, yellows and greens were so satisfying to stitch that I simply couldn`t put it down and it grew surprisingly fast. Still, I have a few pictures for this one, hope you`ll like them and until next time, happy stitching! 😊

10 hours - 1 bird

20 hours - 2 birds

34 hours - XS finished

37 hours - BS detail added

Thursday, 1 March 2018

feathers cushion

Issue 329 of Cross Stitcher is also on sale this week and in it there`s Felicity Hall`s cushion design, featuring 20 feathers with intricate backstitch detail. I`m not going to lie, this is not for the faint-hearted or those who can`t stand backstitch - some feathers have half a dozen different shades of BS added but if you finish them one feather at a time, it`s less daunting and definitely manageable. And the end result is worth it: I like the contemporary feel of this cushion and the colours seem to pop on the linen that (in case you can`t tell from my dodgy-as-usual photos) reminded me of the darkish teal-ish shade of a snow cloud. I tried to take a few close-ups too but the backstitch detail is almost impossible (for me, that is) to capture but I hope you can see them alright. Happy stitching!

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Art Deco ladies

Issue 266 of The World of Cross Stitching is out now and in it is a picture of two ladies strolling in a park, resplendent in their Art Deco elegance. The original artwork is by Claire Coxon and I thoroughly enjoyed stitching this project - it didn`t take long to finish and yet it has an impact, wouldn`t you say? It was fun working on the aida and although there`s quite a lot of fiddly backstitch detail, the whole design was small enough so that I could finish adding these details before they drove me up the wall 😂 I only have a few progress pics for this smallish project, hope you`ll enjoy seeing them and happy stitching! 😊

8 hours

10 hours

19 hours - love the ghost legs in this one! 😄

32 hours - finished 😊

And nicely framed in the magazine 😍

Monday, 29 January 2018

koalas - The World Of Cross Stitching 265

Well, it`s been a long wait (I stitched this piece in August last year and it`s almost February 2018) but my cute mom-and-baby koala pair is finally in print! Woohoo! 😍
This lovely realistic design by Amanda Butler took 55 hours to stitch (hmmm, as I`m typing this, I just happened to look at the magazine and it says 65 hours. Strange. Makes one wonder why I have to time myself if it`s only used as a ballpark figure but hey..) 😉 So anyway, it took "roughly some time" to stitch and I`m so pleased I can finally see the finished picture in WOCS 265. 😊

I only took a few progress pics along the way because, frankly, they looked a little creepy until the eyes got stitched 😆 but after that they started to resemble their own gorgeous selves (and the baby`s "rude" toe cracks me up every time I look at it!) 😂 And now, I`d better get back to my penguin - yep, back to Christmas stitching... after all, as I have just said: it`s almost February! 😉 #what12days #12MONTHSofChristmas

12 hours

21 hours

27 hours

40 hours

55 hours