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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

video


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! :)

video

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!




Monday, 2 May 2016

Union Jack Mini Cooper - Cross Stitcher 305

In all the excitement of the Bank Holiday weekend, I almost forgot that issue 305 of Cross Stitcher has been in the shops since last Friday, with my little cover star on it, a classic Mini Cooper, complete with British flag roof. This adorable design by Jane Prutton took 30 hours to stitch, and I have a before and after backstitch photo of it - I love how much difference adding the details has made to this project! :)




I also received my subs copy of Cross Stitch Gold the other day, and although there is still a long wait until the next issue comes out in the middle of June, at least there`s already a sneak peek here of the gorgeous Kate Knight cushion I was working on last month - squeeeeee, can`t wait to see more! :D Hope you`re having better weather than we do just now, it`s a sleety snowy rain that comes on every time I hang out the washing... meh. Enjoy the rest of the long weekend, happy stitching! :)


Saturday, 23 April 2016

Lesley Teare`s cottage teapot and some Twilleys

Well hello, peeps - the weary traveller has returned. ;) The holiday was great and a lot has happened since then too: firstly, the shoe sampler I`d teased you with in my last post got bumped up into a later issue of Collection; at the same time, I stitched a cute ties (as in `neckties`) alphabet by Rhona Norrie for Cross Stitch Crazy that, it seems now, will be in next month`s WOCS; however, there is the cottage teapot that was supposed to be in that issue and is now brought forward to 242 - and if you think you`re confused, imagine how I manage to follow all this, I who actually have to think for long minutes every morning about what day of the week this is.
So the cottage teapot. What can I say? Dream project. So much detail to keep it interesting, not an overwhelming amount of colours or backstitch and it`s cute to boot, what more does the stitcher need? Hehe, maybe that`s why it`s this month`s Stitcher`s Challenge...? ;) It took 48 hours to complete and I loved working on the evenweave, plus I distinctly remember that the BS on the roof felt positively therapeutic. So all in all, good memories - and a wonky photo:


Luckily, there`s a much better one in the mag (love the pink mat, I`d never have thought of choosing this colour but it complements the flowers on the handle beautifully):


And apropos my wonky pics vs. professional photos: yesterday I had a look at the Thomas B. Ramsden site here to see if any of the projects were available yet that I`d stitched for Twilleys of Stamford - and there is an abundance of them! So here`s a wee photo album and for comparison`s sake, I chose the worst of my lot, sometimes the back of a project or a pic that was taken in pitch dark, just to accentuate how much better the other ones are. ;) Hope you`ve all had a great Spring break, happy stitching! :)

Clearly (?), here I was experimenting with taking photos of phone cases out of focus...

Ah, that`s much better!

The back of my perfume bottles...
... and the finished article


My two pub signs in the twilight...

... beautiful in their frames

Two little sweet pea designs...

... turned into two sweet (pea) hangers

A pair of designs entitled Weekend and Weekday...

... and this is what they look like with the backstitch detail added


A wee tapestry for a change ;)

`Lush Meadow`

And, finally, a larger tapestry (the wee man`s there for scale, lol)

And the beautiful end product, a rose cushion :)