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Monday, 9 July 2018

free cover gifts - WOCS 271 and Crazy 245

Just a short post this time because I`m on holiday - not "out of the country holiday" yet, just the sort of holiday where I`m having cake for breakfast (long story).
Anyway, there are two publications in the shops this week that have my wee stitchings as cover kits: Emma Congdon`s design in issue 245 of Cross Stitch Crazy (and it`s a REAL postcard too! 😮) and a little red dress, based on Lynn Horrabin`s artwork, in issue 271 of The World Of Cross Stitching.
Hope you like them, have a fabulous summer! 😊

Monday, 18 June 2018

sunflowers - Cross Stitch Gold 148

This week the new issue of Gold is out and in it there`s this lovely bunch of sunflowers, designed by Fiona Baker.

I love, love, LOVED everything about this project! I`m pretty sure I`ve mentioned before that sunflowers are my favourite (she said, with tongue firmly lodged in cheek 😜), so the subject matter was ideal, to start with. I also love the cheerful Smurf-blues of the vase and the butterflies that complement the cheerfulness of the flowers, and I loved working on the natural evenweave - oh, and I love the finish too, it looks awesome framed in that hoop! 😃
Good news: I`ve managed to find a movie maker app, woohoo! (I`m saying it as if it was hard. No. Finding the app took about 8 seconds, it`s just this is the first time in ages that I actually had time to look into the matter). So here are my progress pics strung together in a mini-film - enjoy! (It`s probably better to switch on Full Screen first so it`s not too tiny.) 😊

Thursday, 24 May 2018

summer cushion - Cross Stitcher 332

On Tuesday, issue 332 of Cross Stitcher hit the UK shops, with my summer animal cushion on the cover - but before I show you piccies of that, first here are two cards that I made (I`m actually so excited that I stitched something just on a whim that I have to start with these):

The first one was the free gift with the latest WOCS (269) and the AOY card I found in my stash. I have a big bag where I chuck in the cover kits and the other day, I suddenly decided I`d do one card a day (after I`d claimed in my last post that I never do cards). Predictably, my determination lasted 2 whole evenings, so I`ve got these two cards to show for it, but that`s me covered for all the birthdays in the family for the next 2 years (usually, I settle for a phone call or a Facebook message).

Anyway, the summer animal cushion. I have to say, I`m rubbish at flora & fauna, so I`d sooner associate ducks and squirrels with autumn but the flowers might be summery...? And the strawberries definitely are. 😉

Designed by Rebecca Spencer, this small cushion (26x26 cm) took 34 hours to stitch and I thoroughly enjoyed how quickly it grew - as daunting as the amount of backstitch might seem, it actually sped things up that I could finish each mini motif (or, more like, 3-4 of them at a time) before moving on to the next group. I think it boosts "stitchy morale" when you know you don`t have to return to a certain bit ever again because it`s done and dusted.

That`s a photo about halfway through the project, and here it is completely finished:

Although I don`t often take a pic of the back of my work, I did with this one because I liked the effect of the black "dotted lines". 😊

And here is the finished cushion, complete with summery props - hope you like it, happy stitching!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

The World Of Cross Stitching 269

This week the latest issue of WOCS is out and in it there are 2 (very different!) projects that I stitched. Fiona Baker`s under the sea motif library was a treat, like something sweet after a meal; I was working on a big project at the time... I think it was the tiger...? Yes, it was, because I remember thinking these small pieces of powder blue aida were such a relief to my wonky eyes after each session on the black evenweave. 😊 So I stitched one every evening after I finished for the day with the tiger; they were funny, fun and varied too - one on plastic canvas, the other on aida band, etc.

And the finished results ended up being just as varied: from cards to key rings, from pencil cases to bookmarks. And I loooove the mini canvas on the easel - I actually have some of these in my stash so I might need to make one for myself someone. 😉

The other project in the same issue is this romantic wedding wreath by Shannon Wasilieff. When I was stitching it, there had been no mention of a royal wedding yet, so originally it was finished for an imaginary couple:

But then the wedding date of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was announced and the quick-thinking team at the magazine re-stitched the two names and modified the date - it would have been a sin to miss such an opportunity, this wreath could have been tailor-made for the royal wedding and has been published at the perfect time too to commemorate the big day this weekend. But there is an alphabet with which readers can personalise the design to suit the couple they wish to stitch it for, and it does look stunning framed in a hoop. It took 35 hours (I don`t know why the magazine says 38 - sounds better? *shrugs*), 9 of which were taken up by adding the 1042 beads - yes, I counted them. I`m that anal. *shrugs again* I can also imagine a card with just one of those roses on it...? So all in all, a very good issue of WOCS, full of versatile, usable charts - I`ve already put Amanda Gregory`s blackwork flowery cards on my to-do list, all six as a sampler (as I don`t really do cards). So one day, when I have loooooads of time... 😉🤣😂

Saturday, 5 May 2018

tiger - Cross Stitch Gold 147

Finally! I was soooo looking forward to seeing this in print! And considering I stitched it around Christmas last year, it`s been a long, very long wait. 😉


Marilyn Barkhouse`s artwork, titled `Emerald Regard`, was expertly converted into a cross stitch chart by Fiona Baker, and the clever sewing team turned it into a stunning cushion:

I won`t lie: it wasn`t my easiest piece ever... but probably one of the most rewarding. Think of your idea of an `easy stitch` - and then take the opposite of everything that`d entail. 😂 Aida? Nah, let`s go for evenweave. White? Nooo, black, so that the holes are harder to see! Two strands? Meh, the loop start is overrated anyway - let`s go with 3 strands; that way, at least there`s more chance of the threads twisting and making bulky stitches...? Sure, and what about backstitch? Keep it to the minimum? No way! Let`s stitch every single hair on that tiger`s neck individually - some with 1 strand and some with 2, just to keep it interesting! 😂
But. If you`re the kind of stitcher who likes to be kept on their toes and/or wouldn`t mind to put some hard work in for a stunning result, then this is the project for you. And it takes less time than you`d think: 70 hours for the cross stitch and another 8 for the backstitch, so even if you can only do an hour a day, you`d have a cushion like this in about 3 months...? I`d say: yes, please! 😉
I`ve got a few progress pics for this project - random photos this time, because instead of taking one every 5 hours, I only stopped at `major points`, mostly when I started a new patch or group of colours. Oh, and while looking through my pics, I came across one with my high-tech bandage solution: working with 3 strands took its toll on my poor fingers so I devised this impromptu shield out of a Juicy Fruit packet and some sellotape (don`t worry, it was a temporary measure until I got some proper plasters and since then I`ve even invested in some silicone finger cones). So I thought I`d include that pic as well, hope you`ll enjoy the slideshow (since I can`t make mini-movies anymore 😔), happy stitching!

5 hours - first go at black on black, just to see if I can see 😂

25 hours - getting the hang of this 3 strands on black caper 😉

40 hours - elation as the bottom right corner is completed 🤜🤛

45 hours - Houston, we have a nose!

62 hours - YAAASSSSS! Finally got to the eyes!!

70 hours - XS done. Not bad, but just look at what a difference adding the BS makes! 👇

78 hours - FINISHED! All the fur, whiskers, everything`s in place! #bestfeeling

Rofl @ this casualty of war 😂

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) 😉

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