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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Cross Stitch Collection

I`ve been (literally) snowed under for a week now - although if I`m honest, it could be a lot worse than the couple of inches we`ve had so far: I could be staying in e.g. Ballater and spend my precious time shovelling two feet of snow, instead of sitting in my cozy living-room, furiously stitching. OK, at the moment NOT so furiously, since I`ve had a little mishap. The design I`m working on now is a mandala-type intricacy by Durene Jones for Cross Stitch Gold - actually, it`s more like a henna tattoo, using a lot of DMC 902 (garnet) as the basic colour with some pink, orange and electric blue to accentuate and, of course, a lot of gold (metallic thread and beads as well) to make it sparkle. Unfortunately, I only got one skein of garnet and it looks like I`ll need more like four, and Anne must be on holiday or off sick because it`s very unlike her not to answer my email for days - anyhoo, after running out of the main colour, I did whatever else I could but now I just have to wait for the replenishment (unless Hubby takes me to Kirkcaldy on Saturday - I will NOT drive in the snow! - where I can buy some). In the meantime, I`m itching to get on with my little chefs but I don`t want to get another big project out, in case I get too absorbed in it and then I wouldn`t want to go back to "the job". So as a something-in-between, I started to play with this cross stitch clock I`d picked up a few weeks ago for £3 in a charity shop:
I think I`ll give it to my mother-in-law for her birthday (unless I decide to keep it in the meantime). Of course, I could also use this mini-break to get on with my knitting: I want to make some hats for the Woolly Brew girls` new appeal and my second teddy square, technically, couldn`t even be called a square as it`s only 5 rows so far but last weekend I got a far more important job from The Boss. Gregory came to me with a fully developed picture in his head concerning a little alien that he wanted me to stitch for his gang of teddies to experiment on (?). So I "just" had to follow his instructions and make it the right size (he made me unpick the legs twice because they were too long and too wide!) - so here`s the result:
He even drew the eyes on a piece of paper so I had a template to follow, and he showed me (the little control-freak!) the angle he wanted me to sew them on - as a consequence, my Hubby says it looks more like a little green pig with his blue ears flopped over his eyes, as if playing Peekaboo... Anyway, now that I have the time to write, I thought I`d add some photos of the works I`ve done so far for Cross Stitch Collection (at least the ones that have already come out). As another first, I shall attempt to add a link, rather than a photo, to my blog - starting with the retro Xmas trees that appeared in issue 216. Then there were the thank you cards I stitched for issue 218; and the latest issue (219) has my Mothers` Day owls in it but I couldn`t find a link to this magazine just yet, so here`s a good news-bad news situation: I`ll add my own photos which are much less artistic than the ones taken by a professional photographer... on the other hand, if the links above didn`t work, at least you`ll SEE these, right? OK, I think it`s a nice, long post now so I`d better go and get some work done, not to mention that a picture is worth a thousand words anyway - so here`s another 4000 words` worth:
UPDATE: since this post, I`ve found these too here.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

I don`t write often but when I do, I write a lot :)

I thought before I disappear for another half a year, I`d better do something about the promised photo montage - and I have to say, the project didn`t start out too well. Trying to save myself the trouble of going through six months` worth of photo archives, I thought I`d just simply look up e.g. Bothy Threads` website and cut-and-paste pictures from there... Problem is, I could only find 1 of the 3 (Hen Fun) and the other two, Sand Castle and Paddington Sports are either not available yet or they`ve been re-named. In either case, I don`t think I should attach their pictures here from my own collection but here`s the official version of my first one:
This week so far hasn`t been a great success story in general, anyway. After posting my latest assignment last Tuesday to Anne for Card Shop (some lovely Fathers` Day cards by Jenny Barton, by the way), I experienced that "school is out for the summer!" feeling for the second time since last May: I had no other job lined up, so I was free to do whatever I wanted to do. I was spoiled for choices and my head was reeling... Should I get my La Scapigliata out from its hiding place where it`s been gathering dust (just kidding! It`s safely packed away, especially as since I`ve started working on it, we`ve moved house AGAIN!). Or should I knit for a change? Or start a new stitching project? Eventually, I decided on the latter and started something for my Gran`s 80th birthday this April. There was a freebie calendar that came with the World of Cross Stitching (issue 195) that, incidentally, contained one of my works, the cat bride by Margaret Sherry (top right):
I started to stitch the three little chefs (bottom, middle) because I like to stitch useful things (i.e. not only pictures you hang on the wall) and I thought this bluish design would go well in my Gran`s kitchen, so I`ll laminate it and add another laminated white paper under it, so she can write her shopping list on it with a marker. But in order to do this, the stitching shouldn`t be bigger than A4 - so what did I do? Like a rookie, I cut the fabric first (to my defence, the pattern DID say it`d be 25x14.5 cm on 14 HPI aida) and I`ve already done the dog`s apron and half of his legs when I realised I was running out of space. So I unpicked the whole thing and duly got side-tracked by the usual "so is this piece of fabric wasted now?" dilemma - so I started to stitch a teddy with a birthday cake for my Mum (whose birthday is in February - my Mum`s, not the teddy`s!) which I managed to muck up THREE consecutive times, after which I decided that this piece of aida is cursed and threw it away, while my Mum`s birthday stitch has gone to the back burner for the now. Anyway, a couple of days ago I re-started the 3 chefs on 16 HPI and I got this far:
So far, I`ve only had to frog it once and luckily, not the whole thing just some of the white at the bottom - I kept miscounting until I photocopied and enlarged the chart so I can mark the squares off with a felt pen (I just hope it`s not a sign of my eyesight getting worse! Although that`d still be better than me getting sloppy - especially as I got an email from Anne yesterday and a new job is in the post so I`d better get my act together!). Oh, and in the meantime I knitted a reversible teddy square, as the first installment of (what I plan it to become), a baby blanket made up of different coloured squares, probably for my (also un-visited for the past six months!) Etsy shop since Gregory is, sadly, not interested in these kind of things any more:

Saturday, 12 January 2013

still alive

My goodness gracious! This morning, out of the blue, I`ve decided to check my long-forgotten blog to see if it still existed at all and I`m shocked to see that I`m half a year older than I was when I wrote my last post! So for the benefit of those 3 or 4 people in the world who might read this - what happened in the past 6 months? Well, as my son said the other day to my Mum, `I can sum it up in one word: she`s been STITCHING`. At the end of May 2012 I started to work for both Immediate Publishing and Future Publishing - the first owns magazines like the World of Cross Stitching, Cross Stitch Crazy, Cross Stitch Gold, Cross Stitch Card Shop (as well as Knit Today and hundreds of other titles), and the latter publishes Cross Stitcher and Cross Stitch Collection, among others. All these magazines have featured at least one of my works since last summer and when I have the time+inclination, I`ll add a montage of the photos here. At the same time, I did some model stitching for Bothy Threads and Twilleys of Stamford, plus I knitted 4 jumpers for a local designer - I find knitting relaxing in-between stitch sessions as it exercises other muscles in my hands (not to mention knitting is safer while watching the telly). Anyway, so as not to leave my readers (?) without a picture, here`s one of the Dachshund I managed to finish for my Gran and Uncle`s Christmas present: