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Monday, 24 August 2015

Olivia, page 6 done

Just a quick update while I`m having lunch but after that I really have to go back to `work` - I`ve been naughty and spent the weekend plus half of today finishing that bit of ruff (?!) that was missing from Olivia`s bottom (oh dear, it`s just getting worse)... Anyway, here`s a picture - worth 1000 words anyhow: so this is where I am after 103 hours, she only needs her little crown now and it`s all done (I`m soooo tempted to just carry on till the finish line but I don`t dare, I must get on with the commission if I don`t want to pull a few all-nighters before the deadline). Hope you all had a great weekend - I`ve been to a vintage car rally where I`ve seen many wondrous things... none of which can I show you, unfortunately, because I forgot to take my camera with me. But it was fun, and now I`m ready to tackle anything Anchor can throw at me, mwahaha! ;) Happy stitching!

Friday, 21 August 2015

patchwork apples cushion - Collection 253

The latest issue of Collection hits the UK shops today - and so does Cross Stitcher 296 by the way: just a wee reminder for those of you who wanted to stitch the little bird cage keyring ;) So finally I can show you some pics of my wonky apples (I hope that`s not slang for anything!). But just in case it is, here`s what I`m talking about:

It was an interesting experiment in pencil sketch style stitching - and not the easiest thing to do on evenweave, with hardly any reference points... basically, just apples floating in mid-air, lol.

The `wonky backstitch` in itself was quite challenging; the cross stitched apples were slightly simpler, as here at least I could use the cross stitches to help me navigate - but the 4 `empty` ones required a lot more concentration. So to start with, I enlarged the chart for one of them, and with different coloured pens, I marked the points on the grid where two lines met. Once I had the steps on paper, it was just a case of following all four lines, one at a time, in a `left 4, down 1`, etc. kind of way.

This is my `work station` - excuse the mess, I was working on Olivia at the same time too. ;) There`s my enlarged apple (again, I`m hoping that it`s not slang for boobs or similar!), and next to it is the first finished one, which I then used to calculate where the other 8 should go. And here they all are:

I think that little paperwork to begin with was well worth it: once I knew what I was doing, it grew quite quickly. The whole project took only 24 hours, so it`s a nice idea for a last-minute birthday, Mothers` Day or even housewarming present. Or the individual apples could be used as cards or coasters... the list is endless. Here`s my favourite, the one I call `apple on the washing machine` - happy stitching, folks!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

freebies - Cross Stitcher 295 and 296

Nothing like going from one extreme to the other to make you appreciate both even more, right? In between BAPs, HAEDs and oversized samplers, I`ve done a few wee breathers in recent months - hanging my head in shame, I confess I kinda forgot about these minis, but today I accidentally spotted the cupcake in the current issue of Cross Stitcher, and as I was admiring the finished card, I also realised that the wee birdie keyring, advertised from the coming issue, is mine too!
In case you haven`t seen Cross Stitcher 295 yet, this is the stunning card I`m talking about - however, in order to really appreciate it (extremes again!), first you have to see my dodgy photo... which, apparently, I took after midnight, by candlelight, against the appealing backdrop of my threadbare tartan blanket:
Would you believe that this is the same cupcake? What miracles a clever crafter`s finish and good photography skills can make, eh?
I love the little doily around it! :) And I also love the finish on the keyring - the back of it is also stitched with a reverse image of the bird and the cage, but of this I don`t have my own photo; it spent such a short time in my house that I didn`t even think about taking a pic, I was just concentrating on finishing it between the morning and afternoon school runs, so that I could dash to the PO with it (the editor needed this one back asap). Wanna hear my Mr. Sparks impression? "A challenge? I like it!" ;)
However, I do have a pic of my own project, which I forgot to show you last time: this is where I am on my Twelfth Night cushion, the Countess Olivia has a growing ruff (hmmm. I believe I`ve managed to make that sound a bit kinky). Anyway, here she is, I`m on the 5th page out of 9, and I can`t wait to see her finished! So without Much Ado (see what I did there?), I`ll get back to it - happy stitching, peeps!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

holidays, unexpected doll`s houses and sewing rooms (Collection 252)

Phew, it`s good to be back! Although you wouldn`t know from the frequency of my posts, I was actually on holiday in the past 3 weeks - meaning: abroad (no holiday from stitching! My Twelfth Night cushion is steadily growing, thank you very much). We spent some glorious, sunny days in Hungary, visiting my family - OK, by `spending` I mean `surviving` and by `sunny` I mean `death rays that will scorch you within an inch of your life and make you sweat from places you didn`t even know could sweat as soon as you move, even if that slightest movement is just to attempt to breathe some hot air in`. But the main thing is: it was fun.
While I was away, Cross Stitch Collection 252 hit the shops, and in it there`s the gorgeous Maria Diaz sewing room that I stitched a few months ago - here it is on the cover:

Please excuse the creases right at the sewing room`s frame - this magazine has been through a lot, same as me, in my native land that I now affectionately call The Oven. (And while I`m typing this, I just spotted: what gorgeous orchids in the bottom right corner!) ;)
Anyway, here`s my (as usual) badly lit photo of the finished picture, after 52 hours and some tweaking, unpicking and re-stitching as there was an error in the pattern, but eventually we got there:
I think it looks much better stretched and framed (and professionally lit & photographed, lol):
I love how even after stitching the whole piece, there are still some details that I`m only seeing now, in the photo! :) It was a pleasure to work on, although if I`m honest, I spent some foul-mouthed minutes (read: hours) on the fiddly BS and FKs on those flowers - I even took some (even more terrible than usual) close up photos:

I guess every stitcher`s different, and even the same person approaches the same task in a different way, depending on their mood; one day, you enjoy the challenge of a little `fiddliness` after the monotony of just cross stitch, the next you just want to get on with it and finish a project asap, especially two days before the deadline. All I seem to remember is that I sighed a big sigh of relief when these petals were done - I hope it won`t discourage anyone from sewing this, though! (Am writing very confidently here in the firm belief that there can`t be more than 2-3 dozen people out of 7 billion who actually read this). :D
Oh, and lookee what Postie brought me while I was away: the doll`s house has found its way back to me!!! I`m ecstatic and can`t wait to put it on my Wall of Glory... OK, I haven`t got one as such but there`s the Durene Jones sunflowers and Maria Diaz`s Santa`s Journey on the bedroom wall, so now I can hang the doll`s house next to them, awesome! :) Hope you`ve all had a great summer, happy stitching!