Tuesday, 30 April 2013

End of April Update

First and foremost, I'd like to say a massive "thank you" to all my readers and followers - my blog wouldn't be anything without you! Don't forget, there's a follow button just over there, and if you have a stitching blog too that I haven't subscribed to, just leave a note with the web address in the comments, because I'd love to see what you've been stitching! >>>

Today is the last day of April, and it's been a very successful month. I've had a grand total of four stitching finishes, which has made a marginal dent in my massive pile of WIPs. Here's a reminder...

Unnamed flowers by Janlynn

Swan card (magazine kit)

Peter Rabbit by Anchor
Nobody Loves You by nichestitch
I managed to get three of the four finished properly, as you can see below:

Peter Rabbit mounted on card
Janlynn flowers mounted on card
Swan card finished into card
I'm quite pleased with those! I may well mount them into my scrapbook, which has been neglected for far too long, but that can be a project for the summer.

In order to ensure I actually get somewhere with my stitching, I've set myself some goals for the next month, with the intention of continuing this throughout the year and getting quite a few things finished off by the end of the year. These are my goals for this month:

1. Complete the top three rows of Day Trip:

2. Finish the left half of North and South:

3. Finish all the lime green in Tigger:

4. Finish the dark purple in Mae Govannen's border:

5. Finish Tatty Teddy:

6. Complete the top two rows in Passenger Train:

7. Finish Tartan Thistle Needlecase:
8. Finish Always Time for Tea (x2):

9. Start and finish Madeira smalls:

So yeah, that shouldn't be anything too strenuous... I hope. I'll be putting the 2013 goals in the sidebar shortly. The Madeira smalls came with the latest issue of The World Of Cross Stitch, if anyone's interested, and I've selected a few patterns I'd like to do over the course of the month.

I've bought a few things, too! A lot of them have been sent home, but this arrived on Saturday and I have another one on the way:

It's been started a bit, but I don't mind that - what's been done so far is shown below, and I quite like the idea of picking up a kit started by someone else. I always find that kits that have already been started are full of hope, and are better in a stash than simply discarded. Here it is:

I also bought a couple of things using the Amazon gift card from Ruth at my spare moments, which came last Wednesday: a Dara O'Briain DVD (he is, in my opinion, the most hysterical stand-up comedian in the world) and a book called Never Push When It Says Pull by Guy Browning. I've read one of his previous books and it was so funny I cried with laughter while reading it.

I look forward to updating soon with more stitching news - I may well go down to weekly stitching updates or so. Apologies if I don't reply to all your comments - I do read them, I promise! - but I've been fairly busy recently, and that won't get better before the end of exams. Ah well. I hope I can keep stitching, in any case.

Happy stitching! :)

Heather x

Sunday, 28 April 2013


As always I've been doing my stitching when I probably should've been doing my uni work. I'm a GREAT procrastinator. Though admittedly, I haven't used that procrastination time to update my blog as I should but rather actually doing the stitching. There's nothing tremendous to report this time, though, since most of my projects are larger and don't have such a great dent made in them just yet.

Wednesday's Tigger Day was far better this week, helped by the fact that I didn't forget to bring a needle so I could stitch him while I sat doing nothing on campus for two hours like I did last week. Here's where he is now...

As you can see, I've made progress into the lime green on the left two columns. I started colouring in the chart to see what progress I'd made, which I'd apparently neglected to do when I first started Tigger last year, and it turned out that I've actually done way more than I'd thought. Identifying mistakes was made fairly easy by this, too, and most of them are in the stripes. I shan't be moving on to them for a while, though, for reasons which will become apparent. I did end up hating the piece by the end of the day, though.

Mae Govannen was totally the opposite. I started off hating it and ended up wanting to do more. Because it's such an intricate piece, however simple it may be, it's taking a while to come along, but I started one of the letters, which made the colour palette a bit more fun to work with. I also added another swirl...

I've several ideas of what to do with this when I'm finished, but I'm undecided as of yet.

I did make some progress on Tatty Teddy on Friday, but not enough to be worth showing, and I shan't be showing him/her again until he's completely finished anyway. The backstitch is driving me nuts, and I'm so close to putting it to the side and working on something else, but I'm gonna try to be good and power on.

I started Always Time for Tea, but again, no pictures - it's such a small piece that it's not worth showing until it's complete. I'm doing a second one using variegated floss on 18ct as well, which I'm gonna turn into a bookmark to give to my sister along with Nobody Loves You (I figured it would soften the blow a little).

The weekend itself has been terrible for sewing. With good reason, though - Saturday morning I got my uni work done, and went to Hobbycraft in the afternoon. Yes, all afternoon. I left at about 1:50, just after I'd finished my lunch and my post-lunch cup of tea, and got back at about 4:30. I walked 6 miles in total, there and back, and was absolutely knackered. The things I do for my craft! So all I ended up doing was updating my DMC floss inventory checklist and watching Doctor Who, then calling the family in the evening as is customary of a Saturday.

I did get a lot of new stuff, though. I spent in the region of £50 - which, for someone with a Meagre Student Budget, is one hell of a lot to spend on stitching stuff. It was worth it, though. I got all the flosses I wanted (except one that wasn't in stock, but I can wait), two new packs of needles (because mine keep disappearing, going rusty or are too big), a huge thingy of plain white 18ct (for all the things where it doesn't make sense to have a nice hand-dyed fabric), two A6 cards to mount the Janlynn flowers and Peter Rabbit on (pictures soon, I promise!), scrapbooking tape for the mounting, more DMC stitchbows for storing my floss in my floss folder, and, in a bizarre turn of events, some variegated yarn for finger-knitting a scarf. A friend of mine did one and I decided I loved it and had to too, so I'll post a link to the video tutorial when I can be bothered.

Remember the gift piece that I wasn't gonna be revealing? Well, it's my Saturday piece that I haven't touched this week: the passenger train!

Yeah, it's for DB (Darling Boyfriend, in case you didn't catch that one), and will most likely be his anniversary present for next year - apparently the second anniversary is cotton, so this will be perfect. He doesn't read this blog, so I figured it doesn't matter if I post it.

I also haven't touched my Sunday piece, the needle case, but I have a new start that's been distracting me from it. After I first gave blood a few weeks ago (and dramatically collapsed), I managed to sweet-talk my father into buying me The World of Cross Stitch, which contained the first half of an HAED chart - a cropped version of Rachel Anderson's Opal renamed Fairy Wishes, which is full of blues and purples and basically every colour I love. I purchased the next magazine on Friday and I just couldn't wait, so I got a bunch of the background colours during my foray to Hobbycraft and got myself gridded up pretty quickly - it's something like 252x192 stitches, so it's by far the biggest project I've attempted so far, and I can't wait! Again, no pictures yet, since I've only done a pitiful amount of stitching at the moment (and the DMC E5200 that I used instead of Kreinik #4 032 because there wasn't any at Hobbycraft is driving me mad - I loathe polyester flosses).

I'm setting myself stitching goals for May, but I'll be posting them right at the end of April, so keep an eye out for that. Other than that, I think that's it for me, though there'll be an awful lot of pictures coming soon!

Happy stitching!

Heather x

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


...I has it! Or at least, I has it where stitching is concerned, because everything else (uni work included) has been put on the back burner so I can power through my projects. Fortunately, I don't have a lot of work that needs doing at the moment, but with exam season around the corner... well, let's just say that I'm gonna need to focus, or else my Erasmus year won't be happening.

Since I finished my Monday rotation piece, Peter Rabbit over the weekend, I moved on to the unnamed flower kit produced by Janlynn. Here's a quick reminder of where I was when I left it...

Flowers, as of 21st April 2013
You may recall that I managed to finish all the actual cross stitching on this over the weekend, leaving only the backstitching to go. Well, turns out the backstitching was fairly simple...

Flowers, as of 22nd April 2013

...because I finished it in a day! I'm pretty pleased with this in the end, despite hating it for a while. It's a little something-or-other for my tastes - traditional, maybe? - but I actually quite like it now. Maybe someone will recieve this as a card. We'll see.

Since my Sunday rotation would've been the needlecase for my mother if it hadn't been IHSW, I duly moved backwards to work on that a little more on Monday. Here's where I was last time...

Tartan Thistle Needle Case, as of March 31st 2013
I didn't get huge amounts done, since I'd dedicated most of the day to the flowers, but I did manage some significant progress...

Tartan Thistle Needle Case, as of April 22nd 2013
There's still a lot left, but since Sunday is my newly designated "doing nothing day", I aim to get this done within a couple of weeks or so. I almost wish I'd bought this one for myself!

Today's project was the "mystery project". I was doing a thing on Facebook where I'd post my progress every day and let people guess what I was stitching, but this project got put to the side for long enough that I think people have probably forgotten (and I'm fairly sure nobody from my Facebook even knows this blog exists, so I'm not gonna bother with that here. It's actually Serenity Design's North and South, which I stumbled across on Ebay purely by chance in February, but decided I had to have since I love North and South and Richard Armitage beyond words (apologies to Dearest Boyfriend for that). I was also lucky enough that both my classes for today were cancelled, so I had the whole day to stitch (and recover from waking up at 4:30 due to a horrendous blocked nose). Here's how it was when I last worked on it...
North and South, as of March 31st 2013
As you can see I was using a hoop at this point, which I've since stopped using, since for a project of this size the hoop marks are horrific, and this fabric seems to be fairly easily distorted. Fortunately this worked in my favour for using the Q Snaps, because it's now been bent back into shape.

Here's where I got to today:

North and South, as of April 23rd 2013
You can see here that I've also changed stitching techniques for this - I've moved to my newly-discovered column-by-column parking method, which, more than anything, is more inspiring. I like the look of threads dangling everywhere, waiting to be stitched in. It's so full of promise, and means I can't wait to get back stitching!

I've currently got a horrendous nose cold so all I want to do is sit and stitch and allow sunlight to pour onto me, but my side of the house doesn't get any sun (it's the north wall), and our house is a bloody heat sink, so despite it being a tropical 17C out today, I've been shivering inside with a tissue in my hand and a sprinkling of tissues around my desk. It's clearly a sign I need to curl up in bed and stitch there ;)

Happy stitching!

Heather x

Sunday, 21 April 2013

April IHSW

And so as Sunday draws to a close, April IHSW has reached an end. However, I've made some excellent progress over the course of the weekend. Do you want to see? (Silly question - of course you do!)

The first thing I did was actually go for a run on Saturday morning. Now, I'm no runner, and I am one of the laziest people I know, but I was invited by my friend Stella, the owner of The Hobbit pub down here in Southampton, to join her Race For Life team. This means I'll be running 5k in aid of Cancer Research UK in July, hopefully, so I've got to prepare. My legs are absolutely killing right now, though - I only did about 3k and I walked the vast majority of it, so I've got a loooong way to go.

I treated myself to a charity shop browsing session on the way back to see if there were any cross stitch goodies worth buying. Unfortunately, there were not. The only shop that had any was the Cancer Research UK shop, funnily, but they were branded specifically for the shop and didn't look like they came with good quality threads and whatnot, so I decided against it. By this point it was approaching 10am, so I came home for breakfast and a weekend of stitchery.

The first one I started with was the little swan card that, apparently originally came from Needlecraft magazine's June 1998 issue. However, I found it in a charity shop I worked in last summer. This is where I left off last time...

Swan card at end of spring term
Swan card, finished 20/04/13
Swan card (not yet taped, but how it'll look)
Yes, I had a finish! You may recall I left this at uni over Easter, though I don't know why, since I could've easily finished it in a day. It is now, however, done, and I look forward to sending it to someone!

Next was Peter Rabbit, which I'd almost finished by the end of its rotation day last Monday, and then Tuesday after I finished Nobody Loves You. When I left off, I'd just finished the cross stitching.

Peter Rabbit as of 16/04/13
Peter Rabbit, finished 20/04/13
I finished him! Boy am I glad. The back stitch was really getting on my nerves, almost more so than on Tatty Teddy - at least I can read those charts!

So then I moved onto the Janlynn flowers kit that had been sitting around untouched for a while. Turned out I hadn't actually made any mistakes, so I was free to continue stitching as I had before, though distinguishing the threads wasn't always easy. Here's how it was when I left off...
Janlynn flowers as of 06/04/13
Janlynn flowers as of 21/04/13

You might not be able to see, but the actual cross stitching is finished, so now there's only the backstitching to do. I've slotted this kit into my Monday rotation slot, so I'm hoping for a finish either tomorrow or by the end of this month. Here's hoping!

My household had its first ever roast this evening, and I now feel like it was well-earned. It was a chicken with oranges in the cavity, not as a stuffing but just so the orange flavour saturated the chicken, and with bacon on top - and booooy was it good. We also cooked roast potatoes, cabbage, broccoli and carrots, and finished off with a really gooey chocolate brownie afterwards. I think it was the first time we've ever cooked together, too, but it paid off and our kitchen was still sparkling afterwards.

There was, however, a minor incident. I got a knock on my door at about 8:10pm on Saturday while on the phone to my Dad. I opened the door to my sheepish housemate telling me we'd just had a small fire in our (lovely new) kitchen. The good news is that it wasn't really anybody's fault, and the only damage was done to a pair of oven gloves and a light. My housemate had thrown the oven gloves on top of the cupboards to get them out of the way, but unfortunately, lights are hot and that's where the temporary light fixtures happened to be. Needless to say the oven gloves didn't make it out of it intact, and the house absolutely stank - but it didn't stop us from teasing him about it, and after the incident itself, it was absolutely hilarious. We'll definitely be having words with our landlords about the positioning of the bulbs.

Before I go to bed to get myself ready for another week of uni, check out Brenda's giveaway over at The Rusty Thimble. It's not exactly stitching related, but I'm all for home-crafted items, and my American side is certainly coming out here!

Have a good week, everyone, and happy stitching :)

Heather x

Friday, 19 April 2013


I know I said I wouldn't post for a while, but there's another giveaway - this time over at Shaunterria's blog Ca11i0pe's Reviews and Stitching News. Go check it out!

Until Sunday :)

Heather x

Thursday, 18 April 2013


First of all, Poppy over at Poppy's Stitching is having a giveaway of an absolutely adorable owl, which you should definitely go check out :)

These last two days of my rotation haven't gone as well as I'd hoped. Tigger was Wednesday's target, while Mae Govannen was today's, and I'm really just not feeling it at the moment.

Tigger was started a while ago and because of my failure to count properly, there are several small but vital mistakes that still haven't been picked out. Unfortunately for me, I've forgotten where they are, so it'll only be when it messes up my stitching that they get fixed. Equally the project is slightly too small to conveniently sit in my Q Snaps, so I've had to go back to the hoop, which has a history of distorting. I got about 300 stitches done, the results of which you can see below:

Mae Govannen is really getting on my nerves. I like the effect of the evenweave fabric, but stitches keep slipping somehow, so a nice diagonal half-cross that I make will periodically turn into a vertical line, and I am not happy. More than anything, though, is the fact that, apparently, the thread is crap. I don't know if Anchor produced a dud batch, or if they're just crap, but I'm getting really fed up of my threads snapping on me, especially since I've been having the same problems with the Anchor threads in my Tatty Teddy kit. I'm starting to regret stitching this now, and I have a HAED Storykeep which is much bigger that I've started on the same fabric (albeit in DMC). Nevertheless, here's the progress:

And as I said, this coming weekend is IHSW! I have plans to stitch so many things, and I'll likely start IHSW tomorrow, since my day is weird - I have classes 11-1 and then nothing until 4, then I head home at 5, so essentially, my weekend start early in a weird sort of way. Other than Peter Rabbit and the BAP I haven't revealed my plans, but I currently have a Post-It on my wall with everything I'm hoping to work on over the weekend, and I have to say, I'm very excited to share it with you.

Unfortunately, that means I won't be posting again until the weekend is over, so you'll have to wait a whole three days this time. Yeah, dreadful, I know. But the good news is hopefully I'll have loads to show you by the end of the weekend.

I'd also like to say a massive thank you to my followers, who now number at twenty! I'm very touched, and I've been following you back if I can - but if I've missed you, for some reason, just leave me link to your blog in the comments, and I'll follow as soon as I can. I love seeing other people's stitching, and it really keeps me motivated :)

Until Sunday, then. Happy stitching!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Back Into The Rhythm

I've only been back at uni for two days and it's already like I never left - well, except for the fact that I'm distinctly less tired than I was at the end of last term, and the kitchen still confuses the hell out of me but WHO CARES COS IT'S AMAZING.

Please excuse this brief detour from stitching to see the pictures of the new kitchen, entirely financed by our landlords...

Left: Camouflaged fridge-freezer is camouflaged.
Right: Hey look, a working oven AND microwave!
Left: Look at the large amounts of counter space we have and the invisible dishwasher next to the washing machine! (Yes, in a student house.)
Right: Washing-machine-tumble-drier AND tumble drier! Talk about going overboard...
Left: Our old table and chairs rearranged to look nice (i.e. with the worn side hidden and with the place mats my mum quilted for my 19th birthday).
Right: The stove area, complete with saucepan.
Left: The new backdoor, conveniently without rotting wood.
Right: The sink area, cheered up with a nice couple of bouquets, anniversary present courtesy of Boyfriend Dearest.
Left: The back garden, rotting shed removed. We have space! (Who knew?)
Right: Sleek and Shiny Cupboards to match the Sleek and Shiny Everything Else.

Isn't it beautiful? I wish I had pictures from before for comparison, but I, uh, forgot. Ohwell.

Stitching news! I've now also decided the best way of actually getting my stitching done is to have a rotation, making exceptions for SALs. Yesterday was Peter Rabbit, and today has been Nobody Loves You. I'm starting with smaller pieces that'll be done quicker to make room for newer projects, so as soon as one project is done I can just slot another piece into the rotation. Here are some pictures...

Nobody Loves You on April 6th
Nobody Loves You, Completed
Nobody Loves You, post-bath
Yes, I finished it! Let's be honest, it's not the hugest or most complex pattern in the world, but it's now out of the Pile Of Shame, cleaned and ready to be framed up before my sister's birthday in August. This was the first time I'd tried washing out the fabric pen I use for gridding, too, and it disappeared as soon as the fabric hit the water, about which I am very happy.

Peter Rabbit on April 6th
Peter Rabbit with all crosses finished
Peter Rabbit, latest

I'm not gonna lie, I'm starting to hate this piece. As I've said before, the chart is a pain to follow with regards to the backstitch, and it just doesn't look right - bits indicated as backstitch in one look like half stitch in two on the cover of the kit, and I'm starting to doubt it'll turn out as nicely as I'd hoped. I just want this one to be finished, now.

I'll be picking up Tigger and Mae Govannen over the next couple of days, so I look forward to updating those. Also, this weekend is IHSW - something I've never participated in before - but since I have no coursework and very little work to be done, I figured I'd participate by sitting in my room for two and a bit days and sewing, because that's totally not what I do every weekend anyway. The majority of this weekend will be spent on the BAP that's being gifted. I may end up posting pictures after all, since I've seen no evidence yet that its recipient is reading this blog (fortunately - I'm *dying* to talk about this project!). Other than that, I aim to get Peter Rabbit finished since I'm so close, and work on a few of the other pieces in my WIP pile in variation so I don't start to want to kill certain projects.

In other news, Angela from over at Hooked on Stitches is celebrating her fifth blogoversary soon, and is having a giveaway! She'll be sending out a mystery box, and frankly, I'm dying to know what'll be in it, so go and enter if you haven't already.

Happy stitching!

Heather x