Monday, 26 January 2015

When kits run short of threads... needs to either complain (and hopefully get more threads) or smile as a chance to become creative makes itself known. I chose the latter as this was a freebie kit that came with the February issue of CrossStitcher. Thousands of these are made and sometimes someone miscounts threads - in the end I only needed to add a little white to complete it and that was for an extra bit that wasn't part of the pattern.

I really liked the Owl freebie kit and started it the same day I got it, though my son's illness got in the way of craft time so I didn't get round to finishing it till last night. I measured everything carefully and found that I'd be able to make a 2 sided scissor fob as there was enough fabric for 2 of the 5 x 5 squares of Aida.  I wasn't sure what I'd do on the back but I left that for later.

The owl went smoothly, especially because I'd taken the time to measure the centre and mark both that and the starting place for the different parts. At one point the scarf on the bottom half reminded people of a ray gun and later it resembled a nerf gun more - this is the fun of stitching - seeing what shapes pop out during the stitching, I decided to not backstitch the scarf fringe but to use Ghiordes Knot: instead so I now have a 3-D fringe. I used wheat Hoffman's batik for the back of the keep as I didn't like how stretchy the felt was and I was certain I'd make a mess of sewing it as a result.

When I got to doing the scissor fob I discovered that I was a good 50 stitches short of finishing the blue and there was no more blue thread left. As a stingy stitcher who uses up thread to the last possible mm this was really surprising. Normally I have "stacks" left over as kits usually include enough for a less experienced stitcher to be able to complete it even if they have to rip a bit. I too had to rip as I'd started the column of 5 blue stitches doing the 5 next to each other before before doing the next row. This would have mirrored what you can see on the right in the photo above. Half way up was the place where I ran out so I carefully removed all of that and re-did the rows but then doing them in columns of 20 instead - I had enough for 2 whole columns so stopped after that.

As I finished colours I decided I could stitch them onto the back in a "circle" and decided to start with the bit of orange I was certain to have leftover after backstitching as I'd made a note of how much I'd needed on the owl itself.  I then did the yellow and green and then the white. It was at this point that I discovered the blue issue so I looked at what I had left and decided to use the last of the brown to make one row and some of the remaining grey to make the other two rows.  I only had enough grey left (one length of 2 strands of thread) that would do about 25 stitches but needed another 100 to complete the back so went with some white from my own stash to complete the back and used the grey to do the backstitching around the edge of the front to make the biscornu shape.

In the end I'm very happy with the result - this is really a one of a kind fob which uses the basic pattern and then does it's own thing.

Size: Scissor keep: 3 1/8" x 4 1/2" / 8 cm x 11.5 cm - fob: 1 2/2" / 4 cm across the middle
Fabric: 14ct Aida
Thread: 7 colours.

Friday, 23 January 2015

SFS - January

For more information as to what Stitch From Stash (SFS) is, please click the button above.

After a lot of consideration I have decided to set my currency for SFS to Euro as I buy from more than one country it's easier to use my own currency as the base. I have decided to use 25 Euro as my budget amount as things are more expensive here so it feels fair to do it like this. I will convert the USD amounts for the money earned to Euro.

Month: January
Spent: 24.30
Earned: 7.10
Carry over:  (25.00 - 24.30) + 7.10 = 7.80

My spending: 

This being my first ever SFS post it's all a bit new for me but.. I was good and kept to the budget as I didn't want to go over on my first post - it wasn't easy as what I wanted was just a bit over the allowed amount but I was strict with myself and made myself remove something from the shopping basket to stay under.
I got 3 remnants of fabric to replace what I've used up: 14ct black Aida (3.50), 18ct white Aida (2.85) and a section of 8" high 28ct linen band (4.00). I don't really need huge amounts so a remnant is more cost effective and takes up less space than a full yard would.

A spool of red Kreinik #4 very fine braid as I'm slowly adding to the number of colours I have of this and it was on sale for just 2.95 so a bit hard to resist.

4 skeins of Tentaculum - Gauguin, Klimt, Van Gogh and Rousseau to add to my collection of these threads - 5 down, 6 to go! These are 2.75 each.

I have also spent on monthly threads club + the limited edition fabric and thread from Jodyri however as it's specially dyed it takes some time to make and send so I've not received it yet. I have noticed that level of eagerness to receive something does not make it arrive faster *grumble* otherwise it would have magically arrived on my desk within minutes of ordering lol. As these 3 are monthly clubs they do not count as spending.

My earnings:

This month I finished 2 ornaments using the pattern I've made for my Ornament of the Month SAL The fabric is 16ct antique white Aida that I got last summer when I was in the UK and the threads are from my stash, most of which were collected before 1995 though of course I have since added any new colours and topped up colours I finished. The beads I got so long ago I can't remember when I got them but they are at least 2 years old. The thread I used for the hanging loops is craft thread my bf gave me last September.
The bigger ornament is 47 stitches square and the smaller one 35 stitches square so each ornament earns me $ 4.00 each for a total of $ 8.00 which according to the currency converter today is 7.10 Euro so that is the amount I'm counting.

I will not be counting work done to my larger projects till they are finished as they do not have pages and it's far too easy to forget what you did and didn't count.

I also finished some tiny things but as they are only 4 of a set of 12 I'm not going to count them till the full set of 12 is complete.

Ornament of the month - Finishing ideas

There are many ways you can finish the ornaments and I'll be putting some idea's of how to do so here so you can plan ahead a bit if that's something you like to do. I have added pictures as soon as I could of some of the finishing idea's - I had not done this before as it occurred to me after I started posting that people might like some pointers as to how they can finish these.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

TUSAL - January ORT report

And so here I am at last with a real TUSAL report (Don't know what this is? Click the button above!) - it's been months since I last did one despite me keeping a jar for each month for it but with me having some health issues and working on a lot of secret stuff it just didn't happen. Instead I've made a photo of every single ORT jar I have - from September 2012 to December 2014 - there have been a few months where I didn't stitch at all and for those months I do not have a jar but looking back it's amazing how much I DID stitch.
The top row are the jars for 2012, just 4 of course as I only found out about this in September. The next row down and the two on the left of the 3rd row are the 11 jars for 2013. I had some really productive months there as some jars are almost full. If you consider that these are standard 450 gr / 1 lb jam (jelly) jars that's quite a bit of ORTs! the other 4 of the 3rd row and the jars on the bottom row are all from 2014, also 11 jars ,  which shows that I did quite a lot even if I didn't post about them.
A new year and a new shape of jar, sadly the company that made the jam changed the jars they put the jam in some time ago and Decembers jar was the last one I had of that shape. The new jars are taller and skinnier, which might just be a plus as you can see the layers of the threads better.

So what did I work on to make all those pretty layers?
Well there was the Death of rats and Mike's Mushrooms which you can read all about in my blog post D.E.S.I.G.N. & Death of Rats. There was Teresa Wentzler's Castle Ridge that I started on January 1st. I got quite a bit done on this but I set it aside to work on the ornaments of the month and give mike's mushrooms some love and will pick it up again at a later time, I'm in no hurry to finish this so am switching between projects.
Then I made the two Ornaments of the Month which you can read about in this blog post: WIPocalypse - January, new finishes and more and last of all is the little freebie that came with this month's CrossStitcher magazine on Monday - an owl scissor case with matching scissor fob.
I just need to finish a little bit of the eye and then the top piece of the case is ready. The body will be done on a separate piece of Aida and after hemming the top of that I will layer the two together with some felt to make the back and sew them together, although admittedly I'm not so sure about the felt that came with the kit as it's rather flimsy and very stretchy so I may just dig in my stash for a nice bit of cotton to use instead. The pattern gives instructions to do a scissor fob that is one side cross stitch and one side felt but I'm thinking that if I have enough thread left I might just do the other side with embroidery too as they have enough fabric to do that.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

IHSW report for January

This IHSW I did a lot of crochet instead of stitching because my oldest son had a friend staying over and I was pretty tired and decided I'd rather avoid frogging. Considering the amount of crochet I had to rip out I'm pleased I made this decision as ripping out crochet is a LOT easier. Before I started on Friday I took the following photo, if you enlarge it you can see the wool to the top right about where the fold is.
The shawl is going to be a bit of a monster - it's 126 stitches wide and 27 inches high, so far I've used about 4 balls of wool - Stylecraft double knit special - I have 14 balls in total to use so there is another 10 balls to go. Each strip is 2" / 5 cm wide and I'm 2 rows into the diamond pattern I'm adding - white with rust diamonds which explains the rust dots at the top of the photo below. Over the weekend I added 8 inches of crochet. Fortunately Carla had her hangout open and I was able to chat quite a bit with her and Nancy who also dropped by for the first time in ages, so I was able to de-stress from having other people in the house which isn't my favourite thing but it's good for the kids to socialise in this way.
Yesterday my February issue of the CrossStitcher arrived and it has a cute little owl scissor holder with matching fob as this month's freebie so I decided to start that in the evening and extend IHSW by a day so I'd be able to report on something stitchy after all. My January issue hasn't arrived yet but it's still within the 14 working days since they told me they were re-sending the issue so I'm not worried yet.
I didn't get much done but it's good to have at least done a few stitches and have another pair of items for the Tons of Tiny project. It's not going so fast stitching wise right now as both kids are now ill (youngest was poorly on Sunday and oldest came home from school today)

Thursday, 15 January 2015

D.E.S.I.G.N. & Death of Rats

First of all lets start with what D.E.S.I.G.N. is: Designer Everybody Should Instantly Get to Notice. This month I have decided to start by introducing someone who makes the most wonderful patterns from a photo or an image for you that is not only completely accurate but at the same time, no matter how many colours used is always easy to read. This last bit is, as most of know, not the easiest of things to find in a pattern but my designer of choice for this month manages that with apparent ease.

"Who is this amazing designer?" I hear you ask. The designer is known as pinkythepink over on Deviant Art and Etsy, where you can buy a personally made chart just for you.

I will be honest and say that both patterns she made for me were prizes from stitching pirates competitions however she doesn't know I'm writing this post about her and didn't ask me to.

Longer term readers of my blog will have already seem Mike's Mushrooms - the WIP I am currently working on (YES, at last!!) This is where it was last May and you can already see how lifelike the pattern is. I had given pinky the image and requested only whole stitches, so no backstitching and no partial stitches - no size restriction. It is 180 stitches x 261 stitches and has 113 colours, normally that would be a nightmare to keep track of on the pattern. Pinky has a super clever trick: she uses more than one colour for the symbols and doesn't repeat them, which makes them nice and easy to spot on a pattern. I have not seen anyone else do that on a pattern.

This is the original artwork the pattern was made from - with the permission of the awesome Muskeg (aka Mike) - just so you can see how close the pattern is to the original.
A pattern of Pinky's that I have finished is Death of Rats, a Terry Pratchett Discworld novel character. I didn't put any restrictions on this pattern other than "please see if you can manage to make this work" so I got a load of partial stitches and backstitching, which just make the pattern perfect.

As you can see for yourself the end result is pretty close to the original artwork, which is quite a feat for something of this size. The fabric used is Haunted from Picture This Plus which I also won from one of the stitching pirates competitions and was one of 2 fabrics I'd picked to use for him, though in the end my favourite for him just didn't work asn dark blue sparkly fabric jut doesn't show dark blue well.
Even though it was not in the original pattern I couldn't resist including some glow in the dark thread and just for fun I included some Kreinick grapefruit glow in the dark blending filament too - for that extra bit of glow. I also used a silver metallic blending filament for the scythe blade so that it would shimmer.

Colours used: 10 colours of DMC + Kreinik grapefruit glow in the dark blending filament & silver blending filament + Cosmo metallic for the backstitching along the scythe blade
Stitches used: Cross stitch (whole and fractional) and back stitch
Stitches: not sure, pattern doesn't say but I do know it's 54 stitches wide and 101 high.
Fabric: 28 ct Zweigart Cashel, hand dyed by Picture This Plus "Haunted"
Size: 3 1/2" x 6 1/2"/8.89cm x 16.51cm

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Tons of Tiny

I'm a bit late posting this but I didn't want to do 2 posts on the same day. Tons of Tiny is a project to get those tiny projects in your stash done - and then send the pattern (in a usable state) to someone else.

Anyone reading my blog will already have seen my 2 Tons of Tiny entries, they are both my own pattern that I share with anyone who downloads the pattern. I do however have a bunch of older small patterns from kits I have done previously that I am going to be sending out to people. Please note that they were coloured in with pencil as I did the patterns and although I have done my best to remove it, it might show a bit still.

Editing to add:  I found out that my Death of Rats also counts for this so I'm adding him in here too, you can read about him in the next post.
This month I'm offering 3 floral patterns to brighten up the dreary winter days. I don't know abut you but I'm longing for warmer weather and being able to open the back door and leave it open for a while without freezing my toes off.

Lanarte "Life style collection"  Quick and easy - Daffodils. Colour key with DMC threads.
Size:  45 stitches wide by 62 stitches high, 16 colours.
Note: there is the word "Narcissus" in backstitch on the pattern to the right that I did not include here.
Penelope counted cross stitch kit - Floral Urn. Design by Mary Hickmott. Colour key with Anchor threads
Size: 41 stitches wide by 55 stitches high, 7 colours.
Notes: No back stitch. The original pattern calls for pink to be used, due to my aversion to pink I replaced it with yellow in my embroidery.
Permin of Copenhagen "quick kit" - Dog Rose. Colour Key with DMC threads
Size: 30 stitches wide by 45 stitches high.
Note: The edge of the paper is somewhat torn but not on the side of the pattern, I *think* this kit didn't have one of those sorting cards and I may have made holes to keep the thread sorted instead, at which point it may have become torn in one place.

I will be sending one of these to 3 people, just comment with which one you'd like and I'll get in touch with the new homes for snail mail addy's some time next week. Please note that you are only supposed to request one of these if you are planning on making it yourself as part of the Tons of Tiny project, these patterns are not for resale!

If more than one person asks for the same pattern I'll write the names on a bit of paper, drop them in a jar and let one of the kids pull a name.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

WIPocalypse - January, new finishes and more

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I am (of course) running late with this, but then it's still January so it's not *that* late hehe. I'm going to try and do this properly this year, so not just a list of what I've done but also answering the question/doing the topic of the month. This month's topic is: "Introduce yourself, your projects, and any goals you have for the year!"

I go as either Magical or Magical525 online. I am a 45 (yikes) mother of 2 boys, one of which is, at 13, now taller than I am by more than a head with the appetite to match which means I have effectively given up trying to cook enough to have leftovers as, cue to his appetite, there are rarely any leftovers. My youngest son is still 11 and despairs at ever being taller than I am - ha!

I tend to have phases of when I do crafts, currently it's cross stitch and crochet but, as you can tell from my blog name, it is also on occasion quilting, though I do that a lot less at the moment. No matter which craft I do I tend to not only follow patterns but also go my own way and create my own, some patterns you can find on this blog (along with a bunch of recipes) and my latest series of patterns are being hosted over on Nerd Central Command International Headquarters These patterns are part of a SAL and have also led to my first two finishes of the year!

Allow me to take a moment from the WIPocalypse to introduce my SAL: Ornament of the Month Which is a year long stitch along that gives you the pattern of a new ornament every month so that by next Christmas you will have 12 new ornaments for your tree - or a garland, or a wall hanging as I have given a pattern to combine all 12 ornaments into a single wall hanging if you don't want ornaments.

The ornament is made with the border from the wall hanging to make it a little bit different and larger, it's 3" on each side and was made with 3 colours of DMC and craft thread for the hanging loop and tassel.
The garland section you see below was made using the pattern for the ornament, the loops to the side will be used to join the sections together much like how you would loop a thread onto a needle to stop the thread slipping when using metallics. The finished size of the ornament is 2 1/4 "
Both were made on 16ct antique white Aida, the colour difference is due to the top ornament being photographed in artificial light and the bottom one in daylight.

Back to WIPocalypse stuff...

In my last post I wrote a quick list of things I want to work on this year:

  • Mike's Mushrooms - it's in dire need of a bit more love and some more being stitched on it.
  • TW's Castle Ridge - a new start for the year and I want to finish it this year too.
  • My ornament SAL - I want to stitch them up myself too and make examples of how to finish them.
  • More TW - not sure what but it will happen.
  • The Christmas tree tea cosy - will need to buy thread for that though.
  • The cutlery WIP needs finishing.
Now I will take a while to show where they are now and explain more as needed.

Mike's Mushrooms:

I have not worked on this at all since my last post with a photo of it in, which was may 20th of last year. It really needs a bit more work done to it, so my goal for this year is to at least finish the 400 x 400 stitches bit of marked fabric to make this section square. I would however like to get a bit more than just that done.

Teresa Wentzler's Castle Ridge

This was my Christmas present to myself which I started just after midnight on January 1st I did some stitching on it before setting it aside to work on the Ornament of the Month ornaments I made. I bought a kit as I wanted to do this the way Teresa planned. It's 18 ct Antique Aida, 90 x 126 stitches and will be 5" x 7" / 12,7 cm x 17,8 cm when complete. There are only 24 colours of DMC in the kit but Teresa has, as she always does, made that stretch to create 32 colours.

Last night I picked it up again and went from having about 50 stitches done to who knows how many (I'm not a stitch counter - sorry) that you can see in the photo to the left. I had a go at thread gridding - it didn't go entirely to plan as you can tell by the fact that only the bottom left hand corner is marked, but it's even and that's more important.

I have decided to work on the rocks at the bottom first, then move onto the castle.

I hope to complete this embroidery this year.

My ornament SAL

You will have read about my SAL above so I won't repeat myself hehe. My plan is to complete one hanging ornament and one garland ornament a month around the time I post the next pattern. They will all be done on the same fabric using 3 colours of DMC.

The Christmas tree tea cosy

This is a project that I've been wanting to do since I saw it in a magazine in the 80's - this year I WILL make it happen! I have the fabric for it at last (it was discontinued) and all I need to do now is buy thread for the project and make it.

The cutlery sampler

This is a Lanarte kit I got for myself last November
It will be 6 x 7 3/4"/ 15 cm x 20 cm and is made on a 27 ct (according to the packet) cotton evenweave. So far I have done 2 of 6 pieces of cutlerry and then there is a border - it should have "Forks and Spoons" backstitched at the top and bottom but I don't see me doing that - I am probably going to use the side borders at the top and bottom instead.
 I hope to complete this embroidery this year.

The jasmine spray

 For some reason I thought I had a lot more to do on this but it appears that "all" I have to do is rip out the backstitching I don't like because it doesn't show at all, which means that the petal lines do not show and it all merges into one, and redo it.

This is also an embroidery I wish to complete this year - this month even if I can make myself do it, as for some reason thought I love the colours and love the photo in the magazine I got this from, I have grown to really dislike this piece.


The border of the week sampler

In The Netherlands "randje per week"  has become a bit of a thing. It's a SAL where you are given 2 or more borders a week to add to a long strip of fabric - or a length of edging fabric. It started last year and really took off with a fb group being made and even meets. Last years patterns will be made into a book but for another couple of months you can download the weekly patterns from the blog. They are continuing this SAL this year.

The interesting thing about this SAL is that ALL the borders are taken from old samplers made by people, often school girls, to learn the patterns. I love that they not only give the pattern but, on a second blog, they give all the information of where the pattern came from.

I will be making my version on a larger piece of light brown Jobelan, probably using my Cosmo variegated threads. My plan is to attempt to keep up but I will see how it goes as I am still at the hemming the fabric stage.

Celtic Wolf

The dA group Stitching Pirates is hosting a competition:  TRIBAL AND TOTEMIC CONTEST. For my entry I will be making a Celtic style wolf. This will need to be finished before the end of march so I need to hurry up and decide what fabric to make it on.

More TW

I'm not entirely sure which of the many smaller TW patterns I will do but my plan is to slowly work my way through them.

This is my list for now, hopefully my list will not grow by too much.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

A new year - and perhaps a new beginning

It's that time of year when everyone posts about their hopes and dreams and plans for the year to come, I'm no different as I want to make an overview of which SAL's I want to join in with - and also post a bit about the SAL I'm running myself.

A SAL? I hear you ask..

Yes indeed! This year I'm going to host a SAL over on NCC International Headquarters where I will post a new ornament pattern every month - the first one is up already!



Although I've not been too good at posting pictures of my jars I've been good and made a new jar every month, some fuller than others but I have kept them all and will continue to do this.


Another SAL I've not posted as much about as I should have last year but I certainly made a point of stitching every time and joining in with a hangout chat with some friends so we can chat, stitch, show stuff off and generally behaving as if we are at a stitching bee.

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I've been kinda doing this for a long time - just not answering the questions asked every month. I hope to be a bit better about joining in with this as well for the coming year.

This SAL needs a bit more space as I want to make a list of things I want to work on the coming year.
  • Mikes Mushrooms - it's in dire need of a bit more love and some more being stitched on it.
  • TW's Castle Ridge - a new start for the year and I want to finish it this year too.
  • My ornament SAL - I want to stitch them up myself too and make examples of how to finish them.
  • More TW - not sure what but it will happen.
  • The Christmas tree tea cosy - will need to buy thread for that though.
  • The cutlery WIP needs finishing.

The Magnificent Year of Teresa Wentzler

Last year I had a blast doing this and this year I have already started on Castle Ridge, in fact it was this project that had the honour of the first stitch of the year! Carla is a great enabler and is keen to egg people on, so I have no doubt that I will finish Castle Ridge and more by the end of the year!

Tons of Tiny

This is another new SAL that I will be joining in with, and it has the added bonus that it fits in nicely with my own SAL as they too are tiny patterns! I shall be sending on some patterns of things I have made in the deep past and still have the patterns for.


This great little project is meant to help showcase designers all over the world - anyone can jump in and post about a designer they love - and even designers themselves are allowed to write about themselves and their work and share it with the world to see!

Stitch From Stash

It's always easy to go out and buy whatever you want or think you need but it's far better to first go stash shopping instead. There will always be things one really needs to be able to complete a project but if one is careful with money this is more than doable. So with that in mind, along with my stash enhancement activities late last year *gulp* I have decided to curb myself a bit more and try and stick to the 25 dollar budget , though hopefully I will spend far less.

Ornament of the Month - January

It's the first Friday or the month (in the USA at least lol) and here is the first pattern! Garnet is the birthstone of the month of January so I used 3 shades of garnet for the pattern.