Monday, 24 January 2011

Don't all fall over at once ....!

I know what you're all thinking; barely a week and another post already!!  Well the truth is I just couldn't wait to show everyone my progress on the 15 new starts challenge.  I have decided to work on each one in turn for a week and keep to the order that I started them in, which meant that The Needlework Shop came out top of the pile.   Bearing in mind I only get an hour or so stitching in the evening I spent a large part of Saturday working on this, and watching tennis at the same time.  Coincidence of course that the Aussie Open just happens to be on whilst I am in the early stages of this challenge so watch this space!

Next up will be the snowman project which I picked up tonight when I got home, so pop back next week for another update!

Brief but straight to the point lol - thanks for reading!

Love n hugs,

Ally xxx

Monday, 17 January 2011

Crazy January Challenge - the end!

Well not quite the end, but the end of the 15!  And yes, I know I promised an update last weekend but life (and work) conspired against me as usual.  I am here however, and yes I have been stitching so take a deep breath and grab a cuppa and get ready for 5 to 15 .....

No. 5 is "Catch a Tail" one of the Cats & Quilts series by Diane Graebner.  Anyone who knows me will tell you I love Diane's designs and I was gifted the set of cards that make up the Cats & Quilts series a few years ago when I was going into hospital for surgery.  I had several ideas on how to do them and when I was looking for a theme for a round robin with my little round robin group it seemed like the ideal time to use them.  I ended up having to stitch two because one of the other girls in the robin decided she "didn't have time to do all of the robins" - don't you just love when people let you down like that.  Needless to say she didn't get another chance with us.  But I digress ...

My fabric is a lovely hand dyed 28ct jobelan and the theads are all DMC.    5th January was my first day back at work after the holidays so I didn't have much time in the evening for stitching hence the very little progress - but at least I got it started.

Day 6 is the Willow Fairy - this is where my new starts and already started projects start to blur at the edges lol.  Being back at work means that I don't have as much time to devote to my stitching as I do on the weekends and during holidays so ... I decided to add in some already started projects in an attempt to get some, if not all, of them finished this year.  I started the Willow Fairy and the mermaid at the same time and since I got the mermaid finished last year I reckoned that it was the fairy's turn.  She is stitched on 28ct Jobelan in bone (one of my favourite shades as you will no doubt figure out) and using DMC threads.  all the greens drive me potty after a while so I tend to only work on her in good light to differentiate the blue greens from the yellow greens lol.  Again not a lot of progress but its a start!

Day 7 is the Lady of Shalott by Teresa Wentzler.  I have always loved this one and Teresa really did her proud.   When I first started her my (now ex) Pete gave me a little book of Tennyson's poems which includes the Lady of Shalott.  Again she is being stitched on 28ct Jobelan in bone with DMC threads.  After all that stitching I am STILL on page 1!!!  She really needs to grow a head and some feet so I need some encouragement here guys!    Progress on this was fairly minor again due to a very busy day at work and being completely worn out when I got home from work - why is the first week (even if it is only half a week) the worst?

Day 8 being Saturday was a new start and so I chose "Christmas Carols" by Country Cottage Needleworks.    It is stitched on 28ct Zweigart linen in Miracle Mint (love that name!) using DMC threads.  I actually did a bit more to it after this photo was taken but you'll see that in my next update on this one.  I got this chart at Harrogate in November and fell in love with it.  Christmas is not my favourite time of year but I do tend to find myself wandering around the house singing Christmas carols for some reason.  Not always at Christmas either ....

Day 9 is Free Spirits which is from one of the beautiful Chris Cummings horse paintings.  She really does capture the movement of the horses and I swear as soon as the horse's eye went "in" this beauty came to life.  Again I have been working on this one for a while so it is about time it got finished.  Worked on 28ct Ice Blue Brittney fabric it was a kit that I picked up at a stitching show several years ago.

Day 10 is Winter Wreath by Maria Diaz and is from Cross Stitcvh Gold magazine.  I am stitching this one on a 28ct white opalescent fabric using DMC threads.  This one, when finished, will be raffled on behalf of my gardening club in aid of the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice.  We do several fund raising raffles and an open day every year to raise money for the Hospice and I was asked to stitch something that we could use to raise funds.  Hopefully this will be done in time to raise money for next Christmas.

Day 11 is the Grandfather Clock by DMC - and is another kit that I have been working on for a while.  A friend down in Staffordshire was given it for a birthday or Christmas (hers are on the same day so it could have been either lol) and being a non-stitcher she asked me to do it for her.  I think its about time it got finished and back to its owner don't you!  Need encouragement on this one too because Country Companions are just so not my bag!!!

Day 12 is a Crocus Cushion designed by Sue Page from a very old edition of Cross Stitch Collection.  I have had this one kitted one, well forever I guess, and I finally decided that this was going to be the year I got it done.  It is a really lovely design and I have the most gorgeous fabric to back it with so I can't wait to get it finished.  It is being stitched on 28ct white evenwave with DMC threads.

Day 13 is Honey Bees by Fleur de Lys.  This was a kit given to me in an exchange some years ago and I was pretty unimpressed with it to start with but the more I looked at it the more I liked it.  I changed the kit fabric to my favourite 28ct Jobelan in bone and decided to use it for last year's round robin.  I came back to me ages ago but I am only just now getting around to doing my part and my progress although slow, is getting there.  Another one I desperately want to get finished.

Day 14 - Fast Off (Cats & Kittens) another DMC kit which I bought in a wee stitching shop in Scarborough on a day away with my mum and her friends.  Mum spotted it and said "look there's Minnie" and so it was - it is almost an exact replica of my own little tabby so I just had to buy it.  The browns are soul destroying lol and it has been put away so many times over the past couple of years just for that fact alone but it is almost finished now and this is going to be the year!!!!!  Encouragement required ladies!!!!

And finally (fanfare here!) Day 15 is Poppyfield Lane.  I had a choice of two here - this or Yoder's Hill.  Both have very sentimental value to me.  This one was meant for my lovely friend Nan who died 18 months ago very suddenly.  It was very close to completion and I had hoped to give it to her when she got home from hospital, and of course she never did get home.  It has taken me until now to find the will to get it finished and framed.  I couldn't possibly have it hanging here at home as there are too many memories attached but some day when I have my own LNS it will have pride of place with a little plaque underneath dedicating it to Nan's memory.  It is a Derwentwater Design by the very talented Rosie Swalwell.

Phew, if you managed to get through that lot give yourselves a pat on the back and have another cuppa.  Doing this challenge has really brought my stitching mojo back and I am enjoying my stitching for the first time in absolutely ages which has got to be a good thing, right? 

I am working from home tomorrow morning so I may find the time to put a few stitches into something although what I am not sure as yet - it may be a late night/early morning as a certain Mr Murray plays his first match in the 2011 Australian Open tonight/tomorrow and I am very tempted to stay the distance with him - well lets face it, it wouldn't be the first time I had pulled an all-nighter for my tennis.  I do suffer for my art ... but I also get a lot of stitching done!!

Hope everyone taking part in this crazy challenge is enjoying it as much as I am.  I wonder who will get the first finish? 

Thanks for reading everyone and for the comments you leave - they really do mean a lot.

Love n hugs,

Ally xxx

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Crazy January Challenge

Yes - I admit it I am a sucker for a challenge.  When I first heard about this one I thought no way and then I thought well maybe, and before I knew it I had signed up.  To be honest I haven't chosen all of my projects yet, and I will be cheating ever so slightly because they will be a mixture of completely new and already started WIPs, but the aim is to try and get most if not all of them finished by 31st December 2011.  So (deep breath) here goes with my first update - Days 1 to 4:-

For my first project I have chosen "The Needlework Shop" by Country Cottage Needleworks.  I've had the chart kitted up for a while courtesy of an exchange in Friendly Stitchers, and I have been looking for a good excuse to get it started so here it is.  I love how it is coming along and can't wait to get back to it.  I have  another CCN chart I plan to do for this challenge, one which I got at Harrogate this year - I just have to decide on my fabric for that one.

My second project is "Bring on the Snow" by Waxing Moon.  From what I can remember I bought the chart in 2009 at Harrogate (I think but I could be wrong lol) and kitted it up some time ago but just hadn't had a chance to start it.  Any excuse eh?  Anyway - here's my progress so far.  Anyone how knows me knows I love snowmen - as long as they are of the stitched variety of course!

For my third project I am doing "Blackberry Jam" by The Sweetheart Tree.  Again I bought this at Harrogate in 2009 and have taken it out a couple of times, looked at it and then put it back in the basket.  This time however, it stayed out and I love working on it.  Another one I can't wait to get back to - and it has the right mixture of cross stitch, speciality stitches and beading too.

My fourth project is "Royal Blossoms 2007" by Just Nan.  This one was a surprise gift from DJ a couple of months ago and I loved it the moment I saw it, and having now seen the finished article I can't wait to do more on this lovely piece.  As soon as I had decided to do the challenge this one was top of my list!

Well that's my progress so far - I am back at work as of today so the next few projects will be already started WIPs so that I don't have to mess around with getting everything together and sorted.  Time is limited in the evenings unfortunately :(  I'll post an update of those towards the weekend.

I am really enjoying this challenge so far - thanks for reading and for all the encouragement!


Ally xxx