Cross Stitch Ramblings


Slow and Steady progress

There isn't much to say at the moment. 'Companions' is making slow and steady progress. It looks better with each bit I do as it takes on more definition. I'm still finding it very difficult but am trying hard not to abandon it in favour of something else until it is finished.


Fractional Thoughts

Back in my previous life as a cross stitcher, 10+ years ago, several of the projects I did involved bags of fractionals, the dragon & castle, the trio of cottages and the infamous "Companions" which I'm now trying to finish. These were all Janlynn kits and they made no mention of three-quarter stitches, all the fractionals were worked as quarters only with the other side of the cross, as such, almost always being completed by a back stitch.
Its only recently I've given three-quarter stitches a go, with the Apple Blossom Fairies, but I do have my doubts about whether they are stictly necessary. "Companions" is looking great as I'm coming along with the backstitch, if I'd worked these stitches as 3-quarters they would be too bulky. With the Fairies, because of the way the fractional stitches lie some of the top stitches are lying in the opposite direction of all the others, and I don't like it! I'm sure it won't notice too much once its finished but I'm particular and will definitely give serious thoughts as to whether I'm going to use them on future projects.
"Companions" is coming along slowly but surely. The fetlocks on the horse looked as if they were going to be easy but they were horrendous! For every correct stitch I finished I'd previously pulled out a wrong one. I moaned and moaned but now thankfully they are finished and I'm on to an easier bit. But there's still quite a way to go.......



I finally found a lead to connect the scanner to the pc today so I have uploaded photos!

I can see them alright but am aware that this doesn't necessarily mean anyone else can. If anyone is reading this I'd appreciate if you'd let me know one way or the other.

Other pics, of completed projects, WIPs, and projects not yet started in my Project List

Still on a Christmas Theme.....

I finished another Christmas mini kit today - a Christmas tree. Not bad.....

After that I bit the bullet and picked up 'Companions' again. Its sooooooo hard!! I have to follow each and every back stitch on the chart. Still I'm being patient about it and it hasn't got the better of me so far. The instructions say to do the back stitching in the order listed. It uses about 20 different colours and I'm now on the 4th! Tonight I finished a couple of little bits of green then did the basket on the horse's back and then the horse's mane. Its been another day of doing very little besides cross stitch so tomorrow I will have to catch up on the boring stuff, so maybe not quite so much stitching : (


Christmas Post Finished

Another one bites the dust. This one is quite cute, which isn't my usual style, but I made an exception for it because its little and Christmassy.

I haven't done much else today apart from cross stitch which means that, although they are only little, mini kits still absorb quite a lot of time. I must try to remember that next time I am tempted to buy another kit just because its cheap.

Sewing Machine Finished

The little sewing machine is finished. I think I completed this one even quicker than the Christmas Fireplace. An unusual subject for cross stitch I think! The intention is to put it in a card for my Mum for her birthday. I want to knock out the mini kits so I'm going to move on to one of the Christmas ones next.

Stitches & Samplers

I said in my last post that I want to learn how to do stem stitch & chain stitch. I explained why with the chain stitch but not stem stitch.

The main reason is simply because I can't remember how to do it, and I don't like not knowing. That is the reason I chose to do Apple Blossom Fairies above all of the other projects on the list, because it involves french knots and I have not mastered them. Its a challenge!

The other reason I want to do stem stitch is because of the Teddies picture. I have a book I bought years ago called Glorious Cross Stitch which features various designs including one which features several teddies sitting up against each other. Its not my usual type of project but I've always liked it. I believe once upon a time I may have even bought all the threads for it, but if I did they are now all incorporated into my boxes with all the other threads. The teddies is not currently on my project list but I may do it eventually. It features stem stitch instead of back stitch. I had though I would just do the outlining as back stitch but now I feel like doing it properly.

Although there are a lot of other lovely designs in the book there isn't anything I feel like doing. It features a lot of samplers, and I'm not sure I really like samplers. I'm a bit of a stickler for accuracy, and techncially a sampler is a piece where a young embroidress demonstrated all the different stitches she could do, often featuring alphabets and numbers. Very often these days samplers are collections of related objects. The book includes a teapot one and a fish one. They are nice but they don't inspire me. I don't feel much inclination do stitch samplers although having said that there is one on my project list - the castle sampler. But this one is special. Its a very ccomplicated design with blended colours and fractionals and is all in muted tones. Its basically a castle with a sampler border, featuring the aplhabet and numbers I think. The real appeal of it for me is the actual castle. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into it.


Fairy Progress

I've been working exclusively on the flower fairies over the past few days. I've done quite a bit of it now, all of the smaller fairy plus all the flowers in the central part of the design, except the flower centres which are french knots. I'm now on to the left wing of the main fairy. My daughter's friend is staying over tonight and earlier spotted me stitching, and said she really likes it, which is encouraging! Although I have to say she is a very nice polite little girl who had admired every cross stitch project of mine that she's seen.

I will finish the main fairy and the other bits of the middle of the design, the tree branch and a leaf, then do all the white half stitches which make up the background, then all the flowers and leaves around the edges, then the border, then the back-stitch, and lastly the french knots. I feel french knots are more likely to get damaged by being squashed in the hoop so I'm leaving them until last.

I'll probably have to pick up the Elephants again before I finish this one as its for a birthday present and needs to be done by 30th September.

I bought a cross stitch magazine this week then afterwards wished I hadn't bothered. What attracted me was the free book that came with it - 501 tips for cross stitchers or something like that. It doesn't tell me anything I don't know already. What I really want is a proper embroidery book because I can't remember how to do stem stitch or chain stitch. I made a name badge to go on my daughter's sleeping bag a couple of weeks ago and really wanted to embroider her name in chain stitch, but ended up doing it in back stitch. The much cheaper option of course will be to get my Mum to show me how to do these stitches because I know for sure she knows!


Christmas Time

Today I started and finished a project in the same day. Just to prove it can be done!

It was a little Fireplace at Christmas picture, I quite like it. I guess I'll put it in a card. The project list is down to 22 now!

Other than that the only project I've been working on for the past week or so is the Apple Blossom Fairies, quite intensively although it doesn't really show. Progress is slow. This morning I spent probably close to 4 hours on it and only completed one leaf. Oh well! I showed it to my husband the other day and he said it looks like a little fat thing. Such encouragement!


Flitting Around

I threw away the little Piglet kit. I had serious intentions of getting on and finishing it but met with some stumbling blocks. It looked like I'd made some major mistakes with the stitching I'd done so far, plus I hadn't taken any care of the threads and one of them was missing. I sat and stared at it for a long time. I don't like to be defeated. But I finally decided I didn't like it anyway. Its just Piglet's head and shoulders, I do like Piglet but I like it to be the whole character, body and all, I feel that way over any character I stitch. Plus, its unnecessarily complicated. Don't get me wrong, I love doing complicated designs, the more intricate and detailed the better, but thats for big, striking projects, not for Disney characters. So Piglet went in the bin.

I replaced him with the little sewing machine kit I bought a while back for about £1. I've done all the black stitching so far & it looks like a sewing machine already! The intention is to put it in a card for my Mum for my birthday.

Other than that, I've been flitting around several different projects. 'Companions' (Father Christmas and his horse) has been like a nemesis for me. Its the only 'on the go' project thats been hanging around for years. The back stitch is so difficult! And the longer I leave it, the harder it is to pick it up again. I realised that working on it regularly, even if not exclusively, makes it easier. I did all the backstitch on one tree today. Its going to look great! When I have finished this one I will, I promise, take all my finished projects to be framed.

Other ones I've done bits of are the permin horse, very boring, the elephant, which is progressing nicely, and a tiny bit of the not abandoned Apple Blossom Fairies. I've also wound and sorted my remaining full skeins of thread onto bobbins. Next I have to sort out 'the box' full of magazines, bits of fabric, finished projects and all sorts. But for now, a little more stitching is in order......



The elephant has two legs, a trunk, part of the face and two eyes. It does actually look like an elephant already which is encouraging. Its on aida but the entire background is stitched so there won't be any fabric showing through. The elephant itself probably won't take me too long but I may get bored with the background.

I'm itching to start on that castle sampler again.....



The town I work in has a large shopping centre which I wander around in my lunch hour but the needlework supplies on offer are very limited. The only shop which sells any emdbroidery/cross stitch materials only does anchor, and since I'm mainly interested in DMC designs I don't feel very inspired by this shop. They've had a sale for quite a while and I have felt a little tempted but there hasn't been anything that I've wanted to do enough.

But today I discovered a wealth of bargains! The same old kits were on the sale racks but they also had a lot more at drastically reduced prices. These are good quality anchor/Dimensions kits with RRPs of £20odd up to £40odd all down to either £2, £5 or £10. I couldn't resist. I bought 10 kits!!

The intention from the start was to put the majority of them up for sale on ebay. I like selling things that I know about. When I got them home my husband was as equally excited by my bargains as I was and positively encouraged me to keep any which I'd like to do. I've decided on three.

One is 'A Rush of thunder' by Carolyn Mock, a Dimension kit. This is six horse heads in motion and is the kind of striking design I like. Its mainly stitched in half cross stitch and measures 18"x17". This is going to be a project and a half!

The second is 'African Dawn' from Anchor Premier Collection. I'm going to stitch it for Mark for his birthday. Mark loves elephants and is one of the few friends I feel would actually appreciate the a framed cross stitch. His birthday is in September so not long Its not huge - 7x7" so shouldn't take me tooooo long. I've started it already, encouraged by the fact it has pre-sorted threads. Lazy me! But I haven't abandoned Apple Blossom fairies. Maybe I'll just alternate between them.

The 3rd is my favourite and the only one which cost me £10. its the Grand Sage from the Gold Collection. Its not a counted cross stitch, its needlepoint done on a printed canvas, using cotton though, not wool. I have done one like this once before, years ago when I was still living with my parents. It was of a cottage, my Mum had it on her wall for years. Not sure if its still there, I don't like it much. But this one I love! It has some amazing colours, I love designs that are brightly coloured without being gaudy. It also uses metallic thread and beads and charms which I haven't used before so should be fun! The instruction sheet says I need one of those roller frames which I don't have, but I do have a square frame with sort of drainpipe fittings. I don't like using this frame for cross stitch because when I used it on the Butterfly fairy it damaged the fabric but it was a very soft evenweave. This is quite a stiff canvas so the frame should be fine for it. I know its a departure from cross stitch but I don't want to limit myself to just one type of design. Should be fun!


Flower Fairies

I had a magazine arrive today that I bought via ebay with another flower fairy chart - the Fushia Fairy. So thats another one t add to the project list.

To be honest, there are far too many flower fairies on the project list. I'm fairly obsessed with them right now but theres a good chance I'll get bored with them eventually and not end up doing half of them. Which means its probably just as well that most of them are just charts for which I have not (yet) gone out and bought all the materials. I scour ebay for flower fairies almost every day. My mission is to get hold of one of the smaller kits, which usually retail at about £6.99, for £4 or less including P&P. I don't need any more kits, but its a challenge. At the moment I'm winning a heliotrope fairy for £1. I fully expect to get outbid within the next day or so. Such is life!

Today I found another framed finished project that I finished in my previous cross stitching life - before I had the children. It was lurking at the back of the desk, it is Winnie the Pooh and friends waiting at a train station. I'd forgotten all about that one. Can't remember if it ever hung on the wall. The glass is broken so it needs to go back to the framing man along with the Dragon & Castle and one of the cottage trilogy which also got damaged/broken.

I have done absolutely no stitching today, which is very unusual because today is a non work day. But I did do an awful lot of those chores, housework etc. which normally get seriously neglected in favour of my stitching. So next time I spend a whole evening stitching I can do it with a clearer conscience.

The Apple Blossom Fairies is looking a bit odd now. I've finished the small fairy and have done the clump of flowers underneath her, but they don't look much without the back stitch and french knots. I'm leaving the french knots until I've finished all the crosses, because I feel they're more likely to suffer from being squashed in the hoop when I have to move the design around than crosses. This is of course assuming I actually manage to master them! Maybe I should do some practising.........


Project List

Completed awaiting frame
Pooh sticks
Tulip Fairy
Narcissus Fairy
Butterfly Fairy Night
Passion of Dance

Victorian toilet
Permin sunset
Permin blue

Working On
1 Father Christmas Back stitch
2 Apple Blossom Fairies Significantly started
3 Permin Gold Started
4 Piglet Started

Mini kits
5 Winnie the Pooh
6 Teddy in Bath
7 Poppy
8 Permin Blue
9 Christmas 1
10 Christmas 2
11 Sewing Machine

12 The Snowman
13 Georgian lady
14 Daisy Fairy
15 Taj Mahal

16 Castle Sampler
17 Winnie the Pooh numbers
18 Jungle book
19 Rose Fairy
20 Mountain Ash Fairy

Magazine/Separate Charts I Would Like To Do
21 Black medick fairies
22 Hawthorn fairy
23 Hyacinth fairies
24 Spindle Berry Fairy
25 Wood-Sorrel Fairy
26 Lilac Fairy
27 Phlox Fairy
28 Wild cherry fairy
29 Guelder Rose Fairy
30 Cornflower Fairy
31 Medieval lady
32 Ballerina

Kits to sell
Winnie the Pooh alphabet
Cat night scene
Baby announcement

Charts to sell
Cowslip Fairy
2 other fairy charts

Wish List
Celtic Christmas
Japanese Maiden
Heliotrope Fairy
Lily of the Valley Fairy
Iris Fairy
Sweet Pea Fairies
Canterbury bell Fairy
Girl with lilac flower - Lanarte
Day - Maria Van Scharrenburg
Celtic Autumn
Celtic Spring
Celtic Summer
Lavender Fairy