Cross Stitch Ramblings



I've done lots of work on the Iris Fairy over the last week. Although I do keep going wrong and have to unpick and re-stitch. I had the same problem when I did the Narcissus Fairy - with that one I ended up unpicking so much the actual design finished up in a different place on the fabric to where it started - must be something about flower fairies. Here's a WIP pic...

I've done absolutely no work on African Dawn but here's a pic anyway....


The latest...

I haven't written anything here for a week or so....

Partly out of pure laziness.

Partly because in my last entry I 'promised' to post pictures in this one, but I'm too lazy to do that!

I must stop making promises for future entries...

One good thing .... I managed to get the digital camera to communicate with the pc again so this not only means I finally get around to putting all those cheapo kits I bought up for sale on ebay, but I can also post pics of of my larger creations on here, and prove that I have actually stitched them! One day.....

Good news! I was completely wrong about the framing man. I misunderstood him on the phone, thinking he wanted £130, in fact he only wanted £30. I was gobsmacked! This miniscule amount must have barely covered his materials, and he does such an excellent job. I insisted he take some extra money which is not at all like the old tightwad that I am. As soon as the dreaded elephant is finished I'll be back round to him with the next batch of framing for him to do, although I do sort-of feel I'm taking advantage. He seems so happy to do it though, and both he and his wife said such positive things about the clowns, which I freely admitted I wasn't too keen on. They said everyone who had visited them had admired it, which really gives me a buzz because not too many people see my cross stitch, I'm not one for showing it off to people and I don't have any friends who are as in to stitching as I am, so its really nice to receive some praise for it. The butterfly fairy looks beautiful and is now up on the wall in place of the elepants (the one I finished years ago). The clowns are also on the wall in the living room at the moment but they'll have to go somewhere else eventually as they don't go with the style of the room. It does look much better in the frame though.

I've done absolutely no work on 'African Dawn' - going to have to force myself to sooner or later just to get it done. I don't like the colour of some of the backstitch on the cover photo. Its done in a light colour around the elephant and really sticks out rather than subtly blending in. I'm half tempted to use a darker colour instead but am not sure as I've never deliberately changed a colour like that before.

I have, however, done loads of stitching. All on the Iris fairy. Although I have to say its not as far on as it should be. Yesterday I stitched and unpicked a whole stem TWICE as I'd managed to do it wrong both times. Sooooooo frustrating. But my new rule of thumb when it comes to frogging. Unpick straight away as soon as I realise and re-stitch correctly as fast as possible. Never, EVER, leave it with the mistake in place for unpicking later. Motivation will just die then.

Thats what I think anyway!



I started on the Iris Fairy. Oh I know, not so long ago I said it had to go to the bottom of the pile, but I changed my mind. I was fed up with the Elephant and it was there, just sitting there inviting me. So I started it. So I've changed my tune about what I'll stitch and in what order. I'll stitch whatever I like.

Except ...... I do need to get that Elephant finished as its for a gift...

Talking of flower fairies, if I really wanted to stitch them I should have gone back to Apple Blossom Fairies. But I'm erratic and impulsive and these things can't be helped! At the moment Iris Fairydoesn't look like anything, but come this time tomorrow it should look like something vaguely resembling humanoid so I'll re-introduce myself to the scanner and post a picture.

The framing man has finished my framing. £50 each plus £30 for the repair job. Ouch! I wasn't expecting it to be that much. But when you think about it, it takes a lot of care and patience and probably took him quite a bit of time. When you break it down its not a huge amount of money. But it does mean I can't afford to get anything else framed just yet. Just not enough pennies in the ole coffers. All the others are significantly smaller than the two that I took him, so they wouldn't cost as much. But then again, being smaller also means they would be easier to frame myself. One day I will get myself organised and have a serious go at it.

I visited Hobbycraft today, the only decent needlecraft supplier within my vicinity. They sell DMC threads at 45p a skein, which is really not too bad, but everything else is full price. And I really don't like buying anything unless I think I'm getting a bargain. So, despite having picked up various bits and pieces they all went back on the shelves and I went out empty handed. Aren't I good!!!



I'm on to the back stitch on African Dawn now. I went a bit wrong in the top three lines, but it is all hazy background so it doesn't make a slightest bit of difference. I have, therefore, declared it an original work of art, ie. it is not exactly the same as the pattern. In fact, I have made similar declarations for just about every cross stitch project I've ever tackled.

I'm not enjoying the back stitch one bit. It's one of those charts where the different backstitch colours are defined by different styles of lines, ie. one colour is ________, another is -------, another is .-.-.-.-.-.-.-, another is .......... and so on. I hate it. Its so difficult to work out the direction in which a dotted line goes, I'm going to have to dig out the packaging photo to work it out, which I resent, because I shouldn't have to do that. I've realised I prefer charts where the backstitch is all defined by a solid black line and what colour you should stitch it in is in the instructions. I know I moaned continuously about this system on 'Companions', but with that one it was so difficult to differentiate the backstitch lines from the gridlines on the actual chart. I'm learning to appreciate the value of a good quality chart. I pulled out the Iris fairy one and its really good, a nice large chart with clear symbols and clearly defined backstitch lines. The Apple Blossom Fairy one I currently have on the go is of the same quality, as were my previously finished DMC flower fairies, although the Narcissus fairy was from a magazine it was equally easy to follow. The worst one ever was the Pansy Fairy. This was a craft collection kit and all the cross stitch was in colours instead of symbols, a lot of which were painfully similar to each other. And the backstitch lines were in horrible different styles of line like African Dawn. I'm surprised I ever finished it! Most of the designs I've done have had good charts though, special mention goes to Lanarte's Maria Van Scharrenburg's 'Night' (usually referred to me as 'the butterfly fairy'). No problems whatsoever with that chart. And pre-sorted threads too. Fantastic!

Because I'm so fed up with African Dawn I've done a little bit of work on the Permin mini kit thats been on the go for a while. But I haven't sorted the threads, and I really need to, but I really can't be bothered. Lazy me.........

The framing man left a message on the answerphone this morning. He has finished! I wonder how much??? I plan to go and collect them on Tuesday and then I will find out. If they're not too expensive I'll take 'Companions' and 'Passion of the Dance' (The Ballerina) along to get framed also. Now all I've have to do is find some wall to put them all on!


New kit / African Dawn update

A new kit arrived today, the Iris Fairy, an ebay bargain. I was sorely tempted to rip it open and start straight away but I resisted because it must go to the bottom of the stash under the other 20 odd projects waiting in there.

African Dawn is nearly finished. I sat doing it all day Monday, surrounded by my messy house and piles of laundry, then all Tuesday evening. Yesterday I forced myself to get on with the chores, restricting myself to just one hour stitching a day until all the boring stuff is done. By the time the alloted hour arrived, 10pm, I was too tired to feel enthusiatic about it and couldn't wait for the hour to be over. I'm on the home straight with this one, the top 30 rows are mainly half stitch and I'm into the last 10, then its just the back stitch of which there isn't a huge amount.

I like my needle organiser! It will be especially useful when I come to doing designs with blended threads because I can just leave them threaded up rather than trying to store them on a card which never really works. I'm likely to want to use my new toy for every project now which is good in a way because I'm less likely to jump around to different ones - I'm not going to want to put take out all the needles & put the threads away - but then again what happens if I get truly bored with something? There's a chance I won't bother to stitch at all which with all these projects waiting to be done is not a good idea.

There was a new batch of magazines in WHSmith today. I wonder why they all come out at once, it would be more interesting for a new one to pop up every few days. Some nice Christmassy pictures appearing on the covers. Hmmmmmm, quite tempting.


Teresa Wentzler designs

I only discovered a couple of months ago that my castle was a TW design, a few days ago I found that my yet-to-be started Castle Sampler also is, and today I discovered that dear old 'Companions' is yet another one. Obviously I am attracted to TW's designs! It is strange though that the designer wasn't given any credit at all on those kits. They were all Janlynn kits bought through one of those Needlecraft clubs where you buy 4 or so things for rock bottom prices and commit to buying however many more over the next few months by joining the club. The clubs offered much better kits back then than they do nowadays.

I've done some rooting around on the discussion boards and found that the quarter stitches I was on about, that have left gaps in the design showing the fabric, should indeed have been done as whole stitches. I'm quite annoyed as it never said that in the instructions and my finished piece isn't quite as brilliant as it should be as a result. I guess I am just too trusting, I just assumed I had to follow the instructions to the letter. Now I know better, and will be a lot more wary when I eventually stitch the Castle Sampler.

Apparently 'Tradewinds' is not available as a kit. I have it as a kit. The cover says the threads are pre-sorted. I read a post where someone else had got a kit and the threads were not pre-sorted. They were just in there in hanks with no help given to identify which colours were which. The poster was going get a DMC thread card in order to identify them. I opened my kit. My threads are not pre-sorted either so I'm going to have to do the same. So much hard work! I have decided I am definitely going to do this project after all. I am also going to do Fantasy Triptych because I love it. But probably not the Story Teller because its mainly a dragon and I really don't like Dragons as much as I do castles.

So much stitching to do, so little time .......

Framing & Goodies

I finally plucked up courage to find out if my old framing man is still alive, and indeed he is. In fact, he doesn't look any different to he did 10 odd years ago when he framed my early work for me.

I took the Dragon and Castle in its damaged frame to be repaired, the Butterfly Fairy and the Clown. He was a bit doubtful as to whether he could get glass for the clown as its so long and thin, but he will try. I've no idea how much he's going to charge, but by the fact I got Winnie the Pooh projects framed by him before he can't have been that expensive.

I had a parcel arrive today - cross stitch goodies! A pack of various accessories someone was clearing out on ebay. It includes one of those white plastic paco needle organisers - the only thing in the set I actually wanted, although I will be using some of the other bits as well.

Also today my trusty credit card had an outing in the Coats Needlecrafts bargain basement. I came back with a Teresa Wentzler kit, 'Tradewinds' which has been telling me to buy it every time I go in there for at least the past couple of months, 'Moonlight bay' kit from the Craft Collection, 'Royal' kit by Orna Willis from Dimensions Gold Collection, 2 TW charts, 'Fantasy Triptych' and 'The Storyteller' and 'Northern Dignity' by Dimensions. The Jury's still out on whether I'm actually going to stitch any of this lot or sell it. Perhaps I'll put them up for a lot more than I paid for them and see what happens. if they don't sell, well, I was meant to have them!


Companions (edited)

Here it is, finished. Well, the middle of it anyway. I had to crop out a lot of the background to fit in on the scanner and its a bit blurry because I had to substantially reduce the file size. But you get the idea.....!

Elephant Update


Progress Update

I've finished the actual elephant itself and have now started on the background, of which there is a lot more than there is elephant! This kit is very easy compared to Companions. It won't matter too much if I go a bit wrong on the background but I'm trying not to. What I do need to do is masking tape the edges though because its fraying like mad and I keep cattching the frayed bits on the back of the material.

I had a new kit arrive today - the Canterberry Bell fairy large kit - an ebay bargain and a new one for the stash!


Companions is finished!

It is finished at last!

This is a big deal for me, as it had been 'on the go' for a good 10 years, and of all the projects I attempted to do in the intervening years that I wasn't really stitching, this would invariably be the one I picked up; and then put down after a little while as it was too difficult. Its also the last of those projects to be completed, everything I have now is recent.

One or two things I'm not happy about. I followed the chart precisely. All the fractionals are quarter stitches, three quarters are not used. In a lot of places there are two quarters in the opposite corners of two adjacent spaces, a back stitch going between them. This leaves a bit of fabric showing. These fractionals should have been done as three quarters. Also, the back stitching is done in an assortment of different colours. The instructions say to do them in the order listed and this I did. So, if you've got a patch of cross stitching in colour X and a patch in colour O next to it, I do the backstitch line in between them in colour P (for example), as this comes first in the instructions. But looking at the photo 'they' did it in the other colour, and this is what is most appropriate. Partly my fault I guess for interpreting everything literally and not being prepared to do things differently if I feel it is more appropriate. I've learned......

Still, it looks pretty good as it is!

Next project is to finish the elepant, the birthday this is for is on 30 September so need to get moving.......!