Cross Stitch Ramblings


Castle Sampler/Taj Mahal

Here are this week's progress pics. I've not stitched as much as I would have like as we have this little houseguest....

I'm usually quite untidy with my stitching stuff (my daughter, reading this as I type, just exclaimed "no you're not!") but having a little dog around I have to be careful to put it all away after every session, and sometimes can't be bothered to get it all out again. Still I managed to complete the top side of the border on Castle Sampler eventually, it was quite gruelling, and six blocks on Taj Mahal, so all my goals for July are completed.

Goals for August ..... Lady with Lilac Flower, Celtic Christmas and Castle Sampler are all close to completion so I intend having no less than THREE happy dances! I will keep plugging away on Taj Mahal as well, my goal is six more blocks on that.


Stitching Bloggers Question

What is your most unique/interesting stitching quirk? (This could be
something concerning the way you stitch, how you organize your stash,

Its not unique or interesting, but my quirk is the need to stitch in clear patches, I have to finish the patch I'm working on before moving onto the next one. This was most noticable with Passion of the Dance, and my current Celtic Christmas, where the skirts had to be finished in their entirety before moving onto the upper body and head ..... they both looked like big blobs of nothing before anything vaguely human looking eventually emerged.


Castle Sampler update

Here's the latest update. I did a lot of work on it towards the end of last week and on Saturday but have slackened off over the past couple of days. Partly because none of the household chores were getting done, partly because I'm currently on the backstitch in the main part of the border, which is painfully boring!. It looks nearly finished, but I still have to do all the twiddly over-one bits between the letter blocks, the letters, the moon block (bottom right hand corner), the numbers, and background to the numbers, and the twiddly over-one bits all around the numbers, and finish off the date and initial blocks. So there's still a way to go.....


Stitching Bloggers Question

Have you ever done a color conversion? If so, what did you think about
your results and would you do it again? If not, would you like to try

No, probably not. If I am drawn to a design, then liking the colours that the designer chose is part of the reason. I lack the confidence to change colours, I'd be too fearful of it looking dreadful after many hours work. I would maybe consider using tried and tested conversions done by other people though.

This is my 100th blog entry. Congratulations me!!


Celtic Christmas/Castle Sampler

I'm not doing too well with one of my July goals - I'm slacking again with the blog updates! It seems I am more of a stitcher than a blogger......

Here are two WIPs of Celtic Christmas, taken in very different light! The first was taken before I unpicked and re-worked the face, the second afterwards. I found the long lines of the border quite monotonous, but the symmetrical patterns were relaxing as I learned them and didn't need to use the chart. I don't like metallic thread though, I really don't like it! As for the face, I don't think the stitching of the re-worked face is any neater than it was to start with, but the colour shade is a little better. Perhaps I used the wrong colour for the middle shade the first time round. I had intended to work the face over-one, but that didn't work out. Either the fabric had become distorted as a result of already having been worked in twice, or because its linen it isn't totally even anyway, the over one stitches didn't look good, so they came out. The face isn't perfect now but I don't think I can improve on it so I'm going to leave be. All I have to do on CC now is the beads.

Every time I pick up the Castle Sampler I remember how much I love it. Its not striking in the way that CC is .... it doesn't have the immediate impact but its charm is in its subtlety. I'm going to keep working on this and get as far as I can until Thursday of next week then do a few days on Taj Mahal to finish the month up.

My monthly evenweave stash from Tandem Cottage arrived at the weekend. The sand coloured fabric will be useful for a future TW, but I don't think I can use the rather icky green and yellow fabrics. I'm cancelling this club from now on because, although I like receiving the monthly packages, I've now got far more fabric than I need and some of my future projects, especially the Passione Ricamo ones, call for hand dyed fabric so I will need to venture in to that so far unexplored area.

Question of the Week.

What do you do when you have some sort of obligation stitching to do,
but don't want to do it?

Eeek! Obligation stitching! Run away! Hide!!!
When I was obligation stitching African Dawn last year, I moaned, I whinged, I complained, I grumbled. I eventually finished it a month after it was due and vowed never to obligation stitch again. With Numbers in January I behaved much better, plugging away at it until it was done. I hadn't actually committed to giving it as a gift beforehand which I think helped. Lately I have become a lot more disciplined with my stitching, I would probably work an obligation into my rotation and doggedly work away at it, but I will still avoid it like the plague unless absolutely necessary. Stitching is meant to be fun!


Celtic Christmas

CC is coming along much better now, I'm not making so many mistakes. DH is making all the right approving noises, he says he loves the way the gold thread glints in the sun.


Back to the Mundane

Thanks for the comments on Lady with Lilac Flower. There is still a chunk to do at the bottom on the left hand side, but I'm on the home strait now. She's been put back in the drawer for another round of the rotation now because my eyesight needs a rest from the white on white.

I'm back on Celtic Christmas. I removed the candle tips and replaced them with 2 strands of PB01. They're better than they were, but still not good enough. Where I have used metallic thread in the top border I have used just one strand of PB01 and it lies much better, so the candle tips are going to come out again and be replaced with just one strand. Third time lucky I hope. I also removed the 'floating' beads around the candle wreath because I didn't like the way the invisible thread pulled on the fabric. I'm going to leave the beading 'til the end now, probably with a thread matching the fabric. As for the top border, I am having a nightmare with it. I KEEP doing it wrong. I don't know what's the matter with me! This piece really is proving to be my nemesis. I do eventually intend stitching all of the Celtic ladies so maybe I should regard this one as a test, a practice piece for all the others. But it is my favourite, so I really do want it to look good.

Stitching Bloggers Question
Q. Do you think that you stitch neater on Evenweave than you do on Aida
cloth? If so, why?

I haven't found that the type of fabric makes any difference to the neatness (or otherwise) of my work.

Stash Aquisition

I've been going a bit mad again. Passione Ricamo's Autumn Fairy Spirit (my favourite, this one is gorgeous!) and Summer Fairy Spirit, TW's Peacock Tapestry (have heard this is the most challenging TW - therefore irresistable to me!), the Myth and Magic book (can't find an online pic of this) featuring fanstasy designs from various designers, I'd been after this one for a while, and found it on the bargain table at my local bookshop half price!, Mirabilia's Midsummer Nights Fairy ....... there maybe more that I've forgotten about.

In Other News
Yesterday I baked cookies. Now doesn't that sound homely! They were for my children's school fete which is tomorrow, but this morning my son said he wanted to eat them so the children took shop bought fruit pies instead.

At the fete I will be facepainting, which is my other crafty/arty type hobby. Much like I am with cross stitching, I am completely non-creative, I just copy other people's designs, but I love the intricate, complicated designs best. When I was at school I used to hate art lessons because I hated paint. I hated the way it smelt and dried my skin. But I love face paint, it really is make-up rather than paint. I love the smell of it. Tomorrow afternoon I will end up covered in it but I won't care - I really enjoy it. And I like sorting out my kit afterwards after it has got all messed up - cleaning my paints and washing my sponges and brushes to get it all back in tip-top condition. Its a bit weird because I'm really not meticulously clean when it comes to other things in life, but with my facepaints they have to be perfect.



I was going to post an entry yesterday all full of joy and delight at London having won the Olympics. It was almost unbelievable for something so positive to happen to us. I live in Essex, about 30 minutes train ride from the east end of London. I will actually be able to go and see the games. Amazing.

Then this morning do we have to be brought down to earth with a bump. What are these evil twisted people trying to achieve? I am an optimistic person, I always seek positive things out of bad situations. But there is nothing positive about terrorism, indescriminate murder. My husband was at work in central London and was unable to leave his building all day. He was scared. He's home now, and safe. Our thoughts go out to those who weren't so lucky as him.

I never intended this to be a rant blog. I've said my piece now.


Happy July 4th!

Happy Indepedence Day to all our US friends. Today is also my Mum & Dad's anniversary so something I can never forget!
I didn't do any stitching on Friday because we went to an evening wedding reception (hubby's cousin) but made up for it on Saturday when I stitched my way through the entire Live8 concert. My favourite acts were Keane, who I can listen to over and over again without getting bored, Dido, who comes across as a down to earth, lovely person, and Robbie Williams, who is always entertaining. I did a lot of stitching yesterday as well and this is the result. If you look at the bottom of the picture you can see where it has grown from the last one, although I do appreciate this is not the most exciting part of the design. I'm going to stitch another 10 rows and then move onto Celtic Christmas.

We've just booked a holiday at Glasnacardoch Lodge in Scotland for the October half term with Mum & Dad and my two brothers, with my eldest brother's family. I'm so excited! I've seen very little of Scotland. The holiday is to celebrate my dad's birthday - he is 70 this year. Our earlier holiday this year in Lanzarote was supposed to be the birthday celebration, but my Dad was ill and couldn't fly, so we had to go without him, which kind of defeated the object of it being to celebrate his birthday!