Cross Stitch Ramblings


Lily of the Valley Fairy

Here's my first WIP of Lily of the Valley Fairy - who I'm going to call Lily for short. I have been working on her since Friday and have got quite a bit done - I am in a bit of a stitching frenzy at the moment - I'm enjoying stitching Lily and can't put her down. I changed the fabric in the kit for a piece of 32ct linen I had in my stash which I cut to the same size. I should have cut it bigger - at the moment I'm using a small hoop but won't be able to use a bigger one when the stitched area gets too big to fit inside the aperture. I don't want to squash stitches with the hoop - you can see from my picture of Taj Mahal on the last entry that I have had part of the stitched area squashed the hoop and I wish I hadn't done that - I don't like the way it looks at the moment although I don't doubt it will look ok once its finished, washed and pressed. I'll probably end up stitching Lily in the hand like I do with most projects as they come near the end.

Stitching Bloggers Question-
I'm being lazy about typing out the question .... it asked which was your biggest and smallest ever projects.

I'm too lazy to measure them! The biggest is a toss up between TW's The Castle, TW's Castle Sampler (these are about the same size), Maria Van Scharrenburg's 'Night' (aka Butterfly at Rest) - this may be a tad bigger than the TW's. Either that or Rainbow Ride, which is not very wide but is three times as long as any of the others. I'm going to plump for Rainbow Ride. The smallest would be a littly that I put in a Christmas card - probably the Christmas tree I gave to my Mum last year.


Taj Mahal / Questions

A big thank you to everyone who left kind comments on my recent three finishes. It really means a lot to me to be able to share my work with ladies who are as passionate about cross stitching as I am.

Taj Mahal has gone from being my lowest priority WIP - to my highest, because it is the only one left! I've worked on it for 5 consecutive days now - the most time I've ever devoted to it I think. I'm itching to start something new but have been very disciplined - I intend sticking with each project for 5 days before switching to the next one. I sorted all the threads from the Lily of the Valley Fairy kit - I will start on this tomorrow.

Stitching Bloggers Questions
I currently have only two spots on my walls where cross stitch hangs - one is currently occupied by TW's The Castle and the other by the Narcissus Fairy. I change whats on the wall every now and then when I fancy looking at something different.

I don't think I've ever washed anything part way through, although I would
if I spilt coffee all over it or the dog splodged it with her mucky paws.
Unless it was a very quick stitch and doesn't need washing, I wash and press once its finished. I'm slow at doing this - 3 finished works are still waiting to be washed.


Castle Sampler is finished!

Here it is, finished at last (click on the picture to see it a bit bigger). Of my recent finishes, this is the one I am most pleased with, as it has been a WIP for the longest. I started it late November last year but it feels like its been around for a lot longer than that as I had the unopened kit for about 10 years. This brings my finishes for 2005 to date to 6 which I'm quite happy with.

I will be replacing Castle Sampler in my rotation with Fantasy Triptych. From reading other stitcher's verdicts on the TW bulletin board it seems is a challenging design in view of the large amount of green, and I can't resist a challenge!


Castle Sampler/Misty

Here's the latest on Castle Sampler. I've done almost all the over-two stitching now, just over-ones and backstitch to go ... there's still quite a bit. It felt a bit weird coming back to this after so much beading on Celtic Christmas, felt strange putting thread in the fabric without putting a bead on it!

As promised, here are some photos of our new puppy, who we've named Misty. She is gorgeous! Everyone who meets her likes her, even my sceptical Dad. She really is our dog even after just a week, she settled in after just a couple of days. It is a bit strange having a new household member, a bit like having a baby, but she is a very welcome addition! We chose the breed(English Springer Spaniel) and gender(female!)very carefully, and are delighted to have her.

My stitching progress has been slower since we've had the dog, also because I have read a book in the past two days! The recent enthusiasm for Harry Potter with the latest release reinforced how woefully behind I am with my reading of the HP books. My children have joined a summer holiday reading challenge at the library so we've been visiting regularly, and I managed to get our The Chamber of Secrets .... can't wait to get onto the next one now! Its really bad but I forget to use the library at any time other than when the children are doing summer reading, very bad really since my daughter is an avid bookworm easily getting through two books a day.

At the weekend a new branch of Hobbycraft opened up in Romford, the town I work in. This will be very useful for the odd skein of thread etc. I need, I will be able to pop in pick up in my lunch hour, rather than having to drive to my local branch and pay to park, which can make one skein of thread very expensive! I won't be stocking up on loads of new stash because everything is full price and I am a bargain hunter, but it was really nice to browse through and see all the stock in good condition and neatly arranged, a nice lunch hour treat!


Celtic Christmas Happy Dance!

Here she is .... finished at last! I haven't got time for a proper entry today .... puppy pics to follow.


Celtic Christmas (and other stuff)

CC is so nearly there. I spent many hours beading over the weekend, I am very slow at beading, it takes about a minute a bead. All I have to do now is finish the beads in the top border, the 'floating' beads around the wreath, and patch up a few crosses that I discovered were wrong or have come undone along the way.

I've been acquiring new stash again! Firstly, all these kits from the Coats bargain basement. They weren't as bargain-y as my usual purchases but they were calling me so the credit card came out. The Flower Fairy is a Margaret Tarrant one - all of my others are Cecily Mary Baker but I do like the MT ones too. I will have to do something about her mouth though. I like the little pencil drawing ballerinas, I like ballerinas! But no-one else likes these very much so I'm not sure they will ever get stitched. An autumn tablecloth - this is not cross stitch, but takes me back to the first needlework I ever did as a child. Two Maouri women - I wasn't sure anyone would like these but DH does because they go with the theme of our living room. Finally, Morning Roses by Linda Ravenscroft, which sort of counts as a Flower Fairy.

I've also been buying charts from Heaven and Earth designs. Inspired by Carol a week or so ago, I had to buy Revelations, and unable to stop at one, a few days later I also bought Waiting for Neptune, which is the one I intend to start on first. It will probably take me several years to stitch this one so I am not allowed to buy any more. If you catch me, stop me!!

I've been planning what to stitch in my next rotation. Because I want more variety I am increasing to 6 WIPS - which will mean 5 new starts in a row. DH thinks I'm mad! Only two of the 5 were fully kitted up so I've had to buy yet more stash. My order from Sew and So, only placed on Sunday, includes a huge piece of Dublin for Waiting for Neptune and the White Wisper thread and beads required for Celtic Winter, and Sleeping Beauty, which will be my first Mirabilia.

Gina asked if I had ever entered any of my work in shows. How flattering! I don't really think my work is good enough for that, although I have to say Lady with Lilac Flower is one of my proudest accomplishments. She is largely single thread, I am always much more satisfied with single thread work as it can't get all twisted like two threads do. The work on Celtic Christmas in areas could be a lot better. I am really quite a novice stitcher - I did finish a few designs back in the early 90's before I had my kiddies, but I've only really been stitching in earnest for the past year-and-half. I am still learning, and Celtic Christmas has certainly been a learning experience!

Stitching Bloggers Question
Have you hand-dyed your own fabric? Why or why not? Would you like to
try to do so?
No, and I have yet to use hand dyed fabric. I hope to soon but at the moment have large quantities of plain fabric to be used. I would like to try hand dying some day but would need to have worked on 'expert-dyed' fabric first. I will give it a go some day.

We go and collect our little dog this afternoon. I'm so excited!


Lady with Lilac Flower Happy Dance!

Here she is finished at last!
Lady with Lilac Flower has truly been a white on white experience. With this project I have stitched in blocks for the first time which really helped me get along with it at a time when all I could see was a mass of confusing symbols and I was getting myself very lost. She needs washing and pressing which I'll do later today but I won't take her to the framers until my other 2 'nearly-theres' are ready to go as well. She doesn't look very happy to be finished does she?!

I'm replacing her in my rotation with DMC's Lily of the Valley Fairy. It is about time I stitched another Flower fairy, I have so many in my stash - and this one was a birthday pressie so I wanted to prioritise it. I also wanted to stitch something smaller as I will be starting several new projects at the same time but want them to be at varying stages and not all finishing at the same time as has happened this time around.


Lady with Lilac Flower

First of all I want to say a big thankyou to Carol and Gina for your comments on my last entry. I am always full of self-doubt about posting anything personal, (that entry nearly got deleted several times!) and your words of support really do mean a lot to me.

I've been working on Lady with Lilac Flower over the past few days and she's now very nearly finished. I've done all the backstitch so her face looks a little more defined now, not sure if I prefer it or not, all I have to do now is about 6 blocks of cross stitching right at the bottom. The design includes the designer's signature on the bottom left hand corner but I'm chosing to exclude this - none of my projects so far has had the designer's signature on it so neither will this one.
My blog is probably very boring. All I ever post is pictures of the same old four projects! For the next round of the rotation I am going to increase to 6 projects. I've never had more than 6 WIPs at a time, I would feel uncomfortable if I did.

We went and chose our future dog tonight. She's a gorgeous 10-week old English Springer Spaniel - we should collect her some time next week. We haven't decided on a name yet - all sorts of funny and weird names are being bandied about. I'll post pics of her when she arrives.


Whats in a name?

I'm beginning to regret having used an alias rather than my real name on this blog. I feel a bit silly being addressed as Julianna, it doesn't suit me at all. I don't think it would be very practical to change it, even if there was a way how, nobody would know who I am.

My real name is Gill, which is a shortened version of Gillian. Only my Mum calls me Gillian. I've always been reluctant to use my real name on the internet because of privacy hang-ups, but also because I didn't want anyone getting false impressions of who I am. For many years I have worked with US and Canadian clients in my job, and almost always, until they know better, they assume my name is Gil and that I am a bloke. Its quite amusing really, I am very much the wrong shape to be a man! Obviosuly the shortened version of my first name is not used in America, I'm not sure even my full name is particularly know, I've only ever noticed it in one American film (a Star Trek film .... the one where they travel back in time and rescue whales).

The name Juliana is an old fashioned name from which Gillian is derived. That's why I hit on it, I have used it as an internet alias on various sites, adding random numbers in various places. Some place or other Juliana was already taken so I added another n and from then stuck with the 2 n version. I also sometimes use Easysilence which is my ebay ID, I got that from a book that was sitting on the shelf above my desk when I registered to Ebay.

Other things about me .... I am 39. I'm slowly getting used to the fact of hitting the big 4-0 next February. I've never invisaged life beyond it. I'm still immature. I remember thinking that when I was 9 months pregnant with my son. I'm not grown-up enough for this yet!! My birthday is 12th February, and is always totally eclipsed by Valentines Day, therefore I don't like Valentines Day. I also don't like star signs, which is why my age and birthday are not published on my blog.

I have been married since I was 25 and have a son aged 10 and a daughter aged 9. My son has Asperger's syndrome (a mild form of autism). We currently have no interesting pets (we do have rabbits & goldfish) but will probably be getting a dog of our own very soon, having doggyproofed our house in preparation for looking after my in-laws little bichon frise this past week.

I live in a village that has a problem. There is a large community of people who have settled and built illegaly on greenbelt land and refuse to budge. No-one wants to live in my village.

It is now time for me to get showered and ready for work so I will stop rambling on!