Cross Stitch Ramblings


Lily of the Valley fairy

Yesterday was the last of my September 5 day stint on Lily of the Valley Fairy. I had hoped to get all of the green on the right hand side done but there was just too much of it! I am quite pleased with myself though for continuing with the green bit rather than drifting over to the actual fairy - I'll save her for next month.
Stitching Bloggers Question
Have you ever just quit a project while in the midst of it? (We're not
referring to UFOs here, rather projects that you know that you'll
never work on again.) Why? What did you do with it - throw it out,
give it away, put it away?

I've written about this one before - Tutankhamun's mask. I was initially drawn to it because of the vibrant colours and did stitch quite a lot. But it involves metallic threads which I got all tangled up - and the other thread is all muddled up. At some stage it has had coffee spilled all over it. The main reason for its abandonment is I came to the realisation that, despite the vibrant colours, it is in fact a death mask, and I don't want a death mask hanging on my wall. It is languishing at the bottom of a box underneath a jumble of thread, fabric, old patterns and whatnot. I can't bring myself to throw it out but it's never going to get finished.
Its fairly early in the day but knowing me I won't write again for a few days so I'm going to do the goals thing now.
My September goals were to complete 5 days stitching on each of the 6 WIPs you can see in my sidebar. Due to other commitments I did have a few non-stitching days and Celtic Winter and Fantasy Triptych were very little stitched as a result. I did however manage all of my new starts. Some of the 5 day stints drifted into the 6th day because I wanted to finish the little bit I was on.
October goals are similar - there will be one extra day which is allocated to Taj Mahal. October is going to be a busy month - my son is in his last year at junior school and we are going through the process of selecting his next school. Its not a simple task! There will be lots of open evenings to be attended. October also includes 4 major birthdays (Mum, Dad, Son and good friend), plus we go away to Scotland for the last week so progress isn't going to be enormous.

Today Sleeping Beauty comes back out of the drawer. Must go stitch .....!


Taj Mahal WIP

This is 'Taj Mahal' as it currently is - I've got to the top now, I'm about half way through. I'm liking this project a bit more now, because it actually looks like something, as opposed to most of my current works which just look like little blobs of stitches.

Stitching Bloggers Question

What is the most challenging specialty stitch you have ever stitched?
French knots.I had a mental block with them - I read how to do them over and over again in magazines but just could not understand how they were done. In the end I deliberately chose to stitch a project that involved hundreds of them - Apple Blossom Fairies - and got over the obstacle. I'm still not great at them - but at least I'm not scared of them any more.


Long overdue update

I apologise for my long absence - there have been various things going on which I won't go into here (not worrying, just time consuming!) - but they have seriously cut into my stitching and blogging time.

I have managed to make all the new starts I had intended to do although they all just look like little blobs of stitches at the moment. These are, in order, WIPs of Sleeping Beauty, Celtic Winter and Fantasy Triptych. I have also made a start on the HAED Waiting for Neptune but can't post a pic of that just yet as its on scroll bars tucked away in a cupboard in the bedroom where DH is currently sleeping ..... I'll post a pic asap.

Sleeping Beauty I am really enjoying. I love the fresh colours. My stitching is a bit directionless at the moment - I usually like to stitch either in clear patches of the design or in 10 stitches square blocks - but I am being led all over the place at the moment with this one - not really sure which bit to stitch next - I have not totally got 'into' this one yet but I'm sure I will in the next round of the rotation.
Celtic Winter I've only done a tiny bit of - 5 blocks. I'm not enjoying it all that much - I have an aversion to grey. I sort of wish I'd started on Celtic Spring instead but I do eventually want to stitch all the L&L Celtic Ladies so I may as well stick with this one now.
Fantasy Triptych. The above is really only one days work. FT has got to be the most complicated cross stitch pattern I've ever tackled. It is virtually all blends, and involves plenty of the usual TW fractionals & backstitch as well as various other speciality stitches, plus metallics and beads to boot. I am loving it! The chart is on a big scale and is lovely and clear. I'm currently short 5 DMC skeins which are very prevalent in the castle wall, which is what the above pic is a bit of - so I need to get them in time for the next rotation round.
I'm currently back on Taj Mahal - will post a WIP in a day or so.
Stitching Bloggers Questions
Do you stitch for events like weddings, engagements, or other things
that might not last? If you have been unlucky and the two people broke
up, what happened to your stitched gift?

Nope. I'm very unlikely to ever do anything like that for the very reasons described!

Which way do you stitch (/// and then \\\ or \\\ and then ///)? Can
you (or if you haven't done it before, do you think you could) change
the way that you stitch temporarily if it is asked of you?

Always the first way. For the second of my early cottage trio, I stitched the other way round, just to make a change! I could do it, but there's always the fear that I'd lose concentration and revert to the way I usually stitch without thinking, and end up having to do mucho frogging. So its best to stick with the way that works naturally for me.


Lily of the Valley Fairy

Here's an update of Lily as of last Tuesday - hopefully with a bit of backstitch the flowers look more recognisable. I decided to so the backstitch as I go along because with flower fairies it is always an important part of the picture - plus it saves having to do it all at the end.
I'm now working on Mirabilia's Sleeping Beauty - I won't post a picture just yet as it only looks like a little blob of nothing - having said that its going to look like nothing for quite some time yet! I had a bit of a shock when I got the chart out ... its huge! I was assuming its size would be along the lines of the L&L Celtic Ladies but it is much bigger. Still, I have never been intimidated by the size of a project, but it will take quite a bit longer to do than I'd figured.
I achieved all my goals for August with several days to spare .... if only I was as efficient at achieving my household chores goals as I am with my stitching goals!
Goals for September are not going to be too ambitious as I have another 3 new starts to go and I don't know how easy or difficult I'm going to find them yet. September has 30 days and my new rotation has 6 projects - so I am going to spend 5 days on each of them, being.....
Sleeping Beauty
L&L's Celtic Winter (SAL with several other blogging stitchers)
HAED's Waiting for Neptune
TW's Fantasy Triptych
Taj Mahal
Lily of the Valley Fairy

Stitching Bloggers Question
What do you use to hold your fabric while you stitch? A hoop, a
Q-Snap, a scroll frame, something else, or do you stitch in hand? Have
you always used just the one thing or have you tried one or more of
the others? Which do you like best? Why?

This is highly appropriate considering I was going on about hoops in my last entry! For the most part, I use a hoop; the biggest I can get the fabric in. I use the hoop until the stitched area grows too big to fit inside the aperture then I stitch in the hand. I have been known to squash the stitched area in the hoop but I hate doing this.
I do own a set of Q-snaps. I tossed them aside in disgust last year when I was stitching Maria Van Scharrenburg's 'Night'. They kept slipping and the fabric was too loose to stitch - I kept yanking the holder thingies back in place and eventually caused a long line of extra large holes in the fabric, which I was not happy about. But lots of other people seem to like them. I have reintroduced them again now and Sleeping Beauty is currently mounted up on them. So far, so good, the fabric has remainded taut. Maybe the linen with 'Night' was extra slippy? Who knows. I have also recently aquired 2 sets of scroll bars which will be brought into use with two of the planned new starts.
As for the hoops? I have bought interlocking bar frames for the smaller projects (much cheaper than Q-snaps and I could get them in a shop - there is always a reluctance in me to buy stuff online unless I have to), so we'll see how I get on with these......