A slight obsession with books

Crafts, cats and books


Flower Sampler book – a new start

This is the new start that I mentioned a few weeks ago. It’s a kit that I bought at Sewing for Pleasure last year and have been putting off starting, partly because it was so expensive and partly because it’s full of special stitches and techniques. Having now done a fair bit on The Great Escape, the Papillon SAL and also the Hardanger SAL, I feel slightly more qualified to tackle it. Slightly.

FSBstash01I was very taken by the stitched example at the show and just had to buy the kit. It’s absolutely gorgeous with lots of pages using all the techniques you can see listed on the picture. There are two colours of linen provided, plus some satiny fabric and plenty of gold needles.

FSBstash03The colours of the threads are mouth-watering and there’s even some hand-painted silk. There are also bugle beads and charms, plus of course some perle thread for the Hardanger. I love that the threads come ready sorted on the cards.

FSBstash02There are pages and pages of diagrams and instructions which look pretty comprehensive. I’m fairly confident about some of the techniques and I’m really looking forward to learning the new ones. I think this will probably last me for the rest of the year but each page will be like a mini finish.

If you want to see what the  pages inside will be like, you can see them at the Cross Stitch Guild. Click on the image to show the rest of the photos. There are a few other things on their website that I have my eye on, including The Fleur Etui. Maybe I’ll do that one when I’ve finished this.

I’m stitching on Around the World in 80 days at the moment but will be starting my Flower Book Sampler on Monday hopefully.



Outrageous Owls – March update

The final two owls have been stitched! I’ve named them Sleepy and Bashful.

OAMar01I loved stitching Sleepy with his autumn colours. His was a very easy pattern to do. Bashful  however, was rather fiddly. There are three shades of purple and three shades of jade in him so he took a bit longer to do than the others. I do like  him now that he’s done though.

I’ve really enjoyed stitching these owls. Each individual owl felt like a finish so it was very exciting to complete each one. I love how cute they are and I love the colours in it. A huge thank you to Tree for letting me have the chart and threads to do it.

This is the finished piece.

OAMar02I think I like Cranberry owl the best, followed by Sleepy, but they’re all lovely. There’s just something about owls.

Finishing this leaves a gap in my rotation for the second week of the month. Never fear,  I already have something slotted into my project bag and it’s all ready to go.

FSBstash01Isn’t it beautiful! I can’t wait to get cracking on it.


So, about that rotation

It appears that I need to make a small alteration to it already. Just a tiny one, you understand. Nothing major. I just need to squeeze another project in. Yes, I know the month is already full up, with four projects on the go, but I’ve sort of signed up to another Stitch-A-Long.

I tried not to. I knew it was coming up and I had talked myself out of it, even though it was one that I quite wanted to do. I said to myself, there’s just no room in that rotation. I was firm, you see. I put my foot down. Then my friends on the Cross Stitch Forum started stitching it on Jan 1st and posting their finished pieces or their stash pics, if they hadn’t started yet. And there was all this discussion of how lovely it was to stitch, and it all looked so tempting.

Of course, I could have stayed out of that particular thread, but you know me. I had to look, and once I did I got more and more interested, and more and more convinced that I’d made a mistake by not signing up to do it. I lasted all of two weeks and then I cracked.

It’s a Hardanger SAL, with twelve parts. Everyone has stitched the first one up very quickly so I’m hoping I can just sort of sneak it into the rotation without the other projects noticing the interloper. The SAL is called A Song of the Weather and is at Mabel’s Fancies. It’s only £3 for the whole thing. An excellent price considering the quality of the instructions. I now have my first month printed off and my stash arrived from Sew and So this morning. I could have gone bonkers buying lots of speciality threads for it but in the interests of not bankrupting myself, I’ve stuck to just the basics and am doing all the months the same colours. I think it’ll look lovely and then I can always get more of Mabel’s lovely Hardanger patterns once I’ve got the hang of it and then I’ll have an excuse to get some more exotic threads to play with.

This is what I’m going to be using for the SAL

StashThere’s one ball of Perle to come in the lighter Antique Violet. It was out of stock but will be sent on. The stranded DMC is out of my existing stash and I have some beads that I think will do. The fabric is the recommended 25ct Lugana in Antique white.

Wonder if I can resist starting this before the other ball of Perle comes…


Around the World in 80 days – Jan update

I’ve started a rotation for my cross stitching this year in the hopes that some of my older projects will get a bit of attention, and that I’ll keep up with the Papillon SAL a bit better than I did last year. The plan is to divide the month into four weeks with each week having a different project allocated to it. The odd couple of days left over are for wiggle room. Week one is currently for Around the World in 80 days. I did give it an extra two days as I lost four stitching days to a rather vile migraine last week. I haven’t made as much progress on this as I’d hoped but it’s had its rotation time and I’m moving on to the next project now. I think my eyes want a rest from the 32 count fabric to be honest. A week at a time is probably as much as they can handle, even with a magnifier lamp.

I started off by doing the outline as I like to see it get filled in and it’s helpful for counting when finding where I need to stitch. I love the Manor Red, which is used for that.

AtW090113There were a few errors in the chart, but the corrections are up on the LHN website. I was a bit puzzled until I found them, as you could see the discrepancies between the picture and the chart.

I think my favourite bit so far is that wee bird on the branch. I really enjoyed stitching that bit.

AtWbirdonbranchThe next project in my rotation is Outrageous Owls and I’ve already started it. My eyes are quite relieved to be back on 28 count. It’s amazing what a difference it makes. I’m hoping I can complete at least one owl and possibly two in a week but that may be a bit optimistic.

Week three will be for an older project and I’m considering pulling out the Hamilton/McLaren piece before it’s completely dated, although I could probably finish Venice Street fairly quickly if I put my mind to it. Decisions…

Week four is for the Papillon SAL and if I finish it quickly, any remaining days can be used for whichever of the other three I want to go back to.

On the 1st day of the month, I go back to the beginning and Around the World in 80 days. That’s my plan. Wonder how many months I can keep it up for?


New projects for the New Year

As a reward to myself for finishing all twelve of the CCN Cottages by the end of the year, which I will do any day now, I’m going to start not one but two new projects in January. The first is one that I’ve had planned for a while and is a stitch-along with Tree. It’s the start of a new series by Little House Needleworks, with all the designs to be book covers. The first one represents Around the world in 80 days. This is all my lovely stash for it.

AtWstashThe threads are gorgeous, mostly overdyed. I’m really looking forward to using them. The fabric is 32 count Belfast linen in Light Sand.

I’ve just discovered a stitch on my sewing machine that works nicely to edge the fabric. It’s a very cheap machine and as I know nothing about sewing I’ve only used the straight stitch and zig-zag before. I think the stitch was called arrowhead stitch and it seems to be working quite well to stop any fraying.

This is a close up of the design. It’s lovely, isn’t it!

AtWpicThe other project is a fairly last-minute addition to my plans for 2013. It’s one that Tree stitched earlier this year and I really liked it so she very kindly let me have the chart and the left over threads. I kitted it up with the same fabric that Tree used as it looked so nice, and I’m adding it to my January starts because it looks like a nice quick stitch. This is the chart and rather long piece of fabric.

OAstashAnd a close up of the design. It’s called Outrageous Owls, it’s by Glendon Place and it’s very, very cute.

OApicDecember’s Cottage should be finished in a day or two, just in time for me to start on one of these. I’ve got a long list of projects that I want to do in 2013 and I’m hopeful of getting quite a few of them done. Once this last Cottage is done, that’ll be fifteen finishes this year, which isn’t bad at all for me. All small ones, mind you, but I’m still very pleased with that amount.


A whole row of books

After I finished October’s Cottage, I had planned to carry on with that Papillon SAL, but then I realised that I needed something to stitch that required a little less concentration. Out came the Book Quote one and I now have a finished row of books. Woot!

I just need to do the text on this now and it’s finished. I was quite keen to carry on and complete it but then November’s Cottage arrived and now that I’m up to date again with these, I decided to make a start on that straight away. I have to say that I’m not loving this one as much as the others, although I’m hoping that once I get a bit further into stitching it I’ll change my mind.

Changes this month? The turkey will have to go. I can’t be doing with turkeys in November. Other than that, I’ll be stitching it to the chart. I now have a cunning plan for what to do with all of these cottages and have just ordered some fabric from an Etsy shop – Patchworks Plus. Hopefully I’m not dreaming up finishing ideas that are beyond my crafting capabilities. We shall see.

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October’s Cottage – finished

I knew I’d love those pumpkins and I was right. They’re so orange! I think I like everything about this month. The borders are pretty, I like the cottage itself, and the tree is lovely with it’s two colours of foliage.

I’m just impatiently waiting until I can order November’s Cottage now although I can spend some time catching up with the Around the World SAL until I can get my hands on it.

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Tree of Stitches – Smyrna Stitch

That Peapod green was calling to me so I took a wee break from my new project and did the first specialist stitch on my tree. I hadn’t done Smyrna Stitch before but it was really easy. I just had to make sure all the crosses were done in the same order so they looked the same. I really love this shade of green, especially now I can see what it looks like with all the variegation showing. I’m glad I held out for it instead of settling for the other shade.

Thanks again Tree for coming to the rescue with those two skeins.

This is what it all looks like so far.

The next stitch should be French knots or Colonial knots depending on preference, but the general advice is to do part four next instead. That way it’s easier to get the placement of the knots correct. And, that way I can put off doing those pesky knots for a little longer.

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The Hamilton cross stitch

I sort of forgot to do a progress report on this after the last Grand Prix, mainly because I was still stitching away on it. Once again I didn’t get much done during the actual race as it was another exciting one, so I wanted to try to get a bit more stitched before putting it away. Especially as there was a long break before the next race. And, as I won’t be stitching during the next two races. So, I carried on for another week and a bit. Then I just got busy with holiday planning. Very busy, so no stitching and not an awful lot of updating of stitching on the blog.

So, before I vanish across the pond, this is what the piece looks like at the moment.

The Hamilton cross stitch
I managed to get the rear wing more or less finished, plus his helmet and I’m happy to have got his number one in place. There’s still a lot of fiddly stuff left to do in that central section but once I get out towards the tyres on the right it should go fairly quickly again.