Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Jo's Advent Calendar blog hop....and an apology!

Again I'm having to start a blog post with an apology.  I had signed up for Jo's Advent calendar blog hop and then with everything that's been happening in the family and two trips back to the UK, I had completely forgotten all about it.  So, my deepest apologies to Jo for messing up her plans and to all the other participants and readers, I apologies to you too.

Sooooo........Jo's question was 'How do you spend boxing day?' Boxing day isn't something that's celebrated here in the US, but being true Brits, we confuse our American friends by talking about it and bemoaning the fact that you don't get another day off work! When we lived in the UK it was a day spent with my side of the family as we had spend Christmas day with my hubby's family.  Today, we spend Boxing day quietly, eating the left-overs from Christmas dinner and usually playing board games. I love the fact that my grown up children love to play board games. We often go for a long walk (which seems to be another typically British tradition!) and we are lucky enough to have a nature preserve very close to where we live, so if the weather is good and there isn't tons of snow, a good long walk is also something that we  typically do (it also means that you can then eat the last of the Christmas trifle guilt-free!) I also like to get some stitching done too....what's a day without stitching?

Since I don't have any pictures of our boxing day traditions, I thought I would just share some of my Christmas stitching from previous years (lots of pictures as I'm feeling guilty for missing my date!)....





















....and now that I have seen some of these old pics, I really want to go and stitch some of these little gems again!

For more of the advent Blog-hop please visit Jo's blog here.....you might find some new blogging friends to follow!

So, apologies once again for throwing a spanner in the works for Jo's carefully laid out plans.  Wishing you all the joys of this wonderful season, no matter how you celebrate!

Until next time....happy stitching!

Rhona


Monday, December 11, 2017

Tis the season of ...seed beads!

I have seed beads everywhere! Luckily, I don't mind working with them....except when you drop the container with them in and they end up all over the floor!

So my first project with seed beads to show you, is a cute little Christmas card that I started stitching on my long flight back to the US....


 .... a cute little button, some fraying of the edges and the aforementioned seed beads....


...means one adorable Christmas card!



This was a little kit that came with the December issue of CrossStitcher magazine that I snagged while back in the UK. Oh my goodness.....I love the UK cross stitching magazines....and the prices of them compared to here in the US.

The next project uses not only seed beads but sequins too....got to get that Christmas sparkle! I haven't managed to get as much done on this Christmas stocking as I had hoped to......it's really hard to stitch a secret gift for someone who lives with you! 


Each piece has to be cut out, embroidered and then have the sequins and seed beads attached before being sewn onto the main part of the stocking. It's a very time consuming process.....


Some pieces have to be stuffed as you attach them so the end result is 3D.....


....don't you just love those hamster like cheeks?!!!!

The one thing that I have to do is buy another beading needle as the one that came with the kit is looking a bit worse for wear and is far from straight....I have a feeling that it won't last long! Keep your fingers crossed for me that the craft shop stocks those super skinny beading needles!

Until next time....happy stitching (and beading)!

Rhona


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Late again!

First of all, I want to apologize for being late with the announcement of who won the giveaway. For those of you who are regular readers, I'm sure you'll understand how hectic things have been here and why I'm late posting.

Soooo......onto the news that you came here for! 



The winner of the chart is......RJ! You can check pout RJ's blog here - and I recommend you pay her a visit as her blog is wonderful!

So this wonderful chart by Veronique Enginger will be winging its way onto RJ, who I hope will enjoy stitching it as much as I did.

Congrats RJ....I'll be emailing you shortly.

Until next time....happy stitching!

Rhona

Monday, November 27, 2017

Christmas stitching

This post is being brought to you by the magic of the blogger 'schedule' button. Instead of cracking on with some Christmas stitching, which is what I was planning on doing, we are flying home for my father-in-laws funeral. I am so grateful that we were able to see him when we went back just a few weeks ago. Life is sad sometimes.

Anyhoo....onto the stitching...which is what you came here to see! This is what I have been working on.....


Looks a bit strange doesn't it? This was for an advent calendar idea that, sadly, won't be ready for the start of December. But since I'm an adult (and so are my kids!!!) it's no big deal that it won't be ready in time and we can continue with the idea as soon as I get back. 

Another Christmas stitching  project that I started was this......


I love these felt applique stockings!  Luckily, this one won't be needed till December 24th, so I'll have plenty time to complete it when we return to the US. All those sequins and seed beads that are involved means that it's not really a project to take with you when you travel....


Some of you may remember me stitching these before.......I think they should carry a health warning on the packet....they are addictive!  Here are some pics of the other stockings that I've made......






No doubt I'll be complaining of my fingers hurting with stitching all those sequins....which is, I'm sure, what happened when stitching those other stockings!

So all that's left for me to do is to grab something from my stash so that my fingers are busy while we are away..... a great reason to have a supply of unopened kits....even if they are just the freebies from the cross stitching magazines!

Remember there's still time to enter my giveaway....click here if you want to enter.

Until next time...happy stitching!

Rhona




Monday, November 20, 2017

Ta-Da!!!

Time for a drum roll.....here it is......




......the finished Etudes Aux Fraises.....



Doesn't it look gorgeous? 


....an old-fashioned botanical study in stitches....


I'm so happy with this finish and I'd like to spread the joy......sooooo......I'd like to pass on the chart the way Rahenna (check out her blog here) passed it on to me. If you'd like to stitch this beautiful design please leave a comment below saying that you'd like to stitch it. If there's more than one person who'd like to stitch it, I'll put the names in a hat and pull out a name. Last chance to add your name will be Sunday 3rd December 2017 and I'll announce the winner Monday 4th December 2017.


Until next time.....happy stitching!

Rhona

Monday, November 13, 2017

More on Metallics!

I have in fact finished Etudes aux Fraises, but the light today is awful and I can't get a good picture of the finished stitching, so I'll leave that for another day as I want you to see it in all it's glory!. 

I thought I would continue on the theme from last week which was metallic threads. There are so many different types of metallic threads available that it's sometimes confusing as to what to buy and what the differences are of each type of metallic threads, so hopefully this might help :) 


Just to make everything clear and above board, these are just my opinions/experiences with these threads and I have no connection to the companies and have not been paid or compensated by these companies (But if they do fancy sending me some samples of their threads, I would be most grateful!!! :) )

DMC Light Effects seems to be the most easily available metallic thread...well it is for me anyway! 



According to the DMC website there are 35 colours available, although your local craft store (if you're lucky enough to have one) might not stock them all. DMC Light effects can give you everything from a subtle sheen to a vibrant sparkle in your stitching, depending on how many strands you choose to stitch with. It is a six stranded thread that comes in the usual DMC skein and can be used on its own or combined with regular stranded thread. For a softer, more subtle look you can combine one or two strands of light effects with regular stranded thread or for a more intense sparkly look, you can use DMC light effects on its own using one or two strands. Light Effects uses the same color numbering system as regular DMC thread with each colour beginning with an ‘E’ then the colour number.

Click here for  the Light Effects page on the DMC website 

Another DMC metallic thread that's great to work with is DMC Diamant



This luxurious twisted thread is available in twelve gorgeous metallic colours – Check out the DMC website here for a colour chart. Diamant has a slightly more subtle sheen than some of the other metallic threads, but is really soft and easy to work with – probably my favourite of the metallic threads! A single strand of Diamant thread is equivalent to 2 strands of DMC stranded cotton. You can use this thread straight off the spool or double it for a richer effect. 

Another metallic thread that seems to be used quite frequently is Kreinik Blending Filament.


 This is often used for a more subtle sparkle and, as the name suggests, is typically combined with regular thread.  You'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to colours of this blending filament....there are over 100 colours available, some of which glow in the dark!  You can check out all the colours on the Kreinik website which you can find here. This is an exceptionally shiny thread but does tend to curl when you unwind it from the spool. 

If you want a slightly more sparkly effect than blending filament gives, Kreinick also offers Kreinik very fine braid (no.4)  (Sorry there's no picture for this thread....all I could find in my stash box was an empty spool!!!) Again, this thread comes in a host of colours as you can see here.  You can combine this thread with regular stranded thread.
This is another thread that comes in lots of different colours, glow in the dark and multi-colour options as you can see from their website here.

Kreinik also does fine braid (no8) which is a slightly thicker version of the very fine braid no4 and is designed to be used on its own. Check out the colours here and while you're there look at the wonderful names they have given to the threads.....Pixiedust, Dragonfly and Mermaid! The names alone make me want to buy them :)  Fine braid no8 is easy to use and gives nice coverage without being too bulky.

And finally, the Madeira metallic thread that came free with the World Of Cross Stitching that I showed in my last post. The packaging states that it is Madeira Metallic No 4, but I found it very hard to find very much info about this thread on the Internet. I have  several packets of this thread in my stash (courtesy of WOCS as it's their free gift every Christmas!)



This thread is packaged quite differently from the other metallic threads, it comes in  a pack  Madeira call the StickTwist Spiral Pack which is supposed to keeps the thread clean and tangle-free until you use it. I'm not a big fan of the packaging as I find that it's a bit messy once you have started to use the thread. The colours that I have  gorgeous, but I can't find how many different colours there are in the range.  As for ease of use, the thread itself is very similar to DMC light effects.  I will try to contact Madeira to see if I can get any more info and I will definitely update this post if they respond.

Soooo, I hope this was  helpful if you have been wondering about metallic threads. 

Here's a Christmas chart that I designed for using with metallic threads.....hope you have fun trying out some different types metallic threads. I haven't given a key for the chart as I think it's quite self explanatory....2 colours that's all you need. You can use whatever metallic threads you have on hand - absolutely any colour combination would work...enjoy!




Please do not copy or share this chart.....thank you!

Until next time....happy stitching!

Rhona







Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Stitching with metallic threads

Sparkles, sparkles, sparkles….who doesn’t love sparkles? They add a little pop to your stitching and the end result can be breathtaking and Christmas stitching lends itself perfectly to using sparkly metallic threads. 

This months free gift form the World of Cross Stitching magazine is  their Christmas metallic stitching bundle, which is two colours of metallic threads and a booklet of Christmas designs using just these two threads. My little animal design feature in the booklet this year…..


Since we are beginning to think of Christmas stitching (I know some of you have been thinking about this for ages, but I'm not that organized!!!) I thought now might be the perfect time to talk about metallic threads.

Unfortunately, metallic threads aren’t always fun to stitch with, they twist and tangle, shred and break and generally add a bit of stress (along with some colourful words!) to our stitching routine. Here are some tips to hopefully reduce that stress and make life a bit easier to get the perfect result when using metallic threads…

1. Use a slightly shorter length of thread than you would normally stitch with.

2. Use sharp scissors to cut the the lengths of thread…..don’t start with thread that is       already beginning to fray!

 3. Slow down your stitching…..make sure that the thread lies flat for best results.

 4. If you are using two strands of metallic thread, secure the thread on your needle by    folding the length of thread in half and thread the needle with the loop end...


...pull the rest of the thread through the loop.... 


 ...and pull tight so that the knot is at the eye of the needle..... 


(I've used a large crochet needle and six strands of thread for the picture so that it's clearer to see)

5. Metallic threads are a bit stretchy so make sure you secure the threads on the back of your stitching. I tend to leave a longer ‘tail’ and go through more stitches than normal (beginning and ending) to secure the threads so they don’t end up breaking free. 

6. Using a slightly larger needle can help prevent the metallic threads form fraying.

7. Let your needle hang every few stitches to unwind, this helps reduce the twisting and tangling that often happens with metallic threads.

8. Using a ‘conditioning’ product helps the thread move more smoothly through the fabric. Thread heaven is the product most stitchers rave about but, unfortunately is no longer being produced (if you can get your hands on this product, you’ve struck gold!) You can find other conditioning types of products in the sewing/ quilting sections of craft stores. I personally don't use them, so I can't give an opinion about them.

9. Use the correct type of metallic thread for your project. There are many different types of metallic threads and they all produce different results. (I’ll be doing another post about the different metallic threads….so watch this space!)



10. Leave the metallic stitching to the end so that there is no risk of damaging the stitched metallic threads.


I hope this might helpful for those of you who have never used metallic threads before. If you have any other tips about metallic threads please do leave a comment....I'd love to know more!

Until next time....happy stitching!

Rhona