Thursday, March 27, 2014

Still Stitching Along!

Hello stitching friends!  It has been so long since my last stitching update - we have had such internet connectivity problems over the past few months - I just hope this post makes it safely into blogland!  

It has cooled down a bit here in Cape Town over the past few weeks and we are definitely moving into Autumn!  There is even a slight chill in the air in the evenings and we have had some rain - such a relief after a terribly hot summer!

Even though I haven't been blogging I have been stitching!  Michelle from StitchCraft Place and I have been enjoying our Tuesday evening SAL every week!  We are stitching the Isabella Donald sampler from the Spring 2012 issue of the SANQ magazine.

I have substituted the charted colours with my own choice of Madeira silk and I just love how it's turning out!

I'm quite satisfied with my progress and hope to have a sampler finish in a few weeks :)

Here is another close up,  this band was the most time consuming section of the sampler so far, but looks lovely and the touch of dark blue silk looks just beautiful on the sampler:

I have also been working on the 'Bambu by Mamen' SAL as hosted by Ticoeur on her forum.  New steps become available twice a month and I always look forward to see which part we'll be stitching next!

A closer view of some of the details:

Work on my Celebration Sampler from Just Cross Stitch Magazine has slowed down over the past few weeks, but I do have an update to share:

I can't wait to get back to this sampler - I just love working on it!

I am also working on a few Easter ornaments to be sent as gifts, so I can't show them yet!  I am taking part in the Easter Egg-change hosted by Mii Stitch.  This is my first exchange and I'm so excited to take part!

Well, that's my stitchy update for now!  

Happy Stitching!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

SAL Start and HAL Progress!

Hello stitching friends!  Oh my, it has been so hot over the past few weeks, I can't wait for the first signs of Autumn, even though I know how hot February and March can be!  Last week there were a few evenings that were too hot to do anything, even stitch, followed by nights that were too hot to sleep, leaving everyone feeling absolutely drained.  On to more pleasant things - stitching!

Tuesday night was the start of the private SAL Michelle and I are having.  Every Tuesday night we will be stitching on the Isabella Donald sampler featured in the Spring 2012 issue of the SANQ magazine.  Here is my start: 

The design is actually charted in grey and soft purples, but that does not suit my decor, so I changed it completely!  It is not a reproduction sampler, but compiled from different samplers from the same era. Some of the inspirational samplers are shown in the magazine and I really liked the colours of the 1825 Kildare School Sampler.  I was fortunate enough to have some Madeira silks in the deep red, gold and blue and soft green shades.  I am stitching it on a natural 28 count evenweave and I'm very satisfied with the way the silks look on the fabric.

I also managed to do quite a bit on the Bambu HAL (hardanger-a-long) by Mamen and I'm actually a bit ahead of the steps set out for the group!  Here is my progress:

Here is a slightly closer view - I love the combination of soft pinks and ecru!

 At least the hot weather is good for one thing - my roses just keep on flourishing!  Here is a picture of a beautiful soft pink rose - it also has a lovely delicate fragrance!

That's it for now!  It's almost Friday - have a good weekend and Happy Stitching!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Celebration Sampler Progress and a SAL!

Hello dear blogging friends, I hope the first few days of 2014 have been treating you well!  I am so happy to have some stitching to share with you in my first post of the year.  I have made a little progress on the Celebration Sampler, which was featured in the Just Cross Stitch Magazine in 2013.  

Look at this lovely section of the sampler, I was even brave enough to stitch '2014' in the space for the year - I will definitely have to persevere with this piece :) 

Here is my progress so far, the words look a bit funny at the moment, but will make more sense once I put more stitches in it!

It is such a pleasure to stitch, I am really enjoying it - here is a close up of the Bargello section - always so much fun to stitch!

This year I decided to join a SAL for a beautiful Hardanger piece by Mamen, which is kindly being hosted by Ticoeur on her forum.  The piece is called 'Bambu' and I'm stitching it on 28ct antique white Quaker cloth in DMC perle thread.  Here you can see my first step and the threads that I'm using - I decided to break away from 'tone on tone' Hardanger stitching and I'm having great fun with the lovely pinks! 

I am also starting another SAL on the 1st of  February with my dear friend Michelle from the UK.  There is a lovely sampler in the Sampler and Antique Needlework Magazine (SANQ) that we both want to stitch - I'm really looking forward to our SAL!

In other needlework news, I have been working on a quilt!  My cousin in Oregon had the most precious baby boy last year and I am making a quilt for him - the quilt top is made and the basting is done, now I have to machine quilt it.  I will show photos in a few weeks (after they have received it), since they haven't seen any photos yet - only snippets of fabric!

Well, that's it for now!

Have a great week and Happy Stitching!


Monday, December 30, 2013

Last Christmas Stitches for 2013 and a Sampler Start!

Hello stitching and blogging friends - I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!  Here are my last Christmas stitches for 2013, these beautiful postcard style pieces were featured in a World of Cross Stitching Magazine.  I did not manage to do the finishing in time for Christmas as they turned out to be very time consuming to stitch, with lots of quarter stitches and back stitching.

They are stitched on 28ct antique white Jubilee in DMC stranded cotton.

Look at the lovely detail on these cards - I certainly have to do the finishing so that they can be proudly displayed next Christmas :)

I also have (another) new start - I decided not to wait for the new year to start this piece!  It is called Celebration Sampler and is featured in the Just Cross Stitch Magazine as part of their 30th anniversary this year - it is a six part sampler and runs over a few issues.  I'm stitching it on antique white 27ct Linda in DMC threads.

It does not look like much now, but it will be a beautiful band sampler with some specialty stitches.  I am really enjoying this project so far, even if I still have to chart my name into the blank space between the bands - my name and surname just won't fit into the allotted space - the sampler is quite narrow!


We have been 'enjoying' a typical hot, sunny South African summer, which means my roses are in full bloom.  I would like to end my last post of 2013 with some photos of one of my favourite roses from my garden.  It is called 'Blue Bayou' and has the most beautiful silver lilac flowers.

Sometimes the beauty of a single bloom is simply amazing :)

Well, that's it for 2013!  Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year!

Happy Stitching!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Small Finish and a Large Start!

Good day stitching friends!  I have been getting into the Christmas spirit with some ornament stitching!  This piece by Homespun Elegance is featured in the 2013 Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue.  It caught my eye immediately!  It is called 'Majestic Bird' and I stitched it in DMC colour variations (the red) and Nina's threads (the green).  The bird is supposed to have a crown charm in his beak, which I changed to some stitched holly and ivy.  It is stitched on 28ct self-dyed evenweave and is finished as a simple hanging ornament, backed with the green fabric pictured.  

I have stitched some other ornaments from the 2013 JCS Ornament Issue, but I still need to do the finishing :)  

I also have a rather large start to share.  I have been wanting to stitch one of Heaven and Earth Designs Christmas ornaments for a while and finally decided to stitch 'Not a Creature was Stirring' by Donna Gelsinger.  It does not look like much yet, but I am really enjoying it!  I am stitching it 2 over 2 on 28ct parchment evenweave, so it won't be ornament size, but rather a size more suited to framing.

Here is what the painting looks like, isn't it beautiful?

I have been spoiled by Michelle from StitchCraft Place again - this time with a Christmas gift!  She sent me a gorgeous Christmas card, some limited edition sampler thread from The Gentle Art and some special Christmas tea.  Thank you Michelle!

That is it for today, enjoy the rest of the week and Happy Stitching!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Lovely Gift Received!

Hello dear blogging friends! Oh my, has it really been that long since my previous post?  I trust you are all keeping well!  I am slowly winding down from a very, very busy year and I'm so happy to be blogging again.

Last month I received such a wonderful surprise from my dear friend Michelle over at Michelle's Stitchcraft Place - she sent me a lovely gift for my birthday!  Look at the pretty birthday card:

She sent me a Tralala Collection chart, a piece of 32ct linen and the sweetest little notebook:

Here is a close up of the chart - it is so cute and definitely on my 'to do' list for next year!  Thank you so much Michelle, I absolutely love the gift!

Since my last blog post the seasons have been changing!  We had a very long, cold, wet winter this year, but Spring has finally arrived (despite some heavy rainfall this past weekend and more rain predicted for this week!) and the garden is coming to life.  Here is a picture of one of the first roses to bloom - in the background you can see the first sweet peas of the season:

Here is a close up of some of the sweet peas - the scent is just heavenly!

I have not been able to stitch as much as I would have liked to over the past few months, but did manage a few small finishes (and perhaps a large start!), as well as a few other projects.  I will share some pics soon!

Enjoy the rest of the week and Happy Stitching!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Stunning Stumpwork!

Good day blogging friends!  Oh my, has it really been that long since my last post?  I am certainly not keeping up with my goal to blog more often this year.

Winter has really set in here in Cape Town and with it an array of colds and flu!  DH, my mom and the in-laws have all been ill and I have had flu twice!  I hope I have now built up enough resistance for the rest of the year!

It has been slow going on the stitching front; I have been working on a few gifts and a few small items, but have nothing to share at the moment.  Since I don’t have any new work to show, I decided to share some of the Stumpwork pieces my mom did years ago.

For those of you not familiar with Stumpwork, here is a very brief explanation:

Stumpwork is a style of embroidery where the objects (usually flowers, fruit and animals, but sometimes even people!) are raised from the surface of the foundation fabric in order to create a three dimensional effect.  Stumpwork originated between 1640 - 1700 and appears as if it was originally utilized in Biblical embroideries in Europe, it was later done by young girls in England as part of their education.  Stumpwork often makes use of wire to add dimension - usually to leaves, petals and wings.  Padding is also frequently used, as well as felt which is then covered in embroidery stitches.  One of the most interesting things about Stumpwork is the complete disregard for scale – a single berry can be larger than a squirrel!  Thus, Stumpwork is technically raised work, whereby figures and padded objects, as well as other loose objects are stitched onto a main fabric which has been prepared with a 'base' of surface embroidery.

Now, on to some examples -this piece is called ‘Nature’s Circle’.  My mom stitched this piece in 1999, after which she presented classes on the technique on behalf of the designer.  It was a very proud moment when three of her students won 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize in a national embroidery competition (the theme for that year was Stumpwork).  Let me tell you, the first prize winner’s work was so perfect, it looked as if it was done by machine!

Here is a closeup of some cherries with a cute bee in the background - you can see the stems and some of the leaves are stitched onto the background fabric, while some of the leaves and other objects are 'raised', creating the distinctive three dimensional effect.  I also just love the spiderweb :)  (This is a framed piece so I had to take the photos through the glass - not always easy!)

A closeup of some acorns with tiny bees in the background:

The squirrel is definitely one of my favourites!  I just love the fluffy tail :)  Some juicy oranges are pictured in the background and as always, there is a little critter sneaking about!

Here are some examples from an unframed piece my mom designed and used as a teaching aid - please note that the piece is not finished, so all the elements are not added and completed!  The raspberries are so beautiful and mr owl so cute - look at the little spider dangling from the branch (I do like the critters)!

More examples of cherries and a dragonfly with not yet completed wings!

Here are some pics of gorgeous stumpwork fuchsias (by the same designer) which my mom embroidered.  It is stitched in Pearsall's silk and was published in a local craft magazine.  Unfortunately we had to part with the actual piece!  (I had to take the photos from the magazine, so the quality isn't too great.)

Some of the photos of this piece were also featured in a little booklet published by the same magazine:

Can you believe that, despite having a teacher in the house, I have never tried my hand at stumpwork?

If you are interested in this beautiful and rewarding, old embroidery technique, here are some wonderful books on the subject.  These books by Jane Nicholas are probably the definitive modern guide to the subject, providing a detailed history, instructions and patterns:

Here is an example of some of the smaller projects in the books - perfect for beginners and so pretty!  The pomegranate, rose and strawberries in the first picture work so well together and I just love that big bushy thistle in the second picture!

If you love flowers, this book by Helan Pearce has some lovely floral designs:

I also know that some of the older Embroidery and Cross Stitch magazines (their name has since changed) featured stumpwork projects.

Well, that was a really long post for me!  Hopefully I will be back soon with some stitchy updates!

Until next time - Happy Stitching!


Sunday, April 28, 2013

A New Chart and Some Old Embroidery!

Hello dear stitching friends!  We have been enjoying the last few days of summer and finally there is a bit of a chill in the air in the evenings.  Autumn should be arriving soon and with it perfect stitching weather :)

I am happy to share with  you a new cross stitch chart by Lady Lexi Designs!  This design is called 'Primitive Abundance' and is available as an instant download in my Etsy Store.  I have been admiring the primitive style for a long time and decided to add some of my favourite element to the design, including some stags, birds and sampler elements.

The model is stitched on a light mocha 28ct evenweave in DMC threads and is finished as a pillow.  The pillow is trimmed with some vintage lace and buttons.  I had such fun with this - here are a few more close ups:

I don't have much other stitching to show, but I did find this lovely brooch in a basket of other crafting goodies.  My mom made some of these ribbon embroidery brooches a few years ago (about fifteen years ago!) - they were all the rage back then!  This must be the last one we still have and I was so happy to find it!

It is stitched on blue satin and features woven ribbon roses, accented with french knots.  The only pity is that the roses are flattened from being stored under craft 'stuff' for so long - not a good way to preserve ribbon embroidery!  

I just love the brooch setting - it is so antique looking, yet not too bold.  This little find has inspired me to take up some ribbon embroidery again - if I can ever find the time :)

On a different note - I would like to thank dear Annie for thinking of me and sending me a package a few months ago.  Sadly the package never arrived, but you can have a look at the beautiful gift on her blog - it is personalized for Lady Lexi Designs!  Thank you Annie, I appreciate it so much and I am so sad that my lovely gift didn't make it safely home. 

That's about it for now!

Happy Stitching

Thursday, March 28, 2013

An Update for March!

Hello blogging friends!  Has it really been a month since my last post?  I have been SO busy these past few weeks, but I do have a small update for March :)  

I started this beautiful 'medium size' project by Jardin Prive a few weeks ago - it is called 'Patchwork Printems' and I am stitching it on antique white 28ct evenweave in DMC stranded cotton.  I just love working on this lovely, bright Spring piece, even though our Autumn should be arriving soon - today we had one of our first really cool days of the season :)

It is such fun stitching these small motifs!  Look at those adorable little pink sheep!

I have also managed to do some finishing on pieces that I stitched last year.  This little cutie is also by Jardin Prive (yes, I do love Jardin Prive designs), and is called 'Trop chouette'.  

It is stitched on self-dyed 28ct evenweave in DMC stranded cotton and finished as a little pillow ornament.  I just love this design - this little owl at the end is my favourite!

This beautiful piece by LHN is called 'Summer Splendor' and is stitched on self-dyed 28ct evenweave in DMC stranded cotton and is finished as a 'framed' pillow.  I found this patchwork fabric for finishing the pillow recently and it was just the perfect colour.  I love how this piece turned out - the colours are so gorgeous in person!

Here are some close ups of the lovely motifs:

I was also so delighted to receive feedback on my little Valentine Freebie!  Joan (from Stitching Squad) and Adri (from Crossroads) sent me pictures of their lovely finishes.

Here is Joan's finish - I just love it on the check fabric!

Here is Adri's finish - the button in the middle gives such a beautiful effect!

Thank you Joan and Adri for sharing your finishes - I am so happy to see your lovely work!

On a not so nice note - I am considering turning the word verification back on for the comment section of my blog - I have been getting a lot of spam and that takes away from the enjoyment of blogging.  Have you had similar problems?  I have been going without word verification for a while and never had problems, but now it suddenly got quite bad.  I know it is not so pleasant to leave comments on a word verification blog, but it does seem like one of the only ways to keep our blogs 'clean' - I will see what happens on this post and then decide.  

On to a more pleasant topic - I would like to wish everyone a very Happy and Peaceful Easter spent with loved ones!  Have you stocked up on your hot cross buns and pickled fish for your Good Friday meals and exchanged some chocolate Easter eggs or bunnies?

I hope to be back with a stitchy update a little bit sooner next time :)

Happy Stitching!