Saturday, 29 November 2014

Project Restart - help and advice please!

Hello all!

WARNING: V-E-R-Y  L-O-N-G post alert!

A few months ago I mentioned that I would be restarting one of my current WIPs when the time was right. Well, that time is now and the project is..... *drum roll please* .....Sherlock aka Scarlet Macaw Preening.

You may recall that I was not happy with the hand-dyed fabric and after 20 hours of stitching I was hating it more and more. The fabric had also obviously stretched during the dyeing process and was measuring 15ct making the project even bigger than I had anticipated and the thread coverage poorer! So I put dear old Sherlock away and started searching for an alternative fabric, regardless of expense.

I had a successful find at The Crafty Kitten. Dawn was SO helpful and obliging that I can't thank her enough! She sent sample pictures of how various fabrics would take the dyes and cut the piece of fabric to my specified size. So, thank you, thank you, thank you Dawn! You're a star!

As a reminder, here's Sherlock on the original fabric:

 16ct (15ct!) hand dyed Buttered Almond by Silkweaver Fabrics (boring, dull and hardly mottled)

And this is him alongside his new fabric:

32ct hand-dyed Autumn Woodland Belfast Linen by The Crafty Kitten (mottled and colourful)

The fabric pictured is the full size 30" x 40" so that's exactly how Sherlock will transfer to the finished piece (I'm not stitching the background). The blue is slightly more subtle than in the photo and the whole fabric has more of a khaki feel but even with colour adjusting the photograph this was the best match I could get. What do you think? In my mind there's just no comparison and I am absolutely over the moon with my replacement choice. It's definitely going to give the project that forest-type feeling I was looking for.


In order to get the colour I wanted there had to be not one but TWO HUGE compromises. Not only did I have to resort to evenweave to get the desired dye effect, but to linen too! Throughout my whole stitching life I have never ever stitched on anything but Aida! Ulp!

Although I'm definitely jumping out of the proverbial frying pan and into the raging fire I'll hopefully grow to love the linen and not feel too daunted or frustrated about this rather large and unique task I have set myself. At the moment I'm quite excited as I feel I'm giving Sherlock the background he deserves. And I also know that if I want a really good result I'm going to have to put in the effort of 700+ hours!

However, this is where I need your help and advice please.

The linen is very soft so I cannot get good tension on the millennium frame without the fear of stretching it. Nor does the weave lie fully straight (although it's not actually that far off). So, should I resort to using a large hoop to get even and straight tension? or perhaps Q-snaps? or just try to get the linen as straight as possible on a looser tension?

I'm not a fan of hoops or Q-snaps as I'm very frightened of damaging the stitches and/or fabric and worried about the mass of excess fabric picking up dirt.

If I do use the millennium frame will I be able to manipulate the linen to straighten the stitches as much as possible as I go along and/or once the whole piece is completed? I know with Aida adjusting the stitching is virtually impossible to correct, but as this linen is so soft, might it be possible? I just don't know!

I realize that stitching preferences are very personal but would appreciate any insight you can give me. I've already trawled through various Google searches but haven't really found any helpful answers. Can my virtual blogosphere friends help? I hope so!!!

I'm confused and really just don't know what to do.

In the words of The Beatles - Can you please, please help me, help me, help me...ooooh!!!

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Dolphin Ruins - 30 hours

Good evening one and all!

Another 10 hours bites the dust so the next progress picture is due:

After 20 hours

After 30 hours

Not having specific little sections, like Autumnal Abstract, I didn't realize how much I'd stitched until I compared photos. This project is really relaxing to work on, even though the majority so far has been black and umpteen shades of dark blue!

My next post will be asking for luck and advice - I've set myself a daunting challenge and need opinions from those who have had experience in such matters. I'll say no more now!!

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Dolphin Ruins - 20 hours

Hello all!

First of all a massive THANK YOU to everyone who left such kind comments regarding my choice of frame and mounts for Autumnal Abstract. I'm overwhelmed by your kindness. You are such a fantastic bunch of virtual friends and I'm glad you enjoyed my updates and finished piece. I will get around to replying to you all but in the meantime, thank you again!

Dolphin Ruins is growing quite quickly at the moment due to it still being mostly black and dark blue. I've never been one for stitching methodically so keep jumping around the top row of four pages as the mood takes me.

Here's where I'm up to:

After 10 hours

After 20 hours

You can just make out the tops of the columns on the left and right and the roof arches above them.

I hate confetti stitching and really have to be in the mood for it so am leaving any colours where less than 10 stitches are required, hence the gaps. I get much more satisfaction out of stitching the big blocks of colours first!

My hoped-for champagne dinner over the weekend did not go quite according to plan. Instead hubby treated me to a Burger King whilst we were Christmas shopping in Basingstoke. Nice to know what I'm worth to him - I'll bear the value of the meal in mind when buying his present!!

Take care everyone.

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

PS As much as you liked watching my progress there are only two followers who wish to win the chart of Autumnal Abstract. There's still a week left if you want to enter the draw. See 19th November posting for details.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Autumnal Abstract - framed!

Me again fellow bloggers!

I was so excited yesterday - the frame arrived from the wonderfully efficient It was hastily unpacked and drooled over before being set aside until I could assemble it all after dinner,

So, here's what you've been waiting for. Drum roll please.....

As usual, the photo doesn't quite do the finished piece justice, but you get the general idea.

And here's a close-up of the stunning frame:

The frame is 26mm Gold Leaf with a 40mm Damascus Green top mount, a 7mm Omar Brown bottom mount and anti-reflective acrylic glazing. The opening is 36cm x 26cm with the full framed piece measuring 46cm x 36cm. The total cost was £31 (bargain!) plus £6 for postage (boo!)

The mounts were quite easy to choose with the wide brown drawing the eye into the project whilst balancing the ornate frame, and the green complimenting the colours in the design.

The frame itself was a very bold decision. It was the first one I chose, although I did try out other more sensible ones for comparison. Hubby said this one looked like something you would buy at a car boot sale or find hanging in a tacky pub but my instinct told me from the start that this was the right one, despite his "support"!

I absolutely love it, but what do you think?

I appreciate that some of you will not like it and I will not take offence if you tell me so. Framing, like choosing a project to stitch, is a very personal decision and I would certainly appreciate your honesty.

The only thing I didn't do was sign and date the piece before it was framed, although I'm not sure I could have put that information anywhere that would have looked right, so I'm not that bothered really.

This weekend the children are away with their Scout Troop again so hopefully hubby and I will get some Christmas shopping done. We may even go out for a champagne dinner (a girl can wish...) Just a thought - has anyone out there tried stitching whilst squiffy? Maybe I'll do a test piece to see what it's like!!!

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

PS there's still time to enter if you want to win the chart. See my 19th November posting for the rules. And sorry, Linda, you can enter as many times as you like but your name will actually only be entered once - cheeky!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

New Start - Dolphin Ruins by Rabnann

Good morning all!

With Autumnal Abstract finished (the frame is being delivered this morning) I am now free to work on something else which is - surprise surprise - Dolphin Ruins. I know I've got a lot of WIPs that desperately need attention but I just couldn't wait any longer to start this one:

Dolphin Ruins by Rabnann (ebay)
Stitched on 16ct Light Blue aida 2 over 1
Stitch count 223 wide by 288 high
Started - 16th November 2014
Stitching hours to date - 10

So far it's mostly black (310) and very dark blue (823) with a splash of lighter blues thrown in for variation (and sanity!)

Progress on this chart will be a bit slower than you have been witnessing lately - partly because I am having to use the old grey matter and count more and partly because it's a much bigger project. The blues are lovely to work with after the autumnal colours so I'll carry on until I feel like I need another colour-palette change.

Until next time,

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

PS don't forget, you can still leave a comment indicating your interest in winning the Autumnal Abstract chart. I know it's not to everybody's taste, and I actually don't have that many followers, but there's only one entrant so far!!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Chart Giveaway - Autumnal Abstract by Vervaco

Hello fellow stitch-a-holics!

True to my word I am having a Giveaway!

It really truly honestly breaks my heart to give away the original chart of Autumnal Abstract now that I have finished it but I have so many more projects I would like to do that the realistic chances of me actually stitching this project again are minimal.

So, here are the rules for your chance to win:
  1. you must be a follower of my blog
  2. you must actually want to stitch this project (and not just add it to your stash pile!)
  3. you must leave a comment indicating that you would like to win it

I will take your interest on this posting, or any future postings, up until the end of November and pick the winner on 2nd December 2014.

Good luck to all who enter!

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Autumnal Abstract - finished!

Good morning all!

And what a good morning it is! At 1.34 this morning after 177.25 hours of stitching, many late nights/early mornings and the constant disapproval of my husband, I cast off my final thread on Autumnal Abstract. So it's Happy Dance time again - woohoo!!! I really didn't think it would be so soon after recommencing this project back at the beginning of October.

Here are the final pictures and the project information:

After 170 hours

Autumnal Abstract by Vervaco
Stitched on 16ct Antique White Aida 2 over 1
Stitch Count 226 x 151
Started - 12th October 2005
Suspended 25th July 2006 after 52 hours
Restarted - 5th October 2014
Finished - 16th November 2014
Total stitching time - 177 hours 15 minutes

Thanks to my sleep-limiting regime (which is mostly working well) and a few naughty weekends, I've averaged just under 3 hours per day for the last six weeks. It's such a cliche to say this, but every stitch of Autumnal Abstract (all 29,609 of them) has been a joy and I'm really quite sad that this project is now finished.

The frame hasn't arrived yet, so today the piece will be washed and ironed and given plenty of time to dry thoroughly before being stretched and framed.

So, it's now on to something else which is..... you'll have to wait and see! Suffice to say it has been screaming at me to start it (there's a hint) since I received it last month (there's a bigger hint) and has a completely different colour palette to Autumnal Abstract (how many more hints do you want???)

I also said that I would be giving away the chart for Autumnal Abstract once I had completed the project. That will be in a separate post so keep watching for a chance to win!

I'll be back soon, but will it be with Autumnal Abstract framed or the first stint on my New Start?

Until then,

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Friday, 14 November 2014

Autumnal Abstract - 170 hour update

Hello all!

.....and now the end is near and so I face the final curtain stitching.....!

Oooooh, I'm getting so excited! I'm on the final section of the chart and then this project will be complete! It will definitely take less than 10 hours so..... my next post will be a finish! Go me!!!

Here are the final progress pictures:

After 160 hours

After 170 hours

I've already ordered the frame from but will not divulge any information about it - you'll have to wait until the next and final post to see it in all its glory!

Right, that's enough waffling. I can't wait to sit down tonight to start the final push!

Be back soon.....

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Monday, 10 November 2014

Autumnal Abstract - 160 hour update

Good afternoon all!

I'm back with another progress report! Thank you again for all of the wonderfully kind comments you have been leaving about Autumnal Abstract. I'm glad you enjoy watching my progress and are as eager and excited as me to see a finish!

As usual, this latest 10 hours of stitching has flown by, aided by a straight-through four hour session Sunday night into Monday morning - thank goodness for being able to pack the children off to bed earlier on Sundays!!

So here are the piccies:

After 150 hours

After 160 hours

I've already looked at mounts and frames from and experimented with various combinations. I think I've made my decision but as it's quite a bold choice I'm taking my time before ordering. That's the beauty of internet framing - there's simply no rush.

Until next time then.

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Friday, 7 November 2014

Autumnal Abstract - 150 hour update

Hello all!

The light at the end of the tunnel is definitely getting brighter as I am ploughing through the remainder of this project. I'm still not getting bored though!

Here are the latest pictures:

After 140 hours

After 150 hours

I hope you're still enjoying my updates - not many more to go before you can rid yourselves of this project and I can bore you to death with something else!

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Autumnal Abstract - 140 hour update

Good evening all!

I still can't pull myself away from this project and have become even more obsessed with stitching it this last week. Don't tell anyone, but I stitched until 2am Saturday morning! Very naughty but I just wasn't tired and even when I went to bed I still couldn't sleep. Guess I could/should have stitched all night!!

Here are the usual progress pictures:

After 130 hours

After 140 hours

With the school half-term holidays over, I'm now going to try to get back into a proper routine and prove to hubby that I am aware there is more to life than stitching! Boo :(

See you soon.

All the best and
Happy stitching :)
Rachel x