Sunday, 21 February 2021

Fabric Dyeing Experiment

Following the 'success' of my Baxters beetroot pickle juice dye effort and many Floss Tube videos where lovely folks shared an interest in dyeing their own fabric base for stitching, I decided to experiment a little further.  In search of various shades of blue aida and even weave I bought some vintage blue Dylon and spend an hour playing with fabric oddments in my kitchen.

I soaked a variety of scrappy pieces of aida and even weave in a roasting tray dye bath.  Some for 15 mins, some for 30 mins, some for 45 mins and a final few for 1 hour.  All very scientific (if you exclude the fact I forgot to dye a 'control' piece of the exact same fabric in each batch).

Here are my results.

I found it quite interesting to see how the different weaves and counts of fabric accepted the dye.  I mean, there wasn't much difference between the aida left for 15 mins (far left) and that left for 60 mins (far right).  However, you can see that some of the creamier base fabrics accepted the dye to take on more of a duck-egg hue (central fabrics shown above).

My favourite piece was some 25 count even weave which dyed unevenly.  Of course, as soon as it had dried out, I couldn't wait to put some stitches in it!

I've been missing my mum  dreadfully over the past number of weeks, so I chose this beautiful free Mother's Day design from Jacob de Graff at Modern Folk Embroidery in her memory.  I'm using DMC variegated thread no 48.  I love how it is stitching up on the slight uneven dye of the fabric.  

My little dye experiment was a lot of fun so I might try some other shades of Dylon one day soon.  Watch this space!

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Spelling Bee - Progress 3

Late in 2019 I made a start on Lori Holt's Spelling Bee Quilt.  At that time I published Progress 1 and Progress 2 posts and as you can see there's been a bit of a lull until this Progress 3 post!  2020 with all it's cancelled plans and nonsense got in the way somewhat and then I was distracted by the Kindred Spirits QAL, but it's lovely to be ready to pick this one up again.

Happily, I discovered that I had already cut the fabrics for M and W back in 2019 so these were a nice little easy return to piecing.

Then I cut and pieced the U and the hashtag.  Must say, it's very satisfying to choose fabrics and to work on these.  

I do hope to be able to make regular progress now with the Spelling Bee blocks, but to be honest, the cutting is intense with so many tiny pieces, so it will be slow and steady to win this race.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Valentine Stitching

As well as the Stitches From the Heart cross stitch, I found a few other Valentine themed stitcheries to play with this month.  

I finished up Bee Mine by Stitching with the Housewives. I cannot tell you how much I adore this fun, little design!

This pretty stitch is from a free pattern by The Primitive Hare.  I stitched this 1 strand over 1 thread on a 25 count even weave so it's teeny, tiny (3.5" embroidery scissors for scale).

And, just to keep exercising my ageing eyesight, this is another tiny one.  It's the 2020 Collector's Heart design by Heart In Hand.  I haven't made any further progress on this one, but maybe in time for next Valentines. Then, perhaps I'll make all of these Valentine smalls into little pillows or ornaments for a love-filled display.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Fully Finished Embroideries

February is marching on apace and I need to do a few catch up posts documenting my makes and progress.  Today I'll start with some sweet embroidery finishes.

Emilie Aime La Pluie (kit from Un Chat Dans L'aiguille) was started back in October and I got more than halfway before Emilie succumbed to our redecoration and then Christmas plans.  But I was determined to finish her completely so she can be hung up and admired.  It just took one evening at the end of January to add all the finishing stitches.  I do love this little design so much!

I had also joined the Un Chat Dans L'aiguille Noel SAL slightly late (mid-November, I think) with great intentions of finishing on time to display for last year's festive celebrations.  I was going great guns at one point (not sure I ever shared progress here) but then I hit the bullion stitches and got myself a bit hung up on them.  So I basically avoided it for a while before running out of time to achieve a pre-Christmas finish.  So better late than never, this one also got a little attention late January to complete the stitches.

A little fabric wrapping of hoops created a perfect finish for both the embroideries and I really am delighted to have them as Fully Finished Objects (FFOs).

This week I wrapped another hoop and mounted the previous Un Chat Dans L'aiguille Follow Your Dreams SAL piece.   This one is so spring-like and cheerful. I can't wait to hang it up now.  

It feels good to get things properly finished up and to be able to enjoy them better than when they're lying in a WIP pile!

Monday, 1 February 2021

February 2021 - Cross Stitch WIPGO

You know that cross stitch rabbit hole I fell down and all the shiny things I want to stitch I was telling you about?  Well, here's how I plan to help myself along with that - WIPGO. 

If you haven't heard of WIPGO, which I hadn't until a week ago, it's a kind of Bingo-like draw which encourages you to work on a list of projects you identify as part of WIPGO and goals that you set for it.  I guess initially, it was intended that you would nominate your WIPs, assign them a number on your WIPGO (bingo) board and work on those WIPs when the monthly numbers were randomly called.  Clear as mud?  Jessie Marie can explain it much better than I ever will.  Anyway, now WIPGO can include projects that are WIPs, new starts you want to make, whatever.  You are in control of the plan and the goal setting, just not the random draw of two numbers for each month.

Now that I understand WIPGO a little, I thought it would be a great way for me to deal with the question of "where do I start?" in terms of managing everything I see and want to stitch.  Since there are no deadlines for any of this stitching, I aim to keep it varied and fun while making a little progress and avoiding the forever UFO situation.  Those of you with a nervous disposition might prefer not to think about what this means in terms of projects on the go at any one time, or allowable new starts;-)

So, with apologies for the long pre-amble, here's my WIPGO board for 2021 (starting in February) - 

Working left to right across the rows and top row to bottom, the spaces are numbered 1 to 25.  Each month Jessie Marie calls two numbers randomly, and those will be my WIPGO focus projects for the month.  I have decided that my goal for each project on the board is to make time to stitch on that project for 10 hours over 2 consecutive days (most likely a weekend) when that project's number is called.

Numbers 4 and 20 have been called for February.

#4 True Friends - This is a kit from my first ever subscription box from Cotton & Twine. It just arrived last week, so I'm delighted it's going to be a new start under WIPGO right away!

#20 O Holy Night Advent Calendar - at the other end of the spectrum, this is my longest ever cross-stitch WIP. I've not stitched on it since about 2006!!! Time to show it some attention and hope maybe it encourages me to continue picking it up throughout the year.  So far I have only stitched some of the little ornaments that hang on it.  There's not a single stitch in the actual (rather huge) calendar backdrop!

Happy to have a plan.  I'm not expecting miracles, just progress.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

A happy treat for ME!

Let me show you what arrived in the post last week.

I know that even the box itself is gorgeous, but wait until you see what's inside!

Can you stand the suspense?

This, dear blog friends, is a little gift to myself.  It's my first ever Cotton and Twine subscription box!  This is a monthly cross-stitch subscription but you aren't necessarily committed to a particular subscription period, so you can cancel when you want to.  You do know in advance what is coming in the monthly box because tantalising pics are posted on the Cotton and Twine IG page. There's a pattern chart for this month, the brown paper package contains the fabric, threads and needle for stitching it and even the frame to finish it has been supplied.  There's also a sweet little heart ornament from East of India and a sachet of coffee and vegan jelly hearts (for veganuary) which I imagine will provide stitching sustenance.

Thank you so much to the ladies at Cotton and Twine for a gorgeous first box for me.  I've also spied next month's design and am thrilled that it too will head this way in due course.  If you are interested in the subscription box check out their website and IG feed.  Also take a look at the Historical Sampler Company website or @historicalsampler on IG for other kits and designs they sell.  There's not much there I don't want to add to my cart!

Saturday, 30 January 2021

January's Tiny Stitches

You may or may not know, but I used to cross stitch a lot years ago, before patchwork became my new love.  I've always loved the slower rhythms of hand stitching of all sorts and I'm sure if you've been hanging around here for long enough you'll not be surprised by that, and will have seen plenty of evidence in EPP patchwork, hand quilting, a little embroidery and occasionally a cross-stitch piece, too.  In the mayhem of 2020, I found solace and sanity in those slower rhythms again, something I think 2021 is also going to require.

At the end of last year, I fell down a rabbit hole of Floss Tube, SALs, new patterns and available freebies and I have so many things I want to stitch that I hardly know where to start.  Though I think I may just have figured that out, but more on that next week ;-)

In the meantime, the lull of a long January and the tightening of lockdown restrictions pushed me a little deeper into that rabbit hole. Patterns were printed off, online shopping carts checked out and project bags made ready, so I have a few little bits of cross-stitching to show you from this month.

Fat Quarter Stitch were offering this quilty inspired Stitches from the Heart pattern for free as part of their plans for #beminesal in February and I thought, why not? I found this satisfying as a stitcher and a quilter.  By the way,  if you are interested there is also a free quilt pattern for a Stitches from the Heart mini quilt and a wallhanging.

Of course, I couldn't resist the Lori Holt Sew By Row SAL hosted by Fat Quarter Shop either.  Though, I had to wait until a couple of weeks after the start of the SAL for the pdf of this pattern to become available to purchase.  It means that I'm a bit behind but I'll just try to maintain my own weekly pace rather than catch up.  There is a spot and a frame ready for this one just beside my sewing nook! Aren't those tomato pincushions adorable?

Then, watching Floss Tubes and Fat Quarter Shop I've gotten a little Valentine stitching bug.  If you knew this house, you'd laugh because we are the least Valentine's celebratory home in the world.  But that's not because of me, so I decided that I'm going to change that and celebrate Valentine's myself with cute stitches when I fancy.  It's a lovely excuse to stitch pretty little patterns, of which the 'Bee Mine' by Stitching with the Housewives that you see above is just one of many I have bookmarked for future reference.  Available from either Fat Quarter Shop or the Stitching with the Housewives Etsy shop.

You might be able to make out in the picture above that I had a go at dyeing my aida pink.  I used the juice from Baxters pickled beetroot!  With no real clue of the 'how to' I just pressed on and it's done.  I wet my aida with water, dunked it in the beetroot juice and took it out when I started to get nervous. Whether it'll fade dramatically I have no idea. I did try to 'fix' it with salt and then with heat, so maybe I'll get lucky.  Either way, I'm happy.  I have a little scrap of pink aida to stitch on and feel very 'Good Life' about it ;-)

This is my progress so far with 'Bee Mine' - 

It makes me happy!

Finally, having uncovered this cross stitch UFO in a box before Christmas I decided to take it out and finish it.  The pattern is from this lovely book by Barbara Hammet.

I'm not sure why I ever left it unfinished because honestly all there was to do was the little bit of backstitching on the butterflies and caterpillar, the honeysuckle stamen and the leaves.  It has been languishing for years for the sake of 45mins stitching! Anyway, it is now complete and awaiting a little framing attention so I can hang it in our bedroom. Winner!

I did tell you I'd fallen down a rabbit hole, didn't I?  And, like I say, there's lots more to come hopefully.

Good job I made some more project bags with the scraps leftover from the Kindred Spirits quilt ;-)

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