Saturday, 29 December 2012

Nearly the year end, almost a page end?

I had two things I wanted to achieve before the end of 2012, the first was to finish the latest section on my Pet Portrait Course, which I finally did last night, this is the latest piece, which together with eye studies make up the second section of my course, I will send them all in on January 2nd and will keep my fingers crossed that I do well.

The other thing I really wanted to do was finish my current page on Night Queen, I've just done a quick stitch count and I have 2587 stitches left to able? I think so, as long as I don't get too distracted by housework lol

So needles at the ready, and a quick prayer to the thread fairy in the hopes I do not run out of any colours, here I go!

Saturday, 15 December 2012


I'm so chuffed, I had thought I would suffer the usual new page blues and pop her away for a few weeks, but thankfully not, I have carried on stitching the next page and am about a third of the way through already, hopefully bang on track to finishing this page by the end of the year.

I'm also trying to find the time to finish my current submissions for my art course, I finished these wolf eyes in pastel yesterday:

This is the last piece I need to finish this part of the course, Tiger again in pastels, I think it will take a lot of hours to get the layers of fur and all the details right, this is the underpainting stage, with a little detail added in the top right corner

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Another Quick Thread Count

This is just for me to try to keep tabs on how many skeins I have brought so far for this project, including the 10 I ordered last week, and the 40 more I ordered today, we are now upto 296 skeins of DMC threads...............

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Finally! I do not know what it was about this page, I just seemed to get a massive block with it, I dread to think how long I spent on it, it must have been over 6 months.

But I am so pleased I stuck it out and I am hopefully over the block now and ready to keep going with this project, first few stitches are already into page number 9.  If I really stick with it, I am wondering if I can complete another page before the end of the year?

The page has 7220 stitches, that would mean an average of 277 stitches per day, every day until 31st December...............I reckon I can do it! Watch this space lol

So here she is:

 And with my kitty cat for scale :)

Now I am off to do a quick thread inventory and order for the page ahead, then on with the stitching!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Christmas Crafting Giveaway x

Still waiting on threads, postie is not my friend this week, bringing me nothing but bills so far!

But while I wait I am doing some updates on my Gothic Yarns sock wools and have just added a big crafting stash giveaway on my facebook page,  I thought I would share it with you guys, in case anyone fancies joining in the fun x

Here is a piccie of all the goodies :)

And here is the linky link:

Friday, 30 November 2012

Thread shortage stops play.........

I was so hoping to get this page finished this week, but I have run out of threads (again), with only about 800 stitches to go.......................

I have ordered more today and they will be here hopefully early next week, so I promise to share a page finish with you next week x

But for now, here is how she looked last night, I really love the lips, the effect is gorgeous

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

1500 stitches to go.............

Almost at a page finish, this page seems to have taken me forever, it must be over 6 months? Thats just awful! But I am very nearly there and should be able to share by the end of tomorrow.

I've just finished up the latest piece for my art course. cats eyes in coloured pencil, my first play with coloured pencils since I was probably about 10 years old, i'm not a huge fan of them to be honest, they don't do what I want them to lol!  But I will practice some more and hopefully get a little more skilled and a little more confident as I go on.

Monday, 26 November 2012

We have an eye!

Finally a little bit of an update on Night Queen, one of the eyes is finished :) When working it, I was a little worried as it does look blocky right up close, but when you step back, it all comes together.

I am a couple of thousand stitches away from a page finish and I hope to share her with you in a couple of days :)

Here she is in my 21in hoop x

Monday, 19 November 2012

More furry-ness

I'm working very hard on my art works at the moment, working towards a diploma in Pet Portraits, sadly Night Queen has only had about 100 stitches in the last week :(

But I have completed a couple of pastel portraits which I am really happy with, Pastels are a new medium for me and I am still getting to grips with them, but I have to say, I LOVE them, especially on velour paper, here are the two I finished last week:

Snow Leopard


I'm now working in graphite on a pair of puppy eyes for the course :)

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Wolf Update :)

Thank you so much for the comments and messages from my last post, drawing has become a bit of a passion/obsession, I started learning just over a year ago and haven't looked back :)  I've found I really, really love drawing animals and birds, wolves and owls in particular, its a little ambition of mine to one day have them converted into cross stitch :)

To answer a couple of questions, it takes maybe around 30-40 hours to do a detailed drawing like this, I like to build up the fur in layers which takes alot of time, but I think its worth it.  I have done a couple of drawings for other people, but am not confident enough to offer commissions yet, I hope to one day though.  It would be wonderful to do pet portraits for people who love their furrbabies xx

This guy was going to be my first for sale, but I have decided instead to send him as a gift to a family friend who adores wolves.  I'm planning to try him again in pastels next week, my first attempts at colourwork with animals, not sure it will turn out as well, but its all good experience, I will give it my best shot!

Here is is after a few more hours, he isnt quite finished, I will pop him away overnight now and look at him with fresh eyes in the morning before adding the final layers of fur and tone.

Furry distractions................

I would get more stitching done if I didn't keep getting so distracted. Between stitching's at the moment I have been drawing this handsome wolf and I am finding it hard to drag myself away.  I must admit a little obsession with these gorgeous creatures, this is the second one I have drawn and I have many more waiting for me.

He should be finished in the next day or two

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Quick Update!

Just a quickie, I have made some progress on Night Queen, not as much as I'd like, but I hope for a page finish soon.

But I had to share, as you can finally see a peek of an eye! Here she is on my huge hoop.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Other Crafts :)

As I mentioned in the interview with Cathy, I do find it hard to work on such a big project at times and I do enjoy lots of other crafts, in addition to my drawing, I have started to experiment with knitting and crocheting toys and amigurumi.

These are a few of my recent knitted toys, as you can see I have become a little addicted to Alan Darts patterns

I've also had a few tries at designing my own amigurumi, the first one is The Worm, inspired by the Labyrinth film, I think he turned out pretty cute :) And the next one was a little knitted grim reaper, ready for halloween.

Featured In World Of Cross Stitching Magazine!!!

I was contacted a couple of months ago by Cathy Lewis, who had spotted my project on this blog, I answered a few questions and send a couple of pictures, then I must admit, I forgot about it lol.

I was so surprised to open up my sub issue 195 and see, there I am on pages 68 and 69 :) Woop!!

It is a really lovely write up and I am so grateful to Cathy for writing it. I have attached a picture below if you would like a peek, it also made my sons day to see his picture in one of my magazines.

Fame at last? lol

Could there be a better push to get me stitching again? I dont think so, lol, needles are being threaded as we speak :)  I am hoping to start working on one of the eyes soon and am really interested to see how they stitch up, I will share some more pictures of her as soon as I can.

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read and reply to my blog, I hope I can share more pictures with you very soon!

Monday, 10 September 2012

The Biggest Hoop I've Ever Seen!

Stitching on Night Queen is slow, but she is coming along, my newest purchase is really helping, I have to this the biggest hoop you have ever seen! lol

It is a quilting hoop, 21 inches across and very sturdy, its made a big difference, I can keep her on the hoop all the time and I cover with a clean sheet to stop it getting mucky, but I can just pop in a stitch whenever I like.

Before it would take me a good half an hour to get it out, on the hoop, organise the threads etc, this is much easier :)  Plus the area inside the hoop will fit an entire page worth of stitching, so I dont have to keep moving it around all the time.

I purchased it from the always brilliant

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Thread Counting

This is just a quick post, for me mostly, I loose track of the threads I have used and purchased and want to keep a running total if I can.

Including the recent purchases, I've just done a count and a quick organisation of the thread box and bag before getting started on my next page and am up to 246 skeins of DMC=eek!

Stitching, Drawing and More stitching :)

I have had a lovely relaxing Jubilee Weekend, I hope you have too.  The weather wasnt great, but it was the perfect excuse to stay home and craft, whilst watching everyone getting wet on the telly.

I have finished lots of small pieces over the weekend, these cushions were made using charts from the latest issue of Crazy, I requested tropical fish for the Crazy For section and was really thrilled when they did them, they are really lovely charts.

I also found this Margaret Sherry cutie in my drawer, so popped it through the sewing machine:

And, lastly I finally finished my dog portrait drawing, it took so many hours, but i'm pleased with him, I know that there are areas that are a bit 'fudged' and he looks alot rougher than I would like, but for this point in my course, i'm thrilled, I hope you like him x

This afternoon I am knitting a little orange blob, otherwise known as Zingy from the EDF energy adverts, my daughter is obsessed with him, so I promised to see what I could do.

Tonight, Night Queen is going back on the hoop!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Taking A Break For Jubilee Stitching

Thank you for all of the lovely comments and emails on Night Queen, I am glad you are enjoying watching her progress, i'm managed a couple of hundred stitches and brought 10 more skeins of thread, but have popped her away for the day to have some fun with my drawing and some Jubilee stitching.

Here is a picture of my current drawing WIP, I think its a chocolate Lab, which is a required piece for my portrait course, its taking such a long time to get the detail into the fur, I think upwards of 20hours so far, but i'm really pleased with how he is coming along, he isnt perfect, and there are areas which are really bothering me, but thats why i'm taking this course, to help, so for now, i'm very happy :)

This morning, we had a mad time running around town looking for Jubilee bunting as requested by my four year old son, he was so disappointed when we couldnt find any flags, that I stitched him one, I think you can tell how pleased he was with it, try to ignore the fact that it is upside down :)

Tonight, i'm planning a little more Jubilee themed stitching, with a blackwork design from the latest Card Shop magazine, its a lovely design and stitching up pretty quickly, I might see if I can get two done and made up into pillows, but I think I may have left it a little late.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Page 7 finished!

Page 7 of 24 is done :)  236 strands of DMC purchased so far - eek!

A quick re-cap, she is being stitched in 6 strands of DMC threads, over 2 on 18ct evenweave, so it works out at 9 stitches per inch. The design is Night Queen by Jessica Galbreth @ Heaven and Earth Designs.

I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into page 8, it looks like a big chunk of hair, but then i'm onto the facial features, I cannot wait to see how those stitch up.

It looks like I will have a little more time to give to this project for a while, although I do need to juggle my time with art course work as well, i'm hoping to be able to share another page finish before the end of June.

I'm also going to try my best to update my blog a little more frequently from now on, i've been a bit of a bad blogger ;@)

Here are some piccies, I hope you like her x

300 stitches till page finish

Nearly there!  I have a free day today, lots of stitching time.  I hope to have this page finished by lunch and will get a picture up as soon as I can.  Then, once again its time to buy more threads!

I may even get a few hundred stitches into page 8 if I'm lucky!

I thought I would share a picture of a quick finish I made at the weekend, its a blackwork ankh made into a cushion with with a mix of black fabrics

Monday, 28 May 2012

Page 7, very nearly almost done

I've really enjoyed working on Night Queen recently, I seem to have gotten used to the large piece of fabric and how to hold it to stitch as easy as possible.  But these last few days its been too hot to stitch with the fabric drapped over me, so although I only have about 1000 stitches to do, getting them done has not been easy.

Thankfully, weather man has told me its going to cool down a bit -phew, so watch this space, I hope to be back in the next day or two with a new update and page finish.  I'm really looking forward to taking the fabric off and laying it out.  When I'm stitching on it, its really difficult to see what i'm actually stitching, it all looks like just random squares until you take it off and stand back, then the picture comes to life.

Whilst I havent been stitching, I am working away on my art course, i've now completed my Drawing And Painting Diploma, and have moved onto a Pets Portrait course, I'm finding this very challenging, but so much fun, here are the first couple of drawings I have completed for the course:

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Think I've found my Groove ;)

After 6 pages of trial and error, stitching trouble and thread problems, I think i've finally found the way which works best for this large project.

I'm still waiting to order my quilting hoop, got to wait for payday :) Not sure yet whether to go for the 18 or 21 inch, I'm thinking the 21 might be best.

I have started the next page and instead of working my 10x10 squares in a horizontal row as I would do with any other project, I've tried working a vertical column, why didnt I do this before? I've cut the first column from the chart page 10 stitches across and half the page length -40 stitches down, using magnets i've attached it onto the fabric so I can see it easier. I start with the first colour in the top square and then stitch all of that colour, line by line until I reach the bottom of the chart piece I have out, then I pull the thread through about 12 stitches away, leave the tail at the front and cut, then choose the next colour and do the same, until the chart section is finished.

Its so much easier and faster than stitching across the chart and i'm wasting far less thread.

The first column is already complete :) Not sure how much longer i'll be able to work on her before I get my next lot of commissions, but i'm hoping to finish another column or two before I put her away again.

I did a quick thread count and nipped out to buy 6 I had run out of, this brings my skein total to 216! Its a good thing this project is taking so long really, i'd never be able to afford these threads all at once.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Little Owl Drawing finished

Just finished this little guy, in 4h, HB, and 2B Derwent Graphite pencil, sorry for the awful photograph, its very dark here today.

I would love to have the skill to do him perfect, but for now, i'm happy with him. Practice makes perfect :)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Happy Dance, Page 6 finished!

Finally........ thanks for sticking with me.

With my son, who wouldnt move until I took his picture :)

Full sized shot- fabric measures 54 inches across the top and 57 inches top to bottom, with a skein of DMC thread for scale, stitched in 6 strands over 2 on 18ct fabric, so it works out at 9stitched per inch.

And a closer shot

Its nice to lay it out and look at how far i've come, you dont see it when you are stitching something this big, until you can step back.

Now, I will take a thread stocktake as I will need to place another order before I can start the next page, I'm also buying a new 18 inch quilting hoop, ideally I would like to finish the next page by the end of June, but it will be a bit tight I think with all of the other things I have on.

I will update as and when I can, I hope you enjoy the pictures.


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Fabric and stand trouble

I have just three hundred stitches to go, but am taking a quick break so thought i'd pop this on, just in case anyone has any suggestions.

This was this afternoon, I have the fabric on a 12 inch hoop and held on a stand frame, the excess fabric is held in a hairband off to one side, when I sit down I fold this around my hip and behind my back to keep it out of the way.

At the moment I am stitching on the second row of pages, but am already starting to have some issues, because I am using 6 strands of thread, the fabric is getting heavier very quickly, for now the stand holds the hoop up most of the time, but its starting to fall more and more.

As you can see, I have folded the top fabric over 4 times and it fits under the clamps, although it does fall out from time to time, once I get onto the third row of the chart, i'm not sure that it will hold anymore without damaging what I have already stitched, the 12 inch hoop is also starting to feel fragile with the weight and is beginning to bend.

So I need to find a way to hold the fabric which makes it easier to stitch on and something which is strong enough to take it. The fabric is 48 inches across, I did manage to find one scroll frame and stand that would take the size, but it was several hundred pounds. I have tried q-snaps on it, but because I am using 6 strands of thread, the fabric is too thick to hold with the snaps and they keep popping off.

For now, I am going to buy a 18 inch quilting hoop, it should be much stronger and able to hold the weight. But other than that i'm not sure what I can do once this row of pages are finished.

The other thing I have considered is buying an old scroll frame and stand, removing the bars and seeing if I can add new ones, long enough to hold the whole piece, it would make working on her so much easier.

I will be back with a picture of my page finish in the morning

Very nearly at the page end

1200 stitches to go...... should be able to post a picture of my page finish in the morning tomorrow, phew, this page has been very slow going. Doesnt help, that this little guy keeps calling me back to finish him :)

Its been a mega busy couple of weeks, but worth it, submissions completed and sent for my art course, commissions for Card Shop finished, then the long easter weekend off to just sketch and stitch on Night Queen, just what I needed to re-charge the creative batteries.

I have a question to ask of my fellow stitchers, have you ever tried 'Parking' your threads? The system I have with Night Queen of leaving the tails at the front when i've finished working them has helped, I dont have to move the hoop all the time to loop the ends in, but its proving slow and quite costly and wasteful threadwise. As the financial side of the project is starting to mount up a bit, saving a few pounds on threads per page is something I need to think about.

I do remember trying parking once on All Hallows Eve, but I couldnt get to grips with it, I found it fiddly and confusing, but i'm thinking it might be worth a try again for this project.

So, if you've tried it and have any advice, or a web link to a tutorial, would you mind sharing?

I promise to return tomorrow with a picture of Night Queen, I'm quite excited to see it myself, while the fabric is all rolled up on the hoop, I cant really see the design at all, it will be nice to take it off and roll it out, see how it is coming together.

Thanks readers and happy stitching :)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

Before I type anything else, I want to say a very big thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my (very slow) blog, thank you so much! I have had some really lovely emails over the last few months, checking on my progress, offering advice and very kind comments on my drawings, you guys rock!

Since christmas I have been so busy with work, i've had little time to play and so no stitching or drawing was done. Until a couple of weeks ago, when I broke the pencils out and had a try at this handsome fella, he isnt perfect, but i'm pleased with how he turned out, my confidence was at a very low point and loosing myself with him for a couple of days was great therapy. I'm now working on an owl in graphite, plus trying to get my head around acrylics and colour for my course.

I also now have a few days off from work stitching to do my own stitching, Night Queen is back on the hoop! I'm about half way through the page, maybe a little more and am planning on really cracking on with her today and tomorrow to see how much I can get done, as long as I dont run out of threads I should be close to a page finish by the end of the week.............

I had such great plans to stitch on her in 2012, but its almost April and progress is so slow I'm determined April will not creep up on me before I finish this page.

I hope to be back very soon with a page finish and picture update :) Happy stitching xxx

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Finally, A Page Finish!

I'm so sorry it is taking me so long to update this project, I really wish I had more time to spend on her. I'm going to try to give her a little more time this year, I started her in May 2010 and am quite sad that I have only finished 5 pages in all that time.

Before I waffle on anymore, here is todays picture, 5 pages finished:

I've popped my stork scissors on for a sense of scale :) This is now the top line of pages finished.

Page 5 of 25 done, now onto page 6.......

Here are some stats for those who are interested, so far I have stitched 34,300 stitches, only 116900 to go. At this rate it is going to take me at least 3 more years to complete urgh!

The stitching so far measures 37.5 inches across the top, by 10.5 inches. I've just purchased another 90 threads, this brings my thread total to a scary 210 DMC skeins -eek!

I am on holiday for another week, so I am going to crack on, I'd love to get close to another page finish, not sure thats possible, but one of my new years resolutions is to put more time into this project. Ideally getting her half finished by the end of 2012.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my blog, I hope to have another update for you alot sooner than last time!

Happy stitching s