Thursday, 30 November 2017

All About Blogger of the Week - Pinned Post - Scroll down for the interviews

As a long-time subscriber of the now defunct Cross Stitch Collection magazine, one of my favourite articles was their Blogger of the Month.  When the magazine ceased publication I decided it would be fun to continue the tradition but make it a weekly feature (more bloggers for your money!).

I started by inviting some of the followers of my blog to see if there was any interest in doing interviews and articles and this blog is the result!

If you would like to be interviewed and considered for a post on the blog, please email me at joanneperry179@gmail.com with a link to your blog.

I do hope you enjoy reading the posts and leave comments for the interviewee.  Hopefully it will inspire you to visit their blog and add a new blog to your Reader.

Just for fun, here's the full version of the design I "cut-up" for the header:


Designed by Elissa Hudson, stitched as a birth sampler for some friends.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Christine from The Alchymyst's Study

This week's Blogger of the Week is another very talented multi-crafter and artist, photographer and wordsmith.  An enthusiastic participant in my Blog Hop, particularly the Mystery Phrase guessing from only a handful of letters.  You can blame her for Hemlock Root & Henbane as I wanted something she couldn't guess immediately!  This blogger is a fashion guru and is raising the next generation of crafters with two daughters who are also keen crafters.  Her other talent is finding the best free charts for the Needlecraft Haven challenges each month.  Please welcome Christine from



1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

Hi, I’m Christine. I live in Cornwall ( that’s the pointy bit in the bottom left hand corner of England for foreign visitors), with my husband of 31 years, where we run our own wedding photography business. We have two grown-up daughters (Eloise lives in Leeds and Naomi is currently studying abroad) and share our home with two cats. I do all kinds of art and crafts, not just stitching, and you’ll find little bits of all sorts of things on my blog.


2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

My mother used to teach needle work in secondary school which is probably why I’ve been stitching my whole life. I can remember making table mats and coasters by adding running stitch borders to squares of binca when I was about 6 or 7, and from there I moved on to stamped embroidery kits. The Holly Hobby kit, I must have stitched when I was around 14 or so.



I probably started seriously cross stitching when it “boomed” in the mid 1980s, this design of lilies by Marc Saastad for Silver Lining was one of my first cross stitch pieces.





3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?

I’ve been blogging for about 10 ½ years. Yes I was surprised too when I went and checked that. I didn’t think it had been that long. My husband and I were both originally chemists, and I used the nickname of “The Alchymyst” on the internet long before I started blogging so “The Alchymyst’s Study” seemed like an obvious choice.



4. How would you describe your stitching style? Are you a serial starter, a rotator, a OAAT (one at a time), highly organised, random and eclectic, etc.?

Oh dear. I am SUCH a serial starter, in all crafts, not just stitching. I’ve got the attention span of a mayfly when it comes to crafting, and I’ve always got multiple projects one the go. Random, and eclectic are very good words to describe my style.

Geeky and weird have also been known to have been used.



5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

I wouldn’t say I’ve one particular favourite designer, more a favourite style. I love samplers and anything which uses a variety of mixed stitches (did I say eclectic and low attention span?), I enjoy doing Hardanger and drawn thread work, and I like a stitched piece to look like a stitched piece rather than looking like a painting. I’m not a huge fan of full coverage pieces for example.



6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

That’s a tough choice. I’ve been lucky enough to have a few of my own designs published, so I suppose I’m proudest of those. I think my favourite would have to be the penguin one I designed for Stitch Magazine. I’ve got a bit of a thing about penguins.



7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

A few years ago I completely fell in love with the first instalment of a mystery SAL, signed up for the series, bought all the threads and beads (and they were pretty expensive), and then found I hated the rest of the design when it was released.

More recently, I stitched a little primitive Santa ornament, and decided to antique it with tea when it was finished. All the colour from the red threads ran, and left me with “Serial Killer Santa”



8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

Don’t get me started, I want to try ALL the crafts – Bwa ha ha ha!

Seriously, the one thing I’d love to be able to do is crochet. I have tried. If I’ve got my “Idiots Book of How to Crochet” in front of me with the diagrams then I can manage well enough with simple things, but I just seem to be incapable of retaining the information, which is odd because I can knit pretty much anything.



9. Do you have a box of finished-but-not-fully-finished pieces? Or is everything FFO'd? What's your favourite way to fully finish a project and what do you do with them?

Yeah, I’ve got a box of unfinished things. I call it my house.

I used to like to frame pieces, but what with how long I’ve been stitching and being married to a photographer, we’re getting pretty low on wall space, and to be honest we don’t have a whole lot more room for cushions either, so I pretty much stick to smalls and ornaments these days. If I do larger pieces then they’re generally for gifts. I stitched this Jane Austen quote for Eloise, if you look carefully you can see her name hidden in it.



And this slightly censored one was stitched for Naomi.



10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

That’s another tough one. I’m going to go with my dragon, because he’s in all my favourite colours. Also he’s kind of meant to be Smaug hoarding the Arkenstone, which feeds my inner geek



11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!

I have an absolutely filthy sense of humour. Cards against Humanity anyone?

I really don’t think I ought to share any of my favourite jokes, there might be delicate sensibilities reading this.








Friday, 10 November 2017

Beadgirl from Books, Crafts and Other Procrastinations

This week's Blogger of the Week is another multi-talented multi-crafter who also loves to join in with my Blog Hops!  My current favourite project is her Year of Stitches embroidery challenge.  Make sure you have a good look at that when you visit Janalyn AKA Beadgirl of



1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

I’m Janalyn Martínez.  I was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in Massachusetts (go Sox!), and now live in Queens, New York.  I have a husband, three boys, and two cats. I’m a part-time librarian.



2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

Since childhood.  My mom taught me the basics of sewing and embroidery, I had children’s needlepoint and cross stitch kits, and I even took some classes in my grade school in quilting and crewelwork (not home-ec, just a school with an odd selection of electives).



3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start?  Is there a story behind your blog title?

Since 2009. (Sheesh!)  I had to give up my original career as a lawyer to care for my oldest, who has Down Syndrome, and I was looking for a way to keep up my writing skills.  I had moved away from the friends I discussed books with and I wanted a way to express my thoughts about what I was reading.  I enjoyed reading other crafty blogs, and I wanted a way to record what I was making.  So it all came together!  There’s nothing special behind the name except that I avoid chores by reading and making things. It’s my therapy, and my way of coping with the challenging aspects of my life.



4. How would you describe your stitching style?  Are you a serial starter, a rotator, a OAAT (one at a time), highly organised, random and eclectic, etc.?

I’m not even sure how I’d describe it.  I juggle lots of projects at once, not just different kinds of stitching but crocheting, quilting, and beading too. Some projects languish for years, others I push myself to finish by a deadline, still others get done quickly because I’m enjoying them so much.



5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

I don’t have any particular favorite (and that’s just as well, given how often a designer I like just disappears from the stitching world. Remember Monsterbubbles? Birds of a Feather?).  I like anything colorful, quirky, bohemian, geeky, or nerdy.



6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

A design I stitched for my mom almost two decades ago. It’s much larger than my usual work, and much more elegant, and meaningful to my mom because of what it is and when I gave it to her.



I’m also quite proud of the first pattern I designed, a sampler of Arrested Development quotations; I’ve even sold some copies!



(It’s also how I learned pattern-testing is a thing, and an important one at that.)



7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

I don’t have big disasters — just lots of stupid little errors and mistakes, some of which I can work around, some of which I pretend were intentional, and some which just stare at me and keep me humble.



8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

None! I have too many hobbies already! Don’t give me any more ideas!



9. Do you have a box of finished-but-not-fully-finished pieces?  Or is everything FFO'd?  What's your favourite way to fully finish a project and what do you do with them?

Are … are there people who don’t? Who actually fully finish everything?


It should come as no surprise, then, that my favorite finishing techniques are the simple ones — pillow-style ornaments that I can stitch up on my sewing machine in just a few minutes, or even better, keeping them in a hoop permanently.



10. Which of your projects most represents "you”?


My Paisley Pumpkin Crazy Quilt.  It started as a Mill Hill kit which I can never resist, stitched on fabric instead of cardstock.  I omitted the plaid border because it would be too much boring cross stitch (there’s a reason I favor small designs), instead surrounding it with lots of different fabrics from my stash.  Then I got to embroidering and embellishing it with threads, yarn, lace, trim, ribbon, buttons, charms, beads, fringe, basically anything I could find that was pumpkin-themed or in the right colors. It’s eclectic and all over the place and incorporates all my different crafty interests, so it’s a good emblem of my work.




11. Tell us a secret about yourself.  Or a joke.  About anything!

I’m a bit of a synesthete: letters and numbers have distinctive colors in my head.  I’ve started a series on the colors of the alphabet:

D is green.  I haven’t decided on the medium, though.





12. Anything you would like to add?

Thank you for inviting me to do this! It was fun.


Friday, 3 November 2017

Faith from Faithfully Stitching

This week's Blogger of the Week is a fellow Christmas Ornie SAL Blogger and a long time follower of mine.  She also loves those rather confusing jigsaws where you don't have the picture!  Obviously an animal lover as well as a keen crafter, please welcome Faith from



1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

I live in Tucson and have been here for 2 years.  Originally from Chicago where I had lived my whole life.  I live with my 2 adult children, my awesome grandson, 4 dogs (all rescues from shelters), a red foot tortoise and the newest addition to the bunch is a cockatiel.


2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

I had dabbled a little with embroidery while I was growing up but it didn’t really stick at that time.  In 1995, I was going through some personal stuff and needed something to occupy my mind and time so I went into a local craft store and walked up and down the aisles.  The second to the last aisle was counted cross stitch. I sat on the bottom shelf and started browsing thru a leaflet they had there and found a simple design to stitch.  I gathered up all the supplies needed, went home, stitched it and an obsession was born!


3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?

I had to go look (LOL) I made my first post in January of 2010 but didn’t really start updating regularly until 2011.  My blog title is a play on my name.  I started blogging mainly to see my own stitching progress.  I had been reading other blogs and liked comparing the ongoing progress on the pieces they displayed.


4. How would you describe your stitching style? Are you a serial starter, a rotator, a OAAT (one at a time), highly organised, random and eclectic, etc.?

Oh goodness… before I really got into stitching groups on Yahoo and later Facebook, I like many others was a one piece at a time stitcher.  Now I think I am a serial starter (don’t you just love starting a new piece, it is exciting!) who wishes I was disciplined enough to follow every rotation I put in place for myself.  Instead I just stitch what I want to when I feel like it.


5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

I LOVE geometric and mandala designs, it is just something about the way they are laid out that attracts me.  I love Northern Expressions Needlework and Ink Circles for those designs.  I also love stitching bunnies (I collect them) and simple holiday designs.  However… I am not opposed to stitching most designs put in front of me!


6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

That is a hard choice because I love so many of them but I think it is between the Spirit of the Eagle and Walk Softly. I stitched these for my Father and they were my first pieces with beads.

Spirit of the Eagle
Designer - Sally Smith

Walk Softly
Designer - Linda K Powell


7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

That would have to be Bunny Collector.  It was my first and LAST attempt at stitching “over 2”. I just can’t get the hang of it for some reason.  I finally gave up on this piece, cut off the extra fabric around it and threw the stitching away!  I may attempt to do it over 1 someday in the future.

Designer – Alma Lynne


8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

I used to crochet but my hands no longer like that craft.  I also like to sew but the machine still scares me a bit.  I would love to learn to quilt and it is on my list of things to do so the machine and I better come to an agreement soon.  Most of all though I would LOVE to learn how to finish my pieces off into “something” so they can be displayed.


9. Do you have a box of finished-but-not-fully-finished pieces? Or is everything FFO'd? What's your favourite way to fully finish a project and what do you do with them?

LOL, I have what many call “The Box of Shame” where most of my finished pieces go to rest while I contemplate what to do with them.  The easiest way of course is to frame them but I have even been slacking on that lately.


10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

I also like quotes that serve as reminders for everyday living and encouragement so I think that may be Rules of Life which I stitched in my favorite color…purple!

Designer - Kincavel Krosses


11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!

I can’t think of any secrets off the top of my head.  I am very good at procrastinating and tend to let things pile up which is why I have lots of WIPs and stash!  I also love assembling jigsaw puzzles and that obsession has taken over when I can’t sleep at night.


12. Anything you would like to add?


Just want to say a big THANK YOU to Jo for creating this blog so we can get to know new stitchers and learn about others that we have been following for a while.  Thanks to all who took the time to read about me!  






Friday, 27 October 2017

Sheryl from Sewing After Seven

We are off to another part of Europe for our Blogger of the Week this week.  She has been a great participant in a number of my Blog Hops now and Gifted Gorgeousness too.  She does a variety of crafts as well as cross stitch so there is always something beautiful to see on her blog.  I've added a link at the end to a recent post of a gorgeous book she made for her granddaughter.  Please welcome Sheryl from



1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

My name is Sheryl, born in Kent U.K. and now living in Gijon on the north coast of Spain. I have a son who lives nearby and a daughter and three grandchildren who live in Madrid. I retired from ESL teaching last year.


2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

I remember learning embroidery stitches and making a samper while still at Primary School and my mum taught me how to knit, crochet and sew. I must have been a super boring kid as I can remember taking my knitting to school and in the photo below I´m sporting my first Fair Isle sweater made when I was 15.



3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?

I started my blog three years ago with the idea of just creating a permanent record of my needlework as other girlfriends were doing but I got caught up with the fun of meeting and chatting to other crafters about our shared hobby, seeing what they were making and enjoying the wonderful tutorials and SALs available. I pondered about my blog name for ages endevouring to conjure up something ingenious and memorable but everyone had got there before me and so I opted for `Sewing After Seven´ which is when I do most of my stitching.


4. How would you describe your stitching style? Are you a serial starter, a rotator, a OAAT (one at a time), highly organised, random and eclectic, etc.?

Organised and eclectic. I jump from one technique to another as I´m interested in everything fashioned with a needle, whether hardanger, whitework, crochet, applique, knitting or patchwork. I always have two projects in the making, embroidery which I do in the evening and sewing at any other free moment during the day. I very rarely work on a pattern without knowing what I´m going to use it for and have a dangerous tendency to adulterate patterns and change them to add my own touch of beads, lace, applique, crochet or somesuch with the sometimes disastrous consequences that result from such deviations from the original and result in the entire project being abandoned and banished to the Dreaded Drawer aka UFO cemetery.






5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

No favourite designer. I love embroidery in general but Hardanger, whitework, reticella and schwalm embroidery always draw my attention, as with samplers including speciality stitches and crazy quilting stitches and stumpwork. Also I love fine crochet work.




6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

A quilt I made for a grandson and based on the illustrations by Petra Steinmeyer in the story book The Bremen Town Musicians. I felt very proud when Petra complimented me on my work and asked for more photos of the said quilt.



7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

Not exactly mine but while attending patchwork classes years ago, I was making a cushion cover when the teacher said my little applique houses needed windows and doors but not to bother with embroidering the tiny details as they could be done with a permanent marker pen which she then procured from out of nowhere and proceeded to draw on my cushion making what I considered a horrible mess. Although the cushion is very old and faded you can still appreciate the disaster in the photo.



8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

Definitely whitework, reticella or schwalm embroidery which would make a nice challenge or bobbin lace making. I also need to learn free motion quilting.



9. Do you have a box of finished-but-not-fully-finished pieces? Or is everything FFO'd? What's your favourite way to fully finish a project and what do you do with them?

The aformentioned Dreaded Drawer contains mainly completed patterns which for some reason or another lost favour during their execution and where a lot of the considered substandard experiments have ended up. Sometimes I look at that drawer and rescue something like the tiny design below which when stitched a couple of years ago I found annoyingly unsymmetric but which just this summer I made into a pincushion that I now really like. I don´t have a favourite way of finishing a project but prefer to make a design or pattern into something original or useful and not just framed.



10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

Perhaps my little embroidered pouches. I love working with rich fabrics, velvets, silks and satins etc, and mixing applique with speciality stitches and a splash of beads, sequins etc. perfect.




11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!

It taken me a week to think about this question and I still can´t think of anything intriguing. But rather curious, I suppose, both my children were born the same month, the same date and the same day of the week although born five years apart.


12. Anything you would like to add?

I have found that the stitching community is very friendly and if you are stuck with a particular project or technique, there is always someone to ask or a tutorial to follow. I´m grateful to Jo for including me as a Blogger of the Week and to those who visit my blog and take the time to leave a comment.



Jo recommends that you start with this post - Claudia's Book






Friday, 20 October 2017

Brigitte at Brigitte's Place

This week's Blogger of the Week has been an online friend and follower for many years, since I was first stitching the Dark Alphabet project.  She's also been taking part in the Alphabet Club with some delicious German cakes as well as some lovely stitching.  She is one of our multi-lingual bloggers, blogging in English but commenting in both German and French.  Some people are so talented!  So please say Welcome, Willkommen and Bienvenue to Brigitte from


1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

My name is Brigitte and I live in the south of Germany in a very nice mountainous region.


2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

I started stitching back in the 1990s.  We had a Canadian exchange student living with us for several months and in the evenings she was sitting on the couch stitching on a cross s titch project.  Back then I didn’t know anything about counted cross stitch, the only thing I had seen before was stamped cross stitch.  And she stitched on a Mirabilia angel or fairy. Then she showed me how counted cross stitch works.  And after discovering a German company who sold books and patterns from US-designers I was hooked.

Gathering Place by Stoney Creek


3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?

Some online stitching friends started blogging and I liked the idea to have a blog of my own.  And as you can see from my blog title there is no story behind it, lol.


4. How would you describe your stitching style? Are you a serial starter, a rotator, a OAAT (one at a time), highly organised, random and eclectic, etc.?

Definitely a serial starter.  I’d love to be a rotator but whenever I compile a rotation it just works for a while and I feel great about it.  But then falls apart because I discover something in my stash that I have to start.  This urge can only be satisfied by starting it immediately.  So you could say that I’m the opposite of highly organized, lol. But hey, it’s a hobby and it’s supposed to be fun all over :)

Plymouth Sampler by Brenda Keyes


5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

My first love was the Prairie Schooler, and it still is.  Other than that I stitch what catches my eye, and that goes from traditional samplers to cute designs and everything
between.

Christmas Village by The Prairie Schooler


6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

That might be Good Neighbours by Paula Vaughan.  It was my very first big project and it uses 74 colours (if I remember right) and fractional stitches.  Back then I didn’t even know what fractional stitches are.  So it was a real adventure.

Good Neighbors by Paula Vaughan


7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

I once had stitched and fully finished an ornament for an exchange.  But just before wrapping it up I spilled a cup of coffee over it.  I threw it away and stitched the ornament again.


8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

I’m just happy with cross stitch.


9. Do you have a box of finished-but-not-fully-finished pieces? Or is everything FFO'd? What's your favourite way to fully finish a project and what do you do with them?

I have a box and a drawer with not-fully-finished projects.  I fully finish some of my smaller projects but the rest goes into the drawer or box.  For me the process of stitching is the most important.

Summer Arches by Bent Creek


10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

I would say all of them.

Trousse Mimi Lapin by Les fées brodeuses


11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!

Not really a secret: I love western movies, particularly the old ones.  My favourites are El Dorado and Rio Bravo, I can watch them over and over again..


12. Anything you would like to add?

I love this feature because I love to get to know new bloggers and learn more about the ones I already know.  I hope that you will still find a lot of bloggers who want to participate so that the Blogger of the Week can go on and on and on … :)



Thank you, Brigitte.  Everyone says how much they enjoy this feature.  If you have not been interviewed and would like to be, please email me.  If you know a brilliant blogger, then pass their details on to me so I can discover them too.



Friday, 13 October 2017

Beth from Beth's Needlework Stash

This week's Blogger of the Week is another person I met through The Scarlet Letter Years blog.  She does some beautiful needlework as well as cross stitch.  One of my favourite projects is her 20/20 Challenge.  You must go read up on that after you've read the interview from Beth of



1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

I am Beth and I live in Illinois. I have one wonderful husband, 3 children - 2 boys in college and a daughter who is a senior in high school. Almost an empty nester! My daughter has a cat that loves me, although I only like it.


2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

I have been stitching since I was around 6 years old.  My mom purchased stamped scarves for my sister and I.  My sister took a few stitches, crumpled it up and threw it under the bed.  I made several and then taught myself crewel.  I still have a few of those pieces.  I stopped stitching in college but started again after graduation.  When I married, we moved to the Twin Cities in Minnesota and I discovered the Embroidery Guild of America.  A whole new world of stitching opened up for me! Group correspondence courses, workshops, national seminars!  I have never looked back. 

Beth's First Needlework


3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?

I started blogging in May of 2010.  I wanted a way to journal my stitching and it seemed like a great way to start.  A lady who does not blog any more inspired me and helped me get started.


4. How would you describe your stitching style? Are you a serial starter, a rotator, a OAAT (one at a time), highly organised, random and eclectic, etc.?


I like stitching whatever makes me happy.  I do pilot stitch for ANG and that forces me to have a deadline, but normally, I stitch what I feel like getting done. I always have at least 3 projects in the works: a large project that requires time and thought, a medium project that strikes my fancy and a small project to carry with me.  If I have too many projects started and around, I start panicking.  I do like having a canvas piece to stitch as that is one of my favorite mediums.  I do rotate through some of my larger projects as they get a little tedious.  


5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

I love Gay Ann Rogers designs.  She does canvas work and her instructions are wonderful.  Her pieces can be challenging or very straight forward.  I always learn something when I stitch her pieces. The other thing I love are geometric designs.  Whenever I start a new one, my boys tease me about it. "Haven't you done this one before? It looks the same as the last piece you stitched."


Malachite Heart by Gay Ann Rogers


6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

The piece I am most proud of is Elizabeth by Gay Ann Rogers. She was quite the challenge for me.

Elizabeth by Gay Ann Rogers


7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?


I have a hardanger angel in my basement that I counted wrong.  I was so angry I rumpled it up and threw it across the room.  It is close to being done but I am off and yet I can't bear to through it away.


8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?


I think I am at the point where I want to get better at one of the many techniques I enjoy rather than trying a new one.  But you never know!


9. Do you have a box of finished-but-not-fully-finished pieces? Or is everything FFO'd? What's your favourite way to fully finish a project and what do you do with them?

I have lots of projects that need to be finished.  I now know that I will always have projects that won't be finished.  I like learning the technique and stitching the piece, but I don't necessarily want to hang it on my wall.


10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

I think the project that most represents me is the ANG Stitch of The Month that I taught to my guild. I stitched it 2 times and it has Hilton stitches that I love.


Flowers of Italy by Ro Pace

Blue (above)
and
Red, White & Blue (below)



11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!

No secrets to tell. I tell most things on my blog :-)


12. Anything you would like to add?

I stitch to enjoy myself. It is to relax and make something beautiful.  My stitching is not perfect and I don't enter things to be judged.  One day I may, but nothing is good enough right now.  I try to stitch a little every day and make a little progress on my projects.  I think stitching should bring you joy, If it doesn't, it is time to start another hobby.






Friday, 6 October 2017

Brenda from Time 2 Xstitch

I first met this week's Blogger of the Week through The Scarlet Letter Years blog for reproduction samplers and joined her in the 2014 Just Nan SAL.  Just Nan fans stick together!  In fact we are planning a Nan-a-long next year with a beautiful chart we both have.  As well as samplers our Blogger stitches some lovely smalls and always has nice finishes to show us.  So please welcome Brenda from



1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

My name is Brenda Wilson, and I currently living in Beavercreek, OH. I am a military wife and have been married to my husband Ted for 25yrs. We have 2 children.... Grace who is 22 and Daniel who is 17. We don’t have any pets at this time.


2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

I started cross stitching when I was 17 and I am self taught. My first job was in a fabric store that carried cross stitching charts, DMC floss, hoops, aida fabric and other necessities for cross stitching.



3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?

I have been blogging since Feb 14, 2011. I because intrigued with having a blog while stationed in Germany with my family but I could not read enough German to figure out how to set up a blog on my computer. So I waited until we were restationed back in the USA.


4. How would you describe your stitching style? Are you a serial starter, a rotator, a OAAT (one at a time), highly organised, random and eclectic, etc.?

My stitching style I guess would be described as a serial starter and rotater. I do have my stitching supplies organized as it just drives me nuts in my sewing room to NOT have things organized for the most part. For the designers that I have the most charts for, they are in plastic sleeves and filed in binders. Other designers that I may not have a lot of charts for, I have them filed in decorator gift bags.


5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

My favorite designers would be Just Nan and Shepherd’s Bush. I love designs with specialty stitches in them.

Just Nan Last Stitches

Shepherd's Bush Sail Away



6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

The piece I am probably the most proud of is Examplars From the Heart Resurrection. It is the LONGEST sized piece I have stitched.


Examplars From the Heart Resurrection



7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

I don’t have anything that I have ever had that became a disaster. Perhaps the only disaster I can say would be that I had quite a few UFOs that I knew I would never finish, so I just boxed them up with any special overdyed threads and the chart and donated them to a needlework guild to be gifted out or sold to raise money. So the only disaster on that would be the money I spent in the chart, fabric and speciality fiber.


8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

I would LOVE to learn how to knit socks. I can knit very basic items, but I would love to learn how to knit socks to make fun socks for myself and my daughter.


9. Do you have a box of finished-but-not-fully-finished pieces? Or is everything FFO'd? What's your favourite way to fully finish a project and what do you do with them?

Yes I do have a box of finished items. I hope to make a better effort of getting these finished but not fully finished items completely finished. That would make a great New Years goal. My smalls I like to make into ornaments, needlerolls, or pincushions.

Shepherd's Bush Tudor Needleroll


10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?
I would say that my Christmas ornaments that I have on my yearly Christmas tree represent me very well. I stitch ornaments for myself, family and friends every year.

Prairie Schooler Winter


Friday, 29 September 2017

Erin from Fairy Tales & French Knots

I have known this week's Blogger of the Week for a very long time now, she took part in my very first Advent Calendar Blog Hop back in 2011.  We have a lot of the same tastes, both loving fantasy themed designs, and of course we share a relative in the shape of the Travelling Granny Madame Muriel.  I am always inspired by her finishing ideas and one of my favourites is in this interview.  Please welcome Erin from



1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

Name: Erin

From: the US, upstate New York (New York City is about 250 miles away from where I currently live, and I’ve only visited there twice in my entire life!).  I’ve been all over upstate - my childhood home is in Cattaraugus County (about 2 hours west of where I am now, and where my parents still live), I went to graduate school in Albany, and I spent a couple summers working at a camp in the Adirondacks.  I also lived in Erie, PA for about 8 years.  Now I’m a librarian at a community college.

Family: I’m married, and have one daughter who is 7.  My extended family is pretty far-flung -- as I mentioned above, my parents are about 2 hours away.  My younger sister lives in Kansas with her husband and 3 children, and my husband’s family is all in Iowa.

Victoria Sampler - NY Heart

LHN’s - “Reading”



2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

I’ve been stitching for almost 30 years - wow!  I started when I was about 13, I think, with a little 99-cent ornament kit from the craft store.  I remember that it was a little farm couple that came with a little wooden heart frame, and the people had French knot eyes.  My mom, who is not a stitcher, did her best to teach me, but she hated those knots!

My SECOND finished piece of needlework.  
From a kit, but I personalized it with my name...and a French knot!



3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start?  Is there a story behind your blog title?

I started blogging in 2004.  I think I was inspired by stitchers from The Wagon BB, along with the fact that I actually met my husband via blogging (not on my stitching blog, though….does anyone remember Xanga??).  As for my blog title, back when I started it I was obsessed with just about any pattern with a fantasy or fairy tale theme.  My stash of Teresa Wentzler patterns - as yet unstitched - illustrates that…  And then the French knots, of course (darned little farm couple with their wonky eyes!).

Solaria’s “Stitching the Standard” 
one of the first finished pieces I posted on my blog that seems to suit my imagination pretty well.



4. How would you describe your stitching style?  Are you a serial starter, a rotator, a OAAT (one at a time), highly organised, random and eclectic, etc.?

I used to be a OAATer….then I discovered bulletin boards, eBay, and online shops….now I’m not quite a serial starter, but I DO have multiple projects going with very little rhyme or reason to which one I’ll work on next.  Smalls often “take over,” because gathering supplies is quick and finishes are gratifying.



5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

Hmm.  It really depends on the day!  I love mermaids and aquatic designs, often regardless of designer.  At the same time, I like unique designs - so while I love mermaids, I don’t have (or want) all of the Mirabilia mermaid patterns because they all start to look the same to me.  I know I have quite a collection of Cricket Collection patterns, and also quite a few Just Nans.  I also find something very endearing about many of Homespun Elegance’s designs, particularly the smaller ones, and the Drawn Thread.

“Mermaid Spoken Here” by White Lyon Needleart

“Wings” by Just Nan

“Lady Quaker Silhouette” box by Homespun Elegance)



6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

Oh gosh!  They are all favorites at some point, or they wouldn’t get stitched in the first place…but there is a special place in my heart for Butternut Road’s “Once Upon a Time.” It was one of the first big projects I finished and framed for myself.

Butternut Road - Once Upon a Time



7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

I don’t think I’ve really had one, knock on wood!



8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

I love fabric and color, so quilting intrigues me.  I’ve put together a few tops, but they were very rudimentary - just squares of different sizes and straight lines.  I’m not sure I have the time, patience, or budget to go much beyond that, but I do love the finished products!


Fishing-themed quilt I made for a dear friend.
The pattern was designed for a Moda charm pack, but I swapped that right out.



9. Do you have a box of finished-but-not-fully-finished pieces?  Or is everything FFO'd?  What's your favourite way to fully finish a project and what do you do with them?

Oh my, do I ever have a box full!  Going back decades now….
But I love finishing.  I just need to find the right “things” to inspire my finishing!  I’ve been known to wander the aisles at craft stores and thrift shops, looking for items to repurpose, attach my stitching to, etc.  I have a treasure trove of boxes, frames, and other doo-dads that could have potential.  I particularly love 3-dimensional kinds of finishes.


Mermaid lighthouse

Sunbonnet Girl “flowers”

Door hanger

Clock with Bent Creek’s “Sleep Sweet, Dream Big” inside



10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

Most definitely, Prairie Moon’s “Moon Dance.”  I swapped out many of the colors in this piece for flosses I had in my stash, and as I was working on it, I felt that the dancing girl was my daughter, the stars represented the 3 unsuccessful pregnancies I had prior to her birth, and maybe I was the moon watching over them all.  It is a tiny little piece, and I’ve yet to have it framed, but it is one that I look at often and love.

Prairie Moon - “Moon Dance”



11. Tell us a secret about yourself.  Or a joke.  About anything!

I wouldn’t call myself a musician by any means, but I’ve played the oboe since 5th grade.  After high school, I joined a few ensembles over the years, and am currently playing in a college/community band.  With that in mind, I shall share a self-deprecating oboe joke…

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: To get away from the oboe recital.  *wah-wah*



12. Anything you would like to add?

I think one of my favorite “blogging adventures” was when I had the pleasure of hosting Madame Muriel, a stitching-themed Flat Stanley-style project!  I’ve tagged all her travels in my blog, and I still like to re-read them and laugh.  I don’t know where Muriel has got to these days, and you’ve seen her, I’d love to know!

Muriel visiting a lighthouse in Cape Cod with me in 2013

link to the rest of her adventures here - Madame Muriel - The Travelling Granny


Thanks Erin!  Just to finish the interview, here is a photo of Madame Muriel when she visited me in 2012:

The most easterly Granny in England!