Tuesday, 31 October 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, 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!


Friday, 22 September 2017

Anne from An Evening of Wonders

I discovered this week's Blogger of the Week via the Stitch Maynia Facebook group, they have a list of the blogs written by the members of the group.  I am so pleased I did because she has some beautiful projects including Chatelaine's Desert Mandala.  She also features regular book reviews which are always interesting to read.  In fact her blog is named after a book quote, see if you recognise it before she tells us which book!  Please welcome Anne from



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

My name is Anne. I’m not sure I’m “from” anywhere anymore – I’ve moved so many times in my life, but I grew up on the east coast and now live in the southwestern US. I’ve been happily married to my DH for 20+ years. We currently have 2 dogs (Lizzie and Rowan) and 1 cat (Emma).


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

I learned how to sew from my dad’s mom, but I learned how to embroider when I was 5.   I went to a sort of hippie school as a little kid where we learned traditional crafts like how to make lye soap and how to embroider.  I stitched quite a bit in my early 20s, but then put it aside for a while and mostly knit for the last decade or so.   

With Thy Needle & Thread - January Wordplay


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

I have been a blogger for 10+ years, although not with this particular blog.  (I had a knitting and handspinning focused blog called How the West Was Spun for many years prior).  My current blog, An Evening Of Wonders, takes its name from a quote out of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice by Mr. Bennet.


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’d say pretty organized – I tend to be that way about most things – with lots of lists and spreadsheets because I like those.   I generally work off a rotation and I try to mix up some smaller pieces in with the bigger/epic ones so I have a few finishes now and then to keep me motivated.   I didn’t think I’d like have a bunch of projects on the go, but I participated in Stitch Maynia this year (2017) and found out I loved having so many things to pick from. Now I just have to actually finish some of them!

Plum Street Samplers - Babushka's Blossoms


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

I don’t have any one favorite designer or style, but I tend to like more complex pieces.  I’m a fan of full coverage pieces.   I love how there is SO MUCH detail encapsulated in a piece of needlework with those. (Side note: I’ve got a full coverage group I just set up on Facebook, so anyone who is a fan of full coverage project is welcome to come join us!  Link: Full Coverage Fanatics.



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

I don’t have it any longer as it was a gift for my younger sister, but I finished a Paula Vaughan design many years ago for her to hang in her room when she was a teenager. It came out beautifully, I thought. 

Chatelaine - Desert Mandala


7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

Thankfully, I don’t think I’ve had any disasters.   Or at least maybe I have a very skewed idea of what a disaster is.   I’ve had things I’ve had to rip out or redo, but nothing that I couldn’t get back on track. Maybe I’m just lucky? 


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

I want to finish a piece with a flat-fold a la Vonna/The Twisted Stitcher’s tutorial.  I haven’t done one of those before, but I really like how they look and it would expand my knowledge base for a different type of finishing technique.    (And I do NOT need any other crafts. Let’s not even suggest that I try something else.)


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?

Everything is FFO’d.  If I have a larger piece, it might sit for a few weeks until I decide how I want to finish it, but generally, if it’s a small, I finish it right after I’m done the stitching, or for larger things, I’ll get those framed up fairly quickly after finishing the stitching.  Most of the finished pieces I still have are smalls – but I really enjoy finishing those, picking a coordinating fabric for the back, and having them to give as holiday gifts or to display in my own home for year-round events.

Drawn Thread - Full Moon


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

The project that most represents me – I haven’t even started it yet.  I ordered the Quick Stitch version of the pattern from Heaven and Earth Designs as a birthday present to myself and just received it this month.   It’s Aimee Stewart’s Eternia.  First off, it’s a pretty in-depth project (something I love working on), and the horse reminds me of my long-time competition horse, Bhen, who was a gorgeous black bay Arabian I rode for years and was my best friend.  Of course, doesn’t hurt that the lady is lovely and wearing a long medieval-style dress, since I love historic clothing and textiles!



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

 I secretly wish I had Hermione Granger’s Time Turner. (Maybe not so secretly….)






Friday, 15 September 2017

Bea from Thoughts & Musings

Before we meet this week's Blogger of the Week, I'd like to announce the winner of the competition I recently held to celebrate our 26th Interview.  I featured 9 photos taken from the first 26 interviews and asked you to identify the bloggers who stitched each design.

Well done to everyone who took place; the random number generator selected Faith from Faithfully Stitching.  Well done Faith!  Please email me to let me know which store you would like your e-voucher from.  I see you are a HAED fan, so either them or one of the other online stores you use.

As well as Faith receiving a voucher, Irene left this comment:

If I win, I do not want a voucher, but I would like you make an offer for this initiative https://www.casacenina.com/a-needlework-project-to-be-born-again.html for people who suffer in my country. 

I think this is a great idea, it's a very worthy charity and I will definitely be doing so.   They have a selection of PDF designs from a wide variety of designers, all raising money for rebuilding after the Italian earthquake.  Thanks to Irene for that suggestion.  I recommend that you all visit the website and maybe buy a pattern to help the fund.  They have nearly raised EUR 15,000 so far!


On to Blogger of the Week.  This week's Blogger has been taking a little break but I am hoping that being featured this week will prompt her into blogging again.  After all, she will be celebrating her 10th Blogaversary this October which is a great reason to start making blog posts again!  Please welcome Bea from



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

Hi, I'm Bea Lapp, living in Prince Rupert, BC Canada with 2 spoiled cats, Snowy and Yoda. No family left as I had no siblings and never got married.

Snowy & Yoda


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

I learned to knit when I was about 6, hooked rugs when I was in university, but as I got older I wanted to try something new. At a Creative Circle party I ordered what I thought were 2 small, easy crewel kits but they turned out to be cross stitch. I looked at the diagrams, thought "I can do this" and off I went. By the time I was finished the 2 kits, I was hooked. I can't show you because it took years before I thought to take pictures of what I was doing. I can be a little slow on the uptake at times! lol


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

First blog post was 17 October 2007. I had read a couple of friends' blogs and just thought I would give it a go and see if I liked it. I chose 'Thoughts and Musings' because I originally thought of it like a diary, daily activities and what I was thinking about. But I found it so much fun to share my stitching and then I found the blog stitching community, so it became more a record of what I was creating and I like it that way.


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.?

Hmmmm, I don't consider myself a serial starter, but I usually have 5 or 6 WIPs on the go of various sizes and complexities. That way if one is boring me or driving me crazy, I can switch out. I'm organised within a project, but overall I just wing it, which is probably why rotations don't work for me.


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

I'm more drawn by subject than designer. I love cats, angels, dragons, unicorns, castles, Victorian style houses, dresses, etc. I'm not fond of flowers, landscapes, but there are always exceptions as I have done both.


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

Probably the first piece I ever altered. I was doing a birth announcement and the pattern didn't have room for all the information I wanted to put in.The info was under a floral arch and I needed to make it taller - I was scared to death that it was going to look lopsided and out of place, but it worked. And it was before my picture taking days, sorry.


7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

I was about 1/3 of the way through a project in q-snaps and had to put it down. Now, I normally set my work down so the stitching is sitting flat on the table, but this time I didn't and when I got back one of the cats had walked across it, torn the fabric and put claw holes in it. Unsalvageable, so had to restart. This is the finished piece.



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

I would love to learn Hardanger although the thought of cutting threads makes me VERY nervous. And I really want to learn to sew so I can have more flexibility in finishing my pieces.


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 bag of them. I make a lot of ornaments, some pillows and usually frame the bigger ones.


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

I think this one. My Canadian roots go back about 250 years and I cannot imagine living anywhere else.



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

Don't tell anyone, but I love punny jokes. "What do you do if your dog chews a dictionary? Take the words out of his mouth."


12. Anything you would like to add?

While cross stitch is my favourite craft, I've recently rediscovered my love of knitting and rug hooking. Now if someone will please discover the way to expand time so you can fit 24 hours in every 5 minutes I'd be a happy camper.




Friday, 8 September 2017

Vickie from Reading and Stitching

This week's Blogger of the Week discovered my blog last September and has been an enthusiastic participant in a number of my Blog Hops already.  So it seems right that she should be as enthusiastic about this latest venture!  She's one of those crazy people doing the Year of Starts so there's always lots to see on her blog and plenty of inspiration.  If you don't like the project she's stitching today, hang around, there will be seven more by next week!  She's also quite keen on Disney as one or two of the other Bloggers have been.  Please welcome Vickie from



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

My name is Vickie Hartwell. I live in Bella Vista, AR. which is in the northwest corner of the state. I have a wonderful husband who I met on the yahoo dating site over 14 years ago.  We have 4 furbabies, Brigen a 12 year old yellow lab, Gibbs my 7 year old lab,  Bert, 6 year old cat and finally Tiger Lily, 1 year old.    I am a high school special education math teacher and I just started my 20th year of teaching.  I have always taught special education and I love it.  I love Disney!   Cinderella's castle is my happy place!!

Inspirations



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

I started stitching when I was 12.  My grandmother had a set of the Days of the Week tea towels that I started embroidering.  We stayed at her house every other weekend so I worked on them while I was visiting.  We went to Wal-mart one day and I found a cross stitch goose pattern that she bought me.  My love of stitching started with a goose.



3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start?  

Is there a story behind your blog title?  I first started blogging when Yahoo had their Yahoo 360...then in 2007 I moved over to blogspot.  My blog title “Reading and Stitching”  is a combined title of my two favorite hobbies.   You will always find me with a book.  I love to listen to audiobooks in my car as I drive to work.  My go-to genres are Historical Romance and Murder Mysteries.



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.?  

Right now I am attempting the “Year o Starts” from the Stitch Maynia group on Facebook.  I am starting one new project a day for the entire year.  So far I am doing well on the goal.  I am however, focusing on one project, my HAED Faery Tales.  I work for 30 minutes on my new start then move to my HAED.   I guess I am organized due to the year of starts but you couldn’t tell it by my sewing room!!

Mill Hill Christmas Village



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

I am drawn to Disney designs, and as I call them “Fancy Lady” patterns.  I love to stitch people in period dress - the Victorian dresses are so pretty.  

Happiest Celebration



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

My favorite piece is my “Eye of the Tiger” piece by Cross my Heart.  I actually had this hanging in my classroom, until I was moved to a smaller room.  My second favorite piece is my “Summerball” by Sandy Littlejohn.  I just feel like I am at a ball with Jane Austen’s characters.

Eye of the Tiger



7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?  

I was working on the HUGE Sistine Chapel design. I followed the pattern for over 30 pages when I found some areas were not matching up.  I counted, recounted and there was no mistake. When I contacted the designer about the possible error….I was told to keep going it would eventually match up.  Ummm...No….so I tossed the whole project.  I loved that project!!!  



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

I am a terrible finisher.  I would love to learn to finish something that looks great instead of like a two year old finished it!



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 HUGE box finished but not FFO’d projects.  I want to finish them but they all just go in the box!  My favorite way to finish is a project is to frame it. Boring,  I know...but I like things framed.  When I finally frame them, they go up on my wall.

Augusta 12th Hole



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

I think the one project that represents me is my “Cinderella’s Castle”  I have always loved that story, and my favorite place to be is sitting on main street, staring at the castle.


Mirabilia Cinderella



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

My husband and I lost our marriage license after the wedding. He thought I had it and I thought he did when we checked out of the hotel.  Neither of us had it so we had to drive an hour back to the town we got married, get another copy of our licenses, FedEx it to the preacher, and have them FedEx back to county courthouse!  We still laugh about this!!!!

Amazing Grace



12. Anything you would like to add?  

Thank you so much for allowing me to share my stitching story.








Friday, 1 September 2017

Melanie the WIP Slayer

I came across the week's Blogger of the Week fairly recently.  Which does show that there are more bloggers out there than one person can follow!  As soon as I saw her beautiful stitching I knew I wanted to feature her on this blog.  She really is the Queen of Mirabilias and has some lovely conversions too.  As well as an awesome version of The Book of Spells.  Please welcome Melanie,



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

I'm Melanie and I was born in Iowa and raised in Illinois. I had the good fortune to meet an Iowa boy at my first (and only) post-college job in Clinton, Iowa, and we've been married for 26 years and have a 16-year-old son. We live in Wisconsin now, but are Iowans at heart. We three bipeds share our home with one dog, five cats and two goldfish--our own little menagerie!



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


I started stitching when I was in college at the University of Illinois, I think sophomore or junior year (it's been so long I can't even remember!), so right around 30 years ago. My mom had come for the weekend and we were shopping (one of our favorite things to do together) and came across a cross stitch shop; they had a chart of Chief Illiniwek and I just thought it was so cool. My mom bought that and a small kit with two unicorn heads to practice on, and my obsession was born.

Chief Illiniwek


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 around the beginning of 2012 as a way to try to encourage myself to finish some of the many WIPs I had at that time; I made a list of 20, with the intention of only working on designs I had already started (or at least kitted)--that didn't last very long at all! Of the original 20, only 11 are completed more than five years later. Not long after I started the blog I think I counted 62 WIPs in various stages of completion; it's not an exaggeration to say that I probably have twice that many now.

The name I chose for my blog is a fairly obvious reference to the TV series (not the movie!) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which had a subversive sense of humor that I really enjoyed. As I was trying to "slay" some of my WIPs, the name just seemed to fit.


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.?
As may be obvious from my previous answer I am a serial starter! There is just something so satisfying about pulling out a pattern and the threads, picking the perfect fabric and putting in those first stitches...I'm seriously addicted to that part of the process.

That said I am fairly organized; even with all of the projects and supplies I have I can almost always find what I'm looking for in my craft room pretty quickly (no one else could, but my system works for me!). I recently added some storage, and the bin on the left says exactly how I feel when I'm in my craft room.



I started stitching models for Karen Kluba of Rosewood Manor about seven years ago now, and that has brought some discipline to my stitching. While there usually isn't a strict deadline, I do try to get the pieces done in a timely manner. Working for Karen has been a dream, as I love to feel like I'm contributing to an industry that has been such a big part of my life, and it has the added bonus of adding to my framed pieces collection--after the models have been out for a while I get them back, already framed. Here are a couple of my favorites, Past & Present and Bucklebury Sampler.

Rosewood Manor - Past and Present

Rosewood Manor - Bucklebury Sampler

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

Without a doubt my absolute favorite designer is Nora Corbett of Mirabilia Designs; I have every chart she has ever made, even though I could never live long enough to stitch them all! I have loved her work ever since I discovered her patterns back in the '90s; the first one I ever stitched was Villa Mirabilia, and the second was Blooming Bride. Since those I have finished probably 60+, and I never get tired of them; even as a child I was drawn to pictures or movies of beautiful women in gorgeous dresses, and Nora is the best at creating designs along those lines in my humble opinion.

I call my guest bedroom Noraland, because it is the room that a lot of my framed finishes are displayed in, as well as original art by Nora. I have added a few more since these pictues were taken, but you get the idea!




Just over a year ago I started stitching the smaller Nora Corbett line of designs for Wichelt, and it's like a dream come true; it almost feels like stealing when I get paid because I stitch so many of these for pleasure. The first two should be released in either September or November, and I am anxiously awaiting that day!

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

This is pretty much an impossible question to answer, as I love so many of my finishes (otherwise I wouldn't stitch them!). However, two fairly recent finishes do come to mind, as I just love the fabrics and frames that help tell their stories and bring them to life. The first would be Nora Corbett's Wherefore Art Thou:


Wherefore Art Thou


And the second is Mirabilia's Andromeda:

Andromeda


I think hand-dyed fabrics are probably the my favorite addition to this craft, followed by the variety of fibers that are out there now; they can add so much to a design!

7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?
I think I've been lucky, as the only disaster that comes to mind is when I bumped my stitching table and some coffee sloshed out of my mug and landed on the piece I was working on. However, it only caught the unstitched portion of my fabric, and it was a hand-dyed fabric so by the time I rinsed it out you couldn't even tell it had happened. Of course, now that I've said that I'm probably asking for a huge disaster!


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

I've always loved the look of Hardanger, but I just can't bring myself to try it--the thought of actually cutting into a piece scares me too much!

I wish I had some finishing skills, so I could do something with some of my smaller finishes. I am able to put together a decent ornament, but that's about the extent of it. I did do this one for my friend a couple of years ago:






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?

After 30 years of stitching of course I have a box of finishes that need finishing. I tend to do larger designs which would need to be framed, but of course framing can be pretty expensive. My wonderful husband usually gets me gift certificates to the gallery where I have my framing done at least twice a year, so I do have a fairly large numder of finishes hanging around my house; it's actually to the point where I might have to start rotating pieces as I don't have much wall space left!

I've been lucky to work with some talented designers and finishers who have taken pieces and created wonderful finishes with them. Judy Odell has finished several projects for me, but my favorite is this box stitched with Nora Corbett's Pretty Little Things:



Pretty Little Things


And Sue Hillis put together this adorable little flat-fold for me:



10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?
I don't really think of particular projects representing me, as it's more about the process for me. It is still a wonder to me that I can take a piece of fabric and some thread and create an amazing picture with them. Stitching has gotten me through some tough times--no matter what is going on in my life, I can create one small bit of beauty and order in my world with just a few materials.


11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!
When I was bored in school I would try to list all 50 states. Eventually I memorized them in alphabetical order, and to this day (almost 40 years later) I can tell you how many states start with each letter of the alphabet, and can name them all in order in less than a minute.


12. Anything you would like to add?
I'd just like to thank Jo for contacting me about doing this for her blog. I just love that the art of cross stitching can pull together people from all over the world so they can share their joy and passion with others who understand it. And for those who might have read this far, thanks for "listening"! :D