Monday, 31 July 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, 21 July 2017

Margaret from Margaret's Blog

I first "met" this week's Blogger of the Week through a Travelling Granny, Madame Muriel.  She had been staying in New Zealand and took the long flight to me with the very first stitched gift I ever received from a fellow blogger.  Madame Muriel moved on in due course but her hostess and I stayed friends.  There's always something lovely to see, from cross stitch to knitting to the most gorgeous hardanger.  So please welcome Margaret from



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

My name is Margaret. For the past 26 years I have lived in Auckland, New Zealand. By day I work for a government department and by night I care for my elderly mother. For the past three years I have been practising living on the same amount of money as the government pension, just to prove to myself I can do it. Why? Well in 27 months I will be receiving my Gold Card and become an OAP.


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

At four years old I spent six months in bed ill and to keep me occupied my grandmother sent me a Semco “fancy work” kit. My mother had fond memories of stitching these in her younger days and helped me learn stem stitch, satin stitch, lazy daisy stitch etc. I made a bad job of completing the cheval set around which my arthritic grandmother lovingly crocheted an edging. Then around twenty years ago I went to a two day class on Brazilian Embroidery and sat next to a woman who inspired me to join the Embroiderers Guild. Since then I have been an avid stitcher.

Margaret's first stitched piece

Brazilian Embroidery


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

One day I stumbled across a blog called The Peacock’s Feather and from there I visited other sites. The IT man at work taught me the basics of setting up a blog and away I went. My posting is far less regular than it was (life administration gets in the way) but I still ‘visit’ my blogging friends and with some even talk by email. Back in the day there were many exchanges and I sent and received parcels to many different countries. Sadly postage costs have killed that pleasure.

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 favourite is Hardanger (in which I am self taught from the Janice Love books) but I have dabbled in almost every other technique except ribbon embroidery. While I have kept to my vow not to have UFO’s I do currently have three WIP’s, which is really two too many for me��


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

I love Christmas Designs. Every year I stitch Christmas Ornaments for my three nieces and two nephews and I have 12 years of Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament magazines from which to choose.
I prefer books, boxes, etuis, hussifs, etc rather than framed pieces for the wall although I do have quite a collection of cross stitch M in frames on my bedroom wall. With the cost of framing I have called a halt to that collection now. But as readers of my blog will know, I always revert to my favourite hardanger for rest and relaxation.
I have stitched nearly fifty of these hardanger tassels – both with roses and without – and am always grateful for the skilled embroiderer who taught this class all those years ago.


Hardanger Tassels




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

What a difficult question to answer! Perhaps it would be my ‘tool box’ which was sparked by a piece in the Sampler & Antique Needlework Magazine but which I changed completely.



Or perhaps I should say Lauren Sauer’s “The Mermaids Purse” is the one I am very proud of. I sent to Canada for the threads and fabric and then stitched it very carefully and am now way too scared to actually use it.




7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

My one attempt at Silk Shading technique was one. I paid for a two day class at the Guild and I made a valiant attempt to like the technique and the project but it was a disaster and I never finished. That piece went to The Great Embroidery Exhibition in the Sky!!
And the other? A complicated hardanger mat for the top of the chest in my bedroom. Stitched over many months, I foolishly rushed the cutting out and snipped several of the buttonholes on the edge. Oops…this one will not be able to be washed? Every time I look at it I am reminded, “slowly and carefully”!



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

I love counted work so want to try Reticella, Ruskin lace, Schwalm, some more Wessex, Fisherton and Ukranian, some Punto Antico, Hedebo, Portugese Whitework, Sardinian Knotted Embroidery, and possibly Deruta.


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 currently have two pieces stitched but not constructed. This is rare for me as I like to “finish finish” projects as I go. And in the bottom of my sweater drawer, lying between two pieces of acid free tissue, is a whitework sampler that is complete but will never be framed. I wanted to stitch this but don’t want it on my wall! I have a cabinet full of completed pieces but most of my stitching is given away as gifts to family and long suffering friends.


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

Probably my two travel books. Since I was 13 years old I have had a dream of visiting the UK. I kept a list, culled from books, of what I wanted to see, do, eat. As the years went by I started a savings account - this was to be a ‘don’t worry about the money’ trip of a life time. And then….I found two wonderful stitching charts. Voila!

Travel books


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

If I wrote it down it wouldn’t be a secret would it?


Friday, 14 July 2017

Barb from My Stitching Treasures

This week's Blogger of the Week is a "newer to me" blogger although she has been blogging for many years.  If you look through her blog you will see that she has stitched many animal pieces, she is definitely an animal lover.  For that reason I am quite relieved I do not live closer to her, she works at an cat shelter and I am sure she would make me adopt 100 kittens and cats!  Please welcome Barb from



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

My name is Barb and I am from Muskegon, MI.  (On the shorelines of Lake Michigan).   I am single and have no children but have 13 nieces and nephews and 23 great nieces and nephews.    I have a pet cat named Saturn.

Liberty Bell stitched for a nephew


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

My sister got me into stitching back in 1980.   It came slow at first but once I did my first piece I was addicted.


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 2006.   I just saw other blogs and thought I would try it.


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

I tend to be a one at a time stitcher.   Although I have a pile of unfinished projects.


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

I am very drawn to Stoney Creek patterns, I also like Mystic Stitch, but sometimes I like to do easier projects.

Wildflowers of the South


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

I did a couple of pieces for my brother one of Brooklyn's View and another Mountain Sunset which I really am proud of but unfortunately don't have pictures on my computer so will choose this one.

Mountain Sunset


7.  What has been your worst stitching disaster?   

It had to be Bobcats, part of the Endangered Animals.   I had washed it once and decided to rewash it.   To my horror red stuff was all over the piece, must have been spaghetti sauce I thought had rinsed out of sink but apparently didn't.   Could not get the red stains off for anything.




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

I don't know Is there anything else besides Cross Stitching?


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

Yes I have a box of  finished but not fully finished pieces.  I call it "my nieces will deal with after I'm dead" box.   My favorite way to get them fully finished, hand them to someone else and let them finish them the way they want.   I am unfinished challenged!

A Loving Heart


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

It said   "Housework is a waste of good stitching time!



11. Tell us a secret about yourself.  

I volunteer at a cat shelter and if I could have more then one cat here I'd have a lot more.


12.  Anything else you would like to add.

It was an honor for me to do this, I love reading about everyone else.


Thank you, Barb and can I just say I totally agree with about the answer to number 10!






Friday, 7 July 2017

Giovanna from Giovanna's Stitches

The first Blogger of the Week for July is a long-time friend of mine from the lovely country of Italy.  Our first and middle names translate to the same name and we have shared inspiration for many projects over the years.  She blogs in both English and Italian for which I am very grateful.  My favourite posts of her's are the ones about her regular trips to Paris.  So please welcome Giovanna from:



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

Hallo, my name is Giovanna. I’m 55 years old and live in Bologna, Italy, with my husband and two sons of 23 and 17. I was born and bred in Italy, but we’re a multinational family, because my mother is English, and my husband is Dutch. I am fluent in the three languages, Italian, English, and Dutch, and have both the Italian and British nationalities. I work full time as a scientist, and stitching is my hobby and anti-stress therapy.


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

I’ve been stitching on and off since I was a child: my mother taught me when I was 7 or 8 years old I believe. She got me started on canvas at first, then took me on to cross stitch. She made me use linen straightaway, rather than Aida, which was no problem. Because of that, I’m firmly convinced that nobody should be intimidated by linen when they start stitching. After all, none of those antique samplers stitched by little girls (or boys) of the past were made on Aida, were they? I didn’t stitch much in my young adult life, but got back to it with a passion in my late thirties, mainly because I discovered a whole world of lovely charts and materials on the internet. In addition to the gratification derived from creating beautiful stitched works, two other reasons for my liking the hobby so much are (a) the sheer tactile pleasure of handling natural textile fibres such as cotton, linen and silk, and (b) the soothing regularity of the gestures as I stitch.


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 2008, inspired by a local stitching buddy who had a very popular one (in Italian). Sadly, she burnt out and stopped blogging shortly afterwards, which was a great shame. At the time, I was active on some stitching bulletin boards and showing my stitching on line, and I thought blogging would be a great way to keep it all in one place. The name Giovanna’s stitches is pretty self-explanatory. It was also a way to emphasize that this was purely a stitching blog, and that other parts of my personal life or interests would not be featured. But I do show pictures from my travels occasionally.

Dreamkeeper Etui by Brightneedle
(this features in the blog header)



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 a pathological random starter! I often get started on a newly issued design just because I really like it. The trouble is that there are too many great designs out there which catch my eye.


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

My favourite designers are those who have built on past stitching traditions to develop an original new style, while still retaining a classic look. The Drawn Thread is one. Another one used to be Indigo Rose, but unfortunately she’s stopped designing - but I have several of her charts still in my stash, which I intend to stitch sometime. With both designers I love how they use special counted-thread stitches to create texture. I also enjoy whimsical designs like those by Blackbird Designs, Plum Street Samplers, Kathy Barrick Designs, The Prairie Schooler, and Cross-Eyed Cricket.

Ghoulies and Ghosties by Brightneedle


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

I think it’s Catherine Agnes by Indigo Rose: it was so much fun to stitch, and I love the composition and colours. There are tons of different stitches in it, which as I mentioned above makes it an instant hit for me. My only gripe with it is that it was finished too quickly, and at times I’m tempted to stitch it again!
I’m also very proud of some smalls I finished, which were class/on-line projects by Brightneedle, CA Wells and Chatelaine, they were all great fun.

Catherine Agnes by Indigo Rose

Nantucket Cottage by C.A. Wells


7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

I like to think that the scary amount of unfinished projects I have lying around is my worst disaster!


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

I live in the area where the Aemilia Ars needle lace school thrived. I’ve seen some really beautiful specimens in museums and exhibitions, and I’ve considered taking classes to learn the technique. I haven’t had time for it so far, and I’m starting to think that by now I’m a little old for it. But, who knows?


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?

Ouch… I’m pretty bad at FFOing, mainly because I don’t really enjoy sewing, and believe it or not I have never learnt to use a sewing machine. I do have lots of hand-sewn pincushions and ornaments spread around my home, but I also have loads of unframed and unfinished pieces - the pleasure is mostly in stitching them.

Stitching Leporello by Chatelaine Designs


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

I don’t really know… whatever I’m stitching at the moment, probably, as it’s always something that I’ve chosen to stitch because I like it.


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

I have some geeky passions: Star Trek, LEGO, mathematical and logical puzzles, the moon landings and space travel in general. I’m fascinated by planes, and always enjoy seeing one take off or land, or travelling on one. On the other hand, I have no interest whatsoever in cars or other motor vehicles, and instead I’m keen on cycling whenever I can, including my daily trip to work and back. I consider cycling my tiny personal contribution towards a cleaner environment and a fitter self.


12. Anything you would like to add?

Just a big “thank you!” to everyone who visits my blog, and to all those stitchers all over the world who inspire me by sharing their pictures on the internet - I’ve learnt so much and got to know so many designers through you all. I like to think that stitchers, like all crafters and artists, make the world nicer by creating beauty, and that stitching is a passion shared by people of all ages, views, and cultures: a unifying, positive and creative force, in a world in which many other forces try to divide us.