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.


  1. So much nice work.I have been reading your blog from time to time so it is nice learning a bit more about you.AriadnefromGreece!

  2. Great answers. Nice to read about you Christine. LOL I love cards against humanity.

  3. It has been great to read about your stitching and interest in all sorts of crafts Christine.Your dragon is gorgeous and I love all the pieces you stitched for your daughters’

  4. LOL, my brother and sis in law play frequently, and tell me all about it. It sounds like fun!!! It's always nice to learn more about bloggers, and people in general, so thanks for sharing!!!

  5. It's been a pleasure to meet you. I like your sense of humour - don't lose it. :)

  6. So nice to learn about you Christine, great sense of humor besides being a talented stitcher! Your serial killer santa name gave me a good laugh! Too bad about the stitch, I did something similar to a big piece and totally ruined it. Love the Celtic stitch with those bright colors. Never heard of the card game, will check it out. Off to follow your blog, Mary

  7. Hey, I know your blog! I greatly enjoy the barren field of fruits not given and would probably enjoy Cards Against Humanity. Your Smaug is fabulous.

  8. Dragons are great, love yours. Nice to meet you.

  9. I have already been on your blog how many different crafts you are into. And funny to read the story about how your found your blog name. The pieces you show here are just wonderful.

  10. Hi Christine! I love your screen name, and I love your penguins - now wonder you're proud of them!
    Please don't give up on crochet - I've had the same problem, only the other way round - I've known crochet since I was six but couldn't for the love of anything learn how to knit. It finally stuck on the xth attempt though!

  11. Ha ha, I've been meaning to stitch the censored pattern myself! But then, where could I put it that my kids won't see it?*

    Love your sense of humor.

    *Who are we kidding? They've heard me say it all.

  12. A few framed pieces I haven't seen before which was nice.
    You have to make crochet next years 'try again' project.

  13. Great to read all your blogger of the post! :o)


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