Friday, March 28, 2014

JN SAL Month #2 - Spring "Hearts"!

Just Nan "Christmas Hearts" Freebie - Spring Hearts Variation!

Although I started stitching this piece for February, computer problems meant that I missed last month, so it is my entry for March. With the hearts and the celtic knots, it ended up working out well for both St. Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day :)

This lovely pattern is actually "Christmas Hearts", a beautiful holiday ornament that is happily available for free at Save the Stitches (right at the bottom of the list)!

To make it Spring-y, I substituted the colours and went a little brighter:

I didn't use the Balger blending filament suggested, but I did use Mill Hill Gold Beads! However, the number on the pattern is 4D567, which I think is the old system; mine is 00557, and as far as I know, is the basic gold metallic. The fabric is the white 28 count Evenweave by M.C.G. Textiles that I used for Rosebuds and reviewed here.

The greens and pinks are just lighter versions of the original darker colourway, but I added the two blues for a cheerful contrast, and they replace the original lavenders.

When I'm trying to choose alternative colours, I like to pull the cards of floss and put them side by side first, narrow the choices down, and then put the floss cards on my binder ring to see how they work together. Having them all on the ring is also handy for choosing fabric colours, as you can hold them against your possible options.

I'm pretty sure that this is a really common storage technique, but I don't think I've shared a photo of it before :) And I love Mill Hill Beads for the lovely colours and finishes, but the fact that they fit so easily on the binder rings is a wonderful bonus!

Here's some in-progress stitching photos:

The only significant change I made was in the number of threads I used. I generally like a thicker coverage, so I used three strands instead of two for the cross-stitches and the center Rhodes Heart. When I started working the Satin Stitch hearts, I had a hard time making them smooth, so I added an extra strand (four total) for fullness.

I also made a mistake in spacing my first heart and I didn't want to cut it out and restitch it again so I just went with it, and made all the hearts one stitch too short :) And the sides were looking a little pointy, so I left off one stitch on each side.

When it came time for the beading, I was delighted by the way the dark blue dots looked like flowers when the gold beads were added in the center! So I decided to leave off some of the other beads around them to keep that look ;) And the beads around the bottoms of the Satin Stitch Hearts are also spaced a little bit differently.

Here's some progress photos of the beading (oh, how I do love beading!):

So much sparkle :) This was a really fun design to stitch, and I fully intend to do the original Christmas colourway later in the SAL! I think the pattern would also look great adapted for the other three seasons too - brighter pink hearts for summer, red for fall and such. All four would make a nice wall hanging or ornament set, perhaps.

The Just Nan Stitch Along (SAL) 2014 is hosted by Zeb at Keep Calm and Cross-Stitch! Anyone can join at any time, including non-bloggers :) Come stitch with us!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

SFS Month #3: New Season, No Stash!

Wow, wherever does the time go? I can't believe that it's already time for my next SFS check-in, let alone past the First of Spring! Well, officially at least. We had a light dusting of snow this morning, and a big storm is coming soon. Not unusual here, but not very pretty. There's BIG heaps of old dirty ice everywhere and I'm happy that some new snow is coming to cover that ugly mess up until it finally decides to melt :)

Unfortunately, I don't have any stitching to show today! Due to my computer issues last month, I missed the second month in the Just Nan SAL, but I did have most of the stitching done and will hopefully get the photos up for this check-in ;)

As for the carousel horse I mentioned in my last SFS report, I'm not sure when I'll be starting. I did do some measuring, and Summer is too big for my Q-Snaps. But I do have a lovely wooden scroll frame that was a gift from my Groovy Grandparents several years ago, and while I think it might *just* fit, it's a little heavy to hold.

So I need to do some more experimenting! In the meantime, I'd like to start a small stitchy project for Spring, and possibly a vintage-inspired embroidery for Easter. I've never actually stitched anything for Easter, and I'd like to do a little bunny if I can find the right pattern. It's a perfect chance to finally use some of my special stash threads, and I'm greatly looking forward to Stash Diving and Dreaming LOL :)

Here's my SFS Spending for this month: $0.00!!!! Zilch, zip - ZERO! I was beginning to be afraid that it wouldn't happen for me! ;) That means I can bank the full $25 allowance this month with the $15.09 I had from last month, for a grand total of $40.09 banked, which will surely come in handy in the future.

Although Spring is a long way off from being "sprung" here yet, I've been trying to catch up on my blog reading and have really enjoyed seeing the beautiful seasonal bulbs and garden plants in warmer climes. So I'll leave you with a photo of Violetta, my rather unimaginatively named African Violet. She was a gift from my Grandma two years ago, and recently bloomed beautifully and fully for the very first time:

She's currently resting and recuperating after being repotted, LOL, but as she grows ever stronger, I hope Violetta will have some new flowers to show off soon ;)