All Our Yesterdays cross stitch collection project: 2

Here’s an update on the little cross stitch pictures featuring cute children from a series called ‘All Our Yesterdays’, designed by Faye Whittaker. I’m planning on doing several of the designs from Faye’s range, so that I can have a collection of them on the wall of my coastal-themed bathroom.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my bathroom is having to be re-decorated as we found mould in it, and the person who had come to test the house to see if we had any mould (because I’ve got an allergy) had a fit when he saw that the bathroom was wallpapered instead of being painted or tiled. Hence, this stitching is aimed at giving my bathroom something a bit more interesting than just painted walls, which I find boring!

I started with one of the designs from the ‘Collector’s Edition’ booklet – this one is called ‘Watching the Tide’. It’s a picture of a little girl and boy, standing looking out to sea. It’s very simple, but cleverly designed, as the blues used for the sea and sky are sometimes in full cross stitch and sometimes in half cross stitch, so the colours look more faded, as more background fabric shows though the stitches. It’s subtle, but it works!

I was going to do the figures first and then the background, but I found that doing the detail for a long time made me want to do an ‘easier bit’, so I alternated between detail and background instead.

The cross stitch is transformed when the limited amount of backstitch is added – it really brings it to life.

At about half way through, I photographed it to show you how much difference the backstitch makes. It looks nice just with the cross stitch completed:

All Our Yesterdays Faye Whittaker

But once the back stitch is done, in a dark grey single strand, look how different it is:

All Our Yesterdays Faye Whittaker

I just need to stitch the little boy who stands next to her, and do a bit more background….

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Victorian pincushion on spindle stand by Victoria Sampler: 1 – getting started

I’m just starting the next embroidery project that I want to stitch, and I knew right off that it would be one of Thea Dueck’s lovely designs. I’ve got so many of her Victoria Sampler chart booklets in my stash, and several are already kitted up, so it shouldn’t take long to decide which one to get going on, right? Wrong!

This is the one I had planned to do – it’s the Victorian Purse – a beautiful shaped bag and stitching accessories set. I’ve had this in my stash for about 8 years already.

Victorian purse embroidery by Victoria Sampler

I bought the thread pack are the same time that I got the chart booklet. These seem pricey at first, until you work out that if you had to source all those speciality threads from scratch, it would cost way more! Plus, I love getting the little packets in the post  🙂

I chose some 28 count evenweave in pink and beige from my stash to stitch them on (originally bought from Sew and So, I think, but they are closed now).

Victorian purse embroidery by Victoria Sampler

So, there I was, mentally getting ready to stitch all that, when I saw THIS:

Victorian pincushion embroidery by Victoria Sampler

It’s a co-ordinating pincushion, strawberry and needlebook, to match with the Victorian Purse designs! Oh, how lovely! The wooden spindle had to be ordered as well, and at first it was out of stock, so I had to wait, but eventually it arrived from Canada, so I had no excuse not to start. The Victorian Purse will have to go back in the stash cupboard for later.

This project has a lot of ribbon embroidery in it. I love the look of ribbon embroidery, but I’ve not done much before, so I looked at Thea’s YouTube videos to see exactly how to do the stitches. They are actually quite simple to do, and the project grows quickly.

I found, more by luck than judgment, that it really helped with the placement of the embroidery stitches for the flowers to EXACTLY  copy the position of the tacking stitches from the chart. What I mean is, if the central vertical tacking stitch line, for instance, goes over four threads each time, then reproduce that – don’t do six threads, then four threads, then five threads, etc., as if it doesn’t matter, because it will make counting out from a tacking stitch line to the starting point of a flower more difficult if your stitches vary in length from the chart. I think it will also be crucial when I stitch the little beaded flowers around the border.

Victorian pincushion embroidery by Victoria Sampler

It only took me a couple of longish stitching sessions to get this far, so I’m hoping this might be quite a quick project, and I might even have time to get the Victorian Purse done as well.

What do you think of it so far?

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John Clayton ‘Circles Series’ cross stitch 3: Finishing the ‘Sleepy Village’ cross stitch, and a problem!

This is my progress on the ‘Sleepy Village’ cross stitch design produced by Heritage Crafts, from original watercolours by John Clayton.

John Clayton Sleepy Village cross stitch

The buildings were great fun to stitch – especially after what seemed like years of stitching all that sky!! Some of the buildings and trees are stitched in just one strand, so it gives a good feeling of perspective. I really like that about John Clayton’s designs – they aren’t actually difficult, but very cleverly designed so that they look like they’re more difficult than they are really 🙂

The sky had quite a bit of confetti stitching in it, but the buildings were quicker to do, with blocks of colour. Limited backstitch helped define the edges of the buildings, and the branches of some trees too.

So, I cracked on with it, and got it finished without taking more pictures (sorry!). But then I hit a snag. I ‘d bought a picture fame and a circular mount made specially to be used with these John Clayton ‘Circles’ pictures, so I’d assumed it would fit. But when I put the finished stitching behind the mount (having taken it off my frame, ironed it, and put the frame away….) I found that the stitching was too small for the mount, and that I could see white fabric all the way round the edge, just a tiny bit. How annoying!!

So, I put it back on the frame, and stitched two whole extra rows around the edge of the design, matching the colours as much as I could. Then I tried the mount again – this time, it fitted! I don’t think the mount was cut wrongly – I think my fabric wasn’t quite an accurate ’28 count’, which sometimes happens.

Still, I got it framed eventually, and now it looks like this:

John Clayton Sleepy Village cross stitch
I’m really pleased with it!!

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Book review: A Sea to Stitch by Elizabetta Sforza

If you love surface embroidery, you’re in for a special treat! This latest book by Elisabetta Sforza, called ‘A Sea to Stitch’, is a very special journey through an alphabet of shells and seaweed, starfish and seagulls!

A Sea to Stitch Elisabetta Sforza

Elisabetta is an embroiderer from Verona, Italy, who has published a couple of books already (‘A Flower Alphabet’, and ‘In a Wheat Field’) – both are beautiful books for inspiration, with gorgeous photos, but I think this one is my favourite, as it is so unusual. There are lots of books using floral themes, but not so many using marine themes. And with this book, Elisabetta has really created some wonderful designs to use with an alphabet, and in other shaped designs (such as hearts and swags).

The book is soft backed, and has 88 pages. As Elisabetta is Italian, but she wants to reach the English-speaking market with her work, the book has dual language text. There are dozens of photos, showing a full alphabet of designs in both 9cm high and 14 cm high versions.

A Sea to Stitch Elisabetta Sforza

The colour keys list six different colourways, so you can choose whichever one suits your decor best.

As I got this book so that I can stitch something for the coastal-themed bathroom that I am doing in my house at the moment, I think this is my favourite colourway, as it co-ordinates with the paintwork I’ll be using:

A Sea to Stitch Elisabetta Sforza

But they are all lovely!

Elisabetta clearly explains how to work all the stitches featured in the book, and there is a tutorial at the end on how to create words out of the individual letters shown.

At the end of the book there are pages of line drawings for you to trace off and then transfer to your fabric.

A Sea to Stitch Elisabetta Sforza

It’s a beautifully put together book, as were Elisabetta’s two previous books. Your fingers will be itching to get going! I can see these individual letters being used for drawstring bags or box lids, as well as simply being framed.

A Sea to Stitch Elisabetta Sforza

When I do book reviews, if there is anything that is a ‘downside’, I try to be honest and mention it, but with this book I really can’t fault it!

The book is available either direct from Elisabetta from her blog  (which is in both Italian and English), or from designated stockists in various countries. If you are in the UK, you can get it from the website of Jenny Adin-Christie (who also has the most amazing embroidery kits of her own designs – well worth a look!). In the UK, it’s £27.50. Jenny also stocks Elisabetta’s other two books.

Title: A Sea to Stitch

Author: Elisabetta Sforza

ISBN: 978 88 943526 27

Price: £27.50

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