Blackbird Designs Mystery Sampler Finish

Hurray!!  I put my first stitch in on January 1st, and I am happy to say that today I am finished stitching this lovely piece!  The Blackbird Designs Mystery Sampler is comprised of bonus charts that were included in the Loose Feathers charts 31 – 34, in 2008 and 2009.  Rather than stitching it on separate pieces and colors of linen, and then sewing the pieces together, I stitched mine on a long piece of off white Belfast linen.  I made some substitutions in the hand dyed fibers as well, as the colors within hand dyed fiber lots vary wildly.  I simply chose colors I preferred when I did not have the ones called for.

The details:

Fibers – GAST Mulberry – 2 skeins, GAST Gingersnap – 2 skeins, GAST Flax – 2 skeins, GAST Peacock – 2 skeins, GAST Shaker White – 1 skein, GAST Winter White – 1 skein, GAST Basil – 1 skein

WDW Charcoal – 2 skeins, WDW Moss – 3 skeins, WDW Olive 2 skeins,

Fabric – 32 ct Belfast linen cut 27″ by 12″

I am considering taking out the GAST Shaker White on the last panel.  It is used in the small white flowers along the top and right edge.  In the other panels, these flowers were stitched in Flax and I am thinking that I prefer that color.  What do you think?

edited to add:

I did frog out the paler color last night, and stitched the flowers again with GAST Flax.  It was worth it – I like it a lot more now!

Time Marches On!

right into April – altho given the snow falling outside as I type, it looks more like November!  The great winter continues.

One thing about all the nasty weather is that it provides loads of stitching time.  March’s SAL pieces were all finished by the 3rd week:

Oakhaven Designs Owl SAL 2011

Grilles par Maryse March installment and

Blackbird Designs Mystery Sampler.  This was a very full block, and I was very happy to finish up with the house!

That left a good 9 days to work on the next block of my Chatelaine Waterlily Quilt piece, and I was delighted to do the beading on March 31st!

Now that I have stitched 2 blocks this year, I think I can move this piece into the WIP, rather than UFO, category!

And Then There Were the SAL pieces

I enjoyed stitching the Maryse SAL piece this month – mainly because crocus are one of my favourite flowers!  Not that I can see any outside, given the size of the snowbanks and snowdrifts there are at my house – LOL.  I can dream tho……

I am particularly enjoying the colours in this piece, and am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the neighbourhood looks like.

And then there were two – owls, that is!  Well, okay, including January, there are now three:

I switched the colours on the tummys tho – I could not see much difference  in shades when I stitched the first owl in the colour called for.  Do you think there will be a shamrock owl here in March??

And then there were blackbirds – lots of them this time!  This is part II in the Blackbird Mystery Sampler:

hmmmm 12 blackbirds!  If this were a flock of crows, it would be a ‘murder’.

Can you stand to see another mitten?  The Cricket Collection offered a new freebie for Valentines day – Mitten Cakes!  The freebie is here: and this is my finished mitten for February:

I backstitched the SWEET part of the sweetheart, cause I could not see the letters well. Vicki’s idea of beads for sprinkles was perfect!  And I think the pink and white cording tops it off!

Presenting February’s Ornaments

So far so good in keeping up with the ornaments – lol – but the year is young!  This month’s Halloween ornament is Jack O’Lantern from Blackbird Designs.  As always, you can click to make the pics bigger!

and that little calico body you see in the first picture is none other than Kelsey – the camera cat!  She fits in well with the colour scheme!

And who can resist such a pretty present at Christmas?  This is Christmas Box I from Country Garden Stitchery:

stitched on linen with Olde Willow Yorktowne floss!

Valentine’s day did not go unnoticed – we celebrated with a heart sal on one of the groups I am on.  This is Valentine Heart – an older freebie from Isa Vautier, stitched on white belfast linen using a Silk’n’Color silk specially dyed for Summer Trusswell.   I have looked, but I can no longer find a link online.  I can honestly say that I gave my heart to my DH:

Do you remember the sheepie pillow I posted pics of?  Well, I could not send it back to Australia without including a little gift – so I used the leftover bits and pieces and knit up this little sheepie, a free pattern from Frankie Brown that I found on Ravelry.  This link takes you to her pattern on Ravelry –

He truly is the cutest little sheep I have seen!

Next up in the rotation are the monthly SAL pieces.  Stay tuned!

A Year of Monthly SALs!

2011 seems to be shaping up as a year of stitching on once a month projects!  In addition to the christmas and halloween ornaments, I have become involved in a number of SAL type projects!  Hmmmmm…… I don’t think I had planned on doing this in 2011, but it seems to have evolved on its own.  While I am not comfortable with the idea of a Crazy January – start 15 projects – one a day type thing, it seems I can do this!

I jumped in on the SAL going on at the Oakhaven Yahoo group – take one look at this lovely little fellow and tell me that it was wise:
Tonia’s design was just too cute to resist – and it gave me a chance to use this piece of Fairy’s Eve in Belfast linen dyed by Sugar Maple Fabrics that has been waiting patiently in my stash!

I signed up for the monthly SAL at Maryse’s website too – check it out here: Note that this is not a free SAL, but the price is a very reasonable 10 euros.

I am stitching this one on 32 ct waterlily linen from Wichelt!

I am also busy stitching on the Blackbird Designs Mystery Sampler – only 5 parts to this one, but I hope to do a part a month.  Some lovely stitchers on another yahoo group are stitching along with me:

I was taken with this one when I saw it on Danielle’s blog was lucky enough to have a friend loan me the charts.

Just this past week another online friend talked me into stitching The Cricket Collection mittens!  Vicki Hastings has put out so many different mitten designs that it was hard to choose one to start with, but I have just finished stitching her S’mores freebie from 2007 : Look for this year’s freebie mitten at I hope to have a great collection of mittens for my ornament tree this year!

Well, as if all this was not enough to keep me busy, I have just pulled out my Waterlily quilt by Chatelaine – my only UFO – and hope to get in a little stitching before February rolls in!  LOL – too many projects, too little time!  So what are you working on this year?

p.s. – only a few more days til the 100th post giveaway ends!  Scroll down and leave a comment to enter!

It’s My Birthday

and I feel no urge to cry whatsoever – LOL.  Fifty seems like a great number to me, and I would be delighted to add another few decades to that total!  After having stared at the alternative 5 years ago when I spent my 45 birthday recovering from a lumpectomy, and facing the prospect of months of chemo and more surgery, I have appreciated each birthday as it has rolled around.  Bring ’em on!!

We spent Easter break at my mom’s house, enjoying the change in scenery and doing things with family.  My mom commented that my hands are never still – I am always doing, doing, doing something.  And you know, she is right.  I am never truly comfortable sitting and doing nothing.  So without further chatter, here are some of the things that I have been working on in the last little bit.

I sent this Halloween sewing set to Lody for her birthday exchange present:
117_1760 117_17611  117_1766_r1  This is Giulia Punti Antichi’s Halloween sewing set stitched on 25 ct light cognac evenweave.  The cat scissors fob is a Blackbird Design stitched over one, and the spider on the back of the purse is a Tanya Meehan freebie.  I had fun sewing on the black bead balls along the top of the purse and the bottom of the scissors case, and I used one bead ball as a button closure for the needlecase!  Lody’s birthday was actually in January, and who ever heard of sending Halloween for a new years baby??  LOL –  Lody has much better pics here:

I love how Lavon’s Ackworth Quaker Friendship book turned out:

117_1756  117_1757  117_1759  The soy luster floss in teal is so vibrant!  I have now totally finished 3 of these books, and find that the pages are always slightly different in size.  This may well be due to the different tension at which we stitch.  Lavon mentioned that she thought that the size variation added to the charm of the piece, and I must say I agree with her!

I also had the chance to put together a tote for one of the Yahoo groups I belong to.  Several ladies stitched hearts – and for each heart they received an entry into a draw for the bag.  Congrats to Lisa – I hope she uses and enjoys her Heart of SNS2 tote for a long time!  117_1732_r1  117_1734 As you can see, this tote will handle a BAP on qsnaps easily, and I added pockets inside for charts, highlighters, scissors and needles.

Finally, here is the ornament I stitched for March.  I am on a Crossed Wing Collection kick – this is Red Bird from the 1997 JCS ornament issue, stitched on Ruby Red Belfast linen.    117_1753_r1 

As my brother said when he called this morning, ‘it’s all good!’

The Last Finishes of 2007 …….. and the First of 2008

112_1239_r11.jpg This is the last of my tree ornaments for 2007 – check out my webshots album if you would like to see the whole collection!  This lovely piece came from a freebie by KissyCross –

112_1244.jpg  and these were designed by JBW – the French Country and Nordic mittens.  I finished them as flat mittens and added a string – many thanks to Susan N for loaning me a chart and letting me finish her mittens the same way!

112_1240_r1.jpg Rather than following a theme for ornaments this year, I have decided to stitch whatever strikes my fancy.  Can you tell this is a Dragon Dreams ornament?  Santa’s Unexpected Gift is in the 2006 Just Cross Stitch ornament issue.

112_1242_r11.jpg And this beauty is by Blackbird Designs in the 2004 JCS ornament issue. Rachel chose this one for our ornament RR – and I love how it turned out stitched over one.   Thanks Rachel!