Cross Stitch · Chatelaine Designs · Scarlet Quince Pieces · The Golden Stairs · Sparkling Peacock Mandala · Bibliotheque · Nordic Santas · Janlynn · Collecting Shells

Happy New Year!

2022 was a hell of a year for our little family (me, him and nine cats), which is why I have been quiet for all of it.  We are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel and are almost ready to make an offer on a property we have had our eye on for quite some time.  I’ll let you know how that progresses.

2022-03-12 – Bibliotheque by Gerald Murphy (Scarlet Quince)

So, on to the stitching that has saved my sanity for the last 12 months.  The first to be completed was Scarlet Quince’s (SQ) Bibliotheque.  I started this in August 2021 and took 30 weeks to stitch it, finishing in March 2022.  There were large chunks of pattern with the same symbol, with the notable exception of the bust of Ralph Waldo Emerson and the globe, hence the relatively short stitch time (for an SQ – if you know, you know!).  Needs framing.

Lucie Heaton’s Nordic Santas – This was a project hangover from 2021, when I had enough of stitching Santas!  The finisher in me wanted to get the project completed in order that, at some point, I could get them framed as gifts.  So, here are Santas 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19.  I stitched these in March, June and July, alternating stitching with Sparkling Peacock.

Sparkling Peacock Mandala is a beautiful Chatelaine I had stashed the kit for some time back.  I scrapped the pennies together for the material and we were off!  I remember watching Yellowstone for most of this stitching, except for when I was attaching the 4,688 beads and 53 crystals!  There are mistakes (of course there are – it’s a Chat!) but only I know about them.  It certainly made me up my beading game and I was very happy with the finished piece.  Needs framing.

2022-08-14 – Collecting Shells (Janlynn)

Collecting Shells is a Janlynn kit, my dear, departed mother gave me.  It reminds me so much of my childhood when our family went to the local sandy beach to explore and pick up shells.  I hadn’t stitched it because I had bigger projects on the go.  It was more challenging than it looks as there are a ton of tent stitches (half crosses) and it was on a paper pattern.  The first thing to do was to convert the pattern onto MarkUp RXP software as it could cope with the backstitch marks, which Pattern Keeper couldn’t at that time.  This took an age as the creases in the paper made it very difficult to line it up so the pattern was all on one electronic page (thank you DH for your technical skill).  It was a case of manually highlighting and clearing the symbols, but it was still better than using paper.  The pattern itself was a bit boggling visually as the beach is all horizontal stitching, so I had to count very carefully.   This took me seven weeks during July and August.  Needs framing.


On to my latest project, for which I had half the threads and none of the material.  My darling sister gifted these to me as she knew what was going on in my life and the need for a project to keep my hands busy and my mind in check.  I started this piece at the end of August and am 27.4% of the way through.  There are 18 faces and a ton of ninja (single) stitches, so my average stitch rate is about 117 per hour.  I anticipate completion being around 53 weeks’ time unless I get bored with the beige and swap something else in!

It was during 2022 that my sister also started cross-stitching as her hands were starting to hurt from her other repetitive hobbies:  she is an excellent patchwork maker, knitter, tatter, and crocheter.  We now have weekly stitch and chat days and long may that continue.  We both put into the stash of threads I have, and it was lovely to introduce the joy of larger pieces to her.  We had a nice picture of Sunflowers at the bottom of our stairs, and she asked me to convert it to a cross-stitch chart, which I did using Chestnut Pens’ software as that allows you to use blended threads and exercise control over the complexity of the pattern.  I believe it will be the last time that she goes for the most complex option!  This is her travelling piece for when she comes over for our stitching day.  At home, she is doing a fabulous butterfly from Heaven and Earth Designs.

So, that’s all my news that I’m able to talk about for the moment.  Here’s hoping I’ll be able to post on a more regular basis throughout 2023!

All My Cats · Bibliotheque · Chatelaine Designs · Cross Stitch · Dumbo · LA Designs · Night WHTOS · Nordic Santas · Scarlet Quince Pieces

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Take heed my friend 
You are never alone 
For, you walk with Angels 

by Athey Thompson

I believe 2021 truly takes the biscuit with all that’s happened in the last 12 months, both worldwide and personally. Let’s have everything crossed and see what we can do ourselves to make 2022 a much better year!

On that note, here is a roundup of stitching finishes for this year:

First up is Night With Her Train of Stars, which took me from January 2019 to April 2021 to complete. This pattern was created by Scarlet Quince. I used to have this as a poster and have always loved it. Once framed, it will have pride of place in my bedroom.

2021-04-29 – Night With Her Train of Stars by Edward Robert Hughes (Scarlet Quince)

Next is Dumbo, which is a birth sampler for my lovely great-niece. I created the pattern using an image found on the net and I went for maximum complexity and colours. Dates are obscured to protect the innocent 🙂

After the eye taxing Dumbo, I decided to create a Jolly Santa project, where I tweaked a number of Santas for various people in my family. The patterns are by Lucie Heaton, although I added the beads and the over-one method for their faces to create a finer finish. I had all the threads and beads in my stash and the material came from offcuts from projects that had been framed and I had requested that the framer hand back the material he didn’t need. At some point, these will be Christmas presents. As you can see from the numbering, there are still a few to go!

After the Santas, I was scratching around again for something to stitch and I was hunting for something that didn’t cost much to kit up. I had a piece of material only slightly smaller than I would have liked but I also had the thread and bead kit already for All My Cats, which was a joy/challenge to stitch. This pattern was from

2021-08-13a – Finished

Last, but by no means least, is Bibliotheque, another Scarlet Quince pattern, currently standing at 62% complete in this photograph. For this one, I already half the threads but needed to buy the other half and the material. I started this one in August and I estimate I have 2-3 months left to go. A sound investment as I know stitching saves my sanity.

End of Row – 2021-12-29

On that note, may I wish you the happiest of New Years!

All My Cats · Chatelaine Designs · Cross Stitch · Nordic Santas


A pocket full of sorrows 
I shall take away for you 
A hand full of flowers 
I shall lay down for you 
A river full of tears 
I shall cry for you 
A forever full of memories 
I shall remember of you 

by Athey Thompson

It’s a sad poem, I know, but our family laid our mother to rest in July after a short illness. She was a beautiful person through and through and I miss her greatly.

Stitching was a boon in this stressful time and I managed to complete 14 of my planned 19 Nordic Santas. I am waiting on getting hold of one of the original Santas I did back in 2016 so I can have a look at the material and beads I used as I foolishly failed to make a note of these when I stitched them. This is so that the ones I stitch this year won’t look odd when they are displayed together. Here are the finished ones:

I was then at a loss for my next project as I knew I needed material so I just spent a couple of days organizing the thread boxes for Bibliotheque by Gerald Murphy (Scarlet Quince). Then, just to make sure, I re-measured all the odds and ends of material I had in my stash. I knew they wouldn’t be big enough for the Scarlet Quince or Chatelaine items in my project stash, but maybe enough for something smaller?

Success! I had been very generous with my framing allowance for All My Cats (Chatelaine) and I had a piece of Belfast linen only 5cm smaller than ideal, but it was big enough to fit the stitching on comfortably. Here’s what it will look like when finished:

As I had ordered the variegated threads and beads from European Cross Stitch a while back and so had them in my stash, I was able to crack on. Here’s where I am up to after a couple of weeks. This image is a composite as I did not want to unscroll it from the frame:

This project will probably take me 2-3 weeks more to complete so I will work on getting sufficient material and missing threads for Bibliotheque.

I hope you are all keeping well and finding solace in what makes you happy. See you in the Autumn.

Much love – Christine

Baby Sampler · Bibliotheque · Cross Stitch · Dumbo · LA Designs · Night WHTOS · Nordic Santas

Spring Is Here

And, in the morning
When all is well
All the little birds 
Shall come to me 
They shall come from near and far 
 And, together 
We shall sing out loud
“Spring is here
Spring  is here
Oh how near 
Oh my dear 
Spring is here
Spring is here
Oh let it be 
Oh let us see”

by Athey Thompson

Well, 2021 has been a wild ride, hasn’t it. In the UK at least it looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel, but let’s not go too crazy, too early!

I’ve had a couple of big finishes since we last spoke so, without further ado, here they are:

First up is Night With Her Train of Stars and Her Great Gift of Sleep, painted by Edward Robert Hughes in 1912 and gorgeously transformed into a pattern by Scarlet Quince:

2021-04-29 – Night With Her Train of Stars by Edward Robert Hughes (Scarlet Quince)

I love her so much as she pretty much saved my sanity during the various lockdowns and it was so soothing working with all those gorgeous blues.

Next up was Dumbo, which was a pattern I made up from an image selected by my niece, with technical help from my dearest husband. I started out using Adobe Acrobat to work the pattern, but soon jumped over to Pattern Keeper as it was so much easier to mark off and complete the various stitches. Because it was a home made pattern, I still needed to hunt down each symbol, but the marking off was a much neater affair than with Acrobat. Now, PK is great if you have Android kit but, if you want to do something similar with Apple for your cross stitch, I recommend using Knit Companion. They have a facility for both Apple and Android, but there are many more useful features on the Apple software for cross stitch. Here’s a tutorial showing the features available.

So, here is Dumbo completed. I have obscured the birth date for data protection reasons as it is just not sensible to spread your details all over the net unnecessarily:

I was so pleased with the depth of field and softness of the finished item, and can’t wait to get him framed and sent up-country to her parents!

For my next project, I am going to do a series of 19 Nordic Santas as these are great when set in a frame. It also means I can use up lots of offcuts of material I have in my stash. I will embellish them with beads for the snow and other objects, and do the faces stitching one over one to get a fine skin tone. Here is where I am so far with the first four as I am waiting on a couple of threads (mostly red) coming in the mail:


After the Santa marathon, I will probably finish kitting up Bibliotheque by Gerald Murphy, which is another great pattern by Scarlet Quince. This piece is destined for my husband’s office.

See you at the next change of the seasons! Much love to you all – Christine

Baby Sampler · Cross Stitch · health · Night WHTOS

Welcome 2021

We may feel lost 
And a little alone 
At times 
But, we must always remember 
That magic is all around 
Just waiting to be found 

by Athey Thompson

I thought the poem was appropriate for the time of year and the car crash that was 2020. So, onwards and upwards!

Both DH and I have contracted COVID, him for the second (!) time. Ah, the joys of having an essential worker for a wife 🙂 . It seems to be a milder version than the first round but we are still ingesting quantities of Vitamin C, D/K and Melatonin to keep it at bay.

On to the stitching. I took a little detour from Night, so here is the progress I made from the last time we spoke in November to where I left her three weeks later:

She is about 75% done!

The detour I mentioned was due to organizing with my niece and her partner a birth sampler for their new born, Rosie. They chose a lovely image of Dumbo and I ran it through the chart maker supplied by Chesnut Pens. You’ll need to scroll down about three quarters of the page to obtain the download. Although the app isn’t the easiest to use, it does give excellent results. For Dumbo, I pressed ‘extreme’ in terms of colours and complexity and produced a chart with 219 colours (both blended and single). I am really pleased with how Dumbo is progressing and the nuances in both the skin tone and the ruffle:


This is after four weeks’ work and you can see my project work at this page. I’ll also top and bottom the image with Rosie’s name, date of birth and weight in a fabulous Disney font, which I found from Go and have a look – I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Anyway, that’s all for now. I hope you have a happy and healthy 2021! Much love – Christine x

Cross Stitch · Day To Day · health · Jolly Robin - Flipped · Night WHTOS · Scarlet Quince Pieces

Careering Towards December

Wow! What a year! I am writing to you in the midst of a second lockdown. We can’t go out anyway, as it looks like DH has the dreaded COVID so we are isolating for 14 days. I am pumping him full of melatonin and vitamin C to alleviate the symptoms and hope to goodness it doesn’t get to his lungs as he is a chronic asthmatic. So far, so good. If you are interested in this protocol, look up Doris Loh here. She is also on Facebook. She is quite technical so I recommend going to her Facebook page for the lay version.

On to stitching news. I mentioned in my last post waaaaay back in May that I was going to do a more complex version of the Jolly Robin kit (the original kit being from Bothy Threads). This meant I went from 16 to 125 colours – yes, I went all out 🙂 Here are the two finished pieces for comparison:

The one on the left was made using the original artwork and purloining the same backstitch elements from the kit. I just love the fluffiness of them both.

Now for Night With Her Train of Stars. Here is where I left you in May and where I finished yesterday:

It doesn’t really tell you much, does it; however, she is nearly 70% complete and here is what she looks like opened out:

I just had to dip down into the row below to complete her face to make sure the tension was even. I really do feel this is the focal point of the whole picture and I reckon I have another 3-4 months before she is finished. If you want to see just the ‘end of row’ pictures, they are here.

Anyway, that is all my news so I hope you keep safe and get out of this pandemic relatively unscathed.

Much love, Christine xxx

Cross Stitch · Jolly Robin - Flipped · Night WHTOS · Scarlet Quince Pieces · The Watch

All Things Seem Possible in May

I hope this finds you all well and avoiding COVID 19. As you know, I am shielding my husband and we haven’t been anywhere although we are lucky enough to have a lovely garden to sit out in when the weather is good. Stitching has been my saviour, particularly around week 7 when I felt the days ticking by particularly slowly.

Good news! I finished Watch on the first of May. I stitched this one for my husband to hang on his office wall and, yes, I love him that much to have devoted 71 weeks across four years to it.

2020-05-01 – Watch by Gerald Murphy (Scarlet Quince)

Thanks to the wonder of the stitching app supplied by Scarlet Quince, here are his vital statistics:

  • 144,396 stitches +/- a few frogs 😉
  • Timeframe: January 2017-May 2020 – 71 weeks across those years as I clearly have more than one project on the go.
  • Stitches per hour: 165 – this equates to 2.75 stitches per minute so it really isn’t as fast as it might seem. Plus, I have each of my blended threads loaded on to needles and ready to go, which is a massive time saver.
  • Approximate time spent stitching: 52,507 hours – it keeps me off the streets!

I have a few ideas on how I’d like it finish finished: a metal frame for sure but not what colour would be best, and double matting. I will have to wait until (a) framing businesses re-open and (b) I have found a new framer as the lovely Assad retired last year. I know we moved away from him three years ago, but having stitching framed had to be put on the back burner financially so I hadn’t bothered to investigate framers in our new area.

All the above meant that Night (With Her Train of Stars) came out from hibernation. Here is a sequence showing :

  • Where I left her last
  • The row finish
  • Where I am now

I finally got the hang of sizing her properly so the images are easier to view when in a gallery. In these uncertain times, I find the blues very soothing.

As stitchers, you know it is virtually impossible to have only one project on the go at any one time, so let me introduce you to Jolly Robin – Flipped:

The Jolly Robin by Wrendale Designs-Flipped

This is going to be the companion piece to the Jolly Robin kitted up by Bothy Threads which I stitched last year. The total number of colours in that kit was 16 and, although the picture looked OK when I finished, I yearned for something more detailed and nuanced:

2019-12-08 – Jolly Robin (Bothy Threads)

I found a stitching programme which allowed me to go crazy with the colours. After cleaning up the image to remove the dots surrounding the robin, I ended up with *ahem* 125 colours. Here’s what the thread box looks like for this project:

2020-05-11 – Jolly Robin Flipped – Thread Store

This robin will be more pink than the kitted one because that’s what the original artwork called for. Bothy Threads kindly sell the splat printed aida on its own so, when it arrives, I’ll give it a whirl. I have enormous respect for those who create these patterns as I spent more (non-stitching!) hours than I care to think about cleaning up the image and, even then, I think I’ll need to adjust as I go, particularly with those feet and the lower left hand side of the body where it is white feather against white aida. For copyright issues, I must reiterate I created this pattern for personal use only.

Whew, there you have my lockdown stitching. Stay safe, stay well and I’ll see you again in a couple of months to see what the world looks like.

Love and health to you all. Christine xxx

Cross Stitch · Day To Day · Kiki & Tuki · Marmie, Ragnar & Casper · Pets · Photos · Scarlet Quince Pieces · The Watch

Stay Safe, Stay At Home

Well, there could only be one title for this post, couldn’t there? It is crazy how the entire world has been changed since my last post in January and with the advent of the COVID 19 virus. I am at home shielding my asthmatic husband as, when he gets a cold, it absolutely floors him. We are taking zero chances.

On to nicer things. All this shielding means I have a bit more time for, you guessed it, stitching. Here’s where I left you in January:

2020-01-02 – End of Row

And here’s where I am as at yesterday:


I’ve got a bit of a method with this one as there are so many light and dark colours next to each other. I do the light colours first, then almost all the dark, then do the next section of light, before returning to fill in the dark. This means I am not pulling through dark threads to the front of the light sections and making them look dirty. I know it will all disappear when it is framed and you step back from it, but it saves a lot of pulling the dark threads away at the back, which means more forward progress!

I don’t have recent photographs of spring flowers as the weather was awful when they were in bloom, but here are some I took in previous years:

And here are a couple of photos that I love of some of the colony:

They are all gorgeous and have settled in to their new roles. Now that Casper and Ragnar are bigger, they are able to play with Tiggy, who is now leaving the lovely Kiki alone (she definitely doesn’t want to play).

Stay safe, and stay at home if your role enables you to. If you are a member of one of the essential services in this crisis, I heartily thank you for your service and send you protective thoughts.

Much love to you all – Christine

Chatelaine Designs · Cross Stitch · Easter Eggs · George · Jolly Robin · Mrs Tiggy-Winkle (Tiggy) · Night WHTOS · Pets · Scarlet Quince Pieces · The Watch · Watergarden

Fare Thee Well and Welcome

Good bye 2019 and welcome to the 2020s. Will they be roaring? I am not sure, but I am certain that we all need to do better when interacting with our fellow man. As the wonderful Tim Cotton of the Bangor, Maine Police Department wisely states: Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s things alone, and be kind to one another.

On to stitchy news, here are the pieces I completed in 2019:

I absolutely loved working with silks on Watergarden as their colours are so vibrant (the blues of the centre pond). It looks like I am driven by colour when it comes to working on smaller pieces as a break from my main pieces (the blue of Night With Her Train of Stars and the brown/grey/yellow of Watch). I am also kitting up a more complex Robin, where I ran the artwork through a pattern maker and have gone crazy with the number of colours being used (125). It will be the same size as the Robin above, but will be flipped so they face each other. It should be fun and strictly for personal use only.

These pieces are a work in progress:

I’m on a bit of a roll with Watch, being 60% of the way through it, so I’ll stay with it for the time being.

On sadder news, my gorgeous, darling, handsome George was killed on New Year’s Eve and we all miss him so much. Both my husband and I and the rest of the colony are gradually adjusting to his absence. His sister, Tiggy, has picked up the reins as head of the colony and the rest are settling in to the new order. He is gone, but never forgotten.

2019-02-01 – George
Chatelaine Designs · Cross Stitch · Jolly Robin · Kiki & Tuki · Marmie, Ragnar & Casper · Photos · Sparkling Peacock Mandala · The Watch

A Frosty Morning

This is a poem by Enid Blyton, which I thought chimed nicely with the weather we are currently experiencing and the subject matter today.

When the sun hangs low in the eastern sky,
Caught in the trees that shiver and shy,
Red as the robin that flits nearby,
Sing hey, for a frosty morning!

When the lane is a-glitter beneath our feet,
Powered with crystal, delicate, sweet,
And the quiet pond is a silver sheet,
Sing hey, for a frosty morning!

Come out, come out, while the sky is red,
Over the crunching fields to tread,
Ere the frost in the kindling sun lies dead,
Sing, hey for a frosty morning!
2019-12-02 – First Heavy Frost of December and Sunlight on the Trees

On to the stitching. Here are the start and finish points for Watch in November (a fortnight’s work):

I know I said I would continue with Watch, but the large areas of the same colour thread were making it painful to stitch as I wasn’t moving much. I also needed (desperately) to stitch something that involved bright colours. Hence the robin mentioned in the poem.

I have long admired Hannah Dale’s illustrations and had my eye on her Jolly Robin picture, which she had licensed to Bothy Threads to kit up (Amazon sell them at a good price). I am not a fan of kits (or the Madeira thread used by Bothy for theirs) but I thought I’d stitch it up and see if I could get hold of the lovely material they use to stitch it again using DMC threads. Here is a copy of the original artwork and an image of where I got to at the end of the first week:

At this point I’m thinking “where has all the coral/orange come from?” To someone who is used to stitching Joan Elliott and Scarlet Quince pieces, this looks really odd, and really blocky. Anyway, I thought, let’s see what it looks like when I move over to the left hand side of the work. Well … have a look at the coral patch under his eye …

2019-11-30 – Coral Colour Re-Think

I knew at this point that I hated that coral colour with a passion, but what to put there instead. I ran the original artwork through a couple of the free to use on-line pattern makers using the same number of colours as the pattern and was presented with a couple of options: a very light pink colour which just looked strange in amongst all those beautiful reds and russets, and DMC 3705 (a dark melon). Here’s what it looked like after I finished with it on Sunday:


Isn’t it funny how it looks pink now? My plan is to finish this one and do another one with a couple of important changes:

  • I will flip the image horizontally so I will have a facing pair,
  • and I will do the second one in all blended colours (DMC obviously) to see if I can improve on the impression of fluffed feathers.

Bothy Threads have said they can sell me just the material so I won’t have to buy all the threads again. Oh, by the way, I have ditched Xodo as a PDF reader as it kept losing the work I had marked as done, even though it acknowledged as having saved it. I was getting really bored of re-marking it. I am now using Acrobat to read the pattern I had scanned in as Bothy only do paper patterns.

Speaking of colours, had a sale on so I plumped for Sparkling Peacock Mandala, which I just know is going to look gorgeous in the flesh. Now to start saving for the materials!

And just so it’s not all about stitching, here are Ragnar and Kiki enjoying a snooze in a warm place:

Have a great Christmas and I’ll see you again in January for a round up of 2019!