Friday, 31 March 2017

All About Blogger of the Week - Pinned Post - Scroll down for the interviews

As a long-time subscriber of the now defunct Cross Stitch Collection magazine, one of my favourite articles was their Blogger of the Month.  When the magazine ceased publication I decided it would be fun to continue the tradition but make it a weekly feature (more bloggers for your money!).

I started by inviting some of the followers of my blog to see if there was any interest in doing interviews and articles and this blog is the result!

If you would like to be interviewed and considered for a post on the blog, please email me at joanneperry179@gmail.com with a link to your blog.

I do hope you enjoy reading the posts and leave comments for the interviewee.  Hopefully it will inspire you to visit their blog and add a new blog to your Reader.

Just for fun, here's the full version of the design I "cut-up" for the header:


Designed by Elissa Hudson, stitched as a birth sampler for some friends.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Mouse from Tales of a Stitching Mouse

This week's Blogger of the Week is another long-time online friend I've been following since the beginning of my blogging days, known to all as Mouse from


1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

Mouse, married to DH for 28 years and counting, 2 DD’s and of course Master Bentley all living in the mouse house in Sunny South Yorkshire ..lol

Sunny Yorkshire

2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

Hmmmm hard question about the age of 6/7 did my first piece on binca and then rediscovered it again about 16 ish soooo a long time ago shhhhh

3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?

I have always been known as mouse and I stitch and tell tales and the rest is history .. think been blogging now for .... pootle off to check blog ;) ....24/02/2010 eeeekkk just missed my 7 year blogaversary ....


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.?

Hmmmm my style is definitely a serial starter but I flit from one start to another depending on my what shall I stitch on today mood ... if something is near finishing I will often concentrate on that first ... especially if it an exchange peice or a RAK for someone.

A gift for our hostess, Jo!

5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

Favourite designers are LHN, L*K , Silver Creek Samplers, Samplers, Prim, basically a huge range of what I like to stitch ....also like speciality stitches too

Melicent Turner by LHN

6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

Gosh this is a hard one .. I think it has to be the one I designed and there were 52 people stitching on it and one lady won first prize in a WI competition .....:)

We need to see a photo of this one Mouse!

Click here for photo!


7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

Finding out that a wedding piece I was working on for a friend had been ruined from the metal stems on the flowers in the bouquet ... never got restarted

8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

Would love to try a flat fold not been brave enough yet ..lol and to do more creative patchwork too

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?

Sshhhh have you been looking in my craft room? .. I am trying to work my way through them .. often make them into wee pillows or frame or bell pulls depending on the size of the piece.

Craft room at the Mouse House.

10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

Everything I have stitched has got a part of me in it .. I try to choose what I know the person would love to receive and think of them when finishing it off too.

A little bit of Mouse in every gift

11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!

I have a blog ... don’t think there isn‘t much peeps don’t know about me ..lol ..

12. Anything you would like to add?

Apart from my stitching , quilting , crafting (can’t knit..lol) I love taking photos of everything and anything as my memory keepers and one day I will get round to scrapbooking the best ones.




Friday, 17 March 2017

Lesley from Lesley's Stitching Diary

Please welcome our third Blogger of the Week, the lovely Lesley from



1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.


Hello.

My name is Lesley. I live in the North West of England, in rural Cheshire with my husband of nearly thirty four years. We have two adult sons and two gorgeous grandsons aged twelve and seven.

2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

I have been stitching since May 1994.
I fell into stitching rather than making a conscious decision to start.
I went to a local Craft barn with a friend out of curiosity and a small cross stitch kit caught my eye because the little flowers were stitched in my favourite colour palette, purple.
The kit contained a small card and envelope so I decided to stitch it for our younger son's teacher as a good bye gift. He was seven and moving out of her class to the juniors.
I made the rookie mistake of using six strands in the first few stitches, a lesson learned early on.
I was amazed it looked like the illustration on the kit when I had finished.
Buoyed by my success I returned to the Craft Barn and purchased a design by Sylvia Clarke, a Nasturtiums flower tile. It was colourful and I liked the border pattern. At this point I had no idea about fabric, threads or back stitch (fortunately there was no back stitch ) I loved stitching it and that was the start of my cross stitching adventures.


Nasturtium Flower Tile designer Sylvia Clarke


3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start. Is there a story behind your blog title?

I started my blog in March 2011. It was, if I remember correctly, called Home Is Where The Heart Is. I was going to blog about all sorts of things but I started to use it more and more for my stitching so I changed the name to Lesley's Stitching Diary. I have since started again after a Picasa Photo disaster in late 2012 in which I deleted nearly all my photos from my blog!
I had been reading and following a few blogs for a couple of years before I set up my own blog. I can remember the delight of finding cross stitching bloggers from other parts of the world. It was like opening a door and finding treasure. I loved the different styles and finishes and reading about what other stitchers like to stitch. It was great because none of my friends are crafty and up until then I was literally on my own in my passion for the crosses.


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.?


I was originally a 'one at a time' stitcher until I joined a stitching forum in 2009 and signed up for a few exchanges which meant I had two projects on the go at times.
I have decided that I am most comfortable if I have no more than four projects on the go at one time. I tried a rota a couple of times and failed to keep to it. I like to be organised.


5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

I like a lot of different styles but a few designers come to mind immediately

I like Ursula Michael's Word designs. They are fun, easy to stitch and personalise.
The simplicity of Little House Needleworks and Country Cottage Needleworks designs appeals to me.
I like the small Prairie Schooler designs. Brittercup designs is another.

I like Barbara Ana's Hallowe'en designs and a new-to-me designer,  Deborah Dick of Tempting Tangles designs.


6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

That would have to be White Lightning by Dimensions Gold. I stitched it for our younger son as a gift to mark his graduation in 2008. I started it in 2008 and it took two years of stitching to finish and one year out. The design has a 3D effect achieved by some of the stitches being four, five and six strands. I have never gridded any of my work and on this occasion I was fortunate that it all matched up, especially as I kept stopping and starting the project.


White Lightning. A Dimensions Gold kit. Original picture by John Seerey -Lester


7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

I had another Dimensions Gold design in 2002 called Magic In Motion. The subject was a colourful Wizard on black aida. I persevered with the fabric because I loved the Wizard. About a third of the way through I realised the fabric was in the wrong orientation and my Wizard would have no robes where his legs were. There was nothing I could do, the thought of frogging so much gave me nightmares. I gave the chart to someone who was willing to do the thread conversion and was going to use the chart.
A few years ago I tried to find Magic In Motion but it had been discontinued, then I saw a chart for sale on eBay, it was in pretty good condition .It is now in my stash, I have my fabric (not black) and I have done a thread conversion, so one day my Wizard will be stitched.


8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

I have already taken the bull by the horns and started knitting. I completed two pattered blankets last year. I have nearly completed a scarf with various stitches incorporated into it, and knitted on circular needles, a first for me.
I am itching to start my first pair of socks. I am going to try the circular needle method and the double pointed needles method.


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?

I have framed quite a lot of my pieces because they are too big to make into small ornaments. I have stitched quite a few as gifts.
As the years have gone by I find I enjoy the process of stitching more than the finishing. I do have a few not fully finished pieces and no idea what to finish them into. However, when I stitch my Christmas ornaments for the family later this year I will be fully finishing them.


10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

It is hard to pick a project that represents me because I have cross stitched a lot of different designers' styles.
I also love hardanger stitching so, after some thought and a look in my stitching folders on my computer I would have to go with a piece I stitched for our elder son and his wife in 2013 for their wedding card. I designed it as I stitched and I love just seeing where the design takes me using the techniques I have learned. There is a small amount of cross stitch in the design too.


Wedding Card


11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!

I am a collector and drinker of tea. I love my cuppa or brew as we say here. I have quite an array of different teas, loose leaf are my favourite. I am lucky that younger son and his fiance travel a lot. They have brought tea from Vietnam, Japan, Canada and Austria as well as gifts of tea from Fortnum and Mason. I love Chai tea and Lapsang Souchong. My latest gift was Russian Caravan tea which is delicate in taste. I have them all to myself when our sons are not around (they also like different teas) because my husband is a coffee drinker:)

12. Anything you would like to add?

I like to stitch on 14 and 16 count aida because it is easy on my eyes, although I will use 28 and 32 count if it is absolutely necessary and of course hardanger fabrics. Apart from the purple spectrum I like oranges which is one reason I am drawn to Hallowe'en designs.


Thanks to Jo of Serendipitous Stitching for putting the questions and for you coming to read them.





Friday, 10 March 2017

Gracie from Needles, Pins and Dragonflies

A warm welcome to our second Blogger of the Week, someone who has been an online friend of mine for many years now - I present Gracie!



1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

My name is Grace Horton and some people call me Gracie. My dad hated it when someone did. He was very old fashioned. My younger brother never calls me Gracie. I am originally from Rhode Island and now retired with my husband Dennis in Arizona. My small family is still in RI. At present we have no pets. When we moved out here we had a Schnauzer and a Pug. Dennis and I will be married for 47 years this April (knew each other 10 days). I just turned 70 and it has been hard to say that number!


2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

My love for stitching began when I was about 7 when my Aunt Lucy taught me to crochet. That was a summer I will always remember. (Crazy story). Not too long after that I learned to cross stitch on gingham check and then to sew and then on and on to other crafts. My favorite first sewing project was a skirt sewn entirely by hand when I was only 12 years old.


3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?

I started my blog September of 2010. The title is from when I sold my crafts many years ago and that was how my license was listed. I just loved the way it sounded. Needles Pins and Dragonflies…….knitting, sewing and magical dragonflies! I am so glad that I started my blog. I have met so many wonderful friends from all over the world.


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.?

I guess I would say I am eclectic with my crafts. I usually have more than one thing going at once like now; I have a tatting project, a counted cross stitch and a sewing project. I then can choose what to work with depending on my mind set that day.

my first 12 tatted pieces from my lessons with a friend teaching me, Deb Wood


5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

There is no favorite designer as I am quite eclectic with that too. I like a bit of all styles.


6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

I love so many of my finishes but I think the sewing doll is one for sure. I saw it in Samplers & Antique Needlework magazine and knew I had to make her. (Vol 20, N0. 2 #75, Summer 2014) Her name is Elizabeth. The designer is Guilia Manfedini. I also did the finishing myself. She is special with the silk threads and silk dupioni dress and of course the beautiful porcelain hand painted doll. It was quite expensive to make but so proud of it.

Elizabeth by Guilia Manfedini


7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

I do not like to think of stitching disasters, but rather hic-cups in the process. I am a determined crafter. When I set my mind to it, I can accomplish most things….like my tatting.


8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

For something new it would be that I am trying to learn to do smocking. My practice piece looks pretty good but still trying to get my hands to do the real thing. I want to do this so I can make Wee Care Gowns for babies who do not survive birth. They are presentation gowns for the parents.


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?

Doesn’t everyone have that dreaded box of must get to finish items? I certainly do. I really enjoy the process of finishing so I do not know why my box is waiting! I sometimes give away my finished items but mostly display them in my home.


10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

I cannot think of which of my works most represents me. Maybe the Hardanger pieces because they require lots of patience and thought and steadiness.

Hardanger piece from Cindy Valentine, China Rose


11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!

I am a very sensitive person but do not like to show that side too often. I rather like people to think I am very strong. When I leave this world for the Happy World of Crafters I want to be able to do anything and everything so I will fit right in and make new friends. Friendship is so important to me.


12.  Anything you would like to add?

So far I can say that I can I have learned Knitting, crocheting, sewing, quilting, hardanger, tatting, beading, counted cross stitch, needle punch and almost smocking. Is there anything else I should try? I keep busy every day. My stash, like so many other crafters is a store room of this and that.  

assorted friends living in the sewing room...


Thank you Gracie for the interview and the wonderful insight into your life - stitcher, crafter, letter writer and keen contributor to my blog hops too!

Friday, 3 March 2017

Jo from Serendipitous Stitching




I hope no-one minds but I'm starting with me!  I'm such a narcissist LOL


1. Please introduce yourself - name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

I'm Jo, a stitcher from the East of England, married with two boys still in school.  I work part-time as a bookseller and also run a Baby & Toddler Group as well as helping out in school when I can.


2.  How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

Like many of us, my first experience of stitching was a Binca mat in Primary School which my Mum kept for many years on top of the TV (when TVs were broad enough to be used as an extra display space, unlike today's flat screens!).   I didn't really think about stitching again until 1993 when I saw a friend making a Country Companions piece for her young son.  The subject matter didn't appeal but the craft did so I went to the local John Lewis department store and bought an Anchor mini sampler kit.  Then another one.  And the rest is history!



3.  How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?

My first introduction to stitching on t'internet was through the cross stitch forums on Yuku.  I noticed that many people had links to their blogs in their signature and started to explore the blogosphere from there.  I saw everyone joining in with the TUSAL and wanted to be part of that.  Of course, you need a blog to take part so that was the incentive to start mine!

I thought long and hard over the name.  I wanted something more than "Jo's Stitching Blog" as there are so many people called Jo, I wanted something unique.  I love words and wordplay so wanted to have alliteration in there.  I thought about all the times the perfect design just appeared at the right time for me and Serendipitous Stitching was born.  Yes I do sometimes regret the name when I have to type it in freehand LOL.


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.?

I used to be a strict OAAT stitcher, until I joined a Mirabilia Mermaid SAL.  Now I would say I am definitely an Organised Rotater!  I have four SALs which start on the 26th of each month with the Now I Know my ABCs, then I stitch the next letter in the Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke's Books in preparation for The Alphabet Club on the first Saturday of the month.  Next I stitch the piece for the Hallowe'en Ornie SAL followed by the piece for the Christmas Ornie SAL.  After all four of these I turn to my Focus piece for the month.  Oh yes, there is also my evening stitching - currently the border on Joan Elliott's 12 Days of Christmas and my Ten-a-Day piece!  So I stitch a minimum of two pieces a day, usually three.


5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

I always say I have four favourite designers - Nora Corbett, Joan Elliott, Teresa Wentzler and Just Nan.  There is usually at least one piece in my annual list by each of them.  I do love samplers and fantasy, particularly dragons.  I like a design I can really get into, something with speciality stitches or metallics, lots of detail.  Spooky Hallowe'en designs are another firm favourite.


6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

My first large Teresa Wentzler design is a real Rite of Passage for many stitchers - The Castle, you know, the one with the large dragon wrapped around a castle on a rocky outcrop!


7.  What has been your worst stitching disaster?

Let's just say that Jack Daniels and Coke does not mix well with whitework!  Never, ever leave your stitching on a table when your friends are drinking.  It made a nice practise piece instead.


8.  Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

Beading.  As in making things with beads rather than adding beads as an embellishment to stitched pieces.  Here are three blog posts which are making me want to take up this hobby!

D1D2 - De Rose Vetues
Needle, Pen and Sword - Beaded Box
Caring Stitcher - Beaded Apple


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?

I have a folder full!  I recently put all my finished smalls into one place and the plan is to FFO at least one each Sunday (if I am not working).  So far, so good!  I scrapbook a lot of my smalls, it's a nice cheap hobby as the 12x12 pages are less than £1, you buy bulk pads from The Works sometimes and I use simple card mounts.

Here's a nice Spring themed page:


I also started finishing projects as low-sew Cubes, completing 18 for the two Primitive Hare series!



10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

I like to change and adapt designs to suit my space and style.  Joan Elliott's Christmas Angel is a perfect example of a design I loved but didn't have time to stitch it all, or the space for another big design on the walls.  I bought a multi-apeture frame and stitched parts of the design to fit in the spaces.  Cross Stitch Collection featured this in one issue and Joan herself commented on when I posted in the Facebook group.



11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!

A secret?  I'm secretly a narcissist but you already know that!  So here is a pun, as I said in Q3 I love words and word play.  This is my own design I made for a giveaway:

The first (lumpy) ornie I ever made!


Anything you would like to add.

A little Thank You to everyone who joins in with the community activities on my blog, the Blog Hops and the SALs.  They would not happen without the support of my lovely followers.  Not much point of a blog hop with only one participant!

Also a Thank You to everyone who voted for me in the British Craft Awards last December.  I didn't win but I did get Bronze!  I got a lovely email letting me know I came in third place.  The winner is still a mystery to me because no-one has announced it on their blog.  Immediate Media didn't send me a medal but they did send me a badge for my blog!


I hope you all enjoyed this first post on our new blog.  If you would like to be featured, please email me and I will send you the questions.

Happy Stitching
Jo xx