Sunday, 28 December 2014

Review of my stitchy 2014 and a cry for help at the bottom!

I love reading this type of post so thought I would come up with my own! Warning - it's picture heavy!

It's been a very productive year for me stitching-wise.  I managed a total of 38 finishes and am still hoping for another one! (more of this later).  I've updated my finishes page at the top of the blog if you want a nosy, but thought I would share here one or two of my favourites...

My first finish of the year on 20th January

Finished this just in time for "baby's" 5th birthday! 

Loved every stitch of this one.

I recharted the candy corn into a bat!

My first ever SAL finish.

I also tried my hand at finishing for the first time and managed to make these goodies which all found new homes...

I took part in four great exchanges and received some wonderful handmade gifts...
 From Heather (Gorjuss Exchange organised by Mii Stitch)

 From Michelle (blog giveaway)

 From Cross Stitch Angel (RAK)

 Both from Mii Stitch (Tutti Frutti Exchange organised by Mii herself)

From Donna (Halloween Exchange organised by Kim)

From Thoeria (RAK)

 From Albena (Christmas Biscornu Exchange organised by Mii Stitch)

From Jayne (blog giveaway)

From Shirlee (prize from Gaynor's raffle and a RAK)

I have been so spoiled!  Thank you to all of you who organised exchanges, offered giveaways and sent RAKs - you help to make the stitching world the special place it is!

On the down side I didn't do so well on some of the SALs I signed up for.  Crazy January Challenge saw me start 15 new projects on the first 15 days of the year.  Sadly I only managed to finish 10 of these and now have a WIP list of 13 projects.  Now I know some would think this is not so bad but it is a lot for me!

I also failed miserably at Stitch from Stash.  I was going to sign up for next year but I think it was my stubborn streak that made me stash when I wasn't supposed to!  So I am just going to go with the flow in 2015.  Having said that, this really caught my eye on etsy the other day and I can't stop thinking about her!
Alice and Dodo by GeckoRouge

I will be back later in the week with another post of my stitchy plans for 2015.

If you've stuck with me so far thank you, if you scrolled down to the bottom to see what the cry for help was, thank you too!  I was aiming to finish this piece by Christmas but it didn't happen.  There is a slim chance it will be done by the end of the year which would make me very happy.  Have a look..

Where I need help is with the variegated thread which is used to stitch most of the sea.  Take a look, it's very variegated...

Now, how would you stitch this?  I normally stitch top to bottom, cross country (i.e. not in blocks) doing half crosses along the line and then crossing them on the way back.  Would this be OK do you think or should I cross each stitch individually?  I've tried both methods on other pieces and not really been happy with either of them.

Thanks in advance for your advice, I know you're a helpful lot and I'll get plenty!  Stay tuned to see if I manage to finish by the end of the year!

Until next time



  1. Lovely post Justine really enjoyed reading through it. With regard to varigated thread I have always stitched each cross stitch individually it works better. If you continue with a row of half stitches and then come back to complete them you won't get the shading effect as well as you would have - hope that helps my friend xx

  2. In studying the pattern for my upcoming Chinese Phoenix project, I found that it also has variegated thread, too. The pattern actually states, though, that DMC color variations threads change color every 5 cm. For a more subtle, blended look, they recommend a row of half stitches first, then go back and work the top crosses. If you are wanting a bolder look, then you will want to work each cross stitch individually.
    I have never worked with variegated thread in a project before, so I have no personal experience, but I hope this information helps you out!

  3. You've had a great stitching year!! I hope the same for you in 2015! Now about the thread, I use a lot of variegated floss and always complete the stitch. One time I stitched the row and then came back. I ended up frogging the entire row. Now I always do the total stitch. It takes a bit more time but, I think, worth it.

  4. I don't have an opinion on whole vs half stitches, but I would not stitch up and down, especially if you are doing while stitches. Seems like the ocean should have horizontal color variation, not vertical. Looks like the model was stitched with whole xs and stitched in rows for what it is worth.

  5. So much done in 2014! As far as the variegated thread, I agree with the advice previously given. Finish one stitch at a time to preserve the color change. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

  6. What a wonderful year of stitching you have had Justine. They are all awesome. I have always read that using the variegated floss, you complete one stitch at a time.


  7. Beautiful finishes this year! You've had a very busy 2014 :D I would finish each stitch as I go. I've tried half stitches along the row and back again, like I normally do, but I didn't get the effect of the color variations, which is the whole point I paid an arm and a leg for the specialty floss. Hope that helps! :D

  8. I think each cross individually. Or maybe blocks of five across.

  9. You had a great stitchy year. I would cross each stitch individually. I think that Alice chart would be very hard to resist lol

  10. Oh my I adore your post today :)
    Its full of wonderful things... and gosh you have been busy! Your stitching is marvelous and really lovely, congratulations on completing so many.
    Oooh variegated thread.. I LOVE using this!! I try to when ever I can! I usually stitch one complete cross as I go, and if the design means I can stitch in lines great, if not then I just stitch away! I love the effect that variegated thread brings... cannot wait to see your completed stitch with it now :) Have fun!!
    Smiles :)

  11. Wonderful stitching year! I can't believe how many you funished. Unfortunately I haven't stitched with variegated thread so I wouldn't be of any help.

  12. Congrats on all you fabulous finishes! You've been very busy. Don't beat yourself up too much about the SALs; there's always next year. Hmm, as far as the stitches go, I'd do full stitches. Might keep the flow of color better. Good luck!

  13. Wow! What a lot of gorgeous stitching throughout the year! So you're definitely not doing Debbie's Super Duper Ultimate Crazy January Challenge then???

    I would stitch the variegated one stitch at a time too but it does depend on what sort of effect you are after. If you don't want it too variegated another option would be to stitch with opposite ends of the thread so that you have a sort of variegation all down the thread. I don't know what it will look like though!

  14. Great recap of the year. You took part in some great exchanges this year.
    I always do one stitch at a time when using variegated thread, it does take a little longer but you get into a rhythm doing it.

  15. Hello Justine!
    You had a great stitching year. I love seeing these posts. I do love the little owl pillow that you sent me. He is so sweet. You have inspired me to do a post like this.
    Have a great week!

  16. Lots of wonderful stitching this year! I, too, would finish each cross individually with the variegated thread. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

  17. You have had an absolutely amazing year Justine. Well done!!! So many lovely gifts and exchanges as well. When I work with varigated thread I also do each full stitch at a time rather than do halves and then cross them after. It's a fantastic project so I hope it all works out to your liking.

  18. HI Justine, it has been a great stitching year for you. It was nice to see all you finishes. As for the variegated thread, I usually stitch the completed cross one at a time and I do it from right to left versus left to right, it goes a bit faster.


  19. Hi Justine I went through the same issue with my last project. To get a nice look you'll need to randomly do full cross stitches. I don't do random very well, so what I ended up doing is a checkered pattern over 2-3 columns going up and then filling 1-2 columns on the way down adding another checkered column (checkered: stitch one leave one blank). Let me know if you need a better explanation.

  20. What a great stitching filled post. You've been busy this year. I look forward to cheering you on next year too.

    I stitch each X as I go with all my threads haha. I've always done it this way. But I agree with everyone doing the complete X looks better. Another tip is to stay the same direction. If you go left right with the stitching don't go up down cause the lines will show up weird in the variegated part. Hope that makes sense.

  21. A wonderful stitching year you've had.
    One stitch at a time with variegated, that's how I use it.

  22. Welp everyone else has chimed in with their help (I also do one X at a time) on the variegated floss so I will just admire all of your amazing stitching from the year!! Love the saying on your first finish for the year. :D

  23. helloo I usually do one stitch at a time for variegated thread unless it is a very subtle one that you can't tell is one any way
    lovely to see all your work for the year in one post ... wishing you a very merry stitchy new year :) love mouse xxxx

  24. You have had a productive year :) Good luck for 2015!
    As for the variegated thread, I have done only small areas so it did not matter much while doing row at a time. But after reading few comments, I also got the information that we must do one stitch at a time. Thanks for asking!! I learned something today:)

  25. Looks like you had a great year! Love the LK finish :) Happy New Year!

  26. You really have had a busy stitchy year with loads of gorgeous finishes. Congratulations! I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing what 2015 will bring from you.
    As for variegated thread, I still use the cut and loop method. I used it for the pink flowers on A Taste of Tuscany and the effect was very subtle rather than "blocky". Give it a go on some scrap fabric first but make sure the two ends differ in their shades. :)

  27. A great post! I definitely thought the variegated thread looked better with each stitch done individually before moving onto the next stitch

  28. Great finishes, exchanges and projects!
    With vareigated thread, i stitch one cross at a time to get the most color value. And, if you don't like a color, on a different project, you can change it by adding one strand of a solid color you do like.
    Wonderful recap!