FAQ

last week my dear friend Kaye wrote me asking if I was interested in an Around the World Blog Hop invitation – of course I said yes, although due to the move I wrote this post a few days ago and scheduled it for the due date. safety first! 😉 check out her post about this over at Kitten Stitching. ❤️😺

I hope you enjoy my little dissertation on the matter, I have been asked these questions many times on various media and ended up writing the same thing over and over again – so I thought it was about time I took the chance to discuss everything in detail and from now on refer everybody to this post ;) I added a link to it in the about me page as well so every new reader that is curious enough will get a chance to find it and understand how nuts I am about stitching ;)

now here are the Around the World Blog Hop Q/A:

1. What am I working on?  these days I’m working on a project called Once Upon a Time by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. it’s a fairy tale themed monthly SAL that began back in January 2014 but I finally got the chance to start last August. I’m working on the fourth block, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and I plan on getting at least 3 blocks (which means an entire row of the sampler) done by the end of this month. this will leave me halfway through, with 6 more blocks to stitch (4 of them before I’m caught up, since November and December, obviously, haven’t been released yet).

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2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? oh dear, everybody reading this blog or following me on social media knows I never end up stitching anything as charted. I always add buttons or extra bits, use speciality stitches, and choose my own colour palette. I started years ago with Gloriana, AVAS and NPI silks, then in 2012 I discovered Nina’s Threads and never used anything else since then. I use her hand dyed linens as well, the colours look gorgeous and very unique, plus they save me the trials (+ time and money) a linen-only dyer requires when it creates tones that don’t necessarily go together with threads dyed by others.

in the past I found myself kitting up projects thinking oh, this fabric will be perfect with these thread colours! only to find out they didn’t – and I had to invest time, money and threads on more supplies, with no clue as to how to use the ones I got in the first place.

the same thing happened with thread colours, when mixing let’s say WDW and GAST, or even hand dyed with solids, you never know if they’ll work until you put them together into xxx and see if the magic happens. on the other hand, when purchasing fabrics and threads from the very same dyer (big guys like Weeks Dye Works, or an independent smaller gal like Nina) I find there’s a high % chance the colours will go together no matter how wild you go with your combos. there’s a difference, which brought me to trying Nina’s creations for the first time: price per value.

of course I’m not debating quality, WDW threads and linens are fantastic, as well as all top class hand dyed fabrics and fibres like GAST, PTP, Lakeside, Silkweaver, silks, etc. what I’m focusing on is how much thread do I get for the skein price? and how long will a full-skein last me on my go-to stitch count? will I get consistent skein lengths? now, these are crucial aspects when it comes to stashing a specific thread brand. for years I’ve been looking for a high quality dyer that sold thread skeins that costed X and were always Y meters long.

as many of you know, WDW and GAST are big companies, they dye immense batches of threads and sometimes their skeins end up being shorter than they’re supposed to be. when you purchase them, especially online like I do, you can’t really tell, and many times I got skeins that were almost half as long as the price I payed for. now, I understand this is not their fault, and I never found it worth complaining, but I did feel the need to research someone else to build my hand dyed stash on – it made much more sense in perspective :)

this brings me to another topic: hand dyed vs. solid colours. this is another cost-effective choice, which might not sound reasonable unless you take a few things into consideration. first: I’ve been through the I’ve-got-to-get-all-the-DMC-colours-‘cause-I’ll-surely-need-them-at-some-point phase when I first started stitching and guess what? didn’t happen. 1. first, when kitting up big projects from said kind of stash you end up purchasing some colours even though you have a skein already because what if I run out of #435 halfway through and the one I get later on is from a different dyeing lot?; 2. secondly, in order to get proper colour change with solids you need at least 3-4 shades of green (which means 3-4 8 meters long skeins), 3-4 browns, etc. so you end up purchasing A LOT of skeins you might won’t need ever again, or you will have to get anyways (see of point 1). of course if you’re going to stitch Chatelains, Wentzlers and such you will need all those different solid shades, they’re mostly charted for solids and that’s that. :)

other than that, for the majority of designers I learnt I really don’t need to use a gabazillion of greens or browns or reds. what I usually need is one hand dyed green, brown, red, etc. (a light one and a dark one, when necessary) and they cover so many tones and undertones throughout the length that the piece ends up looking stunning (even better than with solids, IMHO) and I didn’t even have to thread different stuff on my needle – time *and* money saving! 😉 if you put everything together, what happens is that I:

  1. purchase less skeins because I have many tones covered by one hand dyed thread, which saves space and money
  2. spend less time threading –> time saving
  3. make really good use out of all those hand dyed skeins because Nina’s Threads are always 8 meters long (just like DMC), not 4,5 like WDW or GAST (which are not even length-consistent 😬). you do a little math:
  • a DMC solid skein costs me 0,90 euro each, but most of the time I’d need to get a gabazillion of colours
  • a WDW 5-yards skein is 2,12 euro whereas GAST is 2,01 but in order to compare them to Nina’s skeins you need to adjust these prices because Nina’s Threads are 8.7 yards long (so in many cases in order to get the same amount of thread you get with one of Nina’s skeins, you need two WDW or GAST skeins).

and how much are Nina’s threads? 2,65 euros! VERY close to a WDW or GAST skein which is almost half as long! the economical aspect is the reason that made me try Nina’s Threads back in 2012, the reason why I never went back (and probably never will) was reinforced by their looks; the fact that they complement each other really well, two colours rarely look oddly off when put together; they are perfect matches with her hand dyed linens; and last but not least Nina’s a great person, a terrific supplier to deal with (taking custom orders, handling my insane requests and never-ending email orders, safe and quick deliveries with Hungary-Italy not being subject to custom fees) and all in all I love supporting independent people who devote their time, passion and talent to let others have a really good time – so just like supporting designers and crafters, I love to purchase from what has now become a friend, which reminds me to point put the fact that this post (as well as everything I stitch/write about) isn’t sponsored by anybody 😉, as a matter of fact Nina doesn’t even know I’m writing this – and if she’s reading I bet she’s blushing from head to toes! 😜❤️

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3. Why do I write/create what I do? I assume this refers to the modifications, I mean, why do I stitch is such an obvious question!* :D it’s not that I dislike what designers do – but generally I just feel the need to see it’s my own piece I’m working on. I want to challenge myself with different colours, push myself out of my usual comfort zone – which brought me such delightful surprises (remember when I used nothing but #52 and #53 Zweigart linens? :D ).

* I stitch so I don’t kill people, of course! ;) that’s my therapy, my stress-release and endorphin-producing activity – I could never give up the immense satisfaction it brings, the challenges it makes me overcome, the steps I need to figure out when finishing something, the process of learning how to handle different materials, the experience of producing something with my hands, or taking the idea I have envisioned and translate it onto a gridded piece of paper and then fabric cuts.

4. How does my writing/creating process work? it usually starts from a chart or a stitched up preview, I envision my own version of it (colour-wise and stitch-wise) and write notes about it in a file I keep in a folder in my laptop, all organised by designer. I write down suggested materials and everything necessary such as chart packs info, links, thread lists, possible linen choices, etc. when I finally get to starting the piece, I print the page, make a b/w working copy of the chart and start scribbling on it with coloured pens and pencils. sometimes I print the chart beforehand and work on it months before I actually put my plan into action. ;) of course inspiration works its own magic and at times takes me very far from where I started, other times I end up with exactly what I had planned months before. I also use a notebook and pencil to write down finishing ideas, measurements, supplies etc. I rarely follow the original colour palette, so my colour choices don’t work as truthful conversion; when I fall in love with a piece I already see it with my own colours in my head, many times I just go oh, these flowers will be in Burgundy, or Hellion, and this? Lagoon, for sure! :D sometimes I have second thoughts about the colour of a specific motif (a house or a dress) and go through a few colour changes before I’m grinning at its sight, but it’s always worth the time and stress ;)

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now the Around the World Blog Hop rules say I need to invite three more people.. I’m not really keeping up with my blog reading these days (read these past 5 months) so I have no clue if many of you already did it.

what about this: whoever feels like sharing their answers to these 4 questions (or just a few of them) is more than welcome to write about it, then add a comment here so that I will update this post with a link to their contribution :)

  1. What am I working on?
  2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
  3. Why do I write/create what I do?
  4. How does my writing/creating process work?

of course you can adjust them to whatever you craft/passion is :) you need to have a blog, write a post (even a short one!), say I invited you and add a link to this post and eventually tag three more people to do the same (adding their respective blog links). easy peasy :)

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Taras and I wish you a wonderful week! ciao!

BaBa 10/14

Baloo Bear, check that out!

BaBa 10/14 BaBa 9/14

Theme-a-licious October

I don’t think I managed to participate in Heather‘s Theme-a-licious so far this year, too bad because I love the geeky hints she gives every month to keep us working on those WIPs or justify our oh-no,-not-again! new starts ;)

before the year ends there’s definitely one month I want to dive into, Oft-Overlooked October! the directions for this month are:

Find a new-to-you designer and start a new project this month! Or maybe two…or three…

well there are several charts I’ve been kitting up from new-to-me designers so as soon as I receive linens and threads for them I’ll be a happy Theme-a-liciouer for quite a while ;)

  • one is the Harry Potter Sampler by Cloudsfactory. I already picked colours and everything for this one and plan to start it as soon as the stuff gets here. listening to Stephen Fry‘s voice from the audiobooks while I stitch will be mandatory.
  • the other is Shepherd’s Bush The Fold, not exactly a new designer to me but still my very first SB, all kitted up and ready to go, so that sounds good enough to me.

other new starts will include:

these are all kitted up, both brand new dowels for the super-wide H&H; but first I need to finish Frosty Forest and catch up with Once Upon a Time, the pieces I’ll take to Grands.

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preparing pumpkins for Taras

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yum yum!

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😋

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fabrics for Taras’ quilted beddy

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drawing quilting lines

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pins! it’s voodoo time!!

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backside of the beady

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walnut and acorn syrup pastry! 😋 celebrating my style! ;) 🎉🎂

have a great week!

showdown

so you remember the tiny weevils that have been plaguing my entire summer, right?* well, they’re back. AGAIN.

better said, they never really left – just hid until they felt confident enough to come out again so that I could spot them on my bestie, Dustpan. 😒

I called the company once more and they were speechless as I am, but there’s only one thing we kept holding back and it’s covering the entire parquet floor and wooden surfaces with this residual product that lasts 28 days (this way it covers at least two hatching batches, since their eggs are set to deliver in 10 days).

of course they will invade the room with dry vapours and liquid nitrogen (AGAIN) so I’ll make sure I take a picture of the immense contraption – especially considering I don’t plan on seeing it again either.

I swear this is my last resort before calling an exorcist, by the time these 28 days are gone the calendar will show 6 months since I first started to take care of these insane bugs and I’m D.O.N.E.

I’ve had enough of cleaning, washing, mopping, dusting, scooping up, checking, double checking, triple checking every day. my back is on fire, my brains lost it long ago, and I financially lost about 1000 euros on these things so it better be it!

now that I think about it, gremlins took way less time to R.I.P. 😰

and because of the nature of this residual product, I cannot stay in my studio/room for the infamous quarantine, which means it’s travel time! 😱🙀

pretty weird travel, actually, since I cannot pack any bags, take any clothes, bed dies or anything with me – everything in the room has to stay in quarantine. I can only take a few things I will have sanitised with dry vapours *and* liquid nitrogen the morning of the departure, which means a couple shirts, jeans and sweaters (hopefully my luggage or I’ll have to use plastic bags, very refugee-style), laptop, phone, a few selected WIPs and books. that’s it!

Taras’ stuff, which cannot be moved or washed at +40°C, needs to stay – which means I had to get extras of EVERYTHING! we certainly cannot stay at Grands for a month without a beddy, or a small scratching post, it would drive him nuts – it’s not a few days we’re talking about, and it’s certainly the kind of provisory move you want to make as less stressful as possible.

I got extra litter stuff, super cozy beddy, scratching tree, valerian sachets and mice, which will be here tomorrow and I won’t even take inside – they’ll go straight to Grands and stay unpacked until we move there (hopefully) next week. I need to wait until next Tuesday at least because that day the BARF** order gets here and I have to be here to put everything in the freezer.

I can’t even begin to describe the way I feel about leaving home for a month, like this, so I prefer focusing on the plan and the details rather than the bigger picture. this is a year I will definitely remember. you know, what did you do in 2002? who the hell remembers! but what did I do in 2014?! I spent 6 months killing bugs, how does that sound?! 😡

I still haven’t figured out how to get internet while I’m away, I certainly cannot use the 3G*** on my phone – it’d be the end of it, and my finances – but I’ll find a way soon enough, so that’ll be blogging and reporting from our temporary new home.

I’ll take films and TV series with me, I mean, we’ll spend Halloween there 😱🙀 so I definitely need to bring the Ouija board, drinks and celebrate this OOAK 31st! 🎃 👻🍸🍸🍸

- – -

now, you’ve survived another pest-rant, you better get rewarding pictures.

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that darn teardrop came back so we’re sticking to the aerosols 10 minutes twice a day, until we figure out what is causing it in the first place

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dudes and boobs part 1

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dudes and boobs part 2

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dudes and boobs part 3

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happy nails before the tragic discovery

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coconut milk and cherry tomatoes risotto 😋

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black as my mood as of last Tuesday

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Narnia? 😂😂😂

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catcake 😂😂😂

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“what?” 😂😂

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I can’t believe I finally got around to posting a TUSAL update (and just because I found this frog candle-holder in the broom cupboard and realised it was originally meant to be a TUSAL thread holder, don’t you agree?) 😉 by the way, all that brown sewing threads comes from my very first quilting project, a beady for Taras I hope to bind in the next few days, how knows 🍀🍀

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thank you again for the lovely comments and emails, I wish you a wonderful weekend and a happily pest-free life! 😉

* if you feel the need to see these teeny tiny things, I made a video when I found them last Tuesday in the attempt to prove the world I’m not mad, nor joking when I say they’re minuscule. you can find it on Instagram (@nexthursday) or Facebook (Taras BaBa) because in order to upload videos to WordPress I would have to upgrade to a yearly subscription (which would made those ads you might see disappear, and nothing would make me happier. the thing is it costs more than 99 bucks a year and I really can’t deal with it right now 😔).

** Bones And Raw Food

*** Grands’ area isn’t covered by 4G/LTE, OF COURSE, they’re not even WiFi ready! 😫

who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

unfortunately I was right, the right speaker that sounded off since the spilled milk incident was indeed damaged. I took it to the Apple techs last week and it’s currently undergoing surgery, again! 😒

since I’m writing this from my Phone forgive the briefness of this post, but I do have a finish to show and I have no reason to postpone this Happy Dance announcement 😜

this is block 3 in the Once Upon a Time Sampler by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, The Three Little Pigs:

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guessed the theme-song for this one? 😆
and if you’re wondering why I thought of this particular track, you clearly need to watch Shrek again and wait for the Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party skit. 😂 it comes after the end credits or by directly picking Donkey in the main menu (which isn’t really that hard as he’s constantly crying oh pick me! pick me! me! me!) 😜

- – -

I hope you like this third block as much as I do, the colours I chose work really well together, even the brick house which was the one I wasn’t too sold on while working on it.
if you’re new to this blog and my stitching in general, please remember I rarely stitch as charted, neither colours nor charts, so what you’ll get from the Pumpkins is this version (which is terribly cute as well ❤️)

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curious as to what will happen next? 😉 here’s a clue:

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have a great week, and thank you for the nice comments and emails. take care!
chiara

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almost there

[now, if you like me like blog posts that come with a soundtrack, play this jazzy tune in your head “aaaaaaalmooooooooost theeeereeee” ;) ]

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first and foremost, this is going to be a hell of a quick post because I have a gabazillion of things to do today. still, I wanted to post my recent progress on Once Upon a Time and a quick note about my latest purchase, flaming hot as I just received the pretty loot.

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Once Upon a Time - The Three Little Pigs (block 3)

almost there on the third block, The Three Little Pigs, which will come with its own tune once it’s finished. wanna take a guess? ;)

I’m really happy with all the colours I chose for this block, the radishes, the Straight Stitched details, it all looks really neat and sweet. :) as for my recent stash enhancement, I finally got around to subscribing to Sara‘s SAL Sorpresa 4 (about time considering I ordered supplies for when it was first announced in late spring! gosh!), and while I was at it I managed to get a couple of kits that came out as a class Sara taught this summer. it’s her hexagon box, and isn’t it a beauty? (actually better snaps can be found in her blog, see next link)

stash 9/14

complete kit for Sara’s hexagon multicoloured box

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red and multicolour hexagon box kits plus the first three charts in the fourth Surprise SAL

yesterday morning I saw the post on her blog about these class projects finally going on sale and I took it as a sign and wrote her. yesterday morning you said? yep, I wrote her yesterday morning and NOW, at 10:30 AM the following day the kits and charts are with me! can you believe it?! I’m so thrilled about the super fast delivery I had to share the good news! :) last but not least, more good news came from Taras and the vet, looks like we finally left that darn conjunctivitis behind – and we happily celebrated his

SECOND BIRTHDAY! YAY!! ❤️ 🎂 😄 😸 🎉

BaBa 9/14

Happy Second Birthday, Taras!

dad even bought cake ’cause do you think the man would miss a chance on eating cake? no way! :D

BaBa 9/14

happy cat naps on a beddy I plan on attacking in full-sewing mode. you’ll see! :D

BaBa 9/14

one more week of probiotics, then we can finally go outside and enjoy the rest of the month in the garden (unless a frost keeps us in, you really can’t tell with this crazy weather ..we might be about to join the tropics or the next polar vortex, who knows!)

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have a nice day and thanks for following the tail,

welcome to all the new followers and stay tuned for more updates and celebrations ;)

chiara

a thousand blue bubbles

a quick appendix to my Once Upon a Time Sampler, as requested by some of you on various social media. :)

  • cool theme song for the second block! is there one for the first one you forgot to mention?  there is, actually, and silly me forgot to add it! it’s an Italian classic by the great Mina, and it’s the only song I can think of whenever I see swirls of blue soap bubbles. here it is, Le mille bolle blu (literally, a thousand blue bubbles) in her 1961 performace.

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Once Upon a Time - Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (block 1)

  • your Evangeline star looks so good, is there a specific stitch you used to create it? yep, and again I forgot to mention this. I used the Star Stitch tutorial our adorable Mary Corbet made for it in her little needlework bible, Needle ‘N Thread. you can find the tutorial here.

WIP - The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Once Upon a Time - The Frog Prince (block 2)

the thing about this star is, it’s very tridimensional, I can’t stress enough the VERY. this means I’ll probably have to frog it when it’s time to roll up this portion of the sampler and stitch it again when I’m done – Evangeline, I’m afraid, falls under the same category as beads and charms, dulcis in fundo (smart talk for last comes the treat). ;)

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I want to thank everyone for the nice words you had about my recent pieces, I’m so glad you share with me the thrill of making a project my own, challenging myself with new ideas, spending a lot of time adding this and that (and even more erasing this and that) on my working copy with pencils and coloured pens, trying to capture in squared bits what my mind has clearly (yet so elusively) under its eyes. hopefully this will lead to my own designing in a not so distant future – who knows, there’s A LOT of technical stuff involved into designing once it turns into a business so I have to think this through very carefully (but there is one very cool idea I had that is super secret, and if it really turns out as terrific as I envisioned it to be, you’ve got yourself a designer, guys! :P ).

well, that’s it for now. enjoy the beautiful sunny Sunday – the world is such a sad, frightening place these days, scarred by old and new tragedies, I just want to take a look at the sunny sky and let it take my mind off all the rest for a few minutes, picturing a thousand blue bubbles dancing in the air.

it’s a smoochy happy dance

first of all, let me tell you the nitrogen thing was impressive, that tank was taller than a 12 year old kid, and WAY heavier. hopefully the mad scientist take on these little evils has knocked them all out for good.

now onto more happy news, Taras is doing much better. the watering eye and nasty looking bogies are gone but we have to follow the therapy until next week to make sure he gets a complete recovery. 🍀🍀🍀

BaBa 9/14

BaBa 9/14

then, yours truly finally put the last stitch on that elusive frog prince this morning. WOOHOO! dance with me! :D💃🎉

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Once Upon a Time - The Frog Prince (block 2)

according to how my mind works this little block comes with a theme-song, make sure you travel back to the ’90s by listening to this track ;) ❤️

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Once Upon a Time - The Frog Prince (block 2)

of course I had to frog on a frog, right?! :D

so this is how my Once Upon a Time Sampler looks as of today:

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Once Upon a Time - Once Upon a Time Sampler

you can see and read more about this project in my previous post, just scroll down.

now onto the rest of the border on the top right – and the third block, The Three Little Pigs! :)

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - OUAT March

the third block as charted by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, I LOVE that wolf! 😍

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welcome to all the new followers and thank you all for the lovely comments and emails,

I wish you a wonderful weekend! ciao! :)

chiara