hear! hear! fresh an exciting news await the readers of this post!

– – –

with only a few days left before celebrating the end of this year’s stitch enigma, yours truly and her faithful geeky pal, Jo, had a most excellent and productive brainstorming session and founded.. THE ALPHABET CLUB!

what is THE ALPHABET CLUB I hear you ask, well.. the idea behind it is to get to know more about native languages, dialects, local terms etc. through our stitching, creativity and jokes. let me explain.. :)

a couple of days ago I was pondering the beauty of how international my stitchy friends are, and how much potential this had in terms of learning more about their way of speaking. for instance, I could have been studying English for an entire lifetime and never know that ladybugs are also called Bushy Barnabies round where Jo lives. you see what I mean? it’s only the input of a friend telling you random fun facts that can teach you this sort of things.

summer '13

look! that’s Barney! or Barnaby! or Barn-Boy! or Bushy! or BuBarn! or ..

or Nadine‘s travels through France that she’s hosting these days, which already taught me a whole lotta things, including the fact that lion in French is spelled lion, not lyon as I erroneously thought.

Taras 3/15

lion, cat.. it’s a feline, right? :P

long story short (if that’s even possible with me), I thought what about a stitchers’ ABCs appointment where we could show something stitched starting with a certain letter and teach our friends a new word in our native language, or a fun fact, or a joke, something that happened to you while travelling to that country and their word for it, .. whatever! I told this to Jo as an idea for one of her year-long wonderful SALs and she was thrilled about it and pushed me towards making it happen here over at the grey tail. we exchanged emails, thoughts, one idea led to another, and now here we are, presenting you THE ALPHABET CLUB!! [play me]

The Alphabet Club

  • how does THE ALPHABET CLUB work?

first of all you need to have a way to show us the piece and word you intend to participate with for that month. it can be a blog, a YouTube or Instagram account, etc. but we need to have a way to read/hear and see what you’re talking about. filming (either on IG or YT) would be great especially for the pronunciation, while a written post would provide the correct spelling.. each media has its upsides. through IG and Facebook you could also follow the official hashtag for this Club, #thealphabetclub, and check out what others members are contributing with. like I said, there would be 1 letter a month, I don’t think we can squeeze more than that with everything that is already going on + the life factor, which means this Club is going to run for A LONG TIME!! :D

  • what is in and what is out?

you should report every month on the FIRST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH (Saturday was detention day in THE BREAKFAST CLUB) explaining why you picked that project and that word for that letter. of course we accept latecomers to a certain extent without adding a bad mark to your grades, we understand life and how that gets in the way of awesome plans like this one ;) your native language is MORE than welcome, other languages you learnt or that your spouse/family members speak work too, grammar talk, dialects, fantasy idiomas, Klingon, runes, jokes, stretched entries, .. it’s all good material for THE ALPHABET CLUB. we all love to have a good laugh and learn new things, possibly in a super-duper funny combo. :D

  • how do I follow and get to know the other members?

I would publish a link-up post here at the grey tail every month where all the participants for that month would link their own post/report for that month/word (not your main homepage, the specific post/report on that month’s letter/word) so that we can get straight to the point and then drool over the ravioli recipe you shared the day before yesterday ;)

food 8/14

ok, not ravioli but still yummy enough, right? I’m so hungry now by the way.. 😋😋😋

the other way to keep track of members & entries is the official hashtag #thealphabetclub which will work on both Instagram and Facebook. I would recommend using both the link-up and the # because some of us are old-school and still prefer to go the link-up way ❤️ which by the way is going to stay throughout our entire journey, while # posts can easily go unnoticed or are a royal PITA to dig up after weeks have passed.

  • is there something I can do to make THE ALPHABET CLUB more popular or even known?

you certainly can! you can already send out the word to your friends/readers/followers/subscribers/whatever by adding this handy handy widget I created, which is the official poster/icon of THE ALPHABET CLUB.

The Alphabet Club widget

Jo provided the tag line I couldn’t fit into the film poster “THEY ONLY MET ONLINE, BUT IT CHANGED THEIR LIVES FOREVER.”

  • I’m in! when do we start?

here’s where you come into play, pals! we can start as early as July with letter A or wait till August for, well, reasons :P you can post about a current WIP, and old stitching, a fully finished piece, an unfinished project, a stitched animal starting with that letter, a thing, a thread which name starts with that letter, a sampler with an alphabet and matching item for that letter, .. as long as you explain us the connection between the letter and the picture you showed, it’s fine for us! and because 1 letter for each month equals 26 monthly reports ;) this means that the detention will last from summer 2015 till autumn 2017! 😬 😂 so what do you think? should we start with letter A in August or Anticipate our Anfang (beginning in German) to July? express your vote here! :D

  • which alphabet do we follow? my language is not a Latin based one, can I still participate?

now, we’re using the Latin Alphabet for practical reasons, but should you be able to use a different one, please feel free to do so. in fact, should this be the case, you would immediately qualify as a super duper cool member which will be able to post swearwords, filthy language and dirty jokes (provided you explain them to us, though :P ), and did I mention you wouldn’t have to follow the Latin alphabet either? :D you have freedom to post about whatever letter you want every month, the only NO-NO is hurting the feelings of other members of THE ALPHABET CLUB ;) apart from that, everything’s allowed.

  • I have way too many ideas already, can I post more than 1 entry per month? is there something extra I can do in my reports?

like I said, the picture can be of a stitched piece specifically for THE ALPHABET CLUB or not, old or new, fully finished or not, WIP or not, and in your post you can show us as many entries/words per letter as you want! you can introduce us to a designer/design that starts with that letter, or designed something featuring the subject of your stitching, has it in his/her designer’s name, etc. the possibilities are endless! you can go as bonkers as you like, in the spirit of THE BREAKFAST CLUB we will accept pretty much everything and anything without judging. :) and of course if you can’t post every month it’s alright, come back to detention day when your schedule clears up, no problemo! no need to go verbose either, you can just drop a line under the snap like this:

WIP - Joan Elliott The Tree of Life

A is for ALBERO (tree in Italian) – Joan Elliott’s Tree of Life

hey, this is my entry for this month’s letter A: an ALBERO (tree in Italian) I started years ago. the design is Joan Elliott‘s Tree of Life from the magazine Cross Stitch Gold issue #76 released in 2010. I’m stitching it with the prescribed DMC 2 over 2 on the prescribed Aida. you can see it finished in Joan’s post she wrote about it here. that’s it :) remember to add the details of your stitching so that other stitchers, should they like it, can investigate it, buy it or buy something else by that designer :)

– – –

well, I hope you like this idea and decide to join Jo and I in THE ALPHABET CLUB! if you have questions ask away in the comments, I will prepare a handy PDF file with all the info I wrote here and your input once we have an official date for our start. you can download the PDF to your device and keep it at hand, cross checking on which letter we’re at from time to time so that you can figure out what to post about that month.

remember to support the Club by sporting the poster/icon and write/talk about us to your stitchy/crafty friends! thank you!

see you soon! ciao!


– – –

P.S. the last snap for the second game of the enigma is..

stitch enigma '15 clue 8

I would encourage you to caption this.. 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂


if you don’t know about the enigma, you’re still in time! read all about it here and the following posts :)

you could win a fantastic set of hand dyed cotton & silk threads and linens hand dyed by Nina!! ❤️

a game of riddles (stitch enigma – game 4)

another Friday, another game! 🎉 :D

I love reading all your comments and emails, it’s so much fun! I’m already a bit sad because next week everything ends, but hey, let’s not crack open the Kleenex box just yet! :P

thanks to all of you who decided to participate, you are making this so much fun and worth the time invested in it! :) and for those who shared info about the enigma with your friends and readers a big fat extra THANK YOU!

– – –

stitch enigma 2015

now, before you go on and download the fourth file, remember:

  • to follow this blog via email (handy blue button to your left)
  • to leave a comment here saying you’re participating, I would love to hear from you!
  • to read all the instructions carefully, you’ll find them on the cover of each week’s game
  • to look at the file in an unhurried way and decide to print only the pages you think you’re going to need to work on
  • in case you have a doubt or question and ask something via comment, remember to check the Notify me of new comments via email option before sending yours, I’ll reply to you there so that everyone can benefit from your input :)
  • if you have trouble downloading the file, or for any other reason you can contact me here
  • in case you get really really stuck somewhere, again, drop me a line in a comment and I’ll do my best to guide you out of the swamp ;)

if you want to add/share the stitch enigma icon you can find it here, both in HD quality and small, widget size.

the hashtag to follow the game is, as usual, #stitchenigma, and by the way I would be THRILLED to see you working on it! :) 💖

now are you ready to play a good game of RIDDLES?? :D

🔮 —> click here to download the fourth game <— 🔮

– – –

today I’m giving you the 7th clue for the second game, the mystery piece. you have to guess what is depicted in this project and associate the colour to that set of letters. :)

stitch enigma '15 clue 7

– – –

I’ll be watching your progress and working on my Chubby Taras as much as possible. I just got my comfy stitching spot back after a long hiatus and I’m getting so much done! gotta love organisation!  :D

have fun and good luck to everyone!



my Story Time Sampler is not the only thing that almost didn’t make it this month, and incidentally STS is not the only reason why I couldn’t start Maynia when it was supposed to: Pablita’s wild adventure is.

now, if you’re a new friend of ours you might not know who Pablita is. she’s our rescue Testudo hermanni tortoise, a veteran of many life-threatening expeditions in the unknown (also known as the neighbours’ garden).


in all these years we still hadn’t quite figured out how she made it, but she had trespassed a bunch of times despite the double fences, the concrete walls, the wooden boards, etc.

the real problem for her started when our long-time neighbours sold the house and the new ones moved in with dogs, big dogs. 😬😬😬

they have taken the habit to attack our pets (luckily Taras got caught only once, but the old lady has been to the tortoise E.R. 3 times so far): whenever they feel like, they jump the high fences into our garden and scare the hell out of us.

unfortunately every time one of our pets got hurt it happened on their property (Taras first and only visit into the neighbours’ garden) so there wasn’t much that could be done; you always have to be on the lookout and hope the hedges we’re growing get so thick and high that these darn dogs won’t be able to jump or bring them down ever again.

alas, a couple of weeks ago the old lady tried to climb the small walls (they’re more like high steps) that mark the end of the properties, and while she was doing so one of the dogs smelled her, dug from the other side, managed to break the hook that was keeping the fence attached to the wall, caught Pablita with his mouth and pulled her all the way through.. poor girl, she was all nibbled and dripping blood from every corner of her shell..

now she’s under antibiotics (shots I have to give her every 48h), daily disinfection treatments, warm baths and silver ointment therapy. not to mention the indoor playpen I had to make her because she couldn’t be outside while the wounds were closing up or she would get an infection and die. 😱😱😱😱



all the pink/red area is where she’s been nibbled and bitten as if she were a bone :(

she was so scared and in so much pain, poor sweetie! seeing her like that again was heartbreaking! and at the same time I couldn’t help but crying at her you have a death wish, you fool! what are we going to do with you?!

so I’m taking a page out of Roald Dahl’s book, Esio Trot) and recite her a healing spell that will also put some good judgment into that old, thick head of hers, hopefully!

"EsioTrot" by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -

“EsioTrot” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

also on an Esio Trot vibe (Agura Trat in Italian), I just finished fixing a net on the terrace for her so that she could be in the sun now that her upper wounds are closing up; we couldn’t let her be exposed to flies and other insects from the beginning because they would lay eggs in her open shell where blood vessels were still open..


she looks much much happier now and has started eating regularly again, thank goodness!

Taras 5/15

Taras photobombed the previous shot EPICALLY

Pablita's bedroom

Pablo’s bedroom for the next weeks

Taras 5/15

perfect spot for bird watching/attack strategy planning

garden 5/15

here’s the little guy I saved from Taras a few days ago, poor chap. he was so scared! I had to put him on this tree several time because he was learning to fly and couldn’t get the hang of it. he was so small!

I have to go, I have more Esio Trot to recite:

Esio Trot, Esio Trot,

yrt ton ot teg thguac niaga,

uoy t’now eb tfel htiw yna llehs ta lla

fi uoy peek no gniod siht,

ton ot noitnem s’ti yllaer a niap ni eht ssa

gnipeek uoy ni dna latsyrc naelc.

😄 🐢

esio trot

– – –

have a nice day and many happy xxx!


magic pizza (GiGi, TUSAL, IHSW, Maynia reports and a finish!)

you cannot imagine the series of events that started last Friday after I made myself pizza using the neatest kit Italians could put together. it was so delicious I couldn’t restrain myself from eating it all by myself.. shame on me, I know, but it was seriously good. like gift-from-the-gods good. how can you pass on a gift from the gods?! sacrilege, right?! :D


anyways I had my belly full, a lot to digest, so I let my body take care of the hard work. I picked threads and started my first Maynia start (Pen Pals #2).

then it started. I don’t know if it was the boatload of pizza, but it seemed like I had accumulated an excess of overly productive energy in my system which had to be discharged as soon as possible.

what happened at the point was weird, tiring as hell and oddly gratifying at the same time. I woke up in the early hours of the day (like 4 AM) and couldn’t get back to sleep, I was wide awake from the moment I had opened my eyes. so I started some major cleaning & tidying up works that I had postponed ad infinitum. and the tarantula work went on and on, I couldn’t stop! I couldn’t help it! I just couldn’t sit down until it was ALL DONE, once and for all.

I never did drugs or taken prescriptions that have weird effects on your mood/behaviour but from what I’ve been through I seemed to be under the influence of methamphetamine or stuff like that! :D

just so you can get a picture, here is the list of things I did on Saturday alone, from 5 AM to 7:30 PM, non-stop:

  • swept the floor
  • dusted the bookshelves
  • dusted the cat tree
  • dusted the other cabinets
  • washed the floor thoroughly
  • dusted and cleaned the window frames with alcohol
  • fixed a new mosquito net on the one of the windows
  • fed Taras fresh kibbles and wet food
  • washed his water fountain
  • managed to break the pump
  • drove to the shop to buy a replacement
  • held a small iguana guy at the shop who was being super friendly
  • bought chocolate chip cookies provision
  • gave Pablita a warm bath and disinfected her wounds
  • changed the newspapers/paper towels in her playpen
  • loaded and unloaded 4 times the washing machine and hang the stuff to dry in the sun outside
  • sorted out some of my summer clothes in the portion of the wardrobe I’m using
  • finally attacked the monster pile of stuff my armchair had become
  • emptied my wicker WIP basket and started sorting out stuff there as well
  • took what was left of the armchair cover and washed it together with a pair of soon to be needed flip-flops
  • washed and disinfected the little box outside, as well as the scoop, the broom/ scoop thingie and litter catching mat
  • took out the trash
  • put new litter in the box and took it upstairs
  • sorted out stash, books and stuff I had piled up on the armchair and put them back where they belonged if not needed anymore
  • managed to find one of those wicked little devil beasts ALIVE in one of my baskets
  • almost passed out
  • oh, and before going to bed the night before I had changed sheets & bed cover and moved on to their summer, fresh versions
  • got rid of unneeded hair in several places
  • took a steaming hot bath during which I looked like a Native American, or a lobster, you choose
  • washed and dried my hair and finally decided to get them cut some time next week, perhaps


on Sunday I still had fuel to:

  • go through some of my stash
  • organise it a bit better
  • tidy up my WIP basket
  • gather all the loose random skeins of Anchor, Madeira and DMC I had in several baggies
  • collect all the DMC Gold Concept stitch bows I was supposed to use on projects that are not going to see any work done for a while (like Santa Bunny and the SODAs – all apart from solid Alice of course)
  • extract my Gold Concept binders from the deeps of my stash
  • put all the bows back
  • and while I was at it, I took out only the ones needed for Margaret Sherry’s Cute Kitty from The World of Cross Stitch magazine.

I also thought, since I already had the ladder out I could take the opportunity and cut the linen for it; and once I had done that I figured I could zigzag the edges for all my Maynia projects, and once I had done that I told myself well, now that the sewing machine’s out, why not attaching the linen band to those spare scroll bars you came across yesterday?

can you see what I did there? I tricked myself into starting something, one step after the other while all the time I was telling myself that I wasn’t going to actually start it just yet. only prepare for it. and truly believed myself for a really long while! boy I am a pro at this! :D

earlier in the morning I had even cut the working copies of the chart I had made days go, glued them together to form a whole card (it’s a spread on 2 pages), put the bows in the carrying roll, etc.

and that’s how I absentmindedly found myself with another COMPLETELY ACCIDENTAL start. :D and because some of these DMC threads were bought for me by Grandma many years ago, it rightfully enters the GiGi SAL update!

not to mention, I came across this design through Jo’s Easter Blog Hop!

one of the hoppers (Carla Eldridge, but I can’t find her blog right now, silly me!) this year showed it as her Easter/springtime finish and I crushed on it completely. it’s an adorable, chubby Taras holding flowers for goodness’ sake! COME ON! 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

it was published in 2012 (issue #188) and quite serendipitously (again!) I managed to purchase a brand-new copy immediately after seeing it in Carla’s post.

Margaret Sherry - Cute Kitty /Chubby Taras

I’m stitching this with all the prescribed DMC threads (I still have to buy two because I didn’t have them in my stash, classic) on white Zweigart linen (#100) in 40ct. where it’ll measure 12,7 x 11,6 cm (5 x 4.5”).

here are a few info from the magazine’s Factbox about this project:

  • stitching time: approximately 50 hours
  • type of stitches: cross stitch, fractionals, half cross stitch, French knots
  • level: intermediate
  • design area: 18 x 16,5 cm (6 1/2 x 7”) when stitched on the prescribed 28ct. white evenweave
  • thread and fabric cost: approximately £25 (now I cannot estimate if I spent more or less considering I had everything in my stash and it’s very hard to calculate the price of threads I didn’t purchase or piece of linen I bought in a much larger size and used on several other projects lately)

I never had the chance to give you this type of info beforehand with my other projects for I haven’t stitched anything from a magazine in a really long while. and I so missed this do as you’re told approach to a project.

I love making projects my own, you all know that, but from time to time I feel the need to break the routine with something more easy breezy, where the only thing I have to care about is the actual execution of the project, not all the other aspects involved in it.

I had been craving for this kind of stitching for months now, I thought the SODAs would have fallen into this category but, alas, no luck there.

WIP - Margaret Sherry - Cute Kitty /Chubby Taras

my start as of Sunday night before dinner, lots of wonderful greys in here.

WIP - Margaret Sherry - Cute Kitty /Chubby Taras

where I stopped after dinner. so far no stitching has been going on today but I plan on catching up on a couple of floss tube channels while happily stitching away after dinner.

– – –

so now that you have seen my entry for GiGi, we have Maynia to briefly discuss. I decided to postpone my Maynia starts for the second half of the month, from the 15th to the 31st, but this far I managed to start only two: Chubby Taras and this teeny tiny one: Pen Pals #2 (Valentine’s Day) by TFPS

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - Pen Pals

WIP - The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - Pen Pals

I’m working a few cm to the right of the first Pen Pals I stitched right at the end of April, again with my own choice of Nina’s Threads 1 over 1 on that lovely Vaupel & Heilenbeck linen band I mentioned last month. I have done more on it since this snap and would have finished the entire stamp frame if I didn’t have that crazy Saturday I told you about.

next is my TUSAL update, which is brought to you by my man, the Plummer, Super Mario!! 😍 PIZZA SO NICE! 😆

when I bought those chocolate chip cookies provisions I stumbled upon this overly cute double pack of banana yoghurt with smarties on top! I’m such a kid!

Mario yoghurt

well, I ate one of those yoghurts Saturday (the only thing I had that day actually, and it was terribly yummy), then I washed the tiny plastic bowl and recycled it into an ORT jar for the month, check this out!

TUSAL 5/15

– – –

last but not least we have the pièce de résistance: last Friday morning I finished Charlotte’s Web from Story Time Sampler, so.. I’m officially ALL CAUGHT UP ON THIS SAL!!


this is the very first time this ever happens to me, you guys, we are getting some booze ASAP and get an epic party started!! it’s unfreakingbelievable!! I am stitching along on something with a lot of other people, and I did all I accomplished all I supposed to so far. YES! HELL YES!!

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - Story Time Sampler

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - Story Time Sampler - Charlotte's Web


do you think she’ll drink and stitch? that would be fun to watch!

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - Story Time Sampler

I also found out that there’s a minor (well, minor to me compared to the monster slug experience) boo boo in my middle row of frames: they are all 2 stitches higher then the top and bottom row of frames.

to be perfectly honest I don’t think it’s much visible once the stories get stitched in, plus it allowed me to add a picket fence on Charlotte, give the girl a left shoulder, a full face, .. all in all I would say it’s not worth cursing. things could be worse. the Band-Aid could have failed, which it didn’t. the lower banner could have failed, which it didn’t. I could have ran out of fabric at the bottom, which I didn’t. I could be very pissed off with all the hiccups in this project so far, and I’m not. I love it to bits!

– – –

you would think on Monday I would have rested.. no way.

  • I washed and mopped the terrace floor so well you could have eaten on it
  • thoroughly washed all the pot water trays (you still don’t know about my gardening project, I know, I promise to write a proper post about it soon)
  • and then I spent several hours under the sun attaching a transparent net to the railing because.. someone moved there! :D

I’ll let you know in my next post tomorrow. all I’m going to say is Esio Trot. those in the know will figure it out. :P

– – –

all in all that pizza might or might not be responsible for all the pain and squeaking and contracting and stiffening that I have going on, but it was well worth it. my stitching spot looks FANTASTIC, my work/bedroom looks normal again, I can actually find stuff which is a wonderful feeling I wasn’t used to anymore, I have clothes in my wardrobe, where they’re supposed to be for heaven’s sake!

I’ll end this rant here but I’m adding the 6th picture clue:

stitch enigma '15 clue 6

have a wonderful day and stay tuned for more crazy tales from the tail & I.

by the way, I haven’t posted any kitty pictures recently, have I? here, with my apologies.

Taras 5/15

Taras 5/15

Taras 5/15

– – –

happy xxx,


stitch enigma – game three

and here we are! game three! 🎉 :D

I’ve been reading all your comments and emails, it’s really great fun! I’ll post another WIP pic of the mystery piece at the end of this post and will go on with a few more snaps next week – as early as Monday actually, with my IHSW & GiGi report.

– – –

thanks to all of you who decided to participate, you’re gonna love this week’s game too! and for those who shared info about the enigma with your friends and readers a big fat extra THANK YOU!

– – –

stitch enigma 2015

now, before you go on and download the second file, remember:

  • to follow this blog via email (handy blue button to your left)
  • to leave a comment here saying you’re participating, I would love to hear from you!
  • to read all the instructions carefully, you’ll find them on the cover of each week’s game
  • to look at the file in an unhurried way and decide to print only the pages you think you’re going to need to work on
  • in case you have a doubt or question and ask something via comment, remember to check the Notify me of new comments via email option before sending yours, I’ll reply to you there so that everyone can benefit from your input :)
  • if you have trouble downloading the file, or for any other reason you can contact me here
  • in case you get really really stuck somewhere, again, drop me a line in a comment and I’ll do my best to guide you out of the swamp ;)

if you want to add/share the stitch enigma icon you can find it here, both in HD quality and small, widget size.

the hashtag to follow the game is, as usual, #stitchenigma, and by the way I would be THRILLED to see you working on it! :) 💖

now are you ready?? :D

🔮 —> click here to download the third game <— 🔮

– – –

and here’s your fifth snap of the mystery piece (game two)..

stitch enigma '15 clue 5

– – –

I’ll be watching your progress and working on my goals for this month as much as possible. enjoy the new game! have fun and good luck to everyone!


Couleurs et Nature au point de croix

I noticed that my WIP snap from yesterday has raised many questions from readers here and on Instagram so, so I reckon it’s time for a lon overdue explanation of how it came to be.

WIP - French Rose Sampler

originally I planned to use these linen & threads I had in my stash for Blackbird Design‘s SAL called Her Sampler last May.

Blackbird Designs - Her Sampler 1796

I don’t remember how but I got this idea of incorporating some motifs and borders using a series of designs published in these booklets by French designers Perrette Samouïloff, Annick Abrial and Marie-Anne Réthoret-Mélin (for Couleurs au point de croix) and Monique BonninVéronique Enginger and Corinne Lacroix (for Nature au point de croix).

Couleurs au point de croix

Nature au point de croix box

I bought these coffrets (boxes) back in 2010 and 2012, respectively, and never took enough advantage of the designs included in them.

once I got the outer border stitched up with Nina‘s pink cotton and silk threads, I came to the conclusion that the French vibe was too strong to mix it with an American school sampler, so I decided to follow this new road Ia accidentally took and see where it’d take me.

don’t get me wrong, I like Her Sampler too and will definitely stitch it at some point, but it was so exciting to be in control of what to stitch, I was too thrilled to give up that feeling!

since the pink linen cut (it’s 40ct. Cherish hand dyed by Nina) I had was fairly big, I decided on the width of the band sampler and cut its entire height. I then sew the top and bottom to the scroll bars of my stitching frame and started leaving a margin on the top & left of the fabric.

I picked the outer border I wanted to have on the top and sides of the sampler and made two working copies with my printer: one just like in the booklet (Taras has the tendency to sleep/jump on everything that’s printed that I need so I’m not taking any chances of getting my booklets crushed :D ) and another one mirrored; this way I got identical flower blooms looking at each other that I stitched one facing the other, and that’s how the top row was born.

I went on with the vertical outer borders long enough to have a guide-line of what I could fit in the sampler and used my own choice of Nina’s Threads 1 over 2. the dark purple is silk, the rest are cotton threads that returned in other motifs/borders later on.

WIP - French Rose Sampler

once the outer sides were marked, I picked another border from these booklets, chose threads, centred it and stitched away! :D

since many of these are repetitive borders, you only need a small section charted: at that point you can repeat it as long as needed, but I always make sure I leave a congruous margin on both left and right so that each band is centred.

alphabets are trickier: I’d have to make working copies and cut & paste them in rows that would fit my sampler’s width, but it’s much more practical for me to just make notes on the width of each letter, the spacing between them, and calculate how many I can fit in a row, how long can the decorative borders be if I’m left with 3/4 letters, etc.

basically I feel like I’m doing something similar to what those school girls from the Her Sampler age were doing back in the day, except I have a printer, printed charts, graph paper, hand dyed threads and linens, .. honestly they got the short end of the stick, big time! :D

if I remember correctly I estimated that this linen band can host two more alphabets and at least two more animal borders, dividing borders included, but I must find my notebook from last year before I can be sure of anything. with all that happened last summer I was lucky to find my head on my neck every time I got up, right now I have no idea where to start my search for those elusive notes. :(

because this is a collective work I cannot credit each designer for her specific part, but I can safely say that so far it’s a mix of these three sets of hands (Perrette SamouïloffAnnick Abrial and Marie-Anne Réthoret-Mélin) and mine. :D

the designs are charted for DMC threads and always come in a set of colours that depends on the booklet they were featured in, but it’s very easy to switch them up to choose your own colour way because they always consist of: a light, a medium, a dark tone – and sometimes a very light and a very dark tone all in the same colour family. once you divide them in:

  • very light
  • light
  • medium
  • dark
  • very dark

you can use your pink set of colours you chose for a motif that was charted in blue, or green, or beige, etc. and vice versa.

the reason why this is, is that these coffrets came with 4m long DMC (half) skeins in those sets of colours, so that you could start stitching straight away on a fabric of your own choice.

from what I know these boxes are now being discontinued (Couleurs and Voyage actually are still available). since then the colour booklets (and I’m confident it happened to the nature ones too) have been published separately by Mango Pratique (they carry the name of the colour: Rose, Violet, Naturel, Bleu, Rouge, Vert), they’re still being sold and they could be enriched in charts, I cannot say because I’ve never had the chance to compare the two editions.

they also published a single volume called like the first box: Couleurs au point de croix which should have all the charts & motifs featured in the booklets. I found a video on YouTube that shows how these boxes work and how those booklets look like.

Mango Pratique sells online, or you could take these info & links to your LNS and ask if it’s possible for them to order Mango Pratique publications from a local distributor. I’m sorry I cannot show you more of the designs featured in them but they’re charts only; I cannot show anything without sharing the actual charts. the only stitched bits I can show are the ones I stitched myself :D here’re a couple of snaps from the Nature booklets:

Karin's flowers project

WIP - Karin's flowers

WIP - Karin's flowers project

WIP - Karin's flowers

I hope you found these info & links useful; from now on anyone asking about the genesis of this piece will get redirected to this post! :D

– – –

here’s your clue for today, I hope you’re having a great week and see you tomorrow for the third game!

ciao! chiara

stitch enigma '15 clue 4


now that we’re far away from February 14th I can finally write a post about French films without falling into the “hopelessly romantic” trap.

I’m really not a fan of romantic comedies, in fact they either bore me to death or make me wish an ill fate to the protagonists, so you can tell Nicholas Evans is not exactly my cup of tea.

that being said, there are a few exceptions (and darn good ones too), and most of them happen to be directed by French filmmakers. I don0t know if this is just a coincidence or not, but these messieurs are pretty good at what they do. :)

so if you’re in the mood for a love story of sorts, here is a list of films I liked so much I actually bought on DVD so that I can enjoy them from time to time:

The Spanish Apartment

Russian Dolls

Chinese Puzzle

2 days in Paris

2 days in New York

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Mood Indigo

Love me if you dare

  • Pierre Salvadori‘s Hors de prix (Priceless)
  • Jean-Pierre Jeunet‘s Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (Amélie)


Paris, je t'aime

– – –

last but not least, an old WIP snap from last year of my other exception to the rule: a very romantic looking piece all in various shades of pink, a colour I’m (again) not a big fan of but I must surrender to the beauty of monochrome.

WIP - French Rose Sampler

actually, can we call this monochrome? I mean, it is one colour declined in its different tones and variations. so does the term mono-chrome still apply or is there a better way to describe this kind of work? variations of pink? I’m calling it French Rose Sampler :D

– – –

I leave you with today’s clue for the mysterious piece :)

have fun and don’t forget a new game will be out Friday @ 7AM GMT+1, as usual! ciao!


stitch enigma '15 clue 3