< iStitch
Monday, 31 December 2007
My First Blog!

Abide Thy Heart Shaker Box
Designer: Merry Cox
Fabric and Floss: 36ct sandstone linen, Soie Crystal silks threads

Royal Sachet
Designer : CA Wells
Fabric and Floss: 36ct antique white linen , NPI silk threads

My sampler wall
Designer: Darlene O'Steen
Fabric and Floss: 36ct linen,  Au Ver A Soie silk threads

Today is the first day of the rest of my life - my first day of retirement!  After 30 years of working in a law office It's now 'my time' so I decided to start my blog and share my life with you.  I am new at 'blogging', despite my numerous visits to various blogs in the past, so, if this blog seems very basic, please bear with me and I will try and make it more interesting as I go along.

So ... where shall I start?  I suppose by telling you a little something about myself.  I have been married to Ken for 43 years; I have two children and six grandchildren whose ages range from 7 to 18 years.  I live in a very small seaside town on the south east coast of the UK - on a clear day we can see France over the channel!

I have been stitching for over 30 years.  So how did I start to stitch?  To cut a longish story short it started with my daughters attendance at a local dance school.  Each year the school would put on an annual show and also enter competitions for which she needed costumes.  One year she was doing a Czech national dance and the description of the costume she would need stated "... and a heavily embroidered headsquare". Oh dear, my heart sank, I had no idea where to start.  OK - I took a deep breath and reached for the sky blue fabric I had used for the skirt, ironed on a transfer, brought some DMC threads in emerald green, black and white to match the braid I had purchased for the bands around the bottom of the skirt and I was off - albeit very apprehensively.  I found I was enjoying it - so little by little, stitch by stitch until I had finished. Oh wow it was beautiful and I was extremely pleased with the finished result. She didn't win the competition but her costume looked good and I thought she danced well - not that I was biased of course! Unfortunately I have no pictures of my first effort - maybe a good thing as maybe it wasn't stitched as well as I remember it to be :-) 

So ... that was it, I was hooked and for a while I stuck to traditional embroidery until a couple of years later I discovered cross stitch.  I went from basic cross stitch pictures, to cross stitch samplers to multi-stitch samplers and then, in 1998, I went along to a CA Wells' class in London.  The project was the Peacock Needlecase and I was very pleased with my finished piece.  Since that time I have attended more of CA's classes and even went to Cape Cod for a couple of them.  Since then I have enjoyed making 'smalls' and I am sure I will continue to do so.  My favourite project is the Pyramid Etui - I think it really has that 'wow' factor.  I also like Merry Cox projects and Darlene O'Steen's wonderful samplers.

When my first grandchild was born I, of course, stitched a birth sampler for her and have done so for each of my grandchildren in turn.  I also stitched a picture for each of them every Christmas until I found I was spending my precious stitching time on large picture projects so one year I made tiny stitched stockings and backed them with felt.  I filled them with tiny gifts of chocolate, candy canes etc and a tiny teddy poked his head out of the top.  The following year I made my first ornaments.  A little Christmas mouse holding gifts, dragging a tree or draped in baubles adorned the fronts and on the back I stitched each child's name and the year.  Since then it has become a tradition where I hand out the ornaments and then they hang them on their respective trees.  Sometimes I use a ready charted design, sometimes I use a part of a design altered to suit and even some I have designed myself - a Noel cube with a jingle bell inside, a 3-sided ornament etc.  The youngest asked me a couple of years ago "Nan, are you 'knitting' us ornaments for the tree again this year?"  She now knows the difference between 'knitting' and 'stitching'.

This Christmas I joined my first exchange group and designed a piece called 'Holly Noel'.  I have now joined a scissor fob exchange and have made a fob called 'Strawberry Humbug'.  

My eldest grand-daughter also likes to stitch.  She started at 4 years old with 6ct Binca fabric, some skeins of coloured wools and a very large needle.  She stitched a square of cross stitches and her initial K in the middle.  She progressed from thereon to pictures and eventually at 12 years old she joined me at her first CA class.  As we entered the room I overheard one of the ladies say "Oh no, someone has brought a child along".  At the end of the class this same lady came over to me and said how wonderful it was to see a child of her age sit and stitch along with us and how well behaved she was.  We also did ornament exchanges at the class and one lady received Kirby's ornament two years running and she was absolutely thrilled.  She came along with me for the next few years until she discovered boys!!  She still stitches and is hoping to go into fashion and design in the future.  2 of the other 3 grand-daughters like to stitch and I have provided them each in turn with a filled sewing box.  

Well if you are reading this you have survived my first attempt at blogging and maybe you will come back and visit with me again?  And now I am off to stitch some more.  I am due to have more hand surgery sometime soon so I need to stitch as much as I can before then.

A Happy New Year to you

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Photobucket posted by Carol R at 10:49 | Permalink | Photobucket


  • On 31 December 2007 at 17:49, Blogger Deb

    Happy retirement and Happy New Year Carol, welcome to the world of blogging. :) I can't wait to see all your amazing stitching!


  • On 1 January 2008 at 16:38, Blogger monique

    Welcome to blogland, Carol! It's nice to meet you :)

    Wonderful photos... love that sampler wall! (I really need to do something like that around here) Looking forward to more of your posts.

    Happy New Year!!

  • On 1 January 2008 at 19:45, Blogger The Silver Thistle

    Welcome to blogland Carol!

    Looking forward to hearing all your news and seeing all your projects.

  • On 1 January 2008 at 20:29, Blogger valerie

    Happy New Year and Happy Retirement! I loved your story/initial post. I think it's a great start to your blog. Can't wait to see more of your projects!

  • On 1 January 2008 at 22:35, Blogger Mylene

    Happy New Year, Carol. I love the sampler wall!!

  • On 1 January 2008 at 22:44, Blogger Becky K in OK

    Congratulations on your retirement and your entry into blogdom. I loved all your photos. Looking forward to more from you.

  • On 1 January 2008 at 23:55, Blogger DaisyGirl

    So excited to meet you! Welcome to blogging! Pretty soon your blog will be filled with lots of comments and well wishes! I love the round box! I'm drooling with envy! I love boxes! Check out http:fairandsquare.blogspot.com.
    It's a small exchange group that I'm in, you might be interested! See you soon! Wouldn't it be nice to be retired! I'm only 41, long way away!

  • On 2 January 2008 at 00:21, Blogger Cindy

    Welcome to blogging, and congratulations on your retirement :) You have done some very beautiful stitching!

    To change your blog URL, you just need to go into the Dashboard, then Settings, then Publishing. You can change it to anything you like there. Hope this helps :)

  • On 2 January 2008 at 01:50, Blogger Dragonflymystic

    Happy retirement, and a good start on the blog!!
    Can you tell me more about the Pyramid Etui - is this a pattern >?? Thanks in advance!

  • On 2 January 2008 at 04:01, Blogger Jen

    Happy Retirement! What a wonderful way to start the new year. Your blog is very interesting. I love to hear other's stories.

  • On 2 January 2008 at 04:40, Blogger Margaret

    So nice to meet you Carol. Happy retirement!!
    Welcome to the wonderful community of stitching bloggers. You will love it here.
    Great hearing about yourself and how you started cross-stitching. Lovely pictures, I'm looking forward to seeing your 01/01 start.

  • On 2 January 2008 at 04:48, Blogger Chris

    Congratulations on your retirement I hope you enjoy it. I enjoyed reading your blog and seeing your beautiful sampler wall.

  • On 2 January 2008 at 12:46, Blogger Heidi

    Welcome to blogging Carol! I am sure you will enjoy it. I love your sampler wall and have one too which you can see on my CelebrateTheSeasons blog in the archives as it is in my bedroom.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and I wish you a creative and inspiring New Year.

    ~~ Heidi ~~

  • On 4 January 2008 at 01:11, Blogger jane

    COngratulations on your retirement - I am so envious!
    I know you will enjoy blogging and I will enjoy getting to know you!
    Happy New Year!

  • On 4 January 2008 at 21:45, Blogger Sandrajay

    Congratulations on your retirement and happy new year to you! Hope to see all your stitching.

    I'm new at blogging as well so I'm still learning.

  • On 11 February 2008 at 17:26, Blogger Lelia

    I love your blog : ) You choose wonderful projects to stitch!!!

    Enjoy the day

  • On 2 April 2008 at 10:48, Blogger lena-lou

    I am looking back in your blog and all I can say is can I come round please ;-)) I love what you choose to stitch .

  • On 3 November 2008 at 00:37, Blogger Maureen Hayes


    I am so glad you directed me back to this first post. I feel like I know you a little better, and certainly know more about your stitching as well. I am SO impressed with your work. Your family is very lucky to receive such lovely gifts. Store bought things mean so little and they look so cheap. What you do is not only lovely, but it made with love, you can't buy that!!

    I am so happy to have "met" you through blogging. It is fun to make new friends and learn about new things.

    Please keep in touch when you can!

  • On 16 June 2012 at 20:57, Blogger Anne

    Wow! What a great first post Carol! I loved reading about your first attempt at stitching a Czech skirt! My mother and I stitched all of my Ukrainian dance costumes so I know how that goes! So wonderful that your granddaughter is stitching and came along with you. You have a gorgeous sampler wall that I'm just drooling over!!