“Tangled Frame” – your stitching

Seems like fellow SALers can’t get enough of blackwork ^^ Here is our gallery of  “Tangled Frame” by Valerie Warner.  First photos of finishes are already arriving.

My version (which you’ve already seen) but which isn’t finished yet

SAL tangled 6 (2)


Debbie finish

La pie kikou

la pie fini 1

Sylvie (who doesn’t have a blog)


Corinne (du nord)

Corinne nord6


Celine fini




huguette fini






Avis finish











claudine68 6





Corinne (passions broderie)

corinne passion fini


titoune fini




Florence fini

Florence fini dos

Christine (bambou)

Christine (bambou)2












Nanette fini


Sainte Chérie

Sainte Cherie 6


marie thé6


Christiane fini


Elodie face

Elodie dos


Cath fini

back to school (again)

My regular readers will know that for the past couple of years I’ve been following a distance schooling course on “Animal Care”. I signed up with a private distance school, the advantage being that I could work at my own pace, as long as I completed within 3 years.  For serious students, it would have been possible to complete the course in around 12 months, but I often let things slide (and life in general got in the way) so it took me a grand total of 34 months to actually complete lol.  But hey, I did it . . . and I had lots of fun while studying.  I ended up with an overall average of 17.35 out of 20 so not too shabby and I feel that I learned quite a lot of stuff that will come in useful with my menagerie.

As I was coming to the end of my assignments, I felt a little sad that I would no longer have something in my week to stimulate the old grey matter so . . . I trotted along to the school’s site and checked out what other subjects they offered that could be interesting.  Came across one for PsychoGraphology that looked REALLY interesting but was put off slightly when I read that the course contained 90 assignments and would last a minimum of 18 months.  Since it took me almost 3 years to complete a 1 year course . . . I have to be reasonable and admit that I’d need more than 3 years to complete a longer course.

Not to be deterred though . . . I carried on searching and discovered that they offer a beginner’s Psychology course and, after talking to a lady at the school by phone, I learned it was possible to do the beginner’s course and (on completion) sign up to do the PsychoGrapho as a “top-up”.

Hihi . . . so guess what I’ll be doing.  Yep . . . have signed on the dotted line and will be studying Psychology for however long it takes me. While waiting for books to arrive from the school, I invested in a second-hand book to give myself some useful reading and attempt to familiarise myself with the jargon.

back to school

Some people like to do crosswords or Suduku to give the old brain a regular work-out . . . I like to study ^^  so wish me luck!

where can I buy Isabelle Haccourt Vautier charts if I don’t live in France?

I received a comm from an American stitcher asking me the above question . . . one that I’d never asked myself before, since I live in France and order directly from Isabelle ^^ Anyway, I decided to look into it . . . and began by sending an email to Isabelle, asking if she has any official suppliers in the US or UK . . . and she doesn’t. She’d be more than happy to, so if anyone wants to nag their regular cross stitch supplier to get in touch with Isabelle then feel free ^^. However, I learned that not only does Isabelle sell directly to French stitchers like myself . . . she also sells directly to overseas stitchers, and can take payment via Paypal. So if you have a Paypal account, you’re good to go. You can contact IV through her blog/catalogue HERE. Her email is at the top of her home page, and you’ll also find an order form.  Most of her charts cost 9 euros each when you buy directly from Isabelle, but some of her larger designs or the “Portnic” collection cost 11 euros. Obviously, for postage . . . it all depends on where you live and how many charts you order.  So I suggest you submit your order to her by email and ask for paypal instructions and postage costs. Unfortunately, it’s rather difficult to browse through the chart selection on IV’s blog (since it’s more a blog than a catalogue, and there are loads of pages to wade through) . . . so if you want to order from her, I strongly suggest you pop over to Une Mercerie à la campagne (link lower down) where you’ll be able to see charts WITH their refs, which will make it easier when placing an order with IV. I did also find a couple of on-line shops that have secure payment systems . . . if you prefer to do that. First up is Casa Cenina  (which has the advantage of being able to choose your language option on the site).  They are based in Italy so all prices are in euros. I have never ordered from them so can’t give you my opinion. However, postage costs outside of Europe looks rather exorbitant since they only send by UPS special signed for delivery.  Still, it’s a nice on-line shop to visit if you simply want to drool. One place I have bought from is Une Mercerie à la campagne .  They offer payment by credit card via Paypal and postage costs seem more reasonable. Only problem is that everything is in French so if you don’t understand the language of Molière, you might get in a bit of a fluster.  To find IV designs on this site, you click on “Grilles et kits” on the left side of the home page and then you scroll down until you find the designer you are looking for. And I’ve found one more on-line shop (again in France) which takes payment by credit card or Paypal: Les petites croix de Lucie .  This is not somewhere I have shopped before, but there is a nice selection to browse through (all in French). To find IV you click on “Créateur Français” on the left of home page. Hope that helps any non-French stitchers who would like to discover the joys of French designers ^^

Edit: 2015 – you can now buy Isabelle Vautier charts on sewandso.uk !

thank you Titoune and Pierrette

I have more thank yous to post today . . . yes, indeed, more generous friends who have been thinking of me and fuelling my addiction for collections.  First of all, Titoune (who was a faithful follower for the “Tangled Frame” SAL) sent me some bookmarks – one of which comes all the way from Kyoto.

from titoune

And thank you to Pierrette, a lovely lady at my local patchwork club . . . who gave me a beautiful wooden hand-painted thimble . . . with a Matriochka design lol.  Unfortunately, even with my macro button on my camera, I can’t seem to get a decent photo.

from pierrette

“Au coeur de la nuit” beginnings of a new SAL

I mentionned the other day that I had signed up to follow a new SAL . . . stitching an Isabelle Vautier design that I’ve had in my stash for a while: “Au coeur de la nuit”.  Corinne, the lady organising the SAL doesn’t really have an idea exactly how long it’s going to take us . . . we are just going to stitch along, at the pace she sets, with a new objective every fortnight. Here is the photo of my first stage

SAL IV Claire01

I am stitching on a 28 count  Zweigart Trento ‘natural”  fabric, using DMC 902 and B5200.  This is the first time I’ve used this particular fabric – I bought myself a huge wad of it last year and had been waiting for the perfect design . . . and when I decided to join this SAL I knew it was the ideal fabric to use.


“thank you” cards

After receiving so many lovely gifts from thoughtful friends, I decided that an email to say thank you wasn’t enough ^^  I felt it was only right and proper to do things the old fashioned way and send a REAL card. So have been busy making lots of little cards which should have plopped through people’s letter boxes by the time I publish this article.  Since I had quite a few to make and send, I kept things very simple . . . but also took the opportunity to use some of the wierd and wonderful buttons I had in my stash.

thank you cards

Had great fun chosing which buttons to use, and although very simple, I think my little cards are quite cute ^^ (but then that’s normal, since I made them lol).  Was a great way to use up small pieces of leftover fabric and various threads. No card is identical, and buttons are all different too . . . monsters, cats, russian dolls, flowers, and even a dragon !

happy dancing with Madame Chantilly . . . and a few mini blackworks

Today I’m having a happy dance – yay !

I put the finishing stitches to “Polka Dot Matrioshka” by Madame Chantilly, and even gave it a quick iron before I took photo (however I think it needs to be dampened and ironed again because creases in aida won’t budge).

Mme Chantilly terminé

I stitched this over 5 weeks, on a 7 count blue-grey aida, using the recommended colours (except for the smallest doll where I used blue for the bottom half instead of green).  It was a lovely design to work on because I was able to work on the line of hearts and the top border as I went. Very little back stitch too.  Not sure what I’m going to do with it now that I’ve finished – might look out for a frame . . . but for the moment, my fabric will be going in my “to be finished off” drawer.

Also did a few mini blackwork projects . . .

mini motifs

just using up small pieces of leftover fabric, and stitching just part of a larger design. A few “medallions” from Valerie Warner’s “Tangled Frame” design and a couple of flowers from a Nancy Pederson bookmark chart.  These are also going into a drawer and will probably be used to make up cards when I need any.

Am now going to measure up my fabric and begin work on “Au coeur de la nuit” which I will be stitching along with a French blogger who is leading the dance.

“puppy” rug progress

It’s been two weeks since I posted an update on my latch-hooking . . . main reason is that I haven’t been doing an awful lot of it during the week, and am only finding a couple of hours at the weekend to latch-hook .  I also need to do it in natural lighting because otherwise it can be difficult to distinguish between the light grey and white on the canvas.  Last photo looked like this


And the most recent photo looks like this

rug04I’m still enjoying it immensely and find it’s quite a nice change from cross stitch or patchwork. Once I finish the nose (continuing line by line) I reckon I’ll be about half way lol and am already thinking that I’ll invest in another rug kit when I’ve completed this one (so that really does show that I’m having fun!)

“Au coeur de la nuit” – new project beginning soon ^^

With my Madame Chantilly Russian dolls almost complete, you can understand that I’m already looking through my stash wondering “what next?”

I plan on picking up my Indian themed stitching and beginning work on “Indian Brave” that’s for sure, but I also stumbled across a blog post on a French friend’s blog . . . and she is going to be organising a SAL with an Isabelle Vautier design: “Au coeur de la nuit”. Now, being a huge IV fan I have this chart in my stash so . . . am all signed up to begin stitching.  Only problem is, I’ve just noticed I’m going to need four 8 metre skeins of the same colour and I probably don’t have 32m of the same colour . . . so I’m going to have a rummage in my threads and see what my thread status is. I’ll probably do the owl in a solid colour and the alphabet in a variagated thread but suspect I’ll have to place a small order.


And another photo to show you a little blackwork interlude I had yesterday . . . another Valerie Warner design (can’t seem to get enough) . . . this time for a small bookmark. Lots of similar swirls to the Tangled Frame design and nice and relaxing to stitch. I won’t be snipping and backing just yet though – this is one little project that will go in my drawer and I’ll do a finishing session at a later date.

bw bookmark

Madame Chantilly update

Last week I had four little dolls, sitting in a row . . .

mme chantilly 03

and I honestly thought I would slow down this week since dolls on the left are bigger. However, I had no trouble in stitching doll number five AND in completing the line of hearts at the bottom and stitching more of the top.

Mme chantilly 04

With a bit of luck, by this time next week, I will have a happy dance yay!