I hope everyone had a lovely festive season, and are continuing to enjoy the relaxed and happy atmosphere this time of year brings!

I have returned from my wonderful (and overdue) trip back to Australia where I spent time with my family and friends. Not surprisingly, it was a lot hotter there than in the UK, something I really struggled with! Thankfully, there was some good rainfall, which brought with it some welcome cooler weather! (Well I certainly welcomed it anyway!).

Not surprisingly, most of my time was spent enjoying the precious time with family and friends, catching up with everyone, and meeting my new niece and nephews for the first time. So, not a lot to update you on with my progress of the Ann’s Orchard Clutch, however I did spend some very enjoyable time stitching a couple of the leaves.

holiday stitching 5.jpg

You may recall that I had decided to not stitch the whole design in white, and had chosen some light blues and greys to complement the design.

I started with a white leaf. With both this leaf, and the second, I struggled to get the stitch direction correct, and after spending one evening stitching, when I looked at it the next morning, decided it all had to come out! So the lack of progress isn’t wholly due to a lack of time! I also struggle when doing satin stitch in pure white to get it looking ‘right’. I’m still not completely satisfied with the result, but have decided to  stick with it anyway for the time being!

1st leaf half completed 2.jpg

1st leaf completed 2.jpg

I started it without reading the instructions (why would that be a good idea?!), so as a result have taken a different approach to the stitching of it. Having said that, I think I would have just gone my own way anyway! Firstly, I am using one strand, whilst the instructions recommend two, and I am completing the satin stitch in the more traditional ‘stitch direction’ line of the leaf (which is giving me the problems I mentioned above), whereas the original example has been stitched with the stitch being more vertical between the leaf ‘notches’ (no idea what the technical term of that is!). As with all satin stitch I complete, I have backstitched around the shape first (both the inside and outside lines). This wasn’t specifically mentioned in the instructions, however I find it provides me with a neater finish to the stitch.

outlined and direction lines 2.jpg

The second leaf I decided to stitch in the light grey colour. Again, I struggled with the stitch direction, just to a lesser extent! Overall, I am much happier with this result than the first. It’s always nice to see improvement! The real test will be on the next leaf completed in pure white, to see if I can get this looking neater than the first.

2nd leaf outlined and direction lines 3.jpg

I have done very little stitching since returning, but have already decided that this will become my ‘after work’ project, so we will be talking about this a little bit over the coming weeks (and probably months!). The poor cauliflower has been relegated again! I’m excited to get a really solid start on this current project over the next week or so, as I play with my colour placements, stitches used, and hopefully, continue to see an improvement in my stitching as I go along!

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