Tiny Treasures – Stage One

I love starting a new project. Getting the first stitches onto an empty piece of cloth is always fun for me. Most of the time I prefer to make something from a kit because I don’t have to think about the fabric or threads I need to use. Sometimes, when I have to choose for myself,  it takes forever to make a decision and this one took FOREVER! Thankfully, I got there in the end but I was left with a lot of tidying up to do because I had my very organised thread stash turned completely upside down. These are my chosen colours which you saw last time.

Thread selectionSeveral years ago, Claire hosted some blackwork SALs and I was quickly hooked. We’ve stitched a few more designs together since then and I’ve enjoyed every one. Claire recently found this one called Tiny Treasures and we’ve agreed to stitch it together for this SAL. It was designed by  Liz Almond  and the chart is a free download from Blackwork Journey. The good thing is that it can be stitched as a rectangle or a square and the designer encourages stitchers to make changes if they wish.

This is where I’m up to so far.

Stage 1The green isn’t showing up very well in the photo but it looks nice in real life. I’ve changed a few bits and pieces here and there and I’m probably going to add some more green to the border but I’ve got plenty of time to think about it. I’ll wait until the rest is finished. That’s me putting off making another decision!

I’ve chosen to stitch the rectangular version which finishes at about 10 x 26 inches. I think it’ll be a good shape to hang vertically on the narrow wall in our hallway. The more I look at the chart, the more I keep thinking of other handmade items the individual designs would look good on. I’m sure they’d be lovely for cards, coasters, bookmarks etc. It really is a very versatile chart.

Anyway, I’ll be working left to right and top to bottom. Watch it grow!

Please check out what everyone else has been up to by clicking their names below. We live all over the world so you may need to allow for time differences. Posting takes place every third Sunday, local time. Our next updates will be posted on the 13th September 2020.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda, Helen

About the SAL

Please note this SAL is not accepting any more new members until further notice but this is what it’s all about anyway. This SAL (Stitch Along) is slightly different to other SALs in that we don’t all stitch the same design at the same rate. We choose ONE unfinished project, or ONE new one, and show progress of its completion over a series of three weekly updates. There are no deadlines and no set amount to stitch. The result is that the space in our drawers full of WIPs (works in progress) is gradually being freed up to store lots of new crafty goodness. It’s surprising how much motivation I’ve gained from being in this SAL.

I’ve been framed!

Hi everyone,

Well actually I haven’t been framed but my embroidery has. These finishes have been waiting in the wings for a while but I finally got around to ordering the frames and getting them on the wall this week.

First up, the Narrow Boat from Bothy Threads.


I chose the same oak frame as I have for all of my finished pieces but this time I decided on a blue mount. If you want to see more photos of this work in progress, just search for “narrow boat” on this blog. I thoroughly enjoyed stitching it Smile.

Next up is Pentecost 2 which was a free chart available on the Practical Blackwork web site. Look in my blackwork category if you want to watch this one grow. It is incredibly generous of Liadain to share her work. I stitched along with my friend Claire on this project. You can find her lovely blog by clicking here.


It’s nice to finally have them both on the wall.

I hope you will also have time to finish a project this weekend Smile.

Avis x

Happy dancing!

Hi everyone,

Yippee, it’s finally off the frame! This is the largest, most complex, and by far the most fun piece of blackwork I have stitched to date (my sixth). Full credit goes to Liadain at Practical Blackwork for charting the design named Pentecost 2. Clicking the link will take you to Liadain’s blog where she explains the inspiration behind the design. It is so generous of her to share the chart with us. Thank you Liadain!

I stitched with one strand of Anchor shade 1029 on 16 count aida. The finished piece is 18.25 inches square and it is actually perfectly square. The camera lens has slightly distorted the shape.


I stitched along with Claire and you can see her version on her blog by clicking here. Claire created interest by introducing a second colour and the more I look at it, the more I keep finding secondary patterns. Hop over and see for yourself Smile

It was good to have a stitching partner in crime. Claire certainly kept me ticking along at a reasonable pace. You may remember that we both tackled the penultimate border (working from the centre outwards) in a slightly different way as we decided to change the chart in a few places. One advantage in doing so is that we each have a unique version. As far as we know, even Liadain hasn’t stitched this chart yet. So there may only be two versions of Pentecost 2 in the entire universe, unless you know otherwise Smile If you have stitched this design yourself, I would love to put a photo up here. Just email it to the address at the right of the page.

The next photos show the intricate details.



What next? Well, Claire and I have been swapping ideas about the kind of things we like to stitch since well before we started Pentecost 2. She mentioned the Ink Circles designs and I showed them to my other half. He logged the name of the company in the “Prezzie Ideas” section of his brain. He’s very good at that! Guess what Santa brought me….

Correct! I now have the Cirque des Cercles chart which Claire has had in her rainy day stash for ages. Isn’t it wonderful when someone remembers what you’d wished for months ago…..he knows how to keep me occupied Smile

So our next project will be Cirque des Cercles which can be purchased via the Ink Circles web site. You are very welcome to stitch along with us if you wish. We are currently in the process of choosing fabrics and threads. I wonder whether I can be tempted away from my beloved purple this time…. Will I be stitching on black or white 16 count aida? I’d love to stitch on black and I’m going to try to sort out some lighting with a practice piece on royal blue aida this morning. If that works out well, I’m going to go for the black. Wish me luck!

There is a gallery of previously completed Cirque des Cercles here if you’d like to take a look. Any suggestions as to what thread I should choose would be gratefully received. Also, if you’ve already stitched this design, I’d love to hear from you.

That’s it for now,

Avis x

Almost there!

Hi everyone,

No doubt, if you celebrate Christmas, you will be knee deep in preparations for the big day. I managed to get a few hours to sew yesterday so the penultimate stage of Pentecost 2 is now complete.


There is only the final border left to do. We are getting there….

Here is as much as I can see on my frame at the moment.


If you would like to see it opened out, Claire my stitching buddy, is displaying her version here. We hope to finish this piece sometime early next year so watch this space. If you’d like to stitch this design yourself, hop over to Practical Blackwork where you can download the chart for free.

Happy Christmas everyone Smile

Avis x

An Update on the blackwork!

Hi everyone, I hope you are all well and that you have had much more time to craft than me recently.

It his been a bit busy here Beside the Sea but I have been chivvied along by Claire to finish our next agreed stage of the Pentecost 2 blackwork. Mine is still on the frame so nobody, including me, has seen the full project yet.


Pop over to Claire’s blog to see her version of this beautiful design. She hasn’t stitched on a frame so you can even get a sneaky peek of the whole design so far. You can find the free chart at Practical Blackwork. How generous is that? We independently made changes to the latest stage because there were some errors in the chart. I’m not surprised at all about this because it is so detailed. This means we have unique versions as we both decided to stitch this border in different ways. It appears we are probably the only two people on the planet who are mad enough to tackle a project of this size. We believe the person who charted the design, based on an altar cloth, hasn’t stitched it herself yet LOL. I know she will enjoy it very much when she does.


There isn’t a mark on the cloth above, just an interesting addition from the sun Smile

So that’s it from me for now. I’ll be back as soon as I can!

Avis x

Still growing!

Happy Sunday everyone,

I’d like to show you some progress on Pentecost 2, a blackwork design charted by Liadain at Practical blackwork. Clicking the link will take you to Liadain’s blog where she explains the inspiration behind the design. It is so generous of her to share the chart with us.

As you know, I’m stitching along with Claire. We are up to the same part of the stitching and you can see her gorgeous progress here. I’m really pleased to be stitching along with someone who keeps up a reasonable pace, even though I’m the one who is always playing catch-up, sorry Claire!


As you can see, it is no longer possible to show you the full extent of my progress due to having the fabric attached to my scrolling frame. I won’t be removing it until all the stitching is complete. So we’ll all have to wait for the big reveal, including me.


The next corner border is very stitch intensive and the daylight here at this time of year is very poor for fine work. I’m absolutely loving stitching this design. I hope you like it too Smile

I wish you all a wonderful crafty week ahead,

Avis x

Blackwork update!

Hello everyone,

Just popping in to share my progress on the blackwork that I’m stitching along with Claire. Click here to visit her blog and see her gorgeous version of the same design. Judging by the overall area that we have stitched so far, I reckon we have just about one third finished. However, the next borders look very stitch intensive so we’ll still be sewing for quite some time yet. Will we finish before 2014, I wonder? The free chart for this design is available here. The web site http://www.practicalblackwork.com is well worth a visit for inspiration.


This is the last time I will be able to show you the design in full. From now on, the embroidery will be wound further around my frame. You’ll have to wait until the end when I take it off the frame and so will I Smile. However, I’ll continue to post regular progress updates. It’s such a joy to stitch.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Avis x

I’m really enjoying this!

Hi everyone! Happy sunny weekend from Beside the Sea.

I’ve had a lovely time stitching more of Pentecost 2 from http://www.practicalblackwork.com. You will remember that I am sewing along with Claire over at Claire93. We agreed to finish the swirls before posting an update so here is my stitching so far. I’m just beginning to stitch the bottom right corner so there’s a tiny clue as to what is coming next. If you want to see the complete design click here and scroll down.


Claire has chosen to add an extra dash of colour and it looks really lovely. You can see her version here. We have found a few errors in the chart so the emails have been flying back and forth across the sea to enable us to decide how we are going to stitch certain parts of the design. It’s lovely to have a stitching buddy to help keep me on course and motivated to finish this large project Smile.

Just in case you haven’t already seen it, I also have another quilting finish to share with you from my other blog Oh Sew Tempting.


Later today, I’ll be finishing a cardigan which my Mum has started to knit. She doesn’t enjoy stitching up or knitting the neck and button bands so she has passed it on to me…..not that I like doing those bits either Winking smile.

Time to give a “Shout out” for my daughter who has decided to restart her photography blog. It’s all far too technical for me but I’ve included a button on the right if you’d like to see what she is up to with her new toys.

Have fun with your crafty projects this week!

Avis x


Blackwork update!

Hi everyone!

My stitching buddy Claire is itching to get stitching on the next part of the blackwork design we are sewing together which you can see by clicking here (scroll about half way down the post). I’m supposed to have the surrounding straight-sided octagon done by now but I’m showing you what it looks like so far.

You can see Claire’s stitching by clicking here. She’s done a fabulous job and we have been discussing whether or not she will choose to add a second colour. All will be revealed soon. The chart is available at http://www.practicalblackwork.com.


That’s it for now. Gotta get back to crafting 🙂

Avis x

So far, so good!

Hi everyone,

Here’s a quick update on my work in progress. I eventually chose to sew with DMC embroidery floss number 1029 and I’m happy with the outcome so far. If you want to see what I’m making, just scroll down to my previous post. if you want to stitch this one, you can find it here http://www.practicalblackwork.com.


Happy days 🙂

Avis x