Gingerbread House Sampler

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I have started a new project. I know, I know. I have several WIPs already. But the deer in the woods is just not fun to work on, and A Summer Ball is quite challenging (and huge). I wanted to work on something that I could complete in the next couple of months, and have fun working on at the same time. I chose this gingerbread houses wall hanging from issue 141 of Cross Stitch Gold magazine. This pattern was designed by Durene Jones, and is just so adorable. There is no backstitching, no fractionals, and only a handful of french knots. The entire chart is done in only 7 colors, and has large blocks of one color. I have not worked on it much yet, just a couple of hours over the weekend, and I already have a good portion of one of the houses done. Photos to come!

This was not one of the projects I had in my “to do” pile. I really did want to start on either the colorful butterflies or the red headed mermaid. But I didn’t have the right fabric for the mermaid, and this chart seemed so much easier than either of them. Bigger, possibly, but with a lot less color changes and counting. And although I am not a huge fan of gingerbread cookies or cutesy things like this in general, I just knew I had to make this wall hanging when I saw it! I especially adore the green pom pom trim at the bottom.

XXX
Carrie


A Summer Ball is available again!

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I’m pleased to announce that A Summer Ball is once again available for purchase! Sandy Littlejohns and Deborah Lester have put the pdf version online for purchase through their Facebook Page, Cross Stitch Arts. The cost is £5.00, which is about $6.50 US. I think this is an exceptional deal, since I spent at least double that when it was offered before.

I have started working on this chart again, although it is slow going because I am working with white floss on white fabric, and even with the gridding the counting is difficult. I am at the edge of two pages, and I am trying to finish up those pages but also looking ahead to the next set of pages to make sure I don’t neglect a few stitches of white on them. I would hate to have to go back and fill in a few stitches here and there when I could have just done it now.

Please note that this version may vary slightly from the pattern that was in the magazine, because it is the “designer’s own version”. I am guessing it is the same version that I purchased, though. This is probably just a little technicality to be able to publish the design a second time, and there probably isn’t much difference from the original.

XXX
Carrie

 


Not enough hours in the day

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There hasn’t been much time for stitching lately. Once again, my husband and I are the volunteer librarians for our daughter’s school. This involves coming in every week to help 11 classrooms check books out, check in the books that come back, shelve the books that have been checked in, and keep up on overdue books and fines. Today is the end of the first full week of library duty. Overall, it has gone quite well, but I am exhausted! I have also been trying to figure out what to do with my daughter for Girl Scouts. For the last two years she has had commitments on the day that they had their meetings, so this would be her first year to join. It would also be the final year for Brownies. The troop that she was assigned to has a lot of members, ranging from 2nd grade through 7th. I guess last year they didn’t do a whole lot in terms of earning badges, and some of the other moms have thought about starting another troop just for 2nd and 3rd graders. I would love to help with that, but I certainly can’t be the leader, and I’m worried that none of the other moms will be able to find the time to do it either. So at the moment we are at a stand-still, although we have already paid this year’s membership dues. My daughter is so anxious to start, and keeps asking when the first meeting will be. I am also the chapter librarian for our local DAR chapter, which is keeping me busy. By the time you add in cleaning house and taking care of the kids, that doesn’t leave much time for my actual, paying job! And of course, cross stitch is absolutely last on the list, sadly. But I did manage to get in about 30 minutes yesterday on A Summer Ball, and have finished the man’s white pants. I have only a little bit left to do to have two full pages completed! That means I will be 1/5 of the way done with the chart. Yikes, that sounds impossible. I have also just received issue 141 of Cross Stitch Gold which has an adorable Gingerbread house sampler, and a Victorian Christmas scene. I know I will regret saying this later, but sometimes I wish my kids would hurry and finish growing up so I can retire and do nothing but stitch all day. Of course, that will probably never happen, and if it does I will be wishing that my kids were little again. But that’s life, I suppose.

XXX
Carrie


Deer In The Woods

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After finishing my last project, I decided to tackle the Deer In The Woods again. I have not worked on this in almost a year, and it was started several years before that. The shades of green and brown are not only boring to stitch, but difficult. Yet I want to get this one over with so I can start on something new. In a few days time, I managed to complete the last of the trees and started on the grass.

The grass is proving especially difficult, so after working on it a bit I decided to put it away again in order to work on A Summer Ball. In a couple of weeks I will go back to the deer and hopefully finish it up. Then I will finally allow myself to start on something new.

XXX
Carrie


Farewell, Thread Heaven

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It was announced on September 12 that after 22 years in business, Thread Heaven has ceased production. They have decided to retire and have no plans of selling the business or formula. Whatever stock is out in the stores is all that will every be available, so if you are a Thread Heaven user you will want to buy up all that you can find!

For more information, you can visit their Facebook page.

XXX
Carrie


Some Beautiful Finds

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Every year our local Boy Scouts have a Labor Day “yard sale”, where every item is donated and you pay for things on a donation basis. This year we got there just as the gates opened, and after checking out the book section (which was disappointing compared to previous years) I decided to see what kind of frames they had. I always have projects needing to be framed, and I was delighted with the frames I found this year. But what I immediately noticed, and could not pass up, were two framed pieces of completed stitchery. They appeared to be in great condition, and I couldn’t bear the thought of these countless hours of work being thrown away at the end of the weekend (sadly, anything that is not purchased is either recycled or trashed at the end of the last day). One of the pieces was small but contained a ton of beading, and appears to be worked on canvas. The back of the frame was professionally done with kraft paper and a hanging wire. The other project, a blackwork design done in all brown and gold was framed very poorly. The fabric was simply folded over the cardboard backing from a cheap frame, then inserted into the frame with glass on the front. When I took it out, it was rusty around the edges and there were actually a few bugs trapped between the fabric and the cardboard. I soaked this piece in a warm water and a drop of dishwashing liquid, and the water immediately turned yellow. I don’t think this is from the floss bleeding, but from the grime and rust on the piece. Perhaps the owner was a smoker. Here is a picture of the piece right out of the wash, wrinkles and all.

A query on a Facebook stitching page led me to believe that this piece was a correspondence course through the Embroiderers’ Guild of America. Sure enough, I was able to find that it was designed by Judith Logan and was from about 1990. The tile of the course was Blackwork is Fun! The main outlines are the same for everyone, but a Google images search shows that each individual personalized their design with blackwork filling patterns of their own choosing.

My search for good bargains also turned up a good sized stack of cross stitch fabric. Some pieces were large, some were small. There was Aida and linen and evenweaves, in all colors and counts. When I finally sat down to look at everything this afternoon, I was shocked. In the stash were two completed pieces, all folded up. One was definitely a Hinzeit pattern, because of the block lettering and charms. I did a quick Google search and found that although it is now out of print, the last price on it was $19 for the chart and charms!

There was also a large piece of an eagle, soaring with wings spread open. Sadly, I had no way of knowing who the designer is. But then I uploaded a picture of it (right out of the wash bowl!) and found that it was a chart by Cross My Heart Inc, from their book Majestic Birds of Prey. This project took a long time to stitch, and I can’t believe someone would just toss it away like that. It does have some rust marks along the edges, but they can either be cut off or, worst case scenario, they will not show when the project is framed.

I will iron these projects and then get better pictures.

XXX
Carrie


Frogging

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Tonight I finished up Autumn Flowers, and then had to decide if I wanted to rip out the two small flowers and redo them, or just leave it as it was. Here is the finished project along with the picture of how it should have looked.

In the end, I had plenty of floss left and there was enough time to rip out and restitch the two flowers tonight. I felt that if I didn’t redo it, I would forever look at it and wonder why I had left it. I am so glad I decided to frog the orange flowers and make them yellow.

Frogging is a term cross stitchers use when they make a mistake and have to rip out stitches. “Rip it, rip it” sounds like a frog saying ribbit, ribbit. Get it? Generally, I don’t make mistakes when I cross stitch. I am a slow stitcher, and stop every few stitches to cross off what I have done on my chart. On large pieces, I grid. And I am always double checking to make sure I am doing the right thing. So I rarely ever have to frog my work. But on this project, I wasn’t even looking at the key. I knew I was to use two colors of variegated threads, yellow and orange. And since I had done the first flower with the orange on the outside, I just assumed I was supposed to do the small flowers the same way. Oops! But it wasn’t much work to rip out my mistakes and start over. And I am so pleased with the end result! So often I get caught up in large projects that take months to finish, and my stitching time is so limited. So I am glad I was able to get a quick finish done.

XXX
Carrie


A Tisket, A Tasket, Three Flowers in a Basket

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Last night my daughter wanted to read her new Owl Diaries book aloud to me. We sat on her bed and she read while I stitched. Occasionally, she would show me a funny picture from her story. I didn’t get a whole lot of stitching done (reading, although something she excels at, is not her favorite pastime) but I’m glad to have three flowers done as well as the start of the basket.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying very close attention to the pattern, and apparently the two small outside flowers are the reverse of the larger central one. The outside was supposed to be yellow, with the orange for the inside. Oops! Now I have to decide if I want to keep it as is, or rip out the two small flowers and start over. I definitely won’t do anything about it now, I will wait until it is completed to see how it looks, as well as see how much floss I have left over.

XXX
Carrie


One little flower

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One little flower peeking through after a nice and relaxing stitching session!

I ended up choosing 32 count linen, three shades of Weeks Dye Works floss, and one shade of DMC Color Variations (for the orange). I just didn’t have a suitable orange color in my stash of Weeks, and I wasn’t happy with any of my silk choices. I had the right shades, but none of them were variegated, they were all solid. I really wanted the orange to have the variations in it like the stitched sample had.

XXX
Carrie


Autumn Flowers

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I have decided that my next project will be from the latest issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine, October 2017. Featured on page 15 is this lovely piece called Autumn Flowers, designed by Ladonna Snellbaker of Black Branch Needlework. I am about to raid my stash for the appropriate supplies, but I am guessing that I won’t have all the threads called for, as they are Needlepoint Inc Silks (one color) and Gloriana hand dyed silk floss (three colors). Actually, I doubt I have any of those! But no worries, I should be able to find something that matches closely, and most likely silk. Or, maybe I will find overdyed cotton floss to use. The 32 count linen might be a challenge to my eyes, as I am used to working on 28 count linen. But this chart isn’t very large and features only whole stitches (yay!) so it should work up quickly.

I can’t wait to get started!

XXX
Carrie



Done!

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I’m so excited to finally have this sugar skull finished. Things had gotten so busy that I was unable to work on it for quite a while. And then one day the internet went out and I couldn’t work, so I decided to sit down and stitch for a while. The next morning the internet was still out, so I was able to finish this guy. And then I even got right into a free cover kit that had come with the latest issue of World of Cross Stitching. It was sitting on the coffee table and was so cute, I couldn’t resist jumping in. That little hedgehog card should be finished up in one more stitching session.

For the sugar skull, I think I will try to find a wooden frame that I can paint in a bright, bold color that matches one of the colors in the design. I think I would want to do it lime green, actually!

This was a fun and quick design (when I actually had time to sit down and stitch!) and can be found in the 2016 Halloween special issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine. It was actually charted to be solid black, but I used colors of DMC Color Variations that I hand picked. You can purchase the magazine here: crossstitchers.com

XXX
Carrie






Busy, busy!

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The past few weeks have been hectic, as always. End of the year field trips, the last day of school, dentist appointments galore, and basketball camp has meant pretty much no stitching time. Then yesterday while I was quickly scrolling through Facebook, a stitcher asked the question of “what would your ideal stitching stash include”? Because I have been stitching for over 3 decades and have become quite a hoarder collector of stitching supplies, as well as owning my own store, I don’t really need any material goods. The one thing I need to be truly stitch happy is… time. I can’t recall the last time I picked up a needle. According to this blog post, it was about a month ago. I decided that needed to change. So yesterday and today I have made myself find time to work on my sugar skull project. I haven’t abandoned my work altogether; we still need clean dishes to eat off of and clean clothes to wear. The bills need to get paid and customers need to be kept happy. But who cares if the laundry is clean and folded, but still sitting in the basket? So what if there are a few crumbs on the kitchen floor? Is it the end of the world if dominoes and board game pieces and Go Fish cards are laying on the living room floor? Just giving up a few chores means I can sit and stitch for 30 minutes, and it is a WONDERFUL 30 minutes! Mom is calmer, happier, and more relaxed. I haven’t snapped a photo of the progress I’ve made on my project, because let’s face it – that is work. But these two days of stitching have really gotten me thinking about how I need to be selfish and take some “me time” every day. Or even a few days a week. Hopefully my kids will see that a happy mom is a better mom, and will allow me to get in my stitch fix whenever I need it.

XXX
Carrie


The mouth!

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sugarskull2

I love how this is turning out. I just wish maybe I had used a higher count fabric, like 16 or even 18. It seems like there is an awful lot of white space, and I have a feeling that when this is done it is going to be huge. I hope the effect will be noticeable without having to stand several feet back.

XXX
Carrie



What’s Next?

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I have been thinking about what project I should start next. I want to stitch the mermaid, but I can’t seem to find the right fabric. If it is the right type and count, then the color is all wrong. If the color is perfect, the piece of fabric isn’t big enough for that project. I don’t want to buy any new fabric since my stash is so huge, so for now I think I will move on to something else. I really want to work on the sugar skull from the 2016 Just Cross Stitch Halloween issue. I thought I had the perfect fabric and floss for that, but I am worried that it won’t be enough floss (I only have one skein). So instead I have decided to stitch it on white fabric, and use lots of different shades of DMC Color Variations. Last night my daughter and I sat down to color together – her with an adult coloring book (those pages take FOREVER!) and me with the skull pattern. I used colored pencils to color in each area with different shades of purple, pink, teal, yellow, and green. Then I got out the whole set of CV floss and tried to pick which colors I like best. I think these shades will look nice on white fabric, and I will keep the lime green fabric and over-dyed silk floss that I had picked out, for something else.

XXX
Carrie


First Finish of 2017

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I am so excited to be done with this project, and to have my first finish for 2017. The last year or so has been really rough, between all of the things on my schedule along with not physically being well enough to cross stitch. So here it is, at long last, my Pyramids by John Clayton.

pyramids12

Currently this project is sitting in some dish soap and lukewarm water. After I dry and iron it, I will probably need to have a custom frame made, as I don’t think I have anything on hand that will fit something this long and narrow.

XXX
Carrie



Happy Mother’s Day!

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I spent most of my Mother’s Day cross stitching, with the intent of finishing the Pyramids at last. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Hopefully I will get time tomorrow to finish it up. My son especially was really delighted with how it is coming along, and is already asking what my next project is going to be. That’s a good question!

pyramids10

XXX
Carrie