Just Cross Stitch Halloween 2017

Posted on

I just received an email from my sales rep at Annie’s, letting me know the 2017 issue of Just Cross Stitch Halloween will be out soon. So far only the cover photo has been released:

2017halloween

As soon as I receive more photos I will post them here. Hearing this news, I decided to get out my copy of the 2016 issue and take a look at it again. When it came out, I had other things going on so I didn’t do much more than glance at it. Now, looking through it again, I found a project I really MUST stitch! It is a sugar skull and was designed by Breanne Jackson.

sugarskull

As soon as I saw this design, I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use. I have had a piece of Aida in my stash for a few years, not knowing what it should be used for. It is a gorgeous lime green, and it needed just the right project. Now I just needed to find the prefect floss for it. The pattern calls for all black, but that’s not my style. I love colors! I got out my bin of silk floss and found something perfect. It’s called Ada’s Rainbow and it is from Gloriana. I have only used silk one other time, and never on Aida, so this should be interesting.

greenaida

I think the bright colors will really pop on this fabric, and I think they would make a wonderful sugar skull. I can’t wait to get started, but I am feeling guilty about all of the projects I have lined up. There’s the red haired mermaid, the bright butterflies, the primitive pincushions, and of course at least a dozen Egyptian designs. It’s already been a month since I received the magazine that had the mermaid in it, and I have made very little progress on my pyramids. Oh, why can’t there be more hours in the day?

XXX
Carrie


More stash finds

Posted on

While going through my stitchy supplies I found a kit that I had forgotten I had ordered off of Amazon around Christmas time. I had been interested in this chart for about 2 years, after having seen it in a British magazine as a “subscriber gift”. But the advertisement never mentioned what it was called, or where you could purchase it. Finally I decided to do a little sleuthing with Google images, and after a while I found it! I was really happy to see that Amazon had it for only $11 including shipping, whereas other stores were charging up to $27 just for the kit. Yikes! I had Amazon gift cards saved up, so it ended up not costing me a dime. The kit is by DMC and it is called Butterfly Garden. The kit is number BK1545 and the designer is one of my favorites, Susan Bates! Normally I see her designs in the British magazines and she is affiliated with Anchor, so this was kind of surprising. I did not know who the designer was until after I bought the kit, but now I am not surprised that I was drawn to it and couldn’t stop thinking about it for a couple of years.

il_fullxfull.732098486_h2py

I just love the bright colors of this, and it would look so great by my computer to keep the dreariness of my location away. Yes, even in April it is gray, cold, and not very nice looking outside. Once the snow is completely gone, the bugs will be out and the trees outside my window will be nothing but shades of green. So, I could definitely use a bit of a color pick-me-up! I’m not sure if I will start on this right away after finishing the Pyramids, or if I will work on another WIP or start on the mermaid. Choices, choices!

XXX
Carrie


Goodies in the Mail!

Posted on

It’s always a great day when The World of Cross Stitching arrives. But this month has a great free gift – a thread cutter pendant! Now this is something I can really use. No more lost scissors!

freecutter

There’s also a great free design of a rose included this month. I love these bonus designs – they are printed nice and big, and on thick shiny cardstock. My magazines tend to get ripped up when I stitch from them, but these freebies are printed on a nice long lasting quality paper.

XXX
Carrie


2016 Goals

Posted on

In 2015 my goal was to “stitch from stash” and get some things cleared out. I did stitch quite a few little cards, but I didn’t have as much fun as I would have if I had been stitching things I really wanted to make. So for 2016, my stitching goals are projects that I really want to do and have had on my to-do list for a while. Of course, I will never get all of these done this year. But these are the projects that have been in the back of my mind for some time now:

pyramids

Pyramids by John Clayton

 

godsegypt

The Gods of Egypt from Mary Hickmott’s New Stitches issues 121, 122, and 123. Sadly I only have the first and third issues and have not been able to find issue 122 anywhere, even eBay. But I could stitch the middle and right side and stitch the left side portion later.

 

charles

Charles from John Clayton’s Elegance series.

 

jesus

His Name is Jesus. This was a free chart I got online and I think I will use variegated threads for it.

 

summerball

A Summer Ball (almost 1/5 complete so far).

 

deer

The deer in the woods, which I have been working on for years and really want to get done with.

XXX
Carrie


Thread Heaven

Posted on

Nothing is worse than constantly having your embroidery floss tangle and get knotted while you are stitching. Luckily, there is a product on the market called Thread Heaven which not only claims to prevent thread tangling and fraying, but also to reduce hand fatigue.

heaven1  heaven2

Adam Beadworks, the manufacturer of this product, has been marketing it for years for quilters, but more recently cross stitchers have found that they just can’t live without it. For a while I was skeptical that it would work, and certain that it would damage the fibers or fabric. I have been selling it in my store for a few years, and it is one of my best sellers. But I just didn’t want to try it myself. Finally I decided to have a go at stitching with it and this is what I found.

Fresh out of the package

Fresh out of the package

First, I was surprised at how the product does not actually coat the floss. I figured after wiping a strand of floss across the Thread Heaven it would be all goopy or waxy. But you really can’t tell it is there. So then I wondered if it would actually do anything. When I stitched with it for the first time, I was amazed at how it went through the fabric smoothly instead of being drug through it. I have only stitched with several thread lengths so far, but I can definitely tell a difference compared to when I have not used it. The only downside so far is that it is time consuming to coat each strand (you are supposed to do each strand separately, then recombine them) and it is a bit awkward to use because the container is so small. But I will keep at it and report back here when my project is finished. I started a new small card kit just for the purpose of trying out the Thread Heaven. I did not want to start using it midway through a project.

One thing the Thread Heaven website does mention is that a separate box should be used for light and dark colors. If the product gets really gunked up with floss, you can pry it out of the box, turn it over, and put it back in to use the other side of it. Also, you should not lick your floss (a habit I personally have) because the mouth is very acidic.

There is debate among stitchers whether Thread Heaven has glitter in it. Some say that they can’t imagine having a box of it without the glitter in it, as it makes it “heavenly”. Others say that they have used several containers of it and have never once had glitter in theirs. The box I opened up is from my own shop and since I sell so much of this stuff, I know it is “fresh”. At first glance the product did not seem to be glittery, but when I took a closer look I could indeed see microscopic pieces of what appeared to be glitter. So my guess is that the glitter has either gotten smaller over time, or those who think theirs doesn’t have it just never noticed it before.

The glitter in Thread Heaven kind of matches my nails!

The glitter in Thread Heaven kind of matches my nails!

You can purchase Thread Heaven at my store, www.crossstitchers.com where it retails for $3.39.

XXX
Carrie



Sachet

Posted on

sachet1

I finished the sachet today, although I am a bit bummed with how it turned out. The stuffing didn’t fill out the entire circle, so it is puffy in the center and bare at the edges. It is also quite bumpy looking at the bottom where I had to slip stitch it closed. The rest of it turned out fine because I used my sewing machine, but I had to leave a pretty big gap at the bottom so I could turn it right side out. It looks much better when I flatten it down with my hand, so I have put a heavy book on top of it and I think I will let it sit for a couple of days to see if that helps.

sachet3

I’ll post a photo of the finished piece after I let it “flatten out” a bit.

XXX
Carrie


Stash Finish #5

Posted on

butterfly2

The stitching on my floral sachet is done, but I didn’t feel like getting out the sewing machine and putting it all together. I had this free cover kit from an issue of The World of Cross Stitching which consisted of two butterfly cards. I decided to work on one of them for another quick finish. I think it turned out quite well! The cross stitching itself was very easy and took only a couple of hours to do. The backstitching was a pain, as is usually the case with Madeline Floyd designs. But in the end it turned out very nice.

butterfly1

XXX
Carrie


Uh Oh, More Stash!

Posted on

Today a new issue of The World of Cross Stitching came in the mail, and had a free kit with it for a floral sachet. I had also received an adorable kit of a hedgehog with the last issue, which I never got around to stitching. So that’s two new kits to add to my stash. And this year is supposed to be all about de-stashing!

newkits

The hedgehog kit seems a bit daunting, but the sachet looks like it could be worked up in a day or two. I think I might tackle that one as soon as Nefertiti is done, just so that it is not taking up space in my “kits” tote, which is overflowing as it is. That wad of batting they give you for it is huge! Maybe putting some potpourri inside would make it smell nice. I really need to get these free kits stitched up. It is already April and I am kind of disappointed on the number of finishes I have done so far this year. I want to work on A Summer Ball too, but I think I will have to finish at least one small kit before I can get back to work on it.

XXX
Carrie


Egyptian Cross Stitch

Posted on

I am fascinated with anything dealing with ancient Egypt. I have been collecting cross stitch charts on this topic for years, but never actually got around to stitching any of them. I have had this chart kitted up for about a year, but other projects always seemed to get in the way. Now I think it is time to dig out the materials that have been waiting, and get to work on Nefertiti.

nefertiti

Nefertiti is probably the second most well known Egyptian woman, after Cleopatra. She was the “main” wife, if you will, of the Pharoah Akhenaten. Akhenaten ruled during the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt which was around 1300 BC. His name was originally Amenhotep IV but he changed it when he decided to become pretty much the first ruler in history to believe in only one god. He no longer wanted to worship Amun (the main god at the time) and decided that only the sun god Aten was worth worshiping. Nefertiti ruled along with her husband in one of Egypt’s wealthiest times. Unfortunately, she simply vanished from history. No one really knows what happened to her. Akhenaten also lost his mother (Queen Tiye, pronounced Tee) and a daughter around the same time. After Akhenaten died, Egypt got a new ruler…

egyptxs

Tutankhamun. “King Tut” as he is called today was the son of Akhenaten and a woman who was probably Akhenaten’s sister. Yeah, I know. But in ancient Egypt the kings pretty much always married their sisters. You had to keep the royal blood lines flowing, right? This project pictured above is from a German cross stitch magazine called Burda Special (issue E732) and it is HUGE. We’re talking 25×15 inches on 14 count fabric. This is definitely a “way down the line” project for me. But it would be absolutely stunning! No designer is given for this chart, which is a shame. The gods on either side of Tutankhamun are not identified, but I am guessing the ones on the left are Atum and Hathor. On the right, the god is probably Horus. I actually have no idea who the 4th figure is. Her headdress looks like a combination of the single feather Ma’at (female) wore and the double plumed crown of Amun (male). But, this chart has definitely been on my “must stitch list” for a good two years or more now.

XXX
Carrie


Stash Finish #4

Posted on

bellscard

This is a kit for a Christmas Bells card that came free with an issue of the British Magazine Cross Stitch Gallery. I was able to finish it in just two days of stitching. Of all the kits I have ever done, this was by far the worst in terms of sorting colors. I know it doesn’t look like it, but there were 4 shades of red, 4 shades of gold, and 4 shades of green. And the names meant nothing (parrot green, saffron). I had to use the color photo that came with the chart in order to figure it out. On the plus side, it came with WAY more floss than was needed, so my ORT jar is filling up nicely! And the card blank that came with it is lovely. The picture doesn’t really show it, but the entire card is gold paper with a nice lined texture to it.

XXX
Carrie


Stash Finish #3

Posted on

This is the card kit that had the faulty floss. I actually had plenty of that pink color to work with, but ran out of the light blue, go figure. Luckily I found a match in my stash of DMC. The kit didn’t specify a color number, but I think the match is pretty darn close. The backstitching on this was a bit of a pain, and I noticed that the stitched models did not look the same as the chart. The chart actually had more backstitching than what was on the models. I think it looks better with the extra stitches, so I stitched it as charted.

prettyroses

The design is from April Rose Illustration and was the free cover kit with issue 217 of The World of Cross Stitching.

XXX
Carrie




DMC Floss Increase

Posted on

dmcfloss2015
My sales rep warned me that this would happen. On January 1, 2015 the suggested retail price of DMC embroidery floss went from 74 cents to 77 cents (US dollars). This means that most stores will raise their prices in the near future. Because I knew of the price increase beforehand, I ordered a lot of floss at the end of the year to get the old pricing. So I will not be raising the price in our store until we need to make another large order. So if you need floss, you should buy it soon, regardless of where you shop.

XXX
Carrie


Stash

Posted on

Here are some pictures of my stash of kits. I don’t plan on doing all of these in 2015, but I would like to do a bunch of them. The first photo shows the kits I have received from World of Cross Stitching magazine. These will be my top priority because they are small and contain good materials.

stash1

The next photo shows my stash of larger kits. I would especially like to stitch the DMC African scene and the three sets of Nativity figures.

stash2

And finally, my stash of miscellaneous kits. These will probably not get attempted in 2015. These came from clearance sales, garage sales, etc and have been in my stash forever. The materials in the tiny kits especially are not very good, so I may not even hang onto these.

stash3

Next up: photos of my threads stash!

XXX
Carrie


A New Product to Try

Posted on

easycountI am excited about a new product that I will be trying with my large Summer Ball project. It is called Easy-Count Guideline and it is manufactured by R&S Designs Inc. This is a product I will also be offering in my store. It is a red nylon thread that you use to weave a grid into your cross stitch fabric. The grid helps you stitch faster and without mistakes because you are able to follow the chart more easily. Most charts already have thicker grid lines every 10 stitches, and this method allows you to stitch each 10×10 grid at a time. When you are done stitching, the red line gets pulled out. There are other methods of gridding fabric, but this product is supposed to be superior. You do not have to worry about invisible ink all of a sudden showing up again, and using regular sewing thread to grid can cause problems when the needle pierces the thread, making it difficult to remove. The nylon thread cannot be pierced, so it cannot be sewn through. This makes it easier to remove in the end. I am excited to try this product in my next large project!

XXX
Carrie


Floss Winding Time

Posted on

flosspileThe other day I was going through my stash of DMC floss and made note of which colors I was missing (or running very low on). I was shocked at how my full set of floss had dwindled down a lot. Some of the colors I do have, but they are pulled out for various projects. I decided not to worry about those, and just get a full bobbin-wound set again. This is what the “before” photo looks like. It will take serveral evenings of sitting in front of the TV to get these all wound. But I love looking at a full set of floss when it is sorted by numerical value and organized in plastic cases. I’ll post another photo when my bobbin winding is finished.

XXX
Carrie


It’s like Christmas Morning!

Posted on

IMG_2590

Today I stumbled upon a bag full of goodies that were packed away. I had forgotten all about these! So it was like Christmas morning going through everything. Most of these items came from shop buy-outs when stores are going out of business. I have purchased the inventory of 3 shops so far – one in NY, one in FL, and one in MI. Some of the items that the shop owners sold me were just not fit for resale. There were spools of Kreinik with the sticker missing that says what color number it is, other Kreinik spools that are obviously half used up (probably from shop classes), and spools that may be unused but are completely coming undone. That’s okay, they will make a great addition to my stash!

Some of the items included are a ton of the same color of Caron Watercolour’s Burnt Toast (with photocopied labels, for some reason);  Kreinik spools in every color and size; overdyed floss from JAR Designs, Weeks Dye Works, Crescent Colours, and more; and a bunch of skeins of different types of The Thread Gatherer.

Here are some pictures for you to “ooh” and “aah” over! Click on the small images to view them full size.

IMG_2595IMG_2591

IMG_2593IMG_2597

IMG_2594

XXX
Carrie


Recycling

Posted on

While doing some early spring cleaning, I found an empty vinyl zippered bag that I had purchased just after Christmas. It originally held makeup (you know how they roll out all those gift sets in November, and then sell them half price on Dec 26). Well, I had purchased this for the makeup inside, but couldn’t bear to just throw the bag out, even though I had no use for it at the time. When I rediscovered it, inspiration hit. Normally when I am working on a project I keep my threads, needles, and scissors in a ziplock baggie on the end table in our living room, next to the couch where I do all of my stitching. It’s not that I don’t have several of those nice plastic organizers that are made just for cross stitch, and hold a bunch of floss bobbins and accessories. Because I do. It’s just that they are all full. I pull out the skeins I need for a project, and label the container so I know what it is for. After you have used up a dozen of those containers, however, you find yourself running to the kitchen drawer to find something – anything – to put your stash in for your current project. I actually don’t have a dozen projects going at one time, it’s just that I tend to be lazy and not put anything away when I am finished with it. So I have several of those cute plastic organizers full of carded floss, that I don’t need any more because the project is done. Instead of taking them out and finding the time to put them back into my main stash (in DMC numerical order) I end up throwing the whole thing into an even larger tote. So when it comes time to pull threads for a new project, I usually can only find half of the colors I need (even though I know I have at least one of every DMC shade).

So for my next project, I am going to try something new. While ziplock baggies do work, they aren’t ideal for storing cross stitch notions. I think this makeup bag will do just the trick. It is large enough to hold my fabric, hoop, floss, needles, scissors, chart, and a colored pencil so I can mark off my stitches as I go along. It has a handle, so it will be easy to take anywhere, and it is see-through, so I know just what project is inside. And best of all, it was free (sort of). This newest project is only one color, so I don’t have to worry about putting floss away when I am done. The bag will then be ready for my next project. As for this project, that is going to be a surprise. I will reveal it here as it comes along.

XXX
Carrie


Digging through the stash

Posted on

Tonight I needed a break from stitching and decided to go through my stash of threads. Oh, what fun! I have picked up silks, cottons, and overdyes from various sources, but mostly shop closings. The rainbow of colors is simply breathtaking! And I love the feel of these different types of fibers. Hopefully these photos will inspire you to go through your own stash and find some things you can use to create your next masterpiece. Here is the first tote of goodies.

Inside, I found Weeks Dye Works Pearl Cotton:

Northern Lights silks:

Kreinik Silk Mori:

and huge hanks of Gloriana silks:

I also found a stash of what appears to be one skein each of the entire line of overdyed floss by JAR Designs in Florida. I don’t know anything about this company, and an internet search didn’t provide much information. It looks like they are out of business or just don’t have a website any more. The skeins are small, but I am sure I will find something to use them on!

By far, my favorite from this stash is the lot of twisted skeins of Silk N Threads from The Thread Gatherer. They are sooooo gorgeous! I can’t wait to find a project to utilize some of these. If I can bear to cut into them, that is! They are so pretty the way they are.

XXX
Carrie


Too many projects

Posted on

In the last few days, numerous cross stitch magazines have come into my mailbox. The World of Cross Stitching is a wonderful British publication. It always has at least one free gift (usually a kit) and sometimes a free chart too. Just Cross Stitch is my favorite American magazine. I also subscribe to Cross Stitch & Needlework and Sampler & Antique Needlework. All of these came in the mail within a few days of each other, and I also received notice that the latest issue of Cross Stitch Crazy (which I subscribe to as an iPad edition) was ready to download. I LOVE my stitching magazines. I also receive hard copies of Cross Stitch Gold (British) and the  iPad edition of Cross Stitch Collection (also British). Then there are the hundreds of magazines I have picked up at garage sales, thrift stores, or eBay. And then of course, there are the leaflets and books… If I live to be 1,000 I will never be able to complete all of the projects that I have. But yet I can’t seem to part with any of them. You never know when you might need something! In this latest issue of Just Cross Stitch there is a gorgeous Christmas pattern that features three ornaments stitched in jewel tones, complete with metallic threads. They are shown hanging from an elegant black wrought iron hanger. This design immediately caught my attention, and I wanted to stitch it. But in the end I decided that my stash is taking over, and something has to be done. I am not going to get rid of any of my precious magazines or charts, but something has to be done about the projects I have started and not completed. My daughter is 3 and still doesn’t have her Christmas stocking done. I started a pretty picture of hummingbirds and flowers while on vacation a year and a half ago and it has sat in a drawer since I returned. Theresa Wentlzer’s Peacock Tapestry is so huge that it will probably never get finished. The woodland deer pattern was only started a few months ago, but I tired of all the drab colors and needed a break from it. And the backstitched vareigated heart was a magazine project that I started while on vacation this past summer. The chart ended up being too hard to follow, so I decided to photocopy it when I got home, so that I could mark it up as I went along and not ruin my magazine. But that never happened. I am going to take stock of all of my UFOs and as soon as Autumn Leaves is finished, start one one of them. My goal is to not start ANY new projects until they are all done (with the exception of the Peacock Tapestry, which could take years).  My goal is probably unrealistic, but we’ll see how it goes! At any rate, going through my stash to see what I have should be fun.

XXX
Carrie