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


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




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


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


Upcycling

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orthosil-silicone-dental-wax-for-braces-10-pack-16

A while back I found that I had a bunch of these cute, colorful cases laying around that had previously held dental wax – the kind you get from the orthodontist to help with the pain of braces. First my son received them, and then when I got braces I acquired a lot of them as well. When the wax was gone, I just couldn’t bring myself to throw these out or even recycle them. They were just too darn cute, and I knew they had to be good for something. Then a burst of inspiration hit. Why not turn them into needle cases? I am always losing needles in the couch or on the floor, much to the dismay of my husband, who is wondering which family member will have to be rushed to the ER for a needle in the foot. Although I do have a couple of needle cases, they are never around when I need them. But I had a LOT of these empty cases, which meant I could keep them all over in the areas where I stitch. So I dug around in my craft supplies and found just what I was looking for – a roll of sticky backed magnetic strip. I simply cut the magnetic strip to the correct length, peeled off the backing, and stuck it down in place. Two pieces, side by side, were the perfect size for covering the whole case bottom. The needles stick to the magnets just perfectly, and the cases are cute and convenient.

case1

One of these needles definitely looks like it has passed its useful life!

If I want to, I can even use a Sharpie to write on the outside of the case which size needle is inside.

case2

If someone you know has braces, they probably have a load of these cases of wax laying around, and I’m sure they would send them your way when they are empty for you to make some needle cases of your own. Happy crafting!

XXX
Carrie


Just Cross Stitch Halloween 2017

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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


Primitive Pincushions

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The June issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine arrived, and it has several great projects in it. One of them that I was immediately drawn to is this set of pincushions by Nicoletta Farrauto of Nikyscreations.

M53373_HelloSpring_300

I especially love the one on the bottom, with the two girls. The pattern is quite easy, and I think the whole thing could be worked up in a weekend. It also would be a great way to use up small scraps of linen, and I love the fact that it uses regular old DMC floss. I have the full line of colors, but this would be so easy to adapt to whatever little bits of floss you have leftover from another project. My husband is always agonizing over my lost needles, so I think this would not only look good sitting on the end table where I keep my supplies while I stitch, but it would be functional too. I do have a magnetic needle minder, but one of these pincushions would be great for when you are working on a larger project and have lots of needles threaded, ready to go.

You can visit the Nikyscreations blog at http://niky-nikyscreations.blogspot.com

XXX
Carrie

 


DMC floss price increase

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Sadly, the rumors going around online are true. DMC is indeed raising the MSRP of their 6 strand embroidery floss, from 77 cents to 87 cents per skein. The change took effect on April 6, 2017. I have waited until today to raise the price on my website, from 44 to 47 cents. I hated to do it, but since my price went up I had to pass along the increase to my customers. But stay tuned; I plan to offer special discount coupon codes to readers of my blog in the near future. And, my price is still lower than many online retailers, who went up to 52 cents per skein. You can view the full selection of threads that we carry at http://www.crossstitchers.com/floss.htm

DMC-Logo-0001

XXX
Carrie


Cross Stitch – a Dying Art?

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I am so bummed about all of the cross stitching magazines that have ceased publication recently. First, Cross Country Stitching published their last magazine in December 2013. Then Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly went out of business with the release of their Fall 2015 issue. Their sister magazine, Just Cross Stitch, has since published some articles and samplers in their issues, but it is just not the same. Cross Stitch and Needlework magazine, which has seen many name changes and publication changes over the years, first went to a quarterly format and then decided to cease altogether at the end of 2016. In exchange for the remainder of my subscription, I was given a gift certificate to Herrschners, which I am not sure what I will use on. (When you own a needlework store, you sort of have access to everything that every other store sells!) Most recently, the British magazine Cross Stitch Collection went out of business after the February 2017 issue. This came about a year or so after being bought out by another publishing company, and I just don’t think the new publishers cared much about the fate of it. It was a wonderful magazine, full of great patterns and articles, and it will be sadly missed. Since it is a British magazine, and therefore quite expensive to get in the States, I subscribed to it through Zinio (a digital magazine platform). I will treasure my back issue collection, and luckily I was given the remainder of my issues for that magazine in a different title (Cross Stitch Gold, which I was also subscribing to on Zinio). Back in 2011, Stoney Creek Collection changed to a quarterly format but they are still going strong. I believe Just Cross Stitch is the only other American magazine still in publication. I am hoping that our beloved hobby is not dying out. At least I have a stash of patterns to last me several lifetimes!

XXX
Carrie


Gods of Egypt

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I am so excited! After months (years?) of searching for the missing portion of the Gods of Egypt chart from New Stitches magazine, I found the digital copy online! You can purchase this chart (and many others) from stitchdirect.com. The chart will be in pdf format and you will be given a link to download it about a day after you purchase it.

godsofegypt

This will be a large endeavor, but it actually looks pretty easy to stitch. Mary Hickmott’s New Stitches magazine was known for their full cross stitch only charts, with no half or quarter stitches and a lot of the time there is minimal backstitching. But this does utilize metallic threads, which will be a challenge. I can’t wait to dive in! Now I need to decide, after I finish the Pyramids, do I start this or the mermaid? Or the butterflies? I also need to finish the deer in the woods, A Summer Ball, and put my little hedgehog pincushion together. Oh, why can’t there be more hours in the day?!

XXX
Carrie


Ariel!

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mermaid

Okay, she isn’t exactly Ariel, but she is a mermaid with red hair. And she’s gorgeous! I just received the latest issue of Cross Stitch Gold magazine in the mail (well, the latest for the US, anyway) and it said that this beauty would be in the next issue. Of course, this happens to be one of the issues I won’t be getting because of their horrible subscription deal for US stitchers. The magazine is published 9 times a year, but only in Britain. US subscribers get 6 issues per year. This means that you get two issues in a row, then miss one issue, then get two more issue, miss one, and so on. Of course, being the addicted stitcher that I am (especially when it comes to my British mags) I have to have those missing issues. How do I solve this? By getting a digital subscription through Zinio, when they have their 5 issues for $5 deal going on. Since you can stack subscriptions, I re-subscribe any time they do this offer (2-3 times per year) to ensure that I never lose an issue. Yes, I do get issues digitally that I also get in the mail. I prefer to read the hard copies, BUT if I want to stitch a pattern it sure is nice to have the digital copy to print out the chart instead of having to scan it in. I simply cannot stitch something without destroying the heck out of the copy with either highlighters or colored pencils. So this way I don’t ruin my mags. Anywho, the DAY AFTER receiving a copy of Gold in the mail, the next issue came out on Zinio. And there she was, just wanting to be stitched! I have the pattern printed out and ready to go and have selected the fabric and beads. But I will not be starting this until the Pyramids are finished. I know I should work on A Summer Ball and the deer in the woods, but I have a feeling I won’t be able to stay away from this mermaid for long!

XXX
Carrie


Hello again

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I cannot believe that it has been exactly six months since I last posted on this blog. So much has happened in that space of time… listing a vacation home, getting an offer two days later, driving 1200 miles to pack up all of our belongings and move them back home, volunteering countless hours in the school library, chauffeuring the kids to religious education classes twice a week, enduring physical therapy, surviving the Christmas season, and helping my daughter make videos for her YouTube channel. Last weekend my 7 year old participated in Jump Rope For Heart through the American Heart Association. This weekend she starts basketball (how is it that she is even big enough for that?). Needless to say, I have done no cross stitching in the last 6 months. None. As in, not one stitch. Time is always an issue in this household, but for the last year my neck pain has been so severe that looking down to do any kind of needlework would have been impossible. Reading is not so bad; I can hold a book out in front of me and not injure myself. So I have been spending every spare moment with the Chronicles of Narnia, Jules Verne, Lady Hardcastle, and Artemis Fowl. Reading is my second love (or is it tied for first?) so I have not been too disappointed that I haven’t been able to pick up a needle. But I have decided that I definitely need to spend more time on this blog, so I’m hoping this is the first of many posts to come for 2017.

XXX
Carrie


What a Find!

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bear

Yesterday while out for a walk we spotted a garage sale where everything was free. There wasn’t much left, as it had probably been quite picked over before we got there. But imagine my surprise when I found a box full of cross stitch goodies! There were a couple dozen leaflets from back in the 1980s, some folded up pieces of Aida, and even a finished, framed piece. I could tell by looking at it that it was a Stoney Creek design. Of course, I grabbed anything cross stitch related and went home to check out my new treasures. The framed piece was taped to a piece of cardboard and then put in a cheap frame with a broken piece of glass. I removed the stitched piece and will wash it, and then I will reframe it and hang it in my shop. I did a quick search on Google for “Stoney Creek cross stitch teddy wheelbarrow” and found the book it came from – Teddy Treasures, Book 158.

Another finished piece came from the booklet Something Special in Plaids and Monograms by T&N Designs Inc, Book 4. Copyright 1982! Ironically, it is a finished pillow cover with the name James, which is my husband’s name! But the date, 1991, means nothing to me. I have no idea what I will do with this. I am not sure if it was meant to commemorate the birth of a child, or to represent a last name.

james

There was a barely started piece from the book Country Barnyard which I think I will just cut up and save the smaller unstitched parts for other projects. It is not my style, so I won’t bother finishing it. But the Aida is in good shape and should be fine after a quick washing.

There was another barely started piece, a sampler, which I actually would finish and frame, but the chart was just a photocopy and I actually don’t think it is all there. The top of the piece is the end of the alphabet, and no top border design. I have no idea what the piece is called, and could not find it when searching Google. I think I will post a picture of it on Facebook and see if anyone knows what it is.

sampler

The last piece has a good amount done on it and I can tell it was stitched on Smoketone Aida. It is a sampler with an alphabet, some waves, and lightning. At first I could not find anything like it in Google, and then I decided to search for a Noah’s Ark sampler. It turns out that not only do the waves and lightning represent Noah’s Ark, but that the pattern was with the leaflets I got! It is the cover piece from Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazine, Jan/Feb 1987. The magazine is in such bad shape, I didn’t even realize the pattern was there all along until I saw the images on Google. At first I thought I might finish this one, but now that I know what it is, I doubt that I will. It is a huge project and I just don’t have time to work on something like this. It is also done on fabric much darker than the magazine sample, and the pastel colors kind of get lost. I think I will probably cut the excess fabric off of this one, too.

noah

I don’t know the woman who owned these charts or stitched pieces, or why someone was giving them away for free at a yard sale. I do know that they had belonged to a woman named Julie Ziegler. I found a birthday card with her name on the envelope, and inside it was signed Jeremy, Jessica, and Travis (her children, I presume). The card came with “birthday coupons” for things like breakfast in bed and a day of housecleaning. None of them had ever been used. There was also a photocopied recipe with her name at the top. Perhaps she died, or just couldn’t see well enough to stitch anymore. Maybe her children had no idea what the items were. But I feel good knowing that at least one of her pieces will be “rescued” and put back up on the wall.

Also included in this set of goodies was a couple of small kits and a Dimensions stocking kit. It has been opened, but all of the materials are there and are in good shape. I don’t care for the design, and I don’t need to stitch another stocking anyway, but this will be a nice piece of fabric to add to my stash.

 

XXX
Carrie


Goodies in the Mail!

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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


Where has the time gone?

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Wow, I can’t believe how long it has been since I last posted. So much has gone on here, although not much of it was stitching-related. It started just before Halloween when my daughter Adrienne got strep throat. After that, there was so much sickness in this house. Our son Aaron got it the end of November, and then my husband Jim, and then me. Aaron was not responding to the antibiotics, so they switched his to something more powerful. Jim took his round but then had to take another round after that. And Aaron ended up getting strep again about 2 weeks after finishing his meds. During the Christmas holidays we lost power due to strong winds. We were without power for 4 days, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I actually did get some stitching in during that time, because there wasn’t much else to do. But I could only stitch when there was enough light in the front window, which wasn’t for more than a couple of hours per day. I finished my hedgehogs, but have not had a chance to sew them together yet. I then started working on the deer in the woods again, not because I love that project so much but because it would have been too difficult to find supplies for a new project in the dark! On January 3 we were without power once again, but this time it went out at midnight and was back on by the time we came home from church. The kids went back to school today, which means I can finally get caught up on some work. I suppose the Christmas tree should come down, but I don’t feel too motivated to do that yet.

Looking back on last year, I suppose I got a good amount of stitching done, considering my hectic lifestyle. I am hoping that 2016 brings even more free time so I can do what I love to do the most. Happy New Year!

XXX
Carrie


Something a little different

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It seems like my stitching time has been nonexistent lately. But today my daughter wanted to do some beading (basically, stringing beads onto cord to make necklaces) and I figured that would be a great time to do some beadwork of my own. I had picked out some beautiful glass beads months ago in the hopes of making a scissors fob but never actually got around to constructing it.

fob1

It only took a few minutes and voila! I think this turned out pretty well. It helped that I have done quite a bit of jewelry making and had the necessary equipment, like pliers and crimp beads. The lobster claw clasps that I had were not quite big enough to fit my usual pair of scissors, so I had to attach this to my pair of Hardanger “Lil Snips”. But that worked out pretty well because these scissors are so small, they are easy to lose. The beads are glass, so hopefully they won’t get chipped. I would like to get some bigger clasps (or even pretty ribbons) and make more fobs for my other scissors. The hardest part is deciding what beads to use and what order to arrange them in!

fob2

XXX
Carrie


So Little Time…

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Wow, so much has been going on lately, I feel like a chicken running around with its head cut off! My two favorite men (my hubby and father) have been replacing the roof on my store. On Tuesday they worked from 7:45 a.m. until 9:45 p.m. Hubby came home for a can of ravioli for lunch and then skipped dinner. Wednesday and Thursday they quit at dinner time, I think from sheer exhaustion. This roof was probably close to 100 years old, and had layer upon layer that had to be ripped off. I am hoping they get done today because tomorrow is probably going to be the last day without rain. Actually, while they were working it started to snow. Yes, I said SNOW.

I have been going to the orthodontist since November to try to address my major TMJ issues. In January I got a bite splint which makes me look really weird, and for the first few weeks I couldn’t talk very well. But I was amazed at the results. My headaches disappeared, as did my sinus pain. My earaches went away and I actually got the hearing back in my left hear. I could walk up and down the stairs or around the grocery store without my knees killing me. I could sleep at night. And I was finally able to eat again. I had lost about 9 pounds, which is not a good thing on an already skinny person. Now that I have had the device in 24/7 for 4 months, we decided to continue with braces. I go next Wednesday to get them on my lower teeth only, so that I can still wear the bite splint on my top teeth. So running to the orthodontist for bite splint adjustments, x rays, impressions, and consultations has really eaten up a lot of my time.

It’s just about the end of the school year, which brings about lots of excitement and stress at the same time. The kids are excited that they only have 10 full days and 2 half days left, but I am stressing about their fighting which will start up about 5 minutes after they are forced to be together on the first day of vacation. I am not sure how I will handle that all summer long. Next year they will be in separate schools, which will probably make our routine even harder than it is this year.

We have also been making plans for the summer, which include going to DISNEY WORLD! This will be my son’s 5th trip and my daughter’s 4th. It will also be our longest trip by far. Normally we do 3 or 4 days, and the last time we went we did 5 days because Disney gave us the 5th day for free when booking a 4 day trip. This time around we will be in the park for 7 days! My daughter’s birthday is the middle of August and our trip will be right after that, and we will get home just a few days before school starts up again.

I have been stitching a little bit each night, but not taking progress photos. My current project is one I kitted up last summer, so it is technically from my stash.It is worked entirely in silk, which I had not used before. But I am finding that the Kreinik Silk Mori is a dream to work with. It doesn’t knot as bad as DMC, and it glides through the fabric (I am stitching on linen). The pattern is from an old issue of Just Cross Stitch, which I found at a thrift store. After deciding to stitch it, I found that issue on my Just Cross Stitch DVD which has 10 years of issues (see my previous blog post). I was able to print the pattern out so that I could cross off my stitches as I go and not ruin my physical copy of the magazine. I LOVE these DVDs!

house1Here is my slow progress from the past couple of weeks. Maybe since it is a holiday weekend (and my birthday!) I will get some well deserved stitching time in the next few days.

house2

XXX
Carrie


Follow me on Instagram!

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I have decided to finally set up an Instagram account, but it will be cross stitch related only. I wasn’t thrilled about setting up an account because the pictures are completely public, but I figure if it is just stitching related there can’t be much harm done (have you seen some of the stuff people put on there?!). I will be posting pictures of my completed projects, along with stitching products I can’t live without, and maybe even stitch diagrams or examples. The next thought, which has been in my mind for several years, is to start video tutorials on YouTube. But I don’t have a great camera, and I am very intimidated by the editing people do to their videos. I’m a cross stitcher, not a movie maker. Yet I have often searched for things there that I know how to do – like french knots – and been unable to find any really GOOD videos. So I feel it could be a great service to people to help them learn something that I am good at. That might be something to think about setting up this summer.

You can follow me on Instagram here: https://instagram.com/crossstitchers/

XXX
Carrie


Thread Heaven

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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



ORT Jars

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ortjarRecently I mentioned my ORT jar in a post, and a reader asked what that was. I thought I would write a blog post all about the wonderfulness of ORT jars.

Here is a picture of my current ORT jar. As you can see, it is nothing more than a jelly jar filled with snippets of embroidery threads. I keep this jar in my “stitching spot”, which is on the end table next to the couch. Any time I finish a kit, the threads go into this jar. If I am stitching a chart that did not come with threads, and therefore am using threads from my stash, then I wind up the leftover threads back onto the bobbins. But if a piece is deemed too short to use again, it goes into the jar.

The word “ort” is an archaic term that means scraps. But stitchers have turned this word into an all-caps abbreviation which can mean different things. I personally use “old random threads”. Others call it “odd ratty threads”. So what do you do with these threads when you have your jar filled up? Well, some people toss them to the birds to help them make nests but others think that is dangerous because the birds can choke on them. I think the chemicals and dyes used can’t be good for the birds, either. Some people start a new jar each year and then at the end of the year they put the snippets into a clear glass Christmas ornament and use a marker to write the date on it. I have to confess, this is my first ORT jar. I used to just toss the tiny little “tails” in the trash, and save any longer pieces. I have threads from every kit I have ever stitched, sitting in a box. Doing nothing. I finally decided that enough was enough; I was never going to actually use them again. And most kit threads, I find, are not very good quality anyway. So for now, they just sit in this jar.

A word of caution: don’t leave your glass jar near any windows. There was a story in the news recently about a girl who burned her house down because she had a Nutella jar on her bedroom windowsill, full of loops for a weaving loom. The glare from the sun on the glass jar started the fire. This was in Europe, where Nutella comes in glass jars and not plastic like in the US, but it can happen anywhere. Keep your jars away from the sun. Better safe than sorry!

XXX
Carrie