DMC Floss Increase

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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


A New Year

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I am so excited about the new year and what it will hold in terms of stitching. This year, 2014, was my year to try new things. I think I accomplished this pretty well, although I do admit that I did not find time to do all of the things I wanted. But I tried my hand at Hardanger, Biscornu, and stocking finishing. (Yes, I had completed other stockings in the past, but they were not finished in the same way or as nicely as the one I made for Adrienne.) I made a Mason jar and a decorative pillow. I stitched my first Reproduction Antique Sampler. And I learned how to grid large projects. I didn’t get to try out Assisi embroidery, because I couldn’t find a pattern I liked. But I think that was about the only thing I wanted to accomplish this year and didn’t.

So what’s in store for 2015? LOTS! First of all, I have joined two groups on Facebook designed to help stitchers use up their stash and say no to new things. This will hurt me as a shop owner – I have to hope that not all stitchers adopt this plan! But for myself personally, I do have way too much in the way of stitching stash, and some of it needs to go. There are about 500 of us so far who are pledging not to buy ANY new stitching items in 2015. But each person does get to list exceptions. My exceptions are pretty simple – floss if I run out of a color part way through a project, and my current magazine subscriptions. I don’t want to cancel those because so many of them offer charts that are presented over several issues. So my first goal is to use up my stash and not add anything new to it. My second goal is to finish something new every month. I don’t care what it is, or what size it is. I don’t care who it’s for or whether it is new or an old UFO. I just want to complete one project every month. I have so many kits that came free with The World of Cross Stitching Magazine, I think some of those need to be tackled. Since A Summer Ball is already gridded and kitted up, I plan to start on that and get as much done as possible. That’s my third goal. But I am not going to worry if it is not completed in 2015. Depleting my stash is more important, and my time is so limited right now. And my fourth and final goal is to maintain my blog consistently. There have been times through the year when I have gone weeks without posting, and even weeks without stitching. I don’t want that to happen in 2015.

So, to recap, my goals for 2015 are these:

1) Use up current stash; no new buying for one year
2) Finish one project per month
3) Have one large project on the go (A Summer Ball)
4) Blog at least once a week

Happy New Year!

XXX
Carrie



Lost Floss

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I ran out of floss. I knew it would happen. So many stitchers have complained about how Dimensions kits don’t come with enough floss, and I have been very careful with what I had. But then the unexpected happened. It was night time, and I stopped stitching for the day. I put the dark blue floss I had been using on top of my chart, and put that on top of my stitching bag. The next day, it was gone. Apparently someone walked by and either took it (not likely) or it got stuck to their clothing. I searched high and low for two days, to no avail. I had a tiny bit of the same color set aside for the borders, so I now have to use that to finish the sky to ensure that everything matches. I looked through every color of DMC trying to find a match, but to my dismay there is nothing even remotely similar. I have not gone through my stash of Anchor yet, so maybe I will find something close. I am hopeful that there will be enough to finish the sky and then I will just have to take the closest match I can find and use that for the multi-colored border. Hopefully it will not be too noticeable. Dimensions is supposed to send you more floss if you run out, but I don’t want to wait for that, and I have heard so many stitchers say that their requests never get fulfilled anyway. I have certainly learned my lesson… always take the time to put your stitching away properly!

XXX
Carrie


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4019_1It’s here! Annie’s has released another DVD containing every issue of Sampler & Antique Needlework Quartlery. This time it is 1991-2000. They already had a 2001-2010 DVD, so now stitchers can have every page of every issue for a full 20 years of this wonderful magazine. Due to a mistake on my part, we only have one copy of this in stock at the moment, but more are on the way soon. You can view the full details and purchase the DVD here.

Here are just a few of the samplers featured in this edition:

4019_5  4019_4  4019_3  4019_6

The great thing about this DVD is that the price is less than that of the previous one; it is only $44.95 instead of $59.95. That’s $15 in savings!

XXX
Carrie


2 months until Christmas!

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October has been a very hectic month. My son celebrated his tenth birthday, had his yearly doctor visit, and has had trips to the orthodontist. The braces come off October 28! So only one more visit to go until for now. After all of his baby molars fall out and the adult ones come in, we get to start “phase two”. Jim and I have also been busy making Halloween costumes for the kids (but he won’t let me say what they are until after Halloween; he is paranoid about someone stealing his great ideas!) So the stitching has been a bit slower than usual. I did get a good deal of the sky done, as well as Joseph and part of a shepherd in the Nativity scene. But it hit me today that Christmas is just over two months away. When you figure in the time needed to actually assemble the stocking, I figure I need to have the cross stitch done exactly two months from today to have it ready in time for Christmas morning. I still think I can do it, but it will be pushing it. I can’t wait to get this done so that I can get on with a new project. Summer Ball will be the one I start immediately, but I also have my eye on this one from John Clayton’s Elegance series:

charles

It reminds me so much of Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice, I just have to stitch this one as well. I already have the chart, but have not kitted it up yet. The only problem is, I cannot find a suitable lady to accompany this chart. John Clayton has such a large range of designs, but none of his ladies are in the Regency period, at least not that I can tell. Perhaps after stitching this one I will have to just chart my own?

I would love to get Summer Ball done in one year, but I am not going to push myself so hard that I start to dislike stitching it. I also want to get the deer in the woods finished for Jim (I really started to hate working on that one, so it has been put away for quite some time) and Peacock Tapestry has also been set aside for longer than I would have liked. As they say, so many stitches, so little time!

XXX
Carrie



Summer Ball Corrections

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summerballframedOn gathering my materials for A Summer Ball by Sandy Littlejohns and Debra Lester, I noticed a few typos.

On the Pattern Information page, Anchor 177/DMC 3087 Dk Cornflower Blue should actually be listed as Anchor 177/DMC 792.
Anchor 236/DMC 3779 V Dk Pewter Gray should actually be listed as Anchor 236/DMC 3799.
The numbers are listed correctly on the Color Key. If I find any other mistakes while I am stitching, I will of course list them here.

The chart can be purchased here.

XXX
Carrie


Framing Time

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This weekend our local Boy Scouts had their annual Labor Day yard sale. We were at the gates, waiting for it to open at 8:00 a.m.! As soon as they let us in I made a beeline for the picture frames, as I am still on the lookout for more square frames. I made out with over a dozen great frames, and then hit Hobby Lobby for some foam board. The kids start school on Wednesday, so after a few days of playing catch-up on work, I might have time this weekend to finally get some of my 37 finished projects framed. Yes, you read that right. Thirty-seven unframed, yet completed pieces. Most of the frames I bought second hand will need to be cleaned and then painted, and I am still working on gridding the Summer Ball fabric. And of course, Adrienne’s Christmas stocking is always begging to be worked on. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get all my stitchy stuff done!

XXX
Carrie


Gridding

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Having just received my spool of Easy Count Guideline which I mentioned in a previous post, I am ready to start gridding the fabric for my Summer Ball project. First, I sewed around the edges of my fabric to stop it from fraying. Then I folded the fabric in half both ways to find the center. I used a scrap of floss to mark the center square in black, as shown here. (You’ll get a larger view if you click on the photos)

gridding1

I then used the guideline to stitch over 6 squares, under 4, over 6, under 4, etc. I cut a piece of guideline longer than the length of the fabric, and started in the middle. I used the chart to help me place the first stitch. Because of the way this chart is, the black center square is not exactly in the center. The center lines intersect where there isn’t actually a stitch. This happens when you have a chart that is, say, 100 stitches long. 50 stitches would lie on one side of the center line, and 50 on the other. The exact center would be the line, not a stitch. If your chart was 101 stitches, then you would have 50 stitches on either side plus the one extra stitch would be the middle stitch. So I just chose one stitch out of the 4 that surround the center intersecting lines, and used that for my center. I found this square on my chart and colored it in with a yellow colored pencil.

gridding2

I counted how many stitches I need to go up from the center, and stitched the guideline in until I reached that spot. Then I stopped. I left the excess just hanging there. I then went back to the center and did the same thing from the center toward the bottom. I had begun stitching in the center with the middle of the thread, for this purpose. The photo above shows the finished center line, going vertically.

A close-up of the stitching process, over 6 and under 4:

gridding3

The reason you go over 6 and under 4 is because you want your grid blocks to be 10×10, to match your chart. 6+4=10. When you start gridding the fabric in the other direction, the lines will intersect exactly in the middle of the long top lines. You will have a perfect cross shape – your top line of 6 stitches will now be split in half, making 3 stitches on all 4 sides.

After stitching the center vertical line, do the center horizontal line. In the photo below, you can see that I have now stitched both the vertical and horizontal center lines. I have also stitched 3 additional vertical lines. Cut your thread so that you get enough for about 3 runs of the fabric, and that way you don’t have to start a new thread for each line. (If your project is small, do even more than 3 runs.) Simply let the thread loop at the top and bottom and count over 10 stitches to begin the next row. If you have counted correctly, you will get a perfect cross when you reach the center, as you can see here. You no longer need to count over 6 and under 4 after you have done a few rows. Your eyes can see where to enter the needle into the fabric. When you do all of the vertical rows on one side of the center, start over again from the center and work in the other direction. When this is complete, do your horizontal rows. The horizontal rows will require even less counting, because you are simply weaving your thread in to complete the crosses.

gridding4

After you have done all of the rows, it should look something like this:

gridding5

Don’t worry about all of those “tails” at the ends. We will knot them later so they don’t come undone. Or, just leave them – they will be safe when the fabric is rolled up onto the scroll frame.

Here is what the fabric looks like after all of the rows have been stitched going in one direction, and two rows have been done in the other. (My fabric was actually turned sideways when I took this, as I did all of the vertical rows first, then started on the horizontal. Oops!)

gridding6

This is a time consuming process. I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes me several hours to grid this project. But I think it will save much more time than that in the end. Now, for a break!

9/5/14 UPDATE: I have finally finished this, after putting if off for several days. Here is what the back looks like:

gridding7

Here is the picture of the completed piece, with a close-up of some of the 10×10 areas.

gridding8

gridding9

XXX
Carrie


A Nice Find

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frames2Today our church was having a yard sale and I found what I have been looking for for months: square picture frames. There was a set of 4 wooden frames, painted brown, all with some pretty old needlework pieces inside. The yarn in hues of oranges, yellows, and greens make me think they were circa 1960. The needlepoint was actually coming undone from the frames, because they had been attached with masking tape, which had long since lost its stick.

The ugly stitched pieces
The ugly stitched pieces

I will be throwing away the stitched pieces (sorry, whomever stitched these!) and repainting the frames. I got out my box of finished pieces and found 6 items that all needed a square frame of this exact same size. So I picked out 4 of them and can’t wait to get painting and framing! 3 of the pieces are Halloween themed, and the other is a pink heart. I think I might paint the Halloween frames all the same, even though the patterns are all from different designers and the fabrics are different colors. I better get going on that, since September is just around the corner!

XXX
Carrie



Annie’s DVD Collection

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I have been anticipating this moment for months. I have finally received copies of the DVDs put out by Annie’s, featuring back issues of Just Cross Stitch and Sampler & Antique Needlework magazines. There are 4 DVD collections in all: Just Cross Stitch Collection 1991-2000; Just Cross Stitch Collection 2001-2010; Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments Collection 1997-2013; and Sampler & Antique Needlework Quartlery Collection 2001-2010. The price of the SAN collection is $59.95, while the two JCS collections are each $49.95. The ornaments collection is only $29.95. I now have all of these DVDs available in my store at www.crossstitchers.com

dvd5

dvd4The DVDs all feature every page from every issue of the magazines. So you will get the cover, letter from the editor, all charts including their color photography, and yes, the advertisements. Of course, many of the ads will no longer be valid. Discount codes for websites will long be expired, and many of the companies listed will be out of business by now. Most likely, you won’t be able to purchase any of the materials packs from the back of the issues. But it’s fun to watch the ads evolve. In the early 90s issues no listings had website addresses. In the late 90s they started appearing more frequently but they were not your typical .com addresses of today. Remember things like http://www.geocities.com/something/somethingelse/yetanothersomething.html? And of course the latest ads nearly all feature the .com addresses we are used to.

In order to view the files on the DVDs you need to have Adobe Reader on your computer. This is available for free download if you don’t have it, but most computers will already have it installed. The files are all .pdf format. The charts are mostly in black and white, which is great for those who only have a black and white printer. In the later years, a few charts here and there do have backstitch lines in colors such as blue and red. But I noticed that not all charts have this. And I did not notice any charts on the 1991-2000 disc having color lines. Printing charts is easy. Just click the print button and choose which page(s) you want to print. Careful, if you don’t specify a page to print it will start printing the entire magazine, which is around 70 pages.

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If you have an older, slower computer you might find that the DVDs take a while to start running and then to turn each page. But any of the newer systems will not have any problem at all reading the issues. With Adobe Reader you can view each page as large as you need to, making it possible to read the articles right on your computer without printing them out. Remember, you have to have the DVD in the drive in order to read the issues. Take it out and you can longer access the content. Unless you copy the issues to your computer, that is. And doing so may speed up the process of reading compared to trying to read off of the DVD. Because I live in a household where electronics often get ruined (the kids have so far managed to kill two laptops and a backup drive) I will make a backup of the DVDs “just in case” on my cloud storage. I know that no matter how hard I try to protect these discs, they WILL eventually get stepped on, scratched up, or just plain lost. So no matter what my little terrors do to my computer, the data on these discs will be safe.

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I have included a few snapshots from the magazines. Of course, for copyright reasons, I cannot include actual charts or articles. But you can see that the covers as well as the individual project photos are in full color. The table of contents for most issues give you an idea of what’s inside that issue. And the charts are in black and white with symbols, which are easy to print. The earlier magazines are all scanned in. You can tell because often times you can see writing “through” the pages. In other words, when looking at a photograph you might be able to faintly see some type coming through from the other side of the page. It appears that the later issues are digital copies. The pages are probably the same as what the layout editors created on the computer initially. Sometimes when loading a page, you first see the background, then the “layers” all start to fall into place. This is different from just taking a back issue of the magazine and scanning it in, which would make each image “flat”. So the later the issues get, the better the quality should be. But even the issues from 1991 are plenty good enough to read and print.

Even if you have the print issues already, these DVD collections make a great addition to your stitching library. They make printing out charts a snap, if you’re the type of stitcher who likes to photocopy the charts prior to stitching so that the magazine stays in pristine condition. I am that type of stitcher! The other day while flipping through some back issues of Just Cross Stitch, I found a chart I wanted to stitch. Instead of scanning in the chart and then printing it, I simply put in my DVD and found that issue. I printed out the chart and key and I was ready to go.

I am delighted with these DVDs and can’t wait for more to come out. It would be wonderful to get older issues of both Just Cross Stitch and Sampler & Antique Needlework. Of course, these DVDs were probably a time consuming project and I would assume the publishers want to see how well these sell before going back even further.

You can purchase all 4 DVDs here: http://www.crossstitchers.com/shop/textsearch.php?term=dvd

XXX
Carrie

***Please note that this review was my own opinion. Annie’s did not ask me to review these DVDs or send me free copies. I purchased the DVDs directly from Annie’s with my wholesale account in order to sell them in my cross stitch store. My review is based upon my own personal purchase of these products***


A New Product to Try

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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


New on my “Must Stitch” List

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The other day while looking at another stitcher’s blog, I found a project that I instantly knew I had to stitch. It is called Summer Ball and was designed by Sandy Littlejohns and Deborah Lester. This chart was originally a 3-part series in Cross Stitch Collection (British) magazine. Although I have many old copies of that magazine, I did not have those particular issues. A quick search online took me to stitcherydoodahs.co.uk, which is Sandy and Deborah’s website. Luckily, they had the chart for sale as an instant download, so I purchased it. If you are a fan of Pride and Prejudice, you will know why I just have to stitch this!

summerball

I can just imagine the dancers in the center as being Elizabeth and Darcy. Since I am still on vacation, I can’t get started on this yet. And I think I will force myself to finish the Heavenly Herald Angel Stocking first. But I think this will be a fun (and huge) project to work on this winter. I think I will do two things I have never done before – gridding and parking. I have done a tiny bit of parking on the angel stocking, but only in the border which had many colors all intertwined. I want to grid the entire piece of fabric and then work one page at a time, doing one block of 10×10 stitches at a time. I think it will be like learning a foreign language since I have cross stitched every project the same way that I learned when I started 30+ years ago. But I am always up for a challenge!

XXX
Carrie


Lost my itch

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For the last couple of weeks I seem to have lost the cross stitch bug. I haven’t picked up a needle since I finished the teachers’ gifts. I know this will pass, and I have been doing other things instead, like reading and beading. Hopefully the entire summer won’t pass without stitching something – I really need to get that 1800s sampler done, and then start up again on Adrienne’s stocking. It MUST be done for Christmas! But stitching when you’re forced to isn’t any fun, so I think I will just let it go for now and hope the “itch to stitch” comes back on its own.

XXX
Carrie


New from Kreinik

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Kreinik has announced six new metallic thread colors. From left to right: 9132 Lemon Grass, 9732 Blue Grass, 5805 Golden Pimento, 5815 Golden Chardonnay, 5835 Golden Olive, 5845 Golden Cabernet. These are available in Very Fine #4, Fine #8 and Tapestry #12 Braids, and I believe two of the colors are also available as blending filament. We will be getting these into the shop soon.

XXX
Carrie


Jane Austen Inspired Samplers

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Lately I have been spending my evenings watching episodes of Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice on Netflix. Today I was curious whether there were any cross stitch samplers devoted to these two books, and I found a website for The Stitching Parlor Inc, which designs antique-looking samplers. There are quite a few that are based on Jane Austen novels: Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion. I know I wouldn’t have time to complete even one of these immense samplers right now, but as one of my suppliers distributes charts from The Stitching Parlor, I think they may be next on my list to order for the shop.

The Daughters of Longbourn

The Daughters of Longbourn

Mr. and Mrs. Darcy of Pemberly

Mr. and Mrs. Darcy of Pemberly

A Ball at Netherfield

A Ball at Netherfield

Mr. Collins Abode

Mr. Collins Abode

Rosings

Rosings

So maybe you can’t dine at Rosings twice a week like Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins, but you can stitch it to hang on your wall. The Stitching Parlor doesn’t seem to have any Bronte-inspired samplers, but I will keep looking!

XXX
Carrie


1884 Flora Dellow Sampler

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sanqThis is the sampler that caught my eye in the current issue of Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly. It only contains two colors, cream and red, and is a pretty straightforward project. Something I have always wanted to do was to have a huge stash of stitched reproduction samplers, all with one of my ancestors’ names in place of the original. Each sampler would be stitched on linen, of course, and I would try to “age” it by tea dying and snipping holes in the fabric here and there. I have never had time to actually follow through with this plan, though. And I rarely find a sampler that really speaks to me. Most samplers have motifs of people, trees, birds, and crowns. I actually prefer samplers that contain only alphabets or sayings. This Flora Dellow sampler might be just the project to start on after my current project is finished. I could stitch this on a scroll frame, and at the same time be working on the petal pincushion pieces. I like having different sized projects on the go at the same time.

XXX
Carrie


A Pretty Pincushion

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jcsapril2014I’ve come across another design which I really want to stitch – this gorgeous petal pincushion from Simona Bussiglieri of Mani di Donna. It is featured on the cover of the April 2014 issue of Just Cross Stitch. The panels are stitched on 32 count Belfast linen and are then finished off with rickrack, ribbons, and buttons. There are two different panels, one for the outside and one for the inside of each petal. You stitch each panel four times, so you end up with 8 panel pieces. The inside of the pincushion is a separate, smaller chart.

The last thing I need right now is a new chart. I keep telling myself I HAVE to finish that woodland deer and my daughter’s Christmas stocking. Oh, and the Peacock Tapestry as well. And then there are those embroidered pillowcases I started so many years ago… But for the last two weeks I have kept coming back to this pretty pincushion design, itching to start on it. I guess it couldn’t hurt to gather the materials needed, just in case. It calls for only three colors of floss, but they are Weeks Dye Works and Simply Shaker Sampler Threads. I would be using the DMC alternatives, since I have an almost endless supply of those. The Belfast linen is actually dyed by Lakeside Linens, but as the normal Belfast straight from Zweigart is about $70 per yard, I think I will stick to the good old fashioned stuff. I probably have enough in my stash already (I hope!)

You should currently be able to find this issue on newsstands, as I received my subscription copy about 2 weeks ago.

XXX
Carrie


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dritzI am about 25% of the way done with the second side of the biscornu chart, and when I am done I will start on the over-one scissors fob. It dawned on me that I don’t have a nice pair of scissors to attach the fob to. The ones I use most often are a cheap plastic pair with blue handles that fold up. I believe they are by Dritz, because they look just like this photo. I think it will be time, once I get the fob stitched and made up, to treat myself to a nice pair of scissors. Maybe that can be my goal, something to look forward to in order to get through stitching a decent sized chart over one on 28 count!

XXX
Carrie




The newest DMC colors have arrived

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DMCNEWWe got our first shipment in of the new DMC colors. They are available here. The color numbers are 3880, 3881, 3882, 3883, 3884, 3885, 3886, 3887, 3888, 3889, 3890, 3891, 3892, 3893, 3894 and 3895. These new colors are available only in this assortment. DMC has not released them for open stock (yet). The pack retails for $11.99. Three free designs are included with the pack.

XXX
Carrie