Two finishes

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I finished up the stitching on the cardinals and decided to frame it and my recent Home Sweet Home design. The Home project was already framed in a hoop that came with the kit, but I wanted to dress it up a bit. So I added pink ric rac to the front edge, and a gingham ribbon hanger.

The cardinals were even more fun. I framed them in an old wooden hoop I had laying around (it was more rustic looking than new ones) and added red pom pom trim to the edge. Then I added a blue dotted grosgrain ribbon hanger and bow. It was so warm and sunny out (for September!) and I managed to get a nice picture of it outside. That’s one thing I am usually pretty lazy about; I tend to just grab my phone and take a picture of my finished pieces wherever they are laying (see above!)

I think these both turned out so cute!

That is it for new projects, at least for a while. I need to get back to the Alice stitch a long, and I just have to finish that deer in the woods once and for all. So no new starts! But all cross stitching will probably be put on the back burner for a while. Now that school is back in session, I have to make up a batch of new masks for my kids to wear. I have already made a few for my son and although I sew them on a machine, my hands are hurting from the process of cutting the fabric, turning the masks right side out, and feeding the material through the machine. Even reading a book the other day was painful, trying to hold onto it. My grandpa had a saying, “don’t get old, it doesn’t pay”. He was so right!

XXX
Carrie



A Circular Design That Isn’t Circular…?

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I was worried that the pattern looked like it extended too far out to the right, and I thought maybe I would not have a big enough piece of fabric (this was just a scrap piece left over) or that it would not fit entirely in the hoop. I am using a 7 inch hoop to stitch the design, and it is meant to be framed in a 7 inch hoop. I always use plastic hoops to stitch with and wooden hoops to frame. After I stitched the outside border and it all came together, I didn’t have to worry after all about it being too large. But there is another problem… the design is not circular, like the model in the magazine. It is more… oblong. I’m not sure if my hoop is just bent out of shape and it will be fine when I use a sturdy wooden frame. I have noticed plastic hoops not look terribly round when they are taken off of a project. Or it could be that my fabric is not made up of entirely square Aida blocks, and this is my biggest concern. The only way to know for sure will be to take a ruler and measure out an exact number of stitches both vertically and horizontally and see if they give the same exact length in inches. If they don’t, I have no idea how I am going to make this look good when it is finished, except to either rip out the white border all around, or to rip out the stitches at the sides and re-do them closer to the edges of the hoop, to make it “look” like it is round.

I was loving this project but now I am thinking it is more of a headache than it was worth.

XXX
Carrie


Winter Cardinals

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Cardinals always remind me of my grandfather – they were his favorite. When I saw this adorable design of a male and female cardinal in one of last year’s copies of The World of Cross Stitching I knew I wanted to stitch it. After finishing up the Home Sweet Home hoop design I thought it was time to get started on this.

The fabric is navy blue 14 count Aida and even with my daylight lamp it is proving difficult. Although it is only the beginning of September, it is quickly turning dark and dreary here.

I noticed that I made a mistake somewhere in the tree branch, so I decided to skip that area of the design for now and instead concentrate on the border design. I don’t think it will make a difference in the finished design or how everything fits together, but I think it will be easier to stitch the top part of the design first and then work my way back around to the branches.

XXX
Carrie




Home Sweet Home

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The most recent issue of World of Cross Stitching to land in my mailbox came with this adorable free cover kit that included its own plastic hoop! The hoop is used both during stitching and for displaying the finished piece. I don’t stitch too many of the cover kits from this magazine because I always have other things on the go, but this one really jumped out at me. I’m not surprised, since it was designed by Durene Jones. I just love her designs!

After the summer I have been having, I told my husband I needed to get away and relax, even if just for a short time. So we headed up to our cabin and I spent two days doing pretty much nothing. There is no electricity or running water, but there is plenty of peace and quiet and it’s possible to sit out in the sun – something I don’t dare try to do at home because the bugs are so bad. We do have solar panels at the cabin, and I have a daylight lamp that allows me to cross stitch inside. I got a bit of work done on this project, although my hands were paying dearly after about 30 minutes of stitching. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that when I see my doctor in October he will either let me go back on my arthritis medication, or he will have an alternative to try. My liver enzymes are trending down now, but at the moment it’s just too risky to go back on methotrexate. It has now been 6 weeks since I have taken it, and the past week or so my hand pain has been in full force, even when not doing anything.

I had opened this kit and sorted the threads before we left home, and it’s a good thing I did… there was no needle in the kit! If I had just taken the kit and magazine with me without looking at it first, I would not have known this and would not have been able to work on it. I then read something in another magazine that mentioned that they are doing away with the needles in these kits because so many stitchers have a large collection of them already, and by omitting the needle they can save money to make the gifts more substantial. They definitely did that with this kit, as they have never given out embroidery hoops that I can recall, at least not since I started subscribing in 2012.

So, lesson learned… from now on I will open any cover kit I get before I attempt to stitch it, to be sure I have everything I need!

XXX
Carrie


More Finishing

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I decided to go through my box of stitched pieces and pick out some to FINALLY finish off. These two were stitched a year or two ago but I never did anything with them. I love the hoop finishing because it is quick and easy and allows me to hang projects in areas where I wouldn’t be able to hang a large framed piece. For instance, I have several hanging by suction cups on the window above my desk. I can change these out with the seasons or just whenever I want. To create these two, I simply painted a wooden hoop with acrylic paint and then strung a ribbon through the tightener at the top.

This little hummingbird was featured in an issue of CrossStitcher (I think). He was super fast to stitch up and I just love the colors. He is tiny – the frame is only 4 inches!

This is my happy place – Epcot! In particular, Spaceship Earth. The pattern is from Awesome Pattern Studio. This used a 12 inch hoop.

XXX
Carrie


The Road to Recovery

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When I started my latest project, I had no idea that just a few days later it would turn into my “recuperation project”. On July 2 I had a bad backache, headache, and overwhelming fatigue. I later developed a slight fever. On the 4th I went to the ER, only to be given fluids and a Tylenol, a chest x ray (which was clean), bloodwork which wasn’t too horrible, and then sent home. On the 7th I saw my primary care doctor and he ordered more bloodwork, urinalysis, a flu test, and a Covid test. On Friday morning he called and told me to pack a bag; I was going to the hospital. My liver enzymes were 10x normal. I ended up staying in the hospital for 6 days. When I got home, all I wanted to do was sleep. I could barely walk to the bathroom. As soon as I felt somewhat able to function, I turned to my stitching. This beautiful, easy, calming project has been my saving grace for the last couple of weeks. Since being home I have had 4 doctor appointments, several rounds of bloodwork, and an outpatient liver biopsy. We still don’t know the results of that (it has been a week) but I am feeling on the mend now. In between doctor visits, I have stitched. I haven’t felt like doing much else, and for 2 weeks after the biopsy I had a no lifting restriction. Luckily I had chosen just the right project – large areas of solid colors so I didn’t have to “think” much, no backstitch, and no fractional stitches. It also helped tremendously that it was on Aida, so I didn’t have to strain my eyes. This project has really helped to keep my mind off of things, give me something to do that wasn’t strenuous, and was good for just plain relaxing. It is amazing how therapeutic cross stitching can be for both mind and body! While all of this has been going on, I have had to stop taking one of my rheumatoid arthritis medications, because it can cause damage to the liver. Stitching has kept my fingers from getting too stiff. I know that after the medication has been out of my system for some time my hand pain may get so bad that I can’t stitch. But for now, my heart and mind are so happy with this project!

This pattern can be purchased from StitchesLoversShop on Etsy.

XXX
Carrie


So Satisfying

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I love stitching on specialty and hand dyed fabrics. But sometimes there is just something so satisfying about stitching on Aida and watching those perfectly formed stitches take shape. They really lay nicely and are so fluffy and sit on top of the fabric, compared to on linen where they can be all different shapes and sizes and get “lost” in the fabric weave.

Yes, this is a new project! It is a picture of my home state and I can’t wait to see how it progresses.

XXX
Carrie


Deer In The Woods… Again!

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I started this deer project in 2012, thinking it would look great in my husband’s cabin. I worked on it for a while, put it away, worked on it some more, put it away, etc. Now it’s 2021 and this is one of my few UFOs. I can’t stand to see it sitting in a drawer any longer, so I have decided I am getting this back out and won’t stop until it is done! The only part I have left is the grass, which is three shades of brown and then some wispy backstitches. Every time I try to work on this I get stuck because the pattern is so confetti-heavy and hard to follow. But I am determined to get this done, soon. This photo is my starting point.

XXX
Carrie


Mystery Project Part 4

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It is finished! And yes, it is the pyramids at Giza! I loved working on this and it was so easy. Except… the colors don’t look anything at all like the colors on the finished photograph from the chart. The blues of the sky are not even close. It called for DMC colors, so I am not sure what happened, but I think it looks ok and no one will be comparing the two side by side anyway. The instructions were also non existent and there was no color number listed for the shade that I used behind the hieroglyphs. So I had to just decide on a color. I opted for a light gray and in the end I was a bit disappointed because, again, it didn’t look like the model photo. Oh well.

I really have no idea how I am going to frame this because it is such an odd size. It’s also very small. I stitched it on 11 count to make it as large as possible.

XXX
Carrie





New Mystery Project

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I’ve started a new project. While the Alice SAL is fun, my concentration hasn’t been the greatest lately and I am also feeling I don’t have much time that I feel up to stitching. But I wanted to be able to work on something. This new project will have very little backstitch, and large blocks of a solid color. I am finding it much easier to work on a project like this at the moment, although my stitching time is currently almost non-existent. I’m hoping to be able to get in about an hour a week. My neck, however, may have other plans. For now, this mystery project is quite blue… any guesses as to what it will be?

XXX
Carrie


Trying out Ali Express

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I have heard a lot about the website AliExpress but had never checked it out before. I decided to try ordering some trims to use to finish off my cross stitch projects as ornaments, mini pillows, etc. When I visited the site for the first time I was overwhelmed. You can get just about anything on there! Because I wasn’t 100% certain that it was legit, I decided to keep my purchase to around $20. This way if the items never came and I didn’t get my money back, or if the supplies themselves were very sub-par, I wouldn’t be out much.

My main interests were ribbons and pom pom trim, but I found some lace and ric rac that was cute so I decided to add those too. One thing I didn’t get that I sort of wish I had looked for, was different colored baker’s twine. It is really expensive to buy at hobby shops or in the cake decorating section.

For the pom pom trim, I went with multi packs that contained many colors. One pack was all the same size, just in different colors. The other was a grab bag of sizes and colors.

The lace was just a couple of things that stood out to me, mostly in white but also a star trim in black.

The ribbons were a mixture of colors but all the same pattern in a pack – I ordered polka dots, gingham, and chevron. I also ordered a “mystery pack”. I knew how many ribbons I would get, how wide they were, and how long, but I had no idea what would be in the package. That one turned out okay. A few were ginghams and polka dots similar to what I had already purchased, and one had the word Handmade all over it. Apparently you cut the ribbon into little pieces and use one piece to attach as a label to something you have made. One had the word NICE written all over it so it came out looking like ICENICENICENICENICENICENICEN. I doubt I will use that one, as it is just odd. Another one says Forever Love all over it and is kind of gimicky. But at least the words are separated. I probably will not buy a mystery bag in the future.

It only took 27 days to receive everything from China. I did order each item from the same shop. I am not sure what would have happened if I had ordered from multiple shops. I am guessing I would have received more than one package in the mail and they probably would not have come at the same time.

The total cost for everything shown in the photos was $21!

I can’t wait to finish off some of my projects using these trims. My favorites are the polka dot ribbons and pom pom trims. I wish I had ordered some ribbons in solid colors, along with the baker’s twine. But I am very happy with my purchase and will likely order again.

XXX
Carrie


Two Hoop Finishes

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It is a cold, snowy, miserable Saturday. Time to get going on finishing off two recent projects!

The Oregon Trail piece is going to be really simple – paint a hoop black and then display it in that. I want the neon green to jump out from the black and be the star of the show. For the hot chocolate drinking snowman, I want to frame it in a white hoop and add white pom pom trim to the edges to look like snowballs. None of this was actually my idea; it’s simply a copy of how the finished project appeared in the magazine (Just Cross Stitch December 2020). Although, they finished theirs off as a flat ornament, and did not use a hoop. They also used twisted cord or floss as the hanger and I plan to use a ribbon.

The first step was to use Posca pens to paint the hoops. They required about 3 coats each, but each coat only took a couple of minutes to be fully dry, unlike paint which would have taken a few hours total.

Then it was time to frame the pieces in the hoops. I cut off most of the excess fabric, then turned the fabric to the back and hot glued it in place inside the rim of the hoop. Then I cut a piece of felt the same size as the back of the hoop and glued it to the hoop, ensuring that everything was covered and the fabric that I had glued down didn’t peek through. I chose felt sheets the same shade as the cross stitch fabric so that when the hoops are hanging in a window the sunlight will not shine through. The pom pom trim was hot glued to the outside of the hoop and a hanger was attached using blue ribbon.

I absolutely love how these turned out! I don’t have a hanger added to the black piece yet, but I probably will go with something really basic that doesn’t take away from the overall design. I do like how the blue ribbon actually accents the snowman’s hat and scarf nicely.

XXX
Carrie


Square 2 is Complete!

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The White Rabbit was actually very fast and easy to stitch. I did leave off the beads and metallic backstitch (there will be a gold chain for his watch and buttons on his coat). Those will get added at the very end after all of the cross stitching is complete. I rather like this little cutie!

Here is the progress on Alice so far:

The missing backstitch on that one leaf to the left of the Rabbit is driving me nuts! I do think I will start on Square 3 because it is another small, quick character to stitch. But after that I am going to have to get back to all of the dreaded border work. If I have the patience, I may even make myself complete the border around and underneath the next set of 3 squares before I start on them.

XXX
Carrie


Square 1 is Complete!

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I’m so excited to have Alice complete. She is beautiful… but this backstitching is just awful. If I had known that none of it would be actually in the holes, I would have chosen to do this on evenweave fabric. But, I’ve come too far to start over. My fingers are really sore from pushing the needle through the middle of the Aida blocks, so I will have to find a sharper needle to use for the rest of the project.

XXX
Carrie


24 Hours of Cross Stitch

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Now that Oregon Trail is complete I am going to focus on the Alice SAL. I am so happy that I was able to finish off the cross stitch portion of the first square.

There is a Facebook group called 24 Hours of Cross Stitch, and a few times a year they put together a marathon stitching weekend for stitchers all over the world. This happened to be one of those weekends. Some people stitch for 24 hours nonstop, some people try to get in 24 hours total spread out over the course of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And then there’s people like me… who start Thursday evening, stitch as much as they can during the other 3 days, and still only get in a total of 7 or 8 hours. I can’t sit for very long at all, and I have constant neck pain. While I feel that the stitching motions are really good for keeping my hands from deteriorating, I can only do so much. I came up with a plan that seemed to work really well for me. I put a TV series on which consists of 22 minute long episodes. I stitch during an episode, then I have to get up to stretch, move around, get a drink, eat, use the bathroom, lie down, etc. I can get in a few of these 22 minute stretches in a day if I plan it out correctly. I know I will never be able to sit and do anything for 24 hours straight, but by doing 22 minutes at a time I am able to get in quite a bit of work. It also helps if the projects are easy and don’t require starting new threads every few stitches. The Oregon Trail was great for that, and didn’t require much counting. There won’t be another 24 hours of cross stitch for several months, and I am going to have to go back to stitching 0-2 hours per week. But it was fun to have a weekend (mostly) to myself and do something all for me for a change.

XXX
Carrie


You Have Died of Dysentery

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It’s complete! I had so much fun stitching this, although the neon floss was a pain to work with and made it take so much longer. I could have had this done in a weekend, easily, with normal DMC floss. But the neon green floss matches my T shirt perfectly! The regular floss would not have had the same WOW factor.  Now I just need to find a smaller wooden hoop and I think I will paint it black. I am also going to need to back the entire thing with black fabric or felt to ensure that light does not show through, as it is in this photo.

XXX
Carrie


Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

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I have had this Rudolph cover kit from an issue of The World of Cross Stitching for a couple of years at least. I don’t even recall which issue it came with. But recently I found it and decided to give it a go even though it would not be ready before Christmas. It just seemed like such a cute little project, and quick to stitch. I worked on it during two weekends, then finally finished the backstitch today and mounted it into the card blank that it came with. I think he is so adorable and I’ll hang on to him until a future Christmas when I will send him to someone special.

The finished cross stitch, without any backstitch:

XXX
Carrie