America the Beautiful

Posted on

Done at last!

I’m so happy to have this project completed. I probably won’t get around to framing it for a while, but I think it would look good in a distressed white frame. This has been a nice, calming project to work on. The specialty stitches were a bit tricky to count due to my eyesight not being what it once was. However, the colors are just so beautiful (and nowhere near as vibrant in the photos as they are in real life) and the patriotic feel of this project during the troubling times we are in was just so relaxing. We all need more relaxing right now, I think!

XXX
Carrie


Oops! This has not been my week!

Posted on

Oops. I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention when stitching the word “Shining”, as I accidentally stitched “Shing”. Luckily I noticed it before I moved on to the next word, and was able to rip it out and start again.

I normally don’t make mistakes. Not because I’m perfect, but because I am a slow stitcher and count, double count, and triple count everything. This goof was partly because I had just stitched the letters “in” and that part of the pattern was split from one page to the next. But I am going to blame the majority of the goof on the fact that I BROKE MY LAMP! The day before I had tried to adjust the goose-neck portion of my Might Bright LED Task Light Table Lamp. In doing so, the clip part that clips onto the weighted base broke. It is just made of plastic, so I don’t see any way that I can fix it. Even if I could try to glue the pieces back together with something strong like Gorilla Glue, I would have to hold the pieces in place by hand for… a long time. As soon as you let go, it wants to clamp together, and would make the glued part bend in half. My husband did manage to rig the lamp up so I could still use it. The bulb itself is not broken, and neither is the goose-neck. His ingenious method of rigging it back together was to put the broken part where it is supposed to go and balancing two canned goods on either side of the clamp. Uh, yeah, it really does look spiffy, doesn’t it? My daughter’s Sponge Bob blanket is being used to ensure that if the cans fall off, they don’t ding the end table. I have to be VERY careful while stitching to not bump into the whole setup, or else it falls over. (And yes, I know this because I did knock the entire contraption over once when cutting off a new piece of floss and my left hand got a bit too close.) What makes me the most upset is that I just bought this for myself at Christmas last year. I have not stitched much since then, and don’t even have 20 hours of use out of this lamp. There is no way to replace just the broken part, either.

I am hoping there are no more stitchy disasters until at least next week!

XXX
Carrie


What a find!

Posted on

I was so excited to find a DMC wooden floss cabinet on Facebook Marketplace a few months ago. It was in pretty good condition and the seller only wanted $9! The drawers did not contain the plastic divider inserts to separate the floss, but I knew I could pick them up online. But when I tried to order them, they were either sold out or no longer for sale from the distributors I had used before. But I placed an order with Wichelt Imports and they did eventually get them back in stock. The inserts were $4 each so I have $21 into this cabinet now. But new ones sell for $155 on DMC’s website, and they are never in stock. What a score! The seller called it “storage” was using the drawers to store sunglasses!

XXX
Carrie


So Patriotic

Posted on

I have not been able to cross stitch much at all in the last few weeks. After several months of being closed down due to COVID, all of our family’s doctors offices have now been calling to schedule appointments that were missed since March. It seems like every week we have at least 3 appointments, and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. One appointment I am looking forward to is the eye doctor… I have started taking my glasses off to see things up close, like my phone, which is not like me at all! I can’t really see anything without my glasses on, but now I am getting to the point where my glasses aren’t working for seeing far away OR up close. My doctor warned me a couple of years ago it was getting time for the dreaded “b” word, but I have been lucky enough not to need a prescription change (until now). I think it is finally time for… *gasp*… bifocals!

This Americana project has been fun, but the white stitching is just not working at night time even with my beloved task lamp. It is much more suited to daytime stitching, but I don’t really have the option to stitch during the day. So I have been struggling to get it done a little bit here and there, in the evenings when everyone else has either gone to bed or is watching TV. I am slowly but surely plugging away at it.

XXX
Carrie


America, America

Posted on

I fell in love with this project by Ursula Michael as soon as the August issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine came in the mail.

I knew I had some blue hand dyed Jobelan called Babbling Brook that would work out perfectly, and I decided to make this project even easier by stitching all of the red with DMC variegated floss instead of three separate shades of red. This way, I wouldn’t have to stop and change colors every few stitches. I played around with different colors of the variegated shades and color variations, and and finally settled on DMC 115. It is a bit darker shades of red instead of the really bright reds used in the magazine, but I think it will look great.

The coloring from the camera doesn’t show off how great this actually looks. This part stitched up pretty quickly and I can’t wait to get to work on the rest of it! I am going to have to do a bit of tweaking on the design, though. The wording is charted as “and amber waves of grain” but it should actually be “for amber waves of grain”. My OCD would never let me stitch this with the wording wrong, so I am going to have to use the word “for” from the line above, and just move the entire bottom line up so that it doesn’t run into the word “America”. When I get to that part of the chart I think I will stitch the amber waves line first, then work my way up from there.

XXX
Carrie


What a mess!

Posted on

DMC has raised the price of their floss to an MSRP of 99 cents and a MAP (minimum advertised price) of 60 cents. It wouldn’t bother me so much if the quality didn’t seem to be going downhill the last several years…

I have seen lots of stitchers complaining on Facebook groups lately about how their floss has a knot in it, as if to tie together two ends (from the end of one lot and the start of a new one, I guess). I have seen this first-hand.

XXX
Carrie


Spaceship Earth and… Figment!

Posted on

My quarantine project is finally finished, and I LOVE IT!!! I can’t wait to get it framed. I want to get a wooden hoop and paint it in a bright color (probably purple) but at the moment it’s hard to find supplies. I probably won’t worry about getting this displayed until fall when things have hopefully calmed down a bit.

I am a Disney fanatic, and Epcot is my favorite park. Spaceship Earth has always been one of my favorite attractions. I am also especially obsessed with Epcot’s mascot, Figment. I have been since I was a little girl. Here I am with Figment and Dreamfinder, circa 1985.

I probably have an unhealthy amount of Figment memorabilia, but oh well. Dreamfinder has been gone for years, and other than a topiary at the Flower & Garden Festival, you can’t really get your picture taken with Figment any more. But here I am in my Spaceship Earth gear a couple of years ago, next to my favorite Disney character.

I have looked online for cross stitch patterns of Figment, but there really aren’t any aside from a few that people have come up with on their own. Someday I would love to stitch a picture of my favorite little purple guy.

XXX
Carrie


Spaceship Earth, Part 1

Posted on

Like many stitchers, I decided to start a new project to work on for the quarantine. I have to be honest, because of my health issues I don’t really go anywhere or do much anyway. I am pretty much always home. So being in quarantine was not really an issue for me. I have been used to ordering things I need (including groceries) and having them shipped to my home for quite some time now. So I kind of had to laugh at people who were complaining on Facebook by week 3 that they were losing their minds. For me, this was a cross stitcher’s dream, especially since the kids didn’t have to do any school work for quite a while. They were 2 weeks away from spring break when our state closed the schools. So we’ve had a good few weeks of doing… well, nothing.

I had purchased this chart in February, after seeing someone on a cross stitching Facebook page stitch it. I am such a Disney (especially Epcot) fanatic, I just had to stitch it myself. Once the quarantine hit, I knew it was go time. I gathered all of the colors needed and found a really cool beige hand dyed Jobelan fabric in my stash, called Sand Castle.

The Spaceship Earth chart is divided into 4 pretty equal parts, and the left side is basically a mirror image of the right. I am working on this one page (one quarter of the design) at a time.


March 18


March 20


March 22


March 24


March 26


March 27

I did make one mistake. I read the symbol wrong for the clouds, and stitched it in light blue instead of white. I had done all of the left side and part of the right before I realized it, and I didn’t want to rip it out and start again. So I just left it blue. I think it stands out better on the fabric color than the white would have, and now my project will be different from those that other stitchers make.

This chart can be purchased from AwesomePatternStudio, either on Etsy or through their website.

XXX
Carrie


Quarantine!

Posted on

Our nation – no, our world – is having a crisis right now, and it is calling on everyone to stay in their homes to prevent the spread of this horrible COVID-19 pandemic. For cross stitchers, this seems like a dream come true. But people are quickly finding that it is not all it’s cracked up to be. Toilet paper shortages, food shortages, lost income, and uncertainties about their kids’ educations are causing people to start to crack. I have not felt this stress yet; for me things are still pretty much life as usual. My days are generally spent at home anyway, unless I have to go out for a doctor’s appointment. I’m sure things will change soon, and I will start going a little stir crazy. But for now, I know that my family and I are staying put at home and therefore are safe. Because of my health problems, we are not even setting foot in a grocery store or pharmacy. Luckily the pharmacy has offered to bring my prescriptions to the car for me, and grocery stores have options to shop online and then have an employee bring the items to your car and load them in your trunk. I’m not sure how much longer this pandemic will last, but for now I’m just thankful that my loved ones are safe. I hope yours are as well. We are cross stitchers – we can totally rock this quarantine thing!

XXX
Carrie


Hummingbird

Posted on

When I saw this adorable, bright colored hummingbird in the February 2020 issue (353) of CrossStitcher magazine, I just knew I had to stitch it! It was exactly the kind of project I needed – quick and easy, with only a few colors and very little backstitch. This little guy only took a few hours and really brightened up my dreary winter days. The designer is one of my favorites, Maria Diaz. Instead of using the 28 count Cashel linen as suggested, I used up a scrap of white Aida I had laying around. I’m not sure how I will finish him off, but I’ll probably end up putting him in a hoop and displaying it near my recent embroidery mandala.

XXX
Carrie


Under The Sea

Posted on

After two years, working off and on, this mermaid is DONE! I am not sure yet how I want to frame her, and she needs one last trip to the ironing board. But I am so glad I stuck with this project and was able to complete it. And now I think I need a break from stitching for a while, and then a nice, simple project when I get back into it!

The beadwork was pretty intense, but sooooo worth it!

The camera can’t do justice to the gold and silver metallic threads.

XXX
Carrie


Coming Along Nicely

Posted on

My new lamp is working fantastically and I have been able to get in some stitching here and there, even if only for a few minutes at a time. I believe I have completed all the cross stitching for this mermaid, and I have tried to do the backstitching as I go. That means I am down to the backstitching that uses Kreinik #4 braid for the tail and some embellishments, and then at last it will be time for the beads! I have taken photos here and there, but have not felt up to making blog posts each time. So I will stick a bunch of photos onto this post and you can see my progress for the past 6 weeks.

XXX
Carrie


A New Toy

Posted on

The Christmas holiday has been nice and quiet and pretty uneventful. I have spent my time catching up on much-needed sleep. Besides that, I have managed to find some nice relaxing stitching time. I am going to attempt to finish the red-headed mermaid without working on anything else. I am able to work on this even though it is very dark and dreary and cold outside, due to a wonderful new task lamp that I bought for myself (Merry Christmas to me!)

The Mighty Bright LED Task Light Table Lamp was featured in a recent issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine and it sounded exactly like what I was searching for. Of course, upon doing a search for this lamp, I found out it was sold out everywhere. The company itself didn’t have any, Amazon didn’t have any, no one had any. My guess is that it is a discontinued product. But I was determined to find one, and I eventually did find one at an online quilting shop. The MSRP was $90, but I was able to snag the lamp, a pair of stork embroidery scissors, some bobbins for my sewing machine, and several yards of pom pom trim on Cyber Monday for only $75, including shipping. I have been using the lamp for stitching, reading, even just having added light in the living room when sitting there in the evenings. What I love about this lamp in particular is that it has the ability to be used in its base or clipped onto something. I keep it in the base, and the base has cork in the bottom of the tray to hold scissors, needles, threads, etc. The lamp has three brightness settings (I always use the highest) and it can be adjusted from yellow light to white light. I love this feature! Normally white (daylight) lightbulbs really bother me. I have to make sure the light bulbs in our house are the yellow kind, or else I get really nauseous. I have no idea why, they have just always bothered me since the old incandescent bulbs went out of fashion and compact fluorescent (and then LED) bulbs were introduced. I thought for sure I would want to have this lamp set on the yellow bulb setting all the time, but I found I actually prefer the white setting. It gives a more accurate color representation for the fabric and floss. And as long as it is above me shooting straight down, it doesn’t bother me. This is easy to do with the swivel neck that can bend in any direction.

If you can find one of these lamps somewhere, I highly recommend it. I noticed that the website I purchased mine from is already sold out, and like I said I don’t think these are even being made any more. But it has sure saved my eyesight  and helps with neck strain as well because I don’t have to bend over as much.

Happy New Year!

XXX
Carrie


Return to the Sea

Posted on

Now that the mandala embroidery is finished, I am back to working on the red-headed mermaid. In one evening I made a good deal of progress on the tail. Next up is the purple and pink flowing parts around the green. That will entail lots of color changes and the use of blending filament, but I look forward to working on it.

XXX
Carrie


Neon Mandala

Posted on

This project finished up so much faster than I expected, and I love it. But I am a bit disappointed at how much of the white pattern shows underneath the stitching. I wish the lines had not been put onto the fabric so thickly. But I am a perfectionist, and I doubt anyone else would scrutinize my projects the way I do. I also think I may paint the wooden hoop a bright color, perhaps neon green.

I would definitely try another embroidery project in the future, but I think I would prefer to use my own fabric and threads and transfer the design to the fabric myself. I could definitely see myself doing a sugar skull pattern!

XXX
Carrie


Wow!

Posted on

I love how this mandala is coming along. I am so glad I have started on some fun colors, as the white and yellow was making it look like I wasn’t making progress. Most of the project is stitched in backstitch, which is super fast. I modified one part that was supposed to be done in couching stitch and did it in stem stitch instead, to avoid much aggravation!

I’m not thrilled with the purple french knots. The white pattern underneath is so thick, that even using two strands of floss and wrapping the needle 4 times didn’t cover it all. My project also isn’t looking just like the one on the cover of the kit, either. The orange and pink that I am doing now are only 3 strands of floss, and on the package photo they appear to be 6 strands – just as thick as the other colors. But I have no way of knowing if I will have enough floss if I use 6 strands, so I am sticking with the 3 that they say to use. At the end of the purple is supposed to be a huge 6 strand blue french knot. But I am saving my fingers for now and will do that absolutely last!

Another problem I found is that part of the chart is colored wrong – one of the pink petals which I just completed is colored yellow on the chart but is obviously supposed to be pink, like the other 7. And there is no indication of how many strands to use for that area at all; they completely forgot to put it on the chart. So I just guessed that it should be 3 strands like the orange, and it looks OK. I wish they had had someone proof-read their chart before going to print.

I definitely think I can get this finished by Christmas, although it is not a “Christmasy” project. But this weekend I am setting aside time to finish off my gingerbread houses. I bought the foam core board and red pom pom trim (darn, they didn’t have the light green that was used in the magazine) and I should have enough silk pins to get it finished. I am just a little worried about what the back will look like. I am definitely not using glue, like the magazine suggests!

XXX
Carrie


Embroidery

Posted on

I have worked on this new embroidery piece for a few days, and I love how it is coming along. But I didn’t love the awful stitch diagrams to show you how to complete each stitch (YouTube to the rescue!) and I didn’t love trying to use 6 strands of floss wrapped around the needle twice to make French knots. The needle provided simply won’t go through the fabric, and none of the needles I have on hand have big enough eyes to accommodate 6 strands, while being small enough to pass through the fabric. I also tried out the couching stitch but it was just horrible. Perhaps on straight lines it would not be so bad, but it is only used on rounded areas, and it took so long just to do one tiny area. I ended up taking it out and doing it in backstitch instead. This is the rounded blue areas on the outside. I think it looks just fine using backstitch.

I am a little worried about the inner portion of the design, which uses many less strands of floss. I am not sure it will be sufficient to cover the white lines of the design. I guess I will have to wait and see how it looks when I get to it.

All in all, this is a fun project that I can pick up and work on for a few minutes at a time, without the need for counting or concentrating. It is just what I needed to work on at the moment.

XXX
Carrie


Glad to be Done!

Posted on

In September 2018 I started on this card kit. I quickly grew frustrated with it and put it away to work on other things. When I finished the penguin card kit the other day, I decided to finish up all the small projects I have going before starting anything new. I found this barely started kit in a drawer and decided to tackle it again. It only took a few days of stitching here and there and was a lot easier than I thought it would be. It was really only the backstitch and french knots that were an issue.

Yes, this is another cover kit from an issue of The World of Cross Stitching. I think it turned out pretty adorable, although I have absolutely no idea what to do with it now that it is finished!

XXX
Carrie


Something New to Try

Posted on

The other day on Facebook I saw a post from a lady who had purchased a kit and was going to start it. It was her very first project. I thought it was adorable – a neon colored mandala displayed in a hoop. Some other people pointed out that it was not cross stitch at all, but embroidery. Others said they had stitched it and loved it, while others said they could not get the hang of it. I have done embroidery before, although certainly not as much as cross stitch. But I adored this project and decided to search for it online. I ended up finding the kit on sale on Amazon for $6.99 with free shipping, and there were only 4 left in stock. I looked at it for a few minutes and then there were only 3 left. I decided to snag one before they were gone, and sure enough later that day they were sold out. I plan on working a bit on the mermaid pattern for a while, but then I want to dive into this. The hoop is only 6 inches, so it has to be a small project. Lately my brain fog has become worse and worse, and even if I am having a pain-free moment in which to stitch, the counting is difficult. I think doing a project like this will be easier since you are simply tracing the pattern on the fabric.

The kit is by Leisure Arts and is called Mini Maker Neon Mandala, item 49808. It retails for $7.99.

XXX
Carrie


A Caroling Penguin

Posted on

This cute little caroling penguin came as a free cover kit with issue 259 of Cross Stitch Crazy. It took me a lot longer than expected to finish it, because of several colors that all looked the same (white, cream, and light gray) and that awful fluffy backstitch. I love cute little critters like this, but stitching the details on their fur is the worst! Instead of completing this in a weekend, it was more like a month-long project, only working for 5 or 10 minutes here and there. But it turned out adorable 🙂

  

XXX
Carrie


Finished at Last!

Posted on

Hot off the scroll frame! I am so happy to be done with this project at last, and before October! That gives me a good two months to track down the correct kind of pom pom trim and to put the entire thing together.

This project was featured in Cross Stitch Gold magazine, issue 141 (British numbering system, or issue 63 in the US). It was designed by Durene Jones.

XXX
Carrie


One House To Go!

Posted on

I was finally able to get in a little work on the gingerbread houses and I am happy to say that the last house is about 1/3 done! I can’t wait to finish this project that has been years in the making. After this house is finished there will be just a few beads to add to the top and bottom border. Luckily there is pretty much no backstitch at all in this project! But the finishing is what is overwhelming to me. Not just the actual putting together of the hanging, but finding the green pom pom trim that needs to go on the bottom. We don’t exactly have a lot of choices around here for buying things like that, and I hesitate to buy online in case the colors don’t match.

XXX
Carrie



A Needle Book

Posted on

The free cover kit with the October issue of Cross Stitch Crazy is this adorable sunflower needle book. It even comes with a silver butterfly charm! Although you can’t see in the photos, there is an additional piece of felt so when you fold the book over you have two pages inside the cover. The backstitch on this one is a bit tricky on the flowers, and so is the cross stitch in two yellow shades of floss. Lots of quarter stitches in this! Keep a sharp needle handy to pierce the Aida blocks.