Return to the Sea

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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


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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!

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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

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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!

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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

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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

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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!

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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!

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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

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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.


Butterfly Garden

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I have had this kit designed by Susan Bates for years, ever since I saw it advertised in a British magazine. I fell in love with it and had to have it… Amazon to the rescue! But it sat in my stash for ages. I finally decided to get it out earlier this year and it plugged away at it little by little. I took progress pictures along the way but never got around to posting them. After months of work, here is the finished product!

It is washed and ironed, but it will be a while before I get around to framing it, as is usually the case! I have a box full of things I stitched 10-15 years ago (or more) and have not done anything with yet.


How Crazy is This?

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Many weeks ago, I was contacted by Cross Stitch Crazy magazine and was asked if I would allow them to mention my Mason jar tutorial in an upcoming issue. Of course, I said yes! I created the tutorial after making up an elephant for one of my daughter’s preschool teachers. And in just a few weeks, my daughter will be starting 5th grade!

You can find the Mason jar tutorial here.

Be sure to check out issue 259 of Cross Stitch Crazy, which contains so many neat designs. I’m very partial to the Halloween designs by Emma Congdon, and just love the way they are framed in embroidery hoops decorated with ribbon.

XXX
Carrie


What is This Pattern?

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You never know what you will find while in a thrift store! Recently I was visiting my parents, and we went to a church-run thrift store. I found a scroll frame in a bag, along with several finished cross stitched pieces. The bag was all stapled shut, so I could not see exactly what was inside. But the parts seemed to be all there, and the price was great, so I decided to take a chance. Back at my parents’ house, I opened the bag and found that the frame was not only all there, but it was a tabletop/lap model, and included three sets of scroll rods in different sizes. Score! I can pretty much only stitch hands free now, and I have not been able to find additional rods for my lap frame (it was made by a handiman, not a major company). But what I was really taken with was this half finished design of yellow roses. There were other designs in the bag, completed and partially completed, but I threw them out. Most of them were stained badly, and the only one that wasn’t was just not to my taste at all. But these roses are beautiful, and expertly stitched. The stitcher put a basting thread down the middle of all of the pieces she did, which I thought was interesting. I might have to try that sometime. I did a Google search for yellow roses cross stitch patterns and even tried to search with my image, to no avail. I’m not sure why this piece was never finished, or why it and the frame and other pieces were thrown in a bag and donated. Perhaps the stitcher died, or could not see to cross stitch any more. Even though I don’t know who she/he is, I would love to give this a home on the wall.

If you know what this pattern is, please let me know! I would love to finish it.

XXX
Carrie


The Home Stretch

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I now have the first house done in row 3, plus half of the bottom border. Two more houses to go!

Sorry, bad lighting + camera phone = poor quality photo.

I think I will tackle the rest of the side and bottom border first, then the extra snowflakes, and finally the last 2 houses. I really want to get done with this project so I can start something new, like this awesome sugar skull from the October 2018 issue of Cross Stitch Crazy.

I just love how this looks on black fabric! But it might be hard on the eyes.

I also really need to finish up the deer in the woods and get some work done on a Summer Ball. And all those Egyptian charts… I guess they will have to wait a while! 🙁

XXX
Carrie



House #7 in Progress

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This 3 day Easter weekend I am going to take it easy and try to get in as much stitching time as possible. I would love to complete gingerbread house #7 by Sunday night. Here is my progress from yesterday and so far today:

I’m definitely slower at stitching than I used to be. I have to get up and walk a lot, and my hands get tired. But this pattern is so easy to follow and has such few colors and full stitches only, so that really helps. I think after this house is finished I will work on the bottom border. Then I will just have 2 houses to go!

XXX
Carrie


Llamas!

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The new issue of Cross Stitch Crazy is out, and I absolutely adore these cute llama charts! I am especially taken with the pink one, because what’s not to love about a fuzzy pink llama?

The only problem is, these charts utilize Madeira Lana threads to give the llamas that fuzzy look. It is a 50% wool, 50% acrylic blend that turns fuzzy when applying a wire brush to it after stitching is completed. I have searched online to no avail, this thread simply doesn’t seem to be available in the US. Rainbow Gallery does make a thread called Wisper that is supposed to create the same effect, but it does not come in as many colors as the Lana. And it is 70% mohair and 30% nylon, so it is a bit different. I do have some kid mohair threads in my stash which I have never stitched with because they are so fuzzy. I figured using them would be a royal pain. But I will have to dig my stash out and see if I have any colors that would work for this design (I highly doubt I have two shades of pink, if I have any bright colors at all).

I just love how they painted wooden hoops in bright colors and framed these designs in them. This whole set would look so cute hanging up by my desk!

You can find these charts in the June issue (255) of Cross Stitch Crazy.

XXX
Carrie


Margaret Sherry

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The cross stitch world lost a beloved designer recently, Margaret Sherry. Margaret designed adorable critters that stitchers just loved, and she will be greatly missed in the stitching world. Margaret’s daughter issued the following statement:

“It is with the deepest sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Margaret Sherry, aged 72. She passed away peacefully and surrounded by family after losing her battle with cancer. She was a devoted mother and grandmother and she has left a huge void in our family. Margaret was an incredibly talented and inspirational artist, who over many years created a massive range of much-loved characters for cross stitch magazines and greetings cards. She was aware of, and extremely humbled by, her following, and her wish was not to let her characters die with her. Therefore, she passed the legacy on to me, her daughter, to continue the company and ensure The Margaret Sherry Collection and the vast catalogue of published and unpublished designs continue to be released and enjoyed long after her passing.”

Here are a few of my favorite Margaret Sherry designs I have stitched.

   

RIP, Margaret. You will be missed.

XXX
Carrie


What a Cutie!

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My little Cinco de Mayo mouse is finished!

I’m now going to go back to working on the gingerbread houses because that is a project I can stitch on hands-free. In the future, I might use one large piece of fabric on a scroll frame and stitch several of these mice on it, then cut them apart. Then my hands won’t hurt so badly when I stitch.

XXX
Carrie


Furry Tales

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Way back in January, after I had finished my Valentine’s Furry Tales mouse, I started on a new mouse but never took a picture of it or blogged about it. I didn’t get very far when I had to set it aside to deal with Girl Scout cookie season, catching up on things after Christmas, and more health issues. But this weekend I decided to see if I could get any work done on it. I did take a picture to mark my starting point, and was able to work for about 20  minutes at a time, several times.

This is what I started with. Not much, eh? The green 28 count fabric seemed like a good choice at the time (I know, it appears brown in the photos). Now, not so much. I really wish I had stitched this on plain white aida. The green and white floss is proving very trying on my eyesight!

And here is what I have now:

Can you tell what theme this mouse will be?

I’m stitching this one in a hoop, which I never do. Generally my left hand is not needed during stitching because I use a lap frame, but all of my scroll rods have other projects on them (and this was quite a small piece of fabric anyway). Between holding the hoop and looking down at the pattern and project, I can’t get in more than 20 minutes of stitching at a time, but I am pleased with how much progress I made on this little guy. I’d love to find a type of frame that not only lets me stitch hands free, but also allows me to look straight ahead while stitching instead of having to bend my neck down. If you have ever come across something like that, let me know!

XXX
Carrie


It’s Finger Stitchin’ Good!

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If you have an obsession with cross stitch, and with KFC fried chicken, you’re in luck. You can now purchase cross stitch charts from your favorite restaurant. KFC has set up an Etsy shop called HandmadeByKFC, where 5 patterns are available for instant download at a cost of $4.50 each (kits are also available but it looks like they are only being shipped within the UK). All of the proceeds go to charity, and supposedly you can even get free chicken by actually stitching one of the patterns. But the details on how to get your free chicken are not very clear, and that offer is definitely only for residents across the pond. A spokesperson from KFC UK & Ireland siad: ”The real secret behind why our food tastes so Finger Lickin’ Good isn’t the secret recipe – it’s the way we bread it each day by hand. What better way to share that with our loyal fans than by inviting them to hand craft their very own KFC masterpiece whilst giving back to our local communities in the process”.

If you are interested in these charts you better hurry, because these patterns are available for a limited time only.

View the Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/HandmadeByKFC

XXX
Carrie


All Things Alice

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I love Alice in Wonderland, both the books and the Disney movies. I even dressed up as Alice one year at Disney World for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. But I have never cross stitched anything Alice related, probably because Disney does not license many cross stitch charts to begin with. But I just found a ton of Alice charts on Etsy, and a few of them really stood out. At first, I figured these patterns were totally illegal if they had the likeness of the Disney Alice characters, because there is no way these small time designers get permission from Disney to make money off of their copyrighted images. But, Etsy is somehow allowing people to get away with this, and Disney is obviously not going after anyone.

The chart that I really want to stitch is by CutePatternsByMaria, from the Ukraine. I absolutely love all of her designs! But this Alice in Wonderland design is like a watercolor painting, and so lifelike. It doesn’t have the cartoon-y feel to it like the Disney images.

You can purchase this chart on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/595272049/alice-in-the-wounderland
And do be sure to check out the rest of her beautiful patterns.

The next pattern I loved was a splatter watercolor by SilhouetteStitch. At only $3.00, this one is a real bargain. I love the bright colors! And it looks like it would contain whole cross stitches only.

You can purchase this chart on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/686292205/alice-in-wonderland-watercolor-cross

There is more to Alice in Wonderland than just Alice, however. I adore the Cheshire Cat (or as my daughter calls him, the Treasure Cat. She could not pronounce it correctly when she was a toddler, and the name has stuck ever since!)

This design is by RockingHorseCS and features the saying “we’re all mad here”. You can purchase this chart on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/503831354/cheshire-cat-cross-stitch-pattern-alice

I also love NataliNeedlework’s set of card suits, which gives you patterns for “curiouser and curiouser” and “twinkle twinkle little bat, how I wonder what you’re at”. These are a bit pricier at $4.95 considering they are just words, but they should stitch up in a jiffy.

You can purchase this chart on Etsy here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/503831354/cheshire-cat-cross-stitch-pattern-alice

Which Alice in Wonderland character is your favorite? Drop me a note in the comments below. What I really was hoping to find a chart for (and could not) was something along the line of “don’t step on the mome raths”! That is a favorite quote of my daughter’s and mine. Maybe I will just have to design something myself!

XXX
Carrie


Egypt, my obsession!

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My daughter’s Girl Scout troop recently celebrated World Thinking Day. Each participating troop had to pick a country that they wanted to learn about and my girls chose EGYPT! I was actually pretty surprised (and excited) because I’ve had a fascination with ancient Egypt for a long time. The girls had to learn about Egypt’s climate, religion, people, sports, foods, and more. They created a display, wore scarves to cover their heads, handed out “swaps” done in the colors of Egypt’s flag, and served everyone that attended an Egyptian dish: watermelon salad. Did you know watermelons were first cultivated in Egypt? Part of their display consisted of my books on ancient Egypt and how to read hieroglyphs. Flipping through these books got me interested in the cross stitch aspect of Egypt again, and making me wish I had more pain-free days for stitching. I decided to search Google for Egyptian themed charts, as I’m sure a lot of new ones have come out since the last time I looked. Look at these gorgeous cross stitched creations!

  

  

    

  

I’ll need to search for the kits or patterns for some of these, to add to my collection. What cross stitch theme do you always need more designs of?

XXX
Carrie