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


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




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


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


Oregon Trail

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One of my favorite memories from childhood is playing Oregon Trail on an Apple II computer, complete with neon green text on a black screen. Those Apple computers were definitely the best part of going to school (we personally had a Commodore 64 at home). Recently, this game has had a sort of cult following, with all sorts of merchandise popping up relating to it. When I saw this T Shirt on Amazon, I had to have it.

This got me wondering, were there any cross stitch patterns available with this design? A quick Google search found that although there were some finished pieces out there that had been sold on Etsy, no one was selling a pattern. But the design was so simple, I decided to try my hand at creating a pattern based on the T shirt and the few cross stitch Google images I found. I got out some graph paper and started shading in colored blocks with a pencil. It was pretty crude, but the end design seemed pretty accurate. I never stitch on black Aida because it is so hard to see the holes, but I decided to give this a try. And I happened to have one old (but new) package of Charles Craft black Aida in my stash. To give you an idea of how old it was, it was packaged in a clear round tube… they have not sold it that way in years! The tricky part was going to be finding a bright green shade of DMC floss that matched the T shirt. I looked at the entire line of DMC but nothing was bright enough… until I found the neon E990. I really did not want to work with Light Effects floss, as it is so finicky. But it was really the only bright green color that matched. So I dug out my old tub of Thread Heaven and got to work.

The floss was just as bad to work with as I thought, but luckily the pattern was super easy to follow and not very large. I got this done in just two days of stitching:

I just noticed while adding the photos that one of the spokes on the wheels is not complete. Glad I noticed that before I finished and framed the piece! I will be displaying it in a hoop which I will probably paint black.

XXX
Carrie



Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

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This snowman is finished at last! It’s hot off the hoop – I didn’t even have a chance to iron it! I am not sure if I am going to display him in a hoop or make him into a flat ornament, but either way I am going to add white pom pom trim to the edge, just like the finished project in the magazine. Sometime after the kids get back to school I will try to find the time and energy to get this guy completed. No hurry, as we will have snow here into May, easily!

XXX
Carrie



Snowman’s Treat

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I took advantage of the long Thanksgiving weekend and decided to start a small new project. There was an adorable snowman pattern in the December 2020 issue of Just Cross Stitch that grabbed my attention. Although I HATE winter and snow (and unfortunately live in an area with 6+ months of it), this little guy was just too cute. It was one of the winners of the magazine’s annual Christmas Ornament Contest. The pattern was created by Caitlin Baerg and I have seen that lots of other people online are stitching this design.

I opted for a scrap of linen that was the same count and color as the model, but decided to swap out some of the threads. I only had one of the two Weeks Dye Works colors needed for the scarf, so I figured this project would be a great time to try out DMC’s Etoile threads. I didn’t have the other brand of floss at all, needed for the snowman’s body. So I decided to use DMC B5200 which is a brighter white than regular Blanc, and added a strand of Kreinik blending filament in 032 to make the snow really sparkle!

The Kreinik in the white floss shows up really well in person, but did not show up on the photo. I have only stitched the outline so far, because I was excited to get to work with the Etoile. I was not disappointed. I decided to use three strands instead of the two strands of regular DMC that I used for the other parts of the pattern. I just really wanted the snowman’s scarf to appear warm and thick. Not only did it turn out thick and fluffy, but the sparkle really shows. I did use Thread Heaven on the Etoile and Kreinik threads, and I think that helped a lot. After stitching one length with the Etoile, I decided to cut my lengths shorter. The three strands put together plus the roughness of the linen fabric really did a number on the floss as it was pulled through each hole. Towards the end of the length, it started to get frayed and worn out.

My stitching is still slow going. Compression gloves are helping a bit, and I think the act of stitching is helping my hands to not stiffen up as much. My neck still only allows me to stitch for a short period of time, but my goal is to get in about 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week right now. Unfortunately my neurologist has referred me to two neurosurgeons, one of which knew nothing and the other didn’t bother to take the referral. I found another doctor on my own just so he could look at my imaging, and he informed me that that second doctor was on his way out (retiring) and he would be very surprised if I got an appointment with him. The insurance company also refused to grant the MRI that my neurologist wanted. I am so glad we are into December and this year is almost over. I don’t make new year’s resolutions, but I am determined to have a happier, healthier 2021.

XXX
Carrie


Alice Update

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I did manage to get a bit more done on my Alice SAL. Not as much as I had hoped, but it’s a start. Next I am going to tackle the first square, which is Alice at the start of her adventures.

I’m not sure what the orange above the teapot is supposed to be. At first I thought it was a carrot, but then after adding the backstitch I thought it looked like a butterfly..?

XXX
Carrie


Alice

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Several months ago I decided to start on the Alice in Wonderland SAL (stitch-a-long) from CrossStitcher magazine. The February 2020 issue included an outer framework with 12 rectangular shaped openings. Each month after, for the next year, a character would be added to the openings. I had other things on the go, so I did not get started right away at the beginning of the year. But in late spring I started on the framework. I got all 12 rectangles stitched and then started on the border, which was a lot of color changes and few stitches of each color. It is also a LOT of backstitch.

After a while I put it away to work on other things, and then I heard a “rumor” that CrossStitcher was going out of business, just like how Cross Stitch Crazy and Cross Stitch Gold stopped publication (due to COVID). This kind of freaked me out and I decided not to work on it any more, because I didn’t want to have a lot of time invested in something that would not be completed. I have just noticed that the November issue is available in my Zinio account, and this issue features one of the characters. There should be only two more issues left to complete the series, if my calculations are correct. So I think the rumors I heard were indeed just rumors. I am going to get back to working on this framework, although I am not sure when. I have found a few Halloween themed things I would like to stitch, and one is done on orange fabric all in black floss. That would be super easy to follow along and work on even while watching TV, and should stitch up quickly.

XXX
Carrie


Oops! This has not been my week!

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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


So Patriotic

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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

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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


Spaceship Earth, Part 1

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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