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


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


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


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! ­čÖü

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


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 ┬áminutes 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



House #6

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I am now officially 2/3 of the way done with this project!

3 more houses to go. But, life is about to get real busy. With January comes paying taxes (I am soooo unorganized this year) and… Girl Scout cookie sales! My husband has already been taking our daughter around the neighborhood for a couple of days. Last year was her first year as a Scout. Hopefully this year will be even better!

XXX
Carrie



House #5

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House #5 is done at last! This project has been a work in progress for a long time. I didn’t get it done in time for last Christmas, and I didn’t get it done in time for this Christmas. But instead of putting it away now that Christmas is over, I plan to keep working on it. It’s just such a fun project. Here is what it looks like in the hoop – it is the third and final house on the top row.

Next I will move on to the third house on the second row. I had to move the hoop anyway, so I decided to give it a quick iron. It’s not perfectly pressed, but at least the hoop marks won’t be as hard to get out once it is completed and washed.

XXX
Carrie


Mermaid Update

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Although I haven’t stitched any more on this recently, I decided to unroll it from the scroll frame so I could get a better look at what I have done so far.

I love this mermaid! I am still going to work on my gingerbread houses for a while, but I can’t wait to get back into this when the weather gets nicer and it is not so dark out all the time. This one really needs a lot of good lighting and attention because it is so detailed.

XXX
Carrie


Gingerbread!

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I switched over to my gingerbread houses project and am having a lot of fun with it. The color changes are very few, and there is no backstitching – yay! I got the top border done (minus the French knots, which I will do at the end) as well as a good amount of the side border. I won’t work on the rest of that until I have to move my hoop down. It is kind of annoying having to use a hoop for this project because the size scroll rods I need are being used on the mermaid project.

I really need to get my husband to make me a new set of dowels in the same size, so that I can have multiple projects of the same size on the go at one time. I am just happy that the sit-on frame I have came with an attachment to hold a hoop or Q Snap. So I can still use the frame and stitch hands-free. This is a must for me because the pain in my hands would never let me hold an embroidery hoop. The frame I have was purchased on eBay about 10 years ago and the company is no longer in business. It is called Stitch EZ cross stitch frame. It is such a great frame – it came with three sizes of scroll rods, a detachable chart holder, and a Q Snap or hoop holder. The sides of the frame and the Q Snap holder have magnets to hold your needles.

Next up is house #5!

XXX
Carrie


The Mermaid

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The tail is coming along nicely! But now that it is November and the weather is getting colder, I think I am going to switch over to my gingerbread houses project. I probably won’t get all of it finished in time for Christmas, but if I can complete 2 or 3 more houses I will be happy.

XXX
Carrie


The Mermaid’s Tail

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I have been working on the mermaid off and on for the last couple of months but didn’t realize I hadn’t posted any photos of the tail. It is coming along slowly but surely. The backstitch has been pretty tedious. I am not really looking forward to the backstitching with kreinik┬ábraid all through the tail, in a sort of checkerboard pattern. But I’m sure the end result will be worth it. The tail will also be full of beads (you can see the blank spots sort of like polka dots!)

Hopefully this project will get me through the long winter ahead, although I do want to get back to work on the gingerbread houses since it is getting to be that time of year again. But I don’t see how I will be able to finish them for this Christmas. I would rather get the mermaid finished.

XXX
Carrie


What a Great Idea!

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I did not come up with this idea for punching holes down the side of the free cover kit to put the floss through. I┬áthink I saw it on Facebook. But it is working so well! And although I haven’t gotten in much stitching yet, this is a very easy chart to follow and shouldn’t take long.

XXX
Carrie






Red Hair!

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I am so glad I got to start working on the mermaid’s red hair! The several different flesh colors of her body were starting to get really boring and hard to keep track of. The red is also made up of a bunch of different shades, and the pattern falls onto three separate pages, so it is a bit of a challenge to keep my place correctly. But I am having fun and can even watch a bit of TV while working on her.

XXX
Carrie


It’s A Start

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I finally got to sit down and make a start on the mermaid, and she is a lot of fun to work on! So far I have part of her body and the seashell bra done. My daughter thinks it is really funny looking!

It’s my birthday weekend, so I am taking time off from dishes and laundry and all the other things I normally have to do, and am going to sit on the couch and stitch, stitch, stitch!

XXX
Carrie


The Mermaid, at last!

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I am so excited to finally get to start on this gorgeous mermaid that has been on my “to-do” list for a year. I had a horrible time finding the right fabric for it. I didn’t want to use plain blue, but anything I found that was overdyed just didn’t seem right. I finally found this beautiful hand dyed Jobelan from Wichelt Imports. It is called Caribbean Blue (is that appropriate, or what?!) and is 28 count. However, when I did the needle test, it was actually 25 count. (The needle test involves putting a needle through a couple of the holes in the fabric, straight up and down, then measuring exactly one inch over and inserting another needle at that spot. Then you count the number of stitches from the one needle to the other.) I tried this in various spots in the fabric and ended up with 25 count each time. This means the design would end up being larger than it was supposed to. I double and triple checked my math and found that the fabric was still large enough, so I decided to use it. Here is a picture of the threads laid out on the fabric. My camera really can’t do the fabric┬ájustice; it is a much deeper greenish blue than the photo shows. I also took the picture before I ironed the fabric. I did end up ironing it before putting it on my scroll rods so that it wouldn’t need much ironing afterwards.

I really love the gingerbread houses but now that our snow is finally gone, the sun is out, and the tulips are about to bloom, I need a summery project!

XXX
Carrie