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


Coming Along Nicely

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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


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! 🙁

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