Nice Haul!

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I have to show off my great finds for the day… first Hobby Lobby had Easter stuff 90% off! I like to make up small stitched pieces and display them for the seasons. The plastic eggs and fabric carrots will be so cute with my spring stitches. And I go through a lot of ribbon… the 2 rolls on the left were only 50 cents each! The sewing charms were in the jewelry section and were half price. Then I went to Dollar Tree and could not believe how much ribbon they had! Everything on the right is from there. Usually my store has half a dozen rolls of really thin plain colored stuff. I don’t know if this is a new thing they can stock now that they have raised their prices to $1.25 or if it is just a spring thing. But I will definitely check out Dollar Tree in the future when I need ribbon!

XXX
Carrie


New Projects

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I like to have a bunch of projects kitted up so that any time I need to start something new or just need to take a project with me to keep me occupied during a long wait somewhere, I have plenty to choose from. I was down to just a couple, so I spent part of the day picking out threads and fabrics for new stash projects.

In a couple of days I will be spending most of the day (9 am to 3 pm) in town due to doctor appointments, so I definitely needed something to take with me. Now the only question is, which one to choose first?

XXX
Carrie


Neige floss?

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While looking through my stash for an insane amount of white floss to accommodate all of the snowmen I will be stitching, I came across this gem. I have no idea where it came from (I’m guessing a garage sale since I don’t wrap my partially used lengths around the skein like that). It is DMC, but it is labeled Neige instead of Blanc. I have never seen this before, and I have been stitching since around 1982!

A quick Google search tells me that “neige” is French for snow! I wonder if this is B5200 floss, but they called it neige for a time before adding the numbers to it? I really have no idea. If you know, drop me a comment! In the meantime, I will not be using this floss for my snowmen projects; it is too cool to use (no pun intended)!

XXX
Carrie


A New Pattern

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I’m so excited about this new chart I just purchased from Durene Jones’ Etsy store. Etsy had given me a coupon for $5.00 off my next purchase, because it had been a while since I had shopped there. I knew the coupon was a gimmick; the odds of finding something for exactly $5.00 are pretty slim, so it is a way for them to get you to come back and spend some money. Well, I am a huge fan of Durene’s and decided to peruse her store. Many of the patterns in her shop I already own, because I subscribe to the British magazines and they are featured there first. But when I saw this pattern I knew I had to stitch it, and it was not a pattern that had been released elsewhere before. The pattern cost $5.61 and so with my $5 discount code I got a real bargain! I am not going to start on this right away; I have decided in the new year to focus on some smalls to decorate my home during holidays throughout the year.

This will probably be a summertime pattern, especially since it features a lot of white on a khaki background, just like her gingerbread houses did.

I think the two projects will look wonderful by each other!

You can purchase the Merry Christmas chart through Durene’s Etsy shop here, and the gingerbread houses chart here.

XXX
Carrie


Exclusive Colors are Back!

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The 2013 exclusive DMC colors which were only being offered in a special boxed set are now available for open stock!

16 colors were initially introduced and sold in the exclusive set only; they were not available for individual purchase. Of course, after designers started using these “new” colors DMC decided to discontinue them. They kept releasing the boxed set but with only a few of the new colors, and the rest were not-quite-so-similar substitutes from their normal range of floss. People were extremely disappointed when they purchased the boxed sets around 2019-2020 and found they were not the same set that was released initially. No one knows how long these will be available in open stock, though, and DMC only released 14 of the 16 colors. According to DMC’s American headquarters, these colors have been discontinued and they are selling off old stock (which might be why most of the boxes are the old blue and yellow color instead of the new blue and white). Yet according to some US distributors, these are “new” colors.

You can purchase 14 of the 16 colors at www.crossstitchers.com

XXX
Carrie


Trying out Ali Express

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I have heard a lot about the website AliExpress but had never checked it out before. I decided to try ordering some trims to use to finish off my cross stitch projects as ornaments, mini pillows, etc. When I visited the site for the first time I was overwhelmed. You can get just about anything on there! Because I wasn’t 100% certain that it was legit, I decided to keep my purchase to around $20. This way if the items never came and I didn’t get my money back, or if the supplies themselves were very sub-par, I wouldn’t be out much.

My main interests were ribbons and pom pom trim, but I found some lace and ric rac that was cute so I decided to add those too. One thing I didn’t get that I sort of wish I had looked for, was different colored baker’s twine. It is really expensive to buy at hobby shops or in the cake decorating section.

For the pom pom trim, I went with multi packs that contained many colors. One pack was all the same size, just in different colors. The other was a grab bag of sizes and colors.

The lace was just a couple of things that stood out to me, mostly in white but also a star trim in black.

The ribbons were a mixture of colors but all the same pattern in a pack – I ordered polka dots, gingham, and chevron. I also ordered a “mystery pack”. I knew how many ribbons I would get, how wide they were, and how long, but I had no idea what would be in the package. That one turned out okay. A few were ginghams and polka dots similar to what I had already purchased, and one had the word Handmade all over it. Apparently you cut the ribbon into little pieces and use one piece to attach as a label to something you have made. One had the word NICE written all over it so it came out looking like ICENICENICENICENICENICENICEN. I doubt I will use that one, as it is just odd. Another one says Forever Love all over it and is kind of gimicky. But at least the words are separated. I probably will not buy a mystery bag in the future.

It only took 27 days to receive everything from China. I did order each item from the same shop. I am not sure what would have happened if I had ordered from multiple shops. I am guessing I would have received more than one package in the mail and they probably would not have come at the same time.

The total cost for everything shown in the photos was $21!

I can’t wait to finish off some of my projects using these trims. My favorites are the polka dot ribbons and pom pom trims. I wish I had ordered some ribbons in solid colors, along with the baker’s twine. But I am very happy with my purchase and will likely order again.

XXX
Carrie


What a mess!

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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


New From DMC!

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I just got an email from my DMC rep which said that DMC has created a new floss called Étoile! This premium embroidery thread features an added sparkle. The new 6-strand divisible thread comes in 35 shades, that all feature a unique twinkle effect.  This floss is made of 73% cotton and 27% Lurex. The skeins are 8m/8.7y and will retail for $1.95 each (in the US).

We will be putting in an order for all 35 colors as soon as they are available, probably around the end of September. The 35 colors correspond to the most popular embroidery floss colors, and not the 35 newest floss colors that were just released last year. The numbers will be the same as the regular floss numbers, but starting with a “C”. For example, black floss 310 will be C310 in Etoile.

The floss also will come in a collector’s tin featuring one skein of each color. This will retail for $69.99.

XXX
Carrie


Flip Its

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Today while rummaging around through my cross stitch patterns I came across some of Lizzie Kate’s Flip-Its. I love these tiny little patterns and these designs are perfect for the upcoming seasons. I probably don’t have all of the Weeks Dye Works and The Gentle Art Sampler Threads colors required on hand, but I have tons of small scraps of linen, and hopefully enough similar shades of overdyed floss from various other companies. I also have a few small square frames just waiting to be painted and filled with a new project.

These designs are all over 10 years old, but they seem like they won’t ever go out of style. I think I will stitch the Halloween design first since it is almost October!

XXX
Carrie


Fashion Boutique

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Look at this adorable free kit that came with the latest issue of The World of Cross Stitching! It’s actually not the style of what I would normally stitch, but red is my favorite color and I am looking for a quick-to-stitch project since things are busy right now. I’m going to take a break from the mermaid for a while since that one requires so much counting. I think I will try to whip this card kit up in the next week, working whenever I get a few spare minutes. At first I was dismayed by the thought of stitching the entire background, but then I realized that the kit comes with pink Aida!

I think I am also going to try a trick I learned from either Facebook or directly inside one of the British magazines, and that is to punch holes down the side of the color key on the chart, to store all of the floss. Normally these kits are so small and easy that I don’t like to wind the floss on bobbins, but at the same time the colors are often similar in shade and can be hard to keep track of. The paper is quite thin, so we shall see how that works out.

You can find this kit with issue 271, which should be available in good bookstores now in the US. In the UK, this would already be an older issue, as issue 272 is out right now and issue 273 comes out in just 2 days.

XXX
Carrie


Fun Finds

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Our local Humane Society just had their annual rummage sale at the county fairgrounds, where everything for sale is donated and the price you pay for your goodies is a donation as well. Last year I was lucky enough to find a HUGE box of brand new (with tags) cross stitch fabrics in all sorts of colors and counts. It was pretty much all linens, and a lot of it was hand dyed. This year I found two really large pieces of white 14 count Aida fabric and dozens of Just Cross Stitch magazines. They were all from the mid 1980s and I have sort of a collection going for these older issues. I do have the Just Cross Stitch DVDs that contain all the issues of the magazines in digital form, but there is just something about turning the pages of a real magazine. I love reading the articles about designers, and some of them are still designing today! I also love the DMC advertisements, and plan on posting a few of them here in a later blog post. It’s fun to see how many less colors there were back then, and the types of projects that were popular at the time.

XXX
Carrie


Just Cross Stitch Halloween 2017

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I just received an email from my sales rep at Annie’s, letting me know the 2017 issue of Just Cross Stitch Halloween will be out soon. So far only the cover photo has been released:

2017halloween

As soon as I receive more photos I will post them here. Hearing this news, I decided to get out my copy of the 2016 issue and take a look at it again. When it came out, I had other things going on so I didn’t do much more than glance at it. Now, looking through it again, I found a project I really MUST stitch! It is a sugar skull and was designed by Breanne Jackson.

sugarskull

As soon as I saw this design, I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use. I have had a piece of Aida in my stash for a few years, not knowing what it should be used for. It is a gorgeous lime green, and it needed just the right project. Now I just needed to find the prefect floss for it. The pattern calls for all black, but that’s not my style. I love colors! I got out my bin of silk floss and found something perfect. It’s called Ada’s Rainbow and it is from Gloriana. I have only used silk one other time, and never on Aida, so this should be interesting.

greenaida

I think the bright colors will really pop on this fabric, and I think they would make a wonderful sugar skull. I can’t wait to get started, but I am feeling guilty about all of the projects I have lined up. There’s the red haired mermaid, the bright butterflies, the primitive pincushions, and of course at least a dozen Egyptian designs. It’s already been a month since I received the magazine that had the mermaid in it, and I have made very little progress on my pyramids. Oh, why can’t there be more hours in the day?

XXX
Carrie


More stash finds

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While going through my stitchy supplies I found a kit that I had forgotten I had ordered off of Amazon around Christmas time. I had been interested in this chart for about 2 years, after having seen it in a British magazine as a “subscriber gift”. But the advertisement never mentioned what it was called, or where you could purchase it. Finally I decided to do a little sleuthing with Google images, and after a while I found it! I was really happy to see that Amazon had it for only $11 including shipping, whereas other stores were charging up to $27 just for the kit. Yikes! I had Amazon gift cards saved up, so it ended up not costing me a dime. The kit is by DMC and it is called Butterfly Garden. The kit is number BK1545 and the designer is one of my favorites, Susan Bates! Normally I see her designs in the British magazines and she is affiliated with Anchor, so this was kind of surprising. I did not know who the designer was until after I bought the kit, but now I am not surprised that I was drawn to it and couldn’t stop thinking about it for a couple of years.

il_fullxfull.732098486_h2py

I just love the bright colors of this, and it would look so great by my computer to keep the dreariness of my location away. Yes, even in April it is gray, cold, and not very nice looking outside. Once the snow is completely gone, the bugs will be out and the trees outside my window will be nothing but shades of green. So, I could definitely use a bit of a color pick-me-up! I’m not sure if I will start on this right away after finishing the Pyramids, or if I will work on another WIP or start on the mermaid. Choices, choices!

XXX
Carrie


Goodies in the Mail!

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It’s always a great day when The World of Cross Stitching arrives. But this month has a great free gift – a thread cutter pendant! Now this is something I can really use. No more lost scissors!

freecutter

There’s also a great free design of a rose included this month. I love these bonus designs – they are printed nice and big, and on thick shiny cardstock. My magazines tend to get ripped up when I stitch from them, but these freebies are printed on a nice long lasting quality paper.

XXX
Carrie


2016 Goals

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In 2015 my goal was to “stitch from stash” and get some things cleared out. I did stitch quite a few little cards, but I didn’t have as much fun as I would have if I had been stitching things I really wanted to make. So for 2016, my stitching goals are projects that I really want to do and have had on my to-do list for a while. Of course, I will never get all of these done this year. But these are the projects that have been in the back of my mind for some time now:

pyramids

Pyramids by John Clayton

 

godsegypt

The Gods of Egypt from Mary Hickmott’s New Stitches issues 121, 122, and 123. Sadly I only have the first and third issues and have not been able to find issue 122 anywhere, even eBay. But I could stitch the middle and right side and stitch the left side portion later.

 

charles

Charles from John Clayton’s Elegance series.

 

jesus

His Name is Jesus. This was a free chart I got online and I think I will use variegated threads for it.

 

summerball

A Summer Ball (almost 1/5 complete so far).

 

deer

The deer in the woods, which I have been working on for years and really want to get done with.

XXX
Carrie


Thread Heaven

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Nothing is worse than constantly having your embroidery floss tangle and get knotted while you are stitching. Luckily, there is a product on the market called Thread Heaven which not only claims to prevent thread tangling and fraying, but also to reduce hand fatigue.

heaven1  heaven2

Adam Beadworks, the manufacturer of this product, has been marketing it for years for quilters, but more recently cross stitchers have found that they just can’t live without it. For a while I was skeptical that it would work, and certain that it would damage the fibers or fabric. I have been selling it in my store for a few years, and it is one of my best sellers. But I just didn’t want to try it myself. Finally I decided to have a go at stitching with it and this is what I found.

Fresh out of the package

Fresh out of the package

First, I was surprised at how the product does not actually coat the floss. I figured after wiping a strand of floss across the Thread Heaven it would be all goopy or waxy. But you really can’t tell it is there. So then I wondered if it would actually do anything. When I stitched with it for the first time, I was amazed at how it went through the fabric smoothly instead of being drug through it. I have only stitched with several thread lengths so far, but I can definitely tell a difference compared to when I have not used it. The only downside so far is that it is time consuming to coat each strand (you are supposed to do each strand separately, then recombine them) and it is a bit awkward to use because the container is so small. But I will keep at it and report back here when my project is finished. I started a new small card kit just for the purpose of trying out the Thread Heaven. I did not want to start using it midway through a project.

One thing the Thread Heaven website does mention is that a separate box should be used for light and dark colors. If the product gets really gunked up with floss, you can pry it out of the box, turn it over, and put it back in to use the other side of it. Also, you should not lick your floss (a habit I personally have) because the mouth is very acidic.

There is debate among stitchers whether Thread Heaven has glitter in it. Some say that they can’t imagine having a box of it without the glitter in it, as it makes it “heavenly”. Others say that they have used several containers of it and have never once had glitter in theirs. The box I opened up is from my own shop and since I sell so much of this stuff, I know it is “fresh”. At first glance the product did not seem to be glittery, but when I took a closer look I could indeed see microscopic pieces of what appeared to be glitter. So my guess is that the glitter has either gotten smaller over time, or those who think theirs doesn’t have it just never noticed it before.

The glitter in Thread Heaven kind of matches my nails!

The glitter in Thread Heaven kind of matches my nails!

You can purchase Thread Heaven at my store, www.crossstitchers.com where it retails for $3.39.

XXX
Carrie



Sachet

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sachet1

I finished the sachet today, although I am a bit bummed with how it turned out. The stuffing didn’t fill out the entire circle, so it is puffy in the center and bare at the edges. It is also quite bumpy looking at the bottom where I had to slip stitch it closed. The rest of it turned out fine because I used my sewing machine, but I had to leave a pretty big gap at the bottom so I could turn it right side out. It looks much better when I flatten it down with my hand, so I have put a heavy book on top of it and I think I will let it sit for a couple of days to see if that helps.

sachet3

I’ll post a photo of the finished piece after I let it “flatten out” a bit.

XXX
Carrie


Stash Finish #5

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butterfly2

The stitching on my floral sachet is done, but I didn’t feel like getting out the sewing machine and putting it all together. I had this free cover kit from an issue of The World of Cross Stitching which consisted of two butterfly cards. I decided to work on one of them for another quick finish. I think it turned out quite well! The cross stitching itself was very easy and took only a couple of hours to do. The backstitching was a pain, as is usually the case with Madeline Floyd designs. But in the end it turned out very nice.

butterfly1

XXX
Carrie


Uh Oh, More Stash!

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Today a new issue of The World of Cross Stitching came in the mail, and had a free kit with it for a floral sachet. I had also received an adorable kit of a hedgehog with the last issue, which I never got around to stitching. So that’s two new kits to add to my stash. And this year is supposed to be all about de-stashing!

newkits

The hedgehog kit seems a bit daunting, but the sachet looks like it could be worked up in a day or two. I think I might tackle that one as soon as Nefertiti is done, just so that it is not taking up space in my “kits” tote, which is overflowing as it is. That wad of batting they give you for it is huge! Maybe putting some potpourri inside would make it smell nice. I really need to get these free kits stitched up. It is already April and I am kind of disappointed on the number of finishes I have done so far this year. I want to work on A Summer Ball too, but I think I will have to finish at least one small kit before I can get back to work on it.

XXX
Carrie


Egyptian Cross Stitch

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I am fascinated with anything dealing with ancient Egypt. I have been collecting cross stitch charts on this topic for years, but never actually got around to stitching any of them. I have had this chart kitted up for about a year, but other projects always seemed to get in the way. Now I think it is time to dig out the materials that have been waiting, and get to work on Nefertiti.

nefertiti

Nefertiti is probably the second most well known Egyptian woman, after Cleopatra. She was the “main” wife, if you will, of the Pharoah Akhenaten. Akhenaten ruled during the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt which was around 1300 BC. His name was originally Amenhotep IV but he changed it when he decided to become pretty much the first ruler in history to believe in only one god. He no longer wanted to worship Amun (the main god at the time) and decided that only the sun god Aten was worth worshiping. Nefertiti ruled along with her husband in one of Egypt’s wealthiest times. Unfortunately, she simply vanished from history. No one really knows what happened to her. Akhenaten also lost his mother (Queen Tiye, pronounced Tee) and a daughter around the same time. After Akhenaten died, Egypt got a new ruler…

egyptxs

Tutankhamun. “King Tut” as he is called today was the son of Akhenaten and a woman who was probably Akhenaten’s sister. Yeah, I know. But in ancient Egypt the kings pretty much always married their sisters. You had to keep the royal blood lines flowing, right? This project pictured above is from a German cross stitch magazine called Burda Special (issue E732) and it is HUGE. We’re talking 25×15 inches on 14 count fabric. This is definitely a “way down the line” project for me. But it would be absolutely stunning! No designer is given for this chart, which is a shame. The gods on either side of Tutankhamun are not identified, but I am guessing the ones on the left are Atum and Hathor. On the right, the god is probably Horus. I actually have no idea who the 4th figure is. Her headdress looks like a combination of the single feather Ma’at (female) wore and the double plumed crown of Amun (male). But, this chart has definitely been on my “must stitch list” for a good two years or more now.

XXX
Carrie


Stash Finish #4

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bellscard

This is a kit for a Christmas Bells card that came free with an issue of the British Magazine Cross Stitch Gallery. I was able to finish it in just two days of stitching. Of all the kits I have ever done, this was by far the worst in terms of sorting colors. I know it doesn’t look like it, but there were 4 shades of red, 4 shades of gold, and 4 shades of green. And the names meant nothing (parrot green, saffron). I had to use the color photo that came with the chart in order to figure it out. On the plus side, it came with WAY more floss than was needed, so my ORT jar is filling up nicely! And the card blank that came with it is lovely. The picture doesn’t really show it, but the entire card is gold paper with a nice lined texture to it.

XXX
Carrie


Stash Finish #3

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This is the card kit that had the faulty floss. I actually had plenty of that pink color to work with, but ran out of the light blue, go figure. Luckily I found a match in my stash of DMC. The kit didn’t specify a color number, but I think the match is pretty darn close. The backstitching on this was a bit of a pain, and I noticed that the stitched models did not look the same as the chart. The chart actually had more backstitching than what was on the models. I think it looks better with the extra stitches, so I stitched it as charted.

prettyroses

The design is from April Rose Illustration and was the free cover kit with issue 217 of The World of Cross Stitching.

XXX
Carrie