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


Fabric Dyeing Tutorial

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After seeing so many people online make their own dyed cross stitch fabric, I decided to give it a try. I looked up articles online and watched videos on YouTube, and combined the best tips and tricks from all of them to try it out myself. My first try was a big success and I am so happy with how my fabrics turned out. My daughter was so impressed (and it looked like so much fun) she begged to help me out with my next batch. The first batch I did consisted of fabrics that I have collected over the years from garage sales, grab bags, etc. They may have been dirty or musty smelling, had pet hair on them, were odd or small sized pieces, or were fabric counts I wouldn’t usually stitch on. I thought they would be a good test for the dyeing process and if it didn’t work out, I wouldn’t be out anything except for a bit of dye.

STEP I: WASH FABRICS

Note: You do not need to do this step if your fabric is brand new. I only washed my fabric because I did not know where it came from and some of it had obvious stains on it or came from a smoking household. Most of it was white but I did have one piece of a salmon colored fabric that I didn’t really care for, and decided I wanted to add darker pink and purple to it.

Put the fabric in a large bowl filled with warm water and a tiny amount of dishwashing liquid (such as Dawn). Agitate the fabric in the sudsy water and let sit for about 15 minutes. Agitate the fabric again and then take the fabric out and rinse it completely in clean water.

This is what my water looked like after I washed the fabric… yuck!

STEP 2: GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES

You will need some old towels that you don’t mind getting stained, gloves (either household rubber gloves or the disposable kind), plastic spoons, various sized plastic or glass containers, a measuring cup, a pot of very hot water (make sure it stays hot during the whole dyeing process), paper towel, your cross stitch fabric, and your dye. I used liquid Rit dye which can be purchased at grocery and craft stores. Save the powdered dye for when doing the ice dyeing method. Rit makes two kinds of liquid dyes, one for natural fibers and one for synthetics. Since you will most likely be dyeing cotton or linen, you will want the original Rit dye. Look for their special dye for synthetic fabrics if you are dyeing things like polyester.

It also helps to wear old clothes that you don’t care about, as you may get dye on yourself.

Note: DO NOT USE ANY UTENSILS/BOWLS FOR FOOD AFTER USING THEM FOR DYEING! Gather up some old or disposable items for this project. I used plastic spoons and various containers like yogurt and cottage cheese tubs and the plastic tubs that lunch meat comes in. Make sure if you are using plastic that it can withstand very hot (almost boiling) water. I learned this the hard way! Anything that is dishwasher safe should be good to use.

STEP 3: PREPARE FABRIC

Use a sewing machine or serger to either zig zag stitch or serge around the edges of your fabric. TIP: If you need to wash your fabric like I did above, you will want to do this before washing it. The fabric will unravel when it is handled or gets wet.

If you are using unwashed fabric, it will be dry. Wet it thoroughly and carefully squeeze out the excess water.

If you want to dye your fabric a solid color, make sure you use a large container to dye it in – it should be bigger than the piece of fabric. Lay your wet fabric down flat in the container so that the dye can cover the fabric evenly.

If you want the mottled effect, use a container that is much smaller than your fabric. Lay your wet fabric down on your work surface (covered with an old towel) and pinch it in the center. Carefully scrunch the fabric bit by bit all the way around, by pinching and pulling it towards the center of the fabric. Place it like this in the bottom of a small container. Use your fingers or the end of a spoon to make sure the fabric is nicely scrunched up all over. You want some areas to be on the bottom of the container to catch the most dye, and some areas to be peaked up at the top to not get as much dye.

STEP 4: PREPARE DYE

As you can see in the photo above, I started with a salmon pink color of fabric that I knew I would never use for anything. I dyed directly on top of this color to make a darker pink/purple color. You can start with fabric that is white, beige, pink, yellow, or any other light to medium color. Just make sure the dye you are using is a darker color. If you are using white fabric but want to dye it a solid color first and then do mottling on top of it later, be sure to use a large container to dye the initial fabric all one shade.

Scoop out one cup of hot water and put it into a separate container. Be careful, really cheap plastic containers will melt when you add the hot water! Shake well the Rit dye of your choice and add about 1 T of dye to the water. Stir with a spoon until thoroughly mixed. Take a small amount of dye on your spoon and let it drop onto a white paper towel. This will give you an idea of the shade. If needed, add more dye until you are happy with the result.

  

STEP 5: DYE YOUR FABRIC

Carefully spoon out some of the dye and pour it onto your fabric.

Keep spooning the dye over the fabric until you think you have added enough. To get a nice mottled effect, add more dye to some areas and less to others. Anything that is sticking out on top will have the least amount of dye. Use the spoon to poke the fabric and make sure that the nooks and crannies are filled in. With this fabric, I did leave parts of the salmon color un-dyed since it was already a solid color. If your fabric is white and you don’t want any white spots showing, make sure you take the time to poke around at the fabric and ensure that no white is showing. Clear containers are nice because you can look at the bottom and sides to make sure no white is showing. Do not add too much dye. You do not want the fabric swimming in dye. The top of the fabric should not be submerged. You can pour off excess dye back into your dye container (or the sink) if you think you added too much.

If you want to add more than one color of mottling, prepare the additional colors the same way you did with the first, using separate containers for each. Make sure your pot of water is still hot. If you keep it simmering on low, it should stay hot for you. If you turn the burner off completely, the water will cool down quicker than you think. You can also use the same (original) batch of dye and add more color to it to make it darker, and then pour that over some areas of the fabric. For my fabric above I dyed the salmon colored fabric first with purple dye, then I went and added eggplant dye to that purple dye to make it a darker and slightly different shade. You can see the purple and the eggplant dye samples on the paper towel, below.

Let the fabric sit for 20-30 minutes, depending on how dark you want the colors to be. Keep in mind that the fabric will appear much darker when it is wet.

After getting that piece of fabric done, I moved on to two pieces of white fabric. I wanted to dye one piece a nice dark purple with lighter mottling, and the other a mixture of pink and purple and blue. Here are pictures of what they looked like in their containers. Notice that the tips of the fabric are not in the dye, so they are going to be lighter.

STEP 6: RINSE OUT THE DYE

After your fabric has sat in the dye for long enough, carefully take the fabric out of the dye bath (wear gloves!) and rinse it out in the sink. Use cool water. Rinse and rinse until the water runs clear. You will probably need to rinse it for longer than you think. Use one of your empty containers to gently squeeze the water out of your fabric into. If the water is not clear, you have not rinsed it for long enough! When you finally get all the dye out, carefully squeeze out the excess water and lay your fabric down on a towel. Spread it out with your hands to get out as many wrinkles as possible. Be sure that your gloves are clean, or else you could transfer some dye of an unwanted color to the fabric.

The fabric is much darker when it is wet!

Let the fabric dry almost completely, and then iron to get all the other wrinkles out. It is easier to do this when the fabric is just ever so slightly damp; completely dry fabric is much harder to get wrinkle-free.

STEP 7: ENJOY STITCHING WITH YOUR NEW FABRIC!

The finished pieces of fabric!

I hope this tutorial helps you to hand dye your own cross stitch fabrics. It is a lot of fun, and not very expensive. Be sure to use those 40% off coupons at the craft stores for the dye and fabric!

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


Khufu

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The October 2019 issue of Cross Stitch Crazy magazine featured in one of its columns a small pattern for the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu, the commissioner of the Great Pyramid. Loving all things Ancient Egypt, I knew I had to add this to my to-do list. It wasn’t until a year later that I needed a quick project to work on and decided to give this one a go.

The fabric was left over from Spaceship Earth and was just the right size for this chart. I debated about what fabric to use for almost as long as it took to stitch the design, because I wanted the finished piece to resemble the only statue that exists today of Khufu, which is in a museum and is approximately 3 inches tall.

What do you think? Does the cross stitched piece look like the original?

I didn’t take any progress photos because this one stitched up really quickly. The colors used were all very similar, so good lighting was needed to complete this one. And it really didn’t look like much of anything until the backstitch was added.

I am not sure how I am going to finish off this piece. My initial plan was to cut the figure out and stuff it, with a weighted base, so he would resemble the actual statue. But I am not sure how that would really work out, and it would probably get lost in all the clutter sitting on my desk. I may end up framing it instead, but for now I am not sure.

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


America the Beautiful

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Done at last!

I’m so happy to have this project completed. I probably won’t get around to framing it for a while, but I think it would look good in a distressed white frame. This has been a nice, calming project to work on. The specialty stitches were a bit tricky to count due to my eyesight not being what it once was. However, the colors are just so beautiful (and nowhere near as vibrant in the photos as they are in real life) and the patriotic feel of this project during the troubling times we are in was just so relaxing. We all need more relaxing right now, I think!

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


What a find!

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I was so excited to find a DMC wooden floss cabinet on Facebook Marketplace a few months ago. It was in pretty good condition and the seller only wanted $9! The drawers did not contain the plastic divider inserts to separate the floss, but I knew I could pick them up online. But when I tried to order them, they were either sold out or no longer for sale from the distributors I had used before. But I placed an order with Wichelt Imports and they did eventually get them back in stock. The inserts were $4 each so I have $21 into this cabinet now. But new ones sell for $155 on DMC’s website, and they are never in stock. What a score! The seller called it “storage” was using the drawers to store sunglasses!

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


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


Spaceship Earth and… Figment!

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My quarantine project is finally finished, and I LOVE IT!!! I can’t wait to get it framed. I want to get a wooden hoop and paint it in a bright color (probably purple) but at the moment it’s hard to find supplies. I probably won’t worry about getting this displayed until fall when things have hopefully calmed down a bit.

I am a Disney fanatic, and Epcot is my favorite park. Spaceship Earth has always been one of my favorite attractions. I am also especially obsessed with Epcot’s mascot, Figment. I have been since I was a little girl. Here I am with Figment and Dreamfinder, circa 1985.

I probably have an unhealthy amount of Figment memorabilia, but oh well. Dreamfinder has been gone for years, and other than a topiary at the Flower & Garden Festival, you can’t really get your picture taken with Figment any more. But here I am in my Spaceship Earth gear a couple of years ago, next to my favorite Disney character.

I have looked online for cross stitch patterns of Figment, but there really aren’t any aside from a few that people have come up with on their own. Someday I would love to stitch a picture of my favorite little purple guy.

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


Quarantine!

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Our nation – no, our world – is having a crisis right now, and it is calling on everyone to stay in their homes to prevent the spread of this horrible COVID-19 pandemic. For cross stitchers, this seems like a dream come true. But people are quickly finding that it is not all it’s cracked up to be. Toilet paper shortages, food shortages, lost income, and uncertainties about their kids’ educations are causing people to start to crack. I have not felt this stress yet; for me things are still pretty much life as usual. My days are generally spent at home anyway, unless I have to go out for a doctor’s appointment. I’m sure things will change soon, and I will start going a little stir crazy. But for now, I know that my family and I are staying put at home and therefore are safe. Because of my health problems, we are not even setting foot in a grocery store or pharmacy. Luckily the pharmacy has offered to bring my prescriptions to the car for me, and grocery stores have options to shop online and then have an employee bring the items to your car and load them in your trunk. I’m not sure how much longer this pandemic will last, but for now I’m just thankful that my loved ones are safe. I hope yours are as well. We are cross stitchers – we can totally rock this quarantine thing!

XXX
Carrie


Hummingbird

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When I saw this adorable, bright colored hummingbird in the February 2020 issue (353) of CrossStitcher magazine, I just knew I had to stitch it! It was exactly the kind of project I needed – quick and easy, with only a few colors and very little backstitch. This little guy only took a few hours and really brightened up my dreary winter days. The designer is one of my favorites, Maria Diaz. Instead of using the 28 count Cashel linen as suggested, I used up a scrap of white Aida I had laying around. I’m not sure how I will finish him off, but I’ll probably end up putting him in a hoop and displaying it near my recent embroidery mandala.

XXX
Carrie


Under The Sea

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After two years, working off and on, this mermaid is DONE! I am not sure yet how I want to frame her, and she needs one last trip to the ironing board. But I am so glad I stuck with this project and was able to complete it. And now I think I need a break from stitching for a while, and then a nice, simple project when I get back into it!

The beadwork was pretty intense, but sooooo worth it!

The camera can’t do justice to the gold and silver metallic threads.

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


A New Toy

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The Christmas holiday has been nice and quiet and pretty uneventful. I have spent my time catching up on much-needed sleep. Besides that, I have managed to find some nice relaxing stitching time. I am going to attempt to finish the red-headed mermaid without working on anything else. I am able to work on this even though it is very dark and dreary and cold outside, due to a wonderful new task lamp that I bought for myself (Merry Christmas to me!)

The Mighty Bright LED Task Light Table Lamp was featured in a recent issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine and it sounded exactly like what I was searching for. Of course, upon doing a search for this lamp, I found out it was sold out everywhere. The company itself didn’t have any, Amazon didn’t have any, no one had any. My guess is that it is a discontinued product. But I was determined to find one, and I eventually did find one at an online quilting shop. The MSRP was $90, but I was able to snag the lamp, a pair of stork embroidery scissors, some bobbins for my sewing machine, and several yards of pom pom trim on Cyber Monday for only $75, including shipping. I have been using the lamp for stitching, reading, even just having added light in the living room when sitting there in the evenings. What I love about this lamp in particular is that it has the ability to be used in its base or clipped onto something. I keep it in the base, and the base has cork in the bottom of the tray to hold scissors, needles, threads, etc. The lamp has three brightness settings (I always use the highest) and it can be adjusted from yellow light to white light. I love this feature! Normally white (daylight) lightbulbs really bother me. I have to make sure the light bulbs in our house are the yellow kind, or else I get really nauseous. I have no idea why, they have just always bothered me since the old incandescent bulbs went out of fashion and compact fluorescent (and then LED) bulbs were introduced. I thought for sure I would want to have this lamp set on the yellow bulb setting all the time, but I found I actually prefer the white setting. It gives a more accurate color representation for the fabric and floss. And as long as it is above me shooting straight down, it doesn’t bother me. This is easy to do with the swivel neck that can bend in any direction.

If you can find one of these lamps somewhere, I highly recommend it. I noticed that the website I purchased mine from is already sold out, and like I said I don’t think these are even being made any more. But it has sure saved my eyesight  and helps with neck strain as well because I don’t have to bend over as much.

Happy New Year!

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


Neon Mandala

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This project finished up so much faster than I expected, and I love it. But I am a bit disappointed at how much of the white pattern shows underneath the stitching. I wish the lines had not been put onto the fabric so thickly. But I am a perfectionist, and I doubt anyone else would scrutinize my projects the way I do. I also think I may paint the wooden hoop a bright color, perhaps neon green.

I would definitely try another embroidery project in the future, but I think I would prefer to use my own fabric and threads and transfer the design to the fabric myself. I could definitely see myself doing a sugar skull pattern!

XXX
Carrie