Fuzzy Snowman

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I had a fun New Year’s holiday spent stitching! This fuzzy snowman from Sisters & Best Friends was one of my favorite projects ever! It stitched up so quickly, in just a couple of days. And the embellishments are just adorable.

The chart pack contained the button nose and scarf, but not the threads or fabric. I used DMC from my stash and a piece of 7 count Klostern fabric from R&R Reproductions. My snowman doesn’t have the fuzzy feel to it like the stock photo, because I didn’t have the appropriate floss, but I think he is cute nonetheless.

Although I don’t mind doing french knots, they can be intimidating when you have a bunch of them together all in one spot, as sometimes they don’t all end up the same size. I think these turned out OK!

I can’t wait to get this little guy fully finished! I have a bunch more of these chart packs in my stash but I don’t really care for them, as they all have a theme, like summer or patriotic and I like my snowmen to be just “regular snow guys”. So I may try to unload the other charts off on a stash unloading page.

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


Gingerbread Mandala

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Merry Christmas! I was finally able to finish off these little guys today. I don’t know how I will be finishing it off, but this turned out so cute! I was a bit worried about the color scheme in the beginning but I think it all came together nicely.

I just picked up this pack of fat quarters at Walmart and I think one of them will work perfectly for the finishing!

XXX
Carrie


Stitching In The Dark

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What a miserable weekend! Our power went out Thursday morning. I woke up at 6:00 a.m. to the sound of horrible wind. It had been predicted that we would be having an awful storm. I decided to get up and use the bathroom in case the power went off. Sure enough, it did, about 2 minutes later. But only for a few seconds, and then it came back on. It kept going back and forth from full power to half power, so we knew we needed to turn the breaker off so our appliances would not be damaged. Before my husband did that, I filled up a couple of jugs of water and woke my daughter and told her to find some clothes, get dressed, and use the bathroom. She was able to get herself ready for school and then we shut the breaker off. A few minutes after that, the power went out in the area anyway. My husband had an awful time driving her to school, as trees were down everywhere and he had to keep turning around to find an alternate route. When the power finally got turned back on Sunday afternoon, we had been without it for 79 hours. Luckily because it was so cold outside (in the 20s) we were able to put all of our food on the porch and we didn’t lose anything. Unfortunately because it was so cold outside, it was really cold in the house. And we live in an area with so many trees, we get very little sunlight. Even when all the lights in the house are turned on, our home is very dark. But, for about an hour a day when the light was decent, I would draw up a chair next to the kitchen window and work on a new project. I first started with the Merry Christmas Robins but that proved impossible on 28 count white fabric. Instead I started an Emma Congdon design I had already kitted up, on 14 count Aida.

There will actually be gingerbread men on this mandala when it is finished!

XXX
Carrie


Rudolph!

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Rudolph is finished! I just love how he turned out. I did struggle a bit with the red polka dot fabric because when I cut it straight on one side, the polka dots did not line up correctly in the perpendicular direction – they went downhill. In the end I decided to not try to line the dots up evenly with the edge of the linen, and I think it turned out OK. I also always struggle with how much stuffing to add to these little cushions, and I keep adding more and then taking some out. I am too much of a perfectionist!

XXX
Carrie


Merry Christmas!

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I finished this cushion a couple of weeks ago but didn’t have any Christmas decorations up to display it and take a photo. So far, this is still all we have as of December 11. We need to put a tree up but I just don’t know when that will happen. Santa can’t put gifts under the tree if there isn’t one, so that is next up on the to-do list. We plan to have a real tree this year (I’ve never had a real tree, ever!) so it will be a lot more work than just dragging the artificial tree out of the garage. My husband said we also need tinsel if we are going to have a real tree (normally I use wired ribbon). The only place I could find any was target.com so that is on the way and should be here Monday.

The weather is absolutely horrendous right now. My daughter was supposed to have a bowling Christmas party with Girl Scouts but they cancelled it a few hours ago. I am somewhat thankful even though that will mean a lot of disappointed kids. I heard from one mom that the roads are really treacherous and I’m glad to stay inside the warm house. Maybe it’s time for some Christmas music and a mug of hot chocolate!

I hope you have a lovely Christmas and a happy New Year!

XXX
Carrie


Ho Ho Ho!

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I have had so much fun stitching this Ho Ho Ho Rudolph from Lizzie*Kate! I did mess up on the counting on the snow pile, which made the border closer than it should have been. And I changed the border from white to blue so it would show up better. My fabric was apparently a lot lighter than the color in her stitched model. I also changed the stitched snowflakes to Mill Hill beads.

Now I just need to figure out how to finish this little guy off. I can’t decide between a flat fold (which I have actually never made before!), an ornament, or a mini pillow. I really don’t need any more tree decorations and I could use a bunch of mini pillows for decorating, so that is probably what I will go with.

XXX
Carrie


Christmas Stitching

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Usually I stitch medium to large cross stitch projects that take quite a bit of time and concentration. Lately, however, I have been gravitating toward smaller, easier, and quicker projects. My stitching time is so limited and I want to be able to finish as many things as fast as possible. I’ve also gotten rid of a lot of projects in my WIP pile this year. The only two unfinished projects I have now are Peacock Tapestry and A Summer Ball. I would like to work on A Summer Ball sometime soon, but I don’t have plans on finishing that one for years. Instead, I would like to build up a large collection of smalls for each holiday. That is what I have decided 2022 is going to be – A Year Of Smalls. I am going to start working on Christmas and winter designs, and once I have a bunch of those done I will probably work on 4th of July and Halloween. Those are the 4 main themes I want to stitch for. If time allows I would also like to have a few designs each for St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Thanksgiving.

I also want to have a bunch of projects kitted up to have ready to go whenever the mood strikes. I don’t mind if I work on multiple projects at once. One of the projects I have just started is F128 HoHoHo Holiday JINGLES Flip-it by Lizzie Kate and it is adorable!

So far I only have Rudolph’s red blanket (saddle??) and part of his body stitched. But I will work on this one for quite a while before moving on.

I also plan on working on Happy Holidays by Bent Creek which I blogged about recently, although I have not yet decided on which color scheme I want to go with.

Another fun winter project is this adorable snowman, J.T. Fuzzy from Sisters and Best Friends. I have not kitted up this one yet, but assuming I have the correct 7 count Klostern fabric on hand, this one will be a really fast stitch because it is very small. I just love the carrot button nose and real scarf!

And last but not least, is a free cover kit that came with a recent issue of The World of Cross Stitching. It features robins (well, British robins!) and the words Merry Christmas, along with a wooden snowflake charm. Although it came with a card and envelope, I am going to finish it off as a small pillow or flat fold instead. I actually started this project in the waiting room at the hospital a couple of weeks ago while waiting for my husband to have a procedure done. I have not worked on it since but it will be going into the rotation.

XXX
Carrie


Decisions, decisions!

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I have been looking for several quick and easy projects to kit up so that I can always have something ready to work on when needed, especially if I need to take a project on the go (like in the car for when I’m waiting). I had this chart laying around and liked it but thought that the brown color scheme seemed all wrong for the holidays. So I picked out two pieces of fabric that I like and two skeins of Weeks Dye Works variegated floss. My plan is to stitch the design with only one color of floss, to make it easier and faster.

The tough choice is, which do I choose? I absolutely love the pink fabric with the Bethlehem floss, but the green fabric with the Noel floss is more “Christmasy”. I also have a lot of pieces of fabric like the green, whereas I only have that one piece of pink. And I only have one skein of Noel, whereas I have 4 skeins of Bethlehem. I sort of want to save the pink fabric for a design a bit more “worthy” of the fabric. But I have yet to come across anything in my stash that would work with only one skein of floss and on that small size of piece of fabric. I think I will think about this for a few days!

XXX
Carrie


Hoop Finishing Tutorial

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Today I am going to show you how I finish my cross stitched projects in an embroidery hoop.

First, gather your materials. You will need paint and a paintbrush, or a paint marker such as a Posca pen. When using paint I like to use the small bottles of acrylic craft paint and a wooden handled sponge applicator instead of an actual paintbrush. Cover your work surface.

You will also need felt that matches the color of your fabric, ribbons and other embellishments, scissors, and a hot glue gun.

Carefully paint the outer hoop only, using thin coats of paint. It is better to let the project dry and then add a second or even third coat, rather than trying to paint on one thick coat. Try not to get paint on the inside of the hoop, but be sure to paint the outside edges. You will probably need to do one side, let it dry, then do the other.

If you want to wrap a decorative ribbon around the hoop, follow the next step. If you will be painting your hoop only, you can skip this part.

Add a drop of hot glue to the top of one side of the hoop and attach your ribbon at an angle. When it is dry, cut off the edge to be flush with the hoop. Slowly wrap the ribbon around the hoop, leaving a gap so the contrasting paint color can show. Add a drop of glue on the underside of the hoop only, about every other wrap. Use only as much glue as needed to ensure a secure hold. Too much glue will be messy and bumpy.

When you get to the other end of the hoop, add a drop of glue to the end and trim off the end just like you did when you started.

Place your finished cross stitch project in the two hoops and tighten it, being sure the design is centered and the fabric is taut.

If you find it difficult to get the hoop exactly centered, as I did on this Silent Night design with a circular stitched border, lay just the top hoop on the fabric and use pins to mark the four sides. Count an equal number of stitches from the sides of the stitching and keep moving the pins, one Aida block at a time, until you have an equal number of empty stitches on all four sides, as shown below.

Cut the excess fabric away from the hoop. You want to leave just enough fabric to be able to wrap around the hoop and glue down to the inner sides of it.

Carefully fold the cross stitch fabric over the inner hoop and hold it in place with hot glue. Continue this process around the entire hoop. You want to be sure that the fabric you are folding over isn’t so big that it lays on the back of the stitched piece, to avoid a bulky finish.

Sometimes you won’t have much excess fabric at all, such as with this free cover kit that came with an issue of The World of Cross Stitching magazine. When this happens, it may be easier to trim all excess fabric off after the project is in the hoop.

Next, cut a circle of felt the same color as your cross stitch fabric and glue it around the edges of the back of the hoop. You can also add a second, slightly smaller smaller piece of felt directly to the back of the stitching, and this will help the design not be see-through if you are hanging it in a window where sunlight will shine through it. I would caution against adding glue to this piece, however. I try not to let glue ever touch my stitching, as it can yellow over time.

Once your felt is added to the back, you can add a cute label, if you wish. This label was cut from a piece of ribbon that was added with just a touch of hot glue.

Add a ribbon for a hanger and then you can add other embellishments like a bow, other ribbons, small greenery, pinecones, buttons, etc.

You can also finish off a plastic or painted wooden hoop with ric rac, as shown below. I started at the top and added a drop of hot glue, then pressed the ric rac in place. I curved the trim around the hoop and put a drop of glue every other top curve in the ric rac.

Pom Pom trim also makes a cute addition to your hoop finishing. I added it to a natural wooden frame that I did not paint, below. I used hot glue to add the trim on the outside edge of the outer hoop, making sure the pom poms were facing toward the stitched front.

What fun finishing designs can you come up with?

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


A Santa Cushion

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I decided to finish off Santa and his reindeer as a long cushion. First I picked a coordinating calico fabric and cut strips which I sewed to the sides of the design.

Then I cut off the excess fabric from the top and bottom.

Next I pressed the seams open.

I then sewed on a piece of white ric rac down the length of each strip of fabric (but I forgot to take a picture of that part…oops!)

Next I picked out a different piece of coordinating fabric and sewed that to the back, with right sides together. I left one side open for turning.

After turning the piece right side out I stuffed it with fiberfill and used a chopstick to push the stuffing into the corners.

Then I finger pressed the side seams to the inside and held them together with Wonder Clips. The next step will be to hand sew the opening closed. I probably won’t be able to do this for a few days because this week is going to be crazy with doctor visits and other appointments. I’ll post pictures of the finished result when I’m done! And in the meantime I will look for my next project.

XXX
Carrie



Trick or Treat (In November!)

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I forgot to take progress photos after completing the words Trick Or Treat, so this has been a work in progress for a while now. Working on this project has been so much fun and it was such an easy stitch for a change. I have tried taking the project into a dark room to check out the glow in the dark fabric but it is a pretty dim glow. I have no idea how long ago the fabric was made and if the glow aspect fades over time. So I am a bit disappointed with that, but if I ever want to stitch the other 3 designs in this series I wouldn’t have anything except plain white Aida to stitch them on, anyway.

My plan is to frame this in a wooden hoop that I paint either black or orange and then wrap ribbon of the opposite color around. I’m not sure if we have any of those plastic spider rings laying around the house, but it would be cute to finish it off with one of those!

This design was created by Emma Congdon and it can be found in the October 2019 issue of Cross Stitch Crazy magazine. (And while you’re reading the magazine, find mention of my mason jar tutorial on page 67!)

XXX
Carrie


Santa’s On His Way

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My newest project is a Bent Creek Zipper Kit, called Santa’s Reindeer. This is my progress for the last couple of days.

This is going to be much larger than I expected. The fabric is supposed to be 18 count, although I checked it in several places and it is definitely 20 count. But it is to be stitched over 2 threads, so I am ending up with a 10 count project. I was thinking this would be small enough to make into a small cushion to use as an ornament or decoration but I don’t think that will be the case. At any rate, I am loving this project. The counting is so easy and the pearl cotton makes this one stitch up so much faster! There is no separating of floss and because it is only one strand it is not tangling or knotting at all. There is also large areas of one color, which I love. My brain fog has been so bad lately that counting is difficult, and my hand pain makes it hard to hold onto anything, such as bowls and cups, my phone, and embroidery hoops. I love that my sit-on stand has a hoop adapter so I can stitch hands free!

XXX
Carrie



Done At Last!

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It’s finally finished! I am so glad I persevered with this project. It actually didn’t take long to finish at all, once I had my system down for doing the grass part.

The fabric color was really tricky to capture on camera. It is actually a nice green color, and neither of these photos do it justice.

Start date: Summer 2012 (I think)
Completion date: October 29, 2021

Now to start on something for Halloween, even though it won’t be finished for this year!

XXX
Carrie


A Sick Day

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Recently my daughter got sick and of course as soon as she was better I caught it. But she was only really sick for 2 days, and I am now on day 10. It started with a sore throat, sinus pain, and fatigue. Then after I got on antibiotics it turned into a cough, ear pain, and chest pain. Luckily no fever, loss of taste or smell, or other issues. But the overwhelming exhaustion is really kicking my butt. I started out in bed, then moved to the couch, and now am able to do a few things throughout the day like throwing a load of laundry in the washer and loading the dishwasher. But that’s about it. The TV has been my only companion, as I just can’t keep my eyes open enough to look at a chart or a needle.

Today I did manage to overcast the edges of two pieces of fabric on the sewing machine. I had two projects picked out before I got sick, Bent Creek’s “Santa’s Reindeer” and a Halloween design by Emma Congdon from one of the British magazines. I am not sure which magazine or which issue, but I am stitching mine from what I believe is the October 2020 issue of Вышивка крестиком, a Russian magazine. I know it was in the British magazines first, because I have the issue it was originally in somewhere. I think it was an issue of Cross Stitch Crazy, but I can’t be certain. When I wanted to stitch this design I couldn’t find the issue it was in, and the Russian version (which I subscribe to through Zinio) happened to have a clear photo of the designs on the cover.

The Bent Creek design will be (I believe) the first time I have cross stitched with pearl cotton. Why this company chooses to use pearl cotton instead of embroidery floss, I’m not sure. But it should be interesting and a pretty quick stitch, as the design is small and not many color changes. I love the addition of a peppermint button on Santa’s hat.

The Halloween design is something I have wanted to stitch for a good year now and never got around to it.

There are 4 designs but this one is my favorite. I even found the perfect piece of Aida that I didn’t even know I had in my stash… it is 14 count white but it is actually glow in the dark! I have no idea where I picked that up. It is only big enough for one design, unfortunately, but I am not sure I would ever stitch the other 3 designs anyway, as I have so many things I would love to do. I definitely can’t get this done in time for Halloween this year, but I love stitching all sorts of holiday designs all through the year. If we can have Christmas in July, why not Halloween in November?

XXX
Carrie


The Home Stretch

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I am so close to finishing this project that I started in 2012! I finally came up with a system to make the grass at the bottom not so terrible. I started with the darkest brown which is not only the easiest to see, but also has the least amount of stitches. I used a Post It to keep my place on the chart and then crossed off my stitches with a marker. I did all of this color in a huge area. Then I moved on to the medium brown, which also was easy to see and marked that off with a different colored marker. Then when that was done I started with the third and final grass color, a pale brown that is harder to see against the fabric color. I started on the right hand side and stitched only the bottom stitches. After doing a large section that way, I went back and filled in with that color up to the top, and this was so easy to do while watching TV because there was no counting involved. After doing the right side of the pattern this way, I then moved on to the middle. Now that the middle is done I am working on the left side. After this area is filled in I will only have to do some backstitching in the grass and this project will be DONE! I am determined to get this finished before the end of the year so that it does not turn into a 10 year project. 9 years just sounds so much better 🙂

XXX
Carrie




Two finishes

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I finished up the stitching on the cardinals and decided to frame it and my recent Home Sweet Home design. The Home project was already framed in a hoop that came with the kit, but I wanted to dress it up a bit. So I added pink ric rac to the front edge, and a gingham ribbon hanger.

The cardinals were even more fun. I framed them in an old wooden hoop I had laying around (it was more rustic looking than new ones) and added red pom pom trim to the edge. Then I added a blue dotted grosgrain ribbon hanger and bow. It was so warm and sunny out (for September!) and I managed to get a nice picture of it outside. That’s one thing I am usually pretty lazy about; I tend to just grab my phone and take a picture of my finished pieces wherever they are laying (see above!)

I think these both turned out so cute!

That is it for new projects, at least for a while. I need to get back to the Alice stitch a long, and I just have to finish that deer in the woods once and for all. So no new starts! But all cross stitching will probably be put on the back burner for a while. Now that school is back in session, I have to make up a batch of new masks for my kids to wear. I have already made a few for my son and although I sew them on a machine, my hands are hurting from the process of cutting the fabric, turning the masks right side out, and feeding the material through the machine. Even reading a book the other day was painful, trying to hold onto it. My grandpa had a saying, “don’t get old, it doesn’t pay”. He was so right!

XXX
Carrie



A Circular Design That Isn’t Circular…?

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I was worried that the pattern looked like it extended too far out to the right, and I thought maybe I would not have a big enough piece of fabric (this was just a scrap piece left over) or that it would not fit entirely in the hoop. I am using a 7 inch hoop to stitch the design, and it is meant to be framed in a 7 inch hoop. I always use plastic hoops to stitch with and wooden hoops to frame. After I stitched the outside border and it all came together, I didn’t have to worry after all about it being too large. But there is another problem… the design is not circular, like the model in the magazine. It is more… oblong. I’m not sure if my hoop is just bent out of shape and it will be fine when I use a sturdy wooden frame. I have noticed plastic hoops not look terribly round when they are taken off of a project. Or it could be that my fabric is not made up of entirely square Aida blocks, and this is my biggest concern. The only way to know for sure will be to take a ruler and measure out an exact number of stitches both vertically and horizontally and see if they give the same exact length in inches. If they don’t, I have no idea how I am going to make this look good when it is finished, except to either rip out the white border all around, or to rip out the stitches at the sides and re-do them closer to the edges of the hoop, to make it “look” like it is round.

I was loving this project but now I am thinking it is more of a headache than it was worth.

XXX
Carrie