Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mini Sampler: April

Another mini sampler has joined the bunch. Here's what I've done so far -

The group picture shows April in front. While doing these I've noticed something interesting happening. At first I was very stingy with the polyester stuffing and then became very generous. January is slim, February isn't quite as thin as January, March is rounded, and April is chubby. By the time I get to December, it'll be rotund! I'm going to have to go easy on the stuffing or they're going to split their seams!

Here's April, with tiny blue raindrops falling on umbrellas.
Spring Showers by Periwinkle Promises
28 count linen, silk floss

The top flower vine is scattered with spider web rosettes, a new stitch introduced this month, and the vine below it is done in Queen's stitch with French knot flowers.

Not related but a quick-to-stitch project - a free chart that I got with an order.

First Robin of Spring
designed by Elizabeth Foster

I think I like the red frame better.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Making Lemonade!

I had such big plans -

wonderful, grandiose plans,

BIG, super glorious plans.

My creative hat was on.

Ideas were coming fast and furious.

I could hardly contain myself. And then . . .

and then something happened.

It went from this . . .

It’s Spring!” from Madame la F’ee (here)
25 ct evenweave DMC cotton floss, Kreinik blending filament, beads

to this . . .
and I almost cried.

This is what I salvaged. I just couldn’t toss it aside. I love the design, the flowers, the colors, and most of all I love the bees.

and the Moda fabric on the back.

Here’s another bee closeup -

I wanted that shiny, inky black color on the bees that only shiny, inky black beads can give so – I used - shiny, inky black seed beads on the bee bodies. I also wanted the wings to glitter so I used Kreinik blending filament.

I’ve learned to love my mistakes.

Or should I say - my creative misadventures!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Petites Lettres Rouges

Blackbird Designs has offered a free chart of a wonderful little red sampler to be stitched for a contest. I don't think I've ever stitched so fast so that I could complete it in time.

This was stitched in loving memory of my grandmother whose name is stitched into the sampler. Unfortunately, I don't know her age at the time this photo of her was taken.
I was raised miles away from her in another state, but the same warmth and beauty that surrounded my father as he grew up was felt the first time I entered her house. Multi-colored quilts, embroidered linens, and crochet-edged pillowcases adorned every room. I believe my love of needlework began the moment I stepped within these walls and saw these beautiful ‘labors of love’. While stitching Petites Lettres Rouges, I added the motif of the crown over the heart which symbolizes love – her love of needle and thread. This love of handwork now encompasses another generation since my daughter has found the great satisfaction of creating with her hands through knitting and quilting.

Petites Lettres Rouges by Blackbird Designs
32 count off-white linen
DMC cotton floss - 814, 815, 498
Gentle Art Sampler Threads - Onyx

I backed the sampler with the same linen and stitched "In Loving Memory", the year, and my name. The front and back were then sewn together using the backstitch/whipstitch method as for a biscornu and added a red floss hanger. Around the red border on the front I did a running stitch with white floss to create a raised effect on the edge as a 'self-frame' which you can see

I plan to frame the photograph of my grandmother and display her photo and the sampler together. I might even mount the sampler onto linen and frame. I will then write memories I have of her and a brief history of this sampler and place this in a pocket attached to the back of the frame.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

TIP TO SHARE: Storing Projects

Before putting your stitching project away, instead of rolling or folding, try hanging it on a skirt or pant hanger that has clips on it. If indentation marks from the clips are a worry then fold a fabric scrap (use a neutral color and make certain it is colorfast) over the project edge to pad and cushion the project’s edge against dents. I try to clip the project as close to the end of the fabric as possible to avoid this.
I’ve had as many as ten stitched projects on one hanger. If the project is over-sized, then loosely fold the east-west fabric edges toward the center making certain the fold doesn't crease when clipping. If I put an unfinished project away and know I’m not going to get to it for a while, I’ll put the chart, fibers, and any embellishments in a plastic bag and clip it to the hanger, also. That way everything is together. Don’t cringe – but I’ve even put clear plastic bags over stitched pieces stored like this and have never had a problem (knock on wood). The bottom of the bag is left open so there is no moisture trapped. I'm sure there are 'experts' who would say this is a 'no-no' but I haven’t had any projects become discolored or damaged in any way. An old cotton pillowcase or muslin bag can be used if you prefer fabric to plastic.

WIP: Berlin Woolwork, Part 4

Here's a picture of my progress so far including Parts 1 through 4.

Berlin Woolwork by Needle's Prayse
Parts 1 - 4, Motifs 1-42

As you can see - I've completed Part 4 and started a tiny bit of Part 5 (lower right).

Here's a closeup of motif 34.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Carrots are good for you!

Any idea as to what's inside?
Hmm, what could it be?

Okay, okay - I won't make you wait any longer . . .

"A Bunny Garden Needleroll" by Praiseworthy Stitches
DMC floss, 28 ct raw linen

A needleroll, a pincushion, and a scissor fob all small enough to fit into their carrot 'house'. TOO CUTE! Everything to complete the project was included - linen, fabric, floss, beads, felt, thread rings, charm, ribbon, even a flower-head pin! I love it when I don't have to go searching for all the separate items that go into a project like this. And then there are other times when I like being creative and adventurous and experimental and start putting things together and am amazingly surprised (or utterly shocked) as to what evolves! Oops, I'm getting sidetracked.

Here's a photo of the needleroll unrolled showing bunnies-large and small-in their vegetable garden filled with rows of lettuce and cauliflower and carrots. Do you see the little worms? There's a tiny one among the flowers and one crawling his way among the veggies.

Here's a closeup of the lower portion of the needleroll . . .

See the busy bees buzzing around the hive?

Here's what the 'working' side of the needleroll looks like:

This was such a delight to stitch. Thank you for letting me share it with you.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Stitched but unfinished (must be a curse!) I can't make up my mind - picture or pillow? Guess that's why eight years later nothing has been done! I'm thinking pillow, yup, it's going to be a pillow. This is actually a small piece about 8" square and I love the lush 'tapestry' look.

"Tapestry Bunny" in Just Cross Stitch April 2001
14ct khaki(?) Aida, DMC floss

While searching for seasonal decorations I came across this little pillow stitched a long time ago (a very long time ago). And despite how very long ago that was I still like it; it hasn't lost its appeal. After stitching, I made into a little velvet pillow with eyelet trim. See, I CAN finish projects! (Oh, but that was so very, very long ago!)

“Springtime” Pulled-Thread by The Vermillion Stitchery CCPT (1982)
pale blue Congress cloth, DMC floss, unknown metallic

The bunny in the center is framed by a lace stitch and is surrounded by bands of petit point flowers and pulled stitches.

The stitches are pulled so tight you can see the pastel colored fabric lining underneath (that was the idea).

Another bunny . . .

It looks like there's something in the carrot.

Is there something in the carrot?

Hey, what's in the carrot?

I know there's something in that carrot.

There's got to be something in that carrot.

Okay, what's in the carrot?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Finished: Flea Market Souvenir

This piece really intrigued me: 3 different designs stitched on 3 separate pieces of fabric, sewn together and then embellished with crazy quilt stitches. The result is one long piece with a ‘vintage’ feel.

Flea Market Souvenir by Blackbird Designs
30 ct LaCrosse Blend & 30 ct Kansas City Blend (2 separate cuts)
Weeks Dye Works, Gentle Arts

Here are some close-ups of the stitching embellishment sewn over the seams before framing.

The chart did not describe how to sew the pieces together. I ladder-stitched the fabrics together leaving a seam of ½ inch which was then reinforced with the crazy stitches and the border stitches. I was worried about tension on these seams when framing but all went well.

Here’s a picture of the wrong side showing the border stitches and the crazy stitching over one of the seams. Not very neat - I was worried more about reinforcing the seams.

I actually completed this in March but just finished the framing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Words (to live by)

Here's a list of words or expressions I have been heard to mutter on occasion.

My Passion . . . I must say this at least once while stitching, maybe more . . .

“I Love Cross Stitch” from I Love Cross Stitch by Alma Lynne
pink hardanger, DMC floss, Kreinik
My Excuse . . . oh yeah! Can't have any of that idle neatness - it's just so, so un-healthy!
This is not a self-portrait. I don't look like that (my toes aren't that long) but I do have a pink hair bow (kidding!).

from More Quotable Croaks book two by Ann & Roger Steinbach
22 count hardanger, DMC floss

My Stitching Prayer . . . I used to say this a lot in the beginning but I've got the direction thing perfected, finally. Now I need protection from going over 3 when I should be going over 2! Bet that never happens to you . . .

from Heirloom Garden Border by Charles Ross (New Dawn Designs)
linen, DMC floss, metallic thread

My Philosophy . . . this has been a favorite of mine for years and it says so much! I try my best to turn negatives into positives. (Sometimes, though, it's really, really hard. But I try, really! Really and truly! I've made a lot of lemonade in my life!)

Unknown (I've searched and searched but can't find the chart - maybe I loaned it out)

My Motivator . . . I hear this a lot!!??

Big Girl Panties Dolly Momma by Janlynn
14 count Aida

More words later - on another day . . .

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Adventure: Ribbon Embroidery

Here's my first attempt at ribbon embroidery, an embroidered baby pillow. I've had this kit for sooooo many years - thought it was about time I worked on it.

Bear & Bunny Patch (Bucilla silk ribbon kit #41287)
Cotton flannel, floss, silk ribbon

The bear and bunnies were appliqued to the pillow cover using a simple blanket stitch surrounded by a beautiful garden of silk ribbon flowers.

I love the tactile feel of silk, whether it's ribbon or fiber. It's slick and smooth like a sugar lollipop.

This project wasn't difficult at all. I would call it a beginner project in ribbon embroidery. The stitches used for the flowers were straight stitch, Japanese ribbon stitch, french knot and free form. The bunny and bear tails were ruched ribbon and the bows were looped.

For my next adventure, hmmmm, what will I try? Brazilian embroidery or more stump work? I have no idea!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Proof of Spring - at last

From this . . .

to this . . .

and this . . .

Now doesn't that just put a smile on your face?????

Berlin Woolwork - Part 3

I really did finish this in March but am late posting. I've even started on Part 4 so I'm on target with my goal of finishing one part per month - so far, so good!

Berlin Woolwork - Part 3
Darlene O'Steen (The Needle's Prayse)

Motif 23

Motif 29

Motif 30

Motif 31

This isn't a quick project, takes some concentration and I can't work on it for long periods but am really pleased with the results.

Am I looking for excuses to start something else? You bet - here's a peek . . . think Spring!