Two more finishes

I finally finished “Home of the Brave.”  It is sitting on my Americana shelf in the living room.  You might be able to see it in the photo below.  The pictures that I took of it didn’t come out well at all.  I am not thrilled with my finish but mostly I never am!

And I finished Liberty Manor!

lib man 3

A finish I actually like!

The pin is an old one that I had bought in a cross stitch store about 20 years ago.  I used to wear it on patriotic holidays.  I haven’t worn pins in years.  It will be joining the others on the plant shelf.

I started “Faith of the Heart” by With Thy Needle and Thread.  It is slow going.  I special ordered the Valdani floss since I couldn’t find a conversion chart.  I am not impressed.  The first skein had several slubs and a knot, and the thread just shredded.  I tried Thread Heaven and it wasn’t much better.  Beeswax seems to be the only thing that makes it acceptable to use.  Next time I would probably not order it but use whatever color I like.  Maybe I was just unlucky with it, which is certainly possible, but at this price I can’t afford to work with something I don’t like.

I also started another “America” by Little House.  This one is for the plant shelf.  I had to do some serious frogging and haven’t caught back up to where I was before.  😦

And I frogged the entire roof on John Hancock.  My skein of CC Muddy Puddle wasn’t even close to the one on the chart’s photo — it blended in with the Hickory Sticks too much and hardly had any grey in it at all — more of a black.  So I am going to re-do it with a new skein which is mostly grey, like the photo.

That’s a lot of reverse progress!  I guess it is more of a “regress” update.  😦

Until next time, may the frog stay far away from you!  (And me, too!)


May Update #5

I have a finish!

My new start was Liberty Manor by 4 My Boys.  I have had this pattern for a long time!  It was an enjoyable project.  I started it on the 13th, worked on it the 14th, 15th, and finished it yesterday.  It was not without problems, though.


The problems are dye-lot related.  Let me stated that I love truly overdyed threads.  The blue in the house is clearly 2 different dye lots.  I had three partial skeins of this floss, wound onto a bobbin.  I didn’t notice until I was through the outside layer.  I’m not too happy about the end result.

The second dye lot issue:  I had multiple skeins of the “green” in the grass.  This is one of those original colors from the 1990s, and was always shades of green.  Well, I ordered a skein online at some point and was sent a skein that is completely brown.  Useless for me at least.  So I used one thread from the brown skein and one from the green throughout.  The sample on the right is the correct color.

dye lot extreme

What can you do in a situation like this?  If you HAVE to order online, you are unable to control what dye lot is sent to you.  These threads aren’t cheap! If you complain about it anywhere online, you will get shot down by the Great Defenders of Overdyed Threads.  To them, I say:  I have been using overdyed thread for over 20 years.  And, I have DMC that is just as bad!  Go away now.

I have ordered a lot of overdyed floss this year, and some has the OLD company name on the label or an old-style tag.  Is it going to match the model?  Will I have to change it out?

One “overdyed” floss that I recently ordered (and used) was completely solid.  I could easily have used DMC 3371 instead.  It is exactly the same!

I wish I had a store nearby to see the thread in person.  I might have to make some occasional trips (1.5 hours) just for that reason.

Off my soapbox now…

On the 15th, I was supposed to have a new start.  I put 8 stitches into Faith of the Heart by With Thy Needle and Thread.  When scheduled stitching gets to the point that it becomes an obligation, it is time to quit.  I don’t like having all these started projects.  I have enjoyed stitching on all of them and to have to put them down felt like punishment.  So I am going to keep working on UFOs for a while until I have some finishes.

Plans for today:  Maybe finally finish John Hancock!

Until next time…  🙂  Happy stitching!


May Update #4

I worked on John Hancock on May 10th and for a little bit today.  I have had painful fingers lately and stitching on this project hurts.  It is 32 count lambswool linen, which everyone knows is NOT my favorite fabric.  It requires a bit of tugging to get the needle through the very uneven weave, and when my joints hurt, it is just too much.

John Should-have-finished-by-now Hancock

Yesterday I picked at Home of the Brave too.

home brave

This one isn’t moving along as quickly as I would have liked either. I’m not crazy about either the blue or the green floss for this particular project.  At this point I am too lazy to change it out.

Yesterday’s start was Samplers by the Scarlett House.


Not much progress here.  I am using 36 count linen that I dyed myself.  I love this pattern.  Samplers are my passion — not that you would know it by what I have been stitching lately.  I need to get back to it, particularly reproduction stitching.

We made our first trip out to the closest cross stitch store to our new home.  GPS said we would arrive in an hour.  But with the horrible traffic, it was an hour and a half.  My husband drove and we had our boys with us, since we planned on having lunch there.  The traffic was enough that I don’t know if I would ever go back, and bear in mind, this was a weekday in the middle of the day.

I was disappointed that the store didn’t carry any fabric higher than 32 count.  The charts seemed to be partially arranged by theme, and partially by designer.  I was never really sure what I was looking at.  They were mostly out of overdyed threads so I couldn’t get all the ones I need.  But I did like the store owners very much.  I am sure they are willing to do special orders.  I was just hoping to get some higher count fabrics and I am loathe to order any sight unseen, since I know I am not a fan of Wichelt and I actually didn’t like the 32 count from Picture This Plus either.  Gasp!  Yes, I said it.  Too tight a weave post-dyeing, means lots of tugging to get the needle through and lots of pain.  Strangely I don’t have this problem when I dye fabric myself.

I did pick up three charts.  Two by Plum Street Samplers, A Merry Hart and American Sampler.  One by With Thy Needle and Thread — Faith of the Heart.  I couldn’t get all the overdyed flosses for these never mind the Valdani thread (which I have never used.)  I can’t find a conversion chart for it either.  I’m not sure what I will do about that.

Stitching plans now are up in the air due to finger pain.  I should probably work on something on 28 count because of that.  Tomorrow is a “new start” day and having so many UFOs is starting to really bother me.  We’ll see if I stick to it until the end of the month!

Happy stitching!

May Update #3

May 8th was a work-on-whatever-I-feel-like day.  Since “In God We Trust” only had the red to fill in, I decided to do that.  And I finished it!

igwt finished

This was very quick and fun to stitch.  Thank you to Paula for the comment — I never considered that anyone would want to know WHY I stitched a certain project.  This is for you!

I have been homeschooling my children for 20+ years now.  There is a 20-year difference between the youngest and the oldest child!  With my youngest, I discovered Mennonite curriculum and decided to give it a try.  This is what led me to discover the Mennonite church.  (I had never heard of them before.)  It became painfully obvious that the math was way too slow for him so partway through 3rd grade we switched to A Beka, which is what I used with the older children.  I also found that I strongly disliked the science, so in fourth grade — back to A Beka for science and health.  This year we were sticking to that plan, when *I* became extremely frustrated with the Social Studies.  It was ruining my day having to teach it.  I didn’t like it, thought a lot of the questions were irrelevant, and found the text to be somewhat racist.  Every day I was angry about the text and kept wanting to switch back to — yes, A Beka.  Finally my husband said, “Just buy the A Beka!”  So we started US History in February.  Yikes!  I have to get through the book and of course we haven’t yet.  This has rekindled my passion for history — my very favorite subject through all my life!  I loved history so much in school, especially European history.  I actually wanted to be a history teacher and was talked out of it by *my* history teacher!  (She felt that there are too many history teachers and not enough jobs — you get the job, you stay in it until you retire.  So I would be waiting around for someone to retire.)  And that is why I have been stitching so many Americana pieces.

The fabric I used is linen that I hand-dyed myself.  I use actual dye almost all the time, though I did just coffee and tea stain some fabric that you will see on future projects.  I like the dye so much better, so I probably won’t be doing any coffee or tea staining in the near future.  To my surprise, I actually enjoy dyeing my own fabric.  This saves lots of money as I am pretty good at matching almost any color or getting one I like better anyway.

Once I finished this project, I brought out Country Cottage Needleworks’ Main Street Flower Shop.  And yes, I finished that too!

flower shop finished

I am stitching this series because I was attracted to the colors.  It doesn’t actually “go” in my house.  I keep questioning my sanity over choosing to invest the time and money in the project — but it *is* fun, so I guess that makes it worth it.

I went back to Home of the Brave that evening but made very little progress on it.

On the 9th, I was supposed to start something new, so I chose John Hancock from the Little House Needleworks series, Early Americans.  I got most of the bottom done and the entire border.  I was stitching the flower pot last evening when I noticed a wonky stitch.  I can get picky about things like that, so I decided to rip out two rows and fix the offending stitch.  Because of the arthritis in my hands, I drop the needle a lot, and when I went to retrieve it, I stuck it into my thumb.  FAR into my thumb.  It took a a strong pull to get it out.  It was bleeding and extremely sore.  Poor John was put away for the night and I didn’t do any further stitching.  Hopefully I will work on him some today.

I haven’t chosen anything for tomorrow’s start.  I know myself too well.  If I planned out the month like some people do, it would become a chore and I wouldn’t enjoy it, but would feel obligated.  And who wants to feel obligated to a fun hobby?

Anyway, that is the latest update!  Have a blessed day!



May Update #2

In my last post, I wrote that I wanted to start the February Year in Chalk pattern on May 3rd.  My stitch maynia plans were to alternate starting a project on one day with working on whatever I feel like on the 2nd day.  Since I didn’t stitch at all on May 1st, things have been a little messed up but I have basically stuck to the plan.

heart stitched

I started it and finished it the same day!  It was a very quick stitch.

On May 4th, I received some charts in the mail so instead of waiting to start something new on the 5th, I started a new project on the 4th.  On the 5th and 6th, I continued working on it.

It is the Main Street Flower Shop by Country Cottage Needleworks, stitched on evenweave since Star Sapphire linen is not one of my favorite fabrics to work on.  I actually sold what I had of it in my stash.

msfs day 2

I had stitched the brown in the top border with the wrong color and had to frog it.  Other than that, things have gone well.

On May 7th, for a new start I chose Plum Street Samplers’ In God We Trust, which is a free design available on her blog.  I stitched while watching (mostly listening) to two baseball games and two hockey games.  I have been stitching to sports for over 20 years. Since I don’t really have to look at the TV, it works well.

igwt day 1

I got everything done but the red.

Today is work-on-whatever day.  I am going to try to finish this one.  The flag might take a long time.  I did a little frogging on the bottom of it yesterday.  It was a row off.

A question for you:  When you follow fellow stitchers, would you rather see their work on Instagram or Facebook than in blog format?

Speaking of work:  The dress.  Ugh, the dress.  It has been SO MUCH FUN that I took the craft table down, put the sewing machines away, and hid the dress in the den closet.  I CANNOT get the zipper right.  I have ripped it out at least a dozen times.  Let’s face it — I hate sewing and I am horrible at it.  The zipper was taken out so many times that the fabric is fraying.  I don’t ever want to see it again.  It is so discouraging.  I think my next step is taking it apart further — removing the bodice altogether.  The bad news is that I have enough fabric to make SIX more, and I can’t even make ONE!  Having to sew actually ruins my day.  Why put myself through that?  I would rather be stitching or doing almost anything else.

On a happier note, here is my May stitching to date:

1st – none

2nd – finished Little House Needleworks’ Little Sheep Virtue No. 12;

– started Little House Needleworks’ Home of the Brave

3rd – started and finished  Hands On Designs – A Year in Chalk, February

4th – started Main Street Flower Shop

5th- worked on MSFS

6th – worked on MSFS

7th – started In God We Trust

8th — ???

Happy stitching!

May Update 1

This first project was finished in April.  It is a free design from Shepherd’s Bush.

ewe are

If you purchase the JABCO button, you receive the pattern for free.  It was quick and cute and took just one Sunday afternoon.

Ta – da!  I finally finished my school project.  I don’t plan on starting another since the remaining subjects for this year are the most teacher-intense/involved.

joyfulness lsv
Little House Needleworks  Little Sheep Virtue No. 12

And I started this one last night.  Here it is after two hours’ work, on fabric I dyed myself.

home brave day 1
Little House Needleworks Home of the Brave

May stitching to date:

1st – no stitching.  A sewing day.  😦

2nd – finished Little House Needleworks’ Little Sheep Virtue No. 12;

– started Little House Needleworks’ Home of the Brave

3rd (today) – plan to start  Hands On Designs – A Year in Chalk, February

The stitching has been fun, but the sewing — not.  I have done more work with my seam ripper than with my sewing machine, I think.  I have been getting advice along the way, too — but it still seems that sewing will never be my “thing.”  I am a happy cross stitcher and a frustrated, stressed seamstress.

Maybe I will have a finished dress to show you next week.  Please don’t hold your breath!

Until next time… keep stitching and smiling!