July stitching

Saturday was finishing day — these are the pieces that are finally finished.

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Main Street Gazebo

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Early Americans progress

I designed these and stitched them over the weekend.  You can’t see “love” or “joy” because they are caught in the q-snaps.  I am not sure how I will finish them.  I had been thinking little pin pillows as gifts for my ever-changing weekly prayer partner at our ladies’ Bible study, but then I started to second-guess myself.  What if she doesn’t sew? Now I don’t know…

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After much time spent ripping out the right side, I finally finished this one!  The *local* beeswax made a huge difference.  The other beeswax was drier — this one was soft and not leaving chunks on the floss, and it made the Valdani thread stop shredding.

I also had a start but no photo yet.  It is the Mary Burgess Sampler from the Essamplaire, which you can see here.

I have been working a little on Samplers from the Scarlett House.  My “goal” would be to finish 2 UFOs before starting another project.  I have 11 to choose from, which is so embarrassing.  I’d really like to get the number DOWN — to 5 or less.  I would feel better.  Wish me luck!

Happy stitching everyone!

Summer stitching

batter up

I didn’t end up waiting until the All-Star break to stitch this one.  Since Nathan Hale and the Main Street Gazebo still hadn’t arrived in my mailbox, I thought I would probably be stuck working on them through the break.  All the colors except the green were changed to DMC.

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Little House Needleworks again!  Bee Sampler, stitched on buttermilk jobelan, which is a really pretty light yellow and sadly doesn’t show up well.  This was stitched with the called-for floss colors.  The beeswax is from a local bee farm in my town.  It is much softer than the beeswax I bought from an online needlework shop.  Maybe theirs had been sitting around for years?  I don’t know.  But this wax is soft and smooth and doesn’t flake apart.  If you are in the United States, I bought my beeswax here.  They also have an Etsy shop.

Last night I started the gazebo.  Since you all know I am dreading the big house on Nathan Hale, I put that one off for now.  I feel like I just received these two patterns and now the coffee shop is being released.

I do wish there was a LNS within a half hour from here.  Both are about an hour and a half away.  One marks up everything above retail, and the other is a traffic nightmare!  I ordered Nathan and the gazebo online and paid almost as much in shipping as I did for each pattern.  It works out that I paid about $8.50 for each $6 pattern!  I know shipping is expensive, but I also know that it costs $2.61 to ship that package!  I am considering having one of the more local shops hold several months’ worth of these for me, then making the ride out to get them.  Unfortunately that would leave me very behind in stitching them, and when I have done this in the past, I have never finished the series.  !!!  Hence, I still have 2 Little Sheep Virtues to do, and 4 from Shepherd’s Fold 2014.  That’s embarrassing to admit.  I can’t keep paying about $5 to ship them though — I’d rather have the money for something else.

If you have a good LNS, you are blessed!  If you don’t, have you found an online shop with reasonable shipping charges?  And do they actually have the products in stock?  I hate ordering online and then waiting for weeks or months — especially when it involves threads and I am in the middle of a project.  (That’s how Quaker Gone Tropic ended up as another UFO.  I waited weeks for the order that contained the silks I wanted.)

Bible school is this week and that is going to severely cut into my stitching time.  I usually stitch afternoons and evenings.  Maybe I won’t attend every night.   The Bible study topic for adults is one that doesn’t interest me in the least.  😦

Until next time… happy stitching!

 

Finishes/Progress

Happy Summer!

Here is my progress so far on the Early Americans:

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This one has become such a pain!  I ripped out most of the eggshell (Classic Colorworks) floss and replaced it with DMC B5200.  The eggshell didn’t show up on the lambswool at all.  Stitching houses was always one of my favorite things, but this Martha Washington house wasn’t fun at all for some reason.  I don’t have Nathan Hale yet, but it is another big house.  I *will* work on it when it finally comes in, otherwise the project will become a UFO.

Next up is the finished (and very wrinkly) baseball player.  I changed the floss to DMC 823.

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Following these finishes, I worked on Faith of the Heart.  I had a lot more done and realized my counts were off.  A lot of it had to come out.  😦

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I had to put in that partial grid just to figure out what was wrong.  Frustrating!

Once the picking apart was finished, I needed a break.  So I stitched up this Little Sheep Virtues, No. 6, Simplicity.

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This one took less than a day to do.  Unlike the previous one, which took months.  ???

My only change was switching the sheep to Caron Impressions.  It made him fluffy and bumpy.

Yesterday’s start was Little House Needleworks’ Bee Sampler.  I didn’t get far, but it is a fun one.

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The fabric is buttermilk jobelan.  It is such a pretty yellow!  The picture doesn’t reflect the actual color at all.

Stitching plans:  Finish the Bee Sampler and go back to Faith of the Heart, unless Nathan Hale and the Main Street Gazebo arrive first.  Start Little House Needleworks’ “Batter Up” during the baseball All Star break.  Beyond that… who knows?  It would be nice to finish up some UFOs, but I am committed to working on the Early Americans and Main Street.  So many of my UFOs are on 35 or 36 count (5 out of 10, plus one on 40 count) and I get bored with that easily.  Getting back to Quaker Gone Tropic would be nice as I haven’t worked with silk in a very long time.   Soon it will be time to think about Christmas ornaments too.  One day at a time, right?

One of the ladies at church has a bee farm, and I finally got to talk to her about that.  I asked if she sold beeswax for threads, and she does!  Her prices are very reasonable so I am going to order some.  Waxing threads for the higher count fabrics seems to work very well for me.  I will report back when I have tried them.

Enjoy your summer!  It is too hot to be outside here so it is a great time for stitching, unlike winter when everyone wants to be out.  That’s Florida!

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!

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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 #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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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!

A few small finishes

A Little House Needleworks pattern that came with the Classic Colorworks floss to stitch it.  A fun little project!  Stitched on my own hand-dyed “Antique” linen.

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It sure needs ironing!

Another Little House pattern that came with the floss.  Also stitched on my hand-dyed “Antique” linen.

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Ironing isn’t my favorite thing…

Betsy Ross, the first in the series “The Early Americans” from Little House Needleworks… stitched in Classic Colorworks cotton floss.  The border is from Vonna, the Twisted Stitcher.

Unfortunately,  I chose 32 count Lambswool linen (Wichelt) and the stars in the side border don’t show up.  I have tried 3 other colors of floss that I ripped out already.  I am not sure that I can keep the border on this one and may have to rip it out.  I have set it aside for future decision when my brain has had a break from this piece.  Your thoughts are welcomed.

betsy

Madonna of the Garden, by Mirabilia, framed.  It made it to its destination in time for the birthday.  🙂

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I have pulled “Isabella’s Garden” out of the UFO pile and am working on that, along with my Little Sheep Virtue school project.  I am about 70% done on that one.  Isabella is probably only at 20%.  Her head is almost finished and some of her dress.

I would *love* to finish a few of my UFOs.  I only have 6 others — Quaker Gone Tropic, Heartland Sampler, A Right Spirit, Loara Standish, January (well, I only put 3 stitches into that one!) and Cardinal Points.  Then I wouldn’t feel so bad about starting the Little House ABC Sampler series.  Or something else!

I am going to ask someone to put Loara and Quaker on scroll rods for me.  I have the rods, but my arthritis won’t allow me to put them on and tighten them myself.  😦

Happy stitching!!!

November Wrapup

November was a strange month and not a very productive one as far as stitching is concerned.

The month started with a bang:  We were scheduled to list our home for sale on November 1st.  The agent listed it a few days early.  By day 2 we had multiple offers!

This involved packing up closet clutter, having professional photos taken, and showing our home 5 times in 2 days.  S-T-R-E-S-S.

Thus followed a frantic flurry of longer-distance, and unfruitful, house-hunting trips.  Lots of stitching time was lost.  Lots of stress means that when I am home, I don’t always feel like stitching, which is so NOT me.

But there was a little progress and several finishes.

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Plant Kindness, by Little House Needleworks, stitched on Aida

This was my stitch-during-school project.

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Little House Needleworks “Gentleness”

Another school project, stitched on 32 count linen.  I hate how the white is barely visible.  I changed the color multiple times too.  😦

 

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Little House Needleworks Little Sheep Virtues “Gratitude”

Another school project.  28 count lambswool Jobelan in the called for threads.cam01289

Ewe & Eye & Friends, “Primitive Sheep”

32 count natural linen with DMC floss

And I started EE&F “Primitive Hive” right away.

There was some progress on Quaker Gone Tropic this month.  My camera batteries died and I grabbed my cell phone to snap these pictures, then forgot about QGT.

This is it!  I really made no other progress this month.

If you look at the photo with Prim Sheep and Hive, you will notice that I stitched them on the same piece of fabric.  I left enough room for my framer to frame them (some day.)  This wasted less fabric than cutting them individually, because of all the extra needed to fit in the Q-snap.  Yes, I do use a complete q-snap but removed one clamp for the photo.

You can see scraps of fabric beneath the upper and lower clamps.  That is FLEECE.  Yes, fleece.  Just scraps that I cut up.  You can put your needles into it, whether threaded or not.  I had read a tip years ago to use felt, and your loose old clamps will fit better.  Well, the felt BLED onto the linen.  So then I tried quilt batting.  If you like to put your needles into it, you will deal with lots of bits of fluff and that was a PAIN, especially when it would get caught in the eye or cling to the floss.  So I tried fleece, and it is by far the best!  No bleeding, and no fluff.  Try it!

I think you can see my normal stitching spot in this photo.  My lamp is never far from me!

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If it isn’t incredibly hot out (which isn’t that often)  I like to stitch out here because of the abundance of natural light.729-pine-island-drive-14

I never actually stitched here, but this is Home of my Stash.  On the left you can see my flosses in the triple tower.  I got the DMC drawers from the local LNS when it dropped cross stitch for knitting.  😦  They only sold old patterns anyway and had been a yarn store from before I moved here.  In these drawers I store ALL of my floss, including overdyed, all my beads, Whisper, Petite Braid, and beeswax.

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The bureau holds the rest of my stash.  The top two drawers hold other stuff.

Drawer 2 holds my patterns and kits.  Drawer  3 holds fabrics.  Drawer 4 holds most of my q-snaps and gadgets (Kreinik threads, charms & buttons, thread conditioner, pieces of fleece for my q-snaps, magnifying glass, Tacky Bob, etc.  The bottom drawer is the Cross Stitch Graveyard, where finished pieces reside until Someday when they get finished or framed, and patterns that I am finished with.

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I have been stitching for 25+ years now.  No, I don’t have much stash, but I used to have LOADS of stash until I lost the vision in my left eye in 2001.  I was told that it would never come back, and I couldn’t see well enough to stitch, so I sold or gave away EVERYTHING except my DMC floss and Gentle Arts floss.  Then I got my vision back.  And everything was gone!

I lost my vision in that eye once more in 2007.  I was told it was too far gone and not coming back.  This time, I kept my meager stash.  And my vision came back 8 weeks later.

This month looks to be another hectic one.  My youngest child will turn 10 this week.  My parents are coming to visit this week.  Son #2 is graduating with his master’s degree in meteorology, Christmas, New Year’s, my birthday, my wedding anniversary, and in between finding a house and moving!

I would deeply appreciate prayers regarding finding a home.  Everything we have seen is in terrible condition (but priced too high for us to fix it) and not what we are looking for.

Since Hive is nearly finished, I hope to finish that this month.  I have the Little Sheep Virtues for December ready to be my school project.  I am not sure about anything else at this point!

Have a blessed, peaceful December!

 

October

What a month!  Overall, it was a quiet stitching month because it was interrupted for hurricane evacuation.  It was hard to think that ALL my stitching could be lost — both stash and finished projects.  Due to space constraints, I grabbed Quaker Gone Tropic and packed it, forgetting that I was staying with chain-smoking relatives and didn’t want it exposed to that, so it never saw the light of day.  So there were quite a few stitching days lost this month!

I am thankful for NO damage to our property.  The tree I was concerned about (and prompted the evacuation) DID break, but it fell away from my house.  Praise God!

There were still a few starts and a few finishes this month, and a few older projects that I worked on.

The beginning of the month saw this start and finish, on a piece of 32-count scrap linen:

autumn

I love autumn, and I especially like autumn with squirrels (or cats.)

Finish #2:  Snowbirds, by Country Cottage Needleworks, on 28 ct jazz linen started Oct 8 and finished Oct 12

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Finish #3: Kindness, by Little House Needleworks, started Oct. 15, finished Oct. 16

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Next I started the Willow Tree sampler.  And things suddenly did not go well…

The stem is supposed to be on the ground.  Luckily I have a stitching helper who *loves* to frog…  which was no easy task, considering that those berries are all tiny smyrna cross stitches.

Quaker Gone Tropic has some progress…

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And another finish!  Humminpatches, on 28-count Stormy Seas fabric

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Photo with flash on:

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The true color is somewhere in between.

I couldn’t GIVE this fabric away on eBay or Etsy.  I hand-dyed it myself and LOVED it.  I told myself that when the listings ended, it would be MINE.  And I am SO GLAD I got to keep it!  It is perfect for this piece and it is so pretty!

The floss is regular DMC and Color Variations.  This was a lot of fun!

A new start: Primitive Sheep

Oops,  the pattern says to use ONE strand of floss… oh well.  Two it is.

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Another finish: Christmas ornament.  I made a few changes to the original pattern.

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New start: Isabella’s Garden

I converted her hair color myself.  I am not thrilled with this project because of the fabric.  This is crystal whirlpool from PtP, and I HATE this fabric.  The dyeing process tightened it up so much that it is like stitching on canvas, meaning my hands hurt and my stitches are not even.  This is my last piece of it and the last piece of their fabric that I will buy.

  isabella

I put in a very few stitches on Heartland Sampler this month.

At the beginning of the year, I considered starting 50 cross stitch projects to celebrate my 50th birthday.  I decided to try to finish 50 craft projects altogether, which I had accomplished by May.  I have at least 125 projects finished this year… closer to 150.

Where does cross stitch stand in that list?

I have had 36 starts this year, and 34 finishes.

I suppose I could just randomly start things to make 50 starts, and I *have* considered doing so.  Or that could be stupid and vain and a waste of time.  We’ll see how the rest of the year progresses.  One of my children is earning his master’s degree in December, another has a December birthday, and we are expecting out-of-state guests that month too.  So much could happen between now and then.

Until next time, happy stitching!

End of September

September began with me ordering more silk floss for Quaker Gone Tropic.  The month ended with me FINALLY receiving it.  So this project remained untouched until yesterday.  Here is my progress:

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Quaker Gone Tropic Progress as of September 29, 2016

This has been a fun project overall.  The infrequent color changes make it go quickly.  My fabric is light yellow — not that you can tell.

I started and finished this cute little freebie from Tiny Modernist.

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I love fall decorating, but I live in Florida, where fall is a meaningless term.

I started and finished Harvest Moon for the second time!  Hopefully this one will survive weather disasters.

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Little House Needleworks “Gentleness” had been my classroom project, but I started having difficulty with my vision and had to put it aside.  This is what I have completed so far:

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So I made “Plant Kindness” my classroom project instead:

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I didn’t touch Heartland Sampler this month at all.  I am not happy with the sheep because they are barely visible.

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Somehow I got 2+ pages done on Humminpatches:

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This project is so fun to work on!

I brought Madonna of the Garden back out.  I had said it was a UFO, and it turns out  I had only stitched maybe 220 stitches on it last year.  Before the frog made a BIG visit, I got a little bit done on it.

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I promised to post a picture of Beach-y Mood framed:

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My stitching plans for October, Lord willing:

  1. Keep working on Quaker Gone Tropic
  2. Visit eye doctor!
  3. Complete a page of Humminpatches
  4. Keep working on classroom projects
  5. If my eyes are better, work a page of Heartland Sampler.
  6.  ???

You never know what will happen.  I could end up starting something new or working on Madonna again.  I do need to stitch one more Christmas ornament and while there are many patterns that I like, I don’t think the recipient would like them.  I have spent hours looking through my patterns, old magazines, and freebies without seeing anything I think she would like.

Happy stitching to everyone!