I just discovered someone stitching one of my pieces (“More Love More Prayer”) in time-lapse. How amazing seeing it come to life in such a way. Thank you, Stephanie!
I just discovered someone stitching one of my pieces (“More Love More Prayer”) in time-lapse. How amazing seeing it come to life in such a way. Thank you, Stephanie!
A few years ago, I came upon a post about a new line of linen, featured on a blog I visit which mostly revolves around embroidery. I don’t embroider, but this woman makes me want to jump on the embroidery bandwagon in the most desperate way. There is something about embroidery that is so beautifully elegant and tempts me to try my hand at it. I haven’t succumbed yet, but the more I visit this blog, the closer I get to falling into the hole. The blog is a very popular one – if you have not visited it, you should, as it is such an inspirational place. The blog is Needle ‘N Thread by Mary Corbet. It’s a great place to spend some time and learn some very interesting things (if you want to see a gorgeous stitch, look up “star stitch” while you’re there).
This is where I discovered Legacy Linen’s Provincial line. I’ve shared before that Legacy linen is my absolute favorite linen to stitch on – it has such a sumptuous and rich feeling. I was so intrigued after reading Mary Corbet’s post that I decided to order a few pieces. I started with “Ivory Piano Key” and “Buttermilk Biscuit” (fun names). Mary Corbet does such a great job of covering all the basics of this linen that I do not need to reinvent the wheel, but I can share with you some things I have observed in my stitching on this linen. It is a 20-count linen, so there are 20 threads per inch. I am stitching on mine over one, using two strands of DMC floss. I’ve gotten too far along now, but realize I probably should have used three strands for better coverage. You’ll be able to see this in my photograph. I believe the “Provincial” title is very appropriate, as this linen just says “rustic” to me, so I designed a pattern for Christmas more in a homespun kind of flavor, with subdued colors and not the bright traditional colors of Christmas.
Here are (from top to bottom) Buttermilk Biscuit and Ivory Piano Key:
There are a good amount of slubs which you can definitely see in the above photograph, so you need to be aware of this, in case that kind of thing is bothersome to you. Also, because the threads vary so much between fat and plump and slim, the linen seems to eat stitches. I’m sure there are more technical terms I could be using but “eating stitches” seems to perfectly describe it to me. I think it’s also called “disappearing stitches”, and because the threads in this linen seem to move around a lot more than others, I’ve had to fiddle with my stitches more than I usually do. This is why I think it would be better, if you are using DMC, to use three strands to create more weight, or use something heavier like perle cotton. So I’ve had to fiddle with the disappearing stitches a bit. It’s a learning process, but I like the challenge of experimenting with new materials. I took the Buttermilk Biscuit linen and put in some stitches using various threads. First, I tried DMC Perle Cotton 815. The first block is stitched over one, and the second block is stitched over 2. Continuing down the fabric, I put in some stitches of DMC 902, three strands over one. Then I finished with The Gentle Art Simply Wool (Ruby Slipper), one strand over one. As you can see, this is a very fuzzy linen.
Just recently, I ordered three new colors: Sea Water Black, Silver Pine Needle, and Crimson Caroline. They are all stunning, especially the red one, because it is truly a traditional red. I got out my DMC color card and tried to find which colors best matched the colors of the linen, but could get no true matches. (Side note: this always amazes me, as there are so many colors in the DMC line.) I pulled a few samples and photographed them to give you a better idea of the linen color. Here they are in order: Silver Pine Needle, Crimson Caroline, and Sea Water Black.
Have you stitched on this linen? If so, what are your thoughts about using it?
I hope this post finds everyone well and enjoying the winter days of January. Four new releases this month – perhaps you’ll find something new to stitch!
Stitched on 40-count white linen using DMC threads, this is a nod to kitchen retro. The stitch count is 69 x 82, with a finished (stitched) size of about 4-1/4″ x 3-1/4″. As always, don’t let the 40-count intimidate you. If you don’t enjoy stitching on it, choose another count. You can use a cross stitch calculator to figure out the size of the piece on a different count linen. My sister Val finished it as a flat-fold and I believe she got the little charms from that big box store which exists in about every town in America now. I am in love with the fabric she chose (which came from the fabric big box store).
Next up … Friendship …
This piece was stitched on 32-count Zweigart linen (Lambswool), using DMC threads, with a stitch count of 98 x 158. The infinity sign at the bottom could possibly be enlarged and personalized inside with your and your friend’s initials. I know there are free alphabet charts online. Just an idea for you. I wanted to keep it generic for the model. Stitch count on this one is 98 x 158.
Snowflake … I’ve seen enough of these around here this week!
This one was stitched on 32-count Zweigart linen (Dark Cobblestone) using DMC threads. This linen is a beautiful color … not sure why it didn’t catch my eye before. Stitch count is 117 x 82.
And rounding out the grouping is Tiny Shamrock Sampler.
Val finished it as an ornament – since it was stitched on 40-count linen, it was small enough to do so. Stitch count is 83 x 73, the linen is Lakeside Linen (Flagstone), and it was stitched with Classic Colorworks silk floss. This is the third of my tiny samplers, the first two being Tiny Daffodil Sampler and Tiny Pansy Sampler. You can check out the gallery of my website to see them – they were released a year or so ago. I do have three other tiny samplers already designed, waiting to be stitched.
I did make a note on the chart about this, but since this piece is stitched (for the most part) with variegated silks, a DMC conversion was a little tricky. I found comparable alternatives except for the pot of gold. The silk used was “Enchanted Forest” and there is no DMC alternative. I noted on the chart that since it’s a very deep dark green, you could use black (310), or if you wanted a lighter look, you could opt for DMC 3371.
This week I worked exclusively on my “Evergreen” piece. It’s what called to me, so I listened, and stitched on it when I had time. I finished the polar bear square and started/finished the fox square. This fox is just way too cute. He (she?) was a fun stitch.
Cookie recipe for this week … Rolo cookies. What looks like an unassuming chocolate cookie has a surprise inside. After making the dough, you wrap it around a Rolo candy. The candy then melts inside as it bakes, which gives you a delicious bite of caramel and extra chocolate when you bite into it. I drizzled mine with white chocolate for the wow factor. Since you dip them in sugar before baking, you don’t have to do that, but you might want to use a sugar which has larger crystals (I think it’s called coarse/decorating sugar) so the tops sparkle a bit. Oh, and you have to exhibit quite a bit of willpower, as you need to unwrap each Rolo candy before making the cookies. If you sample too many, you will have to make your cookies without the candies inside.
2-1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
Bag of Rolo candies (product sizes have changed so much over the years, just get a large bag)
2 tbsp. sugar, in small bowl
Heat oven to 375. Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs. Measure flour, cocoa and baking soda into a bowl; blend well. Add flour mixture; beat well. For each cookie, with floured hands, shape about 1 tablespoonful of dough around 1 candy, covering completely. Press one side of each ball into sugar. Place, sugar side up, 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until set and slightly cracked. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely on wire rack.
*If you want to drizzle white chocolate over your cookies, I find that the white chocolate bars melt best. Four ounces is just enough to cover all the cookies. Put a sandwich bag in a tall glass, and pull the top of the bag over the edge of the glass. Fill bag, take out of glass, and make a small cut in the corner of the bag. Easy way to drizzle without getting out the pastry bag.
And to balance out all that cookie eating, I made spinach soup last night for dinner. I realize for most, this will cause you to make a face, but realize this is coming from the girl who, when asked to draw her favorite food by her second grade teacher, drew spinach. Here’s a picture of it, since it just looks so festive. I won’t include the recipe, as something tells me there will not be great demand for it, but if you’re interested, let me know and I’ll make sure you have it. Honestly, it was very delicious!
Not much to report here today, as this past week was the busiest December week yet. Between concerts, rehearsals, and holiday gatherings, I hardly had a chance to stitch. And unfortunately, what I was able to do ended up being stitches I’ll have to frog. Somehow I made a mistake in my little Scandinavian tree, so I’ll have to do some ripping. That didn’t sound very appealing, so I put it aside and worked on my “Woolly Winter Wall Hanging”. This is not the best picture, as I was not going to drag out my still life studio box just to take one photo. The snowman is almost finished and a tree has appeared. I don’t like the arms, they’re kind of weird. I only stitched one arm, but I am going to take out those stitches and make the arms more simplistic.
And that about wraps up my stitching progress.
Moving on to cookies …
CHOCOLATE SPRITZ COOKIES
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
2 tbsp. milk
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
Powdered sugar for dusting
Heat oven to 375. In large bowl, combine sugar and butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat well. Alternately add flour and milk to butter mixture, mixing until well combined. Add cooled chocolate; blend well. Fit cookie press with desired template. Fill press with dough; press onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 5-7 minutes or until edges are light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets; cool slightly. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Holly’s Law says when you don’t put pressure on yourself to get a finish, you’ll get a finish. (If you want to get up to speed on what I’m working on and why, click here.) During my stitching time, I mostly worked on Brittercup Design’s “Mine!” Here it is … so cute.
I also put some stitches in on “Scandinavian Tree” by Scandinavian Stitches.
In the cookie department, I baked a batch of spice cookies. I’ve been making these for almost twenty years … they are the perfect autumn/winter cookie, because of the molasses and fragrant spices. They won’t be the most attention-getting cookies on your Christmas tray, but they are delicious and very addictive.
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups flour
4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. each ground ginger and cloves
1 tsp. salt
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add molasses; mix well. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill overnight.
Shape into 1/2-in. balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 6 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Yield: about 20 dozen cookies.
If you find yourself in the area of Metuchen, New Jersey, please check out my trunk show at the shop Needleworker’s Delight. It’s definitely worth a trip, even if you don’t live near the area. The shop is large, but somehow the owners have managed to create a very cozy atmosphere.
Here are some pictures to share …
The holidays are now upon us. Since it seems I’m always stitching Christmas-y things during wonky times of the year (like spring), I decided for the month of December to focus mostly on Christmas stitching. Something normal people do, but I haven’t done in years. It’s not as if I don’t have joy in stitching my own models because I do, but I wanted to slow things down a bit, and lessen the pressure I seem to put upon myself every December. I’ve decided to scale back in other ways as well this month, which was a necessary step for me, since this has been a year of great loss. I wanted to find the joy of the season in simpler and different ways, and one of the ways I am choosing to do that is to set aside some time for some personal Christmas stitching. I had so much fun the other night, choosing projects I wanted to stitch from magazines and old leaflets. I chose colors and fabrics and took pictures so you could share in my progress. My only goal is to post every Tuesday in December so you can see what I’ve been doing. I have no stitching plan, I will just stitch what calls to me, when I want to stitch it – no rotations or deadlines. Remember, this is no pressure stitching. I may or may not have any finishes to show you come the end of the month, but that’s okay. This is not about finishing – this is about the joy in the journey.
Here are the pieces I decided to work on in December.
“Holly” by Lori Brechlin at Notforgotten Farm … I had started her 2-3 years ago. It’s kind of a given to stitch a piece when you share the same name. Here is my progress so far …
“Evergreen” by Prairie Schooler … again, I had started this about two years ago. I think the animals in this one are so sweet. And that fox with the berries in his mouth? Doesn’t he look mischievous? I may change the berries to white since, to me, it looks like he’s planning to trick a lady fox into a mistletoe kiss.
This next one is kind of embarrassing. It has only been a work in progress for, let’s see … maybe 25 years? It’s from a supplemental leaflet I must have gotten when I subscribed to the magazine For the Love of Cross Stitch. The official title is “Merry Christmas Trio” and it was designed by Polly Carbonari. The edges are yellow because, yes indeed, I did have masking tape around them. That’s what I used to do – isn’t that terrible? The things I did before I knew better … I found this piece in my cross stitch trunk of goodies and since the only thing I have left to do is backstitch the windows, I may get a finish on this one. (I just realized one of the trees is missing a trunk.) I still love it, even though I stitched it years ago. I think the pattern calls for everything to get backstitched, but that’s not going to happen. I don’t even think it’s necessary – the windows need a little definition, so they’ll get it, and then I can call it done. Better late than never.
The next one … another oldie but goodie. From the Snow Folio by Shepherd’s Bush, “Woolly Winter Wallhanging”. This one is from 1995. I bought it in 1996, started it then, and put it away. Twenty-one years later and here we are. I am stitching it on Aida cloth, which is all I used to stitch on in the beginning. (Why were we all afraid of linen?) I have a few stitches in, but this chart is not a large one, so it should go quickly.
The next four are all new starts, and all ornaments. The first two are from Brittercup Designs. I love many patterns from this company. The first one is called “Mine!” and it’s from the 2010 Christmas ornament preview issue of Just Cross Stitch.
The next Brittercup Design is called “Consumed by Gifts” and it came out of the 2010 Christmas ornament issue of Just Cross Stitch.
Not a traditional ornament in any sense, but I absolutely love it – “Cool Christmas” from Fresh Threads Studio. This one was also in the 2010 Christmas ornament preview issue of Just Cross Stitch.
And for my last project, a small little tree, called “Scandinavian Tree” by the company Scandinavian Stitches. This pattern was chosen from the 2013 Just Cross Stitch Christmas ornament issue.
I also decided to include cookie recipes and pictures with my stitching progress pictures. Because eating cookies and stitching go so well together, right? I wasn’t sure if I was going to do as much baking this year as I usually do, but when your brother specially requests certain cookies from you, hugs you and looks at you with that sweet face you can clearly remember from when he was a little boy, well – you have to give in to doing some baking. I’ll share some of my favorite cookie recipes with you. And I can promise finishes on the cookies! But if you want a taste, you’ll have to swing by for a visit.
November has arrived, bringing with it thoughts of Thanksgiving and times with family and friends. To celebrate the new month, I designed a free chart which can be quickly stitched up and finished in time for your Thanksgiving gathering. I stitched mine in just a few hours, on a piece of scrap linen I had on hand, with DMC threads.
(For those wondering minds, it is a scrap of 28-ct. Irish linen by Charles Craft. I think I scored the entire tube for a quarter at a yard sale a few years back.)
If you click on this link, it will take you to the gallery of my website, where you can view and print the free download. Enjoy!
Good afternoon! Just a little cross stitch update … nothing earth-shattering, but still fun nevertheless.
For the first time, I decided to order during the Picture This Plus Christmas in July sale. I had such a difficult time deciding what to order – there are so many choices and so many beautifully colored fabrics. How I ended up deciding was to just let what I call my creative intuition take over and order which fabrics seemed to speak to me. Erin at Fairy Tales and French Knots calls this her “Crafty Brain” – I love that she named it. I really believe it is creative intuition – perhaps I should name mine as she did.
Here are the colors I ordered. I was very satisfied with each piece; in fact, I’ve already cut into one and am using it in a new design slated for a 2018 release.
From left to right: Huntress (Lugana 28 ct.), Arbor (Belfast 32 ct.), Relic (Belfast 32-ct.)
From left to right: Willow (Lugana 32 ct.), Moss (Lugana 32 ct.), Pickled (Belfast 32-ct.)
The dark jewel-toned colors always call to me, although I know they are not as easy to stitch on. If you recall from an earlier post, I purchased “Dusk” in 40-ct. Still laughing at myself for that one.
In other cross stitching news … I had the idea to cross stitch a bunch of coffee-themed pieces and hang/display them around what I guess could be called my coffee nook. I love coffee and have for years. I patronize a local coffee roaster, where I buy whole beans and then grind them myself. I enjoy a few cups a day – it’s just one of those small pleasures in life for me. Anyway, I moved all my coffee apparatus on to a moveable cart which sits up next to a wall in the kitchen. It looks bare and needs some decorative touches. So the idea was born to cross stitch some things to add a bit of flair to the area. I purchased several patterns and will get going on them as time allows. Unfortunately, I just don’t have a lot of time to stitch other things besides my own designs. I wish that weren’t the case sometimes because there are so many patterns out there I would love to bring to life. So to start, I’ve been working on Primrose Needleworks’s “Coffee Crossword”. Here’s the chart and my progress so far. I’m sorry, but I don’t know which linen I am using – I did not use the called-for linen, just a piece I had in my stash. This pattern was charted for a combination of DMC/Gentle Arts threads but I’m just using DMC. I realized after taking this picture that I am missing a dark brown – hmm … I guess it’s around somewhere? Since I mostly stitch in hand, I move my stitching all over the house and even outside, so sometimes flosses get left behind in one location.
I also couldn’t resist purchasing this pattern. I know it’s one of three, but I only have number two. I absolutely love this scene and can see me in it, but that’s probably because I love being near the water. I also love her Funky Flowers series, and am kicking myself because I didn’t get them when they were released. I see them around from time to time, but they seem to be a bit hard to find.
What’s new with you? New fabrics? New starts? Please share!