Categotry Archives: cross stitch

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A Blue and Silver Christmas

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Categories: A Blue and Silver Christmas, Christmas, cross stitch, winter

The remaining six ornaments in A Blue and Silver Christmas have been shipped to my distributor to be released next week.  They are, in order of appearance, Silver Bells, Glow, Night, Church, Mitten and Flower.  If you click on “A Blue and Silver Christmas” on the sidebar, you can find more information about the series as well as some thoughts I had regarding personalizing these ornaments to better fit your decor and/or taste.  Enjoy!

Silver Bells

Glow

Night

Church

Mitten

Flower

The whole kit and caboodle …

A Blue and Silver Christmas

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New Series Announcement!

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Categories: A Blue and Silver Christmas, Christmas, colors, cross stitch, new releases, winter

What better way to introduce a new series than through a series of posts about color?  Especially considering the theme I chose for my ornament series.  Here are a few sneak peeks.  Can you guess the color theme?

sneak peek

sneak peek

 

Introducing my new ornament series … A Blue and Silver Christmas.  There are twelve total designs – the first six will be released next week, with the remaining six ornaments being released at the beginning of October.

 

A Blue and Silver Christmas

The first to be released are Firs, Bows & Ribbons, Shine, Twinkle, Snow Fall and Noel Wreath.

Firs

Bows and Ribbons

Shine

Twinkle

Snowfall

Noel Wreath

I have a few things to say about this series and my ideas and thoughts behind it.  I hope you will continue reading and see all the possibilities I envisioned when designing this series.

When I first conceived the idea for A Blue and Silver Christmas, I was hoping for an ornament series which wasn’t as blatantly Christmas-themed, so they could then be possibly used throughout the winter season.  My other thought was to create an ornament series which could be color customized, since I used very few colors in these designs.  This makes it easy to change up the color scheme without being intimidated by a large color palette.  I chose a blue/silver color scheme so these could be displayed all winter but you may choose another color scheme to make them more Christmas oriented.  In keeping with the blue/silver theme, I used opalescent linen as well as metallic threads and beads to give it that extra sparkle.  However, the use of these items is not necessary.  In the cases where metallic threads were used, they were blended with a DMC floss so you can choose to use strictly DMC instead.  French/colonial knots or even full cross stitches can be substituted for the beads.

Just for fun, I stitched up two ornaments using other colorways to see what would happen.  This will give you an idea of what you could possibly do in choosing alternate colorways.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  The beauty of stitching ornaments is that they are small pieces so if you don’t like your choices, you don’t have to feel as if you invested a lot of time in a “mistake”.  In my original designs, I used five DMC flosses – two “silvers” and three “blues”.  In the following example, I stitched “Bows and Ribbons” with a red/gold colorway – I used DMC 729 and 167 (gold tones) to substitute for the silvers and DMC 321 and 498 (red tones) to substitute for the blues.  In the original design, the bow is stitched with a blue DMC floss and a blue metallic floss (blended).  Instead of stitching the bow this way, I changed it up a bit and stitched the gold stripes on the package with a combination of gold metallic floss and a gold DMC.  The only reason for this is that I did not have red metallic floss on hand.  You could certainly keep it like the original design and stitch the bow with metallic floss.  Instead of white opalescent linen, I used “Dirty” linen by Zweigart.  Any beige-y neutral would work for a red/gold color scheme.

Bows and Ribbons - Red and Gold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this next example, I stitched “Firs” with a green/gold colorway.  I used DMC 729 and 167 (gold tones) to substitute for the silvers and DMC 936 and 937 (green tones) to substitute for the blues.  In this ornament, I also changed it up from the original a little bit.  In addition to using metallic floss for the box around the word “firs”, I also used metallic floss for one of the trees.  Again, I used the “Dirty” linen.

Firs - Green and Gold

Purple/silver is another colorway which would work beautifully for this series.  I substituted purple for blue in my designing software and loved how it looked.  How about using a pale blue linen for this color scheme or even a gray?  Red/silver is maybe not an obvious choice but it also works well.  Keep in mind that one particular colorway may not work throughout the whole ornament series.  For example, “Silver Bells” may look strange in a green/gold colorway since your bells will be gold instead of silver.  You could stitch half of the ornaments using one colorway and the other half with different choices.

Purple-silver colorway

 

Red-Silver colorway

Have fun, be creative!  That was my goal in designing this series, to possibly embolden stitchers to change colors from an original design.  Ornaments are perfect for experimenting as they are small and not as intimidating as a large piece.  Make it your own and be bold in your experimentation.  I would love to see your alternative choices if you decide to go that route.

I’d like to thank my sister, Valerie Leith, for her beautiful finishing work.  Also, I’d like to thank Honeybee at The Copper Fox, as her beautiful blog and tutorials provided inspiration for Val’s finishing work, as well as endless cross stitching inspiration to me as well.

Also set to be released next week is It’s Crunch Time.  This piece was stitched on 32-ct. Creme Brulee by R&R Reproductions (32-ct. Light Mocha from Zweigart is a good substitution) with DMC threads and one Gentle Arts thread (Autumn Leaves).

It's Crunch Time

Happy stitching!

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Thoughts About DMC Conversions … My Perspective

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Categories: colors, cross stitch, DMC

When I design a piece, I have a vision for the colors, the overall look, the flow of the piece.  If it is a more contemporary design, I will choose bright and bold colors.  If the piece has more of a classic kind of feel, I may choose more muted tones.  There is a lot of thought that goes into designing, and even after a piece has been designed, much time can be spent pulling together the flosses and fabrics.  All of this before the first stitch is even laid.

Years ago, I received some advice from a shop owner.  She recommended that I always include a DMC alternate listing on my charts, if I chose to design with any other flosses and/or silks.  She shared that many of her customers only stitched with DMC and to sell more charts, I really should include a conversion.  At the time, it didn’t seem like such a large task.  Prior to beginning designing, in my private stitching life, I would use recommended flosses on charts or make minor adjustments here and there.  When I first started stitching, DMC was one of the only choices in floss.  It has only been in the past 15 years or so that we have seen an explosion in the choices we have, from over-dyed flosses to linens, with little cottage industries popping up everywhere.  So, I took her advice and from the very beginning, included a DMC conversion on my charts.

I soon realized this process of listing alternatives could take some time.  To do a true conversion is actually a two-step process.  The first step is to pull out the DMC color card (the one that includes real thread samples) and try to match color-for-color.  I do my best in this regard but it can sometimes be very difficult (if not impossible) to choose the color which is the closest match.  If I have used a variegated floss, I may choose two DMC colors which best represent the floss I originally used.  The second step would be to then gather the DMC colors together as a whole and see how well they play with one another.  Since it is difficult to get a color-for-color alternate for every thread used, the DMC colors which were chosen may not work well together.  This means additional time in finding colors that do complement one another.  After this, one may realize the fabric does not work for those particular colors.  So perhaps the fabric choice has to be changed.  By the time this process is over, it is soon obvious to see that by now, things have changed from the original design, creating a finished product that didn’t look at all like the product I had designed.  As a designer, this was frustrating.  I had envisioned the piece in a very clear way and I was taking my design and giving recommendations for changes which I personally did not like or perhaps did not even work.

All of this takes time, time which I do not have, so because of this, what I am doing is not a true conversion on my charts.  All I am doing is simply listing the DMC matches, color-for-color, as best as I can.  This means that perhaps the DMC matches will not work together as a whole and that perhaps the matches will not look good with my recommended fabric.  If you choose to use the conversion, then whether or not the conversion actually “works” is for you, the stitcher, to decide.  Perhaps after gathering all of the DMC colors and fabric together, you will need to make adjustments so that all of the threads go well together.

So, let’s use all the information you have just read in a real-life situation.  I will use one of my recent releases, Lilacs, as an example.

Before beginning to stitch Lilacs, I knew I wanted a delicate look, so I opted to use a higher-count linen.  When I use a higher-count linen, such as 40-count, it is natural for me to choose silks to work with.  I admit I have a bias towards silks.  I love the feel, I love the look.  I pulled most of the colors from the silks I already had but could not find one of the purples I was envisioning in my head.  I went to my LNS and searched through all the silks before finding the perfect choice, Wash Out Grape (The Thread Gatherer, Silk ‘N Colors).  When I started matching my silks to the DMC card in an attempt at finding an alternate, I found there is absolutely no comparable DMC for Wash Out Grape.  I stated this fact on my chart.  I debated what to do but could not, in clear conscience, list a DMC match when there was none.  So, on this particular chart, there are DMC alternates listed for all the colors except for Wash Out Grape.  This may be frustrating to some of you but I had no other choice.

color comparisons

color comparisons

If you are stitching from a chart and choose to use the alternates, your finished product will probably not resemble the stitched model.  In some cases, this can be a wonderful thing.  I have seen carefully thought-out color conversions which are absolutely stunning, some more beautiful than the original colors used by the designer – this is what I call “artistic license.”  But true color conversions take some thought.  If you just use the alternates recommended on the chart, you most likely will not get the same results.  Some over-dyed flosses match exactly with a DMC floss, others do not.  Sometimes (as I found with Wash Out Grape) there is absolutely no match.

The same is to be said for conversions between fabrics.  If you do not use the recommended fabric, you will not get the same results.  Again, this can be perfectly okay and in some cases, you may find a more suitable fabric or one that is more pleasing to your eye.

And, in the case of over-dyed flosses and fabrics, dye lots vary greatly so the floss I used in my model may be very different from the (same color) floss you use when stitching your piece.  You may have two flosses which *say* they are the same color when in reality, they are very different.  I pulled three examples to prove my point.  These were quickly photographed in the shade outside but it’s still obvious to see the differences in color.

Vintage Lace

Burnt Orange

Buckeye Scarlet

Then there are the actual physical differences between threads such as silks and cottons.  Sheen, coverage and texture are three differences which come to my mind.

To further illustrate this point, try comparing a red Crayola crayon with a red Rose Art crayon.  Not only are they not the same red, they color differently.  And even that red Crayola will color differently, depending on whether you are coloring on regular paper, cardboard, glossy paper or newspaper.  I could take my crayons and color a picture.  Someone may admire my color choices and wish to recreate it but they may use different crayons or paper or even another medium, such as markers or colored pencils.  Therefore, our end results will not be the same.

I realize a DMC conversion is useful for some of you, as you choose to use DMC and DMC only, from the perspective of personal taste and/or budget considerations.  But I just do not have the time to do a true conversion.  I am designing what I love, using the flosses and fabrics that I love, and if that does not correlate to what you love, that is perfectly fine.  It’s a big stitching world out there and there are lots of designers and lots of stitchers and what makes our stitching world such a beautiful place is all the diversity we find within.  Some of us are DMC only stitchers.  Some of us are Aida only stitchers.  Some prefer silks, some prefer over-dyed flosses.  Some prefer linens, some prefer  28-count, some prefer 40-count, some are comfortable using any medium.  In a world of such variety, it is difficult if not downright impossible to please everyone from a designing perspective.  This does not mean I do not hold customer service highly – I do.  But in this area, the area of DMC alternates, I fully realize some people may be unhappy with my choices.  And again, that’s okay – we are all free to make whatever choices we wish in our world of stitching.

One more word regarding the pictures on charts…

I have invested in a very good camera.  So when taking photographs of a stitched model, I can take a picture that is more true-to-color, by adjusting settings, lighting, etc.  You will see that picture on my website.  I do my best to make the photograph an almost exact match to the model.  However, the actual chart is another matter.  It’s in the printing process that the colors in a photograph can be corrupted.  I have invested in a very good printer.  As difficult as it is to take a photograph that matches the stitched model, it is even more difficult to keep the photograph true through the printing process, especially when printing to paper or card stock.  You can have the best printer in the entire world and still find it difficult to get a true replication of the stitched model.  I have heard countless times how the “picture on the chart looks different than the flosses/fabric do in real life”.  That can be true.  Again, it is an extremely difficult process.

Many of us have small cottage businesses, working out of our homes and printing everything ourselves.  However, even those designers who have been in business for years and can afford to use professional printing services still have the same problems.  Recently, I proved this for myself out of curiosity.  I took several charts I already own from several very well-known designers, who use professional printing services and perhaps even professional photography services.  I compared the picture on the chart with the recommended fabric and floss (in very good lighting) and there were differences between the colors from the chart to the real life materials.  I pulled the suggested DMC alternates and could tell some adjustments would have to be made in order to make them all coordinate together.  I am not sharing this as a criticism at all.  It’s difficult for all of us, no matter how much money we spend in the photographing/printing.

Take heart.  Conversions and changing colors are not as difficult as you think.  There are so many resources available to help you.  Get yourself a DMC color card (the ones with the actual floss samples inside are the best).  You will use it much more than you think.  Deb at Stitches ‘N Things has made several conversion charts which are so helpful.  She has added another one here.  And I found some more, here and here.  As stitchers, we are so fortunate to have all the many internet resources which are available to us.  It makes conversions and comparisons that much easier.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on this topic.  I would love to hear your thoughts as well.

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New Releases

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Categories: cross stitch, flowers, new releases

Happy April to everyone.  By now, maybe everyone has recovered from the Nashville Market and is ready to see something new.  I hope so, anyway!  Here are four new releases, enjoy.

PRAISE
Praise

Praise was stitched on 30-count Legacy linen (Custard Cream), using flosses from DMC and The Gentle Art.  Stitch count is 117 x 146.  The timing of this piece amazes me.  I finished stitching it and getting it framed just before my mother passed away.  She is indeed free and I know she is singing.

LILACS
Lilacs

Lilacs was stitched on 40-count white linen, using Classic Colorworks silk flosses.  The finishing was done by Valerie Leith.  Stitch count is 63 x 87.

TIME

Time

Time was stitched on 36-count R&R Reproductions linen (Plum Street Blend), using flosses from DMC and The Gentle Art.  Quote by Henry Van Dyke.  Stitch count is 125 x 96.  Another quote that brings me to tears for what it means to me right now.

THOUGHTS OF FRIENDS

Thoughts of Friends

Thoughts of Friends was stitched on 32-count R&R Reproductions linen (Creek Bed Brown), using flosses from DMC.  Finishing was done by Valerie Leith.  Stitch count is 68 x 38.

My sister finished Lilacs as a flat-fold which isn’t truly shown in the picture above.  When I take pictures of the cover models, I like to show as much of the actual piece as I can.  I know if I am shopping for cross stitch charts, I love to see as much of the finished piece as possible.  I appreciate beautiful photo shoots but I’m looking to see what the piece actually looks like.  This is why I didn’t take a picture of the overall flat-fold finish.  But here it is, because I wanted to show off the beautiful finishing work my sister did.

Lilacs

The same applies to Thoughts of Friends.  Val finished it as an ornament.  Here is a picture to show you the pretty finish:

Thoughts of Friends ornament

Thank you, Val – they are beautiful and you are beautiful.

Happy stitching, everyone.

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Another Project

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Categories: cross stitch

I really don’t need another project. But I was led astray by the temptress over at The Copper Fox which is where I first saw this sampler.  (If you visit her blog you will see just what a bad influence she really is.)

This sampler is called the Never Ending Band Sampler. You can get more information about it here.   I love the idea of continuing bands of practice stitches.  I mostly use cross stitches in my designs and there are many specialty stitches I have never tried so I thought this would be the perfect learning experience for me.  The designer has already finished the first panel, which is 20 bands.  I have only finished the first three bands but they stitch up quickly and I’m sure I will get caught up very soon.

I really wanted to use materials I already had on hand – sometimes I’m frugal that way (but not always). Last year, Robin had gifted me with some very beautiful HDF silk threads.  I know I will never be able to use them in my designs as they are no longer being produced but I was able to pull enough of them together for my band sampler.  Since autumn is my favorite season, I decided to use hues that imparted that fall flavor.  Once I decided to use silk threads, it was a no-brainer for me to use 40-ct. linen as well.  I went shopping in my fabric stash and found a perfectly sized piece, “Straw” from Weeks Dye Works.  This is how the silk threads look against my fabric choice.

silks and linen

Here is my progress so far.  As an aside, I thought it might be of interest to stray a little bit and talk about lighting and photography, to show you how lighting can make a huge difference in taking photographs. For instance, both pictures below were taken maybe just an hour or so apart, but in different locations.

band sampler

band sampler

Can you see the difference? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it is very difficult to get a picture which shows the true colors of the floss and fabric.  Knowing this and also knowing I can’t control when the sunshine decides to make an appearance, I invested in what’s called a “still life studio”.  It’s a large square box with controlled lighting which enables one to take pictures as true-to-life as possible.

Now, going back to the above pictures. I *thought* the second picture was better and it was.  But … how is this one in comparison?  This one was taken in the ‘studio’.

band sampler

This is a superior photograph (color-wise) as compared to all the other pictures, which you would be able to see if you were here in person to see the actual stitched piece.  But even if you do not have the actual stitched piece to compare, you can definitely see the difference in photographs.  (I obviously do not have the piece properly stretched or focused but was just trying to show you a quick example.)

Some more examples – DMC flosses …

DMC flosses DMC flossesWhite opalescent fabric …

opalescent linen

opalescent linenA spool of HDF silk …

silk spool

silk spool

A freebie of mine, “Blue Moon”

Blue Moon

Blue Moon

In each case, the first pictures were taken in my dining room, in a very bright sunshine-lit room with all the lights on.  The second pictures were taken in the still life studio.  The difference is truly remarkable.

If you’re interested, more information about the still life studio can be found here.  If you are a needlework blogger, this studio may be a good purchase for you to truly showcase your work in the best way possible.  I purchased mine at the local photography store, which is where I also purchased the camera that enables me to take such beautiful photographs.

A big thank you to Pam Kellogg of Kitty and Me Designs for her generosity in providing this beautiful band sampler!

Anyone else out there stitching this never ending sampler?

*Bonus points to the first sharp-eyed stitcher who can see a mistake in my sampler.

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Cross Stitch Confessions

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Categories: cross stitch

Just some quirky confessions about this hobby we love, in no particular order, written as they popped into my head…

I enjoy stitching outside in the sun, except when it’s too cold to do so. I rarely stitch at night because my concentration isn’t as good that time of day.  I am a very neat stitcher and have gotten many compliments on my stitching (from women who have stitched many more years than I).

I only have one friend who cross stitches frequently and with whom I talk about stitching on a regular basis (cyber wave to RB)…it’s a lonely hobby for one who loves conversing with others about common interests. I do not own a magnifier or a special light or even stitching frames.  I stitch in hand but mostly because I have never learned how to do otherwise.  I don’t railroad my stitches or look for the ‘leading strand’, although I have seen beautiful results with the former.  My DMC floss is on bobbins and not in bags.  I can’t feel the difference between the top needle brands.

I own two pairs of scissors for this hobby, one pair made by DMC and the other pair made by Gingher, purchased at a flea market for $2. I have never purchased an accessory-type item.  The ones I do have were given to me as gifts and are treasured.  I am secretly envious of Honeybee’s needle minder collection.

I have never purchased a kit. On my stitching dream list is this and this and just about everything that’s Hawk Run Hollow.  I rarely buy new charts anymore because my stitching time is mostly limited to my own models but I read The Strawberry Sampler’s newsletter every week to see what’s new and then wish I could buy more charts.  My stash was mostly accumulated during my first fifteen years of stitching and includes many magazines, as I subscribed to several at the time.

I love silk threads and 40-count linen. However, I am somewhat new to this area as well and have not really experimented enough stitching with various silk threads to see what the differences are between the many companies that produce them.  (As a side note, the very generous Robin in Virginia sent me some HDF silk threads and I am still mourning the fact that I discovered them after they were no longer being produced.)  I love the feel of silks and the fact that they seem to knot less than cotton threads when I am stitching with them.  I love the delicate look of a design stitched on 40-count.  I prefer linens with a softer hand…Legacy linen is probably my favorite splurge.

silks

I love stitching flowers, hearts, words, letters, interesting bands and borders. Seasonal type pieces catch my eye.  I love bold colors as well as pastels but not washed-out hues.  Some of my favorite thread colors are The Gentle Art’s Buckeye Scarlet, Mediterranean Sea, Island Blue and Tomato and DMC 154, 470 and all the DMC purples, to name just a very few.  I haven’t designed with all of these threads but they make me happy just to look at them.

buckeye scarletI am a real stitcher, too. I stitch every single one of my models and find mistakes in the process – from my charted design to the combination of colors I chose.  I greatly admire those who can design and have another stitch their design – I have not yet arrived at that higher level.  As a designer, I try to do my very best in my finished product.  I realize my designs are not appealing to everyone.  I realize not everyone can or will stitch on linen.  I realize this hobby can get expensive (silks, linens, specialty buttons, accessories, overdyed flosses, framing, etc.).  But when it comes down to designing, I have to design what I love and what I want to stitch.  I don’t want to emulate someone else – I just want to be me.

I offer these things in full disclosure to prove I am not or do not claim to be an expert when it comes to cross stitching. I have never taken a class, attended a retreat or anything such as that.  Am I saying none of the above will change and that I am content to stay right where I am in my skills set?  Absolutely not.  I hope as time goes by, I will improve more and more and perhaps even learn special skills and techniques I have not yet tried.

What are your cross stitch confessions? I would love to hear them all.

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New Releases

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Categories: Christmas, cross stitch, new releases, winter

Are you ready for some winter stitching?  Winter is definitely the theme in these new releases as well as the hope for peace.

Peace Lights was stitched on 28-count black linen using DMC threads.  The stitch count is 66 x 58 and was finished by my very talented sister, Valerie Leith.  If you buy the chart, you’ll only see this first picture.  I wanted a full picture of the design for the chart but it’s a shame to miss the beautiful flat-fold finish so I thought I’d share a picture of the finish here on the blog.  I know this piece will be a welcome addition to our Christmas decorations this year.

Peace Lights

Peace Lights finish

Winter Peace was stitched on 30-count Weeks Dye Works linen (Aztec Red) using DMC floss.  The stitch count is 152 x 96.  I had the idea for this piece in mind while I was designing A Mid-Century Modern Christmas ornament series.  It has a retro feel just like the ornaments.

Winter Peace

Winter Band Sampler was stitched on 30-count Weeks Dye Works linen (Gunmetal) using DMC threads.  The stitch count is 109 x 193.

Winter Band Sampler

Are you working on any winter stitching these days?

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June Releases

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Categories: cross stitch, new releases, patriotic

I have several new patterns for this month.  The first grouping is called Floral Sentiments and is actually three charts sold together.  They were stitched on 30-ct. Weeks Dye Works linen (Putty) using DMC flosses.  The words are taken from I Thessalonians 5:16-18.  The finishing was done by my very talented sister, Valerie.  I gave her complete license to choose fabrics, charms, trims and ribbons and I couldn’t be happier with the way they turned out.  Thank you, Val!

Floral Sentiments

The second of my releases for this month is also several patterns, two patterns in one, in fact.  The grouping is called Patriotic Medley, so named because these are patriotic smalls with a musical theme.  The words from both patterns were taken from the song “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”.  The first words, ‘of thee I sing’, will probably be familiar to most, as they come from the first verse of the song.  However, the third verse of the song is probably not as familiar and that’s where I found the words ‘sweet freedom’s song’.  In case you don’t know it, the third verse goes like this:

Let music swell the breeze,

And ring from all the trees,

Sweet freedom’s song.

Let mortal tongues awake;

Let all that breathe partake;

Let rocks their silence break,

The sound prolong.

These patterns were stitched on 28-ct. Zweigart linen (Dirty) using DMC flosses and the finishing was done by Valerie Leith.

I dedicated these patterns to Robin Brown, known to most of you as Robin in Virginia.  Robin is an ardent and dedicated supporter of the cross stitch industry.  She regularly visits many cross stitch blogs, actively commenting on many of them and cheering others on in her caring and sweet way.  She is quite a prolific stitcher and supports many designers with her purchases, as well as supporting others who have Etsy shops and sell things online.  Her generosity is unparalleled as she is always thinking of others, sending countless notes and cards to friends and lavishing those she loves with gifts.  And she does it all very quietly, never bringing attention to herself and her kind deeds.  I consider Robin a true and dear friend and if you ‘see’ her out in the virtual cross stitch world, take some time to engage her in conversation.  You will be very happy you did!

Thank you very much for your friendship and encouragement, Robin!  You are much loved and appreciated.

Patriotic Medley

Enjoy these patterns and thanks for visiting!

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New for April

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Categories: cross stitch, new releases, spring

Happy Spring!  Hopefully, it feels more like spring where you live than it does here.  This Friday, three new patterns will be released and they definitely have a spring-like feel to them.

When I first read this quote by Henry Van Dyke, I knew I wanted to try to chart it.  Such beautiful meaning in so few words!  This piece is called Love Stays and was stitched on 32-count Zweigart linen (Sand Castle, Marbled) using flosses from DMC and The Gentle Art.  The clock in this piece is loosely modeled after the clock hanging on the living room wall.  I love the tick-tock of a clock, so comforting when the house is quiet.

Love Stays

The next two pieces were designed to go together but can stand alone as well.  As anyone who has read this blog often enough knows, I absolutely love flowers and can’t keep them out of my stitching.  I also love the meanings behind the flower names and what sweeter and more appropriate sentiments for spring can be there than ‘loving thoughts’ and ‘new beginnings’?  These pieces were stitched on 40-count Lakeside linen (Flagstone) using silk flosses from Classic Colorworks.  They are small, measuring at about 3″ x 3″.

May I present Tiny Daffodil Sampler and Tiny Pansy Sampler…

Tiny Daffodil Sampler

Tiny Pansy Sampler

The lovely framing was done by the Framer’s Nook at Stitch ‘N Stuff in Reading.

Just to clarify, the tiny samplers were stitched with Classic Colorworks silks.  I did not make that distinction on my charts and I apologize, but the silks and the cottons are named differently so there shouldn’t be much confusion.

Enjoy and thanks for your support!

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A Word About Color

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Categories: colors, cross stitch, spring

Spring brings thoughts of color after a winter of a bleak and lackluster palette. This winter was especially so since there wasn’t much snow to freshen up the landscape.  How refreshing to the eyes to finally see the yellows, greens and pinks again.

forsythia

apricot tree blossoms

daffodil I’ve been doing some thinking about color, especially as to how it fits in the world of counted cross stitch. Choosing colors is a huge part in the designing process.  I will admit it has been a struggle for me at times.  There are patterns I designed years ago that still make me cringe because of the colors I chose.  In fact, when I brought one such piece in for framing, the comment was something along the lines of how it would be hard to frame the piece since the colors were all fighting one another.  *Ouch*

Since my motto in most artistic pursuits is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson (“Every artist was first an amateur”), I give myself some grace and then dive into learning more about the area in which I feel the weakest. This is the same way I approach piano practice.  There is always a fix for the weak spots but it usually involves more diligence and focused practice.  The same goes for color.

This winter, since I spend more time indoors and life seems to move more slowly, I pulled out a few coloring books and purposely worked on improving my sense of color. I have always enjoyed coloring and was doing it long before this latest coloring craze. I don’t have any fancy coloring pencils, just the ones Crayola makes.  After choosing a picture, I spent time seriously thinking about the colors I wanted to use.  I learned about tonal colors and choosing colors on the opposite ends of the color wheel to complement one another.  I used a separate sheet of paper to blend several shades of color together for a different effect.  I wouldn’t say that I am now a color expert but I do think I grew in my color knowledge.  On the plus side, it was a very enjoyable pursuit.

coloring

coloring

coloring

(I had some help from a six-year-old friend for this next one.)

coloring

When it comes to cross stitch and color, there are many opinions. I realize in most cases, the choice of colors (the stitched model, the front of a chart) is what catches the buyer’s eye.  I’m sure charts are rejected because the colors used do not appeal to the buyer.  However, I would challenge you to look at a chart and see the other color possibilities.  Some color choices are better than others.  Some patterns are beautiful patterns but the colors may not work together or may not be to your preference.  Some stitchers make conversions that are better than the originally called-for colors.  Honeybee over at The Copper Fox has an extremely helpful post on doing a color conversion. She takes you through step-by-step on changing out the colors in a design.

Another thing to keep in mind is how difficult it sometimes is for designers to provide color conversions in charts. For instance, two of my next three releases were stitched with silks, some highly variegated.  Trying to find a DMC color conversion to put on my published chart is a frustrating exercise.  I designed the piece and stitched the piece with the silks and for me to try to find a comparable alternative is a challenge and truly not that enjoyable to me.  If one does not want to use silks and would rather use DMC, that’s completely fine and even encouraged.  My point in writing this is to say, be brave!  Pull out a color card or your boxes of DMC floss (or your cotton over-dyeds), some different colored fabrics and start gathering together some colors.  You don’t have to do it like I did it.  You don’t have to use any of the materials I used – my materials (floss, fabric) are suggestions.  Once you start seeing it that way, you are free to make changes.  That’s the beauty in creativity.  Make it your own!  Take my pattern and change it up to suit your interests, your room décor, etc.  I love perusing popular cross stitch patterns on line and see what other stitchers have done with them, colorwise.  It is very inspiring to see where other people’s creativity takes them.

Sometimes you will find that you made some wrong choices. I do this often.  Yes, it is a pain to have to rip everything out but diligence always pays off in the end and the hardship is always worth it.  Consider it part of the creative journey.  And as with most journeys, the destination may be the goal, but don’t miss all the learning opportunities along the way!

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