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Green Thoughts (and a freebie!)

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Categories: colors, cross stitch, freebie

Sounds like a save-the-environment kind of post, doesn’t it? No, nothing like that…I’m just thinking green today in an attempt to escape the white world in which I currently live. More snow today, record-breaking low temperatures tonight…no wonder the thought of green is so pleasant today.

Green is such a restful color. Maybe that’s why there is so much of it in our world. The vibrant greens of spring are so welcome after winter. As the season ages and spring turns to summer, the greens darken into a cooling color which helps our eyes and mental well-being as the temperatures soar. Green rejuvenates us and refreshes us. Green calms us and restores us.

In the spirit of late-winter restoration, join me in thinking green…

green

green threads and linen

envy zinnia

hostas

front porch

spring

 

spring green

preying mantis

lily-of-the-valley china

shamrocks and clover

Speaking of green, the green holiday is just around the corner. In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, I designed and stitched a little freebie for your stitching pleasure. I’m calling it “Green Rhyme” and it’s just a friendly warning about stepping outside on March 17 without wearing the proper color. Hopefully, you’ll have time to finish it in some cute way. If you do, I’d love to see it.

Green Rhyme

If you’re interested, the free pattern is on the gallery page of my website. After it was put up, I realized that the pattern uses the symbol ‘H’ but I didn’t paste from the symbol page of the software. No matter, it only uses one color and that’s Shutter Green from The Gentle Art.

Enjoy!

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Cross Stitch Beginnings

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Categories: cross stitch, music

Recently, I was speaking with a friend about our cross stitch beginnings. She shared that she couldn’t remember anyone teaching her how to cross stitch and that she thinks she just taught herself. My story is similar…even though my mother and grandmothers had done some needlework, I wasn’t introduced to it by any of them.

It was a slow summer afternoon at the restaurant where I was waitressing. During my college years, I waitressed during my breaks to help pay for books and tuition. Sometimes in July and especially when it was hot outside, the restaurant seemed like a ghost town. About the only thing happening was the occasional ring of the phone with a customer calling to order a bucket of fried chicken for take-out. There wasn’t much to do during this time – you might have one table to wait on if you were lucky. During these down times, one of our hostesses stood at the counter by the phone and sewed…that’s what it looked like to me anyway. When I looked at what she was working on, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking at. It was sewing but it kind of looked like a photograph. It seemed to slightly resemble the stamped cross stitch I had done but with much more detail and no Xs printed on the fabric. What was she doing and how in the world did she know where to put the stitches? I watched in fascination as she worked on this wedding sampler for her son – if I recall correctly, it was very floral with lots of peach tones. When I asked her what it was, she told me it was called counted cross stitch. I knew what cross stitch was because I had completed a few stamped pieces but other than that, I had never seen real counted cross stitch before. I was in love and instantly wanted to learn. She came back the next day with about half a dozen cross stitch magazines and tried to explain some basics to me in between waiting on tables and taking phone calls. I had *no idea* what I was doing but took the magazines and thanked her. I paged through them that night at home, eager to start, but each project was beautiful and I couldn’t decide. That was until I got to the end of one of the magazines and saw a beautiful stitched piece, featuring St. Cecilia, the patroness of musicians. Perfect! I was a music student at college and a pianist since age five…what better way to start my cross stitch hobby than with this piece? There were even neumes (neumes!) in the sampler which made it even more perfect since I actually knew what neumes were, having just learned this the previous semester (the only thing I probably did learn) in the most absolutely boring music history class I ever took at college.

Here is the beautiful St. Cecilia and the way the piece *should* look when finished:

St. Cecilia

The pattern came from Cross Stitch and Country Crafts which I think eventually became Cross Stitch & Needlework. Does anyone remember that magazine? I got a subscription shortly after graduating college and stitched many things from the magazines. Here is the issue with my St. Cecilia pattern:

magazine cover

Because I had absolutely NO IDEA what I was doing, I just went out, bought some Aida cloth and DMC threads and decided to tackle this immense project. What was I thinking? Where were the wise women who should have gently guided me away from this project to something else?  There were metallic threads in this piece and quarter stitches and three-quarter stitches and backstitches and maybe even French knots….who knows, but one thing I do know, I had no clue how to do any of it. I just started stitching, in blissful ignorance of my complete and utter lack of knowledge.

So, in the spirit of giving everyone out there a good laugh, I have decided to share my piece with you. I’m sure you guessed I did not ever finish this project, that I abandoned ship after a few weeks of working on it, never to return. It has stains on it and is just a complete mess in general although the back is not as bad as I thought. I will also freely admit it wasn’t until a year or so later, when I visited my first local needlework store, that I learned all the cross stitches should go in the same direction. What?!? You mean you can’t just go from bottom left to top right in one row and then go from top left to bottom right in the next? That poor shop owner was probably wondering who the nut was in her shop, buying advanced patterns with only a little bit more of a clue than she had when she first started. Actually, I probably gave her a good laugh but that’s okay…I’m hoping to do the same for you today, too.

So without further ado, here is my very first cross stitch piece, with my deepest and sincerest apologies to the designer!

my first piece

There is something to be said for being ambitious enough to learn about a subject on your own but never underestimate the value of a good teacher.  Years ago, when I was just beginning, I didn’t know anyone who could help me become a better stitcher and I certainly didn’t have access to classes and conferences where I could learn more about the craft. Today, the opportunities are endless for stitchers to grow in their knowledge and to take their hobby to the next level. As for me, I will always cherish that unfinished mess because every time I see it, it reminds me of the great motivation and enthusiasm I had for cross stitch which has stayed with me throughout the years.

I would love to hear about your cross stitch beginnings. How did you learn? What motivated you to pick up needle and thread?

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Things My Mother Stitched For Me

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Categories: Christmas, cross stitch, family/friends, love

How many of you stitch things for others?  Have you stitched ornaments or birth samplers?  How about Christmas stockings or framed pieces to hang on a wall?  Until I started my designing career and had plenty of models to hang around the house, I did not have much cross stitch with which to decorate our home…most everything I stitched, I gave away.

Judy left a comment on another post here that inspired me, when she shared that she makes ten ornaments a year for family members.  We all know the time it takes to cross stitch and not to mention finish an ornament…how incredibly generous with her time she is!  And I suspect most of you reading are just as generous as well.  I thought a lot about her comment and hope her family members appreciate the beautiful gifts she has given them.

This led to thoughts of my mother because she is so very close to my heart and one of the most generous women I know.  If you want to know more about her, I wrote several posts about her here and here.

My childhood memories of my mother recall a woman that was always very creative and craftsy.  Even though she had four children, she managed to make some time for herself every week by going to a ceramics class.  Looking back now, I’m so glad she allowed herself time to be creative.  Mom never gave herself enough credit for her artistic talent.  When I complimented her about it, she would just shrug her shoulders.  I remember one time visiting with her about ten years ago…she showed me a picture she had drawn of a bird she saw up by their pond and wanted to know if I could identify it.  I was shocked.  It was a gorgeous pencil drawing of an American Woodcock…it was a perfect rendering of that bird.  Once I started thinking about it, I did recall my mother doing little pencil sketches here and there – we might call them ‘doodles’ – but I remember they were always very well done.

When I learned how to do counted cross stitch in college, I shared it with Mom and she got excited about it too.  I showed her what I knew (which wasn’t much) and she bought some supplies and started stitching.  After I was married and still didn’t live far from home, maybe a little over an hour away, we would visit the local cross stitch store together when she came to visit me and buy more charts for our stashes.  We even borrowed each other’s charts.  She loved cross stitching and once she got started, made many gifts, mostly for her children but for others as well.

(One of the first things she stitched for me)

Mom's card

She always had big projects going for herself but the joke was that between us, we couldn’t seem to finish anything!  No sooner than we started a project, something else caught our eye and we wanted to move on to that.  She always finished things for others but rarely for herself.  If I opened her cross stitch trunk now, I wonder how many unfinished pieces I would find?

(A little sachet, stitched with my birth month)

February sachet

She loves Christmas and spent much of her stitching time on Christmas subjects.  Because I love anything related to gingerbread men at Christmas time, she stitched this little gingerbread ornament for me.  I love how she finished it with a canning lid…this was her creativity at work.

Mom's ornament

I also have quite the collection of anything Rudolph related.  She sneakily took my Rudolph chart book and stitched this piece for me one Christmas.  It is now at the center of my Rudolph display every year.

Rudolph

She has stitched towels and bread cloths for me…

Mom's towel

Mom's bread cloth

…and sweet sentiments to hang on the wall…

Mom's stitching

This next picture she did for me was adapted by her to look like my first cat, Chessie.

Chessie

I didn’t think much about it at the time but later, I realized some of the pieces she stitched at home had been adapted also.  In one of the little samplers, she added our dog Dusty (he had passed away and she wanted to memorialize him) and her cat Scooter.  When visiting her in my parents’ new home over Christmas, I noticed my sisters had hung up a small little piece she had done that featured Scooter.  It finally sunk in to me that she had designed it.  It was a small little piece but Scooter was in the center with a sweet little border all around it that she had designed.  I guess she did it the old-fashioned way, too…probably just took needle and thread to fabric and made it up as she went along.  I don’t think she paper-charted it and she doesn’t own a computer so it wasn’t done that way.

I wish things were different…I was thinking the other day that maybe we could even have been designing partners together.  I think she would have loved it and I believe she would have had the talent to do it, even though she would never admit it.  A mother and daughter designing team – it would have been a wonderful thing.

Unfortunately, my mother will never stitch again.  She had a very serious stroke which has left her extremely disabled and brain-damaged.  This is why I cherish every single one of the pieces she stitched because there won’t be any more.  So for those of you who stitch for your children, never wonder if they appreciate it.  Even if they don’t seem to right now, trust me…one day, they will.

Dearest Mom, you are never far apart from my heart…

Mom

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New Releases

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Categories: cross stitch, new releases, uncategorized

Three pieces are being released tomorrow through my distributor.

Crow On Snow is stitched with two colors, ‘black crow’ from The Gentle Art and DMC B5200 on 32-count natural linen.  This piece was finished into a small wall-hanging following a tutorial by Vonna Pfeiffer, The Twisted Stitcher.

Stitch count:  79 x 52

Crow On Snow

Love Conquers All is stitched on 28-ct. white linen with two colors, ‘geranium’ by The Gentle Art and DMC 3326 .

Stitch count:  67 x 92

Love Conquers All

Mrs. Snowflake is stitched on 30-ct. Weeks Dye Works Linen (Charlotte Pink) using DMC threads and Mill Hill antique glass seed beads.  Two skeins of DMC white will be needed.

Stitch count:  125 x 125

Mrs. Snowflake

Hopefully, one of these pieces will make its way to your stash and perhaps you’ll even bring it to life!  Happy stitching!

 

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My First Finish!

47 comments

Categories: cross stitch, new releases

Hello, cross stitching friends!  Recently I finished designing and stitching a small piece with only two thread colors.  I was inspired last year by all the crows walking around on the deep snow that blanketed our yard all last winter.  I jotted down the idea and early this past October, I designed it.  After stitching it, I wondered how in the world I was going to finish it.  Most of my pieces have been framed but I had something different in mind for this one…maybe a wall-hanging of some sort?  Unfortunately, I can’t sew even though many women on my mother’s side were talented seamstresses.  My great-grandmother used to cut her dress patterns out of her newspaper and my grandmother sewed many of our doll clothes.  Sadly, I was not taught to sew and because of time constraints (and too many other crafts) will probably never learn.

I needed a way to finish my piece that did not involve sewing and so I began my Internet search to find some help.  Somehow I came across the blog of an amazing woman who does needlework and offers free tutorials of many creative ways to finish a piece.  Her step-by-step instructions were carefully laid out and I started to believe that maybe even I could do it.  So, armed with my careful instructions, I went to the store, bought all the supplies and got to work.

I did not finish it perfectly but it still turned out beautifully, in my opinion, especially for someone who was doing this for the first time.  Since the thread colors were white and black, I wanted the finish to reflect the colors and to offer a little formality to the piece because after all, crows can be very formal birds.

Here is “Crow On Snow”…..it will be released next week:

Crow on Snow

Thanks to the kind generosity of this lovely lady, I now have confidence in finishing small pieces.  I have even started designing and stitching my first Christmas ornament series, now that I know how to finish them…..the thought of an ornament series always intimidated me because of the finishing.  I can’t wait to stitch and finish them and share them with you.

I’m sure you are familiar with this very giving woman and have seen her beautiful stitching and finishing on charts of some of the most well-known needlework designers.  Her name is Vonna Pfeiffer and you can find her tutorials here.  Reading her blog makes you feel as if you are visiting a dear friend in her cozy and comforting home.  One of her goals for this year is to deepen her prayer life.  She has even asked for prayer requests from her readers and has promised to pray for them.  That speaks volumes to me about what kind of a person she is.  She has most definitely been a blessing and encouragement to me.  Thank you, Vonna!

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NorthCoast Tour de Stitch

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Categories: cross stitch

Happy October, everyone!  I’m so excited to start the month with a trunk show at the annual NorthCoast Tour de Stitch in northern Ohio.  If you live anywhere near the northern Ohio area, you should make some time to check this out.  It starts October 10 and runs through October 18.  Six shops are participating this year and shoppers have the opportunity to win some very generous prizes, including stitching floor lamps and a set of The Gentle Art fibers.  There are also prize baskets with all kinds of goodies such as crafting supplies, cross stitch charts and coffee house gift certificates.  Other designers have provided trunk shows as well, so there are many opportunities to see fun finishing ideas and beautifully stitched models.

Here is my trunk show…I am set up at Just Stitching in Strongsville, Ohio.

Just Stitching trunk show

Wish I could go….if you’re fortunate enough to be able to attend, I hope you enjoy the Tour!

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Be Thankful – new release

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Categories: cross stitch, gratitude, new releases, Thanksgiving

Now that fall has officially arrived, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Although this piece has a definite autumn flair, the sentiment is timeless and good for year round.

May I present…Be Thankful!

Be Thankful

Even though the above picture is a bit truer to the color of the model, I still wanted to include a photo of the piece, finished and framed, simply because the frame compliments the piece so well.

Be Thankful

As with all my pieces, a more detailed description can be found in the Gallery section of my website.  There you will find more information regarding the linens, flosses, stitch count and such.

Happy Fall!

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Celebratory Freebie!

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Categories: cross stitch, Luna Labels, new releases

Hello all!  The last pattern in the Luna Labels series, “Green Corn Moon” is set to be released.  In celebration, I am releasing a free pattern called “Blue Moon”.

Here is “Green Corn Moon”:

Green Corn MoonAnd here is “Blue Moon”:

Blue Moon

If you’re interested in the free pattern, go to my gallery, click on Cross Stitch, click on Free Charts and there it is!

Here is the whole series, framed so beautifully by the ladies at the Framer’s Nook at Stitch ‘N Stuff in Reading.  Thank you, ladies!

Luna Labels

I enjoyed designing and stitching this series so much.  I hope it brought some joy to your life as well.

Have a great day!

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New Release

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Categories: cross stitch, full moon, Luna Labels, new releases

Thunder Moon is the eleventh piece in the Luna Labels series, featuring the full moon of July.  Summer evening thunderstorms light up the sky in the town park, giving the fragrant roses a refreshing rain shower. This piece is stitched with threads from The Gentle Art on 30-count Weeks Dye Works linen (“Sky”).

Stitch count:  49 x 80

Thunder Moon

thunder moon

summer storm

summer storm

summer storm

summer storm

thunder moon

The last chart in the Luna Labels series is set to be released next month.  Stay tuned for a celebratory surprise!  (Hint:  if you like freebies, you’ll love this surprise)

Happy Fourth of July!

fireworks

Happy Fourth

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New Releases

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Categories: cross stitch, new releases

Strawberry Moon is the tenth piece in the Luna Labels series, featuring the full moon of June.  June is the month to go strawberry picking and turn your harvest into pies, jams and tarts. This piece is stitched with threads from The Gentle Art on 30-count Weeks Dye Works linen (“Sky”).

Stitch count:  49 x 80

Strawberry Moon

Hope Springs Eternal is stitched on 28-ct. white linen with two colors, 2 skeins of ‘peacock’ from The Gentle Art and DMC 598 .

Stitch count:  91 x 69

Hope Springs Eternal

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