St. Patrick’s Day sampling

Photo by kkmarais on Flickr

Photo by kkmarais on Flickr

If you are in the mood to do some green or Irish-themed stitching these days, I found just a few items that you may like. As you know, a Google search will turn up a ton of such designs. I thought I’d share a few that I found that I liked.

Letters Leprechuans Luck

Letters, Leprechauns, and Luck from Blue Ribbon Designs

The cross stitch design I chose is Letters, Leprechauns, and Luck from Blue Ribbon Designs. The model is stitched on 40ct linen with a mix of DMC and Sampler Threads. It could be easily stitched on 32ct or 28ct linen, it will just be bigger. The Sampler Threads could be switched out for similar DMC, but you’d lose some of that hand-dyed effect.

Glitz and Glamour Emerald from DebBee's Designs

Glitz and Glamour Emerald from DebBee’s Designs

 

The needlepoint design I really liked for St. Patrick’s Day is this gorgeous green counted canvaswork piece from DebBee’s Designs. If you visit her site, you will see so many gorgeous designs that you won’t know where to begin. Her Glitz and Glamour designs each focus on one particular shade of a color (for the most part), and this one is Emerald.

Free shamrock square from from FreePatterns.com

Free shamrock square from from FreePatterns.com

Finally, I found this really pretty shamrock square design that is lacier and different from most of the chunkier designs I’ve found. This is a free design from FreePatterns.com, but you have to be a member (it’s free) in order to download it. I’d probably stitch it in a more green and less sage color than is here, but I like the design itself very much.

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Throw Back Thursday

Why Hoard Gold

Isn’t that a precious face? I stitched Dragon Dreams’ “Why Hoard Gold?” several years ago. One day, I will actually get her framed. I believe she is out of print (please correct me if I’m wrong on that), but you can Google her and find her at a few online shops. She was a lot of fun to stitch, even though part of the pattern called for rayon floss. Stitching with rayon floss drives me crazy – the stuff is so darn slippery! – but it really gives a nice shiny effect to part of her without being metallic. I actually love stitching with most metallics, but in this piece the gold really needed to stand out and probably wouldn’t have if there were more metallics used.

And when I finally get her framed or finished as a wall hanging, she will go on MY wall. 🙂

Throw Back Thursday – Mirabilia Crystal Chandelier

Mirabilia chandelier

Funny note: I couldn’t remember which magazine printed this pattern, so I looked for it in Google Images. The first picture that came up was from my blog post about the design on May 18, 2005 from my old blog. That’s when I finished it, for my father. So, instead of rewriting the post, I thought I’d copy and paste from my old post — there’s some efficient blogging for ya!

“He fixes chandeliers and sells them on eBay and I thought it would be nice for him. I left off the heart treasures as I thought that was a bit fancy for him. I was having a big problem getting enough of the Mill Hill glass teardrops for it. I went to a bead shop and they didn’t have what I was looking for, either. Finally I bought these cylindrical crystal beads and I think they work well. I actually think they’re better in the end because they’re less feminine than the glass teardrops, if that makes sense. You can barely see them in the picture as they are clear, but in “real life” they show up better.”

If you like the design and want to stitch it, see if you can get your hands on Just Cross Stitch Magazine, April 2001.

Cool stuff I had to share!

I woke up at 6:00 am this morning, which is always annoying on a Saturday when I don’t have to be up early. So, after trying to go back to sleep for a while, I decided I should just get up and get some things done — look at my store’s flyer to see what’s on sale and use it to plan my meals and grocery list, pay some bills, get caught up on my temperature scarf, and start that second block for the CAL before I get behind schedule. So, what do I do? I go online to check Facebook and a few blogs. Well, while doing that I found some great projects that I just had to share. Honestly, I found one last night on Facebook and shared it there, but I think it deserves another mention.

Please check out these beautiful projects/ideas that I found and am sharing instead of doing something more constructive. (Well, I did all the grocery stuff and paid some bills, so that’s something.)

Also, I want to be clear that I am not affiliated with any company or person I’m mentioning below, just a fan.

Mermaid Me Blanket

mermaid blanketThis is an absolutely adorable design from The Felted Button! You can stitch it using any colors you wish, but I have to say that these are my colors. It’s a great idea for that special girl in your life, no matter her age. It’s a blanket, not a cocoon, so feet and legs will not struggle to get free. And it’s so sparkly! Instructions say it’s for experienced stitchers, but I think I will still give it a shot sometime soon. The pattern is available for a nominal fee on Craftsy, Etsy, and Ravelry. Susan’s blog is full of all sorts of colorful projects.

The Learning Sampler Chart

LearningSamplerNorthern Expressions Needlework designs are unique and use color and specialty stitches beautifully. I purchased their Twisted Band Sampler a little while back and bought threads and fabric for it — and one day, I’m actually going to stitch it. I have looked at the instructions for Twisted Band Sampler and they are very detailed on many pages, and I’m sure the chart for The Learning Sampler is no different. You may view a larger, more detailed photo and purchase it at their Etsy shop. While you are there, peruse their other designs. You won’t be disappointed.

Create Travel Photographs Through Embroidery (please click the link to see the gorgeous photos)

This is more of “what a great idea!” than a specific design. Teresa Lim, artist, says this helps her become part of the environment, rather than just someone traveling through. This could be a good way to work on stitching what you see, without a chart or specific stitches in mind – just go with the flow. Some of you are fantastic at this, and others are more like me and have a hard time with it. I think it could be good practice for people like me who are trying new ways of using a needle and thread, and a very fun project for those of you already skilled at doing so. I think next time I visit my old stomping grounds in the Finger Lakes or my sister in San Francisco, I may try this. Of course, there are some beautiful places in Philly I could do this, too. Maybe this spring I will spend a morning or afternoon in Rittenhouse Square.

Stitch of the Week: Corkscrew

If you’re like me, you can’t stand bouillon knots but love the look of them in some cases. A few years ago I made some of these knots on a small “freeform” hodgepodge of stitches and beads on linen. Those stupid knots actually gave me tendonitis and it took FOREVER to completely go away. So, I vowed I would never do one again and find a way to compensate.

Well, Ruth Schmuff has used what she calls a corkscrew stitch on this Halloween tree she recently taught in a class. Basically, you bring the thread up through the canvas, twist it several times, then come down in the hole next to it.

I don’t want to take any pictures from her blog, but check out both the crazy (in a good way) Halloween design and how she forms this stitch. I’m definitely going to try this for hair or plants when stitching future designs.

And I’m not sure, but I think she placed the beads on the skulls with glow-in-the dark thread. I saw a close-up of the tree and the skulls are beaded, but in that last picture they have a bit of a green look that you sometimes see with items that glow in the dark. Perhaps it’s just the photo, but what a cool idea if she did that?

This is why I love visiting other blogs. People have such interesting ways of using fibers and attachments that I wouldn’t think of.

Featured Designer: Glendon Place

So, I recently waxed rhapsodic about Rebecca Wood’s stocking canvases for needlepoint. Now it’s time for me to talk about some cross stitch designs.

As much as I love needlepoint and how it has helped me stretch my creativity with needle and thread, I still go crazy over my first hobby, cross stitch. I’ve been cross stitching for about 30 years now and am amazed by how far the hobby has come. When I started in the very early 1980s, there was cotton floss, some basic Aida and other linens, and some really awful metallic threads. There was probably great silk and other fibers, I just didn’t use them. (I was 10 and lived in the middle of nowhere.) Now there are all sorts of different cottons, silks, real and synthetic fuzzy threads, and so many variegated mixes I’ve lost track. We also have a plethora of beads and other doo-dads to add to our labors of love. Metallics have come a looooong way, too — and I love them!

Witches Wheel

In the last few years I’ve discovered the beautiful designs of Glendon Place. Something about these designs speaks to me and apparently to many others. I really noticed them at Celebration of Needlework in Nashua, NH. It makes such a difference when you can see these lovely designs stitched on the beautiful hand-dyed fabric with the gorgeous threads with which they were meant to be stitched.  For example, Witches Wheel  is a very cool piece if you are into a bit of a Gothic look. The fabric is very vibrant and all that black stitching and beadwork really stands out on it. Granted, it’s a little late to stitch this for this Halloween, but it’s never too late to start planning for next year.

Sleepy Hollow

Another fantastic Halloween piece is Sleepy Hollow. Again, I’ve seen this in person stitched on this fabric and it’s gorgeous. It’s a large piece and a lot of little x’s, but so worth it!

Glendon Place has some new releases just in time for Christmas that are also gorgeous. I can’t wait to see these in person when I’m in Nashua again this spring. My favorite is Spirit of Christmas. I can really get behind the verse, “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” (Roy L. Smith). This one would be gorgeous simply stitched with cross stitches, but if you were to be more adventurous you could use a lot of special stitches on the trees and give it even more texture. This is one of those pieces that would look very nice on plain fabric, but I personally love the boost the hand-dyed fabric gives it.

Spirit of Christmas

Check out their three other new Christmas/Winter designs, more beautiful designs than I could ever show here, and learn more about the designer, Cheryl Granda — a woman who was in banking for years but never lost her desire for the craft.

Stockings

So, how many of you are working on finishing stockings to be used for this Christmas? I have one stitched but need to get it finished into a stocking soon. I have another one over halfway done, another barely started, and one bought but not started. They are all very different, and I will share them once I can figure out why my phone isn’t sending me my photos properly.

However, the main reason for my post is my recent discovery of Rebecca Wood’s stockings. We had some over the summer at the shop, and I just fell in love with them. They are beautifully painted, hence costly, but so worth it. My favorite is “The VERY Last Stop”  but a close second is “Bad Landing.” I kept them big so that you can see the detail.

In “The VERY last Stop,” I just love all the zonked-out reindeer  and the look of surprise on the girl’s face, while the one reindeer is just barely peeking at the little boy. When I first saw this one in person I laughed out loud. So fun to stitch! One could make the wallpaper an open stitch, maybe a darning pattern to give it some texture, and the tree could look really nice using shades of Fuzzy Stuff or perhaps Burmilana. The deer could be stitched in Alpaca or Appleton wool to give them a fuzzy (but not too fuzzy) appearance.

“Bad Landing” is also a great one. Notice Santa stuck upside down in the chimney. The reindeer are all over the place, trying to figure out what happened. the gifts are all over the place, too. it looks like a youngster is looking out the window in surprise to see a reindeer hanging off the roof, and there is another child peering out one of the bottom windows to see what is going on. I can picture the snow stitched in a subtle composite stitch of various white threads, including a thin metallic (or subtle metallic ribbon) to give it that crusty icy look.

So, now that I have already started stitching them in my head, it’s only a matter of time before I buy them. Once I start thinking how I will stitch something — what stitches to use, what threads to buy — I’m a goner!

Do you tend to stitch the same type of stocking all the time, or do you like to mix it up? I tend to run the gamut, depending on what speaks to me. I do have a soft spot for fun and whimsical designs, but I also like traditional and natural designs. It also depends on who will be receiving the finished product.

Happy stitching!