WIPocalypse – March 2015

March WIPocalypse

March question: If money – and time – were not limiters, what projects would be on your stitching bucket list?

Since money would be not object, I would have the space and proper equipment to work on larger projects. I’d also have the money to buy the canvas and wool for a needlepoint rug – and the time to make it. I’ve always wanted to make one, but can’t imagine how long it would take me and how expensive it would be to stitch and then finish. Then there is no way I would allow anyone to actually walk on it, so I would need the wall space to hang it. I have seen some gorgeous rugs on display at some shops, but – for once – I’m being realistic about my time and money.

Projects to start in 2015 – progress since 2/10/15

Stitching on 32ct. Belfast Misty Blue

Stitching on 32ct. Belfast Misty Blue

Cross Stitch
2001 Mirabilia Cherub – started
Blossom Harvest – started
Mermaid of Atlantis – started
Queen Mermaid – started
South Seas Mermaid Woodland Fairy – started
Touching the Autumn Sky – started
Amethyst Fairy – started
Enchanted Dreamer  Christmas Wishes – started


10 infinity scarves for gifts or to sell – not started
Temperature scarf – ongoing
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan – restarted with new colors and yarn, only block 1 is finished
special project I need to finish with a friend in February – FINISHED! It was a rainbow stole a friend of mine and I at church stitched for our pastor’s first commitment ceremony. 

Projects to finish in 2015 – progress since 2/10/15

Cross Stitch
Garden Verses (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10
Angel of the New Dawn (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10
Sleeping Beauty (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10
Mermaids of the Deep Blue (Mirabilia) – not a stitch since 2/10
Quaker Diamonds (Rosewood Manor) – not a stitch since 2/10

Using Planet Earth silk, Threadworx 6-ply cotton, Kreinik, and Rainbow Gallery threads

Using Planet Earth silk, Threadworx 6-ply cotton, Kreinik, and Rainbow Gallery threads

Needlepoint (I don’t remember designers at the moment) – haven’t stitched on any needlepoint projects
Geisha Cats (picture at top, just need to finish the ribbon embroidery and beading in “hair”)
Chinese Dragon – some progress
St. Basil’s – some progress
Santa stocking – not a stitch



Uses Caron Simply Soft

Uses Caron Simply Soft

Tim’s afghan – not a stitch
Temperature scarf – nothing in the last week, but progress before that
Moogly’s 2015 Crochet-Along afghan – restarted with new colors and yarn, only block 1 is finished
Baby blanket (soooo close, can finish it in a night or two) – finished in February, but gave it away before I got a final picture

Other projects (there will always be some!)
Three charity scarves – finished in February
Four more charity scarves — finished in Feburary
Receiving blanket for charity – started
prayer shawl for charity – started
Fairie Treasures – no progress since 2/10


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. 🙂

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday 3-4-15

I’ve been getting a lot more done on my needlepoint projects this week, though I started one that I had no intention of beginning for quite some time. Funny how that happens. Long story short, I couldn’t find my threads for my St. Basil’s canvas, so I started another canvas that is similar. Then, I found my hiding place for my threads — a “safe place” I had obviously forgotten — so, I also worked on that one. I also started crocheting a shawl and a new Mirabilia.

StBasil_full_3-2-15 StBasil_detail_3-2-15I’m using all Planet Earth silks for St. Basil’s, except for the two Kreinik gold braids I’m using for decoration on the buildings. If you needlepoint and haven’t used Planet Earth threads, I highly suggest you give them a try. They have stranded silk, as well as other types of threads. I usually use the single ply, which is ideal for 13ct canvas, and would probably work well for 14ct canvas. I bought all the colors when I originally bought the canvas, though I will probably need to purchase more black, blue, and tan for the borders and sky. Buying all those colors in silk cost a pretty penny, but the threads are so gorgeous and easy to work with that it was worth it. I normally use lots of different stitches, but with all the detailed colors in this one, I decided it made more sense to work in basketweave, with a little texture in the sky using the Byzantine stitch.

Russian_full_3-2-15 Russian_detail1_3-2-15

I’m also using Planet Earth silk for the other canvas that I just call “Russian.” I think it’s a more whimsical take on St. Basil’s, but I’ll confuse them if I call them the same thing. I’m debating whether or not to stitch the “clouds” that look like waves. I bought Rainbow Gallery Flair in two shades of blue and in white to stitch it, but I’m not sure if it will add to the design or take away from it. It adds a flair of whimsy, but I could also stitch the entire sky in navy without the light colors showing through. Either way, I’m not stitching the stars in the sky but will instead use some beads for stars. Some of the building tops will also use Rainbow Gallery Neon Rays ribbon. For example, that’s what I used on the green part of the yellow and green turret. Right now, I’m just playing around with various stitches, but I like it a lot so far.

Mermaid of Atantis 3-4-15

As part of my 15 Miras in 15 project, I started Mermaid of Atlantis on 32ct Lagoon Belfast from Picture This Plus. My Kreinks and Caron Waterlillies are on order, so her hair looks a little strange at the moment. Since I mentioned how much I like Planet Earth silks earlier, I feel I should also say how great it is to stitch with Waterlilies – it’s like buttah! Originally, this was a challenge to start/continue with 15 Mirabilias the first 15 days of January. Well, that ship has sailed, but I’ve decided to keep to the basic idea and keep them going or start them all sometime in 2015. A few are on my WIPocalypse list to finish this year so that I actually make some progress and am not just starting projects (which I tend to do).

blue shawl 3-4-15I also started crocheting a shawl for a gift, using some beautiful yarn I bought at Loop a few weeks ago. This is Berroco Modern Cotton in Bluebird. It’s 60 percent cotton and 40 percent rayon, so it has a nice sheen to it and is a nice lightweight worsted yarn. That was my first time in that shop, which is down on South Street, and it was a great time. A good friend took me, as she is a regular there. The people working there were very helpful, and I will definitely be returning. As for the yarn, I love the color and drape of it, but it’s a bit more slippery than I’m used to — rayon gets me again! I feel like my tension is all over the place on this one and I may take it out and start over. It took me a while to get a feel for the yarn and the areas between the shells, so I think if I start over it will look better. It will be a gift for someone I care about very much, so I want it to look as good as possible. (And now that I got away from it for a day and see the photo, there is something funky going on in that third row. Yeah, it’s comin’ out!)

Fun crochet, cross stitch, and a new book from Erik Larson

By now, you know that sometimes I find something on the Internet that I must share immediately. Today is another one of those times. They are completely random, but I think all are pretty awesome. 🙂

Quick-and-Easy-Crochet-Cowls-600x3381. Petals to Picots is sponsoring a giveaway for an online cowl class from Tamara Kelly at Moogly. Quick and Easy Crochet Cowls includes seven lessons for three beautiful projects. The cost has been reduced from $29.99 to $19.99, and the first 1,000 people to sign up receive a free skein of yarn. However, you may also try to win it for free from Petals to Picots.

Designed by Backstage Stitching

Designed by Backstage Stitching

2. I was reading through one of my blogrolls and found this great post at Backstage Stitching. She has graciously made this available in the Free Patterns section of her blog. This is such a cute and hilarious design that I just had to share it. I think a lot of my fellow stitchers will enjoy it.

dead-wake-larson3. And for something completely different — Erik Larson has a new book coming out on March 10: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. BookPeople’s blog features a great review and you may purchase it through their independent book store in Texas (link provided in the blog post). It’s been difficult for me to find time for my needlework and reading, but I’m definitely going to make time to read this. I enjoy his books very much.

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.

WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday 2-25-15


New yarn for CAL

New yarn for CAL

CAL  square #1

CAL square #1

I’ve only been working on a few projects since last Wednesday. Much of my craft time went to Moogly’s CAL. As usual, I am unable to leave well enough alone, and restarted it. I stitched the first two blocks (she’s up to #4), and got stuck on the third block. I was going to move onto the fourth block and come back to #3, then I realized that I just wasn’t very happy with the bulkiness of the squares. I think next year I may go with a DK yarn, but since I was in a hurry to replace my yarn for this one, I went to Michael’s and – lo, and behold! – Caron Simply Soft was on sale. That pretty much clinched it, since Caron Simply Soft is a tad thinner than the worsted I was originally using. I also changed the colors and how I’m stitching them: Each square will have a variegated center with one color for the rest. I think that will be easier for me, as this is my first blanket made of elaborate (for me) squares.

So, I have finished the first block and will eventually get caught up on the rest. I will use the old yarn for some pretty scarves, as I really do like the color combinations. I’m using a similar combination for my new one, as you’ll see. I only bought one skein each of the old yarn, which is good. I’ll continue buying the Caron as needed.

Chinese dragon - full - 2-24-15

Almost a picture of the full canvas. The side borders are identical, so you get the idea.

Chinese dragon - closeup dragon - 2-24-15

Detail of the small amount of dragon I’ve stitched using various metallics. I love it!

Chinese dragon - border - 2-24-15

Detail of the border, stitched in Planet Earth silk. It’s mostly basketweave but I’ve used a few special stitches to give it a little added interest.

Other than that, I worked one night on my needlepoint Chinese Dragon. I haven’t worked on him in quite some time and forgot he beautiful he is. I’m looking forward to seeing him stitched in all his metallic glory. I took a few pictures so that you can see the whole project and some detail. I’m using Planet Earth silk for the border, Threadworx cotton floss for the inside background, and Kreinik, Threadworx, and Rainbow Gallery threads for the actual dragon. I don’t want the background to have too much of that stripey look you can sometimes get when working with variegated floss. So, using four strands at a time, I reverse two strands when I separate the strands, and skip around in one area just a little to give it more of a natural look.

Blossom Harvest 2-24-15

Second day on Blossom Harvest


Finally, I got a little time in on Blossom Harvest last night. I finished her face, except for the backstitching of her lips and a little of her hair because I don’t have those colors at the moment, and that always helps me to move on to the rest. I know other people are the opposite, preferring to stitch the face last, but there’s something about those pretty faces that inspire me to (eventually) finish the designs. The fabric I’m using is a little more blue than it appears in the picture. I’m looking forward to finishing the stitching so that I can add the big beads to her hair and get rid of those holes.

This is the first time in years that I’ve been able to do a little in all three of my main hobbies, mainly because my job hours are so low. So, while I hate having to look for work and not having much money, it’s given me more time for my hobbies. I’m very thankful for the part-time job I have that keeps me working in my field of choice.

Spring Scarves – Free Patterns

Spring scarves collage

Much of the country is dealing with ice and record lows as I write this. Except for Sunday, which was gorgeous here in the Philadelphia area, I have become used to wearing a thin scarf under my heavy winter scarf under my coat but over my t-shirt and hoodie, as well as two pairs of gloves. However, I know spring will come around again and I am looking forward to it — not summer so much, with its humidity, but I always welcome the warmer but not obnoxious temperatures of spring. In honor of that hope, I have found some pretty spring scarves you can make for those days that still have a little chill in the air but you can see the flowers blooming.

spring scarf - spring fling infinity

Spring Fling Infinity Scarf from My Merry Messy Life

The Spring Fling Infinity Scarf from Sara at My Merry Messy Life looks like a quick stitch that you could make in plenty of time for warmer weather. It’s a great way to keep your neck warmer while not having to worry about ends of the scarf hanging down and getting in your way. It uses 230 ounces of worsted yarn. The pattern calls for variegated yarn (which I prefer), but it would look lovely in a solid color or in stripes of solid colors as a stash-busting project. I think Red Heart Boutique’s Unforgettable would work nicely if you decide to go the variegated route.


Green Sheen Scarf from Caron.

If you’re looking for a lacier scarf that is a bit more intermediate in difficulty, the Green Sheen Scarf may be your answer. Of course, you don’t have to use green yarn, but whatever color you like. The scarf is a free design from Caron and is available at Fave Crafts for free. The pattern is older and calls for Caron Spa yarn, which is no longer available, but any DK-weight yarn will work. Personally, this color green doesn’t work well for me (looks horrible with my coloring), but any color would look wonderful for this pattern. Knit Picks has some beautiful colors in Diadem, for example. The combination of alpaca and silk gives this yarn a beautiful sheen.

Dainty Shells Scarf

Dainty Shells Scarf from All Free Crochet

Another scarf that uses thinner yarn is the Dainty Shells Scarf, available at All Free Crochet. This is an easy scarf that uses sport weight yarn, so it’s even lighter than the Green Sheen Scarf. There’s that green again, which I know is a very popular spring color, but I think I’d use a subtle variegated yarn for this. Keep in mind I’m a big fan of variegated yarn, so I’m a bit biased. I performed a quick search over at Yarn.com and found a few variegated sport-weight yarns made from different materials that could work, depending on your preference and budget. There’s also some gorgeous Highland Wool blend sport-weight yarn at Knit Picks that could work.

journey scarf

Journey Scarf from Kim Guzman

Finally, here’s the Journey Scarf. Originally featured on Caron’s website as a free design, it is now available as a free pdf download on Kim Guzman’s website. This is one for which I’d use a solid color, as a variegated yarn may take away from the design, but to each her or her own. This also calls for Caron’s Spa yarn, so instead you can choose any DK-weight yarn. Caron’s Simply Soft Light is nice, but it has more of a twisted/braided look than other DK yarns. Some people like that, some people don’t.

Hope you like the few spring scarves that I’ve shared. If you Google “free crochet spring scarf” you will find a ton! Also I mentioned some yarn here, but I’m not affiliated with any particular retailer or yarn-maker, just noted a few that I like. There is so much yarn out there, made from a plethora of materials and available at different price points, that I’m sure you will find just the right one for you.

Cool! Yarn changes color in the sun!


As you know, sometimes I see something that I just have to share here, and this is one of them! HiKoo Abracadabra is like magic. Walk into the sun, and this natural-colored yarn transforms into either pink or purple, depending on the color you choose. It’s a slightly shimmery DK-weight yarn, a blend of merino wool, polypropylene (this is the part that creates the color change), and nylon — and it’s machine washable. I’m hoping they get more colors in, but these are beautiful. What a fun idea! (They are currently on back order, but should have some more stock in soon.)

Scotch, Hold the Ice

My timing with this is interesting — coldest weather on record for so much of us, and I’m sharing Christmas designs. Well, they are beautiful, and the Scotch stitch is a great base stitch to learn. You may want to imbibe in a different kind of Scotch if you are stuck inside during this crazy winter, but I also hope you will check these out. 🙂 I also found a project that is not affiliated with winter and is a great stash-buster.

Scotch is one of my favorite box stitches; it is easy, covers ground — er, canvas — quickly, lends itself to many variations, and is easy to compensate at the edge of the stitching area. I found some great legitimately free designs that use Scotch at Nuts About Needlepoint. The first two could be quick stitches for your Christmas tree next year, or for someone else’s tree. The other is appropriate for any season. All three designs have great instructions, just follow the links.

Mini stocking

Design by Janet M. Perry

You can stitch the Learn a Stitch Mini-Sock in the colors shown or whatever solid and/or variegated colors you wish. The outline, stitch directions, and materials used are all available for free. It’s a great little project for learning variations on the Scotch stitch.


Design by Janet M. Perry

Another opportunity to use a variation of the stitch is the Scotch Stitch Needlepoint Christmas Tree. This uses a pretty cool version of the stitch, called Genny’s Scotch, in honor of Genny Morrow who designed beautiful quilt-like needlepoint designs. It also includes a reverse version of the stitch to make the tree and add some additional interest to the background and border. Instead of all the stitches going across the full square, the longer stitches are divided into two shorter stitches, which gives this design an interesting texture. You could stitch the whole project in standard and reverse Scotch, but this version adds just a little “something” to the look of the project.


Design by Janet M. Perry

Finally, here’s the non-winter stashbuster project I mentioned, Wedding Day Quilt Portrait. It’s a pretty and simple quilt design and you can use whatever colors you’d like. Sometimes I start stash-buster projects with the intent of truly getting rid of extra threads in my inventory, but I end up wanting specific colors and end up buying more. Hopefully, you are more strong-willed than I. You could also make it larger or smaller or more rectangular to fit a specific project you may have in mind.

There are a lot of free needlepoint designs out there, but I caution you to use your discretion, as there are also many designs that are “free” from websites run by people who have stolen them from the designers. It’s important to our art that we honor the designers who create our lovely needlepoint, crochet, knit, cross stitch, and other designs by only downloading charts that are truly gifts to us from the designers, and purchase those that are not meant to be free.

Throw Back Thursday


This is a piece I made a few years ago. It was for a class I was teaching about stitching on linen at Rittenhouse Needlepint. The finishers there made it into a cute little hanging pillow, about six inches wide. They have it hanging in the shop as a cross stitch sample. I may make it again for myself, it’s so darn cute! I thought that it was a good time to post a reminder of spring, as so many of you are inundated with snow and ice at the moment.

Ewe-phoria is a free chart from Mosey ‘n Me, and is still available online if you want to download it. This chart may not appeal to everyone, as it has symbols but not a color scheme. I loved picking my colors from threads I already had in my stash. I don’t remember exactly what I used, but I know it was a combination of Gentle Arts Sampler Threads and Weeks Dye Works threads. You can see that there is a subtle variegation in the threads. I just chose a piece of fabric that I had in my stash, but I think the pink gives a nice spring/Easter feel.

She was a very fun and quick piece to stitch.