Monday, December 8, 2008

My Christmas Wish

I've requested a couple of charm packs for Christmas. I plan to use them for the backs of stitching smalls, and to share with others stitchers in exchanges. I found a site that has VERY reasonable shipping. It's

Monday, November 17, 2008

Embroidery Treasures Giveaway

Sign up for the tape measure giveaway here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Giveaway of Laurence

Laurence, from France, is having a blog giveaway. You can win a wonderful embroidered bird (made by her) . Go to her blog. You don't have to live in France to enter.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Needlebook

I made this needlebook for the November Monthly Finishing Challenge. I used buckram for the inside stiffening. I don't believe in using cardboard to finish embroidery. Unless you use museum or archival-quality mounting board, the cardboard will deteriorate eventually and ruin your needlework. If you are creating heirlooms, use something that is acid-free and will last for generations.

This is DMC thread on 32-ct. cream linen. The paisley motif is from a Reader's Digest Book of Cross Stitch. The rose and numbers are from Anne Orr's Charted Designs (Dover Publications). The alphabet is from Favorite Charted Designs by Anne Orr (Dover Publications).

I forgot to put the tie ribbons in when I sewed it up. I decided that a snap would be a better choice, because I do not want to have to untie a bow every time I need a needle.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Local Squirrel

The squirrel in my header picture is holding a black walnut (still in the husk) in his mouth.

Quaker Floss Tag

This is a floss tag stitched on white 28-ct. Monaco. The design is a motif from the large Quaker freebie "Six Mains," by A Mon Ami Pierre. I made a buttonhole stitch opening for the ring because I don't own an eyelet puncher.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Nov. 1st

Today I'll be stitching one of The Sampler Girl's Election 2008 freebies. I cannot believe that we are down to the wire. I need a keepsake from this historic election.

I took part in one of the WV state party conventions earlier this year. No, I won't say which one. Cross stitch blogging is wonderful because you interact with people's creative sides and not think about issues that separate us. We stitchers separate strands of floss and count threads.

In addition to the election x-stitch, I want to stitch a quick freebie Quaker squirrel from a big "Six Mains" chart. I need another floss keeper. I finally got some pretty colored floss rings and have a gold one saved for the squirrel.

An Autumn WIP

This is the freebie "Pumpkin Keeper," by The Drawn Thread. It's on 28-ct. white Monaco and will be made into a scissor fob (keeper).

Acorns and Owls

This is "Acorns and Owls," a freebie by Blue Ribbon Designs. It's stitched on 28-ct. white Monaco, and I haven't made it into anything yet as I'm still deciding what to do with it. I changed a couple of the colors (DMC).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe (Eggless)

Marie's Gingerbread Cookies

Cream together:
1/2 c. unsalted butter (softened)
1/2 c. plus 1 T. raw sugar (I use Maui Sugar in the Raw)
[substitute packed brown sugar if no other available]
1/2 c. unsulphured molasses
1 1/2 T. yoghurt (lowfat or full-fat)
Then add:
1/4 c. cold water

Mix in separate bowl:
3 c. unbleached white flour
1 teas. gr. cinnamon
1 teas. gr. ginger
1/4 teas. gr. cloves
1 teas. baking soda
a little less than 1/2 teas. salt

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and blend thoroughly. Divide the dough into two balls and flatten slightly. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or until stiff.

To bake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease cookie sheets (if not using non-stick pans).

Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface, using flour on top of dough to keep rolling pin from sticking. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters, and dust off flour before placing onto baking pan.

Bake at least 5 minutes, then check after that every 2 minutes. I can't give you an exact time, as it depends upon your choice of pan and the thickness of your cookie. I made mine about 1/4" thick. As soon as the top springs back, they are done. When cooked properly, these are so moist. If overbaked, they will be dry but good for dunking in milk. Try not to overbake because the bottoms will start to scorch.

My granddaughter loves these for an after school snack.

Halloween Freebie

I stitched this Tanya Anderson (The Sampler Girl) freebie on black Aida. It's finished as a (stuffed pillow) hanging sign. I think I overstuffed it a little, but I was in a rush to get it finished.

The reverse is stitched with DMC Glow-in-the-Dark floss. This is the side that faces outwards (as it hangs in our window). I modeled the "B" after Tanya's alphabet and the ghost is my own creation.

I know people don't like Aida. I don't either. It's very stiff to stitch upon. However, it's the only black fabric that I had.

I wrote to the Michaels craft store corporation and told them that stitching on linen has been preferred by cross stitchers for some years. I asked them to stock our local Michaels with some basic colors of linen, i.e. pink, pale blue, mint green. They said they would consult with their buyers. The last time I went shopping there not even white linen was in stock.

Halloween Is Here

Although I haven't blogged in some time, I was stitching on several projects. Above is the freebie "Quaker Boo," by Tanya Anderson (The Sampler Girl). I left out some of her motifs and added some of my own: the witch's hat, the bat, and the crescent moon. I wanted the sampler to have more Halloween motifs instead of her geometric designs. I stitched this on 28-ct. white Monaco fabric. I used the cotton Monaco because I'm saving my small stash of linen for stitching my own smalls and for exchanges with other stitchers.

I want to finish it as a hanging but don't have the money right now to get the pumpkin-shaped metal bell pull that I saw advertised on a cross stitch supplies website. I really like the way the colors pop on the white background, and I found the Monaco easy to stitch upon.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Scrumptious Eggless Carrot Cake Recipe

I made this yesterday. My granddaughter liked it so much that she has requested it to be the cake for her next birthday. This is my own recipe.

Marie's Carrot Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease & flour two 9" round cake pans.

Mix together by hand:

4 T. yoghurt(make one of them a heaping tablespoon)
1 c. vegetable oil (I recommend sunflower, but safflower is OK if nothing else; never canola)
1 teaspoon gr. cinnamon
1 3/4 c. sugar (I use boxed "Sugar-in-the-Raw" Maui raw sugar)
4 c. grated carrots (nearly all of a 1-lb. bag)
Optional: 2/3 c. chopped walnuts

Mix in a separate bowl:

2 c. white all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a little less than 1/2 teaspoon salt

* * * * * *
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly by hand. Spoon into the two pans and bake. Check after 15-16 minutes, then lower heat to 325 degrees and bake 5-7 minutes more or until done (when the top springs back when touched). I used Wilton aluminum pans and they cooked quickly, so watch them after 15 minutes.

This cake is great plain, or you can frost with a cream cheese icing (recipe available on the Web). It's such a pretty orange that you could shape and decorate it to look like a jack-o-lantern.

Halloween Exchange from Jayne N.

Yesterday I received my HOE Halloween exchange that was mailed from England (only took a week). The fabric will be put to good use when I create Halloween and autumn-themed decorations for our living room. Yes, I needed embroidery scissors!! Jayne N. must be a little psychic. I love humbugs and this one is very cute. The other sides sport a witch and a jack-o-lantern.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

HOE Halloween Exchange

I stayed up very late last night finishing my HOE Halloween Exchange and I was so tired this morning that I FORGOT to take a picture of the finished item before packing it up. Dear exchange partner, please take a good picture of the stitched item itself so that I can have a copy of it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Halloween Musings

Last night I began a JBW pumpkin design as part of the Friday Night Stitch-a-thon group. Today I'll be working to get my HOE Halloween Exchange sewn together and packed up, as well as sew a (stitched) Halloween sign.

This will be our first Halloween in this apartment complex and people are already decorating their doors and windows. I realized that we will need a LOT of candy to give out. Last year we were much more isolated (down a gravel country lane), and had not one single trick-or-treater! I enjoy going to the door and giving out the treats.

I remember from my childhood that a whole candy bar was only a nickel. One family used to keep them slightly warm in the oven for us! Our paper grocery bag full of Halloween candy lasted about a whole month because we were allowed to have only one piece per day.

I've got a Martha Stewart Halloween book from the library and have recipes to copy, as well as some templates for decorating ideas.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Spooky Time is Coming!

I finished the stitching of "Spooky Time." I substituted the cat button for the suggested spider, used DMC white instead of oatmeal for the top of the candy corn, and sewed on silver-lined glass beads instead of glittery thread.

I embroidered the eyes with black and glow-in-the-dark thread, as a substitute for the eye buttons. Now it needs to be finished into a ?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cascades Raptor Center

Here are two photos taken at the Cascades Raptor Center, Eugene (OR), located near Spencer's Butte. The top picture shows a species of hawk. The bottom one shows a few of the shaded cages and a path. The center is located on the side of a hill and the paths are steep.

I was really happy to be able to visit this non-profit center and see so many raptors. Here in WV I see turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks, and perhaps another small hawk. The Raptor Center cares for many birds who were brought in injured (usually) and either rehabilitates them to be returned to the wild, or keeps them lifelong, if their injuries are too severe.

I saw many species of hawks and owls, as well as bald and golden eagles. The place serves as an educational center on birds of prey for the Eugene area and hosts many students during the school year.

We asked about the bags of feathers that we saw pinned to the walls of the supply sections of the cages and were told that even though they are approved to care for these special birds, they are not allowed to keep the feathers from certain species, such as eagles. Those feathers are sent to a federal facility in Colorado. Native Americans who need the feathers for spiritual ceremonies must make formal, written requests for them. It was unclear to me if non-Native Americans are entitled to request feathers as well.

They provide a sitting bench in front of one of the bald eagle cages. It was awesome to just sit and contemplate this magnificent bird.

The gift shop sells a wonderful variety or raptor-themed merchandise, including reproductions of pencil drawings of some raptors at a reasonable $8! If you ever visit Eugene, I recommend a visit here. You will not be disappointed.

More Halloween Stitching

I started "Spooky Time," a freebie by Lizzie Kate.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quaker Hedgehog WIP

This is the "Quaker hedgehog" freebie from the Workbasket. I need a new regular (pillow) pincushion, so I'll finish him as one. It seems appropriate that a spiny creature should hold pins.

Some interesting facts about hedgehogs may be found here. A hedgehog is not the same as an American porcupine.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Poems for the First Day of Autumn

"Autumn is always too early."

---from Autumn, by Adam Zagajewski
(trans. by Renata Gorcynski)

"The milkweed pods are breaking

And the bits of silken down

Float off upon the autumn breeze

Across the meadows brown."

----from The Milkweed, by Cecil Cavendish

My DMC Master Chart

Yesterday I began "Garden Gate," by Elizabeth's Designs. I did the birdhouse in the wrong color and it is in the process of being ripped out.

I spent several hours yesterday afternoon learning to use a spreadsheet in my Microsoft Works. I created a master list of all of my DMC floss colors. I had paid my granddaughter a penny per skein for writing down the color numbers of all my floss (stored by color family in plastic bags). Yesterday I entered several sheets of the handwritten numbers into the computer and printed a master sheet that runs from lowest to highest label number.

When I find a chart I want to stitch, all I have to do is consult my master sheet and I can see immediately: (a) if I have the thread
(b) how many skeins of each color.

No more guessing for a project, no more buying the same thread over again at the craft store!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Poor Jack Finished

"Poor Jack" is finished. I didn't have DMC 972, so I made the eyes of the spiders darker. I think that the spiders' legs would have turned out better if I had a one of the thicker, single-strand type floss, such as Tentakulum. Someone sent me some (rose/green shaded) in an HOE exchange and I enjoyed using it as I did not have to unply it.

In the woods across from my window, a blue jay is calling over a low background of buzzing insects. Fall arrives tomorrow.

"That soon they will die

Is unknown

To the chirping cicadas."


(from The Moon in the Pines, by J. Clements)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pumice Desert, Crater Lake

This is the Pumice Desert in Crater Lake National Park (OR) and it is located about six miles north of the actual crater. It was formed about 7,700 years ago from the pumice ejected by the ancient volcano, Mt. Mazama. You can see the great expanse of the desert as well as the myriad tiny holes in the piece of pumice.

The sign at the lookout area said that it will take thousands of years for a forest to get established here due to the poor quality of the soil. It is quite a contrast to go from here to the beauty of the lake up in the caldera.

Halloween 2008 Stitching

This is a freebie on 28-ct. linen, "Poor Jack" by Just Nan, that I started last night. I made his eyes and grin with DMC glow-in-the-dark floss. I'll be making several Halloween designs, and I'm not sure yet which will be used for my HOE partner. The linen is really natural but the scan makes it look grey.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Crater Lake

This is a view of Crater Lake National Park as seen from a north lookout on the rim highway. This photo was taken on August 2, and the white stuff you see around the edge of the lake is snow!

The little island poking up is Wizard Island. A park ranger told us that the view was hazy because the smoke from massive wildfires in California moved north into the valleys of Oregon. At the bottom of the photo you can see that the haze is beginning to clear, and the incredible deep lapis blue of the lake is starting to emerge.

Unfortunately, there are now Oregon wildfires burning that are affecting towns, some access highways to the park, and hiking trails. It is very dry in most of Oregon right now.

Eliza's Pyn Pillow

This is a WIP freebie, "Eliza's Pin Pillow" by With My Needle, that I stitched this summer. I'll finish it as a pinkeep. I didn't have the recommended thread count linen, and so I had to leave the serifs off of most of the letters, as well as rearrange them to fit my small piece of linen. I had to substitute for some of the colors.

Yesterday I went to Michael's crafts for a sale and bought some narrow ribbons. I got some Thanksgiving colors, and plan to use a brown for the edging of this.

I also bought another skein of DMC glow-in-the-dark thread to give to my HOE Halloween Exchange partner, and two quarter-yard pieces of lovely prints that will be useful for the backs of smalls. My granddaughter likes the glow-in-the-dark and wants me to use it to stitch something for her room.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chihuly in Pittsburgh

This is one of the Chihuly art glass pieces in the Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My daughter visited there but I haven't been able to go yet :(

Phipps had a Chihuly exhibition last spring that was so popular that (I think) they purchased several of the works, which are now on permanent display.

Oregon Coast

This is a view of the Oregon coast as seen from the trail in the woods below the Heceta Head lighthouse. The day was overcast when we arrived, but gradually the mist lifted. I was so excited to finally see the Pacific Ocean!

"Ocean in view . . . oh, the joy"
---from the journals of Lewis & Clark

A Quaker Pinkeep

Although I didn't post all summer due to a lack of blank CD's (to back up all photos), I was busy stitching. I made this pinkeep for the HOE Summer Quaker exchange, but realized that I did not like the floss colors against the background. The background isn't really blue-grey--it's more of a mottled neutral. The reverse is covered with the batik yellow fabric that you see.

I gave it as a birthday present to someone with a summer birthday. They never responded, even to say whether or not they liked it. It took me a long time to stitch this with my aging eyesight. I have to wear magnifying glasses.

Memo to self: I will cross-stitch handmade gifts only for family and close friends who appreciate my work.

I took the pattern from an issue of the digital magazine "The Gift of Stitching."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thank You Gift

I stitched this as a thank-you gift for my son's girlfriend, following my stay with them in Eugene. It's "Embraceable Ewes: September" (An Apple for You), by Moon Pi Madness.

It's stitched with DMC on linen. I chose to eliminate the bow at the sheep's neck, and the row of apples on the bottom. The chart featured only the picture so I added the letters from one of my Dover Publications books. I used buckram and some quilt batting to create a hanging. The back has sheep design fabric. I was rushed and didn't sew the edges straight, therefore no picture of the reverse side.

Saturday Market--Eugene, OR

Here are pictures of some lovely flower bouquets for sale at the Saturday market in downtown Eugene. It's held outside until sometime in the fall, when it moves to an indoor location.

Farmers and craftspeople come from the Eugene area and set up their wares underneath tents. The selection of both homegrown produce, food and and handmade crafts was incredible!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Trip to Oregon

In August I traveled to Eugene, Oregon, to spend five days with my son and his girlfriend. I'll be posting some pictures from my trip.

This is a view of Eugene taken from Skinner's Butte.

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

These are some huge plants in the inner courtyard of the museum that overlook a small pool. I don't know what they are.

I went to this museum on the University of Oregon campus primarily to see the collection of works by Morris Graves . They had about four of his works in a special room. Unfortunately, there were no prints or posters of them in the museum gift shop, and practically nothing in the gift shop was based upon the museum collections, except for some magnets. Perhaps because the Jordan Schnitzer Museum is small, it cannot afford to make reproductions.

It is difficult to find reproductions of Morris Graves' work. It seems that much of his work is in private hands, and many of the works in major museums are not sold as prints or posters in their shops, either. Maybe some are available when one visits in person, but not listed in the online shopping. Maybe there are not enough people who want them to make it profitable.

Has anyone been to the actual Morris Graves Museum of Art in California (Humboldt County)?

I'm especially attracted to his series of birds (Waking, Walking, Singing in the Next Dimension), and those featuring "white noise."

The other museum collections (Asian) that featured samurai outfits, intricate Chinese enameled hairpieces, and and hand-painted screens were magnificent. I reveled in seeing the embroidered clothing (silk thread in satin stitch) so closely that I could see the actual stitches.

Summer Quaker

This is the jewelry pouch that I stitched for April for the HOE Summer Quaker Exchange. The eight-petal flowers, the enclosed swan and the enclosed birds/flowerpot are from a freebie, "Six Mains," by A Mon Ami Pierre. I chose to fill in the swan and make the background look like a pond, just to add variety.

The vase is my own design; the key, initials and letters from a book of charted designs by Dover Publication.

The interior is of the finest silk, from the blouse (choli) piece of an Indian silk sari. I've had this silk for years and use it sparingly for special projects. I stuffed it with flat quilt filler and added buckram for stiffening.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Goodbye, Teacher

Last week was the final week of the school year for a young relative. We give small gifts to the teachers at Christmas break and at the end of the term. I wanted to make handmade gifts this June, not only due to our budget, but because I enjoy giving a personalized gift.

For the music teacher, I created a small hanging pillow. The front was white Aida, the back was black velveteen, and the hanging cord was gold trim from India. I cross stitched a black silhouette of a colonial violinist, from the book "Anne Orr's Charted Designs," by Dover Publications.

For one (male) teacher, I made a watercolor of his family coat-of-arms, which I had researched on the internet.

For the homeroom teacher, I wanted to make a sampler-type gift but knew I didn't have time to make a large one and frame it.

Thursday evening (June 5th) I was still working on her gift. I had wanted to make a sampler that looked like a blackboard, the same sampler that I stitched for one of my daughter's teachers many years ago. It was from an issue of the (now defunct) magazine "Cross Stitch and Country Crafts." Unfortunately, I couldn't find that issue, and realized that I'm missing 2 or 3 issues, not just that one.

I had to design my own sampler to be stitched with DMC floss on black Aida.
The sampler read, from top to bottom:
(stitched apple) Teacher's Name (in white thread) (stitched apple)
SCHOOL (white letters on green box background)
GRADE she taught(in white thread)
(x-stitch of a #2 yellow pencil)

below I stitched (in different colors):
math equations; an angle, a square, a triangle, a quadrilateral; math operation symbols; an outline of the continental USA, Alaska, and Hawaii; the sun, moon, Mars, Earth, and Saturn; a darkling beetle on oats, under a magnifying glass; and the word "SPARKLE" to commemorate a spelling game they played.

By this time it was midnight and I finished it as a small hanging pillow. The backing was green with a small black paisley-type design. The hanging cord was of white rick-rack.

I did not go to sleep until 2:30 a.m. Friday morning because it took me that long to do the watercolor coat-of-arms. I got up a few hours later, wrapped both gifts, and put them in a bag to be taken to school.

After school I was informed how much the homeroom teacher LOVED her gift, and that she wished she could have met me. Actually, I had met her several years ago, when I observed classes there for three days. She just forgot.

* * * *
This morning I began reading the local newspaper online.

I see her last name on the obituaries. I see the same first name as hers.

It states she was a teacher at the same school.

I cannot believe what I am reading.

I call the mother of one of the classmates and find that it is true.

She had a heart attack the day after school ended, the day after she announced her retirement, the day after she received my cross stitched gift--a gift that both acknowledged her teaching and brought her happiness.

All of you--my friends in stitching--la communaute des brodeuses, never underestimate the power of your needle and thread.

With needle and thread we create joy, we create friendships, we mark milestones.

Your embroidery may be the only cross stitched gift a person ever receives. Your embroidery may be the last gift someone receives.

Cherish your skills, pass them on, teach someone to cross stitch. Je brode, et vous?

Goodbye to a wonderful TEACHER

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Baby Washcloths for Shower Gift

Here's another gift for the mother-to-be who is going to get the crocheted blanket.

This is the flannel cloth that I'm hemming by hand in order to to create 4 washcloths. This flannel is not suitable for children's sleepwear (U.S. makes manufacturers treat sleepwear with chemicals) and I only had a small piece, so I decided to make baby washcloths. I'm hemming them by hand because I need to keep the thread hidden, as my thread is not 100% cotton and it would cause the cloths to be scratchy if hemmed by machine.

The brightly-colored animals will catch the baby's eye.

Crocheted Baby Blanket

This is a crib blanket that I am making for someone who is going to have a baby shower soon. I am using Jaggerspun 100% wool yarn in Winter White. The mesh pattern is from an old book , "Lovable Hand Knits," Vol. 30, published MLXVIII by Bernhard Ullman Company (makers of Botany, and Bear Brand yarns.

The pattern says to bind with nylon satin blanket binding, but I'm going to crochet a shell border. I don't want to put synthetic materials on a pure wool blanket.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Coeur de Printemps Finished

I finished my Coeur de Printemps and mailed it (late) on the 9th of May. I used the DMC colors suggested by the designer. This was my first time mailing an overseas package, and so I finished it simply in order to mail it in a first-class envelope. I was surprised to learn that the cost was reasonable.

To you, the recipient:
I did not have time to take a picture of it. Will you please photograph it and put it up on Ness's blog?

Monday, May 5, 2008

I Received My Coeur de Printemps

This is the lovely stitcher's "folder" that I received from Marie-Ange
This pattern is the "Coeur de Corinne" exchange organized by Ness. (I'll put a link in later to her blog). These pictures show the front and the inside. (The pic of the inside is sideways).

The stitching is over one thread of Lugana and is finer than anything I could do, even with magnifying lenses.

It has the pumpkin-shaped pincushion inside, anchored by a mother-of-pearl flower-shaped bead. There's a cute scissors charm on the scissors pocket.

I've always wanted one of these stitcher's accessory folders and am very happy to get this beautiful piece of needlework.

I'm sorry to be so late in posting this. I am swamped right now, currently working on a batch of stuffed dolls!

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Spring WIP

This is a WIP, from a Maryse chart that I received from Irmeli, a Hooked on Exchanging blog member.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Pinkeep Received

This is the beautiful spring pinkeep that I received from Irmeli (HOE).

A Current Project

This is a piece I'm working on at present. It's "P'tits Coeurs Bienvenue," by Isabelle Vautier, stitched on linen with Tentakulum overdyed thread "Lisa." I received the linen, chart, and thread from Gaby as part of the HOE biscornu exchange.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Katrina's Pinkeep

This is the front of the pinkeep and the matching scissors fob that I made for Katrina in the Hooked on Exchanging project. It is DMC floss on (about) 32 ct. linen. The chart is a LHN/CCN collaboration from The Gift of Stitching magazine (a back issue). The entire pinkeep is sewn together, not glued, including the ribbon.

Here are the reverse sides:

The initials are taken from a Dover Publications book, Charted Monograms for Counted Cross Stitch.

Mon Poisson d'Avril

This is a picture of the stuffed fish toy that I made for the "Bisque d'Avril" of Chacharose. He is Matsya, the horned fish of (Asian) Indian lore.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bisque d'Avril

I've joined the create-a-fish project on the blog of Chacharose.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Chart Pack Questions

In the mail today I received a chart pack cross stitch pattern (a 2005 design from a modern design company) that I bought via eBay. This is not the first chart pack that I have purchased, and so I knew that I was not going to get a big leaflet-type chart. However, I was flabbergasted to open it and find that each of the printed components were just thin paper!

There are two reasons why I find it surprising that designers market their patterns like this. First, thin paper is not going to last long, even if placed in a plastic sleeve when not in use. Second, it is much easier to violate copyright and make an illegal copy of a chart that is black ink on copy paper.

Plastic bags come in all sizes. I wouldn't mind a xeroxed color picture of the finished design IF it were larger than what I received, so that I can see it better. The chart itself should be on folder or card stock so that it is durable. This chart was marked $6.50 retail. I'm glad that I was able to get it for less on eBay. Do you have an opinion on the quality of chart paper?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Biscornu Completed

My granddaughter was ill with a fever for two days, so it took me longer than expected to finish this project because I was taking care of her.

I completed my Hooked on Exchanging biscornu yesterday evening. I sewed the backstitch once around both squares and had to rip it out and sew it again because my color choice was wrong. This was my first biscornu. I think that next time I will sew the back stitch line with a strand of DMC pearl cotton floss, instead of regular embroidery floss, because the regular floss kept "hiding" beneath the linen threads. I found it difficult to go under for the whip stitch when I sewed the two squares together.

I'm quite taken by the sculptural beauty of this design--that is, how a flat square with four sides can become a three-dimensional object with eight edges! My granddaughter wants one, so we will figure out her color choices while I begin my pinkeep (already have the chart).

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Gift of Stitching Magazine

I purchased and downloaded one back issue of this magazine. It was a simple and fast process. After saving it to my hard drive, I saved it to a disk. It's definitely worth the money. Even if you disregard one minor project, and take into consideration that I received only one part of a 4-part sampler series, the patterns are still worth over 3 X the cost of the issue.

I'll use one small project for an ongoing stitching exchange, another large project featuring cats as a birthday present to finish by July, and other smaller items as gifts.

I bought it to test the quality. I had wanted to download it and send the issue on a disk as a present to another stitcher (after erasing it completely from my computer), but that is not allowed. If you want to gift someone, you must know their email address as well as their street address, so that they can get the subscription information electronically. Only the subscribed person is allowed to download and use the issue(s).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Crane UFO

This is a UFO done in satin stitch on silk cloth. The design is a Chinese traditional one from Dover Publications. I don't know whether I'm going to make it into a pillow or applique it onto a jacket.

I like origami, Hiroshige's Tokkkaido, haiku, and my Omiyage book by Kumiko Sudo. I like Japanese and Chinese landscape and nature scenes, whether in paintings or on fabric. I like the asymmetrical design concept. Cranes are my #1 favorite motif!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bookmarks in Progress

Here are two unfinished bookmarks. The left is a celtic interlaced design from Dover Publications Celtic Charted Designs for Cross Stitch. I hope that I'll get it done for this St. Patrick's Day.

The right one is from the defunct Cross Stitch and Country Crafts magazine. It is a design that was submitted for a contest on "borders." They're both DMC floss on perforated paper.

Biscornu Exchange

My biscornu is 3/4 embroidered. My granddaughter likes the design so much that she asked for one, only in different colors. I told her she'll be surprised when she sees how it gets assembled. It's for the Hooked on Exchanging
biscornu exchange.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Rose UFO

This is a design (by Stephen Hawkins?) from Cross Stitch and Country Crafts magazine (defunct). It's DMC floss on grey Aida. I started stitching it as a present, but that was ages ago.