Friday, August 21, 2015

How did you get into cross stitching??????

Every time I sign into a new group or join a page on Facebook the question of how did you get into stitching always comes up. Some say it was when they were very small and a grandmother or mother taught them. Some say it was from school. Well I did not start very young nor did anyone teach me. I was thrown into the deep end of the stitching pool and had to either sink or swim......

In 1987 my mom and her siblings were trying to make a special gift for their parents wedding anniversary. They were each going to take squares and on each one they designed something on each one that was meaningful to their parents. Then they were also to ask the grand-kids if anyone would like a square to decorate. All went pretty well until about 3 months before the party date. My mother was asking for the square to be sent to her so she could start the assembly. There were 20 squares 4X5. She got back 15 decorated squares and 5 blanks with notes that said sorry we just did not know what to do with these.

I had not volunteered because that was a crazy year for myself and my family. Hubby had been laid off 9 months earlier and with few job ops in our small town in Northern Montana he had chosen to go back to school and get a degree for a better job. I stayed put and continued to work at the job I had to continue to bring in some money and take care of our infant son. (1 year old) Then our luck dropped even farther and the store I was working at burned to the ground 2 weeks before Thanksgiving so I was out of a job as well. My in-laws helped us out as best they could and I moved to Wyoming where hubby was in school. So long story I was not very sure I could get a square done.

My sister was also in Wyoming and we spent lots of time together and I was with her when she got he call from mom. We were not asked to do a square we were told that 2 squares were on their way to us and we had 6 weeks, no more, to get them decorated and send back to her. OMG what were we going to do??????? Off we went to Benjamin Franklin's.....(that was a large crafting store in the area, for those that have never heard of it before)....... we were looking around laughing and talking and basically had no clue what we could do. We were thinking maybe fabric paint or some kind of simple embroidery but neither of us are much in the line of artist or knew many embroidery stitches and all of the patterns we looked at had some pretty elaborate work. One of the ladies that worked at the store asked if she could help us, after we finished laughing.....which I am sure scared her......we told her what we were up against. She was so sweet she said she had the perfect thing. Took us a bit further down the aisle to the cross stitch patterns. She said that we could find any number of patterns and then we could stitch them on to some aida fabric and then we would be good. That would have been fine but they did not have the right size fabric and we really did not have time to look for the fabric elsewhere. Remember back then the internet was very new, not something just everyone instantly thought to check and stitching sites probably none exsistant.  So the lady showed us waste canvas. She explained how it worked. Place it over the fabric, and clamp it down with the hoop and do the stitching. When finished dunk the fabric and canvas in water to loosen the stiffening and then pull each of the threads out one at a time. Sounded good to us.  We bought a Stoney Creek booklet named Love Brought Us Together, I picked this pattern from that book. I still have that book and love the patterns in it.
we also bought a wooden hoop, needles... not knowing any better we bought sharp embroidery ones.... and at that time Coats and Clark embroidery thread was the in store thread. I added the date of their anniversary  changed the colors to match their wedding colors and I finished the square just in the nick of time. I found that the hardest part of the whole thing was pulling out the waste canvas. What I did not know then but did discover later was that you should not dunk the fabric into the water to soak. It is best to just lightly dampen the canvas to loosen the stiffening and pull it out as it dries.  

This was my introduction into cross stitching. I used knots. I did not worry if all of the stitches were worked in the same direction. I ran thread across areas that were not stitches so that it showed through on the front. But I was hooked on the joy of those little X's. And from then to now I have been a huge fan of waste canvas. I use it often and love that I can stitch on any colored fabric. I do not like evenweave or linen but I adore cotton, flannel, denim and all other fabrics with waste canvas. I find it so rewarding to stitch something on unusual materials. 

Unfortunately I do not know whatever happened to the quilt. After my grandparents passed away the different families went in and took whatever it was that they wanted. No one that I have talked to in the family has ever said they took the quilt but it did disappear. I hope it was not thrown away. But as happens in families there was a lot of discord after the deaths and so many things went missing.  

So how did you get started?????? What was your first design....if you remember?????  Please share. you could post a link to your blog with this same title and we could share that way. I love to hear stories of the first stitching adventure.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Yesterday and today are not what I would call good days it hit 105 F yesterday and it is suppose to be the same today. So far it is 8:30 am and already 87 F. NOT GOOD. I am not a happy camper when it gets this hot. Almost makes me want to have air conditioning. Good thing days like this only happen 6 to 10 days per year.

To make it bearable I spent the day stitching. Yesterday was my monthly Stitching Get Together (SGT) we had a lovely time stitching, sharing and laughing. One member brought her new purchases off ebay. Some very old samplers. One was about 100 to 200 years old. She is a collector and her home is filled with fabulous old samplers from all over the world. Our hostess for the day had a beautiful home with a fantastic view so it was very pleasant if just a bit warm.........

I have an update on a few projects first, I got a bit of time with my England Nutcracker. Just the top vines and a smidge on his hat.
During the SGT I worked on Frank and his bride. I got a good amount of her dress worked up. I have so far made 1 change. The eyes on her bat belt were suppose to be red but after stitching them they seemed fade into the greys so I went to my stash and found DMC E980 neon yellow. I love how it worked.
I also have a finish. The "Women who behave" by Sue Hillis is now complete. I bought a wood heart from Michael's painted it red and hubby clear coated it for me to set the color. I then used modge podge glue.... the hard coat finish option. I added a bit of lace and bling and I now have another Christmas gift done. This one is for a very dear friend that will get a kick out of this.

 Now off to try and stay cool and do some work on the June Cottage. Maybe get it close to a finish......

Monday, August 10, 2015

Updating Frank

I spent a bit of time with Frankie. This is such a fun and bright picture to work on and he is just such a sweet guy. Frank is complete expect for his BS and the bolts in his neck. I plan to get some rivets and modify them. then I will attach them with some kind of glue. I have it all planned in my mind so stay tuned, when I complete the stitching you will see what I mean.

I am on to his lovely...(wink, wink) bride know.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Rotation method

I am currently working a rotation. This is a bit new to me. For years and years I thought I could only work on one project at a time and finish that before I moved on to the next start. That was okay because I was raising a family, working, doing alot of moving and it just would have been bad to have a large group of stitching setting around unworked.

Then I joined a stitching forum and so many of the people had several projects going all at the same time. I still was not convinced that I, personally, was willing to have more then one project at a time. THEN I started a project that I just did not like. It was going to be a gift for a family member, my dad had produced the chart, but I just hated doing that project and it would set for days unattended. I wanted to stitch but I just could not bring myself to work on this for more then an hour at a time. I finally caved in and started a different project with lots of bright colors and something I really wanted to sit with in the evenings. I thought, okay, I will work on the ugly project for 1 hour everyday and then I can set it aside and enjoy the rest of the time on this fun design. Eureka!!!!!! I was stitching everyday the disliked project was inching to a finish and I was enjoying my other work so much. After finishing those 2 projects it was starting to sink in that just one project at a time was not a rule I had to strictly hold on to. I could work more then one at a time and the stitching gods would not strike me down.

I struggled for awhile with the best number of projects to have going at one time and how often to change out to a different one. For several years I tried every imaginable schedule that was suggested. My biggest trouble is I have to finish anything that I have started and sometimes I would get frustrated with how slow one project was going and how quick others went. The most I had going at one time was 9 and that was just to much, I would forget which project had been worked and which had been waiting. So I finished off the ones that were the closest to being complete and that brought it down to 6 projects and that made it were I could work one per day and see progress on all of them. I then finishe all of the 6 and thought , look you need to have a resonable amount to stitching and you need to figure out what is best for you.......not what others think works.

I now normally have no more then 4 on the go. I work each day (when I can) and I rotate each project out each day.......unless it is so close to getting done and I will take the following day to just finsh it off. Then I can start a new project.

Nothing is set in stone. I work what is the best system for me and that means I have to be flexible. If I want to spend extra time of one prject during a time then I let myself do that. If I want to skip a few days then I do. This is a hobby not a job. I can do what I want with it.......

Friday, August 7, 2015

Cottage of the Month Series

This is the final current Wip I have to write about. This is the June Cottage from "Country Cottage Needleworks." This is actually the last of the 12 cottages. I did them in an odd order. In 2013 for my daughters birthday I made her a message center.It has 2 pockets for note pads, 3 pockets for pens a space for a calender and along the bottom hooks for keys.
When I was making this I had thought I would get a calender and put it under the pockets. Well at that time I could not find any that would fit in that location they were either way to big or too heavy or so small it looked weird. So then I had to decide what could I do. At the time I was very active on a Cross Stitch forum and one of the other members had just completed this series of cottages. I really liked the look of them and so decided it would work super for this. Since my daughters birthday is in October I started with that month and just finished the cottage in time to give it to her for her special day. I then completed November in very short order so she had that month to change to when it came up.

Well as we all know from October to December we are all scrambling to finish up gifts for Christmas and I was no different so the remaining months got pushed off to the new year. And in comes 2014 and during the January doldrums I started and finished December. 
But 2014 was a year of many projects. I was hosting a family reunion and in that I set myself a task of stitching a gift for each niece(8), nephew (2), grandniece(4) and partner of those that are married(3) and both of my sisters that came to the reunion in July. As you can imagine I was hurrying to stitch and finish those gifts......that is a story for another time. But long story short the cottages got pushed to the back seat of my stitching duties. Finally in late June I was back to them and I finished September and July. And when she came for the reunion she was given these 2.

After the reunion and in the time I was able to relax I finished August, January and February. That completed my work in 2014.

2015 came and I was determined to finish these cottages. So I set up a rotation program for myself and I have been quite happy with that. Again a subject for another post. But this year I have now finished March, April, May and June is quite close. This month I hope will see the final cottage.

If you follow me for any amount of time you will soon discover that I love to change patterns. I mean I like to switch out colors and combine patterns to make a scene that is different from the original the designer  had planned or take out a component that I do not care for. These cottages are a good example of that. I could go on for pages with all the changes I made, but I do not want to try and name them all so lets just say colors changed to suit my style, I added a tiny pompom for the bunny tail, windows on the spring designs got kreinik to lighten them up. And on the February design most of the hearts got changed and the pink became purple because my daughter is 100% anti-Valentines. I choose not to print the words she uses to express her dislike. 

I guess I should show my June progress already...........

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Finally finished..........Women

This one should not have taken this long. I started it May 28th. And the size of it is just one of those patterns that you think would be a quick finish. And yet here it is August and I have just finished the stitching last night........well at least it is done. :-)

Once I wash it and get it finished I will show you that but for now I am excite to finally have this finished. It will be a Christmas gift for a dear friend.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Neglecting my stitching

I have not been doing much stitching ......I know naughty girl.

But I have been being crafty. I have been in my sewing room making up gifts/crafts to sell. These are so fun to make and turn out so cute if I do have to say so myself.......
 First I have these 3 little cuties They are about 14 inches tall and so adorable!!!!

Then the following are just so fun to make. And work so well for the holidays. These are 12 inches tall.

They also do well when you find fabric for a local sports team. 

 I hope to sell a few. People seem to be quite interested in them.