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Cross Stitch in the 1990's

Life continued to be busy.  Every once in a while I'd go to the chain store and buy a kit that appealed to me.  I'd finish it and pick up another one.  I wasn't always quick but it was a fun hobby to pick up every once in a while.  I didn't let anyone know I cross-stitched as I didn't think anyone else did (actually, people must cross-stitch, because otherwise the stores wouldn't carry the pattens, but I didn't think of that at the time).

I moved to Colorado Springs in 1994 and with most of my stuff in storage and living in a tiny apartment I needed a project and found a Columbine pattern to stitch on.  I also discovered a cross stitch store down the street from the apartment.  They had alot more patterns than the chain store and the patterns where so much better.  They had more than just aida cloth and DMC floss.  It was a whole new world.  They also had a group that met Thursday night which I joined.  From there I discovered EGA, the Embroiderers' Guild of America.  It was another whole new world. 

At a typical meeting there would be about 70 ladies who did all different kinds of embroidery.  There where classes and projects to choose from.  No longer did I start one project and finish it before moving on to the next.  There where too many exciting projects out there and people to share them with.  I also learned that if you didn't like the colors in a pattern you could change them to any color you want.  You could change a section of a pattern you didn't like.  Some people also made up their own designs.  My technique improved and I learned alot more than just cross stitch.

1999, our chapter hosted the regional seminar, something I never attended before.  One of the exhibits at the seminar was called Prospectors and it is an exhibit of original designs by region members.  I had no idea what to expect, but I love a challenge and decided to come with a design for Prospector exhibit.

More on that next time.


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The ABC's of Cross Stitch Alphabets

Alphabets are quite popular on cross stitch samplers and there are many decisions to be made when choosing an alphabet.  Upper case or lower case is one decision.  It seems that upper case is most popular.  Using lower case causes all sorts of compications.  Extra space is needed for j, k, l, p and the other letters that extend above or below the main line. 

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This is an even alphabet that is 6 stitches high.  Notice that the B and D are no longer symmetrical.  I prefer odd alphabets.  I've been known to change the size of a sampler to mak an even alphabet into an odd alphabet.

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Do Overs

Starting over means re-doing some of my projects.  A lot of the projects that I've done I don't want to do over.  Some turned out not to be the worth effort and others were not fun at all.  There's also a feeling of "been there, done that".    I've also discovered that I enjoy the act of creating more than the results sometimes.
My first do over was this penstemon I designed a while ago.  It's small and simple and only 2 colors.  I'll eventually be restitching many of my own designs.  Luckily, I still have the charts even if I no longer have the item or pictures of the item.
My second do over is actually actually stitching something for the third time!

After the second stitching, I'd had enough.  But, I was given the 2010 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue with the pattern and that was a sign that the reindeer needed to be stitched again.  Hopefully, that's it.
My last do over represents all the EGA seminars that I attended over the years.


Blocks 2 and 3 - Hourglass and Square in a Square

The next two easy blocks in my quilt are Hourglass and Square in a Square.  Both finish out to be 9 inches.  They are good starter blocks for working with triangles.  As the quilt progresses and the blocks get more complicated there will be many more triangles.
The Hourglass is also known as a Quarter Square Triangle Block or QST.  It is easier to make 2 blocks than it is to make 1 so that's what I did.  The picture is of 4 blocks, not one block made up of 4 units but it is fun to combine multiple hourglasses in one block.
For both colorways I used a directional print and it's easy to see where the quarter squares are in the block.  Since you want the edges on the straight of grain making one would waste fabric and by making 2 blocks at once, you can deal with piecing squares together instead of triangles.
There are plenty of QST tutorials to be found.  I started with 10 1/2 inch squares to yield the 9 inch blocks.

The square in a square can also be pieced using squares but I…