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Antique Flowers

My "Les Fleurs des Bois" was full of bright, contemporary flowers.  I had made some flowers that didn't fit in with that sampler that I still wanted to use.  At the same time I had visions of an eyelet alphabet.  Eyelet stitches are different from cross stitches.  You can purposefully pull the thread tightly while stitching to distort the fabric and leave a hole.  Some antique samplers are done entirely with the eyelet stitch.  So, the basis for my next sampler was an eyelet ABC.

Going with the antique theme, I pulled out a brown piece of linen.  This limited me to light and dark threads only.  Anything else was not visible on the background.  So, I was able to design some white flowers.  I also borrowed another theme from antique samplers - vines!  Vines never seem to line up on top of each other and I enjoy the patterns that they make.   I repeated the eyelet stitch in white flower.  These flowers are so stylized that the don't resemble real flowers so I don't call them by name.

This sampler fought me all the way.  The bottom half was ripped out and redone several times and I still wasn't too happy with the configuration.  When I decided to sell patterns, this is one of the first ones I tried charting on the computer.  The eyelet flowers defied charting.  The stitches where uneven and have unusual spacing.  I gave it my best effort and showed it to a friend who became hopelessly confunsed.  Now I had a chance to redo the sampler.

And so, Antique Flowers #2 is designed.  I went to a more readily available linen that was much lighter and so the white flowers wouldn't work anymore.  The vine flowers became pink and the eyelet flowers became mustard. The bottom half was rearranged again and the eyelet flowers where simplified to make them easier to chart and stitch.  Now the vines are closer together and make an interesting wave through the middle of the samper.

I like the second version better, but miss some of the features of the first.  Perhaps I'll make a third version one day.


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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. 

Another important decision is even or odd.  The alphabet above is odd.  That is, it is and odd number of stitches high, in this case 7.  Notice the B and D.  Both are symmetryical.

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.

Both of these samplers are in a traditional font.  But it is easy to re-arrange the stitches to create different looks for you alphabet.  Here is an elegant alphabet that is only 7 stitches high:

Each letter takes up more space and gi…


A few weeks ago I was at the Local Quilt store basting my bright sampler.

It's been ready to go for a while.  I've been working on a baby quilt and it's now done.  It's been a while since I've quilted so I'm glad I had a quilt to warm up on.
Next I need to pull a folding table out of the garage and re-arrange my quilting space.  This quilt will have a lot more drag than the baby quilt.
I've also been looking at pictures of similar quilts looking for quilting pattern inspiration.  I'm thinking of taking the easy way out and use wavy lines like this quilt.
I should start quilting next weekend!

The last 2 blocks and the tops are done!

I needed 2 more blocks to finish the gray version of the quilt.  I ended up making simple 9 patch/half square triangle blocks.  One is the yellow block in the lower left.

Here it is closer up.  When I made the half square triangles I had the red fabric going the wrong way so you are seeing the backside of the fabric.  So the red in the triangles is a little lighter than the red in the center.  It wasn't worth redoing.

The other corner has a blue block and I managed to get the front of all the fabrics showing.
So, here's what it looks like almost complete.

And here's the blue version of the quilt.

I've got the backing and the batting for the gray quilt (the backing is in the washer now) and I'm working on the thread to use for quilting and how to quilt it.
They are too big for me to free-motion quilt.  I don't have the space.  As it is, quilting with the walking foot will be a challenge.  These tops deserve some fancier quilting.  But, first I have some basting…