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Quilt Garden

As I worked on Samper Garden (previous post) my mind was thinking of other "gardens".  The first thing that popped into my mind was quilt block flowers.  I enjoy both quilting and cross stitch and like to find ways to insert quilts into cross stitch designs.  It's not as easy as it sounds.  At times I've thought and thought and not come up with anything so I jumped on the idea that came out of the blue.

The left quilt flower is the Windblown Square.  I've admired this pattern since the first time I saw it in a book and have wanted to use it somewhere.  It always looks as if it as about to start twirling.

The middle quilt flower is the Ohio Star and is one of my all time favorite quilt blocks.  It is a classic and not just because I was raised in Ohio.  Originally the 3 blocks where not touching but when I was drawing the pattern on the computer and cutting and pasting the blocks into position I discovered that they made an interesting pattern when placed next to each other.

The right quilt flower is Dutchmans Puzzle.  The main reason I picked it was because it balanced the Windblown Square.

Next challenge was the containers.  I made them a simple shape so that they could be filled in with simple quilt patterns.  I chose the black and brown overdyed thread to make the pattern subtle because the flowers are the stars.  The quilt patterns are half-squre triangles, a one patch and a 4 patch variation.

Like the quilt in the background?  It is made of 4 blocks I found in an antique store.  I added borders and sewed them together into a mini-quilt. It makes a great background.

Speaking of quilts, I would love to make a quilted version of this design.  I've had to keep myself from running to the quilt store looking for the perfect black/gray and brown fabrics for the containters.  I already have plenty of greens and flower colors.  Someday ...


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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…

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.


The Next Lone Star

I am continuing to practice lone stars.
This time I tried a different tutorial.  Each one I find is slightly different so I get to try different techniques and see which ones work best for me.
Since I've gotten better with points and the quarter inch seam allowance and need to work on keeping the diamonds from stretching I picked this tutorial.  It has fewer, bigger diamonds so it should go faster.  It also doesn't have the set in squares and triangles so it will be easier to finish if I choose to do so.
As soon as I started cutting the diagonals I realized I forgot the starch.  I just jumped right in and missed the main point of the block.  So, I decided to continue and focus on being as careful with the fabric as I could.  Guess what, my diamonds didn't stretch out this time!
I got some stretching when I sewed on the triangles, however the block still turned out OK.  A couple of points are slightly off but most of them are right on. There is a slight hump in the center …