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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.


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…