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Sampler Garden

Most of my flower designs have been rows of flowers.  I have many individual flowers I've charted over time but I hadn't figured out how to put them into a sampler design.

At the same time my new patio had was finished.  The soil here is not ideal for gardening so I was out shopping for pots so I could set them on the patio and do some container gardening.  It is amazing how many pots there are available - they come in all colors, sizes and shapes.

Finally, I managed to connect the two.  I could put my cross-stitch flowers into pots.  Taking a queue from antique samplers, I don't need to get the scale right or even have the flowers look realistic.

Actually, the middle flower is quite realistic.  It is a called a Kashmir Sage (phlomis cashmeriana) and does rather well in my small real garden.  It grows several feet tall.  The design is the top few inches of the plant and I put it in the equivalent of a shot glass.  It almost looks like an alien plant and is right at home on a sampler. 

The other two flowers are highly stylized versions of a wallflower and a skyrocket gilia.  They are so stylized they no longer resemble the individual flower, but they look good with the Kashmir Sage.  They look so different, I didn't even feel obligated to retain their normal coloring. 

All I had to do was make some funky containers for the flowers, add words and I was ready to start stitching.  As I stitched I was able to imagine many other "gardens".


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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…