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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…


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…