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Showing posts from December, 2009

Happy New Year

Diverted by Candlewicking

My thrift store Christmas continues.  As well as the potholder kit, I also found a Candlewicking ornament kit for 50 cents.  I've heard of Candlewicking before, but I've never tried it so I grabbed the kit as well.

When I opened it up I discovered the stitches where mostly french knots, with lazy daisies, stem stitch and padded satin stitches.   Nothing new, I've done all those before.

A quick trip to Wikipedia revealed that Candlewicking is traditionally done on muslin with a thread that could be braided into candle wicks.  So, the name is more for the materials and style and not the stiches themselves.

So, while the dog slept I started stitching.  I didn't get the ornaments completed, but I made a good start.  I'll get my ornaments for next year done early.  Maybe.

Those are padded satin stitches and I've only done the first pass, so they will look better when complete.


Christmas is the time for crafts.  Making looped potholders is one of those childhood pasttimes that I had forgotten.  Over the summer I attended a cookout and one of the hosts daughters was busy making her own potholders.  I was instantly taken back and wanted reach my hand in the bag of loops and grab a loom.  I restrained myself.

Flash forward till a few weeks ago.  On the shelf at a thrift store was a lonely potholder kit for a dollar so I snatched it up for some Christmas fun.

Things have changed.  The loom was plastic, not metal and the loops seemed skimpier.  The following warning was printed on the back:

Great, potholders that you can't even use as potholders! 

Somethings haven't changed.  Some of the loops, no matter how you tugged and pulled would never be big enough to fit on the loom.  There weren't even enough of the full sized ones to complete one potholder so I had to work in 5 loops that where an inch too short resulting in a lopsided potholder instead of squa…

Merry Christmas to All

Jacob's Ladders

One of my favorite things to do is visit the new books shelf in the library.  Besides fiction, I look at cook books and craft books among others.  I find many great ideas in these books. 

Last week I spotted Origami Card Craft: Clever Cards and Envelopes to Fold by Karen Elaine Thomas.  The project that caught my eye was a Jacob's Ladder.  The picture above is my first try.  I messed up the folding so you will see some creases where there shouldn't be.  Next time I'll do better (and I'll find brighter paper).  I've made Jacob's Ladders before and I was doubtful how the paper version would work.  Except for having to divide the paper in thirds, it was easy, and the result is very sturdy.

For those who haven't seen these before, it is a book that is hinged on both sides and can open either way due to the clever arrangement of the ties (in this case the white paper).  If you put a sheet of paper on the left half, close it and then open on the other hinge, the p…


I started this blog to record information about my cross stitch designs.  Last weekend I covered the last of the designs that I have finished and are for sale.  So, no more "new" material until I have another design out (don't worry, there are many in the works). 

Now is the time to get creative if I'm going to keep this blog going.  I am horrible at paper diaries and never managed to keep one for a few days.  I've been doing this for months and having fun.

Luckily, I have many things going on so I should be able to keep going:
A color class based on some earlier designs is now a Petite Project for chapters of The Embroiderers' Guild of America.  I am working on another color class for the StitchMAP Yahoo Group. Yesterday I got a rejection from a Cross Stitch magazine and now need to decide what to do with that pattern. I want to make heart for Piecework Magazine's 2010 Contest. I will be releasing a bunch of new designs late winter/early spring 2010. I'm s…

Snowflakes Fly

Here is my Snowflake Sampler.  It is available for sale from

This time, instead of making up the snowflakes as I stitched, I drew them on graph paper.  Since I wanted the snowflakes to be reproducible, it was much easier to graph them first and stitch them second.

The only thing I didn't design in advance was the bead placement.  It's much easier deciding where they go on the actual stitched piece instead of a pictoral representation.

One of the hardest things about designing your own sampler is deciding on colors.  I started with 2 doodles.  One on off-white linen in light blues and one on lavender with white and darker blue snowflakes.  It was a hard decision, but I finally decided to go with the off-white and light blues.  The result is low-contrast snowflakes.  I now think my model should have been in the higher contrast colors. 

Whenever I decide to go with the safer colors I end up deciding that the wilder colors would have been better.  Whene…

Crafty Snowflakes

Besides paper, snowflakes can be made in many other ways.  This blue one was tatted by a friend.

And this snowflake was crocheted, also by a friend.  I don't tat or crochet, but I do cross stitch.

I love stitching snowflakes.  One year I made a bunch of them one after the other.  This is the only one I have left.  All the others where given away.

They are simple to make with a basic formula (formula, not pattern).  I start by cross stitching a big plus sign - the size doesn't matter.  Then I either cross stitch or backstitch an X over the top of it.  Then, all you need to do is start adding backstitches, beads and other embellishments until it's complete.  Voila!  Almost instant snowflake.

Paper Snowflakes

Winter has definely arrived.  Temperatures at night have been well below zero and the snow is crunchy.

It's fun to make snowflakes that don't make the roads slippery or mess up traffic.  It also doesn't hurt that this can be done inside where it's nice and warm.

I've made snowflakes like this since I was a kid.  I'd tape them to the windows so it always looked snowy outside and they would stay there all winter.

A few random snips and you end up with a unique snowflake.  Never knowing how they will turn out until they are unfolded is part of the fun.

Usually I start with a square folded in half and in half again and then in half diagonally to make an eight pointed star.  This time I got a quilt ruler and tried folding the paper into sixths to get a six pointed star.  It's not as easy as eigths but it can be done if you are patient (I'm sure there's a good trick that I haven't figured out yet).

Let it snow!

Watercolor Christmas Tree Cards

I'm making Christmas Tree cards.

I was framing a watercolor painting and had to trim it down to fit the frame.  I know, I shouldn't do that.  Over 10 years ago I had a frame job quoted and the price caused me to put the watercolors in a drawer and forget about them.  I found them a few weeks ago and decided to make them fit in a standard frame.

I ended up with thin strips of paper with bits of watercolor on them.  They where so pretty I made a few sheets of watercolor doodles just to cut them up.

They look even prettier cut up into smaller pieces and turned into trees.  Before I could stop myself I had fashioned 20 cards.  I just can't let anything pretty go to waste.

Now I have some "new" watercolors on the wall where they can be seen and some non-store-bought Christmas cards as a bonus.

Blue Alphabet

This is my first alphabet sampler.

The letters are of random sizes and are not on a straight line.  They where created by writing sloppily on graph paper and then charting it from there.  The resulting alphabet is whimsical and fun.

I've started designing my samplers to fit in pre-made frames and the alphabet wasn't quite big enough for a 5 x 7 opening so a border was necessary, besides an alphabet by itself is boring.

I stitched it on a piece of fabric hand-dyed overdyed with blue.  Going with the blue theme I simulated the look of overdyed floss by using different shades of blue and changing colors every few letters.  The result was just too blue - the piece looked very cold.  I had used the same fabric for Les Fleurs des Bois and the bright colors looked much better there.  I decided my initial border was not right and changed it to a flame design with different shades of peach to warm things up.  I still think I should have made it warmer.
Anyways, I really like the alphabet a…


This is my latest design available a few days ago on

This design started out on graph paper.  I was playing around with border vines and it was a cold day so I was thinking of cool colors - blues and greens.  The blues and greens where too cold so I added a contrasting red which became the "berry" part of the design. 

Once I had the vine designed I decided to turn the vine into a border.  I had to figure out here to turn the corner and it turned out to be easier than I thought by adding the flower. The border came out about 3 inches square. 

Next, I had to figure out how to fill in the center.  Adding a big flower was a logical choice, but I couldn't come up with one that fit so I just added the center square which left the middle to fill in and I wasn't sure what to do next until I thought of blackwork.  I'm usually not patient enough for blackwork but it is a small area and there are alot of colors.  It balances the heavier stitch…