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Starting Over

Kaffe Fassett started his autobiography "Dreaming in Color" like this:

As I set in my studio surrounded by my creative material - fabrics, yarns, paper prints, shelves of books, and collections of decorative objects - I can't help but reflect on the path that led me here.

In mid-June, after the Black Forest Fire, I was looking at the remains of almost everything and I've been following a different path ever since.  All the sudden the blog turned out to be unimportant.  But, it also turns out to be all I have left of some items.  My laptop survived, but none of the backups.  So I have some recent pictures.

Because of amazingly generous family and friends (and friends of friends and strangers), I've started recollecting creative materials and I need to keep track of what I make.  So, here are some of my first steps after the fire.

At first, I was too numb and shocked to do much, but slowly, I've started stitching and being creative.  I still don't have too much time.  Restarting and rebuilding takes time.  But some evenings when I have the energy I'm working on projects.  After 6 months, I'm beginning to have even more time.

My first project was a skinny Shepherds Bush sampler given by a friend.  At only an inch wide it was a good small project to start with.  At the bottom, after the word "home" was a gate.  I changed it to a home.

Deciding to hemstitch was probably not a good decision.  In my distracted state the corners weren't done well and I had to patch over one with some ribbon because I miscut and totally destroyed it.

Next, I finished a bookmark that was in a bag that was grabbed in haste during a rushed evacuation (I was at work and couldn't get to the house before the area was closed off).

It was part of a Stitchalong and was 90% done at the time.  All I needed to do was add the eyelets and finish.

Another project that was saved was my first pair of knitted socks.  One sock was complete and I had just knitted the toe of the second sock.  Given my lack of concentration and the fact that they were on size 0 or 1 needles I knew I wouldn't be working on them for a while (actually, I recently felt comfortable enough to pick them up again).  So, I got some dishcloth yarn at Walmart and knitted a new house from Chalk Legs.


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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…