Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Willkommen (Welcome), plus a tip aboout framing

I finished this piece in 1988, but didn't frame it until today. It's from a pattern I purchased at a shop in Germany, with a typical German house. I bought the frame for $2.97 at JoAnn - it was a piece of Oriental Art on some wood, and I used a hammer to knock it out of the frame. I then had to use pliers to pull out the old glue. Next, I cut a piece of adhesive mounting board to fit, and centered the design over it - then stuck it in the frame and used a bit of hot glue to hold it in place.

After paying $205 to frame three pieces at Michael's this weekend (and they were having a half off sale!!!!!), I will start framing my own work as much as possible. It'll be easy to do the square and standard-sized pieces, but the long skinny ones (like samplers) will have to be done some other way.

Here's a great tip: Visit thrift shops, garage sales, Ross, and Marshalls, and purchase old framed art. I found four frames with mats at the Deseret Industries thrift shop for $1 each. I just have to remove the piece of art and replace it with my own pieces. Like the piece above, you can sometimes find the odd sizes and squares.


I finished and framed this piece back in 1988 for my son's bedroom. Now that he's 23, he doesn't need it anymore in his barracks (Air Force). It's about 7" square, and mounted without a mat but with some foam underneath it. I don't know where the design is from.

"Rooster" by Debbie Mumm

This is one of those cute little kits that comes with floss, mat, and glass - and I thought I'd do this for my sister Eileen. She decorates her kitchen with chicken things, and about a year ago I gave her a Debbie Mumm rooster cookie jar and matching salt & pepper shakers. This will go perfectly with them. There were a few surprises about this kit: 1) the floss isn't DMC or Anchor, it's "our own specially dyed" floss, so you can't just add the leftovers to your own stash without a search for matches. 2) The cloth was barely big enough for the design to fit on, about 4" square. I'm a hoop or Q-snap stitcher, and had to use my smallest hoop and still didn't get all of it in the hoop. 3) There's no frame - just a cardboard mat, a designed paper "frame," a piece of glass, and 4 clips. Oh well, it still is cute. In the picture, you're seeing reflections of trees off the glass, not discoloration.

Works in Progress Update July 31

This is a piece I started back in 1985. That's 22 years ago! I've mentioned before that I took a long (20 years) break from stitching - I guess it's time to finish this one. It's called "Calico Cats," designed by Dale Burdett. I have 6 1/2 more cats to finish. It's being done with two strands on 18-count cream Aida. This is the piece that made me realize I'm getting old. When I picked it back up a month ago, I couldn't see what I was doing. I don't remember having that difficulty before. We had just left on our vacation, and I went in search of some sort of magnification help. In Forever Stiching, in Idaho Falls, owner Lynda Orme sold me a magnifier that clips on to my Q-snaps. Saved! (She also taught me how to stitch on linen, so with the magnifier, it's easy!)

This is a piece called "Cape Hatteras National Seashore," designed by Cheri Fulmer from a painting by Robert Dance. It's part of the National Park Needlework Collector Series. I'm doing this for my sister-in-law, Alice. My brother Barry, who passed away this past March from lung cancer, loved this lighthouse. He painted it several times, visited it often, and I remember a family visit as a child when he threw toy soldier-parachutes off of the top of it. I know Alice will love it. It's on 14-count light blue Aida, and while the directions called for four threads (!), I'm just using two, and it's coming out just fine. I'm not sure if you can tell by looking at the picture, but I really like how the clouds are looking. They're a pain in the &*$% to do, but the colors look nice. More than half of this piece is blends--white/ecru, white/gray, white/blue, green/light green, and more that I haven't gotten to yet. I hate doing blends, but they sure do look nice.

I will be starting another piece soon, one for me on linen. It might be one of the mystery samplers from The Gift of Stitching Magazine, or maybe a Prairie Schooner Santa.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Wish List

Lizzie Kate Stamp Its

The Shores of Hawk Run Hollow - Carriage House Samplings

Houses of Hawk Run Hollow - Carriage House Samplings

Villages of Hawk Run Hollow - Carriage House Samplings

A Noble Pursuit - 10 Different Designers

The Red Thread Snapper pieces - Bent Creek

Christmas House by Brightneedle

Can You Spy...? by Brightneedle

Vickery Collection - Celtic Creation

What in the World? - Funk & Weber Designs

Mosey 'n

Joseph's Coat - Mosey n' Me

Puritan Sampler - The Sampler Company

Sampler Houses - The Sampler Company

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Five Things I Won't Stitch Without

In the picture above are five things I will never cross stitch without, unless I'm stitching on antique cloth, and then two of them won't be used. I'll explain below, but first, don't you think that's an odd-looking set of thingamajigs? My daughter says the things in the lower left look like miniature condoms, and would make for a great practical joke (though a bit risqué).

First, the Fray Check. My sister-in-law Carol is a quilter, and suggested this to me when I had a problem with some buttons coming off my jeans. When I started stitching again, I realized that this is the error-prone stitcher's answer to mistakes! You know how sometimes you realized you've miscounted, but don't want to have to pull out hundreds of stitches to fix it? Now you can just pull out the one or two that are wrong, and "attach" the loose threads to the back of your piece with Fray Check. It works like a glue. When I first used it, I thought I'd forever ruined the piece I was working on, because when it's first applied, it's wet and darkens the area of cloth and surrounding stitches. But it dries clear and you never know from the front of the design that it's there!

The yellow thingy is an old hair clip. I use it to hold excess cloth in so it's not in the way, and the clip fits perfectly over the Q-Snaps.

For years, I stuck my needle in the cloth I was working on when I wasn't stitching, and I lost a lot of needles. (Or I spent a lot of time looking for them.) Lynda Orme, owner of Forever Stitching in Idaho Falls, told me about the Earth Magnet. It's so strong that you'll even have difficulty prying the two pieces apart in order to put them on your cloth. It keeps my needle safe every time I have to stop stitching.

Those little condom-like things are the cut-off fingers from latex gloves. Whenever I'm stitching on Aida, or other firm cloth, I've noticed that my middle finger and my baby finger get raw from the needle and the thread. I cut off the fingers from latex gloves, and can stitch away without pain. I first thought I'd use "finger cots," which are purchased already cut, but they had a box of 30 at Walgreens for $4.69. A box of 50 gloves, meaning 250 pieces for my fingers, was on sale for 3 for $10. The only difference is that I do the cutting off the glove myself. Each piece lasts a few days, even longer if you're not stitching a lot.

Another little thing Lynda showed me was this little piece of sponge in its own plastic keeper. It's about 1/2" wide, 1/2" tall, and 1 1/2" long. Dampen the sponge with a few drops of water. When you separate your strands of floss for stitching, run them across the sponge, lightly pressing against it, and they won't twist and curl when you stitch. What a cool idea!

What kinds of tips and tricks would YOU like to share?

Bass (fish)

This is supposed to be turned so the fish is aiming UP at the lure!

When I first met my husband, he was a bass fisherman, and it was one of his biggest passions. Since then, he's converted to fly fishing, and catches trout, but back when I was first stitching, bass it was. This one, like the towel piece in the previous post, is mounted in a wooden tray.

Country Kitchen Towels

I'm pretty sure this one was from the same booklet as Watermelon Goose, but I could be wrong. This is mounted in a tray, bought from an LNS back in 1985. I have it hanging in my kitchen underneath a similar shelf with knicknacks on it just like in the pattern.

Rainbow Butterfly

Another quick little piece, with nice colors. I think it was from a magazine, finished sometime around 1989.

"Bless This House With Happy Hearts"

I stitched this one in the late 1980s, as well, and I remember that it was part of a series of patterns that came with the hearts all ready to attach to the piece. Does anyone remember the designer or company?

Mother and Daughter Stitching Together

I always had hopes that my daughter would learn to cross stitch. I tried to teach her once, and she gave up after about 5 stitches. She would have, back then, much rather been out on the soccer field. No problem, soccer's better for you, physically! I stitched this one as a gift for her, but she said it looks better in my kitchen than hers. I don't know where the pattern was from, so if anyone knows, let me know!

Home is Where the Air Force Sends You

When we were stationed at Zweibrucken Air Base, from 1986 to 1989, I found an American who owned a cross stitch business about an hour from our house. She had a few designs that military people loved, including this one. We've lived in 19 different homes during our 27 years of marriage, and 13 of them were while Don was still active duty. If I remember correctly, this was available in Army, Navy, and Marines colors as well.

Cat and Quilt

I'm sure this isn't the correct title for this piece, but since I stitched it so long ago I don't remember. It was part of a series of patterns from Cross Stitch and Country Crafts. I stitched it when we were stationed in Germany, so it must have been between 1987 and 1989.

Why did I get rid of those magazines? They had such cute patterns, and were always small enough to not cost an arm and a leg to mount and/or frame. This one ended up about 7" square. You can't tell, but after I was finished I realized I'd not followed the directions. I used two strands of floss, and the pattern called for three. I was so used to using two that I just kept on doing it. Nowadays I'm much more careful about directions, though I am using two on a piece I'm working on now, and the instructions call for four. Four! And it's on 14-count Aida. It looks just fine with two.

How often do YOU disobey the directions, whether intentionally or unintentionally?

"Watermelon Picnic" by Kristy Goodin Soar

Another oldie- from the May/June '86 issue of Cross Stitch and Country Crafts. I stitched this because a) I liked the clean, simple look, and b) it went great in my then-country-themed kitchen.

I used to be able to find all kinds of that ribbon - and used a lot of it for circling the edges of hoops and mason jar lids. All the LNS's carried it in many different colors. Does it still exist somewhere? I found some solid red, white, blue, etc. at fabric stores, but with the extremely high cost of custom framing, I'd like to start doing my own framing and finishing. This ribbon would be handy for designs I put in hoops.

Let me know if you know where I can get some.

Friday, July 27, 2007

"Olde Tyme Wagons" by Charles Wysocki

As I mentioned in my previous post, this one was stitched in 1986, after I bought some of Mr. Wysocki's patterns at a shop in California. This one has a better framing job - complete with a map. I thought I'd show some detail, and it took to diferent pictures since the design is so wide.

"Trading Post" by Charles Wysocki

I remember buying the pattern for this one at a shop in Lake Arrowhead, California, back in 1986, just before we moved to Germany. Charles Wysocki had just been there the day before, signing books, and the shop stocked up on his patterns. I bought two; the other one will be in my next post. I love the detail in Wysocki's paintings, and have had fun stitching two of them in cross stitch. This one deserves a better framing job - there's no mat, so one day I'll get it matted and put into a bigger frame.

"Colorado" by Sue Hillis

Also stitched in 1986, this piece was done because Don and I dreamed (and still do!) of living in Colorado. I'd spent every summer during college backpacking in Colorado and truly love that state!

"Texas" by Sue Hillis

This was the first Sue Hillis state I stitched-my home state of Texas. I made one change to Sue's pattern, which was to insert the Texas Tech Double T up there in Lubbock. I did this because I graduated from Texas Tech. I stitched this piece in 1986.

Comfort Station

I stitched this one back in 1985 to hang in our bathroom. It's been to Germany, plus 9 homes in Highland (2), Rialto, Crestline (2), Yucaipa (2), and Forest Falls (2), California. Like the previous piece, I don't remember the designer or source. I like the clean, rustic look of it, which is why I selected it to stitch.

The First Piece I Ever Stitched

This little house is about 2 1/2 inches tall, and was the first thing I ever stitched, about 25 years ago. I have no recollection of title or designer or source at all; I just remember being proud of the accomplishment. I put it in a little hoop to frame it, and it's been sitting in my shadow box all these years.