cross stitch

Sweet treats sans repeats

IMG_7234Here’s a quick snap of “Gingerbread Cookie,” now completed and sitting in my ready-for-finishing pile. The final stitched piece seems a bit over-sized for an ornament, so I may just turn it into a puffy pillow instead.  This is obviously a “think about it” finish.

A couple of years ago I started recording notes about my stitching projects in a little spiral notebook that I call my stitch diary. It’s full of random notes about thread count used, final stitched size, embellishments and details about how I planned and then ended up finishing the piece.

My intention was to  keep records so that if I wanted I could stitch something a second time later on and not have to do all the annoying calculating again. In practice, I’ve found that I’ve seldom ever been moved to stitch two of something. (“A Friend is a Gift” has been one exception that proves the rule, I suppose.)

Keeping records has been more valuable as a reminder of the charts I’ve stitched and to whom I gave them. It has happened that I’ve search for months for the absolutely perfect design for someone, stitched and gifted it, and then years later “discovered” the same chart and thought, now wouldn’t this be just perfect for so-and-so? Yeah, you guessed it. It’s as if I completely forget what I’ve stitched once I’ve given it away. The diary prevents that from happening. I only wish I’d started making notes earlier!

cross stitch · finishing · tutorial

Mason Jar Pincusion

IMG_7233For this personalized pincushion project I used a small 8-ounce mason jar because that’s what I had on hand, and because I thought it would be the perfect size for storing little things, like a few skeins of floss for a small project. Of course, I could have reused any size mason jar from my cupboard stash, as long as the jar came with a ring and lid separate.

I started with the Stacy Nash Primitives “Monogrammed Pinkeep” chart which I reworked slightly to fit my widemouth jar’s 3” opening, and I ended up adapting it to a 45×45 stitch design that measured 2-7/8×2-7/8” overall flat. I wanted a puffy-looking pincushion, and so figured that this size would fit perfectly inside of the jar ring and once the stuffing was added would pop up just enough to create a nice clean border all the way around.

comboThis I stitched on a remnant of 32-count oyster linen using two strands of DMC floss (926 & 610) over two threads. I chose a lighter weight linen because I knew I would need to screw the lid back onto the jar in the end, and a thicker fabric insert would make that next-to-impossible.

Once the actual stitching was completed, I trimmed my linen to the size of a 6” circle. Using a regular sharp needle and doubled thread, I basted all the way around and about a half-inch inside the edge, and pulled the thread to gather the linen slightly. I had to double the thread to make it strong enough to gather the material without breaking. I don’t think this would work with Aida cloth, as that is too thick and stiff, but the linen I used was just fine.

I stuffed the circle with enough polyfill to make a nice semi-firm cup shape. I like my crafts projects to look perfect, or at least as perfect as I am capable of, and it actually took quite a bit of trial and error to get just the right amount and make absolutely sure that there were no lumps in the stuffing! When I was satisfied with the look and feel, I set the jar lid top in place atop the stuffing and gathered the material tightly and evenly around it, tying off the threads.

Making sure that my cross stitch design was perfectly centered, I ran hot glue under the gathered fabric edge to tack it down to the lid. Using the inside of the jar ring as a template, I cut a 3” circle of felt which I hot glued into place to cover the gathered ends, and then just screwed my pretty new lid onto the jar!

I had everything on hand, so this project cost me nothing, which was a sweet little bonus.

Here’s what I used:
8-ounce widemouth mason jar with ring and lid
Cross stitch design sized to fit within a 3” lid opening
A little polyfill
Small circle of felt (size traced from the ring)
Hot glue gun
cross stitch


PincushionAbout halfway done with my simple small monogrammed pincushion jar topper. I love stitching on this 32-count oyster linen fabric, the stitches just seem to glide in and out so peacefully, unlike Aida where the floss always feels like it is scraping through the material.

Of course, 32-count is a bit hard on these old eyes, so I’m glad I can use the magnifiers that my sister recommended, though I admit that I look quite a sight with the extra big lenses clipped atop my reading glasses. Not so sure I’d want to wear these in public!

cross stitch

Ticking along

photo copyOur beautiful warm Florida winter weather has finally returned so I thought I would sit out on the back porch for a little while today and stitch. “Gingerbread Cookie” is ticking right along, it’s an easy stitch and very cute. All I have left is the border, so I imagine I’ll get done by tonight.

Ball-JarBeen thinking about my next project, an experiment that has been bobbing around in the back of my mind since before Thanksgiving. I’ve been saving several Ball half pint glass jars with widemouth lids which I hope to turn into simple little pincushion jars by adding some stitched padded inserts to the tops.

The band openings are 3″ wide, so I used MacStitch to edit an existing chart from my stash to fit. I certainly have plenty of scrap material on hand to choose from and I’ve left one of the jars out on a side table as a reminder, hoping that I will get started as soon as the mood strikes me. I’m starting with a very simple design at first, to see if I like the idea, in which case I may try something more ambitious later on.

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Done, but not quite

IMG_7166I completed stitching The Sampler Girl “Christmas Bells” mini-pillow before starting on “Gingerbread Cookie,” but right now it’s just sitting in my flat pile because I haven’t yet decided how I want to finish it. Or, as I like to say, it needs more thinking about.

Some of my projects take a lot of thinking about before they get “done.” For example, the completed sampler on the bottom of the pile in this photo has been sitting around since 2009. Good grief! I’d wanted to get it professionally framed, but there’s no money in the kitty for that, so instead I decided I should just deconstruct an old frame to create a new one. Somehow I’ve just never quite gotten around to doing that. Hey, it’s only been six years. Funny how long it seems to take me to get around to things these days.

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Gingerbread Cookie begins

IMG_7129Well, I can’t say that I didn’t start early enough on this year’s Christmas presents, because I’ve just begun a Little House Needleworks chart called “Gingerbread Cookie, which was their 2012 Ornament #10. This is for another one of my sisters who never fails to remind me that I always used to bake gingerbread men for her holiday visits to our mother’s house. I think she will find this design an amusing addition to her collection.

cross stitch

Christmas Bells

Christmas-BellsI underestimated the amount of time it would take me to complete all of the hanging ornaments I’d planned for my family this year, and so ran out of time to finish that one little project that I had planned for myself prior to Christmas! Thus I find myself still working on the “Christmas Bells” chart from The Sampler Girl.

I decided to use up an 18-count Aida scrap and some variegated DMC floss instead of what was called for in the chart, and intend to make this up into a decorative mini-pillow, with the exact finishing to be decided later. I have an idea to add some red buttons as accents to the corners, and maybe even use this piece to experiment on with aging the fabric, but we’ll see.

This is one of the few pieces I’ve ever worked where each individual stitch must be fully completed before moving on to the next, which makes it a little more challenging than some of my past projects, but I do love how the color subtly changes as the words progress across the fabric.

cross stitch · finishing

Two nutcrackers

Santa-Nutcracker-1 This year I also stitched little nutcracker pillow ornaments as gifts for both of my sisters.

These are from a Prairie Schooler Nutcracker Santa mini-card design from 1996. The first is on 28-count Evenweave in Mushroom, the second is on 18-count Aida in Oatmeal, both in DMC floss as charted, although I added a border and changed the chart’s feet and belt slightly on the second version. On both I substituted a red seed bead for the one stitch required to represent a holly berry. Santa-Nutcracker-2

Prairie Schooler was for many years my favorite cross stitch designer, and although I’ve stitched plenty of their samplers and annual Santa cards in the past, this is the first time I’ve made up any nutcrackers.