Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Little More History

This is something my great grandmother made. We found it the other week, and it's in pristine condition! It's actually a very large handkerchief, so the whole thing wouldn't fit on the scanner. But, the border is crocheted so nicely (it's the same all the way around), I wanted to share it.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Current Project

This is what I'm working on right now. I just started it the other week, and it will take a while. It's a printed tablecloth we found in a bargain bin. I'm embroidering for my in-laws. The big bunch of flowers are on the corners, and the small ones are all around the edges.

Here's a bit that's unfinished:

My First Quilt

I'm currently attempting my first ever quilt. I'm pretty excited about it, and I've cut all the pieces; all I have to do is sew. Unfortunately, my one and only sewing machine (which I've never used, and don't even know how to) doesn't work, so piecing will have to wait till that's fixed. I'm not sure I'm brave enough to hand-piece my first quilt. Here's the pieces I've cut. I'll post the pattern I'm going to (try) to use later.

It runs in the family

Just wanted to share something my mom made me for a graduation gift. :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Goodbye September

I know, not exactly needle art news, but it's significant to me (and not so personal that I don't want to share it).

Let me clarify: September is the name of my turtle. She was given to me a little over three years ago, and she is finally too big for me to take proper care of her anymore. She was the size of a quarter when I first got her, but now her shell measures six inches long. She's outgrown the tank we have (we can't afford a larger one. They're expensive!) and she totally destroyed two filters (also not exactly cheap. And now we're left with a bunch of unused filter inserts).

It was pretty tough, but I finally decided to put her in the pond behind my brother-in-law's. From there she won't be able to get to the road (and get run over, the mere thought of which horrifies me) and there are other turtles living there, so I think she'll be fine. Honest! I know you're not supposed to release tame turtles into the wild, but I seriously think she'll be fine. She's escaped before, and lived quite happily for several months before we found her again (very long, funny story. Which I'm not going to share because it's long).

And what post is complete without pictures? My husband was thoughtful enough to bring a camera along.

This one's my favorite:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Baby Blanket

This is a project I just finished. My best friend is having a baby in February, and when I saw this adorable kit in the store, I had to get it for her. Of course, my mom is totally topping me by crocheting a blanket, sweater, hat, and booties for the baby, but I don't know how to crochet, so I don't feel too bad. I spent about four months on this.

And now that I'm done, I'm thinking this blanket wasn't as practical as I thought it would be; I'm afraid it will unravel every time I touch it. I haven't washed it yet to get the print off because I'm afraid of destroying it. I had the option of using a hidden stitch or just going all the way through and putting a backing on it later; I chose the hidden stitch. I regret it now; the lack of knots makes me nervous. At least they won't really use it; they live in Texas and don't have a great need for another blanket, so maybe they can just hang it on the wall or something.

Sorry the pictures aren't the best. But, oh, it's so cute! :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Carry Bag

This is the bag I use to carry around whatever my current project may be at the time. I found this bag at www.everythingcrossstitch.com (subheading 'Stitchables') and I bought a bunch of them to give as gifts after my wedding. I gave one to my mom, my mother-in-law, and the girls who were my bridesmaids (though I did end up with one extra, so I have the terrible suspicion that I accidentally forgot someone. Oops. Oh well, I use it now). I'll try to remember to scan in some of the patterns I used for thier bags (I wish I had gotten pictures before I gave them away).

Anyway, I got sick of the beauitful but tricky design I used on everyone else's totes (I made six), so I used this watermelon design I found in one of my magazines.

These bags are neat, but hard to find. I found them in two sizes (the one I have is the large). You can see in the close-up that only a small section of the bag is aida (14 count, 9 x 9 in.) I think it would be really neat to find a bag that is entirely stitchable, but I have yet to find one. But, really, this one is fine and it makes a great gift.

I'll try to remember to scan in the watermelon pattern too.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


This one is a counted cross-stitch (from a kit) that I actually finished very recently. I had bought it intending to make quick work of it (an easy, thoughtful gift for a friend), but of course that never happens. The half stitch is really great for artistic effect, etc etc... but not if you forget that it's supposed to be just a half stitch. I did a very large section (of what was supposed to be a half stitch) as a cross stitch, and then I had to take it all out again. I thought about leaving it--and it probably wouldn't have hurt the design that bad--but, of course, it's a kit. And the worst thing about kits is they can't use standardized color thread, oh no, they have to dye their own, and they only give you so much. The company makes it pretty easy to order more colors, but it's still irksome to call them up and ask, and then wait for the thread to come in the mail.

If I liked horses more this probably would have been more fun. It didn't take that long, but it still got a little tedious near the end. My advice is: if at all possible, try to love what you're making, or at least like it.

Norman Rockwell

When I was younger I used to think that working from a kit or someone else's pattern was nothing special, that the real talent lay in making your own, unique designs.

I still think that the most impressive work springs from the artist's own imagination, but I no longer look down my nose at using the designs of others. Let's face it, making your own design is hard. All my high-minded ideas bit the dust the instant I actually started cross-stitching.

I feel very strongly that it's nearly impossible to learn cross-stitch without trying out a kit or following directions from a magazine. Even painters learn by copying paintings made by the masters. And, of course, practice makes perfect. I've been cross-stitching regularly for a couple of years now, and I still use kits and printed patterns. And even though my know-it-all teenage self thought that following a kit was a no-brainer, I've noticed a lot of improvement in the quality of my work. I've learned a lot from those kits (and from magazines. I've inherited two or three generations of cross-stitch magazines from my mother and her mother and her mother. Yeah, it runs in the family). Making your own designs requires a different set of skills, I think. But, my own design or not, cross-stitching is fun!

My goal is to someday make my own designs and stitch them, but for now I think I'm still learning.

This is the earliest counted cross-stitch I've done (that I still have. The very first was so bad that I "accidentally" left it at my parent's when I moved out, and any others were never finished, lost, or given away before I thought of taking pictures of them.)

If you don't know, this design is from a Norman Rockwell painting. This is one of many never-opened kits I inherited. It probably took me about a year to finish this, as I worked on it only occasionally. If it wasn't for the long flight home twice a year from college, I may have never finished it (for those who travel, I would highly recommend taking up cross-stitching to fill the time on those long flights!)

Here's a little more detailed view:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The best way to start would be to share some photos of work I've already done. Which, of course, I don't have with me today. But, now you know they're coming!