Farmhouse Christmas

The stitch along starts tomorrow! (but not for me…. sniff….sniff…) but my fabric should arrive sometime this week so I’ll be ready to go. You will see a heading in the top bar of my blog for this SAL. There is information on that page for (1) if you have a blog, posting a comment with your link to your specific blog post about Farmhouse Christmas (not to your blog in general) or (2) if you have no blog or photo sharing that you can leave a link in the comments about, info on how and when to email your photos to me and I will add them to that page. So if you want to check out the projects others are working in, that’s where you’ll find them on my blog.

My project bag and floss are at the ready so I can hit the ground stitching once my fabric arrives.

Of Lamps and Stitching and Swatches in no particular order

I had shown in the last blog post a new swatch I had finished and needed to block. Yesterday I soaked and got the swatches pinned out to dry and all the time kept thinking I was missing something but couldn’t think what. I had the swatch for the MadTosh Sport, one for some Wollmeise, and one for Dream in Color but something didn’t seem right. Then as I was moving cross stitch stuff aside on the table by me I found the very first swatch that had started all this swatching – Spun Right Around in a blue speckled yarn. AHA that’s what I was missing. So that is now soaking so it can get pinned out.

I started making Jack into a “cube finish” – actually I think of cubes as square so he’s more of a “brick.” After I cut the size I wanted from a large block of smooth styrofoam (I learned there are different types and this is different than the craft type you find in crafty stores – which made it slightly more difficult to cut but not terrible). I went back and added two more snowflakes to balance things out and got the front part attached to the styrofoam. I need to pick out some fabric from the stash yet in order to complete it but here he is half done.

Please ignore the mess around him – craftying is messing. Once it’s all covered I’ve got some metal snowflake doodads that I’m going to hang in the upper corners.

As for lamps – well I like the magnifying lamp I had gotten for cross stich (as my prior review of it said) but in using it more, because the chair I stitch in is an oversized recliner, the lamp just barely reaches to the area where I hold my work to stitch and I feel like I am always having to adjust it to get it over there and afraid I may one day break it by pulling too hard on the goose neck adjustable area. I saw another style lamp that looked like it would be more easily adjustable and with a wider range of movement the way it was made (no goose neck). So Amazon Gift Card to the rescue and I decided to try it – especially since it can be used as a floor stand or it can be placed on a table top – I liked that idea. Well the short story is the first magnifying lamp I got has not been moved to the sewing room (I have a chair in there I can stitch in that is narrower so it will work much better or I can stitch at the table in there and use it for other crafty projects in there (I think it could come in very handy in there when threading the loom heddle too).

I’m so in love with the new lamp – it’s perfect for me. (yes I did love the other one but I do love this more) On Amazon it is called: Brightech LightView Pro 2 in 1 XL Magnifying Floor Lamp – Very Bright LED Light with Full Page Magnifier Glass for Pro Tasks, Reading, Crafts & Hobbies – Converts from Standing to Table Lamp.

2.25X magnification (the other one is 2X) so slightly stronger – more lights and dimmer switch for 5 or 6 levels of light which is excellent. It has a built in cover to close when not in use (magnifier lamps in direct sunlight can cause fires if not covered), very heavy base to it won’t tip over and so easy to adjust and many more angles you can adjust to get it just where you want it. This is now my living room main magnifying lamp and it does everything I want it to.

After searching thru my fabrics for Farmhouse Christmas, I found the only color that was good for it I did not have a large enough piece of. So looked at Happy Little Stitch Shop since I can get things from then in 2 or 3 days and found a piece to order so that should be on it’s way to me soon. Won’t be starting exactly on February 1 but I think Judy is all ready to go. I did get my floss sorted out tho.

And since I had finished the stitching on Jack, I decided to start a new little project because I really wanted to try out the variegated thread that was used in it. The floss by The Thread Gatherer, Silk ‘N Colors, and the colorway is called Dicken’s Christmas SNC 224. I love how it is stitching up – it’s only used in the words in this piece. This patter is shown finished as a pillow but I don’t plan to do that.

I didn’t want to put it down last night it was so fun to stitch with.

Okay – enough prattling on – I’ve got to clean out my mess from yesterday looking for fabric for Farmhouse (and a whole lot of other mess I made.) And I may do a bit of baking before I get to cleaning.

And there’s about 6″ of new heavy wet snow outside my door today – started late yesterday afternoon. It would be prime snowman making snow if I were so inclined….. but I am not inclined today. 🙂

Swatching and Stitching

First – I finished off my third sweater swatch last night. You may remember I’m swatching some several yarns I want to make sweaters out of because the CustomFit program I generate my sweater patterns in is slated to close down as of February 15. So now I just need to block the swatches and then can generate a few more patterns. On the “hopeful” side, there was a note posted that the owner of CustomFit has someone interested who may buy the program/business so its possible it could continue under different ownership. I’m hopeful but still generating several more basic patterns just in case. Here’s the latest swatch.

I bought this group of yarn to see how they would look in real life together because I want to make a simple pullover sweater fading all these colors together. I think it will looks so good. I may need to order duplicates of some of these colors I have but need to generate the pattern first how much total yardage I need and then put that gift certificate to Th Loopy Ewe to work!

And Jack is all stitched! Things I learned on this stitch. I do not like the fabric with the snow dots on it. It’s sort of like they took liquid “white out” and dotted it on (of course only those of you who grew up before the computer era likely know what White Out was if you typed before correcting typewriters came around. 🙂 But it closes up the holes to stitch thru so you have to poke thru it. And Jack ended up with a splotch of it right next to his cute carrot nose which I don’t like and a small one on his head. So not a fabric I would use again (except I do have some leftovers but wouldn’t order this type of fabric again). He has a few mistakes in him but when he’s finished and sitting on a shelf, you won’t notice it. I’m going to finish him using Helen D’s No Sew Cube Tutorial so he can sit on my bookshelf. I changed a few of the colors and moved a few large snowflaks a bit and left one or two of them off but here is Jack!

And very exciting – I just got notification that two packages are out for deliver today – one for a long-awaited order for some of my supplies to work on one of the Amish themed projects.

I’ll save my floss saga for Farmhouse Christmas for another post. Remember Judy and I are starting that SAL and would love to have others stitching with us. (I still need to decide which fabric to use but hope to do that after today’s package arrives.)

More Frames

Today I received the last of the frames I had ordered. Each one is so beautiful. Only one of the frames is shown with the actual project that will go in it. The white frame. The others I just happened to have those finished stitches sitting handy so stuck them underneath the frames.

This is the frame I will use for this project. Love it.

This one I think goes with a different stitch from this same Amish series. It’s got sort of distressed finish to it.

This one would look really good with this project if I added another border to fill up some of that black space around the edges. I might think about that although I really got this one for a project I haven’t stitched yet.

But I have several now that I can get to work finishing.

Another Gorgeous Frame

Earlier this morning when I opened the door to do the Sled photo shoot in the snow, there was a turkey uprising going on somewhere in the trees out side my door. I could hear a whole lot of turkey gobbling and squabbling going on but there’s a hill and they must have been on the other side of it since I couldn’t see them. Occasionally they will walk down the hill to the other side of the fence so I looked out to see if I could see them a short while ago and there on my doorstep – no not a turkey that would have actually been a bit scary – but a box that had not been there before.

Won’t this be a gorgeous frame. Some frames from Custom Frame Solutions come preassembled and some do not. But they send along the little brackets that slide into precut slots on the back to join them together for the ones that you need to assemble yourself. I loved the sort of verdigris green over the dark brown wood and the gold accents and in real life it’s even prettier than on my computer screen. This one will make an 8″ square frame for a project I have planned but haven’t stitched yet so for the time being I’ll just wrap the pieces up again and put on the framing shelf until I need it.

Sled Finish Tutorial

That Judy – she’s so demanding! ROFLOL – Okay you know I’m kidding but I told her I’d post photos of how the Foxwood Crossing Sleds get finished. This entailed having to clean off all my “home office piles” from the table so I had room to work and take photos (but now all those piles are going back to the office to be filed or shredded since I’m done with them so it was a task I had been procrastinating on). And once again that little corner of the living room looks “pre-working remotely” normal without piles of papers and two laptops, etc on the dining table, It will revert to office looking again later this week but I’m enjoying that it’s looking “crafty normal” mess at the moment not work mess. Okay – on to the sled finishing!!!

Here is Sled Central. First, the sleds come in three sizes and I have them lined up – so I think you can figure out which is which. In the shops and the patterns they are referred to as Large (I’m so in love with that large sled – just beautiful), Medium and Mini. The sled storage box has one more Medium in it and the rest are all Minis. I think I had originally ordered 2 Mediums and 4 minis and then I found a place that sold the minis as a “baker’s dozen.” so ordered those since that’s the size I want to use for gifts where I’m gifting several to each of my bosses. They are available at many shops – just search the name (Foxwood Crossing Sleds) and you’ll find options – but they are also out of stock in many places too and due to supply chain issues some sizes (especially the elusive Large ones) aren’t expected to be back in stock till spring/early summer. (I think I might have 3 more large ones coming but am waiting confirmation that they were really in stock.)

Anyway, you have to make sure you are getting the correct size charts for your sleds because the charts are sized (with curved edges, etc) to specifically fit each sled size. They are stitched on 14 Count Perforated Paper and then you follow the directions to trim them to shape. Really easy to do. The photo above contains patterns that have multiple charts for various sized sleds. Morning Star Santa on the left, has separate charts for the large and medium sleds, also a separate chart for the framed design shown, and there’s a bonus chart for basically the same design as on the medium sized sled except it is rectangular and not shaped for a sled. The RFD Sledding contains a large sled chart and the framed piece; River Road Church is for large sled, medium sled and framed piece. In all three patterns the “framed” pieces are designed for 28 ct linen or 14 ct Aida (since perforated paper is 14 ct). The patterns below are made specifically for the Mini Sleds only. So you need to make sure to check the descriptions on the patterns to see what size sled charts they contain. Lots of different ones are available.

So here are my stitched and trimmed pieces. Two minis and one medium sled charts. On the left is the roll of acid-free double-sided tape. You can get many different brands in various places. Mine happens to be Angel Crafts Acid Free – 55 yard roll, 1/2″ wide – got it from Amazon. 55 yards is a lot (if you plan to only do a couple ornaments) but I’ll use it for other framing things. If you have local needlework or scrapbooking/craft stores you may be able to find it there in smaller quantity but it’s a handy tool for many crafts. And since I’m not venturing into any stores, mail order is my friend. On the right in the photo above, I just stuck a piece of tape on a scrap of perforated paper and pulled back the paper covering to show that it’s a clear tape – you can easily rip it off the roll like masking tape.

As you can see I put three pieces on the back (and have already trimmed the excess tape away along the top/bottom edges) of the Medium sized sled piece on the left; two pieces along edges of Mini size on the right that I still need to trim away excess. Don’t use your good scissors to trim the tape – it’s really sticky and you don’t want to gum up your favorite scissors. Press the tape firmly into your stitching and then peel off the paper (which would have been much easier if I had not just trimmed my fingernails). Then carefully center it on your sleds and firmly press in place. And TA DAAAAA!!!!! cute little ornaments – I even sacrificed setting foot in the cold outside (in my robe and slippers early this morning) to put them in the fresh snow that fell overnight for a final photo shoot.

So whenever I feel the urge to work on a smaller project, I can pull out one of these now that I have all the supplies organized into the “Sled Making box.” If I happen to have the color flosses called for I’m using them but otherwise I’m substituting a similar color I have. It would also be a great small project to kit up and stick in my bag to take along and stitch on during my lunch hour in the office since I don’t need a magnifier to see the 14 count to stitch on.

And I have to thank that “demanding Judy” for getting me interested in pulling out the cross stitching again. These were so fun to make and finish and I think will be such fun things to gift.

Single Digit Saturday – 1-23-21

Happy Saturday! It’s a frigid one here – currently it is only in the single digits and really windy so that makes it feel even colder (we won’t even discuss what the “feels like” temp is with the wind chill) – not that I’ve stuck my head out the door this morning yet, but darn I’ve had to turn up the heat! But it’s the first time all winter it’s been this cold so I can’t complain too much.

Last night I started my third swatch for some sweater patterns I want to generate in CustomFit. I have lots of Wollmeise Pure (fingering weight) in the stash that I can mix and match for striped sweaters, color blocked ones or colorwork ones and even tho fingering weight take a long time to knit – especially in my size – I love fingering weight sweaters. The look of them, the feel and drape and since I’m always warm (except today but that’s just cause its so old outside and I’m being lazy and still in my bathrobe) but if I wear anything other than a light sweater in the office I’m always roasting. This is not the color yarn I would make a sweater out of – it just happened to be handy to use to swatch. I do love the colors in this yarn but I bought it to weave with (I think it will be lovely woven up into a scarf) and knew I’d have plenty to weave with even after swatching so here’s my start on the swatch.

I’ve also made some progress on Jack. His bottom half is finished except for some snowflakes and I’m starting on the sweater. I did change colors. The pattern is written for Gentle Arts flosses but the shop where I got it only stocks DMC floss (which is what I mostly use anyway) but the substitute color for his pants was like a powder blue (much lighter than shown in the pattern image) and I just didn’t want my snowman going out in the world in powder blue plaid pants – I didn’t think it would go with his sweater and you can’t have a snowman that can’t color coordinate. 🙂

Then the two frames that arrived earlier this week.

I bought this frame for the Home for the Holidays chart which I started in December (when we were definitely home for the holidays) But its not much to show yet since I set it aside when I decided to order a frame first. I want to change some of the colors — the word “Home” is stitched alternating some shade of red and white but I don’t like the look of it with the “gingerbread house” colors. My plan was to order a frame that would be the color of the gingerbread looking houses. And ordering off the computer can sometime be tricky with trying to match colors but this frame is perfect and gorgeous. So now I will see if I have floss for the houses in shades of “gingerbread” that will look good with the frame color.

The second frame is for a future project I have planned and I have to remember to write on that pattern that I already have the frame so I don’t forget by the time I start/finish it.

I am so in love with this frame. It’s actually silver base with a grayish green added and it makes it look sort of greeny gold (even tho it’s obviously silver used and not gold since I can see it on the back of the frame. The color will be perfect for the project and I love the embossed/carved design.

And miracle of miracles – I finally received one of the large sleds to put cross stitch on (after the three or 4 I had ordered got cancelled because they were backordered and won’t be restocked until maybe April – Covid supply chain issues). It is so gorgeous I almost hate to cover it with cross stitch – but I will!! And I “think” I have three more coming from a different location but that order hasn’t shipped yet so I have my fingers crossed that when I get the shipping notice I don’t get an “out of stock” email. But I’ll save the sled for a different post because I’ve gotten lots of emails asking questions on how you attach your stitching and what kinds of patterns to get, sled sizes etc. and questions from friend Judy too since she plans to make some, so I told her I’d take photos as I attach the stitching to the smaller sleds that I have ready (these are so simple to finish off).

I was thinking about making quiche last night so I need to go see what I might have in the fridge to make a tasty one. I’m going to cheat and use a premade crust and see what I can throw together.

Today was a good day

For some reason my days of the week have seemed off all week – yesterday I thought it was Wednesday, today I was thinking it’s only Tuesday – what a slow week.  You’d think I know what day it is because I alternate remote working and office working days.  But a few minutes ago I realized hey it’s really Wednesday!   And, I got a lot accomplished today  – some days there are lots of interruptions so I don’t get done what I planned but not too bad today. 

It’s also a good day because two of the small frames I had ordered arrived today.  I haven’t opened the box yet but these came much faster than the last ones I ordered.  The night before last I finished A Country Winter.  I made a few color changes, changed the little quilt in the snowman’s hand as explained in my post, and I can’t wait to get this completely finished but I don’t think the frame for this is in the box I received – they split that order and only sent part of it so far but I’ll have to start a shelf of all the things I need to do the framing on. 

So after finishing that, I finished knitting my second swatch for the CustomFit pattern I want to generate.  I need to wind the yarn for the next swatch I want to knit but maybe tomorrow night.  Tonight I plan to work on Jack, which I started last nigth (three different times because I couldn’t decide how many strands to use and changed that, then I thought what if I try over one thread – what was I thinking – and it only took me a few stitches to realize NOPE! that is not the answer, and then got off kilter off since I’m working over two strands and in one spot goofed that up. But I finally got my act together.  I don’t think stitching over two will ever be my favorite way to cross stitch but for a small project here and there I think I can do it.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Gosh I can’t believe it’s mid-January already. I woke up to a bit more snow yesterday which promptly melted and then this morning – another dusting on the ground but I don’t know that it will last long either. But stuck my head out the door for a bit of fresh air.

I tried to take a photo of the current sweater swatch I am working on and the color just would not show up anywhere near the true color but here’s the website photos from my Ravelry account. This is MadTosh Sport weight I got when they had their big sale. It was showing up really pinky pink and its more of a tan/flesh toned pink. I’m thinking about a color block sweater with bottom in darker and maybe from armholes up (and top of sleeves from that same point) in the lighter color – maybe a stripe or two of the lighter along the bottom of cuffs and hems too. I’m going to get this swatch finished off today and then I have two more other yarns I want to swatch so I can generate some CustomFit patterns before CF shuts down next month.

Now as to the magnifying lamp I got from Amazon – someone left a comment wanting to know how I liked it and I had to do a little review for friend Judy because she wanted to know how I liked it. Well in my email to her was this:  I give it a “Judy, you might need to order this and tell Vince it was my fault” rating. 🙂  

So she now has one ordered. 🙂 I do love it. It makes such a difference and having the lights around the bottom of the magnifier lights up your project so nicely. I had been stitching only on no smaller than 16 count Aida due to not being able to stitch on smaller counts without causing eye strain issues. I don’t “love” stitch on linens – I DO love the look of items stitched on linens but not my favorite thing to stitch on but there are a couple smaller projects I really wanted to stitch on line and now I should be able to easily see to do those. So after using this about 6 hours last night or more, it was a very good purchase for me. And bonus, as I told Judy, I’ll be able to read the fine print on prescription bottles, vitamin bottles and other little instruction things that are just printed too small for me to be able to easily read.

And, with that magnifying lamp, I was able to make great progress yesterday afternoon/evening. I finished off all the stitching on the barn/house, finished the sheep and started on the yard. The white picket fence is outlined by the green but I still need to actually stitch that in. I also still have the white squares in the border to fill in – some areas of that are done but not much. The snowman needs some arms and he’s supposed to be holding a quilt block BUT – since this was a pattern designed for linen, the main part was to be stitched over two threads and then the quilt block go make it smaller was stitched over one. Since I’m using Aida all of mine is stitched over 1, there’s not enough room to add the original block for the quilt. So I may need to change it up and stitch a simple little block in there. Oh and I also have some swirly snow and snowflakes to add in the the sky. But this is well on it’s way to being completed. I love the design across the front of the building.

I remembered to take a couple photos of some stuff I had received as I was starting to organize stitching stuff. One of the reasons I wanted the magnifying lamp was to make this design. It’s going to be a gift but it really needed to be on linen so I can hopefully make it small enough to fit in the top of the round black box I got. I haven’t decided what colors I’ll stitch it in yet but I do love the color palette the original is done in.

I was very impressed with the round box I ordered to insert the stitching design into the top of it. It is very well made, a weighty substantial thing, and lovely velvet lining inside. (I was also looking at this cross stitch design thinking it would make a fantastic quilted tree skirt design. I have never made a tree skirt that I’ve kept for myself (although I’ve made many) so that gives me an idea to mull over.)

I also recently acquired “Jack” which was sold as a kit at The Happy Little Stitch Shop. He is so fun and they had it kitted with some fun fabric with dots of “snow” printed on it (which you can see a bit of it in the image below) so I got that kit. I just love shopping from this shop. I ordered one night, I had a shipping notice the next morning, and it arrived the day after that. Yes, the shop is only about 50 miles from me so that helps get it here faster in these slower postal service times, but I have one place that I placed an order with 18 days ago that still hasn’t shipped. Are they waiting for some stuff I ordered to come in, are they short staffed due to covid, I’m sure they are inundated with orders, but I love that if I order from HLSS that I know I will have it in just two or three days.

I have a plan to finish Jack when it’s done as a “cube.” A new term for me – I never saw finishes like this many years ago when I was cross stitching but saw it on a Flosstube video. You can see the video tutorial at:

I think this is brilliant – no sew, but uses fabrics (I might just have a little of those available), I did have to order flat head stainless steel pins (because my quilting pins are all glass headed) and styrofoam but I can’t wait to try that out. I’m also very excited because although I got a notice from one shop that the two large sleds I had ordered 2 months ago to add cross stitch to were not coming in any time soon and they were refunding my money – remember I had done these mini and medium sleds-

Foxwood Crossing Sleds

I “think” I was able to find some large sleds. I shop would only let me add one to my cart – so I grabbed that and after I ordered that and it did show that item as “out of stock” after I placed my order so I’m hopeful I ordered the last one and it will be coming. I also ordered a couple from another shop but not all shops show their inventory accurately and I haven’t gotten the order confirmation yet so don’t know if they truly had them in stock or if they had ordered more stock and it’s on backorder. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed because these sleds are so much fun and so cute when done that I think many people will be getting them as gifts next year.

Okay – one final note because I need to go do a bit of baking and find some lunch. As I was stitching the project below I was thinking hmmmm — upside down those trees would look like hanging hearts! I’m thinking it may have potential valentines’ day project potential by stitching just the trees as hearts and adding another in the middle or a larger one in the middle. It has possibilities ……

A Country Winter – Progress

Just a quick post because I’ve got a bunch of stuff I want to get done today and stayed up until 3AM stitching on this (and slept in till 8:30!) and have been puttering all morning and not accomplishing much – so I need to get busy.  But here’s my progress on this stitch.  I changed a few colors and that one stitch by the deer’s back legs – it’s left blank on the pattern (maybe it’s supposed to look like white deer underbelly to give some depth perception to the legs?) I don’t know,  but it bugs me so I’m going to fill it in when I get back to stitching on this – but Denise, WALK AWAY FROM THE STITCHING! – I’ve got some other things to do before I get back to that  (and I have a new magnifier lamp that should be delivered today) so I’m looking forward to trying that out.
I’m finally got to get a pot of soup going in the crock pot that I’ve been threatening to make for weeks now, I’ve got a knit project to get off the blocking mats and finish up later, but making soup, cleaning kitchen, starting laundry and making some breakfast or lunch or brunch are on the agenda.