Sunflower Row

Three posts in one day – clearly I am avoiding all the things I should be doing. Or, it’s just ’cause I can’t settle on any one thing today.  I did a bit of cleaning, got to stitch a bit, pick up a couple other things and put them away, stitch a bit; there might have been a short nap in there somewhere too.

As I was stitching on the bluebird kit piece I decided after 2 days of stitching on it that I needed a break from that piece.  I can tell just from that stitch that I could never be a full coverage stitcher.  That is pretty much full coverage, it just is a smaller project.  But I start a section and then sort of fill in that color in and then move to the next area that that color is used to fill in there.  A whole lot of counting  (and you KNOW how well I sometimes do with that).  Yep, I must prefer the types of designs where you finish an area or motif.  Part of the problem is the symbols used in the chart and the size of the chart – more difficult to read so I’m going to set it aside and take it into work and make an enlarged copy of it.  That will be much easier to stich from and I’ll get back to it next week.

Anyway, this post is about what I plan to pull floss for tonight and even tho it’s outside of my “theme” I’m using for Sunday Stitches this year, it will be my Sunday Stitch project (which I will start tonight) this weekend and then likely be my work stitching project.   I decided I was feeling the need to stitch something with sunflowers on it and found Sunflower Row by Annie Beez Folk Art in the stash.  It’s a small project and I’m going to stitch it on 20 count so it will either fit in a 5×7 frame or be a pillow, or maybe a styrofoam brick finish – who knows.


So pulling floss I will go after I find a snack – one of the other things I didn’t do today is eat dinner since I had a late lunch but a snack is definitely in order.   I love that house and am hoping that if I don’t have  the called for colors I can find something close.  The one thing I won’t be stitching is there’s a ladybug crawling up the farthest right sunflower – it’s 1 over 1 so that is not going to be included.

Aida Fabrics (and something quilty? hmmm….)

First the something quilty – no not my quilting yet – but one of the cross stitch flosstubes I watch is the Saltbox Stitcher.  She’s a very prolific cross stitcher with gorgeous walls behind her of samplers but she is also a prolific quilter and long-armer.  She does a lot of scrappy quilts and she just started a separate YouTube channel for her quilting called Saltbox Stitcher Quilting.  So you may want to check it out if you want to see some quilty goodness.  Definitely a lot of eye candy in that video.  The opening shot with a quilt cabinet full of quilts behind her, more quilts around her,  has given a nudge to  that quilting bug inside of me.

Okay and then the real reason for this post – aida fabrics.  Joy B left a comment on my last blog post asking:

Love your new stitch, the bird is so sweet! I use 18ct aida also. I’ve never tried 20ct. What brand do you like and where do you purchase it?

Since I get asked what kind of fabric I like, where I get it, etc frequently, I thought I’d just put all the info in a blog post.  Now I am no expert, this is all just my own personal preference and your preferences may be very different from mine, your experiences with a shop/seller may be very different from mine so keep that in mind.  Some of this info has been previously posted in the tab at the top of the block for 2022 stitch stuff and FAQS.

My preferences for fabric and stitch count:

  •  What is my stitch count preference.   As to the count preference, I prefer to stitch with just one strand of floss so 18 or 22 count works beautifully for that.  And since some of my pieces are quite large, if I do them on smaller fabric, they don’t take up as much wall space and that in turn saves on smaller custom frames. 
  • Why do I like one strand floss better that using two? My stitches just look nicer with one strand of floss.  I have also stitched on 16 count hand-dyed aida with one strand.   I generally stitch more prim type designs so the one strand on 16 count lends itself more to that type of design but the coverage you get with 1 strand on 16 may not be what you like.  I also specify 16 count “hand-dyed” aida with 1 strand because the hand dying process shrinks the fabric a bit so the one strand coverage is better than if you were just using a nonhand-dyed 16 count.
  • Fabric Likes/dislikes?
    • I’m not knocking any brand/seller, etc but because of my preference for a softer hand to the fabric, I don’t care to stitch on Wilchelt, Charles Craft (commonly available in big box craft/fabric shops).  20 years ago, I definitely stitched on them since it was about all that was available.  Even Zwiegart, which is the base most of the hand dyeds I buy is on, if it’s one of the solid colors they sell and not over-dyed, its a bit more stiff than I like but not as stiff as the other two.   Some stitches love only stiffer fabrics; I’m in the opposite category.  Wilchelt does make a slightly softer line of their fabric – it will always have the words “French Country” in the name.  A couple of those Amish themed stitches I had done during my first chapter of being a cross stitcher 20 years ago were stitched on the French Country colors.
    • I like Zwiegart base fabrics and I think most of what I have gotten for hand-dyed fabrics are that.  It’s a good quality fabric.  Most places I’ve shopped list what their base fabrics are.  I also like places that show the color on the aida – and not just post a photo of their linen of the same color and list that it comes on aida.  Linen and aida take color very differently and can look nothing alike in some colors.   In addition to the individual Etsy dyers, I like the “brands” I like are Picture This Plus, Colour & Cotton and Fiber on a Whim fabrics. 
    • As for where I get fabrics, etc – well since I started stitching again in the beginning of 2020, we won’t even talk about how difficult some supplies have been to get with supply chain disruptions.  But here are my favorite places I frequent.   
      • (they carry Picture This Plus fabrics which I use a lot but they sell out quickly).  I also like that for many charts they have the whole floss list that you can add to your cart at the click of a button.
      • – this is the cross stitch shop opened up since Covid started by the Sheri, the former owner of The Loopy Ewe (which was my favorite yarn shop – she retired from the yarn shop this year to concentrate of the cross stitch shop and the yarn shop has been taken over by new owners) .  Sheri’s her great customer service has carried over to her new shop.
      • – I haven’t ordered any fabric from them but I often get asked where to get the Foxwood Crossing Sleds and this is my go-to place for the sleds, perforated paper they are stitched on and they have a large selection of the charts.  
      • Etsy – you can find anything on Etsy.  Just put a few words in the search bar and you’ll get all kinds of things.  If you are looking for 20 count hand dyed aida — put those words in the search bar.  If you are looking for just hand dyed aida in general, put those three words in the search bar.  I generally buy just from shops in the US since I don’t want to wait for overseas things to arrive.  Here are my favorites:
        • ToDyeForFabricsNMore  – This is my most favorite Etsy dyer – she dyes her own fabrics.   Right before the “no buy 2022” I ordered all these 18 count fabrics from her to add to my stash but I had ordered from her in the past as well.gorgeous - To Dye For FabricsThe mottling, the feel of her fabrics, I love everything about them.  If I remember right she only has choices in aida up to 18 count but I could be wrong.  Her Etsy shop says it is closed until April 15.  If she gets a lot of orders and gets backed up she will temporarily close her store to concentrate on getting out the orders she currently has.  Fabrics are dyed to order and I think it usually has taken about 2 weeks to get them.  If I could only buy fabric from one place this would be it!
        • DamesOfTheNeedle – hand dyer.  This one can take a bit longer to receive but she lists info on her website as to that.
        • KingslandNeedleArt – source for fabric (dyed by others – just depends on what she has in stock), and other cross stitch stuff.  
        • MadForMinders – I have gotten Colour & Cotton aida from this shop (and very adorable needle minders)
        • SpunSugarQuilts – also sells Colour & Cotton aida. Just depends on what she can get in stock.
  • There are lots of other places on Etsy that sell higher count hand dyed aida fabrics but I don’t want to suggest any that I have not personally shopped from.

Whew – that took a long time to write and search my Etsy purchases to find the names of the shops.  🙂  I did make a stitching-related purchase earlier this week which I’m anxiously awaiting.   Since I started stitching again I have read in various places about wider wooden hoops used for cross stich that users say are easier on your hands to hold (which is a reason many people use QSnaps, but I don’t care for the QSnaps).  Of course the wider hoops have been  out of stock everywhere I found that sold them and seems like they are mostly manufactured overseas.   But I have finally found a place that has them so placed an order. 

So thank you Joy for asking the question and helping me to procrastinate a bit longer on doing any cleaning. (I did get some done in between writing this and looking up shop names  and found a great way to empty out the junk drawer in the kitchen (which among other things had all those charger cords for electronic things in it) and store them in an over the door hanger so I have reclaimed a whole kitchen drawer! So if all I’ve accomplished is cleaning out a drawer, loading and turning the dishwasher on, making a trip to the dumpsters with the garbage and recycling (it’s now upper 40s and is a really lovely sunny day out there), well I think I should get to go stitch for a little while before I have to change the laundry loads.

Sunny Saturday – April 9, 2022

Finally, after a week of snow and rain and more snow, the sun is shining today and it’s 40 degrees – a great improvement since I was beginning to think the sun would never shine.  It’s almost putting me in the mood to do some Spring cleaning – almost, – I have cleaning to do today but I won’t be delving into any closets to straighten them out, etc. but soon…..

I started stitching on the  TPPLimitedEditions kit I had previously shown.   The picture on the chart is stitched on linen but you could also order the kit with aida instead.  The thing I’ve decided I dislike about many kit offerings where they offer linen and aida (from all kinds of sources not just where I got this one) is they usually offer only 14 or maybe 16 count aida – those are also the counts that are most commonly offered in many stores but I’m a 18 or 20 count aida gal.  Of course the larger count aida is better than many kits that only offer linen because it makes more kits available to those of us who don’t stitch on linen.  (Just no pleasing me I guess LOL).   So after starting stitching on the 14 count with two strands, I didn’t get maybe 25 stitches in and I decided I just didn’t like it.    I also prefer the higher counts since I don’t like stitching with two strands of floss.   So I started over on a different piece of fabric I found in my stash and am liking it much  better, especially since it looks more like the blue/gray linen color the chart is pictured in and it has a slight bit of mottling.


So the fabric above is 18 Ct. Picture This Plus aida and the color is Storm.  It’s actually a little bit darker than it looks here – remember I was taking this photo outside and it is a sunny day. 🙂  I was afraid as I started stitching the blue flowers that the flosses wouldn’t show up well against the fabric but it all worked out.

So the 14 count DMC aida Grey that came with the chart (which to me looks more light blue in real life than grey and shows up even lighter than it is in my photo below – again, sunny day washing out color) needs to go to a good home where it will be used or it will end up in the Good Will bag.

20220409_2 I will say it is a stiffer aida (I prefer the softness of hand dyed); I don’t know that it’s as stiff as Wilchet but likely close.   So if you will use that piece of 14 ct, and want the pleasure of ripping out my 20-25 stitches or so pictured in it below as an added  bonus, because I’m not going to bother to take them out myself 🙂 then the first person  to leave a comment on this blog post asking for it, I will ship it to free of charge.  You mut have a US Mailing address.   I’m not going to use a random number generator – just whoever responds first – so if someone has already asked for it by the time you see this, no need to leave a comment requesting it.  Oh, and its about a 19″ square piece of aida.   ETA – EllenB has claimed the fabric.


So as I was contemplating the plan of attack for cleaning the living room and kitchen, I spied the box of 5 x 7 frames I had gotten that I hadn’t put away  yet so pulled them out to see which would work for the Bee Sampler I just finished.   I had originally thought about the blue frame because I thought it might match the blue in the stitched piece.  It does, but I forgot it has some silvery streaks in with the blue paint and that detracted from the stitched piece and it also has a distressed look which wasn’t the right look for this pretty little piece.  The frame above it, is a very light bluish gray but not the right color for the fabric I used.   But the last one in the box, the matte black, was the perfect choice so this is the frame I will use when I get around to doing the actual framing of it.


Okay – coffee cup to refill and then to start on the clearing off of the breakfast bar which has accumulated things that don’t belong there – a never ending battle – and my grocery order just arrived outside my door.  Hope you have a lovely Saturday!