Year of Stitch Sampler No. 1, 2023

And it’s a late finish for the first sampler of the year.

This was a nice way to show off stitches.

The stitches are:

Pink: sheaf; Orange: mountmellick, and a blanket stitch to even things out; Yellow: love chain; Green: feather; Blue: herringbone. The clouds are basket weave (the tiny cloud) and cross bar filling trellis (the other two). All of the outlining is couching.

I really loved that basket weave cloud. I was less enamored of the crossbar filling trellis, and you can see that eventually I did not care about my lines being straight.

I also experimented with a shimmery white thread to outline the colors of the rainbow and on the clouds. It will be the first and last time I use such a thing. I didn’t like the synthetic feeling of the thread and it was a massive pain to work with. I used normal DMC floss to pin it in place.

Here’s the back. You can see the wiry bits of the shimmery thread and where they got tangled.

I think I did a great job with colors on this one! This is also the last of Matt’s old sheets to be used for embroidery.

#YearofStitch Sampler No. 9

It is finally finished! While I wish I would have stuck to one color of orange for the sun’s rays; overall, I’m very pleased at how this sampler turned out.

This sampler used these stitches:

  • Padded satin stitch (the middle of the sun)
  • Thorn stitch (yellow crisscross)
  • Laced herringbone (Xs with wavy line)
  • Cloud filling (tan wavy lines)
  • Half interlaced cross bar (orange diagonal)
  • Backstitch chain (the waves)

Backstitch chain took a lot longer than I wanted it to and ate up a lot of thread. I also kept losing the wave pattern and had to go in and put extra undulations so keep the waves going. About twelve rows in, I went back and looked at Shannon’s picture and she did not use nearly as many lines as I did. I think I was shoving them together.

I did five layers of padded satin stitch. I’m not sure that it looks very different than if I had done three layers, but I did get a lot of nice practice on my satin stitch.

My favorite was the half interlaced cross bar. Shannon modified it from a different stitch. I like how it fills the space and also looks woven in a cool way.

We have already begun the 2023 Year of Stitch! I’m excited to see what this year brings.

Year of Stitch Sampler No. 8

This was a very fun sampler. I fell behind due to baby blanket construction and general holiday preparations, but here it is. Sadly, I photographed it without natural light, so the white looks a little yellow. Imagine that it’s old dress shirt white.

The stitches this time are:

  • Dutch stitch (S)
  • Closed feather stitch (P, U)
  • Leaf stitch (E, O)
  • Herringbone ladder stitch (A, T)
  • Web filler stitch (K)
  • Threaded chain stitch (circle)
  • Couching (letter outlines)

This time, the idea was to practice on Aida cloth and then do the same stitches on normal cloth. I really liked the Dutch stitch on Aida—the repeating squares are super trippy. It was harder to pull of on normal fabric.

The big winner for me this time was threaded chain stitch. So easy to do and provides such a dramatic effect.

A backside, for those of you who like to see them.

There is one more sampler for 2022!

Baby Blanket for Baby Coulee

My coworker Sarah is due in February, so there is a baby shower on Thursday. I made this little blanket for the new parents.

I think this is the first baby blanket I have hand monogrammed and I’m quite pleased at both the chain stitch and how swoopy the C is. I did not draw the C, but I grabbed it from one of the alphabets I had squirreled away.

The theme of the party was Space Dinosaur Cowboy and I was trying for all three things, but JoAnn’s was not connecting me with any cowboy stuff. But I did like the stars and then the not-at-all concerned dinosaurs hanging out in the snow.

I ended up making the bias binding. When I do that, I always make extra because it’s a really mood killer to come up a few inches short of bias binding. (How do I know? Because I’ve done it.) But then what to do with the extra bias binding? I had the idea to poke two holes in the plain brown wrapping and make a bow with it.

Thanksgiving Project

When I took up embroidery in 2020, one of the books I read suggested using up bits of thread by doing some straight stitches until the thread was gone. I thought this was brilliant and set up some material with initials of family members and marked where the squares would be cut up once I was done. Then I set to using up the bits of thread. Two years later: done!

I’m quite happy at how they turned out. I especially love the heavy metal font I used for all but one. The other one was the tattoo font—I wasn’t pleased with it and abandoned it for the font of the music of my youth. This is a Thanksgiving project because the backing is a fun surprise. It’s made from the shirt Matt wore when we got married. The shirt ripped while he was at a family reunion this summer. He brought it home and I washed it and tucked it away until he left for Thanksgiving in North Carolina and I could finish this project. I’m very excited to give these coasters to my family at Christmas.

Three squares of doodle stitching also are being sent as Christmas presents. For this one, I traced the bird from a book by Little Dear and then freestyled the rest.

This was a straight ripoff of a cozyblue embroidery pattern (sorry!) though I did eyeball it and not trace it from the picture. (I do buy things from that store.) It’s this one, if you want to be a better person than me and purchase.

This is another one where I traced the goldfish from Little Dear and freehanded the lily pads and reeds. The colors are from Stitch Palettes.

These also got the backing from Matt’s shirt.

I’m quite please to have finished these projects.

Napkins Finished

When I blocked the last napkin, I noticed a small tear in the side that was going to upend the creation of the napkins. I left it blocked for many weeks while I puzzled over how to solve the problem.

In the end, I realized if I used the same wash away sticky thing I used to transfer the pattern to the material, I could stick the tear together and then straight stitch over it in a tight weave. That would shore up the torn area so I could stitch it to the napkin backing. And that’s what I did.

For people who are fans of looking at the back of emboridery:

And the final product. I’m hoping that how not-great the blue of the napkins was a function of the light. The downside of reusing bedsheets, I guess.

These will be sent off to friends Julie and Graham in thanks for the couch hauling.

#YearofStitch Sampler No. 7

I looked at the seventh sampler and thought, “There isn’t much to this one, maybe I should do four.” And so I did. (And that’s why I’m always behind.) The plan is to make them into napkins.

This was my first time using wash-away stabilizer that sticks to the fabric. That stuff is a wonder for working on dark fabrics. I traced the outline (four times) and got to work. It is hard to see how the colors actually look on the dark fabric, so fastidious people would probably want to do a test swatch.

It doesn’t feel as great as soft fabric does, but it does add a lot of sturdiness to the sewing experience.

The stitches this time are:

  • Sheaf stitch (Outermost sections of the cacti)
  • Pekinese stitch (Middle section of the cacti. Because this was going to be a napkin, I tacked them down)
  • Feather stitch (The other section of the cacti)
  • Woven picot (The cacti flowers, which were also tacked down.)
  • Herringbone stitch (The upper vase decoration)
  • Mountmellick stitch (The lower vase decoration.)

In addition, I outlined the cacti using couching, and the vase with whipped backstitch.

Whipped backstitch. Redeeming backstitch since January 2022, when I learned it. Uneven stitches become a swirly rope!

Overall, I loved mastering woven picot. I’m a fan of things that free stitching from the fabric. Because they were napkins, I tacked those flower petals down, but the could fly free. I found mountmellick to be a bit fussy.

For colors, I used the same two greens for the cacti and then picked colors from four different color palettes I keep on hand. The above is Stop in Santa Fe from Stitch Palettes. The one below is from the mix of colors that I got from Little Dear when I ordered my first embroidery kit. It was the summer blend. And since that blend was supplying the two greens to all four napkins, I was short on colors and added in the red and the yellow. I’m pretty sure those are two different yellows.

This is Chocolate Chip from Stitch Palettes.

This is Stitch Palettes’s Downtown Dubai.

As I was blocking the one with the bright colors, I noticed an unfortunate tear on the side that was going to make the napkin not very easy to stitch up. So that napkin stayed on the blocking device four about three weeks until I figured out the solution. Stay tuned!

Badass Cross Stitch Sampler No. 6

Tassels! So fun! I’d not done them before.

The stitches this time were:

  • Knotted ladder (purple)
  • Pistil (pink)
  • Cable chain (teal)
  • Love chain (yellow)
  • Tassels (blue) with needle weaving cap (pink)
  • Bullion (blue, small near the tassels)

This was one where I finished and was glad that most of these just get rolled up in a “Done!” tube.

I didn’t love the color choices I made. It’s one of Stich Palettes color combos. I like the individual colors, but I don’t like how it all hung together for this.

Of the stiches I only really loved the cable chain. The knotted ladder I ended up cutting out and redoing and I still didn’t love it. The pistil stitch will come in handy in the future though.

For the needle weaving with the tassels, I watched the video and then let three days go by before I attempted. I think the result speaks for itself.

Also, I don’t love how my lettering turned out.

It’s all an experiment though, so good lessons learned. And it seems I’m better a bullion stitch (the one stitch I’d done before) than Shannon is. So that’s fun.