Wednesday, May 31, 2023

May is Done and so is Cross Stitch May-nia!

The last day of May means my May-nia journey has come to a close!  Participating in this really helped focus my work and resulted in getting a lot done.  This was my May-nia list and what I got accomplished on it.

The New Start

The month started off with a new start.  I had two incentives for making this one:  it not only represented a May-nia start but it commemorated a historic event.

It was a small piece so was easy to get done during the week before the coronation.   I also employed and got to practice a new technique for me:  "gridding" my fabric with a blue water soluble ink marker to aid in placing the design elements correctly.   I stitched on a WIP during the next week so didn't get to the finishing of this and the little mug rug I made until this week.  



I originally had an idea to try to finish it as a sort of thick tuffet with gold tassel trim.  However, when that didn't work out, I finished it as a simple pin keep/pillow.  It is backed with a purple panne velvet that I stabilized with t-shirt quilt interfacing and I embellished the edge with a gold rope trim.  It's a little rough but it is also my very first pillow finish.  In this case, I definitely feel that finished is better than perfect!

Oh, and I also bound the little crown mug rug that I made along with it!


I had started this project last Fall as a companion to an earlier finish.  This is the first project I've done that required extensive color changes within a single motif and for this newbie CS-er it was definitely a real challenge!  There were many rip outs and re-starts and the finish as stitched is definitely off from the pattern in a few places.  This time, I was only semi-successful at using the gridding method again.  I guess I need more practice but at least it's also now done!

I managed to find the perfect fabric to finish the backing in the hoop frame I had purchased to display it in.  Having done this kind of finish before, it was fairly easy to complete. 

Now it hangs with its companion, ready to be enjoyed!

The "Fully Finished(s)"

The stitching for the next two projects had been finished prior to May-nia and now just needed to be "Fully Finished".  The first is another piece honoring a highlight of 2023:  this celebrates the "Year of the Rabbit" on the Chinese New Year calendar.



I have a stash of Asian-style prints so I was able to "shop the stash" for finishing this one.  Originally, I had in mind that I wanted to finish this like a Hands On Design pillow finish I saw at the start of the Spring.  However, the two prints that I picked to use didn't work so well combined together on the front.  So once again, I went simple and just used one print on the front and one on the back.  

I then decided to add some additional embellishment using tassels to sort of replicate a similar motif stitched into the piece.  Of course it was only after buying them that I remembered that I had looked up tutorials for making my own.  Oh well, next time!!

The last "fully finish" on the list was my "Memento of Maine" aka Helen D.'s freebie "Blueberries and Black Bears".  I'm still working on the finishing for this one:

The animals print will be the backing.

A lot of changes went into this project:  It was patterned to be stitched on 14 count Aida but I chose to use some Lori Holt 10 count Aida I had on hand because the color of it went better with the finishing fabrics I eventually found for it.  I picked up those fabrics at Fabricate during our trip last year so didn't make the final CS fabric choice until that happened.  

Although I kitted up the "called for" threads, when shopping for them I fell in love with a variegated DMC green (#4045) that I decided to add to the mix.  Then I changed where the patterned colors were used in the stitching which brought a better balance to my eye on the darker background fabric I was using.  

Also while in Maine, I had purchased the little buoy ornament with plans to use it to embellish the final piece.  I had also planned to copy an image of a lobster from a lobster bib from a restaurant we ate at, print it onto fabric and then applique it onto the piece.  

However, as I become more CS obsessed,  I am often looking around for designs of interest and happened on a cute little lobster CS piece that I figured might be an even better embellishment!  THEN I saw a little miniature lobster trap and thought "oh how cool to combine the two?!?".  This meant figuring out how to render the trap in fabrics.  So far it has proved to be a bit more challenging than expected so I am still trying to see if I can make that work.

So all in all, not bad for my first stab at May-nia!  Then tomorrow starts a new month that is bringing even more stitchy fun....

Monday, May 22, 2023

Moving It Forward Monday: Cross stitch May-nia leads to some finishes

 The WIP that was on this month's May-nia project list is now (finally) complete!

As I said in my last post about this, the color change placements challenged me right up to the end!  So if mine looks different from the pattern I purchased from the lovely Peacock & Fig chalk it up to the fact that I am still fairly new to CS (and that's my story and I'm sticking to it!!).  

However, I am thrilled I got it done!  I even tested it in the hoop frame that I will be using to display it.

Next step is rinsing out the grid markings and then completing the finishing.  Perfect since the plan for the rest of my May-nia month is to focus on "fully finishing" projects.  So now this one, the new project finished at the start of this month and two other prior finishes can all get the finishing treatment.   

What also challenged me this week was my refrigerator!  The repair technicians had been here the week before last to diagnose the problem (the compressor had died) and order new parts which came in Friday.   When I logged onto my service account,  it said an appointment for installing the new parts had been set up for Saturday.  

Well, my DH and I waited around during the two hour arrival window but they were a no show!  I tried calling the service vendor but was only able to leave a message.  Yeesh!  Another call this morning confirmed that the reason they were a no show was that they don't work on the weekends!!  Why the system scheduled an appointment for then I don't know.   Now it will be another two days of living in the 1920's hauling in ice to keep things cold until our (confirmed) appointment on Wednesday.   Maybe I should be stitching this one next.....

Pattern available at

On the plus side, having finished the WIP and while waiting for the appointment I didn't know wasn't going to happen, I worked on further setting up a project I want to start on in June.  

I had purchased this pattern and kitted up the threads and fabric last summer. It will be the biggest CS project I've attempted to date as well as one with the most colors I have ever used at one time and my first "full coverage" piece.  I had waited to organize the threads until I was ready to work on it.  I only expected to get some of the threads onto drops but it turns out that waiting on technicians who will never show is good for floss preparation:

They are now all set up on a ring --- another CS tool that I now have a new appreciation for.  For a project that uses a lot of floss like this, a ring of drops is definitely the way to go!  When I started stitching, I thought I really liked floss cards, especially when designers included one in the pattern:

I even considered purchasing one of the fancy heirloom ones.

Made by WonderlandUkraine on Etsy

However, I decided I wanted a system where I could prep the floss once and then be able to move it from project to project as needed.  

As I checked that I had all the floss for the project, I thought I was missing one.  It turns out I had actually put the missing skein with another "smalls" project I had planned to stitch as an embellishment for another finish.  

I think I put that floss with that other project because at the time it was close to the "called for" color for it.  However, since then, I had kitted another project that had the actual color I needed!  So I decided to put that floss on a drop and stitch up the small project real quick so I could return the rest of the floss to the kitted project.

As noted, you can find this pattern on Etsy.

Ironically, the other two colors of floss for this little stitch were also in kitted projects so it was helpful that this little thing could be finished up quickly and all the flosses could be returned to where they will be needed in the future.

The plan for this little piece is for it to be added to the embellishments for this project finished last year:

This little piece will be a memento of our trip to Maine last summer and is one of the projects on the May-nia list for finishing.  We will be returning there in a couple of weeks and I had hoped to have this finished to take with us.  

For it I have an ambitious plan:  I saw a cute miniature lobster trap on Etsy and I'd like to figure out if I can translate it into fabric and combine it with the lobster stitchery as an embellishment.

Unfortunately, this item is no longer listed.

I don't know if I will be successful but I hope to have some May-nia finishing fun while trying!

Monday, May 15, 2023

Moving It Forward Monday: Cross Stitch May-nia Progress

First off, I hope all the stitching mamas out there enjoyed a beautiful Mother's Day yesterday!  

My May-nia month has been progressing a bit.   With the only new start scheduled for May-nia completed last week, it was time to get back to the WIP on the schedule.  I was hoping to finish up my "Maybe Wine" piece that's going to be a wall hanging companion to this one:

This one was a Dimensions kit.

While I did get more work done on it, it's still a WIP at this point:

I started May here....

...and got this far this week.

When I chose this piece last year, I never really expected it to be all that hard but the color changes in the flowers have kicked my butt!!  I've done a lot of false starts and frogging when it came to filling in the flower colors.  The good news is that it resulted in the need to learn two new cross stitch techniques:  parking threads and gridding my fabric.  

I had practiced the latter on the Coronation piece I did last week and learned this week that it was also okay to just grid a difficult section of a pattern where it was needed rather than gridding the whole piece of fabric so I did that in advance of starting the bottom flower.  Even so, I'm STILL having problems getting some of the "confetti" and sprinkled color placements right as I start on it.  

I really hope to work out the kinks in the process since I will really need these skills when I get to the first "full coverage" piece I have kitted:

Pattern available on Etsy here.

Once I get the stitching done on "Maybe Wine", the rest of the month is scheduled to be focused on the "fully finishing" work for the two May stitching projects and two other projects completed prior to May-nia.  So I also spent some time looking for finishing supplies.  

For the Coronation piece I have an idea do a fancy pillow finish that I envision doing in royal purple, velvet and gold.  While shopping for those supplies, I also found the perfect backing fabric for "Maybe Wine" since it will be finished in a hoop frame like its companion.

So all the finishing things are in house for whenever I manage to get this stitching done.  And so May-nia continues.....

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Slow Sunday Stitching

Yesterday, for a day of Pomp and Circumstance....

I had a few stitched keepsakes in honor of the day that are now ready for finishing!

Cross stitch keepsake pattern by Helen Phillips on Etsy

Mug Rug made with Astrid Bordush's Paper Piecing pattern    

Fun mementos of a historic event!

Linking up over at Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching today

Thursday, May 4, 2023

How Quilters Celebrate "Star Wars" Day:

This is how the Sci Fi fans do it.  Either way enjoy!  

Monday, May 1, 2023

Moving It Forward Monday - Cross Stitch Edition

I'm doing May-nia!

Okay, I have to admit, I'm really getting into the whole cross stitch thing!  Partially because it's interesting to see the things cross stitchers do to keep themselves motivated to work on their projects.  

One of those things is May-nia.  Back in 2015 a group of cross stitchers started a challenge where for the month of May they would start a bunch of new projects.  I think cross stitchers have even more  "hussies" (HSY = Haven't Started Yet projects) they set up for themselves than quilters!  That's probably because the initial cost of supplying most cross stitch projects ranges from about the cost of a charm pack to the cost of a layer cake of fabric.  You get closer to the cost of making a quilt when it comes time to "fully finish" a project since a lot of cross stitchers have their pieces professionally framed for display.  

But I digress....when May-nia started, the goal was to start 15 different projects in the course of the month.  That's right, start but not necessarily finish!  Ahhh, it reminds me of the good 'ole days when Barbara over at the Cat Patches blog encouraged her quilting followers to report on their "New-FOs" and go ahead and pull out that new quilt project they had been dying to get under way.  

The original May-nia group has since disbanded but cross stitchers the world over have picked up on the tradition and run with it!  As time went on, the number of new starts cross stitchers were challenged to do increased until at one point the challenge was to start a new project each day of the month!  Okay, I'm definitely not trying that -- I have no desire to have my cross stitch projects equal to my quilt UFOs, LOL!!!

The goal for May-nia these days is to just set a goal of your own choosing.  For some it's all about new starts, for others tackling WIPS or UFOs (see, just like quilters!!).  Up to now, I didn't think I had enough potential projects to even consider doing May-nia.  However, looking at the cross stitch "hussies" and WIPs I have accumulated, I have definitely reached that stage!  

Initially, my Maynia plan was to stitch "patriotic projects".   The month of May usually signals the time of the year where I put out all of the red, white and blue quilts I've made in honor of all the "patriotic holidays" that will happen between May and September (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day).  My downstairs bathroom is also decorated in that color scheme and I realized that a few patriotic pin keeps would be great to add to the little display shelf I have in there.  Right now I have two patterns in house:

Another one called "Right To Vote" had been on my wish list for over a year.  It was on sale at this past week so I splurged on getting it and it's on its way.  What helped push that along was that I already had a few of the "called for" floss for it that had been purchased when I bought the other two patterns back in January.  I was going to try doing a 2-Day "stitching rotation" for each of the three projects, something I have seen Flosstubers talk about (like Lori Scicolone of Once Upon A Stitch).  I'd then focus the other day of the week on working on finishes.  

However, I also have three projects that I really need/want to "fully finish" this month as well as a new start that is related to May.  So I changed my May-nia plans:  instead I will be stitching one new start this week for a special reason:

It celebrates the coronation of King Charles III at the end of this week.  I am not a Monarchist but after seeing Pat Sloan talk about this, I liked the idea of getting in on the fun with another piece that is specific to the year "2023".  I'm also hoping to use this little project to try out a new-to-me technique of "gridding" the fabric base of a project.  This is something that will be really helpful to know how to do for a "full coverage" project I hope to start next month.  Years ago I had purchased some London themed fabric and I thought I might use it towards the "fully finishing" part of this.  However, since then another idea popped up in my head for another way to finish it so I'll see which way I go if and when I get to that step. 

Each week for the rest of the month, I'll work on another project that I need to finish stitching (carried over from April) and two other finishes that need to be "fully finished" .  

This change in May-nia plans doesn't leave the patriotic projects stranded --- I've decided to work on those in June instead.  Since that month is 30 days long, I will try doing the projects on a 3-Day rotation which will give me ten distinct stitching periods to work on the cross stitching over the course of the month.  

And of course, in between all of the hand work there will also be the usual quilting projects continuing as well!  My first crafty love will not be denied nor ignored!