Sunday, January 21, 2024

Slow Sunday Stitching: Now I'm Ready for Thanksgiving!

I'm connecting today with the group over at Kathy's Quilts for some "Slow Sunday Stitching".

Yeah, I know that it's an odd thing to be talking about Thanksgiving during the first month of a new year.  However, in November last year  I began a cross stitch project that was influenced by Flosstuber Helen D.:

This is "Give Thanks" by Autumn Lane Designs.  My plan had been to get it stitched up for display for Thanksgiving.  Since I still consider myself a relative CS newbie (my two year floss-iversary is next month!), I can forgive myself for not realizing that it was going to take far longer than the month I gave myself -- even with stitching on it daily -- to get it done.  Once the deadline passed, I continued working on it with the goal of getting it done by the end of year.  I did make good progress on it...

...finishing the last of the stitching a few days after New Years and then washed and laid it out to dry a few days after that.

With the stitching done, the next step was to "fully finish" it.  One of the things that had originally jazzed me about the project was how Helen had it framed in a round wood frame.  I loved that aspect!  Initially, I thought I'd get one of these hoop backed frames:

They can be found on Etsy

However, when I went to the craft store to pick up some of the threads I needed for the project I saw one of these at Michael's:

I thought that would be an even better way to frame it with a little seasonal flair.  So here we are!

I added a few dollar store Fall flower bits to fill in a gap created because the natural shape of the wreath didn't quite conform to the more structured circular shape of the finished piece.  Then I added the feather fronds on the upper right to balance them out and because I like them and had them in stash!  

When the Thanksgiving season rolls around again, this will hang as a companion to the "Thankful For My Stash" quilted wall hanging I finished up back in the Fall.

When I finished stitching that one, I was on to the next.  "My Heart Is Yours" by Luminous Fiber Arts was actually the very first cross stitch project I started with back in 2022!  I was encouraged to take it on after also seeing it on one of Helen's videos and because I have done a lot of quilt projects for Valentines decorating.  I thought this would be a good companion project to go with those.  

Unfortunately, I knew even less about how long stitch projects take when I started back then so needless to say I wound up putting it down unfinished in March of that year.  I picked it up again the next year hoping for a holiday finish but quickly put it down again within a few days.  Having already started and finished two other much easier pieces by then, I wanted to focus on "fully finishing" those and learning finishing techniques.     

"Eye" Needle Minder by My Big Toe Designs

As I eventually learned, what made this piece a little tougher to stitch than some later ones is that it is stitched on 18 ct Aida with silk floss versus the other lower count Aida projects I started with regular cotton floss.  It had been a kit that I purchased because I also thought it would be easier than others to do since it only used one color of thread.  Ooh, that thread felt so good right from the beginning but is a bit slippery and twists more than cotton floss.  

I also didn't know back then about "stitching in hand" (I started off stitching this in a hoop), stitching your crosses in only one direction or about the "sewing method" and the Dutch progression method.  I also didn't I know about the need for varying the number of strands of thread or the size needle you use based on the stitch count of your fabric.  After all of the experience I've had on all the other projects I have worked on to date, it was a much smoother stitch to work on now.

Needless to say I also didn't know about checking the finished size of your project against the size of the piece of fabric you are planning to stitch on!  When I started cross stitching, I had read that you were supposed to stitch from the center of your fabric piece to insure that you finish up with enough space around your finished piece to allow for the finishing process.  What I know now is that definitely depends on the finished size of what you're stitching, LOL!  Fortunately, when I prepped it for the finishing, I still was able to save a little of the leftover fabric to use for some future "smalls" pieces.  

However, the back of the piece tells the real story of how much I've grown as a stitcher.

I had started in the center with the two birds and finished it this year with the surrounding hearts and border motifs.  Yeah, big difference!  When I finished stitching this up a little more than a week ago, it meant I had a new finish that now needed supplies to prepare it for display so I had to go get some for that.  

Fabric and ribbon were purchased, luckily the embellishments were already in house!

The good news is that now this is finally ready for display for Valentine's Day in February!  

With this Valentine's cross stitch done, I was ready for a new cross stitch start.  Last year I made "The Year of the Rabbit" by The Frosted Pumpkin... wanted to do a follow-up this year.  I downloaded "The Year of the Dragon" shortly after the new year started.  I was able to kit up all but one of the threads from stash so picked that up when I went shopping for the "Heart" finishing supplies.  It's underway and I'll see if it gets done by the end of the month like I did with the "Rabbit" or will have to proceed with it further into the new year.

Looking at me now, you'd never know that when I started as a quilter, I vowed to never do any kind of hand work!  Yet, it is quilting that has led to doing cross stitch, something I also thought I wouldn't get in too deep on.  Ha!!  I actually have another Valentine's themed project that I just finished kitting up recently.  However, it needs threads from a few other projects that are either in progress or that I hope to start this year so I'll probably just wait to start it either at the end of this year or at the start of the next.  I also have a really big year-long Christmas cross stitch project waiting in the wings but want to get the "Dragon" piece a little further along before setting it up for stitching.  

So that's the stitching that has been going on in my place.  I'm sure there are many other busy stitching bees sharing things on Kathy's blog.  I look forward to checking them all out!

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