Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Stitching Begins

Pumpkin Sampler (by Jeanette Douglas, Just Cross Stitch Sept/Oct 2012) is done.  Thank goodness.  This little piece gave me fits!  Here it is, pressed, but not stretched yet.

It's really a simple little sampler, but it just seemed like everything that could go wrong, did, with this piece.

It turned out well, all things considered.  And I did enjoy the fibers and a lot of the stitches.

The pumpkins in the center were what caused all the headache.  They weren't charted out completely.  A stitch diagram was given and an outline of the pumpkins and the instructions were to "fill in."  Hmmm.  The pumpkins are somewhat round and the stitch is a series of triangles.  Let's just say it was challenging.

They turned out okay in the end, but I'm sure that they are just a little bit off and that made it a challenge to get the next section of stitching lined up correctly.  I did a lot of ripping on this one.

No alphabet was given for this design.  The instructions were to use a "favorite alphabet" to personalize.  So off I went to my stash.  I used an alphabet by Linda Reeves of La Broderie for my initials.  I added the date in two parts in the vines at the bottom.

I used most of the fibers that were called for in the design.  I discovered that I either misplaced or forgot to order one of the orange threads, so I just substituted a different one.  And I also substituted a green Sampler Thread for the Belle Soie (vines.)

This was also the first time I used wool fibers.  The taupe/brown in the stems, the dark green in the leaves, and the white design on the bottom pumpkin are all Gentle Art Simply Wool.  It was easy to work with, stitched up nicely with good coverage, and blended well with the other cotton fibers.
I wish I could tell you what fabric I used, but I don't know what it is.  It's a 28ct warm ivory with a "tea-stained" look to it.  It was just the right size and looked good with the threads, so I pulled it out of the stash and stitched it up. 
I still need to add a few seed beads to the back stitched vines above the two pumpkins, but I haven't found anything suitable in my stash and I don't want to place an order for one pack of beads.  (Yes, I know.  I'd end up ordering a lot more stuff to justify the one little package of beads!)  I'll wait until I get a chance to run by Hobby Lobby or my LNS and pick something up then.
In the meantime, I started a Christmas stitching project, Heirloom Christmas Sampler from Victoria Sampler:

This was released in 2003 and I believe I've had it in my stash along with the fabric, 28ct Platinum Cashel, and the accessory pack (mauve and teal colorway) for almost that long!  It is long overdue!
I began stitching this week and this is what I have so far.

A portion of the back stitched verse, a gorgeous row of Rhodes hearts with back stitched leaves and vines, a row of pulled thread work, and part of a row of cross stitching and satin stitching.

I absolutely love the Rhodes hearts.  They are stitched in Caron Waterlilies silk in a colorway called Rose Quartz.  There will be a tiny seed bead added to the top of each heart once stitching is complete.

The pulled thread rows are really easy to do.  You have to cut certain fabric threads and pull them out of your fabric,  Then you weave some of them back in so that you end up with a "window" in your fabric and the border appears undisturbed.  It sounds a lot harder than it is.

This is going to be my Christmas relaxation piece.  I plan to work on it in the evenings while I enjoy the Christmas tree and the build-up to Christmas.  If it gets finished this year, great!  If not, I will probably pack it away after Christmas and get it out again next year.  We'll just see how it goes.

In sewing news... I haven't done any since getting back from my trip.  I did trace a pattern last weekend, though.  I pulled out the October issue of Burda Style and traced the cowl neck sheath dress.  I graded it up one size on top and two sizes on the bottom, added my customary inch+ of length at the waist and did my petite adjustment above the bust.  Then I added seam allowances.  It was a lot of work.  I'm ready to cut out a muslin and whip it together to check the fit, but with all the Christmas cleaning and decorating this week, I haven't had a chance (or the room) to drag out my cutting board and lay it out.  Maybe today...

So is anyone else doing any Christmas sewing or crafting?

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