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Archive for the ‘cross-stitch’ Category

It was a gorgeous fall day here in Cincinnati: near 70 degrees and sunny, a bit breezy but it made the swirling leaves really interesting.

Diamondqueen and the Hooligans decided  to hang out at home, so Mom and I made plans for a restaurant and activities that we normally can’t pursue with Hooligans in tow. We decided on lunch at The Grand Finale in Glendale, preceded by a visit to a nearby needlework store, Stitches. (As I was getting out of the car, my old friend Holly drove up, which was a pleasant surprise for both of us.)

I’ve been looking all fall for certain patterns of black fabric. I’ve been working on a cross-stitch picture in three panels of the Headless Horseman; when it’s done I’m thinking of making it into a kind of art quilt, maybe even something with a headstone motif at the top. So I’ve been hunting for black fabric that’s marbled with gray and has a some movement. I purchased a few fat quarters on our recent trip to Holmes Co. in the quilt shops up there, but I still wasn’t satisfied.

I found what I was looking for at the Stitches shop, plus I bought a bag of pearl cotton skeins in various colors. Then, on to lunch!

I have a favorite dish at Grand Finale – chicken ginger, a pounded chicken breast, marinated, with a walnut and ginger topping; a salad with house dressing (their salads always taste so fresh); and a spinach crepe on the side. I’m tempted by other dishes, but I know this is the only place I can get this particular meal, and we seem to make it to Grand Finale only about twice a year, so it’s hard to break out of my pattern.

We got to sit in the main dining room, where antiquity and Victorian opulence are abundant, in one of the small window tables that overlook the street and window boxes full of pink geraniums and, oddly, some wine bottle corks. (If you look at the photo on the bottom left of the restaurant’s website, our table was the last one along the windows before the glass room divider with the painting hung in front of it and the big stained glass piece just beyond.) Mom always orders the chicken ginger as well, and the servers always joke that we’re making it too easy for them. We certainly enjoyed our meal.

After that we drove up to Moeller High School for an antique show. Some days you just can’t stop spending money. I bought several old crochet hooks with very tiny hooks (one had to be even smaller than a size 14), two little metal Christmas bells just like the one I got for St. Nicholas when I was in second grade (and completely cherished), a big metal wall hanging of a  horse head inside a horseshoe for Mom for Christmas (yes, I showed it to her first, so I’m not ruining a surprise), and a large Ziplock bag filled with vintage needlework items: spools of thread, old buttons, crochet cotton, and other goodies.

It was the kind of can’t-beat-it day that makes you say, “Life is good!” and mean it.

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I just found out this week that there’s no longer going to be a Cross Stitch and Needle Arts section at MyCraftivity; consequently, no more free cross stitch patterns. Too bad! It looks like this week’s project (a celtic design for a trinket box lid insert) is still up. Since I’m not working on MyCraftivity in an official capacity any longer, I don’t know if someone will eventually take this project down or not. So go check it out while you can.

Since I wasn’t at the meeting where the changes were announced (I was out at a photo shoot with an author), I don’t have the in-depth details. Someone did come by and talk to me about it a little after I questioned it (no one bothered to tell me my team had been disbanded…gee…). There’s a lot of rethinking and redesigning of the site going to happen. A really interesting development is the offering of downloadable project instructions and patterns sold from the MyCraftivity Shop. Their first offerings are some great-looking knitting, crocheting, and felting projects, running from $4 to $6 per project. They’ll be adding more over time from F+W’s and Krause’s craft and needlework books, so check back often, there are sure to be some wonderful things for sale at a very affordable price.

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This is a sampler I stitched up in 2004 especially for the cabin-style bedroom in my mom’s house. (I’m sure about the year because my intials and date are in the lower right-hand corner.) It’s a chart by The Prairie Schooler, although I can’t provide the title at the moment. I’m still searching my chart stash to see if I held onto the leaflet; if I find the chart, I’ll post an update with the title and copyright year. I have a feeling it’s not a current offering, since I couldn’t find it online at any of my favorite cross-stitch sites. I bought the chart at a store I loved dearly — Creative Cottage in Madeira, a suburb of Cincinnati. The shop is long-gone, and I’ve never quite recovered from its absence.

I worked the sampler on a khaki-colored linen, 14 stitches per inch. (Sorry I can’t state the exact fabric name and maker; I’m not anal about details like that when I’m just stitching for fun, and I probably just grabbed something pre-cut that looked good in the store.) I’m pretty sure I adjusted the colors as I went; some of the original colors the chart called for wouldn’t have stood out against the darker-shaded linen. I also wanted the overall effect to be very muted and rustic-looking.

Since I make so much stuff, I don’t often invest in professional framing; and I get creative in trying to find a purchased frame that fits a completed project. In this case, I bought a barnwood-style double frame and was able to pop the smaller frame out of the larger one. It’s a little out of proportion and really squeezes in on the top and bottom of the sampler, but I didn’t want something that was too clean and perfect anyhow. (There’s also no glass in the frame.) Despite the flaws, I thought it worked out okay overall, and Mom liked it a lot, too.

I probably betray the standards of needlework too often by putting a higher value on overall effect than on properly showcasing the needlework itself. I’ll tolerate a frame that’s not quite the right size, with no glass, if the wood has the right look and the result is a sampler that looks like it might have actually hung in a cabin ages ago. In other cases, I’ve spent a small fortune to have a piece of needlework professionally framed. It wasn’t necessary in this case (in my opinion, as the creator, that is).

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My mother has a post at her blog, Lillian’s Cupboard, showing her most recent quilted wall hanging. She had been telling me about a block design she’d found, called a honey bee block, and how she was eager to incorporate it into a project.

Earlier in the week I had been looking at one of the cross-stitch kit samplers I’d made a few years ago and thinking I should pass it along to Mom to use in her quilting. For reasons I can’t recall now, beehive cross-stitchI got on this kick of making beehive-themed samplers and envisioned doing a grouping on the fake mantle I’d built in my new apartment. I also had some bee skep accessories in various materials and in various sizes. I guess at one point I did make a thematic grouping of all this stuff, but it was short-lived. This particular sampler I wound up hanging in an out-of-the-way spot, so I knew I wouldn’t miss it. 

I took Mom the unframed sampler, and she turned it into this charming wall hanging. It was a very backward collaboration — Honey Bee Wall Hangingmade the sampler for myself, and Mom wasn’t even quilting at that time — but it’s a terrific example of repurposing a piece of needlework. Mom may be receiving some other pieces from me in the future.

Side note: Did you know both “honeybee” and “honey bee” are widely used interchangeably? If you don’t believe me, just Google either term. Same for “cross-stitch” and “cross stitch.”

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