am a Canadian farm girl from the interior of beautiful British Columbia.
My mom taught me how to cross-stitch almost 30 years ago, it's always been one of my favorite pastimes. Then I discovered blackwork and fell in love with the intricate, lacy patterns. I started designing patterns as gifts for my friends and family.
Whenever I have a free moment, I am either designing or stitching, with a Lab and a Corgi or three curled up nearby.
We’ve oodles of willows down by the creek and I thought I’d give a try to making a willow frame for one of my blackwork pieces. So on a warm sunny winter day off we trekked, the dogs and I, to gather willows.
Once the willows had warmed up to room temperature and were bendy again, the Corgi’s helped me wrap willows to make a roundish-shaped frame.
They chewed twigs, and supervised and generally wore themselves out.
I had in mind to lace the stitched piece onto the frame and wanted a border of fabric to attach the lacing thread to. I started with an octagon shape, and sewed strips of pretty green fabric onto each side.
I ended up with a not-octagon-shape. Hmmm. Well, I will do better next time!
I laced the blackwork to the willow frame…
and voila! A pretty country-style frame for my blackwork castle (find the pattern here.)
There’s still oodles of willows, so I will definitely be refining the procedure and making more willow frames 🙂
Happy New Year! To close out the old year and ring in the new, here is a little roundup of my crafty doings over the last while.
Coffee or tea as you read? You can put your cup and a cookie on these mug rugs. I made some for me…
And some as a gift.
The fabrics are from my stash of fat quarters – I pick up a couple – or five or six – every time I’m in the local quilt shop. I matched floss to the fabric, only need two colours so that’s easy and a great use of the stash of floss and fabric.
I decided to make something pretty to protect the top of my vintage sewing machine, which still works but is doing duty as decorative plant stand these days. Hmmm, need to re-pot that African Violet, I think.
A friend bought a new house, which got me thinking about housewarming gifts, which led to a new blackwork design – Home Sweet Castle. The towers are covered in pink trumpet vines – castle, trumpets – see what I did there? 😉
More sewing! It’s becoming a habit 😉 I’m sewing a quilt from a kit that was given to me for Christmas – lucky girl I am! It will be a twin size when the last two rows are added. I’d like it to be king size though, so will be buying more material and adding some rows. I don’t think my machine will handle the quilting, but I’ll try it to see and if not, then I’ll take it to a local quilter for finishing. That feels like cheating though!
And last but definitely not least, the cross stitch project that I’m working on is Pretty Little Sydney, by Satsuma Street. I love her designs. As I’m stitching, I’m remembering riding in a little boat across the Sydney Harbour to the Opera House, bringing smiles and happy thoughts.
Aren’t these gingham Kiwi adorable!? My latest stitching finish, the pattern is designed by Jenny of Home-Stitch-Ness.
I love her designs, and this one brings back memories of our visit to New Zealand a couple of years ago.
When I think of New Zealand I think of bubbling mud and steam vents that give the feeling that you are travelling atop an active volcano. I think of tropical vegetation, and steep green hills dotted with cows and sheep. I think of tidy front yards, with an orange tree, a lemon tree and … a grazing cow. I think of a narrow, winding, sea-side road with huge mirrors on the corners, and telephone poles planted out in the tide. I think of yummy pumpkin soup, and the scarcity of brewed coffee.
My Blackwork Zentangle was patiently waiting to be finished into Something Useful. I have a box of stitched items, also waiting patiently and I didn’t want to add the Zentangle to that stash!
A pouch for my tablet would be most handy, especially when travelling. While strolling through the airport waiting for boarding to start, I’ve juggled my tablet, purse, carry-on, and a coffee, trying to not drop the important stuff – tablet and coffee.
So, project decided and I started to cut fabric into strips and squares and sew them together – the start of making the zentangle into Something Useful.
I used a piece of an old sheet for the back. The quilting is stitch-in-the-ditch, which is one of the easiest quilting patterns to sew… but I wobbled out of the ditch several times.
And with only a few hours cutting, ironing and sewing, I now have a handy pouch for my tablet, and the zentangle did not get tossed in a box.
I have since sewed together some strips and attached a strap to the pouch – now for sure there’s a free hand for my coffee! 🙂
This pretty blackwork ornament is for Canada Stitches‘ ornament drive; they are fundraising for Ladybird Animal Sanctuary and Annex Cat Rescue. The designs are from Box of Delights by Elizabeth Almond and the floss is American Snow Cone by Fiberlicious.
To make the ornament a little cushy, I attached a piece of felt onto the backs with iron-on fusing.
The ornament front and backs are whip-stitched together, just under the stitches but not through the material.
I added a bead every other stitch for a pretty edge, a loop of beads for a hanger, and a beaded fringe to finish.
Stitching slows down in the summer as the weeds grow faster, but I did finish a new design and I stitched a few chocolates from the Box of Delights SAL too.
In the summer I’m busy outside, taking advantage of the sunshine to walk and play with the dogs and visit with the horses. I’ve flower beds and a small orchard of Haskap Berry, (or Honeyberry) bushes to tend. We have a short growing season, and the weeds grow fast and furious to make best use of it. I’m kept busy digging encroaching grass, dandelions and pig-weed; I don’t use chemicals for weed control.
The Haskap bushes are 3 years old, not yet mature, but I’ve picked enough berries for a couple of pies and there are still a few more ripening on the bushes. I’ve picked a few too soon, before they were quite ripe and they are very tangy, almost sour. The ripe berries are yummy, juicy and sweet and they remind me of a Saskatoon – but without the seeds!
I’m stitching a little bit in the mornings while it’s still cool. I couldn’t pass up using some of my new Fiberlicious flosses, so instead of continuing to stitch Box of Delights with this colour scheme:
I stitched some of the chocolates from blocks 3 and 4 with Fiberlicious’ “Court Jester” and “Hawaiian Sunset”. The roses and lavender in my flower garden smell so sweet, and I thought it would be nice to dry some for sachets. I attached a small piece of material to the back of my stitching, with iron-on fusible web so that the dried flowers stay in the sachet. Then sewed a piece of fabric to the back of my stitching to create a little sachet. I’ve left an opening so I can pour in the flowers when they finish drying.
My newest blackwork design is an Inuksuk, for Canada Day. Inuksuit are created by the people of the Arctic to mark a place of importance. In Canada, Inuksuit are found in the northern Territories of Yukon and Nunavut and have come to represent Friendship and Welcome.
This Inuksuk is surrounded by maple leaves, the iconic symbol of Canada, and shining suns representing the land of the midnight sun. He is stitched in warm autumn colours – Flamboyant Fall and Apple Harvest – with glimmers of Arctic gold. The pattern is 50 x 59 stitches – on 18ct that’s 2.75 x 3.25 inches, a nice size for a small hoop, or a card.
And now I’m off to enjoy some more country air and sunshine… and maybe pull a couple of more weeds!
The days are warming into summer, and there’s many weeds encroaching in the Haskap Berry orchard, but I did find a little time for stitching.
I’m no further along in the Box of Delights stitch-along but I did complete the first block in Shannon Wasilieff’s Fantasy Stitch-along. There are many, many beads in this lovely design. I used a variegated floss by Threadworx called Wildflowers for her dress. The design has a beautiful frame, which I didn’t stitch as I have vague plans of using this design for a card sometime.
A blackwork scuba diver is happily bubbling away, hanging out with an octopus, colourful tropical fish, jelly fish and sea urchins in this Speedy Little Stitch pattern, my newest design. I recently discovered beautiful, hand-dyed flosses by Fiberlicious and used them in this design. The jellyfish and tropical fish are stitched with Raunchy Rainbow, and the diver’s bubbles and border of waves is stitched with Sea Moss. I have many more gorgeous Fiberlicious flosses and I have a design in mind for some of them. So much colour makes me a happy, happy stitcher!
For the past few weeks we’ve been under evacuation alert because of a forest fire, now finally contained, that was burning out of control and way too close to our home. I had to pack up and be ready to go at a moment’s notice. The truck was hooked to our trailer, and loaded with crates for our five dogs, and a freezer full of food – mostly for the dogs, as they are fed raw. 🙂 Our horses were moved to a friend’s property for safety.
Unable to take everything, I had the very emotional task of choosing the most important things to pack. So many times I would find myself with my hands full of things that I knew I could not take, and would have to put them down and pack only the most precious items. Difficult choices, and I am so happy to be able to unpack now that the fire is under control. And yes, of course my stitching supplies were among the first things that I packed!
We were lucky and most days the smoke was not too bad, but some days the thick black and orange smoke overhead, raining down crispy, partially burned pine needles was very unnerving.
We’ve had some wild thunderstorms and the rain has helped the firefighters gain control of the fire. The storms brought hail too; some piles took a couple of days to melt and the Corgis thought that was a most awesome way to cool off after a walk.
Very little stitching has been accomplished lately. I’ve been working on a the first block of Shannon Wasilieff’s Fantasy Stitch-Along. I am slowly adding the many, many beads to my princess in this lovely design.
I’ve not made any progress on my own designs, as my computer with my design software was packed away and has not yet been unpacked. I am working on a cute little scuba diver in blackwork, and hope to be able to show you some progress on that design soon!
I dug one of my favorite wips out of my workbasket and resumed stitching this week. Misty by Seba Designs has been neglected for over a year because I poached the floss for another project and then had to wait for a mail order to come in. By then I was on to other projects. I love the colours in this fabulous design. I’ve used Janie’s Christmas #148 (Dinky Dyes) for the blackwork and and a variegated green (dmc) for the cross stitch.
Box of Delights part 2 was released this month, and I thought I had better hurry up and show you because part 3 is coming out in about a day, give or take a time-zone or two. I took out the french knots that I stitched in part one, and replaced them with pretty gold beads. I’m just knot a fan of french knots!
In my last bit of stitchy news, I’ve revamped my popular blackwork kites bookmark pattern and made the design more versatile. These blackwork kites with a whimsical kite-tail border, can be made into a card, a box top, a needle-book cover, or pop it into a small hoop to decorate any wall.
It is said “measure twice, cut once”, but I didn’t listen to this wise adage, and my fabric for SAL Dentelles was a wee bit small. Just small enough that I had to choose between the last two bands of stitching. It was a tough choice, both are beautiful. This is my finished sampler, stitched in variegated silk floss hand painted by Silks4u:
To see the other completed projects, with all bands stitched, pop over to Broduese Bressane’s Blogspot.There is a slide-show of the finished lacy samplers.
One stitch-along is finished, and another is starting. “Box of Delights”by Blackwork Journey is an embroidered box of chocolates, a sweet design! You can find this project in the freebies section.
I am stitching with some beautiful silk flosses by Silks4u, that were tucked into my last order as samples (it was such a lovely surprise) – variegated for the fill patterns, yummy plum for the outlines, and gold for accents… and I measured this fabric twice! 😉
This project is promoted in conjunction with Slattery, the award winning Patissier and Chocolatier from Manchester, UK who have produced a special box of their chocolates copying the original embroidery designs. How cool is that! They look absolutely delicious. You can see the chocolates if you go to the Blog section of the Blackwork Journey website, and read March’s Blog.
I like to have more than one project on the go at the same time. I don’t have a schedule for stitching, I just work on whatever strikes my fancy, although I try to keep up with the stitch-alongs. These are the works-in-progress currently hanging out in my workbasket.
You can see two new bands added to the Dentelles / Lacework sampler. The fifth band has a space where we could add our initials or a date if we wished. Don’t forget to pop over to Broduese Bressane’s Blogspot to check out the rest of the group’s progress in the stitch-along.
I have NOT kept up with the Save the Stitches Stitch-along, but I will finish it eventually 🙂 It’s a gorgeous design of blackwork fill patterns. You can see a photo gallery on Liz Almond’s webpage, Blackwork Journey. She has a new blackwork stitch-along starting next month, that I’m looking forward to starting – Box of Delights.
Soon to be added to my workbasket is my new design which features a dog or two 🙂 It’s still in the graphing stage, but I hope to start stitching soon.
I’m definitely happiest when my workbasket is full of WIPS – what about you? Do you like to stitch one pattern at a time, or do you have several going at once?
Yay! I’ve finally finished the first of the “Cats and Quilts” patterns by Kitty and Me Designs!
I started this pattern last year, but then it got buried in my workbasket as I got busy with a totally awesome trip to Australia and New Zealand, which included a wedding:
The kitty and quilt stitching has been added to the stash that is destined for Pause 2 Help Paws, a group of crafters that donates hand-stitched items to raise funds to aid animal shelters.
If you’d like to stitch a little something for charity, don’t forget Canada Stitches – an international group of crafty volunteers that stitch premature infant quilts and cuddle cushions to be donated to children’s hospitals. Canada Stitches is hosting a Small Square Challenge – submit a small, 3 to 4 inch stitched square and be entered in their prize draw. The squares will be made into pillows, wall hangings and lap quilts to brighten someone’s day 🙂
The fourth band of our lacy sampler is scalloped like pretty seashells.
There are some beautiful samplers in progress; the stitchers in the SAL have chosen some gorgeous fabrics and flosses to work with. There is a blue and white version that I just love, it is so very pretty. Pop over to Brodeuse Bressane’s Blogspot and take a look!