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1  Margaret Sherry's Yarn Cats in Needlework: Completed Projects by amber555 on: August 29, 2011 10:52:34 PM
Someday I'll have a craft room and these cats will decorate it. For now, I'll have to settle for them decorating our computer room (where I blog about my crafts).

I just finished the last of these two over the weekend. They are Margaret Sherry's Knit One (to the left) and Roly Purrly (below) which were initially published by Heritage Stitchcraft.

Most of Margaret Sherry's older patterns are out of print, but I was lucky enough to find Loving Stitch (http://www.lovingstitch.net/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=65_135&sort=20a&page=1&zenid=9b068dcf6da1368de51a698cee9fe5a5) still had copies of these ones available for a reasonable price.

I stitched both on a 32 count cream linen. The smaller one, with the pink ball of yarn, is in a 4 inch flexi-hoop, while the larger is in a 6 inch flexi hoop.

I guess I could consider the whole project an endangered species, as much like Margaret Sherry patterns, I'm finding the flexi-hoops are becoming harder and harder to come by in my area. There is also a third yarn cat in the series called Purr One, which shows an orange and white kitten sitting on top of a ball of purple yarn, but despite extensive searching of the internet, I wasn't able to find a copy of it for sale.

Comments are always welcome. Thanks for looking everyone!
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2  Sue Coleman's Dogwood & Hummingbird (**Updated**) in Needlework: Completed Projects by amber555 on: August 17, 2011 11:26:51 AM

I got this design stretched and framed in time for Christmas and just wanted to share a couple pictures of the completed project. My other half payed for the framing and this was our gift to his mom for Christmas. She was so touched by it that she actually cried when she saw it, (and here I'd been spending the last couple weeks nervous that she wouldn't like it.) So glad she was happy to receive it.  Smiley

Excuse the shadow on the right side of the picture, there's nothing wrong with the fabric, just a shadow of the cameraman.  Smiley

Thanks again for looking everyone,


Once I get this stretched and framed, it is going to be my mother-in-law's Christmas gift. Right now it is just completed, fresh out of the loom, and still quite wrinkled.

The picture is Sue Coleman's Dogwood & Hummingbird, and it's stitched on a 32 count Antique White linen. Coleman is an artist from British Columbia, Canada and she makes lots of pictures similar to this one, where she incorporates the natural images of animals along with their native symbol. We also live in British Columbia and the provincial flower here is the Dogwood, so it seemed a fitting choice. My mother-in-law is someone who will really appreciate not only the picture, but the fact that it's a local designer/artist.

I noticed after uploading the photos that the piece looks a little yellow in the bottom corner. In real life the fabric is actually quite white, I just made the mistake of setting it on a yellow throw pillow when I photographed it.

The background took a long time to do, but it's an interesting technique. It's created by making 1/2 stitches with a variegated DMC thread (4010), rather than doing multiple colour changes to create the shifting colours of the sky. I tried to work bits of the background as I went because I knew that if I left it all to stitch at the very end, I would quickly become bored with all that repetitive work. I think it was the right method to use, as I only had a very small amount of the background to complete after all my cross stitching was done.

Once it's framed (probably a couple months from now) I'll try to update this post with a new picture. I always find it's the framing that really brings these big cross stitches to life.

Thanks for looking everyone!
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3  Bavarian Crochet Baby Blanket in Baby Coordinates in Crochet: Completed Projects by amber555 on: June 23, 2011 12:31:38 PM
While I was working on my first Bavarian crochet blanket I couldn't help thinking that it would look nice in Bernat's Baby Coordinates. (You can see my other Bavarian blanket here: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=380765.msg4505516#msg4505516). The white blending filament that runs through all the colours can be a pain to work with, but it does create a nice continuity as you change colours. For this one I used Baby Coordinates in soft mauve, soft blue, soft turquoise, lemon custard and sherbert.

Every time I begin a new baby blanket it's always my intention that I'm just making it to use up the scraps I have left over from the last baby project. And of course, every time I run out of a colour or two midway through and end up buying more. So having finished this blanket, I now have nearly full skeins of three of the colours and will someday have to find a new pattern to "use them up." Oh well, it was fun to work on and I'm pleased with how it turned out.

I crocheted with an I hook (5.5 mm), which seemed large enough to keep the white filament from snagging on the hook and gave the stitches a nice loose feel. Once thing I like about the Bavarian stitching is it's very easy to change the shape of your piece simply by changing the number of stitches in your first round. The other blanket was made as a square, while this one is a rectangle. I got the pattern from the book Learn to Do Bavarian Crochet by Jenny King and it also includes instructions for converting it to a triangle, which would be better suited for a shawl than a blanket.

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4  Firefly Cross Stitches for 2011 in Needlework: Completed Projects by amber555 on: May 25, 2011 07:05:53 PM
I'm excited to be helping out my local Can't Stop the Serenity screening (http://www.cantstoptheserenity.com/) again this year by donating a couple of my cross stitch pieces for the silent auction. For those that don't know, Can't Stop the Serenity is an annual screening of Joss Whedon's movie Serenity, which is the continuation of the story he began telling in the TV series Firefly. Each year, on or near Joss Whedon's birthday cities worldwide host a screening of the film with proceeds going to Joss's favourite charity Equality Now, and local area charities.

Last year my pieces raised a total of $438.00 for Equality Now and other local charities. You can see them here: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=339236.msg3927822#msg3927822 and here: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=336609.msg3894642#msg3894642.

I'm still using the same characters I designed last year, but I wanted to make sure that the pieces looked different. I felt that if I used the same layouts as last time then it would take away from the uniqueness of those prizes and I didn't want to do that.

The picture that you see above is the only one I made with all the characters, and it measures 8 X 8 inches. It was stitched on an a 16 count aida cloth, and I'm really happy with how it turned out. The characters take about 1-2 hours each to stitch so this was the most time-consuming piece. I ended up rewatching all of of Angel season 4 while making these cross stitches. Last year I think I was on a Buffy kick while stitching.

It took me a long time to decide what I would make for my second piece. I eventually decided to do another design with the "Leaf on the Wind" quote because it was the best selling of the smaller cross stitches I made last year. Wash seems to be the fan favorite, at least at our local screening, and I'm hoping that adding Zoe to the picture will make it extra appealing. This piece was stitched on the same aida cloth, but it's smaller, measuring 5 X 5 inches.

Finally, I wanted to find a way to use up some of the leftover scraps of cross stitch fabric that I had from other projects, so I came up with these Firefly minis. The hoops measure 2.5 inches in diameter and are made of rubber, although they look like wood from a distance. I made the pattern for Kaylee in her Shindig dress last year, but I had never stitched it. I was excited to give it a try and I'm really happy with how she turned out. You can't see it in the picture, but I used pearl Krenik blending filament on the pink and peach parts of the dress to make it sparkle.

The two framed pieces will be sold in the silent auction at our Vancouver screening this year. The minis I'm going to give to our organizer to use however she wants. They may end up being part of the door prizes or in surprise grab bags that people can buy for a small donation to Equality Now.

If you're interested in stitching Firefly characters yourself the patterns are available under the My Free Patterns tab on my blog (see the link in my signature). And if you want to find a Can't Stop the Serenity event near you to attend or possiblly contribute your own crafty talents, check out the link in the top paragraph, which will direct you to the official Can't Stop the Serenity website.

Comments and feedback are always welcome. Thanks for looking everyone!
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5  Bavarian Crochet Baby Blanket in Crochet: Completed Projects by amber555 on: May 18, 2011 12:36:03 PM
I discovered Jenny King's Learn to Do Bavarian Crochet while I was browsing through crochet books on Amazon and couldn't resist giving it a try. The book is relatively inexpensive, which is a good thing, because all you're really getting here is one pattern. Then you get explanations of how to shape that pattern as a square, triangle, or rectangle and numerous pictures showing what it would look like made up into various items. The book does contain full patterns for shawls and blankets, but after the initial starting shape is made the further instructions really aren't necessary since they are exactly the same for all projects.

The pattern itself is easy to follow and I really like the textured look that you get in the finished piece. The lighting in our living room has kind of skewed the colours a bit, but I made this Bavarian crochet baby blanket using Bernat's Softee Baby in mint, white and soft lilac and it measures approx. 5 X 5 feet. You do a lot of 'crocheting around the post' in this piece and it helps to create a thicker baby blanket than you would normally get with the light weight Softee.

Below you can see what the back of the Bavarian Crochet looks like. I thought it was interesting that it comes out very similar to the some of the daisy chain patterns I've seen in other crochet stitch books.

Feedback and comments are always appreciated. Thanks for looking,
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6  Teresa Wentzler Celtic Knotwork Bookmark in Needlework: Completed Projects by amber555 on: January 04, 2011 03:24:09 PM
I saw a set of Teresa Wentzler's Celtic Knotwork bookmarks stitched and displayed at an art show during V-Con, Vancouver's science fiction and fantasy convention, many years ago and have been interested in making them ever since. I'm going to put together a couple more soon, but I started with this design because it has always been my favourite. The other celtic knotwork bookmarks I make will likely turn into gifts for friends and family. This one I'm keeping for myself.

If you find Teresa Wentzler's larger pieces a bit intimidating or think they might be too time consuming, I highly recommend these Celtic Knotwork Bookmarks. They require lots of 3/4 stitches and plenty of thread blending, which will give you a feel for what it's like to tackle one of Wentzler's larger designs.

This was stitched on some 32 count cream belfast linen that I had left over. I'm not sure exactly how long I worked on the bookmark, but I'd say it was about 2 weeks of stitching fairly regularly for a couple hours a day.

The Celtic Knotwork pattern is out of print now, but you can get it as a download from PatternsOnline (http://www.patternsonline.com/Patterns/Pat.aspx?P=3787). Warning though, before spending any money there be aware that their downloads are only PC compatible. Hopefully if you're an avid Mac users (like me) you at least know someone with a PC who can download and print patterns for you.

Thanks for looking everyone! Feedback is always welcome.
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7  Oriental Butterfly Cross Stitch in Needlework: Completed Projects by amber555 on: December 22, 2010 02:43:54 PM
I made this as a housewarming/birthday gift for a good friend who has spent the better part of the last couple years building her first home. I did the stitching and my boyfriend and another friend shared the cost of the framing for the piece. Last weekend we were finally able to give it to our friend, so now I can post pictures without ruining the surprise.

The lighting was terrible when we took the framed photos so you'll have to trust me that the piece looks absolutely gorgeous in the frame. The matte board is a suede matte in a lighter shade of brown than it appears here and it really helps to make the picture pop.

The pattern I was using is called Oriental Butterfly and it was published by Dimensions. I searched every inch of the leaflet, but I was unable to find a designer's name anywhere. It's a shame because I do like to give credit where credit is due.

I used the original counted cross stitch version of this pattern, but Dimensions has released several other variations on the design. I've seen it sold in kits and as a stamped cross stitch set, where you only have to stitch the central part of the design and the Chinese characters and shading are pre-printed.

On my piece, everything was stitched. It was quite an interesting pattern because it uses a lot of different types of stitching. The number of strands you use also varies between 1-5 to help achieve the textures and shading of the final design. Hopefully in this picture you can see that the background is composed of slant (or 1/2 cross) stitches while the foreground elements like the butterfly, coin and chopsticks are made using regular cross stitches.

I didn't use anything too fancy for the fabric here. Since it's mostly covered up by stitching, I made the piece on an 18 count cream aida cloth.

Two close up shots of the butterfly and it's beautiful colouring. The top picture was taken before the piece was framed and the bottom one was taken after. In real life the butterfly still looks just a bright now that it is framed. Here, it's just problems with the camera and light reflecting off the glass changing the colours. Still, I liked the second picture because I thought it showed the stitching a bit more clearly.

Overall, I love this design and I'm really happy with how the finished, framed piece turned out. It was time consuming, but the variety of stitches kept the work interesting. I'm so happy I purchased the leaflet for this one because someday I may go back and make another one of these for myself.

Thanks for looking,

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8  Mouth of the Flower Cross Stitch in Needlework: Completed Projects by amber555 on: December 07, 2010 01:38:33 PM
This is Octavio Ocampo's Mouth of the Flower, the companion piece to the Family of Birds cross stitch https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=362400.msg4253665#msg4253665 that I completed in October. I was right about this one being a lot quicker to stitch. I attribute that to the wonderful flower stems, which are only 3-5 stitches wide and take far less time than an entire tree trunk to stitch up.

I mentioned before how the women in the pictures reminded me of Francine and Katchoo from Terry Moore's wonderful Strangers in Paradise. This lady is the one that's reminding me of Katchoo, while the other one struck me as sharing similarities with Francine.

Like the other piece, this one was stitched on a 32 count belfast cream linen.

This butterfly, which also acts as the woman's nose, is the only part of the picture that has backstitching. I'm blown away by how clear and detailed the picture looks, despite the fact that it doesn't require the whole piece to be backstitched.

Of the two pictures, this one is my favourite. I really like how vibrant the colours are and it was a lot of fun to stitch because the individual elements are relatively small. In most cases I could get a particular part of the picture, such as the butterfly or a flower, done in a single day and really feel like I was accomplishing something.

Thanks for looking,

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9  Family of Birds Cross Stitch in Needlework: Completed Projects by amber555 on: October 19, 2010 12:27:24 PM
For the past three months I've been finishing this cross stitch. It is Octavio Ocampo's Family of Birds, and as you can see from its wrinkled state, it is very recently finished. I've just started working on its companion piece, Mouth of the Flower, so I'm going to hold off on stretching and framing until I have both pieces done. Hopefully the next one will go a bit quicker. The tree in this piece took forever, and I think I'll be quite happy if I don't have to cross stitch anything brown for a very, very long time!

I saw both of Ocampo's pieces stitched up in a local cross stitch store a few years back, and every since I first saw them they've reminded me of Francine and Katchoo from Terry Moore's wonderful Strangers in Paradise [http://www.strangersinparadise.com/] series. That's the first comic book I ever got really into and started collecting, and it's still one of my favourites to sit down and reread from beginning to end. I actually thought there was an issue where Moore had drawn the women in an optical illusion way similar to Ocampo's picture, but I haven't been able to find it. I think my brain is just misremembering this line drawing of Katchoo from the I Dream of You graphic novel cover and mixing it with Ocampo's work. Nevertheless The Family of Birds looks like Francine to me and the Mouth of the Flower reminds me of Katchoo.

Aside from the lengthy time I spent on the nuances of brown in the tree trunk this was a really fun picture to stitch. There are 29 colours in this one and lots of blending. Though, interestingly no blends in the Mouth of the Flower companion piece. It's also all full cross stitches, so no messing round with 3/4 and 1/4 stitches. And there's a very minimal amount of backstitching, which always makes me happy! I stitched the piece on a 32 count cream belfast linen rather than the lavender colour recommended in the pattern because I thought it helped with the illusion of the picture either being a tree and birds or a face. Where as, with the lavender, I felt like you more dominantly saw the face.

A word of caution to anyone who does want to try this picture. Have the fabric cut about 5-6 inches wider and longer than the pattern is recommending. I followed the patterns recommendation and I just don't feel like it left me with much room around the edges for framing. I usually like to have a blank edge on all sides of about 3-4 inches, and after the piece was done I was left with edges that only had about 1.5 - 2 inches of space. Hopefully my framing store will be able to work their usual magic anyway, but I would have liked to have left them with more to work with.

Thanks for looking everyone!
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10  What would you charge for Cross Stitch? in Get Product and Website Opinions by amber555 on: June 28, 2010 01:04:07 PM
Hey All,

Not sure if anyone can help me out with this or not. I've been approached by someone to make them a commissioned cross stitch which would be similar to the one pictured below. Two characters and a phrase, framed to measure about 4 X 6 inch or 5 X 7 in a frame.

Since I mostly cross stitch for friends and family, I'm a little uncertain what to charge for such a piece. The characters and lettering are already designed (from previous pieces) so all I would need to do is draw a quick sketch of where to stitch them on the fabric and then start stitching.

Time wise, this would take me about 5-6 hours total from sketching through stitching to framing. In terms of cost of supplies, I'm looking at approximately $10-$15. I'll probably be giving the piece to the person myself, so no need to consider shipping costs.

Can anyone make any recommendations as to what would be fair/reasonable to charge for a piece like this? Does anyone have/know of a going rate for cross stitching by the hour?

I had four pieces similar to this one in a silent auction over the weekend for the charity Equality Now. The final bids ranged from $45 to $110, but I'm thinking a contributing factor on the highest one was that the person was making a donation to the charity, not just getting the completed cross stitch.

Any advice/feedback would be greatly appreciated.
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