Keeping my floss organized when I work is always a challenge. I mean there’s the regular floss, there’s cut lengths of floss, there’s cut lengths that have had a few strands removed to stitch with, and there’s shorter lengths left over after stitching parts of the pattern that need to be held on to until the color is needed again. And all of these need to be kept organized in some way so that I’m not left looking at 2 shades of yellow floss trying to figure out which is which. This has lead to my creating a few different variations of my own floss cards to try to stay on top of things.
When I recently agreed to complete the Dimensions Baby Drawers Birth Record for someone I will admit, I was a bit worried. First of all, I hate working from kits because before you can even start stitching there’s all that floss to organize. Then in this case, because the kit was already partially stitched, the floss would have been organized by someone else! Who knew what method they would use? I was greatly relieved to find out that the kit came with floss already organized, but I knew I’d still have to find a way to deal with all the partial strands and shorter bits as I worked.
Turns out I had nothing to be worried about. The Dimensions floss organizer is nothing short of brilliant. I don’t know if their design was intentional, but with a quick couple of tweaks it worked perfectly for everything I wanted, and more!
The organizer is quite simple actually. Cut lengths of floss held between two strips of heavy cardstock with a strip of foam tape between them, with the information about each color on the front piece of cardstock. The kit arrived in my hands with the partially stripped lengths of floss taped to the front of the organizer and for about 0.2 seconds I considered continuing that before I reached for my hole punch. The back strip of cardstock is shorter than the front, so I punched a hole above each color swatch to hold any bits of floss that had been removed from the organizer. I also drew each symbol right onto the organizer so I wouldn’t have to keep reaching for the sheet that the key was printed on. The real genius of the organizer didn’t occur to me until after I’d started stitching. There I was, a still threaded needle holding a leftover length of floss in hand, when it occurred to me that the foam between the two strips of cardboard would be the perfect place to park my needle. Sure enough, it was just right and next thing I knew I’d pulled out my stash of needles and was leaving each color still threaded on the needle when I was done with it so I could just grab it and continue the next time the color was needed.
Now I’m thinking about using this idea in my other stitching projects – especially my HAED where having a needle pre-threaded with each color in advance would make such a huge difference in the amount of time I spend fussing with my floss. I am definitely going to have to play with this and see what I come up with. It’s a good thing I just ordered a bunch of needles recently!
I mentioned in my last post that I was starting a new to me project. However, it is not a new start. What does that mean? Simply that I am finishing a piece for someone else. I was recently contacted by someone who was looking for a stitcher to finish off a baby sampler that she had started for her soon to be born grandchild. Last week I got a package in the mail with her partially completed cross stitch, the remaining floss, and pattern. Here’s what I was going to be stitching on:
It’s a sweet little baby announcement sampler – Dimensions Baby Drawers Birth Record. I’ll be stitching all the little stuffed animals, finishing up any remaining back-stitch, and then mailing it back to the proud grandmother who will add the name and date of birth of the baby when it is born.
This should be a fun and relatively quick stitch. Which is good because I’m not doing it once but twice! Keep an eye on here for updates!
Goodness, where did the time go! Somehow the entire month of June got away from me, and I didn’t manage to post even once. I have been stitching though. My Mermaid is making progress, and I’m starting something new(ish) that I’ll post about when I get a chance. But first, I need to post my June ornament!
Dasher, by Hinzeit
This ornament came into being because the guys at the local Gleaners organization that I am a member of are endlessly amused by my stitching. I often have time to kill while I am waiting after picking up my bag of groceries as one of the other volunteers gives me a ride home. So rather than sit idle, I usually take something with me to work on. Ornaments are a good take along project, so the guys there have watched my progress on several over the last year. A few weeks ago, one of the guys I volunteer with offhandedly said that his grandmother would love an ornament, and do I ever sell the ornaments I make? Next thing I knew, we’d agreed on a pattern and a price, and off I went!
This ornament was a lot of fun to stitch – it is tweaked slightly from the original pattern – I lopped off the topmost part of the antler because it was already so big, and changed the colors from purple to blue because the guy’s grandmother’s favorite color is blue. I finished it using my usual pillow ornament method. When he was done, I didn’t want to part with him, he was so cute! I told myself I can always stitch another for myself, but with as many ornament patterns as there are out there to stitch, that’s highly unlikely that I’ll repeat this one!
Yes, yes, I know it’s the first of June. But it’s close enough to count! Besides, the airconditioning at my house was dead for the better part of the last week and I had no desire to do anything except sit in front of a fan and sip lemonade. Even the thought of stitching snowflakes didn’t tempt me. Now that the AC is working again, everything is back to normal – or as normal as they ever get around here. But nevermind all that – you’re here to see the stitching!
Here it is! This was a lovely little pattern by Beehive Needleworks that was an absolute pleasure to stitch. I stitched it over 1 on some 32 count linen that I tea dyed. I really enjoy how tiny and delicate things look stitched up at such a small scale, but it does mean that the piece itself ends up pretty small. I haven’t decided for sure yet, but I think my plan is to sew a strip of red fabric that matches the thread I used for it across the bottom to make the piece a bit more square, and then turn it into a pillow ornament. The final decision is yet to be made though. I’ll work on it when inspiration hits.
And now I must return to my mermaid. She’s been calling me rather insistently over the last few days while I worked on this ornament so I plan on spending some good quality time with her. Though that time will have to be split between her and the kitchen – I’ve got a fridge full of ingredients that need my attention too. I’ll have to share some of the nummies I make here too I think. Tonight I’ve got a batch of Chocolate Chai Plum Fruit Rollups in progress in the oven, and oh my, the entire house smells amazing. I’ll try to remember to take pictures of them so I can share the recipe here before I scarf them all down.
Isn’t she pretty? Once I got started on her eye, there was no turning back, before I knew her entire face was stitched up! I considered working on her neck and shoulders next but realized that the whole stick and carrot motivation system works well for me. So rather than working on more solid areas I decided to work on her kimono some more. I’ll be working on the bottom half of the peice for a while, starting at the right. Once the confetti starts getting to me again, I’ll return to her neck and put in some time working on easy solid stitching.
Before that can happen though, it’s nearly the end of May and I’ve not even started an ornament yet, never mind finish it! I’ve decided to work on Ephinea’s Snowflakes by Beehive Needleworks. It’s a simple single color piece that I should be able to stitch up quickly. I’m working on it in DMC cotton floss in 816, stitching 1 over 1 on some tea dyed 32 count linen I have. This should make for a lovely delicate little piece that will look nice finished into a pillow style ornament, maybe with a bit of matching fabric sewn to the bottom to make it slightly larger. I’ll decide on that once the cross stitch is done. Keep an eye on this spot for an update in a couple of days!
Now that she has an eye, this lovely lady has been giving me rather reproachful looks every time I pick up the TV remote to watch yet another movie on Netflix rather than spend my time stitching. She keeps reminding me that she’s over a year old now, and she’d like to be completed some time soon. She and I are going to be spending some quality time together from now on, I am sure of it.
We’re into the second week of March here – this would be the perfect time to do an update on my February Christmas ornament that still isn’t complete wouldn’t it? I’ve been on the road a bit over the last few days, so there wasn’t too much stitchy time. That said, I did manage to get all the cross stitching done on my ornament.
I seriously underestimated the amount of time it would take me to stitch this – it looks fairly simple compared to the HAED that I am working on, but there are 30+ colors and several blends in this small piece. That said, I finally got a system figured out to organize my floss and stay on top of it so that should help speed things along from now on. I’ll share photos of what I’ve figured out later this week.
All that remains on this piece is the backstitching. I say ‘all’ and I have to laugh at myself. There is an insane amount of backstitching on each of these little ornaments. But once it is done, the details really do pop! Hopefully I’ll have a completely stitched ornament photo to share soon!
Speaking of completely stitched, I realized I forgot to share the image of my Lovely Creatures Lovebirds quickie that I stitched last month.
I still haven’t figured out what I am going to make with it, so for now it is sitting in a drawer waiting for inspiration to hit. I’ve briefly toyed with the idea of adding lettering to it that says ‘Merry Tweet-mas’ and calling it a Christmas ornament, but I think it looks a bit too lovey and hearty to work for a Christmas ornament.