My crafting and family life journal

Archive for the ‘Needlework’ Category

Sampler progress – June

i have made a bit more progress on my garden sampler, but with the warmer weather upon us less and less time is being dedicated to stitching and more time to outdoor pursuits. Hopefully I will carve out a bit of time in July for a new row start.



Pillow talk

i spent the last month make some monogramed pillows for the master bedroom in preparation for the memory quilt that is being quilted for the bed. The pillows are a combination of cross stitch and blackwork. I so love hoe he blackwork makes the colors in the flowers pop that I have started a rather large sampler  for one of the bedroom walls that will use the same technique.


New bed pillows that should pop on the richly colored quilt they will be placed with


First anchor block of the alphabet wall hanging …. only 29 more blocks and the border to go… the next block will start to add color.

Ladybug and Daisy

Just finished a blackwork piece that I have been working on for the couple of months, just in time to start working in the gardens during my free time. I am really happy with the finished product.


This piece and another featuring a hummingbird will be worked into a quilt top.

First project finish for 2017

Just finished my first craft project of the year. This Blackwork project is 160 x 160 on a 14 count lavender fabric. The entire project took about seven weeks to complete.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Christmas Stocking Complete

For the past few weeks it has rained almost every day which gave me all the incentive needed to finish a few works in progress. Yesterday I finished a needlepoint stocking that took almost a year to complete. Not that the project should have taken that long, but I had no pattern and was using wools leftover from other projects, so needless to say I had many false start before settling on a design and colorway.

In the end I love the pattern (now to document it before I forget what was done), and the beading adds just the right amount of bling for the holidays. Now to move on to the next project in the wings…


Let the fun begin…

We had our first hard frost a week ago so the vegetable gardens were pulled, last of the pasta sauce made and canned, and the dehydrator loaded. Now that gardening duties are over I have some time to spend on crafts.

There are so many started but unfinished projects in my studio that I have set up a project rotation to finish some of the projects and start a new year long project. Each week I rotate a project out for one in the queue to work on. Hopefully this will help me finish some of the projects this winter…


English paper pieced top that I have finished about 1/2 the quilting


Needlepoint project I have been working on for the past 5 years. Finished her dress in the last rotation.





New long term cross stitch project. When it is done it will be 25″ X 31.5″ and contain 495,000 stitches… I do like challenges.

A stack and whack project waiting patiently to be layer out and stitched.

A stack and whack project waiting patiently to be laid out and stitched.


Reducing the UFO pile

One of my resolutions for this year was to finish at least half of my UFO projects before starting anything new. To assist in accomplishing this goal I moved all of the started project out into the open so that they wouldn’t be forgotten ( for those of you who know me, and what a neat freak I am, know how difficult this was…)

The visibility has helped, With the exception of the quilt for the new grandson I have been able to keep my resolution.

A project I just finished this year was a painted needlepoint canvas. What makes this project a special accomplishment is that was in my stash for close to 10 years. I really enjoyed working this piece so I have no ideas why it took so long to finish. Now I just need to figure out what to do with canvas piece….


First stocking of the year finished

work has been so busy the past few months that ther has been little time for blog posts. Each evening when my mind just couldn’t concentrate on anymore work I would add a few more stitches to a needlepoint stocking I started last fall.


Today I finished the top…next step is to add the braid, lining and backing. Maybe the next steps will be completed later this summer when it gets to hot to be outside.

Moving along

I am moving along at a snail’s pace on my craft projects. One of my biggest problems with crafts is that I like so many differs types and want to try them all. At this time there must be 20-30 started projects of different types. Every few years I try to get the UFOs under control, that is until I make a mistake in one of the projects.  When an error is made that requires that  something be re-cut or ripped out it has a tendency to be moved back to the UFO pile until I have more patience or it is need as a gift.

This year I promised myself that no new projects would be started and no new threads or fabrics purchased. I have already broken the first promise to myself by starting three new projects this year, but have held fast on the “no new purchases” promise.

So far this year five old projects have been completed and progress made on two additional UFOs. Last night I finished the flying geese ring for a star quilt that I have been working on for two years.

nested star quiltThe next piece to be cut is the solid ring that will be placed between the star cluster and the flying geese ring. Not sure when I will get back to this since I haven’t really felt like spring a lot of time with my sewing machine recently, spring will be calling me outside, and work will start getting very busy in the near future.

The other project that I have made some progress on is a needlepoint canvas that I started more than 10 years ago. Since it is rather small and easily be moved from room to room, it may actually get finished this spring.


2016 Projects

I entered the new year with several started craft projects and just as many projects that have been moved to the UFO pile.

Before a major work related project, and the growing season starts I hope to make some major progress on four started projects.

1. Winter in the village quilt for our bed. I got a nice start on the blocks during the holidays, but lost a bit off interest when I started working on the roof and sky areas that require a large number of Y seams. Hopefully I will get back to the project soon.


2. The ladies (working title) Blackwork piece. I love, love, love Blackwork, but it takes a great deal of time to lay all of the stitches — for example the band of Blackwork in the photo took me more than two weeks to complete. To be honest I have pushed many of my other projects aside to spend time on this project. I think I will do one or two more sections and then put it aside to work on one of my other projects.


3. The Lady at the Lake needlepoint is another one of my original designs that I started working the Summer of 2015. It is a very large piece that I worked on non stop for a few months — then lost interest in the project. I plan on picking the project up again about mid spring when I can sit on the sun porch while I stitch.


4. I have been working on the Sun Goddess needlepoint canvas for more than five years.My partner bought this canvas for me more than 10 years ago and it sat in the closet for a few years before I brought it out and started stitching the project. It uses many complex stitches that were selected to challenge my skills, and I rose to the challenge, but every time I make a major mistake I put the canvas aside for a time. Currently I have had a very had time deciding on a stitch to use of the dress. Several have been trials and I have pulled all of them out. If an appropriate stitch for the dress can be found I will pick the project up again this year, and maybe even finish the project.


update on the ladies project

I have started to make a bit of headway with my latest piece. All of the outlining has been completed and pattern work started. All of the areas around the central images will be filled with some traditional backgrounds in black, and the images will be done in dull colors and open patterns, and the skin of the women will be cross stitched with natural skin tones. I think I will attempt to do a shaded background on the center square (never tried this before so we will see how it works out).


Do you have any thoughts or feedback on this project?

First project for 2016

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season full of friends and family. Our holidays were just the right mix for us. There were a few family members that live to far away for a visit, but we were still blessed with a nice mix of family and friends new and old this season.

Between house guests I designed and started outlining my first Blackwork projects for 2016.


The ladies in the piece were originally used in a much larger piece of needlepoint I created last year. I liked the fished designed so much that they were repurposed for this project.

Another project completed

Thanksgiving week the inlaws came up for a visit. We spent the week introducing them to some of the local micro breweries and local sites. We also provided them with their first vegetarian Thanksgiving meal. They were very gracious about the non-traditional meal and sampled all of the offering, but at our lunch at the Norwich inn the next day they did order traditional turkey.

This week we spent a fair amount of time preparing for the Christmas holiday. The trees have been trimmed (we place one on each floor), baking started, packages boxed and ready to mail, some gifts ordered or made, and greens cut for next weekends wreath making party.


Between all of the holiday activities I managed to finish the Blackwork project that has been in the works for the past few months. I am very happy with the finished project and cannot wait to move on to another UFO.

Blackwork project update

Shooting star Blackwork project

For the past few evenings I’ve had an opportunity to make some progress on my latest Blackwork project. Now that I m past the halfway point in the project I am having a really hard time putting the project down.

should I frame or turn the finished piece into a pillow?

Holiday bell tutorial

Last year our family decided that all adults would receive homemade items as holiday gifts. The first year we gifted mostly goods from the kitchen along with a small craft item. This year I was able to start a bit earlier so more creativity could be applied to items in the gift baskets.

One of the gift items I made this year were needlework holiday bells. The creation of the items allowed me to try some new patterns and create products that may be treasured and passed down to younger family members.

Holiday bell

I was so happy with the way that bells turned out that I desired to share a tutorial defining the process with you.

  1. Measure out two pieces of canvas. For the bell in this tutorial I used Aida 14 cloth in a cream color. The larger canvas size made the pattern very easy to complete.
    blackwork bell pattern
  2. Choose a pattern and border for the bell. I have a fondness for Blackwork so I used free patterns found at Blackwork Journey, Imaginesque, or Wyrdbyrd’s Nest.
    holiday bell canvas pieces
  3. Stitch your selected pattern and border on one canvas piece and just a border on the second piece. The patterned piece will be used for the outside of the bell and the unit with just a border will inside.
  4. Cut about a 1/2 inch border around the stitch pieces and press the border under.
    holiday bell stitching pieces together
  5. Sandwich the backsides of the two pieces  together and hand stitch around the edges.


  6. Fold the stitched unit i half with the inside of the up, then hand sew each end from the fold to abut 1/2 way down the sides.


  7. Fold the unit in half on the other side keeping the inside of the bell to the outside, and stitch from the fold to about halfway down on both sides.


  8. Turn the bell right side out.


  9.  Shape the unit into a bell shape by adjusting the folds. Next add your favorite accents for the clanger and hanger.

    Holiday bell

%d bloggers like this: