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Drops of Wisdom #1: Cross Stitch Starting Stitch

This very first drop of wisdom is actually going to be for cross stitch – I was going to show this to Jasmyne before I left but by the time we got back to the house I completely forgot. Sorry. So I wanted to show her the way I have been starting new threads for a while, as it doesn’t start with loose ends or knots, and it keeps the fabric flat and the tension even.

Warning: This will only work if you plan to use an even number of threads for your stitching, i.e. 2 or 4. If you need an odd number, this won’t work.

Step 1: I start with a long strand of a single thread. I use DMC which comes in a 6-strand skein. Depending on the project, and how many stitches you will need for this color, the quantity you cut could be smaller, but typically I cut about a wingspan length of thread (spread your arms out wide and cut). Then I pull just ONE strand from the 6-strand piece I just cut, and put the remaining 5 back on the plastic bobbin.

Step 2: Thread both ends through the needle.

Step 3: Make the loose end tail a little longer, but not too long. Start your first stitch from the back, and leave a long tail on the loop end.

Step 4: Turn it over to the back and pull the needle through the loop.

Step 5: Pull tight. But not too tight.

Step 6: Continue stitching as usual… Tie off in your standard method.

Isn’t that fun? I know Jasmyne will be super excited to try this. Remember – this only works with even number of strands, since you double up.

You might be wondering what that frame is in the background. Awhile ago I got a Clemes & Clemes frame, when they were first released from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, and at that time I also found out the wonder of the Q-snap frame. Much friendlier than the standard round hoop. They come in multiple sizes – I currently use the 11″ x 11″ and 8″ x 8″. Super easy to set up, move around, switch projects, etc. Check them out. You’re welcome.

Did you enjoy your first drop of wisdom? Jasmyne – get stitching!


Emergency Toolkit

I just got back from visiting with a friend for a long weekend. A friend I haven’t seen in YEARS! I guess she realized that I was just too awesome for her to live without, so last December she sent me a photo of a set of mugs: The Ethel to my Lucy and The Lucy to my Ethel. She says I am Ethel but we may go back and forth – I do have the red hair… What’s even better is even though we hadn’t been in touch in many years, we were led back to each other, via a fun photo exchange, and our friendship was instantly renewed! After many months of text and voice messages, I was able to go visit her a couple states away, and we were able to have some good face to face chats and really catch up. She also gave me an assignment while I was there: teach me how to sew and make quilts, teach me how to learn French, teach me about hand and machine embroidery, tips on cross stitching, etc. So that was fun, showing her how I taught myself to learn different methods and getting her set up to begin. Don’t worry – I gleaned some important information from her too.

Us with our boys.

The boys.

As I was going through getting her set up with the sewing machine – how to thread the machine, the bobbin and what it’s for, and other aspects like that she would say “Oh that’s good – write that down.” Pretty soon I had a good list of tips and tricks for her – and she told me to put them up on the blog for her. If she was having questions she could refer back to it, plus it might help someone else – that’s you Dear Reader!

So I know I’ve posted some of these in the past; it’s been awhile, but little helpful things, I thought, here and there. But, to help my dear friend so far away, I need to post them again. And thinking it through, I think they need to be under 2 separate subcategories. The Tips & Tricks will be under Drops of Wisdom, like raindrops watering your garden, just helpful knowledge. Then in crisis mode, i.e. I’ve made a huge mistake, what do I do now?, or what do I do next time not to repeat this?? will be under Storm Chasers – this also fits with my new locale. Born and raised a Seattle girl, I lived there my whole life except for 3 years in Phoenix (where I met the aforementioned friend) and then back to Seattle for the last 15 years. Now I live in Cow Country; here they like corn, and the color red – not necessarily in that order. I absolutely LOVE the Thunderstorms that come through often, but I do miss water. And trees. And mountains. And Seafood. And Thai food. They think they have trees here, and water, it’s funny. They frequently laugh at me too – I put the NOAA Weather Radar on my phone and I get so excited when it goes off! Especially when it mentions the word ‘tornado’.¬†Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to be in a big tornado or have anyone get hurt or anything damaged, I just want to see one fly by – like safely just rolling down the highway. Like those little dirt devils we had in Phoenix. So far the closest I’ve gotten is ‘Tornado Watch’. They tell me “It’s just a Watch, not a Warning”. Then they try to hide their laughter (they’re not successful) shake their heads and say “Oh, you out of towners…”. It’s amusing. I could go on and on about the differences between Seattle and the Midwest and how amusing I must be to them, and how different things are for me…but I will say they get their seafood from the wrong ocean… Maybe this could be a new series – out of towner funny story of the week. I’ve got a few I could share. ūüôā

Anyways back to business. I don’t know how often these will be posted – probably just when the idea strikes me. She had me started off with a good list so I’ll get to those first, and whatever questions she throws at me along the way. If you’ve got questions feel free to add them to the list. I know I am in the habit of reading a pattern, not understanding what they are trying to say, and then figuring it out for myself. Sometimes it works, sometimes it takes multiple attempts before I get it. But in the end I seem to figure out a way to make it work. Or it sits in a pile just waiting for me to solve whatever problem I got stuck on. Either way someone will learn something. Maybe just me. But that will be one less thing on my pile. I’ve got enough other things to worry about – I might as well have fun, and try to help others along the way.

Minecraft Patterns

Hello! I just realized that there may have been comments / questions submitted that did not go to my email, but were stored in the blog backend, and didn’t notify me they were there! I have tried to respond to everyone via email or to comments posted, but if I missed a question you still need an answer to, please let me know again.

Most of the comments and questions I receive are for the Minecraft Quilt I made a couple years ago – first the blocks were made as Mug Rugs for my son’s 7th Birthday Party and given out to all the kids, and then later I remade the blocks larger and turned it into a quilt. I did have them up on Craftsy for free download, but Craftsy was asked to remove them. So they have been removed. You should, however, be able to copy the patterns based on the information on each blog post. I added a new category – Minecraft – and linked all Minecraft related blog posts to that new subcategory. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you can click on Minecraft in the categories list at the bottom and that should bring up all Minecraft related posts. If I missed something, let me know and I’ll see if I can help you out. I have been impressed with the photos that have been shared with me. And I just noticed a comment about a Llama and a Blaze? Will need to look into those and see if I can help you get that set up – I have seen the llama in the game, but haven’t tried to create him. And I’m not sure what a Blaze is – will get back to you on this.

Anyways – keep at it – have fun and make it your own!

Minecraft Block Patterns

Just a quick note РI have been getting emails asking about the Minecraft patterns that I previously had on Craftsy. I received an email from Craftsy stating that the Minecraft people contacted Craftsy and requested that the patterns be removed. I never received any money from the publication of these, I just wanted to share what I created for my son as I felt others may want to make the same.

I did post each block on my blog and each should state the colors used. You should be able to recreate them on your own just by looking at the blocks, and the colors used (all Kona solids). I know this is an extra step for you – but think of the end result!

4th of July Weekend Sale

Good morning and Happy Saturday! Just a quick note to let you know I have a sale in my Etsy shop through Monday. Save 17.76% on everything (I think it rounds up to 18%). I recently added some new items including some fun Crafty Merit Badges (get them individually or save on the complete set), and an Animal embroidery series. You may have seen these if you follow me on Instagram. I am working on several more embroidery lines that will be available soon – I am having so much fun making these. Soon my home will be covered in Hoop Art. I recently finished the Constellation series that I just need to hoop, hang and photograph. And I am working on an Ocean Series and an Outdoor Series for my son’s bathroom and bedroom – those will be available soon!

It will be a busy summer for me but I have a lot planned in the next few months, like finishing many projects I started a long time ago, and some new product ideas. I also need to keep the child entertained over the summer, and make sure¬†he doesn’t lose everything he learned during the school year! I hope you all have a fun and safe holiday weekend!