29 June 2021

Tip for Marking Color Charts

My preferred combination for stitching is a black & white chart and a colored pencil. I never use marker or highlighter as I would be paranoid about somehow accidentally dropping it on, or brushing against, my fabric. I have heard horror stories, and I'm sure you have as well. For me, a quick sweep of the colored pencil on the section I've just stitched is sufficient to keep my place. 

I avoid color charts, if possible. A color chart won't prevent me from stitching something I really like, but if I have the option, I always choose black & white. For most color charts I've stitched, I find that a silver metallic pencil will do the job. The metallic reflection provides just enough contrast to the color symbols to see where I've marked. I use the silver metallic pencils found in the sewing notion section of craft stores. 

However. I occasionally run across color charts where the chosen colors, together with the color saturation, just absorb the silver pencil (which are not heavily pigmented in the first place) and it's difficult to see the marked sections. Solution?


The white ink stands out starkly against dark colors. The multi-pack above contains three sizes, which I've shown below (left to right): fine, medium, bold. I got this pack at Hobby Lobby, but I think these are widely available at craft stores and on Amazon, and you can sometimes find them as open stock or in single packages.

As you can see, just a small mark shows up very well, and also allows you to still see the color and symbol, just in case you need to re-stitch a mistake, or if you decide to stitch the whole design again. 

I also don't worry about an accident with these. The ink is a gel and not "wet" like marker or highlighter ink, where just brushing them against something leaves a mark. You sort of have to "apply" this ink where you want it. 

Hopefully this little tip is helpful for anyone struggling with a color chart. Click on the "How To" label at the bottom of this post or the tab at the top of the page for more tips.

15 June 2021

Spring is Coming Mini Quaker


Finished Spring is Coming Mini Quaker! Stitched with the recommended threads on 32 ct. Flax linen.

The series so far. Top to bottom: Autumn, Winter, Spring. These are available from Stitches Through the Years

I was thinking that when I get them framed (eventually), I would display them individually in season. But now that I've seen them together, I think I'll have to display them as a group. I'm just so happy with how these are turning out and I think they look gorgeous all together. I'm not generally a big fan of the Quaker style, but Autumn, the first in the series, just grabbed me, and then I loved Winter, and so here I am, desperately waiting for Summer is Coming to finish the series.

If you're thinking of stitching these, here are my comments on:

Autumn is Coming

Winter is Coming

And now...


12 June 2021

Saturday Sampler: Stash Update Edition

Been a while since we've had a Saturday Sampler. Settle in with a cup of tea and prepare to be enabled! I've been shopping!

So if you're here a lot, you know that over the last few years much of what I've been stitching has been purchased from Etsy. I love the easy access to a variety of styles from designers all over the world, and I particularly like being able to purchase from brand new American designers who I otherwise wouldn't know about because of the challenges of breaking into the American market. For me, there is a "sameness" in a lot of what comes out of the American market, and I really enjoy having a place to go where I can stumble across something beautiful designed by someone in Siberia (yes, there's a Siberian designer on Etsy).

Having said all that, I do still buy and stitch the kind of stuff that arrives in the local LNS, just much less than I used to. So when I buy 3 or 4 new charts (that I didn't download and print myself!), that's exciting and counts as a spree! Here is my recent, rare, non-Etsy chart spree! (Four whole charts and a wee kit; prepare to be amazed at my recklessness.)

First up, a pretty summer design from With Thy Needle & Thread. She's one of the designers I have stitched several designs from, and keep an eye on for new stuff. I don't really have many patriotic designs or finishes. I'm not sure why, but perhaps it's because we're military and our whole life is kinda redwhiteandblue, so I don't really feel a need to stitch it? I don't know. But I liked this little bird, and I liked the colors, and here she is. This chart is a bit pricey as it comes with the strip of alphabet linen shown, for finishing. When I stitch this, I won't finish it this way, but I will figure out a way to use that linen. It's neat.

I do have a nice collection of LHN charts, including the entire Hometown Holiday series, of which I have stitched... one. (hangs head in shame) I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan that buys everything she designs, but every now and then there's something that just grabs me. I love the Sleepy Hollow legend for its place in American folklore and I was delighted to see this latest release. I do think when I stitch this that I'll intensify a few of the colors. It might just be the photography, but it looks a bit washed out in places.  I love it anyway.

Oh, Redbird Designs. These hold a special place in my heart. This is a Texas designer who keeps the lowest of low profiles, no social media whatsoever as far as I know. Her designs are not widely available. In fact, the only place I know of to find them is this shop in Texas. (If any of y'all know of other sources, let me know in the comments, please!) Years ago, with the help of fellow stitchers around the country, I created a Redbird Designs Catalog for fellow fans to keep track of her designs, and what was in print/out of print. Anyway, here are a couple of new-to-me designs I had to have. I don't know how long they've been out and just happened upon them while looking for something else. There can never be enough Texas wildflowers! (Check out my Texas stitches!) These are testing my commitment to only stitch WIPs this summer!

And finally, a wee fox kit! I haven't done many of these little Mill Hill kits, but I always enjoy them when I do. The last ones I did were these Halloween lanterns from last summer. They're fun and they always turn out so cute. I will be doing a bit of a re-design on the face, though, as I'd like him to look a little more like a real fox.

I also treated myself to a new pair of scissors to celebrate my Summer of the WIP. I did the same last year for Summer of Halloween, so maybe I've created a new tradition. This beautiful tartan pair is from this Etsy shop, but I think they can be found elsewhere by searching the brand Premax (Italy). These are nice scissors that snip very well at the tips, and they also come in blue and green.

My goodness, I'm rambling today. You can take a break if you need to. I'll still be going when you get back.

And here's a $6 impulse buy from Hobby Lobby. I think these are so pretty and warm weathery. They cut alright, not amazing at the tips, but for $6 they're fine. And pretty.

So, the fabric. I can just hear people who are looking at these pictures saying, "What is that fabric that chart is lying on? What is that fabric the scissors are on?" I can hear this, because I do it, too. Fabric is so important to our happiness. Which, by the way, have y'all noticed that hand-dyed fabric is still really hit or miss, supply wise? A lot of the dyers are weeks or even months behind and have messages on their websites explaining the challenges of getting certain fabrics and dyes. I'm reiterating my pandemic advice about fabrics and threads: if you need it, and you see it available (dyed and ready to ship), snap it up. It may disappear and not be available again for months. Taking my own advice, I stocked up on some of my favorite neutrals and tossed in a wild card as well. That's the flowery 32 count even weave here. This was also a Hobby Lobby impulse buy (it was that kind of day). This is their Artiste brand, but it's made in Germany by Zweigart so I figured the quality would be good. I haven't stitched on it, but I did count threads-per-inch both ways and it's correct. I think it will be pretty for a spring design. The other fabrics here are, left to right, PTP Legacy, PTP Wren, and Flax (Zweigart, I think).

Top to bottom: Legacy, Wren, Flax

Sneak peek! This is the first WIP I'll be tackling for Summer of the WIP when I finish my spring Quaker. Isn't she lovely? More on her soon.

Bonus Tiger Lily! Sitting on her side of the bathroom sink (yes, she has her own sink), admiring her floof. 

If anyone is still with me after all that, I hope you enjoyed browsing the new stash and maybe even finding something you need. Stitching is such a comfort and even something so small as a new chart, or a new tool, or a new piece of fabric can really lift our spirits. I highly recommend treating yourself to a little something soon.

Happy Stitching!

08 June 2021

Now it's summer!


The farm stands are back! This is my favorite part of summer where we now live and it doesn't seem like summer has arrived until they appear. 

Closing in on a finish! Only a few more motifs to stitch on Spring is Coming Mini Quaker and then Summer of the WIP begins! 

Also, stash update coming soon! I've been stimulating the economy and have stuff to share.

Happy Stitching!

01 June 2021

New Season, New Start


Summer has arrived and I've made a start on Spring is Coming Mini Quaker. The colors are so quiet compared to Mandala Fox, and of course it's a totally different style, but it's a nice change. Been pondering my Summer of the WIP and the more I think about it, the more I like it. It's always so much fun to start a new project, but I'm not sure it's more fun than finishing one you've put aside for a long while. That always feels like such a triumph. So in keeping with my intention to finish WIPs this summer, I promptly ordered a few new charts. Yes, I sure did. Wouldn't want to run out of stuff to stitch.

Happy Stitching!