Stitches and more time, please (a tale of too many projects)

Hubby and I have spent a good portion of the winter sitting in our cozy living room working on our personal crafty projects. He makes things out of leather, I make things out of fibre. Crafty couples are happy couples.

I’ve made progress on several projects.

  1.   Needlepoint Table Runner                                                                                                 I made a sketch on craft paper to use as a guide, then stitched together three, three foot lengths of Aida cloth. The finished project will be a runner just shy of nine feet long. When it’s done I will edge it so it will likely end up about 15 inches wide.             It’s taken me just over a year to finish a 27 inch long section. It’s definitely a multi-year project.             feb-8-2017-crop-brighter
  2.   365 Day Embroidery Challenge                                                                                         I got this idea from an article on Facebook. I started on Jan 1, 2017 with my embroidery co-conspirator Ashleigh.                                                                                 I make some basic stitches with thicker strands of thread. Looking at Ashleigh’s finer work I decided I was falling behind because my inability to focus close (old age sucks) so I bought some cheaters and am now able make the finest stitches. As I chose the project because I wanted to master the satin stitch, the cheaters are a blessing.                      feb-8-2017-crop-brighter
  3.   Woven Placemats                                                                                                               My always doting husband bought me a 24 inch rigid heddle loom for Christmas. After weaving a few throw away bits of cloth I decided my first full project would be a set of placemats.                                                                                                                 I bought five skeins of yarn in complimentary colours and tried to sketch some pattern ideas in crayon, but in the end just ended up warping the loom with no plan. The resulting plaid was gorgeous.                                                                                       So far I have five placemats done and five more on the loom.                 plaid-1
  4.   Celtic Cross-stitch Triptych                                                                                               I came across a half finished cross-stitch of a Celtic inspired boar in a dusty box last year. I finished it up on planes and in airports.                                                           It pleased me. As my husband has often noted I tend to do things in multiples, and in true form I decided to make a triptych.                                                                   I started a raven on planes and in airports over our Christmas holidays. We go to New Orleans soon and I’ll be taking the project with me. On some future trip I will stitch a salmon.                                                                                                    feb-8-2017-crop-brighter

Winter isn’t over, but a spring deadline for the interior arts looms large. I figure I have until the crocuses bloom to work on these projects un-distracted.  






Stitches and time

My husband thinks I am obsessed. He may be right.

Almost every night I sit on the couch for two, often three hours working on my latest cross stitch project with half an eye on the TV. I completely lose track of time.
I reignited my off-again-on-again passion for this hobby when I decided to clean out the basement. I lugged a dusty file box upstairs and discovered a forgotten store of fabric crafts I had done when my son was young. Most notable among the box contents were three things.

pillow seatA pillow with a Beatrix Potter poem embroidered on it. That is now sitting on my chair in my library.

IMG_20160130_235437-COLLAGEA cross stitch made from my own sketch of two canaries perched on a vine. I had it framed, and hung it in my bedroom.

A partially complete
Celtic inspired cross stitch of a boar which I finished up on a recent road trip to and from northern Saskatchewan.

boar cross stitch doneFinishing the boar just reminded me why I had taken stitching up. I am not a sitter. I even have difficulty sitting through a movie because it just feels so unproductive. I need something to do with my hands. Lastly, and pretty significantly, it gave me the perfect way to spend a long, dark, cold winter night with my husband. He watches a lot of TV. I could be sitting happily next to him. I figure that’s a perfect way to transition into our old age.

IMG_20160131_121056I started a new, and very ambitious ‘ten year’ project. When it’s done it will be a table runner about 9 feet long. I originally thought this would be something I’d only do during the winter, but it is summer already and I’ve yet to put it down.

From November to April I worked out a design and then stitched to secure the edges and seams in the fabric – it’s made of three, three-foot lengths. That mid-winter effort wasn’t really something I could point to as an obvious accomplishment, so I kept going because I wanted to see some of the vision begin to show.

I have been working on the spruce trees since May.

tree cross stitch 1x workingtree cross stitch 1x almost doneThey sit on the seams and anchor the project so were a good place to start.

The most difficult part was the seam because the fabric didn’t line up 100% so I wasn’t just sliding the needle through a hole, but pushing it through two tough layers of fabric.

I stitched the tree design free-hand, based on my drawings. I tried to make each tree look similar, but didn’t try to make them match exactly. Have you ever seen a forest full of matching trees? Neither have I.

done treesfirst tree cross stitch 2x startedI’m done the trees now. I think my next step will be to ring them with one complete row of the background colour, and then start on the moose to the right of each tree.

It’s July now. It’s warm and the sun doesn’t go down until nearly 11 p.m. so I have less reason to sit on the couch.

My pace may slow as I spend more evening hours outdoors. I have a dog to walk. I want to make some time for painting. I have two dresses cut and waiting to be sewn. I have a plain denim dress I am hoping to embroider. I found a product to make a mould from my old clay statues.

I have a lot of projects on the go, but this is the only one that really allows me to sit and relax so I don’t think I will really put it away.



I’m in stitches, again


When my son was young I took up cross stitching. I used to sit on the couch with him at my feet and watching A&E when A&E was still arts and entertainment, and the X-Files when Skully and Mulder weren’t parodying themselves – eons ago it seems.

Recently I came across a box full of embroidery floss (in almost 100 colours), several extra pieces of needlepoint fabric, and both finished and unfinished work.

Being the compulsive creator I am, I never bought cross stitch patterns. I bought the fabric with the smallest weave possible and created my own patterns from gleaned ideas and images.

Berni liked this one, and we took it to be framed. Turns out it looks absolutely lovely hanging in our bedroom. I recall it taking me several years to complete so it is gratifying to see my efforts gracing my walls.


I also found this one, partly done. I had to go buy more thread because I didn’t have more of the blue, but I now have it finished. I may get it framed as well, and I might pull together one or two similar looking images to stitch and make a set. But not right now.


I have just begun an especially ambitious project. I want a new table runner for the dining room. Our table seats 10, so the runner will be 9 feet long. I want it winter, but not Christmas, themed. And of course, I want it completely stitched; foreground and back ground. I spent this winter putting three, three foot lengths of fabric together. I’ve secured the edges with three rows of stitching.


I’ve done some research and have drawn out a plan on a long piece of butcher’s paper. The pattern will repeat down the length, and mirror itself the long sides. The images will be silhouettes.


I want it to be in muted, related colours. I bought some threads that appealed to me and made up a couple samplers like this one to see how the colours played off each other.


Now that I have a plan I can get to work. I will sketch the images on the fabric as I go along, but will be free styling it a bit. I am a HUGE fan of ‘imperfection’. I think the small flaws are what make art, art.

Wish me and my hands luck. It will be slow going because my fingers and thumbs seize up a bit now so I’ll have to take frequent stitching breaks. Some time in 2020 I’ll let you know how it has turned out.