Author Archives: Jo

A Day (or two) to Cross Stitch

Karl had July 3rd off and on Thursday night at supper he asked me what I was doing on Friday.  I said work like usual…write blog posts, manage the house, and sew on a deadline project.  Karl told me he had Friday off and thought that maybe I should take Friday off too.  I said, “What could I do?  We really can’t go anywhere?”  Karl said, “Mom, if you could do anything you wanted at home tomorrow, what would you do?”  I said, “Cross stitch”.   Karl said, “Mom, take the day off and cross stitch.”  So I did.  I seriously NEVER do that.  I didn’t write a blog post.  I didn’t clean anything.  I just did cross stitch stuff.

I didn’t necessary do cross stitching.  I kitted some stuff up and did a lot or organizing.  I keep my project in these zipper bags.  I love them.  I have the smaller letter sized ones, find them HERE and I have the larger legal sized paper ones, find them HERE.

A blog reader sent me a couple of these about 6 months ago. I loved them and worked to find more and finally found a place on Amazon to order them. Now, all of my projects are in these bags.  Kelli loves them too.  They are so inexpensive too.

I had bought this pattern a year ago and about 3 months ago ordered the floss for it but I didn’t have the floss packaged up.   I use Floss Away bags to store my floss (find them HERE).  I write on the bag and keep the floss for a project all together with the big binder rings.  Over the years I’ve stored floss many different ways.  This is what has worked best for me.


I have a renewed interest in the project as I’ve been watching Nicole’s Needlework on Youtube (actually binge watching from her first video) and saw her complete this.  There is nothing like seeing a completed project to make me want to start a new project.

I treated myself to this chart after I finished Seeking Refuge.  I already had the linen for it but I needed to see what I needed for threads….I had most of the DMC and I took time to wind it on the bobbins.


Thanks to those of you who have sent me floss in the past. I so appreciate it especially when I am kitting up projects and know I have thread and don’t need to buy much. It’s so appreciated.

I treated myself to this chart when I last went to Rochester for doctor appointments.  Do you notice and trend here?  Treating myself to charts.  Ugh.  It’s dangerous.  I might be spending much on fabric for the sewing room, but cross stitch supplies, yep, that’s my weakness right now.


I love the design but think the linen is to dark.  Hmmm.  So that lead me to the computer to look for linen for that…and the missing floss I needed.  Here was my list…yep a mumble, jumble mess.


The problem from there was that there is no where-seriously-no where at all that has blue corn from Classic Colorworks.  UGH.  It’s not like I needed to start the project.  I just wanted to have it all kitted and without that color, I can’t…I’ve heard another color substitutes well….we’ll see.  The unavailability is due to covid.  Doing all of thkitting and organizing work took me much of the day as there were other projects I was reviewing and looking for linen for.

It’s gotten a little hard for me…I’ve gotten so I like higher counts of linen and much of what I previously had kitted I picked a lower count linen for.  I’m still debating on lots of projects.  We’ll see…

Right now I’m working on Newcastle Bouquet by Teresa Kogut.  I just started so I have a long time to ponder future projects.

I’ve been so excited about this ever since it was released at spring cross stitch market.  I had been trying and trying to finish my last piece so I could start this.  I have to say this though.  That border scared me.  I’m more or less a beginner cross stitcher again.  Yes I stitched back in the 90s and started up again very casually two years ago…but there is a big difference between stitching something like this….


which is stitched on 28 count…to stitching the big samplers like I currently want to stitch.  One stitch off on the border on a piece like this Lizzie House Needleworks Season’s Greetings is not noticeable…but a stitch off on the big samplers especially on the border can really be a big deal.

So after I kitted things up and placed an order on Friday, I decided to try tackling that border again.  You might remember that I was off and had to rip out a little…well this time, I was determined to do it right….

I stitched and stitched and stitched.  By 11:45pm on Friday, I gave up.  I still wasn’t all the way around….but I was fearing it wasn’t going to line up.

I ended up going to bed and decided on Saturday, I was going to conquer that border….Not the whole thing.  Just get the line I was working on to match up.  Sad news….I stitched some more and crap.  I was off….by two stitches horizontally and two vertically.


Crap. What could I have done? I was so frustrated. So I started counting and recounting. I finally found the mistake and I was going to have to rip out the entire bottom and much of one side. If you’ve ever cross stitched, you know, ripping out takes MUCH longer than putting the stitches in. I remembered to take the picture when I got to the bottom row.  I had actually stitching about two sections on the side already.

I stitched and stitched and stitched.  No joke, I ripped and stitched ALL of Saturday.  ALL of Saturday.  At about 7:30 that night I was this far and realized I was one thread off…I didn’t completely match up but I was okay with it.


Darn it.  I decided I could fudge that.  It happened in the perfect spot to hide the extra thread.  No one (except all of you reading this) will ever know.

I’ve always wanted to spend a whole day cross stitching.  I’ve always wondered how much someone could get done if they stitched all day.  Well…if it’s me, you don’t get far.  I only got a little farther than I was when I started stitching 24 hours earlier.  UGH.

As frustrating as it all sounds, I’ve VERY-VERY happy.  I have border fear.  Border fear is a real thing for cross stitchers.  I always worry that my border won’t match up and I’ll have to do exactly what I did on this project….waste my stitching time correcting a mistake….

So anyway..not only did I take Friday to cross stitch…I took Saturday too!!

Ask Jo: Birthday Quilt and More

Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to.  That’s when I feature them on the blog.  This is one of those days.

After I made my list of UFOs for Country Threads’ Dirty Dozen Challenge, (Find that HERE) Betty from Canada asked:
What ever happened to the quilt blocks that we all sent you? Or did I miss something?

I think this is the quilt that Betty is referring to….


I’ve
For my 50th birthday many of you sent quilt blocks to welcome me into my 50’s.  Kelli and I put the blocks together and actually created a quilt that had this as the front….

Birthday-Quilt-09and this as the back…

Birthday-Quilt-11Yep.  There were so many blocks that I had a two sided quilt.  How fun.

You can read more about the quilt HERE.

Crystal wrote:
Thank you for the link for the mat! Have not been able to try it yet, but hoping for great things! I had been debating one for quite some time and this made my mind up.”

This came after I wrote about the coupon code for the Nido mats….


I’ve been getting lots of feedback from those of you who ordered them.  Most are thanking me for telling about the mats or comments about how this brand really doesn’t smell like other brands.  I’m so happy you all are happy with the mats.  Although the promo is over, know that these mats are about the cheapest on the market even without the promo code and serious…they don’t smell like others.  It’s totally worth it.

After I talked about my cross stitch project (read about it HERE) and having to rip a portion of it out Horseangel wrote:

I was taught to start in the center of the project and work out from there. It makes doing border designs and Kettering designs easier. Why didn’t you start in the center first before working on your borders? You probably wouldn’t have had to rip anything out (I rarely have to rip out stitches) that way.


In answer, I guess I was self taught.  I didn’t think there was a right or wrong place to start and honestly, I still don’t think there is.  For me I got off because I counted wrong one time thinking two squares in the border design were suppose to line up and in reality they were supposed to be one square off.  I stitched making that assumption and didn’t count again.  I never recounted until the next time I picked up the project.  It was too late by then.  Although I was discouraged, it’s not a big deal…if a person gets to worked up by ripping out, they probably won’t enjoy cross stitch.  Even the most experienced cross stitchers rip out from time to time.

I do think the next time I do a project I might not start in the very center necessarily but might do the center first so I have that as a reference for the border and can check myself more often.  We’ll see.  I’m not a pro cross stitcher.

Do you all remember the Harriet’s Legacy quilt that was a UFO sent to me and LaNan finished it?  This quilt….. Continue reading

What I’m Working On….

Yesterday I told you what my #5 Dirty Dozen quilts were.  I could chose scrap vortex, scrappy bargello or the black and white rectangle.  The one I grabbed to work on was this…


It’s just a simple all rectangle quilt.  Nothing fancy at all.  I cut it out in January when I was working on Jasper’s baby quilt.  I knew I had a couple weddings coming up this year for people I typically make quilts for so I thought this could be one of the quilts for the wedding gifts I’d need.

I was going to count how many rows I had stitched together and instead decided that I would just start sewing them together instead.

From Rosie’s count, she says I have 11 rows together. I’m thinking now I want 44 rows together if I have that much cut…so I guess I’m about 1/4 done right now.


I shouldn’t have a problem getting that done yet this month and that will mean one UFO off my list.  YAHOO!!

I also worked on this…


This is another UFO it’s not the current number for UFOs but that’s okay.  This was sitting next to the machine so I leader and ended 7 blocks I needed so now all of the blocks are finished.  A blog reader sent me the half square triangles and I made them into these blocks.  I love using scrap pieces that blog readers send and make this into something unexpected.  Remember this…

Our Fun and Games quilt.  (photo courtesy of All People Quilt).  Read the whole blog post HERE.  This was made with leftovers from a blog reader…

Find our Brick House quilt here.  This was made with leftovers from a blog reader…


As were these…Find them HERE.

and this…(Find it HERE)

Remember I said Kayla was here and helped with EQ (Electric Quilt)?  Well I took the block  I showed you that I was working on and drew it up in EQ and then designed a quilt using the block.  I’m so happy with the program and getting that far with it.  I want to see the quilt finished now…so I’m itching to sew on it even though it’s not the current UFO I should be working one.  I’m not keeping myself to a strict discipline on these UFOs.  I’m applauding myself for any work on any UFO….so go me!!  I am going to get the sashing cut and will start working on the border leader/ender style.  Who knows?  This quilt might get done this month too….but, I also have this…. Continue reading

In My Mail….

My mailbox has really slowed down.  I think it’s partly because readers are sending quilt tops directly to the volunteer longarmers.  That’s so awesome as it saves me a lot of postage money….but I’ll happily accept any tops that get sent to me too.  Whatever it takes to help people clean out their space and feel better and to help the charities and people that benefit from the donated tops.  I’m so happy to hear that even though groups aren’t always formally getting together because of covid that people are still working on charity projects independently.

I got this in the mail….


Oh my…isn’t it yummy?  I just loved the fabric line so much that I designed a quilt with it.  The line is Cider.  It comes out in November….seriously…I love it so much and am thrilled that American Patchwork and Quilting took the design I submitted using it!!  YAHOO.  Watch for the issue to come sometime around Christmas or so maybe.  Whatever you do, grab some of the fabric if you get the chance.  I’m sure I’ll be blogging lots about this in the future.

Seriously…I just love this line. The colors are soft but not pastel at all!!

Look…Carver got fan mail. How cute. I haven’t opened it…and we’re trying to stay away from each other. I plan to social distance style stop over this week, completely staying away from him but giving him the package. Whatever it is, I know he’ll be excited. He loves mail!! THANKS. I’m sure this will make his day!!

I got a big pile of cards….see?? Continue reading