Cross Stitch Update

First off those of you who know I was back for a cancer checkup yesterday might be wondering how it went.  From what I know so far, okay and I’ll tell you more about it once all of the tests come in.  As of writing this, I’m still waiting on one number and don’t want to elaborate on it until that piece of blood work comes in.

Now to today’s post…
Before I show you my stitching today I’m going to answer a few comments that recently came in.  First off is a comment from Carla.

She commented:
I’m having a really hard time getting all the threads for the Anniversaries of the Heart piece. I plan to make that my new year start. I know you use some DMC floss as well as the over-dyed ones and I’ll most likely follow that plan as well. Still, I’m finding myself doing a lot of second-guessing. I did pick up a cute wooden tray/ bowl thing while thrifting. I like the idea of filling it with freebies. You did a fabulous job with the finishing and I will be using your ideas (having none of my own ). Blessings!

STOP!!  PLEASE STOP and read this first.

Last year I was right where you are.  I was trying to search and find all of the charts.  I was searching and trying to find all of the threads.  I was frustrated and ready to give up.  This was to be an heirloom piece for my family.  I was not going to skrimp and not do this up to the fullest.  I was going to get every pattern immediately.  I was going to get every floss in overdyed.  I started out with buying the floss for the first three months.  I figured when I got the second block finished I would buy the thread for the next three months.

Well, I had done some research.  I learned that some people don’t like the colors of the first January block.  I found THIS WEBSITE that has a color conversion.  I liked that better so I bought the threads for the conversion and planned to stitch it using that.

I did some other investigation on the site and found THIS PAGE.  I found out that the full size all stitched together is 387w x 261h.  For newbies that means it’s 387 stitches wide and 261 stitches tall.  This is if you stitch it the traditional way like I am…three rows high and five across.

I was able to buy one fat quarter of fabric as I stitched mine on 40 count linen with a 2″ border all the way around.  If you are stitching on a lower count, you will need more than a fat quarter.  If you need help figuring that out, let me know.

BUT…there are other layouts.  This…

…and if you have a smaller family or are unsure of the commitment you want to make, you could do this…

Anniversaries of the Heart Smaller Project.
I HIGHLY encourage you to go to the site and check it all out.  Again you can find that HERE.

I also highly recommend watching Floss Tube…specifically Olivia at Pumpkin Hollow Quilts.  Last year in 2020, she stitched the whole series and has great tips and advice.

BUT…I have more.  I do not at all recommend buying thread in advance.  Here is what happened.  These charts were done over 10 years ago.  They are making a HUGE comeback.  Many people were inspired by Olivia who inspired more who inspired more.

What I didn’t know is that dye lots, because the floss is hand-dyed, changes.  There is also a problem that some of the dyes that are used have changed as far as ingredients to actually dye with and now MANY of the colors have changed.  I pulled the threads for what was recommended for the first month and was about in tears.  I HATED the colors.  They didn’t go together well.  UGH.  I could have just cried.  I spent all the money on overdyed floss and here I was unable to use it.

Crying was a real consideration.  I had bought all of these charts.  I had bought the linen.  I had bought all of the floss.  I was angry…I was frustrated.  I really wanted to stitch this…but there was no way I could do it in these colors.

So… rather than give up,  (I was ready to), I pulled the DMC floss.  Some of this has changed slightly over time but for the most part, it’s more consistently the same color.  I ended up using the DMC options MUCH of the time.  I would pull the called for overdyes.  I would pull the called for DMC.  I would make up some type of combo.  I would often pull the DMC compare it to the overdyed and then decide.  Sometimes if the color was for a house and the variegation would really show, I’d go through the other overdyed floss I had and find something completely different.

I recommend working through the piece one month at a time.  I recommend playing with color and decide what you like.

Here is an example of what happens when I start stitching each month.  I am working on Month #10.

See the color 977.  Oh my, that looks a little bright.  It’s DMC and the color shouldn’t have radically changed…Hmm.  I think it’s too bright for the whole piece and while I am at it, I’d like to find a good variegated for the house.

See that lighter yellowish color in the star?

That is what is supposed to be that bright orange color, 977.  I don’t love it for that.  It seems bright to me.

I went to my overdyed floss and checked to see what I had that might be orangey.

I kind of like this Tiger Eye for the house.

Bright Leaf wouldn’t be bad.  I’ve used this in other projects and have really liked it.

I’ve used this Cidermill Brown in the chart previously…it’s not as orangey though.  Hmm.

I’ll decide once I stitch the house. Typically I pull a thread and lay it on the project.

As for that 977.  I don’t think I’ll be using it.  I’m leaning towards the one on the right…Pumpkin Harvest.  That looks better and more blended with the other colors of the sampler.

Can you understand why I recommend not buying all of the thread in advance?  It’s much easier and more economical, especially for this project, to work one block at a time and sometimes only 25 stitches of a color are in the project.  In that case, why buy the more expensive overdyed thread?  If you’re stitching a house and want to see some color variegation, go all out and buy the thread.  BUT…I want to caution on that too.  Not all colors show up on my linen.

Christina commented:
Wow, Jo such gorgeous pieces. Love the cushions but I’ve said it before I find your Anniversaries piece awe-inspiring.
Qu: what linen are you stitching on?
& how much did you leave for the borders?
Thank you Jo for images of much love in every stitch.

I am using 40 count Vintage Country Mocha.  It’s my favorite linen.  I picked it as when I started stitching I hadn’t stitched on many different linens and I knew I liked this one.  I knew this was a “long-haul” piece and I wanted to do all I could to pick linen I knew I wouldn’t regret.

In general, I always leave a 2″ border.   I want to make the most of linen, and 2″ is acceptable.  If you aren’t framing it yourself and have a relationship with your framer, ask what they prefer.

So now to my cross-stitch and the progress I’ve made this week…some but not as much as I sometimes do.  I had things going on two different nights this week and had ZERO stitching those nights but I still have some progress and I’m celebrating that.

Here is Anniversaries of the Heart.  Last week I was here…

I had just finished the block that is on the lower right.  This week I started the next block.  It is on the lower left.

This one is for Kalissa’s family.  I stitched primarily on this over the week.  I am happy with my progress considering I missed a few nights of stitching.  As I was showing it to Kalissa I realized I put 2016 in as the year they were married.  UGH.  It’s 2015.  That “6” will have to be torn out and fixed.  Next, I am going to start working on that pumpkin.  Then I’ll put the names in and fill in around it.

I am hoping by the next update to have this block finished and when October rolls around, I’ll start the next block after this.  I am really on a push to keep plugging along on this.  I would be just thrilled if I could finish this by the time my birthday rolls around.  Last year I didn’t do a birthday start, meaning start a new project on my birthday…or a Christmas start (which many do).  This was my New Year’s start and every bit of me wants this done before the new year and I upped my goal to my birthday as that is December 14th.  It would be so nice to spend the end of the year not worrying about whether I finished stitching or not so…December 14th is the goal.  If I stitch with the current plan of doing two in October and two in November, I still have two weeks to catch up.  This is doable.  YAHOO!!  Now I need to not get sick or something else pop up.  GO JO!!

The piece I worked on for a bit was A Changed World.  Here is where I was last week…

I had it this far and realized I had a mistake in the lower band.

I got that ripped and all of that stitched in.  I extended the border on the left.  I filled in the border on the right and started some of the trees and flowers on the lower band.  I don’t want to just leave this so next week I am hoping to finish the flower and tree that I started.

It won’t be a lot of progress but enough to make me feel like I’m not totally setting it aside.  Once I get Anniversaries of the Heart finished, I want to jump in big with this piece.  Even if I just stitch one night on it each week, that little bit will add up so that once I can give this all of my attention, it will be a quicker finish.

This next week looks to be pretty busy too and I don’t expect lots of stitching time.  That’s okay, but I sure do miss it when I don’t get it.

That’s it for this week.  Don’t forget to check out the progress of Judy and Denise…you can find their blogs here.  Denise is finished with hers last I checked and Judy got sidetracked on another fun project.  It’s really easy for that to happen.  So far, I’m sticking with it…just at a SLOW pace.
Judy at Patchwork Times
Denise at Just Quiltin

9 thoughts on “Cross Stitch Update”

  1. First, thank you for this post. It is so interesting to me, especially because you inspired me and I bought on Etsy an older, small sampler-type kit of my favorite quotation to get started, just to see if I can do it. (I am worried about my eyesight.) The kit’s chart required Gentle Arts and Weeks yarns that are no longer available, but there were also listed DCM substitutions that I worried about, but ended up settling for. They look just fine, actually. Can you remind me of which embroidery hoop brand you like best, please? Second, thank you for the cancer update. I thought about you all day yesterday and sincerely hope all turns out well!

      1. I enjoy your cross stitch patterns, I just used your link for new rings, thanks.
        I ordered a book of William Morris cross stitch designs from Thrift Books. I picked one with oak tree, acanthus leaves, and rabbits. Now I will order fabric and off I go, haven’t cross stitched in decades!
        You inspire me to resume.

  2. I’ve returned to Cross stitch in the past few years. Have a project or two going. One I dont like is Lori Holt’s big one with the house. I’m about 3/4s done and I just don’t like the fabric. I’ll finish it eventually. Thought about sending it to you. My problem is, when I make a mistake, I fudge along with it and make it work. I’m not ripping out all of that work unless it is glaring. So my quilts are not square and the fence has a different design but I’m okay with it.

  3. I’m working Changed World from the bottom up. I just finished the tree row, it went quickly. I am hoping to finish this by Oct. 1 we’ll see.

  4. Lots of great advice! Love your Anniversaries of the Heart. I’m still plugging along on A Changed World. I have everything except the outside border flowers and the black background for the text block. I wasn’t going to do the black background but I’m glad I started it. I like how it looks but it is drudge work. I hope to get it finished by the end of the month and have my next project picked out. It’s a Teresa Kogut pattern called Fox & Friend. I need to gather everything as that one will be portable and I will need a portable project when I accompany my son to an appointment next week.

    1. Hi Veronica. I am not sure what cross stitch pattern you are referring to. Please let me know which one and I will help if I can.

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