Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Linda's Review of Dimensions Counted Cross-Stitch Tree Ornament Kit


I just love to cross-stitch and always have a cross-stitch project half finished. Some of my projects are finished quickly while others seem to linger for months on end. My cross-stitch tree ornament is in the lingering category. I don't remember when I started my tree ornament. My guess is sometime last spring.

So, with the Christmas holidays looming I thought it was time to finish it.

The Dimensions Counted Cross Stitch, Tree Ornament kit contained the presorted thread, 14 count plastic canvas, needle, and instructions.  The  pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and outline stitching for emphasis and depth.

The pattern came with starting, stitching, finishing and even cleaning instructions as well as samples of the various stitches required, and color coded keys (with code #'s, color names, and cross-stitch symbols) and a chart with color coded symbols. The colors and symbols on the keys and chart were easy to read and follow.

While I was very pleased with the end results of this design there are some things in the kit and in the instructions that can be improved upon.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Dyeing Alpaca Fiber & Roving and Creating Carded Alpaca Fiber Batts

I have been in love with needle felting creations like art dolls since they started becoming more and more popular several years ago. And, when my sister became an alpaca farmer I was definitely smitten. I LOVE fiber - especially alpaca fiber.

My sister has been teasing me with fiber surprises all year. Several times now when checking the mail  hubby has brought in a package in from my sister. The packages are usually filled to the brim. When you open them they literally explode with the fiber trying to get out.

The last package she sent contained a wonderful selection of alpaca fiber she had hand dyed. They looked so pretty in the package. Almost too pretty to use...

So, when planning my trip to Rock Garden Alpacas and Rock Garden Alpacas Fiber last month she told me I was going to learn how to dye roving and washed fiber and learn how to create carded batts. If you don't know what carded batts are they are lengths and widths of fiber produced on a drum carding machine like my sister's which is shown below:


You can card natural washed fibers alone or in a combination of natural colors, card dyed fibers alone or in a combination of dyed colors, or add various other fibers like Angelina silk to natural or dyed fibers. The possibilities seem endless.

We decided to set several days aside for dying and carding our fibers. I should say we set several days aside to play and have fun. And, have fun we did.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Linda's Review of Embroidered Quilt Shoppe by Chickadee Hollow Designs



Several years ago I bought a couple of creative embroidery and stitchery patterns for making ornaments that I wanted to make into little pictures and decided last May that it was time to make them. One was for a birdhouse vintage ornament that I blogged about in a Linda's Blog post entitled, "My Embroidered Vintage Birdhouse Picture."  The other was for an embroidered vintage quilt shoppe ornament that I turned into a picture.

Vintage Ornament #18 is a pattern for an embroidered quilt shoppe from Chickadee Hollow Designs. The pattern included the design on pre-printed pre-colored fabric, as well as a basic embroidery stitches sheet and sheet of basic instructions for completing their ornaments.

I had decided ahead of time that I wanted to frame my ornament as a small picture instead of using it as an ornament.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Mermaid From Judy Johnson's "Lovely Sea Maiden" Class At Artful Gathering



I have to tell you that I've been in blissful heaven for the last three days. If you're wondering why it's because I've been needle felting a mermaid for Judy Johnson's "Lovely Sea Maiden" class at Artful Gathering that I'm taking.

I'm completely in awe of the ability to mold and sculpt the fiber to get it to be exactly what you want.


It's simply amazing and, once again, I've fallen in love with a new crafting medium.


Before taking Judy's class I never would have dreamed of all the ways you can felt and handle the roving.


Judy is a fabulous teacher and she shows you exactly what she wants you to do step by step.


I have to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed this class and now my head is spinning as to the possibilities. There are so many ideas running through my head right now I cannot keep them straight.

This is dangerous territory for me. There are so many things I want to try and, once again, not enough hours in the day. I need to prioritize - but, right now that is almost impossible.

This is the 3rd class I've taken at Artful Gathering and every one of them has been fantastic.  I took Pat Winter's Crazy Quilting 101 class last year, Colleen Moody's "Briley The Birdie" paper clay class in the first session this year and Judy Johnson's "Lovely Sea Maiden" in the 2nd session.   If you've never taken an online class I highly recommend any of the Artful Gathering classes.  They're fantastic.

Next year I'm definitely going to be taking more.  I wonder what will strike my fancy next year?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Linda's Review of #195 Puppy Love Penny Rug Pattern By Barrie Sue Gaudet Of Bareroots.com



I know I've told you many times that I LOVE creating with wool felt. Whether it's an ornament, a pillow, a wall-hanging, or a penny rug - I just LOVE it.

Several years ago I was introduced to penny rugs during a shopping trip with my Mother in Sturbridge. One of the shops we liked to visit carried penny rug patterns. As I was looking through the patterns one of the shop owners told me she'd be happy to put a few kits together for me. She suggested we go to lunch at a restaurant down they street that she liked and come back after lunch to pick up our purchase.

So, I picked out three that I liked, went to lunch with my Mom, and returned after lunch to pick up my kits. Thinking about that now I have to say that was one "savvy" shop owner. What a great way to get not only a pattern sale, but sales of wool fabric and embroidery floss.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The "Birdies" and "Dollies" Had Their Way- Artful Gathering 2013 Session 1 - Briley The Birdie by Colleen Moody



I should have known better than to ever let the "dollies" mingle with the trio of "birdies" I was making for my Artful Gathering "Briley The Birdie" class with Colleen Moody. The "dollies" convinced the "birdies" they should be different than "Briley."

So, despite my best efforts to get them to conform my trio of "birdies" decided to be rebellious and be the class radicals. They decided they didn't want to be cream colored. They  wanted to be sponge painted. They insisted on it and then they had all the "dollies" urge me to sponge paint them.

There were just too many "dollies" clamoring for this that I had to acquiesce. Now I know you all know I hate to give in to the "dollies" demands but with the trio of "birdies" and all the "dollies" clamoring I was sorely outnumbered.


I thought if I gave in to the trio of "birdies" on this they'd calm down and let me create them the way I wanted to. Au contraire!  Each one had already developed a personality of their own and therefore a style they thought was best for them. Who was I to argue? I was just their creator. So, once again, I acquiesced.

One thought she was a Queen and wanted to be treated like one. I named her Queen Annabell but I refused to bow and curtsy to her.





Another decided she wanted to be Bohemian. I named her Natasha.





And, the third decided she wanted to be Funky. I named her Phebe.





Right now when I look at them all together they look like little "biddies" conspiring to me.  Of course, I see bogey men everyone when it comes to my "dollies" and their demands.  And, since the "birdies" have developed such a close relationship with the rest of the "dollies" who knows what they'll be demanding next.


I'll just have to wait and see.  For sure, I'm not going to wait on them.  I might serve them afternoon tea, but that's it.


Perhaps I'll be surprised and they'll be delightful.  Perhaps they'll be nice, well-mannered, and a delight to be around.  Perhaps their charm will rub off on the rest of the "dollies."  Perhaps.......

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Linda's Review Of "Crazy Autumn" Stitchery By Carol L. Steffensen Of Chickadee Hollow Designs



Several years ago I bought a couple of creative embroidery and stitchery kits that I thought would be fun to do and have been trying to find some time to complete them ever since. Two weeks ago I finally had some time to work on one of them and decided to make the Fall themed stitchery from Chickadee Hollow Designs that I had bought.

The kit  included the embroidery floss and the pattern included the design on pre-printed pre-colored fabric, as well as a basic embroidery stitches sheet and sheet of basic instructions for completing their stitchery.

I had decided ahead of time that I wanted to frame my stitchery as a picture instead of finishing it the way the pattern had suggested which was to add strips to the sides and finish it as a small quilt. I opted instead to finish mine as a stitchery picture and blanket stitch around the edges.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Linda's Review Of Vintage Birdhouse Embroidery by Carol L. Steffensen Of Chickadee Hollow Designs



Several years ago I bought a couple of creative embroidery and stitchery patterns for making ornaments that I wanted to make into little pictures and have been trying to find some time to complete them.  I decided that with the beautiful Spring weather this would be the perfect time to work on some of them outside.

I decided to start with a Vintage Ornament #6 embroidered birdhouse ornament from Chickadee Hollow Designs as it was cute and looked relatively easy to complete.  The pattern included the design on pre-printed pre-colored fabric, as well as a basic embroidery stitches sheet and sheet of basic instructions for completing their ornaments.

I had decided ahead of time that I wanted to frame my ornament as a small picture instead of using it as an ornament.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Linda's Review of Haunted Library - Mill Hill Buttons & Bows Cross-Stitch Kit #MH14-0201



One of my all time favorite holidays is Halloween. I think it's the large number of creatures that you can make for this one holiday that draws me to it. So, of course, I was drawn to some of the Haunted Library Cross Stitch Kit from Mill Hill.

Like the other Mill Hill - Buttons & Beads Series patterns I had bought the  Haunted Library kit included the pattern, embroidery thread, perforated paper, beads, ghost button, 2 needles and instructions.

The Haunted Library pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and outline stitching as well as beads and buttons for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background. In this case they were leaving sections of the dark blue perforated paper background untouched.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Linda's Review Of Flowers and Hummingbird Cross-Stitch Kit - Dimensions The Gold Collection Petites




This winter proved to be a particularly productive season for me as far as my cross-stitch creations were concerned as I was able to finish 5 of the cross-stitch kits I had previously purchased.   In total I spent 200 hours creating my  5 cross-stitch pictures but it was well worth it.  That amounts to a few hours a day over 70 days or so.  Enough to cover the winter season.

The cross-stitch kit I just finished was a counted cross-stitch kit from Dimensions The Gold Collection Petites entitled Flowers and Hummingbird. Like the other Dimensions Gold Collection kits I had bought the Dimensions Needlecrafts Counted Cross Stitch, Flowers & Hummingbird kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, 18 count ivory cotton Aida, needle and instructions.

The Flowers and Hummingbird pattern uses full counted cross-stitch, half cross-stitch and outline stitching for emphasis and depth and this detailing really makes the picture stand out. The design of this cross-stitch gives the finished picture a 3 dimensional aspect with the half cross stitch and outlining being used for artistic effect.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Linda's Review of Covered Bridge - Mill Hill Buttons & Bows Cross-Stitch Kit #MH14-2201




I know that I've told you many, many times that I absolutely LOVE the Fall season. There's just something about it that really inspires me and I find that when I'm looking at crafts to make I generally gravitate towards those relating to the Fall season. So, it should come as no surprise that I chose to make a Fall themed cross-stitch with my Winter creations. Instead of a house the Covered Bridge - Cross Stitch Kit had a wonderful picture of a covered bridge. Certainly one you'd expect to see in New England.

Like the other Mill Hill  - Buttons & Beads Series patterns I had bought the Covered Bridge kit included the pattern, embroidery thread, perforated paper, beads,  hay bundle button, 2 needles and instructions.

The Covered Bridge pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and outline stitching as well as beads and buttons for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background.  In this case they were leaving sections of the dark blue perforated paper background untouched.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Linda's Review of Winter Woods - Mill Hill Buttons & Beads Cross-Stitch Kit #MH14-1303




One of the cross-stitch I had bought for creating this winter was a little different than some of the others I had completed. Usually I'm drawn to cross-stitch pictures of houses.  This one was a picture of a red cardinal sitting on the limb of a birch tree surrounded by other birch trees and large snowflakes. It was really pretty so I decided to try it.

Like the other Mill Hill  - Buttons & Beads Series patterns I had bought the Winter Woods  kit included the pattern, embroidery thread, perforated paper, beads, red cardinal button, 2 needles and instructions.

The Winter Woods  pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and outline stitching as well as beads and buttons for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background.  In this case they were leaving sections of the blue perforated paper background untouched.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Linda's Review of Mill Hill Buttons & Beads Home For Christmas Cross-Stitch Kit #MH14-1301




When trying to decide on which small cross-stitch kits I wanted to buy for this winter I saw a charming cross-stitch Christmas picture kit that had an adorable terrier in it.  So, of course, I just had to buy it and was anxious to make it.

Like the other Mill Hill  - Buttons & Beads Series patterns I had bought the Home for Christmas - Cross Stitch Kit included the pattern, embroidery thread, perforated paper, beads, terrier button, 2 needles and instructions.

The Home For Christmas pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and outline stitching as well as beads and buttons for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background.

I, once again, decided to frame my finished cross-stitch picture in a 5" by 5" white shadow box frame that is 1 1/2" deep and can stand on it's own (like the picture above) or with its back picture stand (like the picture below) as I've been really happy with the way all my other cross-stitch shadowbox pictures have come out.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Linda's Review of Hydrangea In Bloom Cross-Stitch Kit - Dimensions The Gold Collection Petites



As you all know I love cross-stitch kits and love making them over the long winter season.  One of the cross-stitch kits I decided to try this Winter was a counted cross-stitch kit from Dimensions The Gold Collection Petites entitled Hydrangea In Bloom.

Like the other Dimensions Gold Collection kits I had bought the Dimensions Needlecrafts Counted Cross Stitch by Kathryn White, Hydrangea In Bloom kit included the pattern, pre-sorted cotton thread, 18 count ivory cotton Aida, gold beads for the center of the blossoms, needle and instructions.

The Hydrangea In Bloom pattern uses full counted cross-stitch, half cross-stitch and outline stitching, and beads  for emphasis and depth and this detailing really makes the picture stand out. The design of this cross-stitch gives the finished picture a 3 dimensional aspect with the half cross stitch and outlining being used for artistic effect.