Glow in the Dark Thread Review

I’ve created this glow in the dark thread review as I was genuinely curious about two things: how to use the Kreinik’s line of glow in the dark (GITD) threads and the difference between the Kreinik and DMC’s E940 GITD floss. I carry the DMC floss in my Etsy shop and it has proved to be very popular. However, DMC has only the one color of GITD floss where Kreinik has seven colors and eight different sizes/types of thread.

The participants:glow in the dark thread review - all the threads I tested

Clockwise from top left you see Kreinik Blending Filament in Grapefruit, #4 Braid in Watermelon, #8 Braid in Lime, #16 Braid in Lemon Lime, #32 Braid in Tangerine, 1/16″ Ribbon in Blueberry, #8 Braid in Grapefruit, and the DMC E940 floss.

Kreinik also has #12 Braid, #24 Braid, and a 1/8″ Ribbon, but I decided against trying them out in lieu of the 4-8-16-32 progression you see above. Kreinik also has a seventh color, Grape, but it is only available in 1/16″ and 1/8″ Ribbons.

I used the Kreinik threads in cross stitch on 18 and 14 count Aida fabrics. I also used the Kreinik threads in tent or basketweave stitch on 18 and 14 count needlepoint canvases and in 7 count plastic canvas. I didn’t necessarily use every thread on every canvas – as you’ll see below, some of the combinations of thread and fabric were impractical.

With that in mind, let’s see how these Kreinik threads stitched up on a variety of cross stitch fabrics and needlepoint canvases. Let’s get started with the 18 count Aida…
18 ct aida light

The Blending Filament is interesting stuff – it’s a bit like stitching with very fine fishing line. It is composed of lots of extremely thin filaments that love to fray at the ends of the strand. I was able to thread it in a #26 tapestry needle pretty well. Using this color filament on white material took supreme concentration to make sure that all the stitches were done correctly. You can barely tell that the filament is there – it just adds a little plastic-y shimmer to the fabric.

The only issue I had with the Blending Filament itself on this 18 count Aida was that the strand frayed pretty badly while I was stitching. This didn’t happen with the filament as prominently on any of the other fabrics or canvases I tested. Below left you see the back of the Aida, and on the right you see the front. Keep in mind this filament was not necessarily designed to be used like this, so this is not a big deal. I just wouldn’t recommend using it in this exact same way.
18 ct aida issue with blending filament18 ct aida issue with blbf1ending filament






The Watermelon pink #4 Braid provided great coverage on this 18 count Aida, where the Lime green #8 Braid was a little too heavy (you’ll see how I made a few cross stitches crossing two at top just for fun). Using these Braids is like stitching with a heavy waxed dental floss. Rather than form knots, the threads tend to kink like a garden hose and they like to fray at the ends of the strand. I could not thread either Braid into my #26 tapestry needle. Unlike cotton floss that can “squish” into a needle eye, the #4, #8, and #16 Braids have no ability to compress whatsoever and needles with bigger eyes are necessary.

Stitching with the #4 and #8 plastic Braids produces an interesting texture on the fabric that I’ll call “crunchy.” You’re stitching with plastic, so “crunchy” is to be expected! It’s just different than the more soft and pillowy stitches that result from using cotton and wool.

Ah! But how do they glow? Well, they glow great!
18 ct aida dark

You can see the light coverage of the Blending Filament, the good coverage of the #4 Braid, and the lumpy coverage of the #8 Braid.

Up next is the 14 count Aida…
14 ct aida light

Again, you can hardly see the Blending Filament. The #4 Braid has some coverage, but the #8 Braid is about perfect on this 14 count Aida. I tried a little of the Lemon Lime #16 Braid, but it proved to be just too thick, distorting the fabric and holes pretty badly.

Stitching with the #16 Braid is like stitching with a very tiny paracord, so it doesn’t kink up quite like the #4 and #8 Braids. Finding a needle with an eye big enough to accommodate this Braid that won’t distort the fabric can be tough. And in the dark…
14 ct aida dark

the results are similar. The Blending Filament and the #4 Braid don’t quite cover the Aida effectively. The #8 Braid is about perfect, and the #16 Braid looks lumpy. Also, there’s not much difference in color between the Lime #8 and the Lemon-Lime #16 Braids.

On to the needlepoint canvases! First up, 18 count…
18 ct needlepoint canvas light

In tent stitch, the Blending Filament is hardly visible, the #4 Braid doesn’t quite cover, the #8 Braid gives a little more cover, but the #16 Braid is the one that effectively fills in the canvas.

Here I used the 1/16″ Ribbon in both tent stitch and backstich. The ribbon is flat, so it is quite easy to thread through a needle and it doesn’t tend to fray much. It does require constant untwisting and manipulation to keep flat. In tent stitch, it covers well but looks a little crowded. Ah, but in backstitch it really looks great! You can easily see the light color and the shimmery texture. The slight difference in the brightness between the tent stitch and the backstitch is true-to-life – the tent stitched portion really is a bit darker than it’s backstitched counterpart.

In the dark…
18 ct needlepoint canvas dark

the results are similar. The Blending Filament and #4 Braid are definitely visible but don’t cover at all, the #8 Braid is better, but the #16 Braid and the 1/16″ Ribbon cover well. The ribbon in tent stitch glows a little brighter than the backstitched section, but it’s not a huge difference. There’s also not much difference in color between the Lime #8, the Lemon Lime #16, and the Blueberry 1/16″ ribbon, whereas the Blending Filament in Grapefruit definitely looks more blueish. Interesting!

In 14 count needlepoint canvas,14 ct needlepoint canvas light

almost identical results as the 18 point canvas. The Blending Filament, #4 Braid, and #8 Braid aren’t enough to cover, while the #16 Braid and the 1/16 Ribbon covers nicely. The Ribbon looks better and less crowded in tent stitch than it did on the 18 count canvas, and again the backstitch looks nice.

In the dark, again similar results as the 18 point canvas:
14 ct needlepoint canvas dark

Nice coverage by the #16 Braid and the 1/16″ Ribbon.

The last material I tried was 7 count plastic canvas.
7 ct plastic canvas whiteI started with the #4 Braid, and here you can see that it, the #8 Braid, the #16 Braid and the 1/16″ Ribbon don’t cover the canvas at all. The Ribbon in cross stitch is enough to cover the plastic canvas grid but leaves the holes completely open.

Here I tried the #32 Braid for the first time. This braid, unlike it’s smaller siblings, does flatten out. It seems to be somewhat hollow in the middle – the closest comparison I can offer is that it’s like stitching with a tiny Chinese finger trap – and it has a bit of spongy give to it. Like using the ribbon, it does require some manipulation to get it to lay flat. Even the #32 Braid in tent stitch doesn’t fully fill all of the holes in the canvas (the photo shows the coverage as being a little more generous than it is in real life). However, the #32 Braid in cross stitch completely covers the canvas and fills the holes.

In the dark…
7 ct plastic canvas dark

the #4 and #8 Braids are barely visible, the #16 braid and 1/16″ ribbon are bright but don’t cover well. The #32 Braid glows great, but the full coverage is only in cross stitch. Here you can see better the difference between the color of the Blueberry Ribbon and the Lemon Lime #16 Braid, and the Tangerine orange of the #32 Braid is clear.

Thus far, this review has been all about using the Kreinik threads. Now here’s how the DMC floss compares with it’s closest Kreinik counterpart.
14 ct aida comparison light

On the left is Kreinik #8 Brain in Grapefruit, and on the right is two strands of DMC E940 Floss. I chose the #8 Braid as it provided the best coverage on 14 count aida, and I chose Grapefruit as it was the closest in color to the near white of the E940.

On the top, I did a few backstitches of varying lengths, and then I stitched six rows of cross stitch. It’s pretty clear to see that when it comes to behaving like regular six strand cotton embroidery floss, DMC has a clear advantage. It is soft and pillowy, whereas the Kreinik Braid has the “crunchy” texture I talked of above. The Kreinik produces a noticeably thicker and more sparkly stitch rather than the lower profile and matte finish of the DMC. The backstitches in DMC lie flat and behave well, and the Kreinik backstitches are a little more unruly.

And how do they glow?
14 ct aida comparison dark 0 seconds

They both glow well, but I’ll give the edge to the Kreinik, especially when it comes to the backstitching.

How well does the glow last over time? Here’s the glow after approximately 30 seconds:
14 ct aida comparison dark 30 seconds later

and again after approximately 60 seconds:
14 ct aida comparison dark after 60 seconds

The two are just about equally effective. Please keep in mind that the glow after a minute is more detectable by the human eye than by my camera. The glow is easily seen for much longer than just one minute!

So, after all this review, what would I use? Well, if the white color of the thread in daylight was fine, and I was doing cross stitch or needlepoint in 14-18 count, I’d use the DMC. It really is that much easier to use in those applications. However, if I wanted the stitching to be a color other than white or I was using plastic canvas, I think the Kreinik would be my choice. I would also use the #8 and larger Kreinik Braids and Ribbons in embroidery as couched threads (you can read more about couching here and here).

The DMC is definitely designed to act like six-strand embroidery floss, whereas the Kreinik is designed for a wider range of applications. How both of them are used is up to your creative talents!

Have you used any of these DMC or Kreinik glow in the dark threads? How did you use them and what are your impressions?

Compass Needlepoint Update 3

Once again I’m happy to share more progress on my compass needlepoint project!

compass needlepoint update 2In the last update, I had finished all of the radiating tiles and was ready to start filling in the background and the borders.




Here’s my latest photo – she’s looking gorgeous!compass needlepoint update 3

All of the border tiles are outlined, and I’ve started filling them in as well as the background. The four corners will be the same double stitch as the center circle and the four primary direction tiles. All of the other border blocks will have a different needlepoint stitch.

Compass Needlepoint Project WIP #6aHere you can see a bit more detail of the individual stitches. At the top, I’ve used Cashmere stitch worked diagonally. Next one down on the left is the Parisian stitch, and the Fern stitch below that.

I’m using the Hungarian stitch with ivory thread in the background of the center. It’s lovely, but it is really challenging to keep the pattern flowing in the tight areas between the blocks of color!

Compass Needlepoint Project WIP #6bFrom the top of this photo you can see the Brick Cashmere stitch, the Oblique Slav stitch and the Byzantine stitch. I had to add an extra element to the Oblique Slav section as the stitch with the thread I’m using didn’t cover the canvas quite enough. It still looks great, though!





I’m still very happy that I have slightly blended the colors, mixing 5 strands of the main colors with one strand of contrasting colors. I did this to better represent the speckled color and texture of the original tiles and to add a little visual interest. This looks good in the radiating tiles, but I think it looks even better in these border blocks.

The next step is to just keep filling in the background and occasionally take a break to have some fun filling in the border blocks with interesting stitches. I would LOVE to have her done by the end of this year (2015) as I have some other very cool needlepoint projects ready to stitch. However, this one has to get finished first!

The previous updates (Update 1 and Update 2) have info on the inspiration for this pattern – a patio tile pattern at the beautiful Cuq en Terrasses hotel near Toulouse, France. Take a look!

Airplane Movie Cross Stitch Pattern

This Airplane (the movie) cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!airplane movie cross stitch project

The quote is from Leslie Nielsen’s character, Dr. Rumack. He repeats the phrase “I just want to tell you both good luck. We’re all counting on you” before, during and after the plane lands. You can see them in the video below:

I tried my hardest to make faithful recreation of the TransAmerican airplane (at a reasonable size) and I have to say I’m pleased with the result! If you count carefully, there are a few more windows than the original, but the pattern of dark vs. light windows is pretty accurate. I was happy that I was able to recreate the “TA” logo on the tail fairly well.airplane movie cross stitch project transamerican plane photo

The pattern can be modified for any of your favorite funny lines from Airplane! Other quotes I considered include “I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley,” “It’s a big building with patients, but that’s not important right now,” “Why, I could make a hat or a brooch or a Pterodactyl,” and “You ever seen a grown man naked?” There are so many possibilities that would work well!

Airplane! is one of the funniest movies of all time. It’s so crammed full of gags that nearly every time you see it, you’ll discover something new to make you giggle. One great example is that it took me at least a decade to realize that during the exterior shots of the plane, instead of jet engine sounds, you hear propeller sounds. The A.V. Club posted a brilliant article – an oral history of Airplane! – on it’s 35th anniversary in 2015 that includes great information about the movie. For example, did you know that Barry Manilow and David Letterman were considered for the role of Ted Striker?

According to Wikipedia “In the years since its release, Airplane!’s reputation has grown substantially. The film was ranked sixth on Bravo’s 100 Funniest Movies. In a 2007 survey by Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, it was judged the second greatest comedy film of all time, after Monty Python’s Life of Brian” and “In 2010 it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.”

This Airplane movie cross stitch pattern would perfect for all fans of the film, so go check it out… and stop calling me Shirley.

Men in Blazers Cross Stitch Pattern

This Men in Blazers cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!men in blazers cross stitch pattern crap goals make my pants tingle

If you follow English football and have a sense of humor, make sure you catch the Men in Blazers. On a tight budget and a miniscule staff, Michael Davies and Roger Bennett create very funny podcasts, TV shows, Twitter and Instagram feeds, and they are even hosting their first “BlazerCon” in October 2015.

I have to credit my Dad with discovering the TV show that airs Monday nights on NBC Sports Network. I’m not sure how he found it, but as my husband closely follows British football, we are SO glad he did. Rog and Davo are smart, funny, and quick. The show is full of bizarre metaphors and obscure references – I’d say it’s like an English Premier League version of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

There’s a lot of “crap” in the Men in Blazers – as in “crap goals,” and their studio is in the “crap part of Soho.” There’s also a lot of “tingling,” usually in Rog’s pants or pectoral areas. Frequent references to Arsenal player Olivier Giroud’s “meaty french forehead,” Man City’s goalkeeper Joe Hart’s appearance (especially when he had the moustache), whatever nuttiness Louis van Gaal was up to in the last week, and keeping an eye on the crazy fans in the stands are some of their features.

The Men in Blazers have also tackled American football – this video is some of their highlights:

I actually had a tough time deciding what saying to use for this project as there are so many possibilities! I originally thought of a couple of their sartorial hashtags: #MovetoTweed and #LeantoLinen. Next I considered the name of their loyal followers: GFOP’s aka Great Friends of the Podcast. But then I decided some crap and some tingling needed to get involved and so I created this Men in Blazers cross stitch pattern, perfect for your favorite GFOP’s!

NFL Crib Mobile Tutorial

nfl crib mobile tutorialThis NFL crib mobile tutorial is my contribution to this year’s Crafty Football Blog Hop! I’m generally known for my cross stitch and needlepoint projects but lately I’ve been noticing so many fun felt projects I wanted to give it a try. I also really enjoy the colors of the NFL teams – they’re bright and bold, perfect for crafting. Why not have felt and NFL colors join forces in three dimensions?

nfl crib mobile tutorial 2015 crafty football blog hop badgeThis 2015 hop, like the 2013 and 2014 hops, is a combination of participants in the Crafty Fantasy Football League (#CraftyFFL) and fellow crafty and inventive football fans. At the bottom of this post, check out the links to the other participants outstanding projects!



Things you’ll need:

  • felt
  • embroidery floss
  • an embroidery hoop (I used a 5″ x 9″ oval shaped hoop as it was close in appearance to the outline of a football)
  • paperclips
  • fabric scissors
  • paper scissors
  • pins
  • cotton batting or cotton balls (optional)
  • needles
  • ruler
  • small metal or wooden ring (optional)
  • glue (school glue is fine)

NFL Crib Mobile

You will need 16 colors of felt and 13 colors of embroidery floss. The embroidery floss I already had in my supplies, but I purchased the felt and the hoop from the incredibly helpful Deanna of the Etsy shop BusyLittleBird. She (and Mr. BusyLittleBird) went above and beyond when helping me get the correct colors of felt for this project and I can not thank her enough!

I recommend her listing for 20 sheets of 6″ x 9″ wool blend felt as that size sheet is big enough to accommodate all the cut pieces necessary of any color. I can also recommend her listing for the 5″ x 9″ oval hoop, and in addition, she sells DMC embroidery floss if you need to augment your collection.

nfl crib mobile tutorial legendThe legend at right shows the names of the felt colors (as they are listed at BusyLittleBird), the DMC floss numbers, and the team color combinations necessary for the mobile.

Note: It will take two whole skeins of floss to wrap the 5″ x 9″ hoop. Also, some of the colors in the photo above are different than the colors listed in the legend – a result of post-purchase consultations with BusyLittleBird. I recommend you go with the colors in the legend.




On the mobile, each of the 32 NFL teams are represented by a double-sided felt square. Each side consists of a big outer 1 1/2″ square and a small inner 3/4″ square.

Let’s use Denver (my fave team – Go Broncos!) as an example. The outer square is Ragtime Blue and the inner square is Sunburst. Therefore, for Denver’s double-sided square, you will need to cut two 1 1/2″ Ragtime Blue squares and two 3/4″ Sunburst squares. Repeat this for all the teams, and refer to the legend for all the color combinations.

I used fabric scissors to cut the squares, although a fabric cutting machine or a rotary fabric cutter probably would have worked much better at getting the edges of the squares at precise right angles.

Next up are the 4 pennants and the 4 footballs, and here is a template of those shapes for you to use.

For the footballs, cut out the eight paper templates and pin them to the Peat Moss felt. You may want to do a rough cut to separate the pieces from each other, and then go back and more carefully cut around the edge of the paper football template.
NFL Crib Mobile

For the pennants, cut four big triangles of Kelly Green felt and another four of Chartreuse felt. You may want to pin the big outer triangle templates to the green felt in the same manner as the footballs before you make your cuts. The eight small triangles can be cut from scraps of the other felt colors.

After all the cutting, you can unpin the templates from the felt and discard the paper. You may need to trim a few pieces to get them a little more correct.

When you have finished cutting, in total you will end up with 64 big squares, 64 little squares, 8 footballs, 8 big triangles and 8 small triangles.
NFL Crib Mobile



Use three strands of the six strand embroidery floss to sew the small inner squares to the middle of the big outer squares. Use the floss color that matches the bigger felt square. Refer to the legend once again to get your team color combinations correct. The photos below show Tampa Bay’s silver and red sewn with the silver floss.

Make a knot on the end of the floss, and come up from the back about 1/8″ from the corner of the inner square. Make a simple running stitch all the way around, and then tie off the floss with a knot on the back. Repeat this process for all 64 squares.
NFL Crib Mobile

Put the two halves together back to back, with the knots on the inside. This time use only one strand of that same bigger square floss color. Make a small knot at the end of the floss. Starting at the middle of the top, whip stitch the two pieces together. The photos below show the basics of the whip stitch, but here is another set of directions you might find useful.
NFL Crib Mobile

Stop whip stitching at the fourth corner, leaving half of the top unsewn and open as shown in the photo below. Leave roughly 4 – 5 inches of the single strand of floss so that you can finish whip stitching the top later. Repeat this process for all 32 squares.  NFL Crib Mobile

NFL Crib MobileRepeat the same steps for the pennants. Sew the small triangles onto the big triangles with three strands of floss. Put the two pieces back to back, and whip stitch the pennants, again using one strand of floss. However this time, leave the entire top edge of the pennants open.



NFL Crib MobileUse three strands of white embroidery floss to sew laces on four of the eight footballs. Whip stitch one “laced” football to a plain football. This time, leave roughly 1 1/2 inch around the top center open and unsewn. At this point, you can stuff the footballs with cotton batting or even cotton balls to give them a little dimension.


When all of your pieces have been whip stitched, layout all the pieces into 8 columns of 5 pieces. Put one pennant or football in each string. Try to balance the position of brighter squares and darker squares, and try to avoid duplicate color combinations (I’m looking at you navy blue and red, for one) being adjacent to each other.
NFL Crib Mobile

One note, do not put a pennant at the bottom of a string like I have shown above. I found out that those little puppies won’t hang straight unless there is a square or football below them.

Assembling the Strings:

For this step, you will need another needle that is at least as long as the squares are tall – 1 1/2 inches. I alternated between the two green floss colors, DMC 699 and DMC 704, to make the strings. Cut pieces of floss 30″ – 36″ long and separate them into two three-strand groups. Thread your long needle with one of these three strand groups of floss.

You’re going to start from the bottom piece and work your way up each string of five pieces.

Double or triple tie a paperclip to the end of the floss. Trim the tail end of the floss quite close to the paperclip. Insert the paperclip into the unstiched gap in the square. Orient the paperclip vertically, and center the top of the paperclip and the floss at the top center of the square. Make sure that the tail end of the green floss is tucked inside the square.
NFL Crib Mobile
NFL Crib Mobile

Thread your smaller needle with the tail of the floss you used to whip stitch the two pieces together. Whip stitch the top of the square closed, making sure you stitch on either side of the green floss four or five times to secure the paperclip.
NFL Crib Mobile

As this mobile isn’t meant for much handling, no knot is necessary. Just draw the thread out through an edge of the square between the two pieces of felt and trim it close.
NFL Crib Mobile

NFL Crib MobileIf your next piece is a square or a football, insert the long needle through the bottom center between the two back-to-back pieces. Work the needle toward the top center, making sure you don’t accidentally pierce either of the two sides. Pull the long needle through the top of the piece.


NFL Crib MobileIf your next piece is a pennant, run the needle between the pieces roughly in the same location as the base of the small triangle.




Now you will want to look at the spacing between pieces on the string. In my example, I put about two inches between pieces. Tie another paperclip to the green floss where the top of the next piece will be. For example, if the next piece is a square, the knot on the paperclip would be 3 1/2 inches (2 inches spacing plus the 1 1/2 inch of the square) above the top of the piece below it. Using a ruler will definitely help your spacing.
NFL Crib Mobile

After you get your paperclip knotted in place, insert the paperclip into the unstitched gap and finish whip stitching the piece in the same manner as you did with the first piece on the string. Again, make sure you stitch on either side of the green floss four or five times to secure the paperclip inside the piece.
NFL Crib Mobile

Repeat these steps until all five pieces are on a string, and all eight strings are assembled.

Assembling the mobile:

All you will use is the smaller, inner embroidery hoop. Mark 8 equidistant places on the hoop, and then tie the 8 strings to the hoop using secure knots. You can tie the eight strings all at the same height or stagger the heights as I did. You should have plenty of extra string – don’t trim the excess yet!

Take three of the eight excess strings (I chose the strings at roughly the 12:00, 4:00 and 7:00 positions), and tie them together above the mobile so that the hoop will hang level. At this point you could attach a metal or wooden ring. I didn’t have one available, so I just made a second knot about an inch above the first knot.
NFL Crib Mobile

NFL Crib MobileTrim the five other excess strings down to a length of about 1 1/2″ and then use a little glue to stick the floss ends to the inside of the hoop.




Now you’re ready to start wrapping your hoop. It will take two whole skeins of floss, using all six strands, to wrap a 5″ x 9″ hoop. Use a little more glue to stick the beginning of the skein to the hoop. Work your way over that beginning and continue wrapping the floss around the hoop. Take care that you don’t catch up the eight strings below or the three strings that go up to the knot.
NFL Crib Mobile

Tip: Holding the hoop with all the strings attached and bobbing around while you’re trying to wrap the floss is nearly impossible. On my table I used a couple of new rolls of paper towels standing on end to assist me in holding up the hoop. Putting a big rubber band around each roll helped as well.

NFL Crib MobileTo tie off a skein, thread a needle with the floss, pass it under as many wraps as possible on the inside of the hoop, and then closely trim off the extra. After you tie off, you may need to scoot and shift a couple of wraps to cover some small gaps that show the wood hoop.

Congratulations – your mobile is complete! Here is mine, hanging out with some aspen leaves.




Check out what the other Crafty Football Blog Hop participants made this year!

Montana Cross Stitch Pattern – Arrowhead Road Sign

This Montana cross stitch pattern and kit are now available in my Etsy shop!montana road sign cross stitch arrowhead


Montana Highway SignsThe pattern is based on a Montana Secondary Road sign. The standard Montana Highway sign (shown at right) is a bit plain, so I thought this Secondary Road sign with it’s cool arrowhead pattern would make a much more interesting cross stitch pattern.



Montana Rural Road #323I can easily customize this pattern for any of your favorite Montana roads! MyScenicDrives has good information about Montana.

[Montana Highway Signs by Jimmy Emerson, DVM, via Flickr]

Country Road Take Me Home

[Road leading from Bozeman Montana, winding through the Bridger Mountains by Kim Tasjian via Flickr]


[Looking north towards Ennis, Montana along US 287 by Madison76 via Flickr]


[Glacier National Park by Lue Huang via Flickr]

Create a reminder of a favorite drive in Big Sky Country with this Montana cross stitch pattern and kit!

This pattern is just the latest in a series of state highway sign patterns. Others in the series thus far include Colorado, Alaska, California, Texas, Michigan, Utah, Florida, New Mexico, Georgia, Washington, and an Interstate sign

French Liquor License Cross Stitch Pattern

This French liquor license cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!french liquor license cross stitch pattern


french liquor license cross stitch pattern original signThis fun pattern is based on an enameled metal sign I saw outside the Hotel Le Tropicana in Douville, France. I thought it was a really charming sign and I immediately knew that I would stitch one for myself someday.

The number IV (4) indicates that the establishment can sell all types of beers, wines, and spirits. License types I, II, and III exist as well.




We stayed at this hotel as the 2014 Tour de France individual time trial (ITT) stage passed very close by. In a previous blog post, I shared a little about why the ITT is our favorite stage to watch and some highlights and videos of the Tour.

gypsy ways update 6 french sign translation failI’m going to repeat myself a bit from that same previous post: “One of my favorite finds of the summer was very near our hotel. There is a nice little campground with a lake, [and] this is one of the signs around the lake:



The English part of the sign really means to say ‘Swimming in the lake is prohibited,’ so one can only assume this is just a spectacular web-based translation fail.” Although this sign is a cute favorite, I don’t plan on creating a cross stitch pattern based on it.

I’ve always been curious about the date on the plaque – 24 September 1941. This was after France fell to the Germans in World War II. There are few other images of this plaque on the web, but the ones I have seen have the same date. So was this liquor license law something that was in legislative process before the German invasion, or was this law something that the Germans insisted upon during their occupation? I’d enjoy to hear any insights into the matter.

This French liquor license cross stitch pattern is a perfect project for your favorite Francophiles (fans of French culture), oenophiles (fans of wine), and beer connoisseurs. It would look great in a kitchen, dining room, home bar, media room – wherever good libations are enjoyed!

Camino de Santiago Cross Stitch Pattern

This Camino de Santiago cross stitch pattern and kit is now available in my Etsy shop!camino de santiago cross stitch pattern

This project is a perfect way to commemorate a journey along the Way of St. James. The scallop shell has long been the symbol of the Camino, and it serves both practical and symbolic purposes.

The shell served as a makeshift bowl for water and food, and pilgrims would often take a Galician scallop shell on their return home as proof of their journey. The grooves in the scallop also symbolize the different paths the pilgrims follow on route to their one destination – Santiago de Compostela, legendary home of the apostle St. James’ remains.

Iglesia de Santiago de Compostela - Galicia - España.The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is in the province of Galicia in northwestern Spain.

[photo by Marcelo Jaramillo Cisneros via Flickr]

There are two main routes to the cathedral. There is a more inland route through Logroño, the Rioja region, Burgos, and León. Rioja is one of my favorite places – I wrote about it near the bottom of this post on our 2014 travels.

There is also a more coastal route through Bilbao and Santander, and then through Asturias and Galicia. I wrote about Asturias in another post on our 2014 travels – it’s simply gorgeous.

I was lucky enough to go inside the cathedral during a special mass. At this mass they used the massive 80kg (176 lb) censer (incense burner) called the “Botafumiero” that requires several people, the “tiraboleiros,” to operate. The censer is attached to a rope that then swings via a pulley across the cathedral transept. The tiraboleiros swing the censor nearly to the ceiling!

camino de santiago cross stitch - censer in action in cathedral

From the Wikipedia article, “One explanation of this custom, which originated more than 700 years ago—although incense has been used in Catholic ritual from the earliest times—is that it assisted in masking the stench emanating from hundreds of unwashed pilgrims.”

As with many travels, it’s not necessarily the destination that is important – it’s the journey you take to get there. I hope many of you will use this Camino de Santiago cross stitch project as a way to create a reminder of your journey.

Beatles Wedding Cross Stitch Pattern

This Beatles wedding cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!beatles wedding cross stitch pattern

This cross stitch pattern is a wonderful way to celebrate your big day or to create as a present to your favorite newlyweds or new parents.

The quote comes from the Beatles song “You Never Give Me Your Money” from their 1969 album Abbey Road. The song itself isn’t terribly romantic as it is about their business and interpersonal problems. Nevertheless, the line “One sweet dream came true today” always struck me as a great way to celebrate a marriage, a new baby, or a new start in life.

The photographed example above was made for the daughter and new husband of one of my cousins. Katie and T.J. had a true country wedding with the attendants wearing cowboy boots with their dresses and suits. The reception was in a barn, and the wedding party was transported by horse and carriage. Their colors were two shades of blue and sunflower yellow, thus these were the colors I chose for their project, plus a touch of celery green as an accent.

I would be happy to customize this project to suit the occasion. Of course, I can design the name(s) and date you would like to commemorate. In the Etsy listing, just hit “Ask a question” and we can discuss options and terms for your particular project.

It would also be great to see this project executed with different flosses and especially variegated flosses. Before I knew what the wedding colors were, I contemplated using one of my favorites, the rainbow colors of Anchor 1360 as the floss for either the scrollwork or as the flowers around the scrollwork.beatles wedding cross stitch pattern anchor 1360

I also considered using a variegated floss for the wording as text often looks terrific in subtly changing colors. One example is in my unique take on gratitude – my “Life Sucketh Not” pattern,life sucketh not cross stitch pattern

and another is my “Gluten in Your Muffin” pattern based on a quote from a Saturday Night Live sketch:gluten in your muffin cross stitch pattern

beatles wedding cross stitch patternVariegated flosses or not, I’d love to see this fun project in all kinds of colors and for all kinds of celebrations!

Gypsy Ways Update 10 – QM2 and Cross Country

Gypsy ways update 10 begins with us boarding the elegant Queen Mary 2 at Southampton after a wonderful time in England and Western Europe.Queen Mary 2 Ocean Liner II

[Queen Mary 2 Ocean Liner by Gerald via Flickr]

The QM2 is a truly magnificent ship. And everyone is quick to remind you that this is an “ocean going liner” and certainly not a “cruise ship.”

I’ll repeat a bit from an earlier update – “The main reason we take the QM2 is because they offer kennel service, and if we’re doing some extensive traveling, we like to bring our dog. Transportation by water is not my favorite as I get terribly seasick (even on a lake), but as a way to get across the Atlantic with the dog and all of our luggage (as much as you can fit in your cabin is allowed), it’s a great way to go.

“The dogs are restricted to a small area on the ship (deck 12, starboard aft), and they have to learn to do their ‘business’ on the teak decking, which can be challenging for our four-legged friends. There is a full time kennel master who takes outstanding care of the dogs and keeps the kennels very clean and comfy, and we’re allowed to spend time with the dogs for various stretches totaling 7 to 8 hours a day. All the dog people get to know each other and the other dogs as we spend most of our days together in the kennels.”

In that previous update, I promised to share a few more photos, so here they are…gypsy ways update 10 - qm2 kennels on deck

The door to the kennels is open and you can see that the gate at the fore end of the kennel deck is closed to keep the pooches inside. The kennel masters bring out chairs and provide blankets to help keep everyone warm. In fact, my dog Scully is the lump under the blanket closest to the camera.gypsy ways update 10 - qm2 kennels inside

If it gets too cold outside, this is the area inside where we can sit. Scully is the black and tan one at the right. Her best dog friend this trip was Watson, the french bulldog on the chair to her left. Next to Watson was his person, Claire.gypsy ways update 10 - qm2 kennels dog life jacket

Here you can see Scully with her life jacket on (and looking a little not-too-sure about it). Behind her, scratching the Spaniel, is the kennel master. They have life jackets in all different sizes for the pets.

Like I said in the previous update, most of our day revolved around the open kennel hours. There were events scheduled every hour of every day all over the ship, but we spent as much time as we could with our dog. After the kennels closed for the night, we went to dinner, saw what was happening in the ballroom, and checked out the jazz in the Chart Room.Queen Mary 2, Greenock

[Queen Mary 2 Chart Room by Rob Lightbody via Flickr]

After eight fun, elegant nights, we docked in Brooklyn and started our US journey. For that road trip, I actually recommend that you read the first update of this trip, in which we traveled from west to east. This time, however, start at the bottom of the page and work your way back up, as that is almost exactly how we returned to the west coast.

We did visit lots of friends and family along the way, including stops in Boston, Chicago, Iowa, Omaha, and Colorado before arriving back home. One highlight was something I had never seen before – the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio in Oak Park, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. I only had time for a quick walking tour of Forest Avenue, but I will go back to take a more thorough look. gypsy ways update 10 - frank lloyd wright frank w thomas house forest avenue oak park illinoisThat beautiful note wraps up this series of posts on our travels in 2014. It was an amazing trip and I’m so grateful that we have the opportunity to undertake something this extensive. However, I will say that it is always nice to come back home.

If you’re curious about other parts of the trip, Update 1 covered our trip across the United States west to east, Update 2 was our Transatlantic crossing west to east, Update 3 talked about the UK and Greece, Update 4 was in Switzerland and Italy’s Cinque Terre, Update 5 was about Italy, Update 6 covered the French Riviera, the Tour de France, Basque country and the Rioja area of Spain, Update 7 talked about Asturias, Spain, Update 8 was the Mediterranean Costa Blanca and driving north through France, and Update 9 covered some great sights in England.

If you have any questions about any part of the trip, please feel free to ask. We have some definite favorites that we are happy to share!