Variegated Floss Comparison Part 2 – DMC and Anchor

This variegated floss comparison Part 2 between DMC and Anchor will help explain the similarities and differences between the two brands. In Part 1, I covered Anchor’s 1200 series where each floss is variations of one color, e.g., fuchsia pink to light pink or from royal blue to light blue. In this Part 2, I’ll go through Anchor’s 1300 series, called their “Multicolors,” most of which really do live up to that name. variegated floss comparison part 2 - anchor 1300 series variegated flosses

I’ll share a brief description and a photo of each Anchor floss with what I determined to be it’s closest DMC counterpart. I’ll also offer a rating between 0 – not different at all to 5 – very different, and also share which Anchor flosses have no DMC counterpart at all.

Anchor 1300 DMC 4145Anchor 1300 and DMC 4145 both include similar shades of brown, but the Anchor is lighter overall and includes a touch of straw yellow in the mix. Difference rating: 3.

[Clicking on the photos will take you to Flickr, where you can take a closer look!]

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1301Anchor 1301 is the second “incomparable” (the first being the lilac purple 1209 from Part 1). This is a lovely mix of pastel pink, yellow, and blue – a bit like looking at mother-of-pearl.

 

 

 

Anchor 1302Anchor 1302 is another “incomparable.” Anchor named this floss “Marble” for good reason – it is a great mix of white, pink, peach and a bit of grey – like a pretty piece of marble stone.

 

 

Anchor 1303 DMC 4073Anchor 1303 has two DMC counterparts, DMC 4075 and 4073. 4075 is much more gold than the creamy yellow tones in the Anchor, and 4073 gets darker than the Anchor as well. Difference rating: 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1304 DMC 4070 4080Anchor 1304 also has two DMC counterparts, DMC 4070 and 4080. They’re all gorgeous and they all look like daffodil fields to me, however 4080 is definitely lighter than the other two and it’s shades of green are much more subtle. 4070 has more green where the yellow in the Anchor is more prominent and tends toward orange at it’s extreme. Difference rating: 3.

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1305 DMC 4126Anchor 1305‘s closest counterpart is DMC 4126. The DMC includes some pink where the Anchor does not, and the Anchor has more yellow than the DMC. Difference rating: 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1315 DMC 4120Anchor 1315 and DMC 4120 have orange in common, but that’s about it. The DMC is all in shades of orange and orange pink where the Anchor includes true pink and yellow. Difference rating: 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1316 DMC 4200 4205Anchor 1316 has two counterparts, DMC 4200 and 4205, and all are gorgeous fiery reds. Where 4205 is red and purple and 4200 has slightly lighter reds mixed with some pink and orange, the Anchor includes raspberry, red, orange, and gold. Difference rating: 3.

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1318 DMC 4090Anchor 1318‘s closest counterpart is DMC 4090. While they are both peachy, the DMC is definitely more yellow compared to the pink in the Anchor floss. Difference rating: 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1320 4260Anchor 1320 and DMC 4260 both include pink and purple. The DMC includes darker purple where the Anchor includes a hint of peach in it’s pinks. Difference rating: 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1325 4215Anchor 1325 and DMC 4215 are both gorgeous combinations of blue, purple, and pink. While the blue is very similar, the pink in the DMC is much more subtle than the bright fuchsia in the Anchor. Difference rating: 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1335Anchor 1335 is the fourth of the eight “incomparables.” This variegated floss is a very fun combination of pink, purple, aqua blue, and lemon (almost fluorescent) yellow. I can’t wait to see this floss in a project!

 

 

Anchor 1342 4020Anchor 1342 and DMC 4020 share a similar light blue, but the Anchor is basically shades of that one blue only. The DMC includes other shades of blue and is more water-like than it’s sky-like counterpart. Difference rating: 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1344 DMC 4214Anchor 1344‘s closest counterpart is DMC 4214. The DMC has much more pink and the blue at one extreme is much darker than the Anchor. The blue in the Anchor also is a bit closer to aqua. These are both really pretty flosses, but they definitely are different. Difference rating: 4.

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1345 1347 DMC 4050 4030Anchor 1345 and Anchor 1347 are in in a unique situation with DMC 4050 and DMC 4030. With it’s combination of bright green, aqua, and blue, 1345 looks like a great combination of 4050 and 4030. 1347, with it’s deep blue and light aqua extremes, just seems like the last step in this gorgeous four-floss progression. Difference rating for 1345: 3, for 1347: 4.

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1349 DMC 4240Anchor 1349 is pretty much just a lighter version of DMC 4240. Difference rating: 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1352Anchor 1352 is our fifth “incomparable.” With it’s minty to celery green shades, it’s a very pretty combination of green.

 

 

 

Anchor 1353 DMC 4065Anchor 1353‘s closest counterpart is DMC 4065. However, the DMC is green with some grey and peach colors where the Anchor is slightly brighter greens and buttery yellows. Difference rating: 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1355Anchor 1355 is another “incomparable” – this time a lovely mix of dark blue and yellow-greens.

 

 

 

Anchor 1360Anchor 1360 may be my favorite of all these “incomparable” Anchor flosses. It’s really what I would consider to be closest to a rainbow with it’s variegated raspberry, gold, green, blue, and purple.

 

 

Anchor 1375Also very cool is Anchor 1375, the eighth and final “incomparable.” Anchor has named this floss “Harlequin” and it’s easy to see why with it’s variegated pink, gold, green, and blue.

 

 

 

Anchor 1385 DMC 4128Anchor 1385 has it’s closest counterpart in DMC 4128. The DMC is mostly shades of one color where the Anchor includes taupe, rust, peach, and dark gold. Difference rating: 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1390 DMC 4140The last Multicolor is Anchor 1390, who’s closest counterpart is DMC 4140. These are two very different flosses as the DMC is warmer tones of brown with a hint of pink, whereas the Anchor is in cooler shades of chocolate, gold, taupe, and maybe a touch of purple in the mix. Difference rating: 5.

 

 

 

 

 

All DMC Variegated FlossThat wraps up this variegated floss comparison between Anchor and DMC. One thing to keep in mind is that DMC has 76 variegated flosses compared to Anchor’s 40, so all of the DMC flosses did not appear in this comparison. In fact, DMC has 43 variegated flosses that have no comparable match in the Anchor line.

Don’t forget, this Part 2 post covered just Anchor’s 1300 “Multicolor” series of variegated flosses. Please check out Part 1 that covered Anchor’s 1200 series of flosses as well!Anchor 1200 series

 

A footnote on this post: In order to get the full effect of the differences and similarities of the flosses, you really need to see them for yourself in different types of lighting. I’ve tried my best to capture the subtleties of the color differences, but cameras can’t always do the same job as the human eye. Also, keep in mind that all of the various computer monitors and screens will display colors differently.

Gypsy Ways Update 9 – London and the UK

Gypsy ways update 9 begins with us just arrived back in the UK from our adventures in continental Europe. At this point we joined my Mom who had never been to the UK before. She arrived a few days before we did, and in that time she visited the Sandringham Estate, which is the Queen’s home in Norfolk.Sandringham House 23-05-2011

[Sandringham House by Karen Roe via Flickr]

While she enjoyed the Estate and the grounds (and their delicious apple juice), the setting is informal, and she was also wanting to see a little Imperial opulence. So we took her to Windsor Castle!

Parts of Windsor Castle truly are spectacular. Despite the volume of visitors it receives, the grounds and gardens are immaculate,gypsy ways update 9 - garden at windsor castle

and the State Apartments are stately, indeed.The Crimson Drawing Room - State Apartments at Windsor Castle England

[The Crimson Drawing Room by mbell1975 via Flickr]

In November 1992, a fire destroyed or damaged more than 100 rooms at the Castle (the Crimson Drawing Room shown in the photo above was completely gutted). There are fascinating tales of chains of people, staff and volunteers, passing furniture, works of art, and manuscripts to safety, and the restoration work is a tribute to the craftspeople who executed it so beautifully.

Mom and I spent two full days in London. We started with museums, namely the massive and impressive Victoria and Albert Museum with it’s emphasis on art and design. The V&A is so big that I asked her to pick out one part of the museum that she wanted to see in particular, and she chose the Jameel Gallery of Islamic art. In that gallery is the beautiful Ardabil carpet that no other than famous designer William Morris recommended that the museum purchase.The Ardabil Carpet on display in the Jameel Gallery, V&A

We also went to the unique and unusual Sir John Soane’s museum. He was an architect who collected objects of art and architecture from around the world. His home is full of these pieces, and “in 1833 Soane negotiated an Act of Parliament to settle and preserve the house and collection for the benefit of ‘amateurs and students’ in architecture, painting and sculpture.” It was a fascinating place. antiquities gallery at Sir John Soane's museum

[Antiquities Gallery at Sir John Soane’s Museum by Arwen O’Reilly via Flickr] 

Of course, we visited the area around the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) and Westminster Abbey.Houses of Parliament & Westminster Bridge.

[Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge by Apostolis Giontzis via Flickr]

We toured Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, the modern construction of the original Globe Theater from Shakespeare’s time. The new theater is about 750 feet from the original building that was torn down around 1644. Here you can see that much of the roof is open to the sky, and the floor of the theater has no seats – it’s standing room only!gypsy ways update 9 - shakespeare's globe theater

We went to Greenwich, home of the Old Royal Naval College with it’s twin domes designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The Cutty Sark resides there, and the Royal Observatory that houses the Greenwich Meridian at 0 degrees longitude is less than a mile away. However the real stars are the Chapel and the Painted Hall.

The Chapel interior was originally quite plain, but after a fire in 1779, it was redecorated in the Greek revival style you see here:
Inside the Old Royal Navy Chapel

[Inside the Old Royal Navy Chapel by Nicholas Schooley via Flickr]

The Painted Hall is a real treat. It was originally intended as a dining hall for naval veterans, and it took the artist James Thornhill 19 years to paint the interior. At completion in 1727, the space was deemed far too grand for it’s original purpose, so it sat mainly unused for most of the next 70 years. Today it is open to the public and used as a space to hire for formal dinners and occasions.
The Painted Hall, Greenwich, London, England

[The Painted Hall, Greenwich by Joe Daniel Price via Flickr]

The last location we visited in London was the beautiful and sobering “Blood Swept Land and Sea of Red” at the Tower of London. One ceramic poppy was handmade for every British fatality in World War I and all 888,246 poppies were installed in the moat around the Tower gradually between July 17 and November 11, 2014. All of the poppies were sold and the proceeds were split between six service charities.gypsy ways update 9 - poppies at the tower of london

After our time in London, my Mom had to go back to the States, but my husband and I did a little more traveling in the UK before we boarded the Queen Mary 2. We visited a family member who lives in the lovely town of Bovey Tracey in Devon. From there, we drove into Dartmoor and had a pub lunch in the beautiful, tiny, and ancient village of Widecombe in the Moor.
Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Dartmoor

[Widecombe-in-the-Moor by Baz Richardson via Flickr]

We also visited a friend who lives in Meads Village, Eastbourne near the chalky cliffs of Beachy Head. Another pub lunch was had in the nearby town of East Dean, famous for being the retirement spot of Sherlock Holmes. In the photo below, the house he “lived in” is at left in the fore of the photo, and the Tiger Inn pub is easy to see with it’s bright umbrellas.
Tiger Inn, East Dean

[Tiger Inn, East Dean by Dave_S. via Flickr]

The next post will be the final chapter of these travels, covering our time on the Queen Mary 2 and our trip back across the US on our way home. Stay tuned!

(Here’s a link to the previous Update 8)

Blues Brothers Cross Stitch Pattern – If the Shit Fits…

This Blues Brothers cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!blues brothers cross stitch pattern if the shit fits wear it

This project is a quote uttered by no other than Donald “Duck” Dunn, base player for the band. He says this line after they had played at Bob’s Country Bunker, a rowdy country and western bar.

This is a funny (and rude) take on the old saying “If the shoe fits, wear it,” which is quite an old idiom in itself.

From this and his other lines in the movie, it’s plain to see that Donald Dunn was no actor, but he was a great musician. In 1992 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Booker T and the MG’s, and his musical accomplishments, including recording sessions with Stax Records and extensive touring and performing with everyone from Muddy Waters to Eddie Vedder, are the stuff of legend.

I was lucky enough to see him in person when he was touring with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young in the mid-2000’s. I had no idea he was with the band until he appeared on stage. I may have been more excited to be in the same room with a member of the Blues Brothers band than with CSNY!

I stitched the green lettering in DMC 4047, one of their gorgeous variegated flosses. This project is small so it stitches up quickly, and it’s perfect for beginners and more experienced stitchers alike.

blues brothers cross stitch pattern shit. what. rollers. no. yeah. shitThe Blues Brothers is about as good a comedy movie as you will ever see, thanks in part to lots of quotes like this. This is my second Blues Brothers cross stitch pattern, the first being this “rollers” project. I’m pretty confident that I will create even more projects honoring this outstanding movie in the future as well.

Variegated Floss Comparison – DMC and Anchor Part 1

This variegated floss comparison between DMC and Anchor will help explain the similarities and differences between the two brands. I’ve carried all 76 colors of DMC variegated floss in my Etsy shop since mid-2013. They are absolutely gorgeous but most big brick-and-mortar craft shops don’t stock them. All DMC Variegated Floss

I recently decided to add the 40 colors of Anchor variegated floss to my shop as these are even more difficult to find, either in person or online. I was a bit worried that there might be a lot of too-similar color combinations between the DMC and Anchor lines, but I’m happy to say that my concern was unnecessary. While there are a few overlaps, the vast majority of the Anchor flosses are quite different from DMC’s.

I’ll share a description and a photo of each Anchor floss with what I determined to be it’s closest DMC counterpart. I’ll also offer a rating between 0 – not different at all to 5 – very different, and also share which Anchor flosses have no DMC counterpart at all.

This first post will cover Anchor’s 1200 series flosses. Each of these flosses are variations of one color, e.g., fuchsia pink to light pink or from royal blue to light blue. variegated floss comparison - anchor 1200 series variegated flosses multicolors

Anchor 1201 DMC 4180Anchor 1201 and DMC 4180 are very similar. The Anchor floss swings a tiny touch lighter and darker than it’s slightly more subtle DMC neighbor. I’d give these two a difference rating of 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1202 DMC 4110 4190Anchor 1202‘s nearest counterparts are DMC 4110 and 4190. Anchor calls this floss “Peach Glow,” but to my eye it appears more like a pretty pink grapefruit color. The Anchor floss is in shades of just the one pink, while the two DMC flosses have oranges and peaches in their mix. I’m going to give this floss a difference rating of 3.

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1203 DMC 106Anchor 1203 and DMC 106 are quite different. As the DMC leans toward orange while the Anchor is in shades of cherry red, I’ll give this a difference rating of 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1204 DMC 107Anchor 1204 and DMC 107 are also pretty different. Although they both have similar shades of pink, the Anchor floss sways from red to a very pale pink while the DMC is all in shades of pink. Difference rating: 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1206 DMC 115Anchor 1206 and DMC 115 are virtually identical, with the brighter side of the Anchor floss being a fractionally lighter red than the DMC. Difference rating: 0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1207 DMC 48Anchor 1207 and DMC 48 are also very similar. This time the color swings in the Anchor are a tiny bit less extreme than the DMC. Difference rating: 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1209Anchor 1209 is the first of the “incomparables.” It is in gorgeous shades of lilac purple. DMC has lovely purples but not one quite like this.

 

 

 

Anchor 1210 DMC 121Anchor 1210 and DMC 121 are nearly identical. Is it also a coincidence that their numbers are nearly the same as well? Difference rating: 0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1211 DMC 4237Anchor 1211‘s closest match is DMC 4237. While they share a similar medium blue, the DMC definitely includes darker shades of blue. Difference rating: 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1212 DMC 67Anchor 1212 and DMC 67 are quite similar, the main difference being that the Anchor floss is just a touch darker. However, DMC no longer manufactures 67, so 1212 is the way to go! Difference rating: 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1213 DMC 125Anchor 1213 and DMC 125 are very similar shades of green, but the Anchor floss has a little more green and the DMC has a little more white. Difference rating: 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1215 DMC 92Anchor 1215 and DMC 92 are totally different. In fact, I’d say that 1215 is closer to 1213 than the more forest green of DMC 92. Regardless, 1215 is definitely a different green than it’s more minty neighbor 1213. Difference rating: 5

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1216 94Anchor 1216 and DMC 94 are very similar shades of green, but the color swings in the DMC tend a little more extreme to dark and light. Difference rating: 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1217 DMC 4077Anchor 1217 and DMC 4077 are nearly identical, with the DMC maybe a hair brighter. Difference rating: 0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1218 DMC 105Anchor 1218 and DMC 105 are somewhat similar. The Anchor is warmer in tone than the DMC’s chocolate brown. Difference rating: 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchor 1220 DMC 51Anchor 1220 and DMC 51, while both shades of similar orange, are quite different. Anchor’s name for 1220 is “Butterscotch,” but I think “Orange Creamsicle” might be more appropriate. The Anchor is all in shades of one color, while the DMC has more depth of colors ranging from deep orange red to gold to light peach. Difference rating: 3.

 

 

 

 

 

That wraps up the 1200 series of Anchor variegated flosses – roughly the equivalent of the original 16 DMC variegated flosses that preceded the 60 newer Color Variations flosses.

In my next variegated floss comparison post I’ll move on to the 1300 series, Anchor’s “Multicolors,” which really do live up to that name. There are seven gorgeous multicolors that have no DMC equivalent – you’ll have to check them out. Here’s a peek!variegated floss comparison - anchor 1300 series variegated flosses

A footnote on this post: In order to get the full effect of the differences and similarities of the flosses, you really need to see them for yourself in different types of lighting. I’ve tried my best to capture the subtleties of the color differences, but cameras can’t always do the same job as the human eye. Also, keep in mind that all of the various computer monitors and screens will display colors differently.

[Update: here is Part 2]

Morning Person Cross Stitch Project

This “not morning person” cross stitch pattern, now available in my Etsy shop, is perfect for all your favorite A.M. curmudgeons!not morning person cross stitch pattern no surprises before 9:00 AM

It’s a warning to whomever just can’t wait to share something awful with you… before you are properly awake and aware. It’s perfect for your kitchen, bathroom, desk – wherever family members and coworkers are likely to find you too early and try to ruin your whole morning.

You know the kinds of awful early surprises that “not morning persons” loathe. “The dog just threw up on the carpet.” “I have to bring snacks for the team today.” “I need a Ben Franklin costume by noon.” “My Mother will be staying for a few weeks.” “The car won’t start.” “The whole presentation was deleted last night.” “Our entire email system is locked up.” “Our auto insurance has expired.” Ah yes, the early body blows to your morale just keep on coming.

It’s not like you can’t deal with these challenges – of course you can. You just can’t deal with them quite YET.
Smiling Dog [explore]

[A totally adorable not me smiling first thing in the morning by Allen Skyy via Flickr]

I wish I would have stitched this saying of mine years ago. Before about 9 o’clock, and especially if I haven’t had breakfast yet, nasty surprises have a rather detrimental effect on my personality. My family can provide reams of evidence on this point. Displaying this sign may have saved us all a lot of… um… let’s just say “trouble.”

Use this not morning person cross stitch project to give your friends, family, and coworkers a funny and fair warning. With it’s black and yellow caution tape border and unmistakable message, it will tell them very quickly that 1) you are not a morning person, and 2) if they cross the line and give you some bad news now, they will have to share in the consequences. Fair enough!

Double Stitch Needlepoint Tutorial

couching doneDouble stitch needlepoint is very attractive for filling areas in both needlepoint and cross stitch projects. I’ve used it in two projects thus far, my fun (and free!) Denver Broncos cross stitch tutorial,

 

 



Compass Tile WIP #4aand again in my Compass Needlepoint project.

 

 

 

 

It’s a lovely stitch and it can be executed horizontally (as I will present below and as in the photos above) or vertically – it makes no difference as the stitches are worked the same. However, executing it presents some interesting challenges – challenges that this tutorial will address. Let’s start at the beginning…

In diagrams, you’ll see the basic instructions for the double stitch as follows:

double stitch needlepoint tutorial - figure 1Work the long cross stitches (in blue) first as shown in Figure 1b, up through the canvas at 1, down through the canvas at 2, up at 3, down at 4, etc.

Then go back and fill in the small cross stitches (in pink) as shown in Figure 1c, again up at 1, down at 2, up at 3, down at 4, etc.

 

fig2The second column will be worked from bottom to top, and the third column will be worked from top to bottom again. With that in mind, the first three columns of long cross stitches will be stitched in the order shown in Figure 2.

 

 

 

fig3Then the first three columns of small cross stitch will be stitched in the order shown in Figure 3.

 

 

 

 

 

In a square or rectangular area, there will be areas on the edges of the rows that will need coverage (shown in yellow).

fig4If it’s one stitch, depending on the weight of floss or wool used, these can be covered either with one stitch (in blue) in Figure 4a
or a small cross stitch in Figure 4b (in the diagrams that follow below, you’ll see that I chose to show the single stitch in Figure 4a purely for simplicity’s sake).

If the area on the edge that needs coverage is two stitches, create a two stitch long stitch as shown in Figure 4c.

The double stitch gets more challenging in areas that are not square or rectangular.

fig5Use the area in Figure 5 as an example. It’s similar to some of the areas in my Compass Tile project. I had a heck of a time wrapping my brain around how to tackle this, and I even put the project on hold for a while until I figured out this approach.

 

 

fig6On your pattern, draw the location of the small cross stitches as I did in pink in Figure 6. This will be an invaluable guide. Go ahead and stitch these small cross stitches using the same order of stitching as shown in Figure 3 above.

 

 

 

[What follows is especially important when the small cross stitch and long cross stitch are different colors.]

fig7From here, you need to consider the long stitches column by column, AND define what makes a column. With the double stitch, columns look like they do in Figure 7, shown in alternating in gold and gray. Essentially, the long stitches will play hopscotch over the existing small cross stitches while also filling in the extra one stitch and two stitch long stitches on the edges at the same time.

This will make more sense as you work through the next few Figures below.

fig8Let’s say we approach this area working from the left to the right. Then if we stitch the first column from top to bottom, the second column will be stitched from bottom to top, third column top to bottom, etc.

Starting from the left, the first column (gold) will only needs one stitch (in blue) as shown in Figure 8.

fig9The second column (gray), worked from bottom to top, will need a single stitch, two full long cross stitches and a two stitch long stitch as shown in Figure 9. Stitch the full long cross stitches and two stitch long stitch in the same order as they were shown above in Figure 2.

 

 

fig10The third (gold) column, worked from top to bottom, will need a single stitch, three full long cross stitches, and another single stitch as shown in Figure 10.

 

 

 

 

fig11The fourth (grey) column, worked from bottom to top, will need a single stitch, three full long cross stitches, and another single stitch as shown in Figure 11.

 

 

 

 

fig12Continue working your long stitches, serpentine-ing up and down as you work from left to right until your area is filled in as shown in Figure 12.

You’ll notice that the directions of the single stitches at the top and bottom and left and right are different. That’s just my preference – you could have them all go the same direction, or make them cross stitches as shown above in Figure 4b.

I hope this helps you use this beautiful double stitch in future needlepoint and cross stitch projects!

Compass Needlepoint Update 2

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

compass needlepoint update 1On the last update, I had outlined and partially filled in all of the first ring of radiating tiles and had completed the double stitch in the primary direction (NSEW) tiles.

 

 

 

After finishing up our travels last summer, I was able to start working on this project again, and I’m SO pleased with the progress thus far:compass needlepoint update 2

All of the radiating tiles are complete! Here you can see the first, innermost ring in the three darkest colors, the second ring in three medium colors, and the third, outermost ring in the two lightest colors.compass needlepoint update 2 detail

Now you can see all of the colors that will be used in this project. There is the dark grey and dark greyish blue color of the primary direction tiles. Then there are the chocolate brown, rusty brown, and muddy brown of the first ring. The second ring has lighter shades of the chocolate brown and the rusty brown plus a dark gold. The third ring has a lighter gold color and a very light rust, nearly peach color.

You can also see 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. I must admit that this looks better than I had originally imagined – it’s really wonderful in this project.

The next step in this compass needlepoint is to define the edge of this center part of the project and the surrounding border tiles with what I’ll call a “grout line.” After that, I’ll fill in the border tiles using some fun and interesting needlepoint stitches, and then I’ll fill in the entire background of this center section. I can’t wait to see how this tribute to one of our favorite hotels, Cuq-en-Terrasses, turns out – stay tuned!

Persian Needlepoint Kit Ancora Imparo

This Persian needlepoint kit is now available in my Etsy shop!persian needlepoint kit and pattern ancora imparo

“Ancora Imparo” is a quote attributed to Michelangelo, the Italian architect, painter, poet, and sculptor while he was in his 80’s. Roughly translated, it means “I am still learning,” which, in my opinion, is a darn good philosophy, especially from someone as brilliant as Michelangelo.

Ancora Imparo WIP #1I started sketching my first ideas for this pattern back in 2008. I started with the alphabet pattern which is based on the letters in a William Morris tapestry. I really dove into the detailed design of all the other elements in the summer of 2010, and I finally started stitching in August of 2012 [photo to the right is of my first tiny stitch].

 

I had to take several breaks from Ancora Imparo to work on some other, smaller and simpler projects, but finished the stitching on a very happy day in December 2013.Ancora Imparo Framed Detail

Her details are gorgeous – from tiny three stitch flowers up to the big floral elements. Then the green backstitch pulls all the pieces together. I’m just thrilled with how she turned out.

ancora imparo needlepoint hangingShe hangs gracefully over our front door as a reminder to keep learning.

 

 

 

 

 

For those who like the Persian needlepoint design but may not be so keen on the quote, it is also available as a rug design that features a diamond grid in the center with a few floral elements. Both the “Ancora Imparo” design and the rug design are available as patterns onlypersian needlepoint kit and pattern rug design

To anyone interested in this project, I will say that it is challenging and probably better suited to more experienced needlepointers and cross stitchers. In my previous posts on this project (first update, second update, third update, fourth update) you can see more information on how I tackled my “lovely monster at 22-to-the-inch.” She required a lot of persistence, especially with filling in the backgrounds. However, all that persistence paid off, and she’s just amazing.

Now I look forward to seeing who else appreciates a good challenge like this!

Gypsy Ways Update 8 – Spain and France

Gypsy ways update 8 begins with us in Spain, leaving the cool green beauty of Asturias and heading south to the Mediterranean along the Costa Blanca.

Some people like the busy beaches and high rises of Benidorm, but I prefer the smaller, lesser developed towns nearby like Moraira and Xàbia (Javea) that still retain some of their original charm.
Javea - from the Cap de Sant Antoni

[Javea by Baz Richardson via Flickr]

We stay with family members who have a house in the area, and their view looking down on the Mediterranean is outstanding.gypsy ways update 8 - view from cumbre del sol

It’s a wonderful, relaxing place and a great spot to get organized for the final push and drive north back to the UK.

Driving north along the A31 Motorway between Alicante and Albacete, there are some great castles including ones at Sax, Chinchilla de Monte Aragón, and this beauty at Villena. I’m happy to say that that the Spanish government has done some major preservation and restoration work on it’s historical sites in recent years to save these from becoming ruins.gypsy ways update 8 - castle at villena spain

One building along the A31 always received my particular attention. I can only guess that it was a long abandoned inn – possibly for people traveling by horse carriage? I wish I knew! The oval shape of the upper windows is my only indication of it’s possible age. Regardless, I was always curious about the history of the building and thought it was unfortunate that the building was in such bad shape (see the before photo below on the left).

Well, last time we drove by, I was thrilled to see that the building has been completely restored (see the after photo on the right). There is now a gas station and a convenience shop and I can only hope that it is again being used as a travelers inn.

gypsy ways update 8 - old coach stop before and after

The remainder of our days driving north through Spain and France were pretty uneventful, but we were lucky to find a little jewel of a hotel – the Auberge du Port des Roches near Le Mans.gypsy ways update 8 - auberge du port de roches

The setting is ideal – it stands on one side of a small lane, and on the other side of the lane is a beautiful patio along the Loir river. gypsy ways update 8 - auberge du port de roches patioOur room was charming, the dinner on the patio that evening was excellent and beautifully served, and best of all, the proprietor loves to cross stitch!

gypsy ways update 8 - auberge du port de roches cross stitch key boardCross stitched pieces are everywhere, from the room keys

 

 

 

 

gypsy ways update 8 - auberge du port de roches cross stitch chambre non fumeurto the no smoking signs in the rooms.

 

 

 

 

Here is the proprietor with some of her pieces (her signs say “closed Sunday evening and Monday.” “Open Tuesday at 5:00 P.M.”). You can see she also has some small cross stitched and framed monograms for sale on the wall behind her. gypsy ways update 8 - proprietor at auberge du port de roches and her cross stitch

I couldn’t imagine a nicer way to complete our time in continental Europe!

The next update will start with some adventures in the UK before our trip back across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2 – stay tuned…

(Here’s a link to the previous Update 7, and the next Update 9)

Interstate Cross Stitch Road Sign Pattern

This Interstate cross stitch road sign pattern and kit are now available in my Etsy shop!interstate cross stitch road sign pattern and kit

This is just the latest in my series of US and European road sign patterns.

The stitched example, Interstate 80, is a 2900 mile route that runs from San Francisco, California to Teaneck, New Jersey. Along the way, it also passes through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Interstate-80 SignI must say that I am most familiar with I-80 from where it meets I-76 on the western Nebraska border to Newton, Iowa. Many hours of my youth were spent on long road trips from Denver to Omaha to Newton and then back to Denver, visiting family during summer vacations.

I am also very familiar with the stretch of I-80 between Vacaville and Davis, California. In my previous career, I worked on a the construction of pharmaceutical factory in Vacaville. Vacaville was a nice town, but the really good restaurants were in the fun college town of Davis, about 20 miles away.

The entire Interstate Highway System is an impressive feat of engineering. Started in 1956, the network now has a total length of 47,856 miles. It goes through some truly spectacular scenery –  a couple of my favorites are I-70 between Green River and it’s junction with I-15,

Sun Ray

 [Sun Ray by Arunas Sileika via Flickr]

and the tiny stretch of I-15 in Arizona between St. George, Utah, and Mesquite, Nevada through the Virgin River Canyon.Virgin River Canyon / Interstate 15

 [Virgin River Canyon/Interstate 15 by the Last Mortal via Flickr]

This Interstate cross stitch pattern is just the latest in my series of road signs! Thus far, I’ve created highway signs for Colorado, Alaska, California, Texas, Washington, Michigan, Florida, New Mexico, Georgia, and Utah. I hope you check out all the states and the 15 other road sign patterns – they’re a lot of fun!