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!

New DMC Floss Colors Pattern – Geometric Sampler

This new DMC floss colors pattern is a fun and quick-to-stitch geometric pattern, although it would look great with any of your favorite floss color combinations.new dmc floss colors pattern

At this time, these new flosses can only be purchased in a pack with all 16 colors. I am eagerly awaiting the day when they make them available to purchase separately, but that could be a few years away. The pack is accompanied by a few attractive botanical-themed patterns, but I wanted to make a project where I could see how the colors interact with each other a little more.

I wrote a thorough review of the new colors shortly after the pack was released in 2013. In it, I discuss the colors individually and how the colors fall into the DMC palette.DMC Floss New October 2013

If you read my post, you’ll find that my favorite additions are the purples 3886 and 3887, blues 3890 and 3891, green 3894, and yellow 3889. Within the confines of just this one pattern, my favorites to stitch with were the blues 3890 and 3891, purple 3887, yellow 3889, and, interestingly enough, the beige 3890.

One of the nice things about this project is that it uses about 10% of each skein, leaving plenty of floss to use on other patterns.

This pattern can also be used with any of your favorite color combinations. I have imagined this project with 16 colors of reds, pinks, raspberry, and orange, or exclusively in shades of blue and purple. It would make a stunning little needlepoint project, possibly stitched in petit point and finished into a pincushion. This new DMC floss colors pattern is very fun and could be used in any number of ways!

Have you purchased these new flosses? If so, have you used them in some projects? If so, let me know in the comments – I’d love to see some ways that others have utilized some of these lovely colors…

Compass Needlepoint Update 1

I’m happy to say that I’ve made some great progress on my compass needlepoint project! Last time I posted about this was in January, shortly after I started stitching. Well, despite being on the road since May, I have managed to work on it quite a bit.

The pattern is based on a compass rose made of tile pieces on the patio of a charming hotel in France. The hotel is Cuq en Terrasses in the countryside near Toulouse, and it’s one of our favorite places to stay in the world. I find that one of the great benefits of travel is the nearly endless sources of inspiration for future projects.

Compass Tile WIP #1bIn the last update, I had just begun the double stitched center tile of the pattern.

 

 

 

 

This photo shows the center tile in progress, along with the early stages of the first row of radiating tiles. The double stitch used in the center tile combines a long cross stitch and a small cross stitch, so in this photo you can see I’ve completed all the long XS and have started filling in the small XS.

Compass Tile WIP #2

I outlined each of the radiating tiles and then used whatever floss I had remaining in the needle to start filling in. Once I ran out of floss, I moved on to the next tile. I will go back and fill in the remainder of each tile sometime later.

Here, you get to see the project next to it’s original inspiration!Compass Tile WIP #3

Earlier this summer we were lucky enough to spend a few nights at Cuq en Terrasses. It, as always, was beautiful and charming. I managed to snap a few photos of the project with it’s model in situ.

You can see that I have made the project a little more colorful than the original, but have stayed true to it’s earth tones. At this point I had completed nearly all of the first row of tiles except for the four gray tiles of the primary compass directions.

One of the reasons I stitched the primary direction tiles last is that I was having a tough time trying to figure out how to do the double stitch on them. As I have discovered through this project, double stitch works great on a square area. However, in a slightly irregular shape, it turned into quite a challenge. At some point I will write an entire separate post about how I tackled the situation…

Although once I did tackle those primary direction tiles, WOW!compass needlepoint update 1

The first ring of radiating tiles are all outlined and partially filled in, except for the NSEW tiles which are completed.Compass Tile WIP #4a

Here you can see the three colorways of brown flosses I chose for this first ring. There’s a chocolate brown, a rusty brown, and a muddy brown. You can also see that I have slightly blended the colors, mixing 5 strands of the darker colors with one strand of lighter colors. I did this to better represent the speckled color and texture of the original tiles and to add a little visual interest. The lighter colors will show up again in the outer rings of tiles as well.

You can also see the two colors I used in the primary directional tiles. The long XS are in a dark grey, while the short XS are in a dark greyish blue color. When I was choosing colors for this project, I thought the blue would make a nice visual compliment to all the earth tones without contrasting too much.

Because of our travel, I have put this project aside for a little while. However, I really look forward to continuing my work on this compass needlepoint!

[Update: More progress as of May 2015!]

[Another update: How to tackle the double stitch!]

Gypsy Ways 2014

My gypsy ways are returning…

Both new and returning readers to this blog may have noticed that my blogging has slowed a bit lately. This is due to a fantastic travel opportunity that is coming up very soon! From roughly May through October, my husband, dog, and I will be in motion.

gypsy ways - what remains of my printed photosFor the past few months, we’ve been concentrating on getting some personal projects done before we hit the road. We remodeled one of our bathrooms, and I finished up a massive project – scanning, organizing, and backing up all my printed and digital photos. This photo is of all that’s left of the printed photos and scrapbooks – a reduction of about 80% of the volume of what was before… heavy awkward scrapbooks begone!

More recently, I’ve been designing cross stitch projects, picking floss colors, and getting all the necessary supplies together to take with us. There are some wardrobe requirements for the trip, so I’ve had to work on that as well. I will say that the purchase of these two pairs of fabulous shoes was necessary (thanks to the sales at Macy’s for not breaking the bank, and man I just love that clear lucite platform!).

gypsy ways - orange strappy platform heelgypsy ways - black patent and clear lucite platform heel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of the time, we will have regular internet access. But on similar trips we have stayed in some remote villages where the neighbors were what you see in the video below and internet access was in the nearest library 20 miles away. If that scenario arises, I hope to regularly post some quick updates and photo highlights.

My Etsy shop will continue normal operations, thanks to my Mom who graciously agreed to help with shipping. I’ll be releasing new patterns as I finish stitching them from my current backlog of nifty designs, and as always, I’ll be working on creating new designs. I find a lot of inspiration along our gypsy ways!

So for a short time, my blogging will slow down, but it definitely will not cease. I count myself as one of the truly fortunate that I get to make this trip, so I hope to appreciate it in the moment and not only when I look back in the photos. As many have said, it is not the destination but the journey that really matters.

[Update: The adventure starts here!]

Variegated Floss Projects Part 2

Welcome to Variegated Floss Projects Part 2! In this six-part series I’m sharing a ton of ways to use variegated floss in craft projects ranging from needlework and quilting to furniture, jewelry, and home decor.

Part 1 of the series covered variegated floss projects in the needlework areas of cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery. This Part 2 will explore variegated floss in plastic canvas, quilting, felt, sewing, and pom-pom projects.

variegated floss projects part 2 - DMC 4050

As I said in in Part 1, variegated flosses are beautiful and they make every piece that uses them unique. No two people will ever use the exact same length of a floss in the same way, thus every project will have a different result! This makes creating with them an exercise in curiosity and a fun adventure.

Variegated Floss Projects in Plastic Canvas

082Making coasters is a perfect way to start crafting with plastic canvas, and this tutorial by Susan at HomeschoolingHeartsandMinds shows how variegated yarn and a simple pattern combine into a pretty and useful project.

 

 

PC Ornament TutorialA slightly more advanced project is the tutorial to make these awesome design-your-own ornaments from Diane at CraftyPod. As you can see, these are a great way to use up some variegated yarn scraps!

 

 

 

These intriguing Spirograph Necklace pendants by StealthandAces use the same plastic canvas rounds. In this photo you can see she used solid colors to produce a variegated effect, but why not see what happens with a variegated floss?

 

 

 

You might find some inspiration in this little PC purse made by Jenn at Clever, Crafty, Cookin’ Mama. It’s not a tutorial per se, but she gives enough information for others to attempt the same. I think the combination of the variegated yarn, the solids, and the stitches were a good choice for this cute project.

 

08.07.12 plastic canvas 13This little Christmas house on TheMakingBox is just darling, and I love how the speckled yarn used on the roof adds just the right amount of texture and character.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, from Craftster is this clever Bob Dobbs plastic canvas cross stitch project. User Oddityblaze used variegated yarn to create, in my opinion, an ideal psychedelic background for the cult icon.

Variegated Floss Projects in Quilting

variegated threadsSuperiorThreads has a great rundown of the many types of variegated threads they offer for machine and hand quilting. The selection of colors seems nearly limitless!

 

 

free motion quilting with variegated threadAmy at FreeMotionQuiltingAdventures gives some great tips on working with variegated threads in machine quilting – when to use them, and maybe when not to use them.

 

 

 

var-flower-heart-quiltA great use of variegated thread is this wholecloth quilt by Susan at WildOnionStudio. As you can see, “for the heart, [she quilted] over the lines several times to make that baby pop” while using a more neutral thread for the background.

 

 

This wholecloth quilt by MarveLesArtStudios also uses variegated thread, but this time the cloth is a batik pattern. This makes the quilting less noticeable but it’s pretty, practical, and a great way to practice your skills without a lot of risk.

 

I have to admit it’s hard to see in the photos, but it’s easy to grasp how the variegated thread they used would add some nice visual interest to this bold and bright Anchor Quilt at PieceNQuilt.

 

 

I also like the use of the variegated threads to help convey a flowery impression on this modern LinesSpring quilt by EschHouseQuilts.

 

 

 

Detail 1 of Royal Crustacean - fractal art quiltVariegated threads are also used extensively in hand quilting. One example are the subtle colors in this elaborate fractal Royal Crustacean quilt by Rose Rushbrooke,

 

 

 

 

 

 

and another in this simple and cute 9″ x 9″ quilt square by Elizabeth at PiecefulLife.

 

 

 

 

Kathleen Murphy uses some hand dyed cotton floss and some variegated wool yarn as you can see below on her unique Embellish art quilt.

Stitch Around The Clock page Augustus for CQJP 2013.Some of the best examples of variegated floss in hand quilting can be seen in crazy quilts. This type of quilting is closer to embroidery than quilting per se, but crazy quilts are such a huge niche in the quilting arena that I like to give them special consideration. One need not go any further than the Flickr Photostream of Margreet from Holland for some outstanding uses of variegated floss in crazy quilts. In this example at right, she beautifully combines no fewer than four different variegated flosses (there may be more!).

Evelyn Chow has curated this outstanding Pinterest board of crazy quilt embroidery. It is truly worth the time to check these out!variegated floss projects part 2 - pinterest crazy quilt embroidery

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Felt

First up, Fiona Duthie gives some great instructions on a couple of different methods to create your own “variegated” felt using Kool-Aid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little inspiration comes from this lovely combination of felt and variegated floss on these Easter eggs by Amy at InTheFold,

 

 

 

Felt Flowers - Crafty Staci 13and a little more inspiration is in these lovely felt lillies with their variegated floss accents by CraftyStaci.

 

 

 

Finally, there’s this project by Katie from DuoFireworks as a guest post on the WhipUp blog. She gives the pattern and more information on how she created these felt potholders by first knitting then felting with some Fingerwolle variegated pencil roving. So interesting!

Variegated Floss Projects in Sewing

Of course, most clothes are not made with variegated floss, however, why not have a little fun with your machine? Most sewing machines have some decorative stitches built in, and on SewMamaSew guest blogger Maggie Kertay has this great tutorial on how to show them off a bit!

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects part 2 - machine decorative stitchesAlthough the above photo doesn’t use variegated thread, as you can see here they look great in decorative stitches! Sew4Home has an in-depth post on decorative stitches, tips on making them work, and some uses for them.

 

 

Kristi at Addicted2Decorating used both decorative stitches and variegated yarn on these pillows. Her tutorial gives detailed instructions on how she made this fun and unique decor for her home.

 

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Pom-Poms!

I put an exclamation point at the end of “pom-poms” above as it’s incredibly hard to talk about pom-poms without some enthusiasm – they’re so fun! Take these for example. Cheryl at SewCanDo made these as part of a book review. She used embroidery floss, baker’s twine, standard yarn, and chunky variegated yarn to make these funky poms.

 

How To Make Giant Pom Poms Tutorial vintagerevivals.com-14Mandi at VintageRevivals has a fantastic post including some lessons learned and a tutorial on how to make these giant pom-poms and attach them to a throw blanket. Why not try it with a variegated yarn?

 

 

Pom pom flowers - by Craft & CreativityAs you can see in this cute arrangement, Helena at CraftandCreativity did create multi-colored pom-poms and crafted them into these flowers. Her post has some tips on her process. Very very cute!

There are a ton of tutorials and examples of crafting with pom-poms. So many, in fact, that I will leave you with just these examples. But I hope that these show how well variegated flosses and yarns can be used in all these pom-pom crafts!

 

 

That bright and cheerful note finishes this Variegated Floss Projects Part 2! Are there any more examples in these crafty categories of plastic canvas, quilting, felt, sewing or pom-poms that you would like to add to the comments?

Make sure you check out Part 1 which featured cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery. And stay tuned for the next FOUR parts of this series covering knitting, wreath making, string art, jewelry, and a whole lot more!

Update: Here are Part 3Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

Variegated Floss Projects Part 1

Welcome to Part 1 of this six-part series on variegated floss projects! I’m going to share a ton of ways to use variegated floss in craft projects ranging from needlework and quilting to furniture, jewelry, and home decor.

Variegated flosses are beautiful and by their very nature, they make every piece that uses them unique. No two people will ever use the exact same length of a floss in the same way, thus every project will have a different result! This makes creating with them an exercise in curiosity and a fun adventure.variegated floss projects - DMC 4211

This first post on variegated floss projects is going to concentrate on three types of needlework: cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery. These are probably the most popular ways of using variegated floss, and for good reason as you are about to see.

Before we get to the projects, Alison Murray at Dream a Little Big has this excellent tutorial on creating your own variegated floss, and in her part 2 she has a free pattern that you can use with your new floss!

 

 

 

All DMC Variegated FlossHowever, there are hundreds of beautiful variegated flosses available from a variety of companies and retailers. I’m proud to have all 76 colors of the DMC six-strand variegated flosses available in my Etsy shop. They’re gorgeous to look at and, with the consistent quality of DMC floss, they’re easy to work with.

Variegated Floss Projects in Cross Stitch

On About.com, Connie G. Barwick has a few things for newcomers to consider when working on variegated floss cross stitch projects, such as her free “Yummy Watermelon” pattern seen here.

Also on About.com, Connie shared some very helpful advanced tips on using variegated floss in cross stitch, including dyeing methods and how to achieve certain looks with specific techniques. Definitely worth the read.

variegated floss projects - cross stitch samplerThis pretty variegated floss sampler by Nancy Rossi through Better Homes and Gardens can be seen in a couple of places on the net. The pattern is not in print anymore, but you can still find it on Ebay.

 

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - floral borders bookThere is a ton of inspiration in this LeisureArts book of variegated border patterns. The different elements of these designs could be mixed and matched in a million different ways!

 

 

 

 

 

Tsmcs4blogIn a more modern vein is this great project by Elizabeth Hartman featured on her blog Oh, Fransson! She replicated the Tokyo subway map first for a quilt and then for this cross stitch. She changed floss colors every nine stitches, creating a variegated effect. I think variegated flosses would work very well in this project, with the added bonus of not having to tie off and start so darn much. Regardless, what a bright, colorful and fun project!

I love this little biscornu project by Lorraine at HippywitchCrafts. It uses variegated floss around the center and then again in the border. It’s just darling…

[Here’s a link to more information on biscornus]

 

 

This pretty bookmark is a free design from Lady Kell of Kincavel. As the pattern is relatively simple, the variegated floss nicely augments the design.

 

 

 

Image of AventailSome of the best cross stitch patterns that lend themselves to using variegated floss come from Tracy Horner of Ink Circles. Her designs range from this small “Aventail

 

 

 

 

Image of Turkish Delightto the more complex “Turkish Delight

 

 

 

 

 

Image of Baroqueand her popular “Baroque,” all of which look stunning executed in variegated floss. Take a leisurely look through her store and her latest news to see all her great projects that could be executed in variegated floss.

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - nordic needle itty bitty patternAnother great source for patterns is Nordic Needle. As well as carrying many of Tracy Horner’s Ink Circles designs, they feature other artists as well. This Itty Bitty’s design is a perfect way to try out lots of new variegated flosses,

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - nordic needle coffee patternwhile this coffee pattern would look terrific in a variegated floss. Might I be so bold to suggest DMC 4000 – Espresso?

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - nordic needle plum puddingI’d also like to share this pattern, called Plum Pudding. Here, in it’s original purples, it’s a gorgeous design.

 

 

 

 

Then Kristal, one of the employees at QuiltingAdventures, stitched it in different colors, and I must say, to a beautiful result. When you look at some of the detail photos, you can see where she used variegated flosses to add just a sparkle of visual interest to some of the backgrounds. She started this color scheme by picking out some flosses from her stash. What an amazing stash that must be!

Variegated Floss Projects in Needlepoint

variegated floss projects - hexagon needlepointThis hexagon pattern might appeal to those people new to variegated flosses and would like a fun project on which to try them, or those who may have existing stashes of variegated floss. This example comes from the CarolStitches blog.

 

 

 

hexipuff-with-groutThe project originated in Janet Perry’s May 2012 Stash-Busting Club. I believe it uses the mosaic stitch shown here to make a glasses case (I wish I had a link to more information about the project). What a great way to experiment with variegated floss while working with hexagons – currently one of the most popular shapes in crafts!

 

A quick project is this needlepoint and leather keychain on RedFlannelPantry, given to a 16 year old girl when she got her driver’s license. Variegated floss in the basketweave stitch is a great choice to create the background effect you see here.

 

 

This post by Laura at TwoHandedStitcher shows how different colors used with the same pattern can produce completely different end results. I like how she used variegated threads to create a little more visual interest, especially in this green and gold example.

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - chrysanthenums gardenInspiration and patterns for needlepoint projects that use variegated floss can be found all over the web. The Caron Collection has several including this pretty “Chrysanthemums Garden”

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - venetian glass stockingand this “Venetian Glass” stocking pattern. Clicking the link to this design will also show how vastly different the same project can look using different colors and stitches.

 

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - detail of jmd projectThere’s plenty of inspiration in this post by Janet M. Davies. She has quite a few smaller projects that use lots of variegated floss, including this detail from one of her fantastic creations,

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - summer logsand 123Stitch has lots of needlepoint patterns by a variety of designers. A great example is this Summer Logs pattern that uses no less than 18 different variegated flosses in an amazing array of different stitches. This fun sampler would never get boring!

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Embroidery

I’ll start with some machine embroidery inspirations as I have a really lovely story about hand embroidery that I will use to wrap up this post.

variegated floss projects - machine featherDesignsinStitches has quite a few patterns that call for variegated thread. One example is this feather pattern; one of a set of 10.

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - machine embroidery butterflyEmbroideryDesigns has a series of four birds and this pretty butterfly,

 

 

 

 

 

Paisley Motifs Embroidery Designsand ABCEmbroideryDesigns has this cool Paisley Motifs set. This example is stitched in a rainbow variegated thread that suits the pattern perfectly.

 

 

 

 

And this is one of a set of 15 sea shells available through NeedlePassionEmbroidery. They are a really gorgeous collection!

 

 

 

 

I’ll start the hand embroidery with this lark of a project, embroidering patches for old jeans, from Charlotte on her Ta Da! blog. This little patch is a great way to experiment with different stitches and variegated floss.

 

 

Amy Friend at DuringQuietTime used a Sizzix to create the pattern for this lovely partridge Christmas ornament. She then used Cosmo variegated floss to stitch the embossed pattern to a very sweet result.

 

 

variegated floss projects - line embroideryI bet this pattern from Lady Kell of Kincavel would look great in variegated floss. It’s a bit of a flashback to a Rush laser show at the Planetarium, but there’s nothing wrong with that!

 

 

 

UntitledI love this simple but elegant idea from TheSmallestForest on using up leftover floss, and I love how she’s put some variegated strands in the mix. I think the variegated gives the piece just that little bit more randomness and visual interest than solid colors alone would produce.

 

 

Aqua Snowflake Embroidery PatternFrom Polka&Bloom, this fun and lighthearted Aqua Snowflake pattern, along with it’s siblings the Gold and Lilac Snowflakes, would look awesome in variegated flosses (if they’re not already). These three patterns are a lovely trio.

 

 

 

Stitch Around The Clock page Augustus for CQJP 2013.For some more beautiful inspiration and examples of embroidery stitches in variegated floss, you need go no further than the Flickr photostream of Margreet from Holland. On her crazy quilt blocks, she consistently produces embroidery of great quality. She uses a multitude of colors and types of stitches to achieve all kinds of textures and effects.

 

 

variegated floss projects - DMC 4235My last example is a story from Kim, one of my customers, who purchased skeins of DMC 4240 and 4235 (shown). As I love these flosses so much, I ask many of my customers how they use them. She replied: “I stitched a labyrinth in a hoop for my friend who lost her mom to ALS in October. Walking a labyrinth has meant a lot to her. I used the 4235 and my friend said the colors were just perfect.”

What a lovely way for Kim to support her friend! I’m really happy that I was able to provide Kim with the floss for her project.

If you would like to see the design, the labyrinth pattern she used is available from Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching, and it was featured in Jenny’s tutorial on the backstitch.

 

That rather touching note wraps up this first of six posts on variegated floss projects! Are there any projects in the crafty categories of cross stitch, needlepoint, or embroidery that you would like to add to the comments?

Stay tuned for more in knitting, quilting, scrapbooking, jewelry, decor, and a whole lot more!

Update: Here are Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

Ancora Imparo Needlepoint Framed

My Ancora Imparo needlepoint project is framed and hanging in its place, above the front door!ancora imparo needlepoint hanging

As some of my previous posts will tell you, this lovely monster at 22-to-the-inch was a labor of love. From her initial design in 2008 to the last stitch in December 2013, she was a beautiful challenge.
Ancora Imparo Framed In my last update, I had completed the needlepoint and the green backstitching and was ready to take her to the framers. Now that she is framed, I’m thinking that I would have framed her a little differently. I would have made the green mat thinner by half, and seen if there was a slightly thinner frame. The good news is that she’s gorgeous nonetheless, and she’s hanging proudly. Maybe someday in the future I’ll get her framing modified, but for now I’m very happy.Ancora Imparo Framed Detail

As you can see in the above photo, in general the framers did a good job of keeping the borders straight. No small feat when the margin of error is 0.05 inch (1 mm)!

Like any good Persian-themed project, I made some mistakes. Not on purpose, of course, but they are there. It’s somewhat easy to do when working with a counted (rather than painted) pattern. Usually I found them when it was too late – when I had moved on to a new color or was filling in the background. On a project in this small scale, these mistakes are tough to spot, so I didn’t feel the need to go back and correct them like I would on a project in a bigger scale. Besides, I think they give her a bit of charm

The last update on “AI” has more of the interesting history on her design and execution. She survived two trips across the Atlantic and countless miles of travel.

Imagination and creativity combined with persistence and patience reaps beautiful rewards. I’m immensely proud that I finished this beautiful Ancora Imparo needlepoint project.

New Projects – Floss, Remodeling, and Old Photos

Some big new projects have kept me incredibly busy lately!

dmc variegated floss 4210First and foremost, my variegated floss sales on Etsy have been picking up considerably, which is great news. People are discovering that my pricing is very competitive, so I’ve spent some time filling orders. The most popular colors thus far are DMC 4210 (Radiant Ruby) and 4255 (Orchid).

 

 

dmc variegated floss 4255The Ruby floss (above) is gorgeous, so I understand why it’s popular. And Pantone declared “Radiant Orchid” to be their 2014 Color of the Year, which may help explain why DMC’s lovely Orchid variegated floss is selling well.

With the increased sales, in the last week I’ve created a few more metrics and tools to help me keep track of inventory. These take some time to set up, but once that is done, it’s a matter of maintenance.

ancora crafts projects bathroom remodelAside from Ancora Crafts, I’ve got two big projects underway. First, one of our two bathrooms is being remodeled. A corner shower stall is going away and making way for the whole end of the room to be tiled and a glass wall and door installed. The room is pretty small, so it’s not an enormous project, but it’s substantial enough that we have a contractor doing the work. My husband and I have been running around for a couple of weeks picking out new tile and plumbing fixtures. Much fun but much time consumed!

 

 

ancora crafts projects photo organizationRemember non-digital photographs? Like many of you, I have a ton of ’em, and I’ve just started the process of putting them in chronological order, tossing out 75% of them (how many photos of a graduation or a family picnic do you really need to keep?), and then scanning the photos that remain.

I’m also going to dismantle nearly all of my scrapbooks (you can see a few of them in the photo at top left). I really don’t look at them very often, they’re heavy and take up a lot of space, and most of them use those sticky sheets that just aren’t good for the photos. The photos reside in an earthquake and tsunami zone, so if the big one were to hit, they would be destroyed. At least if I have them digitally, I can put them in the cloud and I know I won’t lose them forever to become part of a huge Pacific floating trash island.

ancora crafts projects first stitching projectA benefit of digging out all my old photos is that I found a few of my old stitching projects from years ago. Someday I’ll make a proper post about my old projects, but for now I’ll just share a couple highlights. At right is the first stitching project I ever made, with a ton of help from my Mom. I’m sure she threaded the needle and started and stopped the threads for me. She sewed on the cute trim and put the bell at the bottom. This thing hung on the door of my bedroom for years.

 

 

ancora crafts projects plastic canvas boxesNext are a couple of boxes made from plastic canvas and yarn, made when I was in my tweens and early teens. I made oodles of these little boxes but these are the only two that I still have. They’re cute, and I like the diagonal pattern I created on the box on the left.

 

As usual, I have more commercial ventures underway, including my compass rose needlepoint project and a series of fun cross stitched sayings that will appear on the blog and on Etsy soon. Staying busy is a happy place to be!

Compass Needlepoint Project Started

For the New Year I’ve just started working on my new Compass needlepoint project. This is another big project (fresh on the heels of completing my Ancora Imparo project), but I’m going to be using some fun needlepoint stitches that should speed up the stitching (a bit).

The pattern is based on a compass rose made of tile pieces on the patio of a charming hotel in France. An interesting twist on a typical compass pattern is that north will not point straight up on this project. You’ll just have to stay tuned to see how this will look!

Compass Tile WIP #1aThe project will be 16 inches (40.6 cm) square when it’s done.

 

 

 

 

Compass Tile WIP #1bFor this center part of the stitching, I’m using the double stitch. The double stitch combines a long cross stitch and a small cross stitch into a neat woven effect. You can see a finished example of how this stitch looks in my Denver Bronco Cross Stitch project post.

 

 

I’m doing the long stitches now, and will go back and fill the small cross stitches later. I won’t reveal the color of the small cross stitches yet, but I can guarantee it won’t be bright Bronco orange!Compass Tile WIP #1c

To find these pretty stitches I’m using Hope Hanley’s book 101 Needlepoint Stitches and How to Use Them.I haven’t figured out all the stitches I’ll be using yet, but I’m hoping to have a lot of fun with this part of the project. I wrote a little bit about this book in a post about my favorite books and in a post about books that I’ve made projects from – take a look!

I hope you’ll follow my adventures with this new Compass needlepoint project. I’ll be posting updates as I get various parts complete. I’m excited about this one…

Update: Next installment on my progress is here!

 

Disclosure-y goodness: Ancora Crafts is an Amazon Affiliate and purchasing the book through the link will help support (in a tiny way) Ancora Crafts.

Ancora Imparo Update

The stitching is done on my Ancora Imparo project!
Ancora Imparo Stitching DONE!

This really was my Christmas present to myself this year. After 407 hours and all that ivory background fill, I was incredibly ready to finish my lovely monster at 22-to-the-inch.

Ancora Imparo is a quote attributed to Michelangelo, the Italian architect, painter, poet, and sculptor. 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 I knew that I would get her done one of these days!

I started from the center and worked to the edges. Outlining the letters was first, then completing each border (except for their background fill) in turn.Ancora Imparo WIP #9

Then came all the background fill. And there was a ton of that. Once again, I started with the letters. Then I worked the fill in the inner red, then the light blue, and then the outer red border. As the fill in the center was light colored ivory, I saved that for the last. I’m going to be really honest and say that ivory fill was probably the most tedious part of the project. But by the time I got to the ivory fill, the light was shining at the end of the tunnel for the entire project.Ancora Imparo WIP #12

The last step was the green backstitching that ties all the flowers together. I know that I designed this, and that it looked good on paper, but I had no idea how it would look in the flesh. The result is I couldn’t be happier with that green stitching – it really brings the piece together as a whole.Ancora Imparo Stitching Detail

My Ancora Imparo project is just gorgeous. I am thrilled at the result! Months of design work, many, MANY hours of stitching, and my lovely monster is finally complete. Framing comes next, and then I’ll be very proud to display her!

You can look at all the progress photos on Flickr if you’re curious to see more details on how this lovely monster came to be.