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]

287

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

Road

[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… Check ’em out!

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!

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!

Update: Progress Update 3 is here!

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!

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!]

Should is a Bad Word Cross Stitch Pattern

This Should is a Bad Word cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop! Well, as you can see, the pattern doesn’t use the word “bad,” it uses stronger language. That more accurately describes how I feel about “should.”should is a bad word cross stitch pattern

“Should” is rooted in expectations you perceive from your friends, your family, from society and the media. “Should” leads to feelings of guilt and unworthiness – if I don’t do something I “should” do, someone will think less of me and I will think less of myself.

Here are some examples – maybe you have heard some of these before?

  • That dress should look amazing on me.
  • I should be saving for my retirement.
  • This vacation should be perfect.
  • I should be married (or at least engaged) by now!

As a much healthier alternative, concentrate on using these words instead:

  • I need to try on dresses until I find one that looks amazing on me.
  • I will put 10% of my paycheck into my 401K.
  • I hope this travel plan works out well, and if not, we’ll make the best of whatever we encounter!
  • I want to marry the right person.

At the same time, I tend to be wary of people who say “should” a lot. You know them – “Oh, you should do this,” “Oh, you should totally buy these,” “Oh, you should be fine by now,” “Oh, you should be so upset!” How often do their “should”s get others into trouble?

troubleInstead, listen for the people who give constructive options (“you could try this, or this, or this”) and for the people who have been through similar situations and say “well, I did this, and it worked out this way.” I’ve found that friendships with these types of people are much healthier.

Whenever my husband and I catch ourselves or each other saying “should” we extend the sentence by tacking on “…ah yes, but should is a shitty word.” It gives us a giggle and helps clear the mind a bit. Then we rephrase the thought and move on to better things!

Do you agree that should is a bad word? After seeing this project, do you think you will be more aware of how you and others use the word “should?”

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.

James Bond Cross Stitch Pattern

This James Bond cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!james bond cross stitch pattern quote darling I give you very best duck

The quote for this pattern comes from the movie You Only Live Twice. Bond is in Hong Kong and in bed with a Chinese woman. Her last line in this conversation is just so perfect that I had to stitch it:

Bond: Why do Chinese girls taste different from all other girls?

Ling: You think we better, huh?

Bond: No, just different. Like Peking Duck is different from Russian Caviar. But I love them both.

Ling: Darling, I give you very best duck.

That line is a lovely little double entendre. It’s just one of many outstanding lines from the Bond series.

I like watching James Bond movies during the holidays. The older movies are a little trite and extremely sexist, not to mention politically incorrect. But some of those qualities are what make them fun to watch, as long as they’re not taken too seriously.

One of my favorites Bond movies is the source of this quote, You Only Live Twice. It has it all: beautiful, mysterious, promiscuous women, exotic locations, and great gadgets from Q. It has my favorite regular feature of Bond movies – the enormous secret evil complex. This one is set in a volcano with a retractable lake roof. It has the requisite monorail as well as the hundreds of easily killed workers in color coded jumpsuits.

Best of all, this movie has Bond “turn Japanese.” Apparently, morphing a strapping 6 foot 2 inch tall Scot into a humble Japanese fisherman can be done by a team of bikini-clad shower girls in a just few hours. It really is ludicrous.

With all that in mind, I do recommend this movie to anyone in need of some good, mindless entertainment. You can even work this James Bond cross stitch while you’re watching it!

Craig Ferguson Cross Stitch Pattern

This Craig Ferguson cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!craig ferguson cross stitch pattern the bastards don't own me

Craig Ferguson is the host of the Late Late Show, on after David Letterman’s Late Show on CBS. He is FUNNY. He doesn’t use a script – most of what he says is made up on the fly from some bullet points. His co-host is a gay robot skeleton named Geoff Peterson, and another character is Secretariat, two interns in a horse suit. If it sounds odd, it sure is – you really need to see the rampant silliness for yourself.

He has a big rebellious streak (his past includes drumming in punk bands and blackout drunkenness – he has now been sober for over 20 years). In being rebellious, he has some tattoos, one being the “Join, or Die” snake drawing by Benjamin Franklin (you can often see the tail of it on his right wrist). One night when asked why he has tattoos, he responded “Just to remind myself that the bastards don’t own me.”

As soon as he said it, I wrote it down. I think it’s a great sentiment for cubicle dwellers, employees of large companies… anyone working hard for a living and isn’t the boss. It’s for everyone who wants a good reminder that when that paycheck gets cashed, you call it even.

I often visualize someone with this cross stitch in a frame on their desk. A coworker happens to see it. At first glance it looks like a sweet little cross stitch sampler. But then they have to wonder if they really read it correctly. Yes, they damn well did!

Thanks to Craig Ferguson for the inspiration for this cross stitch pattern. I hope he and his team keep up the good work for many more years. Stay tuned for more Craig Ferguson cross stitch projects in the future!