Petits Alphabets


I had started this small piece several years ago as a travel project. It’s interesting how a simple, cute pattern can quickly become pesky and tiresome once you start stitching it. The little house was easy of course, but the alphabets were the reason this piece languished for so many years. Each one had to be started and finished separately because I am loath to carry thread over for more than 2-3 stitches. So after a while, I gave up stitching it on planes because it was so tedious. I finally finished it this week. On my couch at home.

The fabric is a scrap of Dauphin. I had stumbled upon a thick stack of Dauphin fabric scraps at Vikki’s factory; they were discards from Bob’s dyeing experiments and they weren’t going to sell them. Needless to say, I saved them from the trash bin for exactly this purpose – to stitch smalls.

Pattern: Petits Alphabets (free at PCB Dijon)
Designer: Sylvaine Lenoir
Fabric: 40ct Dauphin (scrap)
Threads: HDF pre-dyed silk
Started: March 25, 2013
Finished July 20, 2017


Randje Per Week – Weeks 18 to 54



This was a year-long stitch along started by two Dutch ladies in 2014. Two bands were released each week for a total of 106 bands (the first installment had four bands). I made it up to band 52, then gave up working on it for some reason. Maybe I got fed up of the deceptive nature of the bands. Because of the repetitive motif, you are lulled into believing it’s a quick and easy stitch.

After a long hiatus, however, my mind kept going back to it, so this weekend, I worked on it again. I finished bands 53 and 54. I plan to do a little bit each week and finish it this year.

Pattern: Randje Per Week (free pattern; now on sale)
Designer: Simone & Annalies of Soed Idee
Fabric: HDF 36×40 uneven linen in reddish brown
Threads: HDF Blue Pink (a “failed” color), Yonder Blue 2215
Started: January 9, 2014

Jane Longstreth Update



I have been rather sluggish with my stitching over the last year. Though I kept working on Jane, my heart was not in it and I just could not sit still long enough to focus. Moreover, it all seemed so pointless because each cross stitch project takes forever and all of my stuff and stash would become rubbish after I die anyway. Somewhere along the way, I had forgotten to enjoy the process – to lose oneself in simply creating something beautiful with color and design, and fabric and thread, without fretting about finishing and usefulness and tangible value – all those dreadful inhibitors of the artistic impulse.

Fortunately, my enthusiasm was renewed over the last two weeks when a friend took me to Stitches West – a yarn trade show held at a nearby convention center. Granted it had almost nothing to do with cross stitch but it felt very good to be among crafters and see all that fibre and color around me. And I discovered a Pat Carson’s needles, which are made by an elderly man in Japan. I like to think of them as magic needles because once I had them in my hand, I didn’t feel like putting my stitching down. Just like old times!

Some of the motifs in the Jane Longstreth are over one. The prospect of using regular thread over one was daunting but it was not as bad as I had expected. The leaves are outlined with stem stitch and supposed to be filled in with stem stitch too but I didn’t like the look (the leaf on the right).

So I stitched them with the Cretan stitch using the excellent instructions here and here. I am going to try doing the rest of them without the stem-stitch outline.

Here is where I stand on the sampler. Not significant progress since the last photo but I am happy to be just enjoying stitching again.

Pattern: The Jane Longstreth Sampler
Designer: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College
Fabric: 38-ct Nacre by Gander
Threads: HDF silks
Started: August 21, 2015

Embroidery in Iceland – 3


We have been visiting Iceland almost every year since 2006. One of my great delights during these trips is seeing embroidered pieces given pride of place in homes, farmhouses and hotels. This is particularly observed in the countryside and smaller towns. In the summer of 2012 we stayed at Ytra-Áland, a very remote farmhouse in north-east Iceland. They had a very old traditional piece hanging on the wall by the entrance.



Colors in these old Icelandic works were muted and subtle because the threads were dyed using natural ingredients instead of chemical dyes.


It’s not a cross stitch. Not sure what the stitch is called but it appears to be a simple vertical stitch. I love the movement and flow in this design!


The fabric is a gorgeous shade of brown, probably locally made and dyed. I have not seen it sold in any of the needlework stores I visited in Iceland, so I am guessing it is no longer made.


This charming piece was hanging in one of the inside hallways. It is also stitched in the vertical straight stitch of varying length. ytra5-frameshop_1

I am looking forward to going back there some day and admiring these beautiful works at close quarters again.




Jane was becoming a bit of a bore, so I decided to have some fun on the side with Kathy. Before anyone gets any wild ideas, here is my little extracurricular activity – Kathy Barrick’s Enchanted. I just love the simple joyfulness of this design and it’s a nice change from a sampler.

It didn’t take too long to select the fabric and colors. I wanted the fabric to be mottled; and I wanted to retain the original interplay of colors but make them more saturated. The only challenge was the golden leaves/flowers – I need something that won’t get lost in the fabric but not so dark that it competes with the deer. Contenders are Haywains, Kodiak Bear, Rum Scullion, and Ochre. As I write this, I am wondering why I didn’t consider Cerveza.

I started in the middle because I was afraid the piece wouldn’t be centered properly if I started on the upper left corner as usual.


Pattern: Enchanted
Designer: Kathy Barrick
Fabric: 36-ct HDF linen Zymurgy
Threads: HDF silks – BeSeeded; others TBD
Started: September 16, 2016

Jane Longstreth Progress


I have been plodding along on Jane. I love how the colors have come together.  I got started on the specialty stitches in the bottom border. Youtube tutorials on the stem stitch were very useful. The chart instructions are to trace the outline for the leaves with a pencil using the dark diagrams provided, and then fill in with stem stitches. I did this for a couple of leaves, then got tired and just stitched using my eyes as a guide. jane-frameshop

I made a mistake on the inside blue border: on the right side, I kept stitching the ovals mindlessly and forgot the straight line in the middle. I realized it only when I fell one stitch short for the last oval at the bottom-right corner. Normally, I would not have bothered to correct it, but in this case, that straight line is needed to accommodate the large flower (see the border on the left). So I frogged. Things dragged a bit after that. To perk things up, I started a new project on Friday (will post it later).


Pattern: The Jane Longstreth Sampler
Designer: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College
Fabric: 38-ct Nacre by Gander
Threads: HDF silks
Started: August 21, 2015

New HDF Examplars

Family matters, including an unexpected death of a close family member this summer, have kept me away from this blog and from stitching in general. I had been looking at my threads, linens, patterns, and reading other stitching blogs but just did not feel like stitching. Slightly alarmed by this, I forced myself to stitch this weekend and while I didn’t get the same pleasure as before, it still felt good. I am hoping that doing a little bit every day will take me back to the old pleasures. Today as I was clearing up space on my computer, I came across photos of the new Examplar cones that I had shot when Vikki first dyed them. I am posting them here for reference. Post is pic-heavy!

Examplar Azurite: ExAzurite-FrameShop

Examplar Blush Cherries:ExBlushCherries-FrameShop

Examplar Buckwheat PorridgeExBuckwheatPorridge-FrameShop

Examplar ConiferExConifer-FrameShop

Examplar Crimson RoseExCrimson-Rose-FrameShop

Examplar Curry FavellExCurryFavell-FrameShop

Examplar DovecoteExDovecote-FrameShop

Examplar Dried HydrangeaExDriedHydrangea-FrameShop

Examplar Fantasy BirdExFantasyBird-FrameShop

Examplar Fire BrickExFireBrick-FrameShop

Examplar Hedgerow ExHedgegrow-FrameShop

Examplar LavenderExLavender-FrameShop

Examplar Ocean FoamExOceanFoam-FrameShop

Examplar OleanderExOleander-FrameShop

Examplar PeacockExPeacock-FrameShop

Examplar PeahenExPeahen-FrameShop

Examplar PrimroseExPrimrose-FrameShop

Examplar RainbowExRainbow-FrameShop

Examplar RosebushExRosebush-FrameShop

Examplar SeashoreExSeashore-FrameShop

Examplar Summer DuskExSummerDusk-FrameShop

Examplar Tussey MusseyExTusseyMussey-FrameShop

Examplar Weeping WillowExWeeping-Willow-FrameShop

Examplar Wooded Glen ExWoodedGlen-FrameShop

Jane Longstreth


I had put down my needle for a few months after a death in the family. For a while it didn’t feel like I would ever get back to it again. Fortuitously though, a friend gave me this sampler pattern and I found the verse so comforting that I was moved to start stitching this beautiful piece.

Great God thy name be blest
Thy goodness be ador’d
My soul has been distress’d
But thou hast peace restor’d


Pattern: The Jane Longstreth Sampler
Designer: Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College
Fabric: 38-ct Nacre by Gander
Threads: HDF silks
Started: August 21, 2015



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This is the second in the One Day Wonder Challenge series.  I failed again.  With young visitors as house guests, I am getting very little uninterrupted stitching time.  I enjoyed this little stitch though.



Pattern: Wagtail (free)
Designer: Kissy Cross
Fabric: Zweigart 40ct Cream
Threads: HDF silks (Examplar Primitive Black, Examplar Pussy Willow, NightSmoke 5303, Wrasse Green 3317, Gandy Dancer 1109 & 1105, SSF in BeVexed and Black)
Started: April 26, 2015
Finished: May 2, 2015




Someone started a One Day Wonder Challenge at a stitching forum that I frequent.  Based on a selected theme, you have to pick a design and stitch it in one day – the timeframe runs from midnight to midnight.  I was immediately drawn to the idea.  It would break the monotony of my current WIP, provide the excitement of a new start and the gratification of a quick finish, and I would put my HDF sample tag skeins to good use.


So I selected a small pattern from my voluminous freebie folder.  It was only 43w x 42h.  Husband was away, I had the house to myself, it was a Sunday, and I had no other distractions.  Easy peasy.

Except that the design had 21 colors. I was bored as soon as I had started.


Here is what I accomplished by the end of the day:

Then the week rolled around and I had to work, cook, eat, watch TV, read my Ken Follett tome, and do all sorts of things to avoid stitching this aggravating piece.  I ploughed through it on three additional days, about an hour at a time. It was like pulling teeth. I finally finished it on Saturday.  Now I see why it was called a challenge.


Pattern: Spring 2002 (free)
Designer: Whispered by the Wind
Fabric: Zweigart 40ct Cream
Threads: HDF silks (Examplar Pettyfog, Kodiak Bear 5129, 5133, 5141, Alluvium 3401, 3405, Velvet Midnight 2151, 2153, Imperial Green 3327, 3331, Sue Purple 6103, 6105, 6107, Sea Wrack 3429, 3431, 3433, Cerveza 4141, Fish Pepper 4421, BitterBloom 4447, Phlox 1337, 1341, Backstitch in SSF OMOT Soil and OMOT Surf )
Started: March 29, 2015
Finished: April 4, 2015