WIP – L’Hiver


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I started model stitching for Hands Across the Sea Samplers this summer. So my personal stitching has been on hold for a while. Here is my progress on L’Hiver as of June when I stopped working on it (click on the photo to get a better view).

Last week, I suddenly started missing this project, so I took it out and snuck in a few stitches. Nothing major, only the snow at the bottom. I had started stitching this design at the bottom right with cream colored floss. It was a while before I realized it was supposed to be snow. Rather than ripping it out, I stitched over the cream Xs with a bright white thread. I like the effect. 

I am not particularly thrilled about stitching those twigs floating around her, but in the meantime, I am loving the flowers.

Color! – 7


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I have been stitching at least an hour every day these days, thus making good progress on L’Hiver. As far as possible, I am choosing variegated colors when I convert from the called-for Weeks Dye Works to HDF. Old Blue Eyes – a dusty, faded blue – worked out really well for the birds in this design. The original color specified in the pattern is WDW’s Dolphin – a greenish grey. I didn’t want the birds to blend in too much as they do in the original, so I changed them to an old blue. I am happy with the result.

Here is my progress; there is still a long way to go.

Embroidery in Iceland – 8

This is the third and last post about our weekend trip to the north of Iceland. We had booked our accommodation through AirBnb – a first for us. It was located just outside the town of Sauðárkrókur.

This piece hanging on the wall above the TV immediately grabbed my attention.

Here is a closer look (click on the photo to enlarge). I loved the embroidery in embroidery! The two wall hangings within the wall hanging looks like traditional designs in Icelandic needlework. The design is worked in a straight stitch.

Coffee, Cakes, Flowers, and Crafts

On our road trip to North Iceland this past weekend, we had a craving for coffee and cake in the late afternoon. We first stopped at Ömmukaffi in Blönduós but they had only coffee, no cakes. They directed us to Hunabúð and Bæjarblómið, the flower shop. I was a little skeptical about finding coffee and cakes at a florist but this being Iceland, quirky shops are the norm rather than the exception.

It turned out to be a delightful place – coffee, cakes, flowers, needlecraft, knitting wool, woodcrafts, buttons, toys – it had a little bit of everything. Of course, I honed in on the cross stitch box – a small assortment of European cross stitch kits and needle notions.

They had a lovely range of buttons in this wooden display and I wish I had bought some.. …but I was just too consumed by my craving for cake. She had three homemade cakes that day and we ordered one of each: chocolate, lemon cheesecake, and apple cake.

The apple cake was one of the best cakes I have ever eaten in my life! And I loved the serving plates too. Here is our view as we enjoyed the cakes.

From what I gathered through Google translation of their website, the shop originally started as a children’s clothing and toy store, then expanded to include women’s clothing, knitting and crafts. A few years back they bought the flower shop Bæjarblófni and merged it with their existing business.

Though I didn’t buy any craft or needlework items, I thoroughly enjoyed the visit and will make sure to go there again. Hopefully, she will have the apple cake that day.

Embroidery in Iceland – 7

We went on a short road trip to North Iceland this past weekend. On the way, we stopped for coffee and cakes at a cafe-and-flower shop in Blönduós. I was delighted to find that it was not just a coffee and flower shop (which is unique in itself) but also a crafts store. More on the store in the next post, but here are some old pieces of embroidery on display at the store.

First, two very simple and charming works that were hanging in the W/C. Both are stitched on aida fabric.

In the store itself, two frames occupied pride of place. The shop owner said she had rescued them from trash. They are at least 50 years old. The lady in red seems to have been quite a favorite of those times!

I tried to take closeups as well as I could but was limited by height.

I wonder how many variations of the lady in red could be found in this country?

Embroidery in Iceland – 6

We were roaming around in downtown Reykjavik couple of weekends ago with our friend and strolled into Kolaportið, the local flea market. We enjoyed looking around all the stalls and my husband even found a rare autographed copy of a photography book by Hjálmar R. Bárðarson, the famous Icelandic photographer who passed away in 2009. I was keeping my eyes peeled for needlework related stuff. I spotted this lovely lady in red, who reminded me of other similarly clad ladies in many old samplers. I could not get close enough to see the detail but perhaps it’s punch needle? I’ll look again when I visit the flea market next; hopefully she will still be there.

This was the closest I could get amidst all the junk surrounding her.


New Start – L’Hiver


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This is my first start of 2019 and my first Birds of a Feather pattern. I “discovered” Birds of a Feather designs last year – rather late because the company changed hands in 2007 and began focusing on needlepoint. Nancy Davis, the original owner, passed away in 2012. I am assuming most of the older cross stitch patterns were Nancy’s designs. I tried to find a comprehensive list of their patterns and release dates, but this information is not on the internet. 

There are four in this seasonal series and I have purchased Winter and Spring as the other two didn’t appeal as much. I may change my mind and buy the other two to complete the set. Let’s see.

The fabric is 38-ct Gander. I had originally gotten it dyed at Vikki’s factory, but I didn’t like the peachy tones, so I overdyed it using the dyes I had bought from Dharma Trading Company before leaving California. The called-for floss is Weeks Dye Works, which I changed to HDF silks. Fortunately, I have an entire set of WDW sample tags (kindly given by a friend) that were VERY useful for the conversion.

The reds in the flower are a such a pleasure! This is Old Maid of the Flash.

It took a while but I finally have selected almost all the colors. Petals are Old Maid of the Flash; OMG Red 1133/35/41; Yellow Spice 65/Imperial Green 37/OMG Red 45. Center of the flower is Rubbed Dark Gold. The twigs are BeLeaved and Jewelweed 3165.

Pattern: L’Hiver
Designer: Birds of a Feather
Fabric: Gander linen (38ct) overdyed by me
Threads: HDF silks
Started: February 1, 2019

Dear Jane Rine – WIP

This project is progressing at a glacial pace because I am not stitching on it continuously. I took it everywhere I travelled but never stitched. Hoping to finish it this year. Here she is in Iceland during our apartment hunting trip of October 2018. I really like stitching with Gloriana silk. It’s thick and soft, gives great coverage, and this color is such eye candy!

Pattern: Dear Jane Rine
Designer: Rine Oddens (Dear Rine)
Fabric: Portuguese linen (40ct)
Threads: Gloriana silk: Peacock; HDF Silk Oil of Amber 4115
Started: September 7, 2017

Graphic Sampler


The last quarter of 2018 was very hectic and busy as we wrapped up our life in California and moved to Iceland. We downsized our belongings significantly, packed them up and moved them into a storage facility in Reykjavik. I had kept a few ongoing projects with me, intending to work on them in between moves. Well, I need not have bothered because I didn’t put a stitch on them. With so much going on, I just didn’t feel relaxed enough to sit and stitch.

We got settled into our Reykjavik apartment this month, and all my needlework supplies are back with me now. I was going through my pile of unfinished projects accumulated over the years. While I don’t feel guilty about abandoning them, they still niggled me sometimes – tangible reminders of my tendency to chase new, shiny objects and then tire of them. I revisited each UFO with a goal to either finish it or throw it out once and for all. Surprisingly, I felt like working on some of them again. So I think 2019 is going to be a year of showing some love to old, unfinished projects.

Here is the first one. It was mystery SAL in Sticklounge, a now-defunct yahoo group. It had nine parts, a mix of cross-stitch and blackwork. I ended up not liking the modernistic blackwork parts and gave up after part 8. Fortunately, I still had the last part saved in my email archives. Ten years later, I find that I really like this piece!

Pattern: Graphic Sampler
Designer: Angela Cyzgann (for Sticklounge)
Fabric: 40ct Newcastle by Zweigart
Threads: HDF silk – Enhantress, Popinjay 3305 (or 07)
Started: January 2, 2010
Finished: January 26, 2019


Embroidery in Iceland – 5


Continuing my series of embroidered pieces spotted during my travels in Iceland. I saw this simple and sweet design in the hallway of the cafe where we had stopped for lunch today. I had to take the photo quickly as my companions had already left the restaurant and were waiting in the car. The e fabric looks like canvas or evenweave and the thread appears to be wool. The dog seems to be sulking.

Skyrgerðin is a guesthouse in the lovely town of Hveragerði, in South Iceland just outside Reykjavík. It also is a Cafe & Bistro serving delicious food made with local ingredients. The photo below was taken from the parking lot and shows the entrance to the guesthouse. The cafe entrance is round the corner on the main road. I shall definitely return!