Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten



I loved fairy tales as a child and I still do.  Back then the stories were an escape into imaginary worlds where everything turned out okay in the end – the evildoers got their just deserts and the good ones lived happily ever after.  As an adult, I am fascinated by their subtext, and the way the exaggerated characters often contain a kernel of true human behavior.  So when Kirsten of Kissy Cross showed her fairy tale charts on her blog, it brought back many nice memories of childhood and I knew I had to stitch them all.

The first in the series is The Town Musicians of Bremen by the Grimm brothers.  The story titles in the charts are in German. I considered translating to English but then decided that they sounded more romantic in German (for example, who could disagree that Dornröschen carries a ring to it that Sleeping Beauty doesn’t?).  But I did have some trouble with German spelling 🙂


I stitched the entire design in Vikki Clayton’s Rubbed colors – a limited edition series of 60 colors that she did in 2013.  I am glad I collected the entire series because they are incredibly lovely.  Just look at the Rubbed Grey on the donkey!


The house turned out darker than expected and I initially fretted over it.  But now I like it because it looks a little more sinister than the original design.


I am stitching all 6 blocks on a single piece of linen.  Next one will probably be Rapunzel.  Or maybe Little Red Riding Hood.


Pattern: Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten
Designer: Kirsten Schmidt (Kissy Cross)
Fabric: HDF uneven 36x40ct Peach Butter
Threads: HDF silks (Rubbed Colors – Moss, Lime, Jade, Bronze, Brown, Sampler Brown, Chocolate Brown v1, Chocolate Brown v2, Hare, Dark Copper, Failed Orange, Grey, Ash, Silver v1, SSF in Black)
Started: Jan 1, 2015
Finished: February 22, 2015




Reminiscing on Old Finishes



I am going through my old posts on a blog I briefly maintained on the HDF site before I started this blog.  The entry on May 3, 2010 ran like so:

Here is my progress on the project that I am stitching in the Marquoir group (pattern is by Jean Louis Grandsire). I have completed 9 parts. The pattern is being released in 36 parts.  

I am using Examplar White Chocolate and a mystery dark color. Do you notice the difference in shades of the dark floss? I kitted this when I was an HDF newbie and had no idea that the dates on skeins represented dye-lots. I had 5-6 skeins of this color in dbags and I could have sworn they were all the same shade – I looked at them several times in daylight. It does not bother me yet, but I am a bit worried how the final piece may look awkward. Should I frog? 


Eventually I decided to keep calm and stitch on without ripping the offending parts.  The piece turned out just fine.  It’s been almost five years now and I still agonize about color choices but I have stopped wringing my hands over minor changes in shades and dye lots; in fact, I welcome them as they break the monotony of a color and add interest to the piece.  Here is finished work.


Pattern: Carré Coeur
Designer: Jean Louis Grandsire
Fabric: 40ct Newcastle Flax
Threads: HDF silks (Examplar White Chocolate and a mystery maroon)
Started: December 28, 2009
Finished: April 17, 2011

UFOs – 2


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I have been sick since the first week of January.  No inclination to stitch or do anything else but sleep, sleep, sleep.  Oh, and buy more patterns on various Facebook stash sale groups.  I may never stitch them but there is comfort in just having a pile of nice patterns 🙂

In the meantime, here is another UFO.  I started this sometime in 2009, when I resumed cross-stitch after a decade’s hiatus.  The fabric and floss are as specified in the pattern (the one and only project where it is so).  Those days I had zero stash and was looking around for a nice pattern to stitch.  I picked this one and then needed to buy the materials.  I made my husband drive me to the nearest needlework store (an hour away). I still remember the tortured look on his face as I agonized over colors in the store for over an hour.  It’s a good thing he does not know I never stitched it. RIRSampler-FrameShop

Pattern: Rhapsody in Red Ribbon Sampler
Designer: Diane Jordan (Sampler Cove)
Fabric: 40ct Newcastle Cream
Threads: Gloriana silks (Cranberry & Crimson)
Started: September 2009

New Year Start



I was dithering between starting a new project on Jan 1 and re-starting one of the old unfinished projects that sit at the back of my mind, nagging me quietly.  Finally, I chose to do what I felt like doing, rather than what I felt I should be doing.  As a friend once remarked, the nicest part about being an adult is that you can do whatever you want 🙂

So here is my Jan 1 2015 start.  More about this piece when I finish the first block.


Pattern: Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten
Designer: Kirsten Schmidt (Kissy Cross)
Fabric: HDF uneven 36x40ct Peach Butter
Threads: HDF silks (Rubbed Moss, Rubbed Bronze, Rubbed Sampler Brown, Rubbed Chocolate Brown v1, Rubbed Hare, Rubbed Dark Copper, Failed Rubbed Orange )
Started: Jan 1, 2015

Shooters Hill – Finished


This was my last finish for 2014.  It seemed like a small sampler when I started, but it packs in quite a few stitches with many color changes, so it took longer than expected.  I made several mistakes.  Some, such as those in the border vines, I had to redo because the mistakes changed the the overall look and feel of the piece and not in a nice way. Others, such as the inverted triangles(*), I did not have the patience to undo, so I simply made adjustments as I went along. I am pleased with how it turned out although the colors ended up being a bit brighter than I intended.


(*) I was lulled into seeing those triangles in the same size. Big mistake, because in the pattern they are all different sizes. As a result, I was left two stitches short in the cartouche.


Here is the full sampler:


Pattern: Shooters Hill
Designer: Heartstring Samplery
Fabric: HDF 40ct Peach Butter
Threads: HDF silks (Rubbed Old Gold, Umbrage 3465, Kodiak Bear 5125 and 5131, Attar of Roses 1233, SeaWrack 3437/PennyWort 3449/Marsh Grass 3553, Rum Scullion 4333, Liquid Gold 4171, Zebra Dove 5249, Jadeite 2465 )
Started: August 10, 2014
Finished: December 31, 2014

This & That


  • October and November few past with too much travel and too little stitching. India, Malaysia, back to India, then back to the US, then Dallas.  A couple of WIPS traveled with me but didn’t see the light of day, except when my nieces wanted to see my work.
  • I have pretty much given up stitching on planes.  It is not relaxing at all.  I think I hate stitching in public.  Stitching is my retreat from the world, a solitary activity.  So doing it in the cramped confines of a plane surrounded by too many people just defeats the purpose.
  • Most of my silk stash is now organized.  So are my patterns and fabric.  I still have to wind and label bags and bags of loose silk floss but 95% of my organization is done.  I can’t tell you how good that feels, even though I got behind on some of my stitching goals.
  • I am pondering stitching goals for 2015.  As in, I don’t want any.  I am tired of goals.  Life goals, work goals, financial goals, exercise goals.  Maybe I will just stitch by whim. Maybe I will just want to sit and watch TV and not stitch.
  • I kept looking and looking and looking at the Jane Ballard sampler.  I think I am over her now.  But you never know.  I still look once in a while.
  • Here is another piece I have fallen in love with:  Strawberry Fields Forever.  Maybe I will buy it for Christmas.  I don’t much care for the song though.
  • How come the very things that attracted you to a sampler become so tiresome when you have to stitch them? Take the flowers in Shooter’s Hill for instance.


Pattern: Shooter’s Hill
Designer: Heartstring Samplery
Fabric: HDF 40ct Peach Butter
Threads: HDF silks (Rubbed Old Gold, Umbrage 3465, Kodiak Bear 5125 and 5131, Attar of Roses 1233, SeaWrack 3437/PennyWort 3449/Marsh Grass 3553, Rum Scullion 4333, Liquid Gold 4171, )
Started: August 10, 2014

Be True



I had started this little freebie design a while ago, but by the time I reached “True”, I got bored. I finally finished it this week during a torturous cross-country trip (SF-Boston one day, Boston-SF the next).  I worked on several unfinished pieces during these flights, but this is the only one I finished.  I think I am beginning to hate stitching on airplanes, especially if traveling economy class on a full flight.  In those cramped and crowded spaces, t’s much easier to watch a movie or read a book than than futz around with fabric, pattern, scissors, needle, and thread.

Pattern: Be True (free pattern)
Designer: Plum Street Samplers
Fabric: HDF 40ct (new) scrap
Threads: HDF silks: Marsh Grass 3351, Quince 1407, Quince 1413, Ecru, Mystery black
Started: Don’t recall
Finished: Sept 25, 2014

UFOs – 1



I was cleaning up my stitching basket (aka dumping ground for things I don’t want in sight) this morning and found some unfinished pieces at the bottom of the basket. I am posting them here – perhaps I will be guilted into finishing them someday. The first two are projects in the now-defunct German yahoo group, Sticklounge.  The group was based  on the German principle of “stitch each part before you can get the next part”.  I just could not keep up with the round design and I can’t even remember why.  However, I did purchase the full design when the designer subsequently released it.


Pattern: Odds & Ends 4 (aka Sticklounge Logo)
Designer: Tam’s Creations
Fabric: HDF 35ct Mermaid Blue
Threads: Assorted HDF silks
Started: July 16, 2010

This next one was a mystery design.  Each block made me wonder why I signed up for such a silly design and by the 9th block, I was ready for divorce.  That empty block bothers me and I occasionally toy with the idea of stitching it up, but there is an easier solution, which is to hide it again.  The colors do look pretty though, don’t you think?


Pattern: Cannot recall 😦
Designer: See above
Fabric: Zweigart 40ct (Newcastle) Flax
Threads: HDF silks – Enchantress & Popinjay
Started: Don’t recall

Shooter’s Hill


I have barely stitched in the last month or so, spending most of my free time organizing my stash.  The bulk of the work is now done and it feels wonderful to have everything in order.  I had almost forgotten what stitching felt like!  Here is my start on Shooter’s Hill by Heartstring Samplery.  I love the big flowers in the border, the bird, the house; in fact, everything about this sampler.  The pattern calls for GAST thread, but I changed everything to HDF.

Shooters Hill start

 Pattern: Shooter’s Hill
Designer: Heartstring Samplery
Fabric: HDF 40ct Peach Butter
Threads: HDF silks (Rubbed Old Gold, Umbrage 3465, Kodiak Bear 5131, Attar of Roses 1233, SeaWrack 3437/PennyWort 3449/Marsh Grass 3553)
Started: August 10, 2014