After having finished a very large, long-term project prior to Christmas, I needed my next cross stitch project to be fairly easy and a quick stitch. I had visited my daughter in her current home in Nashville over Christmas, and I decided to stitch something for her that would match her color scheme. For a long time I have thought about stitching a saying that has been part of our conversations innumerable times over the years. I often followed her “I love you” with “I love you more.”
I started the project in January by charting the design. That simply means that I got out graph paper and drew the design that I wanted to use. Then it was a matter of picking out the floss colors and fabric. For me it is absolutely thrilling to make those first stitches in a project and gradually see the design unfold.
Spring is emerging in the high desert that I call home. The aspen trees are budding, green shoots are rising out of the soil and daffodils are blooming. More and different species of birds are at the bird bath and bird feeders. The outside temperatures are warming. Fruit trees are covered in blossoms. The sky seems particularly blue.
Inside the house, we have not yet turned off the heat because we still might get blasts of cold weather, but the thermometers are at their lowest settings. On a couple of days we opened the front door and back door allowing a breeze to flow through the house from one end to the other. The stale air from a house closed during the winter months has been replenished with distinctly fresh air.
The unicorn”, she said, “was a marvelous beast, shining with honor, wisdom and strength. Just to see him strengthened the soul.” –Megan Lindholm; The Unicorn in the Maze
There is something universally appealing about the mystical, magical, legendary unicorn. I personally have been fascinated by the lore of the unicorns for a very long time. In this week when we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, I was reminded of a song from my teenage years by the Irish Rovers, a Canadian Irish folk group, called The Unicorn.
The Irish Rovers is a group that was thought to be largely responsible for the interest in Irish music in North America and has been performing for more than 50 years. The song was from 1968 and was the song that the Irish Rovers were best known for in the U.S. It reached number 2 in the U.S. Adult Contemporary Charts and number 7 in Billboard’s Hot 100. The song was written by Shel Silverstein.
Recalling this song reminded me of a a cross stitch piece I had done in the mid 80’s. It is another piece that I stitched but never framed. It was worked at a time when I did not think of my craft as being something long lasting so I did not record the actual date. I am relying on my rather foggy memory as to when I probably stitched it. I am sure that it is a relatively early example of my craft as it is a relatively easy design. My stitched piece The Unicorn is the feature of this week’s Saturday Stitching Post.
[Project Details: The source was The Unicorn Book by Betty Ashley (1980). 14 count white Aida was used with 2 strands of DMC floss; primarily cross stitch with french knots and lazy daisy embroidery stitch. Finished size 5 1/2″ x 4″}
Today’s Saturday Stitching Post features the lowly, humble outhouse. In the past I have shared projects as varied as angels, a tree at dawn, a girl reaching for a cookie jar, and a slogan “Bless This Mess”. As I decided on which project I would post this week, I had to chuckle. There is a certain bit of humor in taking the time and making an effort to stitch an outhouse.
The reasons for my project choices have been diverse.
Today my Saturday stitching post features a cross stitch piece that is a very early item that I stitched. I believe I did it around 1984 although at the time I did not know enough to add my name and date to the work I did. I was just getting into cross stitch and had no idea that it would become a passion for me for the rest of my life. Much of my early work was completed as gifts but this is a piece I kept for myself. It did not get framed until years later but it has now been displayed in two homes that I have lived in.
Today on my Saturday Stitching Post (which I am considering naming this feature) I step away from the bigger pieces I have done and present a small project that I designed and stitched for my office. My typical day at work consists of slogging through tons of paperwork.It has been a good day when I have less paperwork on my desk at the end of the day than I had at the start. My desk looks very unorganized but amazingly enough I can almost always put my finger on anything I need. I did this small design because the saying is very appropriate for my office.
Today I share a heart themed cross stitch that I made in 2011. It is one of many pieces that I completed stitching, but never made into a project. This one I intend to finish as a pillow. I love stitching and seeing a design emerge as it is translated on fabric. When I put the last stitch in one project I always have a million ideas in my head for the next project I will do. I also have several WIP’s (Works in Progress) that I could pick up. I have a drawer full of projects that are completely stitched but that I have not framed or otherwise finished. At one time I felt guilty about that, but then I think of all the people who write and never publish, or who paint and never display their paintings, or undertake some other creative process and enjoy the act of creating but don’t ever share their hard work with the masses. The benefits of the actual creative process can be greater than the finished product. I have plans for every piece that is finished. And someday the plans will be implemented.
In the Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazine that published this design, the finished chart had been framed in a wooden tray with glass over it. It was referred to as a tic-tac-toe board. Individual heart designs were also featured in a greeting card and on the top of a wooden box. Some individual hearts were stuffed and framed in lace and ribbon for decor pieces. Another option used a four heart section of the design to make a smaller pillow.
I have stitched for 30 years and have subscribed to many different cross stitch magazines during this time. I generally find my next project by searching through the magazines and charts that I have accumulated. Although I wish I could purchase more to support the struggling designers out there, I cannot justify it when I know that I already have just the designs I need. The one chart that was a recent purchase was Dawn’s Break by Mystic Stitch featured in my post 93,100 Stitches of Love.
Project Details: Medley of Hearts from Cross Stitch & Country Crafts, Jan/Feb 1991. Stitched on rose 28 count even weave over 2 with 2 strands of DMC floss. Finished size 9 1/2 ” by 9″. Design by Linda Gillum.
[ A regular Saturday feature on my blog will be sharing projects that I have completed or are in progress. Today I share a counted cross stitch angel that I completed in 2005.]
The Celtic Angel was a design selected by my daughter. She found it on one of the shopping trips that she was forced to endure early in her teenage years. She admired it greatly and viewed it as a celebration of her Irish roots. I later went back to the store and purchased it in order to make it for her as a gift.
I had to stitch the project on the sly so she would be surprised. Whenever she was at dance class or at church functions I would furiously work on the project. When she went somewhere with her dad, he would always call me when they were on the way home so I had time to hide evidence of my work. It was probably the only time in my daughter’s life that it was I encouraging her to go out with her friends so I could have the stitching time. I was traveling occasionally for my job at that time and during the nights in the hotel you would find me stitching on this project. She was absolutely delighted when she received it as a gift for her 16th birthday.
A Celtic angel, just another thread of my life.
Celtic Angel designed by Barbara Baatz for The American School of Needlework, part of the Cross Stitch Masterpiece Collection. Out of Print.
“These things I warmly wish for you: someone to love, some work to do, a bit o’ sun, a bit o’ cheer, and a guardian angel always near.”
— Irish blessing
I have a sister-in-law who has an extensive collection of angel memorabilia in her home. We often stay at her house when we are traveling in the area. In appreciation for the lodging, the great company and the great food, I stitched Diligent Protector for her for Christmas 2014. Her birthday happens to be on December 24 and that is the day the picture was delivered to her house.
The design was part of a two part design collection in For the Love of Cross Stitch called Guardian Angels, which was adapted from antique post cards. The design appeared in the March 1994 issue.
A guardian angel, just another thread of my life.
For my stitching friends – Project Detail: Worked on a 17″ x 2o” piece of white 25 count Laguna fabric over 2 fabric threads. (112w x 147h). Three strands of DMC floss were used for cross stitching and 1 strand for backstitching. Needlework adaptation by Carol Emmer. Frame was stained to match wood tones in the recipient’s home. Outer mat was navy blue and inner mat was metallic gold.
One final thought, I clearly must improve my photography skills!
I am a stitcher. I have worked many pieces that I have gifted to people with mixed results. My latest completion was one of great success. It brought the recipients to tears and their reaction brought me to tears.
I inherited 5 step children when I got married. The youngest of the children, a boy, had 4 boys of his own. Tragedy struck the family when the father, my stepson, was killed in a car accident in 2008. Then his wife, the mother of the children, was killed in an accident in 2013. At that time the boys were 13, 17, 21 and 25. The oldest of the boys who was out on his own took in his two youngest brothers. The second son was in college.
Making My Home A Haven is important to me. Sharing homemaking skills. Recipes and food. Bible Studies. This is a treasure chest of goodies. So take a seat. Have a glass of tea and enjoy. You will learn all about who I am.