Monday, December 1, 2014

Cross Stitch Projects Update

So I have been crazy busy lately and decided to take a break from blogging to get a head-start on my projects. I love making homemade Christmas gifts. It adds a personal touch and everyone always loves unique gifts! A few of the projects I can't share, because they are for people who read my blog. The other's I will share, with pictures and links (if I used a pattern) and tutorials (once I post the "finished" results).

For my Grandmother: She loves cardinals. And honestly while I did want to make a bigger pattern, with cute snow covered pines, I knew it would be better to make a smaller, simpler one that she could hang up all year long. I will very likely go ahead and make another one soon... Probably this Victoria Sampler, because fat cardinals are adorable!

I'll finish it by placing it in a small wooden hoop. I just haven't found the perfect one yet!

For my Grandfather: He enjoys hunting and is especially fond of deer (*cry* but at least he butchers them and it fills his freezer, so I can't really judge). So I made him two cute deer cross stitches. I am slightly obsessed with both of them and will probably end up making my own soon. 

Here is the pattern (I find a ton of awesome and free patterns on Pinterest): This pattern was in black and white, really simple, but I wanted to add colors and just chose from the colors I already had on hand. 

I loved the effects of using DMC's Color Variations thread, because it was a lovely blend of different shades of green that made the forest and grass look really neat! I believe it was either Emerald Isle or Evergreen Forest. I also obsessively count stitches (because there is nothing more annoying than a stitch being out of place and absolutely ruining the whole pattern... usually only noticing after hours of work *sigh*) and use my trusty Disappearing Ink Pen to mark every ten stitches. The ink does fade a bit while stitching, but you can keep drawing the line and when you are finished, the ink will disappear on its own. 

Don't mind my haphazard stitching... there's a method to the madness, I swear.  

One thing I changed from the pattern... the buck has a stitch missing where the eye would be... but the doe didn't, and I personally thought it looked weird like that, so that's the only difference between my version and the original pattern. I just filled it in so they are solid silhouettes. I choose a sort of golden brown for the doe and a dark brown and lighter brown of a similar shade for the buck. Doesn't it look adorable? I still haven't decided how I'll finish this pattern, but I'm thinking of possibly making a wood chip filled decorative pillow. They smell amazing! Or maybe I'll just frame it.. I haven't decided yet, but I'll post the finished piece!

The Stag Pattern: Isn't he majestic? 

My grandmother specifically wanted me to make a pillow, because theirs are all old and starting to fall apart (despite being well-cared for). So I looked around and finally decided on this pattern. Now, their other pillows are 12x12" and I really tried to make that work for this pattern. But I was working with the materials I had on hand (our local craft store was out of the shade of Aida cloth I wanted to use), so it came out almost 2 inches taller. That being said, I'm now aiming for a 14x14" pillow and will let you know how it comes out!

I used DMC 14 Count Oatmeal Fabric and DMC 3371 Black Brown thread. I really liked both of these earthy tones and it came out amazing! The pattern would have come out small had I kept with the pattern, but I actually tried out a new stitch. It's known as the double cross stitch. You basically make a cross stitch and then add a second layer of stitches going across and down the middle. You're also stitching over two, so it will cover the space of 4 cross stitches. (Here are some directions if you're not familiar with the stitch - I started with the down and across stitch, followed by the cross stitch, because my reasoning was it might catch on less stuff... so we'll see how that goes.)

See, each of those squares can fit four cross stitches. I also made sure there was a two inch border on the sides, to be sure there was plenty of room for sewing it into a pillow. However, after I finished, I realized I should have measured out the whole pattern and started near the middle of the cloth, because now I have to find a coordinating fabric for the front of the pillow to go on the sides. I'll show you what I mean in a couple pictures...

At this point in the pattern, my boyfriend pointed out that this looks like a bad*** acorn (pardon the language. It kind of does. :)

And it's gone and just looks creepy now.

Finished! It looks awesome! I will definitely be using this stitch for future projects, because the texture is amazing! I admit I am a bit obsessed with feeling it. Up close they look like stars! 

Surprisingly it didn't take that long to make. I think I worked on it over the course of 2 or 3 days. Several hours, for sure, but less time than I was expecting to commit to it, which was a bonus! 

And finally the Merry Christmas cross stitch pattern (scroll to near the bottom for the free pattern).

Merry came out perfect...

But remember how I was talking about one tiny mistake ruining everything? Yeah, that happened with C. I was trying to finish it at midnight one night, so I could start on a new letter in the morning, and put a stitch in the wrong place... and did not notice. Until I got to s and t. I knew something was wrong immediately once I got to s. Typically I obsessively count stitches, but since I was just lining up the stitches when I was moving on to the next letter, I did not notice that each letter had an extra line. So that became apparent with s and t, as they each came up one line short.

I attempted to fill them in and they looked weird, so I kind of edited both letters and just added an extra line. Now you can barely notice the difference!

Also note to self: be sure to wash plastic hoops before using them, because this hoop made a yellow stain on part of the fabric. :(

Despite everything, I really like how the pattern came out!! The original pattern was made with gold thread in mind, but I went right for the traditional red and green and added a pretty ice blue shade for the snowflakes. 

I'm thinking of finishing this pattern as a decorative pillow. What do you think? 

There are three more patterns that I would love to share, but will have to wait to share after Christmas. I'm also working on a few other patterns, but they are not finished yet. One is HUGE and will probably take me a year to make (joking! probably..). 

Look forward to more cross stitch projects! I'll be making several different ones in the coming weeks. And our next post will be an update on the felt play mats I'm working on! So far I'm only (mostly) done one and the second is in the works. But there are about 12 of them on the list, and each different, so be sure to check them out!

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