Friday, November 5, 2021

Merry Christmas to Me!

 Since I've been divorced for over 15 years and don't have a partner purchasing gifts for me, each year I purchase a Christmas gift for myself in the $75-100 price range. As soon as I got a sneak peek of this gorgeous autumnal design from Beth Seal of Summer House Stitche Workes a few weeks ago and the Pacific Northwest Stitch Summit (PNWSS) retreat, I knew this was going to be my gift to myself this year. The design is called Emily's Bliss after poet/author Emily Brontë who authored the sentiment in her poem Fall, leaves, fall.

If you would like to see a quick video clip of this beautiful design finished as a drum (finishing supplies provided with the kit), you can see it here on Beth's Instagram account. This design is ONLY available as a kit through the Homespun Needlework (Cross Stitch and Samplers) group on Facebook. Beth designed it exclusively for them and it is being kitted up and sold through Acorns & Threads in Portland, Oregon. Today was finally the day the kits were made available to pre-order through the Facebook group. I ordered the linen option (32 count Natural Light Linen from Wichelt) with these absolutely silks from Gloriana Threads.

Since this is a gift to myself, I am not counting it against my stitch from stash budget. One of my exceptions is gifts and there are only two occasions per year (my birthday and Christmas) when I purchase stitchy gifts for myself, so I choose not to count those purchases.

Now comes the most difficult part. Since this was a pre-order, I have to be patient and wait for it to actually ship to me! LOL

Monday, November 1, 2021

Monthly Recap: October 2021

I feel like I had a very productive month in October. I attended the virtual Pacific Northwest Stitchers Summit (see my recap here), had a few new starts, and four cross stitch finishes. In addition to that, I had a diamond painting finish as well. Here's how things went for me in October. 

Stitching Recap:

Number of Days Stitched: 24

Projects Worked: 7

  • The Stargazer - Mirabilia
  • All the Trimmings - Fat Quarter Shop
  • Garden Party - Satsuma Street
  • Two Birds in One Tree - Modern Folk Embroidery
  • Friendship Sampler - Threadwork Primitivies
  • Haunted House Sampler - Twin Peak Primitives
  • Fall Gnomes (Diamond Painting)

New Starts: 3

  • Seeds of Friendship: The Ball - Summer House Stitche Workes
  • Haunted House Sampler - Twin Peak Primitives
  • Quaker Garden - Blackbird Designs

Finishes: 5 (four cross stitch and one diamond painting)


Stitch from Stash Recap:


Balance Sheet:

Starting Balance - 1 Oct 2021$ 12.86-
Monthly Allowance - Sept$ 25.00
Finish Credits$ 78.00
Purchases$ 74.68-
Current Balance - 31 Oct 2021$ 15.46


Finish Credits Earned This Month:


Purchases This Month:


That's my recap for the month of October 2021. I hope you've all enjoyed following along with my progress in these monthly update

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Finish: Friendship Sampler

 With only a couple of minutes to spare until midnight, I managed to put in the final stitches on Friendship Sampler by Threadwork Primitives to get in a late Saturday night finish. I started this piece in April 2020 as a stitch-a-long with my Instagram friend, @brittneyxstitches.

I purchased this beautiful sampler as a kit from Tomorrow's Heirlooms Needlework in Glen Ellyn, Illinois as they have the exclusive rights to this design. If anyone is interested, the kit is still available on their website with several different configuration options, including both linen and Aida.

Design: Friendship Sampler
Designer: Threadwork Primitives
Fabric: 36 ct Oaken from Picture This Plus
Fibers: Called for (WDW & Classic Colorworks)
Stitch Count: 129 x 156
Started: 4 April 2020
Finished: 30 October 2021

Stitch from Stash:

Based on the stitch count, I'm claiming $24 for this finish ($20 base plus a 10% bonus each for hand-dyed fabric and fancy floss). This brings my current balance to $15.46 and gets me back out of the red again. Woo hoo! 

Finishes in 2021: 18

Current WIP Count: 50


Friday, October 29, 2021

Finish: Quaker Garden

I'm back with another finish. This is Quaker Garden from Blackbird Designs (BBD) which I stitched in memory of Barb Alan who was half of the BBD duo. This piece was designed by her many years ago and has always been one of my favorite BBD designs, so this seemed a fitting tribute to her. I've wanted to stitch this design for a long time, but was never able to find the chart. Thankfully, a very dear friend of mine generously loaned me her copy of the chart so I could stitch it. 

Since this piece was a tribute to Barb, I left her initials in place as charted rather than replacing them with my own as I would typically do. I also added the years of her birth and death in backstitch below her initials.

Design: Quaker Garden

Designer: Blackbird Designs

Fabric: 40 ct. Scroll Verdal from BeStitchMe

Fibers: Called For

Started: October 13, 2021

Finished: October 29, 2021

Stitch Count: 210 x 90


Stitch from Stash:

Based on the stitch count, I'm claiming $26 for this finish ($20 base plus a 10% bonus each for hand-dyed fabric, fancy floss, and specialty stitches). This brings my current balance to -$8.54. I've made several purchases this month which has put me slightly in the hole, but not too much, thankfully.

Finishes in 2021: 17

Current WIP Count: 51

Friday, October 8, 2021

PNWSS Recap

PNWSS Logo

I had the wonderful pleasure last weekend of attending the Pacific Northwest Stitch Summit (PNWSS) virtual retreat hosted by Acorns & Threads. This was my fourth time attending an Acorns event, three of which have been held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jeannine (the shop owner) said she is hopeful they will be able to start offering in-person events again next year (2022), but also hopes to continue offering virtual options as well since that gives people who might not otherwise be able to attend a chance to participate. While I love attending in-person events, having a virtual option is nice as well. It's makes it so much more affordable since I don't have to worry about transportation or lodging costs.

The designers for this year's PNWSS event were Cathy Habermann of Hands on Design, Tracy Horner of Ink Circles, and Beth Seal of Summer House Stitche Workes. I'm not quite as familiar with Beth's work, but Cathy and Tracy are definitely two of my favorite designers.

The three pieces they designed for the retreat are called Seeds of Friendship. Under that main umbrella, there is Seeds of Friendship: The Book, Seeds of Friendship: The Basket, and finally, Seeds of Friendship: The Ball. Here is a photo of the three pieces in their intended configuration.

Aren't they lovely?! While designed to go together, each piece could also be used independently. In addition to the Aztec Red linen from Weeks Dye Works and Gloriana silks being used on all three pieces, another cohesive element to the designs is the use of some simple embroidery details on each piece. I haven't done any embroidery in over 40 years, so it should be interesting when I get to that part. LOL (Note: I didn't link to the Weeks Dye Works site because I was getting a certificate error when I tried to visit their site.)

The Book was designed by Tracy (Ink Circles) and includes a pattern for the stitch book as well as for a fabric pillow to sit inside to help the book hold its shape. Alternatively, instead of using the pillow, you could place any 4x6" item inside the book instead (photo album, journal, an actual book, etc.).

The Basket was designed by Cathy (Hands on Design). Each section of the basket has a repeating cross stitch design on the inside and the embroidery on the outside. It's not visible in the photo, but in the inside bottom of the basket has an adorable little scene with squirrels and spools of thread.

The Ball was designed by Beth (Summer House Stitche Workes). The top linen section has a really pretty little leaf motif and each of the wool sections around the sides has a repeating embroidery pattern. There is a small washer whip stitched to the inside bottom of the ball which can be lined up with a coordinating magnet hidden in the bottom of the basket to secure it in place and prevent it from falling out. Very clever!

If you would like to hear the designers talk about their projects, be sure to check out Cathy's FlossTube #61. Tracy and Beth were still at her house and made a special appearance in her video. They did a bit of a recap of the retreat from the designer/teacher view and showed off each of their designs.


A couple of people have asked me on Instagram about whether these charts will eventually be released for general purchase. On the final day of the retreat, Cathy stated there are no plans at this time to release these designs publicly. That's not to say it couldn't potentially change at some point in the future, but for now, it seems retreat participants will be the only stitchers with these designs. Take heart though, there is a way you CAN get one of the retreat charts!

The three designers also collaborated on this beautiful set of circular designs titled Around My Friends. The set was created to celebrate and honor the 25th anniversary of Acorns & Threads this year. Jeannine didn't know anything about this extra project and as a surprise to her, they gifted her with the models during the retreat. Her face when she opened the box and pulled out the models was priceless! 

If you would like to get your hands on these three beautiful designs, the chart will be available exclusively at Acorns & Threads. It is charted for Gloriana silks, but also includes a DMC conversion. Click here for all the details and to purchase online.

Each retreat participant was gifted not only the chart, but a full kit as well! These designs use the same Gloriana silks used in the Seeds of Friendship designs, so there wasn't any floss included since we had it already. The kits we received included the chart, linen (36 ct Platinum), red trim from LadyDotCreates, a little make & take kit to make the "acorn" pins, as well as a full finishing kit with precut mat board for each of the three designs. How incredibly generous!! I just want to send a big thank you to each of the designers for the extra kit! 

In closing, I also want to thank all of the crew at Acorns & Threads for putting on such a wonderful event! Of course, we have to start with Jeannine as the shop owner who is at the helm of everything at Acorns & Threads. Up next is Jeri who always does such a great job as the event manager. Tasha has been a big part of things as well since they've moved to virtual events. She takes care of helping everyone on Zoom with any technical issues that arise as well as things like helping people change their name on Zoom reminding people to mute, etc. Of course, we can forget Jenn who does such an amazing job with the giveaways. Finally, there is everyone else who works behind the scenes putting together the kits, getting them shipped, sending invoices, holding down the fort at the shop during the event, etc. Events like these wouldn't be possible without the entire team, so I just wanted to publicly say thanks! 

Speaking of the giveaways, I was actually one of the lucky giveaway winners during the retreat! The prize package I won included the Be a Pineapple chart from Hands On Design (shown above) and the Chronicles of Oline Marie - Volume I by Summer House Stitche Workes (shown below). 

All in all, I had a great time! I'm already looking forward to the next one!


**PNWSS logo image used with permission of Acorn & Threads

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Unicorn Sighting!

Thanks to the generosity of a very dear friend, I am currently in temporary possession of one of my long-time unicorn charts. Woo hoo!! Since I haven't been able to find a copy to purchase, she is loaning me her copy so I can stitch it. The package arrived today along with another purchase I made last weekend during the Pacific Northwest Stitch Summit retreat hosted by Acorns & Threads.

Not only did my sweet friend send me the chart and a lovely card, but she also included a piece of the called for fabric! It's 30 ct Garden State Java by R&R Reproductions. She said she decided not to use it after she got it, so she sent it along to see if I might want to use it. I agree with her that this is a SUPER stiff fabric. I might try doing a small test swatch in one corner to see how I feel about stitching on it. If I decide I don't like it either, I'll just substitute and use one of the myriad neutral fabrics I have in my stash. Now I just have to be patient waiting for the threads to arrive. LOL

The other package I received today was the beautiful PSL/coffee-themed project bag. I ordered it last weekend from Denise at DotDotGooseDesign on Etsy. She was also attending the PNWSS retreat and graciously offered all attendees a 10% discount. I had already been eyeing this bag in her shop, so I immediately went and purchased it before they were all gone! I'm glad I did because, as of this writing, they are all gone! She has lots of other cute bags available though. I have several of her bags and absolutely love them. They're vinyl front bags and very well made. If you haven't checked out her shop already, you should!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Finish: Garden Party

 Can you believe it? I'm back with another finish. This was my fourth oldest WIP started back in 2018, so it feels really good to get this one done.

Design: Garden Party (Cool Colorway)
Designer: Satsuma Street
Fabric: 32 ct Antique White Jobelan
Fiber: Called for DMC
Stitch Count: 109x127
Started: 2 March 2018
Finished: 6 October 2021

Stitch from Stash:

Based on the stitch count, I'm claiming a $14 finish credit for this piece. This brings my current balance to $11.86 which means I'm now officially out of the red! Woo hoo!!

WIPs-B-Gone:

I forgot to post about this a couple of weeks ago when it started, but I'm participating in the WIPs-B-Gone 2021 challenge over on Instagram. It was organized by Leanne of the Devoted Quilter. You can find her on Instagram and over on her blog. You can click here to find all the details about this challenge.
I selected three of my older WIPs to focus on between September 23 and the end of the year. My goal is to get the stitching completed on all three of these WIPs during the challenge. I'll worry about FFOing them another time. As my friend Abi would say, "That's a problem for future Melissa." :)