#QuiltGoals2023 / Stitching Goals 2023 with the Fat Quarter Shop with a FREEBIE pattern! If you saw my blog last week, I talked about getting going with CROSS STITCH! I learned from Kimberly's flosstube Cross Stitch University, got MacStitch software, ordered new supplies and started my first cross stitch project/pattern for my Fall collection from Moda Fabrics, Forest Frolic. I love pulling colors for a project and all those lovely colors of DMC make it so fun.
My first goal was to make some designs that would go along with my Forest Frolic fabric line (which is shipping in July from Moda Fabrics). I wanted to use orange, red, brown, tan, greens and a touch of hot pink. My first project was Acorn Trio and I used Forest Frolic "Little Fall Fling" in Chocolate as the background within this frame.
I enjoyed this project so much that it motivated me to make more little acorns. And leaves. Swirly leaves and little vines and colorful Aspen leaves. I loved learning more in MacStitch as I designed new blocks and tried them out as minis before composing them into a Fall sampler.
More blocks of mushrooms and a little Robin bird with a leaf in her beak. I thought a light seafoam color was a soft and subtle divider color that also complimented the oranges and warm colors. My sampler of blocks can be made as one big image (of an 8 x 10 approximate size) or as small individual pillows. I think they are so sweet in this little format!
The frame I'm showing this in is a 11 x 14" barn wood shadow box from Hobby Lobby (1982158). For the little pillows, I trimmed each to 3 1/2" square and used Forest Frolic fabrics on the backs. Since the front is about cross stitch, I thought it would be fun to add a decorative stitch of Xs on the back in complimenting colors.
This sampler is made up on Charles Craft 14 count Fiddler's Cloth Light Oatmeal. This is similar to Wichelt 14 count Aida in Natural 357-50A or to Zweigart Artiste 14 count Aida Oatmeal 653220. Since I'm more of a newbie to cross stitch, I think I'll get some more practice before trying a smaller scale fabric like Evenweave or linen. I had started this sampler on the Fiddler's Cloth, otherwise I would have switched to the Natural Wichelt Aida that I got from Fat Quarter Shop since it had just a tiny bit more warmth to it but looked very similar.
Like I did with the mounting of Acorn Trio, I've finished this sampler by mounting on sticky board then floating it on the Little Fall Fling print in Orchard (48744-19).
To celebrate the start of my cross stitch journey, I wanted to share a little FREEBIE pattern for you from one of these blocks. I used the acorn with the little heart on top and 4 leaves and added a simple border and a Happy Fall message.
The pattern FREEBIE can be downloaded from the Fat Quarter Shop or here:
Or if you have any problems here, I'll keep up access to HAPPY FALL ACORN on my shopify store. The Fat Quarter Shop has exclusive access to this free pdf and will have the patterns for Acorn Trio and Fall Frolic Sampler for sale.
Luckily for me, the lovely Susan Strumpf offered to make my little acorn cross stitch into a sweet pillow with some Forest Frolic fabric. Look at the tiny button she made to go with the twine. It is SO CUTE! What a perfect amount of little added touch...thank you so much Susan!
Paper patterns have arrived! Perfect timing since I'm getting ready to go to the LONG BEACH QUILT FESTIVAL! If you are coming to the show, come by BOOTH 348 to see some of the cross stitch in person (and I just might have another couple designs to show there).
If you didn't see my previous blog post where I talk more about getting started with cross stitch, the fantastic supplies I got from the Fat Quarter Shop, learning from Kimberly's Cross Stitch University, and a sampling of different Aida fabrics, then please check out my previous post:
Here are my little sample pieces next to my Starlit Bears quits in the Forest Frolic line. The Fat Quarter Shop will be carrying this line (complete with the Thatched backgrounds, the Acorn Quartet kit AND the Mochi Linen prints!) and I think the two go together nicely. The quilt on the wall uses 4 background colors of Thatched that are new with this collection: Mocha, Copper, Cinnamon and Caramel (48626-205,208, 206 and 204) and the quilt on the ladder has Buttermilk Thatched (202) for the background.
I do show some photos in the previous post of different Aida fabrics I purchased from the Fat Quarter Shop for comparison and future projects. I took a picture to show you how the Fiddler's Cloth is close to the Wichelt Natural 14 count Aida #357-50A. It is just the slightest big warmer and I like that. It would look great with the Fall colors.
Feel free to check out the cross stitch section of my shop for new releases of patterns. I have another fun fall project in the works. Here's a little tiny peek:
I'm also working on some other cross stitch based on my quilts and artwork/illustrations as well as coordinating with new fabric lines. Stay tuned stitchers! Thanks again Fat Quarter Shop and thanks to all of you for visiting. Happy stitching!
I am eagerly anticipating the start of not one, but TWO sew alongs that I am running this year. This is my first time having my own sew along, so I'm going to go ahead and just apologize for whatever funny glitches and things happen on my learning curve. But it is time to start and get more comfortable with doing more video sharing. I hope you will come along for the journey!
This also means it is time to open a Facebook Group. This group is for those of you who like sewing with my fabrics and patterns. Maybe you have questions. Or hopefully you want to SHARE pictures of the things you are making with my fabrics and/or patterns! This is that space for sharing and supporting one another. I'll also run the sewalongs from the group page and hope to see lots of leaf blocks popping up as the sew along gets going.
Want to join the group? Visit Robin Pickens Sew Happy Community and ask to join.
I will do some facebook lives and then post those to youtube as we get going with the sew alongs. I'll also be running a poll to find out when you like to attend a live feed...mornings? During the week or weekends? I'll also be having a few prizes for some random folks who POST their progress while we sew along. No, you don't have to keep to my schedule. But participation and sharing, wherever you are at, is encouraged!
TSo lets talk about LEAF PRESS. It was Lissa Alexander from Moda Fabrics who suggested a leaf sampler. I THOUGHT I was done designing my group of patterns for the Forest Frolic fall collection until she mentioned the idea and then I just couldn't get it out of my head. This might have ended up being my favorite quilt design from the group (although it is still a close toss up with Oak Grove Square). I like the nice lap size and range of leaf types and there is something that feels a little modern as a sampler to me.
The number of blocks and variety of leaf types works out nicely to a weekly sewalong where we do couple units a week. We'll be starting at the end of August and finishing up around the middle of October. You will need to buy a pattern. This pattern is in a larger size 8 1/2 x 11" booklet for diagraming all those leaf shapes! Check with your local shops to see if they are carrying it or check my online shop at RobinPickensINC.com.
A document with the tentative schedule is in the facebook group FILES.
I've only made this particular quilt in the new Thatched Buttermilk background but wanted to mock it up on the computer in the dark brown Mocha color. I like that too!
The fabric specifications for Leaf Press include:
13 Fat Eighths for those leaves. Now I'm sure someone will ask if they can use a Layer Cake of 10" squares. YES you can. One layer cake should be enough. It would also work well as a scrappy quilt. Instead of Fat Eighths you can assemble 7 Fat Quarters for leaves.
While playing around with the ideas for this quilt, I wanted to try it in colors as well that were NOT about fall. What about a springy palette?
Or fall colors in all Thatched?
Rachel from Santa Monica Sewing Arts suggested a Christmas palette...
On this last one, I've made it more minimal in terms of the variety of colors. The greens are a little accent and the while, washed linen and oatmeal are all from 1/2 yard of fabric. Makes me think of snowy leaves with a layer of thick frost.
What if you want to do one of these...or if you have a quilt shop and want to kit some of these versions? I'm including all the specific fabric colors here and they are also listed in the FILES section of the facebook group. If you do have a shop, please fill out and email us the form so we can compile a data sheet of shops that are carrying the Forest Frolic fabric, Thatched fabrics, Thatched Widebacks, bias binding, etc. to share with folks who are looking for places to order.
The blue "download file" is a pdf of the specs I am listing below.
I'll have more info next week on my monthly sew along, Oak Grove Square. I will do some color studies for that one as well (but not as many).
I hope to see you sewing along with me this fall.
One last note...Forest Frolic is shipping NOW from Moda! Yay!!
Thanks to Fat Quarter Shop for asking for Quilt Goals for 2023! I'm a goal-setting kind of gal. I like to make lists and explore new ideas and it helps to have a reason to work on that goal and share it. I thought I'd let you see a little more about my exploration into the world of CROSS STITCH as my 2023 goal!
My Quilt Goal is actually a "Stitching Goal". I've been wanting to do some CROSS STITCH for awhile. I like the fact that I can easily travel with it or take it along as I wait for an appointment or kid's activity. And just sewing pretty colors in a meditative rhythm sounds pretty relaxing to me. Because I work on quilts, which tend to be bigger, larger size items, I want the balance of small things to create. I also want to try working with some of my fabric and quilt designs (and other artwork I've made) in this medium, as complimentary projects to go with the quilts.
MY STEPS (keep in mind I'm a beginner):
1. Learn what materials I need
2. Watch Kimberly's tutorials on Floss Tube with Fat Quarter Shop's Cross Stitch University.
3. Prepare canvas and start learning and stitching!
4. Get MacStitch software
5. Learn MacStitch software
6. Translate some Forest Frolic designs into small cross stitch designs
7. Experiment with color palettes and sizes
8. Research finishing ideas
9. Finish project and put into pattern format
10. Repeat, stitch, repeat...
I started this process at the end of January by watching Cross Stitch University on Floss Tube. Kimberly Jolly really goes over everything you need to get going. They have a cute starter project you can do but since I had some ideas in my head, I decided to experiment on a corner of Aida first and then just dive in.
Just like with quilting, I quickly learned there is a large range in the quality of product and color. And one white is very different from another white which is different from antique white, ivory, cream, etc. I headed off to my local craft store since I was eager to get started and bought some Charles Craft Fiddler's Cloth. I liked the natural look of it and little bit of rustic variation in the color and thought it would look good with the Fall vibe for my design.
Meanwhile, I got my MacStitch program and started watching some youtube videos on using it. The colors in the program look darker to me than the actual threads look so I realized I should pick my palette first with the actual skeins of floss and then work in the computer program and accept that it looks a little darker in that graphic grid on the computer than the real stitched project will be. For output of an image from the computer program, I'll do some color correcting later to make the colors look more accurate to the floss colors. There are free programs to create your own diagrams for cross stitch but I chose to purchase MacStitch because it seems the most robust of the computer programs and I'd rather just pay for that and start learning with it right away.
Picking palettes...oh this is fun stuff! Floss comes in some great colors! I have Cosmo floss from some previous embroidery and it is wonderful but I have to drive further to get it. I opted for DMC since it was the most available and THERE ARE SO MANY COLORS and it is also great floss. Floss is not too expensive so I buy a big range so I can audition colors as I like.
Yummy vibrant glossy threads! Oh boy, oh boy. Since I want this to work with some of my Forest Frolic designs I am using those fabrics to select a palette with. I wanted to have colors that worked with the fabrics and also looked like a cohesive group together. Here are some of the oranges I auditioned.
Another thing I learned was that sometimes I needed MORE light/dark difference between the colors than I originally thought because the color changes could look more subtle once it was seen in little stitches. It took a few tries to narrow it down to this group for my overall FOREST FROLIC palette.
Although I show 434 here, I ended up weeding that out since it was too close in color to the other browns. My main colors are greens of 581 and 166. Oranges 721 and 900. Gold to Straw 3820 and 782. Tan to Brown 422, 435, 433. Pink 309, and Red 817 and Terra Cotta Dark 3777.
The first design I did in MacStitch used acorns and leaves. I wanted that pop of fuchsia that is in some of the fabrics and bright orange and gold leaves. A little group of three acorns and three colorful leaves make a centered formation. A simple bunting top and bottom border can frame it in or be left off.
Since my husband and I were doing a road trip to Sacramento for a little vacation, I brought my sewing in the car. It was a lovely way to relax for numerous hours of straight freeway riding. Lucky for me that he likes to drive and I like to be the passenger.
For my first cross stitch, I have to say I am very excited for how much I ENJOYED the process of designing and sewing! What a lovely satisfaction to see little bits of progress evolving into a sweet, colorful cross stitch. I think it is a nice compliment to the Forest Frolic quilts and fabrics. This is Leaf Press quilt with the little acorns next to it. I was thinking this design (which I decided to name Acorn Trio) would be cute framed or as a large pocket on the outside of a Forest Frolic tote bag....hmmm, did I mention the Forest Frolic fabric has Mochi Linen? It would be great for totes!
Finishing this made me want to do MORE designs for my fall line! So back to the computer for more little images to create a fall sampler cross stitch. Stay tuned because I'll be sharing that next week! I also decided to treat myself to some more supplies that I ordered from the Fat Quarter Shop.
These included a snap frame, reference key/ruler, line keeper and quite a few Aida fabrics for future projects and to compare background colors. Yes, I am an affiliate and so happy I am since they have a fantastic assortment of cross stitch (and quilting/sewing) supplies!
One of my FAVORITE things that I bought was the DMC Floss Color Card. For me, a tool like this is a must as a designer. I also find that I can identify random extra pieces of floss that I accumulate, or in the case of a color I loved but had no idea what number it was...identify it and order more. WIN!
And I decided to order a range of light Aida cloths to compare to the Fiddler's Cloth and to use for future projects. The subtle differences in color can make a big difference in the look of your project so I wanted to invest in a range of choices as I move forward designing.
Back to a little info on my Acorn Trio project... I decided to display it in a frame and used some Forest Frolic fabric for the backdrop. This is "Little Fall Fling" in Chocolate 48744-15 and I liked how the little drawn motifs complimented the cross stitch and that dark color made the Fiddler's Cloth pop in contrast. The cross stitch is mounted on a 6 1/2 x 6 1/2" sticky board, then floated on the Forest Frolic fabric. The frame is from Ikea and is a 9 x 9" Hovstra frame.
Yes, I have this pattern up in my shop! Woooo hoooo! You can find it here, along with other patterns that are soon to be added:
ACORN TRIO CROSS STITCH PATTERN
Speaking of soon to add...next week I'll be uploading a little fun FREEBIE cross stitch pattern. I'll also be showing you a larger Fall project so stay tuned!! And thank you SO much to the Fat Quarter Shop for encouraging our STITCHING GOALS and giving me the reason to GET 'ER DONE!
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
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