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!
Last week Joanna Figueroa gave us "Invigorate" for the Sewcialites weekly quilt block. I like seeing a bloom with little leaves blowing around it, a posie with ribbons, plaid zig zags or a rainbow burst.
I liked the first one and will have it live in the yellow section of the rainbow print.
This week Sherri McConnell's "Fascinate" block shows off some green fun for Saint Patrick's Day. Plus sign, arrow heads, variations on a churn dash and stair steps all play in the color studies.
My block has some purple and pink and I like the variations on the corner shapes based on the lights and darks in the little patchwork. So many options!
It is so fun to see the little blocks in with their friends and soon the joining into a long row for my runner will begin. Till then, four more weeks of sweet little blocks!
Just a little pattern play with Pansy's Posies today. Picket with the picket fence and colored borders is a good pattern to show off those purple and green colors. I've mocked up the 60 x 60" lap size with a mix of 8 fat quarters. The purple ones use Thatched Pansy 160 for the dark background and the Dotty Thatched Lavender 48715-213 for the light one.
I love greens for a background for the pansies. My top darker green is Thatched 197 Grass and the lower, lighter one is Thatched Meadow 134. Chartreuse is also a good green to pair with this group. In general, when I have a darker background color, I tend to pair prints with it that are lighter and for a light background I look for the darker prints so there is a good amount of contrast in the quilt top.
Picket can also be made with a layer cake of a collection in both the smaller lap or larger 72" square size. If you want to make the larger size with fat quarters, you will need 13 of them.
Well yippeeeee yahhooooo it is my week for Sewcialites 2 with Fat Quarter Shop! Meet my "spellbound" block. A quarter triangle block is surrounded by little patchwork squares and then framed by another outer row with squares on the ends. The free pattern is available at the Fat Quarter Shop. All patterns are listed here when released: https://www.fatquartershop.com/sewcialites
First I'm sharing my color studies but please also keep reading to see my plans for using my blocks in a colorful table runner.
The first one focuses on each row as its own mix of light and dark blues in squares. The next one reminded me of arrows pointing in with shaded 3d arrow bases. The third one makes me think of an hour glass with white sand running from top to bottom ("the sands of time..."). On the bottom row, the outer blues make another chunky plus sign to surround the inner arrows. Then a couple of rainbow spectrum experiments moving around the color wheel, either in the center or in the rows of small squares.
For this sewalong, they asked for blocks that make us crazy. I find that matching up little patchwork square seams can be one of my crazy-making things. Pressing seams in opposite directions, then nesting the seams when joining rows helps. Another thing that helps is when the little squares line up against a sashing or other rectangle, like the little blocks here. As for nesting seams, this is a picture of the back of the blocks. The arrows show some of the places where I have pressed seams to nest.
Another thing I will do with little patchwork and small block piecing is starching. I generally don't starch much but with small sized blocks, the starch will help for handling the fabric better and it keeping its shape as you sew and press. If I am doing patchwork squares I will see if I can make some longer pieces and subcut them and I tend to press to one side on my seams instead of pressing open so they don't pull apart easily when I handle them. These things seem to help with small patchwork squares.
For my block, I've a little blue 3" block for my project using all my blocks in Wild Blossoms. And then I wanted to make a rainbow square Thatched version. I have some leftover Thatched blocks from Moda Blockheads that I have quilted as little minis for the wall so I might add this to the mix.
Want to know WHAT I am going to do with those little 3" blocks? The Wild Blossoms fabrics (which are shipping to shops at the end of this month) has a big Width-of-Fabric print that runs selvage to selvage in a big rainbow print of multiple wild flowers. I've been making my blocks in the different colors with the intention of lining them up with the colors in the WOF print.
I want to add in a 1" wide sashing strip between the blocks (for a finished sashing size of 1/2") and make a table runner. These are some mock ups of the versions I've been considering, with sold squares left for the blocks that are released in the weeks ahead.
The 42" wide runner has two rows of blocks, either in the center, with a center print running through, or placed on the long sides. The top one has cream sashings surrounding the blocks and the second one only has sashings between the blocks and the rainbow print running up to the blocks on top and bottom. For the third one above I tried the Greenery light chartreuse fabric for sashing since it looks really springy.
It is a good idea to get a little extra of the rainbow print so you can position the fabric appropriately to show off the little bees. The above ideas would need either 1/3 or 1/2 yard of the WOF print, 1/8 or 1/4 yard for sashing and 1/3 yard for binding (indicated under each image). The CUT sizes of the rainbow print are listed to the right of the images.
Another idea is to make a longer runner with a single line of blocks and two pieces of the WOF rainbow print. When wanting to blend the color ramp continuously, I flip the print upside down to continue the flow of color. My table is sized to handle this long version well so I think this is what I will make. I've mocked it up with either the lighter colors/yellows to the center or the darker blues to the center of the runner.
The longer runners need 3/4 yard of WOF print, 1/4 yard sashing, 1/2 yard binding. For binding I'm not sure what I'm using yet but it might be the new Thatched bias binding that Moda makes which is sold by the yard. That makes it SO easy!!
This sewalong has been lots of fun! I've really enjoyed seeing the various blocks people share in the Sewcialites Lounge on facebook. Because I want to keep the sewing joy going, I'm participating in the Bountiful sew along with Fat Quarter Shop with the quilt pattern Corey Yoder designed. I'm using the Wild Blossoms fabric for that one too and you can see the mockup and fabric requirements for the Bountiful quilt on the previous post at https://www.robinpickens.com/blog/2023-bountiful-quilt-along-with-the-fat-quarter-shop-to-benefit-make-a-wish. I hope you will join us.
Happy sewing everyone!
I am thrilled to be sewing along on this absolutely stunning and happy quilt design from Corey Yoder for the Bountiful Quilt Along hosted by the Fat Quarter Shop. This is such a springy, charming quilt! The Fat Quarter Shop also has a matching cross stitch project to go along with it too. This is the mockup of the quilt done in Wild Blossoms fabrics:
I have completely enjoyed getting to know Corey Yoder more through exhibiting with Moda Fabrics at Quilt Market. She is just delightful. And this past summer I taught at a retreat in her home town of Berlin Ohio and got to enjoy some more time with her there. She drove us to dinner in her Jeep with no doors and the wind whipping through our hair. What a fun way to spend a summer night!
To learn more about this sew along that benefits Make-A-Wish, please visit the Fat Quarter Shop's page to get started at https://blog.fatquartershop.com/lets-get-ready-for-bountiful/
Moda Fabrics is partnering with Fat Quarter Shop to match the first $30,000 in donations.
Also, I will be giving my finished quilt to Fat Quarter Shop to auction off for the charity towards the end of the sew along. Stay tuned for more info on that!
You can go right to the first block info:
My plan is to make this quilt in my Wild Blossoms fabric collection. This line is shipping to shops later this month from Moda Fabrics (and YES Fat Quarter Shop will be carrying it as well as a bundle of coordinating Thatched colors). If you would like to make one with Wild Blossoms as well, I'm including the fabric specifications based on what the Fat Quarter Shop has done and what I substituted in. I uses a little more of some fabrics and added in a couple more choices to the mix.
Although I am making mine with the cream Thatched background (48626-36), I thought it would be fun to take a look at it in Thatched Navy (48626-94) or even Deep Sea (48626-145). Both of these versions would be so striking.
I could not resist the fresh light feel of the cream background so I'm working with that. The first blocks of baskets are so sweet! These are each 24" blocks and are large so I just decided to take my photos on the floor. I made mine with the same outer Queen Anne's Lace yellow fabric with one basket in reds/pinks and the other in blue.
The next blocks for Bountiful will be released on April 7th.
Ah, "Simplicity" for a nice happy week on the Sewcialites sampler. This block is from Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique. Vanessa can make simplicity so very charming and elegant! Lets take a look at some color play!
As I was experimenting with the angles and center vertical band, a nose started to appear to me. I could not resist adding a couple more triangles for ears and bringing a little lioness friend for a visit! For my sewn block I stayed with the more geometric play and I liked how the lower left one resembled a plus symbol or cross with interesting faceted bands from the quarter square triangles.
Here is my sewn version:
Next week is my block and I'm excited to share! Stop back to see what I'm planning for my little 3" blocks. Till then, happy sewing!
Block 16 from Corey Yoder of Coriander Quilts has lots of pieces to play with. I enjoyed trying the center as a white bloom (like a white Poinsettia) with green leaves or red package ribbons cut with pretty ends. Play up the diamonds by using more background white or emphasize the X angles. This block is similar to Flourish from a couple weeks ago with an added twist on the inner flying geese to make that extra little square. I did my color studies in red and green to go with Corey's Christmas name and it is lively in those combinations.
I've used some spicy warmer reds and orange for my block instead of red, based on where I want this to coordinate with my rainbow WOF print of Wild Blossoms. I find that making the 3" blocks can be a challenge for getting my seams to lay flat when pressing. I like to use a tailors clapper of wood to help after pressing. I'll let this sit overnight to reinforce the flat pressed-open seams.
These tiny little scissors are just the most precious! They are made by Cohana and are a pretty little treat for snipping threads. And they are a sweet size to go with these little blocks!
Hope you are all having a wonderful time with your Sewcialites blocks through the Fat Quarter Shop!
Brighten up your day with a little sewing! Here is "Brighten" from Minki Kim for this week's Sewcialites free block from the Fat Quarter Shop. What an interesting interlocking shape of rectangles. I love it! For color studies, the suggested layout then playing with those squares and rectangles a little to make a geometric layering of transparent squares in the center. Emphasize across the diagonal, have a pixelated "H" or a cut out rectangle that our eye is drawn into with it's dark center.
I stayed with the recommended layout since I liked the simplicity and movement of the shapes. I love this little red print in Wild Blossoms. It has all kinds of little blooming things with tiny bees buzzing about. It still shows some of the images in these small 3" blocks.
I also had one more block to do to catch up..."Interwoven" from Shereece Nicole of Sew Hooked on Treasures.
This block took some concentration and careful following of directions. I love the outcome and how the ribbons have a continuous woven interlocking look.
If you are also catching up, here are a couple ideas in the color studies for the Interwoven block. The outer flying geese background can fill in more of a large "plus" shape. Center triangles can pop out as a pinwheel. The star points can be emphasized as their own element and we can also create a large X shape with fun motion.
Now I am all caught up and can go back to one block a week! My block will be coming up next month and I'm so excited to share!
I hope you all have a fun Valentines (or Galentines) Day next week!
Hello Enchant! I breathed a sigh of relief for a slightly easier block this week since I'm also continuing my catching up on past blocks. I enjoyed this charming block from April Rosenthal of Prairie Grass Patterns on the Sewcialites Sewalong from the Fat Quarter Shop.
How about a color study? Yep!
Outside half square triangles in background white or a color? I liked how the third one looks to me like corners folded in, like a galette with a lemon center. The second one plays on the idea of a churn dash block. Fourth uses background white to create a diagonal twisted candy and the last one is a color wheel of sides that draws your eye into the dark center.
I used number 3 as my inspiration. I think it was the idea of a lemony pastry that got me, and no, I don't have any lemon danishes or pastries here. Sigh. It is not till I look at the photos that I see I have a seam not quite matching but since it is a 3" block, I'm leaving it as is. I did use my seam ripper quite a bit on some of the other blocks I made so this seems minor in comparison to some of the other matching issues I encountered.
Speaking of the other blocks, I made Flourish by Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet.
I used my seam ripper on this one a lot. Keep in mind this is a 3" block so each of those sections is only 1/2" finished. I am liking the blue/green combination and look for my smaller prints to use on these tiny-pieces blocks. For color studies, I played with these ideas:
Lots of pieces means lots of options to pull out the X shape (jumping jacks!), think of corner ribbon ends, play up the sides, or treat the rows like different colored bands. I used number two as my inspiration but it was a toss-up with number three.
Next was Nuture from Lissa Alexander. Wheels, pointers, plaids and, again, lots of options! This one was really structured for lots of color play. And again, my seam ripper was used a lot on this 3" block.
The last of the catch up blocks for the week was Butterfly Garden by Pat Sloan of The Voice of Quilting. I did not do a color study for this one since I had no desire to see it as anything but a butterfly. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this butterfly come into full formation.
Here is the group of this week's blocks, all done in different colors and fabrics from the Wild Blossoms collection, which should be shipping in March from Moda Fabrics!
Just a reminder, if you want to see past color studies, go to the COLOR STUDIES page listed in the menu and click on an image to go to that blog post. Next week I'll add in the block Interwoven from Shereece Nicole and I think I will be all caught up with past blocks!
Last week I mentioned I will be doing the Bountiful quilt along (Bountiful quilt from Corey Yoder) with the Fat Quarter Shop, raising money for Make a Wish! Here is a mock up of the quilt in WILD BLOSSOMS. Since Wild Blossoms is shipping in March, it might be a tiny bit behind on the first block but should be available to catch up and sew on the second in time. For more information about the Bountiful sewalong, and to see the fantastic bundles of Corey's fabric line, coordinating threads and a very charming matching CROSS STITCH, visit the Fat Quarter Shop's Bountiful blog post.
See you next week and until then, happy sewing!!
It is week 13 and Doug Leko of Antler Quilt Designs brings us "Innovate." What a lively block with that great pinwheel motion from the outer angled strip. I liked trying the center half square triangles as one color to form more of a band for a star or having the background or alternate color accent to make fan blades or shaded sides. Bringing in dark ends to the "center X" makes them seem a little 3 dimensional. Thanks Doug for such a motion-filled fun block!
For my little 3" block, I'm using blues from the Wild Blossoms collection. I picked the upper right idea from the color studies and made those tiny little flying geese and half square triangles and angled bar blocks. I must admit that this one is a little bowed in the middle (but I'm sure it will look flat after quilting, right??). I give myself a little more grace with not having everything meet perfectly in this small size. They are fun to make and that's what feels good to me.
BI worked on a little catch-up this past week. After a busy December and busy start to January, I finally had time to do a little sewing when the internet went out. No tv to stream? No problem with a sewing machine waiting patiently for me to show her some attention. I'm hoping this helps get me back into my sampler groove!
These blocks had some color studies too although I had not sewn the blocks yet. Here is last week's "Captivate" from Barbara Groves of Me and My Sister Designs. These can look so different and emphasize a diagonal band within the block or look like transparencies of overlapping shades. The last one is about light to dark gradations within multiple colors. I made my block based off the upper left, first image.
Here is "Always Star" from Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms. Radiating light from a hot sun, the play of just 1 color and white to emphasize squares or an even simpler shape, or a woven plaid of intersecting bands for a plaid-meets-diagonal block. I used the top middle image as my inspiration with a little bumble bee in the very center of my block.
"Empower" by Carrie Nelson uses little Bear Paw blocks with half square triangle angles. This makes a crown on some (middle top) or marching video game fighter jets (middle bottom). The negative/positive can be emphasized or creating strong bands/frames by having the background a dark color in the small half square triangles. Or, that last one with sunshine color paw prints.
My actual Empower block is made with greens and played with lighter colors on some of the bigger triangles by flipping my Thatched to the back side.
I'm hoping to have another group of four blocks for next week's post. Then I would be all caught up except for one block. But for now, I'm liking how the little blocks are coming along!
Here are all the little 3" blocks I have so far! I haven't shared my setting yet since I'm still working it out but I'm hoping to incorporate the big width-of-fabric print from this collection along with the color spectrum of individual blocks.
One last thing to mention....I'm going to be sewing along with the Bountiful charity quilt stitch along!! I will be using Wild Blossoms and will share how the blocks look in that as a computer mock up next! I hope you are joining the Fat Quarter Shop on this journey to support Make-A-Wish!
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
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