Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thanks for the Honors!

Wow! I have been totally overwhelmed and greatly honored this week. Michele, Nancy M, Joy and Olga have all nominated me for awards. Thank you all so much! I certainly don't see myself in the ranks of the other nominees but it is certainly nice to know that I'm well thought of in the blogging community. I know I can't choose just a few other blogs to nominate in return - there are way too many to choose from - each informative, entertaining and unique in its own right. I remember when I first heard of blogging - I didn't understand the appeal and had no concept of the vision behind it. Only since starting my own blog last year have I begun to appreciate blogging's impact on our world. I am constantly amazed and delighted by the closeness of the stitching community worldwide. Blogging makes it possible to communicate with fellow stitchers all over the world, no matter where they live, what language they speak or what time zone they are in. We can admire one another's accomplishments and offer support in the challenges, we can comment and commend and most of all...we can get to know a bit about each one we "visit". AMAZING!!!! So, thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the blogging stitchers out there who share themselves with the rest of us!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cross Stitch Design Software

Clare left a comment the other day asking about cross stitch design software but since I don't have her e-mail address and because others have asked me about it also, I think I will take a few minutes to answer here.

If you think you would like to design your own charts or even if you just like to personalize your projects, it's a great idea to get your own charting software - it is so much easier than the paper and pencil method I used to use. I use both Patternmaker and PCStitch both regular and professional versions. Each has advantages over the other so it depends on what I'm doing as to which version I use for a given project. Most of the time I use PCStitch Pro although I actually liked PCStitch 7 better. Both companies offer free trial downloads. Before you invest any money, I would suggest trying them out to see which one you like best. Patternmaker's trial version is a full version but for a very limited time (4 days) and PCStitch's is the full version but the Save feature is disabled, and you can print unmodified designs only. You might be happy with just the PCStitch Lite version which comes on the CD with the Pattern Pieces.

In the meantime, here is a link to Stitch - a completely free program that may work just fine for you. If you just want to graph things by color (not necessarily the actual DMC color numbers, etc, but by sight) this little program may be all you need. It is available in several languages as well. I have played with it only slightly, only because I already have the other programs and am used to them and haven't invested the time to do more than just try out the free program. However, it seems to work well.

I know there are other programs out there but I haven't tried them. Anyone have a different version they can recommend? I'm interested in the one that prints as virtual stitches on what looks like actual fabric, but I don't know which program that is. Any info would be appreciated.

Small Scissors Fobs Mix & Match

Here is an example of numerous versions of one chart and not being able to decide which I like best...... so, mix them up and use the ones you like best. Different color combinations will change them as well, so each fob will be unique! I've included the alphabet I made to go with it so any initials should work for the fob back. I designed these when I was making the scissors fob for Carol R's HoE Freebie Exchange. If you like the chart and want to send a photo of the finished fob, I would love to see it and post it here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Many Thanks to All!

I want to say a Big Thank You to all of you that have stopped by my blog, left comments, sent e-mails, shared photos or offered suggestions, especially over the last few weeks. Work has been very busy and rather draining for awhile - which has left less time for the fun things in life - like blogging and stitching. I was supposed to be on vacation last week but ended up canceling that because of things going on at work. That is okay except I thought I would have lots of stitching time which, of course, didn't happen. I am trying to catch up on e-mail this week - so if you haven't heard back from me yet, don't give up.

I have been working on several new charts even though I've been rather distracted of late. I'm having trouble deciding which version I like best on some of them, so I may just post several versions and let the everyone decide for themselves which one they like best. Is that silly? I'm just not good at these kinds of decisions and there are other things to stress over, rather than this.

But, before I post new charts, I have to share pictures of the wonderful PIF I received from Carol S on Thursday afternoon. She sent a perfectly stitched and finished floss tag, even including some gorgeous Ozark Sampler threads that I can hardly wait to stitch with! I'm going to have to try making some of these tags, they are a really cute finish. Thanks so much, Carol!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Photo from Ina!

Ina, from Germany, has very kindly sent a photo of her finish of Coffee Mug Mat and said I could post it here. I think it turned out great and I'm so pleased that Ina took the time to stitch it, frame it, and share a picture of it! Thanks for sharing, Ina!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Koi Pond Finish

**Edited** Marija has kindly given me permission to post her picture here. Thanks, Marija, for sharing the picture and for stitching my design!

Marija has finished stitching Koi Pond and sent a link to her picture of it. I'm waiting to hear back from her for permission to post her picture here but in the meantime you can see it here. Thanks, Marija! Great job!

Monday, July 14, 2008

New Charts - Small Scissors Crosspatch

Now that Carol has received her exchanges from me I can post the charts I used. The first one is the Small Scissors Crosspatch which features the word scissors in seven languages - you might like to highlight one language of your choice by stitching it in red (or another color) as I did for Carol's box. I added the personalization on the side to fit the boxtop I was covering. I have included a chart with backstitched scissors in case you can't find scissor charms to use - they are, of course, optional and can easily be left off.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

LHN Exchange for Carol R

Carol R received the Hooked on Exchanging Little House Needleworks Exchange from me on Thursday. I was a couple of days late mailing it out so I was glad it arrived in a reasonable amount of time. It was fun stitching for Carol again and I knew right away what I wanted to make for her this time - a tea caddy! The stitching is always the easy part - assembling it into something is another story....especially anything that requires sewing. But I did manage to dig out the sewing machine and get it done.

I used parts of two LHN designs - Coffee Menu and Herbal Tea. Inside there are three pockets to hold tea bags, sugar and creamer packets, and a spoon. I stitched it on 28ct cream Jobelan using DMC floss so it would be washable. I included a few extras in the package - With My Needle's Quaker Turtles Chart, flavored tea, a pair of Love Scissors by Kelmscott, a scissor fob with an Oklahoma quarter attached, a large piece of matching fabric, some ribbon and a postcard. Carol has more pictures on her blog here. I do hope she will enjoy using her tea caddy as much as I'm enjoying the stitcher's caddy that Marie made for me for this same exchange!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Another Day, Another Chart - Koi Pond

I had a long list of things to do today....but, I worked on a new design instead. I'm one of those people that does things in spurts and on a whim. Even though I had planned to do other things, I was really in the mood to work on the design that had been nagging at me To Do List will still be there tomorrow. I am posting the chart although I haven't stitched it up yet - so the colors are only a suggestion, definitely subject to change. I am posting both the full size and the smaller fob size - I recommend using a 16 or 18 count (or 32 or 36 over two threads) for the fob. I actually started a koi fob design months ago but it was based on a tile that I saw a picture of. I liked the result but because it wasn't my original design I couldn't post it. I've been wanting to do a new one so I finally decided to start from scratch and do an original and I'm pleased with the result. Now maybe I can move on to another design that is nagging to be charted!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July is Upon Us

Another month has come and gone - just as quickly as the ones before it.....I think the older I get the faster the time goes. How is that possible? When I was a kid the days lasted forever, weeks were a lifetime, months were eternities and years were unimaginable. Now whole years disappear in the blink of an eye.....

I realized this morning that I didn't even manage to post any free charts last month, although I had planned on several, so I guess July will be a bonus month. Some will be new, some will be new versions of earlier ones and at least one will be out of the archives of my early, early designs.

First up is the old, old design. Every time I come across this one it seems to be the wrong season for it so I decide to wait on posting it, but NOW IS THE RIGHT TIME, at last! This was designed as a free design for a local stitch shop's website and I still have the original model hanging on a pair of dressmaker's shears that I use to cut fabrics. I know you are surprised that it is a scissor fob again! (I used Weeks Dye Works Carribean in place of the turquoise) It was stitched on 18ct lt blue Aida.