Easter Egg Stitching

image

Here is the evolution of the latest design from Frony Ritter Designs.

1. I was wandering the earth seeking chocolate.  I found this metal egg filled with a chocolate in a candy store a few years ago. I was so enchanted by the design on the outside I bought it and even forgot about the chocolate in it for several years.  When I opened it there was a powdery, white ball inside that was once delicious chocolate.

2. In the meantime I daydreamed about the egg and it morphed into a totally different design in my head.  During a boring lecture I sketched it. I realize it looks nothing like the original.  This is what imagination can do to memory. It is also the phenomenon behind “fish stories.”

3. I then stitched it using lots of pinks and blues.

4. I liked it enough to put it on the computer and changed it several times.

5. Since for many Easter is about the resurrection of Christ, I stretched out the flower so it could also be seen as a cross.  What you see is all in how you want to look at it.  (True of life too.)

6. Snack break.

7. I had been seeing a lot of cool sunsets lately, and wanted to steal some of those colors for this design. So I used Riviera coral Aida from Wichelt and peaches and corals for floss.

8. I also wanted to stitch it on perforated paper. I used the same colors but the background made it look totally different.

9. I used the last two stitched pieces for the chart, one version totally stitched and one using stitching and beads.

image

So here is the new egg with last year’s eggs, ready to decorate a springtime tree.

Repurposing bottles

On a recent plane flight I noticed the attendants were giving out cool bottles. I immediately thought of decorating them and filling them with candy for Christmas table favors. So I took a couple, and convinced those around me to take a couple and we emptied the contents for the sake of using them for a craft project. In all honesty, drinking the alcohol within also helped us to cope with the rabid weasels, disguised as children, who were (never) seated on the plane in front of us.

I used paper, baker’s twine and die cuts from Lifestyle Crafts to repurpose these bottles.

Cross Stitch for Christmas

I needed some place to put my beloved bunny slippers. So I created a woodland habitat for them. I decided to put my cross stitch designs to work and made them do what they were created to do, which is just hang around. I made a tree for the blue, purple and green ones, and a tree for my red and green ones since the two sets of colors didn’t seem to get along very well together.

Of all the famous sayings about bunny slippers my favorite is this one by Dean Koontz: “Bunny slippers remind me of who I am. You can’t get a swelled head if you wear bunny slippers. You can’t lose your sense of perspective and start acting like a star or a rich lady if you keep on wearing bunny slippers. Besides, bunny slippers give me confidence because they are so jaunty. They make a statement; they say, ‘Nothing the world does to me can ever get me so far down that I can’t be silly and frivolous.’ ”

However, you do not need bunny slippers to have an excuse to decorate a tree with cross stitched ornaments. You can put cats, dogs, fish bowls, teddy bears, ferrets or weasels under your tree–or for the less adventurous, just presents.

Stitchin’ in the kitchen

If you can’t get cross stitch out of your mind, just go with it. I did. And I turned molasses crinkles into stitched cookies. I rolled them and cut them out, then used 7 mesh plastic canvas and put it over the cookie. Then I sifted powdered sugar over the cookie to make the grid. Last while thinking of stitches I decorated them with vanilla frosting.

New Christmas chart

Here is an ornament you can stitch with a knot within a knot. Also tucked within the knot is the word Noel. You could also personalize it if the name you want to write has four letters and they are not massive, like “w” and “m”. My friend Leon pointed out you don’t even have to change the letters to stitch his name. I already knew that since every year my children change around my NOEL stocking holders which hold four cross stitched stockings. Eventually they ran out of word combinations like LONE, LEON, and not yet invented words like OLEN and ENOL. So they cut out and taped on their own letters that looked so similar I did not realized they made their own words until after many guests had probably seen and politely avoided asking why my stocking holders said “FINK”.

Speaking of inventing new things, due to a bead spilling accident I discovered the very best surface for stringing beads–a piece of plastic canvas. The beads fall perfectly to skewer them and they don’t run away from the needle when they see it coming.

Halloween designs

If you are looking for some cool autumn cross stitch designs, check out the Fall issue and the Halloween issue of the magazine Just Cross stitch. Frony Ritter Designs has a piece in each issue, both shown below. The sampler was inspired by the spiders who appear in my garden in the late summer doing acrobatics on their home made high wires. And the Spell check was inspired by my musings about what happens when witches make “spelling” errors. To get your copy of these magazines, go to your nearest store that sells cool cross stitch stuff or look on JustCrossStitch.com.

This week I spent time in the cross stitch deprivation chamber, otherwise known as the kitchen, making 100 cupcakes for the Grand Poobah of the Royal Order of the Water Buffalo (Flintstones reference) otherwise known as my dear husband who is engaged in one of his many endeavors to “leave the world better than I found it.” Why the coke bottle? These cupcakes are Jack and Coke.

Repurposing for cross stitch

Yesterday I bought some new candles and as I was removing the burlap packaging it began to strangely take on the look of cross stitch material. (You know how everything looks like food to the starving man? This was something like that.) So I frayed the edges, used six DMC strands and stitched the first word that came to me. I stitched a witch accessory on the side, wrapped the burlap around the candle, wrapped orange baker’s twine around the burlap and put a bat button on the bow. The entire process took about forty five minutes (minus five for a snack break).

Improve Wine with Cross Stitch

As I was staring at the cup of crimson wonder, I asked myself what would improve it. The answer came immediately–add some cross stitch. That would perfect the wine experience. So I decided to make wine tags that are cross stitched.

Here they are, in kits and ready to stitch. I have assembled them, and the sad truth is that my boss (myself) will not even pay me sweatshop wages. I will work for snacks though. Below are the big, beautiful spools of DMC, and myself punching holes in the floss holders.

I also made the charms into ornaments by adding beads and wire hangers. Finally, friends Wendy and Kevin, owners of Terra Bella, one my very favorite wineries, located on the Russian river in Sonoma county, pair the wine charm charts and their wine to see how they get along. I can happily report they are a great combination.

Batty About You

Time to begin your fall stitching. Batty About You chart is now available. As in all but two of my charts, instructions include both stitching and using a combination of stitching and beading.

I couldn’t squeeze in the history of bats and Halloween on the chart so I can tell you now. The ancient Celtic people used to make huge bonfires to ward off evil spirits at what we now call Halloween, and they called Samhain. It was the end of their year and a time the boundary between the material and spiritual world was thinnest and spirits and other wispy, scary things would come around. But bats also came around, to eat the bugs that were attracted to the light of the fire. That is the reason I made the Celtic knot a fiery color, to attract the bats.

The saying I used was a childhood phrase of endearment I remember hearing a lot, although I had to shorten it, because “you’re driving me batty” was too long. Feel free to change the words, or even leave them off.

How to Create a Cross Stitch Design

Here is a quick summary of how I design cross stitch patterns. I suspect not everyone does it this way. But here is one way, which may help you to create your own patterns.

1. I bring grid paper wherever I go that I may have to sit longer than ten minutes (except work). Making things in squares seems irresistible, for other also. I just doodle and see what happens. I usually also bring colored pencils. The piece in the picture was drawn during a two and a half day lecture. The lecture was great, but I listen better if my hand is drawing.

2. I then color my drawing. I did not like those colors and I was daydreaming of the rich yellows and oranges of autumn so I changed it. Because of the color change I took out the loops and put in leaves. But I realized the spaces were bat shaped so I figured bats were meant to be there. I added the frame and words later.

3. I stitch my first design from my hand drawn design. My first one had a blue background because I wanted it to look like the night sky and because blue and orange are complimentary colors. But it was too dark for the bats to show up well so I changed the background to green.

4. I keep my strength up with the frequent ingestion of snacks. The brain likes to utilize glucose when it thinks. And snacks make a person happy. Generally speaking, kids are the happiest people on earth and they love snacks. Coincidence?

5. After stitching one piece, I put the design on a computer program. The two I like best are PC Stitch and Patternmaker but I have used several more. I print it out and stitch the piece again.

6. I submit my chart, finished pieces and a pile of opinions to my graphic artist, otherwise known as son. He and my husband photograph them. Then my graphic artist and I get in many respectful, polite power struggles wherein we try various background colors and he vetoes my ideas until we come out with a chart. I give it to my mother-in-law to stitch and may stitch a few more times on other fabric backgrounds. We correct mistakes we find and hope we found them all. (There were some typos in a few of the early ones so my quest is to make a perfect chart.)

7. My printer sees me coming and runs for the Advil bottle. He has patiently taught me a lot about printing, paper and color over the last year. As you can see, he prints a proof of the chart that I stare at for a few days, hoping any mistakes will announce themselves, and then I call him and say, “print”.

I made the first drawing 11 months ago, and this chart will be back from the printers next week. Now you know this chart’s journey from conception to birth.