Buy the pattern here
Ahoy, the signal flags sampler is finished! I am so pleased with how it turned out; although I did have a dye-bleeding scare when I washed it, I have fixed it and now it is perfect.
You can’t even tell that the DMC 321 gave it pink spots! I think that the dye bled when I ironed it with a steamy iron. I managed to get the stains out by soaking it all day in an ice water bath, and I rubbed some of the pinkest areas with an ice cube. Now I know to prewash that floss!
The big flags on top are the alphabet flags (A-Z), the small square flags in the middle are a famous message sent by Horatio Nelson, and the trapezoidal flags at bottom are the numbers 0-9. The border is a visual representation of Morse Code, starting with A at the top left and continuing around clockwise through the numbers, ending with zero (the bottom border should be read upside down).
I backed the project with this great blueprint-style nautical print. There was no designer information on the selvage, just a note that it was exclusively available at Joann Fabrics. I found it in the quilting section with the other cotton prints. I bought a yard and have a lot leftover, so I might make some pillowcases.
And here it is hanging up in my bedroom, right above a poster for my alma mater’s centennial (it’s also right above the wireless router and the modem, but I didn’t think you’d want to see those.) I attached a length of ribbon to the back so that it can hang invisibly from a dowel (or from a take-out chopstick, which is what I actually used, being short on dowels at the moment).
And if you want your own signal flag sampler (to hang above your wireless router or anywhere else), you can buy the pattern in my Etsy store! It’s only four dollars and the pattern includes an explanation of what the flags and the Morse code mean.
I’m a bit late to the July flower of the month party, considering it is halfway through August. But here it is, the larkspur! The patterns are from Ellen Maurer-Stroh, who has some great free patterns, including this series of flowers.
July’s flower is the larkspur. “Larkspur” refers to flowers from the genus Delphinium and the genus Consolida, but I am pretty sure that it is Delphinium depicted here. These are ornamental plants that are grown for their tall columns of flowers, but they are highly poisonous to humans and other animals, particularly cattle. Wikipedia says that the flowers bloom into late summer and are pollinated by butterflies, which makes the little stitched butterfly quite fitting.
Like the other squares, I altered the pattern just a bit and added the month name in the border in DMC 989, using the chart I posted. The stitching is done in two strands on 18 count antique white aida cloth.
Next month: the gladiolus.
I’ve finished another flower of the month square, which makes four — a whole third of the year. The patterns are from Ellen Maurer-Stroh, who has some great free patterns, including this series of flowers.
I have finished the fourth flower — June — this week:
June’s flower is the wild rose. I don’t know which wild rose it is, because that name refers to a number of different species, but it looks like either Rosa acicularis or R. virginiana. They’re both shrubby deciduous bushes that are native to North America.
Like the other squares, I altered the pattern and added the month name in the border in DMC 936, using the chart I posted. The stitching is done in two strands on 18 count antique white aida cloth.
Here is how they all look together (click to make it bigger):
Next month: the larkspur.
I took a break from cross stitch to do some regular embroidery and made this tiny (5 inch) hoop with a quotation from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale:
The hoop says “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum,” which is fake-Latin for “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” It’s a phrase the features somewhat prominently in Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which is one of my favorite books ever. I need to put it on my re-reading list.
The technical specs for this piece:
- Pattern: self-made in Adobe Illustrator
- Fabric: Grey printed quilting cotton from Joann Fabrics
- Thread: 2 strands of DMC 321 (all back stitching)
- Hoop: 5 inches
- Time spent: 1 afternoon
I am not actually as thrilled with this piece as I thought I would be. It’s nice, but when I was finished I just thought ‘meh.’ Don’t hate it, don’t love it. Don’t know what to do with it now. I think I’m going to stick with cross stitching.
I finished my Malcolm Tucker/The Thick of It cross stitch! It is now hanging proudly on the wall facing the front door of my apartment. And you can buy the pattern now on Etsy!
- Pattern: self-made (click to buy)
- Fabric: 18 count white aida
- Colors: 5 DMC colors
- Hoop size: 8 inches
I am thinking of doing another Malcolm Tucker quote embroidery, but my to-do list is already so long. It will have to wait until later in the summer. So long for now!
I’ve finished another flower of the month (just in time) which means we’re a quarter of the way through a year! The patterns are from Ellen Maurer-Stroh, who has some great free patterns, including this series of flowers.
This is the third flower I’ve done:
May’s flower is the lily of the valley, a very pretty but highly poisonous plant. The flower’s scientific name, Convallaria majalis, reflects its status as a symbol of spring, majalis meaning “of or belong to May.” Wikipedia lists the flower as also being a symbol of humility (in a religious context) and as a symbol of the “return of happiness.”
Like the previous squares, I altered the pattern and added the month name in the border in a single strand of DMC 890, using the month names chart I posted. The cross stitching is done in two strands on 18 count antique white aida cloth.
Next month: the wild rose.
Today I have a brainy cross stitch chart for Free Chart Friday.Download the chart as a free PDF from PDXstitch.net!
I made this chart and stitched it as a Valentine’s gift for my boyfriend. It is inspired by a quotation from an episode of House. Here is what it looks like stitched up:
I used some unmarked red thread from my stash, but I think any color would look great here. The backstitching on the cerebellum is possibly my favorite bit.
Enjoy the chart and please share pictures if you stitch it up!
Free charts are for personal use only. Please read my free chart use policy here.
It is done! I finished the X-Files cross stitch late Saturday night, and washed/dried/ironed it on Sunday. Then I backed it and added hanging loops on Monday and waited for a sunny(ish) day to photograph it. Bask in its glory:
Posing proudly with the completed piece
This is the first piece I’ve bothered to sign and date, but as the biggest piece I’ve ever done, I want posterity to remember who stitched this and how long it took!
And some more detailed shots:
This is possibly my favorite part of the piece. I love the shading from one color to the next and the way it is framed by the black.
The UFO is pretty great, too.
It now has a proud place next to the front door.
It really ties the room together
To compare, here is a still from the show that shows the poster in Mulder’s office:
And here are the stats on this piece’s construction:
- Fabric: 18 count white aida
- Pattern source: Self-made (now available on Dropbox)
- Number of colors: 13 (DMC floss)
- Finished size: 270 stitches tall and 234 stitches wide (15 by 13 inches)
- Start & end dates: July 18, 2014 — May 9, 2015
- Time to complete: 296 days (estimated 215 hours, but probably more than that)
- Finishing: Piece is backed with a piece of grey Kona cotton stiffened with iron-in interfacing. I added tabs for hanging by sewing folded-over ribbon into the top seam.
- Television watched while working: Approximately all of it
- But seriously, just off the top of my head, I watched a season of Borgen; all of Weeds and Stargate Universe; a good chunk of Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis; several seasons of Buffy; all of Firefly and Dollhouse; both seasons of The Fall; several episodes of Farscape; The Thick of It; True Detective (though I worked on March’s flower of the month for most of that); Better Call Saul; some VEEP; some Last Week Tonight and Colbert Report; Black Mirror; the first season of Hatufim; The Inbetweeners; Black Books; several episodes of Friday Night Dinner… and that’s not even considering the many hours of working set to music, radio, and the eerie silence of my own thoughts
- Birthday parties attended with this project in tow: at least 5 (but interestingly, not my own, even though I did have my birthday while working on this)
Now the question is: what to do next? I’ve already started some other projects, but they all seem to take no time at all compared to this one.
Updated to add: If you would like to stitch this yourself, click here for the link to download the pattern (free).
I’ve finished another flower of the month square, which makes two down and ten to go. The patterns are from Ellen Maurer-Stroh, who has some great free patterns, including this series of flowers.
I have finished the second flower, for April, and unlike March I actually finished it before the last moment:
April’s flower is the sweet pea, a flower that I constantly want to misspell as “sweat pea.” The sweet pea is native to Italy and the Mediterranean and was “the floral sensation of the late Victorian era.” They are related to the edible pea, but are not edible themselves.
I don’t know why this is April’s flower, since according to Wikipedia the sweet pea does not flower until midsummer. Though this past week was quite summery in Portland, it is nowhere near midsummer.
Like March’s square, I altered the pattern and added the month name in the border in DMC 319, using the chart I posted. The stitching is done in two strands on 18 count antique white aida cloth. I’m still not sure what to do with the finished piece, and now I’ve only 10 months to figure it out. Suggestions are welcomed.
Next month: lily of the valley.
I’ve started a new cross stitching project: the flower of the month. The patterns are from Ellen Maurer-Stroh, who has some great free patterns. They’re more traditional than the cross stitch I usually do, but more traditional is good sometimes.
Anyhow, I have finished the first flower, for March, just in time:
March’s flower is the jonquil, a kind of daffodil that is native to Europe. The daffodils around here start coming up early in March, after the crocuses, so this is a very fitting flower for the month. There are still daffodils blooming around town, as well as other bulb flowers, like tulips.
I altered the pattern ever so slightly, omitting the backstitching that it called for because I tried doing it and it didn’t look good. I also added the month name in the border in DMC 3345, using the chart I posted last week. The stitching is done in two strands on 18 count antique white aida cloth. All the months are going in their own blocks on a single piece of aida. I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with it when I’m done. Pillow? Hang it on the wall? I have eleven months to figure it out, I guess.
Next month: the sweet pea.