Wednesday, February 28, 2007

French House Free Charts

I'm a member of a Yahoo group for free cross stitch charts. Unfortunately, the group owner has decided to disband the group. I know I could check web sites of designers that offer freebies but I never remember to do that on a regular basis. It was so nice to get them all linked in a list every other week.

Last week, I finished a free chart called Winter Cottage which came from a French blog. One thing I like about cross stitch patterns is that you can do them even if you don't speak the language of the person who designed them. I love this lady's designs. She has a monthly SAL of small country houses up. The January chart is here and February is here. There's also, a cute heart for Valentine's Day. See more of her free patterns on her blog.

Consider This a PSA

After seeing those lovely needlecases that were stitched as part of an exchange, I tried to find out more about the exchange itself. I've never been part of a swap but it sounds like it would be fun, plus you end up with something nice made just for you. Well, long story short, I found out that a blogger who didn't like the comments I left on her blog last year was running a group for exchanges. Yay. Guess I won't be allowed to join that one.

I have no idea if anyone who doesn't already know me will read this blog, but just in case we've never met, let me tell you a little about how I feel about getting a dog. You can Google puppy mills or backyard breeders for more detailed information, and if you have no idea what those are and you're a dog person, do that right now please, but in my opinion, no one should ever buy a puppy from a pet store. Not only are you taking a risk that you'll end up with a sick animal, but why support people who only breed dogs to make a buck.

This blogger had posted how she was given 24 hours to see if any health problems turned up on two puppies she had just gotten from a pet store. I know there are still many people out there who have no idea that buying a puppy from a pet shop is not a good idea -- hell, I used to be one of them -- so, in an effort to educate her and her readers, I left some comments on her blog about how 24 hrs was not a long enough period for any health issues to arise (some genetic conditions do not show up for years) and how she should see if there was a Puppy Lemon Law in her state (that way she could get her money back if her puppies did end up getting sick).

I thought I sounded nice enough but maybe I came across as rude and/or angry, (which is how I get sometimes when it comes to hearing about someone who has bought a puppy from a pet store or through the internet), because she deleted my comments. That's totally her right and I don't have a problem with it. She then posted on her blog about it, but didn't go into specifics, and basically said I was entitled to my opinion but I should get off my soap box and get my own blog. (Had I been drinking iced tea at the time, I would have spewed all over my monitor. This is what? The fifth blog I've started here?)

I can't help but wonder if she reacted the way she did because she knows she screwed up by going to a pet shop. Perhaps not, but if she didn't know it then, she does now, so maybe the next time she decides to get a puppy, she will do some research and find a good breeder, or go through a rescue group. Yes, Virginia, there are breed specific rescues out there, just as there are purebred dogs available for adoption at your local shelter. I have no doubt that her puppies found a great home but there really is no excuse for shopping in a pet store that sells puppies and kittens. Ugh ugh and more ugh.

Ok, I will now step off my soapbox before I start ranting and raving about idiots who buy so-called designer dogs.

Needle Keeping

When I was working on a cross stitch, I used to keep everything in a zip lock bag: the floss, my hoops, my scissors and the fabric. When I was done stitching for the day, I would stick my needle in the paper copy of the pattern. (I mark off the stitches as I do them so I always make a copy of the chart.) Then I discovered needlebooks and needlecases. I've made two since then, got one on ebay, and have one in progress. I looked at that one the other day and I'm not too crazy about some of the pink floss that I used so who knows if I'll ever finish it.

My favorite free pattern is the Forget-Me-Not Valentine Needlecase from Pattern Bee. You can see Sew Nancy's version here. The Needle Case Cottage, also from Pattern Bee, is so cute, but I'm a little intimidated by all those French knots.

You can find finishing instructions for a needlebook at Blue Ribbon Designs, and several free charts to use to make a needlebook there too. (And, if you're a Shih Tzu fan like me, you have to check out Simba.)

Johnson Crafts sells a Scottie and Westie needle case. It's a UK site and they will ship, but check eBay for this one first. I'm pretty sure I've seen it for sale on there.

Here's a nice needlecase made for an exchange. I like this other one, also made for the exchange, even more. The second one was made from a free pattern from Rainbow Gallery (you'll have to scroll down a little to see it).

If I had a super strong magnifying glass so I could stitch on 40 ct linen, I would start this Curious Needleroll tomorrow. Hmm, maybe I could pay someone to do it for me. Here's a shot of it closed and here it is opened up by the same stitcher. Just gorgeous. Dang, I wish my eyes weren't so bad.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Maggie the Shih Tzu

I made a lens for my dog, Maggie, on Squidoo (they call it a lens but it's really just a web page). Maggie is also on Dogster and MySpace. Maggie gets around.

More Images of Vogart Embroidery Transfers

If you're into embroidery transfers, you must visit Vogart Vintage Embroidery Transfers Gallery. It's chock-full of images of Vogart envelopes. I've never seen so many in one place. Some websites that sell these transfers will only have a small picture of the designs and it can be hard to see just what's there. It's really nice to be able to see a clear image of the envelopes and get a good idea of what the transfers look like. [link via Vintage Transfer Finds]

Monday, February 26, 2007

Here's One My Mom Did

I recently bought a dresser scarf that has a little doggy embroidered on each end. The eBay seller put in the description that she had stitched it herself when she was a child. I know I'm a pack rat and I'd keep way more stuff than I do already if I had the room to store it all, but there are certain things I could never give away, like my own cross stitches, or my mom's.
My mom did this one a few years ago. It was a stamped piece (she doesn't do counted cross stitch) from a kit by Elsa Williams. I doubt it's in print any more. It really needs a good ironing.

Flea Market Poodle Cross Stitch

I bought this Poodle picture at the Del Mar (CA) Flea Market a few years ago. I'm not a huge Poodle fan but I liked this one because it was cross stitched and it was in the frame.

It was stitched by someone with the initials "BRL." I've wondered who BRL was and why her cross stitch ended up for sale at a flea market. Was it her decision to get rid of it or did someone else do it? Did BRL pass away and then someone came across the Poodles while cleaning out her house? I know it's just a stitched picture that isn't really worth anything but I'm glad I gave it a home.

Up All Night

I guess it took me about five hours to move some stuff from my blog on Diaryland to this one. I know Blogger has an import tool (or whatever you'd call it) but I doubt Diaryland was on the list. Luckily, I was not very active on Diaryland so I didn't have much to move.

I called myself a wanna-be crafter because I love reading craft blogs and I love finding directions for making stuff on the internet (especially freebies), yet I rarely actually make anything. Except I do cross stitch. But even that is a hit & miss, off & on, when the mood strikes me kind of thing.

I have a digital camera but it has been in my bedroom closet since I moved into this house last September. In other words, I have yet to take any pictures of any stitcheries that I've finished since then. And I have a scanner but it is still sitting somewhere in this place and is not hooked up to my computer yet. I sometimes feel like writing about whatever I'm working on at the moment but without having a scanner or camera handy to take a picture of it, I lose interest.

I'm hoping I'll stay interested in this blog. I'm excited that I figured out how to change the colors of the text and backgrounds and I'm happy with how it looks (for now).


A few years ago, I went through a hedgehog phase. I thought they were so cute and wanted one. But then I found out they were illegal to have as pets in California so I guess I'll have to stick to making a hedgehog.

Here's a free pattern for a hedgehog pincushion from Urban Debris.

Then, there's Prickles from Turkey Feathers. Prickles was made from the Urban Debris pattern linked above.

I found Hedgie (I love the pins on this one) and Hedgehog Fred on Flickr. I also found an adorable porcupine named George there.

Children's author, Jan Brett, has two free hedgehog cross stitch patterns on her site, Hedgie and Valentine Hedgehog Friends.

And, here's a free x-stitch chart of two hedgehogs.

Redwork Freebies

I love redwork and always on the look-out for patterns, especially free ones. You can find a freebie of three cute kittens at Block Central. I think they're doing the can-can.

Pattern Central has a free design of a few pieces of candy. Go here and click the link for "Something Sweet to Embroider" in the top righthand corner. I just found this one so I don't have know how often they offer a different pattern.

Here's a cute Mr & Mrs. Snowman pattern from Redwork Plus.

I wish I could afford to join the Flowers of the Month Embroidery Club from Grandma's Attic. I totally love that January flower pattern.

For years, I've been looking for a Good Morning/Good Night transfer pattern to make a pillow. Thanks to Grandma's Attic, I just hit the jackpot! They carry exactly what I have been searching for on their site: a Good Morning/Good Night pattern.

Edited to Add: Grandma's Attic has some free redwork patterns too.

I've been to the Bobby Socks Quilt Company site many times. I've never made a quilt but the free redwork patterns there totally inspire me to make one. (Well, maybe I should say they have me thinking about doing a quilt.) The free pattern series for 2007 is called A Bobby Socks Alphabet. Make sure you save each month's pattern because once 2007 is over, they will no longer be free. Unfortunately, I'm missing a couple of months from the 2006 series.

Free Scottie Dog Cross Stitch

Country Cross Stitch Kits has a cross stitch Scottie dog freebie up. It only uses three colors and it looks like you could stitch it pretty quickly. I'd like to do this one.

UPDATE: The free Scottie chart is now here. Scroll down a little to see it.

There's also a free chart for a "contented" cat. It's on the same web page but you will have to sign up for their newsletter to download the cat chart.

I'm a Pattern-a-holic

I forget when I started, but for years I have been buying embroidery transfer patterns, both old and new, and have yet to actually sit down and stitch something.

Wait. I did begin working on a lampshade cover (it was just plain white cotton) that I had ironed a bunch of Poodle transfers on to. I did one Poodle so far (wow! one whole one!) and that was about a month ago. Or maybe two months ago. I wasn't thrilled with how it turned out so I may rip it out and re-do it. Or maybe I'll just go buy a pretty lampshade and forget this embroidery project.

Some of the patterns I have:

From Pattern Bee:
Cute animals (I have a thing for hedgehogs)
Perky Pups (I also have a thing for dogs)
Pups N Puns (You can buy these transfers on Pattern Bee but I found towels already stamped with the designs on eBay)

From Sublime Stitching:
Chi Chi Fever
Darling Dachshunds
I Luv Veggies

Kewpie Patterns (I got mine on eBay but you can find them for free at Yesterday's Charms)

Aunt Martha's Fruit N Veggie Pup (I got mine at a local craft store but I've bought other stuff from Acme Notions and was very happy)

OH MY GOD!! As I was looking for links to the patterns I have, I came across a blog called Vintage Transfer Finds. Not only does Floresita the blogger post pictures of the patterns' envelopes, but she also shares some of the patterns so you can print them out and use them. And, one of her labels is "puppies." I feel like I just died and went to embroidery transfer heaven!

The Poodle transfers that I used for my lampshade came from this pattern (thanks, Floresita, for having that one) which I got on eBay.

I'd love to post more about embroidery patterns and other stuff but I need to spend some time at Vintage Transfer Finds. Pardon me while I drool.

Stitching the Night Away Craft Blog

Stitching the Night Away has a blog for "all things crafty & creative." And, don't forget their site where you can find free cross stitch patterns, message boards, and some really informative articles on things like dyeing your own floss, turning your needlework into a pillow, finishing a bookmark, and the one I need to read the most: making easier French knots. I always have to do my French knots two and three times to get them to look right. I really hate those things.

What is the Purpose of This Blog

So, I'm sitting here, copying entries from my blog on Diaryland and pasting them here, and I'm giving everything labels, and I totally forgot to create a "cross stitch" label. Duh.

Quilts 4 Kids

Quilts 4 Kids is another group whose members cross-stitch squares that are turned into quilts for Australian children with life threatening or long term illnesses. You can sign up to make a square for a particular child or you can do a "no time-limit" square (No-time limit squares are used if they need to make a quilt in a hurry or if they have an odd number of squares and need an extra to finish a quilt.)

I really need to start doing some squares for these quilts instead of just talking about it here.

Canine Craft Projects

Not cross stitch related but there's a list of links to craft projects for canines, including knitted & crocheted sweaters, a couple of quilt blocks, dog boots, and a recipe for biscuit mix in a jar, at Bella Online (I didn't check every link so I don't know if they all work.)

They also have an article about making a sweater from your dog's hair. I don't know why but that sort of creeps me out.

Sophie the Snow Angel

I found the chart for this one on the internet a few years ago. I thought she was cute. She was called Sophie Snow Angel, and at the time, I had a dog named Sophie. I'm glad I printed out the pattern back when I originally found it, because, unfortunately, the web site where I got it no longer exists. I know I made some mistakes with counting, but trust me, her head was not symmetrical on the chart either. I'd love to stitch her again on something with a smaller count and maybe turn her into a Christmas ornament. As usual, she was done on 14 ct because I am so boring but at least I used Fiddler's Lite for once and not Aida.

Stitch a Quilt Square for a Good Cause

SOLAK (Stitches of Love and Kindness) is an organization whose members make quilts from cross-stitched squares for children and adults with long-term illnesses. Two other groups that also collect x-stitched squares for quilts: Love Quilts and Cole's Quilts.

Fifi the Poodle

I love looking for free charts on the internet. This Poodle was a freebie that I found at Dawn's Cross Stitch. I liked the colors and thought she was cute. I think she looks like her name should be Fifi. I stitched it on pink Aida but it wasn't showing up as very pink in my opinion so I did some x-stitching in pink floss in the background. If I ever get my act together, I'll turn Fifi into a pillow using some cute fabric and some pompom fringe.

One night I was checking out squares that were stitched to make a quilt for a little girl with a serious illness, and saw someone had stitched Fifi the Poodle in yellow and pink. I will sometimes use a slightly lighter or darker shade of floss than what the chart calls for but I haven't yet changed to a completely different color. I am so anal.

Start Me Up

This is not my first blog. I've been posting about my cross stitching for nearly a year over on Diaryland. I've tried Blogger several times in the past but l preferred Diaryland because I could do my own lay-out there...well, I could change around a D-land template using some basic HTML and make it look how I wanted it. Blogger still won't let you do that. Or maybe they do and I just haven't found the instructions yet. The bad thing about Diaryland is you have to pay to put up images and have comments, and since I'm currently unemployed, that means I can't afford to renew my subscription, so all my photos will be gone soon, and then my blog will look stupid. So, I'm back to Blogger.

From my cross stitch blog at Diaryland, March 2006:

This is why I hate Blogger: last week I deleted every entry in my blog for cross stitching except one. I just now deleted the entire blog but when i click the link for it, I still see the one entry I did not delete last week. Why is it still there?

Another reason I hate Blogger: I had two blogs there. When I added an entry to the x-stitch one, it showed up immediately. When I added one to the dog adoption blog, I would only see it on the editing page and not on the blog itself. It would take a few days to show up there. That's stupid.

I just hope everything works the way it should this time.

I'm now going to move everything from Diaryland to here. Good thing I hardly ever blog anything so there isn't much to move.