Cyber Monday: Stitching Edition, or We Needle a Little Christmas Right This Very Minute*

Yesterday I offered some ideas for knitting gifts and today I’ll be offering up some needlework treats. Finding needlework gifts is a little more difficult since the gadgets and paraphernalia are so much simpler, cheaper, and lasting. For instance, usually, there’s no need to buy new floss with every project like there is to buy new yarn, and if you’re like me, you have enough patterns, linens, and flosses to last you through to the end of the Ivanka Trump administration (shudder). Still, I doubt a gift certificate to The Silver Needle or 123Stitch (my new favorite–every pattern also lists the necessary fabric and flosses so you can order them all at once. Heads up, Silver Needle!) would go unused or unappreciated. Best of all would be to buy a gift certificate for your LNS (local needlework store). Shop local!

Before I present the list, I’d like to add that I did try to find needlework gifts for the many of you out there who do not celebrate Christmas. To say the process was frustrating is an understatement. If you are not at least culturally Christian but want holiday-themed designs, I’m sorry to say that you are going to have a difficult time if my searches are anything to go by. Of course, not all of the gifts below are explicitly Christmas-themed, but if any of you have any ideas where else to look, I’d love to hear from you.

Here goes…

  • At the top of every stitcher’s list this year has got to be the new set of flosses from DMC. You can read my review here. As of the time of this blog post, most of the stores were still taking names for the waiting list, but let’s hope that situation breaks soon. Even DMC doesn’t have any available until January 2018.
New DMC Colors 2017
And yes, like Veruca Salt, I want it now, gold box included.
  • While Katrinkles products are usually marketed at knitters, I think stitchers would enjoy their ornaments, buttons, and other little wooden treasures as well.
  • In keeping with the wooden ornament theme, one of my favorite stores is Red Gate Stitchery. Susan Fitzgerald, the creator of Red Gate Stitchery, says that her goal was to design “a line of cross stitch accessories in unconventional materials like wood, leather, and acrylic…. combining the traditional art of cross stitch with unexpected and modern materials.” The pieces are, in fact, “fun and easy to stitch” (you can see a blurry picture of the flag of Ireland key chain/memory stick fob I made for the 2017 Craft Month Challenge below the pictures of some of her Nordic-inspired Christmas designs). Trust me, these few pictures don’t even begin to do justice to jewelry, buttons, pendants, pictures, floss holders, and other bits and bobs they offer on their Etsy store.

Craft Month Keychain with Irish Flag 002

  • Of course, if you’re looking for fancy embroidery scissors, thread keeps, thread winders, and other assorted beautiful (but not strictly necessary) cross stitch gadgets, you should really check out Kelmscott Designs. These gadgets would make lovely little extravagances for someone you know who cross stitches but you’re pretty sure they have all they need.

Well, that’s it for now. Frankly, this was a difficult post to write. There simply aren’t a lot of cross stitch-inspired gifts out there. If you are considering treating the cross stitcher in your life, you might be better off just going with a gift certificate to the LNS. Take him/her out for a nice lunch and some floss-shopping.

*The Management apologizes for all the recent Christmas puns. Those responsible have been sacked. Mynd you, m00se bites Kan be pretty nasti … 

**We apologize again for the fault in the post-script. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked. 

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s some new DMC, and I’m feelin’ good!

New DMC Colors ChartBig news, stitchers! DMC, one of the most popular cross stitch embroidery thread manufacturers, has just released 35 new colors! Yeah, it’s like Christmas in November! Crikey, it’s like Christmas in November! It’s November, for floss’s sake! I’d better start stitching and knitting! Who’s idea was it to start blogging every day in November? Oh, yeah, that was me.

The new flosses are all numbered from 01 to 35, which is a little weird to me, since I’m used to my DMC floss coming in numbers of three and four digits only, but I think I’ll adjust (that’s a joke, by the way). They are not replacing any of the old colors, just adding new ones, which brings the total DMC collection to 500 even. And, yes, I have every one. And, soon, these will be mine too. Oh, yes, they will.

New DMC Colors 2017
And you can even get them in a super cute gold box!

These are the first new colors in four years, which is great, but I’m still getting used to the old colors and I can probably count on one hand the number of patterns featuring  the 2013 colors that I’ve stitched since their release. By the way, in researching this blog post, I found it extremely difficult to follow the trail of new and discontinued DMC colors. In particular, it was frustrating that the DMC site doesn’t have a master list somewhere. Are you listening, DMC?

In fact, until I started poking around to write this post, I didn’t even realize that some of their colors had been discontinued several years ago. Mercifully, I found this handy-dandy chart on someone else’s site (sadly, I now can’t find the site again or I would definitely give credit where credit is due — you, sir or madam, are a beacon of light in the darkness, and grateful stitchers everywhere thank you for your service):


New Number Color Name Old Number Old Color Name
Blue Green, Light
Blue Green, Very Light
Olive Green
Olive Green, Dark
Rose, Light
Pink, Medium
Topaz, Dark
Topaz, Very Dark
Wedgewood, Medium
Peacock Blue, Dark
Desert Sand, Dark
Desert Sand, Medium

But back to the latest additions… In short, while all new colors are welcome, the new set makes three great contributions to the DMC line-up that are worth pointing out:

  • there’s a nice set of grays that don’t have a purple (or any other color) tinge to them. Just a straightforward mix of white and black. Anastasia Steele would approve.
  • there are more options in the purple range, particularly reddish-purples
  • there are now many more yellowy-green and greeny-yellow options. Although why they needed to add another shade of “Nile green” (whatever that is), I’ll never know. I think I’ve had my skeins of 561-564 and 954 since far back into the last millennium and never ever used them. Oh wait, there was that one disastrous Chinese dragon project. What the hell was I thinking? (I was young, it was the eighties, and the the color wheel hadn’t been invented yet).
Chinese Dragon Cross Stitch
Clearly, we hadn’t heard of the iron either.

I’m also fond of the new mocha browns and the oranges (because, you know, pumpkins), although they do remind me of some of the old colorways. In particular, the browns remind me of the 838-842 range, but then, those have always been some of my favorite browns, so OK. (Full disclosure: like every other stitcher in North America, I am still awaiting my very own set of the new colors, so I am writing this post based on the pics on the interwebs).

A more thorough and informed discussion of all the new colors is available (from someone who has seen the threads in person) on Lord Libidan’s blog. I’ve been out of the cross stitch loop for a while now, so I wasn’t familiar with Lord Libidan, but I will definitely be following his work from now on even though  He is, according to Mr. X Stitch, the “Jedi master of video game cross stitch.” I love that many of his designs create 3D robots and Transformers and lots of other characters I don’t know precisely because I’m not a member of the gaming community (I have enough trouble keeping up with the communities I am a member of). However, you don’t have to be a gamer to know that cross stitch desperately needs an infusion of youthfulness and trendiness in order to thrive in the same way that knitting and other crafts have been.

Cross stitch finishing, of course, has always had an element of 3D (ornaments come instantly to mind), which brings me to an uncomfortable final thought: I wish more contemporary female designers were getting the kind of attention garnered by these two “manbroiderers”  [Yeah: no granny count! Yuck: why do men need their own special label anyway?]. Seriously, I looked. But I will save my extended thoughts on this subject for a later post. After all, winter is coming and the long, dark night of NaBloWriMo is full of terrors.

Latest WIP: “Celtic Band Sampler”

Homespun Samplar, "Celtic Band Sampler"

Here’s my latest work in progress, “Celtic Band Sampler” by Homespun Samplar. I’ve had this pattern in my stash now for at least a couple years and it’s long been at the back of my mind to start working on it. I was looking through my pattern notebooks awhile back (all eleven of them!) and decided the time was now. The fabric is from R & R Reproductions. It’s 32-count but for the life of me, I can’t recall the name at the moment.

I have a love/hate relationship with the colors. I love the green and dark rose, but I’m not so crazy about the two shades of mustard/caramel (DMC 831 and 832) or the gray of the lettering. What do y’all think?

A Finish: Dawn Lewis Christmas Ornament 1994

In keeping with the season, here’s a little something I’ve just finished, the “1994 Christmas Ornament” by Dawn Lewis of The Needle’s Work:

Dawn Lewis Christmas Ornament 1994DMC colors: ecru, 500, 502,841, 902

(plus unknown gold metallic thread and 00123 cream Mill Hill beads)

Over the years, I’ve completed several of these annual Christmas ornaments from The Needle’s Work. They all feature the same colors and similar designs involving traditional Christmas icons like pine trees, crowns, wreaths, and reindeer, with some whitework and sampler-type details. So far I’ve finished-finished 1992-1995 and 1997-1999.

I haven’t been able to find The Needle’s Work on the web and I’m not sure if they’re even in business. I think Dawn Lewis has gone into the historical sampler business now. It’s great that she’s devoting time to preserving these largely forgotten works of art, but I’m saddened to think she’s not designing anymore since I was always an admirer of her work.

I would love to be able to complete my “collection” with the 1996 ornament and any others there might have been designed after 1999. Every so often I search Ebay, but so far, no joy. So, if anyone out there in cyberland knows anything that might help me, please let me know. Thank you!

Where Have all the Flower Threads Gone? Part II

"Sew a Fine Seam" DetailPicking up where I left off yesterday–my heroic quest for the right color of flower thread. I offer in evidence this detailed photo of the bottom third of the sampler. To my eyes, the lightest green seems disproportionately lighter and mintier (bluer) than the medium and dark green (used for the lettering). What do you all think?

The mintier light green matches the star and hearts charms very well, but I still don’t like it. And you can’t make me.

"Sew a Fine Seam" DMC Flower Threads
"Sew a Fine Seam" DMC Flower Threads

The problem is that with the flower threads being discontinued, I have no way of finding out if there’s a suitable substitute so I can redo the lightest green (2369). You can see the called-for threads in the picture on the right. Ginnie Thompson has so far been unresponsive to my requests for a color card or even a conversion chart to DMC flower threads. As I mentioned yesterday, their site offers a conversion chart to DMC embroidery floss, but that’s not the same thing, is it? If the DMC flower thread 2369 actually matched the color of the DMC embroidery floss 369, as it’s ostensibly supposed to, I wouldn’t be unhappy with the color. The embroidery floss color is a little darker and less minty green–just what I want. Sigh.

"Sew a Fine Seam" DMC Flower Threads and Wildflowers 5004
"Sew a Fine Seam" DMC Flower Threads and Wildflowers 5004

The closest approximation that I’ve found is actually this Caron Wildflowers, #5004 (see photo on left). I tried DMC Perle Cotton and Medicis Wool, but they either weren’t the right color or they weren’t the right texture. Although the Wildflowers is a bit grayer than I’d like, and a bit thicker, I might just go with it anyway since it has that matte flower thread cotton feel. What have I got to lose? I’m unhappy with the sampler the way it is, and the situation can only get better, right?