August 2014 Smalls Challenge (and a little bit about July’s Challenge too)

"Happy Black Black Cat Day" by The Trilogy, my August 2014 Smalls Challenge entry
“Happy Black Black Cat Day” by The Trilogy, my August 2014 Smalls Challenge entry

My August Smalls Challenge 2014 entry is this little cutie by The Trilogy, called “Happy Black Black Cat Day.” I actually finished this one on time (August 30th), but then I procrastinated for a week before posting it on this site (and, by extension, the Smalls Challenge site) today. Even when I’m on time, I’m not on time.

I thought I was working on 32-count natural linen, but it turns out it was 28-count, so the whole design is a bit larger than I expected. I also messed up and the cat is actually one row longer than it’s supposed to be (and one row higher in the lower half, which necessitated redesigning the “Z” in the alphabet and the orange star next to it). My eyes are getting too old for this kind of stitching, I’m afraid. As a result, the design is a bit more rectangular than it was originally supposed to be.

I also made some deliberate modifications in the design. Instead of the colors called for, I used Gentle Art Sampler Threads “Cornhusk” for the cat’s eyes, “Green Apple” for the alphabet, and “Brethren Blue” for the collar. I used Weeks Dye Works “Mulberry” for the purple lined edging, “Autumn Leaves” for the orange stars, and “Mascara” for the cat (it used an entire skein plus a little bit where I supplemented by using one strand of “Mascara” with one strand of virtually indistinguishable DMC 310). I also added some whiskers in DMC 3799, and left out two of the tiny star charms.

My overly ambitious entry for July, Eileen Bennett’s “Very Victorian… Acorns,” is still underway:

Eileen Bennett, "Very Victorian... Acorns" WIP, my July 2014 Smalls Challenge entry
Eileen Bennett, “Very Victorian… Acorns” WIP, my July 2014 Smalls Challenge entry

This is sooooooo not a “small” design, even though it’s less than 90 X 70 stitches. I don’t know what I was thinking! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a sampler, and I thought it would go quicker than it has. I can also tell a huge difference in the quality of my eyesight since the last time I worked on a sampler like this that requires such tiny, precise stitches. For example, the line I’m currently working on is supposed to have the word “acorns” in the center done in one-over-one stitching. I’ve already had to frog it twice today. Blurgh. I think I’m going to set this one aside for awhile.

I’ve already decided that I’m going to do something quite small for September. It’s important to set realistic stitching goals.

Giveaway: If you’d like my gently used copy of “Happy Black Black Cat Day” with two of the small star charms included, leave a comment below letting me know.

Checkerbird Finish

Heart in Hand, "Checkerbird"
Heart in Hand, "Checkerbird"

I was feeling the need to work on something small and “completable” (yes, I know that’s not technically a real word, but needs must, as they say), so I dug out this old kit that’s been sitting in a plastic tub in my craft room since before the flood.  It’s by Heart in Hand and it’s called “Checkerbird”; the kit came with the chart, fabric and the pillow form. I started it a couple nights ago and voila!

I simply can’t resist anything with pumpkins on it.

The pattern called for Gentle Art Sampler Threads in some of my favorite colors–the bird’s body is Nutmeg, the black is Black Crow, and the green is Dried Thyme. The colors match the pillow form exactly.

An aside: I’d like to send a “shout out” to Gentle Art. They have been so supportive of my fledgling cross stitch design company. They have been generous with samples of their latest threads and have always responded promptly to my emails. No wonder they have such loyal followers in the stitching biz.

Anyway, now that I’ve got this quick and easy pattern out of my system, I can go back to work on the Celtic Band Sampler and some knitting. If any readers out there care to comment, I’d really be interested to know how you decide which projects to do next. Do you like to mix small projects with larger, longer projects? Or do you work one project until it’s finished and then, and only then, proceed to the next one?

The Sun in the Morning and the Moon at Night

About a million years ago–OK, really only ten years ago–I saw these two Bent Creek patterns in the June 1998 issue of  Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine.  They were called “Here Comes the Sun” and “Full Moon Rising,” and it was love at first sight. I can’t explain it, but I’ve always loved patterns with suns and moons. Pumpkins and sheep are my other faves.  I went right out and bought the fabric for them and then they sat around in my stash for almost ten years.

But no longer! I proudly present the completed “Here Comes the Sun”:

Here Comes the SunAnd here, at long last, is “Full Moon Rising”:

Full Moon RisingBecause the designs are so deliciously “primitive” (i.e. there’s not a lot going on), I decided to add a little visual interest by using variegated Gentle Art Sample Threads instead of good ol’ DMC. I don’t think they were calling for many hand-dyed threads back in 1998, but I really think, in particular,  they make the sun and the moon look more realistic and colorful. If you want to know what GAST I substituted for DMC, let me know and I’ll post my suggested substitutions.

Tomorrow: the lettering!