What is a FOTM?

FOTM stands for Fabric of the Month or Floss of the Month. These run similarly to Book of the Month clubs, or any other “of the month” club.

Image from Silkweaver
Image from Silkweaver

Continue reading “What is a FOTM?”

Fabric: Aida

This is the first in a series of articles on different fabric types, how they can be used, their advantages and advantages, and how they work with hand dyeing.

Zweigart 14 count Aida
Zweigart 14 count Aida – magnified

Continue reading “Fabric: Aida”

Free: Brooke’s Books Advent Animals

This week’s Friday Freebie is a gorgeous Christmas Ornament Animals series from Brooke and Meagan of Brooke’s Books Publishing.

Advent Animals
Advent Animals

What is it?

To set the mood for a good weekend, we have Freebie Fridays, or in this week’s case Freebie Thursday; each week presenting a different designer.  All sites listed here design their own charts. These designs are copyright to the designers, please do not abuse their generosity.

When sharing knowledge of a free design, please link back to the designer’s original page. Do not just copy and share the pattern. The designers offer these free from monetary payment; we “pay” for them by visiting the designer’s site, seeing (or purchasing) their other designs, commenting on their blogs and pages and showing them our stitching of their designs.  Please do not take and not give back.

Sophie Squirrel
Sophie Squirrel

From the Designer

Celebrate the count down to Christmas  by stitching 25 little animals for Advent.  Make them into ornaments, create a calendar, stitch them on stockings or guest towels, etc.  Let your imagination be your guide. We release one or more animal charts per month from March 2014 to October 2015.

Katie Kitty
Katie Kitty

Why this designer?

If you made a New Year’s Resolution to stitch a bunch of small designs this year, or perhaps one Christmas ornament a month, these are the perfect free designs for you.

Started in March last year, Brooke’s Books Publishing and Dragonfly Lotus hand spun threads collaborated to offer 25 free Christmas ornament designs before December this year.

These designs are so cute!  I’d love to stitch up Pierre Penguin and Fitzwilliam Frog for my nephews to hang on their Christmas tree. Or Sheila Sheep as a present for a knitting friend.  I’m filled with anticipation to see what other cute animals Brooke and Meagan will share with us this year!

These charts have been designed with Liz Westlake of  Dragonfly Lotus hand spun threads. Liz sells separate thread packs for each animal chart, or you could buy a single thread pack for the entire series.

Pierre Penguin
Pierre Penguin

Review

All of Brooke’s  Books Publishing free charts, including the Advent Animals are available on the two free chart pages of their website or in their Craftsy store. There are many beautiful “for sale” charts available via their website and Craftsy store too!

To access the Advent Animals designs on the free pages from the Brooke’s Books Publishing website, simply click on the animal that interests you.  This will open into a separate PDF file.  Save this file in your normal way; on a PC that is right-click “save as”, on a tablet that is hold your finger down on the image and then select save.  In all cases these charts save as PDF document files.

To access the free designs in Brooke’s Craftsy store, you must be a member of Crafty.  It is free to join.

Once you are a member, click on the design that interests you.  Then click the “add digital pattern to cart” button.  You can do his for as many of the free patterns as you wish.  When you have added your last one click the “add to my patterns” button.

This will take you to your Craftsy pattern page.  Click on any image and it will download the pattern.  As these are kept in your Craftsy pattern page, you can download these as often as you like.  This is great for when you lose your patterns.

Fitzwilliam Frog
Fitzwilliam Frog

Regardless whether you get the pattern from the website or the Craftsy store, you will receive the same PDF file.

Each file is comprised of three coloured US Letter or A4 pages.  The first page is portrait (like a normal page) then second two are landscape (turned on its side).  These are great if you print the pages out.  If you like to stitch directly from your tablet or PC you will need to turn the pages to see them.  Most PDF viewers have instructions like “rotate clockwise” or “turn right” in their menu bars.

The first page has information about the whole advent animals project and the materials used in the model stitches by both Brooke and Liz.  There are links to Liz’s Dragonfly Lotus hand spun threads packs and links to all Brooke’s Books Publishing professional and social contact points; Etsy, Craftsy, blog, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter etc.

The second page includes information specific to that chart; the stitch count, fabric size and type being used by both model stitchers, the symbol key and floss required for both Dragonfly Lotus floss and DMC floss and all the backstitching instructions.

The third page is the chart and designer, floss dyer information. It is quite savvy of Brooke’s Books Publishing to re-list all the contact information on this page, if some stitchers decide to only print out this page.

Even though this is a series of free designs, Brooke has produced professional information for each of these designs.  I am quite delighted at the care taken for these chart packs.

Sheila Sheep
Sheila Sheep

 

Materials Used:

Each design is 43 x 52 stitches.

Brooke is stitching these cute designs on 28ct Wichelt “Babbling Brook” Jobelan, 2 over 2 with DMC floss.

Liz is stitching these designs on Silkweaver’s 32ct or 40ct “Forest Haven” linen, 2 over 2 with her DragonflyLotus floss.

Places to Buy

Australia:

Colours Down Under is a bricks and mortar store that stocks many different types of floss and fabric for you to stitch these designs.

Colour Cascade Fabrics has a variety of fabrics for you to make this design unique. Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.

Canada:
Traditional Stitches in Calgary has various threads and a variety of fabrics in stock.

Europe:

Casa Cenina in Italy stock a variety of fabrics and floss for your unique creation.

United Kingdom:

SewandSo has a range of floss and fabrics to make this design uniquely yours.

Crafty Kitten “ The advent animals are cute!  I think I would be inclined to stitch the whole series as one big design on winter skies and use a metallic thread, or a white DMC with Kreinik blending filament in 032, for the snowflakes so they don’t get lost.”

Sparklies  “Any of the neutrals such as Oatmeal, or pale wintry colours, such as Snowy Skies would suit the whole set.”

Chromatic Alchemy  “I love these they so quirky and cute! My overlay uses Duncan dog with his wee bone! I think frost is a perfect match for this wintry advent calendar!”

United States:

123Stitch has the DMC thread in stock and offers a variety of fabrics.

Black Cat Stitchery in Illinois has floss and fabric in stock to make this a project to remember.  Erica is offering a 5% discount for readers of Cross Stitch Review.  Coupon code: CSRSPRING15. Offer ends 31 May 2015.

Stitches n Things has materials in stock to kit this up for you.

Fiberlicious “I Love Peter Polar Bear! Yes! I’d pick Christmas wishes for the bear’s hat and mug; Her Majesty for the sweater, pinking of you in the valentines pack for the cheek and shades of brown for “i love Coco” slogan. The body part I’d just go for normal white and black DMC :-)”

Discussion

Which is your favourite Brooke’s Books Publishing Advent animal? What fabric/floss combination would you stitch it in?

What sort of free designs would you like me to showcase? If you have a favourite, contact me and I will review the site!

If you liked this review, please share it with your friends.

Last Updated: 30 January 2015

 

 

 

Evening Flight by Alchemy Stitchcraft

Today we have a timeless chart; tranquil in looks, with Hardanger!

Alchemy Stitchcraft - Evening Flight

From the Designer

Design features a flight of colourful hot air balloons, worked in a variety of counted thread stitches, using solid-coloured and overdyed cottons, metallic threads and beads, against a sunset sky of Hardanger, pulled and drawn thread clouds. This is a companion to Summer Skies.

Combining Cross Stitch, Counted Thread Embroidery, Hardanger, Beadwork, Silk Ribbon Embroidery and more, our clear diagrams and instructions are designed to help the Cross Stitcher explore the world of speciality stitching.

Why this chart?

I love the design, the hot air balloons against a dusk sky; it looks so calm and peaceful.  I adore the hardanger and drawn thread clouds. Change the colour of the backing board and you can really change the look of this piece.  Instead of light blue peeking from inside the clouds, imagine a white or black or hand coloured sunset…

Christine Wilkins produced the Alchemy Stitchcraft range of designs in the early 2000s. Most of her designs used drawn thread work and specialty stitches to crate wonderful pieces of art.

Evening Flight uses Rice Stitch, Elongated Cross Stitch, Modified Rhodes stitch, Satin stitch, Bargallo, Rhodes Star, Partial Eyelets, Straight Stitch, Diagonal Satin stitch,Kloster Blocks, Woven Bars, Dove’s Eyes, Honeycomb stitch, Drawn thread, Hemstitching, Herringbone stitch, Woven Bars, Square Filets, Window stitch, Cable Stitch and Wave stitch as well as the usual whole cross stitch and back-stitch.

Due to the number and type of specialty stitches, I recommend this for an intermediate or advanced stitcher.

Alchemy Stitchcraft - Evening Flight Closeup

Review

Alchemy Stitchcraft designs were only ever available as printed charts.  May charts included optional “goody bags” which contained specialty threads and beads used in the design.

The Evening Flight chart pack included the cover page, one page of the chart and four pages of stitching instructions.

The one page chart is very small, too small to discern the individual cross stitch symbols.  This chart was produced as an adjunct to the stitching instructions.

The four pages of stitching instructions include the stitch count and size of finished design on 28ct fabric, the floss and fabric used in the model and instructions on the design.

These instructions tell you where to start stitching, which floss to use and the stitch style to use. Each stitch style is explained with words and two-colour diagrams. Although these are succinct in their explanation, I believe they are sufficiently detailed for the intermediate level stitcher.  If you are completely new to Hardanger I suggest you check out some YouTube videos, such as this one:

If your eyesight is not up to the such detailed work on 28ct fabric, feel free to use 22ct Hardanger fabric or any other count of evenweave. This design is not recommended for Aida due to the drawn thread work.

Materials Required

To stitch the charts exactly as designed, you will need:

Threadworx 1150 Funky Lilac

1 skein of ThreadworX 1150 Funky Lilac (previously Needle Necessities 191 Harlequin)

 

Anchor 008 Light Salmon

1 skein Anchor 008 Salmon Light (similar to DMC 3824)

 

Anchor 068 Medium Light Raspberry

1 skein Anchor 068 Medium Light Raspberry (similar to DMC  3687)

 

Anchor 110 Medium Lavender1 skein Anchor 110 Medium Lavender (similar to DMC 208)

 

Kreinik 4 - 242HL Magenta Sunset

 

1 spool Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid  242HL Magenta Sunset Hi Lustre

 

 

Kreinik 4 - 9192 Light Peach

 

1 spool Kreinik #4 Very Fine Braid 9192 Light Peach

 

Kreinik Silk Serica - 6123 Light Dusty Lavender1 spool Kreinik Silk Serica 6123 Light Dusty Lavender

Kreinik Silk Bella - 6123 Light Dusty Lavender1 spool Kreinik Silk Bella  6123 Light Dusty Lavender

Mill Hill 03057 Cherry Sorbet
1 packet Mill Hill Beads 03057 Cherry Sorbet
28ct Silkweavers “Dusk” Cashel linen (stitch count 54 x 120). This design can only be stitched over 2 due to the specialty stitches.

For 28ct evenweave or linen (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 10” x 15”  or  25 x 37 cm  or  a fat eighth (13 x 18″).

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch this design using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage):

Chart: $10.70
Floss:  $ 23.70
Fabric: $  5.75

Total: $40.15 ($61.55 AUD or €46.45 or  £33.60)

Places to Buy

Alchemy Stitchcraft will sell the Charts and Goody Bags direct to the public if you cannot find them any other way.  Email Christine and let her know which designs you are interested in.

The optional extra “Goody Bags” for Evening Flight are great value:

Goody Bag A: £1.60  ($2.45 US)
ThreadworX 1150 Funky Lilac (previously Needle Necessities 191)
Mill Hill Beads 03057 Cherry Sorbet

Goody Bag B: £11.50 ($17.60 US)
ThreadworX 1150 Funky Lilac (previously Needle Necessities 191)
Mill Hill Beads 03057 Cherry Sorbet
10 x 15″ piece of 28ct Silkweavers “Dusk” Cashel linen

Goody Bag B
Goody Bag B

 

Australia:

Colours Down Under has some of the threads and a variety of plain fabrics in stock. Jo would be happy to order in the chart, and offers a 10% discount on the package (chart + floss). Mention this review when ordering.

Colour Cascade Fabrics suggests ” Barbie Girl or Pretty In Pink”.

Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.

Canada:
Traditional Stitches in Calgary has some of the threads and a variety of fabrics in stock.

Europe:

Casa Cenina in Italy stock a variety of fabrics and floss for your unique creation.

United Kingdom:

SewandSo has a range of floss and fabrics to make this design uniquely yours.

Crafty Kitten “That’s a lovely design, I would go with Evening Sky, Sunset Sky (probably this one) or Apricot Sunset.”

Polstitches Needs a little light fabric i would say possibly Dawn Chorus or the new Raindrops!

Chromatic Alchemy  “I have paired Evening Flight with Halcyon, it reminds me of those glorious pink-hued evening autumn skies but it is also subtle enough to not steal the show from that wonderful cutwork!”

Thread Pickerz Silkz “I would use a selection of complimentary colours maybe grapes and wine, amethyst and candyfloss.”

United States:

123Stitch has some thread in stock and offers a variety of fabrics.

Black Cat Stitchery in Illinois has floss and fabric in stock to make this a project to remember.  Erica is offering a 5% discount for readers of Cross Stitch Review.  Coupon code: CSRSPRING15. Offer ends 31 May 2015.

Stitches n Things has some of the recommended materials in stock for you.

Wasatch Needlecraft can order in the chart and has some floss and fabrics available in stock.

Fiberlicious “This is such an amazing hardanger design! It screams freedom and adventure. The balloon reminds me a lot of a Pixar’s animation called “Up”. I would suggest using Poppyfield, Hummingbird and Apricot Sunshine (silks) to stitch this beautiful design.”

Silkweaver Fabrics has the recommended Dusk in stock.

Under the Sea Fabrics “I’d use Witching Hour for a night sky or Shimmering Seas for a warm sunny sky affect.”

Discussion

Would you stitch this chart?  Do you love or loathe those that have more than just whole cross stitches?

If you liked the review, please share it with your friends.

Last Updated: 22 January 2015

 

Jingle Bells by Tea Party Revolution

As a naughty nod to the festive season, Mel’s asked me to review one of my favourite seasonal stitches. We and Tea Party Revolution are offering a discount on the chart and a giveaway (because…umm….FESTIVE SEASON!)  Looks below for details – The snow leopard may kill you with cute!

Tea Party Revolution - Jingle Bells

From the Designer

Meet Jingle Bells, Kandi Kane’s… “partner” – he was finished the 10th of December (2008), so it pretty much hot off the presses and just as hot as he is a new design from Lilly Kitten for Christmas 08! (Received from Lilly Kitten on the 9th!)

What is it?

Tea Party revolution’s designs are available exclusively through ETSY.  She has a variety of patterns of varying levels of ‘social acceptability’, many are more ‘appropriate for a variety of environments’ than Jingle Bells! Her designs are based on Lilly Kitten’s art.

Why this chart?

Now before anyone get’s offended at ‘objectifying’ men, I should point out that ‘Jingle bells’ is the second of Tea Party Revolution’s patterns that I’ve stitched. I’ve already finished and framed ‘Been Naughty‘. So in my defense, I’m gender neutral in my objectification.

Been Naughty - Stitched by Julie
Been Naughty – Stitched by Julie

I’m stitching Jingle Bells because it tickles my wicked sense of humour. Amongst all the lights, glitter, hype, marketing and drama of the festive season, my day is made just a bit brighter by a topless man with a collar and leash around his neck. (Can I get a ‘Hell yeah’? Who’s with me?)

I love Tea Party Revolution’s (TPR) charts. The big, cartoon-like art is easy and relaxing to stitch. Thread your needle with black and set off on the outline…SIMPLE!!! Then fill in the outline with big, bold, festive colours. It’s just what I need during these busy days when we’re pulled in so many directions.

The pattern uses standard DMC and full crosses…SIMPLE!!!!! The hardest decision you’ll have to make is what fabric to choose.

Review

Jingle Bells is a WIP. He’s my go-to piece when I can’t face anything more complicated than ‘needle up-turn-needle down-repeat’.

I started him in February this year and was making good progress until I was distracted by another, prettier (better cheekbones), more challenging piece.

The simple design means that this pattern can carry off a more dramatic fabric and I’ve chosen an opalescent pale green hand-dye (Silkweaver 28ct Lugana Opalescent Spring Garden).

The pattern is provided via digital download. The pack is 9 pages (8 pattern and a floss/symbol list) and is black and white. If you print out your patterns, you may need to enlarge the pattern as the sheets are 75 X 85 stitches which is just on the edge of too small to work from. The sheets have a three row overlap on two edges and the symbols are clear and unambiguous.

The thread list provides estimated number of skeins. If I were going to make any changes to this pattern, I’d be tempted to add a metallic yellow to Jingle’s bells and I’ve often wondered whether his tattoos would benefit from a black silk thread rather than the standard DMC, to give a touch of richness.

I’d absolutely recommend this to a ‘beginning stitcher with adult sensibilities’.

Tea Party Revolutions - Jingle Bells - Julies Work in Progress
Tea Party Revolutions – Jingle Bells – Julie’s Work in Progress

Materials required

To stitch the charts exactly as designed, you will need:

DMC Needed for Jingle Bells

 

Some skeins each of DMC 307, 310, 317, 321, 413, 415, 436, 437, 444, 445, 498, 666, 699, 700, 701, 702, 703, 712, 738, 739, 754, 758, 762, 797, 798, 973, 3771, 3799, 3801

DMC Satin S5200 - Snow White

 

1 skein DMC Satin S5200 – Snow White (formerly DMC Rayon 35200 – Snow White)

 

Any count Aida or Evenweave  (stitch count 186 x 279). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1.  For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 19½” x 26”  or  49x 66cm or  a fat half (27 x 36″).  You could squeeze this on a fat quarter but you would have to reduce your margins to 2″ only on either side of your fabric for framing.

Silkweavers Spring Garden
Silkweavers Spring Garden

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch Jingle Bells using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do not include postage):

Chart: $ 40.00
Floss:  $40.20 (assumed 3 skeins of each DMC colour)
Fabric: $48.95

Total: $103.89  ($177.45 AUD  or  €159.60  or  £116.45)

Places to Buy

Tea Party Revolutions sell their charts via PDF download or paper chart worldwide. For readers of this site, Jo is offering a 30% discount on any of her charts.  Use code: REVIEW30.  Offer ends 31 January 2015.

Australia:

Colours Down Under has all threads and a variety of fabrics in stock.

Colour Cascade Fabrics has a variety of fabrics for you to make this design unique. Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.

Europe:

Casa Cenina in Spain stock a variety of fabrics and floss for your unique creation.

United Kingdom:

SewandSo has all the floss in stock and a variety of fabrics.

Polstitches has a range of Dragon Threads and hand dyed fabrics for you to make this design unique.

Sparklies have a range of fabrics to make this design sparkle.

Chromatic Alchemy  “I have a shortlist of two for Been Naughty and Jingle Bells. I think Quiescence with spots is a nice subtle background that complements the pieces. However subtle these patterns are not, so for the brave stitchers I would recommend Radioactive for an ‘in your face’ look!”

United States:

123Stitch has the thread in stock and offers a variety of fabrics.

Giveaway

To help you get into the spirit of the season (and perhaps add a little naughty to your nice if you feel so inclined), Tea Party Revolution are giving away one of her Christmas designs. To enter, tell me how you celebrate the holiday season where you are.

Contest is open to anywhere in the world. Whilst we love comments and sharing via social media, only comments on this post which include an answer to the giveaway question will be eligible for entry.

Julie will select her favourite answer and Mel will contact the winner and Tea Party Revolutions.

Contest closes TWO weeks from Publish; Midday, 7 January 2014, Melbourne time (UTC+11 hours).

Feedback

Did you like this review? Did it contain all the expected information? Is there anything you would like added or removed from the reviews? Do you know of a particular chart or designer you want to see featured here? If so, please head to the Suggestions page and let me know.

Last Updated: 24 December 2014

 

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