Zodiac Sampler by Cloudsfactory

Ambra of Cloudsfactory is another designer of extreme cuteness.  I have watched her previous year-long SALs with appreciation, and I am pleased to review her 2015 SAL: Zodiac Sampler.

Zodiac Sampler
Zodiac Sampler

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2015 Story Time Sampler by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery

Ashleigh & Amanda, the women behind The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, excel in extreme cuteness and the 2015 stitch along is no exception!

Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - 2015 Story Time Sampler

From the Designer

This years theme is Story Time! We’ll be stitching up kawaii portraits in of our favorite characters from classic literature in sweet frames. What does kawaii mean? It means cute in Japanese! Each frame will contain a character with key elements of their story. As avid readers, we thought it would be fun to pick stories with memorable characters that we felt a great impact from after reading their tales.

So who will we be stitching up?! Some examples include:

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Little Women
  • Lady of Shalott
  • Sherlock Holmes…and many more!

Frosted Pumpkin - Story Time Sampler

What is it?

2015 Story time Sampler is a year-long  mystery stitch along by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery  The January instalment includes the borders and the January design, Alice in Wonderland.  Each month you will receive another design. The last design will be sent on 30 November 2015.

Sign-up closes:  30 November 2015.
SAL Duration: 15 Jan 2015 – 30 Nov 2015

Why this chart?

I love stitchalongs!  However as I haven’t yet finished the 2013 Woodland Sampler stitchalong I haven’t joined this one.  Ashleigh & Amanda were kind enough to send me the introductory file so I could write this review.

Apart from January’s segment which includes the border, each month is a small, relatively quick stitch.  Cute, impossibly adorable, but not a huge time requirement, so this is a great stitchalong for a new stitcher or someone who already has a plate full of Works in Progress (WIPs).

Every Stitchalong thrives when there is a community surrounding it.  Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery have a Facebook page, a Flickr group and an Instagram hashtag.

Frosted Pumpkin - January Sneak Peek

Review

Joining a mystery stitch along is often an act of faith. Faith that the resultant item is worth the time and money you as a stitcher have put into it. Ashleigh & Amanda understand this, so they are allowing you to join this stitchalong at any time.  You can join now and experience the full mystery, you can wait a few months to see what the first few designs will be like and join then, or wait and see if your favourite character appears or wait until the end and buy it like any other design.  The options and potential risks are yours to choose.

To join the stitchalong you need to purchase the chart from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. Due to recent changes to European union laws, stitchers from EU/UK need to buy from a separate link.

The introductory pack includes:

How the stitchalong will work and the dates of each month’s release.

How to obtain your patterns each month, via email and web link. You will receive each new part via email each month.  However, your introductory pack also includes a web link to the chart. The web link is updated at the end of each month to show the most recent version of the chart.

For example, in July, you will receive the large one page design for the July literary character and a smaller chart of all the borders with the designs Jan – Jun filled in.

A reminder of what you can and cannot do with your charts for this stitchalong. For example you cannot share the files, but you can print out the charts for your own use at your local copy store.  It can be useful to show this permission to the copy store.

A stitch guide. This lists all the materials you will need to stitch the designs, the stitch count, finished project size, and recommended fabric.  As these designs only use whole cross stitch and a touch of back stitch, they are easily stitched on evenweave or Aida.

A getting started guide which includes basic cross stitching instructions and diagrams; from how to find the centre of your fabric through to photographs of cross stitch on linen.

The colour list.  This is very nicely done with a stylised version of each colour behind the wording.  This design uses Cosmo or DMC floss.  Both options are provided in the same list.  Cosmo is another solid dyed thread like DMC or Anchor.

The 2015 Story Time Sampler SAL also uses Weeks Dye Works hand dyed floss.  If you do not want to use hand dyed floss, alternative DMC and Cosmo numbers are given.  Remember that hand dyed floss is varied in colour, quite different from the DMC and Cosmo solid colours.

The charts.  Each chart is printed twice.  Once in black symbols on a white background, the other is black symbols in a coloured square.  I find a black and white chart easier to follow and mark off, but the colour chart is invaluable to  double-check that you are using the right floss, especially if there are similar symbols used in the pattern.

The first chart is the complete design on one page.  This is too small to stitch from and is mainly provided so you can see where the mystery stitchalong is up to and where the current month’s design fits in.

The second chart is a closeup of that month’s design.  For January this is quite large and expands over two pages because it includes the heading banner and all the borders.

There are no overlap rows between these two pages, instead Ashleigh and Amanda suggest that you print out both pages and tape them together.  This is only an issue for the January design.

Just an experienced stitching note here, you do not need to stitch all the borders ahead of time.  You can stitch each month’s border as it’s chart is released.

Finally the chart pack includes the floss key and any backstitching instructions for that month’s stitching.  The floss key includes both sets of symbols (for the black and white chart and the coloured chart) and the DMC, Cosmo and Weeks Dye Works floss options for each symbol.

 Materials Required

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

1 skein each of 18 DMC or Cosmo threads.

1 skein each of 5 Weeks Dye Works  threads.

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery ladies requested that I not list the specific floss numbers due to concerns of piracy.

Fabric is  32ct Picture This Plus “Storm” Lugana.  (stitch count 131 x 180).  This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1.

Stitched  on the recommended 16ct or 32ct (with the a 3″ border allowance) the fabric size needed is:  14¼″x 17½″ or 36 x 44cm  or a fat quarter (18″ x 27″).

Picture This Plus - Storm
Picture This Plus – Storm

For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 15½” x 19”  or  39 x 48cm  or  a medium pack of Magic Guide (30 x 39″)  or a normal fabric’s a fat quarter (18″ x 27″).

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch 2015 Story Time Sampler using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage):

Chart: $ 17.95
Floss:  $ 19.10
Fabric: $11.85

Total: $48.90  ($75.65AUD or €55.25 or  £44.95)

Places to Buy

The 2015 Story Time Sampler sitchalong can only be bought from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery as a series of PDF files.  You can buy from the main link or the EU/UK link.

The Cottage Needle in the US has material packs for this stitchalong which include the recommended Picture This Plus fabric and the Cosmo threads.

The Homemakery in the UK is selling a complete DMC only pack of threads for this stitchalong.

Australia:

Colours Down Under has DMC, Weeks Dye Works and a variety of plain fabrics in stock.

Colour Cascade Fabrics stocks DMC and suggests stitching this design on “Silver Springs or Blue Moon”.

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

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 says “grey based ones that from the fabric the model is on will work: moondust, foggy morning and maybe evening magic.  I would probably use foggy morning for it.  Without seeing more of it I’d hesitate to suggest something away from those colours other than maybe oatmeal, vintage rose and tea rose as they’re all quite neutral.”

Polstitches “Lightning Strike might a little more airy and colourful as it has a more blueish tint.”

Chromatic Alchemy  “As this piece has a varied colour palette I would recommend a darker piece that will accentuate the many tones without swamping them. I suggest using either Nox or Al’s Darkmagic”

United States:

123Stitch has the 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 the recommended materials in stock to kit this up for you.

Picture This Plus sells the recommended “Storm” fabric.

Under the Sea Fabrics Leslie suggests “Marauder’s Map. It’s a literary themed fabric for a literary sampler. Brown Sugar or Burnt Bronze would be pretty too. I’m doing mine on Marauder’s Map Gold Belfast for a hint of shimmer.”

Discussion

Does this Stitchalong appeal to you?  What is your favourite literary character that you hope is in this mystery design?

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

Last Updated: 20 January 2015

2015 Lucie Heaton for DMC FREE Fairy SAL


Hi I’m Rebekah and Mel’s asked me to review this stitchalong I’m running. If bright and fun fairies appeal to you, come and join us at 2015 Lucie Heaton for DMC FREE Fairy SAL Facebook Group.

2015 Lucie Heaton for DMC FREE Fairy SAL

What is it?

Last year, 2014,  Lucie Heaton published these small fairies for free, in conjunction with DMC, one per month.  This is a stitchalong on Facebook, arranged with the designer’s approval. Just join the Facebook group and jump right in there’s no other sign-up required. Please note that January’s fairy is listed as Snowdrop Fairy.

SAL Duration: 1 Jan 2105 – 31 Dec 2015

Lucie Heaton Fairies

Group member Dyah Baiton has kindly created a collage of the fairies rearranged to suit the Southern Hemisphere seasons. THANKS DYAH!

Why these charts?

I came up with the idea of a SAL last year when the fairies were being released. I waited until they were all published so we could rearrange the months to suit the southern hemisphere seasons.

I love the size of them, (a small, easy finish is a good motivator and provides a break from working on other big projects). The stick figure styling combined with fun bright colours of the designs immediately appealed to me and knew a lot of people would be attracted to them as a  SAL too.

Additionally, the fairies have a limited colour scheme allowing many people to stitch from their floss stash. Oh, and I LOVED that they are free! Always a sure-fire way to get people into a SAL.

January Fairy Photo courtesy of Minnie Gray
January Fairy
Photo and stitching courtesy of Minnie Gray

Review

Easy as pie to stitch, each fairy requires very few colour changes and very few confetti style stitches. The chart is easy to enlarge on a digital device but printed on B&W some of the symbols become hard to see if you print as scaled (A4) so I recommend cutting and printing an enlarged version when in Black and White.

There’s no markers to denote the centre of each fairy and no block count but owing to the small size of them it’s not necessary. Each design varies in size, some tall and some small, but all fit within a maximum stitch count of 40 x 40. The size variations are also not an issue if you want to stitch them all together; most are balanced in the grid and naturally centre themselves within the 40 x 40 design area.

My Experience

Rebekah Lee – I’m stitching the 12 squares on 11ct Aida over one and cutting them into 7″ blocks to make into a quilt. I’m using the Festive Fairy (colours changed) as the centre block of an additional fifth row, with a block showing my name on one side and one with the year on the other.

November Fairy in Progress Photo and stitching courtesy of Rebekah Lee. I am using the November Fairy as a New Year's Celebration Fairy.
November Fairy in Progress
Photo and stitching courtesy of Rebekah Lee.
I am using the November Fairy as my January block in light of the New Years eve fireworks.

 

Dyah Baiton – To me it’s a really easy stitch, I usually find Lucie’s designs (these particular type of fairies) in Cross Stitch Crazy magazines, that I think are more for beginner stitchers as the charts are free from fractional or other specialty stitches. Charts are easy to follow, no dramas. I was going to add Kreinik blending filament to the wings and the sparkles on the wands, but my fabric is so overpowering, the added glitter did not stand out, so stitched as is. I found similar fairies in festive theme in my old Cross Stitch Crazy magazines, I think I’ll stitch a few for ornies 🙂

November Fairy Photo courtesy of Dyah Baiton. Dyah has repurposed the November Fairy into a New Year's Celebration Fairy.
November Fairy
Photo and stitching courtesy of Dyah Baiton.
Dyah has re-purposed the November Fairy into a New Year’s Celebration Fairy.

Materials Required

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

Various Skeins of DMC

 

1 skein each of 26 DMC colours. As these charts are available for free from The DMC website, recommended threads are DMC.

 

You can easily use whatever floss you have in your stash, the charts are small and easy and don’t need much thread. This means you can use remnants from kits and loose ends you have lying around with ease. You don’t need to worry about having exact colour matches as each design uses bold and contrasting colour blocking.

Any count fabric. You can stitch these as single blocks for ornaments or combine to form a large calendar (stitch count  of each is at most 40 x 40). These designs can be stitched over 2 or over 1.

Charles Craft - Antique White
Charles Craft – Antique White

To stitch a single block on 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 9” x 9”  or  23 x 23cm  or  an ornament cut (9 x 13″).

To stitch a Calendar that is three months across and four months down on 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance and 1″ between blocks) fabric size is: 17” x 21”  or  43 x 53cm  or  a fat quarter (18 x 27″).

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch the single calendar of these small fairies using DMC and plain fabric (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage):

Charts:  free – available at DMC Creative World Inspirations Page
Floss:    $7.20 – assume 16 different DMC colours
Fabric: $11.85 – Evenweave Fat Quarter

Total: $26.25  ($43.40 AUD or €24.00  or  £20.15)

Places to Buy

DMC Creative World Inspirations Page have offered these charts out free on their web page.  The fairy charts are individually named and you will have to look for them within the index on the left hand side. Please NOTE: January’s fairy is called Snow Drop Fairy. If you join the Facebook group I have arranged all the links in chronological order in the pinned post at the top of the group.

If, for any reason, you cannot access these fairies on the DMC page, they are each available at a small fee on Lucie Heaton’s fairies page.

Australia:

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

Colour Cascade Fabrics “I think a nice subtle colour behind these as there are so many colours in the different fairies, so Clouds, Fairies Wear Boots, or Fairytale should work well”. Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 27 February 2015.

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 little fairies – assuming you’re going to stitch them all on one piece January 2015 ltd ed. Individually they’d work on so many different colours.”

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

Sparklies “I think either Misty Morn or Spring Greens would suit these little Fairies nicely.”

Chromatic Alchemy “I chose Khione for the fairy medley…a neutral subtle fabric that enhances all the different colours in these cute little ladies without overpowering them. ”

United States:

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

Stitches n Things has a variety of threads and fabrics for you to stitch up your fairies.

Fiberlicious has a range of gradient coloured cottons and silks to stitch your fairies.  Fiberlicious has a 15%  off sale until Jan 11.  Nguyen offers an extra discount of 5% for readers of Cross Stitch Review (20% in total). Just let Nguyen know you read this site when you place your order.

Under the Sea Fabrics “The DMC Fairy would be really pretty on Shimmering Seas. It’s a warm blue that will compliment not compete with the fairy.”

Discussion

Do you like theses fairies, would you stitch them, will you join us?

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

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: 6 January 2015

 

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SAL de Noël 2014 by Hélène & Mahélia

SAL Tuesday and I do I have the greatest Mystery stitchalong site for you today!  Also note it is still Cyber Monday in the US so there are still sales if anyone has any spare money or needs to buy a stitcher or themselves some gifts.

December 2009
December 2009

From the Designer

It happened. Time to prepare … for a SAL de Noël full of surprises!!! For sure, the colors are undeniably linked to Christmas … but it’s only the 4th stage that our doubts will be erased !!!

SAL Duration: 3 Dec 2014 – 20 Dec 2014

December 2013 SAL
December 2013

Why this chart?

Every month the blog Hélène & Mahélia runs a free Stitchalong (SAL). The December SAL is always Christmas themed and will be sent in six parts over the next three weeks. I love these little ornament-sized whimsical designs and thought you might too.

Join the SAL and download the first part. The later parts will be sent to you, but only AFTER you send in a photo of your stitching.  That’s right, this is not a collect & forget SAL, this is a show us your progress SAL.

The good news is that you do not need to stitch it immediately, you will receive the next part when you get the earlier part finished, even if it takes your six months to get around to it.  The downside to taking your time is that the final product will not be a Mystery.

Hélène & Mahélia do ask that you do not publish photos of your stitching, before the dates listed on their blog.  They don’t want you to accidentally spoil the surprise for other stitchers.

These designs are small, simple to stitch and deliberately designed to use up bits and pieces already in your stash. I recommend these stitchalongs to stitchers of all levels who are looking for something whimsical and a community to become a part of.

December 2010
December 2010

Review

Hélène & Mahélia try to keep their stitchalongs as simple as possible, so the designs are usually small, full cross stitch with a little backstitching only. The charts are designed to suit any background fabric and do not include specific floss brands or types, but rather give a vague suggestion “light blue” to encourage stitchers to be creative or use what materials they already have in their stash. These Stitchalongs are perfect for those who are considering a “stash ban” or “stash diet” as one of their New Year’s Resolutions.

The first section of the stitchalong is available as a pdf online for you to open and save.  The design is small enough that the entire chart fits on one US Letter or A4 page.  There is no need to be concerned about overlapping rows for these ornaments.

The floss symbols are produced in black on a coloured background.  You can use the symbol or the colour to make sure you are stitching with the right floss.

All directions on the chart are given in both French and English.

As the designs appears to only use whole cross stitch and backstitch, SAL de Noël 2014  can be stitched on any fabric you like.  I would suggest looking at some of your offcuts for this.

December 2011

Materials Required

To stitch SAL de Noël 2014 exactly as designed, you will need:

  • Light Green (177 stitches)
  • Dark green (73 stitches)
  • Dark red (220 stitches)
  • Light red (522 stitches)
  • Light brown (35  stitches)
  • Rose Dawn, such as DMC 761 (49 stitches)
  • Pink Pepper, such as DMC 3713 (287 stitches)
  • Light gray (183 stitches)
  • Light blue (164  stitches)
  • Golden (12  stitches)
  • White (877 stitches)
  • Black ( for backstitching)
  • 13 small black beads ( or French Knots )

Any colour or count of fabric you wish to suit the floss colours (stitch count 51 x 75). This design can be stitched over 2 or over 1.

For 14ct Aida or 28ct evenweave (with 3″ border allowance) fabric size is: 9½” x 11”  or  25 x 29cm  or  an ornament cut (9 x 13″).

Approximate cost for Project

Approximate cost to stitch SAL de Noël 2014 using the recommended materials (prices are in $US, at recommended retail and do  not include postage):

Note: This SAL is designed to use floss and fabric you already have in your collection, however if you don’t have a collection yet, here are the prices for the items:

Chart: $ free
Floss:  $ 6.50
Fabric: $5.00

Total: $11.50  ($22.00 AUD or €24.00  or  £21.15)

Places to Buy

Hélène & Mahélia’s blog is the only place where you can get SAL de Noël 2014 or other SAL charts.

Australia:

Colours Down Under stocks all your floss and embellishment needs. Also some plain evenweave and Aida choices.

Colour Cascade Fabrics has a variety of colours to suit your personal style. Tammy offers a 15% discount for readers of this site. Code is: CSReview. Offer ends 6 December 2014.

Europe:

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

United Kingdom:

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

Chromatic Alchemy  has many colours to make your project a bold statement or a subtle undertone.

Polstitches stock a variety of fabrics and Dragon floss to personalise your project.

Sparklies “I have several suitable for a Christmas theme in pale blue. Snowy Skies and Glacier are the most popular for these sorts of designs.”

123Stitch stocks all most of your floss and embellishment needs.

For Discussion

Do you like stitching Christmas projects? Will you be joining this Christmas SAL?

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: 2 December 2014

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