Kitting up for an alphabet quilt

I have a soft spot for simple, old-fashioned cross stitch designs. I buy vintage ones whenever I can. This particular chart pack, though, has been in my stash for years, but I’ve only recently worked out what I can do with such a large design!

ABC 1

The chart pack was a free gift that came with World of Cross Stitching magazine, ages ago. It  is by Faye Whittaker, of All Our Yesterdays. She specialises in cute images of Edwardian-looking children, usually seen only from the back (so no fiddly facial features to stitch!). If it was stitched on 16 count evenweave, the chart says, the whole sampler would be 38 inches high. I haven’t got that much wall space left in my house if I made it as a picture, so I had to come up with a different idea for how to use this pretty cross stitch chart.

What I’ve decided to do with these designs is to make an alphabet lap quilt, with each letter stitched individually on white 28 count Zweigart Cashel linen fabric (over two). I then only have to handle small pieces of fabric at a time (9 x 9 inches cut size, for a finished 7 x 7 square), and not have to struggle with one huge piece, if I were to stitch the whole alphabet in one go. I estimate I will need one and a quarter metres of 55 inch wide fabric to make this though (the finished quilt will be about 39 by 65 inches, including the fabric borders).

Each letter will be bordered with a red fabric stripe, except for the corner squares between each letter, which will be a plain blue square. That’s the plan, anyway. For the cotton fabrics, I raided my stash and found these two red patterned fabrics, and the plain blue, which pick up colours from the threads to be used for the cross stitch.

ABC 2

Although I’ve attached the threads onto a DMC thread sorter, I’m actually using Anchor threads for this piece, so I had to use a conversion chart to work out the Anchor equivalents, as the colour key for the chart lists DMC thread colours.

ABC 3

The chart comes as one large foldout piece of paper, like a map. That’s quite tidy to store, but a nightmare to stitch from, so I’ll have to scan it all in and divide it up into the individual letters, to make it less unwieldy, and more portable.

ABC 4

The chart has an upper case alphabet (the one I’m going to stitch), and also a lower case one, for if you wanted to do door name plates, and so on, but I don’t think I’ll be using that.

I’ll need to make up two ‘extra’ motifs at some point, as I want to stitch seven rows of four squares, which is the 26 letters of the alphabet, plus two more at the bottom corners to balance the design. I think I’ll take two of the child motifs from within the chart, and adapt them a bit, changing the colourway, and making them look unique enough that most people won’t notice that they appear twice in the design. If I use one of a child who looks off to the left, for the right hand corner, and one who looks off to the right for the left hand corner, I reckon that should do it!

This will be a good project for when I’m out and about, as I could just take one letter with me at a time. So many of my stitching projects are kept on frames, and so aren’t very portable, but this can even be stitched in the hand, without needing a frame at all if I keep my stitch tension relaxed, as each letter is only about five inches wide and high.

It’s not a quick project, though, so expect only occasional updates!

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A customer’s cat wants to check out the new minis!

If you own a cat, this image will not look unusual – as soon as you start doing minis, your cat needs to come and see what you are doing! A customer sent me this cute pic of her cat Emma, checking out the miniature needlepoint cat sampler she (the customer!) had just made from one of my kits.

If you’d like to stitch one of these, they are quick to make, to be stitched in needlepoint on 32 count evenweave fabric. All materials are included in the kit, including the wooden frame, and they cost 12.95 GBP each.

Cat sampler miniature needlepoint kit

 

Cat sampler miniature needlepoint kit

Visit the website now to see the whole range of 12 samplers. Here’s a small selection:

 sampler miniature needlepoint kits

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Autumn Quakers 8: how to mount cross stitch on a quilt hanger

I’m just about to complete this gorgeous cross stitch sampler called ‘Autumn Quakers’ by Rosewood Manor, which I stitched from a chart booklet. As I explained in my previous post, I had planned to frame it, but that didn’t work out, so instead I decided to hang it like a little quilt, from a cute metal hanger.

I first measured the width of the hanger’s dowel, allowing half an inch in from each end for where the hooks for the wooden dowel would be, and trimmed the spare fabric each side basing it on the fact that the finished width will be 15.5 inches and the total finished length will be 22.5 inches, so I cut the sampler fabric two inches bigger all round than these measurements (with more spare fabric at the top than the bottom, to allow for making a casing for the pole).

This is the untrimmed fabric, with the spare fabric temporarily folded under, so that I could see how wide to make it:

Then I cut a piece of heavy iron-on Vilene 15.5 x 22.5 inches, and ironed it onto the reverse of the cotton lining fabric that I’m using (it’s actually cut from an old sheet!). I decided not to iron the Vilene onto the reverse of the actual stitching, as I felt that it would be too bumpy a surface to stick properly. Then I trimmed the cotton fabric away from the edges, so that the Vilene and the cotton fabric were exactly the same size.

Then I placed the trimmed sampler and the cotton/Vilene piece, wrong sides together, and folded the extra linen border of the sampler over the edges of the cotton/Vilene piece, folding it under again to make a hem on three sides, leaving the top edge free for now. This took ages, as I kept pinning the sampler unevenly onto the backing fabric, but eventually I managed it!

This is the sampler with the three sides pinned and ready to hem with slip stitch.

The top edge was hemmed with a generous hem, as the wooden pole has quite a large wooden bead on each end of the pole, so I had to allow enough space to be able to feed the whole thing through the casing once I’d slip stitched the hem.

Once all four sides had been hemmed, I ironed it again, over a towel, from the reverse (quite cool, so that the glue of the Vilene didn’t melt and cause the cotton/Vilene piece to separate).

This is Autumn Quakers now that it is completely finished – I’m really pleased with it, now that I’ve solved the problem of how to finish it!

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

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Autumn Quakers 3: update on stitching progress, and problem with threads

I’ve been working some more on this lovely sampler from Rosewood Manor, called ‘Autumn Quakers’. It’s huge, but is quite simple to do. This is the update on my stitching progress….

Autumn 9

I love the shades of thread that the chart uses. I bought them as an accessory pack specially put together for this design. They are Valdani variegated threads, and the colours are just gorgeous. They come packaged in a cute little cardboard box.

Unfortunately, though, one of the balls has only 2 strands instead of 3, so I’m having to do some bits with 2 strands, and some with 3 where it would look sparse otherwise, by putting together previously separated strands (trying to match the variegations where possible!). I’ve had to cut out quite a bit of the thread where it was mangled by the machine making it into little balls, so I hope I don’t run out of that shade. It’s not really worth complaining to the shop that I bought it from, as it’s not their fault, and I bought it from America, so any shipping to exchange it would be extortionate. I can probably manage with what I’ve got.

Autumn 8

This is the box of threads – I am using one needle per colour, which is why the box has all those needles inserted into the threads! Aren’t they gorgeous colours?!

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

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