Cross-stitch and Embroidery

From the vault: A Lively Tune

This past Thursday, I happened to find myself on someone else’s blog (also hosted by WordPress) and I saw a notification alert in the upper right-hand side of my screen. When I clicked on it, a message popped up congratulating me on my 12-year anniversary of running this blog. Well, then. The date didn’t even occur to me in the days leading up to it, and I didn’t (and don’t) have some sort of special anniversary post planned.

Instead, submitted for your approval, I have two long-finished, never-posted projects.

First up: A Lively Tune by Louise Gregoire Originals. This one j-u-u-ust got framed this winter (pre-quarantining).

The eagle-eyed among you will notice this was actually completed back in 2016 – that’s how long it took for a frame to be decided on – but I started it probably 15 years earlier. It was one of those projects that kept getting put aside because something else took priority. When I studied Ukrainian in university, we watched a National Film Board production called “Teach Me to Dance” (Navche meni tantsjuvate), and every time I picked this up to work on it, that was what crossed my mind and not the actual name of the design. The boy with his wind instrument (surely not a clarinet) seems secondary to the two who are dancing.

Finding a frame took ages. When it was finally decided that yes, this should be framed, it was discovered that a standard 8″ x 10″ was going to be a fraction too small, and cut off some of the background. But lo, Michaels had an 8 1/2″ x 11″ frame that let everything show without a ton of extra blank space.

My mom decided that it needed to go in the hallway, across from another Ukrainian-themed piece I stitched.

This one is a bit *cough*a lot*cough* older: a sampler featuring the Ukrainian alphabet. I designed it myself to hang in my grandfather’s room in the seniors’ home, modifying a Roman alphabet I found in a design book, and adding a few little bits of traditional design for interest. We used to have to recite that in class, and while it’s one thing to be four or five and reciting your A-B-C’s in kindergarten, it’s quite another to be 19 and stumbling over your ah-beh-veh’s. In any case, after he passed away, we got it back, and it’s now hanging in my parents’ hallway.

(Fun fact: the “soft sign” – the very last character, at the far right of the bottom row – doesn’t actually have a capital version. It’s not a letter per se, but a way to modify sounds the other letters make. I’m not really sure why I gave it its own capital. Symmetry, probably.)

Thanks for looking! 🙂

Cross-stitch and Embroidery

All Aboard!

My vet, having not learned her lesson the first time, had another baby.  Since I had stitched a birth announcement for #1, it seemed only right to me that #2 should get something as well, and I really did start looking for something almost as soon as I heard she was expecting.  Honest, I did.

I eventually decided on a Janlynn kit called “Kitten Express” (so she’d know it came from the crazy cat lady-in-training), but the name appears to have been a bit of misnomer.  It was really more like “Kitten Take the Scenic Route, Sign Up for a Couple of Boring Industry-Specific Classes, Stitch a Christmas Gift and Anniversary Sampler, and Generally Forget About It for a Year”.  Ahem.


I felt somewhat better when I dropped it off at the framer’s and saw hanging on the wall someone else’s commemorative birth announcement with a date of birth in March.  I mean, that’s almost as late getting things done as I was!  My cat had no complaints: her annual shots got delayed by a month while I furiously stitched and waited for framing, because no freakin’ way was I going to show up at the clinic empty-handed.


This really shows off the purple frame to its best advantage!  My initial thought for framing had been either yellow or blue, something typically boyish, but when my framer pulled out the purple and held it against the piece, everything just – fwoom! – came together in ways you wouldn’t believe.  Between the engine, the name and date, and various flowers and bottles all in purple, it worked no matter where in the picture you looked.

I did make a few changes from the pattern, though.  I left off a full double border that would have taken foreverrrrr to finish (and which had the advantage of fitting the finished piece into a smaller frame), and I left out a few clouds and a really limp-looking spiral of steam from the smokestack.  Unless you looked at the original packaging, you wouldn’t even know anything was missing.  I also changed the lettering on the engine and flatcar from pink to glow-in-the-dark white.


This will either enthrall young Scott when the lights go out, or cause his mother to wonder why he’s suddenly afraid of the dark.  I forgot to mention this groovy aspect, and will have to tell her when next I see her.

I have been assured that the second is also the last, and can now get back to something a little more grown-up.

Cross-stitch and Embroidery

Labour (Day) of Love

This will be short and sweet, I promise – who wants to sit inside reading on a screen when the unofficial end of summer is but a few short hours away?

Anyway, my parents hit a milestone anniversary this year.  Oh, sure, 40 isn’t the big 5-0, but still fairly significant, I think.  Heck, I can’t imagine being 40, let alone being married for 40 years.  Since they’re kind of impossible to buy for as a couple, I decided to take advantage of the milestone-iness and stitch them a commemorative sampler.  Most of the Ruby Anniversary samplers you see out there are kind of floral-y or frou-frou, and I didn’t want that.  But when I saw the Vintage Anniversary Sampler by Dimensions, I knew I had found my project!  They got it a few okay, five weeks late, but aren’t some thing worth waiting for?  (To protect the identity of the happy couple and their progeny, I’ve smudged out identifying details, but you get the idea.  Or if you’d like to see a non-smudged version, here’s a link to the kit for sale.)


It just came back from being framed this week, and did they ever do a fantastic job.  The mattes she picked out complement the colours so perfectly!

Have a wonderful holiday Monday, everyone!

Cross-stitch and Embroidery

Little Bundle (of joy, one assumes)

Lo, the much-hyped birth announcement has been completed – and less than two months after the actual birth.  Go me!

It’s an Anchor kit, designed by Margaret Sherry (love her stuff!) called “Little Bundle”.  Much like the lovey-dovey Solo the Cat cross-stitch in the last post, this one is full of backstitch that starts and ends at funny places, and would have been easier on evenweave.  Despite that, I’m quite pleased with how it turned out; it really was an enjoyable stitch despite the vast areas of green and white.

Please excuse the rather dreary appearance; this is what happens when one waits until natural daylight is gone to take a picture.  Rest assured, the fabric and the diaper are white…ohhh, so much white…

It has yet to be washed and framed, but I’ll be holding off on that for just a little while.  When you hear the neighbours having a shouted conversation across the street: “Hey, Bill, how’s your water over there?”  “Brown!  Yours?”  “Yep!”, the prudent thing to do seems to be to wait for the municipal waterworks department to finish their water main repairs before attempting to soak what will hopefully be an heirloom piece.

After all that crazy backstitch, working on a perforated-paper ornament kit feels like some sort of dream…

Cross-stitch and Embroidery

Track 29! – Hey, can you give me a shine?

When I worked downtown, I made the acquaintance of one of the – if not the – city’s remaining shoe shiners.  He always has a smile and a hello for everyone who passes by his shop, and knows absolutely everyone who is down there on a regular basis.  Heck, he knows me, and I don’t generally wear shine-able shoes.

Last year the newspaper featured a human interest story about him, how he got started, how he came to be in his present location, that kind of thing, and the one quote of his that really stuck with me is “You can’t make a deal with a dirty heel.”  He’s probably right, but more than the accuracy, the saying appealed to me as a potential sampler, although it took me more than a year to get around to doing anything about it.  With an alphabet from Better Homes and Gardens 2001 Cross Stitch Designs and my beloved PCStitch, I came up with this and stitched it up for him:

I tried to keep the colours masculine – doing “dirty” in a shoe-splattered brown was my dad’s idea, and I think it worked perfectly.  When I went downtown for lunch the other day I stopped by his shop to deliver the finished product, and I think he was rather surprised by my humble little gift.

Cross-stitch and Embroidery

Last project of 2009/first project of 2010

How appropriate that they’re for the same person, n’est-ce pas?

Okay, so when I found out in the summer that my coworker was going to have a baby, I was excited.  Not because I like kids (I don’t), but I do like her, and this was an excuse to stitch something different!  I chose a design by Cinnamon Cat called “Pitter Patter”, which I liked for its colours – she wasn’t going to be finding out the sex beforehand, and this one wasn’t full of your typical pastels.  (It was a boy, by the way, born Boxing Day.)  I finished the bulk of it in December, and just before we left work on New Year’s Eve, the e-mail came around with a name and date.  It might be a sad comment on my social life that my New Year’s Eve was spent at home stitching, but to this I say, “Bah.”  It was too cold to go out, anyway.  I put in the final stitch just shortly before 10:00, effectively making it my final project of the year.  I spent the next two days applying coats of purple spray paint to a black six-inch frame, and voila:

I cannot begin to tell you how glad I am that she chose a short name.  “Ren” means “lotus” in Japanese, according to her e-mail, and I thought maybe a stitched card would be a nice touch.  I Google-searched the Japanese symbol for his name, and hope against hope that I’ve charted it correctly and haven’t called him something offensive in the process:

First project of 2010, w00t!

And now…now it sits, wrapped in vintage baby shower paper, in a bag under my desk so that if she should swing by the office for an impromptu visit, I’m prepared!