Sunday, August 23, 2020

August round-up!

I didn't do a ton of stitching since the last post but I did do enough to post an update! And, oh the irony, part of the reason that I didn't do as much stitching as I would have liked is that I finally (after much, much resistance) fell down the FlossTube rabbit hole. Although I doubt anyone who would take the time to read this blog doesn't already know what FlossTube is, I'll explain it anyway. Basically, it's stitchers making videos about what they stitch. Some do stitch-alongs, some throw in tutorials (very helpful, even for someone like me who has been stitching for 30 years), some also quilt, or knit, etc. And anyone who knows me knows that it's only a matter of time until I start doing my own! I've actually already snagged "Lara's Loose Threads" as a channel name just in case. :)

Which also reminds me... the 13th anniverary of this blog is in a couple of days! It's interesting how stitching blogs were all the rage for a while but kind of trailed off and now it looks like FlossTube is the newer version of the same thing. I've been in various stitching-based online social communities for about 25 years now so it's been interesting to see how the come and go. The first one I was on was the rec.crafts.textiles.needlework USENET newsgroup and some of us in central Texas started our own subcommunity from there and did stuff in person. And I actually just discovered that RCTN actually still exists on Google groups after they absorbed the old USENET groups - tempted to rejoin but I really don't need another thing to keep up with! Interestingly, they have all the archives so I can actually go back and look at some of my old posts from the 90s - what a trip down memory lane! I eventually dropped off the newsgroup and my in-person group, but in the mid-2000s I started reading stitching and quilting blogs pretty regularly and, of course, started my own. As my stitching time waned, I fell off blogging, as did a lot of the stitchers I followed. And then a got a wild hair to start following the r/CrossStitch subreddit a year or two ago and recently joined a cross stitch Discord. So yeah, FlossTube was pretty much inevitable. But at least they are all encouraging me to do more stitching! (and blogging about it!)

The next-to-last section of the Wonders of Space SAL was posted last week and I've already stitched it, so I've been pretty good at keeping up with that project which is kind of encouraging me to try another one in 2021. I've been leaning towards doing one of the patterns were you stitch a little something every day that is coded to the high temperature for the day. I've seen some people do blocks in a calendar, another one did little flowers in rows, but right now I'm leaning towards the Temperature Tree with different colored leaves by StitchinMommy on Etsy.

The other main thing I've been stitching on is this lighthouse that I found on Etsy. In my quest to use up some of the small cuts of fabric still in my stash, I knew I needed a lighthouse for this fabric, so I found this one and have made a fair bit of progress on it. It's been a while since I've stitched on linen (as oppposed to evenweave) and I've gotten a little sloppy with my stitches which seems to show up more on linen. Oh well... it's not like I'm going for the blue ribbon at the fair or anything. I really wanted to finish this during the summer but the Halloween and autumn stuff is pulling at me SO HARD right now.

And I finally got around to purchasing a replacement for the cottage that I talked about here that went missing from my office a few years ago! Yay eBay! I've prepped it for stitching by sorting and labeling the floss and rinsing and ironing the fabric and putting some fray-check on the edges, so this might become an WIP soon.

That's it for now! If (when?) I start doing FlossTube videos, I'll post about it for the one or two people who may still stumble across and read this blog. Happy Stitching!

Sunday, July 26, 2020


So, after my last post, my stitching roll did slow down a little, even though I'm still working from home (19 weeks/4.5 months and counting!). My webhost for my Tudor History site was migrating to new servers so I had to do some updates to make sure things didn't break, which took away some of my stitching time. But it was actually kind of fun to work on the site a little again! I really haven't worked on it a whole lot in recent years so when I did work on it again it didn't feel like as much of a chore.

But I did manage to keep up with the Wonders of Space SAL! Here it is with 2 more parts to go:

I did do a little bit of needlework shopping too, now that the floss inventories are starting to improve again (although there were a few colors I still couldn't get!) and, of course, I threw a couple of the new autumn Mill Hill bead kits in the order. I might have those ready to show off next week. And they might be the first products I stitch on my Dutch Treat perforated paper stitching frame now that I finally have the 8" clamps! I hunted around for those for quite a while and even had them in my shopping carts a few times but when I went to check out they would give me a "sorry, not available" message. So I wasn't too optimistic when I actually managed to order them from ABC Sttich Therapy in Houston, but about two months later they arrived! It's kind of hilarious that I looked at shops all over the US and a couple in the UK and finally managed to get them from a shop practically in my own back yard! And I could have just used the 15" clamps with the smaller projects, but they are overkill for those little projects. But they'll be great when I work on some larger things on plastic canvas and/or perforated paper!

I've got a couple more small-to-medium things in the works in between SAL parts and I might have one ready to share by next time. I got a new pair of glasses a few weeks ago with an updated prescription and with my magnifying lamp I can actually manage to stitch on 32 count (over 2) again. And since we're in the heat of summer - I'm really ready for the fall and Halloween stitching! (And the cooler weather, of course!)

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

April stitching!

As our shelter at home and working from home continues, so does my increase in stitching time. Here's some of what I managed to do in April:

First up - I actually dug out the ol' sewing machine and made a mask from my long-neglected quilting fabric stash after I found some elastic. Although I had forgotten how much I dislike sewing with anything stretchy!

And I've kept up with the Wonders of Space SAL, adding in the Crab Nebula (lower left):

And I've been continuing to make a few more magnets. This one is of the robot from Epbot that someone posted... somewhere? Crap, I'm not sure where I found it now! Maybe on the Friendly FOEs group on Facebook?

Next up, in my quest to use up all my small cuts of fabric, I did this little Halloween owl from one of the Just Cross Stitch Halloween issues. I changed out the border with a variegated floss instead of the one the pattern called for:

And finally, I did this cute little fairy cottage that I found on Etsy. The original was on 14-ct plastic canvas, but I decided to do it on fabric (see above about trying to use up small cuts of fabric). I'm also missing some little charms that I'll eventually get when I can comfortably browse the craft store or maybe order when we eventually get to a point that I won't feel guilty ordering something that is totally not a necessary item. And I haven't done a "before and after backstitching" in a while, so I did it with this one!

That's it for this round-up!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

A definite increase in my stitching time...

Well, when I was planning out how to squeeze more stitching time into my year, I certainly didn't have "being stuck at home for two months during a pandemic" on my radar. I'm working from home, so it's not like I can just sit around and stitch all day, but not having to drive home after work definitely gives me back some of my evening time!

And instead of just finishing up some long-neglected WIPs, I've been starting a ton of new things. I have a huge stash of hand-dyed fabrics from being in a Fabric of the Month club for years and I've been having fun matching fabrics to old kits and patterns. And I've been buying a bunch of new patterns on Etsy, especially when I have a clear mental picture of what should go on a certain color fabric. I treated myself to a Dutch Treat perforated paper stitching frame shortly before the lockdown since I got a good tax refund and my birthday was in early March right before everything went pear-shaped here in Texas. I sometimes get hand cramps when I have to hold a project in one hand and stitch with the other and so I really prefer using frames so I can stitch with both hands (plus I'm faster that way!).

Here's a catch up on a few things from the past month and a half:

Here are the first three months of the Wonders of Space SAL! I've been able to keep up with this pretty well, especially with a little more time on my hands.

And there is a definite theme to the other things I've done in the past month! Two of these are on my office fridge, so I can't take a photo of the completely finished versions, but the one with the Child holding his little broth cup is here at home. I got all three of these off /r/crossstitch (freebies posted by another redditor). I probably should have used three strands of black on The Mandalorian's helmet, but I really dislike stitching with three strands. I did use three on the eyes and soup cup on the second version of The Child though which I think did look better. I didn't worry about it as much with the lighter colors since I was stitching on ecru perforated paper.

I have a few other things in progress and I'll post more photos when I finish the stitching on those!

Sunday, February 2, 2020

More stitching!

And more blogging - wow!

I actually finished this last week, but here's the first square of the Wonders of Space stitchalong that I'm doing this year.

I'm working on a little freebie right now until the next section of the SAL comes out and once I finish it I'm going to make it into a little magnet, I think. I'll post pics!

Monday, January 20, 2020

First finish of 2020!

Okay, technically the pumpkin patch bookmark was my first finish of 2020, but I'm not counting that. This is one I'm counting as my first finish of 2020:

This was one of the small kits that I mentioned throwing in to a supply order and that was making my hand cramp. Eventually that stopped happening, interestingly. But I did remind me that I vastly prefer things that I can stitch on a frame where I can use both of my hands for the actual stitching.

And speaking of... here's the literal first stitch on the Wonders of Space stitchalong:

I suspect that I'm not going to get as much stitching in for the next couple of months, but we'll see!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Welcome to 2020!

I really meant to write more about what I was stitching last year *during* the year but I never got around to it, so here's a 2019 round-up and a little about what I'm going to be working on in 2020.

First up - I finished the IT Crowd I posted about last year and framed it! And it's hanging in my office at work (and has even drawn a few chuckles and "Oh I love the IT Crowd!" comments). Here's the final version before I took it to work:

I also tried my hand at hoop framing some older projects and one new project. As often happens to me, the first couple that I did came out great and then the third one wasn't as good. (I have the same track record with Thanksgiving turkeys and my grandmother's pecan pie recipe). Here are the pizza penguin and Castle Coch, both originally stitched many years ago:

And this is the one that I wasn't as happy with the framing on (and this is also hanging in my office at work... for no reason whatsoever of course...):

And I framed this other old project and hung it up in my bedroom:

And I stitched up this little Celtic swirl card kit that I threw in my basket when I was shopping for some other supplies (I actually left of some backstitching in this because I thought it made the design a little too busy):

And this one was supposed to be my final finish of 2019 but I technically finished it two days into 2020. I had a pre-finished bookmark that I got in a grab bag I bought ages ago and I had saved this bookmark pattern from "The Cross Stitcher" magazine in 2008. I started on this in the fall with the original intent of finishing in the fall, but the fall ended up too busy:

And last but not least, here's a photo of my thread ends and leftover thread from a kit:

So what's up for 2020?

I've got a few projects that I've been stitching on for a few years now that I'll probably keep plugging away at, but of course I had to start a few new projects! I did a few stitches on another kit that I threw in to a supply order (that is actually one of the main ways I acquire small kits) but I have trouble with my left hand cramping if I stitch on something 'in hand' for too long. So I also have a couple of things on q-snaps that I can use on my lap frame.

I've signed up for the Wonders of Space stitch-along, which is my first SAL! We don't have the first part yet, but I'll try to post some progress photos of it as we go along. I don't know how well I'll be able to keep up through the first few months of the year, but I'm going to try!

The thing on my frame right now is something that probably shows how nuts I am, but I'm re-stitching the second large-ish project I did when I first started stitching 30 years ago. I've learned a lot since then so I'm curious to see how it comes out! I don't have the first project I did because it was TERRIBLE (I had no idea what I was doing....) but the second was Lichtenstein Castle, from the book Medieval Castles from Jeanette Crews Designs and you can see the first version of it here. Technically I'm getting a bit of a head start on the 30th anniversary of when I really got in to cross stitch since that didn't happen until the summer of 1990, but I know it's going to take a while since I have a lot less stitching time than I did back then!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Happy New Year!

Hey there anyone who stumbles across this blog and goes "hmmm, does she actually ever update it?"! Maybe 2019 will be the year that the answer to that question is more "yes" than "no".

I did actually do a little stitching last year after stumbling on the cross stitch subreddit and getting inspired to find a way to get more stitching time in to my schedule. And part of the reason that I haven't been stitching quite as much in recent years is that I've started to have trouble with my eyes, so I have to do it all with a magnifying lamp at my desk for now.

Of course I have a bunch of projects in progress that I could have been working on but I started a new project instead (see below):

For those unfamiliar, this is a reference to the IT Crowd show from the UK. :)

I did finish another of the Mill Hill musical Christmas ornaments, this time the drum. Three left to go! (previously finished - the harp and the mandolin)

And I finished the Haunted House that I mentioned here into a little pillow ornament. Although I was apparently *really* rusty since I didn't do a very good job on the stuffing and stitching to make it into a pillow!

That's it for recent stuff. Now let's see if I can post a little more before the end of 2019!

Friday, August 25, 2017

10 Years!

I know I almost never post these days, and one of these days I'll do enough stitching to actually write about it again, but I had to mark the 10 year anniversary of starting this blog. Even if I don't get a chance to stitch (or blog) nearly as often as I would like these days, it's nice to look back through some of the old posts and see what I've done in the past. Although it does also remind me of the pile of things that I have finished the stitching on that still need to be made into ornaments or framed, etc. Well, Hurricane Harvey is likely to bring a very wet weekend to central Texas, so maybe that's one of the things I'll do to pass the time over the next couple of days!

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Hey, look, I'm posting something! It's too late for a Happy New Year post, and I don't have any new stitching to share, but I wanted to post *something* for anyone who comes across this blog in their internet travels. Last year was kind of insane, and this year hasn't started off any less crazy, but I really do want to try to get back into some stitching in 2016. It's a good stress reliever for me and I know I definitely need to do that more! So stay tuned, there might actually be something new here in the next few months!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Happy New Year!

Well hello there random people who still periodically stumble across this blog! It's been a while since I've posted because I haven't done much stitching to post about. But as I sit down to write about the new year and my goals for 2015, I realized I should also mention the stitching-related ones here. Last year I did really good on my goal to frame/finish a number of projects (which you can see in the post from August), but I fell short on the number of projects I wanted to finishing stitching. I did manage a few, but not the 10 I was aiming for.

Since I still have a huge pile of unfinished projects and projects that need framing (to need to be finished into ornaments or flat folds, etc.) I've set a goal to do 5 of each. Given the limited stitching time I get most weeks, I think those are reasonable goals, especially since I count small projects (like Christmas ornaments). I'd really love to be able to finish at least one medium or large project, but I'm trying to stay realistic. :)

So, happy new year and let's hope I find more time for stitching and blogging about it!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Another ornament finished

I guess for this blog, a month still counts as 'sooner, rather than later' per the previous post. But over the Labor Day weekend, I did finish the beaded ornament I mentioned before.

This is another of Mill Hill's musical instrument Christmas ornaments. (I've done the harp and the mandolin so far.)

Next up for the small projects is a Mill Hill beaded snowflake ornament that has been in my to-do pile for even longer than the musical instruments kits!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Catching up on a few completed projects

Time for an update! (Actually, it was time for an update a few months ago, but today is when I finally got around to writing up the post.)

I went through a finishing binge back in May when I took a mini-vacation from work and here are photos of the pieces I worked on:

This is a mini log cabin quilt that had been waiting for me to put a binding on it for YEARS, which I finally managed to do a couple of months ago.

And I finally framed this cross stitch of Hever Castle that I stitched ages ago. (And to preempt any questions about the chart - I bought this as a kit at the castle gift shop when I visited in 1998 and I no longer have the chart from the kit. I'm not sure if they still sell it, but you might contact them if you really, really want to stitch this design.)

This is one I finished stitching, but haven't framed or made into an ornament yet. The picture is Castle Coch in Wales, stitched from The Cross Stitcher's Guide to Britain - Wales. This castle is one on my list of "places I must actually visit" - i.e. places that I've driven by or walked past but didn't actually go in to for one reason or another. (Other places on this list include the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Lord Leicester Hospital, and the Liberty Bell. One place that used to be on the list that I DID make it back to visit properly was Tintern Abbey.)

And now for something completely different... This is a bookmark I did of the Arecibo Message.

Only one Christmas ornament in this round-up. I finished stitching this back in 2011 and just now got around to making it into an ornament.

And all of the rest of the projects that I finished were fall and Halloween designs (I think all of these came from various Halloween issues of Just Cross Stitch magazine.) I realized long after I took the photos and cropped them down for posting that I should have also taken photos of the backs so you can see the coordinating fabrics I used, but I'm too lazy to do it now. But I'll try to more in the future, especially since I now have a bunch of cute Halloween fabrics to use on the many remaining Halloween designs I still have to finish.

That's it for this round-up! I have another beaded Christmas ornament that I'm getting close to finishing, so maybe there will be another update sooner rather than later. :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Last finish of 2013

This is "Autumn Harvest" from the 2011 Just Cross Stitch September/October issue and I put the final stitches in a few hours before midnight on December 31, 2013. I mentioned in the previous post I have a few stitching goals, albeit modest ones, for 2014. I am expecting it to be a very busy year so I don't think I'll have a ton of stitching time, but I do hope to meet my goal since I'm including small projects in the count. I think a bookmark that I started a year or so ago will be the first target for finishing since it is relatively small. Stay tuned for the occasional update!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

I'll have a proper update later since I finished stitching on one last project a few hours before midnight last night, but I wanted to put my stitching/crafting goals for 2014 here to keep me honest. I've posted my whole list on my "everything" blog, but the ones for this blog are as follows: My goal is to frame (or finish into ornaments or whatever) six projects that I've already completed the stitching on and to finish the stitching on 10 projects (small ones count!). This won't make a huge dent in my backlog but at least it will be progress!

Friday, November 22, 2013

I'm on a roll!

I finished the little witch hat over the previous weekend, so here it is:

This is from the Just Cross Stitch September/October 2011 issue. It's supposed to have a little string of beads and a specialty button hanging of the end, but I didn't have either, so I'm probably just going to leave it as is.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


When astronauts stay on the International Space Station, they usually have a little down time for personal projects. Probably the most famous use of that personal time was Commander Chris Hadfield's cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity". But Astronaut Karen Nyberg's use of some of her personal time is something I can identify with a bit more - she's sewing in space!

In the video below she describes some of the challenges of sewing in space:

And as she mentioned in the video, she's working with the International Quilt Festival (headquartered, like the NASA Astronauts, in Houston) and is calling on quilters to contribute a quilt block for a project for next year's festival. You can find out more here (PDF)! I'm planning to contribute a block myself... I have lots of astronomical fabrics to choose from too.

Besides quilting and love of space, one other thing that I have in common with Karen Nyberg is that we're Texas Longhorns! I got my Bachelor's in Astronomy in 1994 from (and still work at) the University of Texas at Austin and she got her Master's and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from UT in 1996 and 1998 respectively.

Karen and two other crew members will be coming home from the ISS today. Safe travels!

Monday, November 4, 2013

I have actually been doing some stitching!

This was a Mill Hill kit that I picked up when my LNS closed last year. In hindsight, I shouldn't have backed it with a dark felt since now you can't see the antennae, but I'm happy with it.

I've started on another old Halloween design that has been in my "to do" basket even though we're now past the holiday itself. But it's a small project so maybe I'll have it finished before the urge to work on Christmas stuff takes over. :)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dabbling in old projects

I have been going through my storage bins of old quilt projects to try to finish them up and make some space in my too-small-for-all-these-hobbies apartment. I had a few small blocks from a sampler quilt I started ages ago while I was first learning and then stalled on so instead of finishing the original project, I decided to just do things with the pieces I already had. The first thing I did was sew the log cabin blocks that I did by paper piecing into a miniature quilt, which you can see in its almost finished state here. A few weeks ago I did the machine sewing for the binding, but it is still waiting for the hand stitching to finish it up.

Of the remaining pieces, I had five blocks of an Ohio star design that I was trying to figure out what to do with when I thought that ornaments might be a good idea - especially since I have way too much fiber-fill around too. So I tossed the block that had some wonky alignment and made two ornaments out of the other four, a photo of which you see above. The colors are dark red and green, so they are good for Christmas, but I have them hanging on a peg board in my living room right now anyway.

The other thing I did was to finally frame this old lighthouse cross stitch that I finished stitching ages ago (see previous mention here) but has been sitting in my "to be framed" pile ever since. One down... a gazillion more to go. For now it's on one of my bookshelves, but it may end up on the wall eventually.

That's it for this weekend. I might be able to get a little more done over the long weekend coming up for the 4th of July, but as always, we'll see!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

My quilting story

I was looking back through my old posts for some reason and I realized that I have never posted any quilting things here other than a small kit that came on a UK stitching magazine.

There isn't really much of a "story" here, but I figured I should post a little about how I got in to quilting since I've written so much about how I got in to cross stitch and embroidery. I think I've always liked quilts, but I actually got interested in making them in 1994-95 while I was working at Hobby Lobby. I was working in fabrics and needlework, so of course I occasionally got quilters at the counter. They were easy to spot, they would come up with 10 bolts of fabric and only want a quarter or a half a yard from each (finding pre-cut fat quarters at craft stores wasn't as common back then). And we had to stock notions, books, etc. and during that process I saw a book from the "American School of Needlework" collection called Decorator Quilts in a Hurry that had a really cool celestial-themed fabric and design on the cover quilt. So I bought that book to make the quilt on the cover (which, to this dates, I still haven't done).

Right about this time, the first of my friends from college to have kids found out they were pregnant with twin girls (who graduated from high school yesterday - I cannot accept that!) so I figured that making them some baby quilts would be a good way to get into quilting. I picked up another book called Stitch it, Snip it & Flip it that had a neat quick trick for making, among other patterns, star shapes. So, the first two quilts I ended up making were the two for them. I don't have the scans handy, but I'll eventually post some pictures.

I also bought yet another ASN book Quilting for People Who Don't Have Time to Quilt (I ended up with a bunch of those books because of the sales and employee discounts!), which was - and still is - a good description for me! The blue rail fence you see up top, as well as the brown shades one on my Flickr set, come from that book.

Of course I got in to reading and posting on quilting newsgroups, lists, etc. around this time too, since I can't have any hobby or interest after c. 1991 that didn't involve looking it up on the internet (and eventually the WWW). I eventually joined the Austin Area Quilt Guild, although after a few years it got harder and harder for me to make it to the meetings so I eventually decided not to renew my membership. I did get a chance to work at one of their shows while I was a member, which was a blast. I have some photos from that show, but since it was back in the old film days, I'll have to scan them. You can see photos from the 2006 show here though.

I've done a variety of small projects that you can see a few photos of on my quilting Flickr set (link below). I'll eventually go through and write a bit more about some of the project individually. There really isn't a whole lot to them, but as usual, I like this blog to be my personal journal of my projects, so the write-ups might not be all that interesting to other people. :)

You can see all of the pictures of my projects that I've posted so far up on my Quilting Flickr set. And you can see photos from the 2006 AAQG show here.