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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Maria Ceron Conversion Correction

While at Nashville a kind stitcher let me know that I had left out a symbol on "Maria Ceron her Floral Band Sampler" aka part 5. I hate it when this happens, but to err is human and well, I am quite human. So here is the correction for the thread symbols. I left out the symbol for Poblano Pepper/Willow which is on the actual chart but not the conversion chart. So here you go! Happy Stitching!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Nashville 2016 releases!

Apologies for being such a slacker with the blogging! My only excuse is that like all the other designers going to Nashville I have been VERY busy designing, stitching, taking photos and getting charts together. It is quite the process and I do almost everything myself. However, I am going to start off the previews with a lovely adaptation of a antique that I bought this past summer in Telluride, Colorado while on vacation.

"Miss Kelly's School Sampler"

So, it was the 4th of July and my family and I were strolling around Telluride before the 4th of July Parade and I happened upon this lovely little red house which is an antique store.

When I walked in, first thing that caught my eye was this sampler. It might have seen better days, but I knew it was a gem.

Needless to say I didn't leave Telluride without it. 

Now, it is charted, stitched by a fabulous model stitcher Nancy Kruk, and ready for Nashville. I decided to change up the border since it was very plain, and the corners had been mended to the point where the cross stitching was no longer visible. A few things were rearranged in the wording, but most of it is as Catherine stitched it. The date is gone along with her last name,  however she did attend Miss Kelly's School. It has a very patriotic palate and since she finished it in July, and I bought it in July, I wanted it to retain an Americana feel.

This is stitched on 32 count Pearled Barley by Lakeside Linens. Threads used are, Weeks Dye Works floss in Lancaster Red, Twilight,  Blue Heron, Grits, Charlotte's Pink, Chestnut, Scuppernong, Charcoal, Seagull and Grapeleaf by The Gentle Art. Stitch size: 241 x 243.

"Wishes do to Heaven Aspire"

My limited edition kit for Nashville, was inspired by a antique sampler that I own. I plan to release the sampler later this year (still charting it). However, it is so pretty that I figured I would share one of the motifs with you as part of my kit this year. The original sample is in the background of the photo. Shop owners will get to see the original in my room at Nashville.

This kit includes linen, floss, buttons, trim and backing fabric (one of 3 fabrics shown in the photo). The date of 1802 is the year that the young girl Betsy Croome who stitched the original sampler in 1789 married. The title "Wishes do to heaven Aspire" comes from the verse on the sampler.

"Welcome Little Stranger"

I love these little birth pillows (as a midwife how could I not!) that were sewn to announce the birth of a baby. The antique pillows are designed using straight pins to make the motifs and lettering. Straight pins were difficult to produce and expensive, so this was quite the gift. The straight pins would have been used to fasten a diaper, but I think laces were also used---and were a tad less risky!

I also love the sentiment "Welcome Little Stranger". Anyone who as had a child knows that there is this moment when you realize you know nothing about them or how in the world you are going to raise them. You take in this little stranger into your life without question. I imagine it was even more so like this when there were no ultrasounds, reveal parties, endless reading of parenting books and baby showers. Pregnancy was not spoken about, except between man and wife and the woman's trusted friends or family members who would serve as her midwives. Suddenly out of the blue this little baby would arrive. Quite the blessing a safe delivery was in that time. If you would like to learn more about these pillows check out this web site www.peggymcclard.com. Peggy is an antique dealer in Houston who has a lovely collection of these pillows and has written a nice piece about them on her blog.

This was stitched on 35 count French Vanilla linen by R&R Reproductions and silks used are Ecru and Alpine Taupe Florimell by Gloriana. Stitch size is 98 x 80.

"Love Knots"

Remember writing notes to a crush in class during high school? I do. It wasn't that easy of a task when you go to an all girl Catholic school like I did. Usually it required giving the letter to a sister or cousin or some other female connection to said boy and trust that it would get passed on without being read. I doubt that ever happened. However I do remember trying several creative folding techniques to ensure privacy. Well, we weren't the first ones to try this. The Pennsylvania Dutch, those stern, practical folks also wrote love notes and they were beautiful! Who knew they were capable of such a passionate expression of love? The style of art was Fraktur painting and were fashioned from parchment with drawings done in reds, blues, yellows and greens. Lovely detailed drawings with poetry laced throughout the design made for quite the valentine. Some of them were even folded up so that a design formed out of the folds of paper----my love notes never stood a chance up against these. I call this design "Love Knots" because of the weaving of design through out the art, and because sometimes love gets tangled---especially in high school. Again to see some examples of the real thing google "Fraktur love notes" or visit www.peggymcclard.com.

This was stitched on 40 count linen in Wren by Picture this Plus. Silks used are Florimell by Gloriana in Poinsettia, Blythe Green, Summer's Gold and Pacific Blue DK.

Last I present "Scarlet Hornbook"

The Scarlet Letter is one of my all time favorite books. So, I fashioned my own Scarlet letter for a hornbook. This chart is packed full of specialty stitches and is meant to encourage one to take up a project to learn new stitches. Small in size, no one will be overwhelmed. It is a good project to take on if you would like to expand your knowledge of stitches beyond cross stitch. Give it a try! A guide to specialty stitches is included along with a full alphabet.

Stitched on 32 count "Peeps Lost Sheep" by Dames of the Needle. Thread is Lancaster Red by Weeks Dye Works. Stitched size is 58 x 43.

I am hoping to have at least one more design completed before market. So wish me luck. If you want any of these designs please call or email your favorite needlework shop and have them pick it up for you in Nashville. Thanks for taking the time to stop by the blog!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Heading towards another finish!

I keep telling myself "update your blog", and then like my kids, dog, husband....get distracted and find myself doing something thrilling like laundry, yard work or cooking dinner. All need to be done, but now that everyone including the dog is at soccer practice,dinner is made, I am going to ignore the pile of laundry in my bedroom and update the blog!

I have a sneak peak of my progress on "Maria Ceron 1830". This is the final installment of the series, and I personally think it is the best. There are 11 different flower bands, many birds and other motifs. I am excited to be nearing the end so that I can get to work on all my projects for Nashville in March. However, this sampler has been an absolute pleasure to chart and to stitch. I am going to miss not working on it. If you haven't had the chance take sometime to visit Attic Needlework's website, and take a look at their newsletter http://www.atticneedlework.com . There are 2 photos of the complete sampler in progress, and they are just lovely. I can not wait to see a completed one! If you are working on stitching the entire sampler send me  a photo and I will post it to the blog and Facebook pages. Here is a snippet of what you have to look forward to...Hopefully by Thanksgiving.

I have a new release this week! It is a fun small piece perfectly timed for this time of year when you know fall is coming, but the weather is still somewhat nice, and you can pretend that winter is not ever coming back. It is entitled "Summer's Last Fling".

This is stitched on 40 count Pear by Lakeside Linens and uses Weeks Dye Works Floss in Tarragon, Brick, Whiskey, Red Pear, Cognac, Cadet, Grapevine, Juniper and Parchement. Design size is 93 x 61.  I am working on getting a music box that has a 4 x 6 opening on top and mounting it. As soon as I have it mounted I will update you with a photo. However, it is a great piece to use with 4 x 6 frame you may have. I really enjoyed stitching this one!

Next up for me is taking some time to work on improving my overall cross-stitching/embroidery skills. Like most of us, I am almost entirely self taught. It has only been over the past 10 years or so, that I have even met another person who does cross stitch (OK, now I know a bunch, but that is a recent development). Thanks to the internet and now my business, I am finding all sorts of little ways to improve the appearance of my work. I have started separating each individual thread when using more than one thread and railroading all my stitches. I do think it has improved each individual cross stitch. 

My latest discovery is using bee's wax on my floss. I was having some challenges with cotton floss just shredding, leading to a unfortunate end to my thread---usually too short to tuck under a stitch! Then along came bee's wax, my stitching started looking smoother, and I wasn't yelling at my floss anymore. I am currently using waxers from Noteworthy Needle. Here is a link to Noteworthy needle http://www.noteworthyneedle.com/products/ where you can have a laugh while reading all the names Janice has for her waxers. Good entertainment. 

Do you have any favorite stitching tricks? If so, please share them on the blog.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by!


Monday, August 3, 2015

A little bit of Halloween....

The calendar says August and the kids are at the pool, but in the stitching world it is time to think fall.
I love Halloween and I'm sure many of you feel the same way. While I don't go as all out as many do with decorating, I do enjoy getting ready for that one night of tricks and treats. This year I designed this fun stitch which I mounted on a large chalkboard tag compliments of Retromantic Fripperies. It kinda looks like a little tombstone. Linen is 36 count Sugared Ginger by Lakeside Linens and floss is "Black Carriage" by the Gentle Art.

This would look great incorporated into a Halloween themed wreath, which I intended to make. However, I have only "fall" wreaths at home in storage and the stores at the time of the photo had not put out their Halloween decorations. Drat! The one time I need that stuff out early and it wasn't! So here it is sitting in my planter of summer flowers.

Remember to check out Norden Crafts web site and Facebook page for new releases by all the designers participating in the Online Needlework Show which begins August 10th. If you see something you like call your LNS and have them place an order for you. It is easy!

Enjoy these August days.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Norden Crafts Online Needlework Show!

So, how is your summer going? It has been an odd summer here in Naperville and for much of the midwest. Sometimes cold, often rainy, torrential downpours, tornados, and rarely lovely. Last night I was able to host a spontaneous cookout after the high school carnival. It wasn't too hot, too muggy, too cold or interupted by my phone's NOAA alert alarming for tornados, floods or thunderstorms. Wow! It required a celebration, so we were finally able to enjoy dinner on the deck. Summer the way it should be.

In the mist of running my swim team/track/soccer shuttlebus service for my twin boys I have been getting ready for  Norden Crafts Online Needlework Show. It starts August 10th and runs through August 19th. I do wish that it was a more traditional show like Nashville or St. Charles, however, I am thrilled that Norden is hosting this online show.  From the previews that I have seen on Norden's Facebook page there will be some fantastic offerings at this show that you will want to see. I will miss not being able to see other designers and shop owners because it is a great deal of fun. However, I am also glad not to have to pack up my car and go somewhere right now. Especially after just getting home from a 2 week car trip to Colorado!

Here is a photo of my "Early Autumn Ditty Bag" which will be an exclusive kit for Norden's show. If you want one, let your LNS know and they can order one!

The kit includes everything except the linen. You get the backing fabric, 2 coconut buttons and I have pictured a scrap of the linen I used (28 count Old Mill Java by R & R Reproductions) so that you could see how everything works together. However this is the perfect project for you to use a piece of neutral colored linen/aida that you have left over from another project. I like stitchers to feel free to adapt any chart to suit their tastes or abilities, and to use your stash! 

Maria Ceron will continue with part 4 in the series "Maria Ceron, Her Band Sampler". I have loved stitching this band sampler. There are many bands (29 total), some are big, some small, and changing the color with each row makes the stitching fun. It is vibrant with the fun colors of Mexican Textiles and flowers. This chart will be released at the online show. 

I will let you see one more chart to be released at the online show. This is "Kansas Sunflower Pincushion" My mother is from Kansas and a significant portion of my family still live in Kansas City/Lawrence area. As a child I spent quite a bit of time in Hays/Plainville area visiting cousins.   Kansas is a second home to me and I am so glad that my sister and parents are now living in Kansas City. Of note, the linen for this pincushion is  40 count "Wren" by Picture This Plus, based in Abilene Kansas, and the 4 inch pincushion base is made by Lone Elm Lane in Olathe, Kansas.  The silks are by Gloriana (not in Kansas), and I have a conversion to Dragonflylotus Designs Handspun Thread and DMC. The conversion is listed below this photo.

Gloriana Florimell 
Dragonflylotus Designs
Handspun Thread


Wooly Bear

Spanish Moss

Olive Green
Bay Leaf

Next week, and yes I promise to have another blog posting next week! I will show you what I have in store for Halloween. In the mean time enjoy this view of Colorado on a hike our family took to the Pine Creek Cookhouse outside of Aspen, and our other adventures in Telluride. Colorado was stunning this summer. Very green and lots of wildflowers. 

San Miguel River in Telluride

Hiking to Bear Falls

Back road to Creasted Butte from Aspen. Great drive, but I wouldn't want to do it in winter!

Bear Falls

View from hotel in Telluride

Blue Mesa Reservoir outside Gunnison

Best place to eat breakfast in Telluride! And they have good Mexican food and pastries too!

Ok, enough of the photos, until next week!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lone Star

A quick blog update today. First the fun stuff. Introducing "Lone Star". This is a quick patriotic or "Texan" stitch for the summer. I've designed it to fit on to one of Lone Elm Lanes fabulous 4 inch pincushion bases. You could also make your own pincushion or even a small frame. I used a lot of Algerian Eye stitches, however if you are not fond of the stitch one large cross stitch could be substituted  (and it would sew up in a flash). You could also use four standard 2 over 2 cross stitches as well. Stitchers choice! I will be coming out with more of these pincushions this summer, so keep a look out for them!

Here is a photo of what the base looks like. I used "brick red". Please check out Lone Elm Lane at http://loneelmlane.com.

Now for one issue.... I am busy stitching the forth part of Maria Ceron. All is well except for the new skein of "Barrel Cactus" floss that I received from Classic Colors. Now, mind you it is a really lovely color, except it isn't even close to the "Barrel Cactus" that I had previously selected from what I had at home. Now, if you are used to stitching with over dyed threads you are probably aware that this type of floss is dyed in small batches (compared to say DMC whose dye lots are much larger). Because of these smaller dye lots you will see greater variation in the color from lot to lot. I am no expert in the field of dyeing, but there are many variables, some controllable and some not which can affect the final color. Usually I don't mind the slight variation in color especially with a sampler reproduction because the slight change in color adds some dimension and character that you can not achieve with a more consistent floss such as DMC. However, this difference is too much and I need to make stitchers aware of the difference. I use the "Barrel Cactus" color in the sampler mostly in shading the pink roses. They need to look like they are pink roses with some white/silver highlights. This color was perfect. Only now it is more of a blue green color. Here is a photo of both versions of Barrel Cactus. So, if you have the off-white/beige version of "Barrel Cactus" great, just make sure you have enough if you are doing the whole sampler. It is actually not used a great deal, just in shading the roses and flowers, and a few other small areas. DMC 3033 is a good substitute if you need it. Also please note my "Barrel Cactus" is from when Classic Colorworks was called Crescent Colors---same company new owner, new name. They kept the old color lines the same, but this one color is totally different! Hope this helps.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Spring projects

Hey, less than a month between blog posts! Yay! Summer is almost here and like many mothers I have been busy trying to get all sorts of important things done prior to school getting out. I've got a bit more time this year to get my act together compliments of some snow and cold days which have put our last day of school at June 8th!

 My biggest goal of course is getting the 4th installment of Maria Ceron stitched. So far it is coming along nicely. Part 4 will be the entire right hand side. I hope to have the top of the sampler which has several beautiful flower motifs finished by the end of the weekend. Then I can start on the bands which comprise the remainder of this side. I think that this section as well as the left hand side would look lovely finished in either matching frames to be hung  side by side or they would also look nice finished with bell pulls. I'll have to think about which would be better. I am stitching this side in the brighter conversion, and will stitch the left side in the faded conversion. Here is a little snippet of how it is coming along so far!

A small but significant goal of mine was to stitch something that I did NOT design. Since starting Lindsay Lane Designs I have had no time to enjoy stitching something from another designer. There is so much out there that I would love to do, but sadly no time. However, I met Susan Jenks Fitzgerald, owner of Red Gate Stitchery while in Nashville. She had the perfect project for me---a wooden necklace! It took me about 1 hour to stitch while watching Call the Midwife. I paired it up with a chain that I had from another necklace (although this kit also has a very attractive silver chain---I just wanted something shorter) If you find yourself in need of a fun quick stitch, I highly recommend these. Visit redgatestitchery.com to see some of the really cool jewelry kits and thread keepers that Susan has.

I am also kicking of a new little series of pincushions that will fit Lone Elm Lane's 4 inch pin cushion bases. These pincushions will all be based on places I have lived or places that have sentimental value to me. The first one up is "Lone Star", and reflects my love for where I grew up in El Paso, Texas. Here is a little sneak peak. This will be released at the end of the month.

I really LOVE the how easy it is to use these wooden wares with different stitching projects. Like the Queen Boxes or Shaker Boxes, you can interchange pincushions on these bases. They are not inexpensive but are incredibly well made and can be used with multiple projects. A great idea would be to take a favorite motif from a sampler you have previously stitched, and stitch it again on small leftover piece of linen from your stash using whatever threads you happen to have on hand, and voila you have a lovely little pincushion to coordinate with a sampler. Please visit Lone Elm Lane at loneelmlane.com to see all they have to offer.

Last but not least my ever present stitching and photo assistant Lucy. She helped me get the photo for the cover of "Lone Star" done before a storm hit. I am not sure what my neighbors must think of me. Heading outside with whatever project I am photographing, trying to find good light, a pretty background, keeping the dog away from the stitching, and running inside with all my stuff before the rain starts. 

This is why I was in a rush!

Very ominous sky!

Hope you have some time for stitching and enjoying some not so stormy spring weather wherever you are.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Maria's Mystery

Ugh, another long break between posts. Sorry. Life gets very busy sometimes doesn't it? Now that I am done teaching for the semester I can finally spend some more time designing and stitching! The 3rd installment of Maria Ceron is done, and I plan to send it out to distributers by the end of the month. Like part 2 this piece will also fit on Lone Elm Lane's "Queen Box" (the 8 x 8). I wasn't able to photo it on the box since Part 2 is already on the box and that box is sitting pretty over at the Inspired Needle. However both part 2 and 3 will be traveling to Nashua NH for Celebration of Needlework. Cathy from the Inspired Needle will have her fabulous shop set up and you can purchase all 3 "Maria Ceron" patterns there. This weekend I will start on part 4 which will be the right side of the sampler. I plan to stitch this one using the brighter color version, then part 5, the left side of the sampler will be stitched using the faded version.

I also had to take a few liberties with this part of the sampler. I think it has been the most challenging section to reproduce. Sometimes it is very difficult due to faded threads, holes, and dirt to figure out what the design was. There were several areas on this sampler that were just plain odd. I still haven't figured out what the motif is to the right of the house, but I charted it exactly as it was on the original. The house at the top had a bizarre blob (for lack of a better term) that appeared to be striking the house like a lightening bolt---but maybe not. I made the decision to leave it out. I also did a slight re-design of the house because I could't figure out what it was really supposed to look like. Same goes for the house at the bottom. It was surrounded by a green blob that I couldn't figure out and a yellow blob coming off the hand of the woman next to the house. I turned that into a basket. Sometimes you just have to improvise with these old samplers when they are in rough shape like this one. Otherwise the rest of the sampler was fairly easy to figure out.

My next project with Maria Ceron is to see if I can find out more about who she was. I have only one clue to go on. When I purchased the sampler it was stitched to an old piece of linen (which I need to get a photo of to show you all because it is pretty). That piece of linen had a name tag on it. I am hoping that the name of that person is an actual relation to Maria. The name is a non-hispanic married name, however, thanks to Ancestry.com, I did discover a likely individual who's maiden name is hispanic, and married name matches the name on the sampler who passed away about 2 years prior to this sampler being sold. She has a father who was hispanic---and there my trail ends cold. The family is from the New Bedford area of Massachusetts, but I can not find any info on her grandparents who I suspect came from Mexico. I will just have to keep digging, but hopefully I will find some more info. To be continued.....

Friday, March 13, 2015

From old to new and back to old

Slowly, I am emerging from post market fatigue syndrome. If you read around stitching blogs you have no doubt encountered a common theme, it was a GREAT market. This was just my second market, and at this early stage of my business still have no idea what to expect as far as sales go. All I can say is that I sold more than I had hoped for, had more fun than I wished for, and can not wait to go back next year. Needlework Retailer/Yarn Tree did a wonderful job of hosting, and I am so glad that it looks like they will continue on with the show next year.

Prior to market and at market, I was asked by several individuals if I would consider a thread conversion for a more faded version of "Maria Ceron". Something more similar to the colors on the front of the sampler than the original brighter colors on the back. I really can't resist a request like this since my favorite part of the designing process is color selection. So for those interested in a more faded version of "Maria Ceron" here it is. For this version I am using "Vintage Sand Dune" by Lakeside Linens. The original version uses "Lentil" by Lakeside Linens. Also I realize that I have not posted the stitch count for the entire sampler. If you are stitching the whole thing on one piece of linen the stitch size is 365 x 279, and will measure 20.3 x 15.5 inches if stitched on 36 count linen.

I will be including this conversion in the rest of the charts in the series. Now, you can choose the way you want your "Maria Ceron" to look. I anticipate having Part III of "Maria Ceron" finished and out to distributors by the end of April. The following 2 sections on the sides of the sampler will be out by the end of summer. I will do one of them in the "brighter" version, and the other in the "faded" version. The real difficulty will be deciding which side gets which color version! If you would like a pdf version of this, please email me at megmpuente@gmail.com and I will email it to you.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

More Nashville release photos!

Less than 2 weeks to market in Nashville, and my preparations are almost done. I'm still crazy busy, but with the help of some good friends, I am at least on top of the situation. I am also thrilled that this year I will not be attending with a broken wrist!

I have finished the final installment of the Winter Fun Series with "Skate". My niece Maggie is a figure skater, and when coming up with the design, I used her love for skating as my inspiration for this piece. She is quite sweet (both my niece and the design).

Next up is a preview of only one part of the freebie that will be offered in partnership with Nancy Wahler of Faithwerks Designs and Dinky Dyes. We have designed a Easter "Card" inspired by the vintage Hallmark cards of the past. I am just showing my design from the front of the "Card". There are 3 more designs that make up this offering, so it is quite the freebie! To see the rest, please visit our rooms where the design will be available. We will also be raffling off a basket full of stitching goodies to shop owners who visit all three rooms and get your pass stamped that you will receive in your packet at the show. 

That all for now, see you in Nashville!