Forum Posts

deberalynn
Aug 14, 2022
In Stitch & Share
As I was stitching the Star of Chios, I wondered what I should do with it. Usually, I have a plan. After making my Avlea embroidery box, which I obsessively planned, I wanted to make a project exactly from the chart, with all of the exact colors, finished exactly like the example. Well, that didn't happen. Here's the embroidery, prior to finishing: And here she is from behind: For some reason, I decided to stitch the gold border all the way around the perimeter of the central motif and left off the little floral motifs. I keep thinking of Kermit the Frog singing "it isn't easy being green!" I'm not a green person if there's much yellow in it. I prefer my greens on the blue side. So I minimized the green. I could have changed it had I not resolved to stitch everything as mandated, but by the time I realized the green wasn't "my" green, I thought it would do more harm than good to change it. The little frog singing in my head couldn't convince me to rip out stitches that were just fine. I wanted a fat little pillow for impromptu naps or to nuzzle in the small of the back. This embroidery is on the small side, so it seemed like a good choice to make an otherwise obligatory pillow somewhat fancy. And we like fat pillows in our house, so I keep a bunch of extra pillow stuffing around to plump up the kinda wimpy pillows they sell at the not so great chain fabric store which will remain without a name. So I got one of those skinny pillow inserts and fattened it up. Here she is, in all of her plump happiness: I think she'll make a nice companion, and she's already making friends with her big sister Olivine.
A fat little pillow content media
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deberalynn
Jul 26, 2022
In Stitch & Share
I've been blabbing about this project for a while now and am happy to have completed it late last night. I wanted to make a special box with needlework on the box top. And, being somewhat of a minimalist, I wanted to veer off into something over the top - something covered with flowers and giving off a Grand Millennial vibe. I was thinking of my Grandmother's tea cup collection when I made this. Here's the finished box: From a slightly different angle: This project took a little bit of practice (over a dozen other boxes leading up to this one) and quite a bit of puzzle solving. First, I had to land on the correct dimensions for the box. This one is just the right size to lay a chart on the bottom (yay, no folding!) and a decent sized embroidery hoop fits inside as well. Then I had to find the right embroidery design that would fit within the dimension of the top of the box. It only took a tiny bit of math to make this design work, and I was quite happy because Calliope's Meadow is Just. So. Pretty. While I was working the embroidery, I scoured through my (admittedly massive) fabric stash and found a border print I liked for this project. It's an RJR reproduction print that must have been in my stash for, I dunno, twenty years? I'm always surprised about the things I find in there. The border of this fabric has little yellow flowers, which provided the inspiration to add the yellow flowers to the embroidery. The sides of the box are the same height as the border design on the fabric. The rest of the fabric covers the interior of the box. Getting the border to align properly on the sides was a bit fussy. I elected to leave the border in place for the inside of the box lid. And, of course, being the super Avlea fan girl that I am, I had to find a way to incorporate a bit of that velvet ribbon that we all love so much. So it became a pull tab for the top. Adding the embroidery to the top was the last step and so utterly nerve wracking, my heart was pounding! Yes, that is a GALLON of Elmer's Glue-All. It takes a lot of glue for a good box. Back to the top - if you've ever framed needlework, you're familiar with the joys (ughmmm, not exactly) of centering the work. I cut some thin book board, covered it with very thin quilt batting and used archival double stick tape to affix the batting over the edge to the back side of the board, cutting away the corners to reduce bulk. Then I fiddled around with my calculator and a ruler to center the needlework over the batting-covered board. I used Wonder Clips to keep it in place while I tacked the mitered corners. Then I glued the edges of the groundcloth to the back of the board so it wouldn't shift. The idea of mixing glue and needlework is highly stressful, but I took some deep breaths and told myself I could do it. Then I glued this piece to the top of the otherwise finished box and used masking tape to hold it in place while the glue dried. This project was a really fun puzzle to solve and, while it isn't perfect, nothing handmade is ever perfect. While I was working through the box puzzle, I created another puzzle of sorts and started working on my accessories. My first one is a needle book, that was taken directly from the same design. I shorted the box top by 4 flowers, but got them all back here. Here's the front: I have a little collection of vintage buttons and couldn't resist this little blue flower button from the 30's. I love the way it takes the piece back in time. Here's the back: Here it is, all opened up: And here's the inside: There's plenty of room in my box for everything, and I'm already filling it up with things that I love. I could hardly wait for the glue to dry.
My Avlea embroidery box is finished! content media
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deberalynn
Jul 11, 2022
In Stitch & Share
When Krista introduced Calliope's Meadow, I must have ordered the kit immediately. It's just so lovely, and I really liked the Arts & Crafts vibe of the design. It reminds me so much of wall stencils I've seen in historic Craftsman homes. It fascinates me how the traditional Greek embroideries seem to echo throughout time. Anyhow, I have a special project in mind, so I needed to make a few changes to the dimensions of the design and while I was at it, I added yellow flowers: The colors are what came with the kit, except for the yellow flowers, but those colors are in the Avlea palette: DMC 676 (the light gold) and DMC 832 (the golden olive backstitching). For my project, I needed a somewhat smaller design area, so I reduced the width by simply stitching 5 large carnations across in lieu of the 7 in the chart. I also needed to make it ever so slightly shorter, so I deleted two stitches (4 threads) between the outer border and the inner design area. I believe I started stitching this a week ago, so I'm hoping to finish in the next couple of weeks. I'm in no hurry, though, because this design is a pleasure to stitch!
Calliope's Meadow with a bit of a twist content media
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deberalynn
Jul 09, 2022
In Stitch & Share
I've had this in my queue for a little while and loved the design but the colors in the kit didn't quite fit in anywhere in my home. The Man picked a skein of floss out of my collection and declared it to be the perfect color. I elected to use the gray that came with the kit (DMC 317) and add his teal (DMC3809). To my eye, these were a little too close in value and I was worried the design would disappear and look muddy. So I added the turquoise color (DMC 959). Here's the result, along with The Man's favorite mermaid dish: I can just see him munching his favorite dinner and all of the sauce drippings that will result. But use your best stuff every day! Here's a bare naked shot of the front of the finished work: You can see a couple of visible fold lines that didn't come out in the first washing. Since I'm confident this will need washing on a regular basis, these will likely relax over time. If not, anyone rude enough to question this will just be told this is an ancient family heirloom that lay folded in a chest for many years until it was discovered and brought out into the daylight. That's a good fib, no? Here's a close up of the finish. More on that in a little bit: As you can see, there is a very tiny hem, not quite 3/8". I would not recommend doing this. Ever. Unfortunately, I made some sort of boo boo when calculating where to begin stitching and wound up with an edge that was much too close for comfort and didn't realize it until I was completely done stitching. I literally had to unpick the serging to use that bit in the hem. Imagine my swear box now - rich with quarters. I found my note of calculations and they were actually correct. But my placement was off. By nearly an inch. Ugh. If you look carefully at the back, the corners aren't exactly beautiful, but they're secure. Imagine trying to weave little nibs of thread back together and make an origami crane from the fan of frustration that resulted. I had to take it slow, get up when I got frustrated, and keep telling myself that this lesson in humility was somehow what I must have needed. And any fantasies I had about making a drawn thread masterpiece hem would just have to wait. Anyhow, the piece survived washing like a champ and the hem is really secure. I still aspire to be a hotshot hemmer, but that isn't likely to happen without a few more lessons in humility and patience and a few more coins in the swear box.
Star of Skyros in a Teal/Turquoise Colorway content media
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deberalynn
Jun 28, 2022
In Ask
I have a bonehead question for everyone - what do you consider to be "railroading" when you're stitching? I always thought that whatever method you use to make sure your stitches aren't twisted and your floss strands lie side by side is railroading. But others seem to be of the mind that you need to separate your strands with a needle as you insert it into your fabric and some people even use a laying tool. My method is pretty old school - I untwist with every stitch (kind of muscle memory), lie the floss downward against my work, and hold it with my finger tip as I go. It doesn't really slow me down because it's become habit but now I'm wondering if I'm doing this like everyone else or if it's really easier to do it with another method. I really like the uniform look of the stitches and the way this makes them look fat and sit a little proud of the surface. I also get good coverage this way. Maybe there's another word for my low tech, sorta fussy way of doing this?
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deberalynn
Jun 20, 2022
In Tips & Tricks
The Man has shown an interest in stitching, but his stuff was scattered around in different places. In my quest to make it as easy for him as possible, I gathered all of his stuff and measured it to see how much storage he needed. He's a seafaring soul, so I wanted his box to reflect that. Plus, I found some great things and I was dreaming about using them. Here's his Jellyfish Box: And here's a view of the inside all filled with his things: I made him a project bag and stashed his projects inside to keep them clean. It's a pretty simple bag, with French seams on the inside, hemmed at the top, with a snap to keep things from falling out. I wanted to make it large enough for a couple of projects, but just the right size to fit inside of the box. It's covered with sharks because he survived a great white shark attack when he was captaining and he's fascinated with them. It's always shark week at our house. He claimed my green floss ring, but I kept the Avlea thread cards for myself. I'm not completely insane. Yet. I found these great little tins (with jellyfish, no less), and lined them with magnetic adhesive sheets. I think I got the magnetic sheets on Amazon, and they're pretty slick if you want to magnetize something. They're about the size of a standard piece of paper, and you just cut them with the scissors that come with the sheets. Then you peel the plastic off of the back and stick them on. That way, he will be less likely to lose his needles because they won't fall out of the smaller tin. I shook it Dairy Queen style to make sure. The larger tin also has a magnetic sheet that I put inside of it, and there's enough room for his Avlea needleminder (yes, he has one!), a needle threader, a seam ripper, a stiletto, and a few wonder clips. The box is large enough for an embroidery hoop. I lined it with paper that reminded me of tide pools. There's plenty of room for charts and some more project supplies. It's about 12" long X 10" deep X 2 1/2" high. I'm still working on my technique, so his box is not perfect but it was really fun to make. I'm kinda sorry I gave it away. At least it's in my house, and I will definitely enjoy seeing him use it. And I will know where to look when my Avlea thread cards and needleminders mysteriously disappear.
An embroidery box for The Man content media
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deberalynn
May 31, 2022
In Tips & Tricks
After admiring Cindy Russell's work, I decided to try that fancy little edge that she does so well. It's really not difficult, and I wanted to share how to do it with everyone. Here's a close up photo of the edges. I'm not tackling drawn thread technique or mitered corners, because Krista already has a spiffy video that says it all. Here's how to do it: 1. Pull a single thread from each side of your work, where you want the outside edge of the work to be. For this, I counted 63 threads from the edge of the embroidery. 2. Find some pearl cotton to match your ground cloth as best you can. I used 30 ct linen, and DMC #8 pearl cotton (the kind that comes in little balls). 3. Starting in your first corner, backstitch in the gap you created when you pulled your thread. I backstitched over 3 threads. Don't pull your backstitching too tightly, the tension shouldn't pull the threads apart, but it should lie fairly flat. When you get to the next corner, terminate your backstitching and weave back through a few threads on the back side to secure. Do this on each edge. 4. Finger press your cloth to the back side of your work, so the backstitching is at the very outside edge of the fold. This may take a bit of patience. 5. The backstitching will form the little loops like magic! Then you can proceed to fold your fabric once more to form the hem and make the corners. I finger pressed the entire piece because I didn't want to iron in any skin oils, etc. into my work. When I finished, I pretty much doused the entire piece with Spray & Wash, let it sit for about half an hour, then washed it by hand. I use slightly warm water and dish soap. I like using dish soap because it cuts through any oils, etc. on the work. A textile artist suggested this to me a while back, specifically Dawn dish soap. It works great! 6. Then I rolled it in a towel to get the excess water out, and blocked it on my rotary mat. 7. After it was dry, I put it on my ironing board, FACE DOWN on a clean white bath towel. I sprayed it with filtered water until it was damp, then I pressed it with fairly high heat. The towel keeps your stitches from getting compressed so they look nice and plump. I never press needlework on the front side. To be clear, I didn't think of this myself. I tried to copy the fabulous Cindy Russell, who is the queen of hemming! I skipped the drawn thread work on the inside of the hem, though, because I wanted a super simple look for this piece.
A pretty way to finish the outside edges of your hem content media
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deberalynn
May 30, 2022
In Stitch & Share
I finally finished my Daphni. Not being one to do anything exactly as described, this piece is larger than the chart. It's the same size from top to bottom, but I had a large piece of linen, so I kept it going and made it longer. I love it as a table runner. It's stitched on 30ct linen, with the colors Krista prescribed. I wanted a simple hem, so I pulled a single thread around the perimeter and backstitched in the gap with some nice pearl cotton to give it a pretty edge. For those of you who (like me!) like to see the back of the work, here you go: And, finally, here's a close up of the mitered corner: This is such a wonderful design, with a decidedly mid-century flavor. I absolutely love the simplicity of it, and can imagine so many ways to use this. It's easy to make this one super neat on the back side, if you're change threads for each leaf. And you only have to count to five!
Big Girl Daphni content media
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deberalynn
May 14, 2022
In Tips & Tricks
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the new Avlea thread cards. And my new needleminder is fantastic - the magnet is really strong, and it's just the right size. When I started to put my flosses on the thread cards, I was struck by the beauty of the Avlea colors. When I placed my order I didn't realize there were so many cards - more than enough for a project. And you can write your color number on the back with a pencil - so Yay! This is a great way to keep everything handy and organized. And it's all so pretty.
New Favorite Things content media
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deberalynn
May 09, 2022
In Tips & Tricks
I have fallen in love with various tools and gadgets for needlework. They aren't exactly needlework but they are needlework adjacent. I'm wondering where Krista would prefer we put that sort of thing or if we should limit the conversation to projects alone. To be clear, I don't think we should be using her forum for hawking other people's stuff, but I do think it could be helpful to share a little bit about things we love to use or things we might want to try to see if anyone else has experience with them.
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deberalynn
Mar 26, 2022
In Tips & Tricks
Hats off to Krista for her taste in needles! I had taken needles for granted in the past and had just picked up whatever was available in my LNS or craft store. I used to think that they bend anyhow, so why spend much on them? When I got my first kit from Avlea, though, I wondered why she called attention to those John James needles. But boy do they hold up. And the holes don’t snag the floss. And they’re pretty. And they don’t bend. And Krista is thoughtful about sizing them correctly. So that’s just a little thing I never thought much about before, but it sure makes stitching a pleasure.
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deberalynn
Feb 26, 2022
In Stitch & Share
Most of us probably view our work as an act of love - we love our families and friends and want to make things that are beautiful and create a loving environment. Handmade things bring us together, and Krista has created wonderful designs, shared them with all of us, and provided a space for us to come together. I really, really appreciate this. And I fully support and admire Krista's decision to walk away from Nashville this year. Unfortunately, a LOT of work and resources must have gone into her preparation to attend. When I got Krista's email this morning, it made me sad. But I'm not helpless, so I went to her site and placed an order. Krista, you have incredible talent and character.
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deberalynn
Dec 23, 2021
In Stitch & Share
I'm currently stitching Olivine. This is a dense design, but I found it super addictive once I got the repeat in place and it's coming together more quickly than expected. The photo shows what came together in three evenings, I think. Since this is a WIP, I haven't yet decided how to finish it. I'm sure to get "suggestions" from Chris because he was rifling through my queue and declared this was his favorite. When he gave me that "I want it, pleeeeeeese" look, I totally got what he meant. I elected to substitute 783 gold for the 224 shell pink specified in the chart because it seemed better suited for Chris that way, and the gold is still in the mid century spirit of the design. We chose the white 28ct linen from my stash. If anyone is looking for a meditative project, this definitely qualifies. And the colors - just stunning! I'll share another image later when this is finished.
Olivine content media
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deberalynn
Dec 22, 2021
In Stitch & Share
When I got the Dodecanese Urn kit in the mail a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't wait to start. It was fun to stitch and I wish it wasn't such a quick project because I haven't enjoyed stitching something quite so much in a long time. I noticed that there were a couple of minor color placement variations between the photo and the chart but I thought "It's nice to have options!" and elected to stitch this in accordance with the photo. As I was stitching, I decided to add little loops to the top in lieu of a sleeve for hanging it and while I was at it, I made some little tassels and fixed them to the bottom to give it the tiniest bit of weight. I stitched the loops at the top from one of the motifs in the chart. Unfortunately, I didn't have any spare ground cloth, so I raided one of the bit kits in my queue for that and now I have a naked kit! I'm slightly bummed that I'm going to have a different problem to solve now, but it's a problem of my own making. I hung this near the front door (the St. Christopher icon has the prime spot right by the door) and it makes me happy there. I just love the exuberance of this design and the colors work well in my home. BTW, if you're interested in the hanging rod, grab one while you can! I love this as an option - it's much more budget friendly than framing, and I can switch things around as the seasons (or my mind) change.
A Most Exuberant Little Urn content media
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deberalynn
Dec 03, 2021
In Tips & Tricks
Krista, I don't see that you have a category for kudos, but you're getting one anyhow. I ordered the Dodecanese Urn kit and the wooden rod to use for wall hangings. Both of them came today (in a jiffy, no lie) and they are quite lovely. Your attention to detail is much appreciated, and I feel special when I get something from you. You package everything beautifully like a pretty little gift. I also really appreciate the fact that your kits include a nice needle in addition to the fabric and flosses. And you've taken great pains to post videos and instructions for finishing projects, which are super helpful and easy to understand. So thank you! You're very good at what you do and it's always a pleasure for me to get a package from Avlea.
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deberalynn
Dec 02, 2021
In Stitch & Share
I ordered the kit for this and, when it came, my husband claimed it for himself. So I used some 28 ct linen and flosses I had in my stash and we shared the chart. He let me know that he wanted the one I was stitching for his night table. We watched your video and he loved your story about the tablecloth you spent months stitching only to have a spot, and he said "I like that and I want spots too!" Fast forward to this week, when I finished this piece. I put it on his night table and he said loudly "You can't put that there! I might get it dirty!" Made me laugh. But he smiled when he woke up and told me he really likes it there and it makes him happy. This was my first try at stitching a drawn thread hem, and it was fun. I'm definitely going to do more of this. I've already started the Etruscan Diamonds Square because I'm in love with the design. It stitches up quite neatly and it's very relaxing to work. I'm attaching a photo of the back (so geeks like me can see how nice the design stitches up) and a photo of the piece on my husband's night table. Because I stitched this on 28 ct linen, I elected to use a single strand of floss for the backstitching. If you're using the ground cloth that comes with the kit, you will definitely want to consider using 2 strands for the backstitching as suggested.
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deberalynn

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