Saturday, January 18, 2020

2020 Preview!

Happy January! 
It's a busy month for us as we chart the direction for the year-- there's more ideas than time as usual, and so many we're not sure which to write about so we'll just hit them all!
First up, the Cloud Club.
This is where we stood at about this time last year...

The finished design was looking, shall we say, a little too "squarish" and everyone was clamoring for more birds anyway.
We figured out that five more birds would be doable,
and now we have this!
As pleased as we are, keep in mind these are photoshopped images!
There's still work to be done.
We're still missing one last bird for the bottom corner--
it will be Cedar Waxwings and it's at the top of our list in 2020.

As soon as that block is complete we can finally decide on our layout. We love to order things in terms of the seasons, so to do that, the last five birds would have to be interspersed, not just at the bottom. Or we can order them by color-- right now, you can see there's a cluster of oranges in the upper right hand corner-- that's less than ideal. Or we can just put our favorites in the middle and go from there! You are welcome to do your own layout or follow along with us-- we will keep you posted this spring.

Speaking of favorites, we did get the Mockingbird out this week-- but our favorite is always the current bird anyway! LOL
 I mean, who could say no to that sewing machine.

Our first "Stitches of the Sea" block was a hit--

It's always so encouraging for us. 
For those of you who already asking when the next one is coming out, we're planning on one a month just like the birds. So-- February-- and we're thinking "Sea Horse."

And now for the cross stitch fans-- yes, 2020 will be another year of cross stitch! Originally, we were thinking teacups-- but now we're thinking cottages. We'd like this to be a monthly set, too.

 The working name of this is "The Peaceful Cottage," no surprise there. But what is it? A mug rug, a postcard, a quilt block? All of the above? Comment below and find out next week because this needs to get launched!

Next up-- it's time for another alphabet!
Most of you will remember our "Lovely Letters" series from a couple of years ago-- well, it was one of our all-time top earners!

Then we did this pillow for Christmas!

Some of you LOVED the alphabet...
and so, we're going to complete it with a winter spin--
just by changing the colors, you can get a different look.
Or pick a beautiful border fabric and match it.
You can just stitch your initial, or make a word-- 
we'll be offering singles or the entire set.

Most of the alpha is digitzed already, but there's a ton of testing to do. But we may just upload them, singly, as we finish them. 
Also expect L-O-V-E in red tones by Valentine's Day!

And finally-- we're almost to a finish on Kris Kringle!

Another proud moment for us!

If you've stitched with us before, you'll know the finishing kits are usually a border treatment... this time we're going to WOW you with a gorgeous center medallion.

We posted them on Instagram-- it was a real honor when some of our hand stitching sisters asked where they could get the "charts!"
Are charts in the future? We have to admit, it would be a thrill to see this worked traditionally. 

So that's everything in our crazy, busy world!
We hope you have managed to stick to a resolution to stitch more in 2020! And so we leave you with this great thought-- gleaned from our Quilter's Planner 2020 (by Stephanie Palmer)--


Monday, January 6, 2020

Stitches of the Sea begins!

It's time to get our 2020 stitch-a-long started! 
After two years of birds, we are ready for something different...

But not TOO different, because we loved digitizing them...

and so we're moving from the sky to the sea...
"Stitches of the Sea!"

It was probably a moment vacationing at the beach
last summer when the inspiration hit.

When I got home in July, I made a list of twelve creatures to see if I could think of enough for a year. 

You can see that I could! So we're not thinking of strictly fish, but some of the other inhabitants, too.

This is our first yearly stitch-a-long that doesn't follow the months of the year. Instead we're going to travel the globe, because each creature needs to be quilted into a beautiful setting!

 First up, our Blue Crab lives at the famous
Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse. If it looks a bit sketchy, that's because digitized, it's less than the size of a quarter! 

Photo by Henry Gonzalez. 2003

Part of the fun of doing these series is the research, once you've decided on a subject, to find out where it lives. I don't travel frequently, but there's no limit to where you can go online.
I grabbed this photo from the lighthouse website-- 
I could actually drive here in a few hours, but some of the other creatures we have planned might require a sub!!

We are using Moda Grunge in the color "Pool," obviously, for our background fabric! The sketchy nature of grunge always compliments our thread sketching perfectly!

For the backing, we picked a new fabric called Uncorked Metallic. The color is aqua, and it has some gold mixed in.

You can use whatever you want-- 
expect some bright color choices!

You can stitch one, or all twelve, in three different ways--
the most fun for us comes when we see what YOU do with the designs!

If you live in Maryland, this is your state crustacean--
(I am not kidding.)
and so you can also just stitch it without the background.

We're planning a show quilt, of course!
With shells in the sashing and all sorts of splashy quilting!

Will you join us?


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!

I'm down to one chance to do a blog post for 2019-- I'll take it!
Yes, we've been busy!

In addition to having a HUGE family Christmas, the Kris Kringle Cross Stitch Carol Club has not missed a beat.

Here's a sneak peek at #9 coming out Friday...

I'm sure if you know me, 
you knew that more birds would be included!

And here's two more sketched, which leaves only one and a finishing kit before this Christmas series is one for the books.

Next year, we were thinking of having our annual stitch-a-long DONE by Christmas, but who has time when it gets so close to Christmas to finish anyway? We always enjoy this week between Christmas and New Year's to make NEXT year's things. Still, the closer it gets to February, the less we're feeling it. Weigh in down in the comments below if you have an opinion.

We also finished a Cloud Club bird, the Mockingbird...

but she's sitting on cherry blossoms and looking completely 
spring-ish, so we decided to hold her over till January.

Do you see the cute sewing room in the window?
 This is our second-to-last bird, so we decided to give future generations a hint at who we are in this beautiful quilt.

And a New Year calls for a new stitch-a-long!

We are now going underwater for 
"Stitches of the Sea!"

We will be stitching the seven seas over the next year-- starting in the Chesapeake Bay, but also voyaging around the world to visit the Koi ponds in Japan, the coral reefs of Australia, and just about anywhere else if you have a suggestion. We'd love to have you as our "shipmates!"

These will all have the gorgeous ITH quilting we're known for--
the blue crab above will have the famous Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse in the background-- look for it next week.

And finally, the cross stitch news!

NO, we weren't able to finish this and have it under the tree for dear "Caroline" who has waited 22 years for this finish!
Good news, ALL of the cross stitches are finished-- Bad news, there's still a ton of backstitching to do on the side by the tree-- also the infernal "Chicken Pox" as I call the colonial knots on the red chair, have yet to be done. I could probably finish in January, or, as I said to Mr. SFO, it could take another year, to which he replied,
"It looks like you've insured yourself job security there!"


Look what Santa left me under the tree!

Another vintage cross stitch kit hot off Ebay...
Looks like I'll have job security for another 20 years!


Thanks for stitching with us this past 2019, 
and have a Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Kris Kringle's Cross Stitch Club Crushes it!

A huge THANK YOU to all who joined-- and yes, I promise to stop it with the alliteration now!

This is the first of twelve 4x4 cross stitch designs, and if you signed up for the series or bought it individually, you should already have it.

This is the first FREE charm size! This year, the free size will only be available on Friday--- this is different this year, so be sure to mark your calendars!! We're keeping the church charm free through Veteran's day to get everyone up to speed on the new rules...
Missed charms will be for sale for 99 cents.

If you signed up for the series, all of the charms will be free to you and will be sent to your inbox for the next 11 glorious Friday mornings! You also get the finishing kit for free. The Club price is $24.99, it will not be offered on sale, and the offer ends on December 1st-- after that, you have to buy individually.

We already have about 1/3 of our Christmas Carol series digitized, and about a third more sketched. So here's some sneak peeks if you're not convinced.

My True Love Gave to Me....

Winter Wonderland...

and Have a Cup of Cheer!

We're not sure which of those three to do next Friday yet...
so weigh in, in the comments below, if you have an opinion!

and here's some more sketches-- 
you can see that all of our designs start out on pencil and paper-- from cross stitch to cloud club. I guess we're a bit old school that way!

Upcoming we have "I Saw Three Ships" ( I confess I just wanted to do ships, and even as a kid I never really understood what this hymn had to do with Christmas LOL), Let Heaven and Nature Sing, and O Tannebaum. (I finally got that is German for Christmas Tree in my early adult years, heehee. In fact, a huge thank you to the German culture for making up most of this beloved holiday! xox)

So that is the skinny on
Kris Kringle's Cross Stitch Carols!

Again, a huge thank you for all of the early support-- it is a HUGE honor to us how many of you are willing to support this sight unseen.

Members-- look for your second installment on Friday, November 15th-- and also a big hug to all who bought the individual Jingle Bells design this weekend-- we really appreciate you, too.

Click below to visit the Kris Kringle page...
and for those of you who asked, YES!, a Santa head will definitely be one of the designs!
 Click Here


Sunday, October 20, 2019

To market, to market....

I have a finish, a new toy, November will be early, and I'm going to Quilt Market for the first time this week!  

All is right with the world.

First, the finish...

I am not a grandma yet, which Mr. SFO keeps reminding me is a good thing because neither of our kids is married--hee, hee. But I do have my first grand-nephew! You can tell by the date on the quilt, I'm a little late on this, but it's done. Many thanks to Sara Velder of Acorn Ridge Quilting for dragging it over the finish line!

This is my own design-- the boots were easy, but the guitar took forever! The fact that it's on a angle shook up all my math. 

Sara quilted it in an all over stars and swirls pattern. Perfect!

The backing fabric is cowboy bandanna. 
I tried to get cowhide minky, but it just seemed like it was going to weigh as much as a cow, so bandanna it is.

You can probably tell where this little boy lives... some months ago, I had the foresight to see that I could both deliver the quilt AND go to Quilt Market for one airplane fare this year! I signed up for a new program at market--- it is called "Threads of Success" and the point is to develop your business potential. Even more exciting, I won a free business consultation!

I am not overly good at winning things, and this just hits the whole trip out of the park. Do you think they will advise me to add customer accounts to the website? LOL. I'm betting so, and I'm hoping to come home with a lot of new ideas. 

And now for the new toy!

Yup-- to help in finishing up the stack of unfinished embroidered quilts, I took the leap! It's a 22" Innova-- I tried absolutely every longarm on display at the MQX East show last April, and hands down, I loved it. The action on in it is just amazing-- you can move it with one pinky.

Practice has not been perfect, but it has been perfectly enjoyable. I love this thing-- the beginning of a beautiful friendship and many more finished pieces. I'm also hoping to do more charity quilts in my spare time. My quilt guild has a group of women who piece them, but there always seems to be a need to quilt them. 
I'm hopeful I can fill a need.

And so, because I will be away for a few days, NOVEMBER is early-- look for it midweek. It is SO HARD TO BELIEVE there is only one left in this series!! We loved our year of cross stitch, and are hoping to continue next year with cross stitch teacups of the month(?) or some other series, in addition to a regular embroidery series (a creatures of the sea monthly pattern instead of birds?) Be sure to weigh in below if you have a monthly series idea for us.

Happy week! 
We are going to take a ton of pictures at Quilt Market and 
get you the inside scoop on what it was like-- Sample Spree, Schoolhouse, and all!


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Mug Rug Maker

We just released a brand new set and we're more excited than usual!

This one is very different then others-- instead of being a new project to START, it's one geared to help FINISHING projects!

It all started when we got behind on finishing our 
Cross-Stitches-of-the-Month. How easy would it be to just digitize that quilting and do it in the hoop?

Yes, it was SEW EASY! We're kind of committed to hand binding this series, but for those of you who aren't, we expanded the file to include a backing that is stitched on, so you can just turn it right side out for PERFECT edges.

This was the first mug rug we completed with this idea-- 
made with a 6" Lori Holt Vintage Farm Girl Block for a Farm Girl Quilt that we may or may not ever finish. Well, the Mug Rug was done in five minutes!

Then, we checked out a bin we keep in the corner with test stitch outs. That bin is overflowing like Niagara Falls. It wasn't long before we found a "Lovely Letter" from last year that was too pretty to throw out....

And another five minutes later...

We were now pretty addicted... a couple of months ago, I found this towel in the clearance bin at Anthropologie (love that store.)

It's frankly a bit dainty for my house...  like, you'd use it to polish up your champagne glasses when your girlfriends are over.
Well, my entertaining lately has been a bunch of hungry 20-somethings licking up BBQ sauce. 

No, the dainty cloth wasn't really useful here.

So this happened...

And then this!

And finally this...

All within an hour!

Eventually, we had six different quilting patterns and four different sizes to fit every hoop and finish most smaller UFOs... LOL.

So check it out...
Gift giving season is on it's way,  and you'll have SEW much fun finding ways to use this kit... and it will never go out of style, either!

Next, we are going to design the "Postcard Maker."
If you remember from the last post, we stitched our Halloween Cross Stitch as a postcard.

The next step is, I'm taking it to the post office to see if 
#1 they will take it and  
#2 it gets back to me!
If not, it's probably just a matter of sticking it in a envelope, because it's just too cute to not make the set.

Stay tuned.

In other exciting news, we've decided to start our own YouTube show! Yes-- the set is almost ready-- (it is recommended to be in a corner for some reason.) As soon as I get confident, The SFO team will get into production and show how to make some of these wonderful things, and also get to know you all better. We even have a couple of guest stars in mind! 

Finally, because some of you have been so kind to ask how my cross stitch stocking is coming, I have to admit I don't think it's going to be ready this year! It's not that I put it away again, but the back stitching is FOREVER. I'm totally at peace with it-- I still think it will be finished this winter.

But as I have been cleaning out the office for the movie set, 
look what I found!

 I knew I had this somewhere-- it was rolled up in a plastic scrap booking box. Completely finished, by me, in 1996!!

To decorate the new studio, I decided to finally take it to Michaels for framing. It was pretty incredible-- they scanned it and were able to show me on a computer screen exactly what it would look like with the frame and mats I chose.

And here it is!!

It just makes me sew happy...

but even with 70% off, I guess you can imagine it still cost a fortune.

But don't worry, as I told Mr. SFO...

I saved $450!!!