Saturday, January 5, 2019

A Year of Cross Stitch--New Series!

Once again, a Happy New Year to all!

Ours has started with a bang-- the January Cross Stitch mug rug has really sold well, and so we think there are many people with fond memories of this glorious pastime!

The idea to start digitizing cross stitch came last month. For a little relaxation, I have this OLD box of cross stitch patterns that I pull out every once in a LONG while. Back in the day, as I was just starting my career as an artist, I had a two-hour commute from the hinterlands of NJ to New York City for my job.

Not one to sit still, I picked up this hobby from my neighbor and filled those hours with sewing, glorious sewing. When I think about it, I wasn't happy at that job in the city; but I LOVED my commuting time-- the roots of starting my own embroidery business were really sewn in those hours that many would have considered a waste. So never think that the simple things you do in life are unimportant.

You can see why I pull this out at Christmas! This is my daughter's stocking I started 21 years ago when expecting her on those train rides, back and forth. I still believe I will finish it, although she now kids me that she will name a future daughter Caroline so a little girl might enjoy it growing up! LOL 

When you think of the hours it took to get this far, I still think I am more than halfway. Instead of watching towns roll by on a train, I now watch Hallmark Christmas movies.

I'm sure some of you will remember these kits, mostly from the 80s and 90s. This one is a Christmas house, and featured "hardanger" where you cut holes in linen. Looks like I gave up on the border, and there is a bottom underlay with the tree I never even started. Isn't it gorgeous, though!

Talk about the time required... in this kit, you were supposed to stitch eight tiny reindeer and then Santa on his sleigh for a 3D display. Even commuting 4 hours a day-- I only ever finished one reindeer and then decided to make a framed piece of that instead.

I googled it, and it is a Leisure Arts kit, that is still available on line-- if you have four empty hours a day and are interested!

These were snowmen, that were supposed to fit in a tray. I wisely decided NOT to buy the tray until it was finished!
Many of these kits are still available on eBay, unopened. And so I congratulate myself on getting this far.

As an artist, I very quickly ventured into drawing and stitching my own patterns. This is one I drew from a cameo passed down from my grandmother. I entered contest it in a cross stitch magazine, and won a prize. Think of that... my first published pattern! I tried to find the magazine online, and old copies are available, but I'm not really sure which issue it was in.

As you get down to the bottom of the box, the pieces become less and less finished. It would take a lot of ambition to start this "Fruits of the Spirit" again. 

When I am feeling nostalgic, I think of the time when that needle was last sunk into that cloth, and I think of the person that I was then, and what I am now.

Yes, I'm sappy like that.

Later on, as I'm sure cross stitch decreased in popularity, designers put out easier kits... these even came with a mat and frame. But you can see, though close, they are not even finished-- there is simply no time for us modern women anymore!

So during "Christmas at Pemberley" on the Hallmark Channel, as I am still not good at sitting still, I started once again sketching my own cross stitch.

There is a part of our digitizing software that does cross stitch--
 I tried it years ago, but it seemed difficult. 

I tried again last month, and it did NOT seem so difficult...

 It actual seemed, well, SIMPLE and FUN-- and best of all FAST to do and stitch out, and it looks incredibly like the real thing that takes years to do! Sew easy, in fact, that I was willing to risk spilling hot chocolate on it!

 We're now on a mission to resurrect this glorious craft-- join us!
It's an heirloom in an hour. We'll be going through the months, and even adding some special editions, like birthdays, Mother's Day, puppies and kitties, as we go along. The goal is to also issue each of the little parts, like the snowflake and skates, individually, for those who want to make something else of their own inspiration.

Thank you so much for your response-- it is really gratifying to know that YOU all have memories of doing cross stitch, and we'd love to hear your own stories below. Maybe you'll even pull out some of your own old kits!

Welcome to the Year of Cross Stitch!



  1. I have always admired the time time and patience required to master counted cross stitch but knew that I just do not have the personality to tackle this skill. Along you come and put this within my reach! Thank you so much for making my cross stitch dream a possibility.

    1. That is so sweet of you-- THANK YOU! It's never as much fun until we all do it together! Happy New Year!

  2. Oh my, does this bring back memories -- my baby girl finally received her finished counted-cross stitch Christmas stocking when she was away at college!! (And I still have several unfinished cross-stitch Christmas pillow designs waiting in a box ) Would love to do a Christmas Quilt with (machine embroidered) cross stitch designs -- am hoping your new series can be assembled (without monthly designations) into a quilt! Thanks for sharing -- as always, I loved seeing your beautiful work.

    1. I have three months to finish mine before my baby girl leaves college! LOL
      Nice to hear from you. xoxo

  3. I started XS'ing while working nights in Labor & Delivery. After that my mom took up cross-stitching and the more intricate the better! She would take a break by doing little 1-2 inch projects and then tackle something amazingly difficult. After she passed away there were many, many designs completed and never framed nor (as I always chided her "Make it into a pillow!") gifted to anyone. Slowly I am finding things to make with these hand-me-downs and will gift a little bit of their grandma to my kids and their kids. Hope they cherish them. Many hours of her time were spent doing them!

    1. What a great thing to inherit! I only hope most of my projects will be finished and find someone to love them. Thanks for sharing! xoxo

  4. Well, Ms. Duffy, you are really throwing the gauntlet, huh? I've got a mile long UFO project list, and now you want me to drag out all the cross stitch UFOs too? I have one (at least) here in Yuma with thousands of travel miles, and too many at home to count. Did you get into needlepoint as well? I did and there's too many to count. I love starting projects and my imagination is great at visualizing the finish. Happy New Year!

  5. I have pulled out some of my counted cross stitch kits on occasion and will put a stitch or two in and then it's time to change colors and the project(s) gets put away once again. I have a sweatshirt that I've been working on for SO many years that has a Santa Claus stitched on waste cloth (first attempt at that) and it gets pulled out close to Christmas every year and put back almost as quickly. I should really plan on finishing it this year - maybe Christmas in July, LOL. Looking forward to letting the machine do these new ones of yours!

  6. I never had the patience to do anything if it took more than a day to do. I would give up and my mother would finish my projects. Your story made me laugh because I was reminded of a quilt I started when my youngest son was 5 yrs old. my mother-in law talked me into quilting. I got the squares done, it was a farmer boy appliqued quilt for a single bed. Never got the squares put together. my son grew up, had 3 boys of his own, They grew up and now I have 3 Great Grandsons, and that set of squares is still in the bag waiting for me to finish. I look at it every once in awhile. I have done several quilts since and finished them, but that first one, I just don't know. My youngest son is 53 now.

  7. Lovely design. Check out Flosstube on You Tube to see the status of xstitch these days. Making a resurgence. Your mug rug is perfectly timed for this return!

  8. I have liked to do cross stitch since I was a young girl. I still do it by hand in the evenings and this looks like fun.

  9. Is it possible to use these designs as singles? I am interested in using each beautiful design separately. I would like to make small wall hanging gifts for our 3 daughters and granddaughters