That darned daffodil again!

Remember that originally five-petalled daffodil whose additional petal necessitated the unpicking of already-stitched greenery in Floral Lace 7b? Well, it’s been doing it again – this time the colours aren’t working! *Voice of Reason intervenes and reminds me that as I designed it, it’s all my fault in the first place so I might as well get on with it and put it right without whining about it*

The Voice of Reason is absolutely right, of course. It just illustrates once again how incredibly difficult it is to envisage how colours will work together when you’re working on paper or a computer screen. It doesn’t matter how often you take out your bobbins of stranded cotton or your skeins of perle and put them together to see what the combination looks like, it’s only when you see it stitched that you can tell whether you got it right. In this case I hadn’t. The daffodil has six petals and that trumpet bit in the middle; my idea was for a yellow daffodil with an orange centre. However, if I stitched all the petals in the same yellow, it would just become one big yellow splodge, so I decided to work the petals in two shades of yellow, alternatingly. I chose two that were distinct enough to show up, and set to work.

But as soon as I started the first petal in the darker yellow, I realised that it looked orange, and contrasted far too much with the light yellow petals; also, the trumpet would have to be extremely orange to show up – think DMC 946 or something equally in-your-face. But on the bobbin the next lighter shade seemed almost identical to the light yellow I was already using. I decided to leave the dark yellow/orange petal and stitch another one in the medium shade, to see if it contrasted enough with the lightest petals. And quite unexpectedly, it did! So my next chore is to unpick the dark yellow petal (unpicking cross stitch over one on 25ct is not one of my favourite jobs) and complete the rest of the daffodils in the medium yellow. I still hope to be able to put the completed Daffodil on the website before Christmas, so I’d better get a few long evenings of stitching in!

Colour changes in a daffodil

A productive cold and a troublesome daffodil

I have a cold. So, I’m sure, have lots of other people, but that doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable; and it’s most annoying not being able to sing along to carols because it brings on a coughing fit! In short, for the last few days I have been feeling less than usually cheerful. So last Friday, with the accounts more or less up to date and the tax return completed and sent off, I took some time off. What with coughing and bunged up sinuses I wasn’t at all sure I’d be able to get to sleep if I tried, so I decided on a relaxing afternoon of card-making. I riffled through my stack of completed small projects, picked some suitable cards to go with them (remember all those aperture cards?), made myself a mug of tea and set to work.

First some miscellaneous projects, mostly Snippets and Happy Hour with a course project and a few freebies thrown in; for some of them I used single fold cards I had in one of my stash drawers.

Miscellaneous finishes

Then eight Round Dozen Variations. I hadn’t realised I’d done so many recently…

8 Round Dozen variations

On Saturday I had another go and elevated eleven Song of the Weather stitched models to a state of usefulness. There were thirteen (I’d stitched March twice), but two of them were done on Afghan fabric so they weren’t suitable to be made into cards. I haven’t yet decided what they’ll be turned into, if anything.

11 Song of the Weather cards

With about ten left of the original blue-and-white Song of the Weather models which had already been “finished”, that should give us a good stock of birthday / anniversary / wedding / baptism / etc. cards for a couple of years!

Because of the general head-stuffed-with-cotton-wool feeling I hadn’t been doing a lot of stitching, but I worked on Floral Lace: Daffodil for a bit yesterday. All was well to begin with (I can now stitch the shared part of Floral Lace practically blindfolded) but when it got to the small cross stitches I did some serious miscounting. Unpicked, worked it again, then realised the flower on my chart looked a bit odd. Ah. It’s only got five petals. Daffodils have six petals. I know the flower motifs in Floral Lace aren’t exactly botanical illustrations, but here it was definitely noticeable. So today I recharted the flower, which unfortunately means having to unpick part of the green stems and leaves I’d already stitched because the flower now overlaps them. Heigh ho, it’s all in a day’s designing, and hopefully Daffodil will look all the better for it.

The quest for wooden rings

*sings* On the fifth day of Christmas my postman brought to me – 200 wooden rings! And here they are:

200 wooden rings, pre-sanding

You may wonder why he brought 200 chunky, unvarnished wooden rings, a bit rough round the edges and in need of sanding. And the answer is, “because I can’t get the slim, petite, varnished wooden rings that I really want!

It won’t surprise you to know that I possess a fairly wide range of perle cottons. #8 and #12 come in balls, and that’s how I store them. #5 comes in skeins; those I cut open so that I have about 25 1-yard lengths, which I then attach to a small wooden ring, which in turn is attached to a larger, hinged metal ring with others of a similar colour. Here is one of my “green” rings.

A ring of greens

When I started this system, I bought a pack of 20mm light wooden rings on eBay; they were nice and slim so the hole was big and easy to thread a skein of perle #5 through, varnished smooth, and marker pen was clearly visible on them. But isn’t it always the case? You find something useful and you don’t buy enough to keep you going for a few decades, thinking you can always get some more. Ha! After a while (stash always grows more quickly and, well, just more than you expect) more rings were needed, but the only ones I could find were much thicker. Still, they were light-coloured and smooth, and they worked.

Two thicknesses of light wooden rings

More stash expansion, and more rings needed, especially as all Threadworx threads (perle of all thicknesses as well as stranded cotton) come in pre-cut lengths, and are therefore much easier to store on rings than on bobbins. But light wooden rings were suddenly a thing of the past, so I had to settle for dark wood – the first lot I got was nice and thin, then they too started to grow more solid. And of course marker pen was not at all easy to read on the dark surface; I tried a white gel pen but it smudged. Trying to think outside the box I had a fling with some white plastic rings (possibly meant for shower curtains, I can’t remember), but although the numbers were easy to read on them, threads wouldn’t stay put and worked themselves loose. Something to do with too little friction, I suppose. There are, of course, those lovely Kelmscott mother of pearl thread rings which are light-coloured and just the right size, but at £6.50 for 10 they would soon deplete the budget.

The dark ones and the plastic ones aren't nearly so user-friendly

Then I found some light wooden rings again. Hurray! They weren’t quite what I was looking for – 23mm instead of 20mm, and quite thick, and unvarnished and a bit rough looking, but not too expensive and worth a try. They took quite a bit of sanding, and about 25 of them were just too rough to entrust my pretty threads to, and they are definitely a lot more chunky than I would have liked; on the other hand, they are legible and they hold the thread well.

The new rings are a lot bigger

But if by any chance you do happen to find some 20mm varnished light wooden rings, about 3mm thick, could you let me know?

Waiting for threads and playing with cards

We’ve been playing musical rooms over the weekend. Eldest now has his own flat, we wouldn’t mind a bigger bedroom and the business could definitely do with some more storage (that’s the vintage car business, not Mabel’s Fancies, alas), so we’ve been changing things around and after a couple of days of lugging furniture around we’re now pretty much settled, apart from deciding what pictures to put up on the freshly painted walls of our new bedroom and moving a few more boxes into the new storage room.

One of the side effects of all this chopping and changing was some stash re-arranging, always a pleasant occupation and particularly relaxing in the midst of what almost felt like a house move at times. A small chest of drawers I had been using has been reassigned to the new guest room, and I get the larger one that was there originally, and a space in the new storage room to keep it in (so a bit of Mabel’s Fancies storage in among the car bits after all!). It means that I can keep things like my fabrics and some thread storage boxes in a more accessible way instead of piled up on top of each other – much more convenient. I’ve even got some spare space to fill up with new stash…

That might well be a box of Threadworx perles. Some time ago I found a wholesaler in The Netherlands whose prices are really good, and I decided to treat myself to a good selection of hand-dyed perles for the festive season. I’ve ordered them, and they’ll be sent to my mother where we will pick them up on our next visit to Holland. It’s difficult to be patient as I’m really looking forward to seeing them in the flesh (or rather, fibre) and have a play with them.

For now I’ve got other colourful things to play with and put in my nice large chest of drawers, though: lots and lots of aperture cards from Craft Creations. My favourite large squares which are perfect for Round Dozen and Floral Lace, some large circles, and also some smaller ones for quick cards, plus 40 with a much smaller aperture which I hope to use for Christmas cards next year, filling them with different-coloured versions of the freebie stars.

Aperture cards from Craft Creations

Now all I need to do is get round to actually putting all those stitched projects I have lying around into the aperture cards and send them to people!

Finishing things

It’s Sinterklaasavond tonight – St Nicholas Eve. When I was a child in The Netherlands, this was an exciting evening; at 7 o’ clock there would be a mysterious knock at the door (courtesy of a kind neighbour roped in by Mum) and when we opened it there would be no-one there, only a basket of presents in gaily-coloured wrapping paper. I would already have received a chocolate letter in my shoe that morning, swapped for the carrot that was in it. And this suddenly makes me realise how odd one person’s familiar customs must sound to those raised with different traditions! We put out our shoe (or clog, if your proper Dutch smiley) with a carrot for St Nicholas’ horse. The usual return is chocolate coins, marzipan shapes or a chocolate letter. But St Nicholas has not yet made it across the Channel, so here in England I have to make do with baking traditional almond cakes, and providing for myself what I’m sure the generous old gentleman would have sent me if he were a bit more international.

What St Nicholas would have brought if he ever came to England

Perhaps because of my lack of St Nicholas celebrations I got to thinking about things that finish, and finishing things, and I got quite melancholy as I put the final wrapped bars into the Song of the Weather SAL’s final month. It’s hard to believe that I started planning this well over a year ago, and that my aspiration was to get 20 people to sign up; in the end, 192 did. It’s been a great experience, and one that will definitely be repeated, but not immediately – quite apart from stitching all the models (one each in standard perles and speciality threads) I had seriously underestimated the time needed to write and illustrate the twice-monthly blog!

There is another type of finishing, and it’s one I tend to avoid if I can: finishing stitched items so that they can be used or displayed and enjoyed rather than languishing in a drawer. Some people have a knack for it, and they produce cushions, wall-hangings, tea cosies, bottle holders, cot blankets, fabric bonbon dishes, stitcher’s etuis, mobile phone cases, keyrings and useful-boxes-to-put-things-in at the drop of a hat. I struggle beyond cards and coasters. It’s true that I have produced a fair number of bookmarks, bags (both shopping and gift) and box tops and even the odd pen holder and tray, but my problem is always that finishing items takes a lot of time if you want to do it properly. Take bookmarks. Both four-sided edging and buttonhole edging produce a lovely finish, but boy they’re labour intensive! And sewing a patch securely onto a cotton bag is very fiddly as you have to have one hand inside the bag all the time and feel your way blindly – not exactly quick.

That in itself needn’t be a problem of course, but the truth is that I’d rather be stitching a new project than properly finishing an old one. This is partly because I honestly believe that the enjoyment I get from a project while stitching it is reason enough to stitch, whether or not the resulting piece of embroidery gets used for anything – much like a walk along the beach or a visit to a concert (Stuart Townend was fabulous last night!) it’s about the pleasure of the moment. Even so, it is of course even better if you can go on enjoying it afterwards and in stitching, that is where finishing comes in. Fortunately quite a lot of my designs are just the right size for cards…

One thing I did have to finish was the model I stitched for my workshop at the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia. The organiser had asked for a picture of the patch attached to something vaguely home or clothing related, and as I didn’t think it would be practical to carry a cushion along to the show I decided on a cotton bag. No, I’m not sure how that relates to home or clothing either, but she accepted the suggestion so I wasn’t going to argue. The design is surrounded by a broken border of coloured cross stitches so I attached the patch with an additional broken border of white cross stitches – and here it is:

The K&S 2014 patch sewn on to a gift bag How the patch is attached

There is something else I need to finish, in yet another sense. Yes, I am finishing designing for the Floral Lace series. Really. Honest. 18 is enough, and I’m running out of filling stitches. Although the kind gift from a fellow Cross Stitch Forum member has given me some ideas for a different beaded filling stitch… perhaps for the 2015 SAL?

A young stitcher, a new stitcher and echoing motifs

There were fewer older children (of 11 or 12) at this year’s Christmas Craft Event, it seemed to me (although I don’t get a lot of time to look around when we’re in full swing) but fortunately still plenty of stitching action, including several boys. One of them was going to use the finished project as his history homework – they are doing the Victorians and were told to bring in some craft appropriate to the period. Although foam baubles would not have been recognised by embroiderers of that time, needlework is definitely an appropriate craft, and thinking of all the beaded slippers, woolwork sewing baskets and decorations stitched on perforated paper I’m sure many a Victorian needlewoman would have loved this new type of ornament to decorate! One modern-day young lady definitely did enjoy herself, and was justifiably proud of the end result.

A proud young stitcher

I am a member of a stitching group that meets ever Monday afternoon during term time at the local adult education centre (where I also teach occasionally). It’s not a class, we simply all bring our needlework (mostly cross stitch, but also Hardanger, stumpwork, beaded cards, crochet and knitting) and work on that while having a good chat and a cup of tea. Sometimes a member may organise a workshop or demonstration, and anyone who is interested joins in while the others work on their own projects. And of course we all help each other out when a project presents particular difficulties.

We heard last Monday that a new lady would like to join, but she has no experience of needlework and would need a lot of guidance and advice about materials and so on. As she had also asked what she should bring, I told our group leader (who hates the title, claiming that all she does is pick up the attendance register from the office, tick it and take it back again) that I’d provide a small kit so that this lady would have something to get started on. A few years back I did some small kits for two children we were babysitting, but they had rather child-like motifs, so I decided on the mini peacock from the freebie section. I printed the chart in three different ways (coloured squares, coloured squares with symbols, and symbols only) so that she can see which type she finds easiest to follow, and stitched a model myself to check on the amounts of thread. Like many stitchers I have a bag of unlabelled stranded cotton which contained plenty of thread in the right colours, and a piece of 14ct aida was easy enough to find too. The second picture shows my stitched model next to the original peacock I stitched on 40ct silk gauze some time ago. It’s quite a difference…

Kit for the new member of our stitching group A peacock on 14 count and on 40 count

Several people have let me know that they are thinking of doing a Floral Lace afghan, which has made me feel a bit twitchy – will 14 designs be enough? Should I design a few more? I am curiously tempted by the little red pimpernel flower, and I love lily-of-the-valley, although on white fabric with white Kloster blocks that may turn out a bit anaemic. But let’s face it, even if I disregard white flowers because they wouldn’t show up enough, there are still plenty of flowers I haven’t tackled yet. So the flowers aren’t the problem; new and different bead arrangements are more difficult to come up with! Because of this I am particularly pleased with the beads in Sunflower as the clusters echo the two internal, skewed squares formed by the Y-bars.

Filling stitch echoing bead motifs

Perhaps thinking up some more new filling stitches would in turn inspire more bead patterns?

And then there were fourteen … and forty

OK, so I’m rather preoccupied with Floral Lace at the moment… As I was stitching one of the models, I thought of an alternative for four-sided stitch, using pulled eyelets or Algerian eyes, so I charted a quickie using elements from existing designs to try out some time in the future. But then I noticed a daffodil that I’d charted but not used and played around with it a bit. Now don’t be silly, you can’t have a series of 13. What would you call it, Baker’s Dozen? But of course there are other flowers… daisy? Lily of the valley? Too difficult to see as they’re mostly white. Buttercup? Dandelion? But the daffodil is yellow, so better have a different colour for its partner. How about periwinkle? A quick dash to Google Images to refresh my memory about the shape of periwinkle petals, and now there are fourteen Floral Lace designs. As you could just about stitch each one in a day (if you don’t do much else) I might call them Floral Fortnight!

By the way, I made a very silly mistake in one of them. I fastened on behind a Kloster block to start the beading, turned the work over, and started – at the other end of the work. The result: a thread stretched right across the part of the design that’s going to be cut. And of course I didn’t notice until all the beading was done. In the end I carefully unpicked the fastening-on knot, rethreaded the tail and secured it behind Kloster blocks nearer the starting point. (The photograph also shows the reverse of diagonal four-sided stitch, which is double cable stitch!)

A silly error

The other thing occupying me at the moment is the Christmas Craft Event, and especially the kits I’ll need for it. I set aside a fair part of yesterday to put together 40 of them. It was quite a production line I had going – 40 bags; bauble plus chart in each; add metallic thread and beads. Then on to the fabric and perle. To make sure the stitching process is going to be as smooth and enjoyable as possible for every child, I decided I’d do the waste knot and the first stitch for each one of them (then even if they can’t really read the chart, they can work from the length of the first stitch). After a while I got this down to a fine art (fuelled by lots of tea, see first picture…): count the number of ornaments in a particular colour. Count out the same number of the appropriate coloured perle. Count out the same number of needles. Thread each needle and knot the thread. Count out the same number of fabric squares. Find the middle of each fabric square, start the waste knot, do one stitch, don’t forget to stop after the first stitch! (it is easy to get carried away), add to kit, done smiley.

Putting together the Christmas Craft Event kits Getting the first stitch in The Christmas Craft Event kits What's in the kits

Oh, remember Katie my brilliant guinea pig? She is too old now to come as a participant, so I quickly claimed her as my assistant at the stitching table (with her full and enthusiastic consent, I hasten to say). Yay!

Incidentally, when I was stitching Floral Lace Fuchsia I noticed that the pink and purple of the flowers went remarkably well with my tights; how’s that for colour-coordinated stitching!

Colour-coordinated tights

A new Dozen and more organza

Last week, when I mentioned on the Cross Stitch Forum that I’d designed another two Floral Lace designs and someone suggested that it was growing into a new Dozen, I chuckled and said no, no, six was really as many as there were going to be.

There are now a dozen.

It’s true I like sets and series of things, and, well, I’m just enjoying these so much! Floral Lace is a bit like Round Dozen, I suppose, in that all twelve designs have a “skeleton” in common: in this case a small Kloster block diamond, surrounded by a four-sided stitch diamond, surrounded by a gold cross stitch square. Then they all have three more elements, a beaded diamond, floral cross stitch corner motifs and cutwork (bars & filling stitches), but each design has its own variation on these three.

Incidentally, it did at one point make me feel a bit like Oscar Wilde. Once, when asked what he’d been doing all day, he famously replied, “I was working on the proof of one of my poems all morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.” It isn’t quite that bad with me, but I did one evening find myself in the following scene: Attach beads according to chart. Half-way through, hold it at arm’s length and worry that it doesn’t look right. Decide to move the top bead in the four corner clusters up by one hole. Unpick. Re-stitch. Half-way through, hold it at arm’s length and worry that it doesn’t look right. Decide to move whole of corner clusters down by one hole. This brings the original top bead back where it started out. Unpick. Re-stitch. Sit back and enjoy the result, which now looks the way I intended it.

Most of the designs aren’t nearly so fraught, fortunately, although I did today make some last-minute changes to some filling stitches (Floral Lace will be the first ever design to include the Starburst stitch!). And they are lovely and relaxing to stitch, especially the recurring elements. I’ve also worked out that materials-wise it is quite a budget design: the cross stitch motifs need only very small amounts of stranded cotton, so if you’re happy to use odds and ends from your stash whenever you don’t happen to have a colour listed in the chart packs, then apart from that you can do the whole dozen with 1 skein of perle #5, 1 ball of perle #8, 1 skein of White stranded cotton, 1 card of Petite Treasure Braid and 1 pack of Mill Hill beads. And here the whole lot is in all its colourful glory:

The materials for all 12 Floral Lace designs

I’ve already been able to re-use the Floral Lace “skeleton” – as a starting point for the Spring Knitting & Stitching workshop. Because of the emphasis of the show, they wanted something to do with soft furnishings or dress-making, so I decided on a patch for a bag or cushion. It combines elements from Floral Lace and Round Dozen, and we should manage to do the complicated bits during the workshop, although some of the cross stitch may have to be done later at home.

Adapted design for the K&S workshop

Remember that silk organza I got at last month’s K & S? My husband remarked how thin it was, and that you could see other fabric through it. I put it over some Lugana and he was absolutely right, it is so translucent that you can see the holes quite well. So by combining standard antique white Lugana with these hand-dyed squares of silk organza, you suddenly end up with a stitchable fabric in stunning jewel colours. you wouldn’t be able to cut it, really, so this required some non-cut designs. And what to call it? I toyed for a moment with Undercover or Salome, but eventually decided on Veiled Delight.

Silk organza covering Lugana

I’ve got my teeth into Floral Lace at the moment, and then it’s (finally!) the turn of Treasure Trove, but after that I may well start playing with these lovely fabrics.

Christmas Craft preparations

It’s that time of year again – the annual Christmas Craft Event is nearly upon us! Well, it will be in three weeks on Saturday, so we’re all getting our materials ready. For those of you unfamiliar with this highlight of the Dunchurch calendar, it is an event organised by our Baptist church and open to all children from the village and the surrounding area. For a couple of hours on a November afternoon they come and do as many Christmas-themed crafts as they like (and can fit in), choosing from about a dozen different ones. They range from simple decorated cards for the little ones to painted glass jars, Christmas tree ornaments, decorated gingerbread men, Nativity scenes, stars, snowflakes and whatever else the volunteers have been able to dream up.

For the past six years or so I’ve been providing a stitchy craft, meant to be a slightly more challenging project for the older children. In practice I do get some of the 6-year-olds as well, and provided they bring a responsible adult I’m perfectly happy for them to have a go. It’s really rather endearing seeing a dedicated dad wrestling with his first-ever embroidery as his little daughter looks on encouragingly smiley.

I could just about start recycling previous projects, as the children who did them are now too old to join in, but it’s much more fun thinking up something new. This time I teamed up foam baubles from Yellow Moon with a non-cut adaptation of the freebie stars. At first I thought it would be a good idea to use 20ct aida, as it is a bit stiffer and larger than my usual fabrics, but I found that one length of perle #5 was just too short for a star on 20ct, and it’s also relatively expensive to buy; whereas I have plenty of 22ct Hardanger in stock. So Hardanger it is, with DMC Variations (also from my stash) instead of the lovely Caron threads I used for the two models, plus a Madeira metallic I had lying around and some beads I got at the Knitting & Stitching Show.

Non-cut freebie star stitched in Caron thread on 20ct Non-cut freebie star stitched in Caron thread on 20ct models for Christmas Craft baubles Materials for Christmas Craft baubles Christmas Craft baubles with chosen materials

All I’m waiting for now is the needles, then I’ll cut the fabric squares, do a waste knot and come up in the first hole for each one of them, and kit them up with a large chart (I’m still working out what style would be clearest). Usually I don’t get a lot of time to take pictures when we’re in full swing, but I’ll do my best record some of the children’s efforts for posterity!

Wedgwood, cross stitch and unexpected designs

You may remember my two cream/white on green and blue Round Dozen variations which gave me an idea for some Wedgwood-inspired idea, although really I should call them Jasper, as that type of Wedgwood is known as jasperware. The two variations were stitched on 28ct Jobelan, and I wanted to stitch the new designs on my usual 25ct Lugana. Unfortunately, being made by two different manufacturers they don’t come in the same colours, and all I could find was a rather paler moss green, and a rather brighter blue. Lugana does come in a shade called Wedgwood Blue, but that is lighter than I had in mind, and when I looked into jasperware a bit more I found that the Lugana shades I’d picked were actually closer to the pottery than the Jobelan used for the variations!

Fabrics considered for the Wedgwood designs Wedgwood pale blue and sage green jasperware

So I started designing and at the end of the afternoon somehow ended up with three instead of two designs. Fortunately there is pink jasperware too smiley.

Three shades of Lugana Wedgwood pink jasperware

Floral Lace is coming along nicely, but I wasn’t absolutely sure that some of the small cross stitch motifs would work as charted, so I tried them out on a spare piece of material for shape and colour. This turned out to be quite useful as it showed me that the alternatives I’d charted for my corner tulip didn’t look nearly so nice as the first draft (I’d worried that the top of the tulip looked rather flat as originally charted. It didn’t.) and also that the colours of the tulips were far too dark. I eventually went with pinks that were much brighter than I at first intended, but in real life they just look a lot better.

Trying out the cross stitch motifs for Floral Lace

Some things, however, you can’t tell even from a trial piece because it’s not the individual motifs but the way they work together that is the probem. In the picture above there are two identically-shaped smaller blue motifs, one with more dark blue and one with more light blue. My first draft used the darker version, but after stitching it I felt it looked a bit too dark. I re-charted and stitched a lighter version next to it. It looked much nicer so I decided to go with that one. I stitched all the larger blue corner motifs first, then the dark-blue centers of the smaller motifs, and then I completed them with light blue.

When I’d completed one corner of the design, both my husband and I felt that it looked too cluttered and chunky, whereas the unfinished corners with their small bits of dark blue actually looked rather more elegant. But I didn’t like the shape and distribution of them. What if I made them smaller still, and added a third in the middle so that they formed a shallow arch curving in the opposite direction of the beads in that quarter? The picture shows the original corner (top left), two corners with the dark blue of the original motifs (top right and bottom left) and the new design with three tiny dark blue flowers arching around the corner motif (bottom right). It took a lot of unpicking, but all corners now use that last version and I think the design looks much lighter for it. But you’ll have to wait and see what the final result looks like!

Floral Lace 2 gets a make-over

Designing doesn’t always happen intentionally. Floral Lace started out as a set of three designs but rather unexpectedly acquired a fourth when I thought of a small cross stitch pansy design. I charted a diagonal corner design and an upright one, which was going to be used on either side of the corner pansy. But I soon realised, even on paper, that it would suffer from the same cluttered feeling as the blue Floral Lace, so I designed a teeny-weeny pansy (at six stitches in total it’s so small it’s hardly recognisable as a flower, but it uses some of the same colours) and hope that that will look more balanced. Watch this space…