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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April Bunnies
Week Four 


This month is really going by quickly!  It’s week four and we will be sharing our "new stitches" for April. 
Spring is here and it's the perfect time for stitching bunnies.   Our new stitches will show more variety in finishes each month.   We will be using fabric, decorative stitches, trims and other details to complete them.   Bunnies are always fun to stitch and patterns are hard to resist buying.   We have two of our favorites to share.

RJ Topiary Bunny is actually a small part of a sampler called Button Bunny Sampler by Homespun Elegance.   The minute I saw the bunny holding the topiary I knew he was the one I wanted to make.   I had two challenges with this stitch.   One was the topiary itself which was made with a chain stitch.   I had done this stitch many years ago in needlepoint but had totally forgotten how.   But after watching a you tube video a couple of times (well actually many times) it came back to me!

My next challenge was all of those French knots for his tail.  They became easier and went much quicker as I made more of them.    This bunny was a fun stitch and I will make the whole sampler one of these days.  It has many great details and I think you would enjoy stitching it. 

This stitch was made with two green fabrics, flax linen, called for over dyed threads and a carrot charm.   The charm was made from a set of earrings I had never worn.   One was a bunny and the other was a carrot.  I pulled them apart and now they will be put to great use as charms for stitched ornaments.

This is a closeup of the chain stitch on the topiary.

Button Bunny Sampler
by Homespun Elegance
40 ct. flax Newcastle linen

Hobby Lobby fabrics
over dyed threads


Mary -  This sweet bunny is called The Rabbit and the Elderberry and is by Primitive Acorns. It can be purchased on Etsy.

I substituted Gentle Arts threads for DMC because I love the way over dyed threads bring more depth to my stitches.  I used Cidermill brown for the body of the bunny, Woodtrail for the urn, Dungarees for the flowers and Avocado for the leaves.

This was an enjoyable and easy stitch and I had even more fun finishing it.  Many a package makes its way between Florida and New York as both RJ and I like to shop for fabric and adornments for our stitches.  She sent me this adorable set of garden tools and I knew exactly where they would be used. With the use of some blue crochet trim I had in my stash, this finish came together quickly and was a joy to work on.

The Rabbit and the Elderberry
Primitive Acorns

20 ct. linen
Moda fabrics
stitched over one

Have a great week friends.   Next week will be our big project to start the month of May.   See you then.   RJ and Mary

                                    Spring is when life's alive in everything
                                                             Christina Rossetti

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April week three
Something Old

Week three of every month we will be showing some of our older stitches.   Mary and I started stitching together about four years ago.   She was brand new at this pastime and I had taken a long break from something I had loved so much.    We started with Little House Needleworks ornaments and at the time we just finished them with a basic fabric back and a hanger.  

We thought it would be fun to show these earlier stitches in their before style.   And then in their after finish as we add some additions to hopefully jazz them up a bit. Hope you enjoy their new look!

If you have some ideas or suggestions on ways to add adornment to plain finishes we would really like to hear about them for future third weeks.

We have also added a challenge at the end of this post for the two of us and we would love for you to join us.

RJ -  

I chose the pattern Blessed by Little House Needleworks for this month's old stitch.   This is the first ornament I made for Mary and myself when we started stitching together.   Here the ornament only has a fabric back and a ribbon hanger. I think this is such a pretty pattern and bigger than a lot of the LHN ornaments but it still needed something extra.

by Little House Needleworks
stitched on 32 ct. raw linen
with called for threads


Her new look has embroidery X's all around the seam edge of the ornament. I've never done this before and I have to admit I had all kinds of problems with it. Having an upholstery weight fabric as the backing probably had a lot to do with it. But I think the more I do this technique, the easier it will get.  After my struggle with adding the X's, I added a brown plaid bow and a special  friend charm easily I feel very blessed to have such a kind, caring and generous friend to be my blog buddy.  I liked this ornament before but now I really like her new look!  I have a feeling Mary will too.

Here she is with an added bow and a charm.  

Here you see the little X's that were so hard to do.   I hope I get better at that technique as I attempt it more.

by Little House Needleworks
32 ct. raw linen
used all the called for threads
special friend charm


Mary -
I was a brand new cross stitcher when RJ discovered the LHN Christmas ornament series.   My new found hobby soon became an obsession!    We both wanted each and every pattern in this delightful group of ornaments.  Our stitching partnership was now in full swing.  My first selection to stitch was the Tree Farm because I have a dear friend that owns a Christmas tree farm.   I knew this would make the perfect gift for her.
Tree Farm
by Little House Needleworks
stitched on 14 ct.
called for threads

As my confidence in stitching improved, I re-stitched it on 28 ct. even weave which was an easy transition from 14 ct. Aida.

I had to make a trip to New Brunswick, New Jersey recently.  Whenever I'm in a new area, I search for cross stitch stores.   I was in luck!   The nearby town of Metuchen had a beautiful shop called Needleworkers Delight.  My luck got even better because that day they were having a "sit and stitch" with an instructor.  Dawn was a wonderful teacher who taught me how to make cording with a" Lacis" cord maker.  I was able to make some beautiful cording and added it to my older Tree Farm stitch.  It was easy to use and took my finish up a notch!!!
Here is the cording up close.

Tree Farm
by Little House Needleworks
stitched on 28 ct. evenweave
called for threads

attached tree button

                                    STITCHING FRIENDS CHALLENGE

We are starting a Stitching Friends Challenge.   I'm challenging myself to stitch a Santa every month and Mary will be working on more Christmas ornaments to add to her tree.  Our goal is to stitch them this year and then to finish them next year.  We will show our progress every third week after the "old stitches remake".    We would love it if you joined in.   Let us know what your challenge is.

Mary is on vacation this week but here is my first Santa challenge stitch.  It is called A Christmas Visit book 48 from Prairie Schooler.  It is just leaning on an old tin tile for the photos but will be made into an ornament. PS has so many great patterns to chose from and all different sizes too.  This one is a smaller Santa but so sweet with birds and a birdhouse. It's just waiting to be sewn up.  Ok one down and many, many more to come!


I'm sure you are wondering what are all of those brown x's all around the stitch!  I do that while I'm stitching so that when I cut it out I have a really straight line to follow.  As soon as I have the 3/4 inch allowance cut out around the stitch I pull them out and then sew it into an ornament.

A Christmas Visit Book 48
by Prairie Schooler
32 ct. raw linen
over dyed threads I already had

Hope your week is filled with lots of stitching.   Next week we will be showing new bunny ornaments.   Hope to see you.   Mary and RJ

                   Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is

                                                          Jessica Harrelson

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April week two 
Grab Bag

Every second week of the month we will have a grab bag post.   We will select from a number of ideas like stitching tips, interviews with designers and other bloggers, give aways, recipes and much more.  This month we have a stitching tip you may find helpful.

Mary's thread organization

I have found an inexpensive way to organize my thread that works very well.  I bought a lidded 17x14x6 inch plastic container from a craft store.   I always use a coupon to make them a reasonable purchase.    From Dollar Tree, I bought white business size envelopes.   I prefer the peel off adhesive style over the ones with glue.    I also use ziplock freezer bags that have a place where you can write on them.  You can usually find them at Dollar Tree too.
I store my thread in ziplock bags inside the business envelopes.  On both, I write the thread brand, color and number.  When I have a piece of leftover thread, I keep it in the white envelope only and not in the plastic bag.  Then I know to use them first.   I always scotch tape a small piece of thread on my DMC envelopes.  This is helpful when I need to look for a color or make a color substitution.

When I do make a substitution I will make a notation on the envelope.  I make sure I mention the new brand name I'm using.  

I store all the envelopes in numerical order.   I group them by their brand name.   I make one exception for Classic Colorworks which I store in alphabetical order.

When I am done with a stitching project I always file everything in its proper place right away.   This system has worked very well for me.  I don't waste time looking for thread and they always stay neat and orderly.

If you’re struggling with thread organization please give this system a try.  It works well for a disorganized person like myself.

                                                           Easter stitch freebie
We found a cute free Easter stitch you might like.   You will love Sub Rosa's pretty blog and the lovely patterns she has for sale. 
You can find this free pattern and many more here:     

Next week we will be showing some of our older stitches that we have updated with a new look!  We hope you will join us.   RJ and Mary

                                   Spring is the time of plans and projects

                                                                 Leo Tolstoy


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April week one
Spring is here!

Welcome to our new blog Stitching Friends Forever.  We are two friends, Mary and RJthat love to cross stitch.  Having followed so many stitching blogs the last few years we have been inspired by your stitches, finishes and techniques.   We thought it would be fun to have our own blog and share our stitching projects with others and hopefully encourage newcomers to take up cross stitching.

It will be our goal to have a weekly post.   Monthly themes and weekly projects will be listed on the sidebar.   We have plans to add a monthly stitching party so we can have a sharing community of stitchers in the very near future.  And there will be fun surprises along the way.   We hope you will enjoy our ideas and become a stitching friend too. 

Styling With Stitches

The first week of each month we will feature one of many ways to use and display cross stitches.  This month's project is stitched candle banners that will look great as your Spring centerpiece or anywhere you might use a candle in your home.

We have two stitched candle banners for you to see below:

RJ's candle banner -   I chose the pattern A Spring Day by Heart in Hand.  I stitched it on white linen and used over dyed threads that I had on hand.  I changed the words A Spring Day to Printemps because of my love for French things.  A small bee button was added to the stitch instead of stitching it.  I sewed the banner with green polka dot fabric, rick rack trim, ribbon ties and flower buttons added to the back.   This was a fun, easy and colorful stitch just like a pretty Spring day.  

Here are some closeups of the candle banner:

Now you can see that adorable little bee button below.

I used my candle banner as a centerpiece for a luncheon with my girlfriends. Fresh cut daffodils, flower pots of malt ball eggs, bunny plates, Majolica style accessories from Homegoods, vintage French seed packets and flower frogs all say Spring to me.

A Spring Day
by Heart in Hand
32ct. white linen
over dyed threads

Mary's candle banner- My candle banner was stitched from a free chart that you can find here.  I prefer to use variegated threads so I substituted GA Grasshopper for leaves and stems, GA Cidermill Brown for the bunnies' bodies, CC Honeycomb and DMC white for the large flowers.  French knots for the bunnies' tails were done in Whisper-color W89.   If your not familiar with Whisper thread it's great for beards and animals, especially sheep.   

The trim separating the linen from the fabric was a find in Michael's $1.50 bins.  I always do a quick check of the bins for cross stitch embellishments.

This was a fun project to do and can be adapted for any season or holiday.

My Spring tablecloth was embroidered by my sister and myself many years ago for my Mom.  I hope someday it will be considered a family heirloom.  The bunny napkin fold is easy to do.   I followed this video.  

Here's a closeup of the pretty trim on the banner.   I like the way the trim echoes the design of the bunny's tail.
free bunny pattern
32 ct. white linen
threads listed above

                     We hope you all have a wonderful week and lots of stitching hours.  
                                                                    Mary and RJ 

                                              A kind word is like a spring day 

                                                                 author unknown