Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My Sweetiepie ABC's


I'm really excited to share my newest cross-stitch creation today! This alphabet sampler was so lovely to make. It will be a Christmas present for my Girl Bear. The sampler is My Sweetiepie ABC's, designed by the talented Alicia Paulson. I received the sampler kit as a gift for Christmas last year, so it's a nice symmetry to give the finished and framed sampler to the GB for Christmas this year. (It looks like the kit is not available right now, but you can still buy the pattern in Alicia's online shop). If you've never stitched one of Alicia's samplers, I think you should try to do one very soon. Her designs are so pretty, full of sweet motifs, and her color schemes are always beautiful. I've worked from both her kits and her patterns and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Alicia says this sampler is her favorite thing she has ever designed and I think it's my favorite cross-stitch I have ever made.


I started stitching my sampler in late September. I love the planning phase of any project, but I especially enjoy preparing to create a cross-stitch design. There's so much possibility in a hank of embroidery flosses. I love to look at the chart and find where each color will be used. Sometimes there's just a little glimpse of a particular color - a few stitches in one small spot - and it makes me kind of antsy to get to that part, particularly when the color is a vibrant one. That single strand of bright pink in the above photo - I was so excited about it.


The first motifs are exciting, if slightly daunting. How can this turn into a full-fledged sampler? A for apple, for example, is just a tiny piece, but every piece is important to the finished whole. It's mostly a pleasure to watch the design take shape. Counting threads - especially on 28-count linen - can get a little tedious, but if there's one thing I've learned about stitching, from my first project at seven years old (a teddy bear's face in yarn on plastic canvas), it's this: I must stop working when it doesn't feel good anymore. Put everything away and do something else. Stare out the window, make a cup of tea. I can come back a few hours later, or the next day, with fresh eyes and a better attitude, and the work will be pleasurable all over again.


I liked the way this sampler was broken into quadrants, which made the design seem a lot simpler. The daisy, above, stretched down toward the quadrant below, which gave the sampler a nice balance. I enjoyed Alicia's choices for each of the letters, especially the less-obvious ones, like the pie for P and the mail for M. The heart for X (xox) was particularly clever, I thought. I don't know if I would have come up with that one, but the pink heart is very sweet and it reminded me of how my GB, as a toddler, called every heart shape a "valentine."


I don't know whether I have a favorite motif. I liked the quilt a lot, and the house, but really, I adore them all. I know Miss GB will like them all too, but I have a feeling about this little octopus. She really likes sea animals; in particular, she has a thing for octopuses.


I finished stitching in mid-November. I had decided before I even started that this sampler would be framed professionally. I often frame my own cross-stitched pieces; I'm no expert, but I do a presentable enough job, I think. This sampler is a special gift, so I wanted to have it framed as nicely as possible. I spritzed the piece with water and ironed it with the stitches facing down into a towel. Then I wrapped it up in a dry towel. I recommend using a towel to transport your stitched pieces. Lay the ironed piece on a towel that is folded in half horizontally. Then, starting from the top, roll the towel with the stitched piece inside. This protects the stitched piece and makes it easier to carry. It also prevents the stitched piece from getting wrinkled before you can bring it to the framer's. Once there, you can unroll the towel and the stitched piece should be nice and neat for the framer to work with.


For the frame, I chose a very simple wooden frame in a light finish. I think the wood is maple. I didn't want any matting; I felt it would detract from the sampler. I really like the spareness of the design, and the negative space - the way each motif sort of stands alone from all the others. The framer showed me a wide array of frame styles and I didn't like anything very much until I suddenly saw this one on the wall over her shoulder. It was exactly right. I am so happy with it. After I give it to the GB, we'll hang it over her chest of drawers. I hope she will enjoy having this sampler in her room. As soon as I saw the design, I knew I wanted to make it for her. I look forward to surprising her with it - she saw me working on it but she didn't know it was meant for her. It was a delight to make, especially with her in mind, a sweet and lovely design for my sweet and lovely girl.

32 comments:

  1. Wow! It's so lovely, Jennifer! I've always admired Alicia's pattern, and this one especially. So pretty and interesting to look at. Very well done. I hope your daughter treasures it forever as something made by her momma. Again, so lovely!

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  2. It really is sweet and lovely! I really like it!

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  3. It turned out really beautifully.. your daughter will treasure it for her whole life.. a perfect gift.
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  4. Beautiful. A heirloom. I have this kit too, but have yet to make. I was lucky enough to grab her latest kit too - that is now in the pile to do.

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  5. It's really, really beautiful. You've made me want to finish mine now. That frame is perfect for the pattern. What a lovely gift for the GB! X

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  6. It is really very pretty. Though I stitched many patterns on linen many many years ago, I can't imagine working on 28 count again. Definitely a labor of love. Your girl will love it.

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  7. Oh it is lovely Jennifer, what pleasure you have had and still so much pleasure to come from giving and then seeing it hanging in your GB's room. I'm currently slowly stitching Alicia's "Love and Joy" - which I'm loving and is a joy to do.

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  8. Oh, it is really lovely Jennifer, and as you say, beautifully designed. I wish I could still stitch on 28 count linen - enjoy it while your eyes are young :)
    I find my eye keeps going back to the daisy, very cleverly positioned, and I am in love with the yellow umbrella. The GB will spend hours looking at it, I am sure.

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  9. It's beautiful, you must be so pleased with it, as will your GB, I'm sure. I agree about taking a little time and coming back to it if you're not feeling it, I think that's the same with any craft.

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  10. Hey Jennifer,
    I really like samplers; my Auntie Marilyn has stitched one for every child born in the family. I think they are delicate beauties, that can be handed down to other family members through the tears. I particularly like yours. All those quirky motifs are definitely my kind of thing. And if I had to pick a favourite, I'd choose the octopus too! What a wonderfully thoughtful gift for little GB.
    Leanne xx

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  11. Wow Jennifer, you've made an absolutely beautiful job of it. Your stitching is amazing, complete perfection. I love the quilt for Q and the zebra. My son would like that fish I know. I imagine it will be in your family for generations to come, what a thought! I shall look forward to seeing your next cross stitch. CJ xx

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  12. What a stunning gift, made with love nothing will ever beat that. It is stunning Jennifer.

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  13. It's so pretty, Jennifer. I'm sure the GB will be thrilled to bits when she unwraps it.

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  14. Absolutely beautiful! I'm sure your daughter will love it and treasure it forever.

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  15. it's so lovely! what a gift and a treasure for her!!!

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  16. I love this sampler, Jennifer! What a wonderful heirloom to give your daughter. It is something she will treasure for her whole life.

    I have a question for you about doing this sampler. Did you find it hard to work with the tiny holes on that cloth? I was tempted to get the kit when it first came out, but as someone who relies on reading glasses for close up work I thought it might be too much of a struggle.

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  17. What a wonderful gift you have made. I know your daughter is going to be thrilled.

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  18. It's lovely Jennifer your daughter is going to love it. :) xx

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  19. Thanks for sharing thoughts about your process in making the wonderful sampler as well as many views of it, Jennifer. The sampler is a precious gift for GB and generations to come and a joy for me to learn about. xx

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  20. It's just gorgeous, Jennifer. I'm absolutely sure GB will love it! :o)

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  21. Your sampler is beautiful, I'm sure GB will love it. I bought the alphabet embroidery sampler from Alicia years ago and really enjoyed stitching the letters, though it took me a long time as I am a slow embroiderer. It is a very satisfying feeling to have finished something you've worked methodically on for a long time. xx

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  22. It looks so sweet, and so beautifully stitched Jennifer! Your daughter will love it!
    Helen xox

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  23. It looks great.. she is going to love it!

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  24. That really is lovely work, something of yourself for her to cherish over time.

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  25. What a sweet wonderful present for your little girl. She'll love it. My favourite is the daisy I think, but I really like all the little designs. x

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  26. It is absolutely lovely. What a wonderful present - she'll treasure it forever. And I love the fact that it was your Christmas present one year, and hers the next!

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  27. THe sampler is just lovely you did a great job.

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  28. What a beautiful, loving sampler for your sweet girl! She will absolutely love it. And it's a gift to be treasured forever.

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  30. What a sweet sampler. It's so neatly stitched!

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  31. How did I miss this post? I was waiting for it too!! Ha! I really was looking forward to seeing your finished sampler and my goodness, it is NOT a disappointment. It is absolutely beautiful Jennifer. I just know the GB will love it and will cherish it. Sometime your granddaughter will love it too. :-). Alicia's designs are always beautiful and you do such pretty work. Your stitches are perfect. Thank you for the before Christmas peek and telling us how you decided on each step and framing.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  32. I had to come back to read this post ... time is getting away from me for some reason?! The sampler is beautiful, and so is your write-up about it! The details of all the different motives are really sweet. What a wonderful job you did of this design. The stitch count makes my eyes ache, but I guess if you are used to doing cross stitch, this is all normal. I tried cross stitch a few times, but would see "x's" every time I looked up from my work! This looks great in the simple frame. I do love a good sampler and have wanted to make one myself for many years. I love seeing them at museums of pioneer homes. I hope you stitched the date on your sampler somewhere like young pioneer girls did! I'm sure GB will just love this, especially when she watched you working on it. She'll remember that forever ;)
    Wendy

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Thank you for leaving a comment. It's so good to hear from you! I don't always have time to reply but I try to answer questions when I can.

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