Blackwork Journey

Do you like blackwork? Do you use it in any of your projects? I found this website a while back and it’s just wonderful.

Elizabeth Almond has a project called “Save the Stitches” and it’s free on her website. Blackwork Journey  It’s a very large project and is being uploaded one section at a time. Here is a photo of the first page of the first file:

Save the Stitches

You can see that she only used black thread and some metallics for highlights. It would be a great reference if you don’t want to stitch the whole piece. Enjoy!

Cross Stitchers – Advice Please

I started an HAED design last year and didn’t get very far.  I’ve only been cross stitching for two years and haven’t completed lots of designs. But there are so many beautiful designs out there and I want to continue buying and stitching them. Here’s the design:

Father Christmas

And here’s where I am today – about 4.5″ X 1.5″ of background on the top, left of the design.


I’m using two plies of floss on 25 ct. Lugana. I’m finding it frustrating to fill in all the little holes when I get to the last 4-5 colors. There are about 12 shades of rust and orange to do the background. So I have questions and I’m seeking your advice.

1. Should I be using just one ply of floss?  It would make the project easier to handle, but would it cover well?

2. If I want to change to one ply, what do I do with this piece that is started – start over with a new piece of fabric or rip it out? Would the fabric be okay if I rip out that much?

3. If I continue with two plies, what advice do you have for me to keep going and not get so frustrated. You can see that the last four squares are not completed yet. I just couldn’t force myself to continue today.

I love the design! I want to get it done so I can hang it up each December. Help…..

Thank you in advance for any advice you can give me. I truly appreciate it.

Chatelaine’s Persian Iris Mandala – Progress 25

I’m finally back to the mandala, two mornings a week. I’ve started the buildings area to the right of the mosque. The wall and arches are done and I almost finished filling in the arches this morning.

2nd corner-1

Since I’m not fond of the gold top stitching, I’ve promised myself that I would do that as I go along. Next week, I’ll start the gold work on the wall and arches and alternate the gold thread stitching with adding some cross stitch buildings on the top of the wall.

Here’s the whole project so far.


Do you use rayon thread?

I’ve used Marlitt from Anchor a few times and didn’t like it. I’ve done some things with DMC Satin floss and have learned how to tame it and love the shine. And now I’ve been introduced to a new rayon thread called El Molino (also called Zirayon) from Presencia in Spain.

I ordered some threads I needed from Michelle at Come to the Point in San Rafael. It’s my closest LNS at 40 miles from home. She got the threads together and sent them off, then sent me an email to let me know they were on the way. She also said that she included a spool of El Molino for me to try.

I was surprised when I opened the box. It’s a large spool, about 4 inches long, and contains 118 yards for just $1.50 (they are on sale)! It’s not stranded like the others I’ve used – it’s like a perle. Yes, it will fray at the ends so I will be using short lengths. I’ve done some practice stitching to see how things go and found that it works better on slanted stitches on 18 ct, rather than straight stitches.  I do like it and wanted to get more. Michelle sent me a spreadsheet with the colors she had on hand and I picked out some. Then told her to hold the package because I wanted to see the colors in person. I drove down last week and came home with over 20 of them. The shine is wonderful and I’m thinking Christmas ornaments right now for using some of them. The bright red you see says “Color No Solido” which means that it is not colorfast, but there is another red as well. The photo below doesn’t show all of the colors I got or the whole line.

El Molino

The open spool on the right is the one she sent me – my favorite color, teal. Michelle is selling some of her threads on sale – trying to switch to only natural fibers in her shop. So if you are interested in trying a heavier, beautiful rayon thread, send her an email or give her a call. Her website is :  and her email is:  When you go to her website, you can also sign up for her newsletter, so you can keep up with her monthly sales. (And she is a delight to work with!)

If you’d like to see all the colors, this page has a color chart. She is out of some colors, so you may not be able to get some of them.

Peru Rug – Play Time

I’ve been working on the outline diamonds for this rug upstairs so I could get it completed a little faster. All 124 diamonds are now done and all the Sprat’s Heads are completed as well. Love those little half Sprat’s Heads at the four corners!


As you can see, the diamonds got lighter and lighter as I worked toward the outer edges. I used five different shades from one color family of Pepper Pot silk. Now that the diamonds are done, it’s time to play with stitches I will use to fill in those 124 diamonds. Below is my practice stitch canvas. It’s long and narrow and as I try out various stitches, I can move the canvas up a little at a time until it’s completely filled. I’m keeping track of the stitch names on a sheet of paper so I can tell you the names as I work on the rug. The practice stitch canvas is being stitched with a handful of floss and will NOT be the colors that I’m using for the actual rug. (I’m trying to use up my stash of Anchor floss.)


I have a list of about 40 stitches I’m going to try out before I start on the actual rug. I’ll be busy over the next week trying them out. Then I’ll start on the rug itself. Let the fun begin!

Blue Heron – Progress 2

I’ve gotten all the way across the bottom of the design now and also stitched some of the reeds that stand out from the flowers and plants along the bottom. The gray that you see on the right side are the legs of the blue heron, so he has started to make his appearance.

Blue Heron-2

There is a lot of open space around the middle so I’ll try to finish up the flowers, plants and water on this half of the design before you see it again. There’s no backstitching so it moves along a little faster. I definitely like that!

Cat Tree Ornament – finale

I received the Kreinik braid I needed on Saturday and got right to work. The background is stitched in Alicia’s Lace. The first layer was stitched in # 194, Pale Blue. The second layer was stitched using # 198, Pale Green. In the light, it has a slight glow surrounding the tree.

Cat Tree-3

I outlined several of the cats to make them show up a little better. The silver ornaments on the tree were stitched in Rhodes stitch with Kreinik silver braid. The bows on the tree were stitched in Lazy Daisy dark green Kreinik with a tiny red stitch in the middle of the two Lazy Daisy stitches. This can now be put in the growing stack of things waiting for finishing. I need to get started on that task soon.