Gardener’s Alphabet from Liz Morrow

Liz Morrow ( is getting ready to reissue this pattern that was originally published in Needlepoint News in 1982. She now has permission from Jim Williams to republish them. Rather than doing a rug this time, she is releasing them as individual letters. To that end, a few of us volunteered to pilot stitch the letters to help Liz make sure the charts are correct and instructions are easy for all of you to understand. I asked for 3 of them, the ones for my granddaughters’ names. Below are my three all finished. I haven’t done the background for two of them because I haven’t decided how I want to do that part. I used #5 white perle cotton to do the background of the A in Skip Tent. Now I need to decide on colors and stitches for the other two in the near future. The leaves and the flowers were done in the recommended DMC colors in Tent stitch.










They are about 5″ square and will be up on her website around the end of the month. I really enjoyed choosing the girls’ favorite colors for the letters, selecting stitches for the letter, and stitching them. I bet you’ll enjoy them too.

Occupied Finale

I finally have a finished piece to show you – seems like forever!

This will be a Christmas present for one of my sons. It goes with the theme of the guest bathroom (really!). I hope he loves it. I’ll be finishing it as a wall hanging so he can hang it on the door. It won’t rattle that way when the door is opened or closed.

Occupied finale

The hair was done with Vineyard Silk in straight stitches and then sprinkled with lighter colors for highlights. The feathers were stitched with two shades of teal Flair and the veins were stitched with teal Fyre Werks. The hat was painted with pale blue and lavender highlights but I changed them to grays, which I think look better. The background is a Woven stitch in white Stardust from Brown Paper Packages which has a metallic thread running through it. I’m pleased with the results, sort of. Not thrilled with the feathers on the left (not painted well so I had trouble with it) and the bead centers for the flowers.

So the decision of what to needlepoint next – the Madagascar rug needs to be finished, I have a swan canvas for our guest room to stitch, or maybe a charted design called Deconstructed Log Cabin by Jeff Kulick. Stay tuned.


Santa on a Brown Bear – the final finale

I woke up this morning with one thought in mind. I forgot to put a ribbon on the rabbit! That’s now done. And I didn’t like the finished piece with nothing behind the legs of the bear. So I spent time this morning getting both of those things done. Now I’m happy with the piece (and still love the tassels!).

Santa 2nd finale

Finishing – Part 2

My DH gave me the book on finishing from The Binding Stitch at Christmas a year ago. As I started to work on the finishing for Grieg, I decided to do some reading first. Excellent book!

Here he is with the stitching completed.

Greig Finale

I bought backing fabric that is brown with small white polka-dots on it. The sewing was easy but when I tried to turn him right side out, the ears became a problem and I was afraid I would ruin him. Today, I turned him inside out again and sewed around the ears and the top of the head a second time with a double locking stitch. That should hold him. Turned him right side out again and pressed him (fabric side up) to make sure all the polka dots would be on the back side, pressing all the seams to the back.

Stuffing him was also easy, though I put very little in the ears since they are not fat on real cats. Okay, time to get him standing up. First I made a small bean bag and filled it with more of my BBs so there would be some weight at the bottom. I covered an oval of Tim Tex (very thick pellon that I used to make a frame for the Pet Shop so it would stay nice and straight) with the same brown polka-dot fabric. Then I headed downstairs with all the pieces and carefully sewed the bottom to the front (needlepoint) and the back. Here he is all finished, standing about 9 inches tall.

Grieg Finished

I think I should try to pull the right ear a little bit more (though I’m still afraid that I’ll pull too hard and tear something). The weight of the BBs is perfect and he’s standing up nicely. Here he is at home on top of the tall dresser with my “Grandma” things – The sign is from my granddaughters and has a tiny photo of the three of them in the center. I should have gotten a new one while I was visiting in March. The little shoes were made for my mother – one for each of her great-granddaughters. Each one has the full name and date of birth for one of the girls. When she died, I brought them home with me. She placed a penny in each one to bring them good luck.

Grieg at home

It isn’t a perfect finishing job, but I’m working on it. I still have that little basket of ornaments to finish and I hope that practice will make me closer to perfect. On to the next project!

Border Rug Finale

None of my other rugs have taken this long to complete – 11 months, 7 days. I started with 3 morning a week and then changed to 5 mornings a week the end of October, trying to get the rug completed by the end of the year. I was starting to think I would never get it done. But here it is – all stitched up!


The final size is 20″ wide by 34″ long on 13 ct. canvas. I’m glad it’s completed and I really like how it turned out. I didn’t keep an exact count of the number of skeins of Silk & Ivory I used (since I was using partial skeins left over from other projects as well as full skeins), but it’s about 35 skeins total.

You won’t find a Moroccan rug exactly like this one anywhere. I used patterns for borders that I liked and created my design using cross stitch software. As I stitched on the rug, I had to decide what stitches to use for each of the bands. This has lots of specialty stitches and caused quite a few problems along the way. But this rug is just for me, so mistakes and problems along the way don’t need to be mentioned. I’m sure I’ll never do another rug with a large X in the middle of a motif though. That motif was the most difficult.

The large frame upstairs will now be used for the mandala (which has been waiting patiently for its turn) and the Peru Rug which doesn’t seem to want to be finished. I’ll whip him into shape over the next few months. And I have the Persian Nain Rug started and I work on that one only on Saturdays (for right now).

As usual, I have too many projects going at once and my mind is in one of those “Let’s design a few more projects” mood as well. One new cross stitch design completed this last week already. Does anyone have a few extra hours per day that I could have? Or turbo needles? I sure could use them.

Happy stitching everyone.

Snowman Insert – Finale

I wanted to finish this Friday evening, but ran into problems. I had white and off-white threads all ready to go. I started Basketweaving the snowflakes over the background first. I just didn’t like it at all. I used two threads for the background and trying to do the Basketweave over them either split the threads or moved the nice, straight stitches up and down all over. So I quit while I thought about it and decided how I should proceed. Everything else was all stitched – just needed those snowflakes.

Last night I picked it up again and decided that I would have to make longer stitches and be careful how I handled the bag so I wouldn’t snag them. I used a combination of Double Crosses, Smyrna Crosses and even a Ray stitch. Most on the background section were just white. The ones on the snowman’s face and a few other places along the bottom were done with white and then the off-white (beige) threads. I feel better about how they turned out.

Snowman finale

And this was so easy to finish! Cut out the insert and attach the backing. There were two backings included with the tote so I can buy another insert canvas or design one of my own.

snowman tote

Unzip the pocket where the canvas will be inserted. Peel back the velcro strip that will hold the insert in place. Slide the canvas into the frame. Smooth down the velcro to hold it in place and zip it back up. It only took 10 minutes after I took it off the stretcher bars. Super!

finsihed tote

I used to have three tote bags around my chair where I stitch in the afternoons and evenings. Now I have just this one tote. In the front pocket is the sampler I’m working on. All the instructions and threads are in there and out of sight. The middle, very large pocket, has Father Christmas with instructions and threads – all zipped up until I work on it each Sunday. The back pocket has the canvas for Grieg cat from Dakota Rogers that I will now work on evenings until it is done. LOVE my new tote – and insert.



Jim Wurth’s Coronation – Finale

With the ornaments for my granddaughters completed, it was time to get the last of Jim Wurth’s Dodecagons done too. And here it is:

Coronation Finale

This was supposed to be done on red canvas and I mixed up the last two ornaments. So this is done on the black canvas. I’m upset with myself for mixing them up since you really can’t see the red Kreinik 4-Way stitch that fills in the center section and the Smyrna Crosses that fill in each Jessica. But it is still dramatic as it is. So I’ll live with it. LOL

Many have asked how these will be finished and now that all 12 are done, it’s time to work that out. While my DH and I were talking about it yesterday, I had a great idea! We don’t do a big tree anymore – no kids around at Christmas and we live in a small townhouse. That means that these 5 inch ornaments can’t go on the tree. So what about making a tree out of the ornaments and putting it up on the wall for everyone to see? I did a rough cut around each ornament this morning and laid them out on the floor for a quick photo.

Wurth tree

I’m going to finish them myself as “round” ornaments and no hanger. Looking at the photo, I think the two ornaments that are white/gold/silver should be the trunk of the tree. But that decision can be made later. We’ll also have to figure out how to hang them – mount them on a cloth and hang, wood tree-shaped piece, etc. But I do like the idea. What do you think?