Recipe for Finishing Carrots

Take 30 carrots (10 designs stitched 3 times each). Originally intended for cross stitch from Vicki Hastings , The Cricket Collection( ) and I adapted them to needlepoint using 18 count orange canvas.

60 pieces of illustration board (front and back): Cut out, identified (number and or arrows pointing to top) , and trimmed. I try to get both illustration boards to be identical as possible; these are probably the most important yet boring steps in preparing the boards for finishing. The more time you take preparing the basics the easier the rest of the finishing becomes.


Cut 60 pieces of quilt batting slightly smaller than the illustration board and attach with glue to bright side of each board. Yes I said glue, I use it. These pieces are going to my grandchildren, not the Smithsonian. They will probably last my lifetime and maybe even one of my grandchildren will have one or two to share with their children but adding glue will not destroy them next week or in a lifetime.

Next I added white material to 30 front side pieces; clip the curves and pull snugly around illustration board, taking care not to distort the boards.  The batting and lining are optional finishing steps but I like the padding and thought the lining was necessary since I did not have a background stitch on the canvases.

I finished 30 pieces with the backing fabric; clip and snugly fitting these also.

Then I carefully centered the needlepoint to front side of pieces with lining…clipping and wrapping boards snugly being careful not to buckle boards.

I allowed all these pieces to set and dry… but when you’re working on 30 ornaments at a time, by the time you get to #30, #1 will be set and dry enough.  I matched the fronts to the backs…remember the numbering I did in the beginning…this is when it pays off especially when you have 30 ornaments all alike! Also at this time take time to make the cording and cut the ribbons.

Next steps are best completed one at a time. Apply glue to both sides of the ornament pair, place ribbons on one side of the ornament and place both sides together. At this time I also applied the cording around each ornament and set aside to dry. I place these ornaments between wax paper with a phone book placed on top to help set them.

After all the ornaments were completed and I recovered from sitting days and hours I tied a bow with one set of ribbons and with the second smaller satin ribbon tied each ornament on the trees with another bow.

Placed Easter eggs and bunny candy around the bases (it was cold and rainy, so no egg hunt at our house this year) and waited for the Grandkids to arrive.

Finishing may not be a four letter word but it could be. BUT…Every time I take on these monumental tasks, it reminds me of how much I really appreciate Finishers.  Yes, Finishers with a capital “F”, because they really do deserve a title and our accolades. So next time you think the cost of finishing is high, remember it took me a 4-5 days working 6-8 hours a day to complete 30 ornaments. AND these ornaments were all the same so I could do each step while your finisher probably is doing one ornament at a time, and even if she is doing 30 round ornaments each will be a bit different. So Finishers of Needlework in the world, you deserve a thank you note every time we pick up a finished piece of needlework. You have made our needlework into a finished piece of art. So from me to all you beautiful, wonderful, talented Finishers of Needlework in the world…


Hope everyone has time to stitch today! Me? I’m still recovering from Easter and just reading and resting. ttfn…sue

Back to the carrots & Additions

This is the tree I bought from Pier 1. I have three of these to inspire me to finish the carrots for my Grandchildren. I’d like to believe my stitching means more to them than candy and money…but even I remember being a kid and chocolate and shinny coins outweighed my Grandmother’s hard work. Not that I don’t appreciate all the lovely things she made for me…I still have one of the tea towels (with holes) that I can’t bring myself to throw away. It was the last thing she embroidered for me when I got married and I think I may just have to frame the stitching part. I also have pillow cases she stitched I use on the guest bed and Lord, help the head that ever touches one of these. I even have one or two that I use to keep my larger needlepoint projects safe.  

But I digress; this is turning into another blog for another day…back to the carrots and the tree.

I am trying to complete 3 carrots a day…so far I get one completed and start a second. On a good day I can get almost two stitched. I have 10 completed and 11 almost. I made a copy of the chart, enlarged to 125% and then with my trusty colored pencils I coded the stitches.

Yesterday, I had a discussion with a stitching friend about cross stitch designs. There are some that do not think one should every cross over from one media to another (i.e. using cross stitch designs for needlepoint). I am of the opinion that if you like it, want to try it, go for it. Life would be pretty dull if we all colored in the lines. Anyway, after we decided that we could use any media we chose; my friend pointed out a very interesting observation to me. She said that by doing cross stitch designs she had learned to look at the total design and make decisions on what part of the design to stitch first so she had places to anchor other threads and points of reference. And of course she is right…I just never thought about this.

When I came home I took a moment to look at the design I am stitching and realized I had done this too; kind of an un-thought of knee jerk reaction. Using the design above as an example…Obviously the lower part of this carrot was a no brainer, lots of stitching, place to anchor next thread, etc. But the flowers at the top I did think about and plan but not consciously as my friend does. Well, I guess it was consciously unconscious. I did the long green stem first, followed by the pink flower. Then I did the white flower; petals first then the center.  If I’m off count the center can be adjusted to work…less stitches or add a few…never frog stitch. I did the outside of the blue stitches, more of them and again if I’m off center can be adjusted; and then I added the backstitches.   

I think we can all continue to learn something from each other and I am grateful to this person who helped me to think about what I am doing and why.  From this conversation, we moved on to other things that we all take for granted or learned a long time ago and just do from habit. I’ll write again about these another day…because I need to get back to my carrots. I’m also taking a lunch break to the quilt shop to purchase material for finishing and of course eat lunch.

Hope everyone has time to stitch today! ttfn…sue


One morning and early afternoon later: (I need to find a personal shopper who will only purchase what I originally head out to buy!)

Heading for the quilt shop I should drive past the Half Price Book Store, but my car turns into the parking lot and two books later I am back on track. Jill Carter’s book: New Canvaswork has been on my want list for some time and the Complete Color Index just jumped into my hands. I love the box and the two books; and who can pass up a $45 find for $10 bucks?

Back on track, I spent an hour at the quilt shop. As luck would have it the canvas is not an orange, but it’s not a yellow-orange nor peach either. Whatever material I put it with just didn’t speak to me. I finally decided the two in the picture spoke to me best and even if I did go by JoAnn’s on my way (just 10 blocks out of my way, but I am in the area)…I would probably like these best. So my experience is buy them and if nothing else I am collecting a great stash for the garage sale my family will have when I go.

 I decided lunch was in order and my favorite Greek restaurant happens to be directly in my path. They always have a lunch special: Gyro sandwich and salad with a glass of fresh tea…Spoke to me and anyway if I eat lunch I may not buy so-o o much. Oh wait too late and that’s at the grocery store anyway.

 Okay full stomach, off to JoAnn’s. Found 1 fabric that would be okay, but decided I did not like it any better than the ones I had. Okay, going to make it out of JoAnn’s without a purchase…do you feel the earth shaking? Wait, this nice lady is putting out new books. Oh no, I’m not looking for anything in particular, I just have this want list of books in my phone that I carry so whenever I o to a bookstore (new or used) I am prepared!  And low and behold, what does this nice sales lady do? She enables me to the back to look at all the books that have just arrived! One book later off my list as one I really do not need; thinking I am going to escape and feel the earth move; out pops Jacqui McDonald Crewelwork from the Royal School of Needlework. MINE!!! With a 50% off coupon to boot!

Now I’m back home haven’t taken a stitch and am thinking about a nap. Between shopping and lunch I’m pooped!

Hope  I  have time to stitch today! ttfn again…sue