Blue Bird Flowers: Loopy Ribbon

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2015-11-05 BB hillIt’s been a hectic month around Kansas City. In case you haven’t heard, Kansas City Boys in Blue (AKA: Kansas City Royals) won the World Series. It was quite a month…I watched every game starting pitch to last out and one night it was late. But last Tuesday my husband and I headed out to see the Boys in Blue. We went to Union Station and staked out our spot and then we would wander around one at a time (didn’t want to lose our nest) to see the festivities. It was cool to be part of this; I don’t think I say one person without a smile on their face and blue was the color of the day. People watching is a fun thing to do.

Didn’t take my flowers with me but I am working on them…maybe now that the Boys in Blue are taking a vacation I can get some stitching completed.

2015-11-05 BB a loopI decided to try the loop stitch with ribbon. Thought that sounded pretty simple…I guess not or I need lots more practice. I didn’t like the way it looked and so after having it half way stitched removed it, threw away that piece of ribbon. It is true that if you remove ribbon you MUST start over with new ribbon. Silk ribbon is not forgiving and will show every piercing of the ribbon…just like Congress cloth. I  guess if you want the “Shabby Chic” look you could reuse the ribbon.

2015-11-05 BB ironI used short lengths of ribbon, 12-15 inches. I ironed each ribbon…

Side note: I can’t remember if I told you all this before or not but this is the coolest trick. I learned this from Lois Kershner (http://www.loiskershner.com/home) in a class she taught at out guild. She irons her stranded silks; it makes them lie smoother on the canvas. I decided to try it with the ribbon (honestly I think I read that you should do this in one of the ribbon books) but it takes the kinks 2015-11-05 BB b loopout of the ribbon. Then I decided that it might work for any thread and you wouldn’t even necessarily need to turn on the heat. So I keep this handy little tool in close to my stitching nest and I iron whichever thread I think necessary. I am also looking for a portable hair 2015-11-05 BB c loopiron…illuminating the cord would make it even handier.

I decided to do the loop stitch like a Turkey work stitch and then I could better control where the loop is going. It is definitely harder on the ribbon and it took a bit of yanking 2015-11-05 BB d loopsometimes to get the needle to come through the ribbon and canvas, even with the chenille needle.

What I have learned is that ribbon work is a technique unto its self and I am a novice at this and need a lot more studying and practice. I think the rest of the flowers I am going to stick to the stitches I really know. Many of these stitches are used with Ribbon work and some are even stitched with ribbon, but for now I am going to go with what I know. Later this fall and winter I will re-visit the ribbon work books and try again, but right now I have too many stitching projects piling up to do this technique justice.

I finished the ribbon loops and filled the center with French knots stitched with Kreinik braid.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today

ttfn…sue

Blue Bird Flowers

Did you think I’d never get back to the flowers? So did I but here we go…

I read all my Ribbon books and decided for now to play it by gut feeling. I’ve gathered up many different types of ribbons type threads (i.e. Kreinik ribbons and Fyre Werks, Neon Rays, Sparkle Rays from Rainbow Gallery) and silk ribbons that were in my stash. The Ribbon books say the ribbon should fit the size of the ground and also the size of the flower being made. Common sizes (from smallest to largest) are 2mm-4mm-7mm and 13mm. All my ribbons are 4mm so I will be limited to their use according to ribbon books. Gathered these up too along with a few beads and metallic braids to add to the mix.

The first flowers I did were ruche ribbons. I found the word “ruche” spelled two different ways; one with a “c” and the other with an “s” and an accent mark over the “e”. I preferred the ruche spelling and so that is what we are using. The “s” spelling reminded me of rush as in hurry up and trust me rushing is not something you want to do when stitching these flowers.

For all the flowers I used a Chenille needle. Two reasons: 1. Wanted to pierce ribbon thread onto the needle and 2. thought if I had to pierce canvas threads would be easier to do so with a chenille needle. And most importantly, it worked for me…ALWAYS do what you are comfortable doing…if you force your needlework you will not like it. Remember this is supposed to be fun!

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2015-10-21 BB a rucheI did the small red flowers first using Neon Rays (nothing like jumping in feet first) for these red flowers. Neon Rays is hard to control without ruching it …so ruching it just made it more difficult to control.  So I just ruched the thread and piled it on the area and couched it down until I liked it. I added

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a bead and then moved on to the white flowers.  Thank goodness there were only two of these!

I realized I was in much too much of a hurry for this type of stitching; I was rushing the ruching!

2015-10-21 BB c rucheSo I took a deep breath and started the white flowers. I used Sparkle Rays for these flowers and noticed as I was pulling a thread of the
Sparkle Rays that this thread would ruche flat. So I decided to try and place in a controlled manner. I used other needles to place the ruched Sparkle Rays and then using 1 ply of floss couched the ribbon in place. I like this look and 2015-10-21 BB d rucheyou can really see how ruching works. I bet you can control ribbon like this too, will have to try different ways of doing this.

I finished the white flowers  with either green or gold beads. Oh btw, look out needlepoint police; I knotted 2015-10-21 BB e ruchethe ruched thread on the back. I wanted to be sure this thread didn’t come loose on either end. And since I am finishing it too, it is my piece I can do what I want!

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!    ttfn…sue

Blue Bird: Sides and wing

I made another creative decision on the bird bodies I made sure the stitches were slanted the same on both sides. I guess I should say I reversed the direction of stitches for one side. Whatever, I did it and it was a conscious decision.

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one side

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the other side

 

 

 

 

 

I think bird wings and sides are going to be the most fun, but probably the most labor intensive.

2015-08-12 MS Blue Bird flower sample aI have been watching the internet and the trend to use silk ribbon in stitching and just being so creative stitching flowers.  I collected a few pictures from the internet that I thought would inspire me and set them aside for reference. You can just google “silk 2015-08-12 MS Blue Bird flower sample bribbon flowers for needlepoint” and click on images for an unlimited supply of ideas. And since this piece had lots of cute flowers… I decided to play.

 

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I also had purchased Bullion needles from local shop earlier this year.(https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/hari-kuyo-broken-needle-celebration/) and wanted to play with them too. These are from Colonial needle and come in two types (of course I have them both): Tapestry or Sharp Point Bullion needles.  There are three needles packaged in a plastic tube for storage; there are a 3 1/2 inch, 5 inch and 7 inch needle in each package and they are equivalent to a #20 Tapestry needle in size. While I would like to see smaller sized needles available, we will play with these.

And of course there were more thread changes to be made. I have spent the last few days gathering up threads, silk ribbons and beads I think may work. I have a stash of silk ribbons for that future day of fun…so today has become that future days /weeks of fun.

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Silk Ribbons

A word about silk ribbons: Most silk ribbons we are using to stitch with come in the following sizes: 2mm-4mm-7mm-13mm; 2mm is the narrowest silk ribbon.  Most common seems to be 4mm (but remember I am flying by the seat of my pants and have not done much research into this technique yet.) and it is what I have the most supply in my stash at the moment. Several companies are producing silk ribbon:

Dinky Dyes: 4-7mm (http://dinkydyes.com/index.html)

Gloriana Threads: 4-7-13mm (http://www.glorianathreads.com/)

Planet Earth Fibers: 4-7-10-13mm (http://www.planetearthfiber.com/)

Rainbow Gallery Splendor Silk Ribbon: 4mm (http://www.rainbowgallery.com/index.html);

River Silks: 4-7-13mm (http://www.riversilks.com/index.html);

Thread Gatherers: 4-7mm (http://www.threadgatherer.com/);

Treenway Silks: 2-3.5-7-13mm (http://www.treenwaysilks.com/index.php);

YLI: 4-7mm (http://www.ylicorp.com/index.aspx)

2015-08-12 MS Blue Bird silk ribbon on spoolI am sure there are others, but these are in my stash; I’ve seen one on a spool and would love to find it someplace…I just think the little spools are too cute. Anyone know where these can be purchased?

And I would be remiss if I did not tell you about Florilegium…If you are in the Midwest or plan on being here; plan a trip to Weston, Mo (http://westonmo.com/?page=home). It is a quaint little town about 35 miles (45 minutes) north of Kansas City or 30 minutes from KCI airport. Great shops and food.  Make sure it is a week-end, that’s when most all shops are open. But DO NOT MISS seeing Florilegium (http://florilegium.com/), even if you have to call ahead and make an appointment for early in the week visit; this is eye candy overload for the creative soul. Gretchen is the owner and Kathy, her friend, are the two sweetest ladies around. But the reason I mention them here is that if you need a silk ribbon Gretchen dyes them and has beads, embellishments and ribbons forever.  It really is eye candy overload! Every time I go in there I feel like a kid in a candy store and when I leave I am exhausted and know I missed half of what was right in front of me.

But I digress…I have a few books that I need to look through too. I’ll post again in a day or two with a list of books I have. Even though I prefer a book in front of me, the internet is always a good source and sometimes you can find videos that allow you to see the stitch being created.

But first I am going to Basketweave the backgrounds of these pieces. Yes I am going to use Silk and Ivory in medium color blue. Remember I use #20 or #22 tapestry needle…it works. I will Basketweave right up to the flower edges and if I have to go back and fill in I’m sure it will not be noticeable for all the flowers.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue

My Stitching bird.

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I usually set the next un-stitched canvas I want to stitch out on stretcher bars so I can look at it as I finish stitching the last one. This usually gives me incentive to finish a canvas and not dawdle; but sometimes (usually) I get ahead of myself and stick the new canvas audition out to soon and it frustrates me that the canvas I am working on is stitching so slowly.

This is one of those pieces that had many side stories to it, or maybe it is just insight into my crazy thinking. At any rate, I will try and explain as we go…I am going to walk you through MY processing. It takes some turns and twists…so let’s get started. This canvas is painted on three separate pieces of canvas for easy of handling; so I have three canvases framed up and I am going to start the bird’s bodies first.

2015-08-05 MS Bird tear sheetThis Melissa Shirley (http://melissashirleydesigns.com//) canvas is another guild member’s canvas (Remember if you like this canvas ask your shop to see if the canvas is still available.)  She loved birds and stitched many of them…I have a couple turkeys she stitched but this was one that spoke to me, so I brought it home. I knew I wanted all the squares to be the same stitch: middle blue square are Reversing Scotch, lightest blue squares are Milanese; and dark blue squares are Byzantine.  The yellow bars are Slanted Gobelin and the little squares would be Smyrna Crosses. I had even decided to stitch the bird in Brown Paper Packages’ Silk n Ivory (http://www.brownpaperpackages.com/).

(1st twist). Yes, I know some stitchers think Silk & Ivory pills on 18 count canvas and it may; but I have never had this problem. I think if you are stitching something that is going to get a lot of wear (belts, purses, etc.); Yes, then you should think about using another thread. But remember any thread on a wearable garment will wear: perle cotton will lose its luster as will silk pearls, floss will not hold up to constant wear, and wool will pill too. So in my opinion, you should use what you like. Wearable stitching is not for a lifetime in most cases. Using Silk and Ivory on 18 count ornaments, standups and other decorative pieces works for me and I use it. The only problem I have ever encountered over the years is that large area of Silk and Ivory stitched in Basketweave tend to be tight (but I did it on this piece as you will see), but I have very little or no problem with decorative stitches. I do us a size 22 needle when stitching with Silk and Ivory, I think the larger needle opens the wholes of the canvas a tad more and helps the thread move smoothly through the canvas.

So I had pulled my threads (I originally intended to do the entire bird in Silk and Ivory and had pulled all the threads. Good thing I have my stash at hand…because the best plans usually change.)

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird square counts usedI don’t know why I picked a center square to start must have been Stitching Angel intervention, but somewhere I got it in my head these were not perfect squares. They are 16 threads to each square separated by 3 threads. But I made a mistake and stitched the Reversing Scotch Stitches over three threads instead of four. I could have taken it out but 2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird scotch squarefor whatever reason (I hate Frog stitching) I kept going.  I assumed the squares were off, but if I added a fourth thread to the dividers I could continue…I later went back and charted the Reversing Scotch and I liked my mistake better, so I kept it. After I played around and decided this mistake would work there was another twist: I have decided to change some of 2015-08-05 MS Bird rev scotch used 2the threads.

2nd twist: I have a list from Kreinik (http://www.kreinik.com/) of the threads they are no longer stocking (some you can request others have been discontinued) and I had spent a day separating these out so I would not use them for designing. I had lots of 042 Confetti fuchsia; I had used it to teach a class years ago when I was in certification for teaching. I use discontinued threads only in pieces for my personal use. So I decided to take yet another twist…

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird copic marker3rd twist: A few years ago I discovered Copic pens (http://www.copiccolor.com and http://www.copiccolor.com/) and now I can’t get enough of them. While playing with the Copic pens and an air gun I realized I could color areas of white canvas to simulate any color canvas I could want to purchase…hummm…but that’s another story. But I have used them to color canvas backgrounds if I need a larger or different shaped background.  I wonder if I can change the color too?  So I stopped stitching and changed all the yellow to sorta pink so I could use the Kreinik Confetti Fuchsia.

So now I am back on track, well at least my track. I am stitching the blue squares and looking at the wings and sides too

2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird chin aAnother turn came (not really a twist but a stitchers/finishers decision) when I went to stitch under the beak. Since I have been doing some of my own finishing I am more aware of these sharp, small turns that do not finish well. So here, under the beak I made another stitchers choice. See that one stitch that is unpainted, it went away; not the finishing there will 2015-08-05 MS Blue Bird chin bbe easier. As you are stitching and you see this little opps, you can cover them with a stitch and finishing will be much easier

So for now I am stitching along on the blue bird bodies…I will be back with the sides and wings soon. .

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!  ttfn… sue

Finishing up the Kids and Butterfly

I did finish the couching and am posting from afar…I am still watching nature go 2015-07-28 deerby, but I spoke too soon about our wonderful temperatures. Summer is here with a vengeance; hot temperatures and humidity. Even this doe doesn’t want to move much.  I hope after this week I will be able to finish up some of those half-done projects I have been creatively avoiding.  I like Anne’s term “Creative Avoidance’; if it were a disease (and it may be), I have a terminal case of it!

Couching is fun and it hides a multitude of creative stitches (if procrastination= Creative avoidance then it stands to reason we can also have creative stitching…another thing I am very good at doing)

2015-08- MS JapButterfly  top of head & stringAfter I finished the clouds and sky I added the antenna to the butterfly I decided a Wrapped backstitch was better than couching.

2015-07-28 cording on canvasAnd then on the lower part of the butterfly (red outline) I made a small cording or twist on the canvas and couched it in place. I make my cording or twist on the canvas and DO NOT turn it back on itself, but rather twist until I get the twist I like, I also use a few extra ply or a larger thread since I am not turning the cording/twist back on itself. . I find this much easier that trying to turn it back on itself and getting the proper length I need.  I start couching at the ends brought up through the canvas and stitch toward the open ends of the twist. This way if I need to twist more I can. When I get to within an inch of the ending I plunge the open ends of the cording/twist threads to the back and hold in place under where my couching will continue so I can catch and secure these ends. When I am through couching I plunge couching thread and secure cording/twist even more.

When I laid the cording twist out for the initial placement I realized that I was not going to be able to coil this at the end of the tail so I did a Cross Stitch over 1 thread and then placed a tiny Jessica around this. Then I plunged the cording/twist under this stitch area.

2015-07-28 MS JapButterfly couching aLest you think I was trying to cop-out of couching…all the gold is couched using 0023 Kreinik Japan #1 for the couched thread and Accentuate Gold to couch in place. I like to couch from the outside toward the 2015-07-28 MS JapButterfly couching bstitching. I think it makes for a soother line and I can control those little opps areas that I always seem to have.

2015-08- MS JapButterfly couching orderNotice that when you are couching either the red twist or gold some planning has to go into the placement of these threads. I did the upper red cording /twist before I did the lower red twist. See the picture for the order of placement for the red and gold. And the shorter kite string was couched before the longer one. I even thought of bring the gold back out under the child’s hand and letting it hang free; but decided against this for wear reasons. I did not want it to maybe accidentally get pulled and mess up other couching or just begin to wear poorly and then I would not have rest of couching secured well if I cut it off.

I have decided to frame this piece after all and am not going to stitch the black bands but have it matted in a black mat with a gold bamboo frame. I can see this, just hope I can find the gold bamboo for the framing.

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The Children with a kite was a former guild members canvas and threads and I hope that as Jessie is looking down from her golden cloud in heaven, she likes the way I stitched it.

I have already picked my next piece to stitch another Melissa Shirley Canvas(s) from another former guild member. More about this after I get back…

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today…I am!

ttfn…sue

Sky and Cloud

Oh what a week end, hot,  rain and stitching. Wish I could say the only cloud in the sky was on this piece of needlepoint, but it wasn’t. Really been a strange summer, not too hot (good thing) but way too much of the wet stuff (not good for the crops and fresh produce we all love to eat.)  But,  I managed to stitch away the week-end…(although I probably should have spent some time on this computer…I have so many half started projects that it would probably take me the rest of the year to just put a dent in these projects. Anna Stradal (blog: http://thecapestitcher.blogspot.com/) of ABS Designs (http://www.absdesignsonline.com/) calls it “Creative avoidance”, but that is another post for another day.)

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Clouds: Smyrna Cross

I decided to do the cloud in a traditional Smyrna Cross using #12 White perle Cotton. I wanted the clouds to have a little puff but not enough that the butterfly would sink into the cloud.

The sky is easy. I had seen this stitch somewhere and though it would make a great sky or background (sorry I do not remember where)  I also knew I could use it without much

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Sky 

compensation (although I think I forgot and did compensate in a few places (BUT if you are close enough to see these, you are too close to the needlework…please back away.) I have to finish the sky and especially around the butterfly. So I think I’ll stitch behind the kids first and then I won’t be tempted to stop and play with couching on the butterfly.

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Hopefully by the end of the week I can have this piece ready to be blocked. And next week is when I hide out at my niece’s house…my big job is to let the dogs out three times a day and watch the wildlife in her back yard.  I spend the rest of my time watching old movies and stitching…no work just relax and watch the wildlife and dogs.

And I have several other pieces in the works I want to get to stitch this summer too, so I am taking one of these with me.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue

More of the Butterfly

Had to take a small break to finish some instructions for a teacher but now I am back to stitching  along.  I decided a few things about the butterfly:

2015-07-17 MS Butterfly unstitchedI am doing the same stitch throughout. Nobuko and I would compensate as needed. The aqua and red dots will be Rhodes stitches to fit area. Butterfly body is going to be Gobelins, his topknot will be couched gold, and the antennas will be left for couching too (Rhodes stitches for the ends of antennas too).

Color choices are dark values for back wing and light values for front wing. These are also the colors used in the kids clothes.

I also decided to take a close up picture and I would later go back and couch the gold and red outlines. Then I realized I will have to stitch the cloud and sky before I couch the butterfly.

Since this is going to be a HOT week-end (I think summer has finally arrived in the Midwest USA…but gratefully it has stopped raining); it will be a great week-end to stitch.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue

Why do you stitch canvases?

When you buy a canvas do you think what the finished product will be? You should but few of us do. We are impulse buyers and this is good for shop owners but not always wise for us. There is just so much wall space that pictures can occupy. And even though I love my dog to bits, I do not like her using my needlework pillows as her lounging chair. And when are stand-ups & ornaments too many, not to mention where you store them all? So next time you go to buy that canvas, please think about the finished product; what will it be, where will it go, where will you store it if you need to do this and who will get it (if it is a gift)? All good questions and if you can’t answer them, then you might think about another canvas…because we all know that we have to purchase a canvas to maintain our mental stability. And visiting a shrink is more expensive and it will take you too long to get an appointment, so find a canvas you can see finished (someday), you can live with and then by all means… purchase it.

Do you ever buy previously owned canvas? Sometimes these canvases come with threads and stitch guides too. They can be from Susie Stitcher who is no longer as excited to stitch the canvas as she was when she purchased it; it can be from a guide member who is downsizing; or an estate sale of a former member. While I have purchased a canvas or two (less than 6) from an online auction company; I like to buy directly from the original owner, I like the connection to the stitcher.  I prefer to purchase something from a guide member at an estate sale for a couple reasons: 1. It gives that person a portion of her investment back or 2. It reminds me of that guild member who is no longer with us.

I have several of these and each time I stitch one I remember this lovely stitcher and how much I enjoy(ed) her company. This is one of those canvases, and when I got it out to stitch it I wondered how she had meant to finish it. I’m guessing a picture, but I do not know for sure. I asked on Facebook: Needlepoint Nation Group how I should finish this piece (https://www.facebook.com/groups/NeedlepointNation/search/?query=sue%20dulle) and received many responses: bolster pillow, box, black lacquer box, top for a new stitching bag; basket band, top of a chair back, door draft stopper, hat band, eyeglass case, table runner, top of a mirror, tray insert, coat rack inset and a stand up. At first I thought I would learn to make a box, then I thought top of a tote bag or a bolster pillow, but after stitching on it I’m not sure.

The canvas is an older canvas from Melissa Shirley Designs. I think it has been retired; but when I contacted Melissa Shirley Designs (http://melissashirleydesigns.com/)for permission to use photos, she had some great advice for those of us looking for an older canvas. She suggested you contact your local shop and have them check with the designer; they sometimes have a back stock or will be willing to paint a special order. There were at least two others if memory serves me well; one was with a fish and the other I do not 2015-07-06 Barbara pictremember. Thank you Barbara Cohen for sharing one of the other pieces that are in this series. The piece is lovely and I do like the framing too. .  Does anyone remember the other design canvases in this series? Maybe I should check and see if the others in this series are still available… Oh my gosh, I am enabling myself!

This canvas I purchased from a guild members estate was kitted with silks and so I decided to use these…there were some stitch suggestions from the shop that chose the threads but I decided to wing it on my own. First I took a picture of the unstitched canvas. I always try to do this as a reference to the canvas; I print this as a reference only. AND I do not keep them 2015-07-06 MS JB unstitchedafter I am finished stitching and shred these pictures as they are not my designs.

I try to remember to ask permission of the designer to use pictures of the design in my blog too. I’m not always good at this; I guess I think all of you who needlepoint and read my blog are honest. I did contact Melissa Shirley Designs and obtained permission for two of her canvases. And then feeling guilty, I contacted some other designers I plan on stitching and received their permission too.

I Basketweaved all the children’s skin and most of their outfits; the exceptions were the small decorative stitches and they were either Reverse Basketweave, Cross over 2 threads one direction, Cross stitch over 1…whatever fit the area. Their backpacks or ribbons were mostly Diagonal Goblins to fit. I decided to have some fun with the hair and so three of the children have padded, hair, I think they call this Shimada hairstyle [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimada_(hairstyle)]. The second child from the left just had wild hair… Random Straight stitches; while the second child from the right had a more controlled hairdo using Straight stitches in a more controlled method.

2015-07-06 MS-JB shoesThe shoes of the children were a combination of Cross stitches to fit; the heels and straps were Elongated Cross stitches to fit.2015-07-06 MS JB feet & grass

I spent 2015-07-06 bookan evening perusing for a grass stitch I liked. I chose #Grass 27 from Stitch Landscape from Little Shoppe Canvas Company (http://littleshoppecanvascompany.com/books); your local shop should be able to get this helpful little book for you.

Next I am going to stitch the butterfly…and then the background.

I still am undecided about how to finish this but maybe it will come to me as I stitch.

Hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July! Enjoy the rest of your summer…

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!

ttfn…sue