Welcome to Brownie's Chair, my blog about all things cross stitch. Feel free to have a look around, and email me if you have any questions or suggestions!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March D.E.S.I.G.N. - Tiny Modernist

I really need to get better at doing these DESIGN posts a little earlier in the month.  I just am always undecided about who to feature.  Oh the pressure!!!!

For those of you who don't know what  DESIGN is, it's a monthly feature hosted by Leonore Winterer of the blog Needle, Pen & Sword.  The acronym stands for Designer Everybody Should Instantly Get to Notice, and each month, different participants post a series of questions about a favorite/new needlework designer they've been working on.

What designer do you want to talk about this month?

As I said, I tend to be a little indecisive about who to feature every month.  So when looking through my WIPs and projects from this month, I came across the Cheryl from Tiny Modernist and decided that might be a good choice.  So I set off to learn more.  Come to find out I'd seen a few of her designs before in several cross stitch magazines, so she wasn't as new to me as I thought. 

Have you stitched a project by this designer before?

This is my first stitching experience with a Tiny Modernist pattern.  I just finished a project I called Hoppy Spring (originally called Happy Easter) as part of a spring exchange.  I had also featured one of her patterns for my Free Pattern Friday post back in February, a raccoon with a heart that I love (no pun intended) but I have not had a chance to stitch it yet.

Would you buy/stitch a design by this designer again? Why/Why not?

Um, yes, most certainly this will not be my last project by Cheryl.  If for no other reason I need to stitch that raccoon.  Hehe.  But seriously, I love this ice cream design, and it will totally end up on my to-stitch list, just as soon as I get some wiggle room in my Stitch from Stash budget...

http://www.tinymodernist.com/products/birds-and-butterflies-cross-stitch-pattern-instant-downloadWhat made you choose this particular design/designer?

The Tiny Modernist blog features a whole bunch of really neat free patterns.  Originally I found the raccoon pattern through Pinterest, and then when I was looking for a pattern to use for my spring exchange, something about that easter bunny just called out to me.  I think I was drawn to Cheryl's use of color and shape, especially in that bunny design.

Did you notice anything that distinguished this designer from others?

Tiny Modernist definitely has a modern feel to the patterns, so it was aptly named.  There are pretty much no fractionals, and only minimal backstitch.  It's more of what I would call "color blocking" style.  It reminds me a bit of Satsuma Street designs, but Cheryl definitely has her own spin on things.

I also love the wide variety of patterns the store has, from modern designs, to vintage/retro, to holiday, to travel, and the variety of designs from samplers to biscornus, to smaller designs.  There's a bit of something for everyone.

You can find the free Tiny Modernist designs at the blog page for freebies, and you can purchase Cheryl's patterns for direct download from her website, or you can find paper versions at your local/online needlework store.

Happy stitching until next month!
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March Check In for 2015 Flower of the Month SAL

Nothing like waiting until the last day to get this up, huh?  Sorry for the delay, we're still having internet sourcing troubles at home, so blogging in general has been more of a challenge lately.

But the good news is after my total falling off the bandwagon last month, I do have progress!  I got a bit more done on January:

Started a few outlines of violets on February:

And even got a couple petals started for March:

That means I'm caught up (at least until next month) with all my starts.  Yay!  Now to work towards some finishes...

So how did you all do?  I know from our Facebook group many of you are doing much, much better than me.  But hey, progress is progress, so I'm happy what I got done this month.  Post your progress whatever it is and share via the linkup below. 

If you are not currently a member of the SAL and want to join us, remember it's never too late to join!  The rules and official sign ups can be found on this page.  

Important Notes For Current SAL Participants: 
To earn an extra prize entry for this month, you must submit a check in (even if it's showing only progress and not a finish).  Your check in can be about the March pattern, or any other month you are working on/have finished. 

If you have done a blog post showing your progress, please use the linking widget below to add a direct link to your check in post.  

If you're participating but using a different way to check in, please send me an email to brownieschair (AT) hotmail (DOT) com with your progress details/pictures and I will post them here for you.

If anyone has any questions, please let me know.  I will leave the link widget open through the end of next week (April 10th) since I'm a little late this month, so please check in by that date.
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Monday, March 30, 2015

Guess What?

Bunny butt!!!!

Okay, see, I promised my brother I would do that.  I've been bugging him all weekend with that as I've worked on Hoppy Spring, which as you can see, I speedily completed over the weekend.  So I didn't finish it in time for it to count for this month's Stitch From Stash, so it will count as my first finish from April instead.

If there's one thing I don't like about this pattern, it's that the flowers at the bottom seem a little off center.  Strangely enough, I realized after I finished the piece that pattern preview had them in a slightly different position in relation to the bunny than the actual pattern. 

The pattern also lists colors for both DMC and Anchor threads, and I thought for sure once I added the darker brown of the bunny's head and the flowers that it was designed with Anchor threads because I didn't think the DMC looked right at all.  But since I didn't want to start over (it's due by the end of the week, and I still need finishing time) I kept going.  It seemed like the darker brown was way too dark and the pink flowers way too bright pink.  In the end, they must have grown on me, because the colors don't bug me any more now that it's done.

This is for a Spring themed exchange I'm participating in through the San-Man Originals message boards.  It's stitched on 14 count white aida using the charted DMC threads.  I started it March 25th and finished it March 29th (which is totally marathon stitching for me). This is a freebie pattern from Tiny Modernist called Easter Bunny, that I slightly modified by stitching "Hoppy Spring" on the bottom instead of Happy Easter.  The pattern can be found about halfway down this page if you'd like to stitch it yourself. 

So now it's onto a new spring design, although I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it.  Pictures of that coming soon.  I also made some progress on my EMS flowers for the Flower of the Month SAL I host (finally) so look for pics of those coming when I post the check in tomorrow.

I will also be participating for the first time in the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge next month.  For those of you who haven't heard of it, more information can be found here, but the basic idea is that you write 26 posts in April, one for each letter of the alphabet.  Mine of course will be cross stitch themed, but I haven't really decided how else it will go yet.  I'm not going to worry about being too thematic, since this is my first time participating.  I know of at least two other stitching blogs that are taking part, and they're celebrating by doing a letter of an alphabet pattern a day, which I think is a great idea, but I just have way to much deadline stitching to do at the moment to participate in that.  Bummer.  But look for those posts to start coming in a couple days.  It's going to be like Crazy January all over again with multiple posts per day, haha. 

Speaking of which, my Stitch From Stash update last Friday was my 100th post, can you believe it?  Thank you to all of you who join me and read my crazy thoughts and comment on my posts.  It means a lot.  I try to reciprocate as much as possible, although I am wayyyy behind on reading my blogs, so I haven't been commenting as much as usual lately, and I hope you all forgive me.  

Anyway, more updates coming tomorrow!
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Free Pattern Friday: Easter Bunny

Can you believe it's already the last Friday in March?  Where did my favorite month go?  Today's free cross stitch pattern is an Easter themed one, since we're fast approaching on that holiday too.  I just couldn't let it go by without featuring a pattern for it, now could I? 

This pattern is simply called "Easter Bunny" and is designed by the fabulous Lucie Heaton.  If you're a regular reader of the British cross stitch magazines, you probably recognize her name.  Now, this pattern is small enough you have time to get it done before Easter if you wanted to.  Just saying.  I of course love it because it includes a daffodil at the bottom!

This pattern is featured at the Cyberstitchers website, so you can head over there to download this free cross stitch pattern in three different formats. 

I also have a bonus source of free patterns for you today.  I've mentioned the Facebook group Cross Stitch for Charity before (back before Christmas).  The current charity being supported is World Wildlife Fund, and there are some great charts that have been donated by designers such as Jane Netley Mayhew, Brooke's Books, Lesley Teare, Ursula Michael and many, many more. 

Now, these charts are free, they were donated to the cause directly from the designers, but in return it's asked that you make a donation (big or small) to the group's fund so it can be donated to the current charity at the end of the month.  These charts will therefore only be available until March 31st, so if you'd like to donate to WWF, and get some great free charts in return, head over to the Facebook group to check it out ASAP

Happy stitching!
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If you ever come across one of my posts that contains a chart that breaks copyright law, please email me and let me know right away. In picking and posting my free cross stitch pattern posts, I make every effort to ensure the designs I share are legitimately free charts.

Stitch from Stash March 2015

It's time for another 2015-A Stitch From Stash Check In!

Month: March
Spent: $26.75
Earned: $8

March should have been an easy SFS month, since it was my birthday so I shouldn't have needed to buy anything.  Alas, I did make several purchases this month. 

First of all, I had run out/was missing several DMC threads for the next few projects I was planning, and I also needed some 16 count aida for an upcoming Love Quilts project.  So armed with a 20% off entire purchase coupon from Joann's I got what I needed on my birthday, along with some needles (I lost a few on the plane) and some finishing fabric.  Since both needles and finishing fabric are exempt, the total spent was $6.77.  I then had to hop over to Hobby Lobby to pick up the few colors Joann's had been out of, so that was another $2.20.

I've been telling myself to stay away from eBay lately, but I found this really great deal that I couldn't resist.  I've been trying and trying to find a copy of the Joan Elliott calendar that was released with World of Cross Stitching magazine this year.  Most of the ones you see on eBay are the abbreviated 2-chart version that was sold in US stores, and I can't afford shipping from the UK most times.  Well, I lucked out and won an auction that had not only the Joan Elliott charts, but some Margaret Sherry charts from 2012 as well (score!) with UK to US shipping less than $6.  Total spent - $2.78 US for both.  A steal!

My last purchase is where most of my budget went this month.  After posting in my March WIPocalypse update that I was wishing for a copy of Mirabilia's discontinued Lady of the Flag pattern, I had one of my blog readers approach me and offer to sell me her copy for $15.  Since I haven't been able to find it on eBay for cheaper than $20 lately, I took her up on it.  It isn't here yet, but I can't wait to see it.  It will be my first Mirabilia design.

So now I've detailed how I was naughty, time to show off my latest finish.  I did finish two small pieces as part of the Frosted Pumpkin Round Robin I'm doing, but since I didn't pay for the pattern or threads/fabric on those projects, I'm not counting those towards earnings for SFS.

But I did finish the project I am calling Sparrow On Vine:

 Ta-da!  It's really finished this time. 

This is for a quilt being made by Love Quilts.  The theme for this quilt was religous sayings, so I took this pattern of a pink bird on a green vine and added the text from a scripture in Matthew.  The bird part of the pattern is a freebie from the French blog Passion Broderie 77 and can be found here if you'd like to stitch it yourself.  This project is done on 14 count plain white aida with DMC threads, was started on January 30th as part of the Crazy January Challenge and I finished it on March 26th.  At approximately 92 x 87 stitches, it earns me $8 this month for SFS.

So that's my update for the month.  Here's where I am now:

Starting balance from February: $5.30
March budget: $25
Finish bonuses: $8   
Total:  $38.30 to spend in March
- Total stash purchases: $26.75

Ending balance: $11.55

Well, at least the ending balance number is going up...

I thought I might have another finish this month, but didn't quite finsih it before I had to get this update up.  This is the start of my latest project, which I'm calling "Hoppy Spring".  It's a bunny looking over his shoulder at some pink tulips.  It's a slightly modified Tiny Modernist design.  Here's the progress so far:

Just a cotton tail (which doesn't show up much) and a bit of bunny right now.  But it's stitching up pretty quick, so I'm hoping I can get it done this weekend.  Hopefully back with a progress update on that Monday!   
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March 2015 Smalls SAL Check-In

This month has flown by!  Do you think it could possibly be because I was on vacation for two weeks? LOL  But as it's the last Wednesday of the month, it's time for the March update in Stitching Lotus' 2015 Smalls SAL.

Just like last month, my smalls stitching has been kind of non-traditional.  Although I worked on several small projects, I only have two that are done and count for this month.  And like last month, they are actually part of a bigger project, but I am counting them as smalls because I only worked on a small portion of said project. 

I am of course referring to Round 2 of the Frosted Pumpkin Round Robin I am participating in through a Facebook group.  I had two small blocks to finish in the Woodland Sampler pattern: A raccoon block and mushroom block:

Regular readers of this blog will recognize both of these already (sorry!).  But since they are old pictures, I will share something new about this project.  This was suposed to be for the 'February' round in the rotation, but since my projects are being mailed from the UK, sometimes I am behind.  Which was the case for this project, since I didn't get the January round project (The Frog Prince block from last month's Smalls check-in) until late Feburary, almost March.  So I purposely picked the February (raccoon) block to stitch because we didn't have to go in order for the sampler, but it was by the already stitched area, and it was a smaller block.  So I figured I could send it out faster and get caught up quicker. 

Well, it was only after starting the raccoon that I realized that February/March were combined into one stitching section for the round robin, since both were small blocks.  So that's how I came to stitch both of them, thus I think of them as two completely separate projects (in my own head anyway). 

Hopefully I will have more exciting things to show off next month as I am about to start a small project for a spring exchange that's due at the end of the month (I'm running out of time!).  I also stitched on a small magnet project, which is said project I can't post pictures of yet since it's for a birthday present. 

I also made a bit of progress on Mill Hill's Autumn Circle while I was driving around town on vacation:

I really need to take an updated picture of this, since I've started to add green to the leaves now and it gives it so much more depth. 

Anyway, that's my update for now.  See  you Smalls SALers next month!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I Have a Finish!

Back from the trip with a finish:

Haha just kidding.  Did you see it?  It's not really finished, although from far away it looks kind of like it.  I worked really hard on this on the car drive down to southern CA and back, and managed to get most of it done.  Problem was, I ran out of thread and didn't bring any with me beyond what was on the thread organizer already.  Hence the unfinished bird bootie and halfway done vine. 

The plan now that I'm home is to finish stitching off those two areas and then mail this off to Love Quilts where it is due on April 1st. 

I also made quite a bit of progress on the super secret birthday present I started on the plane flight home.  But alas, I can't show you pictures of that just yet. 

The trip was really fun, but I am totally exhausted since it was really more of a "working vacation" than an actual vacation.  A Disneyland trip and 4 classes taught later, it was back to work bright and early Monday morning.  Ugh. 

Actually, getting back was quite a bit of a challenge.  My plane leaving Sacramento Saturday afternoon was delayed over an hour, so my 50 minute layover in Dallas turned into a 5 minute layover, and since the departing plane I needed to be on was 2 (huge) terminals over, I naturally missed it.  Luckily, once I finally found someone to help me reschedule the flight, they did put me up at the airport's hotel for the night, as there were no remaining planes to Mississippi that night. 

It was a Grand Hyatt, which is probably the absolute fanciest hotel I've ever been in (seeing as Hampton Inns are normally fancy to me, being used to your generic La Quinta and Best Western type motels).  I wish I hadn't gotten there so late though (about 11:30 pm by the time I checked in) because I would have liked to sit and stitch in the room a bit and enjoy all that luxury before I had to go to sleep.  Oh well.  Maybe someday.  Can I just say though, that even though I did get helped eventually, American Airlines has THE WORST customer service I have ever experienced on any airline in my lifetime.  Anyway, rant over now, I promise.  Back to stitching. 

Sadly I don't have any additional progress to show at the moment, but the end of the month is coming up, so that means check ins for several of my SALs are imminent.  I also got the latest round of the Frosted Pumpkin Round Robin in the mail while I was gone.  This round's pattern is Dessert of the Month, so I'm excited to get started on that soon.  And I have a spring exchange pattern due at the end of March too, so I will need to get hurrying on that soon as well. 

So, more progress pics to come soon hopefully!

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Free Pattern Friday: April Sweet Peas

Hard to believe we're already three weeks into March.  Sheesh.  Where did the time go?  But since we are that far along, today's free cross stitch pattern is the upcoming April installment in the Flower of the Month series by EMS that are part of the 2015 SAL I'm hosting.  If you want to come join us, all the signup info can be found here.

So although I mentioned last month that March's square is probably my favorite of this bunch, April's sweet pea design probably comes a close second.  I've had a thing for sweet peas since I saw and fell in love with Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies design for the sweet pea.  If you haven't seen it, Google it; you'll love it too.  Also, it's pink, so like January, that's a good thing going for this design too.

Speaking of Google, my quick search informs me that the original sweet pea plant only came in purple, but due to numerous genetic cross breeding, it now comes in many colors.  You may remember good ole Gregor Mendel from your biology class, whose work with cross breeding sweet pea plants led to the discovery of the laws of genetic inheritance. 

But enough with the science lecture.  Sweet pea flowers are associated with messages of goodbye and blissful pleasure, and can also mean "thank you for the wonderful time".  So you should have a wonderful time stitching this, no? 

And now that you're all sweet pea-ed out, you can head over to the EMS Designs website to download April's free cross stitch pattern, and join our SAL if you're interested.  Look for May's pattern to be posted in a couple weeks.

Happy stitching!
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If you ever come across one of my posts that contains a chart that breaks copyright law, please email me and let me know right away. In picking and posting my free cross stitch pattern posts, I make every effort to ensure the designs I share are legitimately free charts.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Trip Update

I have a bit of time in the hotel room this morning before getting going, so I figured I post a few updates.

California has been great so far, it's been really nice to see many of the friends and family that we moved away from 9 months ago when we left for Mississippi.  Thank you for all of your birthday well wishes too; it was a good day with some nice surprises.  I'm at the point where I don't really like a big fuss made over my birthday anymore (too close to breaking 30) but hanging out with good friends was really nice.

I've managed to get some stitching done this trip too, despite fate's best efforts to not let me do so.  I was able to bring some of my projects in my carry on personal item in the plane, and was totally prepared for a nice long stitching session.  Well, about 20 minutes after takeoff I lost the needle and didn't have a spare.  Rats.   However, before that I did make some progress on the pony magnet I'm working on.  Sorry, no pictures yet though since it's for a gift next month.

Then Thursday (the first full day of the trip) I totally smashed my finger in the car door.  Like completely.  I will spare you the picture, but suffice it to say it was very sore and hard to stitch for a few days, since it's the middle finger on my dominant hand.  It's still sensitive, and the nail is completely blue/purple, but at least I can stitch again.

I did manage a bit of progress on both Autumn Circle by Mill Hill:

and my Sparrow square for a Love Quilts project that's due next month.

Actually, both of these pictures are a little old; I've gotten farther on both of them now, but my camera is not cooperating at the moment.

I mentioned my birthday a bit above, and it was nice, but I got one gift in particular I really want to share with all of you.  One of my fellow cross stitching buddies back home (actually we didn't meet through cross stitch, just kind of figured out that we actually enjoy doing the same thing once we were already friends) gave me a wonderful present for my birthday.  Knowing that I love reading, she made me this wonderful bag:

Isn't it great?  Look at the detail on this thing:

And it's fully and beautifully lined too:

(just ignore my knee in the bottom right corner)

It's almost too pretty to use, haha.  Not sure if I will use it as my work bag (I really need a new one) or maybe as a project bag.  I will have to think about that for a bit.  Thank you again Kathy.  I bow to your awesomeness in sewing ability.  :)  

Inside the bag were a multitude of other surprises:

Pretty much a do it yourself kit inside.  Some lovely 16 count aida and 28 count evenweave, plus one of Ursula Michael's wonderful word art patterns.  This is called Let's Be Wicked (obviously for Halloween) and there is also all the thread needed to complete it, along with some Thread Heaven and some new needles.  The needles were especially good since as I mentioned above, I had lost my last one on the plane.  I'm so happy I've got such a wonderful Halloween project to work on this year.

The other things included in the bag were the two sweet Owlet kits from Mill Hill I posted about during the last Stitch from Stash.  Aren't they adorable?!?  Sadly, I will have to wait a bit on these, as I have a few more projects to finish first.

But despite that, the whole thing was pretty much the best stitchy birthday gift ever.  :)

It has been a lovely trip so far (filled with plenty of work and play).  I plan on posting an update on Monday showing off lots more stitching that I've gotten done during the days we have left!

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Free Pattern Friday: March Birthday Cake

Happy Friday everyone!  Today is my birthday, so we have a birthday themed free cross stitch pattern to feature today.

Today's pattern is from a series of monthly themed birthday cakes designed by the wonderful Brooke of Brooke's Books back in 2008/2009.  And since it is March, this is the March themed birthday cake.  I love it.  Normally March in monthly patterns is all shamrocks or Easter, and I feel like my lovely birthday gets so eclipsed.  I want something spring-y!  This cake has lots of nice Easter touches, with a few little shamrocks too in case you're wanting that Irish flair.

Now the catch for this pattern is, it's a little bit harder to get a hold of.  You will need to join the Brooke's Books Yahoo group to get access to this series of freebies.  But they're adorable, so I highly suggest that you do!  This post on Brooke's blog has all the details about how to find the PDF of this free cross stitch pattern. 

Happy stitching!

P.S.  Okay, so for those of you who were hoping for a St. Patrick's Day pattern... Brooke also has a freebie  of this amazing Celtic knot shamrock available for direct PDF download on her website.  She designed this pattern for her husband, isn't that so amazingly sweet?  So there you go, two free cross stitch patterns in one day, both from the same amazing designer.  You're welcome.  :)

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If you ever come across one of my posts that contains a chart that breaks copyright law, please email me and let me know right away. In picking and posting my free cross stitch pattern posts, I make every effort to ensure the designs I share are legitimately free charts.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Finished Woodland Sampler!

Just checking in really quick before I leave on vacation.  After a furious round of packing last night, I also had a major late night stitch fest to get this done so I could mail it before we leave.  So the February block of Frosted Pumpkin's Woodland Sampler is now done:

Now it's off to the next person in the Round Robin, and I will have a new project to work on when I get back from California!

If you're curious, here's what the project as a whole looks like so far (I stitched both February and March on this one):

Sorry for the crummy lighting.  Night pictures just don't turn out very well on my phone camera. 

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

No Turtle Trot and Things to Come

Today is the 10th of the month, so it's the day to check in for the Turtle Trot SAL.  For those of you who haven't heard of this before, Turtle Trot is a year long SAL hosted by Claudette of BAP Attack.  The idea is to pick 10 pieces you want to work on all year, and post your progress each month. 

So my update for March?  Nada!  I have been so busy with what I call "obligation stitching" (aka deadline stitching) that I haven't had a chance to pick up any of my Turtle Trot pieces since January.  Wah.  However, I do have a mini-update of sorts.  Thanks to the input from several of you on my last post, I did make some modifications to my Turtle Trot tracking page where I added finished photos of how all my projects will look when done.  But yes, no actual progress on the projects themselves. 

In other news, I'm leaving for a trip to California this week!  I'm bringing my stitching with me, and although I have a few posts scheduled while I'm gone, I probably won't have a lot of posts up while I'm gone.  I expect there will be plenty of updates when I get back though!

I am making progress on the February block of Frosted Pumpkin's Woodland Sampler.  I need to get this one done so I can send it out before we leave!  This block features a racoon and is taking much longer than the mushroom one, since it is 100% coverage.  But I think I'm finally getting the hang of stitching on linen.  I don't have an up to date picture to share, but here's where it was on Sunday:

The only change so far is that the rest of the sky is filled in.  So now I need to finish his head, face, and the stars and he'll be done.

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Free Pattern Friday: Without A Cat

So welcome to the first free cross stitch pattern Friday in March.

As I think I've mentioned a few times already on this blog, I really like the month of March,  mostly because it's my birthday month (one week and counting, yeah!).  So I thought it would be fun to feature a "favorite" of mine for today's pattern.  Well, I love cats, and looking back through my featured patterns so far, I can't believe I haven't shared a cat pattern.  Well, this must be rectified immediately.

Today's pattern is designed by Jan Eaton for Tom Pudding Designs.  It was originally sold as a kit, which is no longer available, but the pattern is offered by the publisher as a free download instead.  It's a fairly simple pattern, although it does feature beading and a few blended stitches, which will either be a challenge, or a nice change depending on your stitching level.

Head over to Tom Pudding Designs' website to download the PDF of this free cross stitch pattern.   I guess this means I need to do a pattern for all you dog people out there now, don't I?  :)

Happy stitching!
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If you ever come across one of my posts that contains a chart that breaks copyright law, please email me and let me know right away. In picking and posting my free cross stitch pattern posts, I make every effort to ensure the designs I share are legitimately free charts.