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!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Free Pattern Friday: Dragon Dreams

Okay, so Valentine's is over, so let's get away from the lovey stuff for today's free cross stitch pattern, all right? 
Today's post does feature two things I love though: fantasy patterns and Joan Elliott. I just love the amount of detail Joan puts into her designs, and the golds, greens, and purples in this one are just perfect. The model here shows it finished off as a card, but I've also seen someone do it as a small drawstring bag, which was also a very neat project to see.

This amazing dragon design was originally published (I believe) in Cross Stitch Gold Magazine.  Luckily, the magazine editor has made it available as a free download on their website, so you can pick it up even if you don't have the back issue around.  Head over there (creating a free account is required for download) to get the PDF of this free cross stitch pattern.

Happy stitching!

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.

February D.E.S.I.G.N. - Passion Broderie 77

Again, I'm barely squeaking this post in the nick of time.  Hopefully things will settle down after this week, since I will no longer have our church activity hanging over my head after tonight (why they asked me to organize the thing....)

Anyway, February is almost over, so it's time for February's DESIGN post.  For those of you who don't know what that is, DESIGN is 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?

This month I am featuring work by Corinne from the blog Passion Broderie 77.   Although not a "published" designer, Corinne publishes several of her own designs for free on her blog a couple times a week or so.  It's a great source for free patterns.  The blog is in French, which is a difficulty for me, but with the help of Google Translate, I manage okay. 

Have you stitched a project by this designer before?

My first project that I stitched from this designer was the Perfume Bottle pattern I stitched for WOCS.

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

I am currently stitching three other designs by Corinne: a ladybug design, a purple owl design, and a sparrow design, all of which are also for charity quilts.  I'm sure there will be more of her designs in my future too.  I have a lot of them saved for reference. 

What made you choose this particular design/designer?

I first found the blog when I was searching for a pattern to use in a charity stitching quilt for a "ladies accessories" themed quilt.  I didn't have any patterns in my stash that would work, and being on a budget I went looking for freebies.  I eventually stumbled upon Corinne's work, and the rest is history. 

Did you notice anything that distinguished this designer from others?

So, there's a few things that set these designs apart from others I have stitched before.

1.  There are no symbols on the charts, just color blocks.  I know some people prefer this kind of stitching now, but for me, it makes it a little hard to tell exactly what color I'm supposed to be using, especially if the shading is close.  My printer doesn't always print straight colors, so that compounds the problem, so sometimes I have to pull up and super enlarge the original in order to get the colors right.

2.  For freebie patterns, most of these designs are fairly big.  Most of them start at about 70 to 90 stitches square, with a few being closer to 120 in height or length.  This means on 14/28 count fabrics, you're looking at a pattern at least 6 inches or so without any border around the edges.  Which is a good thing to keep in mind while you're planning.

3.  Many of the patterns feature large blocks of the same color.  This may be good or bad depending on how you look at it.  I think it makes stitching a lot easier in most cases, but I get bored sometimes too. 

4.  One bad thing I've noticed is that the designs do not really appear to be symmetrical most of the time.  While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, I have modified things like eyes/pupils so they match on either side.  Also, sometimes the shading and colors can be a little off.  Bottom line, you'll just need to be ready to modify the pattern if needed.

Well, that's about it for this month.  Happy stitching until next time!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

February Check In for 2015 Flower of the Month SAL

Hello Flower Stitch-A-Long participants! I can't believe how fast February went by.  I know the month is only shorter by a few days, but whoo!  There's just a couple days left, so it's time to submit your progress for February.  How did you all do so far?

My progress is... well... nonexistent this month.  Bad, bad hostess!  I just had too many deadline projects that popped up in the meantime.  So I haven't made any more progress on January, and haven't had a change to stitch February either.  But apparently hope springs eternal, because I did spend a couple hours kitting up March's pattern last Saturday. 

So how did you all do?  Obviously no one can be worse than me this month, so post your progress whatever it is! 

If you are not currently a member of the SAL and want to join us, remember it's never too late to join us.  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 progress and not a finish).  Your check in can be about the February 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 have chosen to post your progress in the Facebook group, please leave a link here on this post as well.  That just makes it easier for me to gather info and not miss/double count anyone.

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 (March 7th) so please check in by that date.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Feburary 2015 Smalls SAL Check-In

Although really it's only 4 days shorter, February always seems to go by so quickly doesn't it?  But since it's the last Wednesday of the month, it's time for the Feburary update in Stitching Lotus' 2015 Smalls SAL

Although I didn't really get a chance to work on any "small" projects this month (it's been kind of a weird stitching month for me), I did finish a small part of a Round Robin piece, so that's what I'm counting for this month.

At approximately just over 50 stitches in height and width, this is the February block from Frosted Pumpkin's Once Upon a Time sampler.

(The May block was done by the owner of the project.)

As I mentioned before, that frog gave me quite a bit of trouble, but I managed to get it all done in the end.

After finishing this one finally last week, it's now on it's way to the next person in the round robin, and I'm working on the next project, which if from Woodland Sampler.  That one is being done on linen, my first time ever working with it, and it's HARD!

We're having a frozen day today here in Mississippi, so I hope the rest of you are staying warm.  Happy stitching everyone!

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Stitch from Stash February 2015

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

Month: February
Spent: $36.40
Earned: $16.00

And here is the breakdown of what happend.  So far, you know, I'm really not doing so well on this not-buying-stash thing.  But I just had to get this lot of back issues of Cross Stitch Gold off eBay, since these are so hard to find in the States:

And of course I ended up planning a whole new series of Christmas gifts, so that meant 4 Mill Hill purchases needed to be made:

Hmmm, expect the Christmas lights one.  That one's all for me.  I freely admit it.

Luckily, I had two finishes this month, Perfume Bottle (90 x 80 stitches) and Rainbow Mandala (67 x 67 stitches), and both were freebie patterns with fabric and threads from stash, so I was able to count those towards my final budget.  Both earned me $8 each in bonuses.  So again, thanks to Mel's generosity, I didn't actually go over budget at all.  Yay!

Actually, I had one more finish for the month so far (no picture yet though, sorry!), which was my block for the Frosted Pumpkin Round Robin sampler.  But since I didn't pay for pattern, fabric, or threads for that one, I am not counting it for SFS.  

Finally tally for the month:

Starting balance: $0.70
February budget: $25
Finish bonuses: $16   
Total:  $41.70 to spend in February
- Total stash purchases: $36.40

Ending balance: $5.30

So now I've shown you how I was naughty and bought things, let me show you what I DIDN't buy this month (although I came really close). My main temptations this month were:

Two of the Mill Hill new Owlets kits.  How adorable are these?  Between my love of owls and love of Mill Hill, I almost caved on this.

Also, this pattern:

I don't know why, but I'm really on a Mary Poppins kick lately.  Disney version of course, both Broadway and movie though.  So this pattern totally sang to me.

But I resisted!  Haha!  So now I have a little more wiggle room in the budget to use next month if needed...
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Friday, February 20, 2015

Free Pattern Friday: March Daffodils

Today's free cross stitch pattern is another 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.

As February is drawing to a close, it's time to get ready for March, so I'm posting the March pattern of the SAL now so you can prepare if needed.  If you're participating in the SAL, don't forget to show us your progress at the end of this month!

I'm rather partial to March, since it is my birthday month.  And March's flower is one of my favorite flowers, the daffodil.  Actually some people say March's flower is the Jonquil, which look like daffodils to me.  Anyone know the difference?  I like to say "daffodil" better than "jonquil" anyway, so I'm just going to say it's officially the daffodil.  :)

According to Google, the daffodil is also called the "Lent Lily" or the narcissus, which I guess is the official botanical name.  The daffodil stands for rebirth, renewal, and chivalry, and is considered a 10th anniversary flower.  Presenting a gift of a bunch of daffodils is said to bring happiness, while a single daffodil can signify misfortune.

And now the I've bored you with all sorts of daffodil lore, you can head over to the EMS Designs website to download March's free cross stitch pattern, and join our SAL if you're interested.  Look for April's pattern to be posted in a couple weeks.

Happy stitching!

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.

February 2015 TUSAL Update

I'm actually a few days late for the check in on Daffycat's Totally Useless SAL, since the new moon was actually Wednesday I think, but I kept forgetting to take a picture of my ort jar when I was home at night.  I finally remember last night, and managed to snap this (sorta blurry) one in the meantime:

That's my orts for both February and January, since I missed the check in last month.  Sadly, I was keeping my "travelling" ort in a small ziploc bag in my work purse and I have misplaced it completely, so I'm really bummed about that.  Funny when you miss a funny thing like thread scraps, huh?

Hoping to get lots of stitching done this weekend.  I'm going to have to plant myself in front of the TV and get through as many episodes of The Muppet Show as I can.  It's "research" for a talent show I'm in charge of for church on Friday.  For research, it's not all together bad though.  :)

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Update: Frosted Pumpkin's OUaT for Februrary

Moving along on my Frosted Pumpkin Round Robin piece.  This is from the Once Upon a Time sampler, and I am doing the February block, which is The Frog Prince.

I had to "frog" that frog several times.  It was supremely frustrating.  Hopefully I'll be finishing this one up and mailing it off soon!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Progress Update: Rainbow Mandala is Finished

Hey all,

Just popping in really quick to share my latest finish with you.  Rainbow Mandala is now done!

That's one more Crazy January project I can mark off the list!  This is for a quilt being made by World of Charity Stitching.  It's done on 14 count natural aida with DMC threads in neon colors.  I tried to do it approximately lightest in the middle to darkest on the edge, but now I look at the finished project, I think I would have changed up the order a bit.  It is approximately 67 stitches by 67 stitches, and since the pattern was free, I can also count it as part of my Stitch From Stash earnings this month. 

I started this project on January 4th as part of the Crazy January Challenge and finished it this weekend on February 14th.  It is a free pattern from the German (?) blog Stickeule and can be found here if you'd like to stitch it yourself. I did pick my own colors though, rather than following those in the pattern. 

Now its off to go finish the Once Upon A Time sampler, since I really, really, really need to get that sent off to the next person!
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Friday, February 13, 2015

Free Pattern Friday: Raccoon With Heart

So if you were a little "loved out" by last week's free cross stitch pattern, I have the perfect solution for you this week.  Since tomorrow is actually Valentine's Day, we'll go easy on the heart thing today. 

Today's pattern's pattern is done by the fabulous designer Tiny Modernist, and features this absolutely adorable raccoon.  Yes, he is holding a heart, but it's still a perfect design for any time of the year.  I just love him, I want to reach out and pinch his cute little cheeks!

You can find the chart and key for this free cross stitch pattern from the designer's freebie page.  All the free patterns are on one page, so you'll need to scroll about halfway down to find the raccoon.

Happy stitching!

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, February 11, 2015

Turtle Trot January 2015 Check-In

Turtle Trot is a year long SAL hosted by Claudette of BAP Attack.  You pick 10 pieces at the beginning of the year and post your progress on them once a month on the 10th.  You can join up at any time during the year.  

So, I was a dork and somehow didn't notice that yesterday was the 10th until today (the 11th).  Sheesh.  Where has my brain gone?  So I'm a day late in my Turtle Trot check-in, but as they say, better late than never. 

I did 7/10 projects this month, so not too bad.  Two of my WIPs that my goal is to finish through Turtle Trot didn't get worked on at all, and one of my new starts did not get started.  But here is what I managed to finish.

The WIP I did get to work on was Tree Frog Trio:

Start of 2015 progress

I managed to completely finish the light green on the left frog and start on some of the darker green in his legs:
Britannia Pillow was a completely new start.  This is going to be huge when it's finished, it's on 20 count evenweave, and it's also my first project on evenweave.  Yikes!  Here's what the start looks like so far:

First started Jan 2015
Gingerbread Houses is a SAL I joined last year on Facebook.  Despite my best intentions and completely kitting it up back in November, I didn't get anything done until January.  Here's where the start is so far:

First started Jan 2015

I can't remember the actual name for this project, but in my head I've dubbed it Purple Paisley.  This is my first time buying colored aida that didn't come from Charles Craft, and I have to say I love the texture of it so far.  I managed to get part of one chunk of purple done so far.  The thread looks variegated in this photo, but it's actually DMC 210 and is all one color. 

First started Jan 2015 

This is a gift I'm planning on stitching for my mother, one I've dubbed Polka Dot Bouquet.  I managed to get one color green on one long leaf done in January.  

 First started Jan 2015 

Reindeer Square and it's companion piece Polar Bear Square are new starts for 2015 as well.  These are part of the six Christmas Cuties designs Maria Diaz did for Enjoy Cross Stitch many years ago.  I only really liked the Reindeer and Polar Bear designs, so I will only be doing these two for now. 

 First started Jan 2015
First started Jan 2015

So that's it for Turtle Trot this month!  We'll see how things look come March 10th.  You can keep you with my progress throughout the year by checking the Turtle Trot page

Side question for those of you who blog and are doing the Turtle Trot yourself.  Specifically if you have a Turtle Trot page set up.  Are you updating the page with your progress once a month, or as you go along?  Are you keeping your beginning 2015 pictures up, or just showing the new progress?  Still trying to decide what to do with my page, and I could use the advice...
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Progress Update: First Weekend in February

Hello stitching friends! I realized with the January challenge, I'm not posting updates nearly as often as I did.  Of course, there's not really anything new going on, haha.  But here's a look at what I've been working on lately.

First of all, I have a finish!  That's right, Perfume Bottle is finally done, done, done!

Please excuse the wrinkles.  I obviously took this pic right after it came off the Q-snaps.  

Don't get me wrong, I liked working on this one, but I am glad it is finished.  Sometimes stitching on a deadline is no fun.  I'm not completely 100% happy with the way the colors turned out.  I think the petals in the front of the flowers don't go so well, and the purple in the stripes is a little too light.  Oh well.  I modified this one a bit too, making the atomizer part of the bottle smaller and moved some of the flower leaves around a bit to make up for a miscalculation in finished size.  (oops)

This is for a Ladies Accessories quilt being made by World of Charity Stitching.  It's done on 14 count plain white aida with DMC threads.  I started this project on January 9th as part of the Crazy January Challenge and finished it this weekend on February 7th.  Hmmm.  Almost a month down to the day.  It is a free pattern from the French blog Passion Broderie 77 and can be found here if you'd like to stitch it yourself. 

So after finishing that project, I started to work on Rainbow Mandala again, which is actually turning out to go quite quickly when you don't have huge blocks of color to fill in. 

There's something about the methodical way this design is put together that makes it very soothing.  Like coloring a real mandala I suppose.  This will be six rings in different colors when I'm finished.  I chose to do neon colors and do them from light to dark, rather than traditional rainbow order.

I also got a start on my first project for the Frosted Pumpkin Round Robin I'm participating in through a Facebook group.  The first project I get to work on is the Once Upon a Time sampler. 

I chose February to work on because, well, it's February, and it also had the convenience of being one square above the original stitching done by the project's owner.  This will be the Frog Prince when I'm finished with it, although all you can see I have done now is the border and a big "smooch!"

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Free Pattern Friday: Love, Love, Love

It's almost Valentine's Day.  So how about a love themed free cross stitch pattern for today?

I've never really been a fan of the holiday myself, but I do like many of the Valentine's designs you find around.  I guess because I do like hearts and pink.  Today's pattern is from one of my favorite designers, San-Man Originals, who also designed the Halloween Quaker pattern that's one of my older WIPs.  This word art pattern is perfect for February, but would be great year round too.

This one is available to download as a free cross stitch pattern in several formats from Cyberstitchers.

Happy stitching!

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, February 4, 2015

February 2015 WIPocalypse (and Crazy January wrap up)

We've reached another full moon, so it's time for a WIPocalypse check-in, as hosted by Measi.

This months topic is: How do you overcome that feeling that you’re in a rut with a particular project?

I  have to say, I'm not sure how to answer this one just yet.  Since getting back into cross stitch last year, I really haven't worked on any big projects, and usually if a project gets abandoned it's because there's something else that I need to work on for a deadline.  And a deadline is a pretty good way to force yourself to wade through a project that's got you down at the moment I guess.

So after that lame answer, it's time to show off my progress for the month.  One of my main original WIPocalypse goals was to keep up with the Crazy January Challenge.  With the wrap up of the challenge last Saturday, I'm actually happy to say that I kept up with it, and started a new project or worked on a WIP for every day in January.  So I thought I'd take this WIPocalypse post to do a quick recap of the project.

Someone in our challenge group on Facebook showed me how to use an online editor to create collage graphics, so I couldn't resist.  I took new pictures of almost everything last night to make these with, since I realized I didn't have "finish" photos to go with my projects throughout the month, and I thought it would be fun to share what some of these will look like when I get to finishing them.  So for anyone who missed it, here's a breakdown of everything completed for January. 

Week 1: January 1st - January 3rd (from top to bottom, left to right)
 January Carnations, Giraffe Print Mitten, Leopard Print Mitten
Week 2: January 4th - January 10th (from top to bottom, left to right)
 Stars and Stripes, Love Potion No. 9, Frosted Pumpkin 12 Days of Christmas, Perfume Bottle, Yin Yang Horse, Tree Frog Trio , Rainbow Mandala

Week 3: January 11th - January 17th (from top to bottom, left to right)
Pinky Pie magnetCat Lady Kit, Rainbow Dash magnet, Twilight Sparkle magnet, Gingerbread Houses SAL, Rarity magnet, Apple Jack magnet

Week 4: January 18th -  January 24th (from top to bottom, left to right)
Mum Bouquet, Autumn Circle, Purple Paisley, Fluttershy magnet, Polka Dot Bouquet, Silly Ladybug, Triple Scoop 

Week 5: January 25th - January 31st (from top to bottom, left to right)
 Sparrow on Vine, Lucky Day, Polar Bear Square, Kitty's Stocking, I Heart Britannia Pillow, Reindeer Square, Singing Owl

Well, I guess that's enough for this update.  Until next month WIPocalypsers!

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Final Progress Update on Crazy January Challenge: Day 30 & 31

Hello stitching friends, how was your weekend? 

Mine was pretty good until the "almost mini tornado" hit late Sunday night.  That was interesting.  Some days I'm a little freaked out by the new weather patterns I'm getting used to since moving to the South. 

The other reason my weekend could have been better was this:

I had planned to have it completely done by Sunday night.  Yeah, as you can see that didn't happen.  I mean, if you look at just the missing stripes on the bottle it seems like I could almost be done.  But then there's that weird blob missing from the bottom; those are the flowers I still have to fill in.  *sigh*

Actually, this one gave me a bit of bother on Saturday night.  I was all prepared to start filling in the spray ball thing (don't know what it's called at the moment) on the right side of the bottle when I realized that somehow I miscalculated/measured my fabric wrong and the design was going to be a little too big.  So I had to re-chart it so it was not nearly as tall, which made it more oval instead of round.  I thought it was terrible at first, but I think it turned out okay in the end.  Sadly I ran out of thread 2 rows before I finished it.  Grrrrrrr!  I hate when that happens.  So I had to dig into my stash and cut some more, which wasn't really a big deal, but on top of everything else... but at least the frog didn't show up, so that's something to be thankful for. 

So anyway, with that rant over, it's time to show my last two projects for the Crazy January Challenge. 

January 30th was Friday, and although I had the whole weekend ahead of me, I didn't make much progress.  This is going to be another square for Love Quilts when it is finished.  I call it Sparrow on Vine. 

I got the top of the bird's head done.  I kind of like the two tone effect, but that's just because I haven't done the other half of part of the stitches in that section yet. 

January 31st was Saturday and as it was the last day, I saved the big project for last.  And this one qualifies as big in several ways.  It's an I Love Britannia design by Jan Constantine that appeared in an old issue of CrossStitcher magazine.  I'm stitching it up for my aunt, who loves all things British because of the 18 months she lived there while serving a mission for our church.  So I pulled it out and here's my progress so far. 

What?  That many stitches took an hour?

So here's the reason I refer to this project as "the big one".  In addition to being large in size (finished size of the cushion will be 18 x 18 inches I think), this is my very first time stitching on evenweave fabric other than aida.  Ahhhhh!  So it's my first time stitching over 2.  This is 20 count, so the weave is quite large, which means I'm stitching 4 over 2, so I'm a little weirded out not only by trying to get used to counting by two threads at a time, but also because the stitches seem so big and chunky to me so far.  I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually...

I'm kind of feeling bittersweet now the the challenge is over.  On the one hand, it will be nice not to have pressures to start something every single day, but on the other hand, it was kind of fun.  But my WIP list is outrageously long now, so I'm going to try and limit the new starts in the next few weeks. 

So what's on the list next?  Well, I do need to finish that silly bottle, and then it's time to finish Rainbow Mandala and Horse Yin Yang, as those are all squares due for World of Charity stitching.  Then it's off to try and finish those six Mill Hill kits before those are due as gifts in mid-March.  Then I need to finish the My Little Pony magnets by early April for a birthday gift.  And then on top of that, I have two Love Quilts squares that are due March 1st that I need to start working harder on too.  And I will of course be stitching my rounds for the Frosted Pumpkin Round Robin I'm participating in, in between all those other projects too. 

Phew!  No rest for the weary stitcher.  :)

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