Throwback Thursday Project: Esther's Queen

Today's Throwback Thursday project features products from our Winter Queen (November/December 2015) box, and is also our first project from our Project Model Stitcher Program. Thanks to Esther for sharing her project with us!

Project Details:

Chart: Part of the Heaven & Nature Sing chart by Primitive Hare. (Be sure to check out Isabella's work, if you haven't already - I just love her style, and was lucky enough to meet her in person at the recent Nashville Needlework Market!)

Threads: Esther used all of the threads from our Winter Queen box for this project, as well as some additional threads from her stash:

  • Crown, belt & snowflake: combo of the Sullivans cotton and silver metallic thread in Winter Queen
  • Wings & Snow: DMC B5200
  • Dress: Winter Queen (one of our Gentle Arts exclusive colorways)
  • Blue leaves: Valdani Silken Purple silk perle 
  • Green leaves: Holly & Ivy cotton floss from Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe
  • Hair: DMC 310
  • Skin: DMC 543
  • Red Headpieces: DMC 3777

Fabric: 14 count Stormy Grey Aida from Garibaldi's Needleworks 

Project Notes:

Esther tells us she purchased this chart specifically to stitch with this winter palette. "I love this design so much that I will work with it again but in a higher count linen, with the dress in the suggested color, which is a blue-gray. That way I can use the beads for the dress. I didn't use them here because the GA thread is so stunning that I thought it would be overkill."

Thanks so much for sharing your project with us, Esther! I love your color choices, and the little pom-poms in your finishing :)

Would you like to see a project you've stitched featured here on our blog, and receive a free StitchyBox shipment to boot? Check out our Project Model Stitchers Program for more details - I can't wait to see your work!

Finish It Friday: Needleroll

Finish It Friday is a new series here on the StitchyBox blog - every month we will be taking a look at a different finishing technique, recommending what types of charts will work best for it, and passing on any tips or hints we have to help you put the finishing touches on your projects.

Snowflake Needleroll

Original Snowflake Hornbook design

Original Snowflake Hornbook design

For our first Finish It Friday post, I thought I'd try out a finishing style I've never used before - a needleroll. A needleroll is basically a small pin cushion, and is a great finishing option for a small band-type sampler or other rectangular project, like the Snowflake Hornbook chart I used for our sample. 

Stitching all finished, and threads pulled out in preparation for hemstitching and tying together.

Stitching all finished, and threads pulled out in preparation for hemstitching and tying together.

Project Materials:

Chart: Snowflake Hornbook by Mani di Donna (from Just CrossStitch February 2016, page 37) (shown above)

Fabric: 40 count Helix linen (Picture This Plus)

Threads: OOAK purple silk (Gloriana's), Sullivan's 6-strand cotton floss #45483 (corresponds to DMC #168) - both found in our Winter Queen box.

Finishing Notes:

To construct my needleroll, I followed a tutorial on the Stitchin' & Life in a Small Town blog, and used Mary Corbet's Hem Stitching instructions, since that was not included in the main needleroll tutorial. While the photos in the tutorial did not load for me, I found the instructions clear enough that I could follow along without the photos. While researching this post, I also found a fabulous tutorial (complete with photos!) on the Focus on Finishing blog, available here. I don't see any differences in technique between the two tutorials, and the FoF is full of photos, so while it was not what I used, I'd recommend you use it to make your first needleroll.

Working the hemstitch - I found it easier to change over to a sharp needle for this, since I needed to catch the bit of the folded-over fabric in my stitches.

Working the hemstitch - I found it easier to change over to a sharp needle for this, since I needed to catch the bit of the folded-over fabric in my stitches.

I wanted to stick with items found in our Winter Queen box for this project, so rather than using ribbon to tie the ends of my needleroll shut, I made a twisted cord out of 2 strands of the each of the threads I used to stitch the design (so, 4 strands total). Adding that touch of purple to the ends of the roll helps prevent it from looking washed out, as the Sullivans and my fabric are both very light in color.

If you are using stuffing for fill your needleroll, I recommend stuffing it as full as possbile, so you have the nice tube shape when you are finished. Use a chopstick or something similar to really jam it in there! If you prefer, you could certainly use crushed walnut shells instead and give your needleroll a bit more heft.

Finishing Method Rating:

Versatility - 4/5: While band-type samplers are the most obvious choice for needleroll finishing, you really could finish just about any small, rectangular chart using this method. You could easily add a hanger to the top before tying it closed to turn this into an ornament.

Given that you need to pull out threads from your fabric above and below your stitched project, I'm not sure how well this would work on Aida. (If you've finished a needleroll using Aida, tell us about it in the comment section below!)

Ease-of-Construction - 4/5: I'm giving this one a 4/5 because I was able to put together a decent-looking needleroll on my first attempt without having to do any ripping out of stitches or sitting in front of my project in a panic because I didn't understand what to do next. Pulling out the linen threads was a bit fiddly, however, so I can't give it a perfect 5 out of 5.

Appearance - 5/5: What can I say, I think this thing is adorable!

Would I do this again? Yes! This method is relatively easy and quick to execute, and I love the result. 

Now it's your turn - have you tried your hand at a needleroll? Tell us about your experience, and any tips or hints you may have! I'd also love to know what finishing methods you'd like to see in future Finish It Friday posts, so leave a comment below and let us know. Happy Stitching!

Project Idea: Winter Stars

Today's project idea is a modification of our Christmas Stars project from a few months ago. To stitch this one up, you'll need two colorways - we used Silky Purples Silk Perle from Valdani and Sullivan's metallic silver thread (both from our Winter Queen box). This sort of chart is a great option when you want to highlight a favorite colorway, and I just love the subtle color variations in the Silky Purples. Our model is stitched on 36 count Stormy Grey linen from Garibaldi's Needleworks.

At just 35x35 stitches, you have plenty of time to stitch this up as a last minute Christmas gift. To stitch up your own version of Winter Stars, download the chart here. Check back on Friday for our quick and easy stitching canvas finishing tutorial!