Stitching for a Cold Winter’s Day

My stitching renaissance occurred when I was living in Arizona, a time in my life when I found myself missing the seasons in New Jersey more than I thought possible. 365 days of sunshine made me long for the first buds of Spring, the changing leaves of Autumn, and the blustery gray days of Winter. Without any of these things I resorted to taking breaks from big stitching projects like Blue Enigma in order to make smaller, less ambitious pieces that celebrated the seasons. Now that I’m back on the East Coast I cherish being able to, every few months, take down all the little pieces about one season and replace them with the next. Recently (a little later than was perhaps acceptable) I took down the Christmas works and put up the ones for Winter. Here are four of my favorites.

Designer: Birds of a Feather


This piece really snuck up on me. I thought it’s Quakerish, antique look was charming when I bought the chart and didn’t think much about it when I picked up a random piece of extra linen I had lying around to stitch it on. The instant I put the final stitch in it I realized that I was completely in love with it. The extra linen I used turned out to be just the thing to take this from interesting to stunning. The fabric was a piece of hand-dyed 40-count light-sage-green-with-heavy-brown-overtones linen, an unexpected choice (I think) for a winter look as I generally I gravitate towards blues or dark beiges. The quality of the charcoal over-dyed floss (I used Weeks Dye Works) brought out the coolness of the green.

Reindeer Detail

Something I don’t think about enough while working is how the materials feel in my hands. This is very obvious when knitting — what does the yarn feel like runs through your fingers, how does the finish of the needles interact with the yarn, the satisfying weight on the needles as the piece becomes more finished — but it a little more subtle with needlework. In this case, the linen was phenomenal. I cannot for the life of me remember which company made it or where I bought it. It was considerably thicker, heavier and denser than any other linen I’ve used, perfect for a piece meant for the long season of Winter.

Designer: Prairie Schooler


This is part of a 3-part series, the other 2 of which I haven’t even started. This had the least interesting design of the three but I absolutely adore the verse:

In the dark grey days of Winter
Frosty wind made moan
Earth stood hard as iron
Water like a stone

The piece hangs by the front hall closet, imbuing our winter coats, hats and scarves with the magic of Winter so missing from our days in Arizona.

Designer: Elizabeth Bradley


Schnookie stitched this (and the next work) with yarn from Elizabeth Bradley. She originally meant to make it as a Christmas gift for Boomer when she still lived in AZ, but fortunately Boomer moved back meaning we can enjoy the jaunty robin in our home. Again, the olive brown background is such an unusual color for winter and the fat snow flakes capture the wonder of a big, cozy-by-the-fire snowstorm. But best of all, I think, is the expression in the robin’s eye:

Robin Detail

Because I always work with cool, slick silk, I love looking at the wool in Schnookie’s projects. Wool brings a depth and warmth never found in my projects. In this case I think it almost brings the fluffy little robin to life.

Designer: Elizabeth Bradley


This is one of a series of four, all four of which Schnookie has completed (and which will be featured as the year goes on). Since we can’t live in a grand English manor, pieces like this will be as close as get to having an English garden covered with snow!



Filed under Pins and Needles, Stitching

11 responses to “Stitching for a Cold Winter’s Day

  1. HG

    Yay! Stitching update! I’m busily working on the baby’s piece, hoping that Mr.A’s sister can hang on until I’m done (because that’s the priority here, of course).

  2. That’s totally the priority! I actually finished the last baby piece I did well before the baby. I gave it, unframed (because I didn’t learn the name until the baby was born) to the parents a few weeks later. Then I gave it to the framer and that was… 2 months ago? I’m starting to think Tabitha will be in college before she gets her birth sampler framed and on a wall!

  3. HG

    I’m almost done. I just have to fill in 1/2 the moon, do a couple of stars, and then backstitch. I know the name but I feel superstitious about putting it on before the baby comes. I am not sure where to take it so I think I’ll just get some backboard and fine a frame that fits.

    Tabitha is such a beautiful name. I love the old names.

  4. I have finally got into a stitching groove again (blogging really cuts into my stitching time) and had set a goal that I was going to be able to reach tonight — finish the garden on the sampler I’m working on. This piece hadn’t really grabbed me yet so it was slow going, but last night I turned a corner and am loving it! EXCEPT! Except I just discovered I made a stupid mistake and now have to rip out three hours worth of work. Why do I find this a fun hobby again?

  5. HG

    Blogging does cut into quality stitching time. Three hours of work? Yikes. I guess it wasn’t something you could just… uh… pretend was a glitch? Hee hee. And it’s fun because it’s time to just think. And stab your finger. Did you know we’re putting the peer pressure on CC to start? Mwaaa haaa haaaa

  6. Oooh, I whole-heartedly support pressuring CC into starting! It really is a fantastic companion hobby to watching hockey.

    I couldn’t fudge my error, alas. Now I’m worried the piece won’t fit on the linen so I have to do some frantic basting this evening! Keep your fingers crossed.

  7. Do you ever have to worry about the linen or threads fading or becoming discolored either from direct sunlight or just over time?

    Come to think of it…I’m still not done with that practice piece I bought at Wal-Mart several months ago. Seeing your works make me want to rush home and finish it so I can start on real pieces.

  8. kms2, yeah, you do have to be concerned about fading over time. We try not to hang any of our work in direct sunlight, but other than that, we don’t do much about that. There is a school of thought that you should frame your stitching with protective museum-grade glass and stuff, but the competing school of thought (to which we subscribe) is that needlework should never have glass put over it. It’s sort of an aesthetic thing as far as I’m concerned. I had glass put over one of my wool cross-stitch pieces, and it ended up looking really cruddy (as in, literally, like there was crud between the glass and the surface of the needlework).

    As for your unfinished practice piece — get stiching, lady! (Just kidding! It’s supposed to be fun, so do what makes you happy! :D)

    (Oh, and if CC is reading this, I don’t mean it’s supposed to be fun for you. For CC it’s mandatory. [Guys, is my pressuring her to start stitching working?])

  9. We have a few peieces that Boomer made almost 30 years ago that are still going strong, and we take terrible care of them (other than not hanging them in direct sunlight), so it’s not too bad.

    I echo the “get stitching, lady!” chorus!

    And yeah, CC, it’s totally mandatory. Next time I’m in DC I want to see something started — and finished!

  10. So if you don’t have glass over it then what is used in the framing?

    I should get stitching. What with hardly any new TV and all these road games that leave me hockeyless after 7pm, I should have plenty of time to stitch!

  11. It’s just framed normally, but doesn’t have glass over it. I think we get ours done with fancy archival padded mounting and stuff, and you need to find someone whose good at working with needlework in order to get the pieces stretched straight on the mounting, but otherwise, it’s just like framing a painting or something. Just… the work, and then a frame!

    Dude, when you are without hockey after 7 and there is no good TV, you’ve got only two choices: stitching or Katamari. :D

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