It is that crazy time of year where I collapse into a chair and attempt to write a few sentences that make sense and wish all my readers Happy Holidays! Ok so you have to imagine me seated in my twirly chair, coffee in one hand, my other hand raised, and as I twirl around I am waving to everyone — North, South, East, and West. I take a childish delight in knowing people from all around the globe read this, so with a big silly grin on my face I am sending my best wishes to everyone, no matter what faith or religion you follow — have a wonderful holiday. There… a few twirls of this chair and I already feel energised.
I have a little gift for my readers which you will find here. These designs can be used for hand embroidery, or if you enjoy appliqué you can use them for that too. After I had done them, I thought: ‘gosh you could carve them into rubber stamps too’ – so if you are interested in paper arts, that might be an application for them too.
I created these designs with stitching in mind. My idea is to embroider the outlines of the shapes in either stem stitch or chain stitch. Once the linear elements are done, fill the coloured areas fairly densely with stitching of your choice. If you like encrusted embroidery, you can fill across the coloured area of the design with stitches. You could really go for it, and since it is Christmas, add as much beading and sequins as you want! Or if you are not into the encrusted style, you could use satin stitch or sprinkle isolated stitches densely across the coloured area. Other stitches you can use include seeding, freeform cross-stitch, or French knots.
You can take each element and arrange them in different formations. For example, I was thinking about table placemats that you could use during the holiday season. Or you could work them on stockings or bags that hold a gift.
Of course, you can switch out the colours to whatever you want.
I gathered these designs together into a pattern sheet, which I’ve added to the shop. The price is set to $0 — yes it’s free. The pattern sheet does not contain stitching instructions. I have left it up to you to interpret as you choose.
Other free resources on Pintangle
For crazy quilters, I have a tutorial on How to work decorative crazy quilt seams. I have a screenshot below displaying a page from the mini ebook. It ended up larger than I anticipated so it’s a resource well worth investigating! In case you missed it, here is the download. Keep it as an ebook on your tablet, or print it out.
There are also free modules in my stitchers’ worksheets that cover the basic stitches. They are completely free, and none of my stuff asks you to subscribe to anything or join this or that. They are a simple giveaway.
This Last Year
TAST this year has been fun. I just love seeing what people do with it each year. To be honest, the reason I keep doing and adding to the challenge is that I love it. I know the original format works —of exploring a stitch-a-week. But I get a kick out of it so much I keep thinking of ways to enhance it without losing its achievable format. Congratulations to all those who have completed it this year and thank you for the many mornings I sat at my computer, coffee in hand looking at your stitching and smiling at your achievements. It really is an achievement if you have managed to do TAST even if you have come back a couple of years running in order to complete it!
The big thing for me this year was that just a few weeks ago My new book Crazy Quilting for Beginners Handy Pocket Guide came out! It’s a beginner’s guide that covers all the basics – but just the basics! Thanks to my publisher C&T for the wonderful editing. They kept me to the point! The book aims to be the perfect resource to get you started.
Take a stitch Tuesday will continue but with a few changes. The stitch order will shift about, some stitches will drop away and some new ones added. The big news is that there will be another component to TAST, a Design challenge. The design challenge is mainly for those people who have done TAST, although anyone can join in if they want. So there are now three Parts to TAST but you only need to do one!
The first TAST itself, is a series of stitches that are suitable for beginners to intermediate stitchers. Beyond TAST is the second part of the challenge. And it is for intermediate stitchers, and those stitchers who have worked the first part. The third and newest part of TAST is the Design Challenge, which will appear monthly. I post new stitches each week but I will be proposing the monthly design challenge on the first Tuesday of each month.
TAST and all its bits will start on January 3. Anyone can join in. There is no sign-up. If you want to know more about the challenge you can see the guidelines on the TAST FAQ page.
A stitch-along for crazy quilters
The second big thing this year is that I will share the pattern for a stitch along ‘block-a-month’ taken from the Diamonds are Forever Quilt. The quilt is on the front of my books The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design and my new book Crazy Quilting for Beginners Handy Pocket Guide. You do not need my book to join in on this stitch along but I strongly recommend that you have at least the pocket guide if not the full Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design.
In the photo, you can see I have drawn a dashed yellow line around what I am calling a ‘block’. Each month I will publish the pattern for 3 of the diamonds that make up one of the baby blocks on the quilt. You can paper piece the block and adapt my ideas on the embroidered seams or totally embellish the blocks as you see fit. My aim is to spark ideas and get people stitching. I have curved seams on some of the blocks but I think most of you will handle it OK. I am really looking forward to seeing what you do with this and how far you take it.
On a personal note, I hope to tackle a few projects that have either become UFOs or will become a UFO if I don’t get on with it. At one stage I was very good about finishing stuff but I am getting more lax as I get older. So I have decided to do something about it. My biggest UFO is my 2020 hexie quilt. I didn’t get it done because we all know what a disruptive year 2020 was! Well, I will rename it my hexie quilt and get it done — hopefully by the end of the year. I have a few smaller projects too that need finishing.
That said I hope to re-energise my own stitching practice too. So expect a bit of experimenting. I have a batch of rusty metal — as I want to try some rust dyeing. Also, in shopping for the bead soup packs that we sell in the shop, I kept finding heaps of interesting beads that I want to experiment with. In preparation for the TAST design challenge, I went through my studio journals to find a pile of designs to stitch! I will share what I do here.
Over the next week or so, I am going to take a break as the family is on annual leave. It is summer here in Australia, and the Christmas season and our summer holiday season combine. Anyway, from wherever in the world you are, my home to yours, my best wishes and stay safe. I hope all your needles are easily threaded, no one steals your scissors for cutting paper, and your thread is knot and tangle-free.
Happy Holidays everyone