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Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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October’s Embroidery Agenda – and More!

 

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Did I just type “October” in the title line on this article? Good grief.

You know what? I’d love to hear all about what’s going on at your work table or at your favorite stitching station right now. I’ll link to the comment section at the end of this article so you can tell us what you’re up to right now. I think it’s always a good thing to share our needlework journeys a bit – you’d be surprised what little tidbit, what little morsel of knowledge or idea or project that we’re working on might inspire others in the wider Needlework Community!

I’m going to tell you what’s on my October embroidery agenda and share some random stitching topics – things I’ve been thinking about, projects I’m piddling with, materials I’m trying. Very Random Stuff…

embroidered snowflake-like doodle in red

I probably shouldn’t start with this, but what the heck?

I’ve been doodling a lot lately. I’ve got snowflakes on my mind. I blame it on the whole Festive Fall autumn design stitching thing from last month.

When working ahead of the seasons – which I am not usually prone to do, but I made a resolution that I would at least try it this year – you end up stitching snowflakes and winter things when it isn’t even October and when, quite frankly, it’s still 90 degrees out and you’re still watching summer birds from the window.

My love of doodling – and subsequently stitching up said doodles – makes up for the complete incongruity between what I’m stitching and what’s going on outside.

I love snowflakes, and I love embroidering them. They can be as fancy as you want, or as simple as you want. They can be a quick fix for stitching a project, or they can be a lingering, developing, growing thing.

But I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that snowflakes are not red.

I know they’re not red! But that doesn’t mean we can’t stitch red snowflakes.

A perpetual color argument went on in my head while I was playing with the not-quite-a-snowflake design above. The fact is, so much of embroidery is stylized, that it is quite normal to see embroidery that doesn’t make sense if you’re looking for absolute realism. For example, it’s normal to see red snowflakes on Christmas trees.

embroidered snowflake-like doodle in red

Technically, snowflakes aren’t exactly blue or icy blue or grey, either.

But apparently, according to my consultants (I ask people “What do you think of this?” while I’m working out designs and color schemes and such), the greys, the blues, even the pale Caribbean greens are acceptable for snowflakes.

embroidered snowflake-like doodle in red

But apparently, red is not.

I need you to talk to me about this. What do you think?

embroidered snowflake-like doodle in red

I’ve been trying this linen. It’s new on the US market. It’s a lightweight, very nice, lovely to stitch on white linen. I’d put it in the class of a “light” ecclesiastical linen, or a slightly (but barely) heavier handkerchief linen. Somewhere between the two.

It’s got a great hand!

“Hand,” when you’re talking about fabric, means the feel of the fabric. This stuff has a beautiful, smooth, fine surface – making it terrific for fine surface embroidery. This is the kind of stuff you’d do fine monogramming on, whitework on, fine needlepainting, and similar embroidery.

It also has a nice drape. I almost want to wear it!

I don’t know who’s carrying it right now, but I’d guess Needle in a Haystack will be among those who have it or can get it for you, if you’re looking for some good white linen for fine embroidery.

embroidered snowflake-like doodle in red

If you’re going to play with snowflakes in embroidery, chances are, at some point, bling is going to enter your head.

Beads. Metallic threads. You know. Sparkle!

I’ve written about Au Ver a Soie’s metallic threads before. I love them!

While other metallic threads and braids on the market may look similar to Au Ver a Soie’s, the engineering is different. There’s just something different in the make-up of Au Ver a Soie’s metallics that make them So Much Easier to stitch with than most similar-looking metallics.

They actually pass through plain-weave fabric with regular embroidery stitches repeatedly, without falling apart, without tangling up, and without making you howl with frustration. Thread conditioner? Why? You don’t need “thread conditioner” with these threads, because they actually work the way threads are supposed to work! You can stitch with them!

So I’m experimenting with metallics and my snowflake ideas a little bit, too.

The French Needle has several of the colored metallic sets from Au Ver a Soie, but if you’re looking for something blue and icy, I’d suggest this set of ice blues in particular.

You can also find a selection of golds, silvers, and other basic colors – with a nice “star blue” – in the Au Ver a Soie metallics here at Needle in a Haystack.

Incidentally, the pattern for the snowflake in the background of the photo above is available for my patrons over on my Patreon page. If you’re on there, check in and pick it up if you’re in the mood to stitch a snowflake!

embroidered snowflake-like doodle in red

Remember this? Embroidery on Silk Organza?

I’m not finished with this subject, and I’ll be doing a bit more exploration on the topic in October. What happened to this little bit? Well, it’s not finished. But it will be! I got side tracked by reading up on different sheer fabrics and seeking out others to experiment with.

In fact, I’ve fallen down a sheer fabric rabbit hole. I’m trying to scramble out and put my findings in order.

If you add up the components of this article so far, you can probably figure out what I’m going to play with in October. I’ll share my explorations with you!

embroidered snowflake-like doodle in red

Also in October…

I’m going to be packaging up more the Leafy Tree embroidery kits week after next. There’s actually still one in stock on the website.

After this second bunch of kits (which will all be sporting new boxes, thanks to yet another manufacturing hold-up – this is why I don’t pre-sell things!) that I’m putting together week after next are gone, that’s the end of the Leafy Tree kits. If you want one, now’s the time to get it – or at least, get on the advanced notice list for the next bunch, by dropping me an email request.

But … it’s not quite the end of the Leafy Tree! I’m thinking about setting up a stitch-along group for those who have purchased the kit, most likely on Facebook, where I can answer questions, where people can post progress pictures, and where I can show you different variations. (The kit has enough threads to work about four variations of the design, so you could feasible do four seasons with it.)

What do you think? If you’ve bought the kit and plan to stitch it, feel free to weigh in below in the comments section, with an opinion on having a private group, or to drop me an email at mary@needlenthread.com.

Jacobean Blues embroidery project

Finally, this project is part of my October line up – and will probably be part of my November and December line-up, too, because it’s a slow-developer!

I’ve changed my mind again on the Jacobean Blues project. I’m seeking a new fabric, and I’m contemplating silks. I’ve also changed the design quite a bit, by making the focal feature in it a familiar bird that I’m already good friends with, design-wise. The other design just wasn’t doing it for me.

So I’ve been toying with this in my down time, mulling it over in my wee brain, flipping around ideas, doodling and rehashing… you know how it goes! I wake up at night thinking about it!

That’s My October

What’s yours? What’s on your stitching agenda?

And what do you think of red snowflakes?

And if you’re doing the Leafy Tree, what do you think about a private group where folks can stitch along together, share progress, ask questions, and so forth?

These are all the things I’d like to hear from you about – and more! Join in the conversation below!

And enjoy your weekend!

 
 

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(160) Comments

  1. Good Morning Mary! What amI Stitching. I am just about done with the ornaments I need to give as Christmas gifts this year. (I am making the turtle doves from mmmcrafts on Etsy.) This is a multi year project. Tonight I am starting to choose colors for next year’s French hens.
    My next goal, and my October Stitching will be to finish the crazy quilt stocking I am making for number 1 grandson. I want to thank you, as I have been struggling with what to do in one location. Why thank you, well, the answer is a large snowflake. I’ll design it this weekend. I will still be one stocking behind and the new grandchild is due in December. Oh well, they’re heirlooms thT the kids will use all their life, so if they don’t get them until they’re two who really cares.
    Happy Stitching!

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    1. I have those designs, too, Sarah. I bought them all as they came out – they’re sooooo much fun! I haven’t had a chance to finish the whole set, though… and since then, I think I’ve used my felt for various other things, too. :-/ In any case, aren’t they great!?! I think two years old is a perfect age for getting a Christmas stocking, actually. Before that, they’re not wholly aware, anyway, of what’s going on at Christmas! LOL!

    2. Thank you Sarah for the reminder of previous Christmas projects. Many years ago I decided to make small angel dolls as gift tags for the family’s presents, got half way through but wasn’t done in time so put them aside and completely forgot about them.

  2. My nonconformism has been rear its little head. If you like red snowflakes, go for it! Life is too short to worry about whether or not embroidered snowflakes can be done in different colors. Granted, if you were selling your snowflakes, you’d have to cater to your market. But, for your own creativity and pleasure, the Embroidery Color Police will not come and arrest you for red snowflakes!

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  3. I really prefer the RED SNOWFLAKE. The red jumps off the white background. The blue and grey are so blah in comparison.
    I am going back to my UFO pile to pick up a past Tony Minieri project and try to finish it up. I finished a knitted shawl for my wonderful mother-in-law yesterday and am eager to get back to stitching. I had to drop everything to do this because she was just diagnosed with small cell lung cancer and she needs a cuddly, soft, washable something for those interminable doctor visits. That and a lot of prayers to be in the lucky 2 to 5 percent who live with that one.

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    1. 🙁 It’s a tough road ahead for her, Cynthia. I’m sorry to hear about that! The shawl will come in handy, that’s for sure. I was perpetually cold when going through treatments, even in warm weather. Prayers, definitely!

  4. As I was talking to my daughter about which kits we had some at her house and some at mine. I buy two of the kits and instructions so we can stitch together. The holly kit is sold. More please. I am trying to get my darling daughter to make her on stuff. She does well and loves your work.

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  5. While working on at least 6 WIP’s, I did just get leafy tree – good practice.

    Think of all the red work done – so of course red snowflakes are fine! For the Jacobean blue – I think your blue choices are too bright and don’t Give you that shaded texture – very linear as is.

    I am working on several Goldwork pieces
    ( just finished a class with Deborah Merrick Wilson – her Tudor Twirls) as well as prepping for my third module ( silk shading) for my Royal School of Needlework Certificate. Did finish a belt for Christmas and a new name tag☺️

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  6. Of course you can have red snowflakes, or green, yellow, blue, anything that pleases you and fits your design. If you can’t have red ones that means that the redwork designs are very limited for Christmas work.

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  7. Just a big thank you and to let you know I do read your newsletters. Your suggestion of the plastic box from Staples to store many yarn colors and projects and the system to hang the yarn was so useful. Now I have eyesight/arthritus problems and purchased a sampler (linen 37 cnt and silk yarn). Had problems seeing the fabric to count over two and thought of the headlamp you recently reviewed. Searched your newsletter and purchased the item and can now see to work. Really appreciate your help. Now I can enjoy my neeldework

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  8. Since snowflakes are translucent, wouldn’t they naturally assume the color of whatever ground they fell upon? Like a bright red autumn leaf? I have no problem with snowflake designs in red or any other color. How about a rainbow of snowflakes? The design looks lovely.

    I’m embarking on a project to embroider kitchen towels for every season to display on a cutting board my son made for me in his shop class many years ago. It all started with a folksy hand-embroidered, lace edged linen kitchen towel I found going through my mother’s things that I believe may have been a wedding gift. I loved the mid-century design ethos of it and decided to display it. Then, people started giving me holiday-themed kitchen towels and I started rotating them for display on the cutting board, but I wanted more variety and my favorite was the hand-embroidered one. There’s something about hand embroidery on a kitchen towel that trumps printed or machine embroidered designs. So I’m currently working on your Festive Fall kitchen towel for Thanksgiving and I recently finished a Halloween Jack-O’-Lantern design that is currently on display. I expect to move on to Christmas in October and am currently auditioning designs. Valentine’s Day will be next in the queue.

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  9. LOVE red snowflakes! Actually red anything when it comes to stitching, I’m bent that way and don’t care. I have been working on plans to replicate a few of my States school girl samplers. My goal for October is to take lots of photos and begin charting the 1st of 4. I replicated one last year at the museums request. It is a Cherokee 6-8 yr olds 1st piece while a resident of a Missionary School, her story is a sad one and I felt blessed and honored to replicate her piece mistakes and all. I also started some Christmas ornaments with the rule of using stash only. That’s my stitching October

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  10. I am stitching words like scary, ghost and boo on pumpkin-dotted fabric to make fiber Halloween postcards to send to friends.

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  11. Mary, There is nothing wrong with red snowflakes as a matter fact, I love them. They show up beautifully on a white background which shows up beautifully on a x-mas tree or anywhere else. My belief is that is your personal project so anything goes.

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  12. I really like the idea of a stitch along group. We will get support, inspiration, and make new friends! Plus…it will get me started!

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  13. First, I love the idea of a private group for the Leafy Tree project as I did purchase a kit. Second, will you be creating the the E-book for the Festive Fall project. I love this project and our purchased a set of towels. I always have.a project going and having your expert color choices available always so nice to have.

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    1. Hi, Trilby – I’ve been working diligently on it, and that’s what I’ll be doing all weekend long. My goal now is to have it ready for release on Tuesday, October 1. If all goes as planned, look for it then! Thanks!

  14. Hello Mary
    I’m Angela Garcia from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
    I think it’s a great idea for a group to talk about leafy tree embroidery.
    I think it would be a great help to all, as well as excellent chat.
    See you

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  15. I bought the leafy tree kit and would love to particpate in a sew-along. I think that will give me great motivation to finally get started!

    I bought the autumn themed towels and was wondering if you are going to have a e-stitch guide to use with this project…

    TIA
    Judy in Boston

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    1. Hi, Judy – I’ve been working steadily on the e-book for Festive Fall. That’s all I’ll be doing this weekend. My present goal is next Tuesday, October 1st, so – assuming everything goes as planned (which has not been the case with anything lately, for some reason!), it’ll be available then! Thanks for asking!

  16. Red snowflakes!!! I love quilting and hand embroidery, Mary. My friend and I recently did a paper pieced Tall Tree, which is about the size of a house door, it’s tall! She has machine embroidered red snow flakes over it, where I fell in love with the idea and decided I would do mine by hand. I just finished the last of over 20 snowflakes.

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    1. I’ve been slaving away on the e-book – I’m now shooting for next Tuesday, October 1st, as my deadline. That’s all I’ll be doing this weekend, so keep your fingers crossed for me! Thanks!

  17. Hello. I am currently finishing a linen pillow cover with a stylized sweet peas design in plums and blues. Then I am going to start Leafy Tree, and I would love to join a stitch-along group. Thanks!

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  18. I would like to have a group stitch along for the leafy tree. I was feeling a little overwhelmed when I was just reading over the instructions. I’m more of a beginner so some extra support would be nice.
    I also really like the snowflake in red!

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  19. I think snowflakes should come in EVERY color and can think how beautiful a design would be with rainbow snowflakes.

    You asked what we are working on. I am making a Russian muslin shirt for my brother with a border design in blue embroidered on the placket. The design turned out gorgeous (if very slightly crooked) and I’m looking forward to making the shirt up.

    ~Cirese

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  20. Thanks for sharing your project list with us, Mary! For the last few years, I have been making Christmas gifts for friends and family. This year, I am stitching a pattern from your Church Patterns e-book with IHS into ornaments. Keeping the colors to gold and white, they mirror Chrismoms (monograms of Christ). I am using non-metallic gold silk threads and pearl seed beads. My backing is a nice woven cotton gold and white metallic swirl. I am pleased with the results!

    Red snowflakes? Absolutley! Embroidery is art and art has no “rules”! I love them in an icy blue or silver but you color yours any way you like! Happy Stitching to all!

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  21. I love red snowflakes!! If someone wants a frosty blue color palette or something, that’s fine, but don’t hate on our red snowflakes. Just saying.

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  22. Morning friends 🙂
    End of September beginning of October are transition months from summer to fall. My October goal is to sort out and put away ALL of the accumulated piles of STUFF in my sewing room that have built up over the summer. There is not a single level surface, including the floor and edges of bookshelves, that I can put anything else on. The dog scratched out my pile of blue fabrics and made a bed for himself so he could keep me company in there so now I also have to re-wash those before I can put them away. Next step is to prioritize works in progress. At 70 years old and the rate I stitch I’m not going to be able to finish everything I’ve started.
    I really love the leafy tree that you designed Mary right from the first version that was shades of green to the current fall version and would love to watch the development of everybody’s pieces. This is a project I’d love to make but having promised myself not to start anything new for a while, sadly, I probably won’t be able to participate.
    Red snowflakes, difficult for me, but if you look at snow, it reflects all the colors around it, so I’d be stitching them in the palest of pales on a (probably) dark forest green background or a midnight blue. But then, red is a Christmas color isn’t it. So red snowflakes as an ornament on a tree would be fine. Have to be stitched in a metallic thread though to give it that frosty, sparkly look. Or maybe add a filament thread to the needle to give it some twinkle.
    Have fun everyone with your October projects, I look forward to seeing the results on Facebook.
    Best regards ~ Brenda

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    1. Ah, I’m afraid the wait is extended to at least next Tuesday. I’m working on it as steadily as I can, but I’ve had a bunch of other interruptions that couldn’t be avoided. I’ll be working on it all weekend….

  23. Red snowflakes are fine with me – red and white says Scandinavian designs and I always think it looks really traditional.
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Yes, I think that’s why I’m attracted to the red and white with snowflakes – kind of that Scandinaivan folk look. I’m thinking about turning some of my counted snowflake designs into stamped cross stitch designs, just to achieve that look a little more! LOL!

  24. I’ve decided on an early start to Christmas by embroidering small christmas elfs in 3″ wooden hoops as xmas tree decorations. These will start out as six table favours at my Writer’s pot luck Christmas luncheon. I will also do ten snowflakes, in blues and turquoise, for my Art group.
    Sorry, guess I’m not brave enough to try red….but who knows, I haven’t actually started those yet!

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  25. If you want your snowflakes to be red then why shouldn’t they be red!? But then I have a rebellious streak in me!! Love your beautiful needlework Mary ❤️

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    1. Thanks, Michelline! I’ll let everyone know once I have something set up. I’ll announce it here on the website, with instructions for joining. Thanks for chiming in! 🙂

  26. My “thing” for the month of October has got to be organization!! I can walk into my craft room – just barely – and really need to get the mess under control. Have a couple of major functions during October that I need to have some items finished for so I need to get to work ASAP.

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    1. LOL! Oh, organization is a perpetual job, isn’t it? It will never go away. There’s always Something that needs organizing! Good luck with your craft room, Lani!

  27. WEll, Mary, first of all, when you say it has a nice “hand” and I know what that means, I feel SO embroidery-smart. hahaha. Secondly, I love the idea of red or burgundy snowflakes. Or any other color. I have always considered hand embroidery to be very much like writing – especially poetry — where poetic license is used. We can color anything we want with needle and thread on fabric. We can make a gold metallic flower and we do. Are there metallic flowers? No. We can make a tree all yellow (which I’ve done). It’s all magical. Have fun and thank you for your continuing, over the top encouraging messages.

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  28. In forests where fairies live red snowflakes are quite common. And pink, and yellow, and all colors of the rainbow. So why not? After reading your blog I got a piece of silk organza and am thinking on what to do with it. You have some nice designs. I think I better stick with simple to begin. Don’t know but it’s not October yet.

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  29. I’m perfectly okay with red snowflakes! or green ones or purple ones — why not make a collage of multi-colored snowflakes!
    I am working on basic embroidery on a set of pillow cases. I’m also waiting for a new needlepoint pattern to arrive so I can begin something more complicated.
    Judi in Phoenix

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    1. Hi, Kathy – If you’d like to be on the advanced notice list for the next round of Leafy Tree kits, please drop me a line at mary@needlenthread.com with your request. I’ll send out an email to those on the list as soon as the kits are ready, which should be around October 11th. Thanks!

  30. Hello Mary! I personally see nothing wrong with red snowflakes ❄️! As you said, they can go on Christmas trees or other hanging seasonal ornaments. But more importantly, exploration of colors is inherent in artisan works. Being able to explore your art in all its various color schemes helps you see/feel/finalize what you want in your finished project. As an art quilter who puts embroidery on her work, I let my muse go when I’m ‘doodling’ because that’s when some wonderful things can appear. And I love how you show us your process. Don’t let others expectations change the vibrancy of your glorious work and beautiful art!

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  31. Hi Mary, I love the snowflakes! And that Au Ver a Soie metallic is beautiful – I want to try that some time! I would love to be part of the private Facebook Group page for a Leafy Tree stitch-a-long. o:)

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  32. I do enjoy Redwork – that said, I have to admit that snowflakes can be any color! Snow is frozen water, and water reflects rainbows. Why shouldn’t snowflakes also be rainbows?

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    1. Hi, Deirdre – If you’d like to be on the advanced notice list for the next round of Leafy Tree kits, could you please drop me a line at mary@needlenthread.com with your request? I send the advanced notice out via email, which is how I keep the list, so I can’t really do much with comments left here on the website. Thanks heaps!

  33. Red Snowflakes: My Opinion by Whitney Webb

    I like red snowflakes. I think red snowflakes are good. I think this because design is not necessarily realistic. In fact, surrealism was a popular art movement, back in the day. Your snowflake, however, is far too realistic to be surrealistic. Maybe if you gave it a mustache?

    I know, surrealism isn’t your goal. But, in the Northern Hemisphere, at least, Christmas and snow are intertwined in our collective cultures. And I have seen plenty of red snowflakes. On the famous Ugly Christmas Sweater, on Christmas stockings, mittens and scarves.

    Also, redwork is a thing. I don’t recall reading anywhere that redwork can no longer be done after Labor Day.

    Then, there is, simply and purely, the acts of design and creation. Go ahead and put rules on what colors snowflakes can be. Immediately, and among most people, there will be an itch to break those rules. You will see the finest of vividly colored snowflakes ever dreamt of. If you were to make the rules strict enough, you might be able to start a Snowflake Revolution and a new art movement. Already, I am thinking of Southwest-themed snowflakes, color wise. The colors of the desert in a snowflake. Ooh! I totally want to do this now! I’m not on Facebook, though, so I can’t share it. Sad.

    In conclusion, red snowflakes are good.

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  34. Dean Mary, I would like to do the Leafy tree but unfortunatly, an ocean separates us and I can not buy a kit. Is it possible that you edit an e-book, with the pattern, the types and colors of threads used …because in France I can easily find the material. I am an absolute fan of all your projects in all techniques and I would like to participate in this interesting adventure of a very beautiful colored tree. Thank you.
    Cecile from Toulouse

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    1. Dear Cecile and Mary
      I am also an ocean away from Mary and cannot buy the Leafy Tree kit. And I would also like an E-book for the Leafy Tree. I love the variety of stitches and the colours and think I could source appropriate threads.

      Regards,
      Helen

  35. I have not started my Leafy Tree project yet and would absolutely love to be part of a stitch-along group. What a great idea!

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  36. Red snowflakes may not be common but really I love what you have stitched, it looks very striking and modern! It will look beautiful on a Christmas tree, especially if you add some metallic and beads to sparkle in the light With the traditional of Redwork too it looks a lot more fitting than, say, neon purple (not that there’s anything wrong with that either) and would fit in well with traditional holiday colours! I’m very interested in the Au Ver a Soie metallic threads – I love glitter so much but the DMC metallic I use for cross stitch have not worked well for me with hand embroidery. Definitely on the Stitchy Wishlist now!

    As for what I’m working on, I just sort of happily fell into a little stitch along with an Instagram friend, and one of the pictures she sent me for inspiration was your floral voided monogram! I’m thinking of a heart, with a little latticework heart in the middle, filled with spontaneously stitched flowers like you did in that project! Very excited to try this and I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out Thank you for all the ways you inspire and encourage us stitchers ❤

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  37. Red and white snowflakes are a classic, aren’t they? When I saw your lovely photo I thought immediately of Scandinavia — specifically, and maybe weirdly, of the Christmas scene in the movie Fanny and Alexander!
    The Leafy Tree kit arrived on the same day that I finished a project, and I started it at once. A stitchalong will be wonderful but I don’t think I can wait, because that linen is such an absolute pleasure. I know you have written about it many times, but my goodness, i didn’t expect the sheer tactile joy. Thank you for including it in the kit!

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  38. Dear Mary, Of course snowflakes can be red! Haven’t those dissenters ever heard of REDWORK?!! Needlesworks have been finished in 100% red thread ever since red thread was invented. Why there are entire books dedicated to stitching birds, trees, leaves, snowmen and snowwomen, Santas, angels, houses, entire scenes, etc. all in glorious shades of – you guessed it – red!!!

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  39. I have been slowly, very slowly, working through Judy Jeroy’s EGA class on Crewel Embroidery. It’s terrific but I was already committed to Margaret Bendig’s Christmas Sampler which one of my five stitching groups has chosen for a year-long needlepoint project. My EGA chapter and the two ANG chapters all have monthly programs. I am such a yes-stitcher!

    The crewelwork is intense as I have not used those skills in many years. I started with a pre-sampler before the actual one I plan to turn in for coursework and I am learning a lot. Mary, your videos have been so helpful. Thank you!

    I am so happy to be retired and have all the great resources that are available. I may occassionally be overwhelmed but I enjoy each project and look forward to many more.

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  40. I love red snowflakes. I added several blocks of them to a Christmas quilt I did for my daughter-in-law. Christmas fabrics in Red/green/gold/black, in the log-cabin blocks, and 8 red snowflakes on white blocks interspersed. It was gorgeous, and she loved it! So yes…snowflakes can be red. 🙂

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  41. I’d love a stitch along/group for the Leafy Tree. But, I’ll be on vacation in Japan for a chunk of time late Oct. It might be nice if I fall behind if the group was persistent so I could still read through and see comments, tips, posts, etc even if I end up starting it way later than the group.

    As for red snowflakes, well, I love the contrast and to me red snowflakes are holiday snowflakes 🙂

    I don’t have a stitching project right now, got caught up in sewing little purses/pouches. But, next on my list is to come up with a small, stitching project I can take on the long plane trip to Japan. And to research to see if there are any stitching shops in Osaka or Kyoto that I should visit.

    Linda

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  42. Oh, Mary! I can match you for swirling creative thoughts. I get lots of snow where I live — and no covered parking. I have to allow time to clear it before I go anywhere. I find myself thanking God that He didn’t make it dark green! A light rosey pink would have been okay. At the moment I’m sewing up and steaming two sweaters I knitted. And lining up small, simple knitting to take on a Big Trip 6 hours’ drive south to Bakersfield, CA for my 60-year high school class reunion! Our class was 800, so plenty of old codgers still alive. I plan to visit all the homes where my family lived — and all the fabric, bead and book stores also! . . . My main embroidery project will be on the square chest panel of a dress. The pattern is by Style Arc, something like a Bethlehem dress — comfortable, and festive in 2 or 3 different fabrics for side panels, long sleeves. The chest panel has to be rich and interesting — but washable along with the jewel-toned velours I have in mind! Maybe ivory poly satin and some ecru lace laid over it. My aunt, born in 1903 said of this lace: “Mama bought it off a gypsy!” So we’ll see. Pre-washing definitely in order. Maybe embroidery and a little beadwork over a rich print. . . . and the dolls want pictures on their aprons! Sheesh!

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  43. I love red snowflakes. I really think they work and green ones, and silver and gold – in fact any colour. It’s Christmas!

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  44. I’m not a purist, so I think red snowflakes are fantastic! Who says they couldn’t be reflecting the colored lights from a Christmas tree?!
    Also, I’m hoping before you are totally in a Christmas mode, that you will consider making up some more Festive Fall towel kits! I’d love to get some when you have a chance. I know you are so busy!! Anyway, put me on the list for those. Thank you, Mary, for all you do for us!

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  45. I’m making 12 Dresden plate fans that I’ll be turning into a smallish CQ tree skirt. They’ll all have a winter theme, with lots of. snowflakes. Do you use a template for things. like the little ovals in your snowflake pattern?

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  46. I say go for it! I love red, and I’m right there with you on a red snowflake. Who’s to say if the sun hits it just right you wouldn’t see a red one?? And even if you don’t, who cares? It’s your stitching do what makes you happy, I do!!

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  47. I am working on some fall dish towels. My Mom has always made embroidered dish towels for us girls, but she never did any for fall. So, I am working on 4 towels. Some pumpkins, leaves, a tree, and a funny scarecrow! So much fun! Thank you, Mary, for sharing your knowledge and love for embroidery. I has really helped me.

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  48. I recently returned from the Queen to Queen tour arranged by Needlework Tours of Australia. It was wonderful! Typically there was a travel day with a stop at some museum or gallery followed by two days of instruction by tutors who have been trained or associated with the royal school of Needlework. They were marvelous instructors. We stayed in “stately homes” and visited the Victoria and Albert museum as well as a number of galleries or sites associated with, for this tour, William Morris or other fibre arts. I loved it. I hope to go on another tour with this same organization. Thanks to Mary for the initial pointer to them. I am grateful for super exposure to crewel work, Blackwork, white work, stump work, goldwork and various braids. Now to practice!!!!

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  49. Mary, I’m just starting the Leafy Tree. I would like a group and live the idea of 4 seasons on one tree. Thanks for all you bring to us. Melinda

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  50. Your red snowflake is beautiful and you will definitely find one on my Christmas Tree. My plan is to do them on felt with the felt background in a rainbow of colors and contrasting thread, including beads and metallic threads.

    You mentioned an ebook of Festive Fall with your patterns and instructions from your table runner. Will that be coming soon because I am desperate to make on for my Thanksgiving table? I thought my blown glass pumpkins would look fabulous sitting on it.

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    1. Hi, Susan – I’m working as much as I can on the e-book right now, and as soon as it is finished, it will be available on the website. I’m shooting for October 1st (next Tuesday), so if I can work uninterrupted this weekend, and nothing odd comes up, then hopefully, I’ll hit that deadline! Fingers crossed…

  51. Red for snowflakes is great if they are planned as ornaments for a green Christmas tree. Red ornaments pop beautifully on green trees. Red at Christmas makes a powerful statement.

    I am working on an old chart, Joseph’s Coat Stocking from Lois Caron, times 6, one for each grandchild, creating separate color ways for each based on the child’s favorite color(s). It’s a surprise for them. The bigger surprise for me will be if I finish everything ahead of December 24 and have free time that day! Usually I am putting last minute finishing touches on needlework gifts before the family gathers to celebrate the holiday.

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  52. Hi Mary,
    Are you planning to offer the Leafy Tree as an ebook? Living in Australia, ordering a kit is out of the question, but I certainly would like to order the pattern.

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    1. Hi, Judy – I may do that some day down the road, but right now, the design and instructions are only available with the kit. We shall see! I’ll definitely keep your request in mind!

    2. Once again I would like to second this request. I’m in England so I would love an E-book with the pattern and the stitches.

      Here’s hoping –
      Helen

  53. I have your Festival of Fall Leaves kit, and would very much like to join a FB group of fellow participants who are stitching this Thank you for thinking of it!
    I have been working on smalls all summer and now am trying to finish them into their best forms. It’s a time consuming endeavor, done for the love of the results ♥

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  54. Dear Mary WE ALL know that your favourite colour is RED. That said, are snow flakes REALLY REAL? So any colour is suitable in my opinion. The more sparkly they are the better. I recently made a hardanger angel and she is in Sparkly multi coloured METALLIC No 380 with highlights in Kreinik purple no 242 HL. Hardanger is supposed to be WHITE isn’t it.
    So dig out Mary do your RED snowflake in Kreinik RED sparkly thread.

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    1. Yes, I seem to have a thing for red! I’m so glad you noticed! LOL!

      Oh, not Kreinik, I’m afraid! If I use metallics, it’s the Au Ver a Soie ones mentioned above. They work so much better for surface embroidery. And they have a glorious range of colors and weights. They’re not as widely available in the States, it’s true, but it’s worth going through the extra trouble to get them, rather than the trouble of stitching with other metallics. 🙂

  55. Granted following a blizzard to look out and see piles of red snow would be exceptionally weird, but when stitching what is wrong with what trips your trigger. I have no problem with red snowflake designs. Or try out a Florida tree dressed in citrus colored snowflakes?

    I love seeing your projects in parts and your thought process. I see some magazine articles and a quilt or needlework item is being praised for whatever and because all we can see is one small photo, I’m left wondering what is so great about this item? Perhaps if I saw some photos of the work in progress as well as the artists thoughts, I might understand why someone would call it great when I think it is kind of ugly.

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  56. Sign me up for the leafy tree. I still want it but money was way short before and this next time my arthritic fingers are trying to cross. The idea of a group stitch along sounds wonderful especially to me a beginner after 40 years or so-no real improvement in all that time bec I would do a small project every few years. I was knitting and doing counted cross stitch all that time and now I’m quilting and sewing. I am interested in using that beautiful linen to embroidery gift(s) for the priests that visit us a couple of times a month to bring us communion and chat. I have the ebook from your site with all the religious symbols and crosses, etc. Any suggestions for Fa. Rob and Mtr. Liz? The Episcopal church has women priest. Thanks for any help and suggestions. I like red snow flakes. Jan Serignea

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    1. Hi, Jan! Glad you like the red snowflakes! If you would like to be on the advanced notice list for the Leafy Tree, please drop me a line at mary@needlenthread.com with your request. I can’t add people to that list from the comment section here on the website. Thanks! 🙂

  57. I’m about 3/4 of the way through an embroidery of St. John Cantius for a chasuble to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the parish. I am eyeing the terrifying process of cutting this thing out to appliqué it to the damask fabric that we’re using for the orphrey. (See the in-progress here: https://www.stmarthasguild.com/post/st-john-cantius-chasuble-coming-along)

    I have worked on some restorations that required the removal of the center embroidery. There’s some kind of glued on something that secures all of the threads on the back of the embroidery along with the edges of the ground fabric. I wonder what that stuff is, and what is the best method currently available for this process. Hide glue? Iron on interfacing? The last project we worked on was trimmed frighteningly close to the embroidery and then painted along that edge with black paint and a fine brush. I know that often there is a thin cord that is couched around the figure to hide the raw edge. I haven’t found any instructions for this whole process. I’m probably over thinking this, but then you find out that there are really helpful, hair-saving tips out there. Winging it may happen but not comfortably.

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    1. You should probably read Lucy Mackrill’s book on embroidered vestments – pretty sure she goes into some good detail on these methods. But yes, usually it’s either rice glue (preferred, in my opinion – you might have to dilute a tiny bit if you buy it pre-mixed) or wheat paste (you can buy that from the JEC and cook it up into the right consistency – they have instructions with the paste), and then, yes, there’s usually some kind of extra outlining cord, twist, or silk couched around the outline to secure the edge and cover it. What you choose for that really depends on your background cloth for the vestment and the embroidery and how you want the two of them together to look from afar.

    2. Julie, have you thought about using a quilter’s trick? There is a pelon product that is used for appliqué that is very fine. It is stitched to the right side of what is to be appliquéd either by fine machine stitching or by hand then it is cut away leaving at least a 1/4 inch seam allowance. The piece is then turned so that the pelon is on the wrong side of the embroidery allowing the element to be appliquéd with ease.

  58. First and foremost, Snowflakes are awesome! I’ve seen them in redwork and I’ve seen them in blues too so I think that whatever color you choose to do them in is actually just fine! I mean, we see purple Christmas trees!
    As for a stitch a long, I think it’s a wonderful idea! I feel that a lot of us would benefit from it. Especially beginners like myself!
    What I’m stitching, although I just hit my autumn designs I’ve been working on the summer corners project from earlier this summer. Thank you, I do love these and I love that we can order the designs already on towels. Makes starting a project so much easier.
    Thank you for all you do for us!

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    1. Hi, Robin – I think I may have given the wrong impression with the term “stitch along.” It would be more of an “online support, idea, and inspiration group” for people who have bought the Leafy Tree kit and are working it. I wouldn’t actually be writing new tutorials and so forth for the group working the tree – they already have the instructions. It would be a closed group where we could all post pictures of progress, answer questions, and help each other through the project, etc.

      I love stitching snowflakes! And you’re right – I’ve seen more than my share of purple Christmas trees! 🙂 LOL! I live in Kansas, near K-State… so I can’t really avoid them!

  59. Mary, I think all of your snowflakes are lovely, and the red just pops! I’d love a group for The Leafy Tree. This weekend I’m working on an ornament for my EGA group’s ornament exchange in December, as well as a whitework piece that I’m leading a class on in November. Hope you have a productive weekend!

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  60. Since I enjoy doing red work (and bluework and black work) it never occurred to me that snowflakes couldn’t be stitched in other colors, As usual I am working on several projects right now. From a Chatelaine cross stitch to bluework embroidered snowmen. But, I just received my Leafy Tree kit this week and I am so excited and anxious to get started! I would love a stitch along group for this project on Facebook.

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  61. My main projects for October is to finish a Caterpillar cross stitch SAL called Seas the Day. I got the last pdf this week but haven’t quite finished last month’s. The whole thing shouldn’t take me more than a few days but more than are left of September. Then I want to do some canvas work from Sue Hawkins which is a scissor keeper bit like a glasses case. That has to have priority because it is for a secret stitcher at the beginning of November. If there is any spare time I have other SALs that need attention.

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  62. I think color sets a mood and love the red snowflakes and I think that metallic snowflakes would be a festive look! I have taken up stitching again after a long break. Right now I am working on a cross stitch tablecloth; it’s a simple project which I chose to get my head and hand around stitching again. I am really enjoying it and taking my time, it’s a treat for me to carve out some time to work on it. I am more than half-way done – which means that it will take me another couple of months to finish and my next project will be some Jacobean Crewelwork where I will try my hand at some of the more challenging stitches. My mother taught me a lot of these stitches but it’s been years so I will have to practice – the satin stitch is one I have always had a problem with. I have more patience now and am determined to master it. My mom used to tell that the back has to look as good as the front – I am not there yet! Your emails and posts inspire me and I read them all, they are so full in pertinent information, sources and stitching know-how, your website is a treasure trove for the embroidery enthusiast. Thanks for all of that, I am really enjoying getting back into my needle and thread!

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  63. Hello,Mary! Not only do I think red snowflakes are fine, I’d be delighted to see a whole bunch of snowflakes in bright shiny colors lighting up a clear winter night sky. Or day sky, for that matter. Magical! You are an inspiration to our imaginations. Thanks for being here.

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  64. I would like to try uncounted cross stitch. I am learning to turn my art into embroidery patterns. It has been interesting.

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    1. Do you mean stamped cross stitch? Or just free style cross stitch without a grid? (The latter would be difficult to keep uniformity of the cross stitches.) Or do you mean free-style embroidery that isn’t cross stitch at all? Most “uncounted” cross stitch is stamped cross stitch. I’m working on something similar with snowflakes, too.

  65. To me snowflakes are a geometric design and, as such, can be any color you wish. I loved the glimpse of your red snowflake! It reminded me of Scandinavian work. Thanks for sharing!

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  66. Today I hope to finish Teresa Wentzler’s Tempest in a Tea Cup for my granddaughter in order to get it in the mail the first of the week. Then it will be on to the stack of UFO’s from my EGA group programs and a crewel project that needs to be done by the first Saturday of December, my ‘challenge to finish’ project.

    Red Snowflakes might be a giggle but probably would not be pleasing to many ;)).
    Keep us posted on the blue Jacobean project.

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  67. An early start on Christmas gifts this year and I’ve gone all-out with addictive sashiko embroidery, a new-to-me style. Initially, I accessed pre-printed fabrics some with actual designs in place and some with just dots. I discovered I really like using the fabric with the dots as it allows more creative endeavours. That discovery morphed into making sashiko reversible placemats. One side has a traditional navy blue fabric with white sashiko stitching while the other is a navy and grey check fabric, also with sashiko stitching in certain squares. These placemats are sandwiched together with a very thin batting and iron-on interfacing covering the back of them for reinforcement for washing/heavy use. This set will be for my daughter and family as the grey check goes well with her grey concrete dining room table.
    Lots of ideas still roaming around in my brain. I’ve learned about good and not so good sashiko thread, types of needles (length, thickness, and size of the eye), and fabrics. Most of this learning has come from both some on-line searches as well as trial and error. The resources for information are on the slim side unless you can read Japanese! But still a most enjoyable new type of embroidery journey for now. As I prefer making embroidery items that are useful as well as decorative, I’m looking at making coasters, pillows as well as adding some to sections of me-made and ready-made clothing for some additional zing.
    Anyone else on this site trying sashiko, boro, etc.? Anyone have any links to good resources? Merry, merry.

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    1. Hi, Barbara – Sounds like an exciting journey! There are a whole lot of sashiko embroidery books on Amazon. I’d go through those and read reviews, then check to see if you can get any through your local library to see if they’re what you want. If they end up being good, then take the plunge and purchase. If they don’t actually have the book at your local library, try interlibrary loans. Libraries are great for checking out books before you buy! 🙂

  68. Of course red snowflakes. I saw an image last weekend of snow in the Australian alps covered by a red dust storm, from our awful drought. So red snow is real.
    I’ve just finished a hardanger quickstitch to make into a pyramid jewellery pouch so now I have to face and choose one of the UFOs. Sigh. (And make up the pouch. Sigh again) Have a lovely October, Mary!

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  69. Dear Mary,
    My mother, grandmother, great aunt and aunts were the talented ones in the family. But reading your blog over the years has encouraged me to pick up my needles and get to work! Thank you so much for doing that. I share your love of embroidery on sheer fabric, it’s just magical looking. Well, a few months ago, watching a movie late at night, you’ll never guess what I saw. The Empress of China embroidering a beautiful flower on the sheerest material ever. The movie is The Curse of the Golden Flower, and it is full of incredible costumes, luscious settings AND intrigue. If you just want to see the embroidering it’s about 20 minutes into the movie. I think it’s available on Amazon and maybe other sites. Thank you again for sharing and inspiring me over the years.

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  70. Red Snowflakes? You have an artistic license…as do we all. Enjoy all the colors. Rainbows are a great source of inspiration! Thanks for all your great tips.

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  71. Looking forward to the festive fall & pumpkin e-book . I love the pattern but want to put in quilt not towels. I thought of buying towels and try to trace pattern but towels are sold out again. Plus it would be hard to do.

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    1. Yes, better to wait for the e-book, Margaret! I’ve been working on it diligently, but I’ve run into some hiccups along the way in the form of major work interruptions. I’m hoping to finish it today – at the latest tomorrow – to have on the website by Wednesday. :-/

  72. Hi Mary
    I love the red snowflake it may not be realistic but who cares!
    Variegated colour is so interesting we are lucky in this day to have that choice.
    I don’t think the website for the needle threader post international just US.
    Cheers
    Jan Smith.

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  73. For quite some time now I have been working my projects in a rotation. I have about 7 active counted thread projects. This really works for me as when I get stuck or less interested I can go on to another – no rules.

    I also have a project (a small, easy project) that I take a very few stitches on every day. For me it is 6 stitches before leaving for work. It is amazing how much gets accomplished and how many smalls you get stitched! Wish I had thought of this 10 years ago… Spread this idea to your working friends.

    Snowflakes can be whatever color you want! I’m thinking about a soft peach – silk, of course.

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  74. LOVE your red snowflake Mary! What a great twist on tradition & reminiscent of Scandinavian ethnic embroidery. Who doesn’t love red figural designs & star shaped motifs on a neutral ground? Thanks for kicking it up a notch!

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  75. I am a painter but decided about 3 weeks ago to try my hand at embroidery. I love it! I am embroidering images of my paintings, have done 3 already, all very small and all of flowers. Am enjoying your website, thank you! (and especially love Chloe Giordanos book)

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  76. I think the red snowflake is beautiful! If red was not a permissible color for snowflakes, there would be no snowflakes in redwork embroidery. In any case, ars gratia artis! (Art for art’s sake, in Latin)

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  77. Mary, I’ve been a great devotee of snowflakes in every form for a very long time. Probably from growing up in the south they were few and far between!
    As a college & grad student struggling on my own, all gifts were handmade & usually snowflakes! I cannot begin to count all the materials from which they were made! I did embroider them onto 4ply museum board one year after asking fellow students for donations that were too small for model making, but would be appreciated when transformed into gifts. I sat with an awl and metal braids to make matching fronts and backs on each! There were also many sewn by freeform machine stitching on onion skin paper (does that even exist anymore?) and after pulling all the paper away was stiffened even more than the thick stitching with a paint brush and floor wax. There was even some cross-stitching one year!
    And having existed in the north now for far too many years, I can assure you snowflakes can exist in as many colors as one chooses just by putting out colourful strings of lights. So as the flakes glide down from the heavens and they pass coloured lights, they become all beautiful colors if just for a few seconds!
    So, Mary, red snowflakes do exist!
    And thank you for sharing the type of linen fabric you used for your stitching! This is one facet that completely alludes me. I’ve never been in a shop that displays any linen or shows samples. And now that I know to ask, all our local needlework shops as well as one of the best progressive quilt shops in the country closed after a couple of large big box craft and sewing stores appeared right in their midsts.

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  78. Red Snowflakes – it’s your art, the snowflakes are any color you want.
    My plans for October (oh, my, it’s here already) is to make backs for 4 quilt tops & get them quilted, bind two quilts and continue embroidering Crabapple Hill’s Hocupocus Ville (since I have a couple more sets of those witches to color and embroider ; ) ).

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  79. I was out of town for a few days and I managed to turn my 2 new hanks of silk into tidy little balls while I was away. One of the office chairs in my hotel room had a back that was perfect to use as a support for the hank while I worked.

    Nothing else stitch related happened at all, so I’m itching to get back to it.
    Currently stitching Jardin Prive’s Cat Sampler in random colors of my own choice, and will probably be doing so for quite some time to come.

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  80. It’s not embroidery (although there is a lot of fine handwork), but I am working on my fiancee’s wedding dress.

    I think red snowflakes are wonderful. Red and white is a very wintery color scheme.

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  81. Hi Mary, I will be starting the snowflakes I designed and stitched for Christmas 2017…. This year I will create a new design and stitch with Au Ver a Soie’s metallic threads….. As always you are a wonderful wealth of great information. Happy stitching.

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  82. Ummm….red snowflakes. Ok. I confess. I embroidered an entire white blouse with red snowflakes, and I get all kinds of compliments on it. White flakes on a white blouse just didn’t do it for me. Besides….they are Christmas snowflakes. LOL

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  83. I like red snowflakes.
    I also think you could call that one a poinsettia–it looks kind of leafy to me.

    My current embroidery project: a monochrome crazy quilt. It’s pieced entirely from solid white cotton muslin (I had a lot of scraps.) It’s being embroidered with DMC cotton embroidery floss in four shades of pink (605, 604, 603, 602). From a distance, it just looks pink on white, but up close I can see that this shade of pink is whipped around that one, or the bright pink leaves have light pink french knot flowers, or whatever else I felt like doing. I’m having fun combining stitches in lots of different ways.

    I came up with this project because I wanted something fairly small and portable (it’s a little over 3 feet square), and I wanted it to take a lot of time to embroider because I was tired of thinking up new projects when I finished the old ones. I also like the idea of trying many different embroidery stitches, but I don’t like the “crazy” result when there are many colors, hence just pink and white. It will eventually be a baby quilt, probably for whatever baby girl is born to a friend AFTER it’s done (a deadline would make it less fun.)

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  84. Dear Mary
    If you want a red snowflake, you’ve got my permission to have a red snowflake. It could be that you see it as red if you were outside where there was a fire burning and it happened to be snowing at the time!
    At the moment I’m stitching a Lorri Birmingham Design for a friend who can’t work on navy blue 28ct. I’m doing this for her for Christmas. It’s “Merry Xmas” Holly Jolly series. She picked it up at her local EGroup. The kit had been opened so it was minus the beads and charms but it did have the tassel and little wooden hanger. I’m off to do an hour on it now.

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  85. Hi Mary,
    I have completed the silk ribbon picture from Di van Niekerk’s “Ribbon Embroidery and Stumpwork” book. I had it professionally framed and it turned out beautiful! I worked on this embroidery during my recuperation from lung surgery. I would like to attach the photos, but I’m not sure how to do this in this Comment box.
    I read your emails everyday and thank you for all the help you have given me through the years.
    Pat

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    1. Hi, Patricia! Wow – that’s a great accomplishment, especially while recovering from surgery! Yes, you can’t attach pictures to blog comments, I’m afraid, but you’re welcome to email them to me at mary@needlenthread.com. I look forward to seeing them!

  86. It wouldn’t work for every design, but if someone gives you grief about that top snowflake being red, just tell them it’s a poinsettia!

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  87. Hello!

    As always I enjoy reading your thoughts about the seasons and all the helpful tips and tricks you teach us regarding embroidery.

    Personally, I enjoy the red snowflakes. I’m an avid card maker and I started my Christmas card making early this year. Back in mid September I was able to produce 31 cards but I need 50 ct before December gets here. One of my stamp-sets is of 3 different snowflakes and I often stamp them onto the card stock in red. They are pretty in blue and silver too but I’m partial to red.

    I’m thinking red embroidered snowflakes are beautiful too! Please don’t let the naysayers change your mind. If you like your snowflakes in red, then more power to you!

    Kelli

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  88. My October stitching is all over the place! I have a tray to make up from LAST fall’s stitching retreat in Tulsa. I have a quilt top to get together. I have a top that needs to get married up with backing/batting and basted to hand quilt. I have a long term counted thread project to work on.

    And I want to do is start the Leafy Tree……. Yes, please to the stitch along.

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  89. I LOVE red snowflakes! They remind me of all that vintage/ antique Russian embroidery of intense charted red cross stitch on white. So please keep doing it. It’s pretty and dramatic.

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  90. My stitching in October will be Monograms on bags for several siblings, nieces, nephews(?) and friends. for gifts for Christmas. I’ll have to de-flower some of them for the boys, I guess. I’ll look through your book again, Mary. As for red snowflakes, they would fall into the category of “artistic license”. The design of the snowflake is more important than the color. Red is often used in folk art (Hungarian redwork) and is considered a color “of the spirit” in modern church work. The contrast is better also.

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