My SAL Journey Begins

I love sewing, quilting, and anything fabric related….lately I’ve grown a little obsessed with embroidery stitch patterns and colorful thread! I’ve learned to make more time in my busy craft schedule to squeeze in some cross-stitch and embroidery. Lucky for me, this lovely group of stitching ladies have welcomed me into their SAL group 😀 – and so my SAL Journey begins!

For this SAL, or Stitch-A-Long, the group and I will post every third Sunday about our work in progress or about a new project that we will be working on. Joining a SAL group is just the right motivation I need to stay on top of my projects. Whether it’s a little or a lot, any amount of stitching is welcome with open arms and words of encouragement. It’s not a race and there are no deadlines, PERFECT!

With that, these are the projects that I’m currently working on:

  1. Moda Bakeshop Summer Sewing Camp – Bee-utiful QAL (embroidery blocks). I’m on block 4 now and there are already 6 blocks released.
  2. Cross-stitch – a series of potted, blooming cactus ❤ 1 out of 5 complete. The second cactus is in progress.
  3. Cross-stitch UFO! I’ve been working on this pattern for 3 years –ish… I think I went one whole year with hardly any stitching on it. Here’s my original post for more information. Since this pattern is so big and you actually don’t see that much difference, even when I do get to add on to it, I’ve decided to post quarterly on this. I’m setting myself some realistic goals to motivate me to work on it. It’s a beautiful pattern and I can’t wait to get some major progress on it! I think the main reasons I don’t take it out often is the size, the massive amounts of various green flosses, lol, and my frame. It can get a little boring when you’re on your 5th shade of green 😉 I also want to look into a standing frame. Where I can easily sit up on the couch to work on this. My current frame is a lap frame and the only comfortable way I can manage to use it, is on the floor with my back to the couch. My bum gets sore and the cats want to hangout under the frame on my lap for a nap…either frame won’t deter the cozy felines, but one battle at a time!

Bee-utiful QAL

Block 2 – Bee Productive

Here I used EPP hexies, instead of wool cut outs. The bee’s head is filled with French knots and I used a variegated yellow thread for his body. I need to work on my blanket stitch spacing and decide whether I like small or large stitches. They vary a little from hexie to hexie, but that’s okay 🙂

Bee Detail_french knotsBlock 2 Bee Productive

Block 3 – Bee Lovely

Starting to get a hang of this! Made a couple of changes to the original directions on which stitch to use, which is great news. It means I’m learning my stitches and feeling my own creativity come out onto the designs. I bought some of this adorable shimmery thread…and I’ve read how some of you struggle with it, but I didn’t quite understand until I tried it. The thread is coarse! The micro-filaments from each ply even unravel. So strange…but if you look at my last flower in purple, I’ve discovered that simply embellishing with an interlacing of shimmer works best!

Block 3 Bee Lovelyflower details 1flower details

Cactus #2

Small progress, but still worth sharing.

Cactus Cross Stitch

My Scarlet Quince Pattern

If you liked what you saw here, I definitely encourage you to go check out what the rest of the SAL group is stitching up! Click on the links below to see their latest updates.I know I can’t wait to see what they’re up to 🙂

AvisClaireGunCaroleWendyLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbierose

Question for my SAL group and my readers: How often do you change your stitching needle (from old to new)?

 Happy 4th of July!

Blocks 1-3 Beeutiful QAL_2

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26 thoughts on “My SAL Journey Begins

    • Thank you! I think I will be too scared to use this finish quilt with all the embroidery and may make into a wall hanging instead. We’ll see!

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  1. just noticed your needle question. I actually use the same John James “petite” needle for ALL my projects, meaning, I only use one needle and simply change threads depending on what project I’m working on. It’s a sort of “fetish” thing. One needle can keep me sewing for months, and I usually only change it when I end up losing it or when it eventually looses its sheen (whichever happens first).

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    • Thanks for the answer! Now, is this for cross stitch only? I believe these have a more rounded edge. The embroidery needles are a little sharper, but I’ve been using just the one needle too… Until I lose it as well, haha.

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      • yes sorry I only do cross stitch, so with blunt needles. I’ve never tried traditional embroidery.

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  2. I love those bee blocks, especially the cat one.
    What will the Scarlet Quince project be? It looks immense 🙂
    To answer the needle question, I just the John James gold plated needles, usually a size 26 for everything and I replace it when all the gold plating has gone. I’ve usually got a few on the go at once.

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    • Thank you! The Scarlet Quince is two hummingbirds and passion flowers, and I can’t wait to get to those colorful spots! That’s a good idea, using the gold and replacing once plating is gone.

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  3. I’ve been using the same needle for well over a year now, and like Claire, I use a petite with a needle threader as my eyes are no longer good at such close up stuff. I would be sorry to lose my current needle, I’ve now bent it to a comfortable shape for my fingers, it’s fine and pierces the fabric easily, and best of all, because it’s small, it keeps my hand quilting calluses alive so I won’t need to build them from scratch next time 🙂

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  4. Gorgeous embroidery. Your stitching is do even on your satin stitch bee bodies. Like Claire I use 1 needle till its dull or doesn’t slide. My preference is Jenna Kimball for embroidery work. Welcome to the SAL Christina

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    • Thank you! I’m not even sure which brand in using, but I’ll definitely take a look at the brands mentioned below. That’s a good time to replace, I’ll probably do the same. I’m sure it will be obvious when it’s time. Thanks for that warm welcome 😊

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  5. Welcome to the SAL!
    I love the scarlet quince piece. Can’t wait to see how it comes along.
    As for needles. I only use one and it only gets changed if I break it!

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    • Thank you! I hope to get more work done and show some major progress. You ladies are very inspirational! Good deal, that’s probably what I’ll do or when I notice it getting dull.

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  6. Welcome to the SAL Christina. You’ve got some lovely projects on the go. Number two looks especially difficult. I sew with the same needles as Claire because she sent me some as a gift and I’ve preferred them ever since. I only use one needle when using lots of the threads are of similar shades but if I’m using bright colours, I keep lots of needles threaded. I don’t leave them hanging at the back of the work but finish off and just store the threaded up needle ready to use again.

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    • Thank you! You know, that’s a great idea! I don’t like the threads hanging method, they get in the way and sometimes even confuse me. Keeping the needle threaded sounds better! But like you said, mine is of similar shades and I’m still trying to find the best method for this large piece.

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