more tutorials?

I should write more tutorials, since my post on changing colors from what a chart shows is REALLY popular (at least on Pinterest). What about a more detailed one showing how I changed the colors for MY version of Teresa Wentzler’s Castle Sampler? Or something on how to change the SIZE of a design or how to keep the size the same but have smaller stitches (like I also did with the sampler)?


Getting ready for Etsy

I’ll be opening an Etsy shop soon.

I know, it seems like EVERYONE has an Etsy shop these days, but I’ve been planning it for a long time and soon I’ll have the resources to do it.

What will I be selling? Cross-stitched items from bookmarks to buttons to bags.

I already have dozens of items made so I’ll be well prepared, it doesn’t make sense to open the shop and THEN start making the merchandise. 🙂 I’ve been collecting vintage/antique charts for YEARS and I want to focus on using those for the items I sell, because they’ll be different from what anyone else is making.

What do you think of this for a shop name plus tagline?

RED TANSY: Whimsical Elegance & Elegant Whimsy



I made these…

(Click on photos for larger views.)

This first batch of buttons are 3/4 inch wide. The embroidery is done in purple silk on 28-count white linen.

These are 7/8 inch wide, and the linen is 32-count. Silk again. The design is the populace badge for the Kingdom of the Outlands, part of the Society for Creative Anachronism. I made the chart for these buttons myself because there wasn’t already a chart that would fit a circle, especially not one only 28 stitches across.

Stuff I made and stuff I’m making now

This is one of the things I made this summer. It’s a badge for the Shire of Blackwater Keep, the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism.


The fabric is 32-count linen, because I’m crazy and have an obsession with TINY stitches.

It was easy to get the design to fit in such a small space only 27 stitches wide, once I realized i didn’t have to include the laurel wreath that’s part of the Shire device. (A populace badge, which is what ordinary members of a group use, doesn’t have the laurel wreath. Also I ought to mention that someone from the group keeps writing “populous” instead of “populace” on Facebook and it is driving my friend Thomas INSANE. He keeps quoting Robert Frost as if that would do any good…He’s not in the SCA though so it’s none of his business.)

I also made a chart for a populace badge for the local kingdom, the Kingdom of the Outlands (that’s such a cool name, don’t you agree?), which is a white leaping deer on a green background. I managed to get that one down to 28 stitches across so it’s close to the same size as the Shire badge and is also about the size of a quarter in 32-count. (On normal 14-count Aida, though, it would be 2 inches across — HUGE! 🙂 )

I am also working on some medieval-style clothes for myself and for my husband. I’ve got plenty of dresses but I still want more! Right now I am finishing a “sideless gown” from dark blue linen that I started a few years ago and then stopped working on. Well now I’m going to finish it! I thought it was almost done and then I noticed I’d forgotten to add the side gores… so I had to take out the side seams, and add the gores. Now the skirts are drooping and I’m not sure what to do, I think it’s caused by the weight of the fabric.

The other thing I’ve been making for medieval clothes is a “Herjolfnes cote” for my husband. It’s almost done too, but I need to check the fit before I sew the buttonholes. He bought me a new sewing machine — he’s used it more than I have so far! — so I wouldn’t have to make buttonholes by hand. The cote is dark green fabric because he’d seen one that color online and likes how it looks.

light green ‘sea dragon’ purse


This is the purse I use most of the time lately.

It started with the cross stitch dragon/sea serpent in the middle, and then I needed something to DO with it. I had planned to just make a coin purse but I couldn’t figure out how to make the metal frame fit so I added borders around it to make it a little bit bigger and then used the whole thing as the middle panel of a purse. The light weight canvas fabric I used for the purse wasn’t big enough to cut the strap as one piece. That’s why I added cross stitch inserts to make it look like the pieced strap was planned from the start instead of something that I HAD to do.

The chart for the dragon was found on Ravelly and was created for fillet crochet instead of cross stitch. The chart for the “vines” border came from a book of Celtic designs I bought years ago. That chart is one I use even more than the one for the Celtic hounds. The other charts are vintage and I don’t know where they came from originally.

The purse’s lining fabric is a light-green print cotton and the strap is backed with ivory grosgrain ribbon. There’s an exposed zipper in the top.

I recently stitched up another dragon – without all the borders – but in dark blue on a pale silver-gray background and I am going to make another purse with it. I’m not sure if I want to use denim or dark blue velveteen for the body of the purse.

Photos of recent projects – unicorns, plus cats on quilt

I promised photos of some of the things I’ve made recently.

Here is the rampant unicorn stitched in both 14 count and 28 count to test that chart I made.


Here’s another unicorn. This one is for a 1 and 1/4 inch covered button. (Sorry about the blurry photo…)


I also have a few photos of my cats “helping” me make an appliqued-and-quilted wall hanging.

First Tabitha discovered it and decided it needed some cat hair to really look good… This was while I was putting the layers together.


Then Tabitha’s daughter Una came along to investigate…


…And Tabitha’s sister Calliope got in on the quilt-sitting action. By this point I had managed to partly baste the layers together despite feline interference.


The wall hanging is partly quilted now. My first real machine quilting project – yay! I did the background in a simple diamond grid, and I’ll outline the applique shapes using free motion quilting to make them stand out.

I made the pattern for the applique design from a cross stitch chart. It isn’t hard to do but it does take a lot of time. What I did was start with several sheets of 1/4 inch graph paper that I taped together to be big enough to have a grid the same size as the grid for the cross stitch chart. Then I copied the shapes from the chart – outlines only – onto the graph paper. Next I smoothed the outlines and made other adjustments. These shapes became the templates for the fabric pieces.

I traced the shapes onto separate paper so I could keep the original enlarged design. I used it to do the “pounce” method for transferring the design onto the background fabric (poke LOTS of pin holes along the lines you want to transfer, then place the pattern over the fabric and rub chalk powder over the holes to make dotted lines). That way I had a clear guide for where each shape belonged.

(This is by FAR the biggest/most complex applique project I’ve ever done. The last one was just a few paisley shapes on a pair of jeans.)

“Cathedral Window” pillow

I made this for my mother-in-law. She lives in Arizona, so I thought a Southwestern color scheme would be perfect.


The great thing about Cathedral Window “quilts” is that there’s actually NO QUILTING, which means no fighting with batting and backing. (Putting together and basting the layers of a quilt is the part every quilter hates.)

Aside from a couple of blocks that I later made into a little purse, this was the first thing I ever made with Cathedral Window blocks.

All hand-sewn – I don’t like the look of machine sewing for this block. IMO, if you sew everything down flat with machine stitches, you may as well make Orange Peel blocks instead and save yourself a lot of time messing with folded fabric.

The finished size of the pillow is 14 inches. There’s a buttoned flap on the back to remove the cover for laundering if necessary. The turquoise fabric isn’t as bright as it looks in this photo.