“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.


I’m forever stitching buttons…

I am always looking for new things to make with cross stitch. I like the way biscornus (those little decorative maybe-pincushion things) look but I don’t have any use for them and small decorative things don’t last long in my house because of the Tiny Tigers of Doom. (Sorry, one of them says he’s a panther not a tiger – my bad.) And sometimes I want to make something besides bookmarks. Don’t get me wrong, I like making bookmarks. But sometimes I want to stitch something that isn’t a long narrow border design…

A couple weeks ago I had an idea – cross stitch on fabric covered buttons.

That’s what I’ve been making lately.

And as it turns out I have plenty of very small charts in my “stash” – they have to be smaller than 48 stitches across, MAX, because that’s the most that will fit on the largest cover button forms I can find. Even ones for 7/8 inch button forms can’t be more than 28 stitches and those would have to be stitched on 32 count linen – for 28 count fabric they have to be less than 24 stitches across.

So far I’ve made some roses and other flowers plus a set of little Celtic knots. And yesterday I started working on a bookmark to take a SHORT break from stitching buttons.

cross stitch charts: yes, you can change the colors :-)

What if the only chart you can find isn’t exactly what you want? “I like this design but the colors aren’t quite right.” Or, “I want to make a brown horse and all I have is a chart for a palomino.”

The colors shown in a chart are just to tell you what to use to make your own piece EXACTLY like that one. You aren’t required to use those colors. (You aren’t even required to use the same count fabric but that’s a topic for another post.)

I already showed you MY version of the detail from Teresa Wentzler’s “Castle Sampler” with bright autumn colors instead of the cool pastels of the original. Changing the colors in a chart THAT big requires graph paper, colored pencils, and lots of patience, but changing the colors for something small is EASY.


Here’s a little pink rose, only 21 stitches wide by 20 stitches high. Cute, right? But what if you don’t want a PINK rose? What if you want a YELLOW one?

Take a look at the colors in the chart. There are 3 shades of pink (and 2 of green) here. ALL you have to do to change this to a yellow rose is choose light, medium, and dark shades of yellow to replace the pink. (If you want, you can also change the greens like I did.) You don’t even have to make a new chart if you don’t want to – just make a note to help you remember that the symbol/color on the chart for “963 pink” will be stitched in “743 yellow” etc.


And here’s a silver rose. It would look nice on a bookmark…


Changing colors in a chart isn’t just for flowers. What about making a brown horse from a palomino? I don’t have a chart to use as an example but basically do the same as with those roses: select new light, medium, and dark (or more, if there are more than 3 shades) of the new color family. To make a palomino horse into a black one instead, use dark brown, brown-black, and black in place of the light, medium, and dark gold-tans. (Black horses are actually VERY dark brown, so the highlights in their coats are dark brown instead of charcoal gray.)


The mad prince’s favorite rug (in cross stitch)



The actual rug is finished but I don’t have a photo of that and my camera isn’t working again. THIS photo is just about actual size. It’s a work-in-progress picture of a miniature rug I made based on an even SMALLER drawing I found in a book. In the drawing, the whole rug was maybe 3/4 inch long. I enlarged the design to dollhouse scale and stitched it in 28-count (are you noticing a pattern?) cross stitch. The drawing wasn’t in color but I knew the rug should be green and tan.

The photo shows only half of the rug – the other half is a mirror-image of this part. The left-hand side in the picture is actually the center.

This rug will probably go in a miniature room box eventually. One of my NON-sewing/embroidery obsessions is dollhouses/miniatures and I happen to have a book full of floor plans of rooms I’d like to copy in dollhouse scale.

I call this “the mad prince’s favorite rug” because it came from part of a story in which one of the characters decides not to kill his brother (try to, anyway!) only because his brother is standing on his favorite rug at the time and he doesn’t want to get any blood on it. Since the brother he was thinking about killing happens to be my favorite character from that story, I thought the rug itself deserved to be “immortalized” in miniature at least.

can’t leave well enough alone


If you do much cross stitch you might recognize this design as one by Teresa Wentzler: the lower part of “The Castle Sampler.”. I really like her designs but the colors she usually uses are not “me” at all. So I change them. Here cool pastels became bright autumn colors. I added the banner in the background, too. That’s mine. No, really – I have a real full-size banner like it that used to hang on my apartment wall. 🙂 I changed some small details, too, like not having the women wearing wimples.

The pillow itself is made of golden yellow suedecloth with turquoise satin piping around the edges, to match colors in the embroidery.

Here’s a close-up of part of the embroidery.


dice bag: burgundy and blue harlequin diamonds


I made this years ago for a friend but then I lost touch with him and he never got it.

The fabrics are burgundy velvet and navy blue “glazed cotton” – I would have used satin but it frays too much and would have been a pain to work with when the seams are only 1/4 inch wide. The bag is about 5 inches wide by 7 inches tall and it is lined in the blue fabric.