Wow, the time has just flown by this year! I can't believe that it's Christmas already - and I'm so behind on everything this year that I've decided to go back to basics. I'm just looking forward to spending time with my family and having a nice quiet holiday! This post is coming to you a little later than intended, but there's some exciting news, including two great year-long Stitch Alongs (SALs) in 2014, that I hope you'll enjoy :)
Stitch From Stash (SFS) SAL 2014, Hosted By Epic Stitching
Mel from Epic Stitching is inviting stitchers to join her in sticking to a strict stitching budget - of under $350 dollars - this year. Each month - if you post your total spent and projects made - you will be eligible for Giveaways, and if you make 11 out of 12 months, then you'll get an entry into a very generous Grand Prize Giveaway for a $100 voucher for an online stitchy store of your choice!!! Isn't that great incentive?!
I've joined in on the fun, and I'm very excited to have that extra motivation! Now, I usually do stitch at least a little bit of every project from my stash, but over the last few months I've developed a burning desire to use some of the "treasures" I've been hoarding for ages! I've seen some challenges in the past that allow no spending on extra supplies which wouldn't work for me - there's always something I've run out of, or need in order to finish - and SFS's monthly budget of $25 is very reasonable and flexible. And you can "bank" your budget! Non-bloggers are welcome to join too.
You can read the full details here, and the sign-up deadline is January 2nd, 2014!
Just Nan SAL 2014, Hosted By Keep Calm And Cross Stitch
And in more exciting SAL news, Zeb from Keep Calm And Cross Stitch is devoting next year to her favourite needlework designer, Nan Caldera! There is a monthly posting schedule with specific post dates, and each month you make you'll be eligible for a very special Just Nan-related Giveaway :) Non-bloggers are welcome too!
I've joined in with the fun, and you can jump in at any time! See this post for the full rules and contact information. Wondering what designs to choose? Zeb's wonderful Just Nan Design List is a great place to start! Also, Zeb kindly shared a link with me for a beautiful freebie called Christmas Hearts (scroll down right to the very bottom of the page), which is a lovely small seasonal stitch perfect for sharing in January ;)
Other Notable SALs for 2014
The SFS and JN SALs will be a first for me, as I've never participated in a year-long SAL before! I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep up, so I don't want to try too many at once. But there are lots of other great SALs out there, and here's a few I've noticed:
2014 Smalls SAL, hosted by Stitching Lotus: For finishing smaller starts or WIPs, 1st check-in date is January 29th;
2014 Theme-a-Licious, hosted by It's Geek To Me: For having fun stitching themed projects each month: check-ins on the 1st of every month;
2014 Totally Useless SAL (TUSAL), hosted by It's Daffycat: For sharing thread ends, aka "Orts", sign-up post for this year coming soon;
2014 Turtle Trot SAL, hosted by BAP Attack: For finishing WIPs/UFOs; check-in dates are before the 10th of each month
2014 WIPocalypse, hosted by Measi's Musings: For finishing Works In Progress (WIPs), join anytime, 1st post date is January 16th;
And finally, for embroidery, Sharon B. of Pintangle has just announced that although she's cutting back on blogging, she will be hosting Take A Stitch Tuesday (TAST) in 2014! This is a challenge I have always wanted to join, and if the flexible rules from 2013 stay (you can share any stitch from the list on any week!), I may try and join as this year may be the last run of TAST. Beginner and experienced stitchers alike are welcome to join, and I've heard it's a great way to learn about new stitches!
Quick Stitch: Quilt-Inspired Felt Pincushion or Coaster
Thanks to CraftGossip, I found this great tutorial for cute hand-stitched felt squares in the classic "Orange Peel" quilt pattern at Craft Snob! Makes a great gift idea :)
Make A Winter Snowglobe, in Cross-Stitch and Felt!
Over at Bugs & Fishes, felt artist Laura (Lupin) Howard has an excellent series of tutorials that started with a free cross-stitch pattern for a wintry alpine snowglobe! She has a wonderful tutorial for sewing the cross-stitch onto felt (as seen above), and a great tutorial for making an all-felt version (with cute beaded snowflakes!) too :)
And that's not all - Laura also recently shared some very cute and festive embroidery designs, perfect for quick ornaments: Snowmen, Christmas Pudding, and Penguin. And she also has two patterns with tutorials - a lovely Angel (also in felt, in two styles - with backing and without) and an elegant Mistletoe Sprig! And you can view all her holiday patterns and tutorials (including these sweet Felt Vintage Baubles) here :)
Stitch Up A Simple But Sweet Vintage Christmas Tree!
Laura at Bugs and Fishes also hosted The Crafty Christmas Tutorial Linkup, with lots of festive projects. My favourite was this lovely little vintage Christmas Tree design, made up of loops of chain stitch, revamped into a "mug rug" (with tutorial) by Julie at Button, Button! It would also work up quickly on felt for ornaments :)
25 Crafts of Christmas @ Wild Olive
Mollie always does something special for Christmas, and over at Wild Olive, she's counting down her favourite craft supplies! It's more than a list though - there's inspiration aplenty, in the form of links, ideas and patterns. My favourite so far is this lovely English Paper Piercing Star, which comes with a wonderful tutorial too :)
DMC's 12 Weeks of Free Holiday Gift Ideas!
For the last two months, Emma Broidery at the DMC Threads blog has been sharing festive ideas and tutorials, which are all listed here! The projects run the gamut from kids crafts to quick crafts, but my favourite is the North Star Ornaments from Week 8, done in embroidery :) Emma also has a great round-up of Needlebook tutorials!
Embroider A Pair of "Starry Night" Ornaments!
Anna Scott is a very talented embroidery designer whose work I greatly admire. I first spied these gorgeous ornaments on her Flickr feed, and was thrilled to discover (via a Feature at Feeling Stitchy) that Anna is sharing the pattern! The floral star is fun, and the filigree one is so elegant. There was also a Giveaway, which has closed.
Designer Spotlight & Sale: Urban Threads
Urban Threads is a cute and quirky company best-known for their contemporary machine embroidery designs, but they also offer patterns in line-drawn versions for Hand-Embroidery! And they do so at unbeatable prices. Hand-Embroidery pattern versions are only $1.00!!! And the beautiful "Delicate December" Collection - which features elegant festive motifs perfect for last-minute holiday stitching - is now on sale, with Hand-Embroidery patterns only 50 cents! Wow, right?
But you'll have to hurry - the sale ends on December 22nd. Now, I don't normally post about sales, but this one is too big to miss, especially since all orders over $10 (until December 25th) also receive a special bonus design.
I've been subscribing to the Urban Threads Newsletter for a few months now and I definitely intend to try stitching one of their amazing patterns in the New Year! And the StitchPunk blog regularly features interesting tutorials and fan works.
Urban Threads also posts a freebie that changes every two weeks, along with some other goodies. Stitch up this lovely Let It Snow pattern, which is a FREE download (in Machine Embroidery and Hand- Embroidery formats) until December 29th!
You do have to create an account to order, but check-out is very easy :) For quicker stitching, you could leave out the swirly background, and you could try working the elements - lettering, holly and snowflakes - in different colours too ;)
Blackwork Snowflakes - Free Patterns!
As everyone knows, I love blackwork, and the characteristic geometric lines lend themselves beautifully to wintry snowflake motifs! CJ at Imaginesque just shared a lovely Snow Crystal (UPDATE: CJ has just posted a gorgeous embroidery pattern for snowflakes too!), and here are some other patterns that have caught my eye:
This lovely design is the 2011 Snowflake at Tor Rhuann Designs, second item down (after a very lovely holiday Holly and Ivy pattern!) on this list. And over at The World According To Agi, Agi has shared a large Blue Beaded Snowflake and a pair of Snowflake Biscornu (shown stitched here) and Bookmark with blackwork elements.
Also, the gorgeous design from Jeanne Dansby at Byrd's Nest that I used for my Beaded Blackwork Snowflake is still available on Jeanne's Blackwork Smalls page!
Thank You For Reading!
I'm going to be taking a little break until after Christmas, probably until mid-January or so. I'm hoping to resume regular editions of Stitchy News in February, but I hoped you enjoyed this special Holiday Edition :) As usual, if you have any news you'd like to see featured on SN, please leave a comment on this post or e-mail me.
Wherever you are, and whatever you've planned for the festive season,
Best Wishes for a Very Merry Christmas and a Stitchy New Year!!!
Best Wishes for a Very Merry Christmas and a Stitchy New Year!!!