I'm going to Wisconsin this summer, back up north to, among other places, the little island at the top of the Door County peninsula where I used to go, year after year, on vacation with my family when I was a child. On Washington Island, we stayed in a campground — such a pretty campground — in our pop-up trailer. It wasn't a loud or raucous place, and it was pretty empty most of the times we were there. The camp sites were in a little forest, light and airy with pretty, light-green-leaved trees. I remember waking up in the morning in the trailer and watching the shadows of the leaves dance on the canvas pop-out, and it would be hot in there. At night, we would cross a big meadow to get from the camp sites to the lodge where the pinball and pop machines and showers and bathrooms were. You had to pay for the shower with quarters and that shower was gorgeous. (It was either that one or another one, but in my mind it was that one.) Back at our old house in River Forest, we always ran out of hot water. At the campground shower, with a baggie full of quarters and an enormous, cedar-paneled, skylight-lit shower-room to myself, I stood under the hot, rushing water until my three bucks ran out, and it felt like forever. At night, walking across the meadow, you could see a million stars, the whole Milky Way above you as you tried not to stumble in the long grass, or drop your toothbrush or your towel, or wonder if it had been a bat that had just buzzed you in the cricket-filled night-silence, for fun. I loved that night walk so much. Coming back through the woods, you'd pass everyone else's little tents, little twinkle lights, little campfires, and soft laughter in the darkness. Enchanted evenings. I'm so excited that Amelia will get to see fireflies this summer. We don't have them here in Oregon, and I miss them.
I think this sampler was inspired by those long-ago summer nights. I started designing it shortly after I found out we were going to Wisconsin, and to Chicago. I think it also reminds me of our walks with Amelia around our own neighborhood here in Portland, which occasionally, at certain times of day, reminds me of the one I grew up in (outside of Chicago). She's just starting to draw — numbers, letters, flowers, wings, sun, moon — on the sidewalk with chalk, and the simple beauty of her marks makes me so nostalgic and I can hardly breathe, sometimes. "Moms cry when they are very happy!" she announced to her grandma the other day. "That's true," said my mom while I swallowed hard, and smiled at them.
So, this is 'Night, Neighborhood. It's a pretty decent size, as designed, with a design area of 12" x 14". It's done on Belfast linen (which is the same linen that My Sweetiepie ABCs sampler is done on) in Amsterdam Blue, using two plies of DMC floss. I love it. I loved designing it and I really loved stitching it. Every element is interesting enough that you never get bored, and small enough that by the time you're ready to be done with that element, you are done. That's sort of the perfect project, for me: parts and pieces that are, in and of themselves, not too difficult and fairly interesting, but that also add up to something that's unique and cool. I'm a bit smitten with this one. (You can click on the images above to see them enlarged.)
The 'Night, Neighborhood Cross Stitch Sampler KIT is available HERE.
If you would like just the downloadable PDF PATTERN, it is available HERE.
Here are the details:
Finished Size of Design Area: 12" x 14" (30.5cm x 35.5cm); 192 stitches wide x 224 high on 32-count fabric
The kit contains:
One 18" x 20" (46cm x 51cm) piece of 32-count Zweigart Belfast linen in Amsterdam Blue
(64) 24" (61cm) lengths of various colors of DMC 6-ply cotton embroidery floss
(2) 24" (61cm) lengths of specialty thread
Illustrated stitch tutorial for special stitches
Color cross-stitch chart with symbols
One piece of chipboard for creating a floss organizer
*Frame not included.
You will need your own:
#24 tapestry needle(s) for cross stitch
4" (10cm) embroidery hoop
Frame and framing supplies
If you are new to counted cross stitch, or need a refresher on the basics, please see my "how to do counted cross stitch" tutorial here.
As with the Sweetiepie, I think one of the "hardest" parts of making this sampler will be organizing the 64 lengths of floss (in 39 colors) that you will receive in the kit. The floss will come to you in two separate hanks, with 32 24" lengths in each group. The pattern includes a list of floss colors and numbers, along with their symbols as used in the chart, organized into the two groups. I've included a piece of chipboard (thin cardboard) and the instructions for making floss organizers like mine.
To help you separate the colors, which can be a bit tricky but not really too bad (since you are given the number of lengths included and the color name, which provides a general description of the color itself) I've put some large photos of my floss, all organized, up on my web site here. This should help you figure out how to tell the colors apart, relative to each other.
Remember, you need to separate two plies away from the six-ply embroidery floss length to work the cross stitches throughout the sampler. Special stitches, including backstitches and French knots, use one or two plies, as indicated in the instructions. If you don't know how to do these stitches, I've included illustrations and directions for working them in the pattern.
The chart you will receive is quite large, larger than the actual size of the finished piece, and it is broken into four separate full-color one-sided pages. I used a new printer this time and the printed photos and the chart look gorgeous, if I do say. You can use the pages individually or cut them out and tape the chart together, overlapping the grayed areas. Each color has its own symbol, keyed, as I mentioned, to a list of color names and DMC's assigned floss-color number. To work the design, you follow the chart, counting stitches as you go.
It also really helps to have something white, like a dishtowel, on your lap as you stitch. The holes in the fabric that you need to stitch through are so much easier to see.
Also, as you probably know, I also carry my favorite supplies in my web shop, should you need lovely, high quality tools. For this project, we have:
Gorgeous little embroidery scissors.
Hardwicke Manor 4" hoops.
Twill tape to wrap around the inner hoop. You don't need to do this, but it's nice, and provides more tension to keep the fabric from slipping out of the hoop as you stitch.
And size #24 tapestry needles for cross stitch on linen.
All supplies will be shipped along with your kit.
We do ship overseas! To place your order, you will be required to read this information, which contains details about international shipping and customs fees you may incur when ordering outside the U.S. (If you are overseas, the shipping cost charged by Posie does not include any further charges you may incur when importing goods.) To see the shipping-only costs for your order and location, just place the items in your cart and choose your location (or enter your zip code, if you are in the U.S.) and it will tell you how much the shipping is. As usual, I have a sincere request: Please check on and update your shipping address correctly in your Paypal preferences so that there is no confusion when we go to ship. If you do need to add things to your order or change your address after you've placed the order, just email me and we'll figure it out, no worries! I just like to remind people of this ahead of time, because it's a bit easier.
Thank you, as always, for your enthusiasm for and interest in my work. Posie is a true cottage industry. I love what we (my assistant Stacey, Andy, and I) do and am hugely proud of how we do it. I'm sincerely grateful for your support of all of my interests and endeavors. Your attention is such a gift. Thank you for it, and for being here, all these years. Xoxoxoxo.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I will get back to you here. Thank you!