Monthly Archives: September 2014

Autumn Blessings Cross Stitch

During the hot days of summer I’ve been enjoying working on cross stitch – no ironing needed.

Autumn Blessings Finished Boy and Girl

I came across this free pattern from Plum Street Samplers called “Autumn Blessings”.   I not only loved the cute, stylized rabbits, but was especially charmed by the huge sunflowers.

I ditched the linen and the magnifying glass and got out some light oatmeal 14 count cotton Aida.  I decided to adapt the pattern into two small pieces: a boy and girl rabbit facing each other, as if they’re offering the other a gift from the fall harvest.

My Revised ChartI drew it out on graph paper and added the crow to keep the same stitch number as the girl with the flower.  They are both 37 stitches high by 30 stitches wide to finish as 4 by 4 inch pieces.  I also made the pumpkin a little larger and changed the color of their clothes: traditional blue overalls for the boy and an orange and blue striped dress for the girl.  My initial idea was to have the crow carrying a stalk of wheat in its mouth, but it didn’t look right with the beak in yellow.  Maybe I should have changed the beak and feet to black so they would show up better.

The two little embroidered pieces turned out so sweet that I wanted to finish them right away.  I used 4 by 4 artist’s canvas, and laced them across the back. I had the idea that cinnamon sticks would make a good frame and their size just fit.  I bought 2 packages to find ones with the right length, and carefully trimmed a few which released their wonderful fragrance.  I attached them with craft glue.

Autumn Blessings Framing MaterialsLaced Back

Then I added a brown paper backing, and thumbtacks into the wood frame for hanging.

Finished Backs

And the finished pieces:

Finished Cross Stitch on Cloth Background

Finished 4 x 4s Cinnamon Stick Frames

For once, I worked ahead of the season so they’re ready to display from the start of fall.  I’ve also been thinking of possible projects to use some of the two fall 1/2 yard fabrics I’ve been storing and never cut into.   Are you working on or planning any autumn themed sewing or craft projects?



A Little Patchwork – Schoolhouse Block

I came upon a house block I had photocopied from a library book quite some time ago.   I’ve since learned its proper name is a schoolhouse block or Little Red Schoolhouse.  It looked simple yet there were a lot of little pieces to work with – 28 to form the house.

Schoolhouse Block diagram

Piecing is tricky, and I had difficulty with the roof point and matching up seams.  I had several “stitch it again” moments, trying to get closer to a reasonable accuracy.

Trouble Piecing - No Point

Basted Schoolhouse BlockIt’s a big 8 x 9 inch, with a layer of insul-brite and a layer of cotton batting, so it’ll do the job even though the house is homely and crooked.

Schoolhouse Potholder BackSchoolhouse Potholder


I attached and quilted with a walking foot for the first time.  It was simple to attach: I removed the shank and foot with the screwdriver that came with the machine, screwed the foot into position while putting the “claw” in place as seen on the right.


I found a long strip of two fabrics I had previously sewn together, and made a simple 9 patch pincushion from the strip.9 Patch and Back Pincushion and ButtonsPincushion 3x3

I use it for needles I’m currently sewing with, and need to put down without losing them.

On the subject of lost and found, I was happy to find my lost strawberry needlebook many months ago in my box of lace and trim.  And to think I blamed the dog!


Links to free schoolhouse quilt blocks:

grandmothers choice.blogspot:  an 8 inch finished block and also an interesting look at Lucy Stone and women’s education in the 19th century.

popular patchwork:  downloadable pdf with templates and instructions.

quiltmag:  pdf for a 12 inch finished block with directions and templates.

creative partners:  a downloadable diagram.

mccalls quilting:   a 2 inch block,  miniature quilt  with Kasse Fassett prints.

see how we sew.wordpress:   history of the schoolhouse block and inspirational examples.