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The Stitching Studio
Shepherd's Bush Stitch A Long Newsletter - October

By Betsy


Shepherd's Bush Stitch A Long Newsletter - October
My name is Adana (uh-day-na)
Mackinac Island Michigan
50 Years Later
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The Newsletter of the Shepherd's Bush Stitch-along! October 2001

Well, at the risk of sounding trite - I can't believe it's October!

This year has flown by! I would blame the feeling that time is moving faster and faster on my age, but my sixteen-year-old son recently remarked on this phenomenon as well. The absolutely unscientific theory we devised is that time really IS moving faster! I suppose our next step should be to formulate some hypothesis as to why, and then proceed to conduct some carefully controlled experiments exploring the validity and effect of each variables but hey, that's way too much work. I'd prefer to spend my time enjoying our occasional cool mornings and stitching on some pumpkins, a few Halloween goodies and an autumn sampler or two.

SEPTEMBER FREEBIE RECAP: Little Lambs. Hope you enjoyed this sweet design, or will keep it in your stash for another date. If you didn't get a chance to see it, take a look at Wilma BC's version on the Shepherd's Bush board.
Nice work, Wilma!

OCTOBER FREEBIE: Fair Sheep. Fair Sheep is one of the designs that celebrates Tina and Teri's English heritage. The copyright information lists both Tina and Teri as contributors to this design. It was published in 1994, and is very similar in fabric and fiber colors to Shepherd's Spring, a small band sampler style kit which debuted in the spring of 1995.

Fabric: This chart calls for 32 count English Rose linen, a pale lavender shade (you can also substitute Lavender Mist by Zwiegert). This freebie is 48 stitches wide and 79 stitches tall; fabric cut sizes are as follows:

Design Size, on 32 count fabric: 3 inches wide by 5 inches high Cut size (with 3 inch allowance on all sides): 9 inches wide by 11 inches

Design Size, on 28 count over two: 3 inches by 5 inches
Cut size (with 3 inch allowance): 9 inches by 11 inches

Design Size, 14 count Aida: 3 inches by 5 inches
Cut size (with 3 inch allowance): 9 inches by 11 inches

Design Size, 18 count linen over two: 6 inches wide by 9 inches high Cut size (with 3 inch allowance): 12 inches wide by 15 inches high

Question: Last month, I asked for input on how much white, off white or cream fabric you used in your stitching, as well as recommendations for other fabric types, sizes or colors you'd recommend to other stitchers for their stash. Here's what you said:

Laura in MO wrote: "Out of 7 pieces that I recently chose fabric for, only one is on white. Now, I did mainly use the suggested fabrics but I tend to choose patterns with more color in them, including fabric. I do love the SB Hearts kits and they are all on white/antique white/cream but I think it's the delicacy of the design that needs the white.

A couple of my favorite fabric colors are Apple Blossom linen and English Rose linen. I love the soft colors.

I also love R&R's 18th Century Stone as a staple for my fabric stash, as well as Wichelt's Blue Silk. I buy cuts of both any time my LNS has smaller cuts available; these are good for small projects like ornaments. I'd definitely recommend either/both of these as staples for fabric stashing. I think it's a good idea to keep some of the 'fun' colors from R&R if you have access to them just because the color of the fabric can give you a real lift if you hit the stitching slumpies!"

Mrs. TMT (Tracey) wrote: I often stitch on white or cream because they are the only colors I keep in stock. If I need another color for a project, I usually go buy the amount I need and don't have much left over. I recently began trying to add to my fabric stash and will buy a little extra so I could make an ornament or something else. One of my favorite colors to stitch on is 'natural.' I love the little flecks of other color that appear in the fabric and how each cut is a little different!"

And from Linda (hillslady): "About the fabrics - I use mostly white, antique white, cream and natural fabrics. Several months ago I bought a random selection of fabrics from Silkweaver - 8 pieces, all different colours. They're gorgeous, but so far I've only found a use for two of them. I did go through a phase of stitching on green cashel linen, but lately, everything I stitch sits best on neutral fabrics."

KimPA added: "I usually use only the antique white and the cream for my projects because I love the way the colors appear on them!"

One of the most useful fabrics I added to my stash last year was a half yard of 32 count natural linen. I've snipped pieces from it throughout the year for everything from larger charts to ornaments and freebie designs. Lambswool linen is another great neutral that works well for nearly everything.

I also agree with Laura that the R&R and other hand dyed fabrics can add a new dimension to your stitching, much like overdyed fibers do. (We love the "coffee blends" - Mocha Java, Marva's Breakfast Blend, and the like. They look good and - don't tell anyone I said this - they actually SMELL divine, LOL!)

Others agreed that Belfast and Cashel linens are a must for their close weaves and soft, lovely feel. And if you're in the mood for a larger count fabric, don't overlook Cork or Heatherfield. Cork is so soft - it's a dream! And Heatherfield has a homespun, flecked look and unique feel that is wonderful for folksy designs.

If you're an "Aida only" stitcher, why not consider Jobelan? This lovely evenweave is a pretty easy transition from Aida and is available in wonderful colors.

Speaking of color, check with your LNS for small cuts of fabric that allow you to try something new (many internet sources also have grab bags available periodically). "Neutrals with color" like Summer Khaki, which has an olive tone, are surprisingly useful, and sometimes, I just want RED! So - what'll you add to YOUR stash?

Fibers: The design is charted for two strands of DMC for
cross-stitches over two fabric threads (one strand for backstitch) in the following colors:

DMC 225
DMC 315
DMC 316
DMC 501
DMC 502
DMC 640
DMC 642
DMC 644
DMC 677
DMC 927
DMC 3041
DMC 3042, and
DMC 3740

These are lovely spring colors, especially against the lavender linen.
But of course, I can't leave well enough alone, and since I was in an "autumn" frame of mind, I played around with the fibers until I had an "Autumn Fair Sheep" piece. I did, by the way, use a piece of Cream Belfast linen, which was just perfect! Check the Cross Stitch Corner Board to see what I've done now, LOL!

Embellishments: Use the Shepherd's crook silver SB charm in place of the stitched crook, or if you like, use the Wandering Shepherd charm or Moon Garden pudgie charm. You can also stitch on clay or brass stars instead of the stitched stars over the sheep, and of course, pull out those leftover beads for the flowers or vine for a little extra pizazz! Or consider substituting a sheep button (Debbie Mumm makes some nice ones, as does Just Another Button Company) for the stitched one.

Watch out for: The flower motif row, which has a single green cross stitch in the middle to make the row come out evenly. Also note that the flowers consist of two cross stitches set diagonally, but one motif incorrectly charts them as one on top of the other (does that make sense?). Simply stitch is the same way as you've done the others. Otherwise, this is a very simple and straightforward piece, which stitches up VERY quickly. Nice!

Finishing Ideas: This piece would be a lovely banner as well as a bag (use a matching fabric to line your bag and make a "cuff" at the top). It's also the perfect size for a pillow!

Next Month's Freebie: Shepherd's Heart.

TRIVIA CONTEST: As you can imagine, there are a LOT of Shepherd's Bush designs whose titles include the words "sheep" or "shepherd". PennyIN asked me how many there were, so here's at least a partial listing from among the trivia contest answers!

Shepherd's Hill, Shepherd's Purse, Shepherd's Spring, Shepherd's Scissor Fob, A Winter's Sheep, Sheep in the Meadow, Shepherd's Eve, Checkered Sheep, Shepherd's Earth, Shepherd's Roll, Button Sheep, Wandering Shepherd, Shepherd's Heart, Baa Baa Little Sheep, Shepherd's Sampler, and, as Marnie said, the DOUBLE WHAMMY - Shepherd's Sheep!

Congratulations to this month's winners:! These ladies answered the question correctly and were drawn from among the correct entries to receive a card of Wisper fiber and a brand new pack of needles: Penny IN; Connie in NV, and Judy in IL. Hope they come in handy! Now on to the October Trivia Contest Question.

Shepherd's Bush designs are filled with gentle little folk -shepherds, beekeepers, gardeners, and gatherers, among others. What do SB fans call these little people?

HINT: This nickname has something to do with their *size*. Since this month's focus was at least partially on fabrics to include in your stash, this month's three winners will each receive an 11 inch by 11 inch square of Alabaster Heatherfield fabric, the same fabric/cut which will be used in the December freebie, "Merry Angel". Good luck!

CONTEST RULES: 1) To enter, just send me an email (to either or which includes your answer, your name, your board name, and your email address. Please make the subject line say TRIVIA CONTEST. 2) Three winners will be drawn at random from among all the correct entries submitted. 3) I'll notify all winners by email and request a snail mail address so that I can mail your prize to you. NOTE: Please DO NOT bother Teri or Tina (at Shepherd's Bush) or Judy A. for any answers!!

LAGNIAPPE! Since last month's lagniappe had a delicious chocolate recipe, I thought this month's lagniappe should give you a bit of history - the history of chocolate! Chocolate - as cocoa beans - actually originated in Central America among the Aztecs and Mayans. They steeped cocoa beans in hot water, added spices (including chili!) and beat the mixture into a frothy drink However, this was usually reserved only for the rulers, since it supposedly imparted "powers". (We ladies aren't the only ones to believe that chocolate is magical!) In fact, cocoa beans were so revered that the beans were used as a currency.

The Spanish explorer Cortez carried chocolate back to Spain, where it was a jealously guarded secret, until, of course, somebody spilled the beans (bad pun!!). Chocolate spread quickly throughout Europe, but was still enjoyed only as a drink. In fact, "chocolate houses" sprang up in England in amazing numbers (the precursor, no doubt, to Starbucks). It was many years before chocolate became a confection and began to be added to cakes and other sweets.

And did you know that:

The Swiss consume more chocolate per capita than anyone other nation in the World (22 pounds per person).

There are about five milligrams of caffeine in an ounce of milk chocolate, compared to 100 to 150 milligrams in an eight ounce cup of coffee. You'd have to eat more than a dozen Hershey chocolate bars to get the caffeine in one cup of coffee!

US consumers eat about 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate per year, or about 12 pounds per person!

Chocolate is poisonous to dogs. About 2 ounces of milk chocolate can be poisonous to a ten pound puppy.

For more good chocolate "stuff", visit Yum!

WRAP UP: Speaking of time flying, has anyone noticed that Judy's "Days Until Christmas" countdown is now in double digits? Guess I'd better stitch faster!

Happy Stitching!

Official Shepherd's Bush site can be found at: