Welcome to "The Girl's Gone Crafty!" blog about all things, well, crafty, of course! My name is Raquel, owner of Calico Craft Designs, and lover of all things Craft. I hope that you too will join me on my journey to finishing one more UFO (unfinished object), stitching for charity, and just learning more about the wonderful crafts available out there.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Hardanger Wedding Gift

Hardanger embroidery, also called cut work, was named after a town in Norway called Hardanger.  It is a type of embroidery featured in local attire and is still seen today.  It is traditionally worked with white thread on white even-weave fabric.  For this reason, it is also commonly referred to as whitework embroidery.  Several years ago, I taught myself the basics of this beautiful art form.  I haven't completed any Hardanger projects in a while and when I found out that Kelley, a friend of mine at work is getting married in May, I decided to dust off my skills and put them to use.  I haven't known Kelley very long but we just seem to "click".  We have a lot in common, including a love of crafts and the fact that we attempt to do some gardening.  Notice I said "attempt". ;-)  Kelley is getting married in about three weeks and I have been working on a small Hardanger design for her as a gift.

I found out that her bridesmaids' dresses will be a shade of aqua blue and her flowers are going to be white.  I decided to use a variegated blue DMC No.5 Pearl Cotton thread to accent the Hardanger pattern and a piece of aqua blue silk fabric behind the finished design so that the color will show through the openings in the fabric.  The remaining threads and even-weave fabric color are white.  I have been having a little trouble finding just the right font for the names and wedding date but I'll be using DMC Cotton Embroidery Floss in a similar shade of blue once I decide on a selection. 

I'm almost finished with the design.  I really just have to focus on wrapping all of the bars and completing the lettering.  This pattern was found in "Hardanger Embroidery" by Jill Carter.  It's simply called "Pincushion" as it's one of the many projects outlined in the book.  I modified it just slightly to make it more of my own and to make sure I could complete the stitches.  I am a beginner after all and wanted to stick with the basics.  I also used 22-count fabric instead of the 28-count that the pattern called for to make the finished design just a bit larger.  I really hope that Kelley enjoys it once it is framed and ready to hang in their new home.  I'll keep you posted on my progress!  Happy Stitching! 

Smalls SAL - April 2014 Update

April's Smalls SAL
Today is my very first check-in with the Smalls SAL hosted by Stitching Lotus.  I joined earlier this month and had to work quickly to have a finished piece completed by check-in today.  I chose to do a small bargello design that I will use in a greeting card.  As you may or may not know, I have a small shop on Etsy.com called Calico Craft Designs.  I'm trying to decide whether or not to add a few handmade greeting cards to the shop.  If I do, I think I'm going to add this bargello design as either a thank you card or a birthday card.  Not sure just yet.  Any suggestions?

Bargello Example 1
Bargello Example 2
Oh, and just in case you're not familiar with bargello designs, I've added a brief description of this type of embroidery from good ol' Wikipedia.  I've also added three photos of bargello work I located through Google.  I do not own the right to these three photos and are only using them to represent this beautiful art form.  Per the Wikipedia website, "Bargello is a type of needlepoint embroidery consisting of upright flat stitches laid in a mathematical pattern to create motifs.  The name originates from a series of chairs found in the Bargello Palace in Florence, which have a 'flame stitch' pattern.  Traditionally, Bargello was stitched in wool on canvas.  Embroidery done this way is remarkably durable... Traditional designs are very colourful, and use many hues of one colour, which produces intricate shading effects.  The patterns are naturally geometric but can also resemble very stylized flowers or fruits." 
Bargello Example 3
Now, what I have completed as my Smalls SAL for April is not needlepoint embroidery but is bargello in cross-stitch.  I found this particular pattern sample through a web search in Google.  I really like it as it reminds me of a pattern you see in Moroccan design and Morocco is definitely a place that I would love to visit one day.  I adapted the design just slightly and chose my own colors.  It repeats the same pattern every three rows and could be used with 3, 6, or 9 colors.  I chose to use six colors in my finished piece.  I really enjoyed working on this piece and am looking forward to completing a few more in the future. 

My Bargello Design in Cross-Stitch
Has anyone else ever finished a bargello design in cross-stitch?  If so, I'd love to see some photos.

TUSAL Progress - April 2014 Update

Time for the next TUSAL posting!  My glass has a lot more ORTs in it than it has in previous months.  I've been able to devote more time to both cross-stitching and Hardanger.  Now, to be fair, this month's collection is not just for the month of April.  It does have a few older threads from February and March as well.  Not many, but a few.  I haven't participated in the TUSAL Challenge since late last year and so this is my first photo now that I'm off and running again!

This month I worked on a Hardanger piece for a friend who is getting married in May.  I'll post an update about it and add a few pictures later today.  I also worked on a couple of small designs that will be made into greeting cards.  I'll post about them later as well.

The next posting is due May 28, 2014.  If you're not sure what the heck a "TUSAL" or "ORT" is, be sure to check out the link to the TUSAL Challenge by clicking on the link on the main blog page.  Happy Stitching!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Yes, you read that right!  UFO's have been spotted everywhere at my house!  I have so many unfinished cross-stitch and craft projects that it's just ridiculous!  I was cleaning up a little in my home office/craft room and found numerous projects that are in various stages of progress.  I really, really need to stop beginning new projects and work on the ones I have. [sigh]  I doubt that will EVER happen. Hahaha! ;-)

UFO located in my craft room
One good thing came out of my cleaning however.  I found an older design that I started years ago with a good friend in mind.  She loves old covered bridges and mills and I thought that this pattern would be perfect for her.  She even loves fishing!  It's "Scenic Bridge" by Barbara Sestok and the design appeared in the August 1998 edition of "Cross Stitch & Needlework" magazine.  I've had this pattern forever it seems! 

I've stopped and started it so many times that I can't keep track.  It's one of those designs that I think will be perfect for my friend but that I really do not enjoy working on.  It's just not what I would normally work on and does not fit my personal style.  Well, I dusted off the magazine and started working on it again this week.  I'm determined that I will finish it for her this year.  Her birthday is in August and I'm going to make myself complete it so it can be framed for her birthday gift or at the latest, a Christmas gift.  By adding it to my blog, maybe that will help me stay motivated to work on it each month so I can see it's progress.

Progress as of April 26, 2014
With that being said, here's where I am now.  This is the progress that I have made thus far.  It's actually not much larger than the edges of the current design.  It will go up a little to accommodate the roof of the covered bridge and the top of the tree, but the fence in the foreground is where the pattern stops and the sides are also pretty much defined.  Now it's just time to fill it in and complete the backstitching.

Wish me luck!

Monday, April 21, 2014

New Threads on the Calico Craft Designs Blog

I ordered a few beautiful threads from Lorraine at the Colour Complements Etsy Shop.  Check out my blog post on the Calico Craft Designs blog via the link below.  I'm planning on using these for a few Hardanger designs and I'll post photos as I go along.


Joining the 2014 Smalls SAL

I decided today that I would join the 2014 Smalls SAL hosted by Heather from Stitching Lotus.  I have quite a few ideas for cards and other small items this year and this is the perfect way to make sure I get some of them finished.  I'll be committing to complete one small piece each month and it will be posted on or around the last Wednesday of each month.  I'm excited to get started!  You can learn more about Heather's SAL or sign-up to participate by visiting her site here or by clicking on the link on my blog home page.  I better go get started...the next one is due on April 30th!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

TUSAL Progress - March 2014 Update

Since I have been away from my blog and many of my crafts for a while, I haven't been keeping up with the TUSAL Challenge or with my ORTs.  I know...shame, shame.  Now that I'm back, however, I decided to start off with my current TUSAL jar.  I missed the official posting from March 30 but I'll be ready for the upcoming one in April! :-)

The next posting is due April 29, 2014.  If you're not sure what the heck a "TUSAL" or "ORT" is, be sure to check out the link to the TUSAL challenge by clicking on the link on the main blog page.

The New Moon dates for 2014 are:

January 1
January 30
March 1
March 30
April 29
May 28
June 27
July 26
August 25
September 24
October 23
November 22
December 22

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Long Absence

It's been about six months since my last post on "The Girl's Gone Crafty!" blog.  Due to personal and family medical issues, the holidays were a blur and the beginning of 2014 has flown by as well.  I simply have not had the time to really focus on my personal craft projects, gifts, or items for the Calico Craft Designs Etsy Shop.  The dust is beginning to settle, so to speak, and I hope to begin again.  I'll be rearranging a few items on the blog and hope to join in with the TUSAL Challenge and ongoing WIP challenges very soon.

Here's to a new beginning!