Since I appear to be fixated on small projects lately, I have been culling through my chart binders and my fabric & fiber stash to find appropriate pairings. I hit the jackpot when I came up with two pieces of deep red linen, along with some mystery charcoal grey cotton floss and paired them with one of my favorite La-D-Da ornament charts from the 2006 JCS ornament issue, The Christmas Cardinal. For the moment, I am concentrating on outlining as many of the birds as I can fit on my red linens. As you can see I have already filled the fabric with the blue undertones with four cardinals. This linen is very soft
and feels delightful in the hand. But because the linen's warp and woof threads are very irregular in diameter and in the weave tension, thin threads so close to thick ones that they virtually disappear, working with this linen was a bit of a challenge. It doesn't help matters much that it is a 35 ct linen. The second piece of linen, the one with the yellow undertones, has been much easier to work with as it is much stiffer, woven more evenly with more regular threads and is 32 ct. But back to the softer 35 ct linen: I gathered up all those odds and ends of floss leftover from other projects - lengths too long to
throw in the ort jar but too short to use when kitting up anything but the smallest of small projects. I have quite a collection of what, for lack of a better term, I shall call maxi-orts. I am using these maxi-orts to stitch the scarves on the cardinals. My first cardinal has a lovely pink and grey scarf, the second has a blue on blue scarf, the third has a two toned purple scarf and the fourth has a variegated scarf stitched with a bit of Carrie's Creation's Strawberry Shake. On to the linen with yellow undertones: I've switched the scarf colors to russets and golds and tans. The first bird has a scarf stitched in a variegated Needle
Necessities floss called Autumn Leaves. I haven't decided yet on the other two All these cardinals will all be finished as little free-form bird-shaped pillow ornaments. I have backing fabrics that work with both shades of red. Add a bit of ribbon, or maybe hemp, and this year's Christmas tree will have a veritable flock of cardinals perching on its branches.
The odd thing is that as I use all these maxi-orts, I am reminded of the projects they came from. It's almost like paging through one of my old stitching journals or browsing the posts of this blog. The
various pinks came from a Breast Cancer ornament project run by a Texan stitcher. I must have made half a dozen ornaments over a two year period for the decorated trees she auctioned off to raise money for cancer research... all in honor of a younger sister and a first cousin, survivors of breast cancer. The purples came from Cedar Hill's Spring Bouquet, and the blues from Sue Donnelly's Song of the Sea. The variegated Autumn Leaves was the very first overdyed floss I ever used and that was on one of my first Homespun Elegance samplers. I remember the pleasure in stitching the original projects and experience echoes of that same pleasure working on this project. And, I feel thoroughly virtuous and ever so frugal in finding a proper use for my shrinking hoard of odds and ends of floss. It satisfies the "Use It Up, Wear It Out, Do Without" philosophy that sums up the simplicity I am striving for in so many aspects of my life.