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Farewell 2018!

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Hi y'all! It's Christy Schmitz here, bringing you the freshest and latest news and ideas from the world of Just CrossStitch.

I hope your holiday was peaceful and full of magic! It truly is the most wonderful time of the year! This year for us was quiet and peaceful, which is a nice treat. So much of life is busy and hectic, so a day or two that can just be spent enjoying life and blessings is always treasured. It was my first Christmas without Molly, but I took comfort and joy in looking at photos of her from past holidays. She loved the lighted tree and would stare at it just like I did as a child (and adult). It was Ellie's first Christmas with us, and I think she enjoyed it. She was always fascinated with any bags that came in, and she seemed to know which bags contained something for them. Abby knows the drill of Christmas now, but she never loses that excited look when we drive around looking at Christmas lights. Both girls got new jewelry (collars) and new clothes (a fleece jacket), and they shared a toy for the yard. Yes, I'm that pet parent. Yes, I admit it. No, I will not change. They crashed shortly after opening their presents and making a quick play run outside.

Christmas Day dinner hearkened back to family traditions for us and included dressing and shrimp creole. I may no longer live on the coast, but I'm still a coastal girl, and those traditions run deep. Breakfast featured a new tradition of a spinach and feta quiche. My mom and I focused on happiness, simplicity and just being with our family and friends. Now, as we look forward to 2019, I keep remembering what my grandfather told me nearly every day in the last few years of his life, including the day he passed into Glory: "Things are looking up, Christy, and they'll be better than you think." I hold onto that because I know the Creator of the universe, and I know His plan is perfect ... in His time.

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Holiday Queen

This past year, we've been taking a look at various specialty stitches, and now our year of specialty stitches is over (unless we do it again in 2019!). I hope you've enjoyed them. Our last stitch to explore this year is a favorite of mine, but it's one that terrified me until someone walked me through it. It's the queen stitch, and it's a showstopping addition to any project. Let's take a look!

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1. After securing the thread on the back of the fabric, bring the needle up as indicated by 1 on the stitch illustration. Next, sink the needle where indicated by 2 on the illustration, making a vertical straight stitch. Pull the thread close to the fabric but not too tight against the fabric. Carefully bring the needle up where indicated by 3 on the illustration; catch the straight stitch gently and insert needle where indicated by 4 on the illustration. This will carefully and delicately guide the vertical stitch to the right and into more of an angled stitch. Be careful not to pull the stitch too tightly, but make sure it's pulled firmly.

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2. Bring the needle up where indicated by 5 on the stitch illustration and sink the needle where indicated by 6, repeating the above step and making a second vertical straight stitch. Again, be careful with tension and flatness of the thread. Then, repeat the process from above, bringing needle up at 7 and down at 8, catching the second straight stitch and guiding it over to lay next to the first "leg" of the queen stitch.

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3. Now, you're going to repeat the above for the other side of the stitch. Bring the needle up where indicated by 9 and sink where indicated by 10, up at 11 and down at 12, catching the vertical stitch, but this time drawing it to the left.

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4. Finally, bring your needle up at 13 and down at 14. Then, up at 15 and down at 16, catching that last vertical stitch and pulling it to the left once more. Violá! You've created a queen stitch! Now you can add it to your choice of projects without fear!

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This stitch can be worked over any even number of fabric threads. You can also work the stitch horizontally or in portions for edges. I know this stitch requires a lot of steps, but they are fluid and will go very quickly once you get the hang of it. I love to do an entire flower in queen stitches, and I did one as a bookmark for my mom a few years ago. It's fun, and the results are elegant and classy.

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For other stitch illustrations, check out Annie's Stitch Guide here.

Welcome Wreaths

We talked last update about my obsession with wreaths, and I'm holding to that again this time and bringing you another favorite wreath project from Annie's Creative Studio. This wreath is absolutely going on my door after Epiphany when my Christmas wreath comes down, and I can't wait to finish making it. This wreath is perfect for needleworkers of all kinds! I'm not a big knitter, but I plan to jazz up some store-bought gloves with a little cross stitching! I'm thinking of adding some delicate snowflakes or even a more geometric pattern like chevrons or polka dots. Wooden hoops are inexpensive, and I probably have one squirreled away in my stitching room. Usually, I plan to change some colors on projects, but I'm digging the saturated red. How perfect is that for welcoming 2019? I do think I'll add a splash of black-and-white buffalo-check ribbon because ... well, I like it.

Have you taken a look at Annie's Creative Studio yet? It's a wealth of information and ideas! Here's the video for Wintry Welcome Wreath.

Wintry Welcome Wreath

Annie's Creative Studio is a new streaming service that debuted earlier this year. New content is added weekly to this membership-based service, and new members can sign up for a free 30-day trial membership. Check out the new Annie's Creative Studio here.

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