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Hearts in Dimensions

It's that time of year again. You know, that time when everything is red and pink, and chocolate and hearts abound. Now, I may not be the biggest fan of Valentine's Day, but I can definitely get behind a holiday that brings this much chocolate and this many flowers into our lives. Can I get an amen? And I love seeing the hearts on everything -- it just reminds me that we should love. Love each other, love ourselves -- wouldn't the world be a better and less confusing place if we could just love? Anyway, back to hearts and flowers. Those two items also seem to be incredibly popular in stitching circles. From classic samplers to modern pieces, both seem to invade nearly every style and level of stitching projects. Most of the motifs are executed with a simple pattern of X's, but I love being able to add texture and dimension with specialty stitches.

Dimensional Rhodes Stitch -- Hearts & All
One of my favorite ways to add dimension to a project is with a Rhodes stitch. This stitch combines a series of straight stitches in a "circular" motion to create a dimensional, raised stitch. While the stitches may be worked in a circular motion, the stitch can be any size or shape -- circles, triangles, squares, hearts -- your imagination is the limit. Use a single or double strand of floss or a single strand of pearl cotton to execute this stitch and see differing heights and dimension. If you want to add a wispy, delicate element of dimension, try using one strand of floss. If you want something that is dimensional but still subtle, go with the double strand of floss. If your project demands something bolder, go with the pearl cotton.

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These two Rhodes Heart stitches are both worked over 10 threads (just like the one in the Featured Pattern). The one on the left is worked with one strand of pearl cotton #5; the one on the right is worked with two strands of cotton floss. Note the difference in texture and dimension. Choose what works for you!

Today, we're going to take a look at the Rhodes Heart stitch, and you'll also find this stitch worked on this update's Featured Pattern. So grab a piece of fabric and thread that needle. Let's make some hearts!

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1. Securing your thread on the back, bring needle up where indicated by 1 on stitch illustration or at the bottom left area of the stitch area. Pass needle over fabric and sink needle where indicated by 2 on illustration or at the top left of the stitch area.

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2. Begin working your way around the stitch, bringing your needle up at odd numbers along the left side of the stitch and bringing the needle down on the even numbers along the right side of the stitch.

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3. Continue around the stitch, creating a dimensional shape as you work. Watch your tension and thread placement as you work. Don't pull too tightly or you'll distort your fabric and stitch. If using cotton floss, be sure to keep your strands side by side to maintain consistency in color, sheen and texture.

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4. When the last leg of stitch is reached, pull the last leg a little more firmly to finish shaping the stitch if necessary. Secure thread on back of work and clip thread. Voila! You've worked a beautiful, textured, dimensional Rhodes Heart stitch.

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Remember: Don't be discouraged if your first Rhodes stitch looks a bit lopsided or less than perfect. Most of the time, these can be adjusted carefully using the tip of your needle to separate strands, adjust placement, etc. But also remember that practice makes perfect. These little gems take no time at all to work, so grab some scrap fabric and work as many as you can until you find your groove. Then go ahead and try other shapes. Go crazy, my friends!

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Rhodes Square stitch and Rounded Rhodes stitch worked over six threads.

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

Annie's Creative Studio
We stitchers are passionate about our beloved craft, and we love creating beauty with our hands. How many of you dabble in other crafts? I know that I sometimes need a change. At those times, out comes a skein of yarn and a crochet hook or knitting needles or a Jelly Roll bundle and sewing machine. I am always looking for inspiration and new techniques in these areas too. Enter Annie's newly launched Creative Studio!

Annie's Creative Studio is a streaming video service that debuted earlier this month with six programs and more than 450 episodes of exclusive instructions, tutorials and patterns. Be still, my heart! Annie's Creative Studio is a membership-based service with new content added weekly to the website. It also offers a free 30-day trial, which is even more exciting! The content includes crochet, knitting, sewing and quilting, along with a program devoted to trends in home decor, recycling, fashion and holiday entertaining, which might be my favorite. I've already found several videos with wonderful ideas -- storage tips, displaying my work, color palettes, etc. Even if you are devoted solely to cross stitch, there are amazing suggestions to be had in Annie's Creative Studio programs. There's even a Quick Stitches & Tips lineup, which includes skill-building ideas, and a Products We Love program that showcases new products for our crafts.

For more information or to sign up for your free trial, click here.

Here are a few of the current offerings in Annie's Creative Studio:

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