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Thankfulness

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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.

We're one week from Thanksgiving, my friends. Can you believe how quickly this year has flown by? Slowly, autumn's mums and pumpkins are being replaced by holiday trees and sparkling lights. The winter holidays are my favorite time of year, and I'm usually one to start putting up decorations as soon as humanly possible. However, this year, I'm finding myself wanting to sit back and enjoy the fall holidays as they are. I adore Thanksgiving, and I always have. It's the holiday that everyone can celebrate regardless of religious beliefs, cultural backgrounds, etc. It was always a big holiday in my family. My mom, grandmother and great-grandmother would cook for hours (days actually), and the tables (yes, we had two tables to accommodate our family's size) and counters would be covered in delicious offerings. My favorites were always my mom's dressing (we don't do "stuffing" in the South) and sweet potato casserole, my grandmother's lima beans and my great-grandmother's ambrosia salad. The day saw our entire family sitting around for hours, eating and just being together. There was no talk of presents or stockings -- simply talk of gratitude and stories that began with, "Remember when ..."

This year, I want to focus on that simplicity and that desire to just be grateful. Gratitude is something I'm learning a lot about in practicing yoga. It's about being grateful to myself and my Creator, and not focusing on the negatives and perceived shortcomings in life. I'm trying to bring that same focus to my stitching too. Rather than seeing all the unfinished projects I have, I'm choosing to focus on the pieces I am finishing and want to stitch. Who cares that I have an entire tub of pieces I've started? No judgment, right? If I want to start a new piece, then I'm allowing myself that pleasure. A couple of weeks ago, we splurged and spent a couple of days in the mountains of North Carolina. It was a much needed moment to relax and simply be. I took a new project with me ... not an unfinished one. And I love that new project!

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Satin Dreams

This year, we've been taking a look at various specialty stitches, which I hope you're still enjoying. Today, we're looking at another favorite -- the satin stitch. It's a combination of straight stitches worked to yield an interesting stitch pattern. It's super easy and has many options and variations. 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. Be careful not to pull your stitch too tightly or you'll open up the fabric weave. Also take care not to allow the floss to twist, as you want it to lie as flat as possible against your fabric.

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2. Bring the needle up where indicated by 3 on the stitch illustration and sink the needle where indicated by 4, repeating the above step. Again, be careful with tension and flatness of the thread. With each stitch, pull gently to allow the floss to rest atop fabric, but not so much that it distorts the stitching. Also be sure to let your floss untwist between each stitch to keep things nice and smooth.

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3. Continue working the stitches until the desired effect is achieved.

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This stitch can be worked over any number of fabric threads and in any direction. I don't recommend working it over too many threads as the floss can easily get pulled and a little worse for wear. You can vary the stitch lengths to create a sawtooth satin pattern, or work your stitches in a shape, such as a heart. You can even create an undulating row to make a pattern called bargello. The sky is the limit with this stitch, so let your imagination and needle run wild!

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

Fall Decorating

We've established that I love fall, and I look forward to finding new and creative ways to decorate for autumn's splendor. I adore the colors that come with fall, and I love adding pops of vivid turquoise to those golden yellows, rich reds and wood tones. I was super excited to find the Fall Decorating With Nature's Treasures video on Annie's Creative Studio. Featuring easy-to-accomplish projects using leaves, pine cones and twigs, the video shows step by step how to bring a breath of autumn indoors. I'm in love with the twig runner, and I'm on the hunt for twigs now. Have you taken a look at Annie's Creative Studio yet? It's a wealth of information and ideas! Here's the video for Fall Decorating With Nature's Treasures.

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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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