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Summer Fun

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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 may have been born and raised in the Deep South where summer can bring us to our knees begging for relief, but I still am not a fan of hot weather. But do you know what I do like about summer? I love the slower pace of life, especially here in the South, and one of my favorite parts comes when hydrangeas bloom. I've been a fan of hydrangeas as long as I can recall; I remember the bright, vivid blooms on the hydrangea bushes at my granny's house. Those stately bushes, planted in the 1950s, are still around today, albeit weathered and not as fruitful, but the blooms are just as vibrant. When I bought my house, I was determined to add as many hydrangeas to my garden as I could. The first one to bloom this year is my newest addition, the Pistachio hydrangea. The blooms are a mix of bright green and deep hues of rich pink with a touch of cornflower blue in the center; they're delicate and sturdy, and they welcome summer.

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The "girls" are loving the longer days of summer. Abby isn't a fan of hot weather, but she loves the morning and evening hours, so we spend most of those outside. Ellie, on the other hand, apparently loves the summer heat, and she'd be happy to be outside all day long. When they're outside, playing inevitably ensues, and we've found that we can wrestle while lying completely on our backs in the grass. It's rather comical and sometimes results in some joyful beagle-hound baying.

A quick update on the house-finch family on my patio: The babies have now flown the nest. We happened to be outside during the first flight of a couple of them, and it was amazing (and a little teary). This is the last picture I have of the six little babies. We've seen a few small finches in the yard, so I'm choosing to think they're hanging around.

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You know another joy of summer's intense heat? It offers me more time for stitching indoors. And stitching is my release, my escape. Where else can I get completely lost for a few minutes or hours in a sampler, flower petal or landscape? Where else can I let my mind just wander as I work the legs of a specialty stitch? Friends, that is one of the reasons we stitch -- for the relief and joy it brings, and for the feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction.

In the last few updates, we've been taking a look at various specialty stitches, and I hope you're enjoying those. Today, we're looking at another -- the eyelet stitch. It's another one I used in my design in the upcoming JCS Christmas Ornaments issue, which is coming so very soon. So let's get started!

I've Got My Eyelet on You
A few updates ago we looked at the Algerian eye stitch (click here to see that update). Today, we're going to take a look at its close cousin, the eyelet stitch. The two can be worked interchangeably in most designs, but each will give you a slightly different look and texture. Let's dive right in to see the stitch.

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1. After securing your thread on the back of the fabric, bring the needle up as indicated by 1 on the stitch illustration. I prefer to start mine at the top center, but you could also start at any corner or on a side -- it's totally whatever makes you happy! Next, sink the needle where indicated by 2 on the illustration. Do not pull the thread through completely yet.

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2. Bring the needle up where indicated by 3 on the stitch illustration. Gently pull this leg of the stitch to start opening the center of the stitch. Then sink the needle at the center of stitch. Note that on the eyelet stitch, the needle enters the fabric after each fabric thread; we don't skip any threads.

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3. Continue working the stitch, gently pulling each leg as you work around the stitch. Take care to only pull the stitch when you are bringing the needle up at odd numbers. Watch your tension and thread placement as you work. Don't pull too tightly or you'll distort your fabric and the stitch.

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4. When the last leg of the stitch is reached, pull the last leg a little more firmly to finish shaping the stitch if necessary. Secure the thread on the back of the work. And look! You've worked a beautifully textured eyelet stitch.

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

Light Up Your Life
In the Deep South, summertime means time outdoors in the early morning and late in the evening. Most of the time, the middle of the day is way too hot and humid to be outdoors, but it's OK because we make the most of those dawn and dusk moments. I feel like I spend most of my late evenings on my patio, and I'm always looking for ways to dress it up. And I have several new ideas thanks to a new video from Annie's Creative Studio. Take a look at the Easy & Unique Outdoor Lighting Projects video as soon as you can! I am in love with the globe idea and the copper piping idea in this video! I can totally see the copper pipes with citronella candles to help keep away those pesky mosquitoes and gnats. Check out the new video here.

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Annie's Creative Studio is a new streaming service, which 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. Want more reasons to check it out? There are also giveaways! Check out the new Annie's Creative Studio here.

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