Joyeux Noel by Susan Ache

It wouldn’t be the holidays without some sort of stitching magic with our favorite cross stitch queen, Susan Ache (@yardgrl60). She is always creating, charting, and sharing… thinking of new ways to turn the floss from our little wooden spools into mini masterpieces, and she has kept our holiday stitching hands happy thus far!

Susan’s Little Quaker Christmas

She has so much passion for the craft and truly wants nothing more than to share that passion with anyone who has ever been curious about what might be possible with needle and thread. She is also incredibly focused on the process of slowing things down, enjoying the moment, removing the stress of deadlines, and just honing in on the joy that stitching brings.

Stitchy Pocket Watches by Susan Ache

With that in mind, we’re simply elated to turn the blog over to her today… for some tips & tricks, some stitching insight, and of course a truly EPIC new chart. We are ever grateful to Susan for her stitchy magic, her generosity, and her passion for Aurifil Floss!


Wow, it is wonderful being asked to come back to Aurifil and talk to y’all. Since it seems like our last visit was a lifetime ago, let me reintroduce myself. I’m Susan Ache, and I play on Instagram as @yardgrl60. I have a handful of curated Aurifil embroidery collections with coordinating free patterns available over on Aurifil’s website. We recently completed an eight month cross stitch along (Collecting Colors SAL) AND an embroidery stitch along (Sanctuary SAL) which are both still… you guessed it… available through Aurifil!

Now that we have gotten all of the introductions out of the way, let’s get to the real reason I am here to chit chat with you. My first love of handwork is cross stitch. I do love all sorts of handwork, but really, this is my passion. To be more specific, I am crazy about Quaker Sampler cross stitch patterns. For all of my collections with Aurifil, I have designed small quaker inspired cross stitch projects, the kinds that don’t take long to stitch and can be framed the affordable way. I love them, but the reality is that I truly adore those long, big, and never ending types of projects. My hope is that after we chat, you will give them a try and by ‘them’, I actually mean this particularly epic (Aurifil’s words!) chart that I have designed just for the pure fun of it. I made it for you… to take your time to enjoy the whole beautiful process.  

I have talked in the past about the other projects I have stitched and I periodically show progress on my Instagram page. Through it all, I’ve come to learn that my favorite linen to stitch on is an Antique White 36ct and I always stitch over 2 with 2 strands of floss. I never seem to follow the pattern recommendations because the linen that I choose and the floss I choose needs to match my lifestyle. Y’all, you don’t have to play with the colors that are suggested. This is for you or perhaps for a gift, so play with the colors you love. Right now I am working with a ton of reds… and the reason I have chosen to do that is because I envision a wall filled with red samplers from the top of the ceiling to the floor and any chart is a game for that goal!

I’ve never put a time limit on my stitching. Stitching is for fun… it is all for me to sit and enjoy. My stitching nest has my bag of floss, my project, a light brighter than three full moons hanging over my shoulder, and of course the remote control for easy binge watching. These days, it seems that everything in our lives has a time attached to it. What time we need to be at work, what time we need to get dinner on the table, what days of the week we do the wash, and even those quilt alongs that give us daily, weekly, or monthly blocks that have us racing to keep up. If there is anything that shouldn’t be controlled by time, it’s whatever you do in your happy place. Your stitching shouldn’t have a time limit!  Isn’t it nice to just sit down at night or during the day to stitch a few stitches, and to then be able to put it down, knowing that when you come back to it you can pick right back up where you left off? I think that is one of the reasons I love Quaker samplers as much as I do is because I can stitch a little motif and feel such a sense of accomplishment. There is a little motto I made up for myself and I will share it with you. Feel free to repeat it to yourself or others as needed!  

“You never are behind in your own stitching.”

Now, you can fill that in with sewing, knitting, work, etc.  It truly means what it says– take the time limit off your happiness, settle into the moment, and enjoy the entire process from the beginning to the end.  

This is, of course, all leading up to this new project that I have created for Aurifil to share. Erin and I had a long talk about this and how we wanted to present it. It felt overwhelming to make you all wait each month for a new bit to be released. This is a much larger project than I’ve done with Aurifil in the past and I truly didn’t want to scare anyone off of the enjoyment of the slow stitch. So, this chart is being released all at once. That’s right… everything you need, right now, right here… today. You are in control of what happens next.

This chart is 284 x 257. As I mentioned, I stitch on a 36ct over 2 and mine finished at 15.7″ x 14.27″. That said, I know you might not do yours the same way I did mine. The size fabric you’ll need to complete this one all depends on the fabric and if decide to stitch over 2 or not. For example, since mine is on 36ct and I stitch over 2, I divide 18 into the total stitch count to get the size. If you are working in a straight 14ct Aida cloth, then you’d just divide 14 into the total stitch count.

Did I mention all of the festive colors you’ll need if you choose to stitch this out with the same colors that I did? You’ll find them all on the chart of course, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t call them out here:

You can, of course, check in with your local quilt shop to grab these colors/collection, but if you don’t have a local quilt shop or these spools aren’t available, I’d suggest heading over to Pumpkinvine Corner! Jean is lovely and I exclusively shop with her!

Can we just all agree that stitching is a blast and we don’t ever want fun projects to end? Now you’ll have a Christmas project that will last just as long as you want it to. You’ll have it in your hand to pick up and work on when you feel like stitching. So, collect your supplies, set up your ideal stitching corner, grab some snacks, your remote, your needle and thread, and just enjoy yourself.  

Oh, and before I forget, make sure to post your progress on Instagram so we can all be each other’s cheerleaders throughout this epic, cozy, and therapeutic stitching journey. We’ll see you at #AurifilJoyeuxNoel.

Many thanks to Susan for being not only generous with her time and her talents, but for being such a wonderful stitchy partner! Happy stitching and enjoy the holiday weekend!

SUSAN’s FREE CROSS STITCH CHARTS
Click here for access to download all PDFs. Click here for the Collecting Colors SAL and here for the Sanctuary SAL.


ABOUT SUSAN
InstagramSusan’s Book
A love of color makes it easy for Susan to grab inspiration from her native Florida surroundings. With no grand idea other than knowing she wanted embroidery and nine patches in her first quilt, a new world opened up to this mom of now five grown children. Being self taught with many hours of reading about the makings of a quilt and quilt blocks has made this a lifelong passion. Susan is always searching for new and fun ways to show off as many colors as she can in a quilt. Most of her quilts are a creative impulse from trips to the garden center, a photograph, or browsing through paint chip selections. “I really never see just the quilt, I seem to see the quilt in the room that it belongs in”.  Working in a quilt store for years helped Susan to pursue that passion of color and the fabric inspired life she enjoys while constantly striving to make her next favorite quilt.

8 comments

  1. This is such a beautiful design. I love the colors and the theme. Thank you, Susan, for your generosity. This is a piece to be treasured.

  2. Susan, this is just beautiful! What a lovely challenge – thank you so much for sharing your talents. I have enjoyed the previous patterns so much – I’m sure this one will be fantastic also. Thanks to Aurifil for the beautiful threads and always promoting talented designers.

  3. Susan thank you for this lovely free pattern. I was curious if one spool of each color is enough to stitch this project?

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