Have you met our friend Susan (@yardgrl60)? Our absolute favorite cross-stitch magician… the cross-stitch queen… the one who turns our tiny little wooden spools of floss into these remarkable mini masterpieces? If this is your first time meeting Susan, you are in for a treat! Susan’s personal mission is to make every stitchy maker out there fall in love with Aurifloss and we’re pretty sure she is well on her way, sharing bits of magic with each and every chart she creates.
To learn all about Susan and her background, take a peek at her very first interview with us right HERE. Little Quaker Christmas is where our stitchy love affair began and we’ve just been having one big cross-stitch party ever since. Seaside Blues is her latest collection, the 4th in a delightful parade of color.
A wonderfully curated set of beachy hues, this box is destined to inspire daydreams of lazy afternoons spent on the coast, waves crashing on the shore, sun shining high above. Of course Susan fashioned the perfect mini masterpiece to showcase each and every ones of the 10 wistful hues. Grab the chart right HERE or by clicking the image below.
We are delighted to showcase the collection and the colors here today… and to shine an extra bright light on Susan (just like the one she stitches underneath) with a super fun, sometimes silly, good ol’ no fuss chat. As an added bonus, we’ve got a few extra treats for you, including a second chart AND a giveaway! So, without further pause… it’s Susan!!
You’ve told us that you’re a born and raised Floridian– what is your favorite time of year there, and why?
Well, Erin I used to be a die hard summer fan and then I realized it is way hot in Florida if I’m not at the beach or in some sort of water and this “shelter in” has curtailed that….so my newest favorite seasons are cozy inside sweater weather…final answer. I turn the air down way low and can be swaddled in sweats or sweaters and I don’t even care what the temp is outside.
Do you have a favorite go-to local destination?
Gosh, there isn’t one specific spot but there is one specific drive on the beach road A1A that you actually see the water turn from a darker version of the sea to the blue green of island waters and it’s right at the mark of Flagler Beach. It takes about 45 minutes from my house driving south and once I get there it’s like a different state altogether and you feel like you have hit paradise.
When you’re thinking about color design in your textile art, what are you most inspired by?
My camera is filled with random pictures of things that just catch my eye. I could be at the garden center, the grocery store or even just out in the yard and there might be a group of colors together that need to be showcased in stitching or quilting. I love just any random display of color that I may or may not have thought of and more than likely my eye is drawn to it because of the contrast of two colors together.
How would you classify your own personal style?
Style?!? Is there one way to look at what I love to play with daily? Yikes….here’s more of a hint on how I get my looks that I love more than anything. I google all of the time and alway add the word “vintage” to whatever search I am doing. What a soft and timeless look when you add that word. Because I love so many color combinations, I have made sure my house has rooms and areas that can include the looks I love. I have a little library that is my ode to the red, white and blue… my porch is filled with the soft buttery colors of the rainbow and my tv sitting room has the khaki feel of crispness and I have made sure all of the floors in my house have looked like they have been around for 100 years. It’s more of a feeling rather than a style in my life if that makes sense.
When working through ideas for new projects, which do you tend to gravitate toward more, quilting or cross stitch?
All of my stitching is influenced by the colors I may or may not be playing with in my sewing room. I start to pull colors for a quilt and suddenly I am also pulling colors that play well together for a cross stitch project. That’s when I take those fabrics straight to the threads and start the layout process. So, basically, I am playing two games at once. And good thing I’m my own boss because I can get easily distracted by a stack of fabric and a puddle of floss.
Do you find that your design style is consistent across both techniques?
The only thing that stays consistent in my quilting and stitching are my color choices. Since a Quaker sampler is and always has been my favorite style of stitch I have never felt the need to stay with the recommended colors….changing colors to match my life has always been my goal. And I say it all of the time. Use the colors you love and you will love your project. I am very consistent in quilting, I love a traditional quilt block and will play and alter that all of the time, so why not play and alter colors on a sampler?
Now, we’ve all seen your epic and incomparable red on white cross stitch wall… Your new collection, Seaside Blues, is a complete departure! What inspired this set and where will your new blue works of art live?
One blue started that collection… it’s crazy! I love a sampler with all shades of one color and when that blue was put out the rest just fell into place. I was so excited to finish this piece I raced it to the framer and this little stitch lives right next to my collection of seashells. Like it was meant to be.
What came first, the colors or the chart?
The colors for sure. And the little secret that everybody will know now….all of the motifs in this chart came from a knitting book. Yep, I found each one of those adorable seaside features in a knitting book and just put them on repeat to make a mini band sampler.
Just so we have a tiny bit of education in here… what is your absolute TOP TIP for working with Aurifil floss?
Okay, mine is more of a color tip and not an actual working tip… lay out the chart with the linen or fabric you are working with. And in your puddle of colors I make my notes and changes according to the recommended colors. Let’s say there is a brown you want to change, pick the color you would rather use and start from there. I choose green… the rest is a fill in the blank and using my pencil I just write my new color choices right next to the color on the chart. Sometimes, you need to go back and alter a shade or two of the colors but, most of the time what your eye sees is what you really want the chart to finish and those subtle changes you have made will be a beautiful finished piece.
What is it that you love so much about cross stitch and why should all of our readers give this brand new chart a try?
Cross stitch is so easy to pick up and put down. It’s a chair sport that doesn’t require mental challenges. You decide where to start, where to jump around to and where you want to stitch next. I love cross stitch because it is my ultimate of a lazy binge watching tv sport.
Our fun little secret is that we’re not just here to talk about your new collection today… Can you tell us all about your new feature pattern book with Martingale, Christmas Countdown?
How fun is this book, right? We never have done the advent of little gifts growing up or when my kids were young but, I have always loved the idea of the little gift a day and what better way than little stockings. Each one of these are little, but at the same time can hold a gift card or small gift. The fun and kinda the rule I made for myself was to think of this like my quilting and make it all scrappy. That’s where the use of all of the different linens came in and then I just started playing in fabrics and my ribbons for a fun eclectic and vintage vibe to a standard stocking on the mantle look. Each of the stockings doesn’t require a ton of work…the magic happens in your fabric and linen choices. It’s your stocking…make it fun for you to display and use during Christmas.
Do you have any maker tips for working through the pattern?
I actually skipped around the days when I was designing and stitching. It’s crazy but, I felt like it wasn’t a countdown to how fast or slow I was stitching if I was out of order. They just suddenly were complete. I did have my layout of linens first so I knew where I wanted those placed and marked them so I could just pick them up and work on them. Truly, the stitching doesn’t take that long.
What stitchy ‘best practices’ would you want readers to know before diving into this project?
I think that the first thing you need to figure out is do you want scrappy or would you rather have a super cohesive look. Once that is done then it’s a matter of diving in. There are so many pretty Christmas fabric lines out there you could center this entire stocking by collection around one fabric line and one linen and it would be gorgeous. Remember, I stitched on a 32ct linen over 2 which translates to a 16ct cloth if you would rather not stitch on linen.
psssssst. Grab your own copy of Christmas Countdown by clicking HERE or see below to enter for a chance to win one!
The last little surprise up your stitchy sleeve is a FREE embroidery mini pattern launch — essentially the words we all need on our walls at this very moment. What inspired you to whip this one up?
Isn’t it just a perfect saying that everybody needs in their life now? There were a couple of great youtube videos on how to frame stitching in a hoop. I actually based this stitching on being able to finish it in a 6” embroidery hoop. But, that’s not to say you can enlarge or miniaturize this little stitching if you wanted. This is something the world needs and we all need reminders that being kind does matter. Download the pattern HERE or click on the image below!!
What colors will you use for your own version?
My version is going to have the writing done in color 6736 because it looks like a dark number 2 pencil. I am going to use 2 shades of green for the leaves 1147 and 1231 and my hearts will be a mix of aqua 1148 and a coral-y orange 2225.
Finally… we have to share our immense gratitude for your endless generosity. We’ve got to know, what drives you to keep moving forward with all of these patterns and new ideas?
Oh Erin, you and I have talked about this so many times… I just want the world to use Aurifil for stitching. If anything the spools are game changers. But more than that, the floss colors and the ease of use are amazing in work. I feel like an infomercial when I say that the colors are beyond amazing and the choices are endless for combinations of all of the colors.
What’s up next? What will you be up to in this coming year?
I may or may not have a few little seasonal surprises up my sleeve… I have noticed that more people love working on something small and quickly stitched… so, I am going that direction for a few little things that you now will just have to wait for!
We are delighted to offer prizes to 4 lucky commenters on this post. Three will receive a copy of Susan’s Christmas Countdown and one will receive Susan’s brand new, released only a few short weeks ago collection, Seaside Blues. To enter-to-win, leave us a comment below and tell us what type of stitching brings you joy. Giveaway is open until 11:59pmEST on Sunday, August 29 and is open to all of our friends worldwide! Winners will be selected randomly and notified via email on Monday, August 30.
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.
10 SMALL SPOOLS COTTON FLOSS
Colors included: 5014, 5005, 2886, 5006, 2830, 2810, 1148, 2860, 2805, 2880