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.
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.
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
I love her work. I haven’t done any cross stitch but need to start. Her work inspires.
I do follow Susan in Instagram . Her work is inspiring. Loved reading this interview and got to know her more. Thank you for the free pattern ❤️
Aurifloss isn’t available in India. Would love to try someday.
Cross stitch and Blackwork brings me joy and satisfaction. Wish I have more time to work on the crafts.
I love mixed media quilting. This inspires me to think about adding some seashells to my current art hanging quilt .
Thank you for sharing this seaside pattern. I love the arrangement as it is, but I think I’ll also be using the motifs to embellish guest towels.
I love cross stitch and embroidery(always have!) but as I am getting older it is getting harder to see so I usually only stitch on larger count fabrics now. The Seaside Blues chart and colors are beautiful
I enjoy embroidery and cross stitch w hich I don’t do as much of as my eyes are not as good as stey used to be so many designs are too small or too complicated
Any slow hand stitching brings me joy. Counted cross stitch started for me in the 70’s, but now I also love everything from redwork to wool applique to sashiko to hand binding.
Oooooh!!! These are my favorite colors!! I don’t live on the coast, but this year, my family reunited on the OR coast! It was glorious! Thank you, Susan for such beautiful patterns and colors!
Love this new design, such beautiful colors!
I have just recently discovered Susan Ache. I am an avid quilter and used to cross stich many years ago. Susan’s patterns are so great that I am inspired to start to cross stich again. I look forward to trying the Aurifil floss.
Ty for sharing this delightful article. Love these soothing colors and aurifill,brava! I cross stitched my children’s clothing 30 yrs ago and would like to get back into it now. I also have just started Big stitching with Kaffe fassett aurifill threads so that’s my fave right now!
I love all kinds of needlework, especially those with nautical themes. Seaside Blues is such a fabulous collection of colours, and I love the charted design.
Thank you for Seaside Blues – such gorgeous colors of the sea and the sky – LOVE! Cross stitch gives me great pleasure!
Since returning to my cross stitch hobby, I seem to gravitate toward samplers.
I love any kind of hand stitching, especially applique. I especially love wool applique.
Hand quilting smaller projects is such a lovely personal touch… definitely my favorite. I love the colors in this collection, so serene!
I was a cross stitcher for years (love all the country patterns, especially Jeremiah Junction and their scripture patterns). Then quilting came along and that’s what I do now. But my cross-stitch bag is always ready for a new pattern!
I love cross stitching but recently started trying my hand with English paper piecing and love Aurifil #50 cotton thread.
I cross stitched for years and years and then stopped. I have been inspired to start again after seeing Susan’s work–it’s beautiful. I’m a quilter and am familiar with the color magic Susan makes in her quilts and love her cross stitch designs just as much 🙂
I love to embroider dish towels!
Just discovered Susan at a stitching event in Florida. Very eager to try some of her designs.
Oh my! Those colors in Seaside Blues are so luscious. Thank you, Susan, for all your lovely work and Aurifil, your wonderful threads. Since I started piecing with Aurifil thread, my size accuracy has improved immensely!
So fun to add stitches to Christmas gifts and decorations with Aurifil floss, the colors are amazing! Thanks Susan for another inspiring design and thanks for the chance to win :0) Happy Sewing
This palette of blues she’s using in Seaside Blues just makes me drool!! Susan is incredibly talented and I so appreciate that she shares her gift with your readers!
I love hand stitching. From hand quilting to embroidery to hand applique to cross stitch … even utilitarian hand work (like fixing a hem or closing a gap) is comforting and pleasurable to me.
I just got the thread pack for Little Quaker Christmas, I love Quaker samplers so much and can’t wait to get started on this one!
I really love the colors and design of Seaside Blues! Very reminiscent of the beach.
Enthralled with all the beautiful colours and designs … so inspiring … have started collecting Aurifloss and hoping to begin my first cross stitch project
Any time I have a needle in hand, I’m happy. Could be hand over hand sewing with a grandson, boro, sashiko, crossstitch, or quilting. 💙 the seaside blues collection!!
Love these colors. Learning embroidery and all the nuances of different stitches. I’ll be checking these books out for sure.
Oh, you had me at seashore. Love the colours used. I’m a quilter but picked up cross stitch during covid lockdown. Would appreciate either one.
Love Susan’s Stitch Projects! I do like stitching her patterns in Cross Stitch+I also do straight-line Embroidery on the beautiful fabrics available to us now.
Thanks Susan! Thank You AURIFIL!
I just love your color choices! I’ve purchased a few aurifil flosses because a friend recommended them although I haven’t used them yet. I’ll try soon. I love those seahorses in this latest piece-too cute!
I enjoy cross stitching most anything, Halloween and other seasonal designs. I’m stitching a band sampler right now and just finished an Amy Mitten Vierlande sampler.
I like to do free form embroidery because my eyes are not good enough for the precision of something like cross stitch . I do love anything that involves beautiful threads on fabric.
Thank you for inspiring me to get back to cross stitch! I have been doing EPP for my slow stitching evenings. Cross stitch will be a wonderful change of pace. My linen stash will definitely be getting checked out for some fun gift ideas!
I have done cross stitch in the past but am thinking I should pick it up again. Susan’s work is very inspiring.
I love cross stitching and quilting. I love the new blue color collection!
I used to to more “complicated” cross stitch–lots of shading, dozens of colors of floss in a project. Now that is “out of my system”, and I enjoy single-color or graduated tones of a single color in my projects–especially samplers. I also incorporate small cross stich pieces in quilt tops. Thanks for your inspiration, Susan and Aurifil!
I fell in love with cross stitch when my children were little- so it will always be my first love
I also enjoy big stitch quilting and have started to dabble in embroidery
Anytime I have a needle and thread- my body relaxes and my stress level is reduced
My mother taught me to embroider as her mother taught her (I have many treasures that they both stitched) using the iron on transfer patterns and traditional embroidery stitches. I then discovered counted cross stitch in the 70s. I love your patterns and with blues being my favorite colors I am in love with your seaside blue
I do hand quilting and hand sewing. Sometimes I still embroider. However, I’ve yet to try cross stitch. I’m sort of on the lookout for an inspiring beginner kit…but I have plenty of other projects to work on now. Susan’s work and use of color is beautiful!
I picked up cross stitch 30 years ago and I still love it. Susan introduced me to Aurifloss and I enjoy stitching with it. I have stitched and sewn a few of Susan’s pieces. I follow her on Instagram and watch to see what she is working on. Great inspiration!!
Love the Seaside Blues! Quilting and embroidery bring me joy. Would love to try counted cross stitich before my eyes get too old! Susan’s designs are so lovely and inspiring.
Love the “My Valentine” pattern and Susan’s Quilt a longs. I would love to try the Auriful embroidery thread (which I have a hard time finding near me) for punch needle embroidery, as the spools would be so handy to use and would mean I wouldn’t have to start and stop so often.
thanks for the inspiration.
All stitching brings me joy! I love the new Seaside Blues…such calming colors! Love it!
I just began my xmas stitching! These would be an awesome addition.
i enjoy cross stitching after a long night working at the hospital, especially during these Covid times. It truly relaxes me. My girlfriend, also a nurse, shares the same feeling. Another beautiful design by Susan using soothing colors is something I look forward to stitching!
I love these so much! My mom would love me to stitch up the Seaside Blues.
Love the “Seaside Blues” collection! Quilt piecing, embroidery, cross stitch, garments and bags/any type of stitching brings me much joy and happiness because I’m creating and being productive in my retirement. Love to sew/stitch!
I loved cross stitching when I was younger, have been feeling a desire to pick it up again, especially with all the wonderful patterns I see! Would also like to try my hand at embroidery. Beautiful work!
The blue collection is beautiful and makes me want to pick up cross stitching again!
I’m just learning cross stitching and love your designs, especially the Christmas ones!
I love to do embroidery!
I love stitching with vivid colors. Color just makes me happy. 🙂
I love all types of hand stitching. but Cross stitching is my favorite.
I love cross-stitching.
I have just returned to cross stitching & am enjoying the new patterns I see everywhere (especially Susan’s!). It is a nice way to wind done from my longarm quilting.
I love following your work its gorgeous!.I have cross stitched and embroidered for years,never used Aurifil floss,though, would love to try it.Also thinking of taking it up a notch to some other than Aida fabric.I am a new quilter too and so inspired by so many beautiful things.Thanks for this chance!
I used to do hand quilting, but haven’t done that in a long time. Love Susan’s designs and the blue collection is great. May be time to pick up cross stitching!
I love all kinds of stitching. Besides cross stitching, l quilt, crochet, and knit.
What a fab interview! I’m re-starting embroidery as I’ve not done any since childhood 😳, but I love to quilt and use different threads to hand stitch my quilts
Thanks so much for the great pattern! I love the seaside colors! Quilting brings me the most joy. I used to do more handwork, but it has gotten harder as I get older.
I’ve recently had great success using Aurifil 50wt thread for machine quilting (have struggled with other threads) and have ordered some 12wt neutrals to try hand quilting. The embroidery threads are very appealing, perhaps that will be my next collection. I have been purchasing my threads from Amitie Textiles here in Australia, they have an excellent range. Thanks for the sweet pattern.
I love all kinds of stitching, needlepoint, cross stitch, quilting. Love the patterns shown here!
I love quilting. I used to do a lot of cross stitch. In digging through my stash, I found several kitted projects and some UFOs. I need to jump back into needle work and finish them.
I love any kind of hand stitching. Right now I’m working on an EPP quilt project.
Thanks for the opportunity to win!
I love cross stitch, embroidery, and especially quilting!! 🌺 Aurifil is my favorite!!
I have done 3 of Susan’s charts and thoroughly enjoyed doing each one. The chart and colors for this new one just makes me want to jump in the car and head for Long Beach, Washington!
I love the colours of the sea , Susan’s sea glass collection.
Her designs are clean and crisp . Over the years I have tried most sewing techniques both machine and hand . I’m fortunate enough to live near the ocean , this is an inspiring project .
I’ve recently picked up Cross stitching again and I love it.
Using needle and thread to transfer a cross stitch design to an empty canvas and seeing the pattern come alive stitch by stitch gives me such a feeling of accomplishment. Thank you, Susan, for your pattern freebies. They are beautiful.
Almost any counted stitching is what I love most to do. And that covers a lot! The colors in seaside blues are absolutely beautiful!
I love to cross stitch and embroider and always have a project going. I love Susan’s designs
I enjoy counted cross stitch or embroidery esp in the evening.
What a beautiful color scheme! It reminds me of the beaches in Florida.
Members of my quilt guild taught me hand embroidery. I really enjoyed it!
Susan’s designs are awesome – I love the seaside stitching and of course those great threads! Stitching is my stress relief and I love to give stitched projects as gifts – make others day fun! Thank you for the free pattern and lovely chance a prize!
I began with embroidery and needlepont when I was a young girl, then I started cross stitching over 35 years ago, began quilting about 23 years ago, and since then I have fallen in love with boro and sashiko. When the pandemic began last March, Susan posted an embroidery redwork pattern for a quilt, with wonderful motifs every few days. And I actually completed the quilt while in quarantine within 3 months. It is very meaningful to me. Last month I tried EPP with hexies, and I am hooked! So ALL hand needlework brings me happiness and joy!
Thank you for your generosity with your patterns!
I enjoy cross-stitch and like creating samplers.
I am really enjoying wool on wool appliqué at the moment. Easy to pickup an great to unwind for a wee while at night while watching TV. I use Aurifil 12wt threads chosen with the help of my well used thread chart.
Love doing handwork but have just renewed my love for cross stitch-these colors are gorgeous!
I love stitching smaller designs to use in my home decor
I enjoy all handwork but cross-stitch is my favorite!
Love her combination of quilting and cross stitch since I do both. Her work is stunning!
I have been cross stitching all of my adult life. I am also a quilter and cross stitching was done infrequently for along time. When Aurifil started showing Susan’s work, I started back cross stitching! I have loved all her projects and have made several with plans to do more. I am looking forward to the cross stitch Christmas Countdown book. Thank you Susan and thank you Aurifil!
I loved cross stitch when I was younger and my eyesight better. I’m more into quilting and embroidery now but Susan’s patterns have been tempting me to venture back to cross stitching. I’m the proud owner of a stand magnifying lamp which helps with the vision issues!
Love seaside blues and Susan Ache!
I love piecing quilt blocks, but I’m thinking I need to start cross stitching again. Susan’s work is beautiful!!! Thanks for the Seaside Blues chart.
Susan is awesome! Can’t wait to start cross stitching again and try aurifill threads!
Great idea for towels
I completed the 2020 collecting colors through covid and TY so much for that calming experience!! i love it so much especially since Im also a quilter. The seaside blues just happends to be my favorite color, so I can see I will be stitcing another of your fabulous designs! TY so much. Looking forward to another relaxing few months.
I’m a Sampler kind of gal — in both quilting and cross stitch. I love the variety and the challenges each design brings.
I love to stitch old world Santa alphabet letteres for family stockings for our mantle and our children’s homes too. My latest was a sampler for my craft room. Cross stitching is very relaxing and a very portable.
I love to stitch everything, Christmas, Halloween, Seaside as I live near Sandbanks on the Dorset coast, Seasons, and my favourite colours are Autumnal.
Regular ol’ surface embroidery! Thanks for the new pattern.
Thank you Susan for your inspiring designs and willingness to share them with us.
I love the seaside and I really like the colors Susan chose for the cross stitch. Thank you for the new pattern.