categorized · Counted Cross Stitch

Tenacity and Perseverance

These two words have become regulars in the vocabularies of those corresponding and chatting with me in the past three weeks. Why the frequent usage you may ask.  Let me explain.

Surgery. The word most people cringe to hear a doctor say as the diagnosis. My right (and dominant) hand, most specifically the area where the thumb meets the hand, had worn away all cartilage and was painfully functioning by rubbing bone against bone. Surgery at the end of August was performed with the offending area cleaned out and a small piece of tendon, taken from the same arm, inserted between my thumb and hand as my “new” cushion.

As part of this entire process, I am sporting a cast for a month. I’ve had wonderful caregivers take turns in helping me learn to get through even the most personal tasks that we take for granted on a normal day.  Let your imagination run and you’ll probably come up with the tasks I’m alluding to.

BUT no one could help me stitch! What to do?! Why learn how to do it myself using my only remaining hand — lefty! And I began doing this very thing 4 days into recovery.

The process is SLOW but the daily accomplishments makes my heart happy. Who knows, once I’m healed I may continue stitching in this manner.  Probably not, but it’s a good fallback.

Here’s my completed piece stitched in 12 days, learning to use only my left hand.


Tribal Paw Print by White Willow Stitching, designed by Jamie Larson.

Stitched on 14 ct Aida using 2 strands of Carriage Black (Simply Shaker Sampler Threads)

Physical therapy is in my near future but for now I’m working on therapy for the soul. Till next time, keep that needle moving!

Tamara (@thisnanastitches)


Stitching Update!

Life has been busy and fun and full of stitching! Check out my adventures below!

I began recording my projects on Flosstube (YouTube). If you aren’t already familiar with this community, sit down, tune in and fall in love with this group of people who love to create beauty from a needle, thread, and fabric.

My channel:

Screen Shot 2018-07-25 at 9.00.42 AM

Then there was the visit to Williamsburg, Virginia and the amazing needlework shop, Haus Tirol.  The owner, Lydia, entertained us with her knowledge of cross stitch and an abundant supply of patterns, threads, and finishes kept us in awe for hours…literally! Lydia has been running this shop since 1979! She’s a delight and this shop is not to be missed in your quest for amazing quality and supply.


I’ve been busy stitching too! Here’s a glimpse at my summer projects…so far.


Keep an eye out for even more finishes as time rolls by this summer!

You can find my updates here, on Instagram (@thisnanastitches) and on my Flosstube channel, ThisNanaStitches.

Keep that needle moving!

Tamara (ThisNanaStitches)


Counted Cross Stitch · Sewing

My Happy Place Today

Everyone has a spot that is their ‘go to’ place for solitude, peacefulness, creativity, reflection, whatever you wish to call it.  I have multiple spots. The hammock for solitude, the beach for reflection and energy, and my sewing room for creativity. Unfortunatley, the beach was not a possibility today so this morning I planted myself in my sewing room and got creative!

Cross stitch patterns were kitted up (pattern placed in a bag, called for threads and fabric added) to be ready for a grab and stitch when the urge strikes.  Then the pile of goodies on the table from my most recent excursion to Hobby Lobby and Joann’s needed to be put in respective shelves and closets.

Next came the new sewing board cover. There are two on my board; one for ironing and one for crafting. And I declare, they really are snug going on.  Check out what I found in the ironing aisle at Joann’s this week…Ironing Board Cover Fasteners.  I had to chuckle because these are the same type of fasteners that are used to keep bottom sheets from slipping off the mattress.  Where have I been?  Obviously this isn’t a new idea, but it’s a great one! Now I’m looking around the house with new eyes wondering what else would benefit from these nifty little fasteners!

Now that my space felt organized and clean it was time to be creative. Today this meant sewing pillowcases for my grandsons.  They each like different Disney characters as well as dinosaurs, planets, cars, etc. With the simple YouTube tutorial from Jordan Fabrics, I was able to create 6 pillowcases in an hour. Now when they lay their heads down at night a little bit of Nana is with them. The sizes and yardage requirements is in the first picture below. Tutorial link:

Next up, switch to a different happy place – the patio hammock to work on my current cross stitch project, Coffee Quaker, a Heartstring Samplery by Beth Twist. I decided to stitch it in one color using The Gentle Art Sampler Threads color Currant because of it’s subtle varigeation. My SIL, the Nantucker Stitcher (thenantucketstitcher on Instagram), is working on the same project using the called for threads.  Her piece is also pictured next to mine (on right) for comparison.  It’s gorgeous and her stitching precise.


Guess you could say it’s a Happy sort of day! Till next time, keep that needle moving!



Counted Cross Stitch

Cross Stitch Lingo 101

I had taken a break from counted cross stitch for a few years having lost my stitching bug. This past winter, my sister-in-law (@theNantucketStitcher on Instagram) helped me reignite that fire and we started sharing pictures of our current stitching projects. She also introduced me to groups on Facebook that were only about cross stitch. OMG! Have you done a group search on FB to find like minded people? Check it out…there are hundreds and I’m being conservative.

So I joined a group, thinking I’ll check it every week to see what someone is working on. Wrong. The first one I joined, Stitch Maynia, hooked me for 2 hours. The projects being shown were gorgeous! The people helpful. The information plentiful. I was enthralled with this world of creativity beyond a Dimensions kit, which is what had started my entrance into stitching in the early 70’s. The patterns, the thread, the needles, needleminders, project bags, dying fabric, linens, Aida, even weave, and on and on. But then I realized something. It seemed the text messaging format had reached stitching. They had their own language and I couldn’t wait to learn it and be a part of this community.

Ready to learn some new lingo? Here we go.

FO – Finished Object

FFO – Fully Finished Object

WIP – Work In Progress

BAP – Big Ass Project

LNS – Local Needlework Shop

SAL – Stitch Along. This happens in person or virtually!

ORT – Old Remaining Threads

FROG – when you have to rip out something stitched incorrectly. RIPIT RIPIT

Stitchy Mail – Getting wonderful packages in the mail that contain only stitching items. I immediately take a picture and send to my daughter and SIL. They understand the thrill.

Needle-minder – neat little pin/button with a magnet on it’s back that you can attach to your fabric and lay your needle on while not stitching. Whoever initially came up with this idea is a genius!


Project bags – sewn by other stitchers (like me!) these bags can have a clear plastic front allowing you to see your current stitching project. I keep my pattern, floss, fabric, scissors, beeswax and anything else for the current project in one. Warning: they are addictive. You can’t get just one. I think I need to learn how to sew one.

The two in the picture below are from:

Pink bag – SouthernGirlStitcher Etsy shop

Green bag – MadebyMamaJoan Etsy shop


Coffee/Tea dyeing fabric – WHAT?! Yes, it’s an amazing way to make your fabric look older and there are tons of tutorials on YouTube. I learned from watching TheRealHousewivesofCrossStitch Flosstube.

Flosstube – A group of stitchers that create videos on YouTube about their projects, product reviews, stitch alongs and other crafts they are working on, books they like, you name it. Many of the stitching pattern designers also post videos. I initially subscribed to only a few. That list has grown exponentially and I watch them while stitching.

So there you have it. A peek into a whole new language for those of us who get excited upon learning about petite needles (John James size 28 petite are my new favorite, see picture below) while creating beautiful works of art with needle, thread, fabric and unique finishings.


Until next time, keep that needle moving!


Counted Cross Stitch · Quilting

Who, What & Why

Learning needlecrafts began as a young child when I would sit with my grandmother begging her “let me do it too” while she knitted, crocheted, embroidered, made Christmas trees from costume jewelry, and the list continues.  I was mesmerized by it all.

After learning how to sew on an old Singer sewing machine that only had one stitch choice (straight and forward), I wholeheartedly jumped into an area that excited my soul.  What was it about needles, thread, and fabric that made my soul happy? As the years went by, my skills improved as did the level of my projects.  Soon I was creating baby sleepers for my children, prom gowns as they grew up, cotton fabric bunnies with matching clothing to sell (remember those?!), wedding party dresses, and more.  Until one day a quilt pattern reached out and grabbed me.  I was a goner and to this day still enjoy creating quilts.
My other needle love is counted cross stitch.  I’m guessing it’s my OCD that loves the counting and exact placement of those tiny little x’s.  Many samplers can be seen hanging in our home and that of many family members and friends.
Most days you will find me happy as a lark sitting in my hammock swing on our deck in Maryland with needle and thread in hand.


Subscribe and learn my favorite designers, fabric, needles, threads, wine.

Subscribe and share.  I’d love to hear your favorites and give them a try!

Till next time, keep that needle moving!



Counted Cross Stitch

Flosstube = YouTube for Stitchers

After months of watching other flosstubers, and making a list of the pros and cons of making a video, I stepped out of my comfort zone and created my first Flosstube video on YouTube. Check it out, be sure to subscribe and click the bell to so you’ll be notified when a new video is uploaded.

Until next time, keep that needle moving!



Counted Cross Stitch · nature


Springtime at our house means extra guests but not the kind you immediately think of. I’m talking about the kind with wings and beaks.  Yep, Robins. Every year at this time nests begin appearing on the floor joists of our deck above our patio. And every year we watch each family grow and eventually fly away.  We were excited to catch this experience last week. Even the dog kept an eye on the nest from above.

The other robin that I’m partial to is called a Round Robin. The definition found on is: A round robin is an arrangement of choosing all elements in a group equally in some rational order, usually from the top to the bottom of a list and then starting again at the top of the list and so on. A simple way to think of round robin is that it is about “taking turns.”

One of my favorite FlossTube videos on YouTube this week comes from Deb and Liz, Country Stitchers.


They have come up with a brilliant idea to start a Round Robin this summer. You and 3 other stitchers will be taking turns stitching either a quaker or primitive motif, along with your initials, and then sending on to the next person on the list.  Once completed, each person in the group will have a uniquely finished work of art as well as 3 new stitching friends!

For complete information click here to watch their FlossTube video.

Registration begins June 8th and I can’t wait! Who knows, maybe I’ll see YOU in my group!

Until next time, keep that needle moving!



Modern Folk Embroidery SAL

Check out the stitching of this fellow blogger. Amazing!

Logan Stitches

The supplies arrived a month ago and I’ve since finished January, February and March. We’ll see if April gets done. May is probably too much too hope for, but June should see me on track and able to work on some other projects again.

And on the last day of May, I begin May.

View original post