Have you ever had one of those pieces of needlework which seemed to be jinxed? You know, the ones where you stitch the flower or motif with the wrong color, or the border doesn't match, or you cut the linen to small? This is the story of Christmas at Hollyberry Farm.
When Stacy Nash released the design Christmas at Hollyberry Farm in 2012, I was so excited. I had been on a mission to find Christmas samplers and Hollybery Farm had all the elements I wanted in a Christmas sampler.
The first challenge with this sampler began when I changed the fibers from over dyes to silk--sometimes there is no substitute and I have to use the "close enough" guideline. When using the "close enough" guideline, I highly recommend writing down the original color/number and the substitute color/number. It is even more helpful to know where you have written this information and it can be located!
The second challenge was my mission to reduce my fabric stash. I put the sampler aside to work on quilts. While I made a dent in the fabric stash, there was no Christmas sampler for 2012 or 2013.
Challenge number three happened the weekend my eye blew. Making borders match can be tricky when everything works in harmony and all the stars stitches are in alignment, stitching with a one eye handicap makes borders a little more challenging. For the record: my surgeon says there was nothing I did to cause the problem and there was nothing I could have done to prevent it. Whew! Needlework you are in the clear.
Challenge number four involves a certain feline member of the Thistle Manor household aka Miss Callie Mae Calico. You see our Miss Callie Mae loves ribbons and fibers. She searches for them, she stalks them, she hunts them like prey, and she is sneaky, sneaky. Yesterday morning I noticed she had something caught in her paw and she was having difficulty walking. Upon closer inspection, I realized she had a skein of NPI silk caught in her paw and more silk fiber in her mouth. Since this was not our first silk fiber rodeo, I knew not to pull the fiber out of her mouth, to cut the fiber and allow her to swallow. (Our first silk fiber rodeo taught us the fibers and ribbons can actually cut the tissues of the digestive tract.) Thankfully, Miss Callie Mae was caught before she swallowed the entire skein and was none the worse for wear. The same was not true of NPI #134. Let's just say stitching with silk fiber full of cat slobber is not cool.
Stitching continues on Hollyberry Farm, the sampler is nearing completion. The colors are a bit different than the original, the borders almost match, Miss Callie Mae has made her contribution and the sampler is a one of a kind. With all these challenges, my love for Christmas samples has not been diminished.