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pattern // sig the sheep embroidery

2022 Kawaii Crossing Embroidery

Calling all embroiderers who love kawaii cuteness! It's time for the embroidery version of the Kawaii Crossing residents January pattern. This month's resident is Sig the Sheep, and she is ready to stitch along with you.

Sig is the first of 12 free animal patterns, each with a favorite hobby or thing that they like to do. And like this one, each will include an animal friend and several items. Obviously you can stitch them as a group, but they also work as individual little designs. I've used this cluster of tiny patterns idea for several of my stitching clubs, and they're always so fun!

But this isn't just a set of little patterns, these monthly Kawaii Crossing residents all come together to make an 11x14 sampler, if you so choose. To make that happen, I created a border, which is available when you support me on Ko-Fi. Here's what it looks like:

2022 Kawaii Crossing Embroidery

It's big and takes two pages to print! But it has cute little ribbons and sweet twinkle stitches around the edges and dividing the sections for the 12 patterns.

Not wanting to waste my Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy (and because you don't really want to dissolve all that extra material), I cut around the border and I cut out the inside sections. These little pieces will still get used for other tiny designs, even though they won't work for the residents because they're just a tad bit to big. To see how I use scraps like this, check out this helpful tip!

2022 Kawaii Crossing Embroidery

The ends of the ribbons need to match up, so the Sulky overlaps a little.

2022 Kawaii Crossing Embroidery

And here it is all together on my fabric, a lightweight blush pink linen.

2022 Kawaii Crossing Embroidery

Sig the Sheep will fit right in the first square, with some material overlap. This is a good thing because it means the stitching will be close to the border, which is what I wanted for the design.

By the way, I always try to print my patterns on draft mode for working on Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy because there's less ink that can get on your embroidery. If you notice, the border is much darker because my printer and I were having a day. But the lighter Sig pattern is the better way to use this stuff.

Okay, so now, how about a free pattern?

And if you want to stitch this as a sampler with the ribbon border, you can get that over on Ko-Fi.

Thanks for stitching along with me and I can't wait to see what you make!

pattern // sig the sheep cross stitch

Sig The Sheep Cross Stitch

It's officially time for the first free cross stitch pattern of the year! Kawaii Crossing is back again, and this time it's all about the animal friends who live in this town I created. If you downloaded my calendar for January, you already know that this month's resident is Sig the Sheep, who loves to sew quilts.

Both the cross stitch patterns and the soon-to-come embroidery versions have a few components: The animal, a few small objects that represent something they love or do, and some extra hearts and twinkles.

Now, let's pause for story time.

I've been thinking about the 2022 pattern theme for months. Even though I knew it would be a big project (or really, projects), I wanted it to be more like a sampler. And nearly a month ago I truly got started. As of today, I have stitched a total of four half stitches of Sig the Sheep.

Cross Stitching Kawaii Crossing 2022

Things just always take longer than I think they should, and clearly this is one of those things. But to be clear, it hasn't taken a month for four stitches. No, no, no. I've been working on a special border to hold each of the 12 free patterns and make it into a sampler (for both cross stitch and embroidery). Okay, so that isn't all stitched either, but it's getting there!

You can see from this that there's a ribbon, and soon to be some twinkles around the edges and as a divider between the monthly patterns. I'm so delighted with it, and it's part of the overall 11x14-inch design (when stitched on 14-count Aida) that I'll be working on throughout this year.

If you would like to just stitch Sig the Sheep, the free pattern is below. And if you'd like to create the full sampler with the border design, the pattern is available to everyone who supports me via Ko-Fi. Whether you sign up for monthly support or you simply drop $3 in the tip jar, you'll have access to this and all my Ko-Fi exclusives for 30 days. (By the way, the PDF for the border chart comes as a single page for digital viewing and a multipage version for printing.)

These little animal charts are all 40x40 and fit right into the squares on the border chart, but they will be just as cute stitched as single designs. You could even just stitch one element from the design!

Oh, and one last note before you download the free pattern. The eyes on the animals are whole cross stitches because french knots look too small here. BUT! If you just stitch the cross stitch, the X can look like dead eyes. Noooooooo!!! To fix that, you can back stitch around the eyes to fill them in a little more.

Now that we've avoided dead Kawaii Crossing residents, how about that pattern?

I can't wait to see these all stitched up, both my own and YOURS! Tag your photos #KawaiiCrossing or mention me in your post (@molliejohanson) so I can see and share. And if you have any questions, drop them in the comments or send me a message on social media.

calendar // sig the sheep wallpaper

I'm a few hours early, but Happy New Year! As December ends, and January begins, we're not just flipping the calendar page, but starting a whole new fresh calendar with so many blank squares ready to fill in with good things! You know what they say...New Year, New Ewe!

Okay, so that's not really what they say, but I may have included a sheep on my January 2022 calendar just so I could make that joke. In fact, I'm not really all that into the whole resolutions and transforming oneself in the new year kind of thing. I love goals and self-improvement, but I prefer to do that day by day, week by week, and month by month.

What I do like to do each year is choose a theme for my blog art and downloads, and that means this year is another 365 days of Kawaii Crossing! But this time it's all about the residents of the town and the things they like to do. We've had shops and houses, but we really need to see who all lives here and keeps this town running!

Sig the Sheep is our first resident of the year, and she likes to sew and quilt. She doesn't own the sewing shop that was the very first Kawaii Crossing design, but she does frequent that store to buy more fabric than she knows what to do with. In fact, she's probably planning a whole bunch of new projects for the new year.

Sig would love to hang out on your favorite device all month long, so grab the file you need below.

I'm also especially excited about the stitching I have planned for this year. There's going to be embroidery and cross stitch, just like the last two years, and it's going to be something you can do as a sampler of sorts. I just have a little more to work on before I can share that. But it's coming!

Listen, I know that that last two years have been hard. We've all felt it in different ways. But there have also been good things. Some you have to look for harder than others, but they are there. And that's going to be true for 2022 as well, no matter what comes our way. For me, I know that one of those things will be drawing cute animals, stitching sweet stuff, and sharing it with you all. It's truly a joy to create.

projects // plastic canvas bargello pixel art nativity manger

Plastic Canvas Bargello Pixel Art Manger

This year I've discovered the joy of plastic canvas, and I couldn't resist making a little Christmas project using this super fun and easy technique! I call it bargello pixel art because it uses long bargello-style stitches, but in a way that also looks like tiny pixel art. Back in the spring I stitched a rainbow in this style, and then I also made an autumn version too.

It's very kid-friendly, but maybe more like as a family project? Or simply something you can do on your own as a grown-up Advent craft.

Now, about this particular design. I'm a big fan of nativity scenes and really anything that celebrates the birth of Jesus. He's not just the "reason for the season"; He's my reason for everything. With that in mind, I try to create a manger craft every year!

This one, I will admit, is a little on the abstract side. Making a design in 15x15 pixels is challenging and there have been some folks at my house who have suggested that it doubles as a pack of french fries. (I may be one of those folks...)

All of that said, if you like the idea of Christmas bargello pixel art, but the manger isn't your thing or you'd like to also stitch a set of Scandinavian Christmas designs, I have three bonus patterns that you can access by supporting me on Ko-Fi. More details about that at the end of this post.

Plastic Canvas Bargello Pixel Art Manger

When you get really excited to start stitching, you end up forgetting to take a photo of your supplies before you nearly use them all up. Oops! But these materials are pretty self-explanitory. You can also use different colors than I did. These are just to give you an idea.

You will need:
Large tapestry needle
10-count/mesh plastic canvas trimmed to 45 wide x 46 high
Tapestry wool or similar weight yarn

Anchor tapestry wool colors used:
8636 (Note: This design uses almost an entire skein of tapestry wool for the background color.)


Plastic Canvas Bargello Pixel Art Manger

Each square on the pattern is actually three vertical stitches.

Start on the left edge, coming up in the fourth hole down and leaving a short tail on the back. Skip two holes, then go down. As you make each new stitch, work over the tail to secure the yarn.

Always work in the same direction with your stitches. I like to work from bottom to top.

Plastic Canvas Bargello Pixel Art Manger

On the back you can see how the stitches are almost as solid on the back as they are on the front. Although you're going to go through more tapestry wool this way, it makes the stitching look more solid on the front, which is what you want.

Stitch the whole design, making three stitches for each "pixel" square. When you end a length of yarn, weave it through the back of stitches. (If you go behind the same color yarn it won't show.)

Plastic Canvas Bargello Pixel Art Manger

Stitch the eyes just like the rest of the pattern: three stitches for the square. For the mouth, you need to use back stitch. Come up through an empty hole that's sort of between the brown squares, then across for the bottom of the smile, and another short stitch again for the other side. The line of black will show up just fine squeezed in there.

Plastic Canvas Bargello Pixel Art Manger

After you stitch the whole design, it's time to give it a finished edge and (optional!) hanger.

Anchor your yarn and then use whip stitch around the edges to cover the plastic canvas. I like to use yarn that matches the background, but you can use a contrasting color to make it more like a frame.

Plastic Canvas Bargello Pixel Art Manger

At each corner, stitch a total of three stitches: one for each side and one for the actual corner point. This helps cover the corner completely.

Plastic Canvas Bargello Pixel Art Manger
Plastic Canvas Bargello Pixel Art Manger

I like making these little pieces to hang on the wall, but you don't have to. You could stop right here and you'd have a manger coaster!

To add the hanger, attach a piece of tapestry wool at one of the top corners. Stitch through the back of a few stitches and then make a knot at the edge. Leave a bit of wool loose for the hanger, and then secure it at the other top edge on the back in the same way.

Plastic Canvas Bargello Pixel Art Manger

And that's how to make a manger bargello pixel art piece for your wall!

I also like to point out that these little patterns are also good for tiny cross stitch. Thing cute little ornaments that stitch up quick! Plastic Canvas Bargello Pixel Art Manger

If you'd like to use this technique to stitch some Scandinavian designs, I have a gnome and two snowflakes availble for those who support me on Ko-Fi. You can pay just $3 and get access to all my recent bonus files (or follow and support me monthly so you don't miss a thing!).

Plastic Canvas Bargello Pixel Art Manger

That's so much for every comment, share, Pinterest pin, and Ko-Fi! Happy stitching!

pattern // festive fruitcake house embroidery and cross stitch

Festive Fruitcake House Embroidery Pattern

It's that time of year when the world falls in love...with stitching fruitcake! And that means you're going to need this month's free Festive Fruitcake pattern. And since December is moving quickly, I thought it might be helpful to get both the embroidery and cross stitch versions ready at the same time. So that's what we have!

It's hard for me to also think that these are the last Kawaii Crossing house patterns for the year. Amazing! Next year's patterns will be a little different, but still connected my little made up town. At some point I should probably just change the name of this blog to Kawaii Crossing.

But back to the patterns...

As always, there are two sizes of patterns in the PDF. Also, the frosting on the fruitcake (which I realize isn't really traditional fruitcake, but frosting is always a good idea) is technically white. If you're stitching yours on dark fabric, you may want to use white embroidery thread. But otherwise, I put in a light blue that shows up nice for white fabric. Also, there are thicker lines under the windows, and for that I'd suggest thicker stitching. Either use more strands or stitch the lines in something like chain stitch.

This year I've also been creating an applique-ready version which I share that over on Ko-fi. This design in particular would be so cute stitched up as a felt ornament, but you could do that with any of these. And when you support me on Ko-Fi, you get a month of access to all the patterns. PLUS, I have another bonus pattern coming out very soon. Can't wait to show that off!

Festive Fruitcake House Cross Stitch Chart

Now, how about a cross stitch chart?

I think it's very clear that I have fully embraced cross stitch, both to design patterns and stitch them. Once I learned a faster way to stitch, I was hooked.

The one thing that still frustrates me when I'm designing, however, is round things and unusual angles. In this case, round was particularly difficult for those little bits of fruit. Rather than making them tiny or unusually shaped (the originals were circles as you see in the embroidery version), I went for squares. Do I love this option? Not really. But it's close enough.

And just as a reminder, I love seeing what you're stitching! Tag me if you share on Instagram (I'm @molliejohanson) or send me an email!

big news // i'm writing a cross stitch book!

Cross Stitch Celebrations: Bundle of Joy!

If you follow me elsewhere on the internet, you may already know this news, but this is something to be shared everywhere. I'm writing a cross stitch book!

Even with all of the cross stitch design that I've done in the last few years, I didn't see this coming. I am, however, delighted. Delighted, I tell you!

So now let me share a little more about this book. The title is Cross Stitch Celebrations: Bundle of Joy! and it's being published by Walter Foster and Quarto. As the title suggests, it's a baby theme, but not the kind with baby bottles, diaper pins, and such. It's a bit more modern with cute borders, a few smiling mini motifs, and BABY ANIMALS! But the big thing here is that it's really all about designing your own birth announcement keepsake for your own little one or as a very special gift.

So that you can design your own custom cross stitch piece, all of the patterns are mix and match. And there's an entire section in the book about how to successfully create something truly unique, along with extra tips for other kinds of customizing.

It will still be months before it comes out (we're still finishing it!), but in the meantime I've already been sharing a few peeks on my Instagram feed, and more will come. Because you want to see some behind the scenes, right?

Even though this Bundle of Joy! won't be released until July 2022, it is already available for pre-order. Yes! And soon it should have an official cover and everything.

Bundle of Joy Pre-Order Bonus Pattern

Speaking of which, I'm working on some fun bonuses for everyone who pre-orders Cross Stitch Celebrations: Bundle of Joy! The first one is for a Baby's First Christmas (and Baby's First Hanukkah!) design, which includes a sweet little hedgehog. Learn more at the Walter Foster website.

There will be more free bonuses coming too, and the earlier you pre-order, the more of them you'll get!

Now before I wrap this up, let me share a quick little aside.

When I started working on my first book, Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big and Small, my editor suggested the idea of an animal theme. And I was like, ummmm...I don't really draw animals. And she said, I think you really should give it a try. And then I created a whole book of animal embroidery patterns and projects.

I find it both hilarious and fitting that my next book would also end up being filled with animal patterns, just in cross stitch form this time. I love that the God who made these sweet animals and who has given me the amazing opportunity to write books (and other kinds of content!) has also challenged and stretched me every step of the way. God is so good!

Okay, back to the new book...if you are expecting a new baby, know someone who is, or if you just want to stitch some sweet baby animals, go take a look at Cross Stitch Celebrations: Bundle of Joy!

Do you have any questions about the book? Drop them in the comments!

calendar // festive fruitcake house wallpapers

Well. December is here and that makes this the last set of Kawaii Crossing wallpapers for the year 2021! I can hardly believe how fast time has gone by and all of the amazing things this year has held. Lots of hard things too. But it has certainly been a fruitful year for me. So it's pretty perfect to have a fruitcake house for December, right?

Listen, I know that not everyone likes fruitcake, but I really do. My dad really does too, which is probably how I ended up being a fan. I've made it myself and I've also enjoyed the little loaves you find at convenience stores as well as the fancy kind that really is a gift. Again, I know that this might make me unusual.

Knowing how people feel about fruitcake might make this house one that lots of folks stay away from, so maybe its resident likes to be alone?

Now, as I start thinking about the fruitcake I want to bake, let's get you some new wallpaper for all your screen sizes!

By the way, I find it hilarious that if you search for the word "doorstop" on my blog, every single post from my archives is related to fruitcake. For someone who loves this festive treat, I seem to consistently refer to it this way...

pattern // sturdy tree house cross stitch

2021 November - Sturdy Tree House Cross Stitch

Who is ready for another free Kawaii Crossing Cross Stitch pattern? You? Yay!

As I am typing this, we're mere hours away from December, but it's still technically November, so I'm sharing a November pattern before it's too late. Would I have liked to post this weeks ago? Of course I would have, but I've been busy with some things, which I'll write a whole post about very soon. If you follow me elsewhere, you may already know.

Anyway, the November Kawaii Crossing design is a tree house, and I'm happy to say that while there are a lot of stitches in this one, it's all pretty simple. So it shouldn't take very long to stitch your leafy little home.

And since this is the last day of November, I guess that means we have one more house design left and it should be coming very soon. Fingers crossed that I can make it happen!

pattern // sturdy tree house embroidery design

Sturdy Tree House Embroidery Pattern

This month's Kawaii Crossing house is a Sturdy Tree House, and today I'm sharing the free embroidery pattern in two sizes!

When I was a kid I always wanted a tree house and it never quite happened. I also happened to love Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and the tree that Hoot the Owl and Henrietta Pussycat lived in. The idea of living INSIDE a tree vs. just building a house on a tree is especially lovely. Who knows...maybe I'm part squirrel.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy stitching this new addition to the neighborhood!

Every month I also create a version that's ready to use for applique, and I share that over on Ko-fi. If making this tree house out of felt or other fabric sounds fun to you (I really think the tree would be so special this way!), be sure to check that out for a small cost.

For my cross stitching friends, I'll have that pattern ready to go soon!

calendar // sturdy tree house wallpapers

Designing a new wallpaper each month, especially these Kawaii Crossing ones, is always fun. But sometimes I put pressure on myself and November is regularly that month. You see, this is my birthday month, so it feels like I should have the absolute perfect design for November. The perfect design for me.

The pressure was real this time and deciding what to add to my little town was too much. I kept trying to think of the childhood inspirations that would be ideal for who I was as a kid and who I am as an adult. And what did I end up with?

A tree.

That feels so no exciting, but it's a beautiful color like the trees in my part of the world are right now. And while this doesn't connect with one specific childhood moment, character, or toy, there were many tree memories that formed as I grew up. Is that silly? Even if it is, I'm going with it.

I'll try to share more of those memories through the month, but we'll start with some wallpapers for all your screen sizes.