It’s always fun to start a new project, and what better time than with the start of the new year! I’m ready to leave 2020 in the rear-view and look ahead to hopefully new things. I thought I’d start things off with a new mystery stitch along!

This time I’m kind of working backwards. I know how I’m going to finish this project, and designed it with that in mind.

Several years ago I acquired several Lee’s Self-finishing bags, and decided now is a great time to actually design and stitch something for one of them.

This is a wallet, with a zipper closure, several places for cards, and an inside zipper compartment. This particular wallet comes in several different finishes, but the one I have is this brown alligator style.

Here’s an example of the finishing instructions – I think even I can manage this! You all know that finishing isn’t my strong suit at all!

I also like the idea of carrying my needlework with me, but that presents some design challenges. The threads and stitches used in the design shouldn’t be prone to snagging, since the finished wallet is going to live in my larger bag. With that in mind, I’ve designed this project using several smaller stitches, to reduce the amount of snagging for the finished project.

The design size I’m starting with is about 5 1/2″ wide by about 2 3/4″ high. I may need to add some more to the width as I go along, since the specified size is 6″ x 2 3/4″. But I carefully measured the opening, and I got 5 1/2″. Also, I have a tendency to really spread the canvas out because I use Evertites, and even though I start with a planned design size of 5 1/2″ I usually end up with more. So we’ll see. Before I take the piece off the bars, I’ll make sure of the fit, and add some to the edges if I need to. Should that become necessary, I’ll explain at the point what I’m going to do, and include diagrams for the stitches, so you’ll know when I know.

I selected Sandstone 18 ct. canvas, and have cut my piece 8″ x 10″, which should be plenty of margin. Most of the margin will be trimmed away before inserting into the wallet opening. I’m starting off with a good 2″ on the sides, and about 3″ for the top and bottom.

I’ve already got my canvas mounted, and I’m showing you how many tacks I use. Some people prefer to use fewer tacks, but I like a lot. It helps to keep the canvas tight, and a tight canvas is easier to stitch than one that isn’t as tight. You’ll notice as you stitch on a not-so-tight canvas that the canvas moves back and forth with your stitching; a really tight canvas doesn’t move and is easier.

These are the threads I’ve selected: 6 shades of my main color (browns), 3 shades of one contrast color (orange) and 4 shades of my second contrast color (aqua). I’m using all cotton floss for this project, so if you want to stitch along head into your stash and find some threads.

Here are the threads on the canvas. I think these are going to be great colors together. I don’t know if I’ll use all of the threads, but this is where I’m starting.

And a word about the self-finishing Lee’s products: these are readily available from needlepoint stores. You can see all of them on the Colonial Needle website:https://colonialneedle.com/collections/lee-self-finishing-goods?page=2

You’ll notice that this particular size will fit several different products, ranging from wallets, checkbook covers and bags to tissue boxes. You’ll also see several other products that might work well for you, if you don’t like wallets. And, with a little modification you can probably find other ways to finish this design. I wanted something easy, that even I could do with my butterfingers, and happened to have the wallet readily available.

Next week, we’ll start with the first stitches! I hope you’ll join me!

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