Spring Threadventure Week 5: Desert Botanical Gardens

by , on
May 14, 2020

Well hello again! Our 2020 Spring Threadventure Garden Tour is speeding right along. We’re going cross-country today where we’ll have fun exploring a beautiful desert garden! Hop aboard the Serendipity Express with me and let’s take our magical virtual vacation tour bus to our fifth stop…


Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona.

And here we are…


Welcome to Desert Botanical Garden!


Desert Botanical Garden is the realization of the vision of Swedish botanist Gustaf Starck. Way back in 1939, he posted a sign that read “Save the Desert” and a small group of local citizens joined him in their quest to conserve their beautiful desert environment. In the past 80 years, it “has blossomed from a dream into a living museum”.

Admittedly, I don’t have much experience with cacti. They don’t like Alabama very much. But they fascinate me! Especially those with so many prickly spines like these cutie pies – golden barrel cactuses…

Golden barrel cactus are short and squatty - and covered with prickly spines.


Did you know that cactuses are indigenous to the Americas with just one exception? Yep – that’s right… the only other place on the entire planet that you can find native cacti is tropical Africa, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka. Pretty cool, huh?!

Today’s stitch, the staggered cross stitch, is a terrific option for cactus plants.

It’s particularly effective for stitching cacti like those you see on this lovely canvas from Purple Palm Designs. It’s called Desert Garden. Don’t you just L-O-V-E the colors and textures? What a fun canvas to stitch!


Desert Garden by Purple Palm Designs


And speaking of stitching, let’s take a look at the stitch diagram. You can see that the staggered cross stitch is actually a combination stitch.

So, what’s a combination stitch?

That’s a terrific question! A combination stitch is a stitch comprised of two (or more) stitches to create a brand new stitch. In this case, it includes two different sizes of cross stitches.

The first step in executing the staggered cross stitch is to work the larger cross-stitches. Follow the numbers on the diagram below and you’ll be golden!

Then, complete the stitch by working the small cross-stitches in the gaps between the larger cross stitches. Notice that the cross-stitches – the large ones and the small ones – are worked as individual units before moving across the row. Be sure to keep the top legs of each stitch unit going in the same direction so your work doesn’t look messy. 😉

And before I forget, the staggered cross stitch is a medium-size stitch so you’ll need ample space to establish the pattern.

Staggered cross stitch is a terrific stitch for the cactus on your desert themed needlepoint canvases.


I’m using Watercolours to work this stitch.

Watercolours is making an “encore” appearance, so you can click here to learn more about it.

Thread one strand of Watercolours (215 – Cilantro) in a #22 tapestry needle to execute the large cross-stitch in the staggered cross stitch pattern. Then, use one strand of that same color of Watercolours in a #22 tapestry needle for the small cross-stitch to complete the staggered cross stitch pattern. Work your stitch sample on a piece of 13 mesh needlepoint canvas.

Where will you use the staggered cross stitch?

Do you have a desert-themed canvas? Or will you use the staggered cross stitch for shrubs on a design with a garden theme? We’ll chat about some more uses for the staggered cross stitch at 3:00 p.m. CDT this afternoon during Needlepoint TV™ over on the Serendipity Needleworks Facebook page. I hope you’ll join me! 🙂

Before you go, please tell me how you plan to use the staggered cross stitch on one of your canvases down in the comments box below.

Don’t be shy – I ❤️ hearing from you and I read every single note.

And just to spice things up a little, I think I’ll do fun “giveaway” this week.

When you share your thoughts with me below, I’ll enter your name into the drawing for a Serendipity Needleworks needle minder. (squeeee!!!)

Alrighty, that’s all for now.

Thanks ever so much for joining me here and…

until next time, happy stitching!

XOXO!!! ❤️
Stitch with a smile!

Winter Threadventure Week 1: Helsinki, Finland

by , on
Jan 9, 2019
Welcome to fabulous Helsinki, Finland, the first stop on our 2019 Winter Threadventure!

Are you ready for the 2019 Winter Threadventure through the Nordic countries? Me, too! We’re gonna have soooo much F-U-N! Hop aboard the Serendipity Express with me and let’s ride our magical virtual vacation train to our first stop, captivating Finland

Serendipity Needleworks on Instagram

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