It’s been a while! Since my last post, I’ve been working on a variety of projects and filmed two flosstube episodes – one of which is uploading today (29 May 2021)!
I’ve decided to start up my own flosstube channel on YouTube as a way of starting to promote my Hot Cross Stitching website and this blog to a new group of people to see how things go. My first introduction episode is very quiet, so you’ll need to have the volume up very high for it. I’m hoping I can upload a replacement episode with improved volume, so that when you go to watch it, you won’t be straining to hear what I’m saying!
Currently I’m at the coast and I don’t have all of my projects with me. Since the start of May I’ve been working on:
Ryan’s been a good boy (Christmas project)
Jaffy – a new start
Gundaroo Mini Mushroom
Blue Mountains Walking Trail
Ryan’s been a good boy
I’ve made some progress with this project and I’ve made an error along the way. I’ve some how mis-counted a part of the project, which in some ways is a good thing, because it means that I’ve not got as much to stitch. It will mean that I’ll need to fudge things when I go to do the backstitch. I don’t have any pictures for this project to share at this point in time. Hopefully later this year I’ll have it completed!
I’ve run out of the DMC colour 3808, so I’ll need to get creative with how I stitch some some parts until I pick up a new skein. I’ve also come to realise with this project, that I’m going to run out of fabric because I’m stitching it two over two on 25 count fabric. I could get creative and stitch the fish two over one or one over one or adjust how much I’m stitching so that I still have enough fabric to frame it.
This is one of my own designs. At the moment it won’t look like much and I could have it sitting in any direction and it could look like it’s almost any part of the picture!
I’ve started in the middle of the fabric and pattern because I don’t think I have enough for this project and I want to see how it will turn out on 18 count Aida. With this project, I really want to focus on Jaffy’s face and a little bit of the background.
Gundaroo Mini Mushroom
I’ve just started stitching this one again because it’s been too long since I’ve worked on it. I’ve probably not worked on it since some time last year. I’ll have to go back through my log to see when I last took a photo of it and talked about the project.
That said, this project has been called for the June WIPGO board! I’m really happy about this, because I’d really like to make some progress on it. The images below show my progress so far, where I’m currently up to and what it should look like when it’s complete:
Blue Mountains Walking Trail
This is my own design and I’m stitching it on 25 easy count fabric. The pink squares are 20 stitches by 20 stitches, so I need to be careful and not have a lapse in memory, thinking that they’re 10 by 10 and misread the pattern!
I started stitching this two over one out of curiosity and I quickly learnt that one over one was plenty of coverage! It was also getting too thick and making life difficult to stitch. I have fallen in love with this fabric though. It really is easy to stitch on because the holes are easy to access with my needle and thread.
For WIPGO, the two numbers called are connected to my projects the Gundaroo Mini Mushroom and the Three Dogs (aka the Three Labs as I’ve nicknamed them). I’m hoping to make some progress on both projects that will be noticeable.
The Three Labs
It’s been a long time since I’ve worked on this project and as long as I don’t get too annoyed with it – mostly because of thread breakages – I should be okay!
It’s the first of May as I’m writing this and it’s a beautiful autumn day in Canberra. I’m making the most of the beautiful weather by writing this post outside, under my pergola because I spend 90% of my time in front of the computer or television. I’m not sure how long the nice weather is going to last. The weather people are saying that we’re meant to be getting some rain coming through next week. Maybe on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The other good thing with the weather at the moment, is that I’m trying to get outside more to start running more! Since December last year, I’ve had a lot of muscle tightness around my right heel because I wasn’t stretching enough (if at all) after any exercise I did and my feet weren’t happy with some of my running shoes. With a lot of help from my personal trainer and some stretches I’ve been trying to do at home, my right foot is a lot better. So much so, I was able to compete / participate in my first 5.4km fun run in over 12 months!
At the start of April Canberra hosted the Canberra Times Marathon that had a number of distances that people could participate in. Full credit to the organisers for this event because it was all happening on one day! This is significant because normally it’s spread out across two days – usually a Saturday and Sunday – where the shorter distances like the kids events (about 1 to 2km) through to the 10km event and maybe the half marathon (21km). Then the Sunday would have the marathon (40km +/-) and ultra-marathon (anything over 40-41km). So to have people competing in these different distances on the same day at different times takes a lot of organising and they did really well!
The additional challenge to this event was the weather. I have run in most types of weather combinations with the exception of snow. Mostly because it doesn’t snow frequently enough here in Canberra for it to really ever be something I need to consider. The day of the running event, it was really windy and a cold wind too coming in from the West. I really don’t like running in the wind and I was concerned about how sheltered the course was going to be and the hardest part was running into the wind for the finish line. But we got lucky for the 5.4km course. It was mostly sheltered and it was just towards the end that was hard. I really felt for the people who were running the half marathon and longer. They were out in the open for at least half of their courses and it takes a lot more energy and strength to be able to run in that wind and achieve the times you want.
With all of that in mind, I’ve signed up to participate in the 5km Gold Coast Airport Fun Run in July! It’s perfect timing because my boyfriend and I will technically have finished up our contracts with work and we will both be due for a good holiday then. Also, the Gold Coast is in the South-Eastern part of Queensland and is a winter escape for many of the southern Australian states that get very cold during winter.
But enough about that, lets get onto talking about some cross stitch!
I’m starting to struggle with WIPGO. I know my goals were a bit too ambitious for the projects I have on my board and I’ve started a few more projects to balance out some of my struggles!
My biggest struggle point with Dew Drop Daisy is I’m out by 3 stitches for nearly everything I’ve stitched so far. The slight positive is that I just need to add 3 stitches and normally this would be fine if I was just working on the background. The problem is that this is impacting the petals I’m starting to work on and I don’t have all of the colours I need to complete the petals – but I’m working on that!
So rather than adding the extra 3 stitches where I need them on Dew Drop Daisy, I found where the page ended and I’ve started stitching it from right to left. My aim is to use the right side of the page to see where I need to add the 3 stitches – especially when I get to the petals that I’ve started stitching. The image below shows you what I’m talking about…
Fight Like a Girl by Tanya Amity
I’m struggling to pinpoint my exact struggles with this project. I know I’ve talked about them before and they seem minor now. Whenever I do pick it up, I enjoy stitching it! I think my problem at the moment may be that I have so many other projects I want to work on or need to for Hot Cross Stitching, that this one falls to the way-side.
For this month though, I think my biggest struggle has been having all of the threads I need to stitch it. During the last two weeks of April, my boyfriend and I went to the coast for a few days and I took this project and Autumn Castle with me. Because they’re both in the same bag and they share a similar grouping of threads. Big mistake! I assumed I had packed the threads I need for Fight Like a Girl, but I hadn’t because I was hunting through them for a colour I needed for a different project. This is where it was good that Autumn Castle and Fight Like a Girl share a similar colour pallet!
Disclaimer: I’m having an ethical dilemma with Autumn Castle. When I’d purchased it, I hadn’t realised that Heaven and Earth Designs have an identical pattern, but called Mini Trick or Treat and the designer is Randal Spangler. I’m feeling conflicted with this because I think I bought a counterfeit. I’ll leave it at this for the moment and I’ll write a separate post about this dilemma and why it is one, even though I had purchased it.
The main thing I need to ensure is good lighting with this project. I’m working on this project mostly at night time after work, and the room I normally stitch in has reasonably good light from the main light in the room. But I’m finding that it’s not quite enough for what I need. Thankfully I have my stitching corner in that same room, with my Over-the-top (OTT) light and it’s awesome!
I didn’t achieve my goal for Fight Like a Girl, but I am happy with my progress which is shown below:
Earlier I mentioned that I competed / participated in the 5.4km fun run and it was windy and cold. I came down with a minor cold as a result of the run and the weather, which meant that I took a day off work to recover. To make me feel better (and while I was waiting for a heap of wax to melt) I went online shopping!
Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated in any way with the shop I bought my supplies from. I’m shouting them out because of their amazing turn around time and customer service. Especially since many of us have been experiencing slow shipping and challenges with getting the supplies we need.
I ended up buying some fabric and big bundle of threads to help me with Dew Drop Daisy and Pink Bottle Brush from OzStich. They’re an online Australian store and are awesome! To search for the threads I needed, I just entered in the DMC colours I needed and how many of each skein I needed and the site added the skeins to my basket. This is something I’ve not experienced before and I think it worked really well because it saved me time trying to search for the colour I need and finding out that it’s not in stock or scrolling through pages to located the colour and add it to my basket.
The fabric I bought is the Magic Count, 20×20 gridded, 25 count fabric. I’ve just started stitching on it (barely made a dent in the pattern, but that’s for another time!) and it’s awesome! I’ve never used this fabric before and I love that it’s available from the majority of craft stores we all get our supplies from.
One thing I’m playing with and learning with this fabric, is how many strands of floss I can use. At the moment I’m using 2 strands per 1 square which is providing more than enough coverage and I’m going to need to drop it down to 1 over 1. Mostly because of how bulky my crosses are looking on the fabric and in some cases, my crosses are looking un-even. But that could also be a lot to do with the way I’m stitching, where I might be pulling the thread too tight or not tight enough.
Side note – melting wax
I make my own candles out of the left over wax from other candles I’ve received as gifts or purchased. Some of the wax I was melting in April, has lasted me a few rounds of candle making!
Before the pandemic, I was in the habit of burning a candle while I work on my blog posts or when I was studying. When the time came to work from home, I debated whether or not to burn a candle during work time because I’d been so accustomed to burning one outside of work hours. Most days I light a candle while I’m waiting for the computer to load and get ready for the working day. I like the ritual and most of the time, the candle still has a nice perfume, even though this may be the second time the wax has been in the form of a candle.
Also, I really like the candle holders the original candles came in and I want to keep using them as candle holders for as long as I can!
Leading up to May, I was debating whether or not to participate because I’m already struggling with meeting my WIPGO goals. And by adding any Maynia goals to the mix could lead to nothing getting done!
To try and make it a little easier on myself, I added all of my patterns and projects that I want to work on (at least during May) to the decision maker wheel app I downloaded to my phone. With today being the 1st May, I’ve spun the wheel and a new start has come up for me!
Seahorse (mini) by Heaven and Earth Designs
I bought this pattern as a PDF recently when HAED had their 50% off sale. I remember a while ago seeing Jessie Marie Does Stuff showing this project on her flosstube channel and I really liked the look of it.
This pattern has been designed to be full coverage, but I want to try something a little different and stitch it on a moss green 25 count Lugana and not stitch the background. The deceiving part of this pattern is that it doesn’t look like there’s a background to stitch. Stick with me over the next few months and you’ll start to see what I mean!
May WIPGO Goals
I won’t talk too much about my goals here, since much of what I’m going to be working on will be connected to Stitch Maynia and the decisions app. This month Autumn Castle and Santa’s Coming were called up and hopefully I can make some progress on at least one of them!
This has been a long post, so if you’ve made it to the end, thank you! I’m going to finish up the post here and enjoy the rest of the day and beautiful weather.
The procrastination bug has bit me hard over the last few weeks and I’ve been struggling to find the motivation to publish anything for this blog and do anything with the Hot Cross Stitching (HCS) website. A lot of it is to do with the amount of time I spend in front of the computer for my full-time job and knowing that I need to make some big changes to the HCS website. The good thing is that about a month and a half ago I received some great feedback on my website, and a lot of it was to do with the mobile view of the site. Now I’m needing to work on improving the site so that my message is clearer and people can easily navigate through it.
To help put the procrastination bug into perspective, I have gone as far as cleaning the house and trying to improve my office/craft space! I’m not a huge fan of cleaning and in many instances people will look at the spaces I work in (at home) or my stitching space and wonder how I can find anything or complete tasks. When the spaces get a clean and look a lot better for it, I have been known to end up in a very grumpy mood because it means that I have to head home (if I’m at the coast) or tired and sore.
The positive thing with this side of procrastination is the amount of stitching I’ve been able to get done!
March Cross Stitch Update
In March, the WIPGO numbers 10 and 24. Which meant that I needed to work on Moonlit Waters Fairy and Black and White Rolled-up Daisy.
For a lot of March, I was stitching on the Black and White Rolled-up Daisy because I wasn’t really feeling the motivation for working on Moon Lit Waters Fairy. The image below shows my progress of Black and White Rolled-up Daisy:
I finally go my bug for Moon Lit Waters Fairy in the last week / week and a half of March and once I really got into it I really didn’t want to put it down when April arrived.
As the months are progressing for WIPGO, I’m finding that I’m needing to adjust my goals for the projects because trying to get 250 stitches for both projects per day is a bit too ambitious. Especially when thee are some days when I’m really tired and not wanting to stitch or frog what I’ve stitched because I’m tired!
April Cross Stitch Plans and Update
The WIPGO numbers for April were called on 27th March and they are 21 and 3. Which means I’m stitching on Fight Like a Girl and Pink Daisy. The images below are my progress before for Pink Daisy and Fight Like a Girl before April and what they should look like when they’re completed.
For the Pink Daisy, I need to go to a craft store and pick up some more threads at the higher end of the DMC range (e.g. 3825). I’ve also fallen back in love with Fight Like a Girl and I’m really enjoying working on it!
At the moment I’m finding that alternating the weeks I’m working on these two projects is working really well. It also helped that I had Pink Daisy with me at the coast for the last week of March / early April, so I could work on it a bit.
A lot of the parked threads you’re seeing are parked threads and me waiting to purchase some of the threads I need, so that I can move them out of the way. My biggest challenge is getting the stitches to align with the pattern because of some updates I’ve made to the pattern and converting it over to Pattern Keeper.
This is my progress for Fight Like a Girl. Because of how big this project will be, I’ve decided to do the backstitch as I go and at the moment, I’m glad I’m doing that. It really adds to the project and helps me with my motivation to keep going!
April Life Update
Tomorrow (Sunday 11th April), I’ll be competing / participating in my first Fun Run since 2019! I’m participating in the 5.4km leg of the Canberra Times Marathon event and it’s going to be really interesting to see how it all goes. I’ve been struggling with really tight muscles at the back of my right heel since December 2020 and I’ve only run the 5.4 km distance once since then and that was last weekend!
It felt really good to run and I made the silly error of not stretching properly after the run and I’ve been hobbling around for most of this week. That said, I’ll ensure to stretch after the run tomorrow and we’ll see how things go! It’s also meant to be quite cool and really windy tomorrow, so hopefully I can make the most of them at key points of the run!
I’m not sure about you, but for me, February felt like a whirlwind! This had a bit to do with it being a short month, but more to do with the projects I thought I was going to work on for WIPGO. I ended up changing my mind on some of the projects and I started a couple of new ones!
In my post for the end of January, I noted that the patterns/projects Autumn Castle and Rainbow Zebra had been called for February. Knowing that February is a short calendar month and how socially busy I would potentially be, my goal changed for what I wanted to achieve for the February projects. Rather than 250 stitches per day for both projects, I wanted to at least get a page finish which I did and I was able to make a start on a new page for Autumn Castle. The first two images below show what the project will look like when it’s completed and what it looked like at the start of February.
This achievement gave me the excuse (as if I really needed one!) to start a new project because I really wasn’t feeling Rainbow Zebras – as colourful and beautiful as it is – I’m wanting to make some more progress on stitching my own designs. My other excuse is February is my birthday month and in the cross stitch world, I’ve noticed that some people choose to start a new project on their birthday or during their birthday month.
February new starts
Pisces drawing and quote
The image of the two fish and the Pisces symbol I found as part of a Pinterest search and I downloaded from the website www.rawpixel.com as a free image. Over the top of the Pisces image I’m going to be stitching the following quote that I found on Pinterest as well:
I’ve tried to find out who originally said this and I’ve found slight variations to the way the quote is written. There have been suggestions that the actor Tom Hardy had said words along these lines, but I’ve not seen any confirmation, so I’ve attributed the term ‘unknown’. This quote may seem a bit brash and harsh, yet when I first saw it as part of other searches I was doing, it resonated with me.
I’ve chosen to stitch this pattern on 25 count (I think) fabric that may be ivory or white. At the moment, I’m stitching around the letters and words of the quote. I’m not sure what colour I’ll use for the words yet, as I’d like them to stand out but not take away too much from the beautiful artwork!
Pink Bottlebrush Mini
This pattern is 100% my own and will be available on the Hot Cross Stitching website for purchase. I’ve named the flower a bottlebrush, even though I’m aware the flower type may actually be something starting with ‘G’. I’ve got the name ‘geranium’ on the brain and the image searches confirm it’s not right!
At the moment the picture looks like a lot of random pink stitches scattered across the black fabric I’m using. I still have a lot of colours I need to purchase! I’m stitching the pattern on 14 count black Aida and I’m not sure if I will have enough fabric for it, but I really needed to make a start on it. I’ve been eyeing off the full size pattern for a while and editing the mini edition off to get it to look the way I wanted.
Aside from the new February starts, I also did some work on Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms and Dew Drop Daisy. Below are progress shots of both projects as of February 2021:
March WIPGO Plans
The numbers 10 and 24 were called for March for the WIPGO Board (see below), which means that I should be working on Black and White Rolled-up Daisy by me and Moonlit Waters by Heaven and Earth Designs.
Since these two projects have been called, I’ve been focusing on Black and White Rolled-up Daisy. I’m really happy with how this one is going and I’m debating whether or not I’ll work on Moonlit Waters this time around. If I don’t work on it, I’m contemplating working on some of my own designs, but I’m not sure which one.
Black and White Rolled-up Daisy
As slow going as my motivation is for this piece, it’s nice to see some progress being made.
Aside from seeing the progress on this piece, another part of my motivation is to have something significant to show on my website. Currently the site is offline as part of some significant changes that need to be made.
Moonlit Waters Fairy
I’ve barely worked on this project, so I’m not going to include any progress pictures here. When I did recently put a couple of stitches into the project, it felt strange to be working with one strand over one 25 count fabric! What I like about this project and many of the others I’m working on now, is that the pattern is on Pattern Keeper!
Well, that’s it for me this time. I do aim to publish some more posts soon,
We’re coming up to a month since the Hot Cross Stitching website went live and I’ve released some more cross stitch patterns to the site and joined Instagram!
January 2021 Releases
When Hot Cross Stitching went live, the following patterns were immediately available to purchase as PDF downloads:
For the regulars of my blog, you will know that I’ve been working on the Mini Mushrooms picture for a while now. I’m hoping that it will come up soon in WIPGO (see related reads for more information) so that I can get some more progress on it.
I’ve also been working on Dew Drop Daisy and Black and White Rolled-up Daisy for parts of last year. Also, as of yesterday (Saturday 20 February 2021) I’ve picked Dew Drop Daisy again because I’ve been itching to be working on some of my own patterns again!
Because many of the releases in January are plant based, my aim for February is to keep with this theme and include some buildings and scenery/landscapes to give people some variety.
Because I’ve been working on all of these patterns to get them ready for the website, when they are ready, I just want to stitch all of them! So much so, I’ve made a start on the Pink Bottle Brush Mini project on black Aida as part of one of my WIPGO squares. This pattern has a lot of confetti in it and it’s fully compatible with Pattern Keeper which is a huge blessing and making my life 10 times easier to stitch it!
One of the other really cool things is that when I was working on the Lily pattern, I hadn’t realised until much later that there’s an insect in it! My eyes keep being drawn to the yellows and purples and blues.
Plans for future patterns
Birds, New Zealand landscapes, Australian beaches, cats and dogs, old buildings and ruins to name a few are patterns I want to release for March and future months.
Based upon what you’ve seen so far and what my plans are for future patterns, is there something specific that you would like to see as a pattern?
Wow, it’s the end of January 2021 already! Where has the month gone? Here in Canberra, Australia we’ve had a pretty mild summer so far and it’s a vast difference to last summer thankfully!
As I’m writing this post, it’s overcast and there’s a very light drizzle rain. The temperature is comfortable enough for me to be barefoot with the windows open for fresh air and jumper to keep me warm enough. Over the last couple of days we’ve had some really nice rain falls to help put a little bit of water into the dams and water the plants.
All of which has been a really good excuse (if I really ever needed one!) to get a bucket load of cross stitch done. WIPGO has also made the world of difference and provided me with the additional motivation I’ve needed to make some significant progress on my projects. For the month of January, the numbers 13, 18 and 6 were called, which meant that I needed to work on Gingerbread Train (allocated to square number 6), Four Seasons Kittens (allocated to square 18) and square 13 being a free space where I could leave it as is or do whatever I wanted with it. For example, I could start a new project, buy a new project or threads, or work on another project that may or may not be on the board shown below:
The squares you see coloured in with a lavender or light purple were the numbers called for January. The cross or X and green Y mean that I have finished that project and met the goal or challenge I had set for that project. Also, the purple squares will never be called upon again for the rest of 2021. Which is why I have set my board up like I have in case I’m unable to meet the challenge I’ve set for each project and many of them are big projects, so I’m not going to be able to complete them by the end of this year.
The light blue squares are the numbers called for February. Because I finished the Gingerbread Train (second allocation, square 20) earlier than I expected, I get to replace it with another project that I’d forgotten about. Initially I was going to have Curglaff in square 20, but with the number 13 called in January, I started stitching it anyway because I wasn’t sure when the number 20 would be called and I really wanted to work on Curglaff (see January Finishes for pictures).
This project has been selected for square 4 and the image below on the left is what I’ve stitched as of December 2020 and the image on the right is what it will look like.
This project has been riddled with counting problems and fudging that it will be interesting to see how things go. It’s also a good thing that it’s on the WIPGO board so that it can get some attention!
Rainbow Zebras…or maybe a change?
The really good thing with this project is that it’s colourful and not full coverage (i.e. there’s still fabric showing through parts of the project).
However, I don’t know what it is about this project, but I’m starting to think I should swap this out for something else. It may have something to do with me working on some more patterns for Hot Cross Stitching that has me wanting to work on those instead of this one.
That said, there shouldn’t be anything stopping me from working on this one, Autumn Castle and working on anything else I want right?!
Gingerbread Train – Designed by Shannon Christine Designs
In an earlier post, I may have mentioned that I had finished the Gingerbread Train by Shannon Christine Designs and posted some pictures. In case you missed it, below is my finish and a comparison image of what the finished model looks like in the Ultimate Christmas magazine/book I got the pattern from:
Curglaff – designed by Michelle Bendy Stitchy
I’m a little surprised by how much I enjoyed working on this project. What made it so enjoyable and exciting were some of the threads I was using and knowing that it was designed by someone who I watch on a regular basis via Flosstube. If I hadn’t watched flosstube and Michelle Bendy or Mich Stitches of Punk Poodle Designs, I’m not sure if I ever would have come across this pattern! So ultimately, I was fan-girling a bit throughout the project!
It’s important to note that I’ve only stitched this project once and that the lighting for when I take the photos has a huge impact on how the fabric looks. The first image that shows my progress for the end of 2020 shows the truer colours of the fabric than the second image. However, the second image shows off the stitching!
I stitched this on 32 count (I think! My memory has faded a little) Belfast Linen that I dyed using orange and purple dyes from Spotlight and I stitched it using two threads of cotton over two threads of fabric (aka two squares).
For the word Curglaff, I used Cottage Garden Threads ‘Raisin’ and for the definition of Curglaff and the bath water, I used Cottage Garden Threads ‘Sherbert’. The rest of the project was stitched in DMC threads – some of them were the called for colours, some of them I swapped out for other colours because I didn’t want to go hunting through my other projects for the called for colours!
I might finish this one like the ideas I have for the Gingerbread Train (check out the related posts list at the end of this one) or put it into my smalls finish book…more to come on that one in later posts!
Four Seasons Kittens – Dimensions Gold kit
*Big sigh* I’m looking forward to completing this project. To me, it feels like I’ve been procrastinating its finish for so long that I’ve forgotten when I started it! Which is why having this project on the WIPGO board for this year is so important. I’ve surprised myself during January with how much I’ve gotten done and having time off work has helped too! So much so, I’ve gotten the Spring quarter completed and I’m looking forward to this project’s number being called later in the year. My fingers are crossed in hope that it’s in a month when I have a bit of time off work so that I make some significant progress on it.
The above images show how far this project has come since I started this blog and talking about this project back in February 2019. Which further highlights why I’m so keen to get it finished!
The good thing now is that I can breath a sigh of relief knowing that I’ve achieved my goal for this project during January 2021, and I can focus on the projects for February.
I’ve been aware of a craft store called the Crafty Frog at Kambah, ACT for many years. However, it wasn’t until the major bushfires of 2019/20 that I went to the store to deliver some donations and last week, to purchase something! In the grand scheme of things, Kambah is roughly a 30 minute drive from where I live and it’s a very comfortable and straight forward one. It’s taken me so long to do the trip because I’ve grown accustomed to the stores closer to where I live and being in the mind set that if I’m going to travel that distance, I need to make my trip worthwhile. For example, there may be some other stores I want to visit or a friend or family member.
In this case, I have a friend who lives in roughly that direction (still about a 20 minute drive away from the store), but close enough to warrant a round trip. I’d also reminded myself enough that the Crafty Frog has some specialty threads I wanted to check out and below is what I bought:
Dinky Dyes, Brindabella Threads and CGT (aka Cottage Garden Threads) are all Australian based – the Brindabella ones being Canberra Region based!
I’m not completely sure what I’ll stitch with these yet, but I just love looking at them! The time, effort and creativity that each company / business has put into making these threads is awesome and amazing. To me, they are definitely worth the extra money!
Happy New Year! I hope it’s been a good start to the new year for you, as much as it can be.
It’s been a while since I’ve published a post because I’ve been on holidays since Boxing Day through to Tuesday 12th January 2021 and enjoying my stitching bubble. So much so, I’ve finished a project I didn’t expect to finish so soon and I have made a lot of progress on another project that has needed a lot of attention!
In my last post, I talked about many of my Works in Progress (WIP) being part of WIPGO 2021 and below is the board I’ve put together:
How it works in a nutshell
The idea behind WIPGO is that it’s like a bingo board in the sense that the squares are numbered and Jessie Marie who runs / is the organiser for the Facebook group (I’ve come across her on Youtube via her Flosstube channel called Jessie Marie Does Stuff), uses a random number selector app to select two numbers between 1 and 25 per month. Jessie Marie would then post those two numbers in the Facebook group and that would help all participants to use their boards and know which projects they were going to be working on.
Side note: I hadn’t realised until recently, that a standard sized bingo board has 25 squares, and to make it easier, it’s the reason why the numbers between 1 and 25 are selected for WIPGO! Also, the numbers for the next month are drawn and posted on the Facebook group on the 27th of each month (in the case of numbers for January, they were posted in December 2020), so we have time to prepare our projects if need be for the next month.
The other cool thing with WIPGO is that there are few rules we, as a collective, need to abide by. We get to make our own rules and goals for our own boards, because everyone is different and the aim is to keep it fun and light. In my case, I’ve chosen to aim for stitching 250 crosses per day for each project that has been selected for that particular month.
For January, three numbers were selected – numbers 13, 6 and 18. The space for number 13 is a free space and we can do whatever we want with that space. In my case I chose to have a new start or free choice because I didn’t want to be limited to anything specific if I didn’t want to. I could have chosen to leave this square blank and just cross it off as being complete.
Which leaves me with squares 6 and 18 – the Gingerbread Train and 4 Seasons Kittens and my goal to stitch 250 crosses for the Gingerbread Train and 250 crosses or stitches on 4 Seasons Kittens per day for the whole month of January or until the project is complete – whichever happens sooner.
Last year when I was participating in Stitch Maynia, I learnt quickly that trying to count my stitches after I’ve stitched them (when using paper patterns) was time consuming and took some of the fun out of it. I tried to make it a little easier for myself by using coloured pencils to help differentiate between each time I sat down and worked on the projects, and it did help a little.
With that memory in mind, I made the most of the coloured pencils at the coast house and made my paper patterns for Gingerbread Train and 4 Seasons Kittens look like a rainbow! Each colour and section on the patterns would represent 250 stitches and a particular day – e.g. red = day 1, orange = day 2 etc, regardless of which pattern it was. That way I would know which section I was going to work on for that day and that it added up to 250 stitches.
When I was sorting out the pattern for Gingerbread Train, I realised pretty quickly that I would have the project completed within the first 2 weeks or so of January (including backstitching and beading)! And if I was motivated enough with 4 Seasons Kittens, I’d have the Spring quarter 90% to 95% complete with some backstitching and French Knots to complete the next time it was called up.
What happens if I reach my goals before the end of the month?
That’s up to me. I can start some new projects to fill in the time until February starts or I can take a break from stitching and do some other crafty things instead or whatever I want (within reason). I can also work on some other WIP’s that haven’t made it onto the board.
In the case of the Gingerbread Train, I have chosen to replace it’s second listing on the board with a different project that didn’t make it onto the board, first time around. So when the number 20 is called, I’ll be working on Curglaff designed by Michelle Bendy Stitchy (the pattern can be purchased from her Etsy store).
I won’t be winning any prizes if I finish any of my projects ahead of time or complete a Bingo line before anyone else. I can however, choose to reward myself with setting aside some money to purchase a new pattern or cross stitch related item for every project I complete or line I complete. I’ve noticed in the Facebook group that some people have allocated certain rewards for every goal they achieve which I think is really cool, and a great way to help with the motivation with some projects that can be a struggle to work through.
For me, the reward is sticking to my goals and achieving them. I struggle to stick to my goals (for many parts of my life, not just cross stitch!) and I’m really excited about this WIPGO board and sticking with it because there are enough elements to it that will keep me motivated. There’s enough structure where I know what projects I will be working on and I have them organised enough so that there’s not much effort involved with bringing them out when they’re called. Then there’s the surprise or random element that keeps it interesting. I don’t know what numbers will be drawn until the 27th or 28th of January and that’s the random element I like.
The reward element may change over time and that’s my prerogative! As I’m writing this and thinking about what rewards I could incorporate are:
purchasing a new pattern
starting a new pattern or kit
creating a wishlist of patterns I would like, that family or friends could purchase for birthday’s or Christmas
getting a massage or manicure – or both!
road trip to a new craft store (if practical) or one I haven’t visited for a while
join a cross stitch class or group that meets face to face
learn how to crochet
re-organise and improve my crafty spaces (you may get to see my crafty space in future posts and you’ll see why this would be a reward!)
Stitch Maynia and March Madness
I’m still working on how this two months and events can fit into my WIPGO plans or if they can at all. Especially since I’m working full time and who knows what the year will bring work wise!
At the moment I’m liking the idea of participating in both and the idea of starting new things. The tricky thing is being organised and finding the right storage space for them. Which has me thinking about the project bags I’ve seen a lot of people talking about on Flosstube and how I can make them work for the projects I have. However that’s a new and different rabbit hole for me to scamper down!
Cross Stitch Project bags – what are they?
I’ve learnt that project bags come in a variety of sizes and can have handles to that they can be carried like a bag or just have zips, clips, velcro or anything that works well to keep everything contained inside the bag. The image below shows a very small sample of the huge variety of bags available that I’ve seen talked about on Flosstube.
I like the bags that have the clear vinyl at the front so that you can see what’s in the bag and what project should be inside. My struggle is having a bag big enough to fit the boxes I use for some of my large projects (that have over 100 colours), as well as the hoops and everything I need for the project.
The good thing is that there are larger bags that are akin to small luggage/suitcase style bags available to suit my needs and I will need to do some more searches online to see what could work for me. My struggle at the moment is to have something slim enough to easily store away when I’m not working on it and easy enough to take with me when I’m travelling. Yet large enough to fit all of the tools I need for the project without it compromising the project.
I have been stitching the 4 Seasons Kittens by Dimensions methodically since it’s number was called for on the WIPGO board – and even more so since I finished the Gingerbread Train on 16th January 2021.
The first image below shows what I’ve done since 1st January 2021 through to 17th January 2021. I’ve probably spent more time on this project than the Gingerbread Train because of the amount of half stitch this project has. Also, I need to do nearly double the amount of stitches on this project than the Gingerbread Train that is just full crosses, to enable me to be satisfied with reaches the goals I’ve set for it.
To help put this progress into perspective, below is the progress I had made on the project by the end of 2020:
Because of the significant progress I’ve made on the Spring quarter of this project, I think I’ll be able to get it done!
Gingerbread Train designed by Shannon Christine
I really enjoyed stitching this project. It was colourful and fun and I really like the patterns from Shannon Christine Designs because they are easy to read and I love her colour choices.
This pattern called for it to be stitched on 28 count Sky High evenweave fabric. At the time I may not have had 28 count fabric or enough for this pattern, so I stitched it on 14 count Aida from Threaded Needle that had the green marble look you see in the above image, printed on one side of the fabric. All threads are DMC and all bar two colours are the called for colours. The two colours I altered were because I didn’t have them in my stash at the time and I don’t think it’s detracted from the pattern in the slightest.
If I were to stitch the pattern again, I would ensure to give myself enough room to stitch all of the letters for ‘Sweet Christmas Wishes’ and I’d see if I could adjust the font for the letters or change the colour I use for the outline of the letters. I might also have the white dots as beads instead of individual white crosses.
The other really good thing about this pattern, is that it got me over my reluctance to use beads in patterns. This pattern reminded me that as long as I’m careful with getting the beads on the special beading needle and I remain patient, everything will be okay!
For now I have this project ironed and rolled up with my other completed but not FFO’ed (fully finished objects) projects. I’m thinking that I could turn it into a sign that could be hung or nicely displayed somewhere. My mind will probably change multiple times before I finally finish it too!
*Big Sigh* Wow, what a year it’s been! Happy holidays and happy new year to all of you. I hope all of you have been able to celebrate the holidays as well as practical. I’m so thankful that this year is ending very differently to what last year because this time last year in Australia – especially along the East and Southern coast – so much was on fire. Now, as I’m writing this post, I’m at the coast with my boyfriend and we can breath easy, the sun it out and it’s a lot more comfortable (weather wise) than last year!
I’ve been doing a lot of stitching this month and trying to get myself a bit more organised for the new year. I’ve been working a lot from home, so my motivation to spend more time than necessary in front of the computer screen and my craft room has been reduced significantly. I’ve also been battling analysis paralysis with some of my computer related cross stitch tasks and confidence levels for ‘putting myself out there’ on social media. But it’s a necessary evil if I want things to progress!
I’ve also been running a bit more which has been good. I’ve got a new pair of shoes that have bluetooth in them that enables them to talk to the Map My Run app. As I’m running, the app gives me feedback on how I’m running and what I can do to improve it! For example, I might be looking down at my feet too much because of something that’s interfering with the footpath (plants, uneven sections etc.). The app will tell me that I need to straighten my back up a bit and pretend that there’s a string attached to the top of my head like a puppet. Straightening up should help with the way I place my feet when running and reduce my risk of injuries and make running feel less like an effort.
But without further adieu, here is my WIP (works in progress) parade for 2020. It will include many patterns you have seen over the year and a few new ones:
12 Days of Christmas designed by Rhona Norrie
It’s been a long time since I last worked on this project. I’m thinking it must have been June or July this year when I started it and I haven’t touched it until about a week ago, for the lead up to Christmas.
Ryan’s been a good boy designed by Durene Jones
Similar to the 12 Days of Christmas project, I haven’t worked on it since June or July this year and as part of getting into the Christmas mood, this project came out again and got some love.
Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms designed by Kristen Gawronski for Hot Cross Stitching
I have been working steadily on this project for a while now and towards the end of November, maybe early December, I finished another page (que mini happy dance!). I’m now working on the bottom of the project and playing fabric chicken to see if I need to add more fabric.
Meanwhile, the images below show the progress of the project over the course of this year, with the final image showing what it will look like when it’s finished.
Black and White Rolled-up Daisy designed by Kristen Gawronski for Hot Cross Stitching
As excited as I am to have started this project and even happier that it went smoothly into Pattern Keeper, I’m already needing to fudge things to figure out where I went wrong and what I’ve accidentally marked off.
Pink Daisy (November or December new start) designed by Kristen Gawronski for Hot Cross Stitching
I had been procrastinating this start for way too long. I had been debating about starting this project and another one I’m still trying to perfect the pattern before I’m happy with starting it, let alone releasing it for sale.
Gingerbread Train designed by Shannon Christine
I haven’t worked on this project since June or July this year. When I was going through my projects in preparation for this post, I was reminded of how cool this pattern is and how much I want to eat jelly lollies when I’m stitching it!
Boo Sheet (November new start and finish)
This particular pattern had been a free one as part of the online Mittagong Stitcher’s Retreat I had been part of in late November. I was able to get it stitched in about 2 days and I stitched it on 32 evenweave I had purchased from Spotlight and dyed using orange and purple fabric dyes, also from Spotlight.
Curglaff (November new start) designed by Bendy Stitchy
I have been wanting to stitch this pattern for a while. It’s designed by Bendy Stitchy (check out her YouTube channel) and inspired by Mich Stitch (she also has a YouTube channel)! At the end of each episode, Mich reads a random word from a dictionary she has on old English words that are rarely or no longer used, and ‘curglaugh’ had been one of those words.
I’m stitching it on the same fabric as Boo Sheet and this time I’m using some specialty threads that are made by Aussies! I’m really excited about this because I’m supporting an Aussie business and I’ve never used such fancy threads before. I predominantly use DMC and Anchor because they’re readily available and aren’t as expensive as the specialty threads. That said, these threads are well worth it! They are beautiful and I appreciate the time and effort the team has gone through to create and package the threads.
Fight Like a Girl designed by Tanya Amity, Illustration by Elena Gnedkova
It’s been way too long since I’ve worked on this project. The good thing is that it’s included in my new WIPGO board for 2021. When the squares for this project have been called, I’ll hopefully be able to get a lot more work done on it!
Check out the related posts section for more information on WIPGO.
Autumn Castle designed by Evgenia Kolesnikova
This project has received a very little bit of love in November, but nothing substantial enough to notice much of a difference. Similarly to ‘Fight Like a Girl’, it’s on my WIPGO Board and it will get some more love in 2021!
The first three pictures below show what the project will look like when it’s completed and what my earlier progress had been at key points during 2020. The fourth picture is my progress as of December 2020.
Three Dogs by Luca S.
This project has not been loved for some time and it’s long overdue to get some attention. Thankfully it’s on my WIPGO board and it will get the attention it deserves next year!
Moon Lit Waters Heaven and Earths Designs
Whenever I look at this project, I’m reminded of why I started stitching it and then when I start work on it again, I’m reminded why I paused it. Which explains why I haven’t worked on it for a while and why I need to do more on it.
Merry Colourful Christmas by Tilton Crafts (December new start)
This is a very new start, so I don’t have any comparison pictures. I’m currently stitching it on 25 count (I think) and using all DMC threads. I’m using two threads over two squares and I’m playing a bit of fabric chicken with this project because I haven’t properly measured it out!
Moonlight Owls designed by Jenny Barton
Honestly, I forgot about this project when I first started drafting this post. Thankfully, drafting this post has meant that I’ve remembered that I have this project and I now have it in the same bag as the projects 12 Days of Christmas, Ryan’s been a good boy and Gingerbread Train.
Rainbow Zebras by Artecy Cross Stitch
Like Midnight Owls, I forgot I had this as an active WIP! How could I forget something as colourful as this?! Because I’ve forgotten about this project, it hasn’t seen much attention, but that will change in 2021.
Barnyard Cats by Dimensions
I completely forgot about this project. It didn’t even make to my WIPGO board! That said, like the Trio of dogs, I’ll try and include it when the number 13 is called and it can get some attention then!
Four Seasons Kittens by Dimensions Gold Collection
This project has been dragging on for longer than what it really should be. Thankfully I have remembered to include it in my WIPGO board and it will get some attention next year!
I’ve been having a bad case of analysis paralysis over two projects I’m keen to start but scared to at the same time. Which has me wondering how many other stitchers have similar experiences?
Finding the right piece of fabric
Having the right piece of fabric for a pattern can make the world of difference with the finish for the project. This can range from the count size to the physical dimensions and ensuring there’s enough of a border to help with finishing it – e.g. framing. It can also be the colour of the fabric. Many people have trouble with stitching on dark fabric regardless of what the count size is and how awesome the project may look on that colour.
I’m currently stitching a project on a 32 count Belfast linen that I’ve dyed myself and I’m finding that without some really good light and regular breaks from it, my eyes are getting tired and I’m struggling to properly focus.
I had considered using this fabric for my Dew Drop Daisy project, but seeing how my current projects are working out on it, I’ve made the right decision not to use it for Dew Drop!
I’m also considering using the purple fabric I’ve dyed myself for Dew Drop Daisy or the Pink Bottlebrush (aka the Pink Grevillea). It’s roughly 25 count fabric and I don’t think I have enough fabric for the pattern. That has me wondering, ‘should I adjust the pattern to fit the fabric?’ or ‘purchase the fabric I need for the pattern?’
It’s a daunting pattern
It may be your first Heaven and Earth Design or similar pattern and you may not know where to start. Or there’s a lot of colour changes and you may not have all of the tools you need to make a start. Alternatively, you’re working on a Chatelaine (see European Cross Stitch Company) and they are beautiful, big and challenging in a positive way. Check out the Flosstube channels Teresa Little Stitcher and Jessie Marie Does Stuff – both of them are working on Chatelaine’s and they’re going to be beautiful!
In my case, one of the patterns I want to work on is huge and I’m wanting it to be part of the Hot Cross Stitching collection. So my challenge is to try and reduce the size of the pattern and number of colours required without losing any of the key features that make it such a good looking picture. If I don’t make any changes to the picture, I would need over a meter’s worth of material (including enough to frame it) and over 300 threads. Some of those threads would be for just 1 stitch! To me that’s not cool and if the pattern is going to be part of the Hot Cross Stitching collection, then some significant changes need to be made!
Too many patterns to choose from
How big is your collection? Are you in a situation where you have many patterns to choose from, but none of them are pulling at your hands to say ‘stich me!’, ‘stitch me!’?Which results in spending a lot of time on the internet or your local craft store searching for a pattern that grabs your attention. Alternatively, are all of the patterns wanting you to stitch them at the same time?
I’ve certainly told myself on multiple occasions that I’m not going to purchase another pattern until I’ve finished some of the ones I’m currently working on. Let alone started ones that have been in my collection for many years. Then I see an ad or I’m told about a designer or pattern that looks really cool. Before I know it, I’m looking things up and buttons are pressed and I have another PDF pattern in my collection!
The good things is that I’m not alone in this. I regularly hear people in the stitching community talking about ‘being enabled’ by other stitchers. It’s what we do and one of the best forms of marketing!
Time, space and health
Work and / or family may be your key focus at the moment, and the main time you have to set aside for yourself is when you’re tired and need to rest. If you do have some flexibility with your time and money, space to do your stitching and store your supplies may be limited because of where you live. Alternatively, there may be other factors affecting your ability to try and stitch. Some of which may be associated with the current crisis the world is experiencing.
Personally, I’ve lost a little bit of my stitching mojo because of some discomfort I’ve been experiencing with my right wrist. I’m right hand dominant and a few weeks ago I spent nearly all day stitching and I haven’t done something like that for a very long time. It resulted in my wrist letting me know that it wasn’t happy about it! My wrist is on the mend thankfully, but it put a bit of a dent in my desire to stitch.
Another example is my analysis paralysis about the work I’m doing and what work I need to do next. Ultimately, it’s my fear factor and my logic of the world that is stopping me from doing what I need to do.
Mistakes are made in the project
Mistakes regularly happen in stitching projects – hence the term ‘frogging’, we are regularly ‘ripping’ things out because we’ve mis-counted or used the wrong colour thread. Some people draw the line at how much frogging they do and consider the mistakes as personalisations rather than mistakes and leave them as they are. Which is where fudging happens – working around the personalisation to make it fit into the rest of the pattern.
However, how significant is the mistake that it causes you to pause it and procrastinate? Is the project off my a number of squares and you don’t know where the mistake happened? Alternatively, the mistake happened a while ago and you’re too far gone to frog it and personalising it is significantly difficult? Stitching over the mistake to try and correct it makes the stitches look really bulky and more often than not, the underlying colour shows through revealing the cover-up.
Another mistake could be the mis-calculation of fabric and you’re about to run out of fabric just when the pattern gets exciting. Adding more fabric to where you need it, but there’s the risk of the stitches not holding the join. Or you and non-stitchers can see the crease or join line. The image below is a perfect example of this.
I had been working on it for quite some time and I’ve put it on an extended pause because of the amount of fabric I have compared with the amount I still have to stitch. You will also notice that I don’t have any space above my stitching at the top of the pattern. If I choose to frame this project, I may need professional help!
Something got lost
Have you lost a part of the pattern or something critical to help you start or finish the project?
I have a zebra project that I started many years ago and I may not pick up again because I lost half of the pattern, and as Murphys’ Law would have it, that’s the part I need to finish the project!
I have considered purchasing a second kit so that I could finish the project. It would also mean that I would have additional fabric and thread. How awful right?! More fabric and thread! I had also considered and tried as you can see in the above image, trying to stitch the pattern off the cover page. It started becoming a bit difficult because the cover page is framed and I’m thinking it may partly covered by the frame the finished project is in.
As a result, I’m pausing it because I have a lot of other projects I’m enjoying and I’ve started the Rainbow Zebras (my name for the project), so I’m still getting my Zebra fix!
Are you comfortable with this procrastination?
The key question though, is how comfortable do you want to be with your procrastination and reasons why you’re procrastinating? If you jumped in and tested the waters, what could go wrong and what could go right? Are the things that could go right, scarier than the things that could go wrong?
If you don’t do anything with the procrastination, then nothing really happens. Ultimately, you’re stuck. Are you okay with this?
However, if you do make a start on the project or pick it up again, then you have the opportunity to make things right – if there’s an error in the project – or you at least start moving forward. By making things right, you’re no longer feeling uncomfortable because of the procrastination. You have the opportunity to see if your worries or fears are founded. You also have the opportunity to see how awesome the project actually is. It could even be something you’re proud of and want to tell people about!