Posted in Uncategorized

What’s your Stitch-piration?

Hi Everyone

I’ve been having a bad case of writer’s block for my next post (this one). I’ve been having trouble figuring out what to write about, mostly because my attention has been on actual stitching, which I’ll talk about soon. I’m also working on a stitching related career changed as well as working full time – partly from home and partly in the office. So my motivation and energy levels are being stretched in different directions!

Meanwhile, I’ve finally been able to get back into running and as Murphy’s Law would have it, I’ve injured myself and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to run again! The good thing is that I’ll be seeing a professional about it and hopefully they’ll be able to tell me what part of my left ankle I injured and what I can do to get back into running! The conundrum with this injury is that it didn’t hurt at the time. I ran the same path I’ve run many times and it doesn’t hurt when I walk. The main thing that told me that I had hurt my ankle was the ample swelling that I noticed at the end of the day – after lounging around for the majority of the day! I do not remember ever having an injury like this before. Whenever I have hurt myself, it happens straight away and I have a basic idea of what part of my body I’ve hurt.

Update: I’ve seen a physio and thankfully I’ve sprained my ankle and I can get back into running! It will be Murphy’s Law that by the time I can properly get back into running, spring will well and truly be in full swing. Meaning, the weather will be beautiful but…it will be really windy, the magpies will be swooping and hay fever may become a pain – i.e. I’ll be a gross mess at the end by sneezing too much and potentially watery eyes. Even though I’d be wearing sunglasses, a hat and taking antihistamine’s.

Now, I’m sharing these two stories with you because of the main theme for this post – What’s your stitch-piration? Meaning, what inspires you to stitch? What inspires you or motivates you to keep going?

This post is quite similar to a post I did earlier in the year/last year regarding ways to help you stay motivated. Throughout this post, I’ll share with you some of the things inspire me to keep stitching and running after injuries and feeling worn out from life.

Seeing other people’s projects

I really enjoy watching Flosstube on YouTube and seeing the different projects that people are working on and the stash they have accumulated. In older posts, I’ve shared some of the Flosstube clips that have been relevant to my blog posts at the time.

For example, some of the Flosstube people I follow and watch regularly (Bendy Stitchy, Stitchin Mommy, Jessie Marie Does Stuff, are stitching some Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED’s) and making the most of the Pattern Keeper app to help them stitch. Which meant that I was inspired and motivated to get some stitches done on Moon Lit Waters. The images below are my progress:

The first two images on the left is my progress (and a close up of that progress) as of 22nd August 2020. Meanwhile, the image on the far right is my progress as of early September and it felt really good to start stitching the the ends of the fairy’s wings and more of the moon. I’m also really looking forward to finishing this page in the hope that there will be minimal fudging!

For the current page I’m working on, I’ve started worked from right to left which is helping me to identify how much out of balance the page is. I may have mentioned in an earlier post, that I normally stitch from left to right and I’ve tried to fudge and fix areas as part of commencing the use of Pattern Keeper, part way through this project. By stitching right to left now, I’m finding that I’m out of balance by at least three columns! This is a huge difference for all cross stitch projects and it can have a significant influence on how the project looks at the end.

The intriguing part is how the project will look when I start stitching the bottom of the moon. I’m hopeful that with the use of Pattern Keeper, that it will balance out okay. I’ll keep you posted!

Pinterest and other social media channels

I can easily spend hours on this app! I scroll through it to find inspiration for photography, cross stitch, running and potential places I want to travel to. So much so, that I’ve created some boards on this app so that I can refer back to it, if I’m needing some inspiration.

I’m also part of a few Facebook groups that are dedicated to cross stitch and a running app called ‘Zombies, Run!

The great thing with the groups for cross stitch and running, everyone is so supportive of the achievements and struggles that members of the groups have. Another way the groups are supportive is that people can ask questions of the group and people will answer their questions where possible, or refer them onto other spaces that can answer the questions.

Finishing one page and starting a new page start

I have been going gang-busters on my Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms project and I’ve finished another page and I’m really enjoying working on a new page. What I’m loving about it – at the moment at least – is the small blocks of colour. It is such a nice change to the confetti stitching that I had been working on to finish the previous page and the confetti stitching I was doing on Moon Lit Waters.

The first two images on the left is my progress as of early September this year. The image second from the right is my progress as of August 2020 and the last image on the right is what the project should look like when it’s finished.

The current page I’m working on marks the half way point of the project which is adding to my motivation to keep going. It’s also inspiring me to work on some more of my photos and convert them into cross stitch patterns!

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Posted in WIP's and Plans

Anything Goes August Update

Hi Everyone

I’m not sure about you, but August is wearing me out and I’m looking forward to moving onto September. Work and life stuff has been getting in the way. So much so, that I feel like I’m coming down with a cold as I’m writing this post because I’m feeling run down. And it took me longer than I expected to finalised and publish my last post. The good thing though, is that my boyfriend and I have managed to escape our home in Canberra for the weekend and we’re at the coast. It’s windy, but the sun’s out and it feels really nice in the sun inside or a sheltered spot. The importance of mentioning this is much of the South-Eastern side of Australia is getting a chilly blast of weather that’s come up from Antarctica and many areas are experiencing snow and colder temperatures than what we’ve experienced for a while.

The other really good thing with the weather at the coast at the moment is that I’m finally able to get back into some running! For the last few months my muscles have been giving me grief because of the chair I had been using whilst working from home. I’d had the chair since I was in high school and leading up to the pandemic, I’d been using it intermittently over the weekend to write the posts or do other crafty things in my craft room. However, because of the way I sit in that chair – especially over extended periods of time – I was putting too much pressure on some of my muscles in my left leg, causing my left knee to balloon up because my muscles were too tight. One of the key things I need to work on now is improving my cardio fitness and endurance. I’m able to run on the treadmill for short distances. The maximum to date on the treadmill has been 2 kilometres (km) (1.2 miles). I’m looking forward to getting back into the groove of things and being able to run 5km without the need to walk to catch my breath! That said, it will be just my luck that as I start to reach this goal, spring time will be in full swing and I’ll be battling hay fever and birds swooping!

Now lets get to one of the main reasons why you’re here!

Cross stitch update

When I have been able to sit down and relax a bit and get some stitching in, I’ve been working on three main projects – Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms, Autumn Castle and Moon Lit Waters.

Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms

My key motivator with this project has been the reminder of why I started this project and why I chose this particular photo to convert to a cross stitch pattern. As ‘airy-fairy’ as this may sound to some of you, I’ve been getting reminders from the world around me that I need to make a career change from the corporate world to the entrepreneurial world.

Since I last talked about this project, below are the before and after pictures:

The top left image is what the project will look like when completed, bottom left is my progress from June 2020 and the picture on the right is my progress as of 22 August 2020. I’m getting really close to a page finish for this project. A part of my struggle with this page finish is some fudging and so much confetti stitching.

Autumn Castle by Evgenia Kolesnikova

I’ve found this project to be interesting to stitch and for the most part, I think I’m struggling with it because I’m stitching it when I’m tired, because of the amount of fudging I’ve needed to do. Thankfully, the majority of fudging has been in the middle of the page rather than around the edges, so that my mistakes don’t carry over to the rest of the project. I need to give myself time and space to be able to make mistakes that are unique to each page!

Meanwhile, the image on the left shows what my progress had been since June 2020 and the image on the right is my progress as of 22 August 2020. The image in the centre is the cover image of what the project will look like when it’s finished. Because I’m so close to a page finish (I’m going to leave the ghost because I don’t have the thread I need for it), I’m not sure if I should move to the right and start work on page 2 or move down and work on page 7…

Moon Lit Waters by Heaven and Earth Designs

I’ve fallen back in love with Pattern Keeper. I’m also remembering why there’s a long time between updates on this project. When I first started working on this project, I was working off the paper copy that I had purchased many years ago. Since then Pattern Keeper came into my life and DMC added new colours to their range, which has had a major impact on the digital version of this pattern. To effectively use this pattern on Pattern Keeper, I did the right thing by purchasing the digital version of the pattern and import the pattern to the app. If I thought that I was doing some fudging on the first three pages I’ve completed, since I started using Pattern Keeper for this project, the current page I’m working on has nothing on the others for the amount of fudging I’m doing!

I also need to make it clear that any grumbles I am doing about this project has nothing to do with Pattern Keeper, the artist and designer for Moon Lit Waters or Heaven and Earth Designs. My grumbles are all to do with me adjusting to the decisions I’ve made with the project. Additionally, I love Pattern Keeper for this project because it’s making my life ten times easier to quickly locate the threads I need for the areas I want to stitch. When I was working with the paper version for this project, there were times when it would take me about 5 minutes or so to find the thread that matched the symbol in the key. At times I would end up forgetting which symbol and area I was working on once I found the thread I needed, because of how long it would take me to find the thread. Which is part of the reason why I had to fudge so much of the first three pages I’ve completed on the project. So without further adieu, below are the progress pictures of Moon Lit Waters:

The image you see on the far left and second from the left are images of what the project will look like when completed and what it looked like back in May/June 2020. The images on the far right and second from the right is my progress as of 22 August 2020.

Because of the amount of fudging I have done to date and how much more I’ll need to do for the current page, I’ve changed my approach for this page. Normally I’ll work from left to right on a page. However, I’m changing it for this page to work from right to left, so that I know that the rest of the work I do to the right of the current page (theoretically at least!) won’t need as much fudging as what the current page needs.

September Plans

By the time I publish my next post, we’ll be well and truly into September. For sampler enthusiasts, this will be the month for them! I’m yet to find a sampler that jumps out at me and says “Stitch me! Stitch me now!” Earlier this year I had contemplated dedicating September to stitching the smalls and trying my hand at a biscornu. There are some beautiful biscornu patterns out there which is great! However, with the way August has panned out, let alone most of this year, I’m not sure if I’ll start a biscornu this year.

I may however, make the most of September to prepare for October – the month of all things spooky! I’ve purchased a few Halloween themed patterns and they’ve been imported to Pattern Keeper. My challenge will be sourcing all the things I need for those projects in time for the start of October. I’m hoping that I’ll have all that I need in my current stash collection and that I’ll only need to pick up the odd thread from my local craft stores. This is largely due to the availability of some stock in my local craft stores and the amount of time it may take for some of the products I need to arrive via mail, if I need to make some online purchases.

Until next time,

Happy Stitching.

Related Links:

Posted in How To, Tips and Tricks

How can board games help to prompt you with your cross stitch?

Hi Everyone

When I’ve been watching some flosstube clips, people have talked about homework and their involvement with an online group called ‘Magical Stitches’. My understanding is that the Magical Stitches group focus on certain authors or books throughout the year and they have prompts that come from those books that translates to their stitching. For example, a book may be Red Riding Hood and one of the prompts could be ‘200 stitches on a project with red in it’. Another prompt may be ‘work on a project that starts with the same letter/s of the author of the book’.

Similarly, I’ve seen some people use the decision maker app on their phones to help with deciding what project to work on next; especially during Stitch Maynia. I’ve considered using a similar app for the next time Stitch Maynia comes around, because it leaves a bit of mystery around what I’m going to stitch next.

More recently though, I’ve seen some people on Flosstube talk about WIPGO. The premise is drawing up a bingo card that has all of your works in progress (WIP’s) and potentially some new starts, depending the size of the board you want to have. The image below is a mock-up of what the board could look like. I’ve inserted my own WIPs and potential new starts. The new starts are in green and the blue squares are animal based WIPs.

WIPGO inspired board based upon my own works in progress and potential new starts

Monopoly as a decision maker?

The traditional game of Monopoly has been around for decades. In recent years, variations of the game have been created, including DMC’s version called Stitch-opoly. The premise for Monopoly – regardless of what version or variation you’re playing is to become a real-estate mogul and force the other players into bankruptcy. But what if you also used it as a way of deciding what you were going to stitch, when and how long for?

Classic Monopoly Board Game – image from Amazon.ca website

How it would work:

Using the traditional board, each property represents different projects in your stash. The price to purchase each property is the number of stitches you need to apply to or stitch on that project. For example, one of the projects in my stash is the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms. It’s a big, intense project that has taken me over a year so far to get nearly half way. Using the Monopoly board, I would apply that project to the Mayfair and if I landed on it and ‘purchased’ it, I would have to put 400 stitches into it because of its purchase price.

Alternatively, the colours used for each property series – red, green, dark blue, light blue, yellow, orange, purple, mauve, railway stations and utilities – could be applied to the projects in your stash. For example, you may have three projects that have a lot of orange in them or the name of the projects or the name of the artist/creator have a strong connection to the word orange and how it’s spelt. The idea behind this link to your projects and the colour is based upon a Facebook group called ‘School of Magical Stitches and Literature‘. Each year the theme changes and this year the group is for people who wish to read and Cross stitch the Disney Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson and the Villans series by Serena Valentio. A reading list is available for the group so that you can read along with your fellow group members and help you with understanding where the prompts come from for what, when and where you apply your stitches.

The additional variation to the Monopoly game and how you could apply it to your projects, is the meaning behind the roll of the dice. For example, you roll the number 3 and that could mean you have 3 days to complete the number of stitches required for the project (property) you land on.

What if I go to gaol (jail) or land on free parking?

If you go to gaol, then the following things could happen:

  • You work on a project you’re struggling with. The amount of time you spend on that project is based upon how many times it takes you to roll a double to get out of gaol. If you’re unable to roll a double within 3 turns, then you stitch an additional 50 stitches because the game traditionally requires you to pay $50 to get out.
  • You work on a project that is connected to reasons why you could go to gaol or the people or services who protect people from others who try do the wrong thing. For example, tributes to emergency service workers. The amount of time you spend on that project is based upon how many times it takes you to roll a double to get out of gaol. If you’re unable to roll a double within 3 turns, then you stitch an additional 50 stitches because the game traditionally requires you to pay $50 to get out.

Meanwhile, if you land on Free Parking, then you can do whatever you want. You can take a break or start a new project or purchase a new project. Or anything else you want to apply to that square.

Chance, Community Service, Taxes and Passing Go or Landing on Go

The Chance and Community Service cards could be awesome wild cards to make things interesting by helping or hindering the choices you make with your projects and how much time you spend on them.

Meanwhile, the taxes squares will remain as the squares you don’t want to land on because they are the penalty squares that will determine how much longer you spend on your projects.

Normally in the game of Monopoly, you get $200 for passing or landing on Go. This can be a blessing if you’re struggling and need the money to stop you going bankrupt. Alternatively, the additional funds can help you with purchasing more houses and hotels for the sets you’ve purchased. In the context of how this can help you with your cross stitch projects, this will depend upon how you’re progressing in the game. If you have a ‘set’, then your additional funds could be used to make your ‘competitors’ squirm. If you have a ‘set’ and someone lands on your property/project, they will have to stitch the amount of ‘rent’ allocated to that property that has however many houses or hotels on it. Alternatively, if you’re at the other end of the scale, the additional credits can help you with being able to ‘afford’ the ‘rent’ of the ‘property’.

What about ‘sets’ and landing on other ‘properties’?

Like the traditional game of Monopoly, how you obtain property sets remains the same for this style of the game. You can negotiate with the other players if they have a colour or property you need to complete your set. Alternatively, you can wait until you have landed on that square.

Meanwhile, if you land on someone else’s ‘property’, then you need to stitch the amount of ‘rent’ that would be traditionally paid to the owner. If another player lands one your ‘property’, then you receive credits or ‘rent’ and that player would have to stitch the ‘rent’ owed.

How do you know when someone has won?

Like the traditional game of Monopoly, it can be based upon the amount of ‘credits’ each player has left to the point where all players except for one has ‘credits’. Alternatively, before the game starts, all players can agree to a set period of time that the game lasts for. Another option is all players agree upon some modern rules that other varieties of the game use make it interesting.

What if I don’t have anyone to play with?

The beauty of technology means that the Monopoly game can be played on most gaming consoles. This means that you can play against the computer or you can play online with people from around the world.

It’s been a while since I’ve done any gaming, but I do love playing Monopoly on Playstation 3 and 4. If I were going to play Monopoly in the context of what we’ve talked about here, I would make sure I’m prepared enough for most of the scenarios that could happen in the game.

For example, I would allocate all my WIP’s and other potential projects to the different properties. Any properties I’m able to purchase I highlight and properties that are purchased by the computer, I cross out. Next to each property I do purchase, I note down what number I rolled to get there and what I paid for it. I also mark what is paid to me if any of my components/competitors land on what I’ve purchased.

PropertyProjectProperty purchase priceDice RollRent receivedTotal number of stitches
Old Kent RoadChristmas Cards$200 = 200 stitches5 = 5 stitches$2200 over 5 days and 2 days credit
MayfairHalloween$4004$1000400 stitches over 4 days and 10 days credit
Park LaneGundaroo Mini Mushroom$3506$500350 stitches over 6 days and 5 days credit
Bond StreetMoon Lit Waters$3002$200300 stitches over 2 days and 2 days credit
PiccadillyThree Puppies$20012$22200 stitches over 12 days and 2 days credit
Example of how to track actions taken during the came of Monopoly

Related Reads:

Posted in WIP's and Plans

Stitchmas in July and Anything Goes August

Hi Everyone

As I’m writing this post it is raining outside. Beautiful, steady rain! I haven’t kept track of when I last heard the rain like this and I’m making the most of it. Since my boyfriend and I have been working from home since March, it’s been a long time since we’ve had the windows open to freshen up the house. Mostly because it’s winter at the moment and we’ve had the heater going. Recently we’ve had some really nice winter days in Canberra, where there’s been barely a breath of wind and we’ve been able to feel the warmth of the sun – especially when we’re inside, sitting on the couch in the sun!

That said, whenever I’ve come back from being outside and taken a few layers of clothing off, the house has smelt stale. Also, there’s something about hearing the steady rain and the freshness it brings that I absolutely love!

On a more serious note though, Australia’s getting its second wave of the pandemic and it feels like it’s getting to be a bit close to home. Some hot spots popped up at the south coast (about 2 hours drive south-east from home) – the same area where some of the bush fires were at end of last year / start of this year – because of the easing of restrictions. It felt a bit close to home because Canberra has been really lucky so far to have a low number of reported cases when compared with other states and regions. Also, my boyfriend and I have been heading to the coast nearly every second weekend and reports of the second wave starting in Victoria were beginning to be reported in the news – some of whom may have been at the south coast and the places we like to eat at! Lastly, my mum and boyfriend had been at the coast (at separate times) around the times that the hot spots were really heating up. Thankfully everyone I know who has been to the coast is okay. I’m okay. It just means that we’re really not comfortable with heading to the coast until the hot spots have calmed down and they’ve been given the all clear. Also, it’s a regional area and we don’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on their healthcare system should things turn again.

Now to lighten things up again and lets get into some cross stitch talk and updates!

Stitchmas in July wrap up

Confession – I stopped stitching on Christmas themed projects nearly halfway through July because I’d been working on most of them since June, if not May as well. So the updates I have below are a bit dated, but you should still see a bit of a difference!

Gingerbread Train – designed by Shannon Wasilieff (aka Shannon Christine Designs)

The image on the left is my progress from the end of June. The picture in the middle is my progress as of today (26th July 2020) and the image on the right is what it will look like at the end.

On the first day of Christmas (12 Days of Christmas) – designed by Rhona Norrie

The recommended navy blue fabric looks really good for this design. But I didn’t have enough navy blue for the height of the design. So I’m stitching it on a similar count in a lighter colour. The longer image on the right is pretty much the full height of the fabric. You will also see in the closer up image that I’m stitching it with two strands over two squares/holes, in all of the called for DMC colours. One of the things that really bugs me with this design is that the seven looks like an upside down two. I don’t know how hard it is to chart the number seven to make it work with this pattern and I don’t have the skill at the moment to change it.

Santa’s Coming – designed by Durene Jones

It’s been about a month between pictures. I like how it’s progressing. I’m still feeling undecided about the colours, which may explain why I’m feeling a bit ho-hum about stitching it at the moment. That said, in the finished picture on the right, the colours are looking really good! I’m hoping that as I continue with the project, I’ll fall back in love with it!

Christmas Owls (Christmas Cuddles) – designed by Jenny Barton

My progress with this one hasn’t really changed much since the end of June when I took the picture on the left. The lighting for the picture on the right makes it look a lot brighter and washed out than what it really is. It will be nice to get this one done.

Anything Goes August (aka Arbitrary August)

I’ve had this title in my mind for the last week or so and I’d completely forgotten that this was actually a thing in the Flosstube world, but called Arbitrary August which means the same thing – to me anyway!

Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms – designed by Kristen Gawronski

Since mid-July I’ve been wanting to stitch on things that I want to stitch on rather than any other reason. Which is where the ‘anything goes August’ kicks in. Also, I’ve had a hankering (desire, craving) to stitch on my Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms project because it wasn’t Christmas related, I felt like I needed more of a challenge and I hadn’t stitched on it for a long time. At least it felt that way. I had done some stitching on it in May and it felt like a chore then. Below is my progress…

The two images of stitch is as of today (26th July 2020). Currently I’m working on page 1 and I’m really thankful that I have a lot more space at the top of the project than I had initially thought I would. It will be interesting to see how I go when I eventually start working on the lower half. I may have to crop it a bit…

Fight Like a Girl – designed by Tania Amity

I’ve really gotten into my groove with this one and I’ve made a lot of progress on it over the last couple of weeks. One of the strange things with this one – and I think a lot of it is to do with the way the DMC colours have been dyed rather than the charting – is that there is meant to be a lot more variation in the windows (I think) on either side of the blond girl, as you will see below:

Moon Lit Waters Fairy – artwork by Julie Fain and design by Michelle Sayetta

For the majority of yesterday I was working on this project and it reminded me of how much I love using the app Pattern Keeper! And how slow going HAED’s are!

The two images on the left are the progress I’ve made since I last worked on the project which is third from the left.

Plans for the rest of July and August

I’m definitely going to take things as they come for the next month and a half – month at least. It will help me to figure out what I might want to do for September. Earlier this year I may have mentioned that September could be the month to work on some smalls and get myself organised for October. I’m really looking forward to stitching on some more Halloween themed project! I may move back to some of Christmas themed projects and others that I had started in May. I may even be tempted to start some of the digital patterns I’ve purchased over the last few months. Who knows!?!

Meanwhile…

When I’ve been listening to and watching some Flosstube episodes, I’ve found it interesting when they start talking about prompts they have gotten from the other stitching groups they’re part of on social media, to explain why they’ve worked on certain pieces and the amount of stitches they’ve completed. Which has me thinking about my next post…

Until next time,

Happy stitching!

Posted in Uncategorized

Why should you learn how to cross stitch?

Hi Everyone

Have you been contemplating learning to cross stitch but used some of the following reasons not to try it?

  • It’s too hard…
  • That’s what my grandma/elderly relative did…
  • I don’t have the time for it…
  • Isn’t it expensive?
  • I tried it and it’s just not for me…
  • It’s too girly…
  • I don’t have the patience for it…

Some of these reasons may be legitimate and you may have found your creative outlet that fits within your lifestyle. I hope this is the case if cross stitch is legitimately not for you.

However…if you have used any of the above excuses and not really given cross stitch a go, here are some reasons why you should!

1. You’re stuck in your head

You may also be thinking that there are so many other things that are great stress relievers. Some legal…some not so legal. Running for example is a great way to get rid of any excess energy you may have caused by so many different things. At the moment, my muscles are giving me grief, so it’s causing me more grief than what it should be. But humour me for a moment and lets say your chosen physical exercise has helped you as much as it can for today. But you’re still feeling stressed or anxious and you don’t want to undo all of the awesome work you’ve done with your physical release. This is where cross stitch comes into play.

2. It’s as time consuming as you want it to be

When was the last time you learnt something new that wasn’t because of work or because you had to, rather because you wanted to? Also, how long are you expecting cross stitch to take? Are you wanting to complete a project in one sitting or are you wanting it to take some time to see the end result?

Depending on who you talk to, some people may argue that they find it a hassle to get it out of the spot they store it when they’re not working on it. Depending on what your home situation is like, the amount of space you have and the size of your project, I can understand why it will seem like a hassle. My counter argument is how big is your project and is there a smaller project you could be working on that doesn’t require as much space?

When you next remember to, have a look around your home and see if there’s a corner or space that you can setup a space for yourself to stitch in. If you have a dedicated space, it may make it easier for you to sit down there and spend as much time as you have available there.

3. You can be as extroverted or introverted as you like

Our current climate is making life a bit difficult with catching up with people and doing anything fun. If you’re needing human interaction, there are numerous forums on a broad range of platforms that enable you to engage with fellow cross stitchers. Some of these forums include:

  • Virtual Stitchers (YouTube)
  • Cross Stitch Forum – Facebook
  • Cross Stitch Australia – Facebook
  • Cross Stitch Addicts – Facebook
  • Cross Stitch Unlimited – Facebook
  • Stitch Maynia – Facebook

Also, check out the related reads at the end of this post for some more suggestions.

4. It’s an opportunity to feel good

When was the last time you created something from scratch and felt good about the end result? You may have cooked a meal by following a recipe, repurposed some furniture or painted a room. It may have involved a bit of hard work because you may not have done it before or it took a bit of elbow grease. But in the end, it came out pretty good. That’s what cross stitch can be like. When you’re stitching, you are creating something out of nothing and giving a space some new life. When you have finished a page or section in the pattern that may have been challenging or the entire project, it feels really good because you persevered and achieved something.

5. It’s only as hard as you make it – stitch what you like

When you’re learning to do anything, at first it can seem daunting. Cross stitch patterns can look confusing with all of their different symbols and colour combinations. But it has evolved so much since you last saw someone doing it that technology has joined the party. Some designers use coloured squares in conjunction with the symbols to help stitchers clearly see the pattern and what colours go where.

When you have found a pattern that you really want to stitch, you will be amazed by how quickly you get through it. Or at least how often you find yourself wanting to stitch it if you’ve chosen to stitch a huge project! I have certainly found over the years that if I’m really not feeling the love for a project, it becomes a chore and I don’t really want to work on it any more.

Then there’s the app Pattern Keeper. If you have chosen a pattern that’s compatible with this app, it will make your life so much easier with reading the pattern and keeping track of where you are.

But wait…there’s more!

These reasons for why you should try cross stitch is just the tip of the iceberg. My aim with this post was to add to what so many awesome people have already written about and I’ve tried to keep this post as light hearted as possible.

To me, cross stitch is a way of being creative when I have the time and getting out of my head and focusing on just one thing – the pattern and what colour I’m going to stitch next. It doesn’t always work. I still have times when I’m still stuck in my head because my thoughts are getting to me and I need to talk to someone. Which is why I love being able to catch up face to face or virtually with like minded family and friends who enjoy stitching as much as I do. It’s also good to talk to someone if your thoughts are becoming too hard to handle on your own and you’ve done as much as you can in a health and safe way.

Also, cross stitch is just one of the many different creative avenues that people can use to be creative. Check out the related reads below to see a bit more about how cross stitch may be able to help you find your creative side.

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Related reads:

Posted in Uncategorized

Can you get a grant for cross stitch?

Hi Everyone

At the end of June this year, it came to my attention that if I were part of a community group, organisation or on my own (as long as it was not to make money), I could apply for a grant from my local government that could be used for improving the mental health of my community! This particular grant I have in mind, is specific to the current pandemic and wave of infections we’re all trying to avoid.

But it got me thinking…aside from the Mental Health and Wellbeing Innovation Grants Program, what other grants are available for the creative arts that can assist with our current environment, let alone the creative arts generally speaking?

Artwork Archive Complete Guide to 2020 Artist Grants & Opportunities

This site is amazing! The Artwork Archive have listed all of the grants and opportunities that they consider to the be the best for artists who are needing a helping hand in some shape or form. The opportunities are from around the world and some are specific to people who are living in a specific area, region or country and in some circumstances, the type of art that’s being done. The list is in order of deadline date and I think is worth checking out!

Advance-Africa – 1000+ Artist Grants and Opportunities

This site lists a looong list of creative grants and opportunities – over 1000 as the heading says – that are connected to Africa. They also have scholarships and volunteer options for different areas of Africa.

VicArts Grants – Creative Victoria

This site is a little closer to home for me because it’s Victoria, Australia. This grant, like many of the others in this post are for a variety creative arts. Ranging from theatre productions to concerts to art installations such as sculptures and paintings.

Just the tip of the iceberg

The grants mentioned in this post are just a sample of the huge variety grants out there. If you’re having trouble deciding on what grant to apply for, here are a few things to consider:

  • Why are you applying for the grant?
  • What are you going to use it for?
  • How is it going to help you?
  • What are the conditions with the grant?
  • Is it the right grant for you?
  • Is it possible for it to benefit others as well?
  • What work do you need to do to prepare for the grant?
  • How are you going to prove you’ve used the grant the way you said you would?

There are a lot of questions and potentially more that you may need to ask yourself and others who may be involved.

How do you apply for a grant?

This depends greatly upon what type of grant you’re applying for and why. Some grants may require you to submit a portfolio of your work to prove your abilities and how you may use the grant. Others may require you to provide the panel or board with a cover sheet or series of forms similar to a job application.

The awesome thing is that there are numerous websites and guides on how to apply for grants. The related links section provides you with some links to sites that can help you with this process. Additionally, the sites you go to, to apply for the grant of your choice will have supporting documents on what criteria you need to meet to be considered for the grant.

You have successfully received a grant! Now what?

If I were prepared for it, I would apply for the grant I mentioned at the start of this post. It would be used to try and bring my local community together to hang out and do cross stitch and learn how to do cross stitch. Some of the funds could go towards gift cards for people to use to purchase the supplies they need to start or complete a project. Whilst other funds could go towards gift vouchers for people to purchase food and drink from local cafes that they can eat and drink whilst stitching.

But that’s what I would do. Have you successfully received a grant? What did you do with it? How did it help you?

Until next time,

Happy stitching!

Related Links:

Posted in Uncategorized

How do you do your fandom cross stitch?

Hi Everyone,

There are a variety of ways we can celebrate our favourite movies, artists, songs, sporting teams, athletes and characters by creating bookmarks, quotes with beautiful borders and immortalizing through portraits to name a few. What’s inspired this post is some digital patterns I’ve recently purchased from Tilton Crafts Cross Stitch and Heaven and Earth Designs.

Where to get your fandom cross stitch

Who or what do you want to immortalise? When I’ve done some Google searches to see what’s out there, I’ve loved seeing the wide variety of options out there. I’ve found cute little caricatures of characters from popular television shows, famous musicians, sports stars and even your own family members and pets! Then there’s been the logos of various sports teams from various football codes, athletics, fishing, hockey (field and ice) and most other sports you can think of – let alone the action shots that go with those sports.

Full Coverage, realistic

Once you know this, you can then figure out how you want it to look. I prefer to have my fandom projects to look as much like the character or person as possible. This usually means that the project will be solid with at least some confetti stitching. An example of this is one of the patterns I purchased from Tilton Crafts cross stitch pattern of Robin Williams:

Cross Stitch Chart by Tilton Crafts, adapted from art by Emily Stepp
“Soccer Mom” designed by Jane Wooster Scott, charted by Heaven and Earth Designs

If you like this style of fandom, it’s definitely worth checking out their website to see what else they have!

Cartoons and smaller pieces

The less detailed the piece, the easier and quicker it is to stitch. But it can also mean a lot more back-stitch to give the detail it needs. I’ve found so many pieces on Etsy by many talented designers, heaps of different fandom cross stitch designs that will hopefully fit with your preferences.

HardKnotLife Studio for example, has a store on Etsy and they have created a beautiful cross stitch pattern based upon a watercolour picture of the four main characters of ‘The Wizard of Oz’:

‘Watercolour Wizard of Oz’ by HardKnotLife Studio

If monochrome is more your style, you may like the next example by PitbullAndFish who also have a store on Etsy and have designed the following pattern titled ‘Jack Skellington Silhouette’:

‘Jack Skellington Silhouette’ by PitbullAndFish on Etsy

The great thing with this type of pattern is that you can stitch it on whatever colour fabric you want and use whatever colour thread you want. For example, you might choose to stitch it on orange fabric with black thread, white fabric with variegated thread or any combination you want.

Samplers and getting wordy

Do you have a favourite quote from a movie, song, television show, sports commentator or something you heard or saw but you’re not sure who said it? This is where subversive cross stitch comes into play. The Clouds Factory for example, have some great patterns they have created based upon quotes from movies such as ‘V is for Vendetta’, ‘Hocus Pocus’, ‘Doctor Who’ and the rules from the ‘Gremlins’.

Alternatively, stitching iconic logos/emblems and images from your favourite show/movie/sport etc. with a few words are a great way to express your fandom. SewMarieStudio for example, is another store on Etsy that does just this and below are some examples of their awesome work:

How would you celebrate your fandom?

If you weren’t able to find any patterns that suited what you’re after, would you create your own fandom pattern? I’ve certainly considered doing this with some of the shows I love watching and converting some of the images I’ve found on the Internet to cross stitch patterns. I haven’t done anything yet and it would be for my own personal use. I would have no intention of re-creating the patterns for sale to make money.

What would you stitch to express your fandom?

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Related links:

Posted in WIP's and Plans

Jolly June and Stitchmas in July Progress

Hi Everyone

By the time you’re reading this post we will be nearing the end of June and my boyfriend and I have had a weekend at the coast. It’s been a topsy-turvy few weeks for us – especially my boyfriend. In the space of two weeks, he was told that his contract was finishing at the end of June because funding had been cut. He was then told a week after the first phone call, that the project was too important and that funding had been re-instated for the project, as well as his contract! Whilst all of that was happening, his new car arrived and he was having all kinds of fun getting it registered in Canberra (it had been trucked up from Melbourne, Victoria – roughly 6 to 8 hours drive away).

Whilst the drama was happening for my boyfriend, I got to head down to the coast a couple of weekends ago on my own and catch up with my parents which was good. It had been about 10 years since I’d travelled to the coast on my own! I use to do the trip regularly on my own as a way of recharging my batteries and hibernating from the world. As much as I missed my boyfriend, it was good for him to have the thinking space he needed. Because he was able to decide what he wanted to do with the job loss (before we found out he’d been offered the job back) and make some really positive decisions.

Meanwhile, as I’m writing this post, the clouds are starting to come over and the rain we’ve been anticipating should be starting to make it’s self known. Which means that I should be getting some more stitching in. My friend and I have started up our stitch ‘n’ bitch sessions again as restrictions are being lifted even more in Canberra and surrounds. Our aim is to alternate between each other’s places on most Saturdays, with the flexibility of postponing it if we have appointments, are needing to/wanting to travel etc. It was a really good start to the weekend, because the hilarity leading up to our catch-ups, we had been living about half an hour away from each other, but were Skyping because of the social and travel restrictions 🙂

Stitching progress

Since my last post about Jolly June and Stitchmas in July, I’ve been working on:

  • Gundaroo Mini Mushroom
  • Fight Like a Girl
  • Autumn Castle
  • Candy Express
  • Santa’s Coming
  • Zebras

Gundaroo Mini Mushroom designed by Kristen Gawronski

I know this has nothing to do with a Christmas theme. It is something that makes me happy as I continue to make progress with it. One of the things I found after working on it for so long, is that the pattern has the same symbol for two different colours! How on earth did I manage to miss that?! I’ve decided to go with the greener tone and it should blend in well.

Fight Like a Girl designed by Tanya Amity

Again, not a Christmas theme project and one that’s not bringing me much joy once I start stitching it. Some of the things that will help (I hope) is to put the project in a larger hoop. I’ve got so much fabric to deal with because of the size of the project, that if I have it in a larger hoop, I can roll the excess around it until I need to move the hoop. Similar to what people do with Q-snaps and scroll frames.

My other issue with the project is being tired when I’m stitching it. It’s on 18 count navy blue fabric and I’ve adjusted my light so that it’s shining from underneath rather than overhead. It’s helping a bit. But more sleep is definitely needed for when I work on it so that I don’t make as many mistakes when I’m working on it and mis-counting my stitches.

Candy Express designed by Shannon Wasilieff

I’m looking forward to eating some gingerbread when the season kicks in again. I’ve been having fun stitching it and I’m looking forward to finishing it as well! The two main things I’m dreading with this project is the back stitch and beads…As long as I keep reminding myself that it’s worth it at the end, it’ll be okay.

Christmas Owls designed by Jenny Barton

I’ve been working on this project most days for the last week or so and I’m really happy with how it’s progressing. My boyfriend was able to change the light in one of the rooms we hang out in, so that’s helped a bit with stitching at night. One of the things I’m looking forward to with this project is the glow-in-the-dark thread for the moon. It looks just like white DMC thread – either the Blanc or B5200 – and feels quite similar to the cottons. I’ll just have to wait and see how it is when I’m stitching with it!

Santa’s Coming designed by Durene Jones

Last week my aim had been to finish stitching the banner and my nephew Ryan’s name. I’m really happy with how this has worked out. I haven’t had to re-stitch his name and centre it, which I’m super relieved by! I’m already thinking that if I stitch this pattern again, I might change some of the colours to different shades or tones of what you’re seeing in the images below to make them bolder. The challenge will be making sure they don’t clash.

Autumn Castle designed by Evgenia Kolesnikova

I’ve slowly eased up on stitching this project. I’m still enjoying it. It has however become a little like the Fight Like a Girl project because of the amount of errors I’ve made with it so far. Something I really had not expected and I’m quite disappointed by the number of mistakes I’ve made with it so far because it’s on pink fabric and in a larger hoop! Like Fight Like a Girl, stitching on it when I’m tired is most likely the main reason why I’ve made so may errors with it. I’m just thankful that it’s a solid piece and that I’ve been stitching long enough to be able to blend my mistakes in with the rest of the project, without frogging it too much and it working out in the end.

Zebras by Design Works

I feel like I’m losing my mojo with this project, which I’m surprised by because it’s so colourful! Interestingly, the images below of the updated progress show just how stiff the Aida is – but that’s Aida to a tee! In the updated images, you may notice that the project isn’t in a hoop and it’s held its shape. I should have ironed the project before taking the pictures. I do like how the fabric frames what I’ve done so far. What do you think?

Something funny…

Every so often when I’m browsing through Pinterest I’ll come across some really cool subversive cross stitch that I think suits me to a tee. The one I recently came across is shown below:

Screen shot of a subversive design found on Pinterest

Anyone who knows me well or has seen my desk at work, knows that to the untrained eye, my desk or home looks like a bomb hit it. To me, it’s organised mess and 90% of the time I know where things are. The question is whether you can wait about 5 minutes for me to get it to you?

The other subversive cross stitch I came across that makes me chuckle when I read it is:

Designed by Solemprobler on Etsy

My sense of humour can be quite dry at times and I try to use sarcasm to defuse a situation and lighten it. If my death isn’t caused by my sarcasm, it’ll be caused by my head being in the clouds and off with the fairies daydreaming, resulting in me not paying attention to where I’m going or what I’m doing!

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Posted in Tips and Tricks

What does a crafty de-stash in the digital age look like?

Hi Everyone

Last year I went to a craft de-stash was held roughly every three months or so, that’s roughly a 20 minute drive away from where I live in Canberra, ACT. It was interesting to see what crafty things were for sale and it gave me an insight to what tools, patterns and projects were popular many moons ago. There were quite a lot of stalls that had various styles of stamps for card making or scrapbooking, quilting or dress making fabric, dress making patterns, some scrapbooking papers, folk art and knitting supplies.

As I’m writing this post and reflecting on the last paragraph, I realise I’ve talked about this a little bit in an earlier post about the possibility of our projects having a shelf life. However, this post is somewhat different because I’m curious about how our de-stashing will look like and be in the years to come.

Digital vs Physical De-Stash

Our craft is very much a tactile, physical thing that can be replaced with an electronic version, but it’s not the same. On the Internet there are apps that we can download and we can pretend that we are doing digital stitches by pressing buttons on our screens. What we love about our craft through, is feeling the fabric, the needles (as much as it might hurt when we poke ourselves!), the floss and holding the projects in our hands. We don’t have the glare of our screens – unless we’re using Pattern Keeper and it’s a different story then!

What I’m questioning here is how will our destash look in the future as we go ever deeper down the digital rabbit hole?

I love the PDF patterns that many designers and shops provide. I also love the instant gratification of being able to download the pattern as soon as I’ve paid for it and our current climate very well. But what if I want to move the pattern onto someone else? Especially if I’ve already stitched it or I have stitches remorse and my tastes have changed over time and I’m not interested in stitching the pattern any more?

For physical patterns and kits for as long as we’ve all been doing cross stitch, we’ve been giving away our stashes or selling them for a small amount of money to recoup the costs of the initial purchase. Theoretically, this should be the same for digital patterns – especially if they’re out of stock and the designer is unable to or not wanting to release or create more copies of the pattern.

The Internet

Thankfully there are soooo many different ways in which we can connect via the internet and with the movement towards digital patterns for many of our crafty things, theoretically it’s easier to transfer or share what’s in our stash that we want to get rid of. A quick Google search has found a number of sites that could assist you with any stash you might want to get rid of. The two main sites I found was the Etsy Destash Market and Facebook Cross Stitch Destash Group.

The great thing with these two groups and many others like it is that it’s for anything connected to cross stitch that people have in their stash. Ranging from patterns and kits through to needle minders, fabric, floss or threads and anything in between!

Stitchy-kindness

On Flosstube I’ve heard people talk about Stitchy-kindness, where they have received some things in the mail from viewers and friends who had been thinking about them and some stitching related things that they might like. Similarly, I’ve heard people talking about exchanges or swaps that people have participated in that has enabled them to swap some threads for fabric or a pattern for a needle minder. Things like that.

Be aware of Copyright with your de-stash

Ninety-nine percent of us are honest people and we want to do the right thing (I think). When we are looking to move on some of stash – especially if it’s something that’s out of print, theoretically there should be no harm in asking for some money from our years of collecting and creating. Especially since the Facebook and Etsy links show people asking for some money for the stash they are wanting to move on. My point here is more about not to making a profit out of the re-sale if you’re not a business and trying to make a living out of it.

The conundrum is what can of worms am I opening up by mentioning copyright?

ThreadBare.com wrote a really good article on the legalities around this dilemma, published on 24th August 2017 titled “Cross-Stitching Legalities: Copyright, Artwork, Licencing and Copying.” It’s a really well written article and I’ve learnt a lot from it especially when Thread Bare talk about the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and the reason why there is such as big price difference between some of the websites that sell the PDF patterns. It’s important to note that Thread Bare are strong advocates for promoting the fair and legal use of images on the internet and ensuring that any images acquired for cross stitch patterns have been purchased from a licensed and reputable source.

It’s also important to note that if you find an image on the internet that you think will make a really good cross stitch pattern, I agree with what Thread Bare were saying in their article, and make sure you take all reasonable steps to try and find out who the artist is and seek their permission to use that image.

What do you think? What are your experiences with digital de-stashing? What do you think the future holds for the digital world and cross stitch?

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Related Posts:

  • How to host a successful Instagram destash – blog post by Blossom Heart Quilts. Posted in March, 2019. Whilst this post talks about the destashing of quilting supplies, the same principles could be applied to any craft – including Cross Stitch!
  • Crafters Destash – website. This may be an alternate option to using social media if you’re wanting to make space in your collection.
Posted in WIP's and Plans

Jolly June and Stitchmas in July

Hi Everyone

I hope you’re all well. By the time I publish this post, many of us in Australia will be half way through/nearing the end of our last long weekend until October. As quickly as those weeks and months will go between now and then, the prospect of there not being a long weekend to have a reprieve from the cold weather, work, life and anything in-between seems daunting. To help put things into perspective with the number of long weekends Australia has, most of ours tend to happen from Christmas/New Year through to June.

That said, in Canberra at least, the week that’s just ending has been my first week to go to the gym and start seeing people I have regularly trained with and seen in the gym face-to-face! I never thought I’d be so excited and happy about setting foot in the gym again and seeing everyone! Seeing some of my training buddies online via Zoom has helped with not feeling so isolated. But there’s something about seeing someone face-to-face – even if you can’t or aren’t meant to – give them a hug, just being around people and being able to start working out with gym equipment felt really, really good.

There’s also been a few times in the last few weeks where I’ve popped into work for a few hours here and there and it was nice to get out of the house. I didn’t enjoy feeling like a pack horse and lugging my work equipment between the office and the car. For cheaper parking, I choose to park my car about 5 to 10 minutes walk away from the office and carrying a laptop bag with the laptop, full keyboard, power cords, mouse and anything else I need gets heavy after a while. I’m estimating it all to be about 2 to 3 kilos. Which doesn’t seem like much, but it feels like 10 kilos by the end of the walk.

Now for the cross stitch stuff

In my last post, I hinted at how I was going to be able to work on some of my projects from Stitch Maynia that I hadn’t been able to spend as much time on. Taking inspiration from Stitch Maynia and Canberra moving well and truly into Winter, I’m aiming to make June and July as colourful and festive as possible. This means making June and July the months I can focus on Christmas related projects and projects that are colourful, make me happy and I really enjoy stitching.

Christmas Stitches

It’s not going to be a nutty as what Stitch Maynia felt like. At the moment I’m going to be working on finishing the Christmas themed projects I started from the Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas magazine/book, Volume 19 from 2018. The pictures below are the projects I had started working on – Candy Express and Santa’s Coming, designed by Shannon Wasilieff and Durene Jones.

Tip: Candy Express can also be found on the website Shannon Christine Designs.

Since last week, I spent a bit more time on Santa’s Coming and below is my latest progress. I may need to re-stitch Ryan’s name to centre it a bit more. The long line of crosses you see just above Ryan shows the full width of the banner his name is in. That said, I just need to stitch the apostrophe and the ‘s’, so it may balance it out!

Progress of Santa’s Coming as of 7 June 2020

I’ve also made a start on (and nearly finished) a project that I’ll make into a card or Christmas decoration called Let it Snow by Emma Congdon out of the Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas magazine/book Volume 19 from 2018.

Design by Emma Congdon – Pattern from Ultimate Christmas Cross Stitch Vol 19 2018

My reason for it being in dark colours is due to it being for one of my work colleagues who wears a lot of black at work and sometimes some pink. For this project I used the DMC 53 varigated thread. Unfortunately I can’t remember what the fabric count is because I’ve had this fabric for a while. I’m guessing it’s 28 count and I’ve stitched it two strands of thread over two ‘strands’ or squares of fabric.

I’ve also learnt my lesson with reducing the amount of rotations I do with this pattern when I’m stitching the border! Check out my recent post called ‘How Many Secrets does your Cross Stitch Hold?’ and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m aiming to continue stitching the Let it Snow pattern a few more times in different varigated threads for my work colleagues so that I feel ready for Christmas time and surprise them. This is also pending that we’ll be all working back in the office!

Jolly June Stitching

Yesterday afternoon I started one of the projects I’d been wanting to start in May – Design Works ‘Zebras’. In my last post, I had called this project Colourful Zebras. That was a mistake on my part. This project is just called Zebras.

Since working on some Dimensions kits, I’m making sure I get into the habit of writing the symbols on the floss cards for any kits I work on. This has made the world of difference! The only sticky point I had with writing the symbols on the card for the Zebras was for two of the holes in the floss card, are two different colours. E.g. a blue and brown in one hole and a purple and green in another. Not a big deal, just something I hadn’t expected! Below is my progress as of 7 June 2020:

So far I’ve been able to stitch around a part of the Zebra’s eye that has a lot of yellow and orange and I’ve stitched a part of the pink on the second Zebra’s forehead and a part of it’s forelock.

Stitchmas Plans

For Christmas in July, my aim is to keep working on Candy Express and Santa’s Coming and the Let it Snow cards. My additional aim is to start on the following patterns – some of which I had kitted up and mostly ready for Stitch Maynia.

Christmas Cuddles

I’ve got this project kitted up and it’s designed by Jenny Burton. Her pattern is in The World of Cross Stitching magazine. Unfortunately I’m unable to properly tell what the volume number is or the year. I had bought it at the same time as the Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas magazine/book near the end of 2018 at the Batehaven newsagency in New South Wales, Australia.

When Santa got stuck in the chimney

The design is by Emma Congdon out of Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas book/magazine. I’m yet to kit it up. I like look of the design and the lettering in it so different to what I’ve been use to seeing in designs over the years. I’m curious about how the design process is for such lettering!

On the first day…

This design is by Rhona Norrie from the Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas magazine/book. I’ve partially kitted this one up because some of the called for colours are being used in other projects.

I think this project and Christmas Cuddles will give me a run for my money with both of them being stitched on navy blue fabric! Thankfully I have a few other projects to alternate between and I have an awesome over-the-top light that will help a lot!

Well, that’s it from me for this week. Until next time,

Happy Stitching!