Posted in Cross Stitch Haul and Stitching Progress

Cross Stitch Haul, Progress and a Fan Girl Moment

Hi Everyone

A fair bit has happened since I last published a blog post. I’ve been procrastinating starting some of my projects, attended an online stitchers retreat, done some shopping and dyed some fabric for the first time! I’ve also gotten some stitching done in between sneezing and blowing my nose because of hay fever.

Online retreat and a fan girl moment…

The weekend we just had (21st and 22nd November) was my first online stitching retreat and it was really cool! It was the Mittagong Stitcher’s Retreat and the organisers did really well to setup Facebook rooms where attendees could do a video style stitch and chat. There were challenges with prizes, free charts that some designers had charted and donated to the retreat and links to some online stores with discount codes.

My nerves got the best of me for the first online stitching room I joined and which added to me being awkward and trying really hard not to fan girl too much. Mich Stitch was one of the organisers for the Mittagong Stitchers Retreat and I love watching her Flosstube channel. She’s an Aussie flosstuber and she had been one of the people in the first group I had joined on Saturday morning. It was great being able to chat with her and two other people in the group who were based in America.

Unfortunately the internet dropped out after a while. But I took it as a hint to get up and go for a walk. Over the weekend my boyfriend and I were at the coast and we had changed internet providers. This was the first time we had used the internet at the coast since signing up with new providers.

The second time around I joined the stitching group, I used me phone as a hot spot and it worked out really well. I was able to meet some new people and my nerves weren’t anywhere near as bad as the first time around, so my fan girling wasn’t too bad and I got to meet Kelly (aka Animal Instinct on flosstube) who is another Aussie flosstuber and I love a lot of the projects she’s working on and has completed. I also got to meet a number of cross stitching Canberran’s. I was buzzing with excitement by the end of it!

Stitching progress

Throughout the Mittagong Stitchers Retreat weekend I was working on the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms. I’m really happy with how it’s tracking and when I was taking photos of my progress to date, I’m starting to think that I could get away with reducing the number of pages in the project!

I was also able to get some work done on the Black and White Daisy before we headed to the coast and I’m happy with the progress – even though I’m going to have to take a bit more care with this one! I found that I was a bit too relaxed with this piece when using Pattern Keeper and I’ve miscounted some part of the white petal. I’m hoping that over time I’ll be able to amend whatever mistakes I’ve made!

First time dyeing fabric

Over the weekend I finally dyed some fabric for cross stitch! It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while – especially after watching a number of Flosstube episodes from America. A while ago I had purchased some pre-cut 32 count Belfast linen and some iDye colours from Spotlight, with the intention of dying it and using it for one of my patterns. Over the weekend I also purchased some fabric from the Rosemont The Patchwork Shop in Mogo and I used one of the pieces of fabric for the dyeing job.

I decided to use orange and purple as the main colours and on the orange piece I wanted to try some tye-dying with some purple to give it a bit of a marbled look. Below are the two pieces I dyed. One of the images is a close-up of the orange piece to show you the marbled purple:

The orange piece is the 32 count Belfast linen and I stitched a free pattern from the Mittagong Stitchers Retreat on it. My head is spinning even now, just thinking about it. The pattern turned out really well. I found that I was starting to get a bit of a headache because of the focus my eyes needed to do for the fabric.

I’m really happy with how both pieces turned out and I’m keen to dye some more fabric! I’m thinking that I’ll try my hand at some 14 count brown fabric I have in my collection to see how that goes. Because both fabrics I used for my first dying attempt were light colours and I’m curious about how the iDye colours will go on a darker colour.

Stitching Haul

I mentioned earlier that I had done some shopping at Mogo and I was able to get my fix at the Rosemont The Patchwork Shop by purchasing some beautiful cards and fabric. They have the softest pink Aida there, I couldn’t help but pick up some more!

I’m not sure what I’ll stitch on the fabric yet. The good thing is that I have plenty of patterns to choose from. The tricky part will be deciding on which pattern to stitch on which piece of fabric!

I also have some more haul on it’s way that I will have to show later. As part of the Mittagong stitchers retreat, I purchased some hand-dyed silky threads! I’ve never stitched with these types of threads before and I have a couple of patterns in mind that I think I’ll use them for. When the threads come in I’ll share pictures of them with you and the patterns I’ll stitch them on.

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Posted in Hot Cross Stitching Business, WIP's and Plans

A Hot Cross Stitching Design Start and Progress

Hi Everyone

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I could do with some extra hours of sleep! Hayfever has kicked in for me for another year and it’s going to be a great year for it! Not just because it’s 2020 and what we’ve all experienced to date. But in Canberra and the surrounding area, we thankfully have had some really good rainfalls and the grass and plants are growing really well. So much so that some homes near where I live are having trouble with keeping up with their mowing and the grass has grown so tall that it’s about the same height as me, if not taller! By the way, I’m about 150 to 155 centimetres tall or about 5 feet and so many inches – depending on the time of day.

All day stitching

Halloween (31st October) was the best day for me to get some stitching done. I’ve surprised myself by how much I got done! It also helped that the weather wasn’t great for being outside. It happened to be the day that many south side suburbs of Canberra beat a 40 year record of the amount of rain it received for the day of over 40 mils. I live north side, so we didn’t get as much rain, but it was still a lot.

This meant that I was able to stitch on the second pattern I’ve designed for my business, Hot Cross Stitching, called ‘Black and White Rolled-up Daisy’:

Cover image for Black and White Rolled-up Daisy

I’m stitching it on 18 count black Aida and I’m using Pattern Keeper to track what I’m stitching. Below is my progress to date. I started it about two weeks ago and I’ve started in the top left corner. I appreciate that the photo above looks nothing like what I’ve stitched below. The exciting thing however, is that the stitching I’ve done below is me testing out how well this image is going to turn out. Which will formulate some of the instructions and tips and tricks I can include with the pattern.

Progress of new start as of end of October 2020

On Saturday 31st October, I was able to stitch over 1,100 stitches! Something I’ve not done in a very long time. It was awesome! I had Flosstube playing on the television and I was able to catch up on a few of clips from about 2 weeks ago.

The pattern so far is stitching really well and I’ve learnt a couple of things with this pattern already:

  1. Shorten the amount of thread on the needle. Otherwise the strands will start to fray and break. I’m stitching the pattern 2 strands over one square of Aida and I’m use to using longer strands – roughly one strand that is the same length as my arms if I stretch my left and right arm either side of my body, then fold that strand in half to make it two strands.
  2. Stitching all day may not have been the best thing for my right wrist. I’ve managed to misplace the special support stitching gloves, so I’m going to ease up on my stitching for a little bit to see how things go. I’m also an office worker and I’m right handed!
  3. Swapping the needle for different size may make a difference with my right hand and the wrist.
  4. I want to start another design already! Organising the threads for the next couple of Hot Cross Stitching designs has been interesting. They’re large patterns and my boyfriend is amazed by how many there are and has jokingly asked if I have enough! I also need to add that he’s a very neat person and he copes well with me having my cross stitch all over the place. As much as I try to contain it all, there are times when mini explosions happen, like when I’m organising the next pattern or three I want to start and there are threads and fabric everywhere!

Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms Progress

This project has been a slow and steady one. One of the things I’m liking about this project is the nice mixture of confetti and solid stitching. I tend to know when I’m getting to the sticks and blades of grass when the confetti kicks in and the mushroom tends to be more solid.

The image below on the left is my progress as of 7th November 2020 and the image on the right is my progress as of September/early October 2020. The photo below the two progress shots is what the cross stitch should look like (roughly) when it’s done.

Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms

What next?

Considering how these two projects are going, I’m really keen to start on a couple of my other designs. I’m trying to shrink those patterns down a bit to try and fit them with some of the fabric I already have. I’m also reminding myself that I have other projects that need some love and attention, but at the moment I’m not going to pressure myself to work on them or feel guilty that I’m not because of everything that I’m doing now!

In a couple of weeks time I’ll be taking some time off my 9 to 5 job that will hopefully mean that I can focus a bit more on stitching, converting more photos to patterns and continuing to get the background of the website sorted out so that I can launch it! In between all of that, hopefully do something awesome with my boyfriend to celebrate his birthday – even though he doesn’t see his birthday as anything much to celebrate!

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Posted in Hot Cross Stitching Business, Uncategorized

Introducing…Hot Cross Stitching

Hi Everyone

It’s been a while between drinks (ages since I’ve published a post). A lot’s been going on since I last posted to this blog. My main focus has been on developing my new side hustle – Hot Cross Stitching!

Logo for Hot Cross Stitching.

The purpose of Hot Cross Stitching is teaching people how to cross stitch face-to-face and selling selling my cross stitch patterns online. The classes will initially be held in my home town, Canberra with three different types of classes people can choose from – Beginner, Intermediate and Social.

The beginner class will focus on people who have never done cross stitch or it’s been a very long time since they’ve done it. People will learn how to read a pattern, thread their needle, change colours, convert what they see in the pattern to stitching it on a blank piece of fabric. As well as finding the centre of their fabric and marking off the pattern as they stitch/keeping track of where they’ve stitched just to name a few things!

The intermediate class will focus on people who have been stitching for a few years and want to improve their skills and tackle some more challenging projects, whilst having the support of stitching friends around them. People in this class will learn how to kit up their own projects, which includes choosing the right size and amount of fabric they need for their project. People will also be able to use the class to bounce ideas off their stitching friends regarding the different ways to store their projects – especially the threads – and try out some different types of threads such as silks, verigated threads and metalics to name a few.

Meanwhile, the social group is for anyone and everyone – regardless of how long someone has been stitching for. The aim of this group is for people to come a long for as long as they want and to stitch with some friends and chat as much or as little as they want. Over the years I’ve found that I have learnt more through just stitching and chatting and comparing notes. However, I’ve not taken any formal cross stitching classes to be able to compare!

Over all, the aim of all of these classes/groups is for people to connect safely face-to-face, learn something new that hopefully they like and make some new friends. This year especially has been a testament for how important human interaction has been for everyone and the use of art and craft to enable people to have a creative outlet.

I’m hoping that over time, I’ll be able to run some classes from a public space at the South Coast as well. But that may happen once I’m no longer working in my current 9 to 5 job.

The patterns people will be able to purchase as PDF downloads are of photos I’ve taken over time and converted to patterns. One of which will be the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms that I’ve been stitching for potentially a couple of years. I haven’t kept exact track of when I started and it feels like I’ve been working on it for the last couple of years! Below is a sample of images that I’ve converted to patterns, that will be available for purchase:

The website is currently under construction and I’ll let you all know when it’s publicly available. This blog will be connected to the site and my aim over time (and let’s see if it actually happens!), is to use this blog to still talk about cross stitch and a bit about the business as well.

Aside from working on the website, I’ve also been travelling to the coast a bit and as I’m writing this post, I’m at the coast looking out the window from the dining table and at times it’s really hard to concentrate! As I’m looking between the two trees in the image below, I’m on the look out for any breaks in the water that can’t be explained by waves crashing on rocks or boats sailing past.

Ocean view from the dining table – as of 22 October 2020 – Image by Kristen Gawronski

One of the last times I was here, I was able to see some sprays of water from whales cruising past in the distance! That was something really special, as I never thought we’d be able to see something like that from this window. Normally when my boyfriend and I have been here, we’ve gone for walks to the nearby cliff tops and we’ve been able to see the whales from there and some dolphins. It’s really exciting and special when that happens, because we’re not always lucky enough to get our timing right to see them.

The other awesome thing that’s happened recently (last week to be precise!) is a really awesome experience my boyfriend and I did as part of a birthday present from my parents and boyfriend. We stayed overnight at the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra. This particular stay is part of the Jamala Wildlife Lodge that resides within the National Zoo and Aquarium.

When you’re booking your accommodation, you’re able to choose which lodge you stay in an nominate which three animals you would prefer to see. I need to point out here, that the three animals aren’t in the same enclosure together! The need to nominate which three animals you would prefer is part of which lodge is available at the time and which enclosure is connected to which lodge. For example, I chose the Jungle Bungalow and there are 5 lodges that are part of the Jungle Bungalows. One enclosure is assigned to each bungalow and I had the choice of the Sun Bears, Lions, Tigers and Cheetahs. The top three animals I nominated were the Tigers, Lions and Cheetahs and we were lucky enough to share our space with Ravi the male Tiger!

The images above were taken from the room we stayed in and Oh. My. Gosh! It was just amazing to see him doing his thing. For the most part he was on patrol and keeping an eye on things in his enclosure. His brother lives couple hundred of metres away from him (so that they don’t kill each other, the guide told us the next morning!), so he was calling out to him every so often and checking on him every so often. There’s clear window in the brother’s enclosures that enables them to look across a path and into each other’s enclosures!

When we left for dinner, Ravi was on patrol and when we came back, he was up close, next to the window and sleeping. It was then that we really got to appreciate how big he is. We found that he’d had most of his sleep by about 1 or 2 in the morning and he woke my boyfriend up, by calling out to the rest of the zoo from the spot we saw him sleeping at when we got home from dinner. I was sleeping very well at that stage and didn’t hear anything until about 4 in the morning or so.

When it was lighter in the morning, we found Ravi doing his rounds again and there were a few times that we thought he’d come up to the platform you see in some of the photos, but he kept going with his rounds. Just before we left for breakfast he did come up and sit down and it had been the first time during the day on either day we were at the zoo that he’d come up to the platform. We really didn’t want to go to breakfast at that point as we weren’t sure if he’d still be sitting there when we were due to get back. Thankfully he was and that’s where most of the pictures above have come from. It was amazing!

After breakfast we did a guided group tour around half of the zoo, which was really cool. Some of the animals we saw include some cheetahs, rhinos, monkeys, leemahs, zebras, giraffs and an ostrich. I took a lot of photos along the way and I’m wanting to turn some of them into cross stitch patterns for the website.

With all of this in mind, I haven’t done as much stitching as what I would have liked. I’m aiming to make amends for that over the next few days and get some more stitching done this afternoon and tomorrow. The weather from tomorrow afternoon ’til about Sunday/Monday is meant to be raining and indoor weather kind of stuff. So hopefully, I’ll have more cross stitch related things to talk about next time and there won’t be as much time between blog posts!

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Posted in Uncategorized

Can Cross Stitch be Promoted as Artwork?

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been contemplating the following question off and on for a while, and I’m keen for you to let me know what you think. In front of you is a photograph, a water colour painting and a cross stitch picture of the same scene – a waterfall in a rainforest. All three are for sale and priced at $2000 each. Which one do you purchase and why?

In September last year (2019), I was watching Jody Ellis’s Flosstube episode 33 (aka Unconventional X Stitch) dated 23 May 2019 and towards the end of clip, she talked about the value that many people place on cross-stitch when it’s compared with other crafts such as sculpting, painting, drawing and in some circumstances, photography. Finding that many people are willing to pay more for the traditional arts to have in their homes than the available embroidered works.

Because of this clip, it got me thinking about how we, as stitcher’s, can change people’s perceptions of cross stitch and the value it has, so that it’s perceived at the same levels as the other crafts where people pay hundreds and thousands of dollars. Additionally, Jody’s clip got me thinking about my blog post earlier in 2019 where I questioned the importance of perceptions – especially when it comes to cross stitch. Looking back on this piece, it had very much a rant vibe to it – mostly because of some things I was experiencing at work – and I don’t think my message came across as well as what it could or should have.

So what would be the best approaches for changing people’s perceptions and understanding of cross stitch?

The Archibald’s/ARIA’s/BAFTA’s/ACTA’s of Cross-stitch

Nearly every industry has their own awards to recognise the achievements of people working in that industry. Many of us will have heard about the Archibald’s, ARIA’s etc. and we know that they are prestigious awards and highly coveted by people who are part of those industries. The closest cross-stitch gets to these kinds of awards and accolades is winning best in show at the regional show or royal show. We may be pushing it a bit if we say that we can get awards from Fashion Week or Golden Globes for costume design.

What I’m getting at with this, is that people perceive cross-stitch as something to do to ease stress and anxiety. That it’s something that our grandmother’s do or did. I definitely use cross stitch as a way of unwinding and reducing my stress. Additionally, there are a lot of people out there who make their own clothes, paint, sculpt etc for the same reasons. However, there are many more people out there who are wanting to make a living out of cross stitch and are struggling to do so, because it’s seen as just a hobby or a form of therapy.

By having some prestigious awards associated with cross-stitch, it will elevate the works of art to the same levels as fashion, music, acting, painting, drawing, photography etc. People will start to appreciate the time and effort that goes into the creation of these artworks.

Cross-stitch reality television show

Master Chef, My Kitchen Rules and similar cooking competition shows gets us excited and interested in cooking. The Block, Flip or Flop, Masters of Flip etc make some of us want to renovate or at least give our current interiors a make-over. And talent shows like Australia’s Got Talent, The Voice, America’s Next Top Model and So You Think You Can Dance have us wondering if our singing in the shower or a secret talent could be our ticket to some fame and fortune.

These shows also take us behind the scenes to some of the industries that we do in our daily lives, but don’t always do for a living. They also provide us with ideas for what we can do at home, aspire to be when we grow up or become as part of a career change.

What would we need to dramatise to make a cross stitch reality show interesting for people? In many of these shows we get to find out a bit about the people who are on the show and by the end of it all, we feel like we know them a bit better and, in some circumstances, they become a part of our family. We have achieved some of this through social media channels. Via Flosstube especially, we have gotten to know many of the people with their own channels and the projects they’ve worked on.

A lot of drama can happen with cross-stitch if we show people what the creative process is like (e.g. designing a pattern), how many times we lose the needle or have to figure out what colour changes we’re going to do because we don’t have the floss colour we need. Then there’s the amount of times we may accidentally stab ourselves instead of the fabric and draw blood and the decisions we need to make about our finishes. Then there’s the innovations that go into cross stitch design and how the patterns have changed over time and what’s available to us now. We would be able to have challenges such as time limited shopping sprees and creating a project from those sprees. Alternatively, finishers would be presented with partly completed projects with multiple issues that could hinder or enhance the finish.

Collaborations, exhibitions and back stories

If cross stitchers got together and had an exhibition, what would it look like? Would we have a variety of sections around the room dedicated to samplers, photograph conversions, landscapes, HAED’s, Biscornu’s and similar finishes, subversive and modern designs?

Additionally, what would you want people to know about the pieces you have designed and stitched? Aside from the usual of telling people what materials I’ve used, I want to tell people how long it took me to stitch it and what I love about it. I would want them to know what was going on in my life at the time of me stitching it. By telling people all of these things, my aim would be to find someone who would connect with those pieces and want to buy it and take it home with them because they resonate with it. They relate to what I was going through and love the results of what I’ve done.

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Posted in WIPs and Finishes

I’ve Fully Finished My First Biscornu!

Hi Everyone

I’m procrastinating making a start on making a proper start on my website (more news to come), so I’m writing this post instead! I’m also pretty excited about finally finishing a project and it being my first biscornu (aka fancy pin cushion)!

In my last post, I talked about my start on a free rainbow biscornu pattern I’d found on the internet, from the Cross Stitch Crochet Others website.

Side 1 of Rainbow Biscornu finished
Both sides of the biscornu trimmed and ready to connect

Majority of the searches I’ve conducted on the ‘Net for biscornu patterns, majority of them are on lighter fabrics – regardless of the count size. They all look good on the lighter fabric. I chose to use 14 count black Aida because I had some that was the right size for the pattern and to me, there’s something about the darker fabrics that really make the colours pop.

I’ve filled the biscornu with some polyester ‘soft fill’ that I’ve had for ages from Lincraft.

The other traditional thing with biscornu’s is that a button is usually used in the middle of it to help with the finished shape. I’ve bucked the trend and chosen to use two little dog charms that I’ve had in my craft collection for ages, but I’ve not really known what I wanted to do with them. When I was fastening them to the biscornu, I’ve come to appreciate why buttons or beads are used rather than anything else. The holes in the buttons especially, make it so much easier to fasten them to the biscornu. Which is why you will see a bit of orange thread going across one of the little dogs.

Because of how quickly I was able to stitch this and put it together (overall it’s taken me about 3 weeks – potentially less if work didn’t get in the way!), I’m keen to stitch another one sometime soon.

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Related reads:

Posted in WIP's and Plans

A Start on September Smalls – My first biscornu!

Hi Everyone

Following my post last week, it gave me the motivation to start a biscornu. I’ve chosen the Rainbow Biscornu – a free pattern from the website crossstichcrochetothers.com.

Rainbow Biscornu – side 1 finished on 17 September 2020

I have loved stitching this pattern! I’ve chosen to stitch it on black 14 count Aida and I think it really makes the colours pop. I got most of the stitching done on Sunday and I’ve stitched the remaining portions of it over the rest of the week.

Once I finished back-stitching the pink, I was umming and arring over whether to stitch the same pattern again for the back, or to find something similar and have some smaller and simpler. After seeing how vibrant and awesome the pink looks with the rest of the colours, I couldn’t help but go through the rest of my floss collection and pick out similar colours to what you see in the above picture. Below is my progress and I’m slightly concerned that I’m pushing the limits with the edges of the fabric:

Rainbow Biscornu side 2 – started on 17 September, progress as of 20 September 2020
Rainbow Biscornu – parts 1 and 2

With the way things are tracking, I’m thinking that I need another full day of stitching so that I can have it done and dusted as quickly as possible.

Could this become the start of something new?

I’ve been browsing the Internet for different patterns to see if there’s anything that really grabs my attention. In recent years, I’ve seen some people stitching the Chipping Sparrow Biscornest by Crossed Wing Collection on the 123Stitch website. I’d like to stitch the Wintry Blooms Biscornu by Faby Reilly Designs on the 123Stitch website. What worries me with this biscornu is the specialty stitches that are on it.

But in the meantime, hopefully I’ll be able to finish the Rainbow Biscornu and within the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to show you a finish and some more progress on the other projects I have on the go!

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

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.

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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

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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!