I am an avid cross stitcher. I was first introduced to cross stitch when I was primary school age. Paused for while during my teens and then took it up again in my early/mid 20's and I haven't looked back.
To mitigate the amount of time I'm sitting down stitching, I'm a regular member of the gym and I'm a runner. To keep me motivated, I participate in short to medium length fun runs. Which at times feel torturous, but I feel really good at the end of them!
With these activities in mind, this blog is about the combination of my experiences with running and cross stitch and encouraging people to think differently about cross stitch - it's not just Grandma's who do this anymore!
It’s a quick post from me this week because I want to rave about some Aida I’ve just finished stitching on.
I never thought it would be possible. I’ve heard people talk about soft Aida on Flosstube and for a long time I thought it was a myth. However, a few weeks ago my boyfriend and I travelled to the south coast again for the Canberra Day long weekend. On the public holiday Monday we headed over to Mogo and I got to spend a bit of money at one of my favourite stores – Rosemont The Patchwork Shop. I was able to purchase some more fabric and some beautiful cards that can be used for most events.
One of the pieces of fabric I purchased was some 14 count pink Aida. When I opened up the pack and started stitching, I fell in love. It was so soft and easy to work with I had to check the packaging every so often to make sure I wasn’t seeing things!
To make the hanging, I trimmed around the finished piece and I have the trimmings stored away. After trimming the piece, I trimmed down a thin piece of cardboard to attach it to, using some double sided tape (that I also use for scrapbooking). As you can see in the above images, I’ve used some ribbon to hang it from the door handle into my craft room.
Because I stitched this pattern on pink Aida, I changed out the pink threads that were called for, in exchange for purple threads and I think it turned out pretty well. I also used some dark brown on the skeins which was not intentional until I was halfway through stitching those areas. I had misread the pattern and used DMC 844 instead of DMC 822. Oops!
After having more a look at the Shannon Christine Designs website, I hadn’t properly realised until now, that they had also designed the Gingerbread Train pattern (see below) that I have in my Christmas Cross Stitch book that I really, really want to start stitching. I also really want to start stitching Koi Pond and Craft Room as shown below.
Until next time, I hope you all stay safe and happy stitching!
How many variations are there for you to use to frame your cross stitch? Using the phrase “how to frame cross stitch” – including the quotation marks – 21,000 results came up in my Google results. Many of the results in this search talk about the possibilities of using glass, not using glass, stretching your project over canvas, using sticky board to assist with the framing, using matting board and not using matting board.
Considering how many posts and YouTube clips there are on how to frame cross stitch, the aim of this post is to share with you, some of the most popular ways to frame your cross stitch on a shoestring budget.
The most common threads from the most popular results will tell you about:
Washing your finished project
This can be a personal choice and be dependant upon your choice of fabric and threads. There are some threads may run if they are washed or weren’t pre-washed before you stitched with them. I’ve been really lucky with all of the projects I’ve washed before framing. I’ve only used Anchor or DMC threads, mostly because they’re the most accessible brands to me and up until the last 12 months or so, I hadn’t known about or heard of any other type of threads to stitch with! Tapestry wool being the exception!
I have accidentally spilt coffee and chocolate crumbs on my projects and I’ve been very lucky to have them easily wash out. Or I’ve been able to stitch over the spots without any worries – if a mark has been left after the washing.
One of the important things I want to note is that for the majority of my projects, I’ve hand washed them in the basin of my bathroom with a little bit of hand soap – liquid or bar – in warm to cool water. I’ve tried not to rub my stitches too much, but enough to remove any crumbs or marks if there had been any. I’ve also rinsed my project with warm to cool water to remove any soap residue. I’ve then lightly squeezed my project to remove the excess water and laid it flat on a towel to dry over night.
From an audio-visual perspective, below are a couple of clips that may help you with washing your projects, if you’re feeling a bit uncertain about what to do…
Once dry, I’ve ironed the front and back side of my project, taking care with areas that have beads and backstitch. You may find that some people are quite particular about which side of their project should be ironed – if at all. I’ve been lucky and not had any problems. It’s also been the main times I’ve brought out the iron and ironing board!
How large your finished project is will have a major influence on the frame size you choose. The measurements will also impact your choice in mat board and what board you have to back your project. It’s also important to note that the amount of excess fabric you have around your project will have an impact on how you frame it. For example, do you really need a metre of fabric around your project? This example is excessive, but you get my point! On average, having an inch or two – 4 maximum (5 to 10 centimetres) around your project is the perfect amount because it gives you enough room to effectively stretch your fabric and have it centred in the frame.
Choosing acid-free materials
The acid-free materials will range from the foam and mat boards to the sticky board or threads you use to lace your project. This is important because they will ensure the longevity of your project and hopefully it will become a family heirloom!
When I first started cross stitching and the term ‘lacing’ was mentioned, I thought it was something to do with lace in fashion and homewares. But it’s actually to do with the process of stretching your project over some foam board or cardboard, so that it’s nicely centred in your frame. Below is a clip to help further explain how lacing works and how you can do it too!
This can be a personal choice as well. Many frames you can purchase from the shops come with its own mat board. When you have pulled apart the frame, place the matting board over the top of your project to see if the matting board enhances or detracts from your project. It’s also important to note that the purpose of mat board is to stop your project from touching the glass – if you choose to frame your project with glass. According to the Frame Shop, mat board can protect your project from moisture because of the small gap it creates between the project and the glass.
If you find the perfect frame, but you need to adjust the mat board it comes from, Peacock and Fig has put together a great clip on how to customise the mat board to suit your needs.
Whenever I’ve decided to frame a project, I’ve taken my project with me to the shops I want to get my frame from. This enables me to see what’s on the shelf and see if the project works with the frame. Felt Magnet recommends this in their post about framing your project as well. The aim is to find a frame that compliments your project. Tip: choose a colour in your project that you have used a little bit of. Find a frame in that colour or find some paint that you can use to paint the frame you’ve chosen. Alternatively, you may choose to wrap the frame in fabric or paper or any other medium that suits your project. Additionally, your frame can be made out of whatever materials you think suit and compliment your project. I’ve seen on the internet, how creative people have gotten with their frames. Some people have chosen to utilise materials from around their home or local stores that enhance their projects. Below are some images of what people have done:
When I’ve framed my own projects, I’ve taken a stab in the dark. I’ve not looked up anything on the internet. I’ve usually had an idea of how I’ve wanted the project to look in the frame and had a go at making it right. I’ve made the mistake of racing out to purchase a frame without my project with me and purchased a frame that’s been too big or too small. I still have some of those frames hanging around my home, in the hope that one day I’ll have a project that will suit it.
I’ve kept the glass in all of my projects and I’ve taken the risk with some of the projects by not using matboard and having the project right up against the glass. This is a huge risk with ‘The World’ project (see image below) because I’ve got it hanging up in my ensuite.
I’ve rarely used the lacing method of securing my projects in the frame. More often than not, I’ve used acid-free double sided tape to secure the project to the paper or board that has come with the frame. I have had to be careful to not have the standard picture that’s come with the frame showing through my project. I made that mistake with my ‘The World’ project (see below), but I think it’s worked out for the better. What do you think?
I also recommend you check out YouTube for tutorials on how to frame your cross stitch projects. They will give you the confidence and guidance on how to do what you want with your project. They may also enhance what this post has touched on.
Until next time, happy stitching!
Eckersleys – website for purchasing some of your framing needs (Australian store)
Frame Shop – website for purchasing some of your framing needs and guidance on why their products will be useful for you (Australian store)
If you’re like me and started your love affair with cross stitch with kits helped a lot with learning to stitch and see the finished project. So, progressing to kitting up your next project yourself seems like the next logical step!
What you need
Some of these things may seem blatantly obvious, but can easily forgotten in the rush and excitement of starting a new project. I’ve also purposely not talked about scissors, lighting, stands, hoops, frames, needle minders or any other tools of the trade that can be used while stitching a project. If you are curious about these things, check out some of my previous posts!
Many patterns, regardless of where you’ve gotten them from, have some really handy instructions for all stitchers. I strongly recommend you have a read through them, just in case there’s something special you need to pick up from your local craft store. The instructions will tell you what the stitch dimensions are of the finished piece and many of the designers will recommend what fabric size to stitch the project on. Sometimes, the designer may suggest what needle size to use for the corresponding fabric count.
The other component of the pattern is the key that lists all of the threads you need and how much of each colour you will need to complete the pattern. This can be in the form of number of skeins or metres. Below is an example from one of my own patterns I’ve converted from a photo I’ve taken. This is only a partial list:
The numbers you see in the column for number of skeins, shows that you would need a partial of each skein. By memory, each skein comes in 8 metres in length and you may need about 1 metre of each skein. So you will have quite a lot left over with the exception of black, where you will need the full skein / 8 metres.
I strongly recommend that you take this page of your pattern to your local craft store and use it as part of your shopping list and tick or mark off each colour as you put it into your basket.
Sometimes the designer may not state how much extra fabric you will need to stitch your project. They will just state how big the project is and recommended fabric. For example, the stitch size may be 289w by 250h on 14 count navy blue Aida. This is where a fabric calculator can be helpful to calculate how much you will actually need. The website Crosstich.com has an awesome calculator that’s very easy to use. Below is an example of how it works, using the dimensions I’ve used in this paragraph:
You may also see in the above snippet, is the option to select how much extra fabric you want around the edge of your project. I’ve selected 2 inches/5 centimetres. There is the option to have 3 inches/8 centimetres. This is your personal choice and potentially how much you can afford to pay for fabric.
The additional reason why I’m talking about the amount of extra fabric you need, is to help with stitching the project and finishing it. The extra fabric will mean that your project can be snugly in a hoop or stand or whatever you choose to keep the fabric taught and your stitches neat. If you choose to frame your project, there’s enough fabric to stretch it into place so that it looks just the way you want it!
It’s also your choice for the numbers you enter for the number of strands for your project. This won’t have an impact on the size of fabric the calculator recommends for you. It may have an impact on how many skeins per colour you choose to purchase!
Purchasing your fabric
In this digital age and the internet at our fingertips, we can choose to purchase our supplies online or we can find out where our local craft store is that sells the fabric we want and need. In Australia, the two major craft stores closest to where I live are Lincraft and Spotlight. From there I can purchase pre-cut Aida in a some colours, counts and dimensions. I can also go in store and purchase some fabric off the roll in a size that I need. The fabric they have on rolls will vary from store to store. Thankfully, there are smaller business that I can purchase other fabrics from and they have a wider variety of fabrics, count size and dimensions.
I’ve also really enjoyed going to craft shows and checking out the fabric section of store to see if they have any off-cuts I can purchase for potential projects down the track. I find that they have many fabric colours that I haven’t seen on the internet.
Preparing your fabric
Some people hate it when the edges of their fabric start fraying while they’re working on their project. I’ve seen on some American floss tube clips that the edges of their fabric already have been serged as part of the process that American shop owners choose to do. If you have an overlocker or know someone who has one, you can use it to go around the edges of your fabric. Another option is to use your sewing machine and use the zig-zag stitch or you can hand sew the edges.
If you are choosing to use Aida, some people have complained about how stiff it can be when they start using it and it’s turned them off from wanting to use it ever again. I’ve certainly experienced some stiff Aida and it has been annoying to get it into the hoop. I have found that over time, the fabric softens as I continue to work with it. I’ve also heard of people washing it before they use it and trying to soak it with fabric softener or similar products. How successful they are, I’m not sure. All I can say is do what works for you!
The size of your project will depend on how many colours you need to purchase. If you’re needing to purchase a lot of colours, you could:
purchase a few colours at a time and stitch with them until you need to purchase some more
purchase all of the colours in one go
raid your stash to see if you have some left overs from previous projects
have a chat with stitchy friends and family who may be able to give you some of their left over colours
Tip: If you’re purchasing your floss from a craft store, I strongly recommend you include in your basket some floss holders (aka bobbins) and a storage container to hold all of your colours. The image below is an example of what you can purchase.
You may hear of people talking about ‘bobbinating’ their threads. What they’re doing is winding their threads onto the bobbins, like the image above (that come in plastic and cardboard) and writing on the bobbins or using stickers like the ones you can purchase in the image below. If you conduct a search in your preferred search engine, you should be able to come up with some stores who stock these awesome stickers!
The size of the needle you use for your project will depend on the size of fabric you’re using. Using the right needle size will mean you’re stitches will be neater and there won’t be any obvious holes from your needle. Below is a table of what needle size you’ll need for the fabric size you may be stitching on:
Another thing to consider with your needles, is whether they’re silver all-over or have a gold or brass colour around the eye of the needle. This comes down to personal preference. Some people find that the needles that are gold plated move through the holes in the fabric smoother than the silver needles. Some people also find that the silver needles tarnish over time from the oils and other excess moisture and crumbs from our fingers, and may impact the ease of the needle moving through the fabric and thread on their projects.
Armina from Stitch Floral wrote a great post about ’10 things to remember about hand embroidery needles’ and suggests the use of ‘a strawberry cushion filled with gritty emery powder, pull the needle all the way through it in one direction.’ The aim of this is to sharpen the needle and remove any moisture on it, resulting in your needle remaining sharp and moving through your fabric smoothly.
Admittedly, I’ve been pretty lucky with my needles in the sense that they have tarnished a bit over the years through wear and tear and moisture on my fingers. The only adverse affect my projects have had from me using these needles is me using the wrong needle for the size of the fabric I’m working on. More often than not, I’m using needles from previous kits I’ve stitched or snaffled out of my sewing box.
That said, I agree with Armina from Stitch Floral when she says that needles are inexpensive. It’s possible to pick up a pack of needles from your local craft store or online for a few dollars. If you’re not sure on what to do with your old needles that you don’t want to sew with anymore, check out the post by Superior Threads in the related reads at the end of this post!
Putting it all together
Thankfully there are many, many Flosstube clips from a variety of stitchers who have been wonderful in sharing how they organise their projects. Hopefully you find some of the clips below of use and interest!
I hope this post has helped you with kitting up your own project. It’s been a long time since I’ve started a project that’s been kitted up for me and I find kitting up my own project can be rewarding and it can show me where the gaps may be in my collection. My boyfriend has been amazingly patient when he’s been with me in the craft stores and I’ve been busy finding all of the threads I need. He’s also started helping with finding the threads as well and that’s helped a lot!
At the end of the day, the strongest recommendation I can provide you is do what works for you. If a pattern recommends the use of linen, but you find that the count size is too small, use the calculator to find out how much fabric you need for a smaller count size. If floss bobbins aren’t your thing, floss organisers like the ones you get in your kits can be re-used. Have a chat with fellow stitchers and find out what they do. They may have a different system to what I’ve suggested in this post that works really well for you.
At the start of this month, I set myself the goal of finishing the page I was working on for each of the active projects I have on rotation. I have been stitching my little heart out for most of this month and I think I’ve done pretty well. Especially since last post I was feeling a bit down and flat and not thinking that I would be able to achieve the progress I’ve wanted for each project.
There have been a few days where I’ve not stitched because I’ve been too tired from work and I’ve not slept well the night before, or I’ve been busy with other things. So without further adieu, lets get into it and see how I’ve gone!
Four Seasons Kittens
I have finished all of the half stitch and full crosses the pattern has asked for and I’ve gotten the majority of the back-stitch around the called for areas. I just need to give one of the kittens some whiskers and finish off the frame for the quarter, and I’ll be able to move onto spring or summer!
A page finish and then some…
Because there was some confetti that I had to finish on this page, I wanted to make the most of the thread I had on the needle at the time. So I started looking at neighbouring pages to see if I could stitch anything there and what you see is the result of what I found.
I achieved a page finish with this project! The area I have been focusing on for February, is the bottom of the pattern that has a lot of greys and browns it. There is a bit of back-stitch needed for this area to help give the hat, some bullrushes and fence some definition. I’ll get to that when I’ve finished all of the full and half stitching for the project. Theoretically it should be easier if I do that!
Gundaroo Mini Mushroom
I’ve been battling some leg pain while stitching some of this page and I’m really annoyed that I haven’t gotten more done. The short story is that I don’t stretch as much as what I should after my gym sessions and runs and I’m an office worker. As a result of so much discomfort I’ve been experiencing lately, I haven’t been able to finish the page for this one. I am frustratingly close as you will see in the pictures below…
To help put the image below into context, I’ve completed page 6, which is more the the centre of the fabric, and I’m close to finishing page 5. I’ve decided to start in the centre of the fabric because I’m not sure if I’ll have enough fabric to finish the entire project. The other thing to bear in mind with this project is, when I first put this pattern together, I had told the software that it would need to fit onto 28 count fabric – or there abouts. I then changed my mind and decided to keep most of the dimensions but try and stitch it on 14 count fabric instead…
The annoying component with this pattern is the amount of confetti stitching for the bottom left corner of this page, which you will see in the photo I’ve taken of my pattern. It’s not as bad as other projects I’ve worked on over the years or even now with the HAED I’m working on.
However, in recent days when I’ve been stitching it, I’ve been seriously been contemplating scanning the pattern and seeing if it would be compatible with pattern keeper app. If it does work, it would make my life soooo much easiser! Because there are 148 colours in this pattern and some of the symbols are very similar. So it can take me a few minutes just to find the symbol on the key, to figure out which thread I need for a couple of squares!
Now that February is over for another year…
As I’m writing this post, Sunday, 1st of March is drawing to a close and whilst I have many new projects lined up and ready to go, I’m not sure if I’m ready to start them yet. Starting new pages of my existing projects would be exciting and I’d be significantly closer to getting the projects finished and off rotation for good. The question is though, do I need a break from them because I’ve been working on them so intensely for the last 20 odd days? Should I bring back into rotation some other projects that have been sitting idol?
One of the positive things for March though and the rest of this year is that I’m not going to be doing any official study with uni. Earlier this year, I had written about being accepted into the University of Canberra to complete a graduate certificate and I had been really excited about doing it. However, as time got closer to classes starting and getting the schedule for them organised, it all became a bit too hard. That process also helped me to realise that I really wasn’t as keen to do the study as what I thought I would be, when I had enrolled in the course back around August 2019! The good thing through, I that I have shown myself that I can get back into uni if I want to and it’s still an option later down the track. I’ve got work to focus on at the moment and I really want to keep progressing things with this blog and my stitching.
Small running update
It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about running and how things are going there. For the last few weeks I’ve been experiencing some muscle pain in my left leg that has stemmed from me not stretching enough. It has also meant that I’ve not been motivated to get out and about and go for a run or walk. With the help of my trainer at the gym and a remedial massage with a physio, the muscles are getting better. So much so that I’ve been able to get out running again! They’ve been short runs so far – 2 to 3km in distance and intervals, meaning I would run a full kilometre and walk for a minute or two then run again until I was done.
I need to pick up my game a lot more for this month because of the 5km fun run I’ve booked myself in for the first weekend of April 2020. I really want to feel prepared for the run rather than be feeling too casual and hoping for the best. Also, the course is different this year and I’m feeling pretty confident with it because it’s a similar course I’ve run during my own free time.
Anyway, that’s enough from me for this week. Stay tuned and until next time, happy stitching!
In roughly a week, we’ll be done and dusted with February and we’ll be moving into March. As I get older, I’m hearing more often from family, friends and work mates ‘where has the month gone?’ or ‘wow! the year is flying by!’ February is a short month – we all know this. But are the months and years flying by because we’re getting busier and not keeping track of our time as much as we did when we were younger?
Nostalgia and reflection is kicking in because it will be my birthday on Tuesday! Getting older doesn’t worry me. Bring on the wrinkles and grey hairs and battle scars. They show I’ve lived a life and survived it! If the wrinkles are in the right places, it shows that I’ve been able to smile at those challenges once they’ve passed.
My birthday on Tuesday also means that I’m a Pisces. Which means that I’m in a constant battle with making quick decisions because I take into consideration all aspects of situation. For example, which chocolate bar should I get from the lolly shop? There are so many options! I don’t want to feel like I’m missing out on anything because I know that all of them will taste really good. But what do I feel like? Will I regret choosing plain chocolate over the gooey caramel? What about the one with honeycomb? The taste and texture and crumbs can be pretty fun to experience. What about trying something new or a little different? What if I don’t like it? I’ll feel like I’ve wasted my money. What if I do like it?
It’s too much overthinking for a chocolate bar, I get it! That said, the image below is one of the signs for the Pisces and shows one fish swimming up and the second fish swimming down in a circular or oval shape. As airy-fairy as this sounds, the image below to me, helps to explain why it can take me forever to make a decision about some of the most simplest of things.
Another reason why I’m feeling like I’m in a bit of a funk is that I’m coming down from an amazing last week of January 2020. With this blog I like seeing how my statistics are going for the frequency of visitors, what posts people have been clicking on and which countries the visitors are from. For me, a good week or good day will be a couple of people to 7 people. Sometimes a touch more. During the week of 25th and 26th of January, Oh. My. Gosh! My stats were through the roof! I’m talking an average of 150 or so people visiting my blog in one day! What’s got me stumped is the details. For example, what prompted so many people to come and take a look at my blog all of a sudden? Why that particular week? And how can I make it happen again and keep it constant?
So what does any of this have to do with cross stitch or running or many of the other things I’ve talked about on this blog to date?
Cross stitch gets me out of my head for a while. It stops me from over thinking things. I can just relax and focus on what I’m doing. I don’t need to think about or worry about the feelings of others or if I’m offending anyone by sitting wherever I choose and keep to myself. Cross stitch combined with some really good music, tv show or Flosstube I can partly watch and listen to, is one of the ways in which I can recharge my batteries and become again the person my family and friends know and love.
Meanwhile, the challenge I’ve set for myself with cross stitch for this month, it’s got me thinking I’ve bitten off a little more than I can chew. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to finish the current pages for my current pages by the end of this week. Even with the time I’m spending on writing this post, I feel guilty that I’m not stitching. But when I take a break from stitching, I’m then feeling guilty that I’m not writing a post for this blog. Agh, that inner turmoil kicking in again!
So, my call to action for you this week is – what can I do for you cross stitch wise? What do you want to know about? How does cross stitch get you out of your funk?
By the time you’re reading this, it will have been a couple of weeks since my boyfriend and I travelled from Canberra, Australia to the New South Wales south coast area of Malua Bay and surrounds. It had been roughly 2 months since we had been able to travel down there since the bush fires and the Kings Highway being open for an extended period of time. Our aim for travelling to the coast was to have a change of scenery for the weekend and to start supporting some of the local businesses.
To us and many Canberran’s who holiday there, it’s our second home and we had seen many news reports and images on the television, and heard about the devastation from a variety of people. But the reality was something different for us as we travelled along the Kings Highway and over the Clyde Mountain. Seeing Pooh Bear’s Corner and the areas that had been burnt and the areas that had been saved was quite difficult for both of us.
Up and down the Clyde Mountain we are accustomed to seeing this beautiful rainforest with a road that winds through it. To me at least, it’s a magical area of the drive and holds a lot of memories of going to the coast for holidays and escaping from every-day life for a little while. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, below are two images I’ve come across on a Google Image search. The image on the left was before the fire and to the right is after the fire.
Everyone who has been involved in fighting the fires has done a phenomenal job. They have saved homes where they could and not all of the drive looks like the image on the right.
The hardest part for my boyfriend and I was seeing the reality of what the landscape and people who were there, (and many who still are) went through during the Christmas holiday break.
Interestingly, as I’m writing this post and looking out my craft room window in Canberra, it’s grey, windy, cool and a little drizzly at times. A stark contrast to last week – even a couple of weeks ago! It also means that the rain we have received – in Canberra and surrounding areas – especially along the coast – the Currowan fire that had caused so much devastation along the south coast and had joined up with other fires is finally out!
It’s going to be years before anything feels like it’s going to be back to normal for the locals along the coast, let alone the tourists like my boyfriend and I. What I’m really looking forward to – now that we’ve all gotten a heap of rain – is seeing the regeneration of the forest. The fire as been a long time coming and I know we’re all glad it’s over for now.
Supporting local businesses
So while we were at the coast, I really wanted to go to Mogo to see the how the town fared after the fire and to support the local businesses. On the Saturday, my boyfriend and I had lunch at our favourite cafe in Mogo and I got to stuff myself silly on an iced chocolate and ham and cheese toasted sandwich. It was really good!
One of the things I was also relieved to see was that the Mogo Trading Post was still standing! I had been really worried that it had been one of the stores that had burnt down. Whenever I step into that store I feel relaxed and it smells really good. I love the smell of the incense, soaps and candles they have and seeing the different gifts they have, ranging from jewellery to crystals and semi-precious stones, home-wares and clothes. I was able to get some really nice presents from there!
The other place I was relieved to see at Mogo was the Rosemont Patchwork Shop. I absolutely love this store. The owners are so lovely, helpful and kind and they stock an awesome range of patchwork and embroidery materials and kits and gifts. What makes this place unique is the sewing machine museum that’s attached to the store. I love it! Every time I have visited the store, I have always found the majority of what I’ve needed and many other things I didn’t know I needed, but had to have! This time around, I knew I wanted to purchase a bucket load of DMC threads for some patterns I’ve purchased in recent weeks. Below are images of my haul…
Thankfully I had my boyfriend with me and that he is really tall and has long arms. He was able to reach some of the taller shelves for me to get the threads. By the end of it all, we walked away with about 120 threads! I still need to pick up some more threads, but I’m pretty happy with my haul because I was able to support the business.
How do you support your local crafty store?
To me, purchasing goods from a store is the best way to support a business. The next best thing is to spruik it. How do you support your local crafty store? Especially when times have been tough or you may not have been able to afford to shop there?
Before I jump into this week’s post, I just want to say Happy 1 Year Anniversary! It has been 1 year since I signed up to WordPress and started this blog. I had been so nervous about starting this blog and actively putting myself out there in the blogging world. So I just want to say thank you very much to my followers for sticking around and checking out my posts and hello to any new comers!
Fruits or flowers?
If you had to pick one type to stitch, would it be fruit or flowers? Why?
For me, it would end up being flowers…
Flowers and how gardening isn’t my thing
I admire people who find gardening relaxing and are regularly changing things around in their gardens. To me, flowers and plants can be nice to look at and smell, as long as I don’t have to do too much with them. The plants need to take care of themselves – within reason – because there’s other things I’d rather be doing!
That said, without people who have that strong desire and passion to garden, we may not have any or many green spaces to hang out in or have inspiration for many of the beautiful floral, garden and horticultural related cross stitch designs.
Meanwhile, when I was in my early to mid 20’s, I was interested in renting an apartment that realistically, I wasn’t going to be able to afford and keep my head above water at the same time. If I had been able to afford it, one of the plants I wanted to own was a lily that produced flowers like the pattern I stitched below. Though, I’m not sure how well it would have survived had my financial circumstances been different!
I stitched this flower from a magazine I had in my collection for many years and within the last few weeks, I’ve donated the magazine to the bush fire relief. So unfortunately I’m not sure who the artist and designers are or which magazine I got it from.
When I had first stitched this flower, I had thought that I would turn it into a card for someone. But as time progressed, I never got around to making it into a card and I’m still working on improving my card making skills! So instead, I turned it into a pin cushion lid on top of a container that holds my pins for sewing.
I used some styrofoam as the cushion part and Mod Podge glue to stick it all together. The container is from Big W, that originally held cotton tips – 400 hundred of them! It’s taken me years to get through them to get this result!
Meanwhile, what floral patterns have caught your eyes over the years? If you’re looking for inspiration, below are some designs I’ve come across on the Net that I think are beautiful!
At the moment I can’t get enough of the designs that are on the sa-pattern website. All of the designs on there are beautiful! One of the patterns that has really caught my eye is the Lilacs, designed by Averina Elena/Lena Averina and the artist is Irina Khimich as shown below. Underneath the Lilacs design are others that have really caught my eye and hopefully there will be enough time for me to be able to stitch them all!
Now I know that technically, I should have this image in the fruit section of this post because of the lemons. However, lemon blossoms smell really good!
Meanwhile, on NonStopStitch’s Etsy store, there’s a beautiful spring flower bouquet to stitch…
Cross stitch fruits
One of the things I’m finding really entertaining with writing this section is that I don’t like eating a lot of fruit. Mostly because I don’t like the flavour of many fruits. For some fruits like strawberries it’s about the seeds. For others like oranges and many citrus fruits, I really don’t like the smell of them, let alone the taste and bits of it getting stuck in my teeth.
That said, if any of you stitchers are like me, I can’t go past something that is colourful and looks fun to stitch and is well designed. Which is where many of the following designs have caught my eye…
Victoria House Needlecraft
There’s something about the way The Fruit Collection (artist/designer unknown) are designed that I find aesthetically pleasing. If only I ate more fruit!
Meanwhile, Everything CrossStitch has some beautiful fruit cross stitch patterns like the Strawberry Kitten pattern below by Heaven and Earth Designs (shown below). How cute is it!
What about a photo converted to cross stitch?
Have you every taken a photo (or seen one) of a flower or fruit or seen an image of one or the other (or both), that you’ve thought would make a good cross stitch picture? What about the images below?
Alternatively, do you have a pattern in your stash that you’ve been meaning to stitch for ages, that could fit within the scope of fruits and flowers in February?
Over the last couple of years of watching Flosstube, I’ve found many flosstuber’s talking about Stitch-May-nia and New Year, New Starts, 24 hour stitching marathons and similar playing on words for many months throughout the year. With these things in mind, I’m aiming for a few ‘F’ themed things for February for this blog and my cross stitch that may also help you and hopefully inspire you to do something similar with your stitching!
A few weeks ago, I talked about my aim of finishing some pages of the projects I’m working on because I know I’m not going to be able to fully finish any of them! I’m hoping that this is a reasonable task to achieve considering how much of each page I need to complete for each project. However…February for my family also means a bucket load of birthday celebrations! We have my Dad and sister in the space of 2 days. A week later is my boyfriend’s mum’s birthday and a week after that is mine! Somewhere in-between all of those celebrations are birthdays of friends and a colleague at work. Who would have thought that February could be such a social month for such a short month!
A challenge for you, a challenge for me…
What ‘F’ themed stitching, that’s PG (a rating that’s applied to movies, games, television shows in Australia) / above board, could you do? Is there a funny quote or picture you’ve been eyeing off for ages, but haven’t gotten around to stitching yet?
Funny February Suggestions
Considering everything that has been happening in the world over recent months – even years – we all could do with a really good laugh to try and relieve some stress and feel better for a little while. Also, Valentine’s Day isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and unfortunately the statistics are there to show it. So lets bring on the funnies and have a really good laugh!
Subversive cross stitch – need I say more? We can say so much with just one word or mash-up of words to project a feeling of the time. The links below will take you to some pages that will hopefully make you laugh and inspire some stitching:
What about your favourite comedy or a song that makes you smile or laugh out loud every time? For a long time, I’ve loved Garfield and reading the comic strips. For me, it’s the dry sense of humour of Garfield that I like the most.
I also like showing my boyfriend funny pictures of dogs and clips of them getting up to funny things like doing mad runs around the backyard or at a dog park – especially if other dogs get involved and they’re all running around madly! Which also means that I’d be showing him pictures like the ones below that can be purchased fro LoLaLotta’s Etsy store:
I’ve entered myself into the 5km event of the Canberra Times Marathon Festival and my aim is to get as close to the 30 minute mark as I can. This year the course has changed, and thankfully it’s easier because it’s a lot flatter and I’ve run a similar course when I use to work on the southern side of Lake Burley Griffin.
The challenge at the moment is getting myself outside running! I’ve found many excuses not to run – some of them legitimate, like it being too smokey or too hot. However, I should use that as an opportunity to get to the gym instead and run on the treadmill to keep myself on track. If any of you have tried running on the treadmill, you may understand why focusing on the ‘dread’mill isn’t always easy!
That said, in recent days, I’ve put together a spreadsheet of all the races I’ve participated in since 2013 and the times I’ve gotten for 5km, 10km and 14km. I’ve found it inspiring and motivating to see how I’ve progressed from running 5km in 38 minutes 29 seconds through to 31 minutes and 15 seconds. At my peak, I had been running 5km nearly every day of the week – Friday’s were my day off from going to the gym and running. My motivation during my peak had been to beat my previous times and to lose a lot of the weight I had gained when I started going out with my current boyfriend. I had relaxed too much in our relationship and I had gained 20kg. Thankfully I was able to lose that weight through a combination of running, group and one-on-one sessions at the gym and changing what I ate.
Well, I hope that this has given you some inspiration and you’re able to get some finishes happening for February!
Before I jump right into the topic for this post, I feel like I need to say a really big thank you to all of the recent traffic my blog site has seen in recent days. I’m not quite sure what’s caused the spike. I have talked a little bit about the fires we’ve been experiencing recently and I live in Australia. Nonetheless, thank you everyone for clicking on my posts and I hope you find something you like and you find out something new!
Recently I was watching a Floss-Tube clip that has inspired this blog post – what memories are embedded in your cross stitch projects? This can vary from remembering what music you were listening to while you were stitching a project or there may have been some life events happening that you used cross stitch to help take your mind off things.
New home, new project
For example, when I was stitching the project below, I distinctly remember being at my grandparents place when they were living up in Queensland. It was just during the year that my current home was being built and I knew that I wanted it to hang up in toilet room, just near the mirror.
When I was stitching this project, I didn’t have a hoop with me. I may have forgotten to take one with me. I can’t remember exactly why. I do remember stitching it in hand and it reminded me why I prefer to have my projects in a hoop because I really like the tension that a hoop provides. I was also super conscious of making sure I didn’t leave any of my excess threads around when I was stitching at my grandparents place, because I was a guest at their home and they like to keep their place very neat and clean. I hadn’t realised just how much of a challenge this was until I got home. I am naturally a messy person. My home looks lived in – much to my boyfriend’s annoyance and grief! I have piles of stuff everywhere and he and I are regularly moving my stuff out of the way so that he can sit down next to me on the couch or to another room if we have guests coming over.
Shade changes to threads
Meanwhile, whenever I look at the Fire and Ice project (shown below), I remember that I had some problems with procuring the right shade of DMC 902. I’d had the shade in my stash for ages and it took me a while to get into stitching the project. When I ran out of the colour, it never occurred to me that the number would be the same, but the actual dye-lot or shade may have changed as part of the dying process.
When I started stitching with the newly purchased DMC 902 there was a significantly obvious difference and I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish the project if I couldn’t get the right shade. Thankfully, one of the cross stitch businesses at the Canberra leg of the Craft and Quilt Fair were lifesavers and they knew exactly what I was talking about, regarding the shade change for DMC’s 902 and they were able to sort me out the the shade I needed. My memory has faded and at the moment I can’t remember the name of the business who helped me out and I wish I did. Without them, I’m not sure how I would have been able to finish the project. Thank you!
The other thing I’m reminded of when I look at Fire and Ice is the other pattern I have that’s the relation to it – Golden Ice which is designed by Dyan Allaire. By memory, I picked up the pattern at a craft fair or up at Mittagong. The good thing is that the pattern is still available. A Google search took me to 123Stitch.com and it’s available on the Kustom Krafts Inc. site.
First a gift, now a quilt
When I started the following this next project, I had the intention of stitching it for a friend of mine who’s birthday is in January. It was a last minute decision and I had been on summer holidays at the coast and wanted to do a dog themed project. At the time I didn’t have anything in my stash, let alone with me at the coast. I was also looking for crafty/cross stitch related business around the south coast that I could travel to, should I need to pick up any supplies or need a new project. I ended up driving up to Nowra to pick up this kit and trying to stitch like mad to get as much done as possibly could before my friend’s birthday.
If by chance you’ve seen some of my other posts, this project may look familiar to you. I never got this project finished in time for my friend’s birthday in the year that I started it. As time progressed, I decided to include this in my first country quilt instead.
Vintage cars – not the response I was expecting!
A few years ago I stitched a picture of 4 vintage cars for my Pop’s birthday because he is a car enthusiast and it was something that I thought he would really like. When I was stitching the project, it took me a while to finish it because of the amount of black I needed to use for one of the cars. At that time, the colour black was a draining colour. I didn’t get a lot of joy out of it, but I kept reminding myself that I was stitching it for my Pop and I wanted to get it done for his birthday!
When I’d finished the project, I had to get creative with the way I framed it because I had trimmed the fabric too close to the picture to properly stretch it and lace it. All in all, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!
When I was ready to give this to my Pop, my uncle – Pop’s son – had passed away unexpectedly due to complications he experienced with pneumonia. My uncle had been a car enthusiast as well and my Pop’s memories of cars and his son were and still are strong and potentially still painful for him. This makes me sad because there’s nothing I can do to make it better for my Pop or Nan.
Thankfully my Pop was gracious in receiving the gift I made for him. He and Nan chose not to hang it up on the wall and they’ve since moved homes a couple of times and the picture is now with Mum and Dad. I’m thankful it’s still around. I would have been really disappointed if it had been discarded.
This one had been a cute one to stitch. My cousin was getting married up in Queensland and unfortunately I was unable to make it. I did want to give her something that would help her to remember the day.
When I’d finished the project, I remember using a regular craft glue stick to stick it to the inside of a photo album that she could use to put some of her wedding photos in. Mum at the time was questioning if the glue stick would work. I had my doubts, but lived with the hope that it would hold out long enough for it to have the right affect when she opened the gift. I also used the glue stick because I didn’t know any better at the time and I didn’t have enough time to get the right supplies, because Mum and Dad were flying out the next day!
I’ve not asked my cousin if the picture is still attached or not. I’m not sure if I really want to know either, as the marriage didn’t last. The good news though is my cousin found love again and (to the best of my knowledge) is happily married!
What stitching memories do you have?
What memories are attached to your projects? Were there special events happening in your life or around the world while you were working on a particular project? Had you started a project with the intention of it being framed but you changed your mind at the last minute? Alternatively, do you hear a song or phrase that reminds of when you were stitching something?
It’s been a while since I’ve done a stitchy update and I’ve made a tonne of progress since I’ve last posted an update. Some of the things that have significantly helped is in September 2019 I had some planned time off work and I ended up getting sick during those holidays. In hindsight, I believe that it was my body’s way of saying that I’d been under too much stress for so long that now I have the time to relax, my body was going to make sure I relaxed! It also meant that I was able to get a lot of stitching done and binge watch a huge amount of Gossip Girl, Netflix and Flosstube! Then in early to mid December 2019, I got sick for a few days because I’ve finally relaxed into my new job (it was around the three month mark of being in the new job that I got sick) and I got even more stitching done. With all of this stitching I was able to do – let alone years – I’ve given myself RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) – self diagnosed – in my right hand. Specifically the knuckle for my index finger that connects to my palm and some of the muscles around my wrist, palm and muscles for my middle finger.
The slight positive is that I purchased a number of months ago, some fingerless support gloves (see images below) that are intended for embroidery and similar work. I purchased the gloves from the Australian website Thread and Needle. If you’re in the market for some support gloves, I highly recommend them! I’ve started using them a lot more and they’re really helping at the moment. I will need to go and see a doctor or physiotherapist about it though, because I don’t want it to get worse.
As you may have seen, I have pretty small hands. I’m about 151cm to 155cm tall – depending on the time of day I’m measured. In my opinion, my hands – fingers especially – are chubby, so I find the medium size to be really good. Additionally, they are light weight and I’ve found that it doesn’t matter which hand I put the gloves on, because I can flip them around and as long as my thumbs go through the designated hole, I’m okay! The cuffs are super supportive and I’ve found that I can stitch for a lot longer with the gloves now that my right hand becomes fatigued quicker than my left hand.
The other thing I’m surprised by with these gloves is how quickly I’ve become use to stitching with them! I’ve stitched a little bit without them and my right hand has been fine, but I’ve felt a bit naked without the gloves.
Moon Lit Waters Project
The increasing annoyance with this is I’ve got my mojo back for stitching the Moon Lit Waters (Heaven and Earth Design) project. It requires a finer needle to stitch the project because I’m stitching it on 25 count fabric. The good thing is that I have it in a hoop that’s being held in a stand.
Based on the cover image, I have started on the edge of the moon and I have a bucket load more to do! What I’m excited about is what the future pages of the pattern look like. There’s a little bit of confetti, but mostly solid blocks and I’m feeling really positive about making more progress through the year.
Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms – my own design
Before I got my mojo back for Moon Lit Waters, I was going great guns on the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms. This is my own design that I’ve converted into a cross stitch pattern from a photo I took.
The last time I wrote about this project was back on 24th June 2019 and below was the progress I had made…
Since then, I’ve finished the first page and I’ve moved to the left and I’m about half way through the second page. Looking at it from a distance and especially looking at it through the lens of a camera, I’m really happy with how it’s coming out. Sometimes when I’m working on it, I start doubting myself and the decisions I’ve made with the picture and pattern. I’m mostly doubting myself about the size of the photo when I imported it to the PC Stitch 11 and the measurements I’ve entered into the system to enable it to develop the pattern. I’ve looked at other pictures that people are working on that are photos that’ve been converted to cross stitch and the cross stitch project looks awesome!
Four Seasons Kittens
I’ve made a little bit more progress with the winter kittens. They’re my go-to if I need a break from the HAED or my own design. The last time I’d written about these kittens was back on 25th October, 2019 and below was the progress I had made then. By memory I may have talked about some of the fudging I needed to do. If I didn’t mention it, I had to get a bit creative with the top left corner of the winter kittens.
Plans for 2020
Becoming a uni student…again
The first half of this year at least is going to be super busy for me and I don’t think I’ll be getting much stitching done. I’m going back to uni – this time I’m enrolled at the University of Canberra (Uni of Canberra) to do a Graduate Certificate in Creative and Cultural Futures, commencing 10th February. The difference for me this time is that I’ll be attending lectures and tutorials instead of doing the majority of it online. Two years ago I graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Information Studies with a specialisation in Records and Archives. It took me 6 years of part-time study and working full-time to complete it and it was well worth the experience. I valued the flexibility studying online gave me. What I hadn’t realised, was how much I missed being in the class room until I decided to enrol in a course at the Uni of Canberra. I’m hoping that the Certificate will provide me with an introduction to working with cultural organisations and what it is to deal with cultural heritage information and artefacts. Something I hope will compliment my degree and who knows what it may lead to!
The other thing that will be busy will be work. I’m contracted until mid to late September and by October-ish my workplace is due to move from its current office to a new location, roughly 1km away. My aim is to try and improve my self promotion at work and let people know that I am there to help them and what I can help them with. My fear factor is people leaving it too late to be organised for the move or them making some avoidable decisions if they had consulted me. One of my biggest difficulties is self-promotion. I know I have the skills. I’m just super scared of putting myself out there, for fear of failure and criticism.
Fitness and running
My goal for this year is to run 5km in 30 minutes. A few years ago I got really close to that time and I want to beat it. But in order to do so, I need to stop using the poor air quality conditions as an excuse and use the treadmill at the gym until things get better. For the last two to three months (at least), Canberra has been inundated with smoke and dust due to the bush fires to the East of us and the drought that has been surrounding us.
This morning (Sunday, 12 January 2020) was the first time in what feels like a very long time, I went for an interval run outside. Probably not one of the smartest things I’ve done considering the air quality this morning was rated as being unhealthy. My run covered just over 5km in the space of 44 minutes give or take. By the end of it my eyes felt raw and I had a bit of a headache from the smoke. When I did run though, it felt good. So when the smoke and dust clears, I am really looking forward to more running outside.
To keep myself motivated, I have entered into the 5.3km leg of the Canberra Times Marathon Festival, to be held in early April. This year the course has changed and the event is sponsored by a different company. I’m really looking forward to the different course. It’s quite similar to the course I’ve run many times when I worked in the suburb of Parkes and would run around Lake Burley Griffin during my lunch break or parts of it after work. It’s a beautiful spot and I’m really hoping that I don’t get injured between now and then!
When the air is clearer and the roads are safer, I can’t wait to get to the South Coast – specifically Malua Bay and the surrounding region. It’s my second home (like many Canberran’s) and when I first get down there, I may spend half my time in tears and being a ball of emotion because I’ll be able to properly see what the residents and tourists went through. I want to help the businesses there as much as I can by purchasing their goods and services whenever possible. I want to help the area get back on its feet and see the beautiful bushland regenerate.
Stitching wise, I’ll still be plugging along on the same projects. My aim is to get as much stitching done before I start uni because I don’t know how much time I’ll be able to make for it when assignments and exams are due. I will be really happy if I could get the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms fully finished this year so that I can enter it into the Canberra Royal Show for 2021. I’ll also be really happy if I could get about a quarter of the way through Moon Lit Waters by the end of the year. Any other finishes that happen this year will be gravy!
I want to use February as my motivation for finishes. Considering the complexity of the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms and Moon Lit Waters, my aim is to get a page finish for both projects and hopefully a start on a new page.
March madness may see me having a break from the main projects and stitching a small, like a card or something along those lines. Though the madness may also be preparing for the fun run I’ve got early April and uni assignments/exams and a public holiday in there somewhere!
April however, may bring some holidays for Easter and ANZAC Day and hopefully a trip to Malua Bay and some crafty purchases.
I am curious about Stitch’May’nia this year and what that might bring for me. Life may get in the way too much, but if last year on Flosstube is anything to go by, I think it could be fun to be part of!
By June/July if all goes well, I should be finished with uni and then I’ll be able to be stitching mad again and life will be good!