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!
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.
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.
I’m not sure about you, but I’m sad that Maynia is coming to an end for this year and a tad relieved. Towards the end I felt like I was trying to keep a number of plates spinning at the top of sticks, by trying to make sure I had spent enough time on all of the projects I had started during May or continuing to work on from previous starts.
Stitch Maynia Stats
In May, I started Fight Like a Girl, Candy Train, Who’s Been Good? and Autumn Castle as my new projects and continued with Moon Lit Fairies, Four Seasons Kittens, Gundaroo Mushroom, Barnyard Kittens and Three Dogs as my continued WIP’s.
Autumn Castle designed by Evgenia Kolesnikova
Most of my time was spent on Autumn Castle designed by Evgenia Kolesnikova. I think I’ve raved about this project before. What I’m loving about it is the colours and it’s something different to what I normally work on. But it makes sense that I’ve started working on something like this, because I love spooky things, ghosts and things relating to the supernatural/paranormal!
I was able to stitch about 884 stitches, which works out to being nearly half a page and I’m stitching it on 18 count pink Aida. When you look at the cover picture, you will see that I’ve started in the top left corner.
Gundaroo Mini Mushroom designed by Kristen Gawonski
I feel like I’ve been working on this project for ages. It doesn’t help that I’ve now got so many other projects to distract me! In May, I was able to work on it for 7 of the 31 days and I was able to get a total of 1000+! I’m actually quite surprised that I got so many stitches in because there were certainly times where I felt guilty for not stitching on this project and I some days I felt like I needed to guilt myself into stitching it because I really wanted to stitch the shiny new ones! The pictures below show my progress and what it will look like when I’m done:
For anyone who’s new to my blog and reading this for the first time, the special thing with this project, is that it’s my own design. The image on the right is a photo that I took on my parents farm at Gundaroo, NSW, Australia and using the software PC Stitch 11, I was able to convert it into a cross stitch pattern. The thing that I’m testing with this project is how well it will turn out on 14 count Aida. My additional aim with this project is to enter it into the Canberra Royal Show. Fingers crossed it gets there!
Fight Like a Girl Designed by Tanya Amity
I’ve really struggled with this project which is surprising me. I really thought that I would have an easier time with getting into it. The main challenges I have with it is the amount of fabric this project potentially needs, the colour of the fabric and how I’ve loaded the pattern into Pattern Keeper.
Tanya has been fantastic with providing me (and I’m assuming anyone who purchases the pattern) with 3 versions of the pattern – black and white without the back stitch and special stitches, a colour version without the back stitch and special stitches and a colour pattern with the back stitch and special stitches. Me not thinking, loaded the whole PDF onto Pattern Keeper and I’ve stitched myself up as a result! Pattern Keeper has done well to interpret the pattern the best way that it can and what I will need to do is see if it’s possible to separate the PDF into the 3 versions and see if that makes any difference for me. The biggest challenge with that will be the way Pattern Keeper interprets the key for the chart. At the moment, Pattern Keeper is able to highlight the symbol on the chart, but at the moment it’s unable to tell me what the corresponding thread colour is. So I’m needing to refer to the paper version and progress from there. Below are the pictures of my progress and the cover picture to show what it will look like completed:
I’m stitching this pattern on 18 count navy blue Aida and I’ve stitched 744 stitches according to Pattern Keeper. The pattern recommends 28 count Navy Blue Lugana. I haven’t figured out how much fabric that would be, but the fabric I am using (from Victoria House Needlecraft) measures 76cm wide by 79cm high. I figure that if I have roughly an 8cm border, I should have enough fabric!
You may notice in the image on the left that I’ve had to do some frogging as part of the struggles I’ve had with mis-counting. A lot of which is to do with me working on it when I’ve been a bit tired and awkward. Because there’s so much fabric (see image on the right), I tend to try and roll it up a bit and have the project up side down and I’m reading the pattern right side up. It’s a weird quirk of how I stitch sometimes, but it works – mostly!
Barnyard Kittens by Dimensions
I’d started this project what feels like ages ago and put it down for a while. When I’d first started it, I had made the wise decision of updating the floss holder by drawing the symbols on it.
This has helped me so much more than I had initially thought it would. The only reason why I need to refer back to the key on the pattern is when I need to check how many strands of each colour I need to use. And as I’m writing this, I’m making a mental note to add to the floss card, how many strands I need for each symbol. For many Dimensions kits, the number of strands per colour vary from 1 to 3. Sometimes 4. It can also vary in terms of the combination of colours. E.g. 1 strand of white and 3 strands of pink or 1 strand of black and 1 strand of light blue. This helps to create texture and depth to their designs. Below are pictures of how I’ve progressed and what it will look like at the end:
I’ve started in the middle of this project and 90% of the time I’ve stitched this during my lunch break when I’ve had the sun streaming in and it’s felt nice and warm on the couch. I’ve stitched a reasonable 891 stitches on the black 14 count Aida the kit came with. This is definitely one of those projects I need to stitch when I’m awake enough and with plenty of light!
Four Seasons Kittens by Gold Collection Dimensions
This project is taking a lot longer than it should to complete. One of my struggles with this project is that there’s not enough space on the floss card to update it like I’ve done for Barnyard Kittens. I could put all of the details on the other side of the card where there’s nothing printed…I probably should and will after this post!
Meanwhile, I’ve been able to get about 792 stitches in – about 137 of which has been back stitch – and when that’s compared with some of the other projects, my desire to stitch other projects shows! Below is my progress in comparison with the finished picture:
Santa’s Coming! – Designed by Durene Jones
This was a new start and a project I’d been eyeing off since September or so last year. The pattern is in the Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas magazine/book (volume 19, 2018) that I picked up when I was at coast – before all of the bush fires and “fun” we’ve been experiencing.
I’ve decided to stitch it on some 14 count Aida that I purchased online from the Australian company Threaded Needle and unfortunately I’ve lost the slip that came with the fabric, so I’m not sure what the name of the fabric is. I’m using DMC threads to stitch the pattern and if all goes well, I will hopefully have it finished by Christmas this year!
When I get around to it, one of the challenging things will be stitching my nephew’s name instead of the name Angela, as you may see in the above image on the right. You may also notice with the fabric I’ve chosen to stitch on, is marbled green. This is how the fabric came and why I chose to purchase it.
So far, I’ve been able to stitch about 304 stitches…hmmm. I was not expecting such a low number. I can’t believe that I’ve neglected this project! But I have a plan…check out my next post and you’ll see what I have in store for it!
Candy Express! – Designed by Shannon Wasilieff
This project also comes from the Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas book/magazine, volume 19, 2018. Every time I look at the finished picture in the book or when I’m looking at the pattern, I just want to eat it! It looks so yummy! That could also be my sweet tooth talking…
Like the ‘Santa’s Coming’ project, I’ve decided to stitch this on the same fabric – 14 count Aida, marbled green (My name for the fabric. I’m still not sure of the exact name). The pattern recommends the use of 28 count sky high evenweave. I have 28 count fabric, but I really like the marbled look the image in the magazine/book has, so that’s why I’ve chosen to go with the 14 count marbled green Aida.
During May, I was able to get 818 stitches done!
Three dogs – Designed by Luca S
I hope I have the designer right for this project. It’s an Anchor kit that I think I purchased through the Fox Collection website many moons ago and I had started it not long after I’d finished a fishing project.
I’ve had a love/grumble relationship with this project. I love that the fabric is pre-gridded. I’ve never stitched on anything like it before. What I’ve struggled with is the thread becoming too thin and breaking. A part of it’s my fault because I’ve had the thread too long for what this thread needs to be. The other thing I’ve struggled with is the background of the project. In hindsight I should have decided to go with half stitch because it would make it so much quicker. Then there’s the colours…so much brown! Especially after stitching some of my other colourful projects.
What I do like about this project is the pattern has been printed on A3 paper and it makes my life a lot easier to see the symbols. Which should mean that I’ve been able to get about 800 or so stitches in…but unfortunately no. I was able to get 631 in.
Moon Lit Waters – Artwork by Julie Fain, charted by Michele Sayetta, Heaven and Earth Designs
For anyone who has been following my blog for a while, will know that I’ve been working on this project for a long time – with limited progress to show for it. At the start of May I purchased the digital copy of this pattern and loaded it into Pattern Keeper. This has been a good thing and a bad thing. Pattern Keeper is awesome! If you haven’t tried it yet, I strongly recommend you give it a go.
The app has made it a lot easier for me to clearly see where the symbols are on the pattern for the colour I’m stitching at the time. I’m able to clearly mark off where I’ve stitched and frog areas that I’ve made mistakes on. What I hadn’t initially counted on, was the incorporation of some new colours that DMC had released within the last 12 months or so. This is where I have a small grumble and yet another page of my project will have a heavy amount of creativity going into it to balance out what I’ve already stitched with the areas that are yet to be stitched. The incorporation of the new colours has meant that the symbols have changed and what colours are stitched where has thrown me off balance by one or two stitches in some places and about 3 to 4 stitches in other places.
Thankfully with HAEDS, there are so many colours that make up the big project, that I can get away with a bit of creative license. And I end up being the only one at the end of the day that has an idea of what I’ve needed to change around. So without further adieu, below is what I’ve stitched during May and what the finished picture will be.
At the moment I have no idea how much I’ve stitched in May and because of how small the crosses are I’m not going to count them all. If anyone knows how I can find the monthly total in Pattern Keeper, please let me know!
Now that May is done and as I’m finishing this post, it’s 1st June 2020 I’m looking to figure out what I’ll do for June and the rest of the year. For June at least I’ll definitely keep working on the WIP’s I now have from May and I’ll stitch what I feel like stitching, rather than needing to keep the projects on a regular rotation.
This month I might also start some of the other projects I had wanted to start in May, but didn’t get around to it. The projects I have in mind are the really colourful ones and a spooky one:
This of course will most likely change. Especially since travel restrictions in Australia are slowly easing. I live in Canberra (aka the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)) – Australia’s capital – and we are surrounded by the State of New South Wales (NSW). As of today, Monday 1st June, we can now travel anywhere we want in NSW and as far as we want in NSW, as long as we abide by social distancing and health and safety requirements! This is huge news for everyone living in NSW and ACT because we can travel to the coast, go bush, go to the snow (when the snow fields open up in about a week or two) and anywhere in between.
What my boyfriend and I are planning on doing is going to the coast as soon as we practically can. We could travel today, but about half of Canberra will be travelling to the coast and we have to work tomorrow (we’re still working from home). Also the weather today is true Canberra winter weather! So we’d rather stay home and enjoy the warmth and comfort of our home and worry about the stresses of travelling later. Practically, we’ll most likely travel to the coast in about 2 weeks. This will give us enough time to get our logistics sorted out and it’s my brother’s birthday next week – Queen’s Birthday long weekend – and he has the coast house booked for that weekend. Lucky duck!
Before I completely wrap things up for this post, I just want to do a quick shout out to Jemma Jones, Dreaming in Aida. Thank you for mentioning me in your post from 17th May 2020! I hope you continue to have such awesome results in your Cross Stitch Diploma Course!
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!
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!
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?