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How do you do your fandom cross stitch?

Hi Everyone,

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

Where to get your fandom cross stitch

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

Full Coverage, realistic

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

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

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

Cartoons and smaller pieces

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

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

‘Watercolour Wizard of Oz’ by HardKnotLife Studio

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

‘Jack Skellington Silhouette’ by PitbullAndFish on Etsy

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

Samplers and getting wordy

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

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

How would you celebrate your fandom?

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

What would you stitch to express your fandom?

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Related links:

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How many secrets does your cross stitch hold?

Hi Everyone

I hope you’re all well.

As I’m writing this post, it’s Mother’s Day in Australia and restrictions are starting to be lifted a bit more and we’re starting to get some more normality back to our lives! If all goes well, hopefully by the end of July/early August, life will be as close to normal pre-pandemic as possible.

As a result of staying home a lot more, I’ve been trying to catch up on a lot of the Flosstube clips people have been posting and it’s been really nice seeing what people are working on and how they’re going. When I was partly watching and listening to a Flosstube clip, the person at the time said something that I thought was quite interesting and quirky. They are not a fan fudging their stitching. If they make a mistake in their stitching, they’ll frog it (undo the stitches) and re-stitch the correct amount. Because to this person, they see fudging a project as a form of lying and being dishonest. To me, this is admirable. They have the patience and integrity to correct their mistakes.

The biggest ‘secret’ of them all

Nearly every project I’ve worked on and finished has at least one mistake in it and I haven’t been bothered to fix it for various reasons. The biggest mistake I’ve made on a project has been quite recently and I’m contemplating whether or not to do anything about it. Below is the project that I’ve made the biggest mistake and when I realised what my mistake was, I couldn’t help but laugh at myself and wonder why I hadn’t picked up on it sooner! Can you see the mistakes I’ve made?

I can’t remember what the fabric count is. I used DMC’s varigated thread to stitch the project and the pattern was from …

The picture on the left is the finished project. The centre picture show mistake 1 and 2. The picture on the right shows mistake 3. When I was stitching this project – specifically the border, I made the novice mistake of rotated or turned the project based upon which side of the border I’m working on. So the picture on the right will show you that the direction of my stitches on the border is a different direction to the stitches in the centre of the project. You may also notice that the direction of my stitches at the top of the project (the centre picture) is different again and the width of the border is one row less than the other 3 sides. That’s because of my first mistake. When I started stitching the centre of the project, I had started it a row lower than I should have, which has thrown out the balance of how many rows I needed to stitch for the top of the border. If the rest of my stitches had been okay and the direction they should I have been, I could have added an extra row and some extra stitches to balance the border out.

How many secrets can a project hold?

If we don’t tell each other what our mistakes are and have a comparison picture of what it should be, does that make it a secret? Alternatively, if we show each other what we’ve done and show each other what it should look like, does it then become a ‘Where’s Wally?’ / find the mistake puzzle?

With my first HAED – ‘Moon Lit Waters’ that I’m working on, it will hold the largest amount of secrets and I’m totally okay with it! For anyone who’s been following my progress with this project, will know that it’s been a very slow work in progress! Over the last couple of years or so, I’ve been able to complete three pages and I’m starting on my fourth. The pictures below show my current progress, what it will look like at the end and the comparison shot of the cover sheet as a comparison of where I’m at:

Just before Stitch Maynia started, I downloaded the Moon Lit Waters pattern onto the Pattern Keeper app. I needed to purchase the PDF pattern to easily and honestly onto the app, as I’ve been working on the paper copy for too long and the edges are too awkward to send through the scanner.

One thing I had not anticipated or expected with this PDF is the updates and changes that the team at HAED and the associated artists have made to the pattern. I love that they have incorporated the new colours that DMC have released and I’m looking forward to incorporating those colours into the project when I get to it. What had me cursing and swearing as I was trying to figure out where I’m at on the pattern and marking off what I’ve completed. The symbols on the paper pattern have changed a little in comparison to the digital pattern and it means that I’m going to be doing a lot more fudging to make it all work!

When I’m done with the project, it will be for my sister and because of the nature of HAED’s, the odd colour being mis-stitched to me is not a big deal. I know that there are a lot of mistakes and fudging happening with the project and I’m okay with that. I’m going to continue using Pattern Keeper with this project because of the confetti in it and there being well over 100 different colours for it!

Now that I’ve rambled a bit about Moon Lit Waters and some of my challenges with it, have you found some of the secrets my stitching holds?

If you’re able to see any of the secrets, I am in awe of your eye sight! I know for certain where some of the secrets are, but my memory has faded a bit with what the exact secrets are. I’d like to think that I’ve blended them in well enough with the rest of the project, that it hasn’t thrown the intended design off at all.

What secrets do your projects hold?

As a stitcher, would you go back and fix it all up or would you leave it? Also, how honest are you with your stitching? At what point do draw the line and allow the mistake to remain in your project and you try to work around it?

Related reads:

Posted in Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized

The Joys of More Stitching. What are you gaining?

Hi Everyone

I hope you’re all doing as well as you can at the moment. As I’m writing this post, it’s Good Friday and it’s been raining steadily for a few hours and it’s wonderful! I’m loving the sound of the rain and knowing that there’s barely a breeze to blow it all away. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is predicting a range of 8 to 20 millimetres of rain! This is where I’m so thankful to be home to enjoy the rain, have Flosstube playing on the tv, be surrounded with my cross stitch stuff and be writing this post.

Meanwhile, by the time I publish this post, we will have experienced Easter and Australia and New Zealand will have celebrated/commemorated Anzac Day on Saturday 25th April. It will have been the first Anzac Day that Australian’s and New Zealander’s will not have been able to have special dawn services and parades that are typically held at National/State and Territory memorials. Many people however, chose to stand in their driveways with candles to hear the last post and special service being played online.


I have a love hate relationship with technology. It has made life 10 times easier for many of us until it stops working and something breaks! When technology is working, I love that I can still talk with friends and family over the phone or by using apps such as Skype and Zoom. Technology enables me to find out what’s happening around me without actually getting out there and “getting my hands dirty”. There’s a time and place for that and Bear Gryles will always be in the back of my mind when it happens!

Technology also means that I can catch up on what’s happening in the world of cross stitch. You Tube and similar applications has for many years, been a fantastic platform for all crafters to share with each other what we’re working on, what we’ve learnt and how to do things. Flosstube has also helped me come across so many other designers that I otherwise would not have known about, based upon my own interests and Google searches. Because of Flosstube, my stitching collection will continue to grow and I’m going to need a number of companies and individuals to sponsor me so that I can stitch on all of the things full time!

Things I want to stitch because of Flosstube…

Because of Flosstube, I want to stitch:

  • Many of the Halloween patterns from Autumn Lane Stitchery (available on Etsy);
  • Sky Blue Street by Soda Stitch Canada;
  • all of the colourful cats by Kitty and Me Designs (available on Etsy);
  • Fight Like a Girl by Tanya Amity;
  • Halloween Night by Alena Koshkina;
  • Fright Night by Lewis T Johnson; and
  • Colourful Zebras by Artecy Cross Stitch.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means. There’s still so many more I want to stitch that many Flosstubers have shown and talked about. Let alone the numerous patterns I have had in my collection for years that I haven’t started yet and the projects I’m currently working on!


I’ve always had an appreciation for nature and what it can offer – even though it’s a struggle to get me out there at times! If I can’t leave my home or I don’t want to venture too far, I love being able to sit out in my backyard and enjoy the sunshine. Or on days like today, I love being able to sit hear the window and listen to and watch the rain coming down nice and steadily. Also, without nature, I wouldn’t have some of the beautiful photographs I have on my walls. More broadly speaking, as cross stitchers, we wouldn’t have some of the beautiful projects to work on that have been inspired by amazing landscapes, animals and gardens the world has to offer.

Right here, right now

Mindfulness has been a big thing for many years and is more important now than it has ever been. What are you thankful for right now? What did go right for you today? Do you have a roof over your head? Some warm blankets and a comfortable bed? Do you have running water – hot and cold – and food in your pantry? Do you feel comfortable in the clothes you’re wearing right now? What sounds can you hear right now?

These are a lot of questions, but ones that I ask my self a lot and very similar ones as I’m putting one foot back into reality, to test the waters and remind myself that life is still pretty good!

My other ‘right here, right now’ moments tend to come when I’m going for walks with my boyfriend or I’m sitting out in the backyard or generally chilling out at home. I’m really lucky to live near some bush land and we have kookaburra or family of them that lives nearby. Some days we can hear the kookaburra laughing away or we’ve spotted it as part of our walks around the block. We also have a number of houses around the neighbourhood who have dogs and early in the morning or early evening (the typical witching hours!), the dogs will have a howling session. It’s awesome! The howling sessions always make my boyfriend and I laugh and it reminds me of my family’s Jack Russell, Russell. In Russell’s younger years, I would get to have a howling session with him whenever I arrived home at my parents farm or would head out there to visit. If Holly the Blue Heeler was around, she would join in and howl along too. These sessions would always make us laugh and howl along with them.

Dream on

Many years ago I use to dream about what I would do if I won the lottery. Like many people, I would have done the standard things like travelling, buying a house, sharing it with family and friends and make some donations.

Now, I still dream of travelling, but it involves taking a year or so off work to do it and road tripping to many parts of Australia I’ve never been to or I want to see again. I’ll still have my moments of wanting to hibernate and needing a few days to recharge the batteries. Which will work out perfectly, because that would enable my boyfriend to go fishing and I can get a bucket load of cross stitch done.

Saving time and money

As much as I miss the freedom at the moment to be allowed to go out and do whatever I want (within reason), I am not missing the journey I have to take to get to work and paying for parking. On average, I pay $39 per week for parking and however much money it is for fuel consumption and the general wear and tear my car experiences when I drive it. Additionally, I’m not missing what my imagination does to me when I’m walking through Civic when it’s dark to get to the gym. In my mind, I worry about people jumping out at me from the shadows and being assaulted in whichever shape it may be. Civic is the centre of Canberra and a central location for many homeless and low income people to be, because of the services that are available to them. Towards the end of the working week, Civic is also known to be the location for people to go to unwind, catch up with friends at the pub or a food place. So, early Thursday or Friday mornings at Civic can be an interesting place to navigate (especially in the warmer months) because of the number of people recovering from the night before. Being a short female, and keeping an eye out for potential dangers isn’t fun! I’ve been lucky to not be severely impacted by this. I have had the occasional encounter with someone asking me for money and they’ve been good when I’ve told them I don’t have any on me.

That said, as you can see in the image above, Civic can be pretty at night if you forget about any of the dangers that the location may have. For about a week each year, we have an event called Night Fest, that encourages people to come out at night and experience Civic and nearby locations under different lights.

Because of this stress, time and money saving, I’m able to sleep in a bit and go for more shorter walks with my boyfriend and we’re able to meet in the kitchen for tea/coffee and lunch.

What about you? What are some of the things you’re happy to be missing out on? What have you been able to do as a result of what’s happening at the moment?

Until next time…

Happy Stitching!

Related Reads:

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Digital versus Stitched Pattern Cover Sheets… Does it matter?

Hi Everyone

I hope you’re all going well. I’ve been working from home for the last two weeks or so and I’m finding that I’m not as inclined to be in front of the computer as much. I’m also finding that I don’t even want to go near my craft room unless I’m working now. But I digress…

I’ve been watching a bit of flosstube and I’ve fallen in love with Autumn Lane Stitchery. Cassandra and her husband Aaron are awesome. Aaron’s the designer of all of their patterns that are available on their Etsy store. I absolutely love all of the Halloween themed designs they have and I’m keen to start stitching some of them when we get closer to October! Below is one of their recent flosstube episodes to give you a bit of a taste what they’re like.

Autumn Lane Stitchery Flosstube episode 5 – Uploaded to YouTube on 13 April 2020

One of the things that I’ve been mulling over for a while now, and Autumn Lane Stitchery have reminded me of this question – how important it is for the project cover sheet to be stitched?

Digital Cover Sheets

I’d never really thought about it too much until Java Girl Stitches talked about one of the patterns she stitched by Shannon Christine Designs (two examples are shown below that I’ve purchased).

From a design and small business perspective, I understand that it may not be possible for businesses to pay someone to stitch a model, or wait for the model to be stitched before the patterns are released . I’ve also found that from stitching perspective, if the cover image is really cool, then I won’t care if it’s not been stitched. I’m placing enough trust in the designer to convey the way the finished picture is meant to look, that I’ll purchase the pattern and stitch it.

A similar thing can be said about photos that have been converted to cross stitch. On some of the social media groups I’m part of, some people have shared their progress of projects from photos and they look really good! Jan Hicks is one example, where she has converted some of her travel photos to cross stitch patterns – aka Jan Hicks Creates. Other examples include Cross Stitch Collectibles and Mystic Stitch. The images below are from the Mystic Stitch website.

Stitched cover sheet

For the majority of the time I’ve been stitching, I’ve only known cover sheets to have a stitched image on it. For example, below is the cover of a pattern that’s currently in my WIP (work in progress) pile.

When I started stitching, seeing a stitched image would give me really good idea of whether or not I’d be able to stitch it. It seems strange to say that because in theory at least, any pattern can be stitched. It’s just a question of how long it will take to stitch it! What I’m finding as time goes on, is I’ll gauge a picture by how much back stitch is in it versus how big the project is and how much confetti stitching it may have – e.g. a HAED.

Being able to see the actual stitches (rather than the digital stitches) helped me in my early years to see how the stitches needed to look. Also, aside from following the pattern, seeing the finished picture helped to reassure me that I was on track, and that my finished project looked as close as possible as what it was meant to be.


I’ve found that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if the cover page is stitched or digital. The most important thing is what the picture is of. The picture needs to jump out at me and make me want to stitch it. It could be because of the colours or the theme – e.g. Shannon Christine’s Craft Room picture. It could also be because of the main subject – e.g. a cute puppy sitting under a Christmas Tree.

What do you prefer – a digital cover image or a stitched one? Does it matter? Why?

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February Funk and Festivities

Hi Everyone

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.

Image found on Pinterest. See Etsy store BirdBlackEmproium for similar images.

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?

Related posts:

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What’s your pick of the bunch? Flowers and Fruits Cross Stitch

Hi Everyone

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!

Lily – Designer currently unknown

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.

Side view of pin container with pin cushion lid

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!

‘Lilac’ by Lena Averina – available on
‘Basket with Forget-me-nots’ by Zamorina Alexandra on

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!

‘Birdie with lemons’ by Svetlana Sichkar – available on


Meanwhile, on NonStopStitch’s Etsy store, there’s a beautiful spring flower bouquet to stitch…

‘SpringTime’ by NonStopStitch – available from NonStopStitch’s Etsy store

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!

‘The Fruit Collection’ – available on the Victoria House Needlework website

Everything CrossStitch

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!

‘Strawberry Kitten’ by Heaven and Earth Designs. Found on the website

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?

‘Purple Wild Flower’ by Kristen Gawronski
‘Wildflowers’ by Kristen Gawronski
‘Jindabyne Flowers’ by Kristen Gawronski
‘Flower’ by Kristen Gawronski
‘Lavender’ by Kristen Gawronski

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?

Until next time, happy stitching!

Posted in Uncategorized

February Finishes and Something Funny

Hi Everyone

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.

‘Teamwork’ by Peter Underhill via Arts and Designs

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:

Funny Pugs range from LoLaLotta’s Etsy store

Fast February?

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!

Until next time, happy stitching!

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What memories are embedded in your cross stitch projects?

Hi Everyone

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!

Stitching Memories

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.

‘Fire and Ice’ Designed by Dyan Allaire – Artwork by Sharlene Lindskog-Osorio – Kustom Krafts Inc. 2003

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 and it’s available on the Kustom Krafts Inc. site.

Golden Ice cover image from Google image search

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.

‘Puppy and Chick’ by Country Threads

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!

Cars of the ’50s Sampler – Stoney Creek Collection – Book 383

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.

Wedding sampler

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.

Wedding sampler – exact details unknown

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?

Until next time, happy stitching!

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Cross Stitch Therapy – what if disaster strikes?

Hi Everyone

In February 2019, I lightly touched on cross stitch as therapy and the potential it has for having a positive impact on mental health. I’m reflecting on this post as some natural disasters that have happened in Australia over the last few months, let alone the last few years.

As 2019 came to a close and we commence the year 2020, some of the south coast towns and villages in New South Wales have been catastrophically impacted by bush fires and drought. Many people have lost their homes and businesses because of the bush fires. Thousands have fled to beaches and evacuation centres because the main roads have been cut off by the fires.

At the moment it’s too early to say how much damage has been done by the fires. I am like hundreds of Canberrans who flock to the south coast town of Batemans Bay and surrounding region for holidays and weekends away. The devastation that has happened down there is felt by all of us because we have either experienced it for ourselves or our empathy has been kicked into overdrive because the south coast is like our second home. Batemans Bay and nearby villages that have been hit by the fires – to the point where as of last night (31 December 2019), electricity and telecommunications are down and may be down and out for a week or more. At the time of writing this post, many areas are isolated because of the fires themselves or the safety risk of trees and branches falling and perished wildlife. Images that have been shared on social media and the news show walls of flames and smoke. Some people have had enough warning to grab some supplies and things they need. Others have just had moments to grab and go. Even if power and telecommunications hadn’t been cut by the fires, telecommunications at the coast isn’t always great because of the terrain and quality of services some of the providers are able to supply.

One of the devastating things about these fires is that no one knows how long it will take before these fires are put out and people can try to start re-building. I’ve heard whispers that significant rainfall may not come until autumn – sometime in March, April or May. Additionally, it’s been so dry in so many areas of Australia for so long that there’s a huge amount of fuel in the national parks that buffer / line the south east coast of Australia. Which means that these fires could continue to burn for several weeks more. With the flow on effect of continued drops in tourism – which the majority of these coastal towns and villages rely upon to survive. There are also hindrances to air quality and a significant depletion to wildlife numbers to name a few.

As of Sunday 5th January 2020, Canberra will have had it’s worst air quality day on record. This morning we woke up to a light orange glow and smoke covered skies. Canberra has fires burning to the East, South and West and some to the North East. Regardless of which direction the wind blows, we are going to be impacted by the smoke. Many areas of Canberra have become evacuation centres for people who have fled the fires at the south coast and surrounding region or are travelling back home from these fire affected areas.

How can cross stitch therapy help?

Stash Donations

On some of the social media feeds and internet pages, I’ve seen people encouraging others to donate their parts of their cross stitch stashes to areas who can accept them and pass them on when they can.

For example, the X Stitchers Helping Hands Aus & NZ is a private Facebook group, but is easy enough to join as long as you are able to answer simple questions required of the group. My understanding is that any Canberra based and surrounding region based stitchers and crafters out there who are wanting to destash, they can drop their donations off to the Crafty Frog in Kambah. I am hopeful that there are similar locations around Australia and New Zealand who are able to have similar drop-off locations!

Tourism – how far would you go for your stash?

The Internet has made life easier for many of us to make a few clicks and we’ve just spent (in my case at least), $50 to $100 on patterns and materials. When I can, I try to buy within Australia. Websites such as OzStitch, the Threaded Needle and The Fox Collection.

For a retail kick, I’ve travelled a few hours north of Canberra, to Mittagong or a couple of hours south to Mogo (a village that has just been wiped out by the bush fires). I want to travel further a field to see and experience other locations. My boyfriend and I have talked lightly about doing some more road trips – especially along the south coast of New South Wales and making our way to Melbourne and eventually along the Great Ocean Road. We’ve also talked about heading over to Tasmania and driving ourselves around there. Additionally, I’ve never been to Perth or Darwin and we’ve only just scratched the surface of visiting Queensland.

A distraction from reality, when there’s nothing else to be done

I don’t know about you, but I need to keep my hands busy if I’m ‘chilling out’ in front of the television. It makes me feel like I’m still being productive, even though I’m sitting on my bum for potentially hours on end. For anyone who is a stitcher or crafter, you will know what I mean! That said, I can’t begin to imagine what people are experiencing at the evacuation centres. If I was at an evacuation centre, at some point in time, I’d be needing to distract myself from what’s happening because there’s nothing I would otherwise be able to do. Talking about the circumstances and events would help a little bit, knowing that others have experienced something similar. It may however, get to the point where it would only serve as a reminder of what has been lost and serve as a reminder to myself to be thankful that I escaped with my life.

Priorities of what to pack should evacuation be required

My boyfriend is very practical. I’m at the other end of the scale because he’s so practical. This came to light when we were talking recently about what to pack and have ready should we need to grab and go. We have an emergency tub of basic essentials that is 90% complete. I have some clothes packed and things that can’t be replaced. Then I started thinking about my craft room and how much of it I could practically pack and how much of it I could leave behind. Photos and camera gear to me is an obvious choice to take with me. What I’m trying to figure out is the practicality of how to pack my patterns, kits, books, stash, WIP’s, FO’s, FFO’s and gear in case of an emergency that may not happen now, but sometime into the future? My entire collection is spread across 6 rooms out of 10. I’m well aware that there area special tubs and suitcase style items I could use. The problem I have is where to put the tubs and stuff when I’m not using it? As much as it annoys my boyfriend at times, I’m pretty happy with the setup I have. I like knowing that I can move my projects around from room to room, depending on what’s happening. I have a filing cabinet I use for most of my kits, fabric and patterns. I also like having a craft room that I can use as a partial study. The part that could be streamlined is where I do my stitching. I watch a lot of television – specifically YouTube, Netflix and and Amazon Prime. It’s my way of burying my head in the sand for a period of time and escaping from the real world for a little while. But I digress…

Using something along the lines of a spreadsheet or My Cross Stitch Tracker (or something similar) may help to organise my stash and have a clear idea of what I have should anything be lost, let alone what I might want to take with me should the time come. My challenge with this is remembering to keep (whichever method I choose) it updated.

Please be safe everyone and hopefully we’ll have some more happy stitching next time!

Related posts

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How do you teach someone to Cross Stitch? Part 3 – Tools of the trade

Hi Everyone

Following last week’s post on learning styles and learning disabilities, this week we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the different tools of the trade that may assist people with different abilities.

While you’re getting to know your student and you’re both trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, it’s really important to check with your student regarding any health ailments they may have or restrictions they have on their movement or if they are left handed or right handed. This is regardless of whether your student has any obvious or hidden disabilities, because you don’t want to aggravate any existing injuries or ailments such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, arthritis or any skeletal or muscular injuries or defects. Alternatively, you or your student may have experienced or suffered from a medical trauma such as a stroke, diabetes or epilepsy. This conversation may be awkward or uncomfortable to have with your student, but it’s an important one to have because it will help you and your student set achievable goals during the sessions you have, such as the length of time spent stitching. It will also help both of you to figure out what tools of the trade will help .

Tools of the trade

Scissors, needles, fabric, threads, really good light and a pattern are the basics of what we all need. Personal preferences and our comfort and abilities kick in when we start looking at:

  • Hoops
  • Q-snaps
  • Stands
  • No hoops or Q-snaps
  • Fabric colour and count size
  • Needle size
  • Needle Minders
  • Brand of thread (e.g. DMC, Anchor, silks)
  • Where our lighting comes from (e.g. natural sunlight, LED over-the-top lighting, regular light bulbs)
  • Needle threaders
  • Type of scissors
  • Magnifiers or glasses with lights attached to them
  • Unpickers
  • Thimbles

Janet M Perry for example, wrote a post titled ‘Stitching Aids for Stitchers with Strokes‘ on 16 April 2016. Janet writes from experience because in her post, she states that she has MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and for 5 years she had been misdiagnosed as having had a stroke, until she had her second attack. She also acknowledges that in one of her classes, she had been asked about some of the aids available for people who have had a stroke which formed the basis of her post.

Automatic Needle Threaders

One of the things Janet talked about in her post, was an automatic needle threader that is made by a company called Clover. I never realised or thought of such a tool existing! But it makes sense and I’m really happy that this tool is out on the market because there’s a pretty strong chance that I might need it one day or someone I teach may need it.

Automatic Needle Threader made by the company Clover – image and description found on the Amazon website as of 2 December 2019


When we’re talking about craft related scissors we have a really nice variety to choose from to cater for people who may left handed or right handed and various strength levels and mobility in either hand. Many of the smaller craft scissors on the market now (we can use for cutting our threads) have been designed for left or right handed people.

One of the things that Janet suggests in her post, is the use of shears for people who may have difficulties with using regular scissors.

Hoops, Q-Snaps and Stands

As crafters, I feel like we can be spoilt for choice. We can choose to use hoops, q-snaps, stands or nothing at all to help keep the tension in our fabric. Additionally, if we choose to use a stand or frame, it can take the weight off our hands while stitching.

Images of various hoops and stands from a Google Image search – as of 8 December 2019

Depending on the ability of your student and their preferences, a frame or hoop may make it easier for them to learn how to cross stitch and potentially for longer periods of time.

Personally, I use the Stitch Smart Stand that you can see in the top left corner of the above image. My stand doesn’t have the magnifier or pattern holder attached to it, but I have the option to add them if I want and can use a variety of sized hoops with it. To access the back of the project to finish off a thread or commence stitching with a new thread, all I need to do is turn the hoop to the left or right and I can see what’s happening. Using this stand takes the weight off my left hand (that I use to hold the project) and I can just use my right hand for the needle and thread. I still use my left hand to lightly hold the project and give the project the extra bit of support.

Additionally, regardless of whether I’m using the stand or not, I definitely use a hoop for all of my projects. I find that the tension for the project is a lot better than when I’m stitching without one. I have stitched one project without a hoop and I felt naked without it!

Magnifiers, lights or glasses

When you can clearly see what you’re doing, it can make the task you’re doing so much easier and hopefully a lot more enjoyable! When it comes to embroidery glasses and magnifiers, there are a number of options on the market which include:

  • the 5 Lens Loupe LED Light Headband Magnifier Glass LED Magnifying Glasses that can be worn like regular glasses and they have a light embedded in the bridge of the glasses and enables you to light up your work. The 5 lenses means that you’re able to adjust the strength of the lenses to suit your eye sight.
  • Giant Large Hands Free Magnifying Glass with light LED which is a rectangle magnifier on a stand that you can use if you’re sitting at a table or on the couch and your work can go under the magnifier. Alternatively, (based upon the images on the internet) the magnifier can hang from your neck.
  • If you choose to use a stand to hold your work, some models enable you to have magnifiers and lights attached to them.
  • Magnifiers that lay over the top of the paper pattern (if you choose to have a paper version or copy) to help you clearly see the symbols and see where you’re up to.

Gloves or wrist supports

Cross stitching for extended periods of time (e.g. hours at a time) and over the course of many years, many of us may become susceptible to ailments such as RSI (repetitive strain /stress injury) and arthritis. Internet searches have shown that there are numerous types of compression finger-less gloves available to provide support to provide support to hands and wrists.

Project Bags

Your student is going to need to put their project somewhere when there not working on it, and be able to easily pick it up and go if you’re meeting somewhere to do a stitch ‘n’ bitch session! The bag can be anything that makes it easy for them to store their stash, ranging from a backpack with many pockets through to a calico bag that may have been used to purchase their new crafty items.

However, if they want something really special, an internet search on project bags for cross stitch will bring up an enormous amount of options such as:

A very tiny sample of cross stitch project bags available on Etsy by various talented people – image taken on 8 December 2019

Alternatively, you and your student may want to try your hand at making a project bag yourself and thankfully, there are many videos on YouTube that can help you with that!

Make your won project bag by Making Life Count – Posted on 2 January 2017

Storage Options

Thankfully there are a lot of different options when it comes to the way we can store our collections – especially depending on whether the projects are actively being worked on or not. The way in which your student chooses to store and manage their floss (aka, cotton, silks or skeins) can make it easier or harder for them to know which colours they need for different parts of the pattern. Additionally, depending on their preference, it may make it easier for them to ensure their strands don’t get tangled. For example, will it be easier for them to be put onto bobbins, remain as they are, be stored in boxes and tins or hanging from hoops?

How to organise embroidery floss and wind on floss to bobbins – YouTube clip by Peacock and Fig – uploaded on 25 October 2015

Technology or paper

Similar to the lighting and magnifying of patterns and projects, your student may have a preference for seeing the pattern on an IT device or on paper and how they mark off the areas they’ve stitched will be impacted by the IT device or paper.

There are a number of apps available to enable people to view and use patterns on their IT devices. I’ve not used any of them before, so the information listed below is based upon searches from the internet:

  • GoodReader – available on Apple only
  • ezPDF reader – available for Android and Apple
How to use the GoodReader app for cross stitch (on ipad) – by Carolyn Mazzeo – uploaded to YouTube on 3 January 2015
EzPDF Cross Stitch how to highlight and remove highlight by Leeleered – uploaded to Youtube on 16 September 2018
My Favourite Cross Stitch and Diamond Painting Apps and why they’re useful by Crafty Lisa – uploaded to Youtube on 21 September 2018

Alternatively, your student may prefer the feel of pencil and paper, photocopying and enlarging the pattern can make life a lot easier if the symbols are quite small or there are a lot of them on the one page.

It’s important to note that there will be limitations around the number of copies you can make – especially for paper based patterns. Additionally, not all patterns are available digitally. Which means that some extra steps will need to be taken to digitise the patterns to enable them to work with whichever app you or your student chooses to use (if using an IT device).

Parting note…

If you’re teaching someone who has never done any form of sewing or embroidery, it may be worth taking a trip to your local craft store so that your student can get a feel for what is right for them.

Meanwhile, next time in Part 4 of this series, we’ll take a look at pattern choices, starting a cross stitch project and the different ways to do cross stitch.

Until next time, happy stitching!

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