It’s amazing what you can find when you’re like me and avoid cleaning out cupboards and doing a really good spring clean!
I’ve been taking stock of what I have hiding in my cupboards – especially in my craft room – with the intention of determining the following things:
Do I need it?
Do I still use it?
Does it bring me joy?
Can I use it for something else?
Can I recycle it? i.e. put it into the recycle bin or take it somewhere that can recycle it
Can I donate it?
Can I sell it and am I confident enough to sell it online via somewhere like Facebook Marketplace?
Do I know anyone who I could give it to?
A lot of this is stemming from spending two weekends (nearly) re-arranging my craft room to fit in second-hand furniture to improve the space for my day job. Whilst slowly (like, snail’s pace slowly!) working towards some long-term goals I want to work towards.
The amazing things found as part of clean-ups!
For years I’ve had stashed away in a grey bag, a cross stitch project that I started and may never finish. I’m hanging onto it as a “just in case” project, depending on whether or not my niece really gets into princesses. I may end up de-stashing it before I find out the answer to this one! But that’s beside the point…it’s the other things I found in the bag that has really surprised me:
“May Your Dreams Come True” was a project I’d stitched for my Nan, but I don’t remember why I never fully finished it or gave it to her. I stitched this project on 18 count Aida and used all of the called for DMC colours and beads. It was intense and I was glad when I’d finished it! I may make a project bag or something out of it. Who knows!
I got the pattern for it out of a cross stitch fairy book I’d bought at a craft show (I think) when I was getting back into cross stitch. Which means that this project was completed in the early to late 2000’s. Because it was well before my boyfriend and I became a couple and well before I moved into my current home.
It’s like hitting the jackpot!
I also found a stash-load of fabric! I am in amazement about this one!
I’m not sure what count fabric this is. I’m guessing it’s 25 to 28 count and roughly 1 metre’s worth! It was definitely back in the early days when I was learning how to kit up my own projects and as I’m writing this, I’ve figured out which project this was intended for. Heaven and Earth Designs “Sampler”, artwork by Selina Fenech:
I was going to stitch this up for my sister. I may still stitch this. Especially a couple of the middle panels as bookmarks. Then with the alphabet, I have a myriad of options!
…and finding a long, lost WIP.
I fully thought that I’d thrown this project out. I remember stitching this project when my boyfriend and I had started going out and I slowly fell out of love with it. I was trying to stitch it in secret. Which at this stage, was when I was still travelling out to my friend’s place when she lived with her parents. So this project is going back about 9 to 10 years!
It’s a Bothy Threads counted cross stitch kit called “A Dictionary of Dogs” and the pictures are adapted from paintings by Helen Smith. I’m using everything that is in this kit and I may pick it up again in the near future and include it in my rotation. Especially since my boyfriend said that he liked the project and wasn’t too surprised that I’d found these things hidden away.
I’m still blown away that I found these things after all this time!
What things have you found in your stash that you hadn’t expected to find?
It feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve posted something to this blog – 20th June was the last time! Sooo much has happened since then!
My boyfriend and I were due to go on a holiday up to Queensland at the start of July and the pandemic had other plans for us. The short story is that we decided to cancel our holiday and we’ll reschedule for a later time either this year or next year. I was going to participate in the 5km event of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon weekend and the event got cancelled because of some outbreaks and lockdowns that were happening in Sydney and the Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast areas. Before we were due to fly out of Canberra, the lockdowns for Brisbane and Gold Coast were going to be for three days and there was no guarantee that it would be for just three days. Brisbane’s lock down was extended for an extra few days and the Gold Coast was lifted on Friday 2nd July at 6pm.
We were relieved that we had decided not to go to Queensland for our holiday, as it lifted a lot of stress we were feeling about the unknown. We had decided to cancel the holiday before we knew about the running event being cancelled – though it looked like a sure thing before anything was formally announced. I’ve still taken my scheduled leave as I had been in the headspace for having a holiday for a set period of time and I knew that I wouldn’t be in the right headspace for work if I had made other changes.
It was also meant to be that we didn’t go on our holiday or for me to participate in any running events, because on Saturday 3rd July, I sprained my left ankle and I couldn’t properly walk on it for about 3 days. It’s still a bit swollen and bruised, but I can do most things on it now with minimal issues!
Because of all of this, I have been stitching and designing patterns for Hot Cross Stitching like there was no tomorrow!
New Patterns and finishes
Flosstube Made Me Do It
I have had the phrase ‘Flosstube made me do it’ in my head for a long time it’s taken me a while to find the motivation to stitch any of the designs based upon this phrase. I’m going to create a new series out of this phrase and my ‘stay-cation’ has helped me with this! The image below is my first finish for this series:
This piece is stitched on 14 count printed peach marble Aida, using DMC threads. I’ve framed it in a 16″x12″ black frame that I got from a dollar store from my local shops. I’ve removed the glass from the frame and it’s hanging up on the wall in my craft room/office (aka ‘Croffice’).
The chart for this piece is available for purchase via the Hot Cross Stitching website as a PDF download. It’s fully compatible with the android application Pattern Keeper. If you would prefer a paper pattern, you can contact me via the Hot Cross Stitching website.
I have regularly heard on a variety of flosstube channels, that someone has been enabled by someone else because of an episode they have watched. This typically means that someone has loved a pattern or fabric, floss, frame or something that another stitcher has shared on their flosstube and the viewer ‘just had to have it’. I’ve definitely been enabled by a few flosstubers and I know it will continue to happen for as long as we all share our love of cross stitch! That is the inspiration for the next pattern and finish:
This pattern will be available on the Hot Cross Stitching website in coming days and it will be available as a PDF download. It’s fully compatible with the android application Pattern Keeper. If you would prefer a paper pattern, you can contact me via the Hot Cross Stitching website.
I’ve stitched this pattern on 28 count evenweave using DMC threads. It’s framed in a 16″x12″ frame from my local dollar store. I’ve left the glass in the frame for this project. That may change over time as I may change my mind regarding the way I have it framed.
The idea for this pattern has been playing on my mind for the last 7 to 8 months. My biggest struggle point has been getting the flowers to look like the image I have in my mind’s eye. To help with this struggle, I have drawn upon inspiration from nature and existing cross stitch patterns like the Australian native flower sampler by Fiona Jude from Country Threads. Below is my first Hot Cross Stitching biscornu finish:
I’m really proud of this finished piece. It is really cute and small and I learnt a lot as I was assembling it. You may notice in one of the pictures, that one side of it looks a little off. I made the wonderful error of not leaving enough of a fabric margin when I cut the two pieces in half. The images below will show you what I mean:
This project was stitched on 28 count evenweave and the fabric frays very easily. I could have used some form of adhesive to stop the edges from fraying and reduce the risk of the brown back-stitches from starting to slide off the fabric. I’ve also learnt that this is a potential flaw in my design as well and I’ve updated the pattern to prevent this from happening to others.
This project was stitched in all DMC threads and the pattern will soon be available on the Hot Cross Stitching website as a PDF download. The pattern is compatible with the android application Pattern Keeper.
WIPGO WIP Updates
For the month of July, the Black and White Rolled-up Daisy (designed by Kristen Gawronski for Hot Cross Stitching) and 12 Days of Christmas (designed by Rhona Norrie) have been called:
I’ve added some stitches to the 12 Days of Christmas project. I’d like to add more before July is over and I’ll share my progress with you in a few weeks time. The same goes for the Black and White Rolled-up Daisy!
Wow, it’s the end of January 2021 already! Where has the month gone? Here in Canberra, Australia we’ve had a pretty mild summer so far and it’s a vast difference to last summer thankfully!
As I’m writing this post, it’s overcast and there’s a very light drizzle rain. The temperature is comfortable enough for me to be barefoot with the windows open for fresh air and jumper to keep me warm enough. Over the last couple of days we’ve had some really nice rain falls to help put a little bit of water into the dams and water the plants.
All of which has been a really good excuse (if I really ever needed one!) to get a bucket load of cross stitch done. WIPGO has also made the world of difference and provided me with the additional motivation I’ve needed to make some significant progress on my projects. For the month of January, the numbers 13, 18 and 6 were called, which meant that I needed to work on Gingerbread Train (allocated to square number 6), Four Seasons Kittens (allocated to square 18) and square 13 being a free space where I could leave it as is or do whatever I wanted with it. For example, I could start a new project, buy a new project or threads, or work on another project that may or may not be on the board shown below:
The squares you see coloured in with a lavender or light purple were the numbers called for January. The cross or X and green Y mean that I have finished that project and met the goal or challenge I had set for that project. Also, the purple squares will never be called upon again for the rest of 2021. Which is why I have set my board up like I have in case I’m unable to meet the challenge I’ve set for each project and many of them are big projects, so I’m not going to be able to complete them by the end of this year.
The light blue squares are the numbers called for February. Because I finished the Gingerbread Train (second allocation, square 20) earlier than I expected, I get to replace it with another project that I’d forgotten about. Initially I was going to have Curglaff in square 20, but with the number 13 called in January, I started stitching it anyway because I wasn’t sure when the number 20 would be called and I really wanted to work on Curglaff (see January Finishes for pictures).
This project has been selected for square 4 and the image below on the left is what I’ve stitched as of December 2020 and the image on the right is what it will look like.
This project has been riddled with counting problems and fudging that it will be interesting to see how things go. It’s also a good thing that it’s on the WIPGO board so that it can get some attention!
Rainbow Zebras…or maybe a change?
The really good thing with this project is that it’s colourful and not full coverage (i.e. there’s still fabric showing through parts of the project).
However, I don’t know what it is about this project, but I’m starting to think I should swap this out for something else. It may have something to do with me working on some more patterns for Hot Cross Stitching that has me wanting to work on those instead of this one.
That said, there shouldn’t be anything stopping me from working on this one, Autumn Castle and working on anything else I want right?!
Gingerbread Train – Designed by Shannon Christine Designs
In an earlier post, I may have mentioned that I had finished the Gingerbread Train by Shannon Christine Designs and posted some pictures. In case you missed it, below is my finish and a comparison image of what the finished model looks like in the Ultimate Christmas magazine/book I got the pattern from:
Curglaff – designed by Michelle Bendy Stitchy
I’m a little surprised by how much I enjoyed working on this project. What made it so enjoyable and exciting were some of the threads I was using and knowing that it was designed by someone who I watch on a regular basis via Flosstube. If I hadn’t watched flosstube and Michelle Bendy or Mich Stitches of Punk Poodle Designs, I’m not sure if I ever would have come across this pattern! So ultimately, I was fan-girling a bit throughout the project!
It’s important to note that I’ve only stitched this project once and that the lighting for when I take the photos has a huge impact on how the fabric looks. The first image that shows my progress for the end of 2020 shows the truer colours of the fabric than the second image. However, the second image shows off the stitching!
I stitched this on 32 count (I think! My memory has faded a little) Belfast Linen that I dyed using orange and purple dyes from Spotlight and I stitched it using two threads of cotton over two threads of fabric (aka two squares).
For the word Curglaff, I used Cottage Garden Threads ‘Raisin’ and for the definition of Curglaff and the bath water, I used Cottage Garden Threads ‘Sherbert’. The rest of the project was stitched in DMC threads – some of them were the called for colours, some of them I swapped out for other colours because I didn’t want to go hunting through my other projects for the called for colours!
I might finish this one like the ideas I have for the Gingerbread Train (check out the related posts list at the end of this one) or put it into my smalls finish book…more to come on that one in later posts!
Four Seasons Kittens – Dimensions Gold kit
*Big sigh* I’m looking forward to completing this project. To me, it feels like I’ve been procrastinating its finish for so long that I’ve forgotten when I started it! Which is why having this project on the WIPGO board for this year is so important. I’ve surprised myself during January with how much I’ve gotten done and having time off work has helped too! So much so, I’ve gotten the Spring quarter completed and I’m looking forward to this project’s number being called later in the year. My fingers are crossed in hope that it’s in a month when I have a bit of time off work so that I make some significant progress on it.
The above images show how far this project has come since I started this blog and talking about this project back in February 2019. Which further highlights why I’m so keen to get it finished!
The good thing now is that I can breath a sigh of relief knowing that I’ve achieved my goal for this project during January 2021, and I can focus on the projects for February.
I’ve been aware of a craft store called the Crafty Frog at Kambah, ACT for many years. However, it wasn’t until the major bushfires of 2019/20 that I went to the store to deliver some donations and last week, to purchase something! In the grand scheme of things, Kambah is roughly a 30 minute drive from where I live and it’s a very comfortable and straight forward one. It’s taken me so long to do the trip because I’ve grown accustomed to the stores closer to where I live and being in the mind set that if I’m going to travel that distance, I need to make my trip worthwhile. For example, there may be some other stores I want to visit or a friend or family member.
In this case, I have a friend who lives in roughly that direction (still about a 20 minute drive away from the store), but close enough to warrant a round trip. I’d also reminded myself enough that the Crafty Frog has some specialty threads I wanted to check out and below is what I bought:
Dinky Dyes, Brindabella Threads and CGT (aka Cottage Garden Threads) are all Australian based – the Brindabella ones being Canberra Region based!
I’m not completely sure what I’ll stitch with these yet, but I just love looking at them! The time, effort and creativity that each company / business has put into making these threads is awesome and amazing. To me, they are definitely worth the extra money!
Happy New Year! I hope it’s been a good start to the new year for you, as much as it can be.
It’s been a while since I’ve published a post because I’ve been on holidays since Boxing Day through to Tuesday 12th January 2021 and enjoying my stitching bubble. So much so, I’ve finished a project I didn’t expect to finish so soon and I have made a lot of progress on another project that has needed a lot of attention!
In my last post, I talked about many of my Works in Progress (WIP) being part of WIPGO 2021 and below is the board I’ve put together:
How it works in a nutshell
The idea behind WIPGO is that it’s like a bingo board in the sense that the squares are numbered and Jessie Marie who runs / is the organiser for the Facebook group (I’ve come across her on Youtube via her Flosstube channel called Jessie Marie Does Stuff), uses a random number selector app to select two numbers between 1 and 25 per month. Jessie Marie would then post those two numbers in the Facebook group and that would help all participants to use their boards and know which projects they were going to be working on.
Side note: I hadn’t realised until recently, that a standard sized bingo board has 25 squares, and to make it easier, it’s the reason why the numbers between 1 and 25 are selected for WIPGO! Also, the numbers for the next month are drawn and posted on the Facebook group on the 27th of each month (in the case of numbers for January, they were posted in December 2020), so we have time to prepare our projects if need be for the next month.
The other cool thing with WIPGO is that there are few rules we, as a collective, need to abide by. We get to make our own rules and goals for our own boards, because everyone is different and the aim is to keep it fun and light. In my case, I’ve chosen to aim for stitching 250 crosses per day for each project that has been selected for that particular month.
For January, three numbers were selected – numbers 13, 6 and 18. The space for number 13 is a free space and we can do whatever we want with that space. In my case I chose to have a new start or free choice because I didn’t want to be limited to anything specific if I didn’t want to. I could have chosen to leave this square blank and just cross it off as being complete.
Which leaves me with squares 6 and 18 – the Gingerbread Train and 4 Seasons Kittens and my goal to stitch 250 crosses for the Gingerbread Train and 250 crosses or stitches on 4 Seasons Kittens per day for the whole month of January or until the project is complete – whichever happens sooner.
Last year when I was participating in Stitch Maynia, I learnt quickly that trying to count my stitches after I’ve stitched them (when using paper patterns) was time consuming and took some of the fun out of it. I tried to make it a little easier for myself by using coloured pencils to help differentiate between each time I sat down and worked on the projects, and it did help a little.
With that memory in mind, I made the most of the coloured pencils at the coast house and made my paper patterns for Gingerbread Train and 4 Seasons Kittens look like a rainbow! Each colour and section on the patterns would represent 250 stitches and a particular day – e.g. red = day 1, orange = day 2 etc, regardless of which pattern it was. That way I would know which section I was going to work on for that day and that it added up to 250 stitches.
When I was sorting out the pattern for Gingerbread Train, I realised pretty quickly that I would have the project completed within the first 2 weeks or so of January (including backstitching and beading)! And if I was motivated enough with 4 Seasons Kittens, I’d have the Spring quarter 90% to 95% complete with some backstitching and French Knots to complete the next time it was called up.
What happens if I reach my goals before the end of the month?
That’s up to me. I can start some new projects to fill in the time until February starts or I can take a break from stitching and do some other crafty things instead or whatever I want (within reason). I can also work on some other WIP’s that haven’t made it onto the board.
In the case of the Gingerbread Train, I have chosen to replace it’s second listing on the board with a different project that didn’t make it onto the board, first time around. So when the number 20 is called, I’ll be working on Curglaff designed by Michelle Bendy Stitchy (the pattern can be purchased from her Etsy store).
I won’t be winning any prizes if I finish any of my projects ahead of time or complete a Bingo line before anyone else. I can however, choose to reward myself with setting aside some money to purchase a new pattern or cross stitch related item for every project I complete or line I complete. I’ve noticed in the Facebook group that some people have allocated certain rewards for every goal they achieve which I think is really cool, and a great way to help with the motivation with some projects that can be a struggle to work through.
For me, the reward is sticking to my goals and achieving them. I struggle to stick to my goals (for many parts of my life, not just cross stitch!) and I’m really excited about this WIPGO board and sticking with it because there are enough elements to it that will keep me motivated. There’s enough structure where I know what projects I will be working on and I have them organised enough so that there’s not much effort involved with bringing them out when they’re called. Then there’s the surprise or random element that keeps it interesting. I don’t know what numbers will be drawn until the 27th or 28th of January and that’s the random element I like.
The reward element may change over time and that’s my prerogative! As I’m writing this and thinking about what rewards I could incorporate are:
purchasing a new pattern
starting a new pattern or kit
creating a wishlist of patterns I would like, that family or friends could purchase for birthday’s or Christmas
getting a massage or manicure – or both!
road trip to a new craft store (if practical) or one I haven’t visited for a while
join a cross stitch class or group that meets face to face
learn how to crochet
re-organise and improve my crafty spaces (you may get to see my crafty space in future posts and you’ll see why this would be a reward!)
Stitch Maynia and March Madness
I’m still working on how this two months and events can fit into my WIPGO plans or if they can at all. Especially since I’m working full time and who knows what the year will bring work wise!
At the moment I’m liking the idea of participating in both and the idea of starting new things. The tricky thing is being organised and finding the right storage space for them. Which has me thinking about the project bags I’ve seen a lot of people talking about on Flosstube and how I can make them work for the projects I have. However that’s a new and different rabbit hole for me to scamper down!
Cross Stitch Project bags – what are they?
I’ve learnt that project bags come in a variety of sizes and can have handles to that they can be carried like a bag or just have zips, clips, velcro or anything that works well to keep everything contained inside the bag. The image below shows a very small sample of the huge variety of bags available that I’ve seen talked about on Flosstube.
I like the bags that have the clear vinyl at the front so that you can see what’s in the bag and what project should be inside. My struggle is having a bag big enough to fit the boxes I use for some of my large projects (that have over 100 colours), as well as the hoops and everything I need for the project.
The good thing is that there are larger bags that are akin to small luggage/suitcase style bags available to suit my needs and I will need to do some more searches online to see what could work for me. My struggle at the moment is to have something slim enough to easily store away when I’m not working on it and easy enough to take with me when I’m travelling. Yet large enough to fit all of the tools I need for the project without it compromising the project.
I have been stitching the 4 Seasons Kittens by Dimensions methodically since it’s number was called for on the WIPGO board – and even more so since I finished the Gingerbread Train on 16th January 2021.
The first image below shows what I’ve done since 1st January 2021 through to 17th January 2021. I’ve probably spent more time on this project than the Gingerbread Train because of the amount of half stitch this project has. Also, I need to do nearly double the amount of stitches on this project than the Gingerbread Train that is just full crosses, to enable me to be satisfied with reaches the goals I’ve set for it.
To help put this progress into perspective, below is the progress I had made on the project by the end of 2020:
Because of the significant progress I’ve made on the Spring quarter of this project, I think I’ll be able to get it done!
Gingerbread Train designed by Shannon Christine
I really enjoyed stitching this project. It was colourful and fun and I really like the patterns from Shannon Christine Designs because they are easy to read and I love her colour choices.
This pattern called for it to be stitched on 28 count Sky High evenweave fabric. At the time I may not have had 28 count fabric or enough for this pattern, so I stitched it on 14 count Aida from Threaded Needle that had the green marble look you see in the above image, printed on one side of the fabric. All threads are DMC and all bar two colours are the called for colours. The two colours I altered were because I didn’t have them in my stash at the time and I don’t think it’s detracted from the pattern in the slightest.
If I were to stitch the pattern again, I would ensure to give myself enough room to stitch all of the letters for ‘Sweet Christmas Wishes’ and I’d see if I could adjust the font for the letters or change the colour I use for the outline of the letters. I might also have the white dots as beads instead of individual white crosses.
The other really good thing about this pattern, is that it got me over my reluctance to use beads in patterns. This pattern reminded me that as long as I’m careful with getting the beads on the special beading needle and I remain patient, everything will be okay!
For now I have this project ironed and rolled up with my other completed but not FFO’ed (fully finished objects) projects. I’m thinking that I could turn it into a sign that could be hung or nicely displayed somewhere. My mind will probably change multiple times before I finally finish it too!
I’m procrastinating making a start on making a proper start on my website (more news to come), so I’m writing this post instead! I’m also pretty excited about finally finishing a project and it being my first biscornu (aka fancy pin cushion)!
In my last post, I talked about my start on a free rainbow biscornu pattern I’d found on the internet, from the Cross Stitch Crochet Others website.
Majority of the searches I’ve conducted on the ‘Net for biscornu patterns, majority of them are on lighter fabrics – regardless of the count size. They all look good on the lighter fabric. I chose to use 14 count black Aida because I had some that was the right size for the pattern and to me, there’s something about the darker fabrics that really make the colours pop.
I’ve filled the biscornu with some polyester ‘soft fill’ that I’ve had for ages from Lincraft.
The other traditional thing with biscornu’s is that a button is usually used in the middle of it to help with the finished shape. I’ve bucked the trend and chosen to use two little dog charms that I’ve had in my craft collection for ages, but I’ve not really known what I wanted to do with them. When I was fastening them to the biscornu, I’ve come to appreciate why buttons or beads are used rather than anything else. The holes in the buttons especially, make it so much easier to fasten them to the biscornu. Which is why you will see a bit of orange thread going across one of the little dogs.
Because of how quickly I was able to stitch this and put it together (overall it’s taken me about 3 weeks – potentially less if work didn’t get in the way!), I’m keen to stitch another one sometime soon.