Posted in WIP's and Plans

Jolly June and Stitchmas in July Progress

Hi Everyone

By the time you’re reading this post we will be nearing the end of June and my boyfriend and I have had a weekend at the coast. It’s been a topsy-turvy few weeks for us – especially my boyfriend. In the space of two weeks, he was told that his contract was finishing at the end of June because funding had been cut. He was then told a week after the first phone call, that the project was too important and that funding had been re-instated for the project, as well as his contract! Whilst all of that was happening, his new car arrived and he was having all kinds of fun getting it registered in Canberra (it had been trucked up from Melbourne, Victoria – roughly 6 to 8 hours drive away).

Whilst the drama was happening for my boyfriend, I got to head down to the coast a couple of weekends ago on my own and catch up with my parents which was good. It had been about 10 years since I’d travelled to the coast on my own! I use to do the trip regularly on my own as a way of recharging my batteries and hibernating from the world. As much as I missed my boyfriend, it was good for him to have the thinking space he needed. Because he was able to decide what he wanted to do with the job loss (before we found out he’d been offered the job back) and make some really positive decisions.

Meanwhile, as I’m writing this post, the clouds are starting to come over and the rain we’ve been anticipating should be starting to make it’s self known. Which means that I should be getting some more stitching in. My friend and I have started up our stitch ‘n’ bitch sessions again as restrictions are being lifted even more in Canberra and surrounds. Our aim is to alternate between each other’s places on most Saturdays, with the flexibility of postponing it if we have appointments, are needing to/wanting to travel etc. It was a really good start to the weekend, because the hilarity leading up to our catch-ups, we had been living about half an hour away from each other, but were Skyping because of the social and travel restrictions 🙂

Stitching progress

Since my last post about Jolly June and Stitchmas in July, I’ve been working on:

  • Gundaroo Mini Mushroom
  • Fight Like a Girl
  • Autumn Castle
  • Candy Express
  • Santa’s Coming
  • Zebras

Gundaroo Mini Mushroom designed by Kristen Gawronski

I know this has nothing to do with a Christmas theme. It is something that makes me happy as I continue to make progress with it. One of the things I found after working on it for so long, is that the pattern has the same symbol for two different colours! How on earth did I manage to miss that?! I’ve decided to go with the greener tone and it should blend in well.

Fight Like a Girl designed by Tanya Amity

Again, not a Christmas theme project and one that’s not bringing me much joy once I start stitching it. Some of the things that will help (I hope) is to put the project in a larger hoop. I’ve got so much fabric to deal with because of the size of the project, that if I have it in a larger hoop, I can roll the excess around it until I need to move the hoop. Similar to what people do with Q-snaps and scroll frames.

My other issue with the project is being tired when I’m stitching it. It’s on 18 count navy blue fabric and I’ve adjusted my light so that it’s shining from underneath rather than overhead. It’s helping a bit. But more sleep is definitely needed for when I work on it so that I don’t make as many mistakes when I’m working on it and mis-counting my stitches.

Candy Express designed by Shannon Wasilieff

I’m looking forward to eating some gingerbread when the season kicks in again. I’ve been having fun stitching it and I’m looking forward to finishing it as well! The two main things I’m dreading with this project is the back stitch and beads…As long as I keep reminding myself that it’s worth it at the end, it’ll be okay.

Christmas Owls designed by Jenny Barton

I’ve been working on this project most days for the last week or so and I’m really happy with how it’s progressing. My boyfriend was able to change the light in one of the rooms we hang out in, so that’s helped a bit with stitching at night. One of the things I’m looking forward to with this project is the glow-in-the-dark thread for the moon. It looks just like white DMC thread – either the Blanc or B5200 – and feels quite similar to the cottons. I’ll just have to wait and see how it is when I’m stitching with it!

Santa’s Coming designed by Durene Jones

Last week my aim had been to finish stitching the banner and my nephew Ryan’s name. I’m really happy with how this has worked out. I haven’t had to re-stitch his name and centre it, which I’m super relieved by! I’m already thinking that if I stitch this pattern again, I might change some of the colours to different shades or tones of what you’re seeing in the images below to make them bolder. The challenge will be making sure they don’t clash.

Autumn Castle designed by Evgenia Kolesnikova

I’ve slowly eased up on stitching this project. I’m still enjoying it. It has however become a little like the Fight Like a Girl project because of the amount of errors I’ve made with it so far. Something I really had not expected and I’m quite disappointed by the number of mistakes I’ve made with it so far because it’s on pink fabric and in a larger hoop! Like Fight Like a Girl, stitching on it when I’m tired is most likely the main reason why I’ve made so may errors with it. I’m just thankful that it’s a solid piece and that I’ve been stitching long enough to be able to blend my mistakes in with the rest of the project, without frogging it too much and it working out in the end.

Zebras by Design Works

I feel like I’m losing my mojo with this project, which I’m surprised by because it’s so colourful! Interestingly, the images below of the updated progress show just how stiff the Aida is – but that’s Aida to a tee! In the updated images, you may notice that the project isn’t in a hoop and it’s held its shape. I should have ironed the project before taking the pictures. I do like how the fabric frames what I’ve done so far. What do you think?

Something funny…

Every so often when I’m browsing through Pinterest I’ll come across some really cool subversive cross stitch that I think suits me to a tee. The one I recently came across is shown below:

Screen shot of a subversive design found on Pinterest

Anyone who knows me well or has seen my desk at work, knows that to the untrained eye, my desk or home looks like a bomb hit it. To me, it’s organised mess and 90% of the time I know where things are. The question is whether you can wait about 5 minutes for me to get it to you?

The other subversive cross stitch I came across that makes me chuckle when I read it is:

Designed by Solemprobler on Etsy

My sense of humour can be quite dry at times and I try to use sarcasm to defuse a situation and lighten it. If my death isn’t caused by my sarcasm, it’ll be caused by my head being in the clouds and off with the fairies daydreaming, resulting in me not paying attention to where I’m going or what I’m doing!

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Posted in WIP's and Plans

Jolly June and Stitchmas in July

Hi Everyone

I hope you’re all well. By the time I publish this post, many of us in Australia will be half way through/nearing the end of our last long weekend until October. As quickly as those weeks and months will go between now and then, the prospect of there not being a long weekend to have a reprieve from the cold weather, work, life and anything in-between seems daunting. To help put things into perspective with the number of long weekends Australia has, most of ours tend to happen from Christmas/New Year through to June.

That said, in Canberra at least, the week that’s just ending has been my first week to go to the gym and start seeing people I have regularly trained with and seen in the gym face-to-face! I never thought I’d be so excited and happy about setting foot in the gym again and seeing everyone! Seeing some of my training buddies online via Zoom has helped with not feeling so isolated. But there’s something about seeing someone face-to-face – even if you can’t or aren’t meant to – give them a hug, just being around people and being able to start working out with gym equipment felt really, really good.

There’s also been a few times in the last few weeks where I’ve popped into work for a few hours here and there and it was nice to get out of the house. I didn’t enjoy feeling like a pack horse and lugging my work equipment between the office and the car. For cheaper parking, I choose to park my car about 5 to 10 minutes walk away from the office and carrying a laptop bag with the laptop, full keyboard, power cords, mouse and anything else I need gets heavy after a while. I’m estimating it all to be about 2 to 3 kilos. Which doesn’t seem like much, but it feels like 10 kilos by the end of the walk.

Now for the cross stitch stuff

In my last post, I hinted at how I was going to be able to work on some of my projects from Stitch Maynia that I hadn’t been able to spend as much time on. Taking inspiration from Stitch Maynia and Canberra moving well and truly into Winter, I’m aiming to make June and July as colourful and festive as possible. This means making June and July the months I can focus on Christmas related projects and projects that are colourful, make me happy and I really enjoy stitching.

Christmas Stitches

It’s not going to be a nutty as what Stitch Maynia felt like. At the moment I’m going to be working on finishing the Christmas themed projects I started from the Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas magazine/book, Volume 19 from 2018. The pictures below are the projects I had started working on – Candy Express and Santa’s Coming, designed by Shannon Wasilieff and Durene Jones.

Tip: Candy Express can also be found on the website Shannon Christine Designs.

Since last week, I spent a bit more time on Santa’s Coming and below is my latest progress. I may need to re-stitch Ryan’s name to centre it a bit more. The long line of crosses you see just above Ryan shows the full width of the banner his name is in. That said, I just need to stitch the apostrophe and the ‘s’, so it may balance it out!

Progress of Santa’s Coming as of 7 June 2020

I’ve also made a start on (and nearly finished) a project that I’ll make into a card or Christmas decoration called Let it Snow by Emma Congdon out of the Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas magazine/book Volume 19 from 2018.

Design by Emma Congdon – Pattern from Ultimate Christmas Cross Stitch Vol 19 2018

My reason for it being in dark colours is due to it being for one of my work colleagues who wears a lot of black at work and sometimes some pink. For this project I used the DMC 53 varigated thread. Unfortunately I can’t remember what the fabric count is because I’ve had this fabric for a while. I’m guessing it’s 28 count and I’ve stitched it two strands of thread over two ‘strands’ or squares of fabric.

I’ve also learnt my lesson with reducing the amount of rotations I do with this pattern when I’m stitching the border! Check out my recent post called ‘How Many Secrets does your Cross Stitch Hold?’ and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m aiming to continue stitching the Let it Snow pattern a few more times in different varigated threads for my work colleagues so that I feel ready for Christmas time and surprise them. This is also pending that we’ll be all working back in the office!

Jolly June Stitching

Yesterday afternoon I started one of the projects I’d been wanting to start in May – Design Works ‘Zebras’. In my last post, I had called this project Colourful Zebras. That was a mistake on my part. This project is just called Zebras.

Since working on some Dimensions kits, I’m making sure I get into the habit of writing the symbols on the floss cards for any kits I work on. This has made the world of difference! The only sticky point I had with writing the symbols on the card for the Zebras was for two of the holes in the floss card, are two different colours. E.g. a blue and brown in one hole and a purple and green in another. Not a big deal, just something I hadn’t expected! Below is my progress as of 7 June 2020:

So far I’ve been able to stitch around a part of the Zebra’s eye that has a lot of yellow and orange and I’ve stitched a part of the pink on the second Zebra’s forehead and a part of it’s forelock.

Stitchmas Plans

For Christmas in July, my aim is to keep working on Candy Express and Santa’s Coming and the Let it Snow cards. My additional aim is to start on the following patterns – some of which I had kitted up and mostly ready for Stitch Maynia.

Christmas Cuddles

I’ve got this project kitted up and it’s designed by Jenny Burton. Her pattern is in The World of Cross Stitching magazine. Unfortunately I’m unable to properly tell what the volume number is or the year. I had bought it at the same time as the Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas magazine/book near the end of 2018 at the Batehaven newsagency in New South Wales, Australia.

When Santa got stuck in the chimney

The design is by Emma Congdon out of Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas book/magazine. I’m yet to kit it up. I like look of the design and the lettering in it so different to what I’ve been use to seeing in designs over the years. I’m curious about how the design process is for such lettering!

On the first day…

This design is by Rhona Norrie from the Ultimate Cross Stitch Christmas magazine/book. I’ve partially kitted this one up because some of the called for colours are being used in other projects.

I think this project and Christmas Cuddles will give me a run for my money with both of them being stitched on navy blue fabric! Thankfully I have a few other projects to alternate between and I have an awesome over-the-top light that will help a lot!

Well, that’s it from me for this week. Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Posted in Cross Stitch Haul and Stitching Progress, Stitch Maynia, Tips and Tricks, WIP's and Plans

Stitch Maynia Wrap Up

Hi Everyone

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.

Floss card from Barnyard Kittens by Dimensions (kit)

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!

What’s next?

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!

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Posted in Stitch Maynia, Tips and Tricks, WIP's and Plans

Stitch Maynia Progress and What I’ve Learnt So Far

Hi Everyone

As I’m writing this post, it’s Sunday 17th May 2020 in Australia and we have about two more weeks until then end of May and a long weekend!

My experience with Stitch Maynia so far has been a whirlwind and I’m now appreciating why so many participants have been talking about making plans and rotations etc. When I’ve watched some of the flosstube clips on Stitch Maynia, I’ve admired people who have known which projects they’re going to work on which days and sticking to those plans. I’ve found that I can plan something within an inch of its life, but executing those plans is something best left to someone else. Alternatively, if someone else has planned something, for the most part I’m able to follow through on those plans. I’ve found that it’s a lot to do with the amount of energy I’m able to apply to either the plans or executing the plans – rarely both!

Progress so far…

With that in mind, a few weeks ago, I had written a post about Stitch Maynia and whether it was better to big, small or medium projects throughout May or to do a combination of all three. I’d also mentioned that I was going to to a mixture of existing WIP’s (works in progress) and new starts. I have been able to stick to that. I have changed a little in terms of what the new starts would be based on what I’m feeling on the day and my available supplies.

For my physical patterns, I’ve found it easier to use a coloured pencil to track which days I’ve stitched on a pattern and how much I’ve stitched. Below is an example of what I’ve done with some of my patterns:

How I use coloured pencils to track how much I’ve stitched on which days

What I haven’t done is properly track (at a quick glance) which patterns I’ve spent what time on and which ones need more attention or starting. I’m thinking that it may be easier to have a printed calendar style page stuck to the wall or a convenient place for me to use the coloured pencils to visually see what’s going on. Below is an example of what I think could work:

SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
12
Gingerbred Train
(Started – yellow)
3
Autumn Castle
4
Barnyard Kittens (coloured pencil) and
Autumn Castle (coloured pencil)
56
Gundaroo Mini Mushroom (yellow)
7
Gingerbred Train
(Cherry Red)
89
10
Gundaroo Mini Mushroom (Cherry Red)
1112
Barnyard Kittens (yellow)
131415
Fight Like a Girl
(Pattern Keeper)
16
Moon Lit Waters
(Pattern Keeper)
17
Gingerbred Train
(Rose Red)
181920212223
24252627282930
31
Example of calendar style as a visual tracker of what I’ve stitched

Meanwhile, I’ve seen that some people like to use something digital like a spreadsheet or pattern keeper. I’ve also seen some people use a project picker wheel spinner app to help them pick what project to stitch next.

I am using pattern keeper for some of my projects, where the patterns work for that app. What I’m trying to figure out is if the app can tell me when I’ve last worked on a pattern. If you know if the app has that feature and how I can get it to work, I would love to hear about it!

I’m thinking that the project picker wheel spinner app could be useful if I’m undecided about which project to stitch on next – especially when Stitch Maynia comes around next year!

What I’ve learnt…

Having enough tools of the trade

The importance of having enough hoops, needles and needle minders!

Swapping things around for the projects that I’ve not kept a needle, hoop and needle minder with has been challenging. So much so that within the second week of Stitch Maynia, I’ve lost the backs of two needle minders! Thankfully I’ve got some spare magnets that I had purchased a while ago to try and make my own needle minders and it’s made the world of difference.

Preferential Treatment

I’ve also found that I’m starting to preference some of my newer projects for some of my older ones. Mostly because they’re new and exciting and I haven’t lost my interest in them yet. Which is a good thing and a bad thing. The bad thing is that the older projects are getting set aside for longer and one of my goals for the Gundaroo Mini Mushroom project is to have it finished, framed and ready for the next Canberra Royal Show. At this rate, I probably wont have it ready for the required cut off date to submit the project. Also, who knows what the shows will be like next year with social distancing, restrictions on public gatherings etc?

Working from home

Being at home for longer has been a good thing and a bad thing. I’m saving money by not travelling as much and the temptation to stitch more than working has been stronger than ever. As a compromise, I’ve stitched a bit before work – if the weather isn’t great for a long walk – and getting some stitches in at lunch time. This has helped me with sticking as closely as I can to the goal of 200 stitches per day to my project of the day, resulting in 200 stitches for each project throughout the week before I change the colour of the pencil. If I’m able to add 200 stitches to the project of the day and I’ve still got some hours before bedtime, I’ll make a start on another project that needs some attention.

Being too ambitious

Had I not been working, being able to work on 20 different projects for the month of May would be reasonable and achievable. I’m now appreciating why many people this year are choosing to do MonogoMaynia or doing a similar variation that makes it manageable for them – e.g. focusing on a page finish.

I really wanted to be able to work on 20 projects for this month and I still have time to be able to do it, as this particular post will be released on the weekend of 23rd/24th May. The pressure I’m putting on myself for this, if I choose to have 20 projects for May because of the year 2020, I need to be able to keep working on them and finish as many of them as possible. Preferably by the end of this year or May next year at the latest!

So what I’ll do for next year if I can, is to focus on smaller projects – preferably cards. By memory I had mentioned this at the start of this year, when I was talking about my plans for the year. Whether or not I stick to this is yet to be seen!

Wrap up

How are things going for you with Stitch Maynia? What version of it have you chosen to do?

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Related Reads

Posted in Stitch Maynia, WIP's and Plans

Stitch Maynia. Big versus small projects

Hi Everyone

Since I’ve started watching Flosstube, I’ve become increasingly aware of Stitch Maynia and each year I’ve been increasingly tempted to participate. because it looks like a lot of fun and I’m really good at starting a bucket load of projects! My challenge will be to finish everything that I start!

Based on what I’ve seen on the ‘Net and Flosstube, Stitch Maynia had started in May 2015 and based upon the year 2015, Stitchers were encouraged to started 15 new projects. The projects could be whatever the Stitchers wanted them to be and the aim was to get as many of those projects completed by the end of 2015. If Stitchers hadn’t been able to finish their 2015 starts by the time 2016 rolled around, they would need to include those WIP’s (works in progress) and whatever new starts they wanted to make up the 16 projects for 2016 Maynia. If Stitchers had completed all of their 2015 Maynia WIP’s, then they would be able to have 16 new starts for 2016 Stitch Maynia!

If I participate in Stitch Maynia this year, it would mean that I would need to have 20 new starts and I could start these in any which way I want – as long as they’re all started by the end of May.

Big versus Small Starts

Considering that there are meant to be 20 new starts this year, having 20 big starts may be overwhelming because of the amount of floss each project would need, where to keep it all, how to manage it etc.

Big Project Starts

Working on a big project is a challenge within its self because of the shear size of it, the amount of colours it may require, the length of time you need to spend on stitching it and that strong sense of achievement when you’ve finished it. To me, a big project is something that will take years to complete – especially if it’s the only thing I’m focusing on. Heaven and Earth Designs (HAED’s) are the first thing that comes to mind when I think of big projects. In some of my earlier posts, I’ve talked a bit about my progress on my first HAED – Moon Lit Waters.

My first HAED

If you choose to do at least one large project, check out the Pattern Keeper app if you haven’t already. It will let you know which designers are compatible with the app and if you’re trying to narrow down what to stitch, its compatibility with Pattern Keeper may be the decider!

If you choose to do 20 big starts as part of Stitch Maynia, the awesome thing is that not all projects need to have a bucket load of colours to give it that wow factor. One of the trends I’ve noticed with a lot of the Flosstubers is the amount of people who are in love with samplers – especially samplers based on or inspired by ones from over 100 years ago. Many of these samplers don’t have a lot of colours in them. Some of which are just mono-chrome or use variegated threads and make the most of the different hand-dyed fabrics available.

Another option for your big starts is to be part of a Stitch-A-Long (SAL) that releases patterns at the start of each month and by the end of the designated time frame, you will have a beautiful large piece.

Small Starts

To me, there’s something exciting about starting a new project – once I’ve decided on what I’m stitching and I have everything kitted up (unless I’ve chosen a kit). The excitement is in the new beginnings, fresh starts and seeing something come to life on the fabric. It also has bit to do with my attention span and getting the itch to start something new every few months or so.

Therefore, to me a small start is something I can complete within a week or two – a month maximum. It may just take me a while to fully finish it!

One of the things I really enjoy stitching are cards for various celebrations – even though I don’t stitch them very often. Partly because I struggle with fully finishing them as cards. However, with Stitch Maynia I now have the excuse to stitch a heap of Christmas and birthday cards and related paraphernalia! It may also prompt me to start some Halloween projects that I’ve been eyeing off for a while now and talked about in some of my blog posts.

The other cool thing with stitching cards is that I’m able to use some of the off-cuts of fabric I have floating around the house!

A bit of both?

Since there are meant to be 20 new starts this year, there’s nothing wrong with mixing it up and having a combination of big and small projects. Which means that you should be able to get a sense of achievement by the end of May because of the small starts being finished or nearly finished. And you should also be able to see a bit of progress with some of your bigger projects.

Theoretically, this will satisfy my need to stitch a mixture of small, medium and large projects. I’ll be able to continue working on my current WIP’s and get some small cards done. My main challenge will be deciding on what to start and when. I can plan something to the last inch of its life. My struggle point is putting those plans into action! Mostly because I’ve put so much time and effort into the planning phase, that in my mind I’ve already put those plans into action and I feel like my job is done. Funnily enough, I’m not always able to follow other people’s plans as well. There’s something about my need for independence and flexibility. There’s also an element of trying to follow something exactly and then there’s a change to my routine and I struggle to get back to the regular program.

But I digress…I’m still hopeful that I’m able to stick to the plans and projects I’ve put together for Stitch Maynia and that I can keep it flexible enough to keep me happy. The other thing that I’ll be testing during this maynia month is the use of coloured pencils on my paper patterns I can’t load into Pattern Keeper. My aim is to use a different coloured pencil for each day that I work on those patterns so that I can see how much progress I’m able to make. My goal is to stitch a minimum of 200 stitches for each medium to large project before I can move onto the next project. I’ve found that for most projects this is achievable because I’m able to spend a couple of hours at least on them, and for most projects I’m able to easily get the 200 stitches in!

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Related Reads:

Posted in Cross Stitch Haul and Stitching Progress, WIP's and Plans

I’ve fallen in love with soft Aida fabric

Hi Everyone

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!

Pink Aida from ‘Rosemont The Patchwork Shop’ in Mogo, NSW Australia

I decided to stitch the pattern called ‘Excuse the Mess, but I Craft Here’ by Shannon Christine Designs and I tested out the Pattern Keeper app with this pattern. The results of my efforts are shown below:

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!

Posted in Cross Stitch Haul and Stitching Progress, WIP's and Plans

February Page Finishes

Hi Everyone

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!

‘Four Seasons Kittens’ by Dimensions – Progress as of 29 February 2020
‘Four Seasons Kittens’ by Dimensions – progress as of 11 January 2020

Midnight Fairy

A page finish and then some…

Moonlit Waters Fairy by Heaven and Earth Designs – Progress as of 29 February 2020

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.

Fishing

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!

‘Fishing’ progress as of 29 February 2020
‘Fishing’ close-up of my focus area and page finish as of 29 February 2020

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…

‘Gundaroo Mini Mushroom’ by Kristen Gawronski – progress as of 29 February 2020

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…

‘Gundaroo Mini Mushroom’ by Kristen Gawronski – progress as of 29 February 2020

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!

‘Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms’ by Kristen Gawronski – pattern showing the confetti stitching and what remains to be stitched for the page as of 29 February 2020

Now that February is over for another year…

What now?

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!

Posted in WIP's and Plans

Cross stitch Progress and Plans for 2020

Hi Everyone

It’s been a while since I’ve done a stitchy update and I’ve made a tonne of progress since I’ve last posted an update. Some of the things that have significantly helped is in September 2019 I had some planned time off work and I ended up getting sick during those holidays. In hindsight, I believe that it was my body’s way of saying that I’d been under too much stress for so long that now I have the time to relax, my body was going to make sure I relaxed! It also meant that I was able to get a lot of stitching done and binge watch a huge amount of Gossip Girl, Netflix and Flosstube! Then in early to mid December 2019, I got sick for a few days because I’ve finally relaxed into my new job (it was around the three month mark of being in the new job that I got sick) and I got even more stitching done. With all of this stitching I was able to do – let alone years – I’ve given myself RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) – self diagnosed – in my right hand. Specifically the knuckle for my index finger that connects to my palm and some of the muscles around my wrist, palm and muscles for my middle finger.

The slight positive is that I purchased a number of months ago, some fingerless support gloves (see images below) that are intended for embroidery and similar work. I purchased the gloves from the Australian website Thread and Needle. If you’re in the market for some support gloves, I highly recommend them! I’ve started using them a lot more and they’re really helping at the moment. I will need to go and see a doctor or physiotherapist about it though, because I don’t want it to get worse.

Support Gloves – Medium size
Label for support gloves – Thergonomic Hand-Aids – medium size
Support glove worn on my left hand, palm down – there is a large hole to fit my third and fourth fingers comfortably in the same hole.
Support glove left hand, palm up

As you may have seen, I have pretty small hands. I’m about 151cm to 155cm tall – depending on the time of day I’m measured. In my opinion, my hands – fingers especially – are chubby, so I find the medium size to be really good. Additionally, they are light weight and I’ve found that it doesn’t matter which hand I put the gloves on, because I can flip them around and as long as my thumbs go through the designated hole, I’m okay! The cuffs are super supportive and I’ve found that I can stitch for a lot longer with the gloves now that my right hand becomes fatigued quicker than my left hand.

The other thing I’m surprised by with these gloves is how quickly I’ve become use to stitching with them! I’ve stitched a little bit without them and my right hand has been fine, but I’ve felt a bit naked without the gloves.

WIP’s

Moon Lit Waters Project

The increasing annoyance with this is I’ve got my mojo back for stitching the Moon Lit Waters (Heaven and Earth Design) project. It requires a finer needle to stitch the project because I’m stitching it on 25 count fabric. The good thing is that I have it in a hoop that’s being held in a stand.

Moonlit Waters – Progress as of 22 September 2019
Moon Lit Waters – Progress as of 11 January 2020
Cover image for Moon Lit Waters project.

Based on the cover image, I have started on the edge of the moon and I have a bucket load more to do! What I’m excited about is what the future pages of the pattern look like. There’s a little bit of confetti, but mostly solid blocks and I’m feeling really positive about making more progress through the year.

Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms – my own design

Before I got my mojo back for Moon Lit Waters, I was going great guns on the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms. This is my own design that I’ve converted into a cross stitch pattern from a photo I took.

Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms – Copyright Kristen Gawronski – Photo converted to cross stitch pattern

The last time I wrote about this project was back on 24th June 2019 and below was the progress I had made…

Progress of Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms as of 24 June 2019
Progress of Gundraoo Mini Mushroom as of 11 January 2020

Since then, I’ve finished the first page and I’ve moved to the left and I’m about half way through the second page. Looking at it from a distance and especially looking at it through the lens of a camera, I’m really happy with how it’s coming out. Sometimes when I’m working on it, I start doubting myself and the decisions I’ve made with the picture and pattern. I’m mostly doubting myself about the size of the photo when I imported it to the PC Stitch 11 and the measurements I’ve entered into the system to enable it to develop the pattern. I’ve looked at other pictures that people are working on that are photos that’ve been converted to cross stitch and the cross stitch project looks awesome!

Four Seasons Kittens

I’ve made a little bit more progress with the winter kittens. They’re my go-to if I need a break from the HAED or my own design. The last time I’d written about these kittens was back on 25th October, 2019 and below was the progress I had made then. By memory I may have talked about some of the fudging I needed to do. If I didn’t mention it, I had to get a bit creative with the top left corner of the winter kittens.

Four Seasons Kittens by The Gold Collection, Dimensions – Progress as of 25 October 2019
A lot more of the kittens has been filled in. Their eyes and facial features are a bit more obvious. The background of the kittens has been filled in and some of the fauna to the right of the kittens has been stitched.
Four Seasons Kittens by The Gold Collection, Dimensions – Progress as of 11 January 2020
Four Season Kittens by The Gold Collection, Dimensions – Progress as of March 2019 on the left and what the completed picture should look like on the right.

Plans for 2020

Becoming a uni student…again

The first half of this year at least is going to be super busy for me and I don’t think I’ll be getting much stitching done. I’m going back to uni – this time I’m enrolled at the University of Canberra (Uni of Canberra) to do a Graduate Certificate in Creative and Cultural Futures, commencing 10th February. The difference for me this time is that I’ll be attending lectures and tutorials instead of doing the majority of it online. Two years ago I graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Information Studies with a specialisation in Records and Archives. It took me 6 years of part-time study and working full-time to complete it and it was well worth the experience. I valued the flexibility studying online gave me. What I hadn’t realised, was how much I missed being in the class room until I decided to enrol in a course at the Uni of Canberra. I’m hoping that the Certificate will provide me with an introduction to working with cultural organisations and what it is to deal with cultural heritage information and artefacts. Something I hope will compliment my degree and who knows what it may lead to!

Work

The other thing that will be busy will be work. I’m contracted until mid to late September and by October-ish my workplace is due to move from its current office to a new location, roughly 1km away. My aim is to try and improve my self promotion at work and let people know that I am there to help them and what I can help them with. My fear factor is people leaving it too late to be organised for the move or them making some avoidable decisions if they had consulted me. One of my biggest difficulties is self-promotion. I know I have the skills. I’m just super scared of putting myself out there, for fear of failure and criticism.

Fitness and running

My goal for this year is to run 5km in 30 minutes. A few years ago I got really close to that time and I want to beat it. But in order to do so, I need to stop using the poor air quality conditions as an excuse and use the treadmill at the gym until things get better. For the last two to three months (at least), Canberra has been inundated with smoke and dust due to the bush fires to the East of us and the drought that has been surrounding us.

This morning (Sunday, 12 January 2020) was the first time in what feels like a very long time, I went for an interval run outside. Probably not one of the smartest things I’ve done considering the air quality this morning was rated as being unhealthy. My run covered just over 5km in the space of 44 minutes give or take. By the end of it my eyes felt raw and I had a bit of a headache from the smoke. When I did run though, it felt good. So when the smoke and dust clears, I am really looking forward to more running outside.

To keep myself motivated, I have entered into the 5.3km leg of the Canberra Times Marathon Festival, to be held in early April. This year the course has changed and the event is sponsored by a different company. I’m really looking forward to the different course. It’s quite similar to the course I’ve run many times when I worked in the suburb of Parkes and would run around Lake Burley Griffin during my lunch break or parts of it after work. It’s a beautiful spot and I’m really hoping that I don’t get injured between now and then!

Travel

When the air is clearer and the roads are safer, I can’t wait to get to the South Coast – specifically Malua Bay and the surrounding region. It’s my second home (like many Canberran’s) and when I first get down there, I may spend half my time in tears and being a ball of emotion because I’ll be able to properly see what the residents and tourists went through. I want to help the businesses there as much as I can by purchasing their goods and services whenever possible. I want to help the area get back on its feet and see the beautiful bushland regenerate.

Stitching

Stitching wise, I’ll still be plugging along on the same projects. My aim is to get as much stitching done before I start uni because I don’t know how much time I’ll be able to make for it when assignments and exams are due. I will be really happy if I could get the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms fully finished this year so that I can enter it into the Canberra Royal Show for 2021. I’ll also be really happy if I could get about a quarter of the way through Moon Lit Waters by the end of the year. Any other finishes that happen this year will be gravy!

I want to use February as my motivation for finishes. Considering the complexity of the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms and Moon Lit Waters, my aim is to get a page finish for both projects and hopefully a start on a new page.

March madness may see me having a break from the main projects and stitching a small, like a card or something along those lines. Though the madness may also be preparing for the fun run I’ve got early April and uni assignments/exams and a public holiday in there somewhere!

April however, may bring some holidays for Easter and ANZAC Day and hopefully a trip to Malua Bay and some crafty purchases.

I am curious about Stitch’May’nia this year and what that might bring for me. Life may get in the way too much, but if last year on Flosstube is anything to go by, I think it could be fun to be part of!

By June/July if all goes well, I should be finished with uni and then I’ll be able to be stitching mad again and life will be good!