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?
The procrastination bug has bit me hard over the last few weeks and I’ve been struggling to find the motivation to publish anything for this blog and do anything with the Hot Cross Stitching (HCS) website. A lot of it is to do with the amount of time I spend in front of the computer for my full-time job and knowing that I need to make some big changes to the HCS website. The good thing is that about a month and a half ago I received some great feedback on my website, and a lot of it was to do with the mobile view of the site. Now I’m needing to work on improving the site so that my message is clearer and people can easily navigate through it.
To help put the procrastination bug into perspective, I have gone as far as cleaning the house and trying to improve my office/craft space! I’m not a huge fan of cleaning and in many instances people will look at the spaces I work in (at home) or my stitching space and wonder how I can find anything or complete tasks. When the spaces get a clean and look a lot better for it, I have been known to end up in a very grumpy mood because it means that I have to head home (if I’m at the coast) or tired and sore.
The positive thing with this side of procrastination is the amount of stitching I’ve been able to get done!
March Cross Stitch Update
In March, the WIPGO numbers 10 and 24. Which meant that I needed to work on Moonlit Waters Fairy and Black and White Rolled-up Daisy.
For a lot of March, I was stitching on the Black and White Rolled-up Daisy because I wasn’t really feeling the motivation for working on Moon Lit Waters Fairy. The image below shows my progress of Black and White Rolled-up Daisy:
I finally go my bug for Moon Lit Waters Fairy in the last week / week and a half of March and once I really got into it I really didn’t want to put it down when April arrived.
As the months are progressing for WIPGO, I’m finding that I’m needing to adjust my goals for the projects because trying to get 250 stitches for both projects per day is a bit too ambitious. Especially when thee are some days when I’m really tired and not wanting to stitch or frog what I’ve stitched because I’m tired!
April Cross Stitch Plans and Update
The WIPGO numbers for April were called on 27th March and they are 21 and 3. Which means I’m stitching on Fight Like a Girl and Pink Daisy. The images below are my progress before for Pink Daisy and Fight Like a Girl before April and what they should look like when they’re completed.
For the Pink Daisy, I need to go to a craft store and pick up some more threads at the higher end of the DMC range (e.g. 3825). I’ve also fallen back in love with Fight Like a Girl and I’m really enjoying working on it!
At the moment I’m finding that alternating the weeks I’m working on these two projects is working really well. It also helped that I had Pink Daisy with me at the coast for the last week of March / early April, so I could work on it a bit.
A lot of the parked threads you’re seeing are parked threads and me waiting to purchase some of the threads I need, so that I can move them out of the way. My biggest challenge is getting the stitches to align with the pattern because of some updates I’ve made to the pattern and converting it over to Pattern Keeper.
This is my progress for Fight Like a Girl. Because of how big this project will be, I’ve decided to do the backstitch as I go and at the moment, I’m glad I’m doing that. It really adds to the project and helps me with my motivation to keep going!
April Life Update
Tomorrow (Sunday 11th April), I’ll be competing / participating in my first Fun Run since 2019! I’m participating in the 5.4km leg of the Canberra Times Marathon event and it’s going to be really interesting to see how it all goes. I’ve been struggling with really tight muscles at the back of my right heel since December 2020 and I’ve only run the 5.4 km distance once since then and that was last weekend!
It felt really good to run and I made the silly error of not stretching properly after the run and I’ve been hobbling around for most of this week. That said, I’ll ensure to stretch after the run tomorrow and we’ll see how things go! It’s also meant to be quite cool and really windy tomorrow, so hopefully I can make the most of them at key points of the run!
I’m not sure about you, but for me, February felt like a whirlwind! This had a bit to do with it being a short month, but more to do with the projects I thought I was going to work on for WIPGO. I ended up changing my mind on some of the projects and I started a couple of new ones!
In my post for the end of January, I noted that the patterns/projects Autumn Castle and Rainbow Zebra had been called for February. Knowing that February is a short calendar month and how socially busy I would potentially be, my goal changed for what I wanted to achieve for the February projects. Rather than 250 stitches per day for both projects, I wanted to at least get a page finish which I did and I was able to make a start on a new page for Autumn Castle. The first two images below show what the project will look like when it’s completed and what it looked like at the start of February.
This achievement gave me the excuse (as if I really needed one!) to start a new project because I really wasn’t feeling Rainbow Zebras – as colourful and beautiful as it is – I’m wanting to make some more progress on stitching my own designs. My other excuse is February is my birthday month and in the cross stitch world, I’ve noticed that some people choose to start a new project on their birthday or during their birthday month.
February new starts
Pisces drawing and quote
The image of the two fish and the Pisces symbol I found as part of a Pinterest search and I downloaded from the website www.rawpixel.com as a free image. Over the top of the Pisces image I’m going to be stitching the following quote that I found on Pinterest as well:
I’ve tried to find out who originally said this and I’ve found slight variations to the way the quote is written. There have been suggestions that the actor Tom Hardy had said words along these lines, but I’ve not seen any confirmation, so I’ve attributed the term ‘unknown’. This quote may seem a bit brash and harsh, yet when I first saw it as part of other searches I was doing, it resonated with me.
I’ve chosen to stitch this pattern on 25 count (I think) fabric that may be ivory or white. At the moment, I’m stitching around the letters and words of the quote. I’m not sure what colour I’ll use for the words yet, as I’d like them to stand out but not take away too much from the beautiful artwork!
Pink Bottlebrush Mini
This pattern is 100% my own and will be available on the Hot Cross Stitching website for purchase. I’ve named the flower a bottlebrush, even though I’m aware the flower type may actually be something starting with ‘G’. I’ve got the name ‘geranium’ on the brain and the image searches confirm it’s not right!
At the moment the picture looks like a lot of random pink stitches scattered across the black fabric I’m using. I still have a lot of colours I need to purchase! I’m stitching the pattern on 14 count black Aida and I’m not sure if I will have enough fabric for it, but I really needed to make a start on it. I’ve been eyeing off the full size pattern for a while and editing the mini edition off to get it to look the way I wanted.
Aside from the new February starts, I also did some work on Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms and Dew Drop Daisy. Below are progress shots of both projects as of February 2021:
March WIPGO Plans
The numbers 10 and 24 were called for March for the WIPGO Board (see below), which means that I should be working on Black and White Rolled-up Daisy by me and Moonlit Waters by Heaven and Earth Designs.
Since these two projects have been called, I’ve been focusing on Black and White Rolled-up Daisy. I’m really happy with how this one is going and I’m debating whether or not I’ll work on Moonlit Waters this time around. If I don’t work on it, I’m contemplating working on some of my own designs, but I’m not sure which one.
Black and White Rolled-up Daisy
As slow going as my motivation is for this piece, it’s nice to see some progress being made.
Aside from seeing the progress on this piece, another part of my motivation is to have something significant to show on my website. Currently the site is offline as part of some significant changes that need to be made.
Moonlit Waters Fairy
I’ve barely worked on this project, so I’m not going to include any progress pictures here. When I did recently put a couple of stitches into the project, it felt strange to be working with one strand over one 25 count fabric! What I like about this project and many of the others I’m working on now, is that the pattern is on Pattern Keeper!
Well, that’s it for me this time. I do aim to publish some more posts soon,
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 don’t know about you, but I feel like I could do with some extra hours of sleep! Hayfever has kicked in for me for another year and it’s going to be a great year for it! Not just because it’s 2020 and what we’ve all experienced to date. But in Canberra and the surrounding area, we thankfully have had some really good rainfalls and the grass and plants are growing really well. So much so that some homes near where I live are having trouble with keeping up with their mowing and the grass has grown so tall that it’s about the same height as me, if not taller! By the way, I’m about 150 to 155 centimetres tall or about 5 feet and so many inches – depending on the time of day.
All day stitching
Halloween (31st October) was the best day for me to get some stitching done. I’ve surprised myself by how much I got done! It also helped that the weather wasn’t great for being outside. It happened to be the day that many south side suburbs of Canberra beat a 40 year record of the amount of rain it received for the day of over 40 mils. I live north side, so we didn’t get as much rain, but it was still a lot.
This meant that I was able to stitch on the second pattern I’ve designed for my business, Hot Cross Stitching, called ‘Black and White Rolled-up Daisy’:
I’m stitching it on 18 count black Aida and I’m using Pattern Keeper to track what I’m stitching. Below is my progress to date. I started it about two weeks ago and I’ve started in the top left corner. I appreciate that the photo above looks nothing like what I’ve stitched below. The exciting thing however, is that the stitching I’ve done below is me testing out how well this image is going to turn out. Which will formulate some of the instructions and tips and tricks I can include with the pattern.
On Saturday 31st October, I was able to stitch over 1,100 stitches! Something I’ve not done in a very long time. It was awesome! I had Flosstube playing on the television and I was able to catch up on a few of clips from about 2 weeks ago.
The pattern so far is stitching really well and I’ve learnt a couple of things with this pattern already:
Shorten the amount of thread on the needle. Otherwise the strands will start to fray and break. I’m stitching the pattern 2 strands over one square of Aida and I’m use to using longer strands – roughly one strand that is the same length as my arms if I stretch my left and right arm either side of my body, then fold that strand in half to make it two strands.
Stitching all day may not have been the best thing for my right wrist. I’ve managed to misplace the special support stitching gloves, so I’m going to ease up on my stitching for a little bit to see how things go. I’m also an office worker and I’m right handed!
Swapping the needle for different size may make a difference with my right hand and the wrist.
I want to start another design already! Organising the threads for the next couple of Hot Cross Stitching designs has been interesting. They’re large patterns and my boyfriend is amazed by how many there are and has jokingly asked if I have enough! I also need to add that he’s a very neat person and he copes well with me having my cross stitch all over the place. As much as I try to contain it all, there are times when mini explosions happen, like when I’m organising the next pattern or three I want to start and there are threads and fabric everywhere!
Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms Progress
This project has been a slow and steady one. One of the things I’m liking about this project is the nice mixture of confetti and solid stitching. I tend to know when I’m getting to the sticks and blades of grass when the confetti kicks in and the mushroom tends to be more solid.
The image below on the left is my progress as of 7th November 2020 and the image on the right is my progress as of September/early October 2020. The photo below the two progress shots is what the cross stitch should look like (roughly) when it’s done.
Considering how these two projects are going, I’m really keen to start on a couple of my other designs. I’m trying to shrink those patterns down a bit to try and fit them with some of the fabric I already have. I’m also reminding myself that I have other projects that need some love and attention, but at the moment I’m not going to pressure myself to work on them or feel guilty that I’m not because of everything that I’m doing now!
In a couple of weeks time I’ll be taking some time off my 9 to 5 job that will hopefully mean that I can focus a bit more on stitching, converting more photos to patterns and continuing to get the background of the website sorted out so that I can launch it! In between all of that, hopefully do something awesome with my boyfriend to celebrate his birthday – even though he doesn’t see his birthday as anything much to celebrate!
Following my post last week, it gave me the motivation to start a biscornu. I’ve chosen the Rainbow Biscornu – a free pattern from the website crossstichcrochetothers.com.
I have loved stitching this pattern! I’ve chosen to stitch it on black 14 count Aida and I think it really makes the colours pop. I got most of the stitching done on Sunday and I’ve stitched the remaining portions of it over the rest of the week.
Once I finished back-stitching the pink, I was umming and arring over whether to stitch the same pattern again for the back, or to find something similar and have some smaller and simpler. After seeing how vibrant and awesome the pink looks with the rest of the colours, I couldn’t help but go through the rest of my floss collection and pick out similar colours to what you see in the above picture. Below is my progress and I’m slightly concerned that I’m pushing the limits with the edges of the fabric:
With the way things are tracking, I’m thinking that I need another full day of stitching so that I can have it done and dusted as quickly as possible.
Could this become the start of something new?
I’ve been browsing the Internet for different patterns to see if there’s anything that really grabs my attention. In recent years, I’ve seen some people stitching the Chipping Sparrow Biscornest by Crossed Wing Collection on the 123Stitch website. I’d like to stitch the Wintry Blooms Biscornu by Faby Reilly Designs on the 123Stitch website. What worries me with this biscornu is the specialty stitches that are on it.
But in the meantime, hopefully I’ll be able to finish the Rainbow Biscornu and within the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to show you a finish and some more progress on the other projects I have on the go!
I’m not sure about you, but August is wearing me out and I’m looking forward to moving onto September. Work and life stuff has been getting in the way. So much so, that I feel like I’m coming down with a cold as I’m writing this post because I’m feeling run down. And it took me longer than I expected to finalised and publish my last post. The good thing though, is that my boyfriend and I have managed to escape our home in Canberra for the weekend and we’re at the coast. It’s windy, but the sun’s out and it feels really nice in the sun inside or a sheltered spot. The importance of mentioning this is much of the South-Eastern side of Australia is getting a chilly blast of weather that’s come up from Antarctica and many areas are experiencing snow and colder temperatures than what we’ve experienced for a while.
The other really good thing with the weather at the coast at the moment is that I’m finally able to get back into some running! For the last few months my muscles have been giving me grief because of the chair I had been using whilst working from home. I’d had the chair since I was in high school and leading up to the pandemic, I’d been using it intermittently over the weekend to write the posts or do other crafty things in my craft room. However, because of the way I sit in that chair – especially over extended periods of time – I was putting too much pressure on some of my muscles in my left leg, causing my left knee to balloon up because my muscles were too tight. One of the key things I need to work on now is improving my cardio fitness and endurance. I’m able to run on the treadmill for short distances. The maximum to date on the treadmill has been 2 kilometres (km) (1.2 miles). I’m looking forward to getting back into the groove of things and being able to run 5km without the need to walk to catch my breath! That said, it will be just my luck that as I start to reach this goal, spring time will be in full swing and I’ll be battling hay fever and birds swooping!
Now lets get to one of the main reasons why you’re here!
Cross stitch update
When I have been able to sit down and relax a bit and get some stitching in, I’ve been working on three main projects – Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms, Autumn Castle and Moon Lit Waters.
Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms
My key motivator with this project has been the reminder of why I started this project and why I chose this particular photo to convert to a cross stitch pattern. As ‘airy-fairy’ as this may sound to some of you, I’ve been getting reminders from the world around me that I need to make a career change from the corporate world to the entrepreneurial world.
Since I last talked about this project, below are the before and after pictures:
The top left image is what the project will look like when completed, bottom left is my progress from June 2020 and the picture on the right is my progress as of 22 August 2020. I’m getting really close to a page finish for this project. A part of my struggle with this page finish is some fudging and so much confetti stitching.
Autumn Castle by Evgenia Kolesnikova
I’ve found this project to be interesting to stitch and for the most part, I think I’m struggling with it because I’m stitching it when I’m tired, because of the amount of fudging I’ve needed to do. Thankfully, the majority of fudging has been in the middle of the page rather than around the edges, so that my mistakes don’t carry over to the rest of the project. I need to give myself time and space to be able to make mistakes that are unique to each page!
Meanwhile, the image on the left shows what my progress had been since June 2020 and the image on the right is my progress as of 22 August 2020. The image in the centre is the cover image of what the project will look like when it’s finished. Because I’m so close to a page finish (I’m going to leave the ghost because I don’t have the thread I need for it), I’m not sure if I should move to the right and start work on page 2 or move down and work on page 7…
Moon Lit Waters by Heaven and Earth Designs
I’ve fallen back in love with Pattern Keeper. I’m also remembering why there’s a long time between updates on this project. When I first started working on this project, I was working off the paper copy that I had purchased many years ago. Since then Pattern Keeper came into my life and DMC added new colours to their range, which has had a major impact on the digital version of this pattern. To effectively use this pattern on Pattern Keeper, I did the right thing by purchasing the digital version of the pattern and import the pattern to the app. If I thought that I was doing some fudging on the first three pages I’ve completed, since I started using Pattern Keeper for this project, the current page I’m working on has nothing on the others for the amount of fudging I’m doing!
I also need to make it clear that any grumbles I am doing about this project has nothing to do with Pattern Keeper, the artist and designer for Moon Lit Waters or Heaven and Earth Designs. My grumbles are all to do with me adjusting to the decisions I’ve made with the project. Additionally, I love Pattern Keeper for this project because it’s making my life ten times easier to quickly locate the threads I need for the areas I want to stitch. When I was working with the paper version for this project, there were times when it would take me about 5 minutes or so to find the thread that matched the symbol in the key. At times I would end up forgetting which symbol and area I was working on once I found the thread I needed, because of how long it would take me to find the thread. Which is part of the reason why I had to fudge so much of the first three pages I’ve completed on the project. So without further adieu, below are the progress pictures of Moon Lit Waters:
The image you see on the far left and second from the left are images of what the project will look like when completed and what it looked like back in May/June 2020. The images on the far right and second from the right is my progress as of 22 August 2020.
Because of the amount of fudging I have done to date and how much more I’ll need to do for the current page, I’ve changed my approach for this page. Normally I’ll work from left to right on a page. However, I’m changing it for this page to work from right to left, so that I know that the rest of the work I do to the right of the current page (theoretically at least!) won’t need as much fudging as what the current page needs.
By the time I publish my next post, we’ll be well and truly into September. For sampler enthusiasts, this will be the month for them! I’m yet to find a sampler that jumps out at me and says “Stitch me! Stitch me now!” Earlier this year I had contemplated dedicating September to stitching the smalls and trying my hand at a biscornu. There are some beautiful biscornu patterns out there which is great! However, with the way August has panned out, let alone most of this year, I’m not sure if I’ll start a biscornu this year.
I may however, make the most of September to prepare for October – the month of all things spooky! I’ve purchased a few Halloween themed patterns and they’ve been imported to Pattern Keeper. My challenge will be sourcing all the things I need for those projects in time for the start of October. I’m hoping that I’ll have all that I need in my current stash collection and that I’ll only need to pick up the odd thread from my local craft stores. This is largely due to the availability of some stock in my local craft stores and the amount of time it may take for some of the products I need to arrive via mail, if I need to make some online purchases.
As I’m writing this post it is raining outside. Beautiful, steady rain! I haven’t kept track of when I last heard the rain like this and I’m making the most of it. Since my boyfriend and I have been working from home since March, it’s been a long time since we’ve had the windows open to freshen up the house. Mostly because it’s winter at the moment and we’ve had the heater going. Recently we’ve had some really nice winter days in Canberra, where there’s been barely a breath of wind and we’ve been able to feel the warmth of the sun – especially when we’re inside, sitting on the couch in the sun!
That said, whenever I’ve come back from being outside and taken a few layers of clothing off, the house has smelt stale. Also, there’s something about hearing the steady rain and the freshness it brings that I absolutely love!
On a more serious note though, Australia’s getting its second wave of the pandemic and it feels like it’s getting to be a bit close to home. Some hot spots popped up at the south coast (about 2 hours drive south-east from home) – the same area where some of the bush fires were at end of last year / start of this year – because of the easing of restrictions. It felt a bit close to home because Canberra has been really lucky so far to have a low number of reported cases when compared with other states and regions. Also, my boyfriend and I have been heading to the coast nearly every second weekend and reports of the second wave starting in Victoria were beginning to be reported in the news – some of whom may have been at the south coast and the places we like to eat at! Lastly, my mum and boyfriend had been at the coast (at separate times) around the times that the hot spots were really heating up. Thankfully everyone I know who has been to the coast is okay. I’m okay. It just means that we’re really not comfortable with heading to the coast until the hot spots have calmed down and they’ve been given the all clear. Also, it’s a regional area and we don’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on their healthcare system should things turn again.
Now to lighten things up again and lets get into some cross stitch talk and updates!
Stitchmas in July wrap up
Confession – I stopped stitching on Christmas themed projects nearly halfway through July because I’d been working on most of them since June, if not May as well. So the updates I have below are a bit dated, but you should still see a bit of a difference!
Gingerbread Train – designed by Shannon Wasilieff (aka Shannon Christine Designs)
The image on the left is my progress from the end of June. The picture in the middle is my progress as of today (26th July 2020) and the image on the right is what it will look like at the end.
On the first day of Christmas (12 Days of Christmas) – designed by Rhona Norrie
The recommended navy blue fabric looks really good for this design. But I didn’t have enough navy blue for the height of the design. So I’m stitching it on a similar count in a lighter colour. The longer image on the right is pretty much the full height of the fabric. You will also see in the closer up image that I’m stitching it with two strands over two squares/holes, in all of the called for DMC colours. One of the things that really bugs me with this design is that the seven looks like an upside down two. I don’t know how hard it is to chart the number seven to make it work with this pattern and I don’t have the skill at the moment to change it.
Santa’s Coming – designed by Durene Jones
It’s been about a month between pictures. I like how it’s progressing. I’m still feeling undecided about the colours, which may explain why I’m feeling a bit ho-hum about stitching it at the moment. That said, in the finished picture on the right, the colours are looking really good! I’m hoping that as I continue with the project, I’ll fall back in love with it!
Christmas Owls (Christmas Cuddles) – designed by Jenny Barton
My progress with this one hasn’t really changed much since the end of June when I took the picture on the left. The lighting for the picture on the right makes it look a lot brighter and washed out than what it really is. It will be nice to get this one done.
Anything Goes August (aka Arbitrary August)
I’ve had this title in my mind for the last week or so and I’d completely forgotten that this was actually a thing in the Flosstube world, but called Arbitrary August which means the same thing – to me anyway!
Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms – designed by Kristen Gawronski
Since mid-July I’ve been wanting to stitch on things that I want to stitch on rather than any other reason. Which is where the ‘anything goes August’ kicks in. Also, I’ve had a hankering (desire, craving) to stitch on my Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms project because it wasn’t Christmas related, I felt like I needed more of a challenge and I hadn’t stitched on it for a long time. At least it felt that way. I had done some stitching on it in May and it felt like a chore then. Below is my progress…
The two images of stitch is as of today (26th July 2020). Currently I’m working on page 1 and I’m really thankful that I have a lot more space at the top of the project than I had initially thought I would. It will be interesting to see how I go when I eventually start working on the lower half. I may have to crop it a bit…
Fight Like a Girl – designed by Tania Amity
I’ve really gotten into my groove with this one and I’ve made a lot of progress on it over the last couple of weeks. One of the strange things with this one – and I think a lot of it is to do with the way the DMC colours have been dyed rather than the charting – is that there is meant to be a lot more variation in the windows (I think) on either side of the blond girl, as you will see below:
Moon Lit Waters Fairy – artwork by Julie Fain and design by Michelle Sayetta
For the majority of yesterday I was working on this project and it reminded me of how much I love using the app Pattern Keeper! And how slow going HAED’s are!
The two images on the left are the progress I’ve made since I last worked on the project which is third from the left.
Plans for the rest of July and August
I’m definitely going to take things as they come for the next month and a half – month at least. It will help me to figure out what I might want to do for September. Earlier this year I may have mentioned that September could be the month to work on some smalls and get myself organised for October. I’m really looking forward to stitching on some more Halloween themed project! I may move back to some of Christmas themed projects and others that I had started in May. I may even be tempted to start some of the digital patterns I’ve purchased over the last few months. Who knows!?!
When I’ve been listening to and watching some Flosstube episodes, I’ve found it interesting when they start talking about prompts they have gotten from the other stitching groups they’re part of on social media, to explain why they’ve worked on certain pieces and the amount of stitches they’ve completed. Which has me thinking about my next post…
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 🙂
Since my last post about Jolly June and Stitchmas in July, I’ve been working on:
Gundaroo Mini Mushroom
Fight Like a Girl
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?
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:
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:
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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’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.
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.
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,