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?
With the current climate, international travel and in some circumstances, domestic travel is difficult and wont return to normal for a long time. Which is why a digital stitching retreat is an awesome way of connecting with people from across the country and internationally.
Meeting new people from the comfort of your own home
Pending your personality type, meeting new people can be exciting and fun, nerve-wrecking, curious and cautious or somewhere in-between. Thankfully with the help of technology (and some tech-savvy friends for support if needed), you can join chat groups via social media applications such as Zoom. Where you can choose to have your camera off and microphone on, both feature on or off or any other combination that works for you.
The aim is for you to be able to interact with the other people in a group, whilst stitching on a project and talk (or not, that’s totally up to you!) about whatever you want.
Personal note: I’m an introvert through and through with socially awkward tendencies – especially when I’m in a room with other people I don’t know at all or very well. Being at home and participating in these retreats was really good because I could talk as much or as little as I wanted and silences are okay. Because everyone is busy stitching on their pieces and no one is worried about superficial things and you can keep your hands busy with cross stitch!
Timing is up to you
Participating in international digital retreats can mean that your time zone may be out of balance with the timing for the event. This is where you can make it your own and participate in events and stitching sessions that work for you.
Personal note: Recently I participated in a digital stitching retreat hosted by The Black Needle Society – check out the links at the end of this post for more information – and the timing of the events were based upon Central Time in America. I’m in the Australian Eastern Time zone and that meant I would need to be up at about middnight or 1am through to about midday to 1pm or a little later to immerse myself in the retreat experience.
For my lifestyle, this was not practical, so I made it work for me by participating in the events that I could and it was an amazing experience!
The events and stitching challenges
This is what makes the stitching retreats unique and different. Some stitching retreats are based upon themes such as a television series or a movie franchise. Others may be based upon Halloween, Christmas or specific designer. Each of these retreats will have challenges based upon these themes and the organisers may have prizes connected to those challenges.
For example, one retreat may have a schedule of challenges for specific days and times throughout the retreat, that participants can take part in. The challenges will be specific to the theme of the retreat and there may be a prompt for you to work on a specific project in your collection. This can be a new start or an existing work in progress. Some challenges may have a time limit for you to complete the challenge and the set parameters may put you into the running to win a prize.
Personal note: Recently I participated in The Black Needle Society’s Retreat in a Box called “Autumn in Stars Hollow” that’s based upon the television show “Gilmore Girls”. There was a schedule for when the challenges were going to take place and each challenge was based upon a specific episode from the series. Additionally, each episode took place during the season of Autumn and Gilmore Girls is set in a fictional township of Stars Hollow.
For each challenge, we had an hour to put in as many stiches as we could on a project that related to the theme for a specific episode. For example, the first episode of the Gilmore Girls (aka the trailer) had the theme of laundry day. Therefore, the prompt for our cross stitch project, had to have clothes in it. We were required to take a photo of our piece before the challenge started with the name of the name of the project we were working on and a password we were provided 10 minutes before the challenge started.
At the end of the hour, we counted up the number of stitches we had done during that hour. We had to note down what that number was on the same piece of paper that had the password and name of the project and post the pictures to the social media platforms nominated by the organisers. We earnt points or a number of entries for a lucky dip that was drawn by the organisers of the retreat, and the lucky dip was drawn in the town hall meetings that started 15 minutes after each challenge ended.
I really enjoyed my first international digital stitching retreat that was hosted by The Black Needle Society. I’m a huge fan of the television series Gilmore Girls and I had heard about this retreat in a box through a flosstube channel called The Steel City Stitchers who are representatives of The Black Needle Society boxes.
In a future post I’ll share with you the pictures of the items in the stitching retreat box. If you can’t wait for that post, check out my flosstube episode #9 on Youtube, where I’m also known as The X Stitching Runner!
Each stitching retreat is different and unique and it’s important that you find one that fits your needs and interests. Below are some links and resources to help get you started and hopefully you’ll find one that works for you!
Linen & Threads – this is an Australian based stitching retreat. The link will take you to the page for an even that has already happened. But it will give you an idea of what’s involved with a physical stitching retreat.
It feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve posted something to this blog – 20th June was the last time! Sooo much has happened since then!
My boyfriend and I were due to go on a holiday up to Queensland at the start of July and the pandemic had other plans for us. The short story is that we decided to cancel our holiday and we’ll reschedule for a later time either this year or next year. I was going to participate in the 5km event of the Gold Coast Airport Marathon weekend and the event got cancelled because of some outbreaks and lockdowns that were happening in Sydney and the Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast areas. Before we were due to fly out of Canberra, the lockdowns for Brisbane and Gold Coast were going to be for three days and there was no guarantee that it would be for just three days. Brisbane’s lock down was extended for an extra few days and the Gold Coast was lifted on Friday 2nd July at 6pm.
We were relieved that we had decided not to go to Queensland for our holiday, as it lifted a lot of stress we were feeling about the unknown. We had decided to cancel the holiday before we knew about the running event being cancelled – though it looked like a sure thing before anything was formally announced. I’ve still taken my scheduled leave as I had been in the headspace for having a holiday for a set period of time and I knew that I wouldn’t be in the right headspace for work if I had made other changes.
It was also meant to be that we didn’t go on our holiday or for me to participate in any running events, because on Saturday 3rd July, I sprained my left ankle and I couldn’t properly walk on it for about 3 days. It’s still a bit swollen and bruised, but I can do most things on it now with minimal issues!
Because of all of this, I have been stitching and designing patterns for Hot Cross Stitching like there was no tomorrow!
New Patterns and finishes
Flosstube Made Me Do It
I have had the phrase ‘Flosstube made me do it’ in my head for a long time it’s taken me a while to find the motivation to stitch any of the designs based upon this phrase. I’m going to create a new series out of this phrase and my ‘stay-cation’ has helped me with this! The image below is my first finish for this series:
This piece is stitched on 14 count printed peach marble Aida, using DMC threads. I’ve framed it in a 16″x12″ black frame that I got from a dollar store from my local shops. I’ve removed the glass from the frame and it’s hanging up on the wall in my craft room/office (aka ‘Croffice’).
The chart for this piece is available for purchase via the Hot Cross Stitching website as a PDF download. It’s fully compatible with the android application Pattern Keeper. If you would prefer a paper pattern, you can contact me via the Hot Cross Stitching website.
I have regularly heard on a variety of flosstube channels, that someone has been enabled by someone else because of an episode they have watched. This typically means that someone has loved a pattern or fabric, floss, frame or something that another stitcher has shared on their flosstube and the viewer ‘just had to have it’. I’ve definitely been enabled by a few flosstubers and I know it will continue to happen for as long as we all share our love of cross stitch! That is the inspiration for the next pattern and finish:
This pattern will be available on the Hot Cross Stitching website in coming days and it will be available as a PDF download. It’s fully compatible with the android application Pattern Keeper. If you would prefer a paper pattern, you can contact me via the Hot Cross Stitching website.
I’ve stitched this pattern on 28 count evenweave using DMC threads. It’s framed in a 16″x12″ frame from my local dollar store. I’ve left the glass in the frame for this project. That may change over time as I may change my mind regarding the way I have it framed.
The idea for this pattern has been playing on my mind for the last 7 to 8 months. My biggest struggle point has been getting the flowers to look like the image I have in my mind’s eye. To help with this struggle, I have drawn upon inspiration from nature and existing cross stitch patterns like the Australian native flower sampler by Fiona Jude from Country Threads. Below is my first Hot Cross Stitching biscornu finish:
I’m really proud of this finished piece. It is really cute and small and I learnt a lot as I was assembling it. You may notice in one of the pictures, that one side of it looks a little off. I made the wonderful error of not leaving enough of a fabric margin when I cut the two pieces in half. The images below will show you what I mean:
This project was stitched on 28 count evenweave and the fabric frays very easily. I could have used some form of adhesive to stop the edges from fraying and reduce the risk of the brown back-stitches from starting to slide off the fabric. I’ve also learnt that this is a potential flaw in my design as well and I’ve updated the pattern to prevent this from happening to others.
This project was stitched in all DMC threads and the pattern will soon be available on the Hot Cross Stitching website as a PDF download. The pattern is compatible with the android application Pattern Keeper.
WIPGO WIP Updates
For the month of July, the Black and White Rolled-up Daisy (designed by Kristen Gawronski for Hot Cross Stitching) and 12 Days of Christmas (designed by Rhona Norrie) have been called:
I’ve added some stitches to the 12 Days of Christmas project. I’d like to add more before July is over and I’ll share my progress with you in a few weeks time. The same goes for the Black and White Rolled-up Daisy!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted something and I can’t wait until the end of June / early July to tell you all about some of the things that have happening in my world of cross stitch!
A couple of weeks ago I went to the Crafty Frog store in South Canberra and I picked up a few things I can’t wait to use on as many projects as possible. The image below shows overall, the things I purchased:
What you see in the picture
Starting from the bottom of the picture:
Easy Grab Ball Tip Needle – sizes 28 and 26. I’ve never used these types of needles before and I’ve heard a bit about them on a few Flosstube channels (I can’t remember who exactly, as it’s been a while since I’ve heard anyone talk about them). The special thing about these needles is that the ball tips are meant to make it easier for cross stitchers, embroiderers and hand-sewers find the holes in the fabric they want their thread to go through. The other special thing with these needles is that they are not pointy in any way, shape or form because of the small ball at the end of the needle. Which should mean that I don’t poke myself any where near as much as what I’m doing at the moment! I’m also hoping that I can use these needles when I fly up to Queensland in two weeks time. I’ve never stitched on a plane and there are some strict (understandably so) rules in Australia for having or using certain sharp objects in carry-on luggage.
Heart-shaped pendant – is deceiving because it’s also a thread cutter! Towards the pointy end of the pendant are small indents on the sides that can be used to cut the thread I’m using for my projects. I’ve been aware of this type of product for a a while, because I’ve seen it in some cross stitch magazines and craft stores. By memory DMC have similar products to the pendant you see in the picture. I’m also planning on wearing the pendant on a necklace and using it as part of my trip to Queensland!
Fabric – The pink fabric is 32 count linen that’s hand-dyed and has a marbled colour to it. I have a few ideas of what I’ll stitch on it. At the moment I’m thinking I could stitch the elephant biscornu on it (also picured) or a couple of other patterns I’m charting up, soon to be released!
Underneath the pink fabric is 25 easy count Lugana. The grey squares you see are gridded at 10 by 10 which will make it even easier for me to work on some full coverage projects I’m chomping at the bit to start!
The fabric the heart-shaped pendant is resting on is 28 count Lugana Brittney Gold. My eyes lit up and did an internal squeal when I saw this fabric. I have seen people on Flosstube use similar fabric and I have wondered how they have come across such fabric and I wasn’t sure if I would ever get to see such fabric in-person. The holes on this fabric are quite small for 28 count, so the ball-tip needles will come in handy when I start stitching on it! At the moment I’m not sure what I’ll stitch on it because the fabric is so pretty to me – it glitters in the light! I could stitch the lion biscornu (also pictured) or see if there’s anything else in my collection that could do the fabric justice.
Lion and elephant biscornu patterns – The first time I went to Crafty Frog and had a really good look at what they had, I had a fan girl moment when I saw that they stocked Tiny Modernist’s patterns! I have seen and heard many people talk her patterns and stitch them and I’ve really liked them. I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to buy any of the patterns. The other cool thing with these patterns is I’m looking forward to stitching up some more biscornus because they are fun to stitch and I love seeing it all come together!
Threads – I bought two colours/threads from the Brindabella Threads range, one thread from Cottage Garden Threads (CGT) and one from the WonderFil range (the one on the spool). I really, really love the WonderFil thread because it feels so nice and silky!
I’ll most likely use all of the threads on a couple of charts I’ve got planned – one of which I’ve already started stitching…
New Pattern Progress
I haven’t quite decided what the official name of this project will be, but it is going to be part of the Flosstube Made Me Do It series. The project below is just a prototype and the finished project that will eventually be made publicly available may look different:
This project is stitched on 14 count light blue / baby blue Aida that I’ve had in my stash for a really long time. By memory I bought it from Spotlight or Lincraft – one of those stores. The border and frog are stitched in DMC threads and the words are stitched in the Cottage Garden Threads Oxalis Pearle 8.
The frog you see in this picture is a free download from the Rucni Prace website. I’ve modified it a little to help it fit into the space I needed it to be. The rest of the design is all me with some creative guidance from by boyfriend.
I really struggled to get the circle to meet up properly and there was a lot more frogging (un-picking) in this project than I would have liked. A lot of that was because of the way I had printed out the pattern for the circle and the symbols were way too small for my liking. The words I had changed significantly and I’m quite proud of how they have turned out – especially since there’s a larger gap than I would normally like between “the” and “circle’s” – but I think it really ads to the piece and the amount of ‘mistakes’ that are in it. I’d like to think that many cross-stitchers, embroiderers and crafty people alike will be able to relate to this project and see the humor in it!
Before I sign off for today, I just wanted to let you all know that the website Hot Cross Stitching is back up and running. On the site you will find:
full coverage cross stitch patterns for sale
classes you can sign up to, to learn how to cross stitch
It’s been a while! Since my last post, I’ve been working on a variety of projects and filmed two flosstube episodes – one of which is uploading today (29 May 2021)!
I’ve decided to start up my own flosstube channel on YouTube as a way of starting to promote my Hot Cross Stitching website and this blog to a new group of people to see how things go. My first introduction episode is very quiet, so you’ll need to have the volume up very high for it. I’m hoping I can upload a replacement episode with improved volume, so that when you go to watch it, you won’t be straining to hear what I’m saying!
Currently I’m at the coast and I don’t have all of my projects with me. Since the start of May I’ve been working on:
Ryan’s been a good boy (Christmas project)
Jaffy – a new start
Gundaroo Mini Mushroom
Blue Mountains Walking Trail
Ryan’s been a good boy
I’ve made some progress with this project and I’ve made an error along the way. I’ve some how mis-counted a part of the project, which in some ways is a good thing, because it means that I’ve not got as much to stitch. It will mean that I’ll need to fudge things when I go to do the backstitch. I don’t have any pictures for this project to share at this point in time. Hopefully later this year I’ll have it completed!
I’ve run out of the DMC colour 3808, so I’ll need to get creative with how I stitch some some parts until I pick up a new skein. I’ve also come to realise with this project, that I’m going to run out of fabric because I’m stitching it two over two on 25 count fabric. I could get creative and stitch the fish two over one or one over one or adjust how much I’m stitching so that I still have enough fabric to frame it.
This is one of my own designs. At the moment it won’t look like much and I could have it sitting in any direction and it could look like it’s almost any part of the picture!
I’ve started in the middle of the fabric and pattern because I don’t think I have enough for this project and I want to see how it will turn out on 18 count Aida. With this project, I really want to focus on Jaffy’s face and a little bit of the background.
Gundaroo Mini Mushroom
I’ve just started stitching this one again because it’s been too long since I’ve worked on it. I’ve probably not worked on it since some time last year. I’ll have to go back through my log to see when I last took a photo of it and talked about the project.
That said, this project has been called for the June WIPGO board! I’m really happy about this, because I’d really like to make some progress on it. The images below show my progress so far, where I’m currently up to and what it should look like when it’s complete:
Blue Mountains Walking Trail
This is my own design and I’m stitching it on 25 easy count fabric. The pink squares are 20 stitches by 20 stitches, so I need to be careful and not have a lapse in memory, thinking that they’re 10 by 10 and misread the pattern!
I started stitching this two over one out of curiosity and I quickly learnt that one over one was plenty of coverage! It was also getting too thick and making life difficult to stitch. I have fallen in love with this fabric though. It really is easy to stitch on because the holes are easy to access with my needle and thread.
For WIPGO, the two numbers called are connected to my projects the Gundaroo Mini Mushroom and the Three Dogs (aka the Three Labs as I’ve nicknamed them). I’m hoping to make some progress on both projects that will be noticeable.
The Three Labs
It’s been a long time since I’ve worked on this project and as long as I don’t get too annoyed with it – mostly because of thread breakages – I should be okay!
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,
We’re coming up to a month since the Hot Cross Stitching website went live and I’ve released some more cross stitch patterns to the site and joined Instagram!
January 2021 Releases
When Hot Cross Stitching went live, the following patterns were immediately available to purchase as PDF downloads:
For the regulars of my blog, you will know that I’ve been working on the Mini Mushrooms picture for a while now. I’m hoping that it will come up soon in WIPGO (see related reads for more information) so that I can get some more progress on it.
I’ve also been working on Dew Drop Daisy and Black and White Rolled-up Daisy for parts of last year. Also, as of yesterday (Saturday 20 February 2021) I’ve picked Dew Drop Daisy again because I’ve been itching to be working on some of my own patterns again!
Because many of the releases in January are plant based, my aim for February is to keep with this theme and include some buildings and scenery/landscapes to give people some variety.
Because I’ve been working on all of these patterns to get them ready for the website, when they are ready, I just want to stitch all of them! So much so, I’ve made a start on the Pink Bottle Brush Mini project on black Aida as part of one of my WIPGO squares. This pattern has a lot of confetti in it and it’s fully compatible with Pattern Keeper which is a huge blessing and making my life 10 times easier to stitch it!
One of the other really cool things is that when I was working on the Lily pattern, I hadn’t realised until much later that there’s an insect in it! My eyes keep being drawn to the yellows and purples and blues.
Plans for future patterns
Birds, New Zealand landscapes, Australian beaches, cats and dogs, old buildings and ruins to name a few are patterns I want to release for March and future months.
Based upon what you’ve seen so far and what my plans are for future patterns, is there something specific that you would like to see as a pattern?
Wow, it’s the end of January 2021 already! Where has the month gone? Here in Canberra, Australia we’ve had a pretty mild summer so far and it’s a vast difference to last summer thankfully!
As I’m writing this post, it’s overcast and there’s a very light drizzle rain. The temperature is comfortable enough for me to be barefoot with the windows open for fresh air and jumper to keep me warm enough. Over the last couple of days we’ve had some really nice rain falls to help put a little bit of water into the dams and water the plants.
All of which has been a really good excuse (if I really ever needed one!) to get a bucket load of cross stitch done. WIPGO has also made the world of difference and provided me with the additional motivation I’ve needed to make some significant progress on my projects. For the month of January, the numbers 13, 18 and 6 were called, which meant that I needed to work on Gingerbread Train (allocated to square number 6), Four Seasons Kittens (allocated to square 18) and square 13 being a free space where I could leave it as is or do whatever I wanted with it. For example, I could start a new project, buy a new project or threads, or work on another project that may or may not be on the board shown below:
The squares you see coloured in with a lavender or light purple were the numbers called for January. The cross or X and green Y mean that I have finished that project and met the goal or challenge I had set for that project. Also, the purple squares will never be called upon again for the rest of 2021. Which is why I have set my board up like I have in case I’m unable to meet the challenge I’ve set for each project and many of them are big projects, so I’m not going to be able to complete them by the end of this year.
The light blue squares are the numbers called for February. Because I finished the Gingerbread Train (second allocation, square 20) earlier than I expected, I get to replace it with another project that I’d forgotten about. Initially I was going to have Curglaff in square 20, but with the number 13 called in January, I started stitching it anyway because I wasn’t sure when the number 20 would be called and I really wanted to work on Curglaff (see January Finishes for pictures).
This project has been selected for square 4 and the image below on the left is what I’ve stitched as of December 2020 and the image on the right is what it will look like.
This project has been riddled with counting problems and fudging that it will be interesting to see how things go. It’s also a good thing that it’s on the WIPGO board so that it can get some attention!
Rainbow Zebras…or maybe a change?
The really good thing with this project is that it’s colourful and not full coverage (i.e. there’s still fabric showing through parts of the project).
However, I don’t know what it is about this project, but I’m starting to think I should swap this out for something else. It may have something to do with me working on some more patterns for Hot Cross Stitching that has me wanting to work on those instead of this one.
That said, there shouldn’t be anything stopping me from working on this one, Autumn Castle and working on anything else I want right?!
Gingerbread Train – Designed by Shannon Christine Designs
In an earlier post, I may have mentioned that I had finished the Gingerbread Train by Shannon Christine Designs and posted some pictures. In case you missed it, below is my finish and a comparison image of what the finished model looks like in the Ultimate Christmas magazine/book I got the pattern from:
Curglaff – designed by Michelle Bendy Stitchy
I’m a little surprised by how much I enjoyed working on this project. What made it so enjoyable and exciting were some of the threads I was using and knowing that it was designed by someone who I watch on a regular basis via Flosstube. If I hadn’t watched flosstube and Michelle Bendy or Mich Stitches of Punk Poodle Designs, I’m not sure if I ever would have come across this pattern! So ultimately, I was fan-girling a bit throughout the project!
It’s important to note that I’ve only stitched this project once and that the lighting for when I take the photos has a huge impact on how the fabric looks. The first image that shows my progress for the end of 2020 shows the truer colours of the fabric than the second image. However, the second image shows off the stitching!
I stitched this on 32 count (I think! My memory has faded a little) Belfast Linen that I dyed using orange and purple dyes from Spotlight and I stitched it using two threads of cotton over two threads of fabric (aka two squares).
For the word Curglaff, I used Cottage Garden Threads ‘Raisin’ and for the definition of Curglaff and the bath water, I used Cottage Garden Threads ‘Sherbert’. The rest of the project was stitched in DMC threads – some of them were the called for colours, some of them I swapped out for other colours because I didn’t want to go hunting through my other projects for the called for colours!
I might finish this one like the ideas I have for the Gingerbread Train (check out the related posts list at the end of this one) or put it into my smalls finish book…more to come on that one in later posts!
Four Seasons Kittens – Dimensions Gold kit
*Big sigh* I’m looking forward to completing this project. To me, it feels like I’ve been procrastinating its finish for so long that I’ve forgotten when I started it! Which is why having this project on the WIPGO board for this year is so important. I’ve surprised myself during January with how much I’ve gotten done and having time off work has helped too! So much so, I’ve gotten the Spring quarter completed and I’m looking forward to this project’s number being called later in the year. My fingers are crossed in hope that it’s in a month when I have a bit of time off work so that I make some significant progress on it.
The above images show how far this project has come since I started this blog and talking about this project back in February 2019. Which further highlights why I’m so keen to get it finished!
The good thing now is that I can breath a sigh of relief knowing that I’ve achieved my goal for this project during January 2021, and I can focus on the projects for February.
I’ve been aware of a craft store called the Crafty Frog at Kambah, ACT for many years. However, it wasn’t until the major bushfires of 2019/20 that I went to the store to deliver some donations and last week, to purchase something! In the grand scheme of things, Kambah is roughly a 30 minute drive from where I live and it’s a very comfortable and straight forward one. It’s taken me so long to do the trip because I’ve grown accustomed to the stores closer to where I live and being in the mind set that if I’m going to travel that distance, I need to make my trip worthwhile. For example, there may be some other stores I want to visit or a friend or family member.
In this case, I have a friend who lives in roughly that direction (still about a 20 minute drive away from the store), but close enough to warrant a round trip. I’d also reminded myself enough that the Crafty Frog has some specialty threads I wanted to check out and below is what I bought:
Dinky Dyes, Brindabella Threads and CGT (aka Cottage Garden Threads) are all Australian based – the Brindabella ones being Canberra Region based!
I’m not completely sure what I’ll stitch with these yet, but I just love looking at them! The time, effort and creativity that each company / business has put into making these threads is awesome and amazing. To me, they are definitely worth the extra money!
Happy New Year! I hope it’s been a good start to the new year for you, as much as it can be.
It’s been a while since I’ve published a post because I’ve been on holidays since Boxing Day through to Tuesday 12th January 2021 and enjoying my stitching bubble. So much so, I’ve finished a project I didn’t expect to finish so soon and I have made a lot of progress on another project that has needed a lot of attention!
In my last post, I talked about many of my Works in Progress (WIP) being part of WIPGO 2021 and below is the board I’ve put together:
How it works in a nutshell
The idea behind WIPGO is that it’s like a bingo board in the sense that the squares are numbered and Jessie Marie who runs / is the organiser for the Facebook group (I’ve come across her on Youtube via her Flosstube channel called Jessie Marie Does Stuff), uses a random number selector app to select two numbers between 1 and 25 per month. Jessie Marie would then post those two numbers in the Facebook group and that would help all participants to use their boards and know which projects they were going to be working on.
Side note: I hadn’t realised until recently, that a standard sized bingo board has 25 squares, and to make it easier, it’s the reason why the numbers between 1 and 25 are selected for WIPGO! Also, the numbers for the next month are drawn and posted on the Facebook group on the 27th of each month (in the case of numbers for January, they were posted in December 2020), so we have time to prepare our projects if need be for the next month.
The other cool thing with WIPGO is that there are few rules we, as a collective, need to abide by. We get to make our own rules and goals for our own boards, because everyone is different and the aim is to keep it fun and light. In my case, I’ve chosen to aim for stitching 250 crosses per day for each project that has been selected for that particular month.
For January, three numbers were selected – numbers 13, 6 and 18. The space for number 13 is a free space and we can do whatever we want with that space. In my case I chose to have a new start or free choice because I didn’t want to be limited to anything specific if I didn’t want to. I could have chosen to leave this square blank and just cross it off as being complete.
Which leaves me with squares 6 and 18 – the Gingerbread Train and 4 Seasons Kittens and my goal to stitch 250 crosses for the Gingerbread Train and 250 crosses or stitches on 4 Seasons Kittens per day for the whole month of January or until the project is complete – whichever happens sooner.
Last year when I was participating in Stitch Maynia, I learnt quickly that trying to count my stitches after I’ve stitched them (when using paper patterns) was time consuming and took some of the fun out of it. I tried to make it a little easier for myself by using coloured pencils to help differentiate between each time I sat down and worked on the projects, and it did help a little.
With that memory in mind, I made the most of the coloured pencils at the coast house and made my paper patterns for Gingerbread Train and 4 Seasons Kittens look like a rainbow! Each colour and section on the patterns would represent 250 stitches and a particular day – e.g. red = day 1, orange = day 2 etc, regardless of which pattern it was. That way I would know which section I was going to work on for that day and that it added up to 250 stitches.
When I was sorting out the pattern for Gingerbread Train, I realised pretty quickly that I would have the project completed within the first 2 weeks or so of January (including backstitching and beading)! And if I was motivated enough with 4 Seasons Kittens, I’d have the Spring quarter 90% to 95% complete with some backstitching and French Knots to complete the next time it was called up.
What happens if I reach my goals before the end of the month?
That’s up to me. I can start some new projects to fill in the time until February starts or I can take a break from stitching and do some other crafty things instead or whatever I want (within reason). I can also work on some other WIP’s that haven’t made it onto the board.
In the case of the Gingerbread Train, I have chosen to replace it’s second listing on the board with a different project that didn’t make it onto the board, first time around. So when the number 20 is called, I’ll be working on Curglaff designed by Michelle Bendy Stitchy (the pattern can be purchased from her Etsy store).
I won’t be winning any prizes if I finish any of my projects ahead of time or complete a Bingo line before anyone else. I can however, choose to reward myself with setting aside some money to purchase a new pattern or cross stitch related item for every project I complete or line I complete. I’ve noticed in the Facebook group that some people have allocated certain rewards for every goal they achieve which I think is really cool, and a great way to help with the motivation with some projects that can be a struggle to work through.
For me, the reward is sticking to my goals and achieving them. I struggle to stick to my goals (for many parts of my life, not just cross stitch!) and I’m really excited about this WIPGO board and sticking with it because there are enough elements to it that will keep me motivated. There’s enough structure where I know what projects I will be working on and I have them organised enough so that there’s not much effort involved with bringing them out when they’re called. Then there’s the surprise or random element that keeps it interesting. I don’t know what numbers will be drawn until the 27th or 28th of January and that’s the random element I like.
The reward element may change over time and that’s my prerogative! As I’m writing this and thinking about what rewards I could incorporate are:
purchasing a new pattern
starting a new pattern or kit
creating a wishlist of patterns I would like, that family or friends could purchase for birthday’s or Christmas
getting a massage or manicure – or both!
road trip to a new craft store (if practical) or one I haven’t visited for a while
join a cross stitch class or group that meets face to face
learn how to crochet
re-organise and improve my crafty spaces (you may get to see my crafty space in future posts and you’ll see why this would be a reward!)
Stitch Maynia and March Madness
I’m still working on how this two months and events can fit into my WIPGO plans or if they can at all. Especially since I’m working full time and who knows what the year will bring work wise!
At the moment I’m liking the idea of participating in both and the idea of starting new things. The tricky thing is being organised and finding the right storage space for them. Which has me thinking about the project bags I’ve seen a lot of people talking about on Flosstube and how I can make them work for the projects I have. However that’s a new and different rabbit hole for me to scamper down!
Cross Stitch Project bags – what are they?
I’ve learnt that project bags come in a variety of sizes and can have handles to that they can be carried like a bag or just have zips, clips, velcro or anything that works well to keep everything contained inside the bag. The image below shows a very small sample of the huge variety of bags available that I’ve seen talked about on Flosstube.
I like the bags that have the clear vinyl at the front so that you can see what’s in the bag and what project should be inside. My struggle is having a bag big enough to fit the boxes I use for some of my large projects (that have over 100 colours), as well as the hoops and everything I need for the project.
The good thing is that there are larger bags that are akin to small luggage/suitcase style bags available to suit my needs and I will need to do some more searches online to see what could work for me. My struggle at the moment is to have something slim enough to easily store away when I’m not working on it and easy enough to take with me when I’m travelling. Yet large enough to fit all of the tools I need for the project without it compromising the project.
I have been stitching the 4 Seasons Kittens by Dimensions methodically since it’s number was called for on the WIPGO board – and even more so since I finished the Gingerbread Train on 16th January 2021.
The first image below shows what I’ve done since 1st January 2021 through to 17th January 2021. I’ve probably spent more time on this project than the Gingerbread Train because of the amount of half stitch this project has. Also, I need to do nearly double the amount of stitches on this project than the Gingerbread Train that is just full crosses, to enable me to be satisfied with reaches the goals I’ve set for it.
To help put this progress into perspective, below is the progress I had made on the project by the end of 2020:
Because of the significant progress I’ve made on the Spring quarter of this project, I think I’ll be able to get it done!
Gingerbread Train designed by Shannon Christine
I really enjoyed stitching this project. It was colourful and fun and I really like the patterns from Shannon Christine Designs because they are easy to read and I love her colour choices.
This pattern called for it to be stitched on 28 count Sky High evenweave fabric. At the time I may not have had 28 count fabric or enough for this pattern, so I stitched it on 14 count Aida from Threaded Needle that had the green marble look you see in the above image, printed on one side of the fabric. All threads are DMC and all bar two colours are the called for colours. The two colours I altered were because I didn’t have them in my stash at the time and I don’t think it’s detracted from the pattern in the slightest.
If I were to stitch the pattern again, I would ensure to give myself enough room to stitch all of the letters for ‘Sweet Christmas Wishes’ and I’d see if I could adjust the font for the letters or change the colour I use for the outline of the letters. I might also have the white dots as beads instead of individual white crosses.
The other really good thing about this pattern, is that it got me over my reluctance to use beads in patterns. This pattern reminded me that as long as I’m careful with getting the beads on the special beading needle and I remain patient, everything will be okay!
For now I have this project ironed and rolled up with my other completed but not FFO’ed (fully finished objects) projects. I’m thinking that I could turn it into a sign that could be hung or nicely displayed somewhere. My mind will probably change multiple times before I finally finish it too!
A fair bit has happened since I last published a blog post. I’ve been procrastinating starting some of my projects, attended an online stitchers retreat, done some shopping and dyed some fabric for the first time! I’ve also gotten some stitching done in between sneezing and blowing my nose because of hay fever.
Online retreat and a fan girl moment…
The weekend we just had (21st and 22nd November) was my first online stitching retreat and it was really cool! It was the Mittagong Stitcher’s Retreat and the organisers did really well to setup Facebook rooms where attendees could do a video style stitch and chat. There were challenges with prizes, free charts that some designers had charted and donated to the retreat and links to some online stores with discount codes.
My nerves got the best of me for the first online stitching room I joined and which added to me being awkward and trying really hard not to fan girl too much. Mich Stitch was one of the organisers for the Mittagong Stitchers Retreat and I love watching her Flosstube channel. She’s an Aussie flosstuber and she had been one of the people in the first group I had joined on Saturday morning. It was great being able to chat with her and two other people in the group who were based in America.
Unfortunately the internet dropped out after a while. But I took it as a hint to get up and go for a walk. Over the weekend my boyfriend and I were at the coast and we had changed internet providers. This was the first time we had used the internet at the coast since signing up with new providers.
The second time around I joined the stitching group, I used me phone as a hot spot and it worked out really well. I was able to meet some new people and my nerves weren’t anywhere near as bad as the first time around, so my fan girling wasn’t too bad and I got to meet Kelly (aka Animal Instinct on flosstube) who is another Aussie flosstuber and I love a lot of the projects she’s working on and has completed. I also got to meet a number of cross stitching Canberran’s. I was buzzing with excitement by the end of it!
Throughout the Mittagong Stitchers Retreat weekend I was working on the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms. I’m really happy with how it’s tracking and when I was taking photos of my progress to date, I’m starting to think that I could get away with reducing the number of pages in the project!
I was also able to get some work done on the Black and White Daisy before we headed to the coast and I’m happy with the progress – even though I’m going to have to take a bit more care with this one! I found that I was a bit too relaxed with this piece when using Pattern Keeper and I’ve miscounted some part of the white petal. I’m hoping that over time I’ll be able to amend whatever mistakes I’ve made!
First time dyeing fabric
Over the weekend I finally dyed some fabric for cross stitch! It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while – especially after watching a number of Flosstube episodes from America. A while ago I had purchased some pre-cut 32 count Belfast linen and some iDye colours from Spotlight, with the intention of dying it and using it for one of my patterns. Over the weekend I also purchased some fabric from the Rosemont The Patchwork Shop in Mogo and I used one of the pieces of fabric for the dyeing job.
I decided to use orange and purple as the main colours and on the orange piece I wanted to try some tye-dying with some purple to give it a bit of a marbled look. Below are the two pieces I dyed. One of the images is a close-up of the orange piece to show you the marbled purple:
The orange piece is the 32 count Belfast linen and I stitched a free pattern from the Mittagong Stitchers Retreat on it. My head is spinning even now, just thinking about it. The pattern turned out really well. I found that I was starting to get a bit of a headache because of the focus my eyes needed to do for the fabric.
I’m really happy with how both pieces turned out and I’m keen to dye some more fabric! I’m thinking that I’ll try my hand at some 14 count brown fabric I have in my collection to see how that goes. Because both fabrics I used for my first dying attempt were light colours and I’m curious about how the iDye colours will go on a darker colour.
I mentioned earlier that I had done some shopping at Mogo and I was able to get my fix at the Rosemont The Patchwork Shop by purchasing some beautiful cards and fabric. They have the softest pink Aida there, I couldn’t help but pick up some more!
I’m not sure what I’ll stitch on the fabric yet. The good thing is that I have plenty of patterns to choose from. The tricky part will be deciding on which pattern to stitch on which piece of fabric!
I also have some more haul on it’s way that I will have to show later. As part of the Mittagong stitchers retreat, I purchased some hand-dyed silky threads! I’ve never stitched with these types of threads before and I have a couple of patterns in mind that I think I’ll use them for. When the threads come in I’ll share pictures of them with you and the patterns I’ll stitch them on.