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.
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!
I’m procrastinating making a start on making a proper start on my website (more news to come), so I’m writing this post instead! I’m also pretty excited about finally finishing a project and it being my first biscornu (aka fancy pin cushion)!
In my last post, I talked about my start on a free rainbow biscornu pattern I’d found on the internet, from the Cross Stitch Crochet Others website.
Majority of the searches I’ve conducted on the ‘Net for biscornu patterns, majority of them are on lighter fabrics – regardless of the count size. They all look good on the lighter fabric. I chose to use 14 count black Aida because I had some that was the right size for the pattern and to me, there’s something about the darker fabrics that really make the colours pop.
I’ve filled the biscornu with some polyester ‘soft fill’ that I’ve had for ages from Lincraft.
The other traditional thing with biscornu’s is that a button is usually used in the middle of it to help with the finished shape. I’ve bucked the trend and chosen to use two little dog charms that I’ve had in my craft collection for ages, but I’ve not really known what I wanted to do with them. When I was fastening them to the biscornu, I’ve come to appreciate why buttons or beads are used rather than anything else. The holes in the buttons especially, make it so much easier to fasten them to the biscornu. Which is why you will see a bit of orange thread going across one of the little dogs.
Because of how quickly I was able to stitch this and put it together (overall it’s taken me about 3 weeks – potentially less if work didn’t get in the way!), I’m keen to stitch another one sometime soon.
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’ve been having a bad case of writer’s block for my next post (this one). I’ve been having trouble figuring out what to write about, mostly because my attention has been on actual stitching, which I’ll talk about soon. I’m also working on a stitching related career changed as well as working full time – partly from home and partly in the office. So my motivation and energy levels are being stretched in different directions!
Meanwhile, I’ve finally been able to get back into running and as Murphy’s Law would have it, I’ve injured myself and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to run again! The good thing is that I’ll be seeing a professional about it and hopefully they’ll be able to tell me what part of my left ankle I injured and what I can do to get back into running! The conundrum with this injury is that it didn’t hurt at the time. I ran the same path I’ve run many times and it doesn’t hurt when I walk. The main thing that told me that I had hurt my ankle was the ample swelling that I noticed at the end of the day – after lounging around for the majority of the day! I do not remember ever having an injury like this before. Whenever I have hurt myself, it happens straight away and I have a basic idea of what part of my body I’ve hurt.
Update: I’ve seen a physio and thankfully I’ve sprained my ankle and I can get back into running! It will be Murphy’s Law that by the time I can properly get back into running, spring will well and truly be in full swing. Meaning, the weather will be beautiful but…it will be really windy, the magpies will be swooping and hay fever may become a pain – i.e. I’ll be a gross mess at the end by sneezing too much and potentially watery eyes. Even though I’d be wearing sunglasses, a hat and taking antihistamine’s.
Now, I’m sharing these two stories with you because of the main theme for this post – What’s your stitch-piration? Meaning, what inspires you to stitch? What inspires you or motivates you to keep going?
This post is quite similar to a post I did earlier in the year/last year regarding ways to help you stay motivated. Throughout this post, I’ll share with you some of the things inspire me to keep stitching and running after injuries and feeling worn out from life.
Seeing other people’s projects
I really enjoy watching Flosstube on YouTube and seeing the different projects that people are working on and the stash they have accumulated. In older posts, I’ve shared some of the Flosstube clips that have been relevant to my blog posts at the time.
The first two images on the left is my progress (and a close up of that progress) as of 22nd August 2020. Meanwhile, the image on the far right is my progress as of early September and it felt really good to start stitching the the ends of the fairy’s wings and more of the moon. I’m also really looking forward to finishing this page in the hope that there will be minimal fudging!
For the current page I’m working on, I’ve started worked from right to left which is helping me to identify how much out of balance the page is. I may have mentioned in an earlier post, that I normally stitch from left to right and I’ve tried to fudge and fix areas as part of commencing the use of Pattern Keeper, part way through this project. By stitching right to left now, I’m finding that I’m out of balance by at least three columns! This is a huge difference for all cross stitch projects and it can have a significant influence on how the project looks at the end.
The intriguing part is how the project will look when I start stitching the bottom of the moon. I’m hopeful that with the use of Pattern Keeper, that it will balance out okay. I’ll keep you posted!
Pinterest and other social media channels
I can easily spend hours on this app! I scroll through it to find inspiration for photography, cross stitch, running and potential places I want to travel to. So much so, that I’ve created some boards on this app so that I can refer back to it, if I’m needing some inspiration.
I’m also part of a few Facebook groups that are dedicated to cross stitch and a running app called ‘Zombies, Run!‘
The great thing with the groups for cross stitch and running, everyone is so supportive of the achievements and struggles that members of the groups have. Another way the groups are supportive is that people can ask questions of the group and people will answer their questions where possible, or refer them onto other spaces that can answer the questions.
Finishing one page and starting a new page start
I have been going gang-busters on my Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms project and I’ve finished another page and I’m really enjoying working on a new page. What I’m loving about it – at the moment at least – is the small blocks of colour. It is such a nice change to the confetti stitching that I had been working on to finish the previous page and the confetti stitching I was doing on Moon Lit Waters.
The first two images on the left is my progress as of early September this year. The image second from the right is my progress as of August 2020 and the last image on the right is what the project should look like when it’s finished.
The current page I’m working on marks the half way point of the project which is adding to my motivation to keep going. It’s also inspiring me to work on some more of my photos and convert them into cross stitch patterns!
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.
When I’ve been watching some flosstube clips, people have talked about homework and their involvement with an online group called ‘Magical Stitches’. My understanding is that the Magical Stitches group focus on certain authors or books throughout the year and they have prompts that come from those books that translates to their stitching. For example, a book may be Red Riding Hood and one of the prompts could be ‘200 stitches on a project with red in it’. Another prompt may be ‘work on a project that starts with the same letter/s of the author of the book’.
Similarly, I’ve seen some people use the decision maker app on their phones to help with deciding what project to work on next; especially during Stitch Maynia. I’ve considered using a similar app for the next time Stitch Maynia comes around, because it leaves a bit of mystery around what I’m going to stitch next.
More recently though, I’ve seen some people on Flosstube talk about WIPGO. The premise is drawing up a bingo card that has all of your works in progress (WIP’s) and potentially some new starts, depending the size of the board you want to have. The image below is a mock-up of what the board could look like. I’ve inserted my own WIPs and potential new starts. The new starts are in green and the blue squares are animal based WIPs.
Monopoly as a decision maker?
The traditional game of Monopoly has been around for decades. In recent years, variations of the game have been created, including DMC’s version called Stitch-opoly. The premise for Monopoly – regardless of what version or variation you’re playing is to become a real-estate mogul and force the other players into bankruptcy. But what if you also used it as a way of deciding what you were going to stitch, when and how long for?
How it would work:
Using the traditional board, each property represents different projects in your stash. The price to purchase each property is the number of stitches you need to apply to or stitch on that project. For example, one of the projects in my stash is the Gundaroo Mini Mushrooms. It’s a big, intense project that has taken me over a year so far to get nearly half way. Using the Monopoly board, I would apply that project to the Mayfair and if I landed on it and ‘purchased’ it, I would have to put 400 stitches into it because of its purchase price.
Alternatively, the colours used for each property series – red, green, dark blue, light blue, yellow, orange, purple, mauve, railway stations and utilities – could be applied to the projects in your stash. For example, you may have three projects that have a lot of orange in them or the name of the projects or the name of the artist/creator have a strong connection to the word orange and how it’s spelt. The idea behind this link to your projects and the colour is based upon a Facebook group called ‘School of Magical Stitches and Literature‘. Each year the theme changes and this year the group is for people who wish to read and Cross stitch the Disney Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson and the Villans series by Serena Valentio. A reading list is available for the group so that you can read along with your fellow group members and help you with understanding where the prompts come from for what, when and where you apply your stitches.
The additional variation to the Monopoly game and how you could apply it to your projects, is the meaning behind the roll of the dice. For example, you roll the number 3 and that could mean you have 3 days to complete the number of stitches required for the project (property) you land on.
What if I go to gaol (jail) or land on free parking?
If you go to gaol, then the following things could happen:
You work on a project you’re struggling with. The amount of time you spend on that project is based upon how many times it takes you to roll a double to get out of gaol. If you’re unable to roll a double within 3 turns, then you stitch an additional 50 stitches because the game traditionally requires you to pay $50 to get out.
You work on a project that is connected to reasons why you could go to gaol or the people or services who protect people from others who try do the wrong thing. For example, tributes to emergency service workers. The amount of time you spend on that project is based upon how many times it takes you to roll a double to get out of gaol. If you’re unable to roll a double within 3 turns, then you stitch an additional 50 stitches because the game traditionally requires you to pay $50 to get out.
Meanwhile, if you land on Free Parking, then you can do whatever you want. You can take a break or start a new project or purchase a new project. Or anything else you want to apply to that square.
Chance, Community Service, Taxes and Passing Go or Landing on Go
The Chance and Community Service cards could be awesome wild cards to make things interesting by helping or hindering the choices you make with your projects and how much time you spend on them.
Meanwhile, the taxes squares will remain as the squares you don’t want to land on because they are the penalty squares that will determine how much longer you spend on your projects.
Normally in the game of Monopoly, you get $200 for passing or landing on Go. This can be a blessing if you’re struggling and need the money to stop you going bankrupt. Alternatively, the additional funds can help you with purchasing more houses and hotels for the sets you’ve purchased. In the context of how this can help you with your cross stitch projects, this will depend upon how you’re progressing in the game. If you have a ‘set’, then your additional funds could be used to make your ‘competitors’ squirm. If you have a ‘set’ and someone lands on your property/project, they will have to stitch the amount of ‘rent’ allocated to that property that has however many houses or hotels on it. Alternatively, if you’re at the other end of the scale, the additional credits can help you with being able to ‘afford’ the ‘rent’ of the ‘property’.
What about ‘sets’ and landing on other ‘properties’?
Like the traditional game of Monopoly, how you obtain property sets remains the same for this style of the game. You can negotiate with the other players if they have a colour or property you need to complete your set. Alternatively, you can wait until you have landed on that square.
Meanwhile, if you land on someone else’s ‘property’, then you need to stitch the amount of ‘rent’ that would be traditionally paid to the owner. If another player lands one your ‘property’, then you receive credits or ‘rent’ and that player would have to stitch the ‘rent’ owed.
How do you know when someone has won?
Like the traditional game of Monopoly, it can be based upon the amount of ‘credits’ each player has left to the point where all players except for one has ‘credits’. Alternatively, before the game starts, all players can agree to a set period of time that the game lasts for. Another option is all players agree upon some modern rules that other varieties of the game use make it interesting.
What if I don’t have anyone to play with?
The beauty of technology means that the Monopoly game can be played on most gaming consoles. This means that you can play against the computer or you can play online with people from around the world.
It’s been a while since I’ve done any gaming, but I do love playing Monopoly on Playstation 3 and 4. If I were going to play Monopoly in the context of what we’ve talked about here, I would make sure I’m prepared enough for most of the scenarios that could happen in the game.
For example, I would allocate all my WIP’s and other potential projects to the different properties. Any properties I’m able to purchase I highlight and properties that are purchased by the computer, I cross out. Next to each property I do purchase, I note down what number I rolled to get there and what I paid for it. I also mark what is paid to me if any of my components/competitors land on what I’ve purchased.
Property purchase price
Total number of stitches
Old Kent Road
$200 = 200 stitches
5 = 5 stitches
200 over 5 days and 2 days credit
400 stitches over 4 days and 10 days credit
Gundaroo Mini Mushroom
350 stitches over 6 days and 5 days credit
Moon Lit Waters
300 stitches over 2 days and 2 days credit
200 stitches over 12 days and 2 days credit
Example of how to track actions taken during the came of Monopoly