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

February Page Finishes

Hi Everyone

At the start of this month, I set myself the goal of finishing the page I was working on for each of the active projects I have on rotation. I have been stitching my little heart out for most of this month and I think I’ve done pretty well. Especially since last post I was feeling a bit down and flat and not thinking that I would be able to achieve the progress I’ve wanted for each project.

There have been a few days where I’ve not stitched because I’ve been too tired from work and I’ve not slept well the night before, or I’ve been busy with other things. So without further adieu, lets get into it and see how I’ve gone!

Four Seasons Kittens

I have finished all of the half stitch and full crosses the pattern has asked for and I’ve gotten the majority of the back-stitch around the called for areas. I just need to give one of the kittens some whiskers and finish off the frame for the quarter, and I’ll be able to move onto spring or summer!

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

Midnight Fairy

A page finish and then some…

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

Because there was some confetti that I had to finish on this page, I wanted to make the most of the thread I had on the needle at the time. So I started looking at neighbouring pages to see if I could stitch anything there and what you see is the result of what I found.

Fishing

I achieved a page finish with this project! The area I have been focusing on for February, is the bottom of the pattern that has a lot of greys and browns it. There is a bit of back-stitch needed for this area to help give the hat, some bullrushes and fence some definition. I’ll get to that when I’ve finished all of the full and half stitching for the project. Theoretically it should be easier if I do that!

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

Gundaroo Mini Mushroom

I’ve been battling some leg pain while stitching some of this page and I’m really annoyed that I haven’t gotten more done. The short story is that I don’t stretch as much as what I should after my gym sessions and runs and I’m an office worker. As a result of so much discomfort I’ve been experiencing lately, I haven’t been able to finish the page for this one. I am frustratingly close as you will see in the pictures below…

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

To help put the image below into context, I’ve completed page 6, which is more the the centre of the fabric, and I’m close to finishing page 5. I’ve decided to start in the centre of the fabric because I’m not sure if I’ll have enough fabric to finish the entire project. The other thing to bear in mind with this project is, when I first put this pattern together, I had told the software that it would need to fit onto 28 count fabric – or there abouts. I then changed my mind and decided to keep most of the dimensions but try and stitch it on 14 count fabric instead…

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

The annoying component with this pattern is the amount of confetti stitching for the bottom left corner of this page, which you will see in the photo I’ve taken of my pattern. It’s not as bad as other projects I’ve worked on over the years or even now with the HAED I’m working on.

However, in recent days when I’ve been stitching it, I’ve been seriously been contemplating scanning the pattern and seeing if it would be compatible with pattern keeper app. If it does work, it would make my life soooo much easiser! Because there are 148 colours in this pattern and some of the symbols are very similar. So it can take me a few minutes just to find the symbol on the key, to figure out which thread I need for a couple of squares!

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

Now that February is over for another year…

What now?

As I’m writing this post, Sunday, 1st of March is drawing to a close and whilst I have many new projects lined up and ready to go, I’m not sure if I’m ready to start them yet. Starting new pages of my existing projects would be exciting and I’d be significantly closer to getting the projects finished and off rotation for good. The question is though, do I need a break from them because I’ve been working on them so intensely for the last 20 odd days? Should I bring back into rotation some other projects that have been sitting idol?

One of the positive things for March though and the rest of this year is that I’m not going to be doing any official study with uni. Earlier this year, I had written about being accepted into the University of Canberra to complete a graduate certificate and I had been really excited about doing it. However, as time got closer to classes starting and getting the schedule for them organised, it all became a bit too hard. That process also helped me to realise that I really wasn’t as keen to do the study as what I thought I would be, when I had enrolled in the course back around August 2019! The good thing through, I that I have shown myself that I can get back into uni if I want to and it’s still an option later down the track. I’ve got work to focus on at the moment and I really want to keep progressing things with this blog and my stitching.

Small running update

It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about running and how things are going there. For the last few weeks I’ve been experiencing some muscle pain in my left leg that has stemmed from me not stretching enough. It has also meant that I’ve not been motivated to get out and about and go for a run or walk. With the help of my trainer at the gym and a remedial massage with a physio, the muscles are getting better. So much so that I’ve been able to get out running again! They’ve been short runs so far – 2 to 3km in distance and intervals, meaning I would run a full kilometre and walk for a minute or two then run again until I was done.

I need to pick up my game a lot more for this month because of the 5km fun run I’ve booked myself in for the first weekend of April 2020. I really want to feel prepared for the run rather than be feeling too casual and hoping for the best. Also, the course is different this year and I’m feeling pretty confident with it because it’s a similar course I’ve run during my own free time.

Anyway, that’s enough from me for this week. Stay tuned and until next time, happy stitching!

Posted in Uncategorized

My First Cross Stitch Country Quilt

Years in the making

This quilt has been years in the making. Each picture has taken me an average of 3 months to complete, whilst working full-time and studying part time (for 6 years) and other projects in between. The pictures that make up this quilt are mostly Country Threads. The cottage and cat at the fish pond are from two different cross stitch magazines I’ve had for years. The mare and foal are a Dimensions Gold Collection kit (aka Dimensions Good Morning (Horse and Foal)).

Representations

Each picture represents an element of my family’s farm. Growing up we always had two dogs, two cats, many horses, many cows and bulls, chooks (aka chickens), ducks, geese and briefly, a flock of sheep. We’ve also had wild foxes, wombats, cockatoos (that love eating the oats and grass seeds in the round bales of hay), lorikeets, rosellas, galahs, crows, rabbits, hares, the odd echidna and once a pelican! On the farm, we also have a shearing shed that we’ve never used as an actual shearing shed. Instead, it has been a fantastic place for us to store our horse-riding gear, cattle drenching equipment, a place for chooks and ducks to hatch and raise their young, places for the cats to snooze (sleep) and catch mice and rabbits, a place to store square bales of hay, a place for the horses to shelter from the weather and mend from illness or injury. The shearing shed has also been a place for us to store bits and pieces we have wanted to store from the weather.

The creative process

For years I’ve known that I’ve wanted to make a quilt out of these pictures, but I’ve never had a firm idea of how it would look, how big it would be and how many pictures it would exactly it would have. As the pictures progressed and accumulated, I started thinking about the farm on a broader scale and the common colours they involve. Which is how I decided upon the blue and green shades you see in the pictures.

Image shows how the navy blue and lime green looks as the border and connecting pieces for the cross stitch pictures.
Choosing the colours for quilting fabric.

The closer I got to finishing the pictures and being ready to assemble the quilt, Pinterest became my best friend for all quilt related things – to the point that I created a board on Pinterest! I also decided that I would back/line the cross-stitch pictures with calico before I attached the navy blue and green borders. Below is how I attached the pictures to the calico and I made the most of the huge floor space at my parents space.

Five metres worth of calico flat on the floor with cross stitch pictures pinned to it for me to cut out and sew.
Cross stitch pictures pinned to calico.

Layout options

Once I had the cross stitch pictures lined with calico and the pictures had the navy blue borders, I had a lot of fun and stress with trying to figure out how it should be set out. The images below are just a few of the ways I had the pictures set out before I decided on the final setting…

Quilt lay out option 1. Row 1 - left to right: Mare and foal, lorikeets, rose and border collie. Row 2 - left to right: Butterflies, small cat, Palamino horse, wheat, rusty old car and galahs. Row 3 - left to right: Labrador puppy with chick, English cottage, droving cattle across a creek.
Quilt layout option 1.
Quilt layout option 2. Row 1 - left to right: Hay shed, palamino horse, droving cattle across a creek. Row 2 - left to right: cockatoos, English cottage, labrador puppy with chick.
Row 3 - left to right: Rusty car, galahs, border collie.
Row 4 - left to right: mare and foal, Lorikeets.
Layout option 2
Layout option 3
Layout option 3

Once I was happy with the layout, joining it all together with the green fabric proved to be harder than I thought it would be – mostly because I wasn’t following an official pattern and I didn’t have any specific measurements in mind. All I knew was that I wanted it to be as square as possible in the end.

Things I have learnt to date about this quilt.

To date, this quilt has taught me a lot about myself and as much as it may frustrate me, I can make decisions on the fly. Other things I have learnt include:

  • Patience when I’m frogging something (a cross stitch term I’ve recently learnt that refers to un-picking something – aka ‘ribbit’ like the sound a frog makes);
  • The amount of thread I’ll go through for the sewing machine because of the amount of frogging and because I’m not following a set pattern;
  • How heavy the quilt becomes the more it comes together;
  • Best intentions with sewing straight (including having pre-determined guidelines to follow) doesn’t always mean that I will sew straight!
  • Perfection. In quilting I’ve found the need for it is more important than ever – especially if I want things to be square and line up just so;
  • Where there’s a will there’s a way. I accept that this quilt will not be as perfect or as flat or as straight or as square as I want it to be. However, I have found that there are alternate ways to achieve what I want.

Where to from here?

Quilt progress as of 3rd February 2019.
Quilt progress as of 3rd February 2019.

Now that the quilt is reasonably square, I can now measure it up for batting that I aim to purchase soon. Meanwhile, I have purchased additional navy blue quilting fabric that I will sew over the top of the existing navy blue borders around each cross stitch picture. My aim is to have the borders as even as possible whilst trying to flatten out the quilt as much as I can. In the image above, I’ve tried to flatten it out as much as I can with no avail. To try and ensure that the borders don’t slip as I’m sewing them, my aim is to use double sided tape to hold the fabric in place. My additional aim is to sew the borders on whilst the batting is attached, to reduce any potential movement that the batting may do over time.

Once I’m happy with the borders and the batting, I’ll attach the back of the quilt and the trim/final border and it should then be finished!